THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
OTTAWA, Tuesday, October 23, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, to
which was referred Bill S-22, to provide for the recognition of the Canadien
Horse as the national horse of Canada, met this day at 5:30 p.m. to give
consideration to the bill.
Senator Leonard J Gustafson (Chairman) in the
The Chairman: Honourable senators, we will call our
meeting to order. On the agenda today we have Bill S-22, to provide for the
recognition of the Canadien Horse as the national horse of Canada.
We have a couple of new members on the committee, and they
are also new senators. We will ask them to introduce themselves, tell us where
they are from and give a little of their background.
Senator Phalen: I am Senator Gerard Phalen from Nova
Senator Murray: The honourable senator is actually from
Cape Breton, to be more precise.
Senator Day: I am Joseph Day, and I am from Kennebecasis,
Saint John, in the southern part of New Brunswick. I am pleased to be here.
The Chairman: Welcome.
Honourable senators, I want to direct you to your agenda. The
first witnesses on our list have been delayed; therefore, we will now hear from
Dr. Kelly Ferguson and Mr. Alex Hayward of the Canadian Horse Breeders of
Dr. Kelly Ferguson, D.V.M., President, Canadian Horse
Breeders of Ontario: Honourable senators, I will give you some background
information on our association, the Canadian Horse Breeders of Ontario, of which
I am the president. We are a new group, dedicated to the preservation of the
Canadian horse. One of our primary goals is education of the public on the
virtues of this breed and promotion of the breed in general.
I would like to read from a text that I prepared that gives a
brief history of the horse and the reasons we feel it deserves official status
as the national horse of Canada.
The Canadian, a unique breed of horse, evolved from the
original horses of King Louis XIV's stables, some of which were shipped to New
France between 1665 and 1670. Due to the harsh conditions under which these
animals lived in this new world, only the strongest managed to survive and
reproduce. Throughout its history, the Canadian horse story has been one of
survival. The Canadian horse, affectionately called "the little iron
horse," was smaller in stature than the original imports and possessed a
hardiness found in no other breed.
These little horses worked side by side with the early
settlers as they built this great country. The horses were used for driving,
riding and clearing the land in the Maritimes, and later in the Western
provinces and the United States. The virtues of this breed so impressed our
neighbours to the south that the horses were exported for breeding and used
during the American Civil War as cavalry mounts. They provided the foundation
stock for the Morgan, Saddlebred and Tennessee Walker breeds. The numbers of
purebred Canadian horses dwindled due to their use during the American Civil War
and the Boer War, and extensive crossbreeding.
It was through the efforts of two veterinarians,
Dr. Couture and Dr. Rutherford, that in the early 1900s, the breed was
pulled back from the brink of extinction. Dr. Couture was instrumental in
establishing the first Canadian Horse Stud Book and the Canadian Horse
Breeders Association. The stud book was re-evaluated, under the direction of
Dr. Rutherford, to include only those animals that most closely resembled
the Canadian breed. Of the original 2,528 horses evaluated, only 969 were
accepted as foundation stock. Breeding farms established by the federal and
provincial governments, such as those at Cap Rouge, St. Joachim and
Deschambault, worked to preserve and promote this little horse.
Despite their efforts, again, by the late 1970s, the number
of registered animals had diminished to less than 400. This time, it was the
work of Alex Hayward and Donald Prosperine that rekindled interest in this
breed. Today, the Canadian horse boasts over 3,000 registered animals, and it
has been removed from the endangered list of Rare Breeds Canada.
Cornelius Krieghoff, a renowned 19th century artist, captured
the importance of this horse in early Quebec life through his paintings,
providing us with the earliest visual records of this breed. His paintings
showed scenes of a little horse stepping lively in front of a cutter filled with
brightly dressed people. Later came the black and white prints of a team of
horses pulling an enormous sled of logs. These are the images of the Canadian
horse that are imprinted on our minds.
Stories of the gentle nature and the grit of these horses
have filtered down through the generations. The Honourable Sidney Fisher,
minister of Agriculture, said during a 1900 committee meeting:
The horse as a rule is the most kindly, gentile and
docile horse I have ever had the opportunity of handling, and he is almost
the truest to his work; he never gives up. It does not matter what he is at;
if it is on the road he travels on forever, and if he has a load behind him,
he will tug at it until he moves it. He never balks and children can handle
him with the greatest safety. In every way he is docile and kindly.
This breed deserves recognition as the national horse of
Canada. No other animal worked harder alongside our forefathers to build this
great country. Twice in the recorded history of this breed, the Canadian horse
has hovered on the edge of extinction. Giving the Canadian horse official status
would further help to protect the breed. The Canadian horse is part of our
heritage. They are versatile, easily taking to all equine disciplines. Just as
they played such a vital role in the settlement of this country, they now play
an equally important role in Canada's equine industry.
I would like to end my presentation with a final quote taken
from a 1997 Canadian Living article.
The Canadian horse has never been officially recognized
as our national breed, although efforts to attain this have been ongoing
sporadically since 1909. Notwithstanding this lack of official status, these
sturdy little horses from Quebec are a symbol of strength, vitality, and
gentle perseverance in a country hungry to find its identity.
Mr. Hayward and I would be happy to answer your
The Chairman: Is there no exception to this docile
personality of the horse? Are all these horses docile?
Mr. Alex Hayward, Historian, Canadian Horse Breeders of
Ontario: I would say that 95 per cent of them are very docile. A 3-year-old
girl rode my own stallion through the fields in his younger years.
The Chairman: I know a little about docile animals, but
then there is always the odd one in the breed that kicks over the traces.
Mr. Hayward: One of my stallions, which would stand at
stud in Quebec at one time, was taken for a pet from the spring until the fall
by the daughter of one of the farmers. She would ride him in the fields with
just the halter on his back.
Dr. Ferguson: As a veterinarian, I have to add another
comment. When we look at breeds in general, we make generalizations, and for
sure, there are always exceptions to every rule, but by and large, the Canadian
horse does have an exceptional disposition and temperament for all types of
Senator Wiebe: Is there anything in this bill with which
you do not agree?
Mr. Hayward: No, I pretty well agree with it totally.
Senator Wiebe: Is there anything that you would like to
see added to this proposed legislation?
Dr. Ferguson: I would like to see the Canadian horse
finally get some recognition for its part in our history. I look around this
room and I see pictures of everything but a Canadian horse, and I really believe
that this horse deserves official recognition.
Senator Day: I might be touching on a somewhat sensitive
subject, but I would like to know, would the people who are familiar with the
Canadian horse object to its being called "Canadien" horse, with the
French spelling, or would it be interchangeable, depending on whether you were
speaking French or English?
Dr. Ferguson: It does not really matter to me which way
it is spelled. I understand that the French spelling does give recognition to
the horse's French origin. Certainly, spelling it both ways may make the parties
happier. I do not have any problem with the spelling.
Senator Murray: If I may intervene at this point,
Mr. Chairman, as the sponsor of the bill. My bill refers in both the
English and the French versions to the "Canadien horse." I received
several letters and some representations on this point, and I have considered
them and have looked back through the files carefully.
Interestingly, the horse has been designated by various names
in English over the years. I was reading the deliberations of the commons
committee on agriculture of 1906, when the agriculture minister in the Laurier
government, Sidney Fisher, appeared to discuss this horse, and called it the
"French Canadian horse." Later, it was known as the "Canadien
horse" and the "Canadian horse" and so forth.
The time has come, therefore, to clarify the situation and to
refer to it in the English version of the bill as the "Canadian horse"
and in the French version as "le cheval canadien."
Taking the lead from the Quebec National Assembly, which has
already enacted legislation decreeing that this animal is part of Quebec's
heritage and which uses the expression "the Canadian Horse" in the
English version and the expression "le cheval canadien" in the French
version, I have already given my assurances that I will have the bill amended to
reflect our country's bilingual status.
Senator Day: I think he just told me that it is no longer
The Chairman: My understanding from the association that
previously appeared before the committee is that they would be satisfied with
that type of approach.
Senator Day: I have one other question of clarification.
From your presentation, am I to take it that the horse that came from France was
a utility horse? Did it do everything, or was it used for one purpose more than
Dr. Ferguson: There wasno choice; basically, they
would have been used to clear the land. The conditions were tough and they had
no provisions for horses at that time. In Louis XIV's stables, they had been
used as warhorses. In Canada, their job was to help clear the land, get people
from point A to point B, and survive under difficult conditions.
Senator Day: You say they adapted to various equine
Dr. Ferguson: Yes.
Senator Day: What do horse lovers primarily use them for
Mr. Hayward: They are versatile in all disciplines. My
late partner and I won the North American pair driving championship with them.
They make good jumpers on the pony circuits, and they are good horses in
dressage. I was once speaking to an author and he asked me what they could do. I
said that they could do anything but dance, and a girl from Guelph, Ontario,
wrote to me to say that her Canadian horses dance.
The Chairman: I want to thank you for appearing here and
giving us a positive view of the Canadian horse. You have delighted the senator
who is sponsoring the bill.
Dr. Ferguson: I wish to make one more point. Lawrence
Scanlan has just published a book that goes into the details of the Canadian
horse. This is the second book that has been written on the subject and it is
fabulous. The book gives credit to the part that this horse played in our
history. It is called Little Horse of Iron. I will read the statement
with which he ends his book.
These sturdy horses, on whose powerful bodies the history
of the nation has been etched, are our horses. For that reason alone, they
deserve a future and not just a glorious past.
The Chairman: We will now call Dan Wilson of the Woodmont
Mr. Dan Wilson, Woodmont Angus Farm: Honourable senators,
I am sure that you have heard sufficient history of the Canadian horse, much of
which appears to have been lost in myths, mystery, passion, hope, and possibly
in the archives just down the road. I will spare you repetition of that tonight
because I am more interested in the Canadian horse of today and tomorrow.
I am a native-born citizen of Canada residing in British
Columbia. I breed Canadian horses for a living. I am an Anglo-Quebecer, and I
have lived half my life in Eastern Canada and half in Western Canada. I feel at
home anywhere in this country. I am the product of five generations in this
country, with two more following me, and more down the road, I hope. My lineage
is Scottish, French, English, Quebec French, Spanish and Danish. Although it is
sometimes questioned, I like to think that I have inherited the best qualities
of these lines.
I use this analogy to introduce you to the Canadian horse,
which has evolved over several generations from not one, but a mix of European
bloods, much like me and many of you, which makes us, like the Canadian horse,
First, this horse inherited blood from the Andalusian of
Spain, the Percheron of France, the Clydesdale of Scotland and the Thoroughbred
of England, et cetera. Although I might question some of my qualities as a
Canadian, I do not question the qualities of the Canadian horse, which, if it
were to survive in upper North America, had to face no prepared fodder or
shelter, inclement weather and random breeding, or just die out. They survived
under these conditions and evolved over the years into a unique race, much like
I am pleased to hear tonight that the Canadian horse has been
removed from the domestic animal endangered breed list. They are making a
comeback because we are developing them as a pleasure horse that fills a niche
in this generation. If we breed them correctly, which is a breeder’s
responsibility, and continuously develop them to fit into an ever-changing
society, we can save and preserve a truly Canadian symbol.
The majority of the Canadian public does not know much about
this exciting bit of history, but when I tell them about their own treasure,
their faces light up and they feel great. To make this horse the national horse
of Canada is to educate the Canadian people and make them proud of their
This horse evolved in Upper Canada, Lower Canada and the
Maritimes long before there was a country called Canada. The breed moved south
to Illinois, over to Michigan and up to present-day Manitoba, where it became
part of the great overland transport system of the Hudson's Bay Company, then to
Fort Edmonton, in what is now Alberta, and Fort Steel, in what became British
Columbia. Then it went down the Indian trails to Langley, where it was barged
over to Fort Victoria. Outside my own post office in Ladysmith, there is a
pictorial display of the early city, and in it are two or three Canadian horses.
To recognize its introduction into this country via New
France, the Quebec legislature, on December 4, 2000, deemed it the heritage
horse of present-day Quebec. This is fitting, since this is part of the horse's
early, but not its only, history. Its history is ongoing.
I wish now to quote from the book by Lawrence Scanlan, Little
Horse of Iron. On page 21 it says:
The Canadian horse, truly a heritage horse, appeals to
those keen to own a living, breathing piece of this nation's history.
I will now get down to the meat of this issue and why I am
concerned enough to come all the way from B.C. In 1905, the Honourable Sidney
Fisher, federal minister of Agriculture, approved the incorporation of the
French Canadian Horse Breeders Association. I have a copy of this with me
The certificate says:
I certify that the within application is approved for
this twentieth day of November 1905, in pursuance of the Act requesting the
incorporation of the Live Stock Record Associations.
On page 3, under the constitution and by-laws, section 1,
name, it says:
This Association shall be known as "The French
Canadian Horse Breeders' Association of Canada."
