Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa East):
Mr. Speaker, I should like first to congratulate you and your colleagues for your appointment to these high posts. I am proud to see that the role of Speaker belongs to a dedicated Franco-Ontarian who is doing honour to his province and to his country.
I should like also, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate and to thank the mover (Mr. Blais), and the seconder (Mr. Blaker) of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. It is a pleasure for me to see that like myself they are members of a minority in their respective province.
Also, Mr. Speaker, may I express my gratefulness to the Ottawa East electors who kindly elected me as their respresentative. I accept the honour and I shall endeavour to carry on my duties with all the dignity of that post and with all the ability I have.
During 27 years, from 1945 to 1972, Ottawa East was represented by Mr. Jean Thomas Richard. He was a man of action, a man of the people, and his voters and his country are obliged to him for 27 years of devoted service.
He acquired in those years as a servant of the Canadian people and his riding an enviable reputation as a lawyer and as a member of Parliament. He managed to prove that he was a serious man, a man who could listen to and serve the people of Canada. The people of his riding came to visit him in his office, in the House of Commons, and he always had time to see and help them.
During his long career in Parliament, Mr. Richard served as chairman of the Canadian section of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in 1965 and as chairman of the public service parliamentary committee in 1966-1967. A former whip of Ontario Liberals, Mr. Jean Thomas Richard also had the honor of acting as Deputy Speaker, in 1971. My predecessor served his country and the constituency he represented in Parliament and I should like, on behalf of the electors of Ottawa East, to extend to him our sincere thanks and to wish him long life and happiness.
Franco-Ontarian by birth, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a few remarks about the importance, for all of us, of bilingualism and above all of the ever growing recognition, in the English-speaking provinces, of the French fact which represents over one million Canadians living outside Quebec.
I want to be the spokesman for a people who unhappily have been too often in limbs, namely the Franco-Ontari-
ans. They do exist and I belong to that group of people who are competent and who want and can render great services to their country if they are given the opportunity of doing so. They proved that they were perseverant and steadfast, while respecting the rights of others. They fought for their country, they overcame a law which prevented them from studying in their own language. They lived with the fact that until very recently they were refused education in their own language, financed by public funds. They fought with persistance and today, anxious for better understanding, they continue to fight for the implementation of a legislation which is supposed to do them justice.
Even if this falls under provincial jurisdiction, the present government as well as the previous one, under the late Lester B. Pearson, recognized more than others that it was necessary to do justice to minorities through legislation, in the fields under federal jurisdiction, where necessary.
This Franco-Ontarian nation of which I am part was severely put to the test but survived and its future is very promising. What is more surprising is that this nation in spite of its problems of survival, the battles it had to fight, still has to fight and win without revolution and hatred. It is through persuasion and perseverance and by recognizing the rights of the majority that it succeeds in convincing more and more the members of the majority of the rightness of its claims and thereby improving its position without however infringing upon the rights of others.
It is only by giving justice to the minorities and through understanding of that fact by the majorities that this country will survive. In spite of the immense progress made in that field, Mr. Speaker, it happens too often that the authorities and even this government, no matter how sympathetic and understanding it may be, act as if "francophone" and "Quebecer" were synonyms. People are unaware of the fact that there are francophones outside of the province of Quebec and if we want a fair representation of francophones in important positions we will have to look outside of the province of Quebec to get them.
I would like this government to recognize in a practical way that francophones outside the province of Quebec constitute a nation with which dialogue is necessary, or the only thing that will be left will still be a silent minority. Francophones exist independently from their brothers of the province of Quebec but thqy are as francophone as they are and because of their qualities it is their intention to demand to be recognized as such in the allocation of positions and duties in the service of their country.
I repeat, no other government has been as appreciative of the development of French-speaking minorities outside the province of Quebec. As a matter of fact, it was the right hon. L. B. Pearson's governement that gave us the report of the B & B Commission. This royal commission prompted noticeable changes in provinces that have met the hopes of the French-speaking minorities in matters of education. Well informed Canadians will never forget the important role played by the federal government in giving its support to the education of minorities. In provinces where people are still struggling for the recognition of minorities' rights in education in their own language,
January 11, 1973
those who speak French know and greatly appreciate the important contribution made by the Liberal government towards the solution of their just claims.
The objectives of the French speaking minorities still pertain mainly to the life of this country as a whole. Some would have us believe that over a 100 years of relative peace guarantees confederation. But I would like to remark that the last 10 years with mounting tensions have shown that confederation is still on trial. The unrest is somewhat related to language; it is therefore natural for minority groups to turn to governments, especially the federal government, for legislation and for solutions to their problems.
As for education, Mr. Speaker, after the publication of Volume II of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, the federal government stated its acceptance of the principles underlying the recommendations of the commission and suggested a very broad program of co-operation with the provinces in order to stimulate the teaching of the language of the minority and the study of the second language. An amount of about $300 million, spread over a four year period, was allocated to the program which was to result from this co-operation.
