Hon. Joseph A. Day: The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is the most
senior protocol officer in the British parliamentary system, and as such the
symbol of authority of Parliament. The origins of the position of the Usher of
the Black Rod were instituted in 1350 when the Most Noble Order of the Garter
was created as part of the King of England's bodyguard to ensure the authority
of the monarch. Originally, the Usher of the Black Rod was able to arrest people
using the authority of the mace, or the rod, which has been retained due to its
Historians tell us that when His Majesty King Henry VIII moved his palace
from Westminster to Whitehall around the year 1530, he "left the doors in the
High Court of Parliament in the care and custody of an usher," the Usher of the
Black Rod, so the authority was originally awarded directly by the sovereign.
However, as the powers of the British Crown and Parliament evolved
constitutionally, the usher no longer had to perform royal duties so that the
Black Rod became the symbol for the authority of Upper House debate. Today, as
we see each sitting day, the Black Rod walks before the Speaker of the Senate of
Canada as he or she enters or leaves the chamber.
The Usher of the Black Rod also serves in a diplomatic capacity: greeting
foreign and Commonwealth dignitaries, hosting parliamentary development and
exchange programs and even acting as the protocol attendant to the sovereign and
members of the royal family while visiting Canada.
Since 2002, Lieutenant-Commander Terrance Christopher, a fellow Maritimer,
has served honourable senators with distinction as the fourteenth Usher of the
Black Rod. Prior to coming to this position, he had already distinguished
himself in service to his country.
Lieutenant-Commander Christopher was the first Nova Scotian to have been
honoured by the monarch with the Royal Victorian Order. This order, along with
the Order of the Garter and the Most Ancient and Noble Order of the Thistle, has
the distinction of being awarded on the personal distinction of the sovereign.
I have had the pleasure of working with Lieutenant-Commander Christopher on
a number of different occasions. Particularly, I note his work with students who
have visited on exchange programs and with individuals from Canadian defence
colleges. I have always been impressed with the way Lieutenant-Commander
Christopher has promoted the Senate as part of the Parliament of Canada.
I think that his great respect for the institution and the historical role of
the Senate within the Parliament of Canada will be one of his legacies. For
that, sir, we sincerely thank you.
Therefore it is with great pride that I say to you, as a friend and as a
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields and
until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Ready, aye, ready: We stand with you.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I, too, rise to pay tribute
to our very dear Usher of the Black Rod, Lieutenant-Commander Terrance
Christopher. He has served as the Usher of the Black Rod for the past five years
and leaves us today.
I wish to thank him for his excellent service and for his devotion to Her
Majesty the Queen, the Governor General, the Senate and to the people of Canada.
A former sailor with a deep and thorough knowledge of the military, Terrance
Christopher has brought solemnity, serenity, brilliance and beauty to this
office. He has discharged his duties with grace and distinction. His love of the
Armed Forces, both of serving personnel and veterans, his love of public service
and his dedication to the constitutional institutions of Canada have made him a
memorable Usher of the Black Rod.
I say goodbye to him today; I bid him farewell. In so doing, I express my
personal gratitude for his efforts here. I wish him the very best in the future.
I also wish to express my appreciation to his wife, Geraldine, and to his
family, his children and grandchildren.
The Usher of the Black Rod, Lieutenant-Commander Terrance Christopher, leaves
this place in possession of the respect, admiration and affection of many of us
senators. God bless him and God bless his family.
Unbeknownst to many senators, the Usher of the Black Rod is the personal
officer of Her Majesty in this place. Due to the growth of bureaucracy and the
reorganization to adapt to modernism the role of the User of the Black Rod is no
longer widely understood. However, the Usher of the Black Rod is the person
commanded by Her Majesty to be in charge of the health, safety and security of
the members of this place.
I thank you, dear sailor, for holding your Black Rod and for keeping that
keen military eye on each and every one of us in respect of our health and
security. I must tell you, I have felt very well protected by you.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I would like to
address a few words to Lieutenant-Commander Terrance Christopher, Usher of the
Black Rod, a fellow officer and colleague, a gentleman who has served his
country in uniform, in one fashion or another, from the senior service to the
senior institution of our system of governance in this country.
Bravo Zulu for your service over the years.
Honourable senators, I am surprised to see Black Rod in such good shape after
his party last night, an obvious demonstration of his resilience in his early
retirement, which we are sorry to see happen.
One element of particular interest, if I may, is the ability that
Lieutenant-Commander Christopher has brought to this chamber of maintaining
decorum in what could, at times, become quite a vulgar brawl, and in so doing
establishing at least the milieu and the atmosphere of decorum that is required.
Honourable senators, I applaud his sense of discipline in connection with
those who are working in support around us, the youth who are learning the
experience of this chamber and the people therein, and his particular attention
to their learning experience and exchanges with them so that one day they will
be far more able to explain the essentiality of an institution such as ours, and
feel the system of governance in democracy.
I have noticed an increase in the standard of dress. Leading by example,
Black Rod has maintained the standard of dress that is part of what this
institution should be, and that our colleagues should maintain. He has
maintained decorum and dress, and of course discipline. For example, he ensures
that when senators are coming and going we follow a more appropriate process,
and not simply walk in and out or simply letting the Speaker come in and out,
but continually attempting to bring and maintain that decorum here.
I also applaud Mr. Christopher for his initiative. I particularly remember
July 1 a couple of years ago when the chamber was opened for new Canadians. He
took it upon himself to influence the authorities to open this building to those
newly sworn Canadians and make them welcome on that particular day. There was a
party with cake and so on.
My father told me when I joined the service, that one of the first things I
had to be prepared for was never to expect people to say "thank you." Today, I
wish to say thank you to Lieutenant-Commander Terrance Christopher for his
service and for his service here.
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, March 8 is International
Women's Day, and I draw to your attention the fact that the training and hiring
of more women could alleviate critical labour shortages in the skilled trades
and technologies, the physical and engineering sciences and in the faculties of
Honourable senators, as you are aware, Canada has a critical shortage of
skilled workers. It has been estimated that in the next two decades, 40 per cent
of new jobs will be in the skilled trades and technologies. Women comprised only
3 per cent of the construction and 7 per cent of trades-related workforce in
2001. Similarly, only 11 per cent of engineers were women, and only 30 per cent
of university faculty members were women. Clearly, an increased participation of
women in these areas could alleviate current labour shortages and mitigate
looming shortages caused by the retirement of the baby boom generation.
The Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and
Technology, CCWESTT, has developed partnerships to increase the training and
employment of women in the trades and technologies. Currently, CCWESTT has
focused on developing tools to strengthen the recruitment and retention of women
by employers in four sectors: oil and gas, construction and trades,
post-secondary institutions and information technology. These are the fields in
which there is both a severe shortage of skilled workers and a marked
under-utilization of women.
