The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the
honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk has received
certificates from the Registrar General of Canada showing that
the following persons, respectively, have been summoned to the
The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there
were senators without, waiting to be introduced:
The following honourable senators were introduced; presented
Her Majesty's writs of summons; took the oath prescribed by
law, which was administered by the Clerk; and were seated:
Hon. Joan Cook, of St. John's, Newfoundland,
introduced between Hon. B. Alasdair Graham, P.C., and
Hon. P. Derek Lewis.
Hon. Archibald (Archie) Hynd Johnstone, of Kensington,
Prince Edward Island, introduced between Hon. B. Alasdair
Graham, P.C. and Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck.
Hon. Ross Fitzpatrick, of Kelowna, British Columbia,
introduced between Hon. B. Alasdair Graham, P.C., and
Hon. Raymond J. Perrault, P.C.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that each of the
honourable senators named above had made the subscribed
declaration of qualification required by the Constitution Act,
1867, in the presence of the Clerk of the Senate, the
Commissioner appointed to receive and witness the said
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I am delighted to wish all francophones in
Canada a fine Semaine mondiale de la Francophonie.
At the same time, may I wish each and every one of you the
happiest St. Patrick's Day.
When I think of Senator Joan Cook, I cannot help but think of
Charlotte Whitton's famous comment:
Whatever she does, a woman must do twice as well as
any man to be thought of as just half as good.
Then the former mayor of Ottawa added with characteristic flair:
Luckily, it is not that difficult.
When I think of Joan Cook's consummate energy and
enthusiasm, I think of a whole lot of lives wrapped up in one. I
think of a woman who has always worked twice as hard as
anyone around her, who has been the epitome of always doing a
little more than you have been paid to, always giving a little
more than you have had to, always trying a little harder than you
probably often wanted to, always aiming a little higher than
maybe even you had thought possible, and always giving a lot of
thanks to God for health, family and friends.
I think of only a few of her busy lives today as we welcome
her, a wonderful breath of fresh air to the Senate of Canada. I
think of the life of a successful business woman. I think of the
astute and committed political activist. I think of the life of a
volunteer who never said never to any request for help and
support from any facet of her community and her province.
June Callwood once observed that the best word in the English
language is "justice." Justice has been the engine of this
straight-talking, hard-working Newfoundlander who, through the
United Church, helped found Naomi House, a shelter for women
in St. John's. The list of her simple, personal commitments to the
well-being of those around her is lengthy and a cause for
Senator Cook served as a member for a national consultation
on women and poverty. She was also a volunteer with the Girl
Guides of Canada, eventually being recognized as a national life
member of the organization. Senator Cook has worked with the
Canadian Mental Health Association and is currently a member
of the General Hospital's Board of Trustees.
Senator Cook has been a shining light of friendship and
compassion, relieving the fear, attending to the needs of the
homeless and the young, never fearing to dive in where the need
is greatest. No task has been too great, no contribution has been
too much. She has given little people the inspiration to stand up
straight and tall with pride in their own humanity and with the
conviction that no man and no woman was better than any other.
Now to me, that is real leadership.
However, like all leaders, we may anticipate Senator Cook has
her faults. Probably her greatest is her honesty and plain talk.
Harry Truman once said, "I don't give them hell: I just tell the
truth, and they think it is hell."
Honourable senators, prepare for the broadsides, because with
Senator Joan Cook on board we can expect lots of truth and a
whole lot of the other stuff along with it.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, when I think of
lovely Prince Edward Island, I think of the gentle province where
the Fathers of Confederation negotiated the terms of union and
conceived the great national dream. I think of communities and
traditions and lifestyles which have been passed on from
generation to generation, communities which in many ways are
the glue of our national identity, communities where the values
which anchor our country have been renewed across the decades.
Senator Archibald Johnstone was born and raised in
communities such as these, where the famous Island spirit of
self-reliance and responsibility to others was nurtured and where
people understood the value of cooperation in good times and in
bad. I stress the word "cooperation." Islanders have always been
renowned for this, not because they expect something in return
but because they know that cooperation is essential to success at
Senator Johnstone has enjoyed great success in many areas.
His business endeavours have borne much fruit. So, too, has his
very deep involvement with Island organizations related to
agriculture and tourism to which he has lent much of his time. He
has served as president of the Prince Edward Island Federation of
Agriculture, as an executive member of the Canadian Federation
of Agriculture, to speak of only a few of his personal efforts with
regard to the interests of his home province.
In all these efforts, he has shown the generous Island spirit of
cooperation and responsibility - responsibility for a future
which is shaped around lifestyles which are good and profitable
at the same time; a future shaped around the communities
Islanders hold dear and the family values they know to be the
real anchor of our Canadian identity.
I am proud to welcome to this place the Island spirit in the
person of Archie Johnstone. Honourable senators may recall that
his beautiful Island, so central to the foundation of our nation,
was also renowned for having the highest per capita enlistment of
any place in Canada during World War II, along with the highest
casualty rate as well. Senator Johnstone was very much part of
that remarkable contribution to freedom, serving as a crew
member with the Royal Air Force Heavy Bomber Squadron
based in England.
All of us, at one time, have probably reflected on Sir Winston
Churchill's famous tribute to the courage and skill of British
airmen: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed
by so many to so few." Today we see those words as a fitting
tribute as well to all those Canadians, such as Archie Johnstone,
who served in dangerous times to liberate Europe in its darkest
Senator Johnstone, we are privileged to have you join us in
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, perhaps it is more
than coincidental that on St. Patrick's Day we should introduce
officially to the Senate chamber a person with such deep roots in
County Cork, the Honourable Ross Fitzpatrick.
Senator Fitzpatrick, on every opportunity I have had to visit
your wonderful province, I have had a chance to think a little
about the expanse of this great country from the perspective of
the aerial traveller. I have thought about the long distance that
separates my home province from yours, and the fact that the
journey, if we project from Senator Cook's home in St. John's to
Vancouver, is comparable. If we relate eastward extension to
westward extension, it is the equivalent of spanning the Atlantic,
plus the entire width of Europe.
I have thought of the ideals, values and symbols which unite
our tolerant, freedom-loving people across 3.8 million square
miles of a crowded planet. I have thought of the aerial
topography of Canada: water, lakes, ice, the Laurentian Shield,
the Prairies and then the reality of British Columbia, from its
granite alpine peaks to its spectacular rivers, the wonderful
coastline of dense rain forests and glacier mountains - the kinds
of mountains not only loved by British Columbians but also
worshipped by British Columbians and envied by all other
Ross Fitzpatrick has become a symbol of the tremendous
dynamism, energy and vigour which is all a part of the legendary
British Columbia story. He has achieved well and succeeded
well, and probably been a model of John Fitzgerald Kennedy's
famous remark that once you say you are going to settle for
second, then that is what happens to you in life.
Senator Fitzpatrick never settled for second. He built
innovative and visionary businesses in fields as diverse as
aerospace, energy and mining, gas production and wineries.
These were all wrapped up in enormous personal drive and big
dreams, and the huge sense of adventure which drove so many
remarkable Canadians in that magnificent province. Senator
Fitzpatrick has opened up big mining projects, and at the same
time he has earned much environmental acclaim.
Viceroy Resources Corporation, which he founded in 1984,
has won no fewer than six environmental awards, including TheFinancial Post's 1992 Environmental Award for Business, and
the 1993 Environmental Award from the Prospecters and
Developers Association of Canada.
Honourable senators, Senator Fitzpatrick has always believed
that you give back to your province, your region and your
community what it has given to you. He has a fine record of
community service in British Columbia. He is a past member of
the board of governors of the Vancouver Art Gallery and a
member of the British Columbia Government House Foundation.
He has generously supported the Kelowna General Hospital
Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society and the University of
Senator Fitzpatrick, we welcome you to this place. In the
service of Canada and this chamber, I know that you will never
settle for second.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, in joining Senator Graham in welcoming
our new colleagues, I trust that they will not be distracted by the
negative reaction which inevitably follows each summons to this
place. The same shrill voices which raise the same sentiments
over and over again, I want to assure them, are for the most part
echoes of ignorance rather than reflections of reality.
Much of the criticism directed this way, our way, arises from
the fact that senators are appointed. By itself, this is an anomaly
which is distasteful to many, even in this very place. To condemn
the appointed Senate simply because it is appointed may allow
for a colourful verbiage but it obscures some of the basic realities
of this place.
Our new colleagues will soon find that the wide knowledge,
experience and background of their colleagues compare more
than favourably with those found in any elected legislature in this
country, including the House of Commons. Our new colleagues
will soon find that the scrutiny of legislation is done here in a far
more careful and less partisan way than in the House of
Commons. Even some of our most voluble critics admit that the
Senate's role in correcting bills, warning of flaws in them, even
raising their constitutionality on occasion, are an essential
contribution to the legislative process. Recognition of the
valuable role played by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Committee in its current study of Bill C-220 is only the latest
example of this.
Our new colleagues will find that special committee studies
and reports result in valuable evaluations and recommendations
on very important topics, some of which, such as euthanasia and
assisted suicide, the House of Commons refuses to consider
because it does not have the political will to look into certain
items of a sensitive and controversial nature.
I have no doubt that it will not be too long before Senators
Cook, Johnstone and Fitzpatrick not only recognize these and the
many other positive features of the Senate but also make their
own special contributions to them. My colleagues on this side
and I wish them well as they assume their new responsibilities.
Hon. Raymond J. Perrault: Honourable senators, the Leader
of the Government has appropriately pointed out that there could
be no better timing for the appointment to the Senate of a
Canadian of Irish descent than on St. Patrick's Day. As they say,
it may be the luck of the Irish that the dates coincide. In any case,
it is a wonderful event for Canada that Senator Fitzpatrick has
now assumed his seat in this place.
As well, the appointments of Senators Johnstone and Cook are
outstanding, and they will serve to reinforce the effective work
the Senate does.
Ross Fitzpatrick is a friend of many British Columbians. He
was born in Kelowna. He attained his Bachelor of Commerce
and Business Administration degrees at the University of British
Columbia. He completed his degree studies at the University of
Maryland and Columbia University in the United States. He is
married to Linda Fitzpatrick and they have two children, James
Gordon and Lesley Ann, who are with us today. They are
talented people in their own right.
During Ross's long and successful career, he has been active in
resource development, including oil and gas exploration and
mining. He has been the founder, co-chairman and chief
executive officer of a number of resource development
corporations operating not only in Canada and the United States
but also offshore. His other interests and involvements have
included real estate and the building of trucks in the interior of
the province of British Columbia. He brings to the Senate many
talents which will be very useful in the work done by the Senate
and its committees.
In recent years, Ross has added another industry to his list of
activities. He is proprietor of a well-known estate winery in
British Columbia. I am in a position to testify that the product of
this enterprise is absolutely superb. We hope that part of the
marketing strategy will be the holding of sampling sessions in
various parts of the country, including here. It is a great product.
In addition to this extensive list of endeavours, Ross has found
time to involve himself deeply in community affairs and public
interest activities, some of them noted by the Leader of the
Opposition, including higher education, the arts and politics.
Early in his career, Ross was an executive assistant to a member
of the federal cabinet and developed an interest in politics at that
For me, it is a great pleasure and honour to welcome
Ross Fitzpatrick, a good Canadian, a good friend and a good
British Columbian, to the Senate today. I predict that he will
make a significant contribution to this place and thereby to all of
Hon. P. Derek Lewis: Honourable senators, I would also like
to congratulate and welcome to this chamber our three new
members, Senator Johnstone, Senator Fitzpatrick, and Senator
Cook. Specifically, I wish to say a few words about the new
senator from my province of Newfoundland.
Senator Cook has her origins in a small fishing community on
the south coast of the province. As such, she has a personal
knowledge of the problems and conditions of life in such areas
outside the larger centres. Although Senator Cook left her
community many years ago to take work in St. John's, she never
cut her ties and has remained in tune with life in coastal
Newfoundland. Through her work as an assistant in various
business endeavours, Senator Cook has gained a vast knowledge
of the community and commercial life of the province, in
addition to which she has been a tireless volunteer worker for her
church and its organizations. She has given many years of
service to various charitable groups and, in particular, to the Girl
Guides Association, by which she has been appropriately
I cannot omit to mention Senator Cook's contribution to the
political field. I have been aware, from personal knowledge and
experience going back over 30 years, of the tremendous
organizational work she carried out for her political party in all
aspects of organization, at the constituency as well as provincial
and federal levels. Senator Cook did not stint herself and has
always been available to carry out such work, even during the
dark days when her party was out of office. I imagine there are
quite a few members in this chamber who have experienced that
situation. In fact, she was one of those who helped maintain her
party during such trying times.
I can assure senators that Senator Cook is a worthwhile
addition to this chamber, and I look forward to a great
contribution from her in our work.
Hon. Catherine Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am pleased
and honoured today to welcome three new senators to this house:
Ross Fitzpatrick from British Columbia, Joan Cook from
Newfoundland, and of course Archie Johnstone from my native
province of Prince Edward Island. I am sure that they will
demonstrate in this chamber the same vigour, intelligence, and
commitment that has distinguished them in their respective
I would like to extend a special greeting to Senator Johnstone,
whom I have known and respected for many years. Senator
Graham has spoken at length about his accomplishments and
achievements, and there have been many. He has also pointed out
that Senator Johnstone has been extremely active in the affairs of
the province and the country. He has received many awards, over
20 in fact, including a certificate of appreciation from the Royal
Canadian Legion, a distinguished service award from the
Canadian Red Cross, and an award of merit from the P.E.I.
Association of Community Schools. He has been and still is
active in over 30 organizations. They include the Travel Industry
Association of Prince Edward Island, the College of Piping and
Celtic Performing Arts of Canada, and the Board of Governors of
the University of Prince Edward Island.
Honourable senators, it is very evident that he is an
exceptional person with great vision and will be a significant
asset to the Senate of Canada. Just last Friday night, I attended a
function held to honour his appointment to the Senate. It was
sponsored by his hometown of Kensington, the Tourism
Association, and the Chamber of Commerce. At that event,
several people spoke of his valuable contribution to the area,
both on a personal and professional level. That, honourable
senators, demonstrates the high regard that Islanders have for
I am very pleased today to stand in this house to welcome this
fellow Islander to the Senate of Canada, and I am pleased that his
wife, Elicia, and two of his four children are in the gallery today,
along with some of his other friends. Congratulations,
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your
attention to a distinguished group of visitors in our gallery. I wish
to draw your attention to a parliamentary delegation from
Mongolia in the centre gallery. They are led by his Excellency
Dr. Radnaaumberel Gonchigdorj, the Chairman of the State
Hural of Mongolia, and they are accompanied by Mongolia's
Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Jalbuugiin Choinkhor.
Honourable senators, I would also draw your attention to
another group of visitors in our gallery. It is the Royal Canadian
Army Cadet Corp No. 1888 from the Province of Ontario, and
they are accompanied by their Commanding Officer, Captain
Gary Bonnell. I wish to point out that I was informed of their
visit by the Honourable Senator Kelly.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, with the death of Gabrielle Léger, the wife
of our former Governor General, on March 10, Canada lost one
of its most distinguished citizens.
When Gabrielle Carmel met a young French Canadian through
friends in Paris in 1937 for an evening of dinner and theatre, she
was a little apprehensive about the blind date. The young lawyer,
a graduate of the University of Montreal, was earning his
doctorate in letters at the Sorbonne. No doubt they were both
proud to trace their respective ancestries through generations of
Quebec country people. No doubt he spoke to her of his brother
Paul-Émile, who was then studying for the priesthood, and the
back country village of Saint-Anicet where he was raised. As the
famous line about first love would have it, they gave each other a
smile with the future in it.
Gabrielle married Jules Léger a year later. The Légers moved
to Ottawa shortly thereafter, where he took a job as a radio
reporter, a lecturer in diplomatic history, and finally, as the
international situation deteriorated, as an associate editor of
Le Droit, where he became renowned for his fervent
denunciations of fascism.
He went on to become one of Canada's most admired and
distinguished diplomats - a genius in the art of mediation and
compromise, someone from whom ideas sprang off his
imagination like sparks off flint. As Gaby and Jules moved from
Chile to London, to Paris and to Mexico, and as Under-Secretary
of State in Ottawa, as Ambassador and permanent representative
to the NATO council, the Légers moved through some of the
great historic events in our time.
In his extraordinary career, whether it was as part of the
wonderful team around Lester Pearson which resolved the Suez
crisis or his dramatic efforts to achieve calmer waters in
Canada's stormy, difficult relations with Charles de Gaulle
during the sixties, Gaby worked by his side. They were real
partners. This was real teamwork. In doing so, the hundreds of
tiny threads which bound them together developed a special
alchemy of their own.
In fact, this was a love story which can only be called a
masterpiece - a union of great talent, intelligence and devotion;
a union of great humanism and love of the world; a masterpiece
exemplifying all that is magnanimous and noble about the human
spirit; a story to be treasured by Canadians for all time.
When Jules Léger suffered a stroke within six months of his
appointment as Governor General of Canada in 1974, Gaby - a
tiny woman whose enormous smile made one forget the long
years spent in the corridors of power; whose verve and warmth
made one forget the depth of her knowledge of literature,
architecture, fine cuisine and history - devoted herself to her
husband in most remarkable ways. She helped him to learn to
speak and walk again; she read the New Year's message in 1975
on behalf of the Governor General, and she became the first
woman to read certain passages from the Speech from the
Throne, along with her husband, in 1976.
On leaving the Governor General's residence in 1978, she
confessed her fear of retirement, telling a journalist at the time
that all she might have to do would be to make her bed and scrub
the bathtub. Such domestic obligations were not to be hers,
however, as history would strike out a new, fascinating phase in
the distinguished life of Gabrielle Léger.
That same year, the Heritage Canada Foundation created an
award in her honour which is still the principal honour in the
heritage field. In 1979, she was named Chancellor of the
University of Ottawa. When the Jules and Paul-Émile Léger
Foundation was created by a special act of the Canadian
Parliament in 1981, Madam Léger was named its co-president
with Paul-Émile Cardinal Léger, one of the country's best loved
heroes. As Archbishop of Montreal, he had surprised and indeed
fascinated the Catholic church and the country at large when in
1968 he resigned his post as head of the diocese, and became a
missionary among the lepers in Cameroon. I heard firsthand how
Cardinal Léger was revered in Cameroon when, during an
election-observing mission to that country in 1992, I visited the
centre he had established.
Under the auspices of the foundation, Gaby Léger would
follow the heroic work of the cardinal, travelling to 27 countries,
helping abandoned children and lepers.
Honourable senators, I pay tribute to Gabrielle Léger, a slip of
a woman with a great big heart, who served her country so well.
I pay tribute to a love story which will always be one of the
most beautiful chapters in the history of our country that Jules
and Gaby Léger revered and served so well over the decades.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudouin: Honourable senators, I wish to
pay tribute to Gabrielle Léger, the widow of the former Governor
General of Canada, His Excellency, the Right Honourable Jules
Léger. Mrs. Léger died last Tuesday at the age of 81.
Born in Montreal in 1916, she studied in Paris and married
Jules Léger in 1938. He, as we know, had a remarkable career as
a diplomat before becoming Governor General of Canada.
Madam Léger has left us fond memories. She chaired the Jules
and Paul-Émile Léger Foundation. This foundation was created
by special legislation by Parliament in 1981, and operates in
Canada and the third world. In Canada, the foundation helps
women who are victims of violence, the homeless, young people
and seniors in difficulty. In the third world, the foundation is
active in 28 countries and allocates its resources to international
development, emergency aid, abandoned children, health and
Madam Léger, a Companion of the Order of Canada,
admirably seconded her husband, who, it will be remembered,
suffered a stroke only a few months after his installation as
Governor General of Canada. She helped read the Throne
In 1978, the Heritage Canada Foundation created the Gabrielle
Léger award. It became the most prestigious award for the
protection of Canadian heritage.
In 1979, the Government of Canada instituted the Jules and
Gabrielle Léger bursary for research and publication on the
function and contribution of the Crown and its representatives in
Madam Léger was the Chancellor of the University of Ottawa
from 1979 to 1985. As dean and law professor at that institution,
I had the opportunity to see her at work in a university setting,
where she performed her duties admirably.
Canada has just lost a great lady. I wish to express my deepest
sympathies to her sister, Berthe Dupuis, her three grandchildren,
Paul, Diane and Marie Fréchette, and her two nieces, Aline
Dupuis Aumais and Louise Dupuis.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, as many of you know,
March 8 was International Women's Day, which marked the
beginning of International Women's Week celebrated during the
week of March 8-14. International Women's Week allows
Canadians to celebrate women's achievements and to face with
renewed energy the task of creating full equality for all women, a
task which should be met head on at all opportunities.
The theme for this year's International Women's Week was
"The Celebration of Women's Rights - A Lifelong
Commitment." This theme was chosen to coincide with the
fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights on December 10 of this year, and it highlights the
importance of women's human rights while underscoring the
future commitment needed in the advancement of women's
Canada has been a leader, both internationally and at home, in
the advancement of women. From our support of the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women, to our proposed reaffirmation of rape as a war crime that
was accepted in the Beijing Platform for Action at the Fourth
United Nations World Conference on Women in September
1995, and to our leadership in rallying countries to join in the
global ban on the use of land-mines, we have made an
At home, Canadian women have made significant progress
towards economic equality. The wage gap between women and
men working full-time has narrowed. In 1982, the average
woman earned only 53 per cent of the amount earned by the
average man. By 1993, this figure had risen to 72 per cent.
Women have also moved quickly into entrepreneurship,
starting their own businesses at three times the rate of men, and
with a higher success rate. About 25 per cent of all Canadian
business owners are now women.
Although much remains to be done to achieve full equality, the
voices of women are being heard. Today more than ever, women
are taking leading roles in business and government, and no more
so than in this chamber where we are now 29 per cent of its
participants. The evidence suggests that the perspective women
bring forth as leaders is making society work better for all
Ruling of House of Commons Speaker on Reform Party
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, during the
past few weeks we have been witness to what is termed the "flag
flap," the spectacle of the flag being used as a prop or a foil for
what clearly is cover for a very divisive and dangerous agenda.
I was privileged to be here working on Parliament Hill in the
mid-1960s during the great flag debate. Opinions were strongly
expressed, emotions were genuinely felt, and, yes, at times there
was overblown rhetoric on both sides of the debate. Having said
that, I stood on the Hill on that February day in 1965 and
watched the new Canadian flag being unfurled. Since that time, I
believe the vast majority of Canadians have felt a deep sense of
pride when they have seen the easily recognized, distinctive flag
celebrated around the world - whether it is watching Jacques
Villeneuve standing at the centre podium after a Formula 1 race,
or Catriona LeMay-Doan, Annie Perreault or Donovan Bailey
celebrating their Olympic gold medals, or as a friendly welcome
to Canadians travelling abroad, at Canadian embassies and
consulates, or, most of all, celebrating the contributions of
members of our Armed Forces as they serve all over the world.
Make no mistake, honourable senators, about what we are
witnessing in the other place. It is not what the official opposition
would have us believe. Oh, yes, they will deny their motives,
aided by the tabloid-style media and the talk shows, who whip
everyone into a frenzy of misinformation, confrontation and
mistrust, but you know and I know about their divisive tactics.
We have seen all this before - in the 1995 referendum campaign
and, indeed, even in the last election campaign.
What we have here, honourable senators, is the Leader of the
Opposition and his disciples hitting a hot button or trying to
catch one of their famous waves. Their words are clearly code
words to cover their real agenda. Why, we even have the Leader
of the Opposition, Mr. Manning, saying publicly on television,
"We are on the side of the angels." Where does that put the rest
of us, who love this country, respect our institutions and honour
One of their arguments in support of this folly is that they
favour freedom of expression. What hypocrisy! While I
personally disagree with the position of my friend Suzanne
Tremblay, I ask: What about her right to freedom of expression?
The tactics of the Reform Party as the Official Opposition are
reprehensible. From the stereotypical racist stunt that they pulled
at the door of the Senate, dancing around in sombreros and
serving burritos, to this latest episode, their tactics speak volumes
about their modus operandi. This country urgently needs people
who respect each other, who will reach out to each other and
make an effort to strengthen our great country from coast to coast
I support the decision of the Speaker in the other place. Just
picture what would happen - Canadian and provincial flags,
perhaps both, sitting on desks, thrown and waved about. It would
turn Parliament into the carnival the Reform Party has attempted,
with some success, to make of the place.
Shame on them, and double shame on them for trying to paint
anyone who disagrees with them as unpatriotic or unCanadian.
Participation of Canadian Athletes in 1998 Games at
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I should like to
take a moment today to congratulate all of the Canadian athletes
who represented our country with such distinction at the
Paralympic Games which concluded in Nagano, Japan, last
Often in the course of our work, we have very interesting
opportunities, and for me one of the most special was
representing the Canadian government in support of our team in
Nagano. Canada had 32 splendid ambassadors in those games
who skied the same daunting alpine slopes and challenging
cross-country courses, and who battled in the same hockey arena
as the Olympic athletes who preceded them. They had the same
skills, courage, determination and heart - and the same weather
conditions - but the Paralympians had an extra challenge. Their
challenge was to do it all, sometimes on one ski because of
having only one leg, or with one pontoon because of the lack of
an arm, or on sit-skis because of the lack of use of both legs or
double amputations, or with a guide because of varying degrees
of blindness, or, as with the hockey team, all on sledges,
providing faster, more exciting games than we often see in the
NHL. In these Paralympics there were also participants in
cross-country skiing events who had intellectual disabilities.
Honourable senators, never did the spirit of the Olympic flame
shine as steady and as bright as it did in these games. These
individuals gloried in competing to the outer limits of their
abilities, and sell-out crowds cheered them on at every venue.
They cheered each other on, with enthusiasm and laughter -
and, yes, with flags - and they consoled each other over the
rough spots. This was sport at its best but, unfortunately, you did
not see or hear much about it. It was not the stuff of the
newspaper headlines or magazine spreads which accompanied
the Olympics, and yet there could not be more important role
models for Canadian children or adults, whether able-bodied or
There will be a chance to see the highlights in a two-hour
special to be broadcast by the CBC on March 28. As we watch
these men and women demonstrate their abilities, we cannot help
but ask ourselves to pull up our own socks and try to do as well.
In the end, this was the most successful Paralympic games
ever for Canada. There were 15 medals - one gold, nine silver,
including one in hockey, and five bronze - the same total as for
the Canadian Olympians. The Paralympics were not just about
medals. Every participant was a winner and spread a tremendous
image of Canada among the other nations competing, as well as
among the tens of thousands of Japanese who offered their
support with enthusiasm and great courtesy.
This is a story, honourable senators, which must be told across
this country. We in this house have the opportunity to do so in all
of the communities we represent. I hope we will.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I, too, would
like to take a quick opportunity to welcome the new senators,
especially our new colleague from British Columbia. I hope your
first name, Ross, can influence the boss.
Honourable senators, I wish to bring to your attention today
the growing problem of unemployment in rural Canada. While
unemployment in urban centres in Canada remains a concern, it
is rural Canadians who are feeling the most pain and who have
been abandoned, I believe, by this government. A prime example
of this is the growing trend in my home province of British
Columbia. Last week, Statistics Canada released unemployment
figures which showed a small drop in the national level of
unemployment. Unfortunately, British Columbia was the only
province in Canada which had an increase in unemployment,
from 9.3 to 9.7 per cent.
Honourable senators, these numbers do not show the true
reality in the province's unemployment picture. While
unemployment rates in urban centres such as Vancouver and
Victoria have not been significantly affected and are consistent
with the national level of 8.6 per cent, it is in rural B.C. that the
level of unemployment has sky-rocketed. Unemployment levels
have risen to 11 per cent on Vancouver Island, 12.8 per cent in
the Kootenays, and 13.6 per cent in the Cariboo. In some smaller
towns in rural B.C., the unemployment levels are nearing 35 and
40 per cent.
In an article in The Vancouver Sun, Lori Culbert reports that in
Gold River, a small town on Vancouver Island, the local pulp
mill has closed, pushing unemployment levels in the town of
2,000 to nearly 50 per cent. I am sure all senators are aware of
the recent MacMillan Bloedel announcement that they are
cutting 1,300 jobs in B.C, in such towns as Powell River,
Nanaimo and Port Alberni. This is in addition to closings and
reductions in mills in other places, such as Williams Lake,
100 Mile House and Cranbrook.
As it is in most parts of rural Canada, the economy of rural
British Columbia is linked to its resource sector. Industries such
as agriculture, mining, fisheries and, most important, forestry are
the backbone of the B.C. economy.
What has this government been doing to help relieve
unemployment in rural British Columbia in these sectors? In the
fishing industry, they gave us the Mifflin Plan, with lay-offs in
the province's fishing fleet turning coastal communities into
For agriculture, they failed to come to our assistance when we
had excessive rainfall in 1997, and they eliminated the
transportation subsidy, affecting the viability of the British
Columbia northwest transportation corridor and its ability to
export all Western Canadian resources and products.
For mining, the government, when first elected, promised to
work with the province to clear up aboriginal land claims and
eliminate delays and uncertainties in the mining industry. This
has not been done.
In relation to the forestry industry, this government signed the
Canada-United States Softwood Lumber Agreement, which all
analysts agree has devastated the industry in British Columbia
and has led to record levels of unemployment. I have risen in this
place on numerous occasions to question the government on this
issue. On the Canada-United States Softwood Lumber
Agreement alone, I have risen almost a dozen times without
receiving what I believe are concrete answers on what the
government plans to do to address this problem. Meanwhile,
Canada's softwood lumber market share is going to Russia, Chile
and Sweden, to name a few. These countries are basically
stealing our markets.
The most horrific aspect, honourable senators, is that the
United States now controls our resources as a result of this
agreement. I have spent most of my life living and working in
rural Canada, and I am afraid that future generations will not be
able to experience the lifestyle that we now have because I do
not believe the government is focusing on the unique problems
facing rural Canada.
Honourable senators, when will this government listen to the
concerns of rural Canada and address the critical issue of rural
unemployment? Does this government plan to destroy this rural
way of life? I hope not.
Hon. Eugene Whelan: Honourable senators, I rise in the
house on this St. Patrick's Day to pay tribute to the Irish people
of Canada, and of the world.
My Grandfather Whelan came to New York in 1846, and
proceeded to the town of Amherstburg, then called Fort Malden,
in 1851. He was a Whelan who recognized early on the value and
importance of settling in Canada. He came to Ontario to marry a
girl by the name of Murphy, who was already married to a man
by the name of Kelly. When we review Irish history, we find it
one of tragedy and happiness, and one which has made great
contributions to the world.
One of the greatest tragedies that ever happened in Ireland was
the potato famine. It was at that time that there was a mass
migration of Irish people to Canada. Some historians refer to
what took place at that time as an act of genocide. The British
Prime Minister at that time, Robert Peel, sent a delegation to
Ireland to find out what they should do; the delegation
recommended that food be sent. Parliament voted against the
Prime Minister in that respect, and he resigned because he
disapproved of what was happening there in Ireland.
We can see in our own country the results of this tragedy.
