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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 137, Issue 134

Thursday, April 29, 1999

The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker


Table of Contents

THE SENATE

Thursday, April 29, 1999

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

Prayers.

Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic

Address to Members of the Senate and the House of Commons Tabled and Printed as Appendix

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I ask that the address of His Excellency Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, delivered to members of both Houses of Parliament earlier this day, together with the introductory speech by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada and the speeches delivered by the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons, be printed as an appendix to the Debates of the Senate of this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of speeches see appendix, p. 3213.)


SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Alberta

Condolences on Shooting Tragedy at W.R. Myers High School in Taber

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, an atmosphere of shock, bewilderment and deep sorrow hangs over my area in southern Alberta today as families, students and friends try to cope with the tragic shooting which took place yesterday at W.R. Myers High School in the community of Taber.

A young man with a rifle shattered the calm of this small prairie town when he entered the school, consumed with anger and his own demons, and shot two students before being disarmed and taken into custody. We do not know his name because he is only 14 years old, which places him within the purview of the Young Offenders Act.

We do know that Jason Lang, 17, is dead. Today, his father, who is minister of the Anglican Church in Taber, told a press conference of the loving home in which Jason had grown up and how no one will ever know the effects of his death on the lives of his family forever.

We also know that Shane Christmas, also 17 years old, is severely injured and is described as being in serious condition in the intensive care unit of the Lethbridge Regional Hospital.

To all these families, the prayers and sympathy of those of us who sit in this place are taken for granted.

Taber is just 30 miles down the highway from my hometown of Lethbridge. It is a warm, attractive, family-oriented place. It has a population of some 7,200 people. There is a strong sense of community strength and friendship in Taber, as there is in the other wonderful small communities in our rural area.

Many of you may recall how often in the past I have referred to the sugar beet industry in southwestern Alberta. Taber is where the beets are processed. Taber is where the farmers grow the best sweet corn in the world, where the cowboys put on a great summer rodeo, where literacy is important, and where young people receive a good education in the schools to start their lives. Taber is a safe community. That peaceful image was blown away by the events of yesterday.

Comparisons are already being made to the horrible events last week at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Debates are heating up about the issue of gun control. There is much speculation about the boy who used the gun, and what drove him to do it. He was a loner; he was not popular; he was teased; he left school to study at home. Perhaps we shall never know the whole story of what was not supposed to happen in a place like Taber.

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Honourable senators, think of your own communities. In Canada, it is "not supposed to happen" in any one of them. While we are always overwhelmed by these events and we look outward for someone to suggest a solution and a reason, I suggest that all senators in this chamber must look inward and realize that there is vulnerability in every community in our land, be they urban centres or small prairie towns. We, as individual citizens and senators, must learn how to read the signs from our young people.

We must also realize that the young people of our country are facing a process of growing up that we did not face. They have influences in their lives that may be difficult for us to understand. However, only through soul-searching in order to understand and identify what makes a "loner" and a child desperate will we be able to offer true sympathy and support. That is what is happening today in Taber.

Last night, the media said that Taber was different from Littleton because the citizens were not out in the streets; they were not at the school; they were not rushing to the school with flowers. Honourable senators, Taber is different. Taber is small; it is strong; it is nourishing; it is at the heart of what makes this country so special. This has happened to Taber, and our heart goes out to every student, every citizen, and particularly those families who have experienced a loss and injury, and who are in anguish today.

I would hope, honourable senators, that as others conclude their remarks today, we would be able to put them together in a special form of Hansard, as we do on other occasions, so that the school, those families and that small town in southwestern Alberta will know that we are thinking about them, that we care, and that we are sharing their anguish.

Hon. Ron Ghitter: Honourable senators, I rise to echo the eloquent remarks of Senator Fairbairn with respect to this tragedy that has occurred in her community.

I have visited the Taber area on many occasions, and it is exactly as Senator Fairbairn describes. It is really the essence of small-town Alberta and rural Canada. The people there are God-fearing, loving individuals who raise their families in the best traditions of our country. I can just imagine the grief that exists in that community today after suffering through such a horrendous experience.

Now is really not the time to enter into debate and discussion as to the whys and wherefores of the actions of an individual whose mind could lead him to the sort of situation that we experienced in the school at Taber yesterday, nor is it the time to deal with the complexities of what caused trench-coated, gun-bearing, bomb-laden young people to perpetrate the tragedy in Colorado last week. Now is the time to understand the frailties that exist in our school systems and amongst our youth. Now is the time to understand, as Senator Fairbairn has stated, the difficulty of growing up, the difficulty of being rejected and the difficulty of trying to keep pace with and be part of a community when, all too often, they find themselves rejected and responding in ways that were hitherto unimaginable.

Now is the time to come forward, as senators, to share in the grief of the community of Taber so that the families and the community at large will know that we sympathize with them, in the hope that tragedies like this will never happen again in this wonderful country.

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I, too, wish to add a word or two about this tragedy.

I was born just 30 miles from Taber. Taber has always had a God-fearing background. The name itself supposedly comes from the first syllable of the word "tabernacle," relating to the Mormon missionaries who came from the south. Others thought the name of the town came from a CPR employee who misspelled Mount Tabor, which is contained in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, it is a good town, and a good place to raise a family.

I have nothing to add to what my two colleagues from Alberta have already stated about the quality of life and the quality of people in Taber. However, it is interesting that about one week after I commented on the violence in Colorado, where the President of the United States said that our youth must learn to solve their differences without violence, we hear news about how we are using violence to solve our differences in Kosovo and in Europe. It will be difficult to teach our children not to use violence if we, ourselves, feel that violence can often be used as a solution and a cure. Perhaps violence can be used to teach lessons, as some of our international organizations encourage. How we separate the message that we are giving to the world from the message we want to give to our children will be a great challenge.

I called other legislatures today before making this statement. In other legislatures where I have served, the Speaker was always able to write a note on behalf of the legislative body in a case like this. I would appeal to our Speaker to find some way of extending the sympathy and condolences of this legislative body to the parents and people of Taber. It would be greatly appreciated.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, in response to the comment by the Honourable Senator Taylor and the request from the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, a transcript will be made of today's statements on this matter.

The Senate

Time-Limits on Speeches and Senators' Statements-Adherence to Rules

Senator Lois M. Wilson: Honourable senators, I wish to address an issue within the Senate that has intrigued me ever since I was appointed last June. It concerns the matter of the time-limit on speeches. I have spoken to senators on both sides of the chamber, and I have support from a number of individuals who are yet reluctant to address the issue for various reasons, perhaps because of their relationship to others across the chamber. However, I have no such qualms.

Rules are meant to guarantee a level playing field, and the Rules of the Senate are clear. The Speaker cannot be faulted for enforcing them expertly, but there are two rules in particular to which I wish to refer. The first is rule 22(6) under "Senators' Statements," which says that interventions shall be limited to no more than three minutes. However, a senator may then seek leave to extend his or her remarks, and leave of the Senate means leave granted without a dissenting vote. In practice, that is very often cast so that one can continue. However, if another senator says "no" it leaves some resentment. More important, it creates an uneven playing field.

The other rule is 37(4), which says:

...no Senator shall speak for more than fifteen minutes -

- and I underline this next part -

- inclusive of any question or comments from other Senators which the Senator may permit in the course of his or her remarks.

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That really means 10 minutes plus comments and questions. Some people actually time their speeches; they are somewhat at a disadvantage because they have much more to say. Others go on for 30 or 45 minutes, and they do not realize that their speeches are counter-productive because your attention does drift and you think about other things.

Generally speaking, I have found the Senate to be a relaxed place. However, I sometimes wonder whether we have among us some frustrated preachers who simply cannot bear to stop. There are no limits set by the clock.

I urge honourable senators to exercise some discipline in their observation of the rules, mainly because if one goes on too long, that excludes others from speaking. That robs them of a timely opportunity, perhaps, when they might have something significant to say. It also makes for extra long days. Having said that, I hope a word to the wise is sufficient.

The Homeless

Possible Closure of Centre in Ottawa

Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, today I should like to speak on homelessness.

On Tuesday, April 22, 1999, I visited the Anglican Social Services Centre at 454 King Edward Avenue here in Ottawa, where I met with approximately 200 homeless people. They invited me there in order to honour my hockey career, as well as my appointment to the Senate.

During our discussion, they asked me if there was some way in which I could help them, and I asked the following question:

Is homelessness a federal problem?

Their answer:

It is everyone's problem, Frank.

Honourable senators, the problems of the homeless are increasingly apparent. The Prime Minister agrees that it is the responsibility of everyone, including the municipal, provincial, territorial and federal governments, as well as communities, to seek solutions to this major concern in order to reduce homelessness. To this end, he recently appointed the Honourable Claudette Bradshaw to coordinate the government's activities in relation to Canada's homeless.

Centre 454 is in the basement of St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church, and has been in operation for 22 years at the same location. They have just been advised that they must leave the premises in a few months. The director of this centre is Mrs. Mary-Martha Hale. She feels that they should stay in the same area, as most homeless people roam the streets surrounding the centre. Mrs. Hale has worked hard and has proven to be dedicated and relentless in her efforts to help the homeless. My wife, Marie, and I are both very proud of her and her accomplishments. Approximately 30 years ago, Mrs. Hale helped baby-sit our children.

Mrs. Hale and her group of homeless need our help and support to continue the operation of the centre's various programs. Since my meeting with the homeless people at the centre, I spoke to the Honourable Claudette Bradshaw and she told me that she would meet with Mrs. Hale, for which I was thankful. I know there are problems throughout Canada, and in particular in Toronto. I know that the mayor of Toronto has approached the government and asked them, "Where is the money?" He will be approaching us shortly and embarrassing the federal government into providing moneys for the homeless of Toronto.

Back in 1967, when we won the championship at Maple Leaf Gardens with the Toronto Maple Leafs, we used to parade down the streets. This year we closed Maple Leaf Gardens. On our way down to the new arena, I saw approximately 20 or 30 of these homeless people bedding down for the night on top of sewers and manholes.

Honourable senators, I can assure you that homelessness is on the increase. I ask honourable senators to speak out, and help in any way possible, so that we can support and continue to operate these centres and various other programs.

[Translation]

National Youth Achievement Awards

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I join all my colleagues who have spoken in expressing my dismay at the tragedy that occurred in Taber, Alberta.

I am saddened by the tragedy, but we must also look to the future. We should look to the success of Canada's youth. Our pages are fine examples.

Yesterday evening, the Speaker of the House of Commons marked in a special way the National Youth Achievement Awards, which are distributed to young Canadians of all ages. I saw a young man of eight who was honoured for his bravery in this event. These 30 Canadians make me look to the future with optimism and love.

I would have hoped some of my colleagues might attend this event. These young Canadians made considerable efforts into a variety of fields, including sports - our colleague Senator Mahovlich is a shining example in this field - and science. For instance, two 17-year-old Canadians developed computer software to enable people in remote communities to send their electrocardiogram to their physician. Incredible!

Just as the Taber, Alberta, tragedy saddens us and obliges us legislators to come up with solutions, however small, for such tragic situations, so we must look to the future with optimism and encourage young Canadians who do succeed, as these 30 Canadians did so brilliantly.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend-First Reading

Hon. Thérèse Lavoie-Roux: Honourable senators, I have the honour to introduce Bill S-29, to amend the Criminal Code (Protection of Patients and Health Care Providers).

Bill read first time.

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

On motion of Senator Lavoie-Roux, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading at the next sitting of the Senate, Tuesday, May 4, 1999.

[English]

(1430)

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Meeting of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assemblies in Paris, France-
Report of Canadian Delegation Tabled

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table in both official languages the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association to the meeting of the Bureau of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly held in Paris, France on March 5, 1999.


QUESTION PERIOD

National Defence

Conflict in Yugoslavia-Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons against Kosovo Liberation Army-Supply of Protective Clothing and Training for Canadian Troops

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, yesterday there were reports in the British press that Yugoslav forces were using chemical weapons against the KLA. Does the minister have any information which might confirm or reject this?

Will the Canadian Forces personnel to be deployed to Macedonia receive the latest in chemical warfare protective clothing and, as well, the additional training necessary to make that equipment fully functional?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am not aware of the use of chemical warfare weapons. I have been assured by the Department of National Defence that our Armed Forces personnel to be deployed to that area will be equipped for any eventuality.

Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, by way of a supplementary question, I heard on the BBC a report that Yugoslav forces had been accused of firing frog missiles at KLA camps in Macedonia and Albania.

Can the minister confirm these reports? In particular, if they are true, could he indicate whether they were chemical or explosive-type missiles?

Senator Graham: I regret, honourable senators, that I do not have that information.

Conflict in Yugoslavia-Responsibility of Ground Troops in Peacekeeping Initiative

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I return to my question of yesterday about the deployed 800 peacekeepers who may be utilized in Kosovo, should there be an end to the difficulties there.

Canada has made statements that we will follow the action of NATO and, of course, we are part of NATO. Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate advise whether Canadian peacekeepers will have more discretion and be better armed than they were when they entered the Bosnian situation?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, it is my understanding that our Armed Forces personnel would have the most up-to-date equipment available.

Senator Forrestall: Stonewalling now, eh?

Senator Andreychuk: My question is not on up-to-date equipment. It is a question about the discretion that they will be given within that situation. If we are not supporting a separation of Kosovo, we are talking about either an autonomous region or an integration into the whole country. If the refugees move back, they will be living shoulder to shoulder with other people who are there now. That will not be an easy situation, as Bosnia was not an easy situation. In my opinion, our peacekeepers there had a limited mandate and could not fulfil their roles adequately.

Will the Leader of the Government ensure that this will not be repeated in the Kosovo situation?

Senator Graham: Honourable senators, our Armed Forces will have the mandate to defend themselves as well as the refugees.

Conflict in Yugoslavia-Deployment of Ground Troops-Statement by Chief of British Defence Staff-Vote in Parliament-Government Position

Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, my question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Yesterday, General Sir Charles Guthrie, Chief of British Defence Staff, confirmed that Canada will be providing combat engineers to NATO's combat ground troop deployment. However, a previous press release from the Prime Minister's office stated that if there is a NATO request to deploy Canadian troops in combat, the House will be consulted before any final decision is made.

Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm or deny the statement of the British Chief of Defence Staff?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I stand by the statement of Prime Minister Chrétien. Namely, if our Armed Forces were to be deployed for any other reason than peacekeeping, Parliament would be consulted.

Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, what about that quote of General Sir Charles Guthrie, the Chief of British Defence Staff? Was he misquoted when he stated that our troops would be used in combat? How do we rationalize that?

Senator Graham: Sir Charles Guthrie has made his statement in his capacity as the Chief of British Defence Staff but he is not speaking for Canada, nor is he speaking for NATO. A decision in that respect has not been taken by our NATO allies.

Conflict in Yugoslavia- Deployment of Ground Troops in Active Service-Benefits of Veterans Status

Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, if these ground troops, who you say are there to handle non-combat issues, are exposed to bodily harm or death for whatever reason, are they covered by the War Veterans Allowance Act? Are they protected by that?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, they are covered by all of the measures that would be ordinarily available for anyone on active duty.

Cape Breton Development Corporation

Closure of Mines-Meeting Between Prime Minister and United Families of Cape Breton-Request for Update

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, yesterday the delegation representing the United Families of Cape Breton met with Prime Minister Chrétien. That meeting, we are told, had been organized by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Would the Leader of the Government tell us what undertaking, if any, the Prime Minister gave to these women concerning government consideration of their proposal regarding the pensions and related matters that were announced by the government for the Devco miners in January?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would not want to speak for the Prime Minister, except to say that the Prime Minister indicated that he had already received most of their material. He, appropriately, accepted and gave an undertaking to consider the presentations that they had given to others yesterday.

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Fisheries Committee-Status of Budget to Travel-Request for Information

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, my question is addressed to the Chairman of the Internal Economy Committee.

Back in March, I submitted a budget on behalf of the Fisheries Committee to hold some hearings on the West Coast, after a number of invitations from various groups on the West Coast, including the Coastal Communities Network.

The chairman of the Internal Economy Committee responded in writing that they were not prepared to consider any budgets until all budgets could be examined and acted upon at the same time.

I subsequently learned, in the past few days, that while the Internal Economy Committee did look at a certain number of budgets, the Fisheries Committee budget was not even considered during the process. Is this what we are to expect now? Given what we have had from the government over the past few years, can we now expect similar treatment from the Internal Economy Committee?

Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, high priority is still being given to the Fisheries Committee. Far be it from me, bearing in mind where I come from, to give anything but a high priority to fisheries.

Having said that, there is a budgetary process. We have re-established three subcommittees within the Internal Economy Committee. One of those subcommittees is on budgets. These subcommittees existed previously when the honourable senator's party formed the government, but they have not been used for some years. We have reinstituted them now because we think this is an effective and efficient way to proceed.

(1440)

Having said that, the subcommittee on budgets has reviewed all of the budgets and it is true that some budgets have been approved. The reason for that is timing. Some of those committees have to report by June.

Senator Bryden, who chairs the subcommittee on budgets, called together all the chairs of all the committees. He outlined two imperatives: first, all committees must be able to do the job that they do as best they can; second, bear in mind our responsibility to keep our own Senate budget within some reasonable control and parameters.

Given those two imperatives, Senator Bryden discussed the issue with all of the chairs, and they subsequently reported their budgets. He and his committee decided that it was important for some of those budgets to go ahead immediately because some of them had to report by June. That is not to say that other committees will not be considered, far from it.

My understanding is that the Fisheries Committee had graciously decided that it could, perhaps, put its hearings off to the fall. If that is the case, and I hope it is, then it would give us more time to re-examine our funds and perhaps to respond in a more positive way. In any case, all committee budgets are being considered and all of them will be treated fairly.

Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, I suggest that reality reflects quite the contrary. What choice did the Fisheries Committee have when we were told that our committee budget was not to be reviewed? It is in writing, and I have the letter if you want to see it.

What choice did we have but to cancel the hearings on the West Coast? As Honourable Senator Rompkey knows well, you cannot plan a trip based on fisheries at any old time of the year. There are fishing seasons and there are times that are not appropriate for travelling to certain fisheries areas. As he is from Newfoundland of long duration, I know that the Honourable Senator Rompkey is aware of that.

The honourable senator referred to the chairman of the subcommittee having met with various chairmen. I was advised the day before that, that there would be a meeting the next morning, not to discuss the budgets, but to discuss the new process by which the budgets would be looked at. However, that was not the case.

Apparently what happened was that the subcommittee decided to look at a certain number of budgets. Among them was the budget of the powerful Banking Committee that is always mentioned in the newspapers. I would ask the chairman of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration to return to his roots and attach the kind of importance to fisheries that it should have in this Senate.

Hon. Raymond J. Perrault: Honourable senators, as someone from the West Coast, I join in the statement made by the chairman of the Fisheries Committee, who is from another party. We are facing, honourable senators, a crisis situation in the fisheries on the East Coast and on the West Coast and we must demonstrate that we are concerned with this problem.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Immigration

Conflict in Yugoslavia-Refugees from Kosovo-Criteria for Policy on Admittance to Canada-Government Position

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) : Honourable senators, I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate regarding the plight of the Kosovar-Albanians, who have been expelled and removed from their homes and are located currently in Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and elsewhere. About 10 days ago there was a discussion that Canada would receive 5,000 of these persons. There was then an intervention by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Could the honourable minister outline in a general way the policy of the Government of Canada on the issue of these displaced persons?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the situation in the refugee camps is at a critical stage. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has described the camps as being at a breaking point. The honourable senator mentioned Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. It is particularly critical, as I understand it, at the camps in Macedonia.

Having said that, the United Nations High Commissioner has not asked non-European countries such as Canada, the United States or Australia to activate their plans to provide temporary safe havens for large numbers of refugees. Canada continues to process refugees on a family-reunification, special-needs basis. The first of these families arrived in Canada on Monday. I understand that 45 more people are arriving today. Canada's Minister of Immigration will be in touch with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees later this day.

Canada stands ready to accept 5,000 refugees. I indicated earlier that we were ready to receive refugees at various bases in Canada on 72-hours' notice. I understand that military bases such as Winnipeg, Trenton, Valcartier, Greenwood, and a camp in New Brunswick have been considered and would be ready to accept up to 5,000 refugees.

There was an article in one of the newspapers today indicating that this program to receive refugees was now back on. That was not accurate. The Minister of Immigration will be in touch, if she has not already done so, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicating that Canada is still ready to accept 5,000 refugees, and she will probably have more up-to-date news later today or certainly tomorrow.

While I am on my feet, several questions were asked in relation to the Coyotes and other equipment being used in Kosovo by our Canadian Forces. I questioned whether or not it would be possible for honourable senators to see the kind of equipment that would be used. Interest was expressed in the other place on this particular point as well.

I was informed just before coming to the Senate at two o'clock that for those interested in seeing the kind of equipment that will be used by the Canadian Forces, a bus will be leaving from the west door for the drill hall, which is close by Parliament Hill, at approximately three o'clock. For those who are interested, it is an excellent opportunity to see the kind of equipment that will be used by our Armed Forces.

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, on the latter point, I wish to express the appreciation of those on this side for that kind of initiative to keep members of this house informed and as up-to-date as we can be on the technical side of things. It is appreciated.

(1450)

Honourable senators, I wish to return to the humanitarian question, and the matter of the 5,000 refugees that Canada had indicated it would receive from among those Kosovar Albanians who have been displaced.

I am curious to learn what criteria were used when the government developed that policy. How was the number of 5,000 arrived at? It seems to me that when that number was announced, the number of Kosovar Albanians known to have been removed from their homes was much less than the number who are displaced today.

What criteria did the government use a few weeks ago to come up with the number of 5,000? If those same criteria were applied today, would 5,000 still a realistic number?

Senator Graham: Honourable senators, I do not think that 5,000 was a limit. I believe that the number of 5,000 was agreed upon after the first assessment was made with respect to the availability of accommodations in Canada. It was obviously arrived at after discussions between the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Immigration, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on what a fair number would be for Canada to take.

I would not want to suggest that that is a maximum number. I am sure that if the High Commissioner for Refugees were to ask that that number be increased because of the tragic circumstances that surround the situation, Canada would be open to further discussions.

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I have a final supplementary question on this point. Is the Government of Canada being proactive and establishing for itself the number of displaced Kosovar Albanians we would take, or are we simply, once again, being reactive and responding to requests of other organizations, this time the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees?

Do we have a policy objective or do we simply respond to requests made by others based upon their policies?

Senator Graham: Very much to the contrary, honourable senators. My understanding is that the call of Canada's Minister of Immigration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was initiated by the Canadian Minister of Immigration. She is very active on this file.

Environment

Impact Assessments and Safety Transportation Precautions on Cross-Border Shipments of Plutonium and MOX Fuel-Government Position

Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, the Americans are conducting an environmental assessment and notifying communities along the proposed transport routes that MOX fuel, supposedly coming from Russia and the United States, will be shipped. Canada has not conducted any environmental impact assessments of the proposed tests or of the plans to ship the plutonium by truck through regions of Canada, including the City of Winnipeg.

As reported by the Canadian Press on April 23, a secret meeting on transporting plutonium through Nova Scotia was scrapped after it became public knowledge. Apparently the meeting was organized to train fire chiefs and emergency measures personnel in how to handle MOX fuel in an emergency.

What assurances can the Leader of the Government in the Senate give us that the government will follow environmental assessment and safety transportation precautions as rigorous as those the Americans are applying? By the way, the Americans have said that this is Canada's responsibility. They are not taking any responsibility for it.

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have asked that same question myself and have been assured by those responsible that every precaution will be taken.

Senator Spivak: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has already given serious thought to the issue of the effort to dispose of plutonium from surplus weapons. In addition to calling the idea of burning MOX fuel in Canada totally unfeasible, the committee effectively recommended that Canada withdraw from even the proposed test burn later this year at AECL's Chalk River facility. In addition, both the United States and Russia will be left with huge stockpiles of plutonium. It has been suggested in the press that we might be getting fuel from domestic use, not fuel used for any military purpose.

I understand that all witnesses who appeared before that foreign affairs committee were in agreement. How does the government reconcile going ahead with the tests in Chalk River and the recommendation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee?

Senator Graham: Honourable senators, a similar question was asked by Senator Wilson the other day. I understand that the Deputy Leader of the Government will be tabling an answer to that question as soon as Question Period is finished. I would not want to pre-empt the Deputy Leader nor the answer to Senator Wilson's question. A copy of that answer will be sent to Senator Spivak as soon as it is tabled.

National Defence

NATO Forces in Yugoslavia-Deployment of Combat Engineers-Government Position

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I should like to return to the question my colleague Senator Stratton raised about combat engineers. I want to ensure that I understand the answer given by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Did he say that no combat engineers will be sent to join the British contingent in the Balkans?

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, no, I did not say "combat engineers." The Armed Forces that are being sent to the Balkans are being deployed specifically for peacekeeping purposes.

Senator Nolin: There will be many combat engineers in that Canadian contingent, will there not?

Senator Graham: There will be many engineers. I do not know that they are being deployed as combat engineers. They are being deployed as peacekeeping engineers at the present time.

Senator Nolin: However, the leader would not be surprised if the Minister of National Defence used the expression "combat engineers"?

Senator Graham: Honourable senators, a soldier is a soldier, and the role of a soldier is defined by his or her responsibilities; whether in a peacekeeping role or a peacemaking role. I have made it clear on many occasions, and I repeat again today, that the only mandate the Armed Forces have at the present time is to deploy up to 800 of our Armed Forces personnel for peacekeeping purposes.

[Translation]

Human Resources Development

Millennium Scholarship Fund-Impasse in Negotiations with Quebec-Request for Facilitator-Government Position

Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, Minister Pettigrew is refusing to speak to Quebec's Minister of Education about the millennium scholarships. This is a matter of very great interest to the students of Quebec. With this impasse in Quebec, negotiations with the other provinces are suffering.

Yesterday, in the National Assembly, the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Jean Charest, with the agreement of the Premier of Quebec, Mr. Bouchard, took the initiative of asking the Government of Canada to appoint a special negotiator.

Could the Leader of the Government ask the Minister of Human Resources Development whether he has received this joint proposal from the Premier of Quebec and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly to appoint a mediator so that negotiations can begin as soon as possible?

The Administrative Secretary of the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, Mr. Riddell, has already indicated that the absence of an agreement with the government at the outset of 1999 could compromise students' eligibility for scholarships.

It is in the interests of all students in Quebec that this measure be adopted, even if its legitimacy is still being contested. Could the leader check with his colleague?

[English]

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the answer is yes. I wish to assure the honourable senator that we agree that Quebec students should not be penalized under any circumstances. They should have the same opportunity as students in any other part of the country.

I brought this matter directly to the attention of Minister Pettigrew after Senator Rivest's interventions. Minister Pettigrew assured me that he was prepared to provide a facilitator to resolve this issue between the Government of Quebec and the foundation. As honourable senators know, the Millennium Scholarship Foundation operates at arm's length from the federal government, but the minister is prepared to provide a facilitator to find a resolution

Delayed Answer to Oral Question

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have a response to a question raised in the Senate on April 21, 1999, by the Honourable Senator Lois M. Wilson, regarding the recommendation by the House of Commons standing committee against the burning of MOX fuel.

Environment

Recommendation by House of Commons Standing Committee Against Burning of MOX Fuel-Government Position

(Response to question raised by Hon. Lois M. Wilson on April 21, 1999)

In responding to the Committee report, the Government has underlined its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation initiatives. The commitment to consider allowing the use of MOX fuel in Canadian nuclear power reactors, if requested, has been made in that context.

The Standing Committee recommendation asserted that the use of MOX fuel in Canadian reactors is not feasible. In fact, MOX fuel is used in nuclear power reactors in several countries in Europe. The testing planned at the Chalk River research facility is a follow-up to initial tests which established that MOX may be used in CANDU-type reactors.

If it is possible to help reduce the nuclear threat and destroy weapons grade plutonium by using MOX fuel to generate energy for peaceful use, the Government considers Canada has a responsibility not to dismiss that possibility out of hand.


Private Bill

Certified General Accountants' Association of Canada-Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill S-25, respecting the Certified General Accountants' Association of Canada, and acquainting the Senate that they have passed this bill without amendment.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

International Search or Seizure Bill

Second Reading-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Beaudoin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Bolduc, for the second reading of Bill S-24, to provide for judicial preauthorization of requests to be made to a foreign or international authority or organization for a search or seizure outside Canada.-(Honourable Senator Carstairs)

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, on the day that this bill was put forward by Senator Beaudoin, I took the adjournment. However, Senator Grafstein has graciously indicated that he wishes to address this particular piece of legislation. I understand that he may have had some discussions with Senator Beaudoin or, if not, they will take place shortly, and that Senator Beaudoin understands that Senator Grafstein will be speaking on this bill as soon as he can put his thoughts together on paper. We hope that is sooner rather than later.

With that understanding, I will adjourn this matter in the name of Senator Grafstein.

On motion of Senator Carstairs, for Senator Grafstein, debate adjourned.

The Estimates, 1998-99

Retention and Compensation Issues in the Public Service-Report of National Finance Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Stratton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cohen, for the adoption of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, entitled "Retention and Compensation Issues in the Public Service," tabled in the Senate on February 18, 1999.-(Honourable Senator Cools)

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this item was adjourned in the name of Senator Cools. I can indicate to honourable senators that there is support for this report on our side, and I think we are ready for the vote on this particular motion.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

State of Financial System

Consideration of Interim Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee on Study-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the consideration of the seventeenth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce entitled: "A Blueprint for Change" (Volumes I, II and III), tabled in the Senate on December 2, 1998.-(Honourable Senator Tkachuk)

Hon. John. B. Stewart: Honourable senators, may I ask Senator Kinsella when Senator Tkachuk intends to speak to this motion? It has been with us for a long time, and we should dispose of it in one way or another.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, this item, standing for adjournment in the name of Senator Tkachuk, is at its fifteenth day. The Honourable Senator Tkachuk is not here, and I have not received any advice from him regarding this item. Therefore, either we make a decision on it or it will follow the fate of those items that go beyond 15 days.

Senator Stewart: Honourable senators, the committee was not unanimous on this report. Three Liberals disagreed. I am told that Senator Tkachuk changed his mind on this matter, although that was before the final report of the committee was made, not after. I was interested to hear what he would say here because I should like to have an opportunity to speak if he were to say certain things. However, the motion is in danger of dying on the Order Paper before some of us have had an opportunity to speak.

This report was made before Christmas, although its adoption was not moved at that time. Because one of the matters with which it deals is the leasing of automobiles by banks, the report is highly controversial in some parts of the country. I realize that in urban areas it may not be controversial, but those of us who come from rural Canada have strong opposition to that part of the report. I was hoping that Senator Tkachuk would join us on that.

Honourable senators, I hope that this report will not be accepted by the Senate simply by default.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this is a rather irregular procedure. Since the matter was stood, there should be no debate. Perhaps the solution would be for some other honourable senator to move the adjournment, and then it would be back into the cycle at day number 1.

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I will say a few words about it, then. I should like to begin with reference to the fate that befell the Greek god Sisyphus who, whilst in Hades, was condemned for eternity to pushing that stone up to the top of the hill, and then, having managed to get it there, watching it roll down again.

I do not want to be seen restarting the clock merely for purposes of restarting the clock. However, because of the interesting intervention that has been made by the Honourable Senator Stewart, I am prepared now to move the adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Senator Kinsella, debate adjourned.

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The Budget 1999

Statement of Minister of Finance-Inquiry-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton calling the attention of the Senate to the Budget presented by the Minister of Finance in the House of Commons on February 16, 1999.-(Honourable Senator Stratton )

Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I rise to participate in the debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, calling our attention to the budget presented by the Minister of Finance on February 16.

I have heard many compelling presentations from my colleagues. In presenting this inquiry, for example, Senator Lynch-Staunton has pointed out how the Liberal government has thrived on the success of its predecessors.

Successes once condemned as failures it has now adopted as its own: reduced government spending, the GST, free trade, reductions in the public service, stricter conditions for various entitlements and eligibility; these are but a few of the Mulroney initiatives that the present government has not only embraced but elaborated on.

Senator Cohen, for her part, as she has done so many times in this chamber, drew our attention to the plight of the poor and homeless and lamented the fact that this budget does little for them.

Senator Atkins contested the government's claim that a falling dollar and low export prices were really good for the economy, and underlined the serious decline in the amount of foreign investment in our economy. He also pointed out that the government had only restored enough money into health care to bring health and education transfer payments back to 1996 funding levels by the year 2004. He also called our attention to the shameful neglect with which our military is being treated by this government.

Senator Lavoie-Roux also demonstrated how the government has effectively gutted transfer payments to the provinces since 1993, and persists in maintaining a huge surplus in the EI fund while restricting access to Employment Insurance.

Senator Bolduc reminded us of the recent decrease in Canadian productivity in relation to our neighbours to the south and the decline of personal income in our country. Senator Bolduc said:

The Minister of Finance has, and the government along with him, opted to continue the anaemic economic growth of the past 30 years by declining the opportunity to use the budget surplus as a solution.

He pointed out that this has caused a slower rise in productivity in Canada compared to other G-7 countries, a far heavier tax burden than our American competitors, an overall debt that is one of the highest in the G-7, and a brain drain involving high numbers of specialists in a variety of disciplines.

Senator Tkachuk demonstrated the dire effects of government fiscal policy on middle-class Canadians.

Senator Simard, with the help of Senator Kinsella, highlighted how damaging government policy was to his home province of New Brunswick and all the Maritimes.

Honourable senators, our colleague Senator LeBreton also reminded us that the policies that have generated recent economic growth have their origins in the Mulroney government. She said:

Free trade, Investment Canada, repeal of the punitive National Energy Program, restraint, privatization, sales tax reform, deregulation - these are all policies of the previous government that this government has chosen to keep, and these are the policies that are driving the economy.

Senator Spivak talked about tax bracket creep. The youngsters of this world who are just starting out get regular salary increases, which jumps them into another tax bracket, and there is no relief for them at all. As a result, the Canadian government picks up in the neighbourhood of $185 million dollars a year extra. She also talked about climate change, about which the government is doing nothing, and child care, about which the government is doing nothing.

I believe that the speeches from which I just quoted throw a particularly illuminating light both on the government's overall performance and on the last budget. However, with all due respect to my colleagues, I find it even more revealing to hear and read what is now going on within the Liberal caucus. Obviously, the members of our caucus are not alone in thinking that the government's last budget was a missed opportunity.

For the first time in a generation, the government, thanks largely to visionary measures adopted by the Mulroney government and the many sacrifices of the Canadian population, disposed of a budgetary surplus that it could have used to alleviate the burden of Canadian taxpayers and enhance their quality of life, notably by helping to boost Canadian productivity. Instead, the minister has decided to tinker at the margins, while maintaining high taxes and punitive tax grabs such as the EI surplus and hiking CPP premiums, and to indulge in short-term expenditures. This is especially worrisome when one thinks that this government, over the coming years, will have ever-growing surpluses to allocate.

Clearly embarrassed by this year's surplus, the Finance Minister simply tried to make it disappear, mostly through one-time spending initiatives in the weeks leading up to the budget.

As William Watson noted in the National Post a few days after the budget, having studied a table contained in the documents described by the minister:

Ten weeks ago, the surplus for the fiscal year that had just five weeks to run was going to be fully $11.7 billion, the number at the top of the table. At the bottom is $0.0, this year's forecast."

After having listed the government's burst of spending initiatives, he adds:

...presto! $1-billion a week for 10 weeks and the problem is solved. This year's balance is down to zero.

It is impossible to discern any coherent, long-term planning in the government's strategy. A budget should be a plan. It should express resolve, address current problems, and prepare for the future. This budget does not do that.

Even some members of the Liberal caucus are clearly worried. The Minister of Finance had barely finished reading his Budget Speech when members of his party were already expressing the hope that the next budget would contain significant tax cuts. There can be no better demonstration of the fact that this budget was indeed a lost opportunity when we see members of the government so anxious to turn the page on the exercise and trying to convince the Minister of Finance to do a better job next time.

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance alluded to Sir Wilfrid Laurier's prediction that the 20th century will belong to Canada. Indeed, honourable senators, Canada has been one of the greatest success stories of this century. With a relatively small population dispersed along the second largest territory in the world, and despite a forbidding geography and a difficult climate, we have built a country that is respected and admired around the world for its spirit of tolerance and its equality of opportunity. We have also won our place at such prestigious and influential international fora as the G-7, APEC, the OAS, the Commonwealth, and la Francophonie.

However, it is not written in the sky that Canada will automatically thrive in a new year of intense economic and technological competition. One of the keys to our past success was personal initiative, risk-taking, and just plain hard work and perseverance. If we are to succeed in the coming century, we must put in place right now the framework that will allow Canadians to compete and to win. Only the national government can formulate the vision that will help us thrive in a global economy, and carry us to a new century of achievement and prosperity.

Sadly, there is no vision emanating from the government at this time. Perhaps, upon reflection, it is too much to expect this government to demonstrate leadership. Maybe even they will be satisfied with being considered the government that closed the 20th century with a whimper instead of the one that led us boldly into a new era.

Surely we can hope, at the very least, that the government will not stifle the personal ambitions and opportunities of Canadian citizens, which is what they are effectively doing by maintaining high taxes which penalize initiative, erect barriers to investment that creates jobs, and drive highly skilled Canadians to seek their future elsewhere.

While the Minister of Finance and most of his cabinet colleagues beam with self-satisfaction, the Canadian population is more and more worried about its prospects. Even the jovial Minister of Finance, for example, has been brought to admit that we have serious productivity problems in this country - by the Minister of Industry, no less.

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Earlier, the Minister of Finance was chastising anyone who dared suggest that Canadian productivity was declining. A few days later, confronted with statistical evidence showing that productivity growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector had fallen increasingly behind that of the United States, the minister was forced to admit that "there is a problem."

Canadians know there is a problem; they see it every day. Productivity is not only a problem for Canadian businesses and exporters. Lower productivity means lower income for Canadians, which is one of the reasons, along with ever-increasing taxes, why the disposable income of Canadians is declining and the disposable income of Americans is rising.

It is shocking to see the government gloat about the state of its finances while average Canadians have more and more difficulty in making ends meets. The government was finally able to eliminate the deficit and to collect a surplus, in large part because of the sacrifices that this generation of Canadians has made. They are the ones who should be rewarded. They are the ones who should take credit. Instead, the government turns a blind eye to the anxiety and hardship of a growing number of Canadians.

Surely the minister knows, if only for having read a summary of a Commons research report published in The Ottawa Citizen on March 2, that "modest-income single-earner families were paying up to two-thirds of every additional dollar they earned in income taxes..." Does he not know that income taxes are the single largest expenditure for Canadian households, more than food and shelter combined, and that real disposable income per person has dropped by almost $1,000 since 1990, according to the Royal Bank of Canada?

Far from reaping the benefits of years of job cuts and service cut-backs, Canadians are being penalized further. Here, for example, is what the Canadian Bond Rating Service, quoted in The Ottawa Citizen on March 2, said about the recent budget:

...there has been no tax relief. Federal taxes, including income taxes, EI premiums, GST and so on, amounted to 14 per cent of GDP in 1994, rising steadily to17.1 per cent last year.

It is hitting home more and more now. As reported in yesterday's paper, the CEO of Nortel, John Roth, said that if we do not do something about taxes, he may be forced to move Nortel to the United States. Nortel employs 7,500 people in this country, and he is threatening relocation. This company has been Canadian for almost as long as Canada has existed.

The government gives us the disturbing impression of having attained a very dubious objective: the creation of a richer government in a poorer country. Even amongst the government's own employees there now exists a pervasive sense of drift. I recently had the honour of tabling a report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance dealing with retention and compensation issues in the public service. The report, tabled here on February 23, showed clearly that the program review exercise conducted by the government, which was little less than an effort to dismantle whole sections of the public service, had a devastating effect on the self-esteem of government employees.

Gilles Paquet, Director of the Centre of Governance at the University of Ottawa, was quoted recently as saying that the committee's report underscores that the Liberal government has no agenda for its public service, other than one driven by the Finance Department to cut costs. The professor stated:

The government doesn't give me the feeling that it respects the public service. They ended the notion of a career public servant and then turn around and ask them for more and more loyalty; give them less and less money and more and more work. It just doesn't add up.

Jocelyne Bourgon, in her fourth report as Clerk of the Privy Council, stated:

There is a "quiet crisis" underway in the public service today. It is quiet because few people are aware of the crisis, and even fewer people have started to do something about it."

On January 25 of this year, a study conducted by the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work at Carleton University revealed that about three-quarters of the best and brightest in the federal public service are thinking of quitting their jobs, and 21 per cent said that they will be leaving within a year. This is a very sad state of affairs resulting from the government's callous indifference to the working conditions within the public service and their haste to reduce government services.

Honourable senators, the last budget was a missed opportunity for the Minister of Finance, a lost opportunity for the Liberal government to show leadership as we prepare to enter a new century. The most tragic result of the government's lack of vision, however, is that it means countless lost opportunities and a dimmer future for tens of thousands of Canadians. Canadians deserve better.

On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.

Health

Motion to Maintain Current Regulation of Caffeine as Food Additive-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Spivak, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cochrane:

That the Senate urge the Government of Canada to maintain Canada's current regulation of caffeine as food additive in soft drink beverages until such time as there is evidence that any proposed change will not result in a detriment to the health of Canadians and, in particular, to children and young people.-( Honourable Senator Carstairs)

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I do not wish no make a lengthy speech, as I am reminded of Senator Wilson's comments.

I should like to commend Senator Spivak for bringing this matter to our attention. The use of caffeine should not be taken lightly. I believe it is an issue that should receive the serious attention of the Government of Canada and the people of Canada. Senator Spivak covered most of the points of concern, and I therefore support her motion very strongly.

No clear process or research has been undertaken by Health Canada, andtherefore I do not believe that the government should accept the adding of caffeine to drinks that are citrus-based or, in specific terms, Mountain Dew. Until such adequate research, investigation and deliberation takes place, it would be folly to embark on any further use of caffeine when it is really not necessary.

The applicant, Pepsi, said it wished harmonization, and it used the free trade agreement and NAFTA as a basis for their submission that there is sound and good reason to coordinate standards between the United States and Canada. However, I believe that the free trade agreement never intended - nor should it be used - to override Canada's need to protect and secure Canadians and their health. This type of harmonization was never contemplated, and should not be used.

It has also been said that caffeine is a taste enhancer, and that is it only there so that consumers can have more choice and exercise their options. I do not believe that is the real reason. If caffeine is contained in these drinks because of consumer choice, then one must ask why people are not drinking Mountain Dew now if they feel it is such a good drink. If there is something wrong with the drink, it should be scrapped and a new drink invented, or a taste enhancer other than caffeine should be found.

To indicate that there are no negative effects is to go against what we know when we talk about caffeine in coffee and caffeine in some prescribed drugs. We have some research, and Health Canada has commented on the use of caffeine by women who are ageing, and who have a reduced calcium intake. We know that caffeine is a problem for pregnant women. We have also said in a wellness model, for which it would seem the Government of Canada is pressuring, and quite rightly so, that preventative medicine is as important as curative medicine. Consequently, the additive of caffeine cannot be justified.

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Surely the protection of children is more important than consumer choice, if these are competing demands, and I believe that they must be proven. I do not believe that either Pepsi or Health Canada have offered such proof. It would be inconsistent with the minister's stated policy to protect children and promote good health practices by allowing caffeine to be added at this time. Alternates can be found and alternate products can be found. Therefore, I believe the debate must continue. I believe that this motion squarely authorizes the government to do the right thing, the necessary thing, and the safe thing for Canadian society.

I also believe that if we do not, we are entering into the type of debate that we have with cigarettes, where in fact the industry says that smoking is safe, and it took decades before they admitted that there was anything harmful in their product. I do not believe we need to embark on such a debate with respect to soft drinks, which are generally consumed more by children than adults.

I cannot see that anyone in this chamber would be against Senator Spivak's proposal and motion, and I would urge all senators to expeditiously send this motion to the attention of the Government of Canada.

On motion of Senator Carstairs, debate adjourned.

United Nations

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights-Recent Responses to Questions from Committee-Inquiry-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Kinsella calling 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.-(Honourable Senator Forrestall)

Hon. Lois M. Wilson: Honourable senators, the link between human rights and the right to development has been widely recognized globally. Last fall, Jubilee 2000 was launched on Parliament Hill and addresses this issue. Sponsored by churches worldwide, it represents somewhat of a convergence of international opinion between civil society and government. I heard this subject expertly addressed recently in Geneva, at the UN Human Rights Commission, by the Special Rapporteur on "The effects of foreign debt on the Full Enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights."

The serious problem of foreign debt continues to impede development and to perpetuate inequalities between and among countries, reducing even further the already inadequate national resources many countries are able to devote to meeting the essential needs of their people. The tenth anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that we celebrate this year seems an excellent opportunity to link debt cancellation specifically to child development targets, as well as to the goal of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, to reduce absolute poverty by one-half by the year 2015.

In a speech given by our Prime Minister on March 25, 1999, and in policy documents released by the Minister of Finance and the Minister for International Cooperation, the Government of Canada announced its strategy for debt relief in preparation for the upcoming Cologne G-8 meeting in June where debt cancellation will be on the agenda.

Canada's proposal moved the debate significantly forward, and put a serious challenge to other creditors by raising the bar in the context of other G-7 proposals. The most positive aspect of it is setting the challenge of 100 per cent bilateral cancellation as the rule rather than the exception - such as in the German proposal - for a set of countries, and including in this challenge all of the bilateral debts of these countries. In addition, Canada has indicated its willingness to act unilaterally should multilateral negotiations not achieve the level of cancellation Canada itself is seeking.

However, the restriction of this principle to an insufficient number of countries is problematic. Can this strong Canadian initiative not be taken for 50-plus poor countries? Canada is calling for a write-off for only 29 least developed countries, of whom only 12 owe bilateral debt to Canada. The additional cost to our country, should all of Canada's proposals for bilateral cancellation be accepted, would only be $100 million to $150 million, compared with $900 million of foreign aid debt Canada has already written off for poor countries.

Moreover, Canada called on other countries to follow its leads and to forgive official development assistance, or ODA, debt for heavily indebted poor countries and in providing future development assistance only on a grant basis. This means that debt cancellation measures would accompany, not replace, needed aid. Canadian ODA is at an all time low, sitting at 0.27 per cent of the GNP in 1998. The Prime Minister's actions to stabilize ODA in this year's budget and to increase aid in future budgets is welcome. Jubilee 2000 calls on him to demonstrate progress toward 0.7 per cent of the GNP by reaching the target of 0.35 per cent by the year 2005.

Moreover, the debate needs to move beyond the issues of the "unpayability" of debts by some countries to address debt within the framework of justice. We regret that Canada is still largely working within a reformed highly indebted poor countries' initiative, or HIPC, a program launched by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1996 to address the debt crisis in poor countries. While the HIPC and our government's proposals are welcome steps in the right direction, we could go further. Although that HIPC scheme has gone beyond any previous debt relief mechanisms, it has more to do with offering relief for creditors from carrying uncollectable debt on their books than for the people of indebted countries.

Cologne G-8, this June, must do more than tinker with the HIPC framework and address the needs of a full range of countries for which debt is a moral burden on the poor. The UN Human Development Report 1998 notes that whereas the international community raised $100 billion U.S. for the Asian crisis in just a few months, it is taking years to find $8 billion to implement the HIPC initiative. The most objectionable aspect of it is its requirement that debtor countries implement orthodox structural adjustment programs, or SAP, which involve unacceptable levels of austerity for the very poor. Poor citizens of indebted countries must make too many sacrifices to free up resources for debt payments.

Canada proposes that there should be debt cancellation for countries that:

Increase spending on education and health care for their people and reduce spending on weapons and the military.

And that:

the track record of good performance in structural adjustment be reduced from six years to three years.

A laudable proposal.

However, is it not a fundamental contradiction when debt relief continues to be linked by Canada to the structural adjustment programs of the IMF and the World Bank, which are conditioned on debtors adopting economic policies that serve to perpetuate unjust economic relationships between the north and south, and further impoverish the poor?

The UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution of 1997:

...notes with regret the negative effects on the enjoyment and realization of economic, social and cultural rights of the structural adjustment and reform policies conceived by the international financial institutions and bilateral creditors and imposed on debtor countries to deal with the effects of foreign debt, especially among the most vulnerable and the low-income groups.

