Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, I should like to remind you of
certain events that take place, beyond human control, and times when we, as
humans, contribute to these uncontrollable events.
Over the years, I have made statements in this chamber, and also in caucus
and committees, about what is happening in the Canadian Arctic with respect to
climate change. More and more, climate change is becoming a recognizable
reality. We are at a point where we, as Aboriginal people who live in and have a
good understanding of the Arctic, are beginning to wonder out loud. At times, we
have difficulty expressing ourselves and communicating information to our fellow
Canadians, which is a barrier that contributes to a lack of understanding
between the North and the South. However, no one is to be blamed. That is the
nature of reality.
Honourable senators, I commend to you an article that appears in today's
Ottawa Citizen. It is well written and makes me proud that I am no longer
one voice. I hope to hear more voices talking about climate change, not only
Aboriginal voices. We need your help today and tomorrow. Hopefully, in return,
we can all live in harmony, without having to worry so much about what will
happen to the fabric of our environment.
The article is entitled "Inuit watching their world melt away." I would ask
honourable senators to read this article carefully. If a certain phrase is
confusing, please ask me. As a senator and as an individual, I have traditional
knowledge that was passed on to me from my ancestors. In other words, I can
project and I can read the land.
The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to advise the Honourable Senator Watt
that his three minutes for Senators' Statements have expired.
Senator Watt: Would honourable senators allow me to complete my
remarks? I will not take much more time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Please proceed, Senator Watt.
Senator Watt: As I say, I also hold traditional Aboriginal knowledge,
along with Senators Adams, Gill and Chalifoux. It is not easy for us to say that
we hold this knowledge, yet it is very important to us. We may not be able to
explain how we hold this knowledge and how we carry out our responsibilities. No
Aboriginal can explain that clearly.
I want all honourable senators to know that we will help with the issue of
climate change as much as we can. We will do what we can to give honourable
senators pertinent information. We need your help.
I thank honourable senators for giving me the time to express my thoughts and
feelings. Hopefully, we will get to the bottom of the issue of climate change
because it is a very important one.
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, I would like to draw to your
attention today the significant support provided by the Desjardins movement to
the activities of the Université de Montréal's research chair on health care for
the aged and their families. This chair, which was created in 1998, is the first
of its kind in Canada.
The Chaire Desjardins focuses mainly on the development of scientific support
for health care for the aged and their families. In this greying society, we
appreciate the practical solutions proposed by this chair for the problems
experienced by families who have an elderly member either at home or in an
It is a known fact that it is usually women who devote their time and
energies to the ill or elderly members of their family, sometimes sacrificing
their own health in the process. The incumbent of the chair, Professor Francine
Ducharme, reports that today 90 per cent of these caregivers are women. They
devote the same amount of time to caring for their parents as they did to
parenting, that is about 18 years, an enormous amount of time.
The objective of this research chair is to support these caregivers. The
Desjardins research chair set out, in its five-year research plan for 1998-2003,
that its research will focus on three aspects. The first concerns the
development and assessment of innovative and effective intervention models for
use with seniors and their families, whether at home, in institutions or in
rehabilitation. The second deals with the delivery of nursing services to
clienteles whose requirements are little known. The third deals with assessing
pain in cognitively impaired seniors, with a view to finding clinical tools that
will make it possible to measure pain.
In addition to developing new knowledge, the chair also offers instruction to
post-graduate students and provides for the transfer of knowledge or translation
of theory into practice.
Honourable senators, given the multitude of pressures our health systems have
to cope with, we cannot do otherwise than to encourage initiatives of this type,
since they make a great contribution to improving the quality of care to our
seniors. I invite all of you to join with me in warmly congratulating all the
individuals and businesses involved in this marvellous project.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Sunday, May 5, 2002,
a wide cross-section of residents of Vancouver's North Shore joined the local
Ismaili Muslim community to mark the tenth anniversary of the Headquarters
Lion's Gate Jamatkhana in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jamatkhana means "a place of worship and a place of community." For Ismaili
Muslims of North and West Vancouver, it is a place for prayer and reflection and
also has space for social interaction, education, governance and intellectual
In 1982, His Highness the Aga Khan, on the occasion of the Foundation
Ceremony of Burnaby Jamatkhana, the first purpose-built Jamatkhana in North
America, stated that it would be:
...a place of congregation, of order, of peace, of hope, of humility, of
brotherhood. From it should come forth those thoughts, those sentiments, and
those attitudes which bind men together, which unite. It has been conceived
and will exist in a mood of friendship, courtesy and harmony.
The award-winning architecture of the Headquarters Lion's Gate Jamatkhana
building reflects the Islamic ideals of balance and symmetry, as well as the
dual dimensions of religious and social life.
At the tenth anniversary event, guests were addressed by Mr. Nazir Mulji,
President of the Ismaili Council for British Columbia, his Worship Mayor Don
Bell of the District of North Vancouver, and the Honourable Katherine Whittred,
representing the Government of the Province of British Columbia. John Nuraney,
the first Muslim MLA in British Columbia, was also present.
Pastor Richard Stetson, of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, offered closing
remarks and prayers. The church and the Jamatkhana are located side by side,
sharing the same parking areas. Pastor Stetson spoke of the cooperation that has
existed between both faith groups over the past 10 years. He emphasized that the
common Abrahamic heritage that Christianity and Islam share is gaining a new
profile among us, as we learn once again that respect for one another is
essential in a multi-faith environment.
