November 6, 1969

PRIVILEGE

MR. BROADBENT-ALLEGED FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE AUTOMOBILE PRICE INCREASES

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. J. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa-Whil-by):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Late in the last session of Parliament the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs asserted that if the automobile companies introduced a substantial increase in the price of their 1970 models he would undertake an investigation of their pricing policies. Yesterday in the House, when I asked what had been done by the minister since the automobile manufacturers announced higher prices for their new 1970 models, he reneged on this commitment to the people of Canada.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, if you agree with me I should like to move that this matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. BROADBENT-ALLEGED FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE AUTOMOBILE PRICE INCREASES
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I notice that the President of the Privy Council wishes to rise in connection with the point raised by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby. As he knows, by virtue of the Standing Order the hon. member is required to give notice, which he has done, to give the Chair an opportunity to study the matter extensively, which I have done during the lunch hour. I thank the hon. member for giving me the opportunity to do so.

The hon. member claims that the alleged failure of a Minister of the Crown to take certain steps which he had indicated would be taken in certain circumstances is in itself a violation of Parliamentary privilege. Let me refer the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby and other hon. members, as I have done in the past, to Citation 113 of Beauchesne's fourth edition, which reads as follows:

Members often raise so-called "questions of privilege" on matters which should be dealt with as personal explanations or corrections, either in the debates or the proceedings of the House. A question of privilege ought rarely to come up in Parliament.

Do the circumstances outlined by the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby give rise to a valid question of privilege? I do not think so. The circumstances alleged by the hon. member may give rise to a grievance, and grievances should normally be raised and discussed by hon. members on one of the many occasions available under our supply proceedings.

What I am suggesting to the hon. member is that although he may have a complaint and may feel that the minister has not fulfilled a promise or undertaking given to the House during the course of an answer to a question, this in itself does not, in my respectful submission, constitute a question of privilege. It is the type of grievance which should normally be taken up under other circumstances, particularly when the House is debating matters under the terms of our supply proceedings.

Neither the special privileges of the hon. member as a member of the House nor the collective privileges of the House are, to my way of thinking, at issue in this instance. I must rule, therefore, that I cannot at this time put to the House the motion proposed by the hon. member.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. BROADBENT-ALLEGED FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE AUTOMOBILE PRICE INCREASES
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM

LIB

Gérard Pelletier (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Gerard Pelletier (Secretary of Slate):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to inform the House that this morning the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Basford) and myself have had the privilege of meeting with provincial ministers in the Ministerial Committee on Official Languages of the Constitutional Conference. During that meeting I announced to the provinces the federal government's proposals for financial co-operation in respect of bilingualism programs based on the principles set forth in Book II of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.

November 6, 1969

Financing of Bilingualism Programs [English']

I might add that the position we have advanced is in line with the process undertaken earlier in respect of Book I of the royal commission report, particularly the Official Languages Act which was adopted by Parliament last summer. The proposals we have advanced involve acceptance by the federal government of the principles underlying those recommendations in Book II which were addressed by the Royal Commission specifically to the federal government. They look forward to a program which would provide for federal co-operation with the provinces in greatly expanded activities in the field of minority language education and second language learning.

I am sure hon. members realize that the B and B recommendations concerning other minority groups have not yet been received.

We fully recognize that much of the substance of the recommendations of Book II of the Royal Commission Report falls more in the provincial field of responsibility than that of the federal government. At the same time, we consider that there is a national dimension to the problem. We believe that this latter aspect involves the development and encouragement of programs which will advance and encourage the use of the two official languages across the country.

Volume II of the Royal Commission Report contains 12 recommendations respecting aid to minority language schools, teacher-training, including the establishment of new teacher-training institutions; university education, including grants to minority-language students to study outside their own province, grants to minority-language universities, and a one-year transfer program for students specializing in the second official language; and finally the establishment of a Language Research Council. Other details of these programs are to be found in the statement I have made this morning.

[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)

Essentially, these programs would involve two related priorities; first, measures undertaken in co-operation with the provinces to ensure that the official language minorities will enjoy equal rights with the majority so far as access to education in their own language is concerned; second, the encouragement of second-language learning, to meet a desire expressed by an increasing number of

Canadians who wish to be competent in both of Canada's official languages.