That is spelled C-A-N-A-D-I-A-N. The next certificate reads
The organization was known in French as the Société des
éleveurs de chevaux canadiens de la Puissance du Canada.
Therefore, since 1905, when it was incorporated, it has been
referred to in both languages. In addition, the breed was officially recognized
as a registerable breed by the Canadian National Livestock Records. Even there,
it was called "the French Canadian horse" in English and "le
cheval canadien" in French.
I will refer to a document from the Department of Agriculture
in 1935, when a change came about. The federal minister of Agriculture, the
Honourable James Gardner, declared that the word "French" would be
dropped from the name and this breed would be referred to in future as the
Canadian horse only. At page 8, it says that in 1935, the breeder's association
agreed to designate this breed as Canadian -- C-A-N-A-D-I-A-N --
instead of French Canadian, as formerly, and all official records have since
been printed accordingly.
Thus, there is original and continuous historical precedent
for the English spelling. The constitution of the Canadian Horse Breeder's
Association was amended in 1999. In 1905, 1907, 1935 and 1999, it is referred to
as the "Canadian horse" when using English, and the "Canadien
horse" when using French.
Bill S-22 could be a great aid, not only in the survival of
this animal that has helped physically to build this nation, and is part of our
history and culture, it can also be the tie that helps unite English and French,
East and West, with a Canadian icon that can be the equal of the maple leaf.
Honourable senators, simply amend this potentially great bill
to read "Canadian" when using the English language, and
"Canadien" when using the French language, to comply with historical
precedent, to comply with the intent of official language laws of this country,
and to also recognize the dual personality of this nation. With a simple
amendment, you will help passage of this bill in the House, which in turn will
help to continue to unite this great country of ours. Accept this bill with
"Canadien" only and you will help to divide Canada. Further, there is
a move to establish a North American version of the Canadian horse, and you risk
losing an icon that is solely Canadian.
I leave you tonight as a very proud but determined Canadian,
who will fight for equality in this country, including the dual name of this
horse. I thank you for permitting me to speak to you as an honest Canadian.
Since the incorporation, this horse has always been
identified in both languages. This horse is not just a product of present-day
Quebec. This horse has evolved from a mixture of European breeds. This horse
started its Canadian journey in New France. This was recognized through naming
the Canadian horse the heritage horse of Quebec on December 4, 2000. This horse
is a product of all Canada, where it is still evolving in all provinces, and
where it can go on to become the national horse of Canada as well as being the
heritage horse of Quebec.
The proposed Bill S-22, as it stands, reads
"Canadien" only in both the English and French versions. To leave it
so is to aid more division in the country, to be contrary to the Official
Languages Act, and to be in violation of the Animal Pedigrees Act of Canada. To
correct this situation, simply amend Bill S-22 to read "Canadian
horse" when using English, and "le cheval canadien" when using
French. This will make the Canadian horse the national horse of Canada, and
thereby help to further unite this great country.
As a proud Canadian, I am determined to do just that. Who am
I? I am from B.C., but I have had 40 years of hands-on experience with Canadian
livestock. I am the past president, charter member and present member of the
B.C. Canadian Horse District. I am the past managing director of the Chianina
Association of Canada, and the past managing director of the Belgian Blue
Association of Canada. I wrote the constitution for that association. I am a
life member of the Canadian Angus Association and a past director of the B.C.
I am now the president and founding member of the Ladysmith
Carcass Cattle Association of Canada. This is a new strain of cattle that has
been developed to meet today's changing demand. I am presently trying to retire
and breed Canadian horses.
Who do I represent? I represent the majority of the horse
breeders of British Columbia. Our president sent you a letter saying that the
majority of the members wished the name of the horse to be in both languages.
I also have a document from the Government of British
Columbia, from Hansard, May 19, when a Liberal MLA, after visiting the Canadian
horse when we invited her to the fairgrounds, stated the following in debate:
They have worked very hard all across Canada to
establish this breed and to make sure that it was known -- the part
that it played in Canadian history from coast to coast and how integral it
was in the development of Canada…
The MLA did not get any rebuttal from the NDP, which was in
power at that time. Their speaker said that he supported what the Liberal MLA
said, and added:
A private member's bill is before the federal parliament
in turning this horse into a truly national -- federal -- breed. I
think anybody can claim this as their national horse, and it's open for B.C.
to do that. I hope British Columbia does do that at some time.
The Canadian horse is known across Canada, even at the
provincial government level.
I have one last thing to say. I took the opportunity of
bringing 15 copies of a motion, in which I state the following:
I move that Bill S-22 be amended to read
Canadian/Canadien when referring to the national horse of Canada in this
I signed it with today's date. I then had it co-signed by
Regent Lalonde, the president of the Ontario association, as seconder.
We did this so you would not forget that we were here and
what we had come to do. Thank you.
The Chairman: I want to thank you for a rather subdued
presentation. There is no question in my mind that I believe what you say. I
wonder if either of the Lalonde brothers wants to say anything now?
Mr. Regent Lalonde: I totally support Dan Wilsonand,
honourable senators, the transcript will reflect exactly what Mr. Wilson
said. As I said last week, my family has been involved with Canadian horses 20
minutes away from here, in Cumberland. My grandfather raised horses, and my
father always had Canadian horses. We took over the farm, and we had quite a few
horses. My grandfather worked in the lumber camps, my father worked in the
lumber camps, and my uncle worked in the lumber camps, always driving Canadian
We got involved in a carriage business, and my brother Gerry
went out and bought Standard Bred, Thoroughbred, and every other breed. When we
came home with two Canadians, my father told us we did the right thing and we
should stick with those horses, because they are the best.
The Chairman: For those members of the Senate committee
who were not here, the Lalonde brothers made their presentation some time ago.
Senator Stratton: How many Canadian horses are there in
British Columbia, and how prevalent are they out West?
Mr. Wilson: We have approximately 100 in B.C. now. We
have probably done more in the last five years in B.C. than has gone on back
East for many years.
We are sitting on quality horses and we are promoting those
as Canadian horses. The province knows the horse, as you can see from what I
have read here. We are busy promoting the Canadian horse as very versatile and
capable of performance. Those numbers are not large, but the quality is there.
Senator Stratton: Do you have any knowledge of the
situation in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, and how prevalent they are in
Mr. Wilson: The Alberta-Saskatchewan association was
incorporated earlier. They have more horses. They probably have 250. We work
well with Alberta-Saskatchewan and move horses back and forth.
