Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 28th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 12 (14 September 1970)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 28th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 12 (14 September 1970).
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
Issue No. 12
Tuesday, November 17, 1970, Regina,
Joint Chairmen: Senator Maurice Lamontagne
Mr. Mark MacGuigan, M.P.
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Joint Committee of
the Senate and of
the House of Commons on the
Constitution of Canada
(See Minutes of Proceedings)
Twenty-eighth Parliament, 1970
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE
CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
Joint Chairmen: Senator Maurice Lamontagne
Mr. Mark MacGuigan, M.P.
Representing the Senate:
Representing the House of Commons:
Michael B. Kirby
Patrick J. Savoie
Joint Clerks of the Committee
Published under the authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons by the Queen’s Printer for Canada
Available from Information Canada, Ottawa, Canada
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
Tuesday, November 17, 1970.
The Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 10:07 a.m. in the Hotel Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Suite, Regina, Saskatchewan. The Joint Chairman, Mr. MacGuigan, presided.
Representing the Senate: Senators Cameron, Fergusson, Forsey and Yuzyk.—(4).
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Allmand, Brewin, Dinsdale, Forrestall, Gibson, Hogarth, Knowles (Norfolk-Haldimand), MacGuigan, Marceau and McQuaid.—(10).
Also present: From the House of Commons: Mr. Burton.
The Joint Chairman introduced the first witness, Mr. D. A. McLeod, who read his brief into the record. A question period followed. During questioning, on the invitation of the Joint Chairman, Messrs. John H. Brockelbank and L. F. Bailey made statements from the floor. Upon conclusion of the question period, the Joint Chairman thanked Mr. McLeod.
The Joint Chairman introduced the second witness, Mr. Rene Rottiers who read his brief into the record and was then questioned. Later, the questioning of Mr. Rottiers being concluded, he was thanked and excused.
The Joint Chairman then introduced the third witness, the Honourable D. V. Heald, Q.C. Attorney General of the Province of Saskatchewan, who presented a brief on behalf of the Government of the Province of Saskatchewan. Mr. Heald read into the record part of his brief after which he was questioned. During the question period, on the invitation of the Joint Chairman, Messrs. John H. Brockelbank, D. A. McLeod and Tom Keyes, made statements from the floor. The questioning of Mr. Heald being concluded, the Joint Chairman thanked him for his valuable testimony.
The propositions contained in the brief submitted by the Honourable D. V. Heald, on behalf of the Government of the Province of Saskatchewan, not having been read into the record, are printed as an appendix to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. (See Appendix “L”)
At 12:53 p.m. the Committee adjourned until later this day.
The Committee resumed at 1:55 p.m. The Joint Chairman, Mr. MacGuigan, presided.
Members present: Same as at the morning sitting.
The Joint Chairman introduced the first witness, Mr. Frederick L. Dunbar, Solicitor with the Saskatchewan
School Trustees Association. Mr. Dunbar made a statement after which he was questioned. Later, the questioning being concluded, the Joint Chairman thanked Mr. Dunbar and he was excused.
The brief submitted by the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association, not having been read into the record, is printed as an appendix to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. (See Appendix “M”)
The Joint Chairman introduced the second witness, Mrs. Sherrie Tutt, Secretary, Regina Single Parents Improvement Association, who made a statement after which she was questioned. Later, the questioning of the witness being concluded, she was thanked and excused.
The Joint Chairman then introduced the third and final witness, Mr. Christopher Lafontaine. Mr. Lafontaine made a statement after which he was questioned. Having answered all the questions put to him, Mr. Lafontaine was thanked by the Joint Chairman and excused.
The Joint Chairman thanked the witnesses and the members of the audience who had participated in these hearings.
At 2:55 p.m. the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Patrick J. Savoie
Joint Clerk of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Tuesday, November 17, 1970.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): The meeting will come to order. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a full agenda this morning so I think we should begin now without further delay. I will not go through the preamble of last evening again but I will introduce our first witness immediately.
He is Mr. D. A. McLeod of the City of Regina, presenting a brief on his own behalf. Mr. McLeod.
Mr. D. A. McLeod (City of Regina): Mr. Chairman, members of the House of Commons and members of the Senate, my brief or statement will be fairly short. A former speaker who presented a brief last night spoke on the same subject which proves it is of concern to us in Saskatchewan. As your advertisement said, you want to hear from ordinary people, not just the experts, I can assure you I am not an expert. You want to know what we think should be done, and what we think is wrong. As an ordinary person belonging to no political party or group my statement will have no fancy phrases. It is straightforward, in plain language and to the point. For that reason I expect it will raise a few eyebrows, not only of this Committee, but also of some of our more important people here in Saskatchewan. However, as the young people say, I am going to tell it as it is.
Mr. Chairman, first of all let me say that I think the formation of this Committee can be a very worthwile [sic] project. I want to congratulate you and the other members of the Committee for giving the rank and file Canadians an opportunity to bring their problems before you. However, I do hope that the report of your findings will have some influence on the government in Ottawa.
Now that I have said this, I must also say that many of us who have presented briefs to previous committees and received their reports, their recommendations died after it was read and discussed in Parliament. I do hope your report will not meet the same fate.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): So do we.
Mr. McLeod: The problems in each province will differ and I propose to talk mostly about the problems here in Saskatchewan.
I think if democracy is to survive, which we all hope it will, those in positions of authority will have to face up to the cold facts and become more receptive to the reasonable complaints—and I emphasize the word “reasonable”—of those who are disturbed by the selfishness and the abusiveness of some who now hold important positions in our society, and I include politicians among them.
We hear of professional groups who police their own members and I will grant you some of these professions are not doing a very good job, as John Munro the Minister of National Health and Welfare pointed out to his lawyer colleagues in Hamilton a short time ago. However, I think if ever a group of people needed a code of ethics and needed to police their members it is the politicians and I include all political parties, but particularly those who form the government.
Recently an article in an American magazine stated that two groups of people, the commercial advertiser and the politicians, seemed to think they had a licence to lie to the people. Of course, this was referring to American politicians but I have made a hobby of keeping a file and sometimes I wonder if it is only the Americans that do this.
I do not have to tell you how many times the farmers of Western Canada were promised $2 wheat.
However, my main purpose of coming before you is to inform this Committee on what I think is a most blatant abuse of power Canadians have ever seen. Today in this province we are witnessing the manipulation and gerrymandering of constituency boundaries that has been referred to, and I think rightly so, as the murdering of democracy.
We heard about the Province of Quebec where one party got about 23 per cent of the vote but elected only seven, I think it was, members. This was not caused so much by gerrymandering. The Quebec problem was caused I am told by a shift in population in the last few years to larger centres, such as Montreal, Hull and Quebec. This is not the case in the Province of Saskatchewan. In Saskatchewan many polls have been switched from one rid.ng to another, done in the opinion of many informed people to ensure the re-election of our present government, while opposition ridings were enlarged so that thousands of votes will be nullified.
The official opposition party now has 15 seats with over 10,000 voters and some of these seats go up to as high as 18,000, while the government only have seven in the 10,000 range, and none of these go up much beyond that mark. On the other end of the scale, the government has seven seats in the 4,000 to 6,000 range, while the opposition has only one. Eleven seats held by the government have now been reduced in the numbers of voters compared to only six of the opposition. Fourteen opposition seats have been enlarged compared to only four for the government.
The Committee Chairman of the boundary changes, a Minister of the Crown, left his owm seat with only 4,000 voters. It was left unchanged. However, he added 4,000 to a larger adjacent seat, bringing it up to 15,000 voters. There is no doubt pure political manipulation has dominated the whole redistribution. There can be no government by representation if governments are allowed to juggle boundaries to help them get into office by the back door and this is the second election in four years that this has been done in our province. When a government purposely arranges the boundaries of a constituency so it can elect four members while another area with the same number of voters can only elect one of the opposition then democracy is being threatened.
How can we expect our younger generation to have faith in our form of government when they see our leaders indulging in manoeuvring of this kind?
One Senator just last night said it is legal to gerrymander like this. Politicians can make anything legal but legality without justice should not be tolerated. It should be protested in the strongest manner. A law or a piece of legislation without justice is a bad law and it can create violence in Saskatchewan just like it does in Montreal or any other part of Canada.
If our younger generation which are protesting all across Canada, not just Quebec, if they are clever enough
to see through this injustice, do not condemn them, do not call them radicals, just because they are not gullible as we of the older generation were in the past.
As for me, my faith lies in getting more young people elected to Ottawa and it matters little as to what party they belong to. I think there are a lot of them sitting on the back benches in Ottawa right now in both sides of the House who could bring about change without violence but they are never heard from.
We need more John Munros and I hope we get them before it is too late.
Another Senator suggested that we could write letters to newspapers, but this is another handicap we have in this province. Our two leading newspapers, the radio and one of our TV stations are all owned by two men on Bay Street in Toronto. Freedom of the press in Saskatchewan depends on whether or not you agree with the editors of our newspapers. I wrote a letter on this gerrymandering to our local paper, the paper I not only subscribe to, but also which I give a good bit of advertising to. Three weeks later I phoned the editor to ask why my letter was not published. He could give me no reason but he said he thought it was in poor taste. Since when has the truth become poor taste?
That is the end of my brief. I said it would be short and to the point.
I am sorry if I have offended some of the gentlemen here but I think it is time we told it as it is and we are always being told that the ordinary people should get involved and I must congratulate you people for asking the ordinary people to come and give you a brief. I hope you listen to the ordinary people, not big business or the experts, because if you do not, I am afraid that things can get worse, and I do not want to see it get worse.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): That is why we are here, Mr. McLeod, to hear the ordinary people as well as the experts.
I have Mr. Allmand and Senator Fergusson. I just wonder if perhaps we could clear up whether the Senator you referred to is Senator Forsey in that in this text it says, “One Senator just this morning said.” That might have been on the open-line program yesterday morning that Senator Forsey was on and perhaps be might like to clarify what he actually said on that point.
Mr. McLeod: I should clarify that. When I said I wrote to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Forsey said—I forget what you said—but you said that was just a waste of time.
Senator Forsey: I said the Minister of Justice had no more power to deal with this matter than you had. I unfortunately forgot in the heat of the moment that, in fact, it is perfectly possible for you or any other aggrieved citizen to petition for the disallowance of this Act as I said last night, and the Minister of Justice would then have to report on the Act and recommend either disallowance or no disallowance. This is an avenue which is open to you, especially here this morning, of protesting in the strongest manner. This is a very strong manner in which you can protest against this Act. You draw up a petition to the Governor General in Council and ask for the disallowance of the Redistribution Act of the Province of Saskatchewan.
Mr. McLeod: Dr. Forsey, in my reply from the Minister of Justice he said that this is a provincial matter, that I should take it up with our provincial Attorney General who is also a member of the party that drew up these boundaries. To me, and this is no reflection on our Attorney General, but to me this is like asking the mafia to investigate Cosa Nostra.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I think Senator Forsey’s point is that it is not illegal by the present law. There is nothing in the constitution which affects this.
Senator Forsey: Yes there is. Excuse me, because it is open to any citizen or group of citizens to petition the Governor in Council to disallow this Act. There have been 112 provinc.al acts disallowed.
Mr. McLeod: Do you mean the government in Ottawa?
Senator Forsey: Yes. They can disallow it if they want to.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Right, but in the sense that there is no standard for the exercise of disallowance I think you can say there is nothing in the law which prohibits this from happening.
Senator Forsey: No, but the constitution depends partly on convention.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, could I ask Senator Forsey a quest on through you? Has it not been very widely recognized that the power of disallowance is obsolete? It has not been exercised for many years. Is he really giving practical advice when he makes such a suggestion?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I think at this point since there are so many questions we will go to the regular order of questioners and call on Mr. Allmand and 1 will take the others in order. Mr. Allmand, Senator Fergusson, Mr. Brewin, Mr. Hogarth, and Mr. Gibson.
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Chairman, first of all, I want to correct misunderstandings which I have heard out here in the last two days. That is with respect to the elections in Quebec and the suggestion that in Quebec the fact that one party got 23 per cent of the votes and only seven seats was due to some type of gerrymandering, although this witness says it was not, but I should point out that in the British North America Act there are a number of constituencies, I think 13—Dr. Forsey might correct me on this—but I think it is 13 constituencies which have been protected since Confederation, to protect the English minorities in Quebec. Of course, these constituencies are no longer English speaking but they are extremely small and they are protected and this is one of the reasons why there is some imbalance. I think people should know that, that these constituencies are protected in the Constitution and it has been recommended several times that the Constitution should be amended to change this.
After making that clear, I wanted to ask the witness if he was here last night and heard the recommendation by Mr. Blakeney with respect to preventing gerrymandering or trying to do something about gerrymandering. He suggested that there should be a clause in the Constitution which would give the courts the power to decide if
constituencies were set up on a fair and equitable basis. I wanted to ask the witness if he thought that that was the proper solution and also what he thought of the federal government’s new law which was put into effect a few years ago setting up independent commissions to redraw the boundaries after every census. Would he think that these two methods might improve the situation in Saskatchewan?
Mr. McLeod: I think the independent commission that was set up under the Pearson government did an awfully good job. I think it was fair. There were some complaints but you cannot satisfy everybody. I think that the Pearson government or the independent committee did an excellent job. I have made a study of this, but I would say this, that I hope to get maps drawn up. There has been gerrymandering. We have had it for years but it has not affected to my knowledge more than two or three seats. It always pays attention to population counts but in this instance it is just a farce. Our next election will just be rt farce. It cannot be an honest and fair election and I would say this, that one or two politicians can give an image to all politicians, including the Senate and the House of Common. We hear newsmen on the radio day after day saying that politics is a dirty game, but you people in Ottawa can prevent this. You are getting a bad image because of two or three or maybe a dozen politicians that are not paying too much attention to fairness. I will put it that way.
Mr. Allmand: Thank you very much, that is all.
Senator Fergusson: I would like to thank Mr. McLeod for coming before us and giving us these ideas. I am not going to enter into this discussion that you have brought up. However, I do resent a little bit Mr. McLeod’s rather negative attitude towards how effective the report of our Committee might be and what attention might be paid to il by the federal government.
I would like to remind him that a number of joint committees and committees of the Senate that I know of have resulted in changes in policy and changes in legislation. Many of them seem to be taking the place of Royal Commissions which formerly were set up to investigate similar things. I am sure if you wanted to go into statistics you would find that the cost of a joint committee or a committee of either House is much less than that of a Royal Commission, besides which after the report has been made a Royal Commission disperses but the members of the House and even more the members of the Senate are still around and they can keep at the government and remind them of the things that they have reported. However, what I wanted to point out, and I do not want to take too much time, but I just wanted to remind you that for instance the old age security was the result of a report of a joint committee. The guaranteed income supplement which gives everybody over 65 who needs additional help that additional help, was the result of the Committee on Aging of the Senate. It was one of the reports. I was on that Committee, I know. The Department of Manpower, which is doing a great deal to retrain people was the result of a Senate Committee on Manpower.
ARDA, the Agricultural and Rural Development Act really came out of a study by a Senate Committee on land use, and I might remind you, that the recent Divorce
Act is definitely practically the same as was recommended by a Joint Committee on Divorce. So sometimes these committees have effect and I just wanted to bring this to your attention.
Mr. McLeod: Madam Senator, I do not want to downgrade any committees or commissions, but I am speaking from experience. I presented six or seven briefs, one of which was on election expenses. I have the book, it is about that high. But it seems at every committee or commission at which I appear my brief is never acted on. The brief which I presented to the committee on election expenses, which I thought was a very important report and a very good report—and when this goes on year after year we can not blame you people—the House of Commons apparently did not act on it. This is what I am referring to. I certainly do not want to downgrade what you people are doing as I said to start with. But I said I do hope it will not just gather dust.
Senator Fergusson: The Chairman said, so do we.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Fergusson adds, so do we. Mr. Brewin.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might have an aside and inform Mr. McLeod that the Report of the Committee on Election Expenses is before a committee of the House of Commons and we hope it will have practical recommendations to make which may well include some of the suggestions you made yourself, so I would not be hopeless about that. The only other thing I wanted to suggest to you—it is more a suggestion than a question—is that you take Senator Foresey’s [sic] advice and write to the Minister of Justice requesting disallowance. It may not, I would not be optimistic as I believe the procedure is obsolescent now.
Mr. McLeod: Would that require going to Ottawa?
Mr. Brewin: No, I think you could write and ask him, and if I were writing I would quote the great constitutional experience of Senator Foresy [sic] as my basis for this suggestion; say that you were doing it at his suggestion.
An hon. Member: Send a copy.
Mr. Brewin: Even if you get a negative answer it may be helpful to us because we will know how useful the process of disallowance is, or whether it is really as dead :is a dodo as I think it is.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Hogarth.
Mr. Hogarth: Senator, I wonder if Senator Forsey could help with his vast knowledge of the power of disallowance. My recollection is that the power of disallowance has never been used to disallow any statute that has been passed entirely dealing with provincial matters alone. It is only used when it is an anticipated encroachment on the federal power.
Senator Forsey: Oh no, that is not so.
Mr. Hogarth: I stand to be corrected.
Senator Forsey: If I searched my memory for a few moments, I could give you quite a number of instances to
the contrary. I have drawn up a large number of petitions for disallowance of provincial acts of various kinds. I run inclined to agree with Mr. Brewin that the thing is quite probably also obsolescent now. When the Diefenbaker government failed to disallow those scandalous and iniquitous Newfoundland labour laws, the disallowance of which there was the most ample precedent, I am afraid that drove a nail into the coffin of the power of disallowance.
Nonetheless, if I were in the position of the present opposition in the Province of Saskatchewan and of Mr. McLeod, I would petition for disallowance and just see how far I got, and see what attitude the Government of Canada took up. We have not got an entrenched bill of rights but we have got this power of disallowance which could be used and in some instances has been used in such matters as this. Acts have been disallowed on the ground that they were contravening reason, justice and natural ethic. That has been done by both Conservative governments in the case of the Ontario Streams Act, where it was done three times in the 1880s, and by the Liberal government of Mr. Mackenzie King in the disallowance of the famous McNeill Act of 1922 in Nova Scotia. There are plenty of other instances in which the legislation was plainly and indisputably within provincial powers, but it was disallowed. A long series of Manitoba Railways Acts, though they were perfectly within the powers of the legislature, were disallowed on the ground that they were contrary to the Dominion interest, Dominion policy, Dominion legislation. I could go on at great length about this but I do not want to take up time.
