Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 28th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 9 (11 September 1970)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 28th Parl, 2nd Sess, No 9 (11 September 1970).
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THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Twenty-eighth Parliament, 1969-70
THE SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE
CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
Mr. MARK MacGUIGAN
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS AND EVIDENCE
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1970
(See Minutes of Proceedings)
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE
CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
- MARK MacGUIGAN
Representing the Senate
Representing the House of Commons
Michael B. Kirby,
Joint Clerks of the Committee.
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
FRIDAY, September 11, 1970.
The Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 10:12 a.m. in the Hotel Fort Garry, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Joint Chairman, Mr. MacGuigan, presided.
Representing the Senate: Senators Fergusson, Grosart, and Yuzyk.—(3).
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Allmand, Asselin, Brewin, Dinsdale, Gibson, Hogarth, Hopkins, Lachance, MacGuigan, Marceau, McQuaid, Osler, Rowland.—(13).
Also present: From the House of Commons: Messrs. Ritchie (Dauphin) and Stewart (Marquette).
Witnesses: Dr. Murray Donnelly Professor of Political Science, University of Manitoba; Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, Director, Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg.
The Joint Chairman introduced Professor Donnelly who made a statement after which he was questioned. The questioning of Professor Donnelly being completed, the Joint Chairman thanked him and he was excused.
The Joint Chairman introduced Mr. Lloyd Axworthy who presented a brief entitled “Urban Democracy and the Canadian Constitution” prepared by the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg. (See Appendix “L”) Mr. Axworthy made a statement after which he was questioned. Later, the questioning being completed the Joint Chairman thanked the witness and he was excused.
At 1:15 p.m. the Committee adjourned to 2:00 p.m. later this day.
The Committee resumed at 2:20 p.m.
Members present: Same as at the morning sitting.
Witnesses: Dr. David Courchesne, President and Research Director, Manitoba Indian Federation; Dr. E. C. Shaw, Physician; Professor Cy Gonick of the University of Manitoba and member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba; Mr. Thomas Eagle, Vice-President, Manitoba Metis Federation and Carolyn Garlick.
The Joint Chairman introduced Dr. Courchesne who made a statement after which he was questioned. Later, questioning being completed, Dr. Courchesne was thanked by the Joint Chairman and was excused.
The Joint Chairman introduced Dr. Shaw. Dr. Shaw made a statement and was questioned. Later, the Joint Chairman thanked him and he was excused.
The Joint Chairman introduced Professor Gonick. Professor Gonick made a statement and later, he was questioned. During questioning, Mr. Lachance moved that the Committee pass to the next witness. Debate arose and the question being put, the motion was negatived on the following division: YEAS 2; NAYS 13.
Questioning of Professor Gonick continued.
Later, questioning being completed, Mr. R. A. C. Brown, on the invitation of the Joint Chairman, made a statement from the floor after which both the witness and Mr. Brown were thanked and Professor Gonick was excused.
Mr. Eagle was introduced and read part of his brief into the record after which he was questioned. It was
Agreed,—That the part of Mr. Eagle’s brief that had not been read into the
record be printed as an appendix to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. (See Appendix “M”)
The questioning of the witness being completed, the Joint Chairman thanked Mr. Eagle for his presentation and he was excused.
Carolyn Garlick was introduced by the Joint Chairman and made a statement. Later, the Joint Chairman thanked the witness and she was excused.
At 5:32 p.m. the Committee adjourned to Saturday, September 12, 1970.
Michael B. Kirby,
Joint Clerk of the Committee.
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Friday, September 11, 1970
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, after our fine session last night we would like to continue with several others of equal calibre today. This morning rather than introducing the Committee members as they ask questions I would like to begin the meeting by introducing each of them to you.
My own name is Mark MacGuigan, I represent the riding of Windsor-Walkerville in the Province of Ontario and I am Joint Chairman of the Committee.
I would like, first, to introduce the senators with our Committee, Senator Muriel Fergus- son from Fredericton, New Brunswick. Senator Fergusson should be easy to spot. Senator Allister Grosart from Pickering in the Province of Ontario and Senator Paul Yuzyk from Fort Garry, Manitoba.
Members of the House of Commons are Mr. Warren Allmand, representing the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in the Province of Quebec; the Honourable Martial Asselin representing Charlevoix in the Province of Quebec; Mr. Andrew Brewin representing the riding of Greenwood in the City of Toronto; the Honourable Walter Dinsdale member for Brandon-Souris in Manitoba; Mr. Colin Gibson member for Hamilton-Wentworth in Ontario; Mr. Douglas Hogarth from New Westminster, British Columbia; Mr. Leonard Hopkins, Renfrew North in the Province of Ontario; Mr. Georges Lachance, representing Lafontaine in the Province of Quebec; Mr. Gilles Marceau, from Lapointe in the Province of Quebec; Mr. Melvin J. McQuaid representing Cardigan, Prince Edward Island, and a former Attorney General of the Province of Prince Edward Island; Mr. E.B. Osler, Winnipeg South Centre; Mr. Douglas Rowland does not appear to be with us as yet. I presume he will be joining us shortly as he was here last night. Mr. Craig Stewart from Marquette is joining us here this morning and perhaps will be staying with us for the day. The Honourable Erik Nielsen will be joining us when we arrive in the Yukon, but is not with us at present.
I now would like to call on our first witness of the day, Professor Murray Donnelly of the Department of Political Science of the University of Manitoba, one of the country’s best known political scientists. Professor Donnelly has also been an adviser to successive governments, I believe, of all political stripes in the Province of Manitoba. Professor Donnelly.
Professor Murray Donnelly (Professor of Political Science, University of Manitoba): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. May I begin by thanking your Committee for the chance to appear here today.
My own concern with the Constitution of Canada both as a professor and as an adviser to government goes back a long way. As an adviser I was through all the rather abortive Fulton-Favreau negotiations and debates, and I have attended the current series of Constitutional Conferences. Therefore, even if members disagree with some of the things I am about to say, you should at least give me credit for staying power. It often seems so fruitless and it seems to me the present Constitutional review process must be operating on geological time.
Senator Yuzyk: Mr. Chairman, could we have the witness speak a little louder or get closer to the mike?
Professor Donnelly: It seems to me the present Constitutional review process must be operating on a concept of geological rather than Constitutional time. A critic might well ask if after years of work undertaken periodically since 1927, we cannot even agree on a method of changing the old Constitution, how do we ever expect to achieve agreement on a new one? That is a really good question.
However, the presence of your Committee here today indicates you are not ready to abandon hope, and neither am I.
I do think Canada needs a new Constitution and urgently, and not just because of the dissatisfactions of Quebec although that is, of course, important.
The British North America Act suffers from a number of major deficiencies. As you well know, many of its provisions are spent, out-dated or replaced. Some of its clauses are inappropriate, for example, disallowance. Others look back to the colonial era. These
specific deficiencies are well known, but the major weakness is even more serious.
A constitution, any constitution, whether written, unwritten, or both, must be a broadly acceptable framework within which the political process can proceed, but a federal constitution must in addition offer a reasonably clear definition of legislative power between the provinces and the central government.
The British North America Act in my opinion is no longer satisfactory on either count and has been made workable, particularly since 1945, primarily by a series of cost-sharing agreements which are now seriously questioned both by the central government and, perhaps, a majority of the provinces.
I could spend all the time I have with you pointing out these inadequacies in the old framework. I could offer critical comments on institutional reform and generally cover the waterfront. However, I choose to be more specific and hopefully more constructive. I have taken one example which concerns the division of powers and ask you the question as well as myself, how a new or revised Constitution might deal with this.
The example is income maintenance and social services, a subject on which we already have a comprehensive federal proposal. As everyone knows, the British North America Act is not very specific about health and welfare, but jurisdiction has been assumed either by direct specification or inference to be provincial. Federal authority arises from exclusive jurisdiction over common law and competence to deal with certain groups such as the Indian groups and the military, but as you know, better than I, most of the measures currently on the statute books in this field are the result of co-operative federalism and there is no reason to relate here the story of federal participation in this area beginning perhaps in 1948 with the series of health grants and eventually culminating in national hospital insurance and Medicare.
Equally well known to you is the federal participation in the welfare fields with the Canada Assistance Plan beginning in 1967. Then, of course, we have the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan, family and youth allowances, old age security and so on. All of the provinces also have with or without federal participation programs for
child welfare, adoption legislation, workmen’s compensation, metal health provisions and many others.
So let me put the question. How should these matters be arranged in a new or revised Constitution, and if we here were doing this now, what principles would we choose to follow? I suggest the following as desirable and I have tried to set out some guiding principles.
One, we would want to strengthen the federalism by a clear division of powers wherever possible, and may I say in parenthesis, I still believe strongly in federalism. I still believe in decentralized bureaucracies. Any time I go to Washington and see the massive bureaucracy there my faith in a greater decentralization is strengthened. Therefore, we would want to strengthen the federalism.
Two, the second principle, we would want to examine the concept of national minimum standards in health and welfare and the alleged duty of the federal government to redistribute income through some of these devices.
Three, we would want to satisfy as far as possible all provincial particularisms. I do not know if the word “particularism” is a good word, but I have in mind Quebec, for example.
Four, we would want to look…
Mr. Hogarth: Would you repeat three again, please?
Professor Donnelly: We would want to satisfy as far as possible all provincial particularisms, for example, those put forward by Quebec.
Four, we would want to look to the future and provide a framework within which new and probably presently unforseen [sic] actions by government will be required.
In its booklet, Income Security and Social Services, which you all know about, the federal government proposes that provincial legislatures have exclusive jurisdiction over social services, which under its definition includes hospital insurance and medicare. However, Ottawa offers in their paper an important reservation, namely that the federal spending power can be used:
…for the purpose of bringing about an adaptation of provincial programs to meet agreed national needs.
The areas of national interests which are identified in the federal paper are as follows:
… there are important aspects of health insurance which are national in character.
The first of these has to do with equal opportunity for Canadians. Equal opportunity not only over questions of income and security, but also availability of essential public services. It therefore follows, says Ottawa, that some mechanism ought to exist to provide equalization of medical and hospital services available to individual Canadians.
A second area of national interest is identified as ensuring portability, and the third:
…where the net in-migration of people from other provinces is sufficiently large, that the immediate provision of health insurance benefits then becomes costly, in relation to costs borne by other provinces.
Now I come to my point. In my mind, the concept of national interest in an area of exclusive jurisdiction—this statement raises what I venture to suggest lies at the very root of the continuance of our federalism. Is it possible to have an area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, if exclusive is taken to mean no use of the spending power in this area? If it is not possible, then in my opinion all juris- dictions might as well be labelled concurrent, because the history of federal interventions in these fields has been the history of central control. One wonders whether the federal government is right in its identifications of national interest. If so, this would seem to justify Ottawa’s participation through the spending power in just about any area.
For example, what about primary and secondary education? Do not all children regardless of locality have the right to a minimum standard of education in the same way that Ottawa argues they have a right to a minimum standard of health care? If one grants this proposition does it not follow that Ottawa should be in the business of establishing curriculum? Also should we not have portability in education, so that if a family moves from Winnipeg to Vancouver for example, the children can pick up where they
left off? If one accepts this principle, do we accept central control there?
It may be, and to me it does seem, that Ottawa exaggerates the national role in social services. For example, portability is obviously necessary, but do we need “big daddy” to ensure it? Ottawa has never played a role, to my knowledge, in workmen’s Compensation programs, but I understand that all provinces have worked out portability arrangements with each other, and some provinces have worked out portability arrangements with other countries.
It seems to me a reasonable supposition that provinces will always act in their own self-interest, and I find it difficult to imagine how this could ever coincide with a denial of portability, for example, in medicare. However, if some ultimate protection against a recalcitrant province is thought necessary, then I believe we should find it through the mechanism of the federal-provincial conference, and not through Parliament.
We must, however, recognize that social service programs with federal participation have some equalization measures built into them. As one example only, in the case of hospital insurance the federal contribution is based upon 25 per cent of average cost in the province and 25 per cent of average national cost. You can readily see the element of equalization there. If one accepts the principle, and I emphasize that is my main point and I accept it, that exclusive jurisdiction provincially must mean no use of the federal spending power, how is this an advantage that higher cost areas now have to be protected? There are already some precedents, and one is established in what is commonly known as the opting-out legislation, or the Established Programs Interim Arrangements Act. The only province to use this so far is of course, Quebec, and that province receives what is termed an equalized abatement, a term familiar to you I am sure. However, I understand that unless this can be based upon actual program costs, certain inequities inevitably arise. It seems to me that the equalized abatement scheme will not fit the bill if only because it is likely to produce the same interminable series of negotiations between Ottawa and the provinces that we already suffer from. Also the abatement system, again, to me smacks of the “big daddy” principle.
I think we must assume that a new constitution or the revised one—I like the new idea—will give each jurisdiction equal access to all tax fields and that a new, refined, unconditional equalization system will be found. I do not believe it is beyond political imagination and technical expertise to find one. As you know, again better than I, we have already had three of them, each one has been better than the last, and I see no reason why we cannot use our imagination to find a better one.
Perhaps the new formula, whatever it may be, should be put in the constitution with mandatory provisions for review. It may well be, that no equalization formula, however imaginative, will meet the needs of some of the poorer provinces and in that case special arrangements will have to be made, and so I here advance another principle. I do not believe that a new or revised constitution needs to get itself hung up on the concept of equal and uniform treatment of all provinces. I believe one should accept as a principle that it is a bad principle to get hung up on that. Moreover there are massive precedents that tell us there is no reason to get hung up on it. I believe that Newfoundland has always had special status and I am glad it has, but if the term special status is an emotive term, then let us get it out of our vocabulary, but it seems to me a less emotive term should be found more descriptively.
What I am really trying to tell you is that exclusive provincial jurisdiction, wherever the phrase appears in the constitution, if it is to appear, must by logic in my opinion assume no spending power in the federal government. Otherwise it seems to me inevitable that federal politicians will find the temptation to advocate a better deal for this or that within a given political boundary completely overwhelming, as they always have found the temptation overwhelming. I doubt that we can have a strong federalism when politicians at the federal level are actually invited to advocate the expenditure of money in areas of provincial jurisdiction.
How does what is being proposed by the federal government fit provincial particularisms is my third principle. If amended to prohibit the use of spending power, it would go part way to meeting suggestions already advanced by the Bertrand government, and I do not know what the Bourassa propositions are or will be, I have not seen new ones. One of the propositions that Quebec has before the conference, unless Bourassa withdraws it, is well known to you:
Social security, family allowances, health and hospitals, manpower placement, training schools, old age securities should be exclusively a matter for the States.
As you know Quebec argues this on two main grounds. Social security measures it says, are intimately connected with the family unit, and if they were all under the control of the province, some duplication and overlapping might well be eliminated.
I have not attempted, in my brief—and I am nearly finished—presentation to you to suggest an allegation of family and youth allowances in any jurisdiction because, perhaps somewhat arrogantly, I cannot convince myself that they are an efficacious way to redistribute income. Probably you know their history as well as I do, and last year the federal government spent nearly $700 million on family allowances, but I invite you to ask yourself, what did it really accomplish for the hard corepoor? In other words, one arrives at the inevitable dilemma of the would be constitution measure that you have automatically entrapped yourself in matters of high policy, and you find yourself arrogantly or over-confidently saying, well that is the way I would do it. Here I am saying to you, maybe we should abolish family allowances, so you say to yourself, well who the hell is Donnelly to come and tell us this? This is a political process.
Manpower training, in my opinion, because of its intimate connection with the maintenance of full employment and the balancing of the economy should be exclusively federal. I would also argue, and I expect an argument about this, that old age security should be exclusively federal, and that the provinces should get out of that picture completely. There are several reasons why it should be. I will not advance them all, but all provinces have already agreed to a formal constitutional amendment that goes part of the way. The federal program is based upon a specific tax, which seems to bear a discernible relationship to ability to pay, and finally—but not finally because there are others—the program concerns a definable and specific age group, and it seems to me unlikely that provinces could achieve economies by unifying it with other programs, as Quebec claims it could. There
again, my perhaps casual arrogance shows through, because Quebec has a paper on this, and say they could. I am not convinced that is all I can say.
We come now to my fourth and last principle, about providing a constitution with sufficient flexibility to meet unforeseen things that will undoubtedly arise. As Premier Robarts said at the Constitutional Conference of December, 1969:
There is some thinking about a time when technological change will revolutionize the relationships between work and leisure time and we are looking to the day when what we call our social security system will only be part of a larger field of public endeavour related to the full development of the individual. An endeavour of this type, which might very well come within this field, will encompass all kinds of activities in educational, cultural, recreational, economic and taxation programs.
In my opinion, we are probably headed for a time, and now I get out my crystal ball, when unemployment will cease to be a descriptive term, and will be called creative leisure. So it may be impossible and probably is for even a majority of the members of our society to be engaged in what we now choose to call productive work. Certainly the role of government under such conditions will increase, but I put to you the question, which level of government? While no one can pretend to see the shape of the future as clearly as I am pretending to, one can make some tentative assumptions. One must assume that technological developments will in fact change the work habits of many people, and that they will find their satisfaction in the community, in creative arts, in sports, and so on. How could one provide for this in a new constitution? One might think about the following. The federal government may have to offer some guaranteed annual income plan or as it is sometimes described, a negative income tax. This seems to me inevitably and clearly federal. The provinces would I think be the best jurisdiction to provide for the numerous work substituted that probably will become necessary. Surely this can never be properly handled from a remote central office in Ottawa, but must be based locally, where the problem actually is.
I chose to go through this specific example with you, although it would have been more fun for me to air my mind about the Senate and the process and all of the other great
topics, because it seemed to me that it might be more useful for you if I just took a specific example and tried to reason my way through it as best I could in three or four hours preparation. I am happy to talk about anything for as long as you want to talk. However, if anything was not clear about this example, perhaps you could ask questions and I will hand over to your secretary my notes, which I did raed [sic] verbatim.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you Professor Donnelly. I think your choice was indeed a very helpful one for us. I would just like to tell you that my prediction that Mr. Rowland would join us shortly has indeed come true, and we have also been joined by Dr. Ritchie from the riding of Dauphin in this province. I would also like just to recall to your minds, that after the Committee members have had a chance to have a dialogue with the witness, anyone on the floor who wants to make some more comments or ask questions may do so, provided that he does so briefly and with reference to the Parliamentary rules of language and relevancy. Now I would like Mr. Melvin McQuaid representing Cardigan in Prince Edward Island to ask the first question.
Mr. McQuaid: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask the witness, Mr. Chairman, whether if I am correct in assuming from what he said that he would prefer to see a completely rewritten constitution, rather than appropriate amendments to the present constitution? This is one of the problems with which we are faced, and we would like to have some opinions on that. Do you think a completely rewritten constitution is necessary at the present time, or do you think that our major problems can be solved in the constitutional field by making the necessary amendments to the present constitution?
Professor Donnelly: I can give you a clear and unequivocal answer. I think a new constitution is urgently required. The British North America Act always was a poor excuse for a constitution and was really a rearrangement of colonial territories to some extent. It contains anarchistic language; it has no inspirational quality whatever, unless it be as a cure for insomnia and it really does not describe as a federal constitution should, government as it now operates.
I am well aware that you would reply to me perhaps, tradition and usage and convention are very important, but in a federalism I do not believe you can depend upon tradition, usage and convention to the extent that you
could in Britain. Although I do not deny that many of these background things are significant in our heritage. To give you a clear answer, yes. You are going to get me wound up, if you do not watch out. How can one ever look at the British North America Act, and think that we can patch that poor old thing. We cannot even find a method of amending it. Maybe that means that we cannot find a new constituiton [sic], but that old document, I think, has had it. That is my answer.
Mr. McQuaid: Do I further understand you to say that you are basically opposed to the present principle of equalization of income as between the provinces, that is, that the present principle whereby the federal government helps financially the poorer provinces, is not a good principle?
Professor Donnelly: Oh, no. I must not have spoken very clearly. I am basically much in favour of it, but I do not want it achieved through the use of federal spending power in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. I want it achieved through improved unconditional equalization formula, plus special arrangements with certain provinces, such as I think is yours sir, Prince Edward Island, which can never have adequate treatment under any generalized formula, so far as I can see, and do not have so now. I used the example of Newfoundland, but I think it is the absolute duty of the federal government to equalize through this method, which of course, indicates substantial federal taxing powers.
Mr. McQuaid: It is the principle of conditional grants then to which you are opposed?
Professor Donnelly: Conditional grants in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, I say to you dogmatically for sake of argument, really must mean the end of the federalism eventually. I do not see how you can build a federalism on this principle.
Mr. McQuaid: Now I have just one more question, Mr. Chairman. You dealt, Professor Donnelly, with the expenditures on health, welfare and education with respect to the provinces. Now the latest statistics that have been published would appear to indicate that the three levels of government—federal, provincial and municipal—spent approximately $25 billion. Of this amount approximately $12.5 billion was spent in the fields of health,
welfare and education. That is almost 50 per cent of the total take of the three levels of government.
I am wondering if you feel that this 50 per cent, this $12.5 billion, has been properly allocated as between these three fields—health, welfare and education. In other words, is the proper amount being spent in each field or is, for example, welfare being subsidized at the expense of education?
Professor Donnelly: I just do not know, Mr. McQuaid. It is such a big question and requires a Solomon-like judgment which I just do not believe I could give. I just would not like to say off the top of my head that priorities vis-à-vis health, welfare and education are out of whack or in whack. This is a political process. The only answer you would get to it is not from people like me but from politicians who have to get elected on these principles of sponsoring this or sponsoring that. I could not really give you an answer.
Mr. McQuaid: We had some indication from some of the presentations that were made to us last evening that the federal government is not assuming its fair share of the cost of education.
Professor Donnelly: I do not want the federal government to assume any share of the cost of most education. I want that to be provincial. I realize that it must take an inter- est. Right now they are going to encourage bilingualism through conditional grants. You can say “Well, there is a legitimate interest in federal encouragement of bilingualism”. If there is, label it concurrent but do not call it exclusively provincial. Maybe you will end up with nothing that will be exclusively provincial. I do not know.
Mr. McQuaid: Just one more question, professor. Do you feel that this process of amending or of getting into shape to amend the Constitution is proceeding speedily enough?
Professor Donnelly: My God, no! It is proceeding on geological time as I have already told you. We have been trying to find an amending formula since 1927. That Fulton-Favreau thing which I went through, ad nauseam, just went nowhere. Although we came close to agreement through the death of cer-
tain provincial governments and their substitution by others, finally Mr. Lesage backed off and said, “No good”. It was the most complex formula known to man in constitutionalism and very unflexible and rigid. We are proceeding not at a snail’s pace but at a glacial pace.
Mr. McQuaid: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Gilles Marceau.
Mr. Marceau: Mister Donnelly, a lot has been said about bilingualism since yesterday, so I will try and put it into practice by asking a few question in french. You talked about re-enforcing federalism.
Professor Donnelly: Yes.
Mr. Marceau: Do you not think it would be preferable to try to balance it rather than to reinforce it, since the solution would lie rather in a type of federalism that would see to an equitable distribution of powers between the federal and provincial governments rather than in a centralized type of federalism based exclusively on federal power?
Professor Donnelly: That is a very good question. Our Constitution must, of course, be as flexible as possible.
Mr. Marceau: You can answer me in English if you want to, sir.
Professor Donnelly: I enjoy trying my French.
An hon. Member: It is your privilege.
Professor Donnelly: All I can do is repeat what I have already said. Exclusive provincial jurisdiction must mean that. It must mean just that. That is the only way to strengthen the federalism which I take it you are asking me about. It is the only conceivable way.
Without meaning to predict the doom and gloom, it seems to me, if I may say so, that this is what your Committee must face.
Mr. Marceau: You say we must try to have a wider frame, therefore, would it not be preferable to determine as precisely as possible the distribution of powers in order to avoid having at one time or another the federal government, by its interpretation, intervening in provincial powers? Is that not really where the problems lies?
Professor Donnelly: I quite agree with you that it is almost an impossible task to make these clear, water-tight, evident decisions that will always be respected but one can only try.
If you take the analogy of local government versus provincial now, the thing is such a mixed-up mélange that no one knows what it is. No taxpayer knows who is responsible for this or that. If you achieve that state of utter confusion in federalism, which we virtually have achieved, then I think you kiss federal- ism good-bye. I have come to believe more strongly than ever in federalism for two reasons. It is obviously necessary if Canada is to hold together. It also seems to me to be the best possible alternative to the massive bureaucratic alienation that has occurred in the United States.
Now I realize I am talking in generalities and I am not really answering your question, so I will stop skirting around it.
Mr. Marceau: Mister Chairman, is it recognized here in Manitoba that french-speaking canadiens are different and that as such the Constitution should ensure their survival and their development within the Canadian Confederation and within a country called Canada? Is this idea accepted here or do you think it is ridiculous and that the people of Quebec refuse to cooperate? What is the attitude here?
Professor Donnelly: I accept completely the recommendations of the B&B Commission on the subject of languages and would like to see them built into the new constitution. I accept them without any reservations.
Mr. Marceau: Is that your own opinion or the opinion of the population of Manitoba?
Professor Donnelly: I could not speak for the population. You are surrounded by politicians who are much better able to speak than I. I am simply an ivory tower academic.
An hon. Member: Well put.
Mr. Marceau: One last question, mister Chairman, if you will allow me. If I understood correctly, you said that you were ready to accept the abolition of family allowances
and to have the government put this money at the disposal of poor people in Canada.
Professor Donnelly: That is too big a question. I do not know.
Mr. Marceau: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Colin Gibson.
Mr. Gibson: Professor Donnelly, I wish to ask you your views on the subject of formal procedural method for amending the constitution. I raise this matter but not in the context of which issues will be decided solely by Ottawa, solely by the provinces, and solely through the joint co-operation of the federal and provincial governments. What formal barriers exist today to bringing back to Canada our final ultimate formal amending power?
The constitutional review that is going on now seems to me to be very important and very successful. However, it is very very slow. Within a year or two we may have an entirely different political climate in the country. Now we are more united than we have ever been. I suggest that we are not prepared to abandon hope on this Committee. We are determined to succeed in changing our constitution and in strengthening Canada.
We intend to succeed and we are determined to do so quite definitely. [Text] We are determined to succeed in this task.
Professor Donnelly, at present the only method of a formal amendment to the Constitution is by passing a Bill in the United Kingdom Parliament. This surely must go. Now that Canada is more united than a year or so ago do you not agree that we should bring back to Canada the power of formal amendment so that final passage of amendments in a formal sense will be made in Canada’s Parliament? In making this suggestion and in taking this step, I believe we should preserve the existing powers and rights and conventions pending the final review of the constitution. Should we not transfer to Canada the formal amending power now?
If you agree, what means should be adopted? If all provinces are agreeable to this step and if the federal government agrees, would you then suggest that a resolution of the Canadian Parliament be passed and addressed to the United Kingdom Parliament with the consent of all the provinces, in that way transferring the BNA to Canada and renam-
ing it the Canadian Constitutional Act? I believe that the time to establish this final constitutional power is now with us and that the mood of the people is with us. I have never heard one Canadian in any area dispute this. I ask for your opinion, sir.
Professor Donnelly: You mentioned the key to it in your own discourse—“if all provinces agree.” That is where we were hung up with the Fulton-Favreau formula as you know. When the CCF, as it was then known, was defeated, the objections of Mr. Walker and the attorney general of Saskatchewan were thereby nullified. Mr. Thatcher said he was willing to go ahead as he did not care much anyway. Then we thought we had it nailed down and Quebec was going to agree. However, Mr. Lesage thought that it would be embarrassing for him, politically, to do so and he withdrew his agreement. The Fulton-Favreau formula was an awkward thing that we had worked out and was not a very good formula anyway. It was left to gather dust.
The key to it is what you have already said: “if all provinces agree.” Can we retain this unanimity principle. Must all provinces agree before we can go ahead with anything?
Mr. Gibson: Certainly my own humble opinion is that we would certainly have to get unanimous consent to bring back the BNA to Canada.
Professor Donnelly: To bring back, sir, is simply a descriptive term of a meaningless character because no one says that you must leave it there. Bring back with what conditions?
Mr. Gibson: With the conditions that all the existing conventions and rules for amendment remain in existence until this Act is actually in Canada.
Professor Donnelly: I would be horrified with that. Existing conventions and rules regarding amendment are ventriloquous [sic] dummies, as you know. They can be interpreted in a variety of ways. There are no firm rules. It is so depressing to talk about this subject.
Mr. Gibson: It may be depressing but we have got to get on with it and deal with it.
Professor Donnelly: I would much prefer, myself, to tackle a new constitution rather than to tackle this awful musty old thing known as constitutional amendments.
Mr. Gibson: Why not get it back in Canada to start with?
Professor Donnelly: You are the guys with the power, why do you not do it?
Mr. Gibson: We want to. We are trying to.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Gentlemen, I do not think this is the best time for the Committee to express its opinions. Perhaps I could now call on Dr. Ritchie.
Mr. Ritchie: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Do you feel the advent and the expansion of social services, so-called open-ended programs, have increased the strains on federalism and Dominion-provincial relations at least in a financial way?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, indeed. I should have made that clear but I thought it would be too long and tedious to do so. Certainly most people would agree I think that the federal initiatives in these fields were at one time very appropriate. However, a person from Quebec might argue that they might not have been necessary had Ottawa not held 90 per cent of the taxing power. They have undoubtedly increased the financial strains.
Mr. Ritchie: Would you suggest that so long as they stayed in family allowance and old age pensions where there was a set amount per individual citizen across the country that the strain was not so great?
Professor Donnelly: I would abolish family allowances—again my professorial arrogance showing through—but as long as income tax exemptions are the way they are what good do they really do anybody? How can you defend family allowances as a measure for the poor when they have to have another kid to get more?
Mr. Ritchie: Mr. Chairman, I am not defending family allowance or otherwise. I am merely saying that because a payment was made of a set dollar amount to each citizen across the country, it did not change or it did not create the strain that the open- ended programs have.
Professor Donnelly: Do you mean financial budgetary strain or strain in federal-provincial relations?
Mr. Ritchie: Well, both.
Professor Donnelly: Or are they the same thing?
Mr. Ritchie: It was a set amount per year that the government knew it had to raise because the population remains within statistical bounds.
Professor Donnelly: Yes.
Mr. Ritchie: With the advent of the shared-cost programs like medicare and hospitalization plans which are growing at a rate of something like 15 per cent a year, and with the idea that all of these programs can grow and grow forever and still leave lots of good things undone for the community, has this not created a special budgetary and financial problem?
Professor Donnelly: That is undoubtedly true.
Mr. Ritchie: If these programs are going to be administered by the provinces, could they be administered through unconditional grants to the province. The province would receive so much money and it would be up to it to decide in what proportion the health, welfare or educational programs would be supported.
Professor Donnelly: I can only go over what I have said, which perhaps is too brief. A: there should be no federal spending power in this area. B: there should be an improved equalization formula. C: there will be provinces still left out in the cold when all those things are done and some device will have to be found to deal with them. A promising one is that they may delegate their power to Ottawa. They will cease to be provinces in the full sense of the word.
Now you may find that medicine too strong but it is already true.
Mr. Ritchie: I must say I largely agree with you. In other words, you are suggesting that we rip up the shared-cost programs and replace them by greater equalization grants than we have if the occasion arises.
Professor Donnelly: Just one unconditional equalization grant.
Mr. Ritchie: Unconditional.
Professor Donnelly: Totally unconditional. If a province is still unable to cope with its
responsibilities then it may delegate some of its power to Ottawa in an improved constitution and it will become Ottawa’s responsibility, period. You will know where you stand. Or, you can go back into this business of negotiating new budgetary resettlements every five years which I regard as eminently
unsatisfactory. However, I think the most promising answer is through a delegation process. You would end up with the provinces, perhaps, some of the Maritime Provinces, wanting to delegate to Ottawa certain things that even with the improvement in equalization they cannot cope with because of a low tax base. That is one possible thing, I think, to be thought about and examined in thinking of a new Constitution.
Mr. Ritchie: Are you suggesting the key to this particular problem lies in the control of spending by the provincial level in these fields?
Professor Donnelly: No, I can make no judgments about that. The control of spending, again, is a political matter.
Mr. Ritchie: Let me put it this way, then. The grants given by the federal government must bear a relationship to the ability of the country, to the federal government and should not be based on the desires or necessarily what the provinces feel should be done in these fields.
Professor Donnelly: As you know, sir, perhaps better than I do, there is an equalization formula now based upon a kind of prosperity index with 16 items in it by which to judge the levels of provincial capacity. It is quite a good formula, it is rather complex, but I think it still could be improved. However, I repeat you can never meet the needs of Newfoundland with any forseeable [sic] equalization formula, therefore, you must continue the kind of special status that Newfoundland has.
Mr. Ritchie: Do you think the equalization formula is difficult to arrive at and will always be a subject of controversy?
Professor Donnelly: It certainly is difficult, yes, but we have arrived at two or three of them starting back with the old tax rental things. They have worked there moderately well, they could work better, one hopes.
Mr. Ritchie: If the budgetary problems of the shared cost programs to the provinces were controlled, would it materially lessen at least the financial strains on the…
Professor Donnelly: You will have to explain to me, sir, what you mean by controlled and by whom.
Mr. Ritchie: Within some bounds set by the province. They are largely out of control now, are they not?
Professor Donnelly: I do not know if they are out of control. That is a kind of subjective judgment, I feel.
Mr. Ritchie: Can they go on increasing at 15 per cent a year in the hospital and medicare fields?
Professor Donnelly: I do not see why not. It is a vital service, something we have to have. Maybe the doctors will charge less in future, but I doubt it.
Mr. Ritchie: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Now I will call on Mr. Warren Allmand to be followed by Messrs. Asselin, Rowland, Hopkins and Brewin.
Mr. Allmand: Professor Donnelly, you said if we were to have a federal state we must have exclusive areas of jurisdiction to the provinces and you want to make this very exclusive, it seems. In view of the fact that we are having a much more rapid pace of technological change, communications change, leisure and so forth—you referred to these—and you have admitted there is great difficulty in setting out in words exclusive areas of jurisdiction…
Professor Donnelly: Yes, that is right.
Mr. Allmand: …in these circumstances, would you not think it would be better to have nearly all areas of legislative powers concurrent with paramountcy either to the federal or to the provincial? By doing that we would not get hung up on situations where, for example, if the federal government takes an initiative in an area where the provinces have not acted, where it could be a provincial area of jurisdiction, they could act and that legislation would stand until the province decides to legislate, and if they had para-
mountcy their legislation would stand in their province, but both areas could act concurrently, just as they have the right now in immigration and agriculture, without being hung up on legalisms. The federal rights would be based on paramountcy rather than on exclusive water-tight compartments.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, you have raised a fascinating point and that is one of the things that as an adviser I have been trying to examine in conjunction with Professor Dale Gibson in order to recommend to the Manitoba government. It is one very profitable area of exploration to find out if that concept of concurrency with paramountcy could work. I am not prepared to say it could or it could not, but I do think you have hit upon one of the fundamental lines of research or of thought and I do agree with you it is one of the most promising, I think. These water-tight compartment things are very difficult to achieve, I am sure.
Mr. Allmand: I have one other question. In your presentation you made an analogy between health care and education and you went on to say that if the federal government can rationalize for national health standards they can introduce spending into the health field, they could use the same rationalization to do it for education and many other things.
Professor Donnelly: Almost anything else.
Mr. Allmand: That is so under the present system, but I wanted to ask for your comments on the proposals that the federal government has made in its booklet on spending power in which they state that where in the case of conditional grants where the area is exclusively provincial, they would set up a system of national consensus based on the senatorial districts. At least three of the five senatorial districts would have to give approval in their legislatures by resolution or by bill, I suppose, and if they got the three out of five, for those provinces who did not agree payments would be made back to the people in those provinces. Anyway, they have attempted to set out a formula.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, I know.
Mr. Allmand: Would not this formula or some type of formula like this deal with the problem? In other words, could they not spend in education or in exclusive provincial fields if we had some formula like this?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, I am glad you raised that because that particular formula seems to me, (a) to be terribly contrived; (b) it seems to suffer from major weakness—what is the relevance to senatorial districts to finding national consensus? Ontario and Quebec each constitute a senatorial area and they are equivalent to the whole west, from here to the Pacific Ocean. I would think that kind of formula is rather inappropriate—(c), the third objection I would have to it is that it would seem likely that this is a back-handed way of producing special status for Quebec because it would very likely not go in with the consensus. I would much rather see that faced squarely rather than achieved through this kind of back-handed way, and finally (d) I find the notion of returning to the individuals in the nonparticipating area rather than to the governments, can only be described as cock-eyed. You know, John Smith in Three Rivers may get a cheque for 89 cents from a central computer because his province did not participate. I am really being a bit oppressive in arguing that, I suppose, but I really cannot fail to have grave intuitive doubts about reimbursement of people rather than governments in a nonparticipating, noncensensus province. I think the federal formula is a brave attempt, but a very contrived one and it is full of holes as most formulas are.
Mr. Allmand: This is the problem. I was going to ask you if you have thought about or devised an alternative formula for the Constitution. This is the difficulty. You seem to knock holes…
Professor Donnelly: I gave you an alternative formula, the very clear and somewhat arrogant statement, no federal spending power in any area that is labeled exclusively provincial.
Mr. Allmand: But you left room for delegation.
Professor Donnelly: Delegation, yes, certainly. That is another hopeful area like the one you presented at first, the paramountcy.
Both those areas, I think, are very worthy of more and more thought.
Mr. Allmand: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Asselin.
Mr. Asselin: Mr. Chairman, I would like to come back to the question about which one of my colleagues, Mr. Allmand, discussed with the witness. I think that the major difficulties of federalism arise from the fact that the federal state has interfered in many areas which are under provincial jurisdiction. By the way, I want to congratulate you for your sincerity in the presentation you made today. You spoke of a strong government at the federal level. Moreover, you said that the problem of federalism lies in the distribution of powers between the federal government and the provinces. Could a new Constitution deal with the decentralization of certain of the present powers of the federal government in favour of the provinces or of the provinces in favour of the federal government, and how would it go about doing that? Must we consider the principle of the delegation of powers only, or the principle of opting in or out that the federal government and the provinces have occasionally had recourse to in the past?
Last night, some people stated that education should be standardized throughout Canada. Many provinces object to education coming under the federal government. In my opinion, education must remain under the provincial governments as you said a while ago. Would it be possible to try and settle that question through the delegation of powers between the provinces and the federal government, or through the opting-out principle?
Professor Donnelly: This is a catastrophe because instead of listening to the interpretation I listened to the English and the French at the same time.
It is very difficult…
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Did you understand the question?
Professor Donnelly: Not entirely. I listened to the question in English and in French at one and the same time…
Mr. Asselin: I will repeat my question if you want me to.
Professor Donnelly: This time I shall listen to the French.
Mr. Asselin: This morning, you spoke about a strong federal government and you con- tended, I believe, that the problem of federalism arises from the distribution of powers between the central government and the provinces. How do you see this question of decentralization of powers? Do you see this through the principle of delegation of powers or by that other principle that has been resorted to many times before, that is, the opting-out principle that some provinces would like to adopt. Earlier I stated that Quebec did not admit that the federal government should interfere in the field of education. In other English provinces, it will be accepted that the federal government wants to subsidize directly, educational institutions, while we in our province object to this. So, how do you see this process of decentralization taking shape?
Professor Donnelly: Allow me to answer in English, please, because this is a very com- plex matter.
I do not see opting out as a very hopeful method of achieving the decentralization that both you and I seem to want. Opting out suffers from a grave deficiency in that it does accept from big daddy in Ottawa the equalized abatement principle. It suffers from a grave deficiency in that equalized abatement is often artificial and does not meet actual program costs. It seems to me to be, as the Act itself describes itself, an interim measure and does not provide any hopeful answer to real decentralization.
Your second point, delegation, I think does provide a hopeful answer. I can envisage a Constitution with not two sets of powers, but three, exclusively federal, exclusively provincial and in the middle, subject to delegation as the present Indian Constitution does have—you may say India is not a very hopeful example, but one clutches at any straw—those powers which certain provinces would choose to delegate, but Quebec never would delegate which may produce in a back-handed way the kind of special status for Quebec.
I should make it clear that I have every sympathy for Quebec’s position except on treaty powers and I have no objection to calling something “special status”, but it seems to be an emotive and loaded term. I think we
must find some method through delegation, through the concept of paramountcy, concurrency or some other method which will produce basically satisfactory results for Quebec, never totally. If the Bertrand position is the true position, and we will see next week, I do not believe they can be totally satisfied, particularly on the treaty business, but I believe with political imagination it would be possible to achieve some decentralization that would go a long way to meeting these particularisms, legitimate particularisms, I believe.
It is astonishing to me sometimes—perhaps you will want to strike this from the record— that Western Canada fails to understand so almost completely, in my opinion, the difficulties and positions of Quebec. Perhaps your Committee will be an educative phenomenon.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Gentlemen, I have six other names and while I do propose to call on all of you, I would ask you to bear in mind that there are these others who want to ask questions and we have several other briefs to hear this morning.
Professor Donnelly: I am sorry to take up so much time.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): It is because your paper was so interesting that you are getting so many questions. Mr. Rowland.
Mr. Rowland: Mr. Chairman, I, first of all, wish to lodge a complaint. I have clutched notes to my bosom or kept them in my filing cabinet, at least, that I took at Professor Donnelly’s knee 11 years ago on the Constitution and I find that he has not had the decency to remain rigid in his thinking. So, they are useless.
I would like to ask Professor Donnelly two or three questions with regard to his principle of not using the federal spending power in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction.
First, does he envisage a division of powers which would tend to strengthen the federal government’s hand or conversely, the division of powers which would tend to strengthen the provincial government’s hand in relation to what now exists in the British North America Act, or does he envisage the sort of Constitu-
tion that would allow either of those two alternatives to evolve through the process of delegation or the exercise of paramountcy?
Professor Donnelly: The latter.
Mr. Rowland: The latter?
Professor Donnelly: Yes.
Mr. Rowland: With regard to equalization, do you see an adequate equalization formula as overcoming most of the possible objections that could be raised to the denial of the exercise of the spending powers of the federal government, accepting the fact that any equalization formula, even though we may improve it will be imperfect?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, particularly for the Maritimes.
Mr. Rowland: Yes. Would you argue that equalization should be based upon fiscal capacity or fiscal need? Which approach would you take? Which imperfect formula would you accept, one based on need or capacity?
Professor Donnelly: I wish you had not taken that course. That is a question like I used to ask you.
Mr. Rowland: Yes. Turn about is fair play.
Professor Donnelly: It sure is. A tentative answer would have to be that you have to find a formula that does take into account need, I think. I do think that is the approach you have to go by. That, of course, implies judgmental decisions—well, you say you need this but I do not think you do. I think we must face the fact that there are going to be some provinces in this federalism which will lose a great deal of their autonomy because they do not qualify as viable provinces. Now you may hate me for saying that but one might as well face it now.
Mr. Rowland: I certainly do not. The other question I had to ask is unrelated. I think probably Mr. Brewin will pursue this further. But I would like you to give us some indication of your thinking about the sort of mechanism which we should employ in this process of Constitutional revision that we are now engaged in. You have indicated that you consider the present progress to be glacial. I expect that part of that is due to the structure we are employing to carry out the revision.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, it is.
Mr. Rowland: Have you any suggestions about how this structure can be improved?
Professor Donnelly: Just one, which I advance tentatively and rather hesitantly. It does seem to me that the first item on Monday morning in Ottawa ought to be: are we serious or not? So far this has been a great runaround and a majority of the provinces have not taken the notion of a new Constitution, or even a revised one, very seriously—so far.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Including Manitoba?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, certainly including Manitoba, through no fault of mine, I hope. But if the decision on Monday morning is, “We do not take this seriously and you guys might as well lay off’’, fair game. Good. But let us have it out in the open.
Secondly, an alternative approach to the rather laborious one we have been following might be—and I do emphasize and underline the word “might”—that if the decision on Monday morning is, “Yes, we want to proceed. We cannot admit failure”, then, you might say: “Why do we not try to set up a few guidelines as to what a new or revised Constitution might contain?” I do not know how far you would get. I have to be brief. I presume everybody accepts the Parliamentary system. Maybe Quebec does not. But it seems likely that that can be handled. We would get a few guidelines and then maybe you should say: “Well, we will find the best minds in the country that we can find and within a year produce a draft on these guidelines.” Then you commit nobody. And then we would say, “O.K. What about it? Do you like this better than the British North America Act, are you going to throw it out or what?” But at least it seems to me we must get to the point of candour. These conferences—I used to feel so sorry for Mr. Pearson, who was trying so hard for any crumb of consensus and getting none.
A final point I would add is that I do not believe we can either amend the old Constitution or produce a new one if we have to stick to the rule of unanimity in the smallest matters.
Mr. Rowland: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Leonard Hopkins.
Mr. Hopkins: Thank you, Mr. Chaiman [sic]. In connection with Professor Donnelly’s last
remarks, I wonder if you saw the article in The Globe and Mail this morning on the front page entitled: “Ottawa To Seek Speedup in Constitutional Review.”
Professor Donnelly: Yes, I did see it.
Mr. Hopkins: I believe they go on to say that they do not feel that they can sustain public interest if it is going to take several more years to do this.
Professor Donnelly: That is the understatement of the year.
Mr. Hopkins: Yes. I was interested in your remarks, Professor Donnelly, on portability in education. I think this is a very serious problem facing this country today. I might initiate my remarks by saying I have had personal experience in this, having taught at the secondary level in a DND high school, where we had students coming in from all provinces of Canada. And if you want to go through a nightmare, just try to place students in accordance with their educational standards of the past.
I believe it was in 1967 we had the first meeting of Ministers of Education of the provinces of Canada which was held in Victoria, B.C. I also gather that here you are seeking some co-ordination of educational curricula.
Professor Donnelly: No.
Mr. Hopkins: What do you mean when you speak of portability of education?
Professor Donnelly: I was saying to you as a Committee that if the federal government is to play the role of achieving portability, minimum standards and so on, then federalism is a doubtful proposition. Here I feel that the mechanism that may properly be used to achieve these matters ia [sic] a constitutionally-established Federal-Provincial Conference with its offshoots such as the Council of Resource Ministers, the Council of Ministers of Education, and so on. But in my view, you may never give the federal Parliament the power to say to a province, “Okay, course 302 is not portable. It is not acceptable in British Columbia. You change it.” You can never do that because education must be experimental, it must be decentralized. So the hopeful way of achieving this is through a Council of Ministers who would be formalized into a branch, a department, or whatever you like to describe it, of the Federal-Provincial Conference. The Federal-Provincial Conference
itself, in my view, should be formalized. But as I talk, I scare myself. I sound as if I have some answers but I am sure I do not. All I can do is tell you what goes on in my head.
Mr. Hopkins: Did you have any specific proposals so far as Constitutional revision was concerned to implement your ideas?
Professor Donnelly: Yes. Put the Federal-Provincial Constitutional body, write it into the Constitution, and make it flexible enough so that it can have all this ancillary machinery, but do not have the federal Parliament do it. I did give you an exemple [sic] of workmen’s compensation. I am told complete portability was achieved there a long time ago. I do not see why by arrangement it could not be achieved. Education is a more difficult thing because it is essentially experimental and it continually changes.
Mr. Hopkins: I think this Committee can do a lot on these discussions by bringing out these problems and making sure that they are publicized and brought before the public in order to mould public opinion.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, indeed.
Mr. Hopkins: Because I think in order to get action you must mould public opinion in order to have an organized effort.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, I think public opinion ought to be led to believe that if power over education is centralized in the federal Parliament in any way, they are giving up another value which they perhaps are not quite aware of, namely, the value of federalism.
Mr. Hopkins: But you are striving for equality in education in your thinking?
Professor Donnelly: I think you can overdo the equality business. I really think we have got all hung up and we make equality equal to uniformity. I think the equality business is greatly overdone in matters such as this.
Mr. Hokpins [sic]: One more question, Mr. Chairman. Professor Donnelly mentioned that such matters as manpower training or adult training should be exclusively federal.
Professor Donnelly: Exclusively, yes. As it is now they are both.
Mr. Hopkins: Yes. I think that we as members—at least I do—get many calls on this and usually matters are tied up with both
levels of government and we are getting back to the state of frustration again. How would you go about providing this on a strictly federal basis? For example, are you thinking of setting up particular schools or using existing facilities?
Professor Donnelly: I just do not have a clear answer. I should not be quite as down- the-line as I am, because I already agreed, and I really do agree, that delegation, paramouncy [sic], concurrency, everything like that has to be examined before you come up with your answer. And I was only trying to show the dilemma of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. But if you proceed on the watertight compartment area, then I do believe that manpower training must be federal, because it ties in so fully with the federal responsibility of maintaining or mitigating the business cycle. I do not know which they are doing. But, no, I can see that just the physical plant aspect of this would pose a real problem in a rearranged Constitution. And you do hit upon a question there which is insoluble. Where administrative arrangements have been built and employees hired and apparatus created, it carries with it a self-perpetuating feature which is almost impossible to change, very difficult to change. And I quite agree with you this is a real hard-nosed point you raise.
Mr. Hopkins: The federal responsibility for adult education ties in with the responsibility federally for the unemployed in Canada. Do you feel that the federal government should have more power in the economic development field of the country in view of the fact that they are responsible for the unemployed, and should have greater authority to create more programs and greater economic development in order to provide more jobs?
Professor Donnelly: I think that has to be concurrent. I do not see how you can rule a rich and vital province like Ontario out of the picture of providing more jobs.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): May I now call on Mr. Brewin, and then Mr. Osler.
Mr. Brewin: Professor Donnelly, I was interested in one point that you made particularly, and that is that I thought you seemed to agree with a proposition that I have held for quite a long time, the hopelessness of getting effective Constitutional change if you accept
the rigid position that you have to have unanimity of every province before you make any change at all.
I thought there was in recent conferences some indication of trying to work out a system of consensus in regard to the spending formula, spending powers. I know you do not agree with that.
Professor Donnelly: Not in a specific application, no.
Mr. Brewin: Is there not a possibility of working out some reasonable formula to get a degree of consensus so that you do not have the situation that any one provincial government who sits there for the time being can disrupt what is perhaps the will of the majority of the people of Canada.
Professor Donnelly: I do agree completely, and once again, I have a little thought to advance. That is that if the Constitutional Conference were to say to itself, “We will give a drafting committee whatever guidelines two thirds of us can agree on”, keeping in mind that the other third are bound by nothing and that when they finally get the Constitution they are not bound, that might be a hopeful way to proceed.
Mr. Brewin: It would put on the one third that did not want to be bound a terrific political onus. They would have to be responsible to their own electorate for staying out.
Professor Donnelly: But if you ever got a draft Constitution or an amended one before the public so that it could be evident that this is an improvement, it might be that the recalcitrant, non-agreeing province would find some political pressure not to take a negative stand.
Mr. Brewin: Exactly. As long as you start out with the proposition that you cannot have the Constitution that you present as long as one provincial premier, for example, says no.
Professor Donnelly: I frankly believe, as you seem to, that the process is doomed to failure on this basis and is virtually hopeless.
Mr. Brewin: I entirely agree with you. I am glad you said this. If I may move to another aspect, I was pleased to note that you believe that in our new Constitution we did not have to be frightened of a proposition that one province or a group of provinces would have different arrangements, if not different Constitutional arrangements.
Professor Donnelly: Yes.
Mr. Brewin: I avoid the term “special status.”
Professor Donnelly: Yes.
Mr. Brewin: I was very much interested in your suggestion that one way to achieve that was a more flexible power of delegation. I think the present Constitution, as I recall it, practically prevents any effective type of delegation.
Professor Donnelly: Only between executive agencies.
Mr. Brewin: Yes, that is right, but not of legislative powers. There is no effective delegation.
Professor Donnelly: No.
Mr. Brewin: Would you contemplate that in this new Constitution there would be a power of delegation both ways?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, I would.
Mr. Brewin: In other words if the federal government wanted to hand over some responsibility to the provinces and they were willing to accept it, that could be done too?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, I would hope so. I chiefly see the power of delegation as useful in the areas where provinces are economically, in a taxation sense, quite unable to carry out the programs that the national consensus wants.
Mr. Brewin: But you would start out with the proposition that the division of powers would be such as had to have a general consensus of all the provinces, or if not of all the provinces, at least a vast number of the provinces, but that within that situation if, say, 6 provinces out of 10 wanted to delegate some power to the federal government to look after some problem, whether they were the poorer provinces or the richer provinces, they could do that effectively.
Professor Donnelly: I would want, if my opinion is important, just to reserve it a bit there because I do not want Quebec to have a special status in a back door sense. I want it to be out in the open and recognized. And if you say, “Well, a certain number of provinces can delegate” and you just really mean Quebec will not, then I think one should say so and have it clear. But the question of delegation as explained in the Fulton-Favreau Formula, as you know, got very complex, and it took four provinces to agree to delegate anything, as I recall the dam formula now.
An hon. Member: That was administrative.
Professor Donnelly: Administrative, was it? Yes.
Mr. Brewin: I just wanted to ask you two other details about this problem of delegation. You would still have your problem, would you not, of having to make compensatory arrangements?
Professor Donnelly: Very much so.
Mr. Brewin: If you had delegation you could not tax the provinces that had not dele- gated, provided the services had been given to the provinces that had accepted delegation. You would still have that problem.
Professor Donnelly: You certainly would, and I have no real answer.
Mr. Brewin: Another question I would suggest to you. Would you not in your delegation, in your power of delegation, your scheme of delegation, have to have some degree of effective notice of opting out once you had gone in? Would it not make for a very unhappy situation if upon change of government some province could opt out and perhaps disrupt the administrative scheme that had been set up without reasonable notice?
Professor Donnelly: Yes, it certainly would. I do not think it beyond human imagination, though to dope up a system of delegation that would work. We came close to it in Fulton-Favreau. I think it is excessively rigid and complex. But, you know, that thing got a unanimous agreement at one point, or seemed to.
Mr. Brewin: Of course, I was not one of those who were unanimous about it at the time.
Professor Donnelly: No? Frank Scott was not either. And in fact, Saskatchewan’s case was very strong against it in those days.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Osler.
Mr. Osler: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Not being either a lawyer or a professor, I would like to get back to a specific by way of illustration, which I believe was the beginning of the methodology that we adopted this morning. I am worried about this business of deciding who does what, which is really what we are talking about. At the moment the provinces control natural resources. Who can
prevent them from competing in give-away programs that denude some provinces and turn them into pollution slums and also make it disadvantageous for other provinces to try to do neat housekeeping and make the province fit to live in if there are not overriding standards that are extra provincial.
Professor Donnelly: There is no real answer except the political process itself. Who can prevent them? Their own people can prevent them by voting for a government that says we do not like that kind of thing. I do not know of any constitutional way whereby you can guarantee against recalcitrant behaviour on the part of anybody.
Mr. Osler: If all the people of Canada are entitled to a decent environment and to opportunities to grow up and live in decent places, et cetera, surely to God then those who are living in one place and have to move to another place on account of a job, should not have to move into a pollution slum because there have been some misguided politicians in that area.
Professor Donnelly: I think you would have to live with misguided politicans [sic] only until the next election.
Mr. Osler: In theory, but as you know in practice, this sort of thing has gone on for 20 years in some provinces. Although I am a citizen of Manitoba, I feel very strongly that the Great Lakes are part of me and part of my heritage.
Professor Donnelly: Yes.
Mr. Osler: I was very disappointed to find that the local politicians, that is the regional politicians of Ontario and the surrounding states, could not agree to give up one bit of sovereignty to allow the International Joint Commission to tackle the problem. They are going to fiddle around with joint jurisdictions over about 10 areas, none of which have a damn thing to do with me as a person in Canada who does not happen to live in Ontario, and yet those lakes are part of me. Is there not a federal position on both sides of the border to protect this sort of thing. Is there not a federal position to protect B.C. where I think the mountains are as much mine as they are Doug Hogarth’s. I resent very much misguided industrial programs that ruin B.C.
Professor Donnelly: We only recently made up our minds that massive industrial
development was sometimes a bad thing. The consciousness has moved so fast that the legislative apparatus cannot possibly catch up to it. I do agree with you, and I know you want me to be brief, there is a federal role in pollution control. There has to be.
Mr. Osler: Theoretically, you could have the International Nickel Company fouling its nest in Sudbury and being compelled to be good housekeepers in Manitoba. Now if the good housekeeping in Manitoba became too expensive they would close it down and finish off in Sudbury until it ran out, you see.
Professor Donnelly: Perhaps we need more socialism and more control over these things.
Mr. Osler: Regardless of what label the control may come under, I am saying, should there not be a method for uniform standards across the country.
Professor Donnelly: I do agree there is a case to be made for federal intervention and participation in pollution control.
Mr. Osler: Would it not be fair, Mr. Chairman, to sum up that particular aspect by saying it is quite possible that standards should be federal and the methods left provincial. I am a great one for allowing the provinces to do what they can and again the municipalities. It is interesting to note that nobody has mentioned municipalities today. If 80 per cent of the people of Canada are going to live there, that is where the real problem is.
Professor Donnelly: There is certainly no disagreement on my part that the federal government must play a role here.
Mr. Osler: If it is going to play a role, it must have the teeth. I would like some suggestions as to where those teeth should be.
Professor Donnelly: You know the current Canada Water Act, if that is the correct title, assumes it has teeth.
Mr. Osler: But the criticism of it is that it is not strong enough because we are having to play with the provinces.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, that is the criticism.
Mr. Osler: As a federal politician I get hell for fooling around with pollution when I should be telling the Premier of Ontario or
the Premier of Manitoba or the Premier of somewhere else to smarten up because they are polluting the property of the people and they think of themselves as the people of Canada.
Professor Donnelly: The people must tell them.
The Chairman: Senator Fergusson.
Senator Fergusson: Mr. Chairman, as the time is going on perhaps it is just as well that Mr. Hopkins has asked questions on the subject on which I was interested. That is education and the portability of education. I was extremely interested in the example that Dr. Donnelly gave regarding the Workmen’s Compensation Act and the fact that although they are provincial acts under provincial jurisdiction, an acceptable method of portability has been worked out. I doubt if education is on all fours with that. However I think it is a very interesting suggestion. I also want to know whether he considered portability meant uniformity but Dr. Donnelly has already answered that too. I just want to mention that those are the things I was particularly interested in. There is nothing more you wanted to add on that.
Professor Donnelly: No, portability does not need to be uniformity. Witness the Canada Pension Plan.
Senator Fergusson: I had another question although it might not have much to do with the Constitution. I made some notes as Dr. Donnelly was speaking. He referred very disparagingly to the Family Allowances Act. I cannot quite accept brushing that off as completely as Dr. Donnelly did. I have had a little closer association with the Act and how it has been administered than our witness. For a number of years I administered that Act in one province, New Brunswick, and I saw the tremendous amount of good it did for the children in that locality. It certainly did distribute money to people who otherwise would not have had it. I do not mean to say that I do not think there is a better way. Probably there is a better way to accomplish this. However, I do not think that we should say that it was a poor idea entirely and that it still cannot be considered as doing quite a good job. I think the amount should probably be increased.
I think too that the Canada Assistance Plan is tremendously good legislation. I do not think it has been made use of as well as it could be, but it certainly could help to distribute the wealth much more than it has. I
would like to ask Dr. Donnelly if it is his idea that we just abolish the family allowances and the Canada Assistance Plan and perhaps some others? Would he replace it with the guaranteed annual income.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, that is really what I had in mind. I do apologize for any tones of asperity in my remarks because it was not intended to be that way.
Senator Fergusson: This is just personal with me, Dr. Donnelly, because I was so closely associated with it.
Professor Donnelly: The model I gave you, to which I am not married, was only an aca- demic exercise to see how it would go. If it were to be adopted, family allowances and the Canada Assistance Plan would not be there. Please do not think that I am telling you this is the way to do it. I was only trying to examine with you something that carries so many difficulties as to be incredible. Your logic is perfectly good as to what would happen if this model were followed.
Senator Fergusson: This, of course, would include the youth allowances.
Professor Donnelly: Yes, indeed.
Senator Fergusson: It would not include the old age security.
Professor Donnelly: No. One gets so arrogant on these matters. I said that should be exclusively federal and the provinces should not be in it at all.
Senator Fergusson: Thank you.
The Chairman: Senator Grosart.
Senator Grosart: Mr. Chairman, Committee members seem to have followed Dr. Donnelly quite a long way in the proposition that the right or the power of delegation is a fruitful avenue to explore. Surely we have been exploring this for a good many years without too much success because it seems to founder on the simple proposition that anybody will delegate responsibility to the federal government if the federal government will guarantee per capita equality in that particular field. Do you really see delegation working without a guarantee of equality of treatment in these particular areas, that is of individual transfers from the federal government to individuals, which would be the areas in which the delegation proposition would likely be applied.
