The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your
attention to the presence in our gallery of His Excellency Gennady Seleznev, the
Chairman of the Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation,
accompanied by a delegation of members from the State Duma of the Russian
We had the honour of meeting with our guests earlier today, in particular,
with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the other place. They are
completing what I hope for them has been an interesting and successful visit to
the Parliament of Canada.
With Speaker Seleznev are Mr. Mihail Emelyanov, Mr. Nikolai Kiselev, Mr.
Mikhail Musatov, Madam Antonina Romanchuck, Mr. Vitaly Safronov, Mr. Alexander
Sizov, Mr. Igor Khankoyev, Mr. Sergei Chikulayev, Mr. Anatoly Usov, Mr. Boris
Golovin and Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.
Honourable senators, I should also like to draw your attention to the
presence in the gallery of Mr. Pavel Pelant, the Secretary-General of the Senate
of the Czech Republic, and Mrs. Eva Bartonova, Director of International
Relations, Department of the Senate of the Czech Republic.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I bid you welcome.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I thank His Honour for
bringing to our attention the presence in the gallery of an important delegation
from the Russian Duma, which is the equivalent of our House of Commons. The
delegation is headed by their speaker, as His Honour has said.
Honourable senators, I am happy to report to the Senate on one of the most
successful meetings that ever took place. While there were nine parliamentary
committees sitting in the House of Commons and the Senate, plus parliamentarians
abroad, we succeeded in attracting over 30 members of both Houses, between ten
o'clock and eleven o'clock this morning, to the committee called Canada-Russia
As honourable senators will remember, this parliamentary group was created at
the request of our late Speaker, Senator Gildas Molgat. We followed up our
meeting by enjoying the hospitality of Honourable Speaker Hays, who entertained
our guests. I am pleased that the Canada-Russia Parliamentary Group has helped
to cement our closeness.
Honourable senators, when you look at the geography of Russia, you can
understand what the new Russia must cope with. In their delegation is a woman
member from Vladivostok, which is just north of North Korea and next to China.
She must travel across 11 time zones to attend Parliament. Imagine the vastness
of Russia and the vastness of its neighbours, who are not always as friendly as
we would like.
That is why I believe this group of parliamentarians is so important,
honourable senators. Soon, a few of us will be asked to join for the next four
years. It is important to show our Russian friends that many people in Canada
care about what they must go through. Many Canadians believe that we could have
closer trade, closer human rights, closer political levels and closer
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, a few days ago, two ministers
of the Crown questioned whether Canada should remain a constitutional monarchy.
However, they did not put the issue in those terms. Instead, they simply
suggested that we substitute a Canadian head of state for the Queen's heir when
he should come to the throne as King. In their opinion, the monarchy is merely a
foreign and anachronistic relic that has no particular significance for
Canadians. At best, it is a worn-out vestige of a colonial past that has long
outlived its usefulness.
I submit that, as senators, we have pledged our allegiance to the Queen. If
our oath has any meaning, it invites us to reflect on the nature of our
parliamentary system and the institutions that embody its values, including the
Let me begin by asking this question: What is the role of the Crown in our
Constitution? Though few seem to realize or wish to acknowledge it, the Crown is
no less than the fundamental structuring principle of our entire system of
Since the 15th century, Canada has been under the uninterrupted sovereignty
of French and British monarchs, providing us with a unique sovereign lineage.
Today, the sovereignty of Canada belongs to the Canadian people.
In 1867, the Fathers of Confederation conceived an unprecedented federal
system that established the duality of the Crown, as expressed in the federal
and provincial levels of government. Never before in history had the sovereignty
of provincial legislatures and the federal Parliament been recognized under one
Crown. The invention of this compound Crown, as Professor David Smith describes
it, was a genuine, pragmatic and innovative solution devised by the Fathers of
Confederation to respond to the polity.
The concept of an abstract, compound Crown representing the whole of the
nation and its autonomous components permeated all of our political and judicial
institutions. From this remarkable beginning, the most important feature of the
Canadian constitutional monarchy has remained its adaptability.
The exceptional flexibility of the Canadian Crown was also illustrated with
the constitutional reforms of 1982. With the repatriation of the Constitution,
we recognized the primacy of the rule of law and we achieved the exclusive
authority to determine the nature of our governmental system. The Crown lends
itself to the will of the Canadian people. Canadians are the sole and absolute
masters of the their destiny as a nation. Thus, the concept of the Crown as an
expression of our sovereignty has proven to be flexible and fully responsive to
our political aspirations. The Canadian Crown is a symbol, an institution and an
organic principle. Above all else, it is the expression of the continuity of our
Contrary to what is thought by some, the Crown occupies a central place in
our Parliament and democracy. It incarnates the transcendent essence of our
existence as a nation. It remains above the political fray. It is even the
ultimate safeguard of our constitutional liberty to enjoy our rights and
freedoms of one united country.
Today's Quebecers are no longer prisoners of yesterday's clichés, victims or
The Crown is an institution that reaches far beyond the transient
circumstances of the day, binding us to shared history, traditions and values,
to the Commonwealth of Nations that encompasses a quarter of the world's people.
This is a significant component of our Canadian identity and ought not to be
brushed aside lightly.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute
to the late Beverly Mascoll of Toronto, who was claimed by breast cancer and
passed away on May 16, 2001. Beverly Mascoll was a successful and lovely Black
woman who always had time for others. She was a good person, a good wife and a
good mother. Beverly leaves behind her husband of 37 years, Emerson Mascoll,
their one son, Eldon, and a host of friends.
Beverly Mascoll was a Black Nova Scotian, descended from Black United Empire
Loyalists, free men and free women, while Emerson is of West Indian descent. Bev
was born in Fall River, Nova Scotia, where the Ash Lee Jefferson School is named
for her grandmother. She moved to Toronto as a teenager, where she has lived
ever since. In 1970, she established Mascoll Beauty Supply Limited, which became
one of Canada's largest distributors of beauty products for Black women. She was
always active in the Black community, particularly with the Beverly Mascoll
Beverly's husband, Emerson, attended St. Francis Xavier University with
former Prime Minister Mulroney. Both Beverly and Emerson were friends of Mr.
Now retired, Emerson had been Vice-President of McGuinness Distillers and
Vice-President of Nabisco Brands. He was also the first Black person to be
appointed to the board of directors of Canadian National Railways.
Honourable senators, reflecting on the life of Beverly Mascoll, I am reminded
of the Bible, in particular Psalm 98, verse 8:
Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together.
Those of us who knew Beverly Mascoll found her to be an outstanding human
being and a wonderful person. Beverly Mascoll, who received many awards and
honours, including the Order of Canada, was the light and life of her husband,
Emerson, and the inspiration of her son, Eldon.
Honourable senators, I extend to Emerson Mascoll, to Eldon and to the entire
family my most sincere sympathy and love in this time of their loss and grief.
Hon. Ione Christensen: Honourable senators, last week was National
Safe Boating Week and the start of a new boating season in Canada. I am a member
of the Yukon chapter of the Canadian Power Squadron, a national association that
for years has been promoting safe boating through comprehensive training
Boating in cold northern waters has always called for caution and taking
responsible precautions. Unfortunately, with the availability of high-powered
motors, improved boat design and Sea-Doos, the frequency of accidents and water
fatalities has increased.
In April 1999, it was necessary to implement boating safety regulations with
set limits on the age of users and horsepower of motors, and regulations
providing for an operator's card, and mandatory safety equipment in each boat,
from canoes to kayaks to power boats.
The sole purpose of these regulations is to reduce accidents and to save
lives. Between 7 million and 9 million people enjoy Canadian waters each year,
but, each year, over 200 Canadians needlessly die in boating accidents.
Additionally, there are another 6,000 incidents of serious personal injury and
loss of property.
The majority of these tragedies are preventable. Statistics tell us that in
40 per cent of all powerboat fatalities, the victims have blood alcohol levels
above the legal driving limit. Drinking and boating is not legal, and it is a
recipe for a one-way trip.
Honourable senators, I do a significant amount of boating, both paddle and
power, and on each trip I see incidents of accidents waiting to happen: people
with no life jackets or using them for cushions, overloaded boats, improper
handling of high- speed craft and partying.
I urge Canadians to get their boating operator cards, to teach their children
to respect and enjoy the water, to have a safe summer and to follow safety rules
to ensure that all their boating trips are return trips.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your
attention to the presence in the gallery of a delegation of judges from the
Constitutional Court of Russia. This group is here as part of a study trip of
the Canada-Russia judicial partnership project. They are the guests of our
colleague, Honourable Senator Beaudoin.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I bid you welcome to the Senate of
Hon. E. Leo Kolber, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking,
Trade and Commerce, presented the following report:
Tuesday, May 29, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has the honour
to present its
Your Committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, March 20th,
2001, to examine and report upon the present state of the domestic and
international financial system, respectfully requests that it be empowered to
engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other
personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of such study.
Pursuant to section 2: 07 of the Procedural Guidelines for the Financial
Operation of Senate Committees, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee
on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that
Committee are appended to this report.
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 605.)
On motion of Senator Kolber, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I give notice that two
days hence I shall move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to
examine and report on the role of government in the financing of deferred
maintenance costs in Canada's post-secondary institutions; and
That the Committee report no later than the 31st day of October, 2001.
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Wednesday, May 30, 2001, I shall move:
That the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Security be authorized to
conduct an introductory survey of the major security and defence issues facing
Canada with a view to preparing a detailed work plan for future comprehensive
That the Committee report to the Senate no later than February 28, 2002 and
that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize the findings of
the Committee until March 31, 2002; and
That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to
deposit any report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then
sitting, and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Wednesday, May 30, 2001, I shall move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security have power to
engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other
personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and
consideration of such bills, subject-matters of bills and estimates as are
referred to it.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I am at it again. I have the
honour to present 862 signatures from Canadians from the provinces of British
Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island
and Nova Scotia who are researching their ancestry, as well as signatures from
126 people from the United States who are researching their Canadian roots. A
total of 988 people are petitioning the following:
Your petitioners call upon Parliament to take whatever steps necessary to
retroactively amend the Confidentiality-Privacy clauses of Statistics Acts since
1906, to allow release to the Public after a reasonable period of time, of Post
1901 Census reports starting with the 1906 Census.
These 862 signatures are in addition to the 9,704 I have presented in this
calendar year, for a total of 10,722 signatures presented to the Thirty-seventh
Parliament and over 6,000 to the Thirty-sixth Parliament, all calling for
immediate action on this very important matter of Canadian history.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question is
directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I asked specifically the
other day whether the new basic vehicle requirement specification for the
helicopter replacement program would be changed to suit Eurocopter, as I had
heard, from quite reliable sources, that they were claiming the standards were
too high. I have reviewed the requirement specifications on the vehicle, and
they have been lowered significantly, to two hours and 20 minutes plus 30
minutes reserve from the government's absolute lowest standard of two hours and
50 minutes plus the 30- minute reserve found in the Statement of Operating
Why has the government now decided to lower the basic vehicle requirement
specification so drastically?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
before we adjourned for our break the honourable senator asked a question that
concerned me. I immediately sought out the requested information for him. I have
been told that there is no change in the Maritime Helicopter Project's stated
endurance requirement. After extensive analysis, DND determined that the new
maritime helicopter should be capable of remaining airborne for two hours and 50
minutes under normal circumstances, with a 30-minute fuel reserve, and two hours
and 20 minutes with a 30-minute fuel reserve under extreme heat conditions.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, this is almost incredible. A
reduction from the ISA 20 only requires an endurance reduction from the two
hours and 50 minutes plus a 30-minute reserve to two hours and 43 minutes plus
the 30-minute reserve. The ISA 20 is plainly and simply a red herring to lower
the standard to suit Eurocopter as they must be able to hover on take-off on one
engine for up to one hour. It is a safety feature and that cannot be done with a
full load of fuel.
Will the minister come clean in this chamber and tell us why the government
is skewing the competition to suit Eurocopter?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the honourable senator makes
very serious charges in his statement. The acquisition of the new maritime
helicopter is based on a fair, open and transparent competitive process.
Senator Forrestall: This is where we were months ago.
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator indicates that the
operational requirements have been changed. They have not been changed. They are
exactly the same as they were in August 2000 when the bid was put forward. The
operational requirements for maritime helicopters are based on extensive
military analysis and realistic operational scenarios of Canada's contemporary
Senator Forrestall: I am at a loss, honourable senators. I do not
understand — unless some hanky-panky is going on somewhere — why we would lower
the standard to include a helicopter that is not even marine oriented; a
helicopter that cannot take off and hover for one hour on one engine; a
helicopter that only has two engines as opposed to three. What are we doing to
the men and women who have to fly and operate these machines? Just what in the
name of God is going on?
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, let me ask the
minister a question that I asked her the other day: Has the minister had a
briefing on this matter? If the minister has had a briefing, did it cover these
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
clearly we have a disagreement here. The senator indicates that we have lowered
the standard. I have told the senator that the standard has not been lowered.
As to whether I have had a briefing, the answer is no. However, as of this
morning, I was given three dates when I could have a briefing by the ADM of
Public Works, Jane Billings. That briefing will take place between now and June
11. I will ask the honourable senator's questions at that particular briefing
when it is confirmed.
Senator Forrestall: I will ask Colonel Myrhaugen and the Friends of
Maritime Aviation whether they will give the honourable leader a briefing and
see what they have to say. We will deal with the matter in the fall, after lives
may have been placed in jeopardy.
The minister is incredible, absolutely incredible.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I should like to follow up on
Senator Forrestall's question. He mentioned Colonel Lee Myrhaugen, coordinator
of Friends of Maritime Aviation. Colonel Myerhaugen said in an interview in the
Ottawa Citizen on May 27 that he flew the Sea King for four consecutive hours.
The original statement of requirement to replace the Sea King stipulated an
endurance requirement of four hours, plus a 30- minute reserve.
Now we understand the requirement to be two hours and 20 minutes, plus the
reserve. Why is the government seeming to skew this competition to suit
Eurocopter's Cougar, which is less of a helicopter than the Sea King when it
first entered Canadian service?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator asks essentially the same question that the previous senator asked. The
requirements as set forth in August 2000 have not been changed.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I hear what the Leader of the
Government is saying, but the standards have changed. It is not a question of a
difference of opinion; it is a question of fact. How can the government buy a
lesser helicopter, in terms of endurance — a basic requirement — than the Sea
King, which came into Canadian service in 1963? That is essentially what the
government has done. We had the minister's assurance that there would be no
reduction in requirements to suit Eurocopter. Why the change in such a telling,
critical and essential operating requirement?
Senator Carstairs: I will repeat for the honourable senator that the
operational requirements for the Maritime Helicopter Project were decided by the
military through extensive military analysis and realistic operational scenarios
of Canada's contemporary needs.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Then why were they changed?
Senator Carstairs: What Senator Forrestall asked several weeks ago was
why the requirements had been changed from the original project to now. The
answer is that there has been no change since August 2000, when the proposal was
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question
on this topic. This is more the territory of Senator Forrestall, but he is on
another coast. I am from one of the wildest and certainly one of the longest
coasts in the world.
If the operational requirements have been reduced as stated, could the Leader
of the Government please describe the range of operations under the requirements
If one is operating on the coast of B.C. from Comox, for example, there is a
marked difference in how much search and rescue one can do in four hours and the
ability to hover, and the amount of search and rescue and the territory one can
cover in two hours and 20 minutes.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, let us be clear. The amount of
time is not two hours and 20 minutes. The amount of time is two hours and 50
minutes, plus a 30-minute reserve, except under extreme heat conditions, which
we in Canada do not experience very often. Granted, we do get it occasionally;
unfortunately, northern Alberta is suffering extreme heat conditions at the
present time. The reality is that there was a list of qualifications from the
very beginning of this project.
Senator Carney: Honourable senators, if there is a decrease in any of
these criteria that the honourable senator has given, there is a decrease in the
range and the scope of operations that can be carried out in search and rescue
missions on the B.C. coast. I would ask the minister to please report to the
chamber what that diminished range and operating capacity is in terms of the
coast of British Columbia, Vancouver Island and the North Pacific, all areas in
which our search and rescue operations are vital.
Senator Carstairs: As I have said, honourable senators, there is no
diminished capacity, but I will ask the question again. If there has been a
change, I would be pleased to present the honourable senator with a new, updated
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I may drive the Leader of
the Government in the Senate up the wall, but I will persist in this line of
questioning. I should like to go through the history of what has transpired
In 1992, the requirement for helicopter endurance was four hours, plus a
30-minute reserve. In 1996, it was lowered to three hours, plus a 30-minute
reserve. In 1999, it was lowered to two hours and 50 minutes. Now it has been
lowered to two hours and 20 minutes, plus the reserve. In 1963, the Sea King
went for four hours.
We have asked this question again and again. Why has the statement of
requirements changed so radically? The Leader of the Government says it has not
changed since 2000, but as I have just explained, it has changed four times. We
want to know why the change.
The minister says it has not changed since 2000, but it has changed
dramatically from the time our government put out the requirement for four
hours, plus 30 minutes.
Senator Tkachuk: We all know why. They just do not want to admit it.
Senator Carstairs: The operational requirements for the helicopter
program are based on what the military told us it required for its operational
scenarios in 2001.
Senator Forrestall: The military did not change it, and you know that.
Senator Carstairs: The military made this determination. One presumes
it knows what it is doing in terms of understanding its capacity and its needs.
Senator Forrestall: Is that what happened to Ran Quail?
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, I think the Leader of the
Government in the Senate must go back and find out why. It is fine to say that
the military has given the requirements. The critical question is this: Why has
the requirement changed from four hours to two hours and 20 minutes? That matter
must be addressed.
The 1999 statement of requirements for the maritime helicopter states that
two hours and 20 minutes of endurance time for a maritime helicopter will risk
failure 50 per cent of the time. How could the government sacrifice a basic
requirement that seals the fate of 50 per cent of all missions before the
helicopters leave the decks of the ships?
Senator Carstairs: I wish to correct the honourable senator's
information. It is two hours and 50 minutes, plus 30 minutes of reserve time.
That is the specification as presently outlined. The exception is extreme
heat. Having spent 21 years of my life in Atlantic Canada, I do not remember
ever experiencing extreme heat.
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, it may be that they are
required to do that. If my honourable friend wants to risk that failure and is
willing to put that down on the record, that is her choice. I happen to believe
that she is protecting a certain Prime Minister. She is protecting him because
he said in the 1993 election campaign that the EH-101 was a Cadillac and that we
did not need it. Therefore, the standard was lowered. Is that true or is it not?
Senator Carstairs: If I thought that I needed to protect this Prime
Minister, I would do so gladly. Fortunately, I do not. His decisions have been
respected by the Canadian public three times in a row.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, if the Leader of the Government
in the Senate is saying that the military has changed its requirements four
times since 1993, do the Minister of Defence, the cabinet and the Prime Minister
agree with these changes? Is that the policy of the government?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the policy of the government
is to take the advice of the military experts.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, there is no question that the
standard has been lowered. Was that done to accommodate Eurocopter, which could
not meet the military statement of requirements? If that is the case, why must
the supplier be Eurocopter?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I am in danger of repeating
myself once again. The operational requirements for the Maritime Helicopter
Project were based on extensive military analysis.
Senator Forrestall: Certainly they were. Why does the government not
adhere to the recommendations?
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, on another matter, I should
like to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to obtain from the Prime
Minister a formal statement on the status of the convention of collective
cabinet responsibility in this government.
The obvious precedent that has been set by Mr. Manley in advocating,
obviously without cabinet authority to do so, the most fundamental of all
constitutional changes raises the question as to whether the convention of
collective cabinet responsibility has been suspended for some ministers or on
some subjects. Could the leader obtain a formal statement on this project,
because it is quite central to the proper functioning of our system of
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
that is an interesting question. I will attempt to obtain from the Prime
Minister a formal convention of collective cabinet responsibility, as requested.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table in this House a delayed answer to a
question raised by Honourable Senator Rivest on May 1, 2001 regarding the census
questionnaire and Canadian linguistic duality.
The reporting of ethnic origin or ancestry has changed over time partly
as a result of changes in census questions and partly as a result of the way
individuals identify their origins. However, the census can be used to
measure the number of anglophones or francophones for Acadian or any of the
cultural groups reported in the census.
Canada is a world leader in the collection of data on language. The
census can be used to monitor a number of trends in the number and
characteristics of anglophones and francophones. A question on mother tongue
has been included in all censuses since 1921 and questions on home language
and knowledge of official languages have been included in more recent
Moreover, for the 2001 Census, there are two new questions that will
allow for an even more in-depth analysis of language knowledge and use. In
particular a question on all languages spoken at home and a new question on
language of work has been added to the census.
Hon. Joan Fraser moved the third reading of Bill C-12, to amend the
Judges Act and to amend another Act in consequence.
She said: Honourable senators, I stand as a poor stand-in for Senator
Grafstein, the sponsor of this bill, who unfortunately must be elsewhere this
day on Senate business. Therefore, I shall not attempt to imitate his
wide-ranging and learned remarks on second reading. I will simply make a few
Bill C-12 proposes amendments to the Judges Act to ensure appropriate
compensation for the federally appointed judiciary in Canada. It is intended to
implement the commitments made by the government in its response to the report
of the 1999 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission.
Honourable senators, the strength of Canada's judiciary is a key factor in
our nation's prosperity. Judges are an important pillar of our democratic
society. The Canadian judiciary system is the envy of the whole world because of
its quality, its dedication and its independence. Our courts and judges are
increasingly seen as models of integrity and impartiality by developing
democratic nations that are trying to set up fair and effective systems. Even
countries with a very long history are taking an interest in our system. In
fact, some judges from Russia are visiting us today.
Like so many of the rights and advantages enjoyed by all Canadians, the
importance of an independent judiciary cannot be underestimated or taken for
During his recent visit to China, the Prime Minister commented on the
importance of an independent judiciary when he stated:
For no matter how well the laws are written, there can be no justice without
a fair trial overseen by a competent, independent, impartial and effective
judiciary. A judiciary that applies the law equally for all citizens, regardless
of gender, social status, religious belief or political opinion.
Honourable senators, the three constitutionally required elements of judicial
independence are security of tenure, independence of administration of matters
relating to the judicial function, and financial security. It is directly in
support of the principle of judicial independence that section 100 of the
Constitution entrusted the fixing of judicial salaries, allowances and pensions
to Parliament in 1867. Therefore, the 1999 commission's recommendations are not
and cannot be binding. It is on Parliament that the Constitution has conferred
the exclusive authority and responsibility for establishing judicial
compensation. However, in the light of a ruling by the Supreme Court, where
Parliament decides to reject or modify the commission's recommendations, it is
legally and constitutionally required to give publicly a reasonable
justification for this decision.
Through Bill C-12, the government is proposing implementation of most of the
recommendations of the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission, including
proposed salary increases and some modest improvements to pensions and
allowances. In light of all of the factors considered by this independent
commission, including trends in both the private and the public sectors, the
government is of the view that the proposals in Bill C-12 are within the range
of what is reasonable and adequate to meet the constitutional principle of
However, the government is not prepared to implement all of the commission's
recommendations. Specifically, the government is deferring a proposal that would
increase the numbers of supernumerary or part-time judges, pending the outcome
of important consultations with the provinces and the territories.
In addition, honourable senators, the government has not accepted the
commission's recommendation in respect of legal fees, because the commission's
proposal does not establish reasonable limits to these expenditures. Instead,
the government is proposing a statutory formula that is designed to provide for
a reasonable contribution to the costs of the participation of the judiciary
while, at the same time, limiting their scope.
The government is committed to respecting the judiciary's independence, which
is a fundamental condition for the preservation of the rule of law in our
democratic system of government.
Canada is proud to have a judiciary that is the envy of the whole world
because of its competence, its dedication, its independence and its
Honourable senators, Bill C-12 has been brought forward precisely to
safeguard the principle of judicial independence, and I commend it to you for
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, Bill C-12 amends the
Judges Act to increase the salaries and allowances of federal judges, improve
their annuities scheme by making it more flexible, and create a separate life
This bill seems to me to respect the rule of law. Committee study also bears
this out. Various issues were raised and the committee decided to report the
bill without amendment. In particular, Bill C-12 seems consistent with the
spirit and the letter of the Reference Regarding the Remuneration of Judges.
Bill C-12 embodies the principle of independence of the judiciary. In fact,
this bill was the follow-up to the report of the Judicial Compensation and
Benefits Commission, which came about as a result of the Reference Regarding the
Remuneration of Judges.
Incidentally, judicial independence in Canada is ensured by constitutional
provisions, constitutional conventions and a long tradition, Supreme Court of
Canada decisions, documents which are part of our constitutional law, and the
preamble to the Constitution, 1867, as well as the Act of Settlement, 1701. The
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also contains certain principles helping
to guarantee the independence of the courts.
Section 99 of the Constitution Act, 1867, enshrines the independence of the
judicial power of the superior courts. This section is one of fundamental law.
The criteria determining the extent of judicial independence were first set
out in Valente. Judicial independence is characterized by security of tenure,
financial security, and complete autonomy within the function of judge —
institutional independence. These criteria are examined from the point of view
of a reasonable person.
In the Reference Regarding the Remuneration of Judges, after a brief
examination of sections 96 through 100 of the Constitution Act, 1867, subsection
11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the related
precedents, Chief Justice Lamer expresses the opinion that the principle of the
independence of the judiciary was, initially, an unwritten constitutional
principle. The source of this principle dates back to the Act of Settlement,
1701. The principle was recognized and confirmed by the preamble to the
Constitution Act, 1867, hence the significance of the preamble to the
Constitution of Canada. Thus, the principle of an independent judiciary was
transferred to Canada by the constitutional text of the preamble to the
Constitution Act, 1867.
It is clearly evident that, since the coming into effect of the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the power of the judiciary has increased in
importance; its visibility has been enhanced. It has been said that decisions by
unelected judges undermine the very foundations of democracy. I do not agree. As
now Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in an article of doctrine:
Far from posing a threat to democratic society, a strong judiciary is
essential to the maintenance of our democratic institutions.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to third
reading of Bill C-12. On May 9 last, I laid out the history of judges'
remuneration in Canada and its statutory charges against the Consolidated
Revenue Fund. I expressed doubts about the process of the Judicial Compensation
and Benefits Commission and the setting of judges' salaries. Then, as now, I
take no issue with the quantum of salaries or the fact of salary raises. I
believe that judges should be adequately remunerated. I repeat: My concern is
with the process.
I expressed my misgivings about this bill's exclusion of Parliament and the
public representative interest in the setting of judicial salaries. I raised the
fact of the roles of certain justices in setting the priorities for public and
parliamentary expenditures and their trenching on Parliament's control of the
purse, as well as the financial initiatives of the Crown.
Honourable senators, Minister of Justice Anne McLellan appeared before the
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in respect of Bill
C-12 on May 10. Minister McLellan's testimony revealed that she is not that well
acquainted with the Judges Act, its history, its application and its scope.
Further, she seemed not to comprehend the proper constitutional relationship
between the judges and Parliament. Minister McLellan seemed to have an
insufficient grasp of the history of the Liberal Party's historical and
constitutional position on the same, both in Canada and in the United Kingdom.
Senator Andreychuk asked the minister about the international judicial
projects, the ministerial and judicial supervision of same and about the funding
from the Canadian International Development Agency, CIDA, for these projects.
The minister responded, saying:
As I know from my own experience visiting countries around the world, we
could be in dozens of countries helping to educate judges and to build the
culture of respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
The minister said much about Canadian judges bringing the rule of law to
underdeveloped countries. I asked the minister about the statutory authority for
the international endeavours of these judges, saying:
It was always my understanding that the phenomenon of bringing the rule of
law to nations who do not have it, or who lack it, was a political question.
When I was growing up, we called it "colonialism." The British called it the "pax Britannica." That is a political role, taking the rule of law to other
nations, particularly developing nations. It is a political role, not a judicial
Could the minister tell us what authority in the Judges Act can be relied
upon for the current involvement of judges across the world?
The minister responded, saying:
However, judges have a larger obligation to help, where called upon, to
assist those who are trying desperately to create functioning and stable
She confirmed my assertion that the Judges Act provides for no such
obligation in principle or in law. About the so-called authorizing sections of
the Judges Act for these judicial international actions, the minister said:
Sections 56 and 57 are not explicit, but do signal the fact that judges may
be called upon to do those things over and above their duties sitting in
judgment on whatever court they are appointed to.
Honourable senators, the minister stated that her reliance was on two
sections of the Judges Act, which she immediately said were not explicit. This
is staggering. Honourable senators, they are not only inexplicit, but they are
in point of fact contrary. There is absolutely no authority in sections 56 and
57 of the Judges Act for the international activities of Canadian judges.
Further, the Judges Act has no international application and is of domestic
The minister then engaged on the Justice Louise Arbour amendment to the
Judges Act in the 1996 Bill C-42, from which Madam Justice Arbour became the
Chief Prosecutor for the United Nations International Tribunal on Rwanda and
Yugoslavia. The minister's misunderstanding of Bill C-42 and her ambiguous
insistence on non-existent statutory authority in the Judges Act for the
international activities of judges were curious. The fact is that in 1996, Bill
C-42 came to the Senate seeking a very wide and general authority for all judges
to be able to go abroad to work for international organizations. The Senate said
no, and limited the authority solely to Madame Justice Louise Arbour, who, in
the most extraordinary procedure, was identified personally in Bill C-42. Before
its passage, Madam Justice Arbour had already departed Canada to become the
Chief Prosecutor. Her judicial absence was authorized by three Orders in
Council, the legality of which is still unclear. The Senate understood that the
international activities of judges as proposed in that bill were inherently
political in nature, and the Senate, concurred with by the House of Commons,
said no, and legislated that the single exception to the general prohibition
would be Madam Justice Louise Arbour.
Honourable senators, I shall cite the relevant sections of the Judges Act
mentioned by the minister, sections 56 and 57. First, I shall cite section 55
whose marginal note reads, "Judicial duties exclusively." Section 55 states:
No judge shall, either directly or indirectly, for himself or others,
engage in any occupation or business other than his judicial duties, but every
judge shall devote himself exclusively to those judicial duties.
Section 56 is telling because it places any and all extra judicial duties
squarely into the legislative authority of Parliament and does so in express
language. These international activities of the judges, their building of
democracy in developing and Third World countries, are not within the
legislative authority of Parliament. Such international activities of building
international governments fall within the law of the royal prerogative and the
law of nations, not within the authority of Parliament. Section 56, whose
marginal note reads, "Acting as commissioner," which the minister says is her
authority for the international activity of judges, reads in part:
56.(1) No judge shall act as commissioner, arbitrator, adjudicator,
referee, conciliator or mediator on any commission or on any inquiry or other
(a) in the case of any matter within the legislative authority of
Parliament, the judge is by an Act of Parliament expressly authorized so to
act or the judge is thereunto appointed or so authorized by the Governor in
Section 57, the minister's other authority, reads in part:
57.(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), no judge shall accept any
salary, fee, remuneration or other emolument or any expenses or allowances for
acting in any capacity described in subsection 56(1) or as administrator or
deputy of the Governor General or for performing any duty or service, whether
judicial or executive, that the judge may be required to perform for or on
behalf of the Government of Canada or the government of a province.
Honourable senators, very clearly there is absolutely no authority in the
Judges Act, sections 56 or 57, for any judge of Canada to assist Third World
countries to build democracy because the Judges Act understands that the
development of democracy outside of Canada is a political function, not a
judicial one. The Judges Act has no international application or scope.
Honourable senators, the statutory authority for those judges' international
good nation building is a recurring question commanding our study. I should like
to quote the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in a broadcast on
CPAC, December 9, 1996, just days after the adoption of Bill C-42 as amended by
the Senate. In that program, A Public Life with Antonio Lamer, Chief Justice
Lamer, commenting on the Senate's amendment to the Arbour proposal, said:
I was a little disappointed when the Senate amended this Arbour
The then Chief Justice told the viewers why, saying:
And that amendment would have made it more easy to meet the expenses
because judges, as you know, were supposed to receive money only under the
Judges Act, and it's a little dicey there, and that when that amendment was
made to bring back down to just Madame Justice Arbour, I was a little
disappointed, but I found another way, and I'm going to be having lunch today
with Madame Huguette Labelle, the head of CIDA, then I think we're going to go
through CIDA. Well, where there's a will, there's a way.
Insistent, the then Chief Justice Lamer continued:
I will be very proud to see 20, 30, 40 judges of Canada at no Canadian
judge's expense ... go around the world ...
...these judges that are available, ready to go, these judges, will be
going. I'm speaking to Madame Labelle. As I said, I'm having lunch with her
today, then I will be speaking to the Commissioner of Judicial Affairs Friday.
I'll have lunch with him Friday and I think we'll get the ball rolling very
That was only days after the Senate had said no to his proposals.
Honourable senators, eight months later, then Chief Justice Lamer was
interviewed by Cristin Schmitz, again on this question. This was reported in an
August 29, 1997 Lawyers Weekly article headlined, "Canada's new global role:
...Juges sans frontières.'" Cristin Schmitz wrote about the international
projects of the then Chief Justice Lamer and of Commissioner for Federal
Judicial Affairs, Guy Goulard. She wrote:
Mr. Goulard coordinates a growing number of highly successful international
judicial cooperation projects, many of which are financially supported by the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
She wrote about the then Chief Justice Lamer's role:
`Juges sans frontières' or `Judges Without Borders' is how Chief Justice
Antonio Lamer smilingly refers to his brainchild.
She went on to say that Chief Justice Lamer:
... is one of the main forces behind the country's role in the
international justice arena ...
Informed of the Senate debate and the Senate's limitation of his proposals,
she asked him:
During debates in the last Parliament, some Senators argued that permitting
off-the-Bench foreign activities by Canadian judges will undermine the
public's confidence in the judges' impartiality.
She quoted his response about the Senate, saying:
I don't think that criticism was valid, and I don't think that most members
of the Senate agreed with that criticism," Chief Justice Lamer remarked.
Honourable senators, as a senator involved with that bill, I wrote a letter
to the editor in answer to the Chief Justice's remarks. The Lawyers Weekly
published my letter in toto on September 12, 1997. I wrote:
After considerable reflection, and respectful of the convention that
Canadian judges not engage Parliament in public debate, or in public policy,
or question Parliamentary proceedings, I feel compelled as a Senator to
respond to the Honourable chief justice's remarks.
Challenging the then Chief Justice, my letter continued:
I have the gravest concerns about the chief justice's statements regarding
the validity of the Senate's opinions and actions to prohibit non-judicial,
off-the-Bench international activities by Canadian judges, and the Senate's
corollary assertion of the public interest in judges' impartiality, integrity,
and judicial exclusivity.
About the Senate, he said, "I don't think that criticism was valid, and I
don't think that most members of the Senate agreed with that criticism ...".
Chief Justice Lamer's statements were misleading. The facts are to the
The Senate's vote on Bill C-42 was unanimous. The unanimous vote at Third
Reading, on Nov. 7, 1996, upheld a general ban on Canadian judges' international
activities and remuneration for same and affirmed the Judges Act, ss. 54 to 57.
That unanimous vote is recorded in Senate Debates at p. 1138.
Simultaneously, in that same vote, the Senate legislated, albeit reluctantly,
a sole exemption to that general prohibition.
That sole exemption was Madam Justice Louise Arbour, and the Senate motion of
Nov. 7, 1996 cited her specifically by name in s. 56.1(1) as the sole and
singular exemption to this statute.
Contrary to Chief Justice Lamer's statements, the Senate definitively and
unambiguously declared its will, intent, and validity.
My published letter continued:
On yet another occasion, during the Senate debate itself, in a letter to
the Minister of Justice Allan Rock dated Nov. 6, 1996, Chief Justice Lamer
May I add with respect to the proposals in Bill C-42 contained in s.
56.1(1) that it is extremely unfortunate that the Senators objecting to this
general amendment have completely misunderstood its purpose.
Senators were informed of the financial, remunerative and procurement
questions involved in Canadian judges' non-judicial, off-the-Bench
The Senate was aware of the Chief Justice Lamer's, and other honourable
justices', wishes and interests regarding Canadian judges' international
sojourns. The Senate rejected them.
The Parliament of Canada defeated them, and legislated otherwise and
I concluded my letter, saying:
It is deeply troubling that the chief justice has ignored the clearly
expressed will of Parliament, and has gone behind Parliament and Parliament's
I trust that the chief justice will apologize to the Senate for his
comments on the political position and the politics of Canada's Senators.
Honourable senators, I move back to Bill C-12. On May 17, 2001, at the Legal
and Constitutional Affairs Committee, I opposed and voted against clause 18 of
Bill C-12 because I saw it as novel and a blank cheque. The Judicial
Compensation and Benefits Commission had expanded the financial role of the
Judges Act by adding section 26 in 1998. Now Bill C-12 is creating a novel
charging mechanism, being section 26.3. Bill C-12's new section 26.3 of the
Judges Act will create a new and additional mechanism under the Judges Act to
make statutory charges against the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This is unusual
and, to my mind, unacceptable. This section will also allow the commission to
determine payments and charges on the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Once again,
Parliament has been excluded, and the rights of Canadians' representative
control over the public purse has been circumvented.
Honourable senators, I conclude on a most recent judicial development. I
speak of the judiciary's daily involvement as publicists and propagandists. This
new-found publicist and public propagandist role for judges in Canada today is
unparalleled in our constitutional history. It is commanding Parliament's
attention. Every day, on television and in the newspapers, we see judges in full
The proper role of judges in relation to propaganda needs some clarification.
The proper role of judges in respect of media, propaganda and publicist roles
was best articulated by then British Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir, and was
known as the Kilmuir Rules. In 1955, Lord Kilmuir wrote a letter to Sir Ian
Jacob, the BBC's Director-General, regarding judges, media, and broadcasting,
which became known as the Kilmuir Rules and were published in the Public Law
1986. Lord Chancellor Kilmuir wrote:
... the overriding consideration ... is the importance of keeping the
Judiciary in this country insulated from the controversies of the day. So long
as a Judge keeps silent his reputation for wisdom and impartiality remains
unassailable: but every utterance which he makes in public, except in the
course of the actual performance of his judicial duties, must necessarily
bring him within the focus of criticism. It would, moreover, be inappropriate
for the Judiciary to be associated with any series of talks or anything which
could be fairly interpreted as entertainment: and in no circumstances, of
course, should a Judge take a fee in connection with a broadcast.
My colleagues and I, therefore, are agreed that as a general rule it is
undesirable for members of the Judiciary to broadcast on the wireless or to
appear on television.
These are the Kilmuir Rules as articulated by the Lord Chancellor.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senators Cools, I regret to advise that your 15
minutes have expired. Are you asking for leave to continue?
Senator Cools: I have only one paragraph left.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, it used to be held that the
unassailability of judges, founded in moral character in the rules against
public and political engagement, both buttressed by the political convention
called judicial independence, were the cornerstone of a secure and protected
judiciary, guarded and protected by Parliament. This view is in sharp contrast
to the current bandying about of the frequently misused and misapplied term
"judicial independence." Such misapplication of the term is, at worst,
self-serving and, at best, cant. "Cant" is a word that seems to have fallen
into disuse in recent years. Nevertheless, it is, at best, cant. The British
Constitution gave us in Canada constitutional comity, parliamentary sovereignty,
and the political convention of judicial independence. We should honour and
uphold our constitutional heritage and in so doing, honourable senators, we will
uphold and honour the judges.
Hon. Edward M. Lawson: Honourable senators, I will be very brief in
the interests of speed and processing this legislation along. Just to restore
the debate, I do believe that this bill is primarily a salary bill, and I
thought it might be important to point that out.
I think it is also important to note that in the review undertaken by the
Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission, established by the Supreme Court
for that purpose, the commission has made reasonable recommendations for
increases. Those of us who have some experience with judges know that they work
very hard and are worth ever penny that they get, and these proposed increases
will certainly not make them overpaid. It is important that we recognize that.
I also think, in reviewing quickly the report of the commission to review
allowances of parliamentarians, it seems that our future, as far as increases
are concerned, flows from the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission. In
the future, as I read this, the salary of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
will determine the salary of the Prime Minister. In the future, whatever
adjustment is made there will flow from the Chief Justice to the Prime Minister,
and it will flow from the Prime Minister to members of Parliament, and
ultimately will find its way here.
In the immediate case before us, since it seems that our fate is to be based
on the passing of the judges' bill, it seems to me that it would be good
practical sense to pass the judges' bill before we get to our bill, which will
follow quickly on the heels of this one, and may pass through Parliament with
lightning speed, with the exception of the issue of parity, which may cause a
delay — and should cause delay. I think it is important that we get the judges'
bill, Bill C-12, passed today, so that when the other bill comes hurtling from
the other place over to this house at warp speed, we will be in a position to
pass that one quickly, as well.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I support the bill, as I supported it at second reading. However, I
think that it is incumbent upon the government to give us its views in relation
to some of the views that have been expressed by the penultimate speaker, our
colleague Senator Cools.
Reference was made to the position as articulated by the Minister of Justice.
Earlier in the day, a question was put to the Leader of the Government in the
Senate regarding the principle of cabinet solidarity. Therefore, it seems to me
that it is incumbent upon the minister, as the government representative in the
Senate, to respond. By their silence, the leadership in this chamber could
indicate that they are accepting the propositions advanced by Senator Cools. If
this is the case, we obviously have a contradiction within the bosom of cabinet.
If not, then what is the case contrary?
In particular, it seems to me that this house should know the government's
position on Canadian judges who engage in what I believe to be very important
and very valuable international work, as Canada makes its contribution to civil
society but also to systems of governance around the world, including the great
institution of the judiciary.
As honourable senators know, many thinkers are of the view that three basic
institutions in democratic society serve to protect and promote the rights of
the people. They are our legislative institutions, civil society or
non-governmental organizations, and the independent judiciary. Clearly, we are
supportive of the efforts made by members of the Canadian judiciary as part of
Canada's international work in the development of democratic societies around
the world. It seems to me that this should be the position articulated by the
government in either accepting or not accepting the view. Reference has been
made to sections 56 and 57 of the Judges Act.
Reference was also made to the statement of the Minister of Justice in
committee concerning the application of Bill C-42 and that the minister's
position demonstrates a misunderstanding of that act. Does the leadership of the
government in the Senate accept that proposition or not?
Reference was made to three Orders in Council. As I listened, there seemed to
be some question as to the propriety of those three Orders in Council.
What is the response of the government to Senator Cools' points, in
particular the point that by participating in CIDA-sponsored events outside
Canada, judges are accepting a salary which is a salary coming from a source
other than the source for which Parliament provides? Could we hear from the
government as to whether they agree with us?
Senator Cools: Just to clarify, honourable senators, I did not say
that judges received salaries for their international activities. I said that
CIDA funds many projects. However, I have no evidence and, as far as I know,
judges are not receiving salaries from CIDA.
I wanted to put that comment on the record so that if Senator Carstairs
responds, she will know what I said and what I did not say.
Senator Kinsella: I thank the honourable senator for pointing out the
inaccuracy of my note taking.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank Senator Kinsella for the opportunity to clarify the government's
position on this piece of legislation. I also want to thank my friend and
colleague Senator Cools for her contribution this afternoon. However, as she
knows, I do not agree with many of the propositions she has put forward in terms
of the roles in which the government and I feel are quite appropriate for
members of the judiciary to participate.
Like Senator Kinsella, I am of the view that our judiciary can do very good
international work in terms of governance and rule- of-law issues. They have
done it in the past, and I hope that they will continue to do so in the future.
Senator Cools made reference to a unanimous amendment that we in this chamber
made to the bill. That amendment had to do specifically with lending a member of
the senior judiciary in this country to fill the role of prosecutor in the war
crimes situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In that particular case, the Senate
in its wisdom — and I think we are usually very wise — made sure that it limited
that permission to a single jurist due to the full-time nature of the work, the
particular duties encompassed in the work and the uniqueness of the work.
Justice Arbour was afforded that particular opportunity, and she has acted on
behalf not only of Canadians but on behalf of the world community in seeking
justice for war criminals.
From that perspective, Senator Cools is absolutely right. We did limit
permission in that one instance, and I think we did so wisely. However, as I
understood the amendment that we made to that bill, we did not in any way place
restrictions on other judges doing international work on behalf of CIDA or other
organizations. As Senator Cools indicated, they are not paid for the work that
they do when they undertake these particular initiatives. They do so in an
outreach manner so that the rule of law can spread from country to country,
particularly in areas of the world where the rule of law is not a
well-understood system of law and legal respect.
Senators Beaudoin and Murray will recall our trip to China. I think we were
all shocked by the judicial process in that country. We were there providing aid
and assistance to the emerging use of the rule of law in that country. I think
those types of initiatives are extremely valuable.
In terms of this specific bill which, as Senator Lawson is quick to point
out, is a compensation bill, the compensation is set by Parliament. Yes, there
was a process of arbitration; but, in the final analysis, we are deciding what
judges will be paid by our support of this legislation. I hope that clarifies
the government's position.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate. Might we not suggest that this expertise —
exportable abroad, particularly to countries engaged in a reform of their
judiciary system — might be provided by retired judges rather than practising
There are many complaints in the country at this time about the slowness of
the justice system. Throughout Canada, the superior and appeal court dockets are
full, yet we are sending judges to other countries.
Another solution would be to use semi-retired judges. As honourable senators
are aware, a person can work half-time at half-salary from the age of 65, a
little like ourselves here in the Senate.
Judges have a very comfortable pension. In fact, a retired judge has about
twice the income of a serving senator. Not that I am complaining about my
income, honourable senators; on the contrary, I do not want one penny more.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I thank Senator Bolduc for his
very interesting question. He mentioned the idea of using retired judges or
those who are now supernumerary. We must recognize that judges do not have to
retire until they reach the age of 75. Supernumerary judges frequently choose to
become supernumerary because they want a less burdensome occupation. Whether
those individuals will be ready, willing and able to go into Third World
countries where the living conditions are not those of this country and to do
the necessary work remains to be seen. I think it is an excellent suggestion.
However, I still think we may need to use active members of the judiciary on
occasion to fulfil our mandate not just to provide justice for Canadians, which
is clearly their primary role, but to ensure that there is justice on a broader
scale throughout the world.
Senator Cools: If I may again attempt to obtain clarification, Senator
Carstairs has said that she disagrees on certain philosophical points, and I
accept that readily. However, it is difficult to disagree on the facts. The
facts of the matter are that the authority within the Judges Act for the judges
of Canada to be involved in international activity is, at best, unclear and at
worst, simply not there. That was the question that I had put to the Minister of
Justice when she appeared before the committee. I understand that it is very
easy to indulge in a little pride and to have a pride of authorship, in a way,
and to say how wonderful it is that the judges of Canada are marvellous and
doing wonderful work across the country. I still return to the fundamental fact:
There is a long and lengthy constitutional history behind the role of judges and
the Judges Act. It was put there many years ago for particular reasons, and some
of the reasons were to avoid exactly what is happening now.
When I asked the Minister of Justice precisely what was the statutory
authority within the Judges Act that allows the judges to travel around the
world and be involved in building governments around the world, she referred to
sections 56 and 57 of the Judges Act. I just read those two sections before, and
very clearly there is no such authority in those two sections.
Perhaps I misunderstood, or perhaps I was not listening carefully enough, but
I accept philosophically that Senator Carstairs disagrees with me. However, on
the question of the statutory authority for judges to go across the world, what
is that authority, and where is it in the statute?
Senator Carstairs: Quite frankly, honourable senators, I do not think
there needs to be anything in the statute. It has been done by usage and
convention. Many things that we do as senators do not have statutory authority.
If one looks at the role of the cabinet, there is no statutory authority for
that. I think it is fair to say that it has become part of the custom and usage
of what judges have done. It is only an issue when that becomes the major form
of employment of a particular judge, as it did with Justice Arbour, and in that
circumstance we did meet a specific amendment to the Judges Act.
Senator Cools: With all due respect to Senator Carstairs, I have read
the relevant section of the Judges Act, sections 54, 55, 56 and 57. Those
sections clearly state that judges must be involved exclusively with judicial
duties, and those sections, as I said before, have a particular historical
origin in their obedience to section 100 of the BNA Act.
It is simply not accurate, or sufficient, to say that the judges can do such
international work purely by convention. The Judges Act was created as a
particular statute, developed over some 60 or 70 years, precisely to guide the
exact nature of the employment, the remuneration and the manners of receiving
money from the Parliament of Canada. It has a long constitutional history that
cannot be ignored or denied.
The fact of the matter, honourable senators, is that there is absolutely no
statutory authority. If there had been, we would not have had Bill C-42 before
us four or five years ago. When that bill came before us, the minister of the
day was asking for a very wide and general application. The Senate said no, and
limited the application only to Louise Arbour. We must still answer this
question: If Senator Carstairs is saying that there is no statutory authority or
that none is required, then this is certainly a very odd situation because I
would submit to senators that if Canada's judges could roam around the world
doing other jobs, the benches of the land would soon be empty.
The Constitution of this land and the British Constitution has given to
Parliament a special role in respect of guardianship and protection. The old
literature used to say the superintendence and protection of judges. I would say
to Senator Carstairs that at some point in time, if not now or today, this
chamber owes it to itself to settle this question. If there is a difference of
opinion, it is simply not enough to say that there is a difference. I want to
know what that difference is. I still come back to the essential point which is,
as I maintain, that there is no statutory authority, and that what is going on
needs the intervention of Parliament.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, when we are called to the
Senate we are told to drop everything, that we are to be here every single day
the Senate sits. In actual practice, that is not what we do. In actual practice,
many of us take on other engagements in the public sphere with respect to public
business, and we represent the areas of our country by attending to those
specific duties. That is not legislated; that is not in the oath but it is what
we do and it is what we respect within this chamber, and we hope within the
public at large.
When the bill talks about exclusivity, I do not think that it pretends to say
that Parliament can dictate every single hour of every single day, 365 days a
year, to members of the judiciary. There is sufficient leeway within the human
dynamic to say that if some of our judges can be useful in the helping of
governance in underdeveloped countries, then we lend them gladly to those
causes, and we do so holding our heads extremely high.
Senator Carney: Honourable senators, I have a question.
The Hon. the Speaker: This sequence will be better if we let Senator
Senator Cools: I was not quite prepared to let Senator Carney go
ahead. The fact of the matter is that some debate is required.
Perhaps Senator Carstairs should examine those relevant sections of the
Judges Act with a little more attention because this is not simply referring to
our summons. A lot of work and statutory history has gone into the question of
what judges can do in terms of employment, and how they must be paid, and how
they can be paid.
My question to Senator Carstairs is: Can a judge in Canada serve on the board
of directors of Lavalin or DuPont International?
Senator Carstairs: Rhetorically, I could ask the question: Can a
member of the Senate engage in that particular activity? Members of the Senate
have engaged in that particular form of activity. Certainly, I know that judges
in this country restrict themselves to charitable boards, to arts boards, and
many serve with great distinction. To my knowledge, none of them have
representation on corporate boards.
Hon. Pat Carney: I have a question to the Leader of the Government in
the Senate arising out of her answer to Senator Cools, who makes the specific
point that there is no statutory authority for the role of supernumerary judges
roaming the world, and her comparison with senators. Is she suggesting that the
government is opening a Pandora's box of precedents here and that the government
would consider supernumerary, retired senators roaming the world on specific
assignments? If so, I can recommend many excellent candidates from our side of
the Senate chamber who are retiring this summer, such as Senator DeWare.
Senator Carstairs: We were not talking about supernumerary judges in
the first instance; that came along in a later answer.
The judges who do this work do it without payment. It is not work for which
they are provided additional payment. I hope that answers your question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the chamber ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it your pleasure to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed, on division.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Callbeck, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Bacon, for the second reading of Bill C-14,
respecting shipping and navigation and to amend the Shipping Conferences
Exemption Act, 1987 and other Acts.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, it gives me great
pleasure to begin second reading debate on Bill C-14 on behalf of the
Senator Callbeck in her speech at second reading referred to the fact that
this bill has been around for some five years. I can assure her, from my days as
parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport, and chair of the transport
committee in the other place, that this bill has had a gestation period of some
20 years. It only proves that if you stay around Parliament long enough, you get
to see some of the projects that you started actually reach completion.
Senator Angus, an expert on the legal and technical issues of this bill, will
also be speaking from our side. That leaves me free to deal with some parts of
the bill in detail, and to canvass more or less some of the broader policy
issues in both shipping and ship building in Canada today.
First, however, the government is to be congratulated for the way it has
approached the revisions to the Canada Shipping Act. In the last three years, we
have dealt with Bill C-15, which received Royal Assent on June 11, 1998, and it
dealt mainly with ownership, registration and mortgage issues of the Canada
Shipping Act. In this Parliament, we have dealt with Bill S-17, which honourable
senators will recall dealt with liability issues. We now have Bill C-14 in front
of us, which I believe completes the reform of the balance of the Canada
In putting this piece of legislation together, honourable senators, a fairly
extensive consultation process has been carried out by government. I want to
acknowledge that. Unlike some consultation processes carried out by this and
other governments, I believe that, for the most part, the government has
listened to the stakeholders in the shipping industry in Canada. I congratulate
them for that.
This bill reorganizes and streamlines the Canada Shipping Act in several
different areas. Definitions that appear in the act, for example, appear only
when the ordinary dictionary meaning has been narrowed or expanded. Much
technical detail has been removed from the act to be placed in regulations.
While this is something with which we on this side of the house do not normally
agree, it has satisfied the desires of the shipping industry. The industry has
desired for some time a framework bill, with the rest of it contained in
regulation, which could be more easily changed when necessary rather than having
to go through the process of amending statute law.
This bill gives the right to impose liens for amounts due under contract of
carriage and attempts to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the
Department of Transport and Department of Fisheries and Oceans in relation to
the many and varied parts of the Canada Shipping Act.
It also amends the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, 1987, in order to
bring it into line with Canada's major trading partners. The changes here were
the subject of some disagreement between shipowners and shippers during the
hearings in the other place, and I will refer to them in detail later.
First, I would like to highlight some of the issues that strike me as
contentious upon my review of this bill. For example, Part 6 of the bill deals
with incidents, accidents and casualties and attempts to clarify Transport
Canada's role in accident investigation. I would like to hear from the Transport
Safety Board on this issue because I do not believe we should pass anything into
law that does not have the full endorsement and approval of the Transport Safety
Parts 8 and 9 deal respectively with pollution prevention and response, which
is the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and pollution
prevention, which is the responsibility of Transport Canada. I am concerned, as
I know others are, that the jurisdictional split not harm our response to
pollution control or prevention.
Parts 2 and 10 deal respectively with registration, listing and recording of
commercial vessels of all sizes which is to be the responsibility of Transport
Canada, while pleasure craft are to be the responsibility of Fisheries and
Oceans regarding inspections, investigations, enforcement and licensing. Again,
I hope that we have not created more problems than we have solved. In some areas
of this country, a pleasure craft can also be a commercial vessel. I hope any
confusion resulting from these two jurisdictions will be addressed in
regulations and that we have not created a bureaucratic nightmare. The way
around this would be to create a computerized system, but that creates its own
problems in turn.
Honourable senators, Part 10 contains the enforcement provisions. Senator
Callbeck quite rightly pointed out that these were the subject of some
controversy in the industry. This issue should be looked at carefully by the
Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications because the concerns
raised seem to centre on the burden of proof required in the new enforcement
regime. Administrative penalties carry a lower burden of proof than the present
regime. There is also a concern about the lack of due process, the level of
fines and the independence of adjudicators.
There are also practical realities that must be faced when reviewing the
bill. While the bill establishes what I am sure drafters believe to be an
effective regime to combat pollution at sea, the federal government's recent
cutback on the number of Aurora aircraft doing patrolled surveillance,
especially off the shores of Atlantic Canada, does nothing to help what the
Minister of Transport is trying to do this in bill. We need enforcement backup
and enforcement potential if this bill is to be effective.
A great deal of our pollution problem comes from unscrupulous captains
flushing their bilge at sea. We need more surveillance flights, not fewer, to
protect our fishery. This is also an area where the government should review the
fines that are levied against polluters. Fines should be doubled or even
tripled, particularly where there might appear to be culpable responsibility.
An issue raised by the Canadian Shipowners Association in committee in the
other place dealt with the process of granting exemptions under this bill. By
clauses 10(3) and 10(4) exemptions must be gazetted to be applicable. We fear
this may create unnecessary delays that will negate the purpose of giving the
exemptions in the first place. Speed is often of the essence.
I should like to turn to the controversy surrounding the changes to the
Shipping Conferences Exemption Act. Shipowners like the changes; shippers do
not. The shippers feel that the confidentiality of their contractual agreements
is not protected and this prohibits them, in their view, from negotiating the
lowest possible shipping price.
The government brought amendments at report stage that were designed to
address this issue. These amendments should be studied in detail to ensure that
they satisfy the concerns of the shippers and put our shippers on the same
level, with the same protection as those in the United States and many of our
other trading partners.
For the most part, witnesses appearing before the committee in the other
place supported the bill, but had reservations concerning certain areas. These
areas should be reviewed by senators carefully in committee because we have the
time to get it right.
I wish to turn now to some things that were not addressed by the bill but
that were brought before the Special Senate Committee on Transportation and
Security, which I had the privilege to chair. During the life of that committee,
we met with representatives of the marine industry in Vancouver, Montreal and
Halifax. We also learned of the modernization of shipping regulations while we
attended the second annual World Safety Conference at the University of Delft in
the Netherlands. If we are to have a comprehensive shipping policy that goes
beyond the four corners of this bill, these issues must be addressed.
The special committee heard from Michael Turner, then the Acting Commissioner
for Canada's Coast Guard. He raised the issue of safety in relation to
recreational boaters, as the Coast Guard has jurisdiction over recreational
boating. More than 250 people are killed annually in this activity, which
represents the highest death rate of any marine activity in terms of numbers of
people involved and the resulting deaths. In the committee's interim report on
this subject, we supported a Coast Guard initiative of placing age restrictions
on those who operate certain types of pleasure craft.
The committee also heard evidence as to the training and the work environment
in Canada's marine industry. There is a work ethic which has developed for as
long as there have been ships sailing the oceans that those in charge must be on
duty continuously until the work is done no matter how long that may take. David
Bellefontaine, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Halifax Port
Corporation, listed excess hours and fatigue of those involved in the marine
industry, but especially longshoremen, as the major safety concern of the Port
of Halifax. I suggest that other significant ports throughout Canada share that
The lengthy hours worked without a break were also addressed by Secunda
Marine Services Limited. Mr. John Hughes, their port manager, told us:
It is laid down that you should have eight hours of rest in a 24-hour
period. I am well aware in the practical sense that this is often very
difficult to achieve in an operating environment that is remote from any
Because of the culture that surrounds the marine industry and the work ethic
assumed by those involved, hours of work become a safety issue, one that does
not lend itself easily to a statutory solution. A tired crew is an ineffective
crew that may put themselves and others at risk. This applies to longshoremen
and indeed to all of those who work to exhaustion and beyond in the marine
industry and, of course, in every industry.
Another matter closely related to the problem of long hours is the lack of
investment in training and commitment by either government or industry to ensure
that sufficient Canadians are trained to serve as mariners in both the short-
and the long-term future. A lack of trained young people in the marine industry
was identified by a number of witnesses as a great concern to the future of the
Captain John Hughes of Secunda Marine termed the "provision of experienced
personnel in sufficient numbers to meet the needs of government and industry"
as "the biggest challenge facing the shipping industry in the decade ahead."
He is concerned that the pool of personnel power from which the industry has
consistently drawn will dry up.
As well, he argues that cutbacks in adult education and the fact that there
are insufficient tax advantages to employing Canadian mariners will diminish the
number of Canadian-trained seamen. That view was shared by the Company of Master
Mariners of Canada. Berths must be made available for young men and women. In
times of constraint, it is difficult for the Coast Guard or commercial shippers
to find sufficient funds to enable Canadians to gain the necessary expertise. As
with Secunda Marine, they suggest that tax incentives should be considered for
In my opinion, renewed emphasis must be placed on training because as the
marine workforce ages — and it surely is aging — safety concerns rise. While an
aging workforce does not necessarily mean an unsafe workforce, it may mean that
certain participants will become tired from excessive overwork. This brings the
issue of safety to the forefront.
Given Canada's geography and the country's reliance on shipping for trade, I
believe steps should be taken by the federal government in conjunction with the
provinces and private industry to encourage Canada's young people to pursue a
career at sea through the provision of an effective training program. As well,
consideration should be given to allowing tax advantages for Canadian mariners
and the Canadian ships that employ them.
Honourable senators, while I know that some of these issues are dealt with in
Bill C-14 and that others are beyond the periphery of the bill, I urge our
Transport Committee to thoroughly discuss these matters, as they are vital to
the future of the shipping industry.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not say something about the state of the
shipbuilding industry in Canada. We all know that a report entitled "Breaking
Through" is on the desk of the Minister of Industry. This report contains
recommendations to revitalize shipbuilding in Canada. We are in desperate need
of a new shipbuilding policy because it is a pan-Canadian issue. Shipbuilding
was addressed in some detail in the policies of my own party in the last
election. Senators know that shipyards are located across Canada — British
Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and
Newfoundland. Canadian shipyards have the capacity to directly employ in excess
of 10,000 Canadians. Currently, they employ less than 4,000.
Canada's shipbuilding industry is extremely sophisticated in terms of design
and construction. Computer-based technology is comparable to that used in the
aerospace industry for design, planning and production. There are many spin-off
industries in the high-tech area from shipbuilding. It has been estimated that a
vibrant shipbuilding and marine structures industry could create up to 6,000 new
Canada's regulatory regime prevents the industry from competing successfully
in the niche shipbuilding market — self- unloading bulk carriers, offshore oil
and gas structures, tugs and supply vessels. Our competitors support
shipbuilders at a much higher rate than we do in Canada.
In order to revitalize shipping, we must exclude Canadian-built ships from
Revenue Canada leasing rules. Then, existing depreciation rates applicable to
ships would apply without restrictions, and the tax disincentive of owning or
leasing would be eliminated. This would stimulate the market for Canadian- made
ships, as leasing is the predominant method of financing significant capital
items such as a ship.
We must also consider guaranteeing private sector debt financing as done in
the United States with long-term amortizations and financing of up to 87.5 per
cent of the cost of a project. A refundable tax credit should be given to
Canadian shipowners or shipbuilders who contract to build a ship or contract for
the conversion or major refit in a Canadian shipyard.
The tax credit equivalent to 20 per cent of the cost of the initial ship of
the series, 15 per cent for the second and third ships, and 10 per cent for the
fourth would help to no end in stimulating this industry.
We should also promote to the greatest extent possible the building of
Canadian military ships in Canadian shipyards. As suggested in the report
"Breaking Through," we should negotiate the relaxation of the restrictive
conditions of the United States "Jones Act" to allow Canadian ships to carry
American cargo in American waters.
Honourable senators, all of this speaks to a comprehensive shipping policy
for Canada. I look forward to our discussion in committee. I also look forward
to Senator Spivak attempting to fold her bill restricting the use of Sea-Doos
into this bill under the heading of "regulation of recreational boating." Like
the absence of Senator Angus, I notice that Senator Spivak has just left the
On motion of Senator DeWare, for Senator Angus, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Finestone, P.C., for the second reading of
Bill C-18, to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, I appreciate the
opportunity to lead off the debate from this side on second reading of Bill
C-18, to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, better known as
the equalization act.
Since listening to Senator Rompkey's speech commencing second reading debate
and later reviewing it in Hansard, I have had to spend considerable time
adjusting my notes for this speech. I thought initially I could simply say in
one sentence that I agree with the latter part of Senator Rompkey's speech in
which he criticized the equalization formula and proposed alternatives to it.
However, due to the importance of the bill to all Canadians, I want to spend
some time focusing on the deficiencies of the bill and the equalization system
it purports to implement. I want first to thank Senator Rompkey on behalf of
those of us who reside in less prosperous provinces for explaining in practical
terms how equalization affects all Canadians.
There is a perception among many Canadians, including some politicians,
especially in the other place, that equalization simply takes away from the rich
and gives to the poor. I refer particularly to the words of the finance critic
of the Canadian Alliance Party when he explained in the other place that this
system results in low- and middle-income families in his riding paying more
taxes to finance equalization. He talked of the impact of improving the road
system or the health care system used by higher than average-income people in
Fortunately, Senator Rompkey set the record straight. I agree with his
general description of the program. Equalization is a program of the Government
of Canada. Every citizen of Canada pays for equalization according to his or her
means. Equalization is a national program paid for by the Government of Canada
using the money it raises by taxing every Canadian. Building on this, we must
also recognize that this program is mandated by The Constitution Act, 1982,
section 36(1) which reads:
Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the
provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the
exercise of their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures,
together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are
(a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians;
(b) furthering economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities;
(c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all
Section 36(2) reads:
Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of
making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have
sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services
at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.
The difference between the position advanced by the government and the
position put forward from this side of the chamber centres on the meaning of the
phrase "have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of
public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation." We do not believe
that the solutions proposed by Bill C-18 are reasonable.
I believe that a short, historical review will be helpful in order to better
understand the flaws in Bill C-18. The equalization program was introduced in
1957, and since that time has become a central feature of the Canadian
federation. In fact, in 1997, the Auditor General referred to it as a vital
feature, one of the main successes of our country.
In 1982-83, a ceiling was imposed on the program in order to deal with the
possibility of wide fluctuations in payments due to increasing inflation and
resource commodity prices. In fact, the ceiling should not have been necessary
because of the move in 1982 to a five-province standard which excluded Alberta
from the measure. Alberta's significant resource revenues were therefore no
longer factored into the calculation of the equalization entitlements.
In the same period as the cap was imposed, the principle of equalization was
enshrined in the Constitution. At that time, the current Prime Minister was the
Minister of Justice, and in that position he spoke in support of the
constitutional amendment resolution on October 6, 1980, specifically in relation
to clause 36 to which I referred earlier. It is important to quote his statement
on equalization in its entirety. He said:
I would like now to turn to another part of the resolution and speak about
equalization. The practice of using federal revenues to redistribute wealth to
the less advantaged provinces of this country is well accepted. Since 1957,
unconditional transfers known as equalization payments have been made by the
federal government to enable every province to provide a reasonable level of
public services without having to impose an unreasonable tax burden on its
residents. This practice has become so well established that it has now emerged
as a fundamental "principle" of Canadian federalism. Sharing of the wealth has
become a fundamental right of Canadians, and that is why the resolution
entrenches the principle of equalization and commits both orders of government
to promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians; furthering
economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities and, specifically,
providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.
By entrenching this principle in the Constitution, we are enshrining the
obligation of sharing which has been fundamental to the Canadian experience.
That was said by the then Justice Minister who is currently the Prime
Minister. Later, he referred to equalization as part of the fabric of Canada. He
also said that when times were hard, the rich have always helped the poor.
So what happened? This bill directly contradicts the principles defended by
the Prime Minister now and the statements he made as Minister of Justice. How
did this come about?
When it introduced Bill C-18, the government ignored the viewpoint expressed
by the ministers of finance and the premiers of all the provinces since 1999,
that is the permanent removal of the ceiling on equalization payments.
We are told this bill fulfils a promise made by the Prime Minister at a
meeting of the first ministers last September, just before the general election
was called. He promised then to remove the ceiling for the 1999-2000 fiscal
year. Subsequently, the program is to be adjusted according to the rate of
growth of the GDP. Unfortunately, and this is the essence of our argument
against the bill, it reimposes the ceiling until fiscal year 2003-04.
What does this mean for the less prosperous provinces? The imposition of a
ceiling means that the provinces benefiting from equalization receive payments
smaller than those provided in the formula. The payments set by the equalization
formula are adjusted according to the per capita ceiling. Accordingly,
benefiting provinces no longer receive equalization according to the standard of
the program in question, which increases the disparities the formula was
intended to reduce.
Under Bill C-18, an arbitrary ceiling of $10 billion was set for fiscal year
1999-2000. This is also the amount that is to apply until 2004. However, this
ceiling does not apply to fiscal year 1999-2000, because it was removed for
that year and reapplied for the following years. The provinces receiving
equalization will get some $10.8 billion for fiscal year 1999-2000. The effect
of this ceiling on the coming fiscal years is devastating.
With the usual growth of the GDP and without Bill C-18, equalization payments
would amount to $13.9 billion in 2003-04. The bill would limit the amount to
$12.5 billion, and perhaps less.
What, in practical terms, is the impact of this reduction? In New Brunswick,
Bill C-18 will mean a drop in forecast revenue of $50 million. This amount would
pay for approximately 11 days of health care for the residents of New Brunswick.
It would pay the salaries of 1,000 nurses. It would build 25 kilometres of a new
four-lane highway. On Prince Edward Island, it is estimated that the ceiling
imposed by Bill C-18 will mean equalization payments that are $9 million less
than they would have been without Bill C- 18.
This is more money than the province spends annually on technology
development, fisheries, aquaculture and the environment.
In my province of Nova Scotia, the Deputy Minister of Finance, William Hogg,
speaking to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, pointed out that
Bill C-18 placed Nova Scotia at a disadvantage competitively with respect to
other provinces, and I quote:
As with most provinces, Nova Scotia is struggling to manage the rate of
growth in health care costs, meet our educational needs, and properly fund all
social programs. The difference between us, however, is our ability to respond
to these pressures. Nova Scotia's ability to generate additional own-source
revenues to maintain comparable service levels, while lowering its provincial
tax burden to remain competitive, is genuinely threatened.
How can a province such as Nova Scotia hope to compete with larger economies
that are posting staggering surpluses and are offering generous tax incentives
to encourage investment by both individuals and business?
This is a good question. It is upsetting to see that, instead of defending
the stand taken by Nova Scotia and other Atlantic provinces, the Liberal member
for Halifax West, Geoff Regan, points to the size of the debt as the reason for
Nova Scotia's problem. The minister responsible for the ACOA, Robert Thibault,
said that the problem, particularly in Nova Scotia, lies in the fact that the
provinces' debts are too large. That is the kind of support cabinet and the
Liberal government give the Atlantic provinces.
The Liberal members are too weak to defend their provinces and their
constituents. It is now up to us here in this chamber to act. This is the
Senate's raison d'être. We have the right to speak on behalf of our regions. I
know that it is difficult not to support one's party, but our regions come
first, whatever the directives of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.
In our opinion, Bill C-18 is fundamentally flawed. We are pleased that the
ceiling for the fiscal year 1999-2000 has been removed, but it must not be
restored for the following years. The Prime Minister must make good on his
The second issue that I want to raise regarding the equalization formula has
to do with the clawback. This is precisely what is happening in Nova Scotia and
in Newfoundland, in particular, with the revenues from the development of
offshore oil. As Senator Rompkey said, this situation is easy to describe. The
revenues of a province derived from the development of its resources are
deducted from its equalization payments, since revenues from natural resources,
including royalties, are part of the equalization revenues.
This is what triggered the equity campaign led by the Premier of Nova Scotia,
John Hamm. He contends that, for each dollar in royalties from offshore oil, 70
cents are clawed back from the payments made by the federal government under the
During a discussion at the Standing Committee on Finance of the House of
Commons between the new Liberal member of Parliament for Markham, Ontario, John
McCallum — perhaps better known as the former Chief Economist of the Royal Bank
and as a professor at McGill University before being relegated to the ranks of
backbenchers — and officials from the Department of Finance, the clawback of tax
credits was set at 100 per cent. Mr. McCallum indicated to the officials that
the clawback becomes a deterrent to the development of resources. While there
are agreements with Newfoundland and Nova Scotia that somewhat alleviate this
clawback, they absolutely do not provide the support that these provinces need.
The best analogy that I can make is to compare this situation to that of a
person who is trying to get off welfare and join the labour market. Senator
Cohen and the others who participated in the Progressive Conservative Party's
working group on poverty are very familiar with the issue. For each dollar that
a claimant earns by working, an equivalent amount is deducted from his welfare
benefits, thus making it extremely difficult for that person to stop relying on
social assistance. However, if welfare benefits are maintained at the same level
and are not reduced for a year or for a certain period of time, the person can
ultimately look forward, save money and get back on his feet.
This is all Premier Hamm is asking for in his campaign for equity:
elimination of the clawback so as to allow Nova Scotia and the other less
prosperous provinces to catch their breaths and get back on their feet. This is
There must be a better distribution of gas royalties on offshore oil
resources between the producing provinces and the federal government. This
concept was part of the Progressive Conservative Party's platform in the last
election and deserves the support of all members of this house.
When he resigned as Premier of Newfoundland in order to join the federal
Liberal cabinet, the present Minister of Industry said the following on the
...offshore oil and gas development both here and in Nova Scotia has been
made more difficult by the present equalization formula. The clawback in
particular slows down the rate at which receiving provinces can attain the
standard of living of the average Canadian.
In the context of a global economy...Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia
know very well that it is in the national interest to improve the social and
economic well-being of all provinces...This is why they support measures aimed
at raising the economic level of all provinces. They know that their own regions
benefit from equalization payments. They also know that less prosperous regions
contribute to their prosperity, in a way. They provide young, educated and
skilled workers for the prosperous provinces...which thus develop their economy.
This basic truth has not yet been grasped by Paul Martin, Jean Chrétien and
the Liberal MPs.
Canadians are counting on us to keep this a country of which they can be
proud. I call upon all senators to have the courage to represent the regions of
this country, especially the less prosperous ones. Let us have the courage to
make the government understand that Bill C-18 is unacceptable because it does
not solve the real problems of equalization payments and regional disparity.
Before I sit down, I should like to note that Senator Rompkey and I did
discuss — and I am sorry he is not here today — the need for a much deeper and
broader look at equalization. We will be discussing this area further. We might
suggest that the Senate give an order of reference to the Finance Committee to
undertake an in-depth and detailed look at equalization. I see Senator Robichaud
nodding his head — in approval, I should hope.
We suggest that the Senate Finance Committee take a serious look at the
concerns raised on this side of the house and conduct a proper study.
Hon. John G. Bryden: Honourable senators, I wish to take a few moments
to participate in the debate on Bill C-18. I will not go into the details of how
the equalization formula developed or how it works. Those matters have been
thoroughly explained by Senator Rompkey and, indeed, expanded on by Senator
Comeau. What is more, I am not sure I understand these matters completely so I
would allow their positions to rest.
There are several points that I should like to make. First, this bill is a
limited measure to carry out the commitment that was made by the Government of
Canada to the provincial governments as part of the deal involving the payment
of $22 billion or $23 billion in health care funds and to remove the cap from
equaliztion payments for one year. It is interesting to note, as Senator Rompkey
indicated in his speech, that the removal of the cap, without going back to the
history of how that occurred in the first place, had the effect of increasing
the amount of equalizaton payments available to certain provinces.
To remind you, honourable senators, this means that each province will
receive the following amounts for the year 1999- 2000: Newfoundland and
Labrador, $36 million; Prince Edward Island, $10 million; Nova Scotia, $62
million; New Brunswick, $50 million; Quebec, $489 million; Manitoba, $76
million, and Saskatchewan, $69 million. What appears to be a significantly
asymmetrical division arises because the distribution of the equalizaton
payments is done on the basis of per capita, on the basis of how many people
there are in each province.
It is quite clear that the continued removal of the cap in those years when
equalizaton payments are available is done without consideration of whether the
formula applied is that which it should be. It is not determined if this formula
would continue payments of the same size as years passed. Following on the
comments of Senator Comeau, and probably Senator Rompkey as well, a serious look
should be taken at whether indeed the current formula is the one that works best
in our contemporary society.
The provision in the Constitution Act, which basically says that the
Government of Canada will guarantee the provision of basic services for all
Canadians, is a right that applies to "have" provinces and "have-not"
provinces, to poor Canadians as well as rich Canadians.
The formula appears to have worked well to a certain point. We have come a
long way from the dirty thirties when our western neighbours did not have black
gold pouring out of the ground or gas streaming to California. As I have been
told during visits to the Prairies, citizens of certain communities would wait
for the train to arrive to obtain their share of potatoes and salt fish from
Since the 1940s and the 1950s, the assistance that has been required to level
the playing field has moved in a different direction. The tremendous wealth
produced from the ground and poured into the coffers of certain provinces has
allowed those provinces to participate in the federal program that attempts to
make level the playing field of the provision of services to all Canadians.
Honourable senators, there is a board game called "Gusher." With the roll
of dice, you land on a place on the game board and push down your derrick
playing piece. If the piece does not press down, you have hit a dry hole.
Another person rolls the dice and pushes down another derrick. If his piece does
press down, he has hit a gusher. That player is paid a certain amount of funds
for that gusher.
To some extent, the geography of Canada can be likened to that board game. If
you push the derrick down in various places in Alberta, black gold comes out of
the ground. If you push that same derrick down, until now, in the province of
New Brunswick, you hit dry holes. There is no viable natural resource spilling
out of the ground.
As a result, Alberta and, for the different reason of the automobile
industry, British Columbia and Ontario are able to provide the best services for
their citizens. As part of the Confederation, they are also able to spread some
of those services, through equalizaton payments, to the "have-not" provinces.
It appears that Senator Comeau is a god because, now, when you push the
derrick down in Nova Scotia, you might well hit a gusher. Indeed, a number of
gushers have been hit in Newfoundland. You could dig a spade in the ground in
Labrador and hit a nickel deposit worth billions of dollars. Hopefully, there
will be "have" provinces in Atlantic Canada.
Justifiably so, these provinces are prepared to say that they want to keep a
big portion of the benefits of the royalties because those royalties are coming
from that province's ground. The province would use the resulting funds to do
for its citizens what Alberta has been able to do for its citizens for years. It
makes a degree of sense to be able to do that.
Honourable senators, conditions change quickly, even in a small region like
Atlantic Canada. For a long time, we were all in the same boat — poor as church
mice — and we were considered the "poor cousins" of Confederation. In my
estimation, we were made so by some of the rich cousins. Over the years, we
tried to do the best that we could. As Senator Comeau indicated, we sent the
best minds to run the banks, the auto companies and even some of the rich
provinces, in some instances. We were always on the same team.
However, a number of problems are developing. One of them relates to the
repayment of the funds — if we are required to repay — that were extended to us
to maintain the services that allowed us to remain reasonably comparable to the
richer parts of our country. Senator Rompkey's comment is correct: It is not the
case that the rich provinces give to the poor provinces. The fact is that if one
is in a high tax bracket in a rich province, he or she pays a great deal of
money to the federal government. If one is in a high tax bracket in a poor
province, such as New Brunswick, one also pays a great deal of money to the
federal government. Those people who are rich pay a great deal of money, and
those who are poor do not pay as much.
Honourable senators, I do not think that Senator Rompkey's analysis is quite
complete because no matter how much the rich people in Nova Scotia or
Newfoundland used to pay, we simply do not have enough rich people. Therefore,
to provide the services, more of the money from rich people in B.C., Alberta and
Ontario must be used to provide services in our provinces.
There is currently the possibility that at least two of our provinces, and
hopefully all of them, will be become rich — not a little bit rich but, like
Alberta, filthy rich. They will have lots of money that will be derived from the
natural resources in our ground — Atlantic Canadian ground. It is not
Saskatchewan ground and it is not Quebec ground, but rather, it is our ground —
our resources on which we will receive royalties. Why can we not keep it all so
that we can be as rich as the people in Alberta or benefit as much as the people
Honourable senators, in all fairness, I do not think that our fellow Atlantic
Canadians want to take it all and turn, from a resource point of view, Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick, side by side, into a smaller duplicate of Alberta and
Saskatchewan, side by side.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, Senator
Bryden's time has expired. Does the honourable senator request leave to
Senator Bryden: Yes, please.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable
Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Leave is not granted.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, may I address a question to
Senator Comeau in respect to what he said?
An Hon. Senator: No.
Senator Banks: Honourable senators, I will then continue along the
line of Senator Bryden. As a reminder, Alberta, filthy rich as it is, does not
keep all of the money that is the result of our natural resources in the ground.
I remember, and it was not that long ago, that Alberta was a have-not
province. Alberta stopped receiving equalization payments in 1961. To me, that
is recent history.
With all due respect, the question that I would have asked, had I the
opportunity, was in respect of the clawback. I am not certain that it is
appropriate that the clawback concept be removed. In other words, if the
have-not provinces can deduct from their share of resource revenue, would it
also be the case that the "have" provinces could also make the same deductions
for the purpose of calculating their contributions to the equalization fund? It
is almost a rhetorical question because we all know what we want the answer to
Honourable senators, the pendulum to which Senator Bryden referred does
swing, and we continue to hope that it swings in the direction of all the
provinces. We must be careful that the clawback applies on both sides of the
Senator Comeau: I am pleased that the honourable senator raised that
point. I wish to ask Senator Banks a question. However, I will provide a
preamble to ensure that the honourable senator is aware that in 1957, there was
a form of equalization based on a three-income formula. Alberta, at that time,
did not have to calculate its revenues from oil resources. Therefore, because of
the type of formula in place at the time, Alberta was able to retain 100 per
cent of its oil revenues. I do not know if the honourable senator is aware that
there was no clawback then and that since 1982 a clawback provision has been
The honourable senator is absolutely right: We must be careful how we view
the issue, and we must also understand how some provinces were able to improve
their status. Alberta, because of the tax regime at the time, was able to take
its revenues over a period of time and invest them in petroleum-based chemical
industries. Was the honourable senator aware of this factor back in 1957?
Senator Banks: Yes, I was aware of that. We could have a lengthy
argument about the extent to which it took for those revenues to actually reach
today's levels. Development in Alberta did not happen until 1950. It took a long
time for revenues to accelerate to the point that they contained six zeros. The
regime has since changed, as the honourable senator pointed out.
Senator Bryden: Your Honour, may I address a question to Senator
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: You may, Senator Bryden.
Senator Bryden: Would Senator Banks agree that the resources of a
province are not only the in-ground resources but also the resources that are on
and above the ground? In British Columbia, one of the major resources is trees.
In New Brunswick, one of our major resources is trees. We have a vast amount of
Crown land, proportionate to our size.
When we sell trees to be cut for logs or pulp, the province is paid a royalty
called a stumpage fee, and those fees are included in the revenues of the
province to determine how much equalization New Brunswick is entitled to. The
same applies to the trees cut in Nova Scotia and in P.E.I. Similarly, proceeds
raised from the sale of other resources would be treated in the same fashion.
To use a ridiculous example — because Nova Scotia would never allow this — if
we were to exempt Nova Scotia Oil & Gas from having part of its royalties clawed
back to give it a chance to catch up, would it not be fair for the same rules to
apply to New Brunswick, whose resource is trees, and exempt the royalties, the
stumpage fees, that the province is paid by the big paper companies or other
producers, so that the fees would not be part of the formula?
Senator Banks: Thank you for the question. We are into an area about
which I know nothing. Therefore, I decline to answer until I find out more about
Senator Bryden: With respect to the issue I have raised, I believe the
honourable senator has not thought about whether those royalties would be the
same as the royalties applying to oil or gas, or fish for that matter. He may or
may not agree that once we open up the formula we have been living and working
with, and people say they want their resources exempted, there will be a
stampede of people like me or the Premier of New Brunswick coming forth to say,
"What are we, chopped liver? These are trees, and the royalties are paid on
them. Moreover, they are renewable. We will not empty the basin."
The difficulties developing in Atlantic Canada among Prince Edward Island,
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland reminds me of when I practised law,
and always insisted that partners starting a venture sign legal agreements. They
said, "Well, we are friends. If we go bankrupt, we will know." You do not lose
your friends when you are going broke; you lose your friends when a great deal
of money is being made. Problems arise when someone believes another part of the
partnership is getting a huge advantage. Therefore, I would suggest we support
this simple removal of the cap for the period of time specified in order to
carry out the deal that the first minister has made.
Senator Carney: Is that the question?
Senator Bryden: Honourable senators, I would have finished my speech,
had I not been denied leave to continue. This discussion will be very
complicated. I suggest that, in the fall, we look seriously at having the Senate
Finance Committee study this question, or some other group that is prepared to
give it the serious thought required because of the implications involved.
Senator Banks: I will answer Senator Bryden by telling him that
Senator Murray and I had a discussion this morning, and we anticipate a
reference to the National Finance Committee of a study on the questions of
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, marine geology has been
my occupation for 40 years, and I pioneered in some of the drilling off Nova
Scotia and Newfoundland. What is being overlooked is the fact that Ernest
Manning, for example, used to enjoy getting money from Ottawa when we were
rolling in oil wealth, since mineral resources were not considered income
because capital was being sold. Alberta was lucky for a number of years to be
called a have-not province because selling our oil and gas was considered
selling our capital. That situation has been corrected.
Does my honourable friend not remember the parties? The Honourable Joe Clark
was Prime Minister, and he did something which we prairie boys really thought
was out of the ordinary, perhaps even going too far. Up to that time, the
resources of the Maritime provinces had only been considered for about two and
half miles beyond the shoreline, and beyond that fell under federal
jurisdiction. Mr. Clark said "We will share with you, Nova Scotia and
Newfoundland, any rights that Canada will have."
Later, in international law, we extended the borders of countries, allowing
them to have access to the ocean to the other's border. Newfoundland today has a
share with the federal government halfway to Ireland. Nova Scotia has halfway to
Bermuda. As for New Brunswick, P.E.I. sitting on the offshore keeps it from
Maritimers have a great deal because they have great land and they will be
able to extract money from a far greater area than that in which the original
province exists. Alberta and Saskatchewan can only extract minerals from within
their borders. A sea coast did not do British Columbia much good because it
called the whole area an underwater park and did not let anyone develop the
resources. British Columbia might wake up one of these days and allow that to
Per capita, the Maritimes have much more mineral area than almost any other
area in Canada, all given by then Prime Minister Joe Clark. I wanted to let you
in on that information because this has been my business for many years. The
Maritimes have done well, and not only in oil. There is manganese, and the whole
sea floor, which contains more than just fish, makes the Maritimes possibly one
of the richest areas of the world. I recommend that if you have a grandson who
is looking for a wife, you should send him to the Maritimes.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Buchanan, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Stratton, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Cohen, for the second reading of Bill S-20, to
provide for increased transparency and objectivity in the selection of
suitable individuals to be named to certain high public positions.—(Honourable
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, it gives me pleasure to
rise today to take part in the second reading debate on Bill S-20. This bill,
introduced by my friend and fellow westerner Senator Stratton, is an important
contribution to the debate on parliamentary reform. Near the end of the last
Parliament, I launched an inquiry on the subject of parliamentary reform. In my
speech, I outlined three themes: the need for Parliament to reassert itself over
the executive; the need for an elected Senate representing the regions of
Canada, minority interests, and performing the legislative role of sober second
thought on legislation; and the need for redistribution in the House of Commons
and especially in the Senate to give western provinces more representation in
Senator Stratton's bill speaks to my first theme, taking power back from the
executive. In my speech, I dealt at length with the need to relax the whips in
the House of Commons, and perhaps even here in this place on the government
side, and the need for a complete attitudinal change on the part of members of
House of Commons so they can exercise independent action, not caring if there is
to be retribution from the PMO.
As part of wresting power away from the PMO and the PCO, I suggested that
Parliament, particularly the Senate, become involved in the scrutiny of
appointments by Order in Council. At that time, I was not sure how this could be
accomplished, so I was particularly pleased when I reviewed Senator Stratton's
As far as I am concerned, Bill S-20 is a nice compromise. It gives the Senate
the authority to review a group of appointments but leaves the ultimate
appointment still with the executive. Its true accomplishment is to shed light
on a process which without Senator Stratton's bill is shrouded in secrecy,
The bill establishes in statutory form a nominations committee of the Privy
Council. This committee is charged with the responsibility of developing
criteria and procedures for the selection of people suitable for appointment to
the positions listed in the bill. It then is to make recommendations on the
suitability of candidates for these positions.
Clauses 8 and 9 require a minister, who is to recommend an appointment to a
position covered by the bill, to select a candidate from the eligibility list
established by the nominations committee. Notice must then be given by the
minister of the minister's intention to appoint. Notice can either be given to
both Houses of Parliament or through the Canada Gazette.
Clauses 10, 11 and 12 provide for review by the Senate in Committee of the
Whole. We all know how very successful both our review of legislation and review
of various annual reports of parliamentary officers has been in the Committee of
the Whole in this place.
The bill sets out a strict timetable in which the Senate is to act and also
allows for a process whereby ministers may make appointments immediately without
prior Senate review in cases of emergency. In what I would hope would be a rare
use of the appointments process, the Senate under this bill can carry out a
review after the appointment is made. That indicates real fairness in this
The bill requires the criteria for appointment to be made public and sets out
a process of review, and review only, whereby the appointee can be questioned
about eligibility, qualifications for the position, and his or her views on the
responsibilities of the position. I ask, how threatening to the process of
appointment can this really be?
There are those who will argue, as Senator Banks has argued, that this bill
leads us down the slippery slope to American-style hearings on judicial
appointments. Are the opponents of this bill opposed to any form of scrutiny? Is
scrutiny a bad thing, or are we afraid of the American side of things? The
American side of things can be good and positive. I do not care whether it comes
from America or Great Britain. If it is good, let us use it. Is it not strange
that because of the U.S. system, which many criticize because it may tend to
politicize the Supreme Court, we know more about the two recent candidates for
the Supreme Court in the United States than we do about everyone combined on our
Supreme Court. Yet, because of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the nine
ladies and gentlemen who work just down the street from us have the ultimate
power to determine the constitutional legitimacy of the laws we pass in
Parliament. One can argue that ultimately they have more legislative power than
we have because they have the last say.
I was particularly pleased when, during the Easter recess, a number of
newspaper articles and editorials came out in support of Senator Stratton's
initiative. It was termed a modest initiative, reflective of the man, because
the legislation does not give the power to reject nominees. It was stated in the
Montreal Gazette that:
Taxpayers deserve more openness in the naming of officials and bureaucrats
who rule so much of our lives.
This bill deserves to be approved by this place at second reading and sent to
committee — let us be fair, because it should be studied — for in-depth study. I
hope those who believe in transparency and openness in government and those who
believe in taking back some small measure of power from the executive branch
will support it. I know about the power that resides in the executive branch
because I was once a cabinet minister in the other place. I know how the place
To those who are so concerned about the submission of judicial nominees to
scrutiny by Committee of the Whole, I say, as someone who has run for political
office, that the most obscure backbencher on the government side in the House of
Commons has gone through a much more revealing public process than our judicial
nominees are ever put through under the present process. We all know how little
power those sitting in the last row on the government side in the House of
Commons have when compared to the power of the judiciary, especially those on
the Supreme Court of Canada.
Honourable senators, I believe we should support Bill S-20, with the sunshine
that it allows in on a process that right now is viewed to be shrouded in a
great amount of secrecy.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I should like to ask a
question of the Honourable Senator St. Germain. I was listening, and I am not
sure that I heard right, but did the honourable senator say that the process
involving the review board would take place after the appointment had been made
or before an appointment could be made?
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, it could be after, but only
in the case of an emergency where the minister named someone immediately and the
hearing process in the Senate or elsewhere would not have had time to take
place. Only in that case would it take place after. Have I explained myself,
Senator Taylor: No, the honourable senator has not. Is a Senate
appointment an emergency?
Senator St. Germain: Senate appointments may be examined. They could
be an emergency. I saw them treated as an emergency when the GST debate was
going on. Thus, there is that possibility, but it would only be done in the case
of an emergency.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I, too, should like to ask a
question of Senator St. Germain. The whole form and operation of the Westminster
parliamentary model resides in the fact that the Crown rises above the mere
mewling mass of politics, whatever politics are, and that it is not tainted by
politics. The bill in question, Senator Stratton's bill, contemplates that the
viceregal representatives in this country, the Governor General and the
lieutenant-governors of the provinces, would be subject to that same political
scrutiny. Does the honourable senator concur that viceregals should also be
subject to that review process?
Senator St. Germain: I thank the Honourable Senator Banks for his
question. I think it is something that should be reviewed extensively in
committee. I do not have a position on the review of those positions. However, I
would certainly like to take part in the whole review process.
Our country is changing; we must reflect the changing political landscape. On
that particular question, I am not hung up. I am a great supporter of the
monarchy. In fact, I take issue with one of the ministers who has made comments
to the media in recent days about the monarchy.
I am more concerned about the effect on Canadians in their day-to-day lives.
I refer to the judiciary and the top-level Crown corporation appointments more
so than that which relates to the honourable senator's question. This is
something that should be studied fully in committee. I am sure that, under the
auspices of the honourable senator, whom I consider to be very cooperative and
logical, and Senator Stratton, whom I consider to be very capable, we can make a
significant amount of progress.
On motion of Senator DeWare, for Senator Beaudoin, debate adjourned.
Hon. Serge Joyal moved the second reading of Bill S-27, to authorize
the Imperial Life Assurance Company of Canada to apply to be continued as a
company under the laws of the Province of Quebec.
He said: Honourable senators, the purpose of Bill S-27 is to authorize the
Imperial Life Assurance Company, a federally chartered insurance company,
incorporated under a law of Canada in 1896, over 105 years ago, to continue as a
corporation under the Quebec act respecting insurance, in view of its
amalgamation with its sister company the Desjardins- Laurentian Mutual Life
Assurance Company. This is the last time this company will appear before
Parliament to have its charter amended.
It is necessary to pass private federal legislation because the federal
insurance act contains no provision for Imperial to continue its activities as a
provincially chartered company. It is not the intention of the Minister of
Finance of Canada to amend the federal legislation at the moment. Accordingly,
Imperial's continuation as a Quebec chartered company is prerequisite to its
amalgamation with the Desjardins-Laurentian Mutual Life Assurance Company.