As a government, we accept both these priorities and we are prepared to provide for federal financial participation in support of them. Action in this field of course calls for provincial participation as well, because proposals relating to programs and institutions in the field of education are in the provincial domain. Accordingly, in order to achieve any substantial progress in this field, provincial initiative will be required as well as a federal willingness to participate.

The question of financing is of course of the first importance. Given the financial restraints which are operative today, no government can think in terms of providing unlimited resources or establishing open-ended programs even in fields of the highest priority. We have therefore felt it necessary to inform the provinces that it will be necessary to place at least rough limits on the amounts which the federal government can contribute to this program.

Our proposals will require detailed discussion with the provincial authorities, who have of course not yet had an opportunity to study or comment on them. My purpose in speaking today is to ensure that the House is informed without delay of the government's position on this important matter. I would hope, so far as our provincial colleagues are concerned, that what we have begun this morning is a useful series of consultations which will eventually result in arrangements satisfactory to all concerned.

With the consent of the House, Mr. Speaker, I should like to table the proposals that were put to the provinces this morning which, if the House agrees, might be appended to and printed in today's Hansard.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING PROGRAMS
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Is it agreed?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING PROGRAMS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

[Editor's Note: For text of proposals, see appendix.]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING PROGRAMS
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, while we welcome the statement by the minister in his desire to inform Parliament, we have certain reservations and cautions about what appears to be a substantial initiative by the federal government in the field of education. Federal interference in the field of education has, in the past, been the

November 6, 1969

source of serious problems in Canada's history.

In his statement the minister recognizes that the recommendations of Book II of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Bicul-turalism fall more in the provincial field of responsibility. But he adds that there is a federal dimension to the problem. He went on to say that the federal dimension involves the development and encouragement of programs which will advance and encourage the use of the two official languages across the country. We do not disagree with this concept. But one is too easily reminded of the development and encouragement of medicare which forced many of the provinces to swallow an unacceptable plan. Having foisted this principle on the provinces, the government is now considering removing itself from this field.

The Secretary of State (Mr. Pelletier) also mentioned the restraints resulting from austerity. The present Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Sharp), and ex-minister of finance, also talked of austerity as the Liberal government forced medicare on the provinces. While the federal government is limiting its contributions because of austerity, it should not push increased expenditures on the provinces. Having in mind the position in the past, I would hope that the programs proposed for federal assistance to the provinces will allow for some form of assistance not only for the two official languages but also for the other ethnic languages which have become a part of Canada's culture.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, in welcoming the statement by the minister we ask the government to exercise caution in its meetings with the provinces. Having in mind past experiences of the provinces with this government, it is probably superfluous to ask the provinces to exercise caution in dealing with the federal government.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING PROGRAMS
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NDP

David Lewis (Parliamentary Leader of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Lewis (York South):

Mr. Speaker, may I begin my brief comments on this issue by saying immediately that so far as I am concerned I cannot see anything in the minister's statement or in the proposals which he made to the provincial ministers that suggests any intention to interfere with the provincial jurisdiction in education. I do not think one should assume this from the proposals which were made.

It has been evident from the start that if bilingualism in Canada is to be promoted and to become a reality, the major responsibility

Financing of Bilingualism Programs for it lies, in fact, with the federal government. The additional cost of enabling Canadians to learn the second official language and of increasing the teaching of the other official language in our schools should be borne by Canada as a whole through its federal treasury rather than by the provincial governments and the provincial treasuries. This is what the B and B commission indicated, and this is what we knew from the start. We therefore welcome the federal government's acceptance of that responsibility.

I have only three comments to make on the proposals that have been put before us. The first is the hope that the federal government will be as concerned with promoting the learning of other languages in Canada when the volume on other languages is produced by the B and B Commission as they have been with the promotion of the two official languages.

My second comment is that this is a field from which the federal government should never withdraw. I say this because we have had indications from the federal government of its intention to withdraw from other costsharing programs, an intention which I and my colleagues believe is contrary to the interests of Canada in those fields. But when the federal government seeks the co-operation of the provinces in introducing costly programs to promote bilingualism in Canada, the people of Canada are entitled to a firm assurance that it will not then load the provinces with the cost of that task at some future time. I do not wish to overemphasize this because although the minister did not say that in the future the government intends to withdraw from this field it is a fact that the government did not at first say it would withdraw from other cost-sharing programs, the cost of which is now being loaded entirely on the provinces. Therefore I think it is the duty of Members of Parliament to warn that any suggestion from the government of placing the burden of the cost of promoting bilingualism in Canada on the provincial treasuries would be a betrayal of the cause of bilingualism and of the obligation of this government to the people of Canada.

The third point I want to make is to express my astonishment at hearing the government pull a figure out of the air. I appreciate that any government has to allocate priorities and decide how much it can spend on A, B or C, but I am somewhat repelled by the notion that some bureaucratic group should decide that $50 million is to be spent on this project. I do not know why and how it

November 6, 1969

Financing of Bilingualism Programs decided on this amount; the minister has not told us. It seems to me it would have been much more sensible and, in my respectful submission, would have shown a great deal more good faith on the part of the federal government if it had continued discussions with the provincial governments, produced some kind of plan-or have the provinces produce plans for the promotion of bilingualism-made some kind of estimate of the cost and then related the cost to the total obligations of the federal treasury. Under such a procedure the figure might then be $35 million or $65 million or something else. But I am appalled at what I consider to be this totally bureaucratic approach of saying, without knowing what the plans are going to be, without having discussed exactly what they will be, without knowing what the cost will be: "You make plans but we place a limit of $50 million on those plans no matter what they may be." It seems to me this is not the proper approach to this kind of problem.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

I conclude by reminding the House if I have to remind it, of my dedication to the bilingual character of this country. Therefore I cannot but greet with pleasure the federal government's involvement and its assumption of its responsibilities. I just hope that the fears I have expressed will in the future prove unjustified.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING PROGRAMS
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RA

André-Gilles Fortin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Andre Fortin (Lolbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, we consider it excellent policy to provide the provinces with funds for joint financing of education of minority groups of one of the official languages so that they may achieve equality with the majority group, provided the rights and powers of provinces in the field of education are respected.

I should like to remind the minister that education comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces, under section 93 of the British North America Act, and urge him to keep this in mind during his discussions with the provincial representatives. We trust, Mr. Speaker, that the federal government will proceed cautioustly and respect this principle, which is embodied in the Constitution.

It is obvious that on the pretense of curing a national malaise, our action should not become for the provinces another source of frustration and dissatisfaction against federalism, whatever our intentions are, if we do not comply with the terms of confederation.

Mr. Speaker, we believe that federalism must be flexible so as to respect the identify of the individual while guaranteeing its own unity and Canadian characteristic in a bicultural and bilingual atmosphere. We rejoice at the minister's statement and action, yet they leave us confused about respecting the terms of confederation.

It is utopian to imagine that all Canadians can become bilingual. However, we sincerely believe that it should be possible for anyone who wants to do so.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude my remarks by saying that it is up to the federal government to help the provinces finance the program for bilingualism, show every respect for the identify and characteristics of each province, and provide for all equal opportunities to see their rights respected.

It proved more expensive for the province of Quebec to ensure the respect of bilingualism than for any other province.

Mr. Speaker, if it were possible to make such a legislation retroactive, I firmly believe that the federal government would not be in a position to repay the astronomical sums of money which the province of Quebec spent to maintain federalism, while in other provinces unilingualism was promoted. If every province will extend to its minority the same respect which the province of Quebec has shown to its minority, we of the Ralliement creditiste believe that national unity is possible.

That is why we are pleased with the initiative of the federal government, provided naturally that it will respect the identity and the jurisdiction of each of the provinces.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BILINGUALISM AND BICULTURALISM
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL CO-OPERATION WITH PROVINCES RESPECTING PROGRAMS
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PUBLIC SERVICE STAFF RELATIONS ACT

PROVISION OF PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT ARBITRATION AWARDS

LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Lloyd Francis (Ottawa West) moved

for leave to introduce Bill C-145, to amend the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE STAFF RELATIONS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT ARBITRATION AWARDS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Explain.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE STAFF RELATIONS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT ARBITRATION AWARDS
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LIB

Cyril Lloyd Francis (Chief Government Whip's assistant; Deputy Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Francis:

The purpose of this bill is to provide penalties which would be binding upon senior government employees for failure to implement arbitration awards within the period of 90 days specified by section 74 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE STAFF RELATIONS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION OF PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT ARBITRATION AWARDS
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Motion agreed to, bill read the first time and ordered to be printed. November 6, 1969


DOMINION COAL BOARD DISSOLUTION ACT

MEASURE TO DISSOLVE

November 6, 1969