Senator Stratton: I have one final question. This came up
at the previous presentations. My real concern was that this is the only truly
Canadian breed. Will we be at loggerheads with breeders of any other horse that
is being promoted as a Canadian horse? Is this a truly Canadian horse in your
For example, the Newfoundland pony is not a horse, but it is
truly Canadian. Is there another breed out there?
Mr. Wilson: This is truly a Canadian horse, with true
Canadian blood. Quite frankly, the Sable Island pony carries much the same type
of bloodlines because there is a connected industry. However, down the road, we
might use some of that blood in our horse lines, when we do the DNA on those
horses, if we find that they are much the same as our Canadian horse. It is the
only truly Canadian horse that has evolved here over the last 300 years.
Senator Stratton: Is there no other horse that has done
Mr. Wilson: There are a couple of other horses, such as
one in Alberta called the Canadian rustic horse, but those are not well known,
nor are they prominent.
Senator Stratton: Are they regional? For example, is the
Alberta rustic just in Alberta, or is it across the country?
Mr. Wilson: I do not know too much about them, only that
they are smaller horses, so they will be limited in what they can do. This horse
survives because of its capacity to endure. Maybe the Alberta rustic will do
something down the road that will be purely associated with that breed.
Senator Stratton: I do not want us to run into a
situation where we are faced with two horses, Canadian bred: "Why is my
breed not being considered as a Canadian horse?"
Mr. Wilson: I do not think you have any worry about that,
because I have not met anyone who does not believe these are truly Canadian
horses, of 14 hands and 16 hands, and with the type of character they have. I do
not see that coming up at all, because it just is not so.
Senator Murray: Of course, they were also the first here.
Mr. Wilson: Yes.
Senator Murray: How are the standards maintained? I take
it that the federal law is silent on the question of the standards?
Mr. Wilson: Yes, and thank goodness for that. The
standard says that the horse is between 14 and 16 hands. However, the
constitution says that if you have a horse that is by a registered sire, then it
is registerable. Frankly, it is the buying public who will decide the standards
of the horse. If we want this horse to survive, it must evolve to meet the
changing society. We are lucky today, because people are moving into pleasure
riding and the Canadian horse fits well into that area.
Senator Murray: There is the Animal Pedigree Act.
Mr. Wilson: Yes, but it does not state anything about
Senator Murray: I understand that under the Animal
Pedigree Act, you may register your animal, and the Canadian/Canadien horse is
registered under that act, I presume.
Mr. Wilson: Correct.
Senator Murray: Are standards listed as part of the
registration, or is it just a name?
Mr. Wilson: There are no standards listed under the act.
Senator Murray: No, but I am talking about the
Mr. Wilson: No, not in the registration. The act says
that the breed associations will decide what the standards should be.
Senator Murray: That is right, yes.
Mr. Wilson: Then if it fits under the act, it is accepted
Senator Murray: You are correct. That is what they told
me. Is there one breed association for the Canadian horse?
Mr. Wilson: There is only one officially recognized
breed. The pedigrees act says there is one Canadian horse association in this
country, and that is the Canadian Horse Breeders' Association.
Senator Murray: I take it you are telling me that they
have established what the standard will be?
Mr. Wilson: They have established the standard, but the
B.C. Canadian district is part of that association.
Senator Murray: Therefore, you respect their standard?
Mr. Wilson: I have no choice, because they are in
Senator Murray: Has that changed very much? I am looking
at the testimony of 1909 from Dr. Rutherford to the commons committee,
where he said that the standard agreed upon is, as nearly as possible, that of
the old French Canadian horse, which I have already roughly described. Stallions
must not exceed 15.3 hands in height and mares 15.2 hands. The preferred weight
for stallions is between 1100 and 1350 pounds, and for mares, from 1050 to 1250
Has that changed very much since 1909?
Mr. Wilson: Dr. Rutherford was called in to clean up
a mess and set a standard to follow, and therefore the breed association is
allowed to change the standard when it wishes. That was the standard set at that
To answer your question, yes, it has changed somewhat, but
really I believe it is down between 14 hands and 16 hands, and if it is from a
registered animal it is still registerable under the pedigrees act.
Senator Murray: Are you saying that it is between 14
hands and 16 hands?
Mr. Wilson: Right.
Senator Murray: That is about right. He said between 15.3
and 15.2, so it is in the middle. What about the weight? Is that about the same?
Mr. Wilson: It is pretty close to that; it varies a
little, but it is still roughly the same.
Mr. Lalonde: Throughout the years, the standards have
changed. At one time, they were 15 to 16 hands. Right now, they are 14 to 16
hands, and it is a decision that the association makes at the annual general
Senator Murray: Does a hand, more or less, make much
Mr. Wilson: Four inches.
The Chairman: We have had before us the rare breeds
association, which brought that out. I know the experience in the cattle
industry, where it is pretty well up to the association as to what will be
recommended, because they cannot check. For instance, in the Maine-Anjou
association, whose members breed cattle that came from France, there was a time
when they wanted an 1800-pound cow, and now they want a 1200-pound cow. They are
breeding according to what they want to produce. They can take one strain of
cattle or horses and come up with a certain direction for that breed. In my
opinion, if it were in law, it would tie the hands of the breeders' association.
That also seems to be the general opinion of the people who appeared before the
Senator Wiebe: I would like to ask a question out of
curiosity. I have never bred horses in my life, even though I am a farmer. You
say that the breeders' association changed some of the criteria, for example,
from 15 to 16 hands to 14 to 16 hands. I see no problem there. What happens if
the breeders' association all of a sudden decides to go back to 15 to 16 hands?
Does that then disqualify every horse that is only 14 hands from registration?
Mr. Wilson: As the chairman said, the breed association
is entitled to make changes, and they make those changes for good reasons. He
referred to Maine-Anjou. If you are using a tonne-and-a-half Maine-Anjou bull
and you start having dead calves, you quickly change in order to survive in your
The same thing applies to the Canadian Horse Breeders'
Association. It is up to association to do whatever they wish to do, and their
members would be quick to bring them to task for inappropriate changes, because
they want to raise horses that the public is willing to buy. The pedigrees act
stays away from that, leaves it up to the association to attend to the matter,
and the members see that their association directors do whatever is needed to
keep the breed alive and going.
Senator Wiebe: I understand that, and that is the way
that democracy works in this country. If the majority of the breeders want to
change it from 14 to 16 to 15 to 16, that is what happens. What happens to the
poor breeder who did not want it changed and has a group of animals that are
only 14 hands high? Is he left out in the cold, or is there a grace period
allowed for that transition to take place?
I am not thinking now of the majority, I am thinking of the
minority who put work into developing a horse that happens to be 14 hands high.
