Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 28th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 15 (16 September 1970)
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Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 28th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 15 (16 September 1970).
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Twenty-eighth Parliament, 1969-70
THE SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WATSON LAKE, YUKON TERRITORY
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1970
(See Minutes of Proceedings)
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE
CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
L’hon. Maurice Lamontagne
Mr. Mark MacGuigan
Representing the Senate
Representing the House of Commons
Michael B. Kirby
Joint Clerks of the Committee
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, September 16, 1970.
The Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 10: 55 a.m. in the Centennial Hall, Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. The Joint Chairman, Mr. MacGuigan, presided.
Representing the Senate: Senators Cameron, Fergusson and Yuzyk—(3).
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Allmand, Asselin, Brewin, Dinsdale, Gibson, Hogarth, Hopkins, Lachance, MacGuigan, Marceau, McQuaid, Osler, Rowland and Nielsen—(14).
Witness: Mr. Don Taylor, Member of the Territorial Council.
The Joint Chairman introduced Mr. Taylor. Mr. Taylor made a statement after which he was questioned.
During questioning, at the invitation of the Joint Chairman, the following made comments and asked questions from the floor: Mr. Rusty Bremmer, Mr. Jim Rimer, Fr. Brian Kearns, omi, Miss Shirley Lott, Mr. Norman Chamberlist, Mr. Robert Tool and Miss Bernadette Unka.
Later, the questioning of the witness being completed, the Joint Chairman thanked the witness and the audience for their comments and participation.
At 1: 00 p.m. the Committee adjourned until later this day.
Michael B. Kirby,
Joint Clerk of the Committee
This page is blank.
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Wednesday, September 16, 1970.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): The meeting will come to order. Ladies and gentlemen, we are very pleased to be here with you this morning in Watson Lake and especially pleased to see such a large turn-out. It is always very encouraging to us when a large number of people in any place turn out to take part with us in our discussions of the future of our country. We are especially pleased this morning that there are so many younger people in the audience because, of course, they will be living in this country and enjoying its future longer than anyone else here.
This Committee is called a Special Joint Committee of both Houses, both the Senate and the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada, and it is charged with the special responsibility of inquiring into proposals for constitutional reform. Some of these proposals, as you know, come from the government, which has prepared a whole series of position papers, and the provincial governments, which in some cases at least have prepared position papers. We, in going across the country, are trying to get the proposals of the people themselves for the future shape of our country. We are here to give you perhaps some of our ideas but even more, to get some of your ideas.
The constitutional conferences in Ottawa between the federal government and the provinces have been going on for the last several years—they began in February 1968— and these are purely between governments. There was another conference again this week which has just ended with a considerable amount of procedural agreement as to how the federal government and the provincial governments were to proceed from here but not much progress in the substance of the negotiations.
If the federal and provincial governments cannot reach agreements in their newly
agreed-on bilateral talks and their scheduled conferences next February and June, perhaps the Government of Canada will be forced to consider the advisability of abandoning the attempt to get unanimous agreement from the provinces and deciding to proceed unilaterally with constitutional reform. After all, the Government of Canada possesses the full legal power to amend the Constitution of Canada subject only to a rubber stamp procedure by the British Parliament.
If that were to happen, the importance of the report by this Committee becomes obvious and I need hardly add that the Parliament of Canada, as will be evidenced from the composition of this Committee, when I introduce the members of the Committee, represents all the people of the country in a way that even the ten provinces taken together cannot.
I just want to tell you that this Committee is sitting here just as it would in Ottawa except that in Ottawa, we do not normally have the pleasure of having such a large number of people in attendance at our meetings. We have the same rules of procedure. We have translation, we have recording, and all the words which are said at this meeting here this morning will subsequently be transcribed and published in the official records of this Committee.
I would like now to introduce to you the members of the Committee and call on our first witness, and then, after that witness has had some questions directed to him by members of the Committee, to allow a number of you to speak. I am told there are four or five students in particular who want to ask some questions and we will certainly be very pleased to have those questions.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the members of the Committee to you.
My own name is Mark MacGuigan. I am a member of the House of Commons from Windsor-Walkerville in the Province of Ontario. We have three Senators with us here this morning: Hon. Donald Cameron from Banff, Alberta, Hon. Muriel Fergusson from Fredericton, New Brunswick, and Hon. Paul Yuzyk from Fort Garry, Manitoba.
There are a number of members of Parliament: Mr. Warren Allmand, Notre-Dame-de-Grace from the Province of Quebec; Hon. Martial Asselin, Charlevoix, from the Province of Quebec; Mr. Andrew Brewin, representing Toronto-Greenwood; Hon. Walter Dinsdale of Brandon-Souris, a former Cabinet
Minister with responsibility for the Department of Northern Affairs; Mr. Colin Gibson of Hamilton-Wentworth, Ontario; Mr. Douglas Hogarth from New Westminster, B.C.; Mr. Leonard Hopkins representing Renfrew North in the Province of Ontario; Mr. Georges Lachance from Lafontaine in the Province of Quebec; Mr. Gilles Marceau from Lapointe in the Province of Quebec; Mr. Melvin McQuaid from Cardigan, P.E.I., formerly Attorney General of that Province; Mr. E. B. Osler, Winnipeg South Centre; and Mr. Douglas Rowland from Selkirk, Manitoba. We will be joined by another member of the Committee who is your local member of Parliament representing the Yukon, Mr. Erik Nielsen. Ladies and gentlemen, that disposes of the formalities. I would like now to introduce to you a man who I am sure in this district does not need introducing, since he is your local member of the Territorial Council, Mr. Don Taylor. Mr. Taylor, I understand, does not have a formally written-out brief but he will make some comments to us and then will be pleased, I think, to field some questions. I now call on Mr. Don Taylor.
Mr. Don Taylor (Territorial Councillor, Watson Lake): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to welcome to Watson Lake and to our area the honourable members present from both the Senate and the House of Commons.
I hope that somehow our deliberations here today might enlighten you and give you some idea of how we in the North feel about the constitution of Canada. I would like, before getting into what I have to discuss with you, to say this, that we in the Yukon—I have been here for about 22 years now—are very concerned about the constitution of Canada. We are sitting in a judicial position in the Yukon Territory where we really do not know whether we are a crown colony, whether we are a territory or whether we are, indeed, a part of Canada.
We are, of course, all Canadians and we are very proud of being Canadians. I suppose the main point of my submission is based on this.
I would like to say that I would have liked to have prepared a brief in writing and have had time to give it consideration and make a proper presentation to you, but this was impossible.
I have just concluded an election and I am sure the members of the House of Commons will appreciate my position. Only a few days have transpired between then and now and I
find myself somewhat nonplussed. My files containing my research data and all the things that I wished to speak to you today about are locked in my desk in Whitehorse and there is no possible way I could get those files in time.
However, I would like to discuss what the constitutional position of the Yukon Territory is in relation to the Dominion of Canada. I have done some research on this but, as I have said, my files are in Whitehorse. I have a little bit of information here and, if the Committee will agree, I would like to tell you what, judicially, the position of the Yukon Territory is. This is a decision made in 1962 by Hon. Justice Sissons. It was made on October 5 and, if you will bear with me I would like to read it:
The Yukon was established and set apart as the Yukon judicial district of the old Northwest Territories in 1897. The Northwest Territories was formed in 1870 when Ruperts Land in the Northwestern Territory were admitted into the union, pursuant to Section 146 of the BNA Act, 1867 and an address of the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada upon certain terms and conditions. In 1872, a form of government and administration was set up in the Northwest Territories which bore analogy to those which existed in the provinces, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the admission of the Territories into the union, with a Lieutenant Governor and a legislative assembly and an executive council responsible to the assembly.
I would ask you to bear in mind that there was a Lieutenant Governor at this point in time.
By the Yukon Territory Act, 1898, the Yukon judicial district of the Northwest Territories was constituted and declared to be a separate territory under the name of the Yukon Territory and reverted to colonial status.
I would also like you to recall this.
The Yukon is still a crown colony. The legislation and administration are controlled by the Dominion Government. There is no legislative assembly. The executive body and the legislative body are one and the same. The Council is to aid and advise the Commissioner: It is not a legislative assembly and is not responsible to any legislative assembly. I
know of no government of the Yukon Territory distinct from the Commissioner or the Commissioner in Council, and the home government of the colony is the Government of Canada.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate and the House of Commons, this is the last judicial statement made on this matter to my knowledge. I think that, when we discuss where we are going in Canada and becoming Canadians and filling our role in Canada, this should be looked at.
In other words, what I am trying to say is, what is the Yukon? Everybody accepts it. It is a little mark on the map. We are young. We are growing. We are dealing with a resource base industry. But we really and truly do not know where we sit judicially. Judicially—this is the answer, the one I have just cited to you.
Mr. Osler: Mr. Chairman, would you give us that reference?
Mr. Taylor: I will be pleased to leave this with you. The reference is, a decision made by Hon. Mr. Justice Sissons, bearing the date of October 5, A.D., 1962.
Mr. Gibson: Which court?
Mr. Taylor: Again, all my material is locked in my desk in Whitehorse or I would be most pleased to give you this information.
Mr. Osler: A Northwest Territories court?
Mr. Taylor: Northwest Territories, correct.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I am sure our staff can get the full reference afterwards from Mr. Taylor.
Mr. Taylor: I would like to say this that we in the Yukon Territory are very concerned about being Canadians. We are Canadians. We live in close relationship with native Alaskans who are, of course, Americans. Among our native people, there has been a flow during the years from Alaska to Canada and really for our native people that boundary does not exist at all. It is merely a dotted line on the map.
