Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 13 (26 November 1980)
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, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 13 (26 November 1980).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 13
Wednesday, November 26, 1980
Senator Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, 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
The document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a
Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen
respecting the Constitution of Canada” published
by the Government on October 2, 1980
(See back cover)
First Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament, 1980
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE OF
THE SENATE AND OF THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS ON THE CONSTITUTION
Senator Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Representing the Senate:
Representing the House of Commons:
Joint Clerks of the Committee
Pursuant to S.O. 65(4)(b) of the House of Commons:
On Tuesday, November 25, 1980:
Mr. Epp replaced Mr. Taylor.
On Wednesday, November 26, 1980:
Mr. Dion (Portneuf) replaced Miss Campbell (South West Nova);
Mr. Henderson replaced Mr. Bockstael;
Mr. Robinson (Burnaby) replaced Mr. Ittinuar;
Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich) replaced Mr. Carney.
Pursuant to an order of the Senate adopted November 5, 1980:
On Wednesday, November 26, 1980:
Senator Cottreau replaced Senator Neiman;
Senator Williams replaced Senator Austin;
Senator Petten replaced Senator LeBlanc;
Senator McElman replaced Senator Goldenberg.
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1980
The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada met at 3:38 o’clock p.m. this day, the Joint Chairman, Mr. Joyal, presiding.
Members of the Committee present:
Representing the Senate: The Honourable Senators Asselin, Cottreau, Hays. Lamontagne, Lucier, McElman, Petten, Roblin, Tremblay and Williams.
Representing the House of Commons: Miss Campbell (South West Nova), Messrs. Corbin, Dion (Portneuf), Epp, Fraser, Gimaiel, Henderson, Irwin, Joyal, Lapierre, Mackasey, McGrath, Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich), Nystrom and Robinson (Burnaby).
Other Members present: Messrs. Allmand, Friesen, La Salle.
In attendance: From the Parliamentary Centre: Mr. Peter Dobell, Director. From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Messrs. Paul Martin and John McDonough, Researchers.
Witnesses: From the National Association of Japanese Canadians: Mr. Gordon Kadota, President; Mr. Roger Obata; Dr. Art Shimizu, Constitution Committee, Chairman. From La Fédération des Francophones Hors Quebec Inc.: Miss Jeannine Séguin, President; Mr. Donald Cyr, Director General; Mr. Rene-Marie Paiement, Assistant Director General (Policies).
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Reference from the Senate dated November 3, 1980 and its Order of Reference from the House of Commons dated October 23, 1980, both relating to the document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada” published by the Government on October 2, 1980. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Thursday, November 6, 1980, Issue No. 1.)
Messrs. Kadota, Obata and Shimizu made statement and answered questions.
Miss Séguin, Mr. Cyr and Mr. Paiement made a statement and answered questions.
At 5:47 o’clock p.m., the sitting was suspended.
At 6:21 o’clock p.m., the sitting resumed.
At 7:18 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Joint Clerks of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Wednesday, November 26, 1980
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please.
I would like to ask the media which came in with recording and broadcasting equipment to please leave the room so that we can resume our deliberations where we had left off last night.
I would also ask the hon. members of this Committee to take their seats.
I would like to request the honourable members of this Committee to take their seats so that we could resume our work.
It is my pleasure this afternoon to welcome on behalf of all the honourable members of this committee the representatives of the National Association of Japanese Canadians. We welcome Mr. Gordon Kadota, the president; Mr. Roger Obata and Dr. Art Shimizu, the constitution Committee chairman.
I understand that Mr. Kadota and his colleagues have an opening statement, and after that they will be ready to answer questions from the honourable members of this committee. Mr. Kadota.
Mr. Kadota (President, National Association of Japanese Canadians): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of this honourable committee.
On behalf of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, we thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on such a momentous occasion. May I add our appreciation for the tremendous responsibility of the undertaking this committee has at this very important time in our history. The National Association of Japanese Canadians is speaking today on behalf of the 18 Japanese Canadian regional communities. My fellow delegates are, on my right, Mr. Roger Obata of Toronto, and on his right Dr. Art Shimizu of Hamilton. My name is Gordon Kadota, president of the association and I am from Vancouver.
We requested this appearance because the Japanese Canadians have had a unique experience in Canada, an experience which more than ever must be told to contribute to the making of our future nation.
Our history in Canada is a legacy of racism made legitimate by our political institutions, and we must somehow ensure that no group of Canadians will be subjected to the whims of political process as we were. We feel that this can only be done by entrenching a Charter of Rights in our constitution. unconditionally entrenching, beyond the reach of Parliament and beyond the reach of provincial legislatures.
In speaking of the Japanese Canadian uprooting, the late Prime Minister John Diefenbaker said:
One finds it difficult to forget the wrongs committed in freedom’s name a few years ago.
Some years later Mr. Lester B. Pearson remarked:
The action by the Canadian government was a black mark against Canada’s traditional fairness and devotion to the principles of human rights.
Prime Minister Trudeau has more recently said:
The record of our intolerance in Pacific Canada in the decades around the turn of the century was not a proud one. No more exemplary was the decision taken by the federal government, in the heat and fright of World War II. to evacuate Japanese Canadians inland from coastal communities and to deprive so tnany of their civil rights.
Ladies and gentlemen, we come to you today to plead for an inviolate entrenchment of the Charter of Rights because we are a people who were undermined, who were overridden, who were victims of a political process when such a basic and fundamental thing as rights were not guaranteed, and today they still are not.
It is important to know that the very racism that exists in our society today is what kept us as second-class citizens, without franchise, well before the outbreak of World War II, and that Canadians of Japanese descent could not become, for example, lawyers or pharmacists. They could become teachers, but then they could not get jobs. They could not buy Crown land or even work on Crown land without certain restrictions.
In 1936 there was a delegation to this very city, Ottawa, to request but be denied the franchise which should have been the birthright of these Canadians. One of these very delegates, Mrs. Hida Shimizu, is in the chamber today and I would like to recognize her.
The Japanese Canadians served in the two world wars; they even bought victory bonds in the internment camps to prove their loyalty to this nation. The uprooting and forced removal from their homes of 22,000 men, women and children resulted in families being broken because the men were sent to the road camps. Living conditions were overcrowded and deplorable, medical and educational facilities were very much inadequate. We also have in the gallery Mr. George Imai, very active in the National Association of Japanese Canadians, who vividly remembers his formative years in the wooden huts of a place called Tashme.
We have Mr. Sumic Watanabe, one of the few surviving first generation pioneer isseis, representing that generation which persevered with little but their dignity. We wish to tell you that there are new Canadians here as represented by Mr. Tatsuo Kage who are now wondering: Can that possibly happen to us in Canada today?
You have heard during the past two weeks from constitutional experts and from groups who have dissected the proposed Charter of Rights section by section. There appears to be a general consensus by these groups that the rights must be entrenched. Yes, we, too, support entrenchment, perhaps
moreso than any other group. However, unless we, the Japanese Canadians, can relate to you our unique experience so that you might feel some part of it, we will not have impressed Upon you enough of how important our plea is for an inviolate entrenchment, and that there are areas in the current proposal which we feel can undermine the fundamental protection, the Very objective of what the proposal sets out to do.
At this time, please permit me to call upon my colleague, Mr. Roger Obata.
Mr. Roger Obata (Past President, National Association of Japanese Canadians): Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. The year was 1942; 22,881 men, women and children were uprooted and dispossessed of their homes because of the invocation of the War Measures Act, so there are at least that many stories to tell. I feel very fortunate that I could be here to speak to you of the human experiences and what it means to be deprived of rights that most Canadians take for granted. Mrs. Hida Shimizu, who is in the audience today, is a member Of the delegation that came to Ottawa in 1936 seeking the franchise; she is with us in the gallery as previously mentioned by the chairman. Unfortunately, Parliament did not grant us this fundamental right until 1949. She is here today, 44 years later. to ask that the proposed Charter of Rights be amended and entrenched in the constitution so that the experience of our people may never be repeated. Here is her story:
I was born in Vancouver and was raised in a non-Japanese neighbourhood, as father wanted to have our family become real Canadians, but can you imagine the shock and disappointment of locked doors in practically every line of pursuit for a “nisei” like me. Our young women were restricted to three types of work: domestic service; sewing; or helping in corner convenience stores run by Japanese. Even women trained as typists and stenos could not find employment. University graduates had to be content with menial jobs in logging camps, fishing, farming. et cetera.
I was trained as a teacher, as were many others; but I was the only one fortunate enough to find work as a teacher in Steveston, a completely Japanese community. They hired me assuming that I could communicate with the children in the Japanese language; but the joke was on them, because I could speak English only.
At the time of the evacuation, no arrangements were made for the schooling of the children. I was asked to organize schools in seven camps, and, with the assistance of one other teacher and a number of untrained high school graduates who had to serve as teachers. we set up emergency schools. In some cases, it was 15 or 20 years after the evacuation before family members were reunited.
Many young people were exiled to Japan. There are lingering bitter memories in the minds of those who, even to this
day, cannot accept the tragic fate of our wartime experiences. These are part of the trauma this very sad experience. It has been 35 years. I am a Christian woman, so I have forgiven; but it is very difficult to forget.
Now my story is to relate the effect of the evacuation on me personally. Our family consisted of just my mother and Iafter my father died in 1937. My mother lived alone in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, while I was living in Toronto.
When the evacuation order was issued, people in Prince Rupert had four hours in which to vacate their homes. They were only allowed whatever luggage they could carry. All personal belongings and furniture were looted prior to the forced sale of our home.
I am sure you would not believe that this could happen in a democratic country like Canada that the government could confiscate homes and sell them without the owner’s consent. My home was disposed of this way while I was in Canadian uniform.
I received, as did others, less than ten cents in the dollar as compensation for our home.
I am a Japanese Canadian. a veteran of World War II. I think my experiences and struggle in trying to enlist in the Armed Services of Canada is typical of the problems faced by several hundred Japanese-Canadian volunteers.
Around 1943 to 1944, after some period of detention in the concentration camps in the interior of B.C., many evacuees came to resettle in Toronto. An organization called The Japanese-Canadian Committee for Democracy, or J.C.C.D., was formed to assist in the resettlement, but it also took a leadership role on such issues as the enlistment in the armed forces by Japanese Canadians.
It may be pertinent to note here that during World War I, 202 Japanese Canadians volunteered for service; 59 lost their lives in actual combat in Europe.
But during World War II, the Canadian government at first refused to accept Japanese Canadian volunteers. The majority of our friends said that we, in the J.C.C.D., were crazy to advocate enlistment in view of the way we had been treated in B. C. Our position was that we could not accept any kind of discrimination, oven in the matter of service in the armed forces for to do so would be to accept a second-class citizens status.
Since the whole evacuation was based on suspected disloyalty, the J.C.C.D was determined to prove the loyalty of Japanese Canadians. It was the ultimate in turning the other cheek. Needless to say, we were scorned by many of our fellow Japanese Canadians for our stand.
At this time, the British were looking for interpreters to interrogate prisoners in Southeast Asia, and translators to
prepare propaganda broadcasts to the enemy, as well as to translate captured enemy documents, and they came to us.
But to serve in British uniform would have defeated the whole purpose. We wanted to prove we were Canadians.
Then the government in Ottawa abruptly reversed its stand and decided to accept Japanese Canadians in the Canadian Army. The reason for the sudden reversal of policy was revealed after the 30-year official secrecy period had elapsed. It was first made public by the late Judy LaMarsh, who served in the Canadian Army Intelligence Corps, as I did, in Washington, D.C. When informed of the J.C.C.D.’s position, Lord Louis Mountbatten advised Winston Churchill, who lost no time in contacting Mackenzie King in Ottawa. So it might be said that we have Sir Winston Churchill to thank for making it possible to enlist in the Canadian Army.
I hope that what I have related will give you some idea what it meant to be a Japanese Canadian in those days. It was as though we were living in a different country. I am sure that what you have heard must sound foreign to you and not Canadian, but it is factual, and did happen right here in Canada.