If I were the provincial NDP, I would try putting the Government of Canada on the spot in this matter.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Hogarth.
Mr. Hogarth: I have further observations to make. I take it, Mr. McLeod, what you are concerned with is there should be entrenched in the Constitution provisions with respect to at least federal redistribution, if not provincial redistribution also. That is to say there should be formulated within the Constitution mechanics of affecting redistribution from time to time, both of the federal and the provincial constituencies. Is that what you are driving at?
Mr. McLeod: I do not know exactly how the Pearson government did it. I think he had members from all political parties. Is that right?
Mr. Hogarth: They had an independent commission effective at the federal level.
Mr. McLeod: I followed that; to me, this was an awful good report. This is what we need in Saskatchewan. We speak of a government: a government can actually be two men at the top, and I understand some members of this government think it might backfire. This is one problem that is worrying a lot of people in Saskatchewan.
I am corresponding with Senator Keith Davey on the other problem and I get some glowing answers to the evidence I am sending in about this monopoly we have in
Saskatchewan. I read in the paper the other night that his report will be out before Christmas. I am hoping we can do something about this monopoly of our news media where if they do not like what you say or what you do, you just … although I have got a lot of letters published, I will give them credit for their actions in the past, but this was a letter I particularly wanted published. I took it to a lawyer to make sure it was not libellous, there was nothing wrong with it, but because I was going to embarrass this government, it was not published.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Gibson.
Mr. Gibson: I would like to put this proposition to you, Mr. McLeod. I do not assume at this moment that the proposed boundary redistribution is unfair, because I have heard some evidence but I do not feel I have had both sides of the issue before us. Assuming on the facts that the redistribution planned was obviously unjust and unfair, and suppose Mr. Thatcher was told by the Minister of Justice that the federal government was considering using disallowance, do you not think it might be a method of persuading Mr. Thatcher to consider delegating to the federal government the power of having federal supervision by a commission of the type we have already described?
Mr. McLeod: I do not think you know Mr. Thatcher as well as I do.
Mr. Gibson: I am not trying to judge Mr. Thatcher. I do not think that is proper. I think he is not on trial here but…
Mr. McLeod: No he is not.
Mr. Gibson: … the system of adjusting these seats is certainly on trial. Would it not be a useful lever to simply say “If you do not go for a commission type of review, as was so successfully done under Mr. Pearson’s government for this Province, would it not be a reasonable position for Mr. Turner to say that we will in fact use the power of disallowance if you refuse”?
Mr. McLeod: Mr. Turner?
Mr. Gibson: Yes, Mr. Turner is the Minister of Justice.
Mr. McLeod: Oh, yes. His secretary replied to the last letter and I just got the brush-off. I can tell you that when I was with a big corporation if that corporation wrote to Ottawa, even if a common employee like me signed the letter, we got action right away. But this thing of telling an individual “oh, write your M.P.”, is a waste of time.
Mr. Gibson: It is not.
Mr. McLeod: Well, I will write to you.
Mr. Gibson: O.K.
Mr. McLeod: And you get me some action.
Mr. Gibson: All right, I will try.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Burton.
Mr. Burton: Mr. Chairman, in view of the interest in the provincial redistribution and gerrymandering of
boundaries in Saskatchewan, a fact that has been dealt with by Mr. Blakeney and now by Mr. McLeod—some statistics were provided last night—I wonder if Mr. McLeod or Mr. Blakeney might be asked to provide a set of maps for the Committee which in fact would show some of the geographic characteristics of this redistribution as well as the actual statistical data. From my own recollection this would be useful in terms of setting out the picture even more clearly than it has already been set out.
Mr. McLeod: Do you mean to the members of this Committee?
Mr. Burton: Yes.
Mr. McLeod: That is why I got all their names last night. I certainly hope they will all get the facts, the figures and everything. It seems to be hard to convince, like this man says he does not think it is unfair, or words to that effect. This is typical of w hat you get from a politician.
Mr. Gibson: That is my privilege. I do not think Mr. McLeod wanted to be unfair to me…
Mr. McLeod: No.
Mr. Gibson: …but I said at this point I have not seen the boundaries; I have not had a chance to hear the other side…
Mr. McLeod: No.
Mr. Gibson: …so I think that implication is a bit unjust.
Mr. McLeod: I will tell you what answer you will get from the other side. It will say, “well, the former government did this”. I have the maps. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, I have been here all my life except in the ten years I spent in Ontario. I have followed politics very closely and this is the argument that you will get: “well, the other party did the same”. But what happened under the former governments—and they all did it to some extent—was nothing compared to what this is. This has gone to the very extreme.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. McGuigan): I think I should point out to the witness that this Committee, as a Committee on the Constitution, is not interested in making a judgment in this particular case at all…
Mr. McLeod: No.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We are interested solely in the quest ion of whether or not there should be a constitutional provision which would ensure that redistribution which occurs within provinces should take place according to a certain plan. But if you have additional material to present to us which will illustrate this point we will certainly be prepared to receive it.
Mr. Forrestall: Mr. Chairman, there are a couple of questions I would like to ask Dr. Forsey with regard to the practicality of an application to the Minister of Justice—and Perhaps I can do that later on, but I wonder if I might ask the witness how long this present Act has been in effect.
Mr. McLeod: Well, there was…
Mr. Forrestall: Let me put it another way. Was the last provincial election run on the basis of the Redistribution Act that is now in force?
Mr. McLeod: No, there were some changes before the last election; in 1964 I believe.
Mr. Forrestall: Was it a substantial number?
Mr. McLeod: We heard a lot of complaining but I do not think it was very much, only a few seats. I do not think it was too bad. But this year it is…
Mr. Forrestall: I was curious whether or not the people themselves had an opportunity to comment on the blatant disregard for rights you have described to us.
Mr. McLeod: I will tell you what the trouble is. I would say this, if the former government did this, this monopoly of the news media, the people would be well informed about it.
Mr. Forrestall: You are suggesting they are not informed.
Mr. McLeod: They are not informed. Our newspapers, our radio and our T.V. do not attack anything this government does. This is what is very maddening and I hope Senator Keith Davey does do something about this monopoly, because…
Mr. Gibson: They are too busy attacking us.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): There are several comments from the floor. Would you come up to the microphone at the end of this table, please and give your name.
Mr. Brockelbank (Regina): John H. Brockelbank, Regina. The information asked by the member here, the Act was passed by the legislature, comes into effect on proclamation. The old constituencies are still in effect and the members represent those seats, but just before the next election this new Act will be proclaimed and that will be the first time it will be in effect. I want to ask Senator Forsey one question, please. I would like the privilege of doing it because I will not have the chance to ask h.im th.ls again.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I am prepared to allow this.
Mr. Brockelbank: What about time limit on applying for disallowance? That is the situation with regard to this Act but if an act is in force for a certain time, is the power of disallowance still there?
Senator Forsey: The power of disallowance can be used any time within 12 months from the day on which the authentic copy of the Act is received by the Governor General in Ottawa. The Lieutenant Governor is supposed to forward copies of the Act with all convenient speed to the Governor General, and the period of one year runs from the day on which the Act is received by the Gover-
nor General. Any time within that year it is possible for the Government of Canada to disallow the Act. Sometimes the power has been used obliquely as it were. Word has been sent to the provincial government, sometimes by telegram, “Assurance required that Act will be amended or repealed before date of disallowance otherwise power of dis allowance will be exercised.” This has sometimes been very effective. I strongly suspect it was effective in a case as recently as 1948.
Mr. Brockelbank: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): There is another comment from the floor. Would you come up, please?
Mr. Bailey (Regina): The gentleman preceding me has pretty well answered my question.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): May I have your name please.
Mr. Bailey: Bailey, L. F. Bailey.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): L. F. Bailey.
Mr. Bailey: This Act not being in force until it is proclaimed, well, then if you had the year of disallowance beyond that you would have the election and have another government in power before you could disallow it.
Senator Forsey: The Act is supposed to be sent to Ottawa with all convenient speed—it took one Lieutenant Governor of Quebec three months to do that—but then the period runs from that date. I do not think the date on which the Act may be proclaimed is relevant. I think the point is, it has been passed. It has received Royal Assent, therefore it is on the statute books and it can be disallowed within one year of the receipt of the authentic copy at Ottawa.
Mr. Bailey: But if they proclaim the Act and call an election within 30 days, where are you?
Senator Forsey: Then you could ask for immediate action by the government at Ottawa and simply say, “You have to do it fast, otherwise it will be too late”.
Mr. Bailey: That brought the point out anyway. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Fergusson and gentlemen, I would like to thank Mr. McLeod on your behalf.
Mr. McLeod: Thank you, gentlemen and ladies.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): In addition to M. Rottiers we have the Hon Darrel Heald, the Attorney General, who will be appearing shortly, and we have Miss Tutt and Mr. Keyes, and Mr. Dunbar for the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association if he appears. In any event we have Mr. Dunbar’s written text which would be appended to our minutes.
We will now hear a brief by Mr. Rottiers, who speaks in his own name.
Mr. René Rottiers (Director of the Secretariat, Franco-Canadian Association of Saskatchewan): Mr. Chairman. Mrs. Fergusson, Honourable members of the Senate and the House of Commons,
I wish to make two statements. First, I regret to have been unable to prepare an English translation of my brief. And my second statement will be that I still have some difficulties in mastering the English language. For these two reasons I would like to make my presentation in French only.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rene Rottiers. I am 45 years old and a permanent employee as director of Le Secrétariat de l’Association culturelle franco-canadienne de la Saskatchewan in Regina. I am a new Canadian of Belgian origin and my language and culture is French. I immigrated in Canada in 1956 and acquired citizenship in 1962.
What I would like to tell today to the honorable members of the Special Committee on Constitution, I say it is strictly on my own behalf and without engaging in any way the Association for which I am working, even if what I say in certain respect is directly in accordance with my duties.
My intervention on the Constitution will be mainly at the level of the rights which I feel should be acknowledged in respect with the French language across Canada.
It is well known that section 133 of the BNA Act guarantees French as an official language as well as English, at least for Quebec. It guarantees this right also to the Parliament of Quebec, to the House of Commons, to the Exchequer Court and to the Supreme Court.
However, Section 133 is restrictive on the point of language where Saskatchewan is concerned as well as other provinces also in the West. Indeed, the good intentions of the Fathers of Confederation when they draughted [sic] the Act would not expressed faithfully enough nor specifically enough in the terms they used. In my opinion, the Constitution should therefore be either redrafted or replaced, so as to unquestionably guarantee a statute of official language to French and to English at the level or the public services, whether federal or provincial, wherever there exists a sufficient number of English or French speaking people. Surely, wherever a French or English speaking community is strong enough to have made its own social and cultural structure, it deserves the formal recognition of its language whether by federal or provincial authorities.
In spite of the fantastic progress achieved by the present federal government when it comes to promoting bilingualism and biculturalism, much remains to be done especially at certain administrative levels.
To illustrate my thought allow me to bring my evidence on the following points: about official languages.
I should first mention that the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada, maybe the most obvious example of what seems to me systematic boycott by a federal minister to the policy of promoting bilingualism.
It is well known here that the members of the RCMP hired by the Western Provinces can neither understand nor speak French except in very few cases. It is well known also here in Regina, which is the training center for the RCMP, that the knowledge of French is not required for the English speaking recruits when they are hired or during their training. Furthermore, the documents used by the RCMP in Saskatchewan, and I mean
summons and warrants of arrest, are exclusively in English although they are issued on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen who is the Sovereign of our bilingual country.
It is clearly indicated in page 1210 of the Canada Year Book of 1968, that:
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police enforces federal statutes in all parts of Canada.
This term of reference seems to supersede, according to a contract, the enforcement of provincial legislation outside Quebec and Ontario. This means, according to me, the “de facto” obligation for members of this police corps to know both official languages of the country.
I will chaw a second example from the Department of Post and Telecommunications. A letter had been addressed by my office to a correspondent in Newfoundland. It was returned to our secretariat with the mention “for better direction” because the employees responsible for sorting out the mail at the Central Post once in Saskatchewan’s capital, did not know the meaning of “Terre-Neuve” which is the name of one of the five Canadian provinces, the name of which has a different spelling in French than in English. I think the knowledge of those five names would be appropriate and should be considered by the postal employees at their next strike…
This letter was refused once more by the post office, because I did not agree to replace “Terre-Neuve” and substitute “Newfoundland” for it.
On another occasion, a telegram from France, which was drafted in French, took five days to travel from Regina to Bellegarde, which is 150 miles from Regina. The addressee complained to the superintendent of the Telecommunications Office in Regina who had nerve enough to advise that person to make arrangements with his correspondent so that in the future, telegrams are written down in English for “better handling“. Mr. Chairman, lady and gentlemen, that is incredible, but true.
Another instance of the narrowness-mindedness of some federal public servants can be drawn from the Department of Citizenship in Regina, which, contrary to my request, filled in my certificate of Canadian citizenship, detailing in English, the date and colour of hair and eyes. These are only details, Mr. Chairman, but I personally refuse to accept them, for with many other similar details, they have been an indirect cause that too many of us have been assimilated by the English melting pot in the Canadian West.
A fourth and last example I would like to produce, and there would be several others, pertains this time, and I do apologize to the Minister, to the provincial Depart-
ment of Justice of Saskatchewan. One of its public servants, a judge, showed discrimination towards me by not answering a letter I wrote to him in French in respect of summons I had received from the RCMP, following violation of the law through high speed driving. The negligence and contempt by the authority concerned resulted in my being arrested.
I would like to express the opinion that the Canadian Constitution should first be repatriated and conceived in such a way as to eradicate any trace of colonialism it contains. I am thinking for example of section 9 of the BNA Act which says that “the government and executive power in Canada will be vested in the Queen”.
I am also referring to the oath of allegiance to the Queen which ls mandatory for new Canadians, for ministers, elected representatives and public servants.
I must say, Mr. Chairman, lady and gentlemen, that I admire and respect the Queen, and that I am also aware that the English Parliament has been at times more sympathetic towards French Canadians than most of our previous federal governments. Such was the case with the Laurier-Greenway cause in Manitoba. But I like to mention the craving for independence which has arisen, for example, in a number of African countries, to express my own aspirations for my new country, Canada, wishing her the courage to disregard some kind of infantile feelings on sentimentalism which still prevail among too many Canadians towards the British Crown, and assert for total independence. It would be an adult gesture of respect and trust towards all Canadians.
I suggest we maintain the oath of allegiance which should be addressed to Canada as such, or to her democratically elected political leaders, and not as if it were a traditional folklore, to a friendly, gracious, charming, and perfectly bilingual sovereign, whom Canadians, less and less recognize as the sovereign of our great and beautiful country.
Public instruction, or education, as it is improperly called, should, in my opinion, be maintained in the Constitution, as a provincial jurisdiction.
The Constitution should however provide that provincial governments should dispense French education from nursery up to high school whenever a sufficient number of families so express the wish. This teaching should take place in the school wherever there is a sufficient number of students, or by other means such as correspondence courses or private courses, in the case of isolated children.
The personal views I have expressed today, Mr. Chairman, lady and gentlemen, especially in regard to the humiliation to which the French language has fallen victim here in Saskatchewan, lead me to the conclusion that I am not a full-fledged citizen in this province no more than I would in most of the other Canadian provinces.
I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to be a witness and to express my feelings, in the hope that it will help your Committee to correct at least some of the defects of the present Canadian Constitution, thus bringing about a more independent, free and united Canada. Thank you, respectfully, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you, Mr. Rottiers. I will briefly summarize in English the principal recommendations which the witness has made.
Firstly he recommends that the Canadian Constitution be repatriated as quickly as possible and secondly, that there be inserted in the constitution an unequivocal guarantee of the official status of both French and English as official languages. His third and fourth recommendations are that Canada proclaim total independence and that the oath of allegiance be changed to make it more specifically Canadian. Fifthly although education should remain under provincial jurisdiction, Mr. Rottiers recommends that the constitution should ensure that the provinces must provide for the teaching in French in localities where there are a sufficient number of French families.
That is a summation of the points which the witness has made. Mr. Gilles Marceau?
Mr. Marceau: Mr. Rottiers, I wish first of all to congratulate you for the extremely interesting brief you have introduced. It should prove most helpful for us to understand many points you have made which, even though relating to particular cases, are of prime interest to us.
In page 2 of your brief, you speak of the “good intentions of the Fathers of Confederation”. I must conclude that you think it was their intention, although it was not explicitly mentioned, to see that French is an official language throughout Canada?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I will just briefly state the question in English. Mr. Marceau asks the witness whether he thinks that the BNA Act was implicitly intended to make French an official language.
Mr. Rottiers: In reply to your question, I must say that in fact I am convinced that the Fathers of Confederation had in mind to guarantee the equality of status between French and English in Canada as it existed then, and in the expectation of other provinces joining Confederation at a later date.
The most typical example I can quote is that the Manitoba Act of 1870 guaranteed the rights of French as well as those of English at the level of the legislative assembly and the courts. It was only in 1896, I guess, that that Act was repealed. But I can state that the Manitoba Act, as it was drawn, reflected the intention of the Fathers of Confederation.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rottiers believes this was the implicit understanding in Confederation agreements and emphasizes the Manitoba Act as an example of the meaning of the Fathers of Confederation since it so shortly followed Confederation.
Mr. Marceau: As a French-speaking Canadian, I wish I could share your point of view and optimism, but unfortunately I have some qualifications regarding your explanations, however sincere they may be.
Mr. Rottiers, in your brief you speak mostly of errors or narrow-mindedness as you said, on the part of some Federal Departments. Can you tell me what is the attitude of provincial public servants in regard to the enforcement of bilingualism?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Marceau asks about the attitude of the provincial governments towards bilingualism.
Mr. Rottiers: I sincerely believe, Mr. Marceau, that we must admit that a very serious progress has been realized towards this end. As an example, I would mention that the provincial Revenue Department here, in Regina, has named a bilingual agent and that the Department of Education has passed laws which are more favorable to French than heretoform [sic].
At the Department of the Secretary of State, we have now in Regina, an English speaking liaison officer and another French speaking one.
I could produce other examples showing that real progress has been made in certain Provincial as well as Federal Departments. However, there are still important shortcomings to wit, those given in my brief, and I refer particularly to the Department of other Solicitor General which is a flagrant case, I believe…
Mr. Marceau: …It is a Federal Department.
- Rottiers: Yes, a Federal Department.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rottiers answers that great progress has been made both provincially and federally, although there still remains considerable steps to be taken.
Mr. Marceau: Are you from Belgium?
Mr. Rottiers: Originally.
Mr. Marceau: I do not know whether you attended our meeting of yesterday. You must have seen that some members of the Committee expressed the opinion that it was illusionary to establish two languages and two cultures throughout Canada. As far as official languages are concerned, there is no problem. This seems to be a concept which is apparently pretty much accepted. But as regards the two cultures, there have been some qualifications and Senator Yuzyk, among others said that he was happy to see the acknowledgement or establishment of more than two cultures and even more than two official languages. Coming yourself from Belgium, do you believe that. you can really become a Canadian
and speak one or the other of the official languages, either French or English and would you feel victimized if your Belgian culture was not upheld in Canada?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Marceau asks about the place of other languages and cultures in Canada.
Mr. Rottiers: Mr. Marceau, I will tell you that I have come to Canada not to continue living in Belgium, but to become a Canadian. I will say however, that when I went to the Canadian Embassy in Brussels with a view to immigrating to Canada, I had been assured by the Embassy that French and English were official languages all over Canada, while stressing, of course, the preponderance of French in Quebec.
I am very sympathetic to every culture and to every language. I am convinced that any of them is a considerable gain for Canadian culture. To be logical with oneself however, one must take into account, togethe1 with the natural rights of every culture, the historic rights of the French and English languages. Whilst favouring some kind of Federal or Provincial measures to develop the various cultures in Canada, priority must be given to French and English. Only when those two will be truly official in every part of Canada, shall we be able to consider helping other cultures to develop in turn.
I am in favor of the suggestion made by the Chairman of our Association yesterday about cultural regions, but I believe that Bill 120 is not being applied as it should be, especially in the West.
I believe that certain Federal and Provincial services should be bilingual, particularly the Department of Justice. I have mentioned an example which aggravated me intensely as I felt victimized in my rights to express myself in my own language before the Court, in Saskatchewan. I expected that the judge could answer by offering me the services of an interpreter. He did not do it but ignored my letter to him and dispatched two Royal Policemen to arrest me. Those instances do not allow me to say that I am a full-fledged citizen.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rottiers believes that there is a lot still to be done with respect to the privileges of the French and that he would give priority to the two culture-two language aspect. He also said that he agreed with the recommendations of Mr. Lalonde last night respecting other cultures and languages.
- Marceau: After this question, Mr. Rottiers, I must say, to avoid any misunderstanding here, that the point raised by Senator Yusyk appeared to me to be very appropriate. After visiting officially part of western Canada, I realized that bi-culturalism was not easily accepted because there were other cultures which were part of the national life and deserved to be accepted and
encouraged. I did not wish to leave this impression that I do not recognize that fact, but I was probably asking a difficult question. Being Belgian youself [sic], I wanted to know your reaction towards other cultures.
Let me ask you a question, M. Rottiers. What do people in the West, think of a new Constitution? Do they think it is neccessary [sic] and useful or is it a waste of time to draft a new Constitution. What do the people of Saskatchewan think of it?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Marceau asks what is the attitude of the people of Saskatchewan towards a new constitution.
Mr. Rottiers: I believe that the people of Saskatchewan, if they are English speaking, feel a lesser need for altering or drawing a Constitution than the French speaking citizens, because their rights are being protected and guaranteed by the Constitution, which is not the case for the French speaking people of the province, at least as far as official languages are concerned.
- Marceau: Are the amendments which the French speaking population require limited only to languages? Your brief deals only with this aspect. Is it the only issue, or are there other essential fundamental rights to be inserted more clearly in the Constitution?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rottiers answered that English-speaking people are, by and large, much less interested in constitutional reform than are French-speaking people.
Mr. Marceau now asks if the French, particularly of Saskatchewan, are primarily interested in constitutional change with regard to language rights or would they like to see constitutional changes in respect to other things.
Mr. Rottiers: Mr. Marceau, I believe that the question of the official languages is not the only issue concerning the French speaking population of Saskatchewan.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rottiers answers that naturally the French-speaking people, in order to avoid assimilation, are particularly concerned about problems of language education but he points to the fact that in his brief he mentioned quite a number of other things, especially the desirability of repatriating the Canadian constitution.
As far as I am concerned, I think that this is the problem that they have been worrying about all the time and which has always been the most direct cause of the assimilation with respect to the teaching language in school.
At any rate, I have noted in my brief some points, notably that which is related to a recourse to a foreign Parliament to modify the present Constitution, for instance, as one of those points which, according to me,
should be modified in the new Constitution. I find it illogical, indeed ridiculous that we should have to go to a foreign Parliament to modify our own laws, our own Constitution. Personally, this is one of the points that I had to underline in my brief.
Both Mr. Rottiers and Mr. Marceau have just spoken warmly of the English people. I take it that you mean the English people from England?
Mr. Marceau: Yes.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): And the generosity with which they very often treated the French people, and they said that their desire to break the remaining ties with Britain was not due to any antipathy toward the British but due to the feeling that this is the way in which Canada can become more fully Canadian. Mr. Rottiers said that he believes this is not a feeling which is exclusively French but is shared by the people of Saskatchewan generally.
Mr. Marceau: I have two more questions to ask, Mr. Chairman.
When you speak of the repatriation of our Constitution which seems to be a desire manifested by the French-speaking people, is this same desire also found among the English-speaking people? In other words, is this an exclusive preoccupation of the French-speaking group?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): In a new constitution should the balance of power be more provincial, more federal, or what?
Mr. Rottiers: No, I believe, mister Marceau, that this sentiment is not exclusive to the French-speaking of Saskatchewan. It is in my estimation shared also by a wide proportion of the population. I think that more and more there is evidence of this desire to live in one’s place, to fly with one’s own wings all the time keeping the best ties of friendship with other countries like the United Kingdom. Nobody, in my estimation, has anything to say against England, least of all the French-speaking people.
I have mentioned that in the part the British Parliament has showed itself much more generous and much more sympathetic towards the French-Canadians then most preceed.ng federal governments. This is to say that I am in favour of upholding those ties of close friendship which very narrowly t.es us to the British government.
Mr. Marceau: I think that this precision that you have just brought allows us to realize that the English-speaking and the French-speaking in Saskatchewan are getting along pretty well about most important issues. I believe that the precisions that you have brought on this matter to which there is no question to have antipathy towards the English is a notably remarkable factor, for those who know the English-speaking know that they are people who are extremely charming, competent diplomats and men who deserve respect. There is no question of organizing a drive against them. It is a question as you have well put it to be wholly Canadian.
Mr. Rottiers: I am fully in agreement with what you have just said.
Mr. Marceau: With respect to this distribution of powers according to this new Constitution, how do you see it? Do you think that we should lean towards the federal or towards the provincial or do you believe that we should reach a happy medium between the two? In other words do you wish a central power more powerful or less powerful with respect to the provincial?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rottiers sees Francophones in provinces outside Quebec more protected by strong federal power and he would like to see the constitutional balance asserted in that direction.
Mr. Rottiers: I do not hesitate to answer, right away, Mister Marceau, that if we wish to insure Canadian unity, if we want French-canadian communities to develop and grow where they are, doubtless central government must be granted more power.
Mr. Marceau: Don’t you think that this statement is a little bit on the radical side? Don’t you believe that in this way you are compromising, in some respect, the rights of French speaking Canadians? Don’t you think that the rights of the French-Canadians would be more protected if more powers were granted to provinces who in turn might use them to the advantage of their inhabitants?
Mr. Rottiers: No, Mister Marceau. I am convinced that if the powers attributed to the provinces are not controlled by a strong central power which will ensure respect of the Constitution, well then, our future as french-speaking people is dangerously compromised and ipso facto the unity of Canada is also compromised.
Mr. Marceau: Mister Chairman, one last question please. In a new Constitution, where do you see the stand of the province of Quebec, you, French-speaking people of Saskatchewan? Do you see it different from what it is in other provinces? Do you recognize in the province of Quebec a special vocation, a sort of special status or special condition whatever you may call it? For you, French-speaking people of Saskatchewan, is Quebec something that must be different? Is it a leverage too another province, or in a sense, a province different because of its population?
Second question: Do you believe that the relations between the people of Saskatchewan, French-speaking and English-Speaking, and the people of Quebec, are sufficient?
Do you believe that the relations which exists are profitable? Could they be improved?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. McGuigan): Mr. Marceau asks if the Province of Quebec should have a special role with respect to Francophones across the country. On the other hand, he asks whether the relations are now close enough between the people of Saskatchewan and the people of Quebec.
Mr. Rottiers: Mister Marceau, to your first question I will answer that without the help of the minority
French-speaking groups there would not be at this moment any French-speaking minority in the West.
Not only in our mind is Quebec the help but it is also the source of inspiration of our struggles and I believe that we should recognize Quebec as being the champion of this Canadian French-speaking fact for all the dissiminated [sic] groups of French-speaking persons in Canada. This is the reason why I would say that we should recognize this special vocation of the province of Quebec.
With respect to the relations between the people of Saskatchewan and Quebec, I think that we can say that there has been much improvement, especially since Expo 67 which was a great opportunity to encourage visits, contacts, meetings, which, in turn, stirred a better understanding, a better knowledge. Notably, I would like to mention that the improvement in those relations between French and English speaking people of Saskatchewan and those of Quebec is greatly encouraged presently by the federal policy of exchange visits. This is a most important point that must be underlined. Those exchange visits are relatively new and already we can see the results that they have brought with respect to mutual understanding spurred between the young, and, possibly more important than between the old. I want to thank and congratulate the federal government for this outstanding effort which other countries, the U.S. for instance look upon with envy.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I must say that I do not quite know how to sum up those last two comments, so with your indulgence I will forego a laborious translation. However, I would like to say to the people present that this is apparently the first time that a parliamentary committee has gone around the country in this fashion hearing the people, and Parliament has not been quite prepared for it. I think we have now won agreement from the parliamentary authorities to make the translation, which is available to the com1nittee members here through these aids, available to the people as well. Unfortunately the equipment has not yet been obtained, but in our later travels throughout the country we hope to establish this and in future we hope that all parliamentary committee will be so equipped.
We must press on, gentlemen, but there are two other members whom I will allow to ask questions of Mr. Rottiers; Mr. Allmand and Mr. Gibson. Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Allmand: Mister Rottiers, do you know that the federal Parliament has adopted the Official Languages Act and that from now on we are in the course of establishing the machinery provided for by the Act? Did you write to Mr. Spicer or to Mr. Pelletier, the Secretary of State, about those specific complaints that you make in your brief? I was surprised by your grievances. Did you write to Mr. Spicer or to Mr. Pelletier to this effect?
Mr. Rottiers: I did not write to Mr. Spicer. However I have written some letters to this effect to some persons, namely to the Solicitor General and the Minister of Justice.
Mr. Allmand: It is not the proper person.
Mr. Rottiers: Perhaps. I realize that I erred but I can assure you that I will send a copy of this brief to Mr. Spicer with all pertinent informations and also additional details that he may wish to request from me.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. McGuigan): Mr. Allmand is asking the witness what contact he has had with federal government officials and they have been discussing some of the various people that Mr. Rottiers might be writing to.
Mr. Allmand: I would suggest you send a brief to Mr. Spicer and Mr. Pelletier, the Secretary of State, who is responsible for the application of this Act. Thank you, Mr. Chairman
Mr. Rottiers: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you Mr. Allmand. Mister Gibson.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Rottiers, I have appreciated your presentation very much. My first question is: Do you have the impression that the children of Saskatchewan want to speak French?
Mr. Rottiers: Sir, I will answer you that in the actual context, it is difficult to expect that the children will spontaneously speak French or even that they will express the desire of doing so. I am however convinced that in many cases, the young French-speaking people of Saskatchewan are interested in the French language and they know this French language much more than we would suspect generally. And it is precisely at the occasion of exchange-visits that we realized their return to a French culture. All of a sudden they are proud to realize that they are young French-Canadians and that they do belong to a French-Canadian culture in the midst of an English culture.
Mr. Gibson: Do you find it hard to hire professors of French in Saskatchewan?
Mr. Rottiers: Of course we have some difficulty in this matter because there arc not enough of them. But I can tell you that two years ago as a Secretary of the Cultural association I have launched a publicity drive in Eastern Canada, in Ontario as well as in Quebec and in the Maritimes, to recruit bilingual professors interested in teaching French in the West and I have received 258 applications.
Mr. Gibson: In my estimation, this is the best way to develop this Canadian spirit. Do you have television programs or radio programs in Saskatchewan for students?
Mr. Rottiers: Not yet. The educational TV or university TV does not exist yet. We only have within CBC two short regular programs on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Mr. Gibson: This is a good idea isn’t it?
Mr. Rottiers: Definitely.
Mr. Gibson: Thank you, sir.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Any questions from the floor? If not, thank you Mr. Rottiers for your presentation.
Mr. Rottiers: Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I now invite the Hon. Darrel Heald to come forward. Ladies and gentlemen, the Committee is pleased to have as its next witness the Hon. Darrel Heald, Attorney General of the Province of Saskatchewan, who will speak on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan.
Hon. D. V. Heald, Q.C., (Attorney General of Saskatchewan): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee. First of all, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan may I take this opportunity of welcoming you and all the members of your Committee as well as your staff to the Province of Saskatchewan.
I think you should be congratulated on the procedure that you are following. I think, it is a terrific idea to have a parliamentary committee go across the country to give the public a chance to participate in these very, very important deliberations, which will be ongoing for a long time. I think it is setting a great precedent and I hope that the Parliament of Canada sees fit to continue this procedure of what I consider to be participatory democracy.
Mr. Chairman, I have a brief with me that I would like to read, if I may, but I will not go through it all. We have summarized the propositions that the Government of Saskatchewan has presented to the various constitutional conferences, but I would like to read the rest of it, if I may.
The various constitutional conferences that have been held dur ng the last couple of years have indicated the very wide extent of the problems that will have to be solved if an entirely new constitution is to be agreed upon. Saskatchewan, of course, is fully prepared to continue with the review of the constitution which is being carried out by the conference of first ministers and the continuing committee of officials. I have with me the Deputy Attorney General, who represents Saskatchewan on the continuing committee of official, Mr. Roy Meldrum. The conferences to elate have indicated that there are very few areas in which the federal government and the provincial governments agree on how the various sections of the constitution should be worded. Saskatchewan is not in any way opposed to modernizing the Canadian constitution, but recognizing the difficulties being encountered in obtaining agreement of many of the topics discussed to date we believe that high priority should be given to certain amendments to the present constitution because we do not think we are going to be in a position to entirely agree on a new constitution for a long time.
We think consideration should be given to amendments permitting the provinces to impose indirect taxes on sales at the retail level. That is one example. We also think there should be express provision for the delegation of powers by the federal government to the provinces or from the provinces to the federal government. This is the
technique that was mooted in the Fulton-Favreau amending formula—delegation up or delegation down.
We think another area, which I am sure is a crisis area as far as everybody is concerned and wherein it is probably necessary to amend the constitution, now is in respect of the matter of pollution, and I want to talk about this a little later in more detail.
Saskatchewan has always favoured the early repatriation of the constitution so that constitutional amendments can be made in Canada without reference to the British parliament. We recommend that the amending formula be considered along with certain interim amendments such as those that I have indicated.
I think there was a breakthrough, Mr. Chairman, at the last conference of first ministers because there was agreement on the part of all first ministers at the table to consider the amending formula along with certain interim amendments. This was a breakthrough because before that the first ministers from Quebec had not agreed to consider the amending formula until they bad first discussed in great detail and arrived at a consensus, the distribution of powers, £or example, and this type of thing.
I think the result of the conferences to date would appear to confirm our view that we should build on the present constitution rather than attempt to draft an entirely new constitution. We think it vital that Canadians involve themselves in dialogue and discussion on these matters. The changes in our constitution are going to set the pattern of life in Canada for decades to come, so I think it is important that Canadians in and out of government should become involved in this most important of exercises.
Back in 1964 and 1965 the governments of Canada were very close to unanimous agreement on an amend ng formula. The Fulton-Favreau formula was accepted by the Government of Canada and the governments of the ten provinces at the conference in 1964 finally agreed on it in Ottawa on October 14, 1964.
However, it became an issue in a later Quebec provincial election. The government which had agreed to the Fulton-Favreau formula was defeated—that was the Lesage government—and the new government rejected it flatly, so the Fulton-Favreau formula was dead.
Saskatchewan still believes that that formula is a workable one, providing, as it did, for the technique of delegation of powers either by a number of provinces up to the Federal Government or by the Federal Government of their powers down to a number of consenting provinces. We would like to see any new constitution utilize this technique of delegation of powers. I can see, for example, the four Western Provinces delegating their powers in several areas to Canada, for example Securities legislation or, in the field of Natural Products, marketing. We have a chicken-and-egg war on now. This is an area where I believe that there could be a consensus reached so far as three or four or five provinces are concerned and there could be delegation up to the federal power. I have mentioned securities. Surely it makes sense to have uniform securities rules, regulations and laws across this country. In a number of other areas, in the field of investment companies, trust companies and this type of thing, there should be uniform legislation, and I
believe we could agree on delegation up to the federal power. We also would like to see less entrenchment of powers than was present in the Fulton-Favreau formula. We think this would make for more flexibility to meet changing conditions.
I want to talk for a few minutes about fundamental human rights. I represent my Province on the Ministerial Committee studying the Constitutional Bill of Rights. Most provinces, not all, agree on the entrenchment in the Constitution of basic fundamental human rights. These also are referred to as fundamental political rights and bas always been considered as including freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of expression (including the freedom of speech and of the press), freedom of assembly and association, and the right to freely held elections at maximum intervals. Now it generally has been agreed by all Governments that the Constitution should guarantee the right of freely held elections at maximum intervals of five years at both the Federal and Provincial levels.
With respect to the other three fundamental political rights, the acceptance thereof will likely depend upon the development of acceptable definitions of their substance and limits, and to a satisfactory amending formula being developed. A subcommittee has been set up to draft the actual wording of these rights for consideration of the Minister’s Committee. Now there is some agreement and a consensus there, but there is sharp disagreement when you move to consideration of what are usually referred to as legal rights and whether they should be embedded or entrenched in the Constitution. I would like to summarize the legal rights because I am not sure it is generally understood completely what we mean when we talk about legal rights.
The legal rights that we are talking about in these discussions in Ottawa are: (l) The right of the individual to life and the liberty and security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law.
(2) The right of the individual to the enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except according to law.
(3) The right of the individual to the equal protection of the law.
(4) The right of the individual to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.
(5) The right of a person who has been arrested or detained, first of all, to be informed properly of the reason for his arrest or detention, secondly, to retain and instruct counsel without delay and, thirdly, to the remedy by way of habeas corpus for the determination of the validity of his detention and for his release if the detention is not lawful.
(6) The right of a person not to give evidence before any court, tribunal, commission, board or other authority if he is denied counsel, protection against self-crimination, or other constitutional safeguards.
(7) The right of a person to a fair hearing in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his rights and obligations, the right of a person charged with an offence to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a fair hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, and the right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.
(8) The right of a person to the assistance of an interpreter in any proceedings in which he is involved as a party or witness before a court, commission, board or other tribunal, if he does not understand or speak the language in which such proceedings are conducted.
(9) The right of a person not to be held guilty of an offence on account of any act or omission which at the time of its commission or omission did not constitute an offence, and the right of a person on being found guilty of an offence not to be subjected to a penalty heavier than the one applicable at the time the offence was committed.
(10) The right of a person not to be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Now those opposing the entrenchment of legal rights point out that such entrenchment is alien to the principle of the supremacy of Parliament. They consider that in the parliamentary system the rights of the people are in their own hands and it is their elected representative in the legislatures and parliaments who have the prime responsibility for the protection of their rights. The effect of entrenchments would be to transfer the burden of this responsibility to the courts. It is also suggested that entrenchment would freeze rights at a fixed point, decreasing flexibility and making it difficult to adapt to changing conditions. They point out that the Canadian system has worked well without entrenchment and it has not been proven to their satisfaction that the citizens in countries with entrenched rights have greater freedom than those in countries without entrenchment of rights. It was pointed out by one Attorney General, Mr. Chairman, when this was being discussed, that the country with the most impressive Bill of Rights was one of the Iron Curtain countries, that the codification of the Rights was very impressive but, in fact, it did not work out that way. They consider that the entrenchment of certain rights would have the effect of transferring policy decision-making with respect to fundamental rights out of the hands of the legislatures and into the courts, where Judges could impose their personal values and be expected to rule on complex social issues without adequate investigative tools at their disposal. The American process of judicial review would be substituted for the present Canadian system. These critics of entrenchment fear that entrenchment would result in the importation of the weaknesses which are regarded as inherent in the American system of judicial review.
Many consider that some of the provisions in the United States constitution, which arc similar to some of the proposals here, have made it very difficult to enforce the criminal law in the United States. The situation has become more difficult as a result of a number of fairly recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court giving entirely new interpretations to certain provisions of their constitution. For example, in one case it was shown that a policeman—it was an American case—stopped an accused person leaving an apartment building with a pillow slip full of furs and other valuable articles and on checking the apartment building it was found that a breaking, entry and theft of the articles had taken place. The court held, however, that the policeman had no right to stop and search the accused as he did not then know that a theft had taken place. The court held that the fact that the accused was found leaving the apartment building with the stolen articles could not be
received in evidence. As a result the prosecution of this man for the offence of breaking and entry and theft failed because of lack of evidence. There also would be the danger that constitutional objections could be raised as a delaying tactic in cases brought before the courts.
Another example of the difficulties arising under the United States constitution occurred a number of years ago when the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated a New York law restricting the hours of work in a bakery to 60 hours a week, or an average of 10 hours a day, on the ground that it was an illegal interference with the rights of individuals for both employers and employees to make contracts and was, therefor, unconstitutional. You see how out of date that was. Many other examples can be cited where labour legislation has been held to be unconstitutional in the United States for similar reasons. While the courts finally changed their view and upheld similar labour legislation, it did delay the enactment of such legislation for a great many years. The point I am making here, Mr. Chairman, is that we looked carefully at the entrenchment of these kind of rights because it might do the reverse of what we want it to do, as was the case with these two American cases that I have cited.
Mr. Chairman, the Government of Saskatchewan favours a strong and effective central government with the jurisdiction, powers and authority necessary to achieve national strength and unity.
The central government must have adequate economic and fiscal powers to ensure stable economic growth, cope with unemployment, combat inflation and deflation, and promote equalization of opportunity in the various provinces and areas of the nation.
We believe Canada should continue to be a Federal State. We emphatically approve of the continuation of the monarchy, for the foreseeable future at least. The time may come when Canadians will choose to abolish this institution, but we do not think that that time has arrived. Surely at a time when Confederation is already under every conceivable stress and strain, we should not further divide our people over a matter about which many, many Canadians feel very strongly. We believe the Constitution should provide that all provinces should operate under the Parliamentary System, and have the same status and powers. We contend that the Parliament of Canada should not have the power to make special arrangements with any province in respect of federal programs. These programs, by their nature, are applicable across the nation. Special arrangements should only come about with the unanimous consent of all provinces.
Saskatchewan would favour some kind of Senate Reform. It is our opinion that representation in the Senate should more adequately reflect the population of the regions and provinces of Canada. As you know, there is a federal-provincial committee that has had several meetings on the Senate. There have not been any lately. But in a general way we would be in favour of Senate Reform to more adequately reflect the regional character of Canada.
We believe the Constitution should recognize the primacy of the Federal Government in international affairs and in all negotiations involving foreign governments.
We agree that the Supreme Court of Canada should continue to be the final Court of Appeal in all matters,
including those involving the Constitution. Moreover, the court should continue to be bound by precedent. And, again, there is a federal-provincial committee—a Minister’s Committee—dealing with the Supreme Court, and there certainly is not full consensus at all on this. There has been an interesting exchange of views on the composition of the Supreme Court and what it should be. But these are our views.
Saskatchewan feels that the Federal Government should have an overriding power to prevent pollution of all kinds, even within provincial boundaries, in order to prevent one province passing less stringent regulations in order to attract industry, or to exempt individual industries for the same reasons. The Federal Government must also have the power to deal with pollution of our oceans and with pollution which affects cow1tries outside Canada. The Great Lakes are an example of a case where Canada and the United States must co-operate in order to deal with pollution in the Great Lakes. Present reports indicate that Erie and St. Clair have been very seriously polluted.
Saskatchewan agrees that the matter of environmental management is a very complex problem and that the present constitution, insofar as the provinces are concerned, leaves it to be dealt with under “property and civil rights” perhaps, “local works and undertakings” perhaps, or as “matters of a local nature” perhaps, but it is not clear. It would appear desirable that the provinces be given express jurisdiction with respect to environmental management in its broadest sense. At the same time Saskatchewan feels that the Federal Government should be given a similar express power, with the provision that the provincial law shall have effect in and for the province and as long and as far only as it is not repugnant to any Act of the Parliament of Canada. Consideration should perhaps be given to the question as to whether the power given to the Federal Government should be limited to the extent that where a provincial law is less permissive than a Federal law with respect to environmental management and pollution, the provincial law shall be paramount. The purpose of such a provision would be to prevent the Federal Government electing to allow a particular industrial plant to locate in a province and discharge its waste without adequate treatment against the wishes of the government of that Province. Opinions have been expressed that the courts would likely uphold Federal legislation dealing with the subject under the general power given in 91 “to make Laws for the Peace, Order and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within t he Classes of Subjects assigned exclusively to the Provinces.” However, this matter has not been dealt w:th in the courts and it is difficult in light of the cases which have been determined under the above general power to decide whether the courts would find in favour of the general power in the Dominion. As I have indicated, Saskatchewan feels that there is sufficient uncertainty in the result that consideration should be given to specific powers being given to the Province and the Federal Government with the limitations that I have suggested. In view of the fact that in many cases the cost to a factory of preventing t he discharge of substances which cause pollution may be very high, it becomes increasingly important that any legislation dealing with pollution not be questioned
on the grounds that it is not constitutionally valid. So there are pretty impelling reasons why this constitutional no-man’s-land, if it is a constitutional no-man’s-land—and we think it probably is—should be clarified at the earliest possible date.
Mr. Chairman, those are our submissions this morning. As I say; I have repeated in the Brief the propositions that the Government of Saskatchewan have submitted to the Conferences of First Ministers, and I do not think I will repeat them now.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We will append them, however, to your testimony this morning as an appendix.
Thank you very much, Mr. Heald. This has been a very useful presentation for the Committee.
I have quite a number of members who want to ask questions: Mr. McQuaid, Senator Forsey, Mr. Brewin, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Forrestall, Mr. Hogarth, Mr. McQuaid.
Mr. McQuaid: Mr. Chairman, first of all I would like to congratulate the governme11t for presenting this brief. I believe that this is the first brief that has been presented to us by any government since we began to sit.
Last night, Mr. Heald, I believe the Chamber of Commerce here in Regina told us that the need for constitutional reform today is much more imaginary than real. I would judge from your brief that you do not go along entirely with that. But, quite frankly, I would like to know from you just how high on your list of priorities is this matter of Constitutional Reform?
Mr. Heald: Well, Mr. McQuaid, our government does not put the need for a completely new constitution very high. I think our Premier has said many times, and been quoted across the country, that if we had a thousand problems in Saskatchewan the one thousand and first would be the Constitution. When he says that he means a completely new constitution.
But I would put fairly high some amendments to the Constitution. In the brief we tried to indicate some of the areas that we think are quite crucial. We think that this whole area of pollution has to be cleared away. we think, for example, the area of natural products marketing has to be cleared away. We are in an awful mess now with this chicken-and-egg war, which is a very serious situation. When people express the view that the Constitution should have a low priority, it is on the basis that maybe some times they have difficulty relating the Constitution to everyday problems. But if you take an everyday problem in a province and say “now if the constitutional situation were changed we would not have this problem” then they begin to see it. You can relate it to a problem that we have. I think, for example, of provincial legislation that we passed in this province. I will give you one example. We passed as the Direct Sellers Act about four years ago in this province dealing with door-to-door salesmen of goods. We were having real problems with people going door-to-door and selling goods and then not producing and making misrepresentations. The goods would not show up when they were supposed to. We passed an Act providing for a four-day cooling-off period. We were the first province to do so. We passed an Act providing for licensing and bonding of our salesmen. That act is working very well. But there is one flaw in it. The flaw is that people on our borders, in Alberta and
Manitoba, who up until now have not had as tough a law, come in and they are not licensed and bonded. We are trying to work out reciprocal legislation. I feel that this is an area where there should be a technique of delegation. There should be an opportunity for three or four provinces to go to the Federal Government and say “we would like you to pass federal legislation which would affect the consenting provinces”. If we had that then you would not have these imaginary borders and the case I gave of salesman coming across from Manitoba or Alberta and thwarting our laws. Now when you relate is that was I think is important, but from the point of view of a completely new constitution I think perhaps the Chamber of Commerce might be reasonably accurate. But, certainly we put some amendments high. Pollution is another one.
Mr. McQuaid: I also was interested in your observations about the amending formula but I was rather disappointed that you did not give us some indication of what you thought a proper amending formula might be. Now we have had various suggestions by various organizations as to how the amending formula should be worked out, ratification for example of two-thirds of the provinces regardless of size; two-thirds majority in Parliament plus the approval of at least one-half of the provinces, and so on. Would you have any suggestions for our guidance as to what a satisfactory amending formula might be?
Mr. Heald: Well, Mr. McQuaid, we still think the Fulton-Favreau formula will work. We know that it is a dirty word in Quebec. But we think something along those lines, providing for the technique of delegation, would be the kind that would work. We are just now going back to the table on this, the Federal Government and the Provinces, and I do not think that I should be any more specific than that. We would favour something along the lines of the Fulton-Favreau formula.
Mr. McQuaid: Do you think, Mr. Heald, that any one province should have the power to veto amendments if it just does not fit into their scheme of thinking?
Mr. Heald: No, they should not have.
Mr. McQuaid: On page 15, Mr. Heald, in your brief you say: “We contend that the Parliament of Canada should not have the power to make special arrangements with any province in respect of federal programs.” Do I interpret this as your opposition to cost-sharing programs?
Mr. Heald: No, it is opposition to special status. We do not favour special status for any province.
Mr. McQuaid: But you would agree that the responsibilities of each level of government should be commensurate with the resources open to that level of government. For example, the responsibilities of the provinces in matters of education and highways and health and welfare-they are definitely provincial responsibilities. In many case-and I am thinking of my own province in particular-the financial resources we possess are not adequate to carry these on. I do not interpret your thinking as being opposed to help in…
Mr. Heald: No. We are against special status.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Forsey.
Senator Forsey: I cannot quite see why you think these special arrangements of the kind which Mr. McQuaid was just mentioning involve special status, which I think involves particular constitutional powers for a particular province. The shared-cost programs and opting out and all that seem to me to be a lot of different things than special status. I merely make that comment.
I notice on that same page you say that you think all the provinces should operate under the parliamentary system. In other words, you are not in favour of leaving the present Section 92(1) as it stands because that would allow for something very close to a presidential system, except for the office of Lieutenant Governor. The honourable George Brown, one of the Fathers of Confederation—people sometimes forget this—did not want a parliamentary system for the province of Ontario. He wanted something more akin to a system of municipal government for the province of Ontario.
I am inclined to think that possibly that particular head of Section 92 may have been put in there to allow for a degree of flexibility. I happen to be strongly in favour of the parliamentary system. I could not be more strongly in favour oi it. On the other hand, I am not sure that we should not leave some leeway for a particular province to adopt a different system if it sees fit, provided that the present limitation on the power to amend the constitution of a province remains.
Mr. Heald: We agree with you that we are in favour of the parliamentary system, and we think it should be spelled out loud and clear in the Constitution.
Senator Forsey: I wonder also, when you say you think all provinces should have the same status and powers, I wonder whether you have noticed some of the bits of special status which are already built into the British North America Act. For instance, the province of Newfoundland, from which I come originally, has a distinctly special status in regard to education. The province of Manitoba had originally a somewhat special status in regard to education. The provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta still have. The province of New Brunswick had a special status in regard to certain timber dues it was entitled to levy. Would you want to smooth out all that?
Mr. Heald: I suppose you might treat those as grandfather rights. I do not suppose you could change that. I did not know until a few months ago that in the province of Newfoundland they deal with what they got when they came into confederation. They had the right to pick and choose which federal statutes they would be bound by in Newfoundland. The Minister of Justice in Newfoundland was reminding us of this at the last constitutional conference.
But, yes. I would have to agree with you. I do not think you could smooth it out. I would not want to see it increase in any new constitution. But I suppose we would have to accept the existing.
Senator Forsey: There is also Section 94, under which all the provinces except Quebec could give up any part or all of their jurisdiction over property and civil rights.
But Quebec has the special status there that she cannot give it up except by an amendment to the Constitution.
I notice that you are in favour of delegation to certain provinces, though you did not apparently think that was a matter of special arrangement.
Mr. Heald: It would not be a matter of special arrangements, Dr. Forsey, if it were in the Constitution and available to everyone.
Senator Forsey: Yes, I see. There is one other thing besides, that I would like to ask. But I think it would come better from a lawyer. I suspect Mr. Brewin is going to raise it. You have something here about Senate reform. I do not have any particular personal interest in that, in spite of what might be supposed.
If you can get a scheme of Senate reform-if the people of this country want to get a vote for abolition of the Senate, I would be perfectly happy. You say it is our opinion that representation in t be Senate should more adequately reflect the population of the regions and provinces of Canada. To me as a Maritimer, in partibus infidelium, that means in practise that the number or the proportion of seals in the Senate allotted to the Atlantic Provinces would be decreased. Do you really think there is any prospect of getting that kind of thing through except over the dead bodies of our people in the Atlantic Provinces?
Mr. Heald: The last proposal that was made to the Committee—of course this represents a little brainwashing we received from British Columbia. The suggestion was that the ntu11ber be increased, and that British Columbia be a new division. There was not all this much opposition from the Maritime representatives, but I think you are probably right. I do not think it will come to pass. In British Columbia they have some good arguments. They think they should be treated as a separate region.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. McGuigan): Senator Fergusson and gentlemen, because of the obvious desire that you have for a full dialogue with Mr. Heald, I have now arranged with the hotel to make this room available to us again this afternoon for a brief meeting. We will hear the other briefs after Mr. Heald this afternoon. We will come back about 1.45 p.m., and we will be able at that time to finish our work here before we have to leave by bus or Yorkton at about 3.00 p.m.
I will now continue with the questioning of Mr. Heald. I have Messrs. Brewin, Gibson, Forrestall, Hogarth and Allmand on my list.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I would like to join with the others in complimenting Mr. Heald and his government on this very comprehensive brief. There is one question I would like to have clarified which I confess I did not understand, both in the written brief and in the subsequent answers to Mr. McQuaid’s question. I understood Mr. Heald to say that first of all he accepted the Fulton-Favreau formula and thought it would be a good basis for operation, and then in the written brief he went on to say:
I would also like to see less entrenchment of powers than was present in the Fulton-Favreau formula…
And then he said he did not feel that one province should have the exclusive right to veto a proposed constitutional change if there was general consensus.