Honourable senators, for several years now, female students have outnumbered
male students at the undergraduate level in Canadian universities, but men still
greatly outnumber women in engineering, computer science and physics. Women do
not, however, outnumber men at the faculty level in Canadian universities. In
2001, women comprised only 30 per cent of all full-time faculty, only 10 per
cent of the engineering faculty and only 13 per cent of the mathematical and
physical sciences faculty. It is expected that the retirement of faculty members
who are part of the baby boom generation will create faculty shortages in the
near future. Clearly, increasing the participation of women at the doctoral
level of study, and ensuring that they remain on their professorial career path,
especially in the engineering and physical sciences, will help fill the
anticipated gaps in faculty numbers.
In its future plans, CCWESTT intends to establish a Canadian centre for women
in science, engineering, trades and technologies. The centre would collect best
practices before the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in these
fields. CCWESTT, through its WinSETT project, addresses two critical national
labour issues: first, the shortage of skilled labour in the trades and
technologies; and second, the anticipated shortages of skilled researchers and
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, on March 8 we will mark
International Women's Day. This is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that
has been made toward equality, thanks to the efforts of a number of courageous
and determined Canadian women. We owe them a great deal.
A quick look at where are now shows that we are moving in the right
direction. Canadian women are breaking down barriers one by one. They are
confidently making contributions in areas that were previously all but closed to
them. For instance, the Canadian Forces give us a perfect reason to celebrate.
Despite its reputation for being a man's world, our army has gradually been
adapting to women. At all ranks, women are using their talents and skills to
serve and protect us. I want to say how much I admire them.
There are many other examples of advances in equality that I could mention,
just as there are many situations that are cause for concern. Growing poverty
among women who are single parents is a serious issue. Canadian women are still
All sectors of society must work together to change attitudes and behaviours.
We must also work together to close the wage gap between men and women and
correct the under-representation of women in politics.
The theme of International Women's Day this year is "Strong Women, Strong
This theme highlights the essential role women here and elsewhere play in the
development of their communities. I would like to emphasize the formidable role
military wives play in supporting their husbands. I want to reiterate my respect
and admiration for these devoted — and very discreet — heroines.
Mélanie Lessard is another strong and persevering woman I am always pleased
to mention. Mélanie is originally from Saint-Jean-de-Matha. She is a swimmer
and a Défi Sportif champion. Mélanie has Marfan syndrome, which affects the
connective tissue, but Mélanie never gives up. She won the gold medal in 2007.
I encourage you, honourable senators, to show your solidarity with the
millions of women throughout the world who struggle daily to improve their
condition and their society.
In that vein, I would like to support the Canadian volunteer program,
Uniterra. Through its campaign, "8 of March, 8 Women, 8 Objectives," Uniterra
is highlighting the voluntary involvement of eight women from the north and the
south who are contributing, in their own way, to the collective effort to reduce
world poverty. Allow yourself to be inspired by the story of these eight women
by visiting the Uniterra Web site.
I wish you a fulfilling International Women's Day and I invite you to attend
the activities taking place from coast to coast.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I want to pay tribute
to the Usher of the Black Rod and to thank him for providing access to all
Canadians on the Hill.
International Women's Day will be celebrated this Saturday, March 8, and I
wish to reflect on its significance. This is a day to celebrate a global message
of progress, hope and empowerment of women. It is also a day when we assess the
rights of women, both in Canada and internationally. International Women's Day
serves as a time of reflection, as well as a reminder that women are still
working hard to achieve equality. Honourable senators, often women's rights are
interpreted in terms of religion and culture. Today, I will share with you just
In Saudi Arabia, there is a ban on women driving. This is a highly sensitive
and divisive issue and there is much debate over the rationale for this law.
Some say it is because of religion and some say it is because of culture. What
is certain is that women cannot drive there. A Saudi cleric said he does not see
women driving cars in his country because of the consequences that would spring
from it, such as the spread of corruption, women uncovering their hair and
faces, mingling between the sexes, men being alone with women and the
destruction of the family and society as a whole.
In Nigeria, women accused of adultery have been threatened with death by
stoning. This is explained as an interpretation of religion.
In our own country, we mourned the death last December of a Canadian girl,
Aqsa Parvez, a well-liked Muslim girl who, her friends stated, was having
difficulty with some rituals that her family practiced. Her death has been
called, by many, an honour killing. Once again, this heinous act occurred in the
name of religion or culture.
Honourable senators, we all have a duty to challenge the denial of women's
rights in the name of religion or culture. We must ask the question: Where in
religious scripture is it stated that women's rights are to be denied? I suggest
that even if we are shown scripture, we should still challenge the denial of
women's rights. We must state clearly that in Canada we are working hard to
achieve equality between men and women, and that we will not waver on the rights
of women. All Canadian women have the same rights.
Honourable senators, when Aqsa Parvez was killed in Toronto, all Canadian
women's rights were violated. We can never stand by and let the rights of
Canadians be altered or eroded. We in this chamber must be ever vigilant to
protect the rights of all women until women achieve equality. International
Women's Day will continue to be a day when we need to prepare a report card of
our progress, until we achieve equality for all Canadian women.
Hon. Joseph A. Day, for Senator Kenny, Chair of the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence, presented the following report:
Thursday, March 6, 2008
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has the
honour to present its
Your Committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, November
20, 2007, to examine and report on the national security policy for Canada,
respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.
Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative
Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal
Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that Committee
are appended to this report.
JOSEPH A. DAY
For Colin Kenny, Chair of the Committee
(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix
A, p. 652.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Day, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Joseph A. Day, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National
Finance, presented the following report:
Thursday, March 6, 2008
The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has the honour to
Your Committee, to which was referred the 2008-2009 Estimates, has, in
obedience to the Order of Reference of Thursday, February 28, 2008, examined
the said Estimates and herewith presents its first interim report.
JOSEPH A. DAY
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix
B, p. 672.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Day, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Can the leader confirm that no representative of the Conservative Party at
any time offered Chuck Cadman financial benefit in exchange for his vote? I ask
this question with the understanding that "financial benefit" means anything
except help with the possible election campaign.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, I thought I was clear in my response
yesterday. The Prime Minister has been very clear and the late Chuck Cadman was
When, on three occasions, Mr. Cadman spoke in the media, he was clear that
discussions with officials of the Conservative Party involved their desire to
have him rejoin the party and run under the Conservative Party banner in the
impending election, if the government of the day was defeated.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: If I understand correctly, honourable
senators, the minister is confirming that this money was to help in a possible
election campaign and was not about a $1-million insurance policy for the
benefit of Mr. Cadman's family.
We would like to have a clear answer from you on this question: Will the
minister confirm that this financial benefit was only for an election campaign?
Senator LeBreton: First, honourable senators, that is exactly what Mr.
Cadman said. To be clear, they were trying to get Chuck Cadman to rejoin the
party and run for the Conservatives in the impending election, which would have
happened right away had the government of the day been defeated. Therefore, the
discussions were about Mr. Cadman rejoining the party.
All discussions were in connection with the normal expenses that a
Conservative candidate would incur while seeking the nomination. These expenses
include working in the campaign and having the resources of the party in terms
of election campaign material.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, this sounds a little
odd when we know that this person would never have been able to run a campaign,
considering what we know about the state of his health.
I thank the Leader of the Government for giving an answer that has not been
made by the Prime Minister to clarify this question despite multiple requests in
the other place. I hope that the Prime Minister will confirm what the Leader of
the Government in the Senate has said to us today.
Senator LeBreton: I point out to the honourable senator that in May
2005, Chuck Cadman was, no doubt, ill, but I do not think anyone described him
at that time as "dying." As a matter of fact, I have before me a July 15, 2005
Canadian Press story that appeared at the time of Chuck Cadman's funeral.
The story stated, "Mr. Cadman was planning on running again, according to Brian
Cantwell, his constituency association president."
This clearly states that Mr. Cadman was planning to run again. In May 2005 it
was very clear that we were anxious to have him rejoin the party.
It is time to put some simple facts on the record. The Liberals asserted that
there was a meeting with Mr. Cadman on May 17; that date has been retracted by
the author of the book. The Liberals asserted that Dona Cadman was accusing the
Prime Minister of inappropriate conduct; she has said this is untrue. The
Liberals claim Mr. Cadman was not going to run again because of his illness;
that was disproved, as I just said, by this story at the time.
The opposition must back away from these ridiculous allegations. It is
perhaps time that they looked at this story, took the word of Mr. Cadman, which
was stated publicly, and stop this inappropriate smear, because there are
absolutely no facts to justify the actions that they are asserting.
It is easy enough in the House of Commons and in this place to make
outrageous allegations. The Prime Minister has already provided the opportunity
to withdraw these remarks. Thus far, the Liberals have not done so. They have
made very serious allegations that they would be wise to reconsider for their
lack of appropriateness.
I believe the record is clear. Mr. Cadman did have a meeting on the day of
the vote, May 19; two days after Belinda Stronach crossed the floor and accepted
a cabinet position. That is the very time when Tim Murphy and Ujjal Dosanjh were
running around trying to invite members of our party across that "nice, comfy,
furry welcome mat" into the Liberal Party. These are the things that were going
on at the time. However, it is clear that our officials had a meeting with Mr.
Cadman on the day of the vote to discuss rejoining the party. Those are the
facts of the matter. All of the allegations and smears will not take away from
the fact that the actions of Mr. Dion are desperate and despicable. I call him
"desperate and despicable Dion."
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, it is interesting that as
their argument, case, explanations and spin become weaker, we find more and more
holes, weaker and weaker arguments, weaker and weaker "support."
How could it be that Mr. Cadman's constituency president said that he was
planning to run in the next election when Mr. Cadman was no longer a member of a
party and clearly would not have a constituency president? How does the
honourable senator square that in the round hole?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I was quoting something that
this gentleman said. Chuck Cadman did keep in close contact with members of our
party. He voted with our party on a number of issues prior to the budget vote. I
can only quote what the gentleman said. He made it clear that Chuck Cadman told
him that he was intending to run again, and I am quoting something that is on
the record. I will not try to parse the senator's thoughts.
Senator Mitchell: I can only quote what the Prime Minister says, so
let me just deal with quotes here. We do know that, after the election, Mr.
Cadman would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of insurance benefits because
he would die out of office. It is absolutely clear that it is in that context
that the Prime Minister was referring to compensating Mr. Cadman for that loss,
when he said on the now famous tape that ". . . it was only to replace
financial considerations he might lose due to an election. . ." — not in an
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate please tell us how it is that
she could possibly construe these words as meaning "election compensation,"
when, in fact, it was clear that he was speaking in the context of compensating
this man for death benefits he would lose by dying out of office?
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator is putting words on the tape
that were never there. I will not answer a question when there is absolutely no
basis whatsoever for the claim.
As Mr. Cadman said on the night of the vote, two days after the vote and
several weeks later in an interview in his own riding, the only financial
considerations discussed were in connection with him rejoining the party and
running in the election that would have been precipitated by the defeat of the
Senator Mitchell: If the minister believes that, she probably believes
Mr. Mulroney did not take any money, either.
The Prime Minister's and this leader's continued explanation of the cabinet
scandal defies logic and beggars belief.
Could the minister confirm once more, because it is so hard to understand
that anyone could believe this, particularly someone leading the government in
the Senate: Why would anyone believe the Prime Minister when he says — and,
honourable senators, get this clearly — that he offered election compensation to
a dying man who was not going to run in any election anywhere, let alone in his
own riding, because there was already someone nominated by the Conservative
Party in that riding? If that is true, would it not make Finlay, Flanagan and
Harper the "Three Stooges of election finance?"
Senator LeBreton: First, the Liberals were also pursuing him and they
obviously at the time knew he was ill, but we are not little gods here; we
cannot presume when people will live or die. The premise of the honourable
senator's question is ridiculous.
Of course, people can be off on their facts. The honourable senator thought
the Liberals would win the election in Alberta.
Senator Fortier: Recount!
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate.
If the Conservatives believe that no financial inducement of any kind was
ever made to Chuck Cadman, then they must believe that Ms. Cadman is lying.
Is the Prime Minister prepared to sign the nomination papers of a candidate
that he believes lies?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, beating up on Dona Cadman a
couple of days before International Women's Day — I must say, the honourable
senator has a way of stretching things. She is like her colleagues in the other
In this book, Dona Cadman recounted an incident she believes took place with
regard to her late husband. She did not know with whom her husband met, but it
was something that she reported to a man who was writing a book on Mr. Cadman's
No one is challenging Ms. Cadman's belief; that is not the issue. The issue
is who was at the meeting that she believes took place How do we know who was
there? Mr. Cadman could have had a meeting with Liberals who at the time, were
running around offering comfortable, furry welcome mats. There are tape-recorded discussions saying Senate seats and cabinet positions were offered. How
do we know?
All we know is that Ms. Cadman said this to the author. We do not know with
whom Mr. Cadman met, when the meeting occurred, or what was discussed. We know
the meeting did not take place on May 17, because that has been withdrawn from
The fact is this is a very simple matter. There was a meeting on May 19, two
days after Belinda Stronach was enticed across the floor to join the Liberals.
Ms. Stronach received a nice cabinet position for her efforts. It is on the
public record that the Liberals were trying to entice other members of the
Conservative Party to join their party. On May 19, the day of the vote, two
people, as they have said — and as the Prime Minister said — went to meet Mr.
Cadman because there were rumours flying that he was going to support the
Conservative opposition. They discussed his rejoining the Conservative Party and
providing assistance in connection with an election that would have obviously
happened had the government of the day been defeated. This is a simple matter
confirmed by the people at the meeting, Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Finley and Mr. Cadman
himself. There is nothing more to say.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the leader cannot have it both
ways. Either Ms. Cadman believes that her husband was offered a bribe of $1
million or she does not believe it. I believe Dona Cadman and this is exactly
what she told the reporter. Now, the Conservatives are denying that any such
thing took place. Someone must be lying. Who is it? Is it Dona Cadman or is it
the Conservative Party? I do not believe that Dona Cadman is lying.