We lived through the worst kind of racism in British Columbia for more than 70 years. Imagine having to pay taxes for 70 years without even the right to vote.
Surely, some guarantee of human and civil rights is mandatory in the light of the experiences of Japanese Canadians. A Charter of Rights entrenched in the constitution to prevent what we have gone through is the least that Canada can do to make amends for what has happened to us and to ensure that such injustices will never be repeated.
Mr. Kadota: Mr. Chairman, honourable members of the Committee, I wish to present Dr. Art Shimizu.
Mr. Art Shimizu (Constitution Committee, Chairman, National Association of Japanese Canadians): Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I, too, wish to thank you as other members of this delegation have, for the opportunity to appear before you this afternoon.
I have only two brief points to make. Firstly, we should like to say that we are committed to the principle of entrenchment of the Charter of Rights in the constitution.
However, we are very unhappy with Section I of the charter as presently drafted. Although we recognize the immeasurable suffering that the American and Japanese experienced as a result of World War II,—and certainly we did not wish to appear to condone the wrongdoings to which they were subjected—I should like to illustrate their advantage, because of the entrenched Bill of Rights.
Even the architects of organized discrimination recognize the difficulties of a constitutionally entrenched Bill of Rights in the United States. When the American and Canadian governments were conspiring to deport—more correctly to send to Japan, because two-thirds were born here—and disperse Americans and Canadians of Japanese extraction, the then United States Under Secretary of State Edward Stettinius expressed his concern over some impediment in their grand design.
In view of a good number of Japanese of American nationality serving in our army whom we could not, in justice, deport, after they had fought for us, and citizenship laws differing in certain important respects from those of Canada . . .
He went on to state these citizenship differences. He went on to state these citizenship differences, and I quote again:
The Canadians will probably realize that our situation is complicated by our laws relating to citizenship and the constitutional provisions regarding the native-born.
Thus because of the constitutionally enshrined Bill of Rights, the Japanese Americans were able to return to their homes a full nine months prior to the termination of the Pacific war, while the Canadian Japanese languished in the internment camps and were being deported, sent back to Japan most likely and dispersed, for almost four full years after the unconditional surrender of Japan when the presumed reasons for their confinement had vanished.
The second point I wish to make is the very serious reservations we have with the manner in which Section 1 is presently framed. More specifically the phrase:
. . . only so such reasonable limits as are generally accepted in a free and democratic society with a parliamentary system of government.
Its broadness and vagueness can be interpreted to give the government the licence to invoke, for instance, the War Measures Act or any future emergency powers act. It is our view that rather than limiting the rights of individuals and groups on certain occasions, there should be limits put on the definition of what constitutes an emergency. This principle should in some fashion find expression in the constitution. Also, unless the constitution guarantees that the Bill of Rights is to supersede all past, present and future legislation, then ladies and gentlemen, we believe that you are not only condoning the past, you are preparing the way for history to repeat itself. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Kadota: Mr, Chairman. honourable members of the committee, if I may I wish to take just a few more minutes and quote the words of the Honourable Mr. Thomas Berger, the
noted author on the rights of the minority people and whose words reflect our views:
There may be cogent reasons why greater powers over the economy may in one era be granted to Parliament, in another era to the provinces. But there cannot be any justification for trading jurisdiction over minority rights back and forth according to the temper of the times. Minority rights, together with the fundamental freedoms which offer the means for asserting those rights, should be entrenched in the constitution, beyond the reach of Parliament, beyond the reach of provincial authority. This should be fundamental to Canadian federalism.
Mr. Chairman, honourable members, we the National Association of Japanese Canadians urge your recommendation to the Government of Canada to include in the constitution a just and unconditional Charter of Human Rights which will ensure that the fundamental rights of a free society be the birthright of all Canadians. Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Kadota. I would like now to invite the members to ask questions of our witnesses, and the first name I have on my list of speakers is the Honourable John Fraser.
Mr. Fraser: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I think I can say on behalf of all members of this committee of whatever party to Mr. President Gordon Kadota, Roger Obata and Doctor Art Shimizu, welcome. I can assure you on behalf of all us, of whatever party, that what you have to say will be very carefully considered by this committee.
I want to say something else to you: I was born in Yokohama, Japan and I was brought to Canada by my parents when I was about four years old, and although I have lost the Japanese language, at that time I spoke both languages.
I want to say to you that your presence here in front of this committee, of which I am a member as a member of Parliament for Canada, is an emotional experience, because my father lived eight years in Japan. After Pearl Harbour, and when I was ten years old, we returned to Canada and lived in Kerrisdale, Vancouver. My father was a veteran of the first World War and had fought with Canadians of Japanese descent in the Canadian army in the trenches in France and whose memorial, as you will know, is still there in Stanley Park commemorating the Japanese Canadians who died for Canada in the first World War. He spoke out against the internment, not because he was not a loyal Canadian; not because he was not prepared to fight in the war that we were engaged in, but because he said that we were fighting a war in the terms that were understandable in those days, British justice, and that what was being done to the sons and daughters of the comrades he fought with was contrary to the very British justice that we thought we were engaged in protecting in the fight against Nazism.
I remember very vividly going to school, Quilchena elementary school in Kerrisdale which is on a high rise which overlooks 41st, and that neighbourhood in which I grew up. I remember day after day being engaged in fights with my fellow school mules because I was born in Japan.
I recall the panic that engulfed that city; I remember the blackouts; the air raid drills and I also remmember the emotional turmoil in which the people were thrown as a consequence of events, and I will never forget it.
So your presence here is of particular interest to me, and if my father were here he would say welcome, welcome back after all these years.
There are other things that I remember. I remember a very great friend of my father and mother who was a white Canadian who is Japan had married a Japanese lady and she was to be interned. I remember the interventions that my father and others made on her behalf and as a consequence she was able to spend the time with her husband and was not required tojoin the rest of you in the internment that followed.
Just after the war, I remember vividly when I was a young person, working in a logging camp up in the mountains behind a place called Birch Island on the Thompson River, where many of your people had been put in work camps, I remember the kindness with which I was treated by the Japanese Canadians who were there, because I had been born in Japan.
There are other things that I also remember: I remember that when the first bomb was dropped on Japan, the first atomic bomb, my father said to me in anguish, Remember something as long as you live: they would never have dropped this bomb on white people without a warning.
Now I say these things to you because as my father would say if he was here, welcome back after all these years, and I say with an emotion for which I have no apologies.
I want you to know that what you have to say has reached us before, the story is not unknown, but it is a significant event in my life being here as your representative, as your servant, to hear your story, and I say that with a great deal of feeling.
I want to turn if I can, gentlemen, to some of the points that you have raised about the proposal that is presently before us. You have indicated that under Section 1 the attempt to entrench rights is for all practical purposes removed, and that point of view has been made clear to this committee by others. I want to ask you whether, before this particular proposal was drafted, there was any consultation on the part of the government of the day with yourself or, to your knowledge, with any others as to the form the proposal would take, whether you had any indication before the proposal was introduced to Parliament in early October just what its actual wording would be? I am referring specifically, Mr. Chairman, to the proposed constitutional change.
Mr. Kadota: I stand to be corrected, but I believe sometime in late October I received from the office of the Minister of
Multiculturalism the proposal in this form and a letter requesting our views and opinions on it.
Mr. Fraser: That was after the proposal, however, had in fact been drafted, was it not?
Mr. Kadota: That is correct.
Mr. Fraser: So prior to the proposal being drafted, and during the many months of discussion about the constitution which has been, I think, euphemistically referred to as a debate, although I do not agree it is a debate when you do not know what the proposal is, but during that entire time there was no discussion with yourselves or with other minority groups in the country, to your knowledge, as to what the actual terms of the proposal would be?
Mr. Kadota: In my office as president in Vancouver there was no discussion or consultation. We do have executive officers in Toronto, but if they had been consulted or approached I would have been told about it and, to the time best of my knowledge, we did not know the contents of the proposal at the that you have mentioned, Mr. Fraser.
Mr. Fraser: I do not know whether you have been able to follow all the proceedings of the committee, I doubt if you have been able to follow them all, but some of the representations that we have received have been so critical of the proposal that we would be led to believe that it is almost necessary to require a rewriting of the proposal itself.
Now, if that is necessary, if for instance this committee had to say it is so—flawed for instance, the Jewish Congress came here the other night and I think was able to enumerate well over two-thirds of the sections which they wished to have changed. Now, if it is that flawed and has to be rewritten, can you give us any guidance as to what ought to be done with it when the redraft comes back? Do you think that you ought to be able to view that, to consider whether in fact it has met your objections?
Mr. Kadota: Mr. Chairman, while this may sound selfish on the part of Japanese Canadians, yes, we would like to review it but our concern—not that we do not share the concerns of the other groups and of the other peoples who wish to review the proposal, but because of our experience, while we may have views on various sections of the current proposal, for instance, our major concern is what we presented today: Will the entrenchment of a bill of rights indeed prevent an occurrence again of what we have experienced? Not just to us; to any group of Canadians.
Mr. Fraser: Well, Mr. Kadota, I only speak now for myself, but as it is presently drafted, and given my very great interest which you will now find very understandable, in the problems you bring to us, I do not think it will, but even assuming that Section 1 or the, other sections that you have mentioned are changed, I want to invite you to consider another aspect of the proposal which you have not mentioned in your brief and that is the amending formula.
Now, as you are no doubt aware, there are basically three amending formulae. The first is this so-called amendment that can take place within two years if eight provinces with 80 per cent of the population agree; then that proposition, against any proposition the federal government might come up with, would be put to a referendum. I point it out that with the population of Ontario being what it is, if Ontario stayed with its present position that of course would never happen.
The second amending formula is Section 41 and I do not want to go into the details of that, but Section 42 is very interesting and we would like some guidance from you on this. Section 42 says that if the federal government, not having been able to get agreement to something that it wants to do, wishes to go over the heads of the provincial legislatures and make an amendment to the constitution of Canada, it can do so by direct appeal to the people by way of referendum.
Now, it is important to realize that only the federal government can initiate that and only the federal government runs the referendum. In other words, it sets the rules for the referendum and all the advantage, for good or ill, that may lie with that is with the federal government. In other words, if ten provinces came in and said, We want changes; we think it is in the public interest to have a change—that request cannot result in a referendum. There is no right.
Now, given the fact that a federal government, sometime in the distant future, could take advantage of a mood in Canada which might be very much against a particular minority and could go over the heads of the provincial legislatures and go to the people to have a change in the constitution which could as a result take away the rights that you would like to see entrenched, could you give us your comments on that and can you tell us whether you think that is a safe proposition to put into this proposal because this proposal is much more than just a delineation of some of the rights which people want secured?
Mr. Shimizu: Maybe I could answer that. I do not think we wish to get involved in the issues of amending formula or whatever; we just want to address ourselves to the issues that we have experienced, and if you do not mind, Mr. Chairman, we would like to leave it at that. I think that that is our position on the question of amending and amendments.
Mr. Fraser: One more question.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Unfortunately, Mr. Fraser, you are well over your time and I see that many of your colleagues of your own home province want to speak, and I am referring to Mr. Don Munro, and I am quite sure Senator Williams, and our witnesses know that we have a specific schedule to try and abide by.
I would like to recognize now Mr. Svend Robinson.
Mr. Robinson: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I, too, would like to thank you for the excellent brief you presented and certainly for me, who was not even born at the
time of the events which you are speaking of, it was a very moving presentation indeed, and I might add that the eloquent remarks of Mr, Fraser were also very moving.
I must say before I begin my questioning that I speak on behalf, I know, of at least some members of this committee in saying that I find it rather disturbing and rather embarrassing that the government would place before Parliament a Charter of Rights which would permit exactly the same kind of shameful history of internment and confiscation of property which happened to your people, that the government of the day would present to parliament that kind of Charter of Rights permitting that to occur again today and, Mr. Chairman, I certainly hope that I speak on behalf of the majority of the Committee in saying we will be doing everything we can to ensure that when this document is reported out, that that particular one, what can only be regarded as an oversight, will have indeed been corrected.