It is my recollection that the great objection to the Fulton-Favreau formula was precisely that, that in certain matters which affected the rights of the provinces, any one of the provincial legislatures was given a sense a right of veto.
I must say that I find it difficult to understand how you approve the Fulton-Favreau formula, and then you do not approve of what I think was to many of us one of its major weaknesses in the formula. That is that you approve of some aspects of the Fulton-Favreau formula, but modified.
Mr. Heald: That is right.
Mr. Brewin: But modified.
Mr. Heald: To start with, we did not like that entrenchment. We did not like that lack of flexibility. But when I said that we approved of it, I probably should have said that we approve of parts of it. We like the delegation technique. We would have liked to have seen the delegation technique tried, but I would agree with you, Mr. Brewin, that the bad part of it was the lack of flexibility.
Mr. Brewin: I am delighted to hear that, because I have always thought that that was the danger.
Mr. Heald: You see, we would have gone further. We would have gone further, and some of the other provinces would have gone further. But at the risk of getting nothing, at the risk of not getting any formula at all, we saw certain parts of the Fulton-Favreau formula that we thought were good. And the one that I mentioned this morning, the technique of delegation, was one that we thought would work.
Mr. Brewin: But as of now, what you approve of is something more flexible than that.
Mr. Heald: Definitely.
Mr. Brewin: Good. There is just one other question that I would like to ask you, and I hope it is not a sensitive subject. But it has been raised here. You say at the foot of page 14, and at the top of page 15:
We believe the Constitution should provide that all provinces should operate under the Parliamentary System,…
I want to ask you whether you perceive that the parliamentary system involved at least some reasonable measure of representation by population, and that a distorted constituency boundary is not a legitimate part of our parliamentary system. Therefore you are saying here, that the Constitution should provide—that you could have, and I am not saying—if or whether you have it here or not, but that you would be in favour of a system which prevents by constitution that sort of thing.
Mr. Heald: I do not think you can do it by the Constitution, Mr. Brewin. I think it is unfortunate—Mr. Blakeney saw fit to make a partisan political attack here last night. This was all debated in the legislature, and I have the debate here. I have only the benefit of what Mr. Blakeney said. It was a partisan political speech.
Mr. Brewin: That should balance it.
Mr. Heald: If you want to hear some partisan political speeches, we will rehash the whole debate. But perhaps I could just refer to one or two things. When the Bill was brought in for second reading, Mr. Steuart, the Provincial Treasurer, made these comments.
I would remind the House, Mr. Speaker, that all city ridings are now single member constituencies, something we tried to get the Socialists to do for many years. I ask Members to keep this in mind when those opposite rise to cry out about their representation as they have been doing in the Press and will no doubt do in the House.
When they were the government, literally thousands of Regina and Saskatoon citizens who did not support the Socialists where in fact disenfranchised. Twenty or thirty thousand people who voted Liberal in both those cities lost their vote, the CCF dumped into one pot and used their overall majority to elect all the Members in all major cities. In spite of the fact that we urged the CCF government year after year to change this, it ignored both our demands and the demands of justice and forced these people to vote in huge blocks for their own benefits.
I would also ask the House to take note of the statement made by Henry Baker, NDP, MLA, and Mayor of Regina on television Tuesday, April 14 to the effect that this redistribution would not hurt the NDP, they would in fact win five out of the seven seats in Regina.
And it goes on like this. We can make political speeches, but the fact remains that this is a political thing, and I do not see how, Mr. Brewin, you can put it in a constitution. A government has to defend any piece of legislation that they put in, and any other government is prepared to do this.
This kind of allegation, I think, does not lie well in the mouths of the New Democratic Party because I would like to go back to some redistributions that they had in this province, which had some very curious results. As a matter of fact, here is a quote from the provincial treasurer of 1951 when they were debating a bill in the House, and Mr. Clarence Fines said this:
We will do whatever we want with the seats, we are the government.
That was a statement by a member of the NDP.
An hon. Member: What happened to u s poor Conservatives here today?
Mr. Heald: Pardon? I wanted to go back to a redistribution they made. This is a political thing, and I do not think you can put it in the Constitution, I really do not. The government of the day has to defend what they do on the basis of representation.
I could go back and give you the reasons why some of these constituencies were changed. Regina and Saskatoon have in effect about 30 per cent of the population of the province. They will still have only about 21 per cent of the members in the House. This is more equitable than it
was before, and you could argue that it is about the proper percentage. You could argue it is the proper percentage because it is reasonable in an agricultural province such as Saskatchewan. The scales have to be tilted to some degree in favour of rural Saskatchewan. Agriculture is still the backbone of our economy, and it is vitally important to maintain a strong rural voice in the legislature. Also, rural constituencies cover greater areas than city ridings, and there should be a limit on their size wherever it is practical.
The other point that was made is that this latest redistribution has been developed for the next election, and not the last one. The opposition were criticizing the difference in the number of voters in various constituencies. Let me point out that they are using figures from the 1967 enumeration, figures that will soon be three years old. They mounted the same attack in 1966. The Leader of the Opposition was complaining because Regina South and some other ridings appeared to have a relatively few number of voters. At that time he was using figures from the 1964 enumeration, figures that were over three years old. He was ignoring the fact that these were among the fastest growing areas of this province.
We think that this redistribution plans ahead, and by election day there should be at least 10,000 voters in one of these constituencies they were complaining about, namely Regina South as being too small a constituency. That is a growing area of the city. And this was the case in the previous redistribution in 1964. An area which had started at about 5,000 grew up to about 10,000, and so on.
You can pick individual constituencies as you always could. But the fact remains that there have been allowances made in these constituencies for growth in particular of the cities involved in the redistribution.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I did not really propose to get into political controversy in this. I was interested in the constitutional aspect.
Mr. Gibson: We want to hear both sides of it. We heard only one side yesterday.
Mr. Brewin: I am politically interested in h earing both sides. I am going to suggest to the witness that if he wants to present any detailed answer to the statements that were made in the brief presented to us by Mr. Blakeney, then I am sure the Committee would be glad to have that detailed, that factual answer. I think they would be interested in that. I certainly would be. But the question I really want to direct to your mind, Mr. Heald, was about why you say that it is not possible within a constitution, or it is not advisable within a constitution, to prevent distortion of the parliamentary system by overloading certain areas with others. I agree with you that the details have to be left to the provincial governments. It is subject to political criticism. But if there ever were substantial distortion, why could that not be dealt with by constitutional rule? It is so in the United States, for example. The Supreme Court of Canada has administered a system there of judicial intervention.
Mr. Heald: Mr. Brewin, if you could tell me what the amending formula was going to be, I might go along with you. The fear I have is that if you get an amending formula that is very rigid, you get this in the Constitution, and it will be there for all time for 50 or 60 or 70 years.
Conditions can change a great deal. What would be the position? Where would you be with an election in a constituency—suppose you had this floating 20 per cent each way. It sounds very nice. It is very glib and it sounds very nice.
Mr. Brewin: I do not think the Constitution should be used to present any very rigid or detailed plans. I agree with you.
Mr. Heald: As I understand Mr. Blakeney’s proposal, it was a tolerance of 20 per cent each way. Was it not?
Mr. Brewin: Yes.
Mr. Heald: For example, you go on census and you have an election in five or six or seven years after a census, and you find out after the election that if somebody has been elected, you do not come within this rule in the constitution, because the population has changed. Is the man a member, or is he not?
Mr. Brewin: I think that may be perfectly right, and what you are now saying, as I understand it, is not what you said before, that you thought this was not possible under a constitutional system…
Mr. Heald: It is not practical.
Mr. Brewin: …but that you think there should not be any undue rigidity about it. Is that what you are now saying?
Mr. Heald: Yes. I am saying that I think it would be very difficult to do. With the amending formula, we do not know what the amending formula is going to be. I think it would be very difficult indeed.
Very difficult indeed. You invited me to say a few more words on this, and so I will be glad to do that.
Mr. Brewin: I will tell you what I invited you to do so that you can be clear and free to do whatever the Chairman of the Committee and you see fit. What I invited you to do was that Mr. Blakeney presented us with a brief, a copy of which you no doubt have, which made certain statements of fact. I wonder if you want to file any statements contraverting [sic] the veracity of these statements of fact.
Mr. Heald: No, I would like…
Mr. Brewin: You have already said things which indicate, perhaps, that the kettle is as black as the pot, or something like this. I was not interested in this.
Mr. Heald: I think the Committee might be, and I think the public of Saskatchewan—we fought this battle and we will fight it again. But I would like the Committee to know this, that these are the people who in 1951 had a distribution—and prior to that distribution, Biggar constituency had 8,523 votes while Rosthern had 9,516. So although Rosthern had 1,000 more voters than Biggar prior to redistribution, two pools with large Liberal majorities were taken off Biggar and added to Rosthern. So the disparity increased even further after redistribution.
Mr. Brewin: That is what I call traditional gerrymandering.
Mr. Heald: Right. But it does not lie in the mouths of the New Democratic Party in Saskatchewan to come along and start talking about constitutional reform and start talking about independent commissions. They were the government of this province for 20 years and they did not bring in any independent commissions.
Mr. Brewin: It is a good idea. Let us not worry about their cost.
Mr. Heald: I think Mr. Blakeney came here to make a political speech, and I am here maybe to answer him a little bit.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Gibson you are next.
Mr. Gibson: After that refreshing dialogue, sir, it is a pleasure to get on the floor.
On page 5 of your brief, you list, under “Fundamental Human Rights,” “Freedom of assembly and association”. I respectfully submit that it might be a good idea in this day of trouble to add one word to that and make it, “Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Association”, because some people really believe that they have the right to take a pitchfork out and a gun, and so on.
Secondly, sir, you deal very well with legal rights in your idea that really they should not be entrenched. But I am curious and rather concerned because, while I agree with most of your proposals on legal rights, there is an area that I do not think is spelled out very specifically in your proposal which was dealt with in the federal proposals at pages 24 to 26 A Canadian Charter of Human Rights, and that is, the equalitarian rights.
What I wanted to know, sir, was whether you considered, in the legal rights section, that these should be left out of the entrenched charter or whether you would give some consideration to some of the egalitarian rights being entrenched—such as discrimination in the areas of race, religion, sex and—I come right down to it—the Metis, the Indians and the Eskimos. We have heard so much evidence that they ought to be given some real consideration in the Constitution, of an entrenched nature. This has really been brought to our attention so forcibly lately that we wonder whether there cannot be some ground given there.
Mr. Heald: Yes, Mr. Gibson, I think we would agree that they could be entrenched. We have legislation, of course, in this province covering many of these egalitarian rights, but we would not object to them being entrenched in here.
Mr. Gibson: And, sir, has any serious discussion been given as to enforcement, once they are entrenched? I know that in Ontario they have a Human Rights Commission. It seems that, possibly, that way of treating the matter might be more efficient and less costly for the individual. Has that been given some consideration?
Mr. Heald: We have been talking about enforcement. Apart from the Constitution, we have three statutes in this Province—the Bill 0£ Rights, the Fair Employment Practices Act and the Fair Accommodation Practices Act—with which enforcement is a problem. I do not
know that you solve discrimination. Discrimination is in the minds and hearts of men. You do not solve it by the legal laying of charges and having somebody fined.
But, in our acts, we have built in a kind of a mediation commission. I have a mediation officer that I appoint and, before we lay a charge, we send him out to investigate both sides to get statements from both the person who is supposed to have discriminated and the people who have been discriminated against. We do, by mediation, try to solve these problems more than by laying charges. Now, sometimes we have to lay charges.
Mr. Gibson: Would it be possible to obtain a copy of that, sir? I would be most interested to read it.
Mr. Heald: Yes.
Mr. Gibson: My final question: As a step towards uniting Canada, would you be in favour, as expressed by many thousands of Canadians in mails recently, of adopting July the first as Canada Day, our national holiday?
Mr. Heald: Yes.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Forrestall.
Mr. Forrestall: Mr. Chairman, I would like to take the Attorney General, if I might, to p ages 16, 17 and 18 where he deals with environmental management. You express the opinion on page 16, at the outset of this particular section, that the province believes that the Federal Government should have an overriding power to prevent pollution of all kinds, and so on and so on. Then you go on at a later stage, on page 17, to say that the provincial law, where it is less permissive than the federal law with respect to environmental management of pollution, shall be paramount.
I wonder if you could enlighten us a bit further on this particular question, particularly in light of the oft-heard and oft-expressed comment that provinces in their hunger for industrial development are more likely to be permissive and lenient in their regulations under the broad aspects of environmental pollution than is the removed federal a1.1thority. I wonder if you could perhaps just comment a little further on this?
Mr. Heald: What you say, Mr. Forrestall, is quite right. There is a danger, there always has been and I suppose there always will be that, as provinces compete for industrial development, there is, perhaps, the temptation for one provincial government to provide for less onerous pollution controls than another province. That is why we have suggested in here that the federal government get into environmental control to the extent that a province cannot have a less permissive regulation than the federal government.
Mr. Forrestall: You used the term “repugnant to federal law”…
Mr. Heald: What I am talking about on page 18 is that, where there happens to be a province that has tougher pollution laws than the federal pollution laws, then the provincial laws could govern. Where they have tougher laws, that is what I am saying, at the top of page 18:
…power given to the Federal Government should be limited to the extent that where a provincial law is less permissive…
tougher in other words,
…than a Federal law with respect to environmental management and pollution, the provincial law shall be paramount.
But where it is easier, then the federal law is paramount.
We are trying to cover both ends of it really.
Mr. Forrestall: That was, Mr. Chairman, the only other question I had that had not been already asked.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you.
Mr. Hogarth: Mr. Chairman, before I proceed I would like to say that it is rather nostalgic for me to be back in the province of my birth. I never anticipated coming back here as a Member of Parliament and neither did the people when I left. When I left, the province was in the grip of its political dark age and it is n ice to be here in the period of renaissance, I assure you.
I am somewhat concerned as a Westerner with the traditional Western approach that appears on page 13, under the item: “Strong Central Government.” Your first remarks are pretty well a “motherhood” paragraph:
We favour a strong and effective central government with jurisdiction, powers and authority necessary to achieve national strength and unity.
and on the next page:
The Central government must have adequate economic and fiscal powers to ensure stable economic growth,…
and so on.
I might say that for years I was of the same op1mon until I got elected and ended up in Ottawa. I find that there is a fantastic amount of power—political power on the legislative side—concentrated in Eastern Canada and that it becomes extremely difficult for the majority of western members, regardless of the party to which they belong, to promote effectively, policies which are often in disaccord with those of the economic progress of Eastern Canada. I am wondering if, on the legislative side, we should not give some reflection to a new approach to the powers of the central government that would perhaps regionalize the nation to a greater extent than it has been before.
My remarks arc predicated on an article I read with respect to the problems that the French Government has had over the years, and it is suggested that one of the greatest problems that bas faced France over the years is the fact that they have never decentralized, that they have never been able to cope with the various regions of the country in an adequate fashion.
I draw your attention to such things as tariffs and such minor things as the new Federal Court Act where we provided that all the judges of the new Federal Court which is to operate throughout Canada are to be residents of the City of Ottawa, or within 25 miles thereof.
The second thing that I comment on in this paragraph is the fact that, much as we would like to believe that we live in a democracy, I think we live in a fantastic bureaucracy; and the administrative decisions made on
the Ottawa River are sometimes not particularly conducive to the progress of Western Canada.
I draw your attention particularly to problems we have in transportation, the fact that we have been waiting some two and one half years for a port policy that has been held up solely because it has to be a national policy and they will not localize and consider the western region separate from the whole of Canada—this and many other matters and things.
I doubt very much that the problem that the Metis people have would exist if the Metis people lived in downtown Toronto. I think that it would have been attended to long ago by the political forces at work in the city of Toronto. I just draw your attention to the suggestion that perhaps we have to think in different terms—in a strong central government, as projected in your brief.
Mr. Heald: Mr. Hogarth, I would certainly agree with many of the things you have said about the decentralization of the functions of government. That is right, that has to be done. We even have that in the province. We are trying to do that in our own government.
The Premier last night announced reopening of the Land Titles Office in the court house at Moosomin that was closed 15 or 20 years ago. We are trying to decentralize some functions of government which can sensibly be handled in the local areas and certainly I would agree with what you say there.
All I was really trying to say at the top of page 14 was that in our government—and, as you say, it is a historic position for Western governments to take this position, there is no change—we feel there has to be a strong central government to the extent that the central government has the power to cope with unemployment, inflation, deflation, equalization of opportunity, and so on.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Allmand: Members have asked all the questions that I had in mind. The witness answered the questions as well.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): If there are any comments from the floor, I will entertain them now. I see that there are three who wish to comment. This gentleman in the middle, first, please.
Mr. Brockelbank: Mr. Chairman, I am John H. Brockelbank, Regina. I want to refer again to the question of legislative representation for the electors, and I think it would be well for us to remember or adopt a motto in this respect and that would be: “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I am not interested in casting stones, but I am interested in what is going to happen in the future in the operation of our democratic system.
It is a fact that, right here in the city of Regina, the constituencies are so arranged that, in a straight two-way fight, with 40 per cent of the total vote in the city of Regina one party could elect four members out of the seven; and if it was a three-way fight, probably 30 per cent of the total vote could elect four members out of seven. Now, I know you cannot have absolute accuracy in this question, but this is getting far out.
Then, in the area that I once represented—it is now the constituency of Tisdale-Kelsey—and beside it, the con-
stituency of Melfort-Kinistino; each of these constituencies had, in the 1967 list, between 10,000 and 12,000 voters. Adjacent to these two are the constituencies of Nipawin and Kelvington, and these are similar constituencies—rural constituencies. Nipawin and Kelvington have probably less than an average of 7,000 voters in them. These figures will not change very much between the 1967 election and the next election. So I think this should not be overlooked. Even in Regina, if we allow for some growth, it could still be that the three members in the city of Regina will have to get, on the average, at least twice as many and maybe three times as many votes to get elected as the other four will need to get.
