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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 138, Issue 24

Tuesday, February 8, 2000
The Honourable Gildas L. Molgat, Speaker


Table of Contents

THE SENATE

Tuesday, February 8, 2000

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

Prayers.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before I call Senators' Statements, I should like to draw your attention to some distinguished visitors in our gallery. We are honoured to have the presence of His Excellency Boris Trajkovski, President of the Republic of Macedonia, accompanied by His Excellency Jordan Vesilenov, the Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to Canada.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I wish you welcome to the Senate of Canada.

Honourable senators will know that there are many young Canadians presently stationed in Macedonia. That country has been extremely helpful in the efforts of Canada to bring peace to the Balkans.

As well, I should like, honourable senators, to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Gary Carr, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, accompanied by Mr. Claude DesRosiers, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

Welcome to the Senate of Canada.


SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Black History Month 2000

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, the first Black History Month of the 21st century officially began at midnight on January 31, 2000. I marked it by attending the Annual Black History Month Kick-Off Brunch in Toronto with Professor George Elliott Clarke, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander and Judge Stanley G. Grizzle.

The celebration of black history has come a long way since 1926. It was then that Carter G. Woodson, a black American historian, educator and publisher, founded Negro History Week in response to the prevailing rationale that Africans and people of African descent were without history. Woodson, who is known as the father of black history, wanted to honour the contributions, experiences and stories of black people in America. He chose the second week of February, which marks Abraham Lincoln's approval of the thirteenth amendment to the American Constitution abolishing slavery, and also the birthday of a prominent black advocate, Frederick Douglass.

Carter Woodson's goal was not only to educate his own community about its rich heritage but also to make American society aware of the contributions made by their fellow black citizens. It was only in 1976, during the U.S. bicentennial, that the commemoration week was expanded into National Black History Month.

Here in Canada, the now-defunct Canadian Negro Women's Association was the first to mark the month in Toronto in 1950. It was only formally recognized by that city as Black History Month in 1978. In 1993, the month was officially proclaimed in Ontario to mark the two-hundredth anniversary of legislation introduced by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe to prohibit the importation of slaves into Upper Canada.

February was officially decreed as Black History Month across Canada in 1995. Over the past six years, it has evolved into a nationwide celebration and tribute to the contributions made by black Canadians. In Nova Scotia, there are more than 160 events planned in honour of black history. The theme of our celebration is "Passing the Torch, Lighting our Future," in recognition of the new millennium and the need to pass on a sense of culture to our youth.

I always consider Black History Month a time when great friendships and understanding among communities of every race and ethnicity can be fostered. The events of this month encourage a harmony between cultures which I hope will inspire us to reach year-round. I am happy that Black History Month serves as a reminder.

For my part, I will be participating directly in speaking engagements in more than 14 events this month, including a gala hosted by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers in honour of black judges in Canada; a reception hosted by the High Commission for South Africa in recognition of the tenth anniversary of Mr. Nelson Mandela's walk from prison on February 11, 1990; and a reception with poet-author and playwright George Elliott Clarke, whose critically acclaimed play Whylah Falls will be performed at the National Arts Centre at the end of the month.

Events such as these support the importance and value of diversity among Canadians. I hope that all honourable senators will get a chance to enjoy a little of Black History Month.

Northwest Territories

Fort Liard Meeting—Motion on Oil and Gas Development

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, this is my first statement in the Senate. I am honoured to rise on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories. On January 25 and 26 of this year, chiefs and other aboriginal leaders met in Fort Liard in the Northwest Territories to discuss oil and gas development issues and, particularly, the prospects of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline from the Arctic to southern Canada and the United States. Members may recall that in the mid-1970s a huge gas pipeline was proposed to be built by multinational corporations down the Mackenzie Valley to bring Arctic-Alaskan natural gas to southern markets.

That issue prompted the federal government to establish the Berger inquiry, which dealt with numerous issues surrounding the construction of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline. Mr. Thomas Berger, at the conclusion of the inquiry, stated:

...that if a pipeline were built now in the Mackenzie, its economic benefits would be limited, its social impact devastating and it would frustrate the goals of native claims.

Mr. Berger concluded that there ought to be a 10-year moratorium on the construction of a gas pipeline. The government of the day abided by the recommendations and no pipeline was built.

It has been approximately 23 years since Mr. Berger made his recommendations, and many positive changes have occurred for the peoples of the North.

Aboriginal peoples of the North are much more able to deal with developments such as mines and pipelines. Education level, experience in technological work and confidence of people to take part in development has grown. Land claims have been or are being settled with most of the aboriginal peoples of the North. Government of the Northwest Territories has evolved into responsible government. People have experience with oil and gas development and small pipelines.

People generally are better able to deal with developments such as large pipelines that are being proposed, once again, in the Mackenzie Valley. Therefore, at the Liard meeting, the chiefs passed the following motion:

We, the Aboriginal Peoples of the Northwest Territories, agree in principle to build a business partnership to maximize ownership and benefits of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

The message that the chiefs and the aboriginal leaders wish to make is that, yes, times have changed. Aboriginal peoples are no longer opposing projects, such as huge gas pipelines traversing their lands. However, they intend to be involved in all aspects of the project — the planning, the route selection, construction and, most important, ownership of the pipeline.

Honourable senators, the stance of this motion is significant for all peoples of the North. Those of us who have been involved in government and the politics of the North know the difficult times that aboriginal peoples of the North have gone through the past few decades. It has been a struggle for their rights and to gain their rightful place in northern society. This motion marks the start of a new era of hope and a willingness to participate as partners, not to be bystanders in economic projects such as massive gas pipelines. If governments and the oil and gas producers can heed this new approach and be willing partners, the future of the North bodes well for all people living in the Northwest Territories.

The Late Halinka Dyer

Tribute

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to someone whom I consider to be one of the unsung heroes of the Senate. I recently suffered the untimely loss of my office assistant and friend Halinka Dyer. On December 21, 1999, the world lost the loving wife of David, the devoted mother of Jay, Jordan, Spencer and Matthew, the daughter and sister of the Tubin family and, as well, a good friend to many of us. This was a loss that I will never be able to properly transform into written words that would properly justify the impact Halinka had on so many different individuals.

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Halinka was first a devoted, loving wife and mother, as I mentioned earlier. To me, she was a rare find as a work partner and a friend. Her brilliant mind and exemplary organizational skills provided my office and the office of others who sought her advice and assistance with a resource possibly not replaceable in one's short lifetime. Her zest for life and positive outlook shone throughout the Victoria Building as she went around being the outstretched hand to all.

I have chosen to pay tribute to this young person we lost at 46 years young for two reasons: to thank her family for sharing Halinka and to thank her friends who recommended her to my office and to me. She epitomized the vibrant life from her jogging regimen, which I foolishly tried to share with her on occasion, to the way she made everyone feel at home when they visited my office.

However, the real reason I have risen today is to bring to the forefront what I feel must be a priority for all of us and requires our immediate attention. We lost Halinka to the dreaded disease of breast cancer — a disease that takes from us our grandmothers, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and nieces in huge numbers much too early in life. No, they are not a vocal special interest group that seeks publicity and attention in a disproportionate manner; they are too busy as mothers, grandmothers and wives giving of themselves and never asking in return for anything more than unconditional love.

Our Halinka was one of these, and it is in that spirit that she always projected herself. That is why today I ask each and every senator in this place to take up the cause, if you have not already done so. One just never knows — if we all do a little bit, we can and will make a difference in the fight against this dreaded disease.

Honourable senators, I have had the privilege of being part of this place and having served in the other place. I find it hard to believe that we as Canadians have not committed more funding to fight breast cancer. I should have recognized this urgency sooner myself. However, I do now commit to do more from this day forward on this most crucial matter.

Halinka, your memory will live on forever and you will be missed.

[Translation]

Toponomy Commission of Quebec

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, on November 18 of last year, in response to a request by Mr. Guiseppe Sciortino and Mr. Enrico Riggi, the Commission de toponymie du Québec agreed to change the name of the Papineau-Leblanc bridge to honour the memory of our old friend and colleague, Pietro Rizzuto. These two gentlemen were supported in their application to the commission by a number of public figures from various backgrounds.

In supporting this initiative, those men and women wished to celebrate the memory of this son of Italy who came to Montreal in the early 1950s with no resources other than his intelligence, courage and native wit, speaking neither English nor French, and who went on to become a respected and prosperous Canadian businessman.

By naming such an important structure in his honour, the supporters of Pietro Rizzuto also wanted to mark his devotion to the Quebec and Canadian communities. Mr. Rizzuto demonstrated that commitment through a wholehearted desire to fully integrate within the society that had taken him in. He also proved it through his political activity. For Pietro Rizzuto, it was perfectly normal to devote a large part of his energies to the well-being of a country which had made his business accomplishments possible, and where he and his wife, Pina, raised their family.

Unfortunately, the plan to give recognition to the career of an admirable man led to controversy. Increasing numbers of protests forced Mr. Sciortino and Mr. Riggi to defend the commission's decision.

As a matter of principle, some opposed the very idea of changing the name of a structure. I am not prepared to debate here the merits and lack thereof of such a practice. It is, however, important to remember that it has already been used to honour the memory of famous Quebecers, and occurs regularly in France and elsewhere. We can only hope, in the name of intellectual rigour, that the determined and zealous defenders of Quebec's toponymic tradition would have been just as determined if the Commission de toponymie had rechristened the Papineau-Leblanc bridge in honour of Camille Laurin or Gérald Godin.

Had the opponents of the project been content to discuss the pros and cons of toponymic changes, the debate raised by the decision of the Commission de toponymie could have been defended for those close to Pietro Rizzuto.

Unfortunately, doubt was cast on the reputation of Pietro Rizzuto by some who wanted to judge the merits of the man. Untruths were written, and unfounded rumours circulated. Pietro Rizzuto and his family did not deserve such treatment.

While certain remarks unfairly cast doubt on the reputation of Pietro Rizzuto, certain politicians for their part did not act honourably. There are the MPs and ministers who failed to seize the opportunity to establish ties between the communities. There is, as well, the mayor, incapable of keeping his word, who suddenly changed his mind in the face of a petition. Finally, there is the minister, who, ever ready to put on the mantle of virtue, declared that Pietro Rizzuto deserved better than this debate but found nothing better to do than hide behind his officials, refusing to honour his responsibilities.

In immortalizing the name of our former colleague, the supporters of the Pietro Rizzuto bridge hoped to celebrate the significant contribution made by the various cultural communities to Quebec society. For over 100 years, immigrants from the four corners of the planet have settled alongside the descendants of the French and English colonists and members of the First Nations. Like Pietro Rizzuto, they helped develop and enrich Quebec.

The important contribution made by these new citizens to Quebec society must be recognized for what it is worth. Without neglecting our past, toponymy must also reflect the reality of Quebec society. This was the aim of the initiative taken by Mr. Sciortino and Mr. Riggi.

[English]

Vimy House

Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I should like to again draw the attention of the members of the Senate to Vimy House. During Question Period in December, Senator Boudreau indicated that he wanted to familiarize himself with this facility. I wish to report that he fulfilled that commitment and that both of us visited the facility on January 11, 2000.

For those members who do not know about Vimy House, it is a facility that stores a large number of national war treasures that are not able to be displayed at the Canadian War Museum. In fact, it was the personnel at Vimy House who supervised the restoration of the eight paintings that hang in this chamber.

As some honourable senators are aware, I keenly support the initiative to build a new Canadian war museum adjacent to the National Aviation Museum in Rockcliffe, a facility which would allow considerably more of our national collection to be put on display.

Each time I tour Vimy House, I am amazed at the number of war-related paintings and drawings by Canadian and international artists that Canadians are not being given the opportunity to view and enjoy, not to mention the artifacts, artillery and vehicles that are stored, packaged or crated which represent the memories of various wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions in which our Canadian military has participated.

The more exposure that Canadians have to these artifacts, the more they would understand the incredible sacrifice and involvement of Canadians who served in the different theatres of war. It would enable Canadians to understand more thoroughly why veterans and members of our Legion are so proud and feel so strongly that Canadians never forget their contribution for peace and freedom, nor take for granted the freedom that all of us enjoy.

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Honourable senators, I hope you will find time to visit Vimy House so that you will understand how important it is to support the campaign to build the new Canadian War Museum.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today to highlight the fact that January was Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Alzheimer's Awareness Month is sponsored by the Alzheimer's Society, which consists of a national office, 10 provincial organizations and a number of local groups across the country.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain that gradually destroys vital brain cells. There is no known cause or cure. However, this disease is age related. Therefore, as the senior population rises so will the number of Alzheimer's patients.

Today, in Canada, approximately 300,000 people are said to suffer from this disease. However, 30 years from now it is said that the number of Alzheimer's patients will more than double to over 750,000 individuals nationwide. Without planning or a strategy to deal with such a rise, there will likely be tremendous implications. The most obvious are the effects on our health care system and budgets. However, if there are not enough resources or support systems available to deal with the rising numbers, there could also be a negative impact on the quality of life of Alzheimer's patients and their primary caregivers.

Stephen Rudin, of the Alzheimer's Society of Canada, spoke about the impending crisis in a recent article on this issue, an issue that he feels will grow slowly but steadily over the next few years.

The largely volunteer-driven Alzheimer's organizations continue to work tirelessly in delivering their many services to patients and their families. Moreover, some have also begun to work with provincial governments, recognizing the need for an overall strategy to combat the disease. For example, the society in Prince Edward Island is working to develop a strategy for caring for people affected by Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, which they will present to the Government of Prince Edward Island later this month. The goal of this strategy is to develop a coordinated system of care based on the unique needs of those with the disease. The steps taken thus far by provincial organizations and government are positive and should be congratulated. However, they are only the beginning. More study and awareness of this disease, as well as the coordination of services, is needed.

That said, I look forward to studying some of the health care implications surrounding this disease when the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology begins its study into health care in Canada this month.

[Translation]

Supreme Court

Decision on Right to Francophone School in Summerside, Prince Edward Island

Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, I wish to draw attention to an important decision regarding educational rights recently handed down by the Supreme Court.

In Arsenault-Cameron, the Supreme Court ruled that parents of French-speaking children in Summerside were entitled, under the Constitution, to have a French-language school. The criterion that there had to be a sufficient number of students — between 49 and 155 — had been met. This criterion is based both on known demand and on the total number of students that might eventually take advantage of the service offered.

In this case, the refusal of the Government of Prince Edward Island to follow the advice of the Commission scolaire de langue française and to establish a school for French-speaking children living in Summerside had the effect of depriving these children of a school near their place of residence and negating the corrective character of section 23 of the Charter.

The Supreme Court also held that, while provincial governments must "do whatever is practically possible" to ensure compliance with section 23 of the Charter, this provision was also intended to "give effect to the equal partnership of the two official-language groups in the context of education". The court thus recognized that the official-language minority was entitled to the right provided for in section 23 of the Charter. In so ruling, it expressly conferred a collective right.

The Supreme Court also admitted that the concept of real equality required that the minority in question be treated differently from the majority in order for the level of education provided to be equivalent. Each case, of course, must be judged on its merits.

The Late Anne Hébert

Tribute

Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, on Saturday, January 22, a beacon of French Canadian and Quebec literature left us. Anne Hébert, the author of Kamouraska and the recipient of the Prix Femina in 1982 for her book In the Shadow of the Wind, died in Montreal at the age of 83, following a battle with cancer.

Anne Hébert was born on August 1, 1916, in Fossambault-sur-le-Lac, which is now called Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, a small village located 40 kilometres northeast of Quebec City. She grew up in a family environment that was conducive to the blossoming of her talent. Her father, who was of Acadian descent, was a respected poet and literary critic, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Of noble descent through her mother, Anne Hébert spent her summers as a child and a teenager either in Sainte-Catherine or in Kamouraska, in a setting that included marine vistas, sweeping countryside and forests. Anne Hébert never stopped recreating in her books the days of her youth spent in nature, always displaying great sensitivity.

In 1939, Anne Hébert published her first poems in periodicals. Her talent as a poet was quickly recognized. In 1943, her first collection of poems, Les songes en équilibre, won her third prize for the Prix Athanase-David. That first recognition marked the beginning of a series of about 20 highly coveted national and international awards for Anne Hébert, between 1943 and 1999.

Anne Hébert also had to overcome a number of obstacles, as is unfortunately the case for too many of our artists. Even after she won third prize for the Prix Athanase-David, in 1943, publishers refused to publish her second book, The Torrent. She had to get it published at her own expense by the Éditions du Bien public, in Trois-Rivières. Her masterpiece, Tomb of the Kings, suffered the same fate.

Anne Hébert was the first francophone woman scriptwriter at the National Film Board, and she was undaunted by the limitations placed on the women of her day. Not all intellectual and literary circles were inclined to open their inner sanctums to women. Madame Hébert refused to accept the imposition of silence that weighed on the women of her day, and took up her pen to write of her revolt against the fetters imposed on her gender. Her works and her character were extremely stimulating sources of inspiration for women. Anne Hébert created some very powerful characters, determined and independent women, free in their own way. She left her mark on a whole generation of women, by challenging the restricted roles society assigned to them and male-female relationships. In 1982, she was to become a role model for girls and women with a passion for literature, such as Gabrielle Roy, Marie-Claire Blais and Antonine Maillet, in receiving the highly prestigious Prix Femina literary award for her book In the Shadow of the Wind. Her contribution to improving the living conditions of Canadian women is a huge one.

Anne Hébert's literary legacy is one of truth, sensitivity, strength and passion. She succeeded in reconciling conflicting values and shared her dreams with us.

When Pierre Nepveu spoke at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, in January 1995, when presenting the Prix Gilles-Corbeil awarded by the Fondation Émile-Nelligan, he described the works of Anne Hébert as follows:

The literary works of Anne Hébert show us what is essential and noblest about romanticism: Reality lives and has meaning only through the passion that springs from it, through that inner core made of light and darkness, of angels and demons.

Anne Hébert, you will remain forever present in our hearts, in our culture, in our history, in our spirit.


[English]

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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Nisga'a Final Agreement and Appendices Nisga'a Nation Taxation Agreement

Tabled

Hon. Dan Hays (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the Nisga'a Final Agreement with appendices, and the Nisga'a Nation Taxation Agreement.

Fisheries

Report of Committee Requesting Authorization to Engage Services and Travel Presented

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries, which requests that the committee be granted powers related to its examination of matters relating to the fishing industry:

Tuesday, February 8, 2000

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your Committee, which was authorized by the Senate on December 7, 1999, to examine and report upon the matters relating to the fishing industry and to present its report no later than December 12, 2000 respectfully requests that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary, and to adjourn from place to place within Canada for the purpose of its examination.

The budget was considered by the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration on Thursday, December 9, 1999. In its Second Report, the Committee noted that it is undertaking a review of the budgetary situation pertaining to Senate Committees, and recommended that no more than 6/12 of the funds be released until February 10, 2000. The report was adopted by the Senate on Tuesday, December 14, 1999.

Respectfully submitted,

GERALD J. COMEAU

Chair

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

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

Adjournment

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

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, February 9, 2000, at 1:30 p.m.;

That at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, if the business of the Senate has not been completed, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings to adjourn the Senate;

That should a division be deferred until 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings at 3:30 p.m. to suspend the sitting until 5:30 p.m. for the taking of the deferred division; and

That all matters on the Orders of the Day and on the Notice Paper, which have not been reached, shall retain their position.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-202, to amend the Criminal Code (flight).

Bill read first time.

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

On motion of Senator Hays, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Thursday next, February 10, 2000.

Financing of Post-Secondary Education

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday, February 15, 2000 I shall call the attention of the Senate to the financing of post-secondary education in Canada and particularly that portion of the financing that is borne by students, with a view to developing policies that will address and alleviate the debt load with which post-secondary students are being burdened in Canada.

QUESTION PERIOD

Foreign Affairs

Austria—Possible Recall of Ambassador in Response to Appointment of Joerg Haider in New Government

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Could the minister advise whether the government has any intention of recalling the Canadian ambassador to Austria in order to assess the appropriate unique Canadian response to the participation of Joerg Haider and his Freedom Party in the new Austrian coalition government?

Hon. J. Bernard Boudreau (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have no information at this time that such an action is contemplated. However, I can certainly relay the question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and in due course reply to the honourable senator.

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, yesterday our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Axworthy, following meetings with Jaime Gama, the Foreign Minister for Portugal, and Christopher Patten, the Commissioner for External Affairs of the European Union, said that Canada will follow the European Union's lead on Austria.

When will the government take the lead on matters that are so clearly issues in which Canada, with its interest in and record on human rights, should be a leader rather than following the lead?

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, I have no doubt that the minister is in touch with the ambassador and the officials of the Canadian government in Austria. I am not aware of any specific actions that are planned or any specific comments that will be made publicly by the minister at this time.

Human Resources Development

Job Creation Programs—Possible Mismanagement of Funds—Request for Tabling of Reference Documents Used by Prime Minister in Response to Questions

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, it is a sad state of affairs when the government uses its resources and the resources of the bureaucracy to turn legitimate work of members of Parliament, whatever their political stripe, on behalf of their constituents into a dirty propaganda tool — "cheat sheets" as they were described in today's National Post.

Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate undertake to obtain the documents and letters provided to the Prime Minister by the government leader in the other place and which the Prime Minister was using yesterday to avoid answering direct questions about the boondoggle at HRDC?

Hon. J. Bernard Boudreau (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am not specifically aware of what documents may have been used in the other place with respect to answers given during Question Period.

It is important that this matter be put into context, and the reference to a boondoggle places on me the responsibility to, at least, attempt to do that. I do so without demeaning in any way either the importance of an internal audit — and I stress the word "internal" — or the necessity of acting on the results of that internal audit.

However, I must point out to the honourable senator that Human Resources Development Canada operates programs in the range of $3 billion. Seven of those programs, constituting $1 billion, were subject to audit. The balance of $2 billion were not.

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Within that $1-billion envelope some 459 files were selected at random by the auditors. Those 459 files represented expenditures of approximately $200 million. We have now come down from $3 billion to a range of about $200 million. Of those 459 files, some 37 were flagged for further action. The value of the 37 flagged for further action was approximately $33 million. Of the $33 million that was flagged in the audit, approximately $11 million to $12 million has been dealt with to the satisfaction of the auditors. In fact, the balance is now being actively reviewed.

One must have this context in mind when discussing this whole issue.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the minister has done a good job of reading the talking points issued by the Prime Minister's Office. In fact, they appeared in the newspaper the other day.

However, the minister did not answer my question. If he had watched Question Period yesterday, he would have seen that every time a member of the opposition asked a question on this subject they did not receive an answer. Instead, members of the opposition had read to them letters they had legitimately placed on file. In effect, the government is creating a situation whereby members of Parliament are not able to do their work on behalf of their constituents.

I ask the minister again: Will he table those documents? In particular, will he obtain for senators the documents to which the Prime Minister referred, as well as all letters and documents in support of projects in Saint-Maurice written by or on behalf of Jean Chrétien, the MP for that riding?

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, the context in which I have attempted to set this matter is important. The real question is whether or not the facts that I have placed before the Senate are correct, regardless of where they originated.

I did not watch Question Period yesterday. Unfortunately, I was committed to other duties. However, I suspect that what the Prime Minister may have been attempting to do is similar to the effort that I should like to make here today; that is, to say that the seven programs that were subject to audit are good programs. They have provided jobs for Canadians.

It is speculation on my part, but perhaps the Prime Minister was attempting to make a point with which opposition members also agree, that these are good programs and that they have improved the lives of their constituents.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the Leader of the Government in the other place had a file folder full of all the correspondence written by members of Parliament in support of projects in their ridings. It is obvious that the government was able to produce these documents rapidly. At the same time, however, it is unable to account for millions and millions of dollars and the supporting papers.

Again, I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to table in this place those documents and, in particular, copies of all letters written in support of projects in the riding of Saint-Maurice by Member of Parliament Jean Chrétien. Surely, there must be a big tab of letters in that book under his name.

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, there probably is not one member of Parliament who has not written a letter in support of a project under one of these seven programs. I do not know if it is reasonable to ask for copies of all those letters.

We must come back to the context, which is that we are now dealing with audit objections and deficiencies. We are dealing with audit deficiencies which can range anywhere from failure to have a supporting receipt for an expense to anything else in the spectrum. The total under discussion has now been reduced to about $20 million.

What may be interesting to the honourable senator is that when she looks at the 37 projects that were selected for audit discrepancies or deficiencies, she will see that 29 of the 37 — in fact, the vast majority of them — were in the Youth Employment Program, the Social Development Program or the Learning and Literacy Program. Experience has shown that these organizations are not always as sophisticated as large companies might be. In many of these cases, they were not able to complete all the requirements as necessary. If the honourable senator were to take a balanced look at the situation and put it into context, she would see that 29 of those 37 cases were in those three programs, all of which are very good.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I should like to know in which of those categories Wiarton Willie falls.

Senator Boudreau: In HRDC, there are approximately 30,000 individual files or cases. There are some that all of us, I am sure, would wish had been dealt with in a more effective and efficient way. As a matter of fact, the auditors found 37 such files which have to be addressed. The minister has indicated that she has been addressing them and will continue to do so.

Let us not put these programs at risk. In my area of the country, as is the case for many senators on both sides of this place, these programs are extremely important and have done great work. We cannot put these programs at risk because of this particular issue.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the government has put them at risk by singling out members of Parliament who wrote legitimate letters to the department on behalf of their constituents. As a result, members of Parliament will never again want to support government programs in their ridings for fear that what they say will be used as part of the propaganda.

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, that may be true of some members of Parliament. However, I doubt it will be true of many. Honourable members have written in support of these programs, which is important and should continue if they believe that the program is a good one and that their constituents can benefit from it. I believe they will continue to write as they have in the past because they value these programs.

Poverty

Request for Programs to Eliminate Conditions

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Over the Christmas recess, two important reports dealing with social conditions in Canada were released. The first report was from the Progressive Conservative National Caucus Task Force on Poverty, and it contains many valuable recommendations which are premised on the following remarkable sentence:

Above all, we were humbled by the depth and magnitude of poverty in Canada...

The second report to which I refer is the Liberal task force on Western Canadian issues which also addresses poverty and in which it is stated:

The face of poverty is getting younger. Children living in poverty are more likely to end up in the sex and drug trade, drop out of school or become involved in crime.

In light of these two reports which cross party lines, I should like to ask this question of the minister: If we cannot end massive poverty in Canada with the present robust economy, with unemployment dropping, with the stock market roaring and government surpluses building, then when will we be able to do so?

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Since there is strong support across party lines for action, will the government now make poverty eradication an all-out national priority?

Hon. J. Bernard Boudreau (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for that question. It is an important, indeed pivotal, issue for government today. The response of government with respect to the program involving the homeless is one element of a renewed commitment to deal with our social problems in a way that will be positive and productive.

I had heard, as an aside, that perhaps some of the homeless might benefit from some of the HRDC programs now under discussion.That may be true. If you look at the statistics with respect to poverty among our unemployed youth and their levels of education and their corresponding opportunities for jobs, then you realize just how important programs of learning and literacy, and other social development programs, can be. It is a comprehensive problem.

Senator Di Nino: Remember the GST!

Senator Boudreau: I will certainly take the honourable senator's views to my colleagues in cabinet.

Senator Roche: I thank the honourable minister. The minister mentioned the homeless in his answer. I ask him if he has noted in the Liberal task force on Western Canada the statement that, in Edmonton, an estimated 42 per cent of the city's homeless are aboriginal. The task force says that urban aboriginal youth are particularly at risk, and so I ask the minister if, in the forthcoming budget, there will be some special attention to this serious problem.

Senator Boudreau: The honourable senator will, of course, know that I am not in a position to indicate specific measures that will be contained in the budget. However, he highlights a significant problem with urban aboriginal youth that exists across the country but is particularly evident in the western provinces, and in cities such as Winnipeg. While some of the programs that are available nationally — including the new program for the homeless — will be of assistance, there is a need to look to what more can be done. I am certainly supportive of the senator's views, and whenever the opportunity arises, I make that same point.

Industry

Nova Scotia—Loss of Jobs at Royal Bank Offices in Halifax

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Halifax is losing 310 Royal Bank customer service and administrative support positions as part of that bank's national restructuring of service delivery. Those jobs are to be relocated in Toronto and Montreal this July, and will affect 340 staff members in two downtown Halifax locations. The bank claims that this shift is one of several initiatives to reduce costs by as much as $500 million by the year 2001, reductions that are needed to ensure that the bank is positioned to resist expected foreign competition. The Royal Bank had originally planned to cut these costs in a merger with the Bank of Montreal in 1998, but that plan was quashed when the federal regulators refused to allow the merger.

My question is: If the merger of the Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal was stopped by the federal government to, among other things, protect Canadian consumers, how do they propose to protect hundreds of consumers, who are also Royal Bank employees and who, as a direct result of government action, are now facing layoffs?

Hon. J. Bernard Boudreau (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, that question presumes a connection that, had the merger gone ahead, there would be no closures and no job losses in Halifax.

Senator Oliver: That was not the premise.

Senator Boudreau: I have difficulty making that connection, to believe that that would be the case.

Senator Kinsella: Why?

Senator Boudreau: In fact, jobs are being lost, and it is a serious matter. I must say, however, that at the moment the economy in Halifax is very healthy. The unemployment rate is, I believe, at an all-time low. One would hope that any displaced employees who did not have an opportunity to seek employment with the bank elsewhere would have an opportunity to find new employment in Halifax in a similar field or in one that would be satisfactory for them.

Senator Oliver: For 340 people?

Purchase of Canada Trust by Toronto-Dominion Bank—Request for Figures on Resultant Loss of Jobs

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, the Minister of Finance recently approved the amalgamation of the Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canada Trust. That gives rise to a question related to the question asked by my colleague, Senator Oliver. There is no question that there will be major disruption, not only in jobs but also probably in services.

Could the Leader of the Government tell us, or at least find out for us, how many jobs the Finance Minister or the Finance Department estimated would be lost in the country as a result of this amalgamation? Did they address the issue of services to communities, in particular smaller communities that may not have adequate banking services after the amalgamation?

Hon. J. Bernard Boudreau (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I can certainly make the inquiries requested by the honourable senator with respect to those particular items.

As I indicated in my previous answer, the best protection for any displaced employees as a result of such an amalgamation is a healthy economy that produces jobs that will offer them alternative employment. In fact, some companies had indicated that they would be interested in the Halifax area, but feared that the employment availability would not be such as to support the type of operation they had in mind.

What we are trying to do is create a healthy and vibrant economy and allow people choices, so that if a particular job disappears because of commercial activity, then they will have an opportunity to seek other employment.

However, with respect to the specific question the honourable senator asked, I will attempt to get that information.

Human Resources Development

Job Creation Programs—Possible Mismanagement of Funds—Responsibility of Minister

Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, my question is also to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It relates to the Prime Minister's seeming abandonment of the hallowed parliamentary principle of ministerial responsibility. Before so doing, however, I wish to ask the leader about some of the comments he made in response to the question put to him by Senator LeBreton. With the greatest respect, I do not think he answered her question.

Senator LeBreton: No, he did not.

Senator Meighen: The leader seems to take the view that this is a good program, and I will not argue that point, notwithstanding that it would appear that some recipients received more than they asked for, while others were not even asked for an accounting. Assuming these were all wonderful programs, does the Leader of the Government not agree that at least basic accounting and accountability standards should be respected? Whether the matter amounts to 37 programs or 357 programs, it is still public money that is at issue; if it is public money that is at issue, then we must adopt the strictest possible standards. That seems to have been forgotten in this debate, and it is up to us as parliamentarians, surely, to insist that the very strictest standards be adhered to. Clearly, that has not been the case.

There is one important thing I do not understand, and perhaps the leader can shed some light on it for me. This Prime Minister, who has endorsed in many statements over his parliamentary career the principle of ministerial accountability, appears now to be abandoning it and saying that the minister is not responsible.

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I should like to know, if it is not the minister's responsibility, who is responsible? Perhaps the Leader of the Government could also assure me that that responsibility will not be foisted off on to the backs of some junior bureaucrats.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. J. Bernard Boudreau (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am glad to hear that the senator supports those seven programs. At least, I think he supports them.

Senator Meighen: I did not say that. I said. "...even if they are good."

Senator Boudreau: Most people in the country would also support those programs.

I have said previously, in setting the context, that it is important for a responsible department to generate internal audits from time to time. This department has generated a number of internal audits over the years. There was an internal audit a couple of years ago and there was one in 1991, when another government was in office.

Senator Kinsella: What is your point?

Senator Boudreau: There has been, on a regular basis, a generation of internal audits. Action must be taken when the results of those internal audits come to the minister, who is ultimately responsible.

Senator Kinsella: Is the minister responsible or not?

Senator Boudreau: That responsibility is being discharged by this minister. After the internal audit came to her attention, which is now a public record, a program was put in place to deal with it. I am not confident that in 1991 there was such a program in place.

Senator Meighen: Honourable minister, if we are to take your view that this is a little accounting problem, what would you think of an outside independent private-sector auditor coming in to get to the bottom of this to reassure the Canadian public?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, I would say that already one-third of the audited files have been remedied. The others will be dealt with quickly. The Prime Minister has made the commitment that if any monies were inappropriately granted, those funds will be repaid.

The issue goes beyond the present discussion. The goal is to improve the delivery of ongoing programs and to ensure that these problems are prevented in the future. Our response goes far beyond an audit.

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, the shocking mismanagement of funds at HRDC clearly demonstrates that this Liberal government has failed to be accountable to the people of Canada.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Angus: Although the Transitional Jobs Fund was set up specifically to give ministerial discretion to encourage job creation in high unemployment regions, it has been used, apparently, as a political tool to pork-barrel certain ridings.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame!

Senator Angus: Honourable senators, the internal audits to date have only been samples, with a very low level of materiality, and have revealed that millions of dollars have been spent with, to say the least, improper processes in regard to record keeping, project tracking, using funds or completing application forms.

We are told that, in some cases, there are no application forms at all on record. That is totally unacceptable to the people of Canada, Mr. Minister.

My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is —and I do not envy him having to put his finger in this particular crumbling dike — in light of the serious nature of this issue, will the government provide full, unexpurgated, uninterrupted and complete audit rights to the Auditor General, and will it hand over all the files pertaining to the granting of all the funds to an independent external examiner?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, again, it is important for all of us to reaffirm the value of these projects and the individual recipients. I have already gone through the list of 37 projects. When I look at the Canadian Paraplegic Association, I note that that is the type of program that is at risk as a result of irresponsible criticism.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame!

Senator Boudreau: The honourable senator has asked for an audit of all the files, all 30,000, by an independent auditor. I think they would be able to retire quite a few of their partners on that one, honourable senators, and I do not think that is likely to happen.

Senator Angus: As a final supplementary —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I am sorry, Senator Angus. You can come back to this tomorrow.

Hon. Dan Hays (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would suggest that leave is in order, certainly, for Senator Angus to complete his series of questions and have responses from the leader.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I am sorry, but I heard "no" from some honourable senators. We must stick to the rules; that is something I wish to do.

I will now call Delayed Answers.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): No, no. Point of order.

Senator Angus: Cover-up!

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): The unanimous decision of the Senate cannot be overturned by the Speaker.

Senator Kinsella: It is the practice of this house that senators run the Senate. The Deputy Leader of the Government has consented to hearing a supplementary question from Senator Angus. That is the consent of the house. That is the order of the house.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: It was unanimous.

Senator Taylor: Was it unanimous? I do not remember it being unanimous.

Senator Kinsella: Stand up, Senator Angus; ask your question.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is there unanimous consent to hear Senator Angus?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Angus: Honourable senators, in simple terms, I urge the Leader of the Government to please assure all honourable senators that senior officials or others who are under the direction of this government have not and will not destroy, doctor, alter, fudge, lose or otherwise forget about any documents whatsoever pertaining to the distribution of monies under the Transitional Jobs Fund.

Senator Boudreau: Honourable senators, I can give no more assurance of that than I can give for what the honourable senator did yesterday.

Senator Stratton: What about the citizens?


[Translation]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Nisga'a Final Agreement Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Austin, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C., for the second reading of Bill C-9, to give effect to the Nisga'a Final Agreement.

Hon. Aurélien Gill: Honourable senators, I would like to pick up the thread of my first speech. I know that my general remarks of last November moved a number of you and that was my intent. The final agreement with the Nisga'a gives me an opportunity to go further and to clarify my thoughts on the new partnerships we must envisage for our future.

For over half a century now in Canada we have been full of good intentions and fine words. Even in the early 1960s, the federal government spoke through the Hawthorne-Tremblay commission report of its desire to encourage the economic independence of the First Nations quickly.

This was followed by the creation of many forums for consultation and thought. In the process, we inherited more or less suitable political structures. The provincial associations of the 1960s are a fine example. In order to have us meet its expectations in matters of discussions, the government wanted an interlocutor of its own stature; it created a mirror image of itself. Intentions were clear, the yoke of economic dependence had to be broken, and we had to fly on our own within a prosperous Canada.

The idea was good, but perhaps it was too simplistic, because economics and politics are linked — is that surprising? If, in political terms the proposals did not meet expectations —  remember, we were talking about taking responsibility — what was the issue? For us it was to administer our dependence.

We looked after our affairs by taking on the responsibilities designed and defined by the Department of Indian Affairs. How ironic! We put on moccasins that did not fit and a shirt that did not suit. Today, we know very well that the idea was not promising. It maintained the system of band councils and gave the problem itself a second wind. Indian band meant Indian reserve and that always boils down to promoting marginality.

That is obviously the crux of the matter. No economic or political advances can be made if our rights are not truly respected, if we are not in a position to exercise those rights. Our past secures our place in the future. It was not until the 1970s, after the tribulations of the 1969 white paper, that the concepts of territories and resources were raised. Since they were buried in our historic amnesia, we unearthed them.

The Nisga'a Nation, like so many other First Nations, played a major role in these efforts to turn back the tide, to show that we could not hope to survive and certainly not to develop if we were denied access to our ancestral lands and resources. The Nisga'a used the legal system to breathe new life into their age-old claims.

To speak of our rights is to speak of treaties, treaties that have been forgotten, ignored, set aside, and never signed, as was the case for a great part of what is now British Columbia, as was the case for the greater part of the province of Quebec, before the agreements signed with the Cree, the Inuit and the Naskapi. To speak of our ancestral rights, whose existence is now recognized in the Canadian Constitution, is to speak of our future.

The great injustices we suffered have been addressed in the courts. Since Calder in 1973, the Supreme Court of Canada has continued to promote the cause of the First Nations.

We all agree that the issue is complex and difficult to resolve in law. I would like to mention in passing the contribution made by Mr. Justice Antonio Lamer who in effect paved the way in the Canadian justice system with respect to the First Nations.

We are not there yet, but we are on the right track. Our aboriginal rights have been recognized in principle. I say in principle because they must still be given a modern form to carry them into the future. Once again, and this bears repeating, too many Canadians are reacting badly to what is in fact an historic achievement.

Finally, the Nisga'a agreement includes all the minimum requirements to allow a nation to be responsible for its future. This agreement should serve as a model. I insist on that point. The agreement must be presented to all Canadians, not only in its best light, but also as an example, because the opponents to the agreement are actually opposed to its strongest qualities. Some say the agreement is unconstitutional because it creates a new level of government in the political structure, something which requires a constitutional change. Does our Constitution not recognize the inherent rights of aboriginal people? Do our collective rights not imply that we enjoy self-government? What is the point of having rights if we cannot exert them?

In other words, the Nisga'a agreement is the ultimate test of our good intentions. Generally speaking, the country would want First Nations to be themselves and to fly on their own. But when the time comes for them to take flight, they are prevented from spreading their wings. People complain about turbulence, about the space being taken. The Nisga'a Nation will indeed have authority over a territory that it has not stolen. A community cannot govern itself on the basis of abstract notions of law. Resources, institutions, space and an identity are all required. This is where the critical notion of sharing takes on its full meaning. Canadians must realize that a sharing of powers is looming on the horizon.

The Nisga'a Nation is finally coming back home, to a land that it had been stripped of, a land where its people had become strangers, like so many other First Nations in Canada. It will now have control in the form of a just and normal presence which will give it back its sense of identity. This is restitution, no less. The options are so well defined that it is now possible to think that the Nisga'a will be able to take stock of their own resources and proceed to tax the wealth that will be generated. Who could oppose this true enfranchisement? A yoke has been broken. This is the way to break a vicious circle.

Some oppose the Nisga'a agreement on the ground that it settles only one of the 40 or so claims in British Columbia alone. This can be scary for Canadians. Yet, there are reasons for them to be reassured. Creating a form of self-government whose structure takes into account existing traditions, concretely recognizing ancestral territories, developing new skills, taking stock of the natural resources that will help generate wealth, promoting "identity-based" conservation measures through the normal and minimum institutions that allow a community to control its destiny, maintaining bridges based on cooperation and sharing, these are all reasons for us to be reassured.

In the Innu language, we would call the Nisga'a "kanikantet", or scouts. Their path is well marked. If we make good use of it, their accomplishments will open up better horizons for us.

However, do we know how to make good use of them? That seems difficult. The real opposition to the Nisga'a agreement is the outcome of a great historic insensitivity, as I said in my first speech. Many Canadians react badly and with prejudice, without giving thought to the treaties and to rights, without taking into account the centuries of injustices.

The Nisga'a agreement seems disturbing, surprising, a thorn in the side of our national tranquillity. As long as this misunderstanding persists, no degree of maturity can be attained in this fundamental debate. The clinching argument makes a pretext of raising the problem of ethnic governments, claiming that Canada must not create political structures that are based on the cultural distinction of a given community. I agree that the issue does arise, and that the principle involved is a touchy one. However, can it be raised with some care? To deny us the right to exist politically based on our distinct cultural qualities puts an end to the debate on our aspirations. To the best of my knowledge, to the best of anyone's knowledge, the Nisga'a are Nisga'a, and their claims have always reflected their identity.

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If there is no place in tomorrow's Canada for the First Nations as a specific culture, let it be clearly stated. It needs to be said, and then the destruction of what we are and what we have been can continue. Let there be no more trumpeting of cultural diversity of the founding nations if no one has the desire to acknowledge that diversity with political fact.

Our future governments will not be "ethnic"; they will be the reflection of what we are entitled to be. This involves sharing, partnership. The more we are what we are, the more openness there will be between us. A distinct identity does not require the cultures to be separated; in fact, the opposite would be the case. A culture that is comfortable with itself can be open with others. It attracts interest. Its "ethnicity" is a positive reality.

I have already stressed urgency. Now I shall focus on creativity, novelty, imagination. We have all been in error in acting as if Canada were a completed country. It is a work in progress, it is a challenge.

In order to be successful, we must innovate, imagine new ways of belonging to it. Being a Canadian should not be an abstract concept. It will be something that is lived out, experienced and given expression to. We have much to give this country, but will we ever attain our rightful place?

Law alone is not enough. A fair resolution to the First Nations' claims seems to be the last chance to drive away all our old demons. I say this out loud, knowing that it makes us uncomfortable. The Canadian identity is a work in progress —  even today. History has shown that people have always wanted to reduce this identity to a sort of homogeneity that does not exist.

When it comes to cultural diversity, Canada must leave behind its apathy. Imagination is called for. We must get rid of old Loyalist colonial tendencies and fleur-de-lys nationalism.

No, Canada is neither English nor French. Biculturalism is an irrelevant concept which only serves to inflame old grudges that unfortunately still exist. If an original Canadian culture finally surfaces one day, it will be a synthesis of the best features of the various identities and cultures that have been a part of this country's existence for over 500 years.

We will finally have overcome our old visions, visions that pitted one culture against another. We are at the first stage of this history. We are entitled to promote and defend our identity and receive the respect that goes with it. We all know that the Canada of tomorrow will have to be inclusive and celebrate its diversity, that this diversity will have to be obvious in the political arena, and that, like Quebec and Canada's francophones, we, too, want to control our own destiny.

How could we not celebrate the Nisga'a Final Agreement as an original avenue in our progress? There is a necessary link between economic responsibility and the development of peoples. How can we ignore the huge step forward taken by the Nisga'a and how could we possibly not celebrate that step?

Across the country, another agreement is in the works, an agreement that is close to being what we all want. If all goes as planned, and after a very long journey, the Montagnais Innu from the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Issipit Charlevoix-Tadoussac and Manicouagan-Betsiamite regions will finally have control over their own destiny. Let us salute this progress and these achievements, because they are fundamental.

Wherever promising negotiations are underway and foretell of partnerships and dignity, we must delight and encourage each other. Likewise, considerable attention must be paid to our more northerly brothers, the Innu of Labrador and Quebec's North Shore.

These Innu have been very patient. Until yesterday, they had every reason to be concerned about their future, because for too long they have been ignored in development projects. Remember the NATO plans for low-altitude flights. Did the Governments of Quebec and Newfoundland not forget them again in their joint planning of the Churchill River hydroelectric development?

In 1999, did these governments not again assume that the development of Labrador did not really concern the Innu, even misunderstanding the simple map of the ancestral territories of the Montagnais Innu?

Agreements are needed to promote responsibilities and sharing, because without them and without responsible native government, without proper recognition of the space needed and of the partnership in the sharing, the First Nations will be humiliated and systematically ignored, today as yesterday.

This ignorance and these humiliations are a thing of the past in a self-respecting Canada. The new agreements are so many cracks in the dams of silence and disdain. The current will move and flow with these cracks. We must hope that we may be fully committed to this development process.

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Yes, we must share the land and the resources. We must share in order to enrich ourselves and also to make Canada grow. Only then will the majority of Canadians stop perceiving these agreements as concessions, as losses, as follies that threaten their integrity.

I ask: Have we invested enough to adequately inform Canadians on the true nature of these agreements? The answer is obvious. No, we have not done enough. The debate suffers from a dangerous carelessness. What we are hearing definitely reflects a painful lack of information.

Some say that we are benefiting from favours, from privileges and that these agreements are basically meaningless, except for the money that we get from them. Others think that we are snatching rights to resources. We look like highway robbers in the eye of the public, which perceives us as a threat and as leeches. No, we are not investing enough to show the absolutely positive side of these new agreements. They are not and they may never be perfect, but we must all work together to improve and multiply them.

These agreements represent a real hope for all. This is how they must be presented to the general public. Again, I congratulate the Nisga'a Nation for its tenacity and courage, and also all those who worked so that this agreement could be reached. In spite of the obstacles and difficulties, let us hope that we can achieve at the national level what was achieved in this case, because tomorrow's Canada will not be built at the expense of these peoples and cultures. It will not be built by humiliating its numerous founding nations. Let us ensure that we can all be proud of being Canadians, while also being proud of who we are and of belonging to this new circle.

[English]

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I wonder if the Honourable Senator Gill would permit a question.

Senator Gill: Yes.

Senator Taylor: Part of a small band — and I cannot remember the exact name of it right now — exists within the traditional land of the Nisga'a. They were upset about not being factored into the equation. I understand that some efforts have been made to handle the problem. Is the honourable senator aware of this band and what is being done to satisfy their concerns?

[Translation]

Senator Gill: Honourable senators, I am aware of certain things, but not of all the details. When an agreement is signed, very clearly there are some problems relating to the overlaps of territory between the nations. As far as I know, there has always been a possibility of these matters being settled eventually. As can be clearly seen, the more signed agreements there are, the more we will have to deal with this type of situation. Until now, certain approaches have been found to get people to discuss their situation.

[English]

On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator St. Germain, debate adjourned.

National Defence Act
DNA Identification Act
Criminal Code

Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill S-10, to amend the National Defence Act, the DNA Identification Act and the Criminal Code, with amendments) presented in the Senate on December 16, 1999.

Hon. Lorna Milne moved the adoption of the report.

She said: Honourable senators, as Chair of your Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, I have the honour of speaking to the report on Bill S-10, to amend the National Defence Act, the DNA Identification Act and the Criminal Code.

The introduction of this promised legislation, Bill S-10, fulfills the commitment made by the Solicitor General to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in December 1998. It is based on the legislative recommendations made by the committee in our sixteenth report to the Senate on Bill C-3, the DNA Identification Act of the previous session of Parliament. The bill reflects our recommendations by making several changes to the National Defence Act, the DNA Identification Act and the Criminal Code.

Bill S-10 brings within the ambit of the national DNA data bank profiles of designated offenders who are subject to the military justice system. It also amends the Criminal Code to extend the prohibition against unauthorized use of bodily substances and DNA profiles to include those obtained under the National Defence Act. Bill S-10 expands the "principles" set out in section 4 to make absolutely clear that DNA profiles and bodily substances are to be used "only for law enforcement purposes in accordance with this Act, and not for any unauthorized purpose." This is in response to the committee's previous concerns about potential misuse of DNA profiles.

Bill S-10 makes provision for new accountability measures that will enable Parliament to monitor the ongoing operation of the data bank. It amends the DNA Act to give the Senate and the House of Commons committees the same authority to conduct the statutory five-year review of the legislation. In addition, the bill requires the Commissioner of the RCMP to submit an annual report to the Solicitor General on the operations of the DNA data bank, which will be tabled by the Solicitor General in both Houses of Parliament.

During the committee hearings on Bill S-10, we suggested that this report should include a review of current DNA case law. In a letter addressed to the committee through myself on December 7, 1999, the Solicitor General accepted our recommendation and agreed to amend the draft regulations accompanying the bill, which, by the way, were also presented to the committee, to specify that the RCMP Commissioner's annual report will contain a review of the DNA case law over the preceding year.

Honourable senators, Bill S-10 is reported back with two amendments. The amendments were presented to the committee by the Solicitor General following a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial heads of prosecution. These amendments are considered necessary for the purpose of verifying the identity of a person specified in a DNA data bank order or authorization. The amendments to the National Defence Act and to the Criminal Code authorize peace officers or persons acting under their direction to take fingerprints at the same time that samples of bodily substances are collected for the data bank from persons convicted of a designated offence.

Initially, the committee had reservations about the privacy implications of obtaining fingerprints at the same time as samples of bodily substances are collected for the DNA data bank. At the request of the committee, I sent the proposals to Mr. Bruce Phillips, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, for study. While Mr. Phillips did express some concerns over what would happen to the fingerprints once they had been taken, he recognized and appreciated the need to protect the integrity of the national DNA data bank. However, he did share the committee's concern about obtaining fingerprints where the Crown has proceeded by way of summary conviction, as in cases where there is no authority to take prints under the Identification of Criminals Act or there are no existing fingerprints on file with which to compare. Like the committee, Mr. Phillips was also concerned about the validity of obtaining fingerprints for the seven "specifically military" secondary military offences, where as well there is currently no authority to take fingerprints for these offences.

The officials responded to these concerns on December 15, 1999, by explaining the process under which the fingerprints for summary conviction offences would be handled. As these fingerprints are taken solely for the purpose of DNA sampling, the fingerprints will be treated the same as pardoned records. Only in extreme cases will the information be retained, and then only in an in-house data base that assigns a number to the information which will be referenced in an in-house query. The only instance in which someone could get a name would be if they themselves are privileged operators who manage the pardoned criminal records information. Again, the information would not be made available to the entire law enforcement community.

Honourable senators, Bill S-10 is a testimony to the diligent and thorough work of your standing committee. I thank the Solicitor General for recognizing our work and our contribution to the legislative process by fulfilling his promise to enact our recommendations before the coming into force of Bill C-3, the DNA Identification Act. Bill S-10 is a reflection of our attention to detail and continued commitment to both the protection of Canadians' privacy and their right to public safety.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

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

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

[Translation]

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Royal Assent Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Kinsella, for the second reading of Bill S-7, respecting the declaration of Royal Assent by the Governor General in the Queen's name to bills passed by the Houses of Parliament.

Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I am adding my voice to the debate in which we are engaged relating to Bill S-7, which deals with Royal Assent as a means of enacting legislation in order to render it enforceable. As honourable senators are aware, this matter has been submitted to the Senate on a number of occasions.

My interest in this matter arises out of the relevant reflections expressed during this debate and those before it, particularly the judicious intervention by the Honourable Royce Frith in May 1983, and the McGrath commission report two years later.

