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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 137, Issue 94

Thursday, November 19, 1998
The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, November 19, 1998

The Senate met at 2:00 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

National Child Day

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, tomorrow is National Child Day. November 20 was designated National Child Day by the Government of Canada in 1993. The day commemorates two historic events: the adoption by the United Nations of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which took place on November 20, 1959; and the adoption, on the same day in 1989, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 1989, Canada became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Prior to the 1989 convention, a child under international law was considered an object to be given care and protection. The convention altered this perception by recognizing the child's rights as an individual person: the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly, religion, and privacy.

Honourable senators, a key objective of National Child Day is to increase awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to healthy child development, particularly in the early years of life. Regrettably, in my view, Canada has come under international criticism since 1989 for failing to repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code, which is in conflict with Article 19 of the United Nations convention. In 1995, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that corporal punishment in the home and elsewhere be prohibited, and requested that Canada reconsider section 43 in light of this recommendation.

The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of National Child Day as a special day just for children reflects the growing recognition that children are important and valued members of our society. We must recognize that, in spite of the many successes we have accomplished for our children, there remain still many more within our grasp. As we celebrate the rights of children, we must also pause to reflect upon the responsibilities that we as adults have towards ensuring that our children inherit the best environment, physically, mentally and socially, in which to maximize the potential of each and every one of them.

[Translation]

Hon. Thérèse Lavoie-Roux: Honourable senators, I rise to speak today of two very important days to which Senator Carstairs has already referred. Tomorrow, November 20, we shall be celebrating Universal Children's Day, decreed by the United Nations, and the sixth anniversary of National Child Day. The latter was legislated into being in 1993 to mark two historical events at the United Nations: adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959, and adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989.

The adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the designation of National Child Day are evidence of the growing need of children to be protected and recognized as full-fledged members of society.

We all have connections to children. Let us take a moment to think of the ones we have known, the ones who are still with us, and perhaps those who are no longer with us. Children occupy a large part in our hearts, indeed they represent our most precious resource, but they are vulnerable and they depend on us. They need love and respect if they are to grow and realize their full potential. According to the latest findings of the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth, the large majority of Canadian children are healthy and living up to their potential in a safe and loving environment.

However, there are disadvantaged children who live in poverty and whose development is compromised. There are children without families, and children whose families are not able to protect them.

[English]

There exists a paradox in Canada. Despite the wealth and the high standard of living of Canadians, we continue to have unacceptably high rates of child poverty. Among industrialized countries, Canada has the world's second highest rate, the highest being in the United States.

As you are aware, honourable senators, there is disagreement as to which method of measuring poverty rates is the most accurate. However, the general consensus, which includes data from Statistics Canada and the National Council of Welfare, seems to indicate that, in Canada, one in five children under the age of 18 lives in poverty. Today there are 1,481,000 poor Canadian children, the highest level in 17 years. I ask you, honourable senators, how can we tolerate such a phenomenon? In 1989, the government made a commitment to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. Since then, the number of poor children has actually increased by 58 per cent. The problem is alarming. I am not trying to blame anyone; I am merely pointing out that we should get together and do something about this problem.

In 1991, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology produced a report on children in poverty. The committee heard from many witnesses who confirmed the fact that child poverty cannot be viewed in isolation: Poor children are the sons and daughters of poor adults. Witnesses spoke of the increased difficulty of low- and middle-income families in "making ends meet," and that poverty is in part attributable to the declining economic conditions which families with children are facing. Contrary to prevailing beliefs, the majority of poor children live with both parents, who are among the working poor, the unemployed, the underemployed, the sick and the disabled.

Although many poor families are able to provide for their children despite their poverty, poor families face some risks that families who are not considered poor do not. Poor children are twice as likely to be born prematurely and with low birth weight, and to die before age 30. Their life expectancy is shorter and they have twice the risk of chronic health problems. In terms of education, lower-income children are three times as likely to repeat a grade. Housing statistics reveal a 68 per cent increase from 1990 to 1995 in the number of poor families who live in unaffordable housing. These factors speak to the association between the well-being of our children and the disadvantages some of them face. The National Longitudinal Survey to which I referred earlier confirms that "protracted periods in a lower-income environment are believed to pose risks to a child's development."

In considering solutions to child poverty, the Senate committee made 16 recommendations, almost all of which have been ignored. The committee recommended a preventive approach, combining income support and services. It is both interesting and sad to note that at the time the report was produced, the child poverty rate was one in six, and that now it is one in five. The battle against child poverty is not being won.

[Translation]

A report released in March 1998 by Status of Women Canada offers convincing arguments, pointing to the link between child and family poverty and women's economic vulnerability. In 1995, nearly 62 per cent of all children of single mothers lived below the poverty line. The report attributes the poverty to a precarious and polarized labour market and to fragile and inadequate family policies under which children are viewed as a private responsibility rather than as a responsibility shared by the parents and the government. The report also cited the erosion of government leadership.

[English]

The Canada Health and Social Transfer and the federal government's increasing withdrawal from a leadership role in social policy have severely weakened Canada's already fragile framework of family support. This is exacerbating the problem of child poverty and women's economic vulnerability. Addressing child poverty and reducing gender inequalities require a social responsibility framework to replace the individual responsibility model and notions of "gender neutrality" so prevalent in government social security reform.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Lavoie-Roux, I am sorry, but I must inform you that you have gone far beyond your three minutes. Honourable senators, will you allow the honourable senator to continue her statement?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Lavoie-Roux: Allow me, honourable senators, to ask a question: What role can we play in ensuring a fair and equitable society? To what extent do we want to help children living in poverty? Questions of social policy are naturally multi-faceted. No single policy is valid for both families and children.

Cultural and regional diversities across Canada must be considered. For example, a very high proportion of native children live below the poverty line, including many in conditions similar to those found in developing countries, and the mortality rate among them is double that of non-native children. The suicide rate among young native people is five times that of the Canadian population as a whole.

There are also differences at the regional level, that is from province to province. The rate of poverty is highest in Newfoundland, at 26.2 per cent, and lowest in Prince Edward Island, at 14.2 per cent. Our job is therefore an important one, but it is definitely not an easy one. In this regard, I remind you that Paul Martin, the Minister of Finance, said on January 10, 1997, that child poverty is this generation's greatest social challenge.

[English]

Also of alarm is the incidence of child abuse in our society. Thousands of children are the victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse every year. One in eight children will be a victim of some form of abuse by the age of eight, abuse which usually occurs within the family. According to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to protection from abuse, neglect and exploitation. In Canada today, this right is being violated.

[Translation]

How can we ensure that our children receive attentive and protective parental care, that they live in a safe environment, in decent housing and are well fed; that they have access to a good education; that they have an opportunity to develop and reach their full potential?

I do not think we have the answer, but I also do not think that we have ever really pondered that question long enough to truly identify fundamental problems and devise more appropriate solutions.

As I said at the very beginning, tomorrow is Universal Children's Day. Each year, close to 12 million children under five die of preventable causes, including, in half of the cases, malnutrition.

We now know ways to alleviate the problem of malnutrition. We must act to help villages in developing countries ensure the well-being of their children and protect them. The death of a child, whether he or she lives in Bangladesh or in Canada, is one death too many.

To conclude, I would like to quote a child, because we have a lot to learn from our young Canadians. That young person said:

Sometimes, I think adults forget that the future depends on the future of this country's children. Adults must teach their children how to best serve our country, because children will follow the example given by their parents.

This from a young child. Another one said, and I quote:

[English]

What makes me really sad is to see a child die. The death might be the result of abuse, murder, neglect or even suicide. Most of the time, these tragedies can be prevented, but what often happens is that victims do nothing and say nothing because they think nobody cares about them. On November 20, and every day of the year, we have to be shown that somebody cares.

In conclusion, I say to all honourable senators: It is not only on the occasion of the anniversary that we should raise this problem. It should be a daily concern of every one of us, and I think all honourable senators have a contribution to make in the establishment of finding a proper solution.

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Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Landon Pearson: Honourable senators, I wish to add a quick word to the things that have already been said about National Child Day.

To celebrate National Child Day on Parliament Hill tomorrow, there will be a national launch for an exhibition called "Children of the Wind." The exhibition contains 110 artworks by children, some of them in exceptionally difficult circumstances, including former child soldiers, brick-makers and street children. Some of the works are by Canadian children who have also experienced challenges.

While the paintings and drawings in the exhibition portray these children's problems with considerable candour, they also display the incredible capacity of all children to enjoy life and to dream of future possibilities.

You have all received an invitation to this exhibit. It will be open all day. I encourage everyone to see it and to remind everyone you know of this important day.

Honourable senators, children are not a special interest group. Childhood is a period in every human life. It is a time when our beliefs and our personalities develop; when we learn how to learn; when we begin to understand what friendship means; when we discover what the rules are; when we learn how to communicate with one another, our families, friends and the external world. Childhood is the time of our lives that shapes the citizens we will become and, through us and all of the other grown-up children, the societies in which we live.

Childhood is also the time when we are at our most vulnerable, when insecurities are felt most keenly, when fears develop, when anger is fuelled. As leaders we must respond to this reality for children both in Canada and abroad.

Children have become a significant focus of government policies in recent years. Initiatives are under way to ensure their safety, well-being and development. However, we still have a very long way to go.

Honourable senators, we like to say that a child is `born into our world.' Let us also understand that in each child a world is born. National Child Day should be our promise that that world will be full of light.

Hon. Erminie J. Cohen: Honourable senators, in honour of National Child Day, may I remind you of the commitments we made when Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Let us ask ourselves the question directly: Have we carried out these objectives?

The subtitle of "Children reaching their potential" is one of the convention's four main topics. Many believe that the entire instrument is really about the child's right to become all that he or she might be.

A key objective of National Child Day, as you have heard from my colleagues, is to increase awareness and understanding of the components that contribute to a healthy child development; those things which, when started early in life, form a solid foundation for the child to build on. Education, family, a sense of belonging and personal identity, freedom of expression, living free from harm and the availability of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and access to medical services, all promote the well-being of the child. However, there is one risk factor, honourable senators, which on its own can virtually eliminate the possibility of most of these elements in a child's life. That risk factor is poverty.

How do we know this? Children themselves have told us. When the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition asked poor children how poverty affected them in their day-to-day lives, these were the heart-wrenching answers: "I am ashamed when my dad cannot get a job; I feel bad telling my mom that I need gym shoes, pretending that I forgot my lunch, not being able to go camping, to birthday parties, to Cubs or to soccer; getting a basket from the Santa Fund."

These statements tell us that poverty is preventing them from reaching their true potential; something which, according to our UN agreement, we need to take seriously. Poor children live in poor families, and the sad reality is that too many parents have no work, not enough work or work that pays too little to lift them out of poverty.

The Child Benefit and the GST credit, both of which are not fully indexed to inflation, lose value each year. Canadian social programs were once designed to lift poor families out of poverty. Instead, policy changes today unfortunately directly hit the poor, and pull even more people into poverty. In fact, as you have heard, we now have 1.5 million children living in poverty - about 400,000 more than a decade ago.

Honourable senators, it was almost three decades ago when the Canadian government successfully tackled the problem of seniors living in poverty. Why can we not employ the same type of strategy today and fully index the GST credit and the National Child Benefit, which were designed to help low-income families and thus tackle the problem of child poverty?

Canada must live up to the commitments we sign. Our children and grandchildren are watching.

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators may have noticed that Senator Carstairs, Senator Pearson, Senator Cools, Senator Cohen, and Senator Lavoie-Roux are all women. Every honourable member of the Senate shares totally in what has been said by our colleagues. One of the best ways to address this question, since I always like to be positive, is to remember the great work done by Senator Croll on poverty.

Perhaps the time has come. Senator Cohen has asked what we can do. Senators who are interested in this sad situation could put their heads together and form a special committee, along the same lines as that chaired by Senator Croll, in an effort to address this growing problem of poverty which I see in my city of Montreal, and in every other city in Canada.

National Post

Launch of New National Newspaper

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I wish to draw the Senate's attention to a significant, historical development in this country and its newspaper community.

On October 27, 1998, the first edition of Canada's newest national daily newspaper, the National Post, appeared on the newstands. The new National Post is the bold and brave initiative of Canada's own Conrad Black to build a Canadian national daily newspaper.

For many months, the country read about Mr. Black's acquisition of The Financial Post as a base from which to build this national newspaper. All read with interest that such a challenging venture was in motion.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Black, his associates, the editors and journalists, and all those who have laboured to bring the National Post together, and wish them well in their endeavours.

Honourable senators, as I said, the creation of the National Post is a venture of Mr. Conrad Black and his associates of Hollinger International, the parent company of Southam, Inc. the National Post has Ken Whyte for editor-in-chief. Its editors and journalists include Christie Blatchford, Andrew Coyne, Donna Laframboise, Patricia Pearson, and a host of other notable Canadian writers.

Honourable senators, starting a new newspaper is a daunting, difficult, expensive and risky proposition. For these reasons, it is also very rare. I cannot think of the launch of any new Canadian daily newspaper since The Toronto Sun in 1971. Mr. Black's genesis of this national daily newspaper is an initiative of enormous magnitude and is so formidable as to be beyond the imagination, the capability and reach of most people and of most newspaper entrepreneurs.

The media and newspaper world is extremely competitive, and is preoccupied with dominion in the marketplace of readership. The quest for dominion often takes pre-eminence over the quality of the printed word. Some of the media world even believe that the financial balance sheet, the shareholders' profit and profit margins, are synonymous with the public's interest in the printed word and in the freedom of the press itself.

The media's challenge is always to uphold the quality of the printed word as the guiding standard. the National Post seems to be attempting to claim new ground in its approach to the quality of the printed word. Time will tell. Canadians will undoubtedly make their judgment on the quality of the National Post's printed word at the newstand.

Conrad Black, Honorary Colonel of the Governor General's Foot Guard, is a newspaper magnate, as were Canada's late Lord Thompson, Baron Roy Herbert Thomson of Fleet, and even Lord Beaverbrook himself. Mr. Black is an indomitable Canadian who is staunchly loyal to Canada and to all things Canadian. Honourable senators, I wish him, his wife, Barbara Amiel, his associates, the journalists and all those who work at the new National Post the best of success in their new venture.


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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Present State and Future of Agriculture

Report of Agriculture and Forestry Committee Requesting Authorization to Engage Services and to Travel on Study Presented and Printed as Appendix

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, which requests that the committee be empowered to incur special expenses pursuant to the "Procedural Guidelines and the Financial Operation of Senate Committees."

I ask that the report be printed as an appendix to the Journals of the Senate of this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of report see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix `A', p. 1081.)

The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into consideration?

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

[Translation]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Twenty-seventh Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin, Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Thursday, November 19, 1998

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

TWENTY-SEVENTH REPORT

Special Committee on Security and Intelligence (Supplementary Budget):

 

Professional and Other Services   

 $ 30,000

TOTAL   

 $ 30,000

Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Veterans Affairs) 
(Supplementary Budget):

 

Professional and Other Services   

 $ 9,000

TOTAL   

 $ 9,000

Respectfully submitted,

PIERRE CLAUDE NOLIN
Deputy Chairman

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

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

Twenty-eighth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin, Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Thursday, November 19, 1998

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

TWENTY-EIGHTH REPORT

Your Committee recommends that the pay scales of unrepresented employees be increased by 2.5 per cent effective April 1, 1998.

Respectfully submitted,

PIERRE CLAUDE NOLIN
Deputy Chairman

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

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

[English]

State of Financial System

Interim Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee on Study Tabled

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the interim report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce entitled "The Governance Practices of Institutional Investors."

On motion of Senator Tkachuk, pursuant to rule 97(3), report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

Veterans Health Care Services

Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee on Study Presented and Printed as Appendix

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, which requests that the committee be empowered to incur special expenses pursuant to the "Procedural Guidelines for the Financial Operation of Senate Committees."

Thursday, November 19, 1998

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

THIRTEENTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Wednesday, November 5, 1997, to examine and report on the state of health care in Canada concerning veterans of war and Canadian Service persons, respectfully requests that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary and to adjourn from place to place within Canada for the purpose of its examination.

Pursuant to Section 2:07 of the Procedural Guidelines for the Financial Operation of Senate Committees, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that Committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

LOWELL MURRAY
Chair

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix `B,' p. 1087.)

The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this report be taken into consideration?

Senator Murray: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(g), I move that the report be taken into consideration now. I would be prepared to answer any questions.

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

An Hon. Senator: Now?

Senator Murray: Honourable senators, now or later this day. The reason for asking the accommodation of the Senate on this matter is that the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs is sending a small task force of senators to continue the work they began some time ago, to examine the state of veterans' health services. That small task force would be travelling next week. It is for that purpose that we request the Senate approve the report which I have presented, and to which there is appended a budget which was this morning approved by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

The Hon. the Speaker: Could I ask Honourable Senator Murray whether he is asking for leave to proceed now or later this day?

Senator Murray: I had asked for leave to proceed now but I am in the hands of the chamber, as always.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): No, later this day.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, His Honour has asked if leave was granted. Before granting it we would like to have a copy of the report so we can know exactly what Senator Murray is requesting. We should at least have that in front of us.

The Hon. the Speaker: The agreement was later this day.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I ask leave to defer this motion until later this day for the purposes of the adjournment motion only.

Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I asked for leave now but I would certainly settle for later this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: When I had asked Honourable Senator Murray, I understood him to say he would prefer that the matter be discussed now, but that he would accept later this day.

Leave is granted for later this day, and that is what the motion will read.

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.

[Translation]

International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians

Meeting Held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast-Reports of Canadian Section Tabled

Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 23(6), I have the honour to present to the house, in both official languages, the report by the Canadian section of the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians, as well as the related financial report. The first is a report on the executive meeting held at Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on July 4, 1998 and the second is on the 24th regular session which was held from July 7 to 9, also at Abidjan.

[English]

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Asia-Pacific Region

Foreign Affairs Committee Authorized to Extend Date of Final Report on Study

Hon. John B. Stewart: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I move:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on October 28, 1997, and the motion adopted October 21, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, which was authorized to examine and report on the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region for Canada, be empowered to table its final report no later than December 3, 1998.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

Present State and Future of Agriculture

Notice of Motion to Authorize Agriculture and Forestry Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, November 24, 1998, I will move:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on November 18, 1997 to examine matters relating to the present state and future of agriculture in Canada, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be empowered to present its final report no later than June 30, 1999.

That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit its report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.

Present State and Future of Forestry

Notice of Motion to Authorize Agriculture and Forestry Committee to Extend Date for Final Report on Study

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, November 24, 1998, I will move:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on November 18, 1997 to examine matters relating to the present state and future of forestry in Canada, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be empowered to present its final report no later than June 30, 1999.

That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit its report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber

Security and Intelligence

Special Committee Authorized to Extend Date of Final Report

Hon. William M. Kelly: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I move:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on September 29, 1998, the Special Committee of the Senate on Security and Intelligence be empowered to present its final report no later than December 17, 1998.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

Election of Canada to United Nations Security Council

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, following consultations with the Honourable Senator Prud'homme and the Honourable Senator Wilson, I give notice that on Tuesday, December 8, 1998, I shall call the attention of the Senate to the election of Canada to the United Nations Security Council for 1999-2000, and Canada's role in contributing to peace, global security and human rights in the world on the eve of the new millennium.

QUESTION PERIOD

Business of the Senate

Cancellation of Meeting of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee-Position of Chairman of Committee and Government Leader

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, the shade of the saga seems to be attempting to influence even this place.

My question is addressed to the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Could the chairman advise this house why the scheduled meeting for the committee this morning was cancelled?

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, the meeting scheduled for 10:45 this morning was cancelled because the Attorney General - or, rather, the Solicitor General's office informed us that he would not be able to attend. Since he was the only witness on the list, we cancelled the meeting. Apparently, he has been called out of the city on personal business.

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I take it that the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs refers to the Solicitor General who, perhaps, wishes that he was the Attorney General.

I have two supplementary questions: First, did the chairman of the committee consult with any of the other members of the committee prior to cancelling the meeting?

Senator Milne: No, I did not. Since there was no other witness to be heard by us at that time, I assumed that there was no point in holding a meeting. Therefore, I informed members as quickly as possible, through the clerk of the committee, that the meeting had been cancelled.

I wish to inform you that the Solicitor General has agreed to appear before the committee next Wednesday, when the Senate rises.

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable chairman of the committee, and particularly for the latter piece of information. Some of us were worried that he was taking Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar a little too seriously, and had some hesitation about coming to the Senate.

Perhaps the Leader of the Government in the Senate could explain to us whether or not, to his knowledge, the Prime Minister's Office advised the Solicitor General not to come to the Senate today, notwithstanding the admonitions in Julius Caesar?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, certainly not to my knowledge. I was in a cabinet committee from nine o'clock this morning until shortly before this afternoon's session of the Senate began. It was at the cabinet committee where I received word that Minister Scott had postponed his meeting with the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

National Defence

Eye Injuries Reportedly Inflicted with Laser Device-Possible Joint Action with Americans Against Vessel Responsible-Government Position

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I wish to return briefly to the questions that I raised yesterday. In response to those questions, the Leader of the Government in the Senate was definite, clear and persuasive with respect to the care and concern over the incident of the use of laser beams as a debilitating tool with respect to helicopter activity. I wish to ask the minister about the health of the pilot of that aircraft.

Were there any lengthy discussions between United States' military leaders and Canada's military leaders about any action that might or might not be taken with respect to the vessel in question? Were there talks or an exchange of papers?

Was there any attempt to join forces and jointly file a complaint with respect to this practice?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Not to my knowledge, honourable senators. Canadians were only recently made aware of the report completed by the Americans on this case. I am not sure whether that report is in the hands of the appropriate Canadian authorities. When it is received, it will be reviewed and appropriate measures will be taken.