I would like to ask Mr. Heald if he really thinks that it is fair. But I want to go back, first. I am glad that Mr. Heald said in his brief that he is in favour of the Constitution providing that there must be elections within a limited time, because once in the history of the province of Saskatchewan, we had a legislature extend its term to six years instead of the five.
Mr. Heald: There was a war on, Brock. Mr. Brockelbank: I know there was a war on.
Mr. Heald: Lots of people were away fighting that war.
Mr. Brockelbank: There was still a war on when they had the election after six years. In fact the invasion in Europe had started. But they got their come-uppance on that one anyway, and I do not think they will do that again.
Suppose that we had what might appear to Mr. Heald to be—and this is possible at least remotely possible—a wicked New Democratic government in Saskatchewan again, and we just carried this idea of juggling the constituency boundaries a little further.
Mr. Heald: Well, you arc a past master at that.
Mr. Brockelbank: Well, I said I am not throwing any stones. I do not mind your stones, though; they arc not very effective.
You could get a government that would be really entrenched.
Mr. Heald: We will let the people decide very shortly, Brock, whether the stones arc effective. We will let the people decide.
Mr. Brockelbank: I know, I know you will let them decide. But you will give the people in the north part of Regina only one-third of the power to make the decision that you give the people in Albert Park. I want to emphasize that this is complete frustration of the democratic process to have this kind of a thing. Let us end it for all parties.
Mr. Heald: Well, it is nice, Mr. Chairman, to have Mr. Brockelbank back. I sat across the aisle from Mr. Brockelbank for quite a while and I always had a very great respect for him. He is a tough fighter. I think his party would be in better shape if they had people like him running for them in the next election but he has seen fit to resign and quit. I would just like to remind you, Brock, about what you did in 1951, when you were in the government, the senior minister of the government.
Prior to the 1948 election, although no redistribution had taken place for ten years and there was one badly needed due to a change of population, your government did not see fit to have a redistribution because you had been pretty successful in 1944; so no change in boundaries was necessary for political reasons.
However, in 1951, the situation had changed. In 1948, the CCF members had decreased from 47 to 31, while Liberal strength had increased from 5 to 21. The writing was on the wall after seven years of socialism. The only answer you could find to save your political hide was redistribution and you had a massive, vicious gerrymander. The success of this gerrymander was shown in 1952 when the CCF, with completely new constituencies, elected 42 CCF and there were only 11 Liberals. In 1951, there was total redistribution with only eight seats left untouched.
Mr. Brockelbank: Well, that was good.
Mr. Heald: It was good for you. In this redistribution that you people are complaining so bitterly about, it was not a massive redistribution at all. There were 25 seats completely unaltered, and another 23 seats were forced to be altered to accommodate the two new seats in the cities and the deleting of one rural seat. What we did, Mr. Chairman, in this last redistribution, was to give some recognition to the fact that there has been a transfer of population to the urban centres; and we created two new city seats and we took out one rural seat.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Allmand?
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I think that it is in order that we discuss constitutional provisions here, but I think we have heard both sides probably on this matter. I would suggest that you, as Chairman, if possible, rule out any further political battling of the battles of Saskatchewan. I do not think that this Committee is the place for us to fight the battle of Saskatchewan politics, and I think both sides have had a very good spokesman on the question.
Mr. D. A. McLeod: May I make a comment, please? It will not take me more than two minutes.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I think, in fairness to you, we will have to be prepared, Mr. McLeod, to hear what you have to say, but I may rule out of order what you say after you have said it.
Mr. D. A. McLeod.
Mr. McLeod: You know there is a passage in the Bible that says: “The truth will make you free.” Now, what I would like to sec is the government put out a map. We should get a map of what the former CCF government did, a map of the boundaries as they were changed. and the population. The same thing should be done by the present Liberal government. The people are not being told. I have never seen a map. I have no idea. We are not getting the information.
Now, Mr. Heald made a statement that the opposition is using figures three years old but, if you will remember, the DBS figures from Ottawa are telling us that we are losing the population at very fast rate.
Mr. Heald: Not necessarily in certain areas, though, Mr. McLeod.
Mr. McLeod: There are more people left in Regina than any other point in Saskatchewan.
Mr. Heald: You have to look at the constituencies.
Mr. McLeod: Well, my figures show—and we have not got the figures for 1969 or 1970—that we lost about 80,000 in 1968. We are still waiting for the figures. But to say that these are old figures! I think you mentioned one seat out in south Regina—was it Albert Park—that you said may have 10,000? If it is Albert Park, I do not think they have 4,000.
Mr. Heald: No, it has more than that. It is increasing there.
The point I was making was that at the time of the redistribution—we made a redistribution in 1965, I think it was—and by the time the election came along in the fall of 1967, some of those seats in the south had considerably—several thousand—more people in them; and the projection is the same way. There are a lot of new high-rise apartments going up, both in Albert Park and in Regina-Wascana, and that was one of the reasons why they were purposely left fairly low at the time of the redistribution.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. McGuigan): Well, gentlemen, I think we will leave this discussion for settlement in the usual way, in Saskatchewan politics.
Mr. Tom Keyes.
Mr. Tom E. Keyes (Regina): I want to assure the Attorney General that I am not going to discuss any matters that are before the courts. But there are two things that I am a bit interested in and that is entrenchment and the securities commission. I have had very considerable experience on this securities commission. II you had in mind giving total powers to Ottawa to one commission, I think you will find that it would be very difficult for any local companies who wanted t o finance publicly or otherwise to raise money through here to get qualified through Ottawa. It would be very expensive and also, where you have just one commission, quite recently in the history of Ontario—that Texas-Gulf Sulphur thing—the security commissioner there was forced to quit. You had in British Columbia, not too long ago, a security commissioner having to leave for Brazil. To grant powers to one body and, you might say, to one man to look after the whole thing, I do not think that the province should go for.
You have everything in your hands as the licensing of salesmen will prevent any abuses in here…
Mr. Hilt: Could I comment on that, Tom? I do not think that it is visualized that there would be just everything administered from Ottawa. I think what is visualized is criteria that are the same in respect of prospectuses across the country. There would be decentralization of administration and there would be offices in the vari-
ous provinces and one of the ways you could do it would be the way they do it under the National Transportation Act now.
The National Transportation Act delegates the provincial highway traffic boards as its agents for the purpose of administering certain portions of the National Transportation Act. And this could be done. But you are right; it would be a mistake, I think, to have everything come from Ottawa. It would be decentralization.
Really, I think what we are talking about is standardization of criteria for prospectuses and for security matters across the country.
Mr. Keyes: That may work out better but the American system is not too good an organization to go before. And the powers of the securities commission now are terrific. I was on as a director of a company in Ontario and I got out and I said—at that time it was Mr. Leonards, “You can hang, draw and quarter anybody here almost any time if you want to. Very few of these companies and security dealers can live up to this thing.” And he said, “That is right. We want this absolute power.” And it is too great if you were operating in a place where you were not getting along too well with the government.
The other thing is the entrenchment, which you mentioned. I, of course, am speaking as an individual. All individual who has a disagreement with the government or any government is at a great disadvantage. I lived in Calgary for a number of years and I know that Senator Cameron from Banff is well aware of what I am talking about. Up in the Park there were dozens of people who had claims against the government at Ottawa and they claimed that they just said, “You are out.” And they were out, apparently. To go through the courts is so expensive that the average individual cannot afford to. And then when he gets through the courts the provinces can pass special retroactive legislation and annual any final judgment of the court.
I would suggest that in your bill of rights, a Canadian bill of rights, there should be some provision in there that if someone goes through the courts, takes an action against any government, whether it is city or whatever it is, that government will have to abide by the final decision of the Supreme Court or the final court, whatever it is.
There is a case in Saskatchewan here—it is years ago it is true, in fact, 1911—where a chap was apparently put in a school district that he did not approve of. He took action, got through all the courts, won, and then a special act was passed known as An Act Respecting the South Antler School District and the redress which he got from the courts was completely overruled. That was probably bad enough but he continued to assert his rights, probably very vigorously, and he was arrested, brought in on the train at 10 o’clock, and I am quoting now the Honourable P. H. Gordon, a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal, who was this man’s counsel at the time. He was charged with insanity, committed to the North Battleford Mental Hospital and was up there for 35 years. He got a new trial in 1946 and three psychiatrists claimed that he never had been insane and that had he not been of very strong mental character, he would have gone insane. He was released in 1946. He died a few years afterwards. Mr. F. W. Alexander probated his will, he told me here. But it just shows how much an individual is at the mercy
of a government if it wants to push you around and how little you can do.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Do you want to make any comment on that?
Mr. Heald: The only comment I would make, Mr. Chairman, is that I agree with what Mr. Keyes says about the power of government and, of course, I think all governments are taking recognition of this fact by the kind of legislation that they are passing. I would remind you of the federal act which has been passed dealing with expropriation. I would also remind you of the Expropriation Procedures Act which was passed in this province a couple of years ago which provides for a kind of limited ombudsman in respect of expropriation matters called the Public and Private Rights Board. This board has the power to look at sites, locations of highways, for example, so that the Department of Highways dos not try to put a highway through somebody’s front room. They also have powers of negotiation with the expropriating authority with respect to the quantum of compensation. This is a very useful act, a very progressive act. The federal government has legislation along that line—the new federal court, of course, the extension of jurisdiction of the federal court to include appeals from administrative tribunals, federal administrative tribunals. These appeals will now be considered in the new federal court.
I quite agree, Tom, that it is necessary to have this kind of legislation. It is being recognized.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Dinsdale.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, I arrived late but to quote Mr. Hogarth, I am returning from another place of renaissance, in Manitoba.
Mr. Hogarth: We never notice it in Ottawa.
Mr. Dinsdale: Oh, do not be too sure. But I would just like Mr. Heald to comment on page 16, on his recommendations with respect to environmental management.
Mr. Heald: Yes, Mr. Dinsdale.
Mr. Dinsdale: Do you visualize this as requiring specific constitutional amendments, or would you think that it would be carried out successfully if we could get around this problem of jurisdictional dispute through the existing Council of Resource Ministers on the basis of cooperative federalism?
Mr. Heald: I think there is a very good chance, Mr. Dinsdale, of being able to get around it on the basis of the negotiations of the Council of Resource Minissters [sic] with the dialogue that is going on. I think there is, but that is an emergency remedy. I think it is better to clean it up in the constitution.
As I point out further on, some of these decisions are going to be tough decisions and they are going to probably require some parts of industry to spend an awful lot of money. And when you get into the constitutional—they grey area—you might get into a position where some company might challenge t he constitutional competence of either a federal or a provincial government to
make regulations and then you are in a mess. You are in the courts because the question of where the province stops and starts and where the federal government stops and starts is not clear.
So I would agree that I think, on a temporary basis and on a crisis basis, there is a lot being done. But I think it would be better if we could get the constitutional situation clarified because it is not reasoned out.
Mr. Dinsdale: That is fine. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Gibson: A supplementary, if I may. We have been suggesting, or some of us have been, that there be a wider use of the power of reference to the Supreme Court of Canada to iron out some of these constitutional difficulties in pollution. Would you be in favour of this?
Mr. Heald: Yes, by all means.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, we will resume about an hour from now, at about 1:45. But before we adjourn, I would like to thank, on your behalf, Mr. Heald, the Attorney General of the province, for his presentation to us.
The meeting is adjourned to the call of the Chair.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): The meeting will come to order. Our first witness this afternoon is Mr. Frederick L. Dunbar, the Solicitor with the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association. Mr. Dunbar.
Mr. Frederick L. Dunbar (Solicitor, Saskatchewan School Trustees Association): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and hon. members of the House of Commons and of the Senate, it is a great personal pleasure to present this brief on behalf of the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association.
I do not see the young gentleman who was objecting to lawyers in the audience this afternoon, but I would like to assure him that all trustees are not lawyers in case he might have been worried about that.
It is a particular pleasure to appear before you and particularly the honourable members of the Senate.
To introduce a very short personal note, I served for a coup le of years as Executive Assistant to the Government Leader of the Senate, at that time Senator Aseltine back in 1961-62, and I recall the service in Ottawa with a great deal of pleasure. In fact, we tend to look on it perhaps with a little bit of bias, Mr. Chairman, as the good old days or the better days.
I am not going to read this brief because al though I sometimes think those of us who took our education 25, 30 or 40 years ago are more capable of reading than some of the more recent participants in the school system. At the same time I am quite sure that you will be able to digest this brief.
I might say that the general purport of the brief—and I hope that there will be support in the Joint Committee for this—is that the allocation of legislative jurisdiction over education to the provinces does not in any way
create a barrier to the participation on a financial or assistance basis by the federal government. In fact, under modern conditions and considering the mobility of young people these days, the interest of the country as a whole does require, we think, a greater degree of assistance even to elementary and secondary education.
I appreciate that this causes some problems in certain parts of Canada and I am afraid that our outlook is coloured a great deal by the fact that Saskatchewan now occupies in a sense the position that perhaps Nova Scotia or New Brunswick or P.E.1. did 50 years ago. We are an exporter of people and, of course, the people that are being exported these days are very highly trained in many cases and very expensively trained.
We are not suggesting for a single moment that we are expecting the other parts of Canada to reimburse us in any sense for the investment that we have made in these young people who go out to other parts of Canada. That would be quite foolish.
On the other hand, we feel that our resources, at the present time at any rate, are limited and we feel that we are not in a position best to utilize these human resources and to make through these young people the greatest possible contribution to Canada as a whole.
So, hon. members of both Houses, we will leave this brief with you and wish you the very best of luck on your journey through Saskatchewan. I understand that this is your first stop in Saskatchewan. I hope that none of you will find himself in the position of being short of cuff links. If Mr. MacGuigan does not find that one pair presented by Mayor Baker sufficient to go around, I would suggest that you apply to the nearest school board and we will supply a paper clip, or something like that; that will do him. Thank you very much indeed, hon. members.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you Mr. Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar’s brief will be attached to our Committee Minutes as an appendix.
Our next witness is Miss Sherrie Tutt, Secretary of the Regina Single Parents Improvement Association. I understand that Miss Tutt will be speaking to us on behalf of the Association. Miss Tutt.
Miss Sherrie Tutt (Secretary, Regina Single Parents Improvement Association): First of all, I would like to apologize for the lack of copies of our brief that arc available to you people. I must say that this comes from the very fac. of what Mr. Faris brought out yesterday which was the lack of publicity that was received. The first we heard about the sittings of this Committee was last Friday and we tried all weekend to find out more details about what was to be expected. Unfortunately until we were here last evening we knew very little about what was being discussed here.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We are very happy to have you with us and to hear your brief in any form in which you want to present it.
Miss Tutt: Thank you very much. I would like first to present to you a little information about the Regina
Single Parents Improvement Association and this will be in the form of a brief recently presented to the federal NDP Party caucus meeting here in Regina.
Since ours is a newly formed organization I feel that most of you will probably not have heard of our aims.
The Regina Single Parents Improvement Association is a group formed to try to solve the practical problems of widowed, divorced, separated and single adults caring for children without the support of a partner. The membership is made up of single parents and others who are sincerely concerned with their problems.
The aims of the Regina Single Parents Improvement Association are as follows: to unite its membership regardless of race, creed, colour, into an association for their mutual benefit and improvement; to provide for united action in promoting the common interest of all members and to function solely as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan, nonsectarian association; to make available at low cost all facilities necessary to the adequate fulfilment of their dual role of parent-wage-earner, these facilities to include (1) housing, (2) child care, (3) employment, (4) emergency financial assistance, (5) counselling; and to encourage and establish social, recreational, cultural and educational programs for its members.
The Regina School for Unwed Mothers established at Wesley United Church, Regina, in September, 1970 is operated by our Association with the co-operation of numerous community agencies.
The Regina Single Parents Improvement Association has presented the following proposals for consideration. These, I realize, are not in line with the nature of this conference, but will serve as a further introduction of our group and we will continue on with some recommendations specifically to this organization.
The two things a single parent has least of are time and money. Low rental housing providing indoor and outdoor play areas for children, day-care nurseries and convenience to stores, doctors, recreation and employment are vitally needed. Centralizing services saves the single parent precious time and money on transportation. Public transportation, while relatively inexpensive, is useless to the mother of 5 small children bringing 10 bags of groceries home from supermarkets 18 blocks away. It is recommended that such housing be operated by single parents and also be available to low-income, two-parent families and old are pensioners to whom such centralizing of services is equally important. Such intermingling of this kind would be mutually beneficial both socially and economically.
Adequate child care is a condition of employment for the single parent just as a car is a condition of employment for the travelling salesman. Without a car the salesman cannot work: without child care a single parent cannot work. Cost of day care should be a fully deductible expense for income tax purposes.
Group day care is more reliable, less expensive, and more emotionally satisfying to parent and child as well as providing an educational experience for the child. The years before school are vital years for education, and day care should be considered an educational experience. Day-care centres should therefore be operated as part of the school system. Infant day care for the child under 2 years is needed to enable the parent to work without having to first experience the humiliation of accepting
welfare until her child is old enough for preschool nursseries [sic]. Day-care centres open 24 hours a day are needed to accommodate the children of shift workers, many of whom are in low-paid jobs, for example waitresses, and cannot afford the expense of a private baby-sitter.
Extended day care is needed to ease parental concern about the school age child, and would reduce the danger of that child becoming deli:1quent. Day-care centres should also make provision for the child with a minor illness. The single parent cannot afford the financial loss when work is missed because of the myriad minor illnesses of childhood.
In order to get work; paying enough to provide for a family the single parent usually needs further education. Community colleges with flexible semesters and hours teaching professional, vocational and practical courses are needed. Flexible hours, including night hours, are needed to enable the single parent to improve his educational standard with the minimum loss of time in his regular employment. Financial assistance is needed to make it possible for single parents to take advantage of present educational opportunities, especially in professional fields. Currently financial help is offered for vocational courses only.
