Download as PDF

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Issue 19 - Evidence


OTTAWA, Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, to which was referred Bill S-7, to protect heritage lighthouses, met this day at 3:43 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Michael Kirby (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Honourable senators, we are here to consider a private member's bill, Bill S-7, related to the preservation of historic lighthouses. We will have three sets of witnesses, beginning with the sponsor of the bill, Senator Forrestall. We will then hear from Senator Carney, followed by officials from the Department of Heritage and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Finally, we will hear from witnesses from the West Coast and the East Coast by videoconference.

The Honourable J. Michael Forrestall: It is a pleasure to appear before you for the second time with respect to heritage lighthouse protection.

Honourable senators, this is not a money issue. Steps must be taken to preserve and protect Canadian heritage for future generations, be it heritage properties, railway stations, lighthouses or, perhaps some day soon, our Western Canadian icons, grain elevators. These are monuments to the Canadian way of life. I ask all senators familiar with Nova Scotia and our beautiful tourist trails to imagine the Lighthouse Trail without a lighthouse or its outlying structures.

I am told that there was recently an article on heritage lighthouses in Lufthansa magazine. Imagine that article without a picture of Peggy's Cove lighthouse. Imagine no more Grand Manan, no more Gannet Rock. Imagine these places of great significance to Canadians without their lighthouse. If we forget about the West Point lighthouse in Prince Edward Island or Cape Spear in Newfoundland, what would become of our world?

Colleagues, as we sit idle, coastal communities throughout Canada, whether on our beautiful East Coast, along the scenic St. Lawrence, on the great Lake Winnipeg or on the majestic shores of our Pacific northwest, face the loss of these historic buildings. Lighthouses have been sources of salvation to sailors in littoral waters for hundreds of years, and they have served as the centres of coastal communities and coastal interaction.

Beautiful pictures of lighthouses from around the world adorn many a prominent wall because they are a symbol of man's conquest of the high seas and the oceans and, in the past, they captured the hearts and souls of people from around the world as they first caught side of land, or upon their return home. No question exists of their place in the human heart and of their simplistic beauty, set against the rugged dark seas. You need not be from the shores of the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Arctic, the Great Lakes or the rivers to be attracted to lighthouses.

The Lighthouse Preservation Society, based in Nova Scotia with representatives from across Canada, has done much work to examine the plight of Canada's lighthouses and has attempted to save them from destruction. Groups on the West Coast have also attempted to preserve this valuable part of Canadian maritime history.

Our colleague, a supporter of this bill, the Honourable Senator Carney, has worked tirelessly with lightkeepers on the West Coast to protect stations and keepers themselves. I cannot tell you how many times I have followed her up a spiralling staircase to dizzying heights to help her in this valuable cause. I do not want to do it any more.

This is a cause that brings credit to the Senate of Canada, a cause that lets isolated communities know that someone in Ottawa, someone in government, someone somewhere cares — indeed, government itself cares.

The last time we did an accurate count, just over 500 lighthouses were left in Canada. Only 19 have full heritage protection. Another 101 have partial protection and recognition as heritage sites. The rest will sit in no man's land. What does the protection of heritage status mean in real terms?

I bring your attention back to Bill C-62, the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act of 1988, upon which, in large measure, this bill is modelled. Why, if heritage sites are so special, was another act required to protect our heritage railway stations which are found in most Canadian communities? The answer, sadly, is that even with heritage designation, these historic railway stations, some dating to Confederation, could be sold, transferred, altered or destroyed with little recourse to the public. The Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act set up a process of public consultations prior to any action being taken with regard to these valuable heritage sites and, indeed, imposes stiff penalties in the event of precipitous action that damages a historic railway station.

Our research determined that Canada's 19 heritage lighthouses and 101 partially recognized sites are in the same vulnerable position as Canada's historic train stations were prior to the passage of Bill C-62.

The very purpose of Bill S-7 is to protect heritage lighthouses. Clause 3 states:

The purpose of this Act is to preserve and protect heritage lighthouses by

(a) providing for the selection and designation of heritage lighthouses;

(b) preventing the unauthorized alteration or disposition of heritage lighthouses; and

(c) requiring that heritage lighthouses be reasonably maintained.

Honourable senators, just as we would want our neighbours to maintain their homes, so, too, would they want us to do the same.

The bill defines "heritage lighthouse" as "a lighthouse designated as a heritage lighthouse under section 6, and includes any related site or structure that is included in the designation."

The definition of the word, "alter" is, "includes to restore or renovate, but does not include to perform routine maintenance and repairs."

In the bill we also find this definition, "`Board' means the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada." The minister responsible for this act, we trust, will be the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Clause 4 states:

This Act applies to all lighthouses within the legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada.

Clauses 6 through 10 of Bill S-7 are to enable the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, to designate lighthouses and their related properties as heritage lighthouses and to set out a process for their designation as heritage structures.

Clauses 11 through 16 protect heritage lighthouses, and I draw your attention to clause 11(1) in particular which states:

No person shall remove, alter, destroy, sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of a heritage lighthouse or any part of it, unless authorization to do so has been given by the Minister under this Act.

Clauses 11 through 16 also lay out a process for public consultations with regard to the disposition of heritage lighthouses. I would stress the vital importance of public participation.

Clause 17 simply requires that the owner of a heritage lighthouse, as I suggested a moment or two ago, maintain it in a condition in keeping with its heritage character. This is nothing more than municipalities require of homeowners. Who wants an eyesore next door? Heritage properties must be maintained.

Clause 18 empowers the Governor in Council to make regulations, and clause 18 simply amends the Department of Canadian Heritage Act giving the minister jurisdiction over heritage lighthouses in Canada.

In the end, this bill will enhance the powers of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and will allow for the designation, preservation, public consultation and general upkeep of Canada's heritage lighthouses.

Honourable senators, together with Senator Carney, I ask for your support in this measure.

May I invite Senator Carney to assist me in my opening remarks?

The Chairman: Absolutely. Thank you very much for that description of the bill.

The Honourable Pat Carney: I would also like to congratulate Senator Forrestall. He may have followed me up the stairs of those lighthouses, but he took the lead in this initiative to preserve our heritage lighthouses, and that should be acknowledged.

As he has pointed out, this bill is a modest bill, and it is designed to provide a means of designating heritage lighthouses, including public consultation where it is deemed useful, and a requirement that they be reasonably maintained. It does not apply to all lighthouses. I would emphasize that we are not asking for all lighthouses to be designated as heritage lighthouses, and not all would be automatically involved in public consultation. The bill provides for petitions, for requests that a specified lighthouse be designated as a heritage lighthouse, within a time frame, for the minister to consider.

Currently, there is no effective way of stopping the disposition or alternation of our lighthouses, which are so important to our maritime history. Of the 500 lighthouses in Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has indicated that about 200, over time, may be surplus to its operational requirements. There is no mandate for the Coast Guard to dispose of lighthouses. In the past, lighthouses were burned down, lighthouses were blown up, and lighthouses were sledge-hammered, because it is not in the public interest to leave buildings of any kind, heritage or not, neglected and vulnerable to vandalism.

Passage of this bill is necessary because the present legislation has protected only 3 per cent of lighthouses, only 3 per cent nationally have been classified as heritage, which means that permission must be sought to change their designation, and those are limited only to federally owned buildings. This bill would apply to privately owned as well as publicly owned buildings.

In British Columbia, where we have 52 lighthouses, only two are classified as heritage and only seven have even partial protection. Partial protection means they can be declared a heritage building but, in fact, there is no mechanism to preserve them. Don Graham, who is a Point Atkinson lighthouse keeper, since retired, asked us why a lighthouse that has been designated both a national historic site and a federal heritage building, the designation does not carry more weight? It is because there is no process to involve public consultation and maintain these lighthouses.

I took this bill to Terry Weber of the Coast Guard. He is the Superintendent of the Marine Navigation Services on the B.C. coast. He is responsible for the lighthouses that are still operating on the West Coast, as well as the ones that have been de-staffed. He has told me that passage of this bill would make it easier for the Coast Guard to deal with the lighthouses, operational and non-operational, because the Coast Guard, as I say, has no mandate to dispose of them. In cases where the Coast Guard has tried, valiantly, to ensure that they pass to local groups, it has been costly and inefficient. They have used an ad hoc method of doing it.

All of these lighthouses are still equipped with automatic lights. However, there were cases where community groups wanted to use the facilities that were surplus to the Coast Guard requirements.

Lester B. Pearson College wanted to use Race Rocks lighthouse as a scientific site, but the Coast Guard had trouble devolving that opportunity to the college. On my island of Saturna, our volunteer fire department uses the lighthouse, and there is a volunteer lighthouse keeper, but the process of getting leases was very difficult. In other instances, difficulties arise that involve environmental protection issues. Many lighthouses use mercury in the operation of the lights. In fact, in my research for this bill, I learned that the lighthouse at Langara still uses mercury to rotate the heavy glass structure that magnifies the beacon of the lighthouse.

With the passage of this bill, the Coast Guard would benefit. Their task would be made easier.

Senator Callbeck asked if the existing legislation is suitable and adequate. Our research shows that, no, it is not. We propose a much cleaner operational way of dealing with lighthouses. The proposed provisions in this bill are similar to those found in the act that protects canals, railway stations and others, and the cost is estimated at roughly $2 million or $3 million per year. That is probably less than the cost of demolishing, sledge hammering, burning or otherwise disposing of lighthouses.

Honourable senators, amazingly, eight of ten Canadian provinces have lighthouses. Only Alberta and Saskatchewan do not have lighthouses. Therefore, this initiative will impact on all Canadians who live near or sail on freshwater lakes or the oceans on our coasts. Passage of this bill will have a national impact.

We are now ready to answer any of your questions. We have witnesses from both coasts.

I particularly want to thank the members of the historical association of West Vancouver who spent seven years trying to have the Point Atkinson lighthouse designated as a heritage property so that they could assist in the maintenance of it. Under the existing process, they have failed to achieve that goal.

Senator Forrestall: Mr. Chairman, might I introduce Mr. Joe Varner and Ms. Tracy Bellefontaine, who assisted Senator Carney and myself in the preparation of our first and our second rounds.

Senator Cordy: Thank you for such a clear description of the purpose of this bill.

Being from Nova Scotia, I certainly know that Senator Forrestall has been working on the preservation of lighthouses for a very long time. In fact, I would be bold enough to say that he was doing it before his appointment to the Senate. He served as my MP for many years.

Senator Carney spoke about some lighthouses being private and some being public. How does one buy a lighthouse? How does a lighthouse become private property? Were those built by individuals?

Senator Carney: Under the Canadian Constitution, lighthouses are a federal responsibility. Under Treasury Board guidelines, if a lighthouse becomes surplus to the government, as a priority, it can be offered to other federal institutions. For instance, Senator Rompkey's favourite lighthouse is in the Strait of Belle Isle and is operated by Parks Canada. Parks Canada, in that case, took on the responsibility. However, Parks Canada is not in a position to take on all heritage lighthouses.

On occasion, lighthouses have been disposed of to the private sector. However, no process has been put in place to ensure that they are properly maintained or to ensure that, say, McDonalds does not operate one. Perhaps Senator Forrestall can explain why that is so. There is no obligation to have public consultation, and there is no process in place to maintain them. As well, there is no protection against them being altered or sold.

Senator Cordy: Have they been sold as surplus?

Senator Carney: Yes. There are none that I am aware of on my coast but, on the East Coast, some have been sold as surplus.

The Chairman: As an anecdotal piece of evidence, a small lighthouse used to operate in Cherry Hill, Lunenburg County. I had a place there for decades. Ultimately, because people stopped fishing, that lighthouse was abandoned. The individual with the property next to the lighthouse bought the lighthouse. By the way, he maintains it because it is a beautiful landmark. There is an example of a lighthouse that is privately owned now that was not privately owned when Cherry Hill was an active fishing community.

Senator Carney: There was no process for public consultation and no restrictions on that owner to maintain it.

The Chairman: He has maintained it because he wants to do it, not because he has to maintain it.

Senator Cordy: You also said that, fortunately, there are still 500 lighthouses and that not all of them would be designated heritage lighthouses. Why would some of them not be designated as heritage lighthouses? Is it because of age or design? If they were built a long time ago, they should all be heritage lighthouses.

Senator Carney: That is an interesting point. The history of our coasts is quite different. In British Columbia, a lot of people had to die before a lighthouse was built. Many are built in areas where there is no road access. The Maritimes have a different settlement pattern and lighthouses were built for different reasons.

Many in British Columbia should be heritage but the fact is, of the 50-odd lighthouses, only two are classified as such. That is because of very limited architectural criteria. The criteria for classifying a lighthouse heritage at the moment, so that they cannot be altered without permission, deals with the age of the lighthouse and the construction. They must be architecturally amazing or pioneering.

For the seven others that are recognized as heritage, as Mr. Graham says, they could crumble to the ground and nobody would do anything. Recognizing them as a national or heritage site does not mean anyone will take on the responsibility for maintaining them. The Coast Guard does not have such a mandate. They are the operators. There is a gap in the system. We hope to fill that gap with the passage of this bill, which has been modeled on successful legislation for the protection of our railway stations and other structures.

Senator Cordy: If a community had a lighthouse and they wanted it to be designated as a heritage lighthouse, if this bill were to be passed, what steps would they go through to have it declared a heritage lighthouse?

Senator Forrestall: There are certain privately owned facilities that have already been designated. As Senator Carney indicated, under Treasury Board guidelines, the progression is that properties under federal jurisdiction are offered to other government departments, provinces or municipalities.

We have built into this bill, as you will notice, a two-year period in which someone from the private sector, a municipality or anyone else can make an application. Should the bill be passed without amendment, as we envision it, the application will be made to Canadian Heritage.

Clause 8(1) states:

In this section, "petition" means a petition that a specified lighthouse be designated as a heritage lighthouse...

The petition is made to the appropriate department, which, in this case, is Canadian Heritage.

Senator Cordy: It would go to the department and work its way through from there.

Senator Forrestall: That is right.

Senator Carney: The bill states that the application must be received by the minister within two years. That is because these buildings are falling down from neglect. However, clause 7 states that the minister may, at any time, declare a lighthouse to be a heritage lighthouse. We are not just saying you must do it all within two years. We will not be able to deal with some of the B.C. lighthouses within two years. I wanted to clarify that.

Senator Forrestall: There is a five-year period after that for the minister to decide what appropriate action is to be taken with regard to disposal. There is then a process for disposal that falls under Treasury Board guidelines.

Senator Callbeck: Clause 8 deals with a petition that must be made within two years.

It looks from that as if they would not be able to send in a petition three years from now.

Senator Carney: I know you have raised this before. I can offer you the reasons that we have done that. Nothing restricts the minister from recommending at any time that a lighthouse be designated as a heritage structure.

I will give you an example. In British Columbia there is a lighthouse called Triple Island that is way off the coast. It is an architectural marvel. There is no community there at the present time that could petition. However, in time, there may be some extraordinary security reason or some other reason to increase its heritage status.

While we have stipulated two years so that people get moving on this, we have not precluded the minister from being able to designate a lighthouse in the future.

Senator Callbeck: In other words, five years down the road, a group could send in a petition?

Senator Carney: Yes, but we have stated that people should move on it. We do not want to tie the hands of DFO if someone wants to do something decades from now. We have stipulated two years, with an escape clause that the minister can always do this. There is a five-year response time, which gives people enough time to survey and decide what the appropriate action is.

It is the same as government docks. The one on Saturna Island recently burned down. Some government docks are needed and part of the community. Others wither and die over time. Then land claims arise or something happens and suddenly the dock becomes important.

We are trying to leave some flexibility in the bill so that a few years from now, hands are not tied through having it declared a heritage lighthouse.

Senator Forrestall: I will just add to that, Senator Callbeck, if I may. You will notice, as you read through the bill, that we have placed this time restriction so as not to impose an undue delay upon the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the normal prosecution of the fishery itself. Nothing is tied up for an undue length of time. That is why we have directed in the bill that the disposition be dealt with in not more than five years all together.

The petition to the minister is a two-year period, with a total of five years for the minister to act. In short, the minister has three years if the petition is made at the end of the two-year period.

Senator Carney: I would be remiss if I did not add something to that. My dream for the lighthouses on the West Coast has been to multitask them. We have a huge coast — 25,000 kilometres. Much of it is totally inaccessible.

My dream has always been to use them for security. Instead of limiting the mandate of the lightkeepers, who do not even have the authority to talk to the boats in their area, expand it so that they can report on illegal immigrants, obvious drug smuggling and be used by the RCMP for action against criminal activity.

They are now used for weather information. One of the biggest uses of staffed lighthouses in B.C. is to give the marine or aviation weather on a coast where the weather is always changing.

Terry Webber, the superintendent of marine services, told me that the Coast Guard is fully aware of this. They offered lighthouses in the past to other departments such as Parks Canada and the police. No one would pick up a share of the tab. They were unable to do that.

We should not restrict the use of lighthouses to navigational aids. In this day of security concerns, there are other uses. This bill would permit that flexibility.

Senator Cordy: My last question has to do with the maintenance of heritage lighthouses. If a government department owns a lighthouse, one would hope that they would have the finances to maintain it. One of the difficulties that owners of heritage homes in the Halifax area have had is that it is quite expensive to maintain the historical aspects.

Senator Forrestall, you said earlier that your hope would be that there would be community involvement in taking over a lighthouse and having it declared a heritage site. How would you see the maintenance aspect of the lighthouses owned by private individuals being taken care of?

Senator Forrestall: The bill speaks for itself. The responsibility for suitable maintenance of either an active or darkened lighthouse is a municipal one that would have to fall under considerations of unsightly premises. It would be the responsibility of the individual who owned the property to maintain it in keeping with the neighbourhood and good taste.

Senator Cordy: I understand the idea of unsightly premises, but would the maintenance not have to be done in accordance with the historical aspect of the building?

Senator Forrestall: Yes, it would.

Those that are privately owned are indeed maintained at a level significantly above that of government maintenance.

I do not have any particular fears. This is based upon studying this question for probably 20 or 25 years.

You will hear in a few minutes from some of the real treasures in Canada about how preservation of these buildings of historical significance should be viewed. I believe that they will suggest to you that they are reasonably well maintained in private hands. I say that at the risk of incurring the wrath of a series of levels of government.

The next step up, interestingly enough, in my experience has been the municipalities. The provinces will keep one or two painted for tourist and historic purposes, but they are not the best landlords in the world. The federal government, God love them, are somewhere in that list.

Senator Carney: There is no mandate to maintain them now.

Senator Forrestall: That is my point. At this point, they are deteriorating. I doubt that there is a member of Parliament who lives in a coastal community who has not had a plea from someone to find money to paint, repair the foundation or pay the light bill.

There are all sorts of problems. As with railways, those problems have been tackled by community groups. The problems have been overcome, and you know the beauty they provide. I suggest the lighthouses will attract that kind of treatment as well. That has been my experience.

I should mention, so that you can report back to another group, that there is also a role for the Halifax Rifles in matters such as this; and I am quite serious.

Senator Callbeck: First, my congratulations to Senator Forrestall for bringing this proposed legislation forward and to Senator Carney for her interest in lighthouses.

Coming from an island, I have a great interest in lighthouses because they have played a big part in the history, culture and landscape of our province.

