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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 86

Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

New 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:

Andrée Champagne
Larry W. Campbell
Dennis Dawson
Hugh Segal
Rod A. A. Zimmer
Francis Fox
Yoine Goldstein
Sandra Lovelace Nicholas

Introduction

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. Andrée Champagne, P.C., of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Noël A. Kinsella and Hon. James F. Kelleher, P.C.;

Hon. Larry W. Campbell, of Vancouver, British Columbia, introduced between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Ross Fitzpatrick;

Hon. Dennis Dawson, of Sainte Foy, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Serge Joyal, P.C.;

Hon. Hugh Segal, of Kingston, Ontario, introduced between Hon. Noël A. Kinsella and Hon. Michael A. Meighen;

Hon. Rod A. A. Zimmer, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, introduced between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Joyce Fairbairn, P.C.;

Hon. Francis Fox, P.C., of Montreal, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Lucie Pépin;

Hon. Yoine Goldstein, of Montreal, Quebec, introduced between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Paul J. Massicotte; and

Hon. Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, of Tobique First Nations, New Brunswick, introduced between Hon. Jack Austin, P.C., and Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool.

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.

(1450)

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, it is my great pleasure to have introduced, along with Senator Kinsella, the eight senators who have joined us this afternoon. Each has a distinguished career in public service to their communities and is eminently qualified to be here. We look forward to their contribution to public debate and to the well-being of Canada. The experience of these eight new senators ranges from eminence in culture, public policy, human rights and Aboriginal affairs, commercial transactions, municipal affairs and other matters that are of importance to this chamber.

On behalf of all honourable senators I make this short statement of welcome. We look forward to working with our new colleagues in the interests of Canada, of Parliament and of our communities.

[Translation]

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, speaking on behalf of the official opposition in this chamber, I join the Leader of the Government in the Senate in welcoming our new colleagues.

[English]

Honourable senators, since 1867 debate has taken place in Canada concerning the selection process for senators. As well, the matters of distribution and tenure have been raised. However, it will require a constitutional amendment to bring fundamental change. That, together with rhetoric about Senate reform and the democratic deficit, has not moved beyond talk. It is important, therefore, that our new colleagues and all honourable senators remain focused on what the Senate does for the public interest as the second chamber in a bicameral Westminster Parliament. Extending welcome to new senators today, we are given this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to excellence in the public policy studies of our Senate committees in the scrutiny of legislation work of the chamber. As mentioned by Senator Austin, the breadth of the skill sets that the new senators bring to the Senate make this parliamentary body that much more capable of meeting its collective responsibility to the people of Canada.

I trust that honourable senators will appreciate my desire to underscore the pleasure that my colleagues and I on the benches of the official opposition have in making room for Senators Champagne and Segal.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, it is both an honour and a privilege for me to welcome Senator Champagne to the Senate of Canada. The Conservative Senate caucus is particularly pleased to see her join its ranks. I am certain that, thanks to her vast experience, Senator Champagne will make a rich and very useful contribution to our august chamber.

[English]

Honourable senators, Senator Segal epitomizes service in public life. His appointment to the Senate of Canada will significantly enhance the public policy discourse in this country. The honourable senator has served in a variety of capacities throughout his career, most recently as President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Canada, while also teaching at Queen's University. I look forward to working beside Senator Segal. I know that his talents will be of benefit to this chamber and, ultimately, to the people of Canada.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I wish Senator Champagne and Senator Segal, and all the new senators, every success in carrying out their new duties.

[English]

Honourable senators, it might be equally understood by all in this chamber that as a senator for the Province of New Brunswick, I wish to extend a special welcome to the newest senator from our province. The sharing of New Brunswick with Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas is only one element because, as many know, the human rights struggle for the promotion and protection of human rights for First Nations' women is an area of social justice in which Senator Lovelace Nicholas and I have collaborated for many years. The many Canadians who worked with us in bringing the Lovelace case to the United Nations are proud of the senator's appointment to this house. Today, we think of great women such as Marjorie Perley, Caroline Ennis and others from the Tobique First Nation, of the contributions of other great women such as Mary Two-Axe Early and of human rights academics such as Professor Donald Fleming.

I express my special welcome to Senator Lovelace Nicholas and to all new senators a very warm welcome.

[Translation]

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I would simply like to welcome our new colleagues and remind them that we are now 11 independents here in the Senate. We belong to neither the government nor the official opposition. There is room in this place for all opinions and all representations. I am very pleased that the Right Honourable Prime Minister has appointed two senators in order to increase the numbers in the official opposition. This is, I feel, a step in the right direction.

(1500)

Honourable senators, in less than a month there will be two Ontario vacancies. I very much hope that, as I have said many times before, the Prime Minister of Canada will give some thought to filling those vacancies with two women, because women senators who have left us have not been replaced. Along the same lines, I very much hope as well that the Prime Minister will beef up the opposition or the group of independents when he makes these appointments. I hope that he gives thought to appointing some women senators so that we may one day achieve that magic figure of 53 women and 52 men in order to have a critical mass of women in the Senate to assist in getting more women elected to the House of Commons. I welcome the new senators, most of whom I know, given my age, and with whom I will have the pleasure of working closely.

[Earlier]

[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. The Speaker: I wish to draw the attention of honourable senators to the presence in the gallery of our former colleague, the Honourable Nathan Nurgitz.

Welcome back to the Senate.

As well, I should like to draw the attention of honourable senators to the presence in the gallery of the participants of the Fall 2005 Parliamentary Officers' Study Program. Participants are here from Prince Edward Island, Georgia, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Korea, Namibia, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zambia.

On behalf of all senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.


SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Governors General

Tributes to Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, yesterday in this chamber we celebrated the installation of a new Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, the twenty-seventh Queen's representative in Canada.

Our newest Governor General was born in Haiti and came to this country with her family in 1968 at the age of 10 seeking a new life of freedom and prosperity. In a nation that has flourished because of the contribution of immigrants from around the world, Madame Jean shares a common history with many Canadians as well as with her predecessor. This commonality promises to be a benchmark of her term as Governor General.

As Madame Jean rightly observed in her maiden speech, today's world demands that we learn to see beyond our differences for the good of all.

The motto on the Governor General's personal coat of arms is "Briser les solitudes" — a phrase that captures the Canada we must strive to become. As steadfast believers in the past accomplishments and future potential of our nation, parliamentarians must join with all Canadians and rededicate ourselves to building a strong and united Canada. We must remain committed to creating policies and fostering new attitudes that bring Canadians together and that emphasize our shared history and humanity.

I hope that senators will join our new Governor General in creating a country in the spirit of this noble and visionary ambition.

Honourable senators, on behalf of all Canadians, I would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson for her exceptional service to our country. She did much to define the office of Governor General and, in so doing, to make it both more Canadian and more understood by Canadians.

In carrying out her official duties, Madame Clarkson was unfailingly supported by her husband, John Ralston Saul, an accomplished public figure in his own right, both in Canada and internationally.

From the beginning of her appointment at her installation ceremony, Governor General Clarkson made it known that the people in Canada's most socially and geographically isolated communities must always be an integral part of this country.

She earned the respect of our Canadian Forces as perhaps none before her has, interpreting her role as Commander-in-Chief of Canada not merely as a titular role, but as a significant office that required her genuine support and leadership.

