House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.


Department Of Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.


Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Madam Speaker, Bill C-53 is aimed at establishing a department which would have the following duties, as stated in clause 5, and I quote:

[-] initiate, recommend, coordinate, implement and promote national policies, projects and programs with respect to Canadian identity and values, cultural development, heritage [-]

This bill is unacceptable because it definitely infringes upon an area of responsibility that which must remain under exclusive provincial jurisdiction. It fails to recognize the distinctiveness of Quebec society and provides none of the guarantees required to protect the francophone and Acadian communities in Canada.

René Lévesque, the former Premier of Quebec, used to describe Quebec society as two nations within the same country. This means we are in fact dealing with two majorities, two complete and separate societies trying to get along within a common framework. The fact that we were made into a minority from a numerical point of view does not change a thing. Just as a civilized society will never force a smaller man to feel inferior to a larger one, civilized relations between nations demand that nations consider and treat each other as equals in law and in fact.

What matters today and for the future it that we realize every day more clearly on both sides that this answer has had its day but now a drastic revision of the bill or a completely new bill is urgently required.

The people of Quebec must preserve their collective personality and, to do so, they need unfettered powers, particularly in the areas of cultural rights and telecommunications.

This bill enables the federal government to interfere with cultural issues, because it has the power to make expenditures without the consent of the provinces. This bill fails to recognize the distinctiveness of Quebec society. Quebec is prevented from setting its own priorities, as the federal government sets the budget and makes decisions regarding the distribution of federal

assistance without taking into consideration the basic needs of Quebecers.

A similar line of reasoning culminated in the 1976 white paper by Dr. Camille Laurin-who was again reelected in the riding of Bourget-and became the Quebec policy on cultural development. During its first mandate, the Lévesque government demonstrated that Quebec could support its own cultural development. In a context of political and economic subordination, the cultural life of a people is weakened.

On October 12, in Paris, the federal Minister of Foreign Affairs said that culture will become one of the priorities of the Canadian foreign policy. The daily Le Devoir , in its edition of October 13, 1994, mentioned the meddling of the federal government: «Cultural relations will be, along with political and economic affairs, one of three pillars of the Canadian foreign policy, that the joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate has been mandated to review».

The cultural services of the Canadian embassy in Paris will benefit greatly from this change of direction. In this case, Ottawa is making a complete turn around. We know that Conservatives had decided to sell the large building the embassy is using on the Esplanade des Invalides, in Paris. The Liberals have now decided to give the building a new lease on life. The other federal institutions currently leasing offices in Paris, like Telefilm Canada and NFB, will move out of their present accommodations and into this building.

This is only a first step. Next year, the building, probably worth $30 million, will be renovated from top to bottom. The improvements will cost approximately $2 million.

This recent example shows that the federal government is trying to dilute Quebec culture in a pan-Canadian cultural identity based on bilingualism and multiculturalism.

In the past, every Quebec government, even the Liberals, claimed exclusive power over cultural matters. Why such useless overlapping? Overlapping jurisdiction in the management of cultural programs automatically leads to confusion and dissatisfaction.

In 1992, Mrs. Liza Frulla, the Quebec Minister of Cultural Affairs in the former Liberal government, said this to the Standing Committee on Culture: "Federal programs are developed in an essentially Canadian perspective. Quebec must constantly be on guard to ensure that it gets and keeps its fair share. The same is true of federal legislation and regulations. The CRTC ruling on French song quotas in broadcasting and ongoing negotiations regarding the federal bill on the status of the artist are cases in point".

During this period of recession, Canadian taxpayers must pay tremendous amounts of money to maintain this overlapping jurisdiction over cultural matters. The Bloc Quebecois is committed to honouring Quebec's cultural priorities.

First, the Bloc Quebecois will make sure that federal actions are consistent with the main orientations of Quebec culture. Second, the Bloc Quebecois will also demand that Quebec receive its fair share of federal spending on the major cultural institutions, such as the museums, the National Film Board and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Third, the Bloc Quebecois will also make sure that cuts at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation do not have a negative impact on the French network and, in particular, on Quebec artists. Fourth, the Bloc Quebecois will also ensure that the Quebec cultural milieu receives its fair share of grants from federally subsidized organizations, such as the Canada Council and Telefilm Canada, as well as program resource envelopes.

The arts, culture, heritage and communications must be the four cornerstones of Quebec's cultural policy. The ultimate goal of this policy must be to ensure the development of Quebec's cultural and social identity through the introduction of conditions conducive to artistic creation. Our goal must be the distribution of creators' works, access by individuals to culture, the growth of cultural industries, the preservation of our heritage, and finally the development of communications.

On March 14, 1994, La Presse reported that a recent Gallup poll asking Canadians their opinion of bilingualism found that a small majority of them, 54 per cent, thought that official bilingualism had been a failure in Canada.

I will conclude with René Lévesque's thoughts on what it means to be a Quebecer. In his view it means, above all else, and indeed on occasion to the exclusion of all else, that we have an attachment to this particular corner of the world, the only one where we can be fully ourselves, and that we know in our hearts that Quebec is truly the only place we can call home.

Being ourselves, according to the former premier of Quebec, consists essentially in maintaining and developing a personality that has lasted for three and a half centuries.

We cannot enforce this vital difference. That has not been possible for some time now.

For all these reasons, I support the motion by my hon. colleague from Rimouski-Témiscouata proposing the following amendment:

That the motion be amended by striking out all the words after the word "That" and substituting the following: "Bill C-53, An Act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage and to amend and repeal certain other Acts, be not now read a second time [-]"

Department Of Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.


Bonnie Brown Liberal Oakville—Milton, ON

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to take part in the debate on the bill to create the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The proposed legislation is a technical measure that officially recognizes a departmental structure that combines official languages, Canadian studies, native programs and state ceremonials from the former Department of Secretary of State of Canada. It combines arts, heritage, cultural and broadcasting responsibilities from the Department of Communications. It brings in multiculturalism programs from the Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship, amateur sports from the Department of Health and Welfare Canada and Parks Canada from the Department of the Environment.

At this juncture in our nation's history, with forces that are trying to dismantle this entity we call Canada, and with technology changing the borders of the world, combined with the increasing diversity of our population at the same time that dramatic changes are occurring within mature economies throughout the world, I feel it more important than ever to have a department such as Canadian heritage.

The department, although only a year old, has already begun to face up to the dramatic changes that Canadians are facing. The Secretary of State for Multiculturalism has already recognized the daunting task of nation building in a culturally diverse nation, reconciling that cultural diversity with national identity and the overwhelming need to maintain national unity.

Another important aspect of the new department is development of both cultural and heritage property. The Minister of Canadian Heritage recognizes the importance of new technologies and the burgeoning information highway. The minister also understands that this information explosion will have important ramifications for Canadian artists.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is of the utmost significance to Canadians. Its programs are inextricably linked to our everyday lives and their relevance, be it cultural or economic, is felt by each and every one of us.

I believe that the new department embodies the democratic principles that are inherently Canadian. Canada is a nation forged on the principles of respect for and use of its two major languages, of respect for cultural diversity, of respect for the traditions and contributions of its aboriginal citizens and the fundamental underlying respect for basic human rights and values.

