October 19, 1976

LIB

Serge Joyal

Liberal

Mr. Serge Joyal (Maisonneuve-Rosemont):

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne and the speech by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) dealt largely with the problems facing this country and the choices which are open to the Canadian people, at a time when Canada no longer seems able to maintain a precarious balance between economic growth and the distribution of national wealth, through traditional means. My obvious interest in federal economic policies which has led me, ever since I was elected to this House, to sit on the Standing Committde on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs, on the Standing Committee on Regional Development and on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, might also induce me to expound in this debate the principles of what may be the foundations of economic democracy in Canada today.

However the resignation of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Marchand) on June 30, the rulings by the Quebec Supreme Court and the Quebec Court of Appeal in the case against Air Canada, and more recently, the resignation of the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Richardson) are issues which, to say the least, must be tackled. Therefore I feel I ought to deal exclusively with the first part of the Speech from the Throne, namely the part entitled "National Unity". In this connection, I must say that, because of the crisis Canada is facing today, this part of the official prose cannot be said to be erring on the side of audacity, still less by the boldness of major reforms which the problems our country is facing now would warrant, in my opinion.

Those who, at the time the Official Languages Act was adopted on September 6, 1969, believed for a while that bilingualism was once and for all with us, forever part of the Canadian structure, lost their remaining illusions when the former minister of national defence made public his letter of resignation. In this letter, he stated, quote:

... it seems to me that most Canadians would consider it prudent to continue for some time longer with the bilingual experiment before agreeing to entrench increased language rights, for all time, in the Constitution.

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing new in this statement; it is only the extension of a vision of this country which dates as far back as the Treaty of Paris of 1763, at a time when James Murray was cleverly administering the Test Oath, controlling British immigration and the imperial economy. This vision which the former minister is echoing again was more rudely expressed in an infamous report, both in its excessive and racist approach. Lord Durham wrote in February 1839, and I quote:

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October 19, 1976

Do French Canadians constitute a nation? ... I do not know of any national feature which marks and maintains a more desperate inferiority ... It is to extricate them from their inferiority that I wish to give Canadians our English character... I want it in the best interest of educated classes whom language and custom barriers keep apart from the great empire to which they belong ... 1 am even more in favour of amalgamation in the interest of lower classes ... If those people try to improve their condition by speading out into the neighboring country, they will necessarily come into closer contact with an English population; if they prefer to stay put remain where they are most of them will become labourers working for English capitalists. Wrongs generated through hardship and dependance would simply be aggravated and increased by feelings of a jealous and rancorous nation which would separate the working class from the owners of wealth and the employers of labour. These people have no history and no literature. Their nationality prevents them from enjoying the pleasures and the civilizing influence of arts.

For the royal observer, French Canadians were reduced to a state of inferiority, poverty and dependence. To improve our lot, the British lord suggests that we become good English workers, working in English for English capitalists under English peace and English civilization.

Those words did not fall on deaf ears, Mr. Speaker. Manitoba's joining Confederation made it possible to follow that advice. Need I remind the hon. member for Winnipeg South (Mr. Richardson) how the French language lost its official status in Manitoba? A little more than a year was enough. All the steps which were taken from February 4, 1889 to March 28, 1890, coincided in fact with a number of others to close the French-speaking Roman Catholic schools.

On February 4, 1889, a report by the committee on the printing of the proceedings recommending that the Votes and Proceedings no longer be printed in French was adopted. On February 11, a resolution amended the rules of the House so that motions would no longer be put in both languages and the bills would not be printed in French. On March 7, it was decided that the notices concerning private members' bills would be published in the English journals only. On March 20, Bill 43 was passed to abolish French juries. On March 22, Bill 70 was passed. It was entitled "An Act to provide that the English language shall be the official language of the Province of Manitoba". Finally, on March 28, 1889, a second report from the committee on printed material was passed which recommended that minutes and statutes be printed in English only.

Strengthened by its success and the speed with which action had been taken in the case of the courts and the legislative assembly, the government of Prime Minister Greenway decided then to tackle the school system. Besides, according to the liberal philosophy of the times, cultural and linguistic freedoms were to exist only to the extent where they were supported by a majority. The French speaking group in Manitoba which represented half the population in 1870, had gone down to one third in 1890. Having dwindled to a minority, it was easy to abolish the French sector of the school system since, according to that same so-called liberal philosophy, the majority had all the rights.

Of course, at the time, the case went before the courts. An appeal was made to the Governor General who took the case

The Address-Mr. Joyal

before the judicial committee of the Privy Council in 1894. The judicial committee recognized the claims of the French speaking group and sent the case back to the Governor General. But an ultimatum delivered by the federal government to the government of Manitoba in 1896 remained a dead letter. The Conservative government was defeated and Laurier came into power on November 19, 1896. A compromise was reached which left only a semblance of rights. In some cases, a teacher may teach in French and in English in those schools where there is a great number of Francophones. And with time, the number of Francophones in Manitoba went down gradually. In 1951, French was the mother tongue of 7 per cent of Manitobans. In 1961, 6.6 per cent and in 1971, 6.1 per cent. Hopelessly left to themselves, these Francophones are on the verge of assimilation. A projection of those figures over a longer period leaves no doubt as to the trend of the curve. In 1931, in Manitoba, the rate of Canadian-born Francophones adopting English as their mother tongue was 12.1 per cent. In 1971, it was 35.5 per cent.

Without batting an eye, the former Minister of National Defence goes on to say:

As years go by . . . bilingualism proves its merit, or disproves its worth, as a Canadian ideal.

There we are, 140 years after the Durham report. The member for Winnipeg South refuses to entrench the linguistic and cultural duality of Canada. Without blenching, he equates the rights of individuals with the programs aimed at having them respected. As far as he is concerned, the recognition of a right is inseparable from the administrative means of ensuring its respect. I ignore what concept of civil liberties is involved in the reasoning of the former Minister of National Defence, but how can we not recognize today that if there is so many problems to be encountered on the road to bilingualism, it is partly because certain provinces in Canada have contrived as early as 1870 to abolish all the rights of the French language, without realizing that one day the country might well be torn asunder unless the indefeasible rights of its citizens get to be guaranteed by law.

History, at least the history of Manitoba, shows that once the French language has been eradicated from public institutions, the rate of assimilation of the French-speaking community is greater and, as a consequence, its size tends to decrease.

So this is how some people with a certain amount of blunt straightforwardness see their responsibility with respect to the freedom and the rights of one of the communities which has been endeavouring since the 17th century in this country, despite difficulties, hesitations, half-successes, to build a society a little more tolerant, a little more pluralist, under conditions where the choice of values has to remain the responsibility of the individual and where the state must refrain from opposing diversity and dissidence either tjy constraint or by intimidation, or even less by omission.

But if Canada, as it is now, is to have a future, the absolute respect of the cultural rights of its citizens will have to be its unremitting task. Each of us is part of the natural or historical community in which he grew up. Each individual is a living

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October 19, 1976

The Address-Mr. Joyal

system of behaviour, values, knowledge, ideals and dreams. The cultural right is the power everybody has to remain what he is, unadorned and unadulterated. Wanting to get rid of your origins is to kill your originality. Against the assault of a state, an economy and a dominating culture which levels behaviours and erase specific characteristics, the right to be oneself, to be different, the respect of diversity do not represent, whatever the former minister of National Defence (Mr. Richardson) might think, a threat for national unity throughout Canada. A nation which fails to formally recognize in its political structures the right to cultural freedom does deserve to survive and it is its citizens' duty to do their best to give themselves the political structures which will ensure their own protection, with all their limitations and yearnings. Absolute respect for cultural differences cannot break up or impede the growth of a state; on the contrary, abusive centralism can do more to create oppositions and tragedies.

If national cohesion must exist in Canada, it will paradoxically be a cohesion of differences, not similarities. This will be a country where the economy, peace and civilization will not be exclusively English. To think that French-Canadians can lend themselves much longer to bilingual experiments before they may be assured that their rights are definitely safeguarded in the Canadian political structure is to attach very little importance to the lessons that the French-speaking community is learning from the crisis in air communications and at Air Canada. A Canadian federal state which strives to be a "liberal" democracy must entrench in its Constitution the respect of the linguistic and cultural freedoms of its citizens.

The passing of the Official Languages Act in 1969 was a first step toward the explicit and formal recognition of the English and* French language rights in federal institutions. When one tries today to measure how far we have gone, one is surprised to find that the results are still so little and people are so reluctant. There were loud cries about French power, the invasion of the public service by French-speaking bureaucrats, the violation of the merit principle. What is left after all those denunciations and scarecrow frights?

In the Department of External Affairs, there are no Frenchspeaking bureaucrats in senior official positions. In the Department of Communications from 1974 to 1976, the number of French-speaking people at those same levels varied by eight tenths of one per cent. The percentage of Frenchspeaking technocrats in the scientific and professional category did not vary in three years. In the Privy Council, from 1974 to 1976, the number of French-speaking employees decreased in both categories by 2.4 per cent in senior official positions and 16.4 per cent in the scientific and professional category. In the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, French-speaking civil servants occupy 7.1 per cent of the senior official positions and 6 per cent of the scientific and professional positions. In the Department of the Environment, they represent 7.1 percent of the personnel at that level.

From 1974 to 1976, in the Department of Finance, the number of French-speaking senior executives dropped from 9.1 per cent to 7.1 per cent. In the Department of Industry, Trade

and Commerce, the proportion varies between 11 and 13 per cent. Even in the Department of the Secretary of State, in the scientific and professional category, in the last three years, the number dropped by 12.9 per cent.

As far as the Department of Transport is concerned, the number of French-speaking employees decreased in those two categories. It fell from 8.5 per cent in the executive category in 1974 to 6.2 per cent in September 1976. In the scientific and professionnal category, it went down from 13.1 to 12.2 per cent.

Those figures show, Mr. Speaker, that still very few Frenchspeaking civil servants made it to the top. There is no way the progress made so far can be said to be preferential treatment; indeed, it has been so slow that one might wonder if in the present context it will be possible to create that "critical basin", that "cultural density" needed to channel present trends with regard to Francophone participation in the Public Service, so that the ratio of French-speaking civil servants will be equal to that of French-speaking Canadians.

To solve those problems a review of the first part of the resolution passed by Parliament in June 1973 is needed. Appearing before the Standing Committee on Miscellaneous Estimates, on April 29, 1976, the Commissioner of Official Languages made those comments and I quote:

OO)

As a ball-park guess, I would surmise that a good three-quarters of the money that goes for "bilingualism", in effect, protects the careers of unilingual Anglophones. When you look at double banking, language training, and, even, translation, much of it is to protect Anglophones. The one comment I would like to make to some people, who are not enchanted with the whole idea of language equality, is that one can criticize the program because one thinks it is unfair, or because one thinks it is a waste, but one cannot really do both at once ...

Language courses cost a lot of money, and, if you want to belly ache about discrimination and rumour monger about terrible scandals against Englishspeaking in the Public Service, then, get ready to pay for it. I think Parliament bent over backwards, in June, 1973, when it guaranteed that unilinguals would have exactly the same rights as bilinguals, in applying for bilingual jobs. That resolution of June 1973 was necessary politically. But I just point out, since we are all looking at a bit of cest-benefit and value-for-money analysis after the program has been going for 5 or 10 years, that sooner or later 1 think we are going to have to look at the long term payoff... The June 1973 resolution should not be considered as a permanent panacea.

We should therefore, Mr. Speaker, amend as soon as possible the provisions of this resolution so as to grant to recognized bilingual applicants only the advertised positions classified as bilingual, subject to competition. It is with such a reform only that we shall be able to create bilingual districts without at the same time suppressing the desired effects.

Mr. Speaker, three major factors have influenced the development of various linguistic groups in Canada. The most basic factor is of course the language spoken by the immigrants. But everything has contributed and still contributes to give the English language an ever increasing importance in Canada: the increasing number of ethnic groups who choose almost exclusively English as their spoken language; linguistic mobility and differences in the birth rate which prevent us from maintaining linguistic balance.

October 19, 1976

From 1871 to 1951, nearly 80 years, the French-speaking people made up nearly 30 per cent of the Canadian population. Today, they constitute 28 per cent only, and if the differences noted in 1971 between the mother tongue and the spoken language prevail until the year 2000, population experts foresee that the French-speaking people will then make up 23 per cent of the Canadian population and it is outside Quebec that the decrease will be more noticeable. Without drastic initiatives, there will of course remain centres of resistance in northern New Brunswick and the northern part of Ontario adjacent to Quebec, but elsewhere there will remain only marginal sub-groups.

Even in Quebec, the attraction of English is ten times that of French. In 1971, in Montreal, 66 per cent of the population was French-speaking. If the same conditions prevail, in the year 2000, only 59 per cent of the population of Montreal will be French-speaking. The assimilation rate of English-speaking people in Quebec is Five times lower than that of Frenchspeaking Quebecers. Even bilingualism has a marked assimilating effect among French-speaking people outside Quebec and New Brunswick. It will therefore be necessary for the federal government to define the elements of a demographic policy for Canada during the debate on the amendments to the Immigration Act announced in the Speech from the Throne. We cannot accept that a government supposedly anxious to preserve the stability of relationships between the main communities in Canada go on ignoring the effects of immigration on the linguistic imbalance.

At the same time, this population policy would only be successful insofar as it is supplemented by a much more dynamic policy of assistance to French-speaking minorities, a much better funded policy that acknowledges the fact that Francophones outside Quebec are in danger of being assimilated before long to the English-speaking majority. In the past 40 years, the assimilation figures have, generally, more than doubled. At this rate, 25 per cent of the Francophones in New Brunswick will be assimilated by the year 2000 and for all the other provinces, the percentage will exceed 60 per cent. This policy of increased assistance to Francophone minorities must be based mainly on a cultural policy which is tragically lacking.

The Massey Commission on National Developmnt in the Arts, Letters and Sciences submitted its report more than 25 years ago. At that time, that is in 1951, none of the great modern mass media had appeared on the scene: the CRTC, the CBC, cable television, none of these media which directly influence our personal values, shape our collective behaviors and social perception, existed then. Culture as we see it today is no longer restricted to the so-called classical arts. It encompasses even more every aspect of life in society and of the individuals which live in it.

Along with the conventional arts there are today the cultural environment, communications, regional development and popular culture, the economic aspects of culture, the cutural industry, its manpower and the whole network of influences and exchanges which the Massey Commission could not imag-

The Address-Mr. Joyal

ine in 1951. Twenty-five years later, we must try to define a cultural policy which takes more into consideration the linguistic balance that Canada tries to achieve and assigns a special role to communications in the definition and perception that the Canadian society may have of itself.

The goals of pursued by the federal government are not inconsistent with those of the provinces, especially those of Quebec, provided an attempt is made to steer clear of constitutional technicalities. Consequently, the government should set up without delay a commission whose terms of reference would be to define the terms and conditions of a cultural policy in accordance with the linguistic duality of Canada. Furthermore, the government should review the whole concept of the legal safeguard of linguistic rights. The Victoria Charter proposed to restore all linguistic and cultural liberties in the public institution that had progressively abolished them in the English-speaking provinces.

However, as its fate is still uncertain, the federal government should reaffirm its determination to see to it that English and French have equal status, rights and privileges in all institutions and in all matters under the jurisdiction of the federal government and Parliament. To this end, it must exercise its authority pursuant to section 91 (1) of the British North America Act and entrench in the constitution of the federal Parliament section 2 of the Official Languages Act. The federal Parliament has every power to amend the constitution but such powers are subject to the concept of power sharing, as set out in sections 91 and 92, to the office of Governor General and to the linguistic rights, as defined in section 133. Nothing in the wording nor in the philosophy restricts the power of the federal Parliament to provide a constitutional and a legal safeguard to the equality of both languages within federal institutions. This should only prompt even more the provincial governments to agree to append the provisions of the Victoria Charter on individual rights and liberties to a patriated constitution.

Mr. Speaker, I therefore intend to urge my colleagues in the House to take part in the debate on the repatriation of the Canadian constitution, so that the linguistic and cultural rights of the two great Canadian communities be constitutionally and legally safeguarded.

The government announced its intention of introducing a Human Rights Bill. According to the text of the announcement, the major effect of the bill will be to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, marital status or physical handicap.

Well, as one can see language is not mentioned in the list of guaranteed rights. We strongly maintain that linguistic discrimination must be penalized and repressed in the same manner as racial discrimination; why prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion and not on grounds of language, whether it is Spanish, Ukrainian or French? Therefore we must make sure that adequate amendments will be introduced at the right moment. At the same time, is it proper to repress linguistic discrimination in national bargaining units.

The Address-Mr. Joyal

The government cannot assert on one hand they want to protect civil and public liberties while accepting on the other hand that their partners in the collective bargaining process openly indulge in language discrimination; the judgement made by the Public Service Staff Relations Board on March 12, 1976, following the grievances of Jean-Luc Patenaude against the Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Association creates a precedent which we must prevent from repeating. It is unacceptable that duly elected labour representatives, such as Mr. Real Vaillancourt, an executive member of Local 1751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, still have to resort to legal procedures so that their union may obtain the right to work in French in the province of Quebec, not in Winnipeg, but in Montreal itself, where there are still mostly French-speaking people, so far as I know.

As long as employees of the federal public service or agencies or Crown corporations will be discriminated against without any action whatsoever being taken against the people responsible, any hope of seeing both language groups work peacefully and closely together within the same working unit will be pure utopia. It will therefore be necessary to amend sections 39 and 42 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act in order to give language rights in staff relations the same protection as guaranteed by law to race, national origin, color, sex or religion.

On the other hand, in view of progress made and difficulties encountered since the Official Languages Act was passed, we must without further delay review, extend and adjust the legislation so it will reflect current conditions.

First of all, the studies which are made by the Official Languages Commissioner on progress and problems encountered by each department or agency trying to reach the goals defined in the act and which are submitted to the Privy Council, must be followed up by Parliament. Too many annual recommendations from the commissioner have been laid to rest and too many departments have given more priority to administrative efficiency than to the fulfilment of this obligation. We therefore suggest that any report to Parliament under that legislation be referred to a Commons committee for study and recommendations to be tabled within twelve months.

It is essential to find procedures for reviewing and implementing the recommendations given to Parliament by the Commissioner of Official Languages. The present situation of Air Canada gives us an example of the shortcomings of the legislation in that respect. Each year for the last five years, the commissioner has issued recommendations which unfortunately fell somewhat short of being likely to bring the operations of the company to the level of equity sought under the statute. Therefore we must now proceed to the following stage and reinforce parliamentary control.

On the other hand, the fabric of public services in Canada is such that its exploitation must be left partially to the private sector, as is the case for telecommunications and air transportation. This situation has its advantages but requires special

controls and monitoring from the federal government. This is why our system has organizations which are responsible to see that these undertakings-which are part of public services or manage them and constitute, de facto or in right, a sort of monopoly in a region or even in the whole country-conform to the same standards of linguistic equity as the one being imposed on corporations and Crown companies.

Why should Air Canada have to enforce the Official Languages Act on the Montreal-Paris flight while CP Air would not on the Toronto-Milan line? CP Air and Bell Canada operate monopolies under the guarantee of organizations responsible before Parliament. These concerns have licences to operate in the public interest and in return for profits. Strangely enough the Official Languages Act does not apply to these undertakings and yet the linguistic rights of our citizens must be protected, whoever administers these services.

It is only fair therefore to restore the balance and extend enforcement of the Official Languages Act to monopolies which in fact or in their own right operate or offer public services. So we will move an amendment to the law, which will ensure that the same quality of service and equal access be readily available to both linguistic groups.

The one goal of these reforms, amendments and initiatives is to buttress an overly delicate balance, restore confidence among the majority of French-speaking people-particularly in Quebec on the eve of elections-through determination of Parliament to establish firmly in the political institutions of the country the conditions without which this debate night very well end up in an open conflict.

Court proceedings had to be initiated to secure implementation by a federal corporation of an Act that was meant to be the foundation of the Canadian political structure, and the distinct safeguard of the linguistic rights of French-speaking Canadians.

The concepts nurtured by the various parties to the proceedings against Air Canada and the Federal Minister of Transport (Mr. Lang) in recent months are best described in the ruling made by the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court on April 6, 1976, in the case of The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal vs. The Minister of Education of the province of Quebec.

Justice Jules Deschenes wrote, and I quote:

This event (Canada's change of allegiance from the French to the British Crown) has been labelled a "transfer" by overly modest French-speaking historians, while English-speaking historians, undoubtedly more realistic and relying on military facts, called it a "conquest".

For two centuries our two communities have been pursuing on our common territory the conflict of these two concepts of history. The Official Language Act is just another episode. The battle was transferred from the Plains of Abraham to the National Assembly and then to the Court of Justice: the stake is still the same . ..