Senator Forrestall: Does the minister not find it somewhat unusual that an officer of another nation's armed forces sustained such a serious injury while on joint manoeuvres in a Canadian military aircraft, and there was no high-level consultation on the matter?

Senator Graham: Honourable senators, this is a very unfortunate incident. If high-level consultations have not already been held, they certainly will be.

Agriculture

Economic Crisis in Rural Canada-Need for Long-Term Farm Income Support-Government Position

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to return to the desperate situation of farmers. Despite the desperate situation faced by Canadian farmers, the Liberal government has continued to cut agricultural safety net programs. In fact, the Liberals have cut income support programs by 30 per cent since 1995. Combined provincial and federal income support programs have been cut by 60 per cent since the Liberals came into power in 1993.

This stands in stark contrast to Canada's competitors, who have found the political will to help agricultural producers. The United States, for example, has recently announced an additional $6 billion in support, bringing the U.S. government contribution to $14.5 billion for 1998 alone. The European Community has provided significant support for its grain farmers through export subsidies. The EU is providing direct support for grains at $175 per acre of wheat grown and is also supporting the floor price for grain.

To appreciate this disparity of political will, one must only consider figures recently published by Canada's Department of Agriculture. According to those figures, Canada has the second lowest producer subsidy level of all countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, at 2 per cent. By comparison, the so-called producer subsidy equivalents in the United States and the European Union were 16 per cent and 49 per cent respectively.

Does the government have the political will to act on this very desperate situation for farmers? Does the leader believe that the assistance we provide to farmers, compared to that provided by our American and European counterparts, demands immediate attention by the government? Is the government committed to providing immediate aid and long-term support for Canadian farmers comparable to that provided by our American and European counterparts? If not, will the government spell out its plan for immediate action?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as indicated yesterday and on other occasions, the Minister of Agriculture met with his provincial colleagues on November 4, I believe, to review current farm income forecasts and discuss the very serious situation that farmers face today.

The minister has asked the National Safety Net Advisory Committee to work expeditiously in developing options to address the farm income situation. He has already spoken to his cabinet colleagues. He will be speaking again with cabinet colleagues on a more formal basis before the end of this month. The matter is receiving immediate attention.

I spoke again this morning directly with the Minister of Agriculture with regard to representations made by honourable senators on this very important matter.

In answer to the specific question, I cannot comment on whether any forthcoming aid will be comparable to that provided in the United States and the European Community. However, I wish to assure honourable senators that Minister Vanclief is seized with the problem and he will be bringing forward recommendations to his cabinet colleagues in the very near future.

Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, this problem has been with us for a long time. I think everyone understands the issues. I do not think further study is necessary. Action is needed now.

I would invite the cabinet to come to Saskatchewan to see the devastation that has been inflicted upon farmers and the ripple effect it has had on the entire economy of Saskatchewan.

Senator Graham: Honourable senators, I wish to again emphasize that the minister is working with the provinces and the industry toward a type of national disaster program, for lack of a better term, that would go beyond the presently available safety net risk management tools.

I believe that the minister indicated to me that this would be individually directed to each whole farm income. We must remember, of course, that farm safety net support is presently funded on a 60/40 basis between the federal and provincial governments. The minister hopes that he will have an announcement to make in the near future.

Canadian Race Relations Foundation

Effect of Legislation on Independence-Government Position

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senator, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Yesterday, the President of the Treasury Board announced that he will strike from Bill C-44 those provisions that would reduce the independence of the CBC's board of directors. Is the government also prepared to strike those sections of Bill C-44 that will gut the independence of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation?

By way of background, I remind the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate that, on September 30 of this year, I rose in this place and asked him a question relating to this matter. I explained that the Canadian Race Relations Foundation was being stripped of its original advocacy role of promoting the development of effective policies and programs for the elimination of racism and racial discrimination.

At that time the honourable leader said:

With respect to Bill C-44, Senator Oliver has alerted us as to what is contained in that bill. I have not had an opportunity to examine the contents of the bill, but I will certainly do so based on the representations made by Senator Oliver today.

Can the honourable leader tell us what he has done about this, what response he received, and why the bill was not amended as the provisions for the CBC board of directors were amended?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I wish to assure Senator Oliver that I took his representations directly to the minister involved, and I expect that the matter is still under consideration.

Senator Oliver: Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate able to say whether the matter is under consideration, or is that the only change that the minister intends to make in the other place?

Senator Graham: Again, I will bring Senator Oliver's representations to the attention of the minister.

(1500)

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have a response to a question raised in the Senate on November 3, 1998, by the Honourable Senator Mira Spivak, regarding banning the export of fresh water and possible forthcoming legislation. I also have a response to a question raised in the Senate on November 17, 1998, by the Honourable Senator Lois Wilson, regarding the response to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and its availability to the public.

The Environment

Ban on Export of Fresh Water-Possible Forthcoming Legislation-Government Position

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mira Spivak on November 3, 1998)

The government will lay out its strategy for a comprehensive approach to water exports later in the Fall.

United Nations

Response to Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights-Availability to Public-Government Position

(Response to question raised by Hon. Lois M. Wilson on November 17, 1998)

The Human Rights Program in the department of Canadian Heritage has been responsible for coordinating the federal and provincial/ territorial reports submitted to the United Nations on Canada's implementation of international human rights treaties for the last 20 years.

It should be underlined that the issuing of such questions by the Committee is an ad hoc working arrangement, initiated by the United Nations Committee, and in which Canada cooperates as far as possible; responding to these questions is not an obligation under the Covenant. Canada's obligations under the Covenant are entirely met by the submission of the report and the appearance of a Canadian delegation at the review. The response to additional questionnaires is an additional workload which Canada undertakes voluntarily, in a spirit of cooperation, in order to assist the Committee as far as possible.

While reports themselves are widely distributed to libraries and interested parties, as well as published on the Heritage department's World Wide Web site, there is at present no set procedure with respect to domestic distribution of responses to these supplementary questionnaires.

Until there is an agreement between all Canadian contributors, in accordance with the procedure applicable to actual reports, we have considered that the responses are in the public domain once 1) they have been submitted to the UN, and 2) translated into Canada's two official languages. Copies of responses will then be supplied on request to interested parties.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Implementation Bill

Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs (Bill C-52, to implement the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, with an amendment) presented in the Senate on November 18, 1998.

Hon. John B. Stewart moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

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

On motion of Senator Corbin, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.

Child Custody and Access

Report of Special Joint Committee Requesting Authorization to Extend Date of Final Report-Debate Suspended

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the first report of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access (extension of reporting date), presented in the Senate on November 17, 1998.

Hon. Landon Pearson moved the adoption of the report.

She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the first report of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access.

As you are aware, the Order of Reference for this committee was adopted by the Senate on October 28, 1997, and by the House of Commons on November 18, 1997. It stated:

That a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons be appointed to examine and analyze issues relating to parenting arrangements after separation and divorce, and in particular, to assess the need for a more child-centred approach to family law policies and practices that would emphasize parental responsibilities rather than parental rights and child-focused parenting arrangements based on children's needs and best interests;

Since February 1998, the committee has held 39 meetings, during which we have heard from over 500 witnesses. A certain number of meetings were held in Ottawa. The rest were held in major centres across Canada.

During these meetings, we listened carefully to many individual Canadians, including some children of divorce who told us their personal stories regarding the difficult and emotional issues related to child custody and access. We also heard from groups representing various aspects of the problem, as well as from professionals from the academic, legal, medical and therapeutic communities.

More recently, we have been meeting in camera to sift through the evidence and the multitude of recommendations that were brought forward by our witnesses in order to produce an informative and useful report to Parliament. We have had 12 such meetings to date.

Although we have made significant progress, it is evident we will require an extension of our initial reporting date in order that we may have time to complete our deliberations and prepare the final product. As such, our committee agreed to send the joint chairs to our respective houses to seek such an extension.

This first report asks for an extension until no later than December 11, 1998. Yesterday, in the other place, my co-chair obtained unanimous consent to adopt this report.

Today, I would ask all honourable senators to support the adoption of this report so that our committee may continue its important work. There is much at stake for the children of the nation.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to support Senator Pearson's motion to extend the Order of Reference of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access.

As senators know, this committee's genesis was godmothered by Senator Jessiman and myself when it was constituted by the Senate motion to which I spoke on October 28, 1998.

The committee's subject-matter, family breakdown, has been my life's work. The committee has laboured under many internal and administrative problems, including poor attendance by members of the House of Commons, frequently functioning without a quorum, media leaks and other handicaps.

On June 2, 1998, I spoke about the poor attendance of members of the House of Commons. In addition, the senators on this committee have been pained by the House of Commons co-chair Roger Gallaway's campaign to abolish the Senate of Canada, about which I spoke on June 11, 1998.

I have found this committee's handicaps to be a personal trial. These handicaps have been so serious as to deter me from wishing to serve on another joint committee in the near future. On the other hand, this committee's very existence has been greatly welcomed and widely supported across the land. That fact has made my sacrifice and any tribulations worthwhile.

Honourable senators, this committee, though enormously supported by the public, has been under consistent and persistent attack from a small number of biological determinist gender feminists who wish the Divorce Act to be a feminist act.

Honourable senators know that I repudiate gender feminist morality and that I reject any concept of morality based on biology, race, colour or gender. Simply put, I reject their notion that women are morally superior and that men are morally defective. I reject the notion that virtue is women's and that vice is men's; that virtue and love and caring are women's and that vice and violence are men's.

Honourable senators, human aggression and violence are the scourges of the human condition. Human nature's dark sides are reflected in both genders, as are human nature's light sides. Aggression and violence are human problems, not gender problems. Both men and women are capable of terrible deeds. However, both men and women are capable of great love and humanity.

I am supported in these assertions by all the evidence and by the scholarly studies on domestic violence which shows symmetry and reciprocity. Men and women attack each other equally. Men and women both share equal potential to be good parents, and conversely, to be bad parents. In marriage, children are produced by men and women. Nature gave children two parents, a mother and a father. Therefore, I assert that children of divorce need both their parents. Children of divorce need the love and support of both their parents. Parliament and the courts must vindicate the need of children for both parents, emotionally, psychologically and financially. Divorce ends the marital bond but not the parenting bond. The parenting bond survives. Parenting is forever, and that parenting bond must be protected. Further, the Divorce Act as enacted by Parliament never intended or enacted the dispossession of parents of their children, or that of children of their parents. The disinclination of the courts to vindicate the needs of children for both of their parents, and their disinclination to enforce their court orders for access has, in effect, left the children of divorce without the protection of the courts. This disinclination is begging correction. It has also left many children fatherless.

Honourable senators, this committee has enjoyed wide support across this land. It has also endured some nasty, vitriolic attacks, many directed personally at me. I shall draw senators' attention to some of these attacks. Before I do that, however, I shall speak to one particular attempt to discredit this committee. I speak of the actions and of an Op-Ed article in the November 9, 1998 issue of The Globe and Mail written by the Secretary of State for the Status of Women, Hedy Fry. The Secretary of State's Op-Ed piece, entitled, "A blanket rule of forced joint custody would be a bad move: Will the best interests of the child be the first casualty in the battle to change custody and access rules?", is a bald ministerial attack on a parliamentary committee.

Such an attack on a committee of Parliament by a minister is an egregious act, unworthy of any minister of the Crown, of the cabinet and of the Liberal Party of Canada. As a senior Liberal senator, I condemn most strenuously this minister's efforts to discredit a committee of the Parliament of Canada. Her efforts to direct and form the conclusions of this committee are appalling. Secretary of State Hedy Fry, like certain modern Liberal ministers, does not understand the parliamentary system in which she operates. In the alternative, if she understands it, she does not respect or practise it. The Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access has completed its public work and is currently working on its report. It appears from her Op-Ed piece that Hedy Fry does not like the conclusions she believes and hears that the committee will make, and is taking steps to force and compel a different set of conclusions.

(1510)

Honourable senators, in another era of strong parliaments and strong party caucuses, this or any other minister's similar actions would have been unwelcome and would have met with strong disapproval from her own party caucus. In today's parliamentary community, however, they are met with silence, even acquiescence, as members of Parliament shrink from the representative political duty of holding ministers politically responsible to Parliament, which is the people's representative assembly. Some members even wish to persuade me that it is party loyalty.

Honourable senators, I note that Hedy Fry is the minister responsible for the Status of Women. I note that the minister responsible for the Divorce Act and its judicial operation is not Hedy Fry but Minister of Justice Anne McLellan. Minister McLellan has acted nobly and properly all through the entire process of this joint committee on custody and access. Secretary Fry should take a page from the minister's book and uphold that Parliament's committees have an integrity and an existence which is subject only to Parliament, and not to any minister, and that Parliament expects its committees to do their work unimpaired, unimpeded, and unfettered by any minister of the Crown.

Our system of cabinet and ministerially responsible government stands on the premise that cabinet speaks with one voice, the government's voice, and that that voice is articulated by the minister responsible for the individual portfolio or by the Prime Minister for all portfolios. Cabinet has no personal, private voice or no private voice of individual ministers, even if spoken publicly in the media. Canadian principles and practices have always held that when a minister cannot abide by the single voice of cabinet, then that minister must surrender ministerial office, resign, and rejoin the multitude of backbenchers who are hoping and longing to be ministers. The secretary's voice as a non-responsible minister is unknown to our system. Is the secretary speaking for cabinet, or is she not? Are her utterances government policy, or are they not?

The secretary's Op-Ed piece is a compromise of cabinet, of a parliamentary committee, and of Parliament itself. Her action seeks to pre-empt all three, and is novel, unprecedented, improper, and undemocratic. I also view the Secretary of State's action as an attack on Minister of Justice Anne McLellan and an attack on the cabinet system itself.

Honourable senators, the Secretary of State is publicly discrediting the committee's work. The secretary is publicly coercing the committee to do her bidding - to obey her wishes. Simply put, she is directing the committee to abandon its work, to ignore its witnesses, to ignore the testimony it heard, to ignore the Canadian public, and to abandon any conclusions that the committee might make, based on its own very open public process. Instead, she is publicly coercing the committee to substitute and adopt her personal opinion on recommendations concerning the Divorce Act, for which she is not even the responsible minister, and on recommendations that are not yet made.

Honourable senators, on November 2, 1998, Secretary of State for the Status of Women Hedy Fry appeared before the special joint committee, accompanied by an October 30, 1998 news release from her department, Status of Women Canada, which said:

"There are no simple, quick-fix solutions in custody and access disputes," said Dr. Fry. "Before we begin to change the law, Canadians need to do a reality check. Will the best interests of the child be served by the changes being considered?"

Dr. Fry will be available for media interviews immediately following the presentation.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Cools, I regret to interrupt you but, under the order from the Senate, I must ask that the bells be rung at 3:15 p.m .

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, could I have leave to finish my speech following the vote? I have just a bit more to say.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Debate suspended.

Parks Canada Agency Bill

Third Reading

On the Order:

On the motion of the Honourable Senator Fitzpatrick, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ruck, for the third reading of Bill C-29, to establish the Parks Canada Agency and to amend other Acts as a consequence.

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Phillips, that the Bill be not now read a third time but that it be read a third time this day six months hence.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, we will commence ringing the bells to call in the senators for the vote at 3:30 p.m.

(1530)

Motion in amendment negatived on the following division:

YEAS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Andreychuk, Angus, Atkins, Beaudoin, Berntson, Bolduc, Cohen, Comeau, DeWare, Di Nino, Doody, Forrestall, Ghitter, Gustafson, Kelly, Keon, Kinsella, LeBreton, Lynch-Staunton, Meighen, Murray, Nolin, Oliver, Phillips, Pitfield, Rossiter, Simard, Tkachuk-28

NAYS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Bryden, Butts, Callbeck, Carstairs, Cook, Cools, Corbin, De Bané, Fairbairn, Ferretti Barth, Fitzpatrick, Fraser, Gill, Grafstein, Graham, Hays, Hervieux-Payette, Johnstone, Joyal, Kenny, Kirby, Kroft, Lawson, Losier-Cool, Maloney, Mercier, Milne, Pearson, Pépin, Poy, Robichaud (L'Acadie-Acadia) Robichaud (Saint-Louis-d e-Kent), Rompkey, Ruck, Sparrow, Stewart, Stollery, Taylor, Watt, Whelan-40

ABSTENTIONS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Prud'homme, Roche-2

The Hon. the Speaker: On the main motion, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion for third reading of this bill?

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the Oppsoition): On division.

Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed, on division.

Child Custody and Access

Report of Special Joint Committee Requesting Authorization to Extend Date of Final Report Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Butts, for the adoption of the first report of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access (extension of reporting date), presented in the Senate on November 17, 1998.- (Honourable Senator Cools)

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I was talking about Secretary of State Hedy Fry's news release, which called for a reality check. It is the Secretary of State who needs a reality check. She also needs a lesson in the history of the Liberal Party's position on divorce.

When Ms Fry appeared before our committee on November 2, I asked her about the Liberal Party of Canada and the government's position on the need of children of divorce for both parents. She responded:

...I am not here to speak for the Liberal Party of Canada,...

As a Liberal, I offer her then Liberal Minister of Justice Mark MacGuigan's work on divorce. He introduced the words "the best interests of the child" into the Divorce Act. His Bill C-10 was later superceded by then Minister of Justice John Crosbie's bill after our 1984 devastating defeat by Mr. Mulroney's Conservatives. In Mr. MacGuigan's 1984 position document called "Divorce Law in Canada: Proposals for Change," he said:

1. ...a child should have maximum access to both parents. Whatever the parents' reasons for divorce, the child has an interest in maintaining a normal relationship with each parent....any animosity the parents may feel for each other should not be allowed to interfere with this interest.

He added:

3. ...the court should consider the best interests of the child, particularly the child's interest in having maximum access to both parents.

That was the Liberal government's position in 1984, and that is my position today, in 1998.

Honourable senators, I know that certain gender feminists at the Women's Justice Network are poised this week to join the Secretary of State. Their Web site informs us of their intention to:

Discredit the process and nullify any recommendations that come from the Committee.

It adds:

It is critical that a fax or letter be sent to Hedy Fry, Secretary of State for the Status of Women, and that all letters mention they are being c.c.-ed to Dr. Fry.

I note that Michele Landsberg has joined the parade as well. In her Toronto Star article on November 14, 1998, "Custody committee leaves trail of toxic myths," she said:

...send a fax to Dr. Hedy Fry...cheering her recent tough stand against the committee's excesses.

She joined her again in her November 15 Toronto Star article "Beware this men's rights poison."

Honourable senators, Liberal ministers who uphold neither parliamentary principles nor the principles of liberalism are tedious, but Liberal ministers who publicly act and express opinions in support of attempts to discredit, to defeat and to supplant the work and conclusions of Parliament and its committees are shameful and outrageous.

I speak now about these vitriolic attacks on the special joint committee. Michele Landsberg's article of hate propaganda, savaging the committee and its members, was so pathologically nasty as to cause reasonable readers to condemn the committee. Ms Landsberg, in that same November 14 article already quoted, described the special joint committee as "The travelling circus...", and added:

The joint committee crossed Canada like a manure spreader run amok, leaving a trail of toxic falsehoods in its wake.

(1540)

I also noted that June 8, 1998 was the Lobby Day of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Joan Grant-Cummings of NAC, in a speech broadcast on CPAC on that day, stated:

....women experienced violence and abuse during those hearings...

Honourable senators, the perpetrators of these gross untruths seem to believe that the repetition of an untruth makes it true. I have rarely seen or heard as much hatred and aggression as I have heard spoken by these women. Thankfully, their pathologies and extremisms are so evident that the public has no appetite for their attitude.

Honourable senators, I thank Senator Pearson for bringing forward this request to extend the committee's Order of Reference for a few days. I fully support it.

I also thank Senator Pearson for all her efforts and all the senators on that committee who have laboured under some very difficult conditions.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Butts, that this report be adopted now. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Veterans Health Care Services

Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee on Study Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented in the Senate earlier this day.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on behalf of Senator Murray, I move the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Health

Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada-Compliance with Recommendations-Point of Order-Speaker's Ruling

Leave having been given to revert to Motion No. 84:

On the Order:

Motion of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Kinsella:

"That the Senate reaffirm its unanimous support of the following motion passed without dissent on June 18, 1998:

That the Senate endorses and supports recommendation 1 of the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada which calls upon provinces and territories to respond to the needs of those who suffered due to the management of the blood supply system;

That the Senate recognizes the leadership role played by the Government of Canada in formulating a Federal-Provincial compensation package for those infected with Hepatitis-C through the blood supply system between 1986 and 1990;

That, in view of the fact that Federal and Provincial Governments have agreed to revisit the original agreement to seek a greater consensus concerning our response to this national tragedy, the Senate urges the Government of Canada and the Governments of the Provinces and Territories to take positive action to address the needs of those who suffer ill-effects from Hepatitis-C contracted through the blood system; and

That a copy of this motion be forwarded to each federal, provincial and territorial Minister of Health."-(Speaker's Ruling).

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, on Tuesday, November 3, after Motion No. 84, standing in the name of Senator Lynch-Staunton, had been moved, Senator Carstairs rose on a point of order to challenge its procedural acceptability. The senator noted that an identical motion regarding the Senate's endorsement of recommendation 1 of the Krever commission and the need on the part of the federal and provincial governments to take positive action had already been adopted by the Senate last June. Citing rule 63(1) of the Rules of the Senate and citation 558 of Beauchesne's Sixth Edition at page 172, Senator Carstairs argued that the motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton contravened the "same question" rule which prohibits the introduction of motions or bills similar in substance to one already voted on.

[Translation]

Speaking in defense of the motion's procedural validity, Senator Lynch-Staunton cited the same authorities as well as Beauchesne, citation 654, at page 198, and claimed that the motion was acceptable since it was not contradictory to the decision of last June. As he explained:

We want to reaffirm that it continues to stand as the judgement of the House.

[English]

Senator Kinsella then spoke to suggest that I, as Speaker, give particular attention to the meaning of the words "the same in substance" when considering my ruling. Shortly afterwards, Senator Stewart offered an explanation of the origins of the "same question" rule. Its purpose, he said, was to avoid the repetition of debate on motions that have already been decided earlier in the session. Senator Grafstein then made reference to the dictionary meaning of the phrase "in the affirmative" to support the position of Senator Carstairs.

[Translation]

I wish to thank those honourable senators who participated in the discussion on the point of order. I find such exchanges useful. While I am not always able to come up with a solution that will satisfy everyone, I make it my goal to apply the rules as best I can to promote the decision-making process of the Senate.

[English]

In this particular case, there seems to be little dispute about the fact that the motion now standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Leader of the Opposition is virtually, word for word, identical to the motion adopted by the Senate on June 18. Indeed, this fact is acknowledged by the use of quotation marks following the introductory statement of reaffirmation. That being the case, it would seem to me that the "same question" rule is applicable. The Leader of the Opposition contends, however, that due to changed circumstances, the request to have the Senate reaffirm its decision is appropriate. I note, however, that these circumstances are not incorporated into the motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition. Instead, the motion simply seeks to reiterate the previous decision.

[Translation]

In preparing my ruling, I read the commentary to rule 63 that is provided in the Companion to the Rules of the Senate published in 1994. I have also reviewed some applicable precedents. While the information is certainly relevant, there is no example that matches the striking feature of this case. The motion Senator Lynch-Staunton proposes to have the Senate consider again is not one that was rejected, but one that was in fact adopted. Despite the unusual aspect of this case, I did find the precedents useful.

[English]

One that occurred in June 1985 addressed the point of order with respect to the contents of a bill as it related to a motion on the budget. The Speaker at that time stated that our parliamentary jurisprudence requires us to have identical texts for rule 63 to apply. In another ruling, from the other place, mentioned in Beauchesne at citation 654 at page 198, the Speaker found that clauses from one bill which were identical to a bill that had already been defeated by a vote of the House had to be deleted. To my mind, these rulings reinforce the conclusion that whenever the texts of the motions are virtually identical, the "same question" rule is applicable. Whether the rule might also apply in the circumstances when the motions in dispute are not identical but are the "same in substance" is a hypothetical question that need not be answered on this occasion.

(1550)

There is little doubt that the text of Motion No. 84 is basically identical to that which was adopted by the Senate on June 18. Consequently, it is my decision that the point of order challenging the right to have the matter brought before the Senate again is well founded. To allow the motion to be put before the Senate would contravene the letter and intent of rule 63 and the established practices of this house. Motion No. 84 should be discharged from the Order Paper.

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe-Seventh Annual Meeting of Parliamentary Assembly, Copenhagen, Denmark-Inquiry

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein rose pursuant to notice of November 5, 1998:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association to the Seventh Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from July 7 to 10, 1998.

He said: Honourable senators, last July I attended the seventh annual assembly of the OSCE in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Just what is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe? Why does it command our attention?

Honourable senators, I was asked again and again just what is the OSCE. To be charitable, the history of the OSCE is not well known in the streets, schools or media of our country. For the most part, the media simply refuses to cover complexities or context. Too much time or too much study must be invested to follow, track and reflect the linear lurches in democratic development. Revolutions, civil eruptions, disasters, massacres, all these make easy copy, easy targets for the media; far easier for quick takes and instant analyses. Progress in democratic development is not readily dissected and, therefore, not easily discernible. The slow-moving evolution of political institutions are rarely marked or measured.

Honourable senators, we can even look at the media coverage of the Senate to establish the truism of that statement.

Small turns that become changes, even sea changes, in political discourse are rarely navigated by the media. Therefore, honourable senators, it is left to parliamentarians, when they are able, to chart for the busy citizen dramatic changes in political discourse to map changes in political geography. To what end?

First, as parliamentarians, we must work hard while we ourselves learn and inform ourselves and then distill, if we can, the essentials to our public. Informed, focused, public opinion remains our best offence against public and political inertia, especially inertia towards democratic dialogue.

After the sudden collapse of the Cold War, the "peace dividend" was a hollow vessel. Transforming autocratic states to democratic societies was never to be automatic or magically reformed, as some dreamed, but there is a difference in the political discourse in Europe. Rather than the endless sterile debates on the Cold War, the Europe of today, like the Canada of today, is obsessed by the demand for rights. We hear it everywhere. We have learned that there are no quick fixes for democracy. The work of democracy and responsible government is slow and belaboured, not unlike the slow and laborious growth of the common law that emerged after centuries of case-by-case, precedent-by-precedent discourse.

The Europe of today, like the Canada of today, is preoccupied with the clamour for rights, and sometimes rights without any sense of responsibility. Thankfully, the oxygen and the energy of the new Europe politics is sucked up by the new democratic transnational institutions: the European Union, the Western European Union and the Council of Europe. All these pan-national organisms are flooded by work, by continual seminars, ministerial meetings, bureaucratic exchanges, parliamentary assemblies and working committees. All parliamentarians in this chamber know of this work because they are actively engaged in it. All are working towards one common path, a common course of values, laws and conditions for planting and then growing the democratic idea deep in the new Europe; amongst themselves and especially amongst the newly independent states of the East.

What is Canada's role in this transparent revolution? Why do we remain so vitally interested in European developments in this century? After two world wars we have learned a very bitter lesson: We discovered that democracy cannot be left to others. It is better to stay and play than fight and run. It is better to participate than to be forced to come back and fight yet again. Democracies do not make war against democracies.

Today, there are only two parliamentary assemblies in Europe where Canada has a full voice and equal status with each European member state, the OSCE and NATO. The history of NATO is well known in this chamber. It too is evolving dramatically with expansion eastward. Still, the origin and mandate of the OSCE is virtually unknown in North America.

Honourable senators will recall that early in the 1970s we witnessed a fundamental shift in the Cold War template. There was a thaw. The so-called super power contest for domination was replaced by a more subtle contest for co-existence. I suspect that many believe the fall would have occurred inexorably due to the failure of the economic imperative within the Soviet Bloc, which was necessary to sustain its military equivalency and its military ambitions. No matter; on to this swampy field of coexistence, broad-based grassroots human rights initiatives were launched and cultivated. These impulses, these slender shoots, came not from western governments or its leaders but from the bottom up, from grassroots dissident movements encouraged by interested individuals and groups in the West. To be accurate, this fire field of democracy spread as far as Tiananmen Square. To be charitable, governments were not and are not enamoured with the idea of a human rights agenda. In countries in the West, particularly the U.S., and in all the chancelleries of the West, human rights were marginalized as a rather tiresome distraction from the realpolitik of traditional national interests. Yes, some parliamentarians were interested, but governments simply were not. Our national interests, we were patiently taught and lectured, were better served by a strategic or economic agenda of interest rather than human rights.

The 1948 UN Charter, bold in its language and reach, was hollow and toothless. It took dissident movements in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, aided by fanatic supporters in the West, to test the limits of authoritarian, totalitarian reaction. The Soviet Union, ever preoccupied with its western boundaries, saw a window of opportunity to secure its World War II security and boundary preoccupations. In 1975, in a rather strange barter for Western recognition of secure, Eastern European boundaries of the U.S.S.R. and its sister satellites, for territorial integrity, a treaty agreement was reached that included extensive references to human rights. While this marked the second time since World War II that the Soviets had agreed to comprehensive human rights, the Helsinki Accord for the first time also opened up a small window of interference in so-called domestic affairs of each signatory state, including the U.S.S.R. and its sister satellites.

History may record that the Helsinki Accord opened fissures in the Soviet "iron curtain" that became cracks and finally brought down even the Berlin Wall, that ugly symbol of Soviet hegemony and division in Europe. The Helsinki Accord resuscitated the human rights impulse that ran quickly through Solidarity in Poland, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and human rights committees in Hungary and elsewhere. The Soviet reaction took the form of Perestroika policies which, too little too late, ultimately culminated in the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. in 1991.

In 1975 the Helsinki Accord or, more properly, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, CSCE, at first was no more than a diplomatic conference of 35 states. No permanent structures existed. It was not until the tumultuous changes in Europe, between 1989 and 1990, less than a decade ago, that participating states agreed with the need for a permanent body. Permanent political structures began to emerge: a secretariat, a regular assembly, working committees. Structures took shape. A human rights centre was established in Vienna. An office for free elections in Warsaw was ultimately transformed into the Office for Democratic Institutions in Human Rights. A high commissioner for national minorities was created to respond to ethnic tensions. In 1994, at the Budapest Summit, 52 states renamed the CSCE the OSCE, the "organization" rather than the "conference," and enshrined the permanency of this work. The OSCE was transformed into an early warning instrument for conflicts, conflict prevention, crisis management and democratic development for the new Europe. Fifty-two states became 55 states, including the U.S. and Canada, bridging from Vladivostok to Vancouver.

Recent activity of the OSCE has proliferated and includes supervision of general elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina; objecting to media restrictions in Slovakia; drafting laws for local elections and local observers and consultation on penal codes and procedure as well as election missions to Azerbaijan, Latvia and Georgia; crisis management in Albania; regular reports to the UN on the irrepressible Milosevic and Serb intervention in Kosovo; monitors on the return of Serb refugees to Croatia; attempts to resolve inter-ethnic disputes in Moldavia; media watches in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria; environmental watches in Uzbekistan; organizing training programs for elections for officials in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; and workshops for judges from Moscow teaching international legal European standards. All this complex, consuming work is the lifeblood of democracy. It was led by parliamentarians who continue to fulfill their domestic duties while at the same time, and for the same salary, work hard to transfer their democratic technology and lessons to the East.

Honourable senators, the slow, plodding, undramatic and unglamorous work of the OSCE by dedicated parliamentarians and their lean secretariats continues in all regions of the new Europe. Parliamentarians from 55 countries, from Vladivostok to Vancouver are actively engaged. William Graham, Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, serves on the OSCE bureau. I was pleased to be elected Vice-Chairman of the OSCE Economic Committee and am thus a member of the extended OSCE bureau.

We have all learned that democracy is too important to be left to diplomats. Human rights do not depend on treaties, episodic pressure from leaders, knee-jerk reactions in the media or violent conflicts. Democratic development must take the same slow, painstaking, lurching steps we took in the West to evolve our own democratic consensus. Instruments of democracy are more than written constitutions. Democracy necessitates free and independent assemblies at national, regional and local levels, a tradition of professional and honest bureaucrats, independent courts, constant work on the rule of law, school-taught democratic history, fair and regular elections, honest policing, hard working parliamentarians, and, most important, public acceptance of change to these common values. This is the goal of your representatives at the OSCE. I am pleased to participate in this important work as a representative of the Canadian Parliament.

I am also pleased to report that Canada maintains a daunting and commanding reputation for advancing the quiet, laborious work of building open and civil societies. Stay tuned, honourable senators; there is more to come.

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, would the Honourable Senator Grafstein accept a question on this subject?

Senator Grafstein: Yes.

Senator Roche: Honourable senators, we have just heard a brilliant speech on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. I was thrilled to be a member of the Senate to hear such a fine discourse on a body that has not received the attention, let alone the praise, that it deserves for being part of the new security architecture of the post-Cold War era.

I compliment Senator Grafstein on being elected Vice-Chairman of the Economic Committee of the OSCE and especially for bringing to this chamber his words of encouragement and hope for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a body that performs crisis management, complex and consuming work in building the conditions for peace in Europe.

Europe was the cradle of the two great wars of this century. If we are to enter the third millennium intact, we must listen to what the OSCE will do to bring peace to Europe and by extension into other areas of the world under Chapter XIII of the UN Charter.

Senator Grafstein touched peripherally on NATO. I wanted to draw a direct relationship between the OSCE and NATO, and particularly the question of the expansion of NATO. I wish to ask Senator Grafstein if he would express a view to this chamber that would deal with whether the OSCE, which embraces 52 of the European states, not to mention North America, is the body that should be building security for Europe and, by extension, other regions, and if NATO should be subservient to the OSCE. We have a policy in the Canadian government supporting the expansion of NATO which is making Russia nervous.

My particular question to Senator Grafstein is: With the beginnings of the expansion of NATO and the three states of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic soon coming into NATO, does he feel that the expansion of NATO should be slowed down, particularly with reference to the Balkan states, which are next in line for membership and which would thus make Russia even more nervous about a nuclear armed alliance being present at Russia's borders? Would the senator express a view as to whether the Canadian government ought to be putting more eggs into the OSCE basket and fewer into NATO's to continue to build the architecture for security in the 21st century?

The Hon. the Speaker: Before the Honourable Senator Grafstein replies, I must inform honourable senators that the time for asking questions has expired. Is leave granted to extend the time?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, I thank Senator Roche for his kind commendation. He has raised a number of issues. The easy answer for me would be to say, "Read my last speech on NATO." However, I shall try to respond to the NATO issue.

I was one of a minority in this chamber who disagreed with the government position with respect to expanding NATO. However, it was for a different reason than that expressed by the honourable senator. I felt that NATO's strength and decision-making powers to be available to enforce democratic dialogue in Europe would have been weakened by the expansion, as opposed to strengthened.

I am a believer in a strong and vibrant NATO. I am one of the few in this chamber who disagreed with the various governments who have been responsible for withdrawing the one brigade that we had in Europe. I did not think that was a good message to send to Europe. Therefore, I believe in a strong, staunch NATO with Canada's more active participation.

The question on the issue of emerging voices in Europe is more complex. Some of us have attended the Council of Europe, others of us have attended the NATO assembly and still others have from time to time been at the EU. There is a contest between these institutions as to which will emerge with a stronger voice. I believe it is better to have all these voices competing for democratic dialogue and democratic extension than to have a singular voice. However, I foresee the OSCE emerging as a stronger and more vibrant body primarily because the United States and Canada have an equal voice. At the Council of Europe, we do not. We are observers; we are well respected there, but we can stand up and speak with equal voice and participate fully at the OSCE.

Therefore, I have concluded that the best and most forceful place for Canada to have its views heard is at the OSCE, even though at this moment the OSCE is still competing with the Council of Europe. Other parliamentarians such as Senator Bolduc have been at the Council of Europe with me. While we participate there, my conclusion is that our best bet should be on the OSCE. I have suggested to the ministry that we do not have full, permanent, diplomatic representation either at the OSCE or at the Council of Europe. I have recommended that we should be there in both places and in spades, which we are not.

The Hon. the Speaker: If no other honourable senator wishes to speak to this inquiry, it will be considered debated.

(1610)

Adjournment

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motion:

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 Tuesday next, November 24, 1998, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, November 24, 1998, at 2 p.m.