House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.


Equality In The WorkplacePrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

It is time we recognized the House needs to run more smoothly.

Equality In The WorkplacePrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Gordon Kirkby Liberal Prince Albert—Churchill River, SK

Thank you, Madam Speaker. With respect to the motion before the House, the bill is not in order. I suggest we not support this piece of legislation. I think it is within all our hearts and desires to ensure that all people in this society have opportunity.

This is not about special opportunity, this is about equal opportunity for all Canadians. We must ensure we use the types of measures which will fix the historical problems of the past. We must ensure that some time down the road in our future we can all have opportunities to succeed in the jobs of our choice. We must be willing as a society to take measures to protect all individuals, whether because of race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical ability. We must allow all of these people opportunities in society.

Words are very important. Words can hurt or words can heal. It is time all members of this honourable House realized the import and the power of words. Let all we say and all we do bring dignity, respect and honour to all Canadians and to our shared values of tolerance, working together and justice.

Equality In The WorkplacePrivate Members' Business

May 2nd, 1996 / 5:55 p.m.


Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member for North Vancouver has tabled motion M-141 before this House, which shares the same political philosophy as Motion M-154 by the Reform member for Wetaskawin, which we shall be debating within a few minutes. Motion M-141 reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should support the elimination of section 15(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, as it derogates from the principle of equality enunciated by section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, that the government should work towards enhancement of equality in the workplace by ending the discriminatory hiring programs that have resulted from the affirmative action provisions of section 15(2).

Sections 15(1) and 15(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, to which the hon. member refers, address the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and more specifically the rights to equality within Canadian society. These two sections, which have been in effect since April 1985 and which the hon. member wishes to have eliminated, read as follows, and I quote:

  1. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Subsection (2) deals with positive action programs the member for Vancouver-North would like to see abolished, and reads as follows:

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions fo disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Whether the member for North Vancouver likes it or not, this in fact does not preclude legislation, programs or activities aimed at improving the conditions of disadvantaged groups based on the personal characteristics of the individuals making up these groups.

The member wants to maintain subsection 15(1), which reaffirms that everyone is equal before the law and entitled to equal benefits and equal protection under the law, but he also wants to eliminate subsection 15(2), which in his view contradicts subsection 15(1); in other words, he wants the government to put an end to

programs facilitating job equity through hiring programs the member calls discriminatory.

The Supreme Court of Canada handed down 23 decisions regarding section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, some are better known, such as the Thibaudeau case dealing with making support payments part of income. Others, such as the Andrews case, are precedent setting. This case dating back to 1989 led to the drafting of an interpretation code for cases dealing with equality rights. In that case, the appellant was successful in contesting the need to be a Canadian citizen to be called to the Bar Association of British Columbia.

Mary C. Hurley, a researcher for the Law and Government Division of the Library of Parliament, conducted an in-depth study on equality rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: section 15 as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada in its decisions.

According to Ms. Hurley, the framework established in the Andrews case has so far been used as an authoritative guide in this matter and the Supreme Court's flexible analysis of the first section-of which the hon. member for North Vancouver wants a rigid, legalistic interpretation-provides for greater judicial restraint in making legislative choices in so-called socio-economic cases in which the government must weigh competing groups' legitimate demands for limited resources. But all these arguments are too subtle for the hon. member for North Vancouver.

In her outstanding analysis, Ms. Hurley goes on to say: "Equality is a comparative notion perceived in relation to other people's social or political situation. Consequently, a law is not necessarily flawed because it makes distinctions. Legislative classifications must be made so that a modern society can be administered. For the purposes of section 15, discrimination is defined as an intentional or unintentional distinction based on motives linked to personal characteristics of the individuals or groups affected, which imposes disadvantages or burdens others do not have to suffer or bear, or deprives them of benefits or advantages available to others."

All this information and all the arguments I have cited in describing the legal analysis framework on which section 15 of the 1982 Constitution Act is based do not meet with the approval of the hon. member for North Vancouver, who is reacting like a real political dinosaur and whose notion of equality refers to the basic reflex of fighting for life, in which the law of the jungle should replace the entire social infrastructure modern Canadian society has given itself in the 20th century.

On the contrary, affirmative action programs for historically disadvantaged groups promote equality in the workplace, to which the hon. member is referring. This equality in the workplace is parallelled by subsidies, especially to new businesses, aimed at helping them get over some crucial growth stages. At the collective level, social programs are designed to give everyone equal opportunities. As for transfer and equalization payments, their purpose is to help the have not provinces. All these policies seek, to various degrees, to correct inequalities that are part of nature and that influence the evolution of life in a society.

The hon. member would want to eliminate graduated taxes and go back to the natural or wild state. Social darwinism no longer has a place in modern society. Abolishing all assistance and equal opportunities programs would lead to anarchy by marginalizing several groups in society.

I understand the member's reaction. He is from western Canada, a young land, a new frontier. These descendants of pioneers have learned to rely on themselves alone. However, as a country matures and evolves, it develops its structure while also defining its social mission. Historically, most of the oldest European countries have had the strongest leftist tendencies, even though the state of their public finances sometimes forced them to go back to a more centrist position. We must evolve. Equal opportunities often reflect a country's degree of evolution and civilization. Achieving a balance between the economic and social components is a complex task. We must work at it in a gradual way, not through sweeping changes as advocated by the hon. member for North Vancouver.

If we try to abolish all assistance programs for people, many poor individuals or groups will lose hope or rebel. In this context, if the Reform Party rejects any form of gun control, is it because its members feel threatened by all those whom they deprived of any hope to improve their lot?

In conclusion, I ask the hon. member to give this some thought, to mature a little bit, and to show us the level of civilization to which he can rise. What live in an advanced country of 30 million people, at the dawn of the 21st century, not in Dawson City in 1898.

Equality In The WorkplacePrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Hillsborough P.E.I.


George Proud LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight to speak in reply to private member's motion No. 141.

In his motion the member for Vancouver North asks that the government support the elimination of section 15(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is the section of the charter which allows for actions to balance the inequality in Canadian society, including the promotion of equality of opportunity in the labour marketplace.

The member states that section 15(2) of the charter derogates from the principle of equality that is enunciated in section 15(1) of the charter. The dictionary states that the word "derogate" means to stray from. Therefore, the member seems to be concerned that section 15(2) of the charter strays from the intent of section 15(1). Just for the record, 15(1) is the section of the charter which ensures all Canadians equality before and under the law and equal protec-

tion and benefit of the law without discrimination. It is one of the fundamental principles on which the charter is based.

To address the member's motion, as far as this government is concerned there is absolutely no contradiction in wanting to ensure equality for all Canadians, as section 15(1) does, while at the same time having the capacity to act in cases where there is a need to correct inequality of opportunity for which section 15(2) provides.

It is exactly by being able to implement measures in support of disadvantaged groups that we do guarantee equality in Canadian society. This is the kind of equality that section 15(1) of the charter of rights and freedoms calls for and the kind of equality that makes Canada one of the best places in the world in which to live.

Over the years this government and other governments before it have been willing to act when it was necessary to improve conditions for certain disadvantaged groups or individuals. This is a very legitimate function of responsible government.

We are proud of our performance and of our support of the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms, including the traditions that it reflects. We particularly support the provisions of the charter that advocate equal opportunities for all Canadians.

Because we believe that section 15(2) is a necessary part of the charter in support of equality, we are not in favour of seeing it eliminated.

The member's motion also calls on the government to end discriminatory hiring programs that result from affirmative action. Once again, those of us on this side of the aisle would remind our colleagues in the third party that promoting equality of opportunity does not mean discrimination for or against anyone in the workplace. It does mean however acting in a manner to ensure that there are no barriers in place which might deny some individuals or groups from having full and equal access to the same job opportunities as others in the same society.

Hon. members will recall the work we did last fall to introduce and to pass Bill C-64, an act respecting employment equity. Perhaps this is the sort of affirmative action the member from North Vancouver is referring to in his motion.

The purpose of Bill C-64 is not to promote discriminatory hiring. The purpose is quite simple and quite clear. It is to remove the systematic barriers that prevent qualified people from working, the kind of barriers that have nothing to do with merit or personal capability but have come about because of informal practices and rules that have developed over the years and can impede open access to job opportunities.

The purpose of Bill C-64 was not and is not to impose any kind of discriminatory hiring program or quotas, nor does it require employers to hire anyone who is not qualified to do a particular job. The bill specifically excludes hiring quotas or arbitrary numerical employment goals as being unreasonable.

There are no quotas, there is no hidden agenda, there is no reverse discrimination in our approach to employment equity. Merit remains the basic principle for hiring and there is no question about that. Anyone who reads the bill will see it.

It is also important to note that Bill C-64 was supported by a clear majority of members of this House, including the official opposition. Its advantages were carefully considered and recognized on the floor of the House, during committee hearings and more broadly by many Canadians.

It was during committee hearings that we heard some of the strongest endorsements of the principles of employment equity and of the value of equality in the workplace. Many of these comments came from the business community, including the business community in the member's home province. The business community understands that the world in which Canada does business is changing, that Canada has to be enlightened and forward thinking, that we need to be well positioned to attract and to employ the best and brightest people we can.

It is not just employers who support the principles of employment equity. Labour representatives have spoken in support of the direction we are following with employment equity in Canada.

The market is not always fair and equitable. It does need some guidelines and direction from time to time. We feel it is the responsibility of government to recognize when that time is and to show the appropriate leadership. This government has done that.

On balance, there appears a strong consensus across the country in support of what we have done. Business, labour and others support our approach to employment equity and the equality of opportunity in the workplace that it represents. There is a strong consensus, except from the party opposite.

There are still those who choose to ignore the evidence, including positive comments from the business community, from labour

representatives as well as from many others who have gone on record as supporting the principles of employment equity.

For those of us living in the real world, the very competitive real world of the 1990s, we know there are significant advantages to be gained from diversity in the workplace and by an enlightened approach to employment equity.

I invite my hon. friend opposite to consider the advantages. I also remind him that the government remains committed to its jobs and growth agenda. The underlying goal is still to get Canadians back to work. As the economic program continues to contribute to this goal there will be more jobs available.

Employers will continue to seek out the most qualified candidates for these jobs. Merit will remain the central qualification for hiring. The member for North Vancouver and his constituents should be reassured that the government is not doing anything to change that.

We do not need to abolish section 15(2) of the charter, as the member for North Vancouver has asked us to do. We need to get on with creating the kinds of partnerships that will increase the job opportunities for everyone.

Eliminating section 15(2) of the charter of rights and freedoms will not contribute to achieving the goal of this member. I do not support the motion to this effect.

Equality In The WorkplacePrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I address this motion. First, I will make a few comments.

What is the essence of discrimination, racism, prejudice? Is it not when a label is pinned on somebody, when they are simply considered as part of a group? I find it interesting that the members pay lip service to this kind of anti-discriminatory measure while they practise it, even at the highest level.

I would like to give an example of our own Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was on a platform with four black members of his caucus. Instead of remarking on the contributions those members of Parliament made, the Prime Minister said that he was impressed with them because they smiled a lot.

If that was not bad enough, he went on to say something, possibly unintentionally, with regard to one of the black members of his caucus, a very fine person, a parliamentary secretary. Rather than mentioning the role she played behind the scenes, the Prime Minister explained that she was the woman who trotted behind him as he went into question period.

It is obvious that blacks have a long way to go in this country if even our own Prime Minister refers to their smile and their ability to trot behind him into the House of Commons. I think that is deplorable.

For members to start throwing comments at us and pinning labels on us is the essence of prejudice. They ought to look in their own backyard before they start doing some of these things. It is too bad that I have to bring up examples like this. When are people going to start looking at themselves and look at the whole issue?

We have to look at ourselves on an individual basis. We will only overcome this problem on an individual basis. We will not do it by legislation, by putting people into categories. I wonder how Liberals feel about the comments their own Prime Minister makes.

Now I will address the issue with which we are dealing. I feel very strongly about this because I have been the subject of prejudice and discrimination from time to time. I will not give examples today. However, my constituents feel very strongly about what I am going to say today.

My first taste of unfairness and reverse discrimination imposed by federal government departments, federally regulated industries to Canadian workers happened to come in February 1995 when I learned that the RCMP training academy in Regina would train 426 new cadets in 1995. But the top brass, the people who running the show, decided that 112 of them would be aboriginals, 112 would be visible minorities, 95 would be women. That is 74 per cent of the total number of new recruits.

When my constituents heard about this they were outraged. I am appalled that the federal government can run such a blatantly discriminatory and racist affirmative action program and then have the nerve to call it equality.

I ask the members of the House: how can Canadians be assured that these are the best police officers for the job? Time after time the merit principle on which all public sector hiring should be based takes a back seat to the applicant's race, the colour of his or her skin, his or her gender. When Bill C-33 is rammed through the House this week or next, hiring quotas will be based on each applicant's sexual preferences and behaviour.

This one example proved to me and my constituents that political correctness is rampant, even in the RCMP. The federal government is gambling with the safety of the public. Think about it. The Liberal's hiring quotas are a higher priority than public safety.

Canadians are more concerned about having the very best RCMP officers patrolling our highways and streets than they are about the colour of their skin or whether they are a man, a woman or a homosexual. If I am wrong, I am sure I will hear about it.

To this end in the last sitting of Parliament I introduced motion M-356 which I would like to read:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should enact legislation which would repeal the federal Employment Equity Act, guarantee the right of all federal job applicants to be evaluated solely on the basis of merit, and withdraw all federal funding from all affirmative action programs.

When Parliament was arbitrarily prorogued for purely political grandstanding, my motion bit the dust and I reintroduced it again in March.

Motion 141 which we are debating today and put forward by my hon. colleague for North Vancouver would remove the constitutional authority that allows the government to have an employment equity act in the first place. This motion proposes to eliminate section 15(2) of the charter of rights and freedoms because it permits the government to discriminate.

Section 15(1) of the charter says: "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination".

It is followed by section 15(2) which states that subsection (1) does not apply if: "the law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of the conditions of the disadvantaged groups or individuals". That section 15(2) of the charter of rights and freedoms says that it is okay for people, companies or the government to violate equality provisions of the charter just so long as they only discriminate against Canadians who are not members of so-called disadvantaged groups.

I would like to get back to the example of the RCMP for a moment. About the same time the hon. member for Port Moody-Coquitlam released information which showed that RCMP members who are visible minorities and aboriginals are also given preference in transfer placements and assignments so that they can be near their family and their own community. I have heard of many RCMP officers who have been denied transfers to even their home province, let alone their own home town.

How do these officers feel when their colleagues are being given special treatment because of their race? Police officers have a tough enough time without the hiring and transfer practices of the force creating resentments among the ranks. Dividing people into categories simply does not break down barriers. It puts more bricks on the walls that divide us. That is what it does.

I believe in true equality. The most important criteria for hiring any employee is that he or she is the best person for the job. If all the qualifications of the two applicants are equal, then I do not mind giving certain people a break. But these quotas actually promote outright discrimination. It must undermine the confidence, the self-esteem, the credibility of RCMP officers to know they got their job because they are aboriginal, or they are female, or because of the colour of their skin, not because of their qualifications necessarily. It is just like it affects an MP who is appointed by the Prime Minister because she is female.

How must applicants from a minority group feel whenever they meet another officer or a member of the public? Do they ask themselves: "I wonder if they think I got this job because I was the best person for the job or if they think I got it because of the colour of my skin or because I am a woman?" That is the kind of thing that happens in reality.

Employment equity and affirmative action are just legalized racism and sexism. The Liberals think the only way to achieve equality is by discriminating. These government policies and laws can do nothing but divide us. I will do everything in my power to see that they are reversed.

The government is trying to stamp out discrimination by discriminating. It is trying to enforce equality by violating the charter's equality rights. It does not even matter that the individual receiving the special status and special rights may not be personally disadvantaged, only that he or she is a member of the disadvantaged group.

We can all experience discrimination. I have had that uncomfortable experience myself. Have you ever heard so much doublespeak, Madam Speaker? George Orwell's Animal Farm has come to life right here in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This has all been cultivated by the Liberal government. Under its stewardship this is a growth industry. It is promoting this kind of thing, the very opposite of what it intends.

Now that the government has given itself this power to discriminate against Canadians, the power to override the equality provisions of the charter, Statistics Canada has come up with a question on this year's census that is blatantly racist. The bureaucrats have found the ultimate make work project. If they can identify more people in each of the so-called disadvantaged groups, they can justify more money for more affirmative action programs so they can discriminate against the rest of us even more.

I am sure the House is familiar with this. The affirmative action bureaucrats tell Statistics Canada they need more information about racists. Statistics Canada complies with the request. On May 14 the census will ask 20 per cent of randomly selected Canadians to define their race and the colour of their skin. Then recipients of the census will be able to choose from 10 categories including white, black, Latin American, Chinese.

If persons find the question racist and insulting, the government has the power to fine them $500 if they do not answer the question correctly. Statistic Canada says that the information is used to administer programs such as employment equity and that all the responses will be kept strictly confidential. What they should be saying is that it is a blatantly racist question that has no place in the national census.

The government has the onus to prove that what it is doing is effective. It has never ever done that. Any law that is passed in this

House should be proven to be effective or it should be repealed. That is what we are proposing with this motion.

In conclusion, what gives people dignity and confidence and the feeling that they belong? Certainly it is not by being segregated into groups. It comes through being recognized for who you are and what you have accomplished.

Last Saturday I met with Grassroots Indian people in Saskatoon. The Reform MP from North Island-Powell River was the only other MP who was also there. The reporters covering the story commented that it was very interesting that the MPs who had been given a certain label as being racist were the only ones who showed up at this gathering of about 60 people. We sat there all day and listened to their concerns. We are representing those people in the House.

It is these things that break down barriers. The barriers will be broken down on an individual basis by doing our part to look at the people, each one as an individual, and being special and not belonging to a group. We will be accepted by society by the contributions we make and our achievements, not by other means which most people perceive as being discriminatory.

I hope this government will take this to heart.

Equality In The WorkplacePrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired, and this item is dropped from the Order Paper.

It being 6.30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

MeritPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB


That, in the opinion of this House, the government should support the rights of all job applicants to be evaluated solely on the basis of merit.

The way this motion piggybacks on to my colleague's previous motion it would appear we had it orchestrated that way, but I assure members it is simply the luck of the draw that it turned out that way.

Reformers are quite up front about where we stand on issues. Sometimes we are accused of not being politically correct, but we represent the interests of the grassroots, not the political elites.

While this motion stands in my name, it comes right from Reform Party policies. Our policies are the culmination of the grassroots process that starts in small communities within our ridings, then moves to the constituency level and then to the national assembly.

When election time rolls around Reform Party policies are ready. There will not be any surprises for Reform Party supporters or candidates thanks to the democratic process we follow. Liberals should follow our example instead of allowing a few advisors to publish another red book that will be tossed aside as soon as the votes are counted anyway.

Reformers believe that all Canadians are equal by virtue of their shared humanity but are not equal in terms of ability, preference and discipline. Canadians who wish to pursue a certain vocation should not face barriers of discrimination, and those with ability and discipline deserve the rewards of hard work.

Under the charter of rights and freedoms 1982, which has been quoted extensively tonight, every individual is equal before and under the law and has a right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.

Without a doubt this is the most important part of the charter. The authors, however, nullified this section by adding section 15.2, giving the government the right to pass affirmative action programs. Despite this contradictory clause and despite the fact that employment equity is deemed to be politically correct, it carries a stigma and a presumption of racial or gender inferiority. The reality is equity programs do not remove sex and racial bias from the workplace. They institutionalize them.

There was a time when the abilities of women and minorities were not recognized, but times have changed; this is not 1929. Employment barriers for women, minorities and the disabled have outlived their usefulness and are now in danger of creating new forms of discrimination. This government was so concerned about appearing more politically correct than its predecessors and capturing the hearts and votes of special interest groups that it introduced Bill C-64 in December 1994.

The government hoped it would divert attention away from the real problems of Canada, namely the $580 billion national debt.

Bill C-64 extended and superseded the 1986 Employment Equity Act. It now covers the public service, crown corporations and federally regulated private sector employees working in banks, airlines, railways and telecommunication companies. In a really invasive move it was extended to all businesses with over 100 employees that receive federal contracts.

While Bill C-64 does not apply specific quotas, the inspectors, auditors and those administering the legislation can make compa-

nies comply with numerical goals. What are numerical goals? Numerical goals are really quotas in disguise.

The government ignores polls showing employment equity has lost support among Canadians. It ignored evidence presented to the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities by credible witnesses.

For example, here is what Mark Pickup, a victim of multiple sclerosis, had to say when he appeared before the standing committee: "You cannot legislate someone to accept me because I happen to be disabled any more than you can legislate someone to love me. That achieves nothing. To try to legislate such things achieves condescension at best and hostility at worst. I do not need more of either. I need less of both".

Did the government listen to what he had to say? It ignored Mark Pickup, as it ignored thousands of other disabled and aboriginal people who told the committee the old act did not serve them well.

Last June during the Ontario election campaign even the provincial Liberal leader promised to scale back the provincial affirmative action law, calling it adversarial, bureaucratic and expensive to administer. Ontario voters subsequently elected Mike Harris who promised to do away with employment equity laws. He kept his promise; but then, he did not have a red book of broken promises like my friends across the way.

In October 1995 the European Court of Justice ruled that quota schemes for jobs and promotions violate European equal opportunity laws. In the United States three decades of affirmative action programs are being scrapped.

The government employment equity law is an insult to women, to minorities and to the disabled. In the government's attempt to atone for the past, it is trampling on the present and compromising the future.

A Reform government would treat people equally and would not punish today's generation for the wrongs of previous generations. Managing diversity goes beyond the narrow confines of employment equity. We have to create a fair work environment that recognizes and attempts to meet the needs of all employees.

The role of government is not to set terms and conditions under which private companies hire employees. It is time to let common sense prevail. A diverse workforce is a plus for any businesses. The market will dictate the diversity of the staff. They will do it on their own and they certainly do not need the hassle of excessive government red tape.

For some reason the Liberal government assumes that anyone in the four designated groups is disadvantaged. That presumption is patronizing, unfair and unrealistic.

Why does the government presume it has to legislate fairness? Does the government have the corner on morality? On March 21 the president of treasury board said that in one year the participation of women in the public service rose to 47.4 per cent from 44 per cent, that almost two-thirds of the 14,000 employees hired were women, and that 56 per cent of the employees promoted were women. That is a reflection of changing attitudes and a new reality.

I want to believe they were hired or promoted on the value of the work they performed and not on the basis of artificial quotas. The public service is staffed by skilled, competent women who deserve to be rewarded for their excellence, not for their gender. They deserve better from their employer than patronizing tokenism.

With promotion becoming the next logical step in the equity quest, we have to ensure we do not find a new way of perpetuating the Peter principle. Long ago the philosophy behind employment equity was to raise awareness. That has happened. Now we have to let the competitive forces of the workplace take over.

I am a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development. For the last two years we have been examining employment insurance. We hear about the need for programs to help people who have given up looking for work and that the job market is bleak. It is bleak enough without adding the unfair burden of numerical quotas.

The government created a new category of disadvantaged, young white males. My colleague has referred to the quotas imposed on the RCMP. During a career fair in the high school in my home town recently there were some young males who had expressed an interest in joining the RCMP. They were told they had better seek another line of employment.

Unemployment for young males aged 15 to 24 in March was 17.4 per cent. The rate for young females at the same time was 13.1 per cent, a difference of some 4.3 per cent. There is no question there are too many unemployed youth. The best way for the government to help unemployed Canadians is not through harmful equity programs but by balancing the budget, reducing the billions of dollars of debt and lowering taxes.

Special concessions undermine morale and respect. Somewhere along the way the notion of fair play vanished.

Immigrants who arrived in Canada over the centuries, our ancestors, came here because they saw this as a land of freedom and opportunity. The time has come to move into the age where all Canadians are considered equal.

MeritPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Bruce—Grey Ontario


Ovid Jackson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak tonight on Motion No. 154, put forward by the hon. member for Wetaskiwin.

The motion states that the government should support the rights of all job applicants to be evaluated solely on the basis of merit. This motion is redundant. It is too narrow in scope. We as a government do not support it.

Our current practices already embody the fundamental principle of merit. It is a merit based principle which has contributed to the world class level of the public service we have in Canada. Merit is the basis of the competitive process across the federal government, a process which has produced the most capable and professional public servants who well serve the government and the people of Canada.

When individuals join the public service and when they compete for opportunities within the public service they do so on the basis of merit. To suggest otherwise undermines the integrity of the selection process and its outcome.

Clearly merit is the fundamental concept which, when applied to individuals who are appointed to the public service, is the best option. This principle is enshrined in the Public Service Employment Act. The act provides for an appointment in accordance with merit, subject to some very small exceptions mandated by Parliament.

For example, in certain special situations the act requires that we give priority to placement of employees whose jobs are declared surplus or who face layoffs. The government believes these exceptions are essential to the efficient and meritorious hiring within the public service.

The government is a responsible employer. It must be able to attract people of high quality in the future so that Canadians continue to benefit from one of the best public services in the world. The motion does not recognize this need. The motion is a straight-jacket and we cannot support it.

Hiring in the Public Service of Canada is governed by the Employment Equity Act. This motion does not recognize that the important principles of employment equity and merit are compatible and essential to ensure that Canadians have access to a qualified public service that is representative of all Canadians.

Our framework legislation is designed and enshrined to ensure that our staffing procedures and systems are free from systemic and attitudinal barriers. In Canada this means that only qualified persons, no matter what their race, origin, colour, sex, age or disability, can be recruited into the Public Service of Canada.

To ensure these important principles are respected, Parliament in its wisdom has given authority to the Public Service Commission to correct historic imbalances in the representation of designated group members within the public service. This is designed to ensure that Canadians have access to the public service and that it represents all Canadians. A smart organization will hire the brightest and the best whether they are aboriginals, women, visible minorities or persons with disabilities.

As the President of the Treasury Board said recently when he tabled the main estimates, we have a dedicated and efficient public service. We want to treat them fairly and we want them to be motivated and feel valued for the work that they do. The Public Service of Canada has always been known for its competency, integrity and hard work. We are confident that the men and women of the public service will continue to display these qualities of professionalism. The principle of merit is the cornerstone of our ability to recruit the brightest and the best.

Our existing legislative framework is a far better guarantee of the quality of the public service than the restrictive motion currently under consideration by this House. In short, Motion No. 154 is too confining and restrictive to be supported by this government. It does not recognize the importance of the merit principle and other access and representation principles that Canadians expect this government to apply in order to maintain a qualified and representative public service. All smart organizations hire people of all colours, religions and races. I cannot imagine that the Government of Canada would want to do otherwise.

In my riding of Bruce-Grey we try to represent a cross-section of the population. The very name of Bruce-Grey reflects this. Bruce is the Scottish part and Grey is the English part. I am a real anomaly. There are not many minorities. The minority we have in our police force would be women. We tried to address this imbalance and I am proud to say I was the mayor who hired our first woman officer. Now we have three or four and the imbalance is being addressed.

Systemic imbalances have to be addressed because people within society need to know that they have opportunities. As I said to the police chief, maybe if we froze time and started over with various proportions of all the different people then people would not be competing.

I understand we are in stressful times and in a period of profound change with respect to the job situation. However I am confident as one of the best nations in the world we have the ability to make sure our young people are looked after and to make sure that every person in our society is represented. Equal opportunity for all is what makes Canada the best country in the world.

MeritPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.


Richard Bélisle Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Wetaskiwin has moved Motion M-154, which reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should support the rights of all job applicants to be evaluated solely on the basis of merit.

The motion moved by the hon. member is self-evident. All job applicants should be evaluated on the basis of merit. I agree with the hon. member on this point: every job applicant should be evaluated as objectively as possible, on the basis of merit and solely on the basis of merit. In fact, this is a fundamental principle in human resources management.

But to evaluate job applicants on the basis of merit and solely on the basis of merit does not always work. Several groups in our society are penalized and not evaluated on the basis of merit by their employers. This type of discrimination is usually based on their sex, their culture, or the fact that they belong to a visible minority or have a physical handicap.

This is exactly why the federal government, the provincial governments and major corporations had to act and set up employment equity programs. Market forces unfairly penalized some groups in our society.

It is easy to apply the basis of merit to job applicants, but without deliberate interference in favour of some of the target groups, individual merit is no longer the only element to be factored in, since women, natives, the handicapped and members of visible minorities are penalized to start with. This is why these four groups were designated as target groups for employment equity purposes by the federal government in 1992.

In December 1992, an amendment to the Financial Administration Act provided the employment equity programs within the federal public service their statutory authority. However, the basic elements of the employment equity programs remained the same as the ones listed in the 1986 Treasury Board policy on employment equity. It is important to note that the legislative basis for the employment equity program precedes the election of the current Liberal government.

Merit in the awarding of a position must be based on an objective system of evaluating positions. A system of evaluating positions must describe and measure the levels of complexity, responsibility, knowledge and working conditions associated with each position as objectively as possible.

But this objective mandate must be accompanied by a social mandate within an organization, and this social mandate is generally fulfilled in the field of human resources management through the creation of employment equity programs.

The beauty of all this is that the economic and social aspects are inextricably linked and mutually complementary. Thus, employment equity programs allow talented individuals, members of target groups, to make their mark at last, with the help of the recruitment and promotion policies set up in the wake of these programs.

These people come to light and make an exceptional contribution to their employer that they would never have been able to make without the existence of employment equity policies, because members of their particular group were excluded from the outset by the predominant or corporate culture of their organization.

We will not be supporting Motion M-154 brought forward by the member, because evaluation for a position solely on the basis of merit must not override the federal employment equity policy introduced in 1986 and recognized through legislative amendment in 1992. And in order for the principle of evaluation on the basis of merit to be as strong and objective as possible, the groups discriminated against from the outset must be recognized, so that the most talented applicants are selected, regardless of the group to which they belong. Recognizing merit alone would be short sighted and would be to lose sight of merit itself ultimately.

Where have we got to with employment equity in Canada and in the various provinces, in the public and in the private sector? The situation varies from province to province. According to Morley Gunderson, Director of the University of Toronto's centre for industrial relations, who has looked at the situation in Ontario, the public sector and large businesses have raised their female employees' salaries by 20 per cent, in order to improve the employment equity situation.

The corrections have been far more modest in smaller businesses. Initially, the only initiatives outside Quebec came from the federal government or businesses under federal jurisdiction. Quebec recognized male-female employment equity as early as 1976, while five other provinces followed suit in the mid and late 1980s. Equity here means equal pay for equal work.

The public sector has led the way in male-female employment equity. Generally, large businesses have inaugurated pay equity programs, but this is far from being the case for smaller ones.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is recommending, even to the Harris government in Ontario, an increase from 10 to 50 in the number of employees a business may have before it is obliged to establish an employment equity program. This would exclude two thirds of the workforce there.

Clearly, salary discrimination is more common in the private sector. In the federal government, the cost of establishing pay equity is currently estimated at $1.5 billion, as the result of a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It recognized the results and the relevance of the independent study requested jointly by Treasury Board and employee unions. The federal government has given itself the months of April and May to evaluate the back pay and salary increases that would affect the pay of 80,000 female employees.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada contends that the federal government owes $1.5 billion to 80,000 women working in six

classifications of jobs occupied predominantly by women, such as clerk, secretary and typist, key punch operators, librarians, hospital workers and educational support workers. The Alliance is calling for salary adjustments to be made retroactive to 1986.

Some unionized workers are concerned that salary retroactivity, while legitimate, will result in further lay-offs by the government. The federal government has been revelling in employment equity terms for more than 10 years, but the court decision is continually being put off.

Therefore we cannot support motion M-154 because it demonstrates short-sightedness with regard to professional or on-the-job performance. If we evaluate all job applicants solely on the basis of merit we risk eliminating at the outset talented candidates from discriminated-against groups. The present government should conform without delay to the court ruling and definitely do justice to its own employees in target groups-Natives, the handicapped, members of visible minorities and women-giving them the retroactive payments and raises they are entitled to.

Only then will we see if the government can, for once, act on what it says.

MeritPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.


Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this motion this evening. I congratulate my hon. colleague from Wetaskiwin for moving the motion and for ensuring that members of the House and Canadians everywhere are aware of the Reform Party position regarding employment equity and merit based hiring.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to employment equity. The first is that legislative programs are necessary to fix the wrongs, especially past wrongs that were in the workforce. The second is that employment equity is flawed because it advocates hiring of individuals based on personal characteristics, not on merit. Obviously we have two schools of thought.

Relative to these opposing views is the assumption of the need for some type of affirmative action or employment equity legislation. It was thought to be an appropriate method of addressing inequities in the workplace. Much has been written about the culture of work in this regard, yet I believe that inequities that are socially engineered do not explain the vastly dissimilar outcomes different groups experience in the course of their lives.

The government attempts to dismiss the more complex elements, the nature of which is evident in Bill C-64. Conditions today are not what they were 10 or even 15 years ago. Empirical evidence and supporting information have shown that culture and education have more to do with gaps in the workplace than we may assume.

I will now highlight five points which express the Reform position as I believe it to be. First, all Canadians are equal before and under the law, and all workers have the right to be free of discrimination in the workplace. I believe that sincerely.

Second, the marketplace will provide solutions to a representative workplace in the private sector. The hon. member for Fraser Valley West has spoken before in the House to this issue, and eloquently so. Businesses exercising appropriate management and personnel practices will hire people who relate well to and serve their customers well. That in itself should mean there will be openness within management to ensure employees have full access to all of the opportunities the workplace offers.

Third, the role of government is to ensure equality of opportunity rather than to determine equality of employment outcome in the public sector or beyond the public sector. Equality of opportunity, that is the role of government, but government cannot ensure equality of outcome, and nor should it try.

For example, when the NDP was in power in Ontario it made itself vastly unpopular by launching an expensive social reform, almost a revolution, in the midst of the deepest recession since the 1930s. Businesses found many ways to circumvent the new law guaranteeing equal pay to women. They placed employees on contract, forced unpaid overtime and shorter work weeks and hired part time workers. The government's employment equity campaign aimed at hiring more women, often by posting advertisements that bar men from applying, made men very angry and resentful.

Even Thomas Walkom, the Toronto Star fair minded Queen's Park columnist, called the decision to hire on the basis of race and sex wrong, unwise and unfortunate. Women should be given the nod when applicants are of equal merit, he argued, but excluding any group from applying is dangerous: ``The government has merely succeeded in creating a new victim, the able bodied white male''.

The fourth point Reform puts forth with regard to employment equity is that the workplace should be free from arbitrary obstructions to hiring and promotion. Merit must be the sole hiring criterion. I believe this and evidence has shown that a majority of Canadians believe this also. That would mean Canadians generally do not support Bill C-64, the employment equity bill. Perhaps this is why the government has chosen not to proclaim the legislation. It is a question which remains and does linger.

The fifth point is that employment equity legislation and measures which take away from merit based hiring are coercive, unfair, unnecessary and costly, and should be discontinued. To this end the

government could go one step down the road to properly addressing the issues of merit based hiring by repealing Bill C-64.

One cannot address today's motion or Bill C-64 without addressing the issue of quotas. When is a quota not a quota? It would seem that a quota is not a quota when the former Minister of Human Resources Development calls it a numerical goal. Remember that minister was the chief architect for the government's social engineering plans for employment equity. He insisted numerical goals were aimed at getting a specified number of women, aboriginal, minorities or disabled, into certain industries and that these are not quotas even though the dictionary defines a quota as a proportional part or share required from each person or group for making up a certain number or quantity.

Why does the former minister of HRD not speak clearly and call a quota a quota? Perhaps he does not like the word because the imposition of hiring quotas for disadvantaged groups in the U.S. has created an undesirable backlash among those excluded.

I raise an interesting example from the United States. The American case study is curiously illogical and I believe raises questions about current hiring practices which do hint of those numerical targets.

I use an example from a small California college. At this college a form was circulated to companies wanting to do business. The letters that accompanied the forms urged that they be filled out as quickly as possible: "To allow us to continue to do business with you, equity information is being requested of all colleges". Such colleges receive government assistance in the U.S.

The supplier is required to list the percentage ownership of his business involving native Americans, blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Asian Indians. To get first in line to do business with the college, any supplier must be 51 per cent owned by one of these minorities or have a business with management and daily operations controlled by one or more of the minorities. The same priority goes to businesses owned 51 per cent by women or whose management and daily operations are controlled by one or more women who own the business.

A separate bureaucracy was created to monitor this. The penalties imposed are real as well. The form states: "Any material misrepresentation will be grounds for terminating any contract which may be awarded and for initiating action under federal and/or state law concerning these false statements".

Should we not be more interested in ridding the workplace of such repugnant misrepresentation and unfairness? When looking to hire, should we not be more concerned with what the applicant knows or what he or she may perform or what are the merits of hiring her or him instead of using and applying filters which unnaturally dictate the outcomes of hiring practices?

Simply put, the Reform Party wants everyone to be treated equally and fairly. We want everyone to have the same access to opportunities as the next person. What we do not want to see, however, is a situation in which we are dictating what those outcomes should be. Let us rather foster equitable hiring practices.

MeritPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the chance to speak to this motion that, in the opinion of the House, the government should support the rights of all job applicants to be evaluated solely on the basis of merit.

One might wonder why we would even need such a thing. I think most Canadians would accept that as a given. When applying for a job one should only have to say "here is my job application, here is my merit, hire me based on what I can do for you".

I think most Canadians would say that sounds like the policy we should follow. Hiring by merit makes good sense from a business standpoint and an ethical standpoint. It also makes good sense in the workplace where workers would be able to say they were there because they merited the job.

Unfortunately in Canada that is not always the case. I am thinking specifically of the exceptions to merit. Most people are hired on merit but there are exceptions where the federal government said the merit principle did not have to apply.

The Federal Court of Canada stated in 1982 on the question of whether merit was important: "The requirements of the merit principle are always the same. That principle requires that the selection be made according to merit, which means that the best person possible will be found for the various positions in the public service". It said we should be hiring the best available person because that is what hiring by merit means.

Unfortunately the federal government does not follow this practice. Those watching on television may be surprised to know that. The regulations governing the Public Service Employment Act stated there were four exceptions to this idea that one must hire by merit. I think everyone would suggest that people hired for any job, especially in our public service should be hired according to merit. There are four exceptions for which merit does not have to be proven because there are provisions in the law against discrimination, geographic limitations on the jobs, the appeal process for job competitions and the considerations of merit will all be set aside in the case of the Employment Equity Act.

We spoke about this earlier regarding section 15(2) of the charter. The merit principle, according to the court of appeal ruling

of 1982, can be bypassed to appoint someone based not on merit but on some of the affected categories in the Employment Equity Act. We can discriminate, we can limit the application as far as geography is concerned, we can make sure that no one can appeal the eventual job allocation. The considerations of merit, the most qualified, will be set aside.

That is pretty serious stuff. Most people of both genders in all groups would say: "I am going to win this job on merit. Doggone it, I can do it, I can handle it". Right now over 50 per cent of university graduates are female. More and more post-graduates are from both genders but there is an increasing number of females. They say: "I can handle this job on my merit. I can do it. I do not need help. I do not need a special deal. I do not need the standards lowered. I can do the job". And they can. All of us know people from all groups of society who are very competent in their jobs, not based on the colour of their skin, not based on their gender, but based on their ability to do the job well.

Unfortunately, we find that these qualifications I mentioned under the Employment Equity Act allow the merit principle to be bypassed. People can be appointed as the 1982 ruling suggested who are not the most qualified but perhaps just passed the minimum requirements and fell into a category.

The designated groups according to the Employment Equity Act are aboriginal people, people of colour, females and people with disabilities. That is the description used. I do not like to categorize people that way but that is what the act does. It is pretty demeaning to say to somebody in one of those categories: "I do not think you are quite good enough for this job. We are going to have to give you a special deal because you just are not going to make it on your own".

When we held the hearings on Bill C-64, the Employment Equity Act, there was a lieutenant colonel from the Canadian Armed Forces at the table. We talked about the idea of merit.

The lieutenant colonel told me: "I went from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel because I was the best in my class. There is no way I can command respect from the people who are working under me unless I continue to earn my job. I am the best in my class. I am going to be a full colonel someday too, because I am going to top my class the next time too. If they wanted to give me a promotion not because I am the best but because I am a woman and I need a little help, I would refuse. Furthermore, how could I command the men and women under me? Imagine my giving them orders: I know you have better qualifications than I do, but hop to it sergeant; you are taking orders from me. It will not work in the military. And frankly, I do not need it because I can do the job and qualify on my merit, not on the fact that I am female". I hear that often.

