Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 72
Thursday, November 22, 2001
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker
Thursday, November 22, 2001
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I was dumbfounded
yesterday when this chamber debated a bill to deny marriage to homosexuals. The
debate came at a time when Vancouverites still ache at the horror committed last
Saturday. Tragically, Aaron Webster was violently beaten and killed. All
Vancouverites were horrified by his murder. This hate crime was committed by
young men. These young men had not been schooled in the Canadian value of
A crowd of more than 1,500 people gathered on Sunday in shock and anger to
call for change. The crowd was reminded by Inspector David Jones of the
Vancouver police that Mr. Webster's murder was a hate crime. Inspector Jones
also noted it was most probably not the first hate crime committed by Mr.
When honourable senators rise in this house to speak in favour of Bill S-9, I
remind them that they are giving comfort to those who hate. They are telling
more generations of young Canadians that we should not treat homosexuals
equally: Homosexuals must not use the word "marriage" to describe their
relationships. They are denied the use of this word and the recognition of love
in relationships that it conveys to hundreds of thousands of Canadians. They are
also teaching that intolerance of homosexuals is both proper and righteous.
Honourable senators, to use religion to justify intolerance is cowardly. It
is an attempt to use faith to mask hatred.
The words of the Reverend Martin Niemoller in 1945 are well known to all
honourable senators. He said:
First they came for Communists, and I didn't speak up — because I wasn't a
communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I
wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because
I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time — there was no one
left to speak for me.
Honourable senators, we have an obligation and a duty as members of the
Senate of Canada to bring honour to this institution. Honour is brought by
demonstrations of tolerance. I implore all honourable senators: We must continue
to work together.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Jaffer, I am sorry, but your speaking
time has expired.
Hon. Jim Tunney: Honourable senators, I have two brief messages for
this chamber. Both refer to agriculture and to the future of agriculture in this
As honourable senators may know — I am sure you do — 142 members of the WTO
are about to engage in new trade talks that will go on over the next few years
and will wind up in the year 2005. The agreements made there will determine the
future of agriculture in Canada, either in a prosperous way or in a very serious
and deleterious way. We must at least find ourselves on an even playing field
with the United States of America and those countries of the European Community
that now are devastating our agricultural markets in grains and oilseeds with
their very high government subsidies. We just hope that the outcome of those
talks will be of benefit to us because our grain farmers are suffering in a way
that they have never known before.
The other issue is more immediate, and it is the outcome of the appeal
tribunal decision that will be made within the next few days. A challenge was
brought by New Zealand and the United States against our method of marketing
dairy products. If that appeal goes against us, it will seriously diminish the
amount of milk that dairy farmers in Canada will be allowed to produce. We will
see the decline in the number of processing plants in Canada. The diminished
volume will result in substantial increases in the price of milk and other dairy
products for consumers in Canada.
We have a serious trade issue with the United States. Neighbours of mine, who
are in the gallery, produce horticultural products with greenhouses. Right now
they are being challenged by the U.S. market and U.S. producers, even though we
are supposed to have an agreement on free trade. Dianne and Alfons Casteels are
struggling with this very matter today.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-33, respecting the water
resources of Nunavut and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal, and to make
consequential amendments to other acts.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, with leave, bill placed on the Orders of the
Day for second reading later this day.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, the Minister of Justice is one of many who commended the Senate for
its pre-study of Bill C-36. This week, before the House of Commons committee
studying the bill, on more than one occasion, she thanked the Special Senate
Committee on the Subject-Matter of Bill C-36 for its work. She was no doubt
inspired to some extent by that report to propose a number of amendments,
thereby putting a government sanction of approval on the concept of pre-study.
Honourable senators, I give that preamble in order to ask the Leader of the
Government in the Senate whether the government would entertain pre-study of the
Public Safety Bill, which was tabled today in the House of Commons. I think it
is deserving of pre-study because, at first glance, it is a much more complex
bill than Bill C-36. If the government is so inclined, it can be assured of the
same opposition support and cooperation on this bill as it had during the
pre-study on Bill C-36.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question.
Honourable senators, I think our pre-study report was done extremely well. It
was an example of the Senate performing its function in a way that challenged
the government to listen to the hearts and minds of the Canadian people, and in
particular, to specialists in the various fields. I congratulate the chair of
the committee, Senator Fairbairn, and the deputy chair, Senator Kelleher, and
all members who sat on that committee, as well as those members who substituted.
There was very active participation in those committee hearings, not only by
members but by individual senators who chose to attend on various days.
The Public Safety Bill, which was introduced this morning at 10:00 a.m. in
the House of Commons, is indeed, as the Leader of the Opposition said, a very
complex bill. It is not as time sensitive as the anti-terrorism bill, where we
knew we were under certain time constraints. I will certainly take his
suggestion under advisement, and I will discuss it thoroughly with my caucus at
our next caucus meeting.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
The minister just mentioned the Public Safety Bill. It was introduced in the
other place with an explanatory note attached. On page 4 of that note from the
government, it states, under the heading Penalties for Human Trafficking and
Smuggling, that the current Immigration Act does not include an offence of human
trafficking. In the bill that we will eventually see, at clause 93, they propose
a provision to amend the Immigration Act on human trafficking.
As honourable senators know, we just passed Bill C-11 and gave it Royal
Assent. Clause 117 of that bill deals with human trafficking. Is there a
parchment error here? Does the left hand not know what the right hand is doing?
Perhaps we could help with the pre-study by telling them that they do not have
to worry about that section, as we already passed it in Bill C-11.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the Senate did very good work on Bill C-11, and it certainly is enhancing the
roles of those who work in our immigration and citizenship activities in this
With respect to the new bill that is before the House of Commons, it is, in
fact, an elaboration, as I understand it, of the offences that are presently in
Bill C-11. Perhaps that note is a little exaggeration of what, in fact, the one
bill stands for and what the other bill did not. The honourable senator is quite
correct. There are references in Bill C-11 to human trafficking.
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, would the minister not agree
that had her colleague the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration attended the
Special Senate Committee on the Subject Matter of Bill C-36, which she refused
to do, as pointed out by Senator Kelleher yesterday, she would have learned that
in her bill there is this provision? I do not know her record in cabinet, but if
she did not advise cabinet when it was looking at the bill that was just
introduced this morning, then perhaps it is time for that minister to find
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, there are no immigration
provisions in the anti-terrorism bill, Bill C-36, which hopefully this chamber
will receive next week. Therefore, I see no reason for the Minister of
Citizenship and Immigration to appear before that particular committee. However,
with respect to the new public safety bill, where significant changes are being
proposed to immigration, I would clearly expect the minister to be called and I
would expect her to respond.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question is addressed to
the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
There are confusing reports about whether aid supplies are actually getting
through to the desperate people of Afghanistan. There have been questions such
as: Are those supplies subject to control by local warlords? Canada has a great
stake in this question because we have made a significant commitment to provide
aid and assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Can the minister provide some
updated information on the deliverability of this aid?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the Honourable Senator Roche for his question. First, in watching the
news last night, I was very proud when I saw some aid being delivered. When I
looked closely at the television screen, it had big letters across it spelling
out "Canada" in large red letters. It made me proud as a Canadian that some of
our aid is clearly being delivered because my understanding is that this footage
was only taken yesterday.
As to the lines of communication that will make all of that work possible
now, the honourable senator is quite correct: they are not all up and running.
Some resources are getting in, but not nearly enough. Part of the negotiations
that went on yesterday in Washington, and, I understand, will continue in Bonn
next week, will focus on how we can facilitate the lines of transport so that
relief workers are guaranteed safety. Many of the people bringing aid supplies
into the country are NGO workers. The focus for any troops sent by Canada will
be to ensure that the roads and other lines of transport — airlines, if
necessary — are kept open so that our aid and the aid from other nations can be
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable
senator for her answer. She touched on the issue of troops, which I should like
to discuss now.
In order to ensure deliverability, is it the view of the government that
those humanitarian supplies will need the protection of armed forces? If so, has
a decision been made as to whether Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed for
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
to answer the latter part of honourable senator's question first, no decision
has yet been made. The decision that has been made is that their primary
function, should they go, will be humanitarian. That is the number one function,
although there will also be a security function. Security surveillance may be
required to ensure deliverability and that those lines are kept open.
In terms of when those forces may be ready, as I indicated to the honourable
senator, some discussions took place yesterday and more are anticipated next
week. We are all hopeful that those decisions will be made sooner rather than
later so that the innocent victims in Afghanistan, as they return to their
communities, can also be assured of an adequate food supply via safe lines of
Senator Roche: Honourable senators, I thank the minister for her
response. I am trying to get clear in my head what is the position of the
Government of Canada. Are we actively considering sending troops to guarantee
aid, or are we waiting for an international decision to be made as to whether
armed forces must be required on the ground, in which case Canada would then
Senator Carstairs: We are actively considering it, but we are doing it
in combination with discussions with our allies. As to the information I am able
to provide to the honourable senator today, as he knows, the issue is very fluid
at this time in Afghanistan. We want to ensure that the aid is provided. We know
very well that the aid provided by NGOs is most often the one most acceptable to
people because there appears never to be any strings attached. It is not only
finding the right vehicle to ensure that aid is delivered, but also recognizing
that winter is about to set in and that we have to move rather quickly on this
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, I should like some
clarification, if possible, from the Leader of the Government in the Senate
about enigmatic comments by Minister Brian Tobin regarding Canada's commitment
to the Kyoto Agreement on Climate Change. In speaking to mining executives, Mr.
Tobin stated that there is a strong consensus around the cabinet table and in
caucus that Canada must do nothing in competitive terms that would handcuff our
capacity to compete around the world and with the United States. He added that
there are serious concerns about Kyoto, particularly with the U.S. refusing to
There are two kinds of interpretations, I suppose, to these statements. It
could be that the minister is leaving the impression that commitments to reduce
greenhouse gases might undermine our long-term competitive position vis-à-vis
our trading partners. Of course, he could be following the school of Michael
Porter, of Harvard, who long ago said that reducing greenhouse gases is the way
to be really competitive and that to do nothing would be to damage the long-term
health of our economy.
Could the minister find out for us what exactly it is that Minister Tobin
meant and whether his comments are at odds with those of Minister David
Anderson? What is he really saying?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I am not exactly sure what the Honourable Brian Tobin is saying, but what I can
be absolutely sure what the Government of Canada is saying. The Government of
Canada is committed to addressing climate change and is committed to the Kyoto
protocol ratification process. It is further committed to working with the
provinces to effect programs that can achieve the target goals we will have set
Senator Spivak: Honourable senators, let me clarify this response. In
other words, the government policy has not changed. Will we sign the Kyoto
treaty in conjunction with other nations and not veer from that course?
Senator Carstairs: We are committed to the Kyoto protocol. As the
honourable senator knows, there are ongoing negotiations. There have been no
changes to the broad structure of the protocol, but there have been some minor
humps along the way. The Government of Canada is clearly committed to its
obligations under that protocol.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, my question is directed to
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is my understanding that the
government has yet to dispatch a warship to replace the HMCS Halifax in
fulfilment of our commitment to the Standing Naval Force Atlantic, one month
after the fact. Are we currently in default of our NATO commitment stipulated in
this government's own 1994 White Paper on Defence?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
if I understand Senator Stratton's question correctly, it is with regard to the
sixth ship and what its assignment would be. It was never determined what the
assignment of the sixth ship would be because our agreement with our Allies did
not include what exact ship and what category of ship would be required.
It is my understanding that the HMCS Halifax is still in the Persian
Gulf. Therefore, it clearly has not been replaced. No decision has been made as
to what ship, if any, will replace it.
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, the coalition naval forces are
currently searching for al-Qaeda leaders and contraband by boarding freighters
and merchant ships leaving Pakistani ports and the Arabian Sea. These ships
could be carrying al-Qaeda members armed with highly effective Stinger
anti-aircraft missiles for the protection of those leaders.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether our Sea Kings
can protect themselves against potential attack by those Stingers?
Senator Carstairs: As honourable senators know, our defence
establishment makes decisions as to what ships and aircraft, including
helicopters, are sent. One of the fundamental criteria for the decision of what
personnel and equipment to send is threat assessment. That is the overriding
factor in determining how to equip our forces abroad.
That assessment was made. The Sea Kings were put on our ships because
Canadian military planners have determined that the defence systems with which
the Sea Kings are equipped are appropriate to the assessed threat.
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, it is my understanding that our
Sea Kings are without three of the four necessary missile defence suites that
defend against missiles. Although I am not asking for an answer today, we need
to know whether, if they do not have the proper defence mechanisms, they are at
least out of harm's way.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I can answer that. The risk
assessment was made. The defence establishment determined what equipment was
required. That equipment is on board the aircraft and the ships that have been
sent. The risk assessment test has been met.
Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, my question concerns the
extremely difficult situation facing thousands of Canadian workers in the
softwood lumber industry throughout Canada as a result of the measures taken by
the U.S. government.
In order to facilitate negotiations between Canada and the United States on
this important issue, it appears that part of the solution involves the
different forestry management schemes in the various parts of Canada.
Yesterday, in Quebec, the Minister for Natural Resources and Forestry
indicated that the Government of Quebec was willing to change the Quebec
forestry scheme quickly in order to help reach an agreement with the United
There are other forestry set-ups, in particular, the one in force in British
Columbia, that are much more complicated than Quebec's. In its negotiations with
the U.S. government, will the Canadian government allow certain regions of
Canada, for instance Quebec, to sign an agreement with the United States as soon
as possible, without waiting until the other regions are in a position to reach
an agreement with the U.S.?
It would be very beneficial to be able to do this because, particularly in
Quebec, entire towns depend on this industry, and this is obviously an emergency
situation. Could the minister ask her colleague the Minister for International
Trade to allow certain regions of Canada that are ready to sign an agreement
with the American government to do so very soon, in order to maintain jobs which
are absolutely vital to the regions of Quebec and Canada?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
there have been ongoing discussions between International Trade Minister
Pettigrew and the Quebec Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Brassard. Minister
Brassard has been very cooperative and supportive. He assured Mr. Pettigrew that
the Quebec government remains committed to the Canada-United States process for
pursuing a long-term, durable solution. He and the representatives of all the
other provincial governments involved have agreed to a two-week meeting schedule
beginning November 26 in Toronto in order that a Canadian solution can be found
to this impending economic problem for many Canadians who work in sawmills
throughout this nation.
Senator Rivest: At present, there are different programs in place. The
Atlantic provinces are not affected, so there is one situation that is already
resolved. If Quebec is prepared to sign an agreement, why not allow it?
Obviously, it would have to be done within a Canadian vision and conception of
agreements. I think that the Quebec minister stated quite clearly that he would
respect the Canadian government's parameters and policies. The situation is
The situation in the Maritimes is already advantageous for workers. Quebec
seems ready to solve its problem, so we should allow it to do so. Eventually,
other regions in Canada will do likewise. I believe this is the message that the
Quebec minister wanted to communicate to his federal counterpart.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, there will never be an
absolutely equal system in that timber rights are in the hands of private
operators in Atlantic Canada whereas in British Columbia the land is mostly held
by the Crown. It is absolutely essential that the provinces work together and
with the federal government in order to find a durable, long-term solution for
lumber operations in every region of this country.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, my question is about persons being incarcerated in Canada for security
reasons. This issue will be with us for some time, unfortunately.
Would it be possible to establish a system whereby the government or its
representative in the Senate gives us periodic reports, so that we would not
have to always ask the question as to how many persons are in custody for
security reasons pursuant to given statutes? For example, today I could ask:
Pursuant to the Immigration Act, how many persons are being held in custody for
Perhaps the minister could answer that and reflect upon the larger question
of whether or not we in Parliament could learn from the minister rather than
getting scattered information through the newspapers.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the honourable senator realizes, some of that information is not accurate.
