January 28, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


André Gauthier


Mr. Andre Gauthier (Lake St. John):

Mr. Speaker, I have very little time left before ten o'clock but I do think I have time enough to make a few remarks. The hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight), I am convinced, has introduced his motion in a sincere effort to find a solution to the problem of education in general.
I do not have to demonstrate the need for supporting education. That is a generally recognized fact. All of us here to the best of our ability, are searching for a formula according to which our young fellow citizens may be allowed to benefit more from education.
Education is a personal responsibility of parents. That is a privilege which is rightfully theirs. Still, man is not able to develop, to realize his whole potentialities except as a member of society. That being the case, those in authority must exercise their complementary duties. In my province this is first of all the business of the local school board to which I am particularly happy to pay tribute.
Our federal system nevertheless recognizes the exclusive responsibilities of the provincial authorities to legislate in educational matters. I will remind hon. members that the fathers of confederation did not deem it wise to include these in the general powers granted to the provinces under section 92. They chose instead to draw up a separate section to deal with this matter, a fact which indicates the importance they attached to the subject. It was their wish that education be a provincial matter. Even with the best intentions in the world, I do not think that we should do anything which would, in any way, diminish the responsibilities of the province.
The mover of the motion has taken the precaution to include the following reservation:
Without encroaching in any way on the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces in this field.
That is undeniable recognition of the fact that the federal government has no jurisdiction in that field, and that should be sufficient to dispose of the resolution. Problems coming within the field of our jurisdiction are numerous and varied; some are very difficult to solve. We should spend our time and energy working for the common good of our constituents in the fields in which we have jurisdiction and which were assigned to us by the provisions of the British North America Act.
Federal legislators are duty bound to be very circumspect and careful in matters of education. The province of Quebec has most imperative and special reasons to be jealous of the field of education. It is the only means available to French-speaking Canadians of keeping the language and traditions inherited from their forefathers. If there is a crisis in the field of education, a fact recognized practically everywhere, let us leave to the provincial authorities the trouble of studying the problem and let us help them to solve it if they so request us. The proposals designed to put an end to the present financial crisis in the field of education referred to in the resolution must come from the provinces. They will I am sure set the required conditions and guarantees.
For all the reasons I just gave-it is already ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker

I must say that I will oppose this resolution of the hon. member for Saskatoon and I move the adjournment of the debate.
On motion of Mr. Gauthier (Lake St. John) the debate was adjourned.

Full View