Many thousands of those people died, and were buried in
Canada. Some never made it to Canada; they were thrown
overboard in the Atlantic on the way here. We can visit Partridge
Island in New Brunswick, or Grosse-Île in the St. Lawrence, not
far from Quebec City, where the quarantine station was, and see
there the graves of over 12,000 Irish people.
Honourable colleagues, during my tenure as Minister of
Agriculture for Canada, the department had a quarantine station
on Grosse-Île for exotic animals which was near that cemetery.
The Auditor General once gave me heck for spending money
from the departmental funds to take care of the cemetery, which
was in a very bad state of repair. I remember that we repaired
markers, and cut the grass. That station now falls under the
responsibility of the Minister for Canadian Heritage, the
Honourable Sheila Copps. It has now been officially declared a
heritage site, something that should have happened a long time
ago, given the contribution that Irish people made.
In fact, the contribution that the people of Irish origin have
made in building this country is significant, whether it be in
industry, in the lumber business, the fishery business or in
politics. It must mean the luck of the Irish for our three new
senators to come to this chamber on such an important day as
St. Patrick's Day.
St. Patrick was born in Britain, of Roman stock, around
389 AD. As a youth, he was kidnapped. I cannot imagine Irish
people being kidnappers of anyone, but in any event they
kidnapped him and carried him off to Ireland. He escaped six
years later and fled to Gaul.
After 15 years or so in monastic life, St. Patrick returned to
Ireland to christianize the land of his captors. They welcomed
him when he came back. He confronted King Laoghaire at Tara,
confounded the druids, and converted the king's daughters. He is
said to have driven all the snakes from Ireland. The shamrock,
which he used to explain the trinity because of its three leaves, is
associated with this day.
As the new senator from Prince Edward Island may know, one
of the Fathers of Confederation was the Honourable Edward
Whelan. I do not know if he was related to me or not, but my
family can claim a little bit of that heritage also.
Just to conclude my remarks, I want to say something about
leprechauns. Some senators on the other side of this chamber
may wonder how I ever got elected, looking as I do. I want to tell
honourable senators that in the first election that I won, in 1962,
to come to the House of Commons as a member, the leprechauns
got into the ballot boxes and changed enough "X"s so that I
would win the election.
Honourable senators, the Whelans are still making a
contribution. If you check the history of this country, you will
find out one Whelan was elected in 1962, another was elected in
1993 - our daughter Susan Whelan, and then a senator was
appointed to this house in 1996 by the name of Eugene Whelan
- the same one who was elected to the House of Commons in
1962! Therefore, as I say, the Whelans are still making a
contribution, as are many other Irish people, not only in this
country but in the whole world, whether that contribution was to
democracy or to the wealth of other people.
Honourable senators, I end my remarks by saying: May the
Little People be kind to you.
Ruling of House of Commons Speaker on Reform Party
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: I wish to associate myself with
what my good friend Senator LeBreton has said concerning the
recent events surrounding the flag.
I wish to be very clear: Shame and double shame, as Senator
LeBreton said, on the Reform Party, for tampering with the most
sacred of Canadian symbols: the national anthem and the
French Canadians never needed the help of the Reform Party
in order to honour the Canadian flag. Almost 25 years ago,
Alexandre Cyr, member of Parliament for Gaspé, made a motion
in the House of Commons that the flag be on show in that
chamber. Senators Stollery and Whelan were members of that
house at that time. Believe it or not, that motion received
unanimous consent, on February 14, 1973. The Speaker was
somewhat embarrassed; he could not believe that he had
unanimous agreement. He asked: "Is it really agreed? Really,
there is unanimous consent?"
I was with Lester B. Pearson in Winnipeg in 1964 when he
first spoke about a Canadian flag. I voted for a Canadian flag.
Must I have a flag on my desk to show respect for the Canadian
flag? Wherever I stand, stands the flag of Canada. I am proud of
What the Reform Party is doing is le triomphalisme
dangereux. To sing O Canada!, I disagree with that. Do members
of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom sing God Save
the Queen every week to show their respect for their royal
That was on February 14, 1973. The next day, the Speaker
drew the attention of honourable members to the fact that the
Canadian flag was being displayed in the chamber for the first
time. That was 25 years ago.
That is the way to respect the symbol. Do not put it
everywhere. It is almost like a clarion parade that they want. I
think Mr. Charest was right. He said if you push too much, it
could be disastrous for everyone. Now everyone who disagrees
with Canada will know what to do with the Canadian flag. I
disagree with that.
I repeat the same words of my friend Senator LeBreton -
shame and double shame. I was so angry last night. I tried to get
a line, all night, to Pamela Wallin. She is a great personage, no
doubt, but she seems not to know that there are flags in the
House of Commons. It seems most of these journalists have not
noticed that there are two immense Canadian flags, opened up so
that we can see them better. Before, they stood draped as this one
right here. That is the way to show our respect, not to overdo it.
Otherwise, you wonder what is going on.
Last night Pamela Wallin interviewed Mr. Fotheringham. I
could not believe what I heard from such a fine gentlemen.
Today I say, if anyone has a contact, put us on. I will go any time,
anywhere in Canada, on any hotline on this issue because I feel
strongly about it. I was in the scrum yesterday and I will be there
tonight to boo when they vote. I know about the Conservatives. I
know about the NDP and, of course, the Bloc I discard. I hope
the Liberals will not vote for that resolution tonight in the House
of Commons to really show that these people are playing with
our symbols in Canada at the risk of further destroying this
Dismissal of Murder Charge Against Dr. Nancy Morrison
in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, on Friday,
February 27, 1998, Judge Hughes Randall of the Halifax
Provincial Court dismissed the case of Dr. Nancy Morrison
stating that he did not believe that a jury properly instructed
would convict her of first degree murder or any crime in relation
to the death of Paul Mills on November 10, 1996.
From the outset, this case has been surrounded by controversy.
Mr. Mills was terminally ill. He had already been given the last
rites and was suffering intense pain. Yet on May 6, 1997,
60 police officers raided the Health Sciences Centre at Queen
Elizabeth Hospital in Halifax and arrested Dr. Morrison - more
police than were sent to arrest Paul Bernardo.
Clearly this was overkill and an overreaction on the part of the
police. The resulting publicity, allegations, and the charge of
first-degree murder convicted Dr. Morrison in the court of public
opinion long before her case was heard by Judge Randall. Yet
Dr. Morrison must still await a decision from the same Crown
prosecutor and police to see if they will continue to prosecute her
by way of a preferred indictment, which would, in effect, set
aside the judge's ruling and send Dr. Morrison to trial on a
charge of the Crown's choosing.
By all accounts, Dr. Morrison is an excellent, caring individual
and physician. Her career has, in effect, been ruined. A victim of
an abusive process, she has had to resign her intensive care
privileges at the hospital. Even though Judge Randall has
dismissed her case, she is still under review by the College of
Physicians and Surgeons in Nova Scotia and the Queen Elizabeth
Hospital. Our legal system has failed Dr. Morrison.
Jocelyn Downie, the director of Dalhousie University's Health
Law Institute, summed up the dilemma that Dr. Morrison and
other physicians face daily when she said in the daily news:
The dismissal leaves a somewhat confusing message.
There is a strictly worded provision in the Criminal Code,
yet there are instances when it doesn't seem to count. We
are left with no clear guidelines. There is a possibility left
that law is different in reality than in the book. This is a
struggle...it raises questions about when you can be charged,
what you can be charged for, if the charges will change or
the charges can simply be dismissed. It is most unsettling.
Right now, it's like reading tea leaves.
Our esteemed colleague Honourable Senator Dr. Keon has
indicated that we need clear legislation and guidelines for the
medical profession and patients. Surely we cannot ignore his
request. How many other doctors must be subjected to what
Dr. Morrison has endured? How many other careers must be
ruined before action is taken?
Judge Randall's decision has left a number of moral issues
unanswered and they ought to be considered by a chamber such
as this. Where is the dividing line between easing a patient's final
agony and inducing death? Whom did Dr. Morrison hurt, given
that Mills had received the last rites, was removed from life
supports and was dying in extreme distress? How many doctors
help patients die every day knowing that they could be charged
As medicine advances and life expectancy increases, the need
for guidelines becomes more important. Doctors cannot be
expected to risk their careers to release the terminally ill from
their suffering. Family members should not be forced to choose
between respecting the wishes of their loved ones and obeying
the law. We cannot let the reading of "tea leaves" decide a doctor
or patient's fate any longer. I urge honourable senators to address
this matter as expeditiously as possible.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before I call the
next item, I should like to point out that Senator Whelan talked
about the "luck of the Irish." Today it is combined with the luck
of the Senate because both our Pages here with us from the
House of Commons are called Patrick.
I would like to introduce to you first Patrick Thompson from
North York, Ontario, who is at the University of Ottawa in the
Faculty of Social Sciences studying political science.
On my left, you will forgive my Manitoban pride as I
introduce to you Patrick Courcelles from Ste. Agathe, Manitoba.
You will remember that Ste. Agathe was badly damaged
during the 1997 flood.
Patrick is studying at the University of Ottawa, in the Faculty
of Social Sciences. He is a political science major. I welcome
both Patricks to the Senate, on this St. Patrick's Day.
Interim Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce
Hon. Michael Kirby: Honourable senators, I have the honour
to table the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce entitled, "Joint and Several
Liability and Professional Defendants."
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into
On motion of Senator Kirby, report placed on Orders of the
Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message
had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-8,
respecting an accord between the Governments of Canada and
the Yukon Territory relating to the administration and control of
and legislative jurisdiction in respect of oil and gas.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this
bill be read the second time?
On motion of Senator Carstairs, bill placed on the Orders of
the Day for second reading Thursday next, March 19, 1998.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate
and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:
That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand
adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, 1998, at
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, before the vote is
called, may I ask the Deputy Leader of the Government what
undertaking she is able to give to us on her own behalf as to the
adjournment time tomorrow if this motion passes? Can a
committee chairman safely convene a standing committee
meeting for 3:30 tomorrow afternoon, or should I ask for leave to
sit while the Senate is sitting?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I can assure you that
this side will do everything to ensure that we adjourn shortly
after three o'clock so that any committee meeting may begin as
scheduled and as committee notices have indicated.
Senator Murray: I do not wish to press this point. I am sure
my friend will do everything in her power, et cetera, but I note
that she used the future tense. I should like to have some
assurance. My friend Senator Bolduc suggests that I request a
firm commitment. I will ask simply for an assurance that the
business of the house for tomorrow has been discussed between
the house leaders and that we can expect with some confidence
that the Senate will adjourn in time for the committees to meet at
3:30 tomorrow afternoon.
Senator Carstairs: In so much as it is within my power to
control the government agenda, I will make sure that we adjourn
on time. However, I cannot control individual senators who wish
to speak to inquiries or to motions. That is up to that individual
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella, (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, I have a question for the
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. On behalf of
this side, I would suggest that we should be able to adjourn at
3:15 tomorrow afternoon, and I shall rise in my place at 3:15 to
move the motion to that effect.
Sixth Annual Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, Seoul,
Korea-Report of Delegation Tabled
Hon. Dan Hays: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian
delegation to the sixth annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific
Parliamentary Forum hosted by the Republic of Korea, which
took place from January 7 to January 10, 1998.
Notice of Motion to Authorize Social Affairs, Science
and Technology Committee to Extend Date of Final
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I give notice that
on Wednesday, March 18, 1998, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology, which was authorized to examine
and report upon all matters relating to the future of the
Canadian War Museum including, but not restricted to, its
structure, budget, name and independence, be empowered to
present its final report no later than Tuesday, June 30, 1998.
Notion of Motion to Authorize Committee to Meet
During Sitting of Senate
Hon. Shirley Maheu: Honourable senators, I give notice that
tomorrow, March 18, 1998, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Privileges,
Standing Rules and Orders have power to sit on Thursday
next, March 19, 1998, at 2:30 p.m., even though the Senate
may then be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in
Difficulties and Problems Arising from Section
35-Notice of Inquiry
Hon. Jacques Hébert: Honourable senators, I hereby give
notice that, on Tuesday next, March 24, 1998, I shall call the
attention of the Senate to the difficulties and problems arising
from section 35 of the new Civil Code of Quebec.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Thursday next, March 19, 1998, I will call the attention of the
Senate to the legalization of industrial hemp cultivation and to
the credit due the Senate for its role in ensuring that hemp will be
planted in Canada this year.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Saint-Louis-de-Kent):
Honourable senators, on behalf of Senator Gauthier, I give notice
that on Thursday, March 19, 1998, Senator Gauthier will call the
attention of the Senate to International Francophonie Day, which
will take place on Friday, March 20, 1998.
Sixth Annual Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, Seoul,
Korea-Notice of Inquiry
Hon. Dan Hays: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Thursday next, I will draw the attention of the Senate to the
meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum that took place
in Korea from January 7 to January 10, 1998.
Harmonization of Millenium Scholarship with Admission
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is
for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it relates to
the millennium scholarship.
The recently announced millennium scholarship plan has
certain creative accounting problems and it has other
shortcomings as well. We need to examine the mechanics of this
initiative to make sure it is appropriate for Canada.
My question to the Honourable Leader of the Government is:
To what extent has the government harmonized the scholarship
awarding process with the post-secondary institution admissions
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham, (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I am not aware that there have been
discussions with respect to harmonization, and I do not know that
that would be required.
However, if it is a stumbling block, I am sure that it has been,
or will be, addressed. I would be happy to determine for my
honourable friend whether that would be an impediment, or
indeed something that should be addressed. To my knowledge, it
is not something that has been considered to the present time. It
is a valid question, but I am not aware that harmonization is a
prerequisite in awarding scholarships.
Senator Oliver: What is the government's plan should a
recipient of the millennium scholarship be unable to secure
admission to a recognized post-secondary institution in Canada?
Senator Graham: I would think that a prerequisite to
awarding a scholarship would be that the person had gained
admittance to a recognized university or other post-secondary
Senator Oliver: Then unless the applicants have proof that
they can be admitted to a recognized post-secondary institution,
they would not be able to receive a millennium scholarship?
Senator Graham: That is important for us to understand, and
the honourable senator is asking very valid questions. However,
the body that will govern and award the scholarships will be at
total arm's length from the government, and will determine the
criteria when it is set up.
Decision on Relocation of Marine Atlantic
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I should like to
ask Senator Graham a follow-up to a question that I have asked
on two previous occasions with regard to Marine Atlantic. We
have received information that the Minister of Transport, the
Honourable David Collenette, has decided not to release the
decision on the future of the location of Marine Atlantic
headquarters until after a certain provincial election in
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us
whether a decision has been made, and if so, if the decision is
that the headquarters will remain in Nova Scotia?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I am not aware that that decision has been
made, but as soon as it is I will be happy to alert my honourable
friend. March 24 will be an interesting night. I am sure that all
honourable senators will stay up late to hear the results, or
perhaps they will not need to stay up too late.
Possible Crisis in Failure to Adjust Government
Computers to Year 2000
Hon. Fernand Roberge: Honourable senators, one of the
most renowned experts on the year 2000 computer glitch
appeared last week before the House of Commons Industry
Committee. Mr. Peter de Jager gave a series of grave warnings
that do not augur well for our current efforts to deal with this
problem. He predicted that the government's April 1, 1999
deadline to fix government computers is insufficient. According
to Mr. de Jager, a new deadline of the end of this year should be
considered, rather than April 1, 1999. He said that, because most
systems look one year into the future, government systems that
are not readied by the end of this current year will start making
mistakes next year, which will begin an endless cycle.
My question is twofold: First, has the Leader of the
Government in the Senate made himself aware of Mr. de Jager's
testimony before the House of Commons Industry Committee?
Second, is the government considering moving up the date of
readiness for the year 2000 computer crisis from the current
deadline of April 1, 1999?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, that is a very important question. I am
aware of the testimony that was given by this distinguished
gentlemen, and I am also aware that the government is giving
consideration to his testimony.
The suggestion is that the date of April 1, 1999 be advanced
three months to the end of 1998. It is a valid suggestion which I
shall certainly bring to the attention of my colleagues.
Sable Island Gas Projects-Decision of National Energy
Board-Guarantee of Supply to New Brunswick
Hon. Jean-Maurice Simard: Honourable senators, three
months ago, after seeing an article in the Halifax
Chronicle-Herald, I asked a question concerning the National
Energy Board's decision to award exploration and export permits
for the Sable Island Gas project to an American company,
The December 16 press release confirmed the National Energy
Board's decision to give the go-ahead to Mobil Oil. This
American company wanted to export 83 per cent of an important
natural resource belonging to Canadians. Taxpayers in northern
New Brunswick and a number of companies would like to be
assured of the availability of this alternative source of energy.
Three months ago, the Minister of Natural Resources announced
and confirmed this decision. It was announced by agencies,
boards and officials.
Can the people of New Brunswick and Canadians expect a
decision by the minister in the next few days confirming the
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Yes, honourable senators, as discussed on earlier occasions when
Senator Simard has raised his concerns, due process was
followed and the regulatory bodies in the market-place will do
their respective jobs. This was the case in the decisions arrived at
by the National Energy Board following the recommendations of
the review commission.
With respect to the availability of gas, Senator Simard makes
reference to 83 per cent of the resource being exported to the
United States. My information is that there is so much gas
available in the Sable field and the Laurentian sub-base, which is
located between Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland, and
throughout the length of the gulf, and that there will be sufficient
gas to service everyone in Canada for many years to come.
Senator Simard: On December 16, I tabled a notice of motion
to discuss this project. I spoke to it on December 17. On
December 18, the Deputy Leader in the Senate, Senator
Carstairs, adjourned debate. Before my motion is given a
first-class burial, may I ask the Leader of the Government or his
deputy to give us an update on the situation and explain the
decision by the National Energy Board and cabinet?
Canadians, particularly the people of northern New
Brunswick, are entitled to an explanation of the reasons behind
the government's decision.
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, the procedures that
were followed were quite normal and very transparent. In the
interests of getting on with the project, the National Energy
Board made its recommendations, and those recommendations
were concurred in by the Government of Canada. It was also
indicated that those who still wished to pursue their bids and
apply to the National Energy Board for hearings would be heard.
Hon. Jean-Maurice Simard: Honourable senators, I have
another question on a different topic. First, I would like to
congratulate and extend a welcome to the three new senators,
including the one from Prince Edward Island, Senator Johnstone.
We know that, at 73 years of age, he will not be sitting in the
Senate for long. When I visited Prince Edward Island last May,
in the fall and even one month ago, I learned that Acadian
organizations and Acadians had asked Prime Minister Chrétien to
appoint an Acadian senator. I saw letters to this effect. I have a
suggestion for the Leader of the Government to pass on to
Mr. Chrétien, if he is still there in two years. My suggestion,
which represents the wishes of Prince Edward Island's Acadians,
is that he appoint an Acadian senator.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government) : I
would be very happy to bring Senator Simard's recommendations
forward to those responsible, indeed to the Prime Minister.
However, I must say that the Acadian community, while perhaps
not numerically strong, is certainly well represented individually
in terms of quality: by yourself, by Senator Losier-Cool, by
Senator Fernand Robichaud, by Senator Louis Robichaud, and by
Senator Comeau from Nova Scotia. The quality and the strength
of representation is indeed very commendable and very
admirable. I certainly will bring my honourable friend's
recommendations and his sensitivity on this question to the
attention of the Prime Minister.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, I have a response to a
question raised in the Senate on February 10, 1998, by the
Honourable Senator Atkins regarding the proposed merger of the
Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal; I have a response to a
question raised in the Senate on February 18, 1998, by the
Honourable Senator Marjory LeBreton regarding the
appointment of an ethics counsellor responsible to Parliament;
and I have a response to a question raised in the Senate on
February 18, 1998, by the Honourable Senator
Brenda M. Robertson regarding a review of Canada Post
Corporation, request for progress report.
Proposed Merger of Royal Bank and Bank of
(Response to question raised by Hon. Norman K. Atkins on
February 10, 1998)
The Task Force has no plans to issue an interim report
prior to the release of its final report.
The Task Force intends to present a report on the
financial services sector to the government in September
1998. The report will deal with a broad range of policy
issues affecting to the Canadian financial services sector,
including the government's approach to mergers of
Schedule I banks, but will not deal with specific transactions
(such as the proposed merger of the Royal Bank and the
Bank of Montreal).
The Minister of Finance has indicated that the
government will not be in a position to rule on the Royal
Bank-Bank of Montreal merger proposal until it has had
adequate time for consultation and consideration of the Task
Appointment of Ethics Counsellor Responsible to
(Response to question raised by Hon. Marjory LeBreton on
February 18, 1998)
The Ethics Counsellor envisioned in the Red Book had a
narrower focus on lobbying. The government expanded that
to a much broader range of ethical issues including
administering and enforcing the revised Conflict of Interest
The role of the Ethics Counsellor is clear: he is the Prime
Minister's Advisor on matters related to conflict of interest
and the ethical conduct of government officials, including
In our Parliamentary system, the ultimate responsibility
for the conduct of Ministers rests with the Prime Minister.
He recommends the appointment of Ministers to the
Governor General, and thus has the sole authority to set
standards of conduct, consider possible breaches of those
standards, and where necessary, take appropriate action.
The Ethics Counsellor advises the Prime Minister on the
overall policies and on particular cases, but in the end, it is
the Prime Minister who is accountable to Parliament for his
decisions. Therefore, it is logical that the Ethics Counsellor
report to the Prime Minister, and not to Parliament.
There was no commitment made in the Red Book to
consult leaders of all parties on the continuing appointment
of the Ethics Counsellor at the beginning of each new
session of Parliament.
In 1994, the government consulted with leaders of the
opposition parties before the position of Ethics Counsellor
was created and the appointment of Mr. Wilson was made.
The Office of the Ethics Counsellor is part of the
Department of Industry. Salaries and expenses for the Office
are included in the Estimates of that Department.
Review of Canada Post Corporation-Request for
(Response to question raised by Hon. Brenda M. Robertson on
February 18, 1998)
The Government recognizes the importance of continuing
to improve the state of labour-management relations at
Canada Post. To prevent future conflicts, attitudes must
definitely be changed and more constructive solutions
developed to manage labour relations at Canada Post. That
is why the Minister Responsible for Canada Post
Corporation will, in the coming months, undertake a serious
examination to find methods better suited to the realities and
imperatives of the Canadian postal system.
The Government believes that there is a real hope for
change. It was particularly encouraging that both sides
could come to an agreement to permit the delivery of social
assistance payments despite the existence of the postal
strike. The Government hopes to build on that collaborative
potential to create an atmosphere where workers are
satisfied, but where management has enough flexibility that
it can respond to the changing needs of Canadians.
The Government and Canada Post are committed to
improving labour-management relations with the Canadian
Union of Postal Workers. However, there is an important
and constructive effort to settle a new collective agreement
under way. There is no intention to launch any initiative that
could potentially interfere with that effort until it has come
to a full conclusion.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of
the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and
Commerce (Bill S-9, respecting depository bills and depository
notes and to amend the Financial Administration Act, with an
amendment), presented in the Senate on February 24, 1998.
Hon. Michael Kirby: Honourable senators, I wish to say a
few words before moving the adoption of this report, as the bill
was amended by the committee.
This bill began in the Senate and will ultimately have to go to
the House of Commons. The bill deals with depository bills and
depository notes and also has certain amendments to the
Financial Administration Act. It is in fact a highly technical bill,
and the amendment which the committee unanimously proposed
and the government has agreed to is a highly technical
amendment to a highly technical bill.
The amendment, in effect, clarifies the wording in the bill. The
bill in its current form is, in our view, a little obscure on the
question of when a party's obligation to pay an amount owing to
a clearing-house is actually discharged. It was clear that the
intent of the bill, from the intent of the policy as explained to the
committee by officials, is to ensure that a clearing-house does not
discharge their obligation until a final and irrevocable payment
has been made to the clearing-house.
The original wording in the bill simply used the word "pays"
without defining exactly what "pays" means or, in particular,
when payment had been completed. Indeed, that clearly left open
the possibility of different legal interpretations of the word and
the timing as to when a payment had been completed. The
amendment makes it absolutely clear that payment has been
completed only when a final and irrevocable payment has been
made to the clearing-house.
That is the only amendment contained in this bill. It was, as I
say, passed unanimously by the committee. The amendment has
been accepted by the government.
Honourable senators, with that brief explanation of a highly
technical subject, I suggest that the committee report be adopted.
The Hon. the Speaker: If no other honourable senator wishes
to speak, it was moved by the Honourable Senator Kirby,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Pépin, that this report be
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this bill be read the third
On motion of Senator Kirby, bill placed on the Orders of the
Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
Second Reading-Point of Order-Speaker's Ruling
On the Order:
Second reading of Bill S-13, An Act to incorporate and to
establish an industry levy to provide for the Canadian
Tobacco Industry Community Responsiblity
Foundation.-(Honourable Senator Kenny).
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, I have alerted Senator Kenny that I would
be asking about this bill today as soon as second reading was
called, either by a point of order or point of clarification. I do not
want to pass judgment on it. I have read it, however, and I
question whether it is appropriate to introduce it in the Senate
since it talks about a levy being assessed on tobacco products.
Various sections define what those levies are, the actual amounts,
and the responsibilities of the Minister of Health in the
assessment of the levies.
The question on which I am asking for a ruling, as soon as
possible, is whether such a bill can be defined as a money bill
and, if so, would it be in order to bring it before us. My purpose
is strictly to get that question out of the way. I have no answer for
it. I am sure others may be raising it in their minds, and I would
rather have it clarified. I am sure Senator Kenny would also like
the question cleared up before going to debate, only to find that
we are not acting appropriately by having this bill before us.
Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I also rise on a
point of order -
The Hon. the Speaker: Perhaps we might let Senator Kenny
move the second reading of the bill so the matter is before us.
Then we can deal with it.
It is moved by the Honourable Senator Kenny, seconded by the
Honourable Senator Nolin, that this bill be read the second time.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I rise on a point
of order. I wish to obtain some assurance with respect to a
procedural matter in relation to Bill S-13.
While I believe this bill has merit, there is a question as to
whether it is properly before the Senate because it may be
regarded as a money bill. If it is a money bill, it would require a
Royal Recommendation and would have to be introduced in the
House of Commons. Some of us have been through arguments on
Royal Recommendations before. The bill clearly has financial
implications. Therefore, before it is referred to committee, we
should address the money bill question and obtain a ruling on
whether it is properly before the Senate.
Senator Kenny is in agreement that the matter needs
clarification, if only to reassure honourable senators that we may
properly proceed with the study of this bill. If His Honour is of
the view that the Senate may consider the initiative, then we may
feel comfortable proceeding and not harbour any further doubts
about the matter.
It may be argued that the Senate cannot initiate a bill of this
nature. Section 53 of the Constitution Act, 1867, requires that
appropriation bills and tax bills be introduced in the House of
Commons, not the Senate. We must also consider rule 81 of the
Rules of the Senate, which states:
81. The Senate shall not proceed upon a bill appropriating
public money that has not within the knowledge of the
Senate been recommended by the Queen's representative.
Section 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867, is of concern as well.
I will read the relevant part of it.
It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt or
pass any...Bill for the Appropriation of any Part of the
Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose
that has not been first recommended to that House by
Message of the Governor General...
There is an emphasis on that point.
Finally, there is also a well-established principle described in
Erskine May Parliamentary Practice, 21st Edition, that no public
charge can be incurred, except on the initiative of the Crown.
There is also a convention that bills for imposing a tax must be
introduced by ministers of the Crown. There is no doubt that
Bill S-13 has significant financial implications. Clause 36 of
Bill S-13 requires tobacco manufacturers to pay what is called a
"levy," but it appears to be a tax. The moneys collected from the
imposition of the "tax" would serve to finance a foundation to be
established by the bill.
The bill also requires the foundation to spend 90 per cent or
more of all amounts raised by this tax in order to carry out the
objectives of the foundation, the principle objective of which is
the reduction of tobacco product use by young persons.
Therefore, the money collected is to be applied to a public
Does this bill, then, impose a tax, and does it appropriate
public money to a government purpose? If so, the initiative must
be introduced in the House of Commons by a minister, not in the
Senate by a private member.
Of course, I raise this point of order without prejudice to the
merits of the initiative, but it seems to me that while the
objectives of this bill are desirable, we should not proceed with it
if it is not properly before us.
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I would first like to
thank my honourable friends for raising this point of order. Of
course I was fully aware that they would do so. I realize that
Bill S-13 quite clearly involves financial matters, and that may
be of some interest to this house. The bill is not a "money bill,"
and I think this needs to be clarified before proceeding any
I should like to begin by reminding honourable senators that
when Bill C-71, the Tobacco Act, was being studied and debated
last year, representatives of the tobacco industry testified before a
Senate committee that they supported a reduction in youth
smoking, but they said they lacked the credibility to address the
problem on their own. I am quoting Mr. Robert Parker, Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Tobacco
Manufacturers Council when he addressed the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on April 1, 1997:
The member companies are prepared to work with any
responsible agency on the issue of youth smoking to further
reduce it.... A program started voluntarily by the industry
when it is selling cigarettes to tell kids that they should not
smoke would be attacked most vocally by...the anti-tobacco
Bill S-13 would assist the industry in accomplishing its own
publicly stated objective of reducing youth smoking, and it
would do so in a manner that is credible. The bill would establish
an independent, non-profit corporation which would carry out a
number of activities aimed at reducing the use of tobacco
products by young people. The activities of this corporation
would be financed by way of a levy imposed on tobacco
The financial provisions of the bill, although important, do not
appropriate any part of the public revenue and do not impose a
tax. There is no authorization of any kind in the bill for the
expenditure of public funds. All of the money expended through
the corporation is raised by the levy or by gifts, legacies and
grants. The money goes directly to the corporation to be
distributed on its authority and does not in any way raise public
revenue or become a part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The bill imposes a levy for an industry purpose. The authorities
make it very clear that a levy imposed on an industry for an
industry purpose is not a tax and therefore not subject to all the
financial rules which apply to taxes.
It is clear that the levy under Bill S-13 is imposed for an
industry purpose because of the numerous benefits that would
flow to the industry if the bill were passed. I will outline many of
these later on. However, the most important of these is that the
industry will be seen to be addressing the serious problem of
tobacco use by young persons in Canada, and this may well
enhance the industry's image and reduce public criticism of it.
In summary, there is no procedural or constitutional
impediment to this bill being initiated in the Senate under the
sponsorship of a private member. A detailed analysis of the rules
and provisions respecting financial matters will hopefully clarify
this for senators who are still in doubt.
First, section 53 of the Constitution Act, 1867, is relevant.
Bills for appropriating any Part of the Public Revenue, or
for imposing any Tax or Impost, shall originate in the House
Rule 81 of the Rules of the Senate of Canada is also of
importance. It provides:
The Senate shall not proceed upon a bill appropriating
public money that has not within the knowledge of the
Senate been recommended by the Queen's representative.
Rule 81 makes the consideration of the financial aspects of a
bill a matter of Senate procedure. It is essentially based on the
constitutional principle in section 54 of the Constitution Act,
1867 which provides in part:
It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt
or pass any...Bill for the Appropriation of any Part of the
Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose
that has not been first recommended to that House by
Message of the Governor General.
There are two questions which these rules raise in relation to
Bill S-13. The first is whether the bill appropriates any part of the
public revenue. The second is whether the bill is a tax. I will
address these individually.
First, the term "appropriate" means to devote money to special
purposes. This definition comes from TheConcise Oxford
Dictionary of Current English, eighth edition. In order to be an
appropriation, the bill must be a clear and direct authority for the
expenditure of public revenue or of any tax or impost for a
specified purpose. Bill S-13 does not appropriate any part of
public revenue. I emphasize the words "public revenue," which
are used in both sections of the Constitution Act, 1867 and in
The money collected under the bill comes exclusively from the
tobacco industry. More important, there are several provisions in
the bill that ensure that the money does not become part of the
First, clause 4 establishes a non-profit corporation which
receives and spends money collected by it in accordance with its
objects outlined under subclause 5(1) of the bill. Public funds
usually go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This is not the
case with Bill S-13, where funds are immediately received by the
corporation to be used by it to carry out its purposes.
Second, subclause 33(1) explicitly provides that the
corporation is not an agent of the Crown and its funds are not
Third, subclause 33(2) provides that the corporation may work
with the federal government or the government of any province
in order to achieve its objectives. This confirms that it is
independent of government. In fact, the role of the public sector
in this bill is minimal. What little involvement there is was
necessary because, as I mentioned earlier, the tobacco industry
has clearly stated in its testimony before a Senate committee that
it lacks the credibility to undertake initiatives on its own to
reduce youth smoking.
Fourth, subclause 35(3) ensures that in the event of dissolution
of the corporation, any surplus funds are returned to tobacco
manufacturers. They do not at any point go into the Consolidated
Revenue Fund and they do not come under government control.
In addition to the fact that it is obvious from the bill's
provisions that it in no way appropriates public funds,
honourable senators are aware of a recent precedent in which a
levy similar to that which would be imposed under Bill S-13 was
imposed on an industry. The particular precedent to which I am
referring is Bill C-32, an Act to amend the Copyright Act. This
bill received Royal Assent on April 25, 1997. Subsection 82(1)
imposes a levy on any person who manufactures blank tapes in
Canada or imports them into Canada. Section 84 arranges for the
distribution of levies to groups representing authors, performers,
and the makers of cinematography works and sound recordings.
Bill C-32 was introduced in the House of Commons and it did
not have a Royal Recommendation when it was passed. A bill
which appropriates money may not be initiated in the Senate and
it must have a Royal Recommendation attached. Since Bill C-32
did not have a Royal Recommendation, it may be concluded that it
was not considered a bill that appropriated any part of the public
revenue; therefore, it could be initiated in the Senate. By analogy,
Bill S-13, which creates a levy similar to that under Bill C-32,
does not appropriate public money and does not require a Royal
Recommendation, nor must it be initiated in the House of
At this point, I would like to remind honourable senators of
our Speaker's ruling of February 4, 1997, respecting Bill S-12, an
Act providing for self-government by the First Nations of
Canada. This bill did not have a Royal Recommendation, and in
his ruling, His Honour said that in the absence of sufficient
evidence that the bill provided for an appropriation or creating a
charge, he had no authority to prevent debate on it and it was
properly before the Senate. He ruled that the Royal
Recommendation was not necessary in this particular case.
There is one final matter with respect to this first issue: With
leave of the Senate I would like to table an opinion prepared by
Mr. Michael Clegg, former parliamentary counsel to the
Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Queen's Counsel and an expert
on matters of parliamentary law and procedure.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators,
to table the document?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Kenny: In his opinion, Bill S-6 does not appropriate
any public funds.
The second issue that the rules raise is whether Bill S-13
imposes a tax. Obviously this question is relevant because the
government has a prerogative of financial initiative in respect to
the imposition of taxes. Such measures must be initiatives of the
government, by convention. Also, they must be introduced in the
House of Commons because of section 53 of the Constitution
Act, 1867. I should comment here that the Speaker does not
ordinarily rule on matters of law, and since section 53 of the
Constitution Act, 1867 does not form the basis of any rule of the
Senate, the matter need not be addressed for procedural reasons.
However, having said that, I intend to deal with it because I think
it should be clarified in order to provide reassurance to those
senators who support the policy of this bill but who are
concerned about any constitutional impediments.
Clause 36 of Bill S-13 imposes a levy for industry purposes.
Such a levy is not a tax. The authorities make this very clear. I
am quoting from Erskine May Parliamentary Practice,
21st Edition, page 688:
The rules of financial procedure are not applied to funds
or levies which, though they may be public in the sense that
they are regulated by statute or publicly administered, exist
for sectional rather than national purposes.
May goes on to cite numerous examples of such levies and
then concludes with the following remark, again at page 688:
All these matters are treated as outside the category of
charges and as exempt from the roles of financial
Later on at pages 730 and 731, May describes such levies
under the heading:
Levies upon an industry for its own purposes.
He cites a number of bills in which various provisions under
each have been treated as falling within the category of industry
levies, not taxes. Therefore, in order to be a levy rather than a tax
within the meaning of section 53 of the Constitution Act, 1867,
two requirements must be met.
First, it must be a levy imposed on the industry. The expressed
provisions of the bill make it clear that the levy is one imposed
on the tobacco industry. There is no other source of funds for the
levy other than the industry. There is no provision for any
liability, subsidy or guarantee that would be a charge on public
The second requirement that must be met in order to find that
a charge is a levy, not a tax, is that the levy must be imposed
primarily for the industry's own purpose. The express provisions
of the bill make it clear that the most obvious purpose is to assist
the tobacco industry in meeting its objectives. Clause 3(1) of the
bill describes the bill as enabling:
...the tobacco industry to carry out its publicly-stated
industry objective of reducing the use of tobacco products
by young persons throughout Canada.
That purpose is an industry purpose, and that is evident when
one considers the numerous benefits that the industry will gain
from this initiative.
The bill may well help the industry to improve the negative
image it seems to have at the present time. Currently, the tobacco
industry is viewed by many Canadians as being instrumental in
causing the death of thousands of Canadians each year. With the
passage of this bill, the industry will be seen by some to have
made an effort to respond to the problem of tobacco use by
If the bill is successful, the industry might hope for a reduction
in public criticism of it. This, in turn, may reduce the likelihood
of more restrictive legislation being enacted and the civil
litigation that threatens the very existence of the industry. Also,
the industry will be able to use its contributions under this bill in
addressing youth smoking as evidence of its support of a defence
against liability for causing young people to become addicted to
smoking. The industry will be in a position to argue that it is the
sponsor of the foundation. In fact, clause 31 of the bill
specifically allows tobacco manufacturers to use the name of the
foundation in order to seek this kind of recognition.
Of course, the bill also has a public purpose - to reduce youth
smoking. However, many levies imposed for an industry purpose
may also be said to be public in the sense that they are regulated
by statute or publicly administered. Erskine May makes this
point at page 668:
Moreover the industry purpose and the public purpose of
this particular bill are interrelated and of each cannot be
considered in isolation.
The public purpose of reducing adolescent smoking is also, in
this case, an industry objective.
At this point I would like to again refer you to the opinion of
Mr. Michael Clegg. In addition to the question of appropriation,
he also addresses the tax issue in more detail. He concludes at
page 3 of his opinion:
...the view that the charge is a tax not only contradicts the
bill's provisions but is based on a speculative view of the
outcome and is thus a difficult position to sustain.
The distinction between taxes and other statutory charges has
also been clarified, as a matter of law, by our courts. They have
said that if the primary purpose of a levy is the raising of revenue
for the general government purposes, then it is taxation. If, on the
other hand, the levy is imposed for regulatory purposes or is
necessarily incidental to a broader regulatory scheme, then the
levy is not a tax.
The courts have given indications as to what may point to a
tax. For example, a statutory charge is probably not a tax if the
scheme is a self-financing scheme. Bill S-13 is clearly a
self-financing scheme on the part of the tobacco industry. The
funds collected under it come exclusively from it.
How do we know whether the bill is a regulatory scheme? The
courts suggest that a levy can be characterized as a regulatory
charge or a levy imposed for regulatory purposes if the amounts
received reasonably relate to the cost of providing the service.
The regulatory charges are imposed to deal with the expenses of
certain programs or services. The levy imposed by Bill S-13 is
part of a regulatory scheme. The money is not intended to
provide revenue to be transferred to a public authority for general
public purposes. The amounts are to be used for a specific
purpose and they relate to the cost of providing the service.
Subclause 36(3) illustrates this fact because it contemplates
the levy being reduced or waived if 5 per cent or less of young
persons are using tobacco products. Therefore there is a clear
relationship between the amount of the levy and the specific
objects of the foundation.
I will avoid getting into further detail on this matter but, again,
with leave of the Senate, I would like to table another opinion by
Mr. Mark Siegel. He is a senior tax lawyer practising law with
the firm of Gowling, Strathy and Henderson.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted to table this further
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, we have received one document which has
not been identified. It is headed, "Procedural Issues Re
Bill S-13," but it does not show the author on the document.
Senator Kenny: The authorship can be attributed to my
office. I apologize for this omission. I must take responsibility
for the document you have before you.
As I mentioned before, Mr. Siegel is a senior tax lawyer
practising law with Gowling, Strathy and Henderson. He
discusses the distinction in law between taxes and other statutory
charges in more detail and concludes that the levy under
Bill S-13 is not a tax. I should also mention that, should the bill
proceed to committee stage, there is a third independent legal
opinion from a well-known constitutional expert to confirm that
Bill S-13 respects the division of powers in the Constitution and
that it complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and
I would like to close by raising a concern I share with many
senators about how we decide the issue of what is or is not a
"money bill." A determination of this question goes well beyond
the narrow consideration of any particular bill. It has, and will
continue to have, great impact on the Senate as an institution.
The study of this bill is, in my view, a necessary and important
step towards protecting the health of our young people. These
adolescents are the future. We have a responsibility to them.
The tobacco industry has clearly indicated its interest in and
support for the protection of youth, but the study of this bill is
also important for the Senate because, as an institution, we have
a responsibility to the public to do our job. We have a duty to
propose and examine legislative initiatives that come before us,
and we should not be looking for ways to avoid this
responsibility. We should not be interpreting our powers as an
institution in a restrictive manner. In being active instead of
reactive, we have a chance to show the public the kind of work
that we, as an institution, are capable of doing.
Honourable senators, we should take this opportunity to allow
this bill to be debated.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Kenny, two
documents have been tabled which I have seen, but there is a
third one which has been circulated. Is it your wish to have that
one tabled as well?
Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, I would be happy to do
The Hon. the Speaker: It might be better for the benefit of
the discussion if they were tabled.
Senator Kenny: That is fine.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators, to
table this document as well?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, concerning the point of order,
this is the first time that I have put my mind to this question. As
I listened carefully to what Senator Stollery had to say and what
Senator Kenny said just now, I realized that this is an extremely
interesting question. If the government has taken a view on this,
it would be helpful to hear the government's view on the point of
To speak on a point of order off the cuff is difficult for me. At
this point, I will give my impressions of what I think we are
dealing with here today.
In order to assess whether or not a Royal Recommendation is
required in this bill, we need to have the benefit of a thorough
examination of the bill. To judge ahead of time that it must have
a Royal Recommendation begs the question: Do we know what
the bill is about? That is my first concern.
The second concern that I have - and Senator Kenny alluded
to it - is that our Parliament is based on a bicameral system. A
legislative initiative commenced in one house is reviewed by the
other house before that initiative can become law. If I understood
Senator Kenny's point correctly on this issue, in dealing with a
bill with a technical question as to its admissibility, that of
whether or not it should have a Royal Recommendation, perhaps
a greater largesse in interpretation should be applied in the house
of first instance. Should we pass this bill, it will go to the other
place, and the other place must also assess whether or not a
Royal Recommendation is required.
The other place has the advantage of having the fullness of the
ministry present. Obviously, the ministry will be interested in
whether or not Royal Recommendations are required.
Unfortunately, in our house we only have one representative of
the ministry to deal with this. Notwithstanding that limitation, I
still think it would help to have the opinion of the government on
The government should establish its view because the
government has the responsibility of securing the integrity of the
Royal Recommendation where required. Therefore, unless the
government is ready to give us its view on this matter now, I
wonder whether honourable senators would be open to the idea
of having this point of order set aside until tomorrow, so that we
might bring forward further debate based on our respective
research, unless His Honour feels that he does not require the
benefit of debate.
It would only be fair to all members to have a chance to at
least think about this overnight. I would like to hear the view
taken by the government.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, this is a private member's
bill, not a government piece of legislation. Therefore, the
government has not taken a stand on this piece of legislation, nor
would it take a stand on any other private member's legislation
introduced in this chamber.
Clearly, it is the government's responsibility, if they are
introducing a money bill, to ensure that it has the appropriate
recommendation. In this case, it would have to be a Royal
Recommendation. It is up to this chamber to determine its
validity, in exactly the same way that we determined the validity
of the legislation introduced by the other side concerning
aboriginal self-government. His Honour was asked for a ruling
on whether that bill was in fact a money bill. The reply that
His Honour gave in that case was that it was not a money bill and
therefore did not require a Royal Recommendation.
My recommendation to His Honour is that he take the matter
under advisement and report back to the chamber as to whether
in his view, after consultation with legal staff and members of the
table, this is a money bill requiring a Royal Recommendation.
Senator Kinsella: Could I ask the Deputy Leader of the
Government whether or not the government believes that this bill
requires a Royal Recommendation?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, quite frankly -
speaking for myself and not for the government because I, too,
am hearing for the first time the arguments with respect to this
particular piece of legislation - the arguments seem to be
extremely strong on the part of the sponsor of the legislation that,
because it is a levy and not a tax, it does not require a Royal
Recommendation. However, I have not had legal scholars or
Table Officers or law clerks examine this piece of legislation for
the very reason that it is a private member's bill. Therefore, as a
private member's piece of legislation, it is reasonable to ask
His Honour to make a ruling. That is my recommendation.
Hon. John. G. Bryden: Honourable senators, I find myself
rather bewildered by what is happening here. Presumably, this
bill can be introduced here if you find that what is occurring is a
levy and not a tax. According to what is stated here, a levy must
be imposed for the industry's own purposes.
The claim is being made that this is a levy because this is
being introduced for the tobacco industry's own purposes. That
purpose is to reduce the consumption of cigarettes. I raise that
point at this stage because it goes to the definitions.
To me, it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. It may well
be a tax. The point that really concerns me is: In trying to make
this into some sort of levy, are we becoming some sort of ally of
the tobacco industry? The industry said that it wished to work to
reduce the use of tobacco products by young persons throughout
Canada and that it would work with anyone in order to be able to
do that. The member companies are prepared to work with
responsible agencies on the issue of youth smoking. As I have
said, the tobacco industry has some legitimate questions on how
credible it can be. A program started voluntarily by the tobacco
industry to tell kids that they should not smoke would be
attacked most vocally by anti-tobacco people. I wonder whether
we are becoming complicit in this, and would be quite
legitimately attacked by anti-tobacco people.
If this initiative is in the interests of the industry's purposes,
what is the industry's purpose? The industry's purpose,
ultimately, is to make a profit, and ultimately they make a profit
by selling cigarettes. If they do not sell the cigarettes to Canadian
kids, they sell them to Chinese kids, South African kids, or some
other kids. I will be very concerned if we jump through logistical
hoops to try to turn this initiative into a technical levy to assess
money in order to start a fund because, as the initiator of the bill
said, cigarettes kill people. They kill young people and they kill
In trying to bring this bill in through the door of this chamber
rather than that of the House of Commons, I wonder whether we
are not involving ourselves in something of which we would not
want to be a part.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, this bill was
tabled several weeks ago by Senator Kenny. As he himself has
acknowledged, the question does arise as to whether it impinges
on the prerogative of the Crown. That being the case, I am
slightly surprised that the government's advisers have not placed
in the hands of the deputy leader or the Leader of the
Government a view on whether the bill does or does not impinge
on the prerogative of the Crown. The fact that they have not done
so perhaps tells us something. Perhaps we should conclude from
that that they are of the view that it does not.
If I may be so bold, my advice to the Deputy Leader of the
Government is to consult with the government's advisors over
the next few hours and ask whether they have a view which they
wish to put forward on this matter.
The Speaker of the Senate will have the last word here, subject
to our own vote to override him, if we want to do so. Really, he
has the last word. However, it is of some practical significance to
us to know whether the government feels that the bill, be it a
private member's bill or not, impinges on the prerogative of the
Crown. If they believe it does, then we may expect that they will
take the same position if and when the bill arrives in the House
of Commons, and we will have possibly gone through some
needless exercise in this place.
Therefore, I would ask the Deputy Leader of the Government
to ascertain whether the government has a view on the matter.
Hon. Philippe Deane Gigantès: Honourable senators, I can
think of two bills that originated in the Senate and then were
passed by the Senate. In one instance, the government was not in
favour of that initiative and, because we had passed the bill, they
then produced their own version, which fulfilled the purposes of
the bill that we had previously passed here. I know the
government did not want that bill. It was the bill prohibiting the
drunken defence. I introduced the bill here. We studied it in
committee and then we passed it, and the government did not
want to touch it. The Minister of Justice at the time said, "Let's
leave that aside." However, because we had passed the bill, the
government eventually came up with a slightly altered version.
That section is now in the Criminal Code, and a defendant can no
longer plead drunkenness as a defence.
Honourable senators, we started the process which resulted in
that change. Therefore, we should not assume that we do not
have the right to start legislation and send it on to the House of
I remember, when Mr. Martin testified before us, that Senator
Lynch-Staunton insisted that the Senate should be considered an
equal branch of Parliament, and should be able to undertake its
I remember also the bill concerning alternative fuel for
government vehicles which was introduced by Senator Kenny.
We voted for that bill and then Senator Kenny worked to get it
through the House of Commons. That, too, is a precedent which
may, one of these days, make our position a little clearer.
We should not be shy about using our own resources, our own
experts, and asking the opinion of our Speaker first. How does
that accord with the desire, expressed by Senator Lynch-Staunton
to Mr. Martin, that the government should accept that the Senate
can show initiative?
Hon. John B. Stewart: Honourable senators, reference has
been made to sections 53 and 54 of the Constitution Act, 1867. I
am not at all sure that we need spend much time on section 54.
We need to focus on the question begged by section 53, which
says that bills for appropriating any part of the public revenue or
for imposing any tax or impost shall originate in the House of
The question then is whether this bill would impose a tax or
impost. If it does, it cannot properly be introduced here. If it
could go through this house and money were collected, that
money would be the proceed of a tax or impost. In that case, the
question of a Royal Recommendation would arise. However, we
do not need to talk about Royal Recommendations relative to this
bill. The question is whether it is a tax or an impost. If it is a tax
or an impost, it is out of order here. If it is not a tax or an impost,
the question of a Royal Recommendation for an appropriation
does not arise. In either case, the Royal Recommendation is not a
matter for concern.
Sometimes we confuse Royal Recommendations, which are
required in the case of appropriation, and the notion that only the
government can introduce taxation legislation. The latter is a
convention; and we must be careful when we talk about
conventions because there is a distinction between practice, on
the one hand, and conventions of the Constitution, on the other
hand. Sometimes Supreme Court judges do not appreciate the
distinction. A convention of the Constitution historically meant a
practice which, if broken, will ultimately lead to a breach of the
law. I could give examples, but I think you follow me.
In this case, the notion that only the government can initiate a
tax or impost is a practice, but there is no constitutional
prohibition of others doing so in the other place. There is no
constitutional barrier to a member of the other place introducing
a bill which would impose a tax or impost. No Royal
Recommendation is required for that. Only appropriation
requires the Royal Recommendation.
The Hon. the Speaker: Do any other honourable senators
wish to participate on the point of order? The suggestion was
made by one honourable senator that we might have further
discussion at a later date. Is there any desire to do so? If not, then
I thank all honourable senators who participated. It is indeed a
very important point, as well as a very interesting one. I
appreciate the points of view that have been given, and I will
take the matter under advisement.
The Hon. the Speaker: Before we proceed to the next order
of business, I would call your attention to the presence of a
distinguished visitor in our gallery, one of our recently departed
colleagues, Honourable Senator Petten.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable
Senator Cohen, seconded by the Honourable Senator
Chalifoux, for the second reading of Bill S-11, to amend the
Canadian Human Rights Act in order to add social condition
as a prohibited ground of discrimination.-(Honourable
Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux: Honourable senators, thank you
for the opportunity to speak in support of Bill S-11. I will give
you some examples of my reasons for supporting this
amendment to the Human Rights Act in order to include social
condition as a prohibited ground of discrimination.
In Alberta, the Social Services Department brought forward a
policy that all recipients had to open an account so that their
cheques could be directly deposited. Many major banks created
so many roadblocks that it was totally impossible for these
families to open a bank account. When they were finally able to
get an account, one of the banks went as far as to only allow
these clients access to one teller. There was even a separate
entrance into the bank to get to this teller. It was brought to the
attention of the bank management, and this practice was stopped,
but it still happened.
Even today, there exists a stereotype in this country that if you
are illiterate, you have no financial resources, and therefore no
one needs to serve you or pay you any mind. Numerous
Canadians are still part of the working poor, and even a higher
number of Canadians for social reasons do not meet the general
public's expectations nor the appearance of success as we define
it. These are the people who are discriminated against in many
areas of our society. This amendment will prevent this type of
discrimination from happening.
As a working single parent, I personally was a victim of this
type of discrimination. This occurred not only when I applied for
any type of banking services, but also in retail outlets. When
persons with limited resources try to access services such as
hydro, telephone and other utilities, they usually are required to
pay a large deposit. Sometimes this means that they have to use
their grocery money. It is necessary for some people, especially
families with small children, to have a telephone. A telephone is
also needed if a person is looking for work. You need to leave a
number so that prospective employers can contact you if you are
a successful applicant. A telephone is a must in family violence
situations. It is needed by the disabled and in many other
emergency areas. However, for this reason, the telephone
companies choose to charge a large deposit that no one can
Being on social assistance is not a crime. It is there and
available for people who need it during an emergency in their
lives or for people who are unable to find work, for the disabled
and for the chronically ill. It is difficult for poor families to find
decent accommodation. Usually the only places they can afford
to rent are low-income housing units, and we know that these
areas are not always the best places to raise children. The slum
landlords exploit the poor by demanding exorbitantly high rents.
When I was sitting on the Social Services Appeal Panel in
Edmonton, Alberta, many families appeared before the panel
with many issues concerning discrimination against them
because of their social condition. I have seen poor people dressed
in shabby clothing who are asked to give a deposit of $20 before
being allowed into a taxi, even if they were only going ten
blocks. This is discrimination. Do you think this same taxi driver
would require a $20 deposit from a well-dressed, well-coifed,
successful-looking person even if that person asked to be taken to
the airport and back to, say, the Château Laurier?
Poverty will surely be around for a long time, but we can do
our best to ensure that the poor people of our country are
protected. For example, if a poor person is charged with a
criminal offence, they are unable to access legal counsel. There is
in Alberta a $10 application fee for Legal Aid. Some cannot even
afford this. Therefore, they face the judge by themselves and
more likely will plead guilty rather than not guilty. There are
many people in gaol for petty crimes committed due to their
To quote from Archbishop Crawley of Vancouver, B.C.:
Poverty was not part of God's original creation.
This is a very real problem, and I feel that the disadvantaged
poor need us to advocate for them. Fellow senators, I fully
support Senator Cohen and the amendment in Bill S-11.
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, I would like to make
my contribution to this debate on Bill S-11 at second reading. My
position is clear: I give my unqualified support to this bill to
amend the Canadian Human Rights Act in order to add social
condition as a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Honourable senators, this long-awaited change is very
important for all our fellow citizens. It would have the immediate
effect of adding social condition as a prohibited ground of
discrimination under the law, strengthening special programs
within federal jurisdiction designed to prevent, eliminate or
reduce disadvantages based on social condition and protecting
these corrective measures from being considered a prohibited act
of discrimination. In the long run, this change would make
poverty issues - which are omnipresent but go unnoticed, not
unlike the victims of poverty - a permanent feature on the
Why was this change so long in coming? Because, as a
founding member of the United Nations, Canada long ago signed
international covenants that form part of the International Charter
of Human Rights. One such covenant concerns civil and political
rights, while another concerns economic, social and cultural
rights. The purpose of both is to ensure that all individuals have
equal access to their fundamental rights. The Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms, which no doubt stems from the
covenant on civil and political rights, is a tool allowing us as a
nation to fulfil our international obligations in this respect.
Similarly, federal and provincial human rights codes can only
arise from our commitment to the covenant on economic, social
and cultural rights. The difference is that, in the second case, our
obligation is more moral than legal. While results are important,
so are the efforts aimed at achieving these results.
Each state party to the covenant undertakes:
- to take steps...to the maximum of its available resources,
with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of
the rights recognized in the...Covenant by all appropriate
means, including particularly the adoption of legislative
Basically, we undertook to do our best. Failure to get closer to
the ideal standards established in the covenant could be a source
of embarrassment both internationally and domestically, but our
obligation to strive to achieve these standards is essentially a
moral and political obligation. It is our moral and political
obligation to our fellow citizens.
What moral obligations did we assume? The guarantees of the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
include very basic matters which are essential to personal dignity,
respect, and the ability to take part in our society in a full and
productive way. This covenant promises each individual the
opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted by
that individual. It affirms a right to social security, including
social insurance. It promises an adequate standard of living for
oneself and one's family, including adequate food, clothing and
housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.
It promises the highest attainable standard of physical and mental
health. There is a right to education directed to the full
development of the human personality and the sense of its
dignity, which education shall enable each individual to
participate effectively in a free society.
Children's rights are a vital part of the covenant. It provides
The widest possible protection and assistance should be
accorded to the family ... particularly ... while it is
responsible for the care and education of dependent
Special measures of protection and assistance should be
taken on behalf of all children and young persons without
discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions.
Honourable senators, the addition of the term "social
condition" to the Canadian Human Rights Act relates to every
one of the rights and obligations I have just recited. Nonetheless,
despite the breadth of its reach, this amendment to the Canadian
Human Rights Act will not obligate the federal government to
legislate and/or spend so that every one of these rights is
completely fulfilled. What it will do, within the federal sphere of
responsibility, is ensure that impoverished Canadians are not
denied equal access to these social goods - work, social
security, social benefits, adequate food, clothing and housing,
and education - because of their social condition or the social
condition of their parents.
For the long term, it will remind us, as legislators and
policy-makers, of the commitment which we gave on the
international stage that we would take active steps toward the
betterment of the economic, social and cultural condition of our
What do we know about the fate of the poor in this country?
According to the National Anti-Poverty Organization, one
Canadian in six - in other words, 5,294,000 people - was
living below the poverty line in 1996. This figure is truly
incredible, especially since it does not include the native people
living on reserves, the residents of the territories and people in
prisons, hospitals and homes for seniors. We know that poverty
affects certain categories of Canadians: families where the head of
the household is young, families with a single woman as the head
of the household and people who live alone. Young people and
women are likely to be poor. In the case of children and seniors,
the national figure of one in six becomes one in five. In the
population as a whole, more native people than persons with
disabilities make less than $10,000.
Honourable senators, the children of poor families do not fully
enjoy other basic rights guaranteed by the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Let us take housing as
an example. If conditions are unhealthy, the children are more
exposed to respiratory diseases and other minor health problems,
as well as to serious infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and
meningitis. Overcrowding, the lack of privacy and the lack of
place to play are all linked to poor health and inferior academic
performance. Improper and overcrowded housing and frequent
moves all have an enormous impact on our children. With
frequent moves, people have to face the problem of increased
rent or the ever rising cost of living. In October 1997, the
Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada testified
as follows before the Commons Standing Committee on Finance:
Researchers have found that housing environments can
support or undermine individuals in becoming participating
members of society with a personal network of close ties
and a recognised contribution to make. Poor housing
environments reinforce low social status.They foster
isolation and prevent people from taking on meaningful
roles that raise their social opportunities and social status.
Children growing up in homes where the primary
experience is of powerlessness - before the landlord,
before the eviction notice, before any efforts to have repairs
done or conditions improved - learn quickly that they are
of no account to the world.
Moreover, we, as parliamentarians, know all too well that
economically disadvantaged children are more likely to find
themselves amongst the youths and adults entangled with our
criminal justice system. Towards the end of the last Parliament,
the Commons Standing Committee on Justice commented in its
report "Renewing Youth Justice" that:
...the factors associated with criminal activity are, in the
main, social problems (e.g., illiteracy, poverty, poor
housing, substance abuse, school failure, etc.) with which -
- criminal -
- law and legal institutions are ill-suited to deal.
Even if the research on the role poverty plays in criminal
behaviour and victimization has not led to unanimous
conclusions, the result is the same in the end, whether the cause
is poverty itself or the myriad risk factors that go along with
poverty. It is clear, according to a National Crime Prevention
Council document, that poor children are often deprived of the
essential rights guaranteed to them by the international
convenant. The document tells us that poor children generally
have poor health and nutrition, and that poverty is also bad for
the forging of solid bonds between the children and their
caregivers. Children can suffer from the family stresses caused
by precarious employment and illness. A child born into poverty
runs a greater risk of abuse and of poor social development. It is
also found that academic performance, emotional stability and
skills acquisition are markedly lower among poor children than
among their middle class counterparts.
It is clear that, because of child poverty, Canada is not meeting
its commitments under the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights in a number of ways. Poverty can lead
to a series of circumstances which will bring our disadvantaged
children into conflict with the law as children and later as adults.
The National Crime Prevention Council tells us that poor
children are more likely to fall victim to discrimination and
victimization, and today's young victim is often tomorrow's
criminal. The Canadian Council on Children and Youth has
reached similar conclusions, which the Standing Senate
Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology repeated
If we disregard the problems confronting children at risk
for becoming offenders, we cannot help but face the
consequences later on. If we abandon these children to their
existence ... of unrealized promise and limited opportunities,
we will pay the price later on ... with their alienation and
loss of productivity and creativity.
Honourable senators, from my experience while a member of
the Appeal Division of the National Parole Board, I can attest to
the truth of this statement.
I have heard of countless cases of offenders who were
malnourished and had inadequate housing in their youth, could
not pay attention in class because of hunger and started stealing
because it was the only way they could look after their younger
brothers and sisters. In the latter case in particular, what was a
means of survival during their youth became a lifestyle when
they grew up. All these offenders started off in life with a
handicap; no wonder most of them are still living in poverty as
As Senator Cohen reminded us a month ago, we still have a
way to go in fulfilling our obligations under the covenant. Social
condition - in other words, poverty - remains a huge handicap
for a large part of our population. The most vulnerable members
of our society are very likely to be poor and to be hindered by
poverty in their efforts to participate fully in our society. In a
paper soon to be published in the law journal of the University of
New Brunswick, the Chair of the Canadian Human Rights
Commission, Michelle Falardeau-Ramsay, reminds us that:
Poverty is the economic result of a lack of opportunity,
whether this lack is due to discriminatory decisions, rules or
policies or to the vicious circle of underemployment, low
income, lack of self-confidence and educational
opportunities and run-ins with the law. If a person is unfairly
and systematically denied employment, this will result in a
handicap that may lead to poverty. In turn, poor people
increasingly rely on government benefits and social
services, which makes them particularly vulnerable to any
reform - as neutral as it may be - of fiscal and social
...Poverty is itself a disadvantage which throws up barriers
to individual dignity, social participation and the powers of
self-determination and self-fulfilment.
Honourable senators, one month ago, in this very chamber-
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, the
allotted time is up. Your 15 minutes are over. Is leave granted for
Senator Pépin to continue her speech?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Pépin: Honourable senators, one month ago, in this
very chamber, Senator Cohen told us that the UN, which is
monitoring Canada's efforts to comply with the covenant, had
asked us to take the necessary action to bring our legislation
more into line with our obligations under the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Several of our provinces - but not all - enacted legislation
prohibiting discrimination on the basis of poverty. Social
condition is a prohibited ground of discrimination in Quebec.
Source of income is a prohibited ground of discrimination in
Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. In Saskatchewan, being on
welfare is a prohibited ground of discrimination; this is also the
case in Ontario, but only if a person is refused accommodation.
The Province of Newfoundland prohibits any discrimination based
on national or social origin. That leaves three provinces, two
territories and the federal government that have not yet enacted
legislation to protect Canadians living in poverty against
discrimination based on their condition.
Honourable senators, by supporting the amendment to the
Canadian Human Rights Act, we would be adopting a position
consistent with that of the Chairman of the Canadian Human
Rights Commission, Mrs. Falardeau-Ramsay, who told the media
she was convinced that poverty is probably the most common
ground of discrimination in our society. She stressed the need for
a provision concerning the poor in our human rights legislation.
She explained that, in a period of slowing or difficult economic
growth, discriminatory attitudes harden and people look for
scapegoats, something that is particularly easy to do when people
are different from us.
Honourable senators, by including social condition as a
prohibited ground of discrimination in our legislation, we will be
telling our fellow countrymen clearly that discrimination against
the poor will simply not be tolerated. We all know in our hearts
that the poor did not ask to be poor. How could we possibly
believe for one second that poor parents would deliberately
impose such conditions, such inequality, on their children? We
must be wary of government action and policy that divides the
poor into two categories: the deserving and the less deserving, in
an effort to cut assistance to those in the second category. Some
of us have become so hardened we deem poor parents to be free
to work, even when their children are of pre-school age, as is
increasingly the case. We therefore consider these families less
worthy. We lose sight of the real interests of these children and
fail to meet our moral and international obligations to them.
Honourable senators, in any debate on discrimination against
the poor, housing is the most obvious stumbling block.
Relationships between landlords and tenants obviously come
under provincial human rights codes, and it is unlikely that the
change proposed by Bill S-11 would have a direct impact.
However, I still think it significant that the drafters of this text
chose to add social condition as a prohibited ground of
discrimination rather than the narrower concept of "welfare
recipient." I am thinking for example of a landlord who refuses
to rent to a single parent receiving alimony and child support,
instead of welfare, on the grounds that the first source of income
could be unreliable.
In short, we will create a model the provinces could perhaps
emulate. While a number of forms of discrimination based on
source of income would fall under provincial, rather than federal,
human rights legislation, we would be expressing the importance
of this all too often ignored problem at the federal level.
This does not mean that inclusion of social condition will not
have an immediate effect within federal jurisdiction. Banks, as
you know, are federally regulated. If a bank were to refuse a
deposit because the person cannot give a fixed address, to refuse
to cash a government cheque without charge, or to charge
exorbitant service charges for small accounts, it is clear that this
would be because of the person's low financial resources. To
pick up on the example Senator Cohen gave a month ago, if a
bank were to refuse to renew a mortgage, even if all payments
had been made in full and on time, because the family is now on
social assistance, that decision would be based on source of
income and would be illegal.
Telecommunications are also a federal jurisdiction. A
telephone company setting a deposit requirement depending on
whether the customer is employed or not, without regard for
whether or not he has always paid on time, would be exposing
itself to a lawsuit under the federal human rights legislation. A
similar situation exists where the banks are concerned. Pricing
policies seem to benefit only those who are well off. I am
thinking, for instance, of the long distance reductions available
only to customers who are heavy users of these services. Poor
Canadians who could use these savings the most cannot afford to
pay the basic charges to take advantage of the reductions, since the
lowest price is still too high for them so that they end up paying
comparatively higher rates. Adding social condition to the
Canadian human rights legislation ought to encourage our
regulatory bodies to re-examine these credit, price and service
policies under the "magnifying glass of poverty."
Honourable senators, these last examples are a clear
illustration of the broad, long-term impact that Bill S-11 ought to
have, in my opinion, on federal decision-makers and regulatory
bodies. This text will be our barometer; it will serve as a
reminder that we will not tolerate discrimination toward the poor
and that government decisions should always be examined in
order to avoid their having an unexpected - and no doubt
unintended - negative impact on disadvantaged Canadians. We
must be up to the obligations imposed upon us by the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Adding social condition to this human rights legislation is a
significant step in the right direction.
As far as I am concerned, honourable senators, the
fundamental intent of Bill S-11 is to protect our children and
improve their chances of becoming responsible adult members of
our society. This is not a partisan action here. It is a moral
obligation we must fulfil.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, it will not be necessary for
me to go through the speech that I have prepared on this bill
because we have had three excellent interventions by our
colleagues Senators Pépin, Chalifoux and Cohen. They have
canvassed very thoroughly the principle underlying this bill
which is aimed at amending the Canadian Human Rights Act.
I should simply say what a wonderful initiative by the Senate
of Canada, during this year, the fiftieth anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our colleagues have
demonstrated to us the consistency between this proposed
amendment to the Human Rights Act and section 15 of our
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the consistency
between this amendment to the Human Rights Act and the
International Covenants on Human Rights ratified by Canada in
I want to go on record as lending my support to this
amendment. I hope it will go to the Standing Senate Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs so that we may hear the
views of expert witnesses. I commend my colleagues for their
excellent speeches at second reading debate.
Hon. Jean B. Forest: Honourable senators, the hour is late
and as my colleague has said, the previous speakers have spoken
eloquently, but as a former human rights commissioner and
long-time advocate for the protection of the socially and
economically disadvantaged, I simply rise to record my strong
support for this amendment.
Committee Authorized to Meet During Sitting of Senate
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I would like to ask for
leave to attend the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications. People have been waiting for an
hour and a half already. We request leave to sit immediately,
rather than waiting for the Senate to adjourn.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable
Consideration of Final Report of Special
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the final report of
the Special Senate Committee on the Cape Breton Development
Corporation, tabled in the Senate on December 15, 1997.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, in rising to speak
to this report, let me first offer a word of appreciation to the
chairman of the special committee, Senator Bryden. The
honourable senator brought his considerable analytical and
forensic skills to a subject with which he had no previous
experience. He is, as I say, a quick study. His interest and his
leadership were far from perfunctory. Those of us who have
some background in Cape Breton and with the issues at stake are
grateful for his assistance and cooperation as our chairman.
I also say a word of thanks to the staff, including the clerks,
the Parliamentary Library researchers and our communications
advisors who were most helpful.
Over the past two years, the Senate has three times set up a
special committee to examine the affairs of the Cape Breton
Development Corporation. The first committee sat in the spring
of 1996 and tabled its report in June of that year. The second sat
in March of 1997 and reported in April. The third committee met
in the fall of 1997 and its report, which we are debating today,
was tabled in December.
For the record, let me report that the first committee spent
some $10,400 in carrying out its mandate. The second
committee, which spent several days in Cape Breton and held
hearings there, spent slightly in excess of $40,000. The third
committee spent just under $7,000. I think the three committees
have given excellent value for these relatively modest
expenditures. However, some colleagues may wonder - indeed,
some have wondered aloud - why the Senate should have taken
the trouble to appoint special committees on a subject which is
obviously of limited and local interest rather than of national
First, Devco is a federal Crown corporation and Parliament has
a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Canada to hold the
directors, the government and management to account for its
policy and operations. In the 30 years of its existence, this
corporation has had its operating losses and capital expenditures
underwritten by the federal treasury by more than $1.5 billion -
not a huge amount when compared with other similar
expenditures over the same period of time but certainly worthy
Until we established the first special Senate committee on
Devco in 1996, it had been very many years since any committee
of either of the Houses of Parliament had examined this Crown
Second, while Devco is a matter of local rather than national
interest, its role is crucial to those of our fellow Canadians who
live on Cape Breton Island. The most recent annual report states
that in the fiscal year 1996-97, the corporation directly
contributed some $150 million to the Cape Breton economy,
$128 million in wages and pensions and approximately
$23 million in goods and services. Devco is, of course, and by
far, the biggest employer on the island, with some
Third, the future of Devco is uncertain. The sense of
insecurity, indeed foreboding, that exists on the island today is
nothing new, but it is growing. The economic, social and, yes,
cultural issues that are interwoven with Devco's future are such
that we owe it to Cape Bretonners to try to dispel some of the
uncertainty and anxiety.
The Senate committee cannot claim to have settled the future
of Devco. The future is primarily in the hands of the government.
However, we have clarified the issues. We have made
recommendations which we believe support the mandate of
self-sufficiency given to Devco and which point to its
continuance as a Crown corporation and a major economic
contributor to Cape Breton. The analysis in our first two reports
has, in some important respects, been verified by events. Some of
our recommendations of 1996 seem even more timely and
Not everyone has applauded our work or even welcomed our
existence. Management have not tried very hard to conceal their
resentment at having to give an account of their stewardship at a
Senate committee with the media watching. They should
consider themselves lucky to have encountered courteous and
constructive questioning instead of the harsh ordeal that some
Crown corporation presidents in the past have had to endure at
the hands of parliamentary committees. The annual appearance
of Donald Gordon of Canadian National Railways at the
Commons Transport Committee was, for many years, the best
ticket in town. I can recall committee scenes that could fairly be
described as tumultuous, involving Ross Campbell when he was
at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and stormy meetings with
various officers of the CBC and even of the National Gallery.
Anyway, management these days, whether in the public or
private sector, are learning that they cannot be a law unto
themselves; not all the time, anyway. There has to be an
occasional day of reckoning.
As for the United Mineworkers, they jumped at the
opportunity to use the three committees as a platform from which
to vent their grievances against the company and the
government, but they reacted negatively in December when our
report stated, in more pointed language, what we had tried to say
more softly in our first two reports, namely that at the higher
levels, union-management relations are just awful.
While there is no doubt fault on both sides, the union
executive's practice of trying to conduct labour-management
relations through media headlines is completely
counterproductive. It just poisons the atmosphere, and it is
unknown today in any industry anywhere that has a successful
record in labour-management relations.
The UMW executive did not appreciate our comments, but
they would do well to take them to heart, as would the
government and management do well to revisit some of the
recommendations to which they have so far given short shrift.
Honourable senators, it was in March 1990 that the federal
government issued a mandate to Devco to become financially
self-sustaining by the end of the fiscal year 1994-95. In the years
immediately following 1990, the Crown corporation did, indeed,
cut costs and reduce its losses. However, it became clear well
into fiscal year 1995-96, which was supposed to be the first year
of self-sufficiency, that they would not achieve this goal. A new
five-year plan was drawn up and approved by the government, at
the end of which the corporation would be turning a profit.
Meanwhile, a schedule of declining losses over the period
1995-96 to 1998-99 would be underwritten by interest-bearing,
repayable loans of $9.4 million in 1995-96, and of $34.1 million,
$22.1 million and $3.4 million respectfully in the three
succeeding years ending in 1998-99.
In our report of June 1996, the first special Devco committee
made some recommendations that would have removed from the
Devco balance sheet, at least in part, some obligations that we
believed ought not to have been kept on the books once the
government insisted that the company should become
self-sustaining. These were social costs, some of which pre-dated
or accompanied the federal takeover of the Cape Breton coal
mines 30 years ago. On the books, they give a false impression of
the current financial management and status of the company. I will
not dwell on this today because the government has twice rejected
our recommendations and I see little point in pursuing the matter.
More significant in the context of the challenge facing Devco
today were the committee's observations on the condition and
future prospects of the two mines it now operates, Phalen
colliery, which employs some 800 people, and Prince colliery,
where the workforce numbers 500.
We noted that development at Phalen was then two years
behind and that the mine faced adverse geological conditions
such as a heavy roof, gas problems, rock outbursts and flooding.
In the case of the Prince mine, we referred to evidence we had
received indicating diminishing returns and questions about the
life expectancy of the mine. We went on to recommend that
Devco should immediately undertake and publicly report a clear
assessment of the future of existing mines. We urged that the
corporation adopt, as part of its corporate plan reporting process,
a longer-term perspective on current and future mine
development with contingencies.
In view of the uncertain life expectancy of the existing mines,
we recommended that Devco and the Province of Nova Scotia
undertake a study to ascertain the development potential and cost
of opening the Donkin mine, which seemed to us to be the best,
if not the only, future opportunity for Cape Breton coal.
That was almost two years ago in the report of the first Senate
committee on Devco. We returned to these issues when the
second Devco committee reported in April of 1997. By that time,
Devco had entered into a rather dubious letter of intent to transfer
the Donkin lands and leases to a private sector company which
had suddenly been created overnight for this purpose. Although
the federal government had refused our repeated calls for a study
of the Donkin potential, they found $300,000 through the Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency to fund the private sector study. The
second Devco committee was critical of this initiative and we
urged that no irrevocable commitment be made to give up this
When the third Senate committee on Devco met last
November and December, we found that in the fiscal year
1996-97 the company had, indeed, stayed on target and achieved
its bottom line financial objective. The cash requirement
of $34.6 million was just slightly higher than the limit forecast in
the five-year plan and approved by the government.
Further, the prospects for the Prince mine had been clarified,
and happily so. According to the President of Devco, a
reassessment of Prince indicates that there are some 44 million
tonnes of mineable coal available, which would give that colliery
a new and unexpectedly longer lease on life.
Unfortunately, conditions at the Phalen mine have worsened.
A roof fall resulted in a lengthy cessation of production and
rock-gas outbursts halted development work during the third
quarter of the present fiscal year, and the shutdown extended into
the fourth quarter. Production has recently resumed, but the
problems took a heavy toll on Devco's financial results in the
third quarter and, I would think, for the entire fiscal year which
ends in two weeks' time on March 31.
The corporate plan approved by the government limits the
cash requirement for Devco for this fiscal year to $22 million,
and it seems likely they will exceed that limit.
The third quarter report, recently released, shows that, up to
that point, Devco's losses were at $34.8 million and its cash
requirements some $16 million more than allowed for in the
corporate plan. To try to cut its losses, 450 employees were laid
off at the beginning of January and it is not known when they
will be rehired.
As for the longer-term future of the Phalen mine and its
800 employees, it seems less certain than ever. Devco expects to
have completed development for Phalen's next wall face and to
start production in the first quarter of the new fiscal year,
beginning April 1; but who knows what to expect? A worst-case
scenario sketched for the committee by Devco's chairman would
leave no long-term future for Phalen. At best, most
knowledgeable people see a ten-year life span ahead.
This is the background against which the third Devco
committee reiterated the recommendations of its predecessors;
recommendations which had been vindicated and reinforced by
events. The committee recommended that the future of existing
mines be clearly assessed, that a longer-term perspective for
current and future mine development be included in the corporate
plan, and we recommended that the geological and economic
data of the Donkin mine be assessed to ascertain whether, and
under what circumstances, Donkin would be commercially
The committee heard testimony from one of the private sector
proponents of the Donkin mine, Mr. Steve Farrell. Various
options were floated by Mr. Farrell, but the private sector
company does not seem to have a very clear game plan or
strategy. The $300,000 advanced to his company by the federal
government seems to be financing a variety of studies, but more
money from some source would be needed to conduct a proper
Mr. Farrell spoke of contracting with Boyd Engineering, a
U.S. firm that had done work on Devco for the federal
government in the past. He also mentioned the prospect of some
arrangement with SNC Lavalin which, as we all know, does not
contribute its services free of charge.
Where is the money to come from? It is all quite mystifying.
The letter of intent between Devco and the private proponents
signed last April was to enter into an agreement on lands and
leases within 60 days. As of last December, eight months later,
the agreement had not been done. So far as I know, it has still not
yet been concluded.
When the Minister of Natural Resources appeared before the
committee in December, he gave us and the people of Cape
Breton some small comfort by confirming what most honourable
senators had believed to be the case, namely, that the directors
and management on their own could not open a new mine at
Donkin nor dispose of the asset. The final decision with regard to
Donkin rests with the government. Our report, which is before us
now, quoted Mr. Goodale on this point as follows:
When we receive Devco's revised corporate plan in the
new year, our government will look closely at the
ramifications for the corporation, and for workers and for
the Cape Breton economy.
It must be obvious to the government that the time for decision
is now. Devco has a right to know whether the government, as
shareholder, is prepared to stick with the Phalen colliery and, if
so, for how long. A clear statement of intent from the shareholder
to management would only be sound business practice.
Parliament has a right to know what the cost to the treasury
would be if it were decided to abandon Phalen in the near future
and operate only the Prince colliery.
And what of Donkin? The committee report which is before us
today placed the central issue very clearly before the government
in these words:
Before an option is chosen, this committee recommends
that the government make the fundamental business and
policy decision on whether to keep and explore the potential
of Donkin through Devco or to make some other
arrangement involving the private sector.
In the Senate, the government's policy is announced by the
government leader, Senator Graham. Happily, Senator Graham is
himself a Cape Bretonner, and thoroughly conversant with all the
issues to which I have referred today. I therefore call on him to
The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry Honourable Senator
Murray, but your 15-minute period is up. Are you asking for
leave to continue?
Senator Murray: I request leave, yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I am calling on the
Leader of the Government to take this occasion presented by the
debate on the committee report, before the debate is over, to
make a full statement in regard to Devco.
Let me conclude by outlining more precisely what I trust we
can expect from him in this connection:
First, I ask that he table in the Senate a copy of the updated
corporate plan, which should now include, among other things,
forecasts for the five fiscal years ending in 2002-03. The updated
corporate plan should also indicate what assumptions are being
made or what decisions have been taken with regard to the
Phalen colliery, and it should show how the company intends to
achieve self-sufficiency as planned in fiscal year 1999-2000.
Second, the government should by now have made its
decision, as recommended by the committee, with regard to
Donkin. Is the land to be kept for possible future development by
Devco or does the government prefer to transfer this asset to the
Third, when and how does the government intend to ascertain
whether and under what conditions the Donkin mine would be a
Fourth, the Auditor General of Canada has recently completed
his periodic special examination of this Crown corporation. The
first Special Senate Committee on Devco was given access to the
report of the previous special examination conducted in the early
1990s. I ask that the Leader of the Government obtain a copy of
the most recent such report, and table it here in the Senate.
To this, honourable senators, I would add a reference inspired
by a question asked yesterday in the House of Commons by the
member of Parliament for Bras D'Or, Ms Dockrill. She asked the
government to confirm the existence of a plan, which she says
exists, to shut down Devco operations for 15 months. The reply
to the question came from the Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Mr. Boudria, who simply took note of the
question and undertook to have the Minister of Natural
Resources reply at a later date.
A 15-month shutdown, honourable senators, would be very
bad news in Cape Breton. I would hope that when the Leader of
the Government participates in this debate he will be able to
clarify the situation, and let us know whether there is any
foundation at all to this report that Ms Dockrill mentioned in her
Honourable senators, the special committee has done its job.
We have helped define the issues; we have identified some of the
main important questions. It is past time for the government to
provide some answers.
Hon. Philippe Deane Gigantès: Honourable senators, I
should like to point out to Senator Murray that I did not refuse
permission for him to continue because I like him. He has not
been mean about this issue, whereas Senator Lynch-Staunton
refused permission for Senator Hébert to continue. I intend to
retaliate at some time, but not against you.
Senator Murray: The people of Cape Breton thank you for
Honourable senators, perhaps I should not be relating private
conversations, but I understood that Senator Bryden, chairman of
the committee, wished to take some part in the debate on this
report after I had spoken. He is not here today. Perhaps someone
on the other side would like to adjourn the debate in his name. I
also remind my friends opposite that I have invited - indeed,
urged - the Leader of the Government to take part in the debate
before it is over. Perhaps the adjournment could be taken on the
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, if it is agreed, we will leave
the item standing in the name of Senator Bryden.
On motion of Senator Carstairs, for Senator Bryden, debate
Motion Urging Deferral of Licensing of Recombinant
Bovine Growth Hormone Pending Study-Debate
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable
Senator Whelan, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator
That the Senate urges the Government to defer licensing
the use of Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (RBGH)
to increase the milk production of the Canadian dairy herd
for at least one year, and thereafter until such time as
scientific studies have been designed, tested and completed
whose conclusions enable the Government to either
precisely identify for Canadians the long-term risks to
public health or, in the alternative, to publicly assure them
that the use of this growth hormone will not affect their
individual health.-(Honourable Senator Spivak).
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, I am pleased to
speak to Senator Whelan's motion. I do not think this will take
more than 10 minutes. Motion 48 involves the Senate urging the
government to defer licensing the use of rBST.
Honourable senators, it is important that we support Senator
Whelan's motion. The Senate should urge the government to
refrain from approving the bovine growth hormone, also known
as rBST, until we have the results of long-term studies of the
long-term risk to public health.
At issue is a genetically-engineered product developed by
Monsanto to increase milk production. By all accounts, it
increases the milk that cows produce by some 10 to 15 per cent.
Since 1990, Monsanto has been attempting to win government
approval for rBST, but the basic question that still has not been
answered is: What problem are we trying to solve by permitting
the sale of this product?
There is no shortage of milk or milk products in Canada. There
is not the slightest suggestion that rBST improves the quality of
milk. The National Farmers Union objects to its approval and the
National Dairy Council of Canada is strongly opposed to the
product. The council represents 350 dairy plants and
In June, the council wrote to the Minister of Health that:
...regardless of the findings of Health Canada on the health
of animals and human issues, the potential for economic
loss and attendant social disruption from the introduction of
the use of rBST will be immense.
As the dairy council knows, consumers are not clamouring to
drink milk from rBST-treated cows. Quite the reverse.
Approximately three years ago, when it appeared that the
government was about to approve rBST, some 200 organizations
across this country voiced opposition.
An rBST task force found that it would be difficult and
expensive to have a dual marketing system in Canada - one arm
for milk from untreated cows and another for milk from rBST
treated cows. The costs and headaches for processors and
retailers, the problems of quality control and labelling, could
eliminate the theoretical marginal economic benefits to producers
or consumers. Simply put, to allow the use of rBST would create
problems, not solve any real problem in Canada.
What is driving this long debate and who is likely to benefit
from it? The answer is, very clearly, the corporation which
developed it. Monsanto has won approval for rBST in the U.S.
and elsewhere. Countries of the European Union have resisted, as
they have resisted approving growth hormones to increase beef
production, and have tried to ban imports of U.S. and Canadian
I have raised questions on the government's position on rBST
and have received virtually the same response to each question:
rBST is under review by Health Canada.
In December, I raised the matter of allegations from Health
Canada's own scientists. While demanding a public inquiry, the
scientists claimed that their review of this drug and other
veterinary drugs containing growth hormones has been hijacked;
that their managers have denied them access to human health
data, that their managers have tried to pressure them into
approving drugs of questionable safety, and that they have been
subject to coercion, threats and defamation.
I was shocked, as I am sure were many others, to hear these
charges. The vast majority of Canadians trust that our Health
Protection Branch is doing exactly what its name implies -
protecting our health. The Public Service Staff Relations Board
will hold a hearing next month into the grievances filed by the
What I have discovered since posing that question is just as
shocking. There is evidence that officials at Health Canada have
not been honest with parliamentarians and that, within the Health
Protection Branch, they are withholding information from one
The response to my latest question on the rBST matter was:
At the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in June,
it was decided that the Joint Expert Committee on Food
Additives should re-evaluate any and all new scientific
information which could affect human health....The
Department of Health will evaluate all new relevant data
including the Codex data.
The vast majority of Canadians do not keep watch on the
Codex, an international standard setting body. They know little
about the degree to which Canada must follow these standards or
face trade challenges. If they have heard of the Codex, they
would assume that whatever Canada does there does not work
against our public health policy and that the review of this drug
is being carried out responsibly.
However, the events at the international meeting of this
commission, which included Canadian representatives, and the
impact for Canada were not covered by what I have just quoted.
There was a recorded vote on rBST at the Codex meeting last
June. In fact, Canada voted against a scientific re-evaluation.
Canada opposed considering any new information about rBST.
Canada voted against considering any other legitimate factors in
setting the standard - such factors as consumer resistance.
Alongside the U.S., Mexico, South Africa and Costa Rica - all
countries that use rBST - Canada wanted to set a standard
without delay, and we did not abstain.
The Canadian delegation, sent by our Health Protection
Branch, opposed an international review and delaying a Codex
for rBST, at the same time as their colleagues in Health Canada
were supposedly reviewing the drug in-house. A Codex standard
could prompt a trade challenge and obligate Canadians to accept
milk and milk products from rBST treated cows. The only defence
in future might be a full-blown scientific risk assessment proving
that Canadians, for some reason, needed tougher standards than
our American neighbours. In essence, what occurred at the
international meeting both contradicted or could render irrelevant
the review of rBST within Health Canada.
The evidence is found in the proceedings of the twenty-second
meeting of the Codex, the standard setting body of the WHO and
the Food and Agriculture Organization. For many years, Codex
simply set descriptive standards for foods - standards that
allowed both exporters and importers to know what is being
bought and sold, such as peanut oil, for example. Recent
agreements have changed that. Both NAFTA and the Uruguay
Round of GATT designated Codex as the international body
establishing presumptively trade-legitimate safety standards.
That means that any WTO member country which adopts a
standard that is higher than the Codex risks a trade challenge.
Challenges are heard by arbitration panels behind closed doors.
Decisions by appellate bodies are binding under international
law. That is why standards set by the Codex Alimentarius have
become so critical - more critical than standards set by Health
Canada. That is why industries pay such close attention to the
Codex, where Consumers International is one of the few
persistent public interest watchdogs. This is what Consumers
International has to say about the Codex meetings:
Representatives from the food and chemical industries
heavily outweigh representatives from public interest groups
at Codex meetings....In the period 1989 to 1991, 96 per cent
of non-governmental participants represented industry.
The standard that Canada favoured at last June's meeting
would have set no limit on residues of rBST in milk or meat. The
standard is ludicrous, according to one Canadian observer at the
meeting, because there is no good, widely available test to detect
It seems inexplicable that the Canadian delegation wanted to
set an international standard while rBST is still under review by
the Health Protection Branch. It seems doubly so given the great
weight that is now attached to the decisions at the Codex.
There is another troubling point. The office of the Codex
contact point for Canada is within our Health Protection Branch.
On the list of Canadian delegates who attended the meeting is an
individual who is the director of government regulatory affairs
for Monsanto, maker of rBST. Mr. Robert Ingratta says he
attended as an observer and that his prime interest was food
labelling. He claims he was not present when Canada voted on
rBST. Now this same gentleman is also listed as a lobbyist for
Monsanto Canada in the public registry for lobbyists.
It is completely inappropriate for a Canadian delegation to
have the director of government regulatory affairs of a
corporation and a lobbyist alongside at a meeting to decide
something so important to his company. There were, by the way,
no Canadian consumers on the delegates' list.
Health Canada now has an "issues manager" for rBST. His
task is to create two outside panels to look at the human health
and animal health evidence. One panel is to be formed through
the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons; the other through
the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The issues
manager is well aware that any decision by the Codex could
make moot the decisions of those independent Canadian groups.
In late February, he claimed not to know that the Canadian
delegation in June had opposed delaying the Codex standard.
Although he meets with officials who attended the Codex session
and with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade, apparently no one had told him that their
work could make an independent review little more than a
It seems incomprehensible that officials in this department
could not coordinate the review of such an important matter so
that both the international and domestic positions were
As it turned out, Canada was in the minority on the vote at the
meeting of the Codex. The majority of countries agreed that two
expert international committees should look again at the
scientific evidence before setting a standard and that a third
should consider whether other legitimate factors should apply.
One of those committees reported recently. It suggests that milk
from rBST-treated cows results in no appreciable risk for
The question now is what room for manoeuvring remains for
the Canadian review should all expert committees approve rBST.
This is not the only example of inconsistencies between a
Canadian position abroad and at home. In January, an appellate
body of the WTO ruled on Canada's challenge to the European
ban on imports of meat from cattle treated with growth
hormones. There is evidence that Canada's arguments before the
WTO body were completely contrary to what we assume is
government policy at home.
European countries tried to invoke the precautionary principle;
the principle that says we do not need complete scientific
certainty before we take steps to protect health and the
environment. Canada argued that in law there is no precautionary
principle, only a "precautionary approach which may, in future,
crystallize into one of the general principles of law recognized by
civilized nations." The Minister of International Trade, in his
former post as environment minister, relied on the precautionary
principle to defend his ban on imports of gasoline containing the
additive MMT. Environment Canada officials invoked it at a
Senate committee hearing.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Spivak, I regret
that I must interrupt you. It is six o'clock. Under the rules, I must
leave the chair and return at eight o'clock.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): We agree not to see the clock.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the
Government): Honourable senators, I think there is agreement
not to see the clock.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is there agreement not to see the
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Spivak: In the WTO January ruling on beef
hormones, there is evidence that Canada argued that countries
have a "positive obligation" to follow Codex standards. What
does that mean to Canadian sovereignty on matters of public
health? The Minister of International Trade, in the negotiations
on the MAI, Multilateral Agreement on Investments, had said
that nothing will interfere with sovereignty on health.
The January ruling on beef hormones also shows that Canada
claimed to have done a risk assessment on one of the growth
hormones in question but refused to disclose scientific evidence
or information. Canada claimed that our studies are proprietary
and confidential, but surely transparency in matters relating to
something as important as food is an important Canadian
Canada argued that the burden of proof rests with countries
that adopt higher standards than the Codex. That is tantamount to
a reverse onus on those who want strong government standards,
and it is a complete contradiction of what the government says at
home. Fortunately, the appellate body disagreed with most of
what Canada had to say.
Honourable senators, I share many of the concerns about rBST
raised by farmers, by milk processors, by consumers, and by
scientists. I have used my time to talk about this contradiction
among government officials because I believe what they are
doing is contrary to the public interest.
I want to mention one recent study that I think could be
germane. It was conducted at the Cancer Research Lab of
Montreal's Jewish General Hospital in conjunction with Harvard
University. It was based on blood samples given by U.S. doctors.
It found that men who had high levels of a hormone called
IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor, were four times more likely to
have prostate cancer than men whose IGF-1 levels were low. The
findings were published in the prestigious U.S. journal Science in
January. At this point, the researchers say they do not know
whether IGF-1 causes prostate cancer or simply indicates its
presence. More work needs to be done.
It is relevant to this debate because treating cows with rBST
increases the level of IGF-1 in milk. How much is too much?
Science cannot yet answer the question. Until this question is
answered, it would be unacceptable, I think, for the Government
of Canada to approve a drug which makes no claim to improve
milk. The late Irving J. Selikoff, a world renowned
epidemiologist, once said that absence of proof of harm is not
proof of safety. We should not license rBST until we have
long-term studies that assure us it is safe.
I would urge all honourable senators to support Senator
On motion of Senator Milne, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, March 18, 1998, at