The problems warrant a broader approach than the essentially biased creditor-debtor relationship. Social issues should go even-handed with economic considerations of growth and development, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on debt relief. "Efficiency and productivity" are not exclusive economic aspects of development. They should be validated for social investments and expenditures.

Moreover, it is important to consider human rights issues related to how the debt was incurred and maintained so there can be assessments of aspects of the debt as illegitimate. One such example is debt incurred by the South African apartheid regime, which used its loans against the interests of its people.

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The Latin American Jubilee movement has called for the auditing and cancellation of illegitimate debts. Are the children who had not yet been born when the burden of debt acquired impossible levels, and who have a limited life expectancy before them, to pay with their health and their lives and be saddled with debts so that creditors can recover what is considered their due?

Another question arises as to how to handle future debt crises. The most creative suggestion is to establish an international arbitration tribunal to oversee the orderly write-down of sovereign debts. Such a tribunal could serve as a place to explore the annulment of illegitimate debts and is a place where middle-income countries could go to achieve orderly rearrangements of the remaining debts. Latin American countries, for example, need such a tribunal to approach before they find themselves in a balance-of-payments crisis.

It could pave the way to achieving the right to social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the UN Declaration of Human Rights can be realized. It could also secure a process of transparency which could serve to curb irresponsible borrowing and lending.

Such a tribunal should be an independent body under the auspices of the UN to work out the principles of eligibility for debt cancellation. This body would ensure that the money saved from debt payments is used primarily for social development.

Finance Minister Martin is to be commended for proposing that countries should have the ability to invoke an "Emergency Standstill Clause" to freeze payments to creditors for a period of time during which they would seek a voluntary rearrangement of their debt. A tribunal would be available should it be impossible to reach such an agreement.

The Latin American Jubilee 2000 campaign calls for arrangements where:

...creditors and debtors will appoint an equal number of judges to the arbitration tribunal. Debtor nations will make such appointments on the basis of broad consultation with all members of society. The representation of civil society in such an arbitration procession is fundamental to a process that is just.

Finally, Canada's Jubilee 2000 plans to present one of the largest petitions in Canadian history to the Prime Minister before the G-8 summit that will demonstrate wide public support for a radically new beginning for the world's most impoverished people as together we enter the new millennium. Honourable senators will receive their copies of the petition in due course. Your participation will indicate what support senators are able to bring to this important imperative of our time - debt cancellation.

Hon. John B. Stewart: Honourable senators, assuming that the honourable senator has not spoken longer than 10 minutes, may I ask her two questions?

The Hon. the Speaker: As a matter of fact, the Honourable Senator Wilson was well within the 15-minute period.

Senator Stewart: Even though she was, it may not leave time for our exchanges.

My questions are not hostile; rather, they are questions designed to produce clarification.

On this whole question of debt cancellation, I have heard it said that debt should not be cancelled because much of this money was used directly or indirectly for the benefit of what they used to call "the people above"; the elite.

Senator Kinsella: The ruling class.

Senator Stewart: Yes. It is said that, in a sense, we are rewarding them for what was, in many cases, corruption. That is a very serious argument, serious in the sense that it tends to work strongly against the position taken by Senator Wilson. I am hoping that she will be able to say something that will defeat that argument utterly. That is my first question. Will she undertake to do that?

The second question relates to the so-called moral hazard. We are all familiar with the term. If we cancel these debts, are we not, in effect, saying to the countries whose debts have been cancelled: "Now go and run up bigger debts in the future and, of course, we will follow our precedent; that is, we will cancel them again."

That is almost a classic case of so-called moral hazard. I wonder if Senator Wilson will obliterate that argument?

Senator Wilson: I cannot possibly respond to you utterly and put it all at peace because part of the purpose of the inquiry is to involve other members of the Senate in this important debate. I do not have all the answers.

You are right that part of the problem is that much of this money has been siphoned off by the elite. Structurally, the debt rests on the backs of the poor. Jubilee 2000 objects to the whole process of lending and repaying money because it is structurally wrong, and must be corrected.

The suggested international tribunal would secure a process of transparency which, it is hoped, would curb irresponsible borrowing and lending. Right now, there is no place where nations can go to appeal this state of affairs. They are at the mercy of the international financial instruments. Perhaps this measure might help to correct that.

My answer to your first question is not a very good one,but it is as far as I can go. Because the whole thing is framed within the creditor-debtor framework, with the structural adjustment program built in, then the elite can make money on the backs of the poor. In Africa, they called this suffering African people; in Latin America, they call it sophisticated arrangements for poverty. They are well aware that the money is being siphoned off.

We are, first, commending the Prime Minister's initiative. We have already cancelled a number of debts. We are asking him to go a little further and to give world leadership to what we perceive is a good initiative.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this matter stands in the name of the Honourable Senator Forrestall. Honourable Senator Kinsella advises me that Senator Forrestall would prefer that it stand in the name of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk. Is that agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.

Developing Countries

Status of Education and Health in Young Girls and Women-Inquiry-Debate Continued

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 Callbeck)

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, first, I want to thank Senator Losier-Cool for bringing forward this inquiry. My comments today will follow those presented by several senators and will echo, I believe, the concerns that each of them have already so eloquently expressed.

My comments come at a time when countries around the world, including our own, are focused on events in Yugoslavia and the unfolding human drama there. Canada is an active participant in the NATO efforts in that country which, beyond various geo-political and strategic rationale, are basically about human rights and their protection.

As a nation, we are committed to these principles. We have encoded them in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian Human Rights Act, and the provincial and territorial human rights codes. Equally, Canada has long shown leadership in defending and promoting the equality of men and women around the world. We are committed to ensuring that a respect for human rights and human dignity is central to our development and foreign aid policies.

As a result, organizations such as the Canadian International Development Agency, CIDA, over the last several years, have funded hundreds of projects aimed at sustainable, social and economic objectives in developing countries. These projects build on the individual capabilities of each society.

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Essentially, our approach has been one of equipping and empowering the populations to overcome, in the long term, the various social and economic problems they face. This situation is particularly true for women, and in many cases the children of these populations, who are fundamental to the economic and social development of their countries but have been granted few rights in return. For example, it is usually the women in these countries who provide the core production functions. They fetch the water and fuel, prepare the meals, tend to vegetable gardens for household needs, pick the crops and work in the fields.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, women produce up to 80 per cent of the food crops. However, at the same time, women may not even own a plot of land, nor can they inherit property, obtain credit, or go into business.

As a result, many of these CIDA and other initiatives have specifically targeted women in developing countries and the link between their status and the developmental status of their nation, including the degree of poverty found there. This is not an abstract linkage. It is borne out by hard data showing that 70 per cent of people who live in poverty worldwide are women. Equally revealing are the data on child labour. An estimated 250 million children between the ages of five and 14 in developing countries must work, most often for little pay. Today, there are still parts of the world where children are sold into servitude or, even worse, into outright slavery.

Targeting the health and education supports in these countries, particularly those available to women, youth and young girls is, therefore, based on the knowledge that a population that is uneducated and unhealthy does not, and cannot, effectively contribute to its own development. Honourable senators, this is as straightforward as respecting human rights in these countries.

Let me start with the right of everyone to education, as stated in Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and of which Canada is a signatory. Add to that statement the fact, as reported by the United Nations, that two-thirds of the world's illiterates are women. That is quite a gap between their right to learn and the reality of it actually occurring.

CIDA has captured the importance of improving educational opportunities for women everywhere in a recent article entitled, "Women, Vital Partners in International Development," from which I shall quote.

The majority of the illiterate people in the world are women and, since poverty and illiteracy often go hand in hand, the majority of the most impoverished people in the world are also women. In countries where the status of women has improved, faster economic growth and higher living standards also occurred, whereas in regions where women's rights and freedoms are denied, progress has been slow in coming.

Where education levels for women have risen, infant mortality has declined, diet has improved and the family size has shrunk. For women, learning to read and write is often the first step toward obtaining knowledge which will improve their quality of life and that of their children...

A generally dismal portrait of women in developing countries continues to be painted. Perhaps this is most aptly put by the United Nations at the time of the Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China, in September of 1995 and I quote:

Poor, overworked, and illiterate - this is the profile of most adult, rural women in the majority of developing countries. Although more girls and women are entering school, and near university literacy has been achieved for young people in many regions, huge gaps exist in women's education and literacy, especially among adults - the caretakers and providers for whom the ability to read and write can make a world of difference.

Closing these gaps is one of the main roles behind our country's commitment to developing aid. These goals are reflected in Canada's Women in Development policy which, since its inception in 1984, has aimed to increase women's participation as decision-makers in their economic, political and social spheres. This has also meant eliminating discrimination against women, as well as improving their economic conditions, basic health and education.

One might reasonably ask why education is seen as such an important tool for women and young girls. In specific terms, the World Bank estimates that for each additional year of education for girls, child mortality is cut by 10 per cent, and wages are boosted by 10 to 20 per cent.

More generally, however, education is so effective in these countries, and indeed in any country, because it opens the door to choice. It enables women, in particular, to know what the opportunities are for themselves and for their families. It lets them see that what for many generations may have been deemed acceptable practices of behaviour toward them are not the only practices or behaviour open to them.

Education allows women to be aware of, and to consciously choose, options for themselves rather than having those choices made for them. Educational achievement, therefore, engenders not only self-respect but also reciprocal respect. It strengthens the full participation of women as equal partners in their societies. It is not only a component of well-being for them, it is also a factor in the development of well-being for their fellow citizens.

Another concern with poor education is that it often - if not inevitably - leads to poor health, since the two are very closely linked. Just as education is a basic human right, so too is the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health a basic human right, - once again as recognized by Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, of which Canada is a signatory.

We need only look to the following facts to understand the enormity of the global challenge faced in making that human right for health a reality: Half a million women die each year from complications due to childbirth. Eight hundred million people in developing countries are malnourished, and now more than 8 million deaths of children under five years of age each year are associated with malnutrition.

An estimated 14 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, representing two-thirds of the men, women and children worldwide who are infected with the virus. Malaria causes 2 million deaths each year, largely in developing countries.

In most societies, and more so perhaps in the developing world, women constitute the primary family caregiver. When these women are uneducated and lack basic nutrition and sanitary skills, it is the entire family that suffers. On the other hand, in societies where women are better or at least slightly more educated, it is the family that benefits.

For example, a mother who is illiterate, or who has little education may have difficulty understanding instructions given to her by a health worker concerning medication for a sick child. She may not understand the measurement quantities of medication involved, or she may have difficulty recognizing the signs of serious disease. Equally, she may not have the appropriate sanitary conditions, or the health workers, or the proper medication at hand to start with.

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Even in developing societies where care is readily available, women, for some reason, seem to have less access to that care. Fewer women than men are treated in hospitals, receive prescriptions for medication or timely treatment from practitioners, or even survive fairly common diseases.

I am sure that honourable senators will agree that by addressing mutual reinforcing programs such as female education and health care, we are helping these developing countries to realize sustainable improvements in terms of their quality of life and standard of living. We do so because these initiatives affirm our strong national commitment to basic human rights, both at home and abroad, and the foundation of individual respect, dignity and equality on which they must be built. However, I believe that we also recognize the crucial investment they represent for us as a nation.

As all honourable senators are aware, there is much discussion of globalization these days and the shrinking of world trade either through electronic channels or international diversification into a single worldwide market. We see the reality of this phenomena when far-flung countries in southeast Asia run into financial difficulties, as they did nearly a year ago, and economies and stocks on the other side of the global are directly impacted. We see the cause and effect, and we ignore these economic seismic shocks at our peril.

So too must we take seriously the social realities of many of the developing countries. As we now know, the strength of their economies in growth terms is only as strong as the social infrastructure on which those economies are built. The key to that infrastructure is directly tied to the primacy of health, education and the status of women.

We would be wise to remember the old Maltese proverb, "The world is a chain, one link in another." Global prosperity and political security can only be obtained when equitable social development fits hand and glove with them. Separating economic aspirations from the reality of social conditions is folly.

Canada stands tall in leading efforts towards such equitable development. We are proud of our contribution, particularly tied as it is in large part to supporting the status of education and health in young girls and women.

In this context, I would ask honourable senators to remember debate on this motion the next time we hear the national polls saying, "Cut international aid. We have tough issues on which we should be spending our money here in Canada." Tough issues for us can only be described as Utopia for people living in developing countries today. Millions of women there will see their children go to bed hungry tonight and, all too often, die from starvation. They themselves may be beaten, or worse. They have the right to know that there are choices for their lives, and for those of their families.

It is not just "aid" that Canada and its agencies give to the populations of developing countries, honourable senators; it is recognition and protection of human rights, and respect for their dignity as human beings.

On motion of Senator Corbin, debate adjourned.

[Translation]

ROYAL ASSENT

NOTICE

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

April 29, 1999

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Peter deC. Cory, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy Governor General, will proceed to the Senate Chamber today, the 29th day of April, 1999, at 4:30 p.m., for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to certain bills.

Yours sincerely,

Judith A. LaRocque
Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable
The Speaker of the Senate
Ottawa

[English]

National Defence

State of Helicopter Fleets-Inquiry-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Forrestall calling the attention of the Senate to the Liberal cancellation of EH-101, and the state of Canada's Labrador and Sea King helicopter fleets.-(Honourable Senator Atkins)

Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, it is a pleasure to speak to the Honourable Senator Forestall's inquiry on the EH-101. After 20 years of planning, proposals and research by Canada's military on a new military maritime helicopter, the present Liberal government scrapped the EH-101 program in 1993, after promising to do so during the 1993 federal election campaign.

In 1993, the Progressive Conservative government was prepared to replace the Labrador search and rescue helicopter and the Sea King maritime helicopter with nearly 50 EH-101s because it knew that our Canadian Forces needed this equipment. But not the Liberals. They saw an opportunity to make an election issue out of a defence acquisition that would keep our aircrews safe and our forces effective. With the stroke of a pen, the hopes and dreams of our navy and air forces were dashed.

I wish to add that this Liberal government did it all at a cost of at least $1 billion to the Canadian taxpayers. That reminds me of the Pearson airport contract that was cancelled, which cost the Canadian taxpayers over $1 billion.

The Honourable Senator Stewart will recall that in 1956, during the pipeline debate, one of the famous Liberal ministers, C.D. Howe, said in one of his debates in the House, "What is a million?" It seems that this government's new theme is "What is a billion?"

Do you remember when the leader of the Liberal Party in 1993 said, "I will take out a pen and write zero helicopters. No one will die from helicopters." Professor Desmond Morton, one of Canada's noted academics, in his report to the Prime Minister on the state of the Canadian Forces, stated that "ignorance and opportunism" were the villains in this story.

In the foreward to Jane's Fighting Ships 1996-97, one of the most respected defence publications in the world, the editor stated that among NATO's navies no issue was more tainted with bureaucratic procrastination than the Sea King replacement. NATO, the Canadian Forces and the Canadian taxpayer have suffered from this government's negligence and political opportunism.

There are also the comments of Clare Musselman, a grieving father whose son died in the helicopter crash in Quebec last fall, who said, "I am sure you will agree that Peter's death was a result of faulty equipment." What does Mr. Chrétien have to say to that? No one will die because of helicopters?

Everyone in this chamber knows of the story of the Labrador 305, but for those of you who may not know, this is the helicopter that crashed over the Gaspé Peninsula on October 2, 1998, with the loss of the entire crew. Add to that incident several emergency landings and flight restrictions in the weeks that followed on the Labrador fleet; the embarrassing incidents in Newfoundland, where Labrador helicopters, during water bird-type training, landed in Gander Lake and had to be retrieved; the fact that on April 6, an American Coast Guard helicopter had to complete a rescue off Nova Scotia's coast; that the Minister of National Defence has a report in his office that is reported to say that the Labrador fleet is presently at "high risk" to their crews and are prone to "catastrophic failures"; and the cost of maintenance and the hours required to service the existing fleet just to keep the helicopters in the air.

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I think all honourable senators now know what our search and rescue capability is like today, thanks to poorly thought out election promises.

I turn now to our navy. Canada's navy has yet to see a new maritime helicopter and, after the budget, it is unlikely to see them for at least the next three years. It takes about three years, once ordered, to get the first helicopter, and it would be at least three more years before the last of the new helicopters would arrive.

Right now, the ageing Sea King has an availability rate of only 30 to 40 per cent and its mission systems fail about 50 per cent of the time. With aircraft like the Sea King, it is no wonder that the forces are 300 pilots short today. As a matter of fact, two sets of news stories have appeared about the effectiveness of the Sea King on its last NATO patrol, when it was characterized by Canadian Forces personnel as an embarrassment.

Now it appears that this unreliable helicopter will be on its way to the Adriatic at the head of the Standing NATO Naval Force Atlantic. As you may know, honourable senators, maritime helicopters are very useful in patrolling during blockades. Furthermore, let us hope and pray that our ships do not have to rely on these helicopters against Serbian forces, lest there be a tragedy; a tragedy for which Liberal promises would be responsible. The chickens have come home to roost with regard to the cancellation of the EH-101, and we are at war.

Finally, I find it strange that there has been no one on the Liberal side willing to speak to this important inquiry. Perhaps it is because they have difficulty supporting government policy on this issue.

On motion of Senator Di Nino, debate adjourned.

Access to Census Information

Inquiry-Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Milne calling the attention of the Senate to the lack of access to the 1906 and all subsequent censuses caused by an Act of Parliament adopted in 1906 under the Government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.-(Honourable Senator Johnson)

Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux: Honourable senators, I want to thank Senator Milne for calling our attention to the lack of access to the 1906 and all subsequent censuses. I would like to explain to you the importance of this issue to the Métis people of Canada.

In 1982, the federal government recognized, through the Constitution of Canada, the Métis nation as a recognized aboriginal nation of Canada. We, as the Métis people of Western Canada, have always known our lineage and our history as it relates to the development of our country.

The First Nations and the Inuit have always been counted, from birth to death, through the Department of Indian Affairs, but the Métis have not been counted the same way. Now that the Métis have gained the status of a recognized aboriginal nation, it is imperative that our genealogists have access to these censuses. This documented proof is vitally important to the Métis people of Ontario and Quebec so that they, too, can gain access to any benefits for which aboriginal people can apply.

The Métis of Western Canada can access script documentation in the Hudson Bay archives. The Métis people of Ontario and Quebec deserve the opportunity to get the needed information that these censuses could provide. It will give families the necessary information to assist them in their search for their identity as true Canadian citizens. By researching your family history, you learn where you fit in your family tree. In a time when the healing of aboriginal peoples is receiving focus and support, it is imperative that they know where they come from so that they can move forward in the sacred circle of their lives. This is why I support Senator Milne's statements.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this inquiry will stand in the name of the Honourable Senator Johnson.

National Defence

Motion to Establish Special Committee to Examine Activities of Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia-Debate Continued

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Berntson:

That a Special Committee of the Senate be appointed to examine and report on the manner in which the chain of command of the Canadian Forces both in-theatre and at National Defence Headquarters, responded to the operational, disciplinary, decision-making and administrative problems encountered during the Somalia deployment to the extent that these matters have not been examined by the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia;

That the Committee in examining these issues may call witnesses from whom it believes it may obtain evidence relevant to these matters including but not limited to:

1. former Ministers of National Defence;

2. the then Deputy Minister of National Defence;

3. the then Acting Chief of Staff of the Minister of National Defence;

4. the then special advisor to the Minister of National Defence (M. Campbell);

5. the then special advisor to the Minister of National Defence (J. Dixon);

6. the persons occupying the position of Judge Advocate General during the relevant period;

7. the then Deputy Judge Advocate General (litigation); and

8. the then Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff.

That seven Senators, nominated by the Committee of Selection act as members of the Special Committee, and that three members constitute a quorum;

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses under oath, to report from time to time and to print such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the Committee;

That the Committee have power to authorize television and radio broadcasting, as it deems appropriate, of any or all of its proceedings;

That the Committee have the power to engage the services of such counsel and other professional, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purposes of its examination;

That the political parties represented on the Special Committee be granted allocations for expert assistance with the work of the Committee;

That it be empowered to adjourn from place to place within and outside Canada;

That the Committee have the power to sit during sittings and adjournments of the Senate;

That the Committee submit its report not later than one year from the date of it being constituted, provided that if the Senate is not sitting, the report will be deemed submitted on the day such report is deposited with the Clerk of the Senate; and

That the Special Committee include in its report, its findings and recommendations regarding the structure, functioning and operational effectiveness of National Defence Headquarters, the relationship between the military and civilian components of NDHQ, and the relationship among the Deputy Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Minister of National Defence,

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Forrestall, seconded by the Honourable Senator Beaudoin, that the motion be amended by adding in paragraph 2 the following:

"9. the present Minister of National Defence.".-(Honourable Senator Kinsella)

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise to speak in support of this motion of my colleague Senator Lynch-Staunton.

Honourable senators, had the Létourneau commission of inquiry not been shut down by the government, it would have completed its work and this motion would not have been necessary. However, as honourable senators know, the Somalia commission of inquiry was aborted by this government and, therefore and thereby, numerous questions have gone without response.

Canadians have recognized that the issues in Somalia were very serious, involving, as they did, torture by Canadians and extra-territorial killing by Canadians.

The study by the Senate which this motion proposes would have the effect of demonstrating that responsible government remains a hallmark of our system of governance. The motion is simply asking that a committee of the Senate look into and find answers that speak to the issue of responsibility, answers which would have been forthcoming had the government not aborted the independent judicial commission that was set up.

Honourable senators will know that the term "responsible government" can be applied to our system of governance in three main respects. First, it can be applied in the sense that our government act in a responsible manner; that is, that it not abuse the wide legal powers it possesses as a result of our Constitution and statutes, which concentrate considerable power in the hands of the government of the day. Canadians want to be assured that they have a government and agencies of government, including the military, that are trustworthy.

Second, "responsible government" can be taken to mean that the government is responsible for public opinion and acts in accordance with what it judges to be the wishes of the majority. Canadians have always clearly expressed the desire to ensure that correct and proper actions are executed and that there not be a covering up or an evasion of responsibility.

The third point is critically important. "Responsible government" means that the government and its agencies are accountable to Parliament.

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It is clear that the circumstances surrounding the shutting down of the Somalia judicial commission of inquiry left numerous questions in the minds of honourable senators and members of the House, if not the Canadian public generally. These lingering questions and issues must be examined to lay to rest concerns surrounding this case that I have described. I am not, however, the only one to describe them. The United States of America State Department issues an annual report on human rights for countries around the world, and, the year before last, in its report on Canada, it underscored this human rights question of extra-territorial killing by agents of Canada.

The Somalia commission sought to uncover how commanders of Canadian Forces involved in peacekeeping operations in war-torn Somalia performed at the levels of operational, disciplinary, decision-making and administrative control over our service people. Furthermore, the commission was charged with determining whether the military had been acting on its own and without supervision, or whether the concept of civilian control of the military was still a principle by which we govern ourselves.

The commission, however, was shut down prematurely by the government, just as it was prepared to make its case against officers at the very highest levels of the Canadian Forces. The commission had uncovered evidence of dangerously high levels of mismanagement by senior officials. In the report, there were explicit indications of cover-ups; questionable activities; document tampering, renaming and destruction, and forgery of signatures. Indeed, the former chief of Defence staff, General Boyle, under scrutiny, proved remarkably uninformed about the conduct of his own troops. In his own words, when asked about his knowledge of affairs taking place under his leadership by the commission chair, Judge Létourneau, the then chief of the Defence staff stated, according to The Ottawa Citizen of August 24, 1996:

Sir, I've forgotten a lot of things in the last two years.

The former CDS's forgetfulness or blissful unawareness of events taking place under his command is disconcerting. The commission inquiry chair stated, according to The Ottawa Citizen of August 31, 1996:

...in a highly controlled, hierarchical environment such as the army's public affairs branch, it makes no sense that senior officials such as Boyle would not know what was going on. Junior officers simply would not act unilaterally without high-up approval.

All of us in this chamber are aware of problems associated with the Somalia commission investigations, for an examination of the pages of our Hansard reveals considerable discussion in this place on that topic. Although not all of us voice our concerns openly, we all have some degree of doubt as to whether the commission was allowed to complete its work in a fair and unmolested manner.

In effect, we have two choices, honourable senators. We can assign the issue of examining Canadian Forces conduct in Somalia to the dustbin of history, content to accept that senior military officers and officials have information and have gone unquestioned, with the quality of performance clearly in doubt. The other choice, of course, is that we can choose to submit this matter, as the motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton proposes, to a careful analysis in order to uncover the truth. Together, if we choose that option, perhaps we can write the final chapter that the commission of inquiry itself was unable to write.