Having worked for 11 years in the school field in Ontario, I would like to stress the importance of these programs on the education of French-speaking minorities outside Quebec. In fact, the objectives to which the federal and provincial governments have subscribed are that we should enable Canadians to have their children educated in the official language of their choice and that children should be provided with an opportunity to learn the other official language as their second language.
We are pleased to note that young people are much more receptive to bilingualism. The major recommendation of the royal commission on bilingualism and biculturalism in favour of an equal partnership between the two major cultural groups will fall in fertile soil, since our young people are receptive to the idea of bilingualism. Obviously, this will take some time, but will eventually result in fewer tensions and a united Canada.
A bilingual education system is not the final answer to the major problems of national unity. I suggest that education systems should make every effort to teach both languages, but one should be wary of the attitude of some parents who, having transferred this responsibility to the school system, exonerate themselves from all risks and all blame for the example they set in not themselves practicing what they teach their children. Many parents confine the important problem of bilingualism to the school system while they do not exercise tolerance in the adult world to prove that they too are willing to make the effort. Let us not rest the problem of national unity on our children's shoulders. We are facing a communication problem, and human communication is greatly influenced by the attitudes of the people involved.
The Address-Mr. J. R. Gauthier
Mr. Speaker, I should also like to emphasize the major contribution of the federal government to the teaching of the second language in provinces with a strong Englishspeaking majority. I am aware that federal-provincial agreements will be negotiated again soon and I hope that our national contribution will be adequate in view of ever-increasing needs.
Nevertheless, because education comes under the sole jurisdiction of the provinces, serious consideration should be given to distribution of amounts contributed by the federal government for elementary and secondary education. It should be ensured that in the course of future federal-provincial negotiations we obtain a report from the provinces covering distribution of these amounts to achieve the specific objective for which they are meant, which is education of minorities. School systems are anxious to broaden their programs and they need manuals. Only through fair distribution of federal funds can the deep-rooted determination of both Francophones and Anglophones to study in their mother tongue be met.
At the same time, those young Anglophones wanting to learn French will be able to study under teaching conditions designed for their needs. It is only through the development of dynamic and modern language programs that we we will be able to satisfy those many people who wish to enrich the Canadian nation, not only in working together as a nation, but in knowing each other in our hearts and mind through the appreciation of both the main cultures of our country.
It is through the support and the recognition of all Canada that minorities will be able to realize their rightful ambition. Some Quebec separatists suggest that we have been assimilated. We are not so and much less separatists as some badly informed Anglophones believe. I cannot help but being proud in saying that we are all convinced federalists.
It is the utmost desire of Francophone minorities outside Quebec to live and let live. We want to live as we please, according to our character and state of mind, as free and responsible citizens with the assurance that in working together we will assure the progress and development of our country. We want to live while maintaining our language, our faith and our traditions, but at the same time respecting other people as we want them to respect us.
The French speaking minorities outside Quebec are at the forefront of bilingualism in Canada. They have fought to preserve their cultural and linguistic heritage, and in so doing are an example to their country.
Through federal contributions, francophone minorities are contributing to promote a Canadian way of life which is advantageously reflected on our country.
As they obtain funds from the federal government, francophone minorities are not ashamed nor indebted to anyone. They are rather doing the country a tremendous service by ensuring the survival of bilingualism and endeavouring, for instance, to obtain what we all want-a
January 11, 1973
The Address-Miss F. MacDonald
united Canada where both official languages and both cultures will thrive in peace, brotherhood and, above all, the respect for individuals.
Representing a riding which, by historical associations within our capital, has a rich heritage of architectural and educational values, it pleases me to note in the Speech from the Throne that, in co-operation with the provinces, we will provide assistance for the rehabilitation of older neighbourhoods. We must preserve our cherished neighbourhoods where a certain type of life has been created, and where tradition has helped shape the eventual national capital and, indeed, reflected itself on to the whole of Canada.
The people of my riding are most appreciative of and attentive to the social security measures which will be reconsidered and reorganized. With a large population of senior citizens who have contributed so much to this country, it is indeed warming to their hearts to see that they will be treated with compassion and equity with a guaranteed annual income.
A large number of citizens of my riding have low incomes. The opportunity for them to buy and live in their own house, with the help of the federal and provincial governments, will give them another opportunity of finding family atmosphere and benefitting from an economic factor in real estate which they could not have hoped for otherwise.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, allow me to remind you of a passage in Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince". You will recall that when the little prince met the fox, he hoped to befriend him, for he was sad. But then the fox replied that he could not play with him because he was not tame. Thereupon the little prince asked what the word "tame" meant. "It means," replied the fox, "to create ties".
Of course, said the fox. To me, you are still just one little boy out of hundreds of thousands of little boys. I do not need you. And you don't need me either. To you, I am just a fox similar to hundreds of thousands of other foxes. But, if you tame me, we will need each other. You will become unique in the world for me. I shall become unique in the world for you .. .
That is what Canada means to me, Mr. Speaker: the close ties between two great peoples who are part of a country that is unique in the world.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY