Upcoming Match Between Montreal Concordia Stingers
and Saskatchewan Huskies
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition):
Honourable senators, one of the basic requirements of caucus
leadership is to abstain from taking sides on issues while those
issues are still being debated, and consensus is being sought. At
the risk of disrupting the harmony which following this policy
has created since this caucus moved to the opposition side, even
at the risk of attracting the enmity of five distinguished and loyal
colleagues from Saskatchewan, I must nevertheless bring to the
attention of this chamber that as a result of the brilliant,
come-from-behind, last-minute, 25-24 victory of the Concordia
Stingers of Montreal over the Acadia Axemen in the Atlantic
Bowl national semi-final last Saturday, the Stingers will now
play the Saskatchewan Huskies for the Vanier Cup on Saturday.
Normally, I would have alerted the Leader of the Government
of this statement in the hope that he would have joined with me,
if not in congratulating the Stingers for reaching the finals, at
least in wishing them the very best in their first effort to bring the
Vanier Cup to Montreal. If I did not do so, it was not through
lack of courtesy. It is because I did not wish to contribute,
however indirectly, to more dissension in his caucus, knowing
how strongly his colleague from Saskatchewan can react to
positions with which he does not agree.
In any event, I look forward to reporting on the Concordia
Stingers' victory when we reconvene next week, on the
assumption, of course, that the results will be known no later
than right after the polls close in Quebec on November 30.
Hon. Richard H. Kroft: Honourable senators, I rise today to
bring to this house a report of certain events over the past
weekend in the heart of Central Canada. I refer, of course, to
Winnipeg, and in doing so, I apologize for a modest geographical
inaccuracy. Winnipeg is, in fact, about 30 kilometres west of the
exact longitudinal centre of our country.
While this is the first time honourable senators have heard me
address them on the subject of my city and province - or indeed
on any subject at all - it will not be the last. I believe strongly in
the importance of Manitoba and Winnipeg, and in their very
centrality to the whole idea of Canada.
In my short time here, I have learned that we senators have
many roles, several of which are largely unknown to our fellow
Canadians. I am serving notice that, while I have the company of
five gifted and dedicated Manitoba colleagues in this chamber, I
intend to accept more than my share of responsibility for making
Winnipeg and Manitoba better understood and appreciated by all
My particular focus today is the Grey Cup game held in
Winnipeg last Sunday and the many events surrounding it. Once
again we staged Canada's greatest annual sporting event with a
degree of enthusiasm, total community spirit and involvement
equalling - or some might say exceeding - that of any other
city. A wonderfully mild and sunny day reminded all those
present that Winnipeg has the least understood - and most
unjustly maligned - climate in Canada.
We all know that Winnipeg is the natural place for the Grey
Cup game and, indeed, for many other Canadian events. It is
where East meets West, both geographically and culturally. In
fact, over the years the Blue Bombers have moved between the
Eastern and Western Conferences of the Canadian Football
League with total ease and aplomb.
We are a natural part of both halves of our country. We live on
the edge of the great western prairies, and holiday where the
Canadian Shield spills over the Ontario border into Manitoba.
Our English and French languages and cultures mix easily, in a
way that enriches us all.
Last Saturday, leading up to the game, there was a hugely
successful Grey Cup parade. All of you would have had a chance
to see it had television economics not determined that the
Red Green Show and Mr. Bean were more important to Canada
than our opportunity for a shared experience.
Never fear; during the Pan-American Games next summer,
you will all be able to see on television - or, even better, in
person - how Manitoba will host the third largest multiple
sports event in the history of North America, next only to the
Olympic Games of Atlanta and Los Angeles. I promise you that
it will be an event to make all Canadians proud.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I had the
opportunity last Friday to visit Vimy House here in Ottawa. I
recommend very strongly that those members of the Senate who
do not know about Vimy House familiarize themselves with this
Vimy House stores an enormous number of national war
treasures that cannot be displayed at the Canadian War Museum.
It was the personnel at Vimy House who supervised the
restoration of the eight paintings that hang in this chamber. These
are the paintings that were rededicated in the Senate on
November 3, 1998.
During my tour of Vimy House, I was amazed by the number
of war paintings by international and Canadian artists. There are
literally thousands of oil paintings and watercolours, including
some by our famous Group of Seven. I believe that the public
would derive a great deal of pleasure from viewing these
paintings, if they only had the opportunity to do so.
There is also a wonderful collection of small arms, medals,
vehicles, armoured tanks and artillery pieces that were used in
various wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions in which
Canada was a participant.
Over the last few years there has been much discussion
regarding the amount of space available to display this material.
I urge members of this chamber to support the initiative
announced recently to build a new Canadian War Museum
facility adjacent to the Canadian Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe.
I should like to congratulate the Subcommittee on Veterans
Affairs chaired by Senator Phillips, as well as the Honourable
Barney Danson, Chair of the Canadian War Museum, and others
who helped bring the inadequacy of the existing War Museum to
the attention of the Canadian public. I believe that their efforts
will lead to the building of a new home for the Canadian
I believe that the Canadian public would support this project.
The more exposure Canadians have to these artefacts, the more
they will understand the incredible sacrifice and involvement of
Canadians who served in the various theatres of war. This type of
exposure would also help to educate Canadians, especially our
children and others who did not live in a time when Canada was
a participant in a war. It would assist us to better understand our
peacekeepers. It would also allow Canadians to better understand
the role that Canada's participation in wars throughout our
history played in shaping this country. It would enable Canadians
to understand more thoroughly why veterans and members of the
Royal Canadian Legion are so proud and believe so strongly that
Canadians should never forget the contribution of Canadians to
peace and freedom.
Favourable Comments by Prime Minister in Malaysia and
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I was very
interested in, indeed, pleasantly surprised by, the actions and
comments of the Prime Minister in Malaysia and China last
week. Since coming to office, he and his government have all but
abandoned Canada's longstanding tradition of speaking out in
favour of human rights. When they have commented, it has
usually been about minor issues and players of little
However, last week, Mr. Chrétien appeared to have had a
change of heart. In Malaysia, he was quite forceful, at least until
spoken to by some large corporate representatives. In China, he
spoke to students about human rights and the link between those
rights and economic development.
I would not call these actions a conversion equal to that made
famous on the road to Damascus, but at least the Prime Minister
did something - finally.
One might ask whether his speech was a heartfelt gesture or
merely a political one. It would not be difficult for any
right-thinking Canadian to dismiss the Prime Minister's
comments as empty rhetoric, a belated attempt to overcome his
lack of commitment to human rights and to deflate the growing
criticism of his role in last year's APEC scandal, and they would
perhaps not be far wrong, for we all know that Mr. Chrétien is,
above all, a political animal. He is very well aware that his
dereliction of the human rights issue has upset many of his
party's traditional supporters, but not, apparently, the Chinese.
Last week, the Premier of China went so far as to say that
Canada was China's best friend. Imagine that. Thanks to the
efforts of the Prime Minister, our best friend today is a country
that suppresses dissent, runs over student protesters with tanks,
and ships critics off to distant parts for re-education. Mr. Chrétien
is likely quite proud that his recent conversion to the cause of
human rights in China has won for him and us such a good
This aside, the season of peace and goodwill is once again
upon us. In that vein, I would like to acknowledge the Prime
Minister's decision to speak out on the issue of human rights.
However small, it was a first step. It is to be hoped that it will
lead to a broader engagement on his part in all areas of the world.
Hon. Lorna Milne, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs presented the following report:
Tuesday, November 24, 1998
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its
Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-25, An Act
to amend the National Defence Act and to make
consequential amendments to other Acts, has, in obedience
to the Order of Reference of Thursday, June 18, 1998,
examined the said Bill and now reports the same with the
following amendment and observations:
1. Page 89, Clause 96: Replace lines 1 to 6 with the
"96. (1) The Minister shall cause an independent review
of the provisions and operation of this Act to be undertaken
from time to time.
(2) The Minister shall cause the report on a review
conducted under subsection (1) to be laid before each House
of Parliament within five years after the day on which this
Act is assented to, and within every five year period
following the tabling of a report under this subsection.".
The Committee is generally supportive of Bill C-25
which embodies much needed amendments to the National
Defence Act and, indeed, constitutes the most significant
package of amendments to that Act since it was first enacted
in 1950. However, the Committee does have some concerns
about certain aspects of the bill. Having amended clause 96
of the bill to ensure that regularindependent reviews of the
provisions and operation of the proposed legislation are
conducted, the Committee expects the Department of
National Defence to have considered and addressed these
concerns in the course of the firstlegislative review, if
While we appreciate the steps taken in clause 42 of the
bill to strengthen the institutional independence of military
judges (specifically,making military judges Governor in
Council appointees, as is the case with other federally
appointed judges; lengthening the term of appointment to a
fixed term of five years; and establishing special advisory
committees on the appointment, reappointment and
remuneration of military judges), Committee members find
the retention of renewable terms for military judges to be
troubling, particularly when compared with other federally
appointed judges who serve until a fixed retirement age.
Moreover, members of the Committee are concerned that
clause 42 of the bill would leave entirely to the regulations
the composition of the proposed Renewal Committee as
well as the criteria which that committee would use in
making its recommendations to the executive on the
reappointment of military judges. The Committee is of the
view that such important matters should be spelled out in
such a way as to clearly preclude the possibility of improper
interference in the reappointment process.
Indeed, the Committee has a general concern about the
number of important matters pertaining to the military
justice system which will continue to be implemented by
means of regulations - to be specific, the
Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces
- that are exempt from the usual process of publication in
the Canada Gazette and parliamentary scrutiny under the
Statutory Instruments Act.
The Committee is also concerned about the difference in
the security of tenure between the proposed new positions
of Director of Military Prosecutions and Director of
Defence Counsel Services, which are dealt with in
clauses 42 and 82 of the bill, respectively. It was noted that,
while the recommendation of a special Inquiry Committee
would be required for the removal from office of the
Director of Military Prosecutions, the bill contemplates no
such safeguard for the Director of Defence Counsel
Services. This discrepancy is of concern in light of the
Director of Defence Counsel Services' responsibility for the
representation of accused persons who would then be in an
adversarial relationship with the chain of command - a
chain of command which includes the Minister of National
Defence, the person responsible for the Director's
appointment, reappointment and possible removal from
Finally, the Committee supports the recommendation of
the Special Advisory Group on Military Justice and Military
Police Investigation Services headed by the late Brian
Dickson, that the Code of Service Discipline be re-enacted
as a separate statute. While the Committee appreciates the
difficulty of incorporating such a change into the extensive
set of amendments proposed in Bill C-25, we urge the
Department of National Defence to proceed as quickly as
possible with the implementation of this recommendation.
LORNA MILNE Chair
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this
report be taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Milne, report placed on the Orders of
the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Security Arrangements at APEC Conference in
Vancouver-Role of Prime Minister's Office in Relation
to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act-Government
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, tomorrow is the first
anniversary of the scandalous conduct during the Vancouver
APEC summit. Yesterday, the focus in this saga of the forces of
darkness returned to the shadowy world of the Langevin Block.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell this chamber
in very clear terms whether the Prime Minister or officials in his
office were involved in the planning and execution of the
security arrangements for the Vancouver APEC meeting?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): I
understand that the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's Office,
and his former director of operations, namely, Mr. Pelletier, and
Mr. Jean Carle, have volunteered to appear before the Public
Complaints Commission. It is to be hoped that all matters
relating to the questions that have been raised by the Honourable
Senator Kinsella will be answered at that time.
Senator Kinsella: Is the Leader of the Government telling the
Senate that the conduct of officials in the Prime Minister's Office
falls within the mandate of the RCMP Public Complaints
Senator Graham: I am saying, in response to questions raised
today and to previous questions, that I am sure all of these
matters will be answered fully and honestly as the commission
hearings unfold, and perhaps those hearings will proceed
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, the question
Canadians want answered is whether or not the Prime Minister of
Canada, or officials in the office of the Prime Minister, were
involved in the suppression of the human rights of Canadians,
and whether or not officials in the Prime Minister's Office, or the
Prime Minister himself, gave direction to the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police to achieve the political objectives that the Prime
Minister had in mind. Therefore, it is the conduct of persons or
officials in the Prime Minister's Office which is the focus that
requires investigation. If the government is once again trying to
hide behind a disguise, or use the diversionary tactic of the
RCMP Public Complaints Commission, which reports to the
Solicitor General, whoever he or she happens to be on that day,
and also reports to the Commissioner of the RCMP, how will that
result shed light on the conduct of officials in the Prime
In posing my question, I draw your attention to
section 45.35(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act,
which provides the following:
Any member of the public having a complaint concerning
the conduct, in the performance of any duty or function
under this Act, or the Witness Protection Program Act, of
any member or other person appointed or employed under
the authority of this Act may, whether or not that member of
the public is affected by the subject matter of the complaint,
make a complaint to...
Can the Leader of the Government tell this chamber whether
the Prime Minister's performance or conduct falls under the
RCMP Act, or whether any of his staff are appointed or
employed under the authority of the RCMP Act? If the answer is
"no," could the Leader of the Government explain to this
chamber what authority the RCMP Public Complaints
Commission is using to investigate the role of the Prime Minister
and his staff, and the tragic saga of human rights violations
during that APEC meeting?
Senator Graham: To my knowledge, the answer to the first
part of the last question - and you asked many questions in the
preamble to your final question - would be no, they would not
fall under the jurisdiction of the RCMP Act. You were suggesting
that the Prime Minister and/or his officials were involved in
suppression of the human rights of Canadians. The answer to that
is a categorical no.
As my honourable friend would know, the Public Complaints
Commission was established by an act of Parliament under the
previous government, and that commission has enjoyed and
earned the respect of Canadians and, indeed, has an enviable
reputation for its work on the international scene. I suggest that
we allow it to continue to do its work.
Senator Kinsella: Perhaps the Leader of the Government in
the Senate would show members of this house where in the
RCMP Act it provides for that commission to investigate the
conduct of the Prime Minister of Canada, or officials in the
Prime Minister's Office?
Senator Graham: My understanding is that, under its
mandate, the public complaints commission is permitted to call
any witnesses. However, they did not need to call the Chief of
Staff in the Prime Minister's Office nor the former director of
operations; those individuals volunteered on their own to appear
Equitable Treatment of Merchant Navy
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, four Merchant
Marine veterans have returned to Parliament Hill this week in an
attempt to focus attention on a miscarriage of justice that has
continued for far too long. The Merchant Marine was the lifeline
of Canadian troops during hostilities overseas. They brought
munitions, food and various other supplies to our soldiers. They
often sailed into very hostile combat zones and were the target of
many attacks with often only limited means to defend
themselves. Without question, these brave mariners deserve the
retroactive pay and other benefits which they seek. It is shameful
that their hard work and courage has gone without reward for
I ask the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate
to tell us what the government's position is on this matter, and
how they can possibly justify denying these men the back-pay to
which they are unquestionably entitled?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, it is my understanding that omnibus
legislation will be introduced by the government in the very near
future which will bring Merchant Navy veterans under the same
legislation as Armed Forces veterans. Perhaps we will see
that legislation as soon as next week, and I would suggest to
my honourable friend that we wait and see what that
Senator Oliver: Is the Honourable Leader of the Government
also suggesting that that legislation would be fast-tracked so that
it might be passed before Christmas?
Senator Graham: I am sure that that could be accomplished if
my honourable friend could persuade his friends and other
members in the other place who have a desire to help the
courageous and brave Merchant Mariners who served us so well
for so many years, particularly during the war. If those members
were to suppport such legislation, we could pass it quickly. It
would indeed be helpful if we could send a message of
cooperation to the other place. I am sure that the government
would be prepared to act expeditiously on this very important
piece of legislation.
Economic Crisis in Rural Canada-Efficacy of Existing
Income Insurance Programs-Government Position
Hon. Terry Stratton: My question is to the Leader of the
Government in the Senate, and relates to one of his responses to
questions from this side of the chamber on the ongoing
Last Wednesday, when asked to comment on the program
similar to GRIP that has been proposed by the Progressive
Conservative Party as a response to long-term price fluctuations,
the Leader of the Government said that his government would
give that proposal very serious consideration. In fact, he went so
far as to say something to the effect that anything the Right
Honourable Joe Clark proposed would merit his highest respect
Unfortunately, the Minister of Agriculture does not appear to
concur with the honourable leader's statements. For instance, in
recent letters to the Ontario Corn Producers Association,
Mr. Vanclief questions the justification for maintaining GRIP
market revenue insurance in Ontario because it no longer exists
in Western Canada. The minister has said this, even as the
reasons for its continuance have become increasingly obvious,
and as the pressure mounts to do so for similarly cash-strapped
farmers in the west and other provinces. Unlike his colleague the
Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Minister of
Agriculture is on record as challenging the rationale for a
grain-specific program like GRIP in Ontario, even though
grain-specific programs continue in Quebec, Western Europe and
Would the leader please investigate his colleague's position on
the issue of such grain-specific programs, and could he then try
to reconcile that position with his own views as expressed last
Wednesday and report back to this chamber?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I would be pleased to do that. As I said last
week, the Minister of Agriculture is seized with the problem. He
is having regular communications and consultations with his
counterparts in provincial governments. I encouraged him
personally to look at the proposals put forward by the Right
Honourable Joe Clark on behalf of the party that he now leads
once again. As I indicated last week, I am sure that those
recommendations will be taken very seriously.
Senator Berntson: Roy Romanow killed GRIP. You do not
have to take the blame for that.
Economic Crisis in Rural Canada-Severe Decline in
Grain Prices-Government Position
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, the headlines are
now saying that, on a comparative basis, grain prices are even
lower than during the Great Depression. Subsidies in the
European Union and the U.S. are growing. We see this evidenced
by the fact that as the subsidies grow, their grain production
grows. Even when world demand is flat, they are growing more
grain as a result of these subsidies, and the demand is huge for a
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us, or find
out for us, whether or not a program in this regard is scheduled
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
The Honourable Senator Stratton is absolutely right - grain
prices are low. In addition, it should be recognized that hog and
cattle prices are also in a cyclical downturn. The situation is
worsened by the economic situation in Asia. The overall result is
a decline in net farm income this year from the high levels of
farm income enjoyed in 1997.
I can only reassure my honourable friends opposite that the
Minister of Agriculture is working on this matter on a daily basis,
and it is hoped that he will have an appropriate announcement in
the very near future, certainly before Christmas.
Appointment of Independent Ethics
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, my question
is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The resignation
yesterday of Solicitor General Andy Scott once again illustrates
the point that this government believes it is answerable to no one.
Even yesterday, the Prime Minister and the Government House
Leader were blaming the opposition for Mr. Scott's demise.
This brings me to a question that I have raised in this place
before. In 1993, the government promised in Red Book I,
chapter 6, page 95, under the heading "Governing with
In particular, a Liberal government will appoint an
independent Ethics Counsellor to advise both public
officials and lobbyists in the day-to-day application of the
Code of Conduct for Public Officials. The Ethics Counsellor
will be appointed after consultation with the leaders of all
parties in the House of Commons and will report directly to
I repeat, he or she "will report directly to Parliament."
In view of the events of these past few months, does the
minister not agree that now is the time to fulfil this commitment
and have the Ethics Counsellor report directly to Parliament,
rather than as at present, in a closed, secretive way, answering
only to the Prime Minister?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I am glad the honourable senator has used
the Red Book for enlightenment. I commend not just that
particular chapter or clause but the entire book for her reading
and for her edification.
Personally, yesterday was a sad day with the resignation of a
very good friend and colleague, Mr. Scott. I am not blaming
anyone for his resignation. Mr. Scott was an outstanding cabinet
minister and an outstanding Solicitor General. From talking to
people across the country, I know about the innovative measures
Mr. Scott was embarking upon, whether in the field of restorative
justice or modernizing our justice system. His loss will be felt
With respect to the Ethics Counsellor, we do have an Ethics
Commissioner who reports directly to the Prime Minister
regarding cabinet ministers and members of Parliament. As far as
having an Ethics Counsellor who might report directly to
Parliament, that is a matter for further consideration.
Need for Public Disclosure of Rules and Guidelines
Governing Ministers-Government Position
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: In keeping with your style as
Leader of the Government in the Senate, it is interesting that you
did not place blame. However, some of your colleagues in the
other place clearly blamed the opposition.
By the way, Senator Taylor, I keep the Red Book beside my
bed for swatting bugs.
What we have here, honourable senators, is a public and
Parliament totally in the dark. We have a so-called Ethics
Counsellor reporting to the Prime Minister, using a set of secret
guidelines. In addition to living up to their commitment of
having the Ethics Counsellor report to Parliament, will the
Leader of the Government in the Senate now commit himself and
his government to the public disclosure of the rules and
guidelines ministers are supposedly required to follow?
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I believe that would be a matter for
consideration by the Prime Minister, and I shall bring the
representations of my honourable friend to his attention.
Visit of High Commissioner for Human Rights to
Ottawa-Possibility of Appearance Before Foreign
Affairs Committee-Position of Chairman
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the
chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.
It is my understanding that the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Her Excellency Mary
Robinson, former President of Ireland, will be visiting Parliament
this week. Will there be an opportunity for honourable senators
to meet with her at a committee meeting?
Hon. John B. Stewart: I thank the honourable senator for
asking that question. Senator Andreychuk could give my
honourable friend a great deal of information with regard to the
visit of the high commissioner. As I understand it, Mrs Robinson
has available only 45 minutes to meet with members of both
houses. I have arranged that the meeting will be a joint meeting.
However, I was informed that, given the brevity of the total
meeting and the fact that each of the parties in the other place
wishes an equal share of the time, we would receive
approximately two-sevenths of the total time for questions. I
think we can make good use of that time. I do hope that members
from the Senate committee who participate in the joint
committee will go well prepared and make much better use of
their two-sevenths of the total time than members of the House
of the Commons committee will make of their five-sevenths.
Senator Kinsella: I thank the honourable senator for that
information. I am glad we have it on the record because I know
that members of the Senate who are not members of that
particular committee may wish to avail themselves of the
opportunity to attend that joint meeting.
It also allows us to put on the record a concern that many
senators have. When a distinguished visitor comes to Parliament,
it must be made clear that there are two, not one, Houses of
Parliament. The people in the Department of Foreign Affairs,
along with other ministries and agencies, ought to be consulting
the Leader of the Government in the Senate, or the Deputy
Leader of the Government in the Senate, because the visitor and
the honourable members of this house might find it mutually
beneficial to meet one another.
Organization of American States-Non-Ratification of
American Convention on Human Rights-Cancellation of
Meeting of Ministers-Government Position
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition): Honourable senators, I have a further question for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I am given to
understand that one of the meetings planned for the High
Commissioner was with federal, provincial and territorial
ministers responsible for human rights law in Canada. In fact, a
meeting of the federal, provincial and territorial ministers had
been scheduled for this Thursday, to be chaired by the Minister
of Canadian Heritage. That meeting has now been cancelled by
the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Could the Leader of the
Government find out from his colleague why such an important
meeting of these ministers, who have not met for some 10 years,
has been cancelled?
Some of us had hoped that one item on the agenda for this
meeting might have been the question of Canada's failure, to
date, to ratify the American Convention on Human Rights which,
in turn, keeps Canada isolated from the human rights mechanism
of the Organization of American States. Those of us who were
supportive of the Government of Canada's bringing Canada into
membership in the OAS were anxious to see us become a full
partner in that organization, including its human rights
mechanisms. Until we ratify this convention, we are not eligible
for a seat on the human rights court or the human rights
The constitutional convention in Canada since the 1930s
labour convention case was that, in matters involving federal and
provincial jurisdiction, Canada would only ratify an international
instrument with the agreement of the federal, provincial and
territorial governments. That consultation has now been going on
for over eight years. We have yet to ratify the agreement. The
hope was that at this ministerial meeting to be chaired by
Minister Copps, the matter would be addressed. However, the
meeting has now been cancelled.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I thank the Honourable Senator Kinsella
for his question and, indeed, his representation. There is a no
greater champion nor knowledgeable person on the subject of
human rights than my friend Senator Kinsella.
I would be happy to make the appropriate representations to
Minister Copps and find out why the meeting was cancelled.
Indeed, I expect it was just a postponement.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I should like to
introduce to you the Page who is here with us this week on the
exchange program from the House of Commons. We have only
one Page this week, but when I tell you where he is from you
will realize that we will, nevertheless, be well served.
I introduce to you our Page from the House of Commons,
Pierre Le Dorze, who is studying history in the Faculty of Arts, at
the University of Ottawa.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin moved third reading of Bill C-52, to
implement the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, as
He said: Honourable senators, in the last 50 years, Canada has
made every effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms
through an effective international nuclear non-proliferation and
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty constitutes an
important part of these efforts. The successive governments of
this country have, moreover, supported it. As far as proliferation
is concerned, the primary purpose of this treaty is to establish a
world standard for nuclear test bans applicable to all states, even
those not yet subscribing to the treaty.
The strength in the act to implement the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty lies in the unarguable consensus it
enjoys within the international community. Of the 193
UN member countries, 151 have signed, including all five
nuclear powers, so the ban has the moral backing of the
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Implementation
Act calls for the creation of an international monitoring system
which will use a network of 321 monitoring stations and four
different technologies: seismological and hydroacoustic
monitoring, and infrasound and radionuclide detection. It will,
therefore, be possible to detect, and pinpoint the location of, all
nuclear explosions in excess of one kiloton occurring in the
atmosphere, under water or underground anywhere in the world.
As well, an on-site inspection system will make it possible to
determine whether a suspicious activity was a nuclear explosion.
It will be possible as well to detect nuclear accidents such as
the one at Chernobyl so that the international community may
react more quickly than in the past.
Thanks to its verification and on-site inspection system, the
treaty can prevent the development of nuclear weapons better
than all the disarmament treaties before it. In addition, it
effectively contributes to the implementation of a progressive
process, both practical and sustained, to reduce, and even
eliminate, nuclear arms.
We strongly believe that once the verification system provided
for under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty
Implementation Act is in place, clandestine nuclear arms testing,
including explosions, will be virtually impossible.
Even partially deployed, the system has proven effective by
readily detecting the nuclear tests undertaken by India and
Pakistan this summer.
These two countries did not sign the treaty. However,
following pressure from the international community in reaction
to this testing, they indicated their willingness to consider
signing the treaty - an indication of the respect given this
I hope they will sign and ratify it soon, without requiring
changes or amendments. This would speed up the treaty's
Canada attaches very high priority to both nuclear
non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament. The Comprehensive
Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is not just a "feel good" treaty. It
addresses the non-proliferation side of the non-proliferation and
disarmament regime. As I have already noted, it will make a
significant contribution to the prevention of the spread of nuclear
weapons among states and the development of new nuclear
weapons by the existing nuclear weapons states.
The nuclear tests by India and Pakistan were a fundamental
challenge to the global non-proliferation regime. Canada has
been among the most active countries in pressing for a strong and
effective response by the international community to the threat
created by these tests. A Canadian co-sponsored resolution
strongly deploring these tests received widespread support in the
United Nations General Assembly First Committee on
November 12. The Government of Canada is equally committed
to promoting nuclear disarmament. Some progress has been
made, but the nuclear weapons states must be encouraged to do
more and to do it sooner rather than later.
Some senators question why Canada abstained on the United
Nations first committee vote on the "new agenda" resolution.
Canada's abstention came after careful, intense and high-level
Canada's assessment was that the resolution did not enjoy the
broad base of support required for concerted action. In addition,
the government did not want, through its vote on the resolution,
to prejudge the outcome of the study on Canada's nuclear
disarmament and non-proliferation policy that is being
undertaken by the House of Commons Standing Committee on
Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The government recognizes that there is both room for further
action on disarmament and an imperative to do more. In the
coming months, Canada intends to pursue this matter actively
with its allies.
Some senators have also asked why a separate Comprehensive
Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna was established
instead of giving the responsibility for implementing the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to an existing
organization such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has a number of
responsibilities, such as the safeguarding and accounting of
nuclear materials and the promotion of nuclear safety. It has the
necessary expertise to carry out these responsibilities, but the
International Atomic Energy Agency does not have expertise in
the detection of nuclear explosions. In the long and difficult
negotiation process, experts maintained the need for a separate
organization which would develop the expertise needed to
implement the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization
and the International Atomic Energy Agency are co-located in
the same building in Vienna. We expect that there will be definite
synergies between the two organizations. They will complement
each other in strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation
and disarmament regime. However, given the different mandates,
two distinct organizations appeared to be the best approach.
Finally, I would note that the resources required to establish
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization would
have been required equally for the most part, if its functions had
been added to the International Atomic Energy Agency or any
other international organization.
I would now like to return, if I may, to Bill C-52's raison
d'être. The bill before us today will enable us to meet our
national obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty Implementation Act, which has the support of
This bill will criminalize any nuclear weapon test explosion,
or any other nuclear explosion in Canada carried out for the
purpose of developing nuclear weapons; it will give the
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Natural
Resources Canada and Health Canada the mandate to carry out
their respective responsibilities as representatives of the National
Authority created under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban
Treaty Implementation Act with responsibility for ensuring the
respect, on Canadian territory, of our obligations under the treaty;
it will force Canadian industry to report to the National Authority
chemical explosions equivalent in intensity to the explosion of
300 or more tonnes of TNT, which could be confused with
The National Authority created under the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Implementation Act will consist of
existing components of Natural Resources Canada, Health
Canada, Environment Canada, and the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade. Its creation will not require new
administrative structures to be put in place or new employees to
be hired in Canada.
Canada is working to establish an effective international
non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Canada will maintain
its efforts to free the world of the threat of nuclear weapons,
while allowing it to enjoy the benefits of nuclear technology
directed to peaceful ends.
Honourable senators, I have tried during my speech to reply to
the comments and questions raised by colleagues during
consideration of the bill at committee stage. In closing, I wish to
thank all our colleagues for their cooperation and their
contribution at all stages of consideration of the bill.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I want to
add a few comments to the speech that I gave on second reading.
First, I wish to thank Senator Corbin for his thoughtful remarks
and for answering all the questions put forward by committee
members during the study of this bill. This kind of cooperation
will go a long way in the continuing history in both Houses in
supporting Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty projects and
the ultimate goal of disarmament.
I wish to highlight a few points. First, Canada has enjoyed a
long, continuous and vigorous role in working towards
comprehensive test-ban treaties and disarmament. It is
regrettable that Canada did not enter into the first committee
resolution. While the two answers that were given offer reasons
as to why Canada did not go forward with the resolution and
abstained, nonetheless I believe that Canada should have
supported the new agenda resolution. Canada's abstention gives
those countries who are not as committed to the nuclear
disarmament issue some reason, some hope and some wiggle
room. It gives them some ability not to come on board.
This is the second instance. In my first speech, I pointed out
that Canada was rather weak in its response to the French nuclear
testing in the Pacific. One wonders if Canada had been more
aggressive with France and joined the coalition against those
texts, would Pakistan and India have had the courage to continue
their tests? Any weakening in our stance gives room to others to
act in a neglectful manner. This resolution and our abstention
provides the second opportunity for those who are not
committed. I know that in the backrooms of the United Nations
negotiations are always ongoing and that some of our partners
are not as committed to proceeding with the new agenda. They
want more time and, perhaps, more ability to manoeuvre on
While joining them and not having sufficient numbers may be
a reason for abstaining, I do not believe it is a sufficient reason in
this case. I think Canada could have taken this opportunity to
give the clear signal, as we have decade after decade, that we are
committed to nuclear test-ban treaties and to ultimate military
disarmament. I believe that any time we veer from that stance,
we give detractors some opportunity to veer also.
I hope that the Government of Canada will rethink its position
and will respond by continuously and vigorously supporting total
disarmament for military use.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my comments on
third reading of this bill will be brief. I do support it. What
right-thinking person would oppose a bill that seeks to shut off
explosive nuclear testing after we have had 2,000 such tests in
the last 40 years?
I have two important reservations about this bill. First, the bill
and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty do not stop the
modernization of nuclear weapons. Second, this is not a
disarmament measure, as it was made out to be; it is a
non-proliferation measure. There is a world of difference
between the two.
When our Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lloyd
Axworthy, went to the United Nations this fall, he discussed in
his speech the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. He said
then that preventing horizontal proliferation is crucial. This bill
will stop the horizontal spread of nuclear weapons. He also said
that preventing vertical proliferation is no less vital or urgent and
nuclear disarmament is the other half the nuclear bargain. The
modernization of nuclear weapons is continuing despite the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.
I wish to bring to honourable senators' attention the report of
the U.S.-based National Resources Defense Council, which
The U.S. government clearly intends to maintain under
the CTBT, and indeed significantly enhance, its scientific
and technical capabilities for undertaking `development
of advanced new types of nuclear weapons'.
The report entitled, "End Run: The U.S. Government's Plan
for Designing Nuclear Weapons and Simulating Nuclear
Explosions Under the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty," stated
that the U.S. has embarked on a program:
...to design, develop, prototype and flight test an
indisputably new-design warhead for the Trident II
missile to replace the current W76 and W88 warheads.
This is done under a program called the "Stockpile
Stewardship and Management Program" which is funded at the
rate of several billion dollars annually. Maintaining and
strengthening its nuclear weapons capacity in this manner is held
to be necessary in order to convince the United States Senate that
the ratification of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, which the
U.S. Senate is being asked to do, will not jeopardize U.S. nuclear
In other words, the United States will be prepared to ratify the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty if the Senate there is
assured that they will be able to continue modernizing their
The Western States Legal Foundation of California, a
prominent NGO, called this "a Faustian bargain."
Representatives of this organization have said that:
In the U.S., nuclear weapons design will be advanced
through simulations carried out using superfast computers
costing hundreds of millions of dollars, coupled with
archived data from more than 1,000 past tests, and new
diagnostic information obtained from inertial
confinement fusion facilities...
Honourable senators, we must not be under any illusion or
delusion that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty,
welcome as it is, will stop the nuclear arms race, because it will
This brings me to my second reservation. We have heard this
afternoon that criticism of India's and Pakistan's nuclear testing
brought this issue back into the forefront of the public mind this
year. Let me be clear about India and Pakistan: I deplore the
testing by India and Pakistan. That being said, it is of little avail
for us to criticize India's and Pakistan's nuclear testing when we
allow the continuation of the development of nuclear weapons by
those who have them to go on. I speak not just of the United
States but also of Russia, France, Britain and China. All of these
countries have the retention of nuclear deterrence and the
maintenance of their nuclear stocks, albeit at smaller numbers, as
a cornerstone of their military doctrine. This was recently
re-emphasized by NATO when it stated that nuclear weapons
This absolutely flouts the judgment of the International Court
of Justice that gave a famous advisory opinion in 1996 to the
effect that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally
contravene every aspect of humanitarian law.
Are we to be silent in this chamber, government and country
and allow the continuation of nuclear weapons under the
programs of those who have them, thinking that those who do not
have them will be content with the status quo?
India and Pakistan have served notice on the world that unless
there is a global ban on nuclear weapons so that no one has them,
more countries will join the nuclear club.
Honourable senators, we in this country have a choice to
make. We must stand up and speak on behalf of Canadians who
want an end to nuclear weapons. In a recent Angus Reid poll,
92 per cent of Canadians said they wanted Canada to play a
leading role in fostering global negotiations to end nuclear
weapons. We must decide whether we will stand up for Canadian
values and tell the nuclear weapons states, not only the U.S. but
the others as well, that Canada will vote at the United Nations for
a resolution that calls for an end to nuclear weapons and a
negotiating process to begin.
I was most interested in the speech we just heard from the
Honourable Senator Andreychuk, speaking on behalf of the
Progressive Conservative Party, who said that Canada should
have supported the new agenda coalition resolution that was put
into the United Nations only a week ago. She is right; Canada
should have supported that resolution.
In order that honourable senators are familiar with what
Canada abstained on, let me read to you the four lines of a
central operative paragraph. If you can live with this paragraph,
you can live with the entire resolution.
Calls upon the Nuclear-Weapon States to demonstrate an
unequivocal commitment to the speedy and total elimination
of their respective nuclear weapons and without delay to
pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations
leading to the elimination of these weapons, thereby
fulfilling their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Honourable senators, it was good that Canada abstained in the
sense that it joined 11 other NATO nations. These 12 NATO
nations have sent a clear message to the NATO nuclear weapons
leadership, the United States, Britain and France, that they will
not have their own way in this automatic retention of nuclear
weapons that they are trying to get away with in the
post-Cold War era. On the eve of the new millennium, people are
saying enough is enough: Let us move on to building a global
architecture for peace and security in the 21st century that does
not rely on nuclear weapons.
The International Court of Justice, various commissions and
coalitions, as well as countless military and political leaders
around the world are saying that the risks of maintaining nuclear
weapons into the 21st century are unacceptable and are far
greater than the risk of trying to get rid of them.
No one is talking about eliminating nuclear weapons
overnight. It will take at least a quarter of a century to do that.
However, it is the failure to start down this avenue now that will
jeopardize the non-proliferation regime that was pointed to by
Honourable Senator Andreychuk.
The former head of the arms control division of the United
States government, Mr. Tom Graham, has written a letter to the
Prime Minister or head of state of every NATO country, our own
Prime Minister included, in which Mr. Graham says:
Reaffirmation of the old Cold War era strategy without
revision would have a negative impact on the international
Indeed, Mr. Graham asserts that the non-proliferation regime
will be in grave jeopardy if significant progress is not made
toward the implementation of the provisions of the
non-proliferation treaty which call for negotiations to end nuclear
Honourable senators, we are faced finally, then, with a
decision that our government will need to make. It is not enough
to go out and call for no first use, which is now being discussed.
The report from the committee in the other place will probably
say that. It is not enough that that those who now have nuclear
weapons not be the first to use them. The issue is the possession
of such weapons, period. That is what the International Court of
Justice has said. The world must draw its attention to that
principle in order to start down the road of getting rid of them.
It ill suits our purposes to criticize India and Pakistan for what
they have done unless we stand up and say to the nuclear
weapons states that they must put themselves into a process of
multilateral, comprehensive negotiations that will bring to an end
forever the possession or use of nuclear weapons, so that my
grandchildren, and the grandchildren of every senator in this
chamber, will live in a safer world than the one we live in now.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: I enjoyed Senator Roche's speech very
much. What I am wondering - and I cast no doubt on the
excellent remarks we have just heard - is this: Would the world
not feel safer if there was an international police force capable of
intervening and settling, for example, a major problem that might
arise in a given region of the world? There is a country with this
capacity: the United States.
Senator Roche: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable
senator for his question. Of course the world needs the
United States, with all of its strength, capacity, history, outlook
and resources, to play a leading role in the building of a new
global architecture for security in the 21st Century.
The continued possession and retention of nuclear weapons by
all those who now have them, including the United States, is a
risk that is too great for the world to run. In answering the
question of the honourable senator, I would call as my chief
witness not myself but Lord Carver, the former defence minister
for the United Kingdom, who said very clearly that the risks of
trying to get rid of nuclear weapons are much less than the risks
we have today in maintaining the status quo. There is the
possibility of more outbreaks. India and Pakistan will not be the
last. Other countries will go down that road. It is interesting -
and this point has not yet been made today - that India and
Pakistan have said very clearly, both before and after their
testing, that they would join a process of negotiations that would
lead to a global ban on nuclear weapons.
The question is whether the world is better off, or safer, with
or without nuclear weapons. The evidence is piling up that the
world would be far better off without nuclear weapons.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate undertook to
respond to my question as to why Canada abstained in the
nuclear weapons vote at the United Nations a week ago. I hope
that the government leader will not assume that the very
commendable speech given by the Honourable Senator Corbin
this afternoon answered my question, because it did not. That
speech repeated the explanation that was given at the time to the
United Nations, in which they said that more has to be done
before Canada would vote for the resolution in question. I want
to know in precise terms what was contained in the resolution
that was before the UN at that time, to which Canada specifically
objected. I read the operative paragraph which said very clearly
that `what we are seeking here are negotiations.' Canada will
need to make up its mind as to what it will do in order to support
the New Agenda Coalition resolution next year.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I have a
question for the Honourable Senator Roche. My reading of
clause 7 of the bill is that if a Canadian citizen, individual or
corporation is part of a test outside of Canada, they are subject to
prosecution in Canada. Is my reading correct?
Senator Roche: I thank the honourable senator for that
question. Without notice, and without study, I am not prepared to
give an answer to a technical question such as that.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I have a brief
question. I listened intently to Senator Roche. My question really
is in regard to how nuclear weapons will be scaled back
internationally. We have had precedents for that sort of thing,
with START I and START II, which were international regimes
respected by both sides, and which included a monitoring
I am seeking information. My knowledge of this area is not
nearly as good as Senator Roche's. If the will were there, and if
the nations agreed, what would be the mechanism, and what
would we need to put that mechanism in place? It is one thing to
say NATO should stand down its nuclear weapons, but there is
not much point in NATO doing that if other countries still have
them. It must be a composite effort. That requires an
international structure and an international monitoring
mechanism. Perhaps the honourable senator would discuss that
point for me.
Senator Roche: I thank the Honourable Senator Rompkey for
his question, and for the manner in which he asked it. Of course,
he is perfectly right. This issue revolves around the political will
of the states concerned.
On the question of scaling back, the United States and the
Soviet Union - and then later Russia - began a process, called
START I, the first level of the strategic arms reduction talks, to
bring the numbers of weapons down to some 7,000 deployed
strategic nuclear weapons on each side. The treaty that resulted
was signed and ratified by both countries. Then as time went on,
they proceeded to START II, which was signed by the United
States and the government of what was then Russia. That would
have brought nuclear weapons down to 3,500 strategic deployed
nuclear weapons on each side. START II was ratified by the
United States government but not by the Russian Duma, and has
sat on the agenda in that Parliament for some seven years now,
although there is now talk of resurrecting that treaty and having it
ratified in December.
If everything were to go perfectly in relation to the
implementation of START II - which it has not, since it has not
even been ratified - there would still be in the world, in the year
2007, 17,000 nuclear weapons - nuclear weapons held by all
the countries who have them, and nuclear weapons of all kinds.
It is an illusion to think that there is a disarmament process
going on in the world. There is now talk of START III. If the
negotiations between the United States and Russia can be started
up again, and if the treaty can then be implemented, that would
bring the number down to 2,500 strategic deployed nuclear
weapons on each side. Of course that would be progress.
However, the other three countries that have nuclear weapons -
namely, China, Britain and France - are not involved in these
negotiations. It is the absence of a comprehensive set of
negotiations, with a time target for completion, to which the
world is objecting.
While what is called the step-by-step approach - a phrase
used in Senator Corbin's speech this afternoon - has some
merits, it is allowing the modernization to continue. The people
of the world are under an illusion that the nuclear weapons
problem has gone away when, in fact, it is still with us. That
illusion is helping to maintain nuclear weapons as a cornerstone
of the military doctrine.
No one is talking about unilateral nuclear disarmament. Of
course it must be done comprehensively and with an intrusive
inspection system under an international verification system.
Such things do exist.
The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated all
mid-range nuclear weapons between Russia and the United
States, has intrusive verification by which inspectors from each
country go into the other country to conduct verification.
This comes back to political will. It is not technicalities or an
absence of technical knowledge that prevents us from moving on
this issue of critical dimensions for all humanity. Rather, it is the
political will of the states concerned, which brings us right back
to the new agenda coalition resolution on which Canada
abstained. When we can get Canada to vote for such a resolution,
we will be upholding Canadian values and telling the leaders of
the nuclear weapons states that we have to move into a new
century and a new millennium shorn of nuclear weapons,
because they are too dangerous for the world.
The Hon. the Speaker: If no other honourable senator wishes
to speak, I will proceed with the question.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and bill, as amended, read third time and
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Corrections and Conditional Release Act
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore moved second reading of Bill C-51,
to amend the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.
He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the
motion for second reading of Bill C-51, an omnibus bill
amending the Criminal Code, the Corrections and Conditional
Release Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. These
amendments are not extensive or complex enough to warrant
stand-alone legislation, but some of them make significant policy
changes, and I should like to draw the attention of honourable
senators to some of the more important elements of the bill.
After some consideration, the government has decided to
propose that section 227 of the Criminal Code, the "year and a
day" rule, be repealed. This rule, which codifies ancient common
law, blocks prosecution for causing death where more than a year
and a day elapses between the last act of the accused and the
death of the victim.
In earlier times, this rule set a time limit on jeopardy for
homicide offences and avoided some difficult forensic problems
proving factual causation. In modern times, advances in science
make it easier to establish whether or not death was caused by
the accused, even where death is delayed or where there are
The rule has been attacked in recent years. It blocks
prosecutions for homicide, criminal negligence causing death,
impaired driving causing death, and similar offences, forcing the
Crown to proceed on a lesser charge even where causation could
be proved. Modern medicine has also increased the number of
possible cases by increasing the survival times of victims who
later die of their injuries.
As a result of the criticisms and its own examination of the
issues involved, the government now proposes, in this bill, to
repeal the codification of the rule. The common law rule was
revoked by the enactment of section 227 in the Criminal Code
and, under the Interpretation Act, it will not be revived by
The net effect will be that offences which involve the death of
the victim will be subject to the same rules as any other offence.
They can be prosecuted on the same basis whether the victim
dies immediately upon commission of the offence or at an
extended time afterward.
The principles for proving the causation of death are already
the subject of appellate case law and this will now apply to all
cases, not only those where the victim dies within a year and a
day. No amendment to these rules was necessary.
The Supreme Court of Canada has said that any act which
makes more than a minimal or negligible contribution to death
incurs liability for the actor. If the act or omission that makes
such a contribution is itself a crime, the accused will now be
liable regardless of when the act or omission took place.
Another significant series of amendments in this legislation
will make adjustments to the rules governing conditional
sentences under the Criminal Code. These were created by
legislation which took effect in late 1996. Cases on which
conditional sentences are appropriate and how they should be
applied are now pending before the Supreme Court of Canada.
The government intends to wait until the court has ruled on a
series of issues before considering any major changes to the
regime, but one problem was identified which both requires and
permits earlier legislative changes to address, and this is dealt
with in Bill C-51.
At present, where a conditional sentence is breached, a hearing
must be held within a certain time after a summons or arrest
warrant is issued, and the jurisdiction of the court which will hear
the matter is extinguished when the sentence is completed. The
result is that courts lose jurisdiction either because a hearing
cannot be held in time or the sentence itself runs out.
To respond to this, the government proposes amendments
which will stop the running of time on the sentence as soon as
proceedings on an allegation of breach are commenced. Where
the offender is arrested or an arrest warrant is issued, the
counting of time stops and the sentence remains in effect until
the breach hearing is completed. Hearings would have to be held
as soon as is practicable, but not within a specified time limit.
During this period, if he or she is not in custody, the offender will
remain subject to the sentence conditions.
Once a breach hearing is completed, the counting of time will
restart. The court may also order that some or all of the time lost
be recredited to the offender where it finds that there was no
breach, that the offender had a reasonable excuse, or there are
other exceptional circumstances. Where the court finds that there
was a breach and no reasonable excuse for it, the existing
provisions of the Criminal Code will still apply. The offender can
be committed to serve some or all of the sentence in custody.
The proposed changes are intended to strike a balance,
ensuring that conditional sentencing remains a viable option for
dealing with offenders for whom custody is not the best option,
that those who breach sentence conditions face appropriate
consequences, that the justice system does not lose jurisdiction,
and that the rights and interests of offenders serving conditional
sentences are protected.
The proposed amendments also deal with several other
The same major amendments which created conditional
sentences in 1995-96 through Bill C-41 also created a number of
general rules dealing with fines and other dispositions. The
changes now proposed would clarify their application to more
specific sentencing measures in the Criminal Code and the
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
In the act, a rule which listed some factors that must be
considered as aggravating factors for sentencing by the courts
has been taken in some cases as exhaustive, preventing the
consideration of aggravating factors which were not listed. This
would be changed to ensure that any aggravating circumstance
could be considered as such.
In the Criminal Code, the general rules governing fines would
be clarified to ensure that where an offence carries a mandatory
minimum sentence, a fine may be imposed in addition to that
sentence but not as an alternative.
Bill C-51 also makes two changes to the Criminal Code
provisions governing gambling. These have been requested by
the provinces. They are intended to ensure that Canadian
gambling operations are not at a competitive disadvantage. The
government is convinced that they will not lead to any significant
increase in overall levels of gambling activity in Canada.
Under the present provisions, running a gambling operation,
participating in a game and importing gambling equipment are
all offences, unless the activity which takes place is conducted
and managed by the government of a province. Some types of
gambling may also be operated under a licence issued by a
The proposed amendments would expand these exemptions in
two ways: First, the operation of dice games, which is presently
prohibited completely, would be moved to the list of activities
which the provinces may conduct and manage. This would
ensure that Canadian casinos can compete effectively with those
in the United States and in border areas where customers can
easily move from one to another. It would also ensure that
activity would be limited to circumstances where the provinces
will have adequate security precautions to prevent cheating.
Second, games which can now be operated by the provinces
will also now be permitted on international cruise ships which
call on Canadian ports or cross Canadian waters. This is intended
to ensure that such vessels are free to call at ports of the Atlantic
provinces, Quebec and British Columbia under existing routes,
and to encourage the cruise industry, which brings tourist
revenues to other parts of Canada as well.
The proposed amendments also contain safeguards to prevent
ships from being used to create purely domestic gambling
operations. Cruises must include international waters, and no
gambling is permitted while the ship is within five nautical miles
of any Canadian port of call.
Some senators may know that Canada's first diamond mine
opened in the Northwest Territories last month, bringing an
important source of employment and economic development to
that region. The government has supported and encouraged this
development, which will bring an exciting new era to Canada's
mineral industries. The small size and high values of rough
diamonds make them a concern, however. They are a target for
thieves and are ideal as a means for smuggling or laundering the
proceeds of other crimes.
In order to address these concerns, the government proposes
amendments to several Criminal Code provisions which have
always dealt with precious metals. The government proposes to
change these provisions to valuable minerals to ensure that
non-metallic minerals such as diamonds are now included. The
provisions had created presumptions that those in possession of
precious metals or ores had stolen them or obtained them by
fraud or for the purpose of committing fraud. Such provisions
infringe upon the right to be presumed innocent under the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The amendments would address
this problem, bringing the rules into conformity with the Charter
and case law.
Several technical issues with respect to electronic surveillance,
search and seizure provisions have also arisen, and the
government proposes amendments in Bill C-51 to deal with
them. Current legislation allows for electronic surveillance and
for installation of the necessary devices, if authorized by a court
based on grounds which satisfy the requirements of the Criminal
Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The law is not as clear with respect to the proper procedures
for removing these devices once the investigation has concluded,
and the proposed amendments would deal with this in two ways:
First, the provisions governing surveillance authorizations would
be clarified to ensure that the court's permission include
installation, maintenance and removal of the necessary devices.
Second, to deal with cases where the initial authorization has
expired before the devices can be removed, the courts will be
allowed to issue a second authorization to remove them and to
set appropriate conditions for this.
Most of the legislative provisions governing search warrants
now allow for searches to be conducted by any peace officer or
any person named in the warrant. This raised questions that those
not properly trained in law enforcement might be in a position of
executing warrants. As a result, the proposed amendments would
limit execution to police officers and public officers who have
law enforcement responsibilities.
Another major concern of the government is the growing
problem of telemarketing fraud. This generates such large
proceeds it has become an activity of organized crime in Canada.
A recent joint examination of the problem also concluded that it
has exceptionally hard effects because many of the victims are
senior citizens who cannot easily replace savings or assets lost to
The government believes that the existing Criminal Code
fraud offences are sufficient to deal with actual frauds, but also
recently put forward amendments to the Competition Act which
would extend liability to other activities which fall short of fraud
or are often done in support of frauds. These amendments were
recently considered by this house in Bill C-20.
A key strategy which has been identified for combating this
activity is the targeting of proceeds in order to deprive offenders
of their gains and facilitate restitution to victims. Bill C-51
contains an amendment which would make the new competition
act offences subject to the Criminal Code's scheme for the
seizure and forfeiture of proceeds of crime, allowing these to be
targeted by law enforcement.
All Canadians are concerned about the problem of domestic
violence. Efforts to prosecute offenders and protect victims are
often hampered by undue influence or duress exerted by
offenders who may contact victims or witnesses even while in
custody. In order to address this problem, Parliament acted in
1997 to create powers for the justice who denies bail to an
accused person to also order that he or she not communicate with
any witness or other person specified in the order.
Provincial authorities have pointed out that this power can
only be used once the accused has had a bail hearing, even
though he or she has usually been remanded in custody before
that time, and that accused persons often try to contact victims or
witnesses at the earliest opportunity. In order to address this, an
amendment is proposed that would also allow the first justice
before whom the accused appears to make such an order.
I mentioned that the proposed amendments include changes to
the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, and Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act, in addition to the Criminal Code.
Since the enactment of measures to combat organized crime in
1997, concerns have also been raised about the fact that those
who commit offences on behalf of organized crime may still be
eligible to apply for early parole under the Corrections and
Conditional Release Act unless the offences themselves are
The government regards organized crime involvement as a
serious matter and proposes an amendment to the act which
would exclude those who are convicted under the 1997
amendments from participating directly in the activities of a
criminal organization, or who are convicted of committing any
other offence for the benefit of a criminal organization.
These amendments also allow the courts to order that these
offenders serve additional time before being eligible for parole
and ensure that, where involvement in organized crime is proven
in court, it will be on the record for the National Parole Board to
consider when the offender does become eligible.
The package also contains two amendments to the Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act. As I indicated, one of these affects
the list of factors which may be used to impose longer sentences
on offenders. The list of factors remains the same, but the
preamble is changed to make sure that other aggravating factors
can also be considered.
The other change corrects a legislative oversight in 1997
amendments to the act, being Statutes of Canada, 1997,
chapter 18, section 140. That oversight has been addressed
temporarily by regulation, which regulation will be revoked once
the statutory language has been amended.
In closing, honourable senators, the amendments proposed in
Bill C-51 do not make major changes to Canada's criminal
justice system but they do make important changes. The changes
have been sought by those who work in the criminal justice
system at the provincial and federal levels. The changes will
result in improvements which will make that system work more
effectively. I ask that you give this legislation your support.
On motion of Senator DeWare, for Senator Ghitter, debate
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-seventh
report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets
and Administration (budgets of certain committees), presented in
the Senate on November 19, 1998.
Hon. Bill Rompkey moved the adoption of the report.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-eighth
report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets
and Administration (pay scales of unrepresented employees),
presented in the Senate on November 19, 1998.
Hon. Bill Rompkey moved the adoption of the report.
Consideration of Report of Committee-Motion in
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable
Senator Milne, seconded by the Honourable Senator
Bryden, for the adoption of the twelfth report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs (Bill S-15, respecting the declaration of royal assent
by the Governor General in the Queen's name to bills
passed by the Houses of Parliament, with amendments)
presented in the Senate on June 18, 1998,
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable
Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator
Pépin, that the report be not now adopted, but that it be
referred back to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs for further consideration.
-(Honourable Senator Cools).
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have
mesmerized myself by reading the origins, precedents and the
history of Royal Assent this past summer, which is the subject
matter of Bill S-15. I anticipate, honourable senators, that I will
be speaking to this matter briefly next week in an effort to refer
this bill back to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs for further consideration.
Status of Education and Health in Young Girls and
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable
Senator Losier-Cool, calling the attention of the Senate to
population, education and health, particularly for young
girls and women in many developing countries
-(Honourable Senator Andreychuk).
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to
respond today to remarks made earlier by Honourable Senator
Losier-Cool concerning the inquiry into the status of education
and health of young girls and women in many developing
countries. The honourable senator brought to our attention issues
on the status of women in Africa, in particular the disadvantage
they face in access to education and health care. I wish to express
my agreement with the concerns raised by Senator Losier-Cool,
who is also my colleague in the all-party Canadian Association
of Parliamentarians for Population and Development.
As honourable senators know, this association recently
celebrated its first anniversary with a well-attended workshop on
adolescent reproductive health in Canada and internationally. I
should like to address an area of particular urgent concern that
was touched upon both by Senator Losier-Cool in her remarks
and by speakers at the CAPPD anniversary workshop at the end
of October. That is the issue of maternal mortality.
While thankfully almost unheard of in Canada, maternal
mortality is nevertheless at near epidemic levels in much of the
developing world; yet it has received relatively little attention. It
is the subject of the CAPPD's first fact card on critical issues for
Since the honourable senator gave us all a vivid picture of the
lives of girls and women in francophone Africa, I will focus most
of my illustrations on another part of the world where equal
suffering is evident, South Asia.
Honourable senators, in the time I have been talking to you
already today, two women have died from pregnancy-related
complications. By the time I finish my remarks, several more
will have died. Six hundred thousand women every year, one
every minute, die from complications related to pregnancy, the
leading cause of disability and death among women of
reproductive age in developing countries. Some of these are
teenagers, some are in their 20s and 30s, and most already have
other children. They die from uncontrollable bleeding, from
severe infection, from convulsions brought on by eclampsia,
from obstructed labour when their pelvis is too young and too
small to allow for the passage of the baby's head, and from
attempting to abort unwanted pregnancies. They die in agony and
fear, often alone and often after days of suffering.
To put these numbers in Canadian terms, this would be like
losing 85 per cent of the population of Quebec City in one year,
or all of both Regina and Saskatoon in eight months. If an
epidemic of this force was happening in our country, action
would be immediate, but in the developing world the tragedy has
not received the attention it deserves.
When a mother dies, the consequences for the family and her
surviving children are severe. Families lose the mother's
contribution to the household management and the care that she
has provided to children and other household members. The
health, education and even survival of the remaining young
children can be jeopardized. A study in Bangladesh found that
when a mother dies, surviving children are three to ten times
more likely to die within two years. The family also loses a
mother's economic contribution.
It is well known from studies sponsored by the World Bank
and others that women are more likely than men to spend their
income on improving family welfare through additional food,
health care, school supplies and clothing for young children.
However, the costs and consequences of maternal mortality also
extend beyond the immediate family concerned. Communities
lose a vital member, often one who contributes significant unpaid
labour to a variety of local activities, such as harvest collection,
care for the sick, work in community gardens, passing on
traditional skills to younger community members, and organizing
celebrations. National economies also lose the productive
contributions of women.
Unfortunately, there is little direct calculation of the economic
impact of maternal mortality. Some comparisons can be made
based on what we are currently learning about the economic
impact of the AIDS epidemic in different parts of the world,
In 1997, the United Nations AIDS Agency, UNAIDS,
estimated that 2.3 million adults died from AIDS-related causes,
among them approximately 1 million women. A New York Times
article on November 15, 1998, suggested that in Africa, where
the epidemic has been the worst, AIDS is reducing growth in per
capita gross domestic product by 0.3 per cent, nearly one-third of
the 1 per cent annual growth target most African countries
struggle toward. Maternal mortality affected roughly a quarter of
the number of people last year, though its epidemic has lasted
much longer. Hence, it is likely to have one-quarter of the
However, the economic impact of maternal death pales in
comparison to the impact of poor maternal health in general,
which contributes significantly to the cycle of poverty
experienced by roughly one-quarter of the world's population.
Women are at the forefront of household and community efforts
to escape poverty. When women become sick, they cannot work
in the home or in the paid labour force. A World Bank study in
India found that productivity amongst women would be
approximately 20 per cent higher if women's health problems
were addressed. It is estimated that 60 per cent of women in the
developing world suffer from iron deficiency with anaemia,
reducing their energy and capacity for work daily, as well as
creating potential life-threatening problems for them during
For every woman who dies from pregnancy-related
complications, between 30 and 40 women experience health
problems, the most serious of which will be with them
throughout their lifetime. As many as 300 million women, more
than a quarter of all adult women now living in the developing
world, are affected by maternal morbidity.
Honourable senators, why are these women dying? The
immediate medical causes of death have already been noted, but
the reasons behind maternal death are worthy of some attention.
The World Health Organization, which made safe motherhood
the theme for the World Health Day in April of this year, attests
that most maternal deaths could be prevented if women had
access to basic medical health care during pregnancy, a skilled
health practitioner attending during childbirth, and emergency
obstetrical care if complications arise.
Every year, 60 million deliveries take place with only a family
member or untrained traditional birth attendant providing care
for women in labour. A skilled birth attendant is essential for
ensuring hygiene, which protects both the mother and the new
baby from infections, and for recognizing complications and
making decisions to refer women to a higher level of care.
Because of women's low status in many developing countries,
including those in South Asia, their health is generally not valued
as much as men's. Without advice from skilled professionals,
families may try to delay or avoid sending women for necessary
emergency care or even for adequate prenatal care during
pregnancy. Women have little decision-making power, and
families frequently wish to avoid the direct costs of
transportation and care, as well as the opportunity costs of
women's absence from the fields or from the cookstove.
Improving women's reproductive health and their access to
family planning is estimated to be able to eliminate between
one-fifth and one-quarter of maternal mortality. The births with
the most risk are those which are too early or too late in a
woman's life, too closely spaced together, or simply too many.
Ensuring that all women who wish to space or prevent future
pregnancies have access to safe and reliable methods of
contraception could prevent 150,000 deaths annually.
The WHO estimates that the cost of providing postpartum
family planning and basic neo-natal care would be less
than $5 Canadian per person per year. Basic prenatal care alone
would only be about $3 Canadian. The cost of ensuring that
health facilities have the necessary equipment to deal with
obstetrical emergencies would be higher in the poorest countries,
but improving the health infrastructure and putting in place
effective referral systems at a community level would benefit the
whole population, with improved health for more than just
Taking a long-term perspective on improving the status of
women will be essential to stopping the worldwide epidemic of
maternal mortality. This was recognized by Canada and other
countries at both the International Conference on Population and
Development in Cairo in 1994 and the Fourth World Conference
on Women in Beijing in 1995.
Discrimination against women in access to health care starts at
or even before birth in South Asia. Strong son preference still
results in the abortion of thousands of female fetuses annually,
despite the fact that sex determination tests were made illegal, for
example, in India in approximately 1987. Baby girls have a much
higher mortality rate than boys in Pakistan and Bangladesh
because they are less likely to be breast fed and less likely to be
taken to a health clinic if they are ill than are their brothers.
According to the 1995 human development report, South Asia is
the only region in the world where female life expectancy is
shorter than male life expectancy. Nearly 60 million women are
"missing" if population sex ratios are compared with the natural
sex ratios found in most of the rest of the world.
Honourable senators, in 1997, Canada acted as a global leader
in the fight to end one of the great scourges of our time, the use
of anti-personnel land mines which indiscriminately maimed and
killed approximately 26,000 men, women, and children in
affected countries. There is little question that Canadian
initiatives greatly increased the pace with which world opinion
changed about these weapons and the pace of international
I know that you join me in applauding these essential efforts. I
hope, however, that you are also stirred, as I am, by the facts that
I have presented today. The global safe motherhood campaign
began in 1997; yet estimates of the annual number of maternal
deaths were actually increased in 1996, from 500,000 to 600,000,
despite campaign efforts. The commitment made by governments
in Cairo and other conferences to reduce maternal mortality by
one half of 1990 levels by the year 2000 does not look like it will
be met in most of the worst affected countries.
