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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 9

Thursday, February 22, 2001
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, February 22, 2001

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

Prayers.

[Translation]

The Right Honourable Tony Blair
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I ask that the address of the Right Honourable Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, delivered to members of both Houses of Parliament earlier this day, together with the introductory speech by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada and the speeches delivered by the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons, be printed as an appendix to the Debates of the Senate of this day.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of speeches see appendix, p. 187.)


SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Justice

Capital Punishment—Discretionary Powers of Minister Regarding Extradition

Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, as I was saying yesterday when it was indicated to me that my time had expired, the Supreme Court concluded in Burns that the principles of fundamental justice require the Minister of Justice to ask for assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed when a State orders the extradition of an individual, except in certain exceptional circumstances the court declined to define.

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs once examined the constitutionality of the discretionary power of the Minister of Justice to extradite an individual. A majority of us concluded that this power was constitutional. A minority of us wanted to see this discretionary power eliminated. The interpretation made by the Supreme Court in the Burns case is that the discretionary power exists but must be exercised in conformity with the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms. What this means is that now, when a state calls for the extradition of an individual and that individual is subject to the death penalty if found guilty, the Minister of Justice of Canada must obtain assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed before ordering the extradition, because an extradition order issued without those assurances interferes with the right to freedom and security, does not comply with the principles of fundamental justice and is not justifiable in a free and democratic society.

Honourable senators, we all should rejoice at this decision by the highest court in the land.

[English]

Treasury Board

Procurement Policy—Section 9.1.1 of Guidelines

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I wish to put a bit of information on the record which relates to some questions that I might be asking in a few minutes.

Section 9.1.1 of the Treasury Board Guidelines states:

...the objective of government procurement contracting is to acquire goods and services and to carry out construction in a manner that enhances access, competition and fairness and results in best value or, if appropriate, the optimal balance of overall benefits to the Crown and the Canadian people. Inherent in procuring best value is the consideration of all relevant costs over the useful life of the acquisition, not solely the initial or basic contractual cost.

I would ask honourable senators to keep section 9.1.1 in mind when I rise in a few minutes to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate some questions about tendering processes.


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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Agriculture and Forestry

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

[Translation]

Transport and Communications

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

[English]

National Finance

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Richard H. Kroft: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

[Translation]

Committee of Selection

Third Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Léonce Mercier, Chairman of the Committee of Selection, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 22, 2001

The Committee of Selection has the honour to present its

THIRD REPORT

Pursuant to Rule 85(1)(b) of the Rules of the Senate, your Committee submits herewith the list of senators nominated by it to serve on the following committees:

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT

The Honourable Senators Beaudoin, Bryden, Cordy, Oliver and Poy.

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON SCRUTINY OF REGULATIONS

The Honourable Senators Bacon, Bryden, Hervieux- Payette, Finestone, Kinsella, Moore and Nolin.

STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON OFFICIAL LANGUAGES

The Honourable Senators Bacon, Beaudoin, Fraser, Gauthier, Losier-Cool, Maheu, Rivest, Setlakwe and Simard.

Your Committee recommends that a message be sent to the House of Commons informing that House of the names of the honourable senators appointed to serve on the part of the Senate on the joint committees.

Respectfully submitted,

LÉONCE MERCIER

Chairman

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

Senator Mercier: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 59(1)(g), I move that the report be adopted now.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Senator Mercier: Honourable senators, I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

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

[English]

Foreign Affairs

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. The report deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

Foreign Affairs

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Engage Services

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs have power to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical, and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and consideration of such bills, subject matters of bills and estimates as are referred to it.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Permit Electronic Coverage

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs be authorized to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Emerging Developments in Russia and Ukraine and to Apply Papers and Evidence of Previous Session to Current Study

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs be authorized to examine and report on emerging political, social, economic and security developments in Russia and Ukraine; Canada's policy and interests in the region; and other related matters;

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work accomplished by the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 28, 2002 and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize the findings of the Committee contained in the final report until July 31, 2002; and

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

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study the European Union

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs be authorized to examine and report on the consequences for Canada of the evolving European Union and on other related political, economic and security matters; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than March 31, 2003.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues Related to Foreign and Commonwealth Relations

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, in accordance with rule 86(1)(h), be authorized to examine such issues as may arise from time to time relating to Foreign and Commonwealth relations generally; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than March 31, 2003.

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Transport and Communications

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Permit Electronic Coverage

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings.

[Translation]

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Engage Services

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications have power to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and consideration of such bills, subject matters of bills and estimates as are referred to it.

[English]

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Engage Services

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology have power to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and consideration of such bills, subject matters of bills and estimates as are referred to it.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Permit Electronic Coverage

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study State of Health Care System and to Apply Papers and Evidence of Previous Session to Current Study

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be authorized to examine and report upon the state of the health care system in Canada. In particular, the Committee shall be authorized to examine:

a) The fundamental principles on which Canada's publicly funded health care system is based;

b) The historical development of Canada's health care system;

c) Health care systems in foreign jurisdictions;

d) The pressures on and constraints of Canada's health care system; and

e) The role of the federal government in Canada's health care system;

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work accomplished during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2002; and

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

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Developments in the Field of Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be authorized to examine and report upon the developments since Royal Assent was given during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament to Bill C-6, an Act to support and promote electronic commerce by protecting personal information that is collected, used or disclosed in certain circumstances, by providing for the use of electronic means to communicate or record information or transactions and by amending the Canada Evidence Act, the Statutory Instruments Act and the Statute Revisions Act; and

That the Committee table its final report no later than June 30, 2001.

Aboriginal Peoples

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Opportunities to Expand Economic Development of National Parks in the North and to Apply Papers and Evidence of Previous Session to Current Study

Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to examine and report upon the opportunities to expand economic development, including tourism and employment, associated with national parks in Northern Canada, within the parameters of existing comprehensive land claim and associated agreements with Aboriginal Peoples and in accordance with the principles of the National Parks Act;

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work accomplished by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee submit its final report no later than September 28, 2001.

Public Service Whistle-blowing Bill

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Apply Papers and Evidence on Study of Bill During Previous Session to Study of Current Bill

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance during its consideration of Bill S-13, Public Service Whistle-blowing Act, in the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament, be referred to the Committee for its present study of Bill S-6, Public Service Whistle-blowing Act.

Agriculture and Forestry

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Engage Services

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have power to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and consideration of such bills, subject matters of bills and estimates as are referred to it; and

That the Committee have power to adjourn from place to place within and outside Canada for the purpose of such studies.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Permit Electronic Coverage

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings.

Canadian Human Rights Commission

Notice of Motion to Hear Chief Commissioner in Committee of the Whole

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I give notice that on Wednesday, February 28, 2001, I will move:

That the Senate do resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, at a time convenient to the Government and the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in order to receive the Chief Commissioner, Ms Michelle Falardeau-Ramsay, for the purpose of discussing the work of that Office; and

That television cameras be authorized in the Chamber to broadcast the proceedings of the Committee of the Whole, with the least possible disruption of the proceedings.

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Permit Electronic Coverage

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I give notice that Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Engage Services

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources have power to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical, and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and consideration of such bills, subject matters of bills and estimates as are referred to it.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Matters Related to Mandate and to Resume Study on Nuclear Reactor Safety and Apply Papers and Evidence of Previous Session to Current Study

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources be authorized to examine such issues as may arise from time to time relating to energy, the environment, natural resources, including the continuation and completion of the study on Nuclear Reactor Safety;

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject of Nuclear Reactor Safety during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee report to the Senate no later than December 15, 2002.

Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Leave having been given to revert to Presentation of Reports from Standing or Special Committees:

Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate.)

Foreign Affairs Report entitled "The New NATO and the Evolution of Peacekeeping: Implications for Canada"

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday, February 27, 2001, I will call the attention of the Senate to the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs entitled "The New NATO and the Evolution of Peacekeeping: Implications for Canada.''

Issues in Rural Canada

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday, February 27, 2001, I will call the attention of the Senate to issues surrounding rural Canada.


QUESTION PERIOD

National Defence

Replacement of Sea King Helicopters—Authority to Disregard Procurement Process of Treasury Board Guidelines

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, a few moments ago I put on the record the definitive policy with respect to procurement as taken from the policy objective of the government with respect to the awarding of contracts in the prosecution of public works.

Yesterday, I confused the Leader of the Government in the Senate, for which I apologize. I think she has now had a chance to reread the written word, and I hope it is more clear.

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I took the liberty of sending to the leader's office, as she had requested, the first few documents that came to my attention. If she wants the other 1,500 pages, I would be pleased to send them to her.

Believe me, honourable senators, I have that many.

Treasury Board guidelines 9.1.1 and 9.1.2 emphasize that the Crown must conduct capital procurements — such as the $2.9- billion Maritime helicopter project — based upon "best value'' to the Canadian taxpayer and must consider all relevant costs, including commonality. Commonality is simply the savings you get if you have a common piece of equipment, instead of two or three different pieces of equipment which require differently trained individuals to handle different components and so on.

This question concerns many of us at this stage: What minister or ministers of the Crown decided to overrule their own Treasury Board guidelines? Was it simply the Prime Minister himself who issued a directive?

I find it very difficult to understand. I ask that question against a particular background for purposes of demonstration. I do not particularly want to table my documentation or read or quote from it but, believe me, honourable senators, it does exist. I would like to know how easy it is to override a three-star general and to avoid talking to the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and any other ministers involved in the Maritime helicopter project. What type of authority and power does it take to do that? What type of sheer guts does it take to override, without any consideration, with no public dialogue or debate, the government's own policy guidelines with respect to purchases?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his question and, in particular, for the material he sent me yesterday afternoon. I received it in the chamber and read it during yesterday afternoon's deliberations.

My difficulty in answering the question of the honourable senator, frankly, comes from the notion or the belief which he clearly holds that the Treasury Board Guidelines as laid out in 9.1.1 and 9.1.2 have been overridden. The information I have is that they have not been overridden.

Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, tell me, am I dreaming? Does the term "lowest price compliance'' mean anything to the Leader of the Government in the Senate? Has she not heard that statement time and time again? Is she not familiar with it? If she is, would she not admit that that does not comply with the policy guidelines which, as I indicated, clearly talk about best value, not lowest cost.

