Committees
 

THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY

EVIDENCE


OTTAWA, Tuesday, October 30, 2001

The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, to which was referred Bill S-22, an act 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 Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: On the agenda today we have two witnesses, Senator Murray and Member of Parliament Murray Calder, who are both interested in the Canadien horse. They will give us a short statement and then answer your questions. We will begin with Senator Murray.

Hon. Lowell Murray: Colleagues have already heard abundantly from me on this subject. As you know, I spoke as the sponsor of this bill at second reading. Last week, I took a fairly active part in the deliberations of your committee.

It remains only for me to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the committee, for the thorough and serious way in which you have studied this bill and the seriousness with which you have taken it. It is an important bill, if only, as I said last week, for symbolic purposes.

We had a lively discussion here on the linguistic issue last week. Some of us have had considerable correspondence on this matter as well. There has been the widest possible consultation on the matter not only with our own law clerk but also with the jurist linguists, the linguistic authorities. I think we are all unanimous in the view that this horse should be named the Canadian horse in the English version of the bill and "le cheval Canadien," rather than "le cheval de race Canadienne," in the French version. I have some amendments to that effect, which I will ask one of the members of the committee to move if that is acceptable.

Finally, it is an honour to be associated in this enterprise with Mr. Murray Calder, who is the deputy chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in the House of Commons and the Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, an area with some fame and reputation in Ontario and in Canadian agriculture.

Mr. Calder's private members bill to designate this horse as Canada's national horse predated mine by some considerable time. It was only when his bill ran afoul of the procedural hurdles that some of the people interested in this matter prevailed upon me to take it up in the Senate. Should the bill receive your approval tonight and later third reading, it will go to the House of Commons where Mr. Calder has kindly volunteered to be its sponsor and where I think it will have a better chance of being considered and even passed by that chamber of our parliament.

I am honoured and pleased to call upon Mr. Calder to speak to the committee at this time.

Hon. Murray Calder, M.P.: I have always been a firm believer that there is strength in numbers. Senator Murray has my unqualified support within the House of Commons sponsoring Bill S-22. Of course, my bill in the House is Bill C-311.

I will touch on a couple of points in Canadian history that illustrate that the Canadian horse is an important breed and is important in our history.

In 1665, Louis the XIV sent two stallions and 20 mares to New France. Eight of the mares were lost during the voyage. The horses that arrived started the history of this breed in Canada.

The Canadian horse became known as the ideal cavalry mount during the War of 1812. The study horses, hardened by the Canadian climate, were strong and tough and easy to keep.

In 1865, during the American civil war, the American army purchased thousands of Canadian horses. The huge demand led to a large reduction to the population of the Canadian horse. In 1885, the federal government issued a warning that the Canadian horse was in danger of extinction. Export of the breed was prohibited and a stud book was produced.

In 1901, the Canadian cavalry rode the Canadian horses and used them to pull heavy artillery during the Boar War. The horses that survived the war were not brought home to Canada.

In 1997, the Canadian horse celebrated its 350th anniversary in Canada. The Equine Research Centre in Guelph announced it is applying the latest reproduction and molecular biology techniques to help preserve the breed. Semen and embryos are frozen and stored to maintain the diversity of the genetic material for the future. There are eight Canadian horse bloodlines that remain in existence. The centre's study will identify the breeds most closely related. If the Canadian horse continues to decline, this stud book will be opened and crossed with similar breeds to preserve the beloved animal and reduce further inbreeding.

In 1999, through the efforts of committed breeders across Canada, the Canadian breed numbers approximately 3,000 horses. The Canadian horse is classified as critical on the endangered breeds list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory.

As you can see, the Canadian horse and Canadian history are one in the same. The United States does not have a national horse and could actually be looking at our own Canadian horse because it proved to be such a big contributor during the American Civil War. If we can get national recognition for this, our breeders will then have a breed of horse that will be worth considerable value and there will be considerable interest internationally in this breed because it would be recognized as the national horse of Canada.

This is exactly what Senator Murray and I hope to achieve; to have it recognized as the national breed.

 

Senator Hubley: When the horse was first brought to Canada, was it called the Canadian horse? Did you do any research on what the name of the breed was in France?

Mr. Calder: No. Basically, the horses that came across were brought from Normandy and Brittany. These are two of the most renowned horse-breeding provinces. The Breton horse is small in size and noted for its soundness and vigour. The Norman horse is similar to the Breton in appearance. However, they also came from the Andalusian sires, which were brought into Normandy, and the Percheron. This early stock shows influence from the Dutch horse, which was noted for its ability in trotting and general appearance.

