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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 35th Parliament,
Volume 135, Issue 3

Tuesday, March 19, 1996
The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker


Tuesday, March 19, 1996
The Senate met at 2:00 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.



New Senator

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk has received a certificate from the Registrar General of Canada showing that Nicholas William Taylor has been summoned to the Senate.



The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there was a senator without, waiting to be introduced:

The following honourable senator was introduced; presented Her Majesty's writ of summons; took the oath prescribed by law, which was administered by the Clerk; and was seated:

Hon. Nicholas William Taylor, of Bon Accord, Alberta, introduced between Hon. Joyce Fairbairn and Hon. Dan Hays.

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the honourable senator named above had made and subscribed the declaration of qualification required by the Constitution Act, 1867, in the presence of the Clerk of the Senate, the Commissioner appointed to receive and witness the said declaration.

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am particularly proud today to introduce the newest member of our chamber, a close friend of mine and a fellow Albertan, Senator Nick Taylor.

For those of you who do not know about our colleague, I promise you a unique and special addition to the cast of personalities and characters who make up this chamber. Born and raised during the depression in Bow Island, a rural town tucked away in southern Alberta, Nick Taylor has been, and I know will continue to be, a larger-than-life figure in our province.

He also has a deep knowledge and concern about issues which concern us in the Senate: about agriculture, about the future needs of aboriginal Canadians. Early on he mastered the energy industry as an almost legendary maverick, and his dedication to that important sector of Alberta's economic life continues.

However, honourable senators, even the vigour he demonstrated in that pursuit pales beside the perseverance with which he has pursued liberalism in Alberta. He has a passionate belief in the liberal values of compassion and sharing, and has never been shy or silent when an occasion presented itself to articulate his views to fellow Albertans.

No chinooks were blowing for Alberta Liberals when Nick Taylor let his name stand for his party throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and it is not overstating it to say that recent successes we may have had in that province owe a great deal to his unwavering determination.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Fairbairn: As an Alberta Liberal leader from 1974 through 1988, and as a member in the legislative assembly for the past 10 years, he brought both expertise and energy into public life, and he brought something more: an engaging combination of humour and wit, which, I promise, will enliven our caucus and focus the attention of our colleagues opposite. As his long-time opponent, Alberta Conservative Ken Kowalski, conceded only a few days ago in the legislature, there are few individuals who can match him line for line on any given day.

Senator Taylor, my colleagues and I welcome you to this chamber. We look forward to working with you as you make your contribution in tackling the important issues which face our country today and, indeed, our province of Alberta.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I do not know if there is the equivalent to a chinook in Quebec, but as a Conservative from there I can certainly sympathize with the lack of warm winds.

I am very pleased to join with the Leader of the Government in welcoming Senator Nick Taylor and to wish him well as he takes his seat in this place. I must say that I found his remarks following his appointment most refreshing, as he made no effort to hide the fact that his many years of work in the Liberal Party are what led to his appointment or, to use a word more in keeping with the political vocabulary of Alberta, with his "election" by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Despite the fact that he is sitting in the seat once occupied by Stan Waters, he will no doubt agree, in time, that an election with only one voter has certain attractions that may lead him to revise his views on a Triple-E Senate which he has been advocating, at least until recently. He will soon find that being non-elected in no way affects the fact that all here are equal, and that this place is an efficient house of Parliament. His contributions will no doubt contribute to making these characteristics even more evident.

Congratulations and all best wishes.


Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I would second the fine words of my colleague Senator Fairbairn.


I have known Senator Taylor for many years, and I share one thing in common with him: patience. I campaigned for the honourable senator in my other life during the 1968 and 1972 campaigns and, later on, provincially. I have come to learn about Alberta from people like him. That is why I never hesitate to go to Alberta and Western Canada.

I am delighted that Senator Taylor is joining us today. He will be a remarkable addition to our chamber. I wish to join with all of you in wishing the best of times to his very large family - his many nice children and his very charming wife - while in Ottawa. I look forward to working with Senator Taylor on behalf of Canada. As I constantly say, Canada is under attack, and it is with people like Senator Taylor and others that we can help build a better Canada.

Hon. Ron Ghitter: Honourable senators, I, too, wish to join in the tributes welcoming my old friend Senator Taylor to the red chamber. A newspaper headline on his appointment to the Senate which reads "Some well-deserved patronage" is indicative that the media agrees with this appointment, and says much about the acceptability of this honourable gentleman to our chamber. Throughout Alberta, wherever I have heard comments about the appointment of Senator Taylor, the remarks have been of the fondest admiration and respect for the work this gentleman has done within my province.

I have known Senator Taylor, his wife Margaret and many of their children for many years. I obtained my first experience in political life because of Senator Taylor. In 1968, the year of Trudeaumania - one of the many times that Senator Taylor ran for political office and, I might add, was unsuccessful - I fought my first political battle working for one Douglas Harkness. I am sure Senator Taylor will recall. I learned all the secrets of good campaigning: how to tear down signs at two in the morning and all the other things one learns in political campaigns, which I would never acknowledge before my appointment here, of course. That is one confession one can make here.

Senator Taylor was a formidable candidate. I remember working against him again some four years later when he ran against one Harvie Andre, whom in those days we called "Harvie Who." That was another occasion when it was very difficult to be a Liberal in the Province of Alberta, let alone run for office. Being a Liberal in those days, and in subsequent years, was not an easy task.

The man's perseverance prevailed. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be in the wilderness for 14 years, leading the Liberal Party in Alberta, looking down from the legislature gallery, wanting to be down there but not having a seat. He carried on through the National Energy Program days when, again, Liberals in Alberta were not too popular. However, he persevered. He was always a man of honour, of integrity and, above all, of humour and goodwill.

Two years after finally being elected to the Alberta legislature in 1986, he found that the leadership of the party which he had worked so hard to maintain was no longer his. Again with grace, good humour, a lot of self respect and esteem, he stepped down. However, he stayed on in the Legislature of Alberta and continued to serve Albertans well.


May I say to you, senator, and to your good wife and your family, how welcome you are here in Ottawa. I look forward to participating in the deliberations of the Senate with you, and I share with all Albertans our congratulations in having you join us. You are indeed welcome.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, I have known Nick Taylor for 31 years, and I first met him through his daughter Patrice, who is with us today. I was teaching at St. Mary's Girls' High School, and Patrice Taylor was in my class. At some point I must have admitted to the fact that I was a Liberal, because at parent-teacher night, Nick Taylor arrived at the school in order to find out who had had the courage to admit in Alberta that she was a Liberal. We had our first exchange at that point.

We both became very active in the Liberal Party. He had already earned his stripes. In 1976, as president of the Liberal Party in Alberta, I became Nick Taylor's first president. He persuaded me in a weak moment to run in Calgary Elbow, and he was running in Calgary Glenmore. It was the constituency in which both Nick and I lived, so at least I knew that I had Nick's and Peg's votes, and perhaps Patrice's vote because I think she was old enough. I thought I had my husband John's vote.

We continued our relationship over the years, even after I moved to Manitoba and became the leader of the party in that province, and while he was the leader of the party in Alberta.

It is good to have such a wonderful friend of so many years here in this chamber, and I am sure that Nick will make an extraordinary contribution to this chamber, as he and his family have, quite frankly, to the lives of so many.

Hon. Dan Hays: Honourable senators, I should like to join with those who have welcomed Senator Taylor. I do not know how long I have known Nick. I first came to know him well when the two of us ran for nomination in 1968. He won; I did not.

Nick, it is good to see you in the Parliament of Canada. You did not win the election either, probably because of the campaign tactics of Senator Ghitter and others.

Nick, you are particularly welcome as another senator who has strong ties to rural Canada. Someone who comes from the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and had offices in Morinville, Bon Accord, Smokey Lake, Redwater and Gibbons will bring a much needed perspective on rural issues to this house and to Parliament.

It is also impressive to see members from that other place whom you have attracted to our chamber today, as they do not come here often. Members Deborah Grey, Ray Speaker and Judy Bethel have come here to welcome you.

Nick, I welcome you as well, and look forward to working with you. Welcome to Ottawa, and may you enjoy the four-hour trips back and forth to Alberta.


The Honourable H.A. Olson, P.C.

Tributes on Appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Alberta

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, it is with mixed emotions that I rise today to say goodbye to a remarkable colleague and a dear friend, Bud Olson. As you are all aware, he has left this chamber to serve our country in a new role as Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, and he is here with Lucille to say farewell to us all.

With his departure, we are saying goodbye to a distinguished and committed parliamentarian who has represented Canada and, most particularly, his beloved Alberta for over four decades. I am saying goodbye to a trusted and respected neighbour whom I have had the very good fortune to know and to work with over a period of some 34 years.

The Prime Minister, in my view, could not have made a better choice than Bud Olson. His Alberta roots are rural and run deep, and in all the years he has spent on the federal scene, he has never neglected to maintain and nurture those roots. In the words of a mutual Lethbridge friend and writer, Ron Watmough, Bud

... knows every itch of barley beards down the back on a sweating day of harvest, the hard ride of the roundup, the weight of hay bales at the end of a long day and skinned shins barked against the end of the cultivator. He knows the anxiety of slow sales of crops against fast-building bills and the headaches at income tax time. But he also understands the fresh feeling of independence, the free life - being your own boss, and the satisfaction of making two blades of grass grow where once there was one. And he has known these things all his life.

The values instilled by these experiences brought him to the House of Commons as an eager young member of Parliament in 1957 to represent the Medicine Hat riding for the Social Credit Party. As a young reporter, I covered Bud's early years in the 1960s when minority governments provided some of the most impassioned and boisterous politics this country has ever seen. It is fair to say that Bud, who was then house leader for the Social Credit Party, mastered those turbulent years as one of the most skilled debaters and procedural experts of the day.

In 1967, he joined the Liberal Party and has served our past governments with dedication and distinction as Minister of Agriculture and Economic and Regional Development, and, indeed, Leader of the Government in this chamber.

During his Senate years, he never hesitated to deliver what can only be described as some of the most pointed lessons on farming and trade this chamber has ever heard, and I am sure Senator Murray in particular will recall with some emotion the aggressive and thunderous tones with which those lectures were communicated.

However, perhaps the most important lesson we learned from Bud Olson was the example he set through his representation of his region. The voices of Albertans were always articulated with purpose, passion and pride.

Bud will continue to serve the people of Alberta. He has always been an activist, and I know that as Lieutenant-Governor he will want to get out to all corners of Alberta to participate with enthusiasm in the special events of those communities.

Honourable senators, no farewell to Bud would be complete without recognizing the tremendous support that he has received from his family during these Ottawa years. Lucille, his wife of almost 50 years, has been both his companion and his colleague, and it is with great affection and admiration that I wish her well. I know she will add a special dimension to the role of Lieutenant-Governor.

We send Bud home with our best wishes and our gratitude for his contribution in this place. His presence and his friendship will be missed by all of us on this side of the chamber and, I suspect, by all those in the Senate who have come to know and appreciate him.


Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, there is no question that all of us will miss Senator Olson and the style which he brought to Parliament, a style which is less in fashion than it used to be. He could be blunt, partisan, unusually demonstrative, a defender of the indefensible, and often annoying during a sitting either in the chamber or in committee. However, behind this colourful behaviour lies a most knowledgeable and well-informed individual. I, for one, always listened with care whenever he spoke on matters relating to agriculture, a field which few in Canada know as well as he.

I must add, however, that for the last two years I have been watching him with great sympathy as he sat across from us, marvelling at his stoicism and silence in the face of the gradual dismantling of a number of agricultural policies which he helped to create as a member of a Liberal government which was then faithful to its principles. What a relief it must be for him not to have to witness firsthand further renunciations of Liberal Party values in an area in which he laboured so hard.

No one who was present at the time can forget Senator Olson's most incredible harangue, one which is not on the record since it took place as the Senate was waiting to give Royal Assent to the GST bill; a Royal Assent which, as it turned out, did not take place that day, although not because of our colleague's plea. Senator Olson, for what appeared to be an eternity, pleaded with the representative of the Governor General not to give the nod to that bill since, according to him and to others on their side of the chamber, that bill had been passed under circumstances which brought dishonour to the whole parliamentary system. It was an unprecedented performance, given unchallenged, since nothing could stop his words which dripped with passion and conviction. Now, some five years hence, he has been called upon to be the Queen's representative in Alberta, proving, if nothing else, that Her Majesty is, indeed, a most forgiving person.

I wish to express to Senator Olson all of our best wishes as he assumes his new responsibilities, and God save the Queen!

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Dan Hays: Honourable senators, it seems strange to be in this chamber without Senator Olson on the floor, or without seeing a desk bearing his name. However, on this day, when he is still with us in the gallery at least, it is great to have an opportunity to say to all honourable senators how much I will miss Senator Olson.

While listening to Senator Lynch-Staunton, I was almost surprised that Senator Olson did not break the rule and heckle the honourable senator from the gallery. I suspect that were he not about to be the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, he probably would have broken the rule.

Senator Olson's biographical data has been quite well covered. However, I should like to share with honourable senators a couple of anecdotes starting first with one in which Senator Olson served as co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group. For his not too well-known views on greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on global warming, he acquired the nickname "Dr. Ozone." The contributions that he made for which he acquired the nickname and those that he made in this chamber demonstrate a man of enormous will, one who is extremely well informed and one who is fiercely loyal and dedicated to his province and his country. It is most fitting that he will be serving as the Queen's representative in Alberta.

Not many will remember that Senator Olson was well known as a pilot of ultralight planes. I am not sure whether he has returned to that endeavour. I remember at one of his famous birthday parties he was talking about ultralight piloting in the context of being interested in what he called "gee-whiz" things. I assume he will always be interested in such things. He described his experiences as wonderful, and said that flying in such a plane was like soaring with the eagles, which prompted this comment from a close relative in the audience - and I will not say who it was: "How do you fly like an eagle when you're a turkey?"

Senator Olson flew like an eagle in this chamber. I know that he will serve all Albertans and all Canadians well in his new posting. I join with other honourable senators in wishing him the best.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, since the Leader of the Government has brought my name into this, I will say a word - which is something that I intended to do in any case.

A few days ago, when on the CBC radio news at noon I heard the announcement of Senator Olson's appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, I immediately sent a fax to him, telling him how utterly bereft his departure from this chamber will leave me - as indeed, it will.

From 1980 to 1984, when Senator Olson was a minister of the Crown and I sat on the opposition side, I seldom let a day go by without calling him to account for the policies of the Trudeau government - and some policies over which the Trudeau government had very little control at all, including those of the Bank of Canada.

