Hon. Jack Wiebe: Honourable senators, tomorrow, Friday, May 9, will
mark a very special day for all federal employees who also serve in Canada's
military reserve force.
May 9 has been declared as Federal Reserve Force Day. Tomorrow, at 12 noon, a
special ceremony will begin with a statement, signed by the Minister of National
Defence, reaffirming the government's support of the regulations that stipulate
the leave provisions for members of the Public Service of Canada who are
reservists to attend military training with Canada's reserve force. The ceremony
will recognize the reservists who serve Canada twice, first, through their
civilian commitments in the Public Service of Canada and, second, as members of
Canada's reserve force.
Thirty reservists from across Canada, representing 22 federal departments,
will be in attendance to witness this signing. Also attending the ceremony will
be Mr. John Eaton, the National Chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council.
The CFLC is a group of businessmen and women who volunteer their time and energy
to promote the reserve force and the value of reserve force training in the
civilian workplace. This year, 2003, also marks the tenth anniversary of this
organization. The council encourages civilian employers to grant time off
without penalty to reservists, to allow them to keep up with their military
activities. Since 1992, the number of supportive employers has grown from a mere
16 to well over 3,600 today.
Reservists usually train on weekends and evenings. However, most of them need
two weeks of full-time service every year to keep their qualifications current.
On occasion, some reservists volunteer on operational missions. As a result,
reservists acquire special management skills that are useful to all employers;
for instance, leadership, time and personnel management and communication
skills, the ability to think quickly and to make decisions under stressful
conditions. The military also encourages the development of values, such as
integrity, self-discipline, teamwork and loyalty.
Reserve force units are located in hundreds of communities across Canada,
with a total establishment of about 36,000 personnel. Currently, there are 290
naval reservists serving full time on 10 of our new coastal defence vessels. As
well, 412 reserve personnel are serving on humanitarian and peacekeeping
missions around the world.
Colonel Greg Gillespie has taken leave from his civilian job with Air Canada
in Regina to become the first army reserve officer to command a Canadian Forces
battle group, which is presently serving in the remote mountainous region of
Honourable senators, we have a proud resource in our reservists. Let us begin
today to acknowledge their tremendous contribution.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, today marks yet
another very black day for the Canadian Forces and for every man and woman who
flies or serves in the maritime helicopter community, and their families, only
superseded, in my recollection, by such events as unification, the retirement of
the HMCS Bonaventure shortly after a major refit, and the cancellation,
almost 10 years ago now, of the EH-101 helicopter program.
Honourable senators, today is the day, almost to the hour and not very far
from the minute, that the present government will cross, officially, the point
of no return concerning the selection of the NH-90 Eurocopter helicopter to
replace the Sea King.
The government has bent over backwards to manipulate and skew this
competition to a French competitor from the very start, to the point that it
unbundled and then rebundled the competition and changed specification upon
specification, even when it could well have sacrificed the safety of crews.
Eurocopter has made representations at the highest levels of this government
and has even had Canada's Ambassador to France involved in lobbying the PCO and
the PMO, as the government's own documents show.
On this black day, I want to condemn these actions, in part for their
Machiavellian adroitness and shameless lack of compassion for the Sea King
community in our country. I want to condemn the government on its covert, its
own Chrétien approach, to defence policy and the lack of leadership of the
Canadian Armed Forces. This is not a surprise, given their treatment of the
Canadian Forces over the last 10 years.
I wish the Prime Minister and his ministerial colleagues good health and long
life so that they might bear witness to, God forbid, any tragedy that might
occur as a result of the very deliberate machinations and manipulations that
have gone on for so long in regard to the replacement of the Sea King.
Honourable senators, this will probably be the last time you will hear from
me on this matter. It is rather sad.
Hon. Yves Morin: Honourable senators, we are most vulnerable when we
enter this life and again when we leave it. Every year, 200,000 Canadians die.
Some 150,000 need palliative care, but only 5 to 15 per cent have access to such
care. People living in remote or rural areas or living with disabilities have
severely limited access to palliative care services. National Hospice Palliative
Care Week is a time to recognize that all Canadians deserve the right to die
with dignity, free of pain, surrounded by loved ones and in the setting of their
It is also time to recognize that the members of patients' families also need
support, primarily from health care professionals, but also from the community.
Providing high quality care to Canadians at the end of their lives is a
priority for their families and friends, for health care systems and for the
Budget 2003 delivered a six-week compassionate care leave program so that
family members can care for their dying loved ones. The Health Accord signed
with the provinces outlines investment in home care, including palliative care
and end-of-life care. I would like to recognize the contribution of Senator
Carstairs, who has done so much to bring these two measures to fruition.
Research is also critical. We need to know more about pain and symptom
management, psychosocial aspects of palliative care and more effective ways of
delivering such care. The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association has
produced a Canadian agenda for research in palliative care that calls for, among
other things, more fellowships for researchers in the early stages of their
As well, this week, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research announced the
development of a new research protocol for a Canadian longitudinal study on
aging. Once the study is underway — and it is one of two major studies on aging
— it will provide us with greater knowledge of the end-of-life process and of
factors that may contribute to enhanced end-of-life treatment.
Honourable senators, death is inevitable, but a painful, lonely death is not.
This week, we recognize the importance of high quality hospice palliative care
for helping Canadians die with dignity and comfort.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, this is Mental Health Week
across Canada. Each year, the Canadian Mental Health Association uses this week
to draw attention to mental health issues and increase support for people
experiencing mental illness. This year's theme is "Respect, Don't Reject: If
you have a brain, you can have a mental illness." This is a pretty blunt
message, but it is one that cannot be denied. No matter how uncomfortable it may
be to hear, Canadians must be made aware that we are all vulnerable to the
effects of mental illness, either through our own experience or that of a loved
Approximately one in five Canadians will have a mental health problem in
their lifetime. It has been estimated that mental illness is the second leading
cause of hospital use among adults aged 20 to 24. Despite all of the evidence
that points to the prevalence of mental health illnesses in Canada, we still
tend to look at this problem as something that does not happen to us, but to
other people. As a result, we have less empathy for their struggles. In order to
change this way of thinking, the Canadian Mental Health Association says that
its goal this year is to reduce the shame and social stigma associated with
mental illness so that people can seek help without fear of losing their
friends, family and even their employment.
In February, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology began what we hope will be a comprehensive review of mental health
and mental illness in our country. The testimony we have heard so far has been
both heartbreaking and brutally honest. It is a constant reminder that behind
statistics related to mental illness are real people who, on a daily basis, deal
with the frustration, helplessness, isolation and all of the other inflictions
this illness causes.
Honourable senators, it is my hope that the federal government will welcome
the committee's recommendations when we have our work completed in order that a
much-needed national approach to mental illness can be implemented. Today, let
us congratulate the Canadian Mental Health Association for its dedication and
hard work, and wish it good luck in achieving its formidable goals.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, I would like to take a few
moments of your time to stress certain aspects related to the SARS outbreak.
But, before I briefly outline my thoughts, I want to thank everyone who
played a role in controlling the SARS outbreak —
— particularly, the nurses, doctors and other health care professionals who
have worked selflessly to care for the individuals affected by this illness. I
would like to deeply commend those involved in federal and provincial
coordination, despite the confusion surrounding this frightening situation,
whose concentrated actions were exemplary in dealing with the WHO ban and
getting it lifted.
Having said this, I have very deep concerns about the lack of a global safety
net to deal with such a situation. I am sure this may be but the tip of the
iceberg. Consequently, we must all learn from this dramatic experience and take
an expeditious and truly serious look at building and investing appropriately
our resources by contributing to the World Health Organization, the Centre for
Disease Control and other like organizations to improve the safety net.
It has been my personal belief that we need the equivalent of the American
Surgeon General to objectively perform an ongoing evaluation of our health
resources and their performance. If honourable senators will recall, the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology recommended
the creation of a new national health care council, chaired by a health
commissioner, charged with carrying out this task by producing an annual report
on the state of the health care system and the health status of Canadians.
The Minister of Health announced that she is considering the creation of a
national public health agency like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and I
congratulate her for this initiative. I am optimistic that we are headed in the
right direction. However, I reiterate that, over and above the creation of this
new agency, we need a health care commissioner. The Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology could appropriately deal with this
situation within the year in a brief special report. The need to address the
situation must be recognized because, rest assured, honourable senators, we
cannot afford to go without it.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, under rule 23(6), I
have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian
section of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, as well as its
financial report. The report concerns the meeting of the Education,
Communication and Cultural Affairs Committee of the APF, held in Châlons-en-
Champagne, France, April 15-18, 2003.
Hon. Raymond C. Setlakwe: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at
the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be
authorized to study and report upon the annual report, mission and corporate
plan of the Business Development Bank of Canada and other related matters;
That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 18,
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I have the pleasure of
announcing the outcome of the latest vote at the Inter- parliamentary Union.
Unfortunately, I lost 18 to 12.
Honourable senators, I hereby give notice that, two days hence:
I will call the attention of the Senate to the parliamentary
associations, in particular their budgets and the very odd manner in which
some of them, specifically the Inter- parliamentary Union, conduct their
I will then make a few comments on this incredible meeting of the
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, the SARS virus is proving
to be even more resilient than originally thought. Hong Kong officials are
reporting that 12 recovered SARS patients may have suffered relapses. These
patients are currently being tested to see if that is indeed the case. Also,
Hong Kong scientists are saying that the virus may survive in an infected
person's body for at least a month after their recovery.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if Canadian SARS
patients who have recovered from their illness are being monitored for a
possible relapse? In other words, are patients being followed for a month?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator asks a question about the monitoring of SARS patients. As he knows, the
patients who have been identified have been in hospital. The good news is that
apparently we are down to only 27 remaining in hospital at the present time,
although there appear to be two or three who remain in very critical condition.
It is possible that there still may be more deaths in Canada as a result of this
When an individual is released from hospital, they are asked to remain in
their home for the next five days. They have been following the policy quite
rigorously. During that period of time, they are monitored. At that point, they
are passed on to their family physician for any further monitoring that is
Senator Keon: Honourable senators, as a result of these new findings,
Hong Kong doctors are urging discharged SARS patients to refrain from personal
physical contact for at least a month after their release from hospital. Are we
disseminating the same advice?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, it is my understanding that we
are doing it for five days and not for one month. We have had no indication in
Canada of any relapse of those who have been diagnosed with SARS, including
those who were released quite early in April, and we are now well into May.
I will bring to the Minister of Health the concerns raised by Senator Keon
this afternoon to ensure that, if need be, more be done.
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Honourable senators, the World Health
Organization agreed to lift its travel ban against Toronto when it was reassured
that Canada would begin screening air passengers for symptoms of SARS. As part
of this, Pearson airport in Toronto began a pilot project last night using an
infrared screening camera on loan from the Government of Singapore.
My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is one thermal
camera enough to properly screen travellers on all the international flights
leaving Pearson airport as well as all flights into Pearson from areas affected
by the virus? Will other cameras be added? If so, when?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
it is my understanding that a pilot project will also begin in Vancouver,
although I do not know its exact launch date. My understanding was that the two
projects would be launched more or less at the same time.
One of the great problems is the unavailability of these infrared scanners.
The government will do tests on all individuals who exit Canada to international
destinations and return from international destinations where there have been
outbreaks of SARS. The Minister of Health, when she made this announcement, said
that, regrettably, there would be delays at the airport in order to get all of
these individuals through the screening process.
Senator Robertson: Honourable senators, one of the first cases of SARS
exported from this country was that of a man who drove himself from Canada to
Philadelphia. There is, of course, no way for Canadian border agents to provide
SARS screening for land travellers leaving this country. Could the Leader of the
Government in the Senate tell us if Canadian border agents have been given any
instruction as to screening travellers for SARS, travellers driving into Canada
from the United States?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, to the best of my knowledge,
that information is not being made available. Also, to the best of my knowledge,
there have been examples where we thought that individuals had spread the SARS
virus when they had not had the SARS virus.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I wanted to put this question
yesterday, but I will do it today.
The minister has constantly told this chamber that the government wants to
obtain the best possible Sea King replacement at the best possible price. She
has indicated this repeatedly and either does not know or does not care. I
suspect it is not the latter, but perhaps the former.
Let me quote from an access document entitled "Maritime Helicopter Projected
Procurement, Strategy Risks." It is a declassified page. The number, for her
reference, if she cares to check, is PCO 001867. The document indicates, in
part, "the aim is not to obtain as much capability as possible within a
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate indicate that the government
does not want the best maritime helicopter, it wants the cheapest, even if it is
only marginally so, but with excessively less capability than any of the other
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I will repeat what I have said over and over and over again. The Government of
Canada wishes to get the right aircraft as soon as possible. Yes, it wishes to
get the very best helicopter at the very best price.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: I might urge the Leader of the Government
in the Senate to get hold of that document because that is not what her
government is saying.
Can the government not admit that on March 26 and 27, 2001, Eurocopter made
presentations to the PCO and Public Works and Government Services demanding that
one engine, inoperative, be changed in the specifications, and that on April 3,
2001, Ambassador Raymond Chrétien e-mailed PCO, PMO and the Deputy Prime
Minister himself — in those days, the Honourable Herb Gray — in this respect?
The e-mail requested changes to the one-engine inoperative section.
Will the leader not also admit that the Clerk of the Privy Council then
demanded to know why this was not fixed in the letter-of-interest phase; that
the Deputy Minister of National Defence then sent a letter to Raymond Chrétien
on April 24, 2001, stating that the matter would be solved in the new
specifications; and that two subsequent Basic Vehicle Requirement Specifications
were issued in May to allow Eurocopter to be technically compliant within the
requirement specifications? Can the minister confirm this chain of events, or is
she aware of them?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
it is very much the normal duty of an ambassador to report to their
headquarters, from the countries to which they are posted, their analysis of any
particular issue of importance to Canada. It would not be at all unusual for
e-mails to go from any ambassador to France or ambassador to the United Kingdom
or, indeed, an ambassador to the United States indicating that meetings had been
held and that information had been shared with the ambassador. That information
was being shared with the Government of Canada.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, is it normal for that information to be sent to senior officials in
the Prime Minister's Office? I thought ambassadors usually reported to
departmental heads or deputy ministers in the Department of Foreign Affairs and
were very careful about having those transmissions directly sent to Jean
Pelletier, Eddie Goldenberg, Mel Cappe and others at the time.
To save time, my second question is: Since when can we justify our Canadian
ambassador in France being a lobbyist for a European aircraft manufacturer?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I will answer the
second question first. There is no question that an ambassador to Canada is not
a lobbyist on behalf of any interest. Having said that, it is perfectly
reasonable and acceptable that when an ambassador has information made available
to him or her from the country that they have been sent from, by individuals in
the country in which they are residing, that they would share that information
with government officials; not only with the Department of Foreign Affairs but,
in this case, also with the Minister of Public Works, since the acquisition of
this particular vehicle is primarily the responsibility of the Department of
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Why did the ambassador not follow procedure
and send at least a copy of his e-mail to the Department of Foreign Affairs?
They do not even appear on the list of recipients.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I have already indicated, and
I will elaborate further, that it is the job of the ambassador representing the
Government of Canada to keep Government of Canada officials aware of positions
represented to him by citizens in the country that he represents.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, it is interesting to
note that no copies were directly sent to the Treasury Board or the project
office of the Department of Public Works. The e-mail just went principally to
the PMO/PCO. The word was out: Changes were made and that is the bottom line.
Prove me wrong and you can have my seat.
Like an atheist, my dear colleagues, there are no Liberals in the foxholes or
in the cockpits of Sea King aircraft. What does buying the cheapest Sea King
replacement mean? Let us look at "engine failure in hover" or "one engine
inoperable," which is the technical language, and how the specifications have
changed during this process.
Contrary to what we have been told time and time again: "MHRS (0), safe
landing or fly away at 100 feet per minute climb required; BVRS (2), safe
landing not required; okay if the aircraft is damaged or lost." There is no
mention of the souls on board. "BVRS (5), dumping of stores and jettison of
equipment permitted." The hell with the plane and the crew. The specifications
have gone from flying away safe or landing to crash and aircraft loss, to
dumping out stores and equipment before crash and aircraft loss.
Will the Leader of the Government commit to coming back to this chamber and
confirming that it is no longer a mandatory requirement for the new maritime
helicopter to land safely or fly away if it loses an engine in a hover?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the honourable senator well knows, perhaps better than anyone else in this
chamber, there were consultations with all the industry, those who had the
ability to make a bid on this particular project — all of them. They all entered
into consultations with the Government of Canada, not just Eurocopter but also
the producer of the Cormorant.
Changes were made to some technical specifications, which we have indicated
in the chamber. However, those changes were only made when they maintained the
integrity and the intent of the Statement of Operational Requirements.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Is it not a fact
that the Government of Canada, as long as this Prime Minister is still there, is
doing all it can to ensure that one particular bidder does not qualify? Was that
not the point of splitting the bid some years ago, much against the wishes of
the Department of Defence experts, which would have allowed both the suppliers
and the air frame people to bid separately, which would have eliminated one
overall supplier in particular?
Then, fortunately, the present Minister of Defence found that not only was
there a poor bidding procedure, but it would cost $400 million more. Is it not a
fact that everything that is said and and done by the government, as far as the
helicopter situation goes, is all aimed at eliminating one bidder in particular?
Senator Carstairs: The answer is no.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Then why is this happening?
Senator Carstairs: That is because the bidding process is ongoing, and
the honourable senators opposite have no more information than I have as to who
will be the final recipient of this contract.
Senator Forrestall: When she leaves the chamber this afternoon, would
the Leader of the Government call and find out what deadline happened today and
who met it, and then come back and try to tell us that nothing has changed?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I have no knowledge as to a
deadline that happened today. Should I be apprised of information that I have
not given to this chamber, I will provide it.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question is directed to
the Leader of the Government. The minister will know that yesterday I raised, in
the Senate, the question of the possible Canadian participation in the U.S.
ballistic missile defence system. I will not repeat the question I raised
yesterday because I am confident that the minister has read it.
I would put my question today in the framework of the new government report.
I believe it was issued in the last day or so. That report was titled:
"Partners in North America, Advancing Canada's Relations with the United States
and Mexico," which is the government position on these and other questions. The
report clearly states that Canada remains opposed to the weaponization of outer
space and that "it is currently not clear that a U.S. missile defence system
would include or promote the weaponization of space."
I ask the minister to draw to the attention of the Prime Minister and
relevant government officials the United States missile defence agency's current
budget submission, in particular page 16, which contains specific references to
the testing of space-based kinetic kill weapons, thereby establishing the
relationship between ground and space sensors and weapons.
I ask that she further draw to those officials' attention what is contained
in the U.S. publication called Defence Daily, of February 5, 2003, which
discusses these questions and makes clear that there is a relationship between
the national missile defence and weapons in space.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the honourable senator for his question today and the two questions he
asked yesterday. I want to spend enough time to deal with all of them.
I will begin by saying that Canada remains firmly opposed to the
weaponization of space. We do support the continuing use of space for military
purposes, such as navigation, mapping, communication and surveillance, as well
as the meteorological services and arms control verification that are presently
taking place. We would be deeply concerned were missile defence to include or
promote the weaponization of space, and it is not yet clear whether a U.S.
missile defence system would do so. We are aware that the United States
administration is conducting research into space-based weapons and that it is
seeking congressional approval for funding the program, which could include
testing in 2008. I think that is the question that Senator Roche was essentially
This is a controversial issue, as he well knows, not just in Canada but also
in the United States, for political, budgetary and, indeed, scientific reasons.
Previous funding requests for space- based weapons research has been cut or
reduced by Congress. We are watching developments in the United States closely
and raising our concerns about the possible weaponization of space.
Senator Roche: I thank the minister for that answer. I do not know how
she feels about tabling the report to which I referred as a government report. I
think it would be helpful, but I leave that to her.
Honourable senators, if it is established objectively that a mix of ground
and space sensors and weapons does exist in the missile defence program, and
thus ground and space are not being effectively separated, and thus putting
weapons into space, can the minister give an assurance that Canada will then
make a formal decision not to participate on the grounds that the system is
inextricably linked to weapons in space?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I can only reiterate for the
honourable senator that Canada is firmly opposed to the weaponization of outer
space and recognizes that the best time to prevent an arms race in outer space
is before one has actually begun. That position of the Government of Canada has
As to any further discussions that may take place with the United States, no
decision has been made on whether we will even begin those negotiations.
However, one thing remains firm, and that is Canada's outspoken opposition to
the weaponization of space.
Senator Roche: Honourable senators, can the minister give us her
assurance that she will carry forward, in the manner in which she has influence
in the government, the belief that the longer the informal talks that are now
going on at departmental levels — let them go on for a long time — the better
for the successful resolution of this issue in relation to all the difficult,
delicate questions involved in the various relationships that our country holds?
Senator Carstairs: I will certainly bring that representation from the
honourable senator. I think that the message from the Canadian government, when
that message is finally decided upon, must be clear to the Canadian people and
supportive of the Canadian people's position, that they do not want to
participate in the weaponization of space.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, the failure of the
United Nations to successfully deal with the recent Iraq crisis underscored some
of the critical shortcomings of the United Nations structures, as they are now.
On Sunday, on Canadian television, Richard Perle, who has some influence in
the United States and is on many foreign affairs councils, suggested that Canada
could provide some intellectual leadership in helping the UN to respond to
issues in the 21st century. This would be a golden opportunity for Canada to
show its leadership by pushing for revitalization of the United Nations. In the
past, we have been involved in studies on how to revamp the Security Council and
the General Assembly and how to manage its bureaucracy. Some well-noted
Canadians have participated in the past.
What plans does the Government of Canada have underway to convene panels and
to create studies with other countries to consider the means by which the United
Nations can be revitalized in the coming years?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
unlike the honourable senator, I believe that the United Nations remains a very
vital organization, one that should be supported by all nations of the world. In
terms of the revitalization — if such revitalization is necessary — Canada has
always pledged its commitment to the spirit that the United Nations represents
and, indeed, to its decision-making.
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, Canada was one of the leaders
in the formulation of the United Nations. It was the leader's government, I may
say, that undertook much of the reform initiative with regard to its bureaucracy
and looked at a new formulation for the Security Council, which, as we know, is
not representative of the realities of the world, and in fact, put forward
suggestions on how a new Security Council might be formed. Those initiatives
were all taken previously.
It would seem to me that, while some reforms were undertaken with the
leadership of the Secretary General, many were not implemented. Either the
timing was incorrect or there was a lack of political will to do so.
It would seem to me that there is now a political will from all parties to
put the United Nations back on track, particularly in diplomatic negotiations.
Therefore, perhaps some of the old reform suggestions would be timely now, or
perhaps there are new initiatives. It would seem Canada's leadership role is
needed in that regard.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the honourable senator
mentions the importance of timing and political will. She, of course, does not
mention financing. There are certain very wealthy nations in this world that
have failed to meet their commitments to the United Nations. Fortunately, Canada
is not one of them.
I can assure the honourable senator that Canada will continue to take a
leadership role, both in timing, political will and financing.
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, can I take from that response
that there is no plan underway to look again at the United Nations and to
convene perhaps an international blue- ribbon panel to conduct some studies on
the United Nations? There is now some will on the part of the United States and
Europe that could be very helpful, and perhaps there would then be an
encouragement to have the finances brought into line also.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, with the greatest of respect
to the honourable senator, any such blue-ribbon panel must be established by the
United Nations itself. If she is suggesting that Canada would want to be a part
of that panel, I would suggest that Canada would be more than willing. If she is
suggesting that Canada should make representations for the establishment of such
a panel, I will certainly bring that suggestion to the cabinet table.
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, that, in fact, is my
suggestion, if it is not being done, because I think it is very opportune now.
With the foreign minister's perspective on international multilateral
procedures, I think it would be timely and desirable that Canada initiate such a
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, yesterday, just before
Orders of the Day, I read the message from the House of Commons stating that it
had agreed to the Senate's request to divide Bill C-10. The message also stated
that the House of Commons waived its claim to insist on its privileges in this
case and did not want this action to be taken as a precedent.
Senator Lynch-Staunton then rose on a point of order to ask about the status
of Bill C-10B that is still before the Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs. There then followed a series of exchanges involving a number of
senators on this question and other aspects of the message as well.
I wish to thank all honourable senators for their contribution on this point
of order. The Senate study of Bill C-10 has been a difficult one. There is no
doubt that in some ways the Senate has ventured into uncharted procedural waters
and it has been somewhat of a challenge for the Senate to keep its bearings.
I have already made a number of rulings on the process that has been followed
with respect to Bill C-10 and the instruction made by the Senate last November
20, authorizing the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs to divide the bill into two bills. As I have explained to the Senate in
my earlier rulings, there are no identical precedents to help guide our
procedures. I have also stated, however, that I do not doubt the authority of
the Senate to take this course of action, and I believe the Senate has proceeded
Now I propose to deal with the various questions raised with respect to the
point of order. I hope that this will allow the Senate to better understand
where things stand as a result of the message received yesterday from the House
As I see it, there are two basic questions that need to be answered based on
the discussion on the point of order. The first is the one that Senator
Lynch-Staunton raised on the status of Bill C-10B. The second question has to do
with the language of the message expressing the position of the House of Commons
and the fact that it does not regard its consent to the division of the bill to
be a precedent. A third question, which I touched on yesterday, related to the
matter of a message being debatable or not.
The status of Bill C-10B was the subject of a ruling that I made on December
9. At that time, I provided the Senate with an account of the chronology of the
procedures that were followed with respect to Bill C-10. This ruling is in the
Journals between pages 368 and 370. As I pointed out on that occasion, Bill
C-10 came to the Senate on October 10. The Senate agreed to refer the bill to
the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in late
November. It also agreed to a motion permitting the committee to divide the bill
into two bills.
The committee did divide the bill and reported one portion as Bill C-10A
without amendment. Bill C-10B was retained by the committee for further study.
On November 28, the Senate adopted the committee's report. From that day,
November 28, quoting from my ruling:
...for all intents and purposes within the Senate, and I must stress this
point, from within the Senate, Bill C-10 existed as two bills, Bill C10A and
Third reading was given to Bill C-10A on December 3. The message sent to the
House of Commons spelled out the actions that the Senate had taken and asked for
its concurrence. Quoting my ruling again:
The message indicated that the Senate was returning to the Commons their
Bill C-10, as divided by the Senate together with the information that the
Senate had passed Bill C-10A without amendment and was continuing with the
study of Bill C-10B. Of particular importance, the message requested the
concurrence of the House of Commons in the division of Bill C-10. This is
highly significant. From the point of view of the House of Commons, only
Bill C-10 exists. We, in the Senate, have elected to divide the bill,
creating Bills C-10A and C-10B, but as it is a Commons bill, the concurrence
of the House of Commons is necessary to fully implement the actions taken by
us in the Senate.
Yesterday's message from the House of Commons announced that the Commons has
agreed to the division of Bill C-10. This means that Bill C-10A had been
approved by both Houses and is now ready for Royal Assent. It means also that,
for the House of Commons, Bill C-10B exists now, as well. In reality, this means
that the Commons has accepted that the substance and text of this bill were
approved by them and sent to the Senate when it was still part of Bill C-10, but
it has now agreed post facto to designate it as Bill C-10B. A parchment
version of Bill C-10B was attached to the message as confirmation.
What the Senate had proposed with respect to the division of Bill C-10, the
decision it took to make Bills C-10A and C-10B, has been agreed to by the House
of Commons. The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
can now complete its study and report Bill C-10B.
When the bill is reported back, the Senate will have the opportunity to
consider the bill further. If Bill C-10B is passed, with or without amendment, a
message will be sent to the House of Commons acquainting it with the Senate's
decision and soliciting its concurrence if there are any amendments. If and when
this process is satisfactorily completed, Bill C-10B will also be ready for
I take it that the reason there has been so much confusion is because it has
been difficult to appreciate the different perspectives of the two Houses during
this process. The House of Commons adopted Bill C-10 last October 9 as one bill.
The Senate divided it into two separate bills and returned one to the House of
Commons while keeping the second bill in the Senate committee for further study.
From the Senate's perspective, there were now two bills. This was not the
perspective, however, of the House of Commons, and the message that was sent to
them by the Senate had to take this difference of perspective into account. The
message, therefore, had to inform the Commons that the Senate had studied Bill
C-10, divided it into two, and adopted Bill C-10A without amendment.
From the Commons perspective, Bill C-10 was not yet divided; it was still one
bill. It was only when the House of Commons agreed to the division first made by
the Senate that there was a convergence in perspective. Now there is no Bill
C-10, and Bill C- 10A had been adopted by both Houses. It remains for the Senate
to complete its work with respect to Bill C-10B, already passed by the House of
Commons when it was still Bill C-10. This is why the parchment to Bill C-10 was
returned to the Senate where it will remain part of the permanent parliamentary
record as evidence that the Commons did pass what now constitutes Bill C-10A and
I trust that this explanation will help to resolve some of the confusion that
has troubled some senators through this admittedly unusual process. After all,
it is only the second time in Senate history that it has attempted to divide a
Let me now turn to the second question that was raised as part of this point
of order — the language of the second paragraph of the message. Its force
apparently offended some senators. This paragraph declared that the House of
Commons was prepared to waive its claims even though it disapproved "of any
infraction of its privileges or rights by the other House." Furthermore, the
Commons made it clear that it was not prepared to consider this event as a
Several senators suggested that this message infringed the privileges of the
Senate. Others argued that if the Senate accepts this message, it would amount
to an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the Senate. The House of Commons,
it was argued, can agree or disagree with the Senate's decision to divide Bill
C- 10, but the Commons does not have the right to disapprove of the Senate's
decisions, at least not in this way. Another senator was more indifferent to the
meaning of the message, explaining that whether the Commons or the Senate
accepts this event as a precedent, it is really a decision for each chamber to
Honourable senators, there is little doubt that the language of the message
seems stern, almost harsh. It is not, however, without precedent. Identical
language was used in a message sent to the Senate on March 20, 1997 and printed
in the Journals on page 1141.
On that occasion, the message concerned amendments proposed by the Senate,
and accepted by the Commons, to Bill C-70, a tax bill entitled: An Act to amend
the Excise Tax Act, the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the Income
Tax Act, the Debt Servicing and Reduction Account Act and related Acts.
As we are aware from the traditional Royal Assent ceremony involving supply
bill, the House of Commons is jealous of its authority with respect to money
Supply bills are always presented at the Senate bar by the Commons Speaker
and are tied in a green-coloured ribbon, emblematic of that House rather than
the usual red ribbon. Nor is the 1997 message unique, though it is infrequent.
Whenever the Senate has made amendments to a tax bill that were subsequently
accepted by the Commons, the Commons message invariably declares that the Senate
should not regard the acquiescence of the Commons as a precedent, as an
indication that it is surrendering its proprietary authority over the purse of
the Government. It is consistent with the past practice of the House of Commons
to send the Senate such messages relating to matters that they feel infringe
their rights and powers. I do not think that there is cause for the Senate to
have any misgivings. Certainly, there is no point of order requiring my
Finally, as I stated in my ruling of December 4, 2002, messages between the
two Houses are a vehicle for formal communication. The content of the message
received from the House of Commons will often determine whether the message is
debatable or not. In this particular case, there is no subsequent action flowing
from the message itself that would require debate. The message advises the
Senate that the Commons has passed Bill C-10A. It also includes a standard
declaration about claims to privileges that are being set aside in this instance
without prejudice to the merits of those claims.
There is nothing that I can see in the text that would warrant debate on the
message. Despite the harsh language, it is conveyed to the Senate for
information purposes only.
In conclusion, honourable senators, I rule that there is no point of order
based on the arguments that were made yesterday.
Resuming debate on the consideration of the eighth report (interim) of
the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament
entitled: Government Ethics Initiative, deposited with the Clerk of
the Senate on April 10, 2003.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, an interim report by
the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament was
tabled April 10, 2003. The report is the result of a reference given to the
committee on February 4, 2003. It is noteworthy to remind honourable senators of
that order of reference. At page 2 of our report, referring to the order of
reference, the committee was asked:
That the documents entitled: "Proposals to amend the Parliament of
Canada Act (Ethics Commissioner) and other Acts as a consequence" and "Proposals to amend the Rules of the Senate and the Standing Orders of the
House of Commons to implement the 1997 Milliken-Oliver Report", tabled in
the Senate on October 23, 2002, be referred to the Standing Committee on
Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament;
That the Committee, in conjunction with this review, also take into
consideration, at the same, time the code of conduct in use in the United
Kingdom Parliament at Westminster, and consider rules that might embody
standards appropriate for appointed members of a House of Parliament who can
only be removed for cause;
That the Committee, in conjunction with the review, also take into
consideration the present Rules of the Senate, the Parliament of
Canada Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian
Constitution, and the Common Law to determine after a full compilation
and review of these provisions whether they do of themselves adequately
serve to assure high ethical standards in the actions of Senators in
performing their duties, and
That the Committee make recommendations, if required, for the adoption
and implementation of a code of conduct for Senators, and concerning such
resources as may be needed to administer it, including consequential changes
to statute law that may be appropriate.