We must understand that a great many individuals are detained each and every
year. My figures for last year indicate that, in the most recent fiscal year,
which I assume ended in March of this year, 9,138 people were held for
immigration reasons. Some were held for security reasons, some for health
reasons, some for lacking the appropriate documents. The average period of
detention was 16 days — and that, frankly, will certainly not diminish, because
of the threats that are in existence throughout the world as a result of
However, the honourable senator has made an interesting suggestion. I shall
bring it forward to my cabinet colleagues.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table in this house three delayed answers to
questions raised in the Senate: the question raised on October 24, 2001, by
Senator Lynch-Staunton regarding drugs used to treat anthrax: the question
raised on October 25, 2001, by Senator Tkachuk also regarding drugs used to
treat anthrax; and the question raised on November 7, 2001, by Senator
Forrestall regarding Order in Council 1989-583.
(Response to questions raised by Hon. John Lynch-Staunton on October 24,
2001 and Hon. David Tkachuk on October 25, 2001)
At present, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and penicillin are available on the
Canadian market but not specifically approved for the treatment of Anthrax
infection in humans.
Although ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and penicillin are not approved by
Health Canada for the treatment of Anthrax infection, they are recommended as
standard treatments for this infection by leading health authorities including
the Centres for Disease Control in the United States, NATO, and the U.S. Army
Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The use of approved drug products for non-approved medical indications
falls within the practice of medicine and is left to the discretion of
treating physicians. This practice is common and is often referred to as
"off-label use". The quality and appropriateness of medical practice are
matters regulated at the provincial level by the various colleges of
physicians and surgeons.
Under the current regulatory framework, it is the manufacturer's
responsibility to seek marketing privileges for a drug for a given medical
indication. Market authorization is sought through the submission of an
application which supports the safety, efficacy and quality of drug products
for the proposed indications. The decision to seek market authorization is
most often based on a market opportunity identified by a manufacturer.
Given that the risk of anthrax infection is normally considered to be
extraordinarily low, most manufacturers would not be interested in funding
research into the safety and efficacy of drugs given that the expected return
on that investment would be accordingly low.
Under the current regulatory framework, Health Canada reviews and considers
data submitted by a manufacturer in support of a claim that a particular drug
is safe and effective for a particular medical condition. In this way, Health
Canada approval to market and advertise a drug is very specific to one or more
The Food and Drugs Act and Regulations prohibits manufacturers from
knowingly selling or promoting drugs for "off-label" use.
(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on November 7,
Order in Council P.C. 1989-583 placed all members of the CF Regular Force
and Reserve Force on active service when outside of Canada. This Order in
Council is still in effect today. Based on legal advice, it was decided to
discontinue the practice of issuing operation specific Orders in Council
because these would be redundant with the before-mentioned Order in Council.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to Orders
of the Day, I should like to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery
of a delegation of senior government officials from the Republic of Hungary.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I should like to introduce
another visiting page from the House of Commons. Geneviève Côté-Marleau, of
Ottawa, is studying political science in the University of Ottawa's Faculty of
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate. I trust
that you will find your week with us interesting and informative.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, we would like to start with the first two items under Government
Business, and then move to second reading of Bill C-33.
Hon. Jack Austin moved the third reading of Bill C-32, to implement
the Free Trade Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of
the Republic of Costa Rica.
He said: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign
Affairs last week reported Bill C-32 without amendment.
When the committee met on Tuesday, November 20, the only witnesses the
committee heard from were Patrick O'Brien, who is the parliamentary secretary to
the Minister for International Trade, and a departmental officer, Ms Heather
In my view, only two areas of discussion focused specifically on the bill
itself. The first related to the issue of refined sugar imports. There is
provision, as I mentioned at second reading, for imports of refined sugar from
Costa Rica on a tariff-free basis after 10 years, to a limit of 40,000 metric
tonnes, provided the raw sugar originates in Costa Rica and is refined there.
At the present time, there is no sugar refinery in Costa Rica. At most, the
Costa Rican refined sugar could occupy 3 per cent of Canada's domestic market.
By letter dated November 21, which I received by fax that day, one day after
the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Canadian
Sugar Beet Producers' Association Inc., under the signature of Bruce Webster,
general manager, advised that their concern was not with Bill C-32 but with
issues generic to the world sugar system. In particular, their concern is:
Our main point for legislators respecting the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade
Agreement is that its features should not be replicated in future bilateral or
Of course, their focus is on the sugar issue.