Mr. Kadota and other members of the delegation and also, of course, it is a special privilege to have Hide Shimizu here today before us. I have a couple of questions and one relates to the matter of… As you said, you support the principle of entrenchment and certainly in view of the history of what happened to your people in terms of internment and confiscation of property, I think members of this Committee may be interested to know that one of the reasons, as I know you gentlemen know it, one of the reasons the government decided at the end of World War II not to send Canadians of Japanese origin to Japan was because of the request from certain politicians that the sugar beet industry in southern Alberta might be in a difficult way if that were done, and certainly I think you are aware of that history that Mr. Hadachi outlined very well in his very fine book. As I say, we are very concerned that this kind of blot on Canadian history should not recur.
However, the remarks made by Mr. Shimizu at the end I believe should be followed up, and that is that while this document would permit in its present form these atrocities to recur in Canadian society, we also have to have some consideration of the effects of the past, and in light of that I wonder whether you might comment on whether or not you have had an opportunity to examine the provisions of this proposed charter with respect to remedies? Clearly it is not good enough to present a Charter of Rights which cannot be enforced in any meaningful way, which has no opportunity for, for example, reimbursement in the case of confiscation of property, and I wonder whether one of you might perhaps be willing to comment on whether you have examined this charter and whether, as you are aware, there is no adequate provision for remedies. Also, you might comment on whether to this day the confiscation of property which took place has been adequately compensated for in your views.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Obata.
Mr. Obata: Mr. Chairman, I would like to deal with the last question of the compensation for property, I am not sure whether the members here are aware that there was a Royal Commission under Mr. Justice Bird set up to investigate the
property losses only resulting from the evacuation, and at that time we, as the Japanese Canadian Organization on a national scale, undertook a survey to establish just what we felt the losses were in our own estimate, and they came out to roughly $15 million dollars. Now, the awards that were given by the Bird Commission amounted to $1,222,000, which was slightly less than ten cents on the dollar. We feel that this was really a token compensation only for tangible property losses, and as such I believe that there is much to be argued that the compensation was totally inadequate at this time, and there are steps being taken in the United States this very day to investigate those injustices at the present time which were very similar to those in Canada. The percentage of roughly ten cents on the dollar was remarkably close in both countries.
Mr. Robinson: Thank you, Mr. Obata. I assume, then, you would agree that in a charter of rights there should be some provision for remedies for violation of those rights. As I say, I do not know whether you have specifically examined that question, but that there should be some provision whereby the courts can independently say: yes, you have suffered a violation of your rights and you are entitled to reimbursement not only for property loss, but for example, the violation of dignity that was suffered in that time. I assume that you would be very concerned that there should be such a provision contained in a charter of rights. Would that be accurate?
Mr. Obata: Yes.
Mr. Robinson: Now, just a couple of other questions, if I may, Mr. Chairman. Following up on the question that was asked by Mr. Fraser on the amending formula, and I appreciate that you do not want to get into the technicalities of that, but I would like to ask two questions with respect to the amending formula.
First of all, I wonder whether you have had an opportunity to examine the amending formula to the extent that you have been able to determine, as Mr. Fraser has indicated, at any given time in this country a referendum could take away any of the rights which are granted in this Charter of Rights and that referendum need only be passed by a majority of the citizens of Canada, with a majority in each of four regions. You have said in your excellent brief that you believe there should be, and I quote your words, “an irrevocable entrenchment of a charter of human rights”, and you ask that the will of what you call the politically motivated majority not be inflicted on a visible minority. I assume, therefore, in light of those concerns, that you would see a charter of rights as a basic floor and that no majority of Canadians at any given time should be able to take away those rights by way of referendum. Would that be an accurate statement?
Mr. Obata: Yes, it sounds very accurate.
Mr. Robinson: Thank you. And my final question, Mr. Chairman, would be: I also assume, and perhaps you could comment on this, that as you are aware many of the deprivations of the rights of Canadians of Japanese origin have occurred at the hands not just of the federal government but,
historically, also at the hands of provincial governments in this country and that is one of the reasons why you want an entrenched bill of rights affecting both federal and provincial governments. I wonder if you would comment, then, on proposals which have been made in some quarters which would permit provinces to opt in and opt out of a charter of rights as they so desired. I would assume that you would be seeking a charter of rights which was binding on all parts of the country and not just one part. Would that be accurate?
Mr. Obata: Exactly, yes.
Mr. Robinson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Robinson. I would like to recognize now the honourable Bryce Mackasey.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, I think this is in many ways the shortest brief that has been presented to us and I also say that it is probably the most effective, which is a lesson for politicians, I think.
I also think Mr. Fraser summed it up very well in expressing the emotion all of us felt. I think that emotion stems from a latent feeling of guilt on the part of all of us, even those who were not born during the war years, let alone in a position to do anything about the grave injustice done to your community.
I think, too, we tend to think that Canadians of Japanese origin reside entirely and exclusively in British Columbia, and I know different from a visit that I have been able to have with Canadians of Japanese origin in the riding of Lincoln in the community of Grimsby where you have your magnificent home for retired people, although I have not found too many people in that community over the age of 80 who were retired, and they led me a merry pace and invited me back at Christmas which is an invitation I intend to take up.
I want to say very much at the outset that I am not going to ask you about amending formulas or referendums; I leave that up to other witnesses. I think your brief is much more persuasive. You have, speaking for myself, eliminated any doubt in my mind that may have occurred perhaps listening to Mr. Justice Clyne, last night, a good friend of all of us, with your brief any your presentation about the advisability enshrining human rights in the constitution. I can listen and be persuaded by academics and intellectuals, constitutional experts, provincial premiers who have made it impossible to do this for 50 years, but I think if I have to go to court, to go to Parliament, go to caucus and go to Cabinet with a persuasive argument for the entrenchment of a charter of human rights, I would rather go with your document and I intend to see that it is circulated in the schools of the Niagara Peninsula.
You go further than say entrenchment of a charter of human rights: you say an irrevocable entrenchment. I think Mr. Robinson is doing us a service in pointing out quite objectively the possibility that some of the features of the proposed resolution could be used unintentionally to offset the word “irrevocable”.
Mr. Chairman, I would hope in light of the grave concerns that our witnesses have today about Section 1, that the minister be requested to come back to this committee before December 8, preferably the fifth or sixth or so, earlier in any event, so that we can find out in an objective and non-partisan way what he intends to do about Section 1, whether it is to be left in its present form. The present form reflects not communication and dialogue with groups such as your own; it reflects the views of the provincial premiers of this country.
It reflects the findings of the minister in his deliberations across Canada this summer as well as the selfishness of many provincial premiers.
I think Section 1 is defective and has to be improved. I cannot presume to be talking for my party, but certainly I am speaking for myself. So, I am very pleased with the forcefulness with which you have made your points.
There is not much I can add, Mr. Chairman, for fear of destroying the impact of this brief, but again, I am impressed by your paragraph on page 2. Perhaps I can read it again:
It is our position that all Canadians, whether in British Columbia or Newfoundland, must be guaranteed the same freedoms and rights. . .
You are not asking for something special for Canadians of Japanese origin, but for the same rights for all Canadians regardless of their ethnic origin. That is both important and refreshing. It continues:
and be assured that any possible infringement of such freedoms and rights be adjudicated by the most objective and impartial arbiter; the Judiciary, rather than Parliament or the Provincial Legislatures in which the political powers can determine the outcome. To do otherwise could result, at best, in the absurd and unjust situation of different rights for different groups in different parts of one nation; and at worst, could leave certain groups of Canadians open to the type of discrimination which the Japanese Canadians suffered in the past.
While I do not think that is the outcome of Section 23, nevertheless I am uneasy over the linguistic rights which are available to new Canadians who are other than British or French origin; somehow, unintentionally, their rights to be educated and to have their children educated in either of the official languages are being infringed upon here.
Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, on that note I might leave it. I would like to thank you, once again, because it has been very
easy in the last two weeks to have your confidence shaken by some of the witnesses and to be academic, legalistic, and, in some cases, opinionated. I think you speak from the heart and soul, and this brief is by far the best and certainly the most persuasive.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you Mr. Mackasey.
Do you hve any comment to make, Mr. Kadota.
Mr. Kadota: I wish to thank the members of the Committee, Mr. Fraser, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Mackasey and possibly some others, for allowing us to be here.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am sorry, but I would certainly be ready and willing to entertain more questions. I have on my list Mr. McGrath and Mr. Munro, and Senator Williams who would like to address some questions or remarks to you.
As the Joint Chairman of this Committee, with the consent of honourable members of this Committee, we are certainly ready to continue this great discussion, provided that we bear in mind that we have other witnesses to come in order to complete our work for this afternoon.
I would like to recognize the Honourable James McGrath.
Mr. Corbin: Mr. Chairman, a point of order.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Corbin, you have a point of order.
Mr. Corbin: Mr. Chairman, the members of this Committee know that the bell will ring at 5:45. I hope that our witnesses are under the impression that their brief has been well received and, out of courtesy for these witnesses who are to be heard at 4:30, I would like, with the unanimous consent of the Committee, to start right now with the second group of witnesses, that is the Fédération des Franeophones hors Québec. Once again, there is a vote at 5:45 and, though I do not want to prevent you from asking other questions to these witnesses, I think we should start with the second group of witnesses.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): May I have someone on this side?
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. I fully sympathize with the thrust of the argument of my honourable friend opposite. He is as anxios to hear the other witnesses as we all are. We are going to be interrupted by the bell and he does not intend to show any disurespect to the witnesses before us. But he has, in fact, identified once again the dilemma we are all faced with; and, quite frankly, I believe this to be a very important witness. Certainly there are colleagues from the West Coast who feel it very important to be able to direct questions at this witness. Again, in doing that, we are not showing any disrespect to witnesses who follow.
Once again, we identify and address the terrible dilemma we are in by the artificial time constraint imposed upon us by closure.
We would like to proceed.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Go ahead, Mr. McGrath. I have already recognized you.
Mr. McGrath: I was very touched, as we all were, by the brief of these gentlemen. I would like to ask one or two specific questions. Yesterday we had before us one of the only outside experts who has appeared before this Committee to date, in terms of being an expert in constitutional law; that was the Honourable Mr. Justice Clyne, who appeared before us last night.
He gave us a very compelling and eloquent argument as to the dangers of entrenchment of a Bill of Rights in the constitution. We know, for example, that countries which have entrenched bills of rights in their constitutions are countries which are usually identified by the violation of these very rights. I can refer you, for example, to one of the parliamentary democracies that has an entrenched bill of rights, namely, India.
However, for the purposes of my question, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask these very distinguished gentlemen, who have made such an eloquent plea on behalf of their constituents, if, in fact—and I am sure they have consulted legal advisors—they have examined the United States Bill of Rights, because I was touched by the fact that, notwithstanding the Bill of Rights of the great American Constitution, that did not protect the rights of Japanese Americans from internment and suspension of their civil rights during the war.
I am intrigued as to how you feel or can make the case before this Committee that your rights would be protected by entrenchment, given the experience of the Japanese Americans at the hands of the U.S. government during the war.
My question is prompted by Mr. Justice Clyne’s argument that rights can be more adequately protected in a parliamentary democracy, not by entrenchment, but by statute law.
It is my view, for example, that if we were to give the Dielenbaker Bill of Rights paramountcy, as the Statute of the Parliament of Canada, that would be a more effective instrument in the protection of rights.
Again, I get back to the thrust of my question. Have you examined how it was possible for Japanese Americans to be deprived of their civil rights and forcibly interned, the U.S. Bill of Rights notwithstanding?
Mr. Shimizu: I will try to answer the question. I am not a lawyer. We do not presume to be lawyers or constitutional experts in any way.
However, it seems to us that, when an emergency occurs, as it did during the Second World War, and two people are subjected to the same type of oppression, the Americans fared
somewhat better, in that nine months prior to the end of the war they were back at home; whereas four years after, we were still being sent back to Japan and being dispersed. I think therefore, that is an advantage.
At least, you could focus your complaint through a judicial body or forum, but, if you had to wait for public opinion or public conscience to assert itself, you would be waiting, as in the case of the Japanese Canadians, for four years after the war. So that is an argument I would like to use.
