I would not give a preference of this kind at all. I would not say that a man must be compelled to speak the two languages even in the province of Quebec, for a civil service appointment. But we are not dealing with a French-speaking province; we are dealing with the Dominion of Canada, and it cannot be contended that our French-
Civil Service-French Language
speaking fellow citizens are not getting their share of civil service appointments. I think, on the other hand, if the government were brave enough to produce a return for which I asked at one time, it would be seen that the French-Canadians in this country to-day have very much more than their proportion of positions in the civil service.
Then let them get their Prime Minister to bring down the return. They will not do it. When I asked for it, I could not get it. I wanted to ascertain in one department after another how many were French and how many English. That information will not be supplied. If it were supplied, I think it would prove that the French applicants for office have not been discriminated against. On the contrary, they have been favoured, and very highly favoured, in the making of civil service appointments.
more, and we have not protested seriously against that. But here is something that is entirely different. You are saying in effect that in the future nobody shall have a position in the civil service of Canada unless he speak the French language. Why, there are large sections of this country, probably eighty per cent of the territory of this country, in which you never hear the French language spoken at all. Are you going to insist upon knowledge of the two languages for positions in the city of Hamilton, or the city of Winnipeg, or the city of Vancouver? That is the effect of this resolution. I say that it would be impossible to get capable and efficient civil servants in these places if you insisted on this qualification, and that shows the absurdity of it. Not only that, but this resolution proposes that those who can speak both languages are to get ten, twenty or thirty per cent more salary than those who cannot. There is another very serious discrimination.
necessity for French in all the departments greatly increases the civil service staff, as the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Howard) says. It makes many a place for a translator or some clerk to write a letter once or twice a week, or something of that kind, and that inures greatly to the advantage of those who are of French origin. There has not been any complaint about that so far as this side of the House is concerned, and so far as the English-speaking people of Canada are concerned there has been no complaint, or very little complaint, at all the extensions and pressing forward and advancement of the French language to bring it up to a parity in every relation of life with the English language. It is not on that parity according to the rights that were given to it at confederation.
They talk about members of the civil service being more efficient if they can speak both languages. I think the point raised by the hon. member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. Edwards) is quite pertinent. Why should not the members of parliament be required to speak the two languages? We had a case in 1917, Mr. Speaker, when on the Union side of the House there was only one French-Canadian, and he refused to act as deputy speaker. An effort was then made to find some other man among us-and we then comprised two-thirds of the House-who could follow a debate in French, but it was impossible to find a man on the government side of the House who could do so, and so they had to take for Deputy Speaker a member from the opposition side of the House. On our side of the House at that time there were at least one hundred men who had gone through the universities, had studied French, passed their examinations, taken their diplomas, and all the rest of it, but after they had left college they had not been able to keep up their French, and consequently when the time came some years afterwards when it would have been of advantage to them to speak French, and be able to follow a French
Civil Service-French Language
debate, they were unable to do it. A man in any other province than Quebec, unless it be in some of the colonies, though he studies French in the university and takes his diploma, cannot keep up a speaking knowledge of the French except by attending a night school or something of that kind.
friend any harm to read it. It would give him some light, and he wmuld read some of the truth that he does not read down in the province of Quebec. What I am pointing out, Mr. Speaker, is that it is impossible for people living in the English-speaking provinces to retain facility in the speaking of the French language. Any young man leaving the university and beginning his profession would have to spend two or three afternoons or nights a week studying French if he wanted to keep it up. That is impossible, and the result is that he never uses French, and all the French he learned at the university is lost. It is not that we do not speak French in the other provinces. In all the high schools, collegiate institutes, and secondary schools in the province of Ontario, French is an obligatory subject. All the children learn it, but they never acquire facility in speaking the language because they never hear it.
The situation in Quebec is entirely different. The French people in Quebec can speak English because they hear it on every hand. As a matter of fact, if they want to engage in the higher grades of employment, they have to speak English. Their parents recognize that, and they have the facilities for acquiring a speaking knowledge of the English language that we have not got in regard to French in the other provinces. That was the whole trouble about regulation 17. That good Irish friend, Michael Fallon, the Bishop of London, supported regulation 17 for one reason. He said: "I am not satisfied to see the children of my diocese fit only to drive a wagon, or a motor car, or a team, or engage in some of the lower classes of employment. I want my flock to be the equal of the flock of the other churches." That is the reason why he was strongly in favour of regulation 17, because it compels his children to learn English. They were not learning English before, and they could not speak it, and that was a great detriment to them living in an English-speaking community both on this side of the border and on the other. He was acting entirely in their own material interests when he insisted upon regulation 17, which was a great concession to the French language.
Mr. HC'CKEN: It was a great concession, Mr. Speaker, and I do not think it would be hard to prove that. I could explain to my hon. friend what he no doubt knows, that under the constitution of this country no Frenchman in the province of Ontario has any right to have his language taught in any school. It is well within the power of the Ontario legislature to wipe the French language out of the primary schools absolutely, and there could be no dispute about it. Senator Belcourt, has given a reasoned decision on that point. But we did not go that far. The legislature of the province, under Sir James Whitney, wanted to consider the sensitiveness of the French, as Sir James said, and so he put that regulation into effect, which gives to every French child in the province of Ontario ample opportunity to learn his own language.