Another major sector of the department which should not be forgotten is Parks Canada. Parks Canada commemorates, protects and presents, both directly and indirectly, places which are significant examples of Canada's cultural and natural heritage in ways that encourage public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment.

The economic activity in tourism generated by the department's operations are of significance to many local economies throughout the nation. Our parks service has been at the forefront of efforts for innovative partnership arrangements with private and not for profit enterprises in carrying out its mandated responsibilities.

In closing, the Department of Canadian Heritage encompasses elements that set us apart from the rest of the world with wide ranging concepts that are truly Canadian: cultural development, official languages, multiculturalism, and human rights.

With these principles in mind, I eagerly anticipate the enactment of this legislation.

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4 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill C-53, an act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage and to amend and repeal certain other acts.

On October 18, 1994, as we are about to celebrate or lament the first anniversary of the election, because that was when the Liberal government came to power, we have to take a look and say: "What is this Liberal government trying to do?" Here we are 12 months after the election, the first time that the Liberals have been in power after nine years. We would have thought that they were bursting at the seams with new ideas, new policies and new philosophies to get this country back on track, bring the deficit under control, create jobs in this country and we find that we have another of a long list of reorganizations that was started by the previous Prime Minister who led a party that is no longer even represented in this House. We can only assume how well the Canadian people endorsed the idea.

Let me just quote Bill C-46, reorganization of the Department of Industry, Science and Technology to change its name to the Department of Industry; Bill C-47, reorganization of the Department of External Affairs into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Bill C-48, reorganization of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources to the Department of Forestry and Department of Natural Resources; Bill C-49, reorganization of the Department of Agriculture into the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food; Bill C-52, reorganization of the Department of Public Works into the Department of Public Works and Government Services; and now we have Bill C-53; a long list but not I am afraid an impressive list from a government that in its first year we would have thought would bring forward some serious policy.

As I mentioned these are strictly holdovers from the previous government. I would like to ask the government of the day, the Prime Minister of the day and all these ministers of the day when we are really going to get down to the business of running this country. The next election is going to be looming long before the 1997 date that we had anticipated if they keep up this speed.

The hon. Minister of Finance as we speak is talking about his new paper, creating a healthy fiscal climate and economic and fiscal update. Yet all the other ministers can talk about is reorganization and renaming their departments.

We really do want to attack this gross budget deficit that we have and the horrendous debt that we have accrued. I read in the transitional part of the bill, clause 9(1), that nothing in this act shall be construed as affecting the status of an employee who immediately before the coming into force of this subsection occupied in essence any other position in all these other departments that are being renamed.

We have gone through all this for nothing, just simply nothing. There is no effort, attempt, or serious recognition by these departments. If they are going to reorganize surely this would be the time when they would seriously review everything that is being done by their departments.

The Minister of Human Resources Development tabled a document a couple of weeks ago telling us how he was going to review all the programs by the department under his control. What did we end up with? It was hardly even rated a discussion paper as Canadians still wait for the government to produce serious policy on how it is going to handle the reorganization of the major programs that we give to Canadians. As we speak, as I mentioned, the Minister of Finance has given us another fluffy warm statement that contains nothing, just nothing, about what he is going to do to accomplish his timid objective of bringing the debt down to $25 billion by 1996-1997. I have to admit I am at a loss that this government cannot do more.

The previous speaker talked about the great and wonderful things this department is doing. One of them of course is (a) under clause 2, the promotion of a greater understanding of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and related values. The Minister of Justice under his Bill C-41 wants to bring hate crimes or sections of our community that many people find abhorrent. We are not going to protect them with additional rights because the Minister of Justice wants to bring in these.

I am questioning why the Minister of Canadian Heritage is also responsible for doing the same thing. How many civil servants are thinking and working and spending our taxpayers' dollars trying to bring forth policies that Canadian taxpayers do not want?

Next is (b), multiculturalism. We in the Reform Party say that a Canadian is a Canadian and is equal from coast to coast. With this policy of multiculturalism the government feeds and channels large amounts of money to individual groups in our society to keep us separate and apart, yet at the same time hoping we will all come together. I find this mind boggling. If we can offer any advice to this government then surely it would be to abolish this whole idea of multiculturalism and start talking about Canadians being equal from coast to coast. Everybody is the same.

It goes on to the arts including the cultural aspects. These are nothing new and surely we could review and save many millions of dollars.

The public accounts were tabled this morning. I have not had time to go through them. I will. I have not had the time. I have had only had a few hours and there is a large amount of money, $165 billion, spent by this government last year. We will be going through that. We will find there are many instances where this government is wasting taxpayers' money ad infinitum. We can quite easily tell the Minister of Finance where he could cut.

I remember several months ago in this House we raised the point that the Department of Heritage gave a $10 million grant-I beg your pardon, it was a smaller grant-to a conference in Vancouver that was racist. Because of the fact that we raised the issue the minister of heritage withdrew the grant.

We are paying these ministers to do the job and I do not think they are doing the job. They bring no policy. They bring no fresh ideas. Therefore I find that this whole idea of reorganization to accomplish nothing is totally abhorrent and a waste of taxpayers' money.

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4:05 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in this debate today on Bill C-53 to create the Department of Canadian Heritage.

I must say that I certainly do not agree with what I have heard the Bloc Quebecois members say earlier today. It may come as no surprise to you, but allegations were made to the effect that, by amalgamating three or four departments into a single one, the federal government was attacking provincial powers. That is nonsense! As if it made a difference to have one minister accountable for three or four departments instead of one Secretary of State and different ministers, in terms of attacking these powers. That is absurd! And the people of Canada, particularly those living in Quebec who have heard these remarks made by Bloc Quebecois members, must know the truth. They must be told that what these members said is not true. I have to use parliamentary language even if I disagree with my colleagues opposite.

I have also heard the Reform Party say that it is wrong to group those ministries together in an effort to save taxpayers' dollars. I really do not understand the logic of the Reform Party on this one. Of course that is true of most things Reformers.

The Prime Minister reduced the size of cabinet. I remember there were as many as 44 ministers in the last cabinet. There were so many of them that the area outside the west door looked like a used car lot with all the limousines there. Our Prime Minister cleaned that up. When he was sworn into office he named 22 ministers. He cut it down to size. When you cut it down to size you have to unite the departments under one minister in an effort to save money. That is what the Prime Minister did.

The people in the Reform Party pretend to be frugal. I know that sometimes when you pretend to be frugal there are allowances that make it otherwise. Shall I say that sometimes the suit is a little different from the reality in that particular party.

The fact still remains that the Prime Minister produced very positive initiatives.

We have cut spending. We have cancelled projects, although we have not yet been able to get rid of the aircraft bought by Mr. Mulroney, the former Prime Minister. We have implemented the Gagliano plan to cut costs here in the House of Commons. And the list goes on. Just today, as we speak, the Minister of Finance is indicating ways by which further savings could be made.

There are the people across the way who say that this is an attack on provincial autonomy or some such thing. That is the usual diatribe as indicated very eloquently by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister in her usual forthrightness and eloquence. She indicates of course that this is complete and utter nonsense. How correct she is. We do need a Department of Canadian Heritage.

I want to tell members something. Last week I had a meeting in my riding with a group of constituents in an effort to preserve what is known as the Sir John Johnson manor home. Sir John Johnson is one of the pioneers of this country. His body is buried in the eastern townships of Quebec. He was the leader of the United Empire Loyalists who came to Upper Canada from the Mohawk Valley of New York in 1784. He brought with him the community known as the United Empire Loyalist refugees. Remember the word refugees. That is what they were known as then.

Today the Department of Heritage owns that building, the building of one of the founders of this country. You certainly could call Sir John Johnson the founder of Ontario without contradiction. After all he established a colony there in 1784. He personally owned lands in that area. The John Johnson manor home belongs to the Department of Canadian Heritage through what used to be known as Environment Canada Parks Service. That has been amalgamated into that department.

We had a meeting the other day with officials of that department, recognizing the budgetary constraints, to see what we could do to bring the community together with Heritage Canada to save that structure. What do we get from people in the people across the way? People in the Reform Party say that a national treasure like that should presumably be disposed of and the people in the Bloc Quebecois say there is no role at all for the federal government to preserve national heritage and significant sites.

I see them nodding in approval as if there were no such things as founders of Canada. They have a lot to learn. I suggest they spend some time in my constituency, or in their own, speaking to constituents who know better, who know the truth. They know that the national historic sites belong to all of us as Canadians. I feel there is a role for the Government of Canada in this kind of thing.

At any rate, the people of Canada through their government already own these assets.

And the same holds true for Fort Frontenac and other structures elsewhere in Ontario and Canada, monuments and historical sites that belong to the people of this country through the Department of Canadian Heritage.

I cannot understand and never will understand this attitude of the hon. members opposite, the Reform Party extremists who advocate getting rid of everything because the people of Canada are not entitled to their heritage, their buildings, their monuments, as well as those from the Bloc Quebecois who claim that Canada no longer exists as we speak.

No, I disagree with both positions held across the way. I for one am very attached to the history and heritage of our country. As the member of Parliament for Glengarry, this high place of Canadian history, I must at least be an amateur historian. That is part of the heritage of my riding.

It is the heritage of the great people of that area. I see Canadians of Scottish origin who came to Glengarry, and the mix they have had with the French Canadians who came shortly afterwards, and also the Irish who came in the 1840s and 1850s. Those three groups together created the area which I now have the honour and privilege to represent.

The parliamentary secretary just said very eloquently: "That is what Canada is all about". She is right.

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4:15 p.m.


Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak on this bill to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage.

On reading the bill, I felt that I sensed Pierre Elliott Trudeau's ghost reading over my shoulder. This bill contains everything that has characterized Canada's federal system, especially since the Trudeau years. First of all, Quebec's identity is diluted. At the same time, an effort is made to create a culture and a heritage that exist nowhere but in the minds of those who created this artificial federal country, Canada.

The bill says that the Department of Canadian Heritage was created to instill in Canadians a deep feeling of identity and belonging based on bilingualism and multiculturalism. Well, there is quite a long way to go.

Here are a few statistics on bilingualism, because you might have lovely images, high-sounding speeches, but there is nothing like reality to help you understand. Statistics Canada's figures, which should not be challenged by the government or other interested parties, show the assimilation rate of francophones in Newfoundland was 24.7 per cent in 1986 and 55.3 per cent in 1991. What a success! In Prince Edward Island, it was 42.6 per cent in 1986 and 47.6 per cent in 1991, an increase of 5 per cent. These are signs that bilingualism, at least the model that has been proposed, has not worked very well.

I shall give another example. In Nova Scotia, the assimilation rate was 31.8 per cent in 1986 and 41.1 per cent in 1991, an increase of 9.3 per cent. At that rate, in the time it takes to create the Department of Canadian Heritage, there will be no French-speaking minority left in the rest of Canada.

The second element is multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, which is as difficult to pronounce as it is to understand, is a product of the thinking of the Trudeau years.

To support this statement, I will quote Claude Corbeau, the rector at the University of Quebec in Montreal, who does not boast about being a Quebec separatist. In his policy report, he said that "multiculturalism may marginalize Quebec's identity". This is a rector at a Quebec university who popularized a certain image of Quebec's culture and reality.

His reasoning is not so hard to understand. Let us look at the areas that will come under the purview of Canadian Heritage. This is duplication country. On that there can be no compromise from Quebec. These are not minor sectors; they are of vital importance to Quebec.

The arts, heritage, culture, broadcasting are all in there. These sectors are not purely economic. It is a matter of survival. In broadcasting, for example, Quebec even created Radio-Québec, not yesterday but in the 1940s under Duplessis. Since then, we had to fight for every inch, while the Supreme Court, which always leans on the same side, kept telling us that we had no control over this important cultural element.

Culture gives us another good example of duplication, as we have two stakeholders in cultural matters in one country. We heard earlier the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell tell us about the Canadian people and therein lies the problem. As long as we do not recognize that the Canadian Confederation was founded by at least two peoples and by the Natives who were here before us, as long as we do not recognize the equal value and contribution of these founding peoples, we are developing what I would call an utopia, the utopia of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Try to find another country in the world where you have to qualify the word "heritage" by adding "Canadian".

Have you heard about the department of Norwegian or Swedish heritage? A simple, normal, natural country would not feel the need to add anything to "department of heritage" as it should be understood that it is that country's heritage. The problem is that, in Canada, people never realized that there are in fact two countries.

There is another provision explaining the department's role. It says that the department is to develop and offer programs which support a strong sense of identity among Canadians. But you cannot force a sense of identity on people. Let me give you a few examples which show why Quebec cannot really identify with the rest of the country.

During the war, when the referendum on conscription was held, 96 per cent of voters in my riding of Kamouraska opposed that measure. That response pretty well reflected the overall results for French-speaking people in Quebec. In spite of that strong opposition, the federal government went ahead and imposed conscription. You will have to talk about Canadian heritage for a long time and show pictures of those who died overseas before you can convince us, considering that we did not even want to go to war. This is not to say that we overlook the contribution made by veterans, but the fact is that this episode deeply affected people.

There is another episode which also deeply affected people. In this case, it is the Liberals and in particular the current Prime Minister who are responsible. I am referring to the 1982 unilateral patriation of the Constitution.

The government can say what it wants about a department established to promote a strong sense of identity among Canadians, it can try to force it upon us, but this will not work. As long as we are not accepted for who we are and as long as our

signature does not appear on the Constitution, the government cannot expect us to promote Canadian heritage.

Let me give you one last example which is of particular interest to me. In the seventies, the community of Forillon was expropriated to create a federal park. Today, that park is a good tourist attraction for the region, but I can tell you that back in the seventies, those who were forced to move did not develop a strong sense of Canadian identity, nor would they have seen the need to establish a department with such a mandate.

There are plenty of sectors which relate to the French reality in Quebec and in North America.

We cannot be forced to accept that as a model for all of Canada. Quebec has its own identity, which must be recognized by Quebekers, by Canadians and by our society as a whole because of our decent contribution to it.

