Chapter 9
Specific Recommendations

Respecting Diversity

Language (Chapter 5)

1. The principle of the equality of status, rights and privileges of the English and French languages for all purposes declared by the Parliament of Canada, within its sphere of jurisdiction, should be entrenched in the constitution. These purposes should include:

  1. The equality of both official languages in the Parliament of Canada;
  2. the right of members of the public to obtain services from and communicate with the head offices of every department, agency or Crown corporation of the Government of Canada, the central administration in the National Capital Region, and all federal courts in Canada in either of the official languages. Elsewhere, members of the public should be able to obtain services from and communicate with the central administration in both official languages where there is significant demand, and to the extent that it is feasible to provide such services;
  3. the equality of both official languages as languages of work in the central administration in the National Capital Region, in all federal courts, and in the head offices of every department, agency or Crown corporation of the Government of Canada. Elsewhere, the usual language or languages of work in central institutions should be the language or languages of work normally used in the province in which the central institution is operating. This recommendation is subject to the previous recommendation concerning the languages of service;
  4. the right of any person to give evidence in the official language of his or her choice in any criminal matter;
  5. the right of every person to have access to radio and television services in both the French and the English languages;
  6. the availability in both official languages of all printed material intended for general public use.

2. Each provincial legislature should have the right to determine an official language or official languages for that province, within its sphere of jurisdiction.

3. Linguistic rights should be expressed in provincial statutes, which could include:

  1. the entitlement recognized in the statement of the provincial first ministers at Montreal in February 1978: "Each child of a French-speaking or English-speaking minority is entitled to an education in his or her language in the primary or secondary schools in each province, wherever numbers warrant." This right should also be accorded to children of either minority who change their province of residence.
  2. the right of every person to receive essential health and social services in his or her principal language, be it French or English, wherever numbers warrant.
  3. the right of an accused in a criminal trial to be tried in his or her principal language, be it French or English, wherever it is feasible.

4. Should all provinces agree on these or any other linguistic rights, these rights should then be entrenched in the constitution.

5. The provinces should review existing methods and procedures for the teaching and learning of both French and English and make greater efforts to improve the availability and quality of instruction in these languages at all levels of education.

The First Canadians (Chapter 5)

6. Sections 11 and 12 of the Indian Act should be amended in order that Indian men and women acquire and lose Indian status in exactly the same way.

7. The central government should make greater efforts to promote and protect native languages and cultures, and should more actively facilitate communications between Canada's native peoples and the indigenous people of other countries.

8.

  1. Both central and provincial authorities should pursue direct discussions with representatives of Canadian Indians, lnuit and Métis, with a view to arriving at mutually acceptable constitutional provisions that would secure the rightful place of native peoples in Canadian society.
  2. Further, both the central and provincial governments should meet to settle their respective areas of constitutional responsibility in the provision of essential services in the fields of health, social welfare, housing and education to status and non-status Indians, to lnuit, and to Métis on reserves, Crown lands, rural centres and large cities.

9. Both the central and provincial governments, and major voluntary and philanthropic associations, should provide increased funding to native peoples to assist them to undertake research and publish histories of their tribes and communities.

10. Both the public and private sector should make greater efforts to see that native peoples are more adequately represented on boards and commissions, task forces and study groups.

Culture (Chapter 5)

11. The provinces should:

  1. take the primary role in supporting local and regional cultural and artistic development, particularly by encouraging the participation of the people generally in cultural activities, and by the establishment where they do not exist of provincial arts councils to assist in this process.
  2. recognize and take more fully into account the impact which their many non-cultural policies and programs have on the cultural development of their societies.

12. The provinces should recognize that education has a Canada-wide dimension by giving greater prominence to Canadian studies, and they should, through a strengthened Council of Ministers of Education, develop ways by which this dimension may be represented more fully in our school systems.

13. The central government and its cultural agencies should concentrate on developing programs of a Canada-wide dimension; they should not seek to enter into domains and pursuits which the provinces can and should perform for themselves.

14. The number of Canada-wide artistic prizes, competitions and cultural activities should be increased for the young people of the country.

15. The public and private sectors of Canada should work in cooperation to increase those youth exchange programs which have demonstrated their capacity to enhance interregional and inter-cultural knowledge among the young people. Also, efforts should be made to extend similar programs to adults.

16. The central government should, in cooperation with the private sector, do its utmost to increase opportunities for low-cost travel in order to enable Canadians who wish to do so to become better acquainted with their country and their fellow-citizens.

17. Steps should be taken to ensure that the products of our varied cultural activities (such as books, recordings, magazines, films and paintings) are more imaginatively and effectively distributed, diffused, or marketed throughout Canada, and in a way that would give them prominence in relation to those from non-Canadian sources.

18. The tax system should be employed more directly in support of the cultural and linguistic development of the country, and consideration should be given to increasing cost allowances and tax write-offs for cultural enterprises.

19.

  1. The provincial governments should assume the primary responsibility for the support of multiculturalism in Canada, including the funding of ethno-cultural organizations.
  2. The major ethno-cultural organizations in Canada should attempt to work more closely with the provincial governments to develop ways in which multiculturalism can find most effective expression through provincial initiatives.
  3. Both the public and the private sectors should make efforts to reflect in their institutions more adequately the cultural diversity of Canada.

Unity and the health of the economy

General (Chapter 6)

20. Section 121 of the BNA Act should be clarified in order to guarantee more effectively free trade between the provinces for all produce and manufactured goods, and be extended to include services.

21. In addition, government purchasing policies should be based upon considerations of market costs unless specified social and economic objectives would otherwise be served.

22. Impediments to the mobility of persons in the professions, trades and other such occupations should be reduced through the application of widely accepted common standards; and such standards should be set and reviewed periodically by the provincial governments and the appropriate professional bodies in consultation with each other.

23. The constitution should make clear the prohibition of barriers to the interprovincial movement of capital.

24. The annual conference of finance ministers should be used more actively to ensure the coordination of economic stabilization policies, by providing a common assessment of the economy and a better knowledge of the total revenues expenditures and borrowings of the Canadian public sector as a whole.

25. Meetings between the central and provincial governments, and representatives from the private sector should be regularized and integrated under the general supervision of conferences of the first ministers on the economy, to be held every two or three years, with a view to framing and coordinating policies designed to achieve medium and longer-term objectives for the Canadian economy and for its main sectors of activities.

26. With respect to the sharing of Canadian wealth:

  1. the constitution should recognize and entrench the principle of equalizing social and economic opportunities between regions as an objective of the federation, and it should be the responsibility of the central government to maintain a system of equalization payments.
  2. a program of provincial revenue equalization along the lines of current arrangements should be maintained.
  3. for the purpose of better balancing provincial resources with the developmental requirements of their economies a new type of equalization program should be developed.

A restructured federalism

General (Chapter 7)

27.

  1. There should be a new and distinctive Canadian constitution to meet the present and future needs of all the people of Canada.
  2. The new constitution should be in the English and French languages, and both texts should be official.

28. The preamble to the constitution should include a declaration that the people of Canada

  1. maintain and reinforce their attachment to democratic institutions, federalism, human rights and the principle of supremacy of the law;
  2. recognize the historic partnership between English and French-speaking Canadians, and the distinctiveness of Quebec;
  3. affirm the special place of the native peoples of Canada;
  4. recognize the richness of the contribution of Canada's other cultural groups;
  5. recognize the diversity among Canada's regions and the need to permit all regional communities to flourish;
  6. seek the promotion of the social, economic and cultural development and the equality of opportunity for all Canadians in all regions of Canada.

29. A new constitution should recognize two major principles with respect to distribution of powers and to central institutions:

  1. the equality of status of the central and the provincial orders of government;
  2. the distinctive character of individual provinces.

Distribution of legislative and executive powers (Chapter 7)

30. The present distribution of legislative and executive powers should be clarified and adjusted to contemporary needs and realities.

31. The principal roles and responsibilities of the central government should be:

  1. the strengthening of Canadian identity;
  2. the preservation and enhancement of the integrity of the Canadian state;
  3. the overriding responsibility for the conduct of international relations;
  4. the management of Canada-wide economic policy (including monetary policy) and participation in the stimulation of regional economic activity;
  5. the establishment of Canada-wide standards, where appropriate; and
  6. the redistribution of income.

32. The principal roles and responsibilities of the provincial governments should be:

  1. the social and cultural well-being and development of their communities;
  2. provincial economic development, including the exploitation of their natural resources;
  3. property and civil rights; and
  4. the management of their territory.

33. In addition to roles and responsibilities defined in the previous recommendation, an essential role and responsibility of the government of Quebec should be the preservation and strengthening of the French heritage in its own territory.

34. A new distribution of powers should, whenever it is desirable or needed in order to fulfil the objectives of dualism and regionalism, recognize the distinctive status of any province or make it possible for a province to acquire such status.

35.

  1. In a new distribution, the powers allocated to all provincial legislatures should provide the framework which makes it possible for Quebec to fulfil its additional role and responsibility with respect to the French heritage in its own territory.
  2. In the distribution of powers, provision should be made for the possibility that some provincial governments other than Quebec may wish to assume, now or in the future, some or all of the powers in the cultural domain recommended for Quebec.
  3. Should the other provinces not wish to avail themselves of such a distribution, powers related to this additional role and responsibility of Quebec should be allocated to Quebec alone.

36. In addition to these objectives, roles and responsibilities, the distribution should take account of the five following considerations:

  1. general and particular concern;
  2. effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness;
  3. common agreement;
  4. continuity;
  5. overall balance.

37. The use of a list of exclusive powers for Parliament and a list of exclusive powers for provincial legislatures should be retained in a new Canadian constitution.

38.

  1. Concurrent jurisdiction should be avoided whenever possible through a more precise definition of exclusive powers.
  2. Wherever powers are concurrent, a federal or provincial paramountcy should be stipulated.

39. The residual power should be assigned to the provincial legislatures.

40. In devising a new distribution of powers, the following steps should be taken:

  1. broad areas of governmental activities should first be identified. Such broad areas might include external affairs, defence, economic policy, transportation, communications, natural. resources, administration of justice and law enforcement, the status and rights of citizens, culture, health and welfare, habitat and the environment.
  2. within each of these broad areas, specific subject matters should be arranged in related groups. Under culture, for example might be grouped legislative powers over: language, education, schools, universities, archives, research, exchanges, copyrights, books, films, arts, leisure, marriage and divorce, property and civil rights.
  3. jurisdiction with respect to each specific legislative power should then be attributed, exclusively or concurrently, to an order of government according to the criteria established in our previous recommendations. For example, regarding immigration, provincial legislatures should have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to settlement and integration of immigrants; the federal Parliament should have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to deportation of aliens and public safety; jurisdiction should be concurrent with provincial paramountcy with respect to selection criteria and levels of immigration to the province, and with federal paramountcy with respect to the recruitment of immigrants abroad and the admission of refugees.
  4. areas could be either exclusive, when all powers are attributed exclusively to the same order of government, as in the area of defence, or shared, when some of the powers are attributed exclusively to each of the two orders of government, or concurrently to both.

41. Both the central and provincial governments should be granted equal access to tax sources, with the exception that customs and excise taxes be an exclusive central power. The provincial right to use indirect taxation should be qualified to ensure that the impact of such taxes do not fall upon persons outside the taxing province.

42.

  1. An emergency power should be assigned expressly by the constitution to the central government, for both wartime and peacetime.
  2. The wartime emergency power may be invoked in time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection. The peacetime emergency power may be invoked only in highly exceptional circumstances.
  3. The proclamation of any emergency should receive approval of both federal houses, within a specified time limit, to remain in force.
  4. The proclamation should stipulate the reason(s) for the emergency and the intended duration of its application.
  5. The Parliament of Canada should stipulate by legislation the powers it needs in cases of emergency; safeguards for provincial powers and for individual rights should vary depending on whether the country is facing a wartime or a peacetime emergency.

43. The power of reservation and the power of disallowance should be abolished.

44. The power to appoint the lieutenant-governor of each province should be vested in the Queen on the advice of the provincial premier.

45. The declaratory power of Parliament should be retained, but its use should be subject to the consent of the province concerned.

46. The spending power of the central government should be retained in matters of federal-provincial programs of interest to the whole of Canada, but its exercise should be subject to ratification by a reconstituted second chamber, and provinces should be granted the right to opt out of any such program, and where appropriate receive fiscal compensation.

Federal-provincial relations and the Senate (Chapter 7)

47. The Senate should be abolished and replaced by a new second chamber of the Canadian Parliament to be called the Council of the Federation.

48.

  1. The Council should be composed of delegations representing the provincial governments and therefore acting under instruction; the provincial delegations could be headed by a delegate of cabinet rank.
  2. The Council should be composed of no more than 60 voting members, to be distributed among provinces roughly in accordance with their respective population up to a maximum of one-fifth of the Council, and with weighting to favour provinces having less than 25 per cent of the country's population. Any province which has at any time had 25 per cent of the population (such as Quebec and Ontario) should be guaranteed one-fifth of the Council seats in perpetuity.
  3. In addition, central government cabinet ministers should be non-voting members so that they have the right to present and defend central government proposals before the Council and its committees.

49. The Council should not have the power to initiate legislation, except in the case of bills proposing constitutional amendments; and its decisions should not be regarded as expressions of confidence or non-confidence, since the government should remain responsible to the House of Commons alone.

50. The scope of the powers of the Council should be the following:

  1. legislation and treaties within exclusive federal jurisdiction should not require the approval of the Council.
  2. proposed federal legislation and articles of treaties deemed to belong to the category of powers described as concurrent with federal paramountcy should be subject to a suspensive veto of short duration by the Council.
  3. proposed federal legislation deemed to belong to the category of powers described as concurrent with provincial paramountcy should be subject to a suspensive veto of a longer duration by the Council, except in the case of measures implementing bilateral agreements between the federal government and one or more provincial governments.
  4. the ratification of treaties, or parts of treaties, which deal with matters within provincial jurisdiction should require the approval of a majority of the provinces in the Council, on the understanding that legislative measures implementing such treaties are to remain within provincial jurisdiction.
  5. federal initiatives in areas of provincial jurisdiction that are based on the federal spending power, whether they are to be cost-shared or financed fully from federal funds (with the exception of expenditures related to equalization) should require a two-thirds majority in the Council.
  6. if a province chooses not to participate in a program for which wide provincial consent has been demonstrated, the central government should be required to pay the government of that province a sum equal to the amount it would have cost the central government to implement the program in the province.
  7. a proclamation of a state of emergency, in either peacetime or wartime circumstances, should require, in addition to confirmation by the House of Commons, confirmation by the Council by at least a two-thirds majority.

51. The Council should be used as a forum for the discussion of general proposals and broad orientations arising from conferences of the first ministers on the economy and any other proposals the conference of first ministers may so designate, or any other matters of concern to the members of the Council itself.

52. Federal appointments to the Supreme Court, to major regulatory agencies such as the Canadian Radio-Television Commission, the Canadian Transport Commission and the National Energy Board, and to central institutions such as the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, should require the approval of the appropriate committee of the Council.

53. To determine the classification of a bill or treaty and hence the powers that the Council may exercise, a permanent committee should be created and be composed of the Speakers and some members from both the House of Commons and the Council.

54.

  1. The conference of first ministers should be convened annually, unless a simple majority of governments disapprove.
  2. Additionally, first ministers' conferences should be held at the request of any government which secures the agreement of a simple majority of the other ten.

55. A federal-provincial committee on intergovernmental policy issues should be established with a membership of the eleven ministers responsible for intergovernmental affairs.

56. A permanent intergovernmental committee of officials and experts working under the conference of the first ministers should be established to study policy and program duplication on a continuing basis.

57. In order to make federal-provincial relations subject to continuous scrutiny by the legislatures, standing committees should be established in the House of Commons and in all provincial legislatures to review the activities of the major federal-provincial conferences.

The Supreme Court and the Judicial system (Chapter 7)

58. The existence and independence of the judiciary at both the central and the provincial orders of government should be recognized as a fundamental principle of Canadian federalism and be entrenched in the constitution.

59.

  1. The existence and composition of the Supreme Court of Canada, and the mode of appointment and removal of its judges, should be entrenched in the constitution.
  2. The Supreme Court should be composed of eleven judges, five of whom are to be chosen from among civil law judges and lawyers, and six from among common law judges and lawyers, having regard, in the latter case, to regional distribution.
  3. The judges of the Supreme Court should be nominated for appointment by the governor in council, following consultation with the attorney general of Quebec with respect to the civil law candidates and with the attorneys general of all other provinces with respect to the common law candidates; the nominations should be ratified by the appropriate committee of the Council of the Federation.
  4. The judges of the Supreme Court should only be removed from office by the governor in council following a joint address of both Houses of Parliament.
  5. The chief justice of the Supreme Court should be chosen by the governor in council, for a non-renewable term, from among the members of the Court, in alternation between a common law judge and a civil law judge.

60. The Supreme Court should remain a court with general appellate jurisdiction in both federal and provincial law.

61. The Supreme Court should retain its jurisdiction with respect to references, but provincial governments should have the same right as the central government to refer constitutional matters directly to the Supreme Court.

62. The Supreme Court should be divided into three benches, one of provincial jurisdiction which would be subdivided into a Quebec law section and a common law section, one of federal jurisdiction, and one of constitutional jurisdiction; the constitutional bench should be composed of all members of the Court.

63. Arrangements should be made for the reimbursement of the travelling costs of parties to and from the Supreme Court, whenever the Court is of the opinion that the situation warrants it.

64. All provincial judges should be appointed by the provincial governments concerned, but, with respect to higher court judges, only after consultation with the central government; and Federal Court judges should continue to be appointed by the central government.

Constitutional change and adaptation (Chapter 7)

65. Articles of the constitution pertaining to:

should be amendable by the following process:

  1. a bill formulating an amendment should be initiated in either the House of Commons or in the Council of the Federation and passed by a majority in the House of Commons and by a majority of votes in the Council;
  2. ratification of the proposed amendment should be through a Canada-wide referendum requiring approval by a majority of electors voting in each of four regions constituted by the Atlantic provinces, the province of Quebec, the province of Ontario, and the western provinces and territories; the above list of regions should be modified, if necessary, to include as a separate region any other province that might have, at any point in time, at least 25 per cent of the Canadian population.

66. Parliament should have the power to amend other articles of the constitution, except those concerned with the constitution of the provinces, which should be amendable only by each provincial legislature.

67. A new constitution should recognize the right of the central and provincial government to delegate to each other, by mutual consent, any legislative power, it being understood that such delegation should be subject to periodical revision and be accompanied, where appropriate, by fiscal compensation.

Electoral reform and the House of Commons (Chapter 7)

68. In order to establish a better balance between the number of votes and the number of seats obtained by each political party in different regions and provinces, the current mode of election to the House of Commons should be modified by introducing an element of proportionality to complement the present simple-majority single-member constituency system.

69.

  1. The number of members in the House of Commons should be increased by about 60.
  2. These members should be selected from provincial lists of candidates prepared by the federal parties in advance of a general election, with the seats being distributed between parties on the basis of percentages of popular votes.

70.

  1. The committee system in the House of Commons should be modified and strengthened.
  2. The government should make more extensive use of special committees of the House of Commons to conduct in-depth studies of major Canadian issues upon which central government legislation or executive decisions may eventually be required.

Individual and collective rights (Chapter 7)

71. The Canadian constitution should entrench a Declaration of Rights.

72. The Declaration of Rights should include the usual political, legal, economic and egalitarian rights.

73. The entrenched collective rights should include the language rights listed in recommendations 1, 2, and 4 and the right of Parliament and provincial legislatures to adopt special measures to benefit native peoples.

74. The basic individual and collective rights on which the central and provincial governments are in agreement should be entrenched in the constitution.

75. In those cases where the central and provincial governments have agreed, additional rights, which contain a clause permitting exceptions where so specified in a statute, should be entrenched in the constitution.


Appendix 1

Terms of Reference

P.C. 1977-1910

Certified to be a true copy of a Minute of a Meeting of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 5 July, 1977

The Committee of the Privy Council, having had before it a report of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister, concerning Canadian unity, advise that

The Honourable Jean-Luc Pepin of Ottawa, Ontario
The Honourable John Parmenter Robarts of Toronto, Ontario
Mr. Richard Cashin of St. John's, Newfoundland
Dr. John Evans of Toronto, Ontario
Mrs. Muriel Kovitz of Calgary, Alberta
Mayor Ross Marks of Hundred Mile House, British Columbia

be appointed Commissioners under Part I of the Inquiries Act to enquire into questions relating to Canadian unity. During the course of their inquiry, the Commissioners shall

a) hold public hearings and sponsor public meetings to ascertain the views of interested organizations, groups, and individuals;

b) work to support, encourage, and publicize the efforts of the general public, and particularly those of non-governmental organizations, with regard to Canadian unity;

c) contribute to the knowledge and general awareness of the public the initiatives and views of the Commissioners concerning Canadian unity;

d) assist in the development of processes for strengthening Canadian unity and be a source of advice to the government on unity issues; and

e) enquire into any other matter concerning national unity that may be referred to the Commission by His Excellency in Council.

The Committee further advise that the Commissioners

  1. be known as the Task Force on Canadian Unity;
  2. be authorized to exercise all of the powers conferred upon them by section 11 of the Inquiries Act and be assisted to the fullest extent by departments and agencies;
  3. adopt such procedures and methods as they may from time to time deem expedient for the proper conduct and conclusion of the inquiry within one year and sit at such times and in such places in Canada as they may decide from time to time;
  4. be authorized to engage the services of such counsel, staff and technical advisers as they may require at rates of remuneration and reimbursement to be approved by the Treasury Board;
  5. file with the Dominion Archivist the papers and records of the Commission forthwith after the conclusion of the inquiry; and
  6. that the Honourable Jean-Luc Pepin and the Honourable John Parmenter Robarts be designated as Co-Chairmen of the Commission.

CERTIFIED TO BE A TRUE COPY-COPIE CERTIFITÉE CONFORME
P.M. PITFIELD
CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL-LE GREFFIER DU CONSEIL PRIVÉ

P.C. 1977-2361

Certified to be a true copy of a Minute of a Meeting of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 24 August, 1977

The Committee of the Privy Council, on the recommendation of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister, advise that Mrs. Solange Chaput-Roliand, of the City of Montreal, in the Province of Quebec, be appointed a Commissioner, under Part I of the Inquiries Act, of the Commission of inquiry into questions relating to Canadian Unity, known as the Task Force on Canadian Unity, established by Order in Council P.C. 1977-1910 of 5th July, 1977.

CERTIFIED TO BE A TRUE COPY-COPIE CERTIFITÉE CONFORME
P.M. PITFIELD
CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL-LE GREFFIER DU CONSEIL PRIVÉ

P.C. 1977-2362

Certified to be a true copy of a Minute of a Meeting of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 24 August, 1977

The Committee of the Privy Council, on the recommendation of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister, advise that Mr. Gérald A. Beaudoin, of the City of Hull, in the Province of Quebec, be appointed a Commissioner, under Part I of the Inquiries Act, of the Commission of inquiry into questions relating to Canadian Unity, known as the Task Force on Canadian Unity, established by Order in Council P.C. 1977-1910 of 5th July, 1977.

CERTIFIED TO BE A TRUE COPY-COPIE CERTIFITÉE CONFORME
P.M. PITFIELD
CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL-LE GREFFIER DU CONSEIL PRIVÉ

 

P.C. 1978-573

Certified to be a true copy of a Minute of a Meeting of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 28 February, 1978

The Committee of the Privy Council, on the recommendation of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister, advise that Dr. Ronald L. Watts of Kingston, Ontario, be appointed a Commissioner, under Part I of the Inquiries Act, of the Commission of inquiry into questions relating to Canadian Unity, known as the Task Force on Canadian Unity, established by Order in Council P.C. 1977-1910 of 5th July, 1977, vice Dr. John Evans whose resignation has been accepted.

CERTIFIED TO BE A TRUE COPY-COPIE CERTIFITÉE CONFORME
P.M. PITFIELD
CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL-LE GREFFIER DU CONSEIL PRIVÉ


Appendix 2 The Role of the Task Force

MANDATE

 The mandate of the Task Force on Canadian Unity has three basic elements:

  1. "To support, encourage and publicize the efforts of the general public and particularly those of (voluntary) organizations, with regard to Canadian unity";
  2. "To contribute the initiatives and views of the Commissioners concerning Canadian unity";
  3. "To advise the Government (of Canada) on unity issues".