Historically, I would suppose that we go back into the pre-Klondike Gold Rush days
and we see the development of the Yukon developing from that time. As stated in the document which I have just related to you, we have developed the Yukon Act, the Yukon came into being, and here, about seventy some odd years later, we still do not know where we sit in the scheme of things.
Last December, the members of your legislature here in the Yukon Territory went to Ottawa, and I know I met some of you personally on that occasion. We went down in conjunction with our Minister and in conjunction with our Prime Minister, and we sat down as best we could, as a bunch of country boys up here in the Yukon, and we sat down and we tried to explain what our problem was. We made our point.
We talked to both the House of Commons Committee and members of the House of Commons—I do not think we did have the opportunity to get together with any members of the Senate at that time. The Prime Minister listened and our Minister listened to the extent that we are embarking on a program theoretically of giving the Yukon responsible government. This is what the Yukon wants.
We want to enjoy the rights and responsibilities of a provincial citizen in the North. We do not want it overnight because we know this is not good but we would like a phased-program transitional period. We in the North, though we are not too many in numbers, feel that we should exercise the rights and responsibilities of the provincial citizen in Canada. It is my submission, Mr. Chairman, that, until this is done, Canada cannot be considered a free, democratic nation.
We have also one other problem I would like to briefly touch upon and that is our native problem. These people are kicked from pillar to post. I have run for election and I see what goes on. These people have gone to alcohol to get themselves out of their depression.
If you are going to have a good Canada, and if the Committee indeed is concerned about the welfare of Canadians and how to unite our nation,—and maybe we have a special problem here in the North—I think you must look at the native people of our country. They are virtually going down the drain with whisky and this is not right.
I will also make a statement which I am prepared to back up. I feel that the Civil Service in the North is stronger than the elected representatives of the people and I make that statement with every consideration. I feel that somehow the Civil Service has become stronger than those who make these decisions, and I am speaking of the federal civil service as much as I am the territorial civil service.
These people need help and need it badly. I have tried, during my nine years in the legislature, to introduce to our system, our means of government, social education at the community level to help these people make this transition or, at least, to narrow the gap which is widening, so that they can live in dignity, live in good housing, and this type of thing. What we have done for these people is to give them welfare and just shelve the problem. This is not the answer.
I have asked for social education at the community level and this has not been obtainable from any government, territorial, federal or otherwise. These people need a hand. The young native people coming up now are neither fish nor fowl. They are neither native people, for they do not know how to hunt or trap like their fathers did, nor are they able, for some reason, to fit into the white man’s world. So I would like the Committee to give this some consideration when you consider the North and the role that the North plays in the development of our great nation.
Apart from that, I do desperately wish to make the point that the Yukon Territory is neither fish nor fowl at this moment, if this judicial decision by Justice Sissons be anywhere near correct—and certainly it is correct, there has been nothing to refute it, nothing to take its place.
If the Committee is to do a job for the Dominion of Canada then it must give very, very heavy consideration to the position of the two territories in the North, that is north of the 60th parallel, which encompass better than 40 per cent of the land mass of Canada. I would ask that the Committee give this very great consideration and help both territories-towards the day when we can have self-determination and enjoy the same provincial rights as any other citizen of Canada.
I thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you very much, Mr. Taylor. Would the Committee members like to throw any questions at Mr. Taylor?
Mr. Osler first.
Mr. Osler: Mr. Taylor, native peoples in the different parts of Canada are all in different stages of either trouble or emergence from trouble, probably because of the length of time they have been exposed to white people and their corrupting influences. Do the native people in the Yukon have many capable, strong spokesmen and leaders as native people have in some areas?
Mr. Taylor: My name to that question is, no, sir.
Mr. Osler: So, your answer to that is, no. You see no Cardinal or Courchene like we have in Manitoba, or anyone like that?
Mr. Taylor: No, sir. The situation here is very unique.
Mr. Osler: Who do you think should be leading this social education—a concept with which I agree—who should be doing this? The white people would have to be awfully good and awfully knowledgeable to be able to take them by the hand and lead them in the right direction, and develop their confidence as well.
Mr. Taylor: Sir, in my opinion the answer to the question you are asking is this. The people best equipped to deal with the problem are the people who understand it and that, in this case, would be the Government of the Yukon Territory. However, we must first resolve the problem of having the Government of the Yukon Territory governed by the people rather than a bureaucracy. That is the way we could cope with that problem, I think.
Mr. Osler: It has not worked that way in most places. The Indians themselves have been as resentful, if not more resentful, of the provincial authorities than they have of the federal, and it does appear that, where this problem is showing real signs of being solved, it is the Indian themselves who are solving it. We have lots of kids here who are going to be capable of solving it but their older brothers and their fathers and mothers cannot wait that long. Hopefully somebody can help them before these kids are grown up.
Mr. Taylor: Sir, I must also comment that you cannot solve the problem 3,000 miles away, either.
Mr. Osler: No? Right.
That is all, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Allmand is next.
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Taylor, I just wanted to make some comments about the judgment that you referred to. I briefly heard about that the other night when we first came to the Yukon and I was surprised to hear it. Of course, it is very difficult to discuss a court decision unless we have read it.
For example, from what you have told us, I do not know whether the principal issue of the case was the constitutional status or whether the remarks by the judge were merely an obiter dictum, whether it was a civil case or a criminal case or an administrative case, also whether it was an appealable case or was ever taken to appeal. So, it is difficult for us to know exactly what that case says but this Committee will have to get the case and examine it.
If it is correct, what you suggest or what some of the other people suggested and have told me about it, it would mean that almost everything that is done up here is illegal, including probably your own status on the Council. This leads me to think that probably it is not or it might have been questioned long ago. However, I cannot make a judgment on that but I promise you that we will dig that out and, if it is correct, we will have to straighten it out pretty quickly. You have to know where you are going.
Mr. Taylor: I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if I might be permitted to draw the attention of the members of the Committee to, and to quote from—this is another thing which is locked in my desk but through the good offices of somebody locally, I borrowed this—Section 3 of Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Mr. Allmand: On what page is this?
Mr. Taylor: On page 117. I would draw the attention of the members of the Committee to Section 3:
The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self Governing and Trust Territories …
which we, I assume, must be, if we ever figure this out,
… shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
Canada is a signatory to this particular covenant.
Mr. Allmand: I am also familiar with that covenant since I am on the External Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. While I would agree with the principles in that, the types of things they have dealt with in the past have not been the type of territory such as the Yukon is. Anyway, we would never hope to put you in a situation where you would have to appeal to that. I would hope that we would set out some blueprint for a change such as you and the other witnesses have suggested.
Mr. Taylor: I am merely drawing this to your attention.
Mr. Allmand: That is right. Canada signed that treaty and we fully support it, and for this reason, I would hope that the Canadian Parliament would set out some time table for constitutional development of the Yukon and the Northwest to a more provincial status or provincial status.
Thank you. That is all I wanted to say.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Gibson.
Mr. Gibson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am wondering about the proposals that the federal government have put forward with respect to the Canadian Charter of Human Rights dealing with entrenched rights in the constitution, that is, providing written guarantees in the constitution which protect basic human rights dealing particularly with prohibited areas of discrimination. These are found on page 25 of the document entitled the Canadian Charter of Human Rights.
I do not think I should read them all but I do wish to quote, particularly number (v), from Clause (b):
(v) use of public accommodation, facilities and services;
(vi) contracting with public agencies;
(vii) acquiring of property and interests in property.
Just dealing with those three, would the writing into the constitution and local enforcement of these human liberties and rights help the native people of this area? If you had courts here that could enforce this?
Mr. Taylor: This, of course, could be an answer but it is not the total answer.
Mr. Gibson: I realize it is not the total answer.
Mr. Taylor: First of all, you must revert back to what we were initially talking about. You must have a structure. You have to have a foundation, a skeleton, upon which you put the flesh. If this can be achieved then I would agree with what you suggest.
We in Canada, in relation to the native people and also in relation to dealing with the North, have always being trying to put flesh on a skeleton which does not exist, and I think we have to have the foundation first.
Mr. Gibson: Personally, I agree with almost everything you have said today and I want to compliment you on the fine presentation you have made.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I now have Messrs Nielsen, Rowland, Dinsdale and McQuaid.
Mr. Nielsen: First, Mr. Chairman, to you and to Committee members and to the witness, I would like to apologize for being late. I had pressing commitments outside the hall.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We introduced you in your absence, Mr. Nielsen.
Mr. Nielsen: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Taylor, you will recall that some seven years ago the Yukon Progressive Conservative Association passed a resolution at their convention at that time setting forth in some detail a blueprint for autonomy. You will recall also that, a few years later, it was followed by a resolution of the Yukon Liberal Association to the same effect. So we have the two federal political organizations in the Yukon in agreement with respect to the blueprint for constitutional reform that we desire in the Yukon.
I am sure that you will recall also because you served on the two sessions of Council that, in two successive sessions, the members of the Territorial Council were unanimous in adopting pretty well the same resolution. I think the resolution was called Resolution 41. That resolution, in fact all three, the Liberal resolution, the Conservative resolution and the Council resolution, have been placed on the records of the House of Commons and Hansard by myself on more than one occasion, and on the records of the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
It calls for an increase in the size of the Council to 15 members and, once the majority has been elected, from that majority the selection of five, in effect, cabinet portfolios, the selection to be made by the Council, the elected representatives of the people. They also recommended that the responsibility that should be transferred would be in the fields of education, health and welfare, municipal affairs, justice and corrections, and in public works, in the Yukon.