To conclude, we are against the establishment of a Canadian Heritage Department because this would be a constant negation of the exclusive jurisdiction needed by Quebec to ensure its own cultural, economic and social development. In order for Quebec to contribute to the richness of North American life, its needs must be met. As long as the Canadian government does not recognize and acknowledge this reality, francophones in North America will continue to insist on ensuring their survival.

Today, the proposed Canadian Heritage Department is yet another proof for Quebecers that the only way to ensure their development is to have their own country.

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4:25 p.m.


Francis Leblanc Liberal Cape Breton Highlands—Canso, NS

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this bill to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage.

This is a technical piece of legislation that formalizes the structure and the sharing of departmental responsibilities implemented when our government took over.

However, as several of the previous speakers pointed out, this bill refers to fundamental areas over which, within the federal government, the minister will have jurisdiction. These areas include, for example, culture, national identity, official languages, national parks, multiculturalism, etc. During the few minutes I have, I want to address one of these areas, the issue of culture.

Some of our colleagues opposite are questioning the legitimacy of the role played by the Canadian government where our culture and our cultural development are concerned. By arguing that the federal role is not legitimate, they are questioning the bill's rationale. Unlike them, I believe that this role is crucial and has been tremendously beneficial to our country and all the regions, especially Quebec.

Culture is not an exclusive jurisdiction; it belongs to everyone. In this sense, and despite all the constitutional exegesis put forward by the Official Opposition, the Act of 1867 does not give one level of government more jurisdiction over culture than the other.

Cultural development concerns the provinces; it concerns the federal government; it concerns all municipalities, professional groups, the creators themselves of course, as well as the cultural businesses, the volunteers and the private sector. Finally, culture is also a question of individual choice, because if each and every one of us is the product of a specified cultural environment, the creation of a work of art, just like the decision to appreciate this work of art, to read it, to listen to it, to watch it, always results, in fact, from an individual choice.

I sincerely believe that, in order to offer a vast, fair and wide array of choices, we need a large number of cultural development officers and governments which play their roles. The goal of the federal government in this area is to ensure that the Canadian artists, creators and cultural businesses can work and that Canadian citizens have access to their productions.

One of the great ironies of this debate in which the opposition forces us to engage is that some people feel that we have to apologize for having public policy objectives that are so normal-to use an adjective of which the opposition is very fond-for there is nothing in these objectives that is unacceptable or threatening to anybody, especially not to the province of Quebec.

It is also ridiculous that we should have to defend ourselves against allegations that we are ignoring the cultural distinctiveness of Quebec or of other regions in our country. Ottawa plots Quebec's cultural demise? This could have come from the Union nationale in the Duplessis years. By the way, Duplessis had nothing but contempt for culture.

The federal government, an agent of cultural standardization imposed by a ruling group against the wishes of the powerless? These sound like the cries of a people oppressed by one of those totalitarian regimes recently condemned by history. The Department of Canadian Heritage, a machine used to create an official culture? If it were true, we would all be trembling, starting with the creators of this country who do not seem to see this as a serious threat. If we look closely at this issue, how can we sum up the federal government's intervention in cultural matters over the few decades in which it has played an active role in this area?

The fact is that several generations of creators and performers from Quebec have produced and presented their work to the public through institutions created, managed or funded by the federal government. Let us just mention Radio-Canada, the Canada Council, the National Film Board, Telefilm Canada, the National Arts Centre or the department whose minister is

responsible for these institutions before the House, namely the Department of Canadian Heritage.

As far as I know, half a century of efforts by those institutions, of support and assistance programs for artists, publishers, museums, producers and the sound recording industry did not hinder the profound originality of artists in Quebec, on the contrary. Those efforts nurtured and developed their creativity, and their works gained exposure not only in Quebec, but also in the rest of Canada and abroad. In short, those programs and institutions have been important contributing factors in the cultural vitality of Quebec, and all Canada can be proud of that.

The works of the likes of Michel Tremblay, Jacques Godbout and Denys Arcand did not lose any of their Quebecois identity for that. It is absurd, sad and distressing that our colleagues across the way cannot understand that what is done in Quebec can also be considered Canadian.

Of course, the federal government must look after Canada-wide, interprovincial and international aspects, but that responsibility complements those of other levels of government. In reality, except in sectors where it has a clear constitutional jurisdiction, like copyright, federal action is limited to cultural products with an interprovincial or international scope like broadcasting. The federal government is also active in the promotion and sharing of cultural treasures outside provincial or national boundaries.

For art lovers, the names of Emily Carr, Alex Colville, Tom Thomson, Geneviève Cadieux and Jean-Paul Lemieux bring to mind landmark works that gained international recognition. Should we be satisfied with saying that one belongs strictly to British Columbia, the second only to Nova Scotia, the third to Ontario alone and the last two to Quebec? They are also Canadian artists.

That is why Canada created the National Gallery and supports a country-wide network of museums and museum-related institutions. That is why Canada encourages artists to attend schools of higher learning like the National Theatre School of Canada and that is why Canada supports artists who get to perform across Canada and abroad and who even reach international fame.

In a world-wide marketplace where artistic recognition as well as economic profitability is often decided abroad, the Canadian government has a mission to accomplish. The international free trade negotiations gave us a good example of the role played by our country and of the complementarity between this role and that of other levels of government.

When it negotiated the cultural exemption in the free trade agreements with the United States and Mexico, Canada not only assumed its responsibility but also maintained the responsibilities of the provinces towards their own artists and cultural industries.

Therefore, I would say that the Department of Canadian Heritage is a basic institution if we are to carry on with our cultural development which has given such excellent results until now and which should be sustained by the federal government and the provinces. If we do not provide ourselves with the necessary tools to carry on this mission, we are virtually abandoning a responsibility which has proven to be a most profitable one for Canadians.

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4:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: The Honourable Member for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Mr. Ménard)-Defence Industry Conversion.

Department Of Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.


Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise today to voice my opposition to Bill C-53. I do so for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the inclusion of a royal recommendation.

This provision allows the government to spend money implementing the bill. If the bill is meant to streamline government operations, why is there a need to spend money in order to save money? How much will this cost and will it really save tax dollars? We do not have the answers to these important questions. These are vital matters for future debate.

I have chosen today to focus my remarks specifically on how the bill relates to official languages. I would like to preface my comments by clearly stating that the Reform Party in no way discourages individual bilingualism. Unfortunately the bill will legislatively entrench something we do not believe in. I am speaking of the holus-bolus financing of any group which claims to have as its mandate the furthering of official languages in Canada.

While we support the efforts of these groups, we believe they should be self-financing. With health care, unemployment and welfare programs in jeopardy due to a lack of funds, how can we continue to spend millions promoting something as divisive to Canadians as official languages?

This year alone the Ministry of Canadian Heritage is poised to give away over $31 million of hard earned taxpayers' money to these special interest groups. Not only are many of the grants of questionable value, the real travesty is that there is no way of determining how the money is used.

The government appointed watchdog of official languages programs and policies is the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages, which meeting I just left to attend this one. However that committee has openly stated that its mandate does not include spending. In fact the committee has twice voted down motions which would have resulted in comprehensive studies on how much money, such as these grants, is actually being used.

