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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 19

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


THE SENATE

Thursday, March 22, 2001

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

World Water Day

Hon. Ione Christensen: Honourable senators, on February 22, 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring March 22 as World Water Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the importance of water, not only to our lives as human beings, but also its importance to all life on this planet.

The theme for this year is "Water and Health.'' How appropriate in a year when we, as Canadians, have received a wake-up call with the tragic events in Walkerton, Ontario. The reality of such tragedies is that they take place each and every day someplace in the world.

Honourable senators, 71 per cent of the earth's surface is covered with water; 95 per cent of all of that water is saline and not potable; and 2.5 per cent is locked in the ice, in the permanent snows of the Antarctic or in mountainous regions. What do we have left? Only 2.5 per cent. In the last century, demands for potable water increased by a multiple of six, which is more than double the population growth in that period of time. Remember, we only have 2.5 per cent, which is a finite number.

At Globe 2000 in Vancouver last year, one of the workshop presenters estimated that we have only 20 years before we hit the critical wall of no return. Major industrial growth in Asia, North America, and Western Europe's continued wasteful use of water, together with global warming, all will speed us into a collision course with confrontation based on the need for water. Past centuries have seen conflicts based on ethnic, religious, ideological and territorial expansion, but in the 21st century water will be the Holy Grail of every race and nation.

Several years ago, I was on a train travelling between London and Glasgow, and my seatmate was a biologist who worked in the London water treatment centre. She cheered me immensely by explaining how each glass of water that came out of the tap in London had already passed through five persons.

Growing up in the Yukon, I was surrounded by pristine wilderness and pure water, and I could dip my cup into any stream and drink with confidence. The Yukon is an area of 186,000 square miles. We still only have a population of 30,000, but in the year 2001, only 50 years from when I was a child, every watershed carries giardia and some carry many more toxic contaminants.

The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to interrupt the Honourable Senator Christensen, but her three-minute time period has expired.

Senator Christensen: I would request leave to continue, honourable senators.

The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry, Honourable Senator Christensen, but our practice has been not to grant leave on Senators' Statements. Perhaps the honourable senator could continue at the next sitting.

Senator Cools: Give her a chance!

Senator Christensen: I only have one more thing to say.

The Hon. the Speaker: There is no consent.


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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

The Estimates, 2000-2001

Report of National Finance Committee on Supplemenatry Estimates (A) Presented

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, which deals with the Supplementary Estimates (A), 2000-2001.

I request that the report be printed as an appendix to today's Journals of the Senate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix A, p. 220.)

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

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

The Estimates, 2001-2002

Report of National Finance Committee Presented

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, which deals with the Estimates, 2001-2002.

I request that the report be printed as an appendix to today's Journals of the Senate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix B, p. 229.)

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

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

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act

Bill to Amend—Report of Committee

Hon. Jack Wiebe, for Hon. E. Leo Kolber, Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, presented the following report:

Thursday, March 22, 2001

The Standing Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-16, An Act to Amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Thursday, March 1, 2001, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

E. LEO KOLBER

Chairman

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

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, at the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, a motion has been put before the house. All motions are debatable. Do I understand the rules correctly that this is now a debatable motion?

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the wording of the motion is that third reading be given at the next sitting of the Senate. As to whether a motion to proceed to third reading at the next sitting is a debatable motion, the answer is no. However, I am prepared to receive argument on that view under a point of order and to give a ruling if I am required to. At this point, my answer is "no,'' Senator Kinsella.

Senator Kinsella: I thank His Honour for that explanation. When we are at Orders of the Day, I intend to raise a point of order on this whole process.

The Hon. the Speaker: I understand. I will now put the question.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt motion?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

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

[Translation]

Customs Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) presented Bill S-23, to amend the Customs Act and to make related amendments to other acts.

Bill read first time.

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

On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.


[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

Multiculturalism

Prince George, British Columbia—Comments by Minister

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It relates to statements made by her colleague the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

Yesterday, in the other place, Minister Fry made a certain allegation concerning the community of Prince George, British Columbia. The allegation was that in that community crosses were burning — a clear reference to the abhorrent practice in some parts of that great republic to the south of the Ku Klux Clan and other racist and anti-Semitic organizations burning crosses. This has been denied by the RCMP and by the chief magistrate of that community.

Could the minister advise this house whether the Minister of State for Multiculturalism was accurate in her statement? Is it the position of the Government of Canada that it is okay to be making these kinds of accusations, particularly given the fine statements in this house pointing out the fact that the world community, Canada included, is actively engaged in combatting racism and all forms of racial discrimination?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his question. It is indeed a serious one. I am given to understand that the Minister of State for Multiculturalism will be making a statement in the House this afternoon with respect to this incident and, therefore, I do not wish to go further. I will wait to see what she has to say.

National Defence

Replacement of Sea King Helicopters—Concerns of Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Now that Canadian Press has released an article that clearly indicates the aerospace industry's discontent with the Maritime Helicopter Project procurement process, can the minister confirm that President Peter Smith of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada met twice in the last week with the Deputy Prime Minister, and once with Minister Eggleton and Minister Gagliano?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I cannot confirm that information this afternoon. However, I will seek to obtain it for the honourable senator.

Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, since the industry has stated its concerns to the Deputy Prime Minister on certification on the lowest-price compliant position of the government, and given the fact that as the procurement is now structured the Government of Canada will become the prime contractor — in other words, its own prime contractor — will the government mend its ways and change the procurement process? If so, how will that be approached and when will it be done?

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I believe the government is satisfied with its procurement process. Obviously the honourable senator is not, but the government has not given any indication that it is anything less than satisfied with the process in which it has engaged.

Also, I want to confirm to the honourable senator that the information he provided to me yesterday has been forwarded to the Minister of National Defence.

Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada is deeply concerned. It is not just one senator who has some concerns about the procurement process. In the minister's discussions of this matter with her colleagues, I hope she will bear that in mind and not simply suggest to the Senate and others that I seem to be the only one with grave concerns. It would seem to me that the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, its president, high-ranking members of the Canadian Armed Forces, both presently serving and recently retired, and countless other Canadians who are knowledgeable and concerned deeply about the direction of our Armed Forces in general, have expressed concerns about this process. Perhaps one of the ways that the government might get back into the good graces of some Canadians is to review this matter and take some alternative action. I am not the only one making the suggestion.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I was not suggesting that the honourable senator is the only one concerned. I said there was certainly a disagreement between him and the government in this particular instance.

I want to assure the honourable senator that the information that he relates at any time in this chamber, whether it is his position or the position of others for whom he is speaking, is immediately forwarded to the government.

Senator Forrestall: I accept that as a given, honourable senators.

Foreign Affairs

Civil War in Sudan—Involvement of Talisman Energy Inc.

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It relates to the troubling situation in Sudan and the current position of the Government of Canada. It also arises, honourable senators, from the headline in the newspapers today, which states, "Eggleton set to trim peace missions.''

Canada can no longer afford long-term peacekeeping commitments and is moving towards a "get in quick, get out fast'' philosophy, the Defence Minister said yesterday.

Honourable senators, the honourable leader will know that the civil conflict in Sudan was triggered 17 years ago, and some 2 million people, mostly African Christians and traditional believers in the South and Central Sudan, have been killed. Another 4.5 million of these southerners have been driven from their homes by Khartoum's bombing raids and warfare. In addition, tens of thousands of southern women and children have been taken as slaves and sent to the north as concubines and labourers. The current regime is a terrorist regime and a genocidal one, and has been specifically condemned by the U.S. House of Representatives and many other groups.

What specifically will the Government of Canada do for human beings in Sudan, as a well-known peacemaker and peace broker, to bring about an end to these serious violations of human rights?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his question. It is a two-part question. One part is with respect to some comments attributed to the Minister of National Defence yesterday about peacemaking and missions around the world. There has been no change in policy at the Department of National Defence with respect to the direction of peacekeeping in the future.

As to the specific question the honourable senator raised with respect to Sudan, I have no up-to-date information for him today. However, I will obtain it and get it to him as quickly as possible.

Senator Oliver: Honourable senators, while the minister is getting that information, perhaps she could also get some information on one of Canada's oil companies, Talisman corporation, which is alleged, through the payment of royalties, to be a major contributor to the coffers of the Khartoum government that is carrying out these atrocities. She might, at the same time she is getting the other information, kindly get information on what position the Canadian government is now taking in relation to the royalties paid by Talisman.

Senator Carstairs: I thank the honourable senator for his question. As the honourable senator knows, there was an investigation of the Talisman corporation once before, and that investigation appeared to indicate that they were conducting themselves in an appropriate fashion. However, if there is any update in that area, I will also obtain it for the honourable senator.

United States—Missile Defence System—Possibility of Raising Issue at G8 Summit

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Today, the Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, which Lloyd Axworthy, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently joined, issued a report that said that Canada should use its position as host of next year's G8 summit of rich nations to counter American plans for the controversial missile defence system.

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The report says that the plan is opposed by most of the world and that Canadian critics of missile defence, as a responsible partner in both the NATO and NORAD alliances, have a duty to persuade our mighty neighbour and best friend to open up its strategic thinking. Is it the intention of the Government of Canada to raise this issue at next year's summit?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his question. I would think that any document produced by the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy would be read carefully by this government. He has a long tradition of participation in the government. Although he is now Executive Director of the Liu Centre, I do not think that would change in any way the esteem in which he is held.

No decision has been made with respect to that report since it has just been released, but I can assure the honourable senator that the report will be read.

India—Resumption of Normal Diplomatic Relations

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, some clarity is needed in Canada's policies concerning nuclear weapons and missile defence today. Thus, I reiterate the urgency of my request, particularly in light of the announcement made by the Government of Canada two days ago that it will resume normal diplomatic relations with India. In 1998, Canada broke off diplomatic relations because of India's six nuclear weapons tests at that time. When Canada broke off relations, we called on India to rejoin the mainstream of international opinion and to adhere unconditionally to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the anchors of the non-proliferation regime. Since that time, India has not joined the non-proliferation treaty and has not joined the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

What are the standards? What are the criteria for resuming normal diplomatic relations, having broken them off for the reasons I have stated? Are nations now free to ignore the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, receiving from Canada nothing more than a tap on the wrist?

Hon. Senator Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for his question. However, imposing those sanctions and keeping them in place for almost three years is more than a simple tap on the wrist. We were extremely unhappy with the position that India had taken. The facts are that India represents perhaps the largest vigorous democracy in the world and is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Recognizing those two factors, the minister decided that constructive dialogue was the most effective way of building mutual understanding and extending universal norms and values.

Pakistan—Resumption of Normal Diplomatic Relations

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I have listened attentively to this exchange. Can we apply the same criteria, therefore, to Pakistan, which is also extremely poor? I see Canada fading away from Pakistan in favour of India. We know that Pakistan did not sign the non-proliferation treaty either. We know that others did not sign, and we do not slap them too much. In the Middle East, we know that Israel did not sign, as was recently referred to by my colleague Senator Roche.

Why are we closer to some countries that do not sign the non- proliferation treaty, further away from others that do not sign the non-proliferation treaty, and very friendly with some that do sign it? I have agonized over this issue for many years in an effort to come up with an answer that I can give to anyone who asks me about it. Where do we stand on this issue?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for his question. There is a significant difference between India and Pakistan, and that is that Pakistan consistently refuses to hold free elections.

Fisheries and Oceans

East Coast—Proposal to Split Fishing Zones into Native and Non-Native Areas

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, a couple of weeks ago I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate to provide further details on the question of native allocations in Atlantic Canada. Specifically, I wanted further details on proposals to divide some of these areas into fishing zones.

Has the Leader of the Government received further information from her colleagues the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and/or the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development? If so, would she table that information in the house today?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his question. I do not have specific information with respect to the concept of those fishing zones, although I did say in the chamber that the government was not negotiating on the basis of fishing zones. I have no further information for the honourable senator. We have been trying to return information as quickly as possible, and I think we have been pretty good at it to date. However, with regard to that particular question, we still do not have the information.

Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, if such information does reach the public, would it be possible to provide whatever information is available? If there is no discussion on fishing zones, why not simply table the proposals that are being discussed with the native groups, given that the non-natives have not been invited to the table and are not aware of the negotiations that are taking place? In that way, those people would at least have an idea of how their future is being discussed.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, as the honourable senator knows, the negotiations are still ongoing, as they have been since February 9 under the leadership of Jim MacKenzie, who has been trying to achieve negotiated settlements of one to three years. We are committed to those negotiated solutions. However, as a matter of good faith with the other parties with which it is negotiating, I do not think at this point that the government is prepared to make those negotiations public.

Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, the government must realize that the property being negotiated has been in the hands of those communities and has been a part of the livelihood of those communities for many years. I do not understand why the government does not make those people aware of what is being negotiated away from them. I do not see what the great difficulty would be in letting these communities know what is being negotiated without their presence at the table.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I will make further inquiries on behalf of the honourable senator. If there is anything that I can divulge to him, I will do so.

Foreign Affairs

Zimbabwe—Human Rights Violations—Welcoming of President by France and Belgium

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I was pleased to see the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicate that he supports the view of many world leaders that the situation in Zimbabwe is worsening and is coming to a crisis. I was also pleased to see that Secretary of State David Kilgour reminded us that in October 1991, in Harare, the Commonwealth leaders signed a declaration committing themselves to the cause of human rights. I will not read the whole declaration.

I was appalled to see that President Mugabe was welcomed with open arms into France and Belgium at a time when it was absolutely critical that the world denounce his stand.

Canada led in the Harare declaration. What is the government presently doing to mobilize like-minded countries to ensure that this action by France and Belgium is not repeated when it is absolutely critical to the lives of the people of Zimbabwe?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for her question on Zimbabwe. I have no up-to-date information on any changes of position that the government may have taken with respect to Zimbabwe or any changes that it may make. If I can get further details, I will be pleased to do so.

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Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, my concern is not with Canada's position. I think that Canada's position is correct. It has denounced the actions of President Mugabe and has reminded him of the Harare declaration.

My concern is: Where is the Canadian leadership with like- minded countries when we are before the Human Rights Commission and when we are part of the OECD? France and Belgium are flouting good universal principles of support for human rights by admitting President Mugabe into their countries for a state visit.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, as the honourable senator knows, this government cannot take responsibility for what goes on in other countries. However, the position of the Canadian government to this point, as the honourable senator has said, has been the correct one. To my knowledge, it will be maintained.

Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, when there were corruption issues concerning businesses, we acted as a leader in bringing like-minded OECD countries together to work toward a better end. We acted as a leader in the Harare declaration. It would appear that this kind of action by Canada is needed again.

I would ask the minister to talk to her colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs to see what he can do with like-minded countries in the UN's Western European and Others Group to ensure that there is a concerted effort to bring these issues to bear on President Mugabe. Now is the time for Canada to assert leadership with like-minded countries.

The government has said that it does not want to work unilaterally. It likes to work with coalitions. I am simply suggesting that the minister undertake this initiative, as it is timely and necessary.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for her suggestion. I will bring it to the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Russia—Services at Moscow Embassy

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, as we are on the topic of foreign affairs, I take the liberty of raising a matter that was brought to our attention in the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs recently. We had as a witness an eminent Russian economist, Mr. Vladimir Popov. He complained about the poor services at the Canadian embassy in Moscow. He said that it is extremely painful, if not outright frustrating, for people from Russia wanting to come to this country on a passport or a visa to get speedy and competent service. He went so far as to state that the services at the Canadian embassy were one of the three worst in Moscow and suggested that, surely, the addition of several competent persons to the passport and visa office would improve matters tremendously. Would the minister bring this matter to the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his question. Clearly, our reputation in any foreign country is dependent on the service that we provide not only to Canadians who are in that country, but to those who wish to come to our country for a variety of purposes.