Parliament recently passed amendments to the Yukon Act which did not have the effective increase in the Council. It remains at seven elected members. But not embodied in the Act was a ministerial comment by Mr. Chretien that it was his intention to set up an executive committee comprised of the Commissioner and his two executive assistants, both appointed by the Department, and all three, civil servants. The Minister declared his intention in the House of Commons to invite—and incidentally the final form of that design was subject to an amendment because initially the intention was that the Minister would request the Commissioner to recommend these appointments—and has now agreed to ask the Council to select two of
their number to take over the portfolios, so-called, of education and health and welfare.
Having regard to the fact that the majority on that so-called executive committee will be civil servants, and having regard to the fact that these appointments, so-caned, of the two Councillors will be at ministerial pleasure, do you feel that this is adequate reform? Do you feel that it would be more appropriate and more real in terms of reform if the Council were to have the majority on that executive committee, and do you feel that it is time now—or that the time has passed—that the federal government should comply with the legitimate wishes of the people of the Yukon as expressed in those resolutions of both federal parties and the Council?
I have those questions first and then I have one or two others, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Taylor: In answer to this series of questions, I can say this first, in reply to your question as to whether I feel that this is adequate. No, I do not think it is adequate. However, I think it is good that something is happening. We are heading down the road towards self-determination.
I think it is inadequate because, even today as we consider this so-called stage in the self-development of the Yukon Territory, from the legislative point of view we are really not going to a cabinet form of government. As I understand it, the true position at the moment represents two more executive assistants to the Commissioner which could be provided in the Civil Service. So I must agree with you there.
However, I would like to qualify this because I do see a little politics enter into this thing. I would like to qualify this and say to the members of the Committee that at least it is a start. I would also like to say that the Commissioner of the Yukon Territory, in conjunction with other representatives of our government, are now in Ottawa currently having discussions with our Minister and no doubt with other officials of Cabinet.
No doubt they will be discussing this, but the only way that this experiment will work
at all will be if you give cabinet status to these two people.
I have forgotten the other questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Nielsen: I think you have covered the field.
Do you feel, as an elected representative of the people of this constituency and a member elect of the Yukon Territorial Council, that an invitation should have been made to the members elect to select from their number one or two members to accompany the bureaucrats to Ottawa in order to discuss how the so-called executive committee is going to be working or do you feel that the Minister and his civil servants should design the Committee and clothe it with responsibilities without reference to the members of Council, as apparently is happening?
Mr. Taylor: Let me put it this way. I do not think that the Yukon Council nor the Northwest Territorial Council for that matter should travel to Ottawa more often than they have to. When we start looking for provincial rights and responsibilities, we should ask Ottawa to come to visit us once in a while, as the Committee is today. They have come to the Yukon, they have come to a little place like Watson Lake to find out what the citizens think about Canada. Here, we said is what Ottawa should be doing for the Yukon. We should not be running to Ottawa every minute.
Mr. Nielsen: Yes, but you missed the crux of my question. I am sure you did not do it intentionally. Do you feel that the Minister and his civil servants should be consulting with members elect of the Council in order to design and clothe this Committee with powers?
Mr. Taylor: I might say that they are, if it makes you feel any better.
Mr. Nielsen: Well, this is news to me. Are you telling us, as members of this Committee, that the Minister—because I very much doubt this, r am not doubting your words mind you—is in correspondence with you and the other members elect on the Council with respect to the designing of this executive committee and the responsibilities that are going to attach to the two appointments?
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman and Mr. Nielsen, I did not come here to politic but I can say
this, that the Council was elected on September 8. The Council will not be sworn in certainly until after the official count of the ballots which has yet to happen. As a new Councillor, I am in no position to answer such a question. Were I an incumbent member, I might be able to say something.
As far as consultation with the Minister is concerned, it is pretty difficult for somebody who has just got himself elected to know all these people, and to have the background on consultation and all this sort of thing. Until the people are sworn into this office, it is pretty difficult to answer the question that you asked.
Mr. Nielsen: I see. There are two inferences that have been left, Mr. Chairman, and I want to clarify them. I am sure Mr. Taylor appreciates the fact that this is an official meeting of this Committee and the reports of the Committee are going to be published on the basis of the recorded evidence that is being heard here today.
The first inference that I want to clear away immediately is that when I am sitting on this or any other Committee in the House of Commons I do not politic. The second inference that I want to ask Mr. Taylor to clear away, because I think it is important to inform all Committee members fully, is whether or not he has any personal knowledge of the Minister communicating with any members elect on Council with respect to this executive committee because, if he is, I think it is a great thing. If he is not, I do not think it is a great thing. It is pretty bad.
Mr. Taylor: We are getting into an Eaton’s and Simpsons business here, but I might say that the Minister has been in consultation with some members of the old Council and, no doubt, with some of the new.
Mr. Nielsen: I am not suggesting in my last question to Mr. Taylor any furture career for him. A private members’ bill which I introduced in the House of Commons and which suffered the fate of most private members’ bills would have, if passed, created a Senate representation for the Yukon and for the Northwest Territories by adding one member for each territory. Assuming that there is no reform of the Senate, would you advocate the passage of such legislation which would
permit Senate representation for the Yukon and Northwest Territories as an interim measure.
Mr. Taylor: I would wholeheartedly agree and I would say only this. It is a pity that when your government was in power that this was not done.
Mr. Nielsen: This is quite right. I have expressed the same sympathy to this Committee before.
The last question that I have for Mr. Taylor, Mr. Chairman, concerns an odious section of the Yukon Act. For members not familiar with the provisions of the Yukon Act, it is Section 24. This section prohibits members of the Territorial Council from introducing any measures which would have the effect of spending money. The Senate members here are fully familiar with that prohibition in their powers. An attempt was made to have that section removed during the recent debate on the amendments to the Yukon Act which was defeated notwithstanding the fact that it was recommended by the Standing Committee on Northern Affairs unanimously. Would your view be to urge the federal government, to consider immediately a further amendment to the Yukon Act which would have the effect of repealing that section thus permitting members of Council to spend the tax dollar they are required to raise by Ottawa.
Mr. Taylor: Sir, the question you ask is a very good one, and a very solid one. We want this right and other provincial-type rights. This is exactly what you are saying, sir. I am not prepared to embarrass the federal government to achieve this. We should be complimenting each other rather than trying attempting to embarrass each other. If we are to make a real strong firm Canada for these youngsters out here and everybody else because they are the ones that are going to have to take the reins of whatever we leave them, then we should be working together. The answer to your question lies in the development of responsible government in the Yukon Territory. You know the answer as well ,as I do.
Mr. Nielsen: Yes, but I want this on record. I take it therefore your answer is that we should urge and you urge the federal government to immediately repeal this section. Is that right?
Mr. Taylor: The record is clear.
Mr. Nielsen: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I have five other members to call on but I wonder if anyone in the audience would like to make a comment at this stage.
Would any of the young ladies like to ask their questions now. The microphone is right there. We can bring it right to you.
We will go on to the next member of Parliament and give you another chance in a few moments when you have seen us in action for a bit longer.
The next member is Mr. Rowland.
Mr. Rowland: Mr. Taylor, could you elaborate further on the desire for provincial status for the Yukon. You have indicated that it should be an orderly process that should take place over a period of time. Are you advocating that it be a phased process based simply upon technical considerations that it is going to take a period of time to gear up local government institutions and so forth. Or, are you impressed by the partial validity of some of the arguments which we have heard the South use against the granting of political status to the Yukon. I can mention three or four of them that you could address yourself to in your remarks.
We have heard that if the Yukon became a province that there is a danger the legislature of such a province could fall quickly under the domination of one or two or three large corporate enterprises because of its small population and relatively narrow economic base. That was one argument I have heard against it.
Another is that there the necessary local leadership is not available nor are there local people acquainted with modern technology to manage a provincial government.
Another one I have heard is that the tax resources of the Yukon Territory are not at present sufficient to support a provincial government.
I would like you to comment on those and also to indicate to us if you have in your own mind any sort of reasonable time span which
we should work towards with regard to the accomplishment of provincial status.
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, in reply I would like to ask one question if I might. Where did your hear these comments? Were they heard in the North or were they heard in the South?
Mr. Rowland: As I say I have heard them in the South and I have heard them at other hearings here in the North. We have asked similar questions. These arguments were put to us by people from the North who had said that this was the rationale behind the reluctance to grant provincial status.
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, I would like to answer the series of questions here. I do not know if I can recall them all. I have made a few notes. First of all, we are talking about a narrow economic base. Just how narrow is this economic base? I did speak earlier about the Civil Service of Canada becoming much stronger than the elected representatives of the people. We have empire builders within our Civil Service. We find them in the North. There is no question about it. I will not go into this now but there are many circumstances which have presented themselves. I will say that the economic base of the Yukon Territory or the Northwest Territories is not all that bad. We are a people dependent on resource-based industries for our livelihood and when we build communities and towns and develop our territory, it is generally a resource-based industry that creates all of this.
It was the gold in the Klondike that started this thing off and now we have mines producing to the common good of all of Canada. I do not think that it is fair to say that the Yukon has a narrow economic base. It just is not right. If you consider the number of Canadian citizens that develop and live in the Yukon, you will find that if you really take a good hard look at it that the Yukon has been producing more per capita for what little we have than other areas of jurisdiction in Canada.
You talked about leadership and the development of responsible government. Within the Territory we have that leadership. We are going to have to look for it and we can find it. It is here. If it is not here, we can bring it here. I say to you, sir, that I think we can do as good a job or even not quite so good a job
at making mistakes in the North than the federal government can 3,000 miles away.
In relation to a phased program, I would say we must start. We say in the bush, if you want to go to your first cabin on the trap line, at least you know you are going some place. It might take you two days to get there, it might take you three or you could make it in a day if you push the dogs hard. You have to know where you are going. We just do not know, neither does the government, the House of Commons and the Senate. People of the Yukon least of all know where we are going. I talk of transitional period. Let us arbitrarily say 15 years, a step at a time. In 15 years you have self-rule, a provincial-style rule and responsibilities to get across 40 per cent of our land mass of Canada.
Mr. Rowland: The other argument which has been employed against the rapid granting of provincial status is that the Yukon does not raise sufficient revenues itself to support the programs that the provincial government is responsible for.
Mr. Taylor: It depends on who is keeping the books. Mr. Bennett in the province to the South of us takes a provincial debt and he calls it a contingent liability and everything is all right. That is the only way I can answer your question. If the Yukon was to continue the rate of expansion of the last five years without our resources I think the Yukon can stand on its own two feet.
Ottawa comes along and says: here is a new program for you, here is a million dollar building. It is a gift. The gift turns out to ‘be something that we have to pay for out of local taxes. We have to operate and maintain that facility. Vocational schools are wonderful things but not if they hold us down. If we ever had control of our resources, the Yukon would probably be the highlight of Canada.
I would like to say another thing about taxation. The Yukon Territory at the local level must be able to do what any other province in Canada does in competing for industry, offer little tax incentiv.es of its own. We must be in a position to deal with Mr. Bennett and with Alberta and Ontario and these other places. We know we can do it. Give us the right and the responsibility. We will do it and be very proud to do it and
make Canada what Canada should be a self-determining nation. Right now, it is not.
Mr. Rowland: Thank you. I would like to indicate to the witness that I am extremely sympathetic to the demand for provincial status. I simply pose these questions in order to get your replies for the record.
The other question I want to ask is related to that. Last evening we received a brief from the Yukon Chamber of Mines in which it was suggested that there be incorporated in the new constitution —assuming that we succeed in revising or rewriting the constitution before my son is old enough to be participating in the process —a formula for the granting of provincial status to territories on a systematic basis. Would you be in agreement with that kind of an approach? If so, could you also give some consideration to the idea of drafting the formula so that it would be possible to accommodate the partition, of existing provinces and the re-admission of a portion of an existing province as a new province?
Mr. Taylor: You asked quite a question there because I believe you mean lumping the three provinces together here and so much there and making maybe three or four districts in Canada.
Mr. Rowland: Or conversely, taking the northern half of Ontario, should it so develop, and making it into a province.
Mr. Taylor: I would think that the people of the Yukon would reject any idea of partitioning the Yukon or appending it to any province in Canada because we are rather proud. We and our ancestors and our forefathers arid those who have been before us worked pretty hard to build this country. We are just not about to give it away to anybody. In my opinion, knowing these people, I do not think they would go for any partitioning of any part of, the Yukon Territory.
Mr. Rowland: Perhaps I did not explain myself too well. What I was really getting at was would you like to see in a new constitution or in an amended British North America Act a formula which would permit the entrance ‘of territories such as the Yukon or a portion of the Northwest Territories into Confederation as a province. A regular process would be established in the constitution.
Mr. Taylor: Well, sir, as you said, maybe your son will be an old man before this happens. It is my wish and the wish of the people of the Yukon that this can happen much, much earlier than this. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I would like to see something written into the constitution which would permit the ,people of the North, as I have said, to have status, rights and responsibilities equal to those of other citizens outside. I totally agree with what you say.
Mr. Rowland: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Dinsdale is next.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, a query has come up from time to time during the course of our deliberations in the North, and it was raised a moment ago by Mr. Rowland: Is the territory of the Yukon ready to assume responsibility in view of the lack of indigenous leadership? I would just like to comment that we have had demonstrated here this morning a dialogue between two Yukon politicians which indicates that they have all the skills necessary, and I might also say that this has been our experience in Whitehorse and Dawson City as well.
Just to follow that comment, I want to zero in on one small aspect of this problem of responsible government. What you are asking for, Mr. Taylor, is responsible government and not provincial status at this stage, and I agree very heartily with that viewpoint.
In connection with responsible government, that is the local government having responsibility for administering affairs within its own territory, and ,with reference to the special problem of the native people in the Yukon, you seem to suggest—and I hope I am interpreting you correctly—that, were the Yukon government charged with the responsibility of the native people, they could do a much more effective job in terms of programs that would deal with the peculiar nature of the problem in the Territory. Is that correct?
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, yes, I would agree. I think that there is nobody who understands the problem more them those who live with it. Yes, I wholeheartedly concur that this is the point I was trying to make.
Mr. Dinsdale: Could you indicate where some of the current programs are going wrong? I know the Indian in the Yukon is non-treaty. He occupies a special status and comes directly under Indian Affairs. What is the difficulty with the current programs?
School integration, the vocational training program, the attempt to provide job opportunities for the younger Indians coming from school—where is the difficulty, where is the inadequacy in the current programs?
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, the difficulty is, as I stated earlier, in the development of the social cultural aspect. In other words, social education at the community level. Allow me to give you an example with children, just with native children.
You and I were born and raised in a home, and let us use the word elevation, that is a good one—stairs, ceiling, roof, basement, this type of thing, we know what those are. These young children do not know that.
We have kindergartens in an effort to try and get these young children into the main stream of things, into our educational system. The result is that these native children have a tendency to drop out of school, say at grades four, five and six because they just cannot cope with it. They did not have the background that we had when we were children.
In other words, here is the problem, get some social education and some assistance at the community level. What is going on now, Mr. Chairman, is that it is all welfare. You do as we say, you take this, and that is it. You just keep out of our way. This is not the right thing to do in my opinion.
Indian agents, why do we need Indian agents in Canada? Great Scot, Mr. Chairman, this thing went out years ago, hopefully in the Victorian era. Why not have a bunch of people who are proud, who can walk up before an Indian, not an agency, and a group in government that will listen to these people and encourage the development of their chief, the band chiefs and council. Then when they have a problem, they need housing, they need this or want to start a saw mill, and will the government loan them enough money to get it going, this sort of thing, we can get these people back together again and feed them into the main stream of society.
I do not say I have all the answers, believe me. I suppose that for many generations after we are dead and buried this is going to be a problem, but at least let us make some sort of sensible approach to this thing. That is my answer, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Osler: Mr. Dinsdale, could I interrupt for a moment? You and I are worried about the same point.
All the other Indians in Canada have spent at least the last year and a half coherently saying for heaven’s sake, do not dump us onto the provinces. Now you are saying, and I agree with everything you are saying except for this one question mark, give them to us and we will do a better job.
All the other Indians in Canada who are organized say, no. If the Indians here could be organized then we would have less difficulties with the problem because they could then give us their point of view.
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, here is another place where I think we make a great mistake, not only in this area but in other areas, and that is that, when we talk about legislating a Dominion as big as ours from a central point in Ottawa we fail to recognize. Maybe the problem of the native people of the Yukon Territory is completely different from that of the native people in New Brunswick, yet we have a tendency to sit in Ottawa, Mr. Chairman, and to attempt to do our very, very best with the information we have available, like a judge on a bench.
You have to regionalize these things. You have to say that there are circumstances that exist north of the 60th parallel that are completely different from those that exist in Alberta or somewhere else. That is the only answer I can honestly give, Mr. Chairman, to that question, but that is the anwer. You have to regionalize these things.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, this is the point I was endeavouring to bring out. The situation in the Yukon is unique as contrasted with other parts of Canada. I think federalism is still pretty strong in the Yukon, largely rising from the fact that it is controlled directly from Indian Affairs in Ottawa. None of the programs of local self-government on the reservations, for example, that are making considerable progress in other parts of Canada, prevail. Typical of this was the hassle that resulted when one of the so-called agents took initiative with respect to housing and he was rapped severely by the Indian Affairs Department.
But I wonder could you be more specific? Employment opportunities, which have been given considerable emphasis in the Yukon—is that program working satisfactorily to absorb the young people who are now coming through the educational system, who, as you say, have been educated away from the tradi-
tional family life, trap line and so forth? Is the employment situation adequate to absorb these young people?
Mr. Taylor: The answer to that question, sir, is, in my opinion, no.
Mr. Chairman, again we are talking about ideas that are generated many miles away from the Yukon. They are good ideas. There is nothing wrong with them except that they are just not completely working.
Employment opportunities are not good for the native people, mainly because the native people cannot cope with the jobs. We have people who will hire native people. I guess in the Northwest Territories they work under ground in the mine, which is kind of unusual for a native person who likes to see the sun. But they do this. But everything bogs down at the social level, sir. This is where we are having our trouble.
The opportunity could be there. We provide vocational training, we provide academic training, but, like I explained in the kindergarten situation, the people are bogging down and having trouble coping with this.
In my opinion, and believe me, I am no expert on this subject but I have lived here 22 years, I have lived with native people and I feel that I understand them, they are bogging down at the social level and this is where they need the help. And the people in my opinion best equipped to give them that help are the people, their neighbours, right here at home.
Mr. Dinsdale: It seems to all go back to this business of responsible government. The target date for responsible government, with the strong advocacy of local political leadership, was 1967. Why has there been a delay?
Mr. Taylor: This I cannot answer. Again, we are fielding footballs. Really and truly I do not know, but I do say this to you, that the resources of the Yukon Territory, I think, play a great role in any consideration of why we are not developing or have not developed responsible government, be it any government, and I am not saying Liberal, Conservative or otherwise.
What I am saying is this, that the resources available in the Yukon Territory and the revenues therefrom usually go to the developer or to the people you pay your tax revenue to, that is to Ottawa. Ottawa would have holes in their head if they ever gave up that resource without a battle. We are trying to present that battle and to say, well, we want the same rights as any .other province in Canada. We understand· this.
The only trouble is we are a little hemmed in. I have been nine years as a Territorial Councillor. I do not even have a secretary to give me a hand. I have come here before you gentlemen today to make a case but my files are locked in my desk at Whitehorse. I could tell the government to break that desk open but all these people here, their correspondence is there, there is just no way. We are fighting tanks with fists, sir, but damn it we are fighting.
Mr. Dinsdale: Well, you have elected representatives here who have a fellow feeling and I think you have some advocates out of this group, of the position that you suggest.
Mr. Nielsen: Mr. Chairman, I am sure Mr. Taylor did not mean to leave this omission on the record but he is aware, and he has perhaps just overlooked it, that within the last year there has been formed a Yukon Indian Brotherhood for the purpose of dealing with the government policy as it has emerged from Ottawa in the last eighteen months. Representatives of that Yukon Indian Brotherhood have attended several meetings in Ottawa and have had several very constructive meetings in Whitehorse where all these chiefs of the Indian bands in the Yukon and in Northern B.C. attend.
The most recent one was in June, I believe, when the President of the Yukon Indian Brotherhood, Elijah Smith, attended on behalf of the Brotherhood. I might say that, at that meeting, Dave Courchene and Cardinal and others spoke up forcibly and with great effect for the Yukon Indian people, they being quite familiar with them, having a rapport how with the Indian Brotherhood here.
So there is an organization, and members of the Committee should know about this in order perhaps to assist them in their further questions.
Mr. Rowland: Mr. Chairman, just for the record as well, could Mr. Nielsen indicate to us what kind of resources are available to the Brotherhood in terms of money for their development?
Mr. Nielsen: None to the Brotherhood as such. They are assisted by officials of the Indian Affairs branch and always at their meetings that I have attended there have been representatives of the Indian Affairs branch in attendance, not just one, but two or three. They are helping them to organize and helping them to get going.
They meet in the Skookum Jim Memorial Hall for the most part, in Whitehorse, and I am sure if they needed any financial assistance in order to foster the growth of their Brotherhood that the Indian Affairs branch would likely come up with limited funds.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Dinsdale, I think you had just finished, had you not?
Mr. Dinsdale: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We have three other questioners from up here but before they ask their questions I would again urge and invite you from the floor to make your comments.
I understand that there were some students in particular who wanted to ask us some questions and I hope they will do so now. Perhaps if we just walk down with the microphone, we might find some who would be takers as the microphone gets nearer to them.
Where are the students who wanted to ask questions? If you would just give us your name first please and then ask your question. Thank you, go ahead.
Mr. Rusty Bremner: Do the people living outside the town limits pay the same mill rate as the people living within the town limits?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Would anyone like to tackle that?
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, the answer is, yes, everybody pays the same, 22 mills.
Mr. Bremner: Well, why do they pay the same mill rate if they do not have water and sewer facilities as the people in town?
Mr. Taylor: Because everybody else in the Yukon pays the same mill rate, sir.
Mr. Bremner: That does not seem very fair, though.
Mr. Taylor: I believe you are talking about a local matter on village status and if we accept village status, why we will all, I am sure, be very unpleased to pay about 55 mills. The argument is that we pay at 22 mills for the present.
Mr. Bremner: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I understand that this is a problem peculiar to Watson Lake, is it?
Mr. Taylor: Yes.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank. you very much, Rusty. Where are the other questioners?
Mr. Jim Rimer: My name is Jim Rimer. We were talking about this before. Why does the Yukon not have more control over its own mineral rights?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Why does the Yukon not have more control over its own mineral rights? Mr. Taylor, do you have any comment on that?
Mr. Taylor: The answer to the question lies 3,000 miles away again where the members of the Committee come from. It is a very good question and it is the key to the development of the Yukon Territory, in my opinion, that is the self-governing type of development. If you have the resources, well, of course, away you go. You have the money to finance your programs, and to offer your incentives to industry, and this type of thing.
I really cannot answer the question to the extent that Mr. Rimer has asked. I think that the only people who can answer that are the members of the House of Commons or, indeed, the government. But this is essential if we are ever to gain full provincehood at some point in time.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I think I can say on behalf of the Committee that you have certainly greatly interested us in this question with the presentations that have been made in Dawson City, Whitehorse, and now here, and that we will certainly be much more interested in this question in the future.
There was a gentleman who wanted to come up, and I guess there are still several students to come too.
Reverend Brian Kearns. O.M.I.: I am Brian Kearns, a Catholic priest, and I live in an Indian community at Upper Liard. I would like to speak as one who lives in an Indian community, but to speak as a white man, which I am.
I am in agreement with what Mr. Taylor says but I would like to clarify some points. I would suggest to this Committee that it is just as easy to be far away from an Indian community in Whitehorse as it is in Ottawa, and I would like to make that very, very clear. Indian people are administered by an Indian agent who very often lives also in Whitehorse, and that is just as far away from
Upper Liard as Ottawa is in terms of communication. So I suggest, and possibly this is Mr. Taylor’s ideal also, that if we want the Indian people to have a voice, they should also have self-government as the Yukon Territory will or may have. It is not that they have someone living in Whitehorse to speak for them, but that they be allowed to speak for themselves, and this, I think, is a very primary point. Until the governments of Canada, both territorial and federal, give the Indians a voice that they will listen to, there is no point in talking at all about aid or help or self-help, because there is no self-help until the people speak for themselves and are given a voice before their representatives.
I would like to stay on this point, and point out that in the recent election which Mr. Taylor won, he won in our community by a majority of votes, a very slight majority, but nonetheless he won by one.
I would like to point out now that my community, having voted in favour by one for Mr. Taylor, does not yet have a representative. Mr. Taylor cannot speak for our community at a government level. We want fire equipment in our community. He cannot speak. He does not hold the purse strings to this community. If our community which is predominantly Indian requires a voice, they must speak through their Indian agent, and really the Indian agent is the one who speaks for them, not the one they have elected. So why come to our community looking for votes when you cannot speak for us? I think this is an injustice. It is not Mr. Taylor’s injustice, but it is an injustice in our government and in our system.
Mr. Nielsen: May he speak through the Brotherhood, though?
Mr. Kearns: He may speak through the Brotherhood, but does he always speak even for his own community? The people have a voice. Why set up in a democratic situation a feudal system by which the people must go through one person in a community. Every man in our community should have a voice and his voice to speak before every representative. I am free to come here and speak to you today as any Indian is, of course, but every day I should be free to come before any member of my government to speak to him and not simply be required, because I am an Indian, or if I was an Indian, to go through my native Brotherhood or any other thing. If I have a social problem, why should I address an incompetent just because he is an Indian agent instead of addressing a social worker?
And if I have a social worker, and I am an Indian, I must go to the Indian agent and not to the social worker, and that is an injustice, I suggest.
Mr. Allmand: Father, I wanted to ask you a question so I can pass this back and forth. The points you raised are very basic in constitutional law because they go to the very core of how people in a democratic society are represented. Many people are saying that our democratic institutions today in Canada and in the United states and so forth are really shams, because although they provide for a democratic election, we all go off and sit in Ottawa or Washington or London or some place, and there is not this type of democratic participation that you suggest.
Many of us are wrestling with this problem, and I guess the fact that we are going across the country and we are having meetings such as this is an attempt to try and deal with it, although it is not adequate. However, the difficulty is that, if you take your arguments to the extreme, we would not be able to. There are practical problems involved. For example, I am from Montreal. I have 100,000 people in my constituency. I would need a staff of I do not know how many people just to see the people who would be at my door. I would never have time even to go to Ottawa after listening to them to try and affect the government in Ottawa.
I think you have made very good points, and we have to try and devise a structure to deal with these types of sentiments. But to put it in a formula is the difficult thing, and if you have any more ideas, Father, maybe you could think about them during the winter and write to us about them, and we would be glad to hear them because this should not be the end of it. I think maybe you and other people like you should have the right to keep on approaching us because we will not make our report for about a year yet.
Reverend Kearns: As a comment on your last remark, I would suggest that you have already set up a system in which the Indian people have to go through a certain administration to make their voice known, and this is what I call an injustice. You are free to make your voice known in any way you wish directly to your own representatives, directly to your social worker, directly to whomever you wish to deal with, but the Indian must first go 10 an Indian agent before he approaches anybody else on social matters, on legislative manners, or on economic matters. You have set up one system for the Indian people
and another for the white man, and this I suggest is an injustice.
About these remarks I am making, I have already submitted a brief and a long one which could not be heard in public in Whitehorse by the Senate Committee on Poverty due not entirely to their fault but to administrative procedures. But I have stated there and stated very fully how you have set up in this country a feudal system for the Indian people, making an Indian agent, usually a white man, the one who administers their whole life.
Mr. Allmand: Has the government proposed in their White Paper, if you want to call it that, to arrange that? I ask this so that the audience will be clear on it.
It is my understanding from reading the so-called government White Paper on Indian Reform that they propose to do away with the very system that you criticize, but they are now discussing that with the Indians across Canada. Is that not correct? So the government itself recognizes the problems that you have put forward and the government has said—the Minister and the Prime Minister have said—almost many of the criticisms that you have said.
Reverend Kearns: Yes, I am familiar with this White Paper and I would suggest that this is true. But the way it was presented to the Indian people was also in a way that they felt very unacceptable. It seemed to be a fait accompli that was presented, that this is a solution to your problems, and of course it was rejected, and rightly so, not because it was not right, but because its method of presentation was incorrect in my own estimation. And here is where the government has to learn, and by government I do not mean Liberal or Conservative. I mean the Government of Canada, and I mean that here we have to learn that the people have their own voice and should make it heard themselves and should be listened to.
There are a few other questions, if you would bear with me, upon which I would like to comment.