Senator Murray: Can they be grandfathered?
Mr. Wilson: That is an excellent question, and it happens
many times, the way things are set up. A person decides on the weight in which
he believes. If he waits long enough for a change, which is maybe 12 to 15
years, his product then becomes sought after when the pendulum swings the other
way. He goes into the driver’s seat, makes money and does well. It is a
wonderful system of supply and demand.
The Chairman: Are you recommending that we write anything
into law about size?
Mr. Wilson: No, not at all.
Senator Day: Mr. Wilson, I would like to join honourable
senators in thanking you for coming from Ladysmith to give your passionate
presentation. Is there an American horse?
Mr. Wilson: There are five American breeds that have been
developed in the States. What is the foundation of those breeds -- the Morgan,
the Standard bred, the Tennessee Walker and others? It is the Canadian horse.
The Canadian horse is the foundation of those breeds in the States. As I said
earlier, if we do not watch what we have and protect it, they will do it again.
They are great marketers.
Senator Day: Is there a horse called "the American
Mr. Wilson: There is an American Saddlebred, but it also
has a Canadian background.
Senator Day: If I brought a horse from the United States
into Canada, I could say it is an American horse, but they might ask the breed.
Mr. Wilson: There is no such thing as an American horse;
it is registered as an American Saddlebred.
Senator Day: It might be Morgan or Tennessee Walker, it
might be a number of different horses, but someone would ask me, "What is
Mr. Wilson: There is no designated breed called
"American." We have one in Canada called "Canadian."
Senator Day: When you sell a horse in the United States,
how do you distinguish that, so people know that this is "the"
Canadian horse, as opposed to "a" Canadian horse?
Mr. Wilson: At one time, they thought it was all horses
in Canada, but in the last few years, we have done a good job of promoting this
horse as "the" Canadian/Canadien horse. It has been in magazines, on
TV, in two books, and we have done a good promotional job. Now people in Canada
know it as "the" Canadian horse. The Americans really do not know it
as "the" Canadian horse. That is just beginning. Americans are joining
our Canadian association. The American membership doubled last year. They are
not all that interested in a Canadian horse per se, they want endurance and
versatility, they want a horse that does well and gets by on a little less feed.
They are looking at our horse, which we are now beginning to promote, as a
fairly tame horse that is workable and easy to keep.
Mr. Lalonde: To further explain, Americans will come to
Canada and buy a purebred Canadian, take it back to America, and still use the
Canadian livestock record incorporation to register their horses. To do so, they
must be members of the Canadian Horse Breeders' Association. Even though they
own a Canadian horse, the registration of the horses is taken care of by Ottawa.
Senator Day: Over time, will you see this breed expanding
and growing, with associations in other countries, and will it be called
"the Canadian horse" in those other countries?
Mr. Wilson: If we do our work right, there will be
associations in other countries. If we do our work better than that, those
countries will have districts that are governed by our people. If we do not get
busy and do that, they will do it for us.
The Chairman: Thank you for your presentation. I wish you
I now welcome our next panel, the Quebec association for the
Canadian horse. I would ask you to introduce yourselves, give us a presentation,
and then we will go to questions.
Ms. Darkise St-Arnaud, President, Association québécoise du
cheval canadien: My name is Darkise St-Arnaud and I am the President of the
Association québécoise du cheval canadien. With me today are Mr. Yves
Bernatchez, President of the Front commun des races du patrimoine, and Mr.
André Auclair, Vice-President of the Association québécois du cheval
With your permission, I would like to read the brief that was
forwarded to you this week. Mr. Charbonneau has advised me that there were a few
problems with the translation, therefore I hope everyone has the same version.
The first part of my presentation is entitled The History of
the Canadian Horse.
The first horses to set foot in Canada, along the Saint
Lawrence Valley, arrived from the royal stables in France between 1647 and 1670.
On June 25, 1647, the Compagnie des Habitants offered a horse as a gift to the
then Governor Chevalier de Montmagny. On July 16, 1665, 12 horses arrived and
were quickly distributed to the gentlemen and residents of the colony. Two other
shipments arrived in New France in 1667 and in 1670, and were distributed
according to merit and need.
These horses came primarily from Normandy and Brittany. They
were sent by the king to help the development of the new colony. They were also
used for a number of other jobs, such as clearing the land, plowing,
transportation and riding. They reproduced quickly and lived wherever they were
needed by man.
The Canadian Horse is the hardiest, sturdiest and best
acclimatized to our climate, as it was subject to a merciless history of natural
selection. Harsh winters, the many privations in early colonial days, poverty
and hunger made the horse smaller and eliminated the weakest. Over time, they
became indispensable to everyday life and a full partner in the activities of
families and communities.
Nonetheless, around the end of the 19th century, the Canadian
Horse was threatened with extinction. Because of their high quality and the
insouciance of their two-legged companions, a number of prime specimens were
exported to the United States and were used to establish some American breeds,
including the Morgan. After 1816, many foreign horses were imported into Canada.
In 1885, a number of diehards who wanted to keep the Little
Iron Horse going set themselves the enormous job of rebuilding this heritage
breed. The opening of the breed herdbook on December 16, 1886 was the starting
point for the registration of stock horses that had the traits of the breed.
Individual horses were registered until 1912.
However, progress was slow until the Canadian Horse Breeders'
Association was founded in 1895. Interest then began to grow. In 1913, the
federal Department of Agriculture inaugurated a breeding program at the Cap
Rouge experimental farm near Quebec City, with the goal of discovering the best
In 1919, the program was transferred to St. Joachim, to
continue the work started in Cap Rouge. This far-reaching program continued
until 1940 when, with the country at war, the federal government put the elite
horses it still had up for sale for breeding purposes. The herd was
reconstituted at the Ferme-École provinciale de la Gorgendière under the
direction of Quebec's Ministry of Agriculture. Some horses were sent to the
experimental farm at Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière and the others were purchased by
individuals who wanted to preserve the breed.
Thus, the Syndicats d'élevage de chevaux canadiens were
born, the first in 1932. These were groups of active breeders who wanted to
restore the breed to its former popularity by selecting the best breeders and
adopting more effective maintenance and management methods. Official figures
show that the syndicates made a significant contribution to the increase in the
number of class A stallions. In 1980, the board of directors of the Canadian
Horse Breeders' Association decided to revive five regional breeding syndicates,
but the only one that was actually set up was the one in the Lower Saint
Lawrence. Subsequently, in 1992, it was enlarged to become the Syndicat
d'élevage national du cheval canadien-français, with a provincial orientation.
In 1998, the Association québécoise du cheval canadien was
founded; our association was established under the aegis of the Canadian Horse
Breeders' Association to represent breeders in the Quebec City district within
the association. Noting that the Quebec association worked with original
breeding standards, the board of directors of the Canadian Horse Breeders'
Association decided unilaterally to no longer recognize us. Mr. Guy Paquet, who
was the President of the Association at the time, wrote to us saying:
We are convinced that you are still promoting the
Canadian Horse according to the standard you have chosen. Our members
have identified a different standard and, under the circumstances, we
cannot conceive how you can act on our behalf in Quebec [...].
Nevertheless, our association kept its mandate and its
original activities, and with even more energy since the different standard that
Mr. Paquet refers to literally places the horse in danger of extinction. In
fact, at its 2001 Annual General Assembly, and against the wishes that breeders
expressed in a survey, and against the votes and resolutions passed in the past
10 general assemblies where two-thirds of the members voted in favour of
maintaining the breed's original standard, the current administrators of the
Canadian Horse Breeders' Association definitively opened the door to changes in
the breed standards. Now the breed, in the opinion of most breeders, is not
threatened with extinction, it is threatened with destruction. And the situation
is all the more serious, since this approach is coming from the ones who are
supposed to be safeguarding the breed. A wave of protest has reached the
Department of Agriculture in Ottawa following this latest position taken by the
In another vein, in December 1999, thanks to the phenomenal
work of a representative of Rimouski, Ms. Solange Charest, supported by Gratien
Bélanger, Secretary of the Syndicat d'élevage national du cheval
canadien-français, Yves Bernatchez, President of the Front Commun pour la
sauvegarde des races du patrimoine du Québec, André Auclair, Vice-Chairman of
the Association québécoise du cheval canadien and by a number of others, the
Government of Quebec recognized the Canadian Horse as a "race du patrimoine
animalier du Québec", along with the Canadian Cow and the Chantecler
The second part of my presentation is entitled: Facts About
the Canadian Horse
The historian Taillon described the Canadian Horse in the
Small, but robust, hocks of steel, thick mane
floating in the wind, bright and lively eyes, pricking its sensitive
ears at the least noise, going along day and night with the same
courage, wide awake beneath its harness; spirited, good, gentle,
affectionate, following his road with the instinct to come surely home
to his own stable. Such were the horses of our fathers.
Today, our needs are not the same, but the Canadian Horse
still remains a multi-purpose horse, invaluable for the hobby farmers. It can be
used as a work horse as well as a riding horse. Because of its docile nature,
courage and resistance to fatigue, it is highly prized for such leisure uses as
trail riding. In a speech made when Bill 199 was adopted by the Quebec National
Assembly, Dr. Jean-Paul Lemay, an agronomist, pointed out that the past speaks
to us: it teaches us that the present and the future do not emerge from a void
but are built on a foundation that we should know about. The Canadian Horse has
for a long time had many zealous defenders, in all walks of life, in every era.
It has been a part of our daily life throughout our history.
Part 3 of my presentation is entitled A Standard for the
The Canadian Horse Breeders' Association was founded in 1895.
From that date to 1905, it registered 1,801 horses, including 628 stallions and
1, 173 mares. Some of the entries were, however, open to question. It was
therefore agreed to close the stud book and to open a new one in which the only
entries accepted would be those approved by a committee of experts. It was also
agreed to establish a standard to which the committee would match entries as
closely as possible.
The standard was to be one in which the traits represented as
faithfully as possible the ideal original. There was a scale of points to use
for comparison. For further information on this, I refer you to the first volume
of the Livre de généalogie du cheval canadien published in 1917, pp. XXIII,
XXIV and XXV. With these invaluable historical data, Mr. André Auclair drew a
visual representation of the standard for the breed. With modern computer
technology, he was able to produce a diagram in poster format.
This was in fact the outcome of a decision by members of the
head office of the Association québécoise du cheval canadien and the Syndicat
d'élevage national du cheval canadien-français to unite their efforts and
offer their members a visual representation of the breed standard, in order to
improve understanding of that standard. It was translated into English under the
supervision of bilingual people familiar with the Canadian Horse and distributed
to all breeders via the Bottin des Éleveurs de Chevaux Canadiens. The reaction
was for the most part extremely appreciative. A copy of this document is
appended to these notes.
The next part of my presentation is entitled The Future of
the Canadian Horse. With the Canadian Horse recognized as a heritage animal in
Quebec and as the National Horse of Canada, it is important to ensure that it is
well identified, well protected, well promoted and well used. It was to this end
that the Association québécoise du cheval canadien and the Syndicat d'élevage
national du cheval canadien-français distributed the appended document
describing the breed standard.
Moreover, for the past three years, we have been working to
formulate a classification program for adult horses, in order to improve the
breed line and quality of the current herd of Canadian Horses. A classification
grid has been developed using the most complete available documents; we started
applying it experimentally in the summer of 2001 on about 50 horses in Quebec.
These horses constitute the first databank, which will enable
us over time to identify elite examples, both stallions and mares. Given the
immense possibilities of improving the stock offered by this work instrument, a
number of breeders have already expressed their desire to take advantage of the
program as soon as possible.
We hope in the short terms to set up a "virtual stud
farm" on the Internet, where horses in the current herd will be listed in
gold, silver and bronze categories depending on the classification they obtain.
This will enable any horse, no matter how far away it may be, of whatever
breeding, known or unknown, to have its place on the "stud farm" while
remaining with its masters.
In addition, it will then be possible to select matches and,
once arrangements are made with a competent laboratory, to make semen available
from different stallions, something which would otherwise be impossible.
Moving on, our Canadian Horse Day is more and more popular
with breeders and we are already planning to publicize it more widely in the
regions. This is a day where three types of activities are held: futurity
stakes, competitions for the Little Iron Horse, and a gala of champions. The
event unfolds within the framework of a family day, which includes a picnic.
In conclusion, we felt it was important to share our work
with you so that you could be made aware of the tremendous efforts that have
gone into promoting and improving the breed known as the Canadian Horse. We
firmly believe that it is possible, given a certain amount of good will, to make
this breed known to as many people as possible. It deserves as much.
Nonetheless, much remains to be done in this regard if we consider what reporter
Geneviève Tremblay discovered while researching her report on the Canadian
Horse for the television program "Culture Shoc" during the summer of
2000: The Canadian Horse is still virtually unknown to the general public!