Commonality deals with the cost of parts, supplies, engineering and maintenance work on these individual pieces of equipment to the end of their life cycles. Compliance with best value has clearly been circumvented. We now have a deliberate attempt, in my judgment — and many others would agree — to prevent the EH- 101 group from competing for the helicopter replacement program and, in so doing, it will render an uneven playing field for the rest of the contenders for this piece of equipment.

Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator clearly believes that certain decisions have been made that are outside the guidelines established by Treasury Board. My information is that no such decisions have been made and that there has been no deviation from the Treasury Board Guidelines by the use of phrases such as "lowest price compliance,'' which, as I understand it, is not incompatible vocabulary with the Treasury Board Guidelines.

Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, this is becoming ludicrous. The debate on this issue has deteriorated to a level that I find somewhat insulting as a senator from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I have in the midst of my region the Sea King helicopters at CFB Shearwater. I have lived with these things for over 40 years. The Leader of the Government is from Halifax. She knows about the Sea Kings and has seen them flying up and down Halifax Harbour.

I have three pages of e-mails in my possession that put me in a very difficult position. Do I believe what I read or do I believe the minister? I have no basis on which to disbelieve the minister. I have to accept her word. However, I wonder if she can help me clear up the dilemma I have. I have three pages of e-mails.

Hon. John G. Bryden: Table them. Can you not table them?

Senator Forrestall: I am not going to table them. Do not be flippant with me.

Senator Bryden: Why not? Where do you get all this information besides the officers' mess?

Senator Forrestall: I have three pages of e-mails.

Senator Bryden: Let's see those e-mails.

Senator Forrestall: I will send them over to you and you can deal with them, okay? You can make them public if you want.

Senator Bryden: Sure, absolutely.

Senator Forrestall: That is something you would do.

Senator Bryden: You are right. If you are going to question the Leader of the Government in the Senate about something she cannot see -

Senator Forrestall: Could you ask the pit over there to be quiet for a minute, Your Honour, while I ask my final question?

Senator Bryden: I have been called worst.

Senator Forrestall: In the old days, my seatmate in the other place, who was a distinguished member of Parliament from Cape Breton, used to say when this sort of thing would go on, "Mr. Speaker, when the snake pit quiets down, I will ask my question.'' Let me ask my question now.

The Hon. the Speaker: If I can help a little, honourable senators, I call for order. Our Question Period is quite free in terms of the give and take that we allow. However, I want to remind honourable senators of the provisions of rule 24(4) which deals with this question:

A debate is out of order on an oral question, but brief explanatory remarks may be made by the Senator who asks the question and by the Senator who answers it.

This is a reminder not just to those who put the questions but to those who respond. I guess that is you, Senator Carstairs. I note that sometimes when heckling occurs it is a sign that a question is entering into the area of debate, and the same might occur also in the answer.

I remind honourable senators that debate is inappropriate during Question Period. May we please have order now.

Senator Taylor: He was not debating. He was just rattling his cage.

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Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, the burden of this question is simply based upon information that I have in my possession, messages between senior project staff in the Maritime Helicopter Project Office, the Director General Air Force Development, and Director General Operational Research. Among other things, this information is an attempt to force simulations that violate the wishes of the Chief of the Maritime Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff and that are considered to be of "dubious value'' and to "violate flight safety'' regulations. They are also complaining about attempts to force simulations based on smaller aircraft. This is clear evidence of a concerted approach to skew the Statement of Requirement against a larger aircraft, the EH-101 in this case.

Will the minister tell us who directed this tampering over the heads of the Chief of the Maritime Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff with a military requirement we were told was sacred? Who did it?

Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator is making some very serious allegations on the floor of this chamber this afternoon.

Senator Forrestall: Of course they are serious.

Senator Carstairs: I must tell the honourable senator that I have not heard any of the information that he has brought to the floor of this chamber. This is the first time that I have heard such information.

I intend to raise these allegations with the appropriate minister. I shall attempt to get answers for the honourable senator and bring those answers back to this chamber.

I should also tell the honourable senator that, clearly, in the range of very detailed information, I will do my best for every single member of this chamber, but if it is expected that I will have detailed information about procurement strategies of one particular piece of military equipment, then I am afraid that is not within my realm of expertise or my knowledge.

Foreign Affairs

Russia—Investigation into Automobile Accident Involving Diplomat

Hon. David Tkachuk: Can the Leader of the Government provide honourable senators with an update on the case of the Russian diplomat, Mr. Knyazev, who is accused of the death of an Ottawa woman, Catherine MacLean, and the injury of another, Catherine Doré?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for his question. The official information that I can give him, outside of media stories, which have added some additional information or speculation, is that the investigation is presently ongoing in Moscow by the appropriate police authorities. They are accepting the information provided by what I believe is now the Ottawa police force and are reviewing that information. If the appropriate authorities in Moscow believe that that information is appropriate to their legal system, charges will be laid.

Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, it seems Mr. Manley, our Foreign Affairs Minister, has been quite adamant in a wish to have this diplomat charged and tried in Canada. In The Globe and Mail of February 17, in the second paragraph of a story by Geoffrey York and Colin Freeze, it states:

Mr. Knyazev faces no more than a five-year sentence if convicted, along with a three-year driving ban after leaving jail. Mr. Manley said that up to five years in a labour camp could be "comparable'' to what Mr. Knyazev would receive if he were convicted of a similar offence in Canada.

Is it still the wish of the government — this is rather unprecedented — to have him brought back to Canada, charged and tried?

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the honourable senator has asked if that is the wish of the government. It certainly was the wish of the government while the individual was present within Canada. My understanding is that now that he has exercised his immunity and has left the country, there is no way that he could be brought back to Canada to face charges. We have the assurance not only of the ambassador but also of the Moscow authorities that they are proceeding with a review of this case. If they think it is valid, charges will be laid.

Senator Tkachuk: I have a supplementary question. Honourable senators, perhaps the minister might inform Mr. Knyazev of some possible results if he were tried in Canada. I decided to look up a number of cases.

In R. v. LeBeau, December 13, 1999, Ontario Supreme Court, a young female accused drank alcohol at a party, drove at a high speed and lost control, with the result that one passenger was killed and another seriously injured. She received four years.

In R. v. Mould, December 10, 1999, the accused, 25, drank alcohol — blew .207 — and drove into a lamp standard, killing one passenger and injuring another, resulting in a 15-month conditional sentence.

In R. v. Tran, October 28, 1999, Ontario Supreme Court, there was a charge of impaired driving causing death. The accused drank to the point of impairment, and his vehicle collided with another, killing his passenger and injuring another. The sentence was two years less one day conditional sentence.

In R. v. Forward, March 1, 2000, in a British Columbia: The accused, 32, who had an extensive criminal record, drank to point of impairment, with a blood-alcohol content .13 to .15. His vehicle left the road and hit a culvert, killing his young daughter who was a passenger in his vehicle. The accused had never had a driver's licence and was driving an uninsured vehicle. The sentence was two years less one day conditional.

It seems to me that if you were to inform the Russian diplomat of how we deal with people who are drinking and kill people on the highways, he would be on his hands and knees begging to be tried in this country.

I ask again: Is it still the wish of the Canadian government to have Mr. Knyazev tried here in Canada rather than in Russia?

Senator Carstairs: The situation is as I stated it originally. It was not the desire of the Canadian government for the Russian government to allow Mr. Knyazev to use diplomatic immunity. That was out of our hands. The decision was made by the Russian government, and therefore Mr. Knyazev was outside of the country within a matter of hours.

We now have to accept, I hope at face value, that the Russian procurator general's office has opened a criminal case. We know that has happened. The chief investigative board of the Moscow city police has begun that investigation. It is our hope that they will indeed press on with that case and that, in this case,

Mr. Knyazev will receive the appropriate sentence as set forth by their judicial system.

Senator Tkachuk: I should like to ask one more question, then. Why would Mr. Manley leave the impression with the Canadian people and with the family of the deceased and the injured woman that somehow, in Canada, our punishment for people who do these kinds of things would be equivalent to five years in a labour camp or would be comparable to what Mr. Knyazev would receive if he were convicted of a similar offence in Canada when he knows that that is not true?

Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator is quoting from an article that I have not read, and therefore I cannot answer for his statements on that particular situation.

[Translation]

Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders

Priority of Motion to Create Senate Official Languages Committee

Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, my question is for the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders. On Tuesday, the Senate referred to the committee chaired by the honourable senator a motion that I had moved, seconded by Senator Comeau, to create a Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages.

During yesterday's meeting, the chairman tabled the committee's future agenda. Neither my motion nor that of Senator Comeau is mentioned. I know that, yesterday, the Deputy Leader of the Government, Senator Robichaud, moved a motion to amend certain paragraphs of rule 86 and to create a committee on defence and security and another on human rights.

(1450)

Who has priority in the committee? Will the motion to create an official languages committee be a priority for the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders or, as Senator Corbin said yesterday, will it be put on the back burner until we have more time to create that committee? I would appreciate an answer to that question.

[English]

Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, I am not sure that Senator Gauthier will be entirely satisfied with my answer, but it must be that the priorities of the work of the committee are set by the committee itself. We shall have a discussion next Wednesday, which Senator Gauthier can lead, with respect to how the committee should set its priorities. The meeting has a substantial agenda.

I am aware, as members of the committee are aware, that Senator Gauthier's motion on official languages is for a committee of this chamber only, whereas there is a rule providing for a joint committee on official languages. I believe that the Rules Committee, when it meets, will need to hear from Senator Gauthier as to why he believes this chamber should not cooperate in the customary joint committee on this topic.

I would invite Senator Gauthier, at next Wednesday's meeting, to address the question of priorities, and that matter will be disposed of by the committee. If by that time we are operating under an injunction from this house to present a report by March 27 on the motion now before the house, then I believe the committee must perforce give that particular item priority.

[Translation]

Senator Gauthier: I simply want to quote what the Deputy Leader of the Government said in reply to this question: "Only the chair of the committee can speak on behalf of the committee.''

I asked a question and, of course, the Deputy Leader of the Government did not give me a reply. It is not the committee but its chairman that will decide. Now, if the chair wishes to have a debate in committee, we will have one, but he will have to assume his leadership regarding this issue.

Who will decide whether my motion of last Tuesday takes precedence over the motion moved by Senator Robichaud on Wednesday?

[English]

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, to repeat, I believe that under our procedure the committee has the conduct of the business of the committee, and therefore the question will be raised at the Rules Committee meeting next Wednesday. I have, in my previous answer, invited Senator Gauthier to open the debate on what priority his motion should have in the total business of the committee. I do not think I can give any other answer.

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, in view of Senator Austin's first response to Senator Gauthier to the effect that we would be bound by a rule of the Senate, I should like to ask Senator Austin if he is aware that the Official Languages Act provides for either a committee of the Senate on official languages, a committee of the House of Commons on official languages or a joint committee of both Houses? Presuming that Senator Austin may be aware of that, I would expect the committee to take that into account in its deliberations.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I thank Senator Corbin for his question. The honourable senator states that there is enabling legislation, and, under that enabling legislation, this house and the other House have established a joint committee. We also have the authority to establish our own committee. What we wish to do will be the subject of discussion in the meeting of the Rules Committee, and it is my hope that we will be able to report a conclusion that has the support of the house.

Public Service Commission

Visible Minorities-Job Description on Web Site

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Earlier today, I was handed a document that purports to be a job opening advertisement taken from the Government of Canada Web site. These jobs to which I refer are in the Public Service Commission and are for visible minorities only, referred to as "non-whites.'' The advertisement indicates that the salary range for these Public Service Commission jobs is between $30,000 and $38,000 and that the language requirement is English. The advertisement also indicates who can apply. The Public Service Commission of Canada is now recruiting to establish an inventory of qualified, visible-minority candidates for future temporary positions in the federal government departments in Nova Scotia.

Honourable senators, I ask the Leader of the Government whether it is common practice to advertise in this way? Does the government advertise for permanent jobs for visible minorities in the same way?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, to answer the first part of the honourable senator's question, it is my understanding that that is a common practice. I do not know whether it is a common practice for permanent employees, but my understanding is that it is also the form used. However, I will clarify that and bring an answer back to the honourable senator.

Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders

Priority of Motion to Create Senate Official Languages Committee

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, I shall put my questions on the record and Senator Austin can read the questions that he was not able to answer here.

Will the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders evaluate why the human rights and national defence committees are to be formed directly from the floor of the Senate? Why was Senator Gauthier's proposal regarding the official languages committee referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders? Why was Senator Gauthier's request for a standing committee on official languages referred to the Rules Committee and not the other two committees? In my opinion, that is somewhat of an insult to the Rules Committee.

Also, when Senator Austin does invite Senator Gauthier to explain why an official languages committee strictly of the Senate should be formed, I should like to participate in that debate as well. I have sat for many years on the joint committee, and, trust me, honourable senators, a standing committee of the Senate would be much more effective than what takes place in the other House. I will, I hope, be able to make that distinction clearly before the honourable senator's committee.

Hon. Jack Austin: I thank Senator Comeau for his question. With regard to the first part of the honourable senator's question, the order was sent to the Rules Committee by this house, and I have no further comment on that subject.

With regard to the second part of the honourable senator's question, I shall specifically ensure that the honourable senator is invited to the Rules Committee to participate in that discussion. As I said earlier today, Senator Gauthier is essentially asking for a variation on the practice that we have followed in this house of supporting a joint committee, and I believe the onus for change depends on Senator Gauthier. If the Honourable Senator Comeau is willing to support the view of Senator Gauthier, I am sure it will be of great interest to the Rules Committee.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have two delayed answers. The first is to a question raised by Senator Gauthier on February 8, 2001, concerning the Department of Transport's official languages policy. The second is to a question raised by Senator Gustafson on February 6, 2001, concerning government subsidies for grain farmers.

Transport

Air Canada—Survey to Determine Level of Bilingual Service

(Response to question raised by Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier on February 8, 2001)

The government has a very clear policy with respect to Air Canada and the Official Languages Act.

When the Air Canada Public Participation Act, which set out the framework for the privatization of Air Canada, came into force in August, 1988, it made Air Canada subject to the full application of the Official Languages Act. In the period which followed, Air Canada conducted surveys to determine where the demand for its services in French met the thresholds set out in the Official Languages Act. On the basis of the information gathered, Air Canada determined where services in French were required by law.

The airline restructuring legislation, Bill C-26, which came into force on July 5, 2000 included amendments to the Air Canada Public Participation Act which extended the obligations of Air Canada to include new obligations respecting current and future subsidiaries.

Specifically Air Canada was given the duty to ensure that, if air services including incidental services, are provided or made available by a subsidiary, the customers can communicate with and obtain services from it, in either official language in any case where those services, if provided by Air Canada, would be required to comply with Part IV of the Official Languages Act.

The amendments also provided for limited delays in application as follows: one year for the four western provinces and the three territories; three years from the date that Canadian Airlines and Canadian Regional Airlines became subsidiaries. Services in Central and Atlantic Canada were to be compliant immediately. In addition, anywhere that a subsidiary was being substituted for an existing Air Canada service, the obligation was in effect.

There is no ambiguity as to Air Canada's obligations respecting the Official Languages Act. There may, however, be a need to confirm where there is significant demand as defined by that Act. The procedures for determining where there is sufficient demand are set out in the regulations made pursuant to the Act for this purpose.

Agriculture

Adequacy of Government Subsidies to Grain Farmers

(Response to question raised by Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson on February 6, 2001)

The Government is firmly committed to working with its international trading partners to reduce or eliminate trade distorting agricultural subsidies. The Prime Minister used the opportunity of his first meeting with President Bush to raise this important issue.

Unlike the American and European programs Canada's programs target government assistance to those who need help most because their income has dropped significantly compared to previous years.

This government signed an agreement last July with all provinces that secured up to $5.5 billion for agricultural support programs. It includes the core safety net programs and the new Canadian Farm Income Program, as the successor to the Agricultural Income Disaster Assistance program.

As was stated in the Speech from the Throne, the Government will help the sector "...move beyond crisis management'' and ensure that Canada's agricultural sector continues to be competitive and strong.


(1500)

[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering)Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. George J. Furey moved the second reading of Bill S-16, to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak at second reading of Bill S-16. Honourable senators will recall that this proposed legislation was introduced in the last Parliament but died on the Order Paper when an election was called.

By way of background, this proposed legislation will be welcomed by honourable senators irrespective of party. Honourable senators will recall that Bill C-22, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act, received Royal Assent last June. Honourable senators will also recall that, when Bill C-22 was before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions made a commitment to clarify the legislation by including several amendments requested by the committee.

These amendments were introduced last fall as Bill S-20. The bill before us today has a new number, but its proposed legislation is the same as that of its predecessor, Bill S-20.

[Translation]

Before addressing the merits of this bill, I should like to take time to refresh our memories and to place these measures in their proper perspective.

[English]

Bill C-22 was necessary for several reasons. Money laundering, the process by which "dirty money'' from criminal activities is converted into assets that cannot be easily traced back to their illegal origins, did not become a crime in Canada until 1988.

Canada has had many of the building blocks of an anti-money laundering program in place, within the Criminal Code and the previous Proceeds of Crime Act, since then, but much more was required to combat a growing problem.

Money laundering and the cross-border movement of proceeds of crime are worldwide problems and have become increasingly difficult to detect and deter. Open borders now provide criminals with a daily opportunity to launder millions of dollars in illegal profits, the intent always being to make the profits look legitimate. Without adequate measures in place to deter and detect money laundering, these activities can undermine the reputation and integrity of financial institutions and can distort the operation of financial markets.

Here at home, between $5 billion and $17 billion in criminal proceeds are laundered through Canada each year, a significant portion of which is linked to profits from drug trafficking and, to a lesser degree, other crimes such as burglaries and cigarette smuggling.

[Translation]

Standard methods of detecting these activities are gradually losing their effectiveness.

[English]

Canada has also been subject to scrutiny internationally because of perceived gaps in our anti-money laundering arrangements. In 1997, the 26-member financial action task force on money laundering, of which Canada is a founding member, indicated that Canada was lacking in certain key areas and strongly encouraged us to make improvements to our anti- money laundering regime, in line with international standards.

[Translation]

That is precisely why Bill C-22 was passed by Parliament.

[English]

That legislation strengthened the previous statute by adding measures to improve the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering in Canada. It promises to give law enforcement agencies much needed enforcement tools. It provided for mandatory reporting requirements for suspicious transactions and the cross-border movement of currency and it established a national financial information agency, all of which enables Canada to live up to its international commitments.

As required by law, the proposed regulations for reporting financial transactions, client identification, record keeping and compliance were published for public comments on February 17, 2001, in the Canada Gazette, bringing us one step closer to fully implementing the act.

Another measure requires the reporting to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency of large cross-border movements of cash or monetary instruments such as travellers' cheques. Failure to comply may result in cash being seized if Customs suspects it represents the proceeds of crime.

Consultations are underway aimed at developing regulations to implement this additional reporting requirement.

[Translation]

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada was created on July 5, 2000.

[English]

This centre is referred to by the English acronym FINTRAC. This new independent body receives and analyzes reports, and, where it determines that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that information would be relevant to a money laundering investigation or prosecution, it passes on information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. However, FINTRAC is restricted to disclosing only key identifying information related to reported transactions, such as the name of the client, the number and location of the account involved and the actual amount of the transaction.

I can assure honourable senators that safeguards are in place to ensure that the collection, use and disclosure of information by FINTRAC are strictly controlled. These safeguards are supported by criminal penalties for any unauthorized use or disclosure of personal information under FINTRAC's control. In addition, FINTRAC is subject to the federal Privacy Act and the many protections therein.

I would also point out to honourable senators that the government is cognizant of the fact that the implementation of the act and regulations will impose additional responsibilities on financial institutions and financial intermediaries. As a result, FINTRAC is currently developing guidelines to help them comply with these new requirements.

The new legislation responds in a balanced manner to the need for more effective tools to combat money laundering and organized crime, the need to protect individual privacy and the need to minimize compliance costs for reporting entities.

This new act has been welcomed for several reasons. It responded to the domestic law enforcement communities' need for additional means of fighting organized crime by more effectively targeting the proceeds of crime.

[Translation]

It enables Canada to meet its international responsibilities relating to money laundering.

[English]

It did so while providing safeguards to protect individual privacy.

Honourable senators, I have provided some background to the bill before us today. This bill implements some technical measures that clarify the current act. I will now focus my remarks on these measures.

As stated earlier, Bill S-16 fulfills the commitment made by the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions last spring on behalf of the government to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to introduce specific amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act.

While senators on the committee supported Bill C-22, they indicated that the legislation would benefit from amendments to certain provisions and, indeed, the government agreed.

[Translation]

The proposed amendments relate to four specific points.

[English]

The first deals with the process of claiming solicitor-client privilege during a FINTRAC audit. FINTRAC is authorized to conduct audits to ensure compliance with the act. The legislation currently contains provisions that apply when FINTRAC conducts a compliance audit of a law office. FINTRAC must provide a reasonable opportunity for legal counsel to claim solicitor-client privilege on any document it possesses at the time of an audit.

(1510)

The amendment in Bill S-16 pertains to documents in the possession of someone other than a lawyer. It requires that person to be given a reasonable opportunity to contact his solicitor in order to make a claim of solicitor-client privilege. This amendment responds to a concern raised at committee during consideration of Bill C-22.

Another change ensures that there is nothing in the act that would prevent the Federal Court from ordering the director of FINTRAC to disclose certain information as required under the Access to Information or Privacy Acts.

[Translation]

This amendment specifies that an individual's recourse to the Federal Court will be respected. This measure has always been part of the spirit of the original law and the amendment will provide guarantees of this.

[English]

The third amendment more precisely defines the kinds of information that may be disclosed to the police and other authorities specified in the legislation. It clarifies that the regulations setting out this information may only cover similar identifying information regarding the client, the institution and the transactions involved.

Finally, the act is amended to ensure that all reports and information in FINTRAC's possession will be destroyed after a certain period. Information that has not been disclosed to police or other authorities must be destroyed by FINTRAC after five years; information that has been disclosed must be destroyed after eight years.

I am confident that all honourable senators will conclude that these new provisions serve to strengthen the existing act.

[Translation]

In the committee report, the senators also called upon the government to give thought to three additional recommendations.

[English]

After serious consideration, the government has decided not to proceed with these three additional recommendations.

First, the Senate committee report recommended that FINTRAC be required to obtain either consent or a warrant before entering a law office to verify compliance with the act, similar to what is required before entering a private home. The government believes that it would be inappropriate to require a warrant to conduct a compliance audit of any place of business, including a law office. The provisions in the current act parallel those in the Income Tax Act, which do not require a warrant except for access to a dwelling house. That remains the same.

Second, senators requested that a parliamentary committee review the administration and operation of the act within three years and every five years thereafter. At present, the act requires a review after five years. The government feels that a five-year review is better for a number of reasons. Most importantly, there will not be enough experience or data available in the three start- up years to provide an accurate assessment of the effectiveness of the legislation or the operations of FINTRAC.

As honourable senators know, parliamentary committees can undertake a review of legislation at any time and can opt to do so any time in this case.

[Translation]

Last, the senators recommended that the regulations should also be tabled before a committee in each House of Parliament, as required by law.

[English]

This act currently stipulates a 90-day public consultation period following pre-publication of the regulations in the Canada Gazette. This is already on the way with respect to the reporting requirements for financial institutions and transactions and an additional 30-day notice period if significant changes are made as a result of those consultations is provided for as well.

We believe that this provides ample opportunity for parliamentary committees — if they wish to do so — to review the regulations proposed by government.

Honourable senators, will know that in the normal course, regulations are posted for 30 days. In the case of this particular bill, posting is extended to 90 days.

Honourable senators, the benefits of the current act are numerous. The new reporting requirements will result in more reliable, timely and consistent reporting. Centralized reporting to FINTRAC will allow much-needed and much more sophisticated analysis. Successful prosecutions that benefit from analysis by FINTRAC can lead to court-ordered forfeiture of the proceeds of criminal activities. Above all, these benefits will be achieved in a way that respects the privacy of individuals.

Honourable senators, I am confident that the additional amendments contained in Bill S-16 will only serve to further strengthen and improve this important statute. The government is most appreciative of the members of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce for their contribution to making the act an even better and stronger piece of legislation.

[Translation]

I invite all honourable senators to vote in favour of this bill.

[English]

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, does my honourable friend know whether, in view of the pitiable and unprecedented low value to which our currency has sunk, a more favourable exchange rate is available for hot Canadian dollars?

Senator Furey: I think that is an important question, honourable senators. I will take it under advisement.

On motion of Senator Kinsella, debate adjourned.

Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders

Motion to Instruct Committee to Review Number of Committee Members for Standing Committees—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Ferretti Barth:

That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders that it examine the maximum number of Senators for each of the several standing committees provided for in Rule 86(1); and

That the Committee report its findings to the Senate no later than Tuesday, March 27, 2001.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, yesterday, just prior to having moved the adjournment on the debate on this motion, we had an informative exchange with the mover of the motion, Senator Robichaud, and a number of important points were made.

I have four points to make in relation to this motion.

First, I should like to make it perfectly clear that I have no problem with the principle of the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders dealing with issues such as this. That is, indeed, the proper place for the detailed analysis of our committee structure, scheduling, numbers, reform, et cetera, to be deliberated.

Second, from a logical analysis of where we are, based upon the discussion yesterday and, indeed, the exchange between honourable senators and the Chair of the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders, we will not be able to determine the number of members on committees until we know exactly the number of committees we will have. Yesterday, Senator Robichaud gave us his mathematical analysis, with which I do not quarrel, but I am not too sure what the denominator was. Was the denominator the 12 committees provided for by our rules as of today? Or is it the 13 possible committees, with the addition of the committee proposed by the Honourable Senator Gauthier? Or is it 15 committees, including the Official Languages Committee, as well as the proposed committees that are on the Order Paper, those dealing with national defence and human rights?

I do not know how the Rules Committee would be able to come to a conclusion about the number of members on the committees based on the analysis that Senator Robichaud has advanced because he did his division in terms of a certain number of committees and we do not know yet whether it is 15, 14, 13 or 12.

(1520)

The third point I wish to bring to this debate is that it would be difficult for the Rules Committee to be given this instruction and to report back within a given time frame if we are not clear on how many time slots exist in the week for committee work.

By way of colourful comment and somewhat in jest, I made a reference yesterday to the point that perhaps there is a positive correlation between the numbers, attendance at committees — one might even say in the chamber — and the Air Canada schedule, and that I really should be studying the Air Canada schedule first in order to determine when committees might meet. It does underscore the question of how many time slots we are dealing with in the run of a week. Are we dealing with a five-day week, a four-day week or a three-day week? It seems to me that the Rules Committee will have to have all of the elements on the table in order to arrive at an agreed conclusion in dealing with committees.

The final point is the timeline. Senator Robichaud's motion in the last paragraph states that the committee must report its findings to the Senate no later than Tuesday, March 27. We are here next week. There is anticipation that we shall not be here the week after. I suspect, based on historical precedents, the Rules Committee will not be sitting during the first week of March when the Senate is expected not to be sitting. That means it has two weeks "after we come back'' to do its work. At the very least, I will move an amendment to strike out that last paragraph.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Thus, honourable senators, I move, seconded by Senator Cohen:

That the motion be amended by deleting the last paragraph thereof, namely:

That the committee report its findings to the Senate no later than Tuesday, March 27, 2001.

Hon. Shirley Maheu (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I should like to say a word about this matter. I am almost tempted to amend the amendment by rewording, in the third paragraph, the last sentence of Senator Robichaud's motion so that it would read that the committee not report until it has dealt with Senator Gauthier's motion requesting the establishment of an official languages committee in the Senate. I think we need some order and some prioritization of our work around here. Senator Gauthier's motion is now an order of the Senate, and that order of the Senate requests that the Rules Committee study his proposal and report — and I would hope diligently, expeditiously — so that these matters do not pile up in some kind of a picnic basket where each player picks his own raspberries or strawberries and sandwiches. Let the Senate itself decide what the priorities are. That is why we have meetings and sessions here.

We have a tendency to send things to committee. The leadership, of course, has a role to play. It is here to sustain the government but it should also at times speak on behalf of the collectivity of the Senate. This issue of the establishment of an official languages committee has been hanging around this place for a while. Many senators who have worked on that committee, indeed many senators who have accepted conditionally to go back to that committee, are far from happy with it. What other signals does this house require? There is something wrong in the way that that committee functions.

[Translation]

I could shake things up here, if I wanted, but I support the government and it is not my practice to oppose its stand. I do not intend to do so, but I take this opportunity to send a message. The francophone minority in this country is tired of putting its fate in the hands of a majority that has no sense of its problems. The Standing Joint Senate and Commons Committee is not doing anywhere near the work needed to meet the expectations of our communities. Senator Gauthier, other senators and I have the interest of these people at heart. Something is not working. Do you understand? We want action! I do not want to have to oppose the government's position, but before I give my approval I will speak on behalf of my constituents. We have had enough of this procrastination! We want decisions.

[English]

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): I move the adjournment of the debate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will those in favour of the motion please say "yea''?

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will those opposed to the motion please say "nay''?

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the "nays'' have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker: Call in the senators.

Is there agreement among the whips on how long the bells should ring?

There being no agreement among the whips, we will have a one- hour bell, as provided in the rules.

(1630)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the question is on the motion to adjourn the debate.

