Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I rise today to speak about the loss of a very special Canadian. The Right
Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn was a Governor General with a special place in
the hearts of Canadians. His personal warmth and the interest he took in people
were his hallmarks. He was able to bridge the distance between his office and
the Canadian people, and he managed to impart his love and appreciation for
being Canadian to everyone he met.
In my province, and in the other Prairie provinces, this first Governor
General of Ukrainian background was particularly appreciated. He made Rideau
Hall a place of the people when he opened the grounds to the public. By creating
the Governor General's Summer Concert Series and by reopening the skating rink
to members of the public, Canadians were welcomed and felt welcomed to their
Mr. Hnatyshyn and his wife were most welcome patrons of the arts. He created
the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards and the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award
for Volunteerism in the Arts. It was so typical, I think, of him that he would
recognize the often-unsung hero and heroine, the volunteer.
Mr. Hnatyshyn was a strong supporter of multiculturalism, literacy and
education. In 1989, he was honoured with the St. Volodymyr Medal Award from the
World Congress of Ukrainians in recognition of ``outstanding contribution to the
cause of justice and civil liberties.''
We were all witness to the outpouring of affection and respect from Canadians
upon hearing of his death, and he will always occupy a special place in the
history and in the hearts of the Canadian people, most particularly because he
was taken from us much too young.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I thank the Honourable Leader
of the Government for the warm tribute she has just paid to our late friend. The
life of the Right Honourable Ramon Hnatyshyn is a remarkable Canadian story in
both its political and personal dimensions. In the House of Commons, he served
as House leader in opposition and later in government. The House leader is at
the forefront of the parliamentary struggle, yet he must know how to rise above
it. The good House leader enjoys the confidence of his own caucus colleagues
and, at least equally important, the trust of his adversaries. House leaders
have, in their hands, the daily business of Parliament and also, to some extent,
the well-being of the institution itself.
Of the various cabinet offices Ray Hnatyshyn held in the Clark and Mulroney
governments, it was the justice portfolio that he had always wanted, that he
most loved and where he best shone. Like the House leader, the good justice
minister is a person apart. He is a member of a political team but must
sometimes transcend party and even cabinet loyalty. This is because the Minister
of Justice, pre-eminently among ministers, owes a primary duty to the criteria
of his profession, to the rule of law and to the principles of natural justice.
He must never let government lose sight of these. Uniquely and surpassingly
among ministers, the justice minister must be trustworthy.
In all those respects, as in his dedication to Parliament and his commitment
to the law, Ray Hnatyshyn the minister was never ever found wanting. It is no
secret that, as House leader, he was never partisan enough for some of his
colleagues and, as justice minister, never conservative enough for some, but he
was his own man. Affability and good-humoured banter was his way of bringing
blessed moderation and proportion to apparently intractable and confrontational
issues. If, occasionally, it meant exposing absurdity and shocking some, then
too bad they did not have a better sense of humour.
He was a person of sound principles and intellect and of the most humane
instincts and convictions. He was a westerner and during his political career a
Tory, but nobody was going to tell him how a westerner or a Tory should think or
act. As a young lawyer in Saskatoon, his community service ranged from
chairmanship of the United Way to presidency of the United Nations Association.
Ray Hnatyshyn was thinking globally and acting locally before the slogan was
His hero had been John Diefenbaker, another Saskatchewan lawyer and champion
of minorities and human rights. In 1974, he proudly joined Mr. Diefenbaker in
the House of Commons. When, on one occasion, Mr. Diefenbaker departed from his
principles on a capital punishment vote, Ray stuck with the principles — and
parted with the Chief.
During his final mandate in Parliament, it fell to Ray Hnatyshyn to carry,
through the House of Commons, the new Official Languages Act of 1988, the Meech
Lake Constitutional Accord, and the early resolutions aimed at filling the
legislative vacuum on abortion. His cabinet responsibilities and mine overlapped
on those three issues. In him, I always had — all of us had — the most
thoughtful, well-informed, collegial and supportive of colleagues. I do not
know, because being Ray he never said, how much one or other or all of those
three great and controversial issues may have contributed to the loss of his own
seat in the November 1988 election. Perhaps, in his constituency, the election
had turned on the free trade issue. If so, it would be somewhat ironic. It was
in consultation with Ray Hnatyshyn that the retired Mr. Justice Emmett Hall
decided to intervene in that campaign to disprove the alarmist propaganda of
those who suggested that universal health care was threatened by the free trade
agreement. Those Canadians who had been frightened by some of the campaign
rhetoric were reassured by Justice Hall's intervention, and it may well be that
more than one of Ray's colleagues owed their election or re-election to this.
When he became Governor General in 1990, criticism arose because he had just
left the federal political arena. By the end of his mandate, however, reporters
remembered, first and foremost, how he opened Rideau Hall to the public. They
pointed out that he brought the Crown and the people of Canada closer. They
emphasized his dedication to artists, youth and the promotion of education and
multiculturalism. As Senator Carstairs said, through these concrete initiatives,
both Mr. and Mrs. Hnatyshyn have left their mark on the institution of Governor
General of Canada and on Canada.
In 1907, his father came to Canada from the Ukraine when he was only two
months old. In 1959, John Hnatyshyn, a lawyer by profession, was appointed to
this House and became both the first senator for Saskatoon and the first senator
of Ukrainian descent. You can therefore imagine what an emotional experience it
was for his son, the Right Honourable Ramon Hnatyshyn, a first generation
Canadian, to travel to the Ukraine in 1992 on an official visit as the Governor
General of Canada. This is a remarkable page in Canadian history.
We may be humbly grateful for a country where such a story is possible, and
we may pray that this country will continue to be worthy of such people as the
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I, too, want to pay
tribute to the exceptional life and contribution of the late Right Honourable
Ramon Hnatyshyn. To someone growing up in Saskatoon, as I did, the Hnatyshyn
family was well known for their contributions to the community, to Canada and to
a broader field.
Ramon Hnatyshyn's father was the first senator of Ukrainian heritage,
appointed by the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker. His mother, Helen,
contributed greatly to the acceleration of rights and opportunities for women
through her varied associations and organizations, including the United Nations
conferences on women.
With that parental background, Mr. Hnatyshyn was quickly committed to a life
of excellence in his profession and to public service, something which he did
throughout his life. In his years of practice in Saskatoon, he was involved in
many institutions and organizations, including many Ukrainian organizations. I
will not, at this time, point out the many varied ways that he contributed not
only to the life and fabric of Ukrainians in Canada but to the multicultural
fabric of Canada. Perhaps I will do that at a later date.
Suffice to say that I have been overwhelmed by the comments to me personally,
as I travelled throughout Canada, by ordinary Canadians who knew of his
accomplishments. Each had their own story that served to illustrate Mr.
Hnatyshyn's sense of humour.
Throughout his political career, in particular when he was appointed Minister
of Justice, his sense of social justice and concern for minorities led him to
take on many issues of injustice. In particular, one can point to his commitment
to attacking crimes against humanity.
When he became the first Governor General of Ukrainian heritage, he served as
a role model to some 1 million Ukrainian Canadians, showing them that their
contribution could and would be accepted in our broad society and would enrich
the policies, practices and daily life of Canada.
One can never underestimate the symbolic value of such an event to those
whose roots are neither English nor French. What is interesting about Mr.
Hnatyshyn is that this was not mere symbolism. He went on to live a life of
which any Canadian could be proud. Consequently, it was not token action but
real and sustained effort on his part that led Canadians from all walks of life
to believe that they can contribute, through their skills and commitment, to
enriching their roots and their heritage.
While he took issues seriously, Ray Hnatyshyn rarely took himself seriously.
His wit, his down-to-earth nature, his openness and his ability to meet with
people on their terms created environments and opportunities in which not only
could he achieve success, but in which he could encourage others.
Ray Hnatyshyn was a true role model. He was a role model in expressing a love
of his roots and a respect for the struggle of his forefathers that could be
blended into a commitment to the goals and ideals of Canada. I, for one,
benefited from being raised in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan and gained from his
His example extended to the entire multiculturalism community. Dr. Dmytro
Cipywnyk, Past President of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, remembered the
former Governor General with admiration when he stated:
He was an exemplary statesman and model politician who served Canada with
pride and dignity. He opened the doors of Rideau Hall to all Canadians from
all walks of life and cultures. It was during his tenure that the Canadian
Ethnocultural Council was granted its own Coat of Arms, through the Governor
General's Canadian Heraldic Authority. The CEC's Coat of Arms demonstrates
that multicultural diversity is a natural element in our society with the
power to strengthen us. At that occasion, Mr. Hnatyshyn reminded the CEC
that it was important to reflect that people came from many places to build
this great country and that this heritage contributes to our values and our
foundation for the future. This was part of his legacy to all Canadians.
It is the measure of a man who could take these opportunities and have this
kind of legacy. His example will surely live on.
I extend my condolences to Gerda, who shared and was committed to many of his
values and who spent many hours in support of his activities. I also extend my
condolences to his sons and the entire Hnatyshyn family. I appreciate that they
so generously shared the life of Ramon Hnatyshyn with so many of us.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, much of what I intended to
say about the life of Ray Hnatyshyn has already been said.
Ray Hnatyshyn was an important role model because of the way he conducted
himself as a member of Parliament. When I was first appointed to this place in
1994, all the talk was about direct democracy. Honourable senators may remember
that, at the time, much was being said about how important it was that
constituents be polled to see how they wanted their members of Parliament to
vote on certain issues. Any member of Parliament who voted against what his
constituents wanted was considered not to be a good member of Parliament. Ray
Hnatyshyn was a politician who did not need to do that.
I will give honourable senators two examples. I met Ray Hnatyshyn after the
1974 election when we were trying to build the Saskatchewan Conservative Party.
There were different coalitions in those days. The federal party people in
Saskatchewan did not want to get involved with Saskatchewan PCs because they had
a deal with the Liberals to defeat the NDP. John Diefenbaker, the member of
Parliament for my riding and whom I admire with all my heart, disappointed me
greatly because, in that campaign of 1975, he did not come out and campaign for
us because of whatever coalition he had with Davy Steuart in Prince Albert.
However, Ray Hnatyshyn helped out the provincial Conservative Party, and in a
riding in Saskatoon that was not normally Conservative. Ray Hnatyshyn helped out
by knocking on doors for a party that had no seats in a riding he had just won,
and it was at great political peril to him. Ray Hnatyshyn also had Gerda
Hnatyshyn knocking on doors. All his campaign people were knocking on doors.
Honourable senators, Ray Hnatyshyn won the next election in 1979. Ray
Hnatyshyn was an abolitionist in a riding that was probably considered a
hang-them-high riding. Probably 80 per cent were in favour of capital
punishment. Ray Hnatyshyn did not poll the members to say what was the right
thing. Ray Hnatyshyn exemplified what I think every member of Parliament should
be. Running an election campaign can be one of most difficult things and yet one
of the most satisfying things, and I admire people who get re-elected, time and
again, over the years.
However, he understood something that all good members of Parliament
understand, that a man or a woman is judged by what they do over a period of
time and not on one particular thing they stand for. The people of Saskatoon and
Saskatchewan elected Ray Hnatyshyn in 1974, 1979, 1980, and 1984. He served for
14 years. There is no greater tribute than having your peers send you to this
great place in Ottawa. It shows what they thought of him.
On behalf of all the volunteers for the Conservative Party in the Province of
Saskatchewan and federally whom he worked so hard for, I extend condolences and
sympathy to Gerda, Carl, John and their extended family.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, I came to know Ray
Hnatyshyn well in the House of Commons. He made a great impression on me as
Minister of Justice and as Government House Leader. At the time, I was my
party's whip, so we met nearly every day to discuss strategy and agenda issues.
Back then, in the House, there were only 40 Liberal members of Parliament, out
of 210. Never, as Government House Leader, did Ray Hnatyshyn make us feel we
were in actual disagreement. He always knew the right thing to say. He was a
likeable man with a disarming smile.
When he was appointed Governor General, honourable senators will recall that
I was the member for Ottawa—Vanier. I called him up to congratulate him, and
added: ``By the way, Ray, maybe you could open the gates to that 100-acre
property you will now call home.'' His answer was: ``Don't worry about it.'' And
he did open Rideau Hall to the public. That, for me, was something important.
He was a man of the people who wanted to encourage dialogue, peace and
friendship. I would like his wife, Gerda, to know how much we miss him.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I have a brief comment
about Ray Hnatyshyn that is in somewhat of a lighter vein.
Ray could bring a smile to anyone, even while discussing a serious subject.
We were in the Prime Minister's office one day when he said, ``Len, some day you
will understand hunky power.'' At the reception after he had assumed the high
office of Governor General, my wife and I were going through the greeting line.
When I shook his hand, I said, ``Ray, now I understand hunky power.'' He could
always get people to smile.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, it is fair to say, perhaps,
that Canadians who listen to the radio, watch television or read their
newspapers about life on Parliament Hill come to the conclusion that, generally
speaking, the inhabitants of Parliament Hill do not get along very well with
each other, that this is a place of conflict, a place of sometimes bitter
argument and that everyone stands firmly behind their political label while
questioning what is wrong with the other folks.
I wish to say a word about Ray Hnatyshyn today because Parliament Hill, both
chambers, can be, if you wish it to be, a place where terrific friendships are
built, no matter what party you support or what caucus you sit in, and the
Senate is a great example of that.
Ray Hnatyshyn and I were friends over a long period of time on Parliament
Hill. I will always remember him as one of a younger group of feisty
Conservative members of Parliament from Western Canada. He always had just a
touch of wonderment over the fact that he was here on Parliament Hill
representing his province, representing his area, representing Ukrainians. It
was part of his humility, I think, over what he thought was his great good
fortune to become a member of Parliament, that endeared him so much to all of
He worked enormously hard at what he did. Perhaps the greatest tribute from
his colleagues today is that he managed to work in government, in difficult
portfolios, and at the same time, hang on to his own principles and, in the end,
do it his way.
His entry into Rideau Hall as Governor General was, I think, more than he
could ever have anticipated or dreamed of, and he carried out his
responsibilities as Governor General in that very spirit. I do not think anyone
whoever entered Government House will recall that period without remembering one
thing about Ray Hnatyshyn, and that was his smile. It was there all the time,
along with the warmth and the fact that once again, he never forgot where he
came from. He understood all the people who would walk through those doors, the
high, the mighty, and the ordinary Canadians who cared for their country as he
cared for it, passionately and emotionally.
He would be the first to say that he could not have done what he did without
the strength and support of Gerda, who was like a rock for him, throughout the
time he was here and certainly in those final days. My friendship and heart goes
out to Gerda and her family. I hope that they are comforted with the knowledge
that they have such terrific memories of a wonderful Canadian, memories that
could only be imagined by others.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, small farming operations
may soon be a thing of the past in Canada. Government policies limiting access
to funding in times of need and changing attitudes toward the rural way of life
in general are weakening small, family-run operations.
The number of farms in Canada is declining rapidly. The 2001 census indicated
a loss of approximately 30,000 farms in our country, representing a 10 per cent
decline over a four-year period. The number of younger farmers has been
declining as well. Statistics Canada shows that in 1991 there were 18,435
farmers under the age of 35. In 2001, there were fewer than 9,000 people under
the age of 35 engaged in farming activities, a drop of 52 per cent.
Problems in the design of government policy have played a part in the decline
of small farm operations in Canada. The Net Income Stabilization Account, or
NISA, is a system designed to provide supplemental funding to farmers in times
of need. Under NISA, participating farmers can contribute up to 3 per cent of
their eligible net sales annually. Participating governments match the deposits
made by the farmers until a maximum balance is reached. In each case, the
maximum account balance is determined by the annual sales of the operation
averaged over a number of years.The idea behind NISA is to provide farmers with
a safety net for the bad years when the crops fail or when prices do not match
the cost of production. However, access to funds in NISA must be triggered
either by suffering a huge loss in that year or by becoming destitute. The
trigger mechanism is the weakest part of the program. In 2001, Ipsos-Reid
prepared a NISA review report for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that clearly
identified the trigger mechanism as the program's greatest weakness. The report
Improved access is the change desired by the largest number. Many
stakeholders want the triggers eliminated or somehow altered to allow
quicker and easier access to the accounts. Contributors frustrated with the
program were often very aggravated by their inability to get money when they
The result of the flawed trigger policy is twofold. Access to funding is not
provided when it is really needed, and the increasing balances in the NISA
accounts give the federal government the false impression that farmers do not
need assistance. Under the current policy guidelines, the balances in the
accounts are increasing to their maximum limit because a withdrawal cannot be
Honourable senators, the Department of Agriculture and Agri- Food now has
proof that the trigger policy should be altered to allow greater access to NISA
funds. The users of NISA have identified the trigger mechanism as the major
problem with the program. If a change is not made to allow greater access, small
farms in Canada may become extinct. Our farmers should be able to access their
NISA funds in times of need, not just when policy dictates.
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the
report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association
to the fourth part of the 2002 ordinary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe, held in Strasbourg, France, September 23-27, 2002.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, February 11, I shall move:
That the report of the Privacy Commissioner for the fiscal year ended
March 31, 2002, tabled in the Senate on Tuesday, February 4, 2003, be
referred to a Committee of the Whole for the purpose of hearing the Privacy
Commissioner, Mr. George Radwanski, and making a report, and
That the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) be authorized to bring
television cameras into the Chamber to broadcast the proceedings of the
Committee of the Whole, with the least possible disruption of the
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present
467 signatures from Canadians in the provinces of British Columbia,
Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island who are researching their ancestry, as well as signatures from 89 people
in the United States, three from Australia, two from Norway, one from Iceland
and one from the U.K. who are researching their Canadian roots; a total of 563
people, some with surnames such as Lynch, Fraser, Léger, Losier, Smith, Morin,
Graham and Kenny. Jason Milne — no relation — from Vancouver, and even a George
Baker, also from Vancouver, signed the petition.
These people are petitioning the following:
Your petitioners call upon Parliament to take whatever steps necessary to
retroactively amend the Confidentiality- Privacy clauses of Statistics Acts
since 1906, to allow release to the Public, after a reasonable period of
time, the Post 1901 Census reports starting with the 1906 Census.
Honourable senators, I have now presented petitions with 20,486 signatures to
the Thirty-seventh Parliament and petitions with over 6,000 signatures to the
Thirty-sixth Parliament, all calling for immediate action on this very important
matter of Canadian history.
I am thrilled to inform those honourable senators who may not have heard that
on Friday, January 24, at 11:15 a.m., the government released the nominal census
returns from the 1906 census. Further, as we heard a few moments ago, the
government has now introduced legislation to govern the release of the 1911
census and all subsequent censuses. On behalf of the —
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Milne, I am sorry to interrupt, but I
must remind honourable senators that the item under Routine Proceedings,
Presentation of Petitions, is just that: A presentation of petitions.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In response to my question
yesterday, the minister informed me that the operational requirement, the SOR,
for the new maritime helicopter had not changed. The minister reassured me to
that effect. I was so happy with that information, and thought to myself, ``at
What the minister did not tell us, and what I failed to notice, is that the
specification for the acquisition of the maritime helicopter, which is supposed
to reflect the SOR, has been diluted and changed to allow for a much less
capable helicopter. Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate able to
confirm that information?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As I indicated to
the honourable senator yesterday, the operational requirement has not been
changed. I cannot speak specifically to the acquisition SOR, but I cannot
understand how one could have been changed and diluted significantly if the
statement of operational requirements was not modified. These specifications are
based on military analyses, extensive statistical research and realistic force
planning scenarios based on Canadian Forces operations. The position is clear:
The statement of operational requirements has not been changed.
While I am on my feet, the honourable senator specifically asked a question
yesterday about defence representatives going to France. I do have information
for him on that matter.
The Government of Canada's goal is to obtain the right aircraft. The purpose
of the January visit was to conduct a formal demonstration flight of the NH-90
helicopter. However, the honourable senator may have thought that the Eurocopter
was being looked at again — or perhaps he did not. In any event, I was surprised
that the NH-90 helicopter was made available at the Eurocopter facility. That
could have led someone to think that we had gone beyond, and were now providing
flights or briefings on the Cougar. That is not the case. The Cougar is no
longer part of the process, but the NH-90 was demonstrated at the Eurocopter
Senator Forrestall: I was not confused at all. It would be interesting
to ask the minister's colleagues whether or not Canadians took up the offer to
participate in the demonstration of the NH-90. The answer, of course, is ``No,
they did not.''
There was no question about the scenario yesterday. However, somewhere along
the line, somewhere between the SOR and what we have in place now, is the
authority to compromise. Let me ask the minister a question specifically about
that compromise which disturbs me. I ask this question against the fact that two
of the EH-101s, the Cormorant, that version, had made extraordinary,
exceptional, long-range rescue programs of approximately 1,600 kilometres to
save lives that could never be saved by anything other than long-range, heavy,
substantial aircraft of this nature.
Will the minister confirm that the latest version of the specification
reflects almost a 60 per cent reduction in the weight of self-defence and
operational stores that the new maritime helicopter needs to carry out its
Senator Carstairs: As the honourable senator has indicated, the
Cormorant, as a search and rescue helicopter, has performed extremely well.
Recently, a heart attack victim was rescued. We are all proud of the work that
our services provide to those in life- threatening situations.
As to the honourable senator's extraordinarily specific question, I do not
have that information but I will seek to obtain an answer for him.
Senator Forrestall: Would the minister be able to answer this rather
brief question: Has safety been compromised, to save weight and to accommodate a
much less capable helicopter? I will offer two examples of many that I could
give: Reduced protection against small arms fire and elimination of a backup
It appears that, by hook or by crook, we will expand the acquisition process
for replacement for the ship-borne helicopter that would otherwise not be
acceptable in terms of the workload that we would require of it. This is not
only a military vehicle; it is a search and rescue vehicle. It is a vehicle to
be used for 101 other good, solid, Canadian reasons.
If the minister could obtain responses to those questions for me, I would be
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I can say definitively now
that safety has not been compromised. The safety of personnel on those craft, if
they are on search and rescue, is high on the priority list of this government.
As to the specific question asked with respect to the acquisition SOR, I will
try to provide that information at the first opportunity.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, on December 5, 2002,
I brought to the attention of the Leader of the Government in the Senate the
case of the Nigerian mother and her four daughters who had taken refuge in a
Calgary church because their claim for refugee status had been denied. The
family feared returning to Nigeria since that would mean that the daughters
could be subjected to the cultural practice known as female genital mutilation,
a practice that Canada now condemns.
On December 12, the family was granted a 30-day extension. In early January,
they applied for pre-removal risk assessment, which means a review of whether
those previously denied refugee status would be at risk if returned to their
country. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has until mid-February to make its
decision on this case.
At the time, the minister indicated that she would take this matter up with a
specific minister. My question is whether the matter was, in fact, taken up and
whether there were any assurances given that an assessment would also be made on
humanitarian grounds, should the other process fail, to leave this family in
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): First, let me
explain the process of what occurs here. As soon as a senator asks a question in
this place, that question is immediately referred to the minister, literally
within hours of the question having been asked. I assure the honourable senators
that the issue was raised with the minister, and included her comments and my
As you know, the government has taken significant steps in this case, first
by granting the extension and then by moving into the review process. Having
said that, there are very clear rules. The decisions are made at arm's length by
individuals, as is appropriate, until the very final stage when the minister can
step in. We will not have a decision until mid-February on this particular case.
The humanitarian aspect is always taken into account, so I presume it has
been considered in this case. Obviously, if one were to go on to a ministerial
directive, that aspect would form a significant part of the case.
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have been reviewing some of
these processes. I am concerned that, while our officers are trained on
immigration policies and refugee policies, they receive very little specific
information on how to assess the best interests of children. What are the
guidelines and the rules that govern officers in assessing the best interests of
these children who find themselves on Canadian soil?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I would be very surprised if
any immigration or appeal refugee board member did not take into consideration
the best interests of children. That is their job. They must not only consider
the best interests of Canada in these cases but also those of the claimants who
come before them. Although the actual claim is made by the adult or parent, the
officers are well aware that the adult in question may have a number of children
who could be adversely affected.
As to the specific guidelines governing immigration officials, I do not have
those at my fingertips, as you can imagine, but if I can uncover any information
as to what guides them, I will make that available to the honourable senator.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, yesterday, the Leader
of the Government said in this house with regard to the Official Languages Act
in the Northwest Territories, and I quote:
The territorial government, therefore, has the responsibility to
determine its orientations and proposed legislative amendments, as required.
The Government of Canada will not interfere in that particular direction.
Section 43.1 of the Northwest Territories Act stipulates that the ordinance
entitled the Official Languages Act may be amended or repealed by the
Commissioner in Council only if the amendment or repeal is concurred in by
Parliament through an amendment to this act.
In this context, will the federal government take action before the beginning
of March 2003, i.e. before the Government of the Northwest Territories amends
its Official Languages Act?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator asked this question yesterday, and I tried to provide him with the
information that I had at that time. I have no further information today.
We do need to be careful here. This case is presently before the courts, and
I do not think we would want to get into the actual presentation of arguments
being made before that court.
Let me restate what I said yesterday: The Territories' Official Languages Act
does have special status. However, the Northwest Territories Act provides that a
Commissioner in Council of the Northwest Territories can amend or repeal the act
only if Parliament gives its agreement to that effect by amending the Official
Languages Act. That is very clear. There is a special status.
Having said that, the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act falls
under the jurisdiction of that territory.
Senator Gauthier: Honourable senators, in the defence tabled on
February 28, 2002, the Northwest Territories contend that they are not required
to comply with sections 16 to 20 of the Charter and deny having contravened the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Is the Government of the Northwest Territories a
federal institution subject to the Charter, just like the federal government,
the House of Commons, the Senate and the Library of Parliament? Under section 32
of the Charter, are the commissioner in council and the territorial government
required, as institutions of Parliament, to respect the language rights
guaranteed under sections 16 to 20? This is clear. This is not an issue to be
referred to the courts; it is a Charter issue, the Charter being one of our
fundamental pieces of legislation. We are told the Northwest Territories are
above the Charter. Are they? I say no.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the position continues to be
one with which the honourable senator does not agree. The position is that the
Northwest Territories is not subject to sections 16 to 20 of the Charter because
it is not an institution of the Parliament and Government of Canada. The
Attorney General maintains that part 7 of the OLA, the Official Languages Act,
does not create obligations or rights.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
The Leader of the Government referred to the doctrine of sub judice,
but absolutely nothing prevents a legislative house such as the Senate from
discussing any point, any question, that relates to the federal competence. We
have many precedents in that sense. That being said, we are prudent, of course,
but we may discuss constitutional law questions.
From our discussion of yesterday, we see that the honourable Leader of the
Government is defending a point of view. I have a different point of view. This
question is before the courts. We would like the government to act before the
judgment is rendered; it may help. At the end of the day, as we say, the courts
will rule on this matter. However, I still cannot agree with the honourable
Leader of the Government.
When a territory is created, in my opinion it is a federal institution, a
federal creation. If it is not, what is it? What else could it be? It is a
federal territory having a very large delegated power, and I agree with that. We
have done this three times at least in our history, but I still think that when
Parliament is creating an institution as important as a territory, the
government is obliged — and Parliament is obliged — to respect the Constitution.
In the federal field, there is equality of French and English. It is not only I
who is saying that.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Beaudoin, I am sorry to interrupt you. I
thought I should remind honourable senators of the references in our rules to
brevity in the case of both questions and responses in relation to Question
Senator Beaudoin: If I may, I will ask another question. My point is
this: A territory is created by a law of Parliament. A province is created by
the Constitution, so it is not the same thing. There is a difference, not of
degree but of substance, between a territory and a province. We, the Parliament
of Canada, must respect section 16 of the Charter of Rights because it is part
of the Constitution. Some people say yes, but read the Official Languages Act.
The Constitution takes precedence over the Official Languages Act. The
Constitution clearly states that the two languages are equal in the federal
domain and federal institutions. If I have to ask a question, then I ask if the
honourable senator agrees or disagrees, but I know she agrees.
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator, with all of his
constitutional expertise, raises an interesting issue. First, I would agree with
him totally on the issue of prudence. That is why I placed the caution on the
record that we had to be careful that we did not touch on the close specifics of
the case but, rather, that we speak in terms of generalities. However, I would
have a slight disagreement with him in terms of semantics.
We have a discussion of whether something is a creature or a creation, or
whether it is an institution. I maintain that the two things can be quite
different. An entity can be a creation without necessarily being an institution.
Senator Beaudoin: The Constitution still applies whether it is a
creation or an institution. An institution is a creation also. What else is it?
My honourable friend says that section 16 of the Charter does not apply.
The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt, honourable senators.
Question Period is for putting questions forward and for questions being
answered, not a time for debate.
Senator Beaudoin: Today, I have nothing to add.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: This debate is taking place with the expertise
of Senator Beaudoin.
We are seeing something happen more frequently with the National Capital
Commission. I always thought Canada was one Canadian flag, 10 provincial flags
and three territorial flags. More and more we see the NCC using 13 flags, plus
the flag of Canada. We see that the territories are invited to constitutional
conferences, yet we know that, to amend the Canadian Constitution, we cannot say
that the 13 are on an equal footing; 10 are on an equal footing. The amending
formula is based on 7 out of 10 provincial legislatures representing 50 per cent
of the population. A precedent is being established. That is what I follow very
Does the honourable leader consider that the 10 provinces and three
territories are on an equal footing? If so, we better start reflecting on a new
amending formula for the Constitution. If they must be on an equal footing, they
should have an equal responsibility. Does that not make sense?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, it is clear that they are not
on an equal footing. They are not provinces; they are territories. We want to be
open and cooperative with those territories. That is why I view their presence
at first ministers' meetings to be an important component. Otherwise, the
citizens of this nation who live within those territories would not be
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: My question is for the Leader of the Government
in the Senate and deals with government accounting.
In recent years, the government has shown a disposition toward using its
budgets to create arm's-length foundations. This is often done to achieve an
accounting result, that of shifting future years' spending to the current fiscal
year. However, these agencies are often not accountable to Parliament and are
not subject to normal audit safeguards.
In recent weeks, there has been speculation that the coming budget will
create two more arm's-length agencies. The first, the Canadian Health Council,
will monitor provincial health spending; the second, the Canadian Learning
Institute, will act as a clearing house for new ideas in research and education.
These are both areas that are traditionally within the domain of the provinces.
Given that these agencies will have a mandate that will inevitably lead to
conflict with the provincial governments, can the Leader of the Government in
the Senate assure us that, unlike the foundations and centres created in past
budgets, these new ones will be accountable to the Parliament of Canada?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As the honourable
senators knows, tougher principles have been applied to foundations that have
been put into force and effect in recent years.
There has been some talk of councils that, in the past, were supposed to be
foundations. Here, I am thinking of the Africa fund. It was changed from being a
foundation to being a fund so it would be directly responsible. We are being a
little anticipatory here in terms of the Canadian Health Council and the
Canadian Learning Institute.
Senator Oliver: This will be the first budget since the Auditor
General reported last April on the growing use of arm's-length agencies. The
Auditor General called her report ``Placing the Public's Money Beyond
Parliament's Reach.'' She noted that:
Parliament is not receiving reports on independent, broad-scope audits
that examine more than financial statements of delegated arrangements,
including compliance with authorities, propriety, and value for money. With
a few exceptions, Parliament's auditor should be appointed as the external
auditor of existing foundations and any created in the future, to provide
assurance that they are exercising sound control of the significant public
resources and authorities entrusted to them.
Can the Leader of the Government assure the Senate that the Auditor General
will be the auditor of any new institutes or councils announced in the coming
Senator Carstairs: No, I cannot make that assurance. Quite frankly, I
do not agree with the concept. I do not think there is any particular advantage
in this nation to the Auditor General auditing everything. I think we have good
accounting and auditing firms from coast to coast in this country. They are
capable of auditing a number of institutions. I would be in disagreement with
the honourable senator's suggestion that everything must be audited by the
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, recently, the government
commissioned two studies at a cost of $150,000, I think, to look into the
federal gun registry. One of those studies by Raymond Hessian, whose report was
issued a day ago or so, concluded that the operation of the federal gun registry
had been ``suboptimized.''
As an old English teacher, does the minister agree that, from the point of
view of the government, the coining of such an elegant term as ``suboptimal'' to
describe the gun registry in place of crude and pejorative expressions, such as
``fiasco'' and ``screw-up,'' was worth the $150,000 they paid for it?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as an old English teacher, although I primarily taught history, I do not like
new vocabulary as it is advanced, often because I do not know what it means.
Hon. David Tkachuk: In light of Colin Powell's presentation in the
United Nations today, showing conclusively that Iraq is in flagrant violation of
UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq, what will Canada's position be
regarding military action against Iraq?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
many Canadians would argue that the presentation made by Mr. Powell this morning
was conclusive. I think many would argue that no conclusion could be drawn.
However, what is clear is that he certainly gave very disturbing and persuasive
material, some of which had not been afforded to those who have been watching
this situation very carefully.
It is important to note that the UN Security Council is currently conducting
a debate concerning this matter. I was fortunate enough to hear the foreign
ministers of France and Mexico before I had to come here. However, it is clear
that the UN Security Council's judgment as to the extent that Iraq has failed to
live up to its obligations under Resolution 1441 has yet to be made. Hopefully,
it will resolve itself sometime in the next little bit, but the next step in
this process is to hear from Dr. Blix again on February 14.
Senator Tkachuk: I understand that the United Nations is discussing
this issue. They have been doing that for quite some time. What is Canada's
position on what Colin Powell has said, and what is Canada's position in the
United Nations regarding action on Iraq? Will we support the U.S. position or
Senator Carstairs: We will be supportive of the United Nations'
Senator Tkachuk: What is the United Nations position? More important,
what is our position before the United Nations on behalf of Canadians?
Senator Carstairs: Our position is clear: We respect Resolution 1441.
We were clear in our support of that resolution. That resolution was passed
unanimously. The Security Council is now investigating. They have sent Dr. Blix
and others to Iraq to examine and to find, if they exist, those weapons of mass
destruction, but the Government of Canada's position is to support the United
The Hon. the Speaker: The time for Question Period has expired.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour of tabling two responses to oral questions. The
first is in response to the question raised by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk on
October 23, 2002, regarding tax relief for Hezbollah organizations. The second
is in response to an oral question raised by Senator Nolin in the Senate on
November 6, 2002, regarding illegal activities in Canada by the Drug Enforcement
Agency, the Licht case.
(Response to question raised by the Hon. David Tkachuk on October 23,
Confidentiality provisions prevent the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
(CCRA) from discussing specific cases but the Honourable Senator can be
assured that the CCRA monitors charities and investigates their operations
Registration as a charity is available only to organizations that are
resident in Canada and that were either created or established in Canada. In
addition, an organization must demonstrate that it is established and
operated exclusively for charitable purposes.
Special provisions introduced under Part 6 of the Anti-
terrorism Act came into force in December 2001 with the adoption of the
Charities Registration (Security Information) Act. This legislation
recognizes that money is fungible, and that many terrorist groups seek to
create a layer of legitimacy and deniability by establishing a support
network of humanitarian and social services. That is why the UN
Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing calls on all states
to take steps to prevent and counteract the financing of terrorists and
terrorist organizations, ``whether such financing is direct or indirect
through organizations which also have, or claim to have, charitable, social
or cultural goals''.
This new legislation provides grounds to disqualify an organization from
registration where there is solid evidence that it provides any of its
resources to activities that support terrorism. It provides a legal
framework that will allow the CCRA to use and protect sensitive security
information in determining an organization's eligibility for registration.
Under this legislation, the Solicitor General of Canada and the Minister
of National Revenue may jointly sign a special certificate based on security
or criminal intelligence reports. This is a fact-based process, and is
subject to automatic judicial review.
The test to be applied in such cases is whether there are reasonable
grounds to believe that a registered charity or an organization applying for
registration has made, makes, or will make available any of its resources,
directly or indirectly, to a terrorist group that is a listed entity under
the Criminal Code, or to any other organization engaged in terrorist
activities or in activities that support terrorist activities. Hezbollah was
named as a listed entity under the Criminal Code on December 11,
If the Federal Court upholds a certificate issued on these grounds, it is
conclusive proof that an organization is ineligible for registration as a
charity under the Income Tax Act and therefore unable to issue tax
receipts to donors.
(Response to question raised by the Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin on November
The Honourable Senator has cited the recent Supreme Court of British
Columbia decision, ordering a stay of proceedings to an extradition petition
by the United States.
I am aware of the facts of this case and can assure you that it
represents an isolated incident that occurred without the knowledge of
either the RCMP or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The Supreme Court of
British Columbia appropriately recognized that this was not a bona fide
foreign investigation being carried out in Canada.
The Honourable Senators would clearly agree that in any large
organization with thousands of employees, there are bound to be individual
incidents that take place. And it is inappropriate and irresponsible for
anyone to malign the excellent Canada-US law enforcement relationship
because of an isolated incident.
On the contrary, we should be thanking the many dedicated and hard
working individuals who risk a great deal to keep citizens safe.
I also wish to underline that both the RCMP and the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Agency fully respect the Memorandum of Understanding concerning cross-border
cooperation and investigation, and their respective policies in using
sources and police agents in foreign jurisdictions. Because of respect for
Canada's sovereignty, there is no need to lodge a formal complaint with U.S.
An excellent example of this collaboration was the arrest in January 2002
of 121 individuals who were involved in the trafficking of an illicit drug
from Canada into the U.S.
We all agree that the threat to the welfare of Canadians posed by
international drug trafficking requires ongoing and cooperative efforts
between Canadian and foreign police services. Given the growth of
trans-national criminal activity and the threat of terrorism, domestic
authorities can no longer operate in isolation. We must work with the global
law enforcement community to identify mutual priorities and develop
Canada has very effective partnerships with law enforcement agencies
around the world.
I want to highlight some important efforts by the RCMP and other federal
partners to maintain strong working relationships with our closest
The Smart Border Declaration, signed in December 2001, marked an
important security milestone between Canada and the United States. With the
combined efforts of the RCMP, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and
Citizenship and Immigration Canada, this joint initiative enables us to
identify and address security risks, while keeping the border open to
legitimate travelers and commerce.
The deployment of ten Integrated Border Enforcement Teams along the
Canada/U.S. border is another excellent example of the current level of law
enforcement cooperation between both countries.
In light of the events of September 2001, the focus on building and
maintaining strong relationships will continue to be critical to the
integrity of our borders.
I am confident that we have appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure a
collaborative approach to law enforcement that respects each country's
When foreign agencies work in Canada, they must do so within our legal
and constitutional framework, in consultation with Canadian law enforcement
agencies. Experience shows us that this is exactly what is happening thanks
to the strong partnerships the RCMP has forged with its international
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Chalifoux,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Taylor, for the second reading of Bill
S-9, to honour Louis Riel and the Metis People.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I rise today to deal with
Bill S-9, to honour Louis Riel and the Metis people. This is the second session
of this Parliament and the second time that this bill has been introduced. It
may not surprise senators to learn that this is also the second time I have had
the opportunity to address the issue.
When I spoke last year in the first session on this bill, I made it clear
that I did not support it. I do not believe we can rewrite history, nor do I
believe that this Parliament need do anything more than what was done by the
Progressive Conservative government in 1992. A resolution was passed and adopted
unanimously at that time by both the House of Commons and the Senate. The
resolution recognized the various and significant contributions of Louis Riel to
Canada and to the Metis people, and in particular his unique and historic role
as a founder of Manitoba. What more do we need? What more do we want?
Before I continue, I should like to acknowledge that the bill now before us
is somewhat different from the bill that was before us in the last session, in
that this bill does not pardon Louis Riel. It does not reverse the conviction;
it does not seek to exonerate him.
The Metis people are recognized as an Aboriginal people of Canada in the
Constitution Act of 1982. We have a resolution in this matter that was passed by
Parliament in 1992. Surely there are more important issues concerning the Metis
people of Canada than one more acknowledgment of the role of Louis Riel. For
example, there are issues of defining and establishing a land base; there are
issues of the identification of who is or is not a Metis, and issues of
compensation for lost land and lost status over the years. I am left with a
number of questions that I hope I can put to Senator Chalifoux this afternoon.
For instance, why did the honourable senator change the bill so that it no
longer sets aside the Riel conviction and no longer pardons him? The honourable
senator knows that many Indians were involved in incidents at Frog Lake and Duck
Lake. Both Chiefs Big Bear and Poundmaker served time in Stoney Mountain
Penitentiary, north of Winnipeg, as did many of their fellows. Should we not set
the record straight with regard to these men, in the same manner as we are
trying to do for Louis Riel?
What does the honourable senator believe that this bill adds that, in
reality, was not dealt with in the joint resolution of 1992?
Honourable senators, Senator Chalifoux must agree that this is not the most
important issue facing the Metis people of Canada. These are questions that
deserve answers. We cannot continuously attempt to rewrite our history, placing
our current beliefs against the beliefs of more than 100 years ago. In our
attempts to do so, we are, in the words of a noted author of aboriginal history,
turning elements of truly fascinating Canadian history in the person of a rebel
and a poet, Riel, into a tepid, milquetoast caricature. I look forward to
further consultation on this issue.
On motion of Senator St. Germain, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Senate Supplementary
Estimates (B) 2002-03) presented in the Senate on February 4, 2003.—(Honourable
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, the Internal Economy Committee
has approved Supplementary Estimates of $639,000, the object of its eighth
report to the Senate.
The following items requiring supplementary funding are included in the
$90,000 to meet the Senate's 30 per cent share of additional funding
requested by the Joint Inter-Parliamentary Council. The funding provided to
parliamentary associations at the start of the fiscal year is insufficient to
meet Canada's obligations in terms of international contributions and of
adequately funding association activities.
The Joint Inter-Parliamentary Council has considered requests from the
associations for more funding and is now seeking authority from the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the House of
Commons Board of Internal Economy to obtain an additional $299,748. Of this
amount, the Senate's 30 per cent share is $89,924.
An amount of $549,000 is required to provide the necessary funds for the
increased expenditures of the office and research expenses budget of senators.
The budget for senators' research and office expenses is established each year
at a level that reflects expected utilization rates. For 2002-03, the rate used
was 78 per cent of the $127,500 entitlement for 98 senators. The forecast
indicates a higher utilization rate; thus, there is a potential shortfall of
The submission on the Supplementary Estimates needs to be prepared by
February 7 in order for the Senate's requirements to be included in these
estimates, which will be tabled in Parliament on February 17.
Honourable senators, so that we may pursue our valuable work and meet tight
time lines, I ask you to support the adoption of this report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce entitled: Competition in the
Public Interest: Large Bank Mergers in Canada, tabled in the Senate on
December 12, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Kolber).
Hon. E. Leo Kolber: Honourable senators, on December 12, 2002, I was
pleased to table the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking,
Trade and Commerce on the public interest implications of large bank mergers in
Canada. I expect that all honourable senators have had an opportunity to see a
copy of this report and have likely seen the press coverage that this topic has
received since the Banking Committee began its hearings in late November.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the honourable senators who are
members of the committee and their staff for their hard work in completing this
study. I should like to thank all the witnesses who made submissions to the
committee because that information was crucial to our ability to fully address
the public interest concerns relating to large bank mergers in Canada.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I wish to move the adjournment of the debate. This is an important
report. However, there is a recommendation before the house from the Standing
Committee on Rules, Privileges and the Rights of Parliament that we adopt a rule
to allow, if the Senate so wishes, a request to the government for a response to
a committee report within 150 days. I should hope that we agree with the
recommendation of the Rules Committee, following which we would pass the Banking
Committee's report and then apply the new rule in order to receive the
government's response to the report within 150 days.
For those reasons, I move the adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, having sat on the Banking
Committee, I have much to say about this report. There is one particular part of
the report that I do not agree with, and so I was prepared to move the
adjournment of the debate as well.
On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Finnerty, for the adoption of the Fourth Report of
the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (depositing
committee reports) presented in the Senate on November 21, 2002.—(Honourable
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I will keep my comments
brief. During the debate that took place prior to the holidays, I voiced some of
my concerns. I am completely opposed to proceeding this way. I believe that
tabling committee reports when the Senate is not sitting deprives the chamber —
I am referring to the chamber and not the honourable senators, but the
institution — of its right to be the first to look at and comment on the work of
the committee. It is important to remember that committees are creatures of the
Senate. An order of this chamber compels them to study specific issues, then
they have to report back. I presume that this means when the Senate is sitting
and not during a parliamentary recess.
What normally happens? Take, for instance, the case of Senator Kenny's
report, which is Item No. 3 on today's Order Paper. He tabled his report with
the clerk on January 21, 2003. There was a big hue and cry from the media. The
Minister of Transport contradicted some of the data contained in the report. The
way Transport Canada dealt with the matter was a public relations fiasco, as far
as I am concerned, and the department ended up rushing to announce a new
security policy at Canadian sea ports. All this despite the fact that the Senate
had not even had the opportunity to consider the report. This erodes the
credibility of this institution, and that is why I object. Some might say that
what Senator Corbin has to say — as Senator Prud'homme would put it — after 35
years in Parliament, no longer matters; the world evolves. The world is not
evolving in the right direction, in my opinion. All we are doing is providing
fodder for the media, which after all is out to make money. Stories about
scandals, murders, wars and massacres are splashed all over the headlines. What
were we doing at the time? We were on holidays. No one was minding the shop. The
report had been tabled, yet the debate was not taking place where it was meant
to take place. That is why I am against these practices that do not bring
anything positive to the institution. If you want to live by public relations,
you will die by public relations, because the media are no friends of the
Senate. The chairs and members of committees are accountable to this chamber
when their report is tabled, not one, two or three months later. We all know
that public opinion is based not so much on the content of a report, but often
on the reaction from the government or its spokespersons.
So what is our role? We must give this some thought.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I have the temerity to rise to
briefly disagree with the honourable senator in whose opinions I place a great
deal of stock. However, Senator Corbin said one thing that I think needs to be
questioned and that I call to his attention.
The honourable senator said that if we live by PR, we will die by PR, and
that is at least partly true. Thus far, however, if we take the cartoon version
of the Senate that is in the minds of most newspaper editors and most Canadians,
as all of us know, we, and all of our predecessors, have only died from PR.
In the last little while, though, there have been many pieces of evidence
that we are beginning to live by PR. Editorial comment — which does not
determine what we do, nor is it the most important thing about what we do — does
have something to do with this institution and the way in which it is regarded
by Canadians. Editorial comment has begun to express matters other than the
conditioned knee-jerk reaction of inserting the words ``plush-lined clubhouse''
before the word ``Senate'' each time it is written. They have come to say that
the Senate is the place where first, original thought is taking place, and they
have come to say, ``For God's sake, send this item to the Senate. At least they
will pay some attention and tell us the truth about it, and deal with it
Honourable senators, I think it is not immodest of us to say that we have, in
fact, done rather better as an institution in the minds of the Canadian people,
in a very small way and with small steps, partly as a result of our having
obtained good PR. There is no doubt in my view, having once been in that game,
that the timing of the release of our reports has much to do with the extent to
which attention is paid to them by the press — however commercial it might be —
and therefore by the Canadian public.
As the honourable senator has said, these are not mere tidbits; they are
matters of considerable substance. I regard those things as very important. The
consideration of the efficacy, in the end, of the release of our reports and of
their timing is a very important question that must be considered very
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I must stand and agree
with Senator Corbin. I think I know all about public relations, or at least a
great deal, and about the timing, and I have agreed with Senator Kenny's
proposition that the report could be released.
I have been telephoned on the two reports that have made news: the one about
defence and the magnificent report on public health. I said that I would not
allow myself to be interviewed because these were reports of the committee, and
that the Senate had not yet consented to these reports. I had been a member of
one committee at one point but am no longer a member, and I was not a member of
the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, and
therefore I had to wait to have my say when the Senate would discuss this
I have now come to the conclusion that there should be a caveat when we
release reports. The caveat should be to the effect that this is not a Senate
report, as such, since it has not yet been presented to the Senate, or that it
will be presented for confirmation or refusal by the Senate at a later date. A
report could be released to the press maintaining the principle that it is this
house, it is the Senate, that consents or dissents on a report of one or more of
its creatures. Consequently, we could find, with the wisdom herein, the capacity
to sit on a report for two or three months because we are away.
There were many and varied discussions of immense importance that occurred at
the time of the release of the security report concerning its subject matter. I
do not object to it having been released. However, honourable senators, I do
object that the Canadian public believes that the Senate has reported or has
said that the situation in the Armed Forces is a pile of nonsense, or whatever
it is that was contained in that report. I would have preferred that they had
made it quite clear that these reports are not the reports of the Senate but of
committees of the Senate, and that they had been placed on the table for debate
by the Senate at another time. It would be a better procedure.
We could get the best of both worlds, not put ourselves in an awkward
position and not go against the fundamental principle that it is the prerogative
of this institution to say whether or not its members, the senators, consent or
dissent on the output of one of its creatures. I support Senator Corbin's great
idea; I thank him for sharing it with us.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Will the honourable senator accept a question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Will you take a question?
Senator LaPierre: It is against my principles. However, for you,
Senator Milne: Thank you, Senator LaPierre. Honourable senators, since
I cannot speak a second time on this report, having already spoken to it, I
would like to ask the honourable senator if he is aware that the Senate retains
the ability always to refuse permission to any committee to table a report when
the Senate is not sitting? The report of that committee must be presented to the
Senate, and the under our rules, permission of the Senate is required before a
report can be tabled when the Senate is not sitting.
Senator LaPierre: Honourable senators, I know that because I am here
most of the time, and I hear senators making motions to that effect, and I
consent to it. All I am saying is that it is taken as a fact that such reports
are Senate reports, and therefore an official document of the Senate, which has
been accepted by the Senate, and, therefore, all honourable senators are
implicated in the conclusions that are drawn.
There are some aspects of the report on security with which I profoundly
disagree, as committee members knew from when I attended at their meetings.
Therefore, I would have liked to have had a chance to express my views before
the media gets to say that it is the most magnificent thing since sliced bread.
Perhaps some of us have some different views that may be totally lost in the
process of the argument.
Honourable senators, my point is not to prevent reports from being released
if the members of the committee, and of the Senate, judge it to be necessary.
However, there ought to be a caveat or a statement to the effect that the report
has been presented and shall be debated later by the Senate. In the meantime,
here is what the committee of the Senate has found. That is all that I want to
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?
An Hon. Senator: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would like to point out
that there are guests of Senator Ferretti Barth in the gallery today. They are
the members of the Board of Trustees as well as Governors of the Fondation
communautaire canadienne- italienne du Québec, as well as representatives of the
Italian press in Montreal and of RAI International.
Resuming debate on the motion, as modified, of the Honourable Senator
Gauthier, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser:
That the report entitled Environmental Scan: Access to Justice in Both
Official Languages, revised on July 25, 2002, and commissioned by the
Department of Justice of Canada, be referred to the Standing Senate
Committee on Official Languages for study and report;
That the Committee review the issue of clarifying the access and exercise
of language rights with respect to the Divorce Act, the Bankruptcy
Act, the Criminal Code, the Contraventions Act and other
appropriate acts as applicable; and
That the Committee report no later than May 31, 2003.—(Honourable
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I will begin with a
reassurance to you all, including Senator Gauthier, that I will be brief. I
wanted to take a little time to consider the scope of Senator Gauthier's motion.
The recess afforded me the opportunity to reach the conclusion that we must
Senator Gauthier has already shared his arguments with you all. I need not
repeat them here, but I am very much aware, having sat on the House of Commons
committee when the first Canadian legislation on official languages was enacted,
that there has not been much in the way of change in access to justice in both
official languages in Canada.
Certain things have changed, certain things have improved, but there are
regions of this country where obtaining justice in the language of one's choice
is impossible. In 1969, during consideration of the first official languages
bill, I had asked the then Minister of Justice, the Right Honourable John
Turner, why he did not extend the scope of the bill to cover regions with
significant linguistic minorities. I have not had the opportunity to re-examine
the transcripts of that time. However, I remember the crux of his answer. I have
been waiting for things to change and evolve ever since, but they have neither
changed nor evolved. He told me that there was no infrastructure in place to
meet my expectations and the expectations of minorities in Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and elsewhere in Canada. I do not want to limit my
examples to Western Canada. There are other regions where properly drafted
legislation could have done some good and met the expectations of official
We are still, for all intents and purposes, at the same point today. Since
the Official Languages Act was adopted in 1969, 34 years ago, my honourable
colleague, Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier, has been rising to obtain justice on
this issue. I know that, privately, he is getting evasive answers, and his
question is being ignored.