An interesting dilemma is that when someone is hired outside of merit not because they are the most qualified but because they fit into a category, there is no right to appeal. This is what happens. Say there are 100 applicants and a certain number of people from each of the designated groups. They will choose somebody from one of the designated groups for the job. When that individual is appointed, then someone else from that group, say an aboriginal person, will say: "Wait a minute. That woman got the job. I am going to appeal. It is not fair. I deserve the job. I could beat her qualifications". However, those designated groups are not allowed to appeal. Therefore, when someone from another designated group says: "Wait a minute. I think I should have got the job," they will say: "Sorry, there is no appeal". It is preposterous.

What about the geographic limitations? Normally in the public service there are certain geographic limitations of where an individual can apply for a job, where they live in relation to their work and those kinds of things. Not under this system. This system bypasses all of it.

I am not saying that the federal government does not pay any attention to merit. Of course the government has testing and it has minimum standards. However, the Employment Equity Act subordinates the principle of merit. That is unfortunate.

There are other things which spring from this. Under the current Nisga'a deal in British Columbia only people of one race are allowed to vote in their elections. The other people who live there, if they are not of the Nisga'a race, cannot vote. Other things happen with respect to aboriginal procurement contracts.

We all want to see equality of opportunity for everyone. The Secretary of State for the Status of Women said in a letter which she sent to me on April 16 of this year: "What we are working toward now is not the equality of opportunity but the equality of outcome. We will not make sure everyone has an equal kick at the cat," which we all want. "We will make sure that the outcome is equal regardless". That is not the merit system. That is not what Canadians want.

This motion is wise. It promotes unity in the workforce and I urge all members to adopt the motion.

MeritPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Since no other member wishes to speak and since the motion is a non-votable item, the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped from the Order Paper .

Is there agreement to say that it is 7.30 p.m.?

MeritPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.

Some hon. members


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

MeritAdjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.


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

Madam Speaker, on April 24, 1996, I asked a question of the Minister of Human Resources Development concerning manpower training. The question related to an old issue which, hopefully, will soon be settled.

In Quebec, there is a consensus that the whole issue of manpower training should be the sole responsibility of the Government of Quebec. This consensus includes people from every sector. It is rather unusual to see the Conseil du patronat du Québec, unions, the education sector and the government all agree on something.

Manpower training, including employment measures, must come under the responsibility of a single government, so as to put an end to the annual waste of $250 million, which will persist as long as the current duplication by the two levels of government is not eliminated.

Also, following the unemployment insurance reform, these activities will be totally funded through the unemployment insurance fund. Let us not forget that the unemployment insurance program was established almost 50 years ago so that people could have an income between jobs.

However, with its unemployment insurance reform, the present government now wants to use that money to fund training programs in an area that is not under federal but rather under provincial jurisdiction. It is unable to give this responsibility to the provinces and makes the argument that, since unemployment insurance contributions are paid to the federal government, it cannot transfer these funds to the provincial governments because it is responsible for that money.

I think there are two possible solutions. The first one is to ensure that contributions are really used to pay for unemployment insurance and for the federal government to withdraw from the area of manpower, leaving this responsibility to the provinces. In other words, that it get out of this tax field and let the Government of Quebec, or any other interested province, take it on.

The other possibility, as we have already seen with other programs, is to ensure that there are agreements that are followed up by audits, and that leave the province ample room to manoeuvre. The question of manpower training therefore needs to be clarified, it seems.

I would like the parliamentary secretary to tell us whether it is the government's intention to waive the requirement for an agreement with the province in order for people to be eligible for loans and grants. Somewhat perversely, the present reform says that the federal government may not provide funding unless there is an agreement with the province concerning the adult loans and grants programs.

This measure has the opposite effect as well, because the province is caught in a bind. If it does not sign an agreement with the federal government or if, for instance, it does not accept the national standards the federal government might want to impose, its citizens may have to do without training programs. In my view, this is totally unacceptable.

I would like to know if the government intends to simply withdraw from manpower training and let the provinces that wish to do so have full control over that area and develop effective programs to reduce the sectorial unemployment situation we are now facing in Canada and in Quebec, where we have about 500,000 jobs available and almost 1 million workers unemployed but we cannot seem to match people to jobs.

As the OECD, a renowned international organization, pointed out, we do not have effective training programs to help our workers adjust to the technological changes, because of all the various people involved in this area. Let me ask the parliamentary secretary if he can assure me that the government will reconsider its position on this issue.

MeritAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River Ontario


Bob Nault LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Human Resources Development

Madam Speaker, I want to bring my colleague and the House back to the speech from the throne, a very important speech. I want to assure my colleagues from all provinces who are here in a dual capacity, not only representing their constituency but in some cases representing their province.

The intent of the government is very simple, Madam Speaker, if you have read part II of the EI act which is in front of the House today and has been debated for over 140 days since its introduction.

The intent of the federal government in part II is to negotiate with the provinces a withdrawal of manpower training within three years or earlier. At the same time it intends to look at the responsibilities it has to the unemployment insurance system and the fact that we have constitutional guarantees that relate to its role in that area.

The government wants to make sure before it gets into negotiations with the provinces that there are some safeguards. This is a national fund and it is important to make sure that when it gets involved in negotiations that there are assurances and guarantees of results. This is one area where the government would like to receive assurances from the provinces.

At the same time an appropriate monitoring system must be in place to make sure that the funds that are transferred to the provinces and the agreements that are signed give the government the results it is looking for.

What are the results? The only reason why the government thinks this is an acceptable process is this. It wants to remove duplication because it is a factor and it is a cost. It will create efficiencies. The results of the system have to help men and women get employment and at the same time upgrade their skills and put young people into the system in areas where they believe they will best be suited in the changing environment.

That is the answer to the question. All the member has to do is look at part II of the EI bill and he will know that the government is not going to be entering into provincial jurisdiction without the approval of the provinces.

MeritAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7.25 p.m.)