Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I was deeply saddened with
some of the debate that I heard in this chamber last Thursday. It manifested
injustice and unfairness. It was intrinsically a denial that we are all equal in
this place and, sadly, it showcased the disadvantage that the four target groups
have in this place. You may ask: What are the four target groups of which I
speak? Some 20 years ago, as you know, the Government of Canada determined that
there were four groups of Canadians who were treated unfairly, not treated
equally, were discriminated against and who were accordingly in need of special
measures to bring them to the same status as the Canadian majority.
The four groups are women, the disabled, Aboriginal peoples and visible
minorities. In Thursday's debate in this place we heard words of anguish from
women, Aboriginals and visible minorities and it was distressing.
Honourable senators, I cringed in my seat when I heard the cries for help
from our colleagues. This chamber needs to have a candid look at what is
happening to it.
I have tried for some 17 years to raise issues of sensitivity to race, issues
of diversity, of pluralism, of equality and of human rights and, as painful as
it is, I admit that I have been largely unsuccessful. We will never make headway
on our systemic problem until the majority recognizes the issue and together
undertakes to resolve it.
I listen, honourable senators, when Senator Mercer and Senator Munson talk
about the accomplishments of Senate committees and the work of individual
senators, as they frequently do, and never is there reference to the diversity
agenda. I will be happy when the day comes when they can talk openly about our
achievements in this place in combating racism.
Inequality and discrimination are not matters easily talked about,
particularly not when it touches home. I have spoken frequently in this chamber
of the weak demographic statistics in the Senate administration, and I ask you:
Is this place representative of the mosaic of Canada? I have spoken of the lack
of representation of the four target groups when successive speakers have
showcased Canada abroad. As some honourable senators are aware, I have had the
great honour to speak to issues of pluralism, integration as Europeans call it,
our multicultural tradition and racism in many countries of the world over the
last couple of years. I have learned a lot about the global problem of
insensitivity and barriers to the advancement of certain classes of people.
My recommendation, honourable senators, is that this institution must come to
grips with why the federal government isolated four target groups. The majority
in this place must take the steps to make pluralism a reality. I recommend that
the leadership and the Speaker of the Senate help to create a dialogue that is
conducive to finding a resolution to this problem.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, last Thursday, December 7, the
Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in a very important case involving
the Maliseet and Mi'kmaq, two Aboriginal peoples of New Brunswick. The decision
formally recognized the constitutionally protected right of those Aboriginal
peoples to harvest timber for personal use on Crown lands. The case involved an
important question of Aboriginal title: the right to harvest wood on Crown
lands. That explains why the Attorney General of Canada intervened in the
Supreme Court of Canada case, as did six provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova
Scotia, Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Originally, two Maliseet, Dale Sappier and Clark Polchies, and one Mi'kmaq,
Darrell Joseph Gray, were charged under the Crown Lands and Forests Act of New
Brunswick for having cut down trees without a permit on Crown lands. They
alleged that they had traditionally harvested wood on that territory and had an
ancestral right to such a practice.
In order to conclude whether the offenders had an Aboriginal right, the
Supreme Court of Canada had to determine the meaning of what constitutes "a
distinctive Aboriginal culture." The court determined what a culture is and
what makes it distinctive in an Aboriginal context.
First, the court elaborated on the meaning of the concept of "culture." The
Culture, let alone "distinctive culture", has proven to be a difficult
concept to grasp for Canadian courts.
The court also stated:
What is meant by "culture" is really an inquiry into the pre-contact way
of life of a particular aboriginal community, including their means of
survival, their socialization methods, their legal systems, and, potentially,
their trading habits.
Further, the Supreme Court stated:
The use of the word "distinctive" as a qualifier is meant to incorporate
an element of Aboriginal specificity. However, "distinctive" does not mean "distinct," and the notion of aboriginality must not be reduced to
"racialized stereotypes of Aboriginal peoples."
The court also clearly established that "Section 35 of the Constitution Act,
1982, seeks to provide a constitutional framework for the protection of the
distinctive cultures of Aboriginal peoples so that their prior occupation of
North America can be recognized and reconciled with the sovereignty of the
This decision, honourable senators, is a seminal one. It will help provincial
and federal governments, and Canadians in general, to better understand the
scope and meaning of a distinctive Aboriginal culture in Canada.
I would remind the Senate that it was the Maliseet and Mi'kmaq peoples who
Jacques Cartier met in the Gaspé Peninsula in 1534 and who Samuel de Champlain
may have also met in Acadia in 1604, and that it was these Aboriginals who
facilitated the first contact on Canadian soil. It seems a just reward that, 450
years later, the Supreme Court of Canada is now recognizing the rights of these
two communities to a distinctive Aboriginal culture.
Hon. Terry Stratton (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a
progress report on the Action Plan for Drinking Water in First Nations
Hon. Terry Stratton (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the
report of the Expert Panel on Safe Drinking Water for First Nations.
Hon. George J. Furey, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal
Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:
Monday, December 11, 2006
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has
the honour to present its
Your Committee recommends that the entitlements of the Leader of the
Opposition be amended to include an allocation for transportation. The
allocation recommended is identical to that offered to Deputy Ministers and to
the Leaders of the Opposition Parties in the House of Commons.
GEORGE J. FUREY
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken in consideration?
On motion of Senator Furey, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the
next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That notwithstanding the order of the Senate of April 6, 2006, when the
Senate sits on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, it continue its proceedings
beyond 4 p.m. and follow the normal adjournment procedure according to rule
That committees of the Senate scheduled to meet on Wednesday, December 13,
2006, be authorized to sit even though the Senate may then be sitting, and
that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-28, A second Act to implement
certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Comeau, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second
reading two days hence.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons returning Bill C-2, providing for conflict of
interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting
administrative transparency, oversight and accountability, and acquainting the
Senate that they have agreed to the amendments made by the Senate to this bill
without further amendment.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Meighen, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Comeau, for the second reading of Bill C-17, to
amend the Judges Act and certain other Acts in relation to courts.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Keon, for the second reading of Bill C-34, to provide
for jurisdiction over education on First Nation lands in British Columbia.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I know that we are always very pleased to see that Canada's Aboriginal
peoples are making progress in their long struggle to regain control of their
The bill before us is a major step toward reaching that goal because it will
transfer jurisdiction over education, from kindergarten to grade 12, to First
Nations on Aboriginal lands in British Columbia.
This bill is legislation to implement the federal side of a framework
agreement signed in July by the federal government, the Government of British
Columbia and the First Nations Education Steering Committee, which is the body
representing First Nations in the negotiations. This framework agreement
fulfilled a tripartite commitment that was made by the same three parties in
July, 2003. That commitment was itself the product of three years of
negotiations. In other words, this bill is the fruit of years of work under
It is, of course, not the last word. It is more like what Churchill called
"the end of the beginning." As every parent and teacher knows, few community
activities are more controversial or harder to organize properly than the public
school system, and the participating First Nations will not find the task any
easier than any other community. However, now it will truly be their task, one
they will be able to tackle in their own way and according to their own
priorities. They will have the control.
First Nations in British Columbia that negotiate and sign individual
agreements to participate in this process will have law-making powers, and the
agreements, once signed, will have the force of law. It is also the First
Nations who will appoint the board of directors of the new First Nations
education authority which will be established under this act. That authority
will have the mandate to help the participating First Nations to develop their
capacity and, where requested, to enter co-management agreements. These could
include such matters as establishing standards, certifying teachers and so on.
Participating First Nations will be able to establish their own Community
Education Authorities to run their schools — basically school boards — including
the setting and enforcement of standards for curricula and teacher
certifications, and the issuing of graduation certificates. These standards will
have to be recognized by the provincial government and there will have to be
transferability between First Nations and provincial public schools; that is,
students will have to be able to move between the two systems, which will
obviously require compatibility of curricula and standards. However, within that
framework, the participating First Nations will be able to run their schools in
the way they believe best suits their communities. They will also be able to
join together with neighbouring First Nations to provide joint education systems
if they so choose.
Surely this new system will help — it certainly should help — to lessen the
high dropout rate that now afflicts so many Aboriginal communities, not only in
British Columbia but across Canada. We know that completing high school is the
single best predictor of success in any Canadian's life. I am not talking here
only about material success, although heaven knows that escaping the poverty
trap is a wonderful goal. I am also talking about the kind of personal,
emotional and social stability that is easier to obtain if one has the tools to
participate fully in the community, tools that are directly related to
It also seems to me that the new school system should be extremely helpful,
in particular, in helping First Nations to preserve their languages and
cultures. For decades, that struggle has too often seemed like a losing battle.
The other day, for example, I was visited by the chief of one First Nation in
British Columbia who told me that among the 10,000 members he represents, only
200 still speak their Aboriginal language. It is truly a race against time to
recapture that language before the last speakers today are gone, and to train
teachers to transmit the language to the next generations of children who will
be going to the on-reserve schools in the participating First Nations. Language
is a vital part of identity, the principal vehicle for expressing and
communicating the unique culture that shapes each community, including First
We cannot imagine the stress felt by the community and individuals who know
that their ancestral language is disappearing and, with it, their history. In
many cases, these are strictly oral languages. There is only the oral tradition
available to transmit the richness of the values, customs and history of these
I believe that it is vital that they be preserved.
It is a pleasure for me to say that I strongly support this bill. That does
not mean, however, that I have no questions. For some guidance, I turned to the
debates in the other place, but they were not particularly helpful because our
colleagues down the hall, perhaps carried away by their enthusiasm for this
project, actually did not debate it much. They had a brief debate at second
reading; then, as they sometimes do, they deemed the bill to have been referred
to Committee of the Whole, deemed it to be reported back without amendment,
deemed it to be read a third time and deemed it to be passed.
Senator Murray: The same old story.
Senator Fraser: As I suggested at the outset, I expect that most
senators are also enthusiastic about this bill, but we do intend to examine it
Here are some of the things I would like to know. The first is the
perennially toughest one: money. How much will it cost to implement this bill
properly? There is no point doing it if it is not done properly. What will be
the budget of the First Nations education authority? Will there be proper
funding to help participating First Nations establish their new on-reserve
systems? Will extra continuing funding be needed, beyond whatever is or is not
now provided? I gather there are assurances that the money will be there when it
is needed, but it would be appropriate to have something more specific than
Honourable senators may recall that education was one of the key components
of the Kelowna Accord, for example, and it was not cheap. The Kelowna plan
included more than $1 billion over five years to promote innovation in
on-reserve education, which is of course the topic of this bill; it is what this
bill is all about.
I might also mention that the Kelowna Accord also took a broader approach to
education. It would have provided, in addition to the $1 billion I just
mentioned, $500 million over five years for bursaries, scholarships and
apprenticeships; $150 million over five years for off-reserve education,
including $50 million for the North; and $100 million over five years for urban,
Metis and northern Aboriginal initiatives to prepare children for school.
The current government decided not to proceed with the Kelowna Accord. I
think that was a bad decision, but it is what the government decided to do and
we live with that. I do hope that when new initiatives come forward, such as the
one in this bill, they will be properly funded.
Another question is this: How long is it expected to take for the changes
actually to be implemented on the ground? We all know that major institutional
change is far easier to announce than to do, but while the changes are being
designed, checked, approved and funded, children are growing up who need better
schooling now. How long will they have to wait?
For that matter, how many children are expected to be affected by this new
system? I understand that there are now about 6,000 students in on-reserve
schools in British Columbia and another 11,000 in provincial schools, some of
whom might well, one would hope, return to on-reserve schools if the schools
were there and were adequate to their needs. However, there is no indication in
this bill of how many B.C. First Nations intend to participate in the new
system. Participating First Nations are to be listed in the schedule, but at the
moment the schedule is blank; it is a big white page. I understand that some
First Nations have indeed indicated their intention to participate. It would be
most helpful to know which and how many.
Finally, honourable senators, let me echo a warning note that has already
been sounded by the Assembly of First Nations. The framework agreement that has
been signed in British Columbia is an historic achievement. It is another step
on a long road back from the tragic history of so much of Aboriginal education,
the history best known for the residential schools which brought so much grief
to so many. Yet this agreement is not necessarily a template for other
Everywhere in Canada there are, have been or will be negotiations to restore
to Aboriginal peoples the full educational rights that they need and deserve,
but no two parts of Canada are the same. There may be great similarities in some
respects, particularly in the plain fact that the present system too often fails
its clients, the children, but there are also huge differences.
Different First Nations have different histories, different legal situations
and different priorities. The Cree of James Bay, for example, are in a vastly
different situation from the Innu of Labrador. There can be no question of
assuming that one size fits all, that an agreement tailored to the particular
needs of British Columbia First Nations will necessarily suit other First
Perhaps I should also mention that First Nations that choose to participate
in this bill's system will not be signing away any gains they might make in
future comprehensive agreements. Such future agreements could supersede the
individual agreements that First Nations reach under this bill, and that, I
think, is probably a useful protection for the First Nations as they go forward
and might indeed encourage some of them to participate in this educational
In conclusion, honourable senators, let me congratulate all those who worked
to achieve this agreement. It is hard to imagine a more worthwhile endeavour. If
the new system is well implemented, generations of First Nations children will
be the beneficiaries.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I encourage all senators
to support Bill C-34 and enact the agreement achieved between the Governments of
Canada and British Columbia and the First Nations Education Steering Committee,
also known as FNESC. By passing this legislation, we demonstrate our support for
the steering committee and its collaborative approach to improving the quality
of on-reserve education in British Columbia.