Professor Donnelly: For better or worse I put to you a much more hard-nosed case than that. Delegation will be primarily useful where you find that a province cannot cope even with an improved equalization unconditional formula. When you delegate to Ottawa, you are saying we are giving up a certain provincial exclusive right which other provinces now have and can cope with. Poor old Nova Scotia where I was born may find that it cannot cope and so it would use delegation as a method of tidying up things and of saying we delegate to Ottawa the question of what the Canada Assistance Plan now accomplishes perhaps. The jurisdiction would be exclusively provincial. That is where I see delegation working.
I know it has a very useful role in certain very small things: certain narcotics problems; securities problems, that is stock exchanges problems and so on. It was not my main emphasis. I would like to assure the Committee once more that if you take this as a rather far-reaching and somewhat conceited paper it is not intended to be that. It is only a model to go through something specifically.
Senator Grosart: Professor Donnelly, surely the essential question that arises in delegation is the quid pro quo.
Professor Donnelly: There would be no quid pro quo. In my model, a province who delegated some matters of health and welfare to Ottawa would delegate it completely. Ottawa would then run that show for that province.
Senator Grosart: Do you think any province would delegate that responsibility to Ottawa without Ottawa guaranteeing a certain standard of return.
Professor Donnelly: Certainly not.
Senator Grosart: Is that not the quid pro quo?
Professor Donnelly: If that is what you mean, certainly.
Senator Grosart: As you have studied this question, how do you see the quid or the quo determined?
Professor Donnelly: It would be determined very simply. By delegating you would be better off than by not delegating.
Senator Grosart: That is too simplistic.
Professor Donnelly: That is how tax rentals worked. That is how they got them in.
Senator Grosart: It is how they got them in but it is not how they work.
I am suggesting to you that surely if you are going to put this emphasis on delegation you must answer the question what standard is the quo or the quid? Are you suggesting that it should be, as we have now in some of our transfer arrangements, the highest level of a given number of provinces as the per capita return let us say in family allowances, youth allowances?
Professor Donnelly: I envisage, Senator Grosart, that if Nova Scotia delegated something in regard to one of these fields of exclusive jurisdiction, the federal government would bind itself to achieve what you would have to call national standards in that area and that would be the reason for the delegation.
Senator Grosart: That is what I was coming to.
Professor Donnelly: I do not know what a national standard is. The criteria are so difficult to establish.
Senator Grosart: One other question which Mr. Osler touched on. We have been talking mostly about the problems of the so-called two top levels of government. You suggested these very interesting avenues of approach—delegation, a concurrence with paramouncy. Would you extend that to the municipal level? Would you give them the power to delegate their responsibilities to the province or to the federal government? Would you give them paramount powers in the concurrency situation?
Professor Donnelly: I would not give them any powers at all except the ones that are by statute conferred on them by the province. They would exist exactly as they now do. They have no inherent jurisdiction whatsoever.
Senator Grosart: You see them remaining then as creatures of the province.
Professor Donnelly: I think it would be an unmitigated disaster to give them constitutional powers.
Senator Grosart: Why?
Professor Donnelly: Because it would then confuse the thing so much. Heaven only knows we are confused enough now. To give municipalities or cities constitutional status would fail just on the grounds of complexity.
The Chairman: It sounds like that might be a good introduction for the next witness.
Professor Donnelly: Lloyd Axworthy, I see him there. He could probably tell you about this much better than I can.
The Chairman: Are there any comments from the floor?
Professor Donnelly: Before any further comments are made, I have to do something I did not do at the beginning. I do not represent Manitoba and I do not represent anybody but myself. Nothing I have said has anything to do with my position as an adviser to the Government of Manitoba. I suspect they might disagree with much that I have said.
The Chairman: If there are no comments from the floor I would like to thank Professor Donnelly very much. I suspect all of the members of the Committee wish that they had been able to take that course in political science as Mr. Rowland did some years back. I am sure we all now realize why Professor Donnelly is one of the ablest political scientists in Canada. Thank you very much, Professor Donnelly.
Professor Donnelly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Gentlemen of the Committee we are doing our best to get some coffee up here for you and we will now continue with the next witness, Professor Lloyd Axworthy, who is well known to all of us. He is now Director of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg. He is very much in the news in this field and we are very pleased that he is able to take the time to be with us here this morning.
Mr. Osler: Mr. Chairman could I ask in fairness to this witness whose subject is most interesting to us, if we could have an understanding that we can carry on with him after lunch. If we cannot, I suggest we leave him until after lunch.
The Chairman: Well, no, Mr. Osler, I think we will have to finish with Mr. Axworthy before lunch whenever lunch may be. This may delay our lunch which I presume we are prepared to accept.
Mr. Osler: That is fine if we are pre- pared to delay lunch.
The Chairman: I think we will have to delay lunch until we have given Mr. Axworthy a hearing. As a matter of fact,
there is one other witness I would also like us to hear this morning. That will have to await the conclusion of Mr. Axworthy’s presentation.
I will now call on Professor Lloyd Axworthy.
Mr. Lloyd Axworthy (Director, Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There was a certain ominous tone when you said that you wanted to finish me before lunch. I welcome the opportunity to take up again some of the discussions and debates that some of us use to have when I was in a previous state of life. Some of the people in the Institute helped me to prepare this, a 20 odd page brief of which copies are available if you have not read it.
The Chairman: It will be appended to the evidence.
Mr. Axworthy: I would hope, Mr. Chairman, this morning to talk really to some of the points from the brief and not try and go through it all.
The first thing I would like to mention is the basic problem I addressed myself to in appearing before you. It is the question of how and in what ways and how capable this country is in coping with the kind of changes that are beginning to occur in the nation, particularly what we now call the urban problem. It is not so much urban in the sense that we are talking about sewers or a new downtown development. It is really talking about an entirely different style and way of life that is beginning to occur. As a result, no one can really pretend to be an expert by any means in this field because there has been very little research and very little analysis done. When you come to the constitutional questions, there is almost no jurisprudence whatsoever upon which to base your cases.
One of the problems which I have seen in the last two or three years, as the debate has come up about the issues of constitutionality, is that most of it is based on opinion, not on fact. Most of it is based on bias, not on any kind of analysis. There is really very little evidence or attempt to dig into the field to determine what, in fact, are the rights and prerogatives and powers.
I think that this omission is particularly critical because the kind of occurrence that is taking place in Canada and the one that we can expect to take place in the next five, ten
or fifteen years is one which is going to fundamentally challenge many of the basic institutions and practices that we have in government, in business, in industry and in the professions, that the ways of doing things, the ways of actually dealing with problems is going to have to become very different, and that the city itself is important for one basic reason, that that is where the country is going to be, that is where the economy is going to be generated, the place where the style of life of Canadians is going to be formed.
I think this is why I have expressed disappointment in the position that the federal government has thus far taken in the constitutional review because I think it is a limited point of view. It does not in any way take into account this fact of life with its emphasis upon the cultural, the bilingual. Even in the distribution-of-powers argument, it does not really address itself to the kind of changes and alterations and dislocations that are going to begin to occur, and asking itself the question, what kind of instruments, what kind of mechanisms, are we going to need in order to survive to improve?
I think you can point to a number of authors who would indicate the dimensions of the change. I think of a book which has just come to mind, in fact, one which I read over last weekend by Alvin Toffler called Future Shock and which is one of the few recent publications which has attempted to address itself to what is change; what in fact is taking place. When you go through it and just realize the acceleration of events, the tremendous novelty and choice of experiences that we now have to cope with, and the kind of disposability where people, ideas, things, artifacts are movable, mobile, disposable and interchangeable, when you begin to realize that fact and phenomenon, you realize that we are really getting ourselves into a different style and a different kind of dimension.
The omission or downplay of this occurrence in the position demonstrates two things. One, it is a basic human failing that we always tend to judge what we want to do in the future by what we have done in the past. In some cases, the future will not be an extension or a linear continuation of what has happened in the past, it will be different.
Secondly, and I think this is a more peculiar Canadian problem, is that it points out that, since the Second World War, federal politicians and decision-makers, civil serv-
ants, have tended to treat the urban issue and all the things that go along with it as a secondary matter. They have not given it prominence; they have not given it priority. Even in questions of a wide range of social issues, a comparison between the emphasis given to health and social welfare practices in the 1940s and 1950s and what was being done in the fields of housing and renewal, show wide disparity, even though both of them were going to encounter the same kinds of difficulties in dealing with constitutional matters.
This is one reason why a revision, a renewal of the constitution, is necessary so that people can quit hiding behind the constitution, quit using it as an excuse. I think that the priority of a committee like this is at least to eliminate the subterfuge which has so long provided a refuge for people to hide in and hide behind.
In terms of the issues that arise out of the kind of change I am describing is that on the one hand we too often think of it, as I said, in physical terms. We make the mistake that urban planners and everyone else makes in thinking that you improve simply by changing physical characteristics. This was the import of the briefs that were presented by the municipalities last night. They are concerned about the distribution of powers and finances, and who is going to pay for the capital investments and the sewers and all the rest of it.
I am not saying that these are not important but somewhere along the line we seem to slip up and forget that there are a lot of people involved as well and to ask how they are going to be affected by the changes. Most peculiarly, we tend to forget how people are going to be affected in the way they relate to government, the way they relate to power, the way they relate to influence. To my mind, the most significant question occurring in this present state of conditions is the survival or existence of a thing we call democracy.
I think everyone in this room at some time has given a lot of lip service to it and, in many cases, believes in it, and I do not mean to denigrate. But increasingly, we are less
capable of making it operate; increasingly, we are less capable of giving some kind of ethical role to the conception of citizenship where people can in fact participate, be involved, have information, have access.
We spend, in government, very little time on the essential issue of government, and that is, how do we govern ourselves. We have the forms and not the substance, increasingly, and to try to pretend that the electoral mechanisms, party systems and the other kinds of institutional means we now employ are fully democratic, to the degree that they really give people a chance to effect decisions, is to delude ourselves.
I think that this is a fundamental concern of the federal government. I interpret the preamble to the federal section of peace, order and good government, to mean that it has a basic responsibility for democratic government. To my mind good government is democratic government, and that gives it a primacy, a necessity, to be concerned about how, in fact, people are able, at all levels—neighbourhood, community, city and province—to participate in a fully democratic fashion relevant to the kind of times that they live in.
It is not enough to say that the institutions that we derived in the nineteenth century are sufficient today because they are not. If you use the proper criteria, not the form but the criteria, of what is democracy you will find that it is, in fact, becoming less and less capable of operation.
So I would say that that, when it comes down to an emphasis in constitutional review, should be first and foremost. I think I have pointed out in my brief that other nations are in some ways more fortunate because they do have things built into their constitution that enable people to grasp at democratic rights.
I was intrigued, for example, recently, to notice a series of Supreme Court Cases in the United States whereby people are using the 14th Amendment in the State of California as a means of challenging the right of suburbs to discriminate against the introduction of low cost housing, using the idea of equal access
and equal opportunity under the 14th Amendment as a means of challenging suburban zoning laws. In other words, a constitutional right is now being used to challenge a local bylaw in a very fundamental way.
You can see in the movements across this country, and in some of the work that we have been doing during this last year in the city, that, by and large, local government is very suspicious and very antagonistic towards the new movements for citizen participation and involvement. They either try to stop them or they co-opt them. I think it is a federal responsibility to support them and, in some cases, it needs a much stronger constitutional basis for doing that than it now has.
So, I would point that out. I will not belabour the point but I think that is a critical one.
The second one is really the effectiveness of government and to what degree the constitution either inhibits or enhances the effectiveness of a government, again, to cope with the kind of problems it has to face.
It is interesting that when we begin a constitutional debate, one of the obvious attachments to that debate should be what kinds of roles are which government levels best able to perform, not to worry about the traditions or the precedents or the judicial decisions. Also to ask the question, what instrument, what level, what jurisdiction is most effective in performing what kind of function, because on that basis, you can then determine how the basic law can conform more to that reality. Yet, again, certainly if you look through the academic literature, this is an area that has been virtually forgotten, virtually ignored. Who does what best, I guess, is the way of putting it.
What intrigues me is that the federal government has always been on the defensive. I recall that, when I was travelling across the country trying to make some determination of what we should do in the field of housing and urban renewal, people were constantly belabouring the fact of the federal role. No one
ever talked of the provincial role and what, in fact, provinces should do, and what they are capable of doing. If you talk about the problem of housing, what should the provinces be doing in this field?
I tried to emphasize in the brief that there is a very obvious role for local government to the extent that it can be a very immediate, sensitive respondent to housing needs. There is a very obvious role for the federal government in terms of providing basic finance. The only role that the provinces, in many cases, have tended to play is the middle man, introducing itself when oftentimes it was not needed.
I think it has been done mainly because the federal legislation has encouraged it to do so, that if you go through housing and renewal legislation, it has always been based on the sense of provincial initiative. And the federal government has always been able to say: “Yes, we are doing something, as long as the provinces will pull the trigger.” So we have almost compelled or forced the provinces to set up housing corporations and to get into the field when, in many cases, there may be an argument that they should not be in there at all; that this is something not germane to their functions as a level of government.
If you want to argue that the reason you have provinces is for the protection of a certain degree of regional or cultural autonomy, then what in heaven’s name has housing to do with that? I do not know. It may have but no one has really examined it on that basis.
So, the first thing that has to be done is that kind of criteria. It does not mean to say that you eliminate the provinces from the field but it does mean that the allocation of tasks and jobs and functions should be according to some test of fitness without the intervention of a lot of, sort of, extraneous hangovers that derive from the constitution.
Probably the most serious disputes that have occurred in this field, the field of urban problems, have been in the establishment of a department of housing and urban affairs which has got to be one of the greatest non-debates in the world. Why in heaven’s name
it is a debate at all is a good question. Why federal officials have been reluctant to say that they cannot re-organize their own affairs, I do not know, but they have been reluctant for the last 25 years to do so.
As a result, we have passed over the administration of a vitally important national function to a Crown corporation which has had, up to very recently, no political control or responsibility. If you go through the history of CMHC and the federal involvement, the capacity of the federal Cabinet to exercise any direction or give any political leadership has been almost nil. Therefore, a vital area of Canadian life has been left in the hands of some senior officials of the federal Crown corporation, who have done what they could in many cases. They have been deprived of a kind of power and effectiveness that a political leadership could have provided. Again, we have been afraid.
The other most important dispute is in the whole question of the direct relationships to the municipalities. Again, this is an area where I can recall, after the Task Force hearings, that there was quite a debate about its proposals for a direct lending program for the assembly of land which would equate directly to municipalities, and people said: “Oh, goodness, you cannot do that.” Yet we have been doing it off and on. We have had municipal loans.
Certainly one of the most successful housing programs ever undertaken in this country was the direct federal-municipal wartime-peacetime housing program in the 1940s when something like 50,000 units were built at a very low cost, providing good housing which is still in use in most cities, on the basis of direct federal-municipal agreement, the provinces playing no role whatsoever. Yet, in 1949 we stopped the program because we said “the emergency of postwar reconstruction was now over”.
My question is: What is an emergency? We said drunkenness in the 1890s was an emergency; we can say war is an emergency; we can say postwar reconstruction is an emergency; perhaps we could also define the crisis or conditions we are in now as an emergency.
It was, in that case, a political decision made in Cabinet and no more.
I think that this relates to the question of spending power in which I disagree very strongly with the last speaker and his attempt to put things in watertight compartments and exclusive jurisdictions. That reminds me of the metaphor that an American political scientist, studying their federal system, used. He said that for so long they had had an image in their minds of a layer cake, when it comes to federalism, a neat hierarchy with low levels, with a nice little barrier between each, when in fact federalism operates on the image of a marble cake with a total intertwining, intermix of the strands and elements.
There is no such thing as exclusive jurisdictions. They do not operate that way. The facts of life do not allow them to operate that way and yet we try to pretend that they do. To try to delimit the federal spending power would be a retrograde step. It already needs, in fact, to be expanded, and this to be clarified similarly to the Australian and American constitutions where it does in fact say in very clear terms that the national government has a right to spend money that it has raised in the way it sees fit. Then, of course, you work up the arrangements with the provinces and so on, as it comes along.
But to try and deny that right would be to handcuff ourselves in coping with the kind of problems that are going to be raised, such as that Mr. Osler mentioned—pollution. Well, Mr. Donnelly backed down on that one. How many times do you back down until you break the theory? Every time a new issue comes along? It is pollution this year. Next year it is going to be something else because we are in a brand new ball game.
To sum up Mr. Chairman—and I feel badly having to try and sort of, now that I am back in the economic world, compress my remarks, as it is against the rules of the club—the recommendations that I would put forward for your consideration are, first, a recognition of what we have become and what we are becoming as an urban people living in an urban nation and the kinds of characteristics and conditions that brings into this country,
and the kinds of effects that it has upon people particularly. These should be reflected in the basic law of the land.
Secondly, and this requires first of all a re-examining of what democracy means in this urban state, that the federal government has the basic responsibility for the protection and enhancement of the ability of people to participate, and, therefore, both in its constitutional prerogatives and its program it must pursue and promote that particular end.
Thirdly, for the sake of that effectiveness, there needs to be a constitutional clarification of the role of federal government. It should have a clear enunciation of its residual rights going right back to the original intentions of the constitution. Every constitutional theorist has said: “Well, John A. and the rest of them made it quite obvious that they wanted residual rights in the national hands and there was a bunch of decisions to change it.” If we know that historically, then, now that you are changing it, maybe we should go back to what was one of the better ideas of that group of founding fathers. At the same time, a plea to redress the mechanisms that we now have, and the programs and functions of government should be based on that test of fitness.
Finally, as a recommendation, the ultimate test of standard of the kind of society that we ultimately have will not be provided in the kind of good intentions or the speeches that we all make but, in fact, in the accomplishments. I think that most Canadians do not really give a damn about the kind of pieces of paper that arise. They want to see what is going to happen as a result.
It may be that the most important thing that we can do for national unity, and I do not mean on a lingual basis but on a consensual basis, a community basis, is to provide people with the kind of things that they need in this kind of world. And I would close with the quote in my brief, by Sir Kenneth Clark:
If I had to say which was telling the truth about society, a speech by a minister of housing or the actual buildings put up in his time, I should believe the buildings.
The Chairman: Thank you. I would like to call first on Senator Allister Grosart.
Senator Grosart: Professor Axworthy, I believe you heard Professor Donnelly’s “no” response to my question as to whether the municipalities should have constitutionally entrenched responsibilities and powers. He said they should not under any circumstances.
You, however, today, have told us that there is a very obvious role for local government and you also said that the allocations of responsibility between the three levels of government should be related to some test of fitness. Do you believe that the municipal responsibility and powers should be entrenched in the constitution?
Mr. Axworthy: No, I do not. I agree with Professor Donnelly in that regard. I think that is a palliative, not an answer, because the kind of representations being made by city governments has some sense when they ask for consultation, ask to be involved in getting information.
I only wish they were as anxious to have the individuals in their own cities be present at their council meetings in the decisions that they make as they are anxious to be in Ottawa at the federal-provincial conferences. I think their emphasis is a misplaced one. I would be much more concerned that they would be sort of going further down rather than trying to go higher up in their activities because I think that is where the real role and the real changes are going to occur. I do not think entrenching a city government by necessity will yield a better kind of government. I do not think that is really an answer, although if you want to invite the Federation of Mayors to a federal-provincial conference, one more seat is not going to crowd the thing any more than it already is. So I do not think that that is the answer. It is a palliative and sounds good but the cities do not have to be entrenched in the Constitution. I think the right of citizens to participate in city government has to be entrenched in the Constitution and I do not mean entrenched in the sense of the basic democratic freedoms of speech and so on. I think those have got to be redefined to say very clearly exactly what are the rights of access and information and so on so that the people can use these to test and to use the courts, in which I am a great believer. I do not think we have used our courts nearly
enough. They could then use the courts on a constitutional basis to say when city government ignores them, forgets them, eliminates them, which is true for most of them.
Senator Grosart: But is it not true that the municipalities now have very great entrenched responsibilities? They may not be constitutionally entrenched in the sense of a written constitution but they have, perhaps, the greatest responsibility vis-à-vis people of any level of government. Now how can they carry out these entrenched responsibilities if they do not have entrenched sources of revenue? Why should there be the argument that the federal government must have entrenched responsibilities and entrenched sources, the provincial government must have them if they are going to operate. Why not the municipalities?
Mr. Axworthy: Well, I think to begin with, Senator Grosart, if you go back to the idea of the test of fitness, you are quite right when you say that the municipalities are really the work-horses in society. They really do the actual implementation and I think that is what their role should be: the implemental factor in many cases, but it does not require an entrenchment in the Constitution. I think if you intended to entrench, for example, financial powers for municipalities in the Constitution, it would tend to rigidity the system. We are now approaching a situation where the citizenship of an individual has got to be a national one. I think Mr. Osler raised a very good point. How does he as a citizen of Manitoba have any control over the Province of Ontario in the matter of pollution of the Great Lakes? This is becoming increasingly true for a lot of people in society who move around. They are in Vancouver one year and they are transferred to Montreal the next and then to Halifax and so on. Therefore, to my mind, the only entrenchment is of a national citizen, a national urban citizen, if you like, but that the extension of powers that the municipalities now have and the implemental factor can be derived under the present statutes they now have. I am very much concerned that the federal government is the only vehicle that can represent nationally a group of people. Clarify its role and entrench
its role and provide the protection of those rights. But I think if I go back to the constitutional process, you have to leave certain areas flexible and open so that the living constitution, the part that is not formalized on a piece of paper, can always be on the outer ranges where the changes have to occur.
Senator Grosart: Of course we have that now and it is not working.
Mr. Axworthy: I do not think you have it now because in fact, what has happened constitutionally is that because we have never clarified the role of the federal government, there has always been a very inhibiting fact. I am saying let us open it up. Let us make it more flexible. Let us clarify exactly if the federal government does have the right to give moneys and therefore, then you can acquire the flexibility you need.
Senator Grosart: But on the contrary you the very clear statement in your brief that in your interpretation of certain judgments, the federal government has complete power in the spending area; that it can spend any money it likes in the municipal field. How do you reconcile that with your statement?
Mr. Axworthy: Well, as I said, there are certain people very high up in our government who do not believe that, who disagree on that basis. I think that one of the promotions of this Committee would be to try to change some people’s minds. I think that rather than engaging an awful lot of energy in that kind of dispute as to what, in fact, are the limits of the spending powers, put them in the Constitution and eliminate that dispute. You can put your energies to more productive things. Otherwise we sort of just provide more jobs for more constitutional lawyers.
Senator Grosart: So you are saying that you would like to see entrenched in the Constitution an absolute and unlimited federal spending power.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes.
Senator Grosart: This is rather contrary, I think, to the proposal made by a former witness.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes.
Senator Grosart: So you disagree with him on that very essential point.
Mr. Axworthy: Very much so.
Senator Grosart: On this I seem to see a conflict, if not a contradiction, in your brief. I am not saying this critically because these conflicts and contradictions are perhaps what the Constitution debate is all about. On this very point you say on page 2 that:
The Constitution is in clear need of revision or at least re-interpretation.
And you tie this to the statement in the immediately preceding sentence that:
The responsibilities allocated to our government units no longer correspond to the resources given them.
Now this would seem to me to be contrary to the statement you just made and to the proposal you make on page 10, that the municipalities should have definite responsibilities. If I may read the wording,
The responsibilities for providing services to urban Canada, then must remain with the local municipalities; the resources, with the Federal Government.
Are you not saying here that there must be a definite allocation of responsibility to the municipalities? If so, why should it not be a constitutional allocation?
Mr. Axworthy: Well, I do not think there is a contradiction. Perhaps what we had in mind was not clear enough. But what we are really talking about is a partnership arrangement. At the same time I believe that the federal government needs to retain the powers of finance and economics or the arrangement and management of the national economy and the national urban situation; that its ability to transfer those funds into the hands of municipalities for the assembly of land or the construction of housing or the development of new towns or whatever it may be is a natural extension of that. That is not a contradiction but again, if you try to entrench, if you give the municipalities certain responsibilites [sic] and then follow through, you will want to give them some funds to
work with and you entrench that and say, well, you have certain taxing powers. Once you give them those taxing powers, maybe five years from now, as conditions change, you might find that the possession of those taxing powers by municipalities again inhibits the federal government from taking action to deal with another set of situations. In this case, it may want to work with the provinces. I feel very strongly for that financial power to remain and in fact be enhanced in federal hands.
Senator Grosart: Yes, but if you followed that to its logical conclusion, then you would say that there should be no spending powers allocated or responsibilities allocated to the provinces. The same argument applies. But you are very precise here in saying that these responsibilities should be allocated—these are your words—to the urban centres. Are you suggesting now that the federal level should have the right to spend in an area in which responsibility is allocated—as you say, to use your word—allocated to the municipalities? Is this not upsetting the whole concept of some kind of relationship between the responsibilities and the resources to carry them out?
Mr. Axworthy: No, no. All I am saying, and I think the point we made in the brief is simply, let us not delimit the federal spending powers or attempt to delimit them by a lot of the magic and mysticism that has been passed within the last 10 or 15 years about it. We simply say, let it be free to be used in a way in which the decision-makers in Ottawa or elsewhere in their wisdom and in the consultations and agreements with provinces and municipalities find the best way to spend their money to suit a particular condition. But the way it is now it is delimited.
The fact that you open up the federal spending power or eliminate the restrictions on it does not mean to say that you ipso facto delimit the provincial spending power. I think the concept I would like to put forward to you is that we have a tendency to see federal-provincial powers in finite terms, in static terms, here they are as a set piece,
whereas in fact they are expanding all the time. They are growing immensely, both the demands upon government and the kind of resources they can call upon to do it. We are simply saying, let us not put ourselves into a box on this one and let us not see ourselves in that finite pie where you can only slice it different ways. It keeps growing bigger and bigger, and my concern is that for the last two or three decades we have really handcuffed the federal government for playing its proper role in dealing with urban issues, in the kinds of issues that are related to the problems that people in the cities have. That is the problem.
Senator Grosart: Except, of course, that once you allocate the responsibilities, you have a finite pie. But I will leave that subject for the moment and ask one other question in relation to your very positive suggestions under the heading of “The Right of Access”. You say that you believe one of the solutions of the problem there would be responsibility placed on the federal government to fund citizens, groups.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes.
Senator Grosart: Do you see that as an entrenched responsibility of the federal government?
Mr. Axworthy: No, I do not think of that as an entrenched responsibility of the federal government; that was a program suggestion. I do think, though, that in the Constitution this fact of the promotion of a democratic system in the country should be enunciated so that the position of the federal government in sup- port of these kinds of movements and other things that have to be done could not be challenged as they now are being challenged. There is a fairly strong movement from several cities to say, get out of the field, quit bugging us, and I am just simply saying, if you want a democratic system in this country, the federal government, to my mind, is the only one. If I may expand a little, when I was listening with Professor Donnelly, I thought he was again exercising a little common mythology about the grassroots immediacy. Nonsense. Probably the most immediate government and the one most familiar and most accessible to people is the federal government right now.
If you did a poll, if you walked outside the Fort Garry Hotel and started asking people, do you know who your federal member of
Parliament is or who the federal cabinet minister is as opposed to your alderman, you find a much higher degree of awareness and information on the federal level than you would on the local level. Most people do not have that much access to city hall. That might have worked when we were living in villages of 800 people, but not in a city of half a million. City hall is just as distant and just as far away as is Parliament Hill in Ottawa. In fact even more so, because the media do not give it nearly the same attention. And if I could give you a wild speculation, for example, I would think that one of the most important instruments of local government is going to have to be some form of community television, where individual citizens can have access to a medium, where they can present their arguments, where they can get information over and above the commercial. Now, that may be something the federal government is going to have to get into and support.
I do not know. But I am simply saying that is going to become as much an instrument of democratic government as is a council chamber—that fact of being able to acquire information and to be able to disseminate information to your own neighbourhood if you are going to be talking about housing or a new bridge. You have to have the means of people knowing what is going to happen to them. We do not have it in this country right now. The commercial networks and the public network do not provide that kind of access to information, and so it may be as important to do that. That may mean the federal government is going to have to pay for it, and if it is going to have to pay for it, you had better make sure that there is some residual power saying, we are doing it because it is a necessity for the democratic operation of the country.
Senator Grosart: A final question, if I may, Mr. Chairman. I seem to see another conflict—I will not detail it—as to where you see the ultimate power residing, in Parliament or in the courts. You seem to come down quite heavily in favour of an entrenched bill of rights. On the other hand you laughed a bit at Lord Haldane and the power of the courts there to interpret and maintain individual rights, in spite of your statement, with which I do not agree, that the British North America Act has not been interpreted over the years to guarantee fundamental freedoms. Obviously it has. You also make the statement that
the Bill of Rights has not been so interpreted. Obviously it has. But I do not want to argue that. Where do you see the ultimate power, the ultimate power residing in respect to entrenched rights, either individual or institutional, in the courts or in Parliament? I suggest to you that it must reside in one place or the other. Where would you like to see it in the Canadian Constitution? In other words, the traditional British system or the American system?
Mr. Axworthy: I think if I had to make that kind of choice I would like to see our court system used as a means of defending rights, yes. Because I do not have at this present time the capacity of representative institutions to really again provide full protection for freedoms. I am not that impressed by it.
Senator Grosart: You would then prefer what we loosely call “the American system” of judicial supremacy to our present system, more or less.
Mr. Axworthy: I would recommend that when you are thinking about changing the federal institutions and the Supreme Court, you take this into serious consideration and that you raise the question. You use pejorative words when you say, do we use the American or the English model. You get the anglophobes and the anglophones …
Senator Grosart: I am not placing any emphasis on that.
Mr. Axworthy: The point is that we should maybe try to derive a peculiar, unique Canadian Supreme Court which would have built into it, obviously, the kind of protection that the federal government wants on rights of language and cultural rights. At the same time I am arguing very strongly that what we call democracy in the next 30 years is going to be very different from what we called democracy in the 19th century. It is going to need a very different arrangement and distribution of powers and institutions, and I do not pretend to have the farseeking insight to determine exactly what those should be. But I would suggest that this be a very important consideration by the Committee and some- thing that you may want to commission some
more work on to see exactly how you can best provide those protections. But again, in brief answer to your question, yes, I would like to see a Supreme Court which would be capable of defending an entrenched system of rights in the Constitution.
Senator Grosart: Thank you very much. I will ask you privately where you see the Senate fitting it.
The Chairman: Mr. Georges Lachance.
Mr. Lachance: Mr. Chairman, I think most of my questions have been answered, but page 22 of Professor Axworthy’s brief says that necessary change will have to be made. I just want to know if he could tell us exactly what change he has in mind.
Mr. Axworthy: Are you talking about changes in the Constitution?
Mr. Lachance: Yes.
Mr. Axworthy: Well, I think we put that in the recommendations. There should be the enunciation of a set of principles, of democratic rights, and that the “Peace, Order and Good Government” provisions should be enhanced to provide that protection. Secondly, the role of the federal government in this area should be clarified. Certainly the spending power should be clarified and enhanced. I think, thirdly, that the institutional arrangements that are being developed, supreme courts, the senates, etc., should take those kinds of conditions into account when you arrive at the actual characteristics of them; and I think probably fourthly, it is more a rhetorical plea for a different set of outlooks as to what a constitution should be and the kind of extreme pressures we are going to be under in this country for the next—I do not know for how long but certainly are under now, and therefore, that the constitution should retain basic principles of flexibility and openness and not get too much into specifics, peculiarities and entrenchments which may inhibit the eventual ability of the federal government particularly to enact it.
I guess I would really sum it up in saying that I want a much stronger and more effective federal government than we have now.
Mr. Lachance: But regarding the urban governments, do you see only a right of consultation in the Constitution?
Mr. Axworthy: In the constitutional change review that is going on?
Mr. Lachance: Yes, tor urban communities. Do you see only a right of consultation or do you see any more rights than that?
Mr. Axworthy: First of all I guess one of the things is that our Constitution is going to have to be under almost constant review. That does not mean that we are amending or changing it every year but that perhaps a group or a body like this, based in Parliament but I would suggest maybe having a wider membership, could be almost under continual re-examination of what is happening to it, and that certainly cities should be involved in that. What interests me, though, is that I do not think that in the next 15 years you will recognize local government as it now exists. I believe that the way in which we govern ourselves on the local level will be so radically transformed that there will be a much more intriguing mix of public, private institutions, corporations, development bodies and agencies, that the kind of hierarchical system that we have now will really be eliminated or certainly very greatly altered. Therefore, attempt to put local government into one category I do not think will be as important anymore. I think we are going to govern our cities very differently. I hope we will, so I do not want to entrench them.
Mr. Lachance: Do you see any more rights than the right of consultation right now.
Mr. Axworthy: I think that is all they can do now. They do not have any other powers. You are going about trying to change the powers. They do not have powers to do any- thing now.
Mr. Lachance: I mean incorporated in the new constitution.
Mr. Axworthy: I would not even incorporate the rights of consultation in a constitution necessarily. I would like just a very clean, simple document. I can recall as a graduate student having to read American constitutions. State constitutions particularly used to run 300 to 400 pages. They would actually get down to the point where they would designate the size of the sidewalks that you would be able to put down in some town in Louisiana. We can make the mistake of
trying to pull everything into the constitution right away. I think this is a mistake. I would like a nice, clean, simple document that just provides some basic protection of rights and some basic elimination of powers so that you can have the flexibility of government to meet the kinds of unknowns that we are going to have to face.
Mr. Lachance: The creation of a department of urban affairs would not necessarily give more rights to the municipalities.
Mr. Axworthy: It would give them a central place where they could come to talk whereas they now have to go to 10 different places. It would give them only one to go to. They are doing it now. When I was in Ottawa, if a mayor showed up on the doorstep, you would not turn him away and say, “Sorry, I do not have the constitutional right to talk to you”. Certainly the cities and municipalities are very active protagonists in the Ottawa scene at the present moment and vice versa. You also have CMHC offices spread across the country who are in almost daily consultation with city governments. It is there. I am just simply saying why keep kidding ouselves [sic]. Let us be honest and let us be more realistic.
Mr. Lachance: You are in favour of giving the central government the right to come into agreements directly with urban communities without passing through the provincial channels.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes. I would say that the federal government can set up the enabling legislation to do that. If the province wants to get really nasty and say, “No, we are going to prohibit Winnipeg from taking money from the federal government to assemble land on its outskirts”, then it is a thing the provincial government is going to have to live with. They will have to explain why. The federal government should not be worried about that.
Mr. Lachance: In a sense you would give only a right of veto to the province.
Mr. Axworthy: Or initiate if they want. In some cases, it may make more sense. That is why I came back to the question. I cannot give you a specific answer because no one has really examined what should the provinces be doing in this area.
In the Province of Ontario they have the Ontario Housing Corporation which is taking over the whole ball game including its own form of massive bureaucracy which is just as insensitive as anything we have had before. I think that has to be eliminated.
In the province of Manitoba where there is only one million people, it may make more sense to have a provincial housing and urban renewal corporation. I do not know. It is up to the provinces and the people to make the decisions.
The structure of government through which we handle problems related to the urban situation is going to be very different in the next 10 years.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Gentlemen, I have five other members who have indicated intention to ask questions. I would assume that this will take us to one o’clock or shortly thereafter. If you are interested at all in having lunch and at returning at two o’clock, that might be a good point at which to break. I have Messrs. Dinsdale, Osler, Hopkins, Senator Fergusson and Mr. Rowland. I now call on the Honourable Walter Dinsdale.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, I just want to deal with one specific point. I want to compliment Mr. Axworthy on his very practical presentation this morning. I did not get involved in the discussion with Professor Donnelly. That was an interesting academic exercise. He came out strongly for a complete rewrite and then indicated the difficulties of this because of problems of achieving unanimity and consensus.
The essence of Mr. Axworthy’s approach is that there are no constitutional difficulties with respect to dealing with the urgent problems he has outlined. On page 11, for example, the brief says the problem is not in the constitution but in the lack of will and concern. The brief very eloquently goes on to point out how this can be done under the residual rights features of the present constitution as well as in the area of concurrency.
In our former discussion, Professor Donnelly seemed to see some merit in the solution that has been devised recently in getting around these problems of jurisdictional dispute. We have continuous consultation in areas of concurrency such as the Resource Ministers’ Council. He advocated a similar solution in providing the educational assistance that is necessary from the Ottawa area. Would Mr. Axworthy see this as a solution, within the framework of the existing constitution, in coming to grips with the really urgent problems of our urban community.
Mr. Axworthy: Like a lot of other people, I have thought about this question of concurrency. Under our present arrangement, concurrency endows the federal government with
paramountcy. That is the way it has worked out certainly in the question of agriculture and immigration. To go back to the thesis we enumerated, the federal government already has, in essence, the essential powers that it requires to deal with these problems. Some clarification is needed, however, so that they would not only have them but appear to have them in a very clear tone. Once you get into the concurrency issue, the distribution of powers question becomes meaningless at that point.
What I can determine as being a very clear role for the provinces is the protection and preservation of certain cultural and regional rights and concerns and autonomy. That should be in the constitution. The distribution of powers required for it should be very clearly in provincial hands. That is something I do agree with very much. That is one criterion that I would use for determining what distribution of powers there should be. In fields where they are already active, I do not think you have to provide concurrency.
The only area where it may be required is in the area of transportation where the federal government has almost refused to go into the area of urban transportation. It will build the Trans-Canada Highways to the borders of the City of Winnipeg and stop although 80 per cent of the people of the province are now living in the City of Greater Winnipeg. The federal government will help pay up to the border and then stop. I think that is silly but I do not think that you have to have concurrent powers to do it. It already has the powers of transportation. It is just really a question of working out the programs now to get into it. That is all.
Academics as well as politicians have a great capacity to look for the solution—the gimmick that is going to twist on the switch and everything goes.
Mr. Dinsdale: I think the academics are a little more obscure than the politicians in this respect. The point I want to bring out is that obviously there is federal responsibility in this area of urban affairs. You were associated with a committee that went across the country a few months ago which had grass root consultations such as we are having with our Committee on the Constitution. It came up with the recommendation that there should be strong federal initiative.
The problem lies in jurisdictional conflicts, passing the buck or the old log rolling technique. It was Truman who said the buck has to pass somewhere. How are you going to come to grips with this buck passing technique in the area of resource development
which has become a matter of prime importance. Pollution is the No. 1 issue.
The federal government attempted to get around the problem of divided jurisdiction with a Resource Ministers’ Council where you could get the two levels of government together. Is this a possible solution? In dealing with the urban crisis where the province has obvious responsibilities, the ultimate initiative is with Ottawa. Our Manitoba government is going to move in this area according to radio annnouncements [sic]. In the next session of the Legislature, they are going to try to come to grips with the structural problems of provincial responsibility for urban affairs.
To get the Ottawa initiative which is where you suggest the ultimate responsibility lies, would it not be feasible to have a Council of Ministers responsible in this area from each province to come together where they could consult directly with urban officials. This is where the hang up seems to be. The approach of local governments to the Ottawa level.
Mr. Axworthy: That presupposes a much greater faith in the ability of provincial ministers to really come to grips with a situation. I have kept a sort of track record of provincial ministerial meetings in the last two years. Almost invariably they break up a day or two earlier because they have nothing more to talk about. I look at the agendas and say: “My God, population, pollution, housing, regional resources, and they have nothing more to talk about and they have to leave a day early. What are these guys doing?”
Mr. Dinsdale: You have used the phrase “continuing consultation” is necessary. If you had a conference of provincial ministers responsible for these affairs dealing with the minister who is nominally responsible for housing and urban affairs and if these two groups met continually in consultation where the urban officials could appear and present the urgency, then maybe you would get the action that is required.
Mr. Axworthy: Let me give you two answers: a very practical one and then kind of a speculative one.
One is that I think there has been some progress made in the last year or two. Mr. Andras has made some very real steps forward in working the federal government into areas where they were not before and doing it in an amenable way. However, I think there is bound to be a confrontation.
The Province of Ontario has had a great ride up to now. The Ontario Housing Corporation has been using federal money to pay for its programs. It really comes down to pure politics. It does not want to give up those 90 per cent grants it now has and takes credit for when things go right. They just simply will not give it up. At this point, the federal government has to have a very clear idea as to what it wants to do which it has never really had. It has always been skirting, pulling back. That is very much a political decision.
On the other hand, speculatively, I would suggest this. I talked before about new arrangements. I can see the time coming—and it is beginning to happen—when the financial resources of the federal government or of the provincial government for that matter will be used not to transfer money to some other level of government, to the municipality or the city, but perhaps to go directly into the hands of a private non-profit corporation which is going to undertake the development of a certain part of the city. We increasingly have to get government out of doing so much of these things. It is doing far too much already and it does not know how to do much of it. The public ability to intervene is very awkward although we are developing new mechanisms. This is the exciting thing about the whole field of urban studies and urban development. There are new forms beginning to emerge by which you combine public and private entrepreneurship in the fields of housing and renewal and so on. Therefore, the resources of the provincial and federal government should support these new endeavours but the governments should not necessarily be the engine that carries it out.
Mr. Dinsdale: You are saying that this can be done without a fundamental change in concept.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, there are still four members who want to ask questions. Since they have asked questions earlier this morning, I would ask them if they would ask only a single question. Mr. Osler, Mr. Hopkins, Senator Fergusson, and Mr. Rowland.
Mr. Osler: This is pretty limiting, Mr. Chairman. However, this once I will not contest your ruling.
If we are looking at the constitution, we must presuppose that it is quite possible to have an entirely new ball game. It is a little discouraging to have a presupposition that there is something sacred about 10 provinces
for instance. Why not 20 provinces, or 5 provinces, or 35 provinces? What do the people of Kenora have in common with the people in the metropolitan area of Toronto? Why should they be governed through Toronto?
It seems to me that Mr. Axworthy’s thrust, Mr. Chairman, has been that things have to be done for people and 80 per cent of the people are going to live in cities. Is he suggesting that the federal government, in fact, have all power for all Canadians because all Canadians are, at least in theory, mobile now and may be living anywhere at any time and delegate these powers to suitable forms of government for the detailed working-out of schemes? Or is he suggesting that the basic status quo is all right and we should tinker with it and continue this poker game that has gone on with provincial and federal powers that could well be meaningless in the present context. If that is the only question I am allowed, I will stand by that.
Mr. Axworthy: I will try to answer it in a couple of ways and quickly. Even though we are subject to an awful lot of changes in the external way we live, human beings are always a little loath to catch up to them. In other words, it is the human lag more than anything else that prevents us from adapting quickly. This means that we have very definite loyalties to certain kinds of institutions called governments. People identify very closely with them. To try to rip those apart in a surgical way often times means that you do not create anything better or anything more reasonable. If you artificially try to impose a system of government that does not have its roots in a kind of evolutionary development over a period of time, then you can often cause very severe dislocations.
I agree with you that the relation of Kenora to Toronto could very well be altered because its ties are much closer for example to this city than they are to Toronto. If that is something that your Committee wants to consider—how to change boundaries—I would certainly be a strong advocate of it.
I do believe that the federal government is increasingly becoming the national government, the government of the people in this country. That does not say it is all powerful. As I said before its power should also be limited by a Bill of Rights. It should have the residual powers to react to things and therefore I think that gives it the ability to make the changes that are necessary.
Mr. Osler: Mr. Chairman, with your indulgence could I ask then what is wrong with the Ontario Housing Corporation intervening if in theory at least it is looking after a
regional method or mode of doing something and using 90 per cent federal funds.
Mr. Axworthy: I guess I confused you a little bit. I was just simply commenting on the OHC because I just do not think great, large, bureaucratic organizations are the way to solve housing problems in this country which is exactly what OHC is. It determines its effectiveness by the numbers of public housing units it builds with very little concern about the quality, the total relationship of the people who are going to live there. It is like selling washing machines and that gets fairly close to home at OHC. You determine its effectiveness by numbers, by quantities, by statistics, not by quality, not by improvement.
I would much rather see a large number of smaller corporations derived from people living in neighbourhoods in the cities of Ontario and in Manitoba making proposals for the kind of housing which fits their environment rather than have a large bureaucracy impose it from above.
Mr. Osler: In theory, this is exactly what the province is supposed to be doing—speaking regionally for the people.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes, in some cases.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Hopkins.
Mr. Hopkins: Mr. Chairman, our witness started off by saying that people have been hiding behind the constitution or using it as an excuse. I think that is rather strong language under the circumstances. I would rather look upon it as an evasion of responsibility over the years by many people in authority provincially and federally who failed to push a revision of the Canadian constitution. I do not think you can ride roughshod over court cases and legal decisions.
I believe that we would not have as much discussion on it today if it had not been for the strong initiative taken by Mr. Pearson and also by the present administration. I say that in a non-political manner because I believe we have many people on both sides of the House who are very adamant about attacking this problem.
Professor Donnelly was rather adamant throughout his remarks about the “big daddy” aspect that might be created by certain revisions of the constitution. I discussed this
with him before he left. I would like to have the witness’ views on this particular expression of opinion. I think I can give you a very concrete example of where the “big daddy” aspect is working right today. The Canada Water Act provides that if the provinces do not act within their sphere of responsibility, the federal government can come in and perform that duty which is being neglected. This may very well be tested in the courts. We do not know yet but it brings in the idea of a crisis.
For example, right at this very moment we have a conference going on in Toronto on the pollution of the Great Lakes. This is the first major conference of its type called. Why has it been called? I submit that it has been called because of the federal presence. When other people who are not acting within their present jurisdictions are neglecting this problem, the federal government will step in and act. Over the past years we have had a lot of work done on this as far as research at the federal level.
The International Joint Commission appeared before our Committee on the Canada Water Act. They have done a fantastic job on this. In all fairness to the people who have worked on this problem in the past, I think that the provincial government today in Ontario is coming in at the eleventh hour in order to take the credit for the work that has been done by many other people in the past.
I wonder if in the sphere of housing which you have mentioned, in the sphere of pollution, if this is not a useful thing. In the revision of the constitution, should there not be a definite provision that if the authority that is given to the provinces of Canada is not utilized in order to prevent or correct a crisis, the federal government should have the right to step in and meet that crisis. Are you in favour of this and what guidelines would you use in deciding what is, in fact, a crisis of the time?
Mr. Axworthy: Yes, to the first question. What guidelines depends on what kind of crisis. That is something that has to be worked out. As I pointed out before, in the field of housing, we have declared emergencies at various times. The postwar housing program where the federal government was directly involved was a so-called emergency. The guidelines were set down as to when it should intervene. That is something that may be brought about by the sort of open forum of a democratic system which often- times we do not have. I agree that the federal
government should be more elastic and have more powers. The guidelines would have to be determined in relation to the problem you are given. That is all I can answer.
Mr. Hopkins: Do you believe that the federal government should have a direct relationship with the municipalities, particularly the major ones?
Mr. Axworthy: Yes, where necessary.
Mr. Hopkins: I think CMHC, as you mentioned, has done a good job. I know they have done a pretty good job in my area. This relationship has worked out very well.
The Joint-Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Fergusson.
Senator Fergusson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am a little disappointed because I had four questions that I would have liked to ask.
The Joint-Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Try to do what the others have done and put the four into one.
Senator Fergusson: I have tried to pick out the one which I would most like to have Professor Axworthy reply to. It is in connection with page 12 of this brief where he refers to rural housing. I do not quite follow what Professor Axworthy meant by telling us in that section that we also need to encourage better housing on farms. Recently I visited some homes in the country in Canada where I do not think anybody should live at all. Many of them were occupied by families with a number of young children. The floors were so bad that you could not safely walk across. You would fall through. In one place the ceiling had a great big hole above the stove and a child had fallen through from the upstairs onto the stove but fortunately the stove was not in use. These people were living in that kind of a place. When the Committee goes to Whitehorse, I could show them some places on the outskirts of Whitehorse where Indian people are living in conditions that no human being should have to live in. This is why I am particularly interested in your reference to rural housing. I do not quite understand what you mean by your reference when you say “the federal Parliament has concurrent legislative power with the provincial legislature over agriculture. Does that mean rural housing in connection with agriculture? I do not see the connection. I wish you would explain.
Mr. Axworthy: I am just suggesting that they very well could although it never has
because under the concurrent powers of agriculture where the federal government is recognized to be paramount it has introduced a number of subsidy programs, for example, dealing with agriculture or rural problems.
Senator Fergusson: Yes, I know that.
Mr. Axworthy: The one they have not dealt with is rural housing. It has been there but it has never been used.
Senator Fergusson: Do you feel this is one they could enter into?
Mr. Axworthy: Oh, sure.
Senator Fergusson: This is what I want to know.
Mr. Axworthy: They could do it tomorrow.
Senator Fergusson: I wanted to know what could be done.
Mr. Axworthy: If you got on the telephone now you could call Mr. Andras and have him do it in 10 minutes.
Senator Fergusson: If you could sell the idea.
Mr. Axworthy: Yes. It may be a long telephone call.
Senator Fergusson: Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rowland.
Mr. Rowland: Sorry to be late, Mr. Chairman. I want to begin by saying that I agree with Mr. Axworthy’s contention that there are no constitutional obstacles to appropriate action being taken on the constitution now extant. To some extent, in our deliberations we are also engaged in attempting to achieve Utopia or coming as close to it as we can. Looking for ideal solutions, I would like to ask Mr. Axworthy whether his Institute has looked into the concept of the city state which has been bandied about recently as a solution to urban problems and what the conclusions have been?
Mr. Axworthy: Well, it is something we got into with Senator Grosart right at the beginning. He was concerned about whether we should entrench certain municipal rights in the constitution. As an Institute, we have not looked at it directly although I would say that when I was with the federal government before, it was an idea that intrigued me at the time. I examined it and really came to the
conclusion that it was not worth the effort of going into. There are better ways of dealing with the same problems but that I think perhaps reflects my own philosophy. I would much rather find the best solution to a probblem [sic] rather than having a Utopian kind of model. You raise too many complications with the idea. What cities are entrenched? What size? Where is the cut-off line? Who does it? What way? There is a basic economic fact. If you are going to do it, you have got to give them some finances. You eliminate increasingly the ability to manage your economy which I think is necessary.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, I think we should call our morning session at this time. We have been meeting for three hours and we have had this witness before us for well over an hour. I would ask any others who were prepared to present briefs this morning if they could please return this afternoon. We will attempt to finish all the business this afternoon at the session beginning at 2 o’clock.
I would like to thank Professor Axworthy for his very powerful presentation to us on behalf of the cities. It has been a real contribution to the work of our Committee.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, I think we are about ready to begin this afternoon’s proceedings if the cameramen have finished. As a Committee sitting outside of Ottawa, we are still, as a Committee of the House, bound by the rules of the House, which do not allow picture-taking while the session is in progress.
I will now call the meeting to order. We are very pleased to have as our first witness this afternoon Mr. Dave Courchene, who is President of the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood. He is one of the best known spokesmen in Canada for the Indian people and we are indeed honoured to have him here as our guest this afternoon. Mr. Courchene.
Dr. Dave Courchene (President, Manitoba Indian Brotherhood): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, and ladies and gentlemen. I would like first of all to address myself to the Chairman, Dr. Mark MacGuigan. I express my very sincere appreciation of being asked to present my views to this hearing.
I present my views at this time, not lightly, but after careful consideration of the position
of the Indian people of Manitoba on the question of constitutional changes, sir.
I would emphasize that while I do not have answers to many of the questions, that I am sure you will be asking, I hope that what I have to say is informative and will, hopefully, provide a basis for better understanding by your Committee of the position of Indian people of Manitoba as well as Canada.
I would like to preface my remarks to the Committee by quoting from a message sent to the Congress of the United States by the President, Richard Nixon. I do so to illustrate a point that in considering constitutional amendments as they apply to Indian people, caution must be exercised so that we might ensure that the mistakes of the past are neither repeated nor continued at this critical stage in our history in Canada, and I quote:
To the Congress of the United States:
The first Americans—the Indians—are the most deprived and most isolated minority group in our nation. On virtually every scale of measurement—employment, income, education, health—the condition of the Indian people ranks at the bottom.
This condition is the heritage of centuries of injustice. From the time of their first contact with European settlers, the American Indians have been oppressed and brutalized, deprived of their ancestral lands and denied the opportunity to control their own destiny. Even the federal programs which are intended to meet their needs have frequently proven to be ineffective and demeaning.
But the story of the Indian in America is something more than the record of the white man’s frequent aggression, broken agreements, intermittent remorse and prolonged failure. It is also a record of endurance, of survival, of adaptation and creativity in the face of overwhelming obstacles. It is a record of enormous contributions to this country—to its art and culture, to its strength and spirit, to its sense of history and its sense of purpose.
It is long past time that the Indian policies of the federal government began to recognize and build upon the capacities and insights of the Indian people.
Both as a matter of justice and as a matter of enlightened social society, we must begin to act on the basis of what the Indians themselves have long been telling us. The time has come to break decisively with the past and to create the conditions for a new era in which the Indian future is determined by Indian acts and Indian decisions.”
I am very conscious of the responsibility placed upon me as the President of the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood and as the representative of the 34,000 Indian people in this province. I am also conscious that 100 years ago my forefathers presumed to speak for Indian people in signing treaties with the Crown without the full knowledge of the ramifications of those treaties and often with- out any knowledge of the meaning of the words of an alien tongue used to communicate their intent. I am conscious that I do not want to go down in history as one who has contributed to a second tragedy through misinformation and misunderstandings.
This Committee is discussing possible changes in the constitution of Canada. It is an important matter, important not only for the future of Canada as a whole but particularly for the Indian people. It is unfortunate that the constitution to date makes very little reference to the rights and privileges of Indian people extended through the signing of the treaties. Laws have been passed under the constitution to reflect generally what government interpreted as its obligations by right of treaty, with little if any reference to the interpretation placed upon these documents by the other signatory, the Indian people themselves.
We are in the process now of researching our rights, privileges and responsibilities. We are investigating, with legal help, with the objective of clarifying those matters of disagreement between the government’s interpretation of treaty obligations and the expectations of our people. It is hoped that as a result, an amicable agreement can be reached which will be enshrined and protected by constitutional amendment, an agreement which reflects an honourable and just settlement of differences and which establishes firmly the obligation of the federal government.
The statement by Mr. Richard Nixon, the President of the United States, speaks with
clarity and understanding of the moral and social obligations of his country to the Indian people. It is equally applicable to the Indian people of Canada for while law may differ from Canada to the United States, the moral and social obligations of the dominant society are the same. A reconciliation must take place that takes into account the commitments made and the obligations undertaken by the federal government in the light of today’s circumstances and today’s knowledge.
The treaties of 100 years ago were signed between two sovereign nations and were negotiated in two alien tongues. They represent on the one hand knowledge and experience by the Crown and a lack of knowledge and experience by the Indian people. They have been the basis of misunderstanding, discontent, paternalism and discrimination. These treaties, in the light of today’s circumstances and today’s law would be classified as unconscionable agreements. I say this with the full knowledge that the benefit to the Crown and to the people of Canada bears little relationship to the remuneration and recompense offered to the Indian people. It is imperative that we now redress the injustices of the past. We must address ourselves to a just reconciliation of the causes of discontent. We must clarify and identify, jointly, the obligations of government and those outstanding differences of aboriginal rights, human rights and equality of opportunity.
Such a reconciliation cannot be based on an abject surrender by the Indian people to unrealistic interpretations of solemn obligations undertaken at the time of treaty nor rigid and unrealistic judgments based on your dominant position and on our subservient position.
The attainment of an element of moral justice is equally as important as the attainment of legal justice. If we are to reconcile our differences and improve our constitution, we must recognize at last that the dominant society has imposed upon and dispossessed thousands of Indian people in this country.
Since at this time the question of amendments to the constitution is in the forefront of not only this Committee’s mind but in the minds of all governments and of many of the people of this country, the time would be ideal for seeking settlement of this question of relationships between the federal government and the original possessors of this land. We would ask, however, that no amendments to the constitution with respect to Indian people be recommended or undertaken until such time as we have had an opportunity to negotiate honestly and honourably a recon-
ciliation of differences between our people and their government.
Arbitrary changes in the constitution that do not satisfy, in the final analysis, the moral and legal obligations as seen by both parties to the treaties will simply provide a springboard for continued discontent and dissension in this country. A constitution that does not reflect justice for all, that does not respect the rights and privileges of minorities such as Indians would be a dis- credit to our democratic society. I caution most sincerely that our dealings with Indian people at this time be predicated upon full knowledge and understanding by both parties of the ramifications of their acts. We must take time to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past through haste and indifference.
We base our claim not so much on the legal obligations of the society but on the moral obligations that exist amongst all people no matter where they may be—to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. If Canadians as a whole can honestly and sincerely in their own conscience believe that they have done unto others as they would have others do unto them in the treatment of Indian people, then perhaps this is not a society in which we would want to participate. However, do not believe that. We believe in the democratic institutions of this country and in the fundamental Christian principles upon which it is built. If Canadians as individuals were not as indifferent as they have been, they would not tolerate the existence of social and economic deprivation imposed on such a group as the Indians within our society. It is a cancer which we would eliminate whatever the cost.
More and more people such as yourselves are becoming aware of and interested in the plight of our native Canadians. For this, we are grateful. We ask, however, that you would approach the problem with objectivity and with an open mind; that you attempt to understand the difficulty of adjustment that is a burden that the Indian people must bear; and, that you attempt to recognize that there are no instant solutions to problems so long in the making.
If my message to you is one of caution, it is because I am conscious of the mistakes of my forefathers. If I ask you to be cautious it is because you should be conscious of the injustice of your forefathers. I am satisfied that
what we both want is a constitution that recognizes the right of all people, that protects those rights as a matter of law and obligation, one which all of us can be proud of and take security from. Thank you very much, sir.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen we have not distributed our agenda for this afternoon. We have some 10 witnesses, two of which are representative witnesses. Dr. Courchene is one of those. The others are appearing in their individual capacities. Mr. Douglas Hogarth, the member for New Westminster has indicated that he would like to ask the first question of our witness.
Mr. Hogarth: Mr. Chairman, before I ask Dr. Courchene some questions I think that this Committee might well take note that the Indians in Canada have certainly gone a long way in making representations to the federal government. Being a member of the Northern Affairs and Indian Affairs Committee, I note that last year we heard from the Native Brotherhood of Saskatchewan, the Native Brotherhood of Alberta. I think it pleases us all a great deal today to hear from the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood. I think that Dr. Courchene is certainly to be commended upon his brief. I, for one, am very pleased to hear the views that he has put forward.
Dr. Courchene, we are not concerned so much about getting into the fundamental problems that exist with respect to the Indian people as we are with dealing with the constitutional aspect of Indian Affairs which now by virtue of Section 91 is vested in the federal government. However, I wish to assure you that many of us are extremely cognizant of these problems today. Is it the view of your Brotherhood that this aspect of government would be better handled by the provincial authorities or should it remain in the hands of the federal government? I note with some disfavour the history that you had with respect to the federal government. Is it your view that you would be better off with a government more locally concerned with your problems or should you continue with the federal government?
Dr. Courchene: In my presentation to you today I outlined the general direction we hope we are taking in the province of Manitoba. First of all, I cannot specifically answer whether it is a federal or provincial responsibility that we will eventually be asking for. At the moment we are researching all areas of development as it pertains to Indian people
in the Province of Manitoba. In a year or so, we will be able to present to the federal government what our research identifies for us as the responsibilities of the federal government. We will also present what we feel are the areas of responsibility of the provincial government. They are both responsible.
Mr. Hogarth: You have some concept then that the responsibility for Indian Affairs should definitely be divided according to the avenues in which you eventually conclude. Is that correct?
Dr. Courchene: Yes, I think in the over-all answer we are all responsible. We are willing to meet our responsibility as Indian people in the Province of Manitoba but I think the rest of society must meet the obligations which were incurred over a century ago. This we will be able to bring out in a documented presentation which will be presented to our federal government and also to the provincial government.
Mr. Hogarth: All of us in the country today are members of an ethnic minority. I do not think that there is any ethnic group which has a majority in this country. Does your Brotherhood envisage a day when native peoples will have precisely the same status as any other ethnic minority in the country or do you envisage a continuation of a special status for your ethnic group?
Dr. Courchene: I think a lot of people have a hang-up about special status. If the social and economic conditions are the special status we got, that is not the kind of special status we want. Basically we have commitments. The total Canadian society has a commitment to our people. It was our people that gave up this country. No other ethnic group can claim that. There were commitments that were agreed on. Some have been carried out within limitation. Some have not been carried out whatsoever. Those are the things that we are researching today for clarification. We want to do away with this discontent, misunderstanding and everything else so that we can work jointly with the Canadian society as a whole to participate in a meaningful sense as Indian people.
Mr. Hogarth: You are anticipating that there will be a “forever” situation, is that correct?
Dr. Courchene: I did not say that, sir. You are assuming this. I am not saying that.
Mr. Hogarth: I see. In many instances, your people are absolutely right. Assuming that the differences which exist result in the preservation of reservations for native people, do you suggest that they should exist forever or should there be some formula whereby they will eventually be replaced by grants or other things for Indian people?