I agree with the principle of the proposed legislation. Senator Cordy has covered most of the areas that I wanted to question. There is one issue about the lighthouses that are currently designated heritage buildings. Under the existing process, the Federal Heritage Building Review Office, FHBRO, has examined 200 lighthouses and 120 of those have been classified as heritage buildings. What will happen to those under this proposed legislation? Will they still be heritage lighthouses or will they have to be re-examined?

Senator Forrestall: We opted for the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, HSMB, because it already has similar responsibilities and is able to examine and make recommendations on the buildings held privately and publicly. That is not always possible under other auspices.

The bill and the Canadian Constitution Act of 1867 give Parliament jurisdiction over all lighthouses, both privately and publicly owned and operated.

The HSMB has a much greater scope for consideration in rendering a heritage decision. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board deals with both publicly owned and privately owned sites, which FHBRO cannot do because it is an agency of the Treasury Board and can only deal with federally held properties. FHBRO has a much narrower formula to determine whether a structure qualifies for heritage designation. For those reasons, we opted for the HSMB capacity.

Senator Carney: I might add to that coherent description of why the bill was written in such a way and why the HSMB was chosen.

To answer your question, heritage lighthouses now designated as heritage buildings would retain that designation. There would be public consultations on lighthouses that had been allowed to fall down so that community groups may take them on for restoration and preservation.

Right now, a structure can have heritage status but no one is mandated to look after it. That is the case with most of the light stations. They may have heritage recognition but there is no process or program in place for their maintenance and protection. That is the difference, and that is why in British Columbia, only two lighthouses are classified as heritage sites and thus protected. Seven lighthouses are recognized as heritage buildings and not protected and the rest are totally unprotected.

Senator Callbeck: In answer to the question, the lighthouse now classified as a heritage site will remain as such under this proposed legislation.

Senator Carney: That is correct.

Senator Morin: I only wish to congratulate Senator Forrestall and Senator Carney for producing this extraordinary bill.

Senator Robertson: My question is for clarification. First, congratulations to both of you; I know how long you have been working at this. It is important.

I do not fully understand clause 8(b), wherein the petition must be received within two years. Is the escape clause, "the minister at any time shall"? Do we have to wait for the minister or can we petition the minister? Are all petitions finished after two years?

Senator Forrestall: No, not necessarily finished.

Senator Robertson: Could someone still petition?

Senator Forrestall: The minister could be petitioned at any time.

Senator Robertson: — at any time.

Senator Forrestall: Yes.

Senator Robertson: The priority is in the first two years. Thank you.

May I have some information? These structures are so important to us, but if they are no longer used as navigational aids, is there a priority list in your study for which ones should be addressed first? Do you have to save the old ones first?

Senator Forrestall: Senator, we have two coasts and so I will let Senator Carney deal with this question because there are still some lights on the West Coast.

Senator Carney: That is the point. Senator Forrestall speaks for the East Coast, where there is only one staffed lighthouse, and there are some in Newfoundland.

Senator Robertson: Excuse me, Senator Carney, does that staffed lighthouse have any navigational use?

Senator Carney: Oh, yes. They still have lights. I do not know of any light station on the B.C. coast that has been abandoned.

Senator Robertson: I know of a few on the East Coast.

Senator Carney: They are either automated or staffed, and this is not the committee to speak to the need to increase their budget. They are either operational and automated or operational and staffed. Those are operational questions with which the Coast Guard would have to deal.

As I said, when you are looking at deeming 200 light stations surplus, but not necessarily the navigational aids, the Coast Guard does not have a mandate to deal with disposing of light stations and preserving of the ones to be retained.

Senator Forrestall: To finish that off, at one time, lighthouses were the signals to the man on the bridge to let him know how soon he might be home — he would count them as the ship passed. On the West Coast, you could not do it quite that way. There was not the need on our coast to maintain the numbers. To my undying shame, on my humble watch as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, lo and behold, this deed was perpetrated behind my back, so to speak.

Senator Roche: Like Senator Morin, I wish to congratulate Senator Forrestall for bringing this proposed legislation forward and I congratulate Senator Carney for her dedication.

This is an important issue and I speak in favour of the bill.

The Chairman: I thank Senator Carney and Senator Forrestall for appearing today. Of course, you are welcome to stay to hear the rest of the discussion.

Our next witnesses are Mr. Michel Audy and Ms. Lyn Elliot-Sherwood, from Canadian Heritage; and Mr. Jacques Lorquet and Mr. George Da Pont, from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Ms. Lyn Elliot-Sherwood, Acting Executive Director, Heritage, Department of Canadian Heritage: Honourable senators, from the perspective of the Canadian Heritage portfolio, we will be speaking to Parks Canada's heritage designation responsibilities, as well as to the Historic Places Initiative being led by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

As you know, in 1998, the Parks Canada Agency was established as a departmental corporation under the Financial Administration Act. That means that Parks Canada is a separate legal entity, reporting to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and dedicated to delivering programs set out within the agency's legislation and policy authorities. The minister remains accountable for the overall direction of the agency and is accountable to Parliament for all Parks Canada activities. Overall policy responsibility rests with the Department of Canadian Heritage.

I will ask my colleague, Mr. Michel Audy from Parks Canada, to speak to the designation program operated by Parks Canada to provide a context.

[Translation]

Mr. Michel Audy, Executive Secretary, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada: The Parks Canada Agency is responsible for three heritage designation programs related to Bill S-7. The first is the National Commemoration Program, which identifies places, persons, and events of national historic significance. That is done through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, which advises the Minister of Canadian Heritage on the designation of these subjects. Parks Canada supplies the research support for that program and also the secretariat. It installs commemorative plaques and monuments, and it administers about one in six of the more that 850 national historic sites. Fourteen lighthouses have been designated as national historic sites. Of these, nine are administered by DFO and five by Parks Canada.

[English]

The second program addresses the protection of federal heritage buildings under the Treasury Board heritage buildings policy. Under the policy, federal buildings more than 40 years old are evaluated and may be designated at the highest level, as we heard earlier, which is "classified," or at the next level, as "recognized."

Parks Canada is responsible for providing the research and administering the policy through the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, known under its acronym of FHBRO. The policy holds individual deputy ministers and individual departments accountable for the management of heritage buildings in their own departments. Its purpose is to protect the heritage character of buildings while the property is within the federal jurisdiction.

There are currently 269 classified and 1,085 recognized federal heritage buildings. FHBRO evaluated a total of 287 lighthouses. Of these, 22 were designated as classified and 104 as recognized.

The third heritage program administered by Parks Canada addresses the heritage railway stations. This program was established in 1988 under the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, which applies to railway companies under Part 3 of the Canada Transportation Act.

[Translation]

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has evaluated over 300 railway stations and, upon its advice, the Minister of Canadian Heritage has designated 174 heritage railway stations. Under the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, a railway company may not remove, destroy, alter, sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of a heritage railway station owned by it without the permission of the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of the minister. The HSMBC Secretariat administers the Act by reviewing all applications for interventions, advising the minister on the appropriate course of action to ensure protection of heritage character, ensuring that the public is informed of these requests and by organizing public hearings when required. Parks Canada provides the research support to the HSMBC.

[English]

The Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, however, no longer applies when a heritage railway station is sold to an entity not identified under the Canada Transportation Act. For that reason, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board Secretariat negotiates the application of provincial or territorial heritage legislation to ensure the continued protection of the station as a condition of sale or transfer. Sixty-four heritage railway stations of the 174 that have been designated have been sold or transferred under these conditions.

In closing, Mr. Chair and honourable senators, Parks Canada offers two observations with respect to Bill S-7. Bill S-7, as you know, is modelled after the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, but that act applied to buildings that were otherwise outside the legislative jurisdiction of Parliament. By contrast, the lighthouses that would be affected by Bill S-7 are already under the direct control of the federal government and managed through Treasury Board real property policies. Secondly, Parks Canada supports Bill S-7 in principle. However, the bill does impose new costs but no source of funds for research, evaluation and designation of lighthouses and the review of the intervention process.

Ms. Elliot-Sherwood: Mr. Chair, the Historic Places Initiative — to save time, HPI from here on — was formally launched in 2001 as a broad strategy to engage public, private and voluntary sector participation in built heritage conservation. As part of this strategy, to address gaps in federal legislation, the Government of Canada is considering legislation to establish a new Canada historic places act, and to strengthen legislation for National Historic Sites.

In addition, Canadian Heritage and Parks Canada are working with partners to build three essential tools to support engagement in the initiative: a Canadian register of historic places; conservation standards and guidelines; and a certification process to determine eligibility of expenses and proposals within the new HPI contribution program announced in the 2003 federal budget.

The new Canada historic places act would offer legal protection for historic places on federal lands and archaeological resources on or under federal lands or waters. The proposed legislation would also formally recognize the Canadian register of historic places, to which I just alluded, and commit the Government of Canada to the agreed- upon conservation standards and guidelines.

The proposed Canada historic places act and the proposed modifications to the National Historic Sites and Monuments Act would include provisions for the protection of federal heritage buildings and National Historic Sites. The federal government would be required to ensure that its National Historic Sites and classified buildings — those for which my colleague described the processes for the designation — are appropriately maintained and protected against harmful or destructive actions.

Maintenance and any proposed change or addition to a federally owned National Historic Site or classified building would have to be carried out in accordance with the new conservation standards and guidelines. As I believe Mr. Audy has mentioned, 28 lighthouses owned by Parks Canada and DFO are covered by those two designations.

Under the proposed legislation, if a National Historic Site or classified building were to be sold or leased out by the Government of Canada, specific legal instruments would be required to ensure that the building would continue to receive the same high level of conservation protection.

In the case of buildings that have received the lower status — the recognized buildings — the proposed legislation would encourage the use of the standards and guidelines and require departments, agencies and Crown corporations to take into account the heritage status of the building. Ninety-nine lighthouses are currently designated as recognized.

It is also the intention of the proposed legislation that we have described in consultation documents to ensure that no demolition of any part of National Historic Sites or classified federal heritage buildings within the federal inventory could take place without the consent of Parliament.

[Translation]

As part of the Heritage First thrust of the proposed legislation, all federal departments, Crown corporations and agencies would be required to give priority consideration to using national historic sites and classified federal heritage buildings before opting for new construction or leases. The proposed legislation would require federal entities to take into account in their actions the heritage value of all places on the new Canadian Register of Historic Places, including those places designated by provinces, territories or municipalities which are owned by other levels of government, community groups, heritage societies, the private sector or individual Canadians.

We would be happy to make available to you copies of the discussion papers circulated last fall.

[English]

Mr. George Da Pont, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans: Thank you very much, Senator Kirby, for the opportunity to appear before this committee. As can you appreciate, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as the federal custodian of lighthouse properties across Canada, obviously has a clear interest in speaking to Senator Forrestall's proposed legislation.

Let me say at the outset, as my colleagues did, that DFO fully agrees with the objectives of the proposed legislation of preserving the historical and cultural value of heritage assets. In particular, we appreciate the public's desire to preserve the cultural heritage of Canada's lighthouses, and no department can better appreciate the contribution lighthouses have made over the centuries towards the saving of lives of seafarers and the settlement and development of our country.

However, this being said, we do have some concerns with the proposed legislation, with the way it is currently written and some uncertainty on its application. It clearly has the potential to have an impact on DFO's operational capability, and it may well impose some additional financial obligations.

There are currently 261 lighthouses in DFO's inventory, of which 121 have been assessed under the current heritage policy guidelines. Seventy-four of those assessed properties have been recognized for their heritage characteristics, and 17 have been officially classified. DFO also owns a further 199 concrete structures and 357 wooden structures, considered as marine navigation aids, of which 36 have been recognized so far under the guidelines.

In fulfilling its responsibilities for the provision and maintenance of marine aids to navigation, including lighthouses, DFO conducts periodic reviews in consultation with users to ensure that there exists the right number and mix of aids to provide effective levels of safety and environmental protection. Through these reviews and the introduction of new technologies, an increasing number of lighthouse structures and properties are being identified as no longer required as aids to the navigation system.

Treasury Board policy on real property requires that custodial departments focus their real property expenditures on maintaining the properties they require for operational purposes. Any particular property that is no longer required for program delivery must be disposed of by sale or transfer. DFO's disposal procedures conform to federal policy on heritage buildings, so all properties over 40 years of age or more are assessed by the Federal Heritage Building Review Office prior to their disposal.

Other federal government departments, provinces, municipalities and not-for-profit groups, in that order, are given the opportunity to acquire and preserve DFO's surplus lighthouses.

DFO also has special authority from Treasury Board to transfer lighthouses at nominal value to any government or not-for-profit party who agrees to maintain those properties for a predetermined number of years.

So far, 162 lighthouses and 126 aids to navigation have been designated as available for disposal.

