Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 8 (19 November 1980)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 8 (19 November 1980).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 8
Wednesday, November 19, 1980
Senator Harry Hays
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Joint Committee of
the Senate and of
the House of Commons on the
Constitution of Canada
The document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a
Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen
respecting the Constitution of Canada” published
by the Government on October 2, 1980
(See back cover)
First Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament, 1980
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE OF
THE SENATE AND OF THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS ON THE CONSTITUTION
Senator Harry Hays
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Representing the Senate:
Representing the House of Commons:
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
Joint Clerks of the Committee
Pursuant to S.O. 65(4)(b) of the House of Commons:
On Wednesday, November 19, 1980:
Mr. de Jong replaced Mr. Robinson;
Mr. La Salle replaced Mr. Epp;
Mr. Lapierre replaced Mr. Tobin.
Pursuant to an order of the Senate adopted November 5, 1980:
On Wednesday, November 19, 1980:
Senator Duff Roblin replaced Senator Ike Smith.
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1980
The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 3:35 o’clock pm., the Joint Chairman, Senator Hays, presiding.
Members of the Committee present:
Representing the Senate: The Honourable Senators Asselin, Austin. Connolly, Goldenberg, Hays, Lapointe, Molgat, Petten, Roblin and Tremblay.
Other Senator present: The Honourable Senator Haidasz.
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Beatty, Bockstael, Miss Campbell (South West Nova), Messrs. Corbin, Crombie, de Jong, Epp, Fraser, Henderson, Irwin, Joyal, Lapierre, La Salle, Mackasey, McGrath and Nystrom.
Other Members present: Messrs. Allmand, Duclos and Lachance.
In attendance: From the Parliamentary Centre: Mr. Peter Dobell, Director. From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Messrs. Paul Martin and John McDonough, Researchers.
Witnesses: From Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Mr. William F. Dunn, Chairman of the Executive Committee; Mr. Sam Hughes, President; Mr. Graeme T. Haig, Q.C., Chairman of the Constitution Reform Committee and Mr. Andre Bouchard, Member of the Constitution Reform Committee. From Council of Quebec Minorities: Mr. Eric Maldoff, President; Mr. Casper Bloom and Mr. James Leavy. From Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario: Mr. Yves St-Denis, President, and Mr. Gerard Levesque, Secretary General.
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Reference from the Senate dated November 3, 1980 and its Order of Reference from the House of Commons dated October 23, 1980, both relating to the document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada” published by the Government on October 2, 1980. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Thursday, November 6. 1980, Issue No. 1.)
Messrs. Dunn, Hughes, Haig and Bouchard made statements and answered questions.
Mr. Joyal assumed the Chair.
Messrs. Maldoff and St-Denis made statements and, with the witnesses, answered questions.
At 5:35 o’clock pm., the sitting was suspended.
At 6:18 o’clock p.m., the sitting resumed.
At 7:07 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Joint Clerks of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Wednesday, November 19, 1980
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order please.
I would ask the members of the committee to take their place around the table and 1 would ask the representatives of the press who have tape recorders or cameras to leave the room so that the honourable members of this committee can resume their work.
It is my pleasure this afternoon to welcome on behalf of all the members of this Committee the representatives of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
I understand that you have already sent to members of this Committee a copy of the written submission, and I welcome you to make your opening remarks or a statement and then the members of this Committee will ask questions or debate, as they see proper and I am quite sure that you are willing to follow that procedure.
I wish to welcome particulary [Text] Mr. William Gunn who is the Chairman of the Executive and of the Committee, and maybe request him to introduce the other members who are with him this afternoon.
Mr. William F. Gunn (Chairman of the Executive Committee, Canadian Chamber of Commerce): Senator Hays, Mr. Joyal, members of the Committee, good afternoon. My name is William Gunn and I am pleased to appear before you today in my capacity as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. in business life I am with the H.J. Heinz Company of Canada Limited and I reside in the City of Toronto.
My colleagues sitting next to me today, on my left, Mr. Sam Hughes, who no doubt you recognize and who is President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its permanent spokesman. The other two gentlemen, on my extreme right is Mr. Graeme T. Haig, Q.C., and Mr. Andre Bouchard, Chairman and member respectively of the Chamber’s Constitutional Reform Committee, both of whom have done much of the background work leading to the development of the Chamber’s position on certain constitutional issues.
Mr. Haig is a distinguished lawyer from Winnipeg and Mr. Andre Bouchard resides in Quebec City and is Director of Public Affairs for Alcan Smelters and Chemicals Limited.
We are appearing before you today as witnesses on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce which, as you know, is the country’s broadest business association, We are grateful to you for this opportunity to comment on the economic aspects of the proposed resolutions respecting the constitution of Canada. However, we would like to point out that the submission you received from us was not hastily prepared in response to the proposed resolution respecting the constitution of Canada, but rather a document based upon input from our membership all across Canada during this past summer.
I should like to mention that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has had a continuing interest and involvement in the question of national unity and constitutional reform. For example, it contributed positively to the hearings of the Task Force on Canadian Unity in March, 1978. And further efforts have also been recognized by the Counsel on Canadian Unity which acknowledged with a special presentation in 1979 the preeminent role played by the Chamber in the unity debate in the 1970s.
I would now like to turn the microphone over to my three colleagues who are prepared to review our proposal and answer any questions that you may have on the submission that is before you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you. Mr. Haig.
Mr. Graeme T. Haig, Q.C. (Chairman of the Constitution Reform Committee): Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen.
Mr. Gunn had given to you a brief summary of the background of the submission which is before you, the position paper which I understand you all have had an opportunity of reviewing. I should like to enhance the remarks that he made about its preparation slightly by indicating that that paper was prepared on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce after an extensive visit across Canada interviewing member Chambers, provincial Chambers and corporate members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. It was then brought together under a committee of which I shared chairmanship, reviewed on behalf of the Canadian Chamber and presented to its Annual Meeting, at which Annual Meeting it enjoyed the approval of the whole of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
There are a number of points, Mr. Chairman, of concern to the chamber in its special field of interest, the field of business and economics in Canada and I would like to deal with the first one on behalf of the Chamber, and that is the question of the process of constitutional reform.
The Chamber states that at a time when the world economy is plagued with growth and structural problems, it is a delicate endeavour to re-open for discussion the trade-offs which have for more than a century made Canada a prosperous country. The uncertainties which always result from such an exercise may be very detrimental to our economy, especially if the discussions last for a number of years, and it is the feeling of the Chamber that we have been too long in our dialogue.
Accordingly, it is vital that the planning and execution of the revision process be carried out as efficiently and as expeditiously as possible in order to best serve both the immediate and long-term interests of Canadians.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce therefore recommends, Mr. Chairman, that Canada’s legislatures do their utmost to ensure a speedy and efficient discussiona aimed at identifying issues clearly before amending a constitution which on the whole has served the interests of the Canadian people very well. I would like to emphasize, Mr. Chairman, that the view of the Chamber is that while this should be undertaken and pursued aggressively and speedily, the review must be comprehensive and not hasty.
I think, Mr. Chairman, if you would prefer we could pause after each point if there are any questions from members of the Committee, or we can go on as you wish.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would suggest, with the agreement of the honourable members of this Committee, that you make your presentation as a whole and then members can pick up from your statement or presentation the points that they would like to see discussed. If that is acceptable to you, I am quite sure it will be acceptable to the members of this Committee.
Mr. Haig: Thank you, monsieur le president. Mr. Hughes is going to address you on the next item.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Hughes.
Mr. Sam Hughes (President, Canadian Chamber of Commerce): Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to draw to your attention the concern of the business community of Canada to the subject known as economic union, that in our mind’s eye is the free flow between the provinces of goods, services, capital and labour. We recognize that in the proposed statement under Section 6, that mobility of individuals has indeed been accepted. I would at this point like to question whether or not citizenship should be the test for mobility of people across Canada as it seems to be. I would like also to draw your attention to the fact that the resolution presented to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce membership at its recent annual meeting in Quebec City on the subject of impediments to the freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labour was approved unanimously by business people from across the country.
We have a concern that impediments exist between provincial jurisdictions that those impediments are creating economic hardships, not only with the jurisdictions but for Canada as a whole in the development of its export trade. We would be very pleased to discuss further with you the reason for the reduction of impediments in these four areas, but I think at this time I will leave it as a simple statement of fact that we would like to have it happen and like to have it done within the constitution.
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, the question of economic and political union will be commented on by Mr, Andre Bouchard.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Bouchard.
Mr. André Bouchard (Representative, Canadian Chamber of Commerce): Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce feels that the constitutional review should reinforce the economic and political union in Canada while allowing each province to look after its cultural, social and economic development. This requires a national authority having adequate powers and responsibilities to maintain such a union. Consequently the Chamber of Commerce is convinced that the reallocation of powers and the nature of our institutions must reflect the objective of the various governments, that is the establishment of a strong and perfectly integrated economic and political union.
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, I think the view of the Chamber on that latter part is what we must both emphasize and recognize that both the provinces, the provincial legislatures, and the federal government must be prepared to move from
their present position in order to accomplish the objectives which we feel are worthwhile there.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Hughes.
Mr. Hughes: Mr, Chairman, the co-ordination of international efforts is a subject that we have put in because the lack of it is an embarassment to Canada abroad; We do not necessarily believe that it must be a subject for inclusion in the constitution of Canada, but we regard it as sufficiently important to wish to flag it for your attention at this time.
Canada is represented not only by the federal government, but by a number of provincial authorities; in economic and political centres across the world, it is represented without much consistency, in fact with apparent conflict from time to time. We regard this as unhealthy for the business community and would encourage both levels of government to get their act together so that indeed we could be represented both efficiently and effectively.
Mr. Bouchard: As for the national economic goals, the Chamber recognizes the primacy of the federal powers to develop a national economic policy. Nonetheless, the Canadian economic goals should be the result of permanent consultations that would bring out the provincial and federal points of view.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is favourable to a strong federal power capable of identifying and pursuing national economic goals following official permanent consultations with the provinces.
I must add, Mr. Chairman, on this, that the economic development pursued by the provinces should be in keeping with the national policies.
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, the matter of transfer payments has been an important aspect of Canadian political and economic life for a very considerable period of time, and the Chamber is of the view that transfer payments will be part of our system of financing life in Canada for some years to come.
The redistribution of economic well-being between the various parts of the country through federal payment or allocation of tax revenues is an area which has been the source of much friction and difficulty between the federal government and the governments of the provinces, and has been a concern to the Chamber members because of the outflow from that friction.
There are three areas of particular concern that we direct your attention to. One is the matter of additional grants from the federal to the provincial authorities; because they are unsatisfactory from the actual practice of federalism, and they do not work in reducing economic disparities in the way that the designers invariably hope them to do.
Similarly, cost sharing programmes and these conditional grants represent areas where there has been intrusion or an overlap between the activities of the two levels or two of the most important levels of government in Canada and, as I have
said, have been one of the main sources of the antagonism which has arisen.
It might be observed that, while we refer to two levels of government, there is also a third level of government—the municipal level, which is equally affected by the initiation, imposition and, of course, the cancellation of programmes of this kind.
The chamber’s view is that the system of transfer payments must be maintained, but it should be carefully designed to ensure the availability of basic service to all regions, so that no Canadian can enjoy services in the community below a fundamental basic standard determined nationally; but that the extent of such transfer payments in their application should not lead to artificial economic structures, nor should it discourage the movement of people or the labour force or capital for economic reasons.
The transfer payments should be made basically with broad general objectives in mind and only after consultation and agreement between the federal government and the recipient provinces.
Mr. Bouchard: As we just said, Mr. Chairman, certain essential services must be available everywhere across Canada.
Even if the accessibility to these services can vary according to the geographical situation, to the density of the population, and so on, the federal and provincial governments should, after consultation, establish minimal standards and see that they be met. These standards should be fixed at a level that does not impede abnormally on the mobility of persons and does not aggravate the consequences of their choice or of their sense of responsibilities.
That is why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommends that minimal standards of essential services be established after consultation between the federal government and the provincial governments, in view of their implementation in the provincial jurisdiction.
Clauses should include a periodical review of these standards so as to guarantee that they not be an impediment to the exercise of individual responsibilities and that they do not eliminate the ordinary consequences of the choice that is made.
Mr. Hughes: Mr. Chairman, it is my pleasure to open up on behalf of the Chamber at very delicate area of jurisdictional question between the federal and provincial authorities. The Chamber has wrestled with this particular issue very extensively among its constituents. We recognize the delicacy of it, and we do not propose for one moment to suggest that we have a definitive answer.
But we do suggest that several principles be put into place. First. that governments closest to the needs of individuals should be the ones invited primarily to deal with those individuals and needs.