Motion negatived on the following division:

YEAS

THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Andreychuk, Beaudoin, Cohen, DeWare, Keon, Kinsella, LeBreton, Lynch-Staunton, Murray, Oliver, Spivak—11

NAYS

THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Adams, Austin, Bacon, Banks, Carstairs, Chalifoux, Christensen, Cook, Cools, De Bané, Fairbairn, Ferretti Barth, Finnerty, Fraser, Gill, Grafstein, Graham, Joyal, Kenny, Maheu, Mahovlich, Mercier, Milne, Molgat, Moore, Pépin, Poulin, Robichaud, Rompkey, Stollery, Taylor, Watt, Wiebe—33

ABSTENTIONS

THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Corbin, Gauthier—2

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the motion to adjourn is defeated. We will resume debate.

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, first, let me say how dismayed I have been in the last few days to hear what I have heard from several honourable senators about what has been going on or not going on in the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages. The testimony that we have heard from Senator Gauthier and Senator Corbin comes from two parliamentarians who have no peer when it comes to commitment to linguistic justice in this country and experience with this very important issue. Therefore, I accept as authoritative their verdict on the failure, if that is what it is, of the joint committee to do its job.

I am embarrassed to say that it is almost 17 years since I paid very close attention to what is going on in that joint committee. However, as some honourable senators know, I have some history on the matter. The joint committee was initially set up not long after the 1980 election, first as a special joint committee and, later, as a standing joint committee of Parliament.

I do not know whether it was Senator Joyal's concept or not, but I do recall quite well that it was Senator Joyal who came to see me about it. He was then a minister of the Crown in the Trudeau government. I presume he had canvassed the matter not only with his own colleagues in the Liberal caucus and cabinet but also with Conservatives and New Democrats in the House of Commons.

In any case, the proposition he put to me was that we should establish such a committee of the Senate and House of Commons; that there should be co-chairmen — of course, one from each House — that one of the co-chairs ought to be a francophone and a member of the government party; and that the other ought to be an anglophone and a member of the official opposition.

I became the first co-chairman from the Senate, not, I hasten to say, because of any enormous talent or experience that I had. Rather, the job description was for a more or less bilingual anglophone Tory senator, and there was only one person in the whole wide world at that moment in history who fitted the job description.

(1640)

Senator Corbin, then a member of the House of Commons from Madawaska County in New Brunswick, became the first co- chairman from the House of Commons. Later, when he succeeded to the deputy speakership of the House of Commons, he was replaced by Senator Gauthier, who was then also a member of the House of Commons for Ottawa-Vanier.

Max Yalden was the Commissioner of Official Languages at the time, an experienced public servant and a devoted and excellent servant of Parliament. He viewed the joint committee as a kind of public accounts committee of language matters. We would, and we did, call ministers, deputy ministers and heads of government agencies before us. We examined them on their plans for ensuring bilingual service to the public, for ensuring equitable representation of the two official languages groups in the public service. We critiqued their performance. We had them back repeatedly to discuss what they were doing. We made numerous recommendations in what became annual reports to Parliament and to the government.

I think we can modestly say that it was an important committee that was taken seriously by parliamentarians and, in particular, by the government. Senator Gauthier will recall correspondence that he and I had with Prime Minister Trudeau about various amendments that we wanted made to the Official Languages Act and about Mr. Trudeau's view that many of these were already covered by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This dialogue went on for some time. One of the results in the bureaucracy was that before the end of the Trudeau years, a high- level committee of bureaucrats was appointed to review the Official Languages Act. The committee was under the chairmanship of Gérard Veilleux, who was at that time of the Privy Council Office.

I am confident in saying that the work of that committee had a very constructive and beneficial effect on public policy in this country, and on delivering linguistic justice. There is absolutely no doubt that ministers, deputy ministers and departments improved their performance as a result of having to come before us and defend what they were and were not doing and explain to us. Improvements were made in what I may call the "language regime'' across this country as a result of the work of that committee.

The experience stood me in very good stead later on. As I said, I rather lost track of the committee in the mid-1980s, but as a member of the Mulroney cabinet I was intimately involved in the drafting and all the preparations, again with our friend Mr. Veilleux, who was still in the public service at that time — by that time Secretary of the Treasury Board, I think — in the drafting of the new Official Languages Act, which passed Parliament and which I had the honour of piloting through this house in 1988.

The committee has had a good track record. While I cannot speak for what it has done in more recent years, I always thought that Senator Joyal's concept, if it was a concept, was a sound one, and I think that it worked very well.

I take it that it is beyond salvation. No doubt we will hear more about that in due course, either at the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders when we have occasion to discuss it there or here in the Senate. I would like to hear some firsthand testimony as to what is going on.

It has been suggested to me that one of the problems with the committee is that in the House of Commons now there are two important political formations that have views that were not widely held in Parliament prior to their coming. One obviously is the Bloc Québécois, who have their own perspective on matters both in Quebec and across the country; and the other is the Canadian Alliance, formerly the Reform Party, which dismisses as, in the immortal word of Preston Manning, the Plains of Abraham concept of Confederation any thought of minority linguistic rights across this country. That is sad, but it need not be fatal, I think, to the work of Parliament.

The rest of us have our own views, and I believe those who have taken part in these debates in two chambers of Parliament or in committee are perfectly capable of expressing those views — and perhaps it is not a bad thing at all if we confront those issues openly with the separatist Bloc Québécois on the one hand and the Canadian Alliance on the other. If there is going to be a donnybrook on that matter, let us have the donnybrook. I think that, in the end, the stronger moral and political case is with those of us who are in favour of linguistic justice across this country, who believe that, far from being a departure from the concepts of Confederation, it is an ongoing attempt to fulfill the spirit of Confederation of 1867.

Be that as it may, however, I say again that I have been dismayed by what I have heard about the failure of that committee. I will accept the word of such people as Senator Corbin and Senator Gauthier if they think the joint committee is beyond redemption. However, I deplore that. Surely, if there is one area where it should be possible for our two Houses of Parliament to come together in a civilized and constructive dialogue, it should be that of official languages.

I heard what Senator Corbin said earlier and what others have said on the subject of the motion that is now before us. While one attempt to amend it has been defeated, I am now going to propose another amendment, an amendment that would have the effect suggested in the brief intervention that Senator Corbin made earlier, which is that the Rules Committee not report on the matter now before us until it has first reported on Senator Gauthier's motion.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I move, seconded by the Honourable Senator Oliver, in amendment to the amendment moved by Senator Kinsella:

That all the words after the word "That'' at the beginning of the second paragraph be deleted and the following substituted:

the committee report its findings to the Senate not before it has reported on the subject matter of Senator Gauthier's motion, as amended by Senator Comeau, to establish a standing committee on official languages.

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

(1650)

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: I move the adjournment of the debate.

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: This is my first opportunity to question Senator Murray, if I may.

I wish to thank Senator Murray for his kind comments. The honourable senator does not necessarily need to take my word for it, but numerous reports have been made to me by a number of senators who have been active on the committee in recent years.

However, Senator Murray did raise the matter of a confrontational attitude in the light of the presence of a separatist party, which has an agenda that supports linguistic policies in Quebec and does not care much about the rest of the minorities in Canada. On the other hand, we have the Alliance, the former Reform Party, which wants nothing to do about official languages. I need not spell it out here, since honourable senators are familiar with that. Hence, the confrontational attitude.

The House of Commons, as the elected House in Parliament, should not be denied its right to be confrontational about these issues. However, I do not think that is what honourable senators want to be involved in. We want to look at the deeper fundamentals of the challenges that we are faced with in this country. We want to address the minorities on their own home ground.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am obliged to advise that the time provided for Senator Murray's intervention, questions and comments has expired. Is it your pleasure to give leave to extend the time?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Corbin: I will be brief, honourable senators.

I believe the House of Commons is very much the forum in which to be confrontational about issues. That is why there are parties there. On the other hand, in the Senate we are more interested in the long term. We are not elected. We can take the time. We can set up a smaller committee. We need not face the co- chairs' decisions of having to put on the table an important issue and only be given five minutes to deal with that issue and receive inadequate answers. Here in the Senate, honourable senators, we have committed people with respect to these policies. We could set up a smaller committee. This motion is about reducing the number of members on the committee.

For that reason, I am backing Senator Gauthier's motion with vigour. That is why I believe this matter should be given proper attention, which should come as we launch this first session of a new Parliament. This is not something we want to have happen halfway through, perhaps in the midst of a leadership contest in our party.

A number of honourable senators are prepared to focus on this now, give the matter due attention and work on solid reports. It is possible that the government is not anxious to get well-structured and forceful reports. Perhaps it likes the way things are running now. However, I say to Senator Murray that I cannot be satisfied with them.

Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I appreciate the point made by Senator Corbin. First, the honourable senator will recall that when he and I were the co-chairs, and when Senator Gauthier and I were the co-chairs, we did not run that committee with a stopwatch. The stopwatch is a fairly new innovation over in the other place. The chamber itself is programmed. The committees are programmed to a stopwatch. It is not an edifying spectacle at any time. I appreciate what Senator Corbin is saying. The honourable senator would like to have a Senate committee along the model that both of us discussed with Mr. Yalden at the time, one that will be a kind of public accounts committee on language matters, and it is probably a good idea.

That being said, the confrontation of which the honourable senator speaks is a fundamental, indeed, an existential issue, that of language rights in this country. Sooner or later, we shall have it out, and I do not want us to be absent from that debate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Is it not possible to speak to the motion before the vote?

The Hon. the Speaker: Yes, Senator Carstairs.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, there has been expressed, not just in this session but in the last session by Senator Gauthier and, I believe, supported by Senator Corbin, a desire to have a stand-alone Senate committee on official languages. I want the Senate to know that I took it upon myself to meet with the Government House Leader to explain to him that the members of the Senate did not think that this committee was functioning well, and that if it continued to function poorly that the senators would wish to establish their own separate committee. I have been given assurances by the House Leader, the Honourable Don Boudria, that every attempt will be made to make this joint committee function as it functioned in the past. However, I have made it clear to him that if that is not the case and if members of this chamber do not see this official languages committee as functioning in an effective way, then senators would wish to move to establish their own committee.

Honourable senators, Mr. Boudria has taken that under consideration. He knows that the chamber is independent on this and can establish its own committee if honourable senators so choose. However, if it is possible I would like to give them some time during this session — perhaps a month or two, or three at the maximum — to clearly give evidence that such a joint committee could be an effective committee. It is my hope that members of that committee, as well as senators who are not members of the committee, would monitor those committee meetings carefully because, as Senator Murray has identified, there are clearly some difficulties that exist today within the House of Commons that did not exist when the committee was first established. I understand, from Senator Corbin's account to me earlier and from Senator Murray's account this afternoon, that the committee has done vibrant work in the past.

Honourable senators, I should like to at least give them some time to make it work. If that is not the way the Senate wishes to proceed, then of course the Senate should do what the Senate chooses to do in this matter. I want to put it on the record that I have had those conversations, that I believe there is, indeed, a desire on the part at least of the Government House Leader in the other place to make this committee work, and to at least give them some time to bring that about.

[Translation]

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, since Senator Murray referred to the origin of the Joint Committee on Official Languages and having listened to the remarks by Senators Corbin and Gauthier about the operation of this committee, I should like to share three points with you.

The first concerns the origin of the Joint Committee on Official Languages.

(1700)

[English]

Some senators who were sitting in the other place some years ago will remember my personal involvement in one major initiative to test the Official Languages Act. When the Official Languages Act was adopted many years ago, it was seen as declaratory legislation — in other words, unenforceable. It stated the principle of equality in Canada of both languages, but it lacked teeth. There was a commissioner appointed under the act who tabled a report in Parliament each year. That report stayed on the table of Parliament. Senator Kinsella, in speaking to Bill S- 8 yesterday, described the avenue that most of those reports take in our system — they gather dust on shelves.

I was concerned that the legislation that was so fundamental for the understanding and better living of both linguistic communities could not get acted upon. When I decided to personally seek the support of the Official Languages Act to help francophone pilots, francophone technicians and the general Canadian public in using one of the official languages to travel in Canada on Air Canada, which was a Crown company at that time, I thought the Official Languages Act could be of help and support. I was told by the commissioner at that time, Keith Spicer, that in his interpretation the act was not enforceable in court. Such was the interpretation of the Department of Justice of Canada.

However, I decided to go to court and ask the opinion of the court. Honourable senators know what the judgment was. The court decided that the act was enforceable. The injunction I was seeking against the government — my own government, the government led at that time by Mr. Trudeau and the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Otto Lang — was that the act was enforceable and that the government had to abide by it.

I learned from experience the hard way that if we do not have the capacity in Parliament to follow up on a principle, it remains in the world of good intentions. On a day-to-day basis, there is no progress.

[Translation]

As luck would have it as well, when I was first elected as an MP in the riding of Maisonneuve-Rosemont, I chose to sit on the Public Accounts Committee.

[English]

It is not exactly a very popular committee. Public accounts, again as discussed yesterday by Senator Gauthier in a question to Senator Kinsella, does not attract a lot of attention because it is really too remote from the day-to-day preoccupations of voters. In plain words, you do not get a lot of votes by sitting on the public accounts committee, unless you want to embarrass the government with so-called waste of money.

The committee at that time was chaired by a very devoted member of the Conservative Party, Mr. Lloyd Crouse. The Auditor General of Canada at that time was the famous Mr. Macdonnell, probably one of the best, with all due respect for those who followed.

My involvement in the public accounts committee as deputy chairman was to learn that if you want to trace on a day-to-day basis the implementation of administration objectives, you must have them in front of you on a regular basis and give orders on the basis of a fair evaluation based on the report of the Auditor General. I experienced that for at least three years in Parliament in the other place.

[Translation]

Therefore, based on that experience with the courts and the administration, it appeared to me that if we were to draw conclusions regarding the respect and implementation of the rights of the two linguistic communities, we would need a parliamentary mechanism equally split between both Houses of Parliament. This is how I came up with the idea of establishing a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons.

As Senator Murray pointed out earlier, I had to sell this idea to my government and convince the then Prime Minister, President of the Treasury Board and other ministers interested in the implementation of the Official Languages Act that my initiative had some merit and, more important, that it would achieve the objective of recognizing and promoting linguistic minority rights in Canada.

What Senator Murray said here this afternoon is accurate. He was the one I went to see to try to enlist his participation in the creation of the committee. Today, it seems to me that this committee is as necessary as it has ever been in the history of our country, since each year the report of the Commissioner of Official Languages points to difficulties, omissions and, above all, violations of the rights of either one of the two linguistic communities, depending on the circumstances, regions and times.

My second point concerns the committee's inability to achieve its objectives in previous years. Honourable senators, there is a deep ideological conflict between the Bloc Québécois and the Canadian Alliance on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the other three parties represented in the other place, namely, the New Democratic Party, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Liberal Party of Canada.

[English]

In other words, there are two visions of our country. There is one vision that is respectful of the principle enshrined in our Constitution, and one of those sacred trusts, as an ex-Prime Minister of Canada would say, is the principle of equality of both languages. This is at the foundation of this country. If that principle had not been respected in the very structure of our Senate, we would not have had one Dominion in 1867.

This principle is so fundamental that it permeates the structure of the Parliament of Canada. However, two parties question that principle. We live in a democracy, but when one tries to reconcile those two visions in a parliamentary body that has as its function to ensure that those principles are respected, you then have quite a challenge — in fact, an impossible dream.

I accept the proposal of the Leader of the Government to put the existing structure to the test. Perhaps, in all fairness, since it is a new Parliament, we can do it. Perhaps the Canadian Alliance is revisiting its approach to linguistic equality. Such was not the case in the past. There is no doubt about that. The past tells us of the future.

However, insofar as the Bloc is concerned, we know the philosophy of the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc Québécois essentially defines one territory — French-speaking Quebec — with the rest English-speaking. This is the view of the Bloc Québécois. This view is fundamentally incompatible with the existence of linguistic equality in the whole of Canada. This is where there is a fundamental difference in philosophy about how our country is structured and how it can achieve linguistic peace and equality.

(1710)

As Senator Murray said, this is the internal fight that we have in the Parliament of Canada over a vision of our country. What to do, then, honourable senators? I share the frustration of Senators Gauthier, Corbin and Losier-Cool — who is not here with us today — as well as Senators Comeau, Simard, and all the other senators who come from regions where there are important linguistic minorities. I also share the views of Senator Finestone, who is also not here today, who has been an eloquent spokesperson for the English-speaking minorities in Quebec.

However, the point we want to achieve here is to show Canadians that there are some structures in the Parliament of Canada where the two communities can reconcile their views. If it is to put it to the test for the next three months, and if we agree that there is a deadline and that it is not just an opportunity to talk and to talk again, then, perhaps, it is worth trying to convince all of us that this is possible. Perhaps there has been progress in mentalities. However, I personally doubt it. Knowing those two political parties, reading their statements and interventions, knowing their posturing and knowing the electorate that they have to satisfy, I doubt it.

The very merit of this chamber is that we are not fundamentally partisan. I do not try to impose my views and score points on any other senators. We just try to touch, fundamentally, the merit of an argument. Although we sit on different sides, there are many times where we share the same views. I am sure that, on both sides of this house, if there is a commitment that has been put to the test, it is the commitment to serve linguistic equality in this country. To me, that is at the honour of this chamber.

What do we do in our wisdom, honourable senators? I think if it is to ensure that we come to a final conclusion, and that the word of the Leader of the Government is that, let us fairly accept that, for the next three months, we will go. We will sit and try to participate bona fide. We will then be able to listen, perhaps, in due time, if we should proceed in a definite manner with the resolution put forward by Senators Gauthier and Corbin and supported by so many of us, or if we should go the Senate way, which in so many instances has served us well.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on two grounds, or wearing two hats, if you will: one as a member of a linguistic minority and one as a member of the Joint Committee on Official Languages. I have been a member of that committee since I came to this place two and one half years ago. I thought it was a great honour to join that committee. As a member of a linguistic committee, I had followed its work for many years. I was aware of the very important work that it had done in the early years, and I believed that, because of the unique importance of official languages, it was uniquely fitting that it should be a joint committee of Parliament that would address this vital element of our national fabric.

I must tell honourable senators that not many things have disappointed me since I came to this place, but that committee has been a bitter disappointment. It has been an intensely partisan forum, but almost worse than that is that it has been an embarrassingly superficial place, for various reasons — some of them partisan and some ideological, some, perhaps, the cast of characters assigned by some of the parties in the other place. It has not served the people who need it, namely, the linguistic minorities of this country.

However, as I said, I have always believed and continue to believe that the preferable option would be to have a joint committee working on this subject. Therefore, I would like to support the position taken by the Leader of the Government to try one more time. I would not, however, like to fix a firm deadline, because fixing a firm deadline, in a sense, says to members of that committee who might wish to be uncooperative in the future, "If you are good for two months, three months, or whatever we have set as our firm deadline, then this problem will go away and you can go back to the old ways.'' I would rather leave this issue open. By the very nature of this debate, we are sending a strong message to them that we will leave if the committee does not work — if it does not work now or if it does not work in the future. And we should leave if it does not work, because the official language minorities need us to do so. They need somebody to do the work properly. My preference, however, would be a joint committee. Therefore, I do support the position taken by the Leader of the Government.

On motion of Senator Oliver, debate adjourned.

[Translation]

Business of the Senate

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, I ask that all remaining items on the Order Paper stand in the order in which they are today.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: The honourable senator has asked for leave. Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Senator Robichaud: Except on the point where I had leave for the motion to adjourn.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Robichaud has asked for leave of this house to leave all items of business on the Order Paper and Notice Paper today standing in their place until the next sitting, except for notices of motion. He wishes to revert to notices of motion on motions, which is at the end of the Order Paper.

Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[Translation]

Adjournment

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

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

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday next, February 27, 2001, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, February 27, 2001, at 2 p.m.


[English]

APPENDIX

Address of The Right Honourable Tony Blair Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Both Houses of Parliament in the House of Commons Chamber, Ottawa on Thursday, February 22, 2001

The Right Honourable and Mrs. Tony Blair were welcomed by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, by the Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker of the Senate and by the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): Order, please. I would like to call upon the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister of Canada, to now make his remarks.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, honourable senators, judges, members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, it is my very great pleasure to introduce the Right Honourable Tony Blair.