The remarkable effectiveness of the committee's approach illustrates the
power of partnership. Quality education is the product of partnerships among the
children and parents, students and teachers, communities and schools,
educational organizations and governments. The steering committee helps to
create and maintain strong partnerships in each of these areas so that First
Nations students can learn effectively.
The committee is itself a partnership. It is composed of representatives of
British Columbia First Nations who share a passion for education. These men and
women recognize the strong link that exists between the quality of education
young people receive and the standard of living they experience as adults. It
grew out of the fact that First Nations schools in the province of British
Columbia were relatively ill-equipped to deliver a high-quality education and
that students struggled academically.
Some 14 years ago — it has been going on for 14 years, so it is not something
that came out of the chute yesterday morning — the steering committee set out to
change these realities. At the time, most First Nations schools in the province,
particularly those located in remote areas, operated with little outside
support. In essence, bands received money from the Government of Canada to teach
students but could access none of the basic support systems available to public
schools. There were no ministry of education or school boards to help develop
curricula, recruit teachers and certify schools. Since funding is granted on a
per student basis, many smaller schools did not have money to hire principals
and administrators or retain good teachers. Good teachers, believe me, is one of
the big problems that plague this particular area of concern.
Honourable senators, we have travelled and we have heard. We know now what
they are saying. We do not know firsthand because we have not lived it
Recognizing that these factors hampered the ability of First Nations to
deliver a high-quality education, the steering committee launched a methodical
campaign to address each one. The campaign's principal strategy involved
engaging as many people as possible in First Nations education. This remarkably
successful strategy has inspired a steady rise in the high school graduation
rates of First Nations students and a lengthening list of partnerships.
Today, virtually every group involved in education in British Columbia is an
ardent and active supporter of the committee. The list includes the B.C.
Teachers' Federation, as well as the professional associations that represent
the province's principals, vice-principals, superintendents and trustees. Other
partners include the B.C. Ministry of Education, the College of Teachers and the
Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. All these organizations appreciate
the importance of improving the academic performance of First Nations students
in the province and each partner contributes to the collective effort in its own
The B.C. College of Teachers, for instance, has helped develop a
certification framework for teachers of First Nations languages and cultures.
The college has long collaborated on the initiatives to increase the number of
Aboriginal teachers in the province.
The Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils helps encourage parents to get
involved in their children's education, a significant challenge because many
First Nations parents suffered abuse at residential schools. Today, some of
these men and women have little use for formal schooling.
To overcome this challenge, the steering committee established a special club
for parents, and today the club boasts more than 120 local chapters and nearly
3,000 members. The club uses a series of tools, such as promotional calendars,
books and newsletters to encourage First Nations parents to get involved in
their children's education. Through the club, parents can learn how to help with
their children's homework, how to interpret a report card, and what questions to
ask during parent-teacher interviews. Thanks to initiatives such as Parents
Club, an average of 70 per cent of all parents attend parent-teacher interviews
at First Nations schools.
Honourable senators, another statistic that illustrates the success of the
committee's partnership strategy is the climbing graduation rate between 1999
and 2004. The high school graduation rate among First Nations students grew from
39 per cent to 48 per cent — a significant growth, but still not acceptable.
The steering committee's partnerships have also helped address key barriers
to high-quality education, such as access to and the sharing of student data.
Until recently, British Columbia's Ministry of Education collected data only on
students enrolled in public schools. The information collected by Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada on students of First Nations schools was different in
both content and format. As a result, school officials had no way to track
progress made by students moving between systems, a common event particularly in
small First Nations communities. This meant it was nearly impossible to compare
how well a student performed when he or she moved between two systems. In
collaboration with B.C.'s Ministry of Education, a data-linking project is now
underway that will facilitate that tracking. The project will enable teachers
and administrators to design and implement effective strategies to meet the
particular difficulties students experience as they move between school systems.
Another of the committee's significant accomplishments is the implementation
of the First Nations SchoolNet program. It coordinated the delivery of this
program, maximizing the funding by buying computer hardware in bulk. Last year,
the committee installed some 95 computers, nine video-conferencing labs and six
satellite connections in schools across the province. To ensure that teachers
and students can make the most of this technology, it also oversees software
support, services and training.
While the valuable contribution of its educational partners must not be
diminished, the steering committee also enjoys the support of several
high-profile, private sector companies. These partnerships focus on specific
initiatives, such as the Seventh Generation Club, which encourages children to
stay in school by organizing a variety of contests and festival days devoted to
science, heritage and sports. Seventh Generation also publishes a newsletter,
maintains a website and offers attendance prizes and promotional give-aways.
Today, approximately 9,000 First Nations students are keen members of the club.
Club sponsors include B.C. Hydro, the Vancouver Canucks and Historica, along
with two federal departments. This year, B.C. Hydro provided nearly $4,000 worth
of bursaries, while the Vancouver Canucks donated several thousand dollars worth
of promotional merchandise and hockey tickets. The Canucks also contribute a
regular column to the club's newsletter and organize player appearances at club
events. Thanks to this support, the Seventh Generation Club is able to achieve
its goal of encouraging children to stay in school.
The name of the club derives from a traditional Aboriginal belief that
decisions made today affect the following seven generations and must strive to
honour the previous seven generations as well. I am convinced that this
enlightened philosophy also inspires the steering committee's partnership
Honourable senators, the committee is determined to reinvigorate the proud
learning traditions of First Nations in British Columbia and to inspire new and
enduring respect for the value of education. The organization's strategic
partnerships enable it to wrest maximum value from the investments of taxpayers
and sponsors. There is no question that it has had a positive and lasting impact
on the quality of education delivered in the province's First Nations schools.
Supporting this legislation celebrates the remarkable accomplishments of the
steering committee and will lead to the establishment of additional partnerships
that will further improve the quality of on-reserve education in British
Honourable senators, I have met with representatives from the Aboriginal
community in British Columbia on this subject. I do not profess to be an expert
in any way, shape or form on education. However, I have met with them, and I do
not think we can afford to ignore their sincerity and long journey to get to
Honourable senators, let me tell you a story about the Tlicho, the Dogrib
bands in the Northwest Territories. These are people who took control of their
own destiny on education. Education in the remote areas was terrible. They
established a higher learning centre in a community just outside of Yellowknife.
They went from virtually no one in post-secondary education to over 100, simply
because they did what the British Columbia First Nations people want to do; they
took control of their own destiny.
Certainly, government support is required for this initiative. If government
is not prepared to fund it, it will go nowhere. However, I am convinced that it
will. We would not have gone through this process if they were not prepared.
I do not think there is a template; one size does not fit all. The needs are
vastly different on the East Coast, the West Coast and in the centre.
It is important that this bill be passed quickly because too many generations
have already come and gone. When the Senate dealt with Tlicho, we passed the
legislation immediately because these people have been deprived of control of
their own destiny for far too long. They have been controlled by a government
department, and both Conservative governments and Liberal governments have
failed to meet their requirements. It will take 28 years for these people to
catch up, even if we do everything right. Therefore, we cannot afford to delay
this initiative for one moment. The future of our First Nations youth is at
Honourable senators, I would like this bill to go to committee as soon as
possible. If, in the wisdom of the leadership on both sides, it is sent to the
Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, I would be proud, as Chair of
that committee, to commence hearings on it immediately in order that, without
further ado, the Senate can pass this bill.