This brings me to section 88 of the Official Languages Act which will be amended by this bill. This section refers Ministry of Canadian Heritage reports, including spending estimates, to the standing joint committee for review. As I have already stated, this committee has neither the will nor the intestinal fortitude to conduct any meaningful review.

I make this statement not out of any sense of malice toward the committee but because of what I experienced during my time in it.

For example, when I proposed a motion to study all official languages' spending, I was greeted with scorn and distrust. To quote one of the hon. Liberal members, "This motion"-meaning Ringma's motion-"is inflammatory and illegal and it calls national unity into question. The member should be ashamed of acting like this and trying to divide the country". What nonsense.

I have sat on this committee since its formation under the auspices of the 35th Parliament. It has only issued one brief report to Parliament, which was more of a summary than a report, and it has not submitted even one recommendation to the House. In fact, my research shows it did not issue a single recommendation during its last two years under the 34th Parliament.

Given these facts, I have to ask how we can even consider legislatively entrenching such an important duty to a committee that is really more of a lapdog than a watchdog.

Another area of concern is the ministry's mandate for official languages as spelled out in the bill we are discussing. The mandate calls for the advancement of the equality of status and use of English and French. Under this mandate the ministry will spend $245 million this year on official languages in education. The constitutions of 1867 and 1982 clearly state that education is a provincial responsibility. Why then is this ministry spending a quarter of a billion dollars in this area of provincial jurisdiction?

Similarly, the ministry will spend $65 million to promote official languages. Again I have to ask: Why? When programs like old age pension, unemployment insurance, welfare and health are under constant attack due to a lack of funding, why is the government placing such a high priority on spending in areas where it has no jurisdiction?

The government has shown it cannot even handle the areas where it has responsibilities. Why on earth is it looking for ways to spend money it does not have in areas where it does not belong?

The biennial assembly, or convention if you will, of the Reform Party which was held here in Ottawa a few days ago passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the Official Languages Act. At the same time, it passed another resolution which would give responsibility for language and culture to the provinces. We believe this arrangement would be practical and would get the federal government out of the business of promoting languages.

The federal government has a responsibility for language equality clearly expressed in the Constitution, in section 133 of the BNA act and in sections 16 through 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Let the central government exercise its responsibilities under the Constitution. Let the provinces and special interest groups do whatever promotion of whatever language they want without a subsidy from Ottawa.

Reform supports freedom of speech, not comprehensive language legislation. Reform recognizes that the linguistic reality in Canada is that French is predominant in Quebec and English is predominant elsewhere. We support the philosophy of territorial bilingualism which will recognize this reality.

Reform believes all Canadians are equal and oppose funding of special interest groups which are claiming distinct status. As I said, we endorse individual bilingualism and extend this to languages other than French or English in recognition of the fact that over 12 million Canadians are of an origin which is neither French nor English. These other languages also give Canada strength and character.

Other than the constitution, if Canada needs other language policies these should be decided upon by the people as a whole and not by an elite here in Ottawa.

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4:45 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario


Mac Harb LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of International Trade

Madam Speaker, this bill confirms the structure of the Department of Canadian Heritage and brings together the various components that promote our national identity. My colleagues who have already taken part in this debate have well established the importance of this grouping to the new Department of Canadian Heritage.

Personally, I think that it will be a useful tool that will allow us to face the new realities and new challenges of the Canadian society. One of these major realities is the multicultural nature of Canada which is evolving very quickly.

According to the 1991 census, no less than 42 per centof Canadians say that at least one of their parents is neither French nor English. In fact, in all major urban centres in

the western part of Montreal, for example, a majority of the population is neither French nor English. It is expected that, by the year 2000, the percentage of Canadians from visible minorities will go from 13 to 18 per cent.

Some even maintain that this percentage could reach up to 50 per cent in Toronto. This rapid growth of Canadian diversity raises deep challenges that our society will have to face very quickly.

There is no question that Canada is a land of welcome and that our country provides a peace and a security that are seldom seen elsewhere.

Finally, we recognize that Canada is a country of openness and opportunity which millions and millions of people all over the world only dream about. We have the chance to live in this country and we are fully committed to its continued economic and social development.

We must avoid conflicts and maintain social harmony. That can only be achieved by defining wise policies based on the equality of every Canadian. Better still, we must ensure that all Canadians, whatever their origin or religion, can participate and fully contribute to the life in our society. We must make more efforts to develop policies that are well adjusted to Canadian diversity.

I believe that all the members in this House understand why Canada is a country that foreigners wished they lived in. Sometimes, some people do not seem to understand how we all benefit from the numerous cultures that the people who chose to live here bring with them. Too often, we understand multiculturalism in terms of ethnic food, and the folkloric dances and customs of the various ethno-cultural communities.

There is much more than that. Thousands and thousands of immigrants have developed the resources of this country. They have colonized vast territories and they have helped to build our cities.

Most Canadian regions have inherited the characteristics of various cultural groups. This diversity gave a unique character to the Canadian identity and to our culture. Canadian multiculturalism has two main characteristics. It encourages Canadian citizens to contribute actively to our society in either of our official languages.

Multiculturalism also encourages us to eliminate the barriers to a full and equal participation. Teaching of heritage languages, supporting artists in ethno-cultural communities and the promoting of transcultural activities are initiatives that help develop cultural harmony in our country. We acknowledge the fact that the roots of every citizen play an important part in his or her identity.

In Canada, no one is forced to forget his culture to be welcome. This is what makes Canadians a unique people. While acknowledging that our roots constitute an important part of our identity, Canadian multiculturalism is calling on us to commit ourselves to Canada. It respects the cultural identity of every citizen, it encourages creativity and intercultural exchanges.

Multiculturalism helps us to become aware of our duties but also of our responsibilities towards society. The multiculturalism program will now become very logically a part of the Department of Canadian Heritage. I must pay tribute to my colleague, the hon. Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and member for Mount Royal, for the outstanding job she is doing, building bridges between the ethno-cultural communities and the rest of the Canadian society.

I admit that we are all taken aback at one time or another when we see how quickly the face of this country is changing. All too often, we claim to be open to multiculturalism in Canada, but not next door, not in our backyards. That is why so much remains to be done to make all Canadians aware of the advantages and benefits of multiculturalism.

One major benefit we derive from our diversity is that it acts as a valuable asset in our trade relations on the global market. The chairman of the Royal Bank of Canada explained just recently that our future as a nation depended on our capacity to channel this wealth arising from our diversity to improve our competitiveness internationally.

Canadian businesses must open up new channels of trade. This is certainly easier and faster to achieve by drawing from our cultural communities a manpower that knows the languages, ways and customs of target countries. In the end, that is how our business leaders develop local resources and assests to get ahead of their foreign competition.

My point is that we must continually ask ourselves about the kind of country we are building. We must be confident and serene enough to shape our national identity according to our reality and our needs. In that sense, the establishment of the new Department of Canadian Heritage opens up such fascinating prospects.

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4:50 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Madam Speaker, on October 3, the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata tabled an amendment to Bill C-53. This bill is ambitious, because the purpose of this big shake-up is to shamelessly take control of what is called Canadian culture in this country. It is not surprising that, with this amendment, the Bloc Quebecois seeks to return this bill to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

In other words, what the Official Opposition is saying to the House is this: Members of Parliament, show political maturity and demand that the government do its homework again. In his speech on October 3, the minister gave us the following definition to think over: "Heritage is the set of signs that enable us to recognize ourselves as individuals who belong to a group or

even a country. Heritage is closely linked to questions of individual and national identity, which is why it can have such far-reaching and important influence".

While the traditional definitions of heritage as found in the dictionary refer essentially to a specific past which we recognize as our roots, the minister speaks of the set of signs by which Canadians would define themselves as belonging to the same reality. Some questions come spontaneously to mind. What do you think Quebecers, even federalists, will choose as the sign of what they are and what they want to be: the maple leaf or the fleur-de-lis?

Who can say out loud that our national anthem, which was written by Basile Routhier, generates the same sense of belonging from sea to sea as La Marseillaise in France or God save the Queen in England? And what about the Rockies, the Mounted Police and our coins bearing the effigy of the Queen?

The minister's plan, you will readily admit it, goes way beyond these heritage symbols. Suffice to quote here very briefly the minister: "We hope to rally the mighty forces of multiculturalism behind a cultural identity that is uniquely Canadian".

Since he only referred in his speech to the French Canadian culture when he talked about the official languages and the TV5 network, how could we not infer that we must absolutely bring back not only the Quebec culture but the aboriginal culture as well in the ideal and so-called safe melting pot of multiculturalism, in this world where the American culture is prevailing everywhere?

Madam Speaker, you will easily understand that, given all of this, it would be suicidal for the Official Opposition to support Bill C-53.

In spite of the minister's noble intentions, how can the Canadian Parliament not be concerned that today's culture, our writers, our artists, what I call our heritage in the making, are considered to be an industry in the same way as steel, shoes and chickens?

As for the review of the Copyright Act, for example, who will eventually have the last word? The Minister of Industry or the Minister of Canadian Heritage? We can safely assume that the Department of Industry, which already has this power, will retain it, since nothing in Bill C-53 clearly allocates responsibilities to either department.

Here is another example which should be cause for alarm in this House. With the emergence of the information highway, the speed of communication is approaching Mach 2. Is it reasonable to limit the stakes to marketing fibre optics? This is however, the conclusion we must reach since once again the Minister of Industry will be the project manager. But it also means that we are refusing to recognize that the major revolution brought about by the information highway is bound to rapidly and profoundly change the global culture.

It is often said that war is too serious a matter to be left up to generals; could it be that culture is too serious a matter to be left up to businessmen? Quebec culture is too precious to be left up to the goodwill of the federal government. The State of Quebec must have exclusive jurisdiction over Quebec culture.

For the past 30 years, the federal government, using its powerful spending authority, has shamelessly interfered with Quebec culture. Its objective was clearly to weaken Quebec culture. It has resulted in overlapping and duplication and created a dependence on the federal manna on the part of our creative minds.

In 1991, the total budget of the Quebec government for cultural institutions amounted to $426 million whereas that of Ottawa was $2.8 billion.

I wonder whether I understood what the minister meant when he said that both official languages "are inextricably linked to Canadian identity and culture. For this reason it is vital to promote them and broaden their sphere of influence". Am I naive in thinking that Radio-Canada's budget is sizeable enough to make a major contribution to the survival of francophone communities? Is it naive to think that when a number of the French network's stations were closed down recently in the regions, this was a clear indication of the strong position of French in these regions, a position so strong that these stations were no longer needed?

I am not naive, and few Quebecers are, as we can see in the following extract from the conclusion of the Arpin report: "Harmonizing action by both levels of government has never been easy". The federal government has always refused to recognize Quebec's leading role in cultural matters.

In 1992, Mrs. Frulla-Hébert, at the time Minister of Culture in the Bourassa government, went even further, saying there was little or no consultation on programs by the federal government with Quebec. Genuine co-operation was practically nonexistent, and when it did occur it was often at Quebec's request.

Recently, UQAM president Claude Corbo criticized the tendency of federal policies to downplay and ignore Quebec's identity. I hardly think Bill C-53 would change his mind.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage referred to Bill C-53 as the flag ship of Canadian identity. Metaphors are often not very apt, and this one is no exception. The cargo does not seem to be

properly stowed, and the ship may not be able to weather the storms ahead.

Any admiral worth his salt does not go out to sea with a ship that is poorly equipped. In concluding, I would therefore like to offer the Minister of Canadian Heritage some thoughts by Marcel Rioux, whom he must have met, considering his abiding interest in things cultural: "Why, at the slightest spark of life, do we go on hoping and manage to resist the pessimism and cynicism that lies at the root of so many foolish and unthinking decisions? To me, it is an act of faith in all those who built this country, and that is why I keep on hoping against hope".

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5 p.m.


Simon de Jong NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Madam Speaker, it is with pleasure that I join the debate today. Bill C-53 is an important bill because it establishes a very important department, the Department of Canadian Heritage. Yet I am afraid I will have to vote against the motion and the bill in front of us.

May I hasten to add for entirely different reasons than the reasons I have heard from both opposition parties today that I cannot accept the arguments put forward by members of the Bloc. There is a need in Quebec and in other parts of Canada for a cultural presence by the federal government. I think the first people to recognize that would be the artists in Quebec.

The artists in Quebec would abhor just having to depend upon the Quebec government. Just having to depend upon one source of support and assistance in the arts is not in the interests of the artists. All too often they have found in terms of past governments, and I suspect the present government as well, that the political agenda of the provincial government is at variance with the artistic interests of the artists.

Artists in Quebec also want to have the federal government, the Canada Council, the National Film Board, the SRC, all the federal cultural institutions. They also want them. I am not surprised by the objections raised by the Reform Party though I am saddened by them. Surely they also must recognize that cultural institutions are really what define the people in a nation.

Our cultural institutions help define what Canada is. They allow us to be able to see and hear and listen to other Canadians without the intervention of the government. Surely the Reform members are not so naive to assume that if you just leave it to market forces Canadian culture would be totally swamped by American culture. The economics would dictate that. Surely it is a naive belief in saying the federal government should get out of this area. They will do as much damage as what the Bloc is doing to the well-being and the maintenance of this country. Once you destroy the cultural identity you have destroyed this country. In this way the Bloc and the Reform are indeed in cahoots and working well together in that.

May I quote quite an excellent article that appeared in the Globe and Mail on May 8, 1994, by Michael Valpy. Why, indeed, maintain a multibillion dollar military establishment-when what is under attack in Canada is largely militarily indefensible; the alien control of our commerce, our resources, our jobs, our entertainment, publishing and other forms of communications''. Mr. Valpy was discussing a paper that was written by University of Toronto political scientist Franklyn Griffiths. He quotes Mr. Griffiths and this is the quote I wish to put on the record:The state of our cultural life'', he writes, ``is now of greater importance than the state of our armed forces in determining our ability to make choices for ourselves in a world where military challenges to our country have diminished relative to non-military or civil dangers''.

