April 6, 1966

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

EASTER ADJOURNMENT

LIB

George James McIlraith (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. G. J. Mcllrailh (Minister of Public Works) moved:

That when this house adjourns on Wednesday, April 6, 1966, it shall stand adjourned until Tuesday, April 19, 1966, at 2.30 o'clock p.m., provided always that if it appears to the satisfaction of Mr. Speaker, after consultation with Her Majesty's government, that the public interest requires that the house shall meet at an earlier time during the adjournment, Mr. Speaker may give notice that he is so satisfied, and thereupon the house shall meet at the time stated in such notice, and shall transact its business as if it had been duly adjourned to that time, and

That in the event of Mr. Speaker being unable to act owing to illness or other cause, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EASTER ADJOURNMENT
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Motion agreed to.


SHIPBUILDING

TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING FUTURE SUBSIDIES

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to table a telegram dated February 22 from the premier of British Columbia to me and my reply dated April 5, concerning future shipbuilding subsidies for vessels built for provincial account, together with a letter dated March 25 from the five federal Liberal members from British Columbia and my reply to them of April 5, 1966.

Topic:   SHIPBUILDING
Subtopic:   TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE RESPECTING FUTURE SUBSIDIES
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PUBLIC SERVICE

STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I should like also at this time to make a statement on the government's policy on bilingualism in the public service. I hope the house will agree that the importance of this subject justifies the fact that the statement is a little longer than would normally be acceptable.

It is the objective of the government to make the public service of maximum benefit to the people of Canada by attracting to it

the most competent and qualified Canadians available in all parts of Canada. To this end, and having regard to the character of our country, the government for several years has been taking practical steps to encourage bilingualism in the federal public service as part of its fundamental objective of promoting and strengthening national unity on the basis of the equality of rights and opportunities for both English speaking and French speaking Canadians.

In a diverse federal state such as Canada it is important that all citizens should have a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the national administration and to identify themselves with, and feel at home in, their own national capital. The government hopes and expects that, within a reasonable period of years, a state of affairs in the public service will be reached whereby

(a) it will be normal practice for oral or written communications within the service to be made in either official language at the option of the person making them, in the knowledge that they will be understood by those directly concerned;

(b) communications with the public will normally be in either official language having regard to the person being served;

(c) the linguistic and cultural values of both English speaking and French speaking Canadians will be reflected through civil service recruitment and training; and

(d) a climate will be created in which public servants from both language groups will work together toward common goals, using their own language and applying their respective cultural values, but each fully understanding and appreciating those of the other.

[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)

In developing measures to assist those now in the public service more effectively to achieve a reasonable proficiency in both official languages and to improve the recruitment of civil servants with this proficiency, the government has been guided by the following principles:

(a) The achievement of bilingualism is in itself a desirable objective for any Canadian citizen. Where the need for bilingualism clearly exists in practice, above all in the

3916 COMMONS

Bilingualism in Public Service national capital, it should be recognized as an element of merit in selection for civil service positions.

(b) In conformity with the merit system, which must remain unimpaired, the requirement for bilingualism should relate to positions, and not only to individuals.

(c) Bilingualism must be introduced gradually over a period of years in a manner which will not lead to injustice or misunderstanding. The various measures should be integrated into a well defined, long term program.

(d) It must therefore be a requirement of any program that, in areas where a need for bilingualism exists, civil servants and prospective recruits must be provided with adequate time and opportunity to adapt themselves to new conditions in the service in a way that will increase their own possibilities for a successful and satisfying career.

(e) For similar reasons of equity, the careers of civil servants who are not bilingual and who have devoted many years of their lives to the service of their country must not be prejudiced in any way by measures to develop bilingualism.

(f) The government will consult from time to time with civil service associations concerning its policy on bilingualism in order to obtain their point of view, and to provide them with all reasonable assurances and remove any possible misunderstandings in regard to measures being proposed.

On the basis of the above objectives of policy and principles of action the government has approved the following measures:

I. In respect of civil service positions

requiring prior university training

1. (a) Beginning in 1967, reasonable proficiency in the two official languages or willingness to acquire it within a prescribed period of time through appropriate training at public expense will be an element of merit in the selection of university graduates recruited for administrative trainee positions where the need for bilingualism exists, as is already being done in the case of candidates for foreign service positions.