Now, people have talked about the primacy of Parliament. Now, I believe in that, too. however, it has been influenced by a lot of things, Perhaps when you gentlemen sitting around here decide to be generous and to entrench some of these rights—though we do not agree with the present ones- perhaps we will be assured of some protection when an emergency arises.
The first section is too broad and almost negates all of the other rights which are spelled out, because governments can put things in there, such as emergency powers, which could negate everything, So that all these fine words do not mean anything.
Mr. McGrath: The very rights that you so eloquently mentioned you were deprived of were taken from you by virtue of the invocation of the War Measures Act.
You have rightly stressed the shortcomings of Section 1, but under the provisions of this bill there is no protection against the War Measures Act; indeed, we are enshrining, by the principle of the enshrinement of rights, such inequitous law as the War Measures Act and the Official Secrets Act—you have rightly identified that as one of the consequences of Section 1, But have you examined, for example, Sections 7, 8, 9 and 10(c) dealing with the legal rights which would, certainly, seem to be more relevant to the experience that you and your people suffered during the war?
Again, I am not asking you a legal question, sir, but have you sought legal advice on the implication of this section?
Mr. Shimizu: We have discussed the matter with legal people, but I could not articulate to you our exact position on these matters.
Mr. McGrath: It is your position, then. that only Section 1 of the proposed Charter of Rights needs to be amended. Is that the position you want to put to the Committee?
Mr. Shimizu: No. We do mention Sections 7 and 9 as well.
Mr. MacGrath: I see.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. McGrath. I would now like to recognize the honourable Senator Williams for a short intervention.
Senator Williams: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, first I would like to commend the three witnesses from the National Association of Japanese Canadians.
Since my boyhood I have mingled with many people of Japanese origin in the fishing fleet of British Columbia, so I knew a lot of them. I can tell you that I have witnessed both the dislocation and upheaval which came about as a result of their internment. I know about a lot of the problems and sufferings that many of them had to undergo at the time of internment.
I was one of those who spoke loudly, advocated that they should come back to the province. I can distinctly remember an incident when one of the internees, who was working in the fields of the Province of Alberta all day, labouring, and in less than an hour, in her place which, as far as I am concerned, could be described as a shack, she bore her child.
Many of my friends lived among them in the capital of the fishing industry in Richmond, the outskirts of Vancouver, a place known as Steveston. I am sure that many of them know of that.
I wish to commend them for their brief. It has far—reaching implications and effects which can be studied over and over and possibly we could gain a good deal of benefits from it in relation to the entrenchment of a bill of rights which would be forthcoming possibly in the near future.
I also would like to commend their supporting delegation, young and old. I think I understand their problems a little more than the average Canadian, because under very similar circumstances, we have been oppressed in many, many ways as you people have been.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Senator Williams.
I would like to recognize now Mr. Donald Munro.
Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich): Thank you Mr. Chairman. If I may, Mr, Chairman, before I put a question, I would like to bring what I would like to consider as independent testimony to the Canadianess of the Japanese Canadians who are represented today by the National Association of Japanse-Canadians.
One of my strongest recollections of my university life, and the last two or three years in particular, was the friendly competition I had with a young Japanese Canadian, the son of a reverend of Vancouver, and who was a fellow student of mine at the University of British Columbia where we were both learning Canada’s second language. There was a very sharp rivalry between us as to which one of us would be awarded the scholarship to go to the Sorbonne to carry on our studies.
Unfortunately he did not survive the war. He suffered from T8. His brother, Peter—I believe that is his name—I knew less well, but he was a student also at the University of British Columbia in English, and he was an outstanding student.
These two Japanese Canadians, in the years 1936 to 1938, were preparing themselves to take their place in the Canadian community, either as teachers or in some other field. One, as a student of one of Canada’s official languages—not official
languages at that time—and the other in the other language of Canada.
Before commenting on Section 1, I would just like to leave aside for the moment, making a reservation, so to speak, the question of the appropriateness of submitting a proposal of this nature to another parliament for legitimization; but taking into account the work that Canadian parliamentarians—and the Canadian people—will one day have to do before deciding whether or not to entrench rights in a constitutional document. I leave that as a reservation for my comment.
But since this is a long-term operation, I would like to take advantage of the presence here of the representatives of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, and ask specifically whether it is that portion of Section I which starts:
subject only to such reasonable limits as are generally accepted in a free and democratic society
which gives them cause to pause.
Section 15, for example, which deals with the rights of non-discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin.
With one or other, you know, not in legal terms necessarily, but bearing in mind the tradition, the story that you have given us which reminds us all of what did happen, would you care to comment on that. I would like to mention this four-year difference on the United States side, because at the time, if I am correct, there was no, strictly speaking, Canadian citizenship; there was a Canadian nationality and that might or might not have had a bearing on the hesitation, if you like, of rehabilitating those Nisei who were interned during the war. I am not sure whether that has a hearing or not, but it might have, and Ijust enter that as a distinction between the state in the United States where there was a United States citizenship and in Canada where there was, in legal terms, only a Canadian nationality. I would like to come back to the first part, whether it is that particular section which has caused concern on the part of Canadians of Japanese origin.
Mr. Shimizu: It is that portion, yes; because of its looseness it makes ineffective other sections including Section 15. Because of the fact that it is so loose, we wondered if it would hold water.
Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich): In other words, if I may, Dr. Shimizu, that that “subject only to” is a worry to you unless there is some provision to exclude the imposition of The Emergency Measures Act of whatever nature it might be.
Mr. Shimizu: It says “reasonable limits”; well, to limit this charter that could be broadly interpreted, could it not . , .
Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich): Subject to the courts. In other words, this is leaving the courts to rule on what is reasonable, what limits are reasonable, one of the dangers Perhaps of entrenchment, rather than leaving it with Parliament. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Munro. I would like to recognize for a very short question, and I am quite sure I will have the co-operation of the honourable members, Mr. Benno Friesen.
Mr. Friesen: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I have just a short question for the witness. I am also a member of an ethnic group that suffered discrimination during World War II and I know something of what you are speaking of, even though we did not suffer confiscation of property. I remember this very well, and therefore I am a little surprised with your statement regarding the better treatment by the United States, since your people were allowed to go back to the West Coast a little earlier, as you pointed out.
I was looking at your brief, and at the end of it is a copy ofa letter from the Assistant Secretary of the United States, and I would like to readjust a short part of that particular letter. It is dated December 17, 1943, where he Assistant Secretary said:
I think the far larger part of official sentiment is to do something so we can get rid of these people when the war is over; obviously we cannot while the war continues.
But sentinment is liable to wane if the authorization measures adopted before the war ends.
We have 110,000 of them in confinement here now, and that is a lot of Japs to contend with in postwar days, particularly if the west coast localites where they once lived do not desire their return.
And so on. When I listened to that language and to the attitude that they had to you, I wonder how you can say that you had better protection under the Bill of Rights in the United States than you had in Canada.
Mr. Shimizu: We do not wish to give you the impression that we in any way support the wrongdoings that were committed upon the Japanese Americans; we said that, we certainly do not subscribe to that.
However, I was using this as an example of the fact that when they were conspiring to do this, to send people back to Japan and send them to other parts of the country, they recognized the fact that the entrenchment was an obstacle that they had to get around and this is a rare view of the discriminators’ minds, and in retrospect though it may be, this is the view of the people that were planning these things.
Now, they were trying to get around it and the major obstacle was entrenchment of the Bill of Rights and the amendments thereto, and the amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
Mr. Friesen: My simple point is that it seems quite easy for them to disregard the securities that their Bill of Righta were granting to citizens of the United States at a time of peak emotion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Kadota.
Mr. Kadota: Mr. Chairman, again one or two things, I do not wish to contribute to the prolonging of this session. This is something for reference; the American evacuation was a military order; in Canada it was a civilian order; there is that difference to start with. The Americans also had the right to recourse through a trial. In Canada there was no recourse on the part of Japanese Canadians, so there was not any way, shape, or form that we could go to the law and that was it.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Dr. Shimizu.
Mr. Shimizu: Before we leave, we do not want to leave the impression that we are happy with the proposed charter; we are not; we are not happy with it as I stated. That does not mean that I do not support entrenchment; but we wanted to make that very clear; we are not happy.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you. It is my privilege on behalf of all the honourable members of this committee to thank you for your courtesy and your contribution to our debate. I would like to thank you personnally taking into account the opportunity that you have afforded to Canadians and especially to Canadians of my generation who were born after the war and the generation that will follow, to remind us of that page of our history and the heavy burden that we have to make sure that such things will not happen again. I would like to commend a very basic thing which is your belief that Canada could be a free land, even after you have endured such events as you have described to us this afternoon, and I am quite sure that I am the spokesman for all the members of this honourable Committee, thank you very much.
I would now like to ask the representatives of the Federation des Francophones hors Quebec to please take a place at the table reserved for the witnesses.
Before we hear the other witnesses I would like to make a point with the authorization of all the members. You know that we work under an elected time for each honourable member of this committee, and it is always awkward for the Chairman to cut off an honourable member when he is addressing himself to one of the witnesses. So I may ask that you look to the Chair sometimes when you are questioning the witness and I could indicate to you how much more time you have so that you could wind up, or decide to ask a final question immediately, so that you are not left dangling in the air. And you might be able to get the answer that you are seeking to get from the witness, So if you do not mind looking at the Chair sometimes, I could give you an indication so that You have an opportunity to question the witnesses.
Senator Tremblay: While waiting for our next witnesses to settle down, could I raise a point of order?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Of course, Senator Tremblay.
Senator Tremblay: My point of order has to do with the fact that according to what you have just told us, the bell will be ringing at 5:45 pm. We will therefore only have three-quarters
of an hour for the representatives of the next group, which in my mind, is a very important one.
I hardly dare suggest a motion which will help us solve the problem as any suggestion coming from this side has much less chance of being passed than a suggestion coming from the other side and I would certainly like to leave the initiative of the proper suggestion to solve this dilemma to one of our friends from the other side, or it could even be left up to the chair.
Mr. Corbin: Or to the Chair.
Senator Tremblay: Or to the Chair.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Well, if I may, I will let Mr. Irwin speak first.
Mr. Irwin: Mr. Chairman, I agree with Senator Tremblay this is very important and we do not have much time because the bell will be ringing. I suggest we come back immediately after and perhaps have a reasonable amount of time to ask some questions. I have some questions I would like to ask of these particular witnesses.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I understand that we could agree that honourable senators would stay in the room during the vote in the House of Commons, which I think is a 15 minute vote, and we would have to adjourn our meeting, because as you know our quorum requires that both Houses be present and I am not informed that one member on this side or on this side wants to miss the vote, so we will have to adjourn our meeting for about 20 minutes, but remember it may be agreeable to continue for maybe half an hour after we reconvene after the bell. Is this agreeable?
Mr. Corbin: We gladly accept the decision of the Chair.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much for your co-operation.
I would now like to introduce the representatives from the Federation des Francophones hors Quebec, in the person of Miss Jeanine Seguin, the President, Mr. Donald Cyr, Director-General, Mr. Rene-Marie Paiement, Assistant Director-General, Mr. Jean-Bernard Lafontaine, of the Research and Information Branch, and Mr. Roland Marcoux.
I will now invite Miss Séguin, the President, to make her opening statement, after which the representatives of the Federation will be available to answer the questions ofthe hon. members of this Committee.
Miss Jeanine Séguin (President, La Federation des Francophones hors Quebec): Thank you, Mr. Joint Chairmen, colleagues.
I believe you already have received a brief which we are presenting this afternoon, and containing our nine recommendations, as well as the legal opinions which we have obtained from our counsels.
The Fédération des Francophones hors Quebec is today presenting its brief on the Constitution Act, 1980, proposed by the federal government.
However, before dealing more specifically with the implications of this brief, I would like to clarify the essential points to which we would like to pay particular attention.
Since 1976, the Fédération des Francophones hors Quebec has reprensented the nine provincial associations which have for many years devoted themselves to defending the rights of Francophones in nine Canadian provinces with Anglophone majorities.
