Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to take very long, but since I previously moved a similar amendment to Bill No. S-2, an act to incorporate the Ottawa Terminal Railway Company, I feel that I have something to say.
A few days ago the Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) asked the hon. member for Levis (Mr. Guay) to withdraw his amendment, saying that people would understand the need and that, from now on, the ministers would give the French Canadian people of Canada a fair representation.
The Prime Minister's intentions are remarkable and I know that if we were to have a Lester Pearson for years and years to come, we could accept that view; but we are not sure of that, because there is also the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) who asked the other day that there be only one race in Canada, saying that he did not want second class citizens. That is precisely the false notion which is spreading throughout the country. Some people talk of only one race-and those people do not think at all that there can be two races in Canada. In fact, there are two: the French race and the French Canadians.
As stated a little earlier by the hon. member for York South (Mr. Lewis), there are several cultures in Canada and I am happy about it. Canadian culture is on a par with that of other people.
There people can learn English and French which is what the hon. member for York South as well as the hon. member for Van-couver-Kingsway (Mrs. Maclnnis) did; they both speak French and English. But do you find many English Canadians who speak both languages? They are the exception and that exception does not suit me. I submit that if they really wanted to develop a double culture in Canada, they would have gone to the trouble of learning a little French. But they do not do it. In Canada, at the present time, the only bilingual people, or practically the only ones, are the few citizens who come from the other remote provinces and most French Canadians or English Canadians are not bilingual because they do not want to be bilingual.
I think that the Leader of the Opposition was wrong when he said that we do not need a second culture in Canada, because I know that at the present time our representation
July 13. 1966
National Arts Centre
within the commissions does not exceed 12 per cent, whereas we make up over 25 per cent of the population. That fact has always been overlooked and is still overlooked today; it is overlooked with regard to the railways, it is overlooked in this case. No one remembers to mention that the French Canadians have rights, in short, we are forgotten everywhere. The reason is that no one thinks about French Canadians.
That is why I say that we must include in our laws the principle which we are advocating, even if that may displease some people. The hon. member for Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes (Mr. Regimbal) said a little earlier: I congratulate the province of Quebec for its broadmindedness.
The province of Quebec is broadminded because it has to be. Sir Georges-Etienne Cartier had faith in the English majority and he wanted the province of Quebec to be bilingual; it has remained the only bilingual province.
The other provinces are not bilingual; they are unilingual and they are above all English. And when the Leader of the Opposition spoke about that majority which exists in our English circles, well, if we divided the ethnic groups in Canada, we would find that there are more French Canadians. There are more than six million of us and there are only five odd million English people. There are even fewer Scots and Irish even, so that if we divided that by ethnic groups instead of according to the language spoken, we would see that the French Canadians are more numerous. In spite of all that, only 12 per cent of French Canadians sit on commissions; there is something wrong.
That is why I would like to see that provision in our laws, so that those who will come after the present Prime Minister will be reminded that we are entitled to it. I suggested the same thing about the Ottawa Terminal Railway Company and I think that the same fate is in store for my proposal.
I have no illusions, Mr. Chairman; when we are asked to vote on that matter, I am convinced that we will be defeated, but I want to point out that I will vote for the amendment even if, as stated by the hon. member for York South, there is something lacking with regard to that multiple culture which we have today in Canada.
I admit something is lacking. I prefer the amendment moved by the member for Levis because while it mentions bilingualism, it also speaks of biculturalism and a plurality of cultures.
That is why I say 1 prefer the amendment; on the other hand, I shall vote for the subamendment, and then for the amendment because I maintain that it must be incorporated in our statutes; we must tell our legislators that we are entitled to this protection and I trust the government will finally give it to us.
Topic: NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE
Subtopic: ESTABLISHMENT OF CORPORATION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION