February 22, 1977
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — HOUSE
JOINT MEETING OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE TO HEAR AN ADDRESS BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA
The SPEAKER of the House presided. The Doorkeeper, Honorable James P. Molloy, announced the Vice President and Members of the U.S. Senate, who entered the Hall of the House of Representatives, the Vice President taking the chair at the right of the Speaker, and the Members of the Senate the seats reserved for them.
The SPEAKER. The Chair appoints as Members of the Committee on the Part of the House To Escort the Prime Minister of Canada Into the Chamber the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Wright) ; the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Brademas); the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Foley); the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Zadlocki); the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Fasceld); the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Jenrette); the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Rhodes); the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Michel); the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Anderson); and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Broomfield).
The VICE PRESIDENT. On the part of the Senate, the Chair appoints as members of the Committee on the Part of the Senate To Escort the Prime Minister of Canada into the Chamber the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. Robert C. Byrd) ; the Senator from Minnesota (Mr. Humphrey); the Senator from Hawaii (Mr. Inouye); the Senator from Alabama (Mr. Sparkman); the Senator from North Dakota (Mr. Young); and the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Case).
The Doorkeeper announced the Ambassadors, Ministers, and Charges d’Affaires of foreign governments.
The Ambassadors, Ministers, and Charges d’Affaires of foreign governments entered the Hall of the House of Representatives and took the seats reserved for them.
The Doorkeeper announced the Cabinet of the President of the United States.
The members of the Cabinet of the President of the United States entered the Hall of the House of Representatives and took the seats reserved for them in front of the Speaker’s rostrum.
At 12 o’clock and 34 minutes p.m., the Doorkeeper announced the Prime Minister of Canada, His Excellency, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
The Prime Minister of Canada, escorted by the committee of Senators and Representatives, entered the Hall of the House of
Representatives and stood at the Clerk’s desk.
[Applause, the Members rising.]
Prime Minister TRUDEAU. Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress:
For much more than a century, individual Canadians, in countless ways and on countless occasions, have expressed to Americans their friendship. Today, as Prime Minister I am given the opportunity to express those feelings collectively before the elected representatives of the American people.
I do so with pride, and with conviction.
Je me rejouis, comme parlementaire, d’avoir l’occasion de prendre la parole en cette enceinte historique, ou taut de vos grands hommes d’Etat se sont illus-tr6s. J’en suis avec tous les Canadians tres honore et je vous apporte leur plus cordial salut. Votre accueil si chaleureux conflrme ce que j’ai toujours senti, que le Canadlen aux Etats-Unis est chez des amis.
The friendship between our two countries is so basic that it has long since been regarded by others as the standard for enlightened international relations. No Canadian leader would be permitted by his electorate consciously to weaken it. Indeed, no Canadian leader would wish to, and certainly not this one.
Simply stated, our histories record that for more than a century millions upon millions of Canadians and Americans have known one another, liked one another, and trusted one another.
Canadians are not capable of living in isolation from you anymore than we are desirous of doing so. We have benefitted from your stimulus; we have profited from your vitality.
Throughout your history, you have been inspired by a remarkably large number of gifted leaders who have displayed stunning foresight, ofttimes in the face of then popular sentiments. In this city which bears his name, on the anniversary of his birthday, George Washington’s words bear remembering. In a message familiar to all of you in this Chamber, he said: “It is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness.”
At a moment In the history of mankind when men and women cannot escape from the knowledge that the only hope for humanity is the willingness of peoples of differing complexions and cultures and beliefs to live peaceably together, you have not forgotten Washington’s high standards. You have chosen to declare your beliefs in the protection of minorities, In the richness of diversity, in the necessity of accommodation. You have contributed new fibre to that seamless fabric we call the history of mankind — that stumbling, incoherent quest by individuals and by nations for freedom and dignity.
Liberty and the pursuit of happiness have not been theoretical concepts for Americans, nor have they been regarded as elusive goals. You have sought each with vigour, and shared with all mankind the joy and the creativity which are the products of freedom. You have illustrated throughout your history the resilience, the dedication and the inherent decency of American society.
The United States achievement in recent years of conducting a great social revolution — overcoming difficulties of immense complication and obdurateness,
and doing so through the democratic process—is surely a model for all nations devoted to the dignity of the human condition. Freedom-loving men and women everywhere are the beneficiaries of your example. Not the least among them are Canadians, for whom the United States has long since been the single most important external influence—the weather only excepted.
We in Canada, facing internal tensions with roots extending back to the 17th century, have much to gain from the wisdom and discipline and patience which you, in this country, in this generation have brought to bear to reduce racial tensions, to broaden legal rights, and to provide opportunity to all.