Senator Hubley: The Canadian horse name was attributed to this particular animal when it was brought to Canada; is that correct?

Mr. Calder: There is crossbreeding going on within Canada as well. Due to the harshness of the Canadian climate, the breed became smaller and much hardier than when it originally came from France.

Mr. Hec Cloutier has the best story that I have ever heard. He put a Canadian horse up against a Percheron and the Canadian horse actually killed the Percheron horse because it could not keep up.

Senator Oliver: Some of the witnesses who appeared before the committee on this bill also talked about the Newfoundland pony. Do you have any information to indicate whether the Newfoundland pony, as it was, had any relationship to the Canadian horse or the original stock from Brittany? Newfoundland did not come into Canada until much later, but I wanted to know whether some of the same breeds went to Newfoundland and formed part of the Newfoundland pony.

Mr. Calder: That could be possible if the Newfoundland ponies arrived by way of Sable Island. I cannot say for sure. Perhaps Senator Murray has something on that.

Senator Murray: I cannot speak to that. I received a letter from someone about the Newfoundland pony, but only making the point that it had been known only to Newfoundland in terms of its contribution.

Senator Sparrow: There is no precedence for this action in Canada. We are setting new ground here and I wonder if the committee is aware of that. There is no national animal or bird of any description. In particular, there is not any recognition of it. If there were, it would probably be unusual to recognize a particular breed of animal. If you want a national horse to be a national symbol, then it would be basically all horses. We have the beaver as a national symbol but it is not a creature of stature. I have some concern about that.

I have checked with the breeding associations of other horse breeders. We contacted about 30 and not one of them are aware of the bill before this Agriculture Committee or that it is so close to being passed in the house. By declaring this, it gives an unfair advantage to a breed to have the breed book read that it is the national symbol of Canada. Mr. Calder, you said that it creates a value in that aspect. That value might be of a detrimental value to other horse breeders in the country. We must be very aware of the affect that it may have. We should recognize the fact that they may have some input to put into this proposal that is being made. Perhaps you can comment on that.

Mr. Calder: This is my third time around with this bill. I have never been challenged by any other horse breeders on this issue. The breeders of the Canadian horses, the majority of which are in Quebec, are 100 per cent in favour of this bill.

Senator Sparrow: What about the breeders of other breeds of horses?

Mr. Calder: Yes. I have never had other horse farmers that have Belgians, Percherons, or other breeds objecting to this. There is absolutely no resistance. All I get is support.

Senator Sparrow: I said to you in my statement here that I have contacted those associations and they are not aware of this bill before this Agriculture Committee or that it is it going to the Senate. There are a number of Alberta horse breeders, for example, with associations headquartered in Alberta. You may be right about the Percheron and the Clydesdales associations in Ontario. Perhaps those breeders may have been aware, but I do not know that. All I know is that the breeders associations that we contacted are not aware of this bill.

Mr. Calder: I do not know what else I could have done do make them aware. I have had it on my Web site. It was in the national press the last time that I brought in the bill because the Bloc, at that point in time, considered it to be a separatist issue. If they missed it, then they missed it.

The counter question I would ask you, Senator Sparrow, is how will it adversely affect them? If we recognize this breed as the national horse of Canada, then it immediately will take on value. If these people are in the business of breeding horses, then they will want to pick up this breed because they can get in on the ground floor when the breed is cheap and it will escalate in price.

Senator Sparrow: You would not believe that, all of a sudden, the Quarter Horse Association would now start breeding the Canadian horse. They have a breed of their own. They will not quickly go out and buy this breed. If you have been in the cattle business, then you know that as well.

Mr. Calder: What I am saying is that we are all farmers. Farmers are in the business to make money. If I can make money with the Canadian horse, then I will do it.

Senator Sparrow: Yes. You would then have 10 breeds of horses that you are breeding on your farm because the Clydesdales have a market, and so on.

Mr. Calder: That is a possibility.

Senator Sparrow: With the established breeds, if an unfair advantage is given to any particular breed of horse or breed of animal, then it is detrimental to the other breeders associations.

You can talk about elk breeding or cattle breeding and the Seminoles and Charolais, and so on. They can promote their product and perhaps, by imports, increase their value. However, because tomorrow there is an advantage in another breed, they do not just go into that breed of cattle. A dairyman will say that they use one type of dairy cow and that they want to promote that breed of dairy cow. I am sure that would be the case here, too.

I am trying to ensure that we are not caught with the breed associations maintaining that they did not know that this was happening. I have not read about this in the Western Producer or in other magazines that would be in Western Canada, certainly not in the daily newspapers. However, it may have been there.