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, Ms. Cadman believes this —
obviously she said this to the author of the book — but she did not know who it
was with. It could have been Tim Murphy and Ujjal Dosanjh, who were running
around like chickens with their heads cut off making all kinds of offers. How do
we know? We do not know.
The fact is there was no meeting on May 17. The fact is three people were at
the meeting on May 19 and Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Finley and Mr. Cadman have all said
the same thing. Mr. Cadman said it three times. It is on the public record, and
so, who knows to whom Dona Cadman was referring. She obviously believes what she
has said. No one is questioning Dona Cadman's belief in her statement, but we
cannot be sure of whom her husband met.
If you look at the public record for that day, you will see it was the
Liberals running around trying to get people to join their party.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, at the outset when the Leader
of the Government was responding to my leader, I thought maybe I had discerned
an answer. However, the longer she goes on, the harder it is to understand
exactly what she is trying to say, which may be her object. I do not know. She
is very skilled at it, nonetheless.
I will come back to something Senator Mitchell was trying to ascertain.
What did Mr. Harper mean when he talked about financial considerations that
Mr. Cadman might lose due to an election, if it were not life insurance? Mr.
Harper said that. It was quoted by Senator Mitchell, who read the quote
Surely if one speaks of election expenses, a politician would say "election
expenses" and not "financial considerations due to an election" that he might
lose. Therefore, what exactly did he mean?
Senator LeBreton: He actually said —
Senator Mercer: It was a bribe.
Senator LeBreton: I would be careful in throwing around words like
Senator Tkachuk: You have no evidence.
Senator LeBreton: The fact is, we were trying to get Chuck Cadman to
rejoin the party, and he would have incurred some expenses in terms of seeking
the Conservative nomination.
The Prime Minister has had some very serious charges levelled at him by the
Liberal Party of Canada. He will be taking action against the Liberal Party of
Canada. He has given the Liberal Party of Canada a chance to respond.
The Liberal Party has put these very damaging allegations up on their
website. The fact is that they are false, they are defamatory and you will rue
the day that you made such remarks, especially regarding a Prime Minister who
works hard, is as straight as an arrow and is absolutely a source of pride to
all of us in this party because he is such. No one in this country believes he
would bribe anyone.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Acting Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I hate
to change the channel. However, it now appears that this government is not
content with trying to control everything that goes on within Canada but is
looking to influence the outcome of an election in the United States by leaking
information designed to damage the campaigns of both Democratic candidates for
Yesterday, in response to a question in the other place, the Prime Minister
said that the Clerk of the Privy Council is working with the Department of
Foreign Affairs to conduct "an internal security investigation" to find out
who was behind the leak, and that the government will take "any action that is
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm that this
investigation will not be limited to the leak of the diplomatic memo but will
also cover comments attributed to a member of the Prime Minister's own staff to
Canadian television news reporters?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, first, with regard to the Prime Minister's
chief of staff, please do not believe everything you read in The Globe and
Of course, we are aware of this situation. It is clear that it is a very
serious matter. The Prime Minister and the government are very concerned about
it. As the Prime Minister has said, the issue here is obviously a document that
made its way into the American media, and that is why the Prime Minister has
asked the Clerk of the Privy Council and various officials at the Department of
Foreign Affairs to look into this matter and to see how it transpired.
Obviously, it is not the desire of the government, the Prime Minister or any
one of us to be involved in the U.S. election. The Prime Minister and this
government look forward very much to working with the new President, whether it
be President Obama, President McCain or President Clinton. We have very close
relations with the United States, and it is in the interests of us all to
Senator Cowan: Honourable senators, I will re-read part of my
question, in case the leader did not understand. I think her answer was a no. I
asked a specific question. I am sorry that the leader finds this funny, but it
is not funny, and Canadians find it a very serious matter.
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm that this
investigation, which the Prime Minister promised yesterday, will not be limited
to the leak of the diplomatic memo, which she just referred to, but will also
cover comments attributed to a member of the Prime Minister's own staff to
Canadian television news reporters? My simple question is: Is this investigation
to be limited to the leak of the memo, yes or no?
Senator LeBreton: The first part of my answer is that the chief of
staff to the Prime Minister made no such comments.
Senator Cowan: That is not the question I asked.
Senator LeBreton: He made no such comments, so therefore I cannot
answer the question. Why would we investigate something that never happened?
Senator Cowan: Just so I am clear, the leader is telling this house
that this investigation will not look at all of the suggestions that have been
made in the press about the leak of information? I am not talking about the
memorandum. I understand that that will be investigated, but is that the sole
purpose of the investigation? Is that what the honourable senator is telling me?
Is that the answer? I assume it is.
An Hon. Senator: Shameful!
Senator Cowan: Will the leader suggest to the Prime Minister that he
could save everyone a lot of time, trouble and expense by picking up the phone
and speaking with his chief of staff, Mr. Brodie?
Senator LeBreton: Again, I believe that Mr. Brodie did not make any
such comment. There is no proof that he made such a comment. If we ended up
following up on news stories and speculation of what one person or another might
have said, we might as well hire a complete investigative force and investigate
every newspaper story we see, because Mr. Brodie made no such comment.
The Prime Minister and the government are concerned about the apparent damage
that this leak has done to the campaign of Senator Obama, and that is why the
Clerk of the Privy Council and officials at Foreign Affairs are looking into the
Senator Cowan: Perhaps the Honourable Leader of the Government in the
Senate could explain why she thinks the reporters at CTV are lying.
Senator LeBreton: I do not know the name of the reporters from CTV. If
we had a chance to ask them, I doubt very much whether any of them would say
that Mr. Brodie is lying.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, as mentioned
earlier, we need to be quite attentive to not making false or defamatory
comments. I would say to the Honourable Leader of the Government that the
gentleman sitting to her left was on the television program "Tout le monde en
parle" last Sunday, and I must say that he came dangerously close to doing
exactly that in his expressions, to the extent that I purchased a copy of the
book Protecting Canadian Democracy by Serge Joyal, and signed it myself.
I offered it to him so that he could acquire a bit of knowledge of the Senate.
If he chooses to not sit here normally and not participate in the committees,
then perhaps by reading this book he will be in a better position to speak
knowledgeably about the Senate in front of the whole of the province of Quebec
in the other language. I think that is the most irresponsible position he could
have taken at that point.
My question goes more specifically to the Leader of the Government. I read
that, on August 9, 2007, while responding to a call on the closure of the
detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, President Bush said the following:
I did say it should be a goal of the nation to shut down Guantanamo. I
also made it clear that part of the delay was the reluctance of some nations
to take back some of the people being held there. In other words, in order
to make it work, we've got to have a place for these people to go. . . .