Canadians long ago determined to govern themselves by a parliamentary system which favours the flowering of basic aspirations — for freedom, for justice, for individual dignity. The rule of law, sovereignty of parliament, a broad sharing of power with the provinces, and official support of the pluralistic nature of Canadian society have combined to create in Canada a community where freedom thrives to an extent not exceeded anywhere else, a community where equality of opportunity between people and between regions is a constant goal.
The success of our efforts in the first century following confederation was great, but by no means complete. We created a society of individual liberty and of respect for human rights. We produced an economic standard of living which approaches your own. We have not yet, however, created a condition in which French-speaking Canadians have felt they were fully equal or could fully develop the richness of the culture they had inherited. And therein Is the source of our central problem today. That is why a small minority of the people of Quebec feel they should leave Canada and strike out in a country of their own. The newly elected government of that province asserts a policy that reflects that minority view despite the fact that during the election campaign it sought a mandate for good government, and not a mandate for the separation from Canada.
The accommodation of two vigorous language groups has been, in varying fashion, the policy of every Canadian government since Confederation. The reason is clear. Within Quebec, over 80 percent of the population speak French as their first or only language. In Canada as a whole, nearly one-fifth of the people speak no language but French. Thus from generation to generation there has been handed down the belief that a country could be built in freedom and equality with two languages and a multitude of cultures.
I am confident it can be done. I say to you with all the certainty I can command that Canada’s unity will not be fractured. Revisions will take place. Accommodations will be made; We shall succeed.
There will have to be changes in some of our attitudes; there will have to be a greater comprehension of one another across the barrier of language difference. Both English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians will have to become more aware of the richness that diversity brings and less irritated by the problems It presents. We may have to revise some aspects of our constitution so that the Canadian federation can be seen by six and a half million French-speaking Canadians to be the strongest bulwark against submersion by some 220 million English-speaking North Americans.
These very figures illustrate dramatically the sense of insecurity of French Canada. But separation would not alter the arithmetic; it would merely increase the exposure.
Nor would the separation of Quebec contribute in any fashion to the confidence of the many cultural minorities of various origins who dwell throughout Canada. These communities have been encouraged for decades to retain their own identities and to preserve their own cultures. They have done so and flourished, nowhere more spectacularly than in the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The sudden departure of Quebec would signify the tragic failure of our pluralist dream, the fracturing of our cultural mosaic, and would likely remove much of the determination of Canadians to protect their cultural minorities.
Problems of this magnitude cannot be wished away. They can be solved, however, by the institutions we have created for our own governance. Those institutions belong to all Canadians, to me as a Quebecker as much as to my fellow citizens from the other provinces. And because those institutions are democratically structured, because their members are freely elected, they are capable of reflecting changes and of responding to the popular will.
I am confident that we in Canada are well along In the course of devising a society as free of prejudice and fear as full of understanding and generosity, as respectful of Individuality and beauty, as receptive to change and innovation, as exists anywhere.
Our nation is the very encounter of two of the most important cultures of western civilization, to which countless other strains are being added. Most Canadians understand that the rupture of their country would be an aberrant departure from the norms they themselves have set, a crime against the history of mankind; for I am immodest enough to suggest that a failure of this always-varied, often-illustrious Canadian experiment would create shock waves of disbelief among those all over the world who are committed to the proposition that among man’s noblest endeavours are those communities in which persons of diverse origins live, love, work, and find mutual benefit.
Canadians are conscious of the effort required of them to maintain in healthy working order not only their own nation but as well the North American neighborhood in which they flourish. A wholesome relationship with our mutual friend Mexico and a robust partnership with the United States are both, in our eyes, highly desirable. To those ends we have contributed much energy. And you in this country have reciprocated to the point where our relationship forms a model admired by much of the world — one moulded from the elements of mutual respect and supported by the vigour of disciplined cooperation.
We have built together one of the world’s largest and most efficient transportation and power generating systems in the form of the St. Lawrence Seaway. We have conceived and established the world’s oldest, continuously functioning, binational arbitral tribunal—the Inter-national Joint Commission. We have joined together in many parts of the world in the defense of freedom and in the relief of want. We have created oft-times original techniques of environmental management, of emergency and disaster assistance, of air and sea traffic control, of movements of people, goods and services—the latter so successfully that the value of our trade and the volume of visitors back and forth exceeds several times over that of any other two countries in the world. It Is no wonder that we are each so interested in the continued social stability and economic prosperity of the other.