Since DFO now has many lighthouses that are surplus to our needs, we believe that they could be more appropriately protected and maintained by other public agencies and groups that have the mandate and interest and can secure funding for this type of work. Many local municipalities or groups have expressed a desire to acquire lighthouse properties for preservation and tourist development in their communities. DFO believes that its surplus properties would be better served if transferred to interested communities rather than remaining as assets of DFO. In the past several years, we have been actively working with Parks Canada, provincial governments and not-for-profit organizations to ensure the transfer and preservation of surplus lighthouses.

To date, we have been successful in transferring a few lighthouses. I was going to go into detail with two examples, of a transfer in Point Albino and another one in the Gaspésie, but perhaps in the interest of time, I will skip over that. We are now engaged in discussions with the Province of Prince Edward Island, local community groups and the Atlantic Lighthouse Council regarding the possible transfer of 21 DFO lighthouses to the province. We have initiated similar discussions with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Of course, the intent of any such transfers is to ensure that these assets contribute to local development and are protected for future generations.

These efforts may appear to be modest, but we have responded and will continue to respond to the expressed interest of communities.

However, in light of financial constraints and our huge asset base, DFO must invest funds in sites where there is a continuing need to maintain the structure for program delivery. Given that many of our lighthouses are no longer required for program purposes, most of them have not been very well maintained in the past few years. To bring them back to a "reasonable" standard, as would be mandated by this proposed bill, would require a significant investment on the part of DFO as the owner.

In addition, the proposed bill could establish some new mandatory obligations for the maintenance of heritage lighthouses without clearly defining, at this point, the scope and extent of those obligations. For example, we do not know what standards the Historic Sites and Monuments Board, referred to in the bill, would develop for the maintenance of heritage lighthouses.

[Translation]

The bill would require DFO, as the owner of designated heritage lighthouses, to maintain them in a reasonable state of repair and in a manner in keeping with their heritage character.

[English]

The main financial impact on DFO would be the cost to refurbish lighthouses to a reasonable standard. DFO has not had an opportunity to estimate these costs but believes they would be significant, probably in the tens of millions of dollars. In any event, unless there were additional new sources of funding, this could only be accomplished by diverting funds from ongoing Coast Guard or other DFO operational programs.

Furthermore, we believe — and I believe this was noted by the sponsors of the bill — that under the proposed legislation, the number of designated heritage lighthouses could very well be much higher than the number currently designated under the present heritage policy guidelines.

It is not known at this time what criteria would be used by the Minister of Heritage to designate a heritage lighthouse, but there is a likelihood of increased designations, with a corresponding increase in maintenance obligations, as yet undefined, for DFO.

Finally, the proposed bill could potentially make it more difficult for DFO to dispose of lighthouses it no longer requires. First, the disposal process would appear to be more onerous and take longer than the current one. We understand that all disposals of heritage lighthouses would require the approval of the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Any dissenting party in the community could require the minister to hold a public consultation before making a decision.

[Translation]

By establishing a legal requirement for DFO to maintain, in good condition, all heritage lighthouses under its custody, regardless of their surplus status, there would be less of an incentive for communities or other levels of government to acquire these properties. The preservation of lighthouses would have to be assured by DFO by law.

[English]

Also, because of the maintenance standards attached to heritage lighthouses, many communities might be discouraged from assuming ownership of these properties. Simply put, they may be afraid to accept additional financial obligations unless there was an ongoing federal commitment to financial assistance.

In closing, thank you for the opportunity to share with you our views, and I would like to reiterate that notwithstanding these concerns, DFO does certainly support the objectives of the bill.

The Chairman: I wonder if I can just summarize what I heard you say. If I am wrong, please tell me. Parks Canada agrees in principle with the bill but is concerned about the fact it could impose some cost on them. I should tell you, by the way, that if we had introduced a bill that dealt directly with the cost, it would have been ruled out of order because you cannot initiate a money bill in the Senate. Heritage Canada did not take a position but gave a lengthy description of a new bill that might or might not appear at some time in the future. DFO supports the objectives and is happy to do all the off-loading it possibly can, but does not have any money to deal with the costs that might be imposed on it by this bill. Is that a fairly accurate summary of what was said? I am asking the question seriously.

Mr. Da Pont: I would not have chosen those words, Mr. Chairman, but I agree.

The Chairman: The essence of my summary was about right. I wanted to make sure I understood it. I do not have any other questions. The interesting part of this is that there are no objections in principle to the bill from anyone. The concern is, first, money, which, by the way, I would be worried about too if I were in your shoes, but that is not our problem. Second, there is a belief that it might be better handled under the proposed new legislation. When I look at all the bills stuck on the Order Paper on the other side and the fact that there will be a new government and a possible election, who the heck knows when any new piece of legislation may come along? I also understand the department's position. I wanted to make sure I had it reasonably well summarized.

Ms. Elliot-Sherwood: If I could add, Mr. Chairman, the department does support the bill in principle and echoes the cost issues noted by colleagues.

The Chairman: Do any of my colleagues have any questions, or did I recite a reasonable summary? Thank you all for coming.

We were about to switch to witnesses from the East Coast and the West Coast, but the clerk tells me we lost the connection. This was not an Air Canada flight. We cannot blame Mr. Milton for this one. This is a technological issue. We will give it two minutes. If that does not work, we will just proceed.

Senators, while we are waiting, I would like to have a member of the committee move a motion. This relates to the need for a small budget for the public health emergency infrastructure study. Let me remind you that we returned $10,000 to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration that we did not spend on the mental health study. The purpose of this motion is to get the $10,000 back. Therefore, we are not asking for an increase in their allocation to us. In view of the fact that the exact terms of reference of the proposed order have not gone through the Senate but will tomorrow, the motion that we need is as follows: That the committee empower the subcommittee on agenda and procedure, which is the steering committee, to present a budget request to the Internal Economy Committee and to the Senate of up to $10,000 on the proposed order of reference on public health emergency infrastructure, once this order is adopted by the Senate.

Senator Morin: I will move it.

The Chairman: That is fine.

Honourable senators, we are still waiting, so I will just brief you on several other things. The steering committee met last week and worked out two hearing schedules for the public health infrastructure study. One hearing schedule is based on the assumption that the Senate reconvenes, as the parliamentary calendar would call for, on September 16, and the second schedule is based on the assumption that we will reconvene a week later. The clerk, once he gets the program hooked up, will give them to you.

Let me explain that under any scenario, if in fact the Senate does not sit, we will do an extensive set of hearings on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, September 16, 17 and 18. Whether the Senate sits or not, we are sitting. That is the first point. The second point is that we have had to include one or two Mondays, depending on whether the Senate sits or does not sit that week. Would you please put those dates in your book? We will begin, in any event, the week of September 15.