Honourable senators, events like the tenth anniversary celebration of the
Headquarters Lion's Gate Jamatkhana help to remind us of all the enrichment
within our pluralistic society in Canada and that, indeed, we all share the same
values of fostering mutual acceptance and of caring for one another in order to
build better communities for all Canadians.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I stand to congratulate
the National Capital Commission for the magnificent flowers, most recently the
tulips, and trees that now bloom all over the lands that belong to the Canadian
people and which have been entrusted to the National Capital Commission for
safekeeping in the National Capital Region of our beloved country. They do
marvellous work and they do it year after year.
We are indebted to the National Capital Commission for helping develop our
National Capital Region with beauty and splendour. Let us hear it for the
National Capital Commission!
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, over the last several
years I have repeatedly, in my questions, statements, speeches and committee
work, raised the general issue of Canadian prosperity. Canadians have been
blessed to live and raise our children in a country that has so much to give, so
many opportunities for our people to realize their hopes and dreams.
As a representative of Western Canada, in particular British Columbia, I have
questioned the government about its handling of the economy and the general
management of our country. Over the last few months, it has become clear that
the government did not plan ahead for renewing the softwood lumber agreement. To
survive in business, one must have leadership, one must have business plans and
one simply must do something in advance of change or crisis if one is to prepare
for what will come.
Honourable senators, this government has been drifting for eight years. What
is it costing us? It is costing the B.C. government badly needed tax revenues to
pay for health and education. It is costing tens of thousands of good B.C. jobs.
These people want to work. They and their families have been tossed out into the
street by an uncaring government, and they are not alone. Our farmers have been,
and continue to be, neglected. These people have been placed in an untenable
position. Like their native neighbours before them, they have been pushed to the
edge of a chasm, their economic futures in peril.
Honourable senators, I am deeply concerned. Economic problems are not easy to
resolve, but they can be fixed and they must be fixed. Challenging times demand
leaders who are doers, who stand for something, but mostly stand up and deliver
the goods to meet the needs of the people at all times.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister expressed his frustration to President Bush
over American protectionist measures taken on softwood and agricultural trade
matters. He said that Mr. Bush blamed Congress for the problems, and then the
Prime Minister rebuffed the President, saying that he passed the buck.
The trade relationship between Canada and the United States is undoubtedly at
an all-time low and Canadians are suffering as a result. Rebuffing our largest
trading partner is not a winning formula. Announcing a Liberal caucus task force
to increase dialogue between Canada and the United States highlights the
government's leadership inabilities. The government has failed to persuade the
U.S. government to end protectionist policies that are damaging Canada's
agriculture and lumber industries, and the government has failed to implement
offsetting trade injury measures for the agriculture and lumber sectors.
Perhaps the time has come to call on those Canadians who have proven that
they know how to build healthy trading relationships with our partners, the
likes of the United States of America, trading relationships that will put hope
and opportunity back into Canadian households.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your
attention the presence in the gallery of Dr. Yervant Hakimian, who is a
professor and the head of the Cardiology Department at the University of Beirut,
in Lebanon. He is the guest of Senator Morin. On behalf of all senators, I
welcome him to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I should like to continue
along yesterday's track with a question regarding ethics because it is
disturbing us all, including many on the other side of the house, I am sure.
The May 2002 report by the Auditor General of Canada to the Minister of
Public Works and Government Services concerned three contracts awarded to
Groupaction. The three contracts were valued at $500,000, $550,000 and $575,000
respectively. The Auditor General reports that the government files on the three
contracts are so poorly documented that many key questions surrounding the
selection of the contractor remain unanswered, and I will name a few.
She found that the documentation Groupaction produced on the second and third
contracts had similarities because the government itself called for similar work
in both contracts. It is not clear why the government awarded the third contract
in 1999. The government did not receive everything it contracted for and paid
for. Key elements of what was specified in the contracts were never delivered,
and no one has been able to find a report for the second contract, for which the
government paid $549,990.
Officials approved payment for work that varied considerably from what the
contract specified. In a few cases, payments were approved with the knowledge
that the requirements of the contract had not been fully met. Payments were
made, we are told, for verbal advice, but no such advice was either stipulated
in any of the contracts or documented as having been received.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate please address what
transpired? Will the new edict, the proposed new ethics code, address these
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the honourable senator for his question. As he knows, the Auditor
General, after examining those contracts, decided to conduct a broader
investigation of all contracts that had been awarded in the sponsorship program,
of which these three were examples. The Auditor General was concerned that if
those three that she examined did not meet the qualifications she felt were
essential and the standard she thought was necessary for good government
practice, she wanted to learn for herself how widespread that was.
As I have indicated in this chamber before, I have absolute confidence in the
Auditor General and in the examination that she will conduct, as does the
Government of Canada.
Further, the RCMP has announced that it will be conducting its own
investigation into whether any criminal activities were involved in the awarding
of these contracts.
However, it is important to remember that the government conducted an
internal audit after these contracts had been awarded. That internal audit
indicated that changes needed to be made. Those changes were made. Further, the
new Minister of Public Works has made a decision that no sponsorship contracts
will be entered into by the Government of Canada until he is absolutely
satisfied that the I's are being appropriately dotted and the T's are being
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, I thank the minister for her
answer. I hope these issues are addressed permanently in the new edict that is
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, my next question is with
respect to Public Works, which, for years, has always seemed to be at the centre
of these types of problems. Has Groupaction been awarded any other contracts by
Public Works or by any other department or ministerial office?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I am sure the honourable senator knows that I would not have at my disposal the
particular information he is requesting.