Mr. Taylor mentioned that the job situation for the Indian people was very poor because they could not cope with many of the jobs that were made available, and this I deny very directly. The situation in the Yukon Territory is this, that the Yukon Territory allows any two-bit operation to come in here to operate on a shoe string, and the one who suffers is the one who tries to work for that
shoe-string operation. The Indian people are used almost like slave labour, working in wood camps or saw mills where they might work one day in every two weeks. So they come home to a wife and a very large family living in a shack that should not be allowed to be built on any site and they say, I have to oiler you a pay packet of eight hours in a forty-hour week.
Nobody can live on that, and up here in these extreme conditions of climate a saw mill will shut down in the very cold weather. Who provides for these people? Why should our government simply turn back then and say they have to live on welfare. I think an employer should be made responsible for his people and offer them a steady source of income and not simply say, we might work tomorrow or we might work the next day. I suggest that if you introduce new people to a new work force in such a haphazard way, you cannot expect them to work steadily if they have been introduced to work maybe one day in 10, and if they have been introduced to working conditions which I suggest no trade union anywhere in Canada would accept for its people. But the Indian people do not have a trade union and are not organized to face high-level administration in business.
I suggest that you look into this matter very seriously. We have a labour commission here in Whitehorse, I mean somebody is supposed to look after the interests of the working person in any business operation. I have it written and I have on record that they take special attention with regard to the Indian people and they say this is not their business, and I suggest to you people that you look into this very directly. But I do not suggest that it is because the Indian people cannot cope with work. I suggest it is because they are not brought in to work in a dignified and proper way.
Mr. Taylor: Allow me one question, if I may be permitted. Do you not feel that the answer is a little social education at the community level, and also the position that you suggest, sir, that the Indian agent disappears and that these people have a right to their own determination at the local level?
Reverend Kearns: I suggest this is very much the answer, but I suggest it will never be the answer until the Indian people make it their own. It is not for you or for me to decide. I think it is for them.
Mr. Taylor: Right.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rowland has a question.
Mr. Rowland: Father, do you have any specific suggestions about the mechanisms that could replace the Indian agent, which I agree with you is totally—I was going to say unsatisfactory, and that would be an understatement to end all understatements; it is just wrong. But are you suggesting for example a municipal government structure for Indian communities in the Yukon so that they have local self-government and determination over the facilities provided in the communities and so forth?
Reverend Kearns: Yes, very definitely this would be my hope, but again it is for the people to decide when and how they will accomplish this. But it would be my hope, and I would suggest with regard to the Indian agent that this government and every government try to free him from the shackles of democracy on which he now exists. He is purely administrating cheques, and so long as he is administering a purse, people see him only as a way to get money. He should be seen much more as a member of the community, possibly a native person himself, acting as a community development officer, to open up new horizons, stimulate talk, and encourage people in their work and their efforts, but not to give them money. That is the area for the welfare department itself, not necessarily Indian Affairs.
So an Indian agent may be a necessary evil, at least for a while, but let us give him a relatively meaningful function by making him a community development officer, someone to work with people, and not simply someone who lives outside the community, to visit the community to give handouts every now and again.
I suggest that these people who are called Indian agents and social welfare workers do not yet know the people they are working with, and if you do not know your people there is very little you can do to help them.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Nielsen also has a question.
Mr. Nielsen: Yes, it is a question for the Father, Mr. Chairman. He has put his finger on one of the evils of the policies which have been in force in the Yukon in connection with
the Indian people. I am sure he will agree that most of the community developments for the Indian people have resulted in the building-up of ghettos throughout the Yukon. Whitehorse has its Indian village which in effect is a ghetto, and Upper Liard is rapidly— if it has not already achieved that status.
Would you say, Father, that community integration would be part of the solution if instead of the federal government investing moneys and constructing homes—if some of them can be called that—for the Indian people in a ghetto-like structure, that perhaps this kind of money should be invested in the construction of homes for Indian people right in the communities where everyone else lives rather than isolating the Indian people as they have been done?
That is the only question I leave with you, but I leave with you this thought too. We have a colleague in the House of Commons from Kamloops whose name is Len Marchand and he is an Indian, and my colleagues on the Committee here have heard him say several times in Standing Committee and in the House of Commons, “I do not speak to you as an Indian. I speak to you as a Canadian, and we Indian people in Canada do not want to be heard as Indians. We want to be heard as Canadians”. I thought I would pass that sentiment on to you, along with the question.
Reverend Kearns: With regard to the remark by Mr. Len Marchand, I suggest he is out of step with many Indians in Canada. They want to be heard as Canadian Indians, and I believe they should be and are rightfully proud of their Indian heritage, and until they become very proud of it and recognize it, they will not be what they are—Canadian Indians, the first people of this country, and have a right to hold their head up and be proud of that fact. I suggest that they are fully Canadians, more Canadian certainly than I am, and maybe than many people here, and therefore as Canadians they must speak, but certainly also as Canadian Indians.
With regard to the whole problem of integration, I suggest that here in the Yukon like everywhere else it is slightly different than the development and the progress and the hopes and ideas of Indians throughout other parts of the country, because each Indian comes from a different nation. The Cree nation is different from the Ojibway, and so forth. Here we have our own nations, mostly of Athabaskan origin, and these people have found their own rate of progress and their own particular ideal, and they must be consulted as to whether they want to integrate
with the White community or maybe more specifically as to whether they want to do it right now.
I suggest that many programs of integration are the result of our own sometimes misguided conscience of self-justification. We decide that that is the only answer for the Indian people, and we decide to integrate them. But I know many people who would rather live on their own and work out their own problems their own way or maybe in time make their own path towards integration.
I suggest that when we decide—white men I mean—about integration, we usually start at the wrong level. People may think that I am trying to bring up a specific issue, but I suggest very openly and honestly that we start with the level of education, and I mean by education the education of the young children like you see here, and I suggest that those young children will never be able to take the opportunities given to them until we start integrating our communities as you have suggested. However, by integrating communities I do not mean necessarily getting people to live together just because they should live together.
Last year there was a ruckus made in this town because an Indian person wanted to live in this town, and the ruckus was made by the white people, and until we put our own affairs in order we cannot even begin to talk. I suggest that it is up to the Indian people to make their own moves at their own pace, and until they feel ready and they wish, there can be very little talk about that.
I am no authority on these matters. I speak very dogmatically, but I do not have the answers. I do say, however, that the one thing I will hold on to in the face of anybody is that nobody has a right to speak for the Indian people, not myself and not anybody else. We have only a right to speak for them if we have listened to them.
The last thing I would like to bring up, because I do think it is constitutional, is the whole matter of legal aid in this province. I suggest to you that most of the people coming before our courts are not in a position, especially if they are native people, to pay for their own legal costs. They have no legal aid society here, and I think this is robbing them of decent ordinary legal justice.
And I suggest this also not only in the whole general area of crime protection and so
forth, but I suggest it particularly with regard to the divorce laws. I know men and women who are crippled by the fact that they want to get a divorce and must pay $500 to $750 for it and they cannot afford it and it is marring and hurting their lives. I cannot carry these things to the court. I have tried. I have been told I can do so but it is very difficult and I suggest to you that if you are to give justice in Canada to Canadians you should see that in each province there is a legal aid society to give proper help and consideration to those who cannot afford to buy justice. No one should have to buy justice if they cannot afford it. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I will allow Mr. Nielsen to make a brief comment.
Mr. Nielsen: Very briefly I do not think, with respect to the Father, the remarks on legal aid were quite accurate. There is a system of legal aid available in the Yukon, not only to the Indian people, but to everyone who finds himself in the position where he cannot pay for his own defence. That legal aid extends to the more serious crimes. It does not extend to cases of being drunk in a public place or impaired driving or that sort of thing. I do not know where the Father got his figures on divorces but no one has to pay that kind of exorbitant fee for a divorce if he shops around.
Reverend Kearns: That price was quoted by your office, Mr. Nielsen.
Mr. Nielsen: You have been misinformed, Father.
The last point I wished to make concerns legal aid, because the matter has been raised by the Father. If a person does find himself in difficulties before the courts all he has to do is to make application to the JP or the magistrate who is judging the case and the accused person’s request will be referred through the proper channels for the granting of legal aid. Legal aid is supported by the Department of Justice in the Yukon.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mrs. Lott I believe would like to speak. We will not have quite so much opportunity ladies and gentlemen for interchange with all of the witnesses that we had with the past one because we have some limitation of time but we are certainly very pleased to have the people from the floor speak.
Mrs. Shirley Lott: I am sorry. I do not want to take too much time.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): No. I am not trying to limit you. I am trying to limit the Committee members.
Mrs. Lott: The only thing I would like to say is I have been shopping for one year for a divorce and I cannot find anybody who will do it for under $500. If you know of anybody let me know.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): What is your name please?
Mrs. Lott: Mrs. Lott.
Mr. Nielsen: I do not have a card with me.
Mrs. Lott: You are the only one who has helped me so far. What is your rate?
Senator Cameron: Mr. Chairman, just by way of a comment, I think I have sat on a thousand divorce cases in the Senate when we had divorces and $400, $500, $600 and up to $1,000 were not uncommon as costs.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Chamberlist, did you want to make a comment?
Mr. Norman Chamberlist (Territorial Councillor, Whitehorse-East): Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask one question resulting from the remarks of the Father. I wonder, Mr. Chairman, through you if any members of the committee would indicate their feelings with reference to completely repealing the Indian Act.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I think, Mr. Chamberlist, we will have to treat that as a rhetorical question for now. The Committee members when they write their report may well indicate their feeling on that but we have not had an opportunity of discussing it and it is something we will have to take under advisement.
There are several other young people who wanted to ask questions. We have heard two of them. I believe there are at least two more and I would ask one of the others to come forward now.
Mr. Robert Tool: Ottawa has recently transferred small quantities of land surrounding Newcomb in the south municipalities to the Yukon. Why has Ottawa not transferred all the land of the Yukon to the Yukoners?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I doubt if anyone has an answer to that. That is a question both of the witnesses we have heard in the Yukon have asked us and we are going to have to ask ourselves that question back in Ottawa.
Does somebody else want to make a comment.
Mr. Hopkins: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think we are talking here about something that has been traditional in constitutionalism in Canada because prior to the founding of the Canadian constitution all natural resources were vested in one central government. We had shortly after Confederation some very important legal cases in Ontario between the then Premier Sir O. Mowat and these cases went through to the Supreme Court and, as you know, some. of them went through the judiciary of the Privy Council in England. The provinces, particularly in northern Ontario, got the right to exercise jurisdiction over their natural resources and the areas that we know today as Saskatchewan and Alberta, which were still federal territories as the Yukon is today, did not have control over their natural resources. They were given control over these in 1905 when those two provinces received their autonomy. Even at that time there was quite a dispute whether their natural resources should remain under federal control or whether they should be passed on to the provinces.
I suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the people who have commented on this subject that possibly this Committee might be in order were it to break with the traditions of this type of constitutional arrangement in Canada in order to assist the Yukon Territory to more rapidly gain its stature of a province. Possibly we could recommend as an immediate measure that the natural resources of the Yukon Territory be transferred to the Yukon Territory as such in order to give it a greater economic base and to have more control over its local territorial resources. Hence, I think it might be better for more rapid development of the Territory in its growth towards provincial autonomy. I think it is a very important, matter for this Committee to consider in view of the fact that it has come up and is basically one of tradition in Canadian constitutional history.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you, Mr. Hopkins. I am sure we will be considering this matter along with many others. Now I believe there is another young
man back there who is prepared to ask us a question. A young lady, well that is even better.
Bernadette Unka: Why have only two Ministers been appointed to act under the Commissioner?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I am sorry, I do not think we heard your question.
Bernadette Unka: Why have only two Ministers been appointed to act under the Commissioner?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Would you care to make a comment on that, Mr. Taylor?
Mr. Taylor: This is, of course, an experiment in local government I suppose, what the federal government are calling it. We are not convinced that we are even going to have Ministers. It has been suggested and certainly the members of the legislature hope that these people will have Cabinet Minister status in our new government. It was suggested by the Hon. Jean Chretien that one person be appointed to an executive committee. We went down to Ottawa and met with the Prime Minister and the Minister and asked for three positions having Cabinet status and we wound up with two. We are not quite sure yet to this day exactly what we have. We are very concerned about it and I think this will be known as soon as Mr. Commissioner comes back from Ottawa. I must say I am kind of puzzled on this thing too.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Is there any other young woman or young man who would like to make a comment? Mr. Allmand, you wanted to make a comment?
Mr. Allmand: I just have a short question.
This arises out of some of the things that Father said before the Committee. I want to know whether the federal Minimum Wages Act, the Canada Fair Employment Practices Act and the Canada Labour (Standards) Code apply in the Yukon. Also, has the Council enacted legislation meeting those same standards in minimum wage and fair employment practices and labour standards. Where does it apply in the Yukon because I am used to the provincial situation. I am not too sure now, having heard accusations of slave labour and so forth.
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, in reply I can say that indeed the basic minimum wage
provisions under federal legislation certainly apply in the Yukon Territory.
Mr. Nielsen: Only to federal jobs.
Mr. Taylor: May I continue. The provisions as I stated certainly apply as they do in other areas of Canada but the territorial government or the legislature of the Territory is given the right and responsibility of making legislation in this area and we have indeed followed, as a matter of fact, I think we preceded the federal government in bringing down basic minimum wage stipulation. I believe it is $1.50 right now. But in any event what Father says is partially right too because there are unscrupulous people here who have hired native people and I think this is what Father is getting at and then found themselves broke and not able to pay these people or they have employed native people and paid them poor wages.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Not given them the minimum wage?
An hon. Member: Is there a territorial minimum wage?
Mr. Taylor: The Territory follows the federal government basically on the minimum wage. When I say, I mean we members of the legislature, have attempted to ask the territorial administration to come up with some legislation in this area which would provide categorical minimum wages. That is not to say that $1.50 an hour or $1.75 an hour is the basic minimum wage, but, indeed, to say that a truck driver, heavy duty is this and that, much along the lines of a provincial situation. Unfortunately we in our legislature have no control of our legal department. Our legal adviser is the Commissioner’s legal adviser and this person serves two masters and obviously he serves the government, he does not serve the people, but he makes this attempt. In other words, we cannot initiate this legislation, we have to beg for it. This is what we are trying to cure as a result of these hearings today.
Mr. Nielsen: Mr. Chairman, for the record, I think I should mention that under Section 16 of the Yukon Act the Yukon Territory is given legislative powers apart from money bills in substantially the same classes of subject matter as the provinces under the BNA Act. There are only three exceptions—money bills, natural resources and justice. There has been a labour provisions ordnance passed which sets a minimum wage but no govern-
ment I think would adopt a policy of usurping the power of trade unions to negotiate wage rates for their own memberships. That is why they have not gone into specific wage rates for specific classes of employment. The only lack in our labour legislation at the moment is that we do not have an Industrial Relations and Disputes Investigation Act and similar legislation in the provinces. We are unique in that regard because we are the only jurisdiction in the Yukon that does not have such provincial type legislation.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We have three more questioners and after that I will wind up the meeting. Mr. McQuaid, Senator Fergusson and Mr. Hopkins.
Mr. McQuaid: Mr. Chairman, I had a question for Mr. Taylor. I realize that perhaps by reason of his position on the Territorial Council he may not feel like answering it and I do not want to embarrass him. If he does not feel like answering I want him to feel free to tell me so. It was indicated to us in a brief last night at Whitehorse that there is a failure on the part of the Territorial Council to effectively contact, and even after contact, to effectively be heard by the powers that be in Ottawa. From your experience, is this correct? For example, you mentioned control over your own minerals. Have you been able to effectively present your position on this matter to the central government and do you feel that you have been heard and that serious consideration has been given? In other words, do you know of any cases where you have been completely brushed aside by the central government in any of the presentations you have made to the government?
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, we have been told clearly in Ottawa that if we want responsible government, yes, we will consider that, but if we are to talk about the takeover of resources within our Territory we are not listening to you. I must say that in all honesty regardless of any other considerations we have been told this and this is the situation. We are prepared to buy that as long as we can at least take over control in the Territory of our day-to-day affairs and start developing towards provinces. However, we have been told by the federal government, if you are talking resources forget about it, and this has been clearly stated.
I would like to say something else, sir. I made the statement a little while earlier that the Civil Service in my opinion, and in the
opinion of many others in the Territory, has become stronger than the government, because—again we are talking resources—we cannot even be a partner in this operation. We are not considered at all. The people wheel and deal. We have a new community of Faro out there. This is wheeled and dealed by the Civil Service and I do not think really that much of what goes on in both the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory comes to the attention of the Ministers responsible, whatever government may be in office.
There is a situation, sir, in Teslin, with native people again. There are descendants of two great nations. These are Haida Indians and the Klinkit Indian and the descendants of these people who, prior to 1935, lived in Alaska, have a right to a great deal of land and a great deal of money. This is in a land claim settlement going on across an international boundary. To the people of Teslin, the men, women and children, who are entitled in this area, this means a total, I think we figured it out, of $5,200,000 to those people. The federal government at the legislative end of it do not know anything about it and we have sat here for two years now fighting with the government of the State of Alaska to protect the rights of these people. It was only upon a phone call to Ottawa during the last two weeks that we were able to convey this to the elected side of government, that is to the Minister; in this case, the Minister of Northern Affairs. So the Civil Service had not taken that information—this is what I am getting at—up to the elected level, and this is what is going on.
Mr. McQuaid: Do you try as a territorial council to contact the Minister direct rather than working through the officials in his office rather than working through the civil service?
Mr. Taylor: This has a great bearing, sir, and Mr. Chairman. I suppose politics play a very heavy part in this and if you happen to be on the side of the government in power then you certainly have immediate access through political means of reaching your Minister.
Mr. Nielsen: No way. It is just as bad whether you are in government or not.
Mr. Taylor: As a legislative council, we have to go through the Commissioner and we have to go through everything from the State Department to gosh knows what to jointly
present our representations. As a legislative body, as representatives of the people we do have some difficulty, correct.
Mr. McQuaid: Are you suggesting to me that there is something to prevent you as a legislative council from directly contacting your Minister?
Mr. Taylor: No. This is incorrect. No, I certainly do not wish to leave that impression. What I am saying is that when the legislative council of the Yukon Territory wish to make a representation we do it in the legislature, we stand up and we propose a motion, and we say well, this is what we would like, we would like this to be conveyed by the Commissioner to the Minister. This is our opinion on this particular matter. This is then conveyed but it is the only way we can do this.
Mr. McQuaid: I just have one other question, Mr. Chairman. Could Mr. Taylor give me any rough idea at all how much the citizens of the Yukon contribute annually to the federal treasury? Have you any estimate of what that figure might be?