The U.S. Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, has also suggested that he would
like to see the Guantanamo Bay detention facility closed.
Why are we not helping our allies in sorting out the problems of child
soldiers or detention of people who have conducted operations against their
forces by bringing back Khadr? Let us take care of a problem that is really
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, I thank the senator for the question. I am
sure Senator Joyal appreciates the promotion of his book.
With regard to Guantanamo Bay, my answer has not changed. It is the same as
it was when the honourable senator asked these questions the other day. Mr.
Khadr is facing serious charges. Our officials have been in regular contact with
him and will continue to do so. There is no reason to believe that he is being
ill-treated. According to every source we have, he is not being ill-treated.
As I said the other day, I understand the honourable senator's interest in
the Khadr family because Prime Minister Chrétien made a special appeal to the
Prime Minister of Pakistan to spring Mr. Khadr out of their custody, and we know
what happened after that event.
Senator Dallaire: I suggest we be careful here. It has taken
everything to continue to support your efforts in Afghanistan. Do not start
undercutting those who are actually trying to work for you, and in particular
support of the troops in the field. We are talking about a child soldier.
Hon. David Tkachuk (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question
asked by the Honourable Senator Banks on February 26, 2008, concerning fixed
dates for federal elections.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Tommy Banks on February 26, 2008)
Bill C-16 (An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2007, c.
10) was assented to on May 3, 2007, to provide for fixed dates for federal
56.1 (1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of the Governor
General, including the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor
(2) Subject to subsection (1), each general election must be held on
the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following
polling day for the last general election, with the first general
election after this section comes into force being held on Monday,
October 19, 2009.
Sub-section 56.1(1) expressly stipulates that the powers and prerogatives
of the Governor General, and by extension the conventions surrounding their
exercise, are unaffected. This follows the model in provincial jurisdictions
(e.g. Ontario and British Columbia) so as to create a statutory expectation
of elections on a fixed and predictable cycle, while preserving the
conventions of responsible government and the constitutionality of the
legislation, which cannot affect the office of the Governor General without
a unanimous constitutional amendment under paragraph 41(a) of the
Constitution Act, 1982.
Then Minister for Democratic Reform, the Honourable Robert Nicholson,
explained the constitutional context of the bill during his appearance
before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on
December 6, 2006:
Bill C-16, which contemplates that elections be held every four
years, contravenes no constitutional requirement or expectation of a
longer term. It expressly preserves the Governor General's powers. The
bill makes it clear that nothing in it affects those powers, including
the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor General's discretion.
The Governor General's powers remain those that are held under the
Constitution: to dissolve Parliament at any time within the five-year
constitutional limit. However, by providing that elections are to be
held every four years in October, the bill establishes a statutory
expectation that the relevant political and administrative officers will
govern themselves accordingly to accomplish this end — working within
the rules and conventions of parliamentary and responsible government.
The aim of the bill is to ensure, to the extent possible within the
framework of our constitutional system, that the date on which an
election will be held may be known in advance, thereby increasing
fairness, transparency, predictability, efficiency and forward planning.
. . .
By providing that, subject to the discretion of the Governor General,
elections will be held at four-year intervals within that maximum
period, the bill will give rise to a reasonable expectation of regular
and certain election dates. That will not only respect the Constitution,
but will enhance the quality of our parliamentary democracy. We are
committed to making this modest but important change to improve Canadian
democratic institutions and practices.
As emphasized throughout the parliamentary debates, the discretion of the
Governor General to dissolve Parliament is unaffected by the legislation,
particularly in the case where the government had lost the confidence of the
House of Commons. As stated by Minister Nicholson on second reading of the
bill in the House of Commons on September 18, 2006:
Legislation providing for fixed date elections has to be structured
to meet certain constitutional realities of responsible government. They
include the requirement that the government have the confidence of the
House of Commons and we respect the Queen and the Governor General's
constitutional power to dissolve Parliament. The bill before us was
drafted carefully to ensure that these constitutional requirements
continue to be respected.
Other extraordinary circumstances, beyond loss of confidence in the
government in the House of Commons, in which dissolution may be justified
were explored during committee study of the bill. For instance, the Standing
Senate Committee discussed the possibility of dissolution where a central
feature of the government's platform was at an impasse in the Senate. On
December 6, 2006, Minister Nicholson noted as follows in response to a
question from Senator Stratton:
Senator Stratton: If a government was two years into its
mandate and something like the GST issue or the free trade agreement
came up, where there was an impasse, would the Prime Minister not go to
the Governor General and say that due to the perceived problem the House
should be dissolved and an election called? Would that not be the
appropriate route to take?
Mr. Nicholson: That is a possibility, of course. If the Senate
were refusing to abide by the will of the elected House, that would be a
constitutional crisis and perhaps cause for a meeting between the
Governor General and the Prime Minister.
On February 8, 2007, constitutional expert Peter Hogg, Scholar in
Residence, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, supported this view:
Peter Hogg: We have to acknowledge, as the committee has
noticed in its previous meetings, an issue might arise — free trade was
one comparable example and the GST was another, although it was solved
in a different way. One can imagine a situation where a policy that was
very important to the government of the day was being blocked by the
Senate, and the government took the view that the only way out of the
impasse was to put the issue to the people.
Constitutional expert, Patrick Monahan, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School,
also supported this view on February 8, 2007:
Legally, there is nothing to prevent the Prime Minister from advising
the Governor General to dissolve Parliament. However, proposed
subsections 56.1(1) and (2) create a presumption that the election will
be in the fourth year on the third Monday of October. It would be
incumbent on a Prime Minister in this scenario to argue that there was
some extraordinary or unusual set of circumstances that required there
to be a mandate for the government to deal with a matter of pressing
national interest or perhaps the defeat of an important piece of
legislation in the Senate.
In other words, the practical effect of this is to say that the
previous situation is no longer acceptable. It will no longer be
acceptable for the Prime Minister, virtually at any time but effectively
two or three years after a previous election, to simply say, "We will
now have an election because I think I can win." The presumption is
that the election will be held in the fourth year.
However, nothing would legally prevent the Prime Minister, if he
claimed that this was a matter of some extraordinary set of
circumstances that required an election, from seeking a dissolution by
advising the Governor General to dissolve the House, and the Governor
General would act on the advice of the Prime Minister, in accordance
with the principles of responsible government. That is because the rule
of having the election is subject to the power of the Governor General
to dissolve the House earlier.
In summary, the fixed dates for federal elections legislation enhances
fairness, transparency and predictability in the electoral cycle by avoiding
snap elections being called for partisan advantage. However, it preserves
and respects the constitutional requirements and conventions of the Canadian
tradition of responsible government.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it has been brought to my
attention that the order of reference that led to the sixth report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
tabled on March 4, 2008, had been a government motion adopted on December 12,
2007. Consideration of the report should therefore have been placed under
Government Business, Reports of Committees. I will therefore ask the table to
call the report as the second item under Reports of Committees in Government
Hon. Hugh Segal moved third reading of Bill S-201, An Act to amend the
Financial Administration Act and the Bank of Canada Act (quarterly financial
reports), as amended.—(Honourable Senator Segal)
He said: Honourable senators, I want to take a second to express my profound
thanks to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, chaired so ably by
Senator Day. I want to thank the committee for the work it performed in a
non-partisan way to improve on the bill that I originally proposed. I would also
like to deal with an issue that I understand was raised yesterday later in the
day — the so-called "deemed" question.
By imposing upon government, as this statute would, quarterly financial
reporting, that would mean that parliamentarians would get an update on how
departments were spending, line by line, in a fashion that would allow us to ask
questions and engage on a more timely basis than the year and a half or so after
the expenditures have transpired. The amended version is much better than the
one I proposed. It was amended with the cooperation of both sides across the
aisle at the committee and I commend it to colleagues' consideration.
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to and bill, as amended, read third time and passed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would like to interrupt
to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of some very distinguished
visitors. It is an honour to have with us Dr. Sergey Stepashin, Chairman of the
Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation and former Prime Minister of the
Dr. Stepashin is accompanied by His Excellency, Dr. Georgiy Mamedov,
Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Canada. The delegation also consists of
other officials of the Accounts Chamber and of the Russian Embassy in Canada.
We know that these distinguished visitors are having very important meetings
with the Auditor General of Canada, an officer of our Parliament. To all, on
behalf of all of my colleagues, senators and the Senate of Canada, I extend a
very warm welcome to each of you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, Your Honour will indicate
whether this is a point of order, but at 3:30 this afternoon this very
influential delegation will be meeting parliamentarians downstairs in room 160
for the free exchange of views. This exchange will include the reason why this
delegation is here and comments on the results of the recent Russian elections.
It is a free and open discussion.
I do not know if this is a point of order, but I would like to draw this
information to the attention of honourable senators. The delegation will be
downstairs at 3:30 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, in deciding on this point
of order, I take the opportunity to place on the record of this honourable house
the fact that our colleague, Senator Prud'homme, is a very distinguished
honouree of our friends of the Russian Federation. In November, in the Senate
foyer, we had a great celebration when the Prime Minister of the Russian
Federation bestowed a very special honour on our colleague.
The point of order has been made; the invitation is extended and the matter
is now settled.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled:
Population Health Policy: International Perspectives, tabled in the Senate
on February 26, 2008. —(Honourable Senator Keon)
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, I am very pleased to speak to the seventh
report of the Subcommittee on Population Health of the Standing Senate Committee
on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
As you know, the subcommittee has been mandated to examine and report on the
impact of multiple factors and conditions that contribute to the health of
Canadians, known collectively as the determinants of health. A central element
of our study is to identify the actions that must be taken by the federal
government to improve the overall health and reduce health disparities.
We must admit that we find ourselves in a very embarrassing position in the
international community. The Euro-Canada Health Consumer Index places us
twenty-third out of thirty in overall health; and dead last, thirty out of
thirty, as best value for money spent on health. This situation has serious
repercussions on our economy and in terms of lost productivity where we stand
sixteenth among developed nations.
You will all agree with me that improving health status while reducing health
disparities is a complex and multi-faceted public policy change. You will also
agree that health disparities are often unnecessary and avoidable, thus unjust
and unfair, and that well-crafted public policies are needed to reduce them.
I strongly believe that the federal government can play a leadership role,
given its responsibilities in many areas that affect health, such as the
environment, economic policy, health research, taxation, employment, et cetera.
We are clearly not getting the job done with our huge expenditures of $140
billion per year on the health care system, so we must look elsewhere for
The seventh report, entitled Population Health Policy: International
Perspectives presents an analysis of government policies to address
population health and reduce health disparities in Australia, England, Finland,
New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. These countries were selected after consultation
with experts in the field. The report describes and compares how population
health in these countries has been developed, implemented and monitored.
We learned many lessons from this comparative review. For example, there have
been substantial lags between the initial documentation of health disparities,
the formulation of policies to reduce them, and progress toward their reduction.
Experts in the field argue that it is time to move from describing the problem
to implementing effective, systematic strategies and interventions to reduce
We also noted that there is no single right way to address health
determinants and reduce health disparities. Each country's approach to
population health depends on its political, economic, administrative and social
structures, all of which affect both the kinds and the scope of actions that can
We identified three different government approaches to tackling health
disparities. The first is a comprehensive or whole-of-government approach as
adopted in England. This addresses both the upstream determinants of health —
for example, income, education and employment — and those downstream, such as
nutrition, exercise and smoking, while also targeting specific population groups
defined by age, gender, income level and ethnicity. Interestingly, a high-level
cabinet committee oversees the implementation of the U.K. population health
policy, and ministerial funding formulas determine the allocation of resources
among the various programs that focus on reducing health disparities.
In the second approach, population health policy emanates from the health
department as in Finland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden, where there are also
separate policies on poverty, social inclusion and social justice, all of which
relate directly to underlying causes of poor health.
In the third government approach, various interventions are implemented
independently to improve population health and reduce health disparities. There
is no overarching action plan. In this case, as in Australia, population health
strategies addressing disparities in health for a specific area — such as
smoking and nutrition — or a specific group in society, such as Aboriginals and
low-income families, are implemented in many departments but with little or no
Another lesson the subcommittee learned relates to the importance of
establishing health goals and targets. This facilitates the monitoring and
evaluation of policies and programs and helps generate evidence on the
effectiveness of different approaches to reduce health disparities. Health
impact assessment also appears to be a very useful tool, as it ensures that
health considerations are built into government-wide policies. In Sweden and New
Zealand, public health legislation has been employed to embed health impact
assessment as an integral component of government processes.
In addition, the international comparative review revealed that intersectoral
action is a crucial condition for successful population health policy.
Intersectoral action requires a common purpose and shared values and interests.
It rests on strong political support and it builds on horizontal linking across
departments as well as vertical linking across governments.
In conclusion, Canada can do better in setting health goals and targets and
in monitoring and reporting health disparities and outcomes in a more concerted
way. We also need to use health impact analysis in a more systematic way, just
as Sweden and New Zealand do, to ensure that health considerations are built
into government-wide policy-making.
I believe the federal government can learn a lot from England and act as a
leader in addressing health disparities through a whole-of-government approach,
given its responsibility for many sectors that influence health, such as income
support, environment, agriculture, housing, taxation, et cetera. It can also
design strategies that will enhance the health of Canadians in collaboration
with the provinces and territories as well as through intersectoral action with
industry, NGOs and communities.
Reducing health disparities and improving the health of all Canadians is a
major challenge but something we absolutely must do. This is a terrible economic
burden to our country at the present time.
