Mr. Speaker, the essence of democracy is that a government governs with the consent of the governed.
We have just had a dissertation by the member for Terrebonne which indicates that that is the least concern of this particular government at this time. None of the points that he put forward had anything to do with the
people who are involved with the Canada Council and the humanities, arts and social sciences areas and do not have any real impact on these decisions.
In other words there was no consultation of any kind as far as the governed were concerned. These are the people who are going to be affected most. In other words democracy is the least worry of this particular government at this particular time. Maybe it is because it is just going into an election and it does not expect to be here after the election.
The essence of democracy is the consent of the governed. There has been no consent of anybody who is involved in these particular changes.
The essence of the amendments that we are debating today concerns something that the Canada Council people, the university people and the academics asked this government to look at. It is for the whole of part III to be dropped in its entirety.
They used as part of their argument for the dropping of Part III the fact that within the information provided to the committee and to the arts group that there were no savings except for 10 members of the government who probably would not lose their jobs anyway and who would be moved some place else. There would be no actual savings in the operation of the two councils if they are merged into one.
In the process of looking at these changes, there is no efficiency being indicated at all and there was no consultation with any of the bodies affected.
It has come to the point where I do not know why the government party which calls itself the Progressive Conservative Party does not delete the "Progressive" from its name. That is because what they are actually doing here is going back to what they had before 1978. The decision to change the council into two councils is a regressive move.
Consequently, I never did understand what Progressive Conservative meant. I think probably we should say once more-as my colleague here from the Liberal Party suggests-that we should change the name to the Regressive Conservative Party because that is what the party seems to be doing in this particular operation.
April 20, 1993
There was no consultation. In fact there was probably exclusion. There was no discussion on the changes that were going to be made in this by Part III of this act.
We recognize that after eight years in power the government is a little hesitant about using consultation. It has given consultation a bad name. It pretends it is going to consult, calls people together, seems to listen and then goes its own way.
That is the kind of consultation it has been carrying on.
I suppose maybe we should not blame it for not having consultation in this instance. Nobody believes that any consultation this government has done in the last few years has been of any value to the people who are being governed by its changes.
I can give you specific examples of consultation which has not been to the benefit of the people who are being governed. We have had thousands of hours of consultation relative to agriculture. None of that was taken into consideration when the decisions were made in agriculture. The decisions were made by the bureaucrats and in some cases by the members opposite.
The same thing is happening right now in development. The minister of development is here at the moment. There are a lot of changes being made in development that have nothing to do with the people who are being governed, the people of Canada.
We should be following the recommendations that have been made by the people who are most affected and not disorganising the provision of grants or the process by which we support research, the arts and so on in Canada.
We should look at part III, eliminate it and do a very basic and thorough study of what is necessary to perhaps save more money than we are now. The essence of democracy is only democracy if it happens with the consent of the governed.
I want to spend a couple of moments putting before this House some of the feelings of the people who are most affected by part III of Bill C-93.
For instance, the Canadian Association of University Teachers says that no prior consultation with any of the
SSHRC's stakeholders was conducted and no convincing rationale has ever been offered for this measure.
It goes on to say:
All that is being offered to date is a promise that the merger would be conducted among equal partners in a wholly new agency so as to ensure that the federal support for research in the social sciences and humanities would remain independent.
That is only a promise which none of the people involved really believe. It did not work before 1978 when these two agencies were separate and it is unlikely to work well in the future.
A second group is the federation representing the social sciences. It said almost the same thing:
After having carefully studied the proposed legislation, we remain very concerned about the future of social sciences in this country.
Again, there was no consent from or consultation with those people who are being governed.
The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the university teachers said:
Lumping the social sciences and humanities with the arts does not make much sense.
They show how ridiculous it is to be regressive and go back to before 1978 without having a plan that is going to work and without saving any money. They go on to provide several quite workable alternatives which should be used instead of putting part III through.
This is an attack on the very essence of democracy. By going through with part III of Bill C-93, the government is not allowing the people who are most affected to have a say in the legislation which is going to be passed in this House.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: MEASURE TO ENACT