Mr. Taylor: No, sir. I will tell you why. We have attempted to find out this information after the study on taxation. Again I come back to this business of who is keeping the books. The revenues from the Yukon and the Northwest Territories are lumped together. We have tried to have them segregated. The corporate revenues accruing to the federal government are sometimes collected in Vancouver. For instance, White Pass in the Yukon, who are a big name in the Yukon Territory, have their offices in Vancouver. There is no way that we or possibly even yourselves as members of government, have an opportunity of getting this. I do not know. This is a realm I am not too sure of, but I would say this to you: there are no accurate figures on the corporate and personal income tax revenues from the Territory. There possibly is in resource revenues, but I do not know.
Mr. McQuaid: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Fergusson.
Senator Fergusson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to congratulate Mr. Taylor on his presentation to us and I would also like to congratulate him on his election. I hope
that during his next term he will see great strides made towards the establishment of responsible government in the Yukon. I am sure he has aroused a tremendous amount of interest in the Committee and as Mr. Dinsdale said when there was a question raised about whether or not there were people in the Yukon who could be leaders, I think that has been answered today, both by the presentation and by the exchange between the member for this area.
Mr. Taylor, even though the Senators might not understand this position as having gone through an election because they do not have to be elected but I might say that I for one have run elections in a city of over 20,000 and I know that there are many other Senators who have had similar experiences even though we do not have to run elections at the present time.
I would like to ask Father Kearns something if this is all right. He spoke of a brief that he would like to have filed with the Poverty Committee. Now I am a member of that Committee and I visited Whitehorse when the Committee visited Whitehorse and I do not know anything about that brief. I certainly think anybody who can present the arguments that Father Kearns did should be heard by the Poverty Committee and what I would like to ask Father Kearns is whether he filed that brief with the Committee, or I ‘cannot explain why he was not heard. It may be that we did not have the time. It may be that he brought it in too late because we were very pressed for time but if he has not filed it I would like to ask if he would give it to me and I would present it to the Committee and ask to have it be included in our records because I am sure there is much information in it that would be valuable to us. Could I have that brief.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Father Kearns, would you come up please?
Reverend Kearns: This brief was filed with the Chairman of your Committee. I only heard about your Committee three days before because I was away. I rang the organizing committee in Whitehorse and they said certainly my brief would be accepted. I prepared my brief, arrived in Whitehorse, and was told I would have to have 12 copies. At this stage it was too late for me to present it publicly. Your Chairman suggested that I wait and see if you had time. I was informed during the sessions that you had not time to hear me publicly but that he would accept a brief and it would go into your official documents.
Senator Fergusson: Thank you. I just wanted to be sure that we were not going to miss what Father Kearns had in his brief. I also would like to say a word about the divorce and legal aid because I, like Senator Cameron, sat on the Divorce Committee—longer than he did—and I am sure I heard even more cases. I would be surprised if any of those cases were able to procure a divorce without paying more than $500 in expenses, and I am particularly interested in this, because we have learned in the Poverty Committee of the tremendous number of deserted women there are in Canada who are supporting families, many of whom would be able, if they could be free, to marry and set up a normal home with a father and a mother in it. I certainly think it should be possible for women such as that to be able to secure a divorce without paying unreasonable sums. I think we should be able to provide legal aid in cases like that. These are not the questions I had in mind at all when I asked to speak, but Mr. Dinsdale has really stolen my thunder.
What I wanted to refer to was a statement by Mr. Taylor about education, that we need social education for the younger generation of native people and we should not just give them welfare. He also said that we have made it impossible for them to make their living the way their daddies did. We have not really given them a new way to make their living. I was going to ask him to elaborate on that. However, as time has gone on, perhaps there is nothing more he would like to add because Mr. Dinsdale’s question was along the same lines.
Mr. Taylor: Senator Fergusson, just briefly in answer to that very good question, I might say that in my own experience integration came with about 5,000 American soldiers and Canadian soldiers when they built the Alaska Highway. Ever since these people have been struggling and working very, very hard to make a life for themselves, but we seem to be going downhill rather than uphill. There has always been a rejection at the civil service level for the provision of social education at the community level designed in an effort to assist these people to steer them into what we are trying to do. We have made a great mistake and I think Father Kearns made the point and made it very, very well, when he said, “Let us quit telling these people what we expect of them. Let us ask them what they
want to do themselves and let us assist them in doing those things”.
Senator Fergusson: This is what I wanted to know. What would be the content of that social education and just what are you going to teach them?
Mr. Taylor: What I am talking about is people. It takes dedicated people to sit at the community level and say, well, all right, these guys up town are trying to tell you how they think you should live. We are down here to help you adjust to this particular philosophy. Now maybe you do not want to buy this philosophy. Fine. How can we help you? How can we help you adjust over this period of adjustment? And we do not help them by giving them welfare.
Senator Fergusson: No, I realize this. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): The last question will be asked by Mr. Hopkins.
Mr. Hopkins: Mr. Chairman, just to get the witness on the record here with my previous remarks, I would like to ask him if he would agree in this Committee’s report that we should suggest as one of the stages that you would desire to see put into operation as you grow to provincial autonomy and to assist you to gain provincial autonomy—is it your desire that this Committee should recommend that the natural resources of the Yukon be given to the Yukon as one of those previous stages towards development?
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, I must be very cautious in answering the question that was just asked. Certainly I would agree that the sooner we can take over the control of resources in the Yukon Territory, the better. I certainly agree, but I also think in qualifying my answer that we should be given the opportunity to show the people and the members of Parliament and the Senate of Canada and the people of Canada indeed that we are capable of accepting that responsibility, and it is in this area that I am having difficulty in answering your question. We know we can do the job but certainly I do not think that anybody in Parliament at least is going to give us that responsibility until we can prove that we can handle it, so what I am attempting to say in answer to your question, sir, is, give us the opportunity to be a partner at least in the development of resources and resource management so that we can show that we can do the job. Then, this would be the end result.
Mr. Hopkins: As you grow to provincial status, transportation is obviously going to be of major importance to you. In order to promote provincial status and to develop in the meantime and after, what needs do you recognize in the fields of transportation for the Yukon today?
Mr. Taylor: The secret to the Yukon—and again we are considering a resource base industry as being the primary industry in the Yukon, Mr. Chairman, is to widen accessibility to the tide water. If we can in conjunction with the Government of the United States, and more particularly the State of Alaska, negotiate for tidal access, that is the case, in my opinion.
Mr. Hopkins: Mr. Chairman, just one more comment. When we arrived the other night and as we are travelling through the North, we get the impression that there is a lot of resentment towards the East. I would just like to say that I hope you, Mr. Taylor, and the people in the Yukon will not identify the rest of us from the East with the bureaucracy with whom you have a certain disagreement because we are here to hear you and to assist you in any way, and I can assure you that the people from my area of the country are extremely interested in you, and it pleases me greatly to hear you come out today and say that you want to be Canadians because this is great sentiment and we want to do something constructive here that is going to keep you wanting to be Canadian in the future. I think that verbal communication is very important and I think that the more we can do this sort of thing across Canada, the more it will contribute to a Canadian national feeling.
Our Chairman mentioned last night something about certain armchair reporters back in Ottawa who are degrading the work of this Committee and mentioning that it possibly will not be of any importance at all, and I would just like to say in comment to one particular reporter’s articles that it is much easier to take a negative approach towards life than it is to be positive and to do something constructive. We are very pleased indeed to find so many people who want to be positive and constructive to build a nation, and I think we can do it very well in spite of negative newspaper reporters as such. This is not a general comment about the press, because we have some excellent people in the field of newspaper writing, but it is unfortunate that they have to go along with some of
their buddies, but I guess this is true of every walk of life.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Asselin has asked my permission to ask a very brief question and this will be absolutely the last word.
Mr. Asselin: I would like to ask Father Kearns a question. This morning, Father, you said the Indian people liked to run their own business and wanted to speak for themselves. I would like to know if among those people some leaders are ready to take this responsibility?
Reverend Kearns: In view of what I have already said I cannot make a nomination for Indian leadership among the Indian people. This is a nomination they must make themselves. This is their own election and their own choice. I do not know the Indian people of the Yukon well enough. I have lived for three years in the Yukon and I have lived mostly at Liard. All I can say is that at Liard and as regards the affairs of Liard there are people there competent and able to speak for themselves in regard to their own local matters and here it is local leadership.
For the whole of the Yukon, there is the Yukon Native Brotherhood and I am sure there are men there capable. But whether they are capable now of assuming complete authority any more than the Yukon may be quite ready now to take full authority, at least let us set them on the road and help them to get on the road to aim for this themselves and they can then take it over fully themselves.
Mr. Asselin: Father, I would like to say that this morning you made a very nice contribution for your people.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Taylor wants a final word, but before he has it, I want to thank him very much on behalf of the Committee and on behalf of you all for his fine presentation here this morning.
Mr. Taylor: Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I just want to say that what I have attempted to do today—I do apologize for not having enough material—but what I have attempted to do is to start off with, where is the Yukon in relation to Canada? Where do we sit? I have taken you from what I would term a crown colony where we had a Lieutenant Governor and where we had a legislative assembly and where we have lost it to where I do not even think we are a
crown colony in Canada right now. If my memory serves me correctly, if you are a crown colony, you have a Lieutenant Governor. There is no Lieutenant Governor here. We are completely subservient to the federal government at this time. What I have attempted to do today, with the brief amount of material available to me, is to ask the Committee, who are representative of all the people in Canada, to give very heavy consideration to our constitutional position and assist the people of the North, both in the Northwest Territories and in the Yukon as well, to become stronger participating Canadians, and I thank you very, very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): To Mr. Chamberlist, who is also here, I think I might say on behalf of the Committee, since they are both members of the Territorial Council, if they would like to bring the Committee’s work to the attention of the Territorial Council, we would be happy if they wanted to send us any further written submissions on behalf of the whole Council which might assist our Committee’s work.
The Committee is adjourned to the call of the Chair.
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