Secondly, that no areas, when the jurisdictional question is dealt with in the course of these discussions, no areas should be willingly left open to concurrent intervention.
Thirdly, a question that was particularly difficult for the Chamber to resolve was that of residual powers, those powers which are not yet clearly defined.
The statement which you have before you submits that, as a national organization, we believe that the residual powers should be vested in the federal government. I would like to add one rider or caveat to that, that those powers should not be vested in the federal government unless they are clearly and expressly provincial in nature. We do not intend for one moment that all residual powers be vested federally.
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, the matter of jurisdiction over natural resources is another of those matters which is of very great current concern. The Chamber’s opinion on this has been given a great deal of careful thought.
It is the view of the Chamber that jurisdiction over natural resources should continue to rest with the provinces; that those provinces should exercise the control of their resources for the benefit of Canada as a whole, and that in determining the circumstances and conditions of exporting those natural resources, whatever they may be, they should be subjected to the control and review of a national agency, presumably the Government of Canada.
The federal government must also, in addition to having a role concerning the export of these natural resources, be the ultimate authority in cases of national emergency, with the right to assume temporarily powers over all resources where the national interest requires. Of course, the question as to what constitutes a national emergency is one which would have to be carefully defined and agreed to by the provinces concerned.
The basic view of the Chamber—and it is an understandable one—is that the law of supply and demand, not in the local market, but in the world market, should be the principal consideration in matters relating to pricing and distribution of any natural resource or commodity.
The Chamber’s position, therefore, is that we acknowledge that the jurisdiction over natural resources should continue to be in the hands of the provinces which have the responsibility for conserving and pricing those resources; the conditions of export of critical natural resources should be subject to the control of a national agency.
Mr. Chairman, we ask ourselves and must continue to ask who should bear the cost of a government policy in a crisis reaction. Is it the provinces, the producer or the nation as a whole? The view of the Chamber is, as a national organization, that where a national decision is made the cost should be borne nationally.
On the next item, Mr. Chairman, the question would be assignment of powers of taxation. One of the benefits of the existing Canadian political structure has been that under the British North America Act certain clear cut allocation of taxing powers was made. Some of the allocations are not as
clear cut as we would have liked, but it is important that with a reallocation or a renewal or a revision of the responsibilities between various levels of government, federal and provincial, that a review be made of the areas of taxing that are granted to each such government.
It is the Canadian Chambers view that on the enactment or creation of a new constitutional authority and on a reallocation or revision of areas of responsibility between the federal government and the provincial government, it is critical that the funding for such purposes be also in place through the allocation of the tax system.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, but by no means least, the membership of the Chamber have expressed themselves as being of the view that we are anxious that the turn or the delivery into Canada of its national constitution be undertaken promptly, bringing home to Canada that instrument of our constitution; the earliest possible date is desirable.
It is also the view of the Chamber that the amending process should be commenced, undertaken and carried through to conclusion thoughtfully, carefully and wherever circumstances will permit, speedily.
It is the considered opinion of the Chamber, Mr. Chairman, that it is not necessary to create a new constitution, that we presently enjoy under the British North America Act and the subsequent legislation of the constitutional nature, a workable constitution for Canada which requires to be brought up to date and in tune with the times and needs of a modern nation and modern provinces.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, the recommendation is that the present constitution serve as a basis for the renewed constitution of Canada, subject to the amendments necessary to fulfill the objectives which we have delineated.
That, Mr. Chairman, are the points of concern which were expressed by the member organizations of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and are submitted to you for your consideration.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much. Mr. Epp?
Mr. Epp: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the representatives of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for appearing before the Committee and not only giving us the best of their views but giving us an opportunity to further question them on some of the points that they have made.
Gentlemen, to start with, I think most members around this table would agree with the general thrust of the proposals that you have made and for the strengthening of the economic union for the stress that your Association places on what I would label as co-operative federalism.
What I would be interested in is, in view of the fact that, and I am not trying to be disparaging in any way, but in view of the fact that your submission was written in September of this year, I would ask you to comment on your perception in the country in terms of the last two months, since this Com-
mittee and the House has been debating the proposed resolution, whether, in your view there is the unilateralism that we now face, whether it has changed in any way the business climate, whether it has created any uncertainty or whether, from your perspective, the constitutional debate as such because you spent some time pointing out that you would like to see the constitution debated in a full manner and yet be done as speedily as possible; that is, with sober second thought as some members around this table used to call to have their work described.
What is the climate in the two months since you have written the report?
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, possibly I can start with the answer and Mr. Hughes may want to complete it.
In response to Mr. Epp’s question, the Chamber did not prepare its material and does not appear today in response to the resolution which is before the Joint Committee of the Houses in which must ultimately be dealt with by the two Houses of Parliament.
It prepared its material in response to a general question directed to our membership; do we want the constitution of Canada to be in Canada and do we want it to be amended and in what areas of amendment are we most concerned.
I think I can say on behalf of the Chamber that those thrusts and those emphases remain unchanged by the circumstances which have passed since that time. You will see throughout the presentation that we have made that the Chamber believes very strongly in the consultative process between the federal government and provinces in areas where they have mutual concerns or overlapping responsibilities. We had always felt and continue to feel that the strength of the Canadian Federation and of Canada arises from the fact that the consultative process does work and it may take a little longer and we have urged upon you that you not delay in bringing the definitive constitution to Canada, that you not delay whatever amendments are necessary to bring it into the present time, but it should be done in a Canadian framework, if this is possible to do so, and it should be done, we believe, in consultation with all of the levels of government who will be affected by the constitutional changes that are proposed.
Mr. Epp: Are you suggesting by that, Mr. Haig, that further federal provincial conferences should be called prior to patriation?
Mr. Haig: I think, Mr. Chairman, I cannot answer that on behalf of the Chamber, because that question has not been put to them. I think that the thrust of what the Chamber said to us was this, that they believe that patriation should be undertaken. They did not have an opportunity of considering whether patriation should be undertaken and amendment undertaken concurrently and that the initiative of only one of the governing bodies in Canada. That question was not before’ use, l cannot answer for you.
Mr. Hughes: Mr. Chairman, if I may, as Mr. Haig has invited me to do, add somewhat to the general response to Mr.
Epp’s question. But from my perception, having travelled across the country subsequent to the summer meetings, the business community’s attitude is at best uneven. It is dependend in good part upon the geographic area in which you live. The subject of constitutional reform has indeed taken on a new focus, a focus that did not exist prior to this summer. The business community has, subsequent to Mr. MacEachen’s budget of October 28, become increasingly aware of jurisdictional questions, particularly in the area of energy. There are not fundamental business views that differ from one area to another that would prevent constitutional patriation, but indeed, there are emphases that are very different, depending upon what part of the country you reside.
Mr. Epp: I would like to, gentlemen, spend some time on the specifics of Section 6, the so-called mobility rights. I want to say at the outset that I am as concerned as any other Canadian if either federal laws or provincial laws should be enacted in such a manner that in fact we would develop into a balkanized, economic, union at best. I think that is also the thrust or purport of your submission.
I would like to ask you, if that is the case, what is your view as a chamber relative to provincial laws that give preference either in contracts, preferences where the provincial government is buying services or goods, preference given to provincial business entrepreneurs, or, in the case of a province placing preferential hiring practices or, for that matter, and I think generally in this debate, it has been viewed as the provinces following that line of enactment. But by the same token, the federal government north of 60, in its own jurisdiction, having legislation for example such as the Northern Pipeline Agency Act, having legislation along the very similar lines as I just expressed. By your reading of Section 6. are any of those thrusts jeopardized?
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, through you to Mr. Epp, Section 6 deals with but one of four elements that the Chamber regard as being very important to the economic development and job creation in Canada. Provincial laws favouring a specific business, the criteria being residency in that particular province, can, by definition, be at best, short-shighted, and at worst, coddling a business to the point that it is a weak business. It is not going up in an environment, tough, strong and competitive. The business of hiring preference from one province within a province to the exclusion of residences of other province, is to us abhorent. It is a practice that exists in several of the ten provinces and something that we would regard with disfavour. We would regard, too, with a great deal of scepticism bordering on disfavour the practices of preferential purchasing from province to province. It breeds balkanization of what could otherwise be large world-scale companies enabling Canada to compete effectively internationally.
I am sorry, for my part I cannot comment on the Northwest Territories as to the impact of the act. I would add only that one area you did not touch on that I would like to add to, and that is the free flow of capital. To us, one provincial premier saying: My province is not for sale; another provincial premier blocking the purchase from Atlantic Canada of a financial
institution within his province is totally wrong and in both cases damaging to Canada.
Mr. Epp: I would like to pursue that a little further with you Mr. Hughes. Some of us have had some experience, some more than others, in municipal affairs. How do you apply that rule of thumb, and I do not object to the policy position you have taken, do you take that position to the level of municipal government as well?
Mr. Hughes: Many municipal services, Mr. Epp, are of such character that they ca be supplied only by people living in the community. Mr. Crombie I am sure would have chapter and verse on that particular thing. Frequently, most frequenly municipal services, I am sure, are supplied, by the nature of those services, by the people living near at hand. I do not know that municipal services are precluded by anything except administrative policy from being supplied from outside of the community.
I would not wish any impediments to trade as a policy matter. As a practical matter, of course, there are going to be administrative policies that few of us agree with but indeed are going to exist.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Hughes, with all respect, that is what this Committee is dealing with, not only with policy but how will the courts interpret principles in terms of the actual effect of the principles included in practical every-day administration, and if I understand you correctly, while there is sympathy in terms of residency requirements at the municipal level . . .
Mr. Hughes: I do not think I said that but I might.
Mr. Epp: Well, let us just take that a little further. At the municipal level, for reasons one could argue, for reasons of practical administration, but once you have accepted that principle at the municipal level is there not some thrust to the same principle at the provincial level?
Mr. Hughes: It would not be the intent of the Chamber to argue that way. The services I was referring to Mr. Epp, are those that are local in nature such as the cleaning of streets, the supplying of personnel to the local government, the maintenance of some health services that quite clearly cannot be served from a distance of hundreds and hundreds of miles because they are very local in their application.
We would encourage community governments to, wherever practical, not place impediments in the assignment of those services and contracting for them, but as a practical matter they are going to be inclined to deal with people who live more closely because, indeed, there is an economic advantage to it.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Hughes, I am not arguing with the principles you are trying to make or the thrust of it, I am trying to also project in practical terms what does this mean and I would like to get back from what you have been saying to the Northern Pipeline Agency Act. By what has now been euphemistically termed affirmative action, it need not only be for native people, it could be for other groups as well. Would the Chamber under the principle you have just enunciated, that is
the delivery at the local level of certain goods and services, maybe we should leave it at services, at the local level, would that then confirm the validity of the hiring of native people, for example, in projects north of 60°, especially resource projects because those are the ones we are facing right now?
Mr. Hughes: Our concern is with impediments to the free flow of labour in this particular case. If the hiring of local people did not mean that other people from other parts of Canada could apply for work and be logically hired at the same economic cost, then we would have some reason to question any law that excluded others.
Mr. Epp: May I take you to another area that is tangential, the question of agricultural marketing boards. Those of us who come from rural areas have seen from practical experience the need in a number of cases to protect what is referred to as “regional advantage”. There are obviously a number of regulations or legislation which to some degree affects regional advantage.
In your view and the Chamber as you interpret the proposed resolution before us, would agricultural marketing boards at the national level be within the terms of the resolution before us?
Mr. Hughes: I am happy to invite Mr. Haig to respond to that question.
Mr. Epp: I thought you might.
Mr. Haig: I think Mr. Chairman, that the Chamber’s position on a matter of that kind would be this: If the marketing board represented the producers and was intended to represent the producers and was in fact in place and functioning as a consequence of the desire of the producers to be represented by a marketing board, then I think that is entirely consistent with the resolution as you have it before you.
I think what creates problems with the marketing boards is where they are imposed upon producers for some imagined well being for other segments of the community, generally at the cost of the producers themselves.
I think in extending the answer a little, Mr. Chairman, the problem that we recognize, and possibly is the answer to your question, Mr. Epp, is this: there are rights which ultimately carried to their extreme may run into conflict with each other. The right that you have to flail your arms about ends just short of the end of my nose. We recognize that all of these rights must at some time give way to a superior right that may exist, and in the local community the need for the continuing availability of a certain kind of service in the community may justify maintaining that service by local protection because the long term needs of the community absolutely demand it and we recognize that does occur.
However, having regard to the existence of those rights and those duties of municipal governments, the number of restric-
tions and limitations that are designed purely and simply to be protective of local business or enterprise should be eliminated or cut to an absolute minimum.
Mr. Epp: I would like to pursue that, gentlemen, but I do not have the chance.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Nystrom.
Mr. Nystrom: Thank you very much, Mr. Joint Chairman, Senator Hays. I would like to ask the Chamber a few questions about some aspects of their brief.