Between 1984 and 1993, when our roles were reversed and Senator Olson was on this side of the chamber, he returned the compliment with great gusto. I think we both understand - I think we all understand - that all of us on whatever side have a constitutional role to play in this institution. We try to exercise our responsibilities as well and as conscientiously as we can.

Senator Olson, whether in opposition or as a minister of the Crown, was exemplary in the discharge of his duties as a legislator. Further, the exercise of his responsibilities took some toll on his health some years ago. I think he has fully recovered now, and I am glad to know that that is the case.

He has given a lot to his province, to his country and to this institution. He will make an excellent Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta as he was an excellent senator. I join with his other friends and colleagues here in wishing him much good health and every satisfaction in the exercise of the high responsibilities to which he has now been called.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Len Marchand: Honourable senators, I wish to concur in the many great speeches that have been given here today concerning Senator Bud Olson. Much of the information about Bud has already been put on the record by Senators Fairbairn, Lynch-Staunton and others.

I first met Bud in about 1965 when I was an assistant to the Honourable Arthur Laing. I used to sit in the galleries in the other place and watch Bud as he waxed eloquent as Socred house leader. I observed then what great knowledge he had of the rules in the other place, as he had in this place.

In 1968, I was elected to the House of Commons. At that time, Bud was the Minister of Agriculture. He was of great help to me. I have an agricultural background, something that not many people know. There are many ranchers in my constituency, and Senator Olson was immensely helpful to me in looking after those ranchers, although they did not vote for us often. At any rate, we served them well.


I remember distinctly the Kamloops Exhibition Association. Senator Olson so generously found some money to help us put it together, and it is still functioning well as a multi-purpose agricultural exhibition facility in Kamloops.

Senator Olson has always been known as "Bud," but his initials are H.A. I do not know how many people know that those initials stand for Horace Andrew. Many years ago I asked him, "What is your real name, Bud?" He said, "Well, you better look it up," and I did.

Senator Olson has been a good friend over the years. He is a knowledgeable and decent parliamentarian. He is a man of great integrity and great honesty, and I wish him and Lucille well in their new life. Senator Bud Olson has served the Senate, the House of Commons and the country extremely well. I know that he will serve extremely well in his new duties as the Queen's representative in Edmonton.

Good luck, Bud and Lucille. We will be out to visit.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to join in this tribute to our dear Senator Bud Olson, who leaves the Senate to take the new call to the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. I congratulate him from the bottom of my heart. I also join in congratulating his wife, Lucille, whom I have come to know quite well. She is a delightful and splendid woman.

Honourable senators, Senator Olson and I are neighbours. We share a corridor downstairs. Our offices are next door to each other. Senator Olson has been a magnanimous neighbour.

Senator Olson, I must confess to all that I have learned well about your penchant for cake and pink ice cream and your temptations therein. I must also confess that I have shared that temptation with you on several occasions.

Honourable senators, I joined the Senate in 1984, when Senator Olson was the Leader of the Government. However, in my first few days in this chamber he was away due to illness. On his return, he telephoned me and called me to his office to offer his welcome. It was a meeting that I remember well and one that I deeply treasure.

Senator Olson is a lofty man who has served this country ably and willingly in many capacities. I have known him only as a friend, and I thank God for that. I am pleased that he has been called to the task of Her Majesty's representative in Alberta. He is most deserving, and I know he will enhance the position.

As honourable senators know, I am a monarchist who believes that the highest office of the land is that of the sovereign's representative. I join honourable senators on both sides of this chamber in extending our finest wishes to Senator Olson and his wife Lucille as they embark on their new duties in Alberta, that most beautiful province of Canada.

As a token of my appreciation, I offer Senator Olson and his wife this old Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May 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.

Shalom. I shall miss my neighbour

Hon. William M. Kelly: Honourable senators, I wish to join with the others who have spoken about Senator Bud Olson. Everything that has been said in his favour is certainly well deserved.

Senator Olson was the Leader of the Government in this chamber when I joined the Senate in 1982. I watched him closely, since I knew so little about parliamentary procedure and I thought I would learn from Senator Olson. I did learn a fair number of things, most particularly how to use the Question Period.

Senator Olson and I differed often on the rule that suggests that a question can be preceded by a brief preamble. Senator Olson's brief preambles were seldom shorter than 45 minutes. Regularly I would rise on a point of order to challenge him on this rule, only to find that he would take the opportunity to stand up and politely set out to explain to me why he needed a little time to state what he had already stated. He would state it all over again, and we would be subjected to 45 minutes more. I will miss that part of his personality very much. Senator Marchand mentioned Senator Olson's knowledge of the rules. That was one rule Senator Olson never learned, it seems to me.

Personally, I will miss Senator Olson a great deal. I think his appointment is wonderful. I must say, though, that when he was Leader of the Government, I was impressed with the dignity he displayed. He has a grand manner about him. Can you imagine, honourable senators, how that will translate as Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta? My God, he will be terribly impressive.

Senator Olson, we will miss you a great deal. I wish you the best of health for as long as you possibly can have it. I hope you will visit us from time to time. I wish that there were some process by which you could, every now and again, invade this chamber and once again lecture us on all the matters you feel you should lecture us on.

The one point made again and again today is the devotion with which Senator Olson has represented his region. That was evident every time he stood up. In so doing, he has set an example for many of us to follow.

Best wishes, Bud.

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I wish to join with other senators in paying tribute today to Senator Bud Olson. Good luck, Senator Olson. We will miss you. You are a great guy.



National Francophonie Week

Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, today I would like to bring to your attention National Francophonie Week, held this year from March 20 to March 26.

Canada's great francophone community is a reflection of the diversity which constitutes this country's originality and strength. Eight and one half million of our fellow Canadians, in all of this country's regions, are French-speaking: 9 per cent in the Yukon, 6 per cent in British Columbia, 7 per cent in Alberta, 5 per cent in Saskatchewan, 9 per cent in Manitoba, 12 per cent in Ontario, 94 per cent in Quebec, 3 per cent in Newfoundland, 10 per cent in Prince Edward Island, 9 per cent in Nova Scotia, and 42 per cent in New Brunswick.

Let us salute the excellence of Canada's francophone artists, researchers, athletes and business people.

Let us salute as well all of those men and women who, through their daily lives, contribute to our collective cultural wealth. This week affords us an opportunity to examine what Canada's francophone culture represents to our country. For some Canadians, this is an opportunity to renew our pride of belonging, and for others, an opportunity to discover another culture in all of its multiple facets.


We can be proud of the Francophonie community's artists, researchers, athletes, business people, and the many others whose endeavours have contributed to the excellence of life in Canada.

The Budget

Child Support-Changes to Guidelines

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, in the budget plan tabled in the other place on March 6, 1996, the Minister of Finance announced changes to the child support guidelines in Canada. I am sure all senators would agree that changes made regarding more enforcement and standardization of child support payments are an improvement, and are being done in the best interests of all children. All of us here are concerned about the welfare of children, and I have spoken frequently in the past regarding this topic. While I commend the government for moving in this direction, I still feel that the government could, and should, do more to protect children.

There is, however, one change to the child support rules which is of concern; that is, the new tax treatment of child support payments. After May 1, 1997, a custodial parent will not have to pay tax on child support payments, and the non-custodial parent, the payer of the child support, will no longer be able to get the tax deduction.

Speaking about these proposed changes, the Minister of Justice says that child support payments are for children and are not income for parents. He also said that in making these changes he was not preoccupied so much with the winners or losers as with the best interests of children.

I should like to ask the Minister of Justice how it is in the best interests of children if one parent, and in many cases both parents, will have less disposable income as a result of these proposed changes? Under the proposed changes, non-custodial parents will have less disposable income than before. As well, many lower-income custodial parents, mostly women, will receive less income because they are in a lower tax bracket than the providers of support, who are mostly men. According to the government's own figures, this is true in approximately 60 per cent of cases in Canada. The Minister of Justice readily admits that in some cases both parents will lose as a result of these changes, but he is unable to tell us how many and how much money will be lost.

As well, can the minister explain to Canadians how this is fair to children of single parent families not as a result of divorce, who are not eligible to receive the same supposed tax benefits? Thus far, the government has only deemed divorced parents as eligible.

The best thing Canadians can say about their tax system is that it is fair to all Canadians. That is to say, all who receive income pay tax on that income. The tax system is and should continue to be the means by which governments obtain revenue, and not a tool for correcting social inadequacies. In providing a special exemption in the taxation system for only certain segments of the population, the government is creating a dangerous precedent that could needlessly cause many Canadians to go to court.


I would like to know why the Minister of Justice thinks it is advantageous to penalize those Canadians who make their child support payments. Is he not fearful that these proposed changes may be a deterrent to non-custodial parents to pay support in the future? Reason would dictate that the higher the level of payment, the more difficult it will be to get at it.

In finding fault with this element of the proposed changes to the child support rules in the recent budget, I am not saying that children of single-parent families do not require more assistance. All I am saying is that this specific element of the child support package is the wrong approach, and the government should re-examine its policy in this regard. Even the Supreme Court of Canada realized that the tax system is not the proper place to deal with this issue when it ruled on the Suzanne Thibodeau case.

However, there is also another underlying concern that has come about as a result of this issue; that is, no one seems to be speaking for the thousands of Canadians who each month fulfil their responsibility by paying their child support. The media only report on those who do not, the so-called "deadbeat dads." We never hear about those who do pay, and who will be hurt under these proposed changes.

It would seem that the government is saying to those Canadians who are in the position of being non-custodial parents that they have no voice, no rights, only responsibilities.

His Excellency Royce Frith

Tributes on Performance of Duties as High Commissioner to London

Hon. William M. Kelly: Honourable senators, I will be brief. On February 25 and 26, I participated in a delegation that travelled to London to meet with officials of the EBRD, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Canada is one of the countries that assists in the capitalization of that bank. I will report in more detail on the delegation, but I should like to relate something that I think is important for honourable senators to know regarding our colleague Royce Frith, who is currently High Commissioner.

We met Sunday evening at the residence of the High Commissioner, and Royce had arranged to have present John Coleman, who is the director of that bank representing Canada. We had a thorough briefing. We met with the officials the following day, and that evening we came back to meet with officials at the High Commission. Royce was absent as he was on other duties, and a very interesting thing occurred. The officials with whom we met were senior officials of the commission, and they were very vocal in their admiration for our High Commissioner.

One of the big problems the High Commission has is getting Canada's position stated clearly. In the highly competitive international trade environment over there, a lot of misinformation comes out from time to time, whether it is on forest management in B.C. or the current issue regarding the seals or, indeed, the fish situation. Taking nothing away from Minister Tobin, the view of the officials at the High Commission was that this High Commissioner has demonstrated a greater capacity in public advocacy than any they remember in the past. He has developed a capacity to represent Canada quickly when misinformation comes out.

On the fish situation, they credit our High Commissioner, more even than the minister, with the acceptance in the U.K., and indeed in the European Union, of Canada's position in that circumstance. It made me very proud to hear this kind of thing spoken.

I know Roy MacLaren will do an excellent job taking over from ex-Senator Frith, but I must say one thing for sure: Royce Frith will be a very hard act to follow. I thought all of us as ex-colleagues should know the opinion of the people who are working with him these days.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


The Estimates, 1996-97


Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the Estimates for the fiscal year 1996-1997.

The Estimates, 1995-96

Tabling of Supplementary Estimates (B)

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1996.

Pearson Airport Agreements

Appendix to Third Report of Special Committee
Tabled and Printed

Hon. Finlay MacDonald: Honourable senators, just before prorogation, on February 1 to be exact, I was speaking on the consideration of the final report of the Special Senate Committee on the Pearson Airport Agreement. At that time, I gave notice of my intention to file an appendix to my remarks as soon as they could be submitted in both official languages. That has now been done. In accordance with rule 28(4), I ask leave that this supplementary information be tabled and printed as an appendix to today's Debates of the Senate.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of report, see appendix, p. 60)

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Fourth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino, Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Tuesday, March 19, 1996

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its


Your Committee recommends that Senators be reimbursed for taxi expenses incurred on public business while in Ottawa to a maximum of $25 per trip.

Your Committee also recommends that these expenses be charged to the Statutory Vote and that taxi expenses be reimbursed on a monthly basis upon the submission of receipts to the Senate Finance Directorate indicating the amount and destination.

Respectfully submitted,

Deputy Chair

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

On motion of Senator Di Nino, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

Banking, Trade and Commerce

First Report of Committee Tabled

Hon. Michael Kirby: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. This report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Bill

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-8, respecting the control of certain drugs, their precursors and other substances and to amend certain other Acts and repeal the Narcotic Control Act in consequence thereof.

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Poulin, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Thursday, March 21, 1996.


Judges Act

Bill to Amend-First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-2, to amend the Judges Act.

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Graham, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 57(1)(f), bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading at the next sitting of the Senate.

The Estimates, 1996-97
The Estimates, 1995-96

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Main Estimates, 1996-97, and Supplementary Estimates (B), 1995-96

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham: Honourable senators, I give notice that tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20, 1996, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Estimates for the fiscal year ending the 31st March, 1997, with the exception of Parliament Vote 10 and Privy Council Vote 25; and the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending the 31st March, 1996.

Code of Conduct

Appointment of Special Joint Committee-Notice of Motion

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Thursday next, March 21, 1996, I will move:

That the Senate do unite with the House of Commons in the appointment of a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons to develop a Code of Conduct to guide Senators and Members of the House of Commons in reconciling their official responsibilities with their personal interests, including their dealings with lobbyists;

That seven Members of the Senate and fourteen Members of the House of Commons be members of the Committee;

That the Committee be directed to consult broadly and review the approaches taken with respect to these issues in Canada and in other jurisdictions with comparable systems of government;

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject during the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee have the power to sit during sittings and adjournments of the Senate;

That the Committee have the power to report from time to time, to send for persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence as may be ordered by the Committee;

That the Committee have the power to retain the services of expert, professional, technical and clerical staff;

That the quorum of the Committee be eleven members, whenever a vote, resolution or other decision is taken, so long as both Houses are represented, and that the Joint Chairpersons be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and authorize the printing thereof, whenever six members are present, so long as both Houses are represented;

That the Committee be empowered to appoint, from among its members, such sub-committees as may be deemed advisable, and to delegate to such sub-committees all or any of its power, except the power to report to the Senate and House of Commons;

That the Committee be empowered to authorize television and radio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;

That the Committee present its final report no later than June 21, 1996;

That, notwithstanding usual practices, if the Senate is not sitting when the final report of the Committee is completed, the report may be deposited with the Clerk of the Senate and it shall thereupon be deemed to have been tabled in the Senate; and

That a Message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.

Tobacco Products Restrictions Bill

First Reading

Hon. Stanley Haidasz presented Bill S-5, an act to restrict the manufacture, sale, importation and labelling of tobacco products.

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Haidasz, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Thursday, March 21, 1996.

Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group

Fourth Annual Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, Cha-am, Thailand-Report Tabled

Hon. Dan Hays: Honourable senators, I am pleased to table in both official languages the report of the delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation at the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum held in Cha-am, Thailand, from January 15 to 19, 1996.

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study State Of Canadian Financial System

Hon. Senator Kirby: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Wednesday next, March 20, 1996, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be authorized to examine and report upon the present state of the financial system in Canada;

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject during the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament and any other relevant parliamentary papers and evidence on the said subject be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings; and

That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 12, 1996.

Palliative Care in Canada

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 57(2), I give notice that on Thursday next, March 21, 1996, I will call the attention of the Senate to the state of palliative care services in Canada.

Solicitor General

Incident Involving Attack on Prime Minister-Notice of Inquiry

Hon. William M. Kelly: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Thursday, March 21, 1996, I will call the attention of the Senate to the altercation between the Prime Minister and a demonstrator in Jacques Cartier Park on January 15, 1996.


National Child Care

Disparity in Statements of Federal and Provincial Ministers-Government Position

Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Honourable senators, my question relates to statements made by the federal Minister of Human Resources Development that the provinces have rejected the proposal for a national child care plan because they found it to be unacceptable. However, according to reports, New Brunswick's Minister for Human Resources says that New Brunswick did not reject the idea; they are simply interested in hearing more of the details.

Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate determine whether a discrepancy exists in these statements, and whether the minister is prepared to meet with provinces such as New Brunswick to work out any differences in order to arrive at a suitable plan?

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I know that the Minister of Human Resources Development has been holding discussions with a variety of provinces in the short time that he has held that portfolio. I do not know whether he has completed all of his discussions or whether he will be entertaining further conversations with his provincial colleagues. He has certainly been very interested in pursuing the child care initiative that was placed before ministers prior to the end of last year by his predecessor. I will need to check with my colleague to find out exactly what the continuing nature of his discussions may be.

The Budget

Child Support-Changes to Guidelines-Financial Impact on Parents-Government Position

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is for the government leader in the Senate and deals with the proposed changes to the child support guidelines announced in the recent budget, of which I previously spoke.

After May 1, 1997, the custodial parent will not be required to pay tax on child support payments and the non-custodial parent, the payer of the child support, will no longer be allowed to make that tax deduction.


In all cases, under the proposed changes, non-custodial parents will have less disposable income than before. As well, under these same changes many lower-income custodial parents, mostly women, as I pointed out earlier, will receive less income because they are in a lower tax bracket than the payers of the support, who are mostly men.

The Minister of Justice readily admits that in some cases both parents will lose as a result of these changes. According to the government's own figures, this is true in approximately 60 per cent of cases in Canada.

My question for the Leader of the Government is this: Is the government prepared to tell us how many women will be affected negatively by these changes and how much less income they will receive in child support each month?

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am prepared to pursue my honourable friend's question. As he will know, there is more than one element in the new package of child support proposals. The tax proposals are but one element. I will have to ascertain whether there is any precise indication of numbers and amounts that can be provided at this point in time.

As my honourable friend may know, the public was canvassed widely about this proposal. As well, there was also a federal, provincial and territorial review of the issue. There is a new set of guidelines to be used in the process which is intended to provide the parents, the lawyers and, ultimately, the children who are the recipients and the reason for these changes, with a fairer and more equitable set of principles on which to make judgments concerning awards.

Another aspect which is important to the new policy is the money that will be saved as a result of this process. I believe my honourable friend mentioned that he had difficulty with the fact that, perhaps, certain advantages will be given to people who have suffered the difficulties which broken families bring. However, there are families who are struggling together who also need assistance. One of the fundamental changes in this proposal will see funds redirected through a doubling of the maximum of the working income supplement under the child benefits. Not only will this provide support to those who are single parents but it will also be directed to families who are in the lower income brackets. It is believed that some 700,000 people will be affected by this measure. Of those, it is estimated that one-third are single-parent families.

Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, I hope the statement which says that lawyers will be the winners and children will be the losers is wrong.

What concerns me and other Canadians who have spoken to me about this issue is the uncertainty with which the Minister of Justice approached this subject after the budget speech. He was totally uncertain about it. He could not give figures. He did not know how it would impact people. He did not know how many people would lose as a result of this measure, especially women in lower income brackets.

If the government has done the extensive studies which the Leader of the Government in the Senate has indicated, why would they not have this pertinent information before bringing forward such a package? The minister talks of helping regular couples. We are dealing with two different things and the minister is mixing them together. We are dealing with people who are separated. We are dealing with the payers of support, whether they be men or women. They are non-custodial parents. It is they who will be penalized. We do not know the figures.

Why would the government go into a program like this when, as we saw on television, the Minister of Justice was not able to answer these questions which are so pertinent to all Canadians?

Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I should like to tell my honourable friend that the whole reason for moving ahead with this policy is that the children of these unfortunate situations should come first - certainly not the lawyers. My honourable friend can take that as fundamental in the discussion on this issue.

I will pass on my friend's comments to the Minister of Justice. I will attempt to obtain from the department the kind of information he seeks. However, he must realize that in these issues a great deal depends on the guidelines and how they operate in terms of settlements in individual cases. It may be difficult to obtain precise numerical answers for my honourable friend. The whole purpose of the policy is to benefit children.

In the balance between custodial and non-custodial parents, my honourable friend must remember that in the last couple of years the custodial parent has certainly been seeking to have some kind of resolution following the Supreme Court decision in the Thibodeau case. Such a resolution would put them in the position of not having to pay taxes and work out the tax system for themselves. In this case, their interests have been heard. They will not be forced to pay taxes on the awards that they receive through the system.

The whole policy must be seen as a package. I would not simply take the working income supplement and toss it aside; it is very much a part of this package. It is targeted to the people who are suffering the most at the lower levels of working families, the single-parent families. I do not believe that matter can be pushed aside. It is very much part of the whole package that the government has put forward in the best interests of the child. That has been the motivation which has guided the policy.

Child Support-Changes to Guidelines-Timing for Dissemination of Particulars-Government Position

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to ask a supplementary question on this subject. If the best interest of children is the issue in this new proposal, can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain why there is so much uncertainty with respect to it? There is uncertainty about the guidelines and who will be covered by them. The Minister of Justice has not been able to answer these questions.

We have spent years trying to put in place a unified family court system where the people in the courtrooms have, in most cases, attempted to facilitate some resolution so that the parents are not constantly at odds and using the children as ploys. While the intent of the government may be laudable in terms of helping women in certain situations, it has thrown many families into disarray and their financial situation into question. As a result, I am afraid that children will suffer.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate advise us when we will know what these so-called guidelines are? Will there be statements to let the people know just what this means to them? What we do not need in this country is more uncertainty, particularly around the subject of children. When will all the answers be forthcoming? Can we begin very shortly to talk with certainty about the guidelines and what their intent will be?

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I agree with my honourable friend that we do not need a situation in which uncertainty or misunderstanding causes any further stress than is already in the situations about which we are speaking.


I will do my best to speak with my colleague and try to get further information, as well as information of greater certainty on the timing of disseminating that information to those across the country who need it.

Senator Andreychuk: Perhaps excluding myself but including all other judges and lawyers who work day-to-day on family matters particularly in the provincial courts, I hope that the signal from the minister will include the fact that the problem is not a lack of confidence in the judges. There seems to be an erosion of the confidence of the role of judges. I, for one, would want it stated on the record that there have been countless cases where judges have paid more attention to attempting to find a resolution between the parties than to strictly imposing the law in its rawest form.

Will there be a signal from the Minister of Justice that he has confidence in the judiciary who have handled, and continue to handle, these very emotional and contentious cases?

Senator Fairbairn: I do not believe in any way, shape, or form that there should even be a question of the Minister of Justice not having confidence in the judges. The issue that the government has been grappling with, and it is not a new question, was to try to bring about a better, fairer, and, in terms of the guidelines, a more flexible system within which the judiciary can work. I do not believe there is any suggestion on the part of my colleague or anyone else in the government of a lack of confidence in the judicial system at any level in this country which deals with these problems.

Human Resources Development

Record on Job Creation-Government Position

Hon. Erminie J. Cohen: Honourable senators, my question has to do with this government's dismal record of job creation. When elected in 1993, the Liberals had the answer for Canada's unemployed, and it was the infrastructure program. This $6 million plan would kick-start the economy and create countless thousands of jobs for the country's unemployed. We are well aware of the results of this $6 million boondoggle: canoe museums, monkey cages, and increased public debt for all three levels of government. Unfortunately, there have been very few jobs. In fact, if one were to take into account the tens of thousands of positions eliminated by the federal government in comparison with those created by the infrastructure program, I am afraid the net results are close to nil.

The government, aware of its failings, now has a new plan, albeit a somewhat less ambitious one, and that is to create summer jobs for Canada's youth. This is an admirable goal, but what about long-term jobs for those less youthful? Is the absence of a plan for these people simply an indication that the federal government has given up on these people? What happened to the dignity of a job?

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): The simple answer to my friend's question is that the concern for jobs, the creation of jobs, the finding of full-time jobs and the training for jobs remain at the centre of this government's policy.

I can perhaps obtain some further information for my friend on the cumulative effect of the infrastructure program. All too often we are enticed by headlines and news reports which pick out of the long list of accomplishments of this program; the accomplishments that may, here in Ottawa, within the confines of these illustrious walls, seem to be insignificant. I think of one example that happened last week in the Province of Alberta. A small community was ridiculed because it had as an infrastructure program the purchase of a community lawn mower. This was considered to be, perhaps, a waste of money.

I can tell my honourable friend that in communities large and small across this country, things of need to those communities have been made possible by combining the resources of three levels of government. In my province, the infrastructure program has worked through a laudable meeting of minds from these three levels of government so that, on a per capita basis, every community in Alberta, large and small, has benefitted from this program. The majority of the projects have been solid, traditional infrastructure programs. A week ago in my own home town, the most innovative infrastructure program in the country was launched at the university. It is an amazing high-tech operation requested by the federal government. There should be more such programs across the country.

Far from the infrastructure program being a dismal failure, I would say it has been a resounding success. Communities have admitted that it has helped them achieve not just jobs but assistance at a faster pace, and many have projects that they would not have had at all if it were not for this program.

On the larger issue, as the opposition well knows, in the course of the government trying to deal with the deficit and the debt, there have been difficult cutbacks in this country involving the loss of jobs. However, there has also been the creation of more than half a million jobs in the past three years. In the past three months alone, there has been a succession of job increases, which has created an impetus. Granted, the rate had been falling over the year to that point because of uncertainties in Canada and the volatility of the international markets. However, the growth of job creation is now picking up, as evidenced in the figures of the last three months. Because of this growth, a greater number of Canadians are out actively looking for work than has been the case in recent months.

Senator Cohen: I appreciate the leader's optimistic tone when describing her government's efforts.

Senator Berntson: That is her job.

Senator Cohen: Perhaps I am influenced by the dismal picture in New Brunswick with the seasonal workers and the problems we are seeing every day. However, I feel it is necessary to take the optimistic tone with a grain of salt given that the finance minister did not even have the courage to put any employment forecasts in his budget.

It was not that long ago that the then Leader of the Opposition, when campaigning for the job of Prime Minister, stood on Parliament Hill and called for the return of the good old days with jobs, jobs, jobs. The Prime Minister now blames business, in spite of his government's failure to create a positive business environment, and the Minister of Human Resources labels the unemployed as bored and lazy, and has no time for them.

Is this leadership? Is this hope?

Senator Fairbairn: The new Minister of Human Resources Development is taking a very aggressive attitude in terms of job creation.

Senator Berntson: He will do for jobs what he did for Pearson.

Senator Fairbairn: The minister is listening. He is listening to what is being said in New Brunswick and throughout Atlantic Canada, as well as in the larger centres of our country which also have seasonal worker difficulties. The minister has come to this job with an open mind. He has encouraged the committee in the House of Commons now studying the bill to bring forward ideas. He has said with regard to this legislation that he will not fixate on the status quo. He is open to amendments, including amendments on the issue of seasonal workers.


Unemployment Insurance Reform- Request for Establishment of Special Committee to Study unemployment insurance Bill-Government Position

Hon. Jean-Maurice Simard: Honourable senators, as a preamble to a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in December in this house, I read part of an editorial in L'Acadie nouvelle in which the writer regretted that the federal Liberal members and ministers from New Brunswick seemed happy to leave it to certain officials to defend the unemployment insurance bill.

The author added that, in his opinion, the two New Brunswick ministers were already hibernating in Ottawa rather than appearing in New Brunswick to explain the bill and to justify the measures cruelly affecting seasonal workers.


Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): I apologize to my honourable friend for interrupting him. I wish to understand the purport of his comments. However, I regret to say that the translation system does not appear to be working. Can it be restored so that I can hear the question that my honourable friend is asking?


Senator Simard: Honourable senators, I have decided to speak French. Are the translation and interpretation services working properly? I will start my question over again.

As a preamble to a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in December in this house, I read part of an editorial in L'Acadie nouvelle in which the writer regretted that Liberal members, and especially Liberal ministers from New Brunswick, seemed happy to leave it to certain officials to defend the unemployment insurance bill.

The author added that, in his opinion, the Liberal ministers, Robichaud and Young, among others, were already hibernating in Ottawa rather than appearing in New Brunswick to explain the bill and to justify the measures cruelly affecting seasonal workers.

We know from watching television that the two Liberal ministers have been to New Brunswick since December. There was a change in tactics. The Minister of Human Resources Development could listen carefully and with respect, and try to understand the concerns of the people of New Brunswick. We know him well in the Senate, because he lumped all the senators in with the profiteers. He has been around in New Brunswick since 1982. He has changed his style.

Last week, he called a Bloc member a "baveux." He has described workers in New Brunswick as taking advantage of the unemployment insurance pot. He has accused certain workers of being troublemakers, mercenaries at the head of unions, instead of listening to what New Brunswickers have to say.

A few days ago, Minister Young tabled what was previously called Bill C-111. In the past three or four months, he has had to listen. He did not change a word or a comma of the bill. I would like to know whether the political party represented by the government leader in the Senate is prepared to tell us whether the government would agree to a Senate committee or a special committee being set up to study Bill C-111?

The people of New Brunswick, and for the most part the people of Canada, have said - as the surveys indicate - that they support a real reform where the rights of seasonal workers would be respected. There is not total opposition to unemployment insurance reform. The people of New Brunswick are smarter than that. They prefer to be treated like worthy citizens.

Is the government, through the government leader in the Senate, prepared to set up this committee so that workers may be heard?


Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, we can have conversations in this house about the work of the committees which are already in place, and the possibilities of setting up new ones. However, as I said before, the bill, which the honourable senator maintains has not been changed since it was brought forward, is now in the hands of a committee on the other side. The minister responsible for the bill has indicated clearly that he is seeking advice and looking for amendments, and that he is concerned about seasonal workers. He has said that changes to the legislation might be brought about which could be of assistance. The parliamentary process that is currently in place very much reflects the concerns that are being expressed by the honourable senator in this house.

I will not get into the honourable senator's earlier remarks other than to say that, in my view, the ministers representing New Brunswick have been very much engaged in this issue in their communities. As well, they have been working very hard here in Ottawa to come up with alternatives. They are listening, and asking parliamentarians in the other place who are dealing with this bill also to listen, and to come up with suggestions.

As far as this house is concerned, honourable senators can discuss the work of committees to see how this issue can be developed. When we receive this legislation in the Senate, I suspect that it will be in a different form from that which exists at the present time.


Senator Simard: If I understand the Leader of the Government correctly, her response indicates that she is opposed to this, that her mind is made up. The House of Commons, in keeping with the Liberal government's plans, will have to continue its short-sighted ways. It refuses to give its support to a preliminary study, to inter-party consultations, and so on, so that there could be a committee, jointly with the House of Commons committee, one really responsible for studying Bill C-111 in the Senate. She tells us that the members of the House of Commons, Mr. Young included, are very open to amendments.

Why not have two committees? On this side, Conservative senators from New Brunswick and elsewhere would like to hear from workers affected by the reform, as would some of the Liberal senators. Could the Leader of the Government give us a glimmer of hope about the possibility of this committee being struck as soon as possible?


Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I think the honourable senator misinterprets my comments as being a refusal. I said no such thing. It has been the practice in this house for at least as long as I have been involved that every effort is made to consult and to discuss between the two sides of this chamber as to how we will go about our business. That is precisely what I was referring to in my comments.


However, I would reiterate that my honourable friend seems to be giving the impression that he believes that the door was closed on the other side; that it was signed, sealed and delivered and that the bill was a foregone conclusion. What I want to underline for him is that that is absolutely not the case. It is very much a situation of seeking guidance and advice. The minister has made it clear that he is looking forward to suggestions as to possible amendments in some of the areas which, clearly, are of great concern to senators on both sides of this house.

My honourable friend seems to be indicating that he believes that the process on the other side is a foregone conclusion. It is not.


The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I regret that we have gone several minutes over the time allotted for questions already. There were several addresses, and I must follow the rule.


Library of Parliament
Official Languages
Scrutiny of Regulations

Standing Joint Committees-Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following message had been received from the House of Commons:

Ordered,-That the Standing Joint Committees be composed of the Members listed below:

Library of Parliament

Adams, Gallaway, Karygiannis, Mayfield Mercier, O'Brien, Skoke-(7)

Associate Members

White (North Vancouver)

Official Languages

Allmand, Bellemare, Gagnon, (Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine), Godfrey, Marchand, Ringma, Serré-(7)

Associate Members

Leroux-(Richmond- Wolfe), Silye

Scrutiny of Regulations

Fillion, Harb, Knutson, Lebel, Lee, McTeague, Wappel, White (North Vancouver)-(8)

That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours of the names of the Members to serve on behalf of this House on the Standing Joint Committees.


The Clerk of the House of Commons

Code of Conduct

Special Joint Committee-Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following message had been received from the House of Commons:

Ordered,-That a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons be appointed to develop a Code of Conduct to guide Senators and Members of the House of Commons in reconciling their official responsibilities with their personal interests, including their dealings with lobbyists;

That seven Members of the Senate and fourteen Members of the House of Commons be the Members of the Committee, and the Members of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be appointed to act on behalf of the House as Members of the said Committee;

That changes in the membership of the Committee on the part of the House of Commons be effective immediately after a notification signed by the member acting as the chief Whip of any recognized party has been filed with the clerk of the Committee;

That the Committee be directed to consult broadly and to review the approaches taken with respect to these issues in Canada and in other jurisdictions with comparable systems of government;

That evidence adduced in the First Session of the Thirty Fifth Parliament by the Special Joint Committee on a Code of Conduct be deemed to have been laid upon the Table and referred to the Committee;

That the Committee have the power to sit during sittings and adjournments of the House;

That the Committee have the power to report from time to time to send for persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence as may be ordered by the Committee;

That the Committee have the power to retain the services of expert, professional, technical and clerical staff;

That a quorum of the Committee be 11 Members whenever a vote, resolution or decision is taken, so long as both Houses are represented and that the Joint Chairpersons be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and authorize the printing thereof, whenever six Members are present, so long as both Houses are represented;

That the Committee be empowered to appoint, from among its Members, such sub-committees as may be deemed advisable, and to delegate to such sub-committees, all or any of its power except the power to report to the Senate and House of Commons;

That the Committee be empowered to authorize television and radio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;

That the Committee make its final report no later than June 21, 1996;

That, notwithstanding usual practices, if the Senate is not sitting when the final report of the Committee is completed, the report may be deposited with the Clerk of the Senate and it shall thereupon be deemed to have been presented to that House; and

That a Message be sent to the Senate requesting that House to unite with this House for the above purpose, and to select, if the Senate deem advisable, Members to act on the proposed Special Joint Committee.


Clerk of the House of Commons

Business of the Senate

Reprinting of Rules of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Before I call the Orders of the Day, I wish to draw to the attention of honourable senators the new Rules of the Senate that have been delivered to you today. I point out that there are very minor changes. Only one rule has been deleted, which has made it necessary to renumber the remaining rules. However, there has been a complete revision of the index by the Library of Parliament, something which was requested by honourable senators.


Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming the debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Bacon, seconded by the Honourable Senator Rompkey, for an address to His Excellency the Governor General's Speech at the opening of the session.-(Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton). (1st day of resuming debate)

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my first words are for Senators Bacon and Rompkey for having proposed and seconded with much eloquence the motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech From the Throne. They are to be commended, in particular, for having been able to say so much about so little, for, in fact, while the speech contains many words, it has little content. No sooner was it delivered than it created much confusion which persists today.

Here is but one example: The speech states that the government will announce measures to double the number of student jobs this summer. The following day, however, the Prime Minister said, "That is why in the Throne Speech yesterday we announced that the federal government will be doubling its contribution to summer job creation." The government will claim, no doubt, that that was just an oversight, although in reality it is but one of many examples of a sloppy effort which, in addition, makes Canadians even more unaware of the government's plans to resolve the national unity issue than they have ever been.

I will resist the temptation to go over in detail the government's sorry record during the First Session of this Parliament. In summary, its most positive legislation was inspired by the Mulroney record, which meant a rejection of numerous key promises in the Red Book. Its own contributions are bleak: two back-to-work bills; legislation allowing intervention in international waters, notwithstanding any World Court decision which might eventually declare it in violation of international law; a bill that would have allowed the next election to be based on existing electoral boundaries, solely to satisfy a few malcontents in the Liberal caucus; a so-called gun control bill which is causing as many divisions today after its passage as it did before; a so-called veto bill which no one wanted and which has already been dismissed as meaningless; and, of course, the infamous Bill C-22 which branded innocent Canadians as unfit to seek the protection of the rule of law as guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution.

Not satisfied with trying to take away certain basic rights, the government even went so far as to strip away the presumption of innocence from a former Prime Minister by advising a foreign government that he was guilty of a criminal offence: this even before any accusation had been made in Canada.

This is not only a sorry record, but a disturbing one, as it reveals that nine years in opposition have done nothing to lessen the arrogance which is the principal trait of the Liberal Party of Canada. Indeed, it reaches new peaks on a regular basis. Honourable senators across the way, of course, will dismiss this remark as nothing short of blind partisanship. Let me remind them that it is shared by many associated with their own party, not the least by our colleague Senator Pitfield who, while speaking on Bill C-68, said:

Perhaps Ottawa is as arrogant as many people seem to think it is. Maybe we should examine our consciences....

To my mind, this bill shows that the Liberal Party still has to learn the lesson of the reversal it suffered in the 1980s.

What is even more disturbing than Canadians being subjected to a "big brother knows best" attitude is the government's incredibly erratic and contradictory policy, if it can even be called that, on the relations between the provinces and the national government. Until less then two weeks before the October 30 Quebec referendum, the Prime Minister was making his way through fund-raising dinners in Western Canada, reassuring his audiences that the No side would win in a landslide. He said, "Do not worry. Stay out of it, as all is well in hand." Suddenly, a few days before the referendum, he was on television talking of a crisis and pleading with all Canadians to get involved. In desperation, he made vague commitments to Quebec which were met by the recent distinct society resolution and the so-called veto bill, neither of which elicited more than boredom and disinterest from the vast majority of Quebecers. Since the referendum, the disarray in the government has only increased, and the Speech from the Throne has only served to underline it.

The appointment of two non-elected ministers from Quebec remind many of a similar event in the 1960s when Mr. Pearson went outside the Liberal Party to enlist three candidates from that province, one of whom was to become his successor and preside over the fiscal and constitutional messes which continue to plague this country. The comparison may be at least partly appropriate if the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs continues much longer in serving confusion and concern, which he has since the day he was named, as have a number of his colleagues led by the Prime Minister.

Plan A. Plan B. If Canada is divisible, so is Quebec. Maybe a national referendum, maybe not. What about a general election this year? The Supreme Court will rule on the right of secession. No, it will not - and so it goes, ever more disturbingly, as one common thread links all these confused and confusing utterances. The Government of Canada, whose principal role is to be the guardian of the federation, has actually entered the debate on the possibility of a province seceding from it, rather than engaging in its traditional and essential role of reconciling differences with, and between, the provinces to not only keep the federation together but to contribute to its evolution in light of constantly changing events.

The Speech from the Throne reconfirms how confused and inept the government is on the national unity issue. It grandly claims that it will not use its spending power to create shared cost programs in areas of provincial jurisdiction without the consent of a majority of the provinces. This is largely meaningless as the federal government's spending power is as negligible as that of the provinces. One only has to look at the demise of the child care program of the former Minister of Human Resources Development for the latest manifestation of what is obvious to everyone but the government.

There follows a whole list of what the government is prepared to do, as the speech pretentiously states, "to ensure that the Canadian federation is modernized to meet the needs of the twenty-first century," which is only a few years away. Not one is original, even less inspiring, much less a serious attempt to tackle the fundamental challenges of today because the government is traumatized, indeed is still in the same state of shock it has been in since October 30. What other conclusion can one draw after reading the following in the speech:


But as long as the prospect of another Quebec referendum exists, the Government will exercise its responsibility to ensure that the debate is conducted with all the facts on the table, that the rules of the process are fair, that the consequences are clear, and that Canadians, no matter where they live, will have their say in the future of their country.

What does all this mean? The government has yet to explain, at least with one constant voice, so we can only draw our own conclusions, each one as puzzling as the other. The government implies with little subtlety that the October 30 referendum campaign was not conducted with all the facts on the table and that the rules of the process were unfair. On what are these allegations based? The answer to the first is simple: If the facts were not all put on the table, it is because the federal government, until the last moment, detached itself from the campaign and even instructed its own supporters from outside of Quebec to stay out of the campaign. Non-Liberals are even less welcome, including Quebec members on this side who more than once offered to work with colleagues across the chamber. We never received a positive reply, but this did not stop Quebec Conservative senators from involving themselves actively in all facets of the campaign - fundraising, organizing, speech-making and much more - and each and every one of them deserves special commendation for his or her efforts.

As for the rules of the process being unfair, this was not heard after the 1980 referendum when they were exactly the same as they were last October. Blaming the process is simply an attempt to distract from the government's pathetic detachment from reality when it comes to reinforcing the federation. As recently as two weeks ago, the Prime Minister had the effrontery to say that "...we won with a crooked question." When asked what plans the government had on the question of national unity, he replied "...we have a plan. It is to keep Canada together..." When pressed, he added: "Tell me what will be the question, tell me when there will be a Quebec referendum, and I'll give you all my plans."

Honourable senators, this is the Prime Minister of Canada talking, indicating that his plans hinge on the timing of the referendum and its question. Such a comment would be dismissed as ludicrous coming from anyone else, but when spoken by the leader of Canada's national government it bares for all to see that not only has he no plans, but the absence of them is the result of not even knowing what he should be planning for.

I cannot agree more that all Canadians should be involved in determining the future of their country, but must this participation only be limited to times of momentous decisions? Is the government so ignorant of Quebec and so bereft of initiative that it can only react to events, rather than initiate them?

Outside of Quebec, the government may find advantage in identifying as separatists those who voted "yes" in the October 30 referendum, but only at the expense of reality. Quebecers by an overwhelming majority want to remain part of Canada. In 1976, they voted in René Lévesque, not for his separatist convictions at the time but because they had had enough of the outgoing government, and Mr. Lévesque never forgot this, much to the dismay of the hardliners in his party, many of whom, led by Jacques Parizeau, abandoned him.

In 1980, many who voted "no" in the referendum did so because they had faith in the then Prime Minister's commitment. In 1993, many voted for the Bloc Québécois because of disenchantment with both the Progressive Conservative and Liberal Parties. In 1994, many voted for the Parti Québécois for the same reason as they did in 1976. Last year, much of the "oui" vote was to reconfirm a desire for a redefinition of Quebec's place and responsibilities within the federation, a sentiment which has been expressing itself in various forms for over 100 years, and which is shared in other provinces, albeit in different ways.

Since 1960, the dissatisfaction with the federal system has manifested itself with particular intensity, no matter what the political priorities of the government in place. Objections, as I have mentioned, go back much further, but only in the last 35 years or so have they been expressed with such passion and conviction, and none more so than by those who want to remain in Canada.

This government, however, largely ignores these voices of moderation, traumatized as it is by the voices of separation. What is so frustrating to Quebec federalists is that as Mr. Trudeau dismissed Mr. Bourassa in the most crude terms, Mr. Chrétien neglects the apprehensions of Mr. Johnson, whose commitment to a renewed federal system could not be more pronounced.

There is one sentence in the speech which suggests that the Liberal Party's blinkered approach to the federation may be softening. When referring to Quebec as a distinct society and to regional vetoes, the speech claims that "the government supports the entrenchment of these provisions in the Constitution." This is as categorical as one can get in expressing a goal. What is missing is how it will be met. April 1997 will be upon us before we know it, particularly if preparations and intentions for the constitutional conference which must be held at that time are not soon made public. The Senate can play a major role in developing a federal position, and I urge the government to react enthusiastically and quickly to Senator Beaudoin's earlier attempts to set up a committee to establish guidelines and propositions intended to lead to a positive and fruitful meeting in 1997.

Whatever the nature of the government in Quebec, whatever its political orientations, the fact remains that being part of the federation is what the vast majority of Quebecers want, and it anxiously awaits the federal government's recommendations in light of long-standing demands by Quebec federalists, as opposed to separatists, and other provinces.

The speech speaks of a first ministers meeting "in the months...ahead to put into place a common agenda for change to renew Canada." This, at last, appears to be a recognition that change in the terms of the federation is in the making. Better late than never, I suppose, but it is getting late, and only the shock of the October 30 results has finally stirred the government to move out of its lethargy.

The ruminations of an academic-become-neophyte politician have only confused, not clarified, while those of the Prime Minister and others raise concerns about the vacillation of a divided government at a time when strong and firm leadership on the unity issue at the federal level is so longingly sought. Let the government, at least for once, swallow its pride and recognize that opposition to the Meech Lake agreement, which is what the Speech from the Throne was not too subtly referring to, was a terrible mistake. In one of his few unambiguous statements, Minister Dion is to be commended for having recently said in British Columbia that a distinct society clause is an interpretive one; it does not confer any special powers and does not modify federal-provincial sharing of powers. That is why entrenching it will not solve much except give legal recognition to an obvious fact. What is required is agreement on the division of jurisdictions, and it is on this that the federal government must concentrate in order that its proposals be known and discussed as widely as possible, and well in advance of the meeting a year from now.

There is one paragraph in the Throne Speech which is unequalled in its pretentiousness, to use a mild word. "Ministers," it says, "have insisted upon the highest standards of integrity and honesty in fulfilling their mandate." This statement is contradicted, in fact, by many occurrences, some of which I have already mentioned, and I want to expand for a few minutes on a glaring one, that is, the Senate inquiry on the Pearson contracts and the government's constant hampering of the committee's attempts to get all the facts. I do this with the knowledge that Liberals would prefer to put this behind them, having heard enough of how Robert Nixon came to his wrong conclusions, which were picked up blindly and with equal disregard for the facts by government members on the committee. I do not intend to go into the committee report and the minority opinion today, as I still intend to introduce an inquiry, which is the more appropriate process for discussing the matter. Today, for anyone who still has illusions about the fairness of this government in treating with its opponents, I would point out how the committee was constantly hindered in its search for the truth, and how supporters on that committee were given preferential treatment. Let me just give four examples.


First, in early September, the committee was advised that while there were still many documents to be released, they were incidental to any evidence to be given by remaining witnesses. The government nonetheless promised to release them promptly.

In fact, they were only delivered to the Clerk's office some two months later, on Friday, November 3, at four o'clock in the afternoon. No advance notice of this was given, and, contrary to earlier assurances, many of the documents were highly relevant. The following Monday, Liberal members of the committee were more than familiar with some of them, and their interpretation of them indicates that they had been thoroughly briefed over the weekend. Conservative members, on the other hand, had little or no time to review the documents and so were at an obvious disadvantage on the last day of the hearings.

Second, many documents were edited by the government using the most generous interpretation of the Access to Information Act. For instance, one document suffered a number of deletions under section 23 of the act, that relating to solicitor-client privilege. When the unedited copy was received, it turned out that what had been whited out were not legal opinions but the lawyer's names. More troubling, however, is that on at least two occasions, government members of the committee had unedited copies of documents while opposition members and committee staff were issued edited copies. "Inadvertence" was the lame explanation, one about as fanciful as "honest mistake" used by the former Heritage Minister in explaining why he wrote to the CRTC on behalf of a constituent.

On more than one occasion, it was suggested that committee counsel, upon taking an oath of confidentiality, be given the opportunity to review uncensored documents to ensure that such inadvertence, oversight, honest mistake, call it whatever you want, not reoccur. The government refused, preferring to entrust the task to an outside legal firm and a group of forensic accountants totally agreeable to doing the government's bidding, and which cost the taxpayers over $1 million in return.

Third, this government, which was then in waiting, having yet to be sworn in, and without permission from the out-going government, did not hesitate to give access to Treasury Board documents to Robert Nixon and his immediate associates after they had signed a confidentiality agreement; documents which, according to their own testimony, contributed in no small measure to the Nixon report conclusions and recommendations. To better appreciate these, opposition committee members asked to see the Treasury Board submissions and were refused as the government invoked the principle of cabinet confidentiality, although, by the admission of those who had access to them, the documents contained factual analysis, a long way from politically sensitive cabinet records.

The same documents, which were refused a parliamentary committee holding hearings in public with witnesses' testimony under oath and on the record, were made available to a person hired to justify the campaign promise to cancel the Pearson agreements by interviewing selected witnesses, for the most part unsympathetic to privatization, whose testimony, if it can be called that, was heard behind closed doors with no record taken of their remarks.

The last example, and there are many more, including the government's refusal to cooperate in a parliamentary inquiry, was the committee being forced to issue summons in order to have Justice Department lawyers testify, when twice they had refused to appear voluntarily.

What can we conclude from this? Simply this: Having taken the decision in haste to cancel the Pearson contracts, without even bothering to have them examined by professional unbiased experts, having introduced legislation to confirm the cancellation and deny the rule of law to those affected by it, the government expected that, by a mudslinging campaign, it would quell any attempt to challenge two highly questionable decisions. We now know the result: a completely discredited Nixon report - even its author has wisely refrained from commenting further on his embarrassing document - and a universally condemned bill. The government's reaction to the establishment of a Senate inquiry, despite the government leader's assurance of full cooperation, was to make every effort to deny key witnesses and documents to the committee while privileging its supporters on it. It could not have done this had a judicial inquiry been set up, as we urged over and over again, and now explains why an independent inquiry was refused in the first place.

Despite all of this, the committee report is a result of factual evidence given by parties on all sides who at no time, except when Mr. Nixon and two associates made unfounded allegations and insinuations based on unnamed sources, concurred with repeated charges of favouritism and such outlandish charges as "the fix was in," but I do not intend today to discuss the findings themselves. My purpose is to draw attention to the crude manner in which the government tried to stonewall the committee, an event which is deserving of an inquiry by itself, as what happened last summer could well repeat itself whenever the Liberal government has a vested interest in seeing that certain facts are not revealed in order to mask its true intentions and their impact.

Finally, I have a few words on the role of the opposition now that the so-called Tory-dominated Senate is no more, much to the relief of the Liberal Party, which had never learned to adjust itself to being denied a majority in one of the two houses much less in both. Only time will tell whether Canadians will be better off with a Liberal-dominated Parliament at a time when the opposition in the House of Commons has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the traditional role it is required to play in our parliamentary system.

I commend all colleagues on this side for the responsible way in which they conducted themselves over the last two years at a time when voting down certain government legislation could have been accomplished with ease, and also undoubtedly with widespread public support.

Contrast this, honourable senators, with the approach taken by the Liberals when they were in the same situation, particularly from 1988 onwards. Every major piece of Conservative legislation was systematically objected to, a few even returned to the house more than once with numerous amendments. The GST debate was but the climax to a persistent campaign of deliberate obstruction which completely ignored decisions of elected representatives. Even worse, however, is that once they had formed the government, the Liberals never proceeded to amend legislation to meet objections they so vehemently stated when in opposition. Pharmaceutical companies have not had their patent protection period reduced, the NAFTA enabling legislation was passed without any change whatsoever, and of course the GST remains. What has happened to those heartfelt amendments the Liberals introduced here in the fall of 1990? I think in particular of the one proposed by the now government leader which would have exempted reading material from the GST.

The latest spin is that it is really all the provinces' fault. Listen to what the Finance Minister was quoted as saying on March 12 when he complained that they refused to sit down with him to discuss harmonization:

The fact is, I can't negotiate alone. I really do believe it's incumbent upon provincial governments to recognize that Canadians want to have a single tax.

How arrogant can this government get? The inability to meet an attractive but highly irresponsible campaign promise - to eliminate the GST - is now being blamed on the provinces who refuse harmonization, regardless of the fact that their own studies, which have not been contradicted by the Finance Minister, indicate that harmonization would largely benefit the federal government. That, I suppose, is exactly what Mr. Martin expects the provinces to accept, he being too obviously not attuned to the fact that the good old days of "big Liberal brother knows best" have been gone for some time.

As an opposition majority, we at no time attempted to kill government legislation, quite a contrast with the strategy adopted by our predecessors when they were in the same position. We did, however, deliberately delay the adoption of two bills, Bill C-22 and Bill C-69, hoping that the government would take occasion to amend them in line with objections which could not be challenged seriously. The reasons behind these objections need not be repeated here. They are well known by now and as valid today as when first enunciated. I just hope they have registered with the bill's sponsors and that they will not be tempted to reinstate the bills simply because the numbers in this chamber appear more favourable to them.

When on the other side as government members - I digress a bit here, but I think it is appropriate to raise it - we supported the concept of pre-study. Each time a motion was made to approve one, the Liberal opposition voted against it, maintaining that participation in the elaboration of legislation before it was sent over by the House would undermine the independence of the Senate.


While respecting this argument, I do not support it, since one of the Senate's main functions, if not its main function, is to contribute to better legislation. Surely any government would be the poorer for not accepting this input at the earliest stage possible, especially when a bill is complex and controversial. The current one which comes to mind, of course, is Bill C-12, commonly known as the U.I. bill, and which the government wants to see in force on July 1, according to the Speech from the Throne. Senators who have concerns about Bill C-12 as presently drafted are not all on this side - far from it - and recognizing that continuing reform of social security legislation as initiated by the Mulroney government is essential, pre-study by the Senate can only lead to recommendations aimed at reconciling differences between numerous, directly affected parties, something which Bill C-12 fails to do.

Honourable senators, debate on the two bills I mentioned, and on other bills, should have been initiated in the House of Commons. There, sadly, the recognized opposition parties agree on only one thing - each wants to be the official opposition. Thorough examination of government legislation is usually secondary to this, and gone are the days when the official opposition was described as a government in waiting. We now have one which does not even aspire to govern, being satisfied with finding ways to undermine the federation, while the other opposition party seems quite ready to prepare for a Canada without Quebec, which happens to be the only circumstance under which it would have the remotest chance of electing a majority in the house.

Honourable senators, I will not be so pretentious as to suggest that the Progressive Conservative opposition in the Senate can fill the vacuum created by the Bloc Québécois and the Reform Party in the House of Commons. I can argue, however, that had it not substituted itself on occasion for its elected counterpart, Canadians would today be saddled with odious legislation which would have created dangerous precedents. Whatever our numbers, we shall not flinch from playing that role again whenever the occasion requires.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable colleagues, I have listened with great interest to my honourable friend, the Leader of the Opposition. Whereas on many occasions we agree, I suspect today that our two speeches will suggest that we have been operating definitely out of two different rooms.

I wish to say, honourable colleagues, that when the Governor General read the Speech from the Throne, I am sure he did so with a certain amount of pride at returning to his roots in the Senate. I believe that is a pride shared by all of us who still think of him as a colleague. First of all, I want to congratulate him and Madam Fowler-LeBlanc for the feeling of openness and warmth which they bring to their duties. It is reflected in all of their public appearances, whether it is officiating at an awards ceremony or a sporting event, visiting a school or a hospital, or speaking in a small community or on a state occasion such as the one on the day of the Speech from the Throne.

I also wish to congratulate both Senator Bacon and Senator Rompkey, the mover and the seconder of the motion for the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, for their eloquent and moving remarks about this country and the challenges we face.


Senator Bacon reminded us that, while we can be proud of our accomplishments as a country, and I quote:

We would be wrong to rest on our laurels, because nothing is ever won for good. We cannot allow ourselves to neglect our country.

Senator Bacon also reflected the message in the speech from the throne by saying that change must take place in the context of Canadian values. She linked the present to the past in very convincing terms.

Canada was born of a very difficult economic period and even thrived on this difficulty, through the will of its citizens. The time has come for Canadians and their leaders to rediscover their history and to return to the sources of our grandeur, strength, values and our country's origins.


Honourable senators, I also wish to say that our friend Senator Rompkey, who is not with us today, has challenged us in his comments with a maritime allusion to setting a new course despite the difficult waters we must deal with in realizing the challenges that this country faces, and the strength with which we can meet those challenges.

He reminded us as well that the world is watching Canada. It is watching, sometimes mystified, as we look within ourselves at our problems. People around the world are seeking our leadership. They are confused at why we are having difficulties when we are so competent and have such a record of helping warring parties elsewhere in the world.

We will, of course, accept the challenges and meet them as we have always done in the past. In that sense, perhaps, we may all wish to reflect on the words of one of our great prime ministers, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who, in 1904, at 62 years of age, told the first annual meeting of the Canadian Club of Ottawa:

I cannot hope that I shall see much of the development which the future has in store for my country, but whenever my eyes shall close to the light, it is my wish - nay it is my hope - that they close upon a Canada united in all its elements, united in every particular, every element cherishing the tradition of its past, and all uniting in cherishing still more hope for the future.

Honourable senators, if there is a uniquely Canadian set of values it is our tolerance for different cultures, religious beliefs and ways of life. It is our respect for each other, our generosity and our sharing which have set this country apart and which will continue to guide our progress as a nation.


Nevertheless, there is no question that the referendum result in Quebec has challenged this country as never before. It has forced us not just to talk about who we are as a nation but to become activists in setting out creative plans to build for the future together a strong, united and independent Canada. It is not only Quebecers who are looking for a change; it is Canadians right across this country. We must devote the time remaining in the current mandate to establishing sustainable economic and social security within a renewed federation. There is an enormous strength in the diversity of our people, and our history together has been our success in that that diversity has worked as a positive rather than a negative force for Canadians.

Honourable senators, the basics in our country do not change. Citizens in every part of Canada want their governments to work together to modernize our economy and our social safety net, particularly to make sure it is sustainable for the future. They also want to make sure that it continues to reflect the values of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and that includes a strong central government to respect the interests of all its citizens.

As the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons during debate on the Speech from the Throne:

The Fathers of Confederation also provided for a single national government, elected directly by all Canadians, that speaks and acts directly for all Canadians on the great issues of the day. In the 21st century that national government will be as important as it has ever been.

It is clear, however, that the federal government does not have to be involved in everything to ensure that Canadians are receiving the services they need in the best possible way. With this in mind, we are proposing to make changes in the way governments work, including transferring responsibilities such as transportation to local, regional or private sector organizations; withdrawing from certain important fields of activity in labour market training, in mining and in forestry; and setting up new federal-provincial partnerships on joint management arrangements that can be applied to food inspection, social housing and even tourism.

A first ministers conference is planned to consider creating better ways for both levels of government to work together to create jobs, to secure the social safety net and to discuss a common agenda for renewal. My honourable friend opposite may say it is almost too late, but I would say to him that this is a strong commitment to move ahead together in this country.

Honourable senators, all of these issues are part of the larger effort to maintain the unity of this nation. We intend to move forward on establishing a better and more rational delineation of how our respective governments should operate.

Honourable senators know as well that in this Parliament we have already acted in other ways, particularly when we moved to meet the commitments made during the referendum. The Senate and the House of Commons joined together in a parallel resolution to acknowledge, on behalf of the government and Parliament, the reality that Quebec is a distinct society within Canada, and those resolutions are now guiding principles for the legislative and executive branches of government.

Parliament also passed legislation guaranteeing that no constitutional amendment would be brought forward by the government without the consent of every region of Canada. This was done by the Government of Canada placing its veto power, which it exercises through its position in Parliament, at the disposal of the five regions. Last December, this initiative was described as a bridge to carry us through at least until April 1997 when there will be a first ministers conference reviewing the amending formula for our Constitution.

In the Throne Speech, the government announced as well that any new national cost shared programs in areas of exclusive provincial responsibility will require the agreement of a majority of provinces to go forward, and those provinces choosing to opt out will be compensated if they have equivalent programs.

Making structural changes to government is only a partial solution to renewing the Canadian federation. We must also be willing to invest time and energy in renewing the spirit of unity. In Montreal last October 27, tens of thousands of Canadians from inside and outside Quebec raised their voices and opened their hearts on behalf of communities across this land. The message was unmistakable: We love this country, Quebec is part of this country, and we want it to endure and to prosper.

Honourable senators, we can do that by celebrating all that we have in common and better appreciating the differences which make us unique, and we must do it with conviction, determination and unquenchable optimism.

Today I must say that the Leader of the Opposition has presented, to put it mildly, a somewhat pessimistic view of the government's proposals for change and the government's record to date. He used words like "bleak," "sorry" and "disturbing". He said that we are in a state of shock, that we are traumatized. Well, he was just as pessimistic two years ago when he responded to the Speech from the Throne. What he consistently refuses to recognize is that we have made very real progress since then. Members opposite have devoted much of their time in the past two years to questioning the validity of the commitments that we made in our election program. However, the fact remains that more than three-quarters of those commitments have been kept. We have moved steadily forward on a number of critical fronts.

Our first task was to establish a sense of trust by restoring the integrity of our political institutions. Central to that was our commitment to pursue a balanced strategy to produce jobs and growth and, at the same time, systematically reduce the deficit. We have stuck to that plan. Job creation, as I said earlier in Question Period, will remain at the forefront of this mandate and most certainly carry forward into the next election and beyond, because we have to get those unemployment figures down.

We are not pretending that there is not a tremendously difficult state in this country with the number of Canadians who are without work. However, we must concede as well that those unemployment figures have decreased two points in the past two years. Great progress has been made in that time, thanks to the economic surge of 1994 with the creation of more than half a million jobs in this country, most of them good, full-time work. It is true that volatility in international markets and political uncertainty at home have combined to slow that pace in the past year. However, now there are hopeful signs of economic growth ahead. Indeed, there have been strong advances in jobs created over the last three months.

Honourable senators, we are not simply talking statistics here, percentage points; we are talking about people's lives. Therefore, we cannot ignore the reality that rapid technological change sends a signal to all governments that reliable, old economic tools may no longer be enough to produce the best results. A different mix of initiatives may be required to crack what has been called a jobless recovery, and all governments must be prepared to shake off the dust and explore such change.

One thing is certain: No one government, no one political party, no one sector, no one leader can make the system work for Canada and Canadians. This is an era of partnerships, be they public, private, political, economic, social or individual, and the message of the government and the Minister of Finance has been, and continues to be, that in order to be able to get Canadians back to work, create jobs and ensure economic confidence and stability in our social programs, we must restore the fundamentals of our economy to a position of strength and predictability.


Since 1993, much has been done to achieve that goal: Inflation is down to 1.3 per cent on an annual basis, lower than it has been in decades and lower than it is in most other countries; interest rates, as reflected in the 5.5 per cent Canada bank rate, are once again down, following their rise during the Quebec referendum period.

Honourable senators, like it or not, the deficit has been steadily reduced. It was $42 billion in 1993-94. This upcoming fiscal year, we will have achieved our goal of a deficit equal to 3 per cent of GDP. Mr. Martin has pledged that, by 1997-98, it will be down to $17 billion, or to 2 per cent of GDP.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Lynch-Staunton: That will cheer up the unemployed in New Brunswick!

Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, the Leader of the Opposition wants me to explain that to the unemployed in New Brunswick.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: That will cheer them up.

Senator Fairbairn: Well, my honourable friend should know, from the rhetoric that has been used by his own party, that unless we get the deficit down, there will be no satisfaction or hope for the people who are unemployed in New Brunswick and elsewhere in this country.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Do it on the backs of those who can least afford it. Forget the banks. Do not tax the banks. Let the banks make $2 billion and the unemployed lose $2 billion.

Senator Fairbairn: Perhaps, honourable senators, it is getting a little bit under the skin of our friends opposite that, for the first time in years, forecasts are being met, forecasts are being realistic.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear! Hear!

Senator Lynch-Staunton: The GST has not been replaced; that was the forecast.

Senator Fairbairn: There is a heck of a difference between $42 billion in 1993 and $17 billion a couple of years from now. That will put our deficit at the lowest level relative to GDP since the mid-1970s; it will move irrevocably towards our goal of a balanced budget, and that is what we are trying to achieve.

Honourable senators, we went into the 1993 election with a plan for the deficit. We have followed that plan. Our forecasts are not only being reached, they are being exceeded. This was a pivotal commitment to Canadians and we have kept our word.

We will soon be in a position to cut back on the funds we must borrow to finance government spending. This will reduce our vulnerability to world money markets and make progress towards restoring our economic sovereignty, which has been relentlessly chipped away over the last decade. In very short order, Canada will rank as the lowest borrower among the G-7 central governments.

Honourable senators, deficit reduction and debt reduction are not merely ends in themselves. They lay the groundwork to pursue the priorities which have been set out in the Speech from the Throne and followed up in the budget. Three areas have been highlighted in particular for their significant potential in terms of economic and social dividends down the road. These are international trade, technology, and youth.

I think Canadians have been generally impressed with the Team Canada trade efforts led by the Prime Minister, in partnership with the majority of premiers in this country. In nation after nation, in the Pacific Rim and China, in India, in Latin America, politicians and business people came together to open doors and opportunities for Canadians abroad. This has resulted in the signing of trade agreements worth billions of dollars, which will not only enhance our export position in the world but will translate into thousands of jobs for Canadians here at home.

The government intends to do a great deal more to help our businesses pursue market opportunities abroad. The Export Development Corporation will receive $50 million in equity to support innovative approaches to export financing. It is believed that annually as much as $500 million of additional loans could be supported to assist Canadian exporters. The Business Development Bank is also receiving a $50 million injection of new equity which will allow it to lend up to an additional $350 million to knowledge-based, exporting and growth businesses that find it difficult to obtain loans from commercial sources.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is the role of government.

Senator Fairbairn: Another priority effort will be to focus on new technologies as we position ourselves for the new world of the 21st century. Honourable senators, it will be a world unlike the one in which many of us, perhaps most of us, have grown up and pursued our goals. We had a certain sense of security because the changes in our lives followed a measured pace, allowing us the time to adjust to them. However, we are now in the short end of the nineties, a decade in which the speed and complexity of change is, for some, overwhelming, bewildering, even frightening, and for others bold, challenging, and incredibly exciting.

No one person can escape the new demands on individuals, no one government can avoid the urgency of new solutions, and no country can withstand the necessity of a new kind of competitive edge to protect and advance the well-being of all levels of its society.

Honourable senators, there is no time to argue about whether or not we should join the dance. The real question is whether or not we can keep up with the pace.

We truly are at the heart of a new revolution. Canada has a world-class high-technology sector. We are the leaders in telecommunications and aerospace and we have huge investments in high-tech in other sectors, such as transportation, medicine, software development, agriculture, mining, and forestry. The information-technology and telecommunications industries in this country employ 340,000 people nationwide, and in 1993 they generated upwards of $50 billion in revenue. We are able to compete with the best in the world.

The $250-million Technology Partners Canada Program, outlined by Industry Minister John Manley, is designed to help Canadian firms become more innovative and more competitive internationally and to encourage research and development in high-tech projects in Canada. A key objective is to level the playing field with foreign competitors who are backed by their country's technology programs. This program is designed to leverage private-sector investments that are two to three times the $250 million per year of government funding.

Honourable senators, this is not new spending. It is fully funded by reallocations from within our current fiscal framework. These technologies will play an enormous role in giving young people a head start. We have a computers-for-schools program now which has moved 12,000 used computers and 20,000 software packages into our public schools and libraries across this country. Another $30 million over three years is being added to expand the Schoolnet program which will link Canada's 16,000 schools and 3,400 libraries to the information highway. For those who come from rural areas, the Schoolnet program also includes a community access component, which is aimed at helping some 1,000 rural communities prepare for and participate in that information highway. This initiative is also being expanded.


The government, in partnership with the private sector, is also hiring over 2,000 newly graduated students who know all about computers, and they will help small businesses to learn how to use the Internet to develop, refine and sell their own products and services.

This focus, honourable senators, ties into that third area, namely, a new emphasis on helping young Canadians to become active participants in our economy. Our commitment to young people in this country is absolutely critical. They need training, they need connections, and they need jobs. Youth unemployment is not unique to Canada; it is a worldwide problem. It is clearly troubling, not just to the individual young people but in terms of the imprint that they must have the opportunity to place on the future development of this country.

In the past two years the Government of Canada has helped more than 1.2 million young Canadians to find jobs, to gain practical work experience, to choose careers, to open their own businesses and to further their education, and we must do much more. Over the next three years, $350 million in reallocated funds will be committed to youth employment programs. We will double the contribution to summer jobs for students from $60 million to $120 million annually. The remaining funds will be used to enhance the opportunities for young Canadians in emerging growth areas of the economy such as information and environmental technologies.

In addition to increased student loans, the government will also provide an additional $80 million for an increased education credit, enhanced registered education savings plans, a broadened child care expense deduction for students, as well as increasing the limit on the transfer of tuition and educational expenses. The government is already offering direct support to those who need practical work experience in getting a job with an internship program, with the hope that that will lead to full-time employment. We also have Youth Services Canada, a program to create work opportunities for young people in their own communities.

Some of these projects are especially geared to meet the needs of young people who are at high risk, or those who face added barriers such as drug abuse or violence in the home by getting them involved in community projects. Included among them are young people who lack the literacy skills necessary to deal with day-to-day life, let alone the demands of the technological revolution that we are asking them to join.

If I may stress an issue which is so very important to me, the question of literacy, it was very interesting to note that, last December, the OECD, for the first time ever, completed a comparative study among all of our friends and competitive partners in that organization, led, I might say, by Statistics Canada. That study showed the clearest picture ever of the linkage between literacy and the opportunities of individuals to find a job, to keep a job, and to build on greater opportunities. Honourable senators, we will learn a great deal more about that study in Canadian terms as the Canadian portion of it is released in the months ahead.

Honourable senators, with all of this, we have other commitments equally as compelling. In the words of the Speech from the Throne, economic growth is not an end in itself. Government has the obligation, in accordance with basic Canadian values, to ensure security for Canadians in a rapidly changing world. Our legacy to future generations must include assurance for all Canadians, wherever they live, that there will be a modern and accessible health care system, that a helping hand will be available when a helping hand is needed, that a public pension system will be there to support people in their old age, that our environment will be protected, and that Canadians will be safe in their homes and in their communities.

These words of intent were quickly followed by action in Mr. Martin's latest budget, and it begins with children. We had a discussion during Question Period today about child support, and this matter goes to the heart of the priorities that the government is placing on children in this country. When families separate, parents struggle emotionally and financially as they go their separate ways to re-establish individual lives, but it is the children of that failed union who inevitably suffer the most.

The new child support package is designed to give priority to the needs of those children. New guidelines will be introduced to help parents, lawyers, and judges set fair and consistent child support awards in divorce cases. More emphasis and resources will be devoted to enforcement agencies to ensure that support is paid in full and on time. Finally, following on the recommendations of the federal, province and territorial family law committee, child support payments will no longer be taxable to the recipient parent or deductible to the payer.

Every dollar of increased revenues that the government receives from this tax change will be reinvested directly back into the system for the benefit of children. This includes doubling the maximum working income supplement from $500 to $1,000, and approximately 700,000 low-income working families, a third of them single parent households, will receive additional benefits as a result of this increase.

The second critical element of this government's commitment to the social safety net is the Canada Health and Social Transfer. It is within the CHST that medicare lives. Our health care system is one of the fundamental advantages of this country. It is the program which, above all others, has helped define the very nature of the society in which we wish to live. To all of us, it has become a basic right of Canadian citizenship, and one of which we on this side are fiercely proud.

As the Prime Minister has said many times, we will not surrender to those who insist that making economies in health care includes different treatments for those who cannot afford to pay. Last month, Prime Minister Chrétien said the government will ensure that the health system will be there for all Canadians, rich and poor alike. We will maintain substantial cash transfers through the Canadian Health and Social Transfer to ensure that the federal government always has a strong say in medicare, and is able to preserve free, universal access to health care anywhere in Canada for every Canadian. For this government, both maintaining and enforcing the five principles of medicare are absolutely fundamental. We will work with all Canadians to preserve and enhance it.

In addition, the government will legislate a five-year funding arrangement for the CHST which will see the first growth in these transfers for health, post-secondary education and social services since the mid-1980s. Based on a formula tied to economic growth, overall CHST entitlement will increase from $25.1 billion in 1997-98 to $27.4 billion in the 2002-03 fiscal year, and the federal government will provide an iron-clad guarantee that the cash component will never fall below $11 billion during that five-year arrangement.

Another critical element of our social safety net obviously is our public pension system. We have pledged our assurances that our pension plans will be safeguarded for our children and for future generations. That is why we have begun discussions with the provinces, and ultimately with Canadians, to ensure that the Canada Pension Plan will be sustained.


We also intend to ensure that the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement programs are protected for the future, and we will do this by replacing those two programs with a combined seniors' benefit beginning in the year 2001.

Last September in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister made a commitment that we do not intend to cut the Old Age Pensions of people who are currently retired. His words are reflected in the new benefit. Everyone 60 years or over on December 31, 1995, will have the choice of moving to the new system or of receiving the OAS and the GIS payments as they are currently structured. They can choose whichever they believe to be more advantageous to them. For those applying in the future, the vast majority will be as well or better off, including three-quarters of all seniors and nine out of ten single senior women. Furthermore, both the benefit levels and the threshold will be tax free and fully indexed to inflation.

The agenda outlined in the Speech from the Throne and followed quickly by the budget is ambitious, and it is necessary in terms both of a direct impact on the lives of individual Canadians and the unity of this country. Parliament has a challenging task ahead and as a legislative chamber the Senate will play a critical role in dealing with this program.

My friend opposite, the Leader of the Opposition, fell prey for a moment to the media hype that this is now a Liberal-dominated Senate. Everyone in this house knows that is not the case.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: I said a Liberal-dominated Parliament.

Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I think my honourable friend was also saying that perhaps now, with changing numbers, the opposition might have greater freedom to continue with what they rightly believe is their responsibility to oppose and to make new proposals for the legislative program of this house. We must remember that the house is almost evenly divided, which places a particular responsibility on every individual senator.

During the past two years, there has been a great deal of discussion on both sides about how our committee system could be strengthened and made more flexible in order to respond effectively to concerns of Canadians. Indeed, senators have made a very special contribution over the last two years in a variety of areas, including the special study on euthanasia, the treatment of aboriginal veterans, the future of Canadian agriculture, changes to Canada's financial institutions, a number of energy and environmental issues and our continuing challenges in the areas of international trade and, yes, even an in-depth study of the Pearson airport issue.

There have been strong representations in this house about devising opportunities for independent senators to have a more defined role in our committee structure. Clearly, there is a mood for change in this chamber, and I have asked our Deputy Leader to place a special priority on carrying this forward through our Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders. I would certainly be supportive of proposals which would enhance the ability of all senators to apply their experience, their wisdom and their innovative ideas to the difficult tasks which face not only Parliament but Canadians in all regions of this country.

Regardless of some of the comments made earlier, I would like to thank all of our colleagues in this house for the general spirit of cooperation and courtesy which has prevailed in the work that we do together. Obviously we have our moments of disagreement and frustration, and I am as prone to those tendencies as anyone else in this chamber; just as prone to them as the Leader of the Opposition. However, I hope we can fulfil our responsibilities in the session ahead with the greatest possible degree of cooperation and compromise while doing the job of carefully reviewing and improving, when necessary, the legislation before us.

I can assure you, honourable senators, that I will do my part to encourage a positive and a productive working atmosphere because, in spite of the constant references that we hear all the time to cynicism and apathy - sentiments with which I personally do not agree - I believe that Canadians still look to those in public life to give them leadership and to provide reassurance on the important issues which have a direct impact on their lives. Whatever our political differences, we are indeed colleagues in this place and we cannot leave any doubt to those whom we serve that our priority is to work together to advance their interests and the interests of the country which is their home. That is our challenge, and I believe that all of us in this chamber share a commitment to pursue it with vigour and goodwill.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

On motion of Senator Berntson, debate adjourned.

Address in Reply-Motion for Termination of Debate on Eighth Sitting Day Adopted

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of Wednesday, February 28, 1996, moved:

That the proceedings on the Order of the Day for resuming the debate on the motion for an Address in reply to His Excellency the Governor General's Speech from the Throne addressed to both Houses of Parliament be concluded on the eighth sitting day on which the order is debated.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

Canadian Human Rights Act

Bill to Amend-Second Reading-Debate Adjourned

Hon. Nöël A. Kinsella moved second reading of Bill S-2, to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act.

He said: Honourable senators, this morning the Canadian Human Rights Commission issued its 1995 annual report. There are a couple of important passages in that report which provide me with a starting point for my explication of Bill S-2.


On page 15 of the French version of its report, the Canadian Human Rights Commission states that respect for human rights has lost ground, and I quote:

It is somewhat disconcerting for the Commission to have to criticize the government once again for not making a number of important amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act. What is particularly disturbing is that the proposed amendments are considered to be most sensitive for a reason that is essentially inappropriate. We understand that there may be limits to what can be achieved at one time to further the cause of human rights in Canada. We are nonetheless totally convinced that, by giving the impression of avoiding some changes for fear of arousing controversy, the government is sending a message that is totally out of line with its objectives.



Honourable senators, on page 15 of its report, the Human Rights Commission goes on to say that:

To the contrary, we believe that it is now more crucial than ever that the Federal Government be clear how it intends to reconcile the pursuit of equality with its other responsibilities. Above all, we suggest that the projection of a unifying vision of Canada, where diversity and equality are two sides of a single coin, depends on an equal readiness to go to bat for all minorities. If the Federal Government shows signs of hedging on the anti-discrimination rights of homosexuals or disabled people, for instance, or any of our ethno-cultural communities, then the equality rights of other groups can also come into question. Consistency may well be the hobgoblin of little minds, but human rights by their nature are not divisible; a willingness to buy peace at the expense of the least powerful or vocal is a slippery slope for all of us.

The commission continues:

It is an open secret that a large part of the Government's reticence to proceed with amendments to the Act stems from a perception among some critics that the inclusion of sexual orientation as a prohibited type of discrimination would amount to special treatment for homosexuals. Nothing could be further from the truth; it is here and now that they are victims of special treatment by being excluded from the lawful protections that are extended to other Canadians. This not only undermines Canada's much vaunted claim to be a leader in human rights, it is a failure in moral logic and a near-public repudiation of the rights of many law-abiding and tax-paying Canadians.

Honourable senators, I commend for your reading the report of the Human Rights Commission issued today. It is pregnant with excellent observations which I am sure honourable senators share.

The Canadian Human Rights Act is an anti-discrimination statute which proscribes and forbids discrimination against persons in such areas as employment and public accommodation, and on a number of specific, forbidden grounds of discrimination. Thus, it is forbidden to discriminate against a person in the area of employment which falls under federal jurisdiction only because of that person's race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

Each of the aforementioned proscribed grounds of discrimination is explicitly stated in the Canadian Human Rights Act with the exception of the ground of sexual orientation. This latter ground has been read into the Canadian Human Rights Act by the order of the Ontario Court of Appeal in the case of Haig v. Canada.

Honourable senators, the purpose of this bill is to insert into the Canadian Human Rights Act that which the courts have already declared to be the law of Canada. By passing this bill, Parliament will discharge its responsibility to ensure that the statutes reflect the law, and to make the law accessible to all.

This bill, honourable senators, is identical, comma for comma and word for word, to Bill S-15, which was passed by the Senate in 1993. That bill was sent to the House of Commons but died on the Order Paper after second reading in the House of Commons because of prorogation of Parliament.

Let me focus for a moment on the principle of this bill. In doing so, I will draw on the supporting testimony given by the Deputy Minister of Justice, the Chair of the Human Rights Commission, and the Director of the Human Rights Centre here at the University of Ottawa, as they all appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs which examined Bill S-15 during the spring of 1993.

The first question to be raised is this: Is this a good amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act? In response to questioning by our colleague Senator Stanbury, Ms Mary Dawson, the Associate Deputy Minister of Justice, stated:

We think the time is right and that these are good amendments. In fact, they are largely reflective, we think, of the existing state of the law given the Charter, because sexual orientation is considered to be one of the unwritten parts of section 15. Therefore, we feel the amendments to 2 and 3 -

- of the Human Rights Act -

- are good amendments.

Honourable senators, that quote can be found at page 42 of proceedings 27.5 of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 1993.

That this bill makes a good amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act was also the clear view of the Human Rights Commission, and also the clear view of the Canadian Bar Association.

A second question to be answered is this: Is this legislation necessary, given that the courts in the case of Haig v. Canada have determined to "read into" the Human Rights Act sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination? In her answer to this question, the Associate Deputy Minister of Justice stated:

By putting sexual orientation into the act, it makes it clear. I mean, it is everyone's intention that there not be discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. When you have a list of eight or ten items in the Human Rights Act already, and sexual orientation is an important one, why not list it? I think that the case law is clear that it is covered in any event, but it adds a comfort level, and makes the issue visible in such a way.

On this point, Professor William Black, who was then Director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Ottawa, in a letter to the committee dated May 28, 1993, stated:

If the act is not amended, I believe there is a risk that Courts will narrowly interpret the Canadian Human Rights Act when they consider complaints based on sexual orientation. For example, statutory defences and related grounds such as family status may be interpreted in a way that provides less protection to a complainant without an amendment. In addition, if the statute does not explicitly cover discrimination based on sexual orientation, public awareness and education is undermined.

Honourable senators, a third matter is one that flows from the previous question but speaks to the responsibility of the Parliament of Canada in making as clear as possible what the law is. If I may again learn from the wisdom of our colleague Senator Stanbury, he stated:

It seems to me that one of the duties of the legislature is to make as clear as possible and as obvious as possible what the law is. A person should not have to read that act and then go back and read a bunch of court judgments to find out what the law is. Once the judgments have been made, particularly in a case like this where there have been actual directions, or at least suggestions by the various tribunals as to what should be done, then surely it is the responsibility of the legislature to make it perfectly clear within the legislation and make it easy for people to understand what the law is.


Senator Beaudoin rightly indicated, when speaking at the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the May 27, 1993, that:

The Supreme Court of Canada has said in at least three cases that it is not only the courts that are concerned with human rights, it is also the Parliament of Canada. Therefore, why don't we say very expressly and clearly what is already interpreted by the courts?

Honourable senators, that the Senate should be the house of Parliament where this bill is initiated and, given the difficulty that some members of the other place have in responding to this issue, perhaps we can see in this special circumstance the Senate responding to the need for the protection of a minority of Canadians, which is perhaps more difficult, and perhaps we can understand the difficulty faced by members of the other place if they were to be advocating and promoting this amendment.

It is worthy and important to note that the basic principle underlying this bill has been accepted and enacted upon by most of the provincial and territorial human rights acts across Canada. The majority of jurisdictions have had sexual orientation on the list of prohibited or proscribed grounds of discrimination for years. It was way back in the mid-1970s when the Province of Quebec made the first amendment to their Human Rights Act to provide for this prohibited ground. Surely, it is high time that the federal anti-discrimination statute catch up with the provinces and the territories.

I might point out that the inclusion of sexual orientation in the list of prohibited grounds has not been a matter of misunderstanding or lack of clarity for definition. The justice department officials stated that "sexual orientation" is the more common term and that they had no problem at all with the phrase. All the provincial and territorial human rights acts that have had "sexual orientation" in their statutes have had no difficulty with interpretation.

We are dealing strictly with the proscription of discrimination, prohibiting a burden. We are not granting any special privilege. This bill deals in a technical and straightforward way with discrimination, and all amendments in this bill are internal to the Canadian Human Rights Act. It has no amending effect on the question of spouse or marital status covered by other statutes or policies.

I, along with other honourable senators, am somewhat surprised when I hear those who object to this amendment to the federal Human Rights Act, claiming that this is a terrible thing to do because it will affect marriage. We all know marriage is something that falls under provincial jurisdiction, and the Parliament of Canada has no jurisdiction there.

Successive reports, including the report issued this morning by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have recommended that this amendment be enacted. Parliamentary committees, those of all parties, including the Equality for All Report and a series of ministers of justice, including the current Minister of Justice, have supported the principle of this amendment. There have been a variety of reasons to explain why successive governments have not been able to see this amendment through to enactment. The Senate, I believe, is well placed now to break the logjam in the early days of this session of Parliament, to once again give unanimous approval to this measure and send it to the House of Commons at an early date. It may well be that, as a result of Senate leadership, the members of the other place would want to exercise a free vote on the measure, notwithstanding that it is a policy supported by the Minister of Justice and many of our colleagues opposite.

Hon. Ron Ghitter: Would my honourable colleague respond to a question?

Senator Kinsella: Certainly.

Senator Ghitter: Have the honourable senator's views with respect to the legislation changed in light of the judgment of the Alberta Court of Appeal some three weeks ago, in which it was suggested that the courts should not interfere with the will of the legislatures, and, considering the fact that the legislatures had not passed that legislation, that they should not read sexual orientation into the Charter? In bringing this legislation forward, would it not, in fact, result in a higher degree of urgency now that the Alberta Court of Appeal has made that judgment?

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, the Honourable Senator Ghitter is correct in his analysis, notwithstanding that the decision in Alberta was directed at the Alberta Individual Rights Protection Act, a provincial statute, whereas the Ontario Court of Appeal was addressing the Canadian Human Rights Act.

We have the decision of a higher court which indicated that reading in is one of the remedies available, whether it be this act or some other act. However, perhaps the case in Alberta has added some confusion to the situation, thereby creating some urgency that Parliament make clear what the federal Human Rights Act provides.

On the motion of Senator Milne, debate adjourned.

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend-Second Reading-Debate Adjourned

Hon. Anne C. Cools moved second reading of Bill S-3, to amend the Criminal Code (plea bargaining).

She said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to my motion for second reading of Bill S-3, to amend the plea bargaining provisions of the Criminal Code and thereby asking the Senate to take conclusive action to excise a legal and political malignancy which has grown in our midst. My Bill S-3 is necessary because Canadians are shocked at the depravity and brutality of the sexual slayings of three teen-age girls by Karla Homolka and her husband Paul Bernardo, and because Homolka's prison sentence is inadequate to her crimes, and finally because her sentence and her secret trial and her secret plea bargain deals with the Crown prosecutors have created moral and political doubts in the public's mind. Most important, these doubts and uncertainties have resulted in a crisis of confidence in the administration of criminal justice in Canada. This Senate action will restore stability and public confidence.

The object of Bill S-3 is the dismantling of the Homolka plea bargain deal and the imposition of a more representative sentence that fits her crimes. In forming the Homolka plea bargain agreement, prosecutorial discretion was exercised by Crown prosecutors in a flawed manner and founded on unsound ground. Simply put, the prosecutors chose to favour Homolka over Bernardo, for reasons which I shall show.