Senator Murray: It has not been the number one item on The National. Mr. Calder has had this bill the third time around. My original bill died on the Order Paper and I brought it back. The media has contacted me and I have clippings somewhere. To some extent, daily newspapers took it up for one reason or another and then specialized publications like Canadian Geographic became involved.

I cannot speak for the other breed associations. As I understand it, they are not suggesting that their breed rather than this breed ought to be declared a national horse but, rather, the possibility that declaring this a national horse would place them at a disadvantage. I had this very day a letter from a woman who has been breeding horses, mostly Arabian horses, for over 30 years. She writes: "It is only in the last few years that I learned of the Canadian horse. It saddens me to think that for so many years I knew nothing of its existence and I hope that your national horse bill will help change this for others. We need symbols of strength in this country. The Canadian horse is the perfect symbol, proud, strong, enduring, not a victim of its environment but a true survivor and a hero." This woman is from Mission, British Columbia. Her name is Roxanne Salinas. She is supporting this bill.

She continues in her letter: "I have noticed throughout the minutes that there seems to be some concern that breeders of other types of horses may object to the designation of the Canadian horse as the national horse of Canada. I sincerely believe that this will not happen. The Canadian horse, among knowledgeable horsemen aware of its history, is believed to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest breed in North America, even though Spanish horses were introduced to the southern part of the American continent many years preceding the arrival of the first Canadians in Quebec. These horses were not guarded or bred pure, as were the horses of Quebec and the Canadian horses of the Canadian Jesuit mission farms. These horses have survived in their purity to the present day after almost becoming lost to us forever. It is to the credit of the French-Canadian people, who strived so hard to save them, and to the other Canadians across the country who have joined in to help preserve this breed."

However, you are not disputing the history, so I will not go on, but she says that the idea of declaring this bill the national horse is supported by the records of the National Archives of Canada, Canadiana on-line, Canadian Institute for Historical Microfilm Reproduction, Jesuit relations, et cetera. It is a good letter. The point is that she is a breeder mostly of Arabian horses and now that she knows the Canadian horse she wants to congratulate Mr. Calder and me, and she supports the bill.

Senator Wiebe: I wish to respond to Senator Sparrow's concerns. I had never heard of the Canadian horse until Senator Murray moved the bill in the house. My favourite horse has always been the Morgan horse. It was rather nice to learn that the basis of which the Morgan horse was developed came from the Canadian horse. The wonderful part about the Canadian horse -- besides Senator Murray's persuasive speech that convinced me that I should be supporting this bill – is that this horse developed right here in Canada and has evolved over the years. This is not the same horse that is bred and registered today that came over to Canada as a gift. It has matured along the way and it has been developed in Canada exactly the same way the Morgan horse developed in the U.S.

After I rose to speak in the house in favour of this bill, I did some checking around to see if there are any other breeds in Canada that had been bred in Canada and there are not any. I spoke to some members of the Quarter Horse Association who feel strongly about their horse and they are very proud of their horse. However, they are also proud of the fact, as the letter indicates, that there was actually a horse that was developed right here in Canada. I have the feeling from talking to them that they were supportive of this legislation. It is on that basis that I support it as well.

Mr. Calder, this is now the third time around for you. Considering the fact that the Senate may pass this bill, what are the chances of this bill being passed once it goes back to the House of Commons?

Mr. Calder: If the bill is passed on this side and goes over to the House of Commons, then I will withdraw my bill and sponsor the senator's bill, which I will push as hard as I possibly can. I hope it has a good chance. The only detractor that I can see from this now would be the Bloc. As soon as it comes to the House of Commons, I have horse breeders lined up in Quebec ready to go.

Yes, this is the third time around, but each time around something is learned. I have all my soldiers lined up and ready to go as soon as it comes into the House of Commons and is deemed votable.

Senator Wiebe: That is good to hear.

Mr. Calder: The Canadian horse is not only the foundation stock for the Morgan horse, but also the foundation stock for Standardbred, the Tennessee Walking Horse and Saddle breeds. There is a picture of it here, if you are interested.

Senator Oliver: We have seen it at our first meeting.

Senator Tunney: I am quite familiar with the Newfoundland horse and with the class and type of the Canadian horse. I am sure there is no relationship. There may have been one in the past, however, there is not now. If you classified the two horses you would know that there is an absolute difference.

We are doing two things with this bill. We are officially naming it the Canadian horse and we are officially recognizing it as the national horse of Canada. I will certainly support the bill.

Senator Fairbairn: As many of you will know, I have been totally supportive of this bill from the beginning -- not just because I like Senator Murray and Mr. Calder but I truly do like the Canadian horse. It lives and breeds with enthusiasm in my area of the country and it is hugely admired. This is a good thing to do and I support the bill completely.

The Chairman: As chairman, I certainly understand what Senator Sparrow is saying. On the other hand, I was impressed by the sense of unity. We had several witnesses from Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. I was impressed with the sense of unity that this brought as recognizing it as the Canadian horse. I do not know whether the rest of you as members sitting in the hearings got that same feeling.

Is it agreed, honourable senators, that the committee move to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-22?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

The Chairman: Shall the title stand postponed?

Senator Day: Mr. Chairman, I move that Bill S-22 be amended, on page 1, by replacing the long title with the following:

An Act to provide for the recognition of the Canadian horse as the national horse of Canada.

That is motion No. 4 in your kits.

The Chairman: Would you agree that we deal with that at the end of the amendments?

Senator Day: Yes.

The Chairman: Shall the preamble stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall clause 1 stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall clause 2 carry? I have an amendment to clause 2, which reads:

That Bill S-22 be amended, on page 2.

(a) by replacing, in the French version, the heading preceding clause 2 with the following:

"LE CHEVAL NATIONAL"; and

(b) by replacing , in clause 2, lines 3 and 4 with the following:

"2. The horse known as the Canadian horse is hereby recognized and de-"

Senator Day: I so move.

The Chairman: Is it agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall clause 2 carry, as amended?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall clause 1 carry? Do I have a motion to amend clause 1?

Senator Day: Yes, you do.

The Chairman: It is moved:

That Bill S-22 be amended in clause 1, on page 2, by replacing, in the French version, lines 1 and 2 with the following:

"1. Loi sur le cheval national du Canada."

Is it agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall clause 1 carry as amended?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall the preamble carry?

Senator Day: We have another motion.

The Chairman: I have a motion to amend the preamble? It is moved:

That Bill S-22 be amended, in the preamble, on page 1:

(a) by replacing line 1 with the following:

"WHEREAS the Canadian horse was in-";

(b) by replacing line 6 with the following:

"WHEREAS the Canadian horse in";

(c) by replacing line 12 with the following:

"known the Canadian horse have made clear";

( d) by replacing line 17 with the following:

"WHEREAS the Canadian horse was at";

(e) by replacing lines 24 and 25 with the following:

"re-establish and preserve the Canadian horse;": and

(f) by replacing line 28 with the following:

"the Canadian horse in the history of Canada;"

Is it agreed?

Senator Day: If I may, Mr. Chairman, the French is somewhat different from the amendments we have just made on the English side. Are you going English side and then French side?

The Chairman: We can proceed that way, yes.

Senator Day: The effect of the amendments we are voting on now is to change "Canadien" to "Canadian" in English. In the French, we are taking away "cheval de race." It is a different amendment.

The Chairman: Are we all in favour of the amendments thus far?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall the preamable carry as amended, or do we have to deal with the amendment in the French language?

Senator Day: Yes.

The Chairman: Would you read it out, please?

[Translation]

Senator Day: I move:

That Bill S-22 be amended, in the preamble, on page 1:

(a) by replacing line 1 with the following:

"WHEREAS the Canadian horse was introduced-in";

(b) by replacing line 6 with the following:

"WHEREAS the Canadian horse in";

(c) replacing line 12 with the following:

"known the Canadian horse have made clear";

(d) by replacing line 17 with the following:

"WHEREAS the Canadian horse was at";

(e) by replacing lines 24 and 25 with the following:

"re-establish and preserve the Canadian horse," and

(f) by replacing line 28 with the following:

"the Canadian horse in the history of Canada".

[English]

The Chairman: Are we in agreement, those who understand?

Senator Day: Effectively, it is just taking out the way we described "cheval de race." We are taking that word out.

The Chairman: Is it agreed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall the preamble carry as amended?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall the title carry? Do I have a motion to amend the title?

Senator Day: It is Motion No. 4 in your package. In English, it would change the word "Canadien" to "Canadian", as previously mentioned.

[Translation]

The motion reads as follows in French:

Que le projet de loi S-22, à la page 1, soit modifié par substitution, au titre intégral, de ce qui suit:

"Loi portant reconnaissance du cheval canadien comme le cheval national du Canada".

[English]

The Chairman: All in favour?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Shall the title carry as amended?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Is it agreed that this bill be adopted as amended?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Are there any observations to be appended to the report?

Senator Murray: No.

The Chairman: Is it agreed that I report this bill as amended at the next sitting of the Senate?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Carried.

Senator Murray: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and all honourable senators.

The committee adjourned.