I notice on page 5 you are talking about jurisdiction over natural resources and that there should, as I agree obviously, be some federal rule in the jurisdiction over resources, but you also say here that the conditions for export should be determined by a national energy. I just wanted to ask you a question as to whether or not you thought there was any role for provincial governments in terms of international trade of resources, of course with federal paramouncy because I am thinking of exports and international trade and the role of the country as a whole, but is there in your opinion any role for the provinces to play in terms of jurisdiction on international trade or resources because so many of our resources are traded externally, and I think in my own province the potash and uranium and the oil that goes to the United States.
Mr. Haig: I think, Mr. Chairman, that this is one of those types of problems which besets Canada because of our federal nature and I think the position of the Chamber is basically as set out in this resolution: we do believe that in the export of the commodity, and hydrocarbons are a good example of it, where there is an important national asset to be preserved and retained for the benefit of the nation, the export of that commodity or product, whatever it may be, might quite properly be subject to federal control and the National Energy Board has in fact exercised some responsibility in that regard.
I think that the national governing body has to always exercise that right with careful consideration for the fact that the commodity is produced in a province or provinces and not in all of them, and our first concern must be that the resource not be squandered, not be dealt with prodigally, that it be preserved for as long as it is capable of preservation in the case of a renewable resource, or not exhausted capriciously in the case of a nonrenewable resource.
Mr. Nystrom: You also say in your brief on page 6 that the Chamber of Commerce acknowledges the jurisdiction over natural resources in the hands of the provinces, but you are saying under special circumstances, a national emergency, the federal government should be empowered to assume temporary provincial responsibilities in the field.
What are you asking for here? Are you asking for additional powers for the federal government in addition to what the federal government already has? The federal government does
have a fair amount of power, in an emergency now they can invoke peace, order and good government, the declaratory powers under the constitution. Are you asking for something, Mr. Chairman, in addition to that or are you just asking that the status quo be maintained and what about the word “emergency”, do you have any advice to the Committee as to how we define a national emergency? It is a two pronged question.
Mr. Haig: I wish, Mr. Chairman, in answer to the second part of the question first, that we could help you in determining or defining the nature of an emergency but that of course is where the ultimate responsibility lies with a legislative body such as Parliament to determine when an emergency in fact. exists, and that is always a question of fact. It is never going to be a question of definition and the Chamber has recognized that from the very beginning.
There are circumstances in which the national interest, we speak of the national interest as being the interest of Canada domestically or in its export role, may require that the existing jurisdiction of Canada federally be exercised for the benefit of the nation. I do not think, Mr. Chairman, that we are contemplating any extention of existing power but, rather, an understanding of what it is and the circumstances under which it should be invoked.
Mr. Nystrom: On page 4 of your brief you are referring to what you call transfer payments being important and being very basic services in all regions, but you seem to qualify that a bit, the way I read it. You are saying that these transfer payments not lead to artificial economic structures nor discourage the movement of people.
I wonder if you could tell the Committee whether or not the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is in favour of the present system of equalization we have in this country, or were you suggesting a change where it would be watered down a bit or changed in some way?
Mr. Haig: No, the Chamber continues to support the present system of equalization payments with the caveats that we mention in the resolution, that they not be so created or so administered as to create artificial circumstances in a community or in a province that would mitigate against the free movement of people and capital, for example.
I think that when we talk about the application of transfer payments to create standards in each community in Canada that are for that community or that region acceptable minimum standards for the people who live there. You will recognize, Mr. Chairman, that you cannot necessarily say that there must be a uniform standard for all of Canada and that all of the people in all of the communities must have the same base. If I am living in Pangnirtung the quality of the accommodation which is going to be acceptable as a minimum standard for me will not be the same as what I will require if I am living in Vancouver and I think we all recognize that in the Chamber, but we do feel that one of the important roles of the federal government is to ensure that the national wealth of Canada is applied through transfer payments as one of the
devices, to ensure that Canadians can be satisfied that they will enjoy the things that Mr. Bouchard talked about, a minimum quality of housing, of health care, of education and the availability of adequate food.
Mr. Nystrom: I wonder if you have had a chance to look at Section 31 of the resolution before us, we will be introducing an amendment to it from our party later on. It is the part that deals with equalization and the regional disparities on page 9 of the resolution.
If you read it over you will see that there is no reference whatsoever to equalization except in the title, which is “equalization and regional disparities”. There is no reference to equalization payments there at all, in fact the way it is written the federal government would have no obligation to make equalization payments to the governments of the provinces that deserve to receive them. Instead what the federal government could do is make payments directly to peoples, I note checks to individual peoples in the six provinces that now qualify for equalization, or they can make part of their industrial strategy and make direct grants to certain companies or corporations in the so-called underdeveloped provinces of this country, and I am wondering whether or not you agree with that wording or whether or not you would agree with us and say that the government should accept an amendment where we enshrine the principle of equalization payments, and I remind you gentlemen that the principle of equalization payments in this country is supported by nine of the provincial governments, the only government that did not support them was the Government of Premier Bennett in British Columbia in the conference held here in September.
Would you be in favour of urging an amendment to section 31 where we enshrine the principle of equalization payments so that the payments have to be made directly to provincial governments so they can spend the money as they see fit to try to bring the standards in their province up to the national norm?
Mr. Hughes: Mr. Chairman, if I may take half of Mr. Nystrom’s question and respond to it.
The Chamber has wrestled very long and very hard, Mr. Nystrom, with the question of whether or not equalization payments should be enshrined. We could not come to the decision that the present system of payments should be enshrined in the constitution because one would anticipate that over time change will evolve. We would not want anything put in of a definitive nature that would prescribe payments that could not be comfortably altered.
We have an overriding consideration on equalization payments and block funding to the extent that we have a concern that the federal government could be accused of interfering in the affairs of any given province if the funding were put there for a purpose that might or might not appeal to the provincial authorities in question. It is not a very big step to see that the provincial authorities could suddenly challenge the federal government and say: you are indeed encroaching on one of our areas of jurisdiction.
We are concerned about the enshrining of equalization payments as they are presently structured in the constitution.
Mr. Nystrom: What about enshrining just the philosophy of equalization payments per se, and the details may change over the years. Because one of the dangers we have here is what you describe as a possible fear could indeed happen, the federal government the way it has written Section 31 could make payments to peoples going over the head of provincial governments for political reasons, grants to companies that would be part of an equalization formula and the like, which they have not done, but there is a danger that they could do that. Would you be in favour of enshrining equalization payments?
Mr. Haig: I think, Mr. Chairman, in that regard the Chamber’s position is that they are in favour of equalization and in favour of equalization payments. They are not in favour of enshrining any particular system.
We believe in the principle and we believe that the result is worthwhile, but we would be reluctant, as we would be in any other section of the bill of the type that is proposed here, to leave broad statements of principle and begin applying it on a narrow basis because, as time has amply demonstrated, the circumstances can change radically within a very short period of time that to look for any easy answer or clear-cut formula for doing it other than to state the broad principle would be in our view an error.
Mr. Nystrom: All right, a couple of questions in another area. I switch to page 3 of the brief, and I know Mr. de Jong of my party has some supplementaries he would like to ask you as well, and it is the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital. You seem to be pushing very hard a concept that was rejected as written by the federal government earlier this summer about the free circulation of goods, services, labour and capital and I wondered if you thought about some of the objections to the wording this summer by the federal government that this may create some difficulties with some provincial programmes. I am thinking of affirmative action, for example; I think of the free flow of services and some of the provincial insurance schemes like the Auto Insurance Plan in Manitoba, British Columbia, Quebec and the like. Have you run some of these through your mind and what is your reaction to that?
Mr. Hughes: Well, Mr. Nystrom, we have run them through our mind. We realize that the request we are making of this Committee cannot, as a practical matter, be granted to the point of absurdity, that there has to be a level of practical application and a level of understanding of application of these principles developed by this Committee that we hope would be found to be workable.
We cannot give you the wording chapter and verse to avoid provincial conflict, but we would indeed encourage you to do so.
Mr. de Jong: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My questions, as Mr. Nystrom indicated, concern . . .
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Could I just draw your attention to the fact that I thought as a Committee we
had agreed we would not split time. I was wondering if Mr. de Jong could not communicate his supplementaries through you, Mr. Nystrom. We are in the hands of the Committee but that was what we had planned. Yes, Mr. Epp.
Mr. Epp: The Committee had agreed that we would not split the time between members. We did leave it in the hands of the Chairman that, should there be a supplementary question, the Chairman could consider that approach but not the splitting of time.
Mr. Nystrom: On a point of order. My understanding is the same; if there are supplementaries, then perhaps the Chairman could entertain them. What Mr. de Jong has, as the second member of our Committee, are one or two supplementary questions on the freedom of movement of capital and services.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Well, I am in the hands of the Committee. Is there anyone else? Well, probably we will go ahead. You have one more question, in any event.
Mr. de Jong: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Asselin: On a point of order.
Mr. Chairman, coming back to what Mr. Epp said a moment ago, if you allow my friends on the left to ask supplementaries, as you are doing now, you must allow everyone else to ask them.
Following Mr. Epp’s line of questioning, I did have a few questions to ask but of course I refrained from asking them, because I knew you would refuse.
Therefore, you are creating a precedent and I do not mind your allowing a supplementary question, but we will claim that there is a precedent.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Well, Mr. Nystrom had a minute or a minute and a quarter left. I agree with your point, Senator Asselin, that we can get into a really chaotic position if we do this. Some of my people on the right agree with that.
Perhaps, then, Mr. Nystrom, you could communicate the supplementary question yourself to Mr. Haig, I believe it was.
Mr. Nystrom: Well, who would argue with the Chair. My understanding was that . . .
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Time is running, Mr. Nystrom. Go ahead.
Mr. Nystrom: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to say to the witnesses before us that, in the ease of Saskatchewan there was real concern, because in the northern part of our Province we have affirmative action programmes for the native people. The way in which the federal government had drafted the proposal this summer would have put in jeopardy some of these affirmative action programmes which are very, very important to the local native people.
We have other programmes in the province, for instance, the Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation has the
power to take up to 50 per cent of the shares in any new developments in the Northern part of the province, and with provincial control over resources, once again, that would have been put in jeopardy.
Another thing is that Saskatchewan has a very unique development in terms of being a bit of a social laboratory for many things such as Medicare, and many, many Crown corporations, such as the Sass Potash, Carbon Insurance and the like; and many of these programmes would have been put in jeopardy.
I was wondering, when I saw this part of the brief, whether that was one of the purposes behind your reasoning, whether or not you might want to put some of these progressive and more social democratic programmes in jeopardy. Is that one of the purposes, and is that an expression of the private enterprise philosophy through the constitution?
Mr. Hughes: No, Mr. Nystrom, it is not. We have great sympathy with the motives of such programmes as affirmative action. But where we would have a concern is in the implementation in certain areas. We would not wish for one moment to withdraw relatively legitimate rights of any province to make investment in enterprises within its jurisdiction. That would not be the intent. What we would wish to negate would be the barriers which exist to private enterprise in any given province from without that province.
So we would, indeed, be sympathetic to many programmes, many social programmes, such as affirmative action and would not wish to reduce the legitimate ability of a provincial authority from making investment in its province.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Mackasey. Mr. Mackasey: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hughes: Mr. Haig, it seems to me that we have discussed this subject before in various forms.
I want, first of all, to express my satisfaction at the Chamber’s presence, and also my happiness over the fact that the Chamber has been able to survive these many years as a national institution. I am thinking, again, of its willingness and the speed with which it adjusted to the realities of two strong languages in this country, which has been reflected in all your deliberations again today.
Listening to you, Mr. Haig and Mr. Hughes, and listening also to Mr. Nystrom’s important comments, I hope I do not follow the same line of questioning, and if I do, please correct me. I do not want to use the Chamber to advance my own particular views, but rather to ask my questions in order to get your views. We can argue all day long about some of the concepts and amendments Mr. Nystrom would be bringing in a week or two or three or four.
M. Nystrom: Or five.
Mr. Mackasey: Beneficial or not, I do not think we should ask the Chamber, on the spur of the moment, to take a position on affirmative action—pro and con and things of that nature.
One thing, however, Mr. Haig, that has impressed me favourably, as one who has tried to approach this Committee objectively, because of my concern—the same concern we all share—is that there has been a lot of friction in the country in recent years.
Am I right in saying that you feel quite logically from your representation across the country that the friction is coming from our concern with the constitution to some degree?
Mr. Haig: I think I will let Mr. Hughes start that.
Mr. Hughes: Mr. Mackasey, as you have observed, there is indeed friction. How it has arisen I am not sure; but, indeed, there is an element of federal government encroachment in what has been regarded heretofore and over a time as provincial jurisdiction which has encouraged a good deal of this.