Let us put some things in perspective. There are 60,000 contracts a year
awarded by Public Works. We are not talking about a few here and a few there; we
are talking about a huge number of contracts. I suspect that even within the
corporate sector, which is not always as rosy as we sometimes like to think, if
a company were to award 60,000 contracts annually, there would be some that
would not, quite frankly, have all of the T's correctly crossed and the I's
Honourable senators, that is not to say that it is good enough to accept
anything less than perfection. It is not good enough. We need to ensure that we
have the highest possible standards at Public Works and that those highest
possible standards are fulfilling all of the obligations that the Canadian
taxpayers demand and have a right to receive from any government in this
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Why has it taken you nine years? You are nine
years too late.
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, I hope that the question I
asked, as to whether Groupaction received other contracts, will be answered. It
is important, indeed critical, for the country to know whether this company has
received other contracts from other departments or ministerial offices.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, let me add that all of the
contracts are available on the government Web site. Therefore, they are
available to the honourable senator opposite and to any other honourable
It is because of that kind of transparency and accountability, which began
with the previous administration and has continued under this administration,
under access to information in a much broader access to information system, that
we know much more about government activities than we have ever known before.
Personally speaking, and I believe the Government of Canada concurs, that is a
good and positive thing. Canadians should know how their money is being spent.
Therefore, we have that information available to all of us as parliamentarians,
but so, too, do Canadians.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate. Traditionally, in public administrations the
awarding of contracts has been a relatively decentralized process. At the very
beginning, 100 years ago, each department managed its own affairs. Under our
system of government, there is always a tendency to centralize.
For 15 years, under Quebec's Premier Taschereau, who is a well-known figure,
contracts were centralized. I remember that the then member for Bellechasse, Mr.
Galipeau, was Minister of Public Works and Highways. He did not take any
chances. He was having bridges and highways built. He even had bridges built
where there were no rivers. Things were humming along.
I wonder if it is not somewhat the same thing in Ottawa. Are contracts being
centralized in someone's hands to ensure that there will be control over
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the honourable senator addresses, to some degree, the two-edged sword of this
issue. Theoretically, by centralizing, one should be able to have clear and more
articulate standards, and we should have a better ability to explain to the
people of Canada exactly what is happening. However, by putting all the
contracts together under Treasury Board or Public Works, we place more authority
in a smaller organization.
I do not know the perfect solution. To some degree, we are learning as we go
along. What is important is that there must be accountability, there must be
transparency, and the Government of Canada must always strive to the highest
Senator Bolduc: It would be preferable to decentralize somewhat.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, that would be a matter of
opinion. The honourable senator will have his opinion and I will have mine.
However, the fundamental issue here is one about which we will not disagree, and
that is that Canadians deserve to have their dollars spent in an effective and
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: If we are to inform the Canadian public,
honourable senators — and they are entitled to know — can the Leader of the
Government in the Senate tell us how many of these 60,000 contracts are kicking
back to the Liberal Party? What contributions are being made directly to the
Liberal Party as a result of these contracts? In the case of Groupaction, and I
understand other organizations, contributions have been fed back to the Liberal
Party. Canadians in my region of the country would like answers to these
questions; they want to know why this is occurring.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
every Canadian has a right to contribute to the political party of his or her
choice. That right is one of the most fundamental principles of our democracy.
For many years, I have been a strong advocate of election finance laws. The
stricter, the better, as far as I am concerned. That is why we have public
disclosure, each and every year, of all contributions. When I last looked into
this — and there may have been a minor change since then — each contribution in
excess of $250 had to be disclosed. That is a very good thing.
It is up to parliamentarians to decide whether they wish to further tighten
election financing laws to make them more strict. The principle I will adhere to
in this matter is the stricter, the better.
Senator St. Germain: The Leader of the Government in the Senate made
reference to transparency. The question of public trust is an immediate one; the
transparency should be immediate as well. Canadians want to know now what is
going on; they do not want to wait a year and a half to learn what large
contributions have been made. If the minister agrees with transparency, then
information on contributions should be made available to the general public now.
Senator Carstairs: If the honourable senator is referring to
contributions that are made to political parties, as he knows, the legislation
is very clear. By the end of December of each year, political parties that are
registered in this nation must submit, to Elections Canada, a list of all
donors. That list is then made public. Up to that point, that information, I
suspect, is known only to the party headquarters person who receives the
It is unrealistic to expect that information any sooner. As honourable
senators know, there was a time in this country when that information was not
available. It is now available on a yearly basis. I am not sure it can be made
available more quickly than that.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Yesterday, the minister advised us that her colleague, Minister Pettigrew,
announced that $17 million would be provided for Canadian lumber associations,
led by the Forest Products Association of Canada, to undertake a public
awareness campaign in the United States of the softwood lumber crisis Canada is
My first question is: Will the government undertake to table, in Parliament,
a list of the public relations and communications companies that receive
contracts from these lumber associations through this $17 million that is being
made available? Second, does the minister know whether Groupe Everest or
Groupaction will be one of the public relations firms utilized by this
association, to which Mr. Pettigrew has given $17 million?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the decision about who will be given those contracts will be made not by the
Government of Canada but by the Forest Products Association of Canada. I am
unable to verify, at this time, whether the Forest Products Association of
Canada will make a report to the Government of Canada and, if so, whether that
report will be made public. However, I will certainly put the wishes of the
honourable deputy leader before the government.