As honourable senators can see, the order was extremely complex, requiring
the committee to conduct a very intensive study of all aspects of ethics,
including previous reports, United Kingdom parliamentary codes and all rules,
the Parliament of Canada Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian
Constitution and the common law.
No doubt honourable senators will agree that this is a long and complex
study, which is what the committee embarked upon. There was some agreement that
since the government was more interested at the moment in the administrative
aspects than in the rules or the code, or at least it appeared that way, we
would start looking at options available or necessary for the Senate in any code
or rules process.
Quite naturally, witnesses had broader experiences. As such, we touched on
many code issues, as well as administrative issues. As we were proceeding in our
study with many issues yet to be determined, we were advised that the government
would be introducing legislation in May and that we should produce some report
to give the government the benefit of our views.
From our side, as deputy chair, I pointed out that any views given would be
premature and that we did not see what particular magic there was about the May
date, given that the government had not particularly proceeded in haste during
its many years in office. Nonetheless, members opposite indicated they wished an
interim report. It was proceeded with on the basis that it was strictly an
interim report, expressing indications of some consensus at that point in time.
I stated clearly that once our full report was completed, the interim
findings may not take us in the direction we wish to go and that, therefore, the
report should not be seen as binding opinions of the Senate, the committee or
any individual senator.
On page 2 of our report, honourable senators will find this statement:
We emphasize that this is an interim report and that our ideas may evolve
further as we continue our examination of the issues.
My fears have been that should the government take note of our report, it
would take it as the definitive word on behalf of the Senate. From the comments
of the honourable Leader of the Government in this chamber last Thursday in her
intervention on this report, Bill C-34 was referred to in great detail,
indicating that the government had listened to our recommendations. It now
appears that we have been put in the position that the government has justified
some of its bill on the basis of our report, when we clearly stated that our
report was "in progress" and not necessarily our final view.
At some point, I will make known my view on Bill C-34. The bill seems to
attack the issue of corruption — something which was amply demonstrated last
week in this chamber — and not the issue of the rules or the code of conduct.
Rather, emphasis is placed on a criminal issue which, if raised implicitly as
one of the reasons for Bill C-34, will give credibility to the misconception in
the public of wrongdoing in the Senate.
A simple scanning of newspapers and debates in both chambers points out that
if there have been allegations, they have not been against senators or ordinary
members in the other place. Rather, they have centred around the Prime Minister
and cabinet. We certainly know that when these allegations take hold, they are
often turned into myths and then truths in the mind of the public.
One only has to be reminded of the Airbus scandal. If those making
allegations at that time had taken care with the democratic process, they would
understand that vindication 10 years later is small comfort.
Honourable senators, there have been some indications that our present rules,
while continually adjusted and perhaps codified and reworked in a different
format, are all we need. It is, however, a prevailing mood that something more
substantial in the way of a review should take place.
As I indicated in a question to Senator Carstairs, I believe that we have
been revamping the rules, and had there been any immediate concern or immediate
case or issue, the Senate has dealt with it. Having said that, it is perhaps
timely to do a more exhaustive and thorough review, and that is what the
committee hopes to accomplish.
The interim report is somewhat misleading as we talk about forms of
administrative practices when we do not know what the rules will be when they
are in place. Equally, if we had put a code in without determining how we would
put it into practice, that would also be misleading. Surely, we must decide what
are the rules, in what form, and then look at ways and means of implementing
them to ensure the best results.
To determine whether the rules should have an ethics officer statutorily
defined and implemented or simply defined by the Senate without a statutory
framework seems not to be the issue at this point. Rather, we should determine
what are the rules and then determine the most effective way to accomplish this.
At this point, I can hardly resist going back to Bill C-34. It would appear
that Bill C-34 recognized the uniqueness of the Senate and its different
workings, and that is reassuring. That this message has at least reached some
members opposite in the government no doubt has something to do with Senator
Carstairs having brought this matter forward in cabinet. However, Bill C- 34
then gives the Senate the right to determine the scope of the mandate, in
essence, of the ethics commissioner. If there was not a statutory enactment of
the ethics officer, and if a code or set of rules were put together and given to
an ethics officer, as contemplated in Bill C-34, without Bill C-34 as a
statutory framework, the Senate would do the same. There is no benefit to a
statutory enactment of the Senate officer, but there is a potential loss of
parliamentary privilege by enactment. If all of the discretions lie with the
Senate to make the rules to determine how the Senate officer will conduct
himself and that Senate officer will report back to the Senate, a committee of
the Senate or a delegate of the Senate, then why would we want within Bill C-34
to statutorily allow for a Senate officer, thereby opening the gate for the
courts to comment on parliamentary privilege?
Suffice it to say that the committee is in the early stages of receiving
evidence, both on the code and on various options and their implications. I
trust that this chamber will support the continuance of the work of the
committee in conducting a full and complete review of all the issues before
coming to its final recommendations.
While the interim report could be an update of witnesses heard to this point,
it should not be seen as in any way hinting at possible recommendations, which I
hope will follow and which will receive full scrutiny and debate in this
Honourable senators, I also want to point out that Senator Carstairs
indicated that the courts have not intervened on parliamentary privilege to this
point. In fact, they have not. They have been conscious of parliamentary
privilege, but the ambit and the extent to which parliamentary privilege exists
has been commented on in the courts. While the courts have indicated that
parliamentary privilege is correct and needs to be upheld in a democracy, they
have also said that actions of parliamentarians attempting to stretch
parliamentary protections and privileges to actions that are clearly not
parliamentary privilege actions should be the subject of court comment and
Further, if a new act is put in place, the precedents of the past may be
instructive, but they are not the end of the discussion. Courts can view
legislation in a new light and perhaps will take a different point of view on
parliamentary privilege and their right to comment on it. Therefore, a statutory
framework is one that could leave senators open to a question of whether their
parliamentary privilege has been extended too far, whether it is appropriate in
today's timing and, therefore, could put this venerable institution into a
different position in our democracy than is contemplated and necessary.
This debate should be about protecting the principles that afford us the
generous democracy within which we live. It should be a study of how rules and
ethics encourage everyone, be it a parliamentarian, the executive, the
judiciary, the press or citizens at large, to use best practices and best
behaviours to ensure that we maximize and reach for ever higher standards of
behaviour. I believe that is the type of study on which the Senate committee has
embarked, and I look forward to the committee continuing its review.
Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator
for her comments, which I think are a solid contribution to the issue that is
What is the role of this report, which is an advisory of sorts, in the debate
that we will have if, when and as Bill C-34 is brought to us?
We used to have a custom in the chamber called the "Hayden pre-study,"
named after Senator Salter Hayden. Is this a pre- study of Bill S-34? Perhaps
the honourable senator, being a member of the Rules Committee, could advise me
whether these are comments about principles while the real study of and debate
about the issue will be when the bill is presented to us?
Senator Andreychuk: My understanding was that the government brought
forth, as noted here under Government Business, an issue about principles, and
it related to the Milliken- Oliver report. They wished us to study it. We
started to study it, and we thought we would have adequate time to canvass all
the issues and give our best advice to the government on where it should go with
the ethics issue, particularly, with respect to the Senate. In the course of our
study, we were alerted that, irrespective of what we were doing, Bill C-34 would
come to the Senate in May. That is how we got into the conundrum of what to do.
Do we do nothing? That might have been my option, saying that if the government
has already decided where it wants to go, what impact will we have? Perhaps we
should wait until the bill arrives and debate it fully.
The majority opinion in committee was that an interim report would be useful.
To the extent that I yielded to the majority, I think we were influential in
indicating that there should be a separate understanding of what the Senate is
and that one officer for everyone is not the case here.
Perhaps other pieces have been picked up in Bill C-34. I have not done an
exhaustive study of it, having only read it superficially at this point. We are
now in the conundrum that I believe we should continue the study for the sake of
the Senate. It is important for the Senate to come to a collective determination
of the rules we wish to have in place and how we wish to manage ourselves.
Honourable senators, I hope the government will listen to us. The government
has come around the bend rather quickly with Bill C-34, choosing options that
preclude our study down the line. Senator Austin's question might be better
directed to the chair of the committee.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Andreychuk, I
regret to advise you that your time for speaking has expired. Are you asking for
leave to continue?
Senator Andreychuk: I would seek leave to finish this question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted,
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Andreychuk: Just to reiterate, my point would be that it is
timely and necessary to have a full look at the rules. We have rules, but they
are in different places. Perhaps we should look at a more refined codification.
Perhaps we should have another debate on public expectations, but we have not
entered into that debate. There is a significant amount of work yet to do.
Bill C-34 has arrived before we have finished our work. A modality has been
chosen, and I may or may not like it. I do not know yet, and I will study it.
However, what troubles me more than anything is that the modality, if pushed
into place before we complete our study, will open to scrutiny by the courts the
Senate's parliamentary privileges, or at least it has the potential to do that.
I am puzzled as to why Bill C-34 has this urgency to it when there has not
been the urgency in the past. It was introduced and been on the Order Paper here
for some considerable time. The committee only received its reference for the
study in February. Now the bill is before us. It is one added complication in
our study. I have received assurance that we will continue the study.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have a short supplementary
question., If the government were to make the argument that this debate on this
interim report is really the debate on Bill C-34, do I understand that the
honourable senator's answer would be, "Not at all"?
Senator Andreychuk: That is correct. I was ready to speak at some
point. Senator Carstairs then took the opportunity to use our report and to talk
about Bill C-34. I have some difficulties with Bill C-34, on the face of it, and
with the fact that it impedes the completion of our full study. Perhaps, in
consultation with the committee, I should be asking that Bill C-34 not be
introduced in this chamber and dealt with until we have completed our study, so
that all senators may have the benefit of our review.
I have already been approached by some senators who have asked, "Why did you
say this and that in your report, binding us?" I continue to assure senators
that no definitive decisions have been taken.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I am pleased to join the
debate on the ethics package, specifically the interim report tabled in this
chamber by the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedure and the Rights of
First, I should like to thank the Honourable Senator Milne, who is ably
chairing this committee, and the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, our deputy
Honourable senators, I have had the privilege of serving in Parliament for
over 30 years, first in the other place and now here. It is a source of pride
that I have had the opportunity to serve the Canadian public. I have no
hesitation in saying that in that experience, I have found high ethical
standards among my colleagues in both places of the Canadian Parliament.
I do not believe, nor has anyone on either side of the chamber alleged or
suggested, that we have a problem with ethical behaviour in the Senate. However,
we cannot ignore the fact that the world has changed. Standards have changed.
Expectations have changed. All across Canada, codes of conduct have been put in
place over the past decade that ensure not only that politicians always act in
the public interest — I think they do, just because it is the right thing to do
— but also to enable Canadians to see clearly that the public interest always
This kind of transparency is relatively new, but it is important. I believe
it is no longer good enough for politicians to say, "Trust me." Canadians have
a right to be able to see for themselves that we are acting ethically and in
their interests. I consider it a profound privilege to serve Canadians in
Parliament. I believe it is my job, in these situations, to ensure that I am
meeting changed expectations.
As a Canadian citizen, I have the right to privacy, but in accepting the
appointment to this chamber, I believe I accepted a public trust that may
require me to relinquish some of that cherished privacy in the public interest —
by no means all, but some.
Certainly, I accept that I may be held to a very high standard, and that is
fine. I happen to believe that we in this chamber already hold ourselves to high
standards. I have no difficulty accepting rules that will make those standards,
that we already have, transparent and readily apparent to all Canadians. I am
confident that we can only benefit from Canadians knowing more about our work
here and the seriousness with which we view the trust that has been placed in
I welcome the government's initiative in introducing the ethics package that
we are studying. I look forward to continuing the standing committee's study of
the proposed code of conduct and returning, soon I hope, to this chamber with
the results. To date, we on the committee have spent a great deal of time
considering and discussing the proposed independent ethics adviser. As proposed,
this person would serve to advise us as individuals on how to fulfil our
obligations under the code and to prevent problems from arising. The person
would serve as adviser to the chamber to help the Senate maintain its ethical
standards vis-à-vis its members. He or she would investigate alleged breaches of
the code and then advise the chamber on how we as a body should address
particular problems. As proposed, the Senate would retain full control over the
adviser and over its members.
As honourable senators have heard, a number of us were concerned about the
original proposal that there be one ethics commissioner who would oversee and
advise on the ethical obligations of public office-holders, members of the other
place and senators. We believe that the Senate is a distinct entity within the
Canadian parliamentary structure and that we should have our own Senate ethics
officer. I am pleased to learn from the Leader of the Government that the bill
introduced recently in the other place includes our committee's recommendation
on this point and will provide for the appointment of a Senate ethics officer
separate and distinct from the other place and from public office-holders.
I am also pleased to learn that our comments were heard with respect to the
need for senators to have meaningful input into the appointment process of this
Senate ethics officer.
Senator Oliver, while not a member of the Standing Committee on Rules,
Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, nevertheless was generous with his time
and knowledge of the issues before us and attended a number of our meetings. He
pointed out two important reasons for having an ethics officer or code of
conduct: consultation and prevention. These are important functions, but to be
effective, we on both sides of this chamber need to have the utmost confidence
in the person who holds this position. As a committee, we were not satisfied
that the appointment process originally proposed by the government would achieve
this. We recommended changes to ensure input from the leadership of the
recognized parties in the chamber and also a confirming vote in the Senate. I am
glad to hear that our concerns were heard and resulted in changes to the
Honourable senators, it is not enough that we put in place a process that
satisfies us that the Senate ethics officer is independent and deserving of our
trust and confidence. The Senate ethics officer would also enable the Canadian
public to see that their trust is correctly placed in us. The appointment
process must be one that instils in the Canadian public trust and confidence in
the Senate ethics officer. That means that the position must be established in
legislation, with a term, and especially with defined grounds for early removal.
In other words, there cannot be concern that if we are displeased with the
advice we are receiving, we can dismiss the Senate ethics officer. He or she
cannot serve at pleasure, for that does not lead to independence.
I appreciate that some senators are anxious to ensure that we do not
undermine parliamentary privilege by creating this position in statute. However,
I listened carefully to the testimony on this point before our committee. While
there were witnesses who told us that at any time the place and the statute
increases the chance that a court will accept jurisdiction to interpret the
legislation, nevertheless it is quite clear that Canadian case law has held that
privilege does attach to the activities of the ethics commissioners and the
courts will decline to review their activities as a result. The witnesses were
also very clear that we can take steps in drafting the rules on the role of the
Senate ethics commissioner to help ensure that parliamentary privilege will
Although we do not have the bill before us today, my understanding is that,
if words have not already been put there to ensure that privilege attaches, they
will be put there, and that is something we should ensure when the bill comes
before the Senate. It is quite possible to have words placed in the legislation
that ensure parliamentary privilege attaches to the position of a Senate ethics
I was also impressed with the testimony of the provincial ethics
commissioners who appeared before us. Commissioner Ted Hughes is probably one of
the most respected authorities in this field. He has served as Ethics
Commissioner in British Columbia, the Yukon and now the Northwest Territories.
He was very clear in his testimony to us, saying that, in his experience, court
interference has not been a problem. Privilege attaches. The courts respect this
and do not seek to interfere or to review the activities of ethic commissioners.
Honourable senators, I am satisfied that we would not run a dangerous risk by
entrenching the Senate ethics officer in legislation. Other Senate officers,
such as our clerk, are appointed pursuant to statute. This has not caused a
problem, nor has anyone tried to suggest that this has in any way undermined or
threatened parliamentary privilege.
Meanwhile, it is critically important that a Senate ethics officer be and be
seen to be independent. The Senate ethics officer's role is pivotal to the
proposed ethics package. If the position were an appointed one simply under the
Senate rules, then the rules could be changed. He would be our employee serving
at our pleasure. I do not believe that is good enough. As a chamber we deserve,
and Canadians expect, more than that.
Honourable senators, I believe we are on a track to an excellent modern set
of rules that will help us maintain our already high standards of conduct.
Moreover, by this appointment, Canadians will clearly recognize the high ethical
standards of their parliamentarians. The Senate ethics advisor will represent a
significant step in this regard. I look forward to continuing the work on the
proposed code of conduct in committee, and to returning to this chamber as soon
as possible with a final report.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I would like to ask a
question of Senator Rompkey. Does he share my opinion that it should be a given
that an ethics commissioner in the Senate speak and write in both official
Senator Rompkey: Honourable senators, absolutely, I think that is a
given and a fundamental issue on which we should rule here in this chamber.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kinsella,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, for the second reading of Bill
S-14, to amend the National Anthem Act to reflect the linguistic duality of
Canada.—(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, before the adjournment motion is put, I should like to ask whoever is
moving the adjournment, when we might expect to hear from Senator Prud'homme on
second reading debate? This order has been adjourned for a week now. Hopefully,
we will have the opportunity to hear his views early next week.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I was going to propose, as per our usual practices, that debate be
adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate, on behalf of the senator who had
previously asked for the adjournment, Senator Prud'homme. Since he is here,
perhaps he could respond to Senator Kinsella's concerns.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, this is only the first
day the bill has appeared on the Order Paper. Some items on the Orders of the
Day are only dealt with on the eleventh or twelfth sitting day. I do not see why
we should get excited over this. It is not a matter of national emergency.
I will not speak today, especially after the unfortunate events that occurred
at the annual meeting of the Inter-parliamentary Union. This is not the time to
make a flamboyant speech that might go beyond anything that I want to say about
this bill. I do not understand why anyone would want to cut short the debate.
I again ask that debate be adjourned, and I do not intend to go on about the
matter. Senator Kinsella is not the only one who wants to debate the bill.
Others would also like to speak to it, and I will not prevent anyone from doing
so. Senator Kinsella has sponsored many bills that have been deferred to
subsequent sittings or that have been adjourned by various other senators.
If there are senators who wish to speak to it today, then stand up! I know
that there are senators who would like to speak, but they are not here. However,
I do not want to be told, all of a sudden, that a minister like Ms. Copps, whom
I adore, thinks that it has become a matter of national urgency that this bill
be passed. This goes to the very core of what our country represents. I do not
see why we would want to adopt it so quickly, because it has profound
I have the permission of Senator Forrestall to remind you that he and I are
the only two survivors of the committee that studied the national anthem in
1967. Honourable senators, I see no urgency to deal with this matter
The Senate is a place where we must be calm, so I will remain calm.
Let us calm down and await further developments.
Honourable senators need not concern themselves. I will speak eventually.
Resuming debate on the consideration of the third report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (study on matters relating to
straddling stocks and to fish habitat) presented in the Senate on March 27,
2003.—(Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.).
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, Canadians are
told it may take a very long time — years, maybe decades — before Atlantic
groundfish are able to recover, if ever. This spring the Standing Senate
Committee on Fisheries and Oceans conducted hearings on the question of fish
stocks that straddle the 200-mile limit on Canada's continental shelf. The
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, or NAFO, is responsible for managing
fisheries outside Canadian waters on what are known as the Nose and Tail of the
Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap.
Conservation decisions are now more generally accepted by NAFO members than
was the case in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, the number of fisheries
violations in the area managed by NAFO has increased substantially since 1995.
From what I heard during the course of the Senate committee hearings, NAFO is
failing to adequately fulfil its role in the areas of reporting violations and
enforcing compliance with regulations. Some witnesses said that most NAFO member
countries do not have a sufficient economic stake in the fishery to invest in
the expensive business of high seas fisheries management and conservation.
The evidence suggests that, for many NAFO members, the organization is only a
means to gain access to fish. Conservation is not a priority. Canada, for its
part, has a disproportionately large economic stake in conserving the straddling
stocks adjacent to its Atlantic coast. We are also a major financial contributor
to the operation of NAFO, but apparently have very little clout in the
In August 1999, Canada ratified the 1995 treaty on straddling and highly
migratory fish stocks known as the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, or UNFA. This will
help regional organizations such as NAFO to better manage stocks on the high
seas outside waters that fall under national jurisdiction. In fact, the UNFA
treaty was a Canadian initiative, and Canadians played a significant role in
shaping that document we ratified in August 1999.
The European Union — the most important NAFO member next to Canada — has yet
to ratify UNFA, but has publicly committed to it. The EU intends to ratify it en
bloc; that is to say, all EU countries will be ratifying simultaneously. We
recently learned from the Department of Foreign Affairs that, with the one
exception of Ireland, the EU is now ready to ratify the 1995 UNFA by June 2003.
In the case of Ireland, the department informed us that passing legislation to
ratify UNFA is a priority for the Irish government. I urge my fellow
parliamentarians in Ireland to make the required legislative changes so that the
EU can finally ratify UNFA.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, a collapse similar to what we have witnessed on
the East Coast of Canada may be occurring in the North Sea. In October 2002, an
international scientific advisory commission recommended that all fisheries
targeting cod in the North Sea, Irish Sea and waters west of Scotland should be
closed. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization warned in a 2002
study that nearly half — 47 per cent — of the world's marine stocks or species
groups are fully exploited, with no reasonable expectations for further
expansion. Another 28 per cent are either overexploited or depleted. Some stocks
have been so severely run down they may never rebound.
The need for international cooperation is being loudly articulated. At their
2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, world leaders
committed themselves to maintaining and restoring the depleted stocks with the
aim of achieving these goals by no later than 2015.
In December of this year, an international conference called Deep Sea 2003
will be held in Queenstown, New Zealand. The forum will allow experts to discuss
issues relating to the conservation and management of the continental slope and
deep seas. As the oceans are being exploited as never before, there is
widespread agreement on the need to identify and develop future directions and
governance of deep-sea fisheries.
In closing, Canada is a maritime nation bordering three oceans, with the
world's longest coastline and the largest archipelago — in the Arctic.
Therefore, it is in Canada's economic interest to have an effective global
maritime regime in place. We should continue to support nations that want to
ensure this renewable resource is available for the benefit of future
On motion of Senator Robichaud, for Senator Rompkey, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report (interim) of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (Sub-committee on
Veterans Affairs) entitled: Fixing the Canadian Forces' Method of Dealing
with Death or Dismemberment, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on April
10, 2003.—(Honourable Senator Day).
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to speak to the
most recent report of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs of the Standing
Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Honourable senators will
recall that this report was filed with the Clerk during our Easter break.
I am honoured to speak today on the report of the Subcommittee on Veterans
Affairs of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence,
entitled "Fixing the Canadian Forces' Method of Dealing With Death or
Dismemberment," the result of many hours of work by the members of the
Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.
I take this opportunity to thank my honourable colleagues on the Subcommittee
on Veterans Affairs for their contributions. I would also like to recognize the
contribution of the witnesses who appeared before the committee, especially
Major Bruce Henwood.
Honourable senators, without the efforts of Major Henwood and his family, it
is very likely that the internal studies revealed in the report would have
remained undiscovered for many more years.
Internal studies by the Canadian Forces have concluded that, although
discharged soldiers are entitled to disability benefits and programs, they are
often ill-prepared to deal with the bureaucratic labyrinth they must get through
before they can obtain the benefits they assumed they were accumulating during
their years of service.
As a consequence, it may well happen that they do not receive their benefits
because resources are not made available to them. Even without these resources,
Major Henwood chose to declare war on the bureaucracy, and in so doing
demonstrated the many qualities Canadians admire in the members of their armed
forces: confidence, determination, courage, intelligence and, most importantly,
being of service to his colleagues in the Canadian Forces.
Honourable senators, I will tell Major Henwood's story for those of you who
are not familiar with it.
In 1995, while serving on the UN peacekeeping mission to Croatia, Major
Henwood lost both his legs at the knee when his vehicle ran over an anti-tank
mine. A British officer transported him to safety and a lengthy convalescence
Not long after, Major Henwood learned that the military income insurance to
which he and his comrades had to contribute could pay him no compensation for
In the spring of 1997, Major Henwood filed a grievance against the Canadian
Forces, which remains unsettled five years later. The Canadian Forces Grievance
Board has recommended to the Chief of Defence Staff that the grievance be
dismissed, claiming that the clause in his insurance policy relating to
compensation for dismemberment was not intended for a lump sum settlement, but
rather for income protection.
At the time, several years after the accident, the recommendation did not
surprise Major Henwood, because he had learned, in the meantime, that policy
coverage was based on income. However, he stated that the insurance policy is
misleading and misunderstood by soldiers who have to enrol in the plan. He
suggested that it be changed to provide a lump-sum indemnity to soldiers who are
dismembered while serving their country.
Major Henwood also noted that the insurance plan for colonels and generals
did provide a lump-sump indemnity for dismemberment.
When he appeared before the subcommittee, Major Henwood expressed his
objections to this situation:
GOIP is wrong in its present format. It is a double standard. It violates
the age-old principle of the military commanders looking after their men
first and then themselves.
They have taken something more important and fundamental than just an
insurance policy perk. They have shaken the trust of their subordinates and
have degraded the leadership ethos. This is a question of ethical conduct
that has a direct impact on the morale of the Canadian Forces and challenges
the integrity of the generals.
The Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs agrees with Major Henwood. It
recommended that the Department of National Defence ensure that all members of
the Canadian Armed Forces, regardless of rank, be entitled to the same
compensation in the event of death by accident or of dismemberment, in the form
of a lump-sum indemnity based on the injury suffered.
In response to our study, to the efforts of people like Major Henwood, and to
the media coverage of these issues, the Minister of National Defence, the
Honourable John McCallum, recently announced improved accidental dismemberment
coverage for Canadian Forces members from the date of the announcement forward.
Honourable senators, that is an example of how we can make a difference when we
do work here in this chamber and through our committees.
While this was a most important announcement, because it applies to all
members of the Armed Forces hereafter, it is only the first step. It is an
important step and one that is appreciated by all members of the Armed Forces,
but something remains to be done. The injustice continues for a small group of
men and women who were required to pay into the plan and who did so. As they
paid, they thought that, like their colonels and generals, they had coverage,
but they did not.
While appearing before the committee, Minister McCallum was questioned on the
possibility of the announced benefits being retroactive in order to rectify the
unacceptable past treatment of those members of the Canadian Armed Forces who
had been previously injured, including Major Henwood. In response, the minister
...to exhaust every avenue in an effort to do something positive on this
front. I have instructed my department to begin this process, and I look
forward to providing you with an update on our progress in the future.
Honourable senators, the mandatory insurance program was in place from 1982
forward. Therefore, the retroactivity would apply to only a few former members
of Canadian Armed Forces. The estimate is that it would apply to approximately
10 to 15 Canadian soldiers who, while serving their country, lost a leg, an arm
or an eye. The Canadian public would want those individuals to be compensated
for their loss in the same manner as the colonels and generals would have been
compensated. The compensation is designed to help the dismembered soldier adjust
to his reduced ability to earn a living.
I commend the minister for his commitment to resolve this situation. I look
forward to the minister's positive announcement in that regard.
Honourable senators, I strongly support the findings of the subcommittee on
this matter. Moreover, I encourage you to let the Department of National Defence
and the Minister of National Defence know that you support this report. Your
continued support for the recommendations is critical in order to build on the
work that we have already accomplished and to ensure that these veterans and
their families receive proper care when they are permanently injured.
The members of the Canadian Armed Forces perform their tasks for the people
of Canada with dignity and professionalism. They should be treated in a like
manner when they are injured during the performance of those duties. Anything
less would only serve to diminish the valuable role they play in providing the
peaceful society that we as Canadians largely take for granted.
Honourable senators, I should like to move the adjournment of this debate in
the name of Senator Meighen, the chair of the subcommittee.
On motion of Senator Day, for Senator Meighen, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kirby, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Cook, for the adoption of the third report (final)
of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology,
entitled: The Health of Canadians — The Federal Role, Volume Six:
Recommendations for Reform, tabled in the Senate on October 25, 2002.—(Honourable
Hon. Joan Cook: Honourable senators, I wish to thank Senator LeBreton
for the opportunity to continue the debate on this subject.
I would like to draw the attention of honourable senators to the 2003 First
Ministers' Health Accord and the February 2003 budget of the Government of
Canada, particularly as they fulfill some of the recommendations of Volume 6 of
the Kirby report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology, entitled, "The Health of Canadians — the Federal Role," and the
final report of the Romanow commission, entitled, "Building on Values: the
Future of Health Care in Canada."
The 2003 First Ministers' Accord on Health Care Renewal made a commitment to
all Canadians that they should have timely access to health services on the
basis of need, not the ability to pay, regardless of where they live or move in
Canada; high quality, effective, patient-centred and safe health care; and a
sustainable and affordable health care system that will be there for Canadians
and their children in the future. These are admirable objectives that were also
supported by the report of the Senate's Social Affairs Committee and, more
recently, by the report of the Romanow commission.
More specifically, the first ministers' accord set the following goals to
help them work toward achieving these commitments. These goals stated that
Canadians should have access to health care providers 24 hours a day, seven days
a week; have timely access to diagnostic procedures and treatments; not have to
repeat their health histories or undergo the same tests for every health care
provider they see; have access to quality home care and community care services;
have access to the drugs they need without undue financial hardship; to be able
to access quality care no matter where they live in Canada; and see their health
care system as efficient, responsive and adapting to Canadians' changing needs
and those of their families now and in the future.
I intend to address each of those goals, although not in the order in which
they appear in the first minister's accord.
First, I will focus on accountability. It has been undeniably clear that
Canadians want to see where their tax dollars are being spent and that it is
essential to improve the governance of Canada's health care system. The Social
Affairs Committee of the Senate made recommendations for a national health care
council, headed by a national health care commissioner. This would improve the
governance of the health care system, keep the public informed on how the system
is evolving and ensure accountability. It would be national in structure,
independent of government, build on the strengths of existing organizations and
be funded by the federal government.
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said that the 2003 First Ministers' Accord on
Health Care Renewal envisions change and makes the system more accountable to
our citizens. He then added that we have made our health care system more
accountable through the creation of a health council. This council will report
regularly to Canadians on the quality of their health care system. I would like
to commend the federal government for recognizing the importance of
accountability and taking positive steps in the right direction.
Within the budget of 2003, we see the creation of a new Canada health
transfer by April 1, 2004. This will enhance transparency and accountability and
provide Canadians with a more accurate picture of federal contributions to
health care and other key social sectors. Provinces and territories will retain
their flexibility to decide where and how they will invest federal resources in
In order for Canadians to have access to sustainable quality health care and
to additional services such as those listed in the goals above, such as service
24 hours a day, seven days a week, home care and other needed services, it will
be necessary to change the way primary care is provided in Canada to better
utilize the services of our primary care physicians. "Primary health care" is
the name given to the first contact that an individual or family has with the
health care system. It aims to bring health care as close as possible to where
people live and work.
Today, in Canada, primary care is generally provided by a family physician.
However, nurses and nurse practitioners are capable of providing a number of
services currently provided by family physicians. This means that Canada could
make better use of its family physicians and these nurses by reorganizing
primary health care so that it is provided by groups of health care
professionals. These groups would include other professionals, such as
nutritionists, mental health workers and social workers, in addition to nurses
and physicians. These teams could also organize and encourage volunteers to
identify and help with other community needs. Incorporating the use of
volunteers from the community would certainly help the groups and, thus, the
health care system to be responsive and adapt to the changing needs of
Canadians, as outlined in goal 7 of the accord.
Certainly, for most Canadians, the first point of contact with the health
system is a telephone call to the general practice physician's secretary. This
person makes the appointment for the caller to meet with the physician and is
therefore the gatekeeper for entry into the health system. Generally, everyone
who calls will receive an appointment with a physician. Therefore, the gate to
primary care physicians is wide open.
In a multidisciplinary primary care group, the gatekeeper would most likely
be a nurse or other trained professional who, after talking with the caller to
learn more about their problem, would make an appointment with the most
appropriate health care professional. This might be a nurse for baby care, an
immunization or a blood pressure checkup, a nutritionist for someone who is
having difficulty controlling their weight, a social worker for someone stressed
by financial problems, or a physician for a clinical diagnosis of an illness.
General practice physicians would then have time to take back some of the
simple procedures that they have lost to hospitals over the years. Having a
whole basket of services available in one place would certainly be much more
user-friendly for Canadians.
This group approach to primary care would also allow more attention to be
paid to teaching health promotion and disease prevention and adding or
coordinating other necessary health services, such as home care and community
care for mental health patients. Canada must move in the direction of providing
more health promotion and disease prevention services. Our current sickness
model of health care is out of balance.
In this proposed delivery of health care, a nurse becomes the gatekeeper for
primary care; the family practice physician the gatekeeper for secondary health
care services; and the specialist physician the gatekeeper for tertiary health
care services. I believe the responsible use of the health care service is the
responsibility of the gatekeeper and not the patient.
Goal 5 of the accord is that Canadians should have access to the drugs they
need without undue financial hardship. The methods for doing this were set out
in much more detail in the Kirby report than in the Romanow commission report,
and the levels of support differ.
The Senate committee report recommended a catastrophic prescription drug plan
under which the federal government would take over responsibility for 90 per
cent of prescription drug costs whenever drug costs surpass $5,000 per person
per annum or 3 per cent of family income, whichever is the smaller.
Under the Senate plan, private health insurance plans would also be required
to continue to protect their clients up to the $5,000 level. The Romanow
commission recommended that the government reimburse 50 per cent of drug costs
over $1,500 per person per annum.
In addition, both reports saw that if Canadians are to receive equal
medication opportunities regardless of which province or territory they live in,
then a national drug formulary and a national drug agency for adding to or
removing drugs from the formulary are essential. A national formulary is
essential to achieve the most bang for the buck with the resources available,
and the selection of drugs included in the formulary will be based on the best
In order to improve timely access to diagnostic procedures, such as MRIs, CT
scans and medical specialists, the February budget provided $5.5 billion to be
spent in three areas: providing diagnostic and medical equipment; obtaining
needed health information, including electronic health records; and, improving
research hospitals. Unfortunately, much of the equipment will not be used unless
additional health care professionals are trained to use them. In many specialty
areas, health care professionals are working unhealthily long hours in an effort
to provide the timeliest service possible in the circumstances. Currently,
providing personnel to run equipment placed in rural facilities is difficult. It
will become more so when additional vacancies are created as new equipment is
placed in urban facilities.
Within the committee's report, we stated that Canada must improve and
increase its investment in health research in order to bring research funding up
to the level of other industrialized countries. We found that health research is
necessary and will lead to the creation of products and technologies that will
improve the health of Canadians. For example, clinical trials supported by the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research will lead to effective guidelines and
clinical practices. Population health research will lead to better health
promotion and protection. Health services research will lead to a more efficient
health care system, and the translation of research will lead to evidence-based
clinical decision making.
A balanced approach is necessary in this area. Research and new diagnostic
equipment is of no benefit if we do not support and train the staff. If we
provide funds for new equipment, we must ensure that health professionals have
the knowledge to use the equipment effectively and efficiently. It is also
imperative that health care professionals are kept up to date on new
advancements in research and technologies.
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
recommended that Canada should increase its spending on health care research to
the level of 1 per cent of total health care spending, which would require an
additional $440 million a year for five years. We also believe that the
government should commit to a five-year budget plan for the Canadian Institutes
of Health Research.
Within the budget, we see that $500 million will support research hospitals
through the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
The third goal is to develop a system where Canadians need not repeat their
health histories or undergo the same tests for every health care provider that
they see. To do this, it is proposed that a truly national electronic health
records system be developed. The electronic health record will contain an
individual's complete medical history, and use of the record will involve
security systems to control who may have access to and be able to see the
various parts of the record.
Having this health information available electronically would mean that
someone travelling to a tertiary care facility would not be required to repeat
tests when he or she arrives because test results would already be available to
the tertiary professional. It would also allow physicians to have earlier access
to the results of diagnostic test data. A truly national system would mean that
Canadians can travel across the country and their health records would be
available in the electronic record system whenever needed.
However, this will require the provinces and territories to work closely
together in planning and implementing their electronic records system. Use of
anonymous data from the electronic records would also allow researchers to carry
out health surveillance tests and to determine, for example, the optimum
treatment for various clinical conditions, which would increase the safety of
our at-home system.
As you know, I am a Newfoundlander and, as such, I look at the recent budget
allocations to health from the standpoint of Newfoundland and Labrador. The
province covers an extremely large geographic area with half its population
sparsely spread across huge distances. Consequently, it is difficult and
expensive to provide good health care in the far-flung rural regions of the
province, much more expensive than providing care in large urban centres.
Therefore, I am perturbed by the large amount —
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Cook, I am sorry to interrupt, but your
15 minutes have expired.
Senator Cook: Honourable senators, I have two pages left.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted for the honourable senator to
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cook: Honourable senators, pages 160 and 161 of the Romanow
report provide details of the proportions of the various provinces and
territories that are urban or rural. It is worthy of note that the distances
that Maritimers must travel to tertiary health facilities is far shorter and the
expense of doing so is less than it is for Canadians who must travel to certain
parts of Labrador and Newfoundland. Canadians living in Labrador and parts of
Newfoundland often have to travel many miles to see a primary health care
professional, and all must travel great distances to access specialist care and
treatment. Residents of Labrador, in particular, must spend over $2,000 to fly
to St. John's, the only tertiary care facility in the province. They then must
find and pay for suitable accommodation and meals. For some, the expense of the
trip may explain their reluctance to travel to St. John's for treatment.
The time delays to travel these distances probably explain, in part, the
lower life expectancy, the higher overall mortality rates and the higher
cardiovascular disease related deaths experienced by rural Canadians.
I believe there is justification for a catastrophic travel and accommodation
plan because, in general, rural Canadians have less disposable income. However,
where the income level is small enough, the citizens of the Labrador portion of
my province can receive government assistance, but the province does not have
the funds to reimburse citizens who do not receive provincial social support.
I make these points to show why the funding formula for the Province of
Newfoundland and Labrador, based largely on population, is inadequate. According
to 2001 census data, residents of Newfoundland and Labrador make up 1.742 per
cent of the Canadian population. Therefore, since most of the funds are to be
divided among the provinces and the territories according to population,
Newfoundland can expect to receive approximately $32.9 million per year of the
$9.5 billion increase in transfers over the next five years, and $42.9 million
of the $2.5 billion immediate transfer.
To put a scale on this transfer, this money will not cover the salary
increases needed to bring our province's physicians' salaries up to the level of
the Atlantic Provinces. Therefore, most of the $32 million will be used also to
pay for salary increases of physicians and other health professionals.
At the first ministers' meeting in Ottawa, Premier Grimes stated that
increasing equalization at the same time as increasing the annual transfers is
necessary to ensure that the smaller provinces can keep pace with health care
reforms undertaken in the larger provinces.
The first ministers unanimously demanded that the federal government
permanently remove the $10 billion equalization ceiling, which the Prime
Minister has agreed to do, in order to strengthen the program and ensure that
all provinces have the ability to provide comparable levels of service at
comparable levels of taxation. The removal of this cap will help my province to
keep pace with health care reform. I also commend the federal government for
taking such important steps.
The $274.3 million of the $16 billion for a health reform fund over the next
five years that is targeted to primary care, home care and catastrophic drug
coverage will certainly be a help to my province, and some money currently being
spent by the provincial government may be able to be diverted elsewhere in the
health system. The Newfoundland and Labrador government only pays for drugs for
low-income individuals and families, regardless of age. All senior citizens are
not automatically covered, as is true in other provinces, so my provincial
government savings will not be necessarily as great as those, for instance, in
Ontario. There may also be some savings for my province in providing home care,
but I would rather hope that the money available for home care can be used to
improve our current home care system. As for primary care, change will be
difficult and time consuming.
Finally, over the next few years, the Newfoundland and Labrador government
will receive approximately $94.3 million of the $5.5 billion invested by the
federal government to promote the health of Canadians by increasing the purchase
of diagnostic and medical equipment and health information technology and
providing more money to hospitals for applied health care research. This will
certainly be helpful.
One problem not clearly addressed in the recent budget is the need to recruit
and train the full range of health professionals. Newfoundland and Labrador has
difficulty recruiting and keeping these professionals, mainly because salaries
are higher elsewhere. Each time salaries are increased across Canada, my
province finds it increasingly difficult to follow suit, and we lose
professionals to the higher paid positions elsewhere.
The Senate committee's work is ongoing, and the future areas of thematic
study include mental health and Aboriginal health.
Psychological problems and mental illness will affect 20 per cent of
Canadians in their lifetime. Approximately 3 million Canadians suffer from
depression. Roughly 750,000 people have severe and chronic mental disorders.
Mental illness costs the country $15 billion a year, $6.5 billion in direct
medical expenses and $8.5 billion in lost productivity. Mental illness affects
people in all occupations, educational and income levels and cultures. There is
On motion of Senator Cook, for Senator LeBreton, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Chalifoux, for the adoption of the seventh report
of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament
(amendment to Rule 131—request for Government response) presented in
the Senate on February 4, 2003.
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Milne, that subsection (3) of the
Committee's recommendations to amend Rule 131 of the Rules of the Senate
be further amended by replacing the words "communicate the request to the
Government Leader who" with the following:
"immediately communicate the request, and send a copy of the report,
to the Government Leader and to each Minister of the Crown expressly
identified in the report or in the motion as a Minister responsible for
responding to the report, and the Government Leader".—(Honourable
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to join this
particular debate on the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Rules,
Procedure and the Rights of Parliament because of what I would call my
continuing and abiding concern that the rules of this place are being burdened
with all manner of unnecessaries. In addition to that, the rules are being
burdened by attempts to make them decisions rather than having them form the
regulatory framework around which decisions are made.
It seems that every week we are introducing new rules. When I first came
here, there were about 80 rules. The rules have now multiplied and are
bountiful. They have grown to such an extent that no senator really knows them
any more. Most senators find themselves totally dependent on staff to find out
what the rules are. This is an unhealthy and unparliamentary situation. It is
something that we should begin to interrupt and arrest. All honourable senators
know what I think of Parliament and how important I think it is.
My interests in this subject matter were triggered when, in her remarks on
February 6, some weeks ago, Senator Milne made a comment. Remember that the
question is the business of ministers ignoring Senate reports and reports of
Parliament. However, the real question is how does Parliament speak to
ministers. Senator Milne was responding to an intervention by the Leader of the
Opposition, Senator Lynch-Staunton, who was attempting to strengthen the report.
The honourable senator's request seems to be a proper one. I wish we had
incorporated that into the report in the first place. However, I think the
report as it stands will probably do. Normally, the communication between
this chamber and the other is through the Leader of the Government in the
Senate. This is the normal procedure, the normal channel of communication,
except of course in the papers.
Honourable senators, the normal way of communication between the two chambers
is by message. The normal way of communication between either of the two
chambers and the Crown or minister or the cabinet is an address. This is what
prompted my interest.
If we look to Erskine May, at page 606 of the 22nd edition, we see a
definition of an address as follows:
An Address to Her Majesty is the form ordinarily employed by both Houses
of Parliament for making their desires and opinions known to the Crown...
Opinions and desires are made known to the Crown by manner of an address.
As we are endeavouring to be in the business of rule making, it seems our
rule making is attempting to go around what I would consider to be the normal
method of chambers communicating with each other, which is, as I said, not as
Senator Milne described, but by message and by address.
The reasons for all of this are outlined in the report. For example, in
paragraph 8, the report says:
The proposed procedure would allow the Senate, following its approval of
a report submitted by committee, to refer that report to the Government with
a request for a complete and detailed government response within 150
This is also supported by a statement in paragraph 3:
On May 17, 2001, the Senate had referred to your Committee a motion by
Senator Gauthier, as amended by Senator Lynch Staunton, that would have
amended the Rules of the Senate to enable the Senate, after approving
a report submitted by standing committee, to refer that report to the
Government with a request for a comprehensive response by the Minister
within 90 days.
Honourable senators, there is no procedure whatsoever for referring anything
to ministers except by address. The possibility exists that the drafting of this
report is a little careless and that when the word "refer" is being used it is
not being used in a parliamentary sense at all. The possibility exists that what
is meant is that someone should send a minister a copy of a report, or something
of that nature. "Refer," in a parliamentary sense, has a definite meaning
because it means quite often matters such as orders of reference. Invariably, a
referral is accompanied by orders of reference and asks for a decision or an
opinion from the properly authorized body or individual. That is why in this
chamber, when we refer a bill or we refer something to a committee to study, we
are asking the committee for its opinion on the bill — that is, to study the
Honourable senators, what we are dealing with here is not really the need to
make orders of reference or make referrals to ministers or to the Crown because
we are ignoring the process of addresses to ministers, the Crown. Here we are
speaking about the fact that members are saying that the Senate is ignored, that
the opinions and judgments of senators and the members of the House of Commons
are largely ignored. This is borne out in paragraphs 4 and 5 of this report.
Paragraph 4 says an interesting thing, which is:
In the course of their deliberations, members of your Committee agreed
that the work of the Senate was potentially undermined by the lack of any
formal means of seeking a response from the Government to policy studies,
and also agreed that this problem feeds a widespread perception in the media
that such studies simply gather dust after they are tabled in the Senate
Honourable senators, I would say that this is not a perception in the media;
this is a fact. The majority of Senate opinions are widely ignored by cabinet,
so it is not a perception at all.
Paragraph 5 continues in the same vein and states:
Senate studies frequently contribute to the broad processes of debate and
public policy formation by virtue of the strength of their findings and
recommendations. However, the absence of tangible evidence of Government
attention implies indifference to Parliament, and to the citizens it
represents, that is unacceptable in a democratic system of government.
That particular statement is more to the point and quite accurate. What we
are really dealing with here is not so much the need of the Senate for a
process; what we are really dealing with here is the need of the Senate to
assert itself and to address the real issue, which is the lack of accountability
of ministers of the Crown to Parliament and to the judgment of both Houses, the
Senate and the House of Commons.
Therefore, the issue is not a lack of communication. Neither is the issue a
lack of information. As a matter of fact, I would submit to honourable senators
that we are in an era of massive information, where ministers have staff who do
nothing else but listen and attend to what is being said in the chambers in case
they are mentioned. We are in an era of, to my mind, massive information. I do
not know about most senators, but there is so much information crossing my desk
every day that I have to work hard to keep on top of it.
The question being posed in this proposal is that of ministerial
responsibility to Parliament. How is Parliament to hold ministers accountable?
In other words, how can parliamentarians and senators cause ministers to see
life their way or in accordance with the research and work that they have done?
Honourable senators, the proposals as drafted do not achieve what they
purport to do, which is that they do not allow for a reference to a minister.
The report also says that other methods were canvassed, including the method
that is used in the House of Commons. I would like to put on the record standing
order 109 of the House of Commons, which covers the same subject matter.
Standing order 109 regarding "Government response to committee reports" states
Within 150 days of the presentation of a report from a standing or
special committee, the government shall, upon the request of the committee,
table a comprehensive response thereto.
The proposals coming forth from the Senate are certainly inadequate when
compared to what they are attempting to mime or to imitate from the House of
Commons. The proposals purport to govern senators, whereas the House of Commons
standing order is quite strong. It states that the minister shall respond and
within a given period of time. If that is the effect we are trying to achieve in
this chamber, we should go after it in a more direct way. Standing order 109 is
quite firm and states clearly that the minister "shall" respond.
Honourable senators, Senator Lynch-Staunton's concerns were extremely valid
and extremely viable. I think his proposed amendment improves the problem and
the proposed solution somewhat, but it really does not go to the heart of the
I believe that the proposed rule should be drafted in what I would describe
as a more senatorial way, in a manner that is more consistent with the senators
and the upper chamber. If one reads the proposed rule, one definitely gets the
impression that the Senate is being cast in the position of an inferior chamber
or supplicant before the government.
Honourable senators, the solution may be to send this report back to the
committee and to examine the premises on which the proposals were written. If
what Senator Milne says is what she has believed, that the government leader
here is the normal procedure for communicating with the House of Commons and
with the government, then that is a mistaken assumption. Perhaps we should go
back to the drawing board and look at the matter within the parliamentary ways
of communication, which are, as I said before, messages and addresses.
That the motion for the adoption of the seventh report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament and its
motion in amendment be not now adopted, but be referred back to the Standing
Committee for further study and report.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is the house ready for the
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, when Senator
Lynch-Staunton and Senator Cools can have this kind of debate, I think it is
very worthwhile for us to study the issue a little more.
With your permission, honourable senators, I would like to adjourn debate to
the next sitting so that I can read what Senator Cools has said, consult with
Senator Lynch-Staunton and participate in the debate.
Therefore, I put myself in the hands of the Senate. I think the very able
clerk is telling His Honour exactly what my intention is.
On motion of Senator Prud'homme, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kenny, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Losier-Cool, for the adoption of the Second Report
(Interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence,
entitled "For an Extra 130 Bucks... Update on Canada's Military Financial
Crisis, A View from the Bottom Up", deposited with the Clerk of the Senate
on November 12, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C.).
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I am pleased to speak today on the important issues raised by the
second interim report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence, entitled "For an Extra 130 Bucks... Update on Canada's Military
Financial Crisis, A View from the Bottom Up."
Although I am not an expert on national security or national defence, I would
still like to offer you a few thoughts I have had while reading this report.
You know, of course, that, over the last decade, the Government of Canada has
taken on the mission of reducing and eliminating the annual deficit and
beginning repayment of the debt. That is exactly what it has done. Moreover, it
has done this through prudent and balanced management of the country's finances.
It is expected that the final figures for fiscal 2002-03 will show a budget
surplus for the sixth consecutive year. During this period of budgetary
surpluses, the government has reduced the debt by more than $47 billion.
Difficult decisions had to be made to ensure that social programs that are so
important to Canadians were maintained. Each and every one of us was urged to
pull his or her own weight. A great many very real sacrifices were made to get
to zero deficit.
The urgency in controlling public spending required implementing major and
severe budget cuts in all areas of government, including departmental and agency
programs and operations.
My intention is not to provide you with a long list of these cuts that were
required to balance the federal budget. Instead, I wanted to give the context.
Honourable senators, you may understand that when I read the title of the
report in question, entitled "For an Extra 130 Bucks... Update on Canada's
Military Financial Crisis, A View from the Bottom Up", I had all kinds of ideas
to better use this $130 per capita.
In other words, with $130 per capita, which represents the substantial sum of
$4 billion, I can imagine being able to improve a number of existing programs.
This was the amount of the increase that the authors of the report proposed for
the National Defence budget.
As you know, when preparing the budget, the government must consider its
priorities and the priorities of Canadians as well as urgent needs.
As soon as the government posted a budget surplus, it was careful to come
back to its priorities, while still recognizing the other pressing needs of
government operations. This is exactly what the government did in preparing its
Honourable senators, I move that the debate be continued at the next sitting
of the Senate. I will conclude my comments at that time.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Would the honourable senator allow one
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I have no objection. If I am
allowed to conclude my remarks later, I will answer questions. I have no problem
Senator Grafstein: I would like to ask the honourable senator a
question to which he can perhaps refer in his concluding remarks.
When I was in Washington last week, to my amazement I was told by U.S.
officials that while our navy is interoperable with our allies, our air force is
not. Perhaps the honourable senator could bring to our attention whether this is
the understanding of the government and, if so, what it would cost to remedy
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, this is a very important
question that certainly merits more information. I believe that, if the military
had to adjust some of its missions — we are talking about the air forces here —
at some point a more logical choice could have been made, and one I would have
understood better than purchasing used non-submersible submarines. We saw T.V.
coverage of Armed Forces personnel with oakum, caulking leaks to stop the water
from coming in. This is a very important matter.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government), for Senator
Kolber, pursuant to notice of May 6, 2003, moved:
That the date for the presentation by the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce of the final report on its study on the
administration and operation of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the
Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, which was authorized by the Senate on
October 29, 2002, be extended to Thursday, December 18, 2003.
He said: Honourable senators, Senator Kolber asked me to move the motion
standing in his name, to extend the date on which the committee must make its
I therefore move adoption of the motion.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Are we on Item No. 100?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: We are on Item No.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I am a member of the Standing
Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, and I would have liked Senator
Kolber to be here to answer questions in the House. That is why I am moving
adjournment of the debate on this motion.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
it has been moved by Senator Robichaud, seconded by Senator Rompkey, that the
motion be agreed to.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I will repeat what I said. I
dearly love intermediaries and the messengers of the Sacred Heart, who have
responsibilities. Back home in Quebec, we call them the messengers of the Sacred
When you have a responsibility, you assume it. When I am given something to
do, I do it or I say I cannot do it or I disappear. I would have liked Senator
Kolber to be here to answer questions. He is not here right now, and he will be
here next week.
If the debate were adjourned until next week, I would be sympathetic, but I
prefer to speak in the Senate rather than in committee, where, as the saying
goes, committee business is the responsibility of the committee.
We cannot come running to the Senate every time there is a problem in
committee, because the rules are very clear. Committee problems must be solved
within committees. That is why I want to get certain things settled here in the
Seante chamber. I do not see the urgency of going through an intermediary,
however elegant he may be. Perhaps we could adjourn the debate.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, while I am not one of those
messengers of the Sacred Heart, I did make a commitment to the committee chair
that I would move the motion, but I have no objection if Senator Prud'homme
moves adjournment of the debate on this motion so that he can ask questions
Senator Prud'homme: When I make a promise, I stick to it. I promised
not to do it as a delaying tactic. At the first opportunity to speak with the
chairman, I will do so.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
the Honourable Senator Prud'homme, seconded by the Honourable Senator Bolduc,
moves that the debate be continued at the next sitting of the Senate.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I would like to clarify the
situation, because there appears to be some questions about it. I moved the
motion and, when the Speaker put the question, Senator Prud'homme rose to
adjourn the debate until the next sitting. Under the circumstances, I believe we
have followed procedure, and that debate on this motion is adjourned until the
next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, there is a matter of
courtesy, decency and convenience here. The author of the motion should be here
to defend his motion. He is not here so let us adjourn the debate. That is the
reason. If you do not defend your interests, forget them.
On motion of Senator Prud'homme, debate adjourned.