Leave having been given to revert to Presentation of Reports from Standing or
Hon. Bill Rompkey, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries
and Oceans, presented the following report:
Monday, December 11, 2006
The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has the honour to
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-220, An Act to protect
heritage lighthouses, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Tuesday,
November 28, 2006, examined the said Bill and now reports the same with the
1. Clause 2:
(a) Page 1:
(i) Add after line 22 the following:
""advisory committee" means the advisory committee established by
the Minister under section 9.1.",
(ii) Add after line 25 the following:
""established criteria" means the criteria established by the
Minister under paragraph 18(a).", and
(iii) Delete lines 26 to 29; and
(b) Page 2:
(i) Replace line 3 and 4 with the following:
"this Act, and includes any related built structure that is included
in the designation.",
(ii) Replace line 10 with the following:
"use as an aid to navigation.",
(iii) Replace lines 11 to 14 with the following:
""Minister" means the Minister responsible for the Parks Canada
(iv) Delete line 15, and
(v) Replace lines 16 to 19 with the following:
""related built structure", in relation to a lighthouse, means any
built structure on the site on which the lighthouse is situated that
contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse.".
2. Clause 4, page 2: Replace lines 28 to 30 with the following:
"4. This Act applies to lighthouses that are the property of Her
Majesty in right of Canada.".
3. Clause 6, page 2:
(a) Replace lines 33 and 34 with the following:
"6. (1) The Minister may, at any time, taking into account the
established criteria,"; and
(b) Replace line 38 with the following:
"include any related built structure that the Minister considers
should be included in the designation, taking into account the established
4. Delete clause 7, page 3.
5. Clause 8, page 3:
(a) Replace line 24 with the following:
"into account the established criteria,";
(b) Replace line 26 with the following:
"which the Minister receives a petition; and"; and
(c) Replace lines 29 to 35 with the following:
"whether any related built structures should be included in the
designations, and make the appropriate designations.".
6. Clause 9, page 3: Replace line 43 with the following:
"it has been desig-".
7. New clause 9.1, page 3: Add after line 44 the following:
"9.1 The Minister must establish an advisory committee to advise
and assist the Minister on matters relating to heritage lighthouses,
including the designation and protection of heritage lighthouses and the
establishment of criteria for their designation, alteration and
8. Clause 10:
(a) Page 3: Replace lines 45 to 51 with the following:
"10. The Minister must consult with the advisory committee, and
may consult with any other persons or bodies that the Minister considers
appropriate, before determining whether a lighthouse should be designated
as a heritage lighthouse and whether any related built structure should be
included in the designation."; and
(b) Page 4: Delete lines 1 to 13.
9. Clause 11, page 4:
(a) Replace lines 14 to 18 with the following:
"11. (1) A heritage lighthouse, or any part of it, may only be
altered in accordance with the criteria and procedures established under
paragraph 18(b)."; and
(b) Replace lines 24 to 29 with the following:
"does not affect the heritage character of the heritage lighthouse.".
10. Clause 12, page 4: Replace lines 30 to 41 with the following:
"12. (1) A heritage lighthouse, or any part of it, may only be
transferred to Her Majesty in right of a province or sold if a notice is
published at least 90 days before the transfer or sale in one or more
newspapers of general circulation in the area in which the lighthouse is
(2) A heritage lighthouse, or any part of it, may only be sold if a
public meeting is held on the matter in the area in which the lighthouse is
situated, unless the sale is to a municipality.
(3) Any transaction effecting a transfer to Her Majesty in right of a
province or a sale shall provide for the protection of the heritage
character of the heritage lighthouse by any means that the Minister may
11. Clause 13:
(a) Page 4: Replace lines 42 to 45 with the following:
"13. (1) A heritage lighthouse, or any part of it, may only be
demolished if there is no reasonable alternative and if a notice is
published at least 90 days before the demolition in one or more newspapers
of general circulation in the area in which the lighthouse is situated.";
(b) Page 5: Replace lines 1 to 14 with the following:
"(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the demolition of a
heritage lighthouse in response to any emergency situation or an urgent
12. Delete clause 14, page 5.
13. Delete clause 15, pages 5 and 6.
14. Delete clause 16, page 6.
15. Clause 17, page 6: Replace lines 25 to 27 with the following:
"maintain it in accordance with the criteria established under paragraph
16. Clause 18:
(a) Page 6:
(i) Replace lines 28 to 30 with the following:
"18. The Minister must
(a) establish criteria to be taken into", and
(ii) Replace lines 33 to 46 with the following:
"lighthouse and whether any related built structure should be
included in the designation;
(b) establish criteria and procedures respecting the
alteration of heritage lighthouses that are in keeping with national and
international standards for the conservation of heritage properties;
(c) establish criteria for the maintenance of heritage
lighthouses that are in keeping with national and international
standards for the conservation of heritage properties; and
(d) include in the criteria and procedures established under
paragraph (b) requirements that all interested persons be given a
reasonable opportunity to make representations concerning any proposed
alteration of a heritage lighthouse or any part of it, and that a public
meeting be held concerning the proposed alteration."; and
(b) Page 7: Delete lines 1 and 2.
WILLIAM ROMPKEY, P.C.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Rompkey, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Human Rights (budget—study on Canada's international and
national human rights obligations—power to travel), presented in the Senate on
December 7, 2006.—(Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C.)
Hon. Sharon Carstairs moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (committee
budget—legislation), presented in the Senate on December 7, 2006.—(Honourable
Hon. George J. Furey moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hays, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Fraser, for the adoption of the second report of the
Special Senate Committee on Senate Reform (motion to amend the Constitution
of Canada (western regional representation in the Senate), without amendment
but with observations), presented in the Senate on October 26, 2006.—(Honourable
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, we should always have good
reasons for changing the structure or workings of our political institutions. As
I said during debate on Bill S-4, parliamentary reform should never be
approached in a piecemeal manner without knowing beforehand the overall shape
and substance of the newly reformed institutions. We need a plan; we need to
know where we are going.
This is not to suggest that necessary democratic or political reform should
be avoided as a country develops and grows and further defines itself, or that
we should not attempt to correct old wrongs.
The Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords at their core were attempts to
reconcile the cultural and linguistic aspirations of Quebec with the rest of
Canada and to provide recognition to our Aboriginal peoples. Both of these
lofty, ambitious attempts to reform Canada's Constitution failed, and academics
and pundits are still debating the reasons for this failure.
In the past weeks, we have experienced more political shifting along the
Quebec-Canada fault line, with passage of the government's motion to recognize
the Québécois people as a nation within a united Canada. This is a symbolic
recognition, of course.
