The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before calling Senators'
Statements, I draw to your attention our practice of receiving pages from the
other place from time to time. We have with us today three pages on an exchange.
On my right is Chelsea Anders. She is pursuing studies in mathematics at the
Faculty of Arts of the University of Ottawa. Chelsea is from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Geneviève Lay is studying history at the Faculty of Arts of the University of
Ottawa. She is from Dorval, Quebec. Welcome.
Honourable senators, on my left is Jessica Hume from Abbotsford, British
Columbia. She is studying at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ottawa.
Her major is communications.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham: Honourable senators, I rise in this chamber
for the second year in a row to offer humble congratulations to the St. Francis
Xavier University X-Men who last Sunday staged a dramatic, heart-stopping
overtime victory to capture the Canadian Intercollegiate Basketball Championship
before a sellout crowd at Halifax's Metro Centre.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Graham: I hope the applause does not take away from my time,
Honourable senators, the final was a repeat of last year's cliff-hanger in a
narrow 83-76 triumph over the Brandon University Bobcats.
The next person I will mention is not a relative of our own Senator Donald
Oliver, but the hero of the overtime win was Halifax native Dennie Oliver who,
moments earlier, must have felt like the last person on the Titanic. With the
game tied 72-72 at the sound of the buzzer at the end of regulation time, Oliver
was awarded two foul shots, either of which would have won the championship for
St. FX. In an astonishing, uncharacteristic lapse in concentration and accuracy,
he missed them both, giving the Manitoba representatives another chance to
capture the crown in the extra period.
With characteristic encouragement from his teammates, Oliver regrouped and
pumped home five points as the X-Men outscored the Bobcats 11-4 in the overtime
session. The final score was St. FX 83, Brandon 76.
Honourable senators, it was a fairy-tale year for the Xaverians, who lost
only one game all season, an exhibition against Western last fall.
While the X-Men and the community of Antigonish today celebrate another
championship, I thought about the spirit of university athletics and all the
wonderful people who give so much of their time to keep the spirit alive. I
thought about the young people who learn to play the game with brains, heart and
soul. I thought about the post-game comments of Dennie Oliver when he summed up
his team's success with the simple phrase, "We stuck together.'' I thought of
the collegiality, the sense of teamwork and purpose all of these fine young
athletes will bring with them in whatever pursuits, whatever roads they follow
in life. I also thought about the bonds formed in the pursuit of excellence —
bonds from the pain of training and the agony of losing, bonds formed from the
exhilaration of victory and the chemistry of young people who set their sights
on a dream.
Honourable senators, someone once said that sports do not build character;
they reveal it. Whatever your view, we extend the most sincere and hearty
congratulations once again to Coach Steve Konchalski, the Canadian Coach of the
Year, who has provided such inspired leadership to his players for over a
quarter of a century.
The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to advise the honourable senator that
his time has expired.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I rise to draw your
attention to a recent court case in Brantford, Ontario, that demonstrated the
shocking shortcomings and weaknesses of a government department, namely, Revenue
Canada. The case, decided by Justice Kenneth Lenz, concerned an Ontario
pharmacist, Ronald Cowell, who was charged with evading taxes of $72,000 on
unreported income of $228,000.
Judge Lenz stayed all charges against Mr. Cowell because of what he called
the "unprofessional conduct of Revenue Canada.'' The charges were laid in
November 1995, but the matter was concluded in December 2000 because Revenue
Canada was reluctant to disclose some of the documents related to the case.
There were delays in disclosing documents vital to the defence. The court also
found that tax investigators misrepresented themselves and abused their powers.
In his ruling, Judge Lenz stated:
They were relying on the powers of compliance auditors to obtain the
cooperation of the taxpayer. That attitude is typical of the attitude of
Revenue Canada special investigators who seem to see themselves as a power
unto themselves with no desire to be constrained by outside authority, even
the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Mr. Cowell, owner of Dial Drug Stores Limited, failed to report four years of
income rebates paid by large generic drug manufacturers, Novapharm and Apotex.
He was personally charged with making false or deceptive income tax returns for
the years 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993. Judge Lenz rejected the admission of all
evidence obtained by way of misrepresentation. He noted that investigators lied
about the true purpose of their inquiry and failed to advise the defendant of
his right to remain silent or retain counsel. Judge Lenz said:
I find as a fact on a balance of probabilities that Revenue Canada in this
matter obstructed at almost every turn the defendant's attempt, through
counsel, to obtain disclosure.
Honourable senators, this is a shocking case. I have heard of other accounts
of the misuse of power by Revenue Canada officials. Maybe it is time that the
Senate of Canada undertook a major study of the department, as was done a couple
of years ago in the United States by Senator Roth, former Chairman of the Senate
Finance Committee, into the actions of the Internal Revenue Service.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, today, March 20, we
and all countries who share the use of French are celebrating the Journée
internationale de la Francophonie, International Francophonie Day.
What is the Francophonie? Comprised of 55 countries or governments, the
Francophonie is an organization that was created at Niamey, Niger, in 1970. It
is a group of states and governments that meet at a summit every two years to
define the orientations and programs of the Organisation internationale de la
Francophonie, headed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
I shall touch very briefly on the Canadian Francophonie in minority
situations. To me they represent generosity, necessity, diversity and vitality.
That vitality can be found in the 53,000-plus francophones of Alberta.
On the other side of the Rockies, in British Columbia, there have been
francophones since Sir Alexander Mackenzie's expedition of 1793. Moreover,
British Columbia owes its first hospital, its first convent and its first
newspaper to its francophones. There are more than 53,000 francophones in
British Columbia at the present time, or 1.5 per cent of the total population.
The late Senator Molgat was an excellent ambassador for Franco-Manitobans.
They total over 49,000, have their own schools, the Collège universitaire de St.
Boniface for post-secondary education, and access to health services in French.
Close to 4.6 per cent of the total population of the province of Ontario is
francophone and those 500,000 Franco-Ontarians have the good fortune to have
their interests staunchly defended by the Honourable Jean-Robert Gauthier.
Today, there are close to 300,000 Acadians in Atlantic Canada. This Acadian
Francophonie has French-language schools with boards run by francophones, the
Université de Moncton with its law faculty, the Université de Pointe-à-l'Église
in Nova Scotia, the Collège d'Acadie in Nova Scotia with its distance education
program, community radio stations, French-language community centres, the
Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick, the Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes
du Nouveau-Brunswick, the Fédération des Acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse, the
francophones of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Acadians of Miscouche and
Prince Edward Island. It is a Francophonie with an economic, cultural,
technological and linguistic vision.
I am pleased that the last Speech from the Throne provided for additional
funding for the purpose of implementing the virtual franco-communities program
to increase French-language content on the Internet.
In closing, I would ask all senators to join with me in wishing all
francophones in Canada a wonderful Journée internationale de la Francophonie.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, I am going to continue
in the same vein as Senator Losier-Cool. Canada has played a very important role
in the establishment of the Francophonie. Along with European countries, such as
France, Belgium and Switzerland, and certain African countries, with which we
have French in common, we helped to create the Francophonie. These countries
The Francophonie has a very special place in Canada because we have no
colonial history. For instance, when we speak of the Commonwealth, with its long
colonial history, we immediately think of English, which is the common language.
The Francophonie does not have this kind of economic connection. In the
Francophonie, the connection is strictly linguistic and cultural. It is
therefore a bit more complicated.
Next July, the IVth Games of la Francophonie will be held in the nation's
capital. I invite you to take part. There will be representatives from Asia,
Africa, the Americas and Europe. We must give them a warm welcome.
I will close by saying that the Francophonie is important for Canadians. I
wish you bonne fête!
Hon. Jane Marie Cordy: Honourable senators, as a Nova Scotian, I join
Senator Graham in extending my sincere congratulations to the St. Francis Xavier
men's basketball team on winning their second consecutive CIAU Championship on
Sunday. The phenomenal success of the program can be attributed first and
foremost to Coach Steve Konchalski, who, as Senator Graham mentioned earlier,
was named the CIAU Coach of the Year. Not enough can be said about this man who
has been the heart and soul of St. FX basketball for the past 26 seasons. Coach
K, as he is affectionately referred to by his players and, indeed, the entire
basketball community in Canada, has been an example for all, not only in
basketball but in life. The lessons that he passes on to players, on and off the
court, go a long way in developing Canada's leaders of tomorrow.
This amazing back-to-back championship was won as a result of teamwork.
Having said that, a number of individuals deserve special recognition. Randy
Nohr is a champion on and off the court and leads his team by example. Only the
class that he demonstrates off the court equals his skill and determination on
the court. Jordan Croucher, who sent the exhilarating game into overtime, showed
the country poise and resilience that are not often seen in a man his age. St.
FX is lead by arguably the best basketball player in the country, Fred Perry,
who led the team through the Atlantic University Basketball Conference
undefeated this year, and then into the CIAU final.
Honourable Senators, St. FX is not just a university in Nova Scotia, it is a
tradition — a source of pride, not only for friends and alumni, but for all Nova
Scotians. The X-ring, worn so proudly by its graduates, is one of the most
recognizable in the world.
While I am not a Xaverian, as Senator Graham is, my husband is a graduate of
St. FX, and my youngest daughter is currently a student there. The experiences
that she will take away from Antigonish will only accentuate the world-class
education that she receives.
Champions are measured by their abilities on and off the court. For that
reason, I know that this team will always be considered one of our country's
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 58(1), I
give notice that on Wednesday, March 21, 2001, I will move, seconded by the
Honourable Senator Comeau:
That the Senate endorse and support the following policy from the Liberal
Red Book 1, which recommends the appointment of "an independent Ethics
Counsellor to advise both public officials and lobbyists in the day-to-day
application of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials. The Ethics Counsellor
will be appointed after consultation with the leaders of all parties in the
House of Commons and report directly to Parliament.''
And that this Resolution be sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons so
that he may acquaint the House of Commons with this decision of the Senate.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate arises from last week's report of the Defence
Minister's Advisory Board on the Canadian Forces Gender Integration and
Employment Equity. I know that the Honourable Leader of the Government in the
Senate was as shocked as I was with the revelation of the details of that
Its findings show that the combined enrolment of designated group members in
the Canadian forces is less than 17 per cent, visible minorities in particular
representing only 2.5 per cent. The Department of Defence received a very poor
performance on diversity-oriented regroupment. In addition, there was strong
evidence of prevalent negative attitudes both towards women and visible
When the Minister of Defence was asked to respond to the report, all he could
say was that he was appalled by the findings, but when asked what he was going
to do about the findings, he had no response. My question for the minister is:
What will the government do, and what steps will the government take to rectify
the many abuses against women and visible minorities in the Canadian forces?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the honourable senator for his question. The report last week was deeply
disturbing, not only for the failure of the Armed Forces to attract visible
minorities and women to the service of our national defence, but also the
statistical figures for Aboriginal people who also were not attracted in
The minister's response was, in the first instance, one of shock because he
believed that strides were being made. To be fair, some very small level of
improvement has been made, but the minister assures me that they must make
greater strides in order to ensure that the Canadian forces are a true
reflection of Canadian society.
Senator Oliver: Honourable senators, my very question is about those
strides. The government, faced with this report, intends to make what specific
strides? I would remind the Leader of the Government in the Senate of some of
the quotations in the report. For example, a lieutenant in Gagetown said, "If
visible minorities do not want to abide by our traditions, they should never
come here.'' A sergeant from Val Cartier base said, "All they do'' — meaning
women — "is get pregnant and leave after three years; they are unreliable.''
On the basis of these reports, what steps does the government intend to take
to overcome these types of problems?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I am sure the honourable
senator from Halifax-Dartmouth knows that the Armed Forces are, in fact, looking
for great numbers of individuals to serve. There is a shortage overall of
candidates applying to the Armed Forces. That shortage, in addition to overall
numbers, particularly applies to visible minorities, women and Aboriginal
The honourable senator asks what the government is doing about it. I believe
it is doing a number of things. One extremely visible example is an advertising
program shown in theatres to attract individuals to serve in the Armed Forces.
One segment that I saw not too long ago showed an Aboriginal woman serving in
the Armed Forces.
I am hopeful, and I think the government is hopeful, that by using that
positive advertising, by showing role models within the service who reflect
members of the visible minority, women and Aboriginal people, sometimes in
combination, they will attract more individuals to truly reflect Canadian
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, scientists within the Bureau of
Veterinary Drugs have gone public with concerns that human health is taking a
back seat to the drug manufacturers' interests. The drug this time is Baytril,
an antibiotic that has been used in the United States in recent years to treat
infections in poultry.
Soon after poultry producers began using Baytril, antibiotic resistance in
people soared. In 1999, more than 17 per cent of Americans who required drugs to
fight infections had developed resistance to an important class of antibiotics.
Last October, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed to ban the
use of two leading fluoroquinolone antibiotics for poultry, including Baytril,
Appotex Laboratories withdrew its product, but Bayer has challenged it.
Here in Canada, it is alleged that a drug evaluator is threatened with
disciplinary action for insisting that the manufacturer provide more data on
My two questions are about process and content. Can the Leader of the
Government in the Senate tell us — if not today, at some other time — if the
process is dismissive of scientists' concerns? Second, can she ascertain why we
are using drugs that could be harmful to humans, in animals used for food, drugs
that are conducive to developing superbugs impervious to antibiotic drugs for
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for her question. Although Baytril is approved in the United
States, it has not been approved in Canada for use in poultry and cattle.
Evaluators in Health Canada's Bureau of Veterinary Drugs have not been pressured
to approve the drug, which is the reason why it has not, in fact, been approved.
The Government of Canada has made a public commitment to re-examine
antibiotics in veterinary medicine, particularly to assess their contribution to
antibiotic resistance in humans. That is a serious issue here. We all know that
the superbugs, as the honourable senator has indicated, are very much among us.
They are very resistant to certain types of antibiotics, and we do not want
people to be getting these antibiotics, neither through medication when they are
ill nor through the very food products to which the honourable senator has
The standards that are being set by the Government of Canada's veterinary
drug program are clear. There is a desire on the part of the people involved in
the drug program to strengthen the integrity of the system to enable the
department to meet new challenges, which are happening on a daily basis, and to
provide departments with the additional capacity to address emerging and
theoretical risks such as those the honourable senator has asked about today.
Senator Spivak: Honourable senators, I thank the Leader of the
Government in the Senate for that thorough answer. I hope we will have a chance
to look at the review of antibiotics. Does the leader have any idea if that has
already commenced? If not, when will it be commencing, or when will it be
available to the public for review?
Senator Carstairs: As I understand it — and if I do not have adequate
information, I will get it for the honourable senator — the drugs are reviewed
on an ongoing basis, and they are only released to the public when data
indicates that they meet the requirements. If they do not meet the requirements,
then that information is not released to the public. It is of no public interest
because the drug has not been approved.
Senator Spivak: Honourable senators, I guess I did not understand
correctly what the Leader of the Government said. I thought that there was a
specific review on the concept of antibiotics in animals used as food. If not,
some scientists are suggesting that the Senate look at the issue. That is
Senator Carstairs: To complete the query for the honourable senator,
there is no specific review of one particular category of drugs.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate. We know that the value of the dollar is a sort
of criterion, an assessment of the quality of the Canadian economy by the
international community. Is the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar over
the past months symptomatic of what the Prime Minister calls "The Canadian
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
while the Canadian dollar is not doing as well as its sister dollar south of the
border, against other international currencies the Canadian dollar is holding up
quite well. That is the significant point here, that the United States has had
the ability to attract investment dollars. Other nations have not had the
viability that they have had.
To give honourable senators a comparison, since January of 2000, the Canadian
dollar has gone down by 7 per cent, which makes us all uncomfortable. However,
during that same period the Australian dollar has gone down by 25 per cent, the
Euro has gone down by 12 per cent, the U.K. pound has gone down by 12 per cent,
the French franc has gone down by 12 per cent, the German Deutsch mark has gone
down by 12 per cent, and the Japanese yen has gone down by 16 per cent. In
relative terms, the Canadian dollar is holding up well. I believe it reflects
that our economy is also doing well.
Senator Bolduc: This question continues to bother me because we are
still comparing the Canadian dollar with the currencies of other countries, such
as the United States and Australia. Their economies are not the same as
Canada's. Much of the high-end equipment used here in the manufacturing process
comes from the United States. Accordingly, if the Canadian dollar drops to 63
cents, Canadian manufacturers importing American equipment that costs more will
import less, which then lowers the productivity of the Canadian system. It is a
vicious circle. Basically, we are using the floating rate of exchange to
subsidize these people. Is it a good thing to use the monetary policy to do
that? Would it not be more appropriate to use tax policy to lower taxes on
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, Senator Bolduc and I would
have some disagreement in terms of whether or not the economy is doing well. It
is true that when we wish to bring high tech equipment into the country from the
United States, we pay a premium. On the other hand, when we export south of the
border we have the advantage of a dollar that is not worth as much as the
Honourable senators, it is important to talk about the good news in this
country. For example, housing starts are up again this month. We have doubled
the American rate of increase in jobs over the last eight months. Our retail
sales are stronger. They were also stronger in December — even stronger than the
United States. There is good news about the Canadian economy. The value of the
dollar is of concern to all of us. One needs only to watch the news every night
to see the concern and wonder whether there will be some pressure on Canadians
internally that might have a long-term effect. Presently, however, Canada's
economy is doing very well.
Senator Bolduc: Honourable senators, it is becoming prevalent among
economists. It is indeed true that we have a floating exchange rate, that there
are no wild fluctuations, that we are exporting, and that everything is
proceeding normally. However, in reality, we are subsidizing manufacturers when
we take this approach.
There are also some people — highly reliable ones such as Robert Mundell, the
first Canadian to receive the Nobel Prize for economic sciences — who are saying
that the time has perhaps come to think of another system. Either we have a
pegged rate system, such as the one used in Latin America, or monetary
integration, which is something that goes further, such as Thomas Courchene, one
of the economists advising the government, is proposing.
Is the government beginning to have doubts about the certainty over the last
10 years that a floating exchange rate is the ideal system and that things work
well this way? The Minister of Finance seemed worried. He did not have his usual
optimism. He is worried. It is a concern. We should ask him if he still thinks
we have the best system in the world.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, it is very clear that Mr.
Martin is satisfied with the government's performance, as indicated in a number
of statements that he has made. The assumptions that have been made to date are
valid and correct in their view. Senator Bolduc has raised some other ideas
today which either our Banking Committee or our National Finance Committee might
well pursue. Either committee might want to learn about assumptions that occur
in other nations and may want to bring forth a report to the government
indicating that other assumptions should be considered.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, my question is addressed to
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. While exporters are happy with a
65-cent dollar or a 63-cent dollar, what happens when the dollar hits 75 cents
or 80 cents?
Honourable senators, our competitiveness is gone. We have become so dependent
on a low dollar that if it ever turns around and increases in value, our
exporting companies will be in a great deal of trouble. We are building in
obsolescence. We are building in second-rate manufacturing because of the low
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
while that is the point of view of the honourable senator, I suggest that the
emphasis placed by the government in the Speech from the Throne on the necessity
for us to invest in research and development is a direct response to the issue
of our global competitiveness.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to return to
the issue of China that I have often raised. Throughout the years, the
government's response has been that we have had a quiet dialogue with China on
its human rights record and that if we assist China in developing its economic
position, then the repression that some of us have claimed goes on in China will
I have had the opportunity to scrutinize the report that the democratic
centre in Montreal put forward in March pointing out that the quiet dialogue
between Canada and China has not borne fruit and that China has systematically
used its economic clout to silence issues of human rights at the Human Rights
Commission. As a result of these conclusions, could the Leader of the Government
tell me whether the government will co-sponsor or in fact take leadership with
respect to any resolutions encouraging China to adhere to the international
instruments it has signed in the forthcoming Human Rights Commission
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
in response to the honourable senator's question, on his recent trip to China,
the Prime Minister went further on the issue of human rights than any prime
minister has ever gone before, and I dare say further than any other leaders who
have gone to China have ever gone before. He spoke at the National Judges
College. He spoke at the East China University of Politics and Law. In each
case, he reiterated the need for China to respect all basic human rights and
freedoms, including the right to observe spiritual beliefs.
In addition, the Prime Minister has, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
continued to support a number of the United Nations human rights mechanisms that
report on human rights in China. Clearly, we are out in front on this issue, and
that is where I believe we should be.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I am rather surprised
that the leader said that the Prime Minister spoke forcefully in China. While he
indicated that Canadians expressed a concern for human rights, I was not given
to understand that the Prime Minister indicated that he had serious concerns
about human rights in China. In fact, the environment in which these statements
were made was within an academic debate with judges at a university and not in a
bilateral, face-to-face, transparent exchange with the leadership in China.
My concern is that we have said that the human rights records of all
countries will be scrutinized, that Canada has an even hand on this issue and
that the area of human rights is part of our foreign policy. If it is in fact
part of our foreign policy, will Canada initiate, co-sponsor and support any
move for a resolution against China?
I add as a footnote that most of the resolutions have been encouraging,
reminding China of its responsibilities and encouraging the Chinese government
to follow international instruments. These are not condemning resolutions; they
are facilitating resolutions. Will Canada consider initiating sponsorship and
showing leadership in this area? The consensus seems to be that the Chinese
situation is deteriorating in the religious realm, most particularly with
respect to Tibet.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for her question. Realistically, when the Prime Minister of
Canada goes to a foreign country and says that Canadians are concerned, surely
he is speaking as the Prime Minister of Canada and therefore as one of those
Canadians. To say that a prime minister is differentiating between Canadians and
himself is splitting hairs to a degree that I am not prepared to accept.
In addition, the Prime Minister also spoke directly with the Chinese Premier
about human rights issues. He spoke at two public events. He made clear our
position on the issue of human rights. Canada is taking a leadership role in
this whole area.
Senator Andreychuk: The Prime Minister has indicated that Canadians
show a concern, but at the same time he has indicated that jobs are of concern
to him. He went further to say that Canada, being a small voice in the field,
would not have the clout to carry forward any actions. That position certainly
undermines any statements on human rights.
Again, my question is that if this government has a sincere concern about
human rights issues, and if human rights is part of its foreign policy, will the
government initiate, co-sponsor and agree to support resolutions that show
concern for the situation of human rights in China, all of this under the
context of the Human Rights Commission?
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator asks if we will initiate or
co-sponsor resolutions. I cannot give her that information. I simply do not know
whether we will initiate or co-sponsor resolutions. I do know that actions speak
louder than words, and our actions in China in January were first-class.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I have a question for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As the minister may know, the
federal government is now selling and allocating radio bands for public
commercial use across the country. It seems that no one radio band is being set
aside or allocated to police forces within Canada so that they may communicate
with each other on joint operations. Would the minister approach her cabinet
colleagues to seek a dedicated radio band for all police units to use from one
end of Canada to the other to ensure greater public safety?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for his question. I will try to get that information for the
senator as quickly as possible.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.
Since the Speech from the Throne, a complete review of the Public Service
Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Employment Act and other acts concerning
the management of public affairs has been announced.
Is it the intention of the committee to invite representatives of the Public
Service Commission to appear here shortly in order to discuss not only the
announced reform and the comprehensive plan needed to carry out this review, but
also the estimates involved? The commission has not appeared before a committee
of either the House of Commons or the Senate in eight years. Is the Chair
prepared to change course by inviting the members of the commission to appear
before the Senate committee?
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, the Public Service Commission
was to appear before the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in the
last session. Unfortunately, it could not do so because of the election. I am
pleased to recommend to my colleagues that this invitation be renewed. However,
I would point out to Senator Gauthier that we have summoned the Auditor General
of Canada, Denis Desautels, for Wednesday, March 28. We will have an opportunity
to discuss this matter then, since Mr. Desautels has been a strong and
persistent advocate of public service reform.
Senator Gauthier: I respect the parliamentary experience of the
honourable senator. However, I am not talking about that. I am talking about the
Public Service Employment Act, which is something particular to this
institution. It is supposed to be independent and it is supposed to apply the
merit principle. It is supposed to ensure that people are hired based on merit
rather than on who they know and what contacts they have. I am very interested
in ensuring that this law is reviewed because it has not been reviewed for 40
years or more. I am asking for a complete review on this issue.
Senator Murray: I look forward to hearing from Mr. Serson at an early
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question is directed to
the Leader of the Government in the Senate who said a few moments ago that the
Canadian economy is doing well. In the Speech from the Throne, the government
...increase Canada's official development assistance and use these new
investments to advance efforts to reduce international poverty and to
strengthen democracy, justice and social stability worldwide.
This news is welcome, but the facts remain. Official development assistance
is still at a 30-year low, dropping Canada from seventh to twelfth place among
the 21 donors of the Development Assistance Committee. Our ODA is now at 0.27
per cent of GNP, even though Canada is committed to 0.7 per cent — the famous
Considering Canada's substantial budgetary surplus, which was built on past
cuts that hit aid harder than other programs, what does the government intend to
do to rebuild Canadian foreign aid? If the minister wishes to delay her answer,
could she give an assurance that the government's specific plan and timetable to
increase ODA will be tabled as a delayed answer?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for his question. His figures are quite right. I am not sure
whether 0.7 per cent was Mr. Pearson's or Mr. Trudeau's figure, but we are
clearly falling far short of that goal. As a result of the budget last fall, it
is to be hoped that we will gradually see that amount rise once again. However,
I would have to provide the honourable senator with specific details by way of a
delayed answer, and I would be pleased to do so.
(Response to question raised on March 1, 2001, by Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin)
Canada has not yet taken a position on US plans for National Missile
The US has not yet taken a decision to deploy a National Missile Defence
System nor has the US invited Canada, or any other ally, to participate in
We are encouraging the new Administration to deepen its dialogue with
allies and other concerned countries — including Russia and China — and are
urging them to take those views into account.
We are also urging the US to take all the time needed to fully explore the
implications of a decision on NMD deployment and to find a way forward that
maintains global strategic stability and that advances the security of the US,
as well as of all of its allies.
We will further engage the US on how best to address current security
threats and will continue to assess the proposed NMD system.
We remain concerned about the implications of the proposed NMD system for
strategic stability and the potential for it to spark a new arms race and
undermine the existing non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament regime.
We share US concerns about new threats to both national and global
security, including threats from intra-state conflict, from terrorist attack
and from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
We will need to know more about the approach that the US will take before
we can take a firm position on this issue.
In Brussels, Minister Manley emphasized the need for dialogue with the US
in order to influence US thinking on NMD.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cordy, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Setlakwe, for an Address to Her Excellency the Governor
General in reply to her Speech from the Throne at the Opening of the First
Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament,
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Kinsella, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Rossiter, that the following be added to the
We respectfully affirm to Your Excellency that the Speech from the Throne
would have captured the imagination of the people of Canada if it contained
the following words:
"Canadians are the finest people in the world community today. Our common
citizenship speaks to many ways of being Canadian and affords us unique
opportunities to be leaders for freedom and dignity for every person with who
we share planet earth in the 21st Century.
My government recognizes that we are blessed with an incomparable
landscape, natural and human resources, and an historical foundation of
freedom, peace and civility. Canada has always been a place where people,
seeking opportunity, fairness and security, can build a future.
Despite these enduring strengths, many Canadians feel they no longer share
in the Canadian dream. The world is changing rapidly around us, but we face an
uncertain and challenging future without a plan. There is a growing sense we
have lost our direction.
We need to restore a "common purpose'' to this country to recapture the
sense that we are acting together in the interests of the whole community, and
to encourage those acts of will that have defined Canada and moved it forward
at critical times in our past.
My government's blueprint for this country's future is a plan to strengthen
Canada's communities, build a vibrant economy, and govern with integrity.
Strengthening Canada's communities
Canadians feel that the fabric of Canada's communities and institutions has
been weakened in recent years.
Canadians' faith in their healthcare system has been shaken. Healthcare
cuts have closed thousands of hospital beds, jammed emergency rooms and
created unacceptable waiting lists for critical services and treatments.
Cuts to post-secondary education funding have resulted in higher college
and university tuition fees, and intolerable debt loads for students. Access
to higher education is being lost in Canada, even as the knowledge economy
raises the premium on higher qualifications.
At a time when Canadians do not feel safe in their communities, the RCMP
has been starved for resources. Meanwhile, the gun registration program is
costing Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars, while treating law-abiding
gun owners as if they were criminals.
Canadians want to see their common values reflected in Canada's social
programs: self-reliance and personal responsibility balanced by compassion,
investments in a healthy and well-educated populace, safe communities and
Canadians want their national government to provide leadership in
protecting the environment.
My government's Plan for Canada addresses all these issues to build a
stronger Canada through stronger communities.
My government will:
- Immediately restore the cash portion of the Canada Health and Social
Transfer to at least 1993-94 levels. This would restore completely the
health and post-secondary education dollars cut from transfers to provinces.
- Add a sixth principle to medicare — guaranteed stable and predictable
long-term healthcare funding — through legislation. Never again will a
government be able to scoop billions of dollars out of health care.
- Increase and make refundable the caregiver credit, in consultation with
groups representing seniors and Canada's disability community.
- Change the repayment terms for Canada Student Loans to provide that
loans are repaid as a percentage of net after tax income starting the first
full working year after graduation.
- Introduce a tax credit for post-secondary students repaying Canada
Student Loans to a maximum of 10 per cent of the loan principal, per year,
for the first 10 years after graduation, provided they remain employed in
- End the taxation of scholarships awarded to students in colleges and
- Provide the RCMP with stable funding, and with an explicit priority to
defeat organized crime, particularly money laundering, human and contraband
smuggling, fraud and computer crime.
- Replace the federal Young Offenders Act with new legislation that
reflects the principles of protection of the public, deterrence and
denunciation balanced with rehabilitation, and the greater use of
- Repeal the current long gun registration system and uphold and enforce
provisions that control criminal and unsafe use of firearms.
- Make the health of Canada's children an explicit priority of
environmental legislation by introducing a Safe Water Act and a Safe Air
Building a stronger economy
The average Canadian today loses about 47 per cent of his or her income to
taxes. High taxes have eroded the standard of living of Canadian families.
They have made our businesses less competitive. And they are driving young
professionals and entrepreneurs to seek their futures in other countries.
Canadians know that today's balanced budget and growing economy were only
achieved through their sacrifice and hard work. They want to share in Canada's
prosperity, but they want tax reductions to be fair and benefit all Canadians.
Canadians also know that success in today's world requires that we be
competitive with our trading partners, that the new economy demands we reward
investment, innovation and creativity.
Canadians want the burden of the national debt — now totalling $560 billion
— lifted from the shoulders of their children.
And Canadians want strategic investments targeted towards their priorities.
My government will:
- Cut taxes for all Canadians by raising the basic personal exemption
from the current level of $7,231 to $12,000 by 2005. This tax cut will
remove 2.3 million low income Canadians — those least able to pay taxes —
from the tax rolls. It will also deliver across-the-board tax relief of up
to $1,100 (federal/provincial) to the average taxpayer.
- Increase the married and equivalent spouse amount to $12,000 by 2005.
When this change is fully implemented, a single earner family would not pay
income tax until their income reached $24,000 per year.
- Introduce a child tax amount of $1,176 to assist Canadian families.
This will create a tax cut for families with children of $200 per child.
- Eliminate the personal capital gains tax immediately. This will free
venture capital, reward personal initiative and help reverse the brain drain
by encouraging entrepreneurs to build their future in Canada.
- Cut excise taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel and home heating fuels to
help ease the burden of rising energy costs.
- Eliminate the national debt — the mortgage on our children's future —
within 25 years, and pay down the principal on the debt by $25 billion over
the next five years.
- Implement an annual "Red Tape Budget'' detailing the estimated total
of each new proposed government regulation, including the enforcement costs
to the government and the compliance costs to individual citizens and
- Actively expand global trading partnerships with other nations, while
promoting human rights and the environment, and protecting our culture.
- Establish the Federal Agriculture Stabilization Transfer (FAST), a
comprehensive national safety net program, to include a revenue/income
stabilization component and a reliable disaster relief fund.
- Work with the international community to protect trans-boundary
fisheries from unsustainable harvesting practices on our east and west
Governing with integrity
A strong democracy is essential to everything we want to do as a country.
What makes democratic government work or fail is the public's willingness
to accept or support decisions made on their behalf. Just as we need wealth to
prosper, we need trust to govern. That trust has been missing in Ottawa.
Intolerance of legitimate dissent has dramatically weakened the role of
Members of Parliament. We cannot continue to inspire our most able citizens to
stand for public office if they are shut out of involvement and influence
after they are elected.
My government would restore integrity to the governing of Canada by
increasing the democratic accountability of government to Parliament.
The government will:
- Strengthen the role of MPs by allowing more free votes in the House of
Commons. MPs must be able to represent the views of those who elected them.
- Empower Parliament to scrutinize the spending practices of federal
departments without a time limit.
- Increase annual defence spending over the next five years to support
adequate strength levels, improve the quality of life of armed forces
personnel and support the procurement of new equipment.
A balanced and prudent plan
My government's plan for Canada is a balanced and prudent blueprint to
restore purpose and direction to Canada, to point us towards a successful
future in a changing world.
The numbers add up for Canada. In my government's five-year plan:
- We've placed the greatest emphasis — over $55 billion — on reducing
taxes to leave more money in the hands of Canadians. It's their money, and
we want to leave it up to them to save, spend or invest as they see fit.
- Our mandatory debt repayment plan will eliminate the debt mortgage on
our children's future within 25 years. Over the coming five years, our plan
will reduce the federal debt by $25 billion. As part of this plan, we will
reallocate 1.3 per cent of the current annual program budget to reducing the
- We have identified targeted new investments in programs totalling $7.4
Members of the House of Commons:
You will be asked to appropriate the funds required to carry out the
services and expenditures authorized by Parliament.
Honourable Members of the Senate and the House of Commons:
May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.''.—(Pursuant to
Order adopted March 1, 2001-4 sitting days remaining).
Hon. Erminie J. Cohen: Honourable senators, I applaud the passionate
intervention of my honourable colleagues who have participated in the response
to the Speech from the Throne. My leader, the Honourable Senator John
Lynch-Staunton, in replying to the Speech from the Throne, indicated that the
speech contained no broad vision of the future, no coherent plan — either
short-term or long-term — just a list of spending initiatives on various social
problems, with no details. I concur and so applaud the motion in amendment of
the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Honourable Senator Noël
Kinsella, who presented to this chamber just such a plan with just such a vision
for the future.
Today, honourable senators, I enter the debate addressing the issues of
poverty, the social safety net and socio-economic development. The recent Speech
from the Throne gives us a glimmer of hope that the government might at last
realize that every child growing up in poverty in Canada faces obstacles beyond
his or her power to overcome without help, and children in poverty cannot be
helped effectively without involving their parents. Can it be said that the
government is starting to understand that handing out money to the poor will not
by itself solve the problems or eliminate the barriers confronted by these
children and their families?
The words are there in the Speech from the Throne, honourable senators, words
such as "self-sufficiency,'' which seem to indicate that the direction of
social policy might be changing. We all know that our social safety net
philosophy, however well-intentioned at the outset, has created a welfare trap.
Families living in poverty, especially those headed by single mothers, are
caught in a web of rigid regulations and policies, lack of appropriate and
adequate support, and false assumptions. They struggle to get through each day
and end up blaming themselves for their plight.
You do not have to take my word for this, honourable senators. Recently, the
Urban Core Support Network in Saint John, New Brunswick, published a small,
powerful book called Stormy Seas. In it, individuals in poverty told their
stories, opening their hearts and minds to illuminate ours. They tell of
unresponsive, guilt- inducing bureaucrats, of inadequate resources, of suffering
children. Patty Donovan writes:
You hide away in the kitchen feeding your addiction to hide the pain, feeling
like you have let everyone down...you do not eat when there is food so you have
enough to last the month to feed the kids...defeated, low and depressed is what
you feel when you look in the mirror and all you can see is 30 years of failure
to achieve a goal that you didn't even know you had the right to work towards.
What have we done, honourable senators, to make a growing number of citizens
so vulnerable, and why do we keep doing it? How can we look in our own mirrors
and pat ourselves on the back for our successes when our own systems, beliefs
and attitudes doom these families and individuals to depression, exclusion and
poverty? Something must change, and the sooner the better.
Until recently, social policy was based on the model of charity, where
unconditional assistance was given by communities and institutions to people who
were unable to support themselves. These people lived on contributions from
others who recognized their need. However, there were jobs for those who could
work — a variety of jobs that demanded a wide range of skills.
Today, however, many people are poor because of social rather than personal
conditions. Mechanization, new technologies and globalization — forces beyond
their control — have greatly reduced their options. Their education may have
been inadequate or irrelevant. There are no jobs where they live for which they
are qualified, and their mobility is limited. There are few opportunities to
discover their talents or to build on local assets. They may be physically,
socially and economically isolated. They see no alternative to welfare or
Often when they try to escape the welfare system, they are faced with almost
insurmountable barriers — barriers such as limited transitional support and
narrow government policies that prevent them from moving forward in their lives.
They have been conditioned to think that they are failures and that the best
alternative is to stay home and wait for the cheque. They are doomed to an
existence on the margins of society. They learn to escape from their anger,
frustration and hopelessness through withdrawal, apathy, addictions, violence
and crime. This is not a social safety net; it is a death sentence.
To its credit — and I say this cautiously — the government seems to be
heading toward this goal of redirecting social policy and programming toward
opportunity rather than oppression, toward independence and generated income
rather than poverty- level paternalism. The words are there: "skilled
workforce,'' "youth at risk,'' "literacy,'' "early intervention,'' "child
development'' and "health promotion.''
A program was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne that has demonstrated
its worth and that the government seems to see as a step in the right direction.
This is the highly touted Self- Sufficiency Project, which has operated in my
home province of New Brunswick and in British Columbia since 1992.
Edward Greenspon described it well in his column in a national newspaper in
February. He says that we are seeing a-
...more modern Liberalistic approach, one based not so much on saving souls
as getting them back to work...the Self-Sufficiency Project is neither a big
government program nor a social-justice program. It doesn't say, `You poor
victim — here's some money for your troubles.' Nor does it create some magic
government course that will train single moms to become computer
programmers...rather, it tries to turn the disincentives to getting back into
the work force into incentives by paying out a generous, but temporary, wage
supplement...To qualify, the single mothers must go out and find jobs
themselves...the program provides more of a hand up than a handout.
I see here, honourable senators, a significant convergence in political
philosophy. For years, those on the right of the political spectrum have been
saying that a job is the best social policy. However, we have seen countless job
creation programs fail to move people at the poverty level into the workforce
where they can earn a living wage. Those on the left, meanwhile, have advocated
to strengthen the social safety net, resulting in a system where working is
actually less advantageous financially than staying at home. It has become a
Catch-22 situation, where those who can and want to work — by all accounts the
vast majority of social assistance recipients — cannot afford to do so. Even if
there is a job that pays a living wage, there are issues such as a lack of
affordable housing, health benefits, public transportation and appropriate child
care which often prevents parents, especially single mothers, from entering and
staying in the workforce.
Through trial and error, and experience of governments of all political
persuasions, we have discovered that money alone is not enough, and that a job
alone is not enough, to break the cycle of disadvantaged families and children
growing up in poverty. What more is needed?
Again, honourable senators, I turn to Stormy Seas, the powerful little book I
spoke of, for a response to this question of what more is needed, a poignant
response which comes from a person who has seen the system from the bottom up.
This is a poem called "Woman in Poverty.''
She is on the island of Poverty looking out over the water to the island of
She wants to go there with all her heart and all her soul.
But the bridge is old, the supports are crumbling and it is unsafe.
Staying on the island of Poverty is safer than attempting to cross that
How could she possibly cross that bridge especially with all her "stuff''
She's got her shame, her self-doubt, her fear.
Oddly enough, the heaviest items she owns are the things she lacks:
Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect,
Teach her how, and help her to lighten her load and leave some stuff
Build a new bridge, strong, and safe, and well lit,
She needs guidance, emotional support, patience and acceptance — something
she probably should have received as a child.
But her parents couldn't give what they didn't have.
And if we expect her to give these things to her children, someone must
give them to her.
Or she'll stop looking across the water to the beautiful island of
She'll lose all hope, her dreams will fade, apathy will set in.
If we don't build the bridge to break the chain, her children will...learn
what they live
And someday we will be wondering how we can help them.
Honourable senators, we know what it will take to build a new bridge. We are
entering the third dimension of social policy development, one which does not
rely entirely on either government charity or personal responsibility. This
third dimension is the bridge we are looking for. It is called socio- economic
development. A job may indeed be the best social program, but to access a job,
and to be successful in it, a person must have a variety of supports which
create the opportunity for the individual to both earn and learn in a secure but
The Self-Sufficiency Project advanced the concept of socio- economic policy
and programming considerably, by proving to be effective for the approximately
30 per cent of participants who received the financial incentives and were,
three years later, still working. However, about 65 per cent of those who had
the financial incentives were not working three years later. Yet an experiment
tried with participants indicated that the success rate for finding work
improved for those who received modest training in writing their resumé and
searching for jobs, but many of those still lacked the work skills necessary to
Among other things, the Self-Sufficiency Project is proving that financial
incentives work for some, incentives plus training work for others, but neither
approach works for everybody. One size does not fit all. An off-the-rack
socio-economic program does not fit every potential recipient any better than a
suit off the rack fits every shopper. Effective programs, like suits, must be
tailored to fit the needs of the customer, and no two are exactly alike.
Individual tailoring is not as difficult as it may sound. Human needs are
universal and have been clearly identified. There is no mystery here. Some of
the most critical needs, after basic physical ones such as food and housing,
relate to belonging to, being accepted in and contributing to a community. These
needs can be met through a variety of economic activities where life and work
skills are acquired on the job. This is a concept which is gaining ground
through a movement called community economic development, in which so-called
social enterprises play an important part.
Social enterprises are run like businesses but, in addition to employment,
they offer learning opportunities and support for their workers in everything
from cooperative behaviors to respect for diversity, to budgeting, to decision
making, to conflict resolution — the list of life skills goes on. A social
enterprise straddles the line between being a non-profit supportive self-help
group and being a for-profit business which pays its participants a living wage.
It is a very difficult line to define, and the concept has in the past fallen
through the cracks of government systems which require that programs be either
economic or social, but not both at the same time.
Nevertheless, such enterprises are budding everywhere, including Saint John,
New Brunswick where I live, where our Human Development Council has worked for
three years to help non-profit community organizations to develop functional
enterprises. It is a concept whose time has come.
We are, hopefully, seeing a shift in policy and programming away from
excluding the poor, shutting them up in public housing ghettos with meaningless
job creation programs or insufficient incomes which isolate them both
economically and socially. Perhaps, at last, we are heading toward policy and
programs which promote inclusion, generated income, independence and initiative.
I will applaud the government if it is truly heading in this direction.
However, I need to be convinced of the sincerity of the commitment. I need to be
convinced that the government understands what it will take to sustain the
commitment. If 65 per cent of the participants in the Self-Sufficiency Project
who received the financial incentives were not working after three years, then
there is still a lot to do. There are still large gaps in the bridge.
There are huge and grave deficiencies in our systems. In order to fashion a
strong social fabric, as referred to by the Government Leader in the Senate, we
need to weave in many threads. We need much more affordable, adequate housing.
We need school systems which do not fund academic assembly lines and discard all
those who do not fit the mold. We need alternative programs for youth at risk
who learn by doing and have unrecognized, undeveloped, desperately needed manual
skills. We need to emphasize prevention in health, parenting skills, social
services and community action. We need mentors and role models who live up the
street, not more professionals who diagnose the problem, tell you what bad shape
you are in and then disappear.
This is the visionary approach we wanted to hear in the Speech from the
Throne. This, as my leader suggested, is what would "catch the imagination of
the Canadian people — to allow them to see themselves reflected in the proposed
work plan of the government.''
You do not have to tell me that all of the above issues lie within provincial
jurisdictions. Of course I know that. I also know, honourable senators, as do
millions of Canadians, that the disengagement of the federal government from
these areas has sapped the strength and diminished the resolve of many
provincial governments to address the growing economic and social disparities
which have gained momentum in the absence of a federal presence.
I see in the government's homelessness initiatives a possible direction for
defining the roles of governments, communities and citizens in addressing the
issues of poverty and exclusion.
The Hon. the Speaker
pro tempore: Honourable Senator Cohen, I regret to inform you that
your allotted time has expired. Are you seeking leave to continue?
Senator Cohen: Yes, Your Honour.
The Hon. the Speaker
pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cohen: Thank you, honourable senators.
To combat homelessness in urban areas, the federal government has aligned
itself with community-based organizations, providing resources to those on the
ground who know what is needed. Community-based organizations and citizens need
to be involved in developing creative solutions that will address these issues.
The provinces are being urged to accept their responsibilities to deliver the
services in health, education, housing and income support for which they are
Honourable senators, this is a three-level partnership that can work, but it
will take time. It will take time, patience and education to dismantle old
stereotypes and attitudes. We must stop thinking of government as doing for us
and start thinking about government doing with us. We must stop thinking that
those of us at the street level have no power, and start thinking about our
local assets and how we can build on them. We must stop thinking of the poor as
useless and a burden, and start seeing them as potential contributors with
talents waiting to be discovered. Most of all, we must stop thinking of them as
weak. They are the strongest people I know. We need to fully involve them in our
communities. All they need is a bridge and the confidence that they will be
welcomed when they cross it.
Honourable senators, I urge the government to follow up on its Throne Speech
with an infrastructure program, but not one constructed of the usual bricks and
mortar, concrete and steel. Let us have a socio-economic infrastructure
developed in partnership with communities, which creates an environment where
all human needs can be met in a flexible system that puts people first. It is a
strong, healthy, educated and caring people who are the greatest Canadian
resource. We need them all, we want them all, and we can have them all.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise
today to reply to the Speech from the Throne. I should like to congratulate our
new Speaker, Leader of the Government and Deputy Leader of the Government for
their excellent work in their new roles thus far in the Thirty-seventh
As a proud Canadian from Skinner's Pond, Prince Edward Island, once said,
"If a person leaves this country because he wants to, that is entirely his free
choice; but if he is forced to leave this country because circumstances will not
allow him to pursue his honourable goals, that is another matter.''
Of course, honourable senators, I am quoting Stompin' Tom Connors. Mr.
Connors is famous for his devotion to Canada and his countless songs about
everything that is Canadian. He is also admired for his commitment to Canadian
talent and his desire to see Canadians stay and succeed at home rather than be
lured by the bright lights and prospects of the United States. During Stompin'
Tom's rise to fame in the early 1970s, he witnessed, with frustration, much
Canadian talent leave this country to pursue their dreams south of the border.
Honourable senators, it has become more apparent, and the Speech from the
Throne supports this, that the Government of Canada is committed to assisting
Canadian talent and is putting in place the mechanism by which young people in
Canada can stay, learn and eventually work in this country. Not only is Canada
blessed with an abundance of natural resources, but it is blessed with an
abundance of bright young minds that are eager to develop into proud,
contributing Canadians. Young people today realize that this country has much to
offer. They are growing into adults with a will and a determination to remain
Canadian. Now, with the federal government committed to creating opportunity and
investing in skills and learning, young minds are being told that they are
Ensuring that Canadian talent stays in Canada will not be an easy task,
however. We need to ensure that graduates receive sufficient incentives to stay
in the country after their schooling and that accessible post-secondary
educational facilities exist in Canada that meet the needs of students in the
21st century. To this end, I am aware of two major concerns.
First, tuition fees at universities have risen to unaffordable heights for
many potential students. We can only guess at the number of qualified, ambitious
and bright individuals who turn away from pursuing higher education due to
inflated tuition costs.
In my home province, the University of Prince Edward Island has seen its
tuition fees double in the past 10 years, making advanced learning impossible
for many eager young Islanders. Graduates of the university system today are
saddled with debt loads higher than many mortgages. Many graduates who have
pursued advanced or second degrees such as doctoral studies are faced with
accumulated student loans approaching six figures — a daunting hole to climb out
of before a paycheque is even received.
The millennium scholarship fund, a recent federal initiative, has relieved
some of the burden on many students by reducing overall debt loads. I am hopeful
that the government's commitment to creating opportunity and intent to invest
aggressively in the skills and talents of its people will result in further
progress being made in the area of educational affordability.
Second, and related to this aspect of higher education, is the matter raised
by the Honourable Senator Moore. Universities today are battling with the costs
of accumulated deferred maintenance. Across the country, buildings,
infrastructure and equipment are in desperate need of repair and replacement to
the tune of $3.6 billion. In an effort to keep up with technology, maintain
faculties and halt tuition increases, among a host of other financial
commitments, post-secondary institutions have suddenly found themselves
confronted with the silent killer of accumulated deferred maintenance. In many
cases, buildings are in disrepair, are not up to code in regard to fire safety
or disability access, and do not have the adequate technology to meet the
demanding needs of today's students.
To make the best use of the research dollars and grants provided by the
government, we need to ensure that adequate facilities are in place to house the
students to conduct their research. We would not invest hundreds of thousands of
dollars in the purchase of new books if we did not have a library in which to
store them. The same is true of our research dollars. Though research funding is
much needed, appreciated and well intended, we must not overlook the facilities
in which the research takes place.
As Senator Moore has stated, honourable senators, this crisis of deferred
maintenance is national in character and should trigger the interest and duty of
the federal government. I am hopeful that the commitments to research contained
in the Speech from the Throne encompass this matter of educational institutional
Honourable senators, I should like to make one more point on the federal
government's investment in research and opportunity. There was a day when
Canada's natural resources sustained entire economies and the various regions of
this vast country played host to lucrative industries. With resources dwindling
and with the 21st century heralding a new era of technological industry, these
old economies are no longer capable of supporting entire regions. We see it
regularly on the East Coast, for example, with fishing quotas being adjusted to
reflect dwindling stocks, prices rising and falling in various markets, and
moratoriums placed on the issuance of new licences.
The federal government has recognized the downturn in certain old economies
and has made concerted efforts to provide new ways of living in the new economy.
The Atlantic Investment Partnership is one example. Though work still needs to
be done in administering this much needed funding, it confirms the government's
commitment in the Speech from the Throne to strengthen the capacity of all
Canadians to compete in the global, knowledge-based economy. If Canada is to
become one of the top countries for research and development performance by the
year 2010, as the Speech from the Throne intends, we cannot have one- third of
the country unable to hold up its end of bargain. This measure is an excellent
one, telling Atlantic Canadians that they will not be left behind as the country
sets out on this new, ambitious road.
Honourable senators, I was also pleased to hear in the Speech from the Throne
that the government will be working with the United States to maintain secure
and efficient access to each other's markets. In the global economy, unhindered
access to our closest and biggest trading partner is a necessity. Indeed, a
highly permeable border with the United States is a right that Canadian
exporters have come to expect and depend on. When Canadian goods are denied
access, immeasurable problems arise.
Here honourable colleagues, I need only mention the word "potatoes'' as one
example. The unilateral action maintained by the United States over the past
five months, with its arbitrary refusal to allow tested and cleared P.E.I.
potatoes across its border, has resulted in the spoilage of millions of
perfectly good potatoes and the hardship of countless Islanders in various
industries. It is this type of heavy-handed border control that must be curbed
if we are to avoid future catastrophes in our key industries. To ensure that our
Canadian and regional economies continue to thrive, we must ensure that the
heavily relied upon U.S. market remains accessible to Canadian products.
Honourable senators, I believe that the Government of Canada has truly
grasped the defining issues of the day for Canadians. As emphasized in the
Speech from the Throne, support for children and families is a fundamental issue
that must be addressed. Sadly, family well-being often takes a back seat to
economic and financial concerns, including job creation. In recent years, a
shift has been evident and the broad realization made that our children's
well-being is inherently linked to economic growth. To ensure a bright future
for Canada, we must nurture the seeds of today.
To this end, it appears that the government is well poised to continue
strengthening the family ethic with commitments to the National Child Benefit
and the Early Childhood Development Initiative. The government has promised to
increase its contribution to the National Child Benefit over the next four years
and to invest more than $2 billion in the Early Childhood Development Initiative
over the next five years. These programs see to it that the future builders of
the country get off to a good start and make it easier for parents to provide
the necessities of life for their families.
Also adding to the wonderful quality of life that we enjoy in Canada will be
a healthier society predicated on disease prevention rather than disease
treatment. It is, unfortunately, quite easy in the world today to be negligent
in regard to our own personal health. Many Canadians lead sedentary lives with
little physical activity and little impetus to pursue healthy living and eating
habits. Our advanced world provides quick and easy foods, and quick and easy
transportation. The industrial and technological revolutions remove many of us
from the labourious and agrarian lifestyles that kept our ancestors in such good
health. Today, many of us must make concerted efforts to lead active lifestyles,
but the benefits of doing so are becoming increasingly documented.
I fully support government intentions to champion community- based health
promotion and disease prevention measures, including encouragement of physical
fitness, the reduction in substance abuse, and the promotion of mental health.
Healthy living helps prevent the onset of certain diseases, and is an initial
step to ensuring a functional and effective health care system.
Honourable senators, hand in hand with our quality of life in this great
country is the quality of the environment in which we live. We need to act now
to ensure the preservation of our great supply of fresh water for future
generations; we need to work determinedly to reduce the emission of
ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere; and we need to ensure that the
many wonderful, natural spaces of Canada are maintained and preserved. For what
use are our efforts in raising healthy, active and happy children in secure
family settings when the world they inherit has air that is unfit to breathe,
water unfit to drink and natural spaces that have been developed to the
exclusion of wildlife? If our efforts as trustees of this world are to be
productive and beneficial for the children of today and tomorrow, we have to see
how quality of life is not merely dependent on one aspect of life, but is rather
intertwined with, and dependent on, many factors.
In conclusion, honourable senators, as I am sure all of you will agree, there
is much work to be done in this country if Canadians are to realize the full
potential of this great land. The Government of Canada has set its course, and I
believe that we are headed in the right direction. As parliamentarians, we are
in the privileged position of being able to help steer the ship. I look forward
to working with my honourable colleagues toward the achievement of the above
goals and many more over the months to come.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I should like to make a few
remarks in response to the Speech from the Throne. My focus is not on what was
said in the speech, which was pretty much a repetition of selected parts of the
Liberal Party's campaign Red Book; my emphasis, rather, is on what has been left
There is no indication that the government is planning any significant action
on some of the major issues that concern Canadians, such as homelessness and
health care. I know that the government reached an agreement with the provinces
last fall on increased funding for health care, but we are still faced with the
problems of waiting lists for medical care, a shortage of hospital beds, and
shortages of nurses, doctors and technicians. Senator Cook alluded to that in
her address. People in rural areas of Canada still find it increasingly
difficult to attract and retain medical personnel.
The Speech from the Throne did not promise us a budget. In fact, the Minister
of Finance and the Prime Minister have promised us that we will not have a
budget this month, and possibly no budget at all for the rest of the calendar
year. The annual February budget is where we might have expected the government
to address some of Canada's more urgent spending promises and priorities.
That brings me to two particular concerns that I would draw to your attention
today. The first is funding for our national parks. On June 28, 2000, the
Minister of Canadian Heritage appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. She was there to inform us about
Bill C-27, respecting the national parks of Canada. Senator Kenny questioned the
minister about the budget for Parks Canada and she replied:
...there has been a 25 per cent cut in the Parks Canada budget... I have
been making strong representations, as has the Prime Minister in the last
number of months, for an increase in the parks budget... If we are growing the
parks system — and we have had two electoral commitments to complete the parks
system — then if you do not grow the pot, the capacity to support every park
will be diminished. We are working now to have input into the budgetary
process in February... I am working very hard to ensure that this is expressed
in the upcoming budget.
Honourable senators, now we are told that there will be no February budget,
nor any budget any time soon. We have no undertaking in the Speech from the
Throne to replace the budgetary process. There are plans to create several new
national parks and we will soon be receiving legislation to establish a process
for creating marine conservation areas. However, we have no indication that the
funding will be there for these new additions to the parks system or to properly
operate the existing national parks.