Surely more can be done to address this silent epidemic. If
Canada, with our international reputation and commitment to
human development, can take a strong leadership position,
perhaps we can stimulate as much action for mothers and
children as we have seen in the past few years for victims of
I call on the Government of Canada, through CIDA, to
enunciate a national population and development strategy to
combat maternal mortality and other related issues. For some
reason, Canada has not moved on a national population and
development strategy in the developing countries. This loss
means a loss of women on a daily, hourly, and minute-by-minute
basis. This cannot go on.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights-Recent Responses to Questions from
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Acting Deputy Leader of the
Opposition) rose pursuant to notice of November 17, 1998:
That he will call the attention of the Senate to the
responses to the supplementary questions emitted by the
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights on Canada's third report on the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
He said: Honourable senators, the purpose of the inquiry is to
draw the attention of this house of Parliament to a very important
event that is occurring this week in Geneva.
This week in Geneva, the Canadian ambassador at the
Canadian permanent mission to the United Nations office in
Geneva will be leading a delegation made up of federal
government representatives and representatives from the
provinces and the territories appearing before the United Nations
Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The
purpose of that meeting is to examine Canada's third report on
the level of compliance that we are achieving across the country
under the obligations we assumed in 1976 under the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate was helpful in
procuring for honourable senators a copy of Canada's response to
some 81 questions that the committee posed when it first looked
at the Canadian report. To help honourable senators understand
what we are dealing with here, we need to look back a few years.
Earlier today, during Question Period, we had the opportunity
to remind ourselves of a very important convention, a convention
in the constitutional sense which was established in 1937. That
convention arose as the result of a dispute between the provinces
and the federal government when the federal government sought
to ratify certain international labour conventions that touched
upon hours of work, a matter which clearly fell under provincial
jurisdiction. The government assumed certain obligations
affecting provincial jurisdiction without the approval of
That matter arrived before the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council, for in those days we did not have our own domestic
supreme court. It was held that in matters which fall under
provincial jurisdiction the federal government must have the
concurrence of the provinces before it can ratify international
treaties which would impose obligations upon the provinces.
Honourable senators will recall that that principle was very
important during our own constitutional exercise in the late
1970s and early 1980s, when the proposition of whether the
federal government could unilaterally patriate the Constitution
became the subject matter of important court decisions. It was
that very principle of consultation with the provinces that the
Government of Canada recognized and followed after the setting
in place in 1966 by the United Nations of two important
international human rights treaties.
On December 10 of this year we will be celebrating the fiftieth
anniversary of that great event when the General Assembly
proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a
universal standard of achievement for the civilized world.
Although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights acquired
great authority on its own strength and became part of the corpus
of the customary law of nations, it was not a treaty. It contained
no enforcement powers. The United Nations wanted there to be
some kind of enforcement mechanism. The world community
recognized that in the universal declaration one could distinguish
between at least two main categories of human rights, one
category being civil and political rights. I refer to the right to life
or the freedom from arbitrary arrest, rights which in many ways
could be described as self-executory. That is to say, rights that we
would enjoy if the state did not interfere with them.
All democracies around the world had acquired a great deal of
experience in dealing with the violations of those rights before
the courts. Thus, we were comfortable with seeing civilian and
political rights as rights which could be enforced under the
model of direct judiciability. However, it was equally recognized
that rights, such as the right to education or the right to health,
were not so easily adjudicated as were civil and political rights.
It was decided that a different vehicle of implementation
would have to be developed. Indeed, what was developed was a
form of social audit. It was based on the recognition that
education as a human right, or health as a human right, meant
little if there were no health delivery systems or no education
programs. Unlike civil and political rights which required
non-interference by the state, economic, social and cultural rights
required the intervention of the state. In order to see how well
states were doing in implementing social, cultural and economic
rights, a social audit model, or a reporting mechanism,
Thus, we find that the two international covenants on human
rights, one dealing with civil and political rights and the other
dealing with social, economic, and cultural rights, were opened
up for ratification by the United Nations in 1966. Between 1966
and 1976, a great deal of discussion took place between the
federal government and the provincial governments about
whether we should ratify these two international treaties.
An agreement was reached. The ministers responsible for
human rights across Canada expressed their view to the prime
minister of the day that Canada should deposit the instrument of
ratification, which we did. In August 1976, Canada ratified the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as
its optional protocol, which operates on the basis of a direct
judiciability model. There is a human rights committee which
complainants may address and from which judgments can
The other instrument, the one of which we speak today, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
is enforced by virtue of a social audit. That is to say, Canada,
with the concurrence of all the provinces and the territories,
submits periodic reports to the United Nations committee which
deals with this covenant. These reports set out the steps that we
have been taking to realize greater protection and
implementation of social, economic and cultural rights.
This is most important, honourable senators. During the time
of the Charlottetown accord, a joint committee of the House of
Commons and the Senate submitted such a report. As honourable
senators will recall, there was discussion about a Canadian social
charter at that time. This parliamentary report stated that these
economic, social and cultural rights are privileges, not real
human rights. The committee of Parliament was absolutely dead
wrong. They are human rights. There is a unity to human rights.
Indeed, there is the obligation to which we are attempting
Honourable senators, these instruments that are not well
known are important for Canadians who are interested in the
promotion of human rights. We would do well as a house of
Parliament to give some focus to the tremendous work that is
being done collaboratively by the provinces and the federal
government in the preparation of these reports.
This house in particular, with its interest in regional and
provincial issues, has a special interest in seeing what the
provinces and the regions of our country are pointing out the
steps that they are taking to implement and give greater richness
to our economic, social and cultural rights. That is the
background. The reporting obligation is quite straightforward.
Every five years, we must submit reports on how well we are
doing in terms of meeting our education right obligations, the
right to work obligations, et cetera.
As I mentioned, when this report was first submitted, the
committee had a series of questions that they asked of Canada
and those questions were answered. Dealing with the right to
education, which is Article 13 of that covenant, it provides, for
example, that "higher education shall become progressively
freer." They use the terminology "higher education." That means
that post-secondary education is to become progressively freer as
an education right.
It did not take long for that committee to raise questions about
the right to education. Questions 59 to 60 ask about the
62 per cent increase in post-secondary tuition fees between 1990
and 1995, as well as the result of the international literacy
surveys conducted in Canada in 1994, where almost half the
Canadians appeared to lack the minimal skill necessary for
coping and recognizing basic difficulties.
Canada's response to those supplementary questions did not
advance the view that government is morally compelled to abide
by the rights prescribed in the covenant. The tone of the federal
responses to the questions indicated that Canada was not, in its
view, definitively bound to enter into international covenants and
that "if the expressed provisions of a domestic statute are
contrary to or inconsistent with Canada's international
obligations, the former will prevail."
Honourable senators, that position must be reviewed if it is to
be the position of the Government of Canada. No attention is
paid to discussing means and mechanisms by which the status of
the covenant's provisions may be reconciled with federal,
provincial or territorial legislation. In fact, Canada's response
speaks about the Supreme Court of Canada's lack of an
analytical framework with which to interpret degrees
The federal government's response to the questions posed by
the committee, regarding balancing covenant obligations,
domestic legislation and current and proposed trade and
investment agreements, appear to have a number of deficiencies
that will no doubt be examined this week in Geneva as well.
Further, on the committee question about the protection of the
rights of people with disabilities, which was Question No. 6, the
federal government noted in its response that the Government of
Canada has attempted to strengthen human rights protections for
persons with disabilities and to improve their access to the justice
When asked in Question No. 8 whether the government would
be acting on the recommendation of the Canadian Human Rights
Commission that social and economic rights be added as a field
of human rights protection, the federal government stated that a
comprehensive review of the Canadian Human Rights Act is
scheduled to commence shortly. This is of great interest to
honourable senators, because we seem to be quite a few miles
ahead of the government on this particular front since we
unanimously adopted Bill S-11, which proposes to put social
condition on the list of prescribed grounds of discrimination in
the Canadian Human Rights Act. I would expect that our
ambassador will be pointing to that as a positive measure that is
being undertaken by Parliament. However, we do know that that
bill, which is now in the other place, has been under debate. On
the other hand, the Minister of Justice is on the record as saying
that she is not interested in having that prohibited ground of
There is much more, honourable senators, but my time is up. I
am pleased to have had had this opportunity to draw to your
attention aspects of this important report which is under
examination at the United Nations this week.
Agriculture and Forestry Committee Authorized to
Extend Date of Final Report on Study
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor, pursuant to notice of November 19,
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
Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be
empowered to present its final report no later than June 30,
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.
He said: Honourable senators, the original deadline was
January but the work of the committee turned out to be more
than we had originally anticipated. We have held 37 meetings,
we have heard 131 witnesses, and we have visited seven different
sites. We have one more site to visit and four more witnesses to
hear. We will then try to put those deliberations together in a
report that will go down in history. No one will be able to come
to visit the Senate without demanding a copy of the report on the
Honourable senators, I ask the Senate to approve this motion
to allow us to file the report at a later time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable
senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, November 25, 1998, at