To submit a comment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Warning: Descriptive record is in process. These materials may not yet be available for consultation.
Description found in Archives
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
523 audio cassettes (ca. 523 h)
21 audio reels (ca. 21 h)
10 videocassettes (6 h)
Added language of material: French
Scope and content
Fonds consists of summaries of hearings, submissions, briefing material, research studies and working papers, speeches, minutes of meetings, drafts of reports of the Task Force and newspaper clippings. Audio-visual material can be found in the series entitled Audio-Visual material related to the Task Force.
Copyright belongs to the Crown.
Finding aid 33-113 is a typed and handwritten file list. 33-113 (Paper)
Biography / Administrative history
The Task Force on Canadian Unity was established under Order in Council P.C. 1910, 5 July 1977, under Part I of the Inquiries Act (R.S.C., 1970, c.I-13) and on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Commission was mandated to inquire into questions relating to Canadian Unity. During the course of their inquiry the Commissioners were to: (a) hold public hearings and sponsor public meetings to ascertain the view 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 initiative 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) inquire into any other matter concerning national unity that may be referred to the commission. The original Commissioners were: Jean-Luc Pépin and John Parmenter Robarts, Co-Chairmen; Richard Cashin, Muriel Kovitz, Ross Marks and John Evans. Solange Chaput-Rolland and Gérald Beaudoin were appointed Commissioners in August 1977. John Evans resigned early in 1978 and was replaced by Ronald L. Watts (See: Orders in Council P.C. 2361 and P.C. 2362, 24 August 1977 and P.C. 573, 28 February 1978). The secretary was Ratna Ray.
As early as 30 April 1977, the Ottawa Citizen reported that the Government of Canada planned to appoint a "special advisory committee" on national unity. According to Hansard of 5 July 1977, there is little doubt that the election of the Parti Québécois to power in Quebec, a political party dedicated to the separation of Quebec from Confederation, played an important role in the government's decision. In the report, the Commissioners were appointed to what become known as the Task Force on Canadian Unity and made the following observation:
"The point of departure for the Task Force cannot be other than the election of the Parti Québécois as the government of Quebec on 15 November 1976. That election victory was the culmination of a long historical process; it was also the beginning of a new era in the life of our country. There have been other occasions in Canadian history when provincial governments were elected in opposition to Confederation, but never before had the goal of provincial independence been sought with the firmness of purpose displayed by the leaders of the Parti Québécois. For the first time since it was created in 1867, the Canadian political union faced the genuine possibility of the seccession of one of its largest provinces."
Prime Minister Trudeau formally established the task force during a debate in the House of Commons on national unity in which he emphasized the government's language policy. Basically, the Task Force was to publicize and encourage non-government organizations seeking to promote Canadian unity and to advise the government on unity issues. In particular, it was to provide a forum for discussion of issues relating to national unity and the constitution of Canada. As the Prime Minister told Parliament:
"the government of Canada is committed to considering together with the people of Canada the possibility of bringing in basic in-depth changes to its direction, to Federal institutions and to the constitution."
The task force was co-chaired by Jean-Luc Pepin, former federal Liberal cabinet minister and John Roberts, former Conservative premier of Ontario. (See: The Task Force on Canadian Unity, A Future Together: Observations and Recommendations, January 1979, Ottawa, Supply and Services Canada, 1979, pp. 11-17 and House of Commons, Debates, 5 July 1977, pp. 7311-7352).
Hearings of the task force were held in St. John's, Moncton, Halifax, Charlottetown, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver from 22 September 1977 to 7 April 1978. In addition, a number of regional and private meetings were held. The task force received about 900 submissions. RG33-118 General Inventory
A report, dated February 1979, was not tabled in the House of Commons. It was printed as: The Task Force on Canadian Unity, Coming to Terms: The Words of the Debate, February 1979, Ottawa, Supply and Services Canada, 1979, viii, 111 p.
A further report, dated March 1979, was tabled in the House of Commons on 21 March 1979 as Sessional Paper No. 304-4/144A, 1978-1979. The report was printed as: The Task Force on Canadian Unity, A Time to Speak: The Views of the Public, March 1979, Ottawa, Supply and Services Canada, 1979, ix, 309 p.
For more information about royal commissions, researchers should consult: Records of Federal Royal Commissions (RG 33) / James Murray Whalen. -- (General inventory series / Government Archives Division). -- Ottawa : National Archives of Canada, 1990).
Source of title
Other system control no.
Related control no.
1. 1979-0090 MISA
2. 1979-0205 MISA
3. 1979-229 NPC
4. 1992-93/270 GAD
- Date modified: