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:
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
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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
October 19, 1976
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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:
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-
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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.
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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.
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY