Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, these are excellent words in the Prime Minister's
statement. I am sure this declaration by the government of the
principle of preserving and enhancing the many cultural traditions
which exist within our country will be most welcome. I think it is
about time this government finally admitted that the cultural
identity of Canada is a pretty complex thing.
I wish to state immediately, Mr. Speaker, that the emphasis we
have given to multiculturalism in no way constitutes an attack on
the basic duality of our country. What we want is justice for all
Canadians, and recognition of the cultural diversity of this
country . . .
... I am pleased the government has seen the light. But I must
also say that, although this is all to the good, I regret that
this statement was not made much more promptly.
Apart from what members of our party, among others, have been
saying, it is a fact that the fourth volume of the B and B report
has been available since early 1970, and I say in all sincerity
that the failure of the government to endorse these principles
earlier has created some suspicion, some doubts, in the minds of
the members of these other cultural groups about the importance
the government of Canada has attached to them. I must say that if
the effectiveness of the government's action in encouraging the
cultural self-fulfilment of the native peoples of Canada can be
taken as any kind of an indication of what the practice will be in
this broader field, apart from the statement of principles, then
there is not a great deal of hope for the various non-French and
non-British ethnic groups within Canada. With regard to the native
peoples, there have been many statements about high principles but
very little in the way of results and there is some doubt, to
mention one example, concerning whether the government is doing
enough in northeastern Alberta to help the native people study
their own language.
It is fine to announce a principle, but perhaps the most important
thing is what the government is going to do to implement this
principle. When the Prime Minister uses a phrase such as
"within available funds" we must keep in mind the
importance of a balance here. There is no indication whatsoever in
the Prime Minister's statement this morning that there will be any
substantial implementation. I fully agree that a good deal of
money must be expended for the encouragement of the development of
bilingualism in this country, but I do not think that members of
the other cultural groups with other cultural traditions are at
all happy with the relatively pitiful amounts that have been
allocated to this other aspect of the diversity about which the
Prime Minister spoke this morning, multiculturalism.
The Prime Minister has announced the principles. We expect the
Prime Minister and his colleagues to give those principles life
and meaning, and we will look forward most anxiously to the
implementation of these principles.