Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, last Friday, the Prime
Minister of Canada, accompanied by members of Parliament, went to a mosque to
demonstrate clearly the revulsion of all Canadians and Canadiens to the racist
attacks against our people of Muslim faith and of Arab descent. These racist
assaults made him, as he said, "feel shame as a Prime Minister."
We share the Prime Minister's feelings. As a Canadian society, we are calling
for the provincial authorities to tolerate no racist act within their borders,
and for the police forces under their control to act accordingly.
Too many terrorist acts of racism are being committed in Canada at this time.
The responsibility to punish the perpetrators of such action is that of the
provinces. They must act.
What is more, the actions taken by the Prime Minister fit in very well with
the policy of freedom that characterizes Canada.
If I may be permitted, I remind honourable senators that on June 29, 1887,
Wilfrid Laurier wrote to Ernest Pacaud, his friend and editor of the liberal
newspaper L'Électeur. The letter stated:
My dear Ernest, the repeated attacks of Quebec citizens upon the Salvation
Army must cease. They are unworthy of the liberal society which I pride myself
in representing. The Army must be able to hold its parades without
interference — in full liberty and in peace. If necessary, I am prepared to
march at their head to protect them.
It is interesting to note, honourable senators, that Wilfrid Laurier's first
official act as Leader of the Liberal Party, to which he was elected six days
earlier, was to defend the rights and liberties of a small group of people in
the capital city of the province of Quebec. It spoke well for the future of
Canada. We must guard it so.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, as many of you know,
the continuing evolution of what has come to be known as "green power" is
gaining importance both here in Canada and in nations around the world.
Of course, oil and gas continue to lead the way in terms of our energy usage
here at home, while coal-fired energy makes up 18 per cent of our nation's
power. However, as we know, the use of fossil fuels does not come without some
environmental impact. We have 14 CANDU reactors presently operating in Canada.
These have been successful in contributing about 13 per cent of our nation's
energy needs, but again there continue to be concerns associated with nuclear
power. That is why there is growing interest in alternatives to our traditional
energy sources. I am pleased to report that one such option is currently being
explored with some success in my home province.
On the northwestern tip of Prince Edward Island, in a community called North
Cape, there is rarely a day without wind, as anyone who has visited there can
attest. That natural resource is in the process of being harnessed at the Prince
Edward Island Energy Corporation's wind farm. When this facility is fully
operational, enough power will be produced there to supply about 4 per cent of
the province's yearly energy needs.
It is anticipated that the facility will be generating power for sale by July
2002. When all eight windmill turbines are up and running, officials expect them
to produce about 19 million kilowatt hours of power. When that energy becomes
available, Prince Edward Islanders will have the option of purchasing it instead
of what is currently generated from fossil fuels or nuclear reactors.
I wish to commend both the federal and provincial governments for their joint
participation in this project. It is my hope that this development is just a
beginning and will serve as a positive indicator to promote further "green
energy" development both in Prince Edward Island and throughout Canada.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, widespread but only
partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast
from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian TV commentator. Since the September
11 terrorist attacks on our neighbour and ally, dozens of British Columbians
have asked me to read into Canada's parliamentary record the comments expressed
by Gordon Sinclair.
Given the time constraints of Senators' Statements, I will read only select
passages of his statement. I believe the following is appropriate in light of
what has happened. Not only do I remember the content of this statement, I
happen to be old enough and privileged enough to have heard the live broadcast.
The subject of his comment was "Good Neighbours."
This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most
generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out
of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even
the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who
propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets
of Paris. When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that
hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by
tornados. Nobody helped.
I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other
people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to
the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the
San Francisco earthquake.
Our neighbours have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned
tired of hearing them get kicked around.
They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do,
they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over
their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.
Stand proud, America!
Honourable senators, as a senator and a Canadian, I stand shoulder to
shoulder with the Americans, unconditional in my support. Regardless of the risk
or the danger involved, I will put my life on the line for my neighbours and
friends, the Americans. Long live America!
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, in early summer, a major
event warmed the hearts of all francophones in Ontario, who witnessed the
unfurling of the Franco-Ontarian flag at Queen's Park only a few days after it
had been recognized as their official emblem.
This historic ceremony took place during the afternoon of June 24, a very
symbolic occurrence, as this was St. Jean Baptiste Day, the official celebration
of our French-Canadian heritage.
This event came about as a result of the ceaseless efforts of Jean-Marc
Lalonde, the MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, whose unfailing determination
led to the speedy and unanimous passage by the Ontario legislature of a bill to
recognize the white and the green.
The flag became the seventh official symbol of the province of Ontario, along
with the Ontario flag, the white trillium, the white pine, the common loon, and
the coat of arms.
Honourable senators, this flag was first unveiled on September 25, 1975, at
my alma mater, Laurentian University, in Sudbury. Twenty-six years have since
gone by, and today we are delighted to see this dream come true: our colours
flying over the provincial capital.
Customs, rites and traditions are a unifying factor. Moreover, a flag has
special connotations that elicit deep emotions commanding allegiance to a
All Franco-Ontarians can now view their own flag with pride and dignity. They
will be eternally grateful to Mr. Lalonde.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, had the Leader of the
Government in the Senate been here, I would have engaged her in a bit of a
dialogue. Inasmuch as she is unavoidably absent, I will make the following
We were told that the President of the United States did not ask Canada for
any military support. That is fine. There are probably other things that we can
do as well, perhaps even better. However, it is passing strange that about an
hour ago, I called the naval establishment in Halifax to find the whereabouts of
HMCS Charlottetown and one of our tankers. I did that because I had been
told that the Charlottetown and a tanker put to sea one day last week.
The person in Halifax put me on hold for several minutes. When that person
returned, they gave me the terse rejoinder to call Ottawa because they could not
talk about the subject.
I would have asked the minister whether there were a couple of ships being
put to sea. I would also have asked if these two ships were travelling with the
USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier battle group, or if they were due to join
it or any other multinational force in the coming days or weeks. Finally, I
would have asked if the Charlottetown and the support ship were deploying to the
Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean as part of a war on
terror, or relieving American ships on overseas duty so that American ships
could go off to war in the Indian Ocean. The matter, as senators will
appreciate, is of great consequence to the families of the men and women who
serve aboard our Canadian warships on both the East and West Coasts.
Honourable senators will appreciate my concern in bringing this issue to the
attention of the government and expressing the hope that someone will read and
take notice of the matter. When next the government leader returns, she may be
able to supply me with a fuller answer.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, over the last few years,
September has become essentially a literacy month in our country in which
reading, writing, communications and understanding is shared from coast to
I had the privilege of spending International Literacy Day, September 8, in
St. John's, Newfoundland, with an enthusiastic group of individuals, including
Senator Cochrane, beginning what may be one of the most lively awareness
programs in our country. This was after the better part of a week spent visiting
the villages along the coast of Labrador. What an inspiration it was to see what
those smaller communities are doing in the field of literacy for adults and
On Sunday, I was in Calgary at a festival called "Word on the Street,"
which also attracted tens of thousands of Canadians in Halifax, Vancouver and
Toronto, where it began 12 years ago. The collection of literacy groups,
authors, poets, entertainers and publishers that this festival brings together
is a tribute to the literacy efforts being made in our country.
In this chamber, honourable senators, are many advocates for literacy, and I
thank them from the bottom of my heart. What we are talking about is neither
special treatment nor privilege; the issue is that access to learning must be a
right of citizenship in this country. All individuals should be given a fair
chance to contribute and participate, to have a good job and to earn a decent
living for themselves and their families.
Literacy is a huge issue, honourable senators. More than 40 per cent of adult
Canadians have difficulty every day with routine reading, writing and numeracy
tasks that we in this chamber take for granted.
Literacy is the foundation of our ability as a nation to take advantage of
the opportunities and benefits that this new world order is giving to us. I
encourage all senators, in their communities, to give a hand to those groups
working so hard to help Canadians to learn.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to section 66 of
the Official Languages Act, I have the honour to table the 2000-01 Annual report
of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, entitled "Our Official
Languages: As a Century Ends, a Millennium Begins."
Hon. Lise Bacon, chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Transport
and Communications presents the following report:
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has the
honour to present its
Your Committee, in accordance with its Order of Reference of Thursday, May
3, 2001, has heard the Minister of Transport in order to receive a briefing on
busing regulations and now reports thereon.
Your Committee recommends as follows:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be
authorized to examine and report on issues facing the intercity busing
That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 20,
That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to
deposit any report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then
sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Bacon, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Peter A. Stollery, Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on
Foreign Affairs, presented the following report:
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has the honour to present
Your Committee was authorized by the Senate on March 1st, 2001 to examine
and report on emerging political, social, economic and security developments
in Russia and Ukraine; Canada's policy and interests in the region; and other
Pursuant to section 2:07 of the Procedural Guidelines for the Financial
Operation of Senate Committees, the budget application submitted was printed
in the Journals of the Senate of April 25, 2001. On September 25, 2001, the
Senate approved the release of $30,000 to the Committee. The report of the
Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
recommending the release of additional funds is appended to this report.
PETER A. STOLLERY
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix
"A", p. 783.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Stollery, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Colin Kenny, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Defence
and Security, presented the following report:
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security has the honour to
Your Committee was authorized by the Senate on May 31, 2001, to conduct an
introductory survey of the major security and defence issues facing Canada
with a view to preparing a detailed work plan for future comprehensive
Pursuant to section 2:07 of the Procedural Guidelines for the Financial
Operation of Senate Committees, the budget application submitted was printed
in the Journals of the Senate of June 7, 2001. On June 11, 2001, the Senate
approved the release of $100,500 to the Committee. The report of the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration recommending the
release of additional funds is appended to this report.
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix
"B", p. 784.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Kenny, report placed on Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, the Leader of the Government in the Senate is absent today. She is
working on the palliative care issue. As a government minister, she is the only
one who can answer your questions. In her absence I can only offer to take note
of your questions and bring them to her attention when she is back in the
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, could the Deputy Leader
of the Government in the Senate indicate when the minister will return to the
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, the government leader will be
here tomorrow for Question Period.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, I will ask my question
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table in the house delayed answers to two
questions: the question raised in the Senate on June 12, 2001, by Senator
Forrestall regarding Maritime helicopter procurement; and a question raised in
the Senate on June 13, 2001, by Senator Comeau regarding the meeting of state
ministers in Stockholm, Sweden, on the structured management of fish stocks.
(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on June 12,
Sea-state three refers to waves of approximately 1.25 metres in height and
sea-state six refers to wave action of approximately 6 metres in height.
The Maritime Helicopter Statement of Requirements (SOR) states that the
Maritime Helicopter must be capable of operating from a ship at up to
sea-state six. Operations at up to sea-state six conditions are possible
because of established Canadian Forces flight techniques and the use of a
haul-down and traverse system which pulls the helicopter down onto the flight
deck and holds the aircraft in place in high seas.
The ditching requirement makes it mandatory that following an emergency
water ditching and shutdown the Maritime Helicopter float upright at the
surface for a minimum of two minutes in conditions up to sea-state three to
allow for normal exit of the crew and passengers. The SOR also directs that
the helicopter make provision for emergency exit lighting, and stowage of a
rapidly deployable life raft of at least six person capacity and single place
life rafts for each crew member. It is accepted that conditions between
sea-states three and six are too severe to guarantee normal exit conditions
for the crew. Accordingly, crews are trained in emergency exit to enable them
to safely exit the helicopter if it is unable to maintain an upright position.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerald J. Comeau on June 13, 2001)
The objective of the meeting in Stockholm, Sweden was to share experiences
and exchange information on approaches envisaged for current fisheries
management problems within waters under national jurisdiction. The Minister of
Fisheries and Oceans used this opportunity to inform other countries of the
evolution of the Canadian approach towards Objectives-based Fisheries
The management of fisheries in Canada is continuing to evolve. The
Department of Fisheries and Oceans is striving to set out a more structured
approach to the management of fisheries through the introduction of measurable
objectives and performance measurement. This new concept, referred to as
Objectives-based Fisheries Management, will introduce a uniform and practical
risk analysis process, operationalize the precautionary approach and refine
our work with respect to ecosystem-based fisheries management.
The Department is working with the industry to develop the objectives-based
management concept and will use a number of pilot fisheries across Canada to
test this concept. It is not the intent to leave behind traditional fishing
communities. A key aspect of objectives-based management will be the ability
of government, industry and fishing communities to work together to clearly
define and understand fish management objectives. The end product envisaged is
government and industry working together more closely to ensure that
conservation of resources is achieved.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Poy, for the second reading of Bill C-7, in respect
of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other Acts.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I rise today to share
my doubts with respect to Bill C-7, entitled the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
This legislation will replace the Young Offenders Act.
Our society cannot remain indifferent to juvenile delinquency and the
negative effect it has on our communities and our families. As Canada's future
and its future prosperity rest in large measure in the hands of young people, we
must ensure, as parliamentarians and parents, that the principles underlying
this reform will respect the particular needs and rights of adolescents, so they
may become full-fledged citizens.
In recent decades, Canadians' perceptions of young offenders have helped
shape the principles that enable us to better understand the bases and
directions the legislator intends in applying the decisions on Bill C-7.
The Petit Robert defines "principle" as, and I quote:
A cause, origin or element constituting a rule of action based on a value
judgment and serving as a model, a rule or a goal.
Honourable senators, since 1908, the year the Juvenile Delinquents Act was
passed, the main principles behind government and community action in this area,
making young people accountable for their acts, rehabilitation, re-integration
and, especially to establish a system of justice separate from that of adults in
order to provide for the particular needs of young people. The passage of the
Young Offenders Act in 1984 added the protection of society to this list.
Honourable senators, over the years, the importance of each of these
principles has been influenced by Canadians' perception and understanding of the
phenomenon of juvenile crime, publication of scientific studies on the
phenomenon by experts and representatives in the field, the effectiveness of the
system, Canadian legal and constitutional traditions and international
conventions. After considering all these factors, and following several years of
consultation with the provinces and the public, the Minister of Justice decided
to include a series of principles in the preamble to Bill C-7. The preamble
recognizes that society must:
...address the developmental challenges and the needs of young persons and
to guide them into adulthood.
The preamble then mentions that communities, families, parents and others
concerned must unite their efforts to prevent youth crime and help young
The third part of the preamble points out that Canadians must have:
...access to information on youth justice, youth crime and the
effectiveness of measures taken to address youth crime.
Finally, the preamble provides that the youth criminal justice system should
command respect and foster responsibility through measures that provide
effective opportunities for reintegration, while reserving its most serious
intervention for the most serious crimes.
Honourable senators, at first glance the text of the preamble seems to
indicate that the government hopes to maintain and even improve the approach
developed in the Young Offenders Act to fight youth crime. However, when we
apply the principles to the arguments used by the Liberal government to explain
the need, if not the urgency to reform the youth criminal justice system, a
number of concerns come to mind regarding Bill C-7.
Over the next few minutes, I will ask four questions to the Minister of
Justice, in the hope of getting answers during the proceedings of the Standing
Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
My first question is: Do Canadians really have access to objective
information to assess the effectiveness of the youth criminal justice system?
All too often, Canadian public opinion on youth crime is shaped by highly
publicized cases of young people who commit violent crimes. The result of the
sensationalism used by the media regarding such cases is that, generally
speaking, the public is struck by the seriousness of the offence, but does not
take into account the inherent causes of the young offender's actions. Yet,
while they may not be very representative, these examples contribute to a
growing feeling of insecurity among the public and strengthen the feeling that
the Young Offenders Act is ineffective. This leads Canadians to ask for ever
more repressive measures to deal effectively with youth crime. In this regard,
the document released by the Department of Justice and entitled "A Strategy for
the Renewal of Youth Justice," which forms the basis of Bill C-7 states:
The lack of complete and accurate information can lead to misunderstandings
that undermine confidence in the youth justice regime.
Prior to the unveiling of this strategy in 1998, the federal-
provincial-territorial working group on youth justice looked at the issue. In a
report released in 1996, the group concluded:
If the general public's confidence in the youth justice system is to be
restored, it is essential that the information disseminated with respect to
youth crime, youth courts, and the corrections systems be objective.
Naturally, protecting society against youth crime must be a constant concern
of governments and the public.
However, does youth crime really represent such a threat to the safety of our
communities? I think not. According to figures from the Canadian Centre for
Justice Statistics, between 1991 and 1997, the number of charges against young
Canadians between the ages of 12 and 17 dropped by 23 per cent. In 1997 alone,
the number of Criminal Code offences committed by youth dropped by 7 per cent.
After peaking in 1995, charges against young people for violent crimes dropped
by 3.2 per cent in 1996 and 2 per cent in 1997.
These statistics show that youth crime is on the decrease in this country. In
addition to the figures, research studies done in Canada, the United States and
elsewhere show that increasing the period of detention for young offenders is
ineffective in fostering their responsibility and rehabilitation, and ensuring
the long-term protection of society.
This brings me to my second question for the Minister of Justice. Does the
problem of youth crime in Canada justify passing new legislation?
According to a CROP poll done for the Minister of Justice in June 2000, in
Quebec, 77 per cent of Quebecers felt that the federal government should give
greater priority to reducing youth crime.
Over 66 per cent of those polled presumed that youth crime had gone up in the
previous five years. Finally, 47 per cent of Quebecers urged the government to
replace the Young Offenders Act. When the first version of Bill C-7 was
introduced in March 1999, the minister said:
I pointed out that Canadians had lost confidence in the Young Offenders
Act. Fifteen years of experience have shown us that the youth criminal justice
system was not working as well as it should in a number of important areas.
The preamble to the first version of Bill C-7, better known as Bill C-68, was
very clear as to the government's intentions. The second "whereas" said that
Canadians would be better protected against youth crime:
...by replacement of the Young Offenders Act with a new legal framework for
the youth criminal justice system.
Honourable senators, the figures from the poll seem to demonstrate that
Quebecers were not aware of the rather encouraging statistics on the drop of the
youth crime rate in Canada. Is it not the responsibility of the Minister of
Justice, as outlined, incidentally, in Bill C-7's preamble, to make available to
the Canadian public objective information that would allow them to judge the
effectiveness of youth courts?
If the government had provided more inforation, it is quite likely that
Quebecers would have given quite different answers. One interesting fact from
the poll is that 70 per cent of those interviewed had never heard of Bill C-7.
Quebecers therefore did not have the whole picture of the provisions contained
in the legislation, nor of the effects that it could have on the youth justice
system in Quebec.
Yet, since 1999, the Coalition pour la justice des mineurs has been warning
that the reforms proposed by the Minister of Justice threaten Quebec's approach
to dealing with juvenile delinquency. This coalition groups together more than
25 organizations and specialists working in the field, not only in Quebec, but
also across Canada.
In addition, Quebec's National Assembly passed two resolutions unanimously,
asking the federal to withdraw Bill C- 7. With good reason.
The system developed by Quebec is unique in Canada and cited as an example
around the world. While the Criminal Code, the law and criminal proceedings that
apply to young people aged 12 to 17, falls under federal jurisdiction,
administration of the justice system for adolescents is a provincial
responsibility. At the moment, the Young Offenders Act provides that criminal
penalties may be replaced by extra-judicial or alternative measures. In this
case, the law sets guidelines that must be followed. The development and
administration of such measures are left to the discretion of the provinces.
The Young Offenders Act came into effect in 1984. Following the passage of
the Youth Protection Act in 1977 and the establishment of the alternative
measures program in 1982, Quebec set up a number of services specific to young
offenders. Over the years, this network developed an expertise in the field. As
a result, Quebec is the only province that fully applies the alternative
measures provided in the act.
However, this desire to do things differently has cost Quebec coffers over
$96 million since 1984, since the majority of federal funds allocated to the
provinces to apply the legislation goes to the penal budget.
This fact has discouraged a number of Canadian provinces, with the exception
of British Columbia, from following Quebec's approach. However, the benefits
Quebec draws from this model are significantly greater than the additional cost
it creates. The system allows the needs of adolescents to be better met while
protecting society and providing for prevention and rehabilitation.
In fact, the success achieved through this approach is confirmed by the data
gathered by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. In 1995 and 1996,
Quebec's young offenders accounted for only 10 per cent of the total number of
young offenders in Canada, even though Quebec's population accounts for 24 per
cent of Canada's overall population.
By comparison, Ontario, which accounts for close to 36 per cent of Canada's
population, accounted for close to 42 per cent of the total number of young
offenders in the country. In 1997, Quebec also had the lowest custody rate in
Canada for young people.
This did not prevent the setting up, in 1992, of a working group chaired by
Mr. Justice Michel Jasmin, deputy chief justice for the youth court component of
the Quebec court, to review the implementation of the components of the Young
Offenders Act in Quebec.
This is the most important and comprehensive study ever conducted by a
Canadian province on this issue. In a 1996 report entitled "Au nom et au-delà
de la loi," the working group concluded the following:
The exercise that we conducted convinced us that the Young Offenders Act is
a good act. In fact, we were struck by the consensus that exists among the
various Quebec stakeholders in this regard.
Honourable senators, statistics on youth crime in Canada and the success of
the Quebec approach in the implementation of the Young Offenders Act lead me to
think that the changes proposed by the Minister of Justice could easily have
been made through the existing act.
The 1999-2000 federal budget allocated more than $206 million to the Minister
of Justice over the next five years for the implementation of Bill C-7,
particularly for the alternative justice programs the provinces may implement.
Although a step in the right direction, this measure could have been announced
as part of the current legislation, the Young Offenders Act.
Had Canadians been properly informed by the Liberal government of the drop in
youth crime and had the provinces had the necessary financial resources to apply
the alternative measures set out in the legislation, we would have avoided a
reform that calls into question the principles underlying our system.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Nolin, I regret to
inform you that your allotted 15 minutes are up.
Senator Nolin: Honourable senators, I request leave to continue.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I would like to know how much more time Senator Nolin requires to
finish his speech.
Senator Nolin: I need only a few minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Nolin: This leads me to a third question to the Minister of
Justice. Is the declaration of principle contained in the Young Offenders Act
contradictory to such an extent that it complicates its application?
The renewal strategy for youth criminal justice identifies three weaknesses
as justification for an in-depth reform of the legislation. First, the present
efforts to keep young people out of the justice system are insufficient. Second,
violent young offenders do not benefit sufficiently from intensive
rehabilitation services. Last, the system is based too much on placing most non-violent young offenders under custody.
According to the government, these problems are caused by the lack of clarity
in the declaration of principle set out in section 3 of the Young Offenders Act.
The presence of these inconsistent and contradictory principles is apparently
what makes it impossible to determine the system's main objective.
According to the bill, young offenders ought not under any circumstances e
considered the same as adults as far as their degree of criminal responsibility
is concerned, but they must nevertheless assume responsibility for the offences
they commit. Society must be able to protect itself against any illegal
behaviour and to take the necessary steps to prevent it. Although young
offenders do need supervision, discipline and organization, they also have
"special needs" requiring advice and assistance.
At first glance, it may be hard to reconcile the objective of societal
protection with the specific needs of youth. As a result of this contradiction,
a number of Canadians have trouble understanding that young people need to be
handled differently from adults when they commit a similar offence.
Far from being harmful, however, this contradiction is necessary to the
proper operation of the youth court system, for two reasons. First, the 1982
Young Offenders Act transformed a regime that used to lift all responsibility
from the young offender. It establishes a detailed and explicit code governing
criminal procedure as it applies to young people. The accent is not so much on
social intervention as on setting out rights and obligations.
As former Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Lamer stated in the Reference
on the Young Offenders Act:
The Act (Young Offenders Act) is not meant to be a replica of the Criminal
Code. It sets up a complete and comprehensive scheme specially designed for an
Second, contradictions among certain principles in law merely reflect the
complexity of the phenomenon of youth crime. As in adult cases, adolescent crime
may be linked to poverty, difficult interpersonal relationships with friends and
family, a history of mistreatment or abuse, or mental problems.
Certain offences are more serious than others, and society must react
promptly to punish young offenders and make them accountable. To this end,
Canadians must be aware that the justice system for young people must take a
different approach than the adult system.
It must be understood that young offenders lack the responsibility of adult
offenders, since they are still learning about social standards. The process is
influenced by age, level of maturity, level of education and parents, family and
friends. A young offender appearing in court will not be as knowledgeable as an
adult about his obligations and rights.
As a result, youth court must take into consideration, in addition to the
seriousness of the offence, all of the specific circumstances surrounding the
case in which the adolescent is involved and his particular needs. The chances
of rehabilitation and reintegration are better, and this, in the long term, will
Honourable senators, the Supreme Court has already ruled on the contradiction
in principle inherent in the Young Offenders Act. In 1993, in R. v M.,
Madam Justice l'Heureux-Dubé said:
While it may not be inaccurate to suggest that the Declaration of Principle
reflects a certain societal ambivalence about young offenders, it is also
important to appreciate that it represents an honest attempt to achieve an
appropriate balance for dealing with a very complex social problem. The YOA
does not have a single, simple underlying philosophy, for there is no single,
simple philosophy that can deal with all situations in which young persons
violate the criminal law.
The judge goes on to say:
Judges and the other professionals who work with young persons who violate
the criminal law require a complex and balanced set of principles like those
found in the YOA.
I therefore do not believe that the contradiction which now exists between
the various principles of the Young Offenders Act complicates its enforcement.
On the contrary, the experience of Quebec shows this to be possible.
Honourable senators, this brings me to my fourth and final question for the
Minister of Justice. The preamble to Bill C-7 reaffirms the importance of having
a youth criminal justice system which is focussed on their particular needs. Do
the provisions in Bill C-7 reflect this principle? The preamble to the first
version of this legislation provided that, from that point on, the ultimate goal
of the system was the protection of society.
The rehabilitation, reintegration and crime prevention measures in the new
act were supposed to make young offenders accountable in order to attain this
goal. There was no longer any reference to the particular needs of youth. This
proposal provoked a reaction from a number of stakeholders in the youth criminal
justice system. They feared that youth courts would start opting for a criminal
In light of the concerns raised, the preamble to Bill C-7 was amended to make
respect for the particular needs of youth the purpose of the reform, both in
terms of sentencing and extra-judicial measures. All reference to the notion of
protecting society was dropped from the preamble.
Honourable senators, I am not convinced that this amendment is enough to
ensure that the particular needs of youth are at the heart of Bill C-7. I will
tell you why.
As it is worded, this legislation seems to distance itself from the principle
of individualizing the measures designed to make young offenders accountable,
regardless of the offence involved, in order to get closer to the justice system
defined in the Criminal Code. The amendments made to the Young Offenders Act in
1995 already confirmed this pattern. This is a cause for concern, since Bill C-7
uses an approach based on an automatic increase in the sentences imposed, from a
simple police warning for a minor offence to the placing in custody in the case
of a more serious crime.
In the case of murder, attempted murder or aggravated sexual assault, a
14-year-old may be given an adult sentence. The youth criminal justice system
will punish a young offender based first and foremost on the seriousness of the
This is not all. Leaving aside the notion of individualized measures, the
principles defined in clause 38 of Bill C-7 on sentencing provide, among other
things, that the youth justice court imposes a sentence which must:
...be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the degree of
responsibility of the young person for that offence...
Only after taking this principle into consideration can a judge impose a
sentence that is the one most likely to rehabilitate the young person and
reintegrate him or her into society, while also promoting a sense of
responsibility in the young person.
In the case of a minor offence, the specific needs of young offenders seem to
take precedence in the youth justice system. In the case of a serious crime, it
is the protection of society that prevails. Is this really an improvement over
the Young Offenders Act?
In order for such a system to work, the legislator did not hesitate to borrow
a large number of procedures from the Criminal Code, including measures such as
preliminary hearing and parole. Adjusting these measures to the spirit that
governs youth justice courts results in a bill that is so complex that lawyers
specializing in this area are saying that they cannot see its objectives or how
it will work.
Will Canadians be better served by the provisions of Bill C-7? I doubt it.
Does a police officer have the expertise required to take into account the
specific needs of a young person when the time comes to choose between issuing
that person a warning or formally charging him or her with committing a criminal
offence for a crime against property?
When we talk about the need to take quick action to punish a young person and
make him or her accountable, this does not mean issuing a warning as quickly as
possible. What is needed is for his parents, his family and specialists to step
in immediately afterwards in order to make him realize the seriousness of his
crime. He will thus realize more quickly the consequences of his action. He will
be better able to accept the punishment meted out, whether it be a simple
warning, community work, or detention. In some cases, shoplifting may be the
precursor to more serious criminal behaviour if not addressed quickly.
This model of criminal law based solely on the seriousness of an offence
cannot in and of itself provide society with effective protection against youth
crime. Furthermore, the report by the working group chaired by Mr. Justice
Michel Jasmin was very clear on the ineffectiveness of this approach. We read on
page 35 of the report:
The ill-considered escalation of measures, based on the adult system, goes
against the spirit of the Young Offenders Act, reducing a young person to the
sum of his offences, through a sort of simplistic mathematics, with no regard
for the underlying causes.
Rather than ensuring the protection of society, Bill C-7 will aggravate the
problem of youth crime. The approach it recommends will increase the risk of
recidivism, drag out court proceedings in cases of serious crimes, and make the
rehabilitation process much more difficult.
In conclusion, honourable senators, an analysis of the preamble and the
provisions of this legislation shows one thing. Far from clarifying the broad
principles which should underlie the youth criminal justice system, Bill C-7 is
vaguer than ever about what the bill's primary purpose should be.
Will the reform proposed by the minister serve the particular needs of young
offenders, victims, or families, or protect society? No one has the answer. For
political reasons, there is a danger that this vagueness could transform the
youth criminal justice system into a bureaucratic monster. Who will pay the
price? Young people, stakeholders and the provinces. The latter will have the
heavy responsibility of implementing a costly and complex reform.
Will the funding promised by the Minister of Justice be sufficient to
convince the provinces to adopt Quebec's approach to youth crime? As they say,
if you try to please everybody, you will please no one. No legislation is
perfect, I agree. On an issue as complex as young offenders, the Liberal
government should have put the interests of young people and society ahead of
policy and polls. Demonstrating leadership does not mean passing popular
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, Bill C-7 is certainly an
ambitious bill. It is also a highly complex bill. It is aimed at a substantial
reform to the present young offenders system. I will, if I may, make a few
observations and comments on this legislation, which was initiated by the
Minister of Justice.
There are some laudable objectives in this bill. In particular, that it seeks
to lower the rate of incarceration of young offenders and to encourage the
application of diversion measures for offences that are deemed to be less
serious. To be perfectly candid, as a senator from Quebec, I have a duty to
express some concerns about certain implications of the implementation of this
Honourable senators, as you are aware, this past May 23 the Quebec National
Assembly unanimously passed a motion calling upon the federal government to make
provision within the criminal justice system for young persons for a special
system for Quebec under the Young Offenders Act, in order to fully reflect its
particular intervention model.
We as Canadians can be proud that we live in a federal system that, by
definition, respects the regional and local differences that together make up
our country, a system that links the concepts of unity and diversity. When we
act in our capacity as legislators, we must always strive to take into account
the differences between our country's various regions and the characteristics
that make each of those regions unique.
Honourable senators, we must recognize that there can be differences in the
way federal legislation is applied. Criminal law in its application constitutes
an area in which a balance can be established between national interests and
local concerns — thanks to constitutional structures that allow and, indeed,
encourage cooperation between the federal government and the provinces.
Honourable senators, the system in place in Quebec to apply the Young
Offenders Act has yielded results that are worthy of mention. Young Quebec men
and women account for only one-tenth of cases brought before youth courts
throughout Canada. How can this be explained? I believe it is essentially
because Quebec has succeeded in putting in place a youth-centred system that
places the young person's specific needs at the centre of the decision-making
Honourable senators, the Quebec youth justice system has proven itself. It is
not perfect, certainly, but it is a rehabilitation- based system, one focussed
on the offender, not just the offence. In addition to the nature of the offence,
I believe other considerations such as the development of young people, their
degree of involvement in criminal behaviour, and the level of risk for society,
are also factors that are very important in determining punishment.
Bill C-7 introduces into the criminal justice system for young offenders
certain elements taken from the adult criminal justice system. I clearly
understand that the young person who commits a serious offence must face the
consequences of it, and the legal system is obliged to protect society. As the
bottom line, however, there are some very specific reasons for separating the
youth and adult criminal justice systems. The principles of rehabilitation and
responsibility must not be subordinated to the principle of criminal justice. I
hope we will continue to give precedence to rehabilitation for the highest
possible number of young offenders. This will be far better for our society.
Honourable senators, I doubt overuse of the courts in the system will make
young offenders more responsible in society, even when serious crime is
involved. I consider the principle of individualization very important,
especially when young people are involved. We must avoid over standardization
and, instead, keep the individual situation of each person clearly in mind. The
problem of juvenile delinquency does not involve just the law courts and the
young offenders. It is a problem that affects us all. It is a common problem.
Facile solutions must be rejected, and those needing our support must not be
I earnestly hope that application of the extrajudicial measures provided for
in Bill C-7 will bring down incarceration rates and enable more young people to
find their way out of trouble.
I also hope that the provinces will have the flexibility they need to tailor
the application of such measures to the special features of their own systems.
Above all, I hope they will be given the means and the resources to achieve
the objectives inherent in these ambitious proposals.
I also hope that the new system of criminal justice for young people, which
will come out of Bill C-7, will enable those involved in the field to look after
prevention and the welfare of young people involved in criminal behaviour. We
must not forget that the community and social workers will play an essential
role in implementing this legislation. All too often in the past, we failed to
take this sufficiently into account.
Honourable senators, I also wonder about the negative effects of the skewing
caused by certain principles underlying this bill. I refer, among other things,
to clause 61, which permits a province to fix by order the minimum age for the
application of provisions relating to presumptive offences for adults between 14
Specifically, this means that, for the same crime, in identical
circumstances, a youth aged 14 in Nova Scotia could be judged differently from
another youth aged 14 in British Columbia. This provision strikes me as rather
Honourable senators, there you have the essence of my remarks on Bill C-7. I
felt it my duty to express to you some of my concerns.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, there are four points I wanted
to share with you in regard to Bill C-7. Some of the points were already raised
earlier by Senator Nolin and Senator Bacon.
The first point is the constitutionality of this legislation. The Honourable
Senator Nolin clearly explained how, under some provisions of Bill C-7, young
offenders are treated like adult criminals and subjected to the provisions of
the Criminal Code.
The study of this bill is a complex exercise. I hope my colleagues will not
have to spend as many hours as I did trying to understand the content of this
legislation. When it comes to reviewing legislative documents, I feel that my
intelligence and experience are about average, but I challenge anyone to read
this bill and to understand its complexity.
I say this because we have to read the provisions together to understand the
weight that we are putting on the shoulders of young offenders. This weight is
such that we can only conclude that young offenders are treated like adult
criminals, which contradicts the purpose of the bill, which is to establish a
system specifically geared to the needs of young offenders. Let me give you an
example that really struck me.
Clause 76 of the bill provides that a young offender may be sentenced to a
term of imprisonment in a penitentiary or a correctional facility for adults.
Yet all the reports published last year and the year before that I read on this
issue, beginning with the reports by the American Association of Juvenile
Rehabilitation, conclude that the one thing to avoid is to send a young offender
to a jail for adults or a penitentiary. American states as favourable to capital
punishment as the State of Florida passed a law this year prohibiting Florida's
penitentiary officials from incarcerating and keeping young people in prisons
for adults or in penitentiaries.
This American state which, along with Texas, has one of the highest rates of
execution, recognized that a young person under the age of 18 should not be held
in a prison for adults or a penitentiary, and it passed a formal law to that
effect, article 5 of the correctional services act, which took effect in April
2001, this year.
Clauses 76, 84, and 88 to 93 of Bill C-7 provide for the possibility of
incarcerating young offenders in prisons for adults or penitentiaries.
Honourable senators, I should like to draw your attention to something
specific. It is a matter regarding the issue of delinquency that has not been
put on the floor of this chamber. Thirty-four per cent of the delinquents in our
country are young aboriginal people. Where do they live? Most live in downtown
centres close to rehabilitation services. Where do you think they will end up
living? They will end up in adult prisons. I am not the first one to say that.
There have been reliable and eloquent reports that state that justice for
Aboriginal people is not the same as average justice.
This bill should have addressed specifically the issues of rehabilitation.
The 34 per cent of delinquents who are aboriginal is not reflected, in my
opinion, in this bill.
Honourable senators, this is a serious issue. It is an issue that is
fundamental and that we know exists in other areas covered by public services.
My colleague Senator Chalifoux knows those issues better than I know them.
The economy of this bill, when one reads its clauses in conjunction with each
other, puts the young offender on an equal footing with, and sometimes in even
more difficult situations than adults. I take the example of the right to
Under clause 25 of the bill, the right to counsel is not accompanied by a
provision for a remedy when this right is violated. Accordingly, under this
bill, a young person without counsel cannot obtain the assistance required to
represent his rights.
If he is to be treated the same as an adult offender, he should at least have
the same services and rights as an adult offender charged under the Criminal
The same goes for the exception regarding the confidentiality of information
concerning young offenders, as names will henceforth be published. As honourable
senators are only too aware, this is one of the most sensitive issues in
connection with the status of young offenders. A young person who sees his name
in the newspaper either thinks he is a hero because he is now treated the same
as an adult, or is permanently stigmatized and his chances of rehabilitation
clearly damaged compared to someone else's.
As honourable senators are well aware, this possibility did not exist in the
previous young offender legislation. In the new legislation, it does. Can we
knowingly accept such a provision without asking ourselves whether we are
undermining the objective of the bill, which is to ensure the rehabilitation of
The same concern applies to extra-judicial statements made by a youth to
persons in positions of authority. We are well aware that, for adult criminals,
there must be a warning when an incriminating statement is made. In the case of
this bill, that warning no longer exists. The same goes for a trial in adult
court for a youth charged with a certain type of crime. Previously, in spite of
the seriousness of the crime, the youth could ask to be tried in youth court.
The young offender's representatives had to prove that the youth should not be
tried in adult court, but in a youth court. However, if you read the bill, such
an offender is now automatically given adult status. This means that the bill
gives the youth adult status without giving him the rights adult offenders
enjoy. In my opinion, this must lead us to question whether the bill contravenes
section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The second point I wish to call to your attention, honourable senators,
concerns the obligations Canada has assumed under a number of major
international conventions on the rights of the child. I would like to list them
as, in my opinion, there are many of them and they have implications on any
debate about bills concerning youth.
They include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, under
articles 24 and 25, dealing with the right to equality; the International
Convention on the Rights of the Child, under article 37, demanding segregation
of youth and adults; the Beijing Convention, under articles 13 and 26, also
demanding such segregation, and the United Nations rules for the protection of
minors deprived of liberty, under article 29.
When the government signs or ratifies an international convention, it does so
under the prerogative right of the Crown. All international treaties are
ratified by the Government of Canada based on the prerogative right of the
In some instances, the government must obtain provincial assent, where
matters under provincial jurisdiction are involved, as we understand
jurisdiction for juvenile courts and youth crime to be.
This bill raises important questions about the satisfaction of obligations
Canada itself assumed by signing these international instruments, the
international instruments ratified by the majority of the provinces and more
specifically by Quebec.
Accordingly, in an area of jurisdiction clearly defined as falling under
provincial responsibility within section 93, the question of the Canadian
government's satisfaction of these international commitments arises. It is a
serious question, because the Government of Quebec, by Order in Council, made a
reference to the Quebec Court of Appeal on September 7, that is, barely two
weeks ago, putting this question clearly to the Quebec Court of Appeal.
We are the upper house, we can debate this bill, amend it, pass it or reject
it according to what we consider in our hearts and minds to be the best route to
follow. Nevertheless, the constitutionality of this bill is at this point
seriously questioned, and the province with the most effective juvenile court
system, as Senators Bacon and Nolin explained earlier, is raising this basic
It is my opinion, honourable senators, that this is one of the questions we
must answer in committee deliberations when our committee, chaired by Senator
Milne, hears witnesses and initiates the debate we will have to hold on this
I would like to use English words — the "disruption effects" — to describe
Bill C-7's effects on a system that functions well in Quebec.
Honourable senators are familiar with my position on Quebec and "distinct
society." We had that discussion here some months ago, and honourable senators
know how I voted. However, in a field that is clearly under the jurisdiction of
a province and where all the studies unanimously conclude that this province has
the best system, we must question ourselves as to when we should intervene to
change the rules of the game — in order to know how the proposed legislation
will be implemented and how disruptive it will be on the performance of the
Honourable senators, it would be wise to consider a sunset clause. That would
give us an opportunity to allow officials from the Department of Justice, in
conjunction with their provincial counterparts, to monitor the implementation of
the proposed legislation. The officials could then respond, within a reasonable
period of time, to tell us whether we have met the objectives that we have
pursued with Bill C-7, objectives that are clearly stated in the preamble, as
the Honourable Senator Nolin debated today.
This is an important point. We are confronted with a major challenge: to
strike a balance between the rights of the youth and the status of adult
criminals with the way in which the provinces perform that responsibility, in
respect of the general objective of maintaining a safe and sound society in
Canada. That is the challenge that we must examine in Bill C-7.
Honourable senators, I am sure you have listened to our colleagues who spoke
to this bill earlier and today. This is a major challenge and we must all pay
close attention to a bill that is complex and difficult to read in respect of
one section to another, to ensure that what the bill proposes as its objective
will be satisfied by the resulting piece of legislation.
Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak
to Bill C-7. Let it be known that I am not a lawyer, but I am a matriarch of a
large, extended family. For many years, I have worked in the community with
children who have run afoul of the law. With my Métis background, I have worked
primarily with Aboriginal children; but I have never seen the colour of a
child's skin — only the anger, the hurt and the confusion of a child's heart.
Our world has changed. In this past week, our country has come to realize
that we are now a global community. When this bill goes to committee for
consideration, I would like you, honourable senators, as a committee, to ensure
that it addresses some of the concerns of the child, of the parents and of the
First, over 51 per cent of children come from single-parent homes. With
provincial social allowance regulations forcing these parents to work, the
children become part of the latchkey generation. This allows the gang recruiters
and the low-lifes of our communities to infiltrate these children's lives. Thus
begins the downhill spiral and the introduction to the justice system. Does this
bill address the recruiters and the low-lifes? The majority of them are young
people, who themselves have been recruited by a gang leader or pimp.
Not all parents are good parents or role models. Does this bill address the
role and the responsibilities that these parents must be forced to play in their
Whether we like to admit it, there is blatant racism and stereotyping in many
courtrooms in Canada. Does this bill address that issue?
Many Aboriginal children have lived in urban centres for two or three
generations. They do not know their Aboriginal culture or identity. Should they
be given the same sentence as the youth who has just moved to the city and has
lived a traditional lifestyle without benefit of the knowledge of the laws of
the city? Does this bill address the many differences between urban, rural and
isolated communities so that the justice system can make good, fair decisions
for each jurisdiction, no matter where it is? If not, how can that issue be
addressed in this bill?
Many young people from the isolated settlements across Canada do not speak
English or French as their first language. They usually speak only enough to get
by when it is required. They do not understand the judge, the prosecutor or even
their legal aid but are usually too shy to say anything. They plead guilty
because they do not comprehend. Does this bill make provision for interpreters
for these children?
I am pleased to read that this bill is addressing alternate models for
sentencing and adjudication in the youth justice system. I have reviewed several
sentencing circles and have been given excellent reports about the successes and
An article in the Winnipeg Free Press of September 23, 2001, states
that there are about 70 sentencing circles in Manitoba for first-time offenders.
About 20 per cent of young offenders and 5 per cent of adult offenders are dealt
with through these circles. Less than one fifth of those dealt with by the youth
councils are caught committing another crime, compared to more than half of
other offenders. Does this bill address the need for financial resources for
these circles, because the majority of them are volunteer?
In my opinion, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will be given
one of the most important pieces of legislation for all Canadians, but, most
important, for the segment of our society that is our future.
Our future lies with Canada's children. The majority of Canadian youth are
law-abiding citizens. They accept their successes, their struggles and their
failures in stride. Bill C-7, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, addresses the
broad social issues and the legislative goals the government expects to achieve,
and it still abides by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Honourable senators, I have presented you with some of the issues and
concerns of which we should all be aware. Proper legal language is important,
but we must not forget the human factors and how this bill will affect the
child, the parent, the justice system and society as a whole.
Honourable senators, may the Creator bless and give you all wisdom in
debating this bill.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, one question at the
heart of the bill gives me some distress; that is, lowering the criminal age to
almost 12, in some instances. It would be a disastrous situation as it applies
to the city of Toronto. Does the honourable senator share that concern with
respect to the Aboriginal communities?
Senator Chalifoux: Honourable senators, when I worked with young
people, I found that the majority of 10, 11 and 12 year-olds were first-time
offenders. They should not be put before a court, but they could be put before a
sentencing circle where they would have to work with and help the victim. They
would have to look at themselves. I completely agree with having sentencing
circles, especially in Toronto.
Hon. Willie Adams: Honourable senators, I have a question about
statistics. I think there are statistics stating that the Inuit population in
Canada numbers a little more than 30,000 people. Aboriginals living in the South
number a little over 2 million. Could Senator Chalifoux discuss these statistics
in terms of Aboriginal inmates? I think somewhere between 70 and 80 per cent of
Canadian inmates are Aboriginal.
Senator Chalifoux: With respect to statistics and the justice system
as a whole, the Aboriginal population in Canada is less than 5 per cent, and yet
anywhere between 40 and 60 per cent of the inmate population is Aboriginal. When
I have looked at and worked within these systems, I have found much of the
problem has to do with stereotyping, racism and a lack of financial resources to
address the issues that the inmates have been charged with.
I do a great deal of work with Edmonton's Youth Offender Centre. When I go
there and see the children, they are angry. There are few or no counselling
resources. There is nothing for them. Native Counselling Services of Alberta has
spent many years working in this area, but they do not have the ability or the
finances, as I can see it, to address those issues. When we are looking at the
statistics, we must also look at the services that are not available to the
inmates, especially our women. Our women have no services and no counselling.
They have nothing.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I wish to discuss with Senator
Chalifoux her point about language and culture. She made the point that the
Aboriginal inmate population in our prisons far exceeds the national average,
although the percentage of Aboriginals in the country is quite low. As she
pointed out in her speech, much of this is because of language and culture and
of not understanding.
We are fortunate in Labrador to have the first Inuk judge in Canada. Judge
James Igloliorte is an Inuk, born in the community of Hopedale and now living
and practising in Goose Bay. He travels throughout Labrador.
How many Inuk judges are there in Canada? How many Indian judges are there in
Canada proportionate to the need? The whole problem rests in not understanding
what is going on. Part of the difficulty is language because many Aboriginal
people speak their original language at home, and English is a second language
for them. As we know, culture is bound up in language.
I wanted to give Senator Chalifoux an opportunity to expand on the problem of
language and culture because that is a challenge for us on the issue of
Aboriginal people versus the justice system.
Senator Chalifoux: First, I should like to speak about Aboriginal
Justice Murray Sinclair, Associate Chief Justice of Manitoba. I wish to
compliment him on establishing the excellent justice circles. We have them in
Alberta and Saskatchewan, but I do not think they are working as well because of
the financial situations.
In the cities, the Aboriginal children speak English and French, but in the
northern communities, in the mid-Canada corridor and in the Far North, the
majority speak either Cree or their own language. When they come to the cities,
they do not understand. When one goes up North, the judge does not speak the
language, members of the RCMP do not speak the language and the prosecutors do
not speak the language. Those individuals do all the judging. There is a real
issue in those areas. When one looks at this bill, one must look at the
different jurisdictions and areas of our country to address these issues.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, could Senator Chalifoux give
us a profile of the average Aboriginal offender? For example, how old is this
person? What is the nature of the offence? Is the offence usually against a
person or against property? Could the honourable senator describe the family
setting of the average Aboriginal offender?
We have talked a lot about young offenders in this debate, but the Chamber
has before it no profile of the typical young offender. Perhaps the honourable
senator could give us a portrait of an Aboriginal young offender. As the debate
continues, honourable senators, one hopes that we can get a profile of the young
offender. I have done a lot of work on this topic. I am very interested in the
number of young offenders who are charged with serious offences like murder.
Senator Chalifoux: Honourable senators, let us look at a picture. In
the inner city, we have a single mother with five or six children between the
ages of 1 and 13. The welfare worker is breathing down the mother's neck because
she is not working, so the mother takes a menial job. She does not have the
financial resources for a babysitter so the older children must look after the
younger ones. Most of the time, if a food bank is not available, they go hungry.
One little nine-year-old girl came to our youth centre at about nine o'clock
one night, just when we were getting ready to close up. She said, "Grandma" —
because they call me "Grandmother" — "my mother has been gone for two days. I
have no milk for the baby." That little girl had missed school and was looking
after her little brother. We went to the store and bought food for her and the
baby. If a welfare worker is called in these circumstances, the kids will be
taken away and stuck in foster homes. We all know the horror stories of foster
homes. When the mother comes back and sobers up, she is a good mother. We are
faced with a dilemma here.
When the child does get out, he or she gets into the wrong crowd and into
trouble. Years ago, trouble was in the form of vandalism. Today, these youth are
involved in serious property offences and violence. They get into fights and
assault charges are laid.
The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to advise that the time for the
honourable senator's speech and for questions has expired.
Senator Chalifoux: May I have leave to continue?
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Chalifoux: When the kids get into the court system, they are
immediately put into jail, into the adult cells. I know because, on a few
occasions, I have gone down to bail them out at two or three o'clock in the
morning. These kids are terrified when they go to court. At times, there is a
Salvation Army worker in court; at other times, a native counsellor is there.
Most of the time, they are just left.
Sometimes Mom and Dad come. Usually they do not bother. In my experience, if
the parents are present the judge is very lenient and looks on things more
easily. Most of the time, the mother is working or cannot get a babysitter, and
the whole cycle begins anew.
This is what disturbs me most. The last time I was at the Edmonton jail, I
saw our young women charged with assault or assault with a weapon, at the ages
of 12, 13 and 14. This is what is happening in our inner-city communities.
Relatives come in from the isolated settlements and the cycle begins again with
them. No one seems to care.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I will be very brief. If
there is a role for the Senate, this is it — to study, to reflect and to listen
to each other. I will not quote Senator Nolin, Senator Joyal or Senator
Beaudoin. I will not quote the ex-deputy premier of the Province of Quebec,
Senator Bacon, whom we all know to be a strong, opinionated, no-nonsense person.
I will not quote our honourable friend Senator Chalifoux and the stories she has
told us, stories that some of us knew already. I was in Winnipeg and in
Churchill and I know the difference.
This is an opportunity for the Senate to put aside partisanship, and I speak
mostly to the new senators. It is not a matter of this being a government bill
and so we must pass it. Honourable senators have a responsibility to listen to
the speeches. We should not arrive at our committee hearing with an already
highly motivated intention to pass the bill, if it is approved after we listen
to the witnesses.
Senator Joyal raised some good points, which were repeated by Senator
Chalifoux. That is the real role of the Senate.
I followed this bill in the House of Commons. Even the few words that we have
spoken here on second reading are of far better quality. This is not
partisanship but a question of reflection. This is the role of the Senate. I
will not read the notes that I took while listening to other senators; they have
touched all the points. I hope the committee will study this bill — and I see
the chairperson here — in a way that will make us proud of the role that the
Senate can play.
If the bill is weak and needs to be amended, we should not be afraid of what
those in the other chamber will say. I know the role of leadership; they want to
pass their bill. That is so evident. In this kind of bill, everything has not
been touched. I have not touched a Quebec issue. Just listen to Senator
Chalifoux. We must have flexibility. Senator Nolin quoted us some facts and
others have quoted facts — why should I repeat them?
In French, we say it is a question of society. Our attitudes and approaches
differ according to where we live in the country.
We know it is popular to say that we will slap jail sentences upon these
unruly kids. Sometimes, on the eve of voting, a horrible crime may take place,
as happened in Montreal. Those of us who were abolitionists were very afraid of
that happening when the death penalty was under discussion. I voted three times
on that issue and once the result was very narrow. Mr. Fleming, of Toronto, and
I invented the 25-year sentence, instead of the death penalty, because,
otherwise, we would have lost that bill.
Honourable senators, I call upon you to go to the committee and not to delay
unduly but to be flexible and make sure that the Senate can make a difference in
what was presented by the other chamber.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I wish to inform the Senate
that, if Senator Pearson speaks now, her speech will have the effect of closing
debate on second reading of this bill.
Hon. Landon Pearson: Honourable senators, this has been an
extraordinarily interesting debate. It reflects the attention and the
seriousness with which everyone in this chamber regards this particular bill and
the issue that it addresses, of young people in trouble with the law.
I should like to thank all of you who participated in the debate on Bill C-7,
beginning with Senator Andreychuk, and including Senators Beaudoin, Nolin,
Bacon, Joyal, Chalifoux, Prud'homme, Grafstein, Adams and Rompkey. Honourable
senators have paid rich attention to the bill and have raised many questions.
It would be impossible for me at this moment to answer all of the concerns
that have been raised. I do not, in fact, know the answer to many of the
concerns. That is why I am waiting for the committee to bring together the
experts, who will be able to help us clarify the issues raised by all honourable
senators in this debate.
However, there are a few concerns that I would like to speak to. There have
been questions raised — and I think this is important — regarding the balance
between the protection of the public and the recognition of the special needs of
young people and the importance of prevention and rehabilitation.
Since a vote on second reading is basically a vote on the principles of the
bill, I would like to remind all honourable senators that Bill C-7 clearly
emphasizes rehabilitation as a priority, but does so in the context of public
safety. Clause 3(1)(a) lays out these principles.
Just to remind us of these principles, they are:
(a) the youth criminal justice system is intended to
(i) prevent crime by addressing the circumstances underlying a young
person's offending behaviour,
(ii) rehabilitate young persons who commit offences and reintegrate them
into society; and
(iii) ensure that a young person is subject to meaningful consequences
for his or her offence
in order to promote the long-term protection of the public.
If we reflect on that, honourable senators, and whether that also provides
the short-term protection of the public, I believe we will find there are a
number of clauses in the bill where the immediate protection of the public is
being addressed as well.
Some honourable senators have also raised the issue of Canada's international
obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a convention
that Canada ratified in 1991. I am not sure that "ratification" is exactly the
right word, but all provinces have now supported it and have asked the question
as to whether or not this piece of legislation is in compliance.
In the preamble of the bill, there is the recognition not only that Canada is
a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but also that young
persons have all the rights and freedoms stated in the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights. In addition, under the
Youth Criminal Justice Act, every convicted person younger than 18 must serve
a sentence in a youth facility separate and apart from adults. The proposed act
creates a presumption that young people serving adult sentences will also be
held separately from adults. This is a question, of course, raised by Senator
When we compare the bill with the existing act, we will find that the
provisions dealing with the incarceration of youth are much more restrictive
than is the case in the current act.
We agree in principle that youth should be held separately from adults in
custody. There are some exceptional circumstances where this might not be
advisable. Canada recognized this fact when it ratified the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and took a reservation on section 37(c). Questions might
arise, if one abides by the absolute law and reality, concerning kids from some
far distant area having to be moved hundreds of miles from their parents in
order to be in custody separately. Therefore, there are some important issues
that we need to explore. I have always supported the idea of removing that
reservation, but we must see how it can be done and be clear about what the
With respect to the rights of young people, it is also clear in the
legislation that all youth will be tried in youth court by a youth court judge.
This is different from what is happening now, where an accused youth could be
tried in adult court. A youth court judge will preside and will determine the
appropriate sentence if and when the accused has been found guilty. This for me
was a positive change, as well as for some colleagues across the way, in that we
were bothered the previous time by the fact that youth could be transferred to
an adult court simply on the charge rather than on the finding of guilt. Now he
or she will not be moved to an adult court. On a finding of guilt, the sentence
will be given by a youth court judge.
Another issue that must be fully studied and has been raised by senators here
has relevance to the questions of Quebec. I have become aware in recent years of
some of the challenges between the civil code and common law processes. We must
be careful, when children have opportunities for alternative measures, that we
are ensuring due process at the same time. A number of countries are horrified
that our age of responsibility is 12. A number of them believe the age of
responsibility to be 18.
However, the reality is that many countries are using other processes, such
as social welfare processes, and some of the kids are being treated with no due
process whatsoever. In many instances, poverty has been criminalized. It is
something to which we must pay attention, when we are looking at the good
examples in Quebec, that we look at two or three of the more negative examples
that have happened there under the Youth Protection Act.
Honourable senators, Bill C-7 not only allows for but also encourages the
full participation of front-line professionals working with young people. This
issue was raised by Senator Andreychuk. The proposed act provides for
interventions by police and prosecutors and fully supports activities like
conferencing with other professionals, including teachers, as well as persons of
the young person's community. It is through such an interdisciplinary approach
that young people will have the support they need to be rehabilitated and
reintegrated into society.
In addition, much consultation has been undertaken as a part of the much
broader strategy to involve players who in the past have not been fully included
in the process, to help address the underlying causes of youth justice. I have
had the privilege of participating recently, over the last two or three years,
in a number of round tables organized by the Department of Justice with respect
to youth justice. These round tables focused on mental health issues and on the
importance of sports, recreation and artistic opportunities to prevent young
people getting in trouble with the law. There were also round tables with
respect to Aboriginal youth.
In all of these round tables, there has been a notable amount of youth
participation. It is my hope that the committee will hear from young people, and
not someone always speaking on behalf of them.
Honourable senators have also raised the issue of resources. The Government
of Canada has made available close to $1 billion over five years for funding
agreements that will help provinces and territories implement the youth justice
renewal. These agreements require that as much as 65 per cent of federal funds
will be directed toward services and programs, not toward more facilities — more
prisons, so to speak. These agreements are signed by the minister responsible
for youth justice in each province and territory, as well as by the federal
The manner in which the funds flow to the jurisdictions is outlined in each
agreement, as are stringent reporting requirements. Perhaps $1 billion will not
be enough, but the provinces are also expected to invest somewhat in this. There
is money available, and we must ensure it is well spent.
The government will provide additional funding for innovative,
community-based pilot projects, partnerships, training and other efforts that
will support the renewal of the youth justice system.
I have been following closely, as have other honourable senators, the way in
which the fund for crime prevention is being spent. I am impressed by how many
projects that directly relate to young people have been funded. I have been
following some of the evaluations, and it is exciting to see how things are
beginning to work.
I have another response to Senator Andreychuk. Again, I am not a lawyer, so
some of my responses will have to be filled in by the witnesses we call to
clarify this matter. Senator Andreychuk raised an interesting issue with respect
to the degree to which judges can rely on case law. I look forward to discussing
this issue in committee. It seems that the proposed Youth Criminal Justice Act
will make substantive changes in law in some fundamental areas, and in these
areas of substantive changes it would be correct to say that the case law under
the YOA would not necessarily apply. However, in other areas of the proposed
legislation, the provisions are the same or essentially the same as the
provisions of the YOA. It is therefore highly likely that in these areas the
existing case law would continue to apply. It will be interesting for us to
explore that further.
Senator Beaudoin raised some constitutional issues that I find particularly
interesting, as do all committee members. I look forward to having an in-depth
study of these issues.
The minister will no doubt speak for herself when she appears before us, but
when she responded to the announcement of the Government of Quebec to refer Bill
C-7 to the Quebec Court of Appeal, she said that it is in the opinion of the
Government of Canada that Bill C-7 is constitutional and a valid exercise of the
federal government's criminal law power and complies with the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child. She further indicated that, when enacted, Bill C-7 will
not only allow Quebec to maintain but also to improve its youth justice system.
It will be interesting to hear further elaboration on that statement.
Some of the questions Senator Beaudoin raised about the current law are the
same. We will look at that with great interest.
Of the many issues that were raised here, I am particularly sensitive to
those so eloquently raised by Senator Chalifoux. I am appreciative of the
questions that were asked because they brought more issues to the fore. Members
of the committee can constantly ask the questions she has raised so that in the
end we are able to report back to the chamber with positive answers to those
As honourable senators have heard over the course of these debates, Bill C-7
aims to create a fairer, more effective justice system in a number of ways:
through, for example, emphasizing rehabilitation and reintegration of young
people; encouraging the use of meaningful alternatives to custody; making better
use of courts by dealing with less serious cases outside the formal court
process; distinguishing between serious, violent and less serious offences;
improving and expanding sentencing options; and eliminating the transfer of
young people to adult court.
Youth justice is an issue of great interest to the Canadian public, and we
are not all of one mind, as is clear from the discussions we have had today. We
are playing an important role in ensuring that this bill will provide the best
possible foundation for a youth justice system in which Canadians can have
I thank honourable senators for this fascinating and interesting discussion.
I look forward to further debates and discussions in committee and when we bring
the bill back from committee. This is an extremely important bill.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, it was
moved by the Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Poy,
that this bill be read the second time. Is it your pleasure, honourable
senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin moved the second reading of Bill S-31, to
implement agreements, conventions and protocols concluded between Canada and
Slovenia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Senegal, the Czech Republic, the Slovak
Republic and Germany for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of
fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
She said: Honourable senators, I appreciate the opportunity to speak today at
second reading of Bill S-31, the Income Tax Convention Implementation Bill,
The purpose of this legislation is to enact eight tax treaties that Canada
recently signed with other countries. The bill replaces the current treaties in
force with the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and Germany, and it
implements new treaties with Slovenia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Senegal.
The agreement with Germany replaces the existing one that was signed in 1981.
It updates our bilateral arrangements with Germany and makes them consistent
with current Canadian tax policy.
The agreements with the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic replace the
convention between Canada and the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic
signed in 1990. After the peaceful breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993, both the
Czech Republic and Slovakia were anxious to conclude separate bilateral
agreements with Canada.
The remaining five conventions are the first comprehensive tax treaties ever
concluded between Canada and Slovenia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and Senegal.
They result from Canada's continuing efforts to expand its network of tax
treaties and are designed to provide taxpayers with more certain and equitable
tax results in their cross-border dealings.
As with previous tax treaties, these agreements are largely patterned on the
model convention of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,
known as the OECD, that is accepted by most countries around the world. The
provisions in the treaties in Bill S-31 comply fully with the international
norms that apply to such treaties.
Before reviewing the bill, honourable senators, I first want to provide some
background that will put the legislation in context.
Honourable senators, I should like to say a few words on Canada's income tax
system. Since the inception of income tax in 1917, Canada has taxed global
revenues of Canadian residents and revenue from Canadian sources of
non-residents. These two fundamental elements that have characterized Canadian
income tax since the outset remain with us today.
In other words, the total income of Canadian residents, be it earned here or
abroad, is taxable in Canada. However, non- residents are only taxed to the
extent that they participate in Canada's economy, or receive income from
In this respect, Canada's tax system works in accordance with international
standards. When our income tax system was reviewed in 1971, one of the results
was a broadened network of tax treaties between Canada and other countries.
Since then, sustained efforts have been made to keep this network up to date.
Bill S-31 is consistent with these efforts. Our network of tax treaties is one
of the most comprehensive networks in the world.
Canada currently has tax conventions or treaties with over 70 countries. Tax
conventions are also in effect between Canada and all its main trade partners,
and with 27 of the 30 OECD members. Negotiations are underway to sign tax
treaties with two of the three countries that have yet to sign such agreements,
namely Turkey and Greece, while the official coming into effect of an agreement
signed with Portugal is pending.
Canada's tax conventions are all developed with two objectives in mind.
First, they are designed to prevent double taxation and establish, with a degree
of certainty, tax rules that apply to international transactions. The
possibility of double taxation arises when a taxpayer resides in a country and
earns an income in another country. Without a tax convention, both countries
could collect taxes on this income.
Conventions on double taxation ensure that such income is not taxed twice.
Our tax agreements achieve this result in three ways. First, they split the
taxation rights between Canada and the other party to the convention, in various
categories of income. Second, they establish rules to settle cases of double
claim regarding a taxpayer's residence or source of income.
Finally, tax agreements allow taxpayers who feel they are being treated
unfairly under a tax convention to submit their case to tax authorities.
The second objective of a tax treaty is to promote co-operation between
taxation authorities, so as to prevent fraud and tax evasion. This objective is
achieved in a number of ways, including by splitting profits between parties,
ensuring that national laws apply to a failed transfer and other international
tax evasion schemes, and providing for the exchange of information between
competent tax authorities. In some cases, this objective is also achieved by
providing mutual assistance for tax collection purposes.
Honourable senators, let me take a moment and explain why relief from double
taxation is so necessary. In the absence of international agreements, double
taxation can adversely affect economic relations between countries. One of the
main reasons is that tax treaties are directly related to international trade in
goods and services and therefore have a direct impact on our domestic economic
performance. In Canada's case, this impact is significant. Canadian exports now
account for more than 40 per cent of our annual GDP. Moreover, Canada's economic
wealth each year also depends on direct foreign investment as well as inflows of
information, capital and technology. Clearly, double taxation can have harmful
effects on the expansion of trade and the movement of capital and labour between
countries. As a result, it is important for Canada to have tax treaties in
Honourable senators, I turn now to some of the specific measures of Bill
S-31. The tax treaties in this bill set out under what circumstances and to what
extent Canada and its treaty members may tax the earnings of each other's
residents. Some of the more discernible restrictions concern withholding taxes.
In Canada, certain income, such as interest dividends and royalty payments to
non-residents anywhere in the world, is subject to a withholding tax. This
practice is a common feature in international taxation. Canada's network of tax
treaties provides for several withholding tax rate reductions, the overwhelming
majority of which operate on a reciprocal basis.
Without a tax treaty or other legislated exemptions, Canada generally taxes
income paid to non-residents at the rate of 25 per cent of the gross amount of
the payment. The eight treaties contained in this bill reduce the rates of
withholding tax that can be levied in Canada and by each of our respective
trading partners. For example, all of the treaties introduce the maximum rate of
withholding tax of 15 per cent on portfolio dividends paid to non-residents.
Moreover, in the case of dividends paid by subsidiaries to their parent
companies, the maximum rate of withholding tax is reduced to as low as 5 per
cent. The maximum rate of withholding tax on interest and royalty payments is
generally capped at 10 or 15 per cent under each of the eight treaties being
implemented. As far as periodic pension payments are concerned, the maximum rate
at which withholding tax can be levied is set at 15 per cent in all but the
treaty with Venezuela, where it is set at 25 per cent, as specified in our
income tax law.
In addition to the provisions limiting the amount of withholding tax that can
be levied on payments made to non- residents, the treaties also implement other
measures that ensure that the tax consequences of certain transactions are in
line with Canadian tax policy.
While time does not permit me to go into detail, I wish to look briefly at
Canada's new taxpayer migration rules that came into force last June when Bill
C-22, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, received Royal Assent. The concept
that Canada should tax individuals on all capital gains that accrue while they
live here has been part of Canada's tax policy since 1972. In 1972, capital
gains first became taxable under the Income Tax Act. Since then, special rules
have applied to people who cease to be resident in Canada. The basic rule on
immigration is that individuals leaving Canada are treated as having disposed of
all of their property before changing residence, with the result that any latent
gains or losses are realized. The general effect is therefore that an emigrant
is taxed on gains that accrued while a resident of Canada, regardless of whether
the property to which those gains related is disposed of before or after the
point of emigration.
For many years, there were questions about the exact scope of this deemed
disposition on departure from Canada and how it affected our international tax
treaties. Through Bill C-22, Canada retains the right to tax departing residents
on gains that accrue during the period they lived in Canada.
Since December 1999, in anticipation of these rules coming into effect,
Canada has been negotiating its tax treaties to reinforce protection against
double taxation and to reduce costs to the government when Canadian residents
leave to live elsewhere. In all but one case, the treaties in Bill S-31 limit
the need for Canada to provide tax relief to former Canadian residents to ensure
that they are not taxed twice on gains that accrued while they lived in Canada.
Honourable senators, given our significant economic ties with Germany, I also
want to make some brief remarks about the new Canada-Germany tax treaty. Indeed,
Germany is Canada's fifth largest export market. Direct German investments in
Canada currently exceed $7 billion.
First, the new agreement with Germany is the only treaty in Bill S-31 that
provides for mutual assistance in the collection of outstanding taxes. That
means that either country will take measures to collect taxes owed by their
residents to the other's government. At present, Canada has similar reciprocal
arrangements with the United States and the Netherlands.
Second, under the new tax treaty with Germany, Canada will no longer be
barred from taxing pension payments that Canadian residents receive from
Germany's publicly funded plans. This change is appropriate given that many
German public pensions perform a role similar to private pension plans in
Honourable senators, Bill S-31 contains forward-thinking measures that will
promote trade and investment and provide taxpayers with more certain and
equitable tax results in their cross-border dealings. All the treaties covered
in this bill are part of Canada's larger efforts to build goodwill and create
the conditions for growth that will make closer, more dynamic relations with our
trading partners possible. Again, meaningful benefits for taxpayers will result
from the passage of this bill.
Taxpayers will benefit from knowing that a treaty rate of tax cannot be
increased without substantial advance notice. The mere existence of tax treaties
will engender an atmosphere of certainty and stability for investors and
traders. By eliminating the need to pay tax on certain business profits and by
providing a mechanism to settle problems encountered by taxpayers, both
annoyance and complexity in the operation of the tax system itself will be
Simplifying the tax treaty system will encourage more international activity,
which will have a favourable effect on the Canadian economy. Those within the
Canadian business community support the revision and expansion of our network of
tax treaties. I am confident that they will welcome the opportunity to continue
promoting trade and investment relations with these eight countries.
The business community, in particular investors, will also welcome the limits
that these treaties impose on each country's ability to tax certain income and
the cooperation that will ensue between Canada and other tax authorities.
The most important benefit to be derived from these treaties will be the
elimination or alleviation of double taxation that might otherwise arise in
international transactions with these countries.
In light of the positive effects that will result from this bill, honourable
senators, I urge you to pass it without delay.
On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Leave having been given to revert to Tabling of Reports from
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
table the fourth report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, which
represented Canada at the meeting of the Subcommittee on the Future Security and
Defence Capabilities of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held in Belgium and the
Netherlands from May 6 to 11, 2001. The Canadian delegation was represented by
David Price, M.P.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
table the fifth report of the delegation of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary
Association. It is the report of the official delegation which represented
Canada at the spring 2001 session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in
Vilnius, Lithuania, from May 27 to 31, 2001.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cordy, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Morin, for the second reading of Bill C-11, respecting
immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who
are displaced, persecuted or in danger.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, debate on the
government's latest immigration legislation comes at a time when so many of our
fellow citizens are mourning the thousands of lives lost in the World Trade
Center and Pentagon attacks in the United States. Let us understand that while
the target of those senseless acts of terror may have been America, it is the
world that is the victim.
Since the tragic events of September 11, countries in every part of the world
have begun looking at ways to eliminate, or at least minimize, the possibility
of such acts occurring on their own soil. Soon, they will be instituting new
rules and limitations for each of their ports of entry. As a result, the ease
with which we now routinely cross borders will change. This is, perhaps,
inevitable, but how unfortunate we did not heed the many warnings of impending
Terrorism, honourable senators, is far from the daily preoccupation of the
average Canadian. Unlike some parts of the world, we do not fear bombs and
bullets each time we step out our front doors — at least not yet. As a result,
we have traditionally taken a relatively laissez-faire attitude toward border
security. We have bragged about having the longest undefended border in the
world without paying enough attention to ensure that the same border remains
undefended. Yet many in our policing and security communities have expressed
grave concerns about the state of our border controls. They have warned us that
controls have been weak and resources have been too scarce.
Their concerns are shared by their American counterparts. In fact, a number
of Canadian and U.S. officials and commentators have been critical of our border
controls. If the evidence in the Ahmed Ressam case is any indication, these
people, and our own police forces and security agencies have a right to be
For those unfamiliar with the case, Ahmed Ressam is a protege of Osama bin
Laden. He came to Canada in 1994 and lived for a number of years in Montreal in
deportation limbo before attempting to cross into the U.S. to bomb some of the
millennium celebrations being held in that country. This is, perhaps, a
particularly egregious case, but many argue that it is symptomatic of the flawed
nature of our immigration and refugee systems.
According to a recent CSIS report, Canada is home to about 50 terrorist
organizations. Not surprisingly, we are also a favourite transit route to the
United States. In the wake of the events of September 11, the Americans
increased pressure on us to tighten our border security. Failing this, they may
act unilaterally, and who can blame them? Does this legislation provide the
means for dealing with these significant concerns? This question remains to be
Honourable senators, the case of Ahmed Ressam, and others like him,
underlines the very real problems facing our immigration and refugee systems, in
particular the time it takes to process cases and the thoroughness of the
It is one thing for the government to promise that this legislation will
expedite the processing system, including faster security clearances, but
expediting the process does little to mend the real problem, that being the
issue of security screening. It will be incumbent upon us in committee to ask
the appropriate witnesses about this crucial part of our efforts to keep out
The government has made much of its proposal to increase fines for human
smuggling to $1 million. Those are big fines, but if big fines are to have any
deterrence value, they must be imposed when the case warrants it. I am told that
the current maximum penalty, which is $500,000, has never been levied. Do we
really think that an even higher one is any more likely to be imposed?
A similar argument can be made about the proposal in the bill for life
imprisonment. What is the point of having such a penalty if it is unlikely that
it will ever be handed down? When I see rapists and killers getting conditional
sentences, I am hard- pressed not to be pessimistic about the chances of this
provision actually being enforced, unless, of course, it is made mandatory.
I am, nevertheless, heartened that this legislation builds on the foundation
laid out by the former Mulroney government respecting criminality. As I clearly
recall, members of this government, while in opposition, strongly opposed
provisions for removing or declaring inadmissible people suspected on reasonable
grounds of having participated in serious criminal activity before coming to
Canada. Happily, the government has chosen to retain this in the present bill.
Honourable senators, debate on this bill allows us the opportunity to review
those aspects that have, or could have, the objective of combating terrorism,
terrorists and criminals in general. We owe this to the victims of the September
11 tragedy, many of whom are Canadians. Let us not forget that the victims in
this case are not only those who lost their lives. They also include tens of
thousands who were injured and hundreds of thousands of family members, friends
and relatives who were affected by what happened. They, too, are victims and
they, too, are looking to us for firm action.
Honourable senators, immigration and immigrants have added immense value to
Canada. Over the years they have played a vital, indeed crucial, role in the
development of our social and economic objectives. Without a vibrant and
competitive immigration system, our country would not be in the envious position
in which it finds itself today. This is true for the future as well.
Our "open arms" policy toward newcomers must not change. For this to
happen, we must retain the support of our fellow citizens. Canadians will
support fair immigration policies if we do our part to ensure they are coherent,
responsible and in the best interests of the nation. This does not mean we
should have an "open door" policy. We must find ways of keeping undesirable
people out in the first place and hastening the departure of those who come to
our shores and abuse our immigration and refugee system, particularly for
We need to do more to protect ourselves and the world against terrorists and
criminals. I do not speak of a knee-jerk reaction but, rather, of taking time to
examine the issue properly and thoroughly.
The government tells us it is in a rush; that this bill must be adopted
sooner rather than later; that we do not need debate, as we have consulted far
and wide; that we must just pass the bill. I cannot agree. We understand that
the government has spoken to many people, but that was before the events to
which I have been referring. What happened in New York and Washington has
focused attention on an issue that should have been dealt with long before now.
Honourable senators, let us take the opportunity afforded us by the tragedy
in the U.S. and do something positive to improve border controls and security
screening. We should look at this as part of the responsibility of member
nations of the world which, as I said before, is the real victim of the
terrorism of two weeks ago.
This government has enjoyed the benefit of office for eight years now. Yet
its position and pronouncements regarding immigration, the sovereignty of our
border, and security and refugee protection are haphazard to say the least.
I find it troubling, as I am sure that many in the chamber do, that the
government's view and vision of these issues remain so incoherent. The fault for
this, I believe, lies squarely with the Prime Minister. He is the person who
sets the tone for the government. It is his vision that guides much of what is
said and done. Yet, as those who saw him during the press conference in
Washington can attest, he lacks a larger vision when it comes to international
affairs. It seems to interest him little that protecting our borders and
providing a safe, secure and just refugee and immigration system are significant
public policy issues to which he and his government should be paying much closer
Honourable senators, human migration is destined to be one of the most
significant challenges of this century. Millions and millions of people will be
on the move. We need bold approaches and far-sighted polices to prepare our
nation for these eventualities. I do not see this legislation accomplishing
Critics of this legislation — and I understand that there have been more than
a few — have expressed a wide variety of concerns. Members of the legal
community, for example, believe it falls short in recognizing the principles of
natural justice, particularly the right to due process, impartiality and
fairness. They say it is unclear whether the provisions of Bill C-11 that
suspend appeal rights will stand the test of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I am not an expert on this issue, but I think it is one that the committee would
do well to explore during its hearings.
Returning to the government's desire for haste, I notice that throughout the
information provided by the minister on Bill C-11 there are numerous references
to faster removals, quicker decisions and so forth. The minister tells us that
reducing refugee hearing panels to one member and denying appeal rights will
result in more rapid decisions. That may be so, but at what cost? The impression
I am left with is that the principles of fundamental justice are expendable in
favour of more expeditious processing. Is this the best this government can do?
Surely, it must be capable of formulating a well-balanced process through which
claims can be dealt with swiftly without sacrificing fairness.
On the subject of process, honourable senators, it has come to my attention
that this bill will contain quite a number of regulations. I use the future
tense because I understand that these regulations have been drawn up but have
not as yet been released to parliamentarians — the same parliamentarians, by the
way, who are supposed to discuss the merits of this bill.
As honourable senators know, the issue of use and abuse of regulations is a
perennial one, but for all the debate the core issue remains unresolved; namely,
the bypassing of parliamentarians as the key players in the governance of our
country. Are we now entering the era of government by regulation?
During the Conservative years, members opposite were forever at the
barricades fighting against any changes they believed would lessen Parliament's
ability to consider an amending law. What happened, I wonder? As I look across
the aisle, I wonder, "Where are your voices now? What happened to your
concerns?" Express them, my friends.
Senator Grafstein: Be patient.
Senator Di Nino: I look forward to hearing them.
The issue will obviously not be solved in a day or even two, but where and
when do we draw the line? When Parliament is so completely irrelevant that it no
Honourable senators, another issue raised by this legislation is the brain
drain. For years now, Canada's business and trades communities have advised the
government that there is a growing shortage of skilled labour to meet their
needs. Experts are saying, as senators probably saw in the papers recently, that
there is a real possibility of having to raise the retirement age to 67 to
compensate for a projected shortage of labour. The minister's response to this
growing problem has been far from reassuring. She has suggested that the
government abdicate its responsibilities for human resources planning through
immigration selection and hand it over to individual firms and sectors.
This change needs to be looked at carefully in order to achieve a balanced
approach to immigration management.
Honourable senators, a long-term vision of Canada's needs is required.
On the question of foreign credentials, the minister has promised to work
with the provinces. I am not sure exactly what this means, but I suspect it
means that nothing will be done. The issue has been allowed to lie for over
eight years without any progress. The plan appears to be to make promises and
then allow them to become locked into a drawn out process from which the issue
never emerges. The issues are never resolved, but the promises are made once
again during the next election.
The same is true for immigration numbers. For years the Liberals have been
promising an immigration target level of 1 per cent of our population, or around
300,000 people. As you may have guessed, the government has never met these
targets. In fact, last year approximately 226,000 newcomers entered Canada, well
short of the numbers promised.
The government seems to have difficulty attracting the number of immigrants
that our country needs in order to support our economic and social interests.
Bill C-11 does little to change this. The government has not proposed anything
else that would structure immigration policy in a way that would assist Canada
by attracting the new citizens who are vital to our overall prosperity.
Honourable senators, the issue of backlogs deserves the attention of the
committee. The government may tinker as much as it likes with selection
criteria, but if operational backlogs and processing delays become the norm, as
is now the case, the purpose of the changes is defeated.
For those who may have forgotten, the previous government closed the backlog
offices in the 1990s after clearing up the cases of the immigration boom of the
late 1980s. Unfortunately, those backlogs have returned.
One need look no further than the Auditor General to find the reason for the
backlogs. The Auditor General stated emphatically over a year ago that
sufficient resources are not available to the people of the Department of
Immigration responsible for processing the targets that the government has set.
Honourable senators, a lack of funding is perhaps the pivotal obstacle in
terms of overall operational effectiveness of the immigration department. This
subject needs to be thoroughly discussed in committee.
The committee needs to look at a host of issues, some of which I have
mentioned, some I have not. The committee should look at issues such as possible
Canadian connections to the events of September 11, 2001. The committee should
examine issues such as border controls, immigration-related security checks,
resource requirements for Canada's immigration, customs, security and police
agencies and fairness and due process in our immigration policies.
At all costs, we should resist pressure from the government to rubber-stamp
this legislation, or any other legislation for that matter. Let me assure all
colleagues that this side has no intention of delaying the bill unnecessarily,
but we should not, and hopefully will not, abdicate our responsibility to fully
and thoroughly analyze the contents of Bill C-11 to ensure that it deals
appropriately with the issues I and others have raised.
Since the bill has arrived at the Senate, momentous events have occurred.
These incidents have affected the lives of millions of people worldwide. Despite
this and despite the close link between the events in the United States and the
subject of the bill before us, the government claims that it is business as
Honourable senators, I readily admit that the bill is an improvement over
existing legislation, but the events of September 11, 2001 cannot be ignored.
The government cannot be blind to the urgent need to review border and security
provisions thoroughly and properly. We have learned in recent days many new
facts surrounding the Ahmed Ressam case. Are we sure there are no more Ahmed
Ressams lurking in the bushes? Do we possess the equipment, intelligence and
planning to catch future terrorists before they can execute their destructive
Before concluding, I wish to touch on two important questions. The events of
September 11, 2001 brought out much of that which is best in humankind's spirit
and values. Unfortunately, it has also provoked examples of the darker side of
some communities in this country and the U.S.
Over the past two weeks we have heard stories of people who are believed to
be followers of Islam being subject to verbal and physical violence. This, as I
am sure all honourable senators will agree, has been unfortunate and
Honourable senators, Arabs and Muslims are as much victims of the attacks in
the United States as we are. It is important that through this bill and our
discussions we send a strong message to all Canadians that mindless acts of
hatred and violence against followers of Islam have no place in our country.
We need to get the message out that when people attack and demean their
fellow citizens on the basis of their religious background, they are in reality
attacking and demeaning all of us.
Honourable senators, my last topic deals with a growing concern of mine, one
which I believe is shared by many on both sides of this chamber. My concern is
in regards to the frequency with which governments, all governments in the past
number of years, seek to limit debate in the Senate.
Despite the serious and clear concerns expressed by many people about a
variety of issues related to this bill, the government insists doggedly that
there are no problems with it. The government says that the bill should be
passed quickly, and flaws could be fixed later.
If the government wants to ram this or any other bill through the House, so
be it. We on this side can count as well as they can. If we are to rush bills
through in order that the government can avoid controversial debates, we should
be asking serious questions. Why are we here? What value do we have as an
institution if all we do is abdicate our responsibilities when the government
side of this chamber is ordered to vote this way or that? How relevant are we to
the public policy process if we allow this to happen with no word of protest?
The Fathers of Confederation saw the Senate as an independent body with
principal responsibility in the areas of regional and minority interests and the
ability to give sober second thought to legislation. They gave this body immense
power. Unfortunately, long ago we abdicated any responsibility for regional
interest. In the past few years, we have started to do the same in the area of
sober review of legislation. The situation is getting worse, if my time here has
been any indication.
Honourable senators, we should not be unduly influenced by the treatment of
legislation in the other place. We should do our job and take whatever time is
necessary to review all legislation that comes before us. If we are not ready or
permitted to do so, then I ask again, why are we here?
Honourable senators, I look forward to all pertinent discussions dealing with
this matter when it is referred to committee.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, in the midst these
extraordinary times the Senate is called upon to consider Bill C-11, respecting
immigration in Canada passed by the House of Commons in June 2001. Immigration
calibrates the heart of our nation. Canada is unique society composed of
citizens from practically every race and religion in the world. Rapid increase
in our economic growth and prosperity can be measured in direct proportion to
the increased flows of immigration. All studies demonstrate that the immigrant
contribution increases our economic prosperity more quickly and more widely than
is generally accepted or generally known.
We are a trading nation as one honourable senator mentioned today. Almost 50
per cent of our trade is based on international trade. All agree that immigrants
can provide bridges to those new markets. In Toronto, Bloor Street/Danforth
Avenue cuts across the entire city and has more ethnic and regional restaurants
clustered near it than the 189 member states of the United Nations.
In the last decade, Toronto's small Afghan immigrant community has grown to
over 20,000, many of whom are now proud Canadian citizens. In Toronto, the
police can arrest people in over 130 languages, and Toronto City Hall can
provide services in 80 languages, which is on the increase according to the
mayor. Toronto is the first city in the world to give birth to a multilingual
television station that programs in more than 18 languages, weekly.
I see Senator Di Nino smiling. Before becoming a senator, I was a proud
co-founder of that thriving venture. I understand that Senator Di Nino was an
There are at least, at my last count, 190 different language groups in
Toronto. One out of every three households speaks a third language at home other
than English or French. Why is that? What is the secret of Toronto's remarkable
Canada became a magnetic attraction for immigrants from around the world
because of three words: security, freedom and opportunity — security to practise
the religion they chose and the way of life they chose to lead; freedom to enjoy
full and democratic rights without fear or frustration; and, above all, the
opportunity for them and their children to be educated so that they could aspire
to an even greater, more prosperous future.
In Metro Toronto, which I proudly represent, we have opened up our civic
society from the bottom up. The municipal, provincial and federal governments of
elected and appointed members reflect the polyglot streets of Toronto. The faces
and the voices of Toronto streets are represented in the power structures of
Toronto, from the city to the province to the federal government.
The federal caucus, honourable senators, represents a cross- section of
immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants, but it was not always so. In
Canada, for example between 1920 and 1947, only 27 immigrants from China were
allowed entry: only 27 over a period of 27 years. I need not repeat the shameful
story about the feeling that "one was too many" before and after World War II.
It was only in the 1950s, under successive Liberal and Conservative
governments, that the door slowly opened and immigration became once again, as
it was at the turn of the century, one of the great engines of our economic
growth. The 1982 Charter, fuelled by this new Canada, enshrined the principles
of equality in our Constitution. Thus, it is no surprise that the Charter itself
has replaced both the Crown and Parliament as the most popular public document
of national unity in every region across Canada.
Yet, on September 11, a shroud of uncertainty passed over our entire nation.
We have learned that a small minority among us came to Canada under false
pretences — not for security, not for freedom, not for opportunity, but for
evil, unlawful and fraudulent purposes — to lay await and prepare the ground for
acts of terrorism.
Honourable senators, this came as no surprise to the Senate. The Senate
pointed this out in January 1999, when the Special Senate Committee on Security
and Intelligence reported the question of the deficits of intelligence and
security, and the dangers of terrorism. It was brought to Parliament's attention
by the Senate.
This was followed by a Canadian Security Intelligence Service report on May
3, 2000, that dealt with the terrorism threat within and without Canada. I will
quote a brief passage from the report, page 4:
Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed a disturbing trend as terrorists
move from significant support roles such as fundraising and procurement to
actually planning and preparing terrorist acts from Canadian territory. In
order to carry out these efforts...they abuse Canada's immigration, passport,
welfare and charity regulations.
The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, which I chair as your
Senate representative, established three years ago a bilateral committee of
Canadian parliamentarians and American senators and congressmen to examine this
same question. This was brought to our attention by Congressman Gilman, who said
that this was an important issue and a bilateral question that we should
We immediately set up a bilateral committee. Mr. Bill Graham, Chairman of the
House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Ben Gilman,
then Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives,
are the co-chairs of this informal bilateral committee. They held a number of
Honourable senators, we have on the public record now, as Senator Di Nino
pointed out, the case of the "millennium bomber." The American transcript and
the judgment in that case deals with the deficits of both the United States and
the Canadian security authorities, and these are all now part of the public
record. These terrorists entered Canada and may have received support and
sustenance here. It is a very small number, and it is a shame that these
fanatics can hold the majority of all Canadians to a form of obscene ransom.
What are we to do, honourable senators? What should be done in the current
While we cannot be lax on security, we cannot be lax on liberty. In its
essence, this wave of terrorism camouflages a ruthless, religious persecution
against those who do not share their fanatical views. We must fashion our laws
to ensure security, without diluting liberty. We must extract the exquisite
equilibrium in security without diluting the immigration flows that lie at the
very heart of our present and future economic growth. We must not fashion afresh
laws which overreact to this delicate, rather surgical operation. The Senate
need not rush to judgment. I share Senator Di Nino's view in that respect.
Our colleague in the United States Senate, Senator Leahy, is a great friend
of Canada. He is an active member of the Canada- U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group,
a member of the American delegation to Canada at our last meeting, and the
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Senate. He is currently studying
a similar measure in the United States. Last week, he urged caution to the U.S.
Senate before rushing to judgment. He, too, is concerned about the balance
between liberties and security. This is nothing new to Canada, and the United
States Senate shares that concern.
Honourable senators, the Senate must do what I consider we do best. In a
careful, meticulous way, we must review the Immigration Act and amend it, if we
must, to restrain the government if we should discover overzealous provisions
after a careful consideration and weighing of the evidence. I anticipate that
the committee will listen to a wide range of witnesses.
It might be useful, for example, to compare similar provisions of other
jurisdictions of the Commonwealth, not just the United States. What about the
United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand who all share our parliamentary
traditions and practices? Perhaps we should hear from them? They may have some
We must fashion, honourable senators, a made-in-Canada immigration law to
suit Canadian national interests. Our citizens expect us to examine this bill
carefully to see what steps must be taken to satisfy our citizens about their
security, but about their freedom as well and their economic prospects, through
the medium of immigration, which has become part of the lifeblood of Canada.
Further to the tragic event of September 11, broader questions should be
asked. The Senate should ask these questions of itself: What is the current
threat to our security? Is the refugee flow a threat to our security, as some
would suggest? Is it the poor and impoverished immigrants who are the threat to
From the limited evidence we have, my answer is "no." The evidence suggests
to me that the these terrorists appear to be well- educated, middle-class
fanatics. This phenomenon was brilliantly analyzed by Mr. Eric Hoffer in his
book from the 1950s entitled The True Believer. I commend it to each
honourable senator before we launch into a study of Bill C-11.
It was not the poor, but the disaffected rich and the middle class that
became the fanatics. Remember who our targets are. Our concerns must be directed
surgically toward analyzing the nature of our security concerns. We must focus
on these cells, which appear to have support and substance in Canada. We should
focus on the problem and not expand the powers that close the doors to open-door
policy. I do not agree with the Honourable Senator Di Nino. I believe we should
have an open door policy in this country. We are smart enough, intelligent
enough, and our information is better than most because we are a connected
nation that can come to conclusions quickly and fairly.
However, Canadians want reassurance that fanatics — like in the movie The
Manchurian Candidate — cannot come alive and detonate a climate of fear
amongst Canadians. Larger questions, some administrative, some legislative,
should be addressed at second reading, as senators suggested.
Almost everywhere in the world, immigration officers are the front line when
visitors, immigrants and refugees enter the country. Immigration officers have a
different perspective and training. In Canada, however, the front line is the
customs officer, who is concerned with purchases abroad and questions of duty on
goods. Surely this situation can be changed quickly. We are the only country in
the world, I believe, that does that.
Practically all countries have people check in and check out in order not to
overstay their visit; if they do so, they will not be able to return for a
second time. Canada does not have procedures to ascertain that visitors or even
disallowed immigrant claimants leave when they are required to do so. Therefore,
many overstay their visit without difficulty. That is not right, that is not
fair, and that can be corrected administratively. We should hear from the
ministers about that.
I have been told that the passport swipe procedure used by most countries to
keep track of this flow is of Canadian design. Apparently, we designed it in
Canada; however, I am not clear at this moment whether it is in use in Canada
now. I believe it is not.
I am told that law enforcement computer bases — and this is pointed out in
the CSIS report — for wanted persons and criminals, both domestic and
international, do not interface with our immigration and customs computer
system. We have the criminal system on computer and the immigration and customs
system on computer, but they do not interface with one another. I am told that
that can readily be done by changing computers and putting the software programs
together. I understand it has been done in specific situations but not as a
general application. Therefore, there are delays in the immigration process
because the immigration officers do not have information at their fingertips.
Surely, the committee should be concerned with a proper database, one that
could enhance security and enhance acceleration of the immigration process while
at the same time guaranteeing privacy. These are the questions we should be
Questions have been raised in relation to the Immigration Appeal Division.
Some have argued that 10-year tenure without reappointment has diluted the
independence and the credibility of the Immigration Appeal Division. I hope the
Senate committee can explore this. The nature of appeal provisions under section
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Grafstein, I am sorry to interrupt, but
your speaking time is up.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): May I
inquire of the honourable senator how much time he needs to complete his
Senator Grafstein: Another four or five minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave is granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed
Senator Grafstein: The nature of appeal provisions under section 64 is
a matter of some controversy among civil libertarians. Let us give that matter a
careful look. It will require careful examination in light of circumstances,
obviously, but it is important to strike the appropriate balance between rights
and responsibilities under the Charter.
The other day I received a letter from an immigration officer. I wish to read
part of that letter. It says, in part: "Dear senator: I hope you will address
the part of the bill where eligibility to claim refugee status must be
determined within 72 working hours, if not the person is deemed eligible. Most
refugee claimants arrive on bogus documents or no documents, having destroyed
them en route, so their identity is at issue. Even for people who are Canadian
residents who we strongly suspect of criminality within Canada-U.S., it will
take over 72 hours to get a complete and current record from CPIC and the
provincial data bases." He goes on to say: "However, it takes only one board
member to grant refugee status but takes the majority panel of three to remove
it. As you probably know, very few failed refugee claimants are actually removed
from Canada due to limited CIC resources." The writer concludes his letter by
saying: "Thank goodness we have a Senate for a second review."
That is from a former refugee claims officer. He raises important issues.
I cannot conclude but by referring to the barbaric events in New York,
Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11. My son was there — my three
grandsons live in New York. My son witnessed the events it from his office, not
a mile away. It involved a cold, deliberate hijacking, piracy, kidnap and murder
of nationals from around the world, not only American nationals, as has been
pointed out, but nationals from 50 countries around the world. Close to 6,700
are now estimated to have been lost. Somewhere between 25 and 70 Canadian
nationals are still missing, we have been told.
What bothers me, honourable senators, is the dialectic that seems to have
arisen in Canada that this is an American problem, that the responsibility for
responding to this vicious attack is theirs, and, therefore, that Canada as a
good neighbour and ally in that capacity should assist.
I question that formulation of the problem. I disagree with that dialectic. I
believe that under international convention and treaty law, Canadian sovereignty
has been violated, pierced by these aggressive, violent and deliberate acts.
This is as much a problem for Canadian sovereignty as it is for the United
States. What is our responsibility in light of such an attack on our nationals?
On September 12, the day following the events in America, Canada supported a
NATO declaration under Article 5. Canada supported a declaration in the UN
Security Council that described the acts of September 11 as a threat to
international peace and security. Both the NATO charter and the UN charter are
part of Canadian domestic law. This is a Canadian problem for Canadians to
define. I hope, honourable senators, that the Senate will explore these
We already looked at the question of Article 5 and the UN in a Senate report.
What is the legal consequence? It is not the political consequences, not the tea
and sympathy. We could all give the Americans tea and sympathy, but that is not
the question. The question is this: What are the legal consequences for
Canadians under our rule of law?
Honourable senators may recall that the Foreign Affairs Committee tabled a
report in April 2000 entitled "The New NATO and the Evolution of Peacekeeping:
Implications for Canada." There we looked at Article 5 and the UN charter, and
it is imperative that the Senate explore these questions again, in light of
these recent events, for consequences that flow for nationals and our nation
when their human security is breached in this barbaric way. We must examine anew
and quickly what we meant last year, and the year before, by human security.
Senator Stewart raised this with Minister Axworthy, and said, "What do you mean
by human security?" Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee were there. I want
to know what are the legal consequences that flow from the definition of that
problem under Canadian domestic law. It is a Canadian problem, and when the
Americans define it in their way and we want a made-in-Canada solution for our
immigration law, I want a made-in-Canada solution for these barbaric acts that
affect our sovereignty. There are many questions, honourable senators, that we
must ask and answer for ourselves, and the sooner the better.
Honourable senators, I hope that the Senate will carefully and deliberately
weigh and examine all these questions, and that we will come up with answers
that are of assistance to cabinet, to Parliament and to the anxious Canadian
public. The eyes of Canada have turned to Parliament. They are seeking answers
under the rule of law. We have our work cut out for ourselves.
In response to Senator Di Nino, I believe the Senate has constitutional
responsibilities to the Canadian public for precisely the issues we have raised
and he has raised on this legislation.
As never before in my memory, our economic prosperity depends on our economic
security. I am confident that the Senate will draw the line between liberty and
security, and draw the exquisite equilibrium for Canadians to live in a free and
open society. I urge us to get on with our task.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I have two questions to put
to the Honourable Senator Grafstein.
Is the honourable senator satisfied that the government has sufficient power
to deal expeditiously and conclusively with people seeking admission to this
country whom our police and security services have determined constitute a
threat to the security of the country?
The second question is much more general. The honourable senator may want to
reflect on it and answer it at another time. He will have noticed that when
President Bush spoke about terrorism, terrorists and the need for concerted
international action, he spoke of terrorism "with a global reach." It is
speculated that the reason he added that qualifier was so that there would be no
problems in assembling the coalition.
However, terrorism "with a global reach" presumably excludes a fair number
of the terrorists and a fair bit of the terrorism that is at large in the world
today in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Does the honourable
senator have any comments to make on the qualifier that President Bush added in
seeking international action against terrorism?
Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, I do not need President Bush
to tell me how to read international terrorism. The threat to Canada was set out
by our Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. It is all there. I do not
have to have it affirmed yet again by the American President. It is open as part
of the public record. It has been on the public record since May 3, 2000. We
were warned by our security services about the international problem and the
international dimension. It is there; it is within Canada. That is what CSIS
says. I do not need the President of the United States to remind me what the
deficit was in our security. Let him handle the deficit in his security. There
is now some thought about removing the head of the CIA because of the lapse in
their security. Let them deal with that under their rule of law. We have our
problems under our rule of law.
My immediate response is to say, let us solve our problems under our rule of
law. The record is clear. It must be weighed, examined and cross-examined. It
appears to be clear.
I talked to Senator Roche just a few minutes ago about the international
coalition. It is not invoking Article 5 that raises great concern, but rather
the legal consequences once Article 5 is invoked. What is the scope of that
trigger? We did that by executive approval under the Royal Prerogative.
Parliament has not examined this issue.
There is a provision which states that if war is declared, the national
defence services must be ignited after 10 days. I do not understand exactly
where we are now legally as a result of the executive triggering of that
provision, which they did by approving Article 5 on September 13.
On the larger political question of the coalition and its global reach, I
think the American President does have a primary responsibility and is prepared
to accept it. Just a few moments ago, Senator Roche and I were looking at an
article in The New York Times. We read that Secretary Powell has said that he
intends to lay the case before the public. I think we must wait to hear what the
Americans have to say about that. If our government disagrees about that
analysis, then let us hear about it. Perhaps we might examine that question as
This is not a foreign affairs debate. However, it will be difficult for the
United States to gain public acceptance, notwithstanding the UN declaration,
which is clear and unequivocal. It would be most difficult, unless there was
strong evidence to point the finger in the right direction.
To my mind that is what we are waiting for in the next day or two. I
understand it is being presented to the Europeans. I hope it will be presented
to Canadians as well so that we can come to some conclusion ourselves as to
whether we accept that evidence.
Senator Murray: Would the honourable senator address my first
Senator Grafstein: Give me more time to think about it.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Senator Grafstein very eloquently brought to our
attention his concerns about the obligations of Canada under Article 5. How are
we to get at the character and the quality of the response, which may be a
military response under the aegis of Bill C-11, which is an immigration bill? I
am sitting here as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology, which I understand will receive this bill. If I were to
ask for witnesses to deal with this aspect, it might be pointed out to me that
this is not what the bill is doing in approaching the issues of immigration and
refugee status in Canada. Therefore, sympathetic as I am to Senator Grafstein's
call for an examination of Canada's precise legal situation in supporting NATO,
whatever the response will be, I ask him how are we to deal with this question
under Bill C-11?
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of order.
The Hon. the Speaker: I recognize the Honourable Senator Robichaud on
a point of order.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, when I agreed to consent, it
was qualified for the senator to have some time to finish his speech. I would
not want to be unfair to a previous speaker who was limited to approximately 10
minutes. Therefore, I urge the honourable senator to conclude his comments so
that we may be fair to everyone in this chamber.
Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, I will be brief.
Senator Roche was proper to bring this to my attention. It was not my
intention at all to have the Senate committee dealing with the immigration bill
to deal with the larger questions I have raised. I am trying to bring the
urgency of the matter to the attention of the Senate. I would hope that the
Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, or another committee, will address
these issues so that they can be dealt with in parallel by different committees.
I did not want to smudge the one with the other, but there is this overhang in
the public mind about the two. I think it is important that we address both
questions in a parallel way.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of
debate in the name of Senator Beaudoin.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of
information. Before the Speaker puts the question on the motion to adjourn
debate, which I know is not debatable, it is quite obvious that this bill is
drawing a lot of attention. In light of the horrible events of last week, there
is a certain priority accorded by our government to this piece of legislation
whereby we wish to move it forward without limiting debate in such a way that
honourable senators in this house would not be allowed to speak. I would ask the
acting deputy leader when we can expect Bill C-11 to be referred to committee
and when the speakers on the other side will have had the time to express
themselves so that we can commence the very important study of this legislation,
as some senators have indicated should be done.
Senator Stratton: I very much appreciate my colleague's evaluation of
me as acting deputy leader, but I am still a lowly whip.
As my honourable friend knows, we have been discussing this issue all day, or
at least from ten o'clock this morning. We will endeavour to do everything
possible to conclude what we are talking about here as per the agreement that
was struck. I will endeavour to do that and will inform my friend in the morning
as to our success. I believe we will conclude our debate. I do not think we can
do that tomorrow, but it is our intent to do so by end of the day Thursday.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators —
The Hon. the Speaker: A number of senators are rising now. I should
have done this at the beginning of the exchange. It is not unusual for us to
have an exchange between the house leaders or deputy leaders on the government
and opposition side and to allow other senators to put questions to them to
clarify, but it should be done with leave. I am asking if leave is granted to
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I should like to believe that
the acting deputy leader is saying that we will be in a position this Thursday
afternoon to send Bill C-11 to committee. I should like to be relatively
confident that we can do that and move it along without having to delay it, and
of course without limiting debate.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): We have only been
here three days.
Senator Robichaud: He sort of said, "We will do our best," and I
know he always does his best, as does the leader, but I would like assurance
that, yes, we can move this bill to committee.
Senator Stratton: We are dealing with senators here. They can be a
pretty independent lot, as my honourable friend knows. They can take the bit in
their teeth and off they go. I have said to the Deputy Leader of the Government
privately and I will say to him here that, by midday Thursday, it will be done
to the best of my ability. However, I cannot prevent someone from standing up
and saying, "I adjourn the debate." I will do my darndest to ensure that this
does not happen, but I cannot absolutely guarantee it. I am sorry. That is not
the way the world works in this place. Is that as satisfactory as we can get?
Senator Robichaud: I am confident that if the acting deputy leader
does his best, things will happen in a way such that we can refer this bill to
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: With leave, honourable senators, I think we
are having a nice debate. I see how smooth Senator Robichaud can be. There was a
significant amount of private consultation with the official opposition. I agree
that there is no problem in that respect. We now hear Senator Stratton suddenly
say "Thursday." I do not wish to speak for my colleague because he can speak
for himself. However, this is the first time I have heard Thursday mentioned.
Usually, we cooperate with the government. Senator Stratton may try his best to
"deliver" his senators before Thursday. That is something to be debated by the
I have been quite interested in this matter, having been Parliamentary
Secretary to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration in 1971. Not much has
changed, I tell you. What happened to the process of consultation? Are we
consulted only when the issue is not an important bill? Are we to be told ahead
of time, or do these surprises just arise?
The bill will go to committee, as we have done for Bill C-7. It must go to
committee. However, as much as Senator Stratton is a good friend, he is not that
sure that he can deliver everyone. To the best of his ability, and to the best
of my ability, I should like the bill to proceed to committee so that we may
hear the minister and other witnesses. We live in a democratic country, and many
witnesses wish to appear on this bill. Many of them were refused in the House of
Commons. It is the duty of the Senate to complete the work not done by the House
of Commons. This is a major piece of legislation. I know it is important and I
know the government wants this bill. However, I would not have hated to be
approached. I am not that uncooperative. It is quite a surprise to see this
friendly chat between the opposition and the government.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Beaudoin, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Moore, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Léger, for the second reading of Bill C-24, to amend
the Criminal Code (organized crime and law enforcement) and to make
consequential amendments to other Acts.
Hon. James F. Kelleher: Honourable senators, it gives me great
pleasure to rise today to give second reading to Bill C-24, to amend the
Criminal Code, specifically addressing the issues of organized crime and law
The onus on us as senators as we deal with this bill is particularly heavy
given the events of two weeks ago in the United States. While this bill was not
written to address the evils of terrorist organizations operating within our
borders but to deal primarily with organized gangs and organized crime, we
should determine what effect it may have in giving support to law enforcement
agencies as they combat all parts of crime planned and organized by groups of
I also approach the discussion of this bill not only as a senator but also as
a former Solicitor General responsible for police enforcement at the federal
level in Canada and as a lawyer who has a healthy respect for the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
Last week, Senator Moore gave us a fairly thorough review of the contents of
Bill C-24. I see no need to repeat that. However, there are some aspects of this
bill and the government announcements that surrounded its presentation in the
House of Commons and the Senate that I wish to emphasize.
First, I believe it is very important that our Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs study this bill thoroughly. This is one of the
bills that was rushed through the House of Commons with some enthusiasm from
virtually all sides before the summer break. I, too, applaud many aspects of
this bill. I recognize the need to pass legislation to help combat organized
crime. However, I do not believe we should act with too much haste. This is a
relatively large bill, and we should look at its wording carefully to determine
if it effectively grapples with the matter of organized crime in a way that we
as senators can agree with and support.
This bill has been introduced and presented to us as creating three new
offences, all of which relate to participation in a criminal organization. In
fairness, Bill C-24 does not so much create three new offences as it clarifies
and expands upon an existing offence. Having said that, these improvements are
welcomed and long overdue and should greatly assist law enforcement officials in
their fight against organized crime.
One of the most controversial aspects of this legislation is that in some
instances it creates prosecutorial immunity for the police should they commit a
crime while in the course of an investigation. These provisions result from the
Supreme Court of Canada decision in Regina v. Campbell & Shirose, which
declared that the police were not immune from criminal liability for criminal
activities committed in the course of an investigation. The court charged us, as
parliamentarians, to determine when and for what crimes there should be
This bill allows police to take reasonable and proportional illegal action
when investigating or infiltrating criminal organizations. Before an officer can
break the law, authorization from the minister responsible for the police force
is required. There are limits expressed in the statute so that there would be no
police immunity for intentionally or recklessly causing death or bodily harm,
for sexual offences, or for deliberately obstructing the course of justice. Of
course, there is the possibility that these clauses could very well become the
subject of constitutional challenges once this bill becomes law.
As senators, we can never forget the protections afforded by the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. Thus, we must do our very best to ensure that all clauses
in all bills comply with the Charter. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy
task. Absent a court challenge, it is not always certain whether a clause will
be in compliance with the Charter. Our job is to seek the best balance possible,
not to run roughshod over the Charter, but not to run scared of it, either. If,
despite our best efforts, a challenge is made before the courts, then we must
accept that as a fair and just part of the process.
At this point, what concerns me more than any possible court challenge is the
question of who should be authorizing these new police powers — a minister of
the Crown or a judge. Some who approve this power being given to the police and
who appeared before the Justice and Human Rights Committee in the other place
suggested there might be some comfort in having the authorization in the hands
of a member of the judiciary, someone who is immune from partisan politics and
might be more measured and responsive to such police requests.
I could not agree more. If we are to ensure public confidence in these
provisions, we must guard against even the appearance of political influence. I
am very surprised that the government does not also see it this way, especially
given all the problems arising from the APEC conference. As senators, we have
the benefit of reviewing the recently released report of Justice Hughes about
that conference. One of the key principles coming from that report is that when
police are performing law enforcement functions, they should be entirely
independent of the government.
The last matter I wish to touch upon today is one which, as a former
Solicitor General, greatly concerns me. When this bill was first introduced, the
Minister of Justice announced an additional $200 million to fight organized
crime. If this government can waste hundreds of millions of dollars attempting
to register the guns of innocent Canadians and still not get it right, then I
have a hard time believing that $200 million is nearly enough to combat
As senators, we must determine how much is really needed to effectively
implement this legislation. If the financial resources are not forthcoming, then
I question the point of even dealing with this bill.
While on the subject of money and resources, honourable senators, I should
mention that I am pleased to see the expanded provisions allowing for greater
seizure of assets tied to organized crime. It is time that we went after the
rewards of organized crime and reclaimed these resources for the benefit of us
all. Ideally, we could use the proceeds of these seizures to add to the
resources necessary to effectively fight organized crime.
Honourable senators, Bill C-24 is an important bill, but it does require
further study. I know that the committee will do an excellent job and I look
forward to its report.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to
notice of September 19, 2001, moved:
That at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday October 4, the Senate resolve itself into a
Committee of the Whole in order to receive officials from the Department of
National Defence and the Department of Public Works and Government Services
for a briefing on the procurement process for maritime helicopters.
He said: Honourable senators, I wish to inform you that discussions are
currently underway between both sides of the Chamber in order to come to a date
that will work, and I would not want to leave the independent senators out of
We had thought that October 4 might work, but the official opposition
informed us of certain concerns they have regarding this date. We are currently
in the process of finding a date that would work for the opposition. As soon as
such a date is determined, the Senate shall resolve itself into a Committee of
the Whole in order to receive officials from the Department of National Defence
and the Department of Public Works and Government Services. I will inform
senators as to when the Senate will be able to resolve itself into a Committee
of the Whole.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing
Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders (name change of the Defence
and Security Committee) presented in the Senate on September 19, 2001.—(Honourable
Hon. Jack Austin moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, this report refers to one matter only, and that
is the change of the name of the Standing Senate Committee on Defence and
Security to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. The
chair of the committee, Senator Kenny, believes that this title more
specifically describes the general ambit of the committee.
I should like to advise colleagues, of course, that this committee, along
with the committee created as a companion piece, the Standing Senate Committee
on Human Rights, would have as mandates only those matters that are specifically
referred to the committees by the Senate. There is no issue here of committee
responsibility being reallocated or any other matter, such as funds. Financial
matters will be dealt with in the report of the Standing Committee on Internal
Economy, Budgets and Administration.
Honourable senators, the only purpose of this item is to change the name to
the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. The matter was
discussed at the Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders Committee. It was not the
subject of any controversy.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I will not take up much of
your time, because I hope and believe that there will be an early opportunity to
discuss the more substantive issues involved here.
I do not have an opinion on the change in the name; I have not really thought
about it much. However, the Senate created the Standing Committee on National
Defence some months ago. In my copy of the rules, there is no mandate set out
for that committee as there is a mandate set out for other standing committees.
Perhaps I am mistaken in that; however, I cannot find a mandate there.
I recall early in June 2001 a meeting of the Standing Committee on
Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders when this matter came up. Senator Kenny,
who is chairman of the Defence and Security Committee, told us that the
committee would be discussing and dealing with various matters that occurred to
me are already within the mandate of other standing committees of the Senate. I
believe that creates a problem.
I appreciate what the Honourable Senator Austin has said to the effect that
the committee will have no authority to undertake any work except that which is
referred to it by the Senate. However, I saw in the Halifax press only a couple
of weeks ago that this committee was expecting to travel to Halifax to commence
a study of national security matters consequent upon the events of September 11,
2001 in New York.
I put that on the record for the moment. I will not object to the change in
name. However, we should have an early opportunity to discuss the more
substantive issue as to the mandate of this committee. We should hear from other
committees whose mandates would be affected by the intention set out by the
chairman of the committee, Senator Kenny.
Hon. John G. Bryden: Honourable senators, I, too, have no objection to
the name change. However, even though I have read in the press about the
committee's intention to travel, I have seen no terms of reference and no
mandate from this place.
Is the mandate sufficient to allow the committee to go either in the name of
the Senate or on its own accord? Is it doing anything? Does anyone know?
The Hon. the Speaker: I would need leave of the Senate for Senator
Austin to be given the floor again. I have a speaker. I will go to the speaker,
and then I will ask for leave to ask that Senator Austin respond to Senator
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: If Senator Austin wishes to respond to
Senator Bryden, I will defer to him. However, I do have something I wish to say
to this question.
Senator Austin: I spoke to Senator Kenny because I saw the same news
story. I told that honourable senator that the committee did not have a mandate
or money, but that it did have initiative. Senator Kenny replied to me, in all
seriousness, that the committee was merely looking at what the committee should
seek as a mandate from the Senate.
Senator Forrestall: I will be somewhat more precise, honourable
senators, than the loose cannon that we have heard recoiling and rattling in
We are in the process of doing precisely what Senator Kenny indicated in
conversations with Senator Austin. We are attempting to determine the scope and
nature of this new committee's work as we go into the future. We are quite
prepared to consider all of these matters.
In the beginning, the essential consideration with respect to the use of the
term "security" was security as it pertained directly or, on occasion,
indirectly to the activities of the Canadian Armed Forces and the requirements
of Canada's Armed Forces by the Government of Canada and as dictated by other
requirements, such as aid and the direction of government itself. When we have
completed our first round, which is a familiarization exercise as much as
anything else, the question of mandate in future would then be far better
discussed than it would be at this point in time.
Senator Bryden: We will take one more shot. First, what is the first
round? Is it around the country, or is it around a table? Who is financing it?
Is each participating senator paying his or her own expenses?
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, the question is somewhat
facetious, and I will not entertain it. This is a serious matter that we have
undertaken with the sanction of the Senate as a whole.
This is not a new question. This is not a new subject. It has been before
this chamber for a number of years now. Finally, the committee is falling into
place. It is timely indeed that there be from this chamber a window to observe
and to comment from time to time upon the activities of Canada's Armed Forces
and to report to the Senate our considered views on whether any particular
undertaking is being carried out in a matter that would satisfy Canadians.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I, too, wish to make a few comments. I do
not enter into the debate of the title, nor as to how the committee is
approaching its work. When the two new committees were at the Rules Committee
initially, as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, I
understood that this new committee would carve out that area that appeared not
to be dealt with in the Senate adequately by other committees, be it the
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the Standing
Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs, Science and Technology, or the like. I simply want it noted on the
record that, as they go for their familiarization, the committee be mindful of
the existing working mandates of the other committees.
As chair of one of the new committees, I can report that we are doing just
that. We are familiarizing ourselves by inviting those in the subject area to
come before the committee to tell us what work needs to be done that is not
covered by the House of Commons, or by another facility in the community, or by
other areas of the government. From that, we will draw our long-term references.
We are mindful that we need not, or should not, duplicate other committees or
take the mandate away from them.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I wish to adjourn the debate
because the question about the role and the mandate of this committee must be
clearly answered for those who inquired or expressed concern. Several questions
were raised on both sides, and so we should have a clear understanding of what
that mandate is. Perhaps the chair of the committee would present an explanation
here. For that reason, I wish to adjourn the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Austin wishes to respond.
Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, Senator Stratton has heard me say
already that the committee has no mandate, so there is nothing to discuss. If he
wishes to discuss what its mandate should be, he should wait until the committee
comes to the Senate to outline what it is likely to do.
The Hon. the Speaker: Perhaps Senator Stratton is satisfied with that
answer or perhaps he is not. Does the honourable senator wish to adjourn the
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report of the Standing
Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders (name change of the
Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders Committee) presented in the Senate on
September 19, 2001.—(Honourable Senator Stratton).
Hon. Jack Austin moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, language usage changes. One of the problems
with the change of language use is with the word "privileges." So many
comments have been made about what the word "privileges" means. When people
are writing, they ask, "What is it; do the senators want free beer? Do they want
free lunches? What are the extra privileges that they want?"
Clearly, the word "privileges" is one in its original use that relates to
the rights of Parliament and the members of both Houses. This proposal also
comes with the approval of the committee to update its name to the Standing
Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. The phrase "Rights
of Parliament" is probably one of the most honoured phrases in constitutional
I recommend the modernization of the name of this committee. At a future
time, with the consent of other chairs, we may ask for the modernization of
other committee names.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Oliver calling the
attention of the Senate to the historical importance to Canadians of February
being proclaimed Black History Month.—(Honourable Senator Kinsella).
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I wish to speak to the
inquiry on the celebration of Black History Month.
When I was a child growing up in West Winnipeg after the Second World War, I
was familiar with names such as Maloney, Hayes, Allison, Ross, Cleve, MacLean,
Erickson and Allenby. There was the occasional Schwartz, Striowski and Klassen,
but that was it. We were pretty monochromatic in our neighbourhood.
Two young gentlemen came to us from Germany as displaced persons. They still
live and work in Winnipeg. They were wonderful because they set an example. Back
in grade 5, we had never experienced someone walking in our door from a foreign
land. It helped us, as young kids, to really understand and realize that there
were other people from other parts of the world, even though they were
monochromatic like we were. We have surely come a long way since then.
When I look at the neighbourhood where I grew up, the cultures and races have
changed, and the names have changed dramatically. It is wonderful to see my
grandchildren growing up in that same neighbourhood, learning to swim, play and
go to school, and accept as a natural occurrence the cross-section of races and
cultures. It is just natural to them, and it is wonderful to see.
One must ask what this has to do with Black History Month, particularly in my
part of the world, where there were very few.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it being six o'clock, I am
obliged to rise and draw your attention to that fact. Is it your pleasure not to
see the clock?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Stratton: As a result, when you do not see other cultures and
races, you do not experience them; but when you do, it is quite a revelation.
There is a wonderful story about Atlantic Canada and what took place during
the Civil War and the Underground Railroad that allowed the slaves to move from
the Southern States to Atlantic Canada. They now come from all parts of the
In Winnipeg, every year we celebrate an event called Folklorama, when we
feast on Black food, culture and a richness that we need to celebrate always
because they contribute to our society in ways that make us all the better and
wealthier for our understanding of cultures and races across the world.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk calling
the attention of the Senate to issues surrounding rural Canada.—(Honourable
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, this inquiry has been
put forward by me as one of the most important inquiries for not only my area of
the country but for others as well. However, in light of the pieces of
legislation that both the chamber and I have been involved with recently, and
given the events of last month, it would be better that we have a good debate on
this issue at a later time. Consequently, at this point in the debate, I am
asking for an adjournment.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I thought that this inquiry had already been adjourned by Senator
Andreychuk so that she could conclude her comments at a later date, which is
today. The honourable senator is asking to adjourn debate again. I have no
problem with that. I am wondering, though, what would be the proper way to do
The Hon. the Speaker: I will answer as best I can. Honourable senators
have a 15-minute time allocation on certain types of interventions. I believe
this is a 15-minute, not a 45-minute time frame.
I gather that Senator Andreychuk adjourned this matter in her name prior to
the expiration of time to complete her remarks, as I believe Senator Robichaud
said. I am not aware of any impediment to doing that more than once, although I
could be wrong on that point. I must answer the honourable senator, and I answer
him by saying that Senator Andreychuk is simply adjourning debate again in her
name in order to complete her remarks. She has a certain amount of time
allocated. This does not add to her time, but she will make the balance of her
remarks at the next sitting of the Senate. That is the best answer I can give to
the Honourable Senator Robichaud.
Senator Robichaud: As a point of clarification, does that mean that
the clock on this inquiry would go back one?
The Hon. the Speaker: The clock does not start at one. The Table times
the 15 minutes, or 45 minutes, which it has done in the case of Senator
Andreychuk. Apparently, Senator Andreychuk has 14 minutes left.
Hon. Terry Stratton: On a point of clarification, I wish to speak to
this inquiry as well. Does that start the clock again?
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Andreychuk has the floor and has not
completed her remarks in the time allocated to her. She has asked the Senate to
adjourn this matter again in her name. She will use up the balance of her time
at a later sitting, in fact the next sitting, because that is the only way the
motion can be put.
When Senator Andreychuk has completed her remarks, it would be entirely in
order for any other senator to rise and speak to the inquiry as well, including
Honourable senators, I have misunderstood Senator Robichaud. The question was
not how much time the honourable senator has left. The question was this: Does
the clock start running on the 14 minutes? My understanding is that, yes,
Senator Andreychuk has intervened, spoken and now has another period of time
provided for in the rules to stand and speak before the matter drops off the
I now understand better what Senator Stratton was doing. I apologize for
trying the patience of honourable senators.
On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, September 26, 2001, at 1:30 p.m.