The new company that would emerge from the amalgamation would report to
Quebec's Inspector General of Financial Institutions. This organization
performs, for provincially chartered companies, the same functions as the
Canadian Superintendent of Financial Institutions, in the case of federally
chartered companies. The function of the two agencies is to assess the solidity
of financial institutions, to ensure they are financially sound and to ensure
the rights of the insured are maintained and respected.
As I will indicate shortly, the decision to amalgamate the two insurance
companies was reached because of the benefits doing so would provide for the
insured. Allow me to give you a brief overview of the two companies.
The Imperial Life Assurance Company was established by a federal act in 1896.
Following various transactions since 1968, Imperial has been a subsidiary of the
Mouvement Desjardins since 1993. For over 30 years, Imperial has been under the
control of corporations established in Quebec. It is active throughout Canada
and in the Bahamas. It also has a business portfolio in Hong Kong. While it is
well known in Canada, Imperial is a small player, with premiums totalling
slightly under $500 million. It is much smaller than large insurance companies,
whose premiums total between $1 billion and $3.6 billion. In future, it will be
harder for Imperial to compete with these large Canadian insurance companies and
with the foreign companies that do business in Canada.
The Desjardins-Laurentian Mutual Life Assurance Company is the result of the
merger, in 1994, of the Desjardins Mutual Life Assurance Company and the
Laurentian Life. At the end of 2000, the Desjardins-Laurentian Mutual Life
Assurance Company merged with another subsidiary of Desjardins, the Laurentian
Life Insurance Corporation. The Desjardins-Laurentian Mutual Life Assurance
Company is a very solid company and it has permits to do business in every
Canadian province. It is well established in Quebec, where it is number one in
terms of premiums, with close to 16 per cent of the market.
The Desjardins Mutual Life Assurance Company and Imperial, which are both
subsidiaries of Desjardins, have had a joint structure for the past three years.
They have the same products and systems, and they have joint services and
management. Consequently, from a business point of view, the legal merger is a
perfectly logical step in the process to bring the two companies together.
By merging together, Imperial and the Desjardins-Laurentian Mutual Life
Assurance Company will form a new company that will be more competitive to face
Canada's major insurance companies.
Based on the financial statements of the two companies for last year, the new
corporation will have assets of $13.4 billion and an annual volume of premiums
of $1.5 billion, which is three times that of Imperial and which is more in line
with the volumes reported by larger Canadian companies.
The new company will be on a more solid foundation and will be better
equipped to grow. It will be stronger, larger, more financially sound and better
capitalized. It will carry on its activities throughout Canada and in the
Bahamas. This merger will create a new player that will rank seventh in Canada's
insurance industry and that will thus be more competitive.
The most important aspect of the planned merger is that it is in the best
interests of the insured themselves. In fact, insurance coverage will be
increased because the insurer will be larger and stronger, with fuller funding.
Participating insured will also retain their right to receive participating
shares. Participating shares are in fact dividends paid by the company to
insured who have insurance contracts with this option. These dividends vary
according to a number of factors, such as technical results, operating costs,
and the company's investment income. They are declared at the discretion of the
insurer's board of directors. Following the merger of Imperial and
Desjardins-Laurentian Life Assurance, the participating fund will be larger and
therefore less subject to fluctuation.
In addition, like Imperial and Desjardins-Laurentian Life Assurance, the new
company will also be a member of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance
Compensation Corporation, an organization which administers the guarantee fund
in order to protect Canadian policy holders.
Since the operational structure remains the same, the merger cannot have a
negative impact on client service or daily activities. Insured will therefore
continue to be served by the same staff in the language of their choice.
Finally, the management of Imperial has already told its participating insured
that the merger would in no way change the new company's investment policies. An
assets management group is now managing the assets of the two companies and this
same group will manage the new company's assets. As for the employees of the two
companies, no positions will be abolished, nor will any offices be closed as a
result of the merger, either for Imperial or Desjardins-Laurentian Life
Assurance. Since the two companies already have common management, common
services and the same systems, the merger will not have any impact on jobs
because there will continue to be a common structure.
Activities in Toronto, where some 500 employees are now working, will
continue as usual, and the three operating sites in Quebec — Lévis, Quebec City
and Montreal — where there are almost 2,000 employees, will also be maintained.
In conclusion, whether from the point of view of business, customer
protection or job maintenance, the planned merger is a solution for the future
of both the Imperial and its sister company, Desjardins-Laurentian Life
I should point out that the bill has already received the support of the
regulatory authorities, an independent actuary, and participating Imperial
policy-holders. In fact, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, to whom
Imperial reports at the present time, has been associated with the process from
its inception and has indicated that he is in favour of the merger of Imperial
and Desjardins-Laurentian Life Assurance, as is the independent actuary mandated
by the two companies to give an opinion on the merger's impact on policyholders.
He concludes in his report as follows:
The merger will preserve or improve existing services and the security and
reasonable expectations of policy holders as far as benefits and participating
shares are concerned; overall the merger is being proposed in the best interest
of the policy holders and shareholders of both companies.
The merger of these two companies has received the approval of participating
Imperial policyholders. The 100,000 or so policyholders were consulted according
to the required procedure in early April, in a mailing that included an
information package, a simplified brochure and a ballot. The response was highly
significant. As was announced at Imperial's extraordinary general meeting held
this past May 11 in Toronto, over 90 per cent of the policyholders who voted
indicated that they were in favour of the planned reorganization.
This unequivocal policyholder support is without a doubt a convincing
argument that cannot help but work in favour of continuing the merger plans. It
is therefore certainly in Imperial's interest, and consequently that of the
policyholders themselves, for the bill before this House to be studied in
committee and eventually voted on by honourable senators.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, after they were
introduced in this House, I had the opportunity to read the two private bills —
Bill S-27 and Bill S-28 — Senator Joyal has just presented.
I understand there is currently no provision authorizing federally
incorporated insurance companies, such as Imperial Life Assurance Company and
Certas Direct Insurance Company, to seek continuance as a corporation under the
laws of a province.
The two bills contain nothing contentious, and are put before us only because
of the unique nature of the proposed reorganization, which, because of its
singularity, is not covered under the Insurance Companies Act. In both cases,
they serve the best interests of those insured by the two applicant companies.
The two bills have the support of the Office of the Superintendent of
Financial Institutions, which oversees the operations of Imperial and Certas.
In the case of Imperial, participating policyholders were also publicly
consulted on the bill, as is the custom with life assurance companies in such
circumstances. The participating policyholders, who voted at a meeting on May
11, approved the bill by a majority of over 90 per cent.
Honourable senators, I support the recommendation by Senator Joyal that these
two private bills be referred to committee.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, if no other senator wishes
to speak on this motion, it shall be considered to have been debated.
Hon. Serge Joyal moved the second reading of Bill S-28, to authorize
Certas Direct Insurance Company to apply to be continued as a company under the
laws of the Province of Quebec.
He said: Honourable senators, I will try to restrict my few comments to the
essential elements of Bill S-28. This bill seeks to authorize Certas Direct
Insurance Company, a federally chartered insurance company, to continue its
activities as a provincial insurance company under Quebec's Insurance Act, in
order to merge with its sister corporation, les Assurances générales des caisses
The decision to merge these two insurance companies is part of a corporate
restructuring and was made to maximize, among the same group of companies, the
financial benefits of each one, with the ultimate objective of expanding
business outside Quebec.
This type of administrative reorganization is common among financial groups
of that size. A private bill is necessary for the purpose of this reorganization
because these corporations are subjected to different jurisdictions. Otherwise,
the Superintendent of Financial Institutions would have approved this
restructuring himself. As I mentioned during the review of the private bill to
authorize Imperial to apply to be continued, the Insurance Companies Act does
not include any provision allowing an insurance company that was incorporated
under this act to continue its activities as a provincially chartered company.
Canada's Superintendent of Financial Institutions, who currently has
jurisdiction over Certas Direct, was involved in the process from the very
beginning and was favourable to the merger of Certas and the Assurances
générales des caisses Desjardins.
I will begin by giving a brief overview of the two companies in question.
Certas Direct Insurance Company was incorporated in 1993 under the name CIBC
General Insurance Company Limited, as a branch of the CIBC.
On August 31, 2000, the Société de portefeuille du Groupe Desjardins,
assurances générales, a branch of the Mouvement Desjardins, bought CIBC's
general insurance companies, the Personal Direct Insurance Company of Canada and
CIBC General Insurance Company Limited, whose name was subsequently changed to
Certas is a relatively young company which, in recent years, has had some
large operating losses and therefore requires a restructuring of its business in
order to further its future development. At the end of fiscal 2000, it had $120
million in gross premiums written, with over $100 million in tax losses.
Les Assurances générales des caisses Desjardins is a company incorporated
under the Loi sur les assurances du Québec, which wrote over $451 million in
gross premiums in 2000. Assurances générales des caisses Desjardins is a very
strong company which has had an ongoing history of profits for many years. It is
licenced to operate in the province of Quebec only. With close to 9.6 per cent
of the market, it is one of the most profitable loss insurers in Canada.
As part of the reorganization, a new federally regulated insurance company,
the new Certas, will be created in order to pursue the activities of the former
Certas outside Quebec. The issue of new insurance business will be done by this
new federal company to which the former Certas will transfer all its current
This new federally regulated Certas will offer the same products and
services. It is the former Certas, stripped of the current business transferred
to the new Certas, but retaining the liquidation portfolio, which will be
continued as a provincial company and merged with the Assurances générales des
This merger is also in the best interests of the insured themselves and, more
importantly, existing policies and future ones will be transferred to the new
federally chartered company, which will be supported through new capital and
growth strategies geared to that market.
Therefore, the interests of the insured will be protected and the merger will
not have any effect on customer service and on daily activities. The insured
will continue to be served by the same staff in the language of their choice.
As far as the employees of the two companies are concerned, the restructuring
will not result in any job losses or office closures. Operations outside Quebec,
which involve about 1,000 employees, will go on as usual. The two places of
business in Quebec, namely Lévis and Montreal, which have close to 2,000
employees, will also be maintained.
In conclusion, whether it is business operations, the protection of the
insured or the preservation of jobs, the merger is good for the future of Certas
Direct and of the insured. It is definitely in the best interests of Certas and
the Assurances générales des caisses Desjardins and, consequently, in the best
interests of the insured, that this bill be referred to the Standing Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs before senators vote on it.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, the comments that I made
during my previous speech on Bill S-27 also apply to Bill S-28. Therefore, I
support this bill for the same reasons.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Roche, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Finestone, P.C.:
That the Senate of Canada recommends that the Government of Canada avoid
involvement and support for the development of a National Missile Defence
(NMD) system that would run counter to the legal obligations enshrined in the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which has been a cornerstone of strategic
stability and an important foundation for international efforts on nuclear
disarmament and non-proliferation for almost thirty years;
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Finestone, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Bacon, that the subject-matter of this
motion be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security
for study and report back to the Senate.—(Honourable Senator Robichaud,
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, when I called for adjournment of this motion, there was a question as
to which committee ought to have the motion referred to it. The motion in
amendment dealt with its being referred to the Standing Committee on Defence and
Security, a newly struck committee.
The author of that motion has completed his consultation. It was, moreover,
for this reason that I had requested the adjournment, so that he could verify
whether this was indeed the committee to which the motion ought to be referred.
I have since been informed that another senator would like to speak to this
motion. I would therefore be happy to yield the floor to him, if he wishes to
make his remarks now.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would like a clarification on the interpretation of the motion in
amendment. I will put my question to the Deputy Leader of the Government.
Senator Finestone's amendment asks us to refer the subject matter of the
motion to a committee, but if I understand Senator Roche's proposal, the subject
matter of the motion is to avoid any support for the development of a national
missile defence system.
If my interpretation of the amendment by Senator Finestone is correct, it
would mean that we would instruct a committee to take note of the subject matter
of the motion and, directly or indirectly, we would speak against the American
project, because the subject matter of the motion is to the effect that we take
a stand immediately on a project of which we know nothing. Is my interpretation
correct? I can only put the question to Senator Robichaud, unless someone else
takes part in the debate. This concerns me considerably, and I should like to
know exactly what the subject matter of the motion means and if my
interpretation is correct.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable
senators, the subject matter of the motion concerns what the honourable senator
has just said, that is, that we avoid involvement and support for the
development of a national missile defence, commonly known as the NMD. However,
on the subject of this defence system, very little information is available. It
is discussed in vague terms, with no possibility of specifying the scope of the
system or whether it would be deployed by sea, air or land.
In fact, the information is simply not available and so it is for this very
reason that I think the Defence Committee could go after the information so that
when the motion comes back from committee we can make an informed decision. At
the moment, we clearly lack information.
Hon. Sheila Finestone: Honourable senators, I put my motion in
amendment before the house in particular because so little is known about this
field, which has enormous social, economic, cultural and financial implications
for Canada. We need to study the issue before we take a position on it. I
believe I made it quite clear that I think we should not abolish the ABM Treaty
but, rather, support it.
I hope that clarifies the situation. I wished to have the matter referred to
the Defence Committee for study. We cannot take a position on this matter until
we know more about it.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I wish to comment
briefly on the current position of the Government of Canada on the national
missile defence system and, with the permission of the chamber, take the
The Prime Minister has taken the stance that Canada should research the
proposed system before establishing an official position. While this appears to
be prudent, we may be allowing the opportunity to influence the United States in
their policy to pass us by.
President Bush and his administration have consistently stated their desire
to consult with their allies before any form of missile defence would be
deployed. These consultations will not, and cannot, be based on the specifics of
the missile defence program, since it currently has no established system. If
they were to implement the program attempted by the Clinton administration,
construction would have to begin by the end of 2001 in order to meet the target
date of 2005. That program achieved limited results and President Bush has
agreed that there were "inadequacies in such a program."
During President Bush's May 1 speech to the National Defense University, it
became abundantly clear that our friends in the United States will pay little
attention to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty when and if they intend to move
forward in their missile defence plans.
Secretary of State Powell hopes to hold a summit with Russia — although
currently with no success — in order to renegotiate the ABM Treaty. President
Bush openly stated that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has been looking into both
land-based and sea- based options which might violate the ABM Treaty as it
Honourable senators, may I remind that you that Secretary Rumsfeld headed the
independent commission which produced the report which spurred former President
Clinton to create a missile defence system that he had previously opposed. As
our neighbours and allies, any system designed to protect the United States
involving the development of increasingly advanced missile technology should be
of the utmost concern to all of us as Canadians.
These consultations act as an opportunity for allies of the United States to
comment on the political and social ramifications of the missile defence system.
Secretary of State Powell will be speaking to NATO, as will Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld, by early June. President Bush plans to speak with NATO, Brussels and
the European Union by mid-June. Meanwhile, the Government of Canada,
understandably, has yet to express a firm position on the issue.
Honourable senators, I would hope that the Government of Canada would seek,
through parliamentary committee consultations, to develop a clearer position and
certainly clearer information with regard to the missile defence development and
deployment by the United States, in whatever form that may take.
I wish to adjourn the debate in my name.
Hon. Douglas Roche: I should like to ask a question of Senator
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Forrestall will have to agree to accept
Senator Forrestall: With all due respect, I wish to decline any
questions until I have finished my remarks, at which time I will be pleased to
entertain any questions or comments.
On motion of Senator Forrestall, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cohen calling the
attention of the Senate to the quality of life of the military family and how
that quality of life is affected by government actions and by Canadian Forces
policy.—(Honourable Senator Wilson).
Hon. Lois M. Wilson: Honourable senators, I rise to address the matter
raised by Senators Cohen and Pépin concerning the quality of life of military
families and how that quality of life is affected by government actions and by
Canadian Forces policy. I do not intend to repeat their assertions which are on
record. However, I support their statements and commend their remarks for your
study. This matter is especially pertinent since the Senate now has a newly
formed Defence Committee.
The nub of the question on the quality of life of the military family was
summed up in Senator Cohen's contribution when she quoted Lieutenant-General
Mike Jeffrey as follows:
We are trying to change the culture of an institution while protecting the
principles on which the institution is based.
In her book No Life Like It, which she co-authored with Lucie
Laliberté, Deborah Harrison, then Chair of Sociology at Brock University,
described the culture of the Canadian Forces. She described the main features of
this culture as follows:
Male bonding is a very important feature of military culture, its purpose
being to facilitate unit cohesion, considered indispensable for effective
combat. The military ethos rests on two assumptions: the first being the idea of
the omnipresent enemy, and the second, the assumption that force or violence is
a legitimate way to solve conflicts. Following on from this is the principle of
combat readiness. Because military personnel must constantly brace themselves
for the ultimate — the sacrifice of their lives, or at least the risk of the
same — combat readiness requires that they be tough and in control of a
situation. Success in combat also requires a working chain of command. The
military therefore place an enormous emphasis on hierarchy, orders, and
obedience. The Code of Military Honour, for example, requires that members
reveal secrets about their peers whenever supervisors ask them. In practice,
this means that several, in self-protection, prefer not to know their peers'
On the other hand, one of the features of military life is the solidarity
among peers. The team is everything. Flawless appearance is a requirement, and
military wives soon learn to maintain a flawless image. Failure to maintain that
image may have dire consequences. Wives therefore become extremely reluctant to
disclose problems of a personal nature. Unit cohesion means conformity and those
who are different may be perceived as a threat to social cohesion, which is so
necessary in battle. A main military objective is complete control, since that
will destroy the confidence of the enemy.
The authors conclude that "the military's negative attitude toward women is
deeply embedded within its obsession of homogeneity, its methods of training for
violence, and its traditions of male camaraderie."
Some of what I have quoted will not commend itself to you. Some of it
obviously needs to be acknowledged and changed. Surely most of the things
mentioned constitute what the Lieutenant-General meant when he spoke of the need
to change the culture of the institution.
Some of it, however, articulates the principles that need to be protected if
this institution is to survive and do what it is meant to do. What we need to be
doing is holding the two things together: changing the culture of the military
while at the same time preserving the principles that are necessary for the
survival of the institution, if that is possible. It is a very delicate balance.
In the context of this military culture, a major conclusion of the authors is
that civilian women living in the Canadian Forces community experience special
isolation, vulnerability and abuse. The May 2000 report on the issues of the
Canadian Forces responses to women abuse in the military and of family violence
among military families, to which Senator Pépin referred, made 51
recommendations to correct the situation. The main ones are that the Canadian
Forces must understand and acknowledge that women abuse is a significant and
serious problem in Canadian society and in the Canadian Forces community.
Another recommendation is that more resources be made available for the
support of Canadian Forces women abuse survivors and their children.
In an assessment of what resource personnel have available to assist in
resolving these problems, I was particularly interested in the comments about
military chaplains. Chaplains are required to foster the well-being of Canadian
Forces members' families, but they have no mandate to minister to former
Canadian Forces spouses. The first priority is to serve Canadian Forces members
rather than serve the members' families. However, the chaplain's role in violent
situations is often more crucial than that of the social worker, given that the
chaplain is on 24-hour call and has access to every level on the chain of
When a survivor of abuse seeks refuge in a women's shelter, it is frequently
through the chaplain rather than the chain of command that shelter staff
subsequently contact the base to arrange the survivor's visits to collect
belongings or arrange visits with children.
There are two problems with military chaplains currently doing this job. The
first is that they are military members and are encouraged to think like
military members. They occupy a rank; they wear a uniform; they undergo basic
training; they deploy on overseas missions. They also know that the career costs
for members labelled as women abusers are high. Some chaplains, therefore,
counsel survivors not to report abuses to the chain of command, or to drop
charges, or to make allowances for their partner's stressful job.
A second problem is that most chaplains have not received training in women
abuse dynamics either from the Canadian Forces or from theological colleges.
There is a mistaken perception on the part of many Canadian Forces supervisors
and survivors that they, in fact, have been trained to handle women abuse
situations. Consequently, the tendency is to entrust chaplains with situations
that they cannot and should not handle. Chaplains who are ignorant of women
abuse dynamics can make mistakes that have horrendous implications for
Unquestionably, some women abuse survivors have been fortunate in their
dealings with chaplains. However, much of their good fortune appears to have
been a function of these military chaplains' personal qualities. Included in the
51 recommendations are a number dealing with the importance of training for
human service professional personnel in the matter of identification of women
abuse, gender dynamics and military resources that exist for survivors.
I hope more senators join in this inquiry. It is important that we contribute
our ideas to help change the culture of the institution while at the same time
protect the principles on which the institution is based.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Carney, P.C.,
calling the attention of the Senate to the desirability of electing Senators
from the Province of British Columbia to the Senate of Canada.—(Honourable
The Hon. the Speaker: I must inform honourable senators that under
rule 35, if the Honourable Senator Carney speaks now, her speech will close the
debate on this item.
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, I have consulted with Senator
Milne, who wished to speak to this inquiry, and she has decided not to.
I will take three minutes of honourable senators' time to read into the
record a reply from the former Premier of British Columbia, Ujjal Dosanjh, to my
suggestion that British Columbia reintroduce the Senatorial Selection Act to
elect senators, as the retirement of Senator Perrault reopened this opportunity.
Since there was interest, I wish to read into the record his reply.
I strongly agree that British Columbians desire better representation in a
reformed Senate. I also agree that the sense of alienation that British
Columbians often feel towards the federal government could be reduced if we had
a stronger voice over the affairs of the nation. Having said that, I do not
believe that holding elections to fill British Columbia vacancies would assist
in addressing the fundamental issues facing the Senate. In fact, the election of
senators at this time might undermine efforts to achieve the fundamental changes
that are badly needed, such as the redistribution of seats to provide more
equitable representation for British Columbia.
As you are aware, fundamental Senate reform would require a constitutional
amendment, and subsequently a provincial referendum. While British Columbia is
not opposed to Senate reform, at the present time, it is not a matter of
priority to commence constitutional discussions. Our priorities continue to be
protecting health care and assuring that British Columbians have access to high
quality, affordable education.
I commend you for the very generous offer you have made to vacate your seat
in order to provide momentum for change. Your devotion to the cause of improving
British Columbia and Western representation in Ottawa is indeed laudable. I hope
that we will have the opportunity to work together in the future to bring about
the fundamental reforms to the Senate that are truly needed.
Again, thank you for writing on this important issue.
This, honourable senators, in my view, does close debate on this matter.
The Hon. the Speaker: If no other honourable senator wishes to speak,
this inquiry is considered debated.
Hon. Vivienne Poy, pursuant to notice of May 15, 2001, moved:
That May be recognized as Asian Heritage Month, given the important
contributions of Asian Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of
Canada, the diversity of the Asian community, and its present significance to
She said: Honourable senators, on May 5, 2001, I attended a public forum in
Calgary to kick off Asian Heritage Month. This year, for the first time, Calgary
joined with Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton and Halifax to acknowledge
and celebrate the important contributions of Asian Canadians. Throughout Canada
there were screenings, readings, visual arts exhibits, theatre presentations and
festivals in which Canadians of both Asian and non-Asian descent participated in
While various cities in Canada hold events to celebrate Asian heritage,
British Columbia is the only province to have officially declared May as Asian
Heritage Month. It first declared it in 1996 and has since proclaimed it on an
In marking the fourth anniversary of the event in the year 2000, Premier
Dosanjh and the Minister of Multiculturalism and Immigration, Sue Hammell, noted
the importance of Asians in British Columbia both historically and currently.
The Asian-Canadian community makes enormous contributions to our province.
The community has been here for more than a century, and its pioneers have
left an impressive legacy. Succeeding generations continue to play important
roles in the economic, social, cultural and political life of British
The official provincial designation of Asian Heritage Month in British
Columbia has helped to build grassroots support for the month-long celebrations.
In the United States, official acknowledgement of Asian-American
contributions dates back more than two decades to 1979 when President Jimmy
Carter designated May 4 to 10 as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week. Later,
President George Bush extended the week-long celebration to a month. Asian-
Pacific American Heritage Month was proclaimed in October 1992. As a result of
this official acknowledgement by the White House, events have been organized
across the country during the month of May.
Asian contributions in the U.S. and Canada share some similarities. Asian
pioneers, in particular the Chinese, played a major role in the construction of
the railways in both countries, which helped to unite both nations physically
and symbolically. Between 1881 and 1885, many gave their lives for what Pierre
Berton described as "the National Dream." It is not hyperbole to state that
without the CPR, it is likely that Canada would not exist in its present form
since it was the railway that joined the west to the east, allowing for
structural and political union.
Asians settled in Canada over a century ago. Invariably, like other
immigrants, they came in search of a better life. Despite being initially
exploited as cheap labour, communities flourished as businesses grew. Like the
French and English pioneers, Asians helped to build this country with their own
hands, working in Canada's natural resource industries.
The Japanese were consummate fishermen. The Chinese were involved in mining,
forestry and the cannery industry. The South Asians initially worked in the
lumberyards with a few opening their own mills. However, their industriousness
was not always appreciated in the past and, as we all know, there were many
attempts to curtail Asian immigration, as well as to limit the rights and
freedoms of Asian Canadians.
When the United States passed an act to designate Asian- Pacific American
Heritage month in 1992, nearly 8 million people in the United States could trace
their roots to the Asia-Pacific region out of a total population of 250 million.
In comparison, as of 1996, nearly 2 million Canadians, or almost 7 per cent of
the population, identified themselves as being of Asian origin.
In addition, the percentage of Canadians of Asian origin in the population
has increased over the last five years as Asia is now the number one source of
immigrants to Canada. It will come as no surprise that the third most spoken
language after English and French is Chinese, followed closely by an array of
Asian languages such as Vietnamese, Tagalog, Punjabi and Tamil. With the
declining Canadian birth rate, Asians will account for much of the population
increase since the last census. In fact, a recent report puts the percentage of
Asians on the West Coast at about 18 per cent, with the result that in the last
provincial election in British Columbia, Asians of Indian, Filipino and Chinese
descent competed for parties that spanned the political spectrum from left to
right. In the future, Asians will continue to play an increasingly important
role in the development of Canadian society.
There has been a growing recognition of the importance of the Asia-Pacific
community in international trade over the last decade. Our government has paid
close attention to this trend by placing an emphasis on developing linkages with
this region. One of Canada's major assets in its quest for closer cultural,
political and economic ties with the region is its population of Asian descent.
As Canadians, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nation and on our
tolerance and respect for differences that we have come to realize are our
greatest strength. We have even enshrined these principles in the
Multiculturalism Act of 1988. Nevertheless, we have been slow to recognize the
historic and present day contributions of our multicultural communities at a
national and institutional level. We have been much slower than the United
States which, while it describes itself as a melting pot, has established
Asian-American academic programs at universities across the country.
The influence of Asians on our collective culture is evident when we examine
the current state of Canadian literature. The voice of Canada, as it is
reflected to the world, is increasingly multicultural. There are many writers of
Asian descent who have won numerous national and international literary awards,
names such as Paul Yee, Michael Ondaatje, Anita Rau Badami, Shauna Singh
Baldwin, Wayson Choy and Rohinton Mistry. Joy Kogawa's moving novel, Obasan,
changed forever the way we viewed our past and may have influenced the Japanese
Canadian redress settlement in 1988. It is now required reading in many classes
in Canada and across the United States. These writers are reshaping how we
define what it means to be Canadian.
Canada is benefiting from the diversity of these new voices. Nationally, our
culture is maturing as we recognize and integrate new visions of our past,
present and future into our collective story. Internationally, we are now
recognized for our dynamic literary style within which cultures overlap as the
protagonists move across time and space.
Through our literature, we suggest to the world that our brave multicultural
experiment is a success. This is not to suggest that Asian contributions are
limited to literature. Canadians such as Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui of Toronto, who is a
major contributor to the international project in mapping the human genome, and
geneticist David Suzuki of Vancouver, who hosts one of the most popular programs
on the environment, have become internationally renowned for their contributions
to science. Norman Kwong, of Calgary, won the Order of Canada for his
contribution to football, along with entry into three sports halls of fame.
Financially, Asians have influenced the Canadian business world with their
innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
Honourable senators, while the effect of this motion is largely symbolic, I
believe that such symbols are necessary to indicate that our federal government
remains committed to encouraging Canada's multicultural communities, both in
policy and in practice.
As in British Columbia and the United States, where Asian Heritage Month has
long been recognized, this motion would serve as a rallying point around which
events can be organized across the country. Even more important, it would
publicly acknowledge the contributions of Asian Canadians to the economic,
social and cultural development of Canada as a nation.
Honourable senators, I believe it is time we recognized Asian Heritage Month.
I hope you will join me in supporting this motion.
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, I am proud to second Senator
Poy's motion that May be recognized as Asian Heritage Month.
The Hon. the Speaker: Before Senator Carney proceeds further, I must
note that it is six o'clock. Honourable senators, is there agreement not to see
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Carney: Honourable senators, I will give a shortened version
of my speech since Senator Poy and I cover much the same ground. I thank
honourable senators for allowing me to put these points on the record.
B.C. is the only province to have officially designated May as Asian Heritage
Month. Vancouver joins over 30 other North American cities in celebrating May as
Asian Heritage Month. About 34 per cent of our population in the greater
Vancouver area is of Asian descent.
During this month, Chinese, Filipino, First Nations, Hawaiian, Indian,
Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Vietnamese artists and performers have been
showcasing the diversity of Asian arts and culture in Vancouver, with over 120
events staged by 40 diverse groups, companies, ensembles and organizations on
the theme of common crossing cultures.
This year's celebration has been focusing on cross-cultural activity. Just as
in times past the Chinese planted rice in Mexico and the Hawaiians worked with
First Nations people in little-known relationships dating back 200 years, Asian
Heritage Month will focus on the cross-cultural dimensions of contemporary work.
Some of the activities include tea-tasting, martial arts, Chinese calligraphy
and painting, documents, theatre, music, dance and the spoken word.
Senator Poy has talked about some of the history of Asian Canadians in B.C.
The first Asian Canadians in B.C., of course, were the Chinese who arrived in
Hon. Peter A. Stollery: On a point of order, honourable senators, it
is the hour of six o'clock.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Stollery is quite right. He was perhaps
distracted when I asked if the house wished not to see the clock and it was
unanimously agreed that we would not.
Senator Stollery: I am seeing the clock, honourable senators.
The Hon. the Speaker: That is an interesting point, but I would rule
that the house has given unanimous leave to proceed. That has the effect of a
rule of the Senate and, accordingly, we are in order to proceed without seeing
the clock. That leave was granted unconditionally earlier.
Senator Carney: I referred to the fact that the Asian-Canadians came
in the middle of the 1800s to British Columbia: first, the Chinese with the Gold
Rush and then the Japanese in about the 1870s, and the South Asians early in the
20th century. Senator Poy has covered some of their contributions.
I want to make clear to my colleagues that when we talk about Asian Heritage
Month, we are talking about the present-day face of Vancouver. I made note of
some of the Asian-Canadian presence in the present cityscape: There are Asian
languages on our college campuses; there are Asian-Canadian faces in banks and
stores; there is Asian signage on street corners and in the airports; there are
the crowds at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden, the only authentic Ming garden outside
of China and the only one built in the last 400 years; there are Buddhist
temples in Delta and Indo-Canadian temples in Surrey. We have the shopping
centres in Richmond and Japan Town and the popular dragon boat races. There is
the SUCCESS social agency that does so much work with immigrants.
The Asian-Canadian presence is very much a part of our existence in
Vancouver. The future of Canada and Vancouver will reflect the vibrancy, the
energy and the intellectual stimulation of many of our Asian Canadians. While
this may be Asian Heritage Month, I like to think that every day is Asian
Heritage Day in Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
On motion of Senator Finestone, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, May 30, 2001, at 1:30 p.m.