Nor should we be surprised that the desire of the American and Canadian peoples to understand and help one another sometimes adopts unusual forms. In what other two countries in the world could there be reproduced the scene of tens of thousands of people in a Montreal baseball park identifying totally with one team against the other, forgetting all the while that every single player on each is American, and a similar scene in the Washington hockey arena where thousands of spectators Identify totally with one team against another, forgetting that virtually every player on the ice is Canadian.
Thus do the images blur, and sometimes do they lead to chafing. Yet how civilized are the responses! How temperate the replies I We threaten to black out your television commercials? You fire volleys of antitrust proceedings! Such admirable substitutes for hostility!
More important than the occasional incident of disagreement is the continuing process of management which we have successfully incorporated into our relationship. It is a process which succeeds through careful attention, through consultation, and through awareness on both sides of the border that problems can arise which are attributable neither to intent nor neglect, but to the disproportionate size of our two populations and the resulting imbalance of our economic strength.
Those differences will likely always lead us in Canada to attempt to ensure that there be maintained a climate for the expression of Canadian culture. We will surely also be sensitive to the need for the domestic control of our economic environment. As well, in a country visited annually by extreme cold over its entire land mass—I just met the Representative from Florida and I hear it also happens in your country—but in our country, a country so far-flung that transportation has always posed almost insuperable problems, the wise conservation of our energy resources assumes a compelling dimension. And for a people devoted throughout their history to accommodating themselves with the harshness, as well as the beauty, of their natural surroundings, we will respond with vigour to any threat of pollution or des-
poliation be it from an indigenous or from an external source.
Our continent, however, is not the world. Increasingly it is evident that the same sense of neighbourhood which has served so well our North American interests must be extended to all parts of the globe and to all members of the human race. Increasingly, the welfare and the dignity of others will be the measurement of our own condition. I share with President Carter his belief that in this activity also we will achieve success.
However, even as we have moved away from the cold war era of political and military confrontation, there exists another danger: one of rigidity in our response to the current challenges of poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, and nuclear proliferation. Our ability to respond adequately to these issues will in some measure be determined by our willingness to recognize them as the new obstacles to peace. Yet, sadly, our pursuit of peace in these respects has all too often been little more Imaginative than was our sometimes blind grappling with absolutes in the international political sphere. Moreover, we have failed to mobilize adequately the full support of our electorates for the construction of a new world order.
The reasons are not hard to find. In these struggles there is no single tyrant, no simple ideological contest. We are engaged in a complex of Issues of overwhelming proportions yet with few identifiable labels. Who, after all, feels stirred to oratorical heights at the mention of commodity price stabilization or of full fuel cycle nuclear safeguards or of special drawing rights? Yet these are the kind of issues that will determine the stability of tomorrow’s world. They will require Imaginative solutions and cooperative endeavour, for these struggles are not against human beings: they are struggles with and for human beings, in a common cause of global dimensions.
It is to the United States that the world looks for leadership in these vital activities. It has been in large measure your fervour and your direction that has inspired a quarter century of far-flung accomplishment in political organization, industrial development and international trade. Without your dedicated participation, the many constructive activities now in one stage or another in the several fields of energy, economics, trade, disarmament, development, these activities will not flourish as they must.
My message today is not a solicitous plea for continued United States involvement. It is an enthusiastic pledge of spirited Canadian support in the pursuit of those causes in which we both believe. It is as well an encouragement to our mutual rededication at this important moment in our histories to a global ethic of confidence in our fellow man.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, in that same address to which I referred some minutes ago, George Washington warned against “the insidious wiles of foreign influence” and the desirability of steering “clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” Yet here I stand, ladles and gentlemen, a foreigner,
endeavouring — whether insidiously or not you will have to judge — to urge the United States ever more permanently into new alliances. That I dare do so is a measure not only of the bond which links Canadians to you, but as well of the spirit of America. Thom. Paine’s words of two centuries ago are as valid today as when ho uttered them: “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
In your continued quest of those ideals, ladies and gentlemen, all Canadians wish you Godspeed.
[Applause, the Members rising.]
At 12 o’clock and 58 minutes p.m., His Excellency, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, accompanied by the committee of escort, retired from the Hall of the House of Representatives.
The Doorkeeper, Hon. James T. Molloy, escorted the invited guests from the Chamber in the following order: The members of the President’s Cabinet and the Ambassadors, Ministers, and Charges d’Affaires of foreign governments.
JOINT MEETING DISSOLVED
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See Communist René Lévesque’s address of January 25th, 1977 to the New York Economic Club, which preceded and is tactically linked to Trudeau’s present address to Congress on 22 February 1977.