Hon. Janis Johnson: Honourable senators, after several years of
negotiations, Icelandair has now achieved landing rights in Canada. A memorandum
of understanding was signed between the two countries in September of 1995
allowing Icelandair to operate a scheduled international service to Canada. The
memorandum is the first of its type to be concluded since the introduction of
new provisions for foreign carrier access under the federal government's
international air transportation policy.
This month marks the beginning of these regularly scheduled flights.
Icelandair will fly every Tuesday and Thursday from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to
Reykjavik, Iceland's capital.
Last Tuesday, May 21, I flew on the inaugural flight of the airline from
Halifax International Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland, at the invitation of
Icelandair. Our delegation was composed of leaders of the Icelandic community in
Manitoba, which is the home of the majority of Canadians of Icelandic descent.
Our group included the Honourable Eric Stefanson, Manitoba's Minister of
Finance; the Honourary Consul for Iceland in Manitoba, Mr. Neil Bardal; the
President of the Icelandic National League, Mr. Laurence Johnson; Mr. Justice
Kristjan Stefanson, and Dr. and Mrs. Irvin Olafson.
A host of activities was held for our group when we arrived in Iceland. We
were greeted by the Icelandic ambassador to Canada, Einar Benediktsson, and
Steinn Logi Bjornsson, the Vice-president of Sales for Icelandair. We met with
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Halldor Asgrimsson, toured Reykjavik,
Thingvellir, the home of the first Icelandic Parliament, which is the oldest in
the western world, and visited the Westman Islands.
An official dinner was held for us by Prime Minister David Oddsson at his
residence, and a banquet was held for us by the Chairman of Icelandair and
Eimskip, the Icelandic steamship company, Hordur Sigurgestsson. The excellent
hospitality was coupled with discussions about Iceland and the business, trade
and tourist opportunities that this new access to Canada will provide. In
particular, visitors from the Nordic countries in Europe will increase in the
Atlantic provinces due to Icelandair's services, and it will give both areas new
economic opportunities in shipping, fishing and trade.
In conjunction with our visit, the flight brought over Canadian business
people who had an opportunity to learn about Iceland and to build contacts in
the country. They also held a trade show about Nova Scotia during their stay in
Icelandair's regular flights out of Halifax will add a new and significant
dimension to the development of trade opportunities for Atlantic Canada. These
flights will also assist in building stronger relations between Canada and
Iceland, a relationship already begun by the Icelanders in Manitoba long ago.
I urge honourable senators to visit this most unique and fascinating country
which, despite its small size and population, has worked wonders with its
fishery, human and natural resources and has produced the most literate nation
in the world.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, in the event that I have an adjournment motion, I should like to ask
for leave to revert to the rubric Government Notices of Motions later this day.
By way of explanation, honourable senators, it is our intention to call Bill
C-12 first under Government Business. There are a number of senators who wish to
speak to that bill. We will then call Bill C-28, and I understand that a number
of senators wish to speak on that bill as well.
As a result of discussions between both sides, we have arrived at the
understanding that any votes on both Bill C-12 and Bill C-28 will be called by
5:30 p.m. today.
Hon. Eric Arthur Berntson (Deputy Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, my colleague opposite and I visited on this question of
adjournment more than once last evening and again this morning. There is already
a house order dealing with Bill C-12, which states that we shall vote on it no
later than 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, unless otherwise agreed to. The other motion that
was dealt with last night limits further debate on Bill C-28 to an additional
Therefore, it seems that the most efficient way to deal with these
proceedings is to follow what has been set out by Senator Graham, rather than to
come back tomorrow to clean up the votes. Six hours is six hours. The most
efficient way to deal with it is to put the matters consecutively.
As I understand it, the agreement is that we will deal with Bill C-12 as the
first order of Government Business this morning. If debate is concluded on that
item, the vote will be called this afternoon. Bill C-28 will then be called, and
the debate on second reading will continue until its conclusion, or after the
expiration of six hours, whichever comes first. Then we will go through the rest
of the Order Paper. Presumably, we will get to some of the work on the Order
Paper. In any event, the votes on Bill C-12 and Bill C-28 will occur no later
than 5:30 p.m.
We agree to revert later today to Government Notices of Motions under Routine
Proceedings in order to deal with the adjournment motion.
Committee Authorized to Meet
During Sitting of the Senate
Hon. John B. Stewart, for Senator Kirby, with leave of the Senate and
notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce have
power to sit later this morning at eleven o'clock, Thursday, May 30, 1996,
even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended
in relation thereto.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: May we have an explanation?
Senator Stewart: Honourable senators, neither Senator Kirby nor
Senator Angus could be here at this hour. The committee has planned a meeting
with representatives of the Customs Excise Union. Senators may remember that
some time back there was an integration of two branches of the Department of
National Revenue, the Customs and Excise Branch and the Tax Branch. The Banking,
Trade and Commerce Committee, as I understand it, has arranged to meet today
with the representatives of that union, the president and four vice-presidents,
who have come to Ottawa to describe how this integration has worked out.
It is the fact that these people have come to Ottawa at the request of the
committee and are here now awaiting to serve the committee that makes it
desirable that the committee have authority to meet later this morning.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Notice of Motion to Authorize
Committee to Meet During Sitting of the Senate
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Friday, May
31, 1996, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have power
to sit at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, 1996, even though the Senate may then
be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
Marine Atlantic-Increase in Rates
for Shipping Pulpwood-Government Position
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate. In the past few days I have been advised of a
serious situation in Western Nova Scotia that could have a detrimental impact on
the economy of that region. For many years, pulpwood producers have used the
services of Marine Atlantic to transport pulpwood to Maine. Marine Atlantic has
decided to increase their shipping rate by 73 per cent.
After some discussions, Marine Atlantic agreed to reduce the rate increase to
37 per cent, which is still far too high for producers who are struggling to
maintain markets and desperately needed jobs in the forestry industry, an
industry which is operating on a marginal basis as it is right now.
Producers are certainly willing to absorb reasonable increases and have even
offered to go on a stand-by basis with their product, which means that tourists
and perishable goods such as fish would have first access to the space. That
proposal was also rejected by Marine Atlantic, which would rather have empty
space on the vessel than accept stand-by, despite the fact that stand-by is a
well-established practice in the airline industry.
I ask the minister if she will undertake to intervene in this serious matter
and speak with her colleague, the Minister of Transport, so that he can have a
discussion with Marine Atlantic so they can see the error of their ways.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I will pass my honourable friend's question and suggestions on to my colleague
Marine Atlantic-Increase in Rates
for Shipping Pulpwood-Effect on Employment in Nova Scotia
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: I have a supplementary question. I wish to stress
the urgency of this, because we have a small window of opportunity. The vessel
is now operating with empty space and will do so for the next few weeks. Unless
Marine Atlantic recognizes its errors now, the window is fast closing, and it
will be too late. I would ask the minister to look at this urgently, because
60,000 Nova Scotians have lost their jobs and are looking for work right now.
This number is in fact growing. We must have fast action on this matter.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
if my honourable friend will send me the facts that he has outlined in his
question today, I will transmit those today to the office of my colleague, the
Minister of Transport.
Investigation into Sale of Airbus
Aircraft to Air Canada-Civil Action for Libel-Invocation of Canada Evidence
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have a question for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate.
According to yesterday's Ottawa Citizen, the issue ofMay 29, 1996, the
RCMP commissioner, Mr. Murray, in a very strange course of action, attended an
editorial board meeting of the same newspaper, at which he said that the
government would invoke the national security aspect of the Canada Evidence Act
in the hopes of being exempt from answering questions in the civil case launched
by Mr. Mulroney.
In a case of national security, which would normally involve things that
would threaten the security of the nation, such as acts of subversion or
terrorism or political violence, it seems to me that invoking the act would not
just be the decision of the Solicitor General, the client in this case, Mr.
Gray, but would require the decision of the Minister of National Defence or
perhaps even of cabinet itself.
Could you enlighten us concerning who is making these decisions on behalf of
the Government of Canada in these matters?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I read the same story in The Ottawa Citizen yesterday. I also went back
and re-read the press release that had been put out by Commissioner Murray when
seeking an extension of the hearings.
Commissioner Murray has indicated that the course of the hearings might have
an impact on or impede the progress of the investigation which is undertaken
within the RCMP. I do not have them before me, but in the statements of the
judges in the two cases when those extensions were turned down, there was an
indication that, if circumstances warranted during the course of the hearings,
there were other mechanisms that could be used.
Ultimately, however, it will be the court that will decide -
Senator Lavoie-Roux: Well, let the court decide, then.
Senator Fairbairn: It will be the court that will decide the
appropriateness of the use of these mechanisms. If it is seen at some point that
there is a conflict, it will ultimately be the judge and the court that will
decide what applies.
Senator Tkachuk: I asked who makes these decisions. Surely we have
someone who is responsible for making these decisions on behalf of the
Government of Canada.
The client in this case is the Solicitor General and the Government of
Canada. They are being sued. Other people can be sued, but in reality the
Government of Canada has been sued. The Solicitor General obviously has to be
leading this court case on behalf of the Government of Canada.
This was not just a case of a press release going out; there was an editorial
board meeting of TheOttawa Citizen at which these matters were
When you make a decision not to answer questions because of national
security, does that not require other people in addition to the Solicitor
General to help make that decision? Perhaps they were worried about terrorist
acts or violence in the streets over this matter. Perhaps he would have
consulted the Minister of Defence or maybe the Prime Minister himself.
Surely someone must be in charge of this thing. We have been running around
here talking about this person or that person, but sooner or later the
government must say the Solicitor General is in charge and is making the
Did he make this decision on his own, or did that require consultation with
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I was not party to the
discussions that went on with the editorial board of TheOttawa
Citizen. I do not know the context of those discussions.
Senator Doyle: Oh, oh!
Senator Fairbairn: The quote that has sparked my friend's interest -
and indeed others' interest - is a quote purported to be from Mr. Murray.
We have no intention of bringing forward aspects of the criminal
investigation in any civil case.
There cannot be any decision at this point in time to invoke the Canada
Evidence Act, because nothing has transpired in the course of the case. When the
case proceeds, if there is a moment when there is a perceived difficulty by the
RCMP with what is taking place in the courtroom and what is taking place within
the RCMP investigation, as perhaps the judge even recognized that there could
be, presumably, at that point in time, there will have to be discussions within
the court. Ultimately, the judge and the court will decide.
Senator Tkachuk: I have one more supplementary question. I do not want
to get into any technical terms. If there are any lawyers here, please help me
on these matters, because I want to find out what happens.
At the moment the matter is at the Examination for Discovery stage. When a
Canadian government witness is asked a particular question that he does not want
to answer, he will invoke national security and the Canada Evidence Act in order
not to answer the question, and then the matter will be argued in a court of
Surely, a general policy must be applied by the government. We have been told
that somehow the government is not involved; somehow ministers are not involved;
it is just bureaucrats running around making decisions. I do not believe it.
In October of 1994, Mr. Gray said to the media, as was reported in TheGlobe and Mail, that he understood that the RCMP had obtained a copy of On
the Take by Stevie Cameron and were reviewing it. The RCMP confirmed that
and said that a decision was forthcoming on whether to launch a formal
investigation. It seems to me that Mr. Gray was paying very close attention to
this file to know that some constable in Ottawa had run to a bookstore and
obtained a copy of On the Take. Did this constable then run into the
minister's office and say, "Minister, I am doing good work today"? Did
this constable say, "I have a copy of On the Take and there is good
stuff in here"? Did this constable say, "We are also watching
television, minister, and we are working hard"?
Honourable senators, the Solicitor General has a strong interest in this
file. He knew what was going on at all times. If he knows that some policemen
are buying copies of On the Take, then he must be running this file and
making all the decisions. All I am asking is this: Did the Solicitor General
make this decision and this general policy to invoke the Canada Evidence Act in
connection with this matter, or was that decision made within cabinet itself?
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, early in his question my
honourable friend stated that he did not believe that ministers were not
involved in the investigation, and did not know about the investigation.
Obviously, he is saying that to me, since I am the one who conveys the
information to him, to the best of my ability and knowledge, that ministers are
not, and have not been, involved in the investigation, and do not know the
substance of the investigation.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Why not?
Senator Fairbairn: My honourable friend has indicated to me, as have
others, that he simply does not believe what I am conveying to senators in this
chamber, and there is very little that I can do to change the view of my
On the question of what will happen in the courts in Montreal, what I have
tried to convey to my honourable friend today is that, like him, I did not
attend the meetings of the editorial board of TheOttawa Citizen.
I have no idea what discussion took place at that board, or what the context was
of that discussion. This is not the place to discuss, in a hypothetical way, how
that case will unfold within the court. That is for the court to decide.
As the case proceeds, the Commissioner of the RCMP has said that, if there is
a conflict with the process of the investigation, he would be open to invoking
certain sections of the Canada Evidence Act.
I notice that my friend Senator Cogger is nodding.
As happened in the last two instances in that court, when motions were put
forward on the part of the RCMP for an extension, those motions were rejected by
the judge for a variety of reasons, and the suggestion was made that, when the
proceedings resumed, other mechanisms were available to the defence, if needed.
If that takes place - and again, it is hypothetical - ultimately the judge and
the court will decide.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I have two supplementary questions. First, the RCMP says that it will
ask for the protection of the Canada Evidence Act. As Senator Fairbairn points
out - and I hope the RCMP is listening - it is not up to the RCMP to decide
whether the Canada Evidence Act can be used in its defence; it is up to the
judge to decide whether that statute is applicable.
As The Ottawa Citizen has pointed out, the Canada Evidence Act is
normally invoked to block testimony that threatens national security. However,
it cannot be used lightly.
My question is this: What aspects of the Airbus affair involve national
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I have no idea at all what
might or might not be involved in the investigation. Again, we are dealing with
a hypothetical situation arising out of comments in a newspaper. As this case
unfolds, it will be for the court to decide, from the questioning back and
forth, whether circumstances warrant the use of this particular law.
I cannot presume in any way to be prophetic about what may happen in the
course of these proceedings. It would be foolish and improper for me to do so.
That decision is for the court. We are here in the Senate. What happens in the
court is under the jurisdiction of a judge. In that court, the proceedings thus
far, obviously, have been under the jurisdiction of a judge. That will continue
to be the case. I can make no comment on the process that will evolve in that
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I am glad to hear the minister suggest that
the Senate should not involve itself in a court case by asking too many
Senator Fairbairn: I did not suggest that.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I suggest that the Leader of the Government in
the Senate read her own words. I would suggest that her statement would be even
more applicable to Bill C-28.
In any event, assuming that the government had no knowledge of the
investigation in its initial stages, how can the minister still maintain that
the government is still ignorant of the course of the investigation, even today,
as we speak? We were told a few minutes ago that they have no knowledge of it,
no matter what we may think, and they are not part of it. How can the Leader of
the Government in the Senate maintain that today, when both the RCMP and the
Government of Canada are co-defendants in a court action in Montreal? Their
lawyers are sitting side by side, exchanging ideas and information for a joint
defence. How can the minister maintain today that the government is ignorant of
the investigation when its representatives are in a courtroom in Montreal,
sitting next to representatives of the RCMP, preparing a joint defence as a
result of that investigation?
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I can only reiterate what I
have been saying for months now: that ministers do not have knowledge of this
investigation. It would be improper, inappropriate and dangerous if they did.
That is fundamental. We are defendants in a libel case in Montreal. That court
case is running its course. It is proceeding, from my honourable friend's point
of view, perhaps at a good pace. However, we cannot and will not put ourselves
in the position of being involved in the substance of an investigation which is
part of the ongoing discussion in that court case. That will take place in the
court, and under the watchful eye of the judge.
I am truly sorry that my honourable friends do not believe the comments that
I have been making in the Senate, but I will continue to make them. I do not for
a minute, Senator Lynch-Staunton, say that this is not a place where questions
can be asked. Of course it is. I am simply saying that I cannot delve into the
realm of predicting the progress of an ongoing court case. I simply cannot do
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Perhaps we can clarify one thing so that we do
not need to go over old ground repeatedly: Do we understand the minister to say
that the Government of Canada has a complete and total hands-off policy on any
RCMP investigation, of any kind, anywhere in this country? Is that the policy of
this government, to detach itself as much as possible, take no interest as far
as possible, and to receive no information on any investigation being conducted
by the RCMP?
Senator Doody: To whom are the police responsible?
Senator Fairbairn: Senator Lynch-Staunton, that is a very wide-ranging
Senator Lynch-Staunton: It certainly is.
Senator Fairbairn: I certainly will look at this item again in Hansard
and pass along your questions. However, I will not make any blanket statements
in this house involving any investigation that may be taking place anywhere in
the land. In an investigation of this type, in no way are ministers involved in
the conduct of that investigation, or in driving it, or in suggesting anything
about it. We are not involved in that investigation. In fact, I would say to the
members of the opposition in this chamber that if the day ever comes that
ministers of the Crown can involve themselves in these kinds of investigations,
that will be the point in time when Canadians should become severely worried and
Senator Lynch-Staunton: May I ask, then: What is it about this kind of
investigation that removes from the government its responsibility for keeping an
eye on, and confirming its jurisdiction over, the police forces for which it is
responsible? What is special about this kind of investigation that makes it so
different from any other? Certainly, it is an investigation of certain Canadians
who the RCMP feel may have broken laws, but these kinds of investigations go on
all the time. The individuals involved may be better known than most Canadians
under investigation, but the nature of the investigation, which is to look into
possible criminal activities, is not unusual for the RCMP; it is their normal
responsibility. Surely the RCMP has many similar investigations going on all the
time, and, equally surely, the minister responsible is kept informed.
What is it about this particular investigation, from which, it seems, the
government simply wants to absolve itself completely?
Senator Fairbairn: I have said to my honourable friend that it would
not be right for members of the government to involve themselves in police
investigations - not just this one but any one. He has asked me a blanket
question. As Senator Murray said yesterday, I do not have responsibility for any
departments, and I am very careful about putting words into anyone else's mouth.
I will, therefore, seek a proper and thoughtful answer for my honourable friend.
I will not answer him off the top of my head, because that would be improper.
However, the one thing that I will say - and continue to say - is that if
political ministers are involving themselves in criminal investigations
involving the RCMP, that is wrong. It is wrong for Canadians, it is wrong for
politicians, and it is wrong for our system of justice.
An Hon. Senator: Hear, hear!
Investigation into Sale of Airbus
Aircraft to Air Canada-Oversight of Police Authorities-Government Position
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
question. Perhaps the minister could reflect upon a fundamental principle which
is captured by the statement of classical vintage, quis custodiet ipsos
custodes: Who is guarding the guardians?
My question is: Is the policy of the present ministry - that is, of the
present Government of Canada - that it does not provide oversight of the police
authorities in this country?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as I said to Senator Lynch-Staunton, on the kinds of questions that are being
asked here, I wish to consult elsewhere in order to get a thoughtful and proper
answer. It is not for me to make my own philosophical or categoric responses to
Of course there are rules of procedure clearly set out within our system; we
all know that. What I am saying here today, with the knowledge that I have, is
that it is not for ministers to have an active role -
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I am not saying that. I am not asking for
Senator Fairbairn: - in any way within the investigations that we have
Senator Kinsella: As a member of the ministry, do you as minister, or
collectively with your colleagues in the ministry, now believe that you do not
have a responsibility to provide oversight to police activities in this country?
Senator Fairbairn: I believe that the Government of Canada always has
a responsibility to see that our system of justice in this country works.
Investigation into Sale of Airbus
Aircraft to Air Canada-Factors involved in Minister's Decision to Seek Delay in
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I have a supplementary question on this
matter, since the Leader of the Government in the Senate has indicated that she
would be reflecting on some broader issues of justice.
As someone who worked in the justice system, am I correct that you said when
the minister was consulted by the RCMP with respect to seeking a delay in this
civil suit, that the minister made his decision based on the representations of
the RCMP that they needed further time for the investigation? Is my recollection
correct on that?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I would be pleased to send my honourable friend a copy of the press release in
which this was stated and outlined.
Senator Andreychuk: If that is the case, what concerns me is: Did the
minister, in making his decision at that point, exercise his duty not only to
the principle of not getting involved in the active conduct of the
investigation, but also to weighing other factors in determining that they
should seek a delay?
In my opinion, the minister at that time knew that a citizen's rights may be
impacted so detrimentally that his character and reputation would be
irretrievably damaged by the damning statements that were made. Did he weigh the
fact that it was in the best interests of the public to continue the
investigation, as opposed to weighing other points of justice that are clearly
within the mandate of the minister to decide?
I can certainly concede that ministers of justice in provincial governments
must weigh the competing interests of citizens. Sometimes they are collective
interests; sometimes they are individual interests. Sometimes we continue with
an investigation and sometimes we seek to stop an investigation because there
are higher and more laudable principles.
What concerns me is: Why did the minister not exercise his full discretion in
determining what would be in the best interests of Canada and the people of
Canada, and particularly the individual citizens involved?
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, the minister took his
responsibilities fully, I am sure. Again, I will send my honourable friend a
copy of the release that was sent out. That is all I can say on the matter.
Senator Andreychuk: As I understood it, the only factor he took into
account was the continuation of the investigation. I would like that confirmed
or denied, because I believe there were other principles that he should have
taken into consideration if he were exercising his discretion appropriately.