Prime Minister, you are about to address the 37th Parliament of Canada, men and women of diverse backgrounds and sharp ideological differences, people who have a very hard time agreeing on anything, but you need not worry about our manners today.

I think I can speak for all of my colleagues when I say that any leader whose resumé includes winning the largest parliamentary majority in over 60 years can expect our undivided attention. Your historic 1997 election victory was, for many Canadians, their first introduction to Tony Blair, but it was really just the most spectacular result of the skilful leadership you have shown in remaking your party and in redefining the terms of political discourse in Great Britain and throughout the liberal western democracies.

In common with so many of us who have gone into politics, Mr. Blair trained to enter the law. And the law is in his family as well. Madam Cherie Blair, who is with us, is an accomplished barrister in her own right and, by the way, she is the only woman I can call chérie without my wife giving me that look.

Beginning with his election in 1993 as a Labour member of Parliament, Mr. Blair has shown a keen commitment both to the welfare of his constituents and to addressing the broader issues that challenge government.

His considerable eloquence and his mastery of issues are widely known and respected. His ability to project the modern vitality of Britain on the world stage has become a personal trademark and his steadfast commitment to peace in Northern Ireland has earned him international praise. It is a cause in which Canada has been pleased to play a role.

[Translation]

Prime Minister Blair also played a key role in the development of a political movement we know now as the third way, a way that is open to all progressive governments in the context of the new information — and knowledge-based global economy, a middle way between total confidence in market forces and heavy dependency on state interventions, a way that seeks to encourage the spirit of initiative and prosperity, while ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are shared and no one is left out.

The Prime Minister and I often share the same views in this area. I have presented to him what I call the Canadian way, and he in turn has explained to me how his government successfully creates truly made-in-Britain solutions to the challenges it faces. I am sure our dialogue and exchanges of views on this will continue during this visit.

[English]

This is just a 21st century example of the common ground that has long characterized the relationship between our nations, common ground embodied by this honourable place and our embrace of the Westminster tradition; by our willingness to shed blood together in the defence of freedom and justice; by our co- operation on so many issues at the UN, in NATO, at the WTO and in the Commonwealth; and by our resolve to renew and revitalize our transatlantic relationship.

Prime Minister, in addressing this special joint session, you join a distinguished company of British prime ministers of the modern era, a company that was led off by the Right Honourable Winston Churchill. If I could borrow from the master of words:

There are many in Canada who listen to the debates of this honourable House and wonder that so much could be said by so many but understood by so few.

Today, we welcome the opportunity for some well chosen words from a worthy successor.

Ladies and gentlemen, a dynamic leader, an accomplished statesman and a very great friend of Canada, I present the Right Honourable Tony Blair.

Right Hon. Tony Blair (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Prime Minister, honourable members of the Senate and members of the House of Commons, thank you so much for that kind reception. I can truthfully say, Mr. Speaker, Sir, that is the only time I have ever been in a House of Commons and got a polite reception.

May I also say to my good friend and colleague Jean Chrétien, thank you for that most generous, too generous introduction. If I can repay the compliment to you, you have been not just a good friend to my country but you are someone respected throughout the entire free world.

You mentioned my large election victory. Well, I think there are a few lessons people can learn from you as well, but that is the last comment of any sort I will make on elections today.

May I say too that it is a rare honour to be invited to address you here where the common bond between our two nations is symbolized.

Of course I think it is important to point out that ours is not a relationship built only on shared history and sentiment. I know that Canadian investment in Britain has grown by something like 50 per cent in the last six years, making you the fourth largest investor in our country. Britain is the second largest investor in Canada. Last year alone, British companies committed more than $13 billion Canadian here. The country Voltaire likened to "quelques arpents de neige'' and Edward Gibbon to ancient Germany, is today for Britain, for us as we look at you, a high tech hub of the global economy.

You are deservedly world leaders now in the new economy, but of course there are ties deeper than commerce alone can ever be.

I have just seen the famous photograph of Sir Winston Churchill in Mr. Speaker's office and he resolved for me, incidentally, one of the great puzzles I have always had with that very famous photograph. I always wondered why Churchill looked so stern and why he was leaning forward in that way. He has resolved this difficulty for me. Apparently when Karsh was taking the photograph of him, Churchill was smoking a cigar and was not paying attention. He would not pay attention to what was happening around him and finally Karsh leaned forward and snatched the cigar out of his mouth, which is how he got the look of Churchill looking stern and disciplined.

It was almost 60 years ago that Churchill addressed this Parliament in Europe's darkest hour. What shines through that speech is his absolute conviction that at that dark hour, Canada's support would be unwavering. It was not for nothing that Churchill called Canada the linchpin of the English speaking world. Some things change, but some things remain constantly with us.

I can pay Canada no greater compliment than this. All nations have their reputations. As Prime Minister I deal with many crises, often of an international nature, but I know, and I bet I speak for most of the prime ministers of my acquaintance in Britain and abroad, that when we are told the Canadians are in on the act, whatever the forum for decision, there is a sense of relief, the clouds part a little and the confidence grows. People know that your word is your bond and, what is more, what you do you do well. It is not a bad reputation to have. Well done. Keep it for always.

It was, I guess, the Atlantic that brought Britain and Canada together and gave us a maritime history. Trade was its common thread.

The story of our two nations began in 1497 when Henry VII funded an Italian adventurer to open a trade route to Asia by sailing west and instead he landed, as you know, in Newfoundland. The following centuries were a tale of exploration and new frontiers.

For Britons down the centuries, Canada has been and remains a great land of opportunity. By 1870 British Canadians accounted for 2.1 million out of a total population of 3.6 million. British engineers and investors helped build the canals and railways that helped link Canada east to west.

In 1867 the British North America Act brought Canada and Canadian provinces together in a Confederation: the first dominion and the first federal constitution in the British Empire. Britain and Canada still share a sovereign and the best traditions of parliamentary democracy. Our new human rights act, for example, echoes the charter of rights and freedoms that you, Jean, pioneered as Pierre Trudeau's justice minister, but perhaps it is our shared experience of defending our freedom and our way of life that forms the strongest bond.

(1045)

The British will never forget that Canada stood by our side throughout both world wars. Nearly 10 per cent of the total Canadian population served in the first world war: Ypres in 1915; the Somme, where the brave Newfoundlanders lost 730 out of 801 men in 30 minutes; and Vimy Ridge in 1917.

In the second world war Canada's record is no less crucial. Over a million Canadian men and women served in the armed forces on the frontline in the liberation of Italy, France and the Low Countries. Two Canadian battalions were lost in the defence of Hong Kong.

It is interesting that both Canada and then Britain, following your example, recently announced compensation schemes to honour our Far East Prisoners of War. Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter on a warship in Newfoundland bay, and Mackenzie King hosted the two crucial Quebec conferences in 1943 and 1944 on the war and the shape of the peace.

The presence of Canadian and British forces in continental Europe helped win the cold war. They have served together in Korea, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and even Sierra Leone.

Yes, it took a Canadian general to win the confidence of both sides in Northern Ireland over the most sensitive issue of all, the issue of arms decommissioning. I would like, if I might, to pay tribute to General John de Chastelain for what he has done and what he and other Canadians, including your Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, continue to do for peace in Northern Ireland.

[Translation]

Since the days of the British Empire, Great Britain and Canada have changed. Canada has incorporated two great European civilizations into a bilingual country enriched by the contributions of other cultures, firstly, obviously, by those of its aboriginal nations.

Canada today is turning increasingly not only to the west but to the east as well, to the Pacific and to Asia, the origins of half of Canada's immigrants in the past decade. Great Britain too has diversified. Our democracies are changing and adapting, utilizing the tolerance characteristic of them to create multicultural and dynamic societies.

Shared objectives have arisen from the values we hold jointly. Yesterday, I read last month's Speech from the Throne and the reactions that followed it in the Commons. I was struck by the similarity of our political debates: technology in the age of information and education, the environment, increased growth and more jobs.

[English]

We share something else. You are that part of North America closest in values and traditions to Europe, and we are that part of Europe closest to North America. We both are part of and we strongly support the transatlantic alliance, Europe and North America together. I wish to speak about that to you.

I have a belief, formed in theory but now far more powerfully reinforced after four years' practical experience as Prime Minister, that where the two sides of the Atlantic stand together the world is a more secure, stable and prosperous planet. We have our disagreements, of course we do, but they simply evaporate in importance when put alongside our common interests and values.

We know that what binds us together is a common belief in the values of institutionalized democracy, the benefits of the rule of law, the primacy of the market as the engine for growth, the belief in a strong and inclusive society to correct the market's injustices, the creative power of individualism and the ultimate need to protect human rights.

This is the core package, if you like, of our political canon, what we believe in. What separates us from others is that we believe in the whole package. We do not believe that you can have the market without society, or human rights separated from the rule of law, or anything less than all the attributes of democracy. Our experience tells us too, does it not, that when people are given the opportunity freely to choose, this model of political organization is the one that they choose.

When we stand together, both sides of the Atlantic, either in situations of conflict, or of trade or in trying to regulate the vagaries of global finance or indeed in issues of human rights, we most often prevail and we do so on the basis of what is right and what is just.

Yet despite the evidence of history and our own present prosperity, some will question this.

I speak to you first and foremost as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. British, proud to be so, truly ambitious for Britain, determined to see its potential fulfilled.

I speak to you as a committed Atlanticist. I speak to you also as a European, unshakeable in my view that Britain's future is as a leading player in Europe, a powerful force for good and a force for reform inside the European Union.

There are those in my country who say it is not possible to be all those things. You can have Europe or you can have North America but you cannot have both. Britain has to choose.

It is an article of my political faith that I refuse point blank to do so. We will have the best of both worlds. We will give up neither relationship. We will make them both work, and we will make them work not just for Britain but for the sake of the transatlantic alliance itself. That alliance is of course most clear in defence and our commitment to NATO is fundamental.

We have had the good sense to adapt NATO to 21st century security tasks. The threat to our own territory may have all but disappeared. But the threats, as you know, to our interests persist, from turmoil within nations such as Yugoslavia, from terrorism, and from the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. NATO is our organization of choice for dealing with these threats. No organization is stronger, no military alliance more integrated. Nothing surpasses NATO's strength or its effectiveness.