Honourable senators, our colleagues, Senator Murray and Senator Austin, have
introduced a motion seeking a constitutional change to accord additional
representation in the Senate for Western Canada. However, once again, this is a
piecemeal initiative that poses more fundamental questions.
What is the role and function of an upper house in our 21st century bicameral
Parliament? What and who should senators represent? Is it possible to change the
character, authority and function of the Senate without also reforming the
elected House of Commons?
These basic questions need to be addressed, honourable senators, before the
regional balance of representation is altered.
My particular vantage point, of course, is that of a Prince Edward Islander.
There always is more at stake for our province in discussions around the
Constitution than for other provinces. We have a unique position within Canadian
Confederation, not only as the birthplace of the idea of the federal union
itself, but also as the smallest "full and equal partner" in that federation.
This status of full and equal partner has always been difficult for other
Canadians to accept. How does a province with a population of a small Ontario
city possibly make such a claim?
Historically, Prince Edward Island has struggled to make its voice heard
around the federal-provincial table and, more laboriously, with federal
bureaucrats for whom size and population amounts to authority and respect.
Provincial civil servants in search of federal program spending know the
frustration of being told, "You do not have the numbers."
Prince Edward Islanders have never viewed themselves as the Lilliputians of
Confederation. We have always stood proudly, demanded our fair share and given
back to the nation disproportionately.
In my early remarks on Bill S-4, I spoke about covenants and agreements. When
Prince Edward Island finally joined Confederation in 1873 at the urging of a new
Dominion concerned with an expansionist United States and anxious to knit
together and further consolidate its own interests, the newest province was
given four Senate seats, reallocated from those previously given to neighbouring
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 1867. This was one of our so-called "terms of
In 1873, the Maritime region was at the zenith of its economic prosperity.
Ontario and Quebec were growing with the influx of new settlers, and the West
remained a vast and largely unsettled territory whose potential was yet to be
realized. However, soon after Confederation and with the introduction of Prime
Minister Macdonald's protectionist national policy, trade lines shifted and the
Maritimes began to look inward toward the continent and a new centrally located
My purpose, honourable senators, is not to look back romantically at a time
of earlier greatness, but rather to point out that the constitutional
arrangements that defined a new Canada in 1867 reflected the linguistic,
cultural and regional realities of the time. These founding arrangements were
not an accident but a constitutional bargain to accommodate and balance the
expectation of the partners in the federation, both large and small.
Our Island's motto — Parva Sub Igenti, "the small under the
protection of the great" — is taken from Virgil's Georgics. It was
adopted in 1769, yet it conveys undoubtedly the expectations of Premier James
Pope and his pro-Confederate colleagues in 1873, that Prince Edward Island,
though diminutive in geographical size and population, would nevertheless be
protected and respected within the new Dominion of Canada.
The Senate, or upper house, was established in part to protect the small and
to ensure a degree of equality and inclusiveness against the grain of
population. That is right, honourable senators, against the grain of population.
Prince Edward Island was originally accorded six seats in the House of
Commons. However, with decreased population, the number of seats fell to four.
By 1911, it was in jeopardy of being reduced further. Fortunately, then Island
premier, John Matheson, was successful in negotiating with the federal
government a constitutional provision that now guarantees Prince Edward Island
no fewer elected members of Parliament than senators.
What and who should senators represent? I believe strongly that
representation in the Senate, unlike the elected House of Commons, should not be
driven by population at all, for it is the promise of the Senate to provide an
effective voice for a diversity of regional and other interests. It is the
promise of the Senate to represent fairly the interests of women, racial and
linguistic minorities and our Aboriginal peoples. It is the promise of the
Senate to ensure that the great Canadian North has a strong voice in Parliament.
It is the promise of the Senate to ensure that our coastal and rural communities
are understood and appreciated and afforded opportunities to prosper and
Honourable senators, it is not possible to achieve this inclusiveness through
representation by population alone. It never was. Majority rule is a noble but
limiting concept. We need other principles at work in our democracy; otherwise,
it is my firm belief that Canada's full diversity will not be represented, nor
its potential greatness realized.
A former Conservative Premier of Prince Edward Island, the late Honourable J.
Angus MacLean, believed that in a democracy, more than people need to be
represented. For this distinguished politician and war veteran, the land itself
deserved to have a voice.
This is a radical notion, I know, but in a country as territorially vast as
ours, in which the population is increasingly grouped in larger urban units, Mr.
MacLean's approach to representation has growing relevance.
Senators Murray and Austin have proposed that British Columbia be designated
a region and both Alberta and British Columbia be given additional Senate seats
while not increasing the total number. This means that Prince Edward Island's
representation in the upper house would be diluted and degraded, as would that
of its neighbouring Atlantic provinces.
I cannot support the motion of Senators Murray and Austin for this reason. To
distribute representation in the Senate based on population change, rewarding
those provinces and regions having the greatest strength in numbers and economic
wealth, will not lead to better governance. On the contrary, I believe it would
diminish who we are as a country.
We have been told the government will introduce legislation soon outlining a
process for electing senators. It is clear that such a fundamental change in the
character and role of the Senate would also require amending the Constitution.
Honourable senators, a second elected chamber with representation driven by
population, mirroring the House of Commons in fundamental ways, would be a step
backwards for this country, in my opinion. It would never ensure the
inclusiveness or the kind of broad representation I have been speaking about.
We do not need an elected Senate that mirrors the House of Commons in
character and function, and we do not need a Senate dominated by the larger,
more economically powerful provinces. Our objective, I believe, should be to
further enhance the existing character of the Senate as a unique constituent
assembly, where the voices of all regions, all racial and cultural groups, can
be heard; a Canada chamber whose authority is derived neither from population
numbers nor partisan allegiance, but from the scope and fullness of its
representation. It could be argued that our existing Senate already performs
this role in an effective and distinguished manner.
However, I am not in favour of the status quo. We need to preserve the
essential character of the institution and improve it, giving it more legitimacy
in the eyes of Canadians, and making the Senate more inclusive and
Somewhat surprisingly, there have been few recent comparative studies in this
area. We have not looked at other bicameral parliaments and upper houses around
the world. Perhaps this is where we should begin. If we are serious about
reforming the Senate of Canada, then we should take a more comprehensive look.
If we want to re-engineer our Senate for the 21st century, perhaps we should be
willing to take the necessary political risks. That would be a responsible and
democratic thing to do.
In conclusion, let me say that, notwithstanding my opposition to the
Murray-Austin motion, as an Atlantic Canadian I have a great deal of empathy for
the alienation and frustration that many Western Canadians feel on the other
side of a vast country that has been controlled by the centre for the last
century or more. I commend my honourable colleagues for introducing their
However, as expressed by several presenters who came before the committee, we
need to have a destination before we begin the journey. Just as important, we
need a road map to get there, instead of one-off, piecemeal initiatives that
raise more questions than they answer.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Would the honourable senator entertain a question?
Senator Hubley: Yes.
Senator Banks: The honourable senator talks about the dilution of
representation that, if my arithmetic is correct, would move the representation
of senators in this place from 3.8 per cent to 3.4 per cent, which is not, in my
opinion, terribly significant.
However, my question is: Since the honourable senator referred to the 1873
arrangement where Senate seats were transferred from Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, I take it that the honourable senator has no
objection in principle to changing the proportion of representation in the
Senator Hubley: I thank my honourable colleague for mentioning that
point. In 1873, we were dealing with a much different Canada. In 2006 and
thereafter, I would like to see us accept the challenge of reforming our Senate,
and several ways of reforming have been put forward in presentations. However, I
do not want us to make changes in the Senate without a total picture of how
changes will affect the representation of smaller communities and areas such as
my own province.
Hon. Jack Austin: The honourable senator referred to the need for
better representation of coastal and rural communities. Can she conceive that,
in British Columbia, half our population is in urban communities? Every senator
on either side represents an urban community. With only six senators for British
Columbia, it is very difficult for our coastal and rural communities to find
appropriate representation. That is the major reason that we seek to move from 6
to 12 seats. Does the honourable senator have some sympathy for that concern?
Senator Hubley: I thank the honourable senator for his question. I
certainly do have great sympathy for your concern. I also have sympathy for the
communities on our vast northern coastline, which are also perhaps
under-represented within the Senate, given the importance of the North and the
attention that will be directed towards that area in relation to the issue of
climate change. Perhaps we could better understand many of those issues if
indeed we had a representation from coastal communities, per se, and certainly
British Columbia would be part of that.
Senator Austin: Senator Hubley, I understand your point is that no
issue of concern should be addressed until we can address ourselves to the
fundamental purpose for which the Senate exists. Is that correct?
Senator Hubley: I would reflect on a lot of our institutions. Yes, as
a Senate of Canada, we should be very cognizant of the importance of
institutions that have developed through history, that support our way of
government and our people. A change in the Senate should be something that is
ongoing. However, there is more study that needs to be done. I would not like to
see a change in representation until we take a good look at some of the groups
here represented, such as women, Aboriginals, and the disabled, as Senator
Oliver mentioned in his statement this evening.
The Hon. the Speaker: The honourable senator's time has expired.
However, as is our practice, if the honourable senator were to seek another five
minutes, she would probably receive consent for that.
Senator Hubley: I would so request.
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I would like to
address a question to the honourable senator. It is this: Have any studies been
done in relation to representation in Northern Quebec or Northern Ontario? They
are not coastal communities as such. However, I am talking about a vast land,
and not many people have mentioned these areas. For example, we only have one
senator for all of Northern Ontario, and that is a vast area.
Senator Mercer: That is you, Senator Mahovlich.
Senator Tkachuk: That is you.
Senator Mercer: You have big shoulders.
Senator Mahovlich: No, honourable senators, it is Senator Poulin, who
is from Sudbury. She is the only one representing the whole of Northern Ontario.
Therefore, I suggest that when we do our study, we should look at Northern
Quebec and Northern Ontario, and consider increasing the number of senators who
represent those areas.
Senator Hubley: Senator Mahovlich has pointed out something that is
very important in this day and age, and that is, as has been mentioned, that
there are regions of the country that are very important to our Canadian economy
but that are not represented within the Senate to the degree of the
representation that exists for other areas. I would like representation within
the Senate to reflect more than just populations. Indeed, in the Maritimes, we
regard Newfoundland and Labrador as being very distinctive. Yet, if their
representation were based on population, they would not have representation in
the Senate. I agree with Senator Mahovlich that that is important.
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): I wish to congratulate
Senator Hubley on a well-crafted speech. I agree with all of the sentiments
The honourable senator said that the 1873 arrangement was a reasonable way to
balance the expectations of the regions and the provinces at the time. However,
the main thesis of her speech was that nothing should be done unless the end
result is the implementation of the Murray-Austin motion.
I would be interested in a further comment as to how my honourable friend
would respond if she were in Senator Austin's position. While population is not
the basis of this chamber — I think there are something like 700,000 plus
British Columbians for every senator — it is a difficult thing for those in
British Columbia and in my province of Alberta, for that matter, to explain what
the reasonable expectations of their region and province should be.
I am interested in an elaboration on how we deal with that number as it
becomes more and more dramatic over time. While it is not the basis of the
Senate, it is at least somewhat relevant in terms of what it is we in the West
answer to our constituents for.
Senator Hubley: Honourable senators, in my closing remarks I stated
that I had great sympathy for our Western provinces. I do not disagree with the
fact that they are looking for more representation within the Senate. My main
point was that in order to make an increase in one part of the country, there
is, by the very act of doing that, perhaps a diminishing representation in
another. There is an altering of the status quo.
Should that be done? I think it should be done. I think we should take a good
look at the Senate. The other place does have representation by population, and
therefore B.C.'s ability to elect members to the House of Commons will be much
greater than Prince Edward Island's will ever be. It does highlight the fact
that we seem to be open to looking at the Senate with a new vision to take it
into the 21st century. That is laudable. That is an important function for us as
a Senate to do and I would like to see it done.
I would only say that if I were in the shoes of Senators Austin and Murray, I
would like to do the same thing. Very likely they deserve these seats, but not
within the way the Senate is set up at the present time.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I would like to propose an
amendment to the second report of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Reform.
As I have mentioned in this chamber before, when we were debating this
report, I believe that British Columbia is a region. It has been recognized as
such by the previous government. It should have the same number of senators as
any other region, which is 24. Therefore, I move:
That the second report of the Special Senate Committee on Senate Reform be
not now adopted but that the motion to amend the Constitution of Canada
(western regional representation in the Senate) be amended as follows:
(a) by replacing, in the third paragraph of the motion, the words
"British Columbia be made a separate division represented by 12 Senators;"
with the following:
"British Columbia be made a separate division represented by 24
(b) by replacing, in clause 1 of the Schedule to the motion, in
section 21, the words "consist of One hundred and seventeen Members" with
"consist of One hundred and twenty-nine Members";
(c) by replacing, in clause 1 of the Schedule to the motion, in
section 22, the words "British Columbia by Twelve Senators;" with the
"British Columbia by Twenty-four Senators;";
(d) by striking out, in clause 2 of the Schedule to the motion, in
section 27, the words "or, in the case of British Columbia, Twelve
(e) by replacing, in clause 2 of the Schedule to the motion, in
section 28, the words "exceed One hundred and twenty-seven." with the
"exceed One hundred and thirty-nine.".
The Hon. the Speaker: Is there debate on the motion in amendment,
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C.,
calling the attention of the Senate to the State of Literacy in Canada, which
will give every Senator in this Chamber the opportunity to speak out on an
issue in our country that is often forgotten.—(Honourable Senator Rompkey,
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I want to make a few remarks
on this inquiry. I also wish to thank Senator Fairbairn for bringing it forward.