Madame Clarkson reminded Canadians that true honour is reserved not for those who have received but for those who have given. Her encouragement to continue striving to build an exceptional country has inspired Canadians everywhere.

Governor General Clarkson will be remembered for her dedication to informing the world about the creativity, exceptional abilities and human values that Canadians represent. For that audacious accomplishment, we will remain a grateful nation.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I wish to join with the Leader of the Government in the Senate and associate myself with his remarks with reference to the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, the former Governor General, who has served the country with dignity and grace during her tenure.

Honourable senators, the installation of the new Governor General was a special moment in Canadian history. I think that all found yesterday's ceremony held in these chambers to be no exception. On behalf of the official opposition in the Senate of Canada, I wish to extend to Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, our congratulations and expression of best wishes; and God speed as she undertakes the viceregal responsibilities.

These responsibilities are tremendous, honourable senators, which Canadians, however, confidently expect will be exercised with both conviction and enthusiasm. Canadians in every province and territory are fortunate to have a person of Her Excellency's stature and experience to act as our Governor General.

We are a people built by people of many experiences and we are proud of our diversity. The new Governor General's personal journey, personal history gives her a unique perspective into our society that is sure to inform her term of office.

As our country has grown and evolved, so too have the functions of the Governor General. In addition to her constitutional duties, the Governor General represents Canada's values and beliefs, not only abroad but also here at home. Our Governor General is not only our face to the world but indeed to each other.

As Her Excellency said during the installation ceremony yesterday,

I am determined that the position I occupy as of today will be more than ever a place where citizens' words will be heard, where the values of respect, tolerance, and sharing that are so essential to me and to all Canadians, will prevail.

Honourable senators, Her Excellency represents one of the three integral parts of the Parliament of Canada. As honourable senators are aware, Parliament is composed of the House of Commons, the Senate and the Crown. Indeed, the law in Canada is only valid when it receives the consent of each of these three parts of Parliament.

Yesterday we had the opportunity on behalf of the official opposition in the Senate to thank Her Excellency personally for her thoughtful, generous and gracious speech. Today, I reiterate that appreciation, and offer our continued assistance from these halls.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, as Canadians we do not often bear witness to the true meaning of pride in one's country. However, it was most evident yesterday as we witnessed the passing of the torch from one strong, talented, independent woman to another.

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson served this country in its highest office in a way few of us have ever seen from a Governor General. She was highly visible, engaging Canadians in their government, culture and identity.

Over the course of six years, Madame Clarkson and her husband, John Ralston Saul, travelled Canada and the world, recognizing achievements and honouring the Canadian identity. Her most noted role as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is a testament to the values we all share — pride in one's country and respect for those who help keep it strong and safe.

I offer my congratulations to Madame Clarkson for her role over the past term and congratulate her on a job well done.

Newly installed Governor General, Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean will continue that same service to her country. In yesterday's ceremony, we watched our new Governor General move from tears to laughter as we celebrated her official appointment. With her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and her 6-year-old daughter, Marie-Éden, looking on, Her Excellency told those present, and indeed all Canadians, that the time of two solitudes has passed and that now is the time to focus on promoting national solidarity. I applaud her vision of a strong, united Canada and will work to ensure it is fulfilled.

Honourable senators, as one of the youngest people ever appointed to office of the Governor General, the first Black person and only the third woman, Her Excellency's life story is one that many Canadians of all cultures can relate to. I look forward to witnessing what she will do and offer my sincere congratulations on what will certainly be an appointment we will not soon forget.

(1510)

Canada-United States Relations

Maine—Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals

Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I wish to call the attention of all honourable senators to a serious issue that has developed in the state of Maine and the province of New Brunswick and that, depending upon how it is dealt with by our government, may have highly negative environmental, social and economic effects on this part of Canada.

By way of background, very quickly, there are now three proposals on the table to develop on the Maine side of the St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay liquefied natural gas, LNG, terminals. Honourable senators, at least one of the proponents of these LNG projects has been subjected to NIMBY, not in my back yard, all the way up the East Coast of the United States before now making a last pitch in the eastern-most and arguably poorest part of Maine.

These industrial projects are of enormous size and scope. They require containment storage tanks of some 160,000 cubic metres and piers of well over three-quarters of a mile in length jutting out into the bay to accommodate tankers of up to 150 feet wide and 1,000-feet-plus in length, with a 45-foot draft and needing tug boats on either side. The distance, honourable senators, between the New Brunswick shore and the state of Maine locations at this point is only a little over three miles.

Those in opposition to the proposals, including Premier Bernard Lord, Opposition Leader Shawn Graham in New Brunswick, federal opposition leader Stephen Harper, the area's MP, Greg Thompson, as well as Minister Andy Scott and others, understand that the industrialization of this relatively small expanse of water and shore would have dramatic and irreversibly devastating results.

Passamaquoddy Bay is one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. It is home to the right whale and other endangered species. The impact of heavy tanker traffic with deep drafts, enormous weights and attendant tugs would dominate and forever despoil this pristine area, and its ecology would be forever damaged. The terminals and the tanker traffic are ongoing 24/7, as are the noise and lights to operate them. Although LNG is, in itself, non-toxic, it is a petrochemical and, as such, extremely hazardous when exposed to fire. Security is a major issue.

[Translation]

In Louisiana, 30 industries have apparently located close to the liquefied gas terminal in order to take advantage of an affordable and readily accessible energy source. There would be no way of stopping this once the bay was industrialized. The impact on local fisheries and agriculture would be dramatic. These supertankers need half a mile to turn around and a whole mile to stop. Once the supertanker routes are established, local fishers lose their rights to use these waterways. Furthermore, I understand that the oil companies demand a buffer zone for safety reasons, so net fishing, lobster fishing and so forth would no longer be possible in the traditional areas.

[English]

Tourism will cease to exist in this region. Who would come to an industrialized bay when whale watching, sailing, pleasure boating and sea kayaking are no longer enjoyable or even possible. The economy —

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Meighen, I regret to advise that your three minutes have expired.

[Translation]

The Governor General

Tribute to Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean

Hon. Claudette Tardif: Honourable senators, I rise today knowing that you will join me in extending our most heartfelt congratulations to the new Governor General, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, on her installation as the twenty-seventh Governor General of Canada.

Madame Jean's personal background as well as her many talents and achievements as a teacher, frontline advocate for the less well-off and journalist make her an excellent choice for a position requiring that one represent Canadian society, forge links with all Canadians and build stronger identity and unity across Canada.

[English]

As a woman, I am proud of Her Excellency's nomination to the Governor General's position. She becomes the third woman to occupy the position, after the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson. As with these two great women before her, Her Excellency will utilize her numerous talents, realizations and experiences for the greater good of the Canadian people and the Crown.

I believe that Her Excellency, through her years of involvement in social issues, her extraordinary personal story and her talents, will fulfil remarkably well her functions as Her Majesty's representative in Canada and as head of state. She embodies the values Canada holds dearest to its heart: tolerance, equality of chances, cultural diversity and linguistic duality, and the respect of individuals' basic rights and freedoms.

[Translation]

As a French-speaking immigrant woman, she will represent and give a voice to the people of Canada in general, and to those who are vulnerable and marginalized in particular. I believe that she will be able to help strengthen ties between all Canadians and promote a greater sense of pride in our country and our Canadian identity and a greater sense of belonging.

I am sure that, as a francophone, a Quebecer and a Canadian, Madame Jean will provide a voice for francophones across the country as well as for the various groups that have added their voices over the years to that of our founding peoples.

Honourable senators, I believe that the appointment of Her Excellency reflects the values that all Canadians hold dear, and that it ought to be applauded and supported by all.


[English]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

The Governor General

Addresses at Installation

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I ask that the address of the Prime Minister of Canada at the installation of the Governor General on September 27 together with the reply of Her Excellency be printed as an appendix to the Journals of the Senate of this day and form part of the permanent records of this house.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(For text of addresses, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 1153.)

[Translation]

Chief Electoral Officer

2004-05 Annual Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the annual report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, pursuant to the Privacy Act.

Study on National Security Policy

Report of National Security and Defence Committee Entitled Wounded: Canada's Military and the Legacy of Neglect Tabled

Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the fourteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

On motion of Senator Kenny, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

[English]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein presented Bill S-43, to amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings).

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Grafstein, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.

Public Service Employment Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette presented Bill S-44, to amend the Public Service Employment Act.

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Ringuette, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Urge Government to Alleviate High Fuel Costs

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday next, October 4, 2005, I will move:

That the Senate urge the government to implement assistance through the tax system to ensure that excessive fuel costs are not an impediment for Canadians travelling to and from their place of employment, including a personal travel tax exemption of $1,000;

That the Senate urge the government to take measures to ensure that rising residential heating costs do not unduly burden low and modest income earners this winter and in winters to come;

That the Senate urge the government to encourage the use of public transit through the introduction of a tax deduction for monthly or annual transit passes; and

That a message be sent to the House of Commons requesting that House to unite with the Senate for the above purpose.

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Meet During Sitting of the Senate

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: 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 sit at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19, 2005, even though the Senate may be then sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.

Air Passenger and Cargo Service

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Percy Downe: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 57(2), I give notice that two days hence, I will call the attention of the Senate to:

1. the decreasing quantity and quality of air passenger and air cargo service available to the regions of Canada;

2. the difficulty many Canadians who live outside our larger cities have in obtaining affordable and competitive air service; and

3. the current government-imposed operating requirements on Air Canada and the responsibility and opportunity for the Government of Canada to impose additional conditions on Air Canada so all Canadians can enjoy reasonably comparable levels of air service at reasonably comparable levels of cost, no matter where they live.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Resolution on Terrorism by Suicide Bombers

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, pursuant to rules 56 and 57(2), I give notice that on Tuesday, October 4, 2005:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the following Resolution on Terrorism by Suicide Bombers, adopted at the 14th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Association which took place in Washington on July 5, 2005.

RESOLUTION ON TERRORISM BY SUICIDE BOMBERS

1. Noting the horror of historically unprecedented terrorist violence — with the purpose to kill and massacre, to die in order to kill more people, to practice the cult of death, and to express personal desperation only through death;

2. Recalling that in the opinion of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Elie Wiesel, unlike the Japanese soldiers who, towards the end of the Second World War chose to sacrifice their lives by attacking exclusively military targets, today's suicide terrorists prefer to attack defenceless and unarmed civilians, children and women, in order to inculcate in the minds of individuals and the masses, a total, in many respects worse than racist, aversion to the "enemy/infidel", and to totally dehumanize conflicts;

3. Denouncing the fact that some leaders of terrorist groups (Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Army in Iraq, and so on) approve, encourage and extol these mass murders, without hesitating to endow them with a value, based above all on a hate-filled and distorted interpretation of certain sacred texts;

4. Noting that — while the Muslim community, on the whole, has always tended to reject all forms of violence and fanaticism — a growing number of people, often very young, are being induced to rethink the prescriptions of the Koran in the light of the mysticism of suicidal terrorism which, by that token, is alien to the Koran and to Islam;

5. Recalling that the most devastating terrorist attacks perpetrated in the world in the past few years have been committed against this disturbing background: the immense tragedy in New York and Washington DC on 11 September 2001, the Madrid attacks on 11 March 2004, and the heinous attacks in various places in Israel, Russia, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the massacres in Bali, Casablanca, Istanbul and Jakarta;

6. Noting that a firm warning against terrorism was significantly issued by the Holy Father, John Paul II, who on numerous occasions stated that "Those who kill by acts of terrorism actually despair of humanity, of life, of the future" (message of his Holiness John Paul II to celebrate World Peace Day, 1 January 2002);

7. Agreeing in this same perspective, that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which for decades has been committed to promoting religious tolerance and to combating anti-Semitism, has explicitly promoted a mobilization campaign to get the international community to recognize that terrorist suicide attacks are real "crimes against humanity";

8. Considering that dealing in death in this manner is a blatant attack on the most elementary human rights and on the international legal order, because it constitutes an intolerable violation of "the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations" (article 38(I)(c) of the Statute of the United Nations International Court of Justice), by virtue of which human life enjoys universal protection;

9. Considering also that the Statute of the International Criminal Court (adopted by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference in Rome on 17 July 1998) marked a major milestone in the historical process of establishing the legal notion of crimes against humanity as a category in their own right, developed over 50 years as international customary law, as crimes forming part of the so-called jus cogens; and that these are therefore crimes for which no impunity can be accepted, and to which immunities pertaining to political crimes, or to time-barring and all other exemptions from personal responsibility do not apply, and that they are subject to universal jurisdiction, such that all states are duty-bound to prosecute or extradite the guilty, regardless of the nationality of the guilty parties and the place in which the crime is committed;

10. Noting, however, that the Statute did not expressly include in this category of crimes acts of terrorism;

11. Recalling, lastly, that the OSCE Assembly in its Berlin Declaration adopted in July 2002 specifically addressed this issue in paragraph 93 of the Declaration, urging "all participating states to ratify the statute for the International Criminal Court, and to seek broadening of its scope to include terrorist crimes";

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE:

12. Considers that in the light of the provisions solemnly sanctioned by the Statute of the International Criminal Court, it must be agreed that suicide attacks of the terrorist nature constitute "crimes against humanity" in that they are deliberately committed "as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population" which involves the multiple commission of murders of defenceless civilians "pursuant to or in furtherance of (...) organizational policy to commit such attack" (Art.7(I) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court);

13. Expresses forcefully this conviction, also because the "closing provision" of subparagraph (k) of article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, includes among the crimes against humanity "other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health";

14. Expresses the hope that the OSCE member states will make representations before the United Nations General Assembly, clearly and unequivocally, that terrorist acts committed by suicide bombers are, for all the intents and purposes of current international law, very serious "crimes against humanity" that cannot be time-barred, for which the leaders of the states and groups which order or facilitate their commission must be called to account before the international courts responsible for prosecuting universal crimes;

15. Supports the recent position adopted by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in its Resolution 1400 of 6 October 2004, stating that "Every act of terrorism... is a challenge to democracy and must be considered a crime against humanity", and calls on all the OSCE member states of the Council of Europe to adopt and implement the fundamental 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism;

16. Endorses the "Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight Against Terrorism" adopted on 11 July 2002 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, considering in particular that every action to combat terrorism must be taken in respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Resolution on Human Rights and the War on Terrorism adopted by the OSCE Assembly at its Berlin session in July 2002;

17. Requests that, according to the binding commitments set out in the fundamental United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 tragedy, any OSCE member states that have not yet done so, namely 30 out of 55, ratify and implement the 12 United Nations Conventions and the relevant Protocols on combating terrorism, as expressly requested in the OSCE Bucharest Plan of Action For Combating Terrorism, adopted by the Ministerial Council in December 2001, which recognize d this set of international agreements as being "the basis for the global legal framework for the fight against terrorism" and welcomes the adoption of the text of a new Convention against Nuclear Terrorism, to be opened for signature in September 2005;

18. Urges the participating states to redouble efforts to finalize a comprehensive convention against terrorism;

19. Endorses the affirmation in the Statement on Preventing and Combating Terrorism adopted by the Sofia Ministerial Council in December 2004 that "the OSCE efforts to counter terrorist threats should be taken in all OSCE dimensions, the security dimension, including the political-military area, the economic and environmental dimension, and the human dimension";

20. Requests — in the knowledge that the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security gives the organization a comparative advantage in addressing factors across the OSCE dimensions that may engender terrorism — the implementation of the activities put into place within ATU, the OSCE Action against Terrorism Unit, instituted in 2002 to report to the Secretary General, above all in order to step up the coordination of all the Organization's operational instruments to counter terrorism;

21. Welcomes the proactive approach taken by the Action against Terrorism Unit (ATU) in addressing, in collaboration with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the threat of suicide terrorism through its "Technical Expert Workshop on Suicide Terrorism" held in Vienna on 20 May 2005, which provided the participating states and the OSCE Partners for Cooperation with important information for a better understanding of this phenomenon and with a platform for sharing experiences in countering it, and encourages the Unit to continue its work in this area; and

22. Welcomes the commitments recently undertaken by the governments of the OSCE in the matter of combating terrorism, and in particular those set out in the OSCE Charter on Preventing and Combating Terrorism and in the Decision on Implementing the OSCE Commitments and Activities on Combating Terrorism, as adopted by the Porto Ministerial Councils in 2002, in which, among other things, the SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons) Program is indicated as a priority area of interstate cooperation.


QUESTION PERIOD

Royal Canadian Mint

Expenses of President

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I have in my hand a letter of resignation from the CEO of the Canadian Mint, David Dingwall. Is this a voluntary resignation or was Mr. Dingwall fired? If he was fired, was it because of his $464,000 Technology Partnership success fee and his delays in registering his lobbying activities, or was it because of the spending revelations that came to light in today's newspapers?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, let us be clear that there is no allegation of wrongdoing against Mr. Dingwall. Statements have appeared in the press alleging that certain expenditures took place or certain events did not take place, but there are no charges against Mr. Dingwall. I heard nothing in that regard in the question except innuendo.

In answering that question I want to place before the Senate a statement by David C. Dingwall, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint. It was issued today and it reads as follows:

Earlier today I sent a letter to the Prime Minister and to the Chairperson of the Board tendering my resignation as President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

During the summer months, I had a rare opportunity to take some time to reflect on my career with my wife, my family, and some close friends. I told them that I would more than likely be leaving my position as CEO some time over the next number of months in order to pursue a number of projects. I am fortunate that I have the health and quite a number of years left in me to devote to a new chapter in my career.

Central to my decision was the achievement of the goals that I set out in consultation with the Board of Directors and the Government of Canada. I have spent the past two-and-a-half years devoting many long hours to the challenges and responsibilities of turning around the Royal Canadian Mint, with a strong, dedicated team of executives and hard-working employees. Together we have accomplished many things:

  • Early in my tenure, we were able to stabilize the organization's financial situation;
     
  • In 2004, we returned the Mint to profitability with a pre-tax profit of $15.9 million and paid a dividend to the Government of Canada of $1 million;
     
  • We have significantly grown the business; in 2004, Mint revenues increased by $70 million. Moreover, year-to-date August 2005, revenues increased $35 million over the same period 2004;
     
  • In 2004, we returned $64 million dollars in seigniorage to the shareholder, the Government of Canada;
     
  • Through the adoption of lean enterprise, we have increased productivity and focused on our customers;
     
  • And we have maintained an open dialogue and positive relationships with our two unions.

Recently, there have been some media stories regarding the work I undertook on behalf of two technology companies seeking investment from Technology Partnership Canada.

I will simply say that I worked very hard on each and every one of the contracts and did, to the best of my knowledge and ability, comply with all aspects of the Act governing the government relations business. If there was a registration problem or other technical compliance issue on one of the contracts, then that is entirely my responsibility.

With regard to the issue of my expenses, all of the expenses were related to my responsibilities and each of them were disclosed to the Board and will stand up to scrutiny as completely appropriate to my role as President of the Mint. I have asked the Board to strike an independent committee to review all of the expenses and I will abide by any findings the committee may have with regard to their appropriateness.

However, given the profile that these stories have, I certainly do not want to detract in any way from the important work of the Mint. So, rather than wait the few months to make the move to the next stage of my life, I am taking this opportunity to leave. I do so with pride in the work we have achieved together.

I will always cherish the friendships and the honour of serving the Government as the President of the Mint and I look forward to a new chapter in my life.

Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, that letter amounts to nothing but obfuscation and whitewash.

Was Mr. Dingwall pushed, was he fired, or did he leave voluntarily? The Leader of the Government did not answer that fundamental question.

He said that the board will examine his expenses. That is like the rooster examining every chicken in the hen house. I do not think that is done on a friendly basis. He has a direct point to make.

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An independent audit of those expenses must be conducted, not an audit by the board of the Royal Canadian Mint. Was he fired? Was he pushed? Did he voluntarily resign? Those are fundamental questions.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have three points. First, Mr. Dingwall stepped out as President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint on his own initiative. He was not pushed and his resignation was not requested. Mr. Dingwall is showing his high regard for public service and the defence of the institution for which he was responsible. He does not want the Royal Canadian Mint to be involved in controversy over his behaviour.

Second, I challenge Senator Stratton's impugning of the integrity and independence of the Board of Directors of the Royal Canadian Mint. If the honourable senator has any evidence to show that the board is not worthy to manage and govern the Royal Canadian Mint, then I would ask that he produce it and make his charges.

Third, the honourable senator is full of bluster and innuendo with respect to Mr. Dingwall. He has said nothing to indicate that Mr. Dingwall is in breach of any of the obligations he has undertaken. This game of skating around the facts to try to create an impression of malfeasance is not worthy of a parliamentarian.

Senator LeBreton: Only those on the other side know what is worthy, of course.

Senator Austin: If the honourable senator has charges, I suggest that he lay them and we will deal with them.

Senator Stratton: For the record, because the leader would prefer obfuscation and whitewash, Mr. Dingwall's expense account billings of $750,000 included the following: $92,682 for foreign travel, including a one-day bill for over $13,000; $40,355 for domestic travel; $3,314 for foreign dining; $11,173 for domestic dining, including $5,953 for a single meal at a posh Ottawa restaurant; $5,297 for golf membership fees; $2,500 for domestic limousine service.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

Senator Stratton: I will repeat these figures until the chamber quiets down.

Senator Mercer: How many?

Senator Prud'homme: I have a point of order, Your Honour.

The Hon. the Speaker: I would remind honourable senators that points of order are not in order during Question Period. I would ask honourable senators to respect the rights of other senators. It is most difficult to hear the exchange between Senator Stratton and Senator Austin.

Was the Honourable Senator Stratton finished with his question?

Senator Prud'homme: That was my point of order.

Senator Stratton: For the record, I will repeat my last comment, in part, because of the noise, and I will table the document thereafter.

I said: $11,173 for domestic dining, including $5,953 for a single meal at a posh Ottawa restaurant; $5,297 for golf membership fees; $2,500 for domestic limousine service, despite having a government car at his disposal.

Senator Angus: That is not a hybrid car.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, there comes an outline of events without any accountability or information with respect to what was occasioned by those events. There is an accountable board of directors that makes judgments with respect to appropriate expenditures in any Crown corporation. This Crown corporation operates in the commercial world and competes with mints and producers of coins all over the world. I read into the record the profitability of this Crown corporation under the leadership of Mr. Dingwall. It would seem that the honourable senator does not know anything about the facts. He does not know how many people went to which events, what the events were or which customers were there.

Senator Stratton: Exactly. An independent audit is needed.

Senator Austin: I am telling Senator Stratton that the best corporate practice and first line of defence is the board of directors of a corporation, or else why have them? There are high levels of responsibility as directors of a Crown corporation, as in the life of private corporations.

Senator Angus: That is why they fired him.

Senator Austin: Senator Angus has said that they fired him; that is absolutely untrue. Senator Angus does not know the facts. He just wants to play in the political puddle, again. I do not want to use another word that has to do with puddle, but that is what he is attempting to do.

Senator Angus: Puddle, duddle.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I believe that questions about the facts are legitimate in Question Period. Political rhetoric that is not based on any approach of fairness or attempt to be objective should play little role in this chamber. It may belong in the other place —

Senator Stratton: Are you lecturing again, Senator Austin?

Senator Austin: I am lecturing you because you need a lecture.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame!

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Austin: The public has made it very clear that they disapprove of the behaviour of members in the other place.

Senator Stratton: Why do you not use the entire Question Period, Senator Austin? Succinct answers are not in your favour.

Senator Austin: All in this chamber earned respect in July for their civilized and balanced approach to difficult issues. I would suggest that honourable senators keep that precedent in mind.

Infrastructure and Communities

High Fuel Costs—Public Transit Policy—Support in Rural Areas

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate relates to two quotations in Toronto newspapers. First, Toronto-area cabinet minister John Godfrey, Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities, was quoted in the National Post of September 8, 2005, as saying, "The solution to soaring gas prices is more public transit." Later, on September 24, 2005, in The Toronto Star, Minister Godfrey said:

The only way we're going to get ahead of the curve is a combination of offering people decent public transit and encouraging them to live and develop places which are close to that transit in a much more compact form.

Honourable senators, we on this side support more public transit and believe that transit passes should be tax deductible because that would boost ridership and help address the cause of global warming. How does the public transit policy announced by Minister Godfrey aid and help the millions of Canadians who live in rural Canada?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, a statement by Minister Godfrey with respect to public transit is backed by this government because public transit is the way to deal with soaring energy costs and to attain efficient mobilization of people in the life of their communities. I doubt whether any senators in this chamber would not support that proposition by Minister Godfrey.

With respect to the question of its application to rural conditions, Minister Godfrey was addressing urban municipality issues. The application to rural conditions must be taken on its own merits. Smaller communities do not generally experience what we in British Columbia experience in trying to drive from Vancouver to Surrey or what people in Toronto experience when driving on Highway 401 or in Ottawa on the Queensway. It is similar in other urban centres.

I do not know how we will deal with the mass of single-occupant cars crowding our highways and costing us a great deal in environmental pollution and the economics of energy.

Honourable senators, the rural issue is to be included in an overall view of the use of energy in transportation; it is not excluded. With respect to rural communities, the environmental health of those communities is equally a priority of the government.

(1540)

Senator Oliver: The words used by the minister in the National Post article were, "The solution to soaring gas prices..." His statement in that paper and others did not address soaring gas prices and the effects and solutions for rural Canada. Could the minister please address the effect of soaring gas prices in rural Canada and what public policies are there for that?

Senator Austin: What Minister Godfrey is addressing is the huge volume of people who move in large urban centres and the cost of that movement to the economy. Of course, that huge volume is a demand on the available energy and, therefore, that demand raises the price of energy. That is the core of his view.

As to the impact on the rural community, it is a different use configuration entirely. Rural people are not travelling huge distances in their region. Of course, if they are suburbanites, they are part of the urban issue. If one person travels from Markham to downtown Toronto in a car, to take an Ontario example, are they rural in Markham? Are they rural in Unionville when they are part of a huge urban conglomeration and they earn their living in an urban centre?

The issue must be developed and understood. However, effectively, we are one common demand system on energy and the motor centre of that demand is in our large urban communities. That is why Minister Godfrey is dealing with the better utilization of public transit.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: In response to the first question posed by Senator Oliver, you indicated at one point that someone is looking at the impact of higher gasoline prices on rural communities. As you know, people in rural communities need to travel some long distances and depend on transport from long distances either to get their products to market or products into their regions. There is a huge impact on rising gas prices on rural communities — probably much more so to individual residents in those communities than for urban people.

I thought I heard the Leader of the Government in the Senate indicate that someone would be looking at this specifically for rural communities. Could the minister expand on that? What would this strategy be? Who would look at the impact of rising gas prices on those rural communities? Is this something to be announced or is this something that has already been announced?

Senator Austin: The answer to the question specifically is Minister Godfrey has the portfolio with respect to cities and communities. This whole topic comes under his responsibility.

Work is being done, obviously. As energy prices have climbed, the government is tracking the economic impact of changing energy prices. The government has indicated that it is aware that there are vulnerable communities in Canada, both urban and rural, that will need special attention with respect to the impact of higher fuel costs, whether it is for transportation or for home heating. As a result of the tracking that continues, the government is developing a framework for ameliorating those circumstances.

The Environment

High Fuel Costs—Comments by Minister

Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I wish to follow along that trend. As well, besides Mr. Godfrey, there was another minister, Environment Minister Stéphane Dion, who is on record as stating that high gas prices are actually good for Canada in the medium and long term.

Two ministers from the government are putting forth the same idea. My question is this: What assurances can the minister give us that these comments in support of high gas prices are not representative of official government policy?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, there is no policy on the part of the government —

Senator LeBreton: There is no policy in anything.

Senator Austin: — to push gasoline prices higher. I am sure that Senator Cochrane understands that Minister Dion is referring to a common economic understanding of the way in which the marketplace works.

The marketplace is something that is important to the Liberal Party of Canada and I am sure the Conservative Party of Canada, too. From Mr. Dion's point of view, there are benefits to conservation as gas prices are forced up by the international community because oil and petroleum products are international commodities and pricing is as a result of a world-based pricing system. It is a complex system that prices the barrel of oil, which flows back into all sorts of products and the price of those products.

As the price rises, not due to any action by the Government of Canada but due to the action of the international market system, an argument — and one that I endorse — is that people who have to pay higher prices will give greater care to their use of energy. They will become more conservation-minded — something that all of us have said is important to us in so many different ways. They will make a judgment whether — to take the classic economist's example — they climb in the car to drive 12 blocks to buy a package of cigarettes or a bottle of milk. What is the trade-off between the cost of that energy and the products that are being purchased?

It is a reference to economic behaviour. Again, I want to make it clear that this government has to respond. All Canadians individually, each and every one of us, must respond in our own particular ways to the changes which world circumstances bring to the price of energy.

Finance

High Fuel Costs—Possibility of Tax Relief

Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, one must realize as well with these gas prices that the taxes that the government receives constitute up to 40 per cent of the price of the gasoline paid at the gas stations. That is —

Senator Kinsella: Gouging.

Senator Cochrane: It is gouging. Do you know that in the United States it is only 23 per cent?

May I ask, Senator Austin, is the government looking at this, namely, at reducing some sort of tax? We have people everywhere across Canada living on minimum wage.

Senator Kinsella: They cannot afford to drive a car.

Senator Cochrane: They cannot afford anything. It is devastating. Now they are even looking at what they will do in the winter months with the high costs of fuel. We have seniors living on one salary. It is impossible for them to pay for the high cost of all these things that are coming. Surely the government will have to look into this now.

Senator Kinsella: Do not hold your breath!

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I think every senator here would be equally concerned about the financial pressures that rising energy prices bring to individual Canadians. It is difficult for a number of Canadians across this country to bear higher costs — and those costs being experienced now are energy costs.

I want to put aside a misconception with respect to federal participation. The federal fuel excise tax rate is 10 cents a litre for gasoline and 4 cents a litre for diesel fuel. These do not change with the price of the energy. That tax raises $5 billion but it is a fixed amount. Some taxes change; GST is one of them.

Senator Kinsella: What happened then in 1993?

Senator Austin: However, the bulk of the taxes on the retail sale of gasoline are collected by respective provinces and any reduction of prices will affect the provinces. Also, of course, an enormous windfall is accruing to the revenues of producing provinces. Those are my province of British Columbia, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan.

(1550)

With respect to these taxes, Canadians have to face the reality that these taxes support a variety of social programs. Senator Cochrane has urged the government to spend more money in various ways on social programs. I am talking about programs that include health care —

Senator Stratton: Good succinct answer, Senator Austin.

Senator Austin: — education and —

Senator Stratton: You are reading out of the book.

Senator Austin: — programs for seniors.

I want honourable senators to know that small and medium enterprises that are GST registrants are able to claim input tax credits for the tax that they pay on fuel. The GST is not that significant for certain taxpayers and, in particular, does not discourage the performance of small and medium enterprise. The issues are complex and cannot be taken into a simple statement such as, "Oh, the government should give back part of its taxes." All of us realize that governments spend taxes on people's well-being. The issue is not simply to be reduced to one of, "Where it is hurting, federal government give up the money, period."

Senator Mercer: Peter MacKay wants to give his money back to the oil companies.

Canada-United States Relations

Maine—Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals

Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It refers to the proposals to establish LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix River area, which I alluded to earlier.

As the Leader of the Government in the Senate knows, being the widely travelled person he is, the only navigable entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix River is through the Head Harbour Passage. Head Harbour Passage, honourable senators, lies between two Canadian islands. Therefore, it is clearly within Canadian waters. At its narrowest point, it is only 1,800 feet wide. Frequent strong winds and fog make navigation there extremely hazardous, to stay the least.

In 1976, under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, an American proposal to locate an oil refinery near the same proposed LNG sites was defeated because the government denied the right of passage through Head Harbour Passage to those oil tankers. The government of the day stated that, having examined a great number of possible locations, Passamaquoddy Bay and Head Harbour Passage were by far the least acceptable for tanker operations.

Honourable senators, nothing has changed since 1976 when the government of the day took that decision.

In view of the foregoing, I ask the leader: Will he persuade his cabinet colleagues to get off the stick, stop wobbling or wavering — dare I say, dithering — and just say no? Just say no now to these pernicious proposals to industrialize Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix River that would destroy the way of life of its residents. Just make it clear to our American friends and, in particular, to the proponents of the LNG facilities, that Head Harbour Passage is not now and never will be available to the supertankers.

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I of course took note of Senator Meighen's comments under Senators' Statements and the question he has put to me specifically. I will make inquiries about the work underway with respect to the issues that the honourable senator has raised dealing with Passamaquoddy Bay and the LNG proposals that American companies have made to use territory in the state of Maine but territory that is reached through a Canadian channel. I will endeavour to inform honourable senators as quickly as I can.

Senator Meighen: By way of a supplementary question to the Leader of the Government, do not be put off by the suggestion that we cannot do anything now because there is no formal proposal on the table. There was no formal proposal on the table in 1973 when the government made it clear that, should there be a formal proposal thereafter, Head Harbour Passage was not available. In 1976, there was a formal proposal. The State of Maine authorized the establishment of that oil refinery, and the Government of Canada wisely said, "Look back to 1973 when we told you that you cannot come through Head Harbour Passage. Now you are saying formally you want to, and the answer is still no."

Do not wait any longer, I urge you. Otherwise, the planning process will be far advanced, which will make it more difficult. What the residents of the area fear is that this whole proposal will be linked with other political problems between our two countries and maybe suffer as a bargaining chip.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, Senator Meighen's representations are very clear. Thank you.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour of presenting delayed answers to ten oral questions raised in the Senate. The first response is to a question raised by Senator Oliver on July 5, 2005, regarding the representation of visible minorities on boards; the second response is to a question raised by Senator Andreychuk on June 20, 2005, concerning Mr. Aman Prakash; the third and fourth responses are to questions raised by Senator Comeau on June 23 and July 19, 2005, regarding provincial legislation involving the transfer of fish quotas to Fisheries Products International and funding cuts to an independent researcher studying northern cod stocks.

[English]

The fifth and sixth delayed answers are to questions raised on July 19 by Senator Forrestall regarding Sea King reconfiguration by Industrial Marine Products for operational purposes in Afghanistan and regarding possible purchase of used American, British or Egyptian Sea Kings.

The seventh and eighth responses are to questions raised by Senator LeBreton regarding cross-border drug sales and regarding the Gomery inquiry, representation of Crown counsel. These questions were raised on June 30 and July 19 respectively.

The ninth response is to an oral question raised by Senator Oliver on July 19 regarding changes to the Budget 2005 use of supplementary estimates to incorporate statutory items from previous fiscal year.

The final and tenth delayed answer is in response to a question raised on June 14 by Senator Tkachuk regarding the RCMP and the response of the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre to reports on money laundering.

Federal Crown Corporations and Agencies

Representation of Visible Minorities on Boards

(Response to question raised by Hon. Donald H. Oliver on July 5, 2005)

The Government acknowledges the Senator's suggestion on creation of a Commissioner for Employment Equity or a Commissioner of Diversity to ensure more effective implementation of employment equity in the federally regulated sector.

In addition to the accountability resulting from the current parliamentary requirement for tabling of annual reports on the state of employment equity before Parliament, the Senator would undoubtedly be pleased with the Prime Minister's announcement, on September 8, 2005, of a Senior Advisor on Diversity. Errol Mendes, formerly Professor of Law, University of Ottawa, has joined the Privy Council Office, with responsibility for diversity issues and special projects.

Citizenship and Immigration

Deportation of Aman Prakash

(Response to question raised by Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk on June 20, 2005)

The Privacy Act prevents us from discussing the specifics of an individual case without the consent of that person.

However, no one is removed from Canada without careful analysis. All particulars of an individual case are given full consideration and review to ensure that no exposure to harsh or inhumane treatment is likely to result.

Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law and have access to avenues of recourse, including judicial review and a pre-removal risk assessment.

Fisheries and Oceans

Newfoundland and Labrador—Provincial Bill Involving Transfer of Fish Quotas to Fisheries Products International

(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerald J. Comeau on June 23, 2005)

The Newfoundland and Labrador (provincial) Bill referring to fish quotas held by Fisheries Products International has not been the subject of discussion in Cabinet.

It is the responsibility of a province to draft provincial legislation which deals with subject matters which fall within their jurisdiction. The FPI Bill drafted by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador should take into consideration existing federal and provincial legislation, including the federal Fisheries Act. The provisions in the Bill are not binding on the federal government.

A licence, including the quota that is attached, issued under the Fisheries Act reflects a privilege to fish that is granted at the discretion of the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. A licence does not convey any property rights to the licence holder. A licence is the property of the Crown. It is not an asset that can be bought, sold, leased or bequeathed. Furthermore, fishing licences are traditionally issued for a period of one year. The privilege to fish terminates on the date of expiry of the licence.

Considering the nature of this privilege and in light of the discretionary authority to issue licences, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans cannot fetter his discretion. He cannot make commitments that would limit his or his successor's discretion under the Fisheries Act. Hence, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans cannot make any commitment regarding the provisions contained in the FPI Bill on the matter of the licences currently held by FPI.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador may choose to qualify or refer to quotas and licences in their provincial legislation as property. The provincial legislation does not modify the existing nature of the licensing privileges to fish issued under the Fisheries Act. The provisions of the FPI Bill as they relate to the licences currently held by FPI are not binding on the federal government.

Funding Cuts to Independent Researcher Studying Northern Cod Stocks

(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerald J. Comeau on July 19, 2005)

The Department has had to discontinue the provision of vessel time to the Chair in Fisheries Conservation at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, there are several factors that are important to understand in relation to this issue.

The Chair in Fisheries Conservation at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador was established in 1997 to develop an independent fisheries research program to complement Government programs and to provide a focus for fisheries research at the University. Dr. George Rose was given the leadership of the Chair.

The Chair in Fisheries Conservation is a group of scientists/professors (there have been as many as three at one time) as well as research assistants, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. Since 1996, the group has conducted research that has focused on northern cod but also many other marine species in Newfoundland waters.

Primary support was secured from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Industrial Chair program. Additional resources were secured for a 5-year period under the terms of an Agreement between the University, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Newfoundland and Labrador, Fisheries Products International (FPI) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Under this Agreement, DFO committed to make available, for the period 1997 to 2003, 30 days annually of dedicated time of government research vessels to enable at-sea research related to the Chair program. The actual vessel time provided was approximately 50 sea-days annually between 1997 and 2003, which cost $600,000 to $700,000 annually and totaled over $5 million. This contribution was not expressly for the research conducted by Dr. Rose but to support the Chair.

Funding for the Chair in Fisheries Conservation has been winding down over the last several years. The major funding source, NSERC, is in its final stages and will be finished by 2006. It is also understood that FPI have discontinued their contributions (originally $75,000) two years ago, and that Provincial government funding (originally $300,000) has recently been reduced to $200,000 in the last two years. Dr. Rose has publicly acknowledged this trend and that the Chair is in the process of winding down. At present only Dr. Rose and a technician are believed to remain with the Chair.

Due to operational problems with research vessels, the department could not meet its commitment to the Chair program for 2004.

Although DFO was able to extend the agreement with Memorial University beyond the original time frame, it is no longer in a position to do so. In the face of continuing equipment deficits and escalating at-sea costs, the Department has re-focused its fisheries research program to focus on core Departmental objectives and the research vessel time is now needed to support the core research mandate of the department. The decision to permanently discontinue vessel support to the Fisheries Conservation Chair program was made and communicated to the Vice-President of Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador in October 2004.

It should be stressed that DFO is not abandoning research on the northern cod stock. The last full assessment of northern cod was completed in the spring of 2005. This was based on an ongoing program of monitoring and fisheries research which includes:

  • The broad-scale departmental research vessel surveys that monitor abundances of fish over much of the Newfoundland shelf and the offshore portions of the northern cod stock area;
     
  • The Groundfish Sentinel Program, which monitors trends in abundance in the inshore portions of the northern cod stock area. This program is delivered substantially by industry vessels and staff, with funding and technical support from the department;
     
  • At-sea and port sampling of catches in directed and by-catch fisheries to document their characteristics and glean biological information about the fish;
     
  • A range of other more-targeted activities that collectively add to knowledge of the stock and its status.

In addition, the need to take concrete measures to promote recovery of the northern cod stock has resulted in several new research initiatives. These include:

  • Cod tagging and tracking — traditional tagging (determining movement by the location of cod that are harvested compared to where they were tagged) as well as electronic tags which are tracked by satellite.
     
  • An analysis of the impact of cod by-catch in other fisheries on cod recovery.
     
  • Implementation of studies of the effect of closed areas on cod recovery. The focus of this work will be the current closed area in Hawke Channel. Additional work is being conducted to examine the impacts of the crab resource in this area.

In April of this year, the Government announced 11 million dollars in new program funding that will focus on gaining a better understanding of sensitive marine areas and sensitive aquatic species associated with the Grand Banks. The program will include research on straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, and on sustainable fisheries practices and harvesting strategies that use a precautionary approach.

In summary, it is accurate to view this situation as a winding down of the work of the Chair in Fisheries Conservation at Memorial, after a period of solid research contribution conducted on a host of species and based on a range of financial support. The financial support of all funding partners to the Chair has been stopped or reduced. The DFO contribution has exceeded the one that was identified in the Agreement signed in 1997.

The impact of this winding down is not a threat to the department's ability to understand and manage the northern cod resource. The ongoing research program on northern cod remains solid and diversified, and will continue to support the development of sound advice about that stock into the future.

Fisheries research in Newfoundland and Labrador remains a priority for this department and we will continue to maintain our focus on core ecosystem-based objectives and deliver a quality science program in collaboration with our partners including Memorial University.

National Defence

Sea King Helicopters—Refitting for Assignment in Afghanistan

(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on July 19, 2005)

At the present time, Industrial Marine Products is not reconfiguring the Sea Kings for operational purposes in Afghanistan.

When the Canadian Forces are deployed on multinational operations, we always have discussions with our allies regarding the pool of capabilities required by the mission and how members can assist each other in fulfilling these requirements.

While we do not have heavy to medium-lift helicopters in Afghanistan, our allies assure us that such capabilities are provided to the Canadian Forces if available.

Sea King Helicopters—Purchase of Used Equipment

(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on July 19, 2005)

The Government of Canada is not making inquiries about the purchase of used Sea Kings from the United States, Great Britain, or Egypt.

Moreover, the Government of Canada is moving ahead with the purchase of Canada's new Maritime Helicopters.

On November 23, 2004 the Government signed two contracts to acquire 28 CH-148 Cyclones. The CH-148 is the right helicopter for the Canadian Forces at the best price for Canadians.

Justice

Commission of Inquiry into Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities—Representation of Crown Counsel

(Response to question raised by Hon. Marjory LeBreton on June 30, 2005)

Where ministers or Crown servants are required to testify before a commission of inquiry, they are eligible to apply for legal assistance under the Treasury Board Policy on the Indemnification of and Legal Assistance for Crown Servants. Such assistance is provided by Department of Justice counsel unless there is a conflict of interest between the minister or Crown servant and the Government of Canada. Where a conflict exists and a minister or Crown servant otherwise meets the requirement under the Policy, they may be authorized to retain and instruct private sector counsel at public expense.

The role of counsel in such circumstances, whether DOJ or private counsel, is to prepare the minister or Crown servant to give his or her testimony and to assist them in replying to any subpoena that they may have to respond to.

In terms of commissions of inquiry, DOJ counsel represented the Honourable Monique Bégin and the Honourable Jake Epp in the context of the Krever Inquiry.

There were also a number of legal proceedings where ministers were sued in their official capacity and, occasionally, in their personal capacity, where DOJ counsel acted for them. This is a matter of longstanding practice, in place for many decades and authorized under the Treasury Board Policy.

Health

Cross-Border Sale of Prescription Drugs

(Response to question raised by Hon. Marjory LeBreton on July 19, 2005)

Health Canada is pursuing a series of initiatives to protect Canadians' continued access to an adequate supply of safe and affordable drugs.

The first operational priority is to establish the proposed drug supply network, so that the Government of Canada will have the ability to effectively identify and track drug supply shortages in Canada. The drug supply network is envisioned as a virtual entity of collaborative partners with the capacity to gather and analyse information from a variety of sources (i.e., some hospitals, wholesalers and retailers, and pharmacies).

In light of potential American legislation legalizing the bulk import of Canadian drugs, the Minister intends to bring forward enabling legislation under the Food and Drugs Act to strengthen the government's capacity to prohibit the export of needed Canadian drugs when there is a risk of shortage or actual shortage to protect the health of Canadians. The proposed Export Restriction Scheme would permit the Minister of Health to create and maintain a list of drugs that would be prohibited from export.

Cross-border drug sales have also highlighted questionable prescribing practices by a small number of Canadian doctors. To protect consumer safety pertaining to drugs sold in Canada, the Minister is proposing that drugs only be sold in the context of an established patient-practitioner relationship. This will be accomplished by strengthening the federal Food and Drug Regulations governing the sale of prescription drugs sold in Canada.

In recognition of the complexity of these undertakings, and the shared responsibility in protecting the health and safety of Canadians between the federal, provincial and territorial governments, health professionals, industry, consumers and other stakeholders, Health Canada will consult and seek the advice of key stakeholders as we move forward with our federal initiatives. Legislation will be introduced in the coming months.

Finance

Changes to Budget 2005—Use of Supplementary Estimates to Incorporate Statutory Items from Previous Fiscal Year

(Response to question raised by Hon. Donald H. Oliver on July 19, 2005)

The main purpose of the Supplementary Estimates is to present to Parliament information on the Government's spending requirements which were not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates. This information directly supports an Appropriation Bill.

Supplementary Estimates also provide an update on significant changes to expenditure forecasts of major statutory items. Statutory items are those which Parliament has approved through other legislation.

The timing of these changes is dependent on when the actual cash transfer under the statutory authority was made. For example, the liabilities associated with the $2.5 billion Canada Health and Social Transfer and the $1.5 billion Medical/Diagnostic Equipment Fund, which were part of the 2003 Health Accord, were included in the 2002-03 financial statements. The accounting for these liabilities in 2002-03 is consistent with the accounting standards set out by the Public Sector Accounting Board of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The Auditor General of Canada expressed a "clean" opinion on these financial statements.

However, the cash transfer to the provinces and territories did not occur until June 2003. Supplementary Estimates (B) for 2003-04 recorded these amounts under the Department of Finance — the year following the year in which they were booked as liabilities in the audited financial statements (see Supplementary Estimates (B) 2003-04 page 86).

With respect to Bill C-48, the Supplementary Estimates will present the transfers in the year that they occur as statutory expenditures. Given the timing of these expected transfers, this will be in the Supplementary Estimates in the year following the year in which they are recorded as liabilities in the financial statements.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Response to Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre—Response to Reports on Money Laundering

(Response to question raised by Hon. David Tkachuk on June 14, 2005)

The RCMP is one of the funded partners involved in the National Initiatives to Combat Money Laundering (NICML), which was launched in 2000. The NICML also included the development of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, and the establishment of FINTRAC as Canada's financial intelligence unit.

The RCMP was provided with a number of positions, which are assigned to Money Laundering Units across Canada, to assess money-laundering intelligence received from FINTRAC, CBSA and others.

The RCMP, through its Money Laundering Units, is the major recipient of money laundering intelligence (disclosures) from FINTRAC. In addition to these disclosures, the Units receive money-laundering intelligence from a number of other sources. These sources include: intelligence in relation to cross-border currency reporting incidences from CBSA-Customs; voluntary information received from reporting entities; information from other RCMP units, law enforcement agencies and other sectors. When intelligence is received, an investigative assessment is conducted to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted. The intelligence may add information on existing targets or provide new leads. It is important to understand that an investigative assessment is conducted on all FINTRAC disclosures received by the RCMP. While many disclosures have added value to and initiated several investigations, it is also important to note that a FINTRAC disclosure is but one piece of intelligence among a much greater volume of evidence that is needed to investigate a case and to prosecute. For this reason, we cannot attribute the successful investigation and prosecution of a case solely on a FINTRAC disclosure.

In cases where further action is deemed to be appropriate, the Money Laundering Unit will refer the matter to the appropriate RCMP Integrated Proceeds of Crime (IPOC) Unit, whose primary objective is to identify, assess, seize, restrain, and forfeit illicit and unreported wealth accumulated through organized crime activities. The IPOC Program is a multi-departmental program, which brings together the RCMP and a number of federal partners, as well as local police to carry out specialized proceeds of crime investigations.

The IPOC Unit will conduct a comprehensive file review and prioritization assessment to determine if resources can be allocated to pursue an investigation. Regardless of the decision to pursue an investigation, in all cases the intelligence is deemed valuable and is stored in a police database for future use.

The Public Safety and Anti-Terrorism (PSAT) Initiative also provided limited funding for resources to conduct financial intelligence to counter terrorist financing. This funding accounted for seventeen intelligence positions nation wide. The enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-36) created new offences in relation to terrorist activity making virtually all aspects related to terrorist activity or support for terrorism a criminal offence. Virtually every terrorist investigation has an element of financing within it and these investigations are complex, lengthy, resource intensive and require specific expertise to complete.

Twenty-five percent of all FINTRAC disclosures relate to terrorist financing and the RCMP Criminal Intelligence Directorate, under the National Security Program, investigates every terrorist financing disclosure and will not overlook any credible source of intelligence.

As with all law enforcement activities, whether they are related to terrorism or organized crime and all its dimensions, the availability of additional resources would allow the RCMP to better target specific areas of concern as they arise.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is now 4 p.m. Pursuant to an Order of the Senate made November 2, 2004, I declare the Senate adjourned.

The Senate adjourned until Thursday, September 29, 2005, at 1:30 p.m.