Today Canadian and British peacekeepers work side by side in the Balkans, sometimes under a Canadian Commander and sometimes under a British one, within NATO.

It is NATO that reversed the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and set in train the events which led to Milosevic being ousted and has given the prospect of a decent peace accord. On our own, Europe could not have achieved that. It took the combination of Europe and North America, acting together in NATO, to deliver on that goal.

The initiative on European defence should be seen in that context. It is limited to crisis management, peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks. It requires the sovereign decision of each nation to participate in each operation, as indeed with the United Nations. It is not therefore a standing army. There will be no separate EU military planning structures, and it applies only where NATO has chosen not to act collectively.

(1055)

It has, however, two potential benefits. First, it allows Europe, for example, in crises on or within Europe's border, to act where the U.S. does not wish to. Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 is such a case in point. Second, it puts pressure on Europe to increase its defence capability, something long desired by our allies in North America. Done right it will strengthen NATO and NATO will remain the cornerstone of our collective security.

The other crucial area for the transatlantic alliance is trade. Around the world there is simultaneously the desire for greater local autonomy and nations coming together for their own common good. Those two things happen almost simultaneously. In the U.K., for example, we have found a way through devolution to create a new partnership for the U.K. between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Yet at the same time, as greater devolution occurs within nations, countries are voluntarily coming together to form regional groups. The EU may be the most integrated, but in North America you have NAFTA; in the South, Mercosur; and in Asia, ASEAN, APEC and so on.

In my view these two trends are healthy and go together: devolve where possible, integrate where necessary. The key, however, is to ensure that these regional blocs do not become inward looking or closed to other parts of the outside world. If we simply exchange the darker side of nationalism for conflict between regional blocs, we will have gained nothing.

The EU and NAFTA are the world's largest trading blocs and the world's biggest free traders. NAFTA is the European Union's most important trading partner. In 1999 EU exports to NAFTA were £137 billion and imports from NAFTA were £121 billion. Yet relations are not as they should be.

Proposals for a transatlantic free trade area in 1996 came to nothing. The Transatlantic Economic Partnership of 1998 has not been the success we all hoped for at the time. Despite ever closer economic links our trade relations, as you all well know, have become bedevilled by disputes over issues like beef and bananas, and damaged both our interests.

We now have an opportunity for a new start, however. The European Union is engaged in a radical program of economic reform, and not before time. We are committed to opening up markets, reducing the burden of regulation, and encouraging enterprise and new technologies. In March at the summit in Stockholm we will take this a step further forward. We want to work more closely with our partners on this side of the Atlantic, including the new U.S. Administration, to promote free trade.

I believe, therefore, that we need to take steps to improve greatly the EU-NAFTA relationship, and I propose the following. First, we should agree to an EU-NAFTA political declaration of intent on trade.

Ninety-eight per cent of our trade is trouble free. We cannot allow the remaining 2 per cent to sour trading relations in the way it has. We should aim to break the logjam by the June EU summit in Gothenburg. We will pursue this as Britain with our partners and the Commission, and we will discuss at Stockholm in March how we achieve this by that June summit.

This should then be reinforced by an EU-NAFTA commitment to go further within the WTO framework to break down non- tariff barriers as well. In areas like insurance and professional services, but also others, liberalization is massively, I believe, in our joint interests on both sides of the Atlantic.

At Gothenburg we should also agree to a statement of principles as the basis for launching a new WTO round at Doha in November. It is time that we move. We should agree to a joint commitment to remove trade barriers for the least developed countries. That means duty free and quota free access for everything but arms. It is frustrating, and it is wrong, that it is taking so long within the European Union to bring this excellent initiative to fruition. Those developing countries need our help and we should give it to them. We should consider how we improve radically the forum for solving future transatlantic trade problems before full blown WTO litigation sets in.

(1100)

Finally on trade I just want to say this last point. It is time I think that we started to argue vigorously and clearly as to why free trade is right. It is the key to jobs for our people, to prosperity and actually to development in the poorest parts of the world. The case against it is misguided and, worse, unfair. However sincere the protests, they cannot be allowed to stand in the way of rational argument. We should start to make this case with force and determination.

[Translation]

In addition, the transatlantic link must not be limited to security and trade. There are other challenges: organized crime, terrorism, the environment, population movements. We are all affected by the issues, good or bad, that concern our planet. A more effective transatlantic alliance will help us find better solutions. It is up to us to see to it.

[English]

My friends, my apology for my French pronunciation. There is a story about that which is a bit naughty, so I suppose I had better not tell it to the Canadian Parliament.

A Voice: We want to hear it.

The Right Hon. Tony Blair: Well, okay. I invited Lionel Jospin, the French Prime Minister, to my constituency one time and we did a joint press conference live on television. I was asked the question in French whether I was envious of Lionel Jospin's success and policies. I meant to reply that I was very envious of the magnificent positions he had taken on different policy issues. Instead, I informed the startled French public that I decidedly know Jospin in many different positions.

I think we will do most of our press conference in English, if that is all right. It was quite hard to recover my reputation in France after that.

The strength of our relationship, Britain and Canada, may originate with our history, but what I want to say to you from the depth of my heart is that it does not depend on our history.

There are present, real and substantial bonds of mutual interest and endeavour that unite our nations. If these bonds deepen still further, as I believe they should and could, it does not impact on us alone. It is greatly to the benefit of all. The world we live in today moves ever closer together. At least for the most developed nations, prosperity and opportunity have never been greater, but the global threats are also growing: nuclear proliferation, environmental degradation, fundamentalism and the potential for financial collapse in one continent to trigger collapse in another.

My message to you is very simple, and it is this. In that new world, more dangerous, moving closer together under the threats and also the possibilities of globalization and technology, both of us with the U.S., both of us with Europe, both of us in the Commonwealth, both of us also with the Pacific and Asia, occupy a special place.

As a result of that unusual network of relationships that our history has bequeathed to us, we should use that power and influence to further the transatlantic alliance. It is the rock, ultimately, on which our security and prosperity is based, and I believe the world's. It places a heavy responsibility on us. It is one that I believe we can justly discharge with pride.

Mr. Speaker, Prime Minister, and ladies and gentlemen, my most profound thanks to you for this invitation. It has genuinely been one of the proudest moments of my political life, and long live the friendship between our two nations. Thank you.

Hon. Dan Hays (Speaker of the Senate): Prime Minister Blair, Mrs. Blair, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister and distinguished guests, in the name of the Senate and as well for all who have heard you today, I thank you, Prime Minister, for your address to the Parliament of Canada.

[Translation]

Your first official visit to Canada also perpetuates a tradition which was upheld by five of your predecessors and which began in 1941, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed Parliament, as the Prime Minister mentioned.

[English]

The visit recognizes and reinforces the remarkable bond that exists between our countries. Our relationship is a longstanding and particularly important one. The trust and understanding between our countries are supported and sustained, as you have observed, by our trade, family ties, culture and our common practice of democracy. In this context I observe that of special interest, in particular to many in the Senate, has been your government's initiative, as you mentioned, to devolve its power and to bring about changes in the House of Lords.

[Translation]

Our relations have always been marked by great mutual trust. And, particularly in the last century, during wars and through numerous diplomatic missions, we have supported each other.

[English]

Sometimes the bond between our countries is such that we need to remind ourselves not to take it for granted and to remember just how important it is.

As a representative of Alberta, I know well of our co-operation. The United Kingdom has been a source of investment needed to develop our natural resources, and in recent times the United Kingdom has in turn received Canadian investment and expertise in the development of its natural resources in the North Sea and on shore.

[Translation]

After the United States, the United Kingdom is our main source of direct investment abroad, the main destination for Canadian capital abroad and our largest market for tourism and trade services.

[English]

Great Britain's defence forces have been a part of military life in my home province, for example, by virtue of exchanges and training of soldiers at Canadian Forces Base Suffield. They are part of our tradition of co-operation such that Suffield is Britain's principal high intensity conflict training area. Over 800 Britons live at the base resulting in over 4,000 trainee visits each year.

The Great Britain of your time, with which we proudly share so many traditions and values, will we know continue to flourish. With the attention and care of those who serve in our Parliaments, we will remain principal allies and trading partners.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your contribution to renewing the close ties between our countries by your words and by your deeds.

Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of the members of the House of Commons, I would like to thank you for having addressed us today.

Canadians across our country are delighted that you have come here. The members of the House of Commons and of the Senate, who have gathered in such large numbers to hear your speech today, are delighted that you have come. Your fellow Oxonians, both here in Parliament and across the country, are very proud of you and very pleased that you have come, Sir.

[Translation]

Much has been said and written about the close relations between our two countries. There was a time when the history of Great Britain was our history, and many of your country's traditions are still maintained in Canada.

The model for all Parliaments, Westminster, continues to make its presence felt among us today, not just in our procedural system, but more tangibly in the form of the Speaker's Chair. This chair was a gift from Great Britain, a reproduction of the one in Westminster. Its dais, decorated with the Royal coat of arms, was sculpted from a single block of oak taken from the roof of Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1397.

[English]

While we are ever mindful of our shared history, I believe that the friendship between our two countries now rests on our shared present.

Although your address to Parliament today was certainly a very special event, Prime Minister, it is but one of the myriad contacts taking place today between the United Kingdom and Canada. Not only are our nations regularly involved in formal economic, cultural, technological and parliamentary exchanges, we also like to stay in touch on a much more basic level.

We are constantly listening to each other's music, watching each other's television programs and visiting one another. Visits are less frequent in the winter. While I can only assume that "Cool Britannia,'' as I have heard today's United Kingdom dubbed, is more a cultural than climactic commentary, I must applaud your hardiness, Prime Minister, in visiting Ottawa in February.

[Translation]

As the former president of the Canada-United Kingdom Parliamentary Association, I often had the honour to visit Westminster, accompanied by many of my colleagues, in order to learn more about your parliamentary procedures. I hope that these exchanges will continue in the future.

[English]

In closing, please accept my thanks on behalf of all members of the House of Commons for having spoken to us today. We will long remember your presence here, and we hope that you will return soon for another Canadian visit. Merci beaucoup.