Again, I wish to agree with Valpy's thesis which is that the attack on Canada as a nation is really more in terms of non-military areas like our cultural sense of identity and sense of who we are.

I oppose this bill because this government's record in this area has been dismal. We have a weak minister and a weak department. It was referred to by members of the Bloc when they expressed their concern about issues like copyright and as well questions concerning the information highway, whether it is the ministry of industry or the ministry of heritage that is really in control.

I suspect it is the ministry of industry rather than the ministry of Canadian heritage. We have a weak department and a weak minister. The Canadian cultural institutions and values are not being well protected.

The other reason why I would have to oppose this bill is that the government as well as the previous government when it signed the FTA and the NAFTA continued to refuse to release the documents both on the FTA and the NAFTA on cultural discussions. We really do not know yet what is allowed and what is not allowed under the free trade agreement and under the NAFTA. How can we operate in terms of defining, strengthening and protecting Canadian cultural institutions when the public and as well those cultural institutions do not know what has been given away? How can we continue?

Historically in this House all political parties have supported the notion that the federal government has a role to play in our cultural institutions. That is why Conservatives started the CBC as well as Liberals, generally supported by New Democrats or the CCF, even the Social Credit Party when it had members in this House.

There was a recognition by those who are part of the English culture part of Canada, standing so close to the American border with its dynamic and very powerful cultural industries, that

unless we had an interventionist government, unless we followed something other than just market forces, our cultural identity as a country would be swamped.

There is a belief that all political parties in this House have traditionally agreed to, that as Canadians we have some identity, some values as Canadians that are unique, that are important and that are worth preserving. This is our contribution to the civilization of the human race.

It is worth the money we invest there. Without that investment, the Canadian cultural identity would disappear and then one has to once again ask oneself: "What do we have as a country?" We might as well then join the United States.

There is another important reason that I wish to mention in my remarks in terms of the importance of Canadian cultural industry. It creates jobs, many jobs. There are more jobs in the cultural sector than in fishery or in forestry. It is also a source of foreign earnings.

I hear members of the Reform Party talk about our taxpayers. Yes, indeed, taxpayers' dollars are involved but artists also create tax revenue. There was a study that was done in Toronto in the spring of 1993 which showed that the cutbacks in the Canada Council in fact decreased government revenues greater than the cutbacks.

They went through numerous performing companies after the cutbacks of their support by the Canada Council. They determined how many musicians were laid off, how many productions did not occur. Those performers, musicians, artists, actors and actresses were no longer working, were taking UI or welfare and were no longer paying taxes.

There was the loss of tax revenues from the loss of admission tickets. They found in this study that the government lost more money through revenue loss than had it continued to support the arts the way they it had formerly done.

I am also concerned, very much so, with our deficit. There is a need as well for wise spending and for trimming government expenditures. Let us do it with intelligence because in some areas when one cuts one will create more harm and there will be a greater loss of revenue than the money one will save from the cuts in those areas.

In conclusion I wish to restate that it is with sadness that I cannot support Bill C-53 because of the reasons that I have stated in my speech.

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5:10 p.m.


Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak today on Bill C-53, an act to establish the Department of Canadian Heritage.

I want to use this opportunity to talk about what it means to be Canadian. In 1993 when the Right Hon. Kim Campbell announced the reorganization of her government, the big selling point was the reduction of federal departments from 32 to 23 and the elimination of all minister of state positions.

She further justified the new structure by selling it as a significant step toward streamlining government. This was going to give Canadians a leaner, more accessible government. Multiculturalism was placed under her new Department of Canadian Heritage together with a mishmash of other programs and responsibilities.

Recognizing the level of public support for reducing the size of federal bureaucracy, the new Liberal government kept most of her changes and multiculturalism remained quietly buried in a new superministry of Canadian heritage.

This Liberal government failed to inform the Canadian people that the public perception of a government commitment to downsizing is unfounded. We have fewer ministers than we had under the previous government but now we have nine secretaries of state in addition to the full fledged ministers.

One of these new secretaries of state has a portfolio solely devoted to multiculturalism and the status of women.

The only major difference between a secretary of state and a minister is the name. Secretaries of state are not allowed to sit in cabinet and must report through the minister, but they have offices, staff and responsibilities for policy development in the departments to which they are assigned. They also receive an extra $35,000 a year salary and a car allowance.

This is not downsizing. What about the Canadian heritage department itself? Will taxpayers save any money through this restructuring and reorganization? Apparently not. When announcing the official establishment of this new department, top bureaucrats made it very clear that there would be no layoffs. Civil servants are being shuffled between new ministries but their jobs are secure, even if the future of some of the programs is not.

The number of employees in the multicultural program will remain at approximately 6,000, the same as 1992-93 levels. Multiculturalism now falls under another department but it is possible to compare current funding to that of previous years. In 1992-93, $39.8 million was spent on multicultural programs. Last fiscal year it was $36.9 million, and this year's forecast is $38.8 million. This does not include some of the spinoff programs that fall under the government's multicultural agenda.

For example, although the proposed Canadian race relations foundation is not functioning yet, the federal government

earmarked $24 million for it. This is hardly what I would call a stellar performance in cost reduction or downsizing.

Why do we have the multicultural policy we do? Why do we spend money to support special interest groups to maintain or rediscover their differences, rather than for the promotion of our shared symbols and positive Canadian qualities?

Immigrants have come to Canada for countless reasons over the years. For many it represented a place of safety to rebuild lives shattered by wars. For others it was a land of opportunity; if they worked hard they could become financially secure, send their children off to university and express their will within a democratic society.

These people came to Canada to become Canadians. They willingly left their country of birth and chose Canada as their new home. They came here to build a new life and a new reality for themselves and their children. To them, Canada symbolized hope. It was not just a place where they could become rich. It represented freedom from oppression or tyranny, from hunger or civil strife.

It was a land that, for the most part, accepted them as newcomers and tolerated their differences until they learned more about their chosen country and its culture.

Refugees come to our shores for many of the same reasons. Because Canada is isolated from refugee generating countries by vast oceans and by the United States, refugees must make a conscious decision that this is the country they want to move to. They must make extensive plans and pool their resources just to get here to claim refugee status. I believe they choose Canada for the same reasons that immigrants have in the past; an opportunity to get ahead in a country they are proud to be part of, a country that respects human rights and freedoms, a country where they will not have to live in fear.

Although immigrants and refugees left their homes to find the Canadian dream, what do newcomers to Canada find today? They discover a government that promotes cultural diversity, that tells them it is more important to maintain the identity they left behind than it is to become a Canadian. How many years is it before they are truly considered a Canadian? With our multicultural policy, how many generations will it take before people start thinking of themselves as Canadians rather than as outsiders? How can we eliminate racism or ghettoization if we perpetuate hyphenated Canadianism? How much time will it take for this government to understand that being a Canadian to a Canadian is more important than where you or your ancestors came from?