This plea bargain agreement, and any plea bargain agreement, is not a contract in the ordinary sense. It is not a contract in law, the breach of which could result in a civil suit for damages. It is unclear whether this or any plea bargain agreement is a contract at all. The force behind this agreement is not the law of contract but the honour of the Crown. No judge is bound by such agreements. The question before Parliament is whether such an agreement, its protection and its benefits to Homolka is a valid agreement in law, and whether such agreement should continue to receive the force of law and the support and honour of the sovereign.


The plea bargaining process is new to the administration of criminal justice in Canada. Such agreements are at the discretion of the Crown prosecutor, and their development largely follows no formal procedure. This informal process needs some light shed on it. Parliament should investigate.

Plea bargain negotiations contain the potential for collision between judicial independence and prosecutorial discretion, and an enormous collision between Parliament and the courts. Consideration of Bill S-3 will inform Parliament on the state of this process, its workings and results, and even the proportion of these agreements that miscarry or misfire.

The Homolka deal is a terrible mischief. This deal and its consequences are unconscionable and intolerable, and must be amended by statute. I propose, honourable senators, that we the Senate correct this terrible public mischief that has been visited upon the people of Canada; that we correct this very public and obvious miscarriage of justice. We must pass this law redressing this menace and insult offered to the families of these girls, to the people and to the Crown of Canada.

Honourable senators, there were two Homolka deals: The first deal was fixed in May of 1993, the second in May of 1995, two years apart. The first Homolka deal was negotiated and consented to by Murray Segal, Director of the Crown's criminal law office, on behalf of then Ontario Attorney General, the Honourable Marion Boyd. It received judicial action and approval by Mr. Justice Francis Kovacs of the Ontario Court General Division on July 6, 1993, in the short, speedy trial of Homolka. The trial lasted mere minutes. The deal was weighted heavily in Homolka's favour and was strictly adhered to by Mr. Justice Kovacs. The joint submission of both the Crown and defence counsel, and Mr. Justice Kovacs' reasons on sentencing, laid bare the horror of this case and the Ontario Attorney General's handling of it.

Mr. Justice Kovacs' adjudication and ruling complied with the intent of the prosecution's deal and its forgiveness of Homolka. As an experienced justice of the Ontario court, Mr. Justice Kovacs' judgments and judicial action are enigmatic. His adjudication had the effect of largely exonerating Homolka, exempting her from punishment. Judicial action shielded her and insulated her from the penalty suited to her crimes.

Mr. Justice Kovacs deferred to prosecutorial discretion, which deployed the concept of the battered woman's syndrome to diminish Homolka's culpability. Honourable senators should understand that this is unusual, because the battered woman's syndrome is frequently offered as a defence, never by the prosecution; very unusual.

Parliament must uphold two fundamental principles of sentencing: The first principle is the specific deterrence of the accused, namely that the length of a sentence must prevent the individual from committing another crime. The second is the protection of society in that the sentence must be sufficiently long to protect society from danger from the accused. Moreover, sentence length reflects society's abhorrence of the crime.

In sentencing Homolka, Mr. Justice Kovacs acknowledged this principle. He said:

I keenly appreciate the community must be satisfied the sentence reflects the necessity for the protection and safety of the community. ... I understand the righteous outrage which the community feels, and properly so.

Remember that this is 1993.

Having declared these principles, Mr. Justice Kovacs immediately abandoned them, in deference to certain other considerations, saying:

It is the Court's responsibility to be objective and to consider the very special circumstances of this case and this accused. There are serious unsolved crimes, here... There can be no room for error in the successful prosecution of the offender...

Clearly, Homolka is not the offender. The prosecution of Paul Bernardo, the offender, was a mitigating factor for Mr. Justice Kovacs.

Honourable senators, a judge's role is the adjudication of the person charged and the application of the principles of sentencing to the charges in the case. His primary concern is the case at bar and not other "circumstances." In addition, the independence of the judiciary was questioned as Mr. Justice Kovacs allowed his judicial discretion to be fettered by prosecutorial deference and prosecutorial discretion. He deferred. This encumbrance on his judicial obligation is made clear in the submissions of Mr. Murray Segal, the Crown prosecutor during the Homolka trial, who said that:

... the Crown is satisfied that Karla Bernardo had the necessary intent and involvement to found murder charges,... but as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, you have before you manslaughter charges...

Honourable senators, there was not one Homolka deal but two. At the time Mr. Justice Kovacs adjudicated the trial of Homolka, there was one. During the trial of Paul Bernardo, Homolka's true involvement and culpability were revealed, and her true role in these terrible offences was made manifest to all Canadians.

Canadians must know the extent of the Honourable Marion Boyd's personal role and interventions in this affair. Ms. Homolka was exceptionally well treated by the Attorney General's office, which treatment is curious and troubling. The first deal, made in 1993, granted Homolka immunity from certain prosecutions, fixed a lenient sentence, and forgave certain offences, including culpability in the death of her own sister, Tammy. Though she was never charged with this killing, an extremely unusual procedure happened that day in court. Her court hearing documents her culpability, thereby precluding charges from ever being laid. All the circumstances of her culpability in her sister's death were read into the record.

The second deal, two years later in May of 1995, granted additional immunity for other crimes, and forgave other offences undisclosed in the first plea bargain.

A disturbing fact is that Bernardo's lawyer, Ken Murray, acquired and secretly kept certain videotapes, critical evidence in the prosecution's case, and failed to give them over to the police. Consideration of this bill will allow us to cross-examine Mr. Murray. His activities are no internal matter reserved exclusively to the preserve of the legal profession and the law society. This is a matter for Parliament. Parliament should decide a fitting penalty for such activity by an officer of the court.

In The Toronto Sun newspaper on October 10, 1995, Christie Blatchford, regarding Crown attorney Jim Treleaven's memo dated May 26, 1995, reported that:

"Had Murray turned the tapes over to police as he, as a lawyer, was obliged to do," Treleaven wrote, ongoing plea bargain talks with Walker likely "would have ceased"...

Prosecutor Treleaven's statements are belied by the fact that the Crown prosecutor made the second deal in May, 1995, four days before Bernardo's trial and Homolka's testimony for the Crown in that trial. Coincidentally, that took place minutes before a provincial election as well. Everyone has forgotten that. The Crown made this second deal to shield her from prosecution for other undisclosed criminal acts perpetrated against Jane Doe, another teenager. This second deal is even more suspicious. Christie Blatchford in The Toronto Sun tells us why on October 10, 1995, saying:

Four of Ontario's highest-ranking law officials unanimously agreed that there was "a proper basis in law" for charging Karla Homolka with aggravated sexual assault in the "extremely grievous" attack on a young woman who can be identified only as Jane Doe...

Blatchford continued:

... despite the fact there was evidence to charge the 25-year-old, now serving the 12-year sentence that is the result of her original plea bargain, the senior officials advised the police not to bother. ... when one of them, Niagara Regional Police Chief Grant Waddell, indicated he was prepared to lay a charge regardless of the high-powered advice, ... he was told the government would "stay" the charge - in effect refuse to prosecute it.

Blatchford also reported that, in Treleaven's memo addressed to Inspector Vince Bevan and Detective-Sergeant Tony Warr, Treleaven made it clear that:

... he was writing on behalf of Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael Code and his two fellow regional Crowns, Leo McGuigan and Jerry Wiley, and that he had assistance from Murray Segal, ... and George Walker, Homolka's lawyer.

The secret document shines some light on the way government officials were thinking of Homolka, shows that she and her lawyer were still playing hardball last May, and provides the first solid evidence that the Jane Doe decision came out of myriad concerns - some political, some practical, and most having little to do either with the law or the strength of the case against Homolka.

Blatchford suggests that the second agreement was a second miscarriage of justice, executed to sanitize and justify the first, therein to protect their political position.


Homolka's trial before Mr. Justice Kovacs was riddled with extraordinary circumstances and statements that reveal the special treatment accorded Karla Homolka. Crown prosecutor Murray Segal, in his submissions on sentencing, articulated the Crown's position:

The Crown's assessment, based on a review of such psychiatric evidence, is that absent the influence and association of someone whose behaviour bears the characteristics of what truly may be one of this province's and the country's most feared individuals, she is unlikely to re-offend.

In his submission, Karla Homolka's lawyer, Mr. George Walker, mirrored Segal and stated:

Now, she's going to be placed in a penitentiary setting. She is going to have some difficulties, that's obvious. Twelve years is not an insignificant period of time, given the fact that she's 23. She's certainly not street wise nor is she institution wise.

A characteristic of this case has been the intelligence and brain power that these people employed to escape detection. Yet, here we are in a court of justice, with people telling us she is not street wise.

Mr. Justice Kovacs, in his reasons on sentencing, reveals his thinking. He was very careful in what he said. If you read the judgment, you will see that every single word that came out of the judge's mouth was very careful. He said:

I have read carefully the reports of:

(a) Dr. A.I. Malcolm, a psychiatrist, dated May 28, 1993.

(b) Dr. H.J. Arndt, a psychiatrist, dated May 30, 1993.

(c) Dr. J.A. Long, a clinical psychologist, dated June 3, 1993, in respect to the accused.

Mr. Justice Kovacs read from these reports into the record:

Dr. Malcolm's opinion page 7: "Now my opinion is that Karla is not a dangerous person." ...and at page 4, he said, "I had no doubt that Karla was a passive, non-violent person..."


Dr. Arndt, in saying that she is not a danger to society, said in his report as well: ... "I do not see her as being a danger now or ever again to society ..."


Dr. Long, after administering numerous psychological tests on the accused, said at page 10 in his report: "... she is not a danger to herself nor to anyone else..."

You should read this transcript. It is exceptional.

Mr. Justice Kovacs relied on the unanimity of these three doctors' opinions that Karla Homolka was not a dangerous person. Yet, in his comments on the aggravating factors, he admitted to the conduct of the accused, saying:

It was not isolated conduct. The acts leading to the abduction of Kristen French were coldly and calculatingly planned, with full participation of the accused. ... The facts leading to the death of her own sister indicated planning on her part. The accused obtained the anaesthetic which was used to keep the victim unconscious...

He also stated:

The careful attempt to cover up the circumstances of the death of Tammy Homolka and the meticulous and planned attempts by the accused to eliminate evidence of the deaths of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.... It goes to the consciousness of evil thought processes of the accused.

Of course, we must wonder why three girls are dead if Homolka was not dangerous.

Despite the horrendous crimes requiring his judicial scrutiny, Mr. Justice Kovacs deferred to prosecutorial discretion. Simply put, the Crown prosecutors favoured Homolka over Bernardo because she was a woman, and such seemed politically appropriate in the political atmosphere of May 1993.

Mr. Justice Kovacs declined to use his powers to delay Homolka's parole, saying:

I make no order under s. 741.2 of the Code for an increase in the time of a parole ineligibility. I make no such order because the length of sentence is the most important factor in the Crown's submission, and I agree. ... I do not wish to hamper the treatment of the accused by imposing a period of ineligibility for parole.

The prosecutors' position in shielding Homolka from responsibility and punishment for these heinous crimes because of gender and the prosecution's advancement of the claim of Homolka's "battered woman's syndrome" was diabolical. During the Bernardo trial in 1995, Mr. Justice Patrick LeSage, unlike Mr. Justice Kovacs in 1993, resisted this characterization.

Honourable senators, the Senate should know why the Crown made these assertions of battered woman's syndrome in this nefarious case of this notorious and obvious multiple murderer. It is perplexing that the Ontario Attorney General's office and its experienced Crown prosecutors have been participants in this deceit. Homolka's deceit is a stark example of a peculiar female criminal aggression conjoint with deadly craftiness and deception.

Honourable senators, experienced Crown prosecutors and criminal justice officials are informed that the deceit and the manipulation by certain particular female aggressors upon the judicial system is quite common and very well known to those of us who have worked in the system. I shall cite two cases briefly.

The first case is the Charles Manson case. Linda Kasabian, a former girlfriend of Charles Manson, whose idea it was to commit the Sharon Tate murders, escaped trial because she agreed to testify against Manson and the other defendants. Consequently, she enjoyed immunity from prosecution.

The second case is the infamous and horrible Moors murder case in England. Myra Hindley and her boyfriend raped and killed five children. Before they murdered a 10-year old girl, they took pornographic photographs of this poor child and made tape recordings of her screams for mercy. One writer, a brilliant writer whom I recommend, Alix Kirsta, in her book, Deadlier Than the Male, described Myra Hindley as an "archdemon" saying that:

...she remains... a salutary reminder of corrupt femininity...

Writers Christie Blatchford of the Toronto Sun and Patricia Pearson of The Globe and Mail have exposed Homolka's successful deceits. They have probed the peculiar aggression and deception of the Homolka type of offender. In August 1993, Pearson wrote in an article entitled, "How Women Can Get Away With Murder":

According to studies done in both England and the United States, women who commit violent crimes receive lighter sentences than their male counterparts.


Females who kill in league with male partners are often seen as "nice girls" who were forced into it. That's why their sentences are lighter.

She quoted Candice Skrapec, a scholar in the field of serial homicide, who said:

I believe...that many homicide cases remain unsolved... because the offender was falsely assumed to be male.

Patricia Pearson was prophetic about Homolka when she said in August 1993:

The issue has come to the fore again with the manslaughter conviction of Karla Homolka in the killings of Ontario teen-agers ... Whether Ms Homolka is one of these "nice girls" remains an open question.

Honourable senators, our committee must hear from both Blatchford and Pearson.

Honourable senators, the two Homolka deals, the Attorney General's alleged interference with police, the activities of the Crown prosecutors and the judicial compliance of Mr. Justice Kovacs, the fact of the coalescence of these errors, oversights, deceits, in combination with the public's sense of abandonment are sufficient and compelling reasons for parliamentary action.


Clearly, the Crown, counsel and the judiciary have failed. I ask honourable senators to support this initiative and to pass Bill S-3.

On motion of Senator Graham, for Senator Wood, debate adjourned.

Tobacco Product Restrictions Bill

Motion for Reinstatement Withdrawn

On the Order:

That notwithstanding any Standing Rule or Order of this House, the following Bill, introduced as Bill S-14 in the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament, be reinstated forthwith in this Session in the following manner:

An act to restrict the manufacture, sale, importation and labelling of tobacco products (The Tobacco Product Restrictions Act), be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, read a second time, and referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:

Hon. Stanley Haidasz: Honourable senators, I seek leave to withdraw this motion standing in my name.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion withdrawn.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: I should like to remind honourable senators that the official photograph of the Senate will be taken tomorrow at two o'clock. I believe that advice has been sent to all caucuses. I would ask you to be in your seats on time. As well, I should like to advise the staff and the employees to be in the north gallery at 1:50 p.m.

The Senate adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.