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CONSTN92.J00 = CANADIANS ALL! Constitutional Proposals; 1992-10-00
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                      CANADIANS ALL! Montreal Branch
               604 des Fauvettes, Ste. Julie, Quebec J3E 1G1
          Fax:(514)652-8625  Tel:(514)652-8697  Res:(514)649-3338
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Section 2.(1)(d) of the Aug. 28, 1992 Constitutional Accord states: "Canadians and their governments are committed to the vitality and development of official language minority communities throughout Canada." The languages of the Aboriginal peoples is protected in Section 2.(1)(b). Reference to the languages of all other ethnic groups in Canada is specifically omitted. This is racist and relegates a large fraction of Canadians to second class citizenship.

The term "official", carrying the connotation "honourary", should be used to refer to the many aboriginal languages in Canada in recognition of their being the first peoples to inhabit this land. Its use in the phrase "official language minority communities" when referring to French and English has racist connotations implying that Canadians of French and English origin are accorded a higher status than those of other ethnic origins. The term "official" should never have been used in the text of the 1982 Constitution and/or federal statutes. The issue should be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada and stricken from these texts.

The appropriate term to use when referring to the French and English languages would be "working languages of the Federal government and its institutions". This term is neutral and recognizes the fact that French and English are the dominant languages of Canada which are utilized by the vast majority of Canadians. There should be no room for racism in the Canadian constitution.

After Confederation, immigration from the British Isles and Western Europe was insufficient to satisfy the manpower needs of a growing economy. The doors were reluctantly opened to less fortunate peoples from other areas of the world. Their reception in this country was just short of the genocide suffered by native Canadians. The Chinese, with little hope of being allowed to become Canadian citizens, were forced to pay a head tax for the privilege of being mercilessly exploited in building the transcontinental railway. To prevent Americanization of the Canadian West by American settlers flowing north in increasing numbers, starting in 1891, Ukrainians were brought in to homestead the prairies, in the face of shrill opposition by racial bigots. During World War I, their schools were closed and over 5000 of them were interned as enemy aliens. During World War II, the process was repeated with over 20,000 Japanese dispossessed and interned in labour camps. Italians were similarly persecuted and Germans carry the scars of being on the wrong side of both World Wars to the present day. In more recent times, blacks, Pakistanis and Sikhs have suffered the brunt of the abuse. And, of course, the existence of people of Islamic or faiths other than the dominant Christian-Judeo religion is simply ignored. Virtually all immigrant groups had to struggle to gain acceptance. All were expected to discard their "old world baggage" and accept the prevalent "English" world view. There can be little doubt that it is this element of Canadian society which has expended the most sweat and received the least material benefit for their efforts in building this nation.

At present, more than half of the Canadian population can trace a portion of their roots to origins other than French or English. The present political process has obviously failed them. The existing political parties appear to be controlled by elites interested in increasing their political power rather than responding to the needs of ordinary Canadians. Perhaps it is time that the various ethnic groups comprising Canadian society form a political party to represent them in the political process.

William Zuzak, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Email: zuzak@ccfm.ireq.ca

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CONSTN92.J00 = CANADIANS ALL! Constitutional Proposals; 1992-10-00
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Back to con_indx.html