Why the persistent relatively poor health status and serious health
disparities in Canada? Despite all our resources, numerous programs and
initiatives, we remain about fifteenth in the world in population health status,
according to the World Health Organization. As I mentioned before, the recent
release of the Euro-Canada Health Consumer Index placed Canada twenty-third out
of 30 in total index score and thirtieth out of 30 in best value for money spent
These sobering numbers tell us we are doing something terribly wrong
regarding health and health care delivery. At first glance, this would appear to
be a lack of concentration and investment on population health and a paradoxical
over-investment in a very inefficient health care delivery system. The other
major reason would appear to be the lack of adequate community resources that
could integrate and evaluate the health resources with the other dozen or so
major determinants of health. We hope that our study can assist government and
NGOs to come together and solve this disturbing situation, because inequities
produce a barrier to prosperity.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled:
Maternal Health and Early Childhood Development in Cuba, tabled in the
Senate on February 26, 2008.—(Honourable Senator Keon)
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon moved the adoption of the eighth report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
He said: Honourable senators, let me now address the eighth report of the
subcommittee on Cuba's maternal health and early childhood development programs.
You will probably recall that the subcommittee accepted the invitation of the
Cuban Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Ernesto A. Sentí, to conduct a
fact-finding mission to obtain information about the structure, management, cost
and impact of their programs for maternal health and early childhood education.
I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the tremendous cooperation and
assistance offered by everyone in the Cuban government, from the President
through cabinet, and through all of the officials down to the community level,
who made our visit interesting and informative.
Honourable senators, I have been very impressed at how this poor country has
health determinants the same as ours. A key player in their approach to maternal
health and early childhood development is what Cubans call the "polyclinic."
The role of the polyclinic is more extensive than that of a typical Canadian
medical clinic. These local establishments ensure the integration of science,
knowledge transfer, parent education and community mobilization, in addition to
providing primary health care.
Polyclinics are multidisciplinary. They focus on prevention, regularly
undertaking universal screening initiatives and strongly encouraging
immunization. They also serve as a site for both medical training and education.
In addition, polyclinics work closely with teachers in early childhood
development and education, preschool and elementary schools. They also include
daycare. Regular meetings are held to discuss the overall mental and physical
health of the children in the community. Moreover, they serve as a source of
data collection, scientific research and a conduit for scientific advances. For
example, staff regularly participates in population-wide prevalence studies
designed by scientists working in different ministries. The intimate connection
between the staff at the polyclinics and the population they serve creates a
health system where, at the street level, every aspect of the human condition is
addressed, from maternal health care to teaching seniors to act as counsellors
for their grandchildren.
When a woman becomes pregnant, a number of specialized services are drawn
upon such as medical genetic services, the "partogram," and maternal homes, as
needed. The genetic risk assessment services are available at every polyclinic.
If a woman is identified as at risk, a partogram is done or a plan is developed
to facilitate navigation of the system. Those at risk due to problems such as
hypertension, anaemia, poor nutrition, or being under or overweight may be
referred to a maternal home, where they are either followed as outpatients or
admitted to the centre, depending on the severity of their condition.
The indicators presented to the subcommittee by the Cuban Ministry of Public
Health showed steady improvement in child and maternal health outcomes from 1970
to 2006. Indeed, their outcomes are as good as ours, and we spend about eight
times as much money on our system.
Cuba also provides three non-compulsory preschool education programs. The
Circulos infantiles are child care centres for children between six months
and five years whose mothers are working. The Educa a Tu Hijo, or
"educate your child," program, provides non-institutional preschool education
for children who do not attend child care centres. The program is based on
household education from zero to two years of age, or is delivered through
informal groups in parks or other nearby sites for children aged two to four. A
preschool preparatory grade for five-year-olds is open for all children whether
or not their mothers work. Together, these programs reach almost all children
under six years of age.
Children with special educational needs receive individualized attention
through the local polyclinic and, with the support of the Ministry of Education,
are seen by the Educa a Tu Hijo program specialists. A diagnosis unit for
potential developmental disabilities exists in each municipality, with a
multidisciplinary team that assesses the child and advises the family.
Honourable senators, international data by UNESCO in 1998 — which I visited
and reviewed the data for three hours — comparing 11 Latin American countries
showed that Cuban third and fourth graders attained the highest level of
achievement in mathematics and language skills. An update of that study in 2007,
soon to be published, again ranked Cuban children well ahead of their Latin
The subcommittee was struck by the comment of one presenter who said that
Cubans "live like the poor but die like the rich." This is truly the Cuban
paradox — a developing country, indeed, a very poor country with
developed-country health indicators. Cuba is world renowned for its consistently
strong indices of good health, despite its poor economic status. These
achievements are particularly remarkable in light of the stringent trade and
service embargoes that apply to Cuba.
The pragmatism of the Cuban approach to health and education, with its
emphasis on making best use of limited resources to achieve a clearly identified
goal, is admirable. Particularly noteworthy was the enormous personal
commitment, dedication and pride in their work demonstrated by the health care
providers and educators. They project a sense of job satisfaction and of
themselves as part of a team contributing to an overall goal. The subcommittee
believes that the close relationship between the service provider, the child and
the family enables those providers to understand the child's background and
thereby provide the support that is needed.
Early diagnosis, research, assessment and ongoing monitoring are key elements
of Cuban programs. Early detection of high-risk pregnancies, biannual medical
checkups and early recognition of childhood developmental problems enable
intervention at an early stage and avoid more costly remedies.
Cuba places great importance on science, as evidenced by their development of
comprehensive databases and insistence on systemic program evaluation. Wherever
possible, government policy is informed by rigorous scientific data. Moreover,
the quality of much of the scientific research done there is world class and it
is one area in which they are outstanding. I visited their scientific research
centres and they are truly impressive.
In conclusion, honourable senators, I believe that Canada can do a better job
of getting our primary health system right. By embracing a broader, more
expansive view, such as the Cuban polyclinics, we can make a difference in terms
of gains in population health, particularly for marginalized and disadvantaged
Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, this is an
important and remarkable piece of work that was accomplished in a short time by
our esteemed senator. A couple of questions came to mind as I listened to the
I believe the honourable senator said that the cost in Canada is eight times
that of the cost in Cuba and that we may not be doing as well — that is another
subject. How much of this increased cost in Canada is due to the salaries that
are paid to our workers? How much are staff in these polyclinics paid? I know
there are child care workers, maternal health care workers and follow-up, and so
on, but I would like to have an understanding of how much this difference in
salary affects the figures. Could the honourable senator also provide the
educational requirements for the people who work in the various sections of the
Senator Keon: Honourable senators, we visited polyclinics in the rural
communities and in the cities and in the special education facilities and the
daycare facilities, and so on. I asked the question about rates of pay and all
of the workers make about $4,000 a year: doctors, teachers and social workers.
That is about it. That includes the cardiac surgeon with whom I spoke.