INTRODUCTION

The Task Force is committed to a Canadian federation, a system with the authority of the state shared by two orders of government, each sovereign and at the same time committed to cooperative association with the other, under a constitution. We believe that such a system is the one best suited to the diversity of our founding peoples and to the nature of our geographic, social and economic environments.

The Task Force also recognizes that Canada and its present federal system are under great stress. The creation of the Task Force is itself a testimony to this. All regions of Canada are reflecting and expressing this malaise. The most pressing questions are being raised in Quebec and the Task Force intends to give these high priority. Nevertheless, the concerns of other regions are vitally important and will be given our full attention.

The Task Force has been given a clear mandate by the Government to develop its own initiatives and ideas and we intend to do this. It is our intention to assemble concepts and policies which could constitute some of the elements of a third option for Canada. The Members of the Task Force do not feel bound by existing legislation and practices nor are they committed to views of any federal or provincial political party. Our mandate requires us to advise the Government and we will do so but we will also make our views public, not seeking conflict with any groups, but aware that our autonomy is essential to our credibility and usefulness.

We intend to function in a spirit of receptiveness and conciliation. We will work closely with the Canadian people. Throughout the period of our mandate, we intend to carry on a conversation with citizens of all regions and with experts in all disciplines, listening, attempting to understand, discussing both old and new concepts. We will be mindful of and will solicit the views of the federal and all provincial governments.

In accordance with our mandate, we intend to listen to and provide a forum for those associations of all kinds which are specifically searching for the terms of a better Canada. Such efforts represent a spontaneous and generous spirit which must be encouraged and which can provide Canadians with a very useful instrument for the consideration of our problems.

The Task Force will learn a great deal from these organizations and will give particular encouragement to those who wish to think about changes which can improve our political, social and economic systems. We will encourage such policy formation in every way and particularly through the provision of speakers and publications which might stimulate discussion.

ACTIVITIES OF THE TASK FORCE

Within the period of our mandate and within the overall framework of a dialogue with the Canadian people, we intend to do four things. To some extent, these activities will be taking place concurrently.

First, we intend to listen and attempt to understand the real concerns of all Canadians on the functioning of our social, economic and political institutions as they relate to our mandate.

Secondly, while we recognize the existence of tensions and the need for reforms, we intend to point out the positive aspects of the Canadian experience, both material and emotional, its flexibility and its potential for improvement under the pressure of enlightened public awareness.

Thirdly, we hope to be able to inform the Canadian people effectively about the complex issues at stake in creating a more satisfying country. We propose to clarify the options available and the advantages and disadvantages related to them.

Fourthly, we intend to make recommendations for changes in structures, concepts and attitudes which are required in order to make our Canadian institutions more consistent with the needs of our times.

TIMETABLE

During the early months of the life of the Task Force, the emphasis will be on listening. We intend to visit centers in all the Canadian provinces to discuss the issues, face to face, with the public. In this way, we will acquire a greater sensitivity to the current opinions and feelings of Canadians. Concurrently, the staff of the Task Force will be studying and analyzing the key issues in the unity debate in order to prepare background papers on some major aspects of our current problems and the range of possible improvements which might be made.

During the second phase of the Task Force's work the emphasis will be on study and consultation with specialists. The Task Force and its staff will discuss the issues in an attempt to assemble concepts and policies which will provide Canadians with some new directions. Concurrently with this period of study, the Task Force intends to publish information papers on important issues for the Canadian people outlining the options which are available.

During the third and final period of the Task Force's life, the Members plan to integrate their views and propose objectives and policies to the Government of Canada and to the Canadian people for their consideration.

The Task Force expects, in the months ahead, to make a contribution to a better understanding and resolution of our current problems. Where these problems are more perceived than real, we intend to promote understanding. Where they are more real than perceived, we intend to promote change.

And we earnestly ask for the understanding and support or our fellow citizens.

September 1, 1977.


Last HTML revision: 10 May, 1996

William F. Maton