I should like to talk about my home province, the rate of literacy and the rate
Not all of us are illiterate. Rick Mercer is not illiterate; Rick Hillier is
not illiterate; Rex Murphy is not illiterate; Seamus O'Regan is not illiterate;
neither is Wayne Johnston nor Lisa Moore, and neither is George Baker. George
Baker is erudite all of the time and a great orator — one of the best orators
that we have produced.
I remember when we were in opposition in the late 1980s. We would go into
opposition from time to time, as honourable senators will know, and we would
practice our opposition skills. George Baker was practicing his opposition
skills when John Crosbie was Minister of Fisheries. I always wondered about that
because it was the highlight of the day. As a matter of fact, the Speaker of the
House of Commons at one time thought that he would charge an admission when
George Baker was asking John Crosbie a question.
When I was in Newfoundland recently, I asked John Crosbie about that, and he
said that from time to time he would get a call from George Baker saying,
"John, I am thinking of asking this question in Question Period today and you,
John, may want to think about giving this answer..."
Senator LeBreton: They rehearsed it in advance!
Senator Rompkey: That is now recorded.
However, they made their point, they made it with humour and they made it
eloquently. The point was made very well. People knew what the point was and
they got the message.
There is a degree of literacy but there is also a degree of illiteracy, and
the polls show us that we perhaps — depending on which poll one reads — have a
great degree of "illiteracy" in the province. Residents of Newfoundland and
Labrador had average scores significantly below the national average.
If honourable senators look at the graph, they will see that the rate rises
as one travels across the country. It used to be the case years ago, and I
suspect it is the case now, that as you travel from British Columbia to
Newfoundland and Labrador, you will see the rate of illiteracy rise because it
has a lot to do not with ability, intention or demand but with money. We are
talking about the province which has the highest rate of taxation per capita and
the highest unemployment rate and where, in the provincial budget, the
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador now is spending something like 40 per
cent of its budget on education.
This cut in literacy from the federal government causes a great deal of
concern because literacy is an investment. Literacy really is education. It
should be a right in this country, equal to health. You should have a right to
health in Canada, and you should have a right to education in Canada. The Greeks
believed in a sound mind and a sound body. That is what we should be aiming at
for all Canadians. I am not talking about the school system because all
education does not take place in the school system. Mr. Baird seems to think
that. When he talks about adult literacy, Mr. Baird says that it is just
"repair work after the fact." That is a very simplistic view from a man who,
perhaps, has not experienced the regions of the country.
Senator Sibbeston said the other day, and Senator Watt will know, that in
certain regions of the country, we have a particular problem with education.
People have a language problem. English is not the first language for many
people. If you watched Mark Kelley on The National the other night in
Prince Rupert, you would have seen the problems that some students have with
fetal alcohol syndrome and other problems. Those difficulties require special
attention. It is not just "repair" of the system.
We have people who have gone through the system and somehow have fallen
between the cracks through no fault of their own. We should give them that
opportunity because education is an investment. If you have an educated
workforce, with people who know how to read and write, and labour leaders and
tradesmen who can read their books and their instructions, and people who can
read signs, you have people who can reach their economic potential. That is what
we should be aiming for: reaching the economic potential of people.
There was a cut in federal funds. The rationale that we have been given is
that will not change much and money is still available. How do you apply for
that money? Who applies for that money? The reality is that although money is
there, there is gas for the tank but the engine is flawed. The carburetor is not
working. The vehicle's engine is not working properly because the vehicles that
were in place to help the networks that were in place are impacted and are no
longer there for use.
We have learned that the collaboration among literacy organizations and other
non-literacy frontline agencies are critical for the initial literacy
experiences of many adults. That is the problem. The problem is that many of
these networks are now no longer functional or able to help the partners.
The literacy community in Newfoundland and Labrador has developed the
approach of establishing partnerships between literacy groups and other
frontline organizations. They refer people to the appropriate learning
opportunities. With funding and encouragement from the federal National Literacy
Secretariat, a literacy network ad hoc group was established in the Province of
Newfoundland and Labrador. Its members included individuals from across the
Newfoundland and Labrador literacy community, such as the former Literacy
Development Council; the Laubach Literacy Council; the Labrador Literacy
Information and Action Network; Teachers on Wheels; Partners in Learning; the
Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation; the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for
Adult Education; and Memorial University.
They went across the province holding informal consultations, face-to-face
forums, brown-bag lunches, provincial teleconferences, online discussions and,
finally, a provincial literacy conference. The purpose was to identify, at a
grassroots level, with the people on the front lines on this issue what would
best advance literacy in this province.
The coalition was formed, but the difficulty is that it now faces the
prospect that it will never get off the ground because it was depending on that
federal money to fund the network.
That is the difficulty that we have. I want to put on the record some
quotations from people in my area because I want them to speak for themselves. I
want to put them on the record so that senators will understand the difficulty
that people are experiencing in the rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Janet Skinner is the Executive Director of the Labrador Literacy Information
and Action Network, a central organization for literacy programming in Labrador.
She has commented on the potential impact of these cuts on Labrador as follows:
Partners in Learning is the community-based literacy organization serving
the Straits ...
That is the Strait of Belle Isle between Newfoundland and Labrador.
— the Battle Harbour Literacy Council, Labrador White Bear Literacy
Council, Eagle River Literacy Council ...
There is a series of them, including the Sheshatshiu Innu Band Council. These
Aboriginal family centres and others are now not possible. Ms. Skinner
This is particularly frustrating since these collaborative initiatives
develop the capacity of organizations to assist those who come to them for
other reasons ...
In other words, it is a network; they help each other; it is a collaborative
effort. The individual projects in the community get help from the network and
from the organization to put their projects together and to apply for them. As
Ms. Skinner says:
These are often people for whom the school system is not the answer.
From Barbara Marshall, Partners in Learning of the Labrador Straits:
Partners in Learning operates community literacy programs that begin
from the premise that literacy practices are embedded in our lives as workers,
parents and community members. In their community of the Labrador Straits,
they have succeeded in engaging 80 per cent of residents to use the learning
centre for their learning needs. ... They have also succeeded in engaging
community partners... This experience has since been replicated and
demonstrated across the country and internationally.
Her comments on the potential impact of the announced cuts are as follows:
The impact in our area as a result of these cuts will be the elimination of
Partners in Learning as a leader in the Labrador Straits for community-based
learning. It will see the closing of the community learning centre in West St.
Modeste; the elimination of adult tutoring services; the elimination of
coordination and facilitation of the Roots of Empathy Program, the PRINTS
Program; the elimination of key learning initiatives developed with social and
economic development groups; elimination of advocacy and support for adults;
and the elimination of community and learner input into learning and literacy
programs in the region.
From the Port Hope Simpson Learning Centre, I quote as follows:
We are devastated with the federal government cuts to social programs, in
particular, literacy! Our community-based organization will have to close its
doors to our many residents whom we have provided assistance to in the past.