The answer to the second question is that Cuba is light years ahead in their
medical educational system. When Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, most of the
doctors left because they were reasonably affluent. They just got out of the
What he did was clever. He created two main medical schools built on the
global model — the kind we have in Canada, Europe and America — and he built an
additional 19 medical, nursing and technical schools in the polyclinics.
Nineteen of the ninety-one polyclinics graduate doctors, nurses and
technicians. This enables them to train people who know what they have to deal
with on the ground, whether it be in the mountains or in the middle of Havana.
When they come out of that facility, they are quite ready to work with the
populations. Of course, the populations are rostered. They have broken it down
into 91 polyclinics. All 11 million Cubans are registered in one or other of
They actively pursue the population and get out ahead of disease. The
preventive health programs are tremendous.
Senator Trenholme Counsell: The honourable senator mentioned doctors,
nurses, social workers and so on. In Canada, these people are very well trained
as well. One of my biggest concerns, which will come as no surprise to anyone
here as I talk about it so often, is the general lack of training and
preparation of those who care for our children. The ratio is maybe one person
with community college or even university training and the rest with very little
education. It is improving across the land, but progress is very slow.
Are the people in Cuba who actually care for the children in these child care
centres, which are part of the whole system, better trained — and if so, in what
way — than the people who look after our children? Of course, I recognize that
some of the people in our centres are very well trained.
Senator Keon: Honourable senators, there is no question that we have
some well-trained people, and probably at the top level we have better expertise
than the Cubans have in every discipline, but they have pretty much a universal
standard. The people who look after and educate children are all professionally
trained. The daycare centres are not daycare centres; they are educational
Senator Munson was very helpful on the trip.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Keon's time has expired. Do honourable
senators agree that he should continue?
An Hon. Senator: He may finish the answer.
The Hon. the Speaker: That was not the question that was put to the
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Five minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker: I know several senators would like to ask
questions. Is his time extended for five minutes?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Keon: There were some old people there. Senator Munson asked,
"Who are all these old people in the polyclinic?" The answer was: "They are
grandparents and they are doing a bachelor's degree in child psychology so that
they can care for the grandchildren when the mothers and fathers are working."
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to thank the
honourable senator for his very interesting report. I look forward to reading
the full report in detail. I would like to congratulate him and his committee on
their initiative in going to Cuba. In light of the obvious value of that visit,
perhaps other committees in this chamber might consider a similar type of visit.
My question relates specifically to medical care. The honourable senator
indicated that their outcomes, their standards of medical attention, are roughly
equivalent to those of Canada. He spoke about people with some degree of medical
training, but not medical doctors, in relation to seniors and pregnant women,
and early intervention if necessary.
The honourable senator has been undoubtedly following the Canadian Medical
Association's campaign that we must train more medical doctors here in Canada.
Having in mind that 50 per cent of the newly licensed doctors are trained
outside of Canada at the present time, did the honourable senator draw any
conclusions from his observations in Cuba as to the medical services being
offered, not by fully trained medical doctors but by the nurse practitioners or
whatever the equivalent is there?
Senator Keon: There is no question that they use large numbers of
people with lesser training, but they use them very effectively. I want to make
it clear that I think the polyclinic model is a genius, but when you go above
the polyclinic to the hospital care, tertiary and quaternary care, they do not
have the resources or the personnel that we have. You would not go there for
their brain surgery, let me put it that way.
In answer to the Canadian Medical Association, I am totally supportive of
what they are trying to do. They are trying to get family physicians out from
the periphery so that people can have a family doctor. However, we have a
terrible structural defect in our health care system in that we do not have
community clinics that integrate health care, education, social services, sport
and poverty control; to integrate health care and social services at one spot so
that people know where to go and get it early and prevent this horrendous
epidemic of disease that we have in Canada that is costing us a fortune.
Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, in a follow-up to Senator
Day's question, with Senator Keon's vast medical experience, what was his
impression of the level of medical training in Cuba? I assume he interacted with
medically trained people there and I wonder what his impression was of the level
of training compared to what we have in Canada.
Senator Keon: The two central medical schools turn out medical
graduates comparable to ours. The 19 medical schools in the polyclinics turn out
an individual with less training but who can do the job in the polyclinic,
because they are integrated into the central facilities.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Senate Estimates
2008-2009), presented in the Senate on February 28, 2008.—(Honourable
Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, as chair of your committee,
I am pleased to present the Senate Main Estimates for the fiscal year 2008-2009.
The budget totals $90,232,000.
This budget, honourable senators, represents a realistic funding level to
enable the Senate to carry out its constitutional role and to administer the
affairs of the Senate for the coming year.
The budget provides an additional $994,500 for statutory expenses. Senators
will know that statutory expenses are comprised of amounts which Parliament
provides on an ongoing basis as authorized by the Parliament of Canada Act and
the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act. These include expenses such
as pension contributions and contributions to employee benefit plans.
This budget also provides an additional amount of $2,207,500 to cover mainly
for inflationary pressures. This 2.5 per cent increase includes annual salary
adjustments and other personnel costs for administrative staff and inflationary
increases to the operational and capital budgets. It also includes the Senate's
share of additional funding requested by the Joint Interparliamentary Council.
Senators will have found further details in the executive summary, which you
all received with the committee report. You will also find in the committee
report a motion to lapse any budgetary surplus in the funding envelope for
senators' research and office expenses resulting from Senate vacancies. To be
perfectly clear on this point, all surpluses from this allocation will be
returned to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
In closing, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the administration and
senators' staff for their work in complex and challenging times. The Senate is a
vital part of our parliamentary system, promoting better policies and
investigating a wide range of social, economic and cultural issues. By their
work and support, our people help us provide a real forum for issues of
importance to Canadians.
Honourable senators, to allow us to continue our work and effectively fulfil
our constitutional obligations, I recommend that this report be adopted.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Keon:
WHEREAS the Canadian public has never been consulted on the structure of
its government (Crown, Senate and House of Commons)
AND WHEREAS there has never been a clear and precise expression by the
Canadian public on the legitimacy of the Upper House since the
constitutional agreement establishing its existence
AND WHEREAS a clear and concise opinion might be obtained by putting the
question directly to the electors by means of a referendum
THAT the Senate urge the Governor in Council to obtain by means of a
referendum, pursuant to section 3 of the Referendum Act, the opinion
of the electors of Canada on whether the Senate should be abolished; and
THAT a message be sent to the House of Commons requesting that House to
unite with the Senate for the above purpose.—(Honourable Senator Tardif)
Hon. James S. Cowan (Acting Deputy Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, several colleagues on our side of the house wish to speak
on this matter, and I notice we are at day 13, so perhaps we could rewind the
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, there is a specific rule to
obviate rewinding the clock, so perhaps the honourable senator is intending to
participate in the debate, and what he has said so far constitutes his
contribution to the debate and then someone else can move the adjournment of the
debate for the balance of his time.
Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:
Hon. David Tkachuk (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h),
I move that when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday,
March 11, 2008, at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned to Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 2 p.m.