Dr. Courchene: Again, I would have to say that it depends on whether our search identifies areas where we will be using the same services as any other people. Until such time, I have to qualify that by saying that at the moment our most serious concern is the commitments that were made a century ago and that are still valid today. This is the reason I quoted the President of the United States. They are now changing direction from a termination policy where they were going to do away with the Indian people to a more enlightened direction where they will support the Indian community and develop the group as part of the larger society of the United States.
Mr. Hogarth: I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Andrew Brewin, the member for Toronto, Greenwood.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the witness whether one of the basic suggestions to this Committee is that the rights of Indians should be explicitly protected and mentioned in a new constitution for Canada. If we are to recommend a new constitution, we should not leave it to be inferred. We should make it clear that the Canadian constitution protects the basic rights of the Indian people.
Dr. Courchene: Yes. I hope that you are not only talking about Indians. I hope that it has that effect for all ethnic groups. However, I am talking on behalf of Indian people.
Mr. Brewin: Well, do you think it is good enough to do it in a general way. I mean we might recommend a recital to the new constitution of Canada, whatever its form referring to respect for the ethnic rights of all different groups in Canada. Most of the ethnic groups did not come to this country under a treaty. They did not have treaties of any sort. They came as emigrants to this country. We are all immigrants except that your people can claim to have arrived before anybody. I do not know whether you arrived originally or not. I cannot go that far back in history.
Do you feel that specific reference ought to be made in the constitution of Canada to those who were the original inhabitants of this country?
Dr. Courchene: I cannot be specific but I would like to say something on what you have said. First of all you said that some of the minority groups did not realize what they were getting into as far as federal government obligations to a group of people. I think that was a responsibility of the federal government. Through its citizenship branch, it should have told all people coming to this country that they do have an obligation to the aboriginals of this country and that it was the responsibility of all Canadians. It is a total responsibility. I cannot speak for any other ethnic group.
I am speaking on behalf of the Indians in the Province of Manitoba. There are some moral and legal commitments identifiable today and others which we will be able to identify in our research. Hopefully we can present this to the federal government. Only at that time will we see our direction more totally and more clearly and only then will we be able to identify what we, the Indian people, would like to see in the constitution of Canada.
Mr. Brewin: Just one other question. You refer to treaty rights which, I assume, are the result of some fairly explicit arrangement. Are there other rights, perhaps aboriginal rights that expand beyond the strict treaty right? I do not think you mentioned that.
Dr. Courchene: I did.
Mr. Brewin: Right. You would say that these rights, too, should be researched and worked on and clarified from both sides and when clarified should be given consideration in the new constitution of Canada.
Dr. Courchene: Yes. Again I reiterate that I do not have the specific facts because our research only begun a few months ago. With the limited funds that we have available to us, it is a very slow process at the moment.
Mr. Brewin: Our process is also somewhat slow as we have heard. We are hoping in this Committee to be able to make a report within a couple of years at any rate. Do you think that your research will enable you to acquaint us and other Canadians with your desires.
Dr. Courchene: I am sure that within a year we will be able to give an interim report of what our findings will be. Some areas might take longer to be clarified. This is going to depend a lot on the kind of financial resources available to do all this comprehensive research that we have now started.
Mr. Brewin: I have no doubt that you will be discussing this matter thoroughly with the Government of Canada and other governments that might be concerned. Because of the constitutional aspect, could you continue to inform this Committee of what your conclusions are. At the moment, you have asked us to see that your rights be expressed and confirmed either in a general or specific way as the case may be. You are in the process of researching the extent of these rights. This Committee would be interested in having the benefit of the work you are doing especially as it affects the constitution of Canada.
Dr. Courchene: I can assure you that we will have continued presentation to your Committee.
Mr. Brewin: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): One of the members of our Committee, I believe, has had some governmental responsibility in this area. I therefore now call on the Hon. Walter Dinsdale, member for Brandon-Souris.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Courchene, is the review that is going on now with respect to aboriginal treaty rights in consultation with the Indian Claims Commissioner or is it something that has been con- ducted within the Manitoba Brotherhood on
its own initiative or is it part of a general review of these rights on a national basis?
Dr. Courchene: First of all, it is a general review right across Canada by each provincial organization. To the other part of your question, we do not recognize the Commissioner and we do not work with the Commissioner because the terms of reference that were given to the Commissioner do not recognize the aboriginal title that we are now researching.
The research committees are by the Indian people themselves with the expertise that can be picked up from the public sector or the private sector with what funds we have available to us from our federal government.
Mr. Dinsdale: The Indian Claims Commissioner is already operating. Are you going to be in touch with him?
Dr. Courchene: I said we do not recognize the Indian Commissioner. We do not recognize him because of the terms of reference under which he was put there and has to work. He is not recognized by the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood and as far as I can gather, he is not recognized by the National Indian Brotherhood or any affiliated provincial Indian organization. If he is working, he is working by himself.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, if the terms of reference of the Commissioner do not cover the basic issues of aboriginal and treaty rights, what forum does the brotherhood have in mind to present their findings when the research by the national and provincial brotherhoods is completed?
Dr. Courchene: First of all, all provincial research organizations will present their findings to the national body for discussion, debate and deletion or whatever may have to take place. We want to give a nationwide picture. Secondly we cannot at this time specifically identify to whom we will present our findings. It may be some sort of judicial body. At this time we have not been able to identify it. We are sure that we have to present our results to our federal government. Our research again will identify to whom we will present our findings.
Mr. Dinsdale: Would it be fair to suggest that an Indian Claims Commission as originally contemplated, with the broad terms of reference to make possible an exhaustive
examination of basic rights, would have been the suitable forum?
Dr. Courchene: I am sorry to say, hon. sir, that it would not have been. If we look at the United States and their Indian Claims Commission, the kind of compensation that the American Indians had was very limited. We are trying to show a much broader picture to our Canadian government. I might add that the American Indians have had a hell of a lot more than we have had so far.
Mr. Dinsdale: I take if from your observations that it goes much deeper than financial compensation. It is a matter of fundamental human rights.
Do you see a forum such as this parliamentary committee as an adequate medium for presenting your viewpoint? Do you feel further hearings and meetings with you and other representatives of your people would constitute an adequate forum?
Dr. Courchene: I am sorry. I cannot say “yes” or “no” to that. Only our research with the support of the expertise that we now have available to us will be able to identify the proper forum. It could very well be and it could very well not be.
Mr. Dinsdale: You urge caution which, is a very sensible position because there are no instant solutions to the difficulties that have been developing over the years. Ultimately you would want enshrined in the constitution some provisions that would give constitutional protection to your aboriginal and treaty rights?
Dr. Courchene: Yes; that we agree on.
Mr. Dinsdale: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): After the next questioner I will invite comments from the floor. Mr. E. B. Osler, member for Winnipeg South Centre.
Mr. Osler: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There is one small thing that I would like to clear up before I ask any questions. I noticed in the “bible” of Eastern Canada here—“Ottawa to seek speed-up in constitutional review”. I find this personally insulting as we are just starting constitutional review in the name of Parliament. I do not know what civil servant dreamed that up. I hope it was not somebody in responsible government.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I do not think this refers to our Committee.
Mr. Osler: It does not refer to our Committee. It refers to the constitutional review that is going on between the provinces and the federal government. I assume that if the prediction here is correct it will all be sewn up before we are finished. If it is sewn up before we are finished, I wonder if we can make a deal with the brotherhood.
Dr. Courchene: We would be very happy to do so.
Mr. Osler: We can go together with some of our grievances.
My point is, Dr. Courchene that people being people and politics being politics, it is going to be impossible to keep the interest of Canadian people up. We must get on with the job and get it done fast. That is really what it says here. There will be a pressure to get on with constitutional review and get on with it quickly. Is there a like pressure from your people? How content are your people with the orderly approach that you are advocating.
Dr. Courchene: First of all I hope that we do not have to wait for a constitution to be revised to meet some of the moral obligations that Canada as a whole has to our people. I am talking on behalf of the Indian people. We are continuously discussing and negotiating new directions. I might add that we are getting a very good response from the federal government and from the government of the Province of Manitoba. I know we cannot wait until the constitution is revised. The conditions are appalling to say the least. We have to do something now. It is unrealistic to ask our people to live in tar paper shacks in 40 below weather with no medical and other services available to the Canadian public. I might emphasize that we should not have to wait for the constitution to be revised.
Mr. Osler: Your request that we go slow was for those fundamental constitutional things and not for action on social help or equalization or whatever you might want to call it.
Dr. Courchene: Yes—participation in our province and in our country.
Mr. Osler: As has been said many times, it is the people who count. The levels of government are only there to serve the people. We are presumably trying to find out how best the people can be served. If the wrongs of the Indians were redressed, both treaty wrongs and social wrongs, how would the Indian people differ as an ethnic group from people as a whole. There is one thing that rather worries me. Take natural resources. The Indian traditionally has had a different attitude towards natural resources than has had the white man. The white man has exploited them to get a so-called better standard of living. The Indian has learned how to use them to maintain a standard of living without ruining them.
Can the Indian way of life in fact be guaranteed? Can an acceptable way of life be guaranteed to Indian people with the divergent philosophy that it has from the majority?
Dr. Courchene: First of all let me say this. I hope we can teach Canadians that they do not have to exploit and pollute to develop the resources within this country. Secondly, if you think that the environment that we are living in now is suitable to us—the trapping, hunting and fishing—it is not. We want the same good things that Canada makes available to its citizens. We do not have to lose our identity in the process though. We can contribute to Canada not only the colour of our people but the language of our people and the culture of our people. We can contribute to the development of Canada.
You talk about natural resources. We are very concerned to see the destruction in the southern half of the North American continent. I have travelled in some of the southern states where pollution is a real disaster now. I hope that we can find a new direction together as Canadians. We must do over-all planning. Do not develop one phase at a time. Total planning is needed now to make sure that we all survive; that we do not pollute the air and the waters and everything else that we all need.
Mr. Osler: So that a criterion for standards has to be laid down and it has to be a different one than it is today.
Dr. Courchene: Yes. Canada has a chance which maybe the southern states in the United States do not have today.
Mr. Osler: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I now invite comments from the floor. Would anyone care to comment on this particular brief.
Thank you, Dr. Courchene, for your presentation.
I would invite Dr. Shaw to come forward now. After Dr. Shaw, we will be hearing the Manitoba Metis Federation and then Professor Cy Gonick. Dr. Shaw is a physician in Winnipeg. We are pleased to have him with us.
Dr. E. C. Shaw (Physician): Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, ladies and gentle- men, my presentation today has to do with the formation of constituency forums which I call an evolutionary adjunct to the parliamentary procedure of a new Canadian constitution.
The Prime Minister has called for participatory democracy. Public hearings on the constitution of Canada are presumably an expression of that policy. Inherent in these meetings is the idea that a cross-section of public opinion is desirable. We commend the implementation of this policy of participation. However, sporadic attempts such as these hearings are not sufficient. The educational standards and awareness of events in the general population of Canada through electronic and other means demands an evolutionary change in government whereby government of the people for the people and by the people can be more truly effected. It is no longer valid to say that democracy is served when an electorate exercises its democratic rights by casting a vote once in four or five years. The White Paper on Taxation should serve as an example that no matter how erudite the experts may be, a test of public opinion is the only way to achieve realistic and lasting legislation.
Since the majority of the electorate does not adhere to any one political party, these people are excluded from exercising an influence on governmental policy except through solitary letters, petitions lobbies and agitations. In a climate of increasing violence, it seems appropriate to extend the democratic process in an evolutionary manner rather than to permit frustrations to build to a revolutionary pitch as seen in some nations today.
Federal constituency forums are a means of permitting a continuing flow of ideas between
the government and the governed. This exchange is particularly important in a society where many of the governed are now more expert in given spheres than the representatives they have elected to Parliament.
A constituency forum in each of the 265 federal constituencies could serve to make the government aware of the needs and difficulties of the populace. At the same time, various parliamentary policies might be aired. The forum would be reported in a Hansard- like format and available to all interested parties and individuals. It would give the uncommitted voter an influence between elections such as is denied him or her at present.
The incumbent parliamentary representative would be expected to report to his constituents at least four times yearly. The forum executive would be changed yearly to prevent any one political organization from gaining control. Members of the executive would have to declare political affiliations, if any, and a surveillance by a designated authority would be necessary to prevent subversive elements from gaining control of the forum. It is considered that the frequent change of executive would tend to make a surveillance precautionary only.
A quarterly parliamentary report would be mandatory. Constituents could voice attitudes, ideas, information, further to the report. The member of Parliament would not be put in the position of a delegate rather than a representative by this forum procedure. He or she could still be guided by his or her own judgment, but he or she would have the advantage as never before of knowing the pulse of the constituency on matters.
It is recognized that all the constituencies will not be represented by government members. However, speakers of various political parties could speak to the forum during the periods between the reports of the incumbent. Thus the calibre of potential political candidates could be tested in the forum. In an election the candidates would have had some previous exposure to the constituents and, therefore, the electorate might perhaps make a more valid choice. The federal constituency forums could serve to weld this nation in unity and strength as never before. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you, Dr. Shaw. Mr. Warren Allmand,
the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, will ask the first question.
Mr. Allmand: Dr. Shaw, I wanted to point out at the beginning that many members of Parliament now do what you suggest in your brief. They do it either on their own initiative or it is done by community councils and citizens’ groups in their constituency who call them to report once, twice, or maybe four times a year, and many who feel this responsibility try to do it themselves. I try and do this.
I might say that there are several difficulties in doing this. There is the fact that the federal Parliament is tied up now nine to 10 months of the year, five days a week, Monday until Friday, and sometimes it is difficult to get to your constituency for this kind of thing four times a year. Another thing is perhaps the financing. Sometimes it is hard for us to finance it once or twice a year, and four times a year would be even more difficult for some of us.
Who are you suggesting be the sponsors of these particular constituency forums? I think the idea is very important. I think most M.P.s would agree it is important that they do dialogue with their constituents on a regular basis. Would you have these forums financed and paid by the federal government, by private citizens’ associations on a free contributory basis, or would you suggest that the M.P. himself should have to pay it out of expense accounts and set up the meetings with them?
Dr. Shaw: No. I believe that this should be an actual, integral part of government, that it should be paid for out of the public purse, and that it should be mandatory that people, just as they perform jury service and various other things, should take part in this sort of dialogue because it is no longer feasible to have 265 men making decisions that sometimes are at absolute variance with what the general public desire.
Mr. Allmand: Yes.
Dr. Shaw: The famous statement of “we will not sell your wheat” is absolutely ludicrous in the West.
Mr. Allmand: Let me point out that you are from a city constituency and I am too—I am from Montreal. There are many ridings in Canada that are not only hundreds of square miles but thousands. For example, in my constituency in Montreal where I have 60,000 voters in an area of maybe three or four square miles it is easy for me to have such a
constituency meeting and all those in the constituency could attend. But, to give you the most extreme example in the other direction, take Bud Orange, the member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories. He has many communities strung from as far east as Frobisher Bay and as far west as Inuvik. I do not know how he would do it, because it is a much more difficult process. I suppose the same applies to a constituency in the north of Manitoba, or even some of the southern ones.
Dr. Shaw: That suggests you are dated. The Northwest Territories have radio communication with one another. I have been in the Arctic and radio communication is there. If, for instance in northern Manitoba this is the problem then there is no reason why, that this sort of thing, important as it is, could not be put over that kind of media where the tremendous size of the constituency precludes the actual gathering of people. You have to do it in terms of what is available to us in our technology at present and put it to use.
Mr. Allmand: That was not clear from your brief. You would recommend therefore that this could be done through electronic means.
Dr. Shaw: Where physically it is possible for people to gather together in a given place then this desirable, but where it is not possible then these other technological means of communication should be used.
Mr. Allmand: I have finished my questioning, Mr. Chairman. I might say that I fully approve of this idea and I try to do it myself. However, I do not know if it is something that should be put into the Constitution. I feel it should be done maybe through other means than suggested by the witness.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Brewin.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I first of all would like to make the preliminary comment that I do not think the necessarily short brief that the witness presented did full justice to the fact that under our present existing system we have the equivalent of these forums. Those of us who are elected members are in touch to a greater or lesser extent with the opinions. In our riding we try to promote it, it is part of our job to do so, and we do. On the other hand, I think we would welcome any practical suggestions as to how to make this more effective.
Having said that, I understood you to tell Mr. Allmand, or to make the statement your-
self originally that this would be financed by the government.
Dr. Shaw: That is right.
Mr. Brewin: Who would it be arranged or organized by? Who would decide the times, the dates, the subjects, and the people to be invited to participate? Would this, again, be done by some government department?
Dr. Shaw: The first thing I have to say is that our own Parliament has evolved and developed over a period of time and I think that this, being a new idea, has to be experimented with. I think that there should be a special committee of Parliament struck to set up a pilot project of this sort and to work out the difficulties and problems that will be presented. You cannot institute a thing like this, as basic as it is, suddenly throughout the whole country without having done some research into the matter. This is the way I would see that this should be done.
Mr. Brewin: I must confess, and I would like to comment on it, that I find it difficult to see how this can really be done effectively, except voluntarily. I am suspicious of the proposal that this sort of attempted communication between elected members and the people they represent should be handled by some sort of Constitutional or governmental machinery.
Dr. Shaw: I am not suggesting that. Once you set up a constituency forum like this—let the incumbent be Mr. E. B. Osler, who seems to be missing right now, who happens to be my constituency representative—if Mr. Osler were to appear in such a forum, open to the other parties, do you not think that all the political parties would have their people there, and do you not think that some of the people in the major group that have no political affiliation at the present time but have something stuck in their craw would be there, if this were a properly constituted meeting and the people were educated to the idea that they could come and say their piece—regardless of how lowly their station? One of the troubles right now is that people think that people like you are something special.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I have just one more question. I was a little disturbed—perhaps it was just a detail—by the suggestion that someone, and I assume again it was someone in the government, would undertake surveillance to make sure that subversive elements did not control these constituency forums.
Dr. Saw [sic]: Do we not have the RCMP doing this right now, sir?
Mr. Brewin: Are you suggesting that these constituency forums should somehow or other be under the surveillance of the RCMP to make sure that they are not subversive?
Dr. Shaw: I would say that they should survey it just as they do any part of the Canadian scene for subversive elements.
Mr. Brewin: That is all you mean though?
Dr. Shaw: That is right.
Mr. Brewin: That is all you meant?
Dr. Shaw: I do not mean to make this a police state.
Mr. Brewin: Well, it sounded a bit like it.
Dr. Shaw: No. I merely put that in because someone would ask the question: “Well, how would you keep the Reds from taking over?”
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Gibson, representing Hamilton-Wentworth.
Mr. Gibson: I am most interested in your proposal. It is fascinating to get brand new ideas. The vast majority of us want to communicate with the public. We send out newsletters, we see people in our ridings, we write, we are on TV and radio whenever we can get the time, but we find that the tele- vision media is difficult to get to. There is no government plan whereby a member has a right to speak to his riding so many minutes a week or month. I feel strongly that your idea has a lot of merit. However, I had three meetings of this type in the last year. I had one on the subject of marijuana in Ancaster, Ontario and there were 200 people there. However, I got no publicity in the Hamilton Spectator or The Globe and Mail. I am not complaining about this, but neither the radio nor the TV covered it. It was interesting and it was controversial.
It seems to me, sir, that it might be more effective if television time could be provided for the members at their local stations where they could be confronted by questions from the public, or something of that nature. I feel,
with cable television plans coming on and with regional programming, that possibly this is an area where we might be able to communicate better and more effectively.
Dr. Shaw: I have no fixed ideas about this except that I believe something like this must be constituted as part of the government.
Mr. Gibson: I cannot agree with you more.
Dr. Shaw: It must be the right of all people to feel that they can live and develop in their own house, so to speak. Canada is my house. If I, as an individual, feel somehow deprived in that house because I cannot speak to the head of it, or presumably to the people who run it, then there is something wrong with this sort of feeling. I feel that in many instances this is the basis for agitations and frustrations of all kinds, which could be avoided. We deal in a climate of apathy and of despair at times because people seem to say, “Well, I am nothing, I cannot communicate with these people,” and finally you get a big blowup of some kind. Is it not far more sensible to have your finger on the pulse of all the constituencies throughout this country to know what is going on?
Mr. Gibson: Yes, I quite agree.
Dr. Shaw: Some people may not necessarily be of your specific party. This is one of the problems today. You may hold a meeting but who are the people who come to that meeting? Many will be your own party adherents and you never will get a cross section of the populace of that constituency.
Mr. Gibson: I think that the media of television and radio would be an excellent means of accomplishing your objective. I have a riding of 100,000, and if 200 people are at a meeting, filling a small hall in a section of the riding, it does not get across. But television and radio gives you an opportunity to really communicate. It also gives people a chance to question you.
Dr. Shaw: I would say that this should be a matter of assessment for a committee struck by Parliament to look into this particular aspect of the new Constitution.
The Chairman: May I now invite comments from the floor.
If there are no comments at the present time I will thank Dr. Shaw for his presentation. Thank you, Dr. Shaw.
I understand that Mr. Eagle, who was to be next, for the Manitoba Metis Federation, has ceded his place for the moment to Professor Gonick who has a pressing engagement. Professor Gonick, would you come forward?
Professor Gonick has been well know to many of us for quite a number of years as the editor of Canadian Dimensions. He is of course a professor at the University of Manitoba, and recently he also has succeeded in winning election to the Manitoba Legislature. Therefore I suspect he comes to us in several capacities at once. We are pleased to have you with us, Professor Gonick.
Mr. Cy Gonick (M. L. A., Manitoba): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I guess I really am speaking to the Committee in my capacity as an individual this afternoon.
I am not one who necessarily believes that now is the time to rewrite the Canadian Constitution. There is certainly no national consensus that anyone can readily tap. Constitutional issues are hopelessly confused in the minds of the public—a situation that is largely the responsibility of the media, the schools and a political leadership that obscures rather than enlightens, that pronounces and does not listen. Neither has it been helped by Constitutional Conferences in which 10 provincial potentates, greedy for additional power, come together every 12 months to bully a federal government, which really needs no bullying because it is led by a prime minister who is eager to divest himself of more and more economic and social responsibilities. Canadians have been kept ignorant of the constitutional structure of their country. There never has been popular and democratic involvement in the definition of national goals, nor the means by which these goals can be achieved. These are tasks that are reserved for that exclusive club of elitists that always have run this country.
In my opinion there is no popular enthusiasm for a new Constitution. Why should there be? To rewrite it now, under the present circumstances, only amounts to one more invitation for this same elite to determine our future destiny. Moreover, in my view the whole procedure of Constitutional Conferences and hearings is one big con-game because the Constitution, as it has functioned in the past, already is being changed. It is
being changed by the very acts of Mr. Trudeau’s government which, in the past two years, has been deliberately re-defining the place of the federal government in this country’s future. It is obvious that the Liberal government wants these conferences and hearings to go on a few more years until the new arrangements and relationships are settled. The new role of the central government and that of the provinces would then have been worked out in fact. It would be none other, in my view, than a return to the boundary lines as set out in the BNA Act. We are turning the clock back. It will be a fait accompli, no public involvement, no national debate, no meaningful consensus—only the consensus of one man and his fearful and intimidated colleagues. Mr. Trudeau wants a few more years to finalize things. We are helping him stall for time. Once he is satisfied then we will be asked to be his rubber stamp.
So much for a participatory democracy.
An hon. Member: Mr. Chairman (Inaudible).
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I do not think we propose to censor the remarks of the witness, although I might say that we do prefer that he avoid personalities to the extent that this is possible within the development of the subject.
Mr. Gonick: What are these de facto changes that the government is already introducing? First of all, there is the clear indication of the phasing-out of shared-cost programs, possibly including medicare in a few years time, according to the Prime Minister. Responsibility for people of Indian ancestry is being loaded onto the provinces, or at least there is an attempt to do so.
There are also hints that federal operating and capital grants for vocational schools, technological institutes, universities, the Canada Assistance Act, hospital insurance, grants and loans for public housing, and other programs will be phased out also and revert to the province. This phasing-out of cost-share programs is in direct contradiction to the alleged goal of reducing regional disparities. It is something that the prosperous provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia will be able to afford. In fact, they will benefit from this program. “To them that have shall be given”, the Bible tells us. Mr.
Trudeau is helping to confirm this prophesy. The provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Maritimes are bound to be hurt by this transfer of powers.
Why does Mr. Trudeau persist in following a policy that contradicts a major national goal? In my view it is because it suits his theory of federalism. He insists on believing that Quebec is a province just like all the rest, and that its relationship to Ottawa need not be any different from that of all the other provinces. Mr. Trudeau claims to be a realist above all else. Instead, he turns out to be a hopeless theoretician, clinging to outmoded dogmas that fly in the face of reality.
We have all heard the French-Canadian litany. It runs like this: “We are a nation. We cannot depend on Ottawa to satisfy our needs. We want institutions of our own to express our own distinctive spirit, to develop our national life in accordance with our distinctive values”. This is what Quebec has been saying for years, and it does not matter who heads the goverment [sic] in Quebec City, Daniel Johnson, Robert Bourassa or René Lévesque. They all want more and more jurisdictions passed into their hands so that they can develop their own programs to suit their special needs and express their own life-style.
Mr. Lévesque came to believe that Ottawa would never transfer enough of these juris- dictions to Quebec City, or that by the time Quebec won greater autonomy, bit by bit, French Canadians everywhere would already be swallowed up by Anglo-American homogeneity. That is what Mr. Lévesque was afraid of, and that is why he bolted and demanded complete independence now.
Mr. Bourassa, like Mr. Bertrand and Mr. Johnson before him, is prepared to play the Trudeau game and gradually, program by program, take back all the powers guaranteed to the provinces by the original terms of reference as allowed for in the BNA Act. Of course this is perfectly suited to Quebec. Quebec wants and apparently needs control over more and more programs, and I for one would not quarrel with this. Quebec is the home of a national people, with a common history and a common language.
Saskatchewan is not the homeland of a national people with a common language. Neither is Manitoba or British Columbia or any of the other provinces. We are not Saskatchewanites or British Columbians. We are Canadians, or English Canadians. We do not expect from our provincial government what French Canadians expect from theirs.
It does not matter to us how our education is financed as long as it is done so reasonably and equitably. In Manitoba we do not care whether it is financed from Ottawa or Winnipeg, as long as our people have some say in its content. Nor do we care how medicare or hospitalization is financed. If anything, we in Manitoba would prefer that more and more of it would be financed in Ottawa, because we are not too humble to say that we could use some more help. But if Quebec feels that she must do it herself, why can we not tolerate that? How does it hurt us? Why cannot Quebec be allowed to operate her own programs independently and the rest of us be allowed to cost-share our programs with Ottawa, or transfer them entirely to Ottawa if that makes more sense? Why cannot we, the provinces in English Canada, have a much stronger central government, if that better serves our needs, just as Quebec insists on a looser relationship to Ottawa, because that suits her needs?
The reason we cannot do what is common sense is that it interfers [sic] with Mr. Trudeau’s theory of federalism. Quebec is a province after all no different from all the rest, so he theorizes. So what we give over to Quebec, we must give over to the other provinces. Since Quebec insists on operating and controlling more and more federal programs, the federal government has to give them over to all the provinces. If Quebec insists on a weak central government in relationship to herself, then the same arrangement must be worked out for all the other provinces, because not to do so would be to contravene Mr. Trudeau’s theory of federalism. And that, apparently, must be avoided at all cost.
Mr. Trudeau is fixated not only to federalism but to one brand of federalism, the 1867 brand, his brand, He likes this brand because under it, he has argued that French Canadi-
ans have all the powers they need to make Quebec a political society according due respect for nationalist asperations [sic].
But what is the price of living according to the thoughts of Chairman Trudeau? It is in my view a balkanized Canada—10 semi-autonomous provinces and a weak central government. It is 10 semi-autonomous provinces each competing with one another for private investment, each establishing massive give-away programs to attract investment, with the ante being upped year by year, until the only beneficiaries are the companies themselves who quickly learn to play one province off against the other in order to win concession, tax holidays, capital grants, free roads, free engineering consultation, and all the rest. And why does this happen? It happens because the federal government has created a void, and is forcing the provinces to do something which they are ill-suited to do. The federal government is simply giving up its historical role as the prime agency of economic development. It is losing the means to implement an economic development plan. Because the central government has no strategy of economic development, except to invite American exploitation of our resources, the provinces have been forced to ad hoc their way through to some kind of policy, and this has meant nothing more than blind com- petition for growth, any kind of growth at whatever cost, and wherever it comes from.
How can the government of Manitoba deal effectively with International Nickel whose total assets probably exceed those of the entire province. How can a single province effectively deal with any large corporation whose resources are greater than those of the province and who can always threaten to move to a different province?
How is a province expected to deal effectively with unemployment that is continental in scope? But if the federal government declares itself disinterested in unemployment—as it has done in recent months—what else can a province do except deal with it as best it can?
Mr. Osler: Mr. Chairman, as a matter of privilege, I have heard two references that I think have nothing to do with any kind of brief that is being offered, and I have not
noticed anything to do with the Constitution in it either. But it may come. I have heard a reference to the Prime Minister as “Chairman”, to which I strongly object, because I think it has overtones. If not, it is just cheap journalism and unworthy of a member of the Legislature of Manitoba.
Secondly, I have just heard what appears to me to be an outright fabrication, but which may be an honest opinion, but again has no need to be expressed before a parliamentary Committee that is seriously trying to consider something. I object that the government of Canada has shown no interest in unemployment, and I object that the Prime Minister of Canada, regardless of what Prime Minister happens to be filling the role at the time, should be frivously [sic] called “Chairman” by a member of the Legislative Assembly of my province. He should show more dignity than that when he is talking about legislative matters if he expects his observations on the Constitution to be taken seriously.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear.
The Joint Chairman: (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Osler, I think your first point is very well taken, and if the reference had not gone by so quickly I would myself have interrupted the witness at that stage.
On the second point, I think this rather affects the kind of hearing the Committee is likely to give the witness, and the degree of impression that he is likely to make on the Committee. I am sure the witness would argue within the bounds of argument, and I think that this should be left to have its effect in the general weight of his testimony. You may proceed, Mr. Gonick.
Mr. Gonick: I am quite anxious to discuss with the member the commitment of the federal government to the problem of unemployment at the end of my presentation.
Mr. Osler: We are more anxious, Mr. Chairman, for the witness to get on with the proposition that he is supposed to be bringing up.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Gonick: I think I would have to answer that, in fact, before I continue with my brief.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Gonick, I do not think these are appropriate matters to be argued, at least at this point. I
would prefer that you proceed with your brief.
Mr. Gonick: How can the province of Saskatchewan deal effectively with the farm crisis? What can it do if the federal government opts out by refusing to do anything except offer the occasional cash grant, which everybody knows is only a sop to placate the West. Where will a single province find the means to restructure its agricultural system? But it seems that this is what will soon be necessary, because all the federal government offers is a less painful phase-out of the farm population, not to build up rural Canada and the independent family farms, but to accelerate their destruction.
In other words, in order to keep Quebec inside the existing federal structure, the order of the day is provincial autonomy, regardless of its effect on the rest of Canada. Evidently, the interests of English Canada are of secondary importance. Or it is simply assumed that our interests are also served by more provincial automomy [sic], despite the fact that unemployment right across the country, the farm crisis on the Prairies, the permanent crisis in the Maritimes, the perpetual miseries of the Native people, the immense shortage of low-cost housing, the municipal crisis in financing education, urban transit, parks and recreation, sewage and the like, and the growing problem of air and water pollution and waste disposal, all cry out for national solutions, for a strong central government capable of giving clear and firm direction to the economy.
Canadian federalism was originally conceived as a means of containing French Canada. Now Mr. Trudeau conceives of it as a means of retaining French Canada by dismantling the central government. Mr. Trudeau is playing the Mackenzie King game, using French Canada’s fear of centralization as a means of preventing the federal government from playing a more active role in enacting social legislation and in halting the economic takeover by the U.S.A.
Ottawa’s most recent answer to Canada’s woes is the Department of Regional Economic Expansion. But an examination of its expenditures will indicate that a disproportionate amount goes to Quebec, and is therefore but another instrument to buy Quebec off at the expense of English Canada.
There is a tendency in English Canada to blame Quebec for making heavy demands. In my view it is not Quebec that should be blamed. Her demands are perfectly legitimate. The blame is Ottawa’s for being unable to find a formula which would serve the best interest of both communities.
There is such a formula, although many of its details have yet to be worked out. It is in the interest of English Canada, for the reasons I have suggested because of the problems that do exist that require a strong central government, to have a strengthened central government. At the same time, it is in the interest of French Canadians to see the power of the Quebec government maintained if not extended. On the face of it there appears to be only one way to meet the needs of both national communities within a federal structure, and that is to redefine the structure—Ottawa powerful in relationship to the provinces of English Canada and weaker in relationship to the province of Quebec.
Not all provincial governments outside of Quebec may like this proposal. But that would not be the first time that elected junior governments, in support of their own parochial interests, have worked against the interests of their constituents, and all the more reason why, if there are to be more constitutional conferences, they not be monopolized by representatives of the two levels of government.
The alternative to a restructured federalism along the lines that I would suggest is either separatism or a Canada with 10 provincial potentates and an impotent federal authority. In many respects the third path, the one to which we have been directed by our present federal government, is the least attractive of the three. It is a path of national paralysis. It throws up impossible obstacles for solving basic kinds of problems, including that of national sovereignty, the ultimate problem for any nation.
Paralysis at the national level, accompanied by provincial empire-building, has no doubt played a hand in the process of continentalization, the loss of economic sovereignty, and the absorption of Canada into the American political and social order. And the Americanization of Canada in turn has accelerated the deterioration of Canada as a nation-state. Moreover, the weakening of Ottawa vis-à-vis the United States can only have had the effect of strengthening the position of the provinces relative to Ottawa. With no nation-
al strategy for the economic development of Canada, the Canadian economy was simply expropriated by the U.S.A. and used by American industry as a raw material supplying appendage.
I do not necessarily blame the Americans. We are a land of great wealth in people and resources. Our leaders have no particular plan, no set of national priorities, no targets to meet social needs. There was a void. The Americans did have plans. They had national priorities. They could put our resources and our people to use to help realize their plans and to help satisfy their priorities, and that is what they have been doing. And of course, they prefer to deal with 10 individual province’s than with one strong central government.
The Chairman has asked me to hurry by, so I will skip some of my presentation.
Let us not mince words. Survival is the issue in this country, the single major issue that Canada faces. It is not political annexation that we fear, or military conquest. It is total cultural and economic integration. This is something that is not threatening to happen. It is happening, here and now. And in response to this clear and present danger, the partial and indifferent response of the federal government simply will not do. As somebody once said, at this rate, by the time we have regained control over our economy, we will have nothing but American thoughts in our heads.
The question of Canadian survival in the terms that I have suggested is a national question. It is one that can be effectively dealt with only by a strong central government. Only a strengthened Ottawa can deal appropriately with Washington and with giant multinational corporations, only a strong central government with a coherent plan for the development of an independent and productive national economy, and only a central government with clearly defined social priorities and with the instrument of the state to introduce them and maintain them. But we do not have that kind of government in Ottawa. We have a government that is surely becoming nothing more than an administrator, an overseer of the northern extension of the American economy; that does little else than adjust to unemployment from the U.S. and then to inflation from the U.S., and sometimes to both simultaneously; that arranges gigan-
tic sales of Canadian resources for American consumption; a government, let us be frank, that has become the whore of American capital.
This role is clearly related to national unity. There can be no meaningful unity…
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I would ask the witness to keep in mind that we should employ Parliamentary language.
Mr. Gonick: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I was not aware that word was unparliamentry [sic]. It certainly can be found in the dictionary. There can be no meaningful unity between English and French Canadians as long as Canada is governed by leaders whose major preoccupation is to make Canada safe for American investment.
The partnership between English Canada and the United States in the cultural and economic domination of Quebec can only spell an ultimate doom for the future of Canada.
On the other hand, an English Canada that is concerned for its own national survival and also respects the national survival of French Canada could create the basis of a new partnership between the two nations, two nations functioning together within a single re-structured state.
In 1964, a few years before he became Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau affixed his sig- nature to a manifesto…
Mr. Gibson: This is irrelevant to the discussion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I will have to hear what he has to say before I can decide whether it is relevant or irrelevant, so I will have to allow the witness to proceed.
Mr. Gonick: In 1964, a few years before he became Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau affixed his signature to a manifesto entitled “An Appeal to Reason in Politics”. That manifesto reveals very clearly Mr. Trudeau’s position on nationalism. It says:
We are not any more impressed by the cries in some English circles when American financiers buy Canadian enterprise than we are by the adoption in the Province of Quebec of economic policies
based upon the slogan Maîtres Chez Nous.
Mr. Trudeau is against Canadian nationalism for the same reason he is against French Canadian nationalism. Nationalism is something emotional. It is irrational. It offends Mr. Trudeau’s sense of reason. It is not logical. Since becoming Prime Minister he has compared Canada to Poland. We have a 10 per cent degree of freedom, just like Poland has, he said, and all that we can do is to exercise our 10 degrees of freedom to the full. He is also alleged to have said that if it is not possible for a French Canadian to speak French in Edmonton, Alberta, that he would rather move to New York because it is more swinging there. This story may be apocryphal, but it sounds like something our Prime Minister might say.
There are other Canadians like Mr. Trudeau who regard themselves as cosmopolitans, true internationalists, who despise all forms of parochialism, moderates who claim to believe in the brotherhood of man in world government and who oppose nationalism because it is isolationism. It is ironic in the extreme that these internationalists, genuine or fake, quake with terror at the prospect of Canadian nationalism, isolating ourselves from the outside world, turning in upon ourselves while the consequent national paralysis that results from this attitude leads us to be swallowed up by the greatest nationalist power of them all, the U.S.A., the Messiah of free enterprise, the bastion of the buck. Prevented by our own hesitation, confusion and fixation with the question of national unity from developing our own sense of nationalism, we have been swept into, absorbed by, and become a servant of American nationalism.
Some Canadians genuinely fear nationalism. They may dislike what America is becoming, but they fear nationalism even more. They do not want to become part of a new nationalist binge in this country, not because it embarrasses them, but because too often in the past nationalist binges have led to bloodbaths. This is a point of view one can respect, but it is based on a certain model of nationalism which is not relevant to Canada. As my colleague and associate. Dr. Gad Horowitz, has written:
Canadian nationalism has nothing to do with race, nothing to do with blood and soil…Canadian nationalism does not lead to Auschwitz. It simply leads away from Washington.
The purpose of Canadian nationalism is not to close Canada to the world. It is to open Canada to the world by keeping it out of the United States. It is to try to build a society in North America which can avoid the monstrous mistakes of the U.S.A., not to preserve any unique set of Canadian values, but to build the good society in Canada in the future.
Is it not obvious that Canadian leaders who encourage or just permit an increasing integration with the United States, serve not the interests of humanity, but rather the interests of the most powerful and one of the most dangerous nations in the world?
Mr. Osler: Mr. Chairman, I am sorry, again on a question of privilege. It is a very interesting discourse and it is awfully illuminating to find that a member of a so-called left wing party is mimicking the rallying cry of the original right wing leader, Sir John A. Macdonald, although he is a little behind the times in doing so, but what the devil has this got to do with the Constitution? I hope he comes to the point and tells us how we can better our Constitution to get rid of these problems that he is now illuminating.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, on the question of privilege, my friend Mr. Osler may not like the argument, but I do not think he can claim it is an irrelevant argument. I think there is a relevance. I think what the witness is trying to tell us is that in his view our constitutional structure should be such as to meet the challenge which he has presented and, while we may not agree with him, I think we should at least listen to him.
Mr. Osler: I want to hear the constitutional structure, Mr. Chairman. That is exactly my point.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Gentlemen, the witness has almost finished, and I think perhaps he will tell us the relevance more clearly before he has finished. In any event, we will have the opportunity of judging him after he has completed his presentation, both now and in the months to come.
Will you proceed, please?
Mr. Gonick: Mr. Chairman, it is very difficult to resist getting into the debate, but I shall do so for the very short remainder of my presentation.
Is it not obvious that Canadian leaders who encourage or just permit an increasing inte-
gration with the United States, serve not the interests of humanity, but rather the interests of the most powerful and one of the most dangerous nations in the world? The point of Canadian nationalism, as Horowitz has said, is not to preserve a sovereign Canadian nation state for ever and ever, but to preserve it at least as long as the only unit capable of absorbing Canada is a larger and more terrible nationalism.
Mr. Chairman, I believe by looking south we see our own future and if we understand what we see we will have realized that it does not work, that it is ugly and wasteful and mean and paranoid.
I also believe we still have a chance in this country to create something different. The Americans are stuck with Americanism, as somebody has said. We can still choose to be something different here. We can create a society in which wealth is far more equally distributed, a society with a different set of values, emphasizing cooperation over competition and morality over materialism.
So far we have not chosen to be different. Our leaders have refused to take the decisive steps that are necessary to reclaim the effective sovereignty of this country, a prerequisite for developing a new kind of Canada. Had they the will to do so, I am sure they could find the constitutional means to build a strong central government in Canada, in Ottawa, and at the same time support the national aspirations of French Canada.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Allmand, I believe you are the first questioner.
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Chairman, before I put my question—if it can be considered a question—I want to clarify a few things.
At the very beginning of his remarks the witness suggested, I cannot remember his exact words, that this Committee in its hearings was a maneuver of the Prime Minister to buy time or to do something or other that he wanted to do, some thing sinister. I must point out, in case somebody might seriously listen to the witness, that these Committee hearings were first requested by the opposition parties and were finally agreed to by all four political parties in the House of Com- mons, almost unanimously, all of whom I believe, suggested that these Committee hear-
ings would have some value. These hearings were not taken at the initiative of the Prime Minister, but from members of Parliament of all parties. My colleague from one of the opposition parties states that the Prime Minister even resisted having these hearings. I think it was both the Conservate [sic] and NDP parties who suggested it. I think this should be pointed out because the witness suggested it was some kind of political maneuver of the Prime Minister that we should be here.
Secondly, and I think I should clarify this as a representative from Quebec, the witness kept on referring to Mr. Trudeau’s theory of federalism. I want to say that before I knew or even heard of Mr. Trudeau, I held similar political ideals with respect to federalism and I accept a theory of federalism which is similar to Mr. Trudeau’s, but I refuse to have it labelled as Mr. Trudeau’s theory. I consider it just as much mine. A lot of people in Quebec have similar points of view. It is their individual choice and it is their theory of federalism as well.
The witness referred to many problems in Canada and they were serious problems, and he asked many questions about these problems and they were serious questions, but he did not give any detailed solution. He said there is a formula, there can be a political formula, but—these are his own words—but the details have not been worked out. He talked of decisive steps to be taken, but he did not say what these decisive steps were.
Let me say this. I am here on this Committee with lots of other guys, too, to try to find out what people might suggest these details are. It is very easy to talk in general terms, but I would like to know what the details of this formula would be.
Mr. Lachance: On a point of order that I think should be raised as soon as possible. I think really, Mr. Chairman, that the witness has not stayed within the terms of reference of this Committee and although Mr. Brewin may think some of the witness’ remarks were relevant, I do feel that having not stayed within the terms of reference of this Committee that we pass to the next witness and I so move.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): You made a motion, Mr. Lachance?
Mr. Lachance: I made a motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Lachance, I understand, has moved that at this point we proceed to the next witness.
Mr. Gonick: This is participatory democracy, a very good example of it.
Mr. Lachance: I do not think it is debatable, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I do not think this was a motion to adjourn, so I believe this would be a motion which is debatable and I will, therefore, hear other members on it. Mr. Allmand?
Mr. Allmand: I was just about to finish. Let me say that I feel the problems referred to by the witness are relevant to the Constitution. I feel the questions he asked are relevant to the Constitution. My only complaint is that he did not give me any help in solving those problems or answering those questions. That is all I have to say. I think much of what he said was relevant, but it was unfortunate that he had to deal in personalities. I think some of what he said was incorrect, but nevertheless, I think he was relevant.
Mr. Osler: Mr. Chairman…
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Excuse me. I think Mr. Brewin is ahead of you, Mr. Osler.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I regret that this motion has been made. I think there are several members here who do not agree with what the witness has said nor do they particularly admire his form of presentation, but he should be given a full opportunity to be examined on what he said. What he said is relevant and important, and should be considered by this Committee. I hope this motion will be rejected.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Osler?
Mr. Osler: Very much along the lines of Mr. Brewin’s comments, I wish to ask the Chairman if a seconder had come forward. If not, I guess there is no need to waste any time…
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): A seconder is not necessary for any motion in a committee.
Mr. Osler: Then I will speak against the motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I would just ask Mr. Lachance, in view of the fact that some of his colleagues have already indicated dissent, whether he would want to withdraw his motion. It might be quicker to do that than to…
Mr. Lachance: I still believe in it, Mr. Chairman. I fail to see there were any good suggestions about the Constitution. Some remarks were certainly irrelevant and I think the statement was not within the terms of reference of this Committee. Those are my reasons for the motion and I want to leave it.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I certainly think you are right in saying that the witness did not make specific constitutional proposals, but it has been argued by the members that his proposals are, in general, relevant. Perhaps you would like to make your statement as an expression of view, rather than as a motion, to indicate you disapprove of our continuing to question him, but if you want to pursue it as a motion, then of course, I must present it to the meeting.
Mr. Lachance: I would ask you Mr. Chairman to present the motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I am sorry, you are asking me to do what?
Mr. Lachance: To present the motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): You are asking me to present it as a motion.
All those in favour of Mr. Lachance’s motion to proceed to the next witness raise their hands. Those opposed?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Allmand: I think my question would be to ask for the details of the formula, but the witness has said they are not worked out. He suggested in a general way, some kind of special status for Quebec with a strong central government. Many people would be suceptible [sic] to receive some formula, but they keep asking for the details and I am still looking for the details of such a formula. I would welcome it being sent in writing or in any other form to this Committee before we make our report.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Hogarth, would you use the live microphone, please?
Mr. Hogarth: I had not indicated, Mr. Chairman, that I wished to ask any questions. However, I would like to say I am absolutely amazed with the country in the hell of a mess that this witness has indicated, that he went into provincial politics instead of coming to help us nationally.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Lachance, did you want to make further comments?
Mr. Lachance: No, I made my point, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Rowland.
Mr. Rowland: Mr. Chairman, in contrast to what a lot of the members of this Committee seem to feel, I consider Mr. Gonick has made some very important points which need to be considered by this Committee.
Whether or not members wish to allow themselves to become distracted by the non- essential elements of this brief, is their problem, but I consider the general format of the Constitution which Mr. Gonick has presented to us which is one allowing for a different arrangement for the Province of Quebec so as to permit a more central administration and policy-making body for the other nine provinces of this country, is one of the obvious patterns of the Constitution that this Committee must examine. I think Mr. Gonick has put before us one of the major reasons in support of that sort of Constitution, and that is the inability of the current Constitution to promote the realization of those goals which can be recognized as distinctly Canadian. I wish members would address themselves to that because I think it is an extremely important question.
I realize, as do most of us who are thinking about the Constitution, Mr. Gonick, you probably do not have hard and fast specific proposals about how that form of Constitution could be realized.
This morning, Professor Donnelly suggested an approach to us which could conceivably accomplish it if your assessment of the aspirations of the country is accurate. I think his specific proposal was that the powers allocated by the Constitution be delegable on a bilateral basis. If your assessment of the mood of the country is correct, that would ultimately result in the sort of Constitution which you are implicitely [sic] advocating. Is that the approach you would see as being the reasonable one to take in the Constitution or would you advocate a Constitution which has a rigid definition of powers, a specific mention of the
different arrangement for Quebec, and less flexibility?
Mr. Gonick: The thrust of my argument is that before you can get down to the nittygritties of any constitutional arrangement, you have to decide the general approach, the proper functional distribution of powers between the federal government and the provinces, taking into account the special needs of the Province of Quebec as a home-land of people.
I suggest that at this point it is not important. The hang-up, the obstacle to further discussion is not the fact that specific, detailed mechanisms have not been worked out. I suggest to you that any decent political scientist such as Professor Donnelly and many others, if there were a will to proceed on this basis, could come up with alternative formulas and formats to develop a new arrangement provided it would strengthen Ottawa rather than weaken it, and at the same time not invade the specific rights and jurisdictions of Quebec as they continue to demand, and I say with good reason, they continue to demand these rights for themselves. So I will not accept the criticism of my presentation that I have not made a specific, mechanical proposal. What I am saying is that your Committee has to come to grips with an entirely alternative suggestion or direction. When your Committee has said we are interested in this particular alternative direction based on this different assessment of Canada’s problems and the way to deal with them, then I, among many others, would be delighted to come forward with specific detailed mechanical means by which this new formula could be implemented.
Mr. Rowland: That is all very well but before any group examining the constitution can come to a determination that is what they want to do, they also have to have some indication that it is possible, and that is the only question I am putting to you now. I am not asking for the constitution. I am simply asking whether you see it as being best accomplished—assuming that we determine that this is the direction which we want the constitution to take and I am very much of that mind—if that is the direction we want the constitution to take, is it best accomplished through a flexible arrangement for the distribution of powers or is it best
achieved through a rigid definition of the distribution of powers?
Mr. Gonick: I have not seen Professor Donnelly’s brief but my general attitude is that we need a flexible constitution. I think most nations of the world would want a flexible constitution which would allow them to respond to the changes that occur within their country. I think it is just common sense that you would want to keep it as flexible as possible along these general lines.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Professor Gonick, I cannot refrain from asking a question myself. If I have the words down right you referred to our southern neighbour as ugly, wasteful, and so on. I recall reading an article by you in your magazine some months back that the only reason you were opposed to the United States was because it was not socialist. Is this really what your whole argument is about?
Mr. Gonick: I have never argued that my opposition to the U.S. is because it is not socialist. If the Committee would permit me the time I could give you my general critique of the United States of America.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): No. I was just interested in knowing if this were the basis of your position.
Mr. Gonick: I would say that I am, together with many, many other Canadians who are not socialists, appalled at the direction that country is taking. You do not have to be a socialist to be aware of the dangers occurring in that country.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I did not want to get your general disposition on that but I just wondered about the statement of yours which I read.
Mr. Gonick: You did not read that statement.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Well that is my recollection, but I will check my files when I get back to Ottawa. Mr. Marceau, you had a question.
Mr. Marceau: Mr. Chairman, I don’t have many questions to ask, but I think that as a representative of a constituency in the Province of Quebec, I am entitled to barge in. This is the first time that I hear a witness making
a presentation before a parliamentary committee showing such narrow-mindedness and political bias. We came to Winnipeg, in order to obtain some comments on the possible reform of the Constitution and to maintain a dialogue with our Canadian friends from Manitoba. As a Quebecker, I am strongly disappointed with the attitude of this witness which gives the impression that Quebeckers do not wish to remain within Confederation and wish, by all means, to break away from the Canadian entity. I refute this assertion which is completely ridiculous, absurd and groundless.
The results of the last elections in Quebec province illustrate the sympathy French-speaking Canadians in Quebec province have for the Canadian entity. And I think this witness is in no position to speak on behalf of Quebeckers whose ideas and aspirations he does not seem to know. Let him come to Quebec and see what is happening out there. He will be the first to acknowledge that what he has just asserted is not true. I have not come here to see to what extent the authority of the Government is questioned and I hope the other representations we shall hear will make us forget this bad experience.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you, Mr. Marceau. I think that is a statement rather than a question so I will proceed to Mr. Osler who is the next questioner.
Mr. Osler: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Gonick: I am not permitted to comment on a comment?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): It does not seem to me that it is an appropriate comment. It is an expression of opinion rather than a question. If you feel that you should comment upon it I am prepared to allow you to comment. Do you want to comment on that further, Professor Gonick?
Mr. Gonick: Well, just very, very briefy [sic]. I am the last one, or anyone in English Canada is the last one, to speak for Quebec, a sentiment which I strongly oppose as French Canada must speak for itself. I can only comment as an observer, and I observe that whether we are talking about Mr. Lesage or Mr. Johnson or Mr. Bertrand or Mr. Bourassa or Mr. Lévesque there is something these men have in common. They have many things completely different but they have something in common and it is that they are fearful for the survival of French Canada as an identifia-
ble culture in language and so forth, and they insist that in order to survive they must have more and more jurisdictions which they can control so that programs can be done in the life style of Quebec and in the language of Quebec and so on and so forth. This is not advocating separatism. I did not say that all these people are advocating separatism or that a French Canada advocates separatism, but this is a strong sentiment in Quebec and it comes from many, many different people and many different leaders who in other respects may differ from each other.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Osler.
Mr. Osler: I just have one question that may be a little redundant in view of the line that my colleague from Selkirk took, but then it may not. I am not being facetious as I do not think that Mr. Gonick was being facetious, but if we assume for the moment that the present Prime Minister has been as bad, as scheming and as clear-headed in his intentions as Mr. Gonick states that he has been, would it not then be possible if one had a different Prime Minister and a different government to reverse the process. If the process can be moved one way would it not be possible for it to be moved another way under the present constitution? Do we need constitutional reform to usurp the dealings of a sinister man? The thrust of part of your argument was that this had been very much a personal achievement and I wonder whether it is necessary to change the constitution or just change the man. I am advocating neither. I want your view.
Mr. Gonick: If I gave the impression that I thought Mr. Trudeau was a sinister individual that is certainly not my intent. I tried to give the impression that I thought Mr. Trudeau was a very strong willed person who knew exactly what he wanted and knew how to get it and he is proceeding to do that in his constitutional debates. I have full respect for him in that regard. I think that our constitution as it exists is quite flexible and has been moving away from the original division of powers because it was necessary to do so, to shift powers of the federal government, which they should not have in order to solve real problems which provinces could not solve and that Mr. Trudeau is trying to move back to the original legalistic interpretation of what
that constitution originally meant. Now you know you can move a lot within our existing constitution. My concern is not whether we have a new constitution or the old constitution but whether or not it is possible to create a strong government in Ottawa which can deal effectively with real problems and at the same time satisfy the national aspirations of Quebec. I think we probably need a new constitution to do so. I do not think we are going to get that kind of constitution out of the present government.
Mr. Osler: The sort of tiling that is worrying me is that as I read the historical circumstances there was all sorts of power with the central government originally, and this was eroded chiefly through the courts and sometimes by the people themselves. For instance, in Manitoba itself the federal government at one time moved to protect what it interpreted to be the inalienable rights of Manitoba. It got slapped down by Manitoba ignoring its move and also got repudiated by the people for doing so. Now do you really believe if you amend the constitution the same process would not occur all over again?
Mr. Gonick: I agree with you that it is a continuous process and it should be a continuous process and what you want is a constitution which gives you the right direction but which is flexible enough to allow for a lot of leeway which you have to have.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Ladies and gentlemen, we have a good many witnesses yet and it is already 4.15. I think this might be an appropriate time to move on to the next witness. Before calling the next witness are there any comments from the floor? Would you go to the microphone please and spell your name as well as giving it to us.
Mr. Richard A. C. Brown: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a comment about Professor Gonick’s statements on the need for a constitution. I firmly believe that we need a new constitution, not only because of the needs of the country, but because the nations of the world, governments and businesses, everybody, is crying for new ideas, not only in ordinary every day affairs and in social conditions, but in how the people of the world
are going to handle things in the future. So for our country to be able to get together and have the people discuss this matter I think is one of the most wonderful things that has happened to Canada.
Regarding the point of the needs, as Professor Gonick was claiming, of Quebec and the needs of the rest of Canada, I think if you consider what has been going on recently there are many different ideas about what is needed, not only for all of Canada, but for Canada outside of Quebec. Much has been written in the newspapers and said on the radio and TV about corridors and a western union and Saskatchewan and I even read of one comment by an individual in Manitoba, I believe it was a professor, who wanted Canada or Manitoba to take a part of Minnesota. I think with so many different ideas going on there is also another idea which I consider more important than any of those. It is that the provinces we have today are each wonderful provinces that have not had their resources publicized enough and have been a little too ready to take the control that Ottawa offers to give and that business from outside interests offer to give.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you very much, Mr. Brown. Are there any other comments? Gentlemen I would thank Professor Gonick for appearing before us. I am not sure whether in the light of your comments I can thank him for his actual presentation but at least I thank him for coming to appear before us.
I would invite Mr. Eagle to come forward for the Manitoba Metis Federation. He will be followed by Miss Garlick, Mr. Bellows and Mr. Ross, and then after that we will hear as many others as we can. Mr. Tom Eagle is the Vice-President of the Manitoba Metis Federation and I would invite him to make his presentation to us. Mr. Eagle.
Mr. Tom Eagle (Vice-President, Manitoba Metis Federation): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee. I am not really too sure whether I want to make this presentation after what has happened to the previous speaker. I would just like to say that I think if we are going to have constitutional reforms then you must be prepared to listen to what we have to say—
you people must be prepared, regardless of political philosophies. On that basis…
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I think the Committee has just demonstrated its willingness to do that.
Mr. Eagle: I am not too sure about that. It is debatable. However, on behalf of the President of the Manitoba Metis Federation, and the people of the organization, I would like to take this opportunity to appear before you and give you our views on what we think might be changed so that we, as a minority group, can benefit from this hearing.
First of all, I would like the Committee, Mr. Chairman, to have a very quick look at history because I am going to skip through this. I do not want to prolong the sitting and I would ask you to just take a look at the history we wrote up. I think it is very important that you know this history before we start communicating with one another.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We will take a moment just to read over the first two pages of this brief and this will be attached also to today’s Proceedings so you will not be losing anything by not reading it. We will just take a moment ladies and gentlemen to read the first two pages of the Metis brief. I will just assume that we all read at the same speed.
Would the Clerk distribute the copies of the brief on the question period because we are obviously going to run overtime.
Mr. Hopkins: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, I wonder if we cannot have these briefs passed out beforehand. We had nothing before the last speaker and I notice that after he had finished and walked away briefs were being passed out. I do not think this is fair to members of this Committee. I think we should have these briefs prior to this so that the words are there in front of us when we have the question period.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): He does have some more which he will get for us.
Mr. Eagle: I would like to say that I passed out approximately 25 briefs before I sat down.
Mr. McQuaid: Mr. Chairman, on a further point of order I think it is almost time that we got together and established some ground
rules in so far as the presentation of these briefs is concerned. Obviously we are going to be here a very long time if all the witnesses are going to take as long as the previous ones have taken. My suggestion is, and it is only a suggestion, Mr. Chairman, that some ground rules should be established along the lines, for example, that no witness takes longer than 15 minutes for the presentation of his brief and then that some limitation be put, if possible.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): This is only going to take the present speaker about 10 minutes. I think your suggestion is a very good one, Mr. McQuaid.
With reference to the briefs, since we are attempting to conduct hearings at which we want to hear from as many people as we possibly can, we are not really in a position to insist that everyone have a formally written brief in 25 copies when they arrive. When witnesses do have copies of briefs we certainly distribute them immediately. In the case of the previous witness, I believe, he only had two copies, the one he was using, which he left with us, and one other copy. That is the reason we are not able to distribute them.
Senator Grosart: Mr. Chairman, I wish to make a correction. You were misinformed or were not looking, but the previous witness distributed copies widely after he spoke.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Did he? I regret the fact that he did not make them available to the Committee Clerk for distribution to the Committee members. Thank you, Senator Grosart.
I think we can now proceed. I will ask the witness to continue. I think those members who have copies have had a chance to read the first two pages during the procedural dialogue. Please proceed, Mr. Eagle.
Mr. Eagle: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 1 shall begin with a history of the Metis in 1970. After almost a hundred years of disorganization, the Metis of Manitoba are once again in the organizational stages. The Manitoba Metis Federation was formed in
October of 1967 to represent the 34,000 disadvantaged Metis of this province. There are 196 Metis communities in Manitoba exclusive of the City of Winnipeg. The Manitoba Metis Federation is developing into one of the better organized “powerless poor” organizations. We have recognized our poverty conditions and through our organization we hope to make positive gains.
We are presently too disadvantaged culturally and socially to be able to avail ourselves of the opportunities available, and we want to correct this inequity. Sociologically, culturally and ethnically the majority of the Metis have a strong Indian identity, and other than in legal terms most of us are as much Indian as those who are covered by treaty. At the same time, we do not enjoy the advantages of the treaty Indians and suffer all the disadvantages since we share a poverty culture.
I will now deal with the present political situation. In Canada we have a federal system that creates unusual problems and difficulties in our efforts to make progress as a people. There are areas of action where the provinces are dominant and the federal goverment [sic] is powerless, just as there are other areas where the provinces cannot invade. The political destinies of provinces are never all controlled by the same political party and their political outlook can differ province by province from that of the national administration in realizing certain national goals.
In Indian matters the federal government has a direct responsibility to the treaty Indians and yet it discriminates against or neglects the other Indians, the Metis. This can be said in reverse about provincial governments. Thus the constitution is a barrier to effective policy-making and the pursuit of national goals.