Present welfare regulations discourage recipients from working by deducting all but a small amount of earned income from the welfare cheque. A fixed monthly amount of allowed earnings would encourage recipients to get into the labour market where they then might be encouraged to get into full employment. Subsidies should also be readily available to assist single parents whose earned income is marginal. Unexpected expenses, for example medical, could amount to such a financial drag that they would eventually have to go on full welfare assistance. Subsidies could make it possible for them to keep supporting themselves.
Preventative welfare programs are essential. Special schools for unmarried mothers, information and referral centres and family living education are some badly needed preventative programs.
With regard to our recommendations to this Committee, there are of course many aspects of the Constitution which are of concern to our organization. Many of these have been discussed by us. However, there is one area in which our organization is in full agreement.
This Association recommends an alteration of the Constitution of Canada that would make overriding responsibility for education, health, welfare and legal assistance standard across Canada.
In the area of education this is because in our highly mobile society complications of transferring distinctly deter obtaining a high degree of education. The underachievers who are society’s biggest unemployment problem are the first to be eliminated from the education system by such problems of transferring between provinces and yet their families are the most mobile, following as they do the seasons across Canada in search of employment.
In the area of welfare, this standardization is again, because of the mobile nature of our society, inequalities and red-tape restrictions that exist between provinces are a deterrent to effective programs. For example, applications for welfare assistance are presented on different
forms under different regulations in each province. The poorly educated who find even vaguely understanding the reasons for one form difficult are left in a complete fog when met with a different set in each province.
Adoption could be facilitated also by elimination of provincial welfare boundaries.
Federal administration of welfare would also facilitate obtaining reliable support from deserting or putative fathers by making it possible for such support to be paid by the federal government and then in turn obtained by them.
The legal system as it now stands permits the deserting or putative father to shirk his financial responsibility by the very complexity of its administration. He must be chased through courts of law in each province he chooses to reside in. One system of law and enforcement Canada wide would facilitate enforcement of court orders.
This group supports the necessity for a strong federal government as the prime unifying factor in our country. Provincial jurisdictions and responsibilities we see as tending to create disunity rather than favour unity.
This group also supports the need for inclusion in an entrenched Bill of Rights clauses to provide for equal pay for equal work between the sexes. It is possible in some instances at present that the mother of a deserted family may be doing a comparable amount of work and the father who has deserted them receives actually higher pay than she receives where she is in fact supporting the family.
I would be happy to answer any questions from this Committee on any aspects of our organization, and also on any ether area of interest to you people that I may not have touched upon in our presentation.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you Miss Tutt. Mr. Forrestall.
Mr. Forrestall: I am sure, Mr. Chairman, the witness when she kept referring to fathers who deserted their wives would mean to tell the Committee that it is the deserted parent who suffers and not necessarily the wife because quite often you have the other situation.
Miss Tutt: This is correct.
Mr. Forrestall: You mention almost for granted that there would be an entrenchment in any new Constitution of certain rights and you went on to enumerate them. Might I ask you whether or not your Association has actually thought of that as being a mechanical thing that would be ultimately of great benefit to people in this situation or whether it is something you have just simply assumed and taken for granted?
Miss Tutt: Actually, I would say that while we have assumed that this would be a portion of an entrenched Bill of Rights, at the same time we are cognizant with the fact that while it might be on paper it is a very different thing to put it in practice of which we are most concerned. The actual entrenchment of it within a Bill of Rights is perhaps not of paramount importance that it is in the working out of this which we realize is not done simply by an act of Parliament but must come from the roots of the people who must accept it.
Mr. Forrestall: In your ordering of suggestions or comments you place very high the question of legal responsibility and the difficulties of, I think as you have phrased it, chasing people through the courts of the provinces. Looking at it, of course, in this broad aspect I realize it is very difficult to be objective because the problems are individual ones and I think only manifest themselves when people are sincerely interested in helping yourselves as you people obviously are and not only here but right across Canada in other similar groups. However, is the legal question perhaps the greatest priority or are there other things that you would think that you might in your own mind or from the point of view of your own association list as being of even greater importance?
Miss Tutt: I think it was the feeling of our group when this was discussed that the legal aspect was only one of a general field. The question arose when we were discussing the unity of this country, and all of these areas in which there are great variations between the provinces they felt tended to create disunity and that the legal aspect was only one of these.
I believe probably paramount to their concern was the welfare and educational aspects. Where these are very provincial concerns they tend to, I would say, vary more than, perhaps, in the legal mechanics because of the fact that much of our legal structure is federally oriented and it is in the administration of it primarily that the differences come in, whereas because education and welfare have been considered so much primarily the responsibility of provinces there tends to be a lot more variation between provinces in these areas. I am speaking probably more on behalf of people in a low-income bracket; that is, om people are either welfare recipients themselves or they are working in jobs as waitresses, typists at the lowest end of the wage scale and these are the people that find it the most difficult going between provinces. Their educational standard is not terrifically high and, therefore, they find it difficult to cope with understanding the needs for all these different ways of approaching the same problem between one province and another and because of their low-income status they are moving a great deal.
They are continually searching for a somewhat belt.er job somewhere else and these differences affect them a great deal. They have also said that these differences in administration between provinces tended to destroy the feeling of the oneness of Canada while increasing the feeling of be.ng Saskatchewanians rather than Canadians.
Mr. Forrestall: Have you any idea of the scope of the problem that you are involved in? I presume that you do not have any idea of the number of people involved here in Regina or in Saskatchewan but could you tell the Committee anything about the nature of this problem—its scope, its size?
Miss Tutt: I will quote an article which probably illustrates it best of all. It was published in Chatelaine, about a year ago. It stated that if all single parents and their families were grouped in one city in Canada, the size of this city would be approximately the size of Montreal. That will perhaps give you an idea of the number of
families involved. In Regina alone, there are 500 of these single-parent families on welfare. That does not take into consideration the single parents who are supporting themselves. We could not give you a very accurate figure on how many more there would be but we know that there are at least 500 families on welfare at all times.
Mr. Forrestall: I am coming back to the legal problems that you have. Has your association given any thought to a formula or method or an explicit recommendation to this Committee which might assist it in its deliberations. For example, what type of law would you like to see created which might effect a change that is desirable and perhaps quite necessary?
Miss Tutt: We are concerned with the deserting fathers and the putative fathers. They are two separate areas altogether.
We would like to see a change in legal structure similar to that being used at present in Scandinavian countries where the putative father is considered to be in fact the father and it is not up to the mother to show that he is. The burden of proof lies with the father to prove that he is not if he does not wish to support this child. In Denmark, I believe, it is then the responsibility of the putative father to provide full support. This is enforced by the government by garnisheeing wages, by tacking it on to his income tax or other method. There is a different philosophy there regarding these people.
In the case of the deserting father, we are not as much concerned with changing existing laws in Canada as we are with a more expedient way of enforcing what is already existing. It is not difficult to get a court order, ordering this father to support his child or children but it is next to impossible to enforce that order. He need only move across the border into Manitoba and you must start all over again. It is a standing joke. Really it just is not worth bothering about because by the time you catch up to him, chances are he is in a job that does not pay much and you still have the complication of getting a garnishee on his wages. The laws pertaining to court orders exist now. Our great concern is with their enforcement.
Mr. Forrestall: Your concern is both with the laws within provincial jurisdictions and with the necessity of creating new laws, perhaps under the Criminal Code, that would have one application nationally.
Miss Tutt: Precisely. It should be a federal statute that crossed all these borders and eliminated these current problems of processing the law between provinces.
Mr. Forrestall: May I thank you for the work you are doing for your people. It is worthwhile.
Miss Tutt: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Gentlemen, Mr. Gibson is the next questioner. There are a number of other members who want to ask questions but I will have to ask them to forego those questions because we must finish by three o’clock in order to enable the staff to have an hour to take down the equipment. It takes us two hours to get to Yorkton by bus. The equipment has to be set-up there again for a meeting at 7.30 p.m. besides which we still have another witness here.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Chairman, in view of that I will forego my question. Thank you.
Mr. Hogarth: I have one question I would like to ask if I may. Was it your suggestion that the burden of proof should be on the putative father?
Miss Tutt: That is correct.
Mr. Hogarth: Then a woman can accuse a man of being the father of her child and the burden of proof is on him to show that he is not?
Miss Tutt: This is a little complicated to explain but it is actually easier for him in his position to prove that he is not, if in fact he is not, than it is for her to prove that he is. This has to do with blood tests. It would take a while to go into that.
Mr. Hogarth: It reminds me of an old poem in the legal profession.
There ain’t no justice
In this here land.
I got a divorce from
my old man.
I sure did laugh at the
They gave him the kids
—but they weren’t his’n.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Fergusson and gentlemen, I would like to thank Miss Tutt very sincerely on your behalf.
Mr. Hogarth: She just struck terror into the heart of every man.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): As Mr. Forrestall said we would like to thank her for her presentation and for the work that she is doing. Thank you very much.
I have been asked to say on behalf of Mr. Harry Daniels, Administrator of the Metis Society of Saskatchewan, that while he is not able to make an oral presentation to us he will be sending us a brief which we will receive in Ottawa.
Our last witness is Mr. Christopher Lafontaine who will speak to us in his personal capacity on the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the constitution. Mr. Lafontaine.
Mr. Christopher Lafontaine (Student): I have just a few comments which I will read.
Native people of Canada face minority group discrimination. The Bill of Rights is the human justice of a democracy. We arc people of this country. Economic and social genocide of our people is taking place. The government of Canada seems to take little interest in protecting people’s rights especially those of minority groups. In the rewriting of our Canadian constitution, all people which government represent must be protected. We, as native people, find that because the Bill of Rights is not incorporated into our constitution, the exploitation of our people is very easily achieved. Because it is not the habit of the economic-controlling society to work for the benefit of poverty groups, it is very easy to take advantage of our people. The incorporation of the Bill of Rights would permit exploited groups to express themselves. They would acquire, by law, permission to be heard on ways to rectify the situation.
Nov, there exists a law for the rich and a law for the poor. The human rights of an individual are exploited. Because there is a lack of understanding between people, people arc taken in by institutions.
Discrimination by educators, employers, and government create, in all walks of a native person’s life, a barrier. A hatred exists which is categorized as discrimination. Generalizations are made about native people. Lending institutions have unwritten laws and policies towards native people. Landlords refuse housing, basing their decision on your nationality. Teachers and even principals condemn our slow grasping of a new way of life and of a different culture.
Governments, who should represent the people, develop programs to exploit poverty groups. They set-up programs without communicating with the people so that in the end there is no participation by the people. Beneficial programs are scrapped as poor attempts because of the lack of government-people communications. The end product is that people are locked within the suppressed class of our society. We find that officials appointed to deal with us have little sincerity and no concern for the eradication of native problems.
To support democratic idealism, our constitution must first support equality to help discriminated people. Equality would facilitate the possibility of getting work. We have an “Anti Hate Literature Bill”. My suggestion is the inclusion in our constitution of an “Anti Discrimination Bill” to promote equality. Eventually, you would have equality for all people.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): Thank you, Mr. Lafontaine. The first questioner is Mr. Gibson.
Mr. Gibson: Mr. Lafontaine, you have hit on something that is close to all our hearts as well as our heads. Principally, is it the fault of bad legislation by Parliament or is it more an ineffective and indifferent attitude by government and civil servants to the problems or is it a combination of both?
Mr. Lafontaine: I think it is a combination of both, laying more heavily on your second point.
Mr. Gibson: In the last couple of years, have you detected any greater interest in the problem by governments?
An hon. Member: That is a loaded question.
Mr. Lafontaine: Public interest has grown but what is actually being done for the people seems just about the same.
Mr. Gibson: You do not see the results yet in other words but you see that there is an alerted public that is concerned about it.
Mr. Lafontaine: It seems to me is that the public is divided, one for and one against.
Mr. Gibson: Yes.
Mr. Lafontaine: It seems to be promoted partly because of legislation.
Mr. Gibson: Do you think it would help if there were more social welfare people in this field to encourage better human relations between the public and the native people? I am thinking of people like social welfare officers, principally women because I think. they are more capable. Do you think that would be a good direction in which to look?
Mr. Lafontaine: My suggestion is that the welfare workers should be trained to understand people. Now, they seem to be a financial institution to give out money. There is no human factor there.
Mr. Gibson: Should we try to develop human qualities and have them foster a better and happier relationship between these people and the public?
Mr. Lafontaine: We are not getting much action from anyone.
Mr. Gibson: It is hard but we have had witnesses who have said that they felt cut off from society. Metis have come before us and said that they are cut-off, that the public does not want to have anything to do with them, employ them or mix with them socially. Should we not try to solve this social problem?
Mr. Lafontaine: I believe this is what we are after.
Mr. Gibson: What is the best way of doing that in your opinion?
Mr. Lafontaine: By educating people to understand the problem. There is a lack of education. People who are supposed to deal with the problem do not know what the problem really is and how it developed.
Mr. Gibson: It is the blindness of the majority of the public when looking at you and your friends. I happen to believe that if we entrench this type of Bill of Rights for minorities, it might help this cause. Do you feel it would?
Mr. Lafontaine: We would be able to take action against people who discriminate. We would be able to take action against them which would partly alleviate the problem.
Mr. Gibson: Thank you very much.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Lafontaine, I am not sure if I heard you correctly at the beginning or not. Did you say you were speaking on behalf of the native people or of the Métis people?
Mr. Lafontaine: I am speaking as an individual native person. I cannot speak for the people because I have not come in contact with them.
Mr. Allmand: Are you an Indian or a Metis?
Mr. Lafontaine: I am a Metis.
Mr. Allmand: I see. In Manitoba, we heard separate Indian groups and Metis groups. The complaints of the
Métis people were different from those of the Indian people. Actually many of the Metis people thought that they should be treated the same as the Indian people while the Indian people wanted to be treated a bit differently. Do you consider yourself one of the native people?
Mr. Lafontaine: I consider myself as a native person. I believe that the only reason that the Indian and Metis are separated is because of government legislation. This is a fact.
Mr. Allmand: How would you determine which Metis would be considered as native people?
Mr. Lafontaine: I do not think that you need to worry so much about ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They are all living in poverty and as government officials are supposed to deal with these situations, separating these groups for the benefit of only one should not be done.
Mr. Allmand: I know Metis people who, if they did not tell you that they were Metis, you would not recognize. They are not in poverty situation. Some of them are working in very good jobs in Montreal. If they had never told me that they were actually of mixed blood, part Indian and part white, I would never have known it. That is why I ask you if you have any suggestions as to how you determine which group shall have this special recognition.
Mr. Lafontaine: You want to know how you determine who is a Metis and who is a white person?
Mr. Allmand: That is right.
Mr. Lafontaine: I do not think you should draw a line. By the year 2000 or so, 80 per cent of the Canadian population will be Metis. All you have to deal with is a poverty-stricken group. If the people become accustomed to this society there is no need to help them. They will not apply for help.
Mr. Allmand: Do you not think that we should deal with all poverty-stricken people in the same way?
Mr. Lafontaine: Right, but you are not even doing this. You are separating the white poverty group, the negro poverty group, and all the other types of poverty groups, including Metis in there, and you say we will give a different program to each when one mass program would solve the problem for all people.
Mr. Allmand: If I understand you correctly you would like to see the same type of assistance programs for Metis as for all other people.
Mr. Lafontaine: Right. Right now, one thing you must take into consideration is that the Metis people at this time are the lowest of the low.
Mr. Allmand: I come from Montreal and I could show you some people in that city who are probably just as badly off as some Metis. Nevertheless, I think that you have to deal with all these problems.
Mr. Lafontaine: I am saying that they face more problems in every day life than the average Canadian citizen.
Mr. Allmand: Yes. In any case, I just wanted to clarify a few of the things that you told us. Thank you very much.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): Mr. Hogarth.
Mr. Hogarth: Mr. Lafontaine, correct me if I am wrong, but it appears to me that the peculiarity of the Metis people is that their poverty is essentially a result of the imposition upon them—around the end of the last century and perhaps for 50 years before that—of the Anglo culture on the historic situation of the Metis in Western Canada. For instance, the problems that we had from 1870 to 1887 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan were resolved by the imposition upon the Metis people of a culture that they did not accept the result has been that they claim to be dispossessed of their lands. They claim that the promises made to them were broken and the result now is that they live in enclaves of poverty throughout Western Canada. Is that not so?
Mr. Lafontaine: I believe we are mentioned in the treaties, like heaty Indians are as far as claims to land are concerned. It is the development of the interpretation of the treaties towards us that has not worked. You are right that the majority of the people are living in poverty now.
Mr. Hogarth: What constructive policies could we follow now—ignoring the fact that this is a Constitutional Committee, ignoring Bills of Right and things like that which surely should accrue to all Canadians? What constructive policies could the government follow now that would alleviate the burning problems that the Metis people have? What could the Government of Canada do that would relieve the very serious problems that the Metis people have now?
Mr. LaFontaine: There are many problems but one thing that you could start off with is to set-up channels of communications between the two groups, the government and the Metis people. In Saskatchewan, we have an Indian-Metis Department. They have set up programs some of which are very good and some of which I have no use for as an individual However, the Metis people never hear about these programs w1less they really dig for it. It is just a communications problem.
Mr. Hogarth: Is that a communications problem with your provincial government?
Mr. Lafontaine: It is just more or less to inform the people what they can do for themselves. They are situated in poverty and they feel this is their place in life.
Mr. Hogarth: Assuming that programs of that nature were followed and were successful, the Metis people as an ethnic group would be claiming no more than the Chinese people, the Ukrainian people, the Scotch people or the French people in the sense of rights vis-a-vis the constitution and vis-a-vis the state. You do not want any special status in the field of rights, do you?
Mr. Lafontaine: If this could be developed through treaties, but then there is the interpretation of treaties again. So you see what I mean?
Mr. Hogarth: I see.
Mr. Forrestall: May I ask a supplementary to that? Mr. Allmand asked the somewhat doubtful question, I suppose, how do you separate yourselves from the white culture. May I ask you very briefly to tell me how it is that you are separated from the recognized native Canadian, the Indian himself, in terms of federal legislation? How is it that you are separate if you consider yourself to be identifiable, and certainly the term ” Métis “, which I hope is an honoured one…
Mr. Lafontaine: I like the term “half-breed” myself.