(b) In those centres where a need exists for reasonable proficiency in both languages, procedures will progressively be established for the filling of executive and administrative positions, so that by about 1970 in the case of appointments from outside the service and by about 1975 in the case of promotions from within, bilingual proficiency or willingness to acquire it will normally be a requirement for

DEBATES April 6, 1966

the positions in such centres; that is, where a need exists for reasonable proficiency in both languages.

(c) These procedures will not cover at this time the technical, professional and scientific positions in the civil service, the armed forces or federal crown agencies as these categories present special problems. The appropriate departmental and agency authorities are therefore being asked to submit a long term program of effective action in their respective areas of responsibility which takes these special problems and particular difficulties into account.

2. A special pool of positions will be established in the national capital to be used to facilitate the recruitment and to accelerate the development of candidates of high potential who are proficient in both languages.

II. In respect of senior executive officers

A special program for improving bilingualism among senior executive officers serving in the national capital will be undertaken. It is envisaged that each year some 20 English speaking civil servants from the most senior categories, plus their families, will spend a 12 month period in a mainly French speaking city, while some 10 French speaking civil servants and their families will spend a similar period in a mainly English speaking city, to study the other official language and gain an understanding of the cultural values of the group they are visiting.

In respect of bilingual clerical and secretarial positions, it has been agreed in principle that a higher rate of pay will be paid in future in respect of clerical and secretarial positions in which there is the requirement for a knowledge of both languages and where both are used in the performance of duties, providing the incumbents of such positions meet standards of competence established by the Civil Service Commission.

The present program of language training will be strengthened and expanded to make the most effective contribution to the development of proficiency in both languages in the public service in those centres where the need for such proficiency exists.

The federal government will undertake discussions with the Ontario and Quebec governments concerning the early establishment of a secondary school in the Ottawa area in which the language of instruction will be French, in order to meet the requirements of those who wish to provide their children with

April 6. 1966

secondary education in French, and concerning other joint measures that would directly or indirectly contribute to the improvement of the bicultural character of the civil service in the national capital.

A special secretariat on bilingualism is being established within the privy council office under my direction. Working in close consultation and co-operation with the Civil Service Commission, the Treasury Board and all deputy ministers and heads of agencies, it will be responsible for ensuring the coordinated and progressive implementation of the government's policy and program regarding bilingualism in the public service.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I should like to express the sincere hope that on the eve of our centennial, all Canadians will share my deep conviction that the policy and program of the government on bilingualism in the public service will be to make a very important, indeed an essential, contribution to the promotion of national unity and to a great and stronger Canada.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I say at once that any action to promote the objective set out in the concluding paragraph of the Prime Minister's speech will, I know, receive the fullest support from this group. Our record during the period we were in office was one of continuing steps forward toward the assurance of full partnership of those of English and French origin in building Canada, without in any way diminishing the rights of those millions from other racial origins.

During our period of office we, for the first time in Canada's history, made the House of Commons bilingual in fact. When I first entered the House of Commons anyone speaking in the French language received even less attention than those of us who spoke in English. Indeed, when a person spoke in the French language the house emptied because so many of the members were unable to follow what was being said. We brought in simultaneous interpretation.

[DOT] (2:50 p.m.)

During our period of office we brought about the opportunity for those of French language to have a larger share in high positions of government, something they had not had before. We made provision for the appointment of ambassadors of French language and French origin so that in all parts of the world the character of this country would be made clear.

Bilingualism in Public Service

I mention these things as evidence of our attitude. Indeed, it was under our administration that for the first time there was any recognition of French speaking countries in Africa for assistance from Canada, to the end that in a spirit of co-operation we would thereby epitomize something of the relationship which we have under our constitution. In addition, it was under our administration that Her Majesty's representative in Canada, the Governor General, for the first time since Vaudreuil became a Canadian of French origin. I mention these things merely for the purpose of assuring that the record is clear and not subject to the kind of misinterpretation which it sometimes suffers.

The constitutional rights provided for under the British North America Act, in the opinion of the Conservative party, are inviolable, and cannot be changed except by unanimity. We took the stand in 1946 when Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent was Prime Minister of Canada. When he as a constitutional lawyer expressed the view that the rights of language and education enshrined in sections 91 and 92 could be altered by a simple majority of parliament we said no, that could not be done.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

He never said any such thing.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

That was our stand. That was our attitude, and that attitude still prevails. Indeed, I can do no better than quote Sir John A. Macdonald when, within a year from his death, he expressed what has been the viewpoint of the Conservative party throughout the years. These were his words:

I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that, by any mode whatever, there should be an attempt made to oppress the one language or to render it inferior to the other. I believe that would be impossible if it were tried, and it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible.

That, Mr. Speaker, has represented our view. Now, at a time when the report of the B and B commission, which has been spoken of in such fulsome terms by members of the government, has not yet been presented, we come to deal, not through parliament but through governmental action, with a major element in the whole field of bilingualism. Under section 133 of the British North America Act use of the English and French languages on an equal basis was recognized in parliament, in the Quebec legislature, in federal courts and in the courts of Quebec. There is also authorization for the publication of federal legislation and legislation in

April 6, 1966

Bilingualism in Public Service Quebec in both languages. These are sacred rights.

Sir, there are divisions within our country. There always have been. The Prime Minister hopes that on the eve of our hundredth year of confederation we shall be able to do something to solve those difficulties. We took the stand that in an equal partnership, constitutional rights should be maintained based on mutual respect and recognition. Speaking in February, 1963 on behalf of the government I used these words:

There have, however, arisen from time to time, questions as to whether Canada, as she approaches the first century of Confederation, has achieved the full measure of the vision of the Fathers of Confederation.

I suggested, with of course the unanimous support of the cabinet and our colleagues in the House of Commons, that there should be convened a national confederation conference, which would deal with certain matters, including those now being dealt with in this rather uncertain, vague and evasive manner. At that time I said:

The scope of the conference will he of the fullest breadth. It will be asked to study ways and means of repatriating the constitution; the problem of adequate representation in the public service, in crown corporations and other government agencies; the recommendations of the Therrien report-

Which, as Your Honour knows, was part of the report of the Glassco commission. Continuing, I said:

-the choice of a national flag, and other symbols of our national sovereignty. In brief, the conference will be asked to examine biculturalism and bilingualism in a comprehensive manner.

In the light of events of the last three years, the demand for what was then spoken of has intensified in the intervening years. Sir, tremendous problems are facing us. All kinds of doctrines have been advanced. There was the doctrine of the two nations that was basic to the government three years ago, until the hon. member for Mount Royal decided on a reinterpretation of that concept. There was the theory of opting out, leading to isolation of the province of Quebec. It has now to all intents and purposes gone up in the smoke of the Liberal council fire in Quebec last week.

Then there was the theory of associated states. That was the plaything of the President of the Privy Council for a while who, until the advent of the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, gave the lead to the acceptance of this doctrine.

We took our stand against these things. We were said to be anti-Quebec. The interesting part of it is this. When we stood in this House of Commons against the amending formula, when all the provinces but Quebec had approved of it, it was said by some that ours was an anti-Quebec attitude. Now the premier of Quebec and all his supporters stand where we stood, because we realized that that formula would simply mummify the constitution of Canada.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Page the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton).

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

As far as the hon. member for Kamloops is concerned, he is consistent. By the time the President of the Privy Council had monkeyed with that formula, it was changed.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

In view of the interruptions, Mr. Speaker, may I say this-

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. It seems to me that we are now getting away from the statement made by the right hon. Prime Minister which, it appeared to me at least, dealt with bilingualism in the civil service. I suggest to the right hon. Leader of the Opposition that we go to that subject.

[DOT] (3:00 p.m.)

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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PC

Michael Starr (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Starr:

I rise on a point of order. After all, when he made this announcement the Prime Minister ended with the contention that these measures would bring about unity. What the Leader of the Opposition is doing now is talking about unity.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

On the point of order raised by the hon. member for Ontario, I suggest it would contribute to the unity of the country if the right hon. gentleman would not misrepresent a former prime minister of this country, who never at any time made the statement attributed to him about sections 91 and 92 of the B.N.A. Act.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF POLICY RESPECTING BILINGUALISM
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April 6, 1966