Dealing with local governments, the federal government must be brought closer to the people by strengthening it on the local and provincial levels. In this time of giant organizations, sprawling impersonal governments, bureaucracies, huge impersonal corporations and big universities the government must find ways of returning the focus of government and society to the individual citizen and the government unit of the community. There must be concentration on urgent national problems which require national solutions:
poverty, economic crisis, regeneration at home, conservation to protect our heritage and education to create an inheritance for our children.
It is the responsibility of the governments, if they are believers in the individual spirit, not to undo the little accomplishments of the past but to engage in a more creative effort to return the levers of power and decision to the citizens in our communities, in our own neighbourhoods, as well as at city hall and the legislative buildings.
One great and necessary step in this direction is that the federal government should give more power to local and provincial governments. Alongside this new effort at the provincial and local level, the federal government must work to assist the junior governments with the burdens of an even more complex society by increasing local government control and participating in all government programs.
Participatory democracy is no easy matter; it is not immediate vision turned into the next day’s fact. Seldom have the historic goals and ideals seemed more difficult to achieve. The government has passed civil rights legislation of a reach and detail unknown since World War II; yet never has there been a greater sense of alienation and hostility by the native towards governments.
The responsibilities of the federal government have not changed basically over the years, although there has been extensive involvement in some areas. In essence they are: 1. To uphold the rule of law and protect our basic rights. 2. To stimulate the well-being and prosperity of our people. 3. To maintain and defend our security.
Studies have revealed, and we as Metis and other minority members of Canadian society know this, that too frequently in implementing these goals the lower classes receive a lesser share of the benefits. The upper and middle classes, who enjoy economic and political power, often influence government legislation—consciously or unconsciously—in favour of their interests, and in turn powerless groups such as the Metis are deprived.
We in the Manitoba Metis Federation believe that in reviewing our constitution we have to consider whether it reflects a view of man that respects his dignity and his civil and human rights, or does it reflect the views, values and interests of only the upper and middle classes? Does it take into consideration that we in Canada have never accepted the “melting pot” philosophy? Does it do justice to the multiplicity of ethnic, racial and cultural groups?
The most important question to consider is whether our constitution fully provides for participatory democracy by indivduals [sic], communities and provinces. Since one of the biggest dangers of our present democracy is the extensive apathy produced by our large institutions, it is no longer adequate to claim that the voting privilege is the chief means of implementing democracy. Non-participation by citizens contributes to a dictatorial system of government, and this in itself is the greatest danger of all.
The federal government of the future can move in either two directions—one that reflects a dictotorship [sic] disguised under the heading of democracy or one that reflects participatory democracy under a democratic constitution. In the first case the power would become increasingy [sic] centralized in Ottawa and the politicians and agents of government would become the master planners and the great designers of the life of the individual and the community in which he lives. Many people including politicians and agents of government, suggest that this is the most desirable form of government. We are aware of the human destruction that has been caused among our brothers. This form of government is far from being democratic, where the politicians and agents of government are the masters and we are the slaves.
In conclusion, we believe that our democracy is not working adequately today because leaders of government and social and religious institutions have not fully accepted democratic principles, which includes basic respect for all men. Democracy must be put into action. It must become a reality for the lower classes of people whether they be Metis, Indian, white or yellow, as well as for all members of our society.
We feel strongly that our constitution can contribute by incorporating, (1), a bill of human and civil rights as well as, (2), a redistribution of power to the community level. This would entail a re-assessment of the belief in man’s dignity and the right to determine his own destiny through access to governments. Politicians and agents of governments, instead of being known as “they”, would become “we”, and thus would become true representatives of the people. The end of the master-slave relationship will require radical changes. We cannot delude ourselves into believing otherwise. Today we are moving in two directions at once. There is one force pushing toward autocratic or dictatorial government and another moving towards a truly democratic system where citizen participation is a reality. While on the one hand government grows larger and more impersonal, we as citizens—and particularly as Metis—see ourselves becoming machines, robots who will do what the so-called “thinkers” decree. A government moving in this direction will only accelerate human destruction.
We need the courage to take democracy seriously. We need to move without delay to the alternate direction of participatory democracy, which will bring with it a sense of human dignity, pride and community. We recognize that we, the Metis, are only one of many groups in our society who are demanding a basic recognition and the right to participate fully in those decisions which affect our lives.
We realize that the best constitutions in the world cannot by themselves bring about the changes that are needed. For example, the United States, with a constitution upholding the dignity of the individual, was nonetheless forced to establish additional civil rights legislation a few years ago. We therefore must realize that the system has to reflect the constitution in the minds and hearts of all the people. This is not an easy task. Those of you who are presently reviewing constitutional reform are asked, therefore, to carefully consider the means of implementing our request for a human and civil rights bill and the redistribution of power to community levels. It is not enough to put these reforms in writing; they must be enforced as well.
The Joint-Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you, Mr. Eagle. Perhaps, in line with Mr. McQuaid’s suggestion, we could have about five minutes of questioning. I will ask Mr. Hogarth, followed by Mr. Brewin, to begin.
Mr. Hogarth: Mr. Eagle, I wonder if you could give us an estimate of the number of Metis people who live in Canada today, people who are recognized as Metis?
Mr. Eagle: I will give you an estimate of the people who are recognized in the Indian culture. In Manitoba there are approximately 34,000 people who are identified closely to the Indian way of life.
Mr. Hogarth: The Metis race…
Mr. Eagle: There are two different types of Metis; there is the Metis who has already successfully integrated into the society and there is the Metis who has lost his identity.
Mr. Hogarth: Yes. There are also a number of Metis living in the Province of Saskatchewan and some in Alberta?
Mr. Eagle: Yes, sir.
Mr. Hogarth: Do you have any estimate of the numbers in those provinces?
Mr. Eagle: Yes, sir. In Saskatchewan there are approximately 40,000 Metis and in Alberta I would say there are approximately 29,000.
Mr. Hogarth: So, there are about 80,000-odd people living on the prairies today, people who are recognized as Metis?
Mr. Eagle: Yes, sir.
Mr. Hogarth: You mentioned that not only does it require a certain ethnic parentage to be part Indian and part while, but it is also a way of life. Is that correct?
Mr. Eagle: Yes, that is right.
Mr. Hogarth: You would not consider, for instance, a person on the West Coast who has some Indian blood to be a Metis?
Mr. Eagle: Yes. After 100 years of silence the Metis have begun to reorganize themselves. A lot of interest has been created in the Province of Manitoba and this is spread-
ing, this fire is sort of spreading into the West Coast. When I as in Vancouver last January, people said to me, “How about communicating with us because we want to be organized, we want to become a part of the Metis society of Western Canada.” This has also happened in north-western Ontario.
Mr. Hogarth: I take it that in Western Canada the Metis people identify themselves far more closely with the Native Indian culture than they do with the dominant white culture. Is that correct?
Mr. Eagle: Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Hogarth: Yet at the same time they have none of the legal advantages that the Indians have been accorded.
Mr. Eagle: That is right.
Mr. Hogarth: This is probably the principal problem with the Metis people today. Is that not right?
Mr. Eagle: Yes. I think we have to be concerned with all Canadians. First of all, I would like to give you an explanation about the question. When we go to the provincial government for some kind of support, for example if we want to participate in a government program, the federal government says that it is not their responsibility and advises us to go back to the province which is responsible for us. Yet we are supposed to be part of this Canadian society. Likewise, I remember in the last government that when the Manitoba Indians went to the provincial government they were told it was not their responsibility, that it was the responsibility of the federal government. Now if we want to talk about equality, in our books there is no equality from the Metis point of view. In all fairness, I can say this for the Indian people as well. There is no equality. What is equality?
So in order to bring the native people, the Metis people, this equality, an equal base, governments must give a handicap to such people. In other words, they might even have to discriminate against other minority groups so that we can reach that equal level. It is just like saying to you that I want you to go and have a game of golf with Arnold Palmer. You have not a hope in hell of beating him.
Mr. Hogarth: I agree with you there.
Mr. Eagle: If we had a handicap we might have an equal chance.
Mr. Hogarth: Surely that form of equalization you speak of is not something that can be done by just merely passing a law, by entrenching rights in a constitution or anything of that nature. Surely that comes in the form of providing sufficient educational advantages, providing sufficient health services and things of that nature. I do not suppose you would go so far as to suggest that in a constitution, which is what we are considering, that there be additional legal rights given to people in minority ethnic positions, be they Metis, Doukhobors, Mennonites, Englishmen, Frenchmen, whatever it might be. We are dealing with the legal rights. Would you suggest that the Metis people as an ethnic minority be given special legal rights in any constitution that we consider?
Mr. Eagle: Keeping in mind the Bill of Rights, the answer to your question is yes and no. In respect of the legal aspects in the constitution we are not saying, “Look, put a clause here that will give us this power.” We are not saying that. What we are saying is that our problems are special, our problems are like those of the treaty Indians, so special attention must be given. And if we were to incorporate the Bill of Rights—I know that Manitoba has a bill of rights—then something must be put in there not only for the Metis people but for the minority groups as well.
Mr. Hogarth: I see.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. Hogarth, I wonder if you feel your questions are sufficiently pressing. Perhaps I could pass on to one of the other three questioners at the present time?
Mr. Hogarth: Yes, that is fine.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you. Mr. Brewin.
Mr. Brewin: Mr. Chairman, I intended to follow up along similar lines and ask Mr. Eagle whether or not his point is that a bill of rights is not just a legal document but an educational document and that the people of Canada need to have in the document that expresses their fundamental cause for being Canadians some reference to the particular problems of such ethnic minorities as the Metis, and that this should be in perhaps to
help alter the climate of opinion. Is that what you are saying?
Mr. Eagle: Yes, that is basically what I am trying to get at.
Mr. Brewin: And may I go on from that general statement to ask whether the members of your association and of your group in Manitoba are able to use or have given much consideration to using what is a major instrument, or could be, of participatory democracy, of sharing in the responsibility of government—in other words, membership in some activity in political parties. Are your members active within the political parties? I come from Southern Ontario, we do not have many Métis but we do have many minority groups, and one way that they can participate meaningfully is to form part of the local organizations that have played such an important part in our democratic process. I understand that you may have difficulties and limitations, but do you think this is a useful avenue for us to pursue, if not as legislators, as politicians?
Mr. Eagle: I think this is a very good subject because the good doctor—not the previous speaker but the one before—brought this up. I would just like to further his argument on this. We have been politically deprived, partly because we are not educated. We have not the mechanics to take advantage of what is available to us. But we are getting to that stage through organizations, not only the Manitoba Metis Federation, the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood but other organizations. We are becoming involved. We also are looking into the political system. It might be interesting to note that I conducted a research study into different areas of the political system. I think the political system has to change here too. The politician, the elected member, is no longer to become the white god in the ivory tower in Ottawa.
Mr. Brewin: It may be an ivory tower but I do not think we are white gods.
Mr. Eagle: The politician must come under the control of the constituents. Before redistribution in the federal constituency we looked into different political parties, their different political philosophies and what not, and we are trying to educate our people politically. I did a research on this and I must say that one of the few politicans [sic] here in Manitoba that was well regarded when he was member in Ottawa is the Premier today, Premier Schreyer. This come out in the
research that I did in different areas. We do not know some of the politicians. Today the trend is changing. Mr. Osler, a member just outside my boundary holds political meetings. This is involvement. He is visiting his constituents. I am not trying to pat him on the back because he is a Liberal, I am not trying to pat Premier Schreyer, I am just using these as examples of how people can participate. We want to have this type of participation. If we do not get it, our backs are going to be turned to the wall. And you know then what will happen to our politicians when they come around to our community and preach all kinds of good things about what they want to do in the next election if they are elected. These political promises have been watered down. We do not even see our members.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Since Mr. Osler has been so praised, and since he wants to ask a question anyhow, this might be a good time.
Mr. Osler: I should keep quiet while I am ahead.
To get back to the constitutional aspects of this, I am wondering if what is not on the mind of the Metis people is something like this. In 1870 Manitoba Metis, thanks to Louis Riel, thought they had a deal that would protect them and save them and their way of life. The Indians thought they had a deal, with their treaties, that would protect them and save their way of life. What has happened now is that both have taken a terrible kick in the pants and both are trying to come back. The Indian has a piece of paper called a treaty that he thinks is negotiable, and we are told he is trying to have this straightened out and the things in the treaty made meaningful so that they can affect his way of life to his advantage. But the Metis has no piece of paper because the process was a political one and it failed. He was left high and dry by this terrific wave of immigration that took place. Are you suggesting, Tom, that the normal political processes you just were talking about are adequate or do you suggest that we have to go back to 1870 and say that Riel’s effort failed but the idea was all right, there was a distinct people here, you are still a distinct people, and you want to be treated as such in the Constitution, which is really what the Indians are saying. Are you saying the same thing?
Mr. Eagle: Let us go back to 1870. I would ask that for a minute you just let your minds go blank and try to visualize that you are in a country where there is no law. The Riel government, which was democratically elected,
passed a bill of rights. There had to be law somewhere, and he passed this bill of rights. He saw that there was a need for a bill of rights. As Canada was developed and moved into Manitoba the federal government said that this government was illegal, unconstitutional, and all this went down the water, like you say, Mr. Osler, because you are an historian as well. But it did not take the Metis people 100 years to realize that there was something wrong, that they had to right the injustice of people. It took them a matter of time. But the federal government almost 100 years later, the Diefenbaker government, who I have great admiration for, passed a bill of rights. But it took another 100 years, almost 100 years. Gentlemen of the Committee, I would say it is a very sorry state if it took us 100 years to realize that there has to be something to protect every citizen of this country.
This is very important. I do not wish to talk here as solely Metis. I would like to express my views as another minority group. Something has to be put in there. What it is, I myself, am not really too sure because when I went to my legal adviser he said, “Tom, constitutional laws are very sophisticated for a sophisticated people.” I said, “I am sorry but I guess I am not sophisticated enough to talk about these things,” Like Mr. Courchene said, we too are doing research and perhaps in time, even before this Committee finishes their hearings or come up with final proposals we can come up with something more constructive to tell you exactly in what direction we would like to see the bill of rights or constitutional reforms take.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): May I now call the Honourable Walter Dinsdale.
Mr. Dinsdale: Mr. Chairman, I am interested in Tom’s emphasis on increasing the powers and the responsibilities of both provincial and local governments with respect to their involvement with the problems of the Metis people. I think this is where the emphasis should be, and it has been properly placed in the excellent brief that has been presented to us.
I wonder if Mr. Eagle could outline to the Committee how this could be taken care of under any constitutional amendment. At the moment the treaty Indian people are in the special category that is specifically provided for under the British North America Act, whereas the Metis people who follow the Indian way of life have no legal status constitutionally defined. This is the reason they
come under provincial and local responsibility.
How does Mr. Eagle envisage getting these lower levels of government involved and giving greater concern to the special problems of the Metis people, something that has been neglected, as you have indicated, for the past 100 years.
Mr. Eagle: Let us go back to your first question, the redistribution of power.
Mr. Dinsdale: Yes.
Mr. Eagle: Let us go back to provincial and local governments, which I think is very important. Everybody wants power these days. We too are asking for power. So I think if we get right down to basics, the individual himself must have the right to choose his own destiny. That applies to a group of people, to local governments, provincial governments, and so on up the ladder. This is the very important part. Politicians in the past never have practised this. I think the concept of participation in the democratic process is here now but it never has been really put into practice.
Mr. Dinsdale: You are saying then, Tom, that actually the Constitution as it stands, giving this responsibility to the provinces, is adequate if the provinces will accept their responsibility?
Mr. Eagle: It is not adequate in terms of the means to implement it. To talk about constitutional reform or powers and not to practise them are two different things altogether. This never has been put into practice. We are lacking in our participation.
Mr. Dinsdale: I can agree with that.
Your other recommendation is with reference to the Bill of Rights being enshrined in a Canadian constitution. But until people at the local community level are willing to accept their responsibilities and obligations to their fellow man then it also would not be operative. The real problem is an educational one, concern at the local community level, an understanding of the special problems of the Metis people, and getting the individual citizen involved in doing something about it. I think this is occurring in Manitoba now.
Mr. Eagle: Yes, and I think it is going to take a long process to right what has been done in the past because in some of our communities where there is apathy, they are saying, well what is the value of me of participating in that? They never listen to us
anyway. But what we are saying today is, you participate and we will make them listen whether they like it or not. We do not say just to yield to the different problems to give me my way. I do not think this is a true participation. I think this is another area of tokenism. As I said to you in the hallway, I do not think that you should have to pinch yourself every time you want to talk to me and say to yourself, I have to watch it, I am talking to an Indian and I had better watch what I say. I think that is absolutely wrong, and likewise I should not have to pinch myself and say, Mr. Dinsdale is from Ottawa, I had better watch what I say to him. I might hurt his feelings and he might cut me off on everything.
The Chairman: Ladies and gentlemen, I would like at this time to thank…
Mr. Dinsdale: But just on that point—I would not want the discussion to end on that point, Mr. Chairman. I think the very fact that the Metis are organized now…
Mr. Eagle: Not quite.
Mr. Dinsdale: Well, you are organized for the first time in 100 years, and you are expressing a viewpoint and leadership is emerging which is a major breakthrough in this area, and you are going to get more of that local community participation.
Mr. Eagle: This is absolutely correct, and two things must take place. One is education, and I think it is a key to progress. Secondly, the Metis must really participate in policy. I do not say that I should run for some party at a certain government level.
Mr. Asselin: Why not?
Mr. Eagle: Pardon?
Mr. Dinsdale: Why not? You are entitled to.
Mr. Eagle: Well, just let me finish. We have to bring the politician to our level and make him see. Certainly I say, why not? I for one am thinking very strongly of running in the next provincial election, and maybe even in the federal election, and I am not scared to face that challenge. I think it is about time that we did, and I would not need to become a white-shirt politician either.
The Chairman: Well, I think with that magnificent declaration, we are going to end the hearing of this witness, and I would therefore thank Mr. Eagle on your behalf and hope that
he will be able to continue his good work with the people and his organization.
Mr. Eagle: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.
The Chairman: I would ask Carolyn Garlick to come forward.
Gentlemen, we have an absolute deadline of 5.30 p.m. because we do not have the use of this room for the night. The hotel has a banquet for which they must set up tables, and our men will need some time to take down our equipment. We will invite those who cannot be heard today—there are six others who wish to be heard—after Carolyn Garlick. We will invite them to come to St. Boniface on Sunday afternoon. If necessary we will sit there on Sunday evening, although we do not expect to sit on Sunday evening but to complete our business on Sunday afternoon.
Tomorrow, as you know, we will be in Brandon, and while you are welcome to come there if you wish, I would not want to put anyone to the inconvenience, although I am sure Mr. Dinsdale would extend a warm welcome to anyone who wanted to come down to that part of the province.
Mr. Dinsdale: Everybody wants to come to Brandon, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: I do hope that perhaps we might get through one other witness as well as Carolyn Garlick today, but I realize that this will be within your discretion. Carolyn Garlick is a citizen of Winnipeg. I have no further information about her, but we will be pleased to have her submission.
Carolyn Garlick: Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I present this brief as a private citizen. It represents no viewpoint of any particular group. It is a brief in support of equal rights for women.
The Constitution of Canada should strongly affirm the equality of all citizens before the law regardless of race, sex, national origin or religion, and should affirm the right for equal opportunity in all aspects of public life. Although the Supreme Court of Canada has proclaimed the above principles, discrimination, even in the field of law, continues to exist unchecked. The onus remains upon the individual to bring his grievance before the courts, a costly procedure that few can afford.
In this brief I am concerned primarily with the rights of Canadian women, the right to equal treatment before the law, and the right to equal opportunity in the field of employment. Although women are supposedly guaranteed the right to equal pay for equal work, women still earn, on the average, only slightly more than one half of what men are able to earn. I believe the figure is something like 52 per cent. Women find that the better employment opportunities are often closed to them, even where maleness per se is not a bona fide prerequisite of the job. If a woman either wants to or must work, she usually is forced to take a job with very low pay. Even women with university training are forced in many cases into lower employment ranks. The Constitution should make it incumbent employeurs à embaucher les travailleurs upon all employers to hire people on the basis of individual merit. If for example, a woman applies for a job that requires some degree of difficult physical labour, the employer in making his decision whether or not to hire, should consider the ability of the individual applicant and not some statistical norm.
A constitutional statement of equality should automatically nullify all laws which discriminate on the basis of sex. This should apply to legislation relating to the family. Both partners in a marriage relationship should have equal rights and responsibilities. A married woman should have the right to retain her own name if she wishes, the right to pass on her name to at least some of her descendants, and should have the right to assume independent credit responsibilities if she has an independent income. Although a woman is not now explicitly denied the right to retain her name after marriage, she finds many difficulties in her way if she decides to do so. Some of these difficulties are presented by individuals representing government agencies. A department store may give credit to her teenage child, but a married woman is denied the right to open an independent account in her own name even when she is employed full time.
In a society in which the raising of children is thought to be primarily the responsibility of women, the woman is denied the right to posterity in these children if she is legally married. Even if she has fought to retain her own name after
marriage, her children must legally bear the surname of her husband. The law not only allows this discriminatory practice but forces it upon couples who privately share a greater understanding of equality in their relationship.
The Constitution should automatically nullify all discriminatory laws and privide safeguards against discrimination in all fields of public life.
The Chairman: I believe Senator Muriel Fergusson would like to ask a question of the witness. Senator Fergusson.
Senator Fergusson: Mr. Chairman, thank you. First, I would like to commend the witness for presenting at the first set of public hearings of this Joint Committee on the Constitution a brief asking that constitutional guarantees of equal rights for women be included in any amendments or in any new constitution. I do not know if the witness is aware that there is a proposed charter of fundamental rights proposed by the government in which there is a paragraph saying that the charter should also provide that every individual in Canada is entitled not to be discriminated against by reason of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion or sex. And under that they set out different things: (a) in employment or in membership in any professional, trade or other occupational association; (b) in owning, renting, holding or otherwise possessing property; and (c) in obtaining public accommodation, facilities and services. Would this, if it were incorporated or entrenched in a new constitution or an amended constitution, satisfy you?
Carolyn Garlick: Well, I believe that at the present time some of these principles, as I have stated in my brief, have been stated by the Supreme Court of Canada. At the same time laws, uniform laws that are provincial laws but uniform through Canada, continue to discriminate against women. I have made complaints in the past and I have been informed that the only way in which the situation can be rectified is to bring it into court. I am not in a financial position to do this. And this is why I believe that if the Constitution is to be made meaningful, the discriminatory laws that do exist have to be changed.
Senator Fergusson: Well, in the first paragraph of your brief you referred to the fact that the quality of all citizens is affirmed by this Supreme Court, just as you have said now. But you say that nevertheless discrimi-
nation does exist. I presume that you are referring to it being mostly against women on the matter of sex. This is a general statement, but have you any particular cases with which you could illustrate this?
Carolyn Garlick: Most of this brief is based on my personal experience. I hesitate to bring this up, but if this is what you wish, I could give you an example. Last year I had a child born in Winnipeg. My husband and I wished to give the child both of our surnames hyphenated. I was informed by the province that this was impossible, that a woman was not entitled to give her name as a surname to any of her children if she was legally married. I pointed out to the person in charge of the vital statistics bureau that this was in violation of the rights of women, and that it denied the women the right to posterity in their children. He agreed with that, but said it was the law. If I wished to quarrel with it, I would have to appeal to the court. This is one example of a case in which an individual who is applying the law, even though he may agree in principle, is unwilling to do anything unless a court decision has been made.
Senator Fergusson: I am afraid that is a question on which I am not capable of expressing an opinion. But I would like to enter into the question of equal pay to which you have referred. I presume you know that in eight provinces of Canada and under the federal government laws there are provisions for equal pay, and still you claim that women are not paid the same salary. I agree with you, but why is it, if we have those laws, that they are not more effective?
Carolyn Garlick: I think that the main thing is not a question of equal pay for equal work, because there are all sorts of ways that businesses can get around this. The waiters may carry green trays and the waitresses may carry red trays, so they are not doing equal work. There are all sorts of little tricks by which employers can get around it.
However, the main form of discrimination in employment against women is one that is easy to observe. I suggest that any of you who would be interested in doing so might look at the evening paper tonight. Look in the help wanted section. You will see immediately that there is discrimination in female help wanted and male help wanted. Go through that. First of all, block out every job that is not even covered by the minimum wage legislation, such as maids, babysitters, and some in the
male column as well, retired watchmen or something of that sort. Block those out. Then cancel out all jobs that have a beginning pay of under $1.75 an hour. Circle all dead-end jobs and then you will see what the real situation in employment is for women, and you will see the great discrepancy. It is mostly in this way, in employment opportunities rather than in actual discrepancy in wages, that the great differential between men and women in employment exists.
Senator Fergusson: Do you think that in the ads that you speak of there should be no mention that the job is for a male or for a female?
Carolyn Garlick: Absolutely. I think that any individual ought to be able to apply for work on the basis of that individual ability.
Senator Fergusson: You may be surprised—I agree with you. But have you done anything about it? I know of women’s organizations that are working on this now, and there are places in Canada where they have gotten people to agree not to list advertisements like this, and just place them under one heading. There are other countries where it is against the law. Do you think that this should be a legal requirement?
Carolyn Garlick: Yes. I think that this is a blatant form of discrimination that exists in the public sphere. I think for example that if a woman is willing to take hard, physical labour, she also has the choice of working in front of a hot laundry machine for the minimum wage or choosing to stand in front of a hot blast furnace for three or four times the salary.
Senator Fergusson: Do you think that women who have entered professions and have made themselves competent are discriminated against? Do you not think that a women lawyer or a woman doctor or a woman dentist gets paid the same as a man?
Carolyn Garlick: I think it is not primarily a matter of salary. I think there is quite a difference in employment opportunity. If you notice the number of university graduates who are offered employment, you will find that unemployment among university women is far higher than among university men. Very often large percentages of university-trained women are forced to take jobs that do not utilize their education.
Senator Fergusson: I am very interested in this subject because this summer and at many
other times I have taken part in panel discussions. Last summer I took part in one on this subject, and one of the panelists who has had considerable experience in placing people from universities insisted that the women were really not preparing themselves adequately even after they finished university, that a man was looking forward to a career and was working very hard for it, but the majority of women were not and they were willing to take jobs that were not so good just to put in time until perhaps they get married. I do not say that I agreed with this, but this was a very strong argument made in the discussion in which I participated.
Carolyn Garlick: I think that many women, and I will include myself among them, have had the experience of going for a job interview which was not specifically listed as male employment and have had the person say, you really have a very fine record and good recommendations, but frankly we would like to hire a man in this position. You know, the little smile. Sometimes the people have to drive out of town. Then when you start to object to that—well, you know what our winters are like. This very genteel sort of put-off. You leave realizing that perhaps if no men do apply for the job you might have a chance.
Senator Fergusson: But do you think there is any legislation you could have passed to correct that?
Carolyn Garlick: I do feel that there ought to be some sort of commission or standing committee to which individuals could appeal if they felt that they were denied an employment opportunity solely on principle, and because of race, sex, national origin or religion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Senator Fergusson, I wonder if I could persuade you to yield the floor to one of your male colleagues? There are only three minutes left and there are two other members who wanted to ask questions.
Senator Fergusson: May I just say one thing? I am sorry but that is a subject in which I am greatly interested.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Yes.
Senator Fergusson: There is one thing I would like to say and that is that there is a large proportion of women in this Canadian
population, and I am very glad that we have had Mrs. Garlick, as I said before. I hope that in other hearings, when we are going throughout Canada, finding out what the people of Canada want to have in the constitution, that we will hear many other representations, from women and men and organizations, on this point which I think is extremely important.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Thank you.
May I ask Messrs. Gibson and McQuaid if they could ask their questions in about 30 seconds apiece?
Mr. Gibson: Under the federal minimum wage law, we have increased the minimum hourly wage from $1.35 to $1.65, and there is some movement afoot to increase if further to $2 and hour. The reason I bring this up is that I wonder if you have knowledge of the wages paid to women in the banks which seem to have made a colossal profit in the last year. I wonder if many of your women working in banks have been getting the minimum wage. Have you any knowledge on that?
Carolyn Garlick: The brief I presented is not based upon research but strictly upon my own personal experience and knowledge of people that I know. I do know many women, personally, who are working either for minimum wage or close to it, some of whom have some training and who could not be classified as unskilled people. I am referring to people with secretarial skills of various sorts.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Mr. McQuaid?
Mr. McQuaid: Are the proposals in your brief designed to apply to married women as well as single women?
Carolyn Garlick: They should apply to all women. I think it is immaterial in our society whether a woman is married or not in deciding what rights she has in society. I do not feel that a woman should lose rights, economic rights or any other rights, when she changes her marital status.
Mr. McQuaid: On page 2 of your brief, you make a statement that I am very interested in, on a situation that I did not know before existed. You say:
A department store may give credit to her teenage child, but a married woman
is denied the right to open an independent account in her own name even when she is employed full time.
Is this a law of the land or is it a practice of the store?
Carolyn Garlick: The store will tell you that a man is responsible for the debts of his wife. Therefore, they cannot give you an account in your own name. I have applied in several cases in stores in Winnipeg and have received the same answer.
Mr. McQuaid: Is that a law of the Province of Manitoba, do you know?
Carolyn Garlick: I am uncertain as to what sort of law it is. I think the law states that the man is responsible for his wife’s debts and therefore the stores will not extend credit.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I am afraid I will have to ask all the witnesses who have not yet been heard that, if they still wish to be heard and have the fortitude to make the journey either to Brandon or to St. Boniface, that they come to one of those places. The Clerk can inform them of the hours and places of the hearings.
Mrs. Garlick, before you leave, I would like to thank you on the Committee’s behalf.
Mr. Long: May I ask a question?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Yes. Do you want the witness to remain while you ask a question?
Mr. Long: No. I just want to ask whether you are going to hear my proposal, either in St. Boniface or Brandon, or wherever you go next?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): We plan to try to finish everybody in St. Boniface, that is our last hearing in this area.
Mr. Long: Are you going to do it or not?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): If we run out of Committee time and you are the last witness, we may not, but this will be a Committee decision at the time. Usually we are in the position of being able to extend the hours of the meeting if we so wish, but tonight we are not in that position because the hotel must have this room in a very short time.
Mr. Long: Are you or are you not going to hear me as a witness?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): I am sorry, I cannot give you an absolute guarantee that you will be heard, but we will do everything we can to hear you.
Mr. Rowland has a point of order.
Mr. Rowland: Would it not be possible to accommodate people like Mr. Long if we took note of the fact that they had been at this meeting and gave them some priority in St. Boniface? I think that they are entitled to that after their fortitude thus far.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): The only difficulty, Mr. Rowland, is that some people who were originally scheduled to appear in St. Boniface, I think would have priority there, but certainly we will do our best to hear everybody who wants to appear before us.