Honourable senators, I would be delighted to raise this specific issue of the Moscow office, and in particular the passport section, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs within a very few days.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I should like to draw to your attention the presence of visitors in our gallery. I am referring to the participants and organizers of the 2001 Forum for Young Canadians.

We welcome you to the Senate.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Point of Order

Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee on Bill S-16

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have received notice from Senator Kinsella that he wishes to raise a point of order.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, the point of order that must be raised relates to the manner in which the report from the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce was reported to have been presented appropriately in this house a few moments ago.

Senator Wiebe, who I take to be a member of that committee, rose and presented the report. My understanding is that the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce is Senator Kolber and that the deputy chair is Senator Tkachuk, who is sitting behind me.

Honourable senators, in my 11 years in the Senate, the protocol and practice has been that when the chairperson of a committee is not available to conduct the functions of the chair, it falls upon the deputy chair to undertake those duties. I would be curious to find out, first, whether the Banking Committee passed a resolution to the effect that this bill would be reported without amendment. I further wish to know, if the chair could not present the report, if authorization was given to another senator to do so.

Honourable senators, this is my first concern: May any member of a committee present the report of a committee? Surely, there must be a resolution in that committee to make a report to the Senate by either the chair or the deputy chair. If another senator on a committee is to make the report, there must be some instrument of designation so that we are assured that that senator is acting on behalf of the committee.

If we are not following the practice of the deputy chair acting in place of the chair, then I think that we must have some formal instrument of designation from the committee authorizing another member of that committee to table or present a report. That is particularly important if a report is bringing a piece of legislation back to the chamber.

Honourable senators, my second concern is that after the report was purportedly presented, the Speaker presented the question as to when the bill should be read the third time. My understanding is that our rules are fairly explicit in this regard. The senator in charge of the bill moves the third reading of the bill. However, Senator Robichaud moved the motion. The applicable rule, 97(4), is clear. It states:

When a committee reports a bill without amendment, such report shall stand adopted without any motion, and the Senator in charge of the bill shall move that it be read a third time on a future day.

Honourable senators, clarity must be brought to this process. If this rule is not followed, the report is not properly before us.

Perhaps Senator Wiebe could advise as to whether he had an instrument of designation, and perhaps members of the committee could inform the house that there was a resolution to that effect. Again, we need some clarity.

[Translation]

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I understand the issue raised by Senator Kinsella. Normally, the chair of the committee or, in his or her absence, the deputy chair presents the report of the committee. I would, of course, prefer that we use this procedure whenever possible. Rule 97(1) of the Rules of the Senate clearly states:

A report from a select committee shall be presented by the chairman of the committee or by a Senator designated by the chairman.

It does not say that this senator should be a member of the committee, only that this senator must be designated by the chairman.

When Senator Wiebe rose to present the report, he had told me before that he would do so. I assumed that if he had the report with him, then he had received it from the chairman and that the chairman had asked him to present it.

If this is not the case, the honourable senator could object to the presentation of the report. I believe the Rules of the Senate were followed.

As for the second point, under rule 97(4) of the Rules of the Senate, the sponsor of the bill must present a motion for its consideration at a future sitting. I assumed that I could present this motion because this report deals with government business: it is a bill. I would ask the Speaker to tell me if I was allowed to present that motion.

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[English]

Hon. Jack Wiebe: Honourable senators, to add some clarity to this from my perspective, yes, it was the chairman of the committee, Senator Kolber, who indicated that I would introduce the report in the Senate today. It was for that reason at the beginning of my remarks I said, "On behalf of Senator Kolber, I move...''.

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, although the rules may be a little bit cloudy about who does what, it seems to me that when honourable senators are asked questions about a committee's business, it is normally the chairman or the deputy chairman who is addressed. That has been the custom of the house. My view is that that implies that the chairman and the deputy chairman speak for the committee. Since Senator Kolber may not have been here, I was available to present the report of the committee. I assume that Senator Wiebe would have been doing it on his behalf. I do not know where Senator Wiebe received the designation. If someone rises and states, "I have designation,'' no one on the committee knew that that designation was given.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, Senator Tkachuk argues that the designation of the senator who can present the report is somewhat ambiguous. I do not see it that way. It is clearly stated that the report of a given committee must be presented by its chairman or by a senator designated by the chairman of the committee.

The first part of what he said hinted that, when someone needs to speak on behalf of the committee, this is of course the responsibility of the chairman or deputy chairman. I agree fully. There is no question here of speaking on behalf of the committee. It is merely a matter of presenting a report without amendment. When such a report is presented, no questions are asked. It is not a matter of moving for third reading of a bill, but rather of setting the date at which the bill will be considered at third reading. I have indicated that the date for this will be on a future day, next Tuesday to be specific.

I see no ambiguity or confusion. On the contrary, it is very clear.

[English]

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, my colleague opposite wants to rely on the clear wording of the rules in one instance in the reading of rule 97(1). However, he does not seem to want to apply the same standard to the reading of rule 97(4).

Rule 97(1), as he drew to our attention quite correctly, states:

A report from a select committee shall be presented by the chairman...

What was the instrument of designation, and is there something in writing? How do we know that the honourable senator was designated? Clearly, that is what rule 97(1) provides.

Rule 97(4), of course, presents the difficulty that was posed by Senator Furey, who was in charge of the bill, not moving the third reading. Rule 97(4) states:

When a committee reports a bill without amendment, such report shall stand adopted without any motion, and the Senator in charge of the bill shall move that it be read a third time on a future day.

That is the written word in respect of who moves third reading. Senator Furey had to move third reading, if we are to follow the rules. That is clearly written in rule 97(1), and we obviously have to follow it in 97(4).

Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I believe that we have to be clear when we talk about rules to ensure that we make reference to all the rules and that all the rules are absolutely correctly written.

Senator Tkachuk speaks about who may ask a question, which is covered in rule 24(1), and to whom they can direct that question. It is clear that they can ask a question of the Leader of the Government, the minister or the chairman of a committee. According to our rules, questions cannot be asked of the deputy chair. It is also interesting that this happens to be an S-bill. With an S-bill, by virtue of the fact that the process begins with the Deputy Leader standing in the chamber and presenting the bill, one could argue that it is Senator Robichaud who is in charge of this bill.

Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I know what the rules state in respect of this issue. I also know that in the absence of the chair, when questions are asked in this chamber, the deputy chair has the opportunity to answer them. They may be directed to him, therefore.

I have been here for eight years and I have served on many committees. This has never happened before.

When I was Chairman of the National Finance Committee, questions were asked of either me or Senator De Bané, who was the deputy chair of the committee. The same is true of the other committees with which I have been involved. In the absence of the chair, the deputy chair responded.

Honourable senators, we have a right to raise this point because it seems a little untoward and strange. I support my Deputy Leader on this point.

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the correct way to do this, despite what the rule may say, is to have the report introduced either by the chair or the deputy chair. That is the correct way to do this.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Carstairs: Is that what the rule states? No, it is not. The rule states that it can be introduced by the chair, or by the designate. Frankly, if the side opposite will take it under advisement to ensure that their chairs, when not available, will have their deputy chairs report, I will do the same thing on this side, to ensure that in the future our chairs follow this procedure to the best of their ability.

There are occurrences when neither the chair nor the deputy chair is in the chamber. The bill has been passed, and it is generally the procedure of this house, and a good one, that a bill should be reported to the Senate at the earliest possible opportunity. In extreme situations, in which neither the chair nor the deputy chair is available, then I believe that the rule in the Senate is a good one. The chair can designate someone, but the custom should be as I indicated earlier: It should be the chair and/ or the deputy chair.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I agree with the Leader of the Government that the person in charge of the bill should move the motion for third reading, when the time comes.

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If the person in charge of the bill is the person whose name appears on the bill itself, then, on Bill S-16, that person would be the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Senator Carstairs: He is acting as my deputy.

Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Just to refresh the memory of the house, you will recall last year when Senator Ghitter was Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, I was Deputy Chair, and he refused to report. We experienced some of the same brouhaha at that time. When he mentioned that he had been here eight years and that he had not run across this situation, I wanted to refresh his memory by referring to Hansard or the committee proceedings for the year prior to Senator Ghitter's retirement. In fact, about 60 days before his retirement we had the same argument.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I thank honourable senators for their interventions on this important matter. I will take the matter under consideration.

Having said that, I will not undertake to rule prior to this matter coming up on the Order Paper at the next sitting. However, I will do my best to do so. I will make my ruling as quickly as I can.

[Translation]

Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Motion in Amendment—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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 by the Honourable Senator Kinsella, seconded by the Honourable Senator Rossiter, that the following be added to the Address:

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 health care system has been shaken. Health care 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 fiscal responsibility.

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 Canada.

- End the taxation of scholarships awarded to students in colleges and universities.

- 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 restorative justice.

- 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 Act.

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 businesses.

- 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 coasts.

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.

- Introduce comprehensive "whistle-blower'' legislation.

- 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 debt.

- We have identified targeted new investments in programs totalling $7.4 billion.

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, 2001-2 sitting days remaining.)

Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, one of the points of the January 30 Speech from the Throne that interested me is the Government of Canada's desire to become involved in certain areas such as health, education, early childhood, the family, social services and literacy.

Canada is a federation. That is the form of government that suits us best. No one in this chamber challenges the federal system. Far from it.

The Constitution Act, 1867, lists the areas of jurisdiction of the two levels of government. I readily acknowledge that the theory of totally segregated areas of legislative jurisdiction is not easily applied in this day and age. In the next few minutes, I should like to focus on the respect due to our Constitution by the two levels of government.

[English]

In the Reference re Firearms Act, the Supreme Court of Canada states:

A federal state depends for its very existence on a just and workable balance between the central and provincial levels of government...

We may always improve a constitutional system. A constitution is never static. It evolves. This is the case in our country. Since patriation in 1982, we have amended the Constitution in nine cases. We have also adopted resolutions and laws that do not change the Constitution but contribute to its evolution.

Since 1867, the distribution of legislative powers has been amended on only a few occasions. This indicates that the distribution of legislative powers, in principle, is adequate. We should therefore have respect for our division of powers.

[Translation]

The dynamics of federal-provincial relations have for some time now been clearly centred on a desire for greater collaboration between provinces, as can be seen by the negotiations and discussions around the February 1999 Social Union Framework Agreement and the Health Agreement of September 2000.

I wish to encourage both levels of government to respect this division to the fullest extent. Any system of government is perfectible. This always holds true. Moreover, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Stéphane Dion, shares that belief. In a recent speech, he said the following:

[English]

...I am in no way suggesting to renounce any reform of the Constitution. Of course the Constitution is not perfect. I'm not saying that our Senate is perfect, or that an interpretative clause recognizing the unique character of Quebec would be of no use. I am in no way denying the need to reflect on our Constitution and our federalism, as Mr. Charest's party did recently. Indeed, I warmly welcome the fact that every political party that believes in Canada has its own ideas and its own methods for improving our federation.

[Translation]

This leads me to make a comment on the preliminary report by the special committee of the Liberal Party of Quebec on the political and constitutional future of Quebec society, chaired by the member of the National Assembly for Chapleau, Benoît Pelletier.

This report, which is of course federalist, painstakingly sets out a new five-point vision for federal-provincial relations: first, the new interests of Quebecers; second, the formation and recognition of the particular identity of Quebec; third, the rediscovery of the true meaning of Canadian federalism; fourth, the challenges for the Canada of tomorrow; and fifth and finally, a new Quebec leadership within Canada.

In my opinion, the Pelletier report represents a praiseworthy effort to improve the way Canadian federalism operates. While underscoring the advantages of our belonging within Canada, the report suggests that administrative agreements be entered into, particularly in the areas of communications, the environment and international relations.

The proposals made in that report include recognizing Quebec's specificity, making changes affecting the Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada, granting a constitutional veto, restricting the federal government's spending power, consolidating Quebec's immigration powers, redefining roles and responsibilities, redistributing the tax base and recovering tax points.

Changes are also proposed to improve Canada's economic and social union, notably through a new Council of the Federation. The report proposes much closer relations with francophones from the rest of Canada. Finally, the Pelletier report acknowledges the special status and the rights of Quebec's Aboriginal peoples.

This report provides a lucid vision of Canada's federal system. Again, the flexibility of federalism still offers a potential that has yet to be fully developed in our country. The report proposes practical and concrete solutions to increase the autonomy of Quebec and of the other provinces within Canada, but it also urges the other provinces to renew the federation and indicate that Quebec must be an active and productive partner.

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This desire to enjoy greater autonomy within the Canadian federation exists in other regions of Canada.

Honourable senators, I will conclude by saying that we, as legislators, must remain very respectful of the Constitution and never forget that our federation is based on a distribution of powers.

[English]

Hon. Landon Pearson: Honourable senators, I am pleased to be able to take part today in the debate on the Speech from the Throne. The occasion of a Throne Speech, which opens a new session of Parliament, is an excellent opportunity to look at where we are and where we are going with respect to certain issues that have been declared to be government priorities.

No one will be surprised to learn that the many references to children in the speech were what interested me most. I found them encouraging because, with their help, I can now see within the complexities of our constitutional structure an increasingly well- defined federal government strategy of support for children and their families, a strategy, furthermore, that is fully respectful of children's rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified in 1991, clearly recognizes that the state cannot parent a child, for that is the role of the family. The state can and should ensure the well-being of children by creating the conditions that free parents and other primary caretakers to look after and nurture the children who have come into their lives, and to do so with all the love and respect they deserve.

The federal strategy for children and their families is now made up of five main elements. The first is the government's contribution to the financial security of families through the National Child Benefit. The second is the extended parental leave provisions under the Employment Insurance Act that enable working parents to spend more time with their babies. The third is the provision, in conjunction with the provinces and territories, of early childhood care and development programs. The fourth is sound research to undergird government programs focusing on children. The fifth is to guarantee to children all the protections that the law can provide. Let me briefly discuss each of these elements in turn.

The Speech from the Throne states:

Now Canadians must undertake another national project — to ensure that no Canadian child suffers the debilitating effects of poverty...economic growth alone is not enough —

That is, to ensure that families have the resources to care for their children —

Governments also have a key role to play in helping families left behind and in providing support to families and children.

The Canada Child Tax Benefit, which is the federal government's primary means for helping families with the costs of raising children, has two components: the Canada Child Tax Benefit base benefit for low- and middle-income families, and the National Child Benefit supplement. In the last three budgets, the federal government increased its investment in this program by $2 billion and lowered the income threshold so that middle-income families can now benefit. By July 2004, total assistance provided through this program to Canadian families with children will be over $9 billion per year. By July 2004, 3.8 million families, including more than 90 per cent of all children, will be receiving benefits.

The National Child Benefit supplement, a component of the Canada Child Tax Benefit, targets low-income families with children. The 2000 budget took steps to sustain funding for the National Child Benefit by restoring full indexation to the tax system. The federal, provincial and territorial governments are working in partnership to reduce child poverty and promote parents' attachment to the workplace. Under the Social Union Framework Agreement, each province or territory can design the best way to meet these goals by reinvesting these funds in complementary programs and services for low-income families in areas such as child care, child benefits and income supplements, supplementary benefits, dental benefits and preventative services. Participating provinces and First Nations have already put $500.5 million into such initiatives. In July 2000, the National Child Benefit Futures Direction document was released to emphasize the ongoing commitment of federal, provincial and territorial governments to the National Child Benefit partnership, and the creation of a national platform of income support for families with children. The Speech from the Throne 2001 states:

The National Child Benefit is the cornerstone of our collective efforts to provide children with a better start. It is the single most important social program to be introduced in this country since medicare in the 1960s.

The Speech from the Throne also states:

The government will extend and make more accessible Employment Insurance benefits for parental leave, to help parents take more time from work to spend with their children. It will make its own workplace policies and those of federally regulated employers more family friendly.

Budget 2000 doubled the duration of maternity and parental leave under the Employment Insurance program to one year from six months, or 25 weeks. Extended benefits are now available to parents with a child born or adopted on or after December 31, 2000. The budget also lowered to 600 from 700 the number of hours that must be worked to be eligible. Parents are eligible for benefits with 12 hours of work a week over the course of a year, or 30 hours of employment a week over 20 weeks. In addition, parents can work part-time while receiving parental benefits in the same way as regular claimants, earning up to 25 per cent of their weekly benefit or $50, whichever is higher. The enhanced program will entail no additional costs either for employees or employers. These changes are expected to benefit some 150,000 families per year at an estimated annual cost of $900 million.

As of September 30, 2000, the Canadian Labour Code was amended to ensure that the period for which a job is protected under the parental leave provision is the same as the extended parental benefit period. Each province and territory has the responsibility of adapting its own labour codes as necessary.

With respect to the third element of the federal strategy for children, the Speech from the Throne states:

No commitment we make today will be more important for the long-term prosperity and well-being of our society than the commitment to invest our efforts in very young children.

In September 2000, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $2.2 billion in early child development over five years through the Canada Health and Social Transfer. Under the Early Childhood Development Accord, provincial and territorial governments, with the exception of Quebec, will work with Canadians in four agreed-upon priority areas to promote healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy; to improve parenting and family supports; to strengthen early childhood development, learning and care; and to strengthen community supports.

Within Canada's Social Union Framework Agreement, each provincial and territorial government will tailor its early childhood development services to meet the unique local needs of children and their families. For Canadian families, these investments will mean better access to services such as prenatal classes and screening, pre-school programs and child care, and parent information and family support. Governments will also make annual public reports on outcome indicators of children's well-being to be developed by September 2002.

There are also a number of existing programs specifically focussed on early childhood that will be continued and enhanced. The Community Action Program for Children, which was announced in 1992, provides long-term funding to community groups to establish and deliver services that respond to the developmental needs of children from birth to six years of age whose physical or mental health is at risk. CAPC projects serve single-parent families, Métis, Inuit and off-reserve Aboriginal children, children of recent immigrants and refugees, children with special needs, and children in remote and isolated communities. Services include parent training, home visits, one- on-one child development intervention, nutrition counselling, mobile units to isolated and rural areas, moms and tots programs, head-start programs, collective kitchens, and traditional Aboriginal healing programs.

There are nearly 500 projects in over 300 urban, rural and remote communities across Canada.

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, which was announced in July of 1994, is funded by the Government of Canada and co-managed with provinces and territories. It helps communities develop enhanced programs for at-risk pregnant women in order to improve birth outcomes. Projects offer food supplementation, nutrition counselling, support education on breastfeeding and postpartum support, as well as referral and counselling on lifestyle issues such as alcohol abuse, stress and family violence. There are currently 277 projects in communities across Canada at a cost of $30 million per year. Both programs include Aboriginal children, but there are other programs specifically aimed at early childhood development in the Aboriginal population. One is the Aboriginal Headstart Program. In 1995, the federal government established the Aboriginal Headstart Program, an early intervention program for young Aboriginal children to help enhance their development in school readiness. Projects are run by local Aboriginal non- profit organizations that see the parent/caregiver as the natural advocate for the child.

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In 1998 the Aboriginal Headstart Program was expanded to on- reserve First Nations children and their families. There is also a First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative to provide affordable and quality child care for First Nations and Inuit communities, which has created 4,800 new child care spaces and enhanced 2,900 more for Aboriginal children across Canada. Currently more than 6,000 First Nations and Inuit children benefit from child care on reserves and in Inuit communities. Furthermore, there is a First Nations Kindergarten Four and Five Years Old Program to enable on-reserve schools to provide kindergarten services to First Nations students not attending an on-reserve school in the provincial system. In many of these schools the kindergarten curriculum reflects First Nations culture and heritage, including provision of programs in the First Nations language.

The fourth element of the federal strategy is the important research the Government of Canada is funding so that programs and policies will be solidly based on knowledge of child development and on the factors that affect it. There are two notable research activities now in place, among many others. The first is the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth, a study that is considered a definitive source of national data for research and child development in Canada. The survey monitors the development and well-being of 23,000 Canadian children through various stages of their lives and shows how they are doing physically, emotionally and academically as they grow from infancy to adulthood.

A second research activity just getting underway is that which is being conducted by the five new Centres of Excellence for Children's Well-Being funded by Health Canada. Their mandate is "to enhance our understanding of, and responsiveness to, the physical and mental health needs of children and the critical factors for healthy child development.'' As part of its contribution to the National Children's Agenda, the federal government has committed $20 million over five years to improve our understanding of what children need to develop in healthy ways and to ensure that advanced knowledge is disseminated broadly among families, community-based organizations, educators, health professionals and government decision makers.

The centres will build on existing capacities to collect and analyze health information and data; conduct focused research on key childhood and youth health and development issues; provide policy advice to governments and child-serving agencies; generate information and communicate it to a wide range of audiences; and forge local, national and international networks of individuals and groups involved in children's well-being.

On October 5, 2000, the following five centres were launched: the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development, University of Montreal; the Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs, Lakehead University; the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement, Students Commission; the Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth-Centred Communities, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg; and the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare, University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work and the Child Welfare League of Canada.

The fifth element of the government's strategy is the guarantee of all the protections for children the law can provide. The Speech from the Throne assures us that the government will work with Canadians to ensure that our communities continue to be strong and safe. One example of this is the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention. This strategy recognizes that the best way to deal with the underlying causes of crime and victimization, and build a better and safer society, is to provide children and their families with the resources necessary to make them more resilient.

The Government of Canada also committed in the Speech from the Throne to work with its partners on modernizing the laws for child support, custody and access to ensure that they work in the best interests of children in the cases of family breakdown. There are also a number of other protections being created for children in addition to what already exists. These relate to the new challenges of the Internet and the dangers of child pornography, as well as those of sexual predators on the World Wide Web. We will be discussing these soon in the context of the omnibus bill amendment to the Criminal Code.

Finally, honourable senators, I should like to speak briefly to our international commitments to children. This Speech from the Throne builds upon Canada's international commitments made in the previous Speech from the Throne delivered in October 1999. That speech reminded us that in September 2001 the United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session on children. I am honoured to be the Prime Minister's personal representative to lead Canada's preparations for that important event. I wish to quote the following from the 1999 Speech from the Throne:

In the spirit of partnership that led to the historic treaty banning landmines, the government will work to protect the rights of children. Canada will champion efforts to eliminate the exploitation of children, including the use of child soldiers in armed conflicts, and will help to address the crisis of children affected by HIV/AIDS epidemic.

I have been engaged in this process now for nearly two years, and it is challenging to try to bring about consensus among all the member states of the United Nations. If one thing can unite us it is the cause of children. The fact that 191 nations have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child is proof of that. I am convinced, therefore, that we have a unique opportunity before us and that the resulting document of the special session, which is provisionally called "A World Fit for Children,'' will set a clear course for national and international efforts on behalf of children for at least the next decade.

Honourable senators, a coherent government strategy is one thing, and it is an important thing, but in the end we must recognize that governments can do only so much. Every one of us has a distinct role to play in safeguarding the rights of children, each in his or her own way. This is because recognizing that children have human rights by virtue of being human, and then protecting these rights because they are young and vulnerable, is essentially about community, about the respect we owe one another and about the responsibility we all share.

On motion of Senator LeBreton, debate adjourned.

Bill to Maintain the Principles Relating to the Role of the Senate as Established by the Constitution of Canada

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, for the second reading of Bill S-8, to maintain the principles relating to the role of the Senate as established by the Constitution of Canada.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to second reading of Bill S-8, to maintain the principles relating to the role of the Senate as established by the Constitution of Canada. I support this bill and I support the intention of this bill. I support Bill S-8's proposals to amend several statutes so that the Senate's proper role in Parliament and the Senate's constitutional role are recognized and upheld.

Honourable senators, during debate on Bill S-8 on February 6, 2001, Senator Joyal said, at page 60 of the Debates of the Senate:

A review of the statutes has identified 47 acts passed since 1920 that fail to give the Senate a role and status equal to the one of the House of Commons. Of these 47 acts, 20 of them have been inoperative with respect to the provisions of interest to us as senators. This leaves 27 acts that exclude the Senate and prevent it from carrying out its legitimate responsibilities. More important, since the 35th Parliament — that is, in the last seven years, since 1994 — eight bills have been introduced with that kind of clause excluding the Senate. Five were amended in the Senate and the House of Commons, and one was the object of a commitment by the government that the corrective amendment would occur in due course. The proposed bank act died with the end of 36th Parliament and Bill C-20 was adopted without amendment. Bill S-8 aims to amend the 27 acts still in effect that suggest a difference in status between the two Houses of Parliament..

Honourable senators, I should like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Joyal for bringing this bill before us. I thank him for his work and for his initiative. For too long, too many bills have come before the Senate that simply seek to diminish the Senate.

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We have seen some of those bills passed here in the Senate. I am disappointed that Bill S-8 does not include an amendment to last year's Bill C-20, to give effect to the requirement for clarity as set out in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Quebec Secession Reference, known to us as the Clarity Bill. All senators here will no doubt recall the debates on the role of the Senate in determining the clarity of a question regarding the secession of a province. As senators know, I voiced strong opposition to Bill C- 20. I also voted against the Clarity Bill because it diminished the role of the Senate, and for a few other reasons, although the fact that it diminished the role of the Senate was strong in the minds of many of us. I am hopeful that a future bill will amend C-20. I encourage Senator Joyal to bring such a bill forward.

Honourable senators, the Senate's constitutional role in legislation is clearly defined in Canada's Constitution, and it is a role equal to that of the House of Commons. Every act of Parliament passed here should recognize and reflect the Senate as an integral and equal part of the Parliament of Canada. The Constitution tells us this. Section 17 of the Constitution Act, 1867, formerly known as the British North America Act, 1867, states:

There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.

Honourable senators, the one Parliament of Canada is indivisible. It includes the upper house, the Senate of Canada.

In addition, the Constitution Act, section 91 states:

It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order and good Government of Canada...

The Constitution Act, the former BNA Act, states, clearly and unequivocally, that laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada should be enacted with the consent of the House of Commons and the Senate.

Clearly, the Constitution Act and the Fathers of Confederation viewed the agreement and consent of both Houses as being equally necessary and equally important. Since 1994, under this Liberal government, there have been several bills introduced in Parliament that have excluded the Senate. One wonders why there have been so many bills that diminish the Senate and how these bills were able to pass the Senate.

Honourable senators, Bill S-8 is timely. It comes to us at a time in the history of our nation when certain ministers of the Crown are known to be proponents of the abolition of the Senate. The May 31, 1999 National Post article entitled "The quiet Senate abolitionists of the federal cabinet'' identified Minister of Foreign Affairs John Manley, his predecessor, Lloyd Axworthy, as well as Stéphane Dion, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, as being proponents of Senate abolition. As early as February 28, 1997, The Vancouver Sun noted this phenomenon. In an article headlined "Intergovernmental Affairs Minister wants Senate gone,'' the newspaper reported:

The Senate should be abolished, Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said Thursday.

Minister Dion's very public disaffection and disdain for the Senate is especially bewildering in light of the events leading up to his appointment to cabinet followed by his subsequent election to the House of Commons.

Honourable senators, the exclusion of the Senate from various bills can be no oversight or accident. The exclusion of the Senate from so many acts of Parliament must be part of a systematic attempt to inhibit the Senate's role in the governance of Canada. The Senate must take action against these slights. Bill S-8, in my view, is a necessary correction to these slights and a vital correction to the laws of Canada.

Honourable senators, certain ministers have attacked the Senate by asserting that the Senate can be ignored. They simply state that believing that if they repeat it often enough people will believe that it is right. They assert that they can ignore the Senate because the Senate is incapable of confidence votes, that is, votes on confidence questions. This is clearly not true. They are blatantly wrong. The constitutional authorities tell us this in uncontroverted language. Canada's highest constitutional authority, Alpheus Todd, in his book entitled Parliamentary Government in the British Colonies told us so, saying:

It is true that a vote of want of confidence in an existing administration may properly be passed in either house of parliament, without it being necessary to assign any reasons for the same.

Todd was writing about Canada's Senate — not a foreign or alien Senate, but the Senate of Canada. I repeat: Todd stated in incontrovertible, easily understood language that want of confidence votes could be passed in this Senate Chamber.

An example of the Senate's capacity on a confidence question can be found in the vote on the motion for the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. There is presently such a motion before us on the Order Paper and senators have been speaking to it today. An adverse amendment or a negative vote on the Address in Reply to the Throne Speech would be a confidence question and could cause the defeat of a government.

Honourable senators, if such an address were carried in the Commons and defeated in the Senate, the result would still be a defeated government. I do not understand how these ministers can take these erroneous positions, and I do not understand why so many of them are allowed to continue to hold their erroneous positions without constant correction and debate from some of us.

Honourable senators, I should also like to point out that the Senate has used its power of confidence in the past to impact the politics of the nation. I wish to share a particular example of the Senate's role in such a censure function, that being the Senate's role in the 1879 dismissal of then Quebec Lieutenant-Governor Luc Letellier. The Governor General, the Marquess of Lorne, removed Mr. Letellier as a result of the adoption of resolutions in both the Senate and the House of Commons. Luc Letellier had been a Government Leader in the Senate under Liberal Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie who subsequently appointed him Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec in December 1876.

Lieutenant-Governor Letellier, in March 1878, had dismissed the Quebec Conservative de Boucherville government and had asked Liberal Leader Henri-Gustave Joly to form a government. Much controversy ensued, including the adoption of that motion of censure against Letellier here in the Senate. This motion eventually and ultimately led to his removal.

Honourable senators, the Letellier affair was a matter of high constitutional crisis and a lengthy and complex one that is recorded in the proceedings of both our Houses. It is of importance that the Senate carried the lead in Letellier's removal. In this Senate, on April 12, 1878, Conservative Opposition Leader Senator Alexander Campbell moved a motion of censure against Lieutenant-Governor Letellier. That motion carried on April 16, 1878. It is interesting to note that a similar motion of censure against Letellier had failed in the other place the day earlier.

A few months later, the 1878 federal election occurred. Prime Minister Mackenzie and his Liberals were defeated and Sir John A. Macdonald and his Conservatives were returned to power and formed the government. Since the political complexion of the new House of Commons was different, it revisited the Letellier affair. This time, the censure motion carried in the House of Commons on March 13, 1879.

Honourable senators, the result of these successful censure motions in both Houses was the removal of Mr. Letellier. I will share with senators the actions of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald as recorded in a Privy Council document entitled "Report of a Committee of the Honourable the Privy Council approved of by His Excellency the Governor General on the 25th day of July, 1879.'' That report states:

That...Sir John A. Macdonald, as first minister, waited on your Excellency and informed you that after the resolution of the Senate in the last session of Parliament, and the resolution of the House of Commons just referred to, it was the opinion of your Excellency's advisers that the usefulness of Mr. Letellier as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec was gone, and they advised that in the public interest it was expedient that he should be removed from office.

(1540)

Honourable senators, during our deliberations on Bill C-20, we listened to a lot of the nonsense about the Senate and about what it could and could not do. I would submit that, if any such motion were to pass here, it would have significant and serious political effects.

This Privy Council document clearly stated that the reason or the assigned cause for Letellier's removal was the motions of censure that passed first in the Senate and then later in the House of Commons. The report continued:

He further begs to report that the cause to be assigned for such removal according to the provisions of the 59th section of the British North America Act, 1867, is that after the vote of the House of Commons during last session and that of the Senate during the previous session Mr. Letellier's usefulness as a Lieutenant-Governor was gone. That your Excellency's advisers are fully aware of the responsibility of making this recommendation, and they feel it their duty to accept it in every sense.

Honourable senators, the Marquess of Lorne removed Lieutenant-Governor Luc Letellier on July 26, 1879, and appointed Theodore Robitaille in his stead.

As I have pointed out, the Letellier affair is a classic example of the result of a successful vote of censure, a vote of confidence in the Senate and speaks very eloquently to the constitutional impact and the proper constitutional role of the Senate.

Honourable senators, there are many examples of this. I wanted to lay out this particular example because the gentleman in question who was removed had been a senator and, in fact, a Government Leader in the Senate. Clearly, this goes to the whole question of the Senate and politics.

Honourable senators, Bill S-8 seeks to amend 27 statutes. These amendments would place the Senate on an equal footing with the other place. For example, the provisions of the Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act presently requires that a final or transboundary agreement would only be laid before the House of Commons. Bill S-8 would amend that act by requiring those agreements to be laid before both Houses — in short, both the House of Commons and the Senate. Bill S-8 would also legislate that Senate committees review the operations of certain statutes. For example, Bill S-8 would amend the Employment Equity Act to require a Senate committee review. Presently, there is only a reference to a committee of the other place. These are just two examples of what Bill S-8 would correct.

This bill, if passed into law, would restore the Senate to an equal position with the House of Commons in many statutes. It is lamentable, honourable senators, that the Senate finds itself in a situation where so many statutes need to be amended.

Honourable senators, we have a constitutional duty to perform as an integral part of the Parliament of Canada. Our role in legislation is clearly defined in the Constitution of this land. I believe that we cannot escape our responsibilities and that we must act. Bill S-8 is a good first step.

In conclusion, I would encourage honourable senators to support Bill S-8. Once again, I should like to thank Senator Joyal for taking this initiative and for bringing this bill before us.

I would add, however, that I do not want to communicate in any way that I believe this bill to be perfect or that it does not have some flaws. It does. It has some imperfections, and it needs some work. However, I do believe that the bill, in its spirit and in its objectives, and how it sets out to attain them, is an excellent first step. I give my support to the bill and I look forward to a proper study and consideration of the questions and of the issues in committee.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Although the time has expired, some honourable senators have indicated that they wish to ask questions. Is the honourable senator asking for leave to continue?

Senator Cools: Yes.

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

Hon. Senators: Yes.

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I may have misunderstood the honourable senator. I want to ask her a question.

Surely the honourable senator is not placing a non-confidence motion in the government passed by the Senate on the same basis as a non-confidence motion in the government passed by the House of Commons in terms of constitutional implications.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I wish to thank the Honourable Senator Murray for his question. Certainly, I was not suggesting nor equating the impacts of certain results.

As I said, the Senate is a separate and different institution with a different set of powers. Yes, there is a difference between the Senate and the House of Commons. Yes, they are coordinate institutions. However, the differences, as you know, are largely outlined in sections 53 and 54 of the Constitution. In certain matters, especially on certain, strong budgetary questions, of course the House of Commons has the lead in being able to conduct, to move and to pass votes of confidence.

My essential point is that confidence motions, under certain circumstances, can be passed in this chamber. I would be quite happy to share with you another particular example of such a statute, such as the Auditor General of Canada Act. It is also one of those statutes that states that the officer may be removed by an address of both the Senate and the House of Commons. If the government were to move such a motion in the House of Commons and it not carry in the Senate, because of that statutory requirement that it be approved by the Senate, the government would be forced to resign.

I have that on authority from R. B. Bennett, especially where the Senate's agreement is a statutory requirement. If Senator Murray goes back to the record and revisits the crisis surrounding the Governor of the Bank of Canada, James Coyne, he will find that the question arose then as to why the government of the day was proceeding by bill and not by joint address to remove Governor Coyne.

However, that is an interesting question. One of the reasons I brought it forth today is that these are the kinds of questions that senators need to debate and need to rediscover, because it is as though our entire past has vanished. It would be fitting and useful, I think, for us to discover what our real and true powers are.

The fact of the matter is that it is a well-known constitutional principle that every minister of the Crown and every government of the day should always be seeking concurrence between the two chambers, that the intention of the system and the intention of the British Constitution is that a minister of Her Majesty's Government should seek concurrence. That is the point I am trying to make.

Senator Murray: I do not doubt that that is true. However, a formal vote of non-confidence in the government, if it passes the House of Commons, results either in the resignation of the government or the dissolution of Parliament and a general election.

Senator Cools: I am having difficulty —

Senator Murray: Excuse me, senator, but a formal vote of non- confidence, if it were passed here — and I am not aware of any precedence for that — does not necessarily lead to that result.

Senator Cools: I would again thank the honourable senator for his comment. I believe that the whole question of confidence votes is a mystical one. I would submit that those questions that would cause the defeat or force the resignation of any government remain largely political and are not in the least bit legal.

Senator Kinsella: The answer is "No.''

On motion of Senator Christensen, debate adjourned.

(1550)

[Translation]

The Senate

Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders—Motion to Refer Question of Official Recognition of Third Political Party Accepted

On the Order:

Debate resumed on the motion by the Honourable Senator St. Germain P.C., seconded by Honourable Senator Lawson,

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.—(Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C.).

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Motion No. 37 was adjourned in my name so that senators on this side wishing to speak to this matter could do so. I have had no indication of this. The question posed by this motion may therefore be referred to the committee.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I would echo the remarks of my honourable colleague. We have no wish to add anything to this debate and we are prepared for adoption of the motion.

Motion agreed to.

[English]

Black History Month

Presentation to Canadian Bar Association—Inquiry—Order Stands

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cools calling the attention of the Senate to the celebration of Black History Month in Canada, and the Canadian Bar Association of Ontario dinner in Toronto on February 1, 2001, at which she, as the keynote speaker, spoke to the topic "A Room With a View: A Black Senator's View of the Canadian Senate.''-(Honourable Senator Kinsella).

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, Senator Chalifoux was interested in holding the adjournment of debate on this item. I am agreeable to having her name substituted for mine as the person in whose name this matter has been adjourned.

Order stands.

National Finance

Committee Authorized to Permit Electronic Coverage

Hon. Lowell Murray, pursuant to notice of March 14, 2001, moved:

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

Motion agreed to.

[Translation]

The Auditor General

Mr. Denis Desautels—Motion to Express Gratitude for Service to Country During Tenure in Office—Motion Adopted

Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier, pursuant to notice given March 15, 2001, moved:

That, in the opinion of the Senate, Mr. Denis Desautels has been an excellent Auditor General of Canada.

Scrupulously honest, professional, fair-minded and a determined investigator, Mr. Desautels carried out his duties as Auditor General efficiently and effectively. During his ten-year term, he not only verified the government's accounts but also was able, thanks to his leadership, to lead a team as professional and dedicated as himself.