The infrastructure in our national parks is deteriorating at an alarming
rate. Roads, bridges and buildings are crumbling. In an interview with the
Toronto Globe and Mail published on January 22 of this year, the head of
Parks Canada Agency, Mr. Tom Lee, said that the existing national parks need $1
billion over the next five years just to correct the present state of disrepair.
Some structures have deteriorated so badly that the agency has been forced to
close them or tear them down.
The article by Mr. Tom Lee in The Globe and Mail offered some
Last year, a bridge on the heavily used West Coast Trail at Pacific Rim
National Park...broke, and people on it fell into the gully below...
As well, in the past year, the agency had to tear down part of a building
at the 18th-century fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island...Part of the
fortress...had become so shaky that it was even a hazard to people outside
A water and sewage treatment plant in Jasper National Park in Alberta spews
out effluent more contaminated than standard levels...
In addition to the physical decay, honourable senators, there are serious
ecological problems. The same Globe and Mail article cites a report on
Jasper's ecological security last year which "found that some species meant to
be protected in the parks were dying out there instead.''
Honourable senators, Bill C-27, the national parks bill, which we passed last
fall, included a commitment to preservation of the ecological integrity of the
parks. The head of the Parks Canada Agency says the existing parks desperately
need an additional $1 billion over the next five years just for necessary
repairs. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, when she appeared before our
committee last June, renewed the government's commitment to expanding the parks
system and told us she had been strongly arguing for more funding. She said that
she had the support of the Prime Minister.
In light of all that, it is very disappointing to find that there is no
commitment in the Speech from the Throne to address funding the parks system and
no prospect of a budget that might fulfil the minister's expectations.
In the Supplementary Estimates tabled earlier this March, I did note an
allocation of an additional $78 million for the Parks Canada Agency. Most of
that money, however, is earmarked for land acquisitions and increased operating
costs. Only $17 million is set aside for "investments in capital assets to
address critical requirements.'' Assuming that this is intended for repairs to
infrastructure, it amounts to just over one-half of 1 per cent of the $2.6
billion in new spending that is included in the Supplementary Estimates. That
drop in the bucket falls far short of the $1 billion that the head of the Parks
Canada Agency says is urgently needed for repairs.
Honourable senators, I know that the Leader of the Government told us in her
speech on February 21 that "New parks will be created and existing ones will
receive greater funding.'' I was pleased to hear that, but that statement falls
far short of budgetary commitment. I repeat that Mr. Tom Lee, the CEO of the
Parks Canada Agency, says that the parks need an additional $1 billion just to
deal with the necessary repairs to existing facilities now.
The second concern I wish to address is the formula for calculating
equalization payments. In his reply to the Throne Speech on February 20, Senator
John Lynch-Staunton suggested that the equalization formula should be
re-examined with a view to allowing have-not provinces keep a larger portion of
oil and gas royalties, at least for a few years, to spur development of their
That should perhaps apply not just to oil and gas but to the development of
other non-renewable resources. I know that part of the problem in Newfoundland
and Labrador's negotiations over the development of the mining resources at
Voisey's Bay has been the clawback of potential provincial royalties under this
The Minister of Industry raised this issue last year when he was still
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. I hope that now that he is back in the
federal cabinet, he will continue to be sympathetic to this idea and speak up
for it at the cabinet table.
Earlier this month, the Premier of Nova Scotia, John Hamm, was in Ottawa to
promote a better deal for the have-not provinces in the treatment of
non-renewable resource revenues. He pointed out that for every dollar Nova
Scotia receives in oil and gas royalties, 81cents is clawed back in reduced
equalization payments. Nova Scotia, just like Newfoundland and Labrador, is
receiving little benefit from its natural resources.
There is a clear precedent for a different treatment of resource royalties.
In an interview with a National Post reporter on February 8 of this year, Mr.
From 1957 to 1965, Alberta received equalization from Ottawa. The energy
industry there was in its early years, just as Nova Scotia is now. The major
difference was that at that time, Alberta received 100 cents of every royalty
dollar. Ottawa didn't claw that money back through other programs such as
Alberta received considerable support in the development of its economy
during the early years of energy production by keeping all of its royalties
while still receiving equalization payments.
In the 1980s, the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development
Prospects for Canada produced a number of research studies in addition to its
report. One of these studies, entitled "Federalism and the Economic Union in
Canada,'' by Professors Kenneth Norrie, Richard Simeon and Mark Krasnick,
included an examination of the equalization system. They reported on some of the
changes in the equalization formula over the years.
The first formal equalization program was from 1957 to 1962. It was based
only on personal and corporate income taxes and succession duties. Alberta
qualified as a have-not province. In fact, only Ontario did not receive
The report stated that from 1962 to 1967, 50 per cent of provincial resources
revenue were added to the equation. Alberta and B.C. became "have'' provinces.
That continued, with some changes, until 1982.
In 1982, 100 per cent of resource royalties were included in the formula, but
Alberta was excluded from those calculations. The new equalization calculations
were based on the revenues of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C.
Leaving Alberta out of the formula substantially reduced equalization
entitlements for other provinces. The authors of this report concluded:
Oil and gas revenues are effectively eliminated from equalizations by
virtue of excluding Alberta from the base. This means that is there is no
equalization of this substantial revenue source, contrary to the principle
that provincial revenues should be fully or at least partially equalized.
The position of the "have-not'' provinces with respect to oil and gas
revenues is especially anomalous. Any revenues that the Atlantic provinces
might get from this source would count as revenue and would cause their
equalization entitlements to be reduced accordingly....There is an obvious
disincentive effect here. But there is also an apparent injustice in that they
would not get to share, via equalization, in Alberta's oil and gas revenues
but would get taxed completely on any of their own that they managed to
Honourable senators, the study was published in 1986. Now, some 15 years
later, we have arrived at precisely the situation that these authors foresaw. I
think it is regrettable that this issue was not placed on the agenda in the
Speech from the Throne, but I do hope the government is paying attention to the
case being made by the Premier of Nova Scotia, by the Leader of the Opposition
here in the Senate, and others.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kirby, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Mahovlich, for the second reading of Bill S-19, to
amend the Canada Transportation Act.—(Honourable Senator Callbeck).
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise
today to speak to Bill S-19. First, I want to commend Senator Kirby for bringing
this piece of legislation to the floor of this house.
It is obvious to many air travellers today that a great power imbalance
exists between the major air carriers in this country and the individual
passenger. This bill is a necessary start toward levelling the playing field.
Although I firmly believe that more competition is necessary to truly provide
the type of service that Canadian air travellers demand, this private member's
bill will ensure that Canadians can make informed decisions from the choices
that currently exist in the airline industry. As with any other product or
service in the marketplace, Canadians have a right to know the benefits and
advantages of choosing one over the other. This bill will reveal to travellers,
in an easily understood format, the quality of service being currently offered
by the competing airlines by reporting on the following aspects of customer
service: flight delays, mishandled baggage and flight overselling.
In a heavily dominated industry, consumers often choose the product or
service that is the most visible or familiar. The airline industry in Canada
these days is no exception. Air Canada controls over 80 per cent of the domestic
market. It is easy to see how the average consumer may feel that a choice does
not exist. However, this bill will not only inform consumers about the
performance of the various airlines, it will also make travellers more aware of
the alternatives in the industry. The smaller carriers will have their successes
and failures displayed alongside those of Air Canada, similar to the display of
information currently available on the U.S. transport Web site.
Though at first glance this regular report card may be viewed by the airlines
as burdensome or revealing, the public release of this information can
ultimately work to the airlines' benefit. If Air Canada, for example, can
successfully live up to its promise of improved service, it will have the
advantage of hard data for support. Canadian consumers can verify the claims
made by the various carriers by checking the confirmed results on the Internet.
In this manner, blanket statements that "customer satisfaction is up 15 per
cent'' will be subject to scrutiny and will need to be supported by the numbers.
Honourable senators, I conclude my remarks today by indicating my support for
Senator Kirby's bill and I urge all of you to lend your endorsement to this
initial step in making the airlines more accountable to consumers.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Forrestall, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Finestone, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C., for the second reading of
Bill S- 21, to guarantee the human right to privacy.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, in rising to speak at second reading of Bill S-21, I should like to
frame a few remarks within the context of the principles of privacy which find
expression in some human rights instruments of great import.
Honourable senators will recall that the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms does not contain a provision to recognize the right of privacy. That
comes as a surprise to students of human rights. They assume that our
constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms would clearly provide for the
protected right of privacy. The fact of the matter is, it does not. In order to
find our cornerstone — that is, the granite or the rock upon which it is
important to build the right of privacy — it is necessary for Canadians to
remember our great common-law tradition and perhaps to examine the many
judgments of our tribunals throughout our history, which have established a
significant body of jurisprudence that establishes the right of privacy for
We are in a legislative chamber, and it is with regard to the legislative
protection of privacy that my honourable colleague Senator Finestone has laid
before this house the proposition that we enshrine in statutory law the
protection of the privacy of Canadians.
If honourable senators feel the need of some concrete support to allow for a
fair margin of comfort in considering whether to enact a statute giving
statutory protection to the right of privacy, we need turn no further than
Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by Canada on
December 10, 1948. Article 12 of the universal declaration provides that no one
shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, and that everyone
has the right to the protection of law against such interference or attack.
Therefore, honourable senators, there is the universal standard that
recognizes privacy as a human right. Although some individuals feel that the
universal declaration is merely a statement of principle, most would argue that
nowadays, because the universal declaration has been cited so often in national
constitutions, in decisions of tribunals in countries around the world,
countries representing every system of government, every political ideology, the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights has acquired a unique authority. It has
become part and parcel of the corpus of international law to which we, as
Notwithstanding that, in 1976, with the written agreement of every premier in
Canada, Prime Minister Pearson wrote to all the premiers pointing out that a new
treaty on human rights was available for ratification by Canada, but that Canada
would only ratify this treaty on human rights if all the provinces agreed. Prime
Minister Pearson was recognizing the constitutional convention in Canada
concerning matters that affect the provinces. The federal authority would not
subject Canada to those norms unless the provinces agreed. By 1976, every
premier in Canada wrote to the Prime Minister and stated that they agreed that
Canada ought to deposit the instrument of ratification of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Honourable senators, it is interesting that here we had the written unanimous
agreement for a standard of human rights that, in terms of coverage, exceeds our
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why those who are engaged in the constitutional
patriation process in the early 1980s, and the drafting of the Charter of Rights
and Freedoms, did not build upon that written agreement is an interesting
footnote for students of constitutional history of Canada. The fact of the
matter is that all jurisdictions agreed in writing that Canada would ratify the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I draw your attention to article 17 of that treaty that binds us as
Canadians. It sets out in clear language that we, as Canadians, bound by
international human rights treaty law, recognize and accept the right to
privacy. Article 17 reads:
1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his
privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such
interference or attacks.
Honourable senators, right in our treaty obligation we have the recognition
of the right to privacy, as well as the obligation that Parliament will take
steps to promote and protect the right of privacy. That is explicitly stated in
article 2 of the same covenant, which reads:
...each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the
necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the
provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such laws or other measures as
may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present
Honourable senators, Senator Finestone is giving us the opportunity to fulfil
that obligation, to have a legislative framework within which the right to
privacy of Canadians can be secured. Nearly every country in the world
recognizes the right to privacy explicitly in their constitutions.
Unfortunately, we do not in Canada. For that reason alone, it seems to me that
this is an excellent opportunity that is being given to us by this bill proposed
by Senator Finestone.
Let me conclude by acknowledging that Canadian courts, in interpreting
section 8 of our Charter which grants the right to be secure against
unreasonable search or seizure, have recognized an individual's right to a
reasonable expectation of privacy. We have important federal statutes in Canada,
such as the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act and respective
commissioners of privacy provided for by those statutes, and in many provinces
there is privacy legislation. I can point out that the legislation in Quebec has
been pioneering in granting individuals a right to access to personal
information held by private sector business operating in that province. This law
also regulates the collection, confidentiality, correction, disclosure,
retention and use of personal information in the private sector.
Nearly every province has some sort of oversight body, but their powers vary.
We also recognize that certain sections of the Criminal Code are specific to
circumstances where privacy is the crux of the matter, and that such statutes as
the Telecommunications Act, the Bank Act, the Insurance Companies Act and the
Young Offenders Act have sections which touch upon the issue of privacy.
In the bill before us we have an overarching articulation of privacy that, in
my judgment, fits in nicely under the umbrella that is afforded to us, not by
our Constitution but by our international obligation. I believe that the
committee to which this bill is referred for detailed examination will be
responding to an important legislative need that can be responded to and filled
by a statute such as this. Therefore, I am pleased to support the bill.
Hon. Terry Stratton moved the second reading of Bill S-20, to provide
for increased transparency and objectivity in the selection of suitable
individuals to be named to certain high public positions.
He said: Honourable senators, it gives me great pleasure to lead off the
second reading debate on Bill S-20, to provide for increased transparency and
objectivity in the selection of suitable individuals to be named to certain high
The short title is easier and simpler to read: the Federal Nominations Act.
This is the first bill I have introduced in the Senate since coming here.
While I have chaired committees, been involved in special studies by committees
and been lead critic on a number of bills on our side, I commend the experience
to those senators who have not been involved in the preparation of a bill for
presentation in this place. It is a unique experience to see ideas take shape on
paper and transform into legalese and finally into statute form. There is then
an exchange of ideas between the senator and the legal draftsperson, and in the
end a bill appears, one which may be presented in Parliament. We in the Senate
are exceedingly well served by Mark Audcent, our Law Clerk and Parliamentary
Why am I doing this, honourable senators? I believe that Parliament has
essentially been neutered by two events that have made the other place and the
Senate far less dynamic and critical in the eyes of Canadians — and it shows.
The first event is the management of the affairs of Parliament by the Prime
Minister's Office and by three Prime Ministers starting with Pierre Trudeau,
followed by Brian Mulroney and continuing today with Jean Chrétien. Management
has made the backbenchers in the other place no more than puppets who stand up
when called on to vote. This is magnified by the fact of having virtually no
The second event, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, has made the Supreme
Court of Canada all-powerful. The court, not Parliament, has the final say in
determining the laws of the land. Yes, one can argue that we have the
"notwithstanding'' clause, but it has not been used by any government, to my
Honourable senators, it is time to bring some sunshine into the appointment
process to ensure transparency and objectivity in the selection of individuals
to be appointed by Order in Council to certain high public positions in Canada,
particularly the Supreme Court of Canada. One may ask why the Senate of Canada,
an appointed body? I say why not? If not us, who then? Why should we not
re-establish for now, in a small way, our role in determining the players in the
game, even though that role is advisory? Remember that the PMO is now
deliberately leaving this place, the Senate, out of legislation. That is how
powerful they have become.
Honourable senators, this bill establishes in statutory form a committee of
the Queen's Privy Council for Canada to develop public criteria and procedures,
to devise a process to identify and assess candidates and to provide for
parliamentary review of these appointments through appearance before the Senate
Committee of the Whole.
The idea for this bill had its origins for me as I sat in the audience in
Winnipeg last year listening to my leader in the Senate, Senator John
Lynch-Staunton, talk about parliamentary reform. His emphasis at that time, and
I am sure still is today, is that while people talk at length about Senate
reform, they ignore the real problem: that Parliament, the House of Commons and
the Senate are becoming increasingly irrelevant as more and more power becomes
concentrated in the Prime Minister's Office. Here, I am referring specifically
to the power of appointment possessed by the Prime Minister.
Borrowing a few paragraphs from Senator Lynch-Staunton's Winnipeg speech, the
Prime Minister has powers that make him the envy of other leaders of government,
not the least of whom is the President of the United States. The Prime Minister
chooses the cabinet without any vetting process such as the President of the
United States has to endure. He chooses every deputy minister of every
department, who are responsible to the Clerk of the Privy Council, who in turn
reports directly to the Prime Minister. Guess who appoints the clerk?
Honourable senators, the Prime Minister appoints all Supreme Court and other
federal judges. He appoints heads of Crown corporations. He appoints directors
of these corporations and all other government agencies. He appoints the head of
the RCMP. He appoints the Chief of Defence Staff and immediate associates. He
appoints ambassadors and other senior representatives abroad, and of course he
appoints members of the Senate.
Perhaps, even in a small, modest way, this bill represents the beginning of
an attempt at reforming our parliamentary process so that the power is shared
and not as concentrated in one location as it is now.
While the idea of this bill may be new, the concept of some parliamentary
involvement in Order-in-Council appointments is not new. Senators who have been
members of the other place or who have been here for a while may remember the
1985 report of the Special Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, a
committee chaired by the Honourable James McGrath. During the 1984 federal
election, scrutiny of appointments became an issue. Chapter 5 of the special
committee's report is an attempt to offer solutions to the issues of
transparency and review. The chapter reveals the difficulty that the committee
had coming to grips with this subject. How does one balance the prerogative of
government with the scrutiny and the exercise of those prerogatives? That was
The report deals at length with the pitfalls of the American system but also
with the benefits achieved with some level of ensured parliamentary, or in the
case of the United States, congressional, or senatorial scrutiny. The committee
lists as criticisms that there are too many such appointments that in theory
could be scrutinized. The thoroughness and intensity of the scrutiny varies from
committee to committee in the U.S. Senate. Supposedly qualified people are
discouraged from offering themselves for public office because of the
possibility of the scrutiny and the spotlight that is focused on them during the
The House of Commons special committee accepted these as potentially valid
criticisms, with the hope that by recommending a mixed process of scrutiny for
some appointments and confirmation for others there would be more consultation
by government before appointments were made and more openness in the process.
The committee set out various processes for reviewing a great number of
Order-in-Council appointments. However, when these recommendations were
translated into the House of Commons Standing Rules and Orders, members found
that there were too many appointments being referred for scrutiny, and these
appointments were not the ones where scrutiny would be really helpful. The
process envisaged by the McGrath committee never worked all that well.
Honourable senators, the bill I presented last week attempts to address some
of the shortcomings of the McGrath recommendations by putting in place a process
that would involve meaningful scrutiny of a few senior positions based on order
of precedence. We are trying to make this a manageable process, and when it is
successful, we can add other positions later. We are starting with a small
number deliberately, by order of precedence, and adding later upon success.
Turning to the bill itself, clauses 3 through 5 would establish in statutory
form a nomination committee of the Privy Council cabinet. It is to be composed
of the president and such other members of the Queen's Privy Council as are
nominated from time to time. It becomes, in reality, the selection or nomination
committee for the Order-in-Council appointments listed in the bill.
This committee, under clause 6, is to develop and publish criteria for the
positions in question. Clause 7 allows the committee to seek out and to assess
potential candidates for each position listed in the schedule and to make
recommendations to cabinet.
Clause 8 requires ministers, when intending to fill a listed position, to
choose from among candidates recommended as eligible. Clause 9 requires the
minister who recommends an appointment for a listed position to give notice in
both Houses of Parliament or by publication in the Canada Gazette.
Clauses 10 through 12 provide for parliamentary review. Here the class of
nominees has been divided so that the Senate is not required to deal with all
federally appointed judges, only the ones it wants to hear. However, for the
positions listed in Part 1 of the schedule attached to the bill there would be
review provided an invitation was issued by the Senate during the allotted time
I decided that review in Committee of the Whole by the Senate was preferable
to any other alternative. The Senate is less political than the House of
Commons, represents the regions of Canada and has proven in the past to be very
effective when dealing with federal officials appearing in the Committee of the
Whole, especially in relation to their annual reports.
Clause 11 provides that appointments that need to be made in a hurry can be
made, where the delay of a Senate hearing would be harmful, in order that the
Crown prerogative is not interfered with. However, even in this case, a hearing
can be held after the appointment is made.
Clause 13, the last clause of the bill, establishes that ministers of the
Crown are only to recommend an individual for an appointment covered under this
bill only if the nominations committee has recommended the individual for
appointment; the individual has attended, if invited, a hearing before the
Senate Committee of the Whole; and each House of Parliament has sat for seven
days following the hearing, giving Parliament time to comment on the
The criteria are public; the nomination is public; the process is
transparent; and Parliament, through a televised hearing in the Senate Committee
of the Whole, is given the opportunity to question the person. The person
becomes whole; there is a face attached to the name; there is a personality
attached to the face.
I know there are many here, including some on this side, perhaps including
Senator Beaudoin, who would be against this type of scrutiny for Supreme Court
of Canada appointments. Not being a lawyer, not being part of the club, I
believe otherwise. I read and thoroughly agree with Professor Jacob Ziegel's
arguments contained in a June 1999 Institute for Research on Public Policy
publication entitled "Merit Selection and Democratization of Appointments to
the Supreme Court of Canada.'' It is Professor Ziegel's opinion and, indeed, the
opinion of many others, that the Supreme Court's role in public policy- making,
especially since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is so crucial that the
public is entitled to know about the beliefs of the men and women who are to be
appointed to this court. As Ziegel points out, those who offer themselves to
public office by running for the House of Commons in a general election have
their beliefs and backgrounds displayed openly for all to see, and they do not
have anywhere near the kind of influence Supreme Court judges have on public
policy. Think about that.
The purpose of this bill is to move us toward parliamentary reform. It
counters the centralizing tendency of the PMO and lets sun shine in on the
Order-in-Council appointment process for a limited number of positions that can
be added to later.
I look forward to discussions on this bill and to hearing witnesses in
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore rose pursuant to notice of January 31, 2001:
That he will call the attention of the Senate to the emerging issue of
deferred maintenance costs in Canada's post-secondary institutions.
He said: Honourable senators, in the recent Speech from the Throne the
government referred to the need for aggressive investment in the skills and
talents of Canadians if this nation is to continue to prosper. If we are to take
full advantage of the new knowledge economy, we must develop and maintain a
steady stream of intelligent young men and women able to exploit its
unprecedented opportunities. A key element of this is our system of
post-secondary education, and our universities in particular. Our universities
provide both an education for successive generations of students and a venue for
research of national and international importance. From environmental research
to telecommunications, to unlocking the mysteries of the human genome, our
universities are in the forefront of the technological revolution benefiting
Canadian industry and society as a whole.
Unfortunately, if these institutions are to continue to play this role, they
must update and, in many cases, rebuild their deteriorating infrastructure. To
do that they require assistance. The fact is that Canada's universities are
reaching a crisis point — "a point of no return,'' as one study describes it —
beyond which they will be physically unable to accommodate the needs of
students. To avert this crisis will require aggressive investment indeed.
Like so many of our public institutions, Canadian universities were utterly
transformed by the demographic changes that took place in the wake of the Second
World War. Starting in the early 1960s, the influx of baby boomers strained the
resources of universities as they struggled not just to educate but simply to
accommodate this flood of new students. Inevitably, universities met that
challenge by undertaking construction programs on their own campuses, building
scores of new residences, classrooms, laboratories and other facilities at
unprecedented speed to meet increased demand.
With the increase in energy prices in the 1970s and the ensuing era of
recession and government restraint, there was little money for capital
improvements, and what money there was often went toward new structures rather
than the initially desired maintenance of existing facilities. As a result, that
maintenance was deferred until a later date. Unfortunately, continued shortages
in funding meant that, for many universities, that date kept being pushed
farther and farther into the future as the maintenance went from desirable to
essential to critical.
The legacy of that state of affairs is with us today as the buildings
constructed during the boom years approach the end of their useful lives. To be
sure, Canadian university campuses are not crumbling ruins. Yet, in a way, that
is part of the problem. The deterioration tends to be invisible, or at least
inconspicuous, tempting one to think that the problem is not yet serious.
However, overcrowded classrooms and worn out ventilation systems will not heal
if left on their own. If we are to enjoy the benefits of a first-class education
system, we must be prepared to support that system, and support entails
investment in everything from high-speed data links to roofs that do not leak.
Honourable senators, the scale of the problem is daunting. As I mentioned in
a previous speech, the Canadian Association of University Business Officers
produced a study on this issue last year in which they conservatively estimated
the value of the accumulated deferred maintenance nationwide to be in the
neighbourhood of $3.6 billion. This equals a replacement value of all
universities in Atlantic Canada combined. Think of it. Merely to wipe the slate
clean, to catch up on those repairs that have been put off, would entail the
equivalent of rebuilding the universities of four provinces from scratch. At
least one university president has remarked that "it may well be the single
biggest challenge in the years ahead for universities right across Canada.''
The man who made that remark is the immediate past president of my alma
mater, St. Mary's University, where I serve on the board of governors. I can
speak from personal experience about the problems our university faces. For
example, our largest residence building has deteriorated to the point where we
had to do something. The options were obvious: demolition and construction of a
new facility; removal of the uppermost stories and refurbishment of the
remaining structure; or, complete renovation of the existing structure. The most
economical decision was the last option. Therefore, we are in the throes of
The cost of that project alone is $25 million. However, funding for that
project was not within our budget. St. Mary's prides itself on always balancing
its books and never deficit financing. However, I can tell honourable senators
that this experience has been quite a shock to our system. We sought funding
proposals for this project and accepted the best of those offers, one which has
most strenuous conditions. Honourable senators, this residence project has been
a real wake-up call, not just for St. Mary's but for post-secondary institutions
throughout Atlantic Canada and, indeed, across our country.
Obviously, this deterioration cannot be allowed to continue. First, campus
infrastructure will eventually reach the point where it is unusable. As the
Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada stated in a brief last
The list of negative consequences of deteriorating physical infrastructure is
extensive: greater health and safety concerns, less space available for
classroom or laboratory use, improper research infrastructure can hamper the
ability of students to learn on specialized equipment or other learning tools,
dilapidated on-campus housing can disrupt the day-to-day living conditions of
students, lack of access ramps can be an impediment for disabled students,
faculty may be discouraged from continuing to work at the university, and so on.
Second, we have yet another demographic surge as the children of the baby
boomers, the so called "echo'' generation, reach university age. It is
estimated that there will be a 20 per cent increase in university enrolment over
the next decade, a sobering thought given the stress that the current levels of
enrolment are placing on the system.
What is the solution? The short answer, honourable senators, as it often is,
is money. The scale of the problem is such that it cannot be solved by simply
rearranging existing university budgets. It will require substantial additional
investment over and above what universities currently receive. Again, the CAUBO
estimate is $3.6 billion. This cannot be a one-time bailout operation. A
short-term construction program helped bring about the current situation in the
first place. Whether through federal, provincial or private effort, and most
likely a combination of all three, a comprehensive effort must be launched to
reverse the decline of recent years and ensure that it is not repeated.
In closing, honourable senators, the state of infrastructure on our
university campuses is a depressing problem which calls for innovative
solutions. It is a problem that we in this chamber would do well to examine.
Hon. David Tkachuk, for Senator Kolber, pursuant to notice of March 1,
That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce during its study of Bill S-19, An Act
to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Canada Cooperatives Act
and to amend other Acts in consequence, in the Second Session of the
Thirty-sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee for its present study of
Bill S-11, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Canada
Cooperatives Act and to amend other Acts in consequence.
Hon. David Tkachuk, for Senator Kolber, pursuant to notice of March 1,
That the Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be authorized to
permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least
possible disruption of its hearings.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I should like to ask a
question of the honourable senator. Before formulating my question, I would tell
him what happened in a certain committee last week and, indeed, two weeks prior
After obtaining the authorization of the Senate to have cameras record our
proceedings, I entered that particular committee to find that the cameras were
already rolling. I subsequently learned that the committee itself had not sought
permission of the members of the committee to authorize the recording of the
Is it the view of Senator Tkachuk that, once the Senate authorizes the use of
recording equipment, whether it is video or audio, in the committee, the
committee must obligatorily allow that proceeding to go forward or should, on
the other hand, the committee not seek the authorization of the members of the
committee to proceed?
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I believe that the members of
the committee have the opportunity to decide what to do.
Senator Corbin: If the honourable senator as Chair of the committee
wanted the cameras to roll, is he saying that he would not allow it unless he
had the full support of the members of the committee?
Senator Tkachuk: That is correct.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. David Tkachuk, for Senator Kolber, pursuant to notice of March 1,
That the Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce have power to
engage 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 referred to it.
Hon. David Tkachuk, for Senator Kolber, pursuant to notice of March 1,
That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be
authorized to examine and report upon the present state of the domestic and
international financial system;
That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject during the
First and Second Session of the Thirty- sixth Parliament and any other
relevant Parliamentary papers and evidence on the said subject be referred to
That the Committee be empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of
its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings;
That, notwithstanding usual practices, the Committee be permitted to
deposit an interim report on the said subject with the Clerk of the Senate, if
the Senate is not sitting, and that the said report shall thereupon be deemed
to have been tabled in the Chamber; and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than March 31, 2002.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, will this be a new study? Will it involve expenditures not approved by
the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee and travel within the
country or elsewhere?
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, we have not decided on the exact
studies we will conduct. We are seeking authorization to proceed, and we will
then be presenting a budget when we have the exact frames of preference.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it your pleasure to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux, pursuant to notice of March 13, 2001, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples 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.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain, pursuant to notice of March 15, 2001, moved:
That the matter of officially recognizing a third party, within the
procedures of the Senate, be referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges,
Standing Rules and Orders for consideration and report.
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise to speak to this motion,
which is a logical result of the direction received from the comments provided
and the responses and the interventions made as a result of my question of
privilege. Hopefully this motion will result in the introduction of new rules or
at least amendments to the existing Rules of the Senate.
Before I continue, I wish to again thank His Honour for his remarks on the
question of privilege that I raised earlier in the session. I also thank those
who provided their comments on the matter, such as Senator Prud'homme and
others. While I do not necessarily agree with all the comments made, I believe
that all parties and senators have recognized and agreed to the need to refer
this matter to a committee for consideration.
It was the view of our Speaker, as well as the leadership on the government
side and the recommendation from Australia, that this matter should go to the
Rules Committee. The clerk from the House of Lords, at Westminster, indicated
that the senator should be accommodated. The collective opinion to this point in
regard to the matter I raised on February 6, 2001, is that examination is
required. I am grateful for that support, and I believe that we will be better
for it in the Senate.
I should also mention that in many areas of procedure and practice this place
does mirror, more or less, the other place. In the lower house, in 1993, where
there existed an opposition party of just two members, all four opposition party
groups participated in the discussion and negotiation that led to the allocation
of resources, speaking time, committee membership and so forth. Since similar
negotiations occurred in this place, the named Senate representative of the
Canadian Alliance should have been a participant. Had that been the case, my
raising a question of privilege most likely would not have been necessary.
For 133 years, Canada has been governed by one of two different parties, and
the respective governing Prime Minister has determined the composition of this
place. Consequently, this place has really operated with only two parties.
However, as is the case with our sister Parliament of Australia, amongst others,
times do change. The will of the electorate is not always constant. We all know,
or should know, that about 12 years ago there was a change in the political
makeup of our country. Where we once had three parties in the House of Commons,
we now have five.
In the most recent general election, the governing Liberals garnered
approximately 40 per cent of the votes cast; the Canadian Alliance, 26 per cent;
the Bloc, 10 per cent; the NDP, 9 per cent; and the Progressive Conservatives,
12 per cent.
The present official opposition is a party of growth, and it is conceivable
that one day it could be the governing party. The Rules of the Senate
describe the responsibilities and the relationship of the Leader of the
Government in this place with the Leader of the Government in the other place.
The rules do not reflect in quite the same manner the relationship of the
leaders in the two Houses of the party of the official opposition, let alone any
other opposition parties. Our Rules of the Senate should spell out the
relationship between the two Houses for both the governing and the official
opposition party, just as it should spell out the rules on the determination of
other opposition parties in this place.
Honourable senators, the Senate needs to be progressive and prepared to deal
with more than a two-party house. The purpose of the Senate differs from that of
the other place, but it must recognize the political landscape that has
developed in our nation. As the Senate composition is determined by appointment,
it is conceivable that one day we may have a situation where the governing party
has but one representative in this place. The Constitution sets out the number
of senators named to represent the regions of Canada and, as is often the case,
when there is a change of government, there are no seats to fill with appointed
representatives of the incoming government. In this hypothetical and yet
possible example, one senator would be the Leader of the Government in the
Senate, the deputy leader, the whip, the caucus and the members of all the
committees. That would mean, in effect, a party of one.
Honourable senators, one question must be answered: What constitutes a
recognized party or party status in this place? Clearly, on this count, the
factors of determination are entirely different from those of the other place.
There is no corollary; the rules of determination cannot be the same.
In the other place, each party is recognized and, by application of a formula
of sorts, party status is determined. With party status, the tools to be an
effective opposition are allocated. In the Senate, this form of status
determination is not a viable consideration. Electoral percentages and even mere
numbers in a party have never played a part in determining status in this place.
Presence by merely being here should determine party recognition and status. It
follows, then, that the existing procedures and practices of this place will
provide the rights, privileges and resources to each party in the Senate.
Honourable senators, it is my hope that the Senate represent and be seen to
be representing all regions and peoples of the country. Each party and each
senator should be seen to be equal in all matters, and if such is not the case,
then it is incumbent upon us to correct the inequity of our practices and rules.
Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier stated that all senators are equal. I beg to
differ. At the present time, some are more equal than others.
I hope all senators can support this motion, which requests that the matter
of officially recognizing a third party within the procedures of the Senate be
referred to the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders for
consideration and report.
Hon. Jack Wiebe, pursuant to notice of March 15, 2001, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be
authorized to examine international trade in agricultural and agri-food
products, and short-term and long-term measures for the health of the
agricultural and the agri-food industry in all regions of Canada;
That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work
accomplished by the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry
during the Thirty- sixth Parliament be referred to the Committee; and
That the Committee submit its report no later than June 30, 2002.
Hon. Jack Wiebe, pursuant to notice of March 15, 2001, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be
authorized to receive, examine and report on the papers and evidence received
and the work accomplished by the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and
Forestry during its consideration of the present and future state of forestry
during the Second Session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament; and
That the Committee submit its report no later than June 30, 2001.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, March 21, 2001, at 1:30 p.m.