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, from a public policy
standpoint, does the minister not see some difficulty in having funds disbursed
in this manner, as opposed to being administered either by the line department
or by Public Works Canada through a transparent bidding process? Does the
minister not see some difficulty in simply transferring monies to a third party?
From a public policy standpoint, would the minister agree that the danger exists
that there will not be the kind of transparency — not that there is great
transparency — that might exist if the activity were conducted by an operating
agency of the Government of Canada that is accountable to Parliament?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the Deputy Leader of the
Opposition asks some very interesting questions, which I will raise with the
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, I have a question for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate.
A few days ago, the government issued a statement expressing regret over
Pakistan's intention to test several ballistic missiles in the ongoing dispute
with India. Can the government do better? For example, has the government sent
emissaries to the capitals of both India and Pakistan to tell those governments
that they must stop their nuclear sabre-rattling immediately, that all of
humanity will be affected by a nuclear war in that region and that it is the
height of irresponsibility to pose such a danger to the world in the name of a
disputed piece of land?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Senator Roche raises a question this afternoon that is on the minds of a great
many Canadians and, I suspect, citizens throughout the world. The situation
there has been described by some as a powder keg. The situation is very complex;
it has been ongoing since at least 1948 and the division of the subcontinent of
India. Kashmir has been a disputed territory ever since.
The Government of Canada has called upon President Musharraf to live up to
the commitments he made in his speeches, on January 12 and on May 27, to fight
terrorism and to end support for all cross-border infiltration. We have called
on India to allow time for international diplomacy to work so that a
catastrophic escalation can be avoided. We sent ministers to India in the fall
and in the early part of this year to meet with officials to explain our grave
concerns about these events. Pakistan has been an ally in the war on terrorism
in Afghanistan, and there have been discussions with Pakistani officials as
well. It is a situation we all must watch carefully. We must make our best
efforts to let each country know that we are watching, and we must counsel them
to take action that is responsible, not only for their sake but also for the
sake of the entire world.
Senator Roche: Honourable senators, in making our best efforts, I
repeat my request that the honourable senator consider carrying forward to
Minister Graham the idea of Canada sending emissaries directly to the capitals
of India and Pakistan. In the context of foreign affairs, has the Leader of the
Government in the Senate taken note of the extraordinary speech given in this
chamber yesterday by Senator De Bané, entitled: "Canada's Top Ten Foreign
Policy Challenges"? In his speech, the honourable senator pointed to Canada's
relations with the United States as the top challenge we face. In that
remarkable speech, which I commend to everyone, Senator De Bané said that, as
the closest friend of the United States, Canada must do what it can to influence
Washington to steer a wiser course for its own good. He also said that friends
are supposed to help friends through the hard times. He added that, as a result
of September 11, we ought to help the United States to restore its long-standing
ideal of working toward a better world.
Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate also noted the speech on
foreign policy given by the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of
Commons? Mr. Harper's speech was remarkable for its short-sightedness in that he
criticized the government for moving on a review of nuclear deterrence by NATO,
for Canada advancing the land mines treaty, and for Canada opposing nuclear
missile defence, all of which are supported by the Canadian public.
In carrying forward this advice to Minister Graham, would the honourable
leader ask the minister to follow the advice of Senator De Bané and not that of
Senator Carstairs: Political partisanship being what it is, honourable
senators, it is far more likely that the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs
will accept the advice of Senator De Bané over the advice of Mr. Stephen Harper.
I was not in the chamber when Senator De Bané gave his speech yesterday, but
he was kind enough to e-mail his comments to me. I have had a chance to look at
them. Like the Honourable Senator Roche, I have a great deal of compassion for
I have not yet had the opportunity to read the speech of the Leader of the
Official Opposition, but I have read the newspaper accounts of it. I must say
that I feel somewhat offside with the positions taken by Mr. Harper. Again, that
would be a glimpse of his political persuasion and my political persuasion,
which are clearly quite different and at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The honourable senator's specific question about the use of emissaries is
valid, and I will bring that forward to Minister Graham.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: While honourable senators are carefully
watching the events unfold in Pakistan and India, they must remember how
outraged former Prime Minister Trudeau was when India used Canadian technology
to develop a nuclear bomb.
All honourable senators must listen to the views expressed by Senator Roche
and propose to Minister Graham that he not only ask India and Pakistan to sign a
non-proliferation treaty but that he also ask the same of Israel, where the
situation is immensely volatile for a country that holds over 200 nuclear arms.
This is public knowledge now, although it was forbidden a few years ago, and I
was criticized for stating the obvious. The matter has even been debated in the
Knesset. Is it not time for Canada to promote equality for all by asking all of
the stated countries to sign the non-proliferation treaty?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator is quite correct in stating that we should encourage every country of
the world to sign the non- proliferation treaty because it would make for a
safer world community. However, I am not so sufficiently naive in my sixtieth
year to think that all who sign such agreements necessarily obey such
agreements. I concur completely with the honourable senator's desire to have
these countries deal with this issue.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I wish to return for a moment
to the question of political fundraising. I agree completely with the position
of the Leader of the Government in the Senate concerning the need for further
and stricter reforms in that area. However, has she taken note of a practice,
reported on as recently as this weekend and apparently current among some
Liberal MPs, specifically in Toronto, of raising considerable sums of money
outside official party channels? The money thus raised is not subject to the tax
credit and, therefore, the donors and the amounts are not disclosed.
Honourable senators, I am somewhat beyond my sixtieth year, and I thought I
could never again be startled by anything in politics. However, I was somewhat
startled to see that report and an estimate, in the case of one MP, of a bank
account in the amount of about $250,000. When asked about this money, the MP in
question refused to confirm the amount. However, he openly acknowledged that,
yes, this is his practice. The cheques are made out to a member of Parliament
"in trust." He explained it away by saying, "I do not use it for personal
purposes. The money is used for political purposes."
Surely the Leader of the Government in the Senate will agree that this
practice is grossly offensive to the spirit of our present political financing
laws, and will agree that one of the first steps in any reform would be to draft
a law to put an end to it. Meanwhile, it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister,
in that capacity and as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, to lay down the
law and to insist that the practice cease immediately.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I fully agree with
the honourable senator that politicians should use the tax credit because that
is why it was established. That is what makes the system accountable.
This issue reminds me of an incident that occurred shortly after I became the
Leader of the Liberal Party in Manitoba. I was sent a cheque for $10,000 by a
well-known Liberal in the community, that was to be for my personal use, because
there were expenses of a politician that should be covered. I wrote him back,
saying that I had delivered the cheque to the Liberal Party of Manitoba and
that, if he wished to have it returned, I would have the party return him a
cheque for $10,000. He was clearly too embarrassed to ask the party for the
money back, so it became a legitimate donation to the party. It was funded and
receipted, and therefore public.
I fully agree that there should be no donations to politicians who do not
make use of the tax credit system, and I would certainly support such an
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to take this
opportunity to introduce guest pages from the House of Commons.
On my left is Nicola Hope, who is pursuing her studies in political science
at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Social Sciences. Nicola is from
Saint-Lazare, Quebec. Welcome.
As well, I should like to introduce Antonio Di Domizio of Montreal. He is
pursuing his studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of
Ottawa and is majoring in political science. Welcome.
Resuming debate on the consideration of the fifth report (final) of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled:
Canadian Security and Military Preparedness, deposited with the Clerk of
the Senate on February 28, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Atkins).
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, it gives me great pleasure
this afternoon to rise to speak to the fifth report of the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence.
Before I deal with the content of the report, I wish to extend my
appreciation for a job well done to both the chair and deputy chair of this
committee. Senator Kenny and Senator Forrestall set out a comprehensive work
plan for the committee, dealing in some depth with all aspects of military
preparedness and the issue of security, especially in the context of the
September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
The committee travelled to many parts of Canada, meeting with members of our
Armed Forces. I particularly appreciated the informal meetings we held with
enlisted personnel and junior officers on the subject of quality of life in
Canada's military. I have spoken previously on this subject in the context of an
inquiry set down by our former colleague Senator Cohen. These meetings gave
myself, as well as other committee members, a deeper insight into the day-to-day
concerns of the men and women on the front lines of our national defence and
I also wish to extend my appreciation to Ms Barbara Reynolds, our committee
clerk, for all the organizational and logistical help she has given the
committee. She has made the hectic life of a hard-working committee infinitely
I also wish to congratulate Senator Michael Meighen on his very thorough
speech in support of the committee report. I would have difficulty in
disagreeing with anything he said.
Finally, I wish to extend my appreciation to Senator Michael Forrestall, our
deputy chair, for all the work he has done in Parliament on behalf of Canada's
Armed Forces. In this place, he has single-handedly held the government to
account over the Sea King helicopter issue and the underfunding of our military.
Recent events have demonstrated how right Senator Forrestall has been over
the years, as we now have no Sea King replacements, even on the remote horizon,
and the military can no longer sustain our commitments to our allies. We have
been forced to pull out of Afghanistan simply because, with this government's
bad judgment, which resulted in cutbacks directed at the military, the army has
been stretched to the limit. We do not have the available women and men to
sustain our commitments.
As a result of the September 11 attacks, it has become evident that Canadian
and United States defence are linked as never before. No longer is North
America, nor indeed Canada, the fireproof house that it was thought to be prior
to the horrific events of last September. Therefore, our committee thought it
appropriate to visit Washington, D.C., to hear firsthand the American plans for
North American defence and to determine, for ourselves an appropriate role for
Canada in these discussions.
We were pleasantly surprised by the reception we received in Washington. We
were there for four days and were engaged in frank and open discussions with
congressional committees on the Armed Forces and intelligence. We attended
hearings of the House Armed Services Committee. One of the highlights was a
private meeting with Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld. In Washington, we explored
all of the relevant topics of mutual interest — unified northern command, NATO
expansion, NORAD, the missile defence system and border security. I relay all of
this to honourable senators so that you will have an appreciation of the
background work and research that went into this unanimous report.
We did not arrive at our conclusions overnight. We met with many experts in
the fields of military preparedness and national security, both here and in the
United States, and we based our report and recommendations on the views we, as a
committee, took with us from the evidence presented.
Honourable senators, the last major review of Canada's foreign and defence
policies was carried out by two special joint committees established after the
1993 general election. The report of the Special Joint Committee on Defence,
tabled in 1994, was prophetic in its evaluation of the world that was emerging
at the time and the security and defence challenges faced by Canada.
While I do not want to dwell on the past for too long today, chapter 2 of the
1994 defence report identified the threats involved in the new realities of the
post-Cold War world. I should like to quote three paragraphs:
A change in the threats is increasing — proliferation of conventional
weapons, ballistic missiles, and weapons of mass destruction, nuclear,
chemical, and biological, and now the new threat posed by the widespread
laying of land mines.