Over the last fifteen years or so, the Canadian Horse has
spread beyond its native home in the province of Quebec. There are now breeders
in other Canadian provinces and even in the United States. The population
currently numbers approximately 3,000 horses, two-thirds of which are in Quebec.
Hence the importance of increasing the breed's visibility. We
must remind an entire population, so that it will forever remember that it was
with the Canadian Horse that our forefathers built this country. It was the only
one of its kind from one ocean to the other.
Furthermore, this horse is a breed in its own right. It has
very distinct traits, which were shaped by our country and are untouchable. They
are clearly recorded in the first herdbook. It is a precious heritage that must
be preserved and protected, not a race to be constantly redefined.
Senator Murray: I would just like to thank the witnesses
for their presentation. When the Quebec National Assembly debated Bill 199, the
sponsor of the bill, Ms. Solange Charest, stated that you spearheaded the drive
to establish the Front Commun in 1995. Is that correct?
Mr. Bernatchez: Yes.
Senator Murray: Today, this coalition is reaping the
fruits of many years of work. I congratulate you on getting this legislation
passed in Quebec and I hope you are satisfied with this federal initiative.
In Quebec, the issue of defining the breed has been
addressed. Other witnesses who have come before the committee have told us that
this was a matter for the breeders' associations established pursuant to the
Animal Pedigree Act. What steps should the Government of Quebec take following
this initiative by the National Assembly to have the Canadian Horse recognized
as being a part of Quebec's heritage?
Mr. Bernatchez: Basically, three breeds were developed in
Quebec and the government adopted legislation to recognize them. Measures to
promote the breed have yet to be announced. I have been told that the government
is poised to unveil measures which would allow people to invest in the
preservation of these three breeds, but no formal announcement has yet been
Senator Murray: What kind of efforts could be made to
preserve the Canadian Horse?
Mr. Bernatchez: One positive initiative would be to
establish a special stable where heritage breeds could be raised and exhibited
to the public. Cheeses made with milk from Canadian cows could be developed. The
Canadian chicken is said to the tastiest bird in the world.
My colleague André Auclair and I met with experts from Hong
Kong who told us the Chanteclerc chicken met the standards of the Asian market
and constituted an exceptional breed in North America. The Canadian Horse should
be promoted for tourism and cultural purposes. For instance, in Quebec City, the
breed should be used for calèche rides and mounted police services should be
encouraged to use Canadian Horses from coast to coast.
Ms. St-Arnaud: The Quebec government has awarded us a
grant for our breed classification program. Funds will therefore be available to
classify the stock with a view to preserving the quality of the breed and to
preventing its demise. We are keenly aware of this concern and that is why we
have established this classification system.
We have been awarded a grant by the Quebec Ministry of
Agriculture which will enable as many breeders as possible to access this
Senator Murray: How many Canadian Horses are there in
Ms. St-Arnaud: They account for two-thirds of the overall
Canadian horse population, or for approximately 2,000 horses.
Senator Murray: Earlier, I referred to a statement made
in 1909 by a senior official from the federal Department of Agriculture when the
Association was first incorporated. He noted the following in reference to
standards, and I quote:
Stallions must not exceed 15.3 hands in height, and mares
15.2 hands. The preferred weight is, for stallions, between 1100 and 1350
pounds, and from 1050 to 1250 pounds for mares.
In you opinion, have these standards remained the same over
Mr. Auclair: They really have not changed, although in
1991, they were redefined somewhat.
Senator Murray: By whom?
Mr. Auclair: By the Canadian Horse Breeders' Association.
According to the breed definition, the Canadian Horse must not exceed 15.3 hands
in the case of stallions, and 15.2 hands in the case of mares. In 1991, the
standard was redefined to state that the Canadian Horse must stand between 14
and 16 hands. This was the only change formally adopted in response to the
wishes expressed by two-thirds of the general assembly. As you know, breeds do
not change quickly. They have certain set genetic traits and there is an
archetype that must be respected. The breed prototype may be traced back 50
generations. This year, there is a proposal to change this to 16.2 hands and who
knows, next year someone may request another change. That is not how a breed is
defined. The height of the Canadian Horse is not the only determining factor.
There is also the breed's morphology and quality of the traits to be considered.
All of these must be preserved.
Ms. St-Arnaud: On page 104 of the journal that I
distributed to you, you will find a list of the required standards.
Senator Murray: I do no wish to misquote the previous
witness, Mr. Wilson, but I understood him to say that standards are dictated by
Mr. Auclair: Do you really believe that if we want to
protect a breed, we can allow standards to be dictated to us by the market?
Instead, we should be promoting the excellence, quality and well-established
traits of the breed. It is in these areas, and not on the demand side, that we
must continually strive to improve the breed. Whether we are looking for a race
horse or a draft horse, the Canadian Horse has its own unique traits which
deserve to be defended and promoted. We must respect the breed's genetic makeup.
Our produce is in high demand because it is an excellent product. We cannot ask
someone who is buying a Canadian Horse for the first time to set the standards
for the breed. From the early days, the breed's historic traits have been
defined by climate and natural and genetic selection, with the result being a
hardy horse capable of withstanding any hardship.
Thus, the Canadian Horse has managed to survive over the
years. It served as the best war horse in North America. The American wars
ruined our herd because the horses were neglected and carelessly sold. Now that
breeders' association follow more stringent standards, the Canadian Horse herd
is flourishing. Each year, many new foals are born and the quality of the stock
is good. Steps must be taken to produce good stock specimens, despite the
inevitable variations. Indeed, the Canadian Horse ranges on average between 14
and 16 hands.
Senator Murray: And that is the standard for which you
Mr. Auclair: Each breed has certain standards which must
Senator Murray: And the animal should weigh between 1,000
and 1,400 pounds?
Mr. Auclair: Yes, that is an acceptable weight for the
Canadian Horse. All members of the breed fall somewhere in this range. All
quality stallions and mares range from 14 to 16 hands.
Senator Murray: Are you concerned that these standards
are being watered down somewhat?
Mr. Auclair: Over the past ten years or so, the Canadian
Horse Breeders' Association has from time to time received requests to increase
the allowable standard to 16.2 hands, but such requests have been rejected by
over two-thirds of the members present at the assemblies. These same questions
were raised about four years ago by the boards of directors in attendance. This
year, we surveyed the membership and the current board of directors did not deem
the findings to be conclusive. Changes to the standards were requested. It was
determined that the ideal specimen should stand between 15 and 16 hands, bearing
in mind that horses below and above this range were acceptable as well. This
would enable us to take certain steps to promote a uniform breed.