Mr. Forrestall: I hope it is not just a slang word for that expression.
Mr. Lafontaine: It is termed as that by discrimination, I guess.
Mr. Forrestall: Then why is it that you are not considered to be a native Canadian? Mr. Lafontaine: Just the law that you have to be registered to be a treaty Indian. We are not white people and we are not Indians. You might say that we are non-people. It is just that you more or less live the culture, the social way the Indians do, or else you live the way the white people do. So you see what I mean? I do not explain it very good to you.
Mr. Forrestall: I think I know what you are grasping at. I do not mean to force it but perhaps I may ask you this. It was not your decision as an identifiable group not to be considered native Canadians?
Mr. Lafontaine: No, it was not.
Mr. Forrestall: It was a decision…
Mr. Lafontaine: Of the government.
Mr. Forrestall: …imposed upon you by certain schedules under official or recognized descriptions of just what native Canadians are that rules you out. As a result of that, am I correct in assuming, then, that you feel that you are neither accepted by the native Canadians nor by the rest of society? Is that the feeling that you have? Is that a correct…
Mr. Lafontaine: My personal feeling is that I am accepted more as a native of this country by the treaty Indians or the non-treaty Indians rather than by the white people because the discrimination factor just seems to be less with them.
Mr. Forrestall: Are there any official lines of communication between yourself and the Indian associations, for example, here in Saskatchewan?
Mr. Lafontaine: There sure is.
Mr. Forrestall: There are regular channels, you have formal organizations…
Mr. Lafontaine: I am a member of the Metis society, but I cannot speak for them.
Mr. Forrestall: Of course, I am not asking you to but I am curious about the relationship—not between the Métis and the white society but between the Métis and the Indian society, the Indian bands, the native Canadians. Is there a formalization of your relationship?
Mr. Lafontaine: I might say here that by law the government does not permit us to organize together. We are two different ethnic groups. The second thing is that right now we are organizing a native youth group—we are trying to organize it provincially—which will involve all the native people as one group. We are now running into the legal part of it where your treaty Indians have special rights and your half-breeds do not have these special rights, and you have to go to different places to get different things, even in Indian Affairs.
Mr. Forrestall: I will just finish with this comment. I am not a vulgar person by habit or nature but that is the damnedest condemnation of Canadian law that I have ever heard in my life from anybody, sir, and I apologize to you for it.
Mr. Allmand: May I ask a supplementary?
The Acting Joint Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): Go ahead, Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Allmand: You said that the government makes the distinction but I always thought that the Indian bands had a rule that if an Indian woman married a white person she was excluded from the band but if an Indian man married a white woman, then she and all their children could be included in the band. Is that not a rule of the Indian bands themselves that has just been recognized by the government? It is not a rule that is imposed by the government on the bands.
Mr. Lafontaine: If you will read the treaties they state that—and I am not sure which treaty it is but it says something to the effect that when a few of the chiefs were signing these treaties with the councillors representing the people they said, “What will happen to our half-breed brothers and sisters?”, and it was stated that they would be dealt with justly and fairly at a later date, and we were just wondering when this “later date” was going to come.
Mr. Allmand: But is it not true, though—I am trying to get clarification on this point—that the Indian bands themselves—I have talked to Indians and I think I am right—have a rule that if an Indian woman marries a white person they exclude her and her children from the tribe, but when it is the other way around, when a man marries a white woman, the mixed children are included as Indian. I thought that this was a tradition among the Indians.
Mr. Lafontaine: I do not know too much about the culture of the Indians, their ways and beliefs, but as the law is now that is a fact, whether it is their culture…
Mr. Allmand: I am afraid it is because the Indians want it that way. I am not an expert, but I have been told this by Indians.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): The time has almost expired. Perhaps we could ask if there is anyone who would like to participate from the floor, and perhaps might also be allowed a question.
I think what the witness is wrestling with is the distinction between aboriginal rights and treaty rights. Is that correct? I would like to ask Mr. Lafontaine if the Metis are interested in claiming what might be called aboriginal rights, that is, the rights of the original people in Canada?
Mr. Lafontaine: Just speaking for myself, I would like to see this if there was such a fact in the treaties, but it all depends again on how are you going to interpret it. I was reading one of these treaties right today and it just sounds funny. How could people be so ignorant towards these things? How are you going to interpret it today?
The Acting Joint Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): The Indians are now launched on a rather extended process of examining treaties and trying to clarify the terms of treaties. Will the Métis be involved in this examination and investigation? Funds have been made available for this from government sources.
Mr. Lafontaine: I am not aware that there are funds, but if there is a possibility just for myself, I would like to investigate this.
The Acting Joint Chairman (Mr. Dinsdale): Is there anyone who would like to participate from the floor, any other members who have any questions at this time? If not, I will call the Chairman back to the Chair and he can pronounce the benediction.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, I just want to say at the conclusion of our Regina healings how pleased we are with the participation which the people in this area, the capital city of your province, have provided us in terms of the number of briefs, the attendance at our meetings and very much so in terms of the participation from the floor at our hearing.
We are now going on to Yorkton and Saskatoon for further hearings this week. Perhaps I should say a final word of thanks to our last witness, Mr. Lafontaine. His presentation was very much appreciated by us, especially since I think he was inspired to make it only after hearing others last night. Originally he was not prepared to do so. He is a student at the university and we are very pleased that he came forward from the floor to make this presentation to us.
The meeting is adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Propositions Province of Saskatchewan.
The objectives of the Constitution should be the following:
- To establish for Canada a federal system of government based on democratic principles;
- To protect fundamental democratic rights;
- To promote national economic, social and cultural development, the general welfare and equality of opportunity for all Canadians;
- To contribute to the achievement of world peace and security, social progress and better standards of life for all mankind.
Canada should be a federal state of which the Queen is Head of State.
Canada should be a fully sovereign parliamentary democracy.
Canada should take whatever steps are necessary to take into its own hands by constitutional amendment the power to amend its constitution without reference to the British Parliament.
The British North America Act should be taken as the framework of the constitution and be amended where necessary to bring it up to date.
There shall be a strong and effective central government with the jurisdiction, powers and authority necessary to achieve national strength and unity and to enable it to develop the economy and welfare of the nation as a whole and the parts thereof.
The central government must have adequate economic and fiscal powers to ensure stable economic growth, cope with unemployment, combat inflation and deflation and to promote equalization of opportunity in the various provinces and areas of the nation.
The constitution shall provide that the governments of the various provinces shall operate under a parliamentary system and shall have the same status and powers.
The Parliament of Canada shall not have the power to make special arrangements with any province in respect of federal programs which are by their nature applicable across the nation.
The linguistic rights provided in the British North America Act shall continue to be guaranteed as at present, and the matter of education in French or English and the use thereof shall remain with the provinces so that the provinces may proceed with the development of bilingual programs as is being done in most provinces.
That a Bill of Rights guaranteeing fundamental democratic rights be made part of the constitution.
The Supreme Court of Canada shall continue to be the final court of appeal in all matters including those involving the constitution, and the court shall continue to be bound by precedent.
That representation in the Senate should reflect more adequately the population of the regions and provinces of Canada.
The constitution shall recognize the primacy of the Federal Government in international affairs and in all negotiations involving foreign governments.
To the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution
From the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association
Summary of views expressed in this brief
- Because education today has a national and international function, the Federal Government should share in its support.
- The B.N.A. Act in its educational provisions is out of date and it should be amended to conform with modern conditions.
- The Federal Government is not supporting general elementary and secondary education because of antiquated provisions in the B.N.A. Act.
- Equality of educational opportunity among the provinces of Canada can be achieved only by Federal equalizing grants.
- The Federal Government should assume responsibility for basic research in education.
- The Federal Government should establish a Canadian Office of Education.
- The Federal Government should not impose taxes on purchases by school boards which are used in the educative process.
- Section 10(3) of The Income Tax Act should be made to apply to school trustees. This Act should apply to all elected officials or none.
- The inclusion of teachers in the unemployment insurance program is not needed and is, therefore, unwarranted.
To the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution.
From the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association
Mr. Chairman and honourable members of the Special Joint Committee:
The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association is very “pleased to have been invited to lay before you some of its ideas in regard to modifications of the constitution, particularly those which will have an impact in the field of education. Our organization believes that ideas are more apt to eventuate in action when they are expressed succinctly, clearly and forcefully to people who have the authority to do something about them.
The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association was incorporated in 1952, but it existed as an unincorporated association of school boards for many years before 1952. As a matter of fact, the Association had its Golden Jubilee in 1965. Its general purpose as stated in its Act of Incorporation is:
“To consider and take action on all matters relating to education and the betterment of school administration.”
We point this out to you to indicate that the responsibilities of the school trustees of the Province of Saskatchewan are not limited to hiring teachers and managing schools, but they have a very definite responsibility though both their Act of Incorporation and the school laws of the Province to concern themselves with any matter pertaining to education.
To see education in its proper perspective we must understand how it developed as a formal institution and how its rale has changed from a personal and local function to one that is national and even international. Without this understanding, we are apt to deal with education today as if it were a pioneer institution and as it was before and at the time of Confederation in this country. To develop this theme properly would require more time than we have as school trustees or you have for reading or listening as a special committee. However, a few points will indicate the direction of our thinking.
Historically, the people, and only the people, have an inherent right to control the education of their children. In the past, and among primitive people today, the educational function has been exercised directly by the people. It was only when civilization became complex that the people delegated a portion of their responsibility, but only a portion, to teachers. The line of delegation is clear—people to members of the legislature—members of the legislature to school trustees—school trustees to teachers. The fact that we wish to emphasize at this point is: it is the people and not the province or the state as political entities which have the responsibility for the education of youth.
We also wish to point out that school trustees and municipal councillors constitute a third level of government. The same people elect representatives for all three local levels, provincial and federal. The same people, therefore, have responsibility for what is done at all three levels and their representatives cannot be permitted to escape responsibility for education by asserting that they have been chosen to serve at one level rather than another.
This wide responsibility of all elected persons for education is emphasized by the changing role of education in a changing society. It is obvious that, when the role of education was merely to make people literate in a pioneer community, it was not necessary to look beyond the local community to establish the primary responsibility for education. When the isolation of rural communities began to disappear with the improvement of roads and other means of transportation, it was proper to think of a provincial responsibility because students had to be educated for a regional participation. Today, and for some decades past, our associations and culture for which students must be educated have been national in scope.
It is hard, indeed, to understand how anyone could argue with any degree of conviction that people in a local community should be expected, unaided, to educate their children for provincial, national and international service or even that the people of a province should be expected, unaided, to educate their children for national and international duties.
The B.N.A. Act is Out of Date
We are aware, of course, of the British North America Act which assigned legislative jurisdiction over Education to the provinces. We emphasize, however, that the assignment of legislative jurisdiction does not prevent the people through their representatives at the federal level from assisting the provinces and school boards in meeting the rising costs of education, much of which is national in scope. The concept of jurisdiction certainly includes the right to accept or reject assistance from any source where it is available. Between 1867 and 1960, the Parlia-
ment of Canada has passed over eighty pieces of legislation permitting financial support of education.
The B.N.A. Act in its educational clauses was written for pioneer communities in this country. It was written to create a national entity, but when national thinking and national economic and social responsibilities had not developed. It is out of date and inefficient for educational purposes and it ought not to be allowed by responsible legislators to constitute an impediment to the proper education of our young people for national and internatconal [sic] responsibilities.
Someone has described education as a universal service and a first priority in our society. Certainly, Hansard is full of pleadings and idealistic statements concerning the importance of education. Why then is this universal service bypassed while the so-called universal services of medicare, hospitalization, pension plans and unemployment insurance are pursued and perfected by the Federal Government? There would seem to be no demonstrable reason why the Federal Government should not share in the financing of elementary and secondary general education as well as in the several aspects of education in which it is engaged.
The revision of our constitution in regard to its educational clauses is long overdue. This is the chief and general point which we wish to emphasize in this presentation to your committee.
Equality of Educational Opportunity
A democratic concept which we are ordinarily proud to hold and to which we give unbounded “lip service” and some effort to implement is equality of opportunity. Some approximation to equality of educational opportunity is achieved in each province, but the disparity among the provinces is rather startling. The so-called “have provinces” have about twice the personal income per child as the “have not provinces” and they spend on education approximately twice as much per child. On this basis there can be no equality of opportunity from the national point of view.
It is suggested that where, because of the nature of our modern society and culture students are educated in a locality for service anywhere in the nation, it behooves the Federal Government to see to it that there is educational opportunity among the different provinces. This can only be achieved by the Federal Government’s paying differential educational grants to support an agreed upon national educational standard and by making sure that these grants are available to educational authorities.
Basic Research in Education
Until quite recently research in the behavioral sciences, including education, has had little financial support probably because of the difficulty of controlling many variables and of establishing validity to the findings. This lack of support is no longer justifiable because of the advances in knowledge and the improvement of research techniques. In education across this country and elsewhere costs are spiralling so steeply that we can no longer afford to spend billions of dollars on education on the basis of opinion, guesswork or followership. Like business and industry we must devote a portion of our expenditures to determining whether our decisions are valid in order to avoid costly and unnecessary mistakes.
Research is very expensive and, when undertaken by local authorities, there is a tendency to select projects in the area of operational research. This is so because this type of research meets directly the problems which institutions are experiencing. Small jurisdictions cannot afford much basic research and yet basic research might well reveal information in education of great service to the whole of Canada. It is our opinion that the Federal Government could and should sponsor and finance basic research in education as a part of its contribution to national development.
A Canadian Office of Education
For many years there has been a demand for a Canadian Office of Education similar in purpose to that which exists in the United States. The Canadian Education Association, whose continued existence has been dependent upon the financial support of provincial governments, and the newly created Council of Minister’s of Education do not adequately meet the need. The Canadian School Trustees’ Association has gone on record as supporting the establishment of a Canadian Office of Education. It is our opinion that such an institution should be established by the Federal Government.
Elementary and Secondary Education Need Federal Financial Support
School trusteeship in every province of Canada is under attack largely for identical reasons, namely, the rapidly increasing educational costs and the increasing mill rate on real property assessment. As is well known, the real property tax is the only tax available to school trustees. To the extent that this tax approaches the limit which taxpayers will tolerate the Provincial Government must step in and increase its grants. The Government of Saskatchewan claims that it is paying 51 per cent of the total cost of education and, because of this, it should exercise some control over expenditures. In doing this, and in proportion as provincial control is extended, the control of local school boards diminishes. Budget reviews, centralization of administration and limiting regulations are but some of the signs of declining local control.
Our organization considers that this squeezing of the powers of local officials and the enhancement of the administrative role of Provincial Government is an unhealthy development. Perhaps we are in an era of rising bureaucratic control. However that may be, it is certain that the chief reason for declining local control in education is the failure of the Federal Government to assume its legitimate share of educational costs. The Province may have a valid argument when it says that a measure of control should go with majority payment of the costs. The Federal Government has no such argument. It is no answer to say that by the B.N.A. Act education is a responsibility of the Provinces. Social and national development has made it also a responsibility of the Federal Government. It is no answer to say that one or more provinces do not want federal aid. It is neither reasonable nor right that the opinion of one or two provinces should hamstring educational advance in the rest of Canada. A tragedy of the situation is that education which should be locally managed, but financed by all levels of government, is by reason of failure of financial support being moved further and further from the people. This is democratically unsound and, moreover, it
constitutes a violation of the principle of minority rights which we in this country claim that we support.
To say that educational costs in Saskatchewan doubled in the last five years and tripled in the last ten gives some idea of the nature of spiralling educational costs. And the end is not in sight. Building and equipment costs are rising each year and every year the teachers are demanding salary increases which are double the increase in the cost of living.
On the national scene educational costs between 1961 and 1966 rose from approximately one and a half billion dollars to three and a half billion dollars. Local school taxes tripled and provincial grants increased six-fold.
Perhaps many of you are familiar with Wagner’s Law. It was proposed by a German economist, Adolph Wagner in 1883. It runs like this: A state will constantly increase expenditures to pay for the social services it offers. Government services at both the federal and provincial levels have continually increased since 1883 and so have the taxes necessary to pay for them. The law will continue to operate until the country is bankrupt or until governments have the courage or the foresight to halt the increase of services. The operation of Wagner’s Law is detrimental to local autonomy. Federal and provincial governments encourage educational developments the chief cost of which falls on local authorities. When local governments have difficulty in meeting the costs and call for financial assistance, they lost autonomy to senior governments.
Some Specific and Immediate Needs of Education
- A few years ago the Federal Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars in helping to establish vocational and technical schools. It could with equal reason assist all secondary school education.
- All federal taxes could be removed from supplies purchased by school boards for the conduct of education.
It is wrong for one government to levy taxes on another government which has to raise taxes to pay the levy. Such taxation syphons out provincial revenues which are needed in the provinces.
- Section 10(3) of The Income Tax Act permits municipal councillors to charge up to half of their income from municipal work as expenses, but school trustees are not permitted to do so. The fact that a small percentage of school trustees in Canada are appointed is no justification for this injustice against elected school trustees.
- The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association is concerned about the proposal contained in the government white paper on unemployment insurance related to universality. Teachers have a degree of job security probably unparalleled by any other occupational group. While the teacher supply in Saskatchewan has markedly improved in recent years, new developments in education generate an ever-increasing demand for teachers. The possibility of a teacher being unemployed is, therefore, minimal unless there is a question of negligence or misconduct leading to his dismissal. Teachers, too, have extremely comprehensive retirement and salary continuation sick plans. Our Association questions most seriously the imposition in Canada of millions of dollars of levy on teachers and school boards to support the inclusion
of teachers in the insured categories. If the government wishes to impose additional taxes for the relief of unemployment, that is clearly up to Parliament. We consider, however, that such impositions when levied against a secure occupational group such as teachers, should be clearly labelled taxes and not levied under the guise of an insurance premium.
We wish to assure you again that we are grateful for this opportunity to express a few of our views to your special joint committee.
For the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association
Leave a Reply