With that, honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the debate in the name of my colleague Senator Meighen.

On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Meighen, debate adjourned.

Agriculture and Forestry

Present State and Future of Forestry-Budget Report of Committee on Study Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Reports of Committees Item No. 10:

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (supplementary budget-study on forestry in Canada) presented in the Senate on April 28, 1999.-(Honourable Senator Gustafson)

Hon. Nicholas William Taylor moved the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Aboriginal Peoples

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples-Budget Report of Committee on Study Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Reports of Committees, Order No. 9:

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples (supplementary budget-study on Aboriginal governance) presented in the Senate on April 28, 1999.-(Honourable Senator Watt)

Hon. Charlie Watt moved the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Agriculture and Forestry

Committee Authorized to Refer Previous Documentation on Study of Boreal Forest to Subcommittee

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor, pursuant to notice of April 28, 1999, moved:

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject of the harvest of the boreal forest during the Second Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament be referred to the Subcommittee on the Boreal Forest of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I will now leave the Chair to await the arrival of His Excellency, the Deputy of the Governor General.

The Senate adjourned during pleasure.


[Translation]

ROYAL ASSENT

The Honourable Peter deC. Cory, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy Governor General, having come and being seated at the foot of the Throne, and the House of Commons having been summoned, and being come with their Deputy Speaker, the Honourable the Deputy Governor General was pleased to give the Royal Assent to the following bills:

An Act to establish the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and to amend and repeal other acts as a consequence (Bill C-43, Chapter 17, 1999)

An Act respecting the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (Bill S-25)

The House of Commons withdrew.

The Honourable the Deputy Governor General was pleased to retire.


[English]

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The sitting of the Senate was resumed.

Adjournment

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

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 58(1)( h), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 4, 1999, at two o'clock in the afternoon.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 4, 1999, at 2 p.m.

APPENDIX

Address of

His Excellency Václav Havel

President of the Czech Republic

to both Houses of Parliament

in the House of Commons Chamber, Ottawa.

Thursday, April 29, 1999

[English]

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Mr. Václav Havel and Mrs. Havlovà were welcomed by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, by the Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker of the Senate and by the Honourable Gilbert Parent, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Hon. Gilbert Parent (Speaker of the House of Commons): Mr. President, Madam Havlovà, Senators, distinguished guests and colleagues, I call upon the Prime Minister to introduce our guests. The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Speakers of the House of Commons and Senate, honourable members, ladies and gentlemen.

Once in a great while, members of the two Houses of the Canadian Parliament put aside partisan differences, silence our debates and come together on our very, very best behaviour.

For anyone who has ever watched our daily proceedings, such occasions are nothing short of a miracle. And I must admit, they are right, especially today, for we have in our presence a leader, a truly remarkable leader, whose perseverance in the face of tyranny, whose dignity in the face of persecution, helped to make possible the democratic transformation of his people, his country and his continent ten years ago; a transformation which, by any standard, was a miracle.

I speak of course of the President of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel.

[Translation]

The great Victor Hugo once wrote that not even the strongest army in the world can defeat an idea whose time has come. But it is also true that, for any idea to triumph in its time, there must first be a champion, a leader, a symbol.

Mr. President, in your long crusade for freedom and justice, you led a mighty struggle against some of the strongest enemies known to human progress: fear and oppression.

Armed only with the courage of your convictions and the rightness of your cause, you triumphed.

Your childhood was spent, first, under foreign occupation, and then under the consolidation of a brutal totalitarian regime. A regime that chose to block your aspirations in life.

In most of us, wounds like these might have created bitterness and a sense of personal futility. But in you, they fuelled the writing and acts of conscience which captured the longing of your countrymen and the admiration of the entire world.

You revealed the hollowness of an imposed political system. And your words and deeds helped secure its doom.

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When the time came, after so many years of privation, you were the only real choice to lead a country that was new again. To define its new politics, its economic transformation and its new relationships within Europe and beyond.

[English]

Mr. President, I would like to quote from your first New Year's address to your people:

You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply:

I dream of a republic independent, free and democratic; of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just; in short, of a humane republic that serves the individual and that, therefore, holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn.

When you visited Canada for the first time in early 1990 that vision was still to be made real. Today the Czech Republic is one of the leading democracies of central and eastern Europe.

Your economic transformation, despite certain challenges today, will lead toward membership in the European Union.

You are a partner of Canada in NATO, the OECD, and you are active in the WTO. Our soldiers are keeping the peace in Bosnia and we make common cause in the OSCE.

You have sent some of your finest sons and daughters to Canada over the past century, who have become some of our most distinguished business leaders, academics, writers and, of course, hockey players. I have to tell you, Mr. President, that one of your fellow citizens, Dominik Hasek, is not very popular in Ottawa these days, but it is very nice of you to come here to compensate for that humiliation.

In return, over the past decade Canada has done its best to support your country in re-establishing democracy and recreating a market economy. Together we are also seeking to build new trade and investment links of mutual benefit.

Mr. President, your personal journey and that of the Czech Republic speak to how far the cause of freedom and human rights have come in Europe, but the crisis in Kosovo is a stark reminder of how much further there is to go. And if I might be so bold, if that journey is to have lasting meaning in the Europe of the new millennium, then its simple and powerful lessons must be applied without hesitation in that complex and troubled land.

The people of Kosovo, and everywhere in Europe, must one day feel the same security and attachment to their homelands that you described in your dream of a humane republic; ideals that you have done so much to make a reality in the Czech Republic of today.

I am fortified by the knowledge that someone of your unshakeable faith in the forces of justice and right has taken up this cause without hesitation.

Together with our NATO allies we are doing the right thing in Kosovo. Together we will prevail.

We live in an age of overstatement, Mr. President, where the meaning and value of words are often made cheap by excess rhetoric, but for you there can be no overstatement.

It is my great pleasure and honour to introduce to this honourable House a beacon of freedom, a man whose achievements repudiate the idea that poets and dreamers have no place among statesmen.

Ladies and gentlemen, a poet, a dreamer and a great statesman, Václav Havel.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

(1045)

Mr. Václav Havel (President of the Czech Republic): Prime Minister, Speaker of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Commons, members of the Senate and the House of Commons, distinguished guests, I certainly do not need to emphasize how honoured I am to address you. With your permission, I shall use this opportunity for a few remarks concerning the state and its probable position in the future.

There is every indication that the glory of the nation state, as a climax of the history of every national community and the highest earthly value, in fact the only one in whose name it is permissible to kill or which is worth dying for, is already past its culminating point.

It seems that the enlightened endeavours of generations of democrats, the horrible experience of two world wars, which contributed so substantially to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the overall development of our civilization, are gradually bringing the human race to the realization that a human being is more important than a state.

The idol of state sovereignty must inevitably dissolve in a world that connects people, regardless of borders, through millions of links of integration ranging from trade, finance and property, up to information; links that impart a variety of universal notions and cultural patterns. Furthermore, it is a world in which danger to some has an immediate bearing on all; in which, for many reasons, especially because of the massive advancement of science and technology, our fates are merged together into one single destiny; and in which we all, whether we like it or not, suffer responsibility for everything that occurs.

It is obvious that in such a world, blind love for one's own state, a love that does not recognize anything above itself, finds excuses for any action of the own state simply because it is one's own state, and rejects anything else simply because it is different, inevitably turns into a dangerous anachronism, a hotbed of conflicts and, eventually, a source of immeasurable human suffering.

(1050)

I believe that in the coming century most states will begin to transform from cult-like objects, which are charged with emotional contents, into much simpler and more civil administrative units, which will be less powerful and, especially, more rational and will constitute merely one of the levels in a complex and stratified planetary societal self-organization. This change, among other things, should gradually antiquate the idea of non-intervention, that is, the concept of saying that what happens in another state, or the measure of respect for human rights there, is none of our business.

Who will take over the various functions that are now performed by the state?

Let us first speak about the emotional functions. These, I believe, will begin to be distributed more equally amongst all the various spheres that make up human identity, or in which human beings exercise their existence. By this I mean the various layers of that which we perceive as our home or our natural world; our family, our company, our village or town, our region, our profession, our church or our association, as well as our continent and, finally, our earth, the planet which we inhabit. All this constitutes the various environments of our self-identification; and, if the bond to one's own state, hypertrophied until now, is to be weakened it must necessarily be to the benefit of all these other environments.

As for the practical responsibilities and the jurisdictions of the state, these can go in only two directions: downward or upward.

Downwards applies to the various organs and structures of civil society to which the state should gradually transfer many of the tasks it now performs itself. Upwards applies to various regional, transnational or global communities or organizations. This transfer of functions has already begun. In some areas, it has progressed quite far; in others, less so. However, it is obvious that the trend of development must, for many different reasons, go along this path.

If modern democratic states are usually defined by such characteristics as respect for human rights and liberties, equality of citizens, the rule of law and civil society, then the manner of existence toward which humankind will move from here, or toward which humankind should move in the interest of its own preservation, will probably be characterized as an existence founded on a universal or global respect for human rights, a universal equality of citizens, a universal rule of law and a global civil society.

(1055)

One of the greatest problems that accompanied the formation of nation-states was their geographical delimitation, that is, the definition of their boundaries. Innumerable factors, ethnic, historical and cultural considerations, geological elements, power interests, as well as the overall state of civilization, have played a role here.

The creation of larger regional or transnational communities will sometimes be afflicted with the same problem; to some extent, this burden will possibly be inherited from the very nation-states that enter into such entities. We should do everything in our power to ensure that this self-definition process will not be as painful as was the case when nation-states were formed.

Allow me to give you one example. Canada and the Czech Republic are now allies as members of the same defence association, the North Atlantic Alliance. This is a result of a process of historic importance; NATO's enlargement with states of Central and Eastern Europe. The significance of this process stems from the fact that this is the first truly serious and historically irreversible step to break down the Iron Curtain and to abolish, in real terms and not just verbally, that which was called the Yalta arrangement.

This enlargement, as we all know, was far from easy and has become a reality only ten years after the bipolar division of the world came to an end. One of the reasons why progress was so difficult was the opposition on the part of the Russian Federation; they asked, uncomprehendingly and worriedly, why the West was enlarging and moving closer to Russia without taking Russia itself in its embrace. This attitude, if I disregard all other motives for the moment, reveals one very interesting element: an uncertainty about where the beginning is, and where the end is, of that which might be called the world of Russia, or the East. When NATO offers Russia its hand in partnership, it does so on the assumption that there are two large and equal entities: the Euro-Atlantic world and a vast Euro-Asian power. These two entities can, and must, extend their hands to each other and co-operate; this is in the interest of the whole world. But they can do this only when they are conscious of their own identities; in other words, when they know where each of them begins and ends. Russia has had some difficulty with that in its entire history, and it is obviously carrying this problem with it into the present world in which the question of delimitation is no longer about nation-states but about regions or spheres of culture and civilization.

Yes, Russia has a thousand things that link it with the Euro-Atlantic world or the so-called West; but, it also has a thousand things which differ from the West, just like Latin America, Africa, the Far East or other regions or continents of today's world.

(1100)

The fact that these worlds, or parts of the world, differ from one another does not mean that some are more worthy than others. They are all equal. They are only different in certain ways, but being different is not a disgrace. Russia, on the one hand, deems it very important to be seen as an entity of moment, an entity which deserves special treatment, that is, as a global power; but at the same time it is uncomfortable with being perceived as an independent entity that can hardly be part of another entity.

Russia is becoming accustomed to the enlargement of the Alliance; one day it will become acclimated to it completely. Let us just hope that this will not be merely an expression of Engels' ``recognized necessity'' but an expression of a new, more profound self-understanding. Just as others must learn to redefine themselves in the new multicultural and multipolar environment, Russia must learn it also.

This means not only that it cannot forever substitute megalomania or simply self-love for natural self-confidence but also that it must recognize where it begins and where it ends. For example, the huge Siberia with its vast natural resources is Russia but the tiny Estonia is not Russia and never will be. If Estonia feels that it belongs to the world represented by the North Atlantic Alliance or the European Union, this must be understood and respected and it should not be seen as an expression of enmity.

With this example I would to illustrate the following. The world of the 21st century, provided that humankind withstands all the dangers that it is preparing for itself, will be a world of an ever closer cooperation on a footing of equality among larger and mostly transnational bodies that will sometimes cover whole continents.

In order that the world can be like this, individual entities, cultures or spheres of civilization must clearly recognize their own identities, understand what makes them different from others and accept the fact that such otherness is not a handicap but a singular contribution to the global wealth of the human race. Of course, the same must be recognized also by those who, on the contrary, have the inclination to regard their otherness as a reason for feeling superior.

(1105)

One of the most important organizations, in which all states as well as major transnational entities meet as equals for debate and make many important decisions which affect the whole world, is the United Nations. I believe that if the United Nations is to successfully perform the tasks to be imposed on it by the next century it must undergo a substantial reform.

The Security Council, the most important organ of the United Nations, can no longer maintain conditions from the time when the organization first came into being. Instead it must equitably mirror the multipolar world of today. We must reflect on whether it is indispensable that one state, even if only theoretically, could outvote the rest of the world. We must consider the question of which great, strong and numerous nations do not have permanent representation in that body. We must think out the pattern of rotation of the non-permanent members and a number of other things.

We must make the entire vast structure of the United Nations less bureaucratic and more effective.

We must deliberate on how to achieve real flexibility in the decision making of UN bodies, particularly of its plenary.

Most important, I believe we should ensure that all the inhabitants of our earth regard the United Nations as an organization that is truly theirs, not just as a club of governments.

The crucial point is what the UN can accomplish for the people of this planet, not what it does for individual states as states. Therefore, changes should probably be made also in the procedures for the financing of the organization, for the application of its documents and for the scrutiny of their applications.

This is not a matter of abolishing the powers of states and establishing some kind of a giant global state instead. The matter is that everything should not always flow, forever, solely through the hands of states or their governments. It is in the interest of humanity, of human rights and liberties as well as of life in general, that there is more than one channel through which the decisions of planetary leadership flow to the citizens and the citizens' will reaches the planetary leaders. More channels mean more balance and a wider mutual scrutiny.

I hope it is evident that I am not fighting here against the institution of the state as such. It would, for that matter, be rather absurd if the head of a state addressing the representative bodies of another state pleaded that states should be abolished.

I am talking about something else. I am talking about the fact that there is a value which ranks higher than the state. This value is humanity. The state, as is well known, is here to serve the people, not the other way around. If a person serves his or her state, such service should go only as far as is necessary for the state to do a good service to all its citizens.

Human rights rank above the rights of states. Human liberties constitute a higher value than state sovereignty. In terms of international law, the provisions that protect the unique human being should take precedence over the provisions that protect the state.

(1110)

If, in the world of today, our fates are merged into one single destiny, and if every one of us is responsible for the future of all, nobody, not even the state, should be allowed to restrict the rights of the people to exercise this responsibility. I think that the foreign policies of individual states should gradually sever the category that has until now most often constituted their axis, that is the category of ``interests'', ``our national interests'' or ``the foreign policy interests of our state''.

The category of ``interests'' tends to divide rather than to bring us together. It is true that each of us has some specific interests. This is entirely natural and there is no reason why we should abandon our legitimate concerns; but there is something that ranks higher than our interests: it is the principles that we espouse.

Principles unite us rather than divide us. Moreover, they are the yardstick for measuring the legitimacy or illegitimacy of our interests. I do not think it is valid when various state doctrines say that it is in the interest of the state to uphold such and such a principle. Principles must be respected and upheld for their own sake, so to speak, as a matter of principle, and interests should be derived from them.

For example, it would not be right if I said that it is in the interest of the Czech Republic that there is an equitable peace in the world. I have to say something else. There must be an equitable peace in the world and the interests of the Czech Republic must be subordinated to that.

The Alliance of which both Canada and the Czech Republic are now members is waging a struggle against the genocidal regime of Slobodan Milosevic. It is neither an easy struggle nor a popular one, and there can be different opinions on its strategy and tactics; but no person of sound judgment can deny one thing: This is probably the first war ever fought that is not being fought in the name of interests but in the name of certain principles and values.

If it is possible to say about the war that it is ethical, or that it is fought for ethical reasons, it is true of this war. Kosovo has no oil fields whose output might perhaps attract somebody's interest. No member country of the Alliance has any territorial claims there, and Milosevic is not threatening either the territorial integrity or any other integrity of any NATO member.

Nevertheless, the Alliance is fighting. It is fighting in the name of human interest for the fate of other human beings. It is fighting because decent people cannot sit back and watch systematic, state directed massacres of other people. Decent people simply cannot tolerate this and cannot fail to come to the rescue if a rescue action is within their power.

(1115)

This war gives human rights precedence over the rights of states. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has been attacked without a direct UN mandate for the Alliance's action. But the Alliance has not acted out of licence, aggressiveness or disrespect for international law. On the contrary, it has acted out of respect for the law, for the law that ranks higher than the protection of the sovereignty of states. It has acted out of respect for the rights of humanity, as they are articulated by our conscience as well as by other instruments of international law.

I see this as an important precedent for the future. It has now been clearly stated that it is not permissible to slaughter people, to evict them from their homes, to maltreat them and to deprive them of their property. It has been demonstrated that human rights are indivisible and that if injustice is done to some, it is done to all.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am well aware that Canadian politics has long and systematically advanced the principle of security of the human being, which you deem equally important as that of security of the State, if not even more important. Let me assure you that this Canadian ethic enjoys a profound respect in my country. I would wish that we are not merely allies in a formal or institutional sense as members of the same defence alliance, but also as partners in promoting this worthy principle.

Dear friends, many times in the past I have pondered on the question of why humanity has the prerogative to any rights at all. Inevitably, I have always come to the conclusion that human rights, human liberties and human dignity have their deepest roots outside of this earthly world. They become what they are only because, under certain circumstances, they can mean to humanity a value that people place, without being forced to, higher than even their own lives. Thus, these notions have meaning only against the background of the infinite and of eternity. It is my profound conviction that the true worth of all our actions, whether or not they are in harmony with our conscience, the ambassador of eternity in our soul, is finally tested somewhere beyond our sight. If we did not sense this, or subconsciously surmise it, certain things could never get done.

Let me conclude my remarks on the State and on the role it will probably play in the future with the following statement: While the state is a human creation, humanity is a creation of God. L'Etat est l'oeuvre de l'homme, et l'homme est l'oeuvre de Dieu. Thank you.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

(1120)

Hon. Gildas Molgat (Speaker of the Senate): Your Excellency, President Havel, Mrs. Havlovà, Prime Minister and Mrs. Chrétien, parliamentary colleagues, distinguished members of the diplomatic corps, and friends.

[English]

Your Excellency, the applause that you have just heard is the best thanks that we give to you for the vision for the future which you have given us this morning, what I might call the Havel Highway for Humanity.

Your Excellency, we are delighted to welcome you here, both as a friend and as a NATO Head of State.

[Translation]

Your address to our Parliament this morning, together with the new status of the Czech Republic as an ally, symbolize the growing closeness of the relations between the Czech Republic and Canada.

[English]

On a personal note, Your Excellency, I was pleased indeed that my Alma Mater, the University of Manitoba, awarded you one of its rarely given Special Honorary Degrees last night in Winnipeg. The university wanted to recognize your intelligence, your courage, your devotion to principle and your literary achievement. I only regret that I could not be there myself last evening.

Just eight months ago, the Parliament of Canada convened to hear President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. I cannot help but be struck by some of the parallels in your separate careers. Both of you overcame what seemed to be insurmountable barriers, some life threatening, to promote your principles of freedom and the advancement of the human spirit.

You faced discrimination. You faced a totalitarian social structure. You were harassed and imprisoned for your beliefs and activities. You were denied the opportunity to complete the formal education of your choice. But never, never did you weaken.

Through your words and through your courageous leadership you became a key voice for freedom in Eastern Europe and through the world. The free world admires you.

[Translation]

During the decade of the sixties, when the cold war was at its deepest, you fought with a forceful weapon: words. In your writings, in your dramatic presentations \The Garden Party\, \The Memorandum\ and \The Increased Difficulty of Concentration\, you made statements of principle and morality that struck a firm note for freedom.

It is an historic fact that your literary works helped to inspire the revival of democratic and national sentiments that led to the Prague Spring of 1968. And when Warsaw Pact intervention withered the Prague Spring, you played a leading role in organizing peaceful opposition to the totalitarian regime of the time.

[English]

Over the next decade, your continuing refusal to compromise your personal beliefs and political principles gave you a unique moral authority. And when passive Czechoslovak resistance turned revolutionary in November 1989, the Prague Drama Club gave birth to the Civic Forum. This organization spoke out on behalf of the growing number of groups and individuals demanding fundamental changes to the political system.

Given your past as a playwright and dissident, it was natural that you should play a leading role in the Civic Forum. Your strength of leadership seemed to make it inevitable that, like Nelson Mandela, you should be chosen President of your country and that in the summer of 1990 you should preside over the first free elections in more than 40 years.

[Translation]

Your Excellency, over the past six years, as the first President of the Czech Republic, you have assumed the role of international statesman and educator, leading to greater focus on the future of Europe. Your training as a dramatist has given you the philosophical and moral confidence to address the challenges facing Europe in a most profound way.

[English]

For example, your speeches have dwelt on the need for the European Union to stand for more than just a common currency and a common market; they have dwelt on the need for Europe to reinvent itself spiritually and to rediscover its basic classical civilization.

As a broad extension of that, you have often spoken of the common roots of human spirituality, as you have this morning. You have spoken of the need to find the universal moral imperatives that should focus on accepted rules of human co-existence, so badly needed right now.

Your Excellency, your ability and willingness to address the profoundly moral issues of a spiritual regeneration of western societies makes you unique among politicians and statesmen. We thank you for your address.

When you leave Canada, you will take with you our affection, our respect and our universal good wishes.

Merci.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Speaker Parent: Mr. President and Mrs. Havlovà, the Prime Minister and Madam Chrétien, Senators, my colleagues of the House of Commons, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Mr. President, thank you for honouring the Chamber and us with your presence and your eloquence.

[Translation]

As the Prime Minister said, it is a rare occasion for our two Houses to convene here as we have today. It is, Mr. President, a mark of the strong ties between the Czech Republic and Canada and of the deep friendship between our two countries.

And if there is any person for whom we should, as the Prime Minister said, set aside our daily skirmishes, it is you, Excellency. Because your life is a truly inspiring story of courage in the face of oppression. It is one of stubborn adherence to the highest political principles.

[English]

(1130)

Our country, our dear Canada, is fortunate to have had a democracy since its beginning. Yet sometimes we may take our democracy for granted.

On the other hand, Mr. President, you had to fight to secure political rights for your people, and at great personal risk.

You acted on your belief, and you underlined it today, that every individual is entitled to freedom and dignity. And we, the parliamentarians of Canada, know how hard you worked in your country to rebuild the parliamentary institutions that gave expression to those rights.

Your presence in this Chamber is a very strong symbol for us, one that tells us we should always cherish, cultivate and renew the basic democratic ideas that are embodied here in this place.

You have given us a broader perspective of the challenges we face as a country that wants to play a positive role in a turbulent world. We agree, all of us here, that some values are so fundamental that they are worth defending, sometimes at great cost.

Ultimately, these values are not just Czech or Canadian, or even western, but values that belong to the human race as a whole.

[Translation]

You have championed a vision of Europe that strikes a chord among Canadians. You have called Europe ``a single political entity, though immensely diverse and multi-faceted'', where diverse peoples can work in common cause. The same can be said of Canada. We take pride in our diversity and have always sought to thrive on our differences.

[English]

Mr. President, you have shown us how one individual can influence the course of history in the face of great adversity.

The world is fortunate to have such an eloquent spokesman for its greatest dreams.

Some years ago, Mr. President, I and many, if not all, Canadians rejoiced in the Prague Spring, and then we wept with you because it did not continue.

Now, in the last few years when you, sir, have been president of your great country, there is a renewal of the Prague Spring.

You spoke about not only individual rights, but you spoke, sir, about humanity.

I said once in this House to a gathering like this that if you would know about the strength of a nation, you should look to her laws and to her soldiers. But if you would know about the soul of a nation, you should turn to her poets, to her writers and to her artists.

Today, sir, you have become for us and all those who have heard you, the poet, the writer and the spokesman who tells us about the soul of humanity. Thank you for being with us on this day.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!