Mr. Allmand: I was going to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that we should decide that we will stay in St. Boniface, not only the afternoon, but even the evening, to hear everybody, especially those that are here today.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): Is the Committee agreeable to that?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): All righ [sic]. You have your assurance.
Mr. Long: Thank you, sir.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. MacGuigan): The committee is adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Brandon.
THE CANADIAN CONSTITUTION
A brief prepared by the Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg, for the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada.
The twentieth century is an age of change and nowhere has change occured [sic] more dramatically or had such a profound effect as upon the cities of this nation. At the turn of the century, for example, Canada was still primarily a rural society. In 1961 seven out of ten Canadians were classified as urban residents.I With this increase in population come a whole host of new social, economic, and political factors. Canada’s metropolitan areas are now our centers of growth, vitality, culture and political power. New urban issues have appeared. Old city problems have remained or grown worse. Today the great trek to our cities continues unabated, with the result that the phrase “urban crisis” has become a familiar and distressing cry to most Canadians.
Given this background of urban turmoil and ferment, it is entirely appropriate that a Parliamentary Committee should be examining the question of constitutional change. A State’s constitution not only outlines its basic framework of government, but it as well stipulates the broad ethical values that deter- mine political behaviour. Of the many functions fulfilled by constitutions within a federal state, three of the most important include:
(1) Describing the government structure and distribution of power among the various units of the state.
(2) Providing explicit and implicit limits on government action for the protection of the individual.
(3) Assuring stability and continuity in the law.
I Economic Council of Canada, Fourth Annual Report, Ottawa: Queens Printer, 1967. P. 184.
A condition essential to the achievement of the above objectives is that of relevancy. A constitution must conform to present reality as well as past antecedants [sic]. It must be in tune. If a constitution stipulates outdated duties or has been too inflexibly interpreted, it can only lead to stalemate and frustration. As a result the streets not the ballot box may become the areas of political action. To a degree, this situation prevails with regards to the B.N.A. Act. The Fathers of Confederation had no way of foreseeing the great demographic, economic and social upheavals which have altered irrevocably the Canada they knew and ruled. The responsibilities allocated to our government units no longer correspond to the resources given them. The constitution is in clear need of revision or at least re-interpretation.
The Government of Canada then deserves applause for the process of re-examination that it has initiated. This Committee can perform a useful service for the country by educating Canadians and making them aware of constitutional needs; it can analyse the new needs of the country and recommend changes or offer advice as to how or where the constitution needs re-interpretation. Constitutions need to change because conditions change. The requirement of relevancy thus demands that the Constitution be continually re-examined. To achieve that end we recommend that this Special Committee be made a Standing Committee of the House of Commons so that it can carry out its mandate on a long term basis.
However, if the Government deserves acolades [sic] for the initiation of the debate, its proposed reforms fall short of the mark. Like an overanxious racehorse it has started fine but is fading in the stretch. In its preoccupation with linguistic rights and institutional reform, the Government has tended to neglect other vital areas of concern. The Government’s ideas on the Supreme Court and entrenching rights are fine as far as they go, but they are only partial reforms. The process of urbanization has produced in Canada a whole new set of issues and problems-what about the relation of government to new corporate structures, does urban Canada need new representative institutions, what about citizen participation, or the influence of new technology? These questions deserve answers. The Prime Minister is rightly concerned about national unity but his whole program is
directed towards the cultural side of federalism—linguistic right, bi-culturalism, etc. It may be that in the future Canada’s unity will be more threatened by social discontent arising out of neglect for urban problems than by any number of visits by Charles De Gaulle. In terms of the constitution then, the problems of urban Canada demand at least as much attention as the rights of Franco-Albertans.
There is a further reason for the study of the constitution and of urban affairs. For years ministers of the crown have retreated behind the mystic clouds of the B.N.A. Act, whenever they were asked why houses were not being built or slums cleared. The constitution has become an all purpose “Linus blanket” for Canadian politicians—safe, near at hand and instantly reusable. Inaction has been defended by legal obfuscation and the principle of democratic accountability has become lost in the shuffle. It is time that this particular tactic be exposed for what it is—a failure of will—rather than a constitutional straightjacket.
As Sir Kenneth Clark reminded us in a discussion of the difference between men’s intentions and results in the Civilization series:
“If I had to say which was telling the truth about society, a speech by a minister of housing or the actual buildings put up in his time, I should believe the buildings.”
Objectives of the Constitution
Almost every writer dealing with constitutional matters lists a different series of goals, objectives or tasks which he feels the constitution should prescribe. All these various goals can be classified into two primary aims; ideally constitutions should:
- Maximize democratic control over government
(2) Maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of government operations.
In terms of urban needs at least, neither of these objectives are being met by the present framework of the British North America Act.
(1) Democratic Rights
As the Federal Government itself has realized—“Canada’s main constitutional documents—the British North America Act, 1867 and the amendments, contain few guarantees of specific liberties.”2 The B.N.A. Act has not been interpreted to guarantee any fundamental freedoms and the 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights has not served as a constitutional limitation on Parliament or the courts. The government has thus taken a wise and long overdue step in proposing a constitutionally entrenched Bill of Rights. However, we feel that the content of the proposals lacks sufficient guarantees for the democratic rights of Canadian citizens, as opposed to the individual liberties which are mentioned.
In the section on political rights, the Government has enumerated various freedoms such as the freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of assembly and association. These freedoms should be broadened to include a set of specific democratic rights.
The highest priority for this nation is to build a system where people can fully and actively participate in the basic decisions of planning and executing changes in the urban setting. But the truth is, that our present practices and our existing institutions are not very democratic. Decisions are made by small coteries of influentials; there is limited access to the forums of decision making; and there are large numbers of people who have no power to act. Our representative chambers and our political parties—the devices we proclaim, provide access to the system—provide it only in an intermittent way and on some occasions.
Participation is an issue of national importance. It is not one that can be or should be confined to the local level. It is of course, in the local area that the demands for participation are being heard and the counter reactions being felt. But it is an issue of pre-emi-
2 Canada, A Canadian Charter of Human Rights, Ottawa: Queens Printer, 1968. P. 13.
nence for our federal government because it involves ultimately the fate of the majority of Canadians living in the cities. As we read it, the imperative of “peace, order and good government” means that our national government must be the guardian of our democratic order. The federal government should have as its first order of business the protection of the democratic rights of citizens. Under the general goal of ensuring democratic participation, the federal government should entrench these rights into our constitution:
- a) The Right to Information—This means that every man has a right to be alerted to activity that affect his interests. Citizens must be informed about new transportation routes, expansion of hospitals, removal of public libraries, which all affect their community. And it is not enough to say that a plan was published and hearings held—because these are means that reach only the articulate, organized portion of the population.
- b) The Right to Access—There must be citizen access at both those times and places where actual critical decisions are made, not consultation after plans are already deter- mined. New institutions may have to be developed—such as Neighbourhood Development Corporations—to give meaning to the participation process, but the right to access must become one of the essential principles of our political community.
- c) The Right to Fair Forum—The opportunity to present one’s case is meaningless if the decision or action which follows is made in a forum which is closed or prejudiced against consideration of the interests being presented. What chance does the immigrant family have, or the individual who doesn’t possess middle class verbal skills to compete in the arena of decision making? Government must assure not only the right to access but the right to use that access fully and equally.
The inclusion of these democratic rights of participation in an entrenched Bill of Rights would enable citizens to use the vehicle of the courts to redress their grievances. In the United States for example, a California citizen’s organization has used the Bill of Rights to claim that suburban bars on low income
housing are a denial of the rights of the poor to choose freely where they want to live. In Canada, we too should be able to use our system of justice to protect people’s essential rights.
(2) The Effectiveness of Government
If the state then, must make a major commitment to the goal of achieving democratic rights, so too, it must seek to make itself effective. To be effective and efficient, the responsibilities of each level of government must be roughly commensurate with the resources open to that level of government. In every federal-provincial conference the point has been driven home that the responsibilities of the provinces-—in education, highways, health and welfare—are not equal to the fiscal resources which they possess.
However, even more dramatic than the plight of the provinces, is that of this country’s municipalities. The services which cities are supposed to provide—housing, transportation, welfare—are the fastest growing items of government expenditure, but at the same time fiscal resource of urban areas—the property taxis—a regressive, non-growing resource. The cities’ have been shut out of any share in the dynamic taxes on personal or corporate income. In a word, Canada’s cities do not have enough money to do the required job. And with the great population influx into our urban areas, the problem can only get worse.3
There are only two possible solutions to this urban dilemma—an increase in municipal revenues or a reduction in municipal responsibilities. By and large, the solution arrived at has been the latter one—the provinces have increasingly taken over the responsibilities for education, welfare, etc. And one reason why the shift has gone—services to the provinces, rather than revenues to the municipalities has been the legal subordination of the cities to the provinces.
3 For further Information see the brief of the Joint Municipal Committee on Intergovernmental Relations for submission to the Ministers of Municipal affairs in Winnipeg, August 19, 1970.
However, this drift of services to the provinces has largely been an ad hoc, unplanned phenomenon. There has been little conscious planning of the kind that, for a certain type function, the province is the level of government which can best do the job. It has been a process of necessity, not planning.
And, in order for government to be effective, there must be conscious planning. There must be a vigorous analysis of which level of government is best suited to the tasks which have to be accomplished. As the Prime Minister wrote some years before:
“the ideal state would therefore seem to be one with different sizes for different purposes. And the ideal constitution for it, would be one that gave the various parts, whatever their size, the power they needed to attain their own particular objectives.”4
Not only should the constitution provide for an equality between responsibilities and resources, but as well, it should allocate those responsibilities according to the criterion of what level of government can best do the job.
In applying the above criterion to Canada’s urban crisis one fundamental fact emerges—local governments have a vital role to play. In fact it is safe to say that the cities are facing a whole new set of issues which only local structures can really deal with. The major problems of the cities—transportation, sub- standard housing, crime—have faced governments for thousands of years. But these problems, as they apply in the cities, have totally different dimensions; each of these problems grows from the concentration of large numbers of people into small areas. It is urban concentration which so increases the magnitude of city problems and the solution depends upon local initiative.
Many of the services provided by cities must be local in order to be effective. Problems in housing, welfare and crime are of differing magnitude and scope in different
4 Pierre Eliott [sic] Trudeau, Federalism and the French Canadians, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart ed., 1968. P. 35.
areas. Sometimes there are great variations from one street to another. Services like welfare or housing affect people’s most basic needs and the delivery of these services often depends upon a knowledge of the individual people concerned. Urban renewal programs or transportation activities dramatically change people’s neighborhoods or living patterns. Only a government close to the people can possibly know the human dimension involved and the people should be as close as possible to the governments which are changing their lives. In the provision of urban services then, local municipalities are the level of government best suited for meeting the human needs of the urban community.
However, if these problems are local in nature, they are national in scope. Across the land from Halifax to Vancouver cities are experiencing the same general difficulties. Urban issues are much too vital to the national well being of the nation, not to have the national government involved. The amounts of money which will have to be spent to make a dent on the single problem of urban poverty alone are staggering. Only the Federal Government has the resources capable of dealing with such national problems and the Federal Government can not turn the control of these funds over to the provinces; Ottawa must retain the ability to direct this nation’s economy and control of taxation is a vital part of this power. In fact some economists believe the federal government has already given too many tax points over to the provinces, with the result being a lack of power necessary to control inflation. The responsibilities for providing services to urban Canada, then must remain with the local municipalities; the resources, with the Federal Government.
The solution is obvious. Local government must deliver the services, the Federal Government must fund them. The Federal government must assume the role of international development institutions—providing research, ideas, experts and money. The cities must put the program into operation. Provincial Governments, despite their legal responsibility for urban matters, are often too large for effective implementation of urban programs and too poor for the type and
amount of funding which is required. The Provinces, of course, will continue to play a role—if only because of their legal responsibilities. But the real key to the solution of urban Canada’s problems is the involvement of the Federal Government. And before Ottawa can become involved the constitutional situation must be resolved; what has the Federal Government done in the past, and what does the B.N.A. allow it to do? It is to an examination of these issues that we must now turn.
The Constitution, Urban Canada, and the Federal Government
The B.N.A. Act already allows the federal government, at least in the area of spending, a wide scope of action on matters of urban interest. The problem with federal participation has not been the constitution but rather a lack of will and concern.
The responsibility of the provinces for urban matters is outlined in Section 92, subsections 8, 10, 13 and 16.
“In each Province the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to matters coming within the classes of subject next hereinafter amended, that is to say.
(8) Municipal Institutions in the Province
(10) local works and undertakings
(13) Property and civil rights in the Provinces
(16) Generally all matter of a merely local or private nature in the province.”
However, the Federal Government also possess important powers. In the planning and implimentation [sic] of urban development schemes the Federal Government has direct involvement in:
(1) Research and Statistics
(2) Transportation and Communication
(3) Rural Housing
(4) The regulations and Provision of Economical Resources.
Of these powers the most important is the last, the so called “spending power” but the others also clearly give the federal government a role to play.
(1) Research and Statistics
Investigation and planning are necessary to the making of legislative schemes. The gathering of relevant facts and statutes is thus an important power. In the case of the Federal Government, Section 91 (6) clearly specifies the power of “the census and Statistics”.
(2) Transportation and Communications
Legislative power concerning the means of transportation and communication in the country are divided, but very important parts belong to the Government of Canada. Railways, pipelines, telephone lines, which are interprovincial are industries under federal jurisdiction. Canals, waterways, and airports are a federal responsibility, as are interprovincial highways. Aerial navigation, radio and television are federal by virtue of the federal general power in the opening words of Section 91 of the B.N.A. Act. The long distance transportation and communication needs of major urban centres thus requires a federal [Illegible].
(3) Rural Housing
Housing, of course, is a concern associated with urban areas but there is also a need to encourage better housing on farms. The Federal Parliament has concurrent legislative power with the provincial legislature over agriculture with the federal legislature paramount in the case of conflict.
(4) The Regulation and Provision of Financial Resources
So far as the provision of financial resources is concerned, the federal powers over banking and interest rates (Section 91 (15) (16) (19) are important and the federal spending power is vital.
The nine principal private banks of Canada are fully under federal control as a result of the federal Bank Act. The courts have said that banking is an expression which is wide enough to embrace every transaction coming within the legitimate measures of banks (See Tenant 6 Union Bank of Canada (1894) A.C. 31) The Federal government can thus encourage banks to lend on first mortgages or direct their lending operations to either types of urban problems. The federal government, of course, can go into the banking—business itself, through the means of a crown corpora-
tion. Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the National Housing Act are exemples of this type of operation. The most important potential power available to the Federal Parliament, however, is that of the spending power.
The Spending Power
The Federal Government, in a legal-constitutional sense, has the power to spend its money on housing or other urban programs if it so wishes. Politically the actions of the Federal Government in regards to housing may be questioned, legally the Federal Government has full power to spend its money where it chooses.
The Federal Government’s so-called “spending power” is based on Section 91 (3) of the B.N.A. Act which gives the Parliament of Canada the power to raise money by any mode of taxation and Section 91 (A) which gives Parliament the right to make laws respecting public debt and property. Other constitutions such as that of the United States or Australia clearly outline the spending power of the central government; thus Article I, Section 8, of the American constitution reads “The Congress shall have the power to levy and collect taxes… and provide for the … general welfare of the United States,” and Section 96 of the Australia Constitution Act provides that the Central Parliament “may grant financial assistance to any State on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit.”
Although the “spending power” of the Dominion government is not as pointedly expressed as in these other constitutions it has been successfully upheld in the courts. In 1936, the Supreme Court of Canada, decided on the Employment and Social Service Act (seer. 427) that Parliament did have a so-called “spending power”. Jusitce [sic] Duff wrote of these points that:
“Parliament by properly framed legislation may raise money by taxation and dispose of its public property in any manner that it sees fit. As to the latter point it is evident that the Dominion may grant sums of money to individuals or organizations and that the gift may be accompanied by such restrictions and conditions as Parliament may see fit to enact. It would then be open to the pro-
posed recipient to decline the gift or to accept it subject to such conditions.”5
On appeal, the Privy Council also supported the concept of “spending power”; “That the Dominion may impose taxation for the purpose of creating a fund for special purposes and may apply that fund for making contributions in the public interest to individuals, corporations or public authorities, could not as a general proposition be denied.”6
Constitutional experts like Justice Bora Laskin and Gerard V. La Forest also support the Federal “spending power”; thus Laskin writes “The Dominion’s right to spend money which it has raised through a proper exercise of its taxing power is confirmed, if confirmation be necessary by S. 91 (A) of the B.N.A. Act”7 and Forest maintains, “the Dominion’s discreation [sic] under Section 91 (A) of determining what objects are and which are not within the scope of the words “for the Public Service of Canada” is not more restricted than it is under any other head of power i.e. the legislation is valid as long as it does not amount to a regulatory scheme falling within provincial powers.”8
Constitutionally, then, the Federal Government has the legal power to make financial payments to people or institutions for purposes in which it (Parliament) does not necessarily have the power to legislate. As long as Parliament is financing and not administering, it is free to act. Politically, then, the Federal Government may not wish to grant further large amounts of moneys to the cities because it does not want to tread on the sensitivities of the provinces or because of inflationary pressures, but constitutionally it has the power.
Existing Federal Involvement:
Of perhaps even more importance than the specifics of the B.N.A. Act is the fact that the
5 Justice Duff, quoted in Federal Provincial Grants and the Spending Power of Parliament, Government of Canada White Papers on the Constitution, Ottawa, 1969.
7 Bora Laskin, Canadian Constitutional Law, Toronto: The Carswell Co. ed. 1966, P. 666.
8 Gerrard La Forrest, The Allocation of Taxing Power Under the Canadian Constitution. Toronto: Canadian Tax Foundation, 1967. P. 37.
Federal Government has a role in the question of housing and urban development because it is already involved—to the tune of several billion dollars. Since 1945, Ottawa has provided a total of more than twelve billion dollars in National Housing Act laws, grant and subsidies.9 The question we should really be asking ourself is not whether or not the Federal Government should be involved in urban matters, but how can we spend existing funds more effectively? The short resume of Federal involvement in the field of housing which follows, not only reveals the depth of the national role in urban affairs but also has some important implications for today’s constitutional debate.
In 1918, under the War Measures Act the Federal Government first made available the sum of twenty-five million dollars for housing. The first major initiative of the Government of Canada, however, occured in the midst of the Depression. The Dominion Housing Act of 1935 established a joint loan system for new housing. Evidence seems to indicate that this initial program was concerned more as an answer to the problems of unemployment than as a basic program for housing, but at least the first step was taken. In 1938 the Federal Government joined with the leading institutions in providing loans and included for the first time provisions to encourage the construction of low-rental housing.
World War II brought a new emphasis and energy to federal activity in the urban field as it did in a number of areas. A federal government initiative important from the point of view of recent debates on the jurisdictional limits of federal housing policy was the program of federal—municipal housing. War was an emergency, so all constitutional inhibitions and respect for provincial rights could be forgotten. The emergency conditions of 1939—45 were also carried over into the post war reconstruction period. The Wartime Housing Crown Corporation, which dealt directly with the municipalities for purposes of constructing housing for workers and returning veterans, spent over 250 million dollars, built 50,000 units and did not terminate its operations until 1949. The question which immediately comes to mind is what constitutes an
9 Report of the Federal Task Force on Housing and Urban Development Ottawa: Queens Printer, 1969. P. 6.
emergency and who defines it? War is ordinarily an emergency situation but is post-war reconstruction?
Wartime also saw the creation of the National Housing Act of 1944. The act consolidated previous measures maintaining such provision as the joint loan technique, limited dividend loans and home improvement loans. The one addition of some importance was the federal government’s first entry into slum clearance. Under the 1949 Act, Ottawa would pay 50 per cent for municipal acquisition or clearance of land which was to be sold to a limited dividend company or insurance company that had agreed to build a low-rental project on the site. In 1945, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation was created as a crown agency.
Since 1945 there have been a series of amendments to the N.H.A. but, by and large, the activist role of Ottawa ended.10 The reason for this has to do less with the constitution and more with the lack of committ-
10 A 1946 amendment to the act allowed C.M.H.C. to become a direct lender and in 1949 two features were introduced which assumed great importance; C.M.H.C. on a 75-25 percent partnership with the provinces became involved in public housing projects. In 1964, in regards to public housing a second option became available to the provinces; the federal government would provide a 90% loan along with 50% sharing in the operating costs. In 1949 amendments also allowed the federal government to participate in land assembly schemes.
The National Housing Act was completely rehauled in 1954. The new act altered the basic method of financing from the joint loan system to one of insured loans. Insured loans have been made available to Canadians in amounts of 90% of lending value repayable over twenty-five years. In 1956, C.M.H.C. was allowed to finance urban renewal studies by municipalities and in 1360, loans up 90% for student housing were allowed. In 1964, N.H.A. low interest loans were given to non-profit organizations for the provision of low-income rental housing, particularly for elderly persons. In June of 1989, C.M.H.C. was allowed to provide loans of up to 90% to provinces for the purchase of land banks.
ment to urban problems of all levels of Canadian government. On the question of low cost housing there was public indifference, and no political leadership. Once the imperative for housing as part of a war-time effort or post war reconstruction had ended, so did federal initiative. A continued activist program might have aroused some rumblings from the provinces though Ottawa was willing to push the jurisdictional limits in the health and welfare field. The explanation comes down to the basic fact that low-income housing was not high on the priority list. Support for the mortgage market could be handed over to a crown corporation which could efficiently administer the credit needs for the middle class and there was some provision for public housing so that any criticism of nothing being done could be set by the argument that the federal government was doing everything “in its power”. A comparison of the federal involvement in the field of health and welfare illustrates the point; because of public pressure Ottawa actively began huge welfare programs based on the wide “spending power”, while in urban matters it was content to rest only upon banking provision for CMHC. In essence federal policy was determined by votes not the B.N.A. Act.
Two particular issues which have often been debated with reference to the Constitution are those of the creation of a federal Department of Housing and Urban affairs, and (2) direct federal loans and grants to municipalities. In both cases the federal government has the power to act if it so wishes.
On the question of the creation of a department, Section 91 (1) of the B.N.A. Act, 1949 gives the federal government power to legislate in the area of its own departmental organization. Such a department would certainly have enough to do. As is obvious from the above analysis in several key areas such as transportation or research the federal government is deeply involved in urban matters. In the field of housing up to 1968, 685,276 Canadian homes have been insured by N.H.A. and 371,331 have been financed directly. Approximately 400 million dollars has been
spent on public housing, three hundred million for student housing, and a 100 million for housing of the elderly, one hundred and sixty-eight urban renewal for studies have been reported and forty eight urban renewal schemes have been implemented, at a federal cost of 125 million dollars.11 Federal involvement has been both enormous and costly. It only makes sense to create a department to better administer, direct, and channel this effort. And such a department could also provide the political leadership necessary to solve our urban ills.
Under the terms of the “spending power” Ottawa can loan or give money to whomever it wishes. The recipient can turn down the gift but Ottawa is free to offer. A province could of course, legally forbid a municipality to accept federal money, but the onus would then be on the province. As has been mentioned above, in the reconstructing period, the federal government granted money directly to the municipalities. And in 1963 the Municipal Development and Loan Fund, loaned money directly to the municipality for public works. Legally there is no bar to this type of federal initiative.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The main focus of this brief has been the constitutional role of the federal government in matters of urban concern. We have addressed ourselves to this issue because (1) questions have been raised about the extent to which Ottawa can become involved in urban matters and (2) a federal presence is essential to the solution of Canada’s urban problems.
As was stated above, a primary requirement of a constitution is that it should maximize the effectiveness of government. For the interest of urban Canada this was defined as requiring municipalities to deliver services and the federal government to fund them. From the proceeding analysis it is apparent that the constitution as presently interpreted, gives the federal government the power to carry out such a proposed role. Ottawa has the power to carry out urban research, employ experts, loan money and give grants. If necessary it can enter into direct agreements with the municipalities. It can certainly create a federal Department of Housing and urban affairs to better co-ordinate its existing effort.
11 Report of the Federal Task Force, P. 6.
A federal department could also help reduce present regional disparities; in wealthy cities or one or two provinces there is enough money to hire urban experts, planners, and large research staffs. But resources for such purposes are lacking in most areas of Canada. A federal department could help fill such a gap.
The Constitution, then, allows a wide latitude for federal initiative in the area of urban affairs—all that is needed is for someone to exercise the option.
The second major objective of any constitution—to maximize democratic control and participate—is not being met in Canada. To achieve this aim, the government should include in the Charter of Human Rights, a section devoted to democratic rights. It should be clearly stated that Canada’s form of government is to be democratic in character with participation and citizen control being national goals. And there should be enumeration of the specific rights of:
The Right to Information
The right to Access
The Right to Fair Forum.
The support of these rights by the government must extend beyond mere rhetoric. If greater citizen participation is to be a national aim, the federal government should help to create and establish citizen groups. Cities are afraid of citizen groups. They either try to stop them or co-opt them. But they rarely will tolerate the existence of independent groups of citizens involved in planning and execution. Just recently, for example the Executive Committee of Toronto City Council asked the federal government to stop aiding independent citizen groups.
If the movement to greater democratization in Canada is to survive the federal government must be prepared to entrench democratic rights. And in support of these rights it must encourage challenges to existing institutions, finance experiments with new forms of organization and give its blessings to the initiative of genuine citizen movements. In
the United States, on the issue of citizen participation the American federal government has caved in. It will be an interesting test of the resolve of our own government to see which side they land on.
The goal of greater democratic control will necessitate further changes. A corollary to the Right of Information is that government must attempt to simplify its operations so citizens can understand what is going on. In order for government to be accountable, the people must know who is responsible for what activity. As the Prime Minister has written:
“A fundamental condition of representative democracy is a clear allocation of responsibilities: a citizen who disapproves of a policy, a law, a municipal by-law, or an educational system must know precisely whose work it is so that he can hold someone responsible for it at the next election.”12
This means that if the federal government is to be involved in urban matters—as they must—the people should know it, and the Constitution should state it.
To achieve this objective, the government should try to establish a clear statement of responsiblity [sic] from the courts. If post war reconstruction was a “national emergency”, perhaps the present housing crisis is as well. An opinion should be sought. The government could base its intervention in urban matters on “peace, order, and good government” or the “commerce clause’ as has been done in the United States. If the government succeeds in reforming the Supreme Court, it should use the new institutions. Put the Supreme Court to work in establishing a new generation of constitutional decisions that will have more relevance to our urban age than those set down by Lord Haldane in the holy, halcyon days of the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council.
An alternative strategy would be to amend the constitution to distinctly establish the “spending power” on which so much federal policy is now based. At present, the spending power rests on court decisions alone. In the interests of permanence and clarity this feder-
12 Trudeau, Federalism and the French Canadians, P. 29.
al power should be enumerated to detail the specific areas of federal concern and involvement.
This, brief, then, demands committments [sic]. As Canadians we must make a committment [sic] to our urban areas—a resolve to begin the process of ending urban poverty and crime, of making our cities more livable. We must also pledge ourselves to the goal of democracy. We deny this goal everyday that we allow the present system to operate. The constitution must reflect these concerns and the necessary changes will have to be made. For if we remain negligent in our urban responsibilities, and lukewarm in our support of citizen participation, then democracy in the urban age will not survive.
A brief to: The Federal Constitutional Committee
From: The Manitoba Metis Federation History
The Definition of ‘Metis’
The word ‘Metis’ is pronounced “Ma-tes” (a as in chaotic, e as in eve) according to the 1953 edition of Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. The word comes from the Spanish “mestizo” which is a derivative of the Latin word “mutus” meaning “mixed”. “Metis” and “Mestizo” were originally employed to designate the offspring of different races, especially of Indian and White parents. The word Metis in Twentieth Century Canadian vocabulary has lost much of its original meaning. The term means different things to different people, but is generally taken to refer to individuals with some Indian and White ancestry who can still be recognized as such because of their way of life or the way of life of their immediate blood relatives.
The Metis in Manitoba
The first Metis in Manitoba territory was probably born during the first quarter of the 17th century when exploring parties began to winter on the west coast of the Hudson Bay. By the middle of the 18th century there were enough mixed bloods in the neighbourhood of the Bay to be considered as a separate group.
White infiltration in souther [sic] Manitoba took place more than a century later. Some historians believe that DesGroseillers pushed his way over land from Lake Superior to Hudson Bay via Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River around 1660, but the first reliable record of White penetration is from La Vérendrye. In 1738, he reached the Forks of the Red and the Assiniboine.
The Metis Immediately Prior to 1870
Those who attribute the differences in economic and social status observed in modern Manitoba between the Metis and the White to genetic or inborn factors would have trouble explaining the success of the Metis before 1870. There is a school of thought in Manitoba that believes Metis and Indian are biologically inferior to the White. If this is so, how
could the Metis group have flourished as they did prior to 1870?
The Half-Breeds as a race never considered themselves as hangers on to the White population as they are pictured in the common stereotype concerning our group. They were proud of their blood and their deeds. They developed a resolute feeling and a keen sense of their own identity which led them to regard themselves as a separate racial and national unit.
Political evidence of that national feeling first appeared in 1845, when they sent a petition to the Governor of Assiniboia, stating that as descendants of the native Indians they could not be deprived any more than the Indians of their hereditary claim to the wild animals and their ancient forest and prairies.
The increasing political strength of the Metis reached a climax with the Riel Governments. As one reads through a report of the events of 1869-70 one finds no justification for the belief that the Metis were not as capable as any other ethnic group in the Red River Valley at the time. True, their way of life and their aspirations were different but the skills and wisdom which they applied to achieving their aims were as intricate as those employed by the White population.
The Metis in 1870
With the passing away of the Riel Government many Metis left the province for Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Montana. When peace was established and a census taken in the newly formed province of Manitoba, there were still 9,840 Metis left to be enumerated. If a total population of 11,963, only 13 per cent were White, five per cent Indian and 82 per cent of mixed blood. The census of 1870 revealed that the Metis were still, at least numerically, in possession of Manitoba. Of the 1,565 Whites, only 50 per cent or 747 had been born in the Northwest, 294 in Canada, 240 in Scotland, 125 in England, 69 in the United States, 47 in Ireland, 15 in France and 28 in other countries. The Indian population of 558 souls was small in comparison to the 9,840 Metis.
The Metis after 1870
After 1870 the political strength of the Metis began to wane. They were still well
represented in the first Legislative Assembly but numerically, socially and economically the scales began to be weighed against them. The order by which they wanted to live was fast, disintegrating before the wave of a new society founded in agriculture and industry.
Queen’s Printer for Canada, Ottawa, 1970