There has been a focus placed upon the friction due to disputes over the national energy policy as enunciated on October 28; there has also been a focus on the friction placed upon the constitutional reform question. Any major national areas such as these that open up the whole question of political power over a given area and its impact over the business community indeed increase the friction that is already inherent in certain regions of this country.
Mr. Mackasey: I think that is a fair analysis of the situation. The reason why I asked the question is that I think these are valid observations on the constitution as it presently exists rather than the constitution that we anticipate. You are suggesting firmly, politely, in your documents and letters that we strengthen the country’s economic integration.
Do you agree that strengthening the country’s economic integration requires a very strong federal presence?
Mr. Hughes: Indeed, it does, sir.
Mr. Mackasey: Perhaps you would like to expand on the role that you see for this strong federal government in our federation?
Mr. Hughes: I can start it, Mr. Mackasey, and it can be a very long and involved story, because we are talking about economic reaction to any political action. Indeed there is one.
The federal government in our view, should set the tone for economic development for the entire country. It should be obliged, if that is the right word, to consult with provincial authorities to make sure that that over-all tone is consistent with the direction that each province wants to go in.
Each province, in setting its own economic direction, should be obliged, again if that is the right word, to consult with the federal authorities to make sure that the programmes it is implementing are not inconsistent; I do not say they have to be consistent with, but they shoul not be inconsistent with the direction in which the country is going ahead.
But the federal government should, indeed, set the over-all economic strategy for the country, and within that framework the provinces can operate.
Mr. Mackasey: I would imagine—in fact I think I know—you are indicating that on those rare occasions when there is an honest difference of opinion between the various levels of government, for instance in the field of natural resources, which is really the main bone of contention at the moment-the revenue from it, I suppose; you are saying that the federal government—in your brief at page 5—should possess the ultimate authority. The ultimate authority to do what?
Mr. Haig: I think, Mr. Chairman, the ultimate authority to ensure that the resources are utilized for the benefit of the nation as a whole. This is the Chamber’s position with respect to these matters, that a resource may occur in some part of the country, but it is a Canadian resource as much as it is a provincial resource; that all Canadians, as part of the nation, should enjoy the benefit of these resources, and they should not be treated as the exclusive privilege or province of some particular region, area or province. This flies in the face of some strongly held views of some provinces; nevertheless, if we continue to perceive Canada as a national entity, I know of no other construction which can be put on that particular question.
Mr. Mackasey: So you see resources essentially as a Canadian resource belonging to all Canada.
Mr. Haig: We made it very clear in our brief that the responsibility for the production and administration of those resources and the handling of them domestically is a provincial responsibility. It has been there for a number of years and on the whole they are well handled. It is only in what I would call circumstances of extremism that we have departed from that position in a narrow field.
The concern of Canadians is that we are not doing this as a consequence of a consistent policy, but rather with a great deal of ad hockery.
Mr. Mackasey: I share your concern, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Haig, in emphasizing Canadian policy, or fulfilling its function as a national government. We must not do that in a discriminatory fashion. The rewards and penalties should be shared equally across the country. I agree with you.
Nethertheless, you have made a case that in the ultimate, in the end, there must be someone to take charge. You see that as a federal role. I am not asking yu to answer that.
But am I right in presuming that you would see Canada, not as a collection of ten nation states. or not as a community of communities; but you see this really as one country. Is that the position of the Chamber?
Mr. Haig: We see it as one country, and as an economic and political union which contains within its limits, economic regions, with different strengths and weaknesses, and to go back to our discussion on transfer payments, we have tried to create for Canadians, notwithstanding where they may by circumstances live, a basic fundamental lifestyle and standard that they can enjoy; but if they are prepared, for example, to go and live in the Northwest Territories or in that equally
bleak part of the world, Northern Saskatchewan, then they should be rewarded for their willingness to do so. We accept and acknowledge that to be a fact of life.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Haig and. Mr. Hughes, is this the general feeling of the members in the West as well as in the East, the desirability for a strong federal presence?
Mr. Haig: Mr. Chairman, the position we have presented to you here today, is a position which has enjoyed the approval of Canadians from every province and territory in Canada.
The questions and inquiries were put in every province. When the material was finally prepared by the Committee in which I participated, it was then sent to all parts of Canada with a request that they comment, add to it, if appropriate, and request deletions, where necessary.
I am happy to tell you that we received back from across Canada a strong majority of opinion from all areas of Canada in favour of what we have presented to you today as our basic position.
Mr. Mackasey: Respect for the provinces, but with a strong federal presence, a strong federal government with the ultimate authority in times of impasse to act on behalf of all Canadians?
Mr. Haig: On national matters.
Mr. Mackasey: Of course.
I just want to tell you, Mr. Haig, that the proposed changes to the constitution in no way affect the balance of powers.
Senator Goldenberg has drilled that into my mind quite properly, that we are doing nothing to upset that balance.
If the balance, hopefully, has to be redressed, it would be done in the future when we are amending our own constitution here in this country.
You mentioned, Mr. Haig and Mr. Hughes, that you do favour patriation.
Mr. Haig: Yes.
Mr. Mackasey: One of the pleasant surprises, I might mention to you, in recent years, is that most people seem to, I am yet to find a witness on this Committee so far that has not said in a positive manner: “We want the constitution patriated.” All the other witnesses who have specialized on the legal side have gone so far as to say: “We also want individual rights and freedoms enshrined in that patriated constitution.”
Now, they may question the drafting or the wording, whether certain sections are defective; I am sure the Minister will accept certain amendments over the next few weeks which will reflect the views of our witnesses.
However, I think, that too many people feel there has been a blanket condemnation of what we are doing, and we are pleased to have you here. That is why I am pleased to have you here.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Would this be your last question?
Mr. Mackasey: I was just getting started. I was going to say, in the minute or two I have, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Haig—
well, I will not waste my time on the oppostion, if I may. I must have hit a tender nerve when I hinted how many people were approving what we do.
Mr. Nystrom brought up the question of transfer of payments. I am glad to say that you too approve of those. It is not important whether we enshrine the method of transferring. The concept of transfer payments equality in this country reflects the difference between Canada and the United States. What we should promise all Canadians in this constitution is equality of opportunity, and you cannot have equality of opportunity if you live in regions of the country where, for the sake of geography, if you like, you do not have adequate schooling, adequate health care and roads, and all the rest of it that transfer payments provide. I share your view that it is not really important as to how we transfer the money, as long as we adopt these principles in the constitution.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you, Mr. Mackasey. Mr. Gunn, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Haig and Mr. Bouchard, we appreciate your being here. We appreciate your giving evidence to the Committee. We hope that some time, if we have to have you back, you would come back and we thank you very much for being here.
Senator Roblin: Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether you would give some further consideration to the period of questioning, The questions I have were not to set the nation to rights, but there are one or two points I would like to raise with the visitors if you would allow it.
The reason why I make the request is that these gentlemen are among the important witnesses we have before us. All witnesses have an importance attached to them, but these witnesses are outstanding in that connection because of their representative capacity and the fact that they are speaking for Canadians from one end of the country to the other, and I would be loathe to part with them so quickly.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): While I appreciate your great concern, Senator Roblin, and your appreciation of the fine witnesses we have, we nevertheless do have a schedule; I am sure the members of the Chamber of Commerce knew the time that they would be allotted before they arrived here. We have another group that is waiting. I suppose if we have to have these distinguished gentlemen back, they would probably be willing to come back. I would think that would be correct.
Mr. Roblin: I would hazard a guess they would be willing to answer another question or two before they leave.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Well, I am sure. I am in the hands of the Committee. We have this schedule and if the Committee want to have a few more questions, it is up to that Committee. Mr. Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, you well know that I have raised this matter a number of times and intend to keep on raising it because what is happening is, not only are Committee members not having any opportunity to speak of, to be heard or to ask questions, but the suggestion constantly is made that the witnesses would likely be willing to come back. First of all, we do not know when, they do not know when, they have
schedules to keep as well. But more importantly, that is just not a good use of time to ask witnesses to come from various parts of the country, to come here and then after an hour, an hour and a half say because we have a schedule, therefore, questioning must now end, but they might come back some other time.
The schedule was made by this Committee, enforced by the Liberal Party who wanted to have as many witnesses as possible in as short a period of time as possible and the point I make is what I made yesterday, and that it makes absolutely no sense to ask national groups to come before this Committee to make a presentation and have 45 minutes for questions. Surely the least we can do as other Committees have done in the past, is set one block of time according to the block system that the Committees work under for each witness which have a national representation such as the Chamber.
That is all I am saying again, Mr. Chairman, and l frankly leave it, I put it in your hands because I do not believe that the Committee will or can function properly if you feel then, Mr. Chairman, that a point in time has come, regardless of the feeling in the Committee, now we must go to the next witness. We are not doing our job.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Miss Campbell?
Miss Campbell: On that point, Mr, Chairman. I wold say it might be a good time to remind the Committee we are on an agenda, but there has been a lot of talk of going to a subcommittee and we seem to be running out of time this week and 1 would propose perhaps that we set up a subcommittee and allow those people who still want to question the witnesses before us to continue at a subcommittee hearing.
As well, we could have the record brought and the translation. I mean, it is part of our reference to this Committee that we could set up a subcommittee. I feel very strongly, like Senator Roblin, that perhaps there are people who have not finished questioning the witnesses and they could go into a further stage at a Subcommittee hearing and perhaps the steering committee might like to consider this further, but I feel that we have set an agenda that was agreed to in this Committee and perhaps we should continue on it.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Beatty?
Mr. Beatty: Mr. Chairman, I believe I am also on the list as one of the prospective questioners for the Chamber of Commerce. I think that the substance of the proposals which have been made by the Chamber of Commerce is extremely broad. It is of concern to all Canadians. They are a national group. They are representatives of some of the most distinguished spokesmen of the business community in Canada before the Committee today. I, frankly, would be loathe to see them leave without having the opportunity to pursue some of the issue which have been opened up here and which are of importance to all Canadians.
Perhaps, Miss Campbell was not here yesterday when we dealt with this issue of Subcommittees.
Miss Campbell: I was here yesterday, Mr, Beatty.
Mr. Beatty: Oh, good.
Miss Campbell: And all I would say is that you have your side of the steering committee who set the agenda, we have not, you know we should perhaps refer this whole matter back to the steering committee. The Chamber said they would come back.
Mr. Beatty: Well, good. Well, on the subject of Subcommittees, I think it bears mentioning again then, perhaps if the message did not get across the table yesterday, that I think it would both be a discourtesy to national groups coming before this Committee, to witnesses coming before this Committee at considerable expense, after considerable difficulty in terms of preparation, to say that we will give them off to the basement somewhere and tuck them away there to see a tiny Subcommittee of the full Committee.
Secondly, that we as members of Parliament, members of this Committee would be negligent in terms of discharging our responsibilities if we said that any Committee which had gone to this work and this preparation should only be seeing a limited number of members, rather than having the opportunity to present its case to each of us.
I think every member can benefit from hearing testimony given by these national organizations. If they do have nothing to say, then they should not have been before us in the first place. But I think they have done considerable work and it would be of benefit to the whole Committee to hear them. But I think, Mr. Chairman, now might be a very good time if we are going to have a discussion about this whole issue of whether or not the various organizations and individuals who have asked to appear as witnesses should be rushed through here with some sort of artificial deadline. It would be good to bring to the Committee’s attention the exchange in the House of Commons today between members of the Opposition and Mr. Pinard, the Government House Leader, in which Mr. Pinard indicated that the government has no artificial deadline and it is prepared to be flexible in terms of the Committee’s consideration and that, indeed, it has no artificial timetable for presentation of a joint address to Britain.
I was delighted to hear Mr. Pinard say that because it was so different from what we have been led to believe up until this afternoon.
That being the case, Mr, Chairman, yesterday we decided that the steering committee should look at this whole issue of whether or not a report should be made to both houses, asking this artificial deadline of December 9 he done away with and that the time for Committee hearings be extended. I would like to know whether or not a time has been set for a steering committee meeting to deal with that or whether it has been dealt with already, or whether a report is ready for this Committee.
But in any case, Mr. Chairman, I would feel that until members of the Committee with serious concerns about the matters raised by the Chamber of Commerce have had a chance to raise those concerns, I would not want to see them simply rushed out of the room and perhaps left off into the indefinite future as to whether or not they would ever come back at all before the full Committee.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Senator Asselin.
Senator Asselin: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to repeat what Mr. Beatty just said. I would perhaps rephrase it some other way.
I, for one, do not accept the proposal of Miss Campbell which would create two types of witnesses through, what I would call, discrimination.
When people like the representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of Canada travel the whole of Canada to be heard, and we decide to hear them in the basement whereas another group will be heard up here, I would think that it boils down to discrimination. One of the principles of the proposed resolution is that there will be no discrimination and we would be amiss if we were to discriminate against the witnesses appearing before us.
We should take the time to hear witnesses before this Committe which was established by the House and the Senate; I am against the segregation of witnesses coming to appear before us.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Bockstael.
Mr. Bockstael: Mr. Chairman, I would point out that the Opposition is again successfully taking us off on a tangent into a discussion that is robbing witnesses of their time.
Now, I am perfectly willing to let this delegation stay here until 6 o’clock if the Opposition would come back at 8 o’clock at night to hear these other group that has also travelled the distance and is entitled to a hearing.
But I ask people, in common decency, that if you make an appointment as a Committee and the appointment is made and that another group has been waiting since 4:30 and has its rights to expect to be heard, then we should honour our commitment and we cannot start changing appointments on an ad hoc basis as we go, as it suits, because I would also like to ask this delegation questions and there are probably others who would. They are very favourable witnesses that have demonstrated that what the government is doing, they concur with. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Nystrom?
Mr. Nystrom: I think Mr. Bockstael has made some excellent points and I do not want to open any procedural argument now, and for that reason, about an hour ago I gave the Chair a notice of motion that I wish to pursue tomorrow.
If you look at our scheduling tomorrow, the time slot at 11:30 is open, so perhaps we can deal with some of those matters then.
The Notice of Motion I sent to the Chair I will just read out.
“that this Committee report to the House of Commons and the Senate requesting an extension of its final reporting date to February 10, 1981”.
I do not want to get into the substance of that debate now, I think we can pursue it tomorrow out of the courtesy of the witnesses that are here.
One word about the witnesses that are here, I just think it shows again, Mr. Chairman, it is very unfair to have a national
body that come here to this Committee and only three or four members have a chance to question them. It is very unfair. I would caution the Committee about breaking into Subcommittees because we owe the witnesses the courtesy of speaking to all of us and I think the members of this Committee also want the benefit of the advice from the witnesses, and I mean all the members of the Committee, not just part of us as a Subcommittee.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Mackasey?
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, I would like to call a spade a spade, if I may. Here we are legitimately concerned about a tight schedule; here we are legitimately concerned about a national group that is before us and here we are in front of that group indicating to all Canadians our inability to come to a proper method of procedure which should be debated and I presume has been debated before the steering committee privately in the propper forum, which is not in public.
It seems to me that the procedure today, the witnesses today. the time allocation today, was agreed to all parties at the steering committee, or should have been if it were not. But it is getting to be a little more than a coincidence and this the third occasion Mr. Beatty has raised the same point at a specific moment in the hearing.
Mr. Nystrom is not without sin in turning to Mr. Beatty. He is making the suggestion that Mr. Beatty is abusing the Committee when he lets the world know the proposed amendments he intends to introduce tomorrow.
Now, if he is concerned about the Chamber, and he should be, sitting here wondering what is going on, he could have very well notified the whole world of his intention to introduce his motion at 6 o’clock this evening, or, better still, to the press after 6 o’clock. We will be concerned about Mr, Nystrom’s motion when we get it, not before.
So, I think Mr. Nystrom should be the last person to be throwing stones at Mr. Beatty, but I do think we should all once again review our procedure, in private at the steering committee, and then once we have agreed to it have the courtesy to keep it there until the next steering committee meeting to see if there is something wrong with it. I would urge both Joint Chairmen to rule these interventions out of order and proceed with the witnesses.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. McGrath?
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, really, this points to the dilemma, the growing dilemma that we all face and the frustrations we all face because we have national organizations coming before this Committee and many of us are denied an opportunity to raise questions and to cross examine.
I would remind you, Mr. Chairman, that yesterday my colleague Jake Epp served notice of a motion, the thrust of which would extend the time of this Committee, Well, since that time, as Mr. Beatty has pointed out, there was an exchange in the House today in which the government indicated it was prepared to consider a reasonable extension of the time of the Committee. Now, sir, we have eighteen meetings
left to us and at last count we have something close to 100 briefs and witnesses, 100 witnesses wanting to appear. That is before the ad has had any opportunity to be effective. We have not felt the results of the advertisement yet with regard to people who want to appear. I would merely suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that now perhaps would be an appropriate time to put Mr. Epp’s motion, in light of the exchange that took place in the House today, the disposition on the part of the government to consider a reasonable extension of time and Mr. Epp’s motion would have the Committee report to the House asking the House to amend our terms of reference, to extend the time of our hearing to December 31. If it is in agreement with you, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest you put the motion now.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I would like to get on with the other witnesses. Again, the only caveat I can place, as I have done with other witnesses, I would like to have the Subcommittee look at the matter of whether or not we can ask the Chamber to return. I do not like to do that, that is the only option I think we have got right now, is to do that again. I think this is the third group we are asking in that manner.
Secondly, Mr. Chairman, you know, I gave you notice of a motion yesterday. There is a slot open tomorrow morning and in view of the fact that you received my Notice of Motion yesterday, I intend to move it first tomorrow during that time.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Are you agreed with Mr. Epp?
Miss Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I have asked to speak again. I just want the record and for the public who are viewing this, that all Committees except for this Committee has a written record that is public and, unfortunately, some of the members tend to put down other Committees. They are all public in terms of a written record that is there, so there is no stigma to going to a Subcommittee.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Are you all agreed?
Thank you very much again, Mr. Haig, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Dunn and Mr. Bouchard and we will call the next witnesses and I will turn the Chair over to Mr. Joyal.
Mr. Hughes: Mr. Chairman, if I may just in closing, on behalf of the Chamber, I want to state that it has been indeed a privilege to have appeared before this Committee. It has been a responsibility that the Chamber has not taken lightly and because of the constraints of time, if it is the wish of this Committee, we would of course return at your request.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Hays.
Honourable Membres of this committee seem to agree that we proceed with the representatives of the Council of Quebec Minorities and l’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (Ontario French Canadian Association), could I ask the representatives of those two association who are in the room, in particular Mr. Eric Maldoff who is the Chairman of the Council of Quebec minorities and Mr. Yves St. Denis who is
the chairman of the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario, to come to the witness table, if they please.
So, gentlemen representatives of the Council of Quebec Minorities and of l’Association candienne-française de l’Ontario, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the Honourable Membres of this Committee. to welcome you this afternoon.
It is my understanding through preliminary discussions that there is only one brief which will be presented on behalf of your two organizations.
Therefore, I would invite either Mr. Maldoff or Mr. St. Denis to make a joint or sequential presentation.
Mr. Maldoff perhaps or Mr. St. Denis?
Mr. Eric Maldoff (President, Council of Quebec Minorities): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
On behalf of both organizations present here today, we would like to thank the Committee for their gracious invitation to testify before you regarding a matter which we see as being of vital concern to both our groups and, indeed, to all Canadians. I would like at this time to introduce the principle speakers today who will be addressing you.
On my immediate left is Mr. Yves St-Denis, président, Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario, On my right is Mr. James Leavy, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council, Professor of Law at the University of Montreal and a consultant with the Canadian Human Rights Foundation.
I am Eric Maldoff and I am the President of the Council of Quebec Minorities. I would like to add a brief word about both of our organizations. L’Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario was founded in 1910. It is an umbrella organization for franco-Ontarians and it comprises 18 regional councils and 17 affiliated organizations.
The Council of Quebec Minorities was founded in 1978. It is an umbrella organization with 42 member groups from across Quebec, groups which are concerned with questions of minority life in Quebec. A large number of those concerns deal with questions of language.
We feel this is indeed a historical moment for Canada when members of the English and French speaking communities of this country come together before you to present jointly a brief dealing with matters which we see as being vital to the future of this country and certainly vital to the future of our communities. We have come together because we believe, both English and French speaking Canadians, we believe that Canada is our country, we believe that English and French speaking Canadians can live and work together and we believe that the future can be built by these two linguistic groups working together. Our presence here today bears witness to this belief and to the fact that it can be done.
Our over-riding concern is that French and English speaking Canadians must feel at home throughout this country. English and French must be viewed as Canadian languages.
We are here to share with you certain recommendations based on the experiences we have lived in our respective provinces. We do not pretend that our experiences in situations are or ever have been identical. However, in the course of discussion and exchanges, joint conferences which were held in Toronto and in Ottawa in September and April of this year, we have learned that we have many common concerns. For example, we are concerned that our young people can grow up and feel at home within their provinces, feel secure and feel that they have a future in the provinces in which they grew up.
Our brief contains several points. It is our intention to highlight in this oral presentation some of those points. We would point out that now is the time for Canadians to declare the principles which will govern the future of this country, such principles must be guaranteed and protected by all Canadians in our constitution.
If English and French are indeed Canadian languages, Canadians must be able to use either language in the Parliament of Canada and in the Legislative Assemblies of all of the provinces. Our experience in Quebec certainly indicates that this is relatively easy to achieve and at very little cost.
The next point we would like to bring to your attention is the question of Section 133 of the BNA Act. We see this issue as vital, we believe that Section 133, which guarantees the right to use English and French before the legislatures and courts, as it stands -right now, of Canada, the Province of Quebec and the Province of Manitoba, should be extended at least to apply to New Brunswick and the Province of Ontario.
Our Quebec experience indicates that this is possible and people can live with this, it is a workable recommendation. Indeed, we have pleaded as the Council of Quebec Minorities on many occasions with Mr. Bill Davis, the Premier of Ontario, that he should move to see Section 133 expanded to apply to the Province of Ontario. As recently as November 11 we cabled the Premier of Ontario and urged that he take this step.
In light of the recent experiences we have lived, certainly in Canada and in Quebec, we know that it is vital that a gesture of this nature be made. It is an important step forward, it is an important affirmation of the fact that English and French are Canadian languages.
We note with great pleasure that Senator Roblin and Messrs. Crombie and Nystrom have in fact indicated their support for this proposal.
Next we would feel that the right to use English and French in legal proceedings instituted by the Crown where the liberty of the individual is at stake must be guaranteed. Nothing is more fundamental than a person’s right to his liberty and this protection must be ensured to Canadian citizens.
Our next point would be that the government, at this time, all levels of government play an increasingly greater role in the lives of the citizens of this country, In view of the role government is playing and the ever expanding role it is playing, Canadians of either language must be able to communicate with their government, whether it be federal or provincial, in either of the official languages.
At this point, Mr. Chairman, I would like to invite Mr, St-Denis to address some comments to your concerning further points in our brief.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St-Denis.
Mr. Yves St-Denis (President, Association canadienne-francaise de l’Ontario): Mr, Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, for 70 years, ACFO has been mainly concerned with education and we believe as the Council of Quebec Minorities in the inalienable rights of the parents, in the inalienable rights of instruction in the minority language.
The right of the parents to have their children instructed in the official language is certainly most essential to the survival of linguistic minorities and to the recognition of French and English as official languages in Canada.
We, therefore, suggest the enshrinement of that right in the constitution.
Indeed, when a minority feels threatened in its province, it demands protection from its country.
The history of minorities outside Quebec and mainly the Franco-Ontarian minority teaches us that we cannot always rely on provincial governments. We would, therefore, like the government project to be modified and we wish to express a number of reservations.
For instance, we would not limit such rights to Canadian citizens only. Also the section that provides that schools be put at the disposal of linguistic minorities only when the number of children of such citizens is sufficient to warrant the provision is an infringement of a fundamental principle.
Furthermore, we want this provision to apply not only to elementary and secondary institutions but also to colleges.
Therefore we propose that Section 23 of the Resolution be modified as follows:
Any citizen or permanent resident of Canada whose fist language learned and still understood is that of the linguistic minority of this province has the right to have his children receive their primary, secondray and college education in that language.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who change their province of residence have the right to have their children receive their primary, secondary and college education in the English or French language if that is the language in which one of their children has received his or her education in their former province of residence.
This is what we had concerning educational rights. I would now like to say a few words about school administration.
Anglophone and Francophone minorities should have the right to administer their own schools.
The history of French education in Ontario shows that minorities should have their own boards of education, administered by members elected among that minority. In Quebec, English schools were to a large extent administered by the Anglophone community.
In contrast Franco-Ontarians are not the masters of their education. In this respect they are treated like under-age orphans who are the wards of their Anglophone guardians. At most they can be elected members of a French-language consultative committee in which they have no decision-making power. The situation has to be changed.
We also want to see all citizens or permanent residents of Canada who have satisfied university entrance requirements have the right to education in the official language of their choice.
We are, therefore, asking for Franco-Ontarians to have the possibility to study in the French language from kindergarten right to university as well as the control of their own educational institutions.
As far as radio and television are concerned, French and English networks should cover all regions of the country.