This leads me to believe that nothing will change in the next 34 years. I
believe that Senator Gauthier's motion should be adopted and referred to the
Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, which will then report back to
the Senate of Canada, as soon as possible, because the situation is becoming
ridiculous, absurd, and cannot continue.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.:
That the following resolution, encapsulating the 2002 Berlin OSCE (PA)
Resolution, be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
for consideration and report before June 30, 2003:
WHEREAS Canada is a founding member State of the Organization for
Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the 1975
WHEREAS all the participating member States to the Helsinki Accords
affirmed respect for the right of persons belonging to national
minorities to equality before the law and the full opportunity for the
enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and further that the
participating member States recognized that such respect was an
essential factor for the peace, justice and well- being necessary to
ensure the development of friendly relations and co-operation between
themselves and among all member States;
WHEREAS the OSCE condemned anti-Semitism in the 1990 Copenhagen
Concluding Document and undertook to take effective measures to protect
individuals from anti-Semitic violence;
WHEREAS the 1996 Lisbon Concluding Document of the OSCE called for
improved implementation of all commitments in the human dimension, in
particular with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms and
urged participating member States to address the acute problem of
WHEREAS the 1999 Charter for European Security committed Canada and
other participating members States to counter violations of human rights
and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience,
religion or belief and manifestations of intolerance, aggressive
nationalism, racism, chauvinism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism;
WHEREAS on July 8, 2002, at its Parliamentary Assembly held at the
Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, the OSCE passed a unanimous resolution, as
appended, condemning the current anti-Semitic violence throughout the
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution urged all member States to make
public statements recognizing violence against Jews and Jewish cultural
properties as anti- Semitic and to issue strong, public declarations
condemning the depredations;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution called on all participating member
States to combat anti-Semitism by ensuring aggressive law enforcement by
local and national authorities;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution urged participating members States
to bolster the importance of combating anti-Semitism by exploring
effective measures to prevent anti-Semitism and by ensuring that laws,
regulations, practices and policies conform with relevant OSCE
commitments on anti-Semitism;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution also encouraged all delegates to
the Parliamentary Assembly to vocally and unconditionally condemn
manifestations of anti- Semitic violence in their respective countries;
WHEREAS the alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents and violence has
been documented in Canada, as well as Europe and worldwide.
ANTI-SEMITIC VIOLENCE IN THE OSCE
Berlin, 6 — 10 July 2002
1. Recalling that the OSCE was among those organizations which
publicly achieved international condemnation of anti-Semitism through
the crafting of the 1990 Copenhagen Concluding Document;
2. Noting that all participating States, as stated in the
Copenhagen Concluding Document, commit to ``unequivocally condemn''
anti-Semitism and take effective measures to protect individuals from
anti- Semitic violence;
3. Remembering the 1996 Lisbon Concluding Document, which
highlights the OSCE's ``comprehensive approach'' to security, calls for
``improvement in the implementation of all commitments in the human
dimension, in particular with respect to human rights and fundamental
freedoms'', and urges participating States to address ``acute
problems'', such as anti- Semitism;
4. Reaffirming the 1999 Charter for European Security,
committing participating States to ``counter such threats to security as
violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the
freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and manifestations of
intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racism, chauvinism, xenophobia and
5. Recognizing that the scourge of anti-Semitism is not unique
to any one country, and calls for steadfast perseverance by all
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
6. Unequivocally condemns the alarming escalation of
anti-Semitic violence throughout the OSCE region;
7. Voices deep concern over the recent escalation in anti-
Semitic violence, as individuals of the Judaic faith and Jewish cultural
properties have suffered attacks in many OSCE participating States;
8. Urges those States which undertake to return confiscated
properties to rightful owners, or to provide alternative compensation to
such owners, to ensure that their property restitution and compensation
programmes are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner and according
to the rule of law;
9. Recognizes the commendable efforts of many post- communist
States to redress injustices inflicted by previous regimes based on
religious heritage, considering that the interests of justice dictate
that more work remains to be done in this regard, particularly with
regard to individual and community property restitution compensation;
10. Recognizes the danger of anti-Semitic violence to European
security, especially in light of the trend of increasing violence and
attacks regions wide;
11. Declares that violence against Jews and other
manifestations of intolerance will never be justified by international
developments or political issues, and that it obstructs democracy,
pluralism, and peace;
12. Urges all States to make public statements recognizing
violence against Jews and Jewish cultural properties as anti-Semitic, as
well as to issue strong, public declarations condemning the
13. Calls upon participating States to ensure aggressive law
enforcement by local and national authorities, including thorough
investigation of anti-Semitic criminal acts, apprehension of
perpetrators, initiation of appropriate criminal prosecutions and
14. Urges participating States to bolster the importance of
combating anti-Semitism by holding a follow-up seminar or human
dimension meeting that explores effective measures to prevent
anti-Semitism, and to ensure that their laws, regulations, practices and
policies conform with relevant OSCE commitments on anti-Semitism; and
15. Encourages all delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly to
vocally and unconditionally condemn manifestations of anti-Semitic
violence in their respective countries and at all regional and
international forums.—(Honourable Senator Spivak).
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak to this
motion about the 2002 Berlin Resolution of the Organization for Security and
Economic Co-operation in Europe that will be referred to one of our committees,
Like my colleague, the Honourable Senator Grafstein, I believe it is crucial
for this Parliament to voice its deep concern for the new anti-Semitism,
anti-Jewishness, that is surfacing not only abroad but also in Canada. The
Berlin Resolution that calls on states to combat anti-Semitism provides an
excellent mechanism for addressing this new evil and, hopefully, one of our
committees will be the appropriate place for us to pursue it.
I refer to the ``new anti-Jewishness.'' It is not my phrase. It is the phrase
used by Professor Irwin Cotler, who is perhaps better known to many senators as
a colleague in the other place. He is on leave from McGill University where he
is also a Professor of Law and Director of the University's Human Rights
Last month, he published a paper in which he literally sounded the alarm
about human rights and the new form of anti-Semitism:
What we are witnessing today — which has been developing incrementally,
almost imperceptibly, and sometimes indulgently, for some thirty years now —
is a new, virulent, globalizing and even lethal anti-Jewishness reminiscent
of the atmosphere of the 1930s, and without parallel or precedence since the
end of the Second World War.
He defines it as discrimination against or denial of or assault upon national
particularity and ``peoplehood'' anywhere, whenever that national particularity
and peoplehood happen to be Jewish. It is expressed in the singling out of
Israel and the Jewish people for differential and discriminatory treatment in
the international arena. In its most lethal form, it is expressed as a singling
out of Israel and the Jewish people for assault, as evidenced by the suicide
He has developed some 13 indices to identify this new anti- Jewishness. I
will not go through all of them, but I would be happy to share this paper with
honourable senators who would like to read it in its entirety. I would, however,
like to highlight some of them.
First are the public calls for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish
people by terrorist organizations, by radical Islamic clerics and by states such
as Iran and Iraq.
Israel is the only state in the world today, and the Jews the only people
in the world today, that are the object of a standing set of threats from
governmental, religious and terrorist bodies seeking their destruction. And
what is most disturbing is the silence —
— something Senator Grafstein talked about —
— the indifference, and sometimes even the indulgence, in the face of
such genocidal anti-Semitism.
He also speaks of political anti-Semitism — the ``demonizing of Israel'' and
the denial of its legitimacy — and of ideological and theological anti-Semitism.
He has two other indices that I think we need to pay special attention to
here in Canada. One is cultural anti-Semitism, expressed in the attitudes,
sentiments, innuendo, et cetera, in academe, in parliaments and elsewhere,
including the discourse of the ``chattering classes'' and the enlightened
elites. As an example, he cites a remark by the French Ambassador to the United
Kingdom that prompted British journalist Petronella Wyatt to write:
Anti-Semitism and its open expression has become respectable at London
The second indices that must particularly concern us, he describes as
European anti-Semitism, but as Senator Grafstein pointed out, it is not confined
to Europe. One prime example is assaults upon and desecration of synagogues,
cemeteries and Jewish institutions in the past two years. As Senator Grafstein
said, we have had four synagogues burned or scorched, four synagogues in four
provinces of Canada.
Denial of the Holocaust, economic discrimination against Jews and
state-sanctioned anti-Semitism — these are new examples of the new
Irwin Cotler is sounding an alarm, not only for Israel and the Jewish people,
but also for the world community and the human condition as a whole. As he said:
For as history has taught us only too well, while the persecution and
discrimination may begin with Jews, it doesn't end with Jews.
Honourable senators, I believe we should not be silent in the face of what is
happening globally and in our own backyards. Adopting Senator Grafstein's motion
is an excellent place to start. It is an important and timely undertaking for
one of our standing committees.
On motion of Senator LaPierre, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Thursday, February 6, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.