Everyone should be proud of their roots but they should also be proud to be a Canadian. We should be working toward the creation of a single national identity that we can all live with. Being Canadian is more than holding down a job, it is people pulling together for a common purpose and a common goal. This country is built on the efforts of people who came from all over the world to help create a nation they are proud to call home.

Throughout our history immigrants have worked hard to help forge the country we see today. They started out as immigrants but they built it as Canadians, for Canadians.

We are among the most tolerant people in the world. Regrettably, we have also had black periods in our history during which certain groups were not respected for their contribution or were denied access to our institutions and to some fundamental human rights.

We have grown a great deal over the past several decades. We have abolished institutionalized discrimination and promote respect for human rights at home and abroad. We must remain vigilant to ensure equality of opportunity for all Canadians but we must not let the pendulum swing so far toward accommodating special interests that we lose sight of who we are.

By promoting all cultures we will end up with none. What glue will hold our nation together?

As the make-up of our population changes, our national culture will naturally evolve to reflect that diversity. It is not something government can legislate or control. When government steps in, as it has, to encourage differences between people rather than fostering unity by encouraging common Canadian values other segments of our society will feel threatened because they will perceive their cultural values to be under siege.

When the cultural make-up of our population has changed to the point that our institutions no longer reflect the Canadian identity then there will be overwhelming public support and pressure for those changes to occur.

Government cannot dictate culture and government cannot control its expression. The government's role should be to clarify our similarities, not aggravate our differences. Cultural change occurs over generations but a nation must have a touchstone for its national identity, a reference point that immigrants from other countries can refer to.

We leave them floundering, having to rely on our multicultural policy of celebrating diversity as a guide to what it is to be a Canadian.

Canada has a distinct identity. We can all feel it. We know it is there but most Canadians cannot articulate it. When asked what it is to be a Canadian, many people used to respond that it is not being an American. We are more than a negative. We have our own positive sense of national identity and it must be communicated to all newcomers to this land.

To me being Canadian is many things. Being Canadian is truly believing in our inherent right to freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, the right to assemble and to demonstrate peacefully, freedom of the press, tolerance for differences and respect for human rights and democratic institutions. These are some of the common values I believe make us Canadians.

There is also an expectation held by the majority of Canadians that we will continue to support and, if necessary, defend our individual and collective rights to these freedoms.

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5:20 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.


Herb Dhaliwal LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to the members of the Bloc and the members of the Reform Party, particularly on their views on multiculturalism. It is obvious they do not have a clue what multiculturalism means and what it is all about.

I want to tell them a little bit about what multiculturalism is. Multiculturalism is a vision of Canada. One of the things that is really lacking on that side is a vision of Canada. It has no real vision of Canada. It does not understand that multiculturalism is valuing our cultural diversity and how important it is to value our cultural diversity.

As someone who came to Canada as a young boy at the age of six, I know a lot about multiculturalism. I know a lot about some of the barriers that immigrants face when they come here. Our family came here in 1906. If some people would read the history of what happened in British Columbia they would understand that at that time we did not have a policy of multiculturalism and there were laws that discriminated against certain groups. If we talk about the Komagata Maru , I ask everyone to read about that or the exclusion act. All of those things will give members a better idea of why multiculturalism is so important.

One of the Reform members said that everybody is the same. Everybody is not the same. I have three children and they have different needs. They are not the same. For some reason the Reform Party thinks if we treat everyone the same we are treating them equally.

People have different demands. People have different needs, just as the aboriginal community has different needs. As a society we have to recognize that. We have to make sure that they participate.

The Reform Party members are the same people who took the lead to campaign against Sikhs in the RCMP even though it was against the charter of human rights. The legal courts have shown that. Do members think they will change their policy even though the courts have ruled it is against the charter in a recent decision?

The Reform Party members actively have a policy which discriminates. I say that they do not understand what multiculturalism is. It is about bridging, about communication. That shows how little they know because they are not interested in listening when somebody has a different view.

Multiculturalism is about communication between different cultures. It is about bridging, about participating, about including Canadians. That is what multiculturalism is.

For members who want to talk about treating people equally, in their convention they had a resolution that says that immigrants should not get any social benefits for the first five years, but they want them to pay the same taxes. They do not want to give them a break on the taxes. They do not want to give them any social benefits for the first five years. Is that treating people equally? That is not treating people equally. That is about dividing Canadians. That is what we do not want. We want to include Canadians, not divide them. That is what the Liberal Party is all about and what this Liberal government is all about.

I am very proud of my culture and heritage and I believe it is very important that people know about their roots. If you do not know your roots you do not know where to go. I have learned that it is very important.

There are many business people in the Reform Party and they should understand how important multiculturalism is in this global economy. In the province of British Columbia people recognize that. The recent government has said in the schools it wants to be able to teach Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi where the needs are. That is important for the global economy and for us from an economic point of view to have growth in jobs. We cannot work in isolation. That is why it is so important.

In my own riding there is an area called the Punjabi market where many Indo-Canadians have their shops. The other day I opened a convention at the Pan Pacific and a tourist from the U.S. said: "I have heard about the Punjabi market. I would like to go down there and do some shopping". That is how important it is from an economic point of view to have that cultural diversity.

In the area of arts and culture the members of the Reform Party think that we can cut all the funding for arts and culture and then when we have the money all of a sudden all the artists and the infrastructure will come back; that sure, we can cut all the funding for arts and culture and five years from now it will be very simple to all of a sudden fund it again and all the art and culture will flourish. Life is not that simple. Art and culture are very important to this country and it is very important to maintain them.

I was on a trip to Europe this summer and when you visit a museum like the Louvre or a city like Edinburgh you really understand how art and culture are very important. I hope members of the Reform Party will also look at that with an open

and broad mind, not in a narrow focus. I am sure they will understand a lot better.

Multiculturalism is ensuring that all Canadians participate fully in Canadian life. Recently when I was vice-chairman of B.C. Hydro it adopted a vision that its employees should reflect the community it serves. That is what multiculturalism is all about. It is about equal opportunity. I will not go any further because my time is running out.

The House resumed from October 17 consideration of Bill C-49, an act to amend the Department of Agriculture Act and to amend or repeal certain other acts, as reported (without amendment) from the committee; and of Motion No. 1.

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5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

It being 5:30 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 45(5)(a) the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on Mr. Easter's motion at report stage of Bill C-49. Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division):

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6 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I declare the motion negatived.

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6 p.m.

Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan


Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Department Of Agriculture ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Department Of Agriculture ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members


Department Of Agriculture ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

On division.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed from October 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C-46, an act to establish the Department of Industry and to amend and repeal certain other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee; of the amendment; and the amendment to the amendment.

Department Of Industry ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 1994 / 6 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Pursuant to Standing Order 45(5)( a ), the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on the amendment to the amendment of Mr. McClelland at the second reading stage of Bill C-46.

(The House divided on the amendment, to the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

Department Of Industry ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I declare the amendment to the amendment negatived.

The House resumed from October 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C-48, an act to establish the Department of Natural Resources and to amend related acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of the amendment.

Department Of Natural Resources ActGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Pursuant to Standing Order 45(5)( a ), the House will now proceed with the taking of the deferred division on the amendment of Mr. Canuel at the second reading stage of Bill C-48.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)