Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 63
Thursday, October 25, 2001
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker
Thursday, October 25, 2001
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to
Senators' Statements, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in our
gallery of some very special guests. They are the family and friends of our
former colleague the late Senator James Gladstone, who was remembered today at a
commemoration ceremony and unveiling of a bust in the Senate foyer. The bust
will remain in the Senate precinct as a reminder of his important contributions.
The Honourable Senator Gladstone was the first Aboriginal to sit in the
Senate and his contribution to his people and to Canadian politics was as
significant as it was unprecedented. Through his zeal and conviction, through
his gentle persuasion, he built bridges reaching across the cultural divide
between native and non-native people and securing the rightful place of native
issues to the centre stage of national politics.
All Canadians owe a debt to James Gladstone. Thanks to him, our country
evolved, became more tolerant, free and enlightened. He has left a heritage to
all Canadians and his memory is a great source of pride and inspiration to us
To the friends and family of Senator James Gladstone, welcome to our chamber.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, today some 80 people from
across the country are visiting offices all over Parliament Hill. They are here
with the Movement for Canadian Literacy and la Féderation canadienne pour
l'alphabétisation en français, which are holding their annual Literacy Action
Day. They are meeting 80 to 100 members of the House of Commons and the Senate,
for which I thank everyone. They are bringing a message from the grassroots of
this nation that over 40 per cent of Canada's adult citizens have difficulty,
every day of their lives, reading, writing and communicating the routine things
that everyone in this chamber takes for granted. Literacy is the foundation of
everything we do in this country in terms of being able to prosper and to take
advantage of the opportunities that are before us in the 21st century. I thank
everyone who has taken an interest, and I urge all honourable senators to join
this army of volunteers across the country to help make Canadians understand
Honourable senators, as a final word, we honoured today a hero of the Senate,
the late Honourable Senator James Gladstone. One of the messages that he brought
to this chamber in his maiden speech was, in his words, "Education is at the
foundation of everything we do."
The legacy that Senator Gladstone leaves makes it possible for people across
this nation to learn, to become educated, and to join with vigour and affection
in what they believe to be a very beautiful nation.
I salute Senator Gladstone, who represented the southwestern Alberta region
and whom I had the privilege of following into this chamber. He was an
extraordinary symbol for his people. He believed, as do many honourable
senators, that life-long learning is what makes Canada work.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I was very pleased to attend the ceremony this morning honouring our
late colleague Senator Gladstone.
I hope that I can be allowed to pay tribute at the same time to the gentleman
who named Senator Gladstone to the Senate, the late Right Honourable John
Diefenbaker. John Diefenbaker was one of the most controversial Canadian
politicians the last century saw. However, he had some basic values that
continue to inspire Canadians. One of those values was his belief in the
equality of all in this nation. John Diefenbaker not only named James Gladstone
to this place, but also gave native people the right to vote. He is the one who
brought in the Bill of Rights. These are extraordinary testimonials and tributes
to the man. I should like to think this morning's event was also in memory of a
great and distinguished prime minister, John Diefenbaker.
Hon. Lois M. Wilson: Honourable senators, I wish to comment briefly on
the current military action in Afghanistan. The bombing has not yet delivered
Osama bin Laden, as was promised in its goal. Indeed, continuous bombing has
obliterated innocent civilians, exacerbated the flow of refugees wanting to
escape the horror and in the short term escalated the humanitarian crisis.
The airdrops of food make great TV, according to the chief executive of CARE
International, but they often represent a failure to respond to a food crisis
International law obliges those who take armed action to ensure that
civilians have access to humanitarian aid. Cannot aid be channelled by the
United Nations through clear land corridors, to ensure safer passage?
The trucking of food is cheaper and is tried and tested, according to Oxfam,
whereas airdrops are risky, random, expensive and likely to meet only a fraction
of the need. Increasing numbers of people are deeply sceptical about the
continuation of this campaign and the havoc it is creating among civilians. Much
more attention needs to be paid to the diplomatic and humanitarian fronts in
terms of creating a robust and multilateral survival and reconstruction program
for the innocent civilians of that troubled world.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, for 10 exciting days in
July of this year, Prince Edward Island's population increased by about 10 per
cent as more than 14,000 Scouts, Venturers, Leaders and volunteers gathered at
Cabot Provincial Park for the Tenth Canadian Scout Jamboree. Many arrived by
air, others by train and bus. One group of 35 Scouts even came to the Island
from Nova Scotia on a lobster boat.
Although primarily a Canadian jamboree, with youth participating from every
province and territory, Scouts from around the world were also in attendance.
There was a large contingent from the United States as well as Scouts from
Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica.
Prince Edward Island is always an interesting place during the summertime,
with tens of thousands of tourists visiting our province every year. The Scout
Jamboree represented something very special, bringing together as it did so many
youth in a celebration of friendship and community.
The Scouts had fun kayaking in the ocean, taking part in other outdoor
adventures, trading badges, discovering the Island's many historical and
cultural attractions, and sharing music and stories around the proverbial
The jamboree also had special distinguished visitors, including Premier Pat
Binns, Canadian Astronaut Marc Garneau, as well as Governor General Adrienne
Clarkson, who officially closed the event in her role as Chief Scout.
Honourable senators, how often do we proclaim that our youth are the leaders
of tomorrow and that our children are our future? I believe the world is a
better place when young men and women come together as they did this summer in
Prince Edward Island.
I should like to congratulate all those involved, especially the Chairperson
of the Jamboree Planning Committee, Mr. Lorne Moase; the National Scout
Commissioner and Camp Chief, Mr. Sam Ellsworth; and Robert and Joyce Bryanton,
on whose family farm this grand event took place.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, yesterday the CEO of
Radio-Canada/CBC announced that the corporation had filed 18 applications with
the CRTC for licences to expand and accelerate the extension of la Chaîne
culturelle to all Canadian provinces by 2002.
This initiative will make it possible to satisfy the needs expressed on so
many occasions by French-language communities throughout the country as yet
unable to access this cultural programming.
Radio-Canada is thus accelerating the implementation of commitments made to
the CRTC at the time its licences were renewed in January 2000. What is more,
these applications reflect the council's recommendations in February 2001, after
broad public consultations across the country on French-language broadcasting
services to minority communities.
Honourable senators will recall that this matter has been often raised here
in this chamber. I brought forward a motion — Motion No. 65 — calling upon the
Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications to examine and report
upon the measures that should be taken to encourage and facilitate provision of
and access to the widest possible range of French- language broadcasting
services in francophone minority communities across Canada. This is a step in
the right direction.
I am pleased with this good news and take this opportunity to congratulate
Radio-Canada on it. According to their press release:
If the project filed by Radio-Canada obtains CRTC approval, la Chaîne
culturelle would be available in all Canadian provinces before the end of 2002.
It would then service over 90 percent of the country's francophones, as well as
other Canadians with an interest in the francophone culture.
My congratulations to the corporation on this initiative.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, according to the
international adult literacy survey, "Literacy Skills for the Knowledge
Society," about 22 per cent of adult Canadians fall into the lowest level of
literacy category. A further 26 per cent are at level 2, which means that they
can read, but can only handle simple text that is clearly laid out and in a
As a former teacher, I know we have made great strides through education and
literacy programs over the years. I am inspired by the dedication and vigour
with which people such as Senator Fairbairn promote literacy issues. Their
efforts are recognized and appreciated but, clearly, as the statistics reveal,
much more needs to be done, and I am sure that the honourable senator will
According to a recent report by the Canadian Council on Social Development,
compared with other countries Canada has the third largest proportion of youth
with poor literacy skills, at a level of 10 per cent. We are well aware of the
link between low literacy and a number of social and economic problems,
including unemployment, poverty and crime. Various provincial studies have also
shown that low literacy increases safety risks in the workplace, the community
and at home. Low literacy levels also reduce the efficiency of our country by
limiting opportunities, blocking access to resources and burdening our services
such as the health care system.
It is well documented that individuals with lower literacy rates have poorer
health, are often unaware of appropriate health services, and make more visits
to health care providers and hospital admission rooms.
In fact, the health problems are even more basic than that. When the Ontario
Public Health Association and Frontier College conducted a study back in 1990,
they found that there was a significant level of failure to comply with medical
directions and administering infant formula. Their data revealed that nearly
half of respondents had incorrectly used over-the-counter and prescription
medications as a result of literacy problems. This should not surprise us. The
reality for the 22 per cent of adult Canadians who have low-level literacy
skills is that they simply are unable to look at a medicine label and determine
the correct amount of medicine to give to a child.
The last Speech from the Throne made a commitment to work with stakeholders
to develop a national literacy initiative. This is crucial. Today, being
Literacy Action Day on Parliament Hill, we must vow to put literacy on the
political agenda and make literacy a national priority.
Hon. Sheila Finestone: Honourable senators, this month Canada proudly
celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Multiculturalism Act. Entitled
"Multiculturalism within a Bilingual Framework," this legislative milestone
was announced by former Prime Minister Trudeau to respond to our multi- faceted
and interconnected Canadian society.
Let us ask ourselves: What is the true meaning of Canadian multiculturalism?
I believe the answer can be found in these three major points.
First, we need to bear in mind that the policy was established to harmonize
ethnic and linguistic elements existing in our society and create equality among
Second, the liberalization of Canada's immigration policy in the 1960s opened
the opportunity for recognition of multiculturalism in Canada. The Immigration
Act of 1967 established a new immigration system and brought to fruition a
blending of race, national origin, religion and culture, constituting the very
fabric of our society. Third, multiculturalism was also conceived as the
national symbol fulfilling the aspirations of a distinctive Canadian identity.
By adopting multiculturalism as integral to our collective identity, a
distinctive Canadian identity was then established.
In other words, founded on a long tradition of human rights legislation, the
Multiculturalism Act values and respects Canada's rich and diverse heritage,
including our Aboriginal people, French and English, while at the same time
recognizing diversity as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society.
In 1971, Canada became the first country in the world to adopt a
multiculturalism policy. We stand proudly behind it to this day. Our 30-year
anniversary celebration demonstrates our accomplishments in many ways. We have
achieved equity in the economic, social, political and cultural life of our
country. We have actively developed a more inclusive society based on the
respect of full citizens' participation. We have shown that Canadian cultural
pluralism has preserved and enhanced ancestral, ethnic and cultural traditions
within the larger vision of a true Canadian society.
Canadian multiculturalism remains consistent with the well- founded concept
that ethnic identities, traditions and practices are incorporated in the
mainstream Canadian culture by replacing traditional, historic immigrant
assimilation with active and functional social integration.
Honourable senators, in modern liberalism our citizens are not abstract
individuals but remain as social beings. What is important for the government is
to provide the social conditions under which its people can choose their
essential good. We must always remain cognizant that justice is the primary
value of a political society and that beyond the moral and philosophical idea,
justice must be applicable to the societal realm.
The Multiculturalism Act, as a true expression of political and social
justice, has successfully replaced discriminatory practices with equal status
relationships in an inclusivist public domain.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Finestone, I am sorry, but your alotted
time has expired, as has the time for Senators' Statements.
Hon. E. Leo Kolber, Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce, presented the following report:
Thursday, October 25, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce has the honour
to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-31, An Act to implement
agreements, conventions and protocols concluded between Canada and Slovenia,
Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Senegal, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and
Germany for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal
evasion with respect to taxes on income has, in obedience to the Order of
Reference of Wednesday, October 17, 2001, examined the said Bill and now
reports the same without amendment.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the third time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I give notice that on Tuesday, October 30, 2001, I will move the following
WHEREAS section 43 of the Constitution Act, 1982 provides that an amendment
to the Constitution of Canada may be made by proclamation issued by the
Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada where so authorized by
resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons and of the legislative assembly
of each province to which the amendment applies;
NOW THEREFORE the Senate resolves that an amendment to the Constitution of
Canada be authorized to be made by proclamation issued by her Excellency the
Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada in accordance with the
(For text of Schedule, see Order Paper, October 30, 2001, p. 4.)
Hon. Sheila Finestone: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian group of the
Inter-Parliamentary Union that represented Canada at the one hundred fifth
inter-parliamentary conference held in Havana, Cuba, from March 28 to April 7,
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, is the government
proposing to make Tommy Thompson, Health and Human Services Secretary in the
United States, an honorary Canadian citizen given that he has been able to
negotiate the price of 95 cents per Cipro pill? As a result of that negotiation,
our falling star in the health department has been able to have his officials
get a price of not $2.50, which Mr. Rock had originally negotiated, but
something approximating the 95 cents per pill that Mr. Thompson was able to
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I can tell the
honourable senator that honorary citizenship will not be granted, but it
certainly proves once and for all that if one makes a bulk purchase, one
frequently gets a better price. Since the Americans ordered 100 million pills, I
think that is the reason they got the better deal, and we also were able to back
in on that deal.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, there is no doubt that Apotex
made some bulk donations to the Liberal Party of Canada. We could talk about
that. I do not know if I have the time to read all the donations, so I will do
Has Cipro been approved by the Department of Health for the treatment of
anthrax in Canada?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
that question was asked yesterday by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in
the Senate, and I will get the information for him as quickly as I possibly can.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, has the Department of Health in
Canada approved the generic drug Cipro for the company called Apotex?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the generic drug Cipro, which
is a copy — that is what a generic drug is — would obviously result in the same
reply as the original response.