Full and equal participation in Canadian life depends on access to Canadian institutions on which culture, information and mass communication depend. All Canadians should therefore be entitled to essential services in the field of communication in their official language. With modern technology, this should be no problem.
The same can be said about medical and social services. Anglophones and Francophones should be entitled to medical and social services in their own language. Furthermore. Anglophone and Francophone minorities should be able to administer their own social and health care institutions in those communities where they make up an important minority.
So this is our position. I would now defer to my colleague.
Mr. Maldoff: Mr. James Leavy will speak to the issue of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Mr. James Leavy (Chairman, Council of Quebec Minorities): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Council of Quebec Minorities and the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario have paid special attention to the linguistic problems but are also aware of other sections of the proposed charter of rights about which I would like to say a few words. On pages 15 to 22 of our brief, you will find pertinent and rather technical observations with respect to practically all sections of the proposed charter of rights.
I will gladly answer any of your questions in this respect but I would first of all like to stress a number of fundamental points.
I should, first of all, stress the importance of the content as well as the form of the charter since, once it is enshrined in the constitution, it would be extremely difficult to amend it. So now is the time to make sure that both its contents and its form will indeed protect fundamental rights.
In this regard, the Council of Quebec Minorities as well as the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario wish to express a number of reservations regarding the form and content of this charter in the light of a number of important international and Canadian documents relating to fundamental rights.
We wish to stress two points as regards content. First of all, no mention is made whatsoever about emergency powers except under Section 4.2, where the reference is at best indirect. We feel that emergency powers must be mentioned in the charter as well as the means to control these emergency powers.
Secondly, the charter makes no mention about the right to privacy, the right of ownership and the right of marriage.
These rights are recognized in all the major international agreement to which Canada is a party and to which Canada is, therefore, bound as a member of the United Nations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We, therefore, cannot understand why a Canadian charter which will apply to all levels of government makes no mention whatever of these basic rights.
We have four observations regarding the form of the charter. Regarding Section 1, which was discussed both by Mr. Fairweather and Mr. Tarnopolsky, the best thing I can do is to repeat what Mr. Fairweather said. The limits to which basic rights and freedoms will be subject should be stated clearly and explicitly. We have made a number of suggestions in our brief in this regard.
Secondly, the sections dealing with legal rights are rather vague. They should be made more precise and we also have a number of suggestions to that effect.
Thirdly, Section 15 dealing with nondiscrimination and equality before the law is much less generous towards Canadians than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We cannot understand why the Canadian government or the Canadian Parliament should be less generous with respect to nondiscrimination and equality before the law than the United Nations, the Council of Europe and other international institutions.
Four, we now come to Section 25, which is the key section as it deals with the primacy of the charter. I do not know whether you are aware of the fact that there is a major
discrepancy between the English and French versions of this section. The French version merely uses the word “inoperative” whereas the English version adds “inoperative and of no force or effect”; the French version makes no such mention. The English version uses the expression “any law” whereas the French version uses the expression “règle de droit”, but these two expressions are not synonymous. This section should be re-examined and corrected.
I will now answer questions on any other problem. I will now ask Mr. St-Denis to conclude this part of our presentation on behalf of the group.
Mr. St-Denis: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
We have raised a number of issues which appear in our brief in a more detailed form of course.
The citizens represented by the French Canadian Association of Ontario, the Quebec Minorities Council make up three-quarters of the official languages minorities of this country. We have examined all these questions in depth before making our presentation.
As citizens of this country, we want to have a global vision of Canada. The official languages minorities want all members of their community to be considered first class citizens. The Canadian parliament has established two official languages in our country. It is therefore logical that the rights of the official languages minority groups be fully guaranteed and protected in the constitution. The double standard must be done away with. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you Messrs. St-Denis, Maldoff and Leavy.
The honourable Roch La Salle will start questionning this afternoon.
Mr. La Salle.
Mr. La Salle: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
I would first of all like the witnesses to tell us what is their position regarding the provinces. What do you think about this unilateral action of the government which some consider to be an abusive power? Would you say that in view of the federal-provincial stalemate, the federal government is right to have taken this decision even though the vast majority of the provinces are opposed to it?
Mr. Gérard Levesque (Secretary General of the French Canadian Association of Ontario): My name is Gerard
Levesque and I am secretary general of the French Canadian Association of Ontario Mr. Chairman.
Our associations have not made an indepth study of the constitutional amending procedure nor of the patriation procedure, Since our main objective is to protect linguistic rights, we have decided to leave other problems to governments and politicians, unless there is a consensus to give the official languages minorities a veto power over amendments to the constitution as well as its patriation.
Mr. La Salle: I see Mr. Levesque that this question does not seem to be of great interest to you. Nevertheless as federal member from the Province of Quebec. I feel that we should know the witnesses position regarding our present constitution which provides for these two levels of government.
All your recommendations will have a direct bearing on provincial policies and budgets. Your brief does not seem to give any consideration to the costs which you recommendations might entail.
You say on page 3 of your brief that all citizens should have the right to express themselves in English or in French in both the federal parliament and in all provincial legislatures. On page 4 you say that section 133 of the BNA Act should apply at least to the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Quebec. So from one page to the next you have reduced the right to use French and English from all provincial legislatures to only four-and I should like to know why.
Mr. Lévesque: As you know Mr. Chairman, Section 133 concerns not only provincial legislatures but also courts, This is what makes the difference between Sections l and 2. We said this should apply to at least four provinces since other provinces might be added to this list. You will remember that during the sessions which led to the Victoria Charter of 1971, a number of provinces had stated that they wished to come under certain of the provisions of Section 133. That is the reason why we want our constitutional rights to be protected because since 1971, provinces seem to be backtracking as regards to their commitments to constitutional protection of minority language rights.
That is why we state that Section 133 should apply at least in Ontario, but also to a number of other provinces.
Mr. La Salle: I feel that the federal government should encourage provincial governments to set up education in both
official languages. Would you be in favour of trying to convince provinces to enshrine this right or would you say that the federal government should oblige provinces do so?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Maldoff.
Mr. Maldoff: I am sorry, could you just clarify the question? I am having difficulty hearing.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. La Salle.
Mr. La Salle: I will try to be clear. Would you say that the federal government should force provinces to implement Section 133 especially the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick, even though other provinces may have rather large Francophone communities, or would you prefer to see the federal government try to convince the provinces?
Are you in favour of coercing the provinces or trying to reason them?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Maldoff.
Mr. Maldoff: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Neither of our associations has the mandate to advise you on the things to be used by the government to protect the rights of Canadian citizens.
We have come before you for the sole purpose of making a number of very clear and precise representations. Our groups are the most directly involved with the linguistic question in Canada. The time has come for Canadians to show in a concrete manner that they really mean it when they say that Canada is built on two languages.
I do not quite see how groups representing minorities can speak about forcing any level of government to do anything at all.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I must remind you Mr. La Salle that even though your time is not yet up, nevertheless all members of this committee will have to go back to the House as the bell is ringing.
Since there is only one vote, we may be back by 6 p.m.
Since it will be dinner time by then, we can if we wish to pursue our discussion after dinner.
I would also remind honourable members that for evidence to be heard and printed, six members at least must be present and that this quorum must be made up of government and official opposition members.
Therefore I am in the hands of the committee to decide whether we shall pursue our discussions with the Quebec Council of Minorities and the Ontario French Canadian Association some time later in the evening.
Senator Corbin: Mr. Chairman, as a courtesy to the witnesses we have invited this afternoon, I think that having gone through their presentation, we could have a table round with one intervener from each party right after the vote, and of course, if other members want to put questions following that first round, I for one, would agree wholeheartedly.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I understand, after consultation with the Clerk, it is entirely up to the Committee to decide; if a member wants to be absent for a vote—there is always the possibility. I am in the hands of the Committee and it would be fair to our witnesses if we were to indicate if we will ask them to come back later on, or if we cannot hear them today, or later on today or tomorrow. It is only common politeness to indicate what we expect from them. We invited them here. Mr. Mackasey.
Mr. Mackasey: Can you tell me how much time has already been used and how much time is needed? Under normal circumstances this Committee would have been completed at six o’clock. Is that correct?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes.
Mr. Mackasey: Suppose we were to come back at seven thirty and go to eight thirty or to nine o’clock and listen to what I think is a very refreshing point of view, not only from the aspect of the minorities of Quebec, but the minorities of Ontario. I think there should be a disposition, in the light of the fact that we are worried about time restraint, to come back at seven thirty to eight thirty, or seven thirty to nine o’c1ock, remembering, too, that people behind the scenes are» using Wednesday night, which is normally their night off; if you were to be specific as to the time as to the beginning and the closing, seven thirty to nine o’c1ock, I would be very much in favour of that.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Nystrom.
Mr. Nystrom: I think out of convenience to our witnesses and a number of officials who are here, as well as ourselves, if it is only an extra half an hour or so remaining, why not come back right after the vote so that by six thirty or seven o’clock everybody can go home?
Mr. Mackasey: I am sure that members on both sides have undertaken some other engagements in good faith and I think if we could agree not to hold up procedure during that period we could expect to have a better quorum or possibly more.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): All right. It is my understanding that there is unanimity and therefore I would ask the honourable senators to remain in this room and I would also politely ask our witnesses to wait for us until we come back from the House of Commons.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please.
I would ask the honourable members of this Committee to resume their seats around the table so that we can proceed and complete our questioning with the representatives of the Council of Minorities of Quebec and of the Ontario French Canadian Association.
The honourable Mr. Roch La Salle who still has the floor for a few more minutes has not yet arrived and, therefore, I may, I will ask Mr. de .long to proceed, and when Mr. La Salle is back, I will recognize him again.
Mr. de Jong, followed by Mr. Jean Lapierre.
Mr. de Jong, please.
Mr. de Jong: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. The first question I would like to direct concerns a quotation from today’s paper, where the paper was quoting Premier Davis as saying that extending Section 133 of the British North America Act to Ontario would not really give anything to the French minorities in Ontario, would not give anything new. He suggested it would only duplicate services. Would you like to comment on that quote from the Premier?
Mr. Maldoff: I would like to seek your indulgence. Please understand that we are two groups presenting jointly here. When a question is posed it may take a moment to decide who will answer the question. Please be assured you have not left us stumped by the delay, I would like to ask Mr. Bloom who has helped in the preparation of our brief, to handle that question.
Mr. Bloom: The comment of Mr. Davis, which was picked up in Le Droit has led to a politically charged question which you have put to us; and we cannot answer anything for Mr. Davis nor for the Conservative Party of Ontario or others who might have a word to say on that. However, I would like to say that I am not in agreement with Mr. Davis.
We, in our memoir here, suggested for good reason, that Section 133 or the equivalent of Section 23 of the Manitoba Act. be entrenched in the constitution. We feel very strongly that the rights contained in Section 133 of the British North America Act he entrenched.
Now, in our brief we say that they should be extended at least to New Brunswick and Ontario. By that we mean that if some formula could he found for extending it to other provinces, perhaps as a certain proportion of the population was reached by the francophone minority, that the same right would be extended automatically to that province. That is one possible formulation. There are others, perhaps. But we feel strongly, in any event, that Section 133 should be entrenched and should be extended to Ontario and New Brunswick.
When Mr. Davis says that there is nothing new as far as Ontario is concerned in having it entrenched, I feel he is quite
wrong. It may be that in some instances there is merely a symbolic significance if, as he says, most of what we are asking for in Section 133 has already been accomplished in Ontario or in the process of being accomplish, then that is true: a lot of what is in Section 133 has been accomplished in Ontario, and we applaud Premier Davis and the Ontario Government for doing so. However, if that is the case, what have they got to lose in accepting the entrenchment of Section 133, even if it means, perhaps, suggesting that a transitional period be allowed for it to be implemented.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St. Denis.
Mr. St-Denis: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The symbolic significance must also be taken into consideration. For those with Latin blood, this symbolic significance remains important. The franco-Ontarian people would feel proud and, in the final analysis, we might even stop complaining that we are sometimes dealt as second class citizens. Essentially, it would bring back to us our pride.
I might also add, Mr. Chairman, as a follow up to Mr. La Salle’s question, that it is obvious that we would rather go the consultation route between the different levels of government than the enforcement one, but if we are led to believe that consultation will lead to failure, then I am all in favour of enforcement.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you. Mr. St. Denis.
Monsieur de Jong.
Mr. de Jong: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, in fact that is the point I was to make. If the Premier states that there is not going to be anything radically new, perhaps we would not find much objection from Ontario and they will accept the inclusion in the constitution.
In your presentation, you also talk about a transition period, and about a certain time frame and about certain difficulties. Can you elaborate on this? What sort of time frame would you be thinking of, and what sort of difficulties do you envisage Ontario would encounter?
Mr. Maldoff: I am sure, monsieur St-Denis will have something to add to what I am going to say. But from the point of view of an anglo-Quebecker who has been looking into this question and vitally concerned with it, we feel we have heard the Government of Ontario on repeated occasions, as recently as Tuesday a week ago when Mr. McMurtry spoke in Montreal, declare the firm commitment of the province of Ontario to move expeditiously towards improving French-language services in Ontario, particularly in the areas touched by Section 133.
If Ontario is in fact moving in that direction—and it seems that it is, then certainly the Government of Ontario would be well aware of the reasonable deadline within which it might be able to meet the full services required by Section 133.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Levesque.
Mr. Levesque: Mr. Chairman, the Honourable Member is right in saying that a lot of progress has already been made in Ontario to meet Section 133.
In the last three years several acts have been amended, for instance, in the area of justice, the burden of proof legislation in Ontario, the Juries legislation, the Adjudicator Act, etc., so that by giving one or two years as a transitional period for implementation, we might be able to meet the full services required by Section 133.
Certainly, franco-Ontarians are reasonable people. If the constitutional Act of 1980 were to take effect next July 1, we would not expect in a month to have the whole gamut of the legal services that would have to be set in civils cases in Ontario and other fields where the use of French has barely started.
We are willing to show reasonable patience provided we get a formal commitment that our rights will be recognized in the constitution.
We are willing to show our good will as far as practical details are concerned. We have been very patient, I would even say too patient until now in fighting for our rights; but now we want the government to give us a constitutional commitment.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you.
Mr. de Jong.
Monsieur De Jong.
Mr. de Jong: Thank you. I noticed in your presentation that you did not really go into the area of other minority groups. I come from a Dutch background. Saskatchewan has the distinction of being, I think, the only province where the majority of its citizens come from neither of the two founding groups.
Do you feel that the constitutional resolution that is before us adequately deals with other minority groups in Canada, or do you think some mention should have been made of them?
Mr. Maldoff: The question is an excellent one. In coming before this Committee today, our intention has been primarily to deal with those matters which were presented in the resolution which is now before this Committee.
Certainly, inasmuch as the resolution deals specifically with the question of fundamental rights, that is a sigificant move in favour of all minority groups throughout Canada, and certainly the experience in the United States has indicated that the constitutional guarantee of civil liberties is a very important factor for the preservation of the cultures, vitality of various different communities within the United States society.
The Charter of Rights, as we have mentioned, certainly needs serious consideration as to many of the points, particularly the way they are outlined and many rights should be added, as we have pointed out in our brief.
However, provisions of that nature, with improvement, would do a great deal to respond to the concerns to which you refer.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Levesque.
Mr. Levesque: Just a brief comment, Mr. Chairman, to say that we have not examined in detail the measures proposed for other minority groups. But there is no doubt in my mind that if official language minorities cannot have their rights enshrined
in the constitution, there is little hope that any other minority groups can manage to get their positions improved.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. de Jong.
Mr. de Jong: Yes, perhaps sort of a general statement at the beginning of the resolution. I find on one level what is sort of lacking in it all is a sense of poetry, is a vision of some direction of what this country is about. it would seem to me that it is in there that you ought to talk about the nature of the country, of this country and the aboriginal people, the founding races and all the people that have come since in the type of mixture in the uniqueness that constitutes Canada and what I find missing over-all is that it racks sole. 12 is a very dry legal document and there is nothing that would stir up people to a vision and to a future of what this country is about.
Surely it is in that area that we should also discuss then our composition of this country and the various people, the various ethnic groups that have made some very substantial contributions to our development.
Have you found in your experience since the resolution has been introduced in the House that the unilateral action has rekindled any of the animosities between the angle and the French either in Quebec or in Ontario.
Mr. Lévesque: Mr. Chairman, we in Ontario are used to having problems in getting our rights, independently of what the federal or provincial governments decide to do. Most of the time, it just brings grist to the mill of those who seize any pretext to claim that francophones are trying to get more than their rights or that they want to make Ontario a unilingual French-speaking province.
So this is just an excuse which these people use, whether it be the constitution or our attempt to get a French-language class or school in a region where we have the right to French-language education.
Rather than wondering whether there is more or less animosity between anglophones and francophones, we should recognize the principle that francophones have certain rights which should be enshrined in the constitution.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Bloom.
Mr. Bloom: Mr. de Jong, I think an answer to your question, the fact I believe that the two groups representing the two minority groups to which you refer are here, present today with a joint brief and are able to agree with many of the fundamental principles that are to be included in a charter in the constitution I think that perhaps answers your question better than anything else we could say.
Le copresident (M. Joyal): Mr. de Jong this will be your last question.
Your last question.
Mr. de Jong: Yes, my last question, Mr. Chairman. How important is it to Quebec that Section 133 be extended to Ontario for the people of Quebec, for the majority, for the French people of Quebec, the symbolism and the importance that they would attach to this.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Maldoff?
Mr. Maldoff: I cannot emphasize this strongly enough how important the inclusion of Section 133, granting rights in the legislature and courts of Ontario is to the French speaking people of Quebec. We have recently lived through an experience, and I should say, we are trying here today to speak in a positive light, but we have recently lived through a very divisive experience in Quebec, a very difficult experience. It seems that many Canadians are forgetting about the experience that we have recently lived through. One of the questions that was most difficult to answer was when a French speaking Quebecker would say, why should I be part of this country if I do not feel at home in this country. It is essential that English and French speaking Canadians feel at home in Canada, and a major step in that direction would be the guarantee that in areas which are most crucial to the survival to the two linguistic groups and that is access to courts, access to justice and the legislatures, that both these groups feel secure and confident.
Mr. de Jong: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. de Jong.
Mr. Jean Lapierre, please.
Mr. Lapierre: Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, I regret that Mr. La Salle is not back yet, because I did not quite understand why he did not sympathize more with your demands, since he has a minority status in his own party.
Senator Asselin: We are here, my dear.
Mr. Lapierre: And you also.
Gentlemen, I am quite happy to see that you agree today, which confirms that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and which also proves that our project can unite rather than divide.
Moreover, the reciprocity of your presentation pleases me and constitutes, in my view, a step forward towards an equal and fair treatment of minorities across the country. This avoids, so to speak, the old practice of double standards which have only exasperated many of my fellow countrymen.
I am also glad to see that you support our decision to enshrine once for ever the fundamental rights vital to our communities.
Since the start of the hearings of this Committee, we have been reproached of not having gone far enough. I am convinced that when we get to our final report, we will be able to accommodate your propositions and partially satisfy your quite legitimate expectations.
I am getting to the substance of your presentation as such, concerning your recommendations one, two and three. I have put them all together because recommendation one states:
Any person should be able to speak in English or in French during the debates of the Canadian Parliament or any provincial legislative assembly.
And the third one reads:
Any person being the object of legal proceedings which could result in its imprisonment, should have the possibility that his trial be held in English or in French.
In fact, one and three are found in the existing section 133.
I would like some clarification. Are those two elements a minimum for all the provinces, whereas the complete Section 133 should only apply to Ontario and New Brunswick, because the three of them seem to intermingle.
Mr. Bloom: In answer to your question, Mr. Lapierre, our aim on point number one concerning the parliamentary debates, is that it touches all the provinces including the federal parliament, of course. So it does cover all the provinces.
Concerning suggestion number two, or recommendation number two, Section 133 should only apply to four provinces, we say to at least four provinces. So for the other provinces, concerning the condition of Section 133, others than the debate in the provincial legislatures it should only apply to these four provinces.
Concerning the third recommendation, it also should apply to all provinces and to the Parliament because it is said:
Concerning the freedom of the individual, where imprisonment is possible as a sentence on a violation, during a trial each individual, Canadian citizen or not should have the right to speak in English or in French.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: Thank you. I would like to get back to Section 133. I read with great interest the telegram that the Council of Minorities sent to the Minister of Ontario and I would like to congratulate you on it, in hopes that other groups similar to yours and just as representative will do the same.
I do not know if you heard the presentation made by the Minister of Justice, but I think that all the members of our Committee are very interested in this question and would, ideally, prefer that this be done by the different legislatures. I know that you do not want to deal with the methods but rather with the results; however, I would like you to know that our position now is that we would prefer the different legislatures to directly express the will to do this.
I know that that is the situation in New Brunswick. But what do you think is 0ntario’s position right now? Of course, Mr. Davis made a statement earlier . . . but since he said that it will not change anything…
Mr. St-Denis: Mr. Chairman, through you to Mr. Lapierre, if you want to know what our feelings about this are, I will answer: yes, we believe that as far as New Brunswick is concerned, it does not seem to be creating any great problems, and Manitoba’s legislature contains Section 23. Therefore,
once again, the problem is with Ontario. Also, we have the clear impression that the Ontario government will not be interested in agreeing to this or even in negotiating along those lines. This leads me to believe that if we cannot come to an agreement, it must be imposed.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: If that is the case, do you mean that the Parliament of Canada should be the one to impose it?
Mr. St-Denis: Yes, Mr. Chairman, by entrenching that right in the Constitution.
Mr. Lapierre: Thank you.
I would also like to come back on your fourth recommendation concerning Section 20. Does your imposition theory also apply to the obligation that the provinces serve their taxpayers in both official languages?
Mr. St-Denis: Mr. Chairman, I think that it is not good for everything to be imposed. Those are bad tactics and result in people sticking to the absolute minimum. My colleagues might wish to express their opinion on the matter also.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Bloom.
Mr. Bloom: Mr. Lapierre, we are aware of the fact that Section 20 of the Resolution is divided in two. The first part concerns central offices, the second part applies to regions.
Our recommendation follows the same lines of the proposed resolution. Therefore, as far as the central offices of the legislatures or provincial governments are concerned, we say that services rendered as well as all communications should be available in English and in French.
As for the regions, we think that rule should apply if the number of people interested is sufficient to justify it, which is in accordance with the resolution.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: Even by extending that to the provincial authorities, which is nor provided for in the proposed resolution?
Is that what you want to do?
Mr. Bloom: But, when we say—and I have the English version here in front of me—that:
Section 20 of the draft resolution dealing with the use of the official languages to communicate with and receive the services of the federal government must also apply to the governments of all the provinces,
our idea was just that, i.e., apply it to the provinces, mutatis mutandis.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: There, you are talking about Montrealers and Quebeckers, and we know that you already have that right in many institutions. is it the same situation for the people belonging to the ACFO?
Mr. Lévesque: Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw the members’ attention to the fact that the Charter of Rights, as tabled in September for the debates of the Constitutional
Conference, contained a clause—clause 20.2—concerning communications between the public and provincial governments; its purpose, there again, was to ensure services in both official languages. We told ourselves that, if after an entire summer of negotiations by the 10 provincial governments and after the whole process of the Constitutional Conference, all parties agreed to adopt this as a working document. we could not, as a minority, ask for less than that which they agreed to after so long a negotiation session between those who represent the different majorities. That is one way of explaining what we said here concerning the question of having provinces supply services in both official languages.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: You know as well as I do the results of that conference and that is why we cannot always use what came out of it as a basis for discussion.
I would now like to come back to the fifth recommendation you made, where you talk about “any citizen or permanent resident”. That phrase nullifies the effect of the words “where the number justifies it”. But before going into that, I would like you to understand—and I am addressing myself mostly to the representatives of the CMQ—that the only province where immigrants opt for the language spoken by the minority is Quebec. And this is what is worrying a number of Quebeckers, who wonder if applying this to any citizen or permanent resident will have effect on permanent residents speaking the language of the majority, as is the case in the nine other provinces.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Maldoff.
Mr. Maldoff: What you are suggesting is not in accordance with the proposed amendment. We think the intention of the article contained in the proposed resolution is to give to each member of the francophone or anglophone community of a province access to education in the language of their choice.
Whereas what we are saying here, in fact, is that we are using the mother tongue as a criterion. Perhaps I could illustrate what we are saying here by an example: if someone arrives in Canada from France and becomes a permanent resident, that person should have the right to attend a French school in Ontario. The same, of course, would be true for an anglophone person arriving in Quebec.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: Yes, now . . .
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): You wish to continue? Mr. Bloom?
Mr. Maldoff: May I add something to that?
You will notice, Mr. Lapierre, that in our proposal, we are not changing the criteria established in the proposed resolution. The only things we remove are the question of the need to be a citizen and, secondly, the matter of the number justifying the service being offered. Apart from that, the spirit, meaning and criteria of our text are the same.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Lapierre: Exactly, you have added the words “permanent residents”. And there is something else that you add, that puzzles me: the word “college”, And you remove the words “if the number justifies it”. I would like to know why you have removed this phrase. On what basis did you make both of those decisions?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St-Denis.
Mr. St-Denis: Yes. Here, we are underlining a very crucial problem. We decided, thinking banck on our history, that we should remove the words “where the number justifies it”.
It happened very often that francophones came demanding certain rights; they made up a considerable group, but we never knew exactly what was the required number for obtaining such and such a service. We are quite sceptical, for example, their school system, which is administered by the province. How can we therefore trust that these rights will be recognized, if the condition specified says “where the number justifies it”. If we wanted that to appear in the text, we think that the exact number should be specified.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lapierre.
Mr. Maldoff, perhaps?
Mr. Maldoff: Our two groups present here today believe that rights concerning education are the most fundamental for the future of minority language groups. It is for this reason that we believe that the access to teaching in English or in French should be an absolute right. The experience we have had in Quebec have proven that it is very reasonable to grant an absolute right in matters pertaining to access to education. Anglophones living in Quebec will be able to have access to teaching in English anywhere in the province.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you.
Mr. Lapierre, last question.
Mr. Lapierre: Fine.
I hope that other minority groups from other provinces will be able to hear the wonderful statement that you just made concerning treatment of minorities in Quebec, and I must thank you for it.
The last point does not, unfortunately, hold up all your arguments, but I would like to discuss the sixth point, where you talk about minorities administering their own institutions. Here again, l find this intention quite praiseworthy, but I ask myself, is the management of institutions as fundamental right as access to education? We have not gone that far yet, and I would like to know what arguments you could use to convince us to do it. What is your defense concerning that matter?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St-Denis.
Mr. St-Denis: Mr. Chairman, we consider this to be the most crucial matter for Ontario, at the present time. It is absolutely indispensable that we manage our own school system. History has once again showed us that we have had all sorts of problems. There are a good number of people who
would be able to autonomously control our school system and the whole education process in our province. And I am sure that they would do a wonderful job.
If you do not object, I would like Mr, Levesque to express his views on that matter.
Mr. Lévesque: Mr. Chairman, if we are not granted the management of our education system, we are going to find ourselves in a situation of constant conflict if we wish to obtain the rights that the Constitution will recognize for us on the matter of access to education. This history of franco-Ontarians abounds with examples of conflicts concerning education. Well-known historian, Robert Choquette, who is with us today, helped us draft our presentation. I am sure he could supply quite a mountain of information to the members and senators who would like to understand to what degree our history has been made up of battles waged to obtain classes and schools throughout the province. We believe the time has come for each official language community to be given the right to manage its own teaching institutions, starting, first of all, with the elementary and secondary school boards.
If we are not granted management of our schools, we will never stop fighting, in each region of Ontario, against a unilingual English majority which does not understand the aspirations, demands and education priorities of the French-language minority.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St-Denis.
Mr. St-Denis: Thank you. Since 1968, there exists a law in Ontario—l believe it is law 140 or 141—that grants permission to create French schools at the secondary level. However, at the present time, there are 25 French schools and 35 so-called bilingual schools, some of which are doing well, others not. But what I would like to point out is that, among the 25 French schools we have, we really had to put up quite a battle to get at least eight of them. A few examples are Sturgeon Falls, Cornwall, Essex, near Windsor and, just recently, Penetang.
My question is this: Will we, and future generations, have to continue fighting like this? We believe that the entrenchment of these rights in the Constitution would protect these rights for us.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Maldoff, would you like to add something also?
Mr. Maldoff: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I would like to add a point on the question of control and the right to administer educational institutions.
We definitely believe that the right to control and administer school boards and educational institutions is absolutely imperative and essential. At the same level is the right to access to such education.
Often we have heard, certainly in Quebec, a comment to the effect that we, the English speaking Quebeckers, are the best treated minority in the world. Look at the strength of the English speaking Quebec community.
Without debating the merits of that comment, one of the factors which has contributed to the viability of that community has been that it has been able for the most part to control and administer its institutions and certainly as we look at the future of Canada we should be thinking of trying to put the linguistic minorities throughout Canada in this same supposedly pampered and privileged position right across the country.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Maldoff.
The next name on my list is that of Senator Martial Asselin, followed by Mr. Ron Irwin, Mr. Corbin and two members who do not belong to this Committee but who have asked the right to speak, the honourable Warren Allmand and Mr. Louis Duclos.
I must of course follow the wishes of the Committee, and I believe all five at the table would like to pursue this debate with the witnesses this afternoon. I am certainly prepared to give the floor to the honourable Martial Asselin and to Mr. Ron Irwin.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I was somewhat concerned in terms of the arrangements that were made before the vote took place and I believe the general understanding was that we would return for some period of time for one round. I believe in fairness in terms of Senator Asselin that Mr. La Salle was not back and l spoke to the Chairman to see if we could use that time because Mr. La Salle had not used his time when the vote was called. I would think at that point the Committee should then have followed the arrangements that were made before the Committee rose for the vote.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Corbin.
Mr. Corbin: Mr. Chairman, it is true that we had reached a certain agreement before the vote took place and I think that it would be altogether proper to put the time not used by Mr. La Salle at the disposal of Senator Asselin. I agree entirely that we should hold to our decision.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Corbin. Mr. Nystrom.
Mr. Nystrom: Mr. Chairman, I myself agree that we could give live or ten minutes to Mr. Asselin.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Very well. Senator Martial Asselin, you have five minutes.
Senator Asselin: I just have five minutes, then, to finish off the time alloted to my colleague, Mr. La Salle. Mr. Chairman, before addressing myself to the witness, I would like to point out to my friend, Mr. Lapierre. that we, on our side of the House, have no lesson to take from him as far as section 133 is concerned. At the federal-provincial conference held in September, it was the Prime Minister of Canada himself who removed section 133 and said:
I no longer demand that Article 133 be applied to Ontario.
Listen, it is the Prime Minister of the country who decided that and declared it during the conference.
Therefore, as far as section 133 is concerned, Mr. Lapierre has no lesson to give us and if an official motion is brought before the Committee, you will see which way we vote.
I must first of all congratulate the francophone of Ontario who are waging an extraordinary battle, for which you have the support of the francophones and French Canadians, of Quebec. I would like here to repeat what I said yesterday to another group which appeared before the Committee.
Of Course, the anglophones of Quebec do not have as much merit as you because, as we have said it several times already, they constitute the most well treated minority of the country. I would like once again to take to witness my friend, Mr. Mackasey, who said that when he was an M.P. in Quebec, he found that he was even well treated by those member who were “péquistes”.
Mr. Mackasey: (Inaudible).
Senator Asselin: The situation would not necessarily be the same for me, because I am francophone.
Mr. Mackasey: (Inaudible).
Senator Asselin: Thank you, Mr. Mackasey.
You spoke earlier about the administration of schools. It is of course a very important point in your program, but since, as you well know, the matter of schools is under the jurisdiction of the provinces, how would you want us to entrench in the Charter of Rights administration of schools by the minorities? For example, a minority in Ontario. We could not do that.
How could we entrench the right for provincial minorities to administer their own school system when we know that these rights fall under the jurisdiction of the provinces?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Ste-Denis.
Mr. St-Denis: Yes. Mr. Chairman, through you to the Senator, we recognize that these rights belong exclusively to the provinces. But legislations are there to legislate and, as we said earlier, the need to recognize our rights in the area of school administration is getting greater and greater. If, for example, there are not enough francophones in Toronto to guarantee that right for us, we must then turn, as I said in the beginning of our presentation, to our country, to the federal government of Canada.
Senator Asselin: What kind of federation would we have if the federal government decided to intervene in areas that are under the strict jurisdiction of the provinces? What would happen if the federal government said.
“Listen, you did not do it, so the federal government is going to do it for you”?
If that happened, our federation would not be the same as it is today. There would be a central government that would have its hand in all provincial jurisdictions, and the provinces would be considered as simple administration agents of the central government.
I would like to hear what you have to say about that.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St-Denis or Mr. Bloom.
Mr. Bloom: With all due respect, Senator, I do not agree with you.
You have already said that section l33 of the BNA Act affects provincial rights. Oh, excuse me, it is article 93.
The British North America Act already deals with provincial matters. Why not, therefore, have a section equivalent to section 93 that would, where it is needed, guarantee this right for minority groups. If it were entrenched in the Constitution, the provinces could not play around with it.
We all know that we can have a government in one day that agrees to something and a government in the next that wants to change it and votes in a new law.
This is why we would like these rights, which we consider to be absolutely fundamental, not only for the francophones living in Ontario, and elsewhere in Canada, but also for anglophones in Quebec, to be entrenched in the Constitution so that no one, unless there are special provicisions to that effect, in the modification procedure, can come along and change them.
If these rights were entrenched in the Constitution, they would be protected as far as the minorities are concerned.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Last question, Mr. Asselin.
Senator Asselin: I would like to come back to that matter, because l think it is extremely important. You would, in effect, be changing the very essence of the Canadian federation, where there are provincial governments with exclusive rights over certain areas, and the federal government.
You would want us to change the Charter of Rights and the proposed resolution respecting the Constitution of Canada to such a degree that we would infringe on areas that fall exclusively under the provinces, and without their consent? That is what you want?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. St-Denis.
Mr. St-Denis: Yes. Your question has quite puzzled me, Senator, because we believe that when it is impossible to obtain something from our province, it should be up to the federal government to take care of it.
Your question also surprises me a bit because we, the francophone minorities outside of Quebec, have always felt that we have had the support of the francophone people of
Quebec. I hope that you are not against rights for franco-Ontarian minorities. I had always thought that we. the one million francophones living outside of Quebec, always had support of francophone Quebecers.
Senator Asselin: Of course. But I would like to raise a point of order here. I am discussing the legal aspects of the matter, and not facts.
I think I said earlier that I believe these rights should be granted to francophones in Ontario by virtue of section 133. I made that statement publicly. But it is the legal matter that interests me here. You would like us to completely change the legal status of the Constitution for the sole purpose of having the federal government infringe directly on provincial rights, even if they are important for minorities.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Lévesque.
Mr. Lévesque: Mr. Chairman, section 93 of the British North America Act gives religious minorities control of their own schools; in practice this has benefitted the minority language group of Quebec. We want equivalent rights in Ontario so as to have control over our own schools.
The Senator has raised a legal point. Constitutional experts have already examined the constitutionality of adding linguistic rights rather than restricting the rights of separate school boards.
Experts such as Peter Hogg from Osgoode Hall have assured us that adding linguistic guarantees would in no way restrict the rights to a religious education.
If you want me to I will leave with the Clerk copies of these opinions which show that it would be quite possible for Ontario to have the same provisions as Quebec where under section 93, the majority have given certain rights to the minority. This applies to the Protestant minority in Quebec; but the fact nevertheless remains that the majority of English schools in Quebec come under the Protestant school boards that are controlled almost exclusively by the English-speaking minority of Quebec.
That is what we would like to have in Ontario with a constitutional guarantee that franco-Ontarians will have the right to control their own schools.
Mr. St-Denis: We are demanding equal rights not more rights.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Maldoff.
Mr. Maldoff: I would just like to add, Mr. Chairman, that we are talking right now about the fundamental rights of Canadians and I think it might be even sidetracking the issue for us to put at the same level the political concerns of governments vis-à-vis their own jurisdictions as opposed to the welfare of individual Canadians in this country.
Now, we are asking that measures be taken, that the Canadian people act and show willingness to develop the kind of country that can face the future and meet the challenges that perhaps we have not met quite as well as we should have in the past.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you. Mr. Maldoff.
In the name of the Committee, I would like to thank all our witnesses, including Mr. Maldoff as well as representatives of the Quebec Minorities Council, Mr. Bloom and Mr. Leavy; I also wish to thank Mr. Yves St-Denis, Chairman of the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario, as well as the Secretary-General of the Association, Mr. Gerard Lévesque; last but not least, Mr. Robert Choquette who did not participate in our discussions.
If there are no other comments, we will adjourn this meeting until tomorrow morning at 9.30 am. when we shall hear the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.
Mr. Maldoff: Mr. Chairman, just one further comment. On behalf of both groups we would sincerely like to thank the Committee for the time and patience it has shown in hearing the position we had to present. Thank you very much.
Mr. St-Denis: We believe you are doing an extremely important job at this crucial time in our history.
Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you both.
Before I adjourn this meeting, I wish to inform you that the TV services have asked my permission to have all this weeks proceedings televised next Saturday from 12 noon to 9 p.m.
If there are no objections, I will so authorize.
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Agreed.
The meeting is adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce:
Mr. William F. Dunn, Chairman of the Executive Committee;
Mr. Sam Hughes, President;
Mr. Graeme T. Haig, Q.C., Chairman of the Constitution Reform Committee;
Mr. André Bouchard, Member of the Constitution Reform Committee.
Council of Quebec Minorities:
Mr. Eric Maldoff, President;
Mr. Casper Bloom;
Mr. James Leavy.
Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (ACFO):
Mr. Yves St-Denis, President;
Mr. Gérard Levesque, Secretary General.