I will not forget the Fathers of Confederation. I respect them. But I am thinking of the Canada that we are discussing in this bill. In this regard, what province has recently shown more life, more spirit, and more desire to have its citizens remain Canadians than the great province of Quebec? All of us in Canada salute our brothers and sisters in Quebec for their very definite decision, made only two weeks ago, to remain part of this country and to play their part in the nation's life, as they have in the past. They have provided a shining example and pointed the way for the rest of us to follow if we are best to serve our country. All hon. members who share the same viewpoint as the majority of the people of the province of Quebec will support the bill that is presently before us.
Some may wonder why I, coming from a heavily Anglicized constituency like Brant, Ontario, have consented to present this bill.
May 12, 1970
In addition to the people of Quebec, who want one Canada, there are those people who came to this country during the last century from various countries in Europe and have chosen Canada to be their home. In the county of Brant, which I have the honour to represent in this House, there are large numbers of such people. To itemize but a few of them, we have people of German descent, of Polish descent, of Italian descent, of Hungarian descent, of Ukrainian descent and Dutch descent. All of them love this country. I say most decidedly that I have not forgotten these people who have shown loyalty, devotion and dedication to this country and to its future. They have expressed themselves to me in large numbers as supporting the bill that is presently before the House. The word "Canada" being an Indian name, my Six Nations constituents, original Canadians, must be elated at the suggestion that July 1 be renamed "Canada Day". The word "Canada" is taken from their language, their own background and traditions.
Canada is not directed today by a dead hand. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley was a great man in his day, but we are shortly to enter the last quarter of the 20th century, and I would ask whether we are going to have our future perhaps curtailed or abridged by 19th century solecisms or by sources who know not the Canada of today. Even at the time of confederation Sir John Macdonald would, in my view, have jettisoned the word "dominion" quickly had his chief collaborator, Sir Georges Etienne Cartier, tipped him off, as it were, that he could not get away with it.
Since this is a private member's bill, let us not permit it to be made a government bill if we can possibly prevent it. I believe, as I have always believed, in Parliament as an institution. Therefore, let us demonstrate that private Members of Parliament have as much impact today on the life of the nation as one might be led to expect in an ideal Parliament.
Well, Mr. Speaker, let us all walk together towards the glorious future that awaits our beloved country.
Topic: PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic: CANADA DAY