Simply explained, they see other Central American countries with a major
component of sugar growers and with a capacity to refine sugar. The impact of a
similar agreement with such countries would be of real significance to the sugar
beet industry and to the Canadian sugar refiners.
This leads to the second area of discussion in the Standing Senate Committee
on Foreign Affairs. Senators in the committee were quite aware of this pending
question. In reply to a question from Senator Bolduc, the parliamentary
secretary noted that the committee report in the other place highlighted this
concern. Mr. O'Brien went on to say:
The reality is that each of these bilateral agreements stands on its own.
While there are many elements that are similar, it is not just a cookie-cutter
template that would mean that any future agreement would be entered into on
that basis. We certainly understand the concern and it is shared on both sides
of the House.
In response to a further question from Senator Graham regarding negotiations
with other Central American countries, Mr. O'Brien stated:
There is certainly an anticipation of negotiations with the other countries
of Central America. At this time, there are not any underway...
...but we expect that very soon there will be a new set of talks.
As it happens, The Globe and Mail, on Thursday, November 22, 2001 —
today — reports that Canada will open free trade talks with El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in December. I hope I am not being overly
sensitive in remarking that this announcement should have awaited final
disposition by the Senate of Bill C-32 and Royal Assent.
In any event, I believe the Senate owes a special duty to the sugar beet
industry and the sugar refiners to consider most closely the impact on them of
any free trade agreement with those countries.
Honourable senators, Canada is a free trader, and that is not a matter of
political partisanship. When it comes to the terms of a free trade deal, we have
had and may yet have partisan differences to resolve. However, in strategic
terms, we will seek free trade on an international basis, such as the WTO and
the Doha round. We seek free trade regionally, such as NAFTA and, perhaps in the
future, the FTAA. We seek free trade bilaterally, as in the case of the proposed
Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement before us today.
I trust Bill C-32 will have the support of all honourable senators.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, I simply wish to point out that
we are not opposed to the bill. We mentioned this at second reading. In
committee, we pointed out that we have supported free trade for many years. That
As a representative of the Province of Quebec, I raised a question as to the
repercussions this agreement might have on the sugar refineries. I cautioned the
Parliamentary Secretary about future agreements with other Central American
countries, because there could be problems, particularly with Guatemala. That
reservation expressed, I have no objection to this bill.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Sheila Finestone moved the second reading of Bill C-38, to amend
the Air Canada Public Participation Act.
She said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise and speak to Bill C-38,
which is being given second reading today.
As honourable senators know, Bill C-38 was first introduced at the end of
October in the other place and had a rapid but thorough review there. I
understand that there are similar plans for our standing committee, and in
advance I wish to thank the committee members who will deal with the bill in
detail over the next few days.
The purpose of Bill C-38 is to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act
to eliminate the 15 per cent limit on the holding of voting shares in Air
Canada. The bill does not try to resolve any of the other longer-term issues
relating to Air Canada.
The proposed legislative changes are intended to provide our national air
carrier with one of the key tools it needs as it attempts to regain its
financial health that has been severely strained by a number of events over this
Even before September 11, it had become quite apparent that Air Canada would
have to make some significant moves to address its weakened financial situation.
The carrier's efforts to integrate Canadian Airlines, high fuel prices,
declining passenger demand and the severe slowdown in the economy have all had a
significant impact on Air Canada.
Taken together, these measures were designed to ensure that individual
shareholders could not act in concert to take control of the airline and as a
result nullify the concept of a widely held company.
Air Canada has stated publicly that it needs new equity and it has taken, and
continues to take, measures to acquire a considerable number of non-voting
However, for those investors who want to have some say in the direction of
the company, there has been a legislated limit on voting shares and a companion
prohibition on association between the holders of those same voting shares.
These measures were designed to ensure that individual shareholders could not
act in concert to take control of the airline and thereby nullify the concept of
a widely held company.
A 10 per cent restriction was in place until last year, when Bill C-26, the
airline restructuring legislation, came into force on July 5, 2000. Bill C-26
had in it a section that amended the Air Canada Public Participation Act by
raising the individual limit on the holding of voting shares to 15 per cent. The
prohibition on association was not changed.