A further trend is the emergence of religious fundamentalism as a factor in
the security equation — both within states and between them.
These developments are ominous, not least because they are taking place
outside the bipolar framework that provided a measure of stability even
through the Cold War.
These prophetic words, written in the middle 1990s, have become our reality
at the beginning of this new century. However, during the period between 1994
and today, government policy in relation to defence drifted and no coherent
response emerged from the government to address these identified threats.
We have moved through a period when the Department of Foreign Affairs, in
conjunction with the Minister of Finance, set defence policy. In foreign
affairs, we moved through the André Ouellet proposal of a UN rapid reaction
force to Lloyd Axworthy's human security agenda. During this period, the
Department of Defence, because it occupies the largest single commitment of
government funds to a government department, became the obvious target for
Honourable senators, we have also witnessed the expenditure of hundreds of
millions of dollars to prop up the Prime Minister's decision to cancel the
EH-101 helicopter contract.
This history of the last eight years is important because it represents a
time of government neglect of our Armed Forces and the focusing of our foreign
policy on a "feel good" human security agenda. The needs of our forces did not
diminish during this period and neither did the government's willingness to put
our Armed Forces in harm's way in peacemaking or in peacekeeping operations
around the world, including the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Here at
home, we witnessed first-hand their effectiveness in the Winnipeg and Saguenay
floods and the Ice Storm that paralyzed much of Eastern Ontario and Western
Up until now, our forces have been able to comply with this government's
constant theme — "Do more with less." However, with the announcement that we
are pulling out of Afghanistan, all of the government's actions and inactions
regarding our military have come back to haunt us. It is embarrassing on the
world stage, to our international reputation as a country and as a member of the
G8, that we cannot sustain military commitments to our closest allies.
I believe that General Henault, the Chief of Defence Staff, is to be
congratulated for standing up to this government on behalf of the military and
saying "Enough is enough." We do not have the people to sustain our
commitments. Who knows what it will take to make this government move on
helicopters or move on funding? However, at least with General Henault as CDS,
hopefully the hesitation and low priority by this government toward our Armed
Forces has been brought to an end.
Honourable senators, this state of underfunding cannot continue. That is the
underlying thesis of the National Security and Defence Committee report on
security and military preparedness.
Time has caught up with the neglect. The changing nature of our world and the
threats presented in the world have overtaken our ability, as a country, to
adequately contribute to our own defence.
Honourable senators, as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence, I support our major recommendations regarding the
immediate need for an increase in Armed Forces personnel and for increased
funding. Our first three recommendations are of vital importance in this regard:
First, the Canadian Forces need at least 75,000 trained, effective personnel.
Second, an immediate flow of $4 billion into the budget of DND is necessary.
Third, future annual budget increases should be granted by the government that
are realistic, purpose-driven and adjusted for inflation.
In addition, the committee has set out recommendations dealing with various
facets of international security, port security and coastal security, along with
significant reforms in how we conduct airport security and the work of our
customs and immigration officers.
The time has come for a serious government commitment to our military.
Lieutenant-General Mike Jeffrey, Canada's top army commander, has presented a
blueprint for the army entitled: "Army of Tomorrow." He wants to build a
technologically sophisticated and highly mobile army capability to meet the
needs of the future. His idea is to create a niche army where smaller groups of
approximately 100 women and men with special forces training could contribute
meaningfully to a combat situation.
However, General Jeffrey's plans and ambitions for our Armed Forces will come
to nothing if the resources are not found to make them a reality. We also cannot
continue to nickel and dime our Armed Forces and expect to be taken seriously in
NATO or by our closest ally, the United States.
Honourable senators, I agree with our committee chair, Senator Kenny, when he
says that he does not fear cooperating with the Americans in continental
self-defence, especially, as he notes, if everyone agrees, in advance, on the
roles each party will play, and as long as our government has the final word on
anything that would happen involving our territory or citizens.
This is our new reality, and we ignore it at our peril. We are not immune
from attack. We are not immune from disaster. It is time to take the debate over
the future of our military to the people of Canada.
Honourable senators, the report of the Senate committee calls for a total
defence review that would flow from a foreign affairs review. Foreign Affairs
Minister Graham has promised both. We need both. However, the reviews must
involve a wider dialogue with the people of Canada. These are the people who pay
the bills through their taxes. These are the people who will ultimately benefit
through the protection of our sovereignty. Now, perhaps more than ever since the
Second World War, I believe Canadians are aware of their vulnerability to the
world beyond our coastlines.
World events, such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, the war against
terrorism in Afghanistan and the recent events in the Middle East, have made the
possibility of attack here at home more real than at any time in the last 50
The challenge for the government and the challenge for us, as
parliamentarians, is to devise and implement methods by which this debate over
the future of the military and its role in serving the people of Canada and our
allies can be taken to Canadians, and their views sought and considered in a
Our military is ready for this debate. The real issue is whether this
government, which has so sadly neglected the military and has so much to answer
for in this area, will allow this debate to occur and then act on the
conclusions of such a debate.
The question is one of timing. Work must begin immediately on a foreign
policy and defence review. I hope that, by changing ministers of defence at this
crucial time, the government has not given itself an excuse to delay action on
the military file for another six to 18 months. We hope that Minister McCallum
will have the necessary clout at the cabinet table to deliver the monetary
resources so desperately needed by our Armed Forces. I also hope that one of the
first places the new Minister of Defence stops is before our the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence. We need to hear first-hand his
priorities and the timing of these much-needed reviews. He has certainly been
put on the hot seat.
Honourable senators, our military cannot wait any longer. The government must
begin to move now. Even if it does move now, it will take months, or even years,
to bring our military up to the level of preparedness that I believe Canadians
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Stollery, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Morin, for the adoption of the twelfth report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs (budget—study concerning Russia
and Ukraine), presented in the Senate on March 25, 2002.—(Honourable
Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate,
I move that the report standing in my name be referred to the Standing Committee
on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, for its consideration.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, is there an explanation? Has
Senator Andreychuk consented to this?
Senator Stollery: Honourable senators, I have spoken to the
leadership, and I spoke to Senator Andreychuk before she went abroad. I did not
know she would be back today. However, I think I have unanimous approval; it is
not a very controversial item. It deals with the monies that the committee
requires to table our report. It was approved by the steering committee.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gauthier, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Gill,
That the Senate approve the radio and television broadcasting of its
proceedings and those of its committees, on principles analogous to those
regulating the publication of the official record of its deliberations; and
That a special committee, composed of five Senators, be appointed to
oversee the implementation of this resolution.—(Honourable Senator Lapointe).
Hon. Jean Lapointe: Honourable senators, it is with considerable
emotion and enthusiasm that I rise today to give my views on Senator Gauthier's
motion. The debate on whether or not to televise the proceedings of the Upper
House has dragged on for over three decades. It seems to me that, in the modern
era of Internet, satellite and cell phone telecommunications, the Senate could
make its proceedings more accessible and give all members of the public an
opportunity to follow our work. With today's technologies, we can make the work
done in the Senate accessible to everyone. Television is an ideal tool for
raising the profile of our institution.
Why televise our proceedings? Is the Senate chamber not a sufficiently
important part of the legislative process that all Canadians should be able to
follow the debates? Are we not here to do a good job of representing the
constituents in our senatorial divisions? The question does not even need to be
asked, because all those in this place are well aware of the vital role played
by the Senate, both with respect to the consideration of bills in committee and
with respect to debates in this chamber.
Furthermore, it is critical that Senate sittings be broadcast with real-time
closed captioning so that the hearing impaired are not discriminated against, as
is now the case. The public has the right to see and hear what we are
The Senate's reputation would be enhanced. The trust of our constituents
would increase greatly. At least, they could better judge what we are doing and
what we are defending. For all of these reasons, honourable senators, I fully
support Senator Gauthier's actions to strike a Senate committee to look into
this issue. The current situation has lasted long enough. Broadcasting the
proceedings of the Senate should, in my opinion, become a reality in the near
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Graham, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Buchanan, P.C.,
That the Senate of Canada celebrates with all Canadians the 250th
anniversary of Canada's first published newspaper, the Halifax Gazette,
the publication of which on March 23, 1752 marked the beginning of the
newspaper industry in Canada which contributes so much to Canada's strong and
enduring democratic traditions.—(Honourable Senator LaPierre).
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, it is with pleasure
that I rise to resume debate on this motion.
I should like to talk about the memory banks of the Canadian people. A
nation, by its very nature of existence, has memories, and those memories are
banked in various places across the land. They are banked, for instance, in the
National Library and the National Archives. They are banked in the thousands of
museums that exist across the country. They are banked in archives of all sorts,
both public and private, and in national institutions. They are also banked in
the stories we tell ourselves, through theatre, books, films, television
programs and the World Wide Web, and also those stories that are embedded in our
psyches and in the communities and groups all across this land.
For all of these reasons, it is important that Senator Graham's resolution on
the occasion of the two-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the Halifax Gazette
be presented, because it preserves our collective memory.
Honourable senators, I often ask myself whether we are in the process of
losing our memory and whether the institutions that are supposed to keep our
memory alive are capable of doing so in the times in which we find ourselves. We
know that the vast majority of Canadians do not watch Canadian television,
television produced in Canada. We know that we have few theatres in which to
present our movies and that it is an exception when they are played in various
theatres in the land. We know, by and large, that our young people are listening
to our music — thank God — because some of the greatest international stars are
Therefore, we know that, slowly and gradually, unless we do something to
awaken ourselves, we will lose our memory. We also know that the vast majority
of Canadian people do not know the history of Canada, or little of it, and that,
in many instances, there seems to be an attempt to relegate the knowledge of it
in the schools to almost the absurdity of social sciences.
Honourable senators, I am very concerned. The Halifax Gazette had to
be taken into the United States of America. "Le déclin de l'empire américain,"
a Canadian film that grossed over $35 million, is no longer owned by the
Canadian people. The title itself cannot be used by Canadians unless they pay
Michael Jackson's production company to revive it or add a sequel to it. The
list is eternal about these matters.
Consequently, I was happy to be part and parcel of the aftermath of the
inquiry undertaken by Dr. John English, upon the request of Ms Sheila Copps, to
study the National Archives and the National Library of Canada to find out
whether they were positioned to preserve, promote and provide access to Canada's
heritage and confront the challenges of the information age in the next century
while continuing to manage collections and records in their traditional form.
This report, to which Senator Corbin referred in his remarks, is on the Web and
has been published and extensively studied.
The essential recommendation was to unite the National Archives and the
National Library into one institution. At that time, it was not possible. As a
special consultant to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I attempted to bring
together these institutions, not so much together in one institution, because
the professional people involved — that is, the archivists and librarians all
over the land — felt that they were so different in their approach to the record
of the memory banks of the Canadian people that they could not be united into
one institution. It was felt that over these institutions there should be an
advisory board to bring together administrative and public discussion and to
facilitate the work of the National Archives and the National Library.
I do not know where we are with this issue. However, I know for a fact that,
until the National Archives and the National Library become one institution in
order to assess completely the dimensions of our memory banks, we will be not in
full possession of the instruments to see to it that our memory banks are
Furthermore, no buildings will be built — one for the archives and one for
the library. It is my dream — and I have expressed it publicly over and over
again — that depositing, preserving and storing the wealth of the National
Library and of the National Archives should be transported to a series of
buildings in Gatineau, where the most important and the most magnificent
archival building in the world exists at this time.
I have always dreamt that, on the banks of the Ottawa River, the second most
important river in Canada, we would build the most magnificent reading room as a
statement of our capacity to keep alive the memory of ourselves through the
stories and through the archival material that we accumulate. I do not know if
this dream will come about, but if it does not, something will be missing.
Honourable senators, I also want Canadians to be able to tell their stories.
We have an inalienable right, as individuals and as members of a nation, to have
the capacity to tell our stories to ourselves and to the world. No government on
earth, either through free trade or the World Trade Organization, can possibly
endanger that right. We are in the process of dealing with serious trade issues.
The next battle that we will have to fight will not be about softwood lumber or
steel; it will be about whether we have the right to tell our stories and to
give assistance so that they can be told, so that the Canadian people can have
the instruments to hear them and to see them. In an industrial mode, these
stories will confront what is happening now to the processes of free trade in
various aspects of our economy.
Honourable senators, it is imperative that the entertainment industries not
be treated in the normal way. They are not widgets. They are something else.
They are the soul of the country and they belong to the country.
The Web will help us, without a shadow of a doubt, to maintain our memory. As
Chair of the Canadian Culture Online National Advisory Board, I can state that,
already, we have hundreds of possibilities to maintain these stories. The
virtual museum that Minister Copps created receives an enormous amount of
interest — not only hits on the Web but also longer stays at the Web site of the
national museum, which is accessed by people all over the word who want to know
about some of our stories and what we are doing. The creation of the first
Aboriginal network in the world has permitted access through television and the
Web to the stories of the Aboriginal people of Canada. We need to provide that
network with a tremendous amount of assistance so that it can continue what it
has so ably begun.
Honourable senators, I am concerned about the memory of my country. Senator
Rompkey and I recently travelled to Labrador. It is truly a magnificent place.
We went to Wabush and to Makkovik. We saw over 300 children who had prepared a
story that they wanted the world to hear. It was astonishingly moving. We had a
"mug up" when the elders came and we spoke with them. I found out something
that I did not know and that ought to have been in my head and in my heart. An
old man in his early eighties or late seventies came to us. In 1958, he was
deported from his village, along with his community, the Inuit and the White
people, and sent further south on the grounds that they could have access to
services that they could not have up there. With tears in his eyes, he told us
the story of his deportation. He said that, every day, he misses the place of
his birth. His great desire was to tell the stories of these people to the
children around him.
The Commissioner of Nunavut, where one in five boys the age of 15 or 16
commits suicide because they have absolutely no hope, has developed a program
whereby the elders retell stories so that the young people will find hope. In
Senators' Statements earlier today, Senator Watt spoke of climate change in the
North and the vision of stories and what they mean.
For all of these reasons, it is imperative that the institutions of culture,
the dissemination of culture and the telling of our stories be a priority in our
country. It is as important as banking. It is as important as defence. It is as
important as national security. It is as important as every other aspect of our
lives. Unless we have the opportunity to bring ourselves into these stories, we
will lose. Our children will grow up without stories, and our grandchildren and
great grandchildren will no longer be part of the nation of Canada, because a
people without a history, without stories, have no reality. They cannot
constitute a nation. I beg honourable senators to think about that in
contemplating the magnificent Halifax Gazette and other memories and
stories that are stored in the library and in the archives.
Finally, honourable senators, let us create a standing committee on culture
and heritage in this Senate. It is repressive, absolutely absurd and untenable
nationally, that there is not, in this Senate, which is supposed to represent
the soul and the thinking of the Canadian people, a committee where people sit
down on a continual basis to discuss the possibility of the living stories and
culture of Canada.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, that was a most
enjoyable commentary on the Halifax newspaper. Rather than going through the joy
of reading the honourable senator's speech in Hansard tomorrow, perhaps he could
bring me up-to-date now. He mentioned a river that was the second most important
in Canada. Could he tell me the name of that river? I missed it. While he is at
it, he might as well tell me the name of the most important river.
Senator Bryden: The Saint John River.
Senator LaPierre: I was referring to the Ottawa River. The most
important river in Canada, historically speaking, is the St. Lawrence River.
However, there are rivers elsewhere that became important thereafter. I do not
establish priorities in my memory bank.
Senator Taylor: I was afraid of that.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, notwithstanding my respect for
the Mackenzie, the Fraser, the North Saskatchewan and other rivers, I wish to
move adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette, pursuant to notice of May 28, 2002,
That the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations be
empowered to permit coverage by electronic media of the public proceedings of
its meeting of Thursday, May 30, 2002, with the least possible disruption of
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Thursday, May 30, 2002, at 1:30 p.m.