The Parliament of Canada thanks Mr. Desautels for his services and recognizes the valuable work he has done for his country.

He said: Honourable senators, Senator Murray wanted to second my motion, but he is not here at the moment. I am happy to have Senator Fraser do it.

I am introducing this motion today in order to have the Parliament of Canada recognize the important contribution made by one of our senior officials, Denis Desautels, during his ten-year term as Auditor General. He has rendered a valuable service to the public and to parliamentarians.

Born in St-Bruno, Quebec, on May 14, 1943, Mr. Desautels is still a young man. His studies in Montreal led to a B. Com. from McGill University in 1964. After joining Clarkson Gordon in Montreal, he became a chartered accountant in 1966.

Over the course of his stellar career in the private sector, Mr. Desautels acquired vast experience in public auditing and accounting at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.

In recognition of his meritorious services to the profession, Mr. Desautels was made an honorary member by the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec in 1986 and by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 1991. In 1997, he was decorated with the Ordre de Saint-Grégoire-le-Grand by the Archbishop of Ottawa.

He was a lecturer at McGill University and the University of Ottawa and chaired the advisory committee of the accounting chair at the École des Hautes Études commerciales and the audit committee of the École nationale d'administration publique. He is also a member of the board of the Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation. Comprehensive auditing is a complicated, but most interesting, field.

When he was appointed in 1991, I was the chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in the House of Commons. This was not a popular committee with MPs, because it studied issues that were both complex and complicated to apply.

At that time, the Auditor General's report was a two- to three- inch-thick volume that stirred up a day and a half of furore, at the most, and then was forgotten. The annual report was too complicated, and always backward-looking, as it referred to previous years. Public servants had sometimes changed jobs, the people responsible were no longer there and the issues raised in the report often went unresolved.

I asked Mr. Desautels why he would not table in-depth ad hoc reports. He told me he could not do that because the act prohibited him from doing so and that he could only publish one report. I tried to have the act amended. I succeeded in spite of some resistance. Now, the Auditor General of Canada tables reports every three months. This rather relevant and important document is reviewed by two committees of the Senate and of the House of Commons, so that public accountability is seen as an important and public matter.

(1600)

In June 1994, I proposed an amendment to the Auditor General Act, so that more than one report could be published. Bill C-207, to amend the Auditor General Act, was passed on June 13, 1994, thus allowing the Auditor General to table several reports. Since 1995, he has tabled 16 progress reports to Parliament. These reports are very useful and they are much appreciated by parliamentarians. The public is also curious about them because the media take an interest in them.

As he is about to retire, I wish Mr. Desautels, on a personal level but also as a parliamentarian and on behalf of honourable senators, a retirement that will not be too long. I know that in a few months he will be active. I also hope that he will get involved in fulfilling activities and will play the odd round of golf, because he loves the game and he is good at it.

Have a long life, Mr. Desautels. We thank you for the excellent job you have done for Canada.

[English]

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I intervene to express our entire support for this motion and our thanks to Senator Gauthier for having brought it forward. Unlike Senator Gauthier, I am not personally acquainted with Mr. Desautels, but I share Senator Gauthier's admiration for him. Mr. Desautels has been an exemplary servant of Parliament for the past 10 years. He has served through all or part of four parliaments at a somewhat tumultuous time in our history. Mr. Desautels served at a time when both Conservative and Liberal governments were in office, and he has earned, justly, the respect of all parliamentarians and those members of the Canadian public who have an appreciation for the importance of his role in our system.

I underline the excellent professionalism of the tone and content of both Mr. Desautels' reports and his office. Mr. Desautels and his staff did some quite controversial things over the past 10 years. They took initiatives that made the headlines. Mr. Desautels qualified the audit report on the government's finances. That is a considerable step, but he did it in such a professional and respectful way that, while we all received the point, nobody could possibly take offence. Nor could anyone consider that he was doing something in a way that had the slightest partisan taint or that gave the slightest indication of wanting to overstate, or exaggerate, the situation.

I hope that Mr. Desautels will take some satisfaction in the fact that, as he told the House of Commons committee recently, some 60 per cent of the recommendations of his office tended to be accepted and implemented over time by the government. He should also take satisfaction in the fact that some of the major issues that he advanced during his period in office have been taken up by Parliament and by the government. For example, quite recently we heard from the President of the Treasury Board that the government intends to move now with a thorough reform of the public service. I do not know whether the details of that reform will please Mr. Desautels or please us, in Parliament, who have to follow these matters closely. However, he can take considerable satisfaction from the fact that an issue that he had promoted persistently for almost 10 years now appears to be close to fruition.

Mr. Desautels has also indicated that he wishes to see his office work more closely with parliamentary committees, not just, as is now the case, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts. While he has appeared occasionally before Senate committees, it would make a great deal of sense, given our oversight role on policy and the implementation of programs, if we invited the Auditor General or people from his office to appear more frequently before standing committees of the Senate.

Another issue that Mr. Desautels advocated effectively is that of the governance of Crown corporations. This, too, is a matter that Parliament and the government are now paying more attention to, I believe, as a result of Mr. Desautels' urgings on this matter.

A few moments ago, I was reading his comments on the Public Accounts Committee. One of the issues that he raised was of some interest during the last Parliament: the tendency of government to hive off some of its activities to Crown agencies. This was done with the former Department of National Revenue and Parks Canada, which is now a quasi-independent agency.

The Auditor General continues to audit those agencies, and he has expressed the opinion — and I am glad to acknowledge that, as one who opposed both of those bills — that the public accounts apparatus in those agencies is working quite well.

Mr. Desautels wonders aloud about the fact that the Auditor General of Canada has not been permitted to audit some other activities, such as the millennium scholarship fund and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

It is most appropriate that Mr. Desautels draws our attention to these issues as he leaves office. Altogether, he can take a great deal of pride in his record in office. Parliament and Canada can take a great deal of satisfaction from his service.

Honourable senators, on behalf of my colleagues on this side of the chamber, I am most happy to join in the motion that has been moved by Senator Gauthier. To that motion I simply add that the Auditor General will make a farewell appearance at the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance on March 28, 2001, just days before he retires. I invite all honourable senators to join us at that time. I am sure you will be given a warm welcome and every opportunity to participate.

[Translation]

Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, I have been a member of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance for over ten years now, and I wish to speak to the quality of the work done by the Auditor General.

He was a true professional in performing his duties as Auditor General. He conducted a serious dialogue with the government. Furthermore, I must say that the Ministers of Finance with whom he dealt were also serious with him. There may have been disagreements about accounting concepts, about the presentation of financial statements but, on the whole, the dialogue was vigorous and constructive and did much to improve public administration in Canada.

(1610)

I have had occasion to question him a number of times. This is a senior public servant who is capable of seeing what is coming at him and of understanding the allusions being made. He has been an excellent Auditor General and during his mandate has brought innovations to the administrative processes.

He has backed the government up against the wall on questions relating to performance assessment, something that is important to an administration. Legislation often contains contradictory objectives and so it is not easy for public servants to say that performance has been this or that, when the objectives themselves are contradictory. His performance in this area has been excellent, as well as in his dialogue with the other stakeholders.

It is important to note that his lead role was uncontested by the provincial auditors general, who form an association with the federal auditors.

Mr. Desautels has been extremely active in promoting the advancement of accounting and management standards for the Canadian public administration. He has done the same on the international level, as president of the International Association of Auditors General.

In this connection, the United States Comptroller General gave an excellent testimonial, during his appearance yesterday before our Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, to the quality of Mr. Desautels' participation in international institutions in connection with the meetings of auditors general.

I wish him a happy retirement and thank him for his service to Canada.

Motion agreed to.

Adjournment

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

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

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

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

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