Honourable senators will recall that in the leadup to Bill C-26 in the fall
of 1999, both the House of Commons and the Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications held extensive hearings to assess the views and
concerns of the airline industry in Canada. In their separate reports, both
committees recommended that the limit on individual voting share ownership in
Air Canada be raised to 20 per cent. Several members thought that figure should
be raised higher than that.
Notwithstanding that, the government agreed that the limit should be raised
as a means of encouraging investment in Air Canada, while still preventing a
single shareholder from gaining effective control. The government's view at that
time was that 15 per cent was the appropriate threshold, and it is this new
limit that was entrenched in law.
In deciding to remove the limit, the government has come to believe that any
limit can act as a disincentive to an investor with serious intentions of having
a say in the management of Air Canada.
The events of September 11, 2001, have had unprecedented consequences for
airlines around the world. Passenger traffic has declined more than in any other
previous recession. Significant short- and long-term financial difficulties are
forecast for the entire industry. Regrettably, Canada 3000, the country's second
largest airline, has already declared bankruptcy.
Air Canada has been forced by the effects of the terrorist attacks in the
United States to re-examine its entire operation even more profoundly than had
been previously announced. Services have been adjusted in response to reduced
demand and costs have been cut wherever possible. Extremely difficult decisions
have had to be made by Air Canada's management, including notice of layoffs to
close to 9,000 employees.
To reduce the layoff impact, the company has been working with HRDC to ensure
that its employees can benefit from any existing federal programs, including
work-sharing. The carrier has also eliminated some routes from its network and
has scaled back on the number and size of aircraft used on other routes.
Air Canada has benefited, along with every other Canadian air carrier, from
the government initiatives that were instituted to help the industry cope with
the severe economic fallout from the events of September 11.
The government provided an indemnity for third party war and terrorism
liabilities for essential aviation service operators in Canada. It took this
action, as did other governments around the world, to ensure our carriers would
be able to keep operating.
In recognition of financial consequences of the closure of Canada's airspace,
the government implemented a $160-million program to compensate the more than
1,300 businesses providing air transportation for passengers and cargo and
offering specialty air services.
A great many Canadian carriers have already filed their claims under the
compensation package, and a number of carriers have already received their
initial payments, including Air Canada.
Honourable senators, Ronald Reagan National Airport's unique geographic
location has resulted in authorities in the United States imposing more
stringent security requirements there than at other American airports. In order
to re-establish Air Canada's important flying rights into that airport from
Toronto and Montreal, the government has authorized the presence of armed RCMP
officers on Air Canada flights to the U.S. capital. It has also made the
necessary provisions to allow armed U.S. air marshals on U.S. flights to enter
Canada without difficulty.
The decision to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act at this time is
designed to provide additional assistance to Air Canada in its attempts to
return to financial stability.
Let me assure honourable senators that the board of directors of Air Canada
supports this change. The matter was discussed with the chair, and Air Canada
has stated publicly that it supports the government's decision. The government
is confident that this measure offers the private sector greater opportunities
for investing in Air Canada and can contribute to the successful restructuring
of the company. It should attract new capital for the airline. It is also
important to note that there have been no objections voiced publicly on the
elimination of the 15 per cent limit.
With the enactment of this bill, Air Canada will find itself on the same
footing as the rest of the air industry with respect to individual share
ownership. There will be no limit except for the 25 per cent limit on voting
shares held by non-residents, which is a different issue.
On this point, I must emphasize that Bill C-38 will not in any way result in
a change in the government's position on foreign ownership. The government
remains committed to ensuring that Canada's airline industry is run in Canada,
for Canadians, by Canadians. Consequently, the government's long-standing policy
of a 25 per cent limit on foreign ownership of voting shares, which applies to
all carriers, and not just Air Canada, shall remain unchanged.
This is a bill, therefore, with only three clauses. The first removes the 15
per cent limit and the prohibition on association; the second renders null and
void any other corporate documents that addressed the 15 per cent limit; and the
third deals with when the changes will come into force.
The legislative changes that will be enacted as a result of this bill should
serve the interests of Air Canada and airline passengers who will benefit from a
stronger, more effective and efficient national carrier, which I am sure all
honourable senators in this chamber, all parliamentarians and most Canadians
will be thrilled to note. I am pleased to introduce this bill and hope we can
give it swift passage. The sooner this bill can be enacted, the better.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I should like to ask a question of the Honourable Senator Finestone. I
hope I misunderstood the honourable senator. Under Bill C-36, there is a
pertinent provision that the Firearms Act would be suspended to allow U.S. sky
marshals to come to Canada armed. I understood her to say that this provision
was already in effect. Is that correct?
Senator Finestone: Honourable senators, did I say "already in
effect"? I think I said it will come into effect.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is what I wish to have the honourable
senator reassure us about.
Senator Finestone: I remember discussing it. I remember looking at it.
I believe that this bill will put into effect what we have already said we will
do. Is that not a good thing?
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I will check Hansard tomorrow. I understood
the honourable senator to say that the provision to allow armed sky marshals in
the United States or elsewhere was already in effect. I just hope I
misunderstood the honourable senator.
Senator Finestone: That would be a good question for the honourable
senator to raise tomorrow in committee.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, will Senator Finestone tell
us whether this is the sum total of the government's policy in terms of
restoring or creating a competitive air industry in Canada?
Senator Finestone: I do not believe so. I think I stated at the outset
that this is one of the major steps that will be required to ensure or to
rebuild the health of that company. I can think of other steps that are not in
this bill, as can Senator Murray.
Senator Murray: Do any of them have to do with Mr. Milton?
On motion of Senator Tkachuk, debate adjourned.
Hon. Willie Adams moved the second reading of Bill C-33, respecting
the water resources of Nunavut and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal, and to
make consequential amendments to other acts.
He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill C-33. The Nunavut
Land Claims Agreement came into effect on July 9, 1993. I think all honourable
senators will remember that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney went to Iqaluit to
come to an agreement on a land claims settlement in 1993. At that time, we had a
big celebration in Nunavut. After 1999, we developed a Nunavut government.
Honourable senators, I wish to speak in my native language, Inuktitut.
Senator Watt will be my interpreter.
[Editor's Note: The honourable senator continued in Inuktitut —
Honourable senators, many years of negotiations were spent in developing
these claims, and it was something Inuit felt they needed to provide for future
generations. The land claims allow them to become a full and equal partner in
the Canadian federation. Inuit now control more than 350,000 square kilometres.
Bill C-33 has been in development since 1996. Since then, efforts have been
made to listen to and accommodate the concerns of the Inuit and other
stakeholders. Meetings have been held between DIAND and Nunavut Tunngavik
Incorporated. NTI, Nunavik Tunngavik Incorporated, has also been representing
Inuit over the past 20 years in their negotiations with the federal government
on their land claims agreements. The Makivik Corporation, which represents the
Inuit of James Bay and Northern Quebec, has also been consulted on this
The Nunavut Water Board has been in existence and carrying out duties since
July 1995, and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal since 1996. Bill C-33 will
resolve present legal issues. It will meet outstanding commitments under the
Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and provide for economic development in Nunavut.
Bill C-33 describes the powers of these two institutions and also sets out
the overall resource management guidelines set out in the land claim agreement.
The board will ensure that Inuit culture, customs and knowledge will be
This proposed act is divided into two parts. Part 1 establishes the Nunavut
Water Board and recognizes special rights for Inuit concerning water flowing
through Nunavut. Environmental concerns and compensation for the loss and
damages will be taken into consideration when a water licence is applied for.
According to the terms listed in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the board
will consist of eight members. Four will be Inuit nominated by Nunavut Tunngavik
Incorporated, two will be nominated by the Government of Nunavut, and two
members will be nominated by the federal government. The language to be spoken
at the board meetings is Inuktitut.
Part 2 of the bill will establish the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal. The
tribunal will settle disputes between Inuit and persons who wish to access
Inuit-owned land and persons holding surface rights who wish to access those
Crown lands. The board will resolve disputes concerning the loss to the Inuit
from damage to the environment and wildlife harvesting by development activities
in Nunavut settlement areas.