We are indeed going through a major turn in Canada's and Quebec's history. There are no longer any winners and losers, vanquished and conquerors, but two communities called upon by an historical accident to permanently share one part of America. Each has its own traditions and culture which it is determined to preserve. A majority here and a minority there, either of them knows the delight of power and the fear of intolerance. The only difference is that among

October 19, 1976

French-speaking people, the latter has been a longer experience while the former is still a new one almost with the appeal of the unknown.

The Hon. Jean Marchand's resignation, the responsibility which my colleague, the hon. member for Matane (Mr. De Bane), and myself have assumed in the current conflict, and on the other hand the views upheld by the hon. member for Winnipeg South (Mr. Richardson) and his supporters must be seen in the context of a situation where there is no future for this country if cultural and linguistic freedoms are not guaranteed in an intangible way.

Depending on the choice made by members of this House during the constitutional debate, we will have a measure of the will of the majority and of their belief in the rights and freedoms without which no political balance can ever be guaranteed in this country. Such is the lesson we must draw from the history of Quebec and Canada.

The dissolution of the National Assembly in Quebec and the decision to hold a general election have given me an opportunity to review the role, responsibility and manner in which 1 can best at this stage help in defining and safeguarding in this country's political institutions the cultural duality which is particular to our society.

At a time when within the party and the caucus to which 1 belong some views inconsistent with my idea of the structure of our country have been stated by a resigning minister and at a time when I believed in the Official Languages Act to the point of handing my resignation to the caucus as the result of legal proceedings instituted to obey to the letter and the spirit of the law, 1 cannot resign my seat in the House in the belief that I could fight more effectively outside to protect the rights and freedoms of my fellow-citizens which the federal system is to provide if such a system is to survive.

Therefore, I will not seek a seat at the Quebec legislature in the next provincial election. 1 would like to thank the individuals who have shown their confidence in me and who have invited me to join their ranks during this campaign. 1 hope however that under the present circumstances, to be able to continue to cooperate with representatives of all the parties to develop those resources of tolerance and democratic spirit without which the essence of all our freedoms will be questioned.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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SC

Charles-Eugène Dionne

Social Credit

Mr. Charles-Eugene Dionne (Kamouraska):

Mr. Speaker, 1 wish first of all to mention that the mover and the seconder of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne carried out their duties very well. Their assignment was simplified due to the fact that the Speech from the Throne for this session is rather a summary of good intentions. Unable to spend lavishly, the federal government seems mainly determined to allay fears and do away with the sources of dissatisfaction. Apparently, it is trying to sum up all the criticisms which have been directed to it especially over the past year and to appease everybody. In this period of inflation and unemployment which often reach a record high, it was normal to direct the legislation towards a more equitable sharing of responsibilities.

The Address-Mr. C.-E. Dionne

The main objectives may be summarized as follows: Equality of opportunities (probably the only possible form of equalitarianism), national unity, the rights of the individuals and the function of the state, which are the main themes to come out of the speech which the Governor General of Canada and his wife delivered at the opening of the Second Session. I am pleased to join with hon. members who have preceded me in this debate to offer them my best wishes. These objectives of "national unity" and "equality of opportunities" are very praiseworthy, and all Canadians certainly share these aspirations. It will be important to draft legislation taking into consideration all the elements which in the past contributed to delay the realization of this "national unity" and of this "equality of opportunity".

I think it is in order to mention here that the concern of French Canadians is to ensure in French Canada the conditions which are necessary to its survival at a time when it is ever more urbanized, increasingly transformed to become the industrial and manufacturing community it is today. They are concerned about whether there will be real sharing of power between Canadians from both linguistic CQllectivities in all spheres of life in our country, in the business world, in government and in the public service or whether this sharing will only be symbolic.

I am glad to note that the government puts forward programs designed to teach both official languages in all schools in Canada, in agreement with the provinces. The hon. member for Temiscamingue (Mr. Caouette) who is confined to bed in hospital, often suggested this means of understanding between Canadians of goodwill in this House. It would be advantageous to have in the provinces, both for English-speaking and French-speaking Canadian people who would like to benefit from this, French and English teaching facilities for youth at all levels and in every place where they are justified by school attendance.

It would also be beneficial for national unity to overcome the geographic barriers that tend to separate our two cultures by granting travel subsidies to serious artists, more generous credits to the National Film Board. From coast to coast there should be a comprehensive service of French TV and radio so that the million French Canadians living outside Quebec as every other Canadian may have access to French culture.

When there will be better understanding among people we shall be able to prevent control towers from becoming Babel towers to the point that some fanatics consider the use of French in the air as a safety hazard. It is absolutely ridiculous. The province of Quebec is not the only territory in the world where French is spoken. There have always been landings and takeoffs in several French-speaking countries such as France, Belgium, Switzerland to mention just a few. "The French aeronautical terminology is at least as rich if not richer than the American terminology in the same field." This opinion was not voiced by people in aviation but by Canada's ambassador in Paris, Mr. Gerard Pelletier.

October 19, 1976

The Address-Mr. C.-E. Dionne

1 am pleased to see that French Canada finally dares express its feelings and the rest of the country listens, still with some surprise but more and more carefully. 1 wish that French voices will not become too harsh and that English ears will become really friendly so that Canada will have a bright future.

Let us not forget that very few countries have, as their official languages, those that are among the greater vehicles of though in the world. Canada can consider itself as very privileged to use, as its official languages, two of the most international languages of our time. Obviously, it is as vital for our unity that Canadians may benefit from equal opportunity for individual and regional economic development. That objective of equal opportunities constitutes a whole program and if equal opportunities are really to be given, the government will have to get used to studying the problems of poverty, unemployment, debts and strikes in a slightly more realistic light, otherwise that allusion to equal opportunities will be no more than an illusion. In March of 1975, the Canadian Welfare Council published a report on the children of the poor in Canada. Several conclusions, though they are not new, deserve to be mentioned.

Canadians love to think that in our society all children have equal chances to reach as high as their aptitudes would have them. Though they start out in life in very different circumstances we deceive ourselves into believing that all children, rich or poor, can achieve success. The facts are altogether different. To be born in poverty in Canada does not mean that one will necessarily remain poor to the end of his days, but it does make it most probable.

To be born poor means that one's chances to finish high school are reduced, that the possibility of going to university are slight. To be born poor means that changes are greater that as an adolescent one will be considered a delinquent, that one will be sent to reform school. When one is poor, the die is cast: one will have to fight to go up in life. To be born poor is unfair for a child. Of the 6.76 million children under 16 years of age in Canada at the time of the 1971 census, 1.66 million were poor. That report describes those children. What kind of life do they have today? What can they hope for the future? How does one grow up deprived of food, toys, clothes and outings? How does one grow up branded by poverty?

It is important that we Canadians understand the effects of an unfair distribution of the national income on the unfortunate people who live below the poverty level. It is no less important to understand that the numerous hardships suffered by poor children can be removed. There is no reason for children to grow up in poverty in Canada, for there is no reason for poverty to exist in Canada.

Census data show there is a large number of children living in poverty in every Canadian province. The greater percentage is found in Newfoundland where nearly half the children (45.3 per cent) come from families who live below the poverty level. More than a third of the children in Saskatchewan (38.4 per cent), Prince Edward Island (37.3) and New Brunswick (34.9 per cent) are also living in poverty. Even in the rich provinces

(Mr. Dionne (Kamouraska).J

of Ontario and British Columbia, with the lowest percentages, more than one out of six children come from families who live below the poverty level.

The chains of poverty which shackle poor children are the result of a long process which often starts even before they are born. A working paper on health prepared by the Canadian government in 1974, says at the outset: Health is the bedrock on which social progress is built. It may be true, but health and poverty seldom go together. As regards poor children, it would have been more relevant to point out that their future prospects are jeopardized because of their bad health.

You know very well that I could quote excerpts from a number of reports on poverty in Canada. I mentioned the report on poor children to show that there is much to do if we really want all Canadians to enjoy those equal opportunities mentioned in the speech from the throne. However, a part of the speech, held my attention, the one dealing with the assistance to small businesses. The area which I represent includes many family businesses which cannot expand normally for lack of funds to develop and update their equipment. Nevertheless, there is a supply of manpower made up of strong and vigourous young men of whom nearly 30 per cent are paralysed by chronic unemployment and who would much rather improve their standard of living and enrich at the same time with manufactured products or any other economic contribution the province of Quebec and Canada as a whole.

I did note also in this same speech that a job creation program is considered for the areas affected by chronic unemployment. I should point out that the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. Cullen) missed a fine opportunity to help the unemployed by providing under the 1976-77 LIP program enough money for the approval of more projects. Last year, in the riding of Kamouraska-L'Islet, an amount of $1,090,000 was appropriated by the Department of Manpower and Immigration, which enabled the members of the project selection committee to make it possible for a large number of workers to earn enough money to support their families, while carrying out useful community projects. This year, the amount appropriated is cut down to $427,000. It is easy to understand that the number of unemployed who want to do this type of work will be greatly reduced. This is a good opportunity to add that there will not be any equal opportunities for the large number of unemployed in our region.

1 also find there will be an information centre on collective bargaining. 1 hope the legislation will be amended so as to prevent an increase in the number of disastrous strikes that are prevalent nowadays. The last statistical report on strikes indicates that there were 238 work stoppages affecting 190,197 workers. It is time the government decided to amend the legislation to encourage the workers and prevent the economic disruptions resulting from strikes. Generally speaking, strikes are directed against those who pay workers a salary rather than against the system which deprives them of normal living conditions.

October 19, 1976

Economically speaking, labour unions seek salary increases and shorter working hours, but the cost of living goes up, nobody is much better off and the real losers are the pensioners, the underprivileged and other people on fixed incomes. Excessive salaries can even cause unemployment because businesses will have to cut their staff in order to maintain labour costs at a reasonable level. Between inflation and unemployment the governments of western countries never really had an option nor have they found a way to cope with that dilemma.

I was surprised to see that the speech from the throne did not mention improvements to the tough working conditions of a very large number of farmers, particularly milk producers. My colleague for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert) mentioned in the House last Thursday, October 14, the depressing situation in which a great number of milk producers, of whom several are unfortunately headed for bankruptcy, find themselves. Production quotas were reduced and farm incomes were cut by more than 20 per cent while costs are still going up. The hon. member for Papineau (Mr. Ouellet) last Friday call the attention of the House to the causes of the hardships of milk producers, adding that the federal government was not the only one responsible-and I think he is right-but also many representatives of milk federations, and I would like to quote from that interesting speech as follows:

Provincial authorities and dairy boards must recognize their shortcomings and more particularly those who represent the milk producers on the various agricultural boards and agencies. The fact is that a number of these representatives, Mr. Speaker, were representing whole milk producers, which form an industry which is far richer far sounder and much better organized and which emphasized, in terms of quotas and subsidies, the benefits and interests of whole milk producers, and did so unfortunately at the expense of industrial milk producers.

And he added:

I believe that, in the interest of our dairy industry as a whole, we will have to give guarantees to all producers as well as the assurance that the past benefits they gained will be maintained. And by this I mean to say that I believe it to be vital for the federal government to take the appropriate action to give back to some dairy producers the quotas that they lost in the last few months and to reinstate them in the position that they held with respect to their production level of 1974-75.

I agree with the hon. member for Papineau and I hope that the government will try to find a satisfactory solution to that very complex problem.

In an article about the food crisis, I read about the fact that the scarcity of some products is due to so-called production planning and organization on the part of the government. Who benefits from such measures? I quote that article:

On the pretext that certain wheat stocks had not been sold in 1970-71, the government paid a subsidy of $6 an acre to western producers to make them stop growing wheat. Stocks were quickly exhausted and speculators had a field day. It is indeed from this moment on that consumer prices started to increase. We have only to remember that at that time bread cost 24 cents.

The meat price control ordered by Nixon administration is another obvious case of scarcity caused by so-called production organisation government action.

Since this control did not apply to the prices of products involved in the production of meat, the price of raw materials went up while the price of their product was frozen-several farmers found it less unprofitable to kill all young chickens, to sell their sows while they were expecting a litter and to get rid of

The Address-Mr. Martin

their young calves. The same phenomenon happened in Quebec in the fall of 1974!'

This price freeze provoked a scarcity of meat in the following months, especially beef.

If we consider how the price of a gallon of regular gas is split up, we note that one of the main reasons for the price increase has been federal and provincial taxes, since 31 cents out of the price of every gallon go to the federal government, 19 cents to the provincial government, 27 cents to the oil companies and 7 cents to the gas station operator. It is easy to conclude that the true oil sheiks are in Canada rather than in Arabia.

It is easy to see that the multiplication of all sorts of taxes in a corrupt financial system is one of the main causes of price increases. I hope that during this session, the government will prevent legislation aimed at getting back some order in the financial and fiscal systems.

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LIB

Alan Gray Martin

Liberal

Mr. Alan Martin (Scarborough West):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to spend some time this afternoon discussing certain aspects from the four main captions under which His Excellency the Governor General outlined the program of the government for the second session of our Thirtieth Parliament. These are national unity, equality of opportunity, individual freedom, and the role of government.

First let us talk about national unity. This is a term that undoubtedly means different things to different people. For my part I intend only to discuss my understanding of what it is all about and the degree of importance that I see should be attached to the term.

The people who have inhabited that area of the North American continent that lies north of the forty-eighth parallel made a series of independent decisions over the course of the past 100 years or so that have had the effect of pulling together, in the process fabricating a nation that has become known as Canada. The first of these decisions was carried out in 1867 when Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia laid the initial cornerstone of the new country. The most recent decision was taken in 1949 when the province of Newfoundland came on board.

These individual decisions were not made as a result of victory or capitulation following the devastation of a war, but were made freely by the elected representatives of the people who inhabited the various semi-independent areas of this northern half of the continent.

The desire to unite was prompted, presumably, by the hope of greater ultimate benefit to be gained from the new potential that would be available through the mechanism of some form of national identity. At the same time unification was seen as a means of seeking a much needed degree of some protection through the close association of friendly and to some extent like minded neighbours for those aspects of their individual way of life that the inhabitants of each area most cherished.

In simple terms, I see that as the background of this nation, a genuine desire to forge something strong and meaningful yet

October 19, 1976

The Address-Mr. Martin

something essentially different and distinct from the other great nation established 100 years earlier on the same continent.

In my view, the term national unity in Canada must be looked at in the context of what brought us together in the first place. National unity to Canadians may indeed be something different from what it may mean in the context of the United States of America and the citizens of that country or, indeed, the United Kingdom and its citizens, or even of other larger and more distant countries such as the U.S.S.R. and India.

National unity to me means first a national identity with which we are all proud and honoured to be associated as citizens and are also prepared to defend when and where necessary. Second, a national identity promotes and encourages diversification among its peoples in all aspects of their lives. After all, Canada and diversification must be synonymous simply by virtue of our vast geography, if for no other reason, spread as it is over the second largest land mass on the planet. Third, a national identity denotes a country where respect and privilege are accorded all its citizens in line with the understandings that have been incorporated into the very fabric of the nation. I speak specifically here to the issue of the two official Canadian languages, a basic tenet of our Canadian heritage and culture since the birth of the nation in 1867, and long before, a fabric which was reinforced at more recent date by the agreement of all political parties in the House of Commons through the passage of the Official Languages Act, an act which ensures the ability of Canadians of either official language group to be able to interact with their national government in either of the two official languages, an act which, I repeat, was passed and agreed to by all members of the House of Commons regardless of political persuasion-

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?

An hon. Member:

Not by all members.

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LIB

Alan Gray Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

-an act introduced by a Liberal government to reinforce, 100 years after the birth of the nation, a basic provision of Canadian confederation.

The fabric of all great nations is tested from time to time. I could not help being impressed earlier this month during a brief visit to the city of Winchester in England, the original capital of that great land for a period of several hundred years until, I believe, the move was made to London some time in the thirteenth century. Wandering around the city I came across a very large statue of King Alfred, erected by the people of Winchester in 1901 to commemorate "1,000 years since the birth of the nation." My mind could not but reflect momentarily on the tremendous upheavals and accompanying difficulties of all sorts, including major internal and external wars which have faced and which still face the people of the United Kingdom. Yet the basic fabric has, somehow or other, held together, not for 100 years but for 1,000 years; ten times as long. It is interesting to note the strong but at times tenuous form of national unity which is depicted in the long history of that great country.

On the other hand, there is a country like India, a country I was privileged to visit one year ago as a member of our Commonwealth parliamentary delegation. In terms of its nationhood, India is barely a quarter of a century old. The pressures of diversity, highlighted in such areas as language- there are some 17 official languages-geography, culture, and religion in this young nation are so great, and are coming so early and at such a furious pace as to threaten the very ability of the country even to develop a fabric which could be termed national unity. Yet a sense of unity does prevail in India even during the present troubled times.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the fabrics of great nations have always been tested and will, I suggest, continue to be tested many times over in the future. Look at China at this very moment. Look at our great and respected neighbour to the south, the United States of America, which just two years ago was at the height of Watergate. Some say the Canadian fabric is being tested today, and perhaps this is so. I somehow doubt, however, that the rulers of India, the United Kingdom, or even of China would have much sympathy for our problem, if indeed it is serious enough to be called that in terms of the world-wide context of national internal problems.

If we do have a problem in relation to national unity in this country, what is it? The answer to that question would, I suggest, elicit various responses from individual Canadians ranging from a complete disclaimer as to the existence of any real problem whatsoever to the exaggerated and overly excited claim that the nation is about to fall apart.

Some western Canadians claim that Canadians living in central Canada, that is to say, Ontario and Quebec, do not understand or care about them; some central Canadians feel that western Canadians with their vast supplies of much needed energy resources lack an adequate degree of nationalist fervour in their handling of such resources; some Ontario Canadians wonder why other Canadians do not go along with their particular way of thinking and living; some Quebec Canadians cannot understand the inability of other Canadians to understand their particular problems and aspirations more fully in such areas as language and culture. Finally, some maritime Canadians long for a way to share a larger portion of the Canadian economic pie without at the same time disturbing their more genteel and unhurried way of life.

Incorporated in the problem faced by Quebec Canadians is the matter of language. Whether or not this is the most serious problem which faces us in the context of the testing of our national fabric being made at this time, I really cannot say. Certainly the matter of language rights is perceived by many Canadians of both language groups as being serious at this time. Indeed I suppose one could argue that it was the underlying factor in the by-election upset in the nation's capital yesterday. Some people seem to be fearful that their rights are being eroded; others seem concerned that their particular rights have never been adequately acknowledged and are thus effectively non-exercisable.

If language rights in this great country are really a problem, we should be so lucky, first that we are dealing only with two

October 19, 1976

official languages and, second, that such a golden opportunity is provided through our nation's fabric for developing a comprehension and understanding of two different cultures rather than insulating ourselves behind the closed doors of a single culture and tongue. Our task as Canadians has always been, and remains today, to take up the challenge and make the most of it. For 100 years we have pussy-footed around the education of Canadian children with respect to coming anywhere near an adequate level of teaching a proper comprehension of both official languages. As a nation we have hidden behind the provincial prerogative to determine what will and will not be taught our youngsters in all areas, including that of the two national languages.

Ten years ago we found ourselves in the ridiculous position of having to embark on a necessary but costly program simply to ensure that Canadians occupying key positions in the nation's public service would be able to converse adequately with other Canadians whom they are appointed to serve. And this was the situation almost exactly 100 years after the formation of the nation.

I am delighted to see reference in this Speech from the Throne to something which many of us have felt to be an urgent need for a long period of time-it was a fundamental part of my maiden address to the House some two years ago. 1 refer to the intent to use national persuasion tc encourage the provinces to give greater and more adequate attention in future educational programs to the teaching of the two official Canadian languages and the historical and cultural backgrounds which support them. Only in this way can we get at the guts of the issue and avoid similar discussions 100 years hence.

If language rights and usage are indeed impediments which are affecting the fabric and national unity of our country at this time, then I suggest the present government and the present Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) are in a far better position to implement modifications in existing programs and to draw up new and more effective programs than would be a government under a Conservative banner which has had little experience and even less success in this century in dealing with this sensitive issue as a government in power, particularly since it does not include in its base any meaningful representation in terms of members from the 28 per cent of the Canadian population which is most deeply concerned.

I wish to express one last point on this matter of national unity. Regardless of our various interpretations of the term and just what it means to each one of us, I think most Canadians would agree that it continues to be an objective towards which we must strive relentlessly, at times experiencing setbacks of one form or another, as has been the experience of all great nations, but always possessing a sense of determination and perseverance that will make us the pride-not only of our own citizens-but also of those who even today watch us with such envy from various corners of the world. In my view we must mature in our sense of understanding of our

The Address-Mr. Martin

fellow citizens, whether or not we share the same street, the same colour, the same religion, or the same one of our two official tongues.

Next, Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly on the second topic covered in the throne speech, that of equality of opportunity. A number of important thrusts have been indicated by the government in order to promote individual and regional economic opportunities. The first of these is to continue the program to bring the rate of inflation in Canada under control. I find it a completely unproductive exercise in October, 1976, to argue whether or not controls should have been introduced, and whether or not the Liberal or Conservative timing would have been the more appropriate. The essential point is that the rate of inflation in Canada has come down dramatically in the past 12 months and has exceeded the government's target for this first year of controls. I happen to share the opinion that this dramatic fall would not have occurred without specific government action this time last year.

I suggest that the vast majority of Canadian electors are supportive of government action taken one year ago to control the devastating effect of the inflationary curse that was prevalent across the country. Yes, some Canadians have felt the brunt more than others; there has been some inequality in the manner in which the burden has fallen. However, by and large, the Canadian people-as distinct from some national organizations with vested interests-look upon this example of government leadership with a sense of relief and general support. Something indeed had to be done or no equality of opportunity could possibly have existed for Canadians, and the entire economic future of the country would have become seriously endangered.

The opposition of the Conservative party to the controls program at a crucial time in the economic history of the country, after having advocated controls some 14 months earlier when the situation was far less serious, is indeed strange behaviour by a group of elected representatives who wish within the next two years to hold themselves out to Canadian electors as a viable alternative to the present government. No degree of double talk or fence shifting by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) will get him or his party off that hook.

Some other specific thrusts in the throne speech include a welcome commitment to bring growth in the public service down below one per cent per annum from an annual rate of some 4 per cent over the recent 10 year period. Additional support is indicated for private industry in meeting increasingly tough international competition. Small business growth will be promoted. Job creation programs will be reviewed in order to provide more meaningful assistance in areas of chronically high unemployment. Improvements will be sought in labour-management relations. The Canada Pension Plan will be expanded to recognize more fully the working partner whose energies are devoted to the home. The goal of one million new homes over a four year period will be maintained as basic housing policy.

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The Address-Mr. Martin

In the area of individual freedom one aspect where I would have liked to see more attention is in the justice system. At the present time I feel that there is much too long a period between the time of apprehension of an accused and the commencement of the trial process. This works to the detriment of the Crown and society in cases where otherwise guilty persons go free, and also to the detriment of the innocent person who has an unwarranted charge hanging over his or her head for too long. Furthermore, I would encourage the government to consider policies that would render more concern for and assistance to the victims of crime and their immediate families.

I welcome the likely introduction of a bill to bring the duties and responsibilities of the Auditor General more in line with the needs of an organization now spending in the area of $40 billion per annum. In the area of adequacy of financial controls over government expenditures, I would urge implementation of the recommendation which came last year from the Auditor General for the creation of the position of chief financial officer within the public service.

I support the increasing trend toward making more government documents available to the public, and I look forward to the introduction of a human rights bill at the federal level. I believe a move to enable broadcasting of the proceedings in the House of Commons to take place would be most definitely in the public interest, whether or not many Canadians were to avail themselves of the opportunity to participate in our proceedings as spectators in their own living rooms.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words on the role of government in Canadian society. I tend to agree completely with the government's proposal to follow a middle road in this area between two extremes. Certainly a review of the United Kingdom situation today, where one recent media estimate placed the share of Gross National Product being directed to government at 60 per cent, is a clear indication of how far not to go. In our own case all levels of government in Canada are accounting for some 43 per cent of the Gross National Product, with the federal share at about 20 per cent. It is my opinion that all levels of government must collectively remain below the 50 per cent level in order not to discourage further new and innovative entrepreneurial activities. Consultations with provincial governments should include discussions designed to ensure that over-all government participation in the Canadian economy does not exceed a predetermined share of the Gross National Product over the long term.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak a few words on the subject of leadership. Some Canadians express the view that there is little or no leadership being exhibited on the federal scene at this time. My only response is to ask these same Canadians to review the achievements of the government over the past two years, to examine the specific proposals contained in this throne speech, and to consider whether or not the state of the economy today would have been in as stable a condition as it is without the kind of leadership that has been so clearly demonstrated by this government and by this Prime Minister.

On the other side of the coin, Mr. Speaker, we have a group of elected representatives occupying the role of official opposition who are so devoid of policy and purpose that they sent their recent candidate out on the hustings with the message, "Simply elect me and watch some policy evolve over the next few years". It may have worked yesterday in Ottawa-Carleton in a by-election. However, it will never work in the next federal election when Canadians will want to look with a critical eye on those policies being placed before them by a party that is seeking their majority support as against the proven record of the government party in power.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the continuation of strong and responsive government over the next two years under the capable leadership of the Prime Minister will ensure his and our return with perhaps even a larger mandate for the Thirty-first Parliament. A viable alternative will simply not be available if the existing situation across the floor of this House is any indication. The memory rests long in the minds of Canadians of the last time the nation gambled; I refer to the period 1957-63. They are not likely to risk a similar move again unless we on our side drop the national ball completely-a most unlikely development in my view. May I call it six o'clock?

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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker;

Order. It being six o'clock I do now leave the chair until eight o'clock tonight.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The House resumed at 8 p.m. [ Translation]


PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Roch La Salle (Joliette):

Mr. Speaker, I would like at first to take this opportunity to greet a personality who is a very close friend of mine. We have the pleasure of having in the gallery this evening the young and dynamic mayor of my parish of Crabtree whom I would like to greet at the beginning of my comments. He is a nice guy, Joe!

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LIB

Joseph-Phillippe Guay (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Guay (St. Boniface):

I have no doubt.

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PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. La Salle:

He is surely one of the best, Mr. Speaker, surely one of the best.

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?

An hon. Member:

The best.

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PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. La Salle:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some comments on the throne speech. I know that as usual it is a well meant statement. Since 1968, I have heard several throne speeches, but somehow I have the impression that it is one of the last such speeches presented by this government. That is indeed what some people have been saying today.

I noticed in the Speech from the Throne a word about consultation on matters related to inflation controls. I also noticed that funds would be made available for day care

October 19, 1976

centres, that greater efforts would be made to help the small, average and large farming business. However, there is something that greatly concerns us, I shall come back to that later. Amateur sport will benefit from new funds. I have a lot to say on this issue. There is also mention of good intentions on the part of the government concerning improvements to be made in the areas of unemployment insurance, immigration, external affairs and finally, constitutional independence.

I said a while ago, that since 1968, I carefully read and listened to speeches made in this House. I will not allow myself to be too critical of the throne speech since it is a book of intentions and I prefer to wait for the actual proposals that will be made by ministers.

In my own riding as everywhere, Mr. Speaker, people are concerned over the pitiful economic performance of the government. They talk about unemployment, inflation, confrontation, arrogance and the dairy industry which is having a very rough time at the moment. So, as I have said, in my circumscription and elsewhere throughout the country, people are worried and disappointed and no valid solution seems to be in sight.

During the last cabinet shuffle, attention was given to amateur sport and physical fitness, and a minister of state was appointed. I would have welcomed the opportunity to congratulate her and wish her the best of luck in her new mandate, considering her pleasant personality as official critic in amateur sport. I must admit I am looking forward to having excellent relations with her.

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LIB

Joseph-Phillippe Guay (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Guay (St. Boniface):

Beware!

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PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. La Salle:

I am aware and carefully measure my words!

May I add that I was very pleased to hear that statement: the appointment of a Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport. As a matter of fact, I had made such a recommendation three years ago and later on asked the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) a number of questions on the importance of creating such a department. I am therefore very glad that the Prime Minister saw fit to adopt these recommendations. He was certainly a little long in taking this decision, but what is done is done, and I am glad a minister of state has been appointed. Of course, I should have preferred the creation of a full-size department with a budget and all what this implies. This is nevertheless a first step in an area which is becoming increasingly more important in our society.

It is stated somewhere in the Speech from the Throne that in the aftermath of the highly successfull Montreal Olympics, and the gratifying results achieved by Canadian athletes, federal support for selected amateur sport and fitness programs will be further augmented. But what does this mean exactly? We shall certainly have the opportunity to obtain more complete information from the minister. In fact, I could never hide from you my interest in physical fitness and amateur sports, in view of the sort of life we are living today: shorter work week, longer vacations or more holidays, it is

The Address-Mr. La Salle

obvious that the people of Canada need healthy recreation. If we make a more in-depth study of some countries that went even further than we did it is also obvious that we were right two years ago to include in our electoral program the creation of a ministry of physical fitness and amateur sport. As recently as two years ago we committed ourselves to this and I can ensure Canadians that with the advent of a Progressive Conservative government, we will establish a national policy for physical fitness and amateur sport.

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?

An hon. Member:

It has been done already.

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PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. La Salle:

If it has been done, precious little has transpired so far. I agree to give the benefit of the doubt to the minister of state involved and I hope that during the weekend she will have the opportunity to spell out her objectives. In any case I think it is urgent now to establish a real national policy for physical fitness and amateur sport. The responsibility of a responsible government is to establish a policy enabling every Canadian to practice a sport according to his taste and talents. The government should not be expected to steer Canadians towards any form of sports but should offer them the opportunity to practice the sport of their choice.

But to do so, we must first undertake a study of our institutions and facilities while keeping in mind the legal aspects of what comes under provincial jurisdiction. I remember that in answer to some questions I had put to the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde) I was always told that it came under provincial jurisdiction. To implement such a policy I think that both the study of our present facilities and the motivation of the people concerning the access to a form of sports make us believe that there are provincial jurisdictions and that we should not interfere.

So if we pretend to be serious about a national policy, we must immediately consider-I hope the government will not hesitate to do so-convening a federal-provincial conference at that level and urge the provinces to attend. I suppose we could reach an acceptable consensus and then gather the provinces and make them aware that we expect full cooperation and generous assistance from them.

We know that a genuine national amateur sport policy must first be set at the primary level of our school, and we know that those schools fall under the jurisdiction of provincial departments of education. And to encourage, attract and interest the provinces, funds would have to be found to launch such a policy. The need does exist. Canadians are behind in the area of physical fitness.

If a healthy nation is a happy nation, we have a lot to do, and I dare hope that the government will not be content with reminding us that it spent a few additional million dollars during the Olympic games. Given the enthusiasm we saw last summer, the motivation we experienced in the past few years because of the Olympic games in Montreal, we must not stop there. And if we consider the marked interest that we wit-

October 19, 1976

The Address-Mr. La Salle

nessed last summer, we are already looking forward to Canada's participation in the 1980 Moscow games.

So we must prepare for it. We must use existing facilities to the maximum. And I think we could consider some sort of very special training in 1979 to prepare Canadian athletes for an absolutely exceptional Canadian representation in Moscow. All that is part of a strategy, of course, but first we need to implement that national policy here through this government and in Parliament. I now come back to the importance of cooperating, negotiating, consulting with the provinces and defining together what kind of policy could be implemented to use all our facilities to the maximum and secure the agreement of the provinces on the renewed interest which this government would like us to believe exists.

So on that I say once again, Mr. Speaker, how satisfied I am to see that they finally understood the importance of putting a person in charge. Not knowing what the funds will be, it is difficult to further commend the government but in the light of the statements that the minister responsible will want to make, I want to say to the House that they can count on our cooperation with respect to the setting up of a genuine amateur sport and physical fitness policy.

We know perfectly well that better physical fitness for Canadians means fewer sleeping pills, and I think we understand more and more the importance of physical fitness. There is no limit agewise, and I think Canadians, both young and old, would be very anxious to benefit from a well conceived policy which respects, as I said, the provincial jurisdiction over recreational activities planning. But for once, we will be asked to vote for credits for the provinces which have expressed their intent to do something in this field, and I would think that the federal government, if they really mean something when they talk about a real policy, will also be generous when the moment comes to give the needed credits to meet the needs of a society like ours today.

So on this matter, Mr. Speaker, I will limit myself to those few remarks to assure the government that we the members in the official opposition are prepared to act objectively and to be very positive on a matter of such vital interest as is physical fitness for Canadians as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot help making some comments on the agricultural situation. Numerous farmers live in my riding and, following the dreadful effects of the dairy policy announced last April, again I have to return to the charge. I do not remember how many times I raised questions on this matter, how many times my colleague the official critic did, but we are still waiting for the government's answer; the 'situation has been unbearable since last spring. Last week I asked questions to the minister and to the Prime Minister. Their negative answers make me believe that the government does not intend to help, for the moment, a particular category of citizens, namely milk producers.

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LIB

Marcel-Claude Roy (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Roy (Laval):

It was done this afternoon.

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PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. La Salle:

The hon. member for Laval said that it was done this afternoon. I hope that tomorrow's newspapers will

bear good news for milk producers. And I look at my friends opposite who come from Quebec and who are all smiles this evening. I imagine the minister announced something very important.

I was not in the House this afternoon, because I had to attend other meetings; nonetheless I must say that this government let our milk producers suffer for too long. They put them in a situation bordering disaster. Unless this piece of news the hon. member for Laval (Mr. Roy) gives me willingly is a short-term remedy, I do not know what the minister said this afternoon, and for that reason, I must deeply regret the failure of the government to act in this direction and to recognize that the situation has become unbearable for milk producers throughout Canada, and I hold the government responsible for that policy of reducing a production they encouraged three years ago.

Finally, I understand that the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Corriveau) does not want to hear anything about it anymore. He made himself enough representations and got so many negative answers that he must not feel like raising the matter again. But all the same, on behalf of the milk producers of my riding and of all Canadian milk producers, I must implore the government to be more humane than it has been up to now. I venture to think that we will get some answers on this matter, and if the government continues to implement the policy it put forward, it will be a real disaster for an entire group of Canadians and it will cause the disappearance of one of our main agricultural industries.

Mr. Speaker,-

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?

An hon. Member:

What is your policy?

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PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. La Salle:

What did you say?

The policy is to remove immediately the penalty imposed upon the milk producers and to remove immediately the levy on milk powder exports. Both measures have burdened our dairy producers, and I think the hon. member who is asking me this question knows it. I know that members of the Liberal party have made representations to the government which turned a deaf ear.

I must say it again, I must call for a short-term solution, and I think that the hon. member for Laval agrees with me. But like many others, he could not get a positive answer from his own government, and I have every reason to say that this government is responsible for the present situation, for the present disaster and for the unbearable situation of our dairy farmers. I will restrict myself, Mr. Speaker, to saying the simple truth in this House. I know that my time is running out.

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October 19, 1976