There have been other attempts from time to time to amend the process of Royal Assent. I have familiarized myself with all of these in an attempt to gain a clear understanding of the reasons set forth to justify a change and the possible consequences of the change proposed in Bill S-7.

I will begin by making it clear that I see Royal Assent as an opportunity to show the results of parliamentary procedure in general, the legislative work of parliamentarians, and that of the Senate in particular.

[English]

Honourable senators, a number of words come to mind, such as visibility, communications, relevance, accessibility, content and education. I see here a chance to optimize the work of the Senate, not cloister it with some behind-closed-doors sign-off process. Indeed, as several honourable senators are saying publicly and privately, we should be looking at ways to make the Senate more visible.

Formal Royal Assent, properly communicated to the public, would serve to inform Canadians not only about their parliamentary institutions, but also about the laws being passed that affect them. Royal Assent could, if planned and managed in a communicable fashion, allow parliamentarians to bring out the relevancy and the timeliness of their work as legislators. If that means engaging in ceremony, so be it.

Perhaps one of the tragedies of today is that we do not have enough ceremonies to remind us of who we are and what we do. Ceremonies, no matter how humble or extravagant, prod us into reflection. On summer mornings, we can witness crowds gathering on Parliament Hill to watch the colourful, ceremonial changing of the guard. Is this merely a tourist spectacle? It is more. It is a way of presenting to the world a tiny part of Canada.

Honourable senators, in reviewing what has been said in this chamber in regard to Royal Assent, it is clear that no one has advocated usurping the legislative process. This is a process that binds together both Houses of Parliament and the sovereign, a blending of institutions which has withstood the litmus test of governance.

Honourable senators, the issue before us pits expediency against tradition — changing the rules a little bit so that tradition remains a legitimate exercise but the process is made more convenient. I understand this to be the heart of the issue.

Senator Lynch-Staunton, through this bill, has endeavoured to accomplish a balanced duality by retaining the ceremonial aspect while providing for significantly less formal procedure. While appreciating his motives — which I remind you, honourable senators, are shared by all senators on both sides of this chamber — I fear that the proposal in Bill S-7 for written declarations would become the norm, with the current traditional ceremony falling by the wayside. That is to say, we would end up replacing a well-established tradition with an informal office procedure, and we would lose what is perhaps a golden opportunity to inform Canadians about the machinery of the parliamentary institution and its vital legislative role on behalf of Canadians. Only by giving Canadians the opportunity to see — and I say, "to see" — the relevancy of the upper chamber can we expect people to respect the Senate.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, we know that Canada is the only Commonwealth country to have retained the ceremony of Royal Assent in the presence of the Governor General or a judge of the Supreme Court, acting as Deputy Governor General.

Even though we usually turn to a Puisne Judge for Royal Assent, the fact of requiring that a senior member of the magistrature participate, regardless of his impartiality, entails a risk: one day, this judge will perhaps have to hand down a decision on the validity of a legislative measure to which he will himself have given Royal Assent.

It would perhaps be advisable for those responsible for analysing Bill S-7 in depth, in committee, to explore options for conferring this responsibility on other august Canadians who are not active participants in the judicial process. A list of distinguished Canadians qualified to perform duties similar to those of the Lords Commissioners in England could be drawn up.

Let us remember that during the six years from 1993 to 1998 inclusive, there were 46 Royal Assent ceremonies. The Governor General was present at only five of them. These figures are proof to some that the official ceremony of Royal Assent is no longer worth the trouble.

In other words, if the representative of the Queen cannot, for one reason or another, play an active and regular role in the legislative process, why should this duty fall to someone else? Why not adopt an entirely different protocol?

The Governor General's rate of participation could be justification for going even further than the proposal in Bill S-7; by that I mean the elimination pure and simple of the practice, along the lines of what was done in Australia.

That is why I can understand the feelings of those who wish to simplify Royal Assent and create other means of achieving the same ends, such as those proposed in the bill introduced by our honourable colleague.

[English]

(1600)

I wonder whether, honourable senators, if expediency — or convenience, if you prefer — were the only consideration, I would readily embrace Bill S-7. Logic compels me to weigh the other side of the debate for, as you may be gathering from my remarks about relevance, communication, accessibility, visibility, and education, I am concerned by the steady erosion of our traditions and symbols whose disappearance seem more to do with expediency and political correctness than serving to remind all of us as Canadians of who we are.

In this regard, I view as quite valid the comments of the Monarchist League and a number of honourable colleagues such as Senator Cools, Senator Grafstein, Senator Nolin and Senator Milne. In a presentation to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs the league decried "changing current monarchical symbolism to republican symbolism" and consigning the role of Queen-in-Parliament "to a secretarial act performed at a distant functional desk".

Senator Grafstein and Senator Nolin have, if I interpret their remarks correctly, touched upon the fact that Royal Assent is a major constitutional duty of the Governor General, suggesting to us that the Queen's representatives should be playing a more active role in the affairs of Parliament, not less. Indeed, Senator Milne has referred to Royal Assent as "a fine piece of theatre and more Canadians should know about it." Senator Cools astutely remarked that written declarations "will further distance and obscure the sovereign's role and existence in the public business of our nation."

Honourable senators, we are, in discussing this bill, in a state where the heart and mind compete. The logical mind tells us there is a more efficient way of doing business, but the heart tugs toward an act of symbolism that reaches back across the centuries. It is our heritage and one should not dispense with it hastily. It is fine and well to say that because Henry VIII changed the rules in 1541 by appointing Lords Commissioners to grant assent on behalf of the sovereign, so can we. Henry's motives were propelled not by a desire to facilitate the democratic machinery but to spare himself the indignity of assenting to a bill effectively calculated to dispatch his wife, Catherine, to the chopping block for high treason. For that single action by a king, for personal reasons known but best not repeated in this chamber, the practice of appointing commissioners became so increasingly common that today it is normal procedure.

These events demonstrate the principle of the exception becoming the rule. This could ultimately be the case with written declarations, despite provisions to hold once yearly Royal Assent in the presence of the Governor General. Bill S-7 would be the thin edge of the wedge that would, in time, cleave symbolism from our parliamentary process.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I should like to make a few more comments which I feel are relevant to this debate.

In England, it is now common practice to delegate to Lords Commissioners the task of giving assent to acts on behalf of Her Majesty. This usually takes place at Buckingham Palace and is, in my opinion, a ceremonial event.

A distinction must also be made between Canada and Australia. Whereas Canada has maintained the traditional Royal Assent ceremony since Confederation, Australia stopped using it in the early years of its history. The two countries have therefore developed different protocols. In spite of having eliminated the Royal Assent ceremony, Australians voted to remain a monarchy, in a referendum held last November.

Canada is a very young country which welcomes thousands of immigrants every year, and their cultures, their rules of law, their languages and even their alphabets may be different.

What is striking is that we assume that those who cross our borders are invited to take advantage of the abundance that we enjoy here in Canada. By this I mean that we share not only our standard of living, but also our parliamentary history, our culture and our institutions.

For many newcomers, these elements provide the stability that was lacking in their country of origin. The question then becomes: Are our parliamentary traditions and democracy, and also the symbolic ceremonies involved, not worth being better communicated to the public?

If so, and I firmly believe this to be the case, should we not use all the modern means available to better inform the public of new legislation, updates and procedures?

Could we not do everything possible to make our values and our traditions known through our symbols and ceremonies? Is it not our responsibility as parliamentarians to be more visible, to use available electronic communication to broadcast this final stage of the legislative process? Yes, broadcasting the ceremony would force us to rethink it.

[English]

Honourable senators, rather than concealing our customs and traditions like Royal Assent, we should be showcasing them. Like justice, democracy needs to be seen to be done. Rather than making written declarations the norm and the Royal Assent ceremony the exception, I wonder whether the opposite might not be a more attractive proposition. In other words, accentuate the role of the Governor General while limiting written declarations to rare or occasional exceptions. For a time, at least, I suspect that written declarations will be necessary now and then when the two houses are located in different buildings during renovations of Centre Block. This I accept as a practical arrangement. However, I think that we could lean toward a more visible function for Parliament and for the Governor General herself. Is proclaiming laws not one of the primary responsibilities of the Governor General? As the sovereign's proxy, the individual holding that esteemed office should be visible regularly in the affairs of Parliament in Canada.

A few months ago, a suggestion was circulated that days dedicated for Royal Assent be fixed when both Houses are sitting; another option for review by the appropriate Senate committee.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, during the course of my remarks, I have argued in favour of greater promotion of the customs and symbols of our country and called for greater transparency in the legislative process. I therefore find myself on the side of those who think that, to make Parliament more relevant in the eyes of Canadians, the ceremony of Royal Assent could even, on occasion, be held in other regions of the country. The Royal Assent given to the bill that created Nunavut would have justified holding the ceremony elsewhere than in Ottawa. This event has already occurred, but it would have been interesting to highlight the creation of a new territory in this way. It would have drawn the attention of Canadians to a historic change in the country.

Honourable senators, we owe thanks to Senator Lynch-Staunton. He drew the attention of our house to the particular conditions of our parliamentary procedure. If our collective goal is to ensure rapprochement between the work of Parliament and life in Canada, Bill S-7 gives us an opportunity to do so. Let us take time to look at the way we function. Let us become more visible and more accessible. And, if I may repeat myself, like justice, democracy must be seen to be done.

[English]

(1610)

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, I thank Senator Poulin for her words. One of the great strengths of private members' bills is that we can have differences of opinion about them — and I certainly have a difference of opinion with Senator Poulin on this particular issue. I like Senator Lynch-Staunton's bill. Its passage would be a positive addition to the way we do business in this chamber and in Parliament as a whole. I should like to explain why I say that.

My very first experience with Royal Assent was not in the Senate of Canada but in the legislature of the Province of Manitoba. I think it is true of most provincial legislatures that most of the legislation is not given third reading support until close to the end of a particular session. That is because sessions tend to be more compact and because there is usually a new Speech from the Throne each and every year.

The experience to which I refer was at a time when we were coming to the end of my first session of the legislature. At that time, I noticed some interesting things happening in the chamber. For example, I noticed that members on both sides were gathering little bits of paper on their desks. As a former teacher, I have to tell honourable senators that they took on the appearance of potential spitballs.

As we came to the end of the session of the legislature, the Lieutenant-Governor had been left waiting outside the chamber for about five hours. He entered the chamber in order to give Royal Assent to the legislation. As he left the chamber, to my absolute amazement I recognized what the paper was about to be used for. It had been a tradition in the Manitoba legislature that immediately following Royal Assent there would be a paper fight on the floor of the legislature.

All of a sudden, paper started to fly on both sides of the chamber. I was given to understand that at one point even copies of Hansard flew from one side of the chamber to the other. That practice came to an abrupt halt when one of the press gallery representatives was hit in the eye with a piece of Hansard. Thus, it became an unspoken rule that copies of Hansard would no longer fly following the Royal Assent ceremony.

Several years later, while I was leader of the party, we were fortunate enough to have a sufficient number of members elected to allow us to become the Official Opposition. You must remember, honourable senators, that I was a school teacher with some 20 years of experience. I made it clear to my caucus members that there would be no paper fights in the Manitoba legislature. I understand that the tradition of throwing paper in the Manitoba chamber has now come to a halt. Perhaps that was my most significant contribution to the decorum of the Manitoba legislature. In any event, that led me to a more serious debate and discussion. That is to say, when is a ceremony important and when does it do the kinds of things that Senator Poulin spoke about so eloquently this afternoon? It led me to consider the question of when a ceremony has become, perhaps, redundant and unnecessary.

One of the aspects that I like most about Senator Lynch-Staunton's bill is that he would not get rid of Royal Assent in its entirety, which of course has happened in the United Kingdom, Australia and every other Commonwealth country. The bill before us calls for the ceremony to be performed once a year. I hope that it would be become a far more significant ceremony as a result. We would no longer have the House of Commons being represented by members of the government side only, something that we have had consistently in my five and one-half years in this chamber. We have often had Royal Assent without the Speaker of the House of Commons. Occasionally, deputy speakers appear.

To me, that does more to harm the democratic process than anything else. If it is held in such disdain by members of the House of Commons that they do not think they have to come, then that tells me that it is a ceremony that has, perhaps, gone past its time in terms of making a significant contribution to the body politic and, more particularly, to our democratic system.

I have serious concerns about Supreme Court Justices appearing as Deputy Governors General. Frankly, I do not believe they should be here giving Royal Assent to bills. At some time in the future, they may have to make judgments in cases that may involve Acts of Parliament to which they have given Royal Assent. I think there is a conflict of interest created by being here to sign off in a Royal Assent ceremony as the Deputy of the Governor General and then to sit in judgment of that very piece of legislation.

I agree entirely with Senator Poulin, when she says that we should be looking at alternatives to those who serve now as Deputy Governors General. If we are to continue with these ceremonies, there are many notable members of the Order of Canada who could replace the Governor General. There may be others who would also make good replacements.

I think honourable senators should be aware of a court case based on this particular issue, which will be heard in Ontario over the next few months. It concerns whether the situation to which I refer creates a conflict of interest.

