Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I believe there would be agreement to allow the Standing Senate
Committee on Foreign Affairs to sit at 3:30 p.m. today, even though the Senate
may then be sitting, for the purpose of hearing Finance Minister Goodale. I
would ask that we grant the committee permission to sit.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform
the Senate that the Clerk has received certificates from the Registrar General
of Canada showing that the following persons, respectively, have been summoned
to the Senate:
Robert W. Peterson
James S. Cowan
Lillian Eva Dyck
Roméo A. Dallaire
The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there were
senators without, waiting to be introduced:
The following honourable senators were introduced; presented Her Majesty's
writs of summons; took the oath prescribed by law, which was administered by the
Clerk; and were seated:
Hon. Art Eggleton, P.C., of Toronto, Ontario, introduced between Hon.
Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. David Smith, P.C.;
Hon. Elaine McCoy, Q.C., of Calgary, Alberta, introduced between Hon.
Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Lowell Murray, P.C.;
Hon. Grant Mitchell, of Edmonton, Alberta, introduced between Hon.
Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Joyce Fairbairn, P.C.;
Hon. Robert W. Peterson, of Regina, Saskatchewan, introduced between
Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Pana Merchant;
Hon. Nancy Ruth, of Toronto, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Jack
Austin, P.C., and Hon. Norman K. Atkins;
Hon. James S. Cowan, Q.C., of Halifax, Nova Scotia, introduced between
Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. David P. Smith, P.C.;
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck, of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, introduced
between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk;
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire, of Sainte-Foy, Quebec, introduced
between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette, P.C.;
Hon. Claudette Tardif, of Edmonton, Alberta, introduced between Hon.
Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Joyce Fairbairn, P.C.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that each of the honourable
senators named above had made and subscribed the declaration of qualification
required by the Constitution Act, 1867, in the presence of the Clerk of the
Senate, the Commissioner appointed to receive and witness the said declaration.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, we
begin a tribute to the death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II. From time to
time human society produces a person who is acknowledged by all to stand
pre-eminent among us. Such a person was Karol Wojtyla, whose fame and celebrity
was earned as His Holiness John Paul II, undoubted leader of the Roman Catholic
Church and an inspiration to millions of people, both of his faith and of other
From our perspective today, it is not easy to judge the whole worth of this
holy man. What is certain is that he was revered in his time for his dedication
to the ideals of tolerance, truth and faith. He epitomized the good instincts of
humanity and reached around the world in his desire to connect with the global
The communities of other faiths, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and many parts of the
Christian faith, came to Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. His hand
reached out to them all with a sincere desire to correct the wrongs of history
and to put relations in the 21st century on the path of respect and compassion.
The Jewish community will not forget that he was the first Pope to enter a
synagogue, to visit Jerusalem and stand and pray at the Wailing Wall and to
describe those of Jewish faith as the elder brothers of Christianity.
The impact of the papacy of John Paul II will continue to reverberate beyond
the confines of his lifetime. He demonstrated how we can recreate the world in a
more tolerant and peaceful image. His personal example affirming the inherent
dignity of all mankind will remain one of modern history's greatest legacies.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
on Friday last in Vatican City the world bade farewell to Pope John Paul II. The
presence of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, who joined with
millions gathered in Rome, spoke eloquently to the unique regard with which
Canadians and Parliament held the late pontiff. The faith of Karol Wojtyla
touched the hearts of millions and inspired peace in the minds of all people of
goodwill throughout the world community.
A pilgrim of peace, he had neither weapons nor armies, yet this priest from
Poland became during his pontificate the presence of a most powerful force for
good on earth. His voice was a tireless moral call in a secular age.
Honourable senators, it was a privilege for many members of this house to
have had the opportunity to meet this man of peace over the years. On one
occasion, during a meeting in the Papal Apartments, together with Speaker Hays,
senators will recall our delight in his interest in Canada and all of our
people. Although a man of God, Pope John Paul was also a man of the people. He
was a source of hope to so many and he honoured that devotion by travelling the
world to reach out to people of all communities. He celebrated the great
Canadian diversity in his visits to Canada.
The Holy Father reminded humankind of the dignity and worth of every human
person, and he always stood for social justice and on the side of the oppressed.
He would pray with St. Francis of Assisi that "where there is hatred let me sow
love, where there is injury — pardon." To paraphrase the words of the
Beatitudes, as a peacemaker, he has now inherited the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed further,
I wish to advise that, pursuant to rule 22(7), the government whip has requested
that Senators' Statements be extended for an additional 15 minutes so that the
total time for Senator's Statements today will be 30 minutes.
Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I rise with humility today
to pay tribute to a man who touched so many lives, a man of humanity and
sanctity, whose unshakable faith in the dignity of every individual will
History will remember both his life and his death. Never has the passing of a
spiritual leader released such a flood of emotion. Pope John Paul II was a
father figure to the entire world, the voice of conscience that earned the
respect of world leaders, the bridge between friends and enemies, young and old,
rich and poor.
What greater example could there be of the respect and admiration in which he
was held than the presence in Rome last Friday of millions of people from all
over the world, from all backgrounds, including leaders of countries, heads of
religious groups, and political rivals.
Honourable senators, even in death, Pope John Paul II united people of all
faiths and cultures.
It was my honour and privilege to be there. The experience was an
unforgettable one, and I shall treasure it all the days of my life. I saw and
heard, on the eve of the funeral, the throngs of backpack-toting young people in
the streets of Rome from around the world — the young people for whom Pope John
Paul II had a special affinity, as he demonstrated on his more than 100
pilgrimages abroad — slowly walking toward St. Peter's Square during the night
to say thank you the next morning. I have no doubt that the participation of
these people would have pleased him.
Again and again, I heard people say the following: "Pope John Paul II was a
man who changed history. His message of unity and forgiveness reached out with a
plea for harmony among all peoples. He was a prince of peace. He worked
unceasingly for a rapprochement between all religions."
Today, I am reminded of a young man I encountered in St. Peter's Square. He
recounted that Pope John Paul II had taught him two lessons; how to live and how
to die — how to live by forgiving and how to die while working.
Yes, we will remember this giant of a man, a man of God, and how he brought
his message to Canada and left an indelible imprint on the minds of so many
Canadians through his innate piety, holiness and his charisma. Who can forget
his heartwarming exhortation, "John Paul II loves you," and he meant it.
Honourable senators, this exceptional event at the Vatican was an historic
moment that brought together people from five continents, 200 delegations and
millions of pilgrims, and received massive radio and television coverage. I can
still see the simple wooden coffin containing the remains of the great and holy
man who will be remembered as a beacon for humanity.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, the impact Pope John Paul
II has had on the world is immense.
As we reflect on his life, we hear of his pivotal role in the fall of
Communism. He is being widely applauded for his wisdom and sensibility in
reaching out to the Jewish community and for his dialogue with other world
We hear about his humility, his courage, his stamina and his exemplary
leadership on issues of values and about his commitment to the sanctity of life.
Even many of those who have not always agreed with His Holiness now express
respect and admiration for him.
During his last days on earth, together with an outpouring of grief and
praise, much has been said and written about Pope John Paul's legacy. For me,
his inspiration has been his steadfast, unwavering message of values, peace,
justice and human rights, particularly the rights of those least able to look
after themselves. The protection of the weak, the frail, the underprivileged was
a constant in his messages.
The amazing journey of Karol Wojtyla from humble beginnings to the Vicar of
Christ is the stuff of legends. The man was the product of one of the most
turbulent times in human history, particularly in his beloved Poland. These
times shaped the man who would help change the course of history. It is said
that adversity creates giants among men. This was certainly the case with Karol
Rex Murphy, in last Saturday's Globe and Mail, referred to the Pope as
a man who
...exercised a sublime ability to move and enter into the spirit of
millions and millions of people.
I believe Karol Wojtyla's greatest legacy will be his inspiration to
countless people all over the world by his exemplary life of integrity, love and
compassion and his message of peace, forgiveness, justice and caring. At the
beginning, he must have felt like a lonely messenger; but as time passed, we
witnessed thousands, hundreds of thousands, and indeed, recently, millions of
men and women who have venerated and exalted Pope John Paul II in a manner
seldom seen. To the youth of the world, he was a pied piper with a message of
hope. Millions of them have become the bearers of his messages.
Colleagues, those of us who held his hand, looked into his eyes and felt his
spirituality were enormously privileged. I join the throng of millions in saying
thank you, Holy Father, and we will not be afraid.
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, with the passing of Pope John
Paul II, we have lost a giant of the 20th century, a great man of faith and
action. In spite of the controversy that he could sometimes arouse, Pope Jean
Paul II exercised a real magnetism over the people he met. His penetrating gaze
made quite an impression on people and, above all, everyone was drawn by his
openness, his sense of devotion and his deep and sincere love of people. He was
interested in and spoke to each person. His ideas and the prestige of his office
were secondary to the magnetic personality of John Paul II, who established a
close relationship with the multitudes and the population of the many countries
He was profoundly marked by his experience of two kinds of totalitarianism,
Nazism and Communism. As a result, the human person became sacred to him, from
conception to the end of life. He defended the dignity and fundamental rights of
all human beings. Indeed, the right to life was a kind of obsession for him.
Family was one of his fundamental values and he defended it with great energy
all his life. He had the courage to attack some of the prevailing attitudes in
the Western world, such as materialism and consumerism, which destroy the
solidarity of family ties and reduce persons to the status of goods. His views
on these matters went against the current, and the media spoke little of them.
He was close to the sick, the poor, and young people in particular. In
Toronto, in 2002, he told them again: "You are the future of the world." He had
confidence that young people would create a new world that would bring about
change. He enjoyed large gatherings, perhaps because of his Polish roots,
especially those where young people could come to know one another, as they did
during World Youth Day. His pontificate was marked by proximity to the people,
and he travelled endlessly, to the point of exhaustion.
He worked for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. In his encyclical
letter, That They May Be One, he was ready to debate reform of the papacy
with Protestants. He preached reconciliation, and he asked forgiveness for the
historic sins of the Church, especially towards the Jewish people, but also
towards Africans and Aboriginal peoples.
He wielded political influence throughout his pontificate. We remember his
determining role in the fall of Communism, his pronouncements against the death
penalty in the United States and his condemnation of the two Gulf wars. He was
also very perceptive. In his remarks at Riga, he criticized the excesses of
capitalism. He referred to the good things achieved under Communism, the
struggle against unemployment and concern for the poor, and he dared to express
serious doubts about the validity of capitalism.
We will remember forever the words he spoke from the balcony of Saint Peter's
basilica, shortly after being chosen as Pope: "Be not afraid." Those words
should continue to inspire us when we are swept up in a storm and have to face
the perils of our existence. His words should echo within us to comfort us and
to remind us of a great Pope — Karol Wojtyla.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, the world is still in
mourning over the loss of a giant of a human being. Much has been said in
tribute to His Holiness, the late Pope John Paul II, for he left behind a huge
legacy of caring and a profound love of humanity. His legacy will live on in
eternity, enriching our lives and the lives of generations to follow.
Pope John Paul II was a leader like no other. His leadership was not of
nations or armies; he was a leader of human beings, leading all of us by
example. The example many recognized, and some sadly on his passing ridiculed,
was his steadfast adherence to the principles he lived and preached his entire
It was this unwavering commitment that made this man a champion of humanity
and a giant of a human being. Pope John Paul II understood that the word of God
and the traditions at the very root of humanity are unalterable. These were the
beliefs that guided him in his works of goodness. His demonstration of a firm
commitment to these beliefs is the reason so many the world over came to admire
this very humble man. Pope John Paul II reverently and passionately respected
the traditions of Christianity, traditions founded in the same basic truths
shared by all humanity. This is why so many came to admire, respect and love
To the doubters, many of them in the media today, who are quick to point to
this acceptance of simple truths as a failing, I say this: Imagine a world where
you had your way. Imagine a world where all traditions were dispensable and
where there was no refuge from the tyranny of change and the ruthlessness of
everyday life. Who would want to live in such a world? Where would such a world
be headed in terms of humanity's future? We call this progress. This viewpoint
simply perpetuates a modern-day fallacy, one that is popular with liberal-minded
people who shun responsibility. Those people would have us accept that there is
no baseline for humanity; they would have us believe that the whims and desires
of mere mortals as they pass through life today should dictate our conduct.
Honourable senators, I have stood in this place on previous occasions and
clearly stated that I believe in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and
the teachings that were espoused by Pope John Paul II during his tenure as Pope.
I thank God for the time He gave us with Pope John Paul II, who now rests with
Him. May God have mercy on all mankind.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: A man has died. Of course, before the actual
hour of death, he was simply going to die, as all men must some day. This man
moved people's spirit and imagination throughout the 26 years of his reign.
Today, I wish to pay tribute to him.
In great modesty, his spiritual testament, which the Vatican made public on
Thursday, April 7, began lucidly:
Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (c.f.
Matthew 24:42) —
John Paul II wrote:
...these words remind me of the last call, which will happen at the moment
the Lord wishes. I desire to follow Him, and I desire that everything making
up part of my earthly life should prepare me for this moment.
An exceptional Pope has died. I want to pay tribute to him today, not for the
polemic he generated, not for the angry debate he caused, not for the criticism
that many have levelled and continue to level against him, but for what he
reminds us of. The role of the Pope is not to satisfy us; it is to elevate us.
We may disagree with his thinking, but that matters little. John Paul II reminds
us that we have a duty to one another.
I will never forget that he brought together 1 million young people in Paris
and as many in Toronto. Often, young people feel lost, lacking in focus, and are
searching for direction and ideals; they sometimes feel overwhelmed by the state
of our world. They seek hope. The Holy Father himself gave them such hope and
showed them the high road all too often obscured by the mists of modern life.
Even in death, John Paul II managed one last time in Rome, on Friday, April
8, to call millions of visitors to his side: Americans in shorts, Africans in
boubous, Filipinos in flowered shirts, Calabrians all in black, and monks in
sandals and cowls, cell phone in hand. His funeral was among the greatest in
history. Was it a Roman-style miracle or representative of this man's
exceptional power to bring people together? Did Karol Wojtyla suspect, when he
died at the age of 84, that the Holy See would again become the centre of the
world for a few days? Did he know that he himself represented hope? This was his
task, his mission and his accomplishment. That is why I want us to remember him
The gospel selected for his funeral in Rome was John 21:15-19. Three times,
Jesus asks Peter:
Peter, do you love me more than these?
Each time, his apostle answers in the affirmative:
Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.
And Jesus tells his apostle his mission and asks him to "tend my sheep," in
other words, to watch over his people like a shepherd does his flock. Jesus
concludes his gospel with a reminder of Peter's youth, "when you were young, you
girded yourself and walked where you would." But he warns him of the fate that
befalls all men: suffering, old age and death.
When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird
you and carry you where you do not wish to go.
This summarizes the entire life and work of John Paul II: the faith of the
Church, which he ardently defended; the conduct of his people rooted in God's
love, the course of suffering, old age and death, and, finally, the certainty of
transfiguration. All these themes were evoked by Cardinal Ratzinger in his
We hope that the strong message of compassion delivered by John Paul II will
be heard and that his successor will continue this work. His accomplishments
were, in my opinion, the best way to bring the Church — and a good part of
humanity — into the third millennium.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, I rise to honour a great
man, one who led his flock with immense reverence and grace, and at great
personal sacrifice — Pope John Paul II. I am grateful to have been honoured
twice by John Paul II; first, in 1987, as a member of the Order of Saint Gregory
the Great and, second, in 1997, as a Knight Commander with Star of the Order of
Saint Gregory the Great — the highest honour the Pope bestows on a layperson. I
had the honour of being one of a handful of Canadians so privileged.
Pope John Paul II was a man of the people, particularly the youth, to whom he
reached out with an open heart and infinite love and understanding. For that
purpose, John Paul II founded World Youth Day, which he attended in person.
Youth identified with him and considered him not only their spiritual leader but
also a father and grandfather figure.
During the last several years, Pope John Paul II was able to see beyond his
physical ailments to accomplish his mission, and did so to the end. His great
dedication as a man of prayer and forgiveness and as a passionate advocate for
peace crossed all geographic and religious boundaries. His vigorous love for
life, his endurance for cruelty, his self-discipline and concern for all
humankind, regardless of social status, colour, race or creed, were examples to
all of us. He taught us how to live and how to die. His spirit will live with us
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, with profound
humility I hesitate to rise to pay my meagre respects to Pope John Paul II; born
Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice in 1920 — the same year that the Battle of Warsaw was
fought and the Bolsheviks were defeated.
His father and mine, also born in southern Poland, less than 100 kilometres
away, served in the Pilsudski brigades in that momentous battle for Polish
independence. This slender but splendid thread was noted again over a year ago
during my last audience in Rome with this charismatic personality. More than
common Polish roots, the Pope's transformation of the Church, its teachings and
practices towards Jews and Judaism and its policy towards Israel shattered the
Church's previous history and drew me and those of my faith to him.
Honourable senators, all progress is by a winding staircase. The Pope spoke
out repeatedly and forcefully against the rising scourge of anti-Semitism. He
was the first Pope to visit a synagogue in Rome, to visit Auschwitz, to visit
Jerusalem, to pray at the Wailing Wall, to pay his respects at Yad Vashem and to
recognize the State of Israel.
In his 1994 book entitled Crossing the Threshold of Hope, given to me
by my great friend and mentor, the late Emmett Cardinal Carter, which I cherish,
John Paul II wrote these words in his own hand. Listen to his own words:
Through the plurality of religion...we come to that religion closest to our
own...that of the people of God of the Old Testament ...
...The declaration Nostra Aetate represents a turning point...since
the spiritual patronage (of Jews) is so great, the...Council reminds and
promotes a mutual understanding and respect...
Remembering in his hometown where his school backed upon a synagogue, the
Pope wrote these words:
... both religious groups were united...by the awareness that they prayed
to the same God.
The Pope continued:
...a personal experience. Auschwitz...the Holocaust of the Jewish people
shows to what length a system constructed on...racial hatred and greed for
power can go...
To this day, Auschwitz does not cease to admonish ... reminding us that
anti-Semitism is a great sin against humanity...
Allow me to repeat the Pope's words, "anti-Semitism is a great sin against
The Pope went on to write:
...a truly exceptional experience was my visit to the Synagogue in Rome ...
the history of the Jews of Rome...is linked...to the Acts of the Apostles.
...As recognition of the State of Israel...it is important to affirm that I
myself never had any doubts...
Honourable senators, how best to pay homage to this late and great Pope? By
heeding his words, "Be not afraid."
Meanwhile, it grieves me to say that the OSCE resolution against
anti-Semitism, vigorously supported by the Vatican, which I introduced in the
Senate on November 21, 2002, languishes in the Senate Standing Senate Committee
on Human Rights, still awaiting the committee's consideration and
As for the Pope, permit me to return to his words in Latin taken from his
Last Will and Testament. "Nunc Dimmittis." Lord, let this servant pass in peace.
The Pope's closing thoughts in his Last Will in Latin were these: "...in manus
tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum." In your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
As the Cardinals gather in Conclave in Rome, "To Find The Key," I ask: What
was the key to Pope John Paul II? I say, as he said, "Shalom... Pax Vobiscum."
Peace be unto you and all of us, now and through the ages. Let us say, "Amen."
Hon. Marisa Ferretti Barth: Honourable senators, it is with great
sadness that I rise in this chamber to pay a last homage to the Holy Father. As
you know, I am of Italian descent. For Italians, the Pope is, above all, an
The reign of Pope John Paul I lasted only 33 days. His death changed the
course of history. On October 16, 1978, the council of cardinals chose a new
non-Italian Pope, the first in four and a half centuries. It truly was a
revolution. Without doubt, the reign of Pope John Paul II will go down in
history. His death is a great loss for humanity.
During his pontificate, he travelled widely and went to meet all people,
especially young people. He was able to mobilize, bring together and energize
young people in all their splendour. Millions of young people, believers and
non-believers, all over the world paid sincere homage to this great spiritual
leader who left his mark on the 20th century. It was a great privilege for me to
meet the Holy Father at the Vatican in 1998 and in 2001. He was a man of great
courage and conviction, who often reminded us of the benefits of spiritual
values in a world obsessed with material desires.
Pope John Paul II was also a great defender of older people. In his mind,
reaching a ripe age was the sign of a blessing from the Most High. In that
sense, longevity was to be seen as a special divine gift.
As he said in his last Easter message:
Human life is a precious gift to be loved and defended in each of its
I would like to offer my most sincere sympathy to all those who loved and
appreciated this great man.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, as so many have done since Pope
John Paul II's death, I wish to pay homage to him today. As a Catholic, I
thought of him as the head of my church. Honourable senators, he has proven to
be so much more. His influence extended far beyond the Catholic Church and into
all corners of the world. He is truly someone who has made a difference, someone
who has changed the world and made it a better place. His hands reached out to
those in need, to those less fortunate, to those less free. His support for the
Solidarity movement in his homeland of Poland no doubt helped to bring down
communist rule in some parts of Europe.
I was told of the Pope's death at a NATO meeting. The head of the Polish
delegation told us he had sad news and in a very emotional voice told us of the
death of Pope John Paul II. He spoke of what a great man and writer he was. I
happened to be sitting next to the head of the United Kingdom delegation who
commented on the effect the Pope had and how times had changed, because the
Polish speaker, who was so moved and who spoke so highly of his fellow
countryman, had been an influential member of the Communist Party in Poland.
Honourable senators, Pope John Paul II had such energy, warmth and spirit.
This was evidenced by the worldwide reaction to his death. He travelled the
world visiting about 130 countries, including Canada three times while Pope and
once as a Cardinal. Upon his death, the world travelled to him, not only
Catholics, but those of many faiths. He showed dignity and courage throughout
his life, but particularly in the face of illness when he showed that dying is
as much a part of life as is birth.
Honourable senators, Pope John Paul II touched the lives of many and changed
the lives of many. May he rest in peace.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, it
is a great pleasure to put on the record of the Debates of the Senate
words of welcome to our nine new senators. They bear distinguished credentials,
all of them. It is clear, from the work they have done in their communities and
in their careers, that they will be of considerable value to the work of this
Honourable senators, Senator Kinsella and I had the opportunity to meet these
senators to discuss the nature of our institution and the way it works.
Obviously, it was a discussion that was completely focused on institutional
behaviour and not that other kind of behaviour that sometimes arises in the
debates of this chamber.
I find in each new senator a great interest in this chamber, a commitment to
public service, and a desire to express his or her particular interests in
public service through participation in the work of this chamber.
Honourable senators, I very much appreciate the welcome that all of you gave
these senators when they were introduced today.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
I, too, wish to welcome to our ranks nine new colleagues, adding a full 10 per
cent to our numbers.
As honourable senators know, the selection process continues to be a subject
of debate in Canada. Those who argue that the democratic deficit in Canada could
be reduced by changing the selection process perhaps make a good case.
However, those who would argue for the abolition of the Senate seriously fail
to understand the nature of Parliament. There have been some rather spurious
suggestions in the media and elsewhere that the Senate could be abolished by
attrition, through a simple failure of the Prime Minister to appoint
replacements for those who leave by mandatory retirement, resignation or by an
irresistible summons from a higher authority. Such a simplistic mechanism for
the elimination of the Senate overlooks section 17 of the Constitution Act,
which reads as follows:
There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper
House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.
While some use the terms "Parliament" and "House of Commons" interchangeably,
they are clearly wrong. As matters currently stand, if the upper house ceases to
exist, so does Parliament. That may not have occurred to those who found it
encouraging that the Prime Minister had delayed filling so many vacancies until
now. I would add that this gap in time between appointments is neither unusual
nor unusually long in the history of the nation. There have been similar or
longer intervals between appointments 17 times previously, the first occurring
between June 1869 and October 1870. Of course, there were not as many positions
to be filled in the early years of our nation's existence, but, on occasion,
similar numbers of appointments were made.
As has become the norm, appointments have engendered negative media coverage,
with various derogatory remarks directed toward this chamber, its function and
Honourable senators, the Senate is an institution with a long and honourable
place in Canadian history. Its primary function has commonly been described as
providing "sober second thought" to proposed legislation passed by the other
place, a function that has been diligently and successfully pursued and
fulfilled. Amendments are regularly proposed by way of improvement, and despite
the fact that many worthwhile modifications are not immediately accepted, the
work of the Senate does not go unnoticed and our suggestions may later find
their way into government proposals.
While "sober second thought" is an important part of the work of the Senate,
the Senate has also gained increasing prominence through the many worthwhile
studies undertaken by its committees, with significant reports emanating from
those studies that have led to further discussion of critical issues and have
formed the basis for later government action.
In addition to the good work done in reviewing bills and in committees,
individual senators have made excellent use of their positions to shed light on
a range of issues that have arisen and have been ardent advocates of advancing
the interests of the nation.
It is also noteworthy that there is a high degree of collegiality within this
chamber. That is not to say we agree on everything; far from it. However, this
is a place where varied viewpoints are given a respectful hearing and in which
reasoned and sometimes impassioned arguments have been known to sway opinion.
As a Westminster-model chamber, a healthy and robust official opposition
party is critical in making the system effective. We on this side continue to
hope that the Prime Minister will recognize the need for appointments to the
ranks of the Conservative Party of Canada, the official opposition in this
In conclusion, I confidently anticipate that our new colleagues will soon
find their stride and will make their own significant contributions to our
common endeavour to serve our country to the best of our abilities. On behalf of
all on this side, I wish to welcome our nine new colleagues to the Senate and
wish them well as they assume their new responsibilities.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the annual report of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for the year 2004,
pursuant to subsection 61(4) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the 2004 annual report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, pursuant to
section 61 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and section 32 of the Employment
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of
the report of the Interim Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of
Part III of the 2005-06 Estimates, Reports on Plans and Priorities.
Hon. Lise Bacon, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the
honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-11, An Act to amend the
Criminal Code (lottery schemes), has, in obedience to the Order of Reference
of Tuesday, October 26, 2004, examined the said Bill and now reports the same
with the following amendments:
Page 1, clause 1: Replace lines 8 to 17, with the following:
"(b.1) for the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a game that
is operated on or through a video lottery terminal or slot machine, within
the meaning of subsection 198(3), situated on premises other than a
casino, a race-course or a betting theatre referred to in paragraph
Page 1, clause 2: Replace lines 18 to 20, with the following:
"2. This Act comes into force on a day, not later than three years
after the day on which it receives royal assent, to be fixed by order of
the Governor in Council after the governments of the provinces and
territories have been offered an opportunity by the Government of Canada
to participate in consultation on its implementation."
Your Committee has also made certain observations, which are appended to
(For text of observations, see today's Journals of the Senate,
Appendix, page 710.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Bacon, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce, presented the following report:
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has the honour
to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-29, An Act to amend the Patent
Act, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Monday, March 7, 2005,
examined the said Bill and now reports the same with the following amendments:
1. Page 2, new clause 2.1: Add after line 19 the following:
"2.1 The Act is amended by adding, after section 103, Schedules 1 to 4
set out in An Act to amend the Patent Act and the Food and Drugs Act (The
Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa), being chapter 23 of the Statutes of
2. Page 2, clause 3: Replace lines 20 and 21 with the following:
"3. (1) Sections 1 and 2.1 come into force on the day on which An
Act to amend the Patent Act and the Food and Drugs Act (The Jean Chrétien
Pledge to Africa), being chapter 23 of the Statutes of Canada, 2004,
comes into force.
(2) Section 2 comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of".
JERAHMIEL S. GRAFSTEIN
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Grafstein, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has
the honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-12, An Act to prevent the
introduction and spread of communicable diseases, has, in obedience to the
Order of Reference of Wednesday, March 9, 2005, examined the said Bill and now
reports the same with the following amendments:
1. Pages 25 and 26, clause 62.1: replace lines 23 to 38 on page 25,
and lines 1 to 13 on page 26, with the following:
"62.1 (1) The Governor in Council may not make a regulation under
section 62 unless the Minister has first caused the proposed regulation to
be laid before both Houses of Parliament.
(2) A proposed regulation that is laid before a House of Parliament is
deemed to be automatically referred to the appropriate committee of that
House, as determined by the rules of that House, and the committee may
conduct inquiries or public hearings with respect to the proposed regulation
and report its findings to that House.
(3) The Governor in Council may make a regulation under section 62 only
(a) neither House has concurred in any report from its committee
respecting the proposed regulation before the end of 30 sitting days or 160
calendar days, whichever is earlier, after the day on which the proposed
regulation was laid before that House, in which case the regulation may be
made only in the form laid; or
(b) both Houses have concurred in reports from their committees
approving the proposed regulation or a version of it amended to the same
effect, in which case the regulation may be made only in the form concurred
(4) For the purpose of this section, "sitting day" means a day on which
the House in question sits."
2. Page 26, clause 62.2: replace lines 25 and 26 with the following:
"before each House of Parliament, the Minister shall cause to be laid
before each House a statement of the".
WILBERT J. KEON
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Keon, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next
sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on Thursday, December
2, 2004, the date for the presentation of the final report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on the petitions tabled
during the Third Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament, calling on the
Senate to declare the City of Ottawa a bilingual city and to consider the
merits of amending section 16 of the Constitution Act, 1867, be extended from
April 30, 2005, to October 27, 2005.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, last week Canadians were
shocked to hear more than once that the U.S. was planning a missile test that
could see booster rockets and space junk land within 25 kilometres of the
Hibernia platform off Newfoundland. I say that Canadians were shocked more than
once simply because the U.S. has rescheduled the launch on several occasions,
bringing considerable unease to Canada's East Coast and within the oil industry.
As a result of conflicting reports from the Americans and, it must be said,
poor cooperation between our two countries, 414 offshore workers from the
Hibernia oil platform, the Terra Nova oil platform and an offshore drill rig
could be evacuated at a cost to the industry of up to $250 million.
After extensive meetings with U.S. officials, Premier Danny Williams stated
that there is little that can be done to stop the launch. How can this be,
honourable senators? How can this be tolerated when Canadians may be at risk, as
well as the well-being of the oil industry? The Government of Canada has taken a
back seat and it is the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador who has taken the
leadership role in this issue, even though it is clearly a matter for the
My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is this: Given
that the trajectory of the U.S. rocket launch may well put Canadian lives and
interests at risk, will the government insist that the United States alter its
plans and change the trajectory? If not, will the government insist that the
United States pick up the tab for any industry evacuation?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the
Government of Canada has been working actively with American officials, with
officials from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and with the oil
industry to look at all of the issues that have been raised by this proposed
launch. It is not correct for Senator Meighen to say that we have been taking a
back seat. The government has worked in collaboration with the province and with
the industry and is concerned to effect a launch by the Americans that would be
safe for our workers on offshore oil platforms off the coast of Newfoundland and
The U.S. Air Force has identified a narrow band of ocean called a launch
hazard area in which they expect their debris to fall. They have identified this
area to the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and
Labrador. The U.S. Air Force asserts that Hibernia and other platforms are some
distance from this particular launch hazard area.
The United States can of course act unilaterally to launch this particular
Titan IV rocket, which carries a satellite, which, according to the information
we have been given, is designed for North American security purposes. The U.S.
is planning at the moment to launch on Sunday, April 17.
Should any damage take place to Canadian property, of course, we would make a
claim under international law on behalf of Canadian citizens to compensate for
that damage. The issue of evacuation of the personnel is under active
consideration, and that decision is entirely within the authority of the
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Senator Meighen: Honourable senators, what is troubling here is the
apparent lack of real communication between our two countries. Initially,
Canadians were led to believe that the rocket launch over Newfoundland and
Labrador was simply a missile test. Now we learn that a Titan IV rocket is
intended to carry a satellite for the Pentagon. Surely Canadians deserve to know
what kind of risk is involved and not have all of these conflicting reports.
Therefore, I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate, should Canadians
come to expect this type of conflicting information, given the poor relations
that exist between Canada and the United States that have developed under the
watch of his government, or is this lack of communication perhaps one of the
consequences of Canada's decision not to participate in the ballistic missile
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, the supplementary question is
nothing but a pretext for political rhetoric.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.
Senator Austin: The facts are undoubted that the governments of Canada
and the United States are working closely in all areas that relate to the
defence of North America. The attempt to portray a poor relationship between the
Government of Canada and the Government of the United States is inaccurate and
does not serve Canadian national interests.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I should like to know
whether the Canadian government has given any thought to the presence in that
general area of a Canadian naval vessel and, if not, whether they urged our
friends to the south to have naval presence in the general area that, if
necessary, might be able to assist? In fact, is it required?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, one hopes that the American
military has mathematicians who can accurately calculate the trajectory of the
rocket and can accurately calculate the release of its booster portions. That
information is being exchanged with the Government of Canada and the Government
of Newfoundland and Labrador. As I said, the ultimate decision with respect to
whether the offshore oil platforms will be manned at the time this rocket is
launched belongs to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Senator Forrestall: Would the government take this opportunity to
reconsider its stand on space and give to the Americans a clear indication that
we are prepared to assist in whatever way we can, including general support, so
that we might know of these adventures beforehand and be at the table to discuss
the impact of such decisions on Canada?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, this information was known
beforehand. It was communicated to the Premier of the Province of Newfoundland
and Labrador, who took the steps he thought were appropriate.
The relationship between Canada and the United States in matters of North
American defence is excellent.
Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Am I to
understand that the federal government was aware of this rocket launch prior to
Premier Williams becoming involved? Could the minister inform us as to the
sequence of events that took place? Was Premier Williams informed first? Was it
the federal government informing Premier Williams, who then made a decision to
try to do something such as pulling the people off Hibernia? What did take
Senator Austin: It is my understanding that the federal government
conveyed the information to Premier Williams. If that turns out not to be the
case, I shall inform this house.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour of presenting three delayed answers to oral
questions raised in the Senate. The first response is to a question raised in
the Senate by Senator Tkachuk on March 23, 2005, regarding Welland Canal and a
reduction in tolls.
I also have a response to an oral question raised in the Senate on March 23,
by Senator Comeau, regarding the protection of inland fisheries and a response
to an oral question raised on March 8, by Senator Oliver, regarding BSE-related
(Response to question raised by Hon. David Tkachuk on March 23, 2005)
The responsibility over the structure of Seaway tolls resides with the St.
Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC).
Transport Canada administers the management, operation and maintenance
agreement between the SLSMC and the federal government. To this end, the role
of the department was to ensure that this change to the structure of tolls was
implemented in accordance with the provision of the Seaway Management
The change to the structure of Seaway tolls is solely applicable to "new
cargoes", specifically defined as cargo which has not moved through the
Welland Canal in the past three years in an average amount greater than 10,000
metric tonnes. For such "new cargoes", the lockage fee on the Welland Canal
will be replaced with a toll that is based on ship size (charge per gross
registered tonnage). In addition, this measure will only apply if more than 50
per cent of the cargo carried on a ship transit qualifies as "new cargo."
Lockage fees on the Welland Canal will continue to apply to all other cargo —
that is, cargo that does not meet the specific definition of "new cargoes."
This change to Seaway tolls will have virtually no adverse impact on
revenues but may encourage new cargoes / ships to a system that is not being
used to its full capacity.
Responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the Canadian Seaway
resides with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation under a
long-term management agreement with the federal government pursuant to the
Canada Marine Act.
Under this agreement, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is
authorized to charge tolls and other user charges to finance the operation
and maintenance of the Canadian Seaway.
Since Seaway commercialization in 1998, Seaway tolls have been increased
annually at a cost of living index.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerald J. Comeau on March 23, 2005)
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) takes its responsibility for
the conservation of salmonids very seriously and devotes a significant amount
of resources (over $2M annually) in the area of fisheries enforcement as well
as resource monitoring, enhancement, habitat restoration, and stewardship.
DFO conducted a review of its inland compliance program in consultation
with stakeholders in 2002/03 and has embarked on a 3 year plan to diversify
and balance the program with a two-tiered approach, i.e. direct enforcement
combined with a prevention/education component. The program will be more
effective in the longer run with a diversified strategy that integrates
stakeholder engagement, community partnership and stewardship initiatives
along with direct enforcement activities.
The budget for the DFO inland fisheries enforcement program in the
Newfoundland and Labrador Region has been stabilized at approximately $1.6M
(exceeding the levels of the late 1990s and early 2000s). There are more than
90 DFO Fishery Officers and 150 Fishery Guardians involved in inland fisheries
enforcement in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2004, Fishery Officers and
contracted Fishery Guardians spent nearly 62,000 hours on inland enforcement
(this far exceeds the amount of effort devoted to any other species). More
than 250 charges were laid for salmon and trout violations in 2004, with an
increased emphasis on offences that pose the highest risk to conservation
The regulatory framework for inland fishing is governed by both federal and
provincial legislation. Revenues generated from licensing are received by the
province. Additionally there is tremendous economic benefit derived in the
province from recreational angling through the sale of fishing gear/tackle and
provisions as well as the economic benefits from the associated tourism.
Under the terms of an agreement between the federal and provincial
governments, all Provincial Conservation Officers are designated as Fishery
Officers and all Fishery Officers/Fishery Guardians are designated as
Conservation Officers. Detailed operational guidelines have been developed to
guide the officers in day to day work. In 2004, approximately 46 per cent of
salmon-related charges resulted from independent DFO efforts, 12 per cent from
independent DNR (provincial) efforts, and 42 per cent from joint operations
involving provincial and federal officers. Cooperative working relations and
specific Joint Project Agreements have proven effective in assisting
conservation and protection efforts and DFO looks forward to continuing this
good work with their provincial partners.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Donald H. Oliver on March 8, 2005)
Senator Oliver has raised the idea of tax incentives to increase cattle
slaughter capacity in response to the BSE crisis.
The government has received requests for tax concessions to respond to a
number of disasters or crises in recent years. The Government has generally
provided relief through expenditure programs rather than the tax system.
Tax policy in recent years has been focused on changes that increase
both competitiveness and efficiency, such as a low uniform rate of tax
across sectors, and capital cost allowance rates that reflect the useful
life of assets.
In some circumstances, tax incentives are not an efficient mechanism for
delivering assistance. The government must ensure that the full value of the
benefit is directed to the intended recipients. For example, tax incentives
would be unlikely to benefit start-up operations in the near term.
However, farmers do already benefit from preferential tax treatment
through, for example:
- On the capital gains side, there is:
intergenerational rollovers for the disposition of farm property;
the $500,000 lifetime capital gains exemption for farm property; and
the 10-year reserve for gains on disposition of farm property.
- On the income side, there is:
cash basis accounting;
a deferral of income from the sale of breeding stock due to drought;
a deferral of income from forced destruction of livestock; and
flexible inventory adjustment mechanism.
The government recognizes the importance of quickly enhancing domestic
ruminant slaughter capacity in the wake of the BSE crisis. In this regard,
the Government has initiated direct financial support ($83 million) as well
as regulatory changes to facilitate the development of new slaughter
The federal government is establishing a Loan Loss Reserve to increase
lenders' willingness to support projects to increase ruminant slaughter
capacity, including expansion and construction of small and medium-sized
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is streamlining processes for
establishment reviews and the approval of new plants under the Meat
The CFIA has been provided with incremental resources for increased
inspection activities related to the planned long-term increase in slaughter
Governments will examine existing regulatory processes to identify
opportunities for streamlining in order to allow expansion or construction
of facilities to begin sooner.
On March 10, 2005, the government announced a $50 million contribution
to the Canadian Cattlemen Association's Legacy Fund to help launch an
aggressive marketing campaign to reclaim and expand markets for Canadian
beef. This marketing campaign is expected to generate more demand for the
increased slaughter capacity being developed through the Loan Loss Reserve.
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Programs Since June 2003
(million of dollars)
BSE Recovery Program (June 2003)
Cull Animal Program (November 2003)
Transitional Industry Support Program—direct payment
component (March 2004)
Repositioning the Livestock Industry Strategy (September
Various food safety and research measures (2003 and 2004)
Source: The Budget Plan 2005, Table 4.5, page 142
Going forward, the Government is committed to examining all effective
means of delivering assistance to this industry.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved second reading of Bill C-33, to implement
certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 23, 2004.
He said: Honourable senators, thank you for allowing me to introduce Bill
C-33 for second reading. This is a bill to implement many of the measures
relating to income tax announced in Budget 2004. Among the budget measures
included in the bill are the air travellers security charge and a provision
allowing interested Indian bands in Quebec to conclude sales tax agreements with
the Government of Quebec.
In the throne speech of February 2004, the government described the measures
it intended to take to improve the level and quality of the lives of Canadians.
The three main themes are the strengthening of the country's social foundations,
the building of a strong economy for the 21st century and the re-establishment
of Canada's influence in the world.
Echoing these themes, Budget 2004 set the foundation for a better future for
Canada. Permit me to illustrate just how the measures contained in this bill
reflect this goal.
Honourable senators, this bill contains numerous amendments to the Income Tax
Act. In the interests of time, I will not be able to mention all of them. In
fact, the intent and purpose of second reading debate is to understand the
general principles of the bill before it is referred to committee. My intention
today is to deal with the bill in a general sense, touching on some of the
highlights. Undoubtedly, the issues will be dealt with in more detail before the
committee once second reading debate is concluded.
I will discuss the following general subjects: persons with disabilities;
amendments to the Income Tax Act relating to charities; fairness and integrity
issues within the Income Tax Act — and here I refer to the general
anti-avoidance provisions; changes to the Income Tax Act relating to small
businesses: Canada in the world, particularly income tax provisions with respect
to our Armed Forces serving abroad; the air travellers security charge
amendment; and an amendment with respect to providing certain taxing rights to
I am sure honourable senators will agree that a fair tax system must
recognize the special circumstances of certain taxpayers that reduce their
ability to pay tax. A fair tax system must also help remove barriers to
participation in our economy and in our society. To that end, the Canadian tax
system includes a number of measures that acknowledge the unique costs faced by
persons with disabilities. Recognizing that a fair tax system must evolve over
time in order to reflect changes in the economy and society, Budget 2004
contains measures to help persons with disabilities, building on past actions
taken by the government.
Specifically, this bill includes provisions that will allow caregivers to
claim more of the medical and disability-related expenses that they incur on
behalf of dependent relatives. This bill also allows for a tax deduction for the
cost of disability supports required for employment or education, such as
talking text books for the hard of hearing and sign language interpreters.
It is important to mention that this last measure regarding support for
education and employment is in response to an early recommendation of the
Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities that
was established in Budget 2003, and the government has reacted to those
Honourable senators, with respect to charities, another area of importance,
Canadians recognize that registered charitable organizations are an integral
part of Canada's social fabric. Indeed, 80,000 charities registered under the
Income Tax Act form a significant part of Canada's voluntary sector. These
charities deliver social services and financial support tailored to meet the
diverse needs of individuals and communities. In recognition of this
contribution to the well-being of Canadians, Budget 2004 contains a number of
initiatives that benefit the voluntary sector and the social economy.
Specifically, Bill C-33 introduces a new regulatory scheme for registered
charities. This is because Canadians must be able to donate to charities of
their choice, trusting that their hard-earned money will be spent on charitable
programs and services. Registered charities, for their part, must be able to
operate with clearly established rules that are administered fairly and
transparently. They must also have the flexibility to effectively manage the
gifts entrusted to them by Canadians. This bill contains proposed changes to the
tax rules for registered charities that will significantly help advance these
First, the budget responds to the 75 recommendations contained in the March
2003 report of the Joint Regulatory Table that was launched in November of 2000
as one of six tables established by the government's Voluntary Sector
Initiative. The report, resulting from extensive consultations between the
Government of Canada, the charitable sector and other key stakeholders, called
for improvements to the rules governing charities under the Income Tax Act.
Budget 2004 responded to the large majority of these recommendations
concerning registered charities by proposing, among other things, a new
compliance regime, a more accessible appeal regime, improved transparency and
more accessible information. The Government of Canada has committed $12 million
a year to implement these important reforms.
Honourable senators, that is not all the bill offers to assist charitable
organizations. Bill C-33 also takes important steps toward improving the rules
that determine the portion of charitable donations that registered charities
must devote to delivering their programs and services and the portion they are
entitled to use for administration.
These steps include proposals to support more effective gift management
practices by charities. These proposals will help ensure that capital endowments
can provide a stable and sustainable flow of funds for the delivery of
charitable programs and services to Canadians.
Honourable senators, with regard to protecting fairness and integrity, I
would raise an issue that has been brought to the attention of honourable
senators through various means and by various persons. I have no doubt that this
will be the subject of considerable debate when and if this bill is referred to
The general anti-avoidance rule, sometimes referred to as GAAR, was enacted
by Parliament in 1988. The debate is not whether the general anti-avoidance rule
should or should not exist. It does exist and has existed since 1988. Its aim is
to protect the tax system against abusive tax avoidance as such tax avoidance
undermines the fairness and integrity of the tax system as a whole. Budget 2004
included a proposal to clarify that the general anti-avoidance rule applies to
income tax regulations and to tax treaties between Canada and other countries,
as well as to the Income Tax Act itself.
Since the inception of the GAAR, the government has maintained that it
applies to abusive tax avoidance transactions whether they involve the Income
Tax Act itself, the income tax regulations, or Canada tax treaties. Furthermore,
while some practitioners argue that the GAAR does not apply to abusive tax
avoidance in the tax treaty context, the only court decision to date that has
dealt with this issue has supported the government's position by stating, in
obiter, that the GAAR does apply to abusive tax avoidance involving tax
As I have noted, since 1988, no court decisions have ruled against the
government's position that the GAAR applies in the context of tax treaties.
Accordingly, it cannot be said that the proposal in this bill constitutes a
retroactive tightening of the law. This does not change a well-known position,
it merely clarifies a position that has been well known since its inception.
This measure has, nevertheless, been assessed against the criteria of the
Department of Finance that were established a number of years ago in considering
any retroactive amendments. The government is satisfied that those rules are met
by this proposed clarification.
In summary, honourable senators, with respect to this general anti-avoidance
provision, the proposed change seeks only to ensure that the Canada Revenue
Agency has the authority to challenge transactions that abuse our tax system.
The only court decision that has dealt with this issue stated, albeit only in
obiter, that the GAAR applies to the abuse of tax treaties.
The decision to clarify the GAAR to apply to the income tax regulations and
to the tax treaties meets the criterion established by the Department of Finance
for exercising the government's prerogative to introduce retrospective
legislation. Based on these considerations, I trust honourable senators will
agree with me that this is an acceptable provision.
Honourable senators, with regard to small businesses, as I have just
indicated, the government continues to make the tax system fairer for persons
with disabilities and for the charitable sector and to ensure that the fairness
and integrity of the tax system applies to all Canadians. The government is also
committed to providing a fairer tax system for small businesses in Canada, which
are the key drivers of our economy.
The government knows that it must establish an environment that allows
Canadian businesses to develop, to grow, to prosper, and to take on the world.
To that end, the initiatives contained in this bill reflect the government's
commitment to helping Canadian businesses succeed through supportive tax
policies. One example of such a policy relates to the carry-forward period for
Honourable senators can no doubt appreciate that it can sometimes take many
years before a new business begins to earn profits. A fair and efficient tax
system must recognize, appropriately, both profits and losses in determining tax
liability. The current rules allow businesses to carry non-capital losses
forward for seven years and backward for three years. Small businesses have told
the government that seven years is not long enough to carry forward losses,
particularly for new businesses undertaking risky ventures.
For example, a small biotechnology firm may incur losses over quite a few
years before successfully commercializing its technology and earning profits. To
provide additional support, particularly to the small business sector, Bill C-33
proposes to extend the non-capital loss carry-forward for all taxpayers for 10
years. In addition to improving fairness and smoothing out the impact of
business cycles, extending the period to 10 years will harmonize the small
business carry forward with the periods already applicable to farm losses.
Another measure contained in this bill to help small businesses in Canada is
a proposal to accelerate the increase in the small business deduction limit.
Specifically, Bill C-33 proposes a measure to accelerate a previous initiative
to increase the amount of income eligible for the 12 per cent small business tax
rate provided to small businesses. With passage of this bill, small businesses
will have access to the $300,000 limit for this taxation year, one year sooner
than had previously been announced. This will help small business retain more of
their income, income they can use for reinvestment and expansion.
Honourable senators, the next subject I will deal with is: Canada in the
world. As you know, Canada plays an important role in promoting and facilitating
peace and stability around the world. This role is fulfilled by relying on the
contributions of the men and women of the Canadian Forces and the Canadian
police services, including our RCMP.
Currently, men and women serving with the Canadian Forces on high-risk
international missions receive special non-taxable allowances in addition to
their regular pay, but the full amount of their regular pay has been subject to
regular income tax. In recognition of the contribution of these individuals,
Bill C-33 proposes to allow these men and women to deduct from their taxable
income that employment income they earn while serving in high-risk military or
police missions outside of Canada. To give you an idea of what this measure
would mean for a member of our Canadian Armed Forces, an average soldier posted
to Afghanistan for six months would save approximately $4,600 on the federal
side of his income tax.
Other measures in Bill C-33 include the Air Travellers Security Charge.
Honourable senators should not confuse the comments that I will be making with
respect to the budget of 2004 with the more recent announcements and discussion
of a further reduction in the budget of 2005. In Bill C-33, relating to 2004,
honourable senators will recall that the Air Travellers Security Charge was put
in place to fund a plan to enhance personal and economic security for Canadians
following the events of September 11, 2001. You will recall that in December of
2001 the budget allocated $7.7 billion through to fiscal year 2006-07 for this
initiative, $2.2 billion of which was identified to make air travel safer for
This was in accordance with the new national security standards, including
the creation of a new federal air security authority, the Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority, sometimes referred to as CATSA. Following up on the
commitment to review the charge in the budget of 2003, the government reduced
the charge on round-trip domestic air travel by more than 40 per cent in 2003.
Based on updated revenue and expenditure projections, Bill C-33, this bill
before you today, contains measures to reduce the charge even further, effective
for tickets purchased on or after April 1, 2004. Specifically, for air travel
within Canada, the charge will be reduced to $6 from $7 for one way, and to $12
from $14 for round-trip travel. For air travel between Canada and the United
States, the charge is reduced to $10 from $12; and for international air travel,
the charge is reduced to $20 from $24.
The government will continue to review the charge over time to ensure that
revenue from the charge remains in line with expenditures on the enhanced air
travel security system. As we know from the budget of 2005, the government has
now completed its third review of the charge and has proposed further
reductions, which will be before us when that bill is forthcoming in due course.
Finally, honourable senators, I should like to make you aware of an
initiative with respect to our First Nations. One of the other measures
contained in this bill relates to Aboriginal taxation. In 2003, the government
introduced legislation to allow interested First Nations to levy on their lands
a First Nations' goods and service tax that is fully harmonized with the federal
government's goods and service tax. To date, the government has already entered
into taxation arrangements allowing nine First Nations to levy their own sales
tax on reserve sales of fuel, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.
The government is also prepared to facilitate the establishment of taxation
arrangements between provinces, territories and interested First Nations. In
that regard, Bill C-33 proposes amendments to the First Nations' goods and
services tax to facilitate the establishment of taxation arrangements between
the Government of Quebec and interested Indian bands situated in the province of
Quebec. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage these Indian bands to
achieve a greater degree of self-reliance and self-government. The government
remains willing to work with interested First Nations in putting these types of
arrangements in place.
Honourable senators, I said at the beginning of my speech that, in Budget
2004 the government set the foundation for a better future for all Canadians.
The initiatives proposed in this bill represent important measures that will
allow the government to build the society we all value, the economy we need, and
the accountability framework we desire.
I am asking you, honourable senators, to vote in favour of adopting the bill
at second reading.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Will the honourable senator permit a question?
Senator Day: I would be pleased to attempt to answer the honourable
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, the provision that I am
interested in at the moment is that which would change a definition relating to
the general anti-avoidance rule in the Income Tax Act and make that change
retroactive for 17 years, to 1988.
The sponsor of the bill has said that this change satisfies the criteria of
the Department of Finance. This is not surprising. However, on the arguably more
objective criteria of the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Institute of
Chartered Accountants, which focus on such matters as the rule of law, this
provision gets a distinctly failing grade.
We will have an opportunity to explore all of this if and when the bill goes
to committee. However, just to satisfy my curiosity, can the honourable senator
tell us of any precedents that he has at hand for making changes in the law
retroactive by 17 years?
Senator Day: I thank the honourable senator for the question. I spent
some considerable period of time during my presentation on second reading on
this very issue because I know that there has been some discussion of these
particular clauses by various persons outside of this chamber.
The honourable senator mentioned a change in the definition. However, since
we have held two sessions on this issue thus far, the honourable senator will
know that it is not described as a change in definition but, rather, a
clarification; and it is not deemed to be retroactive.
Retroactivity would be to change a situation by stating that, no matter what
was understood, this was the intention from the beginning. That is not the
intention of this particular clause. This clause is an attempt to clarify what
has been the general understanding in the industry, and has been the
government's position since the inception of these general anti-avoidance rules,
which apply to people who abuse the tax system.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Oliver, debate adjourned.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall moved second reading of Bill S-26, to
provide for a national cancer strategy.—(Honourable Senator Forrestall)
He said: Honourable senators, in the gallery are dedicated Canadians who are
extraordinarily interested in this work — as am I. I want to begin by thanking
those who have given major portions of their life in this area that is so
necessary to the well-being of Canadians. I wish to thank Mr. Joe Varner, in
particular, for making Premier Hamm of Nova Scotia understand that we must get
on with this work.
Having said that, honourable senators, it is my pleasure, coming as it does
on the heels of the announced federal budget for the Canadian Strategy for
Cancer Control, to stand in this chamber today and ask you to support Bill S-26,
the proposed National Cancer Strategy Act, that helps to put the legislative
framework in place to support the research in the fight to control and defeat
cancer. The bill has been endorsed by the Canadian Cancer Society and the
National Cancer Institute.
The drive to get a Canadian strategy for cancer control has been endorsed by
the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada, whose members are in the gallery, and
the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Heart and
Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Lung Association — the so-called
"Big Four" — after their successful drive to get a nationally funded strategy to
When you get to be my age, you start to think about health and wellness; you
think about God's good grace for keeping you healthy. I particularly do, because
I have been singularly blessed with good health all of my life. However, for
many Canadians, health, wellness, being able to spend time with friends and
family, being loved and giving of one's self, rests under the shadow of a dark
disease, a fear, a remorseless scourge called cancer.
One in three Canadians is affected by cancer — one in three — and I suspect
that number is much higher. For every statistic, there is a name; for every
name, a broken heart, a broken family. Margaret Anne Lyons, 43, died shortly
after her birthday of ovarian cancer. Dan Skaling — who was known to many here
in Ottawa — died of complications from his fight again prostate cancer. Chris
Houchin, 63, with whom I chased hurricanes around the Caribbean Sea and enjoyed
myself, died this past summer of lung cancer. Three stories, three statistics,
three families, three names and, sadly, three lives lost prematurely.
If current trends continue, 2.39 million Canadian workers will get cancer
and, very sadly, 858,000 will die of cancer in the next 30 years. Cancer is the
leading cause of premature death in Canada and will soon become the leading
cause of death unless we take action now.
While the human cost is devastating, the cost in terms of economic damage to
Canada and our ability to fund universal health care is cast in doubt. Cancer
care in Canada is currently draining the health care systems of all the
provinces. The economic productivity at cancer risk is $545 billion; direct
health care costs at cancer risk are $175 billion; tax revenues at cancer risk
is $250 billion — and of that $154 billion is federal tax revenues, and $96.6
billion is provincial tax revenues. Of this $250 billion of tax revenue at
career risk, $228 billion will be associated with morbidity costs — that is,
productivity losses prior to death.
The big message in these staggering numbers is that the ability of
governments across Canada to raise revenues over the next 30 years will be
significantly affected by cancer unless action is taken to confront this
mounting challenge. Surely, if we can save just one life, it would be worth it.
Bill S-26 will not result in any increase in government expenditure and will
focus national research on the control, treatment and finding of a cure for
cancer in its various forms. We are said to be 10 to 15 years away from finding
such control or cure for most forms of cancer.
Bill S-26 provides for the Minister of Health to consult with provincial
ministers of health in each province and with charities involved in cancer
research in order to develop a plan for a national cancer strategy. Following
that consultation, the Minister of Health will be required under the proposed
legislation to present a proposal to Parliament for the establishment of a
national cancer strategy, the groundwork that has been well laid in the last two
or three years by dedicated Canadians, as I have mentioned.
After the proposal has been debated in both Houses, the Minister of Health
would then be required to introduce legislation to establish a strategy and an
The purpose of this bill is to compel the Minister of Health to show
leadership on the introduction of a national research-driven strategy to control
Clause 3 of Bill S-26 compels that:
The Minister shall, within 90 days following the coming into force of the
Act, consult with
(a) every minister responsible for the delivery of health services
in a province, and
(b) every charity that is a registered charity under the Income
Tax Act and that the Minister considers has, as its main objective, the
funding of research into cancer,
to discuss the establishment of a national cancer strategy under the Act.
Clause 4 of the bill compels that the minister shall cause to be presented to
each House, on one of the first five days on which the House sits after the
expiry of 180 days following the coming into force of the act, a proposal for
the establishment of:
(a) a national cancer strategy that provides for the Minister, and
the ministers responsible for the delivery of health services in the provinces
that agree to participate in the strategy, to coordinate the application of
(i) funds appropriated by Parliament,
(ii) funds appropriated by the legislatures of the provinces that agree
to participate in the strategy, and
(iii) funds raised by charities that agree to participate in the
to finance research in Canada into the causes of cancer and its most
effective treatments; and
(b) a committee to advise the Minister on the coordination referred
to in paragraph (a)...
The committee for the coordination of the strategy would consist of
representatives from the Government of Canada, the provinces and the designated
Under clause 5, the government would then be compelled to debate the proposal
in each House of Parliament during the first 15 days on which each chamber sits
after the presentation of the proposed strategy.
Clause 6 ensures that within 90 days of the conclusion of the debates the
minister would be compelled to introduce the legislation that the minister
considers necessary to establish a national cancer strategy.
Bill S-26 was written with asymmetric federalism in mind such that a province
can opt in or out of the strategy while still enjoying the benefits of the
In conclusion, honourable senators, I had the bill drafted after the
September 2004 health care meetings of the first ministers. I watched my
premier, Dr. John Hamm, a thoughtful Nova Scotian, tell his colleagues and the
Prime Minister that Canada needed a cancer control strategy. The Prime Minister
agreed but then, sadly, has done nothing about it. In the recent budget, the
government showed again that, for some reason, it simply cannot bring health and
health care in Canada into focus. It truly does not understand the implications
of continuing failure in this area. Of the $300 million announced in the budget
for the fight against chronic disease, $90 million was previously announced to
fight diabetes, for which we are all grateful, and the promised $250 million
over five years to fight cancer received only a few million dollars. It almost
seems, because of its inaction, that the government would prefer that cancer
continue to afflict and kill Canadians at the current rate. I do not honestly
believe that, but it seems that way at times. Currently, 44 per cent of men will
be afflicted with cancer at some time in their lives. Last year the figure was
43 per cent and two years ago 42 per cent were affected, and Canadians cannot
I ask honourable senators to support Bill S-26, to provide for a national
cancer strategy, so that cancer might one day be beaten, once and for all.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Nolin, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, for the second reading of Bill S-23, An Act
to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (modernization of employment
and labour relations).—(Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.)
Hon. Madeleine Plamondon: Honourable senators, I would have liked to
hear more about Bill S-23. I hope it will be referred to committee.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is the senator
referring to Bill S-23?
Senator Plamondon: Yes, I would like to know more about it.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Stratton, is
it your intention to speak to the bill?
Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, it was not my intention to speak. Senator Andreychuk is unable to
speak to the bill today because of a commitment to the Foreign Affairs Committee
but would like to do so at the next sitting of the Senate.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Banks, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Day:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be
empowered, in accordance with Rule 95(3), to sit on Tuesday, April 5 and
Wednesday April 6, 2005, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a
period exceeding one week.—(Honourable Senator Stratton)
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, Motion No. 86 is no longer
relevant because the date in question is past. I move that it be withdrawn from
the Order Paper.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, April 13, 2005, at 1:30 p.m.