- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- QUESTION PERIOD
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Speaker's Ruling
- Rouge National Urban Park Bill
- Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Bill, 2014
- The Senate
- Remembrance Day
- Peace Making
- Appendix - Senators Lists
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention the presence in our gallery of Dr. Gary O'Brien's family: his wife Colette and his daughter Émilie.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Colleagues, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. Gary O'Brien, the departing Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments. Dr. O'Brien once wrote that:
— parliamentary procedure is essentially the method by which a legislature's constitutional responsibilities are discharged . . .
W. F. Dawson, the great political scientist and expert on Canadian parliamentary democracy, elaborated on the same point, writing that our parliamentary traditions and rules:
— operate to guarantee the debate in Parliament which we consider necessary and to ensure that the government will be subject at all times to effective scrutiny by the representatives of those in the country who do not agree with its policies.
Parliamentary procedure makes our system a reality.
In short, colleagues, our rules of procedure, those often arcane, strange rules that bemuse and befuddle most outside observers, are really the bedrock on which our parliamentary democracy is built. And it is our table officers, led for the past five years by Dr. O'Brien as our Clerk, who are the guardians of that foundation.
We could not have hoped for a better person to fulfill that role. Dr. O'Brien began working on Parliament Hill in 1975, shortly after receiving his Master of Arts in Political Science from Carleton University. He started his career with the Library of Parliament, then moved over briefly to the House of Commons, before coming to his true home here in the Senate 35 years ago.
Through the years, he continued to deepen and expand his knowledge of parliamentary traditions and procedure, somehow carving out time to write a dissertation and earn a doctorate, again from Carleton. His topic was one the relevance of which everyone here can immediately appreciate, but I suspect he may have had a few challenges explaining it to family and friends. The title was: Pre-Confederation Parliamentary Procedure: The Evolution of Legislative Practice in the Lower Houses of Central Canada, 1792-1866. Gripping stuff for Sunday night dinners at the O'Briens!
It may sound obscure, but colleagues, the substance was anything but. In it, he described how legislative rules:
— mediated power and protected the weak from the strong, even though such rules were often resented.
Dr. O'Brien rose to the position of Deputy Clerk of the Senate and then, after seven years, as others do from time to time after seven years' work, he took an extended sabbatical, beginning in 2006. Well, he didn't call it a sabbatical — he thought he was retiring, but we knew better.
Gary's dedication to the Parliament of Canada, and especially to the Senate — his knowledge of and commitment to the rich traditions and ideals of this place, with all of their history reaching back centuries in British parliamentary history — meant that when we were looking for a new Clerk in 2009, he immediately and willingly set aside his plans for retirement and returned here.
This has not been an easy time to be the Clerk of the Senate. But Dr. O'Brien's knowledge, experience, quiet confidence and, last but most definitely not least, calm manner and excellent sense of humour all contributed immeasurably to our collective ability to address each of the very challenging issues we have faced in recent years. His concern has always been for the institution he serves, the Parliament and the Senate of Canada; our Canadian parliamentary democracy that this place embodies; and, of course, the many dedicated people he leads in serving this place. That last was especially evident on October 22 and in the days following. His calm leadership was a critical part of our Senate family's success during that difficult time.
Gary, you will be truly missed. I can't help but hope that, like the last time, you have simply used the wrong terminology — that when you say "retirement" what you really mean is "extended vacation," and that, in fact, before too long, in some capacity, you will find a way to once again share your deep knowledge and sage advice for the benefit of this place you have served so well. Until then, you know you are leaving us in good hands with the excellent team of table officers you have put in place.
In the meantime, our very best wishes for happiness to you and your family as you set out on your latest "sabbatical."
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, it is indeed an honour for me today to rise to pay tribute to Dr. Gary O'Brien on the occasion of his retirement as Clerk of the Senate.
Dr. O'Brien was named Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments on September 16, 2009. A search committee conducted in the Privy Council Office, since this is an order-in-council appointment, recommended Dr. O'Brien over several other people who had also applied. When he returned, he was no stranger to this place or to Parliament. Indeed, he served on Parliament Hill in various capacities, as Senator Cowan mentioned, since 1975, including in the Library of Parliament, in the House of Commons, as Chief of English Journals and as Director of Committees in the Senate, where I really got to know him well during a certain famous committee many of us worked on, better known as the Pearson Airport Inquiry and then as Deputy Clerk of the Senate.
As Leader of the Government in the Senate, I welcomed Gary back in his new position as Clerk. I congratulated him on his appointment and I specifically assured him that I understood the role of Clerk of the Senate, as I did mine as Leader of the Government in the Senate. I clearly understood that the Senate runs the Senate and that the government does not run the Senate, nor does the government run the House of Commons. I had no desire other than that this place be run properly, and I had nothing more to say to Gary O'Brien other than it was my hope that under him this place would be run properly and that he would do the right thing. I didn't want to see any more examples or hear any more stories of secret arrangements and of issues being swept under the carpet, so to speak.
So I know — and I'm confident that we all share this — that Gary O'Brien not only did the right thing, he entered the job understanding that doing the right thing, the ethical thing, was his primary responsibility. This was uppermost in his mind, and he never let us down on this front.
We have seen many positive steps made and much improvement in our Rules, and I want to thank him for that. As Senator Cowan stated, this has not been an easy job.
I also believe that as a result of some of those things that the Senate writ large has gone through over the past few years, as the new Speaker has pointed out, we will ultimately be a stronger institution.
I don't think many of my colleagues know that among the many articles and book reviews on parliamentary procedure that Gary has published, he also published a book which I happen to have. I've read it with great interest. In fact, I would highly recommend that you all read it. It's called Oswald's Politics and is about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As some of us also know, he taught courses at Algonquin College about the politics and all of the machinations surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.
In closing, I would like to thank you, Gary, Dr. O'Brien, for your loyal and dedicated service as Clerk and for doing the right thing. I'm sorry to see you go, and I wish you will all the very best as you embark on your retirement, and I think you mean it this time.
Gary, I know you'll be really missed by all of your colleagues, not only the people who work with you and under you, but also all of the senators on both sides and anyone who has had the great privilege of being in the Senate or employed by the Senate under your leadership. Thank you very much.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, it is indeed a pleasure and a privilege for me to stand today to give tribute to Dr. Gary O'Brien, who is soon to retire as our Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments. It is strange to imagine that Gary will actually soon be hanging up the black robes — and maybe, just maybe, for good this time.
Gary is originally from Toronto, but Parliament Hill has been his real home for many years. He started with the Library of Parliament in 1975 and then spent time with the House of Commons before he found his proper place in the Senate in 1980. That was the year that he joined the Senate. As others have stated, he served as our Chief of English Journals and our Director of Committees before he was named as Deputy Clerk in 1999. He served with distinction in that role until he took his first retirement in 2006. At that time we were saddened at the loss of a keen and insightful observer and friend. But little did we know that we wouldn't be without his presence for long — because in 2009 he returned to the Senate, but this time as our Clerk.
In all his work, Gary has shown loyalty, insight, learning, patience and tact. He brings a breadth of experience to any issue, and it has always been a pleasure to work with him. His passion about our parliamentary democracy is readily apparent to anyone who looks through the list of works that he has written. They cover topics as varied as the history of our parliamentary institutions, the requirements for Royal Recommendation and details about how a house of Parliament runs.
Recently he was the driving force behind the Parliamentary Treasures book, and before that he actively supported the updated Companion to the Rules of the Senate. I dare say that consulting his publications would be a solid starting point for anyone who wants to learn about the detailed operations of Parliament. His passion for parliamentary institutions is equally evident in his interest in assisting other countries that are striving to develop their structures of government.
As Clerk of the Senate, a major focus of Gary's work has been to promote the modernization of our policies and to encourage transparency. This work, essential to sustaining public confidence in our Parliament, has continued in a steady manner. Thanks to it we are now in a stronger position. Although challenges still remain, Gary's dedication to updating the way the Senate works has established a solid foundation upon which senators, with the help of his successors, will be able to build.
Also, his work as Clerk of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has been unrivalled. Gary has been a great adviser and administrator and has made the many issues the Senate has had to deal with in the last five years a bit more manageable.
Gary, however, is not one-sided, and his interests are not limited to Parliament. As Senator LeBreton stated earlier, he has authored a book about the Kennedy assassination. He has also been both a boater and a farmer. So even as he leaves Parliament, I am certain that Gary will have much to keep him busy and engaged, and I sincerely hope that this will be for many, many years to come.
Thank you, Gary, for all your work and devotion. You will be truly missed in this chamber. I wish you and Colette, Kevin and Émilie all the best in the years to come.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I want to pay tribute today to Dr. O'Brien, whom I first worked with 21 years ago during the Pearson Airport inquiry, which was quite an introduction to the Senate. But I want to spend a couple of minutes talking to you about his relationship with the Internal Economy Committee, which I was privileged to serve on as chair, and he was clerk of the committee.
I can honestly say that even under the difficult circumstances that we have experienced from time to time here, Dr. O'Brien was professional, he was on top of his files all the time, he was cooperative, but he was not afraid to challenge my opinion or debate an issue with me or with my deputy chair, George Furey.
He understands this place as well as anybody, but, more importantly, he has affection for it, and that is an important quality as Clerk. His understanding of and affection for the Senate was developed over decades working on the Hill, first, as many of you have already heard, at the Library of Parliament, second, in the House of Commons and then here in the Senate where, in preparation for his job as Clerk of the Senate, Gary spent the years from 1999 to 2006 as Deputy Clerk. That's where he learned his leadership skills. They were well honed.
One measure of a good leader is the respect that he inspires in his staff, and that was evident in Gary in nearly every interaction I had with his office. You could see the respect that he had for his staff and the staff had for him.
I want to say also that in the years that I've worked with Gary, there were few times that I heard him lose it, though I can tell you that the reverse was not true. But Gary has always been the perfect gentleman.
But there's more to Gary than just the Senate. Many of you mentioned farming, but he is also a hockey fan, like most of us. Unlike most of us though, he is a Leafs fan.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Tkachuk: Gary has the courage to literally wear his fandom on his sleeve. He wears it on his jacket. Many were the days just like this when Gary would arrive for a meeting in my office wearing his Leafs jacket. As an Edmonton Oilers fan, it created a kind of bond between us. We were linked by constant disappointment. But to wear that jacket says something about him, about his loyalty, his tenacity and his belief that things will get better. I prefer to think that it doesn't say something about his belief in lost causes.
He earned a PhD from Carleton, has done some teaching and has written a book on Lee Harvey Oswald as well. It's an interesting read and certainly a refreshing approach — a thinking man's approach to a man vilified by history.
I'd like to end with the fact that Gary has faced many crises, such as the Pearson Airport hearings, which were quite the hearings. Anybody who wants to read up on a little history could follow the transcripts of what happened there. As well, there was the H1N1 crisis; the reports of two Auditors General, the last of which, I believe, was in 1990; a private audit report on Senate expenses; and, of course, the terrible events in October.
I have to say, Gary, that after all these years it feels like friendship; so I'm going to miss you very much. I wish you the very best on behalf of all senators. We'll all miss you, your kindness and grace. To your family, I wish all the best. Farm well and enjoy yourself. It's too bad you have to go to those Leafs' games.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to honour the Toronto boy, Gary O'Brien, our dear Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments, who was called to this high office on September 16, 2009. Then, after retiring in 2006 following 26 years of service to the Senate in several related positions, he was persuaded to return and accept the Clerk of the Senate mantle, which he lays down today. This is a memorable day for him and for us. It is a rite of passage as he embarks on the next phase of his life's journey, his pilgrimage. Our Clerk, Gary O'Brien, served the Senate, senators and Canada with distinction. He is endeared to many of us for his selflessness, generous spirit and his fair-, balanced- and even-handedness.
Honourable senators, it is said that public service engages not only the devotion of the public person but also that of his whole family. I note that our Senate Clerk's beloved wife, Colette O'Brien, and his daughter, Émilie, are in the gallery today to share this special moment. His son, Kevin, could not be present today. I thank them for their great love and care of this special human being, Gary O'Brien, whom I have known and admired for my 31 years as a senator here.
Honourable senators, early in his career, Gary was able to learn that the key to successful leadership is to understand that the leader is the servant of those he leads. The chief is the servant of those he leads. I thank his devoted staff, Lucie Lavoie, Mireille Bonnerot, Maria Hernandez and Jimmy Manigat, for their good work and great service to him and to all senators.
When Gary was called back here in 2009, he was called by the following commission and Letters Patent, which I shall record here today:
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories QUEEN, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Gary William O'Brien,
of the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario,
KNOW YOU that, reposing special trust and confidence in your loyalty, integrity and ability, We, by and with the advice of Our Privy Council for Canada, did, on the ninth day of September in the year of Our Lord two thousand and nine and in the fifty-eighth year of Our Reign, constitute and appoint you,
GARY WILLIAM O'BRIEN
CLERK OF THE SENATE AND CLERK OF THE PARLIAMENTS
TO HAVE, hold, exercise and enjoy the office of Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments unto you, Gary William O'Brien, with all the powers, rights, authority, privileges, profits, emoluments and advantages unto that office of right and by law appertaining during Our Pleasure for a term of seven years, effective the sixteenth day of September in the year of Our Lord two thousand and nine.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent and the Great Seal of Canada to be hereunto affixed.
Honourable senators, the following, the Senate Clerk's Oath of office, was sworn to by Gary, and was administered by then Speaker Kinsella. It reads as follows:
Ye shall be true and faithful, and troth ye shall bear to Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and to Her Heirs and Successors; Ye shall nothing know that shall be prejudicial to Her Highness, the Crown, Estate, and Dignity Royal, but that you shall resist it to your power, and with all speed you shall advertise Her Excellency the Governor General thereof, or at least some of Her Council, in such wise as the same may come to Her Knowledge. Ye shall also well and truly serve Her Highness in the Office of Clerk of the Senate of Canada, to attend upon the Senate of Canada, making true entries and records of the things done and passed in the same. Ye shall keep secret all such matters as shall be treated in the said Senate, and not disclose the same before they shall be published, but to such as they ought to be disclosed unto; and generally Ye shall well and truly do and execute all things belonging to you to be done appertaining to the Office of Clerk of the said Senate. As God you help.
Honourable senators, I note that in 1988, then Liberal Deputy Leader, Senator Royce Frith, under then Senate Liberal Leader Allan MacEachen, recognized Gary O'Brien's great achievement, his Ph.D. from Carleton University. His thesis was titled Pre-Confederation Parliamentary Procedure: The Evolution of Legislative Practice in the Lower Houses of Central Canada, 1792-1866. Gary's love of parliament, its law, procedures and practices is abounding, as is his love of humanity. I close now with the first and last stanzas of Robert Frost's famous poem The Road Not Taken, about life choices, journey, pilgrimage and passages. Frost wrote:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; . . .
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I wish Gary and the loves of his life the very best in their future, which begins today.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would like to join my colleagues in paying tribute to Dr. Gary O'Brien. Dr. O'Brien is leaving us to take a well-deserved retirement after 35 years of service. During that time, he held various positions before he was finally appointed as Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments in 2009, a position that he still holds today.
I would like to thank Dr. O'Brien for the professional way in which he carried out his duties and for being readily available to help senators and our institution, which he served so well. Alert, attentive, committed and rigorous are words that perfectly describe Dr. O'Brien's attitude in carrying out his mandate as the Clerk of the Senate of Canada.
On behalf of all of my colleagues and the great Senate family, I would like to wish you an excellent retirement, Gary. Take advantage of this opportunity to pursue the dreams that you may have left by the wayside as you fulfilled your important responsibilities here. I also wish you good health so that you can fully enjoy this new chapter in your life.
Before I give my speech, I would like to say that I did not know that you were a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. You can always dream that your team will win the Stanley Cup, Dr. O'Brien, but I am sure that our friends, the Montreal Canadiens, will always be there blocking their way.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 5-5(j), I am pleased to move, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable James Cowan:
That the Senate desires to record their deep appreciation of the distinguished service rendered by Mr. Gary W. O'Brien as Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments; and that in acknowledgement of the dignity, dedication and profound learning with which he has graced the office, he be designated an Honourary Officer of this house with an entrée to the Senate and a seat at the table on occasions of ceremony.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and other Acts.
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Martin, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, Health Canada has recently spent over $7 million on a 10-week advertising campaign on marijuana use and the dangers of drug abuse. The entire advertising budget for Health Canada for the previous fiscal year was $5.2 million, which included the promotion of food safety, immunization, adverse drug reactions and the health and safety of Canada. Yet $7 million was spent on the 10-week campaign on marijuana use.
The Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada all refused to endorse the campaign, citing the overtly political and partisan nature of the issue of marijuana use. In a joint statement, the three national medical organizations defended their decision to not endorse the government's anti-pot campaign stating:
We did not and do not support or endorse any political messaging or political advertising on this issue.
Was it just a coincidence that the $7 million campaign took place at the same time as the Conservative Party anti-pot ads were taking place attacking Justin Trudeau, who said he would legalize marijuana? The Conservative Party attack ads and the taxpayer- funded ads were indistinguishable from one another. This, honourable senators, is an abuse of public money.
Senator Carignan, why should the taxpayers of Canada pay for Conservative Party election campaigning?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, I think it's clear that Health Canada's role is to inform Canadians about things that are bad for their health. I don't think that informing children and parents about the harmful effects of using marijuana has anything to do with politics. We know that marijuana has harmful effects on adolescent brain development and on the lungs of anyone who uses it. We will therefore continue to fulfill our responsibility to inform the public.
Senator Cordy: I totally agree that the role of Health Canada is to inform Canadians about what is unhealthy. I find it hard to believe that it's a coincidence that the $7 million in taxpayer-funded ads took place at the same time the Conservatives' attack ads against Mr. Trudeau and against legalizing marijuana were taking place. As I said earlier, the ads were indistinguishable from one another.
The government has a history of abusing taxpayers' money in partisan advertising campaigns. We know the 2013-14 Better Jobs advertising campaign included $2.5 million on ads promoting the Canada Job Grant which didn't exist. The government pulled the campaign during an investigation by Advertising Standards Canada, which concluded that the ads were misleading.
Why does this government continue to use taxpayers' money as Conservative Party money to promote their party brand?
Senator Carignan: Senator, the government is responsible for informing Canadians about important programs and services available to them. Advertising, as you know, is critical to letting people know about such important things as economic stimulus measures, tax credits and public health. Our government handles taxpayer money with the utmost respect, and we require government operations to be carried out at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. Our government will continue to take steps to increase accountability and transparency and to protect taxpayers' interests.
You have to admit that the Liberal Party has zero credibility when it comes to advertising. When we allocate money to advertising, we actually spend it on advertising, not on lining the pockets of our buddies.
Senator Cordy: The role of government is to inform Canadians. The role of Health Canada is to inform Canadians about what is healthy and not healthy. When we have the Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons all saying, and I quote, "We did not and do not support or endorse any political messaging or political advertising on this issue," then it speaks for itself, and I would have to say to you that Canadian taxpayers' money has not been treated with respect by this government.
You have continuously shown that you're crossing the line with Conservative Party advertising and advertising that is to inform Canadians about what is healthy or not healthy. The line has been crossed numerous times, and Advertising Standards Canada concluded that the Better Jobs advertising campaign was misleading. That's in addition to what the three medical organizations said about the advertising campaign on marijuana — which cost significant amounts of money. Far more was spent on that marijuana ad campaign than had been spent in the whole previous year for Health Canada in educating and informing Canadians.
The finance minister is requesting ideas for the next budget. Will the government commit to structuring rules about what constitutes non-partisan, taxpayer-funded advertising, and will the next budget slash the amount of money that this government is spending on advertising?
Senator Carignan: Senator Cordy, we will, as you know, continue to inform Canadians about the harmful effects of marijuana use on health. You can rest assured of that. I see that you have become involved in the Liberal Party's campaign in a more partisan manner. I don't know whether you asked for Mr. Trudeau's permission to become involved in the campaign. One thing is certain: we will continue to inform Canadians.
Senator Cordy: You will continue to inform Canadians. That's the job that a government should be doing, but the information that you're giving should not be partisan. It should not be Conservative, and you made mention again about the marijuana ads.
The status quo is not working. A system in Canada that would control and regulate marijuana would make it harder to buy, and it would keep our children safer. Legalizing marijuana would also mean the profits would not be going to organized crime and to street gangs.
Canadian youth continue to be one the biggest consumers of marijuana in the Western world, so the status quo is not working. Perhaps the $7 million could be better spent on something that would benefit Canadians and not the Conservative Party.
Government efforts curtailing the prevalence of pot use among Canadian youth are simply a failure. The $7 million ad campaign does nothing more than maintain the status quo and appears more aimed at supporting the Conservative Party re-election agenda than seriously advancing Health Canada's anti-marijuana efforts.
So I ask you again: Will this government, in its budget that has already been delayed, reduce the amount of money that this government is spending on advertising, particularly partisan advertising, and will you commit to structuring rules about what constitutes non-partisan taxpayer-funded advertising?
Senator Cowan: You know the answer to that. Do you really have to ask?
Senator Carignan: Your question is amusing, senator. You vote against harsher sentences and Criminal Code amendments to reduce crime and drug trafficking because you say that that does not work, and that we should focus on prevention instead. When we invest in a national prevention strategy, such as the one for health, for example, you vote against the budget so that there is no money for national prevention strategies. Then, when we use advertising to inform Canadians, especially teenagers, about the harmful effects of drug abuse, you oppose that as well. You should perhaps make up your mind and one day recognize that complex situations may require different approaches that must be well-balanced and well-structured, as shown, for example, by our anti-drug ads.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: My question is also for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Senator Cordy's questions caused me to think of something with regard to the upcoming budget, leader. In terms of ideas or items that might find their way into the budget, is there any plan to have a concerted effort to focus on the unhealthy amount of salt and sugar that is found in our foods?
Just this past week, there was a finding in the United States at the Food and Drug Administration with regard to toddlers' foods. I think they said their amount of sodium is 20 per cent more than what is acceptable for healthy toddlers.
I wonder, are there plans in the upcoming budget to do that kind of advertising, to look to the health of Canadians and Canadian youth?
Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): I hear your question, senator. The Minister of Finance is conducting pre-budget consultations. Therefore, I invite you to send your suggestions to the minister, just like Canadians do. Your advertising suggestion should perhaps be forwarded to the minister. However, can you guarantee that Senator Cordy will not vote against it because it is advertising?
Senator Moore: I can go along with that, leader, as long as you don't put it in an omnibus bill. Do you promise not to bring in an omnibus bill?
Senator Carignan: We will not speculate about the content of the budget, but I can assure you that it will be an economic plan that fits in with our government's priorities, which are economic growth and job creation. I expect that you will support it enthusiastically.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I now wish to deal with the point of order raised by Senator Moore on December 12, 2014, with respect to omnibus bills.
While the point of order was raised in relation to Bill C-43, a second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures, Senator Moore challenged omnibus bills more generally. He stated that they
. . . contain many issues that are not at all related. It is thus improper to put senators in the position of having to vote once on many unrelated issues. This is fundamentally unfair and out of order.
In outlining his concern Senator Moore addressed Canadian, provincial and international practice, as well as noting some of the literature on the matter. He summarized his position by stating that problems stemming from omnibus bills are ". . . getting worse. Somebody must take a stand."
Several senators supported these views. Senator Fraser distinguished between bills amending a wide range of laws, but clearly linked by a common thread, and those that bring together very disparate matters. She placed Bill C-43 into the latter category, a view shared by Senator Day. Senator Chaput explained, by reference to a concrete case, how omnibus bills may lead to insufficient study of some important parts of a bill, while Senator Ringuette felt that such measures impair the Senate's duty to provide sober second thought. In supporting the point of order, Senator Eggleton then noted that he actually supported some parts of Bill C-43, but, because of its broad scope, it does not allow parliamentarians to express themselves properly.
Other senators challenged these arguments. Senator Martin referred to practices in the other place when explaining that omnibus bills are an accepted part of Canadian parliamentary practice. Senator Smith (Saurel) and Senator Lang outlined how they think Bill C-43 does have a common thread — implementing a wide-ranging budget plan to deal with a challenging international economic situation and promote prosperity for Canadians. The Leader of the Government, Senator Carignan, expressed understanding for the concerns raised by Senator Moore, but underscored that the Senate can adapt its procedures as it wishes in order to deal with such problems. This house has, for example, adjusted the pre-study process provided for in the Rules in a way that allows input from a range of committees. This may help deal with some of the concerns noted.
During the consideration of the point of order a consensus developed that the Senate's studies of Bill C-43 should not be delayed. Proceedings on the bill could thus continue, and it received Royal Assent the next week. While Bill C-43 is therefore no longer an issue, the broader issue about omnibus bills remains. It is, as you know, not new. Several honourable senators have objected to large and complex bills at various times over the years, so a review of the topic is timely.
Despite the concerns about omnibus bills, there has actually been only one point of order on the issue in the Senate since 1984. In a ruling given on October 23, 2003, the Speaker stated that he was ". . . unaware of any requirement that [an omnibus] bill must possess a common theme . . .".
The situation is quite different in the other place, where the Speaker has addressed about the question of omnibus bills on a number of occasions. As indicated in the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, at p. 725, "It appears to be entirely proper, in procedural terms, for a bill to amend, repeal or enact more than one Act, provided that the requisite notice is given, that it is accompanied by a royal recommendation (where necessary), and that it follows the form required. The Speaker of the Commons has sometimes been asked to divide a bill, but has declined to do so without guidance and authority from the house. As stated on June 8, 1988, "Until the House adopts specific rules relating to omnibus Bills, the Chair's role is very limited and the Speaker should remain on the sidelines as debate proceeds and the House resolves the issue."
When an omnibus bill comes to the Senate from the House of Commons, we must be mindful of the fact that we are dealing with a bill already adopted by one of the component parts of Parliament. We ought not to question how or why the other place adopted the measure, but should fulfil our legislative work by conducting our own careful and independent — or autonomous — review in the way that best meets our needs. There may be situations where procedural issues can arise in relation to a bill from the Commons — I think, for example, of the occasional cases where it is found that Royal Consent is required for a bill — but they are infrequent.
In his point of order Senator Moore said that "Somebody must take a stand" with regards to omnibus bills. To the extent senators agree that there is a problem with this type of bill, this statement may have merit. It is not, however, for the Speaker, acting unilaterally, to decide what stand to take, or when to take it. The Speaker deals with procedural issues, in light of our Rules and practices. The Senate's Rules are silent about omnibus bills, and our practices allow for them. From this perspective, such measures are a part of how the Canadian Parliament operates. In addition, we must not lose sight of the fact that, at least in procedural terms, the question put on an omnibus bill — not the content of the bill, but the actual question — is quite simple. It is whether the bill will be read a second or third time. Bills are thus quite different from complex questions, where the Speaker may, in very rare situations, exercise some discretion by dividing a motion.
Honourable senators, it may be helpful at this point to reflect briefly upon some more general issues that are relevant to omnibus bills. As the Supreme Court stated in the 2014 decision on the Reference re Senate reform, the Senate is ". . . one of Canada's foundational political institutions. It lies at the heart of the agreement that gave birth to the Canadian federation." As members of this house we have various duties and responsibilities, including representing our regions, legislative work, holding government to account, international work through parliamentary diplomacy, the protection of minorities, and the study and support of public policy issues. We bring our divergent backgrounds and experiences to the national Parliament as we perform these roles.
Drawing on the wealth of experience among its members, the Senate is well placed to act as a complementary chamber within Parliament. The idea of complementary does not imply that one house is inferior to the other. Instead, the Senate and the House of Commons play different roles and interact with each other in a way that may sometimes, it is true, result in a level of tension. But this leads to an effective system of government that is greater than the sum of its parts. This interaction has been a key part of the country's constitutional architecture since its founding. Working together the houses enrich and strengthen our national Parliament. The Senate provides a different perspective from the House of Commons, even when studying similar questions, and focuses on different issues. This house can therefore provide a careful and autonomous second review of measures adopted by the elected house. Our generally less intensely partisan atmosphere, and the good working relationships we develop amongst ourselves, regardless of political affiliation, greatly assist us in performing these responsibilities.
I say this, honourable senators, because nothing should prevent us from reconsidering how we deal with omnibus bills, or any aspect of our business, if we feel that changes could help us better perform our role as parliamentarians. We must ensure that we continue to fulfil the expectations of Canadians as well as the role this house was given by those who developed our basic structures of government.
A central issue underlying Senator Moore's point of order is the way in which the Senate deals with budgetary measures and bills with financial implications. In this regard, I would remind honourable senators that almost 100 years ago a special committee studied the rights of the Senate with respect to financial legislation. Its report — generally called the Ross Report — was tabled on May 15, 1918, and adopted on May 22. It may be timely to review this topic, so that honourable senators can consider how, in the modern context, this house can best use its powers to fulfil its duties. In any such review, attention would also have to be given to the principle, enunciated by Sir John A. Macdonald, that the Senate ". . . will never set itself in opposition against the deliberate and understood wishes of the people." The proper bounds for this self-imposed limitation certainly merit reflection.
As a related point, the Senate — perhaps through one of its committees — may wish to review the way in which it could better ensure government accountability, particularly in relation to public finances and expenditures. Our practices allow the National Finance Committee to develop a strong understanding of the Estimates and the workings of government. The value of this broad oversight role has been recognized by observers, but it may be desirable to ensure that other committees develop a similar capacity. Without affecting the role of the National Finance Committee, the Senate could consider having other committees also study specific parts of the Estimates relevant to their subjects. An understanding of how other jurisdictions — both within Canada and abroad — deal with such matters would assist any evaluation of how this institution could adjust its operations.
To focus more specifically on the issue of omnibus bills, it is also possible to identify various ways in which the Senate could change its procedures, if there is a wish to do so. Here again, information on procedures for dealing with such bills in other jurisdictions would be helpful. In Saskatchewan, for example, the Rules specifically circumscribe the situations in which omnibus bills can be introduced. Only those dealing with a single broad policy or making a similar amendment to existing acts are allowed.
In the Senate a practice has developed to use pre-study for budget implementation bills, and to allow different committees to provide input in relation to those parts that are relevant to their field of expertise. A first simple change might be to include this process in the Rules so that it becomes the norm for all omnibus bills.
Going one step further, a second option would be to make the process automatic for large or complex bills, rather than optional. With such a change, the National Finance Committee would be able to study the subject matter of budget implementation bills in collaboration with other committees, but without waiting for an order of reference from the Senate.
A third option, and a variation on this idea, would be to develop a way for different parts of an omnibus bill to be referred to different committees after second reading. This would allow the committees to study the elements of the bill relevant to their fields in detail and to actually propose their own amendments.
Even without such changes, senators have powerful tools available. Most dramatically, the Senate can defeat a bill, even one proposed by a minister, without bringing about the fall of the government. We have even done so with a budget implementation bill in the past. Senators also have the option, which they regularly exercise, of proposing amendments to bills in committee and at third reading.
The rarely-used possibility of dividing a bill is another tool available to the Senate, if there is a concern that a bill is too large or complex. Within our current practices, a committee cannot propose dividing a bill without special authority from the Senate. The Rules could, however, be amended to give a committee dealing with an omnibus bill the power to propose division on its own initiative, if it decides either that this could assist the Senate's study of the bill or that there is no common theme between the different parts of the bill. Such a course of action should, of course, only be taken after the sponsor has had ample opportunity to provide reasons against dividing the bill or to explain the common theme linking its different parts together.
These are only some ideas. There are no doubt other ways that we can deal with any concerns that may exist in relation to omnibus bills. However, within the current framework of the Rules of the Senate and practices such bills are acceptable and can proceed through the Senate in the same way as any other bill. Nothing should prevent the Senate, perhaps after study by the Rules Committee, from reconsidering how it deals with omnibus bills if it so wishes. Any changes are, however, for the chamber itself to decide, and not for the Speaker to impose.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. moved second reading of Bill C-40, An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park.
He said: Honourable senators, it is with great pride that I rise today to speak to Bill C-40, An Act respecting the Rouge National Urban Park, and I am honoured to be the bill's sponsor in the Senate.
As senators may know, the Rouge has a well-deserved reputation as a special place for many Canadians, particularly those who live in the Greater Toronto Area. I have the privilege of living very close to the park, and through the years my family and I have frequently visited the park and the agricultural areas that will be included in the new park. These trips are a source of many fond memories of the natural beauty and experience the park has to offer. Our house is just over 50 metres away from the Glen Eagle Vista. The Glen Eagle Vista gives you a bird's-eye view of the beauty of the park. From this viewpoint, you can see the Rouge River and Little Rouge Creek valleys, where the trees are abundant and amazing colour variations are displayed as the seasons change, while most of the time birds of prey circle in the sky above.
My family and I were religious in visiting the valley, walking along the Rouge River while watching fish and crayfish as they zigzag along the rocky shores. A few minutes of driving from our home will lead us to Rouge Beach, where we can walk on the white sands, or a nice pathway, to view the vast and beautiful Lake Ontario. Summertime is berry time, and, as for a lot of families, my family has fun picking berries on the nearby farms. We have amazing personal stories of our encounter with nature and agriculture, and what is more astounding is that all of it is just around the corner, just minutes away even from the far end of the city.
Honourable senators, Bill C-40 is an opportunity to provide, once and for all, the level of recognition and protection that the Rouge deserves. Let us all seize the moment.
Once under the care of Parks Canada, parklands will be protected in perpetuity for future generations of Canadians to enjoy. Indeed, the Rouge National Urban Park act will allow the Rouge's natural, cultural and agricultural resources and landscapes to be protected forever.
Located in Canada's largest metropolitan area with a population of almost 7 million, the planned Rouge National Urban Park is a rich mixture of forests, meadows, wetlands and farmlands. This area of 58 square kilometres will be easily accessible to the residents of the GTA and the 13.5 million tourists that visit Toronto annually.
The creation of Rouge National Urban Park pays homage to the many men and women from local community groups and all levels of government that have worked hard for over 30 years to conserve these important lands.
The park's creation also pays tribute to over 10,000 years of rich First Nations history as well as to the local farmers that have worked park lands and produced local Rouge Valley foods since as early as 1799. These people are the driving force behind Bill C-40, and this legislation will make the dream of a national urban park a reality.
The bill before you is a legislative response to a comprehensive consultation process through bodies like the Rouge Park Alliance, and Parks Canada has consulted with 150 stakeholder groups and heard from 11,000 Canadians. These include 10 First Nations that are active members of the First Nations Advisory Council.
In addition to this consultation, what we have before us for consideration is the result of a lengthy and complex set of negotiations and agreements reached between various levels of government. The regions of Durham and York, the municipalities of Toronto, Markham and Pickering, and the Province of Ontario have all committed lands towards the park through signed agreements.
Honourable senators, under its new national designation, the Rouge will thrive and receive unprecedented legislative protection. This legislation will create Canada's first national urban park — an entirely new type of protected area — and will make Canada an emerging leader in the global movement towards urban protected areas and green spaces.
Parks Canada will maintain and nurture the collaborative relationships it has forged with stakeholders, various levels of government, First Nations, and national and local organizations. This unique urban setting demands unique legislation that will provide for a balanced approach to allow for ecological conservation, sound agricultural practices and continued urban existence.
The park has a long tradition of farming that is a very important part of the Rouge's heritage — past, present and future. Parks Canada will continue to work closely with farmers in the park to ensure the vibrancy of the park's large farming community.
Honourable senators, you may appreciate that farms are, in one sense, an endangered species in most urban areas in Canada and around the world. Rouge National Urban Park will protect large tracts of Class 1 farmland, the rarest and most fertile in the country. Farms in the park will continue to produce food while providing visitor experiences and contributing to the overall health of the park.
Parks Canada will provide farmers with long-term stability to help support the park's rich agricultural heritage; farmers, in turn, will contribute to the health of the park through innovation and a strong commitment to sustainable farming practices and conservation.
At present, farmers in the area are subject to leases on a year-by-year basis. This legislation allows for Parks Canada to develop long-term leases and, based on consultation of course, can establish mandatory best practices standards that will ensure responsible and innovative use of the land.
As senators may be aware, the percentage of Canadians who have a direct connection with their natural, cultural and agricultural heritage is shrinking. Given that Rouge National Urban Park will be located within Canada's largest, most culturally diverse metropolitan area, the Rouge National Urban Park is ideally placed to serve as a gateway for urban Canadians to experience our incredible system of nationally protected heritage areas.
Honourable senators, Parks Canada believes that accessibility and a welcoming atmosphere are crucial to creating a park that will appeal to urban residents, including youth and new Canadians.
Drawing on its outstanding expertise in visitor experience and education, Parks Canada will develop a host of exciting programs and activities for Canadians to appreciate and enjoy this unique place. From the wide array of opportunities that will become offered once the park is created, visitors will be able to choose the adventures and discoveries that match their diverse interests. Our hope is that these experiences will inspire current and future generations to connect with Canada's natural, cultural and agricultural heritage from coast to coast to coast.
One aspect of Bill C-40 ensures that this vision is in fact under parliamentary scrutiny. Clause 9 requires the minister to prepare a management plan of the park and table it in both houses of Parliament within five years of the park's establishment. The clause ensures a mandatory review every 10 years. Also, by including the Rouge National Urban Park in the Parks Canada Agency Act, the minister has to table a report in both houses from the chief executive office on the state of the park every five years.
Honourable senators, in addition to offering educational and memorable experiences that foster knowledge, understanding and personal well-being, Parks Canada will help visitors to get even more personally involved in conservation and stewardship on a volunteer basis. The long-standing tradition of volunteerism in the Rouge, so evident in the past decades, will continue and indeed flourish in many ways under this new federal designation.
By seeking to protect and present nature, culture and agriculture in an integrated manner, we will be much more effective in connecting Canadians to the park's landscape mosaic and in providing the highest level of conservation across the entirety of the park. This is very much a historic undertaking, one that our grandchildren's grandchildren will be proud of many generations from now.
Honourable senators, by extending legislative protections beyond nature to include cultural and agricultural heritage, Bill C-40 sets a new standard that reflects Rouge National Urban Park's metropolitan location, landscape mosaic, fascinating history and strong ties with community residents.
Most notably, Bill C-40 is a significant strengthening of the legal protections in place for all of the park's natural, cultural and agricultural resources and landscapes.
I want to highlight clauses 17 and 18 of the bill that, for the first time in the Rouge's history, will specifically prohibit harmful activities such as poaching, polluting, dumping, theft of fossils, harassment of wildlife, hunting and mineral extraction. Indeed, this is a significant step forward in protecting the park's fragile resources, protections that are not currently there.
Bill C-40 will also dramatically increase park law enforcement measures which will ensure that Parks Canada wardens will have a year-round presence in the park. This, combined with strict penalties, will help ensure that invaluable assets — flora and fauna, fossils and artifacts — are protected to the full extent of the law.
Indeed, with legislation that is tailor-made for the Rouge's unique setting in the Greater Toronto Area, with year-round, dedicated law enforcement and with one clear set of park rules, no urban park in the world will be as well protected as the Rouge National Urban Park.
Let us not forget, honourable senators, that Parks Canada is the world's first and oldest national parks service, long recognized as an international leader in conservation and science-based management. Parks Canada has the expertise and experience needed to ensure that Rouge National Urban Park realizes its rich and full potential.
Honourable senators, the Government of Canada is committed to the protection of the Rouge's natural ecosystems, including forests, marshes and meadows, and the maintenance of native wildlife. In fact, Parks Canada has already begun to work on restoration projects in partnership with municipalities, conservation groups and farmers. These early projects involve the reintroduction of an endangered turtle species and creating solutions that will make it safer for wildlife to cross roads in the park. Remember, the infamous Highway 401 is but one of the several high-density traffic corridors that run across the park. Other restoration measures being taken already include working with farmers to improve wetland habitat that will benefit aquatic birds and resident turtles and frogs.
These projects reflect Parks Canada's rigorous and innovative scientific approach to park management — an award-winning approach often emulated around the world. To this end, Parks Canada will develop and apply a full suite of monitoring, assessment and reporting tools to maintain native wildlife and the health of park ecosystems. Indeed, Parks Canada's team of ecologists and scientists have already begun this important work.
Honourable senators, creating a national urban park provides a great mechanism to properly preserve and celebrate the region's remarkable human history. Aboriginal peoples have lived along the Rouge River for more than 10,000 years. Bead Hill National Historic Site and the Carrying Place National Historic Plaque both lay within the boundaries of the future national urban park. Under Bill C-40, both would enjoy, for the first time, legislative protection; and, as already mentioned, Parks Canada is working closely with First Nations to ensure that this living history is an important part of Rouge National Urban Park's story.
There is no doubt that realizing the park's full potential represents an ambitious undertaking. Thankfully, the Government of Canada has already indicated that it will provide the largest investment in the history of the Rouge — $143.7 million over 10 years and $7.6 million annually thereafter — to support the creation, management and operation of the national urban park. This unprecedented financial commitment will allow Parks Canada to follow through with much-needed work on conservation, restoration, education, species recovery, visitor experience and community-driven stewardship. This is much-needed funding as there has been no public funding of the park's operations since 2012.
The legislation now before us also supports Canada's National Conservation Plan, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last year. Along with conservation and restoration, the plan aims to strengthen our connection to nature. Rouge National Urban Park provides strong support for all of these goals.
The fact that nearly one fifth of Canada's population lives within commuting distance imbues the Rouge initiative with a sense of excitement and opportunity. Urban residents who have little or no direct experience with nature and who are not familiar with the call of the wild, the joys of a walk in the woods or the beauty of Canada's farming landscapes, will now be able to experience Canada's system of nationally protected areas. Creating an entirely new type of park here — one of the largest urban protected areas in the world — promises to connect future generations with Canada's remarkable natural, cultural and agricultural legacy.
Honourable senators, 100 years from now I am confident that the decision to preserve this remarkable place as our country's first national urban park will be viewed as one of the most innovative and progressive acts of urban conservation of our time — one destined to define Canada long after we are gone.
It is for these compelling reasons that I urge honourable senators to stand with me in support of Bill C-40, the Rouge National Urban Park act. Thank you.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
(On motion of Senator Fraser, for Senator Eggleton, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator McIntyre, seconded by the Honourable Senator McInnis, for the second reading of Bill C-47, An Act to correct certain anomalies, inconsistencies and errors and to deal with other matters of a non-controversial and uncomplicated nature in the Statutes of Canada and to repeal certain provisions that have expired, lapsed or otherwise ceased to have effect.
Hon. George Baker: Honourable senators, I rise to support this government bill and to request that it receive quick passage, and not just because it was introduced by a brilliant lawyer and long-distance runner in the person of Senator McIntyre — he has run his fifty-second marathon just recently.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Baker: He has a brilliant legal mind. Although I haven't read his speech at second reading — I wasn't here when he gave it — I imagine I would support everything that he has put forward.
Honourable senators, the reason why I support this government bill is mainly to point out something that the Senate does that is not recognized by very many people. This bill is actually a Senate bill. It's a government bill and it goes back to 1975.
I was a member of Parliament at the time and I recall speaking on a measure called the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Program.
The House of Commons had come to the realization that there were so many minor changes to the law required from time to time and that, given the cumbersome nature of passing laws in our House of Commons and Senate, there must be a fast and efficient way of making minor amendments to the law.
So we decided, back in 1974, that the Senate would undertake the major part of that duty, and here is what happened: We've already dealt with this bill. Senator Runciman and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs will tell you that we've already dealt with this bill.
The mechanism is this: The government sits down from time to time and says that they need, in this case, 173 amendments made in this bill to various federal statutes. Under Rule 14-1 of the Senate, which is the rule governing the tabling of documents and putting things in the hand of the Clerk and the Clerk's table, a draft bill is given to the Senate. The draft bill is also given to the House of Commons. It's the only system in effect that we have in the Parliament of Canada for passing a bill and getting pre-approval in the process. So, as to the draft bill, since 1974, I imagine that there have been a dozen cases, Senator McIntyre, in which this process has been followed.
I recall that the last one was in 2001, about that time. Am I correct, 2001? The Senate committee that dealt with it made seven amendments, seven recommendations to the government of the day. The government took those seven amendments, put them in the draft bill, and then sent the bill back to the Senate, at the same time sending it to the House of Commons. So it's a convenient way of passing legislation when there are minor matters to be considered.
I'm looking at Senator Doyle. In this bill, they're changing — it's only a minor change — Newfoundland to Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a minor change in legislation, but there are some that are fairly significant changes to federal laws.
The Senate committee took that draft bill some time ago. Senator Runciman did an excellent job as chair at that time. Senator Batters, Senator Boisvenu, Senator Jaffer, Senator Dagenais, Senator Joyal, Senator Frum, Senator McInnis, Senator Plett and, I think, Senator Meredith were there at the time. I believe, as well, that the whip on this side of the room was also present at the meeting.
The Senate called witnesses pertaining to the 173 amendments, heard their testimony and then made suggestions to the government. Now, this is not a bill. This is a draft bill we are dealing with. They made suggestions to the government on changes. Here is the final product with the changes recommended by the Senate.
Now, you might say, "Well, the same procedure is followed in the House of Commons." Not to the same extent that it's followed in the Senate, and that's a role of the Senate that we have played for the last 40 years. It's not generally recognized. It's called a draft bill, and it's under Rule 14-1 of the Senate rules of procedure. That's how the draft bill gets here.
In these matters, of course, there are restrictions in that they cannot involve expenditures of money. They cannot involve anything of a controversial nature, and they cannot create new offences, for example. There's a whole list of criteria that cannot be included in that draft bill, with suggested amendments made by the Senate committee, put into its final form and then sent back to the Senate. Then it goes through its normal legislative process. Somebody reminded me of that just a few moments ago. They said, "No, senator," because I was arguing one thing, and a couple of other senators were arguing something else. They convinced me that this has to go through the normal Senate process. It's not as we determined as a group back in 1975.
I agreed with them on that, and it's up to the government and the opposition side to determine what happens to the bill. I would strongly suggest, though, that we approve this second reading now, that we not put it off any longer. The government has recognized this as a priority. I agree with them. It is a priority. The Senate has already dealt with it. The Senate will, of course, look at it again and make sure that it complies with what we had recommended, but, senators, it's one of the jobs of the Senate that's not talked about very much and that you should never forget. That is that we facilitate changes that are described as anomalies, inconsistencies and errors, changes that deal with other matters of a non-controversial and uncomplicated nature in the Statutes of Canada, and changes that repeal certain provisions that have expired, lapsed, or otherwise ceased to have effect, a primary role for the Senate, determined way back in 1975. I know because I was part of that committee at that time. The Senate should be proud that each time these suggestions have been made in draft bill form, the Senate has made extensive recommendations, and the government of the day and the present government of the day have taken these recommendations into account. They're in this bill, and I would strongly recommend that we have a speedy passage of this, that, without any further delay, we go right through the process in as quick a time as possible. I would not say that about any other piece of legislation. I would not say that, but I would say it about this because this is really a creation. This has been vetted by a Senate committee headed by Senator Runciman and the other senators I've mentioned.
I congratulate Senator McIntyre. I totally agree with him. I wish him the best of luck in his fifty-third marathon that he'll run in the spring.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and bill read second time)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: When shall this bill be read a third time?
(On motion of Senator McIntyre, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cowan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Munson:
That a Special Committee on Equalization and Fiscal Federalism be appointed to consider whether the current formulae for equalization and other related federal transfers affect the ability of Canadians living in all regions of the country to access a basic standard of public services without facing significantly different levels of taxation.
That the committee be composed of nine members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection and that four members constitute a quorum;
That, the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records; to examine witnesses; and to publish such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee;
That, notwithstanding rule 12-18(2)(b)(i), the committee have power to sit from Monday to Friday, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week; and
That the committee be empowered to report from time to time and to submit its final report no later than March 31, 2015.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I wish to adjourn the debate in my name.
(On motion of Senator Cordy, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cools, calling the attention of the Senate to November 11, known to all as Remembrance Day, of this, the centennial year of the July 28 start of hostilities in the 1914-1918 Great War, which day is given to the national and collective mourning of Canadians, on which we remember and honour the many who served and who fell in the service of God, King and Country, and, whose incalculable sacrifice of their lives, we honour in our simultaneous yet individual, personal acts of prayer and remembrance, wherein we pause and bow our heads together in sacred unity, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, for the many who gave themselves, and:
To those who served in World War I, with its stupendous sacrifices, its massive mobilization and fielding of millions of men, on all sides, and to its enormous casualties and losses of life, and, to our young country's noble contribution to this far away overseas War, of 620,000 men, being ten percent of Canada's then population, and, to our 60,661 fallen, being ten percent of those serving, and, to Canada's Prime Minister, the Conservative, Robert Borden's success in earning Canada's representation at the 1919 Allies' Paris Peace Conference, and, to his and his Ministers' presence there, and, to the respect he earned for Canadian contribution to the war, and for Canada's control of its foreign affairs, wars and peace, and, to the changing relations between the Allied leaders, and, to their changing politics at home, and, to Canadians at home and abroad, particularly the Canadian-born British Prime Minister, Andrew Bonar Law and the Canadian Max Aitken, known as Lord Beaverbrook, both of whom were active in British politics in these events, and who endeavoured, in 1922, to avoid a new war at Chanak, in the Turkish Dardanelles.
Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the Great War and specifically Newfoundland's participation in that war.
When Britain declared war in 1914, Britain's oldest colony, Newfoundland, a dominion of the British Empire, was automatically at war. Given the island's close history with the mother country, men across the island responded to the call for volunteers and enlisted. A unit of the Royal Navy Reserve already existed in St. John's and was immediately available. With a population of only 242,000, Newfoundland was Britain's smallest self-governing dominion. At the outset, more than 500 volunteers enlisted. In October 1914, 538 Newfoundlanders, clad in their navy blue puttees, boarded the SS Florizel, a refurbished sealing vessel, and sailed for Scotland and England for training.
One must remember that a country with such a small population was especially close-knit. Most of the men who had enlisted knew each other. They were brothers, cousins and friends — a fact that was especially poignant as casualties began to mount. It was said that in Newfoundland even war was a family affair. Newfoundlanders are proud of their heritage and did not want to be absorbed into the Canadian or British armies. They formed their own Newfoundland Regiment.
Newfoundland's sacrifice during the Great War still resonates today. Honourable senators may recall that one of the ferries servicing Newfoundland is named MV Blue Puttees in honour of this regiment. The courage and sacrifice of the Blue Puttees will never be forgotten.
In August 1915, the Newfoundland Regiment finished its training and was moved to Alexandria and then Cairo, Egypt, and then on to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, in Turkey. On the morning of September 20, 1915, they experienced their first battle, and 15 of their men were wounded. I can only imagine what those young men experienced far from home, in a different culture and a difference climate. They must have wondered at the wisdom of their decision to enlist. Before the Newfoundland Regiment left Gallipoli, it lost 45 of its men. The Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American unit to fight in Gallipoli, serving alongside soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France and India. Newfoundlanders were also among the very last troops to leave the Gallipoli peninsula as they were involved in the successful evacuation of British troops and their Allies to Egypt. In March 1916, the Newfoundland Regiment left Egypt and departed for France, arriving in April 1916 at the village of Beaumont-Hamel. There they waited and prepared for what would become the most famous massacre in the history of the people of Newfoundland and that of the British.
The Newfoundland Regiment formed part of the British 29th Division, and in the days leading up to the beginning of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, they participated in pre-battle raids with massive bombardments of the German lines. The British troops, including the Newfoundlanders, climbed out of their trenches and advanced in lines shoulder to shoulder. Over the seven days of preparation for the actual battle, over 1.5 million shells were fired. The shelling by the British was relentless. Dugouts crumbled, and German soldiers became buried and suffocated. It was reported that even the rats became hysterical under the heavy shelling. But nothing could prepare the British and Newfoundlanders for what awaited them. On July 1, 1916, the final Allied bombardment began. It was broad daylight, visibility was perfect, and there was no cover for the 100,000 Allied soldiers, a tremendous advantage for the enemy German troops.
Ahead of the British troops was the German barbed wire, which the pre-bombardment leading up to the battle was supposed to have destroyed. Allied soldiers could not get through. Germans were able to mobilize their machine guns, and the killing began. Whole battalions were reduced in minutes, but the orders to advance continued despite the bodies of the dead and wounded. Many soldiers became entangled in the barbed wire. The British medical teams were overwhelmed. As the day ended, many who had been wounded struggled to get back to their lines under darkness. It was the single worst day of casualties ever experienced by the British Army. By the end of the day, there were 57,000 causalities, a third of them killed. No unit suffered heavier losses than the Newfoundland Regiment.
Of the 790 men of the Newfoundland Regiment who went into battle that day, only 68 answered at roll call the following day. The few Newfoundlanders who survived the events of that day relayed chilling accounts of what happened to their brothers, their cousins and their friends. The front line was compared to a butcher shop with the "wounded dragging themselves in and falling down in the trenches." Those who survived prayed that their families, especially the mothers, would never know how their sons had died.
The Battle of the Somme had such an impact on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that it is still commemorated each year on July 1. While that day is celebrated as Canada Day across the country, Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans commemorate Memorial Day and pay tribute to our ancestors who sacrificed so much during the Battle of the Somme.
The Battle of the Somme eventually became 12 battles that occurred between July 1 and November 18, 1916. It ended because of the poor weather conditions. Rain, sleet and snow made the terrain impossible. To exist under such conditions became an impossible physical ordeal for the soldiers. The ground became one big bog. Dugouts crumbled, and communications to the trenches ceased to be. Artillery could not be shifted, and men died trying to cross the mud.
The Battle of the Somme led to no significant gains for the Allies. Four months of relentless assaults on the German lines had yielded meagre results. A strip of land 20 miles by 6 miles was gained but at a significant cost: British and Commonwealth forces were estimated to have lost 420,000 men; French losses were 204,000 men; and German losses were estimated between 437,000 and 680,000 men.
Much has been written about the Battle of the Somme and the incompetence of those at the highest level of command and the senseless sacrifice of thousands of young men. For the Newfoundlanders who survived that day, their stories tell of extraordinary gallantry, incomprehensible suffering and the cruelties of war.
Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans in the First World War served on land, at sea and in the air. Some fought in active battle at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium. Others volunteered as nurses or as Merchant Marines transporting essential goods to Allied countries. In the three services, 8,700 men enlisted: 6,300 in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment; 2,000 in the Royal Navy Reserve; and about 500 in the Newfoundland Forestry Corps. Another 3,300 men joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In our sea-going tradition, over 5,000 men served in the Merchant Marines. Smaller numbers served in a variety of other forces such as the Royal Air Force and in the armed forces of other countries.
The approximately 12,000 men who served in the armed forces of Britain and Canada represented 10 per cent of Newfoundland's male population and 36 per cent of all men of military age.
The Newfoundland Regiment fought at Gallipoli, Beaumont-Hamel, Gueudecourt, Monchy-le-Preux, Cambrai and elsewhere. Its brave actions earned it the title of "Royal" in December 1917, an honour no other British Regiment received during the First World War.
The 2,000 men of the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve were dispersed throughout the Royal Navy, serving on vessels around the globe. Winston Churchill referred to them as "the best small boat men in the world."
The 481 skilled loggers and mill workers who served overseas with the Newfoundland Forestry Corps helped supply lumber for the dugout shelters and to build the railway tracks to transport soldiers and equipment.
Many, but not all, of the 3,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans who joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War were living in Canada when the war broke out. They fought at many famous battles: Ypres in 1915, the Somme in 1916 and Vimy Ridge in 1917.
Five thousand Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans served in the Merchant Marine, working on non-military vessels carrying passengers and cargo to Allied and neutral ports. Most served in the North Atlantic where German U-boats became a growing threat over the course of the war. At least 115 Merchant Marines died in the First World War.
There were also about 175 women who served overseas as graduate nurses or semi-trained nurses. Newfoundland women worked long hours treating severely injured soldiers. They also served in other roles such as ambulance drivers. When the war ended, these women could not adjust and could not return to their domestic roles. Many joined the suffrage movement, winning Newfoundland women the right to vote in 1925.
Newfoundland and Labrador sustained high casualty rates during the First World War. About 1,500 died and another 2,300 were wounded.
When Father Tom Nangle, the Roman Catholic Chaplain of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, was tasked to commemorate the actions of the Newfoundland Regiment in the First World War, he focused on the idea of what we now call the "Trail of the Caribou", which marks the five most significant battlefields in which Newfoundlanders fought. The battlefields selected were: Beaumont-Hamel, of which I have already spoken; Gueudecourt, where 76 Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans lost their lives in October 1916; Cambrai, where 110 Newfoundlanders lost their lives in November and December, 1917; Monchy, where the fighting on April 14, 1917, was the second worst day of the entire war for Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans and where 189 men died; and the fifth battlefield was Courtrai, Belgium, where 93 Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans died in September and October, 1918.
Just as the Canadians marched with the insignia of the maple leaf to distinguish them from other fighting forces, the Newfoundlanders marched with the emblem of the noble caribou, an animal native to our homeland.
On the five battlefields in which the Newfoundland Regiment played a glorious part, there stands a massive bronze caribou gazing defiantly in the direction in which our soldiers faced the enemy. Many of our dead have no known graves and are commemorated by name only on the Beaumont-Hamel Memorial in France.
While the soldiers themselves suffered under terrible living conditions far from home, their families also suffered. Families often did not know where their sons and brothers were and, in some cases, did not know whether they were dead or alive. Information from the trenches was slow and often inaccurate. Families would be told their sons or brothers were alive or injured, when in fact they were deceased. In other cases, soldiers reported to their families as killed would turn up alive.
In many cases, the bodies of the deceased soldiers were never found, adding to the suffering of their families. Without a body, some families refused to give up hope, clinging to the possibility that their son or brother was taken as a prisoner of war.
For families of deceased soldiers whose bodies were identified, where they were buried and how their graves were marked was a major issue. Soldiers' personal belongings weren't always returned to their families, thus inflicting more pain and suffering on those families. Bodies of those killed in World War I were still being found years after the war ended. In 1933 alone, 872 bodies of British soldiers were found on the battlefields of France.
There were 180 members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment taken as prisoners of war during World War I. One third of the prisoners were captured on a single day — April 15, 1917 — during the Battle of Monchy-le-Preux.
Newfoundland prisoners of war, like most POWs, suffered at the hands of their captors. Newfoundland prisoners of war were not housed together, were frequently moved, lived on near-starvation rations and worked long hours in mines, on railways and in factories, usually under harsh supervision. Many had no blankets or warm clothing. Of the 180 Newfoundlanders taken as prisoners, 38 died while in captivity.
After the First World War, it was decided that the name of every soldier, sailor or airman who died during the war would be remembered either on a headstone or, if the grave was lost or unknown, then by name on a memorial. Newfoundland decided to commemorate its missing on a memorial at Beaumont-Hamel, where Newfoundlanders had made their biggest sacrifice. There are 820 names on the memorial, as they have no known graves. One hundred and fourteen served with the Royal Naval Reserve, 115 served with the Mercantile Marine and 591 served with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. There are 17 sets of brothers on the memorial and some of the soldiers whose names appear on the memorial have siblings who are buried nearby.
Some Newfoundland families lost three sons. Three quarters of those on the memorial were only 21 years of age or younger when they died.
In addition to the "Trail of the Caribou" memorials, there is a sixth bronze caribou at Bowring Park and a National War Memorial in St. John's, Newfoundland to commemorate the dead of World War I.
At the summit of the National War Memorial in St. John's is a woman holding a flaming torch and a sword, representing Newfoundland's loyalty to the British Empire. On either side there is: a sailor, representing the Royal Naval Reserve; a soldier, representing the Royal Newfoundland Regiment; a fisherman, representing the Merchant Marines; and a lumberman, representing the contributions of the Forestry Corps.
The First World War was primarily a European war but involved countries throughout the world, including all of the Commonwealth colonies and countries. They suffered as the Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans suffered. It is estimated that the number of men killed during the war was between 8.5 million and 10 million. Britain and its allies mobilized about 42 million men, of whom 5 million were killed and about 13 million wounded. The Central Powers — Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria — mobilized over 23 million men, of whom 3.5 million were killed and 9 million were wounded.
The war was also responsible for a large number of civilian deaths. Britain's allies lost about 3 million civilians, the majority of them Russian. The Central Powers also lost about 3 million civilians. Many historians feel that the numbers killed and wounded may well be under-represented.
With such great suffering, many thought that World War I, The Great War, would have been "the war to end all wars". Sadly, it was not. Within a generation, young men and women in Newfoundland, in Canada and throughout the world would be called upon once again to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I'd like to thank Senator Marshall for that remarkable speech and, in particular, for placing on the record the terrible history of the Newfoundlanders' participation in that war. It is something that has become part of our history for all Canadians — uniquely for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, of course, but for all of us.
A few years ago on the ninety-fifth anniversary, I was part of a delegation with the Minister of Veterans Affairs to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Senator Plett was in the same delegation. It was a large delegation — parliamentarians, the minister, veterans, representatives of the RCMP and the Armed Forces, and of course people from the Department of Veterans Affairs — and there was very significant representation of Newfoundlanders in that delegation because of the anniversary.
We went to Beaumont-Hamel. I shall never forget it. There are two emotions that conflict when you're there and when you see that terrain — rage at what Senator Marshall called the incompetence of those in leadership, and grief. Those young men were sent down from the crest of a hill to the comfortably emplaced Germans at the bottom of the hill, who had only to look up and see them silhouetted against the skyline and mow them down. There are trees on the crest now, but there were none then. Those boys were perfect targets. One observer said that they realized right away what they were doing and they hunched over, walking into the storm of bullets as if they were walking into a blizzard, but they kept going. They kept going. So we wept; all of us wept. What else can you do?
But as I told this house when Senator Rompkey retired, I will also never forget a visit a day or two later to the cemetery at Gueudecourt where just three months later that regiment had been reconstituted from little Newfoundland — a reconstituted regiment — and they fought that day. As Senator Marshall said, some of them died, too many of them died, but they achieved their objective that day. So we paid our respects.
Then, spontaneously, all the Newfoundland members of the delegation gathered together under the trees, in front of the bronze caribou, and they sang the Ode to Newfoundland, every word of it, every verse.
Yes, there was a tremendous temptation to weep again, but there was also pride and respect for the memory that these Newfoundlanders have carried for all these years and will go on to carry.
All I wanted to say was that respect for the unique quality of the Newfoundland and Labrador memory does not mean that we have not also taken it as our grief and to some extent our glory.
(On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cools, calling the attention of the Senate to November 11, known to all as Remembrance Day, of this, the centennial year of the July 28 start of hostilities in the 1914-1918 Great War, which day is given to the national and collective mourning of Canadians, on which we remember and honour the many who served and who fell in the service of God, King and Country, and, whose incalculable sacrifice of their lives, we honour in our simultaneous yet individual, personal acts of prayer and remembrance, wherein we pause and bow our heads together in sacred unity, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, for the many who gave themselves, and:
To Canadian and British peace of mind, freed from the fear and sorrow of the possible sacrifice of their beloved sons to war, so soon again, and, to their "blessed relief," and, to Canadian unanimity in support of their Prime Minister Mackenzie King's stand against war at Chanak, and, to Canadian events, and, to Canadians such as John Wesley Dafoe, the great journalist-editor of the Manitoba Free Press, later the Winnipeg Free Press, who had attended the 1919 Allies' Paris Peace Conference with Prime Minister Robert Borden's Canadian delegation, and, who had supported Canada's position on Chanak, and, who had strenuously opposed Prime Minister Lloyd George's demands to the Dominions and Canada to send troops there, and, to John Dafoe's brilliant account of Canadians and the Canadian Government's desire to live without war against people who had done them no harm, and, to his historic Manitoba Free Press article, titled, The Rise of the Commonwealth Dominion Responsibility For External Affairs, and, to Canada's influence on British politics and the other Dominions, and, to Canada's firm, principled, and vindicated position not to send Canadian troops to the Dardanelles, at Chanak, and, to Canadian-born British Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law's negotiated and lasting peace with Turkey, in the Treaty of Lausanne, that is still in force, and, to the profound truth that the greatest act of peace is simply to make no unnecessary war, and, to make absolutely no war, for the purpose, that is the pursuit of ambition.
Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government): I wish to adjourn the debate in my name.
(On motion of Senator Martin, debate adjourned.)
(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.)