We are therefore directly affected by the Constitution Act of 1980 and we thank the members of the Joint Committee for recognizing this fact and for inviting us to state our case today.
The debate which has been underway since the tabling of this bill has raised opposition on many fronts. The various groups have pointed out that the bill for the patriation of the Constitution modifies the balance of power between the federal government and the provinces, is illegal and infringes the exclusive rights of the provinces in the field of education.
We do not, however, plan to deal with these questions. As the representatives of hundreds of thousands of Francophones outside Quebec, we would like to speak about the quality and scope of the language rights which we would be granted after passage of the Constitution Act, 1980.
Francophones outside Quebec deplore the fact that the Constitution Act, 1980, does not recognize the principle of the two founding peoples of this country.
Both the French and English-speaking peoples are at the very foundation of Canada. For this reason, every attempt at constitutional change must avoid sanctioning the injustices which Francophones have suffered for 113 years and must recognize the basic equality of the peoples whose language and culture are English and French.
We think that the federal government must carry out its responsibility to protect and promote the French language and culture throughout the country. In doing so, however, it must, at no time, impair the vitality of Quebec or interfere with the powers which that province already possesses for the purpose of ensuring its development as the principal centre of French language and culture on this continent.
We consider that the Charter of Language Rights included in the Constitution Act, 1980, does not go far enough.
Let us be quite clear on this point. Francophones outside Quebec recognize the urgent need to entrench language rights in the Constitution as a means of counteracting the decades of indifference on the part of provincial legislatures.
It is clear if the governments of the provinces with Anglophone majorities had given their Francophone minorities the same rights that Quebec has secured for its Anglophone minority, the entrenchment of language rights would not be the controversial issue it is today.
However, 113 years of history marked by battles with the provincial governments for the recognition of our rights have led us to believe in the need to entrench individual and collective language rights in the Constitution.
Francophones outside Quebec would be lying if they claimed to be in agreement with the Charter of Language Rights as proposed.
The Charter smacks strongly of the status quo. Entrenchment of the right to appeal to the courts would not improve the status of Francophones outside Quebec to any great extent. Francophones outside Quebec are particularly outraged by the detestable handling of the language rights’ clauses since the Constitutional Conference in September.
We are aware, very aware, of the bargaining in which the Premier of Ontario, Mr. William Davis, has indulged in in order to prevent his province from being subject to Section 133. To secure Mr. Davis’ support for its patriation bill, the federal government has given in to blackmail. It is absolutely scandalous to see the rights of the Francophones outside Quebec thus reduced to mere political horse trading.
It is even more disgraceful to see Mr. Davis boast of being able to save his province from bilingualism in its legislature and courts, and to hear him say, before his supporters in the riding of Carleton East, that official bilingualism in Ontario would lead to a duplication of services and increase taxes. If this were really the case, why would the federal government not absorb the cost of institutional bilingualism in the provinces?
The most rudimentary logic shows the proposed Charter of Language Rights to be completely indefensible in its present form. How can the government claim to protect the rights of Francophone communities outside Quebec, while failing to submit Ontario and New Brunswick to the provisions of Section 133, especially when 80 per cent of the Francophones outside Quebec live in these provinces? Strategic considerations appear to take precedence over justice in this country.
Fortunately this weakness in the Charter of Language proposed by the federal government has not escaped the various interest groups which have appeared before this committee.
Among others, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Positive Action Committee and the Council of Quebec Minorities have deplored the fact that Section 133 is not being applied to Ontario and New Brunswick.
We believe that the members of Parliament and Senators on this committee must correct this error and propose an amendment which would immediately bind Ontario and New Brunswick to the provisions of section 133.
You must also ensure that section l33 is applied to all the provinces. The time has come to act, and for federal politicians
to take that action. It is now or never, since it is very unsettling to note that recognition of French as official language in Canada is decreasing, not increasing. In 1971, seven provinces were ready to recognize French as an official language in their legislatures and courts. Today, this is imposed on only one province outside Quebec.
In addition to those points, there is also a danger that the Charter of Language Rights will be ineffective in the field of minority language education rights.
Section 23 must be considerably improved if it is to meet the educational needs of Francophones outside Quebec. We condemn the fact that the right of Francophones outside Quebec to be educated in their mother tongue is subject to numerical considerations. We claim for the Francophones outside Quebec the right to complete French instruction in unilingual French language schools.
We also demand recognition of the right of Francophones outside Quebec to manage their own educational institutions. We do not want the right to education in our language to be limited to the elementary and secondary levels, but we want it extended to the pre-school and post-secondary levels as well.
These are not unrealistic demands. All these rights have been given to the Anglophone community of Quebec. We therefore condemn the present formulation of section 23 which preserves the status quo. We urge the members of the committee to remove the intricate wording and escape clauses which characterize section 23, particularly such phrases as: “where the number is sufficient to warrant. . . .” “educational facilities”, “public funds” and “primary and secondary school instruction”. It is time to put an end to half measures and to recognize the right of Francophones outside Quebec to total control over their educational resources.
Canadian history has already been marked by too many battles over education. One need only recall the current campaign for a unilingual French school district in Grand-Sault, New Brunswick; the case of Vonda-Prudhomme, Saskatchewan; the struggle in Windsor and Penetang, Ontario; the fight for a secondary school in Ile-des-Chênes, Manitoba, and the endless negotiations for a unilingual French school board in the Ottawa-Carleton region, which. by the way, is in the National Capital Region.
Such examples should cause the members of this committee to make decisions which are strongly in favour of Francophones outside Quebec. It would be absurd, to say the least, to defend a constitutional bill proposing the entrenchment, for example, of the equalization principle which guarantees essential services to all Canadians but which in fact gives concrete form to the inequality existing between the Francophone minority outside and the Anglophone community within Quebec. Francophones outside Quebec are all too well aware of this kind of double standard.
The last point we wish to criticize in particular is the fact that the federal government has proposed a Charter of Language Rights without specifying thc measures to guarantee its control and implementation. In other words, its operation. A mechanism must be established which has the mandate and extensive powers required to resolve the conflicts resulting from implementation of the Charter of Language Rights.
These are the major points to which I wished to draw attention. The members of this committee should examine very carefully the nine recommendations contained in our brief. This is absolutely essential because we would like to believe what Mr. Chrétien said to the Canadian press on November 24:
The Francophone minorities should be the first to benefit from constitutional change.
We hope that these points will become a reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, if I may now. to recall to your mind our nine recommendations as I am sure after having listened to a great number of people all day, and giving them the necessary consideration, you might have forgotten them. So I thought that I might read them over for you, Here is the first:
That the Constitution Act, 1980 and the preamble of the future Canadian constitution recognize the principle of the two founding peoples, Francophone and Anglophone, without prejudice to the rights of the native people, as the very foundation of the Canadian confederation and of the institutions which are a part of it.
Our second recommendation, which I mentioned in our introduction, is that the principle of the equality of status of the French and English languages, as set out in section 133 of the BNA Act, apply to all the provinces, and that it apply immediately to Ontario and New Brunswick.
Our third recommendation, that the citizens have the right to use the official language of their choice before all judicial and administrative tribunals established by Parliament or by provincial legislatures.
The fourth recommendation, that section 20 of the proposed resolution dealing with the use of official languages apply to the governments of all the provinces.
Our fifth recommendation, that section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1980, be reworded so as to ensure the recognition of the rights of Francophones outside Quebec to education in their language from the pre-school to the post-graduate levels inclusively and of the right to schools and homogenous school boards as well as to the administration of their educational facilities.
Our sixth recommendation. that a mechanism be established with very estensive powers whose mandate would be to settle disputes arising out of the enforcement of the Charter of Linguistic Rights.
Our seventh recommendation, that section 1 be deleted or reworded in such a way that it may not be used to diminish or cancel the effect of the Charter of Linguistic Rights.
The eighth recommendation, that sections 34 and 43 allowing amendments to be made to the constitution by agreement between the federal government and one or more provinces, be amended in such a way that the rights of the official language minorities will, under no circumstances, be diminished or cancelled by the use of these sections.
The ninth recommendation, that the Northwest Territories Act of 1877 be added to schedule 1 and the part of the new constitution.
Those, my dear friends, are our ideas and concepts which we propose in defence of the Francophones outside Quebec.
Thank you, Co-Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mademoiselle Séguin.
I believe that yourself and the gentleman who accompanied you are now prepared to answer the questions of the honourable members of this committee.
I shall first call on the Honourable Senator Asselin.
Senator Asselin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, I would like to congratulate the Federation des Francophones hors Quebec for the very clear and precise brief they have just presented. After reading this brief, I am of the impression there is no need to do any guessing as to your demands.
As a French Canadian myself, I should like to express my admiration for the enormous work that you have done for the group of Francophones outside Quebec, a persevering and courageous labour, and in Quebec, we are most happy that you have succeeded up to now in obtaining from the various governments concerned, sometimes with enormous difficulties, the concessions that have been granted.
Now as to the subject matter itself, on page one of your brief, you mentioned that the resolution for the patriation of the constitution modified the balance of power between the federal government and the provinces. You say that it is illegal and that it attacks the exclusive prerogatives of the provinces in education matters.
You continue, saying that you will not discuss those issues and that your role is to deal with language rights. Obviously, after all the battles you have waged, I understand that your main objective is to discuss language rights.
However, I would like you to elaborate further on the unilateral, illegal aspects of this proposed resolution. Do you not feel that these aspects represent a serious threat to the survival or at least to the balance of our Canadian federation?
You have told us that you support the entrenchment of language legislation in the resolution before us. That is like
saying to somebody that the foundation for the house they are building is not solid. You are casting doubts upon the legality of the document.
You say that although in your mind the document is illegal, you favour the entrenchment of language rights in the proposed resolution. Should your reasoning not be subject to some caution?
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, first, the third paragraph to which you refer states clearly at the second line that although this debate most certainly raises some objections, we point out that the opposition we encounter is that which we read about in the newspapers, That is why, further on in the text, we state that we are not here to talk about unilateral patriation, short term, medium term or long term patriation, but to talk about the scope and quality of linguistic rights.
So, that is the basic reason why we have come here today and I believe that the first sentence at the bottom of the page which states our intention not to deal with those questions reinforces what I have just told you.
Senator Asselin: That is why I was wondering whether you or your group had certain proposals or ideas about the legality of the document now before us. Are you concerns so profound that you would cast the document aside as a result of your stance on that issue alone?
Miss Séguin: While we are waiting for the provinces and the federal government to reach unanimous agreement, we are forced to witness increasing assimilation within the provinces. So, you must understand that it is a priority for us to discuss language rights and their entrenchment in the constitution first. I do not want to start ramming off statistics, but any close examination of the assimilation question within the provinces will clearly explain the logic and reasoning for our prime concern, the entrenchment of linguistic rights.
Senator Asselin: Miss Séguin, before this resolution reached Parliament, did government authorities consult your group on the entrenchment of linguistic rights? Was there any consultation with the federation?
Miss Séguin: I know that our federation distributed a document entitled POUR NE PLUS ETRE SANS PAYS which contained our ideas, our concerns, about improving the lot of the minority language group of francophones outside Quebec.
Senator Asselin: That . . .
Miss Séguin: That document was sent throughout the country, and in particular to the Canadian Parliament.
Senator Asselin: Yes. Perhaps you did not quite grasp my question. I had asked you whether the federal government had consulted your group, the Federation, regarding the proposed resolution before us.
Miss Séguin: We made concerted efforts to meet . . . At our last general meeting, a resolution was passed giving us the mandate to establish a committee made up of members of Parliament or ministers and francophones outside Quebec. We did meet with Francophones members of Parliament outside Quebec on two occasions. However, I could not really say that we have had any direct input to this resolution.
Senator Asselin: If I understand you correctly, you did not have the opportunity to send your proposals in before the document was tabled.
Miss Séguin: No, not directly to the government.
Senator Asselin: In looking at your brief, I note that you have proposed some drastic changes to Sections 16 and 23 of the proposed resolution. You have made some extreme judgments about the entrenchmentof language rights. For instance, on page 25 of your brief, you state the following opinion:
The proposed constitution in its present form reflects a rigid, static and narrow vision of the future of Francophones outside Quebec and unless the changes we propose are introduced in the text, the assimilation now underway will in no way be arrested. Francophones outside Quebec would not want to support the Constitution Act, 1980, if it permanently entrenches one law for the rich and one for the poor which describes the situation of the two official language minorities in this country.
Miss Seguin, given the harsh judgment you have made of the document before us, as I understand it, would you withdraw your support for the entrenchment of language rights if the amendments mentioned in your brief are not made to your satisfaction?
Miss Séguin: As I am very optimistic and as I see around the table people whose intentions are certainly the best and who want to act in the interests of Canadian unity, who want to do something for Francophones outside Quebec, I presume that they will put aside their political allegiances in the interests of these goals. That is the context in which I have come to appear before the Committee.
Senator Asselin: It is in that same spirit, Miss Séguin, that all the members of the Committee are working towards improving the proposed resolution. l would like you, if possible, to answer my question. You state that in principle you support the entrenchment of language rights in the resolution before us and I have referred you to page 25 where you severely criticize the document, saying that it supports the status quo and does not do justice to Francophones outside Quebec. You state that we should not expect the provincial governments to recognize the document and that nothing would be changed if the amendments you have proposed to Section 16 to 23 are not
made. If, in fact. the changes you have proposed for our consideration, at least, are not accepted, are not passed by the Committee. would that change your opinion on the entrenchment of language rights?
Miss Séguin: Just as you have repeated your question, 1 will repeat my answer. I say that if the 25 people around this table do not want to change anything at all, if they are determined to maintain the status quo, then 1 feel there is someone somewhere who is not sincere in wishing to safeguard the future of our country.
Senator Asselin: Miss Séguin, you have raised very serious objections about Section 23 in my opinion. They are important opinions, because it is stated in that section that French-language schools will be established where the number of children is sufficient to warrant them. You are not the only group to have raised some objections about the wording of Section 23 and that famous phrase, “in which the number of children of such citizens is sufficient”. In your brief, you also complain that Section 23 as well as other provisions in the proposed resolution do not provide any surveillance of the application of the provisions and the rights contained therein.
Do you not feel that the organization to oversee and ultimately decide upon the specific applications of the wording of Section 23 will be a court of law? You had mentioned a special tribunal which would be established to hand down decisions related to conflicts arising from the interpretation of Section 23.
As a lawyer, I must admit one thing to you. I am always afraid of appearing before the same judge and the samejury to plead cases which are similar in nature. It is highly likely that decisions handed down by a judge and jury will be the same for subsequent cases brought before them. Do you not feel that the same danger would apply if a special forum were to be set up to resolve the differences in interpretation of Section 23 which you mention in your brief?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Miss Séguin.
Miss Séguin: Yes. Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am inviting you to reply.
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, it is precisely because I am not a lawyer that I will not reply to one. However, I will simply say this. I believe that Senator Asselin is referring to our sixth recommendation. The reason why we would like there to be a mechanism with extensive powers is to avoid situations like the ones which arose in Manitoba, for example. It took legal decisions in 1892, 1909, 1976 and 1979 before the supreme Court finally recognized that Section 23 in Manitoba was valid.
We are asking for a tribunal. This is only a repeat of what we stated in pour ne plus être sans pays. We should like a bi-national cultural commission to be established to make decisions in the case of misunderstanding or violation of the act. It would be made up of members of Parliament or of French and English-speaking ministers.
Despite all the goodwill of the courts of justice, human beings being what they are, mistakes are always made. Take the case of Manitoba, for example. That is why the Federation des Francophones hors Quebec would like to see a tribunal established.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr . . .
Miss Séguin: Excuse me. May I continue? Regarding Section 23, once again I must point out that I am not a lawyer and I do not claim to be. Far from it. I must simply state that as a teacher, having worked all my life as a member of a minority group in Ontario, I could not live with that provision in its present form. I have followed with great interest the witnesses who have preceded me and who have at various times referred to the discrimination which they have suffered on different occasions, Well, I have known discrimination since I was born and, as a teacher, I see so many faults in Section 23 that this Joint Committee must, at any cost, remedy the situation. I could point out very simple facts, very elementary terms in this section which I, as a teacher, see as perpetuating my treatment as a second-class citizen.
For instance, are immigrants included when one refers to Canadian citizens? When we talk about mother tongue, about regions, what do we mean? When we talk about public schools, what do we mean? To refer once again to the phrase, “in which the number of children of such citizens is sufficient”, is there a distinction made between the right and access to education? Personally, I must say to you that as a teacher, and not as a legal person, anything but, and not even as a parliamentarian, I could not live with Section 23 in its present form. I have cited cases of school battles and these will only continue if that provision is passed.
Senator Asselin: That is what I wanted to hear you say, Miss Seguin. I would really have liked you to discuss the application of Section 133, but the Chairman appears to be indicating that my time is up. Is that correct, Mr. Chairman?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Your time is up, Senator Asselin, but I am sure that the hon. members of the Committee will want to continue along the lines of your questioning. However, if there are any points you would like to clarify, I will keep your name on the list and recognize you on the second round.
Mr. Nystrom: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to ask you some new questions, if I can, beginning with section 23 which provides for minority language educational rights.
In my opinion, this is a very difficult provision for us here because there are many different realities in this country. For example, the situation of minority Anglophones in Quebec is different from that of Francophones in other provinces because the linguistic minority in Quebec is living in a country, on a continent, which is really English speaking. The situation is totally different.
Last week, we heard from the Société franco-manitobaine who also have something to say on section 23. They recommended that the rules for language of education be different for each province.
Do you agree with the Société franco-manitobaine that our constitution requires a regulation where the law which applies in each province would be different to allow for specific circumstances within that province?
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I feel the terms and conditions may be different, but the Francophone whether he be in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario or Saskatchewan must have the right and the access to education in his mother tongue and that is basic.
The terms and conditions will necessarily be different. That is most probably what my good friend, Mrs. Gilberte Proteau meant to say in her presentation on behalf of the Société franco-manitobaine.
Obviously, each province has its particular set of circumstances which must be taken into account in the terms and conditions.
That is why we have been so insistent on the importance of the terms and the measures taken for implementing this section.
Mr. Nystrom: That question of terms and conditions brings to mind the situation in Quebec and Bill 101.
If I am not mistaken, in principle, you agree with Bill 101. However, there may be a problem for the government of Quebec in its application of the language bill because, among your recommendations, you mention greater intervention by the federal Parliament.
Miss Séguin: All I can do is repeat the words of my good friend, Alex Patterson, from Affirmative Action, who appeared before you last week. Regarding the education of Anglophones in Quebec he stated that whether a student lives in the Beauce or in Montreal, he has access to education in his mother tongue, which happens to be English.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Nystrom.
Like the honourable members of this Committee, I hear the bell ringing to call us back to the House of Commons.
I would like to ask the honourable members from the Senate to remain in this room until 5 minutes past 6 o’clock. I hope that by that time the honourable members from the House will be back, so that we can continue with our witnesses.
Of course, I would ask this afternoon’s witnesses whether they will be able to remain in the room until 6:05 p.m. when I hope we will be able to continue with the discussion at the point where Mr. Nystrom left off.
On my list, there are many other names of speakers who would like to be recognized. The nature of the discussion demands that other members be given the opportunity to question you.
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, it would be an honour for us to remain here. One thing we certainly have is the capacity for endurance. We are so used to it that I am sure we are able to wait until you return.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Miss Seguin, although you have stated several times that you are not a lawyer, I find nonetheless that you plead a good case.
So, the meeting is adjourned until 6:05.
The meeting is adjourned until 5 minutes pas 6 o’clock.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please.
I would ask the hon. members of the Committee and the witnesses to please take their places so that we may continue with our meeting.
Mr. Nystrom had the floor when we left and his time had not yet expired. Therefore, when he does get back, I am quite prepared to recognize him and let him use the rest of his time.
I shall therefore ask Mr. Eymard Corbin to please continue.
Mr. Corbin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mrs. Seguin, Mr. Cyr and company know me rather well and I think that we can have the barest essentials of an introduction before telling them that I congratulate them for the quality of their brief and presentation.
My first question for the FFHQ representatives concerns the poll taken in western Canada in October 1980 by the Canada West Foundation.
I would like to get to No. 31 of that poll and I will read it in English because that is the language it was written in:
The Federal Government’s constitutional package deals with several things; please tell me whether you agree strongly or disagree with each of the following.
So there are items A, B and we get to No.6:
Constitutional language rights which would establish French and English as official languages.
The results are as follows.
First, “agree strongly”, for the whole of western Canada, 7 per cent, “agree”, 46 per cent, “disagree”, 28 per cent, “disagree strongly”, 15, “don’t know”, 3, and if we look at the results obtained province by province you soon notice that 57 per cent of people questioned in BC. “agree strongly”, 51 per cent in Alberta “agree strongly”, 51 per cent in Saskatchewan “agree strongly” and 47 per cent in Manitoba “agree strongly” or simply “agree”. I do not want to mislead anyone, I should have said that the first two answers obtained gave the results I have just made known to you.
Which brings me to the second part of the same question and that is why I put the following question to the witnesses: Faced with public opinion which seemingly now is ready to accept that in western Canada, and it seems to me a majority would accept it, how can we explain the resistance of the provincial premiers confronted with the extension of Clause 133 of the British North America Act to all provinces and how can we explain their objection to the entrenchment of language or school rights in a bill of rights?
Would you have any comments on that?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Miss Séguin.
Miss Seguin: Mr. Chairman, dear friends, I know there is an organization called the Canada West Foundation; one of my good friends on the board of directors of the Federation des Francophones is part of it, Mr. Gaston Renaud from Alberta.
I knew there would be a questionnaire in the fall of 1980.
Now here is what I can say about that. it all depends on who the questionnaire was sent to and secondly, upon the criteria used to establish the questions. You know, you put the questions you want to; so there are those criteria, and, thirdly, the context in which it was used.
Now, I am not casting any doubt at all the results or statistics you have just mentioned but I can however repeat what Mr. Francis Fox, the Secretary of State, said in his conference before l’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario September 28 last. He said that in 1971, during a public opinion poll, that there were only 68 per cent of all Canadians who accepted both official languages across the whole country and that in 1980 a new public opinion poll had been taken and the percentage was not at 80 per cent.
Which just goes to show you, for the first part of your question, that the results of the poll can vary depending on who is reading the results and who is interpreting them.
Some politicians and public figures swear by your poll, while others say that it is not worth the trouble. I accept your poll as is, but in the fall of 1980, the Secretary of State told me something different at together.
As for the second part of your question, as to how to explain the resistance of western premiers, I am not sure that the premiers. . .You will excuse me if I give you my personal opinion, but I think that there is always fear of a political backlash. This applies to all provinces, no matter what government is in power, and to the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. This is understandable and I imagine there are reasons for it.
There is another way of explaining it. I think that all human beings are resistant to change and feel insecure about the unknown, the future. I think that people live from day to day. Take Newfoundland, for example, and I am not talking about its Prime Minister, but about Francophones outside of Quebec. Say that there are 1500 Francophones in Newfoundland. People might jump to the conclusion that everyone will want the provincial government to be completely bilingual as of tomorrow morning. You understand? There is that fear.
There are a number of reasons for this. As I said, there is the backlash and other political considerations. Sometimes trade-offs are made. Maybe this type of bargaining is normal, I am not a politician, so I do not know. I do not belong to any political party; I represent Francophones outside of Quebec. Beware, gentlemen, because it is not the Liberal party, the Conservative party, or the NDP that you are dealing with. It is the Francophones outside of Quebec! That is the only party I belong to and that is why I am convinced that, if this proposal is not being accepted, it is perhaps because Canada is a big country and there is a lot of room for misunderstanding on the part of those involved. There is also a fear of the unknown, which could be a factor.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I believe Mr. Cyr has something to add.
Mr. Donald Cyr (Director General, Federation des Francophones hors Quebec): Yes.
As a Franco-Albertan, I think that if the poll had been taken several years ago, the figures would have been even lower. I think that the programs the federal government has encouraged the provinces to provide have, to a certain extent, improved the attitude of most citizens across the country. When you quoted those figures, I was surprised to see that we have already reached 50 per cent, which is not too bad. It is time to move. After all of the politicking that has been done at
our expense, because of the cost, because of Quebec, et cetera, I think we should go to enshrinement, And by this, I mean something better than is provided for in section 23. If enshrinement were properly done, it could eventually become a tool for our provincial governments, because the political risks would be greatly diminished if their actions were covered by the constitution.
To me, Mr. Corbin, the figures you quoted are encouraging, because my impression as a career academic in this province is that the figures were lower a number of years ago.
Mr. Corbin: You may or may not agree with me, but I interpret these figures as meaning that the circumstances which prevented provincial politicians from taking concrete action over the past few years have completely changed and that the massive support of a right-thinking portion of the population—because 50 per cent is massive—should give them the courage to accept section 133 for all of the provinces.
Would you draw the same conclusions?
Miss Séguin: Despite the richness of the French language, there is no word that could properly describe how grateful Francophones outside of Quebec would be to those around this table if everyone were to decide to become fully involved in this project, which will change the future of our country. I do not think that there would be a word in French to express our appreciation if everyone wanted to extend section 133 to all of the provinces.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): This will be your last question, Mr. Corbin.
Mr. Corbin: Reference was made to the Premier of Ontario and to Mr. Hatfield, who I believe accepts section 133, but would like us to impose it on him. I do not much like this way of proceeding. Premier Hatfield seems to be saying that he is for section 133, but wants us to impose it on him. Mr. Davis, the Premier of Ontario, seems to be saying that he does not want section 133, but would live with it if the federal Parliament decided to impose it on him. He could then tell his constituents that he had nothing to do with it, that he opposed it and that Mr. Trudeau was on his side, but that it was imposed on him by Parliament. Do you think that politically, for Premier Davis or any other premier, be he red, blue or spotty grey…
An hon. Member: NDP!
Mr. Corbin: NDP. It is just an example.
Senator Asselin: Spotty grey!
Mr. Corbin: Spotty grey!
Do you think these politicians are being honest? Do you think we should believe them when they say that, for them, section 133 will mean defeat in the next provincial elections?
Do you believe that?
Miss Séguin: I do not want to make value judgements, because I have no right to judge these people’s intentions. But I would like to say that the provincial and federal governments, no matter what party they belong to—excuse me if I repeat myself, but in the old days we used to learn by repeating—must be willing to compromise and act in the interest of Francophones outside of Quebec. That is all I am asking.
I am not asking for much. I have faith in the integrity of those who have agreed, I imagine of their own free will, to sit on this committee. This may sound naive, but I am completely sincere.
Mr. Corbin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Corbin.
Senator Tremblay, you have the floor.
Senator Tremblay: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would first like to join my colleagues in congratulating the delegation from the Federation des Francophones hors Quebec for the quality, clarity and energy of its presentation this afternoon.
My first question, and perhaps my only one, is on section 15.1 of the proposed resolution, which deals with non-discrimination rights. I will read it quickly:
Everyone has the right to equality before the law and to the equal protection of the law without discrimination because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age or sex.
This is what the proposal says.
For comparison sake, I will also read a section of the Quebec Charter of Individual Rights and Freedoms which deals with non-discrimination.
Every person has the right to equal recognition and exercise of individual rights and freedoms without discrimination, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, or social status.
In the Quebec Charter of Rights, language is a prohibited grounds of discrimination, whereas it is not mentioned in the section of the federal proposal that deals with non-discrimination rights.
Do you think that it would be a good idea to expand the federal proposal to include what has already been granted in the Quebec legislation, that is, non-discrimination for reasons of language?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Miss Seguin.
Miss Seguin: I am not a legal expert, Mr. Chairman, but I will provide two explanations which I feel are reasonable.
Excuse me for being naive, but when I first read Section 15 and saw the word “law”, when I read that everyone is equal before the law, I thought of the Oflicial Languages Act of 1968. Maybe I was wrong, but I have given you my interpretation to show you that the lawyers and legal experts should take a closer look at the terminology used in certain sections.
I would also say, with reservations, that if you feel that including the word “language” would provide more protection in the area of language, then go ahead and include it. But only if it works, mind you.
I have always associated “equality before the law” with the Official Languages Act.
Senator Tremblay: You are absolutely right in the sense that the expression “the law” is the general term and includes specific legislation such as the Official Languages Act. But it is much broader than that, and includes all legislation.
Do you stand by your answer that the inclusion of language, as a prohibited grounds for discrimination, would provide better protection? Would you be willing to have the committee consider this possibility?
Miss Séguin: If it is in the interest of improving language rights and if the committee wishes to consider the possibility, I would certainly have no objection, on the contrary, If it is there to improve language rights, I fully agree.
Senator Tremblay: That was my first question. Thank you.
I have a second one on Section 133. which is in a way related to comments made by my colleague, Mr. Corbin.
On page 7 of your brief, and several times in the brief, you say:
Francophones outside Quebec are all too well aware of this kind of double standard.
I think that that principle underlies your proposal that there not be a federal standard with respect to Section 133 and that all provinces should be required to implement it. On principle, you think that Section 133 should be extended to all of the provinces.
Miss Séguin: Every individual, Mr. Chairman, must strive for an ideal. Our ideal is that Section 133 should apply to all of the provinces and I think that our friends, the Franco-Saskatchewaners expressed this very well when they appeared yesterday.
What we want, in the short term, is that it immediately apply to Ontario and New Brunswick.
Senator Tremblay: Fine.
But the principle should apply to everyone.
Miss Séguin: The principle should apply everywhere.
Senator Tremblay: Fine.
As long as it does not apply everywhere, there will be a double standard.
Miss Séguin: May I answer?
Senator Tremblay: I would like to finish, if you do not mind.
Supposing that, for one reason or another, the proposed resolution is passed as it now stands, that through some oversight, Section 133 continues to apply only to Quebec and Manitoba. If the Constitution imposes Section 133 on Quebec and Manitoba and exempts the other provinces, there will unavoidably be a double standard.
Would you go so far as to say that, to avoid a situation where there would be a double standard, Section 133 should no longer apply to the two provinces that are now subject to it, so that everyone would be in the same position? Do you think that it should apply either to everyone or to no one?
When Mr. Chrétien appeared before the Committee, he told us that the reason it was not imposed in Ontario is that the
freedom of the provinces had to be respected. This would mean that the freedom of Quebec and Manitoba would be restored if the other provinces did not apply Section 133.
This is perhaps somewhat theoretical, but I think it does describe a real problem.
How do you feel about this?
Miss Séguin: I could make a long speech on acquired rights, but I would rather repeat a comment I made earlier.
I get the impression that there is a lot of political intrigue surrounding certain questions and I would like to avoid that aspect this afternoon.
I am not here to judge anyone and I do not want to get involved in politicking. Francophones outside of Quebec have been victimized so often in the past that I do not want to be the victim of members of the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons. I am not here to be a victim.
I want to answer your questions and help to the best of my ability. I want to be asked questions intended to improve the proposed resolution. The federation does not want to be trapped into being a mouthpiece for the Conservatives, the Liberals or the NDP. We want to keep out of all that.
Senator Tremblay: I think we have misunderstood one another.
Miss Séguin: I have probably misunderstood, . . .
Senator Tremblay: I did not express myself clearly.
Miss Séguin: I simply want to keep out of it. I know that your question was well meaning, but I have no ready answer. If I knew more about acquired rights, I might be able to respond.
Senator Tremblay: What you are telling me, then, is that you are for the principle of extending it to everyone.
Miss Séguin: I am for the principle of extending it to all Francophones outside Quebec.
Senator Tremblay: To all of the provinces . . .
Miss Séguin: To all of the provinces, of course.
Senator Tremblay: Section 133.
Miss Séguin: Section 113. But if you tell us that we can have it tomorrow morning for Ontario and New Brunswick, but we will have to wait a year for the other provinces. we can wait. We have been waiting for 113 years!
Senator Tremblay: The problem is that you do not entrench a schedule in the Constitution: you entrench a principle.
Do you maintain that your principles should be entrenched?
Miss Séguin: Justice for all, beyong a shadow of a doubt, sir.
Senator Tremblay: Thank you. I have no other questions.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Tremblay.
I will now recognize Mr. Ron Irwin.
Mr. Irwin: I want to deal with Ontario and the problem of assimilation. I do not think that there is an understsnding of the number of francophonwe in Ontario, even by people who live in my own province, nor the percentages in certain areas. For instance, Sudbury is 36 per cent francophone; Timmins, 45 per cent; Elliott Lake, 35 per cent; Blind River, 37 per cent; Sturgeon Falls, 76 per cent; Kapuskasing, 60 per cent; Hearst, 78 per cent; Smooth Rock Falls over 60 per cent; Cochrane, 30 per cent; and Iroquois Falls over 50 per cent.
I was looking at an ACFO study of 1971 that indicated there where 737,000 Ontario citizens of French origin and in 1977 they did another study indicating there were 482,000 who said that French was their mother tongue, and of this particular group only 352,000 said that the French language was the language of the home. In other words, the way I read this, within one generation, say 25 years, there had been an assimilation rate of 26.9 per cent. In other words, those who had spoken French at their mother’s knee, that group was 25 per cent less within their own family a generation later. Now, is this the experience across Canada with the Acadians or the various provinces?
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, I would like to give you the assimilation rate across the country, if that can answer your question but first may I say, since I am a Francophone from Ontario, that it is quite true to say that the assimilation rate is 26 per cent.
According to the last census, we are actually 540,000 which means, population wise, that we are the province with the largest French population outside Quebec.
Now, I will give you some statistics for those whom it might interest.
In British Columbia, the rate of assimilation and Anglicization is 69.7 per cent; in Alberta, according to the 1971 census always, the one to which you are referring, it is 51.2 per cent; in Saskatchewan, 49.6 per cent; in Manitoba, 34.6 per cent; in Ontario, 26.9 per cent; in New Brunswick, 7.7 per cent; in Nova Scotia, 30.8 per cent; in Prince Edward Island, 30 per cent; and in Newfoundland and Labrador, 36.9 per cent.
So, the total was 924,790 of which 675,210 said they still spoke the language, so the average for the country is 27 per cent. That is according to the 1971 census.
Have I answered your question sir?
Mr. Irwin: Yes, it does. Thank you very much.
I would like to get some clarification on Section 133, because again there is a lot of misinformation on this particular section of the British North America Act; a lot of people think that 133 will bring in English and French, stop signs, and a whole grouping of rumours that are just not correct.
Now, as I read Section 133 there are three things that would be affected: the legislature, the courts, the provincial acts and regulations. In the provincial legislature there would be no substantial difference from what we see in Ottawa and that would mean that they would have to get more staff and more hardware in Toronto, and as a matter of fact in 133 it only says, if you read 133 in reverse, because it is talking about English in the Quebec legislature, it would mean that English may be used in debates. It does not even go as far as simultaneous translation, but in this day and age you would almost have to accept simultaneous translation. So in my understanding it would be no different than what we have in Ottawa that would be imposed in, say, Toronto; is that correct?
Miss Seguin: If I may, Mr. Chairman, I think this would not be much of a burden for certain provinces, they would not have such a big step to take in certain cases.
Mr. Irwin: So, it is just a matter of hardware and staff.
Miss Seguin: Well, listen. I cannot answer yes or no, but as I said earlier, if it is a question of duplication of services, not duplication but surplus costs, I sincerely think that the federal, should at least, help these provinces if those costs were too prohibitive.
Mr. Irwin: Let me go to the Courts now . . .
Miss Seguin: Excuse me. Could I go on Mr. Chairman?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Go on.
Miss Seguin: Mr. René-Marie Paiement would like to make a comment. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Of course. Mr. Paiement.
Mr. René-Marie Paiement (Assistant Director General, Fédération des Francophones hors Québec): Yes, Mr. Chairman. I would simply like to say that given the statistics mentioned a while ago, applying section 133 to all the provinces is still a symbolic gesture for us, which has its value, of course, but the statistics given a while ago shows very well why the Federation des Francophones hors Québec has made these demands in its brief so as to put a stop to that assimilation.
We criticize this project to indicate clearly that it is high time that something serious be done if we want to maintain the French culture in Canada and that is all I want to say.
Mr. Irwin: I appreciate that but I think we should get to exactly what it is we are talking about rather than symbolism.
Now, we have dealt with the legislature and the second point is the courts, and it is my understanding in Ontario right now that judges, lawyers and reporters are made available in criminal cases and you either change the venue and go where they are available or they will provide them at the place of the original offence. And it is also my understanding that in certain selected areas, in Small Claims Courts, they are now having civil trials in French. I was talking to a judge recently, Judge Stortini, who indicated he had just finished one where a third of the people spoke only French, a third spoke only English and a third spoke both or understood both, and the pleadings came in partly in French and partly in English; this was Small Claims, and it took a little longer but it worked.
Now, is that your understanding of the situation in Ontario as far as what they are doing?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Miss Séguin.
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, I must recognize that there has been some progress done in Ontario. It is true to say that we Francophones now have the right to be criminals in French. That is good and I am happy about it.
Secondly, we have to be logical with ourselves and honest, and we must recognize that it is in French also for the small claims. But there is still the civil court, there are still some steps to be taken, but honestly I must say there has been some progress in Ontario during the last 10 years.
In this day and age people move very fast and we find it is too slow. We would like that it be done faster and we hope that this committee can help us to accelerate things.
Mr. Irwin: I would like to deal with the last point that would be affected by 133 and that is provincial acts and regulations. Now, I spoke to the ACFO group who advised me that they are now receiving some statutes in French in Ontario. and I also spoke to the franco-Manitobans who indicated that they do not want all provincial acts in the past translated, they are talking about from here on, all present and future acts.
Now, as I understand 133, it would make it mandatory that provincial acts and regulations be in English and French, but this could be changed. There could be a caveat on that Particular portion so that only future acts could be in French and English. Is this satisfactory?
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, evidently a translation is welcome but there is quite a difference between having a translation in living. We need institutions in the field of social services, community services and education; we need homogeneous education boards; we need to be able to manage our own institutions.
Of course a translation effort is done but you cannot translate all the Manitoba and Ontario acts if the young generation does not have the proper school or education system to learn and practise its mother tongue, all these nicely translated books will be useless. So, translation is not enough, translation will be useful to the adults but the young people who are there, with whom I deal every day, need more than a translated book; that is my personal opinion, of course.
Mr. Irwin: One final question. I go back to Section 133. Premier Davis has said that he needs time because there are many things he would like to work out.
If Section 133 were imposed, and if we agreed with Premier Davis, would a time limit of ten years to bring this into Ontario, provided it was permanently entrenched in the constitution, be satisfactory to you?
Miss Séguin: Well, time will tell. Mr. Chairman. Ten years! I do not think we can wait that long because there is a huge assimilation rate in some parts of Ontario. If the average for a province is about 26 per cent, one should not forget that in some northwestern areas of the province the rate is the same as in the west of the country. In British Columbia, as I mentioned a while ago, the rate is 66 per cent. Well, in northwestern Ontario, it is also 66 per cent. The examples we gave of the national level can, in some cases, be easily applied to the provincial level. So, I believe that ten years is much too long and is quite unacceptable at this time.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Irwin, thank you very much.
Mr. Irwin: I am convinced that you are right…
but we have to know the direction in which we are going if we are to know where we will be ten years from now.
Miss Séguin: I rely on the wisdom of the people around this table, as well as on their sense of caution.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Irwin.
I would like to ask Mr. Nystrom to complete his remarks. I will take this opportunity to remind the honourable members that we have already exceeded the additional half-hour that we have agreed to give our witnesses for this afternoon.
After Mr. Nystrom, I still have the names of Mr. Lapierre and Senator Asselin on my list.
Senator Asselin: I will pass, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I believe your questions were also related to 133, a topic which has already been raised by Senator Tremblay and Mr. Irwin.
Senator Asselin: The information that has been given us is quite clear.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Nystrom, please.
Mr. Nystrom: I only have two short questions, Mr. Chairman.
You have given us lots of figures on the rates of assimilation of francophones outside Quebec and I have been quite shocked to learn that the rate is 27 per cent. I believe that all the other members of this committee have been as shocked as I have, I think that the situation is quite different for the English-speaking groups in Quebec but would you have specific figures on that? Are the English-speaking groups in Quebec assimilated as fast as the French-speaking groups outside Quebec?
Miss Séguin: I must admit that I do not have those figures but I could get them for you within the next hour, as long as you promise me that you will mention them publicly tomorrow.
Mr. Nystrom: Tomorrow? That is the same deal as the one between Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Davis.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Do you have another question, Mr. Nystrom?
You have another question?
Mr. Nystrom: I do not know. Yes, I have another question.
In your brief, you said that you would wish Section 133 to apply immediately to Ontario and New Brunswick and, later on, to the other provinces. When should it apply to the other provinces? If I remember correctly, Mr. Roberts, who was Prime Minister of Ontario, mentioned some 12 years ago, that he agreed with the principle of having bilingual courts in Ontario, as well as many other bilingual services. Now, 12 years later, you tell us that you still face the same problems, You are obviously very patient but when do you think . . .
Miss Séguin: I should say, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Nystrom provided part of the answer in his question. If nothing has been done in 12 years, it is time, now more than ever, to begin to apply Section 133 to all the provinces.
Mr. Nystrom: Perhaps I should now give the floor to Mr. Jake Epp, Mr. Chairman, so that he can explain to everybody the deals between Bill Davis and Pierre Trudeau!
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Nystrom.
I will now give the floor to Mr. Jean Lapierre and ask him to remember that we have considerably exceeded our timetable.
Mr. Lapierre: I do not intend to keep the members of this committee here for too long but, before asking questions, I would like to tell something to my hon. colleague, Mr, Asselin. With all his friends, on the other side of the table, he keeps
parroting the same question dealing with the consultation process before the tabling of the resolution. I want therefore to tell him that he can keep on asking this question, he will always get the same answer, that is that there has obviously not been any consultation before tabling this resolution, if one excepts two joint committees of the House and the Senate, the Laurendeau-Danton Commission, the Pepin-Robarts Commission and 53 years of history.
I would now like to welcome our witnesses. Last September, I was also an observer at the federal-provincial conference of the prime ministers and I remember that you jumped up, a few times, when various provincial prime ministers did not prove to be very generous towards the French-speaking people outside Quebec.
I must admit that I have felt the same way, many times.
As far as your first recommendation is concerned, about a preamble, you have obviously noticed that, unfortunately, this resolution does not have a preamble. Therefore, if the principle of the equality of two founding peoples were recognized throughout the resolution, do you think that it would allow us to do away with a preamble, which, as you know, would raise all sorts of problems?
Miss Séguin: I would like to make two remarks, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I would like to answer Mr. Lapierre. Since we do not have too much time, I would like to quote a sentence from a document published by our policy committee «Pour ne plus être sans pays». This sentence corresponds to what we would like to see in the preamble.
The Francophones outside Quebec are convinced that no valid project can be conceived if it is not based, first and foremost, upon the double fact of the association of two peoples and of ten provinces. This is a basic requirement for Canada.
This is what I would like to see in the preamble and I would strongly suggest that you do include it . . . If you agree, I can give it to you as a present.
Mr. Lapierre: I have it.
Miss Seguin: Secondly, I would like to make a last statement.
I do not want to be nasty, Mr. Nystrom, but I would like to quote from page 22. My interpretation of things may be wrong, but I want you to know that, according to the census of 1971, there were 789,185 Anglophones in Quebec at that time. According to the census of 1976, there are now 800,680. There has, therefore, been a slight increase and I would like to quote a sentence from page 25, reflecting the existence of a double standard.
What is the meaning of a negative assimilation rate of minus 125 per cent for the Anglophones in Quebec?
This means that far from being assimilated, the Anglophones in Quebec are assimilating a part of the third group of Quebecers at a rate of 74,000. as you can see from table number two.
Does that answer your question?
Mr. Nystrom: Yes, it is quite a good answer. Since there has been an increase in their numbers, theirs is a vastly different situation. in comparison with the Francophones outside Quebec.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Miss Séguin. I believe you are through with your questions, Mr. Lapierre. Mr. Mackasey.
Mr. Mackasey: Je serai très bref, Mr. Chairman.
I would begin by saying, dear Miss Séguin. that if Senator Tremblay’s political party is ready, at this time, to move an extension of 133 to the whole country, I would be ready to vote for such a motion.
Senator Tremblay: Give your own answer first of all.
Mr. Mackasey: I said that because Senator Tremblay asked a question about the acquired rights in the province of Quebec and in the province of Manitoba, and you were quite wise in not answering him. As you know, we do not wish to be assimilated either but I must say that I am in full agreement with you that section 133 should be extended to all the provinces. I repeat, therefore, that if Senator Tremblay comes up with a motion to that end, on behalfof his party, I will vote for it.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you. Mr. Mackasey and Miss Séguin. Senator Asselin: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.
Once again, Mr. Mackasey is trying to transfer his own responsibilities on other members of the committee. Since he belongs to the government party, let him show the courage of moving such an extension of 133.
Mr. Mackasey: is your party ready to support it?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please.
Senator Asselin: Tell us your own position, since you are a member of the government.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please. Order.
Mr. Corbin: A while ago. in his discussion with Miss Séguin, Senator Tremblay said that we should be realistic and that there should not be a calendar, or a step-by-step approach, for the implementation ofa Charter of Rights.
I would like to mention to Senator Tremblay, since he probably would not want to misinform anybody, especially not Miss Séguin or the Federation of Francophones outside
Quebec, that it is not possible to include a calendar. according to Section 29.2. I wanted everybody to be aware of that.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Senator Tremblay.
Senator Tremblay: Since I have been directly mentioned, I would like to remind Mr. Corbin that the calendar established at Section 29.2 mentions only that the principles established in the Charter will necessarily have to be applied in all the legislations for them to be consistent with the Charter. Is that the section in question?
Mr. Corbin: It depends on your interpretation.
Senator Tremblay: Just read it!
Section 29 is about the application of the Charter and paragraph 2 establishes a time limit.
As far as legal consistency is concerned, it has been mentioned that nothing substantial would be changed with the Charter, as far as the powers of the federal government and the provinces are concerned. Furthermore, three years are given for other legislation to be harmonized with the Charter, which means that there will be substantial changes.
Mr. Corbin: We will come back to this later on.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Tremblay.
Miss Séguin: Mr. Chairman, dear friends, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for having given us the opportunity to testify and to thank you for your patience, since I know that I was somewhat limited in my answers, because I am neither a politician nor a lawyer.
Secondly, Mr. Chairman, I might perhaps go as far as offer my services as referee and ask you to put a definite end to any kind of partisan bias through these hearings. Furthermore, I would like to call on you to begin some concrete action and to take some unequivocal steps to bring justice to the Francophones outside Quebec.
Thank you, gentlemen.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Miss Séguin, Mr. Cyr, Mr. Paiement, Mr. Lafontaine and Mr. Marcoux.
On behalf of the hon. members of this committee, I would like to thank you for your very positive testimony and for your infectious enthusiasm. I might leave you with a quote from Anatole France, who said that to persevere is not to be stubborn, it is to express convictions which remain unaltered by setbacks or victories.
Thank you very much.
Tomorrow morning, at 9.30 o’clock, we will hear representatives of the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs and of the Canadian Association of Attorneys General.
The meeting is adjourned.
From the National Association of Japanese Canadians:
Mr. Gordon Kadota, President;
Mr. Roger Obata;
Dr. Art Shimizu, Constitution Committee, Chairman.
From La Fédération des Francophones Hors Québec Inc.:
Miss Jeannine Séguin, President;
Mr. Donald Cyr, Director General;
Mr. René-Marie Paiement, Assistant Director General, (Policies).