GAUTHIER, André, B.A., LL.L.

Personal Data

Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
Birth Date
February 6, 1915
Deceased Date
May 22, 1994

Parliamentary Career

June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Lac-Saint-Jean (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 19)

January 28, 1957

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.

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January 18, 1957

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

It has not been half as much the concern of the Liberal party as it has been that of the Conservative party throughout its history. If the hon. member would only read history, instead of taking up time to interrupt me, he would know a lot more about it and he would be able to speak far more intelligently than he does now.

Mr. Chairman, I felt that it was fitting to express a French Canadian point of view here this afternoon. I know some who would have been far better qualified than I am. Nevertheless, I have summoned forth all my courage in order to say something interesting, even though there may be some who will not find my remarks to their liking.


Canada Council

The Canada Council, to my mind is timely. We could hardly have had it a hundred years ago. We could hardly have had it even twenty-five years ago because we were not yet ready for it.

Character and mentality must have reached maturity in certain fields before talent can find self-expression. Such endeavours should not be attempted too early. Consequently, I do believe that this measure is timely.

As regards French-speaking Canadians, it is true that our development in the arts has been gradual. I am thinking here of drama, music and the humanities. However I pay special tribute to commercial and classical colleges for the good education they have given us in these three fields, especially in that of the humanities. Quite often in the course of controversies in newspapers and magazines, some writers who do not see the use of studying dead languages blame our seminaries for clinging to the teaching of Greek and Latin. However, knowing languages and specially the roots of the French language, our educators are well aware that, in order to have a good knowledge of French, one must also have a knowledge of Greek and Latin roots. Even for English-speaking people, specially those whose origin goes back to Normandy, it is certain that the knowledge of Greek and Latin roots is a great help to anyone who wishes to understand and speak English really well.

That is why, Mr. Chairman, we should pay a well-deserved tribute to our classical colleges for continuing to teach the so-called dead languages, and be grateful to them for developing among French Canadians able talents which would probably have remained dormant. It is in the seminaries and the classical colleges that we see certain talents blossom out thanks to the vigilant and solicitous care of teachers in our classical colleges, thanks to the attention they give to the education of youth, and especially, to their great learning.

The mention of a few names should be sufficient. For instance in my district, that of Mgr. Camille Roy, and in the Montreal district those of Canons Chartier and Groulx, are examples in support of my statement. There are others, of course, but those are the three which come to my mind at this time. Those people are educators who have helped a great number of French Canadians gain a high degree of proficiency in the dramatic arts. More recently, there has been Rev. Father Legault, who trained the famous Compagnons de Saint-Laurent, a group that has won medals in all Canadian festivals and from which have come such distinguished actors as Gascon, Coutu and Groulx.

We even had, in the theatre, Fiench Canadian actors whose great talents have enabled them to grace the English stage. I shall mention only one, Paul Dupuis, who for years played on the stage in London. He is now back in Montreal and we have been very pleased to welcome him. Here is a man with a latin culture, with a French culture, who, nonetheless, has brought enjoyment, relaxation and satisfaction to a great number of English people who saw him on the stage or on films, or heard him on the radio.

I could mention a host of other artists, people like Plamondon, Jobin, Mercier, Simoneau, the Alaries and I take care not to forget a name for ever famous, a name whose renown has never been surpassed in the whole world, that of Madame Albani.

Ladies and Gentlemen-

Mr. Chairman, excuse me, it's a force of habit. Elections are coming and this most likely explains my lapsus linguae.

I believe, Mr. Chairman, that the French Canadian people will be pleased at the establishment of the Canada Council. I easily imagine that somewhere certain clouds will show up, bearing the words: "Keep watch upon autonomy, federal government should not interfere with education, and if song, the drama, the fiddle and the piano are part of education, there is danger that the federal government will interfere in the field of education."

I do not fear at all the interference of the federal government in the field of education; I can say so, I think, without causing offence to anyone, even the staunchest partisans of provincial autonomy.

I do not see either any danger in the payment, to universities, of grants such as have been offered by the Right Hon. Prime Minister in the speech he delivered not long ago. It is therefore my contention that the universities of the province of Quebec should accept those grants. I do not know why they did refuse them. They have no doubt their reasons; they may have excellent arguments but I think that we have, in the person of the Prime Minister and of the present members of his cabinet, strong enough arguments and a consistent enough record to be in a position to tell them that their fears are groundless. Universities should accept those grants which would help them go on with their magnificent work in the field to which they have devoted their efforts for such a long time in order to ensure the ever-growing success of education in the province of Quebec.

Oh, as somebody has said, I do know that the primary school may seem to be the solid foundation for the education of our young French Canadians. However, there is not only one stone in a building; there are several and all must be placed solidly and normally on top of one another, not only in the field of university education but also in the fields of primary and secondary education. When our universities and colleges need money, no autonomist outcry will be strong, powerful or sincere enough to prevent them from accepting the grants which the federal government wishes to make without any condition whatever.

A moment ago I was listening to the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) and the hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight) exchange a few pleasantries with regard to the danger of communist infiltration in this council which the federal government proposes to establish. I am convinced that we can make progress in the arts, social sciences and the humanities without any danger of communist deviation. I do know for a fact that the communist leaders a few years ago had asked some musicians to change their style of composition because it was not close enough to materialistic ideals. I do know too that certain historians or certain scientists such as Lysenko, have attempted to destroy some theories such as the Mendelian theory since they went against communist ideology and more especially communist dialectics. I hardly think that that is a danger at the present time in this country with regard to the Council which the federal government proposes to establish, since our leaders are not communists but good democrats. I know also that Canadians are at present sufficiently warned against communist dangers, possibly not all but most dangers, so that there will always be among us people who are sufficiently wide awake to prevent such an infiltration in a Council such as this.


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January 18, 1957

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

Mr. Chairman, I have a few words to say to indicate my support, modest as it might be, of the measure introduced this afternoon by the government. Somebody said this morning that it has been brought up rather abruptly; yet, everyone had heard about it for quite some time, had read much about it in the newspapers, so that members of this house should have expected that one day or the other, they would be called upon to consider this measure. Indeed, everyone had plenty of time to get ready, judging from the very interesting speeches I have heard here this afternoon.

I am convinced that the first concern of the government will not be, as our Conservative friends seem to fear, to appoint a Liberal as chairman of this council, just because he is a Liberal.

Too well do I know the Right Hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and his government to dread a political appointment to that position. I am always amused when my hon. friends opposite express fear of political influence in government appointments.

I have a pretty fair knowledge of political history since I have been sitting for already 30 years either in this house or in the provincial legislature; I know too well that party considerations are foremost in the minds of my hon. friends opposite when they are in power. The old story of the mote in one's brother's eye seems to apply in this case. Mr. Chairman . . .

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January 15, 1957

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

I never thought he was timid.

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January 14, 1957

Mr. Andre Gauthier (Lake St. John):

Mr. Speaker, custom and tradition have given a great flexibility to the debate on the address in reply. That is why I shall take this opportunity to express personal opinions on special problems, especially those of particular concern to the people I have the honour to represent in this house.

Before going into the main part of my remarks, I should like to congratulate the mover (Mr. Hanna) and the seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The well prepared speeches they have made reflect their knowledge of politics and of the problems of the day. Their constituents have reason to be proud of the choice they made at the last general election, a choice which they will no doubt renew with pleasure at the next election.

The agricultural class and the working class share about equally in the economic

The Address-Mr. A. Gauthier activity of the constituency of Lake St. John. Generally speaking we are quite happy about our lot. The Aluminum Company of Canada which, together with the pulp and paper industry, is responsible for the industrialization of the district, has just undertaken works of immense magnitude on the Peribonca river, in the northern part of the constituency, in order to develop hydroelectric power to the extent of 700,000 horsepower. 1,500 men are already gainfully employed there and it is assumed that before the end of the summer this figure will have more than doubled. Before that project is completed, lines of vats for the production of aluminum will be erected at He Maligne so that the production of aluminum ingots in this locality should be equal to that of Arvida which is at present the greatest aluminum producing centre. It means that the working class is justified in hoping for a high level of employment and for reasonable salaries but, even though full employment brings prosperity to all sections of our economy, the situation of the farmer remains unstable and unsatisfactory.

Agriculture is a section of our Canadian economy to which the government must give particular attention; I am glad to see that the speech from the throne provides greater encouragement for agriculture.

On January 9, in the course of this debate, the hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has shown that he is well aware of the situation of our Quebec farmers and of the importance, to the Canadian economy, of our agricultural element. That is the reason why the Senate investigation proposed by the government cannot but bring beneficial results for agriculture as a whole as well as an improvement of economic conditions for our farmers.

Meanwhile, a good way to help the farmers, as well as the workers with large families, would be to increase the rate of family allowances.

We are indebted to the Right Honourable Mackenzie King and to the liberal party for this excellent social legislation. I do not know of any other social measure offering as many advantages as the Family Allowances Act; it is the one that helps the largest number of Canadians.

Since 1945, the cost of living has increased substantially, so that the original value of the allowances has sharply decreased.

We are now facing a serious threat of inflation, which causes more concern to those who come under a measure of such a high social value.

I have received requests from several hundreds of my constituents who are asking

the government to increase the rate of family allowances.

I support these requests, Mr. Speaker, for I know they are rightful requests. If the government could double those amounts it would be a very good thing, but the least that can be done is to give these social dividends the buying power they had in 1945.

Ever since I became a member of this house I have taken a keen interest in unemployment insurance. As a matter of fact, at the first session of the last parliament I asked that our bushworkers come under the Unemployment Insurance Act. I thought that the need for protection was greatest for those who are the most exposed to fluctuations in the labour market. That is why I did not hesitate to speak on their behalf in this house. And it was not in vain, since on April 1, 1950, bushworkers could qualify as all other workers.

When the law was revised, in 1955, I advocated the abrogation of the seasonal regulations concerning that class of workers. I wish to thank the authorities of the commission who saw fit to grant my request and the request which was made, the same day, by my colleague from Charlevoix (Mr. Maltais).

The purpose of the revision of the Unemployment Insurance Act was to extend its application to a larger number of people, and to increase the amount of the benefits. We have achieved our goal in part, but I thought I should make a suggestion to the hon. Minister of Labour (Mr. Gregg) in order to improve the lot of those who want to avail themselves of it to a larger extent.

Amendments to the act voted early last session had the effect of assimilating the rate of seasonal benefits to the rate of ordinary benefits and to extend to ten weeks the minimum period during which an unemployed person is entitled to receive such payments during the off season. When bringing in these amendments, the legislators had mainly in mind the human side of the question; this is why I too want to suggest that seasonal benefits should begin to be paid as from early December; a construction worker generally becomes unemployed at the end of November and such amendment as I just proposed would enable our unemployed to receive unemployment benefits before the Christmas and New Year holidays. What a comfort it would be to those people who are already in a plight after losing their jobs to receive benefits enabling them to buy at least the bare necessities of life at that time of the year!

Each of us still remembers with anxiety the events of last fall, when Israel, France and England, each in turn, invaded Egypt. Upon this occasion, our Prime Minister and our representatives in the United Nations played a most important part and history will recognize that Canada, in proposing the creation of an international police force, found the formula which prevented another world war. I must say that I was very proud of the firm attitude of our Prime Minister. His words and his deeds proved to the world that our country was an independent and sovereign country and that, consequently, it could take its own responsibilities and its own attitudes.

Afterwards, an incident occurred which emphasized a national weakness, namely the absence of a distinctive national flag. Hon. members will recall the refusal of Colonel Nasser to approve the presence of a Canadian battalion because the flag of that regiment contained a union jack which could lead to confusion with the British flag.

I have brought up this question of a flag two or three times in this house but, in view of its importance, I want to raise it again.

On December 9, 1953, seconding a motion introduced by my colleague from Bonaven-ture (Mr. Arsenault), I made the following statements which I would like to repeat today:

We have achieved national unity through the efforts of the Liberal party and of those who have been Its leaders for the past 50 years. It is also under Liberal administrations, and more particularly through the efforts of our present leaders, that our country progressed through the various stages that led to complete sovereignty and independence. The logical consequence of our previous moves would therefore be to endow our country with a distinctive national flag.

There has been much thought of national unity. To my mind there is nothing more important for the furtherance of that national unity than a flag which, in every circumstance, should serve as a rallying sign for all Canadians. Every citizen of this country is proud of belonging to this great Canadian nation of ours. The best way to give concrete form to this pride is to adopt an exclusive Canadian symbol.

Certain timorous individuals, more imperialistic than Canadian, fear that by doing away with the union jack we will weaken the ties that bind us to the commonwealth. To them I would say that the strength of the whole is the sum total of the strength of the parts. In any event these people should now understand that sentimental links are a thing of the past so far as Canada is concerned and that if we remain in the commonwealth it is because we find it to be in our interest, to begin with, as well as in the common interest of the free peoples and of the cause of world peace.

The present Prime Minister has stated on various occasions that he is favourable to the

The Address-Mr. Van Horne adoption of a truly distinctive flag, but he believes, wisely, in my opinion, that the taking of such a step must not be a matter for controversies sufficiently bitter to prejudice national unity.

Last Tuesday when the house opened, he said something which has given me an idea which I would like to pass on to the government. In congratulating the hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker), the hon. Prime Minister said:

I extend to the Leader of the Opposition our sincere good wishes in his new position and I wish to assure him quite seriously that I will be ready at all times to discuss with him in advance matters which need not be controversial on party lines and about which national unity might perhaps be best served by solutions that we could all recommend to those whom we represent in parliament.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I believe that the choice of a truly distinctive national flag should not be a controversial matter in Canada. That is why I am suggesting a conference of the four party leaders; if there are still some Canadians who do not favour a distinctive national flag, I say that the duty of the party leaders is to direct and guide public opinion.

Such a consultation would acquaint us with the opinion of the different party leaders and, I am sure, would bring about a unanimous feeling on a question so essential to Canadian sovereignty and to the independence of our beautiful and great country.

Before resuming my seat, Mr. Speaker, I wish to say that the population has heard with the greatest satisfaction about the settlement of the Canadian Pacific strike.

I wish to congratulate the hon. Prime Minister for his part in the negotiations. He has shown that, in this field, as well as in many others, he is a true leader for the Canadian nation. I am sure that, when the time comes, Canada will show him its appreciation.


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