The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to introduce five of
our new pages who were sworn in earlier today in a formal ceremony.
Lisa Aucoin comes from Wasaga Beach and presently resides in Gloucester. She
is an honours graduate of St. Matthew High School and is currently pursuing a
double major in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Ottawa.
Lisa plans to obtain a degree in law with which she will pursue a career in
advocating children's rights.
Honourable senators, Alexandre Cloutier is from Alma, Lac Saint-Jean. He
completed his secondary studies at Polyvalente Wilbrod-Dufour. It was there on
the student council that he had his first brush with political life. He went on
to Quebec City and the international baccalaureate program at the Petit
Séminaire de Québec. A keen follower of politics, I am told, he is now
enrolled in the Political Science program at the University of Ottawa, and he
would one day like to work for the development of the area where he was born.
The next page is Richard Jeannote. Richard comes from Gaspé, in the Gaspé
Peninsula, and is an Amerindian from the Gespeg Micmac band. He completed
studies in social work techniques at the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. It
was with the goal of one day working for his community that Richard enrolled at
the University of Ottawa, where he is now in his second year in the Faculty of
Civil Law. Welcome, Richard.
Terrence J. Schmaltz is a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia. He is in
his first year of the Honours Political Science program at the University of
Ottawa, majoring in International Relations and minoring in History. Terrence
has been very active with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in both the glider and
powered aircraft programs. Terrence wishes to pursue a career with the Foreign
Service and will be writing his Foreign Service exam in a few years.
Susan Vo was born in Vietnam. She moved to Calgary with her parents in 1978
and now resides in Ottawa. She is currently in her first year at the University
of Ottawa studying French Literature in pursuit of a degree in Translation.
Susan has a great interest in languages, music, travel and politics. She hopes
one day to be involved in the field of education and hopes as well to work
abroad with the Canadian foreign service.
Anniversary of Privy Council
Decision-Congratulations to Winners of 1996 Persons Awards
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
earlier today I had the pleasure of being at Government House to watch five
outstanding Canadian women being honoured as this year's recipients of the
Colleagues in this house will know that, on October 18, 1929, the British
Privy Council declared that Canadian women must be considered persons under the
law and therefore eligible for appointment to the Senate.
When we view the advances achieved by women over the years from the vantage
point of the 1990s, it is truly difficult to imagine the societal context of
that famous crusade. In the mid-1920s, the authority of Magistrate Emily Murphy
to preside at the Women's Court in Edmonton, Alberta, had been challenged by a
defence lawyer who, citing English common law, argued that:
Women are not persons in matters of rights and privileges.
Five very vigorous Alberta women were not prepared to accept that view. In
1927, Emily Murphy herself, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby and
Henriette Muir Edwards asked the Supreme Court of Canada for a reinterpretation
of section 24 of the British-North America Act, which states:
The Governor General shall...summon qualified persons to the Senate.
The Supreme Court ruled against their case. The political system in Canada,
right up to the Prime Minister of the day, Mr. King, was not sympathetic. The
famous five appealed to London and the positive decision by the Privy Council in
1929 succeeded in opening the Senate door for subsequent generations. I am
pleased to note that there are now 24 women senators in Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Fairbairn: The Governor General's Awards were established in
1979 under the leadership of the former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Joe
Clark, to commemorate the struggle of the "famous five". The fiftieth
anniversary of the decision was also celebrated that year, and women who have
made remarkable contributions to contemporary life in terms of the advancement
of women's equality were honoured for the first time. Indeed, it was in 1979
that the first Alberta woman was appointed to the Senate, our former colleague
I wish to take this opportunity today to congratulate the five women honoured
this year by the Governor General: Gladys Cook of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba;
Dr. Katie Cooke, of Victoria, British Columbia; Mary Eberts, of Toronto,
Ontario; Dr. Margaret Gillett, of Île-des-Soeurs, Quebec; and Jeannette
Marcoux, of Dieppe, New Brunswick.
Honourable senators are grateful for their commitment and their demonstrated
progress in a wide range of areas, including pay equity, violence against women,
advocacy for the well-being of aboriginal women and also their untiring efforts
in identifying issues of inequality. Many of us are beneficiaries of the battles
of our predecessors, and I am confident that young women in the future will
benefit substantially from the efforts of those five special women whom we
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, earlier this month, I was part
of a delegation of senators which made an official visit to China. Senator
Beaudoin and Senator Carstairs were also members of the delegation which was led
by our Speaker, Senator Molgat.
The purpose of this delegation was to return a visit the chairman of the
National People's Congress paid to Canada a year ago. In our discussions with
the senior members of the National People's Congress, with the chairman of their
legal affairs committee, with the vice-chairman of the Supreme People's Court,
we focused on changes that are being made to the legal and legislative systems
of the Peoples' Republic of China.
It will come as no surprise to honourable senators to know that fundamental
concepts, such as the rule of law, are still a work in progress in China.
Indeed, some things that we take for granted here, such as the presumption of
innocence in criminal cases, have yet to be given effect in China. The concept
of the presumption of innocence in criminal cases is slated for implementation
Of course, the implications for human rights will be obvious. There is
considerable concern among Canadians regarding the state of human rights in
China, and I want to record the fact that our Speaker, Senator Molgat, conveyed
these concerns directly to the Chinese authorities.
We also met with the ministries of agriculture, environment and foreign trade
on a host of important bilateral issues. Our detailed discussions included the
Canadian desire for a bilateral agreement with China on investment protection.
The delegation had the opportunity to speak with Canadian and Chinese
citizens who are involved in various economic partnerships, including a Nortel
Telecommunications research facility in Beijing, and a Canada-China joint
venture in Chengxian in which Harris Limited is the Canadian partner.
In Lixian, we met with the people who are rebuilding their lives, livelihoods
and homes following a devastating earthquake last February, and they are doing
so with assistance from Canada. We also visited a child and maternal health
centre which has been equipped with Canadian assistance.
I want to express our pride and confidence in the Canadians who are working
on the ground in China in a variety of economic endeavours and social projects.
I was last in China 15 years ago. There have been enormous changes since
then. The most obvious change is the tremendous economic growth that has
occurred. With that economic growth, there has come some expansion of individual
freedom, but also the problems which we all know accompany economic growth,
social problems and environmental problems. The environmental problems occupied
some time in our discussions because we know that no world-wide attack on
environmental problems is possible without Chinese participation.
Finally, the leadership of our Speaker, Senator Molgat, to this delegation
and in our discussions with our Chinese hosts was absolutely flawless. He and
his wife did the Senate and Canada proud.
Hon. Landon Pearson: Honourable senators, today we mourn the passing of
Laura Sabia, one of the most distinguished past recipients of the Persons Awards
and an exceptional person in her own right. Laura Sabia died last Thursday at
the age of 80 and her funeral took place this afternoon.
Every woman in this chamber owes Lauria Sabia a debt of gratitude for her
fierce support of women in politics. Laura Sabia was a strong and determined
woman, outspoken in her defence of the right of women to participate in the
political and economic life of the country. She was instrumental in the creation
of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, in 1965, and chairwoman of the
National Action Committee from 1969 to 1973. Later she wrote columns for TheToronto Sun. I particularly remember a splendid column about turning 70
that I would recommend to all.
Sadly, Laura Sabia's voice was muted in recent years by her long struggle
with Parkinson's disease. Laura Sabia and I have been on the opposite side of
many issues, not the least of which was politics. I always admired and respected
We also shared someone very important, someone whom she had too short a time
to get to know, our mutual granddaughter, Laura Mackenzie Pearson Sabia.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, for the first time, Nova
Scotia has a chance to move from a "have not" province to a
"have" province. The Port of Halifax has the opportunity to become the
hub port in eastern North America for "Post-Panamax" ships. These new
ships are much wider and have a deeper draft than conventional container ships,
and are too large to make it through the Panama Canal.
On the front page of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald this morning, Don
Elder, vice-president of Jacques Whitford, a consulting firm in Halifax, said:
This is the biggest opportunity Halifax has seen since way back before
Halifax is not the only port looking to be upgraded. It is in a battle with New
York, Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia. At present, the Halifax Port Corporation
is spending $48 million to get its docks ready for massive new cranes capable of
unloading the bigger ships, but they will need between $100 million and $500
million more for equipment and infrastructure in order to receive these huge
The good news is in relation to job creation. A special task force
commissioned by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce predicts that a revamped Port of
Halifax would create 24,000 jobs and would pump $2 billion a year into the Nova
Scotia economy. These numbers are staggering and somewhat hard to imagine, but
for the first time, Atlantic Canadians can see some light at the end of the
Where do federal politicians come in and where does this chamber come in?
Nothing can happen without cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Bill C-44, a new Canada Marine Act which is presently before a committee in the
other place, must be amended to allow ports to become more autonomous. It is
obvious that the Port of Halifax cannot raise $500 million on its own, so the
federal government, in cooperation with the municipalities and the province,
must be prepared to consider loan guarantees and other financial facilities to
assist in this important undertaking.
We, as legislators, must ensure that the proposed new legislation does not in
any way inhibit the development of the Port of Halifax, and therefore I urge all
honourable senators to support the redevelopment of the Port of Halifax, since
it will contribute greatly to the revitalization of the economy of Atlantic
Hon. Sharon Carstairs, Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Monday, October 21, 1996
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the
honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-42, an act to amend the Judges Act
and to make consequential amendments to another Act, has, in obedience to the
Order of Reference of Wednesday, October 2, 1996, examined the said Bill and now
reports the same without amendment.
SHARON CARSTAIRS Chair
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this bill be read the third time.
Senator Kinsella: Never! Withdraw!
On motion of Senator Graham, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third
reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
Order in Council Concerning Justice
Arbour-Request for Details
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella: Honourable senators, I have a question concerning
an order in council made by the government. My question to the minister is: What
are the date and terms of the order in council authorizing Justice Arbour's
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I will be pleased to try to find the answer to that question. I do not have it.
Senator Kinsella: I have a supplementary. Would the honourable
minister also find out for us whether or not it is the government's view that
that order in council complies with the requirements of sections 54, 55 and 56
of the Judges Act?
Senator Fairbairn: I will add that to my question.
Destruction of Crops by Early
Snowfall-Aid to Prairie Farmers-Government Position
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators will know from watching
the news that, on the prairies, we have had two very severe snow storms that
have laid flat the crops in many areas. Another storm last night compounded the
problems that farmers are facing. I can tell honourable senators first-hand that
the crops are absolutely flat on the ground. Some of those crops, in my opinion,
will never be harvested this fall.
Has the Minister of Agriculture given any indication of what might be done to
help the situation, and if so, could the Senate be made aware of that?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I will certainly speak with my colleague. I know in particular that there has
been devastation in some parts of Saskatchewan, and I will speak to the minister
and find out whether the federal department has any plans to look into this
situation, or to assist in any way.
Introduction of Legislation on
Tobacco Advertising-Government Position
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, as most of us are aware, the
journal Science has just published the scientific proof - and not just
statistical evidence - that there is a direct link between cigarette smoke and
human cancer mutations. In addition, New York City has joined a nation-wide
battle of 16 states and other major cities, such as San Francisco and Los
Angeles, against the tobacco industry by launching a lawsuit to recoup the
health care costs of smokers. There is a growing realization of the lethal risk
to millions of people from environmental tobacco smoke; that is, second-hand
My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate: When will the
government introduce its legislation based on the blueprint tabled more that 10
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I cannot give my honourable friend a specific date, but it is the intent of the
Minister of Health to bring forward that legislation very soon. He is well aware
of the impatience of many people for the new legislation because of the very
reasons that my honourable friend has drawn to the attention of this house many
times - that is, the incredible number of deaths caused by the consumption of
tobacco in Canada.
The report that the honourable senator has raised tonight, with respect to
research on how tobacco smoke ingredients affect cells and may cause cancer,
helps again to focus awareness on this very important issue. I am urging my
colleague to bring forward his legislation as quickly as possible.
Senator Spivak: Honourable senators, the response to my question in
June of last year, which was also concerning when the legislation would be
introduced, was that the minister wanted to ensure that any new legislation
could withstand a court challenge. However, the predecessor of the Minister of
Health said that she had that matter in hand when she released the blueprint.
My first supplementary question is this: What are the other reasons as to why
the government has been so slow in acting? What are the barriers to introducing
The New York lawsuit with respect to the cigarette makers and their trade
associations states that pursuit of the conspiracy of deceit and
misrepresentation to hide the health risks of smoking concealed from the public
the fact that the manufacturers manipulate and control the nicotine content and
delivery of their products to create and sustain the addiction of users to
tobacco. Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain what the
government's reactions are to these new facts? Is the government prepared to
follow the lead of the United States in identifying tobacco as a drug, and as a
Senator Fairbairn: My honourable friend will have to wait, as we all
will, for the legislation.
In terms of the blueprint released last December, a commitment was made at
that time to gather evidence and to consult Canadians further on the issue. This
has been done and, indeed, is still being done. The new Minister of Health is
very focused on this issue. He stated his intention to bring forward legislation
consistent with the Supreme Court ruling, and improve the health of Canadians.
That is his intention, and he will do it.
Hon. Lorna Milne moved the second reading of Bill C-45, to amend the
Criminal Code (judicial review of parole ineligibility) and another Act.
She said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to move second reading of Bill
C-45, to amend the Criminal Code concerning the judicial review of parole
ineligibility, and another Act.
This bill would amend section 745 of the Criminal Code, which provides for
judicial review of the parole ineligibility period for life sentences for murder
and high treason. The automatic sentence for a person convicted of first degree
murder or high treason is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole
before 25 years.
I would draw the attention of honourable senators to the numbering in the
bill. As is now common practice, bills are drafted in the knowledge that other
bills are already being considered by Parliament. The numbering of these
provisions as section 745.6 of the Criminal Code is a result of the recent
passage and proclamation of Bill C-41, the sentencing bill.
Under section 745.6, an offender is not eligible to apply for his or her
parole ineligibility period until he or she has served at least 15 years of the
sentence. During such a review, the decision on whether or not to reduce the
ineligibility period is made by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens drawn from the
community. At present, as the law now stands, this decision can be made by a
majority of eight out of 12 members, or two-thirds of the jury. This is one of
the aspects of the provision that would be affected by Bill C-45.
The decision is made by the jury after it hears evidence presented by the
applicant and by the Crown. Only three results of a jury's review of the period
of parole ineligibility are possible: ether reduce the period, eliminate it, or
leave it alone.
It must be emphasized, honourable senators, that under section 745.6, either
as is or as proposed by the bill, the jury has no authority to release the
offender from prison. All the jury may do is reduce the normal 25 years of
ineligibility for parole. When such a reduced period has expired, the inmate may
then apply to the National Parole Board for a parole determination. The decision
on whether or not to grant patrole is made by the board, not by the jury, after
considering several criteria, including the degree of rehabilitation and the
risk presented to society by the release of the inmate. As I said before, the
decision whether or not to grant parole does not rest with the jury.
Where a jury has been convinced to reduce the ineligibility period and the
parole board decides to grant parole, the board then imposes conditions on that
release. These conditions, and indeed the life sentence itself, continue to
apply for the remainder of the offender's life, and the offender may be sent
back to prison should he or she breach the conditions of release. This means
that the offender continues to be subject, literally for the rest of the
offender's life, to the risk of being reincarcerated at any time for a breach of
the conditions of his or her release.
Honourable senators, I would also note for your consideration that a system
of review of the parole ineligibility period after 15 years is consistent with
the systems in place in many of the western democratic countries with which we
like to compare ourselves. In many of these other countries, parole eligibility
for murder is set at or below 15 years. For example, even in the United States
the average time served by murderers who are not executed is 18 years at the
federal level and 15 years at the state level.
As honourable senators will know, section 745.6 was first enacted in 1976
when the death penalty was abolished in Canada. It was felt at that time that
this section was necessary to promote and to encourage the rehabilitation of
convicted murderers. The enactment of section 745.6 also recognized that, in
some cases, keeping offenders in prison beyond 15 years does not serve the
Honourable senators, we all know that there is a great deal of public concern
about this section. Many people have asked for the repeal of the section out of
concern for public safety. Others have cited the pain and grief of the victim's
family caused by a review hearing held 15 years after the crime, just when their
terrible emotional wounds are beginning to heal. Some of the other opponents to
it focus on the appropriate minimum period of incarceration for the worst
offence under our Criminal Code.
We all share the concerns of Canadians about the pain and experiences of the
families of the victims of these brutal and senseless crimes. We have all seen a
victim's family being re-victimized through the public review of the parole
eligibility of some brutal killer, and this is conducted before a jury, and
quite often in cases where the offender has no reasonable chance of success.
This is one of the considerations that have prompted the government to act by
introducing this bill.
On the other hand, I do not support the complete repeal of section 745.6. I
believe the reasons that justified its addition to the Criminal Code in 1976 are
still valid. Despite the rhetoric from some sectors, I believe that
rehabilitation is a valid goal of our system of incarceration. This bill amends
section 745.6 in order to ensure that the provision is available only in
deserving cases, where the public good may be served by the early release of an
inmate. At the same time, the bill will ensure that the process is not abused by
inmates for whom it is not designed.
Three elements of the bill accomplish this goal. The first eliminates the
right to request a judicial review application of parole ineligibility for all
persons who commit multiple murders in the future, whether the murders are
committed at the same time or not. Serial murderers would also be excluded from
this review process. The proposed amendment is consistent with the notion long
held in our criminal law tradition that repetition of an offence should be
treated more harshly than a single offence.
The second proposed amendment in this bill creates a screening mechanism
whereby a judge of a superior court would conduct a paper review of the
application to determine if there is a reasonable chance of success before the
application is allowed to proceed to a full hearing. This would help ensure that
only deserving cases get a hearing before a section 745.6 jury.
The third amendment included in this bill would provide that the parole
ineligibility period may only be reduced by unanimous vote of the community
jury. As a result of this provision, an application for a reduction in the
parole ineligibility period will be denied when either the jury decides that the
application should be denied or the jury simply cannot reach a unanimous
conclusion to reduce the period. Nevertheless, even if the jury does not reduce
the period, it may decide to allow the offender to make another application in
the future. Whatever the result, a new application may not be made for at least
At this point, I should like to take a moment to expand upon this unanimity
requirement. There are three decisions in which a jury is involved: First,
whether or not to reduce the period of ineligibility; second, by how much to
reduce that period; and, third, whether and when an unsuccessful applicant may
reapply for a review of the period. Only the decision on whether or not to grant
a reduction in the time requires unanimity. The dispositions on the amount of
reduction and on whether or not, and when, they can reapply require only a
Many interested groups have asked for a complete repeal of this section. The
government does not support this, in part because there are cases where the
release of an inmate after 15 years is reasonable, and even desirable. I have
only to think of those cases involving abused spouses which, in today's criminal
system, probably would be dealt with more leniently than would a similar case
that had come to trial, say, 15 years ago.
Other groups that appeared before the House of Commons committee on this bill
felt strongly that this provision should be maintained as is, with no limitation
on who may apply for a review by a jury. That option, however, leaves the
process open to applications that have absolutely no chance of success, which
only serves to aggravate the grief of the victims' families and inspires public
outrage, which we have all witnessed.
The committee hearings in the other place accurately reflected the deep
division in opinion evident during the government's consultations that preceded
the introduction of this bill. Bill C-45 strikes a balance between those who
want to maintain the section as it is currently drafted and those who want to
repeal it. The result is a process that limits its focus to those inmates for
whom early release may be reasonable and desirable, and ensures that decisions
to allow early application for parole will be unanimous among a jury of 12
citizens drawn from the community.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I have a question for the
honourable senator. Since the honourable senator has taken on the responsibility
of speaking for the government on this piece of legislation, does she have any
information or statistics available for the Senate concerning how many repeat
offenders have gone out under the present system and committed murders after
Senator Milne: To tell you the truth, I have not. I have not seen the
statistics. However, I know that they do exist, and I will undertake to obtain
them for you.
Senator St. Germain: The honourable senator has also said that we are
striking a balance. She says that she supports the legislation, and that
multiple murderers and serial murderers will be treated differently.
In the minds of the public, is there a magic number relating to murders? To
me, someone who commits one murder is as vile and as vicious as someone who
commits three or four murders. I realize that numbers do have an impact, but are
we playing to political sentiment here when we say that certain provisions apply
only for multiple murders and serial murders?
It is obvious where I stand on this issue, honourable senators, but I should
like the honourable senator to explain those issues to us.
Senator Milne: Do not forget that high treason is also included in
this bill. The bill does refer to multiple murders and serial murders. You are
quite right in your feeling that one life has as much value as another life.
However, I do believe there is a sentiment abroad in the land that if a person
recommits the same type of crime, he should be treated more harshly. That is
what this bill attempts to do.
Honourable Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I am sure you are
aware that this bill was debated most vigorously when it was passed in the House
of Commons. Amendments were submitted by a number of people with acknowledged
credentials in this field, including the Honourable Warren Allmand and several
other Liberal MPs, who indicated that this jury unanimity seemed to them to be
totally unacceptable. I believe that some of them even voted against this bill.
My question for Senator Milne is as follows: Would you be prepared to
entertain the possibility of receiving an amendment reflecting the highly
intelligent views expressed by a number of members of the other House, as well
as by some of their colleagues? For example, a decision by two-thirds of the
jury seems unacceptable, as does the rule of unanimity. Would she consider that
an amendment calling for a majority of 10 or 11 jury members would be acceptable
under the circumstances?
Senator Milne: At this point, honourable senators, I am not prepared
to accept any amendments. However, it is to be hoped that all aspects of this
bill can be fully explored in committee. I am sure all points of view will be
heard at that time.
On motion of Senator St. Germain, debate adjourned.
Report of Foreign Affairs
Committee on Study-Debate Adjourned
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs (Special Study on European Relations),
deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on July 18, 1996.
Hon. John B. Stewart, Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on
Foreign Affairs, moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, major changes are taking place in Europe;
changes of great importance to Canadians. Tonight I wish to bring to your
attention the recent report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
on Canada's relations with Europe. That report is entitled "European
Integration: The Implications for Canada."
Your committee held a series of meetings here in Ottawa. Also, some of the
members of the committee went to several European countries to get the views of
persons directly involved in what is happening there. Both in Canada and abroad,
we benefited from excellent cooperation from our witnesses and from members of
our Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
At the beginning of our report, we record our appreciation for the support we
were given by Anthony Chapman, who coordinated our research with great diligence
and expertise, and by Serge Pelletier, who earned our gratitude for the smooth
working of the committee's administrative, financial and logistical
Our report establishes that, in terms of economics, what is happening in
Europe is of great importance to Canadians. I need hardly say that in terms of
foreign policy and security, what is happening there matters greatly to us.
The European Union operates in three strata: an economic stratum, a foreign
and security policy stratum and a justice and home affairs stratum.
During recent years, especially since 1986, steps have been taken to thicken
what I have called the economic stratum by removing internal trade barriers and
by establishing an economic and monetary union. At the same time, both the other
strata - the common foreign and security policy stratum and the justice and home
affairs layer - are being thickened.
In addition, the European Union is expanding both east and south. Initially,
there were 6 members in the European Economic Community, then there were 9, and
now there are 15. There may be 20 before the end of this century, and it is
quite possible that within the foreseeable future the number will increase to
29, almost twice the present membership.
I turn directly to our findings in the field of policy and security. We were
told in Europe that, although the union is making moves relative to foreign
policy and security, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will continue to be
recorded as the principal defence organization.
If this is true, as I assume it is, a question arises: Various Central and
Eastern European countries are candidates for membership in the European Union.
Understandably, at least some of them will want to join NATO. Is it likely that
accession to the union will in fact entail accession to NATO?
The committee's view, as stated in its report, is that the Canadian
government should proceed with great caution on admissions to the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization. The aim should be to ensure that any enlargement of that
organization does in fact contribute to security and stability in Europe.
Specifically, we made two recommendations: First, we recommended that the
influence of enlargements on the decision-making ability of NATO should be taken
into account. We said:
The Committee recommends also that, in enlarging its membership, NATO ensure
that its decision-making ability is not hampered. In order to remain effective,
the Alliance must be able to take decisions quickly on the basis of consensus.
As the organization becomes larger and more heterogeneous, the danger that
decision-making may become bogged down increases as members' interests come into
Our second recommendation on NATO cautions against the possibility of a
counter-productive effect. Here we are saying that while we understand the
thinking in some Eastern and Central European countries that NATO membership
will serve as insurance against threats from the East, it should be remembered
that there is a real danger that the eastward extension of NATO could be
counter-productive. It might, in fact, increase the danger it was intended to
So much for the foreign policy and security stratum as covered by our report.
In the economic stratum there are several matters of importance. I will
mention only two tonight.
What will be the impact on Canadians of the inclusion within the European
customs union of additional countries - countries such as Poland, Slovakia, the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania or Ukraine? As Senator Kelleher told the
committee from his experience as a minister, in each case of expansion certain
Canadian exports have suffered.
It is true that under the GATT Canada is entitled to compensation for the
loss of market in these cases. Yet, it cannot be said that the results have been
highly satisfactory. For example, the most recent enlargement, which brought in
Austria, Finland and Sweden, gave rise to a dispute between Canada and the
European Union over tariff increases on fish and seafood, wood and snowmobiles.
The negotiations have been protracted. There is no guarantee that the value of
the compensation will be adequate; and in any case the commodities in the
compensation package will be different from those affected by the increase in
Some of the countries now seeking entry into the European Union are
agricultural producers. This raises the prospect of higher trade barriers in the
form of quotas against Canadian agricultural exports.
We make several recommendations designed to prevent future enlargements from
having such serious effects upon Canadian trade.
The second economic matter I wish to bring to your attention tonight relates
to the completion of the European Monetary Union. The third phase of the EMU is
set to go into effect on January 1, 1999 at the latest. As of that date, our
economic stratum will be divided into two groups of countries: the
"ins," those countries that move forward - let us say Germany, France,
Ireland and Luxembourg, and the "outs," those that cannot meet the
criteria for the MU or that prefer to stay out.
The "ins" will have a common currency and a common monetary policy
administered by a central bank. They will have even more. The introduction of a
common monetary policy will have implications for each member country's fiscal
policies. The Maastricht Treaty does not restrict public spending, but it does
prescribe limits on government deficits and debts. This means that increases in
government spending above a certain level would have to be paid for by tax
There will be several results from the achievement of this kind of economic
and monetary union. First, Europe will be divided into two parts, what I like to
call "In-Europe" and "Out-Europe," which, of course, will
Second, it would appear that the introduction of the common currency, the
Euro, will make "in" countries more competitive with Canada, Japan and
the United States of America. It will be easier and less expensive to do
business in the "in" countries within Europe.
Third, if the introduction of the new currency results in a de facto
devaluation of the Deutschmark, goods exported from Germany will be less
expensive in international markets, while imports from countries such as Canada
will be more expensive in Germany. The implications for our exports may be
Fourth, "in" Europe will attract direct investment from abroad,
direct investment which otherwise might come to Canada.
Fifth, the operation of international financial institutions will be changed.
For example, think of the implications of having Germany, France, Italy and the
United Kingdom become "in" countries. What will that mean for Canada's
position in the G-7? One of our witnesses from the Bank of Canada, if I remember
correctly, put it this way:
Once there are three major entities instead of seven, what is Canada's place
in all this? In other words, there will be the United States, there will be
Japan, and now, instead of a collection of European countries, there will be
Europe representing the third significant block. How does Canada fit in? Once
France, Germany, the UK, and Italy have been absorbed into this common Europe,
we will be pretty lonely and small,...
What about the World Trade Organization? While the members of the European
Union are counted as distinct members of the WTO and the OECD, the fact is they
conduct themselves as a formed bloc. For example, 20 of the 26 members of the
OECD belong to the European bloc. To appreciate this point imagine what would be
said if California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York each
counted as a distinct member of the World Trade Organization, but all
participated and voted as members of one bloc?
There is another implication which the enlargement of the European union has
for Canada. That is to say that it increases the disadvantage that we have in
negotiation. The result of this is that the prospect of negotiating with the
European Union as a part of a North American bloc becomes increasingly
attractive to Canadians. In other words, what is happening in Europe may tend to
push Canada closer and closer to the United States of America. The creation of
one great bloc, the European Union, may have the effect of creating another on
The inclusion of additional countries will increase the possibility that
Canada's relations with Europe as a whole will be disrupted. The consequence of
the principle of solidarity followed in Europe is that Canada's relations with
the entire union are, and will be, affected by a disagreement between Canada and
any member state.
This was demonstrated just last June when our attempt to achieve an action
plan for coordination on many matters of common interest between Canada and
European countries was frustrated.
I would conclude, honourable senators, by saying a word or two about our
failure to achieve an action plan last spring.
In the past few years, the Government of Canada has been seeking to achieve
some form of cooperation with the European Union in economic matters and with
regard to justice and home affair matters, as well as security and defence. At
one point, there was talk about what was called a "TAFTA," a
Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, an agreement comparable to NAFTA. That idea
found support in Bonn and London. However, neither the United States of America
nor France had zeal for such an agreement.
What replaced the TAFTA project was the idea of a plan, an agenda, for
cooperation in dozens of specific areas. Such a plan or agenda has come to be
called an "Action Plan".
In the spring of 1995, talks began between the European Union and the United
States for such a plan. Canada sought to participate in those talks. We wished
to avoid what we have come to call the "hub-and-spoke" model, the
model in which the United States is a hub with various spokes protruding into
Canada, Mexico and the like. However, our efforts to gain participation were
frustrated by the Estai incident in March of 1995. In any event, in
December of that year, the United States and the European Union signed an
accord, the New Transatlantic Agenda.
In October of 1995, Germany and Canada began work on a Canada-European Union
action plan. The outcome of those efforts was a proposal that was presented to
the European Commission in January of this year. The commission responded
favourably by bringing forth a proposal of its own.
When our committee was in Europe last March, it appeared that all was
progressing favourably. It appeared that the Canada-European action plan would
be signed before the end of the Italian presidency at the end of June. Indeed,
at one point, I concluded that part of our report would be obsolete before I had
a chance to present it to honourable senators.
The expectation was that the agreement would be signed by Mr. Chrétien, the
European Commission President, Jacques Santer, and the Italian Prime Minister,
Romano Prodi on June 26, 1996.
Alas, as honourable senators know, this did not happen. The agreement the
European Union wanted would have contained a provision against the
extraterritorial application of national laws. In order to accept that
provision, Canada would have had either to repeal certain sections of the
Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, sections which were added in 1994, or to
exempt fishing vessels from European countries from the provision of those
sections. Canada was unwilling to accept either of those conditions; thus, there
was no agreement.
There we are. The United States has its action plan with the European Union.
Canada has no such agreement.
Would the action plan have been important? The answer is: Yes. It would not
have been a free trade agreement, but it would have provided for cooperation in
trade disputes, for the completion of negotiations on telecommunication and
maritime services, for cooperation in science and technology, for cooperation on
environmental issues and sustainable development, and for cooperation on
measures to restrain international crime, drug shipments, the illegal shipment
of arms and many, many other important matters.
We did not get the agreement. The question, honourable senators, is: Where do
we go from here?
About a month ago, I was in Strasbourg observing a meeting of the Council of
Europe. While I was there, I was greatly impressed by the deep concern many
European politicians had for the preservation of the environment. I asked myself
why it has been impossible to focus some of that European concern on the
preservation of the North Atlantic fisheries. Those fisheries off the coasts of
Europe as well as on the Grand Banks have been a source of food for Europeans
for centuries. I asked myself whether there is something about fish that makes
them more expendable than seals?
We have two interrelated challenges. The first is to achieve an adequate
conservation strategy, a management regime for the fisheries. All the
participating parties must have full confidence in that regime. The second is to
achieve an action plan. Such a plan would be beneficial for both Europe and
Those of us who come from the West Coast or the East Coast know how difficult
it is to put such a regime into effect, but it seems to me that we must make an
effort in cooperation with the European Union. When that has been done, we
should be able to go ahead with the action plan. Our report demonstrates that
that action plan should be highly beneficial to Canada in economic matters and
in justice and home affairs matters, such as drug trafficking, illicit arms
sales and the like.
I want to thank all committee members for their great cooperation. I had not
realized what was going on in Europe. One reads about it. One can even be
deluged by the news. We did benefit from hearing the witnesses and our
distinguished European interlocutors. The information was most helpful to me and
to all committee members. I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated
in the study.
Hon. Janis Johnson rose pursuant to notice of Thursday, June 13, 1996:
That she will call the attention of the Senate to the state of the arts in
She said: Honourable senators, I could not make this speech in June because I
waited one day too long. I take the opportunity now to speak on the state of
It is time to take a comprehensive look at cultural policy in Canada. The
Senate is already undertaking a study of the communications sector, but that
mandate is limited and culture is far more than just a matter of communications.
It is more than a matter of the CBC, Telefilm Canada and the National Film
Board. Culture is the very life blood of the nation.
As a nation, we are becoming increasingly disparate and regionalized, but in
this time of crisis, our songs, books, films and visual arts still express our
Canadian-ness, our values and ambitions. As long as we continue to share and
communicate these values, we continue to share a common destiny.
As a Canadian of Icelandic origin, I come from a background where culture was
emphasized. Through the Icelandic traditions of my youth, the sagas, songs and
poetry, I came to love literature. I grew up in Winnipeg, a city which has
always been remarkable for its cultural life and the creativity of its people.
Over the last few decades, I have watched Canadian artists, performers,
writers and film-makers create a body of work that tells the rest of the world
what we stand for. Around the world, our artists have drawn attention to this
country and have made us proud to be Canadians.
Of course, it was not always so. When I was a young woman attending Kelvin
High School in Winnipeg, the cultural life of the nation was very rudimentary.
There were so few novelists in this country that you could literally count them
on one hand.
The Canadian film industry was non-existent. On Saturday nights, you could go
to the River Heights Community Club where Neil Young and Burton Cummings would
perform for $75 a night.
As I grew older, I went on to live in almost every region in Canada. In each
place I sought out the unique culture it offered. In the Atlantic region in the
1970s, I watched Newfoundland's Codco give their first performance. I opened
Mary Pratt's first show, and watched in admiration as Alex Colville and his art
brought Nova Scotia to the world stage.
In Montreal, I attended the readings of writers and poets in the coffee
houses and watched the emergence of the French voice in national culture, voices
like Roch Carrière, who is now head of the Canada Council, and Solange
Chaput-Roland, the distinguished novelist who was also a member of the Senate of
Across the prairies and on the West Coast, I saw a distinct new culture
emerging created by Asian immigrants and others who contributed their own unique
stories and films to the Canadian mosaic.
Perhaps most dramatic of all has been the renaissance of aboriginal culture.
Native artists like Buffy Sainte Marie, Bill Reid, Thomas King, Thomson Highway,
Graham Greene and many others, have not only achieved international fame but
have become role models for young native people and have taught the rest of us
what it means to grow up as an aboriginal person in Canada.
Of course not all Canadian artists represent minority groups. Writers like
Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Carol Shields and Timothy
Findley spin their stories from the middle-class neighbourhoods in which most of
us live. They have received such acclaim on the world stage that Canada is now
one of the most fashionable places for a writer to claim as home.
In writing about Canada, these writers have unintentionally become
ambassadors for our country. In Europe, if you happen to read about Canada in a
local newspaper, it will be invariably a cultural story. Artists are this
country's most popular export product.
What has caused this dramatic blossoming of Canadian culture? Legislators,
believe it or not, have played a role in this remarkable success story.
The Royal Commission on Broadcasting in 1928 and the Massey-Levesque
Commission of 1951 were two important reviews of government cultural policy. The
third and most recent review is the Applebaum-Hébert Commission of 1982.
These studies led to important government legislation. The Broadcasting Act,
the Status of the Artist Act, the Radiocommunication Act, the Copyright Act, and
the Public Lending Right Commission all helped to support the growth of Canadian
culture. However, almost 15 years have passed since Applebaum-Hébert.
Incredible changes have occurred in that short time. Change is coming at an
accelerating pace in today's world.
Some of the most pressing issues in today's world were not even recognized
terms in the early 1980s. Net-surfing, the 500-channel universe, and the
information highway are new realities. These changes will not go away. As the
new millennium approaches, we must ensure that government cultural policy keeps
pace with the changes.
Some critics, American trade negotiators, for example, argue that the
Canadian government should have no role in culture. It is argued that books,
magazines, films and record albums are nothing more than entertainment products
and that market forces are the best arbiter of survival.
In Canada, however, it is important to recognize that culture is not just a
business. In Canada, cultural products are not created solely in pursuit of
profit. Just ask your friendly neighbourhood film producer or novelist.
In our country, cultural activities are motivated by the artistic impulse and
by the need to explore our identity as individuals and as members of our
loose-knit and fragile Canadian society.
As legislators, we must ensure that government policy reflects the special
role of culture in our society. In some cases, good cultural policy means direct
support of a cultural industry. However, good cultural policy need not cost a
large amount of money. In some cases, good cultural policy simply means getting
out of culture's way. Our writers, film-makers and recording artists are the
equal of any in the world. What we must avoid is a legislative climate that acts
as a barrier. It is important to analyse current policies to determine if they
are relevant to current needs. Often, all that is required is legislative
adjustment to create a level playing field, and artists will do the rest.
Honourable senators may recall the controversy several years ago when the
CRTC imposed Canadian content regulations, a quota system that obliged radio
broadcasters to play Canadian music along with the usual American material on
their play lists. Enormous controversy surrounded this legislation when it was
first introduced. Critics felt it was reverse discrimination which would
victimize members of the public by forcing them to listen to boring Canadian
music instead of the more fashionable product from the United States.
The CRTC regulations created a new demand for Canadian music. Within a few
short years, radio stations were flooded with pop music written and performed by
bright young Canadian artists who, for the first time in history, had a chance
to develop a career in their own country.
What was the result for Canadian culture? The Canadian music industry is
booming. In 1987, Canadian recording artists released 421 albums. By 1992, the
number had risen to over 1,100. This is almost a three-fold increase in five
years. This surge in creative activity continues today, and has buoyed the
careers of young artists like Alanis Morrisette and Shania Twain, both of whom
have captured the limelight as international superstars, not to mention Céline
Dion, who is a diva of the world's pop music industry.
This is an example where federal legislation created a positive climate for
Canadian artists without spending whopping sums of taxpayers' money. A
comprehensive review of the arts should not only examine current legislative
policy, but should also ensure that current moneys are being wisely spent.
More recently, a parallel situation has been developing in our book
publishing sector. Canadians love to read American books and that is not a
problem, as long as Canadian authors can find their way onto bookstore shelves
and compete squarely with Americans. However, there have been some recent and
subtle changes in the marketplace that could, in effect, give Americans an
unfair competitive edge over Canadian authors, publishers and booksellers.
American book retailing superstores such as Barnes and Noble and Borders have
recently arrived in Canadian cities. As usual, the Americans have wrapped their
product in an appealing package. These are tastefully designed stores where
shoppers can rest in an easy chair and read for hours while classical music
plays in the background. In other words, they are very appealing places to shop.
Without proper intervention from the Canadian government, however, these
pleasant book shops could present a grave threat to Canadian literature.
American publishers are very good at producing low-price books. This is not
because they are smarter than us, better looking or harder working; it is
because their book-buying public is ten times our size. They can produce books
at a much lower unit cost than can our publishers. Once those books are
published, they can ship them less expensively, sell them for less, without the
absurd added weight of the Goods and Services Tax.
Given the disadvantage that Canada's book industry labours under, it is
amazing that Canadian publishers can compete at all, yet they do. They compete
by being imaginative and they compete by working harder. They also compete by
making deals with American publishers. Traditionally, they have an arrangement
to distribute American books in Canada.
The venerable Canadian firm of McClelland and Stewart, who celebrated their
ninetieth anniversary not long ago, currently holds Canadian distribution rights
to all the books published by the American firm St. Martin's Press. However, the
new, efficient and very pleasant book superstores would prefer to cut their
costs by purchasing books at deep discounts, directly from American publishers.
If superstores were to distribute books in Canada, Canadian publishers would
lose a major source of income. This, in turn, would force our publishers to cut
back and cancel their less profitable or "loss leader" books. Often,
these are the first novels, poetry and essay books that function as a sort of
farm team system for new Canadian authors.
Honourable senators, changes like this present an almost unbearable burden on
the already burdened Canadian publishing industry. This past summer we saw the
demise of Coach House Press and rumours within the industry suggest as many as
half a dozen other smaller Canadian publishers are teetering on the brink of
bankruptcy. If we allow American superstores to source their books in the United
States, all levels of the Canadian book industry will be affected.
Honourable senators, as I have explained, publishers will lose a major source
of income and more publishing companies will go bankrupt. Authors will have much
more difficulty finding publishers. Distributors will be pushed out of business
as stores move their buying business south of the border. Printers, designers,
booksellers, truckers, salespeople and countless others will be affected as the
lion's share of the Canadian book publishing industry migrates to the United
States. All these falling dominoes would be set off by that single event, the
arrival of American book superstores in Canada.
Fortunately, this threat is addressed by Bill C-32, an Act to Amend the
Copyright Act, which contains provisions to safeguard Canadian distributors. It
is important that the Senate study and review this bill very carefully. Some
senators say it is much needed legislation to protect the Canadian book
industry, which may be seen as a "business" by the Americans, but it
is, in fact, an integral part of Canadian culture. Some senators dislike the
I will reserve further comment and will speak on it again when the bill is
before the Senate. Like many people in the country, particularly those in the
artistic community, I support the spirit of Bill C-32.
Bill C-32 also addresses other threats to Canadian artists and performers.
One proposed measure will entitle music performers and producers to royalty
payments when their work is broadcast on radio. Another measure will impose a
levy on all blank tapes and cassettes to provide performers with some token
payment for the widespread illegal copying of their material.
Studies suggest that of 44 million blank tapes sold in Canada in 1995, 39
million were used to make home copies of recorded music. These boot-legged
copies cost original producers approximately $324 million. Bill C-32 ensures
that recording artists do receive something for the unauthorized copying of
Honourable senators, this is a good example of how government can foster the
growth of culture without spending large amounts of money. In other
circumstances, it is necessary to provide grants and subsidies. However, for
every dollar that government spends on culture, there is a powerful multiplier
In 1992, government at all three levels spent $6.1 billion on cultural
programs, and the cultural sector turned that into $21 billion worth of domestic
product. Subsidies are not popular these days, and there are undoubtedly critics
who say we are force-feeding Canadians on home-grown culture which they have not
asked for and do not want.
Canadians have considered this question and voted with their wallets. Between
1982 and 1992, consumer expenditure on Canadian culture rose by 9 per cent.
Fifty-three per cent of Canadians expressed the opinion that:
Canadian culture is important because it makes us distinct from other
The same poll determined that 76 per cent of Canadians believe that our artists
are as good as foreign performers. Still, like many in the world, we live in a
world where American culture rules the airwaves, the book shelves and the movie
screens. We live in a world that has been colonized not by military muscle but
by cultural magic, by symbols, songs, icons and ideas. In Russia, in Burma, in
the farthest reaches of the world, the word "America" conjures up
visions of cowboy hats, Bruce Springsteen, fast cars, six guns, Marilyn Monroe,
and all those hundreds of familiar and, let us face it, very magical totems of
I have no interest in knocking American culture. In fact, in truth, I am a
fan. However, we have a serious duty to protect and foster our own national
culture. Without a dream of our own, we will be swallowed by the American one.
Canada is one of the most envied nations on earth, and our national culture
is the very fabric that holds this country together, but we have to be careful
that we do not take our cultural heritage for granted. Other nations have set an
example that we should carefully consider.
Honourable senators, at the height of its economic crisis, the Mexican
national government built an enormous arts centre, with studios and art schools
and theatres. Although it is a much poorer country than Canada, Mexico has a
healthier film industry, largely because their government continues to place a
high priority on protecting and supporting their film makers.
Japan has declared that it will double its budget for culture by the year
2000. With its rich cultural heritage, Japan hopes to export culture in the same
way it exports cameras and cars.
Iceland is a fervent supporter of the arts. In almost every genre - film,
music literature, and dance - the Icelandic government is actively involved in
fostering the growth of Icelandic culture.
France is one of the most culturally distinct countries in Europe, and to
some extent this is due to their ongoing commitment to national culture. In
Paris, writers are featured on television shows in prime time, and the release
of a new play is a major cultural event.
In Canada, we must recognize that artists are the front line of our embassy
corps and we should diligently promote them. As the great Haida artist Bill Reid
once pointed out, "Art can never be understood, but can only be seen as a
kind of magic, the most profound and mysterious of all human activities."
As tariff walls come tumbling down, and high-tech communications erode
national boarders, I would argue that, since we have not really had a
comprehensive review of cultural policies since the excellent Applebaum-Hébert
report of 1982, it is now a fitting time to take a serious new look at our whole
approach to cultural development. Along with the major reviews of the past, we
also have a number of excellent smaller reports relating to culture and
communications, and they, likewise, add weight to our body of information.
I believe that the Senate is an excellent forum for this kind of study and
that honourable senators on both sides of this chamber have much knowledge,
wisdom and creative energy to give to such an effort.
As I mentioned earlier, the new communications study that we are presently
undertaking, and of which I am a member, will only review culture in terms of
the large institutions, such as the CBC and Telefilm and, while I think that is
a praiseworthy undertaking, it is not sufficient to our needs at this time. What
we must do is to look at small "c" culture for what it is, the life
blood of our nation, and analyze whether current policies are best serving our
solitary artists and cottage industries in making Canadian culture for
Honourable senators, in the same way that small businesses create most of the
employment in the country, small arts organizations and single artists create
most of the cultural activity in Canada, and they are often overlooked in the
formation of government policy.
In conclusion, I believe that this is an appropriate time to set up a special
committee to analyze the problems affecting the arts, to find the solutions, and
to recommend a strategic plan to preserve and foster Canada's growing cultural
sector in the next century. I have spoken with other colleagues in the Senate
who share my concerns, and I truly look forward to hearing their views on this
matter in the weeks ahead. I certainly hope they will speak up and perhaps we
can come to some consensus.
Hon. Philippe Deane Gigantès: Honourable senators, I congratulate the
honourable senator opposite for her remarks. I should ask to adjourn this debate
in my name.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Would Senator Gigantès allow me a question
before he adjourns the debate? I share the views expressed by Senator Johnson
this evening. I will certainly accept her invitation to participate in the
debate, but at this time I would like to ask her a question, the answer to which
may help me in my own reflection of my own speech on the issue. Should we be
concerned about the high degree of concentration of ownership of newspapers in
Canada, where soon one person may own more than half of the Canadian newspapers?
Does the honourable senators share the view that we should be concerned about
Senator Johnson: Of course, it would be a concern if one person were
running all the newspapers in your country. While that has not happened quite
yet, it is certainly another area we should examine. It is different from the
cultural concept I am talking about, but it is related in an oblique way.
However, it is not where I would place my focus.