Lack of literacy skills affects all aspects of life, health, employment,
economic development, just to name a few. What will be the repercussions? Will
government be accountable?
The next quotation is from Brenda Nuke, who is Apprentice-Coordinator of the
Sheshatshiu Collaborative Workplace Literacy Project. This is a First Nation
about 20 miles from Goose Bay in Labrador. She says the following:
Literacy is an especially important issue in my community. It affects both
the adults and youth. Many people in my community need help with English as a
second language. They need help with their reading and writing. In the
workplace, people need extra help to do their jobs well. For example, when I
worked with the 'workplace literacy' project, I was able to show a 50-year-old
man how to use his e-mail. This meant a lot to him because it gave him a skill
and improved his confidence. The same thing happens when you can help a person
write a business letter or read a memo; it builds their confidence and
self-esteem. That is really important to keep in mind when you consider the
amount of hopelessness people feel when they can't do these things. If we lose
access to the LLIAN and the types of literacy projects they have helped us to
develop, then I fear we will let many people down.
Those, honourable senators, are the impacts of the cancellation of funds from
the federal government for literacy.
From Sherry Turner in Happy Valley, Goose Bay:
I was extremely disappointed to hear about the cutbacks in federal funding
to community-based literacy programming. While I coordinated the Youth
Linkages project, we found the services of the Labrador Literacy Information &
Action Network (LLIAN) and their clear career-planning tools very important to
our program. We have called on LLIAN every year to assist us in using those
clear, graphic tools, and the evaluations from our clients has always been
I make the point again; the effect of the cuts is to kill the network. There
may be gas there, but the vehicle has been impacted. The vehicle will not work
and does not run. You can have all the gas you like.
From Louisa Lucy, a teacher in Hopedale:
It is very wrong, not just for the north coast but for the whole province
to suffer this loss of literacy services. It is particularly difficult for the
north coast communities because we are already disadvantaged when it comes to
library services and good Aboriginal language materials.
They seem to say that it did not —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Rompkey, are
you asking for more time?
Senator Rompkey: I wish to conclude, if I may.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Five minutes.
Senator Rompkey: I want to close by informing honourable senators
about what the provincial government has done, in spite of the fact that it is
already putting 40 per cent of its budget into education: $1.2 million has been
allocated to improve access to adult learning and literacy by increasing the
number of Adult Basic Education programs offered at the College of the North
A news release from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador stated:
Government will provide $230,000 to continue funding previously provided by
the federal government for its share of Adult Basic Education Level 1 pilot
program. This funding is in addition to the $300,000 currently allocated to
support adult literacy programs. "Funding of Adult Basic Education and
literacy initiatives contributes to the social and economic development of our
province," said the minister. "The inter-generational benefits of literacy are
well established. Higher literacy levels of parents have a positive impact on
the achievement of their children."
That is the story, honourable senators, in a province that needs this help.
Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have fallen through the cracks in the
system. They want to reach their potential and the government should give them
the means, but the funding is no longer there.
Honourable senators, I call upon the government again to review this
situation and to give Canadians in all parts of the country the opportunity not
just for good health, but for good education.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I could not help but note that Senator Rompkey speaks about automobiles as still
Senator Rompkey: Only you guys in Ontario have the new cars.
Senator LeBreton: We actually have fuel injection in our cars.
Senator Rompkey: If you increase equalization, we could have some new
Hon. Serge Joyal, for Senator Smith, pursuant to notice of December 7,
That, notwithstanding the Orders of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, May 2,
2006, and on Wednesday, September 27, 2006, the date for the Special Senate
Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act to submit its final report be extended
from December 22, 2006, to March 31, 2007; and
That the Committee be empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3), to meet on
weekdays in January 2007, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a
period exceeding one week.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, this motion has not been explained. No explanation has been given as
to the rationale behind the requested extension. We need more information so
that we can properly contemplate the motion.
Senator Joyal: With pleasure, honourable senators.
The Special Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act sat on many occasions in the
last month. The committee has come to the point where it has a final draft in
one language and has agreed generally with the substance of that draft. However,
there was a consensus in the committee that the draft — the report so far is
about 120 pages in length and is very comprehensive — should not only be
translated but should be offered in French. In other words, there should be a
capacity to edit the French version so it reflects not only the substance of but
the quality of a real French version.
To achieve that result, consultations have led us to conclude that we would
need at least two or three weeks of work by a qualified translator to come
forward with a report that would be of equal quality in both English and French.
That being said, we are under the order of this chamber to report by December
22, which of course will not give us the time to develop the quality French
version of the report that we have agreed we should offer Canadians. The
substance of this report will, no doubt, be of interest not only to senators but
also to a large number of the public, considering the importance of the subject.
It is, essentially, a revision of the anti-terrorist legislation adopted by this
chamber four years ago, the text of which, we will remember, was developed in a
short period of time.
The committee has identified many proposals on how the anti-terrorist
legislation should be adapted following the first report of the commission on
the Arar inquiry and the decisions of the Canadian courts that have occurred in
The members of the committee are aware that the second report of the
commission on the Arar inquiry will be released soon. I read an article in the
Ottawa Citizen today that contained some of the elements of that second
report. There is no doubt that the members of the committee will want an
opportunity to consider the second report as soon as possible, to reflect upon
that report and to decide accordingly about the recommendations that the
committee would like to propose to the house. That is one reason that the
committee would like to have the authority to sit in January.
Honourable senators, members of the committee are no more diligent than other
senators. The committee would sit, if possible, at the end of January, perhaps
one week before the Senate resumes, to provide an opportunity to conclude its
study and share with the house and with the Canadian public its findings on the
anti-terrorist legislation. The committee was mandated to review the
anti-terrorist legislation under a statutory obligation of the Senate. The other
place met with a similar obligation but I would not want to qualify its report,
which is a couple of pages long and addresses only two specific issues, and not
the overall complexity of legislation dealing with anti-terrorism. The Senate
has taken its responsibility seriously at the committee level and members on
both sides have participated thoroughly in that exercise. The motion before the
chamber this evening is the result of a consensus reached by members of the
committee and reflects the good work achieved by the committee on a consensual
basis. I see His Honour the Speaker in the chair, who has taken part in our
committee deliberations. Other senators who were not official members
participated as well in the work of the committee.
The motion is not a delaying tactic, as I mentioned. The committee has
prepared a second draft of 120 pages containing many recommendations. It is
essential to ensure that the committee is able to offer senators and the public
the quality of work that they deserve.
Senator Comeau: Being aware of December 22, 2006, this will be kept in
I move adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Andreychuk was about to rise. Would the
honourable senator like to hold his adjournment motion?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Senator Andreychuk agreed with Senator Comeau.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wanted to put a
question to Senator Joyal, but I can do it by way of contributing to debate
after the adjournment.
On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, December 12, 2006, at 2 p.m.