When representatives of the Monarchist League of Canada appeared before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which was considering this bill in another life, I put this question to John Aimers, who is the head of the league: Should we be more Catholic than the Pope? In view of the fact that the mother of Parliaments, Westminster, had done away with the ceremony some 30 years before, I asked if we in Canada should still be doing it. I asked why other Commonwealth nations had chosen to follow another route. His answer was that we should be more Catholic than the Pope, and that it is important for this kind of symbolism to remain alive and well in our nation.

I love ceremonies. I think they are good for all of us. They give us a sense of our history. They give us a sense of the importance of our institutions. However, I think ceremonies only have value and purpose if they are ceremonies that everyone takes to be of great importance and significance.

With the greatest respect to each and every one of us here, I do not think the Royal Assent ceremony takes on that kind of purpose and importance when the government whip is forced to go around to ensure that there is a quorum. Technically, a quorum is not needed for Royal Assent, but it is needed for the adjournment. You cannot adjourn until after Royal Assent, so you must have a quorum. All of us have been asked by our whip, "Will you be here for Royal Assent," in order to guarantee that the numbers will be here.

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Honourable senators, if each and every one of us thinks the ceremony is so very important, why are we not all here for the Royal Assent ceremony? My sense is that we do not consider it the most important part of the process. We consider the third reading debate, or the final third reading vote if it is an issue upon which there is disagreement, to be the most important part of the process, not the Royal Assent process.

I should like to see the Royal Assent envisaged in Senator Lynch-Staunton's bill become a ceremony of grand occasion. The Governor General is here, members of the House of Commons are present in great numbers, and the number of senators present in this chamber is high. That is the direction in which we should be going. I think we should be moving into a new era.

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I had not intended to participate in the debate but the eloquence of both Senator Poulin and former deputy leader Senator Carstairs suggests to me that, perhaps, we collectively have forgotten the essence of Royal Assent.

The essence of Royal Assent is not the ceremony. The ceremony marks a special occasion, but the essence of Royal Assent is based on the well-known principle that ignorance of the law is no defence, so that when laws are passed, a common citizen cannot say, "I did not know about that law." As a question of law, each citizen in Canada is required to know every law. Lack of that knowledge is not, in any way, shape or form, a defence if that law is breached by an individual citizen, either by neglect or by omission. The essence of the law was that when Parliament had concluded its deliberations, the monarch would assent to the law in order to bring to the citizens' attention that a law had been passed and that knowledge should not be denied. I understand the arguments made by Senator Poulin and others, but that principle is the essence of Royal Assent.

By obsolescence and by practice, we have relegated this ceremony to a place and a time that is inconvenient, namely, Thursday evening, when it is not convenient for senators who travel to the West or to the East to attend. We have trashed that principle and now some are arguing against the trashing of the principle. In effect, we have said that because it is obsolete, because people do not attend and because the other place is not here, it is a moot principle. However, the principle remains that ignorance of the law is no defence. Hence, when we pour out thousands of pages of law without the public knowing that we have passed that law, it strikes me as being an abrogation of our responsibilities as parliamentarians. Why are we here to debate these matters if not to educate the public about the changes in the law?

Once we have concluded the debate, to relegate it to the Canada Gazette, which no one reads, is to dismiss the hard work of both Houses. With Royal Assent, Her Majesty comes to Parliament and accepts the law, from the Commons and from the Lords, in order to demonstrate to the citizens that there is a new and different law by which they are to be bound. Although we have failed in the ceremony and in the practice, that should not permit us to make the practice even worse.

There are many good ways of educating the public in the laws that we pass. The Royal Assent ceremony is one great opportunity to do so. I am in favour of renovating the practice, not of relegating it to the dustbin of history.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I have a question which I should like to put to the Honourable Senator Carstairs. My question relates to her narration regarding John Aimers' remarks about being more Catholic than the Pope.

An Hon. Senator: Order!

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I wanted to ask a question of the Honourable Senator Carstairs and I was quietly waiting my turn, as I always do.

Senator Nolin: You must ask for permission first.

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Honourable Senator Cools, do you wish to ask for the consent of the Senate to pose a question to the second last speaker?

Senator Cools: Yes, honourable senators. I seek clarification on a statement that Senator Carstairs made, which I feel is extremely relevant to the debate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Please proceed, Senator Cools.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, Senator Carstairs has raised an extremely important question. I commend the honourable senator for ending what I thought was unnecessary and unparliamentary behaviour in the Manitoba legislature. However, they are a legislature, not Parliament, so perhaps they could be overlooked at that stage.

The proper solution here is to —

Senator Lynch-Staunton: You are supposed to ask a question, not make a speech. You will not get leave again if you do that.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I am coming to my question. Perhaps the honourable senator is in a hurry today.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Just ask the question.

Senator Cools: I do have leave, senator, and I am not in the habit of taking direction from you.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Take direction from the Senate, then.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, Senator Carstairs has suggested that, perhaps, either the Senate of Canada or some senators are attempting to be a bit more Catholic than the Pope. I understand her concern and where she is coming from. However, I should like the honourable senator to clarify before us whether or not the situation she has described — that is, the situation in England — is not unlike the situation in Canada. In point of fact, in England the Queen's major representative, the Lord Chancellor —

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

Senator Cools: — sits in the House of Lords. Consequently, the situation is not quite analogous, because the Lord Chancellor, as Senator Carstairs would know, is the Queen's major representative, so named because he has sufficient power to cancel the Queen's commissions and the Queen's patents. I am asking whether or not she considers her analogy a fair one.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, let me be clear. The analogy had nothing to do with the situation that was occurring in the United Kingdom with respect to the Chancellor or the Exchequer or the Lord High Chancellor. It is concerned with whether a ceremony we have in Canada — and one which they no longer have in Great Britain — is necessary.

(1630)

In other words, the question is whether Royal Assent is perhaps an unnecessary symbolic act in Canada, when, for the most part — but not entirely, because we are, after all, a federal system and they are not — our traditions come from the mother Parliament, Westminster, and the mother Parliament has decided that that ceremony is no longer necessary in the way we conduct it.

If I may use a phrase that is quite common, my question is: Do we have to be more Catholic than the Pope? Do we have to be more monarchist, do we have to be more traditional, do we have to be more orchestrated towards formal ceremonies than they are in the United Kingdom? Mr. Aimers' response to that appears to be: Yes.

On motion of Senator Corbin, debate adjourned.

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Anne C. Cools moved the second reading of Bill S-9, to amend the Criminal Code (abuse of process).

She said: Honourable senators, essentially, this bill attempts to address the issue of the use of false allegations of child sexual abuse, largely within custodial disputes and within judicial proceedings. It had been my intention, honourable senators, to speak more fully today, but in view of the lateness of the hour I shall just move the adjournment and proceed on another day.

On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.

Criminal Code
Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Watt, for the second reading of Bill C-247, to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (cumulative sentences).—(Honourable Senator Di Nino).

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, Bill C-247 would amend the Criminal Code with respect to cumulative sentencing. This bill has been reincarnated several times since 1996 by a member of the other place, seemingly against cabinet's wishes. That member persisted with the bill and, with the support of the other parties, was finally able to persuade the government of its merit, and the bill received third reading in the other place on June 7, 1999.

I think it is appropriate to quote from the debate on the bill in the other place before I continue with my short discussion. The originator of the bill said, in a previous Parliament:

Since I reintroduced this bill I have sadly been visited by too many victims of crime who have now come to realize that they are also victims of parliament. Some had lost children, some had lost parents, some had lost spouses, but all had lost faith in the courts, lost faith in parole boards and, most of all, lost faith in parliament.

This bill is about a principle that we accept in our common law, that crimes against persons and against property should be punished, and that the victims of crime have a right to justice. This bill repairs and restores proper justice by allowing the sentence to reflect the crime.

Too often the punishment of a crime bears little resemblance to the nature of the crime itself. This bill would enforce the severity of penalties with respect to the crime, reinforce the good work of our law enforcement and legal systems, and show true compassion to the victims and their families.

Bill C-247 would require those convicted of sexual assaults, and any other offence arising out of the same events, to serve their sentences consecutively, therefore reflecting the heinous nature of their crimes. It would require those convicted of second degree murder to serve the mandatory parts of each sentence consecutively. This bill only impacts two groups in our society: multiple murderers and multiple rapists.

Under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, every Canadian has a right not to be subjected to cruel or unusual punishment; so the courts generally impose sentences that meet certain sentencing objectives, such as crime prevention, rehabilitation, imposition of a reasonable sentence, and the protection of society. Often, concurrent sentences are imposed so that a proportionate amount of each sentence is actually served. When several offences are committed in the course of a single incident, the courts will use concurrent sentencing. If offences are committed through a series of different incidents, consecutive sentencing is imposed. Under the Criminal Code today, there is no differentiation to account for the number of victims or the number of crimes in relation to parole ineligibility. If this bill is passed, it will give judges the discretion to extend the term of parole ineligibility for multiple murderers. Depending on the nature of the crimes committed, that judicial discretion would allow a judge to choose to add no time for the second crime, or to add one day or up to 25 additional years.

This bill is also realistic, as it prevents courts from imposing sentences beyond the natural lives of offenders. In effect, we are guaranteeing that the second, third, or eleventh victim will see justice served.

In most criminal cases, this type of provision would have little impact, but in rape and murder, the law slips into a haze that leaves many victims and families of victims perplexed and often disgusted, and, like many other Canadians, cynical and distrusting of our justice system. My sadness and frustration with these types of crimes is only matched by my exasperation with our justice system, when it allows someone like Clifford Olson to receive public attention and a forum to argue for his release after serving only 15 years.

It was interesting that, after 15 years, Clifford Olson was able to get a member of the staff at the penitentiary to actually talk about what a good guy he really was and to say how he did not fear for his safety. He testified on behalf of Clifford Olson. This gentleman need not have been afraid; he was not a little girl or a little boy.

This bill gives us an opportunity to restore some dignity to the system. Canadians of every political stripe, from every region across Canada, hold the same view on this issue. Over 90 per cent of Canadians would support differentiating parole ineligibility for multiple murders or multiple sexual assaults. That percentage would be even higher if the courts were allowed discretion in using this provision.

(1640)

Honourable senators, we have an opportunity to restore some faith in our justice system and to promise families of victims of the most horrendous crimes that justice will be served.

On motion of Senator Di Nino, debate adjourned.

Religious Freedom in China in Relation to United Nations International Covenants

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Wilson calling the attention of the Senate to religious freedom in China, in relation to the UN international covenants.—(Honourable Senator Poy).

Hon. Vivienne Poy: Honourable senators, before I begin, I should like to wish every one of you a very happy and healthy New Year in this year of the dragon.

I should like to speak to the inquiry into religious freedom in China that was initiated by Senator Wilson and on which Senator Austin and Senator Di Nino also spoke.

As the first person of Chinese heritage to sit in this chamber, I hope to bring a unique perspective to bear on this issue, particularly on China's cultural and historic attributes and how they shape its approach to human rights. When speaking of something as complex and emotionally charged as human rights, it is easy to allow our passions and rhetoric to overwhelm open-mindedness and logical argument.

In this chamber, it is important that we seek education over confrontation. If we do not, we risk losing sight of our common objective in this inquiry — namely, the greater respect for life, liberty and dignity of the human person in China, Canada and elsewhere.

This is a timely inquiry, as China has recently signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We look forward to China's ratification of these important documents. Moreover, the United States will be introducing a resolution on China's human rights practices at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights when it meets next month in Geneva.

Approximately one month ago, we marked the beginning of a new year and a new millennium. The passing of such a milestone offers an opportunity to reflect on past events, accomplishments and failures. I suspect that historians will view the past 100 years as a period of profound paradox. The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history, with millions of people suffering and losing their lives through war, regional conflicts and genocide. We saw the depths to which humanity can sink through the actions of various totalitarian regimes and by those states claiming to have a greater level of respect for human life. The 20th century also witnessed the dismantling of colonial empires, the establishment of the United Nations as a means for resolving interstate conflict, and the adoption of international human rights agreements.

Today, the result is that nations do not have the luxury to judge themselves. A state's actions are increasingly assessed by the court of international public opinion. The notion of human rights has become so firmly established that last year NATO entered into a war in the Balkans for what we were told was a response to the human rights abuses in Kosovo. This conflict, as well as those in East Timor and Chechnya, exceed the scope of this inquiry, but, ultimately, they call our attention to the central issue regarding the right of sovereign states to dictate on matters of internal policy to other sovereign states. How effective is it?

Any discussion of human rights, regardless of the country or culture we talk about, draws our attention to the relationship between the state and its citizens. The examination of this relationship begs us to answer the following questions: What rights do we hold by virtue of our humanity? Is the concept of human rights, as defined by the West, universally applicable? What is the proper balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community? These are questions that challenged us in the 20th century and ones that will confront us even more in the future.

The approach of the West to human rights often ignores the darker periods of its own history. The actions of Nazi Germany and segregation in the United States reveal that the West certainly has not supported individual human rights uniformly since the concept was first devised during the Enlightenment.

Even in Canada, the treatment of the First Nations, the historic treatment of non-white immigrants and the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II reveals that the struggle for human rights is never complete, even though successive Canadian governments have sought to correct these mistakes.