If we were to look at a herd of Holstein cows or Arabian
horses, we would note a general uniformity of breed. Some visual traits set the
breed apart. Why deviate from this standard? A Canadian Horse is recognizable
because it conforms to the standards set for the breed. These traits must be
preserved in the breeding process. The Canadian Horse has rather short ears and
a thick mane. If we accept a horse with longer ears and a Roman nose, even if
that horse is registered, it will not stand as a good example of the breed. What
we need is a points system to select the best specimens and to establish a
portrait of the typical stallion, based on the criteria set out by the committee
of experts in 1909.
The Chairman: If I may ask, just for clarification, are
you suggesting that the association sets the standards?
Mr. Auclair: The standards for the Canadian breed are the
same as the ones we are requesting. We want to protect the traits of the
Mr. Bernatchez: In fact, we are proposing that the
standards remain the same. We do not want the CHBA to have an opportunity to
modify the standards. The breed does not need to change, as it has already
proven its quality. Each year, an Iron Horse competition is held. The Canadian
Horse should remain the Iron Horse and should be able to defend itself on all
The Chairman: At this point, the association has set
those standards, right?
Mr. Bernatchez: Yes.
Senator Day: Thank you for your presentation. You are
familiar with the Syndicat d'élevage national du cheval canadien-français. Do
you prefer the designation French Canadian Horse to Canadian Horse?
Mr. Auclair: No. The designation "Canadian
Horse" has been in use since 1939. Prior to 1939, the breed was referred to
as the French Canadian Horse on registration certificates, the purpose being to
set it apart from other horses in Canada which were not necessarily Canadian
At the start of World War II in 1939, an attempt was made to
modify the breed standard to allow heavier horses. Over two-thirds of the
members voted against this initiative at the general assembly. The designation
"French Canadian" was set aside because the authenticity of the breed
was no longer in question. However, the Syndicat d'élevage du cheval
canadien-français remained faithful to the breed standards.
The breed standards were already being defended in 1939,
despite attempts to modify them to allow middleweight horses weighing 1,5000
pounds or more. Mr. Deschambault had made this request, but it was rejected by
the majority of members. From that moment onward, the requested changes were not
merely for heavier horses, but occasionally for taller or more refined horses.
Members refused to modify the breed standard.
The Syndicat kept the designation "French Canadian"
because the name guaranteed the authenticity of the breed. People drew a
distinction between Canadian Horse and French Canadian Horse. It was really the
same animal but through selection, breeders were fine-tuning the breed traits,
thereby calling into question recognition of the breed. That is why the Syndicat
adopted this name, to remain faithful to the original standards.
This is a breeders' syndicate, not an association. Our aim is
to promote the breed in Quebec. While we are affiliated with the association, we
uphold the same standards as the Syndicat in terms of the animal's size, type
and morphology. Among those who have spoken out on this issue up until this
year, two-thirds favour the preservation of the standards. This year, the
percentage is only 50 per cent plus one. Some people were dissatisfied and left
the assembly. The desire for change has gown, despite public surveys that show
people favour the preservation of the breed's original standards.
Mr. Bernatchez: Something Mr. Auclair said illustrates
this point clearly. In 1930, when tractors made an appearance on farms, the
first horse to disappear was the small carriage horse. Heavier horses like
Percherons, Clydesdales and Suffolks remained and began to evolve. Canadian
breeders believed that in order to save the Canadian Horse, it needed to become
a heavier animal.
When farms became mechanized, heavier breeds faced an even
greater threat than light horses. Breeders tried to breed lighter Canadian
Horses. The trend then shifted to horses that could jump. Since Canadian Horses
possessed certain traits that made then suitable for jumping, breeders
concentrated on making the horses taller.
All of which proves that the standards associated with a
breed should not be altered because the fashion changes. Every time we stray
from the standard, we weaken the breed and it is the breed that we are trying to
I note here the name of Senator Chalifoux. One of Krieghoff's
paintings is entitled Chalifoux Inn. Many Canadian Horses are depicted in the
painting. We wish to defend this particular breed of horse.
Senator Day: Does the Syndicat d'élevage national still
Mr. Auclair: Yes. It advises people on such matters as
Canadian Horse bloodlines and breeding practices. The aim is to preserve the
excellent traits of the breed.
Senator Day: Does the Quebec association still exist?
Mr. Auclair: Yes, it works to promote the breed.
Senator Day: Do you agree with the designation
"Canadian Horse", rather than "French Canadian Horse"?
Mr. Auclair: Yes.
Ms. St-Arnaud: Most certainly.
Mr. Bernatchez: We have no objections to this whatsoever.
On the contrary, we think it would be a mistake to use this other designation.
When I was the President of the Canadian Horse Breeders' Association, I was told
by the Quebec Minister of Agriculture that if we wanted any funding from the
government, the first thing we needed to do was to change the designation to
"Quebec horse". We rejected that suggestion en masse.
Ms. St-Arnaud: Would you be prepared to support this
cause, so that the standards of the breed are not constantly called into
question? After all you are prepared to make this horse a national symbol.
Senator Murray: Unfortunately, what we are proposing to
do here is symbolic. We are calling on Parliament to recognize the Canadian
Horse as the national horse of Canada. You know better than anyone that this
would be an important symbolic gesture. We can only hope that those responsible
for these standards are concerned about upholding them and respect any action
taken by this Parliament.
We do not have any authority, either through this committee
or through legislation, to impose standards or to amend existing legislation. It
is the responsibility of associations recognized in federal legislation to set
these standards. However, I hope that our initiative will carry a certain amount
of moral authority.
Mr. Bernatchez: Before we leave, I simply want to let you
know that my grandfather Larue incorporated that Canadian Horse Breeders'
Association in 1905. Thus, after nearly 100 years, I am continuing my
The Chairman: I want to thank you for appearing and for
giving an interesting presentation. I attended the 100th birthday of a man who
was a true pioneer, and I draw a parallel here. This is a pioneer horse of
Canada, and I am pleased to hear that you support the proposed legislation
making this the Canadien horse and the Canadian horse, and I am sure it will
work to the benefit of all Canadians.
Honourable senators, we have some other business of the
committee with which to deal. I will turn the meeting over to Senator Wiebe.
Senator Wiebe: Honourable senators, as you know, Senator
Fairbairn, who was on the steering committee, has been asked to chair the
special committee. She has asked to be relieved of her responsibilities here
until after her responsibilities on the new committee are over, at which time
she will return. However, in the meantime, the steering committee cannot meet
because it does not have a third member. Therefore, I should like to move that
Senator Chalifoux be made a member of the steering committee.