September 29, 1988

LIB

Sergio Marchi

Liberal

Mr. Sergio Marchi (York West)moved:

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-152 be amended in Clause 24 by striking out line 35 at page 8 and substituting the following therefor:

"Canada and to governments of the provinces and territories".

He said: Mr. Speaker, this is my fourth turn at bat, but 1 will not give up. I will keep going, even though my motions were not agreed to on three previous occasions. I feel that the fourth motion will be the lucky one. 1 have a sense that the Minister will be prepared to pass the fourth amendment. I have not won a vote yet, but I am very much looking forward to winning many, many votes after the next election campaign.

The intention of the fourth amendment is, in a very nonpartisan manner and in a way that will not detract from the Bill, to correct a piece of legislation that I think has omitted a very important facet of Canada; namely, our two Canadian territories. My fourth motion would amend Clause 24 by striking out line 35 at page 8 and simply substituting "Canada and to governments of the provinces and territories".

Clause 24 refers to the provinces in the disposition of the heritage languages institute but omits reference to our two territories. I think that is a very serious omission, just as 1 believe that the omission of aboriginal and native languages is a very serious omission. In my first amendment, I tried to have included in the purpose of the Bill aboriginal and native languages as heritage languages. As important as it was to include those languages in this Bill, I believe it is equally important to refer not only to provinces in the Bill but also to our two Canadian territories.

For the previous multiculturalism Bill that was adopted by the House, I made the same recommendation at committee. In a number of places, the multiculturalism Bill expressed itself as working with the provinces, but left out the territories. I met with a number of groups which came before the Standing Committee on Multiculturalism at various conferences at which I have had the opportunity and honour of representing our Party. 1 have shared with them the vision that we would bring to this dynamic policy. They have asked me, when we discuss multiculturalism programs in committee or in the

Canadian Heritage Languages Institute Act

House, why it is that so often the territories get left out of the picture. We stop at federal-provincial discussions.

Of course, during the Meech Lake discussion, the territories were again very much an integral part of the debate. Certainly our Party stood for that in that debate. In fact, one of our amendments recognized the aspirations of the territories. We have to realize that there are real, live Canadians who happen to reside in the territories. Those Canadians also have aspirations as do we in other regions of the country. Our legislation, coming from a federal House, must reflect that national diversity, that national interest.

This is not a provincial House that speaks only to one regional interest. We are the national Chamber. Therefore, I think any legislation that stops at talking about federal-provincial discussions and relationships is not only inaccurate but is incomplete. It is time that our legislation be reflective of and sensitive to the aspirations of the two Canadian territories, particularly when it comes to talking about heritage languages, and particularly in the face of a Government that refused to pass my first amendment that would have ensured that heritage languages would also include our first native and aboriginal languages.

This amendment is parallel to the previous one. The Government did not want to include aboriginal languages as heritage languages. Since it refused that amendment, and I do not know why it did, 1 hope it will not refuse this amendment which is more in keeping with defining in a fuller context what we mean by the word "Canada". It is more of a correction to the legislation.

I am asking the Minister to look at this as an important housekeeping amendment, but one that nonetheless is very symbolic. It is very important to include rather than exclude the territories. It is important to have a fuller and broader definition of Canada rather than a more restrictive one. Therefore, the amendment only serves to note that we must include the territories in Bill C-152. I hope, having refused the first three motions because he deemed them to be unnecessary, the Minister would see the merit in adopting the fourth amendment that I have proposed to my colleagues in this Chamber.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Gérard (Gerry) Weiner (Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Citizenship))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gerry Weiner (Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Citizenship):

Mr. Speaker, I do accept the suggestion and I am prepared to accept the amendment.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is the House ready for the question on Motion No. 4?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Question.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The question is on Motion No. 4 standing in the name of the Hon. Member for York West. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

September 29, 1988

Canadian Heritage Languages Institute Act

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

I declare the motion carried.

Motion No. 4 (Mr. Marchi) agreed to.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Motions Nos. 5 and 6 deal with reports by the Minister. They will be grouped for debate but voted on separately.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Sergio Marchi

Liberal

Mr. Sergio Marchi (York West) moved:

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-152 be amended in Clause 27 by striking out line 16 at page 9 and substituting the following therefor:

"third anniversary of the coming into force".

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-l 52 be amended in Clause 27 by striking out line 24 at page 9 and substituting the following therefor:

"before each House of Parliament and referred to such committee of the House, of the Senate, or of both Houses of Parliament as may be designated or established for the purpose, within the".

He said: Mr. Speaker, coming off the victory of the fourth amendment, I will see if it is possible to extend that victory to Motions Nos. 5 and 6.

Motion No. 5 would have the effect of committing the Government to taking another look at the heritage languages legislation after three years instead of after four. The Bill proposes that at the end of the fourth year, the Minister and the Government would take a close look to see how the heritage languages institute is functioning, how the directives are coming forward and how the results are being received by Canadians. That review is very valuable so that we as a Parliament may ensure that the legislation is being guided in a way that is legitimate and in keeping with the views of Canadians.

I propose, and I discussed this very briefly at our first organizational meeting, that we might want to do that review, particularly since it will be of a new institute, sooner rather than later. I think it might serve a very useful purpose if a new piece of legislation were to be reviewed in some detail and depth using some care after three years as opposed to four.

1 think that a sooner review by the Minister, by committee and by Parliament would certainly be advantageous to the board of directors and the staff of the heritage languages institute. I am not sure how the Government devised the fourth year. Perhaps they envisaged four years in terms of the natural life span of a Government, or the four years was a compromise cut off between three years and five years. I am not sure whether there was any scientific equation to come up with year number four. However, having discussed this matter with a number of individuals since the Bill was introduced, I found it was their preference to go sooner rather than later in terms of a parliamentary review of the legislation. If in fact there were obstacles to overcome, barriers to be hurdled, we might be able to catch those kinds of problems earlier as opposed to allowing the institute to continue and then having to correct those mistakes later in the fourth year. That is in essence one of the amendments we are now debating in tandem, namely, amendment No. 5.

Amendment No. 6 speaks to the accountability of Parliament. When the Bill was first introduced, the Minister and the

Government inserted a provision that the institute would have to make a yearly annual report directly to the Minister. While that reporting and accountability is useful, I believe the usefulness is short-lived if that reporting is only going to be done to the Minister.

If the report contains some non-productive results or perhaps some embarrassing information, it is very obvious that any Minister of any stripe will keep that information to himself or herself. Therefore, at the committee level I made the recommendation to the Minister that he do two things; first, make that report to Parliament so that the accountability serves not only the Minister but all Members of Parliament, and through them, all Canadians. The information in the yearly report will not then be for the sole information of one Minister and one Government, but will be shared.

The example I used at the committee hearing was the Official Languages Commission. It reports annually on the policy of bilingualism not to the Minister, not necessarily to the Government, but to this Chamber, to Parliament, and through Parliament to Canadians. Therefore, when the Commission speaks it speaks to the entire institution of Parliament. I believe that the heritage languages institute should borrow a page from the bilingualism book and report directly through Parliament to Canadians and to the country.

The Minister, I notice, has amended his earlier version of the Bill to endorse those thoughts that 1 made known to him some days ago. In addition, my original amendment suggests that we refer, as an automatic right, that report to the appropriate standing committee of either the House of Commons or the Senate, for its information. It is a slight nuance. Nonetheless, I recommended that it be reported to Parliament and, second, that it be referred to the various and appropriate committees of either the Senate or House of Commons. It is a good course of action because it ensures that the work done by the staff and board of directors is simply not going to be done in some kind of vacuum. Those results will in fact be meaningful and will be shared and built upon by members in this Chamber and members of the standing committee where the bulk of the legislative work and initiative gets done.

We have an institute that is working out there on behalf of our multiculturalism policy and the policy of a strong and vibrant program of heritage languages, and I think it is important that its work be rooted in this Chamber and perhaps, more importantly, through our committee system. I moved amendment No. 6 to ensure that those reports are made available to Parliament and to Members, and through Members to Canadians, rather than simply depositing the report with the Minister who will then decide whether to release it publicly or refer it to our standing committees. We in those committees should be aware of the work of that institute. Because of its findings we can invite those particular individuals to our committees, or perhaps institute some work that would augment, in partnership, the heritage languages Bill, and the spirit and work contained within this Bill.

September 29, 1988

That is essentially amendment No. 6. Again, amendment No. 5 is simply to have the threshold level for review to be the third year as opposed to the fourth year. I hope that in the spirit of the earlier amendments I proposed, perhaps in the spirit of the Minister's acceptance of Motion No. 4, he would acquiesce and accept that a review in the third year is much more valuable than a review in the fourth year. More important, perhaps, accountability should be done through Parliament and through our committee system as opposed to an individual Minister of the Government of the day. 1 look forward to hearing the Minister's comments on these two amendments.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Lynn McDonald

New Democratic Party

Ms. Lynn McDonald (Broadview-Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate on Motions Nos. 5 and 6. I am very pleased to see the Government did agree to accept Motion No. 4. It is a very important point, one which was too much overlooked. I am pleased to see the Government will benefit from the advice of Opposition critics. I hope it will see the light on these two motions as well.

Motion No. 5 is not an earth shattering kind of motion. It is a very modest one. For that reason I think the Government ought to accept it. It is simply very reasonable. What it would do is alter the timeframe, shorten by one year, the report by the Minister on the institute's activities and organization to three years after coming into force instead of four years. I feel that three years is a reasonable period of time to see how the institute is going, and I feel it would be more useful. We have two opposition Parties supporting this motion and I hope the Government will go along with it.

Motion No. 6 is, I think, a more important motion because it is one that will really have more of an impact. The idea is to get more public discussion and input. This is clearly a matter in which there is a great deal of public interest. Let us benefit from that public interest by ensuring that organizations and individuals concerned with the issue of heritage languages and the work of the institute are able to have input at the appropriate time.

Motion No. 6 would seek to extend the reporting processes of the Minister to include review by committee, hence increasing the likelihood of broader public input into the evaluation of the work and the organization of the institute. We have strong voluntary organizations in this area. We have experts. We have citizens who are concerned. It seems to me it would be very sensible to get their input into the Minister's report, that it just not be a report to the Minister and not just be something kept within the bureaucracy. We should have the kind of public input that is really suitable for this kind of issue because people really do want to be involved.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Gérard (Gerry) Weiner (Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Citizenship))

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gerry Weiner (Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Citizenship)):

Mr. Speaker, I will be voting no on both Motions Nos. 5 and 6. With respect to Motion No. 5, the yearly report of the institute would provide the House with opportunities to assess the progress of the institute. With respect to Motion No. 6, I find it unnecessary because there

Canadian Heritage Languages Institute Act

already is an automatic reference. Therefore, we will vote no on both motions.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Sheila Maureen Copps

Liberal

Ms. Sheila Copps (Hamilton East):

Mr. Speaker, the amendments we have been considering which were moved by my colleague, who has been doing a terrific job on this particular Bill, basically asks for a review after the third year as opposed to the fourth anniversary. The reason for this is that we are hoping, of course, that the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) will be calling an election this weekend. We in the Liberal Party hope that he has the guts to call an election because we believe that we are in a position to take over, to form a Government, and hopefully one that will last for a period of four years. Since we would like to be in that position for four years, we would like to see this particular legislation reviewed within that mandated period. If we stick to the Government's legislation, which basically says that it will be reviewed after four years, a whole Parliament will lose the opportunity to review how well the Bill is working.

We think that by accelerating, not very dramatically, but simply by one year, the timetable for a review, that is, from four to three years, we will confer upon the next Parliament the opportunity of reviewing this legislation. We think that is a reasonable position. We frankly cannot understand why the Minister wants to wait four years because he is basically telling the next Parliament that it will have no opportunity at all of reviewing to see where it can make improvements to make this legislation work more effectively.

In fact, if the institute is going to be able to assume the powers that have been described here in the course of the discussion this afternoon, if it is going to be able to have the impact on heritage language, education, promotion and development which I believe all three Parties have clearly stated that they would endorse, then why not give the opportunity for review to the next Parliament? Why block out a whole Parliament? Why block 290-odd Members from the opportunity of reviewing this legislation? I believe that the amendment that has been moved by my colleague, the Member for York West (Mr. Marchi), which is to cut down the period for review from four to three years, would in fact accomplish that purpose.

Motion No. 6 deals with the reporting mechanism. We believe that it is really important that the institute report, not only to the Minister, which is presumably the possibility under any piece of legislation, but in fact directly to Parliament. The reason we would like to see that direct reporting is that we have seen how effective the parliamentary committee can be in reviewing, for example, the Official Languages Act. The discussions that have taken place on all sides of the House with respect to the report by Mr. D'Iberville Fortier show that a parliamentary committee in fact sometimes has the opportunity to highlight an issue more effectively than by simply reporting to the Minister.

September 29, 1988

Canadian Heritage Languages Institute Act

Certainly if you have a good Minister in place the Minister may in fact act upon reports from people and organizations representing the institute for heritage languages. This is a totally new concept, a totally new institute. By giving the institute the opportunity to report to a specific parliamentary committee and by mandating that in the legislation we will truly be turning power back into the hands of parliamentarians and not simply giving the power for review of the effectiveness and possible improvements for the Canadian heritage languages institute to a single Minister.

We think that the motion to report to Parliament through the committee democratizes the process. We think the decision to review the process after three years, as opposed to four years, is going to make a real opening for the next Parliament to examine the issue of heritage languages in greater detail. In fact we think that these are both extremely reasonable and supportable amendments. We know the Minister is reasonable and supportable in relation to this issue. I do not want to get too carried away, he might want to use that in his campaign brochure and I would not want to see that happen.

Nonetheless, we think these are reasonable and supportable amendments to which I am sure my colleague, the Member for Gander-Twillingate (Mr. Baker) would also like to speak.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The Hon. Member for Winnipeg North Centre.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Cyril Keeper

New Democratic Party

Mr. Cyril Keeper (Winnipeg North Centre):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I know that I am maturing as I spend time in this place, but I am sure you would not confuse me with the Hon. Member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Orlikow). That reminds me of when I was in Winnipeg last week and was coming back to Ottawa. I stopped in at the airport and gave them my ticket. The clerk passed me my ticket and said, "Mr. Knowles", so I thanked him for the compliment. I hope that that is a good omen.

The legislation with which we are dealing to establish the Canadian heritage languages institute and the motions that are before us deserve the attention of this Parliament. It is too bad that more time was not spent at committee level in order to deal with this legislation. If that had been the case perhaps there would not have had to have been so many motions before us.

Motion No. 5, which in essence says that the Minister would report on the institute's activities after three years rather than after four years, makes a great deal of common sense. That certainly is not something that always characterizes this place or always characterizes amendments to legislation. This is a good amendment because, if we have the election, as I expect, called tomorrow morning . . .

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Lorne Edmund Nystrom (N.D.P. Deputy House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nystrom:

What time?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Cyril Keeper

New Democratic Party

Mr. Keeper:

I think the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) will call his press conference for ten o'clock and will put us on the road to a new Parliament. If we have the election call tomorrow and the election on November 21 we do not want the Minister reporting on these activities-even if it is a Minister of the New Democratic Party, only four years hence. The same applies to a Liberal or Conservative Minister. We want the report to come within three years so that the next Parliament will have a chance to consider the report.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Ross Belsher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Belsher:

Keeper, you're smoking again.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Cyril Keeper

New Democratic Party

Mr. Keeper:

I've just been accused of something I am sure the Hon. Member does not mean. It is at least 12 years since I smoked a cigarette.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
NDP

Lynn McDonald

New Democratic Party

Ms. McDonald:

Tobacco.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
NDP

Cyril Keeper

New Democratic Party

Mr. Keeper:

I have my colleagues quickly giving me advice. They must think I am in quicksand here because they are telling me to make it clear that I meant Players and not some other brand.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   CANADIAN HERITAGE LANGUAGES INSTITUTE ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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September 29, 1988