Human rights, as defined by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a recent concept. Up to the 17th century, Western societies placed as much emphasis on duties as on the rights of citizens. Since the concept of human rights varies between cultures, the West has been accused of imposing an interpretation on cultures that do not share its historic and cultural background.

This argument is reflected in the works of Indian philosopher R. Pannikar, who wrote that:

Human rights are one window through which one particular culture envisages a just human order for its individuals.

Certainly, this sentiment is reflected in the approach to human rights taken by the Chinese government. Beijing has argued that the interpretation and implementation of international human rights standards varies with cultural and historical facts and the level of economic development. China approaches Western definitions of civil and political rights with extreme caution.

While we must be sensitive to cultural differences, for they do exist, such differences should not be used to rationalize systematic human rights abuse. In spite of all their differences, cultures share, and always will, the common denominator of humanity.

To understand the actions of the Chinese government, we must acknowledge the more collectivist nature of Chinese society and the impact that religion has played in its history. Not doing so can lead to charges of cultural imperialism. I found the remarks of Senator Wilson and Senator Austin on this aspect of the inquiry particularly interesting. Senator Wilson's detailed explanation of China's approach to religion was particularly enlightening, as was her observation that the Western press often report religion-related arrests without any explanation beyond the fact that "Chinese law was broken."

(1650)

In traditional China, importance was placed on humanity, also known as Confucian humanism. Mencius taught that people are more important than rulers and therefore had the right to overthrow tyrants. Centuries before European civilizations abandoned the concept of the divine right of kings, the concept of "people's rights" existed in China.

The concepts of human equality and popular sovereignty existed very early in Chinese thought, but they did not lead to a political structure that protected human rights. That is because power in modern China became increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. Until the 1911 revolution, at least, the imperial censorate was in the position to criticize the emperor's exercise of power.

Within the past few centuries, a number of political rebellions in China have had religious or mystic overtones, and many of these contributed to the fall of major dynasties. I am sure the leaders know their history well.

To emphasize the role played by religion in China's political history, I will say a few words about the Taiping Rebellion, which started in 1850. The God-Worshipping Society proclaimed the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace in Nanjing in 1851. The leader, Hung Hsiu Ch'üan, claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus. The movement swept across the entire south China. Religious indoctrination was used to control the population in the conquered territories. It took 14 years for the imperial government to crush the rebellion, and it cost the lives of 30 million people, which was approximately 10 per cent of the population of China at that time. That is the entire population of Canada today.

I, for one, can understand why the Chinese government wishes to avoid this kind of upheaval from a large segment of its population, particularly when it is working with great speed to bring about the economic reforms believed to be necessary for China to catch up with the industrialized countries.

John Stuart Mill's concept of "the greatest good for the greatest number" has been an accepted philosophy in China for a long time.

In the 20th century, Wu Ching-Hsiung, chief architect of the Chinese nationalist government's first and most liberal constitutional draft, wrote in the 1920s:

Westerners, in struggling for freedom, started with the individual. Now we, in struggling for freedom, start from the group... We wish to save the nation and the race, and so we cannot but demand that each individual sacrifice his own freedom in order to preserve the freedom of the group.

Chang Fo-ch'üan, a graduate of John Hopkins University and a professor at Beijing University during the 1920s, believed that there could be no areas of an individual's existence that are inviolate. "Freedom", he said, "is public, not private," and concerns the needs of society as fully as that of the individual. Sun Yat-sun, in his later years, maintained that "what China required was not the liberty of the individual, but the freedom of the state." These are the philosophies of some of the most important intellectuals in China in the first half of the 20th century.

In the revised Preliminary Draft of the Chinese Constitution of the 1920s under the Nationalist government, the article on religious freedom reads:

Every citizen shall have the freedom of religious belief; such freedom shall not be limited except in accordance with the law.

Not much has changed since then. The Chinese government today argues that individuals should be sacrificed where necessary for the collectivity and that those in power should decide what is good for that collectivity.

As long as any country is ruled by a one-party system, as in China where the Communist Party is enshrined in the constitution as the "dictatorship of the proletariat," the concept of human rights remains subject to the party's interpretation. "Human rights" in the Chinese language means "human power," and the struggle for human rights is understood by the government as a fight for political power and therefore as a threat to the establishment.

Since religious freedom falls within the confines of human rights, which is "human power," they are viewed as one and the same. In comparison to the draft constitution of 1920, Article 36 of China's 1982 constitution guarantees religious freedom. A second clause limits this guarantee, however, to "normal religious activities." "Normal" is left undefined, and the use of religion to disrupt public order is prohibited.

The control of any Chinese congregation by a foreign religious organization is not permitted. Historically, Western imperialists used religion as the pretext to dominate and obtain concessions from China. This in no way means that that was the intention of the missionaries who went to China. Most of them were simply used by their governments for political ends. Since the 19th century, many lawless Chinese converted to Christianity just so that they could enjoy the protection of the Western churches, and thus the Western governments, from Chinese law. An obvious example was the use of missionaries by the German government to obtain concessions in Shandong Province. Kaiser Wilhelm II was known to have said that he would have larger territorial rights in China if only he had more missionaries.

The present Chinese government recognizes and authorizes five religious movements: Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Taoism and Islam. Each of these five sanctioned religions is supervised by a "patriotic association" which reports to the government's Religious Affairs Bureau. Although it flourishes, unregistered religious activity is illegal and remains a punishable offence.

Such an approach to religion appears alien to us as Canadians until we understand China's unique historical and cultural experiences in this area.

This issue illustrates one of the main points of contention in the discussion of human rights in China — specifically, differences arising from Western versus Chinese understanding of human rights.

Linked to the "Asian" versus "Western" values discussion is the argument over whether human rights should take precedence over economic and social development. Collective rights such as the "right to development" have been suggested as being more important and more in keeping with the Chinese values than the West's apparent preoccupation with civil and political rights. Indeed, the Chinese government's attitude toward human rights is based on the proposition that subsistence rights are paramount and that civil and political rights are secondary.

The late Julius K. Nyerere, founder of modern-day Tanzania, perhaps expressed this idea best. He said:

What freedom has our subsistence farmer? He scratches a bare living from the soil provided the rains do not fail; his children work at his side without schooling, medical care, or even good feeding. Certainly he has freedom to vote and to speak as he wishes. But these freedoms are much less real to him than his freedom to be exploited. Only as his poverty is reduced will his existing political freedom become properly meaningful and his right to human dignity become a fact of human dignity.

President Li Tieying of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the same thing to me when he visited Canada in October 1988. He said:

What's the use of having rights and freedoms when you don't have the right to adequate food and shelter?

To be sure, the idea of the greatest good for the greatest number of people appears at first to be an impelling argument for delaying the implementation of individual rights such as religious freedom. Countries have routinely explained away human rights violations through the need for national development.

Authoritarian governments, however, simply have not realistically demonstrated that free thought, speech, the establishment of mass organizations and the criticism of leaders is incompatible with the rights of subsistence and development. Statistical studies do not support the claim that there is a general conflict between civil and political rights and economic performance.

(1700)

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Poy, your speaking time has expired. Are you asking for permission to continue?

Senator Poy: Yes.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Please go on.

Senator Poy: Honourable senators, the 1993 Vienna Declaration on Human Rights states that:

...while development facilitates the enjoyment of human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights.

Indeed, it is increasingly apparent that sustainable development actually requires a commitment to civil and political rights. By helping to ensure government accountability and transparency, civil and political rights can help channel economic growth into national development.

Arising from the developmental approach to human rights is the argument that individual civil and political rights must take a secondary position to the maintenance of order and stability, particularly in a country that is as vast in size and population as China. We do acknowledge that Chinese society differs markedly from Canada's. We are aware that China's immense population means that its society confronts many of the issues regarding freedom of speech, religion and assembly that we as Canadians really only deal with in the abstract. However, there can be no long-term peaceful coexistence among different religious and cultural groups and territories within a country without the establishment of a basis for respect of rights to human dignity. Compelled silence only offers the illusion of order.

Why is the Chinese government so concerned about civil unrest in recent years? The suppression of personal freedom has always existed but has seldom been reported by the Western press. With the opening up of China's trade with the West, and because of the Internet, the rest of the world is much more aware of what goes on in that country.

Deng Xiao-Ping's economic reforms have brought prosperity to China, but the wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few. Tens of millions of peasants have been driven off the land because of industrialization and development, and they are roaming the country looking for work. Unprofitable state industries are being dismantled and urban workers have not only lost their jobs but have also lost their social safety net. The feeling of loss and insecurity in the population is channelled towards the hope provided by religion, mysticism, and even traditional exercises that are believed to heal the body, particularly when a large segment of the population has lost the government medical care that went with their jobs.

The Internet remains the greatest threat to the Chinese government. The educated in the country can be mobilized instantly, as we saw on television last summer regarding the Falun Dafa movement. I believe, however, that mass arrest will only increase instability in the country.

The Chinese people need a safety valve to release their pent-up frustration caused by economic dislocation, and the only way is to democratize the system of government by giving the people more control over their own lives. Curbing freedom does not ensure stability in any country in the long run.

Honourable senators, before I conclude, a response is required to Senator Di Nino's suggestion that the reason the recent Chinese migrants have come to Canada on leaky boats is that there have been human rights violations in China. I refer to an interview with an illegal — and I repeat, illegal — Chinese migrant in the United States. When he was asked whether he had more freedom in the United States or in China, he immediately answered "China". He was then asked why he had suffered such hardship to go to the United States and the answer was: "For economic security."

As Senator Austin remarked, China is attempting to make progress in the field of human rights, thanks in part to the opening up of the country to technological changes and the flow of information and ideas. Considerable effort has been made by the Chinese government to establish the rule of law and a court system based on the same principles as those found in the West. As Canadians, we should welcome such developments. Canada is working with the Chinese government on human rights. The two countries are participating in a constructive dialogue on these issues and Canada is assisting China in reforming its legal and judicial structures.

Having said all that, I still believe that, ultimately, the improvement of China's human rights record will come from within, through the actions of the younger generation. Only so much can be accomplished on a government-to-government basis, particularly when one of those governments is authoritarian.

In this age of globalization, the deluge of information made possible by the Internet is the greatest equalizer of all. No longer can countries build walls to keep their citizens in. Chinese youths increasingly have the ability to access or disseminate information anywhere in the world. With better economic and educational opportunities for the young, the future leaders of China want what the rest of the world wants — economic security and individual freedom.

Honourable senators, in order for the Western democracies to have influence on human rights in China, there must be continuous dialogue. Friendship and trade are the two most useful tools of influence.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says: "There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same." I believe China is on its way up the mountain. It will reach the top, like Canada and the other industrialized countries, but along a different path.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I wonder whether Senator Poy would take a few questions on what she has had to say these past few moments?

Senator Poy: Yes, if I can answer them.

Senator Kinsella: I think it may be rather difficult, if I have understood correctly what you have had to say. First, is it your position that human rights are culturally relative?

Senator Poy: The understanding of human rights is, because everyone has a different way of understanding. What I was saying is that the Chinese understanding of human rights is different. What we understand is really a Western import. Not that it is not right — it is right, but everyone must learn the same system. However, because the country is so different, their approach must be different.

I am stating a fact. I am not stating that what they are doing is correct. I am attempting to explain what is happening, from my own understanding.

Senator Kinsella: I wonder whether it is the honourable senator's position that there is no unity to human rights; that economic, social and cultural rights are somehow in an economic relationship with civil and political rights? Is it the honourable senator's position that there is no unity to human rights?

Senator Poy: I think there should be, but right now in China there is not; that is what I am saying. Hopefully, very soon there will be.

Senator Kinsella: Could the honourable senator let us know whether it is her view that there is a difference between a justification of a given human right and the international recognition of a given human right? For example, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion are recognized in international treaty law, and she has alluded to the fact that China has submitted the instruments of ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Is it the honourable senator's view that the international law that recognizes the right to freedom of religion is one thing and the philosophical justification is quite another thing?

(1710)

Senator Poy: I do not believe that, honourable senators. I am trying to explain what is happening. Historically, this is what happened in China. It takes time for leaders to learn to deal with things differently. When China reaches a similar standard to a Western country in terms of economics, there will be more opportunity for people to express themselves and to learn. Currently, it is as if we are comparing apples to oranges.

Senator Kinsella: Is the honourable senator saying that the human right of freedom of religion is being respected by the Government of China? The honourable senator has advised us that the Chinese government has an office of religion which approves of five religions. Does the right of freedom of religion embrace Judaism in China?

Senator Poy: According to my information, there are only five. I cannot say anything more than that. If Senator Wilson were here, she would be able to answer the question better than I am able to answer it.

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

Distinguished Canadians and Their Involvement with the United Kingdom

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cools calling the attention of the Senate:

(a) to persons of Canadian birth who sat as members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, including Ontario-born Edward Blake, Liberal Minister of Justice of Canada 1875-1877 also Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada 1880-1887, and New-Brunswick born the Right Honourable Bonar Law, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1922-1923, and Ontario-born Sir Bryant Irvine Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom 1976-1982;

(b) to persons of Canadian birth who sat as members of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom, including the Right Honourable Richard B. Bennett, Prime Minster of Canada 1930-1935, and Lord Beaverbrook, Cabinet Minister in the United Kingdom in 1918 and 1940-1942;

(c) to persons of British birth born in the United Kingdom or the Dominions and Colonies who have served in the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada including the Right Honourable John Turner, Prime Minister of Canada 1984 also Liberal Leader of the Opposition l984-1990 and myself, a sitting black female Senator born in the British West Indies;

(d) to persons of Canadian citizenship who were members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom including the Prime Ministers of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justices, and some Cabinet Ministers of Canada including the Leader of the Government in the Senate 1921-1930 and 1935-1942 the Right Honourable Senator Raoul Dandurand appointed to the United Kingdom Privy Council in 1941;

(e) to the 1919 Nickle Resolution, a motion of only the House of Commons of Canada for an address to His Majesty King George V and to Prime Minister Richard B. Bennett's 1934 words in the House of Commons characterizing this Resolution, that:

"That was as ineffective in law as it is possible for any group of words to be. It was not only ineffective, but I am sorry to say, it was an affront to the sovereign himself. Every constitutional lawyer, or anyone who has taken the trouble to study this matter realizes that that is what was done.";

(f) to the words of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett in a 1934 letter to J.R. MacNicol, MP that:

"So long as I remain a citizen of the British Empire and a loyal subject of the King, I do not propose to do otherwise than assume the prerogative rights of the Sovereign to recognize the services of his subjects." ;

(g) to the many distinguished Canadians who have received honours since 1919 from the King or Queen of Canada including the knighting in 1934 of Sir Lyman Duff, Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice, and in 1935 of Sir Ernest MacMillan, musician, and in 1986 of Sir Bryant Irvine, parliamentarian, and in 1994 of Sir Neil Shaw, industrialist, and in 1994 of Sir Conrad Swan, advisor to Prime Minister Lester Pearson on the National Flag of Canada;

(h) to the many distinguished Canadians who have received 646 orders and distinctions from foreign non-British, non-Canadian sovereigns between 1919 and February 1929;

(i) to the legal and constitutional position of persons of Canadian birth and citizenship, in respect of their ability and disability for their membership in the United Kingdom House of Lords and House of Commons, particularly Canadians domiciled in the United Kingdom holding dual citizenship of Canada and of the United Kingdom;

(j) to the legal and constitutional position of Canadians at home and abroad in respect of entitlement to receive honours and distinctions from their own Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II of Canada, and to the position in respect of their entitlement to receive honours and distinctions from sovereigns other than their own, including from the sovereign of France the honour, the Ordre Royale de la Légion d'Honneur;

(k) to those honours, distinctions, and awards that are not hereditary in character such as life peerages, knighthoods, military and chivalrous orders; and

(l) to the recommendation by the United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the appointment to the House of Lords as a non-hereditary peer and lord of Mr. Conrad Black a distinguished Canadian, publisher, entrepreneur and also the Honorary Colonel of the Governor General's Foot Guards of Canada.—(Honourable Senator LeBreton).

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I rise today to participate in the debate on Senator Cools' inquiry regarding distinguished Canadians and their involvement in the United Kingdom. Over the years, a number of Canadians have received well-deserved honours from the United Kingdom despite the existence of the 1919 Nickle Resolution. Some examples were given by Senator Cools in her presentation.

There are more recent examples about which honourable senators should be aware. Eleni Bakopanos, a member of the other place, recently received an honour from Portugal. My friend, the late Peter Bosa, among others, received an honour from Spain not too many years ago.

Conrad Black is a respected Canadian with a successful career in international business. The Queen and the Government of the United Kingdom decided to grant him an honour in recognition of the services he has rendered to that country. Why, then, is this government putting roadblocks in the path of his receiving this honour? The fact is that the Prime Minister is unhappy with the National Post and its coverage of his government's political misdeeds. Thus, it seems to me that the Prime Minister has decided to use the power of his office to obstruct Mr. Black's appointment to the House of Lords. Surely, this is one of the more egregious examples of Mr. Chrétien's love for petty partisan politics.

I applaud Senator Cools for raising this important issue, and I look forward to a frank exchange of views with all honourable senators.

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I should like to ask a question of the Honourable Senator Di Nino, if he would allow me to do so.

Senator Di Nino: Of course, honourable senators.

Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, Canada is a country that has evolved greatly. I remember participating in a vigorous debate in the House of Commons with the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker, who was a very good friend of mine. He was a great orator. The matter of debate concerned changing gradually the terms of Canadian citizenship. At that time, there were some members of the Parliament of Canada who happened not to be Canadian citizens. Some people thought that this should be allowed to continue. However, I thought it should be abolished right away.

We made a deal with Elections Canada concerning British citizens. However, there were other classes of citizens. People of Greek origin and Italian origin were considered to be in one class. Those of British origin were considered to be in another class with special privileges. Then there were those who were Canadian born and those who were naturalized. Gradually, we changed so that everyone was on an equal footing. We said that no longer would there be second- or third-class Canadians.

My first passport stated that as a Canadian I was a British subject. I had another passport which stated that as a Canadian citizen I was a member of the Commonwealth. My present-day passport states that its bearer is a Canadian citizen.

Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, I, too, was aware of the differences to which the honourable senator made reference. I was one of those who was less Canadian than others. I did not like it then and I do not like it now. However, that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. The issue at hand concerns an established tradition. Many countries recognize the contributions made by Canadians to the service of those countries. That is the issue we are discussing today.

I was offended much more than Senator Prud'homme. He, at least, was called a Canadian. I was not allowed to vote. However, my neighbour, who had just arrived from England, was allowed to vote. I believe that was a dark chapter in the history of this country which, in my opinion, is a different issue from the one we are talking about now.

Today, we are talking about whether the Prime Minister, because of personal reasons, blocked this man from an appointment to the House of Lords. Whether Conrad Black should receive such an appointment is not up to me. As I understand it, the Government of the United Kingdom, as well as the Queen, had agreed to bestow this honour on Mr. Black. Yet, a particular piece of legislation that has not been used for a long time was used to block the appointment. That is the question I am raising. I do not believe it is correct.

(1720)

Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question. Now that we will look into the new Immigration and Citizenship Act, does the honourable senator have any comments on it at this time? I am not totally against what Senator Cools is trying to do. It is a question of receiving honour. Some honours you can receive; others you cannot. I do not understand that. Some members here were candidates for honours in foreign countries, but they were turned down because their candidacy was not agreed upon. You need permission to receive an honour from another country.

Does he believe we are on our way towards saying that no one should have dual citizenship in Canada? That sounds like the ultimate goal here. I never knew that Senator Di Nino was one of the people whom I have been talking about. I regret the past, but I am not someone who stays on his knees, regretting all the mistakes that were made in the past. I want to progress and make a better future by learning from past mistakes. Does the honourable senator think we should slowly move towards that?

Senator Di Nino: First, I agree that it is something of the past. We should learn from the past and not necessarily revisit it, other than to learn from it.

I have a different point of view from yours on this issue. Again, I am not sure that it is related. If I am out of order, I will sit down. I think that borders or frontiers are an unnatural thing that were created by man — mainly the male species, I may add — to keep people out. The experiment that is happening in Europe, where they are trying to knock down those frontiers and borders and to engage humans more as citizens of the world, is the way to go. I am not particularly interested in building more barriers or more frontiers. Having said that, I recognize that it is not necessarily a widely accepted position and that it is certainly not something that can be done quickly in the near future. To answer your question directly, having two or three passports or citizenships would not bother me at all.

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have a question. I was a little confused by Senator Di Nino's explication of this issue. I have not spoken on this issue before, although I find it rather interesting from an historic standpoint. First, is there not a clear distinction in the honourable senator's mind between receiving "honours" and being appointed to the House of Lords?

Senator Di Nino: Both Bennett and Beaverbrook were appointed to the House of Lords after the 1919 legislation. Precedents have occurred.

Senator Grafstein: That was not my question. The question is not with respect to what has happened, but is with respect to whether there is not, in his own mind, a distinction between someone being appointed to the House of Lords, for instance, and someone being called to the Senate to receive an order or an honour. Senator Di Nino referred to Senator Bosa, who received many honours, both from Italy and from Spain, for his very distinguished work in international organizations. Surely there is a distinction between that and being appointed to an upper chamber. I want to know if the honourable senators makes that distinction, or does he blur the line?

Senator Di Nino: I do not think it is a question of "blurring the line". Senator Grafstein is talking about degrees of honours. I do not think it is up to us on this side to decide which honour one would receive in another country. If the question being asked of us, as Canadians, was whether we should allow someone to receive a Canadian honour for benefits that Canadians have received from a particular person, I might make a distinction. I agree with him on that point. However, that is not something we must be concerned about. It is the country that is offering that honour. Whether it is at this level or at another level, it is still an honour to a Canadian for services rendered to that country.

Senator Grafstein: If I may make a further clarification on this subject, the honourable senator used two examples: Bennett and Beaverbrook. Both of those right honourable gentlemen chose, if my recollection is correct, to live permanently in the United Kingdom. After making a decision to live permanently there, they were then called to the House of Lords. Am I correct in that? The honourable senator used those as examples in this particular case.

Senator Di Nino: I cannot answer that question, other than by saying, as we have been told, that Mr. Black would have decided to reside in England if that honour had been bestowed upon him.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, there are some wonderful, important questions being raised here this afternoon. Perhaps they will be developed further as the debate continues.

Senator Di Nino stated that two members of Parliament, namely, Eleni Bakopanos and Senator Bosa, received what we would call foreign honours. In Senator Di Nino's travels — since he occupies a unique position — has he encountered Canadians who sit in upper and lower chambers in other countries of the world? I have been told there are many, but I have not yet been able to discover how many there are or who they are. For instance, I am told that in Latvia there is a Canadian woman. Yes, there are honours and there are seats in Parliaments. They are both appointed and decided upon by the sovereign. I have begun to develop an interest in Canadians in general who are sitting in other countries of the world as members of both chambers. Does the honourable senator have any information on that?

Senator Di Nino: I am not sure whether I would use the word "Canadian". The president of either Latvia or Lithuania came to Canada after the war, returned to Latvia to take up permanent residency and was then elected President of Latvia. There are a couple of others in other pre-Soviet Union countries — that is, the Eastern Bloc — who ran for Parliament and were elected. Their names escape me, but I am not sure whether they would now consider themselves Canadian, other than those who once were Canadian but are now residents and citizens of another country.

Senator Cools: In the House of Lords, there is also another group of Canadians. The Conrad Black appointment was supposed to be that of a non-hereditary lord. Among the hereditary lords, apparently, there is a clutch of Canadians. The information is not easy to find.

I think the real question is on the entitlement of a person with dual British-Canadian citizenship in terms of appointments or honours. I thank the honourable senator for bringing that issue forward. The Queen in Canada is the Queen of Canada, just as the Queen is also the Queen of the United Kingdom. I know many people view this as a cryptic and arcane point; however, we do have a Queen of Canada and a Queen of England. These issues are complex. Mr. Black is in a unique position because he has a foot in both camps.

I once found myself in a similar position. I belong to one of those families that Senator Di Nino is talking about. By virtue of being British West Indian, we could vote in elections in Canada, whereas Italians could not. I view that as a worthy privilege. Thank you very much, Senator Di Nino.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, whether it is agreed or not, I think the least Senator Di Nino deserves is a lifetime subscription to the National Post and, in my opinion, Senator LeBreton should offer that immediately.

On motion of Senator LeBreton, debate adjourned.

National Defence

Motion to Establish Special Senate Committee to Examine Conduct of Personnel in Relation to the Somalia Deployment and the Destruction of Medical Records of Personnel Serving in Croatia—Motion Stands

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition), pursuant to notice of November 2, 1999, moved:

That a Special Committee of the Senate be appointed to examine and report on two significant matters which involve the conduct of chain of command of the Canadian Forces, both in-theatre and at National Defence Headquarters and its response to operational, 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 and allegations that Canadian soldiers were exposed to toxic substances in Croatia between 1993 and 1995, and the alleged destruction of medical records of personnel serving in Croatia.

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. The present Minister of Defence in relation to both matters;

2. Former Ministers of National Defence in relation to both matters;

3. The then Deputy Minister of National Defence in relation to both matters;

4. The then Acting Chief of Staff of the Minister of National Defence in relation to the Somalia occurrence;

5. The then special advisor to the Minister of National Defence (M. Campbell) in relation to the Somalia occurrence;

6. The then special advisor to the Minister of National Defence (J. Dixon) in relation to the Somalia occurrence;

7. The persons occupying the position of Judge Advocate General during the relevant period in relation to the Somalia occurrence;

8. The then Deputy Judge Advocate General (litigation) in relation to the Somalia occurrence; and

9. The then Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff in relation to both occurrences.

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.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, considering the hour, I am willing to forego my comments on this motion until another day on the assumption that it will remain at the fifteenth-day status it has now.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, is it agreed to keep Motion No. 7 at its fifteenth-day status?

Hon. Dan Hays (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, we on this side agree to the proposition that Senator Lynch-Staunton's motion retain its standing on the Order Paper, even though he will not speak to it today.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion stands.

The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, February 9, 2000, at 1:30 p.m.