Senator Tkachuk: Will it be the practice of the Canadian government to
purchase drugs from the manufacturer, the patent holder, and also the generic
drug company that have not been approved by the Department of Health?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, it is interesting that the
Conservative Minister of Health for the Province of Ontario seems to have made
that decision. The reality is that we are in a potential emergency situation.
The potential is that anthrax could be spread to Canadian citizens. I happen to
entirely support the Honourable Allan Rock in his desire to put the health of
Canadians before anything else.
Senator Tkachuk: Has there been a case of anthrax in Canada?
Senator Carstairs: No, there have not been any cases of anthrax,
either as a result of heightened interest following September 11 or previously.
To be fair, it is my understanding that only 18 cases of anthrax have ever
been diagnosed. That is why the situation has never been designated an
emergency. However, we have cause for concern, and clearly the Americans, who
purchased 100 million pills, share that concern.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Along the same
line, honourable senators, we all agree with the Minister of Health that his
main responsibility is the security of the health of the nation. We support him
in that, but we expect him to do it legally.
Why, if there is a sense of near-emergency, which means there is a sense of
emergency, which means there is an emergency, did he not simply invoke section
19 of the Patent Act? This would have legalized everything he has done and would
have avoided the embarrassment caused not only to the government but to Canada,
which is now seen across the world as not respecting the international
obligations it ratified only a few months ago under the amendments to the Patent
Act. Why did he not just follow the law?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the answer is quite clear. He put safety first.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, how can his concern for
safety be supported by the fact that he ordered an antibiotic that has yet to be
approved by Health Canada for whatever purpose?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, we are not dealing with a
particular infection that gives one the luxury of two or three or four weeks to
put everything in place. We are dealing with an infection that can potentially
kill in a matter of days. I think the Minister of Health did the right thing.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, notwithstanding that
answer, one is prompted to wonder whether we are followers or leaders.
My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I
would have asked it yesterday had it not been for the pressing nature of the
questions put forward then.
With respect to the degree of seriousness on the part of the government over
the war on terror, if the government is as serious as it suggests, may I ask why
it is then prepared to sacrifice Canadian rights? Why is it in the process of
eliminating the only real NBCW decontamination force in the army, namely, the
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
first, my honourable friend began with a preamble that talked about followers or
leaders. Allan Rock is a leader, and I am quite prepared to support that kind of
In terms of the war on terror, Senator Forrestall asked the question
yesterday. He seems to feel that he has indications that this force is being
dismantled. I have no indication of that. I have told him that I will seek that
information, and, as with every other question he asks, I will get back to him
as quickly as possible.
Senator Forrestall: At some point it becomes a little appalling to be
ahead of you, madam.
Senator Robichaud: Come on.
Senator Forrestall: You come on.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Can the minister tell us why the mortar
platoons are being eliminated from infantry battalions? Why is the government
now planning on eliminating three battalions of infantry and one brigade by the
year 2006 just when we are on the verge of having to find soldiers, men and
women, to complete our responsibilities and obligations already undertaken?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as my honourable friend knows, shifts are made on a regular basis within the
services in order to utilize our Armed Forces to the best degree possible. As to
his specific questions about the battalions, I will forward them to the Minister
of Defence and return with a reply to the honourable senator.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I do not know who is
forwarding these questions. That is the second or third time I have asked that
While the minister is referring questions, what is the name of the frigate
that will be dispatched on NATO duty to replace the HMCS Halifax? The
seven Cormorants sitting on the tarmac in Italy have fully trained crews. The
planes have been fully tested. Why are they not home here in Canada? Indeed, why
are they not en route to the Arabian Sea?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
to start with the last question, they are not on their way to the Arabian Sea
because, as the senator well knows, they have been fitted for search and rescue
missions. They have not been fitted for the kind of military operations that the
Sea Kings can conduct at this time.
As to the sixth ship, I have informed the Senate on a number of occasions
that we do not know what that next ship will be because Canada and its partners
have not yet determined what type of ship is needed.
As to his point about asking questions, if the honourable senator looks at
his records, he will know that questions asked in this chamber are answered
Senator Forrestall: I have asked the most unanswered series of
questions by any mortal in this Parliament in the last 150 years.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, let me ask the leader,
because she has said something that prompts me to ask once again in a different
way: Are all of our Sea Kings now deployed in the five ships tasked to the war
on terrorism? Are they operational? Do they have the capacity to defend even
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Senator Forrestall may not like the answers he gets, but there is no guarantee
in parliamentary practice that you will always like the answer you get.
In terms of the Sea Kings that are on their way now to the Arabian Sea, there
are, I understand, two attached to the supply ships and destroyer and one each
attached to the frigates. They are in working order.
The Hon. the Speaker announced that Bill S-23, to amend the Customs
Act and make related amendments to other Acts, had been received from the House
of Commons along with a message to the effect that it had passed the bill
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following
communication had been received:
October 25, 2001
I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Louise Arbour, Puisne
Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in her capacity as Deputy Governor
General, will proceed to the Senate Chamber today, the 25th day of October,
2001, at 3:30 p.m., for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to certain bills
Deputy Secretary Policy, Program and Protocol
The Speaker of the Senate
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cordy, seconded by
the Honourable Senator LaPierre, for the third reading of Bill C-11,
respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to
persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, thank you for the
opportunity to once again participate in this debate. I must confess at the
outset that I have real problems with this bill. My concerns range from the
unreasonable demands of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that we pass
this bill immediately, to the government's claim that even after the tragic
events of September 11 no changes need be made to the bill to reflect the
reality of our changed world.
I am also concerned about the government's rhetoric about getting tougher on
refugees and immigration abuses and tightening our border with the United
States. Both are longstanding problems we have been told exist for years now but
which the government has so far not seen fit to address in any serious fashion.
The extensive use of regulations should give all parliamentarians, indeed all
Canadians, cause for great concern. The same goes for the retroactivity
provisions in this bill.
I should note as well that the legal community has expressed grave
reservations about the constitutionality of some of the clauses. Many others
have questions and concerns related to the qualifications, abilities, competency
and accountability of both immigration consultants and members of the
Immigration and Refugee Board.
Honourable senators, I have never participated in the study of a bill that
has been as universally condemned by nearly all the witnesses who appeared
before the committee. This bill represents a milestone of some sort in this
To start with, we were told that there was great urgency to pass this bill.
The Minister of Immigration proclaimed far and wide that her government needed
to have it passed with a minimum of debate. She claimed the bill could help in
the great war against terrorism being prosecuted under the leadership of the
United States and only reluctantly, at least until recently, being supported by
We were originally given three days to study this bill — three days to read,
digest, listen, question, debate, ponder and decide on a major piece of
legislation that, by the minister's own words, took a fair number of years to
research and draft. In three days we were expected to digest this legislation
that will have a major impact on the lives of Canadians.
Fortunately, we on this side were not alone in not believing the minister's
claims, nor were we alone in wanting to resist demands that the Senate
rubber-stamp this bill. Witnesses before the committee from a wide variety of
backgrounds and interests supported our contention that the bill needed to be
properly debated. They dismissed the minister's claim and accused her of
everything from smoke-and-mirror tactics and giving Canadians a false sense of
security to bogusly attempting to appear as if she was doing something new and
vital when in fact the opposite is unfortunately the case.
Also, officials from the department, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the
Canadian Bar Association and elsewhere informed us, again contrary to the
minister's original claims, that this bill will not see the light of day until,
at the earliest, next spring and most likely next summer. We understand that
this is because the regulations will not be ready until the spring.
Let me quote Mr. Jack Manion, former Secretary of the Treasury Board and
former Clerk of the Privy Council, as he made his presentation before the
committee on October 2:
I am a little horrified when I hear how long it will take for the
regulations to be prepared to go with this bill. I cannot believe that, in the
time the government has spent preparing this bill, regulations have not been
Honourable senators, pretty well universal condemnation is what we heard in
the committee. The recurring theme to which witness after witness returned was
simple, as simple as it was clear, resources. That was the word: resources. The
people responsible for running our refugee and immigration system have been
starved by the indiscriminate cuts to their budgets, cuts based — I can only
assume from what I have heard — on no clear rationale aside from government
cutting where it thought it could get away with it.
These people told us they simply do not have the tools to do the jobs they
have been asked to do. I will quote again from the proceedings, a comment made
by David Griffen of the Canadian Police Association:
How serious is Canada, as a nation, about defending its borders
Police officers are growing increasingly wary of political testimonials
about Canada's enforcement commitments — statements that are not backed by
meaningful resources and support.
It is as simple as that. It has nothing to do with power and authority,
nothing at all. The authority and the power to accomplish what the minister
wants already exists; we were told over and over again.
The minister admitted as much herself when she informed us through the media
that she was going to implement certain portions of the bill whether it was
passed or not because the authority to do so already existed in current
legislation. The problem, honourable senators, is clearly the lack of resources.
Witness after witness stressed the debilitating effect this had on the
ability of the immigration and refugee system to function effectively. They said
they need more people, improved technology, new equipment and better training.
They do not need, they said, new laws.
Representatives of the Customs Union told us point blank they did not have
the training to handle anthrax and other hazardous materials.
This is what he had to say:
I believe there was a document issued last week. It was discussed over the
weekend by our health and safety committee....Basically there is some training
at our college. It is very limited and not specific to anthrax or the current
set of circumstances.
Honourable senators, I suggest that everyone in this chamber must feel a
sense of discomfort with that answer. To ask our front-line workers, those most
at risk, to protect us from bioterrorist acts without full and extensive
training is shameful. As a matter of fact, it may be described as criminal. We
ask them to put their health on the line, and perhaps the health of their
families as well, and in return we offer them a memo. What type of training and
protection are we giving them? The answer, honourable senators, is self-evident.
The serious shortage of resources available to people to whom we entrust the
front lines of our immigration and refugee system must, and I stress "must,"
The lack of appropriate resources was also given as the reason, at least in
part, for the growing refugee backlog in our country. The number of unresolved
cases presently stands at some 34,000. In addition, 27,000 more people have been
ordered deported and remain unaccounted for.
Senator Oliver: Are they in Canada?
Senator Di Nino: We do not know. They have simply disappeared. Some
people say some of them have gone to the United States. Maybe some have gone
back home. Most of them are likely in hiding. Who knows? We have no way of
Honourable senators, statistics like this should shock and dismay all
Canadians, all the more so when we realize that of the 34,000 refugee claims I
mentioned a moment ago, an estimated 15 per cent have abandoned their claim and
have also decamped for parts unknown. We do not know where they are.
Senator Oliver: That is frightening.
Senator Di Nino: Surely there is a need, at the very least, for a
system of exit controls to identify those who willingly leave the country.
Honourable senators, witnesses before the committee also offered some
compelling testimony about the lack of regulatory supervision of what are known
as immigration consultants. These people can charge whatever the market will
bear for their services, often with unhappy results. I realize that regulatory
regimes are a provincial jurisdiction. However, the federal government does have
some obligation to ensure that those coming to this country, those we invite and
embrace, are not preyed upon by members of what I understand is a very venal and
mercenary business. Although this issue would be best addressed in concert with
the provinces, the federal government has the statutory powers to regulate
immigration consultants. It should seriously consider doing so if an agreement
with the provinces cannot be reached. That would go a long way towards
eliminating those unscrupulous consultants who taint the whole system.
People's character is also in issue when we deal with those appointed to the
Immigration and Refugee Board. This is not a boondoggle. I realize that
criticism of patronage appointments is a perennial issue, but I realize as well
that where there is smoke, there is sometimes fire. There is a perception among
some in the immigration and refugee community that members of the IRB are
sometimes not independent, not impartial, or maybe not as qualified as they
might possibly be. As I said, there is no way around this issue when people are
appointed to such positions, but the very longevity or continuousness of the
criticism from a variety of concerns should give us reason to pause. Perhaps the
easiest way around the issue is for the government to simply have the courage to
change the appointment process. We have all suggested this in the past few
years. By making IRB qualifications professional rather than political, I think
we would improve the system and make its work more acceptable.
Honourable senators, I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks that the
excessive use of regulation should be a cause of concern to us all. This issue
was raised by a number of witnesses who were unhappy with the fact that many of
the most important parts of this bill are contained in the regulations that
accompany it. These regulations are not to be debated as part of this bill,
which I believe is wrong, nor will we as parliamentarians have any say over
their implementation, review or revision. This is nothing new. Over the past
number of years, it seems to me Parliament has increasingly abdicated its
legislative responsibilities to ministerial staff, and particularly the
bureaucracy. I think we owe it to ourselves to be more vigilant in claiming and
retaining our prerogatives and responsibilities in the face of this increasing
encroachment, because if we do not, we are surely sowing the seeds of our own
continued, or perhaps a better word is growing, irrelevance in the process of
To give an example, in the explanation of proposed regulations distributed to
committee members, there is a suggested provision to reduce the guarantee of
sponsorship responsibility for certain classes of immigrants from ten years to
three years, which means that those who sponsor people coming in will only be
responsible for them for three years in certain cases instead of ten. This is an
issue of major importance. As we have been constantly reminded, the financial
responsibility for refugee immigrants whose sponsors renege on their commitments
lies with the municipalities and provinces. Surely in our role as regional
representatives we should at least be consulted about such issues.
Honourable senators, many witnesses before the committee, particularly the
Canadian Bar Association and representatives of the legal community, as well as
constitutional experts and immigration consultants, expressed grave concerns
about the provisions in this bill that deny permanent residents the right to
appeal deportation orders resulting from being convicted of a crime for which a
sentence of two years or more has been imposed. There is universal agreement
that this will be challenged in the courts and that the challenges will likely
succeed. Some witnesses went as far as to express the view that judges could be
swayed to sentence offenders likely to be deported to two years less a day in
order to save them from becoming subject to a deportation. As well, we heard
concerns raised to the effect that a permanent resident who may have been in
this country since infancy or childhood could, under the provisions of this
bill, be forced to return to their country of origin even if they had not been
there since the time of their immigration.
Senator Oliver: The bill should be amended, if that is the case.
Senator Di Nino: I agree. This is not a just system.
Honourable senators, the major focus of our discussions in committee was
security and refugees, and probably, under the circumstances, rightly so, but I
would say that a disproportionate amount of time was spent on these areas to the
detriment of an issue that I believe is extremely important, and that is the
economic impact the events of September 11 might have should the U.S. decide to
tighten its border controls. Whatever we think of the Americans and America, it
is imperative to us that they be convinced that Canada is doing its part in
keeping out terrorists, criminals and other undesirables. Unfortunately, the
government refuses to look at this bill as a golden opportunity to address this
important issue, and it is important.
The United States has, for the first time, been victim of a large- scale,
violent, terrorist act. They are not, understandably, very happy. They will do
everything possible to protect their citizens. We have already had a glimpse of
what happens to commerce and tourism when Americans tighten up security at
border crossings, and now we are hearing that they insist that all non-U.S.
residents register upon entry and exit to their country. This may be an
inconvenience to tourists, but it will be disastrous to business. If such a
measure were to become permanent, coupled with other restrictions that the
Americans may impose, how long would it be before companies whose main markets
are in the U.S. consider packing up and transferring their operations south of
How many jobs would be lost and how much prosperity that comes with those
jobs would disappear? These are questions that need to be addressed but which
have not been addressed. It is me hope that our colleagues studying Bill C-36
will take the time to consider this issue and look for ways of addressing it in
a meaningful manner.
Honourable senators, the observations submitted to the Senate with respect to
this bill indicate clearly that the committee unanimously shares the view that
this bill needs much attention. I hope the minister avails herself of the
combined wisdom contained in these observations. I might add to these
observations the suggestion that the Standing Senate Committee on National
Finance may see fit to examine the Estimates of the Ministry of Immigration,
with an eye to assessing the resources available to people there and what might
be needed to enable them to discharge their responsibilities effectively.
Honourable senators, before I conclude my remarks I should like once again to
bring to your attention the issue raised by this bill, an issue that is in my
personal view critical to the Senate. It relates to our role individually and
collectively. The minister and her government came to us a short time ago, in a
manner that was cavalier to say the least, and expected, indeed demanded, that
we sit on our thumbs and pass this bill. I cannot overstate how strongly I
object to that type of action by any government. We all must be attentive,
indeed ferocious if need be, in rebuffing such impingements on our institution,
our prerogatives, our duties and our rights. We in the Senate have a legal and
constitutional role to play in the legislative process. We play a critical part,
despite what the Prime Minister may think to the contrary, in the study and
airing of controversial issues in the formation of public policy. Each and every
time we allow the House of Commons, the Prime Minister or his advisors to
impinge on our rights and our prerogatives, we diminish ourselves as an
Honourable senators, I conclude by repeating that I am not happy with this
bill. The sheer number of critics, both inside and outside the committee, shows
that I am not alone. I am unhappy with the actions and the rhetoric of the
minister and her government. We have heard abundant evidence that the bill would
not accomplish what it sets out to do, namely, to improve the functioning and
efficiency of our immigration and refugee system.
The real problem identified by all the witnesses is the serious lack of
resources. This government has bankrupted the immigration and refugee system —
the people charged with administration and enforcement. These people desperately
need equipment, training, access to technology, and so on. Bill C-11 does not
provide any of that. It also fails to take into account the events of September
11. This is particularly true with regard to issues related to border controls.
September 11 was a wake-up call. Our immigration and refugee system needs to be
modernized. It needs to reflect new realities, and it needs the infusion of
massive resources to accomplish this.
Honourable senators, this bill does none of these things.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I have a question of
clarification for Senator Di Nino.
The committee was granted leave by the Senate to sit while the Senate was
sitting so that we could, indeed, sit for long hours, and we are thankful to the
Senate for giving us that leave. The honourable senator made mention of the fact
that the committee met with witnesses on three days. In fact, we met last week
on three days. We also met this past Monday, as you recall, to hear witnesses,
and on Tuesday we did clause-by-clause study. Therefore, we met with witnesses
on four days. On the fifth day, we did clause-by-clause study.
Would the Honourable Senator Di Nino agree with that?
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, it is on the record. I am not
sure I understand the point of the honourable senator's question. In response to
my colleague, what I said is that when we were presented with this bill we were
given three days, an unreasonable length of time. I also said, as I said
yesterday in my remarks, that thanks to the leadership in the Senate we were
able to extend the time, because we defended the role of the Senate to say to
the minister, "No, that is not enough time; we will take whatever time we need."
Senator Cordy: Honourable senators, I wish to thank Senator Di Nino
for his clarification that indeed the committee did meet for more than three
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I have a few questions
for Senator Di Nino. Reading the report of the committee of which the honourable
senator is a member, a rather long portion of it talks about the lack of a
definition for the word "terrorism." I first want to understand who told the
honourable senator that it was not more important or less important to have the
definition in the legislation or in the regulations.
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, it was not really a question
that the witnesses answered. It was a comment and a question, if my memory
serves me correctly, made by Senator Kirby to the officials of the department
and the minister.
Senator Nolin: In the report of the committee, when it states that
various witnesses expressed concern about the bill's lack of definition of
terrorism and what it means to be a member of a terrorist organization, did the
"various witnesses" suggest an amendment to the bill?
Senator Di Nino: I think it is fair to say, honourable senators, that
the majority of the witnesses, particularly those with an understanding of the
issues, such as the previous deputy minister, the previous clerk of the Privy
Council, people in the immigration and refugee system, all suggested that there
should be some serious amendments. As a matter of fact, Mr. Manion, the previous
clerk of the Privy Council — again, I am going by memory, and we should not
totally trust memory — said that the bill is so bad that it should be scrapped.
Senator Nolin: Honourable senators, I am still dealing with the
definition of terrorism, and I refer to a paragraph of the report that deals
with that lack of definition. I will read it to ensure that we understand.
The Committee recognizes the importance of defining the term "terrorism,"
and supports the idea of including such a definition in legislation or in
regulation. The Committee wishes to stress, however, that the same definition
of "terrorism" should be used in all relevant Canadian legislation. The
Committee highlights the definition of "terrorist activity" in clause 4 of
Bill C-36, the Anti- terrorism Act, which is currently before the House of
Commons. A similar definition — adapted to the context of Bill C-11 — should
be considered for the regulations that would apply to Bill C-11.
Who proposed that the committee include such a definition that is in Bill
C-36 and that it should be included in the regulations?
Senator Di Nino: There were a number of times during the proceedings —
and any one of my colleagues can jump in if I am not presenting this fairly —
where this was discussed. I would say that happened several times at least.
In questioning by all members of the committee, we were faced with the
dilemma of how to deal with a bill that talks about an issue without there being
a definition of that issue. It was one of those items that kept recurring
throughout the whole of the proceedings.
Certainly, some of the legal experts suggested that. I believe that some of
those, including Messrs. Bissett and Manion, dealt with that in questioning. I
stand to be corrected in this regard, but a number of people felt sufficient
concern about this matter. Obviously, there cannot be two definitions of an
issue in two different bills, creating what may be confusion in the
administration of the law.
I trust that answers appropriately the question of the honourable senator.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, yesterday morning at the hearing of the Special Senate Committee on
the Subject-Matter of Bill C-36, Mr. David Matas, a well-known Canadian refugee
and immigration lawyer, made the explicit recommendation that Bill C-11 be
amended to include the definition of terrorist activities found in Bill C-36.
Does the honourable senator agree with that?
Senator Di Nino: First, I should like to inform honourable senators
that Mr. Matas also appeared before our committee. He has appeared before
different committees of the Senate on previous occasions. Mr. Matas is a
well-respected Canadian with a thorough knowledge and a great interest in this
In answer to the question, not only do I say, yes, but I think the bill has
to be amended in that way.
Senator Nolin: Was it proposed that your committee await adopting Bill
C-11 until Bill C-36 is adopted?
Senator Di Nino: Yes. Committee members discussed that issue a number
of times among ourselves. With all due respect, senators on the other side did
not want to postpone the bill. There was an agreement among us that we would not
look at amendments during the committee proceedings. However, that does not mean
that we may not do so before this bill goes to third reading.
Senator Nolin: Was the minister asked if she recognizes that her bill
needs a little improvement? If so, would she accept amendments to it?
Senator Di Nino: We did ask the minister that question. She replied by
skating very well. My interpretation of her response is that she would not be
prepared to accept any amendments.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I rise on a point of order.
I was at the committee when the minister appeared. In no way did I understand
that she would not accept amendments to the bill.
The Hon. the Speaker: I am not sure it is a point of order — please
give me a little time, honourable senators. In the meantime, I believe Senator
Kinsella wishes to speak to the point of order.
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I heard nothing from the
Honourable Deputy Leader of the Government to indicate even in a minimal fashion
that there is any point of order.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I should like to ask Senator
Di Nino whether he recalls the committee considering the various recommendations
made in the three reports of special Senate committees on terrorism and security
matters, generally. The honourable senator may recall that the special
committees were quite explicit in some of their analysis and recommendations
concerning refugee determination.
Also, on the question of the definition of a security risk, the committees
pointed out in several reports that there was a material difference between the
definition of security risk in the act setting up the Canadian Security and
Intelligence Service, on the one hand, and the definition of security risk in
the Immigration Act. They seem to feel that the definition in the Immigration
Act is much softer and that the two should be brought into line.
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, the reports were alluded to
during the hearings. I am trying to recollect whether there were any specific
suggestions that some of the provisions be incorporated into the bill. I do not
On motion of Senator Roche, debate adjourned.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck moved the third reading of Bill C- 14,
respecting shipping and navigation and to amend the Shipping Conferences
Exemption Act, 1987 and other Acts.
She said: Honourable senators, it is a great privilege to begin third reading
debate on Bill C-14, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. This bill establishes the
legal framework that focuses on safety and environment, both of which remain
high priorities for Canadians.
This bill is about balance. During the consultation process leading to this
bill, the government heard from many different interests representing many
conflicting points of view. As well, both the Senate committee and the House of
Commons Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations have heard
from organizations representing a broad spectrum of opinion as to what laws
should be applied and the need to enforce them. These organizations included the
Canadian Maritime Law Association, the Canadian Shipowners Association, the
Canadian Yachting Association and the Canadian Shippers' Council.
Let me emphasize that the organizations that appeared before the Standing
Senate Committee on Transport and Communications generally support the bill.
They expressed their appreciation for the government's openness throughout the
reform process and its willingness to consult with the industry.
Despite the general support, some organizations did have concerns about
particular aspects of the bill, and these were relayed to the committee. As
mentioned in our report, the committee considers the bill to be a much-needed
update of outdated shipping legislation.
Although the committee reported the bill without amendment, we brought
forward some observations. The committee acknowledges that regulations which
will be developed over the next several years are an integral part of the
legislation. As such, it is vitally important for both the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada to continue to involve marine
stakeholders during the development of these regulations.
We have been assured by the department that the main concerns of the
committee will be addressed by these regulations. The committee's primary
concerns have to do with the safety of pleasure craft, the pollution of
waterways and the new enforcement scheme.
Under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, matters related to non- pleasure craft
will be the responsibility of Transport Canada, while those relating to pleasure
craft will be the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
A recreational vehicle that is occasionally used for commercial purposes must
meet the commercial safety standards while being used for this commercial
purpose. The committee had considerable concern about the ability of pleasure
craft owners to maintain an occasional commercial operation. However, the
committee is satisfied that its concerns have been properly noted by the
department and that the department will continue to meet with interested parties
in working out the best solution via the regulations.
In the end, the changes to the legislation will ensure safety of passengers
and of smaller commercial vessels that are not always used commercially. A
person offering a service to the general public has obligations toward safety,
and passengers must be able to have reasonable expectations of safety.
Another concern of the committee was the protection of the marine
environment. Transport Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials
have worked closely with all interested parties to develop and implement
pollution prevention provisions that are modern and consistent with other
domestic and international standards.
The penalties for non-compliance will act as deterrents and reflect those
imposed in other legislation. The bill asserts Canada's resolve to not allow
itself to be used as a dumping ground for ship-source pollutants. This
legislation clearly delineates the current roles and responsibilities of
Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans when it comes to
pollution prevention and response.
However, even if the roles are defined, the department must ensure that
adequate resources are available to monitor compliance with the bill and
The committee heard concerns from witnesses about changes to the on-water
enforcement scheme. Enforcement of Canada's shipping provisions is fundamental
to the overall safety of those who labour in the marine industry and for the
protection of the marine environment.
Regarding enforcement, the committee expressed concern that jurisdictional
issues must be made clear. The committee is satisfied that the proposed
enforcement scheme that includes administrative penalties is suitable for the
marine community. Administrative penalties are a more appropriate way of dealing
with the majority of regulatory infractions. They are more efficient and
cost-effective than the lengthy and expensive court system. The courts are
reserved for more serious offences; that is, those that result in significant
consequences or where administrative enforcement tools have been ineffective.
Honourable senators, the bill before us represents an essential milestone. It
will bring about much-needed change in Canada's marine law. It will usher in a
new era of marine safety and environmental protection. This focus, combined with
a broader range of enforcement tools, enhances Transport Canada's marine safety
In conclusion, the committee is pleased with the Canada Shipping Act, 2001,
but encourages further consultation with interested stakeholders at the
regulation stage. This is to ensure that the rules governing the day-to-day
boater, as well as the larger vessel, are completely appropriate for the
different users of our waterways. We also asked, as mentioned earlier, that the
public be educated about the changes to the legislation and better informed as
to the jurisdictional authority of those enforcement officers patrolling the
waterways. Finally, as we mention in our report, we look forward to both
departments providing the committee with a progress report on this bill in two
On motion of Senator Oliver, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion, as amended, of the Honourable Senator
Robichaud, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Finestone, P.C.:
That at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30, 2001, the Senate resolve itself
into a Committee of the Whole in order to receive officials from the
Department of National Defence and the Department of Public Works and
Government Services for a briefing on the procurement process for maritime
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Forrestall, that the motion, as amended, be
further amended by adding after "maritime helicopters" the following
"And upon completion of this briefing to adjourn to the call of the Chair
to hear further witnesses on matters pertaining to the maritime helicopter
procurement process, in particular, Colonel Lee Myrhaugen, retired; Mr.
Peter Smith, President of the Aerospace Industry Association; Staff Admiral
G. Garnett, former Vice Chief of Defence Staff; Lieutenant General George
MacDonald, Vice Chief of Defence Staff; and General L.C. Campbell, Chief of
Air Staff and such other witnesses as the Committee may decide are necessary
to determine the fairness and equity of the maritime helicopter procurement
process as developed by the Government of Canada."
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I wish to first of
all thank the Leader of the Government in the Senate for taking this
extraordinary step. It does not happen very often. When it does, I think all
senators hope that it is fruitful and not a waste of the Senate's very valuable
I thank even more the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate for his
amendment with respect to the number of witnesses that we would like to call.
Honourable senators, I am sure this was a difficult decision for the Leader
of the Government. I am sure she had somewhat of a battle on her hands,
persuading people in the Prime Minister's Office to even consider bringing forth
what we now know to be a pretty sterile motion, allowing only for relatively
low-level briefings over a couple of hours by officials on the Maritime
Helicopter Project. No doubt Mr. Jeffrey Simpson will have a new chapter for his
book on Prime Minister Chrétien, which we now know to be titled The Friendly
Honourable senators, the motion before us is far less than what was asked for
and what we expected. No ministers will be present to answer questions. No
ministers will be asked why. No senior officials of Public Works and Government
Services or the Department of National Defence will be present. Instead, we have
the Assistant Deputy Minister of National Defence, Alan Williams. I do not call
that particularly high level. He was formerly the ADM of Public Works and
Government Services Canada. There will be no military witnesses whatsoever.
In addition, we have Ms Jane Billings, the Assistant Deputy Minister of
Public Works and Government Services Canada, but again no senior officials from
that department: no minister, no deputy minister.
Honourable senators, in addition to that, we have no witnesses. Apparently,
we are not allowed to call witnesses, including Friends of Maritime Aviation. We
cannot call Colonel Myrhaugen, who could shed much light on the difficulties
that now surround the Sea King replacement program. We have no officials from
the Naval Officers Association, as they are excluded by this motion. There is no
representation from the aerospace industry. The Aerospace Association of Canada
will not be called, again, because it is excluded. The list could go on of
witnesses excluded from testifying before the Senate committee. Senators, we
must ask why.
Unfortunately, we have a motion that I suppose can best be described as a
Muppet Show. You can almost hear the young career civil servants saying, "Dance
while I twiddle your thumbs in this regard."
This is not acceptable. To me, it is somewhat offensive. Nor is it acceptable
to the families of those men and women who are currently making their way toward
the Arabian Sea and other destinations to prosecute an undertaking of some
concern to every free, caring person on the face of this globe.
This will not be an investigation of the procurement process by the Committee
of the Whole of the Senate of Canada. It will be an hour and a half or two hours
on Tuesday, October 30, probably at six o'clock when the day's work is done. The
press, who are never here in any case, will not be here under the threat of
mortal sin. We will be talking to ourselves.
I will return to Senator Lynch-Staunton's amendment, which gives us more
substance. It is to his motion that I direct my plea to all honourable senators
I do not blame the Leader of the Government, as I said. Well before this
motion was placed, I was informed that at least one Liberal was telling people
from outside of Parliament, members of one of the helicopter companies, that
these would be low-level briefings and that they would ram — I lift that word
directly — this matter through the Senate. Heaven forbid that we try to get at
the truth, try to have witnesses in front of us to tell us the sad history.
Honourable senators, do you know where the Prime Minister was when the Sea
King replacement project started? He was a member of the Trudeau government in
1978, 23 years ago.
Let me give honourable senators one example of this government's fear of the
Sea King replacement project. In February or March of this year, five Cormorant
EH-101 search and rescue helicopters sat on the tarmac in Italy waiting for this
government to take delivery. Crews were trained while these machines sat idly
by, again waiting for Canada to take delivery. Two, we learn, were recently
delivered, hopscotching across Canada, the roof of the world, in the dead of
night so as not to be spotted and are currently on the West Coast. Why did we
not welcome them? Why was there no fanfare? Usually, when we buy a multi-billion
dollar piece of equipment, it is met with brass bands and plenty of the other
kind of brass to trumpet its arrival. No such thing took place this time. The
Prime Minister can play golf when we go to war, but everyone in Ottawa was too
busy to welcome our new Cormorant EH-101 search and rescue helicopters. No one
turned out to welcome them. Indeed, no Canadians, other than a handful in the
Canadian military and one or two air traffic controllers, knew of their presence
in Canadian airspace.
We now know that seven additional Cormorants are sitting on the tarmac in
Italy, again, with fully trained crews. These planes are ready for Canada to
take delivery. I will not get into the controversy about the capacity of the Sea
Kings to hover in heat. They cannot hover in heat very long because they are
ancient and cannot sustain the weight of anti-submarine warfare, self- defensive
warfare equipment. That is part of their makeup.
The Cormorants would not have had any trouble at all. They could have been
fixed up with defensive weapons systems very quickly, not the seven months that
these planes have been sitting on the ground in Italy. We do not have them. I
suppose it could be suggested that the Prime Minister is so embarrassed about
the Sea King and the Cormorant that he does not quite know what to do about it.
One cannot help but draw the inference that government officials, in the
eight- to ten-hour days they put in at work, do not have much time for Canada's
military capabilities. Clearly, there is no evidence, certainly not from the
Minister of National Defence, that anyone cares about our service personnel or
Canadians, generally, in need of good search and rescue helicopter capability.
This is the Liberal Party. The Minister of National Defence, the parliamentary
secretary and at least one senator have ripped their retired senior officers for
speaking out. The suggestion is that the former senior serving officers gain a
conscience only when they leave the service and start to draw their pensions. I
say shame. This is contemptible.
What of democracy, honourable senators? Do military Canadians of the highest
rank, once they have left the military, pass through a period of silence that
they are obliged to keep? If they have a conscience, do they not have a right to
speak out about what concerns them? Do they not have an obligation to speak?
These men and women who know the currency of what is going on with respect to
the replacement are national heroes like General MacKenzie, General Belzile and
others. Are they not responsible Canadians? Does someone suggest they are not
caring Canadians or do not know what they are talking about? Does someone
suggest we should not listen to them? I hope not.
Thankfully, Senator Lynch-Staunton has brought forward the names of a few
witnesses who could, if called, shed some light on this troubled program.
Vice-Admiral Garnett and Lieutenant-General MacDonald are critical witnesses
that the Senate, in my judgment, must hear from. For the sake of fairness and
getting at the process that we are mired in now, they should be heard. They
control the money for the program, and they must be heard to give these hearings
any degree of credibility.
As well, out of common sense and decency, the government must hear from the
president of the aerospace industry of Canada. To not hear from him is to leave
a big gap in Canadians understanding where this process has gone astray.
Honourable senators, I ask that you think carefully over the next few minutes
about whether two relatively low-level witnesses can do justice to exposing the
problems that have plagued the replacement of the Sea King helicopters for 25
I ask honourable senators to recall the words of Edmund Burke:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do
If we as good men and women do nothing to shed light on the procurement of
helicopters to replace the Sea Kings, then we will have allowed evil to take a
bit of a step. Now more than ever we should shed some light. God knows, I am
sick and tired of non- answers. We almost had words today with the Leader of the
Government in the Senate. In my 37 years of Parliament, I have asked many
questions. Go back and look at my record in the House of Commons. I have
received many answers on the Sea King issue.
I believe the Leader of the Government is trying but I wish we knew how to
help her try harder. She is not well briefed. We are not getting the answers
that we need. That is why we are here today, watching, some of us eagerly — as
are thousands of Canadian service personnel — to see what we do in Committee of
the Whole on Tuesday, October 30.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator, I wish to advise that your 15 minutes
Senator Forrestall: That is enough.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I wish to emphasize the key part of Senator Forrestall's presentation.
If the Committee of the Whole limits itself to listening to only two
government-sponsored witnesses, we can pretty well anticipate the answers we
will get to certain questions. We can anticipate, too, that we will not get any
answers to some key questions. They are not equipped, from what I know of their
backgrounds, to explain to us the reasoning behind the decision of the
government to engage in the current unusual bidding process.
We will do our best to be objective in our questioning of the two, but I can
tell you that we have some grave doubts that we will come out of it with any
more information or clarification than we have now. That is why I ask all
honourable senators to support this amendment. There are no controversial
figures who are being proposed as additional witnesses. They are all either
currently involved in a practical manner in the helicopter issue or they have
been in the past. They are senior military officials and retired military
officials; one is responsible for the association that represents all the
potential bidders as we know them. They can bring to our deliberations some
intelligence and some explanations that the two officials who will appear here
on Tuesday cannot provide.
Our deliberations next week, if limited to two officials, one from Defence,
one from Public Works, will be restricted and, I am afraid, not very productive.
I appeal to honourable senators: If we want a complete assessment of the
helicopter bidding process, it is essential that we expand the witness list. We
can start by supporting the amendment before us.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion in amendment?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those in favour of the motion in amendment
please say "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those opposed will please say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: I believe the "nays" have it.
Senator Kinsella: On division.
Motion in amendment negatived, on division.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, we are back to the main motion. Though we have indicated our
disappointment with the process, nevertheless, we will be here on Tuesday in
Committee of the Whole.
I have a technical matter to deal with. There is an agreement to have the
Committee of the Whole televised, but we need a motion adopted by the Senate to
that effect. Therefore, I move, seconded by Senator Atkins, that:
The motion be amended by replacing the period at the end of the motion with
; and that television cameras be authorized in the chamber to broadcast
the proceedings of the Committee of the Whole with the least possible
disruption of the proceedings.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion in amendment?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion in amendment agreed to.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
On the Order:
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
Senator Robichaud, P.C.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed with
Order No. 3, I am prepared to proceed with the outstanding ruling on this item
today. However, it is rather long and may take more than the time we have left
between now and the arrival of the Governor General's representative. We can
either adjourn to the call of the Chair or proceed with the Order Paper and
revert to this. Is it your pleasure to proceed with the Order Paper and revert
after Royal Assent?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins moved the second reading of Bill S-30, to amend
the Canada Corporations Act (corporations sole).—(Honourable Senator Atkins).
He said: Honourable senators, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to
speak in support of Bill S-30, which I tabled for first reading here in the
Senate just before we rose for the summer break.
Bill S-30 is entitled "an act to amend the Canada Corporations Act" and it
specifically deals with the concept of that ancient legal entity, the
corporation sole. The purpose of this bill is to provide an administrative
method by which corporations sole can be established or changed, rather than
through the necessity of a specific bill being introduced here in the Senate and
subsequently passed by Parliament.
The intent here is to put corporations sole on the same footing as other
not-for-profit corporations, incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act.
Note, however, this bill still gives the proponents of the corporation sole the
option of proceeding by a bill introduced in the Senate if they so choose.
It is my belief that the necessity of Parliament being involved in the
administrative matters of corporations sole has long since passed. I liken this
evolution to the change in the way we dealt with divorces when they used to come
before the Senate. Eventually parliamentary involvement was no longer necessary.
Historically, the corporation sole was a device designed to solve the legal
problems associated with the holding of an ecclesiastical office and that office
actually owning land and fixed assets.
As a result of the corporation sole, the church official — rector, bishop, et
cetera — was considered to be a corporate entity and all property associated
with the church was seen to be owned by the corporation, not by the individual
church leader personally.
This facilitated the transfer of property, as it was the corporation that
owned it, not the individual clergy person. For example, on the death of the
clergy person, the property would not go to his personal successors but would
remain in the name of the diocese. At the present time, the Canada Corporations
Act does not allow for the incorporation of this type of vehicle through
administrative action, as with other not-for-profit corporations. Therefore,
Parliament must deal with each specific amendment to existing corporations sole
statutes and is the only vehicle for the incorporation of new corporations sole.
As I said at the beginning of my remarks, I believe it is time we changed the
method of incorporation.
Honourable senators, a number of states in the United States have enacted
statutes that allow corporations sole to be dealt with in an administrative
fashion. The State of California has a corporations sole statute. It
grandfathers all existing corporations sole. It also provides an administrative
mechanism whereby new corporations sole can be created and existing ones can be
changed. It provides for continued existence, powers, dissolution if necessary,
and disposition of assets upon dissolution. I believe it is time we streamlined
this procedure and adopted a similar statute in Canada.
I understand that in the near future the government may be bringing in a new
proposed non-profit corporation act. I would hope that this bill could lead the
way in reform of the corporations sole part of that bill.
This bill addresses the legislative gap in the Canada Corporations Act by
allowing, as an option, the incorporation of a corporate sole or changes to its
original incorporation through administrative measures. It puts the corporations
sole in the same position as other not-for-profit organizations incorporated
without sheer capital. The corporations branch of Industry Canada, which is
responsible for not-for-profit corporations, would take over the responsibility
for dealing with corporations sole.
After this bill is enacted, if a corporation sole wanted to change its
original incorporation documents to change its borrowing authority, as many have
done in the last few years, all it will need to do is apply to Industry Canada
for this authority.
It would seem to me, from an administrative point of view, that the
corporations branch would have to establish the legitimacy of the application
and that it would proceed as a paper transaction without the necessity of new
legislative authority being given. On the other hand, if the group still wished
to petition Parliament to change its incorporation documentation, that option is
preserved under this bill.
I ask that honourable senators support the principle of this bill at second
reading so that it may be sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking,
Trade and Commerce for detailed study.
Before closing, I wish to thank our Senate law clerk, Mr. Mark Audcent, for
his diligent work on this bill and for his attention to detail so that we have
before us as comprehensive a bill as possible to deal with this rather arcane
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I wish to congratulate
Senator Atkins for introducing Bill S-30. The honourable senator has, in my
opinion, dealt quite adequately with the reasons behind this move. I intend to
speak to the bill at a future date. Therefore, I will limit my remarks to that
for today and move the adjournment of the debate.
On motion of Senator Corbin, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned during pleasure.
The Honourable Louise Arbour, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in
her capacity as Deputy Governor General, having come and being seated at the
foot of the Throne, and the House of Commons having been summoned, and being
come with their Acting Speaker, the Honourable the Deputy Governor General was
pleased to give the Royal Assent to the following bill:
An Act to amend the Customs Act and to make related amendments to other
Acts. (Bill S-23, Chapter 25, 2001)
The House of Commons withdrew.
The Honourable the Deputy Governor General was pleased to retire.
The sitting of the Senate was resumed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, as was agreed, we now
revert to Senate Public Bills, No. 3, for purposes of a Speaker's Ruling.
On June 5, 2001, Senator Joyal raised a point of order with respect to Bill
S-20, An Act to provide for increased transparency and objectivity in the
selection of suitable individuals to be named to certain high public positions,
which was presented to the Senate by Senator Stratton. His contention was that
because the bill seeks to establish compulsory procedures that ministers must
follow when nominating someone to fill certain high-profile public positions, it
would affect the prerogative of the Crown. Accordingly, the senator maintained
that it appeared that Bill S- 20 required Royal Consent.
Other senators made comments on the point of order. Senator Stratton
suggested that the matter could be discussed in the Legal and Constitutional
Affairs Committee for determination. Senator Kinsella felt that the authority of
the executive is not ultimately impeded by the bill. He made the point that
nowhere did it state that the purpose of Bill S-20 is to impede the authority of
the Crown in exercising its appointment powers. Instead, the bill sets in place
some measures to assure transparency in making various appointments.
I thank all honourable senators for their comments. Having taken the question
under advisement, I am now in a position to make my ruling. I will begin by
reviewing the parliamentary authorities, then examine the meaning of the
prerogative, review the thrust of Bill S-20 and consider whether the prerogative
is affected by it, and finally consider the nature of Royal Consent and the
procedural consequences of it being required.
As honourable senators are aware, the Speaker does not give a decision upon a
constitutional question nor decide a question of law. However, it is undoubtedly
the duty of the Speaker to ensure that the proper procedure is followed even
with respect to assessing bills that might require Royal Consent because the
prerogative is somehow affected.
The obligation of the Chair to do this is admitted in our parliamentary
authorities. Let me begin, however, with some references that explain when Royal
Consent needs to be signified. Citation 726(1) of Beauchesne's 6th edition, for
726.(1) The consent of the Sovereign (to be distinguished from the Royal
Assent to Bills) is given by a Minister to bills (and occasionally amendments)
affecting the prerogative, hereditary revenues, personal property or interest
of the Crown.
Marleau and Montpetit, House of Commons Procedure and Practices, pages
643- 644 state:
Royal Consent...is taken from British practices and is part of the
unwritten rules and customs of the House of Commons of Canada. Any legislation
that affects the prerogatives, hereditary revenues, property or interests of
the Crown requires Royal Consent, that is, the consent of the Governor General
in his or her capacity as representative of the Sovereign.
Moreover, as is pointed out in Bourinot's Parliamentary Procedure, 4th
edition, at page 413:
the consent may be given at any stage before final passage, and is always
necessary in matters involving the rights of the Crown, its patronage, or its
As well, I also note with interest what the Leader of the Government in the
Senate said with respect to the reasons for which Royal Consent was obtained for
Bill S-34, Royal Assent Act, which is now before one of our committees. Senator
Carstairs stated on page 1380 of the Debates of the Senate of October 4,
As Dicey's classic work The Law of Constitution states, it is a long
standing parliamentary practice, politeness and civility to obtain royal
consent in advance to any bill which might affect the royal prerogative or
interest, whether the bill is in relation to the prerogative or not. In
keeping with this practice, the government sought, obtained and has declared
in this chamber royal consent to proceed with Bill S-34.
Two commonly used definitions of the prerogative are those of Blackstone and
Dicey. Blackstone describes it as:
that special pre-eminence which the King hath, over and above all other
persons, and out of the ordinary course of the common law, in right of his
For his part, Dicey viewed the prerogative as the residue of discretionary
power left in the hands of the Crown. Consequently every Act which the executive
government can lawfully do without the authority of an act of Parliament is done
in virtue of this prerogative.
While the prerogative is obviously an important consideration in the United
Kingdom, it is not without significance in Canada as well. According to Paul
Lordon, Q.C., author of Crown Law, at page 61:
As a general rule, the prerogative of the Crown in Canada exists to the
same extent as in England. The Constitution Act, 1867 did not detract from or
in any way affect its form or content.
At page 71:
In Canada, prerogatives are exercised by the Governor General at the
federal level and by the Lieutenant-Governor in each province. As members of
the Privy Council, the Prime Minister and other ministers also have some
powers of the nature of prerogatives.
Turning now to Bill S-20, there is no doubt that its object is to legislate
with respect to the appointment process for certain public positions. The bill
proposes to establish a committee of the Queen's Privy Council to develop
selection criteria and procedures, that is, a process to identify and assess
candidates and to provide for a review by the Senate of these appointments.
Nominations to the position of Governor General, Chief Justice of Canada,
Speaker of the Senate, lieutenant governor of a province, commissioner of a
territory, and to the Supreme Court of Canada and the Senate, must be reviewed,
while appointments to the Federal Court of Canada and to other superior courts
of the provinces may be reviewed.
I must note, however, that the bill seems carefully structured not to change
the power of the Sovereign or of the Governor General to make appointments
directly. Its scope is limited to governing the actions of their advisors in
recommending appointments to be made.
Of particular concern to Senator Joyal, when he raised his point of order,
was the matter of the appointment of the Governor General because it is an
appointment that is made by the Queen.
In my view, it is a direct exercise of the Royal Prerogative. According to
Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, second edition, at page 10
...the Crown possessed certain prerogative legislative powers over British
colonies. These powers are mainly of historical interest for Canada today;
but...the office of Governor General still depends upon a prerogative
This prerogative instrument is the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of
Governor General, 1947, which is still in force.
I conclude, therefore, that, at least with respect to the office of the
Governor General, Bill S-20 is about a matter involving a prerogative of the
This conclusion leads to the next question: does Bill S-20 "affect" the
prerogative, that is to say, the exercise by Her Majesty of the prerogative
power to create the office of Governor General. The passages from Beauchesne and
Marleau and Montpetit mentioned that the prerogative must be affected for
consent to be required.
Under the conventions developed under our Constitution to provide for
representative government, the Sovereign acts on the advice of the Prime
Minister. Conventions are not legal rules, in that conventions are not capable
of enforcement in the courts. However, the letters patent provide that the
Governor General is to be appointed by commission under the Great Seal, which
means that the signatures of the Sovereign, the Prime Minister and the Registrar
General are all required on the commission to appoint a Governor General.
Therefore, until the 1947 letters patent are amended or revoked, the
participation of the Prime Minister in the naming of a Governor General is
required in law. Furthermore, since the appointment of a Governor General is an
exercise of the prerogative, and since the participation of the Prime Minister
in an appointment is necessary, the Sovereign is legally entitled to the advice
of the Prime Minister on the exercise of Her rights.
The operation of Bill S-20 could give rise to situations in which Her Majesty
would be deprived of the ability to make an appointment on advice. I conclude
that Her exercise of the prerogative is affected in that, while the bill may
preserve the prerogative, it would have an impact on its exercise.
Having now arrived at the conclusion that Bill S-20 affects the prerogative,
I must conclude that it requires the Royal Consent. However, what is the Royal
Marleau and Montpetit state the following on page 644:
It may be given in the form of a special message, but normally it is
transmitted by a Minister who rises in the House and states: "Her Excellency
the Governor General has been informed of the purport of this bill and has
given her consent, as far as Her Majesty's prerogatives are affected, to the
consideration by Parliament of the bill, that Parliament may do therein as it
In the case of Bill C-20, the Clarity Act, in the last session, and Bill S-34
in this session, a variation was used.
There is no known example in Canada of consent being refused. This raises the
issue of whether a convention may have evolved here that consent will be
granted, making the request for it a formality. The alternative is that, by
operation of an advice that consent will not be forthcoming, Parliament could
actually be prevented from debating a legislative measure that members
considered to be in the public interest.
A possible reason to refuse consent may be to prevent debate. However, note
should be taken that consent does not mean endorsement. Marleau and Montpetit
note at page 644 the following:
The fact that the Crown agrees to give consent does not, however, mean that
it approves the substance of the measure: it merely means that it agrees to
remove an obstacle to the progress of the bill so that it may be considered by
both Houses, and ultimately submitted for Royal Assent.
I should like to draw the attention of honourable senators to a precedent
from Westminster where the Queen's Consent, what we term Royal Consent, was
required for a private member's bill. This bill, entitled "Crown Prerogatives
(Parliamentary Control) Bill," was proposed by a backbencher, Mr. Tony Benn,
and sought to provide a parliamentary role to the exercise of a whole range of
prerogative powers. The object of the bill, as I understand it, was to subject
these prerogative powers to the approval of the House of Commons through an
affirmative resolution. In the end, the bill was finally dropped from the Order
Paper, but not before receiving the Queen's Consent, signified by a minister of
the Crown, when the bill was scheduled for second reading. This consent was
given despite the fact that there was no indication at all of the government's
agreement to the bill. This highlights another important characteristic of Royal
Consent. The fact that consent is signified or accorded to a bill does not
necessarily mean that the bill is supported or approved either by the Crown or
its advisers. Therefore, it is important to note that there is a tradition, at
least at Westminster, that the government does not use its unique access to the
Crown to limit debate, since it is not bound by convention to support matters
that require Royal Consent.
Honourable senators, when this point of order was raised, I accepted to take
it under advisement, but ruled at the time that, while the point of order was
under advisement, debate on the bill might proceed. Now that I have ruled that
consent is required, it continues to be the case that debate on the bill may
In support, I note the precedents where consent is given in one House to
legislation originating in the other. Bourinot's records an example of consent
being signified in the House of Commons, rather than the Senate, to a Senate
amendment to a Commons private bill. I also note Bill S-2, Bill S-6 and Bill
S-25 in the Second Session, Twenty-fourth Parliament, which lasted from January
15, 1959 to January 18, 1959, where consent was signified to Senate bills in the
House of Commons after the bills had passed the Senate. Royal Consent has also
been signified with respect to House of Commons bills in this chamber: in 1951,
just prior to second reading of Bill 192, an act to amend the Petition of Right
Act, and most recently, on June 29, 2000, to Bill C-20, the Clarity Act, just
prior to third reading.
In the 1999 ruling in this House, the Speaker noted that this was "an
accepted departure from the practice at Westminster," where consent is
signified in each House, and also noted that "based upon the Canadian
precedents, it would appear that there is no binding precedent that royal
consent be signified in this Chamber."
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Finestone, P.C.,
calling the attention of the Senate to three diseases which are sweeping the
developing world and which draw many to ask whether intellectual property
rights over patented medicines have not taken precedence over the protection
of human life.—(Honourable Senator Keon).
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, I rise today to address
Senator Finestone's inquiry on the issue of the discrepancy between intellectual
property rights and the accessibility to patent medicines to treat the
debilitating diseases sweeping the underdeveloped countries: HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria, which claim the lives of some 4 million people
I commend Senator Finestone for calling attention to a global issue that not
only threatens the social and population balance in poor, developing countries
of Africa and South Asia, but one that may have direct repercussions in our own
country very soon.
Since the terrible, tragic events of September 11, the public's concern to
protect themselves from bioterrorist attacks has been very strong. While
bioterrorism does pose an imminent threat, it is underlined by a fundamental
principle of action that there needs to be an eradication of the global epidemic
of infectious diseases for humanitarian reasons and for our own national
Along with the threat of anthrax, which is currently gripping North America,
smallpox constitutes another arsenal of biological warfare that could wreak
havoc if exploited by terrorists. While this disease was eradicated in early
1977, vaccines to treat this incurable disease are scarce. In January 1999, the
World Health Organization voted to destroy all vaccines with the exception of
two remaining official stocks — one in Pennsylvania, the other in Siberia.
I acknowledge our government for having to date stockpiled approximately
380,000 doses of smallpox vaccines which, through dilution, could treat about 3
million people, as well as Minister Rock's announcements of $12 million in
funding to battle bioterrorism. However, it is imperative that Canada enhance
its capability to produce drugs in sufficient quantities to deal with such
As reported in The Windsor Star this week, Dr. Donald Henderson,
former Director of the WHO's Eradication Unit, revealed that dropping an atomic
bomb would cause casualties in a specific area, but smallpox could engulf the
entire world. Globally, health officials claim that the disease was stopped
because of rapid vaccinations and closing borders. In follow-up to the present
crisis, the U.S. government has begun to stockpile vaccines available to its
While the current situation has led all North Americans to speculate on the
nightmare scenarios concerning the spread of infectious diseases, this is what
populations in the Third World have had to live with for decades on a daily
basis and with no solution in view. Indeed, it is on a scale that is almost
beyond our comprehension in this country.
Honourable senators, we are not only in a privileged and powerful position to
ensure our own capabilities of containing and dealing with our own national
health crises, but also one of pursuing and safeguarding global health
objectives in the name of humanitarian and compassionate values that has long
been enshrined in our foreign policy.
The affordability of medicines is only one of the problems facing poor
countries. Inadequate and inequitable public spending on health infrastructure,
weak planning, failure to prioritize preventive interventions and ineffective
service provisions are also contributing factors. However, the price of basic
medicines is a vital factor in determining public health, and Canada is in a
position to contribute progressively to all these factors in alleviating the
burden of these decimating diseases in underdeveloped countries.
Generic medicines, simply stated, are the most immediate and, in some cases,
the sole options for poor people, as exemplified in India, where the vast
majority of medicines used for the treatment of malaria, tuberculosis and
pneumonia are generic. Referring to generic medicines, I would point out that 5
of our top 20 drug companies are generic companies, and we are not dealing with
this issue of the interface between generic companies and the patent drug
companies. Indeed, our government has had a very difficult time of late with
this issue. It is something that will require careful thought and study in the
near future. It is one area where I must say that we could stimulate Canadian
industry and the production of drugs which these countries cannot afford anyway.
We could make them in our own country and give them to some of our programs that
are now in place.
Most underdeveloped countries are beset by gross price discrepancies and
intellectual property rights. They simply cannot deal with this whole issue.
Millions of lives are at stake simply because these people cannot afford
affordable life-saving medicines. In reiteration and support of the remarks of
Senators Poy and Finestone, the protection of intellectual property rights must
not override the public health concern, most importantly in terms of crisis and
very special urgent circumstances as those experienced in the Third World at the
Indeed, in times of crisis, patents could be waived as stipulated in our own
national 1993 legislation on patents, as well as in Article 31 of the World
Trade Organization Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, or
Honourable senators, I am in full support of a broad public health approach
in the interpretation of the TRIPS agreement and in the strengthening of its
safeguards. Under Article 31 of the agreement, governments can issue compulsory
licences to authorize production without the consent of patent holders subject
to adequate compensation. Another option available to government is that of
parallel importing, whereby governments allow the importation of a patent
product that is marketed elsewhere at prices lower than those in the domestic
market. It is necessary that these safeguards are protected and strengthened by
the international community, as well as in national legislation, just as the
current public health emergency warrants.
On an equal note, it is just as imperative that we see to ensuring the
quality in the production of generic drugs. This is a problem that I think is
underestimated at the present time. There is no question that cheap generic
drugs are available that are produced in countries where production standards
probably do not meet Canadian standards. This must be taken into careful
In consistence with our national principles and international human rights
obligations, there must be consensus on the fact that the health crisis in many
poor countries constitutes an international emergency. Under Article 31, WTO
members may waive the requirement to seek voluntary licences in cases of such
emergencies and other extreme circumstances. There is an urgent call to defend
As a global health crisis looms over us, either in the form of bioterrorism
or the fast spread of infectious diseases in the Third World, we must combine
our current legislative tools and values to allow equitable treatment of all
citizens. According to Oxfam, only 10 per cent of global research and
development is directed toward illness that accounts for 90 per cent of the
worldwide disease burden.
As Senator Kinsella said yesterday in his remarks, pharmaceutical companies
undertake research at tremendous cost, recovered after a certain period of time,
investments that are neither induced nor motivated in small, developing
countries, whose markets are simply too small. As Canadians and lawmakers, we
have at our disposal the framework to ameliorate these gaps and disparities.
As I said earlier, we must continue to build upon our capabilities to produce
sufficient amounts of drugs in times of crisis. I repeat: We must build on our
capabilities to produce sufficient amounts of drugs in times of crisis. We are
now dependent on a global network of drug production. Many of the drugs that are
vital to our own safety and survival cannot even be produced in our own country.
We must address this, in addition to having strong partnerships with the private
sector, so that everyone is aboard in this endeavour.
The legislation is also in place to respond to urgent situations and to waive
certain patents. This is done by the minister responsible for CIDA, who has the
right to make an application to have the patent set aside during intervention on
the national level, as well as within the WTO-TRIPS agreement, where it is
essential to have full international consensus and cooperation in recognizing
and responding to these public health emergencies.
Honourable senators, the stakes are high in our own country, and they are
dangerously high in sub-Saharan Africa. Whether we are dealing with the threat
of bioterrorism, or sustaining our health system with soaring drug prices, or
addressing the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics that have afflicted the developing
world, there is an extremely urgent need for us to address these issues in
collaboration with our other global partners.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
On motion of Senator Fraser, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Pépin:
That the Senate:
- Considering Resolutions 1368 and 1373 adopted by the Security Council of
the United Nations on September 12, and September 28, supporting initiatives
to eradicate international terrorism that threaten peace, security, human
rights and freedoms and the political order of the free and democratic
- Considering that in its special session of October 2, 2001, the North
Atlantic Council determined that "the attack against the United States on 11
September was directed from abroad and shall therefore be regarded as an
action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an
armed attack on one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be
considered an attack against them all";
- Condemn unequivocally the use of violence and terrorism to overthrow the
democratic order and the elimination of human rights and freedoms;
- Support the decision of the Government calling upon the Canadian Armed
Forces on active service to join the international campaign against the
perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of September 11;
- Express its preoccupation that humanitarian support be given to the
civilians affected by that campaign;
- Express its urgent concern that the authors and supporters of those
terrorists attacks are brought to justice accordingly;
- Express its strong belief that it is through negotiation and peace
settlement that legitimate claims of the States should be dealt with in the
International Order; and
That upon adoption of this motion, the said motion should be deemed
referred to the Standing Senate Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defence and
Security for study and report back to the Chamber in the next 30 days.—(Honourable Senator Stratton)
Hon. Douglas Roche: I wish to advise the Senate that Senator Stratton
gave his consent for me to proceed with my own contribution to this motion.
Honourable senators, the motion brought forward by Senator Grafstein
displays, once again, his erudition and desire to lift up Senate debate to
address the paramount issues of our time.
There is no doubt that the horrific attacks of September 11 have changed the
world. The question I wish to place before the Senate is this: Has our thinking
The motion rightly begins by referring to the United Nations Security
Council's resolutions 1368 and 1373, adopted on September 12 and 28, supporting
initiatives to eradicate international terrorism that threatens peace, security,
human rights and freedoms and the political order of the free and democratic
The relentless bombing of Afghanistan, now in day 18, goes beyond the intent
of resolution 1368. When the Security Council gave its assent "to take all
necessary steps" to respond to the September 11 attacks, it did not approve a
bombing campaign that would kill innocent civilians in their Afghan villages,
drive 70 per cent of the people in Herat, population 800,000, out of their
homes, kill 10 civilians today on a bus at the city gates of Kandahar, and
destroy a Red Cross warehouse, among other unfortunate acts of what is dryly
called "collateral damage."
It may seem comforting to say that civilians are not targeted, but it is not
"collateral damage" when thousands of refugees fleeing the bombs are jammed
along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in unspeakable conditions. UNICEF warns
that the crisis "is threatening the lives of millions of women and children,"
and that "1.5 million children may not make it through the winter."
Christian Aid, which reported that 600 people have already died in the
Dar-e-Suf region of northern Afghanistan due to starvation and related diseases,
says needy people are being put at risk by government spin doctors who are
showing a callous disregard for life.
The bombing of Afghanistan, one of the most desperate and vulnerable regions
of the world, is producing an international catastrophe. The bombing is immoral,
unproductive, and only by the most dubious logic can it be said to possess even
a shred of legality.
As Article 51 of the UN Charter makes clear, it is the Security Council that
has the authority and responsibility to maintain or restore international peace
and security. Let me emphasize that the bombing coalition, in exceeding the
exercise of the right of self-defence, which gave a legal cover to the bombing,
has sidelined the legitimate authority of the Security Council to manage this
It is said that the invocation for the first time of Article 5 of the NATO
Charter provides the legal grounds for Canada to give its support to the
military campaign. The article provides the solidarity that an attack on one
member will be considered an attack on all, and thus NATO can take the
responsive actions it deems necessary.
However, where has it been proven that the Government of Afghanistan,
despotic as it is, engineered or carried out the attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon? It has yet to be confirmed that any of the 19 suspected
hijackers comes from Afghanistan. Is the belief that Osama bin Laden, the
terrorist leader, is in Afghanistan justification for imposing catastrophe on
the entire populace?
Continued bombing is not what the United Nations intended. The bombing must
stop now. Canada, to be faithful to its own values, must press the United States
and its coalition partners to call a halt so that humanitarian aid can reach the
desperate people of Afghanistan.
It is this kind of knee-jerk, military response to a crisis that worries
thoughtful people today, people who understand that violence is not the proper
or productive response to violence.
When I asked at the outset if this crisis can result in changing our
thinking, this is what I meant. The very nature of the new world we have entered
compels us to seek the building of enforceable international law as the means to
human security in a globalized world. Continued recourse to the old instincts of
militarism will lead to more violence and, in the age of weapons of mass
destruction, to the wreckage of large areas of the planet.
Terrorism must be stopped, and stopped now, before the terrorists of the
future acquire nuclear devices and set off a calamity that will make the New
York-Washington attacks look small.
The UN Secretary-General told the United Nations General Assembly that,
tragic as September 11 was, a single attack involving a nuclear or biological
weapon could have killed millions. He called for a redoubling of efforts to
ensure the universality, verification and full implementation of key treaties
outlawing all chemical and biological weapons and for implementation of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for negotiations to eliminate all
nuclear weapons. Would that the United States, NATO, and, yes, Canada follow the
Secretary-General's words with the same alacrity that they implemented a bombing
campaign in Afghanistan.
I repeat, honourable senators: It is the utmost folly to think that we can
end terrorism by trying to bomb terrorists out of existence. Our work, as the
fullness of resolutions 1368 and 1373 explicates, must be undertaken with a new
understanding of the world we live in.
It is this new understanding that the Canadian Pugwash movement, the Canadian
affiliate of the Canadian Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Pugwash
movement, has tried to advance in its statement issued October 20, 2001.
There it is pointed out that in 1945, as the Second World War was ending in
Europe, the leaders of the victorious states met in San Francisco to save future
generations from the scourge of war. The United Nations, now co-recipient of the
2001 Nobel Peace Prize, was the result. Since then, there has been a tragic
succession of wars, the latest of which is the so-called war against terrorism.
Terrorists can potentially come from anywhere, live anywhere and strike
anywhere that opportunity exists. Their cover lies in the society in which they
live. Their weapons are tools taken from everyday life, and their targets are
the people and institutions of society. Their power is to disrupt through fear,
to provoke repression and to sever the links of peaceful commerce, setting state
against state, nation against nation, race against race and people against
people. Living among their victims, they present targets that cannot be
eradicated with the firepower of armed forces. Other means must be explored.
Those, like Pugwash, who oppose the bombing, question these means of dealing
with the terrorism problem because of the unintended consequences, including
innocent civilian deaths, the radicalization of Arab youth, the destabilization
of friendly states, and the danger that it will spread warfare along the
cultural divide separating Islam from the West. Furthermore, the war in
Afghanistan is of doubtful effectiveness. Now that the fighting in Afghanistan
has begun, it has a life of its own with further escalation likely.
The road ahead must be trod with great caution with respect to reliance on
the military approach. Much greater emphasis must be placed on non-military
measures that will lay the foundation for a world free of the terrorist threat.
Here, Canada must play a much greater role than what is outlined in Bill C-36,
the anti-terrorist legislation.
Honourable senators, what we need is a global initiative to deter and punish
terrorist acts in the present and future. This means developing an effective
system of international criminal law in which individuals are held accountable
before an impartial tribunal, such as the International Criminal Court. A
prosecutor with strong powers of investigation and prosecution will be needed.
It also means strengthening international treaties dealing with terrorism and
weapons of mass destruction and developing the machinery for their effective
implementation according to the due process of law. This will require a
strengthening of the United Nations and its ability to define and shape the
actions that are taken for the enforcement of international law, and to monitor
and verify these actions so that they are done proportionately and in accordance
with the UN Charter and international law.
In the aftermath of the bombing, a large and sustained effort will be
necessary for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the democratization of
countries known to be supporting terrorist groups.
In order to "win the war" against terrorism, it is necessary to deal with
the hatred and the sense of powerlessness upon which terrorism feeds. What we
need is the patience and the resolve to diminish such hatred. This will require
significant efforts to reduce inequity between peoples and individuals and to
strengthen international mechanisms for protecting human rights. Furthermore, it
means the subordination of narrow-minded nationalism in all parts of the world
to the common interest, in a world where no person or nation is an island entire
to itself, separate from the main. Global human society, with the United Nations
as its meeting place, is where the future of mankind should be decided.
The Canadian government needs to develop the long-term means to deal with the
roots of terrorism. This entails significantly increased resources, including a
major enhancement of its financial commitment for development assistance,
international peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace building. The government
should ensure that the UN Security Council plays the lead role in response to
terrorism around the globe. It should continue to work for a biological and
toxin weapons verification protocol, for a cut-off of fissile material and for
The work that began in 1945 must continue with a new vigour and commitment.
It is time to convert the resources and habits of war to global justice and
peace, to eradicate chauvinistic nationalism and bellicosity and to transform
competition into cooperation in the global arena. The rule of law must govern
the behaviour of states as well as individuals.
This is the work of the new 21st century, honourable senators. If it is done
well, September 11, 2001, could mark a new departure point for a world free of
the terrorist threat.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, for Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Gauthier calling
the attention of the Senate to the current negotiations on the renewal of the
broadcasting agreement between the Senate and CPAC (the Cable Public Affairs
Channel) to ensure that they include the closed- captioning of parliamentary
debates authorized for television, and that the renewal of this agreement
reflect the commitments made by CPAC on services for the hearing impaired.—(Honourable
Hon. Richard H. Kroft: Honourable senators, I am pleased to
participate in this inquiry in which Senator Gauthier has called the attention
of the Senate to the current negotiations on the renewal of the broadcasting
agreement between the Senate and CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel, to
ensure that it includes the closed-captioning of parliamentary debates
authorized for television and that the renewal of this agreement reflect the
commitments made by CPAC on services for the hearing impaired.
As I stated on October 2, 2001, as Chair of the Standing Committee on
Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, I intend to keep this chamber
advised on the progress of our negotiations with CPAC.
On August 31, 2000, the Senate's agreement with CPAC, originally signed
September 9, 1998, to broadcast Senate committee meetings, expired. On September
1, 2000, then chair of Internal Economy, Senator Rompkey, wrote to the Director
General of CPAC proposing that the agreement continue until discussions with
CPAC on a new agreement are completed. On September 1, 2000, CPAC replied that
it agreed with this proposal. There was nothing in that agreement with respect
to closed-captioning and broadcast of Senate committees by CPAC.
I can report that negotiations have been taking place between Senate
officials and CPAC on a new agreement and that the issue of closed-captioning is
one of the issues on the table.
As Senator Gauthier is aware, the CRTC issued broadcasting requirements in
1995 regarding closed-captioning. In a March 24, 1995, public notice communiqué,
the CRTC dealt with a number of social issues regarding decisions to renew the
licences of privately owned language television stations, including services to
the deaf and hard-of-hearing. For large stations, specifically those earning
more than $10 million in annual revenues, the CRTC required licencees to
closed-caption at least 90 per cent of all programming during the broadcast day
by the end of their licence term. For medium stations, those earning between $5
million and $10 million, the CRTC only expected them to meet this requirement.
For small stations, those earning under $5 million, the CRTC encouraged them to
meet this requirement.
CPAC is not a television station but rather a satellite-to-cable programming
undertaking owned by members of the cable distribution industry. It is funded by
its network affiliates and operated on a not-for-profit basis. It is, therefore,
exempt from the CRTC requirements for closed-captioned broadcasting.
In its licence renewal decision for CPAC as described in Decision 95-22 dated
January 20, 1995, the CRTC did raise the question of CPAC's services to the
I should like to quote from that decision:
As part of its renewal applications, CPAC indicated that it will spend
annually from $30,000 in the first year to $53,600 in the last year of the new
license term for services to the hearing impaired. CPAC will use line 21 of
the Vertical Blanking Interval for closed captions and a text channel to
support both captioned programs and program schedules. CPAC stated that the
text channel will be operational by the end of the second year of the new
licence term. A second audio program channel will be used for translation
audio. CPAC also expects to have a full-time captioner on staff by the end of
the first year of its new license term. CPAC thus plans to increase its annual
level of captioned programming to 632 hours by the end of its licence term. In
addition, CPAC has indicated it will endeavour to obtain captioned programming
from other sources whenever possible. A telecommunication device for the deaf
(TDD) phone line will be installed during the first year of the new license
term, to be operational during regular business hours.
The Commission acknowledges the opposing intervention submitted by the
Canadian Association of the Deaf with respect to access for deaf and
hard-of-hearing persons to CPAC programming. The Commission is satisfied with
the licensee's reply to this intervention. The Commission notes, however, that
CPAC is not precluded by its agreement with the Speaker of the House of Commons
from closed-captioning the programming that CPAC receives from the House
pursuant to the agreement. Therefore, in view of the importance the Commission
attaches to the issue of services to the hearing impaired, it encourages the
licensee to increase significantly the closed-captioning of the programming
which CPAC receives from the House of Commons.
These are the commitments CPAC gave to the CRTC. I am afraid I do not have
all the details as to how well CPAC has fulfilled these commitments to date. I
am informed that, by the end of the year 2000, it was budgeting $87,000 for
closed captioning which will result in the telecast of nearly 3,000 hours of
captioned programming. Apparently it is their goal to have the entire prime-time
network from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. closed-captioned. An exact accounting of how well
CPAC has implemented its promised services to the hearing impaired will perhaps
be fully known when CPAC petitions to renew its broadcast licence which will
expire August 31, 2002.
The Senate is also taking steps to improve its services to those with
disabilities. These are described in the February 2000 report, "Accessibility
for Persons with Disabilities — Action Plan." The document was adopted by the
Internal Economy Committee on February 24, 2000, and by the Senate on April 13,
2000. This action plan, which was established in close association with
representatives of the disabled community, has as its introduction the
Canadians have a right to participate fully in the affairs of the Senate. The
following action plan sets out a blueprint for improving the participation of
persons with disabilities. It has been developed to help dispel some of the
myths about disabilities and to help break down barriers which could prevent
full participation in the work of the Senate. The goal is to make the Senate of
Canada a model of equality and one of the most accessible parliamentary
institutions in the country.
It was in accordance with this policy that the Internal Economy Committee
authorized technical assistance to the Senate chamber for senators with hearing
disabilities. Since April 2000, our Senate Debates Branch has provided a
one-on-one service to aid a hearing-impaired senator. This service, called CART,
which stands for computer-assisted real-time translation, enables a senator to
follow the proceedings in the chamber, committees and caucus as well as on
special assignments related to parliamentary business.
Most recently, on October 4, 2001, the Internal Economy Committee adopted a
request for Supplementary Estimates (A) that included an amount of $93,000 to
revamp its approach to CART. The purchase of new equipment will enable the
Senate to, first, reduce substantially the use of one-on-one CART service and,
second, provide a means to work toward completing a dual- language,
closed-captioning service of committee meetings through the more effective use
of computer technology. The Senate adopted our request for Supplementary
Estimates on October 4 and we are now awaiting the actual appropriation bill
from the House of Commons.
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has
also taken note of the adoption by the Senate on May 16, 2001, of
recommendations of the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official
Languages, entitled "The Broadcasting and Availability of the Debates and
Proceedings of Parliament in Both Official Languages." Recommendation 7 stated
Parliament take the necessary steps to making subtitling available in both
official languages when the proceedings of Senate Committees are televised.
When the monies for this new equipment are approved, the transcribed text of
the proceedings will be "streamed" to provide a text in real-time that can be
used as subtitling. Since this is a new service, the period from January to June
2002 will be treated as experimental. Hearing-impaired senators will be asked
for their evaluation and an assessment will be made of the quality of our
in-house subtitling in comparison with established standards. Training needs
will have to be taken into consideration.
While our negotiations with CPAC are still ongoing, preliminary discussions
with their President and General Manager indicate that CPAC is ready to take
closed-captioned broadcasts from the Senate. I have instructed our officials to
demand that the following paragraph be added to the new agreement:
...that CPAC commit to running closed-captioning broadcasts of Senate
Committee proceedings when provided by the Senate.
I intend to report back to the Senate at a later time on the results of our
experiments with closed-captioning, as well as the status of our negotiations
with CPAC. I thank Senator Gauthier for raising this inquiry.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Joan Fraser: Would the honourable senator accept a question?
Senator Kroft: Yes, if it is non-technical.
Senator Fraser: It is not technical. I am sure we are all very
impressed by what the honourable senator said about what the Internal Economy
Committee is doing. It sounds terrific. I was not aware of that and I think we
can all be very proud of it.
Has the honourable senator determined in his contacts with CPAC how many of
the hundreds of hours of closed-captioned programming that they intend to
produce in prime time will actually consist of parliamentary proceedings? It had
originally been my understanding that the prime purpose of CPAC was to show the
Parliament of Canada to the people of Canada. Whenever I turn it on in prime
time, I get talking heads — not our talking heads, not politicians. I get
journalists and the like, pontificating on the affairs of the day, just as one
does on Newsworld or RDI or any of the other networks. Does the honourable
senator know anything about this?
Senator Kroft: I thank the honourable senator for her question. Closed
captioning is one aspect of a wider range of negotiations that are ongoing with
CPAC. Two very positive things are happening from both sides of that negotiating
table. First, CPAC is determined, quite impressively, to make their programming
of public affairs more effective and more interesting and, therefore, probably
to create a broader following among Canadians.
As part of our negotiations, we are pinning down both a discipline for
ourselves and a commitment by them as to the number of hours that will be
broadcast. The problem is that it is rather spasmodic now. We will end up in
this agreement with a committed number of hours that we must provide to them.
They are just the conveyor of this service. The production of the programming
is in our hands. We do this; we have control over which committees and other
events we wish to cover. We will have an agreement that, optimistically, will
meet both the needs of CPAC in providing interesting programming and the needs
of the Senate.
Part of the problem is that we must commit enough hours so that they can
schedule our work and not have to fill in with other programming that may not
serve the Senate so well. That will be our time. We will have the job to fill
As far as the talking heads, CPAC has begun, and I think this will be
expanded, to provide non-parliamentary programming whereby senators, for
example, through an interview, a forum or a panel process, can relate to
Canadians on matters of interest or preoccupations of the Senate and whatever we
decide as programming.
We are now taking much more concern with the programming side of the business
and they are concerned with delivering it.
Senator Fraser: In his continued dealings with CPAC, I would urge
Senator Kroft to ask them to pay attention to the time of day at which they show
not only our material but, for that matter, material from the other place. Last
night, I turned to CPAC hoping to see something from one of the committees of
either chamber that have been doing fascinating work this week, work of
pronounced importance to Canadians in which there is high public interest, and I
got talking heads. I used to be a talking head myself and have nothing against
them. However, CPAC was not giving Canadians that kind of programming at a time
when they might have been able to watch it.
Senator Kroft: We must be sensitive to the fact that some of the
Senate material is rather racy for prime time.
On motion of Senator Corbin, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by
the Honourable Senator DeWare:
That the Senate endorse and support the following policy from Liberal Red
Book 1, which recommends the appointment of "an independent Ethics Counsellor
to advise both public officials and lobbyists in the day-to-day application of
the Code of Conduct for Public Officials. The Ethics Counsellor will be
appointed after consultation with the leaders of all parties in the House of
Commons and report directly to Parliament.";
And that this Resolution be sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons so
that he may acquaint the House of Commons with this decision of the Senate.—(Honourable
Senator Di Nino).
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I rise with a brief
intervention in support of Senator Oliver's motion made on April 3, 2001,
regarding the appointment of an independent ethics counsellor. Over the past few
years there have been a number of contentious incidents where a counsellor of
this nature, responsible to Parliament and appointed in consultation with
leaders of all parties, would have played a helpful and useful role in clearing
Honourable senators, the reputation of Parliament and parliamentarians can
only be enhanced by referring contentious issues of conduct by a parliamentarian
to someone seen as impartial and beyond the influence of government. At a time
when public opinion of parliamentarians is at such an unfortunately low ebb,
Senator Oliver's motion which, as he clearly stated, comes word for word from
the Liberal Red Book, should be supported by everyone in this chamber.
To those honourable senators who were not here at the time of Senator
Oliver's wise and cogent remarks or who were here and are desirous of refreshing
their memories, his words can be found in the Hansard of April 3, 2001, at pages
562 and 563.
Honourable senators, I intend to vote in favour of this motion and I urge all
honourable senators to join me.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, debate adjourned.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool, pursuant to notice of October 4, 2001,
That the Senate of Canada recommend that the Government of Canada recognize
the date of August 15th as Fête nationale des Acadiens et Acadiennes, given
the Acadian people's economic, cultural and social contribution to Canada.
She said: Honourable senators, the purpose of the motion I am pleased to
bring forward today is to recommend to the Government of Canada that it
recognize the date of August 15 as the Fête nationale des Acadiens et
The purpose of this recognition on the part of the Government of Canada is to
ensure that the Acadian people's economic, cultural and social contribution is
promoted and appreciated within Canadian society.
My remarks today will focus on the economic contribution of the Acadian
people within the Acadian community. However, first, why such a day and why on
August 15? The fête nationale of August 15 is celebrated each year by thousands
of Acadians in Acadia, Canada and wherever there are people of Acadian descent.
The first Acadian National Convention was held in Memramcook, New Brunswick,
in 1881. The Société nationale l'Assomption, which is an organization dedicated
to protecting the rights of Acadian society, was founded on that occasion. It
still exists today under the name of the Société nationale de l'Acadie, and it
remains a strong voice for Acadian communities from the Atlantic region.
The Acadian national conventions of the end of the 19th century debated a
number of issues, such as the lack of education in French, the exodus of
Acadians to anglophone urban centres in the Maritimes or in the U.S., and the
lack of Acadian representation in political, religious and other structures. In
all, 16 national conventions were held, the last one in Edmundston in 1979.
It was in Memramcook, in 1881, that August 15 became the date of the fête
nationale des Acadiens and that Our Lady of the Assumption was chosen as the
patron saint. In 1955, during the celebrations marking the bicentennial of the
deportation, the Archbishop of Moncton and a number of Acadian parishes from New
Brunswick asked people to stand outside their homes at 6 p.m. on August 15, when
all the bells would ring at the same time, to say a prayer and then to make
noise with various objects, including pots and pans, musical instruments, horns,
et cetera. This was the first organized tintamarre! Such tintamarres now take
place in every corner of Acadia, from Saint-Quentin, in New Brunswick, to
Saulnierville, in Nova Scotia, not to mention the most famous one in Caraquet,
New Brunswick, where over 20,000 people gather and march in the streets to
celebrate August 15. Numerous cultural events are held on August 15, including
plays, concerts, festivals, et cetera. A growing desire to develop a sense of
pride and ownership of their language, culture and customs has spurred Acadians
into setting up institutions that reflect their values.
Thus, in 1903, in Waltham, Massachusetts, the Société mutuelle l'Assomption,
now known as Assumption Life, was founded by Acadians living in the United
States. It was a fraternal society to rally all Acadians under one flag, to
assist members who were ill, to provide financial support to the heirs of
deceased members and to help preserve the religion, language and customs of
Acadians. In 1913, the head office moved to Moncton, New Brunswick, in Canada.
In 1968, the society was converted into a mutual life insurance company and, in
1972, the company built a large head office building in downtown Moncton.
Over the years the company continued to expand, extending its market and
introducing new products specifically designed for its target market, the
Maritimes, Quebec and New England.
However, the company never completely abandoned its first calling, which was
to protect the economic and social welfare of the areas in which it did
business. Through one of its subsidiaries, the Assumption Foundation, Assumption
Life provided more than $3 million in scholarships and assistance for teaching
missions over the years. It also helped establish a Chair in administration at
l'Université de Moncton, and provides financial support for various social and
Today, Assumption Life is more than a mere life insurance company. It
provides a wide range of financial services, including mortgage loans and
The first French-language caisse populaire in New Brunswick was founded in
Richibuctou in 1916. In 1946, Acadians took the steps that led to the founding
of the Fédération des Caisses populaire acadiennes.
This important event was followed, over the years, by other cooperative and
corporative organizations. Today, total assets are in excess of $1.6 billion,
with 32 cooperatives and 77 caisses populaires, along with 11 service centres.
The 200,000-plus members of Acadian caisses populaires have collectively shaped
the Acadian and French-language communities of New Brunswick, working together
to build a strong, prosperous and progressive Acadia.
Acadian entrepreneurship is particularly evident in southeastern New
Brunswick and in the Acadian region of Shediac-Kent, where more than
three-quarters of businesses are Acadian-owned. Sixty percent of these have
fewer than five employees. There are so many cooperatives in the Évangéline
region of P.E.I. that it has proclaimed itself the world co-op capital.
Economic Acadia comprises 7,088 entrepreneurs, more than 1,000 of whom are
members of the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick, an association working
to encourage the economic development of the francophone population. In addition
to lobbying governments, this organization also acts as a voice for the
French-language business community of New Brunswick and is one of the prime
movers in the economic sector.
The Conseil provides economic development coordination workshops, and carries
out studies and consultations, as well as providing its members with continuing
education and a broad range of services.
The Acadia of the Maritime provinces, traditionally dependent on natural
resources in forestry, fisheries and agriculture, is now turning to new
information technologies, ecotourism and other promising sectors for the future.
New Brunswick's expertise in information technology was recognized worldwide
in 1995 at the Sommet de la Francophonie in Cotonou, Benin. The heads of
government of the Francophonie decided to establish the Centre international
pour le développement de l'inforoute en français in Edmundston, New Brunswick.
Tourism took an unprecedented leap forward in Atlantic Acadia in the 1990s.
Acadian regions are in the process of catching up, making up for the lag that
had developed in their tourism infrastructures. The recent growth in tourism has
created thousands of jobs, both direct and indirect.
The Village historique acadien in Caraquet, the Pays de la Sagouine, the
Bouctouche dunes, the Jardins de la République and the New Brunswick Botanical
Gardens, the historic site of Grand-Pré, the historic fortress of Louisbourg in
Nova Scotia, the Évangéline region of Prince Edward Island, to name but a few,
are Acadian tourist sites attracting thousands of tourists annually and
contributing to the economic development of the Atlantic provinces.
I would also mention some Acadian business successes which are still going
strong. Pizza Delight, a company founded by two graduates of the Université de
Moncton, Bernard Imbault and Roger Duchene, generates annual revenues of over
$50 million and now has more than 150 franchises in the Atlantic provinces,
Quebec and Ontario, in addition to having created over 2,000 jobs in Atlantic
Comeau Sea Foods Ltd., in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, was founded in 1946 by
two Acadians, Bernardin and Clarence Comeau. This Acadian company, which employs
more than 1,000 people, has carved out a spot in the international market with
its fresh and frozen seafoods.
These are just two examples among many of Acadian businesses which have
distinguished themselves by their know-how and entrepreneurial spirit. By the
way, the first hotel minibar was installed here in the Westin Hotel in 1981, the
initiative of an Acadian by the name of Claude Savoie, from New Brunswick.
In recent decades, New Brunswick's francophone economic engine has developed
largely because of young Acadians' access to post-secondary education.
L'Université de Moncton has played an important role in the training of young
Acadian leaders. Incorporated in 1963, the university is now the largest
entirely French-language university in Canada outside Quebec.
Its three campuses, Edmundston, Moncton and Shippegan, have already educated
35,000 graduates and leaders. Last year, the university attracted over 6,000
students, including some 4,400 full-time students.
Some 160 programs are provided by over 425 professors in 13 faculties and
schools. In the area of research, the university has about 30 centres,
institutes and chairs. Each year, its researchers receive over $3.2 million in
However, the greatest asset of l'Université de Moncton is the personalized
teaching that a university of its size can provide to students. Not only does
the close contact between professors and students improve exchanges,
apprenticeship and performance, it also fuels a vibrant dynamism that is not
The increasing number of achievements, successes and opportunities in Acadia
have been taking place in a better political and economical context since the
arrival of the Honourable Louis J. Robichaud, an Acadian who was premier of New
Brunswick from 1960 to 1970.
Louis J. Robichaud organized a program of equal opportunity, redistributing
income to the north of the province, proposing new economic development and
institutional bilingual services to serve the province's francophone population.
In September 1995, our honourable colleague the late Senator Jean-Maurice Simard
wrote a letter to the editor of the Telegraph Journal, in which he stated:
The Liberal governments with Louis J. Robichaud at the helm made the Acadian
community take great strides in the long battle that led us, as Acadians, toward
an equal status as a francophone community.
The Progressive Conservative Party came into power in 1970 under Richard
Hatfield and continued the programs implemented by the Robichaud governments.
It was the Robichaud government in 1969 that passed the Official Languages of
New Brunswick Act, which made New Brunswick the only officially bilingual
province in Canada, a distinction it holds to this day. I should like to point
out that the Robichaud government was heavily influenced by the Government of
Canada, which also passed the Official Languages Act in 1969.
In closing, honourable senators, the purpose of my speech was to provide you
with an overview of the economic contributions made by the Acadian community in
Canada. I hope that it will give you a better appreciation of the significant
contributions that Acadians have made to Canadian society.
Honourable senators, this contribution began some 400 years ago. Our history
has made us all the greater. It has helped shape the values of tolerance,
generosity, and openness towards the world that characterize Canadians. Are
these not good reasons to celebrate August 15?
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I wish to congratulate Senator Losier-Cool for moving the motion. My
grandmother, Lucie Bernard, was one of the members of the eight families from
Malpèques, on l'Île de St-Jean, which is now Prince Edward Island.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.
Leave having been given to revert to Notice of Motions:
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, with leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:
That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday,
October 30, 2001, at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, October 30, 2001, at 2 p.m.