Do we need a motion to sit the week of September 16 in case we do not come back? I will ask the clerk to deal with Senator LeBreton and make sure that whatever needs to be done gets done tomorrow.

Senator LeBreton: We have been talking in caucus about sitting over the summer. That was one reason why they stood our motion. They thought we would be meeting over the summer. I said we were not. It was all about availability.

The Chairman: Can you speak to Senator Robichaud about that?

Senator LeBreton: I will speak to Senator Kinsella. I think we can make the argument that we were basing it on the parliamentary calendar.

The Chairman: That is right. We were due to be back, and the House of Commons will be back.

We now have our connections. I urge the witnesses to be brief because we do have some time constraints. Mr. Delgado, would you give us your thoughts on the bill, please.

Mr. James P. Delgado, Executive Director, Vancouver Maritime Museum: Honourable senators, I speak to you today not so much as the director of the maritime museum, but as the former head of maritime preservation for the U.S. government and as the implementer of a similar bill that the United States Congress tasked us with in 1987.

What I find encouraging is that both the proposed legislation before you and the legislation that the Americans considered took existing federal programs, tasked them with an initiative, provided a small amount of funding and encouraged public and private sector partnership.

We surveyed every historic lighthouse, as well as every historic ship and historic site in the United States, with a staff of three, over a period of four years.

We utilized existing criteria and programs similar to those of Parks Canada and designated a number of sites as registered and as classified sites.

While some 70 per cent of the lighthouses in the inventory were designated under the National Register of Historic Places, a much smaller number were actually put on the National Historic Landmark list, which would be similar to National Historic Site status.

The most significant aspect of that legislation was the recommendation that we encourage public and private sector partnerships. The key to that was the development of a lighthouse-granting program, where we provided $1 million to various heritage lighthouses throughout the United States and its territories. In its first year, that generated $20 million in non-federal support, primarily from the not-for-profit sector, from granting agencies and foundations, which made a big difference in the preservation of lighthouses.

We did encourage the transfer of federal responsibility whenever possible, so that people could find other uses, for example, as museums, not-for-profit bed and breakfasts and the like. That also proved key to the preservation of many of these lighthouses.

In closing, echoing the comments of both the Department of Canadian Heritage and DFO, I support this bill. It is critical and key to the preservation of Canada's lighthouses. I would encourage you to consider providing some amount of funding for these programs to be implemented.

I would also encourage you to recognize that while both of these existing government departments have mandates that encompass these heritage lighthouses, the mandate of DFO in particular, while focused on other areas, could be augmented with support from Canadian Heritage and other outside partners.

Mr. Dan Conlin, Curator of Marine History, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: Honourable senators, I am an historian working at the Maritime Museum in Halifax. I hear a lot from community groups who need help with research to preserve their lighthouses and to navigate the various federal channels, and who are trying to get federal heritage status for their sites. As a result, I am all too familiar with the shortcomings of the existing rules.

Just a brief word about the historical significance of lighthouses — Canada has a unique achievement worldwide in this. We were a tiny nation in 1867 with the world's largest coastline. We inherited a small number of colonial lighthouses. We developed a unique Canadian way of building hundreds and hundreds of wooden lighthouses, in contrast to the big stone towers that the Europeans and Americans adopted, and staffed them with families. They were community based, unlike the quasi-military corps of lighthouse-keepers that you see in Europe.

We built a unique network of lighthouses that are fundamentally landmarks. They are landmarks for navigators, but also they demarcate our coastline. They are a very special heritage property and we think they deserve special recognition.

I would like to point out some of the flaws in the existing federal system. The departments from whom you heard previously have laid it out. The historic sites and monuments declaration is mainly an honorific. You receive a plaque but there is no protection of the building or the site. The classified FHBRO status protects the building from demolition or defacement, but it has only been awarded to 22 lighthouses. Speaking from experience, it is impossible now to get a lighthouse classified with FHBRO status.

That leaves you with the recognized status, which gives partial protection for lighthouses. You have to review it before you tear it down. That has only been doled out to 104. The number you did not hear from FHBRO is they rejected 161 lighthouses for any heritage protection. For every one lighthouse in Canada that gets classified status, seven are rejected and left to the wolves.

That compares very poorly with the United States where over 70 per cent of lighthouses over 50 years old have protection under the National Register of Historic Places. There seems to be a different philosophy in Ottawa, whereby you look for a small number of elite examples of lighthouses and reject all the others. In the United States, if a lighthouse is important to its community, it gets the recognition and protection.

To speak to the bill directly, we are pleased that it designates lighthouses as a keystone, an important national heritage symbol.

There are lighthouses not just on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but also all up the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes. Every province in Canada, with the exception of two, has lighthouses. In fact, Canada has the second largest number of lighthouses. They are truly national structures. We appreciate the fact that some attention is being given to lighthouses; that they are being singled out, much as railway stations were, with their own proposed legislation.

We are pleased that this bill would apply to both federal lighthouses and those that are owned by other levels of government, by community groups and privately. Current protection under FHBRO evaporates the moment a lighthouse is transferred to another level of government.

The moment the 124 lighthouses that have federal protection are transferred to a municipality, that protection just evaporates. Lighthouses are in a weird Catch-22. You cannot apply provincial or municipal status to them because they are exempt as federal structures, but the moment their ownership changes, all the protection disappears.

We are pleased that this bill is shifting the focus from the Canadian Coast Guard to the Department of Canadian Heritage, who, we feel, have not been adequately looking at lighthouses. They have been leaving it to the Coast Guard, which has all sorts of safety responsibilities to compete with the cultural responsibilities. We are pleased that Canadian Heritage is more involved.

We are also pleased that it includes not just lighthouses, but has a very good definition that includes the light station, the parcel of land, the alarms, the keeper dwellings, which are very important structures as well and key to the financial stability of these sites in terms of becoming bread and breakfasts, tourism information centres and other types of things that would generate revenue.

The proposed bill sets out a much more public process to examine lighthouses. Lighthouses can be petitioned for; there can be a public hearing if there are objections. The current FHBRO system is very secretive. Most community groups have no idea that their lighthouse is being examined by FHBRO bureaucrats in Ottawa, who usually hire researchers somewhere in Ottawa or another part of Canada who never visit the lighthouse and, up until recently, do not speak to anyone who lives anywhere near it. That is a terrible example.

The Chairman: Are you exaggerating to make a point? I cannot believe you are serious.

Senator Carney: It is true.

The Chairman: That is the process?

Mr. Conlin: I cannot tell you how many community groups I have had phone calls from saying that they would like their lighthouse to have federal protection. Then I look at the list from FHBRO and I see that their lighthouse was looked at in 1993 and rejected. Architects and researchers in Ottawa drive the FHBRO system internally. Until very recently, no phone calls were even made to community groups. The system is flawed in that way.

In the last three years, ironically, soon after the original Bill S-21 was introduced, we have received more phone calls from FHBRO researchers wanting to talk to people in the community. The situation has improved a little. That level of community support is not really part of the FHBRO system at all now. One of the better things about this proposed legislation is that it is more public.

To go to a few weaknesses of the bill: We are curious about the designation process. It puts the designation into the historic sites and monuments system, but we are concerned that the FHBRO backlog would transfer to the historic sites and monuments backlog. We are curious how that system would work and be resourced.

The bill does not address the issue of disposal and ownership. Perhaps that is outside it. Currently, many community groups who want lighthouses are faced with the prospect of buying at market value.

That is how the Canadian system works. It is different from the British system, where the government keeps all the lighthouses and leases or licences them. It is different from the American system, where lighthouses are transferred to community groups for a nominal fee.

The Canadian Treasury Board approach has been that lighthouses are valuable properties and should be sold to make money for the Canadian taxpayer. It has only been through some innovative arrangements by Coast Guard officials that communities have been able to slowly take over lighthouses.

There is a disposal issue there that is not addressed in the bill but we still think is important. That is why I am raising it now.

That sums up the broad view of our society on the bill. I am here with Mr. MacDonald, who would like to share a thought or two as well.

Mr. Barry MacDonald, President, Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society: Honourable senators, I would like to thank Senator Forrestall for picking up the ball for us on this one. When we first started this process in 1999, of all the politicians who were canvassed, he came forward. We would like to thank him very much for that.

We would also like to thank Senator Carney for her work and support. Thank you indeed to everyone who has worked on and is supporting this bill.

The Chairman: Senators, we were to hear also from Mr. Brian Anthony, the Executive Director of the Canadian Heritage Foundation, who has given us a brief. However, in the interest of time, he kindly agreed to pass so that we could hear from the people from the coast.

Do we have any questions for our witnesses in British Columbia and Nova Scotia?

Thank you for your presentation. The technology worked, with a little hitch.

Senator Carney: We would like to thank the witnesses for their patience in waiting through our technological difficulties and for their input.

The Chairman: I am glad that you were hooked in from the beginning and were able to hear the other presentations.

Honourable senators, do you wish to do clause-by-clause consideration or dispense with it?

Senator Cordy: I have one concern with the bill. It regards clause 8(2)(b). I still have concerns that if someone were to petition after the two-year period, it would not be received. That is unfortunate because that is not your intent. I am not a legal expert, but I read it that you have to petition the minister within two years.

Senator Carney: We considered that. We wanted to set timelines because these buildings are deteriorating. As our DFO witness has pointed out, they are not really maintaining these buildings up to a standard.

We have already said that the flexibility clause is clause 7, which says that the minister may consider a petition at any time, taking into account prescribed criteria. We have set the time frame, but there is an escape clause.

Senator Morin: From what we have heard from the government witnesses here, is there any danger that this could be considered a money bill?

The Chairman: No, because it is simply adjusting a program that already exists. Therefore, it does not meet the test of a money bill.

Senator Forrestall: I would draw Senator Cordy's attention to clause 20, coming into force. The actual coming into force is two years after the day the bill is assented to or on an earlier day fixed by order of the Governor in Council. I am suggesting it is two years after this comes into effect. That could be some considerable time.

Should the bill be accepted in principle by government, it would be up to the groups such as we heard from on the coasts and others to take the actions necessary to get the petition sent to the minister. The five-year period would then start.

The Chairman: Honourable senators, is it your pleasure to proceed to clause by clause or dispense with clause by clause?

Hon. Senators: Dispense.

The Chairman: Is it the desire of honourable senators that the bill be reported to the Senate without amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Can I do that tomorrow?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: I have two other quick items of information for you. Between Senator LeBreton and Senator Cordy dealing with our respective leaderships, we will get approval to sit the week of September 15, even if the Senate is not back. We will get that done through the Senate tomorrow.

I spent a few hours with David Naylor, the Dean of the University of Toronto medical school, who is heading the SARS study, to make sure that our work would dovetail. He is extremely enthusiastic about what we are doing.

His report will be available before the middle of August. It will be perfect input for us. We have worked with his staff and ours are to work with him. We will know his major recommendations before they become public. We had a very good meeting.

Senator LeBreton: He is basically Ontario centred.

The Chairman: He is specifically looking at SARS, but in the course of that he will be making comments on the broad infrastructure that he thinks will be useful to us. He is right. He will have done a lot of background work that will be useful to us. That is where that stands.

I also had a very successful meeting with Patrick Monahan, Stanley Hart and Earl Cherniak on our other project. This is a pro bono effort on their part, but we will need a little money for technical services. I suggest that if everyone throws a little into the pot, we can handle that. It is not expensive.

Senator Keon: Honourable senators, as you probably know, I was appointed to the provincial committee yesterday. David Walker will be chairing that committee. I will give you this e-mail. I think that it would be worth your while to contact him also.

The Chairman: He is from Queens, is he not?

Senator Keon: Dean of Emergency Medicine.

Senator Morin: What committee is that?

The Chairman: The Ontario provincial equivalent of the Naylor committee.

Senator Morin: Is that a judicial committee?

Senator Keon: The judicial committee will interface with this committee. This committee will do an exhaustive review of infectious disease control in Ontario.

Senator LeBreton: The provincial committee is on SARS. Yours is a much broader mandate, is it not?

Senator Keon: That is correct.

The Chairman: That is a good idea. David Naylor was very enthusiastic about the ideas that they will put out in the middle of the summer. He was concerned that given the various other events that will transpire in Ottawa over the next six months, the issue will fall off the table. His view was that this committee could become the forum for the discussion of all national health issues. That is the way Dean Naylor and his committee see it.

He knows that we may pick up on some of his ideas, although we may not like others. At least it will keep the idea alive and keep the issue going. We should meet with the group from Kingston as well.

Honourable senators, we will meet again on September 16, either because the Senate is sitting or because it is not sitting.

Senator Carney: Thank you, senators and witnesses, for the discussion and your support on Bill S-7. This is the third time that Senator Forrestall and I have brought this issue forward, and each time the bill has been improved — we had bills S-43, S-21 and now S-7 — because of the comments of senators. We appreciate your support.

The Chairman: We appreciate the fact that the bill was sent to a committee with a large majority of Atlantic Canadians.

The committee adjourned.