The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, it is my
pleasure this afternoon to welcome some special visitors to our
We have with us today civilian and military personnel who
laboured tirelessly to provide relief from the ice storm of
January 6, 1998. The 100 who are with us today are just a few of
the thousands of people who helped the victims of the ice storm.
Their visit to Parliament is part of the activities celebrating
National Emergency Preparedness Week.
I am sure I speak for everyone here in paying tribute to your
determination, courage and skill. You were magnificent.
Notice of Motion to Authorize Agriculture and
Forestry Committee to Study Effect on Human and
Hon. Eugene Whelan: Honourable senators, I give notice that
on Tuesday next, May 12, 1998, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and
Forestry be authorized to examine and report on the
recombinant bovine growth hormone and its effect on the
human and animal health safety aspects.
Cost of Providing Relief for Uncompensated Victims of
Hepatitis C-Government Position
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, my question is
for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Province of
Ontario has made it clear that it will support the victims of the
hepatitis C tragedy, including taking the federal government to
court in order to obtain additional funds for the uncompensated
Could the minister tell us first whether or not the government
has calculated how much it will need to spend in order to defend
itself in court, not just against a claim from Ontario but also
against a claim from the uncompensated victims. I would also
ask whether or not the government has made any assessment of
the odds that it will lose?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): I
find it very difficult, as my honourable friend knows, to answer
such a question. I am sure he could not answer it himself with all
the accountants that he might employ in his own business. I
suppose we could make an estimate. I simply say in response that
the ground has shifted, and I understand that a meeting of
ministers of health will be held sometime next week.
Senator Di Nino: Would the minister not agree that these
funds would be better spent in support of the victims of this
terrible national tragedy?
Senator Graham: The Government of Canada took the lead
in bringing the provinces on board in the first instance. The
provinces and the federal government had an agreement, as I
indicated in answer to Senator Di Nino's earlier question. The
situation has changed, and a meeting will be held sometime next
week among all ministers of health. Thereafter, the Government
of Canada will respond accordingly once it hears from the
provincial ministers of health.
Senator Di Nino: We look forward to that response.
Changes in Retraining Guidelines for Unemployed
Workers under the Atlantic Groundfish
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, when the
TAGS program was first introduced in May of 1994, it required
all TAGS recipients to participate in active retraining measures.
The message then was: no retraining, no money. By February of
1995, this requirement had been dropped. Why was this done,
and which provincial premiers brought pressure on the federal
government to make this change?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): As
all honourable senators know, the TAGS program was not the
success it was hoped to be. The training program was in the order
of 23 per cent successful. Nevertheless, the TAGS program
provided food, clothing and shelter for thousands of Atlantic
Canadians who were in need of such aid.
Senator Oliver: Reports indicate that the cod stocks have not
returned. This means that the future of an estimated
40,000 workers in Atlantic Canada will depend on an extension
of the TAGS program, or a new program. Will the government
provide for, and insist on, retraining for these workers, or what
will be the plan this time?
Senator Graham: The various components of the program are
now under review by the government, and it will be announced
in the near future.
Compensation for Victims of Hepatitis C-Method of
Arriving at Cost-Request for Tabling of Details
Hon. Duncan J. Jessiman: Honourable senators, my question
is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It also deals
with hepatitis C.
When will the federal government release the details of the
research that was conducted to come up with the $60,000 figure?
Furthermore, would the Leader of the Government table those
details in the Senate once they become available?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): If
such figures are available, honourable senator, and it is
appropriate to release them, I will be happy to table the
documentation in the Senate.
Safety of Blood System in Canada-Use of Independent
Laboratory in Assessment of Total Number of Victims of
Tainted Blood-Government Position
Hon. Duncan J. Jessiman: Honourable senators, would the
Leader of the Government in the Senate advise us as to whether
the federal government assessed the total number of tainted
blood victims by using an independent laboratory or examination
board to investigate, and if not, why not?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I do not know the answer to that question,
but I will endeavour to seek an appropriate answer for my
Review of Compensation for Victims of Hepatitis
C-Possibility of Offer of Further Federal
Hon. Ron Ghitter: I have a further supplementary if I may,
relating to the hepatitis C issue. I would like to know if, at the
meeting on Tuesday, it is the intention of the federal government
to bring some money to the table, in the sense of putting more
money into the system? Is that their intention when they go to the
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): As
I indicated in my earlier response, I said that the meeting would
be held sometime next week. I am not sure whether Senator
Ghitter knows for a fact that the meeting will be held on Tuesday.
I have heard other suggestions that it may be held on Wednesday.
However, as I indicated earlier, the Government of Canada will
respond to any initiatives that are taken by individual provinces,
or, as is hoped, by the provinces together.
Senator Ghitter: It is my understanding that some of the
provinces will not go to that meeting unless the federal
government discloses, prior to the meeting, that they will be
putting some money on the table. If that is the case, are you or
are you not putting some money on the table before attending
Senator Graham: That will be the subject of an ongoing
negotiation between the federal and provincial ministers of
Senator Ghitter: Does that mean that the file, then, is not
closed, as the Prime Minister stated; that it has been reopened,
and that there is the possibility that the federal government will
come forward with more money?
Senator Graham: I would think that that would be the
indication at the present time.
Review of Compensation for Victims of Hepatitis
C-Possibility of First Ministers Meeting-Government
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, on this same
topic, yesterday afternoon during Oral Question Period in the
other chamber, the Prime Minister spoke about a meeting of first
ministers. Was this a slip, or should this business not be sorted
out by the various first ministers?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I know that the Prime Minister has been in
touch with individual premiers of the provinces. I am not aware
that a meeting of first ministers is contemplated at the present
time. Certainly, however, there have been discussions, as I
indicated earlier, with respect to a meeting between the federal
and provincial ministers of health sometime next week.
Senator Nolin: You are aware that last week the Premier of
Ontario all but contradicted his health minister. Yesterday, the
Prime Minister of Canada all but contradicted his health minister.
Is this not starting to look a bit like a game of cat and mouse?
Why does the Prime Minister of Canada not call his premiers
together to sort the matter out, put the necessary money on the
table, and stop playing politics with people who deserve nothing
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, it may come to the
point where a first ministers conference would be held. That
would be something for the Prime Minister and the premiers of
each of the provinces to determine.
As my honourable friends knows, the Prime Minister is due to
attend the G-7 or G-8 conference in Birmingham, England,
which will be held during the course of next week. I am sure that
all Canadians would want some action to be taken prior to that
time. That is the reason, at least for the moment, that ministers of
health will be engaged in an ongoing conversation, and it is to be
hoped that a meeting of all ministers of health will be held
sometime next week.
Senator Nolin: If the federal Minister of Health was able to
postpone his attendance at an international meeting of health
ministers scheduled for next week in Europe, I presume that the
Prime Minister of Canada is able, for equally important reasons,
to make his excuses to his colleagues from the G-7 nations and
remain in Canada to find a solution to a problem of concern to all
Canadians. What are your thoughts on this?
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, as my honourable
friend would know, the G-7 meetings are scheduled well in
advance. It would be impossible at this time for one of the
countries to be absent from the table.
I know that Senator Nolin will appreciate the fact that Prime
Minister Chrétien brings much wisdom, experience, knowledge
and the example of progress in Canada to the table when he
meets with other G-7 prime ministers.
Compensation for Victims of Hepatitis C-Possibility of
Resignation of Minister-Government Position
Hon. Ron Ghitter: Honourable senators, considering the fact
that Mr. Rock was the minister who bungled the gun control bill,
considering that he was the minister who deceived the House of
Commons and this chamber with respect to the Pearson airport
deal, considering that Mr. Rock was the minister whose actions
were totally out of order with respect to the Airbus situation and,
now, considering the way he has totally bungled the hepatitis C
matter, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate not
agree that it is time for the minister to resign and go to the
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, Minister Rock has taken leadership on all
of these issues.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, on the particular
issue to which Senator Ghitter refers, Minister Rock has
conducted himself with honesty, good grace and great dignity.
Rejection by Air Traffic Controllers of NAV CANADA
Offer-Possible Threat to Safety Standards-Request for
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, the other
day I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate if he
could shed some light on the current negotiations between
NAVCAN and their employees, in particular from the point of
view of whether it was a question of money that caused some
massive rejection of the offer or whether it was a question of
safety. Can the Leader of the Government shed any further light
on this situation?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, my honourable friend will know that safety
is always first for anyone involved in the airline industry. As I
indicated, I promised to bring forth more information, and I will
do so at the first opportunity.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette moved the second reading of
Bill S-16, to implement an agreement between Canada and the
Socialist Republic of Vietnam, an agreement between Canada
and the Republic of Croatia and a convention between Canada
and the Republic of Chile, for the avoidance of double taxation
and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on
She said: Honourable senators, I am delighted to rise today to
speak to Bill S-16 at second reading. This bill will implement tax
treaties Canada recently signed with Vietnam, Croatia and Chile.
Legislation is necessary because tax treaties often include
rules that differ from those contained in the Income Tax Act.
Passing separate legislation ensures that, in case of conflict,
treaty provisions take precedence over those of any other act.
Canada enters into such agreements for two reasons: to avoid
double taxation and to prevent tax evasion. While the terms of
the treaties necessarily vary depending on the country involved,
they are in essence similar to those of treaties signed previously
Let us take a moment to put this bill into perspective. Among
the consequences of the 1971 reform of the Canadian tax system
was an increase in the number of tax treaties signed with other
countries, which currently stands at 64. Major changes have
taken place since 1971. For example, dividends paid to a
Canadian corporation by a foreign subsidiary used to be fully tax
exempt. However, since 1976, only dividends from foreign
subsidiaries actively exploited in countries with which Canada
has signed tax treaties are exempt.
Bill S-16 must be examined in the context of Canada's
constant efforts to review its conventions. Tax treaties are very
important for our country. They are directly linked to
international trade and thus have a direct impact on our economic
performance as a nation. Let us not forget that close to
40 per cent of Canada's economy depends on exports, foreign
trade and direct foreign investment, not to mention the flow of
information, capital, technology, royalties, dividends and
Since there is currently no tax treaty with Vietnam, Croatia
and Chile, these agreements will undoubtedly help Canadian
corporations and individuals doing business or investing in these
countries. In addition to promoting international trade and
investment, these agreements will help give investors and traders
an impression of certainty and stability, something which can
only improve Canada's economic relations with each of these
Let me give you a few examples. First, Canadian taxpayers
will be pleased to learn that a tax rate set by convention cannot
be increased without the taxpayers being informed well in
advance. Second, by clarifying the "rules of the game," tax
treaties reduce the regulatory burden on Canadian taxpayers who
have commercial interests and investments in these countries.
Third, double taxation, which sometimes affects international
operations, will be eliminated.
In discussing the bill in more detail, I will start with the issue
of double taxation. In a world where people and capital are
increasingly mobile, conventions on double taxation are essential
to prevent revenues from being taxed twice.
Basically, Canada's 64 conventions eliminate double taxation
in one of two ways: by dividing exclusive taxation powers
between the taxpayer's country of residence and the country
where the income originated, or, when the income is taxable in
both countries, by requiring the country of residence to provide a
credit for the tax paid to the country of origin.
In addition, double taxation conventions usually include
measures to encourage an exchange of information between tax
officials to prevent tax evasion or avoidance, which is the second
aim of the conventions.
I would now like to talk about source deductions. The
taxpayer's country of residence may deduct taxes at source, but
the rate is generally capped at 5, 10 or 15 per cent for dividends
and branch profits and 10 per cent for interest and royalties. In
some instances, copyright, software, patents and know-how are
exempted at source.
In the case of Vietnam, there will be a reduced rate of
5 per cent on dividends paid to a company holding at least
70 per cent of voting shares, a rate of 10 per cent for a company
holding between 25 and 70 per cent of voting shares, and a rate
of 15 per cent in other cases. In addition, there will be a reduced
rate of 5 per cent for branches, 10 per cent for interests and
royalties, and 7.5 per cent for technical service honoraria.
Where there is no immediate exemption on copyright,
software, patents and know-how, Canadians will automatically
benefit from any future exemptions Vietnam may give to other
members of the OECD.
In the case of Croatia, there will be a reduced rate of 5 per cent
on dividends if a company has at least 10 per cent of voting
shares or 25 per cent of capital stock, and a rate of 15 per cent in
In addition, the rate of taxation of branches and the rate on
interest and royalties will be reduced to 5 and 10 per cent
There will not be any exemption with respect to copyrights,
computer software, patents or expertise.
As for the agreement with Chile, a reduced rate of 10 per cent
will apply to dividends if a corporation holds at least 25 per cent
of voting shares, or 15 per cent otherwise. The tax rate for
subsidiaries will be 10 per cent, and if Chile were to enter into an
agreement for a 5-per-cent rate with another OECD member, that
lower rate would apply to Canada automatically.
There will be a 15-per-cent rate for interest and royalties, but
no exemption with respect to copyrights, computer software,
patents or expertise. In addition, Bill S-16 protects Canada's right
to tax pensions and annuities paid to non-residents.
Under the agreements concluded with Vietnam and Croatia,
pensions will be taxable in both countries, but the source country
must not tax at more than 15 per cent of the total payment. In
Vietnam and Croatia, social benefits will be taxable in the
country of origin, without restriction.
According to the taxation agreement between Canada and
Chile, pensions and social benefits will be taxed by the paying
country. As well, the country of origin will retain the right to tax
capital gains involving the sale of real property, business assets,
stocks in real property corporations, and interest in real estate
partnerships and trusts.
In conclusion, honourable senators, this bill offers some real
advantages to Canadians.
Passage of this bill will help solidify Canada's international
trade and investment position, in an increasingly competitive
field, while ensuring that Canadian tax policy remains consistent
on the international level.
The bilateral effect of each of these conventions is that no
country should lose revenue. The increased trade and investment
opportunities for corporations and individual Canadians resulting
from these conventions will almost certainly result in gains for
taxpayers and for the Canadian government. In addition, these
conventions will promote better relations with these countries.
One very important feature is that taxpayers will not be taxed
twice on their income. Conventions such as these form a normal
context of international relations in a modern economy and their
expansion is part of the ongoing activities of a responsible
This is an important bill, honourable senators, which entails no
controversy. I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the
excellent work of the departments of finance and international
trade, and particularly to their officials for the quality of
negotiations, and I hope that these efforts are continuing with
I urge you, honourable senators, to pass Bill S-16 without
delay so that Canadians may begin to reap the benefits.
Hon. Léonce Mercier moved the second reading of Bill C-15,
to amend the Canada Shipping Act and to make consequential
amendments to other acts.
He said: Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that I
speak to you today, on the occasion of the second reading in the
Senate of Bill C-15.
Bill C-15 is an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, one of
Canada's oldest laws, and the very first law regulating safety in
the marine sector. This bill also contains important amendments
stemming from former Bill C-73, which died on the Order Paper
in the last session.
It has not been updated since it first came into effect, in 1936,
and it is showing its age. The 1936 original version was patterned
on the 1896 British Shipping Act. This old Canadian law
contains such anachronisms as a $10 fine for drunkenness and
the captain's power to auction the personal effects of a deceased
seaman. Needless to say, Canada's marine community deserves
The bill is the result of the first of two stages in the urgently
needed reform of the Canada Shipping Act. The proposed
legislation also follows numerous discussions with marine
industry stakeholders, who fully support it. Bill C-15 will bring
about long-awaited and essential changes to the shipping
industry. The marine sector can only benefit from a modern act.
Canada must preserve its competitive edge on the international
market. At the same time, our transportation policies must be in
line with those of the countries with which we do business or
compete. This is an important fact which the government must
take into account to help the marine industry. To achieve these
objectives, the government has taken initiatives regarding every
mode of transportation, particularly to streamline laws and
That is why I am pleased to see that this bill is going ahead. It
strengthens the government's resolve to pursue its reform of the
Canada Shipping Act in order to modernize it and to help the
industry operate safely.
The government has included in this first-track reform
initiative important provisions of the former bill. The other
provisions will be incorporated into the second track of the
Bill C-73 contained urgent amendments to change the Quebec
Harbour Pilots Pension Plan. There has been an extensive
overhaul of the administration of pension plans in recent years.
One plan not affected by this overhaul was the pension fund
administered by the corporation of pilots for and below the
Harbour of Quebec.
This initiative will bring some recognition to this plan and
improve the protection of rights for members belonging to this
plan. These changes will make affected pensioners subject to
recent legislative initiatives rather than rules that predate
Confederation. In addition, these changes will improve the
corporation's ability to manage the pension fund.
The bill includes a new part outlining for the first time the
objectives and framework of the act. This addition will provide
direction for the remainder of the legislation. In addition to the
provisions dealing with ship registration and ownership and the
other urgent amendments from former Bill C-73, Bill C-15 will
form the basis for the long-awaited modernization of this
outdated piece of legislation.
We will achieve our goal of implementing a simpler,
modernized act that is more consistent with the federal
government's regulatory policies and susceptible of contributing
to better economic performance in the marine industry.
The industry supports our shift toward new legislation, and the
government remains true to its commitment to seeing this
initiative through, resulting in a new Canada Shipping Act.
I must tell you that I am very pleased with the favourable
reaction to this bill. The Standing Committee on Transport of the
House of Commons made a few comments which prompted us to
make minor changes to the bill. However, honourable senators, it
was the vigorous efforts of industry and its examination of
Bill C-15 that made changes to the bill possible. The industry's
participation enabled the government to make changes that
improved the bill's wording.
The key changes to Bill C-15 include the elimination of the
new clause that was aimed at amending the regulatory power to
issue permits for small vessels. The power provided under the
Canada Shipping Act will be retained. The government will take
another look at the existing provisions on licencing. The current
section will be kept to ensure continued operation of the
licencing system, which permits life-saving groups and law
enforcement agencies to identify vessels. The wording on
military vessels was revised. It provides now that the Department
of National Defence will be subject to stiff legal requirements,
including those of the collision and liability limitation
In addition, the industry requested an amendment to clarify the
government's intent concerning the power to regulate control and
management of ballast waters. The industry wanted to avoid
having all ballast waters treated as pollutants.
The act provides the power to manage ballast waters and to
reduce the introduction of harmful organisms into Canadian
waters. This further reinforces mechanisms for protecting the
environment and implementing legislation on the environment,
while reducing the threat associated with harmful aquatic
At the request of the Corporation of Lower St. Lawrence
Pilots, a technical amendment was also made to the wording, to
improve the definition of the word "fund" without changing the
original scope of the text.
Throughout the consultation process and the subsequent
drafting of the bill, officials from the Department of Transport
had extensive discussions with the industry, including
shipowners and operators, unions and the legal marine
I want to thank these groups for participating in the reform
project, and for their continuous support of the new legislation.
I am firmly convinced - and you will surely agree - that this
new bill is an important step toward modernizing Canada's
I will conclude by asking you to support this bill, so that it is
passed in the Senate as quickly as possible.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Forrestall, debate
Motion to Establish Special Committee to Examine
Activities of Canadian Airborne Regiment in
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable
Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the Honourable
That a Special Committee of the Senate be appointed to
examine and report on the manner in which the chain of
command of the Canadian Forces both in-theatre and at
National Defence Headquarters, responded to the
operational, disciplinary, decision-making and
administrative problems encountered during the Somalia
deployment to the extent that these matters have not been
examined by the Commission of Inquiry into the
Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia;
That the Committee in examining these issues may call
witnesses from whom it believes it may obtain evidence
relevant to these matters including but not limited to:
1. former Ministers of National Defence;
2. the then Deputy Minister of National Defence;
3. the then Acting Chief of Staff of the Minister of
4. the then special advisor to the Minister of National
Defence (M. Campbell);
5. the then special advisor to the Minister of National
Defence (J. Dixon);
6. the persons occupying the position of Judge
Advocate General during the relevant period;
7. the then Deputy Judge Advocate General
8. the then Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief
of Defence Staff.
That seven Senators, nominated by the Committee of
Selection act as members of the Special Committee, and
that three members constitute a quorum;
That the Committee have power to send for persons,
papers and records, to examine witnesses under oath, to
report from time to time and to print such papers and
evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the
That the Committee have power to authorize television
and radio broadcasting, as it deems appropriate, of any or all
of its proceedings;
That the Committee have the power to engage the
services of such counsel and other professional, technical,
clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the
purposes of its examination;
That the political parties represented on the Special
Committee be granted allocations for expert assistance with
the work of the Committee;
That it be empowered to adjourn from place to place
within and outside Canada;
That the Committee have the power to sit during sittings
and adjournments of the Senate;
That the Committee submit its report not later than one
year from the date of it being constituted, provided that if
the Senate is not sitting, the report will be deemed submitted
on the day such report is deposited with the Clerk of the
That the Special Committee include in its report, its
findings and recommendations regarding the structure,
functioning and operational effectiveness of National
Defence Headquarters, the relationship between the military
and civilian components of NDHQ, and the relationship
among the Deputy Minister of Defence, the Chief of
Defence Staff and the Minister of National Defence,
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable
Senator Forrestall, seconded by the Honourable Senator
Beaudoin, that the motion be amended by adding in
paragraph 2 the following:
"9. the present Minister of National Defence.".
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, in recent months
we have had occasion to hear interventions in this house as to
whether it was or was not appropriate to resume an examination
of the incidents in Somalia. We know that a commission of
inquiry had access to two million pages of documents over more
than two years and at a cost of some $20 million. Last spring,
during the second session of the 35th Parliament, a special
Senate committee on which I sat met with the intent of asking
certain questions concerning the Canadian Airborne Regiment in
Somalia. At that time, certain members of the special committee
refused to continue the inquiry.
Honourable colleagues, we all know that there are times in the
affairs of a nation when it is folly to become obsessed with
mistakes of the past. Yet it is prudent to learn from those
mistakes and move on to the challenges of the day. Such is the
case with the Somalia incident.
For over two years, at a cost of approximately $20 million, a
commission of inquiry had access to some two million pages of
documents. During that time and in its final report, the
commission brought forward evidence which contributed
significantly to a better understanding of the problems revealed
by the incidents in Somalia.
Members of the Canadian forces were all blanketed with
shame and faced finger-pointing during the inquiry. They deserve
better. They are only now starting to get back on their feet. In
fact, events like the recent ice storm have shown how effective
and efficient they can all be when they are asked to help their
fellow Canadians at the drop of a hat and in any situation. Why
would my honourable colleagues want to continue to muddy the
work and reputation of the Canadian forces by digging up again
the unfortunate Somalia events? Several extensions were granted
to the inquiry.
No one condones the terrible events that happened in Somalia.
We were all saddened by their impact. Quick and decisive action
has been taken to implement major reforms at the Department of
National Defence. Indeed, of the commission's
160 recommendations, 132 have been accepted in whole or in
part. Of the 28 not accepted, most could be achieved by means
other than those recommended.
The government should be praised for its effectiveness in
dealing with the recommendations. Those who harbour doubts
need only consult the Defence Minister's report on the
recommendations of the Somalia Commission of Inquiry and other
pertinent information the minister has issued.
Honourable senators, the time has come to move on. We have
learned the lessons of Somalia. It is time to stop damning the
military and their families. Instead, let us look to their
accomplishments, for example during the floods in the Saguenay
and in Manitoba in 1997 and during the 1998 ice storm, and in
other countries like Bosnia and Haiti.
It is time to call a halt to suspicions, unfair accusations,
insinuations and hostilities. In fact, a decision given last week
completely exonerated one of the members associated with the
deployment in Somalia.
I would also mention that Bill C-25 is aimed at making
profound changes to the National Defence Act. My colleagues
will be pleased to know that Bill C-25 aims particularly to amend
the Code of Service Discipline, which provides the basis for
Canada's military justice system. The planned amendments will
mean greater honesty, fairness and transparency within the
In fact, most of the Somalia commission's recommendations
concerning military justice are being implemented exactly as
proposed or in a way that addresses their underlying concerns.
Steps have already been taken to enhance the independence in
the military justice system by establishing the National
Investigation Service on September 1, 1997, and by organizing
the Office of the Chief Military Trial Judge, effective
September 27, 1997.
As well, the proposed amendments to the National Defence
Act will establish a Director of Military Prosecutions, a Director
of Defence Counsel Services, a Military Police Complaints
Commission, as well as an annual and public reporting by the
Judge Advocate General, the Military Police Complaints
Commission and the Canadian Forces Grievance Board.
I should also add that annual and public reporting will be
provided by the Chief of Defence Staff, the Canadian Forces
Provost Marshal and Ombudsman, and that will be done without
the necessity of amending the National Defence Act.
These amendments, which will also be considered in this
house, constitute one of the pillars that will quietly raise the
morale of the troops. The hearings and recommendations of the
parliamentary committee examining the quality of life of
members of the Canadian Forces and their families are another.
I believe that the Canadian Forces and the Department of
National Defence have shown that they listened, investigated and
acted following the Somalia inquiry recommendations and the
response tabled by the minister. I think it is very important that
high pride and deep respect in our Canadian Forces be restored
and conveyed to our children.
Honourable senators, let us ensure that Canadians across the
country respect the Canadian Forces and the work they
accomplish here and around the globe, as they respected them
before the Somalia events occurred. Let us not raise that red flag
Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition),
pursuant to notice of May 5, 1998, moved:
That the Senate endorses and supports the findings and
recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on the
Blood System in Canada;
That the Senate for humanitarian reasons urges the
Government of Canada and the Governments of the
Provinces and of the Territories to comply with these
findings and recommendations; and
That a copy of this motion be forwarded to each federal,
provincial and territorial Minister of Health.
He said: Honourable senators, I cannot recall any event in
recent memory when there has been such an outpouring of
disgust and dismay as there has been since the announcement
that a federal-provincial agreement to compensate victims of
tainted blood who contracted hepatitis C was to be limited to
those infected between 1986 and 1990. Why there is no
compensation for those infected before 1986 has been, and
continues to be, the question that preoccupies so many, and to
which answers are universally condemned.
In an extraordinarily detached manner, the Minister of Health,
acting more like a self-satisfied lawyer who has settled a case to
the advantage of his clients than a minister whose
responsibilities, by their very nature, require compassion and
understanding, told shocked Canadians, particularly the
devastated pre-1986 victims, in so many words, that the
government's liability was limited to a period when, according to
the minister, testing procedures were available but not
authorized. For the rest of you, the minister said, "the file is now
closed." In other words: "See you in court if you feel badly done
Honourable senators, a file on human tragedy is never closed.
This is not Airbus or Somalia or Pearson or any other
embarrassment that the government clumsily tries to disassociate
itself from by closing the file, whatever the cost. This is about
untold thousands of Canadians who, through human error and
negligence which could have been avoided, have had their lives
turned into a living hell for themselves and their loved ones.
Mr. Justice Horace Krever's final report of the Commission of
Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada lists a number of key
mistakes leading to the contamination of the blood supply and
identifies those responsible. I will summarize them as follows:
First, the federal government did not properly fulfil its duties
as a blood systems regulator, meaning it did not keep a close
enough eye on the activities of the Red Cross.
Second, the federal government reacted too slowly to the
threat of blood-borne AIDS and mistakenly played down to
Canadians the risk of the virus contaminating the blood supply.
Third, the provinces, which funded the Red Cross's blood
program through the Canadian Blood Committee, did not provide
timely and sufficient funds for scientific tests that would have
screened out blood contaminated with the AIDS virus and
Four, the provinces did not do enough to track down infected
blood recipients, some of whom were unaware they had AIDS
and unknowingly passed it on to their sexual partners.
Five, the Red Cross took inadequate steps to implement a
screening program that would have prevented high-risk donors,
such as sexually active gay men, from donating their blood.
Six, the Red Cross did not move quickly enough to replace its
inventory of contaminated blood products used by haemophiliacs
with newer, heat-treated products that were safe.
None of these conclusions has been seriously challenged by
any of the parties involved.
As for the testing procedures not being available before 1986,
as claimed by the minister, I should like to quote from page 689
of the report which states:
When the possibility of using surrogate testing for non-A,
non-B hepatitis arose in 1981, the Red Cross's blood
transfusion service advisory committee decided that no
action should be taken until there were Canadian data to
justify making a decision. It did not, however, recommend
that the Red Cross take steps to collect the necessary data.
The Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, which was
represented on the committee, also took no steps to collect
If this is not clear enough, I will quote from remarks made in
the House of Commons on Tuesday, May 5, 1998 by the member
for Macleod, Dr. Grant Hill, who said:
The minister said so plainly on TV last week that the test
was not available in Canada before 1986. What he should
have said, and should have added to that, is that the
regulators decided not to use that test to screen for hepatitis
C in donated blood. If he had added that proviso, he would
have been on firm ground. But to say the test was not
available before 1986, I cannot use the word I would like to
use to express how I feel about that, but it was wrong. It was
available. It was here. I used it. Every single MD in Canada
Honourable senators, the evidence is clear, and none of the
health minister's flowery eloquence will successfully alter it.
Perhaps, legally, he is on firmer ground. No doubt the testing
procedures available before 1986 were not as advanced and
precise as those developed since. Perhaps a court may well be
more sympathetic to post-1986 victims than to pre-1986 ones.
All this being true, must government policy on any issue -
including untold hardships suffered by thousands of Canadians
because of the blundering of governments - always be decided
by a Justice Department opinion, a Treasury Board directive and
a Finance Department veto?
I should like to return to the Krever report, which states in
The compassion of a society can be judged by the
measures it takes to reduce the impact of tragedy on its
members....it is of little consolation or even relevance to
those unfortunate members of our society who suffer from
infection caused by blood transfusions or blood products
that the blood supply now is adjudged relatively safe. A
system that knows that these consequences will occur and
what brings them about has, at the very least, a moral
obligation to give some thought to the question of
appropriate relief for those affected by the inevitable events.
There is extensive evidence that tort liability not only fails to
deter careless behaviour but too often fails to compensate those
who have been injured through no fault of their own. In Canada,
despite an increase in litigation, only a modest percentage of
persons suffering avoidable health care injuries receive
compensation. The 1990 Report to the Conference of Deputy
Ministers of Health of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Review
on Liability and Compensation Issues in Health Care (the Prichard
Report) estimated "that the percentage receiving compensation is
certainly less than 10 per cent of potential viable claims." In 1987,
although $200 million were invested in liability insurance, "less
than 250 injured patients received compensation of any kind from
medical malpractice litigation, whether by way of settlement or
trial judgment, anywhere in Canada." Some persons received
significant sums, while others received much less than their actual
financial losses. Even advocates of the tort system acknowledge
that the system is ineffective in ensuring compensation for all who
However uncertain the results may be, the costs of litigation are
unreasonably high. Delays in legal proceedings are common, and
their associated costs are exceptionally high. Taxpayers shoulder a
major portion of that cost, but litigants who are also taxpayers
assume a double burden. The costs of a single case are high, even
for the successful party. The Ontario Civil Justice Review, a
provincial government task force, concluded in its first report in
March 1995 that costs to the user of the civil justice system "are
considerable, sometimes insurmountable. They pose a significant
problem in respect of access and the affordability of civil justice."
There are those who will accuse us on this side of bringing in
this motion to take advantage of the government's untenable
position to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak. This is false. In
the other place, my caucus colleague the honourable member for
Charlotte, Greg Thompson, was among the first to address this
matter, and he has not let up since.
Colleagues here will certainly recall the eloquent interventions
on the question of compensation by a number of my colleagues,
such as Senators Andreychuk and Di Nino, and the numerous
interventions by Senator Doyle who, as early as June 1995,
expressed concern over the safety of the blood supply and the
status of consumer groups before the Krever commission. Only
two weeks after the report was made public, Senator Doyle had
this to say about it:
The story of the progress of the plague is told in sombre
passages through the three volumes, telling how slow this
country was in responding to the spread of infections and
the callous attitude of health guardians to warnings. The
evidence points out how we ignored the cautions taken in
the United States.
Senator Graham, the Leader of the Government in the Senate,
replied on the same day:
The tainted blood scandal devastated the lives of
thousands of Canadians. That is well recognized. It raised
very real and legitimate fears about the safety of the
national blood system. No one could help but be moved by
the plight of those affected, the victims. As indicated earlier
in this place, when Senator Doyle raised this very important
question, the conclusions in Justice Krever's report on the
federal role in what happened are fully accepted by the
Government of Canada. We accept those conclusions
without reservation. We accept them in their entirety.
One of the conclusions that have been accepted, in Senator
Graham's own words, without reservation, is the following.
Justice Krever wrote:
Until now, our treatment of the blood-injured has been
unequal. After years of suffering devastating financial
losses, many persons infected with HIV from blood or blood
products, or their surviving family members, finally did
receive financial assistance. Other Canadians who have
suffered injuries from blood therapy have not received any
compensation. Yet the needs of those who have been
harmed are the same, regardless of their cause, and whether
or not fault can be proved. Compensating some needy
sufferers and not others cannot, in my opinion, be justified.
The provinces and territories of Canada should devise
statutory no-fault schemes that compensate all blood-injured
persons promptly and adequately, so they do not suffer
impoverishment or illness without treatment. I therefore
recommend that, without delay, the provinces and territories
devise statutory no-fault schemes for compensating persons
who suffer serious adverse consequences as a result of the
administration of blood components or blood products.
The motion before us, honourable senators, is to give support
to this recommendation, which was endorsed most forcefully and
unequivocally by the Leader of the Government in the Senate
only last December. When the National Assembly in Quebec
voted unanimously to allow compensation regardless of the date
of infection, the government's reaction was curt, and even rude,
as the Assembly felt that the additional costs should be borne by
the federal government. Since then, of course, the Quebec
government has agreed to contribute to these costs. Yet, when
Ontario endorsed Quebec's position and offered to pay the extra
costs, the federal government agreed to reopen the file which it
had so crudely closed only a few days before.
The interpretation that I give to two different reactions to the
same proposition is that Ottawa accepts the suggestion as long as
it does not need to pay for it exclusively. If so, this can only
mean that the 1986 cut-off date is more the product of concerns
for the country's credit rating than for the needs of its affected
To those who argue that additional compensation would be too
great a strain on the government's financial resources, let me
remind them that the budget includes an amount of $2.5 billion
for the establishment of Canada Millennium Scholarships which
will begin to be awarded in the year 2000. Surely the government
could satisfy its share of any additional compensation by making
use of funds already set aside, although not needed for two years.
The arguments in favour of this motion are compelling, as a
number of my colleagues will demonstrate during this debate.
The victims and their families are suffering because of official
negligence. Canadians overwhelmingly support them.
We are a country that does not hesitate to come to the aid of
those affected by natural disasters, such as floods, ice storms,
forest fires and crop failures. Why, then, must we be so
cold-hearted and unfeeling when the disasters are of our own
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, why
would the no-fault regime in the health sector apply only to
hepatitis C? Is the government claiming that tests were not
available or recognized when the line was being drawn between
no-fault and fault? Why not also say that, in the case of breast
cancer, the examinations done in the 1980s were not as good as
those done today? Some people have apparently died as a result.
I could name many other illnesses. Should this system apply in
Why, in 1985, did the Progressive Conservative government
not implement the tests that were perhaps available? Senator
Lynch-Staunton said earlier that doctors back then knew that
tests were available and approved by the medical community.
As parliamentarians debating this important issue, it is easy to
hand out money. We are well aware that this money comes from
Canadian taxpayers. We must act responsibly. This does not
mean that we are not deeply moved and that we do not offer our
sympathy to all those who are suffering. We are all saddened by
this situation. We are tackling the issue with a feeling of
responsibility towards all Canadian taxpayers.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, I do not care
which government did or did not engage in neglect. The point is
that neglect can be shown and proven, and compensation and
satisfaction must be given to the victims of that neglect.
Awarding compensation to victims of this particular neglect
does not mean that all those who suffer, for whatever reason,
from an unfortunate surgical intervention automatically can be
eligible for compensation.
This particular tragedy was caused by horrible neglect, even
indifference, by government officials, the Red Cross and others
who knew that there were facilities available to improve the
system and refused to adopt them, for whatever reason. That is
the difference from other situations where the patient
unintentionally suffers grievous damage, whatever reason. In this
case, it was done with knowledge. It was known that the blood
was tainted. That is the difference.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, the
Honourable Leader of the Opposition's recommendation is that
we follow the Krever report. Unfortunately, I do not have the
report before me, but the recommendation was that the provinces
make restitution, that the provinces should pay. He did
recommend, as has been mentioned, that the compensation be to
everyone, but his recommendation was that the provinces should
pay. Does the honourable senator agree with that?
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I quoted from that
recommendation, and I can quote it again. Mr. Justice Krever
does say that the provinces and territories should pay, but the
federal government has taken the lead on this. They are boasting
about taking the lead. They are saying, quite rightly, that the
provinces and territories at one time did not want to pay, that
there was unanimous agreement not to touch it. The federal
government then decided that, no, that was unfair, and got the
provinces and territories together. They agreed, reluctantly or
not, to a sharing of the cost. The federal government drew them
Mr. Justice Krever said: "If you are going to pay, pay them all;
do not discriminate." Now that the federal government has
decided to be a senior partner in the compensation package, it
has an obligation, if it wants to be consistent with the report, to
reopen the package, get the provinces on side, and apply
compensation to all. The federal government took the lead on
this. They cannot let it drop now.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, this is a
complex subject. Forgive me if I am not as astute as others as to
the allocation of the responsibility in the tainted blood matter.
However, I have some questions to ask of the Leader of the
Opposition in the Senate.
The senator mentioned a universal program. How many people
are we talking about? What should the allocation be between
those who are affected directly by tainted blood transfusions and
those who may suffer from a latent onset of problems but who
are not now materially affected? When should the payment be
made? How should the payment be divided between the federal
and the provincial governments? There is a question of mutual
responsibility here, and the allocation of liability is unclear to
We then must deal with the question asked by Senator
Hervieux-Payette, which is: In what position does this place us,
men and women of compassion and spirit on both sides? Should
we allocate responsibility for similar universal problems where
there has been conduct that falls below certain standards?
Perhaps the honourable senator could cite a precedent. If there is
such a precedent, what would be the consequence of that?
Senators on both sides wish to have a responsible medicare
system, not an untenable, run-away health care system. We must
balance our compassion on the one hand with some form of
accountability and responsibility on the other.
I have asked a series of questions. Perhaps the honourable
senator cannot respond to them today. However, when he rereads
them, he may be able to respond at a later date. This is of
concern to all of us.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I deliberately did not quote any
figures related to the number of victims, because I have my
doubts about them. I read somewhere of some mathematical
model which was based on all sorts of assumptions. That put
forward a figure of 60,000, with 20,000 within the period in
question. I do not know the exact figures, but I do know that this
affected many people.
Are we creating a precedent with this? Surely to God we are
not. Surely to God we will learn from this. I cannot believe that
the federal and provincial governments would be knowing
partners in allowing fellow citizens to be injected with a product
which they knew was tainted. This is the tragedy. The
government knew the blood had not been tested. They refused to
implement testing procedures which were already available.
Surely to God this will not happen again.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, "The file is closed." These
words will go down in infamy in the annals of social justice in
this country. Let me remind honourable senators of that great
phrase from the classics: Ab uno disce omnes - From this
example, you may know the rest.
The manner in which the present government has responded to
our national tragedy with respect to hepatitis C speaks volumes
about this government's philosophy as to what governance is
about. A government that operates from the basis of "managing
the dossier," "massaging the message," "bringing closure to the
issue," and "closing the file," is a government that has lost its
way, a government that has abandoned the liberal policies of its
former leaders who understood and acted on the centrist
principles of social justice, compassion, and subsidiarity.
Where, Canadians ask, have the progressives of the party of
Laurier, St. Laurent and Pearson gone? Where has the virtue of
fortitude and backbone gone from a once-principled caucus?
How could each and every member of the government caucus in
the other place leave their liberal social principles at the door and
allow themselves to be whipped into voting against their
Honourable senators, governance cannot be allowed to mean
"managing the file." Canadians are not items to be placed in a
manila folder. Canadians are not pieces of paper to be moved
from one place to another. The needs and crises with which
Canadians are challenged from time to time are not confronted
on the arbitrary choice of opening a file.
Honourable senators - and Senator Gigantès will join me in
this - Aristotle taught us a great lesson many centuries ago, that
people are, by nature, social and political, that we need each
other, that we are interdependent. The legitimacy of government
rests on that very foundation which speaks to the needs of people
living in community.
The role of government is to serve the people. It is the role of
government to be the vehicle of the community's response to the
needs of the people as they arise. The government's role is to be
at the service of the people in all seasons. Therefore, honourable
senators, we consider it appropriate and we support the
intervention of governments to assist those victimized by
disasters such as floods, as we had this year in Manitoba, and to
help those victimized by the ice storm in Ontario and Quebec.
The role of government was played by the progressive
governments in helping Canadians infected by other medical
disasters such as HIV. One might also recall the same model of
leadership was demonstrated by the previous government in the
matter of the Japanese redress program. This is the type of
leadership which the present government failed to give in the
matter of hepatitis C.
Noteworthy, honourable senators, is the fact that Health
Minister Rock had the advantage of the report of an independent
Royal Commission and yet he got lost in his lawyer-like file
mentality. The case was not closed.
We in this chamber wish to address the recommendations
made by Mr. Justice Krever, and the motion of my colleague
Senator Lynch-Staunton addressed precisely that.
I draw the attention of honourable senators to two matters:
One is the letter that was addressed to the Prime Minister dated
May 5, 1998, by the Premier of Ontario, who writes:
Yesterday, the federal government was informed of
Ontario's position about assistance for Ontarians infected
with the Hepatitis C virus through the blood system prior to
Ontario is committed to sharing assistance for
pre-1986 victims on the same basis as the existing package
for those infected between 1986 and 1990.
As you are aware, the number of surviving pre-1986 victims
is not known with certainty. At least 20,000 Canadians is
one estimate. Estimates of health and social assistance costs
range from a low of $1.6 billion to as high as $3.2 billion.
Using the most conservative of these estimates, Ontario's
offer to share costs on the same basis as the current package
would break down as follows nation-wide:
The federal amount would total $1.6 billion and the Province of
Ontario's cost would be $2.2 billion.
The Premier of Ontario continues:
While I urge other provincial and territorial leaders to adopt
the 1986-1990 agreement as the basis for treating pre-1986
victims, the disparity between the levels of federal and
provincial contribution would be pronounced. A fair and
equitable federal share would be at least equal to the
provincial contribution to the costs of health and assistance
for these victims - in other words, at least $2.2 billion.
Details aside, the issue is not one of dollars but one of
compassion and humanity. Regardless of legal liability, all
governments have a moral responsibility to Canadians who
placed their faith in the blood system and, through no-fault
of their own, became infected.
Yesterday, your government responded to Ontario's
commitment by calling for yet another series of meetings -
a response of process rather than substance.
Prime Minister, pre-1986 victims should not be forced to
wait while officials and politicians at two levels of
government wrangle over legalities and technicalities. Nor
should they be left in uncertainty pending the outcome of
yet another series of meetings.
Ontario is committed to treating pre-1986 victims on the
same basis as the 1986-1990 victims. I urge the federal
government to make the same commitment.
Your commitment will allow officials from both our
governments to determine not whether but how to get
assistance into the hands of Ontario victims as quickly as
On behalf of victims, their families, and all Canadians who
want their governments to do the right thing, I look forward
to a prompt federal commitment to assist pre-1986 victims.
This will allow officials to work out the details of assistance
in a timely manner.
Honourable senators, I endorse the recommendations of the
Krever commission. In contrast with how this matter has been so
poorly managed by the present federal Minister of Health, we
think the Premier of Ontario is showing the kind of leadership
that has been lacking in this city.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, I am delighted that
the honourable senator concluded his statement in a different
vein from his opening remark, which was, "The file is closed."
He then went on to indirectly quote the Prime Minister as having
said that the file, in effect, is open and that meetings will be held
next week. It is inappropriate to state that the file is closed when,
in fact, it has been reopened. As a matter of interest, honourable
senators, the file being dealt with this week is a different file.
According to the Hansard of the other place, the Prime
Minister, in response to a question by the Leader of the
Opposition said that there will be a meeting next week and he
went on to state:
They will meet representatives of the people who have
been affected. They will follow the instructions of the
House of Commons. The Minister of Health will be there
and will discuss with his colleagues the change of mind in
the governments that had signed the deal before, the
Government of Ontario, the Government of Quebec. If that
file has been closed, a fresh file or dossier is being
I see my honourable colleague nodding in acquiescence.
However, I wish to ask him a question, responding to his
responsibilities as a senator from a region. There are other
senators from regions and from provinces who, up to this
moment, have not changed their position with respect to sharing
the responsibilities for pre-1986 victims who have received
tainted blood transfusions.
Senator Gigantès: Tainted by the Mulroney system.
Senator Grafstein: Let me complete my question, please.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Order, please!
Senator Gigantès: They made the mess, and now they are
trying to make out that someone else is guilty.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is such a narrow-minded
Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, I wish to narrow my
focus because the honourable senator opposite raises an
important issue of national and provincial responsibility. The
leader on the other side was very careful to indicate that there
was joint responsibility and accountability for the problem, and
how it should be shared. I think he was fair in his comments.
Has the honourable senator made representations to the
Province of New Brunswick or to the Province of Saskatchewan?
I look at senators from Saskatchewan, a province which to the
best information we have received as of this moment, has refused
to share in this new deal proposed by the premier from my
province and the premier of Quebec.
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I wish to thank
Senator Grafstein for his question, and the spirit in which the
question is raised. We need this kind of exchange more often in
We are engaged in a serious debate on a matter of national
tragedy. The motion by Senator Lynch-Staunton is for this
chamber to urge upon the federal Minister of Health and the
provincial and territorial Ministers of Health that they undertake
activity that will yield the result of responding to this need of
Canadians in crisis.
With the unanimous support of this motion, I think the Senate
will be very effective in encouraging our leaders in the provinces
that we represent in this chamber, and the government, in light of
the debate that has occurred in the other House.
Our objective is to meet the needs of Canadians who are
experiencing a disaster of enormous proportions. At this time last
week, the word we had from debates reported in Hansardfrom
the other place was that the file on the matter had been closed.
Earlier today, I took some comfort in the manner in which the
Leader of the Government in the Senate answered questions on
Honourable senators, we shall vigorously participate in this
debate. If that contributes to keeping this issue alive and keeping
the matter before federal, territorial and provincial governments
so that an equitable redress can be found, then we will have done
However, in reading Hansard from the other place, it was
categorically stated that the file was closed. If Senator Grafstein
is apprehending that the matter has been reopened or
reconsidered, then I am hopeful that this motion will be part of
Senator Grafstein: As a final comment, I guess the short
answer to my second question is that the honourable senator has
not made representations to the Province of New Brunswick. His
implicit response - and I do not wish to put words in his mouth
- is that we do not want to end up in a situation where some
provinces join in, while others do not, to bear their fair share. In
that event, we would end up with a distorted system as opposed
to a universal system. I assume my honourable friend is speaking
in favour of a universal as opposed to a distorted or asymmetrical
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, that certainly is my
position and the position outlined in the motion advanced by the
Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton.
On motion of Senator Carstairs, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 12, 1998, at 2 p.m.