Senator Fairbairn: I will, as always, see what appropriate answer I
can give to my honourable friend, but as I indicated, the situation was laid out
very clearly in this communication, and that was the path that was followed. I
have no doubt that the minister responsible acted in good faith within his
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the time period for
Question Period has expired.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have a response to a question raised in the Senate on April 30, 1996
by the Honourable Senator Thérèse Lavoie-Roux concerning the closure of the
Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion.
Closure of Canadian Centre for
Magnetic Fusion-Government Position
(Response to question raised by Hon. Thérèse Lavoie-Roux on April 30, 1996)
Point 1: It is true that fusion may lead to an environmentally sound
technology for electricity generation on a large scale.
However, fusion technology will require considerable development before it
could make any contributions to energy or environment, and that is if a
commercially viable technology can be developed. This development will be very
expensive and will take over 30 years. To put the cost in perspective, the
next step in its development is the International Thermonuclear Experimental
Reactor (ITER), a joint project of Japan, the European Union, Russia and the
United States, which is expected to cost $10B to construct and another $10B to
operate over its lifetime; and this is only an experimental reactor.
Point 2: The government made a 30-year commitment to fund the Tokamak de
The government did not make a 30-year commitment to fund the Tokamak de
Varennes. The only commitment is an agreement among three parties: Atomic
Energy of Canada Limited, Hydro-Québec and Institut national de la recherche
scientifique. In this agreement, any of the parties could withdraw provided
that it gives one year's advance notice.
Point 3: What rationale does the government have for scrapping 15 years of
internationally acclaimed research?
Today, the federal government has a serious deficit problem. It must take
steps to deal with that problem to prevent it from being an onerous burden on
present and future generations of Canadians. Dramatic cuts had to be made to
all parts of the federal government, including the natural resources
portfolio. The government has to focus its energy R&D expenditures on
priority areas which can bring benefits in the short to medium terms to help
reduce the deficit and debt, provide jobs and deal with environmental
With a decreasing budget, the government could no longer continue to
support a high risk costly energy technology option such as fusion, which is
not likely to show any energy or environment benefit until the latter half of
the next century. These resources would be better spent on priority areas
which would provide benefits in the short to medium term.
Point 4: Will the cancellation of the magnetic fusion project enhance the
bringing to market of this type of technology?
The federal government did not cancel the project. The project is jointly
funded by three parties: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Hydro-Québec
and Institut national de la recherche scientifique. The federal government's
decision is to terminate its funding for the project. If the other parties
wish to continue with the project, they may do so. The federal government has
given them one year, in accordance with the agreement with AECL, to seek other
partners or increase their share of the funds for the project.
Fusion technology is not going to be marketable for at least another 30
years, and that is if a commercially viable technology can be developed.
Point 5: The project is being scrapped with no consideration being given to
the consequences, the people, the money or the consequences for long-term
The federal government is not scrapping the project. Hydro-Québec can
continue if it still believes fusion is a high priority for generating
electricity in the long-term.
In this time of serious fiscal restraint, the federal government cannot
support all research programs even though they may be good. The focus had to
be on good research that can help deal with our national problems of deficit,
job creation and environment in the short and medium terms. Fusion is good
research, however, the benefits may not be realized until the latter half of
the next century.
Committee authorized to Permit
Leave having been given to revert to Notices of Motions:
Hon. Mabel M. DeWare: Honourable senators, if the committee receives
Bill C-12 today, it will ask the Senate for permission to allow electronic media
coverage of the committee's proceedings. Since the Senate will probably not meet
tomorrow or Monday, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(f)
today, I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology be authorized to permit coverage by electronic media of its public
proceedings on Bill C-12, an act representing employment insurance in Canada,
with the least possible disruption of its hearings.
Honourable senators, we hope to have our first meeting on Monday.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Leave having been given to revert to Notices of Inquiries:
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, pursuant to rules 57(1), (2)
and 58(2), I give notice that on Wednesday next I will call the attention of the
Senate to Canada's constitutional monarchy; and to the history of the
sovereign's representative in Canada, namely, the Governor General; and to the
historic and constitutional principle that in a constitutional monarchy the
sovereign does not enter the lower house; and to the presence of His Excellency
the Governor General in the House of Commons chamber on Wednesday, May 29, 1996.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, pursuant to rules 57(1), (2) and
58(2), I give notice that on Wednesday next I will call the attention of the
Senate to the child abuse and neglect (CAN) death of six-month old Sara
Podniewicz, known as Sara Olsen, at the hands of her parents, Lisa Olsen and
Michael Podniewicz, on April 24, 1994 in Toronto, Ontario; and to her autopsy;
and to her parents' conviction and sentence for second degree murder; and to
their treatment of their other children; and to the actions of the Catholic
Children's Aid Society, the Canadian Mothercraft Society and Corrections Canada
in this case.
Resuming the debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Forest, for the second reading of Bill
C-12, respecting employment insurance in Canada.
Hon. Erminie J. Cohen: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to
Bill C-12, which was sent to us by the other place for our careful consideration
of its merits and shortcomings. I should like to point out that the bill does,
indeed, have some merits, and that it is by no means a bad piece of legislation
in every respect. However, it has certain shortcomings which we in this chamber
have the opportunity and the solemn duty to address. We must make the most of
the opportunity available to us to make Bill C-12 better for the Canadians to
whom it was designed to serve.
Honourable senators, this is, indeed, a complex piece of legislation, one
which will have far-reaching effects on the lives of hundreds of thousands of
ordinary Canadians from all regions, and not least my own. I ask honourable
senators to consider that 145,000 people are officially out of work in the four
Atlantic provinces alone. Consider, too, that unemployment rates in Atlantic
Canada range from 10.7 per cent in New Brunswick to 19.7 per cent in
Newfoundland. Within the provinces, the official figures run as high as 33.4 per
cent in parts of Newfoundland. In my City of Saint John, 10.5 per cent of the
labour force is officially out of work. That is better than some of the other
parts of the region, but it is still totally unacceptable.
Also keep in mind, honourable senators, that these figures would be much
higher if they were to include the thousands of people who have given up looking
for work because there is none to be found. If you give up because there are no
jobs, Statistics Canada says you are not unemployed. Using the same logic, I
guess if you stop eating because there is no food, you are not hungry.
While the government likes to talk about all the jobs it is creating,
Atlantic Canada has had a net loss of 4,000 jobs since November. Meanwhile, the
number of unemployed has jumped by 15,000 in the same period.
Honourable senators, I have mentioned these figures and, of course, the
Atlantic region is just one part of the Canadian picture, to impress upon you
the magnitude of the impact that the employment insurance bill will have. These
are not just statistics. When we talk about the number of unemployed Atlantic
Canadians, we are talking about 145,000 human lives - people who must feed,
clothe and house themselves and their families. It is up to us to ensure that
Bill C-12 does not make it harder for them and for their counterparts in other
regions to do that.
Given the bill's complexity and its potential impact on the lives of so many
Canadians, it can be difficult in even the best of circumstance to develop a
full and proper understanding of it. In our case, the task is made more daunting
by the strict time constraints which have been imposed on this chamber for its
study. It is further complicated by the restriction which has been imposed on
travel by the committee.
That being said, however, several of its provisions have already given rise
to significant concerns which deserve the full attention of this chamber. While
some of my colleagues will speak to other aspects of the bill, I have chosen to
focus today on the potentially negative impact that Bill C-12 in its present
form will have on young people, especially students.
Honourable senators, before addressing the specifics of the bill insofar as
it affects Canada's youth, I should like to remind you of the government's
stated commitment in the last Speech from the Throne.
Young Canadians want the opportunity to put their energies and talents to
use. Young Canadians deserve a climate of opportunity. This must be a national
As part of this impressive and much-needed commitment to Canada's young
people, the Throne Speech went on to pledge that:
The Government will challenge business and labour and all levels of
government to work together to create new approaches to assist young people in
I think it is also appropriate to remind this chamber of the words of the new
Minister of Human Resources Development, the Honourable Doug Young, who
introduced Bill C-12 in the other place. He was quoted in the Telegraph-Journal
of February 6, 1996 as having said:
We have a major challenge facing Canada. It is a unity question. It is an
equity question. It covers a lot of ground. And that question is: What are we
doing to provide opportunities for youth to alleviate some of their
frustrations? It runs the whole gamut from training-making sure that it is
more focused-to student loans and right out to job opportunities...youth
deserve an awful lot of attention.
Honourable senators, it is with these commitments in mind that I invite you
to take a closer look at the so-called first-dollar coverage that is a key
feature of the employment insurance bill and the effect that it will have on
young people, primarily students who work part time.
Briefly, Bill C-12 extends EI coverage to all workers who are employed in
insurable employment for 15 or fewer hours a week by any one employer. This
means that those workers, many of whom are students, would be required to pay EI
premiums on every dollar they earn right from the first one. It also means that,
as a result, they could be entitled to receive EI benefits if they lose their
Honourable senators, there are, indeed, many part-time workers who I am sure
would welcome this provision of the bill, as I do on their behalf. I am speaking
primarily of the growing number of multiple job holders, people who, because
they cannot find full-time jobs or for other reasons, work at two or more
part-time jobs, each fewer than 15 hours a week. Under Bill C-12, they could
qualify for some income protection in the event that they lose their jobs, and
could also qualify for special EI benefits in the form of maternity, sickness or
parental leave. Thus, the intent behind first-dollar coverage appears to be
However, it also appears that this provision will have some unintended and
most unfortunate consequences. That is because Bill C-12 fails to make an
important and necessary distinction. It extends the same treatment to part-time
workers who could readily qualify for EI coverage and who are likely, in the
event of job loss, to be able to benefit from it, and those for whom mandatory
coverage would simply mean a decrease in their take-home pay, with little
likelihood of ever being able to collect benefits.
Workers in this last category are not at all well served by the bill's
"one-size-fits-all" approach. Included are the many young people,
mainly students, who work 15 or fewer hours a week in the retail, tourism, food
service, and hospitality industries. These part-time jobs are of vital
importance to students. Not only do they provide valuable experience in the work
force, post-secondary students need them to support their day-to-day financial
needs. In the case of many high school students, these jobs are an important
means of earning money toward college and university tuition fees.
I might point out that the savings factor is becoming more critical as the
federal government has cut funding for post-secondary education in the Canada
Health and Social Transfer. The result is higher and higher tuition fees. What
is more, the Honourable Doug Young, in the same Telegraph Journal article
from which I quoted earlier, hinted that he thought tuition fees should be even
higher on the grounds that they do not reflect the value of the education that
students receive, so part-time jobs can only become more and more important to
The government might argue that the current unemployment insurance system
distorts the labour market by exempting from UI coverage part-time jobs of fewer
than 15 hours a week. The argument goes that it encourages employers to arrange
their staffing schedules so as to limit the number of hours worked by individual
employees, thereby avoiding paying UI premiums on their behalf.
However, the fact of the matter is that in the service sector where students'
part-time jobs tend to be concentrated, work schedules are often arranged so
that more staff are working during times of peak customer demand. This results
in short, heavily staffed shifts. This also provides more flexibility for
student workers who are then able to chose shifts that fit their school
schedules and their available time commitment.
With mandatory first-dollar coverage, students would see a drop in their
earnings from their part-time employment. This could have the effect of
encouraging them to work longer hours to make up the difference, jeopardizing
their studies. In the case of high school students, such a situation might even
affect their chances of moving on to post-secondary studies.
All of this goes against the government's stated commitment to help build a
climate of opportunity for Canada's youth. Honourable senators, I am certain you
will agree that the Government of Canada should be doing as much as possible to
encourage young people to pursue post-secondary studies or, at the very least,
take care not to inadvertently create obstacles in this important area.
Just what kind of coverage would student workers be paying EI premiums for?
To qualify for benefits, Bill C-12 would require new entrants and re-entrants to
the labour force to have accumulated 910 or more hours of insurable employment
in the 52 weeks before their benefit period begins. That is the equivalent of
60.5 weeks of part-time work at 15 hours a week. That is more than the period of
time available to qualify.
Therefore, these workers would first have to shed their status as new
entrants or re-entrants. This means that in the last 52 weeks before their
52-week qualifying period, they will have to have accumulated at least 490 hours
of insurable employment. That is the equivalent of 32.5 weeks of part-time work
at 15 hours a week. Students working part time at 15 hours a week would
basically have to work for almost two years before they could even have a hope
of qualifying for benefits.
Even then, just what level of benefits would they be eligible to receive?
They would be downright negligible. Their weekly benefit would be 55 per cent of
15 hours a week at minimum wage.
Bill C-12 provides for EI premiums to be refunded to workers whose insurable
earnings, or insurable earnings minus EI premiums, are $2,000 or less in a year.
However, most students would not qualify. For example, a student working 15
hours a week for $5 an hour would earn $3,900 over the course of a year.
Honourable senators, as you can see, for students who work part time, Bill
C-12 has a number of immediately apparent disadvantages. These students would
experience a drop in their already small pay cheques which might encourage them
to work longer hours, to the detriment of their education. They would face
difficulty in qualifying for employment insurance and then would enjoy only
limited access to benefits, and most would not qualify for a refund of their
premiums. I believe these are reasons enough for this chamber to reconsider the
first-dollar coverage required by Bill C-12.
Thus far, we have only been looking at one side of the employment insurance
equation, the student or employee side. It is equally important to consider the
employer side, for the employers of part-time student workers will also have to
pay EI premiums on their behalf, adding to the already considerable burden of
payroll taxes they must bear.
The service sector where, as I have already noted, many part-time jobs held
by students are concentrated, tends to be very labour intensive and will,
therefore, be hit hard by this provision of Bill C-12. Because of low profits
and the highly competitive nature of the service industries, companies in this
sector are not in a position to pass on to consumers the increased costs they
will face because of expanded EI premiums. Therefore, it is pretty much a
certainty that these costs will be taken out of their human resources budgets.
The result will be fewer positions for their employees, fewer hours of work for
those who remain, and lower pay.
For example, the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association estimates
that first-dollar EI coverage will cost the food industry alone $35 million, and
it expects this will jeopardize between 5,000 and 10,000 part-time jobs.
Meanwhile, the Retail Council of Canada is also looking at the possibility of
considerable job losses.
Honourable senators, these part-time jobs are being put directly at risk by
Bill C-12's first-dollar coverage provision. These jobs are vital to students in
all regions, whether they are helping high-school students to save for their
university or college education, or helping post-secondary students pay their
day-to-day living expenses while they pursue their studies. With fewer such jobs
available, more students might be forced to radically alter or even give up
their plans for a higher education.
I believe that this unfortunate situation is not one which the government, in
drafting Bill C-12, intended to occur. After all, it certainly flies in the face
of the importance that the government places, and with reason, on furthering the
educational and job prospects of Canada's young people. Rather, it seems likely
that the effects of first-dollar coverage were overlooked in favour of the
increased revenues to the UI fund that will result from this provision.
Fortunately, it is not too late for changes. Honourable senators, we must
seize the opportunity that is before us to make the employment insurance bill
better in this extremely important regard; to make it better for our young
people so that they can be assured of a better future in Canada. We must not
forfeit the opportunity that is available to us to make Bill C-12 better for all
Canadians and, in this case, particularly students working part time for 15 or
fewer hours a week.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: I appreciate the opportunity to speak on second
reading of Bill C-12, respecting employment insurance in Canada. Honourable
senators, at the outset I would make it clear that I do not support this
proposed legislation, a comment which will be no surprise to some.
Senator Taylor: I am surprised.
Senator Comeau: Senator Taylor may be surprised, but I am sure that
after he has heard my comments which will demonstrate that the Liberals can in
fact change their stripes, as they did when they become government, he will
understand why I cannot support this bill.
The passage of Bill C-12 will marginalize and further devastate some of the
most vulnerable people in our society. It is for these people that our present
unemployment system was designed back in 1940. Since that time, we have
witnessed numerous amendments to the legislation.
The early proposals for change were with a view to improving and extending
coverage of unemployment insurance benefits. Years later, changes were required
to fine tune the requirements and make it more responsive to the needs of
In 1990, the previous government introduced Bill C-21 that, among other
things, raised the qualifying period for UI benefits depending on a particular
region's unemployment rate. This legislation also disqualified workers from
receiving benefits for 7 to 12 weeks following the waiting period if they quit
their jobs voluntary, were fired for misconduct, or refused a suitable job.
The reaction to these legislative changes from our friends opposite was
fierce and unrelenting.
I wish to quote one member of Parliament who, coincidentally, has become the
Minister of Fisheries, the Honourable Fred Mifflin. He said:
The major problem is that we're taking money out of the fund and diverting
it into another area. This idea that the government is using Bill C-21 takes
some of the safety net away... so if you fall off the trampoline you may well
not fall in the net, you may go through it.
That quote comes from the St. John's Evening Telegram of September 19,
Here we are in 1996, and the massive changes to the UI system that the
Liberal government is trying to ram through Parliament make Bill C-21 pale in
comparison. If Mr. Mifflin were to describe the effects of Bill C-21 as it is
today in Bill C-12, he might say something to this effect: "It is not only
taking the safety net away. Bill C-12 throws gasoline on the safety net, lights
a match, watches it go up in smoke, and there are no fire extinguishers around
Honourable senators, the hypocrisy is incredible. However, I do not need to
waste time pointing out what has become obvious to Canadians. Whether it is the
GST, free trade, the NAFTA, helicopters or UI, this party has become a master
at, having promised one thing to the electorate, doing the absolute opposite now
that it is in office
What I wish to briefly comment upon is the impact this legislation will have
on my region of the country, Atlantic Canada. Contrary to the arguments of the
Liberal government, most people are unemployed by circumstances, not by choice.
These circumstances can range from fluctuations in the economy to an issue with
which I am most familiar in Atlantic Canada, that of seasonal work.
Bill C-12 will drastically shrink the benefits of seasonal workers. In my
province of Nova Scotia alone, this bill will mean that unemployment insurance
benefits will be reduced by $55 million in 1997-98 and by $85 million by the
year 2001-02. The new eligibility rules will make it particularly difficult for
seasonal workers. Unless you are a low-income Canadian, you will have your
benefit rate cut by 1 percentage point for every 20 weeks of benefits received.
In our region of the country, where seasonal work is still a fact of life, it is
very unfortunate. We would like to be employed year round, but it is an
unfortunate fact of life. This measure will have serious repercussions.
Honourable senators, a few changes were made to the original bill as it
worked its way through the other place, but they did deal with the gap issue,
which eliminates the need for jobs to be carried out in consecutive weeks in
order to qualify for benefits. However, this was little more than an exercise
that tinkered at the edges of the bill. It did nothing to repair the fundamental
problems that this legislation will cause for thousands of Canadians.
In examining this bill, honourable senators, one particular point that I
found most disturbing was the fact that in his economic and fiscal forecast, the
Minister of Finance, the Honourable Paul Martin, indicated that the UI fund has
a surplus this year of $5 billion. It is expected that there will be an
additional $5 billion surplus next year. Rather than using those funds to cut
premiums, the Liberal government has chosen to hold on to that money and use it
to meet its deficit targets. For this government to use those funds from the UI
system to finance its deficit is appalling. Those premiums should be cut to
provide employers with some leverage to create new jobs, but, instead, the money
will be put into a plan which, the government admits, will be used not for UI
but for deficit financing. During its testimony before the Commons committee,
the Canadian Federation of Independent Business strongly condemned the
government for using the UI system as a slush fund for more program spending.
Another serious flaw of this bill is the new family income supplement. Under
the current statute, if a UI claimant has dependents and a low income, that
claimant receives 60 per cent, rather than 55 per cent, of average weekly
earnings. Under Bill C-12, the government will create a new supplement for
claimants with family incomes below $26,000. To try and assist those people in
need through the UI system makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. This type of
measure should be implemented through the child tax benefit to ensure that all
low-income families have access to the system, not just those people on UI. In
fact, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada made this very point when
they appeared before the House committee. The association noted at the time -
and I agree - that the UI system is not an appropriate place for income or needs
testing to deal with family income or security. I am not sure what the thinking
of the government was in instituting this change, but I certainly think it
should be examined further in committee.
Honourable senators, I should like to conclude my comments with a brief
observation. As this government moves through its mandate, it has become
increasingly clear that Atlantic Canadians have been disproportionately affected
by decisions of the federal Liberals. Atlantic Canadians have had to deal with
numerous base closures, the elimination of the Feed Freight Assistance Program,
the reduction in tax credits for research in Atlantic Canada, and most recently
the news that the new blended sales tax will cost Nova Scotians an extra $84
million a year. Add that to the $7 billion that Paul Martin has stripped out of
federal transfers to health, welfare and post-secondary education.
It is quite obvious to most Atlantic Canadians that since the Liberals hold
31 of the 32 seats in our region, the lack of opposition gives the Liberals free
rein to do as they wish, and this bill is no exception. How else could one
explain such a heartless move at a time when 60,000 Nova Scotians are
unemployed, up 14,000 since December? These measures alone take $2.1 billion out
of our UI system. Add to that the $2.4 billion that was removed in the 1994
budget and the $700 million taken out by the budget in 1995 and you have very
little left of a system that was designed to help those people most in need.
Contrary to the Liberal's campaign promises of jobs and a better system for
all Canadians, what we are witnessing is not a job creation program or a more
equitable unemployment insurance program, but simply a grand scheme to eliminate
the deficit on the backs of the less fortunate.
Honourable senators, the Liberals have created two distinct classes of those
who need our assistance - the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. With this
bill, those who this government feels do not deserve our help will have the door
shut on them. This is certainly not what I envisaged our country would become,
and I hope that all efforts by all fair-minded senators in this chamber will
help correct this ill-fated plan.
I look forward to seeing this bill go to committee. It is indeed unfortunate
that the Liberals did not have the confidence in their own bill to allow the
committee to travel to the regions of our country that will be most seriously
affected. Let us hope that the few witnesses who were given permission to appear
will be able to persuade the committee to give serious consideration to
meaningful amendments, if not complete rejection of this bill.
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Honourable senators, I intend to speak today
about the impact of the unemployment insurance changes on Canadians living in my
province of New Brunswick. First, however, I must say a few words about the
depths of concern in the province of New Brunswick because of the almost
unprecedented levels it has reached. This deep concern was expressed through
various activities by a broad cross-section of groups and individuals from all
areas of the province. It included the New Brunswick legislature, the premier,
the bishops of Bathurst, Edmundston, Saint John and the administrator of the
diocese of Moncton, the CLC, numerous groups involved with the Citizens
Coalition Against Changes to UI, and many others. The point here, honourable
senators, is that a broadly based movement practically exploded, bringing
together diverse elements of New Brunswick's society which otherwise would not
find common cause to right a wrong.
Honourable senators, the basis of that common cause was described by the
Premier of New Brunswick in his November letter to the Prime Minister pleading
for changes to Bill C-12. Our premier wrote:
...the proposal has fatal flaws ... it is deliberately targeted to Atlantic
Canada and Eastern Quebec and will be seen as such by the citizens. For the
province of New Brunswick alone, the impact of these changes will remove
approximately $175 million per year from our economy. This is a little short
Let me examine for a minute how the bill will have an impact on New
Brunswick: UI costs $800 million per year in our province; 40,000 to 50,000 New
Brunswickers file for monthly benefits; about 100,000 New Brunswickers may file
a claim in one year.
Without the changes, UI would have transferred $580 million to New Brunswick
claimants in 1997 and 1998, but with the changes, claimants will receive 11 per
cent less, or $515 million. In 2001 and 2002, without the changes to the
legislation that are being presented to us, the program would transfer $630
million, but under the new bill, claimants will receive 15 per cent less, or
Under the changes, honourable senators, 5,000 fewer New Brunswickers will
qualify for Employment Insurance, or EI, although proponents will argue that
3,000 who do not qualify now will be eligible after the changes. It will be
interesting to follow that argument.
Net benefits will decline with the changes. Claimants who now receive $1.63
in benefits for every dollar in contributions will see benefits fall, following
the changes, to $1.57 in 1997-98, and to $1.55 in the year 2001-2002. The
reductions will be in the order of 19 per cent in logging and forestry, and 18
per cent in mining, construction and agriculture.
Honourable senators, that this bill is targeted at victims of structural
unemployment has been well established by representations from many New
Brunswickers and Atlantic Canadians, as well as by my colleagues Senator Murray,
Senator Phillips and Senator Comeau this morning, and by Senator Cohen.
In Atlantic Canada, quite frankly, it is accepted as a given that we are the
target of Bill C-12. There is no doubt about it: We are the target. One
disturbing aspect of being singled out, however, is that it is used as an
argument in official Ottawa or a justification for protecting the integrity of
the Employment Insurance system.
For example, the intensity rule, which will see the benefit rate for repeat
users reduced, is presumably proof that the government is getting tough with
those abusers or so-called abusers of the system. In the perverse logic of the
federal government and its advisors, this is seen as a proactive measure which
will introduce a new degree of integrity into the Employment Insurance program,
thus enhancing its public support, presumably from central Canada's captains of
industry, and western reformists. Honourable senators, that may be so.
That having been said, however, Atlantic Canadians have a different
perspective on both the abusers and what the federal government is up to. To
illustrate, let me quote from a February debate on a motion of the New Brunswick
legislature which urged changes to Bill C-12. Specifically, I am quoting from a
speech by a former federal minister of employment, now the Leader of the
Opposition in New Brunswick, who said:
We have generations of New Brunswickers who have used UI over the years as
a supplementary income device. They were not "abusers". They used it
because of the nature of the very work and the very economy of their regions.
We cannot say that the people in the fishing communities along the Bay of
Fundy or on the Acadian Peninsula have abused the system.
Let's look at our woodcutters.
Has it crossed the minds of some people in Ottawa why people work at the
pulp mills in Bathurst or Saint John or Edmundston or Newcastle, 12 months a
year, at $25 or $26 an hour ... does Ottawa know why these people work year
round in the pulp mills...
It is because there is this guy called the woodcutter who gets up at 4 a.m.
and cuts trees in New Brunswick's forests. That person stops cutting trees in
the forests sometime in December or January, not because it is time for him to
go to Florida, but because there is about 10 feet of snow in the bush and he
can't cut trees any more.
Then he goes on UI for maybe two or three months. That person's work and
his contribution to our economy is more than what Ottawa wants to believe.
That person's contribution to our economy allows hundreds of other New
Brunswickers to work full-time.
Honourable senators, seasonal employment is a reality in Atlantic Canada.
Tragically, reduced benefits for seasonal workers will be a reality as a result
of Bill C-12. To view this bill in a wider context, as Senator Murray has
pointed out, it means that fewer people will be covered and will be working
longer hours for smaller benefits, paid out over a shorter period of time.
Honourable senators, to single out Atlantic Canada should be completely
unacceptable to any fair-minded Canadian, and especially to those of us from
Atlantic Canada who sit in this chamber and in the other place. Regardless of
where Canadians live, this unacceptable legislation should be revealed as a
thinly veiled sop to those who fundamentally do not support an Employment
Insurance program, period.
Bill C-12, honourable senators, illustrates an approach to public
policy-making that has long concerned me. What it comes down to is that Bill
C-12 is essentially policy-making in a vacuum. It is an incoherent approach to
social policy-making because, in isolation, the bill cannot possibly reflect the
multiplicity of pressures influencing our society.
What I am referring to specifically are demographic changes in terms of the
composition and the work patterns of the family, an aging population, new
immigrants arriving, and global economic changes resulting in the restructuring
of the Atlantic and Canadian economies, limits on public spending, the problems
of family violence, illiteracy, and so on and so forth.
I know from my own experience as a provincial minister responsible for health
and social policy reform that government policy responses to these pressures are
uneven and uncoordinated, usually crossing federal and provincial jurisdictions,
and resulting as often in duplication as in missing the mark completely. In that
sense, I very much regret this government's lack of leadership in initiating a
comprehensive review of Canada's social policy programs. This government is
missing the opportunity to build, in partnership with the provinces, a modern
and integrated set of social programs. Sadly, Bill C-12 is going in the opposite
direction and represents piecemeal dismantling of our social safety net.
As a minimum, the Employment Insurance changes should stem from a
comprehensive redesign of our safety net through a joint effort of the federal
and provincial governments. There are far too many commonalities of programs and
required support systems running through all of those social programs that need
coordination. When it is done piecemeal, the whole impetus is lost.
Perhaps I should give the last word on this issue to New Brunswick's Catholic
bishops. In their letter to the caucus of the honourable members opposite - and
while you were attending that caucus you would probably remember that this
letter was presented to you - the New Brunswick Catholic bishops wrote:
Governments must not put at risk the social security system which has
served the population well these past decades. On the contrary, it should give
evidence of renewed thinking and creativeness in making the programs even more
Honourable senators, my intervention will be short. However, I must claim to
be one of those senators who is surprised by the comments made by some of my
colleagues because I remember the hysterical interventions of many opposite when
another bill to modestly change the unemployment insurance system was introduced
in this chamber. I remember the vigour of the chairman of our special committee
in opposing the legislation. I just wish some of the honourable senators
opposite would demonstrate some of that vigour now in the protection of those in
Atlantic Canada and in my province who will be adversely affected by the passage
of this bill.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, if no other senators wish
to speak, I shall put the question on the motion.
It was moved by the Honourable Senator Rompkey, seconded by the Honourable
Senator Forest, that this bill be read a second time. Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Resuming the debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kirby, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Davey, for the second reading of Bill C-28,
respecting certain agreements concerning the redevelopment and operation of
Terminals 1 and 2 at Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Robertson, that Bill C-28 be not now read a
second time, but that it be referred back to the House of Commons for proper
Hon. Richard J. Doyle: Honourable senators, in the last two years
there have been times when the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs has seemed locked into a mighty effort to produce
acceptable legislation that might fit into the framework of this government's
Bill C-22. Proposed amendments have been argued as constitutional experts have
testified. The special committee spent months examining accusations of
outrageous abuse of privileges in public office.
One day at a time, one page at a time, the record has been examined. Finally,
with all of the charges answered and found wanting, and reasonable revisions
proposed, the government has returned the bill to us unchanged but for its name.
We now call it "Bill C-28." As such, it has gained early fame because
the government has decided to invoke closure in order to refer it to the
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Why? The reason
is so that the government can change it into something else, something of its
If honourable senators doubt that purpose, or wonder who is choosing, let me
remind them of what Senator Kirby told us when he introduced Bill C-28 last
week. At page 358 of the Debates of the Senate for May 15 honourable
senators will find these words:
...we will introduce those amendments...
On page 357, the Honourable Senator Kirby refers to the amendments as:
...the amendments that Liberal senators are prepared to move...
Senator Kirby adds that these -
...are government amendments that have the support of government.
Honourable senators, there would have been no argument with such a procedure
if the amendments had come as a result of re-examination of the bill by a
Commons committee. We would not impede the referral to committee in this place
if the new amendments were a part of Bill C-28, and it was truly a new bill and
not camouflage for the devious techniques we have come to expect from the
ministries responsible for the Pearson affair. They have never given up on their
intent to spread the word that the Pearson debacle is the fruit of Tories trying
to take care of their friends.
One thing should be kept in clear focus: Neither the members of the Standing
Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs nor the opposition in the
Senate have at any time or in any place made representations of any kind on
behalf of the interests of any of their friends, their cronies, their casual
acquaintances or, in fact, anyone involved in the Pearson contracts.
The committee and the party have sought, through several routes, a single
thing, a guarantee that those who have grievances to plead will be allowed to
exercise the rights guaranteed to all Canadians to go before the courts, to be
heard and to have their claims judged impartially. Such a guarantee, honourable
senators, must preclude the government of the day from establishing a set of
rules and a table of rates to limit or direct decisions which the judiciary
deems to be appropriate.
To insist otherwise, as Bill C-22 did, and as Bill C-28 continues to do,
would be the ultimate contempt of court. To tell the court and the country which
services and what losses are deserving of compensation and which are not is a
deed that would poison the stream of justice before it begins to flow. To
persist, while related matters are properly before the courts, proclaims
"might is right, and justice there is none."
Senator Kirby, obviously unimpressed by anything said in all the months Bill
C-22 was debated here and in the committee, rose on May 15 and said:
The government preference is clearly that this bill pass in its original
form, as it was passed by the elected representatives in the other place, not
just once, but three times.
What Senator Kirby does admit is the "constitutional concern" of
senators opposite and, in his vague, equivocal, fuzzy way, offers amorphous
amendments that will, he says, "resolve every single constitutional
concern." In fact, he says the government is prepared to go "to great
lengths to meet absolutely, completely, and thoroughly" those concerns.
However, when Senator Kinsella asked Senator Kirby where he may find, or when he
might hear, the amendments, Senator Kirby backed away. "All in good
time," he said. When the bill gets to committee, the amendments will be
introduced "right away." The committee that he accuses of stalling
Bill C-22 is now his refuge, as Bill C-28 moves to this next state of
Is it, as Senator Kinsella suggests and fears, a mockery of our system? That
is to say, a mockery in which we are now asked to approve, in principle, changes
never foreseen by any committee in the other place, never published, never
sorted through and pronounced upon by those countless citizens that the
ministries insist are on their side, and never revealed in this chamber. Senator
Lynch-Staunton, questioning Senator Kirby on that first day of this debate,
concluded with these words:
Do not ever accuse us again of being concerned with the claims of the
consortium. We are concerned with the right to make those claims.
That, honourable senators, is the only matter we have before us. That is the
message that should be sent back to the other place and, again, to quote our
leader in the opposition "sent back for proper consideration."
Hon. Finlay MacDonald: Honourable senators, Senator Doyle has primed
the pump to perfection. He has given me a lead of which it will be difficult to
take full advantage in 10 minutes, but I will do my best.
As reported at page 349 of Hansard, Senator Kirby said on May 15, in
the same speech from which Senator Doyle was quoting:
Consequently, I am pleased to announce today that, when this bill goes to
committee, the government members of the committee will, once again, be
prepared to move a series of amendments that will demonstrate this
government's willingness to seriously address the criticisms levelled against
Bill C-22. We are willing to move these amendments, if they are necessary to
address concerns of senators opposite. I believe....
When he spoke against Bill C-22, Senator Lynch-Staunton was very clear that
he and his colleagues were not trying to oppose the government's policy
decision to cancel the Pearson Airport agreements, even though he repeatedly
stated, justifiably, that he and his colleagues would prefer a different
policy decision. Senator Lynch-Staunton repeatedly made it clear that his sole
concern was to ensure that the bill was constitutional.
Senator Lynch-Staunton then interrupts and says "The rule of law."
Senator Kirby continues:
I am pleased to tell Senator Lynch-Staunton and all other members of this
chamber that every one of the constitutional criticisms levelled against Bill
C-22 will be addressed and satisfied by the amendments that the Liberal
members of the committee are prepared to move in committee.
I do not plan to debate again whether or not Senator Lynch-Staunton's
strong words were justified, although I cannot resist pointing out that a
number of highly respected legal scholars were very clear in testifying before
the committee that they were not. However, that is not at issue anymore.
Senator Kirby then states:
First, clauses 3, 4, and 5 of the bill, which....
This is done in the spirit of trying to stay within 10 minutes. Senator Kirby
I am pleased to point out that these amendments would also completely
answer the objection presented by Senator Lynch-Staunton last week in this
chamber. His major argument against Bill C-28, when he introduced his original
point of order two weeks ago, was that clause 3 declared the Pearson
agreements never to have come into existence.
Senator Kirby has an amendment which clarifies that point. He then says:
Finally, honourable senators, regarding clauses 9 and 10 of Bill C-28, the
old Bill C-22, which bar all compensation and give the minister sole
discretion to make such payments as he considers appropriate, excluding
payments for lost profits and lobbying fees, the Liberal members of the
committee will be prepared to move an amendment which will effectively remove
these clauses. This will resolve the third and last of Senator
Lynch-Staunton's original objections.
The amazing point is that when Senator Kirby started on page 349, before the
reference to the amendments I have just made, he began by saying:
However, we all know what happened during the length of time this bill was
before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee. First, the Conservative
majority on the committee, and then the Conservative majority in this chamber,
passed amendments that would have gutted the bill.
To what amendments is Senator Kirby referring? Yesterday, Senator Stewart,
trying to assist us on a point of order, said:
Honourable senators, Senator Lynch-Staunton argues that he has difficulty
with this second reading motion because there is a possibility, indeed the
probability, I would say, of amendments at the committee stage.
As he said, this house is being asked to adopt the principle of the bill.
As he knows, no amendment can be moved in committee that is not consistent
with the principle of a bill. The prospect that he holds out before us - that
if the principle of the bill is approved here today, eventually there will be
an entirely different bill - is impossible. The committee will not be eligible
to adopt amendments that are not consistent with the principle of the bill.
Having just heard from Senator Kirby that he is assuaging all our concerns
and presumably making the bill perfectly constitutional, if that is not altering
the bill - and, Senator Kirby had said earlier that our amendments would have
gutted the bill - then what, in the name of God, will his amendments do?
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, when John A. Macdonald said
that the Senate was used by him to send legislation to so that it could
"brew a while," I interpret that to mean "to see how well it
ages." Bill C-28 has not aged well. It has been brewing here for two years,
in one form or another. When this whole process began, it caused much debate
amongst our own caucus as to how we should approach what we considered an odious
piece of legislation.
After all, in 1993, our party had just been decimated in an election, and the
public was willing to believe the worst of us. We had become a cottage industry
for the media, with shows to do and documentaries to write. Columnists were
writing books, such as On the Take by Stevie Cameron, with the Pearson
airport agreements being a major part of her thesis of alleged chicanery. Paul
Palango, in Above the Law, inferred other matters were questionable.
However, he and others had a self-interest in seeing the actions of the Tory
government discredited. After all, there were reputations to ruin and books to
The original bill was, to us, a symbol of our need to prove the critics
wrong. It was an unconstitutional bill. However, we felt that the accusers,
those representing the senators across the aisle, should have to go to court and
testify under oath to prove their claims of political manipulation and
patronage, acts that implied a criminal conspiracy. Those claims are easy to
make in the heat of a political battle and in a campaign, but different
standards are applied in front of a judge, standards that would force even the
former Minister of Transport, Doug Young, to sound like a civilized human being
rather than the crude and vile man he exposes to us and to the public at large.
The bill at first seemed a little odd, for, after all, if the Liberal
accusations during the campaign of 1993 and later in the Nixon report were
correct, then by going to court and proving that the contract was done unfairly,
that somehow it was done unjustly, that there was an unfair process, that laws
were broken, and that standards and ethics were not followed, there would be no
contract. But no, the government introduced a bill expressing and exercising the
right, as it is their right, to cancel the contract, but complicated this with a
denial of due process and unconstitutionality, the very things we are here to
There is an age-old concept in common law called "similar fact
evidence." If a particular party is in the habit of behaving in a certain
way, demonstrating a pattern of behaviour or course of conduct, evidence of that
behaviour can be used to provide evidence to seek a conviction. For example, if
an assault were committed by someone, but the victim denied that it happened,
and then, suddenly, six people came forward and alleged a similar assault under
similar circumstances, then the prosecutor could present that evidence to prove
that the first alleged assault actually happened.
While this bill "brewed" in this chamber, it provided to us the
first evidence of a pattern of behaviour and a course of conduct that, at first
blush, we did not recognize. We thought it unusual, but, as it turns out, it was
a symbol of the way this government would govern the country, for then came the
Electoral Boundaries Act which was another attempt by this government to use
unconstitutional means to achieve what they could not do by following the law
and a course of proper conduct. It was a blatant attempt to protect the
constituencies of first-time Liberal members of Parliament from the province of
Ontario, a blatant attempt to establish that proper representation did not have
to be exercised in the province of British Columbia because the government had
members of Parliament to protect. It was a blatant attempt to manipulate the
electoral boundaries of this country.
That was followed by the introduction of Bill C-68, the gun registration
bill, where the powers of Parliament were used to extinguish a promised
constitutional process with the aboriginal people pertaining to their right to
hunt and their right to bear arms. The government drafted a bill which drew no
distinction between criminals and law-abiding citizens. At issue was again due
process, and at issue again were the powers of the state.
Bill C-22, now Bill C-28, was becoming a symbol of behaviour, but there was
more to come. Paul Martin, with $1 billion hanging out of his pocket, made a
deal to expand the GST rather than, as was promised by his Prime Minister, scrap
it. Then he went on television and apologized for all of them, an apology that
the Prime Minister himself did not make. He went on explain that "scrap the
deal" meant really "harmonizing the deal." Along with this
pattern of behaviour, we find something a little more odious and a little more
devious, and that is: If you tell a story many times, perhaps people will
believe it to be the truth.
There is an abuse of power in all of these cases, a pattern of behaviour that
has led the government to have an assistant deputy minister visit a judge to
urge him to move a case along more quickly for the reason of avoiding
embarrassment. Imagine an assistant deputy minister having a little chat about a
trial that the federal government is pursuing. Meanwhile, in that same
department, another bureaucrat with, I believe, the full consent, approval, and
knowledge of the Minister of Justice, the Solicitor General and perhaps even
those in the Prime Minister's office, was couriering a letter to the Swiss
government saying that a former Prime Minister was a common criminal and sending
as evidence a videotape from a television show produced by a state-run Crown
corporation and network.
During the election, the Liberal government stated that they would
renegotiate the Free Trade Agreement when, in actuality, they immediately went
about not only embracing it but expanding it. This was not an idle promise, for,
after all, their former leader John Turner said their fight against free trade
was the fight of his life. They had years to examine it. They chose to exploit
it for political gain, a duplicity that was marvellous to behold for most of us,
for we knew that they knew that they never meant to renegotiate it.
Bill C-28 is no longer just about itself; it is about power and its abuse,
and the way the Liberal government attempts to govern this country. Amendments
will be produced by the government which we will be expected to move, but we
have not seen them. We have two parallel bills, the one we see, and the one we
do not. Even if we do not like the one we see, they assure us we will be
impressed with the one we cannot see, and all of this under the shadow of
During the Pearson airport inquiry, we had former advisors to the Prime
Minister, Nixon, Crosbie and Goudge - it sounds like a rock group, actually -
testifying about the exorbitant returns that the developer would receive, while
at the same time, in the Departments of Transport and Justice, officials and
their consultants were preparing documents showing how little the developers
would receive. After all, they will have to justify their actions in front of a
judge, while the advisors to the Prime Minister will only have to testify under
oath in front of a group of senators.
The government continued its behaviour on a motion before the courts to have
certain reports delivered to the Senate, those being the reports that I referred
to on the financial analysis of the transport deal. The government's chief
general counsel from the Department of Justice, Ivan Whitehall, argued that it
was completely inappropriate for senators to have the reports because of the
long-standing tradition that Parliament will not interfere in matters before the
courts. The audacity of this statement is further evidence of the government's
behaviour and must have shocked Her Honour, who was hearing the case under the
shadow of Bill C-28.
I would ask you to remember 1994, when Doug Young, the Minister of Transport
at the time, argued that the Tories were wrong to be developing the airport and
that a deal could be made with the Toronto Airport Authority in six months. He
argued that there was lots of capacity at Pearson - the same argument that was
made by senators opposite in the Pearson inquiry. They argued that there was no
need and no rush to revitalize and develop Pearson airport.
In 1995, honourable senators, 22.5 million passengers made their way through
Pearson. That wiped out the effects of the slow-down caused by the recession and
the Gulf War; it was 1.5 million more people than there were during the peak of
1989-90, when 21 million passengers made their way through Pearson.
What is predicted for 1996? At its current rate, there is an increase in
passenger traffic over 1995 of 13.78 per cent. To put that in context, that is
the kind of increase you would expect in countries not used to airports, such as
Thailand or Malaysia. If the number of passengers increases at the present pace,
it will hit 26 million, which is what transport officials testified at our
inquiry was the maximum limit. Honourable senators, we are at full capacity at
The Conservative government argued that the window of opportunity to develop
Pearson efficiently was when there were lower passenger volumes. During the
inquiry, every expert told us that we should do it before we reached maximum
capacity, because it is awfully hard on runways, passageways, terminals and the
travelling public to fix things up when we are at our maximum capacity. It is
more difficult to do it efficiently, more difficult to do it safely. There is no
question that it would have been much less expensive at that time.
It is now 1996, honourable senators, and I and my colleagues wonder why there
is no deal with the Toronto Airport Authority. Fellow senators, there is no deal
because there is a deal - but it has not yet been announced. When they announce
the deal, the documents become public. And remember what we were promised - they
would make a better deal because the Tories made an exorbitant deal. They
suggested that the Tories were fixing up their friends with patronage plums.
Well, honourable senators, it will be interesting to see what the final deal is.
The reason they have not signed and concluded the deal is that it would be
devastating to the litigation that is taking place in the courts in Toronto.
Another issue that I find troubling is that the Bronfman name never crosses
the lips of Liberal senators opposite. It is always that Tory, Don Matthews. It
is never Agra Industries or the other half dozen companies that participated in
Paxport. Don Matthews is "that Tory" and the object of their hate and
venom. They have engaged in unrepentant attacks to destroy one man and one man
only - not the partners of Paxport, not the Paxport corporation and the T1-T2
partners, but only Don Matthews. The focus was always on him.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Tkachuk, I regret to
interrupt you, but I must remind you that under rule 40(2)(c), you are
only allowed 10 minutes of speaking time. Your 10 minutes have expired.
Senator Tkachuk: I am sorry, I thought I had 15.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted to allow the Honourable Senator
Tkachuk to continue?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, immediately after the deal was
cancelled by the Liberal government, Charles Bronfman and Jean Chrétien were
playing golf in Florida in December of 1993. Mr. Bronfman must have a tremendous
sense of humour. What were they talking about on that golf course in Florida?
After all, there was no doubt that they were about to become litigants.
Another issue arose recently. In 1991-92, an anonymous application was filed
with Revenue Canada querying a possible ruling regarding the transfer of assets
of a family trust, and the particular tax implications. This happened in 1991-92
during the Tory administration. Perhaps some members of the media should do a
little homework on this, because this was an anonymous application requested by
Revenue Canada for a ruling on moving the disposition of particular assets from
Canada to another country, and this is the way it works: Let us say you bought a
stock 10 years ago for a dollar; five years later it is trading at around
$1,000. That is a capital gain of $999. If you wanted to transfer the money out
of the country, the country would expect you to pay capital gains before making
That is what this question was about. It was a rather complicated application
to Revenue Canada, because it concerned not only the disposition of capital
gains or the movement of capital gains, but also a family trust and assets.
With respect to the ruling in 1991-92, Revenue Canada would have ruled on a
hypothetical case with qualification. They would not and did not send a letter
on a hypothetical case without qualification. There is no question that the
letter had qualifications, because they were dealing with a hypothetical case.
Senator Taylor: How do you tie that to Bill C-28?
Senator Tkachuk: I am tying it to Bill C-28, senator.
In 1994, Charles Bronfman began transferring $2 billion worth of assets out
of Canada without tax consequences. This application would have been filed with
Revenue Canada in the first four months of 1995. Surely that would have piqued
the interest of Revenue Canada - some $700 million in potential tax revenue,
worth much more than the airport deal based on an effective tax rate of 37.5 per
cent. Revenue Canada had no obligation to follow the ruling of 1991-92, and
Charles Bronfman must have been very confident to remove all his assets - $2
billion worth - out of Canada at one time. Yes, it would be interesting to know
what took place on that golf course in Florida in December of 1993.
Honourable senators, Bill C-28 is more than an attempt by unconstitutional
means to dodge the bullet of truth. It is a symbol of the behaviour of this
government - the abuse of power. This bill is a reminder to our party of the
duplicity of the present government and the abrogation of its duty to protect
due process. It is a symbol of how they do business, how they govern and how
they conduct themselves.
In human terms, which we often forget, in a courtroom in Toronto are 60 boxes
of documents and pieces of paper filed as evidence. However, within those boxes
are the hopes and dreams of business people, architects, draughtsmen, engineers,
airport consultants, accountants, financial experts, retailers, clerks, airport
personnel, marketers, and thousands of shareholders in the public companies
involved in Paxport. A mass of brain power and creativity are in those boxes,
hopes of people who thought that, after thousands of hours of work and $30
million in expenditures, they would be involved in something exciting: being
part of Pearson International, being part of an export consortium selling
Canadian expertise abroad.
All of this is reduced to 60 boxes of paper and judges and lawyers and a
government bent on a destructive agenda, one that will cause travel discomfort
at Pearson International and reduce safety, all of this to fulfil a false
promise to add to the billions in cancellations in helicopters and the GST.
Bill C-28 is not fit to be passed in this Parliament. It is not worthy of
this place, and if it passes, it will hang like a noose around the neck of the
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I am pleased to join in
this debate, particularly because I find Bill C-28 as offensive as I did Bill
C-22. I suspect that when history looks back upon this, it will not be a very
bright day for the government in power. It will be seen for what it is: a purely
political move which has added to the cynicism that the public has regarding
those of us who spend our lives in politics.
Honourable senators, on February 2, 1996, our colleague Senator Bryden read
in this chamber a letter he had written to the editor of The Globe and Mail,
but which has never been published. He lamented this fact and blamed the
newspaper for exercising what he thought was a partisan approach to the news.
Upon reflection, it would appear that The Globe and Mail was merely
attempting to avoid for the senator the embarrassment that was sure to follow
the publication of his misguided letter.
Let me provide a few examples by quoting from Senator Bryden's letter. Error
number 1 is as follows:
...the Pearson contracts gave the developers $200-$250 million more in
profits than prevailing rates of return required... It was enormously generous
to the developers.
By way of correction, I would point out that studies prepared by the
Government of Canada now show that, under the rate of return stipulated in the
Pearson agreements, the consortium could have lost between $170 million and $190
Honourable senators, the government itself admits these agreements were far
from the sweetheart deal portrayed so colourfully by our dear colleague Senator
Senator Bryden's letter contains the following statement, which is error
... the developers would have earned millions of dollars in non-arm's
length side agreements. These included construction contracts, management
contracts ... and consulting contracts.
I would make this correction: In a Toronto courtroom the government has
learned that there were two non-arms-length contracts: one with Allders to
operate duty free shops at the airport, and the other with Bracknell, for
Senator Bryden fails to mention that both these contracts were known by the
government officials prior to conclusion of the agreements and, more
importantly, were required under the terms of the Pearson agreement to be at
fair market value. The special Senate inquiry heard this during testimony, but I
believe Senator Bryden was away at the time helping, and rightly so, his friend
Frank McKenna hold on to his job.
His letter then contains a third error as follows:
One of these contracts, signed during the election campaign, was a no-cut
promise to pay $3.5 million to a company headed by Don Matthews...
I would point out, honourable senators, that it was stated under oath before
the Senate inquiry and in a Toronto courtroom that there was never a signed
contract with a company headed by Don Matthews.
Then I would point out error number 4:
Excessive profits, sweetheart deals, busy lobbyists, political pressure -
this was how Canada's largest and most profitable airport ended up in the
hands of a private group of developers...
Honourable senators, 25 senior civil servants and two former cabinet
ministers stated unequivocally under oath that the process was sound, the deal
was a good one for the taxpayer, and that they felt absolutely no adverse
As for "busy lobbyists," I am unclear if Senator Bryden is
concerned that there were, indeed, consultants involved in the deal and
therefore it warranted cancellation, or simply that they should have been lazy
Senator Bryden also states quite pointedly that:
Prime Minister Mulroney was very heavily involved in this file.
I should add for the benefit of the honourable senator that the former Prime
Minister was likewise involved with the NAFTA file, the Gulf War, the FTA, the
breakdown of apartheid in South Africa, and yes, national unity. Still, I can
understand the senator's concern that the former Prime Minister was kept up to
date on this vital national issue - a $750 million redevelopment project
respecting Canada's busiest and most economically important airport.
I can understand his dismay in this regard given the conduct of his own
leader, the present Prime Minister, who, for example, on the eve of the Quebec
referendum, left Sheila Copps - what a joke - in charge while he was down in New
York City having his picture taken with, among other individuals, several of the
world's finest dictators. No fear of being "heavily involved" here.
The Chrétien hands-off approach; that is what we have.
Yes, we all know too well of the hands-off approach Prime Minister Chrétien
likes to practise. Why, when he was just a lowly consultant with Lang Michener,
we are told that during a meeting with a Mr. Jack Matthews, a principal of the
project, not once did Mr. Chrétien discuss the unbelievably important and
far-reaching matter of the redevelopment of Canada's busiest airport. Now, that
is hands off.
The Prime Minister invoked his increasingly famous "hear no evil, see no
evil" style again when golfing in Florida with Mr. Charles Bronfman, a 65
per cent Pearson stakeholder, three days after the cancellation of the Pearson
agreement - three days, honourable senators - and still Mr. Chrétien insists he
I am guessing that he learned the hands-off approach during the time he spent
at Gordon Capital where he became a millionaire in two years - doing what, we
have not been told. However, I am sure Senator Bryden, being a simple country
lawyer, would not be interested in all this.
One should not forget that there is a hands-on side to the present Prime
Minister. We all witnessed that last winter when he assaulted a Canadian citizen
expressing his views on unemployment. I guess this particular citizen was
dismayed with the Prime Minister's hands-off approach to job creation. Complain
about hands off; and you get hands on - but that is a digression and I
Senator Bryden's letter, as I have explained, was somewhat in error. However,
he may not be solely to blame. For the past two years, the government has made a
determined effort to hide the truth respecting the Pearson agreements. It is
only now, through perseverance, patience and some good fortune, that bits and
pieces of the truth are surfacing.
Hiding the facts, the truth as it were, is not a new phenomenon for this
regime. It was not long ago when one of our Senate researchers made a couple of
harmless inquiries respecting the amount taxpayers had forked over and shelled
out to keep Mr. Chrétien's Chevy on the road. With his hands-off approach, some
of us wondered if perhaps cruise control had been installed. Did our researcher
receive answers to his queries? Not quite. What Roger Boisvenue did receive were
several phone calls from the RCMP and a police cruiser offering him and his
family 24-hour surveillance outside of their home.
Approximately six months later, there are still no answers, but the RCMP have
left. We are, however, considering renewing our inquiries, particularly in light
of the fact that Mr. Chrétien is, apparently, on his third car - and that is
not counting the two he left on the tarmac in Egypt.
Lastly, Senator Bryden takes great pain to express his displeasure that these
agreements, after three years of discussion and negotiation, were finalized as
the general election was unfolding. This alone, in his view, was reason enough
to warrant the cancellation. With that in mind, I wonder if any of the
honourable senators opposite have contacted Premiers Callbeck and McKenna
respecting the pending cancellation of the fixed link project.
The good senator from Port Elgin surely knows all about the fixed link, such
as the day it was signed and the financial benefits this project has brought to
his region's inhabitants. Is his silence simply an oversight? One would assume
that when Premier Callbeck was a backbencher with the Liberal opposition, she
must have felt quite uneasy about all the rhetoric flying around concerning the
validity of promises and undertakings of previous governments. As an aside, I am
sure she was quite concerned about the GST processing centre in Summerside - or,
then again, maybe she was not.
Coming back to the fixed link and the lack of attention it has received, one
would have to suppose that it fell into a different category for the Liberals.
Perhaps that category was clearly enunciated by Prime Minister Chrétien while
leading the "Team Canada" trade delegation in India. For those who
missed it, it goes like this:
Governments make it a tradition to respect the words of previous
That little off-the-cuff remark was in response to a question on whether the
Prime Minister was concerned that the pending election of a new administration
in India would threaten any of the multitude of contracts for which he was in
the midst of taking credit.
Although I have been there three or four times, I do not consider myself an
expert on India. However, I gather that what has since transpired is a
significant change in the political landscape, namely, the defeat of the
dominant political party - some would say the governing party - since the
country's independence. I wonder what the Prime Minister would have to say
should the new government of India abrogate contracts, annul agreements, declare
legal and binding undertakings not to have come into force, or legislate out of
existence the result of arduous negotiations? Maybe he would say, "Well,
you know, there are lots of people in India and Canada is just a small country.
Well, I cannot even tell the premier of Saskatchewan what to do, so how will I
be able to tell the Prime Minister of India what to do?"
On the other hand, maybe there is another explanation for the decision to
cancel the Pearson agreements. Perhaps the Liberals were simple dupes - that is,
victims of the adversarial parliamentary system - just like they were in the
GST, or free trade, or the deficit, or the reform of unemployment insurance.
They had to oppose the Pearson project. That is the way our system works, so
they think. In opposition, you oppose. Do not explain. You shoot from the lip.
Shoot they did, honourable senators, but they were victims of opposition, and
Canadians are paying for it now.
To conclude, perhaps The Globe and Mail not publishing Senator
Bryden's letter was, in hindsight, a fortunate thing. However, given what, I
hope, has been a helpful intervention, perhaps he will try again.
Finally, as a member of the Diefenbaker society, I should like to quote the
right honourable gentleman, who once said:
The Liberals are the flying saucers of politics. No one can make head nor
tail of them and they are never seen twice in the same place.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, at the first session of
the present legislature, Bill C-22 was referred to the Standing Senate Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Experts in the field of constitutional law
were invited to come before that committee to express their views on the
constitutionality of that bill. All of them, except one, came to the conclusion
that Bill C-22 was violating the rule of law and, therefore, was ultra vires
and unconstitutional. Our experts all agreed that the rule of law, which is
mentioned in the preamble of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of
1982, was not complied with. One expert spoke with a little more subtlety, but
also agreed that the rule of law is part of our system. Access to the courts is
part of the basic principle of the rule of law. It is considered by all jurists
in this country as a pillar in our parliamentary democracy.
Bill C-28 is of the same nature as Bill C-22. Last year, Bill C-22 was
considered by experts to be unconstitutional. Well, Bill C-28 this year is as
unconstitutional as Bill C-22 was last year.
There is an easy way for the government to get rid of all of these
difficulties: It is to come back with suitable and substantial amendments. They
are not difficult to draft. As a matter of fact, last year some were proposed.
Clearly, we must restore access to the courts of justice. It is not good enough
to say that amendments may be proposed in the Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Committee hearings. Of course the opposition may do it, but those amendments may
be defeated, too. Only this government, with a majority in the House and the
Senate, may remedy the situation in that sense.
I will say in conclusion that, traditionally, Parliament has had to be very
cautious when a matter is before the courts. I think that Speakers' rulings are
very clear on this point. To some extent, the problem is already before Ontario
Canada's legal system is strong and independent. The best solution in the
present matter would appear to be for Parliament to not intervene in this matter
or, if it really wants to, its legislation must provide for free access to the
I have but one concern: We must apply legal principles to the letter. It is
possible to terminate a contract, I am not denying it, but we must then assume
the consequences and, as necessary, the costs.
In a democracy, many things can be done, of course, but underlying everything
is the principle of the rule of law.
The authors of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms were right when they
enshrined in our Constitution the principle of the rule of law.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I have, as you can
understand, many thoughts on the whole issue of the Pearson airport and the many
months, in fact years, that we have discussed this issue. It was a long,
drawn-out process over a period of four years, ending with the announcement in
late August, 1993.
Just for the record, let us put this in proper perspective. On August 18,
1989, the government of the day announced a Southern Ontario Airports Strategy,
including runways and restoration work for Terminals 1 and 2. On October 17,
1990, the government announced that it would be seeking private-sector
participation in Terminals 1 and 2. On March 11, 1992, 17 months later, the
government released a formal RFP inviting the private sector to finance the
upgrading of Terminals 1 and 2. On July 17, 1992, the deadline for responses to
the RFP was met, and that was an extended deadline.
In the summer of 1992, an evaluation team was put in place to evaluate the
bids. On December 7, 1992, there was an announcement based on the evaluation
committee report that Paxport had submitted the best overall proposal and that,
subject to certain conditions, negotiations would proceed. On February 1, 1993,
Paxport and ATDC - the Air Terminal Development Corporation - merged, and over
the next many months the negotiations went on and on.
On August 27, 1993, there was Treasury Board approval, and on August 30,
1993, the announcement was made.
We are not talking about a transaction signed in the middle of the night or
negotiated at the last moment. How is it, then, that in Canada such a travesty
can take place? How can the rights of others be so cavalierly treated? Did no
one worry about the impact on our international reputation?
I must tell you that I was more than amused to pick up TheOttawaSun on Sunday, January 14 of this year, 1996, to read the following:
It's a truism that politicians always tell little fibs when travelling
It happened with Jean Chretien on his Asia trip to Bombay when he was
quizzed by local scribes.
India's PM had just called an election and an Indian reporter wanted to
know if any Canadian trade deals could be jeopardized if the government lost.
Without showing the slightest embarrassment, Chrétien offered this
whopper: "It will have no effect. Of course governments make a tradition
to respect the words of previous governments."
That howler might not go over too well with the developers of Pearson
Airport or the makers of the EH-101 helicopter.
This was not a well-thought-out policy. There was no serious background work
done on this issue. There was no mention of Pearson and the Pearson airport in
the now infamous Red Book, now better known as the little white book. No, the
Prime Minister, using a tactic employed by Preston Manning, caught the wave, so
to speak, around October 6 or 7, 1993, and, in the midst of the 1993 election
campaign, unabashedly sank up to his armpits in rhetoric, misinformation, and
outright falsehoods, flailing around in a reckless and irresponsible way.
Once elected, he faced the dilemma of extracting himself from his campaign
excesses. He turned to his good friend and supporter, dare I say crony, Robert
Nixon. I really do believe that Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Nixon were looking for a
way out of this, because testimony before our committee indicates that the
principals of the Pearson Development Corporation were stunned by the news that
the government was going to cancel. No wonder.
I quote from a Globe and Mail article of October 29, 1993:
Mr. Chrétien announced yesterday that he has appointed Robert Nixon, a
former Ontario treasurer, to review "all factors" relating to the
privatization of Toronto's international airport. He said Mr. Nixon will
report his findings within 30 days.
In an interview later, Mr. Nixon said that there could be a "meeting
of the minds" between the new Liberal government and the business
consortium that will control the airport.
"It might possibly be that the thing could be rearranged without going
to Draconian lengths to change it," Mr. Nixon said.
Asked about the possibility of cancelling the privatization, Mr. Nixon made
it clear that he would prefer to avoid scrapping the deal. "It's
difficult to go down those lines because it leads you into scenarios that are
tougher than surely would be contemplated. People don't like to interfere with
contracts. And I don't think they should, unless there is a substantial reason
to do so."
Mr. Chrétien has the "moral power" to persuade the privatization
consortium to amend the deal to provide more safeguards and benefits for the
public, Mr. Nixon said.
"We've got a person with an extremely powerful, fresh mandate,"
he said. "He might very well say, 'I'd like this to be done differently.'
It seems to me that a business consortium would be somewhat unwise not to give
some consideration to the views of the head of the government. The government
has quite a number of powers at its disposal."
Boy, was he right in his prediction.
During the election campaign, Mr. Chrétien called the privatization
agreement a "bad deal" and said his "instinctive approach"
was to oppose it. He also threatened to pass legislation to kill the deal. But
yesterday Mr. Nixon showed little interest in such action.
"Rather than having to undertake some tough legislative moves, which
would be unpalatable perhaps, I would think that some sort of meeting of the
minds could occur," he said.
Again, that was quoted out of TheGlobe and Mail, written by
Geoffrey York on October 29, 1993.
However, it was John Nunziata who sniffed this out and made a preemptive
strike by going public with veiled threats if the Pearson deal was not
This will be a true test of Mr. Chretien's commitment to integrity in
government, and I have considerable confidence in him that he will kill the
deal because of the issue of integrity.
That was John Nunziata, in the The Globe and Mail of November 27,
I'm convinced the deal is dead. I'm convinced that [Chretien] will listen
to the Toronto caucus, which is dead set against the deal.
John Nunziata, The TorontoStar, November 29, 1993.
There are some very powerful interests in our party who are trying push
this thing through.
John Nunziata, The OttawaSun, November 29, 1993.
These comments of Mr. Nunziata's obviously caused some concern and problems
for Mr. Chrétien, Mr. Nixon, and the PMO. This is confirmed by a comment
reported in TheGlobe and Mail on November 30, 1993.
John Nunziata is a motor mouth, jumping the gun.
The source: the Prime Minister's office.
I could deliver several 10- or 15-minute speeches on the hypocrisy of it all,
and the hypocrisy of this government and Mr. Chrétien. I could point out that,
in the past decade, all the major public policy issues - Canada-U.S. free trade,
NAFTA, tax reform, GST, constitutional change, Meech Lake, and distinct society,
to name but a few, all policies of the former PC government of Brian Mulroney -
all vehemently and viciously opposed and attacked by Jean Chrétien and the
Liberals while in opposition, are now all adopted by the Liberals as their own.
They have indeed swallowed themselves whole.
It is too bad the Pearson Airport Agreements were cancelled so quickly. It is
too bad John Nunziata's threats resulted in this irresponsible action. Given a
couple of months, Pearson too would have been embraced, and we would be now well
on our way to a modern, vibrant facility in Toronto instead of the present
stagnation. Perhaps we would even have helicopters.
But, oh, of course, the issue here, you see, was honesty and integrity. The
Chevrolet Prime Minister - now, you will note, the Buick Roadmaster Prime
Minister - had a façade that had to be protected.
The record is clear as to exactly what Prime Minister Chrétien's personal
role was in the Pearson airport plan. We already know what happened during the
1993 election and the subsequent cancellation in December of 1993. We all know
of the Draconian legislation, to use Mr. Nixon's words. We were the brunt of
thug-like attacks from Minister Young. However, we need not despair. There are
very few Canadians whom Doug Young has not insulted.
We on this side knew what we were up against: the considerable propaganda
machine of Mr. Chrétien and the Liberal Party. We knew we would be accused of
dastardly acts and intentions, but we were also confident of something that the
Liberals did not take into account: They thought we would cower under the
onslaught of their bullying tactics - to quote Doug Young, "It ain't gonna
be patty-cake" - that we would back off, that we were politically
dispirited. We were politically dispirited, but this did not prevent us from
acting in a responsible manner in protecting the rights of Canadians.
They also thought there would be outrage in the land against us. You will
recall the Prime Minister saying that we would boil in our own juices. How wrong
they were! They never thought their own Prime Minister's role in all of this
would be revealed and questioned. As I, personally, have said many times in
relation to this whole Pearson issue, I do not fear the truth; I fear
distortions of the truth.
On this side, we withstood all the insults and falsehoods because we
believed, as I believe, that at the end of the day, truth is the best defence,
and that no government should be allowed to trample on the rights of its
The issue at the time, according to John Nunziata, was honesty and integrity.
He surely discovered the truth, did he not, albeit a little late?
What was Mr. Chrétien's role in all of this? It is well established on the
public record, under oath, that the Prime Minister's role in the Pearson airport
plan was quite different than that which the public was led to believe. I have a
detailed chronology of Mr. Chrétien's role which I will put on the record later
in this debate. Suffice it to say that there is evidence, under oath, and borne
out by facts, and that the Prime Minister owes it to this Parliament and to
Canada to explain his true role.
Hon. Duncan J. Jessiman: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on Bill
C-28, which Senator Kirby has said is identical to its predecessor, Bill C-22,
which died on the Order Paper as a result of the prorogation of Parliament on
February 2, 1996.
At page 349 of the Debates of the Senate of May 15, 1996 Senator Kirby
said that Bill C-22, without any amendment, was legal, constitutional and
perfectly within the authority of Parliament. It therefore follows, although
Senator Kirby did not expressly say so, that it is the government's view that
Bill C-28, since it is identical as presently drafted, is also legal,
constitutional and perfectly within the authority of Parliament.
At page 356 Senator Kirby said:
...the government would clearly prefer to have Bill C-28 passed in its
current form. Point 1, full stop. That is the government's clear preference.
Then, referring to some proposed amendments to Bill C-28, the wording of
which he has refused to disclose to members of the opposition, he stated:
That, honourable senators, is what the amendments that I have indicated
could be moved in committee would do, and they will be moved if honourable
senators opposite insist that it be so.
I have not said that we will introduce amendments. I said, categorically,
that we would introduce them, if you insisted on them.
At this stage of our proceedings it is, therefore, incumbent upon us as
senators in opposition to consider Bill C-28 as it is presently worded, namely
word for word, the same as the previous Bill C-22.
What was the government's justification for the passage of Bill C-22 in the
House of Commons? We must know this, because the same justification must be
found for the passage of Bill C-28.
I shall not reiterate all of the matters outlined by the various senators on
this side of the house who have spoken before me on this matter. I did not hear
all of their speeches, but I am certain that I would agree with most, if not
all, of what they said. I shall, however, set out a number of pertinent
statements made by the government in attempting to justify the passage of Bill
C-22, and comment on each of them.
They are, first, that the contracts respecting the Pearson airport terminal
were inadequate; second, that lobbying was excessive, and went far beyond the
acceptable concept of consulting; third, that a convention existed which
prevented Prime Minister Kim Campbell from authorizing the transaction closed on
October 7, 1993 - 18 days prior to the federal election; and fourth, the
supremacy of Parliament.
I shall deal with each of the four points in order, after which I shall take
issue with certain comments made by Senator Kirby in the debates, and also with
his statement that, without any amendment, Bill C-28 is legal, constitutional
and perfectly within the authority of Parliament.
The government says that the contracts respecting the Pearson airport
terminal were "inadequate." That was the word that the infamous Robert
Nixon used when he gave his political advice respecting these contracts on or
about November 29, 1993. In his letter to the Prime Minister of the same date,
he referred to the document consisting of 14 pages plus 4 pages of schedules as
a "review." He was challenged on the meaning of the word
"review." He now knows that review means a critical evaluation, that
"critical" involves judgment, and that a "critic" is one who
expresses reasoned opinion. Mr. Nixon agreed that what he was giving was not a
review but political advice to his good friend the Prime Minister.
Yet, when the government was sued in respect of the breach of these same
contracts many months after the documents were signed, not a whimper was heard
in respect of the inadequacy of such contracts. As a matter of fact, counsel
acting for the government said otherwise.
The following is an excerpt from the transcript of the examination for
discovery of a senior officer of the government, Mr. Barbeau, in the lawsuit
respecting the breach of these airport contracts. There was an exchange between
counsel, and then counsel for Paxport, Mr. Slaght, asked:
...these contracts were not inadequate contracts from the point of view of
the Crown and its interest?
Crown counsel, Mr. Sgayias, then said:
I'm wondering about relevance here. The Crown is raising no defence as to
the adequacy of the contracts or offering any basis, contractual or otherwise,
for repudiating the contracts.
Is it not strange that a few months earlier this government, based primarily
on the adequacy of these contracts, cancelled this multimillion-dollar
transaction. Yet, when it was being sued for damages for breach of what the
Minister of Justice said was a valid and binding contract, the government chose
not to question the adequacy of these contracts?
It is my view that the government did not question the adequacy of these
contracts because it knew then, as it certainly knows now, that these contracts
were not only adequate, but that this deal was an excellent deal for the
Canadian government, the citizens of Toronto, and the people of Canada in
Second, his lobbying was excessive and went far beyond the acceptable concept
of consulting. Again, I am using the exact words used by Mr. Nixon.
The evidence was clear that a number of lobbyists were engaged in this
transaction, but the work was done in a professional manner and was not in any
way excessive for a transaction of this magnitude. The evidence was that many
more lobbyists were involved in the contract respecting Terminal 3 at Pearson,
and that contract was much smaller in scope. The statement made by Mr. Nixon and
others to the effect that lobbying went "far beyond the acceptable concept
of consulting" is just not true. Senators opposite who heard the evidence
know that to be a fact.
Third, a convention existed that prevented the Prime Minister, Kim Campbell,
from authorizing the transaction to be closed on October 7, 1993 - 18 days prior
to the federal election.
Quite simply, no convention existed then or exists now. Whether there should
or should not be such a convention is not what is to be considered. Neither are
we to consider whether or not there was one then but there is not one now.
Similarly, whether there should be such a convention is not something we had to
With the exception of one academic - and he was engaged by the government to
give his opinion - the other academics were of the opinion that no such
convention existed. On May 15, 1995, in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs, I had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Justice
several questions. The transcript of that section of the committee hearing is as
Senator Jessiman: It has been argued by Liberal senators that the
execution of the contract on October 7, 1993 was invalid because of certain
mores, customs or traditions. Do you agree with that, or do you think it was a
valid execution of a contract?
Mr. Rock: I think it was the valid execution of a contract.
Senator Jessiman: The government did admit in court, did it not,
that it committed a breach of that particular valid contract?
Mr. Rock: Yes, and the court so found.
Senator Jessiman: Yes. The court not only found that, but counsel on
your behalf agreed with it. The court did not have to find anything.
Mr. Rock: Yes.
At the time I asked the question, I thought the contract was executed on
October 7, 1993. We found out that there were several contracts - actually a
multitude of documents. If my memory is correct, approximately 110 had to be
drawn and executed, and 90 per cent of them had been executed before October 7,
It is also important to note that on August 30, 1993 - several days before
the election was even called - none of the politicians made any decision
whatsoever respecting the wording contained in those 110 documents. The deal had
been made in July, and it was agreed that all politicians had to do after that
date was two things: First, have it approved by Treasury Board, which was done
in late August before the calling of the election, and, second, sign whatever
documents were necessary to be signed on or about October 7, 1993.
It was agreed in July by the lawyers that October 7, 1993 would be the
closing date. What Prime Minister Campbell authorized on October 6, 1993, was,
primarily, the release of the main agreements, which had already been executed a
few days earlier by both sides, and to have a senior bureaucrat execute a few
other less important documents.
As I said earlier, all the academics, with the exception of the one paid by
this government to give them an opinion, agreed that it was a valid and binding
contract and that no convention existed.
I will now read into the record the name of the professors from whom we
heard. There was Professor Wayne Mackay from Dalhousie; Professor Douglas
Schmeiser from the University of Saskatchewan; Professor Dale Gibson from the
University of Alberta; Professor Patrick Monahan from Osgoode Hall; Professor
W.H. McConnell from the University of Saskatchewan; and Professor Ken Norman
from the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. The committee also heard
from a number of people from the Canadian bar, namely, Mr. Gerald Shapur, Mr.
Martin Mason, and Ms Joan Bercovitch. All of them agreed that there was no such
The next point I want to discuss is the supremacy of Parliament. Members
opposite claim that Parliament is supreme. Honourable senators, Parliament is
supreme, but, when the Bill of Rights was passed and, following that, the
Charter of Rights, it was not quite as supreme as it was prior to that. I would
refer to two sections from the Bill of Rights.
The Hon. the Speaker: I hesitate to interrupt Senator Jessiman, but
his time is up. Would the honourable senator seek leave to continue?
Senator Jessiman: I will be another 10 minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Jessiman: Thank you, honourable senators.
Section 1 of the Canadian Bill of Rights states:
It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and
shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national
origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental
(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the
person and enjoyment of property...
I do point out that it does mention "individual," so that if any of
the parties that were involved were individuals, they would have the protection
of that section.
In section 2(e), it does not say "individual." I will read
the preamble, plus paragraph (e), which states:
2. Every law of Canada shall, unless it is expressly declared by an Act of
the Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian
Bill of Rights, -
And the government chose not to take it outside of the Bill of Rights. They
could have but did not. The section goes on to state:
- be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, abridge or infringe, or
to authorize the abrogation, abridgment or infringement of any of the rights
or freedoms herein recognized and declared, and in particular, no law of
Canada shall be construed or applied so as to...
(e) deprive a person of the right to a fair hearing in accordance
with the principles of fundamental justice for the determination of his
rights and obligations.
I point out that the section does not mention "individual"; it
specifies a "person." A person has been defined as a corporation. That
particular section in the Canadian Bill of Rights has been held to apply to
We now come to the Charter. Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights
and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed
by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
There was a lot of discussion when the Charter was promulgated and around the
time it was passed as to whether property rights should be included in the
Charter. It was decided that they would not be included.
As a matter of fact, in the other place right now a bill is being introduced
by the Reform Party for that particular purpose. When the idea was first
introduced, some of the provinces did not want property rights protected, not
the federal government. The view of the federal government at that time was that
property rights should be protected.
It is strange that a government - and it was a Liberal government at that
time - would think that that should be the case. This Liberal government is now
trying, I hope unsuccessfully, to take away the rights of the parties to this
particular contract, which the Minister of Justice has said is valid and
enforceable, and pay them absolutely zero under this legislation as it is
presently drafted. That is what the government is prepared to pay them - that
is, unless the plaintiffs agree with the minister himself, who is not only the
prosecutor but also the judge and the jury. They get nothing unless they agree.
That will not stand up in court. You do not have to be a lawyer to know that.
It is unfair. I suggest that anyone who suggests that this bill would stand up
in court does not know very much about the law or fairness.
Senator Kinsella: Nor do they have any respect for it.
Senator Jessiman: I should like to say a few words about what Senator
Kirby has said. If you read part of what he says, you say "My, God. He has
agreed to everything they want. Why do they not pass it?" At page 353 of
the Debates of the Senate he is reported as saying:
Honourable senators, we are prepared to move amendments -
You will notice that he says "we." He continues:
- that will satisfactorily resolve every single one of the constitutional
concerns raised by the witnesses and by honourable senators opposite.
Reading that, honourable senators, one might ask, "Why would they not
agree to it?"
If you go back to page 352, you will see that he is not talking about this
bill but about a proposed amendment to a proposed amendment. When the bill came
back the second time unamended, we on this side of the house proposed some
amendments. They were not "amendments" but "proposed
amendments." The government side brought back some other proposed
amendments. The government's proposed amendments - that is, what they wanted to
put in and still do - relieve the government of any responsibility whatsoever in
respect to awards for aggravated, punitive or exemplary damages. They said,
"We do not want to be responsible for that."
Senator Kirby then goes on to say what they will do. He says that the
investors will be able to apply for damages; but not under those three
categories. Why is the government afraid to award damages under those three
categories? I know why. If the government goes to court on this particular
transaction - and since it is not excluded, the court cannot grant it - and if
the investors are deprived of future profits, as they are in this bill, then
they are not allowed to be compensated for the funds that they have expended and
are to expend for lobbyists. My guess and opinion is that the court will grant
those kinds of damages.
Why are those damages granted? The purpose of punitive or exemplary damages
is to serve as a deterrence and punishment as opposed to compensation. The court
will not award such damages to the plaintiffs simply because the judge may think
the plaintiffs are entitled to some money; the judge will grant them if, in his
or her opinion, he or she wants to deter governments like this one from ever
doing again what they have done here. That is why they award those damages. If
the government does not think it has done anything wrong, then it should let it
be and not make that exception.
What about aggravated damages? They are compensatory but are directed to
tangible injuries such as distress, humiliation caused by a defendant, such as
insulting behaviour. If the government has ever been more insulting in any
transaction than in this one, I am not aware of it.
I have only two other points to make, honourable senators.
For Bill C-28 to end up back in this chamber, something must have happened
between prorogation and now. If this bill ever does get to committee - and I
hope it does not - I want to see the terms of those agreements. I am told now
that there has to be an agreement between this government and the Kim Campbell
government in the event that a bill resurfaces here after prorogation. That is
to say, if there is an agreement on both sides, I do not know whether they have
to agree on the specific bill. There is some agreement about that, but I have
not seen it yet. However, if there is no previous agreement, then this bill is
not before us properly.
Second - and I cannot say "I did not have time" because I have
known about it for weeks but I did not get around to asking - this bill must be
stamped saying that it complies with the Canadian Bill of Rights. It must
indicate that it is in compliance with the Charter. It is true that Bill C-22
had such a stamp, but this bill is different. I do not know if this one has such
Surely, after all the testimony from all the representatives of the law,
including representatives from the Canadian Bar Association who appeared before
us at least twice, who said this legislation was unconstitutional, how in the
world can any Minister of Justice have the gall to put a stamp on that document?
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I will be brief because the views that we have on this bill have not
only been expressed during this debate but also repeatedly during the last two
years or so. However, I want to deplore the fact that the government refuses to
make public the amendments that it agrees to present at another stage. I deplore
it because this bill is made up of 12 clauses. The first one is the standard
short title; the second one is the interpretation clause; clauses 3 to 10,
inclusive, are the heart of the bill; and clauses 11 and 12 are important but
not related to the heart of the bill.
Senator Kirby has told us that the government intends to propose amendments
which would alter considerably the heart of the bill - namely, clauses 3, 4, 5,
7, 8, 9, and 10 - to introduce amendments which for the most part will
contradict what is in the bill before us today.
I will only touch upon the main elements.
Access to the courts, which was denied, will now be allowed; the contracts,
which were to be declared null and void, will now be recognized; and damages,
which were not to be claimed, can be claimed. This is a conundrum. This is a
most unusual situation - how to explain the presentation of a bill for approval
in principle when it has already been announced that the principle will be
violated should this bill ever get to committee.
As I said before, and as others have repeatedly stated, it is unheard of to
proceed this way. It is even more unheard of for a bill to come before this
chamber after having been approved three times by the House of Commons in this
form. Despite that, we are then told that this chamber will be asked to alter
the bill completely and send it back in a form and content completely opposite
to what the House of Commons approved three times. That is the purpose of the
amendment - to send the bill back to the House for proper consideration.
I want honourable senators to bear with me while I share some reflections on
the purpose behind the amendment. I will not elaborate on the reasons already
given during second reading debate.
Honourable senators, over the years, the House of Commons has become less
relevant to the legislative and executive process in this country. This is not
meant to be disrespectful, but it is a statement of fact which is not said with
anything but regret, especially after yesterday's impressive events honouring
former parliamentarians. As the Speaker of the House asked members of each
Parliament since World War II to rise and be recognized, I am sure that I was
not the only one to be reminded of significant events and leading figures in
many of them. It was a privilege for all of us to realize in whose footsteps we
are following as parliamentarians and to be reminded of the responsibilities
this entails. Unfortunately, the ability to carry out those responsibilities is
becoming more difficult in the House of Commons.
First, we have a growing concentration of power in the Prime Minister's
office and in the cabinet as legislation by Order in Council is becoming the
rule rather than the exception. The basis of our parliamentary form of
government is to have the executive as an integral part of the legislature, and
on paper it still is; but, in fact, the executive power is shifting away from
the House to be lodged in the cabinet room and in the Prime Minister's Office,
because more and more legislation is passed in deliberately general terms,
leaving its execution to regulations prepared by the executive and subject
usually to only cursory examination.
Second, since 1982, the judiciary has been interpreting legislation in
response to its understanding of the Charter, and not always the legislator
In short, honourable senators, Parliament is no longer supreme as the term
has historically been understood. Unwittingly or not, it has abdicated much of
its authority to the executive through the latter's growing use of Orders in
Council and to the courts through their interpretations of the Charter, which do
not always coincide with those of the legislator.
The intent of the legislator used to be a key criterion in understanding and
interpreting the purpose of legislation. If I raise all of this, it is because
if anyone should be conscious and respectful of the intent of the legislator, it
is certainly the Senate of Canada.
Three times the legislator has approved what is before us. Senator Kirby's
intentions will crudely ignore what the House has expressed three times, without
any warning or any indication to that House. This is simply offensive behaviour
toward the House of Commons, as it makes the government a party to its reduced
It is only proper that all important public legislation be introduced in the
House of Commons. For reasons known only to it, this government wants to make an
exception to this unwritten rule by initiating in this place legislation which
the government has accepted will end up in a form and content diametrically
opposed to Bill C-28 and in direct contradiction to a will expressed three times
by the House of Commons.
We have in this chamber very distinguished former members of the House of
Commons. I would think they would be troubled by seeing their former colleagues,
and the House which they served so well, being treated in such a cavalier way. I
would think that reason alone would make them reflect before automatically
rejecting this motion in amendment, because it goes far beyond the bill. It goes
far beyond any attempt to delay the bill. It goes to the heart of how this
Parliament should function.
The purpose of the House of Commons is to advise the Senate of its wishes,
and the purpose of the Senate is to respond to those wishes and give counsel and
advice, suggest corrections, and warn of constitutional pitfalls as the case may
Honourable senators, by returning Bill C-28 to the House of Commons, we will
allow the government to argue its amendments where they should have been argued
in the first place and where they should be argued initially, thereby
demonstrating respect for the role of the elected house and not demeaning it,
should it be allowed to proceed as Senator Kirby has urged.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
It was moved by the Honourable Senator Davey, seconded by the Honourable
Senator Forest, that this bill be read the second time.
It was further moved in amendment by the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Robertson, that Bill C-28 be not now read the
second time but that it be referred back to the House of Commons for proper
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators in favour of the
motion in amendment please say yea?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators opposed to the
motion in amendment please say nay?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it.
Under a previous agreement, the vote will be held at 5:30 p.m. this
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, perhaps I could say a word on this matter.
There has been discussion and it was agreed earlier that, according to the
rules, the vote is to take place at 5:30 p.m. However, by mutual agreement, we
have agreed that the vote could take place at 4:45 this afternoon.
On that particular point, we propose that we adjourn now and reconvene at
Hon. Eric Arthur Berntson (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Perhaps
we could reconvene at 2:15 p.m.
Senator Graham: That would be acceptable to this side. We would
reconvene at 2:15. However, at that point in time, we would be back to the Order
Paper, and we would follow it as it is.
Senator Berntson: Honourable senators, it is always our desire to
accommodate our colleagues. The nature of the accommodation today was so that
some of our colleagues who had other important matters on their agendas would
not have to be here tomorrow. To the extent that we can accommodate them in
leaving tonight, the earlier accommodation would not be of much value without
allowing them to get out. I would be the last person in the world to suggest
that our schedule should be dictated by the airline schedules, but it is a
reality. We have agreed at this level, therefore, that a vote at 4:45 this
afternoon on all questions relative to this bill would be appropriate.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is agreed, honourable senators, that the vote
take place at 4:45 this afternoon and that the bells ring at 4:30 p.m. I also
understand it is agreed that the Senate will adjourn during pleasure to return
at 2:15 p.m.
Senator Berntson: Honourable senators, I have a point on which I would
like some clarification. I do not know that we agreed on the length of the bell.
My suggestion would be that we get through the Order Paper. Perhaps the whips
can get together later in the day, and as we progress through the business of
the Order Paper, we can determine what length of bell is required so that all
honourable senators can get here by 4:45 p.m. I have two concerns: First, I
would want the bell to ring, but, second, I would not want the ringing of the
bell to unduly affect the whittling down of the Order Paper.
The Hon. the Speaker: Under the rules, the bell must ring for 15
minutes unless there is another decision by the Senate. Therefore, unless
another proposition is made and there is agreement, I have no choice in this
Senator Berntson: Honourable senators, I have no trouble with the rule
that stipulates that the bell must ring for 15 minutes. I am just suggesting
that perhaps we may be able to give our colleagues 30 minutes if the work
unfolds more rapidly than we have anticipated.
Senator Graham: If honourable senators wish, we could have a one-hour
bell. If we finish the Order Paper at 3:45, the bell could then ring for an
hour. What we would be doing when we finish the Order Paper is adjourning to the
call of the Chair, but knowing that the bells would ring until 4:30 p.m. at the
latest, as required by the rules, and that we would have the vote at 4:45 p.m.
Senator Berntson: Honourable senators, would my colleague agree to a
bell of no less than half an hour? We have colleagues in the Victoria Building,
and scattered around elsewhere.
Senator Graham: That is certainly agreeable. We want to accommodate
all honourable senators so that they can be assured of an opportunity to vote.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is agreed, then, that the bells will ring at
Hon. M. Lorne Bonnell: Honourable senators, I do not want to disagree
with the unanimous decision of this house, because so many times great decisions
are made. However, I live way off on the East Coast, and I know that all of the
airline flights to my region have left this province for the day by 5:00 p.m.
Rather than ringing the bells for an hour, it might be better if the vote could
be held an hour earlier, so that those of us who live far away, whether to the
west or to the east, could get home to our wives and families. It might be more
appropriate for everyone to have the vote one hour earlier. Both the Leader of
the Government and the Leader of the Opposition should take into consideration
their colleagues who live farther away than Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the Senate will adjourn
during pleasure, to return at 2:15 p.m., and I now leave the Chair.
Second Report of Standing Joint
Leave having been given to revert to Presentation of Reports from Standing or
Hon. P. Derek Lewis, Joint Chairman of the Standing Joint Committee of
the Senate and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations, presented
the following report:
Thursday, May 30, 1996
Pursuant to its statutory order of reference, section 19 of the Statutory
Instruments Act, R.S.C.1985, c.S-22, the Standing Joint Committee for the
Scrutiny of Regulations has the honour to present its
(Report No. 58)
1. On October 3, 1991, the Governor in Council amended the Canada Business
Corporation Regulations (SOR/91-567) pursuant to section 261 of the Canada
Business Corporations Act. This amendment introduced fees payable for the
correction of certificates issued under the Act.
2. The amendment in question was registered and came into force on October
3, 1991. In the course of correspondence between the responsible department
(then the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs) and counsel to the
Joint Committee, the fact that the fees imposed on October 3, 1991 were not
collected untilJune 8, 1992 came to light. In a letter dated March 8, 1993,
the Director of the Corporations Directorate of the Department of Consumer and
Corporate Affairs confirmed
that the Corporations Directorate did not charge fees for corrections
before June 8, 1992 because its clients had not been advised of the change.
The Directorate was not informed that fees for corrections were coming into
effect before early 1992. It was impossible for us to immediately notify our
clients about the change. We thought it preferable to advise our clients
about the change, before rejecting their applications for correction because
the prescribed fees were not included, as they have been dealing with us for
17 years and assumed that no fees were required for a correction.
Your Committee finds it difficult to understand how a Directorate forming
part of the Department sponsoring a regulatory change could remain ignorant of
that change for months after it has become law. Of greater concern to your
Committee, however, is that public officials would have believed that these
facts could justify their failure to apply the law.
3. In deciding not to collect the fees prescribed by the Regulations for a
period of some eight months, the responsible public servants were not only in
breach of their duty to faithfully apply the law, but purported to have an
authority superior to that of the Governor in Council. The enactment of the
amendment registered as SOR/91-567 by the Governor in Council reflected a
decision that the imposition of fees for the issue of corrected certificates
as of October 3, 1991 was in the public interest. It is nothing short of
astounding that public servants could ever think it within their right to vary
the decision of the Governor in Council, a decision which had legal force and
effect, and decide that the fees should only be imposed as of a later date.
4. Lest it be thought that the explanations given by the Director of the
Corporations Directorate are not entirely without merit, it must be mentioned
that appropriate measures had in fact been taken to inform those affected by
the amendment of the intent to impose fees for the issue of corrected
certificates. Both the 1989 and 1990 Federal Regulatory Plans contained a
clear description of the amendment. A draft of the amendment was subsequently
published in Part I of the Canada Gazette of December 1, 1990 inviting
interested parties to make representations. In light of these facts, it is not
possible to accept the suggestion that the failure to apply the law may be
excused by a need to inform interested parties about the new fees.
5. The legal consequence of the situation described in the preceding
paragraphs is that persons who obtained a corrected certificate between the
date of coming into force of the amendment and June 8, 1992, the date as of
which departmental officials applied the law, owe a debt to the Crown. Another
possible legal consequence for those who failed to collect the fees payable by
those persons is set out in section 78 of the Financial Administration Act,
which provides that
Where, by reason of any malfeasance or negligence by any person employed
in collecting or receiving any public money, any sum of money is lost to Her
Majesty, that person is accountable for the sum as if that person had
collected and received it and it may be recovered from that person as if
that person had collected and received it.
6. The remission by the Governor in Council of the fees that were payable
but not paid prior to June 8, 1992 offers a simple means of correcting this
situation and of relieving all interested parties of any legal liability. Such
a remission order would relieve those who obtained a corrected certificate in
that period of their liability to the Crown and would also indirectly relieve
public officers of any potential liability under the Financial
Administration Act. The power of remission conferred by section 23 of the Financial
Administration Act has been used to this effect in other similar
instances, and this suggestion was therefore put to the responsible
7. In a letter dated January 25, 1994, the Acting Senior General Counsel for
the Department of Industry informed the Committee that
The Chief of the Corporate Examination Section felt that the government
should first and foremost inform its clients more adequately of the new
practice. [...] In these times of empowerment when managers are encouraged to
take appropriate measures in the taxpayers' best interests, the person
concerned made a decision (wrongly, we all agree) that was unsound from a
strictly legal point of view but was probably justifiable from an
administrative point of view. Moreover, given the modest sums involved, I do
not think a remission order would be necessary in this case.
Your Committee is struck by the fact that a legal adviser would seriously
put forward the notion that an illegal practice may nevertheless be justified
as good public administration. As far as members of the Joint Committee are
concerned, a course of action that is not founded in law is never justifiable
from an administrative point of view. As for the argument that the sums
involved are modest, your Committee simply does not accept its relevance.
Public officials were charged with a duty to collect certain fees and failed
in that duty with the result that certain taxpayers have unwittingly and
unfairly been placed in the position of owing a debt to the federal Crown. It
is this situation that a remission order would correct, and the amount
involved changes nothing with respect to this description of the situation.
More practically, the Committee notes that remission orders involving small
amounts are routinely adopted where necessary.
8. Your Committee recommends that the Government reconsider the need and
desirability of adopting an order pursuant to section 23 of the Financial
Administration Act remitting to any person who obtained a corrected
certificate prior to June 8, 1992 the amount of the fee that was payable
pursuant to the Canada Business Corporations Regulations.
A copy of the relevant Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence (Issue No. 5,
Second Session, Thirty-fifth Parliament) is tabled in the House of Commons.
P. Derek Lewis
Ghislain Lebel Joint Chairmen
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into consideration,
On motion of Senator Lewis, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Fourth Report of Committee
Presented and Printed as Appendix
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the
fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications,
which concerns the request for budget authorization for the special study on
communications in Canada.
I ask that the report be printed as an appendix to today's Journals of the
The Hon. the Speaker: Is permission granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into
On motion of Senator Bacon, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Second Report of Committee
Presented and Printed as Appendix
Hon. Ron Ghitter: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the
second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and
Natural Resources. The report deals with our budget application for the fiscal
year 1996-97, relating to the examination of such issues as may arise from time
to time relating to energy, the environment and natural resources.
I ask that the report be printed as an appendix to the Journals of the
Senate and that it form part of the permanent records of this house.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into
On motion of Senator Ghitter, and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g),
report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.
Department of Public Works and
Government Services Bill
Resuming the debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator De Bané, P.C.
seconded by the Honourable Senator Poulin, for the third reading of Bill C-7,
to establish the Department of Public Works and Government Services and to
amend and repeal certain acts.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I should like to offer a few
remarks on Bill C-7.
I support the government's action to amalgamate the Department of Public
Works and Government Services, and the savings in personnel and administrative
costs which will accompany this union. I am very much in favour of a more
rational and efficient delivery of services.
In company with many others, however, I am troubled by the provisions of this
bill which would open the door to increased competition for contract work
between the new department and the private sector. Clauses 10(2)(c) and
16(b) of Bill C-7 will create the opportunity for the government to
unduly expand its role in the economy, at a time when that same government is
preaching the need for private sector job creation and a smaller, more limited
You have already heard my colleague Senator Stratton speak of the need to
build trust between government and business, and the ways in which this
legislation violates that trust. That issue of trust is underscored by the
remarks that have been made by the Minister of Public Works and Government
Services. She said to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance on May
It certainly is not our intention to compete with the private sector.
Her predecessor made the same comment, in public and in writing, many times.
Yet the minister and her government refuse to consider any amendments to these
two clauses of the bill in order to deter competition with the private sector.
The minister left it to her deputy minister to justify these two clauses.
On May 8, the deputy minister gave this response to our the Standing Senate
Committee on National Finance:
Why do we think it is necessary? First, our view is that it is not new.
Second, the figures show that we will not grow. Third, we are in the position
of doing the review on what should be contracted out.
These are, to say the least, rather skimpy arguments for refusing to amend
two clauses that violate the stated intentions and repeated assurances of the
Honourable senators, our Standing Senate Committee on National Finance heard
from several witnesses, including the Ontario Association of Architects, the
Canadian Environmental Industry Association, the Canadian Council of Technicians
and Technologists, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and the
Geomatics Industry Association of Canada. These witnesses unanimously opposed
the present wording of these two clauses in the bill. Some would welcome
assistance from Public Works and Government Services in acquiring service
contracts in other provinces, but would not welcome further competition from the
department for either domestic or international contracts.
These witnesses voiced many specific objections to these provisions of Bill
C-7. I could cite several, but will quote only two of the concerns expressed by
the Ontario Association of Architects:
First, the government has clearly articulated a policy of streamlining and
downsizing. The expansion of government's role into direct competition with
the private sector is directly contrary to that policy.
Second, the less-than-precise allocation of real costs, both direct and
indirect, could allow Public Works and Government Services Canada an unfair
advantage. The costs, including overheads which we face in the private sector,
are truly the cost of doing business and cannot be ignored, discounted or
In short, there is serious concern that Bill C-7 opens the door even wider to
competition between the department and the private sector, and it does so on an
unlevel playing field.
Business and industrial groups in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador
have communicated their concerns to me regarding Bill C-7. They share the
misgivings that witnesses expressed to the Standing Senate Committee on National
Finance. The flavour of their views is accurately reflected in a letter to the
chairman of that committee sent on April 30, 1996 by the St. John's Board of
Trade. They stated:
It must be made abundantly clear in this legislation that the Government of
Canada is not to compete with the private sector. To allow the public sector
to compete in the private sector is counter-productive to expanding the
economy, creating jobs, improving government efficiency and strengthening
Canadian business to compete.... If there is sufficient slack within federal
government departments giving capacity to work on private contracts, then
there exists sufficient capacity to right-size government.
On that note, honourable senators, I urge the government to reconsider these
two clauses of Bill C-7. Let us join forces in amending the bill to reflect what
the minister and her predecessor had advocated.
Hon. Pierre De Bané moved second reading of Bill C-31, to implement
certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 6, 1996.
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak in favour of this
important legislation Bill C-31, the Budget Implementation Bill, which we are
The 1996 budget has intensified and extended the measures taken as part of
the comprehensive strategy set out in the 1994 and 1995 budgets. Together, these
budgets help Canadians to provide for their future in a number of key areas.
First, providing for our financial future: The government's financial
objectives will be met or exceeded in the future, thanks to sustained reductions
in federal expenditures and programs, and the 1996 budget reaffirms the
government's commitment to a balanced budget.
Second, re-examining the role of the state: Other measures have been taken in
order to define a more appropriate role for the federal government, given the
globalization of the world economy.
Third, providing for the future of social programs for the next century: The
measures adopted by the government are aimed at restoring confidence in the old
age security scheme and in guaranteeing a safe, stable and growing system of
federal support for health care, post-secondary education and welfare.
These objectives are not rhetoric; they are firm commitments backed up by
concrete action, including the legislation before us.
Much of Bill C-31 deals with measures that address the two objectives of
"getting government right" and "preserving Canada's social
programs." Let me address these and highlight some of the key proposals.
First, what do we mean by "getting government righ?" I think the
answer is clear and compelling - to shape a focused, more affordable government
that effectively advances the key priorities of a productive job-creating
economy in a modern Canadian federation.
Honourable senators, Canadians have sent us a clear message - government has
the responsibility in its own operations to meet the challenges of
globalization, financial pressures, new information technologies and demographic
shifts. Canadians seek affordable services and programs delivered in the most
effective and efficient manner possible.
To support these objectives, the government implemented its program review, a
fundamental examination of all programs and services. I might add that not since
the Second World War has a government engaged in such a far-reaching review.
During the program review, the government examined all major federal programs
and activities to reassess what we do, how we do it, and how we can do it
better. Its aim was to deliver services that are relevant, responsive,
accessible and affordable. It is now putting into place the results of this
However, as we evolve government, we must pay equal attention to the people
in the federal government. The simple fact is that changes are also required to
transform the public service into a modern and dynamic institution.
That brings me to the bill before us for consideration, Bill C-31. The
initiatives in this bill will put in place some of the "building
blocks" to help the public service of the government introduce and expand
new organizational structures and approaches.
These measures, honourable senators, reflect three key themes. They are:
alternative service delivery; compensation and collective bargaining; and
Let me focus on the issue of alternative delivery of services and programs.
By this I mean creating service entities, special operating agencies and other
organizational mechanisms to deliver services. One example is NavCan, which
delivers the air traffic control system NavCan.
In his budget, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Martin, announced his intention
to take a similar approach by creating a single food inspection body, a parks
agency and a national revenue commission. We will take other similar steps, on a
case-by-case basis, in our ongoing examination of the best way to deliver
services to Canadians.
The creation of such agencies affects the officials working in these sectors.
We must ensure they are treated fairly and equitably.
This is why the government met with the public service unions earlier this
year. I am pleased to inform you that we have reached agreements with most of
them on the interim provisions pertaining to employees joining the other service
The amendments we are tabling today will enable us to put terms and
conditions into effect that will be fair to all the employees affected by these
transfers. We shall also be able to provide better terms for the members of
these unions that have signed the agreements I mentioned.
For example, Bill C-31 proposes changes to both the Canada Labour Code and
the Public Service Staff Relations Act to introduce "successor
rights." These rights continue to cover union representation in the
collective agreement until the term of the agreement expires when employees move
from public service employment to other federal employers. Also, this
legislation introduces changes that will ease the transition to and operation of
alternative delivery organizations. We want to ensure that these organizations
have the tools they need to operate effectively from the outset.
For instance, there is a proposal here to amend the Financial Administration
Act to allow the government to use multi-year appropriations. If approved, it
could use this authority with the three new agencies where flexibility for
multi-year planning is warranted and appropriate. However, we should also
recognize that this is an enabling clause only. Parliament will retain the right
to determine when and if multi-year appropriations are suitable to these or any
other future organizations.
Honourable senators, I now wish to turn to compensation and collective
bargaining in the public service and later to the employees of the House of
Commons and the Senate of Canada.
As we all remember, the Public Sector Compensation Act introduced in 1991
restrained collective bargaining. Public service wages have been frozen for five
of the six years that this legislation has been in effect. This act will now
expire in February 1997, and the government can return to collective bargaining
for public service employees.
Bill C-31 proposes to suspend the binding arbitration process normally used
to resolve collective bargaining disputes for three years. This addresses the
fact that meeting the government's fiscal targets continues to demand
disciplined action. The government cannot run the risk of allowing independent
arbitrators who are not accountable to Parliament to award compensation
increases that the fiscal framework could not accommodate.
Binding arbitration will continue to apply in the case of employees of the
House of Commons, the Senate, the Library of Parliament and the Canadian
Security Intelligence Service. This is because the legislation governing them
prohibits strikes but provides for binding arbitration instead. However,
arbitrators will have to take into account wage settlements awarded to
comparable occupational groups in the public service for which Treasury Board is
We are also seeking authority to amend the Public Sector Compensation Act in
order to reinstitute statutory increments and merit pay for employees who were
eligible before these were suspended for the duration of the government's wage
The bill would also grant authority to increase by 2.2 per cent the pay of
non-commissioned members of the Canadian Forces. This measure would correct the
disparity that existed between members of the Canadian Forces and public
servants before the freeze took effect.
There is also the issue of pension reforms. These are intended to provide
individuals and groups of employees with greater pension portability to meet the
standards of the Pension Benefits Standards Act. Specifically, we propose to
revise the Public Service Superannuation Act to protect employee pension
accruals and make them portable, should employees move to newly established or
privatized organizations. This portability will be enhanced by two-year vesting
and lock-in provisions.
I will turn now to the Canada Health and Social Transfer. This is a priority
shared by the vast majority of Canadians, namely, the preservation of this
country's network of social programs. To help achieve that end, the bill before
us amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. This amendment will
provide secure, stable funding for the CHST, the Canada Health and Social
Transfer, for an additional five years.
Let me remind this chamber of the background of this transfer program. In the
1995 budget, the government replaced the Canada Assistance Plan, CAP, and the
Established Programs Financing, EPF, with a new transfer, the CHST. This single,
consolidated block transfer represents a new, more flexible and mature approach
to federal-provincial fiscal relations. It gives the provinces extra flexibility
as they design and administer their own programs while safeguarding the social
programs Canadians rely on and support.
This year, the budget calls for an extension of the CHST funding framework
through the 2002-2003 fiscal year, and puts in place a formula for at least
increasing this transfer in the outer years. Under the bill before us, total
entitlements will be pegged at $25.1 billion annually for 1998-99 and 1999-2000
equal to the level already in place for next year.
There should be no mistake about our commitment to assisting provinces in
vital national activities such as health care, education and social assistance
for those in real need. The simple fact is that, even as we continue to cut back
federal program spending, total CHST transfers to the provinces will not fall in
In fact, in the three fiscal years beginning in April 2000, CHST levels are
projected to rise by fiscal 2002-2003. Total CHST entitlements are expected to
be $2.3 billion higher than the levels set for the next fiscal year, 1997-98.
To provide additional assurance to Canadians, however, this legislation sets
a floor - that is, an ironclad guarantee - that cash transfers will be
maintained above the $11 billion level. This legislation also provides a new
formula for allocating the CHST among provinces. The current system of transfers
has evolved in a way that has created growing disparities in per capita
entitlements. These disparities were created, for the most part, by the cap on
the Canada Assistance Plan's funding to certain provinces that was imposed by
the previous government.
I feel that Canadians recognize that affluent provinces do not need the same
assistance as the less affluent. At the same time, however, Canadians are also
firm believers in the importance of action that is balanced and fair. This
legislation puts those values to work. Under the new allocation formula, which
will be phased in over five years, disparities in per capita funding will have
been cut in half. To the reasonable person, that great legal test enshrined by
centuries of law, surely this is an honourable compromise.
It reflects the fact that the government was unable to obtain a consensus on
the allocation issue in our consultations with the provinces. However, all
governments did agree on the need for a decision. No one wanted more delay and
more uncertainty. That is why we went ahead with this approach. We believe it
represents a realistic, responsible solution.
Let me point out to honourable senators that the gradual phase-in, combined
with the five-year duration of the CHST funding arrangement, not only gives
provinces time to adjust but also gives them maximum certainty in their
I should like now to turn to changes in Bill C-31, the Unemployment Insurance
Act - changes that will bring insurance coverage more in line with the average
industrial wage for 1996. Under this proposal, the maximum insurable earnings
are reduced to $750 per week, in comparison with the $845 level that would have
resulted under current legislation. Similarly, the maximum weekly benefit drops
from $465 per week to $413 per week. These measures will save $200 million in
the second half of this year and reduce the UI payroll and tax burden on working
I do not agree with suggestions that this measure is regressive. My
honourable colleagues should remember that the UI program, when considered in
its entirety, is strongly progressive. Lower income contributors tend to draw
much more in benefits than they pay in premiums, while higher income earners
tend to pay much more in premiums than they draw in benefits.
As well, let me point out that claimants who qualify for the 60 per cent
dependency rate prior to the coming into force of the new Employment Insurance
Act will not see a loss of that rate for their claims. To qualify for this rate,
claimants must have dependents and show average earnings of $422.50 per week or
I should add that this bill also amends the Old Age Security Act to lengthen
the period of time before newcomers to Canada become entitled to the full
Guaranteed Income Supplement or Spouse's Allowance. This is simply common sense.
Under the current system, some immigrants obtain full benefits with as little as
one year's residence in Canada. Restricting this easy access will improve the
fairness of the system and lessen the burden on Canadian taxpayers.
However, we will not penalize those who have already joined our country.
Individuals now receiving benefits, or who have landed in Canada before budget
day and become eligible for benefits before January 1, 2001, will not be
Honourable senators, finally, there is one measure in Bill C-31 that is not
directly related to the budget, but rather to an announcement made last month by
the Minister of Finance.
It calls for the payment of approximately $960 million to Nova Scotia, New
Brunswick, and Newfoundland-Labrador to help them adjust to the new value-added
tax system they have agreed to bring in, in conjunction with the government, and
to offset their initial revenue losses.
Payment of that amount will be spread over four years and is in line with the
long-established practice of providing assistance when federal initiatives bring
about major structural changes for the provinces.
Based on the assistance formula set out in the bill, we will be splitting the
cost of harmonization with any province whose revenues drop by more than 5 per
cent of its current retail sales tax revenues.
In addition to the three provinces mentioned, it would apply to Prince Edward
Island, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, should they decide to harmonize. It would
not, however, apply to British Columbia, Alberta or Ontario for the very good
reason that their revenues would not drop sufficiently to cause the assistance
formula to kick in.
Quebec, of course, is already essentially harmonized. I should point out,
however, - especially in view of the comments made by the provincial government
- that Quebec would not be entitled to adjustment assistance today any more than
it was in 1990 when it signed the memorandum of understanding with Ottawa. The
reason for this is the best reason in the world: Quebec made money with
We have the figures to prove it. Between fiscal 1990-91 and 1995-96 Quebec's
annual sales tax revenues were, on average, 12 per cent higher than they were
prior to harmonization in 1989-90. These figures are taken from Quebec's
To get back to Bill C-31, we are absolutely convinced that, given the
benefits of harmonization, the total cost assumed by the federal government
represents a reasonable and responsible investment.
Under the formula, the federal and provincial governments will share the
adjustment costs more or less equally over four years. This is surely a fair
approach. Assistance will stop at the end of the fourth year, after the
provinces have had ample time to adjust.
As the Minister of Finance said, our government has always respected the
principle whereby people and governments must be able to plan and adjust to
structural change and, when necessary, we were prepared to assist those facing
initial adjustment costs. For example, assistance was provided to provinces for
losses in revenue at the time of the major tax reform of 1972.
I would add that each of our government's budgets provided for one form or
another of adjustment assistance. Last year, for example, we set aside resources
to facilitate the adjustment made necessary by the elimination of subsidies to
the western provinces under the Western Grain Transportation Act, as we did for
Quebec and the Atlantic provinces in the case of subsidies for the
transportation of goods in the Atlantic region.
Today, we are following a policy consistent with these precedents.
I would like to emphasize that this adjustment assistance will not jeopardize
our deficit targets. They are secure.
Honourable senators, given the wide scope of this legislation, there are
elements I have not been able to address, even though I have already taken up
considerable time. However, I have touched on what I feel are the truly
significant components of Bill C-31.
Let me just conclude by returning to the issue of "getting government
right." As we approach a new century and a new millennium, governments face
a critical challenge. We can evolve and change to become more effective, more
responsible, more responsive, and more careful with our taxpayers' money, or we
can try to hold to a failing status quo and continue to lose credibility, clout
Legislation such as Bill C-31 shows that this government is continuing to
take the concrete steps needed to evolve and to improve its ability to serve
I have no hesitation in urging honourable senators to support this bill with
vigour and confidence.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, the Budget Implementation Act
that is before us, Bill C-31, implements several expenditure-management measures
in the 1996 budget of Paul Martin, except for the special addition of the
scrapped GST - which is not really scrapped, just replaced, depending on whether
you listen to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, Sheila Copps or Mr.
Senator De Bané mentioned that this whole process was an attempt by the
government of Canada to "get government right," and in this stark
piece of legislation they give effect to some of the means by which they intend
to "get government right." Their program review is not really a
program review but simply a cut in programs across the board, with no
reprioritizing of any of the programs that existed before this government came
to power. They have achieved their most significant cuts in the deficit by
simply transferring the problems in health, social services and education to the
We will feel the effect between now and 1999 as the provinces try to grapple
with funding university education, health care benefits and the social welfare
systems. We already hear many of them complaining to us and to the Government of
Canada that they will have difficulty meeting their commitments.
Although we applaud the principle of reducing the deficit and bringing it
under control, we do not applaud the government's methodology.
As usual with a Liberal government, there is much trickery involved. While
they may say that there may not be a certain tax measure here or a certain tax
measure there, we do know that they can take in over $500 million more in UI
revenue than they spend. At the same time, they want to cut back UI benefits to
people who need them the most.
There are a number of issues. One is the collective bargaining and
compensation packages with the public service where early retirement incentives
and severance pay have cost taxpayers some $2 billion. At the same time, the
Liberal government has ignored the promises it made to public servants before
the election. Again, because they were not able to keep to their promises, they
paid off the affected public servants. The only people who were hurt by this
change in plan were the taxpayers of the country.
After saying they were committed to collective bargaining, the Liberals
suspended it for two years. They promised a whistle-blowing law to protect those
who expose wrongdoing but have not acted. This is not "getting government
Under unemployment insurance, maximum insurable earnings have been reduced
from $815 per week to $750 per week, but the maximum weekly benefit has also
dropped from $438 to $413 for benefit periods that began in 1996.
The Liberals have made changes to the UI which go far beyond what they
opposed before the election. At the same time, they are collecting $5 billion
more than they need to run the program.
In my opinion, the Canada Health and Social Transfer parts of this bill give
the most effect to the Draconian cuts which have been made in the policies which
the Liberals claim to hold so dear, namely, health care and education. Transfers
are several billion dollars less than what would have been paid under the
formulas in place when the Liberals were elected. Much of the federal deficit
has, again, been offloaded to the provinces where tax increases will have to be
made. Their only other option is to reprioritize in order to meet their
commitments, just as the federal government should have done.
While they are "getting government right," their program has
ensured that much of the government is falling apart before them. The Department
of National Defence is in chaos. The Canada Parks system has no policy. The
Department of Transport is funding itself with user fees. The Department of
Indian Affairs has no direction whatsoever. The justice system is under attack
from coast to coast to coast.
The worst part of this bill are the provisions that give life to the GST
harmonization. On April 23, 1996, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
said they would merge their sales taxes with the GST at a combined rate of 15
per cent. As this would reduce provincial revenue, Ottawa agreed to provide
compensation of $961 million over a period of four years. It seems to me that if
this legislation is giving effect to their new and replaced GST, other provinces
would be scrambling to get on board. However, we know from experience and from
comments made by other finance ministers that the other provinces will only come
on board if they too receive a tonne of money from the Minister of Finance to
compensate them for the money they will lose or, perhaps, for the votes they
will lose if they incorporate the harmonized GST.
The bill before us gives effect to the broken promises of the Liberal
government both in the Canada Health and Social Transfer and the GST. I do not
know what else to say about this bill. It is a pretty dull piece of legislation.
However, there are some major issues which we will have much fun discussing not
only here in the Senate at third reading but also in committee.
The Hon. the Speaker: If no other senators wish to speak on this bill,
I will put the motion.
It was moved by the Honourable Senator De Bané, seconded by the Honourable
Senator Hervieux-Payette, that this bill be read the second time.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Colin Kenny, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy,
Budgets and Administration, tabled the sixth report of the Standing Committee on
Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration respecting budgets for the Senate
committees for 1996-97.
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into
consideration, honourable senators?
On motion of Senator Kenny, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Resuming the debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gigantès,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Grafstein, for the second reading of Bill
C-19, to implement the Agreement on Internal Trade.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, as a new member of the
Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce for this side of the
house, I have been asked to say a few words today on Bill C-19. I would be
remiss if I did not start by castigating the government over the legislative
timetable or, perhaps, the lack thereof.
My understanding is that this bill implements the agreements on internal
trade made between the federal government, the provinces and the territories.
The only problem is that this agreement came into effect in June 1994 - yes,
that is 1994, honourable senators. Are we to conclude that the Minister of
Industry is so disdainful of the Senate and its powers that it does not matter
to him when his legislation arrives here? Or perhaps the fact is that the
minister does not set the removal of Canada's internal trade barriers as a
priority for himself or his department.
I am certainly looking forward to discussing the matter of the timing of the
presentation of this legislation when it goes to the Standing Senate Committee
on Banking, Trade and Commerce. I am sure Senator Stewart will be an active
participant in these discussions as well.
The trade barriers that have been erected among Canada's provinces, and
between provinces and the federal government, could result in considerable cost
to business, labour and the consumers in Canada.
I believe it was the Canadian Manufacturers Association which estimated that
the cost to Canadians is in the order of $7 billion annually. It was because of
this cost to the Canadian economy that the previous Progressive Conservative
Government worked diligently to arrive at an agreement among all parties to
eliminate these barriers.
It is unbelievable to me, at this time in our history, when Canada as a
trading nation has become involved in the FTA, the North American Free Trade
Agreement and the World Trade Organization - all of which, thank goodness, have
now been heartily endorsed by my Liberal friends opposite - that we still have
internal barriers in this country.
Normally, then, one would applaud this initiative before us today as a great
accomplishment. However, close scrutiny of the bill and the underlying Agreement
on Internal Trade which it implements reveals that little progress has been made
in actually removing these retrogressive barriers.
First, the agreement is directed primarily at preventing the introduction of
new barriers to trade. The fundamental principle which defines the agreement is
not the elimination of existing barriers to trade but, rather, there is merely a
commitment in Article 101 that the provinces will not establish new barriers to
I believe that the agreement is fundamentally flawed in its failure to impose
or recognize any obligation to eliminate existing barriers to trade.
Having made at least the commitment not to erect new barriers, even this
limited principle is eroded through exceptions found in Article 101(4) of the
agreement. The principle not to erect new barriers is subject to:
(a) the need for full disclosure of information, legislation, regulations,
policies, and practices that have the potential to impede an open, efficient
and stable domestic market;
(b) the need for exceptions and transition periods;
(c) the need for exceptions required to meet regional development
objectives in Canada;
(d) the need for supporting administrative, dispute settlement and
compliance mechanisms that are accessible, timely, credible and effective; and
(e) the need to take into account the importance of environmental
objectives, consumer protection and labour standards.
My goodness, honourable senators, even a non-lawyer such as myself could
drive a Mack truck through this agreement.
Even the procurement rules found in Part 4 of the Agreement on Internal Trade
are subject to exception if they are imposed for regional and economic
Let us look at article 404 of the trade agreement. It permits provincial
governments to depart from equal treatment obligations when they are pursuing
"legitimate provincial objectives." I do not know for whom that was
designed. Some province must have demanded this. In other words, provincial
trade barriers may still be erected where it can be demonstrated that:
(a) the purpose of the measure is to achieve a legitimate objective;
(b) the measure does not operate to impair unduly the access of persons,
goods, services or investments of a Party that meet the legitimate objective;
(c) the measure is not more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve
that legitimate objective; and
(d) the measure does not create a disguised restriction on trade.
As a result, the provinces can erect barriers if they are pursuing legitimate
objectives. The definitive section of the agreement, article 200, lists seven
This basically gives free rein to the provinces to deal with trade barriers
as they see fit. Also, the agreement contains an array of exceptions which will
result in continuing trade distortions. This is clearly not an agreement which
will have a great impact on internal trade barriers.
This leads me to turn to the legislation before us and ask some fundamental
questions about it. What does this agreement and its implementing legislation
accomplish, given the exceptions and loopholes? Why does the government not go
back to the drawing board and improve on those arrangements? Why does Bill C-19
not require an annual report on progress under the Agreement on Internal Trade
to be tabled in Parliament? Why does clause 5 of Bill C-19 prevent court
challenges of retaliatory action by the federal government?
Clause 6 states:
6. For greater certainty, nothing in this Act, by specific mention or
omission, limits in any manner the right of Parliament to enact legislation to
implement any provision of the Agreement or fulfil any of the obligations of
the Government of Canada under the Agreement.
Does this mean that the federal government can, by virtue of this agreement,
legislate in areas of provincial jurisdiction? Clause 9 of the bill gives the
federal government broad retaliatory powers against the provinces. Why is it
possible to exercise these powers without either the notification or the
approval of Parliament?
Honourable senators, these are just some of the questions that come quickly
to mind. I am looking forward to the discussion of this bill and the internal
trade agreement in committee. I hope that many of you will participate in the
hearings and the discussions on this legislation, because I believe that it
hinders opportunity and job creation to the greatest extent in our nation. We
will only arrive at being a great trading nation if we remove our internal trade
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Murray: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill C-13, to provide for
the establishment and operation of a program to enable certain persons to
receive protection in relation to certain inquiries, investigations or
prosecutions, with an amendment), presented in the Senate on May 28, 1996.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs moved the adoption of the report.
She said: Honourable senators, before I ask you to move to the third reading
stage of the bill with which this report deals, I should like to make a few
comments about the amendment that was made to the bill in the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
The amendment is found in clause 9(1) of the bill and allows the commissioner
of the RCMP to terminate the protection of a witness who was in the witness
protection program - and I will quote from the original bill - "if, in the
opinion of the Commissioner" the witness fails to meet his or her
obligations under the protection agreement. The words "in the opinion
of" are deleted by this amendment and are replaced with the words "if
the commissioner has evidence that...".
Senators in the committee on both sides were very concerned that the original
wording would make the review of any such decision difficult because all the act
required was that the commissioner give an informed opinion that the witness or
the protectee had contravened his or her obligations. Although, presumably, the
commissioner would base such a decision upon evidence, there was no requirement
that it be based on evidence. The committee felt strongly that, by amending the
bill to explicitly include the need for the commissioner to have evidence that
the witness had misrepresented himself or had contravened his obligations, it
would provide a greater level of protection from termination for protectees and
make the legislation therefore much clearer.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I should like to add a few
words to those of Senator Carstairs about the work done by the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
Since I arrived in this place just eight months ago, I have been impressed by
the quality of debate and discussion I have observed in that committee. I am the
sponsor of Bill C-13, and I must say that the discussion leading to the
committee's adoption of this report and amendment was interesting and
In the very best tradition of the Senate, our committee has drawn the
attention of the government to a concern in a particular bill. This has been
done in a truly non-partisan manner, and stems purely from the desire of the
committee for laws that are consistently and clearly drafted and which achieve
their stated objectives.
Honourable senators, concerns were raised about the drafting used in a
particular clause dealing with the powers of the RCMP commissioner to remove a
protectee from the witness protection program. The committee asked officials to
explain the drafting procedure, but was not satisfied by the explanation given
that the wording chosen was necessarily desirable.
Obviously, it is the government's intention that the commissioner should act
fairly in administering the program. The question then becomes how to properly
grant the commissioner this power, the power to remove persons from the program
if they are not keeping their part of the bargain, while maintaining his
accountability for the fair administration of the program.
I am no lawyer and certainly no drafting expert, honourable senators, but I
was satisfied in committee that this clause does need to be reviewed to
determine whether its drafting will meet the government's objective.
Honourable senators, I wish to thank Senator Gigantès in particular for his
initiative, and to applaud the whole committee for its commitment to excellence
in the performance of its mandate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it was moved by the
Honourable Senator Carstairs, seconded by the Honourable Senator Milne, that
this report be now adopted.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (budget-study
on energy, environment and natural resources) presented earlier this day.
Hon. Ron Ghitter moved the adoption of the report.
Motion to Create Special
On the Order:
Resuming the debate on the motion by the Honourable Senator Beaudoin,
seconded by the Honourable Lynch-Staunton:
That a special committee of the Senate be appointed to examine and report
upon the issue of Canadian unity, specifically recognition of Quebec, the
amending formula, and the federal spending power in areas of provincial
That the committee be composed of twelve senators, three of whom shall
constitute a quorum;
That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to
examine witnesses, to report from time to time and to print such papers and
evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee;
That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Special Committee of
the Senate on Bill C-110, An Act respecting constitutional amendments, during
the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament be deemed to have been
referred to the committee established pursuant to this motion;
That the committee have power to sit during sittings and adjournments of
That the committee submit its final report no later than December 15, 1996;
That, notwithstanding usual practices, if the Senate is not sitting when
the final report of the committee is completed, the committee shall deposit
its report with the Clerk of the Senate, and said report shall thereupon be
deemed to have been tabled in this Chamber.-(The Honourable Senator
Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, I would just like to say
a few words on the importance of the motion presented by Senator Beaudoin. It
concerns the political and constitutional situation in Canada.
I would just like to remind honourable senators of the situation which
prevailed in Quebec at the time of the last referendum. The Prime Minister's
initiatives to follow up upon, or take into consideration, the referendum
results in Quebec did not have the effect on the Quebec people which the right
honourable Prime Minister no doubt hoped they would. I believe that all
honourable senators are well aware of the gravity of the situation.
Last weekend, a public opinion poll was published in Quebec indicating that
59 per cent of Quebecers would vote yes to the referendum question as it was
worded. That percentage was about 50 per cent last fall.
If we go to the bother of categorizing Quebecers by origin, nearly 69 per
cent of francophone Quebecers would say yes. That means the action the
government has taken since the referendum in an effort to alleviate pressure or
lessen the power of sovereignist forces has failed to achieve the results the
Prime Minister no doubt expected. The motion on distinct society or on the veto
and all the other efforts by the Government of Canada under plan B - the debates
on partition or the government's support of lawyer Bertrand in his case - did
not give the expected results.
Right or wrong, however good the intention behind the initiatives of the
Prime Minister of Canada, we have to admit that, eight months after the
referendum, the threat to Canadian unity is even greater and more present than
they were during the referendum campaign.
Given the emotion the outcome of the referendum stirred up across Canada, I
think that all senators, and particularly the Senate, should be very aware of
its role and of the contribution it can make to this debate.
In light of the extraordinary experience all members of this house have and
of the seriousness of the situation, I cannot imagine the Senate not taking the
initiative to help ensure Canada's unity. We are all knowledgeable about our
regions, about the people who live there and about their leaders.
The motion prepared by Senator Beaudoin and seconded by Senator
Lynch-Staunton does not concern the Quebec issue as such.
This is one of the major considerations involved in maintaining Canadian
unity. The constitutional and political problem facing Canada is much broader
than that. We agree that our federal system, as we have known it for so long,
has been of great benefit to Canada and all the regions, including Quebec. It
has no doubt contributed to progress in the Canadian and Quebec communities.
The current phenomenon of globalization must be kept in mind. The importance
of Canada and the role it must play internationally, the need for a dynamic
economy and Canadians' attachment to their social safety net can all be
re-evaluated with the aim of improving Canadian federalism.
We could usefully examine the concern, not just of Quebec, but of other
regions in Canada, the western provinces, the Maritimes, Ontario and others.
Canadians are seeking an assurance, through their provincial governments, that
they will be able to define their own blueprint for society within Canada's
This speaks directly to the nature of the objectives people are entitled to
have in the fields of education, health, social services, and assistance and
support for artistic and cultural creation. These are concerns that Canadians
The question being asked does not just involve Quebec. For example, Senator
Beaudoin's motion refers to the federal government's specific spending
authority. Is it in the interest of Canada and of all its regions for us to
continue to go about meeting our objectives in the field of education in the
same way? Should not each of the provincial governments, and especially that of
Quebec, be accorded clear and unlimited freedom to make its own choices in these
areas? Should not the provincial governments of Canada, which are responsible
governments, be willing, in the same manner, to agree, freely and maturely, on
Canadian standards that would meet Canadians' expectations, instead of having
the federal government or bureaucracy impose their own?
I think that provincial governments in all regions of Canada are now
sufficiently mature to do as European governments do in the European Economic
Community in all areas - education, culture, manpower, the environment and so on
- and set their own standards, which are standards of common sense but are not
imposed by any political authority.
These are the paths of change and development in our federal system that
would respond, in my view, to the concerns and hopes of Canadians. They would
have the great advantage of telling Quebecers that they may have formal
recognition not only of who they are but also of their unique contribution to
Federalists and federalist spokespersons in Quebec could have coherent
discussions based on achievements of the past that would open doors to the
future. It would show Quebecers clearly that by continuing to share the Canadian
experience with their countrymen, they would be guaranteed the freedom to define
their own type of society.
In my opinion, this approach would be much more successful than the proposals
in plan B. Partition, for instance, arises from arguments that are no doubt
real, but are based in fear and simply push the Canadian option back in the
hearts and minds of Quebecers.
Senator Beaudoin's proposal invites senators to work for Canadian unity. If
there is one place we can discuss the matter calmly and without partisanship,
but with a common goal and ideal, it is certainly the Senate. We have a
contribution to make. It is with pleasure that I invite the Senate to support
the initiative of Senator Beaudoin, which seems to me to be in keeping with the
hopes and desires of all Canadians for unity.
Hon. Philippe Deane Gigantès: Honourable senators, I am delighted to
see Senator Rivest quoting almost verbatim the throne speech on this subject and
also the speech the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada,
made on May 13 in Montreal. This is exactly the direction the federal government
wants to take. It is working with provincial governments to prepare for the
meeting in June. The intent of that meeting is to achieve greater
decentralization and a reduction in the role of the federal government in
various provincial jurisdictions. All this is going on. I move that the debate
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I note that since Senator
Gigantès has risen, the time he has used will be taken away from the 15 minutes
which are normally allocated. It is agreed that the motion remain in the name of
Senator Gigantès on the Order.
Impact of Mifflin Salmon Plan on
British Columbia-Debate Adjourned
Hon. Pat Carney rose pursuant to notice of Tuesday, May 28, 1996:
That she will call the attention of the Senate to the lack of any impact
studies undertaken by the Government of Canada on the effects of the Mifflin
Salmon Plan on the Coastal communities of British Columbia, who fear that
their existence will be placed in jeopardy if they are stripped of their
resident fishing fleets.
She said: Honourable senators, today I should like to give - that is, if I
could have the attention of the chamber!
The Hon. the Speaker: Order, please!
Senator Carney: Today, I should like to convey to the chamber the
concern of the Coastal Communities Network in British Columbia, which met on the
weekend in Campbell River to discuss the Mifflin plan, the salmon fishery plan
proposed by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. These communities fear that
the Mifflin plan will place their existence in jeopardy by stripping them of
their resident fishing fleets.
This is a serious issue. If you have an area of 25,000 kilometres with up to
half a million people living on it and those communities feel that their
economic existence is in jeopardy but they have never been consulted on this
plan, you can see how seriously the situation is viewed. In fact, testimony in
the other place indicates what people in the communities know that this plan was
introduced by the minister arbitrarily on May 24 without any consultation with
the communities involved, without any environmental studies, without any
employment impact studies, and without any economic or environmental studies of
This issue will again be addressed in Nanaimo on June 8 of next week by the
Pacific Salmon Alliance, which represents all of the various industry and
coastal people who are fighting it.
Honourable senators, I want to make one thing clear. Everyone agrees that the
fishing effort on the coast must be reduced because conservation and
preservation must be the priority. As those on the East Coast know, the best
conservers are the fishers because they know that their livelihood stems from
it. However, the Mifflin plan, which will concentrate most of the effort in half
the fleet, will do nothing for conservation. If you have the same fishing effort
concentrated in half the fleet, you will still catch the same amount of fish.
That will do nothing for conservation. The problem is that this plan will
concentrate the fleet in the large urban areas like Vancouver and in the larger
vessels and the wealthier segment of the industry. It will do nothing but hurt
the coastal communities such as Sointula, Alert Bay, Port Hardy, Bella Coola.
Just to give you a feel for how much pain this plan could cause, I have been
given some figures from Alert Bay, which is a major fishing-fleet base. Greg
Wadhams, a First Nations councillor in the area, estimates there are about 60
seine vessels based out of that town. About 70 per cent of them are run by First
Nations. Twelve of those vessels have either already been lost or will be lost
shortly, and he estimates that up to 80 per cent of the seine fleet will be lost
to that small community.
Of course, that huge job loss will directly affect about one-third to half of
the families in Alert Bay and will indirectly hurt the small businesses that
depend on the income generated from the fishery, since there is very little else
to do in Alert Bay. That area of Vancouver Island has a population of
approximately 2,500. There is a feeling that many people will be forced into
welfare or out of the community. This is the kind of predicament that people up
and down the coast will face.
I wrote the minister today to express my grave concern over the impact of the
Mifflin plan, pointing out that it is particularly distressing that there have
not been any feasibility studies and that, if measures are not speedily taken,
the plan will have a devastating impact on parts of the B.C. coast.
One of the experts on this issue, Don Cruikshank, is a processor operating
out of Port Hardy. He is not a bureaucrat; he works in the fishing industry. He
has advised fisheries ministers from Roméo LeBlanc right down to the present
minister. He points out that when the Department of Fisheries and Oceans brought
in this plan, it did not think about the coastal communities. DFO says its
mandate is fish and fisheries, not people. DFO brought this plan in without even
knowing who holds the licences, which are leased out to people. DFO did not know
who held the licences and had no idea where the fishermen live. Yet, with only a
few weeks' notice, they brought in a plan that will have a horrible impact.
Peter Pearse, who is a consultant to the government and the former Royal
Commissioner on fisheries, agrees that the long-term strategy for the coastal
communities needs desperate attention and has not been addressed.
I would like to answer a question I am often asked: Why do we care about this
issue? Everyone knows the coast is changing. We all worry about where the
currents of change will be. There is change on the coast, and as with other
areas of Canada, the change is not always positive.
One of my favourite places on the coast is an old native settlement of
Mamalilaculla. I do not know if anyone else in this chamber has ever been to the
place. It is in the jungle of islands known as the Broughton archipelago. I
first went there about six years ago with the curator of the Campbell River
Museum, which the Conservative government funded when it was in power. Anyone
who is interested, as I am, in human settlements will understand that, at one
point, Mamalilaculla was the Kwa'kiutl equivalent of the Garden of Eden. It had
everything. It had access to the oolichan runs of Knight Inlet. It had access to
the salmon and to the halibut and to the berry-laden bushes in the sun.
However, no one lives there now. It was a native settlement, no whites. One
of the reasons it remained native is that the shallow waters which guarded the
native canoes were a graveyard for gill-netters. When the technology changed,
the fishers and their families left for Port Hardy. Last summer when we sailed
by, the only people at Mamalilaculla were a bunch of American kayakers
scrambling through the bushes and tripping over the totem poles that are still
You can see another example of this kind of change if you sail farther up the
coast past Swanson Bay. At the turn of the century, Swanson Bay was a thriving
pulp mill town with 1,000 or more people in it. It had everything that you could
want in a coastal pulp mill town: the forest, a hydro source, a lake above the
town, a deep water port. There is nothing there now but the derelict skeletons
of chimney stacks buried in the bush. Cape Scott, at the top of Vancouver
Island, is another community that disappeared. In 1913 there were about 200
residents in the town and 1,000 in the immediate area, and now there are mainly
Sometimes the change is negative; sometimes the change is positive. When I
first went to Port McNeill, there was nothing but a hotel with a bar, a store
and no sidewalks and they were carved into the side of the hill. That was the
start of the settlement. Similarly, when I first went to Gold River, when it was
being converted from a logging camp to a town, bungalows were situated beside
the gravel ditches because there were no recreational opportunities. They built
the houses and then they built the town. Now those communities are thriving
Such towns were built as a result of government policy. Whether you liked it
or not, the Sloan Commission of B.C. said in 1955 that the forest resources of
the area should be used for the social and economic good of the communities in
the area. That policy of allocation of the resource was followed, and laundry
line by laundry line, float camps were hauled ashore, and the bush logging camps
were eventually replaced by single-family homes, shopping malls and schools.
The trouble with the Mifflin plan is that no one can say what impact it will
have on those coastal communities. That is what we are asking. There is near
consensus that the plan will cripple the communities if they are stripped of
their fishing fleet and the effort is consolidated in Vancouver.
That is such an amazing development that one wonders how it could be that the
message is not getting through to Ottawa. How can the government develop in
Ottawa a plan that could have such a major impact, without doing impact studies?
I live in the Gulf Islands, and after thinking about this question and talking
to the people in Campbell River, I have come to realize that one of the reasons
is that most Canadians, certainly those outside of British Columbia, do not even
know we have a coastal community. They see the Lions Gate Bridge and Grouse
Mountain, and they have no concept that there are25,000 kilometres along that
coast where there is human settlement.
Saturna Island, the Gulf Island where I live, is 18 minutes by air from the
Fraser River, you can see it from half of Vancouver, and I would bet that not
one in 100 people in Vancouver has actually got on a ferry to go to the Gulf
Islands unless they were sailing through to Victoria. People in the urban
centres really only think about the coast if they fish, cruise or camp, and then
they consider the coastal communities their playground. They never consider them
as working communities.
An example of that attitude is the support demonstrated for staffed
lighthouses. I know that many senators think that I cannot get through a speech
in the Senate without mentioning staffed lighthouses. They are viewed as some
romantic notion of Senator Carney's and of others, akin to the nostalgic
reminiscences about railway cabooses. We supporters of staffed lighthouses talk
in vain about our friends and family members who have died on the coast, but we
get no sympathy in Ottawa. In fact, we have this bizarre situation where last
Friday the Premier of B.C., Glen Clark, who was elected this week - wrote the
Prime Minister of Canada to repeat his concern about de-staffing. He said:
The Government of British Columbia has put forward viable alternatives to
de-staffing and it is incumbent upon the Federal Government to respond in a
positive manner. Therefore, I would ask you to take immediate action and
direct the Coast Guard to cease all work relating to de-staffing.
He also proposed they discuss this issue at the first ministers conference.
This is a request from the premier of the third largest province of Canada,
and it has been ignored. The Coast Guard, in spite of the letter to the Prime
Minister of Canada, has gone ahead with their sledgehammers to de-staff and
desecrate lighthouses, including one in West Vancouver which has been declared a
national historic site. It has already been declared an historic site and yet
they are in there this week tearing it apart and replacing the historic
One has to ask this question, as British Columbians do: If the Premier of
Quebec asked the Prime Minister to cease and desist on something involving a
national historic site deemed important for marine safety, would the Coast Guard
be in there with their sledgehammers or would there be a response from Ottawa?
Some Hon. Senators: Shame.
Senator Carney: Honourable senators can cluck their tongues all they
want, but that is the way British Columbians react, because they do not think
that they are ever heard in Ottawa. Their premier does not have his requests
accommodated by the Prime Minister's office.
There is an alternative to the fisheries problem. There is agreement among
many in the coastal communities about what needs to be done. There are four
important issues that can be addressed, and quickly.
First, we have to decide what is the size of the fishing fleet. What is the
target fleet? We in B.C. have never decided how big the fleet should be. Second,
we have to decide how we will allocate the effort and the catch between the
aboriginal fishery and the non-aboriginal fishery. That is an important issue
which our Reform colleagues in the other place are insisting upon. Third, we
have to decide how to allocate the catch between the commercial and the
recreational fishers, something which can be done relatively fast. Finally, we
have to decide how the fishing effort is to be distributed among the
communities. Where are the licences now and where should they be held?
I am told by Don Cruikshank and other people in the industry that these are
matters that can be determined very quickly. There is a consensus with respect
to an alternative to the Mifflin plan. It calls for a halt to the concept of
area stacking. Area stacking is a means of confining fishers to specific areas
of the coast.
Please understand, honourable senators, that you do not know where the fish
are on the coast. They do not particularly listen to bureaucrats. The fish go
wherever they want to, from Alaska on down the coast. Traditionally, the fishing
effort is from Alaska down the coast. Under the Mifflin plan, fishers must
choose in advance where they will fish on specific areas of the coast. If they
want to fish another area, they have to buy the licence from another boat. That
is extremely expensive.
For example, for the seine fleet, if you want to fish the whole coast, the
coast has been divided into two areas requiring two licences. If you are a
small-boat fleet, the coast has been divided into three areas. If you want to
run a small gillnet troll combination, which is common on the coast, you would
need five licences to continue fishing the coast. These additional five licences
are estimated to have a market value of been $250,000 and $500,000.
The fishing communities cannot afford that. If you live in Pender Harbour and
you run a combination boat, you do not have $500,000 - not by as much as
probably $499,000. The fishers cannot do this. To illustrate, only 5 per cent of
the fleet has opted for the area stacking concept, mainly because most of them
cannot afford it.
The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the honourable senator,
but she has but one minute left.
Senator Carney: Thank you, Your Honour.
I have talked to many people. There is a consensus that we go ahead with the
buy-back scheme to take some boats out. However, if the area stacking concept
were to be stopped until we can figure out the answers to those questions,
including the one about where we want the fishing effort to be concentrated,
then we could come up with something with which everyone agrees.
With respect to Admiral Mifflin, who I understand says "aye aye"
and "steady as she goes," and whose own press releases announce that
he will hold the course on this issue, I have just one piece of advice. It comes
from a wonderful story that is going around the coast which we are told has been
authenticated by the U.S. Navy. I have in my hand the alleged transcript of a
radio conversation between a U.S. Navy ship and a Canadian source off the coast
of Newfoundland last fall. It reads like this:
Ship 1: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a
Ship 2: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees.
Ship 1: This is the captain of a U.S. Navy ship. I say again divert your
Ship 2: No, I say again divert YOUR course.
Ship 1: This is an aircraft carrier of the U.S. Navy. We are a large
warship. Divert your course now!
Ship 2: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
I am suggesting that Admiral Mifflin has placed himself in a position where
if he does not alter his course on his plan to take into account the impact of
the coastal communities and the people who live in them, then he will run
himself, his government and this plan onto the rocks.
Hon. John B. Stewart: Honourable senators, I realize that Senator
Carney's time has expired. However, I wonder if I could have an opportunity to
see if she will deal with a question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Stewart: I am trying to discover if Senator Carney has an
explanation for why the policy to which she objects has been adopted. I am
asking this question because some of the comments that she has made would be
heard on the East Coast with, of course, suitable variations because of the
difference in the fisheries.
Does the honourable senator think that the policy to which she objects is
being adopted because there is, as it were, a kind of bureaucratic
presupposition that bigger is better, that the big companies have the money and
they can buy up the licences to fish the whole coast, and so you get the
concentration? Is that part of the explanation? Or is it, as some of the
fishermen on the East Coast would say when they object to what is being done by
what they call the Rideau Canal fishermen, meaning, of course, the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans, that it is the influence of the very large companies
which, without guile, but simply because they are large and can afford to make
themselves heard, get heard by the department? Is there some other possible
explanation behind what she conceives of as a wrong policy?
Senator Carney: Senator Stewart, if I knew the answer to that
question, I would not be here in the Senate. I would be running the fishery out
I should like to point out that we do not know why DFO would do this, except
for the fact that they say their mandate is fish. Their mandate is not people.
They are responsible for fish. It is easier to run a fishery out of Ottawa than
it is out of Alert Bay, where they closed the fisheries office even though that
is where part of the fleet is located.
It has been pointed out on the coast that you could catch the allocated
number of fish on the coast with five large vessels, if you wanted to be
efficient. Our answer is that we want to sustain the coastal communities.
Therefore, we have to decide how we want to allocate the catch among the
communities, the gear and the various sectors of the industry. I am assured that
it can be done.
Why the bureaucrats choose to ignore the people factor is something the
honourable senator will have to ask the bureaucrats. I am hoping that the
Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries can ask the communities who have never
been consulted to come to Ottawa to give their views on this issue. DFO should
be asked why they could bring in this plan without doing the necessary impact
studies. You cannot cut a ski trail in this country without having an
environmental impact assessment. Try to put a fence up in Banff without an
environmental impact assessment. The DFO brought in this plan without adequate
consideration of the people factor. I think the Senate committee should be
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Briefly, I would lend my support to Senator
Carney on this, because I believe that something should be done. There is a hue
and cry from British Columbians about this particular package.
I do not blame the minister as much as I blame DFO. Honourable senators, DFO
is in charge of the Atlantic fishery and it was not until there were no fish
that they took action there. Had they taken action well before the depletion, a
fishery may have been maintained on that coast.
This is not a question of partisanship, because both parties saw what was
happening, but the question now is: Do they really know what they are doing?
Again, we have a situation in hand where DFO officials are obviously advising
Minister Mifflin. Let us not blame him; he is new to the post. I am sure
whatever plans are in place were in place long before he was appointed to that
position. I have dealt with DFO in the past as a minister and as a member of the
other place. I can assure you that I am well aware of the sometimes aloof
position which can be taken in regards to those of us who "really don't
know nothing." Yet we are suddenly faced with where the fishery on the East
Coast has been depleted with the resulting devastation of the economy and
families. Let us not have a repeat performance.
Senator Carney has come before the Senate and put the case on behalf of
British Columbians as well as anyone could.
Senator Carney: Better than most.
Senator St. Germain: Hopefully the government will listen. We must
consult the communities which are being impacted by this and we must move
quickly. I would urge Senator Comeau and the Fisheries Committee to immediately
instigate an inquiry.
I do not have much confidence in the statement made by the premier before the
election. I would prefer to hear his statement today, the day after the
election. I am sure he is as concerned as we are, but there was quite a bit of
rhetoric throughout B.C. until election night.
I would urge all senators to lend their support in this endeavour. I make
this request not as a Progressive Conservative, but as a British Columbian. Let
us not repeat our mistakes of the past by relying solely on DFO. Unfortunately,
they have failed in the past. It is time to move on this immediately in order to
take the action which is appropriate on behalf of British Columbians and their
fishermen and all those great Canadians who have come from all over the world to
the most beautiful province in the country.
Senator Carney: Would the Speaker allow me to answer a question? He
has asked what position the premier has taken after the election.
I can assure honourable senators, having spoken to the premier on Friday
about this issue, that he intends to seek to take over the management of the
fishery from the federal government. I have suggested to him that he consider as
a model the Conservative government's negotiation of the Atlantic Accord in the
matter of the offshore oil and gas resources where the Supreme Court held that
offshore matters came under federal jurisdiction. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
had their hands tied. Unlike the land-based resources in Alberta, B.C. and
Saskatchewan, this resource was deemed to come under federal jurisdiction.
We negotiated an accord with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, the gist of which
was, "Let us manage this resource as if it was owned by the
provinces." No one has ever complained, including Newfoundland and Nova
I have discussed this concept with the premier, with his deputy minister,
with the union and with others. We will likely hear the premier discuss
fisheries management and control at the First Ministers' Conference.
The Hon. the Speaker: I did not wish to interrupt Senator Carney while
she was speaking, since I had thought she was asking a question which is
Senator Carney: I was answering a question.
The Hon. the Speaker: I would remind the honourable senator, however,
that she is not allowed to make a second speech on the same item.
Is it agreed, honourable senators, that no precedent will be established and
that Senator Carney had leave to respond?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, may I ask a question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I must warn you that there
is about one minute left. At 4:15, I must end the discussion.
Senator Spivak: This question is for Senator Carney or Senator St.
Germain from someone who comes from a Prairie province. What influence have the
gill nets had as compared to seine boats on the issue of conservation? I am
interested, as are all Canadians, even from the Prairie provinces, in fish
Senator Carney: The influence of the gill netters is called
"votes." They will vote for the party or the politicians who will
conserve the fishery in a way that sustains their resources. The fishermen and
fisherwomen are the leading conservationists in this country because they are
the ones who catch the fish and whose livelihood depends on it.
If you doubt me, ask the fishermen how they feel about the side catch, the
by-catch and how, under the existing regulations, they catch fish which they
cannot use and kill them in the process.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Carney, I regret I must
interrupt. Under the rules, I have no alternative.
On motion of Senator Berntson, debate adjourned.
Hon. Eric Arthur Berntson (Deputy Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, before 4:15 p.m., I would move motion number 31 standing in
the name of Senator Ghitter.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would need unanimous
consent for that because, under the rules, I must terminate all discussion at
this point. Is there unanimous consent that I would not see the clock now?
Hon. Eric Arthur Berntson (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), for Senator
Ron Ghitter, pursuant to notice of Tuesday, May 28, 1996 moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources have power to engage the services of such counsel and technical,
clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its
examination and consideration of such bills, subject-matters of bills and
estimates as are referred to it; and
That the Committee have power to adjourn from place to place within and
outside Canada for the purpose of such studies.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
On the motion of the Honourable Senator Kirby, seconded by the Honourable
Senator Davey, for the second reading of Bill C-28, respecting certain
agreements concerning the redevelopment and operation of Terminals 1 and 2 at
Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Robertson, that Bill C-28 be not now read a
second time, but that it be referred back to the House of Commons for proper
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is now 4:15. The vote
will take place at 4:45.
Call in the senators.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the question is on the
motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the
Honourable Senator Robertson:
That Bill C-28 be not now read a second time, but that it be referred back
to the House of Commons for proper consideration.
Motion in amendment negatived on the following division:
Committee Authorized to Meet
During Sitting of the Senate
Hon. Mira Spivak, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a),
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have power
to sit at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday,June 4, 1996, even though the Senate may then
be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, June 4, 1996 at 2:00 p.m.