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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 64

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Residential School Settlement

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I am pleased to provide an update on the residential school settlement. Last May, Canada finalized an agreement with the assembly of First Nations, the churches, and residential schools survivors and their lawyers. The agreement provides a compensation package to everyone who attended an Indian residential school. This payment reflects the damage done to culture, language, individuals, families and communities by this experience. Those students who suffered physical and sexual abuse will receive further compensation through a process outlined in the agreement. The agreement also provides funds for ongoing healing and for a truth commission to communicate the whole story to Canadians.

The agreement had to be approved in full by nine provincial and territorial courts. On January 15, the last court, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court, issued its judgment supporting the settlement. Some of the courts raised issues of concern with some of the details of the agreement and gave only conditional approval as a result. However, in a remarkable and unprecedented move, all judges involved in this case met in Calgary to resolve some of these issues and to agree to a joint sitting of all courts to issue a final approval in the near future.

It is not clear whether this will also resolve the matter of the federal appeal of a single element of the Saskatchewan decision, but one must hope that neither the federal government nor the Saskatchewan court will allow this one issue to hold up the entire settlement. The conclusion of the court process marks a major milestone in a long awaited resolution of this difficult episode in Canada's relations with Aboriginal people.

Once final approval is granted, there will be a five-month period within which all residential school survivors can indicate their objection or agreement. I believe the vast majority will accept the settlement, not because it comes close to compensating them for the abuse they suffered, the loss of language and culture they endured or for the impact that residential schools have had on them as students, their families and their communities, but, rather, they will accept it in the spirit of reconciliation and healing that is so important to their future and well-being.

I know from personal experience the damage that residential schools caused. I spent 11 years in residential schools in the North after being sent away from home when I was five years old. I have cousins and other relatives who were away from their homes and families for 10, 12, 14 years. Imagine sending your child away for those many years; it is a very traumatic experience. I am glad to be able to stand here and say that the matter is finally coming to a conclusion. An agreement has been reached and it is just a matter of the courts approving it.

The agreement is vital to Aboriginal people and to Canada in our ongoing efforts to right the wrongs of the past and to meet our long-standing obligations to Aboriginal people. There is much left to do but this agreement is a shining first step and I commend the Government of Canada, both old and new, for taking the step. In the end, I hope and expect Canada to issue a formal and official apology for what happened to Aboriginal people during the many years that these schools operated. Later, I plan to introduce a motion to enable the Senate to contribute to the reconciliation and healing process. I hope that honourable senators will find it in their hearts to agree with the motion.

Auditor General

Dismissal of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I rise today to express my concern about the dismissal of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Johanne Gélinas. In modern democracy, the external audit function is vital not only to ensure proper accounting for expenditures, but also to ensure what is referred to as value-for-money auditing. That is, to audit whether programs meet their stated objectives. The independence of state audit institutions is vital for the ongoing transparency and accountability of government.

The role of the environment commissioner, according to the website, is to:

...provide parliamentarians with objective independent analysis and recommendations on the federal government's efforts to protect the environment and foster sustainable development. Encouraging the government to be more accountable for greening its policies, operations and programs is a key to the Commissioner's mandate.

Ms. Gélinas has been praised for her work. She has been described as tough but fair. She has been balanced in critiques of government programs, both of the current and of the previous government. Her reports have raised serious issues and have held both this government and the previous one to account.

(1340)

I expect that this afternoon Ms. Fraser, her former employer and boss, will be forthcoming in the testimony to explain why Joanne Gélinas was dismissed. I look forward to that testimony, as do, I am sure, all members of the Senate.

[Translation]

The Late Honourable Cyril Lloyd Francis, P.C.

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, it is with great sadness that I pay tribute today to our former colleague, the Honourable Lloyd Francis, who died on January 20 following a battle with cancer. I had the pleasure of wishing him my best shortly before Christmas.

Cyril Lloyd Francis was born in Ottawa in 1920 and joined the Air Force at the beginning of the Second World War, serving two years overseas with the British Royal Air Force. After the war, he lectured in economics and was a senior official in the Department of National Health and Welfare, where he helped devise and implement the Canada Pension Plan.

In 1958, he became the President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and the following year he entered municipal politics and became the Deputy Mayor of Ottawa from 1960 to 1963. He ran in the 1963 federal election in the riding of Carleton, making history as the first Liberal to be elected there since Confederation.

[English]

From 1963 to 1984, 21 years, he represented the ridings of Carleton and Ottawa West for all but five years, serving his constituents and Parliament with great skill and tireless dedication as parliamentary secretary, Deputy Speaker and finally, as Speaker. Following his defeat in 1984, he went on to serve as Ambassador to Portugal and delegate to the United Nations.

[Translation]

I had the great privilege of meeting Lloyd Francis in 1979 when I was elected to the House of Commons. I admired his frankness, his intelligence and his sense of conviction, not only as a member of Parliament, but also as Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the House of Commons.

Those of us who have been members of Parliament will never forget the confidence and sang-froid he demonstrated as Deputy Speaker during the 1981 debate on repatriating the Constitution.

[English]

According to his son, Paul, who delivered a moving tribute to him last Saturday during the memorial service, Lloyd Francis was a man who valued intelligence, openness and, above all, public service. His dedication and integrity earned him countless friends and admirers — I am one of them — and his passing leaves all those who knew and loved him with a deep sense of loss.

On behalf of my colleagues on this side of the chamber and my colleagues on the other side, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Mary, and his three children.


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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group

Annual Bilateral Meeting, November 12-17, 2006—Report Tabled

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group following the fourteenth Annual Bilateral Meeting, held in Japan from November 12 to 17, 2006.

Inter-Parliamentary Union

Annual Assembly and Related Meetings, May 7-12, 2006—Report Tabled

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Delegation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Group, which participated in the one hundred and fourteenth IPU Assembly and related meetings held in Nairobi, Kenya, from May 7 to 12, 2006.


[Translation]

QUESTION PERIOD

The Environment

Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Position of Prime Minister

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, at this very moment in Paris, scientists from around the world are meeting to discuss climate change. This meeting is being held under the aegis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose members are scientists from the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme.

The Panel's report will be released shortly and promises to be unequivocal. Its warnings are usually clear, and the members of the scientific community agree that the situation is dire. Yet the Prime Minister continues to deny that climate change is a reality.

In a fundraising letter for his party, the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister described the Kyoto Protocol as "a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations". He also said that the Kyoto Protocol was, and I quote, "based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends."

Why would the Prime Minister, who tried then to mislead Canadians about climate change and the Kyoto Protocol, be any more credible now on this issue?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for her question. The government eagerly awaits the report from the United Nations, to which she referred. With regard to the letter that Senator Hervieux-Payette referred to, the Prime Minister indicated in his 2006 year-end interviews, and as he has shown by his actions, that Canadians have expressed a keen desire to have government work diligently on environmental issues. Canadians, no matter their political stripe, would not want this matter to become an excessively partisan issue. Rather, they want to know that all parties will work together to resolve these issues.

However, comments have been made by some Liberal members of Parliament regarding the environment. In 2002, at about the same time that the letter referred to by the honourable senator was produced, Mr. Keith Martin said, "It is sad that Kyoto is a shell game." Former Liberal leadership candidate Scott Brison talked about the damage that the Kyoto Protocol would do to the Canadian economy and he voted against it.

Within the past year, Liberal Party deputy leader Michael Ignatieff said, "I think our party has got into a mess on the environment. As a practical matter of politics, no one knows what Kyoto is or what it commits us to."

(1350)

Honourable senators, in the House of Commons there seems to be an agreement of common support for efforts on the environment from the New Democratic Party, the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois. Unfortunately, from what I am told, only the Liberal members of the House Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development do not want to cooperate to strengthen the clean air act and work on behalf of all Canadians to ensure that Canada does its part in reducing greenhouse gases, dealing with smog, ensuring we have clear water, and in removing toxins from household products and the food we eat.

[Translation]

Senator Hervieux-Payette: In my opinion, this letter is not an isolated incident where the Prime Minister said what he really thought. The Prime Minister once said in the other place that carbon dioxide was not a pollutant. He even added that climate change was only a scientific hypothesis, and a controversial one. He also said, "This may be a lot of fun for a few scientific and environmental elites in Ottawa, but ordinary people across the country will not pay for how it affects their quality of life."

Can the Leader of the Government tell us how we can believe the Prime Minister when he says today that he wants to take action to stop climate change?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I think the Prime Minister, by his actions and his words, is seized of this matter, as is the government. He has stated that clearly, and it is obvious from the efforts of the government since last fall, when we started to work on these issues, including announcements that were made before the end of the last session on toxins. As a government, we will take measures to work on all these issues of concern on the environment, not just talk about them.

Auditor General

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development—Request that Position be Designated Officer of Parliament

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government and Secretary of State for Seniors. Senators on both sides of this chamber can testify what a valuable resource Johanne Gélinas has been to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. Her input over the last few years, as Senator Cochrane can testify, has been invaluable.

I ask the minister to implore the government to make the position of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development an independent position that reports directly to Parliament, as do all the other commissioners. This position is so important that a report should not be filtered through the Auditor General or through a parliamentary committee. It should be given directly to Parliament.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I thank the senator for that question. As all of us know, this dismissal was a complete surprise to everyone. I understand the Auditor General is appearing before a committee in the other place today.

The news last night was unfortunate. On this side, we were mindful of Ms. Gélinas' reports last fall. She was clear and concise about the inactivity and the inaction of the previous government, and we took note of that. She also urged our government to move forward, and we took note of that as well.

(1355)

I was disappointed to hear the leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Stéphane Dion, actually suggest last night on television that she had been fired by our government. That suggestion was remarkable. It was even more remarkable, honourable senators, that Keith Boag of the CBC had to correct the leader of the Liberal Party by saying that Ms. Gélinas was dismissed by the Auditor General, as even Ms. Gélinas herself had said.

Senator Milne: Honourable senators, I point out to the Leader of the Government and Secretary of State for Seniors that my question was serious. It was not political; it was serious. However, if she wants political, I can do that, too.

I point out that the role of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, as described on the Auditor General's own website, is to give parliamentarians:

. . . objective, independent analysis and recommendations on the federal government's efforts to protect the environment and foster sustainable development.

Encouraging the government to be more accountable for greening its policies, operations, and programs is a key to the Commissioner's mandate.

I ask again: In what way did Ms. Gélinas exceed her role? She will be a great loss to Parliament. Will this situation lead to this government creating an independent Officer of Parliament to provide Canadians with objective analysis of the federal government's efforts to protect our environment? That is the question.

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for that question. I apologize; I was so carried away with what happened on the CBC last night that I did not finish answering her question.

I cannot answer for the Auditor General's motives, so I cannot comment on the first part of Senator Milne's question. Her suggestion that an environmental commissioner be responsible to Parliament is valid. I wonder if the past government ever had an opportunity to contemplate such a suggestion, but it is a good one. I will take the question as notice and undertake to speak to my colleagues about whether we would be prepared to consider this suggestion, or whether it is something we, as parliamentarians, should consider.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Omar Samad, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He is here today, honourable senators, on the first anniversary of the Afghanistan compact.

On behalf of all honourable senators, Your Excellency, I welcome you and your colleagues to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Constitution Act, 1867

Status of Bill S-4—Fixed Terms for Senators

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate concerning the government's initiatives on democratic reform, specifically on the concept of fixed terms for new appointees to this house.

The recently elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Mr. Dion, during his campaign for leader and on his website, has stated that he favours fixed terms for senators. The Liberal critic on Bill S-4, Senator Hays, with whom I was honoured to sit on the same committee on democratic reform and who is the critic on this bill, also agrees in principle with this bill, setting fixed terms.

Has the new leadership of the Senate Liberal caucus given any indication of when the bill can be expected to go to committee?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I thank Senator Tkachuk for his question. I am aware of the statements of the Leader of the Opposition in the other place in support of fixed terms for senators.

Perhaps I will be able to answer this question after Question Period, and consult with the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. I have no sense from people who have talked to the Leader of the Opposition in the other place that he has communicated to his own colleagues, either in the House of Commons or in the Senate, that he does, in fact, favour fixed terms for senators.

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However, as the honourable senator asked the question and it is now part of the public discourse, I urge all parliamentarians who are sitting in the opposition Liberal Party to support their leader, Mr. Stéphane Dion, on at least this one issue, in support of tenure for senators.

Senator Tkachuk: The committee on democratic reform no longer exists, but this issue has seized members on both sides for some time. We thought that once the study was complete, the bill would be sent to the other chamber for deliberations and study.

I believe this bill was introduced last May, and a considerable amount of time has passed since then. We are still waiting to see what will happen. I also note that the two leaders of the Senate caucus on the other side are supporters of Mr. Dion and have been since the beginning. Mr. Dion has made clear his views on Senate reform. He is in agreement with the principle of fixed terms. As an independent Conservative senator, and as it seems that both sides agree on the principle of the bill, I urge that we get some agreement to move this bill into the busy Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Senator LeBreton: Before the Christmas break, many of us held the view that because Bill S-4 was a clear bill and had been referred to Senator Hays' special committee for a study that would be sufficient. We argued that it should not have to go back to committee after second reading. There were some suggestions that because it had been studied in a special committee and is an issue that involves all senators, it could have been referred to the Committee of the Whole, so each senator could participate in the debate. That did not meet approval, and, given the obvious inability of our side to win a vote or affect the numbers, it was agreed that once the bill moved through second reading, it would then be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. That is where the matter now stands.

I ask that the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate urge upon her colleagues and on her leadership in the other place to support the wishes of the Leader of the Opposition in the other place, who supports Senate tenure, and get it moved into committee.

[Translation]

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I would like to clarify one point. The Leader of the Government in the Senate did not contact me about this matter. Some honourable senators wish to interject and are asking to address the chamber. We have informed the Deputy Leader of the Government. I would be happy to speak to him about this. Any change in the status of an institution that is more than 100 years old is something that we take very seriously. We wish to contribute to this debate and we will be ready for the question when my caucus and my leader reach an agreement on this matter.

(1405)

[English]

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, first, I congratulate Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, Senator Claudette Tardif and Senator James Cowan on their appointments. The appointments pleased me very much, with all due sadness for those who departed.

Second, I will ask a supplementary question. I was a member of the House of Commons in the 1960s when the first step was taken to make changes in this place. I have heard the exact words clearly. Those who have a good institutional memory will remember back to 1964 and 1965 when we changed the length of appointments to the Senate. At that time, I knew all the appointees. As you know, 74 women have been appointed to the Senate. I have known 73 of them personally, and I have been here to see 66 women appointed to the Senate or elected to the House of Commons.

The argument that I heard then, when the tenure of appointments went from lifetime to 75, is exactly the kind of comment I hear today. I will vote for this bill as long as the government accepts an amendment. Someone suggested 12 years. If I have agreement, I will make a motion. I am sure someone will second my motion. I am sure honourable senators will understand my point of view given where I sit now. My motion in amendment will propose terms of 10 years. This amendment does not go against our great tradition. After all, in the committee Mr. Harper himself said he could live with 10 years. He did not say 12 years, he said 10, but I do not suggest 10 years just because he said 10 years.

Therefore, my question to the Leader of the Government and Secretary of State for Seniors is this: Is the government open to amendments?

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for the question. The Prime Minister made it clear when he appeared before the committee, as the honourable senator stated, he was open to an amendment. I believe that has been pretty well understood. However, the issue here is Senate tenure. Whatever the amendment is, whether it is the eight as we propose, 10 as the honourable senator proposes, or 12 as others propose, let us agree on the premise of Senate tenure and send it to committee, hear witnesses, receive amendments and then get this bill out of the Senate and into the House of Commons so it can be debated properly by the full Parliament, the upper and lower houses.

I appreciate the honourable senator's question and I think all of us are prepared to consider any amendment in terms of the length of term. Unfortunately, we have not even had a chance to pass second reading on the bill and send it to committee.

Senator Prud'homme: We all know the immense difficulty both major parties are having in terms of finding women to run for office in the House of Commons. I am one of the many who is concerned and I am ready to go public if I can find people to join me in a press conference. Until the day when we can really amend the Senate, the Prime Minister of Canada should make an announcement. Would the honourable leader again kindly put the suggestion I made to him and to others? Mr. Chrétien did a fabulous job. He appointed 33 of the 74 women appointed since Confederation. He made a good effort. The Prime Minister should say that, in view of the fact it is difficult to find women to run for election in the House of Commons, it is his intention to appoint only women to the Senate until the day we have 53 women and 52 men. He should announce that across Canada. Where there are vacancies, he should ask every women's association to apply and then choose from those applicants until the day we actually amend the Constitution. They will then have a house where women will be represented and we will have achieved a critical mass.

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I know some do not take this seriously, but if there are 53 women — I experienced this in caucus — once there is a critical mass, it will be easy for those 53 women to go out into the country and convince other women to run for the House of Commons. It is only a suggestion, but one that should not be dismissed.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the honourable senator has spoken to me previously about his suggestion. I agree that Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Mulroney did a very good job of appointing women to this chamber. Mr. Mulroney started the process. There had not been many women before that time.

Senator Prud'homme: Mr. Chrétien appointed 12 women and Mr. Pearson appointed only one.

Senator LeBreton: That is correct. The honourable senator makes an interesting suggestion, and I will be very happy to communicate it to the Prime Minister, though I doubt I have to because, as I have said before, the Prime Minister follows the proceedings of the Senate.

Justice

Right Honourable Brian Mulroney—Case of Alleged Bribes and Kickbacks

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I rise today to direct questions to the Leader of the Government in the Senate regarding a more than 10-year-old story of corruption in high places, a story called the Airbus scandal or the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

During his tenure as Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney had what has been characterized as an unusual financial relationship with one Karlheinz Schreiber, a relationship shrouded in mystery, which involved others as well.

Canadians will remember that Mr. Mulroney brought a lawsuit against the Government of Canada for alleged damage to his reputation regarding monies that he reportedly denied having received from Mr. Schreiber. These allegations had been pursued against Mr. Mulroney through the Department of Justice and the RCMP.

Mr. Mulroney was subsequently awarded a magnificent sum of $2.1 million to satisfy his hurt feelings. It has since been revealed that Mr. Mulroney may have lied under oath about receiving monies from Mr. Schreiber. There is now evidence that Mr. Mulroney received three allotments of $100,000 cash at various hotels in Canada and the United States from Mr. Schreiber. It is unclear whether the cash was in brown envelopes, containing $100 bills, $20 bills; or whether the envelopes were slipped over or under the table.

It is now apparent that Mr. Mulroney's defence during the initial stages of the court proceedings has unravelled, exposing Mr. Mulroney's real behaviour.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate confirm that new proceedings have begun against Mr. Mulroney in order to recover the monies paid to him by the Government of Canada?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for his question. The premise of the question is totally false, and there is nothing more to be said on this matter.

Senator Mercer: According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, the Department of Justice explored the possibility last February, after this government took office, of setting aside the 1997 $2.1 million settlement with Mr. Mulroney because of allegations that the former Prime Minister had indeed accepted $300,000 in cash from German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber.

Recently released documents show that a department official prepared a draft briefing note outlining how, under Quebec law, the government might seek to set aside Mr. Mulroney's settlement. The draft briefing note was written shortly after the CBC program, The Fifth Estate, aired a documentary that described allegations that Mr. Mulroney accepted cash from Mr. Schreiber that had been withdrawn from Swiss bank accounts linked to the Airbus affair, information that I spoke about earlier. This information also reveals that the office of the then newly-minted Minister of Justice, Vic Toews, requested the briefing note in the first place. On February 9, the minister's office asks for information on the Schreiber case.

I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate again: Can the honourable senator confirm that new proceedings will begin against Mr. Mulroney in order to recover the monies since the government's own Department of Justice is wondering why this settlement was ever made in the first place? When will Canadians get their money back?

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for his question. Again, what he states is totally false. I invite him to repeat those statements outside the chamber.

(1415)

Mr. Mulroney has done nothing wrong or illegal and the premise of the honourable senator's question is false. This matter is settled and there is absolutely no truth to what the honourable senator has stated. There is no truth to The Fifth Estate program, which appeared at this time last year. The matter is closed. Mr. Mulroney is a wonderful individual. He was a good Prime Minister and he does not deserve this kind of treatment.

[Translation]

Leader of the Government

Freedom of Speech—Response to Allegations Levelled by University of Ottawa Professor

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, as we all know, freedom of expression is a fundamental right that is dear to all Canadians.

Honourable senators are proud to say that we enjoy greater freedom and independence than those in the other place. Moreover, in a democracy, we recognize that it is essential that our universities allow for the free exchange, development and circulation of ideas. This is why university professors enjoy academic freedom.

As a former university professor and administrator, I was troubled to read that a member of the government and a senator had tried to interfere in the internal affairs of the University of Ottawa, by denouncing the perspectives defended by a recognized, veteran professor of constitutional history at the university.

Can the minister assure us that the federal government will not try to muzzle our country's scholars, one by one, and that it will defend the academic freedom of our universities?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for her question. It will give me a chance to tell the real story, as opposed to what Lawrence Martin wrote in a column in The Globe and Mail, which seems to suggest that I do not support freedom of expression and speech, particularly for people who teach in our universities.

Someone asked me if I was upset about what Mr. Martin wrote and I said I thought it was a great article. They said that I must not have read it. I replied that I did not care what Mr. Martin said, the picture was terrific.

In any event, with regard to the story here, a professor at the University of Ottawa made false statements about me and Mr. Mulroney. I sought to have those removed. They appeared in an article in the Ottawa Citizen, and the Ottawa Citizen apologized.

I wrote to the University of Ottawa and copied the professor in question. I stated in the letter that I had every respect for people's right to their own opinions, but they did not have the right to tell a falsehood. I was simply asking for an apology for a falsehood.

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question. The situation is obviously of some delicacy. A number of us contribute to universities; and all of us in this chamber respect the universities as a place where freedom of speech is to be exercised as part of the democratic process.

Is the leader, in her capacity as minister, at least sensitive to the fact that, as a minister of the Crown responsible for federal funding of universities, she is in somewhat of a different position than an individual senator or contributor to the university who can exchange viewpoints with the professor? Does she not think that there is a difference in having taken the position as a minister?

I have no problem with the situation in her individual capacity, which I respect. I and others here are contributors to universities, and when we disagree with those in universities, we have a right to challenge them and exercise our freedom of expression. I do not quarrel with that.

(1420)

The minister in a cabinet responsible for federal funding of universities has a different set of sensibilities and responsibilities. I raise the question as to whether or not this gives the honourable senator some pause to consider whether she, in her capacity as minister of the Crown, now exchanges viewpoints with a university professor and leaves the impression that it is not just a question of an exchange between a senator and a contributor. In other words, it seems the exchange is with a minister of the Crown, who has all of the attendant responsibilities of power, and she then raises questions of conflict with respect to the university. Does that not give her some question of pause, having said at the outset that we respect any senator's right to exchange views with a university professor?

In this instance, I read with great care Professor Behiels article. I can understand the leaders concern, but there is a different set of sensibilities here, particularly when she is a minister of the Crown who has the power to exercise her will, not only as a senator, but also in her capacity as the minister of the Crown with respect to funding of universities.

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator. I did provide a copy of my letter to Lawrence Martin, by the way. He conveniently did not bother to repeat what I said in the letter.

I was not arguing with the professor on any constitutional or philosophical view that he had. I simply wanted him to acknowledge that he had told a falsehood. His views on the Constitution are well known. I happen not to share his views. I did not get into that. He wrote the column identifying himself with the university. I believe that, as a citizen, whether I happen to be a cabinet minister or a senator, each of us is entitled to ask for an apology when a falsehood has been expressed.

I even said in the letter that I support the University of Ottawa. There is a scholarship there in the name of my late daughter and grandson.

All I ask for is an apology. Lawrence Martin did not make that clear. However, I do not think the fact that I am a cabinet minister or a senator matters. I just asked for a simple apology to a clear falsehood, and that was the end of the story.

Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have a brief supplementary question, and I will not belabour this issue. The facts are important. I appreciate that the minister has laid out these facts, but she said something that piqued my interest. She said in her personal capacity and therefore, I assume that when she responded to the university or responded by asking for an apology she used her personal stationery as opposed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate's stationery. Is that so?

Senator LeBreton: I used my regular Senate stationery. I actually wrote the Ottawa Citizen via email and I copied my email exchange with the Ottawa Citizen to the University of Ottawa and I also sent a copy to the professor in question. I was simply asking for a simple apology. I still do not think that is wrong.

I received an apology from the Ottawa Citizen, but I did not receive an apology from the person who said the untruthful comment in the first place.

[Translation]

Answer to Order Paper Question Tabled

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities—Canada Post

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answer to Question No. 17 on the Order Paper—by Senator Chaput.


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[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

National Defence Act
Criminal Code
Sex Offender Information Registration Act
Criminal Records Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator Nolin, for the third reading of Bill S-3, to amend the National Defence Act, the Criminal Code, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the Criminal Records Act.

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak at third reading of Bill S-3 because of the seriousness of its subject matter. Bill S-3 deals with women in the army who are victims of sexual assault and whose offenders have been recognized as such. The bill would create a special regime to allow male members of the Armed Forces not to be registered in the sex offender registry and their names not to be disclosed to police forces should other allegations of sexual assault arise.

This matter is serious, honourable senators. We know that the Canadian Armed Forces are currently recruiting to meet new recruiting requirements. I do not need to expand on that because many honourable senators have read about those recruitment objectives.

Essentially, what are we talking about when we talk about women in the Armed Forces? The latest statistics of women's participation in the Armed Forces show that 13 per cent are in the regular Armed Forces, 23 per cent of whom are in the reserve forces. The 13 per cent are distributed within the army ranks.

I thank the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Senator Oliver, for his chairmanship throughout the study of Bill S-3. The committee heard testimony from two credible and, in my opinion, important witnesses: Ms. Karen Davis, a defence scientist at the Canadian Forces Leadership Institute in Kingston, Ontario, who served in the army for many years as a personnel selection officer; and Dr. Marcia Kovitz, professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at John Abbott College, an affiliate of the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women. Professor Kovitz earned her Ph.D. on the study of the plight of women as victims of sexual offences in the army. She authored the first chapter, "The Roots of Military Masculinity," in the book, Military Masculinities: Identity and the State. The testimony of these two important witnesses provided the committee with the most up-to-date information on that issue. According to the latest statistics, the percentage distribution in the army is as follows: 72 per cent of the women are nurses; 73 per cent of medical doctors are men; women comprise less than 4 per cent of pilots, combat officers and soldiers, and maintenance-and engineering-related trades. Those numbers show that women continue to be employed in positions that reflect traditional gender structures in the workplace. However, that gender structure does not prevent women from losing their lives on the battlefield. All honourable senators will remember that on May 17, 2006, Captain Nicola Goddard, 26 years old, lost her life in Afghanistan.

We know that when women join the first rank of combat forces, they face exactly the same responsibility as the men. However, when women join the army, they face an additional obstacle: they are women and, being women, they enter a male-dominated world, where they become, to some males, objects.

I refer honourable senators to the report of that special study. The conclusion clearly summarized that the male culture and associated ideology in reference to the social and sexual behaviour of women coupled with the low power status of women in the military provides its own definition of "harassment," "fraternization" and social and "sexual behaviour."

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Women who come forward with allegations of harassment may already be perceived as a problem. Speaking up may only serve to confirm this perception. Not only are women running a risk in the army, but, if they come forward, they are perceived to be troublemakers and individuals who cannot make it.

If a woman finally succeeds in her complaint of sexual harassment to have the person, a male — without any reference to rank — convicted, she faces the situation of continuing to work in the same unit for operational purposes. This creates an additional plight for women who have gone through the legal military system.

Honourable senators, there are two important issues. If we are to create an exception that allows the military not to register persons who have been found guilty of sexual offences, the system must be transparent. We have to know what it is all about because we would create the perception that a man responsible for a sexual offence is protected in that his name will not be in the sexual registry. We need a strict and well-framed regime so that the perception is not created that we are establishing a cloud of protection for a person, a male in the army who has been found guilty of a sexual offence.

When we studied that bill and heard those two witnesses, they came to specific conclusions, which I would like to read to honourable senators. They are very simple.

Professors Davis and Kovitz concluded that the sections of the bill which deal with those exemptions of registration in the sexual registry provide unwarranted suspension. They are not sufficiently precise in identifying what constitutes an operational reason not to register the name in the registry. They are not sufficiently precise in determining the overall length of time that the operational reasons allow the name to not be put in the registry. Finally, they allow for the potential employment of an offender in an environment that presents real or perceived risk to the victim.

Honourable senators, we had to wrestle with those four preoccupations: When is the suspension of writing the names in the registry warranted? What are the conditions for which the names should not be in the registry? How long can the names be excluded from the registry? How do we deal with a member of the Armed Forces who has been recognized as a victim and would be compelled to work in the same environment that would bring her close to the offender?

We have heard the representative of the Canadian Armed Forces. There is no doubt that there has been improvement in the conditions for women compared to 15 years ago, but there are still major problems. The ombudsman of the army, in his November 2005 report, concluded that a number of improvements have to be implemented for victims as to how they are treated during a criminal investigation in relation to a sexual offence. In other words, the system is not yet perfect.

Transparency is a key issue for the military justice and military police system. Senator Nolin will remember that when we went through the amendments to the National Defence Act, we reviewed the report of former Chief Justice Lamer, published in September 2003, which was essentially a follow-up to former Chief Justice Dickson's report that highlighted the importance of independent oversight of the military police and the military justice system. I would refer honourable senators to pages 77 and 78 of that report.

I recognize that Bill S-3 has been improved from the original script of Bill S-39 a year and a half ago. I praise the Minister of National Defence, who has given some protection of civilian control over authorizations not to register the name, but there must be a further step. It is important that Parliament be informed when such an authorization has been given. A November 2005 letter from the Deputy Judge Advocate General, Military Justice, to the clerk of our committee established clearly, in a chart, the court-martial date, the rank of the member of the Armed Forces who was the offender, the charge, the details of the charge and then the administrative procedure. Of course, we have no name and no details of where the offence took place so that we protect the privacy of the victim and the civilian context of the situation. However, we can have those other details.

I humbly submit to honourable senators that this bill should require the Minister of National Defence, in his annual report, to report to Parliament exactly the same details that we receive from the Deputy Judge Advocate General so that we would know on a yearly basis how many exceptions were created to not place in the registry the name of the sexual offender in the army.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Serge Joyal: Following those points, honourable senators, I move:

That Bill S-3 be not now read a third time but that it be amended in clause 4,

(a) on page 14, by adding after line 24 the following:

"(1.1) If the Chief of the Defence Staff is considering making a determination, he or she shall notify the Minister before making the determination.

(1.2) The Chief of the Defence Staff may make a determination only if he or she is of the opinion that the operational reasons are of such an exigent nature as to outweigh the public interest in applying the provisions of this Act that would, but for the determination, be applicable in the circumstances."; and

(b) on page 16,

(i) by adding after line 3 the following:

"(6) The Chief of the Defence Staff shall, every 15 days after making a determination under this section, consider whether the operational reasons continue to apply and, if they do not, shall revise the date on which the operational reasons cease to apply accordingly.

(7) Subsection (6) applies until the date that is provided in the notice under subsection (4) as the date on which the operational reasons cease to apply, unless a revision is made under subsection (6).

(8) If a revision is made under subsection (6),

(a) the Chief of the Defence Staff shall, without delay, notify the Provost Marshal of the revision;

(b) the Provost Marshal shall, without delay, notify the person who is the subject of the determination of the revision;

(c) in the case of a determination made under paragraph 1(b) or (c), the Provost Marshal shall, without delay, notify the persons referred to in paragraph 5(a) or (b) of the revision and of the revised date on which the suspension of the time limit or proceeding ceases to apply; and

(d) a person who registers information for the Provost Marshal shall revise the date that was registered under paragraph 8.27(a) of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act as the date on which the suspension of the time limit, proceeding or obligations ceases to apply.", and

(ii) by adding after line 31 the following:

2.27.171(1) The Chief of the Defence Staff shall, within 30 days after the end of each year, submit a report to the Minister on the operation of sections 227.15 and 227.16 for that year that includes

(a) the number of determinations that were made under each of paragraphs 227.15(1)(a) to (d) and the duration of the suspension of the time limit, proceeding or obligation resulting from each determination; and

(b) the number of determinations that were made under subsection 227.16(1) and the number of persons who were exempted under subsection 227.16(4) as a result of each determination.

(2) The Minister shall cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the Minister receives the report.

On motion of Senator Oliver, debate adjourned.

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Constitution Act, 1867

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator LeBreton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Comeau, for the second reading of Bill S-4, to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate tenure).

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: Does someone move adjournment of the debate?

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: I move the adjournment of the debate.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will all those in favour of the motion signify by saying "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will all those contraminded say "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the yeas have it.

On motion of Senator Carstairs, debate adjourned, on division.

Budget Implementation Bill, 2006, No. 2

Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Di Nino, seconded by the Honourable Senator Oliver, for the second reading of Bill C-28, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, it is with honour that I rise to speak to this budget. While I will start with being positive, I am hard pressed to sustain that for the 45 minutes I have to speak about this budget.

There are commendable things in this budget. I could list them by reading previous Liberal budgets, because most of the commendable things appeared in those budgets. I notice the increase in tax exemptions for fishers; I commend the government for bringing that in. Small- and medium-sized business in this country, particularly fishers, people who work in the commodity industries in this country, deserve that kind of assistance. In fact, it is overdue and it is good that it has been brought in.

There are probably other things that commend this budget, but they do not jump off the page at me. Instead, I see three themes that concern me deeply. The first one, in particular, puzzles me. It is one of the great ironies of Canadian, North American and probably world politics that, while the myth is perpetrated that conservatives are best at running economies, it always seems that, when one scrapes below the surface, it simply is not the case.

You would think that in the first purely Conservative budget bill — because the earlier one was a carryover in part from the Liberals — the Conservatives, if they lived up to their reputation, would have focused on the economy and one of the critical issues in our economy today, which is productivity. Not only is productivity not addressed in this particular budget, the government has taken steps in this budget, and in its other economic policy over last year, to reduce the productivity of our economy. This is at a time when productivity is an overwhelming issue for our economy and at a time when our economy is falling significantly behind one of our key trading partners, the United States.

How do I conclude that this budget has hurt the productivity of our economy and of our country? First, it does precious little for education. In fact, it has stated that it is somehow helping education by bringing in this textbook tax credit. The textbook tax credit works only for those who have enough money to go to a post-secondary institution in this country, and only if they have taxable income once they get there. If those two provisions occur, then they would get $77.50. That is unlikely to stimulate education or to open up greater access for people who now have limited access to education. This education textbook tax credit, which has been construed as some kind of initiative to support post-secondary education and lifelong learning in this country, simply will not do that.

A second initiative in that regard is the exemption for scholarship income. Again, most people who receive scholarship income, I wager, do not have taxable income. They were not paying taxes on that money in any event, so this initiative will not open up greater access, nor will it give them more money to allow them to pursue education at a higher level longer. It will not do anything except, perhaps, send this artificial spin message on behalf of the government that somehow they are doing something for education. They simply are not.

Measure that against the Liberals' initiative to assist significantly with tuition in first and fourth year in post-secondary university education systems. That was an initiative. Hopefully, one day it will again be the initiative of the next government. That would truly open up access for people who are limited in their access to a post-secondary institution because they do not have enough money to go to the institution, let alone to buy the books. Neither do they have the taxable income that would allow them to receive the paltry $77.50, which would not help them go to university anyway.

The second theme that concerns me about this budget is that, for all that has been said about this government's ability to do politics, probably one of the most significant political issues in the last 50 years of this country was the environment — that is to say, global warming. These political geniuses missed it. It is almost incomprehensible to consider that they did, but they did. It is evident in this budget that it has been missed. The only thing in this budget that would confront the environmental issue is the transit tax credit.

Once again, I come back to conditions one needs to fulfil to get that tax credit. First, they need an income. Second, the income needs to be large enough to be taxable. Third, if they have both of those things, they probably do not need the $12 a month that the initiative might assist them to recover in the event that they were taking the bus. The former Minister of the Environment, Rona Ambrose, made the point — though it has not been confirmed, nor could it be probably — that the transit tax credit has taken the equivalent of 56,000 cars off the road. Honourable senators, $12 per month has caused 56,000 Canadians to stop driving their car. It is absolutely implausible and it has not occurred. If we want to do something about public transit, we should be taking money and directing it specifically to upgrading public transit. We need a national transit policy that will allow us to coordinate transit programs across the country. Municipalities and cities in different regions often have many of the same problems, but this kind of piecemeal $12 a month program does nothing for either transit or the environment.

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The government, which is now reverse field, cancelled all kinds of Liberal programs that had efficiency ratings as high as $10 a ton of saved CO2. This program, if it were to save any CO2 at all, which is questionable, would probably be in the order of $2,500 a ton. It simply defies logic, colleagues, that this would be construed as a transit policy, an assistance to people who are in need or an environmental policy.

The overriding theme in this budget that concerns me deeply, honourable senators, is that it emphasizes help for the advantaged, does nothing for the disadvantaged and does that in a cynical way in most places.

I will use as an example the fitness tax credit. In order to achieve that, you have to meet certain qualifications. You have to have an income that is taxable, and you have to have as much as $500 to put toward some kind of physical activity for your children.

Senator Mercer: Does that work in the inner city?

Senator Mitchell: That is exactly the point. I noticed Senator Di Nino yesterday listing the activities that would qualify for this credit. Many are quite common Canadian activities. I wonder how many inner city kids are in an organized hiking program. I was struck that hiking was on that list. How many inner city kids have parents who can afford to pay $500 to play hockey? What if you are an inner city child and your parent has $35 to get you in a soccer program? How does that help the parent who does not have a taxable income?? The program simply does not help impoverished and underprivileged families in this country. I can imagine a case where a family whose children are enrolled in polo and own horses and get lessons.

Senator Mercer: That is their constituency.

Senator Mitchell: They could get the $500 write-off. They would be eligible for that and get the $77.50. I can imagine families who have the money to rent ice for figure skating, an extremely expensive sport. They would have the $500, get to write that off and get the $77.50. I can also imagine the thousands of families whose children simply do not get to participate in programs like hockey, baseball and soccer simply because they do not have the money, and this program will not reach those children.

Imagine the $160 million that it will supposedly cost. Imagine what could be done if it could go to early childhood education, so that children who are less advantaged or underprivileged would have a chance early in life to get the start that the children of people in rooms like this one simply take for granted.

I am also concerned that this budget is part of a financial plan that increases taxes on the lowest income Canadians, those who at least have enough income to begin to pay taxes. They were taxed at 15 per cent, and now they are taxed at 15.5 per cent.

You have to ask yourself: What is it about this budget? Where does this budget come from? What other things could this budget have done? What priorities should it have reached?

Clearly, the budget should be focusing on the environment. Maybe the government is beginning to do that, but we have lost a year in programs that were up and running on Kyoto. I do not believe for a minute that Kyoto is not achievable. I have profound faith that Canadians are capable of great, remarkable things, and if they are focused, challenged, measured and given leadership in a way that was beginning to emerge, then all is possible. However, that is not in this budget, and it has missed a chance to lead Canadians in a way that would inspire greatness in this country on a world scale in an issue that is of our time and needs to be addressed.

In the area of education, I have mentioned that the tuition program was going to open up access and reduce costs in a real way for Canadians to enter post-secondary education. One project that would have tremendous impact at the post-secondary research level is the Canada school of energy project proposed by the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge. This budget neglects this project, which would allow those institutions to become a centre of excellence and provide leadership and sustainable economies for the environment, and in energy and water usage, all within the context of sustainable long-term economic development. They could lead the country, and, in turn, we could lead the world in many respects. That is an initiative that should have been captured in this budget but, of course, was missed. Research and development has been reduced in this budget.

There is this stark contrast, senators, between assisting those who already have incomes and whose kids can afford to go to ski racing programs, take figure skating or ride horses. Those kinds of expensive programs that wealthy people can afford will be supported, but, while supporting that kind of program, this budget absolutely neglects, and, in some senses, punishes the less fortunate. The following programs have been cut: $3.5 billion from workplace skills development programs; $17.7 million from literacy; and $5 million from the status of women advocacy programs. There has been the cancellation — not the reintroduction — of the low-income home retrofit program. There has been the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, which affects many issues affecting many less fortunate, disadvantaged people. Both the early childhood education program and the Kelowna accord have been cancelled.

The theme emerging in this budget is that wealthy people earning money and people who have security are rewarded by tax cuts, which, while they may not amount to all that much, certainly do not help the poor.

There is a litany of programs and initiatives that were in place or were about to be put in place that assisted the disadvantaged and the poor. How can it be that a government would reward the rich and punish the poor? It appears to me that is what is happening. It is a puzzle.

I spent 12 years in the legislature of Alberta watching Conservative budgets, and I saw the same kind of interesting, unfortunate irony that somehow the Conservative government can reward the rich and punish the poor and then be concerned about things like crime and blame people for a variety of social ills that occur in our society.

My point is that if we wanted to get serious on crime, we should get serious on poverty, early childhood education and the Kelowna accord — that would be getting serious on crime. None of that is evident in this budget.

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This budget raises the question: What is at its root? What has it tried to do and why? I think there is a philosophical question that, yes, somewhere deep within that, there is an explanation: You reward the rich and punish the poor. There is also a focus on a certain kind of cynical politics, a politics that says we can spin messages, we can reach specific groups. They do not feel that they need a broad base to form a government. They can spin messages to specific groups and try to buy those votes. It is a deeply cynical kind of politics that I think ultimately explains this kind of budget.

While one would think that with the new government there would be a chance for hope, for breakthroughs, for new answers to old questions and for new solutions to difficult problems, the first real Conservative fiscal budgetary initiative, Bill C-28, simply misses the mark. It is back to what I have seen in 12 years of budgets in the legislature in Alberta, a Conservative legislature at that time. It is back to what we see over and over again with the Conservative approach to government. Government can contribute to, lead upon, capture and fulfill great objectives on behalf of and with Canadians and none of them are in this budget: leadership in the environment, enhanced productivity, leadership in the world, and assisting people who are less fortunate to be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that most of us in this country simply take for granted.

Honourable senators, I believe that this budget is a fundamental disappointment. It does not further the quality of life, particularly of Canadians. It does not capture the greatness, the leadership that a government, at this critical time in Canada's history, could capture and provide. For that, I am immensely disappointed.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to and bill read second time.

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Di Nino, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.

[Translation]

Drinking Water Sources Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-208, An Act to require the Minister of the Environment to establish, in co-operation with the provinces, an agency with the power to identify and protect Canada's watersheds that will constitute sources of drinking water in the future. —(Honourable Senator Comeau)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would like to comment on this bill at second reading. Given that there have been changes in the government, I would like to consult my colleagues, as well as the new ministers involved. I move adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.

Human Rights

Motion to Authorize the Committee to Study Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 2005 Resolution on Anti-Semitism and Intolerance—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Stollery,

That the following Resolution on Combating Anti-Semitism which was adopted unanimously at the 14th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Association, in which Canada participated in Washington on July 5, 2005, be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights for consideration and that the Committee table its final report no later than October 30, 2006:

RESOLUTION ON COMBATING
ANTI-SEMITISM

Recalling the resolutions on anti-Semitism by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which were unanimously passed at the annual meetings in Berlin in 2002, in Rotterdam in 2003 and in Edinburgh in 2004,

1. Referring to the commitments made by the participating states emerging from the OSCE conferences in Vienna (June 2003), Berlin (April 2004) and Brussels (September 2004) regarding legal, political and educational efforts to fight anti-Semitism, ensuring that "Jews in the OSCE region can live their lives free of discrimination, harassment and violence",

2. Welcoming the convening of the Conference on Anti-Semitism and on Other Forms of Intolerance in Cordoba, Spain in June 2005,

3. Commending the appointment and continuing role of the three Personal Representatives of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE on Combating Anti-Semitism, on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, and on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions, reflecting the distinct role of each in addressing these separate issues in the OSCE region,

4. Reaffirming the view expressed in earlier resolutions that anti-Semitism constitutes a threat to fundamental human rights and to democratic values and hence to the security in the OSCE region,

5. Emphasizing the importance of permanent monitoring mechanisms of incidents of anti-Semitism at a national level, as well as the need for public condemnations, energetic police work and vigorous prosecutions,

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE:

6. Urges OSCE participating states to adopt national uniform definitions for monitoring and collecting information about anti-Semitism and hate crimes along the lines of the January 2005 EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism and to familiarize officials, civil servants and others working in the public sphere with these definitions so that incidents can be quickly identified and recorded;

7. Recommends that OSCE participating states establish national data collection and monitoring mechanisms and improve information-sharing among national government authorities, local officials, and civil society representatives, as well as exchange data and best practices with other OSCE participating states;

8. Urges OSCE participating states to publicize data on anti-Semitic incidents in a timely manner as well as report the information to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);

9. Recommends that ODIHR publicize its data on anti-Semitic crimes and hate crimes on a regular basis, highlight best practices, as well as initiate programs with a particular focus in the areas of police, law enforcement, and education;

10. Calls upon national governments to allot adequate resources to the monitoring of anti-Semitism, including the appointment of national ombudspersons or special representatives;

11. Emphasizes the need to broaden the involvement of civil society representatives in the collection, analysis and publication of data on anti-Semitism and related violence;

12. Calls on the national delegations of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to ensure that regular debates on the subject of anti-Semitism are conducted in their parliaments and furthermore to support public awareness campaigns on the threat to democracy posed by acts of anti-Semitic hatred, detailing best practices to combat this threat;

13. Calls on the national delegations of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to submit written reports at the 2006 Annual Session on the activities of their parliaments with regard to combating anti-Semitism;

14. Calls on the OSCE participating states to develop educational material and teacher training methods to counter contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, as well as update programs on Holocaust education;

15. Urges both the national parliaments and governments of OSCE participating states to review their national laws;

16. Urges the OSCE participating states to improve security at Jewish sites and other locations that are potential targets of anti-Semitic attacks in coordination with the representatives of these communities.—(Honourable Senator Segal)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I know that Senator Segal intends to speak to this motion. That is why I move adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.

Contribution of the Honourable Howard Charles Green to Canadian Public Life

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., calling the attention of the Senate to issues concerning the faithful and exemplary service to Canada, during his entire adult lifetime, of the late Honourable Howard Charles Green of British Columbia. —(Honourable Senator Campbell)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, since a number of senators wish to speak to this important inquiry, I move adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.

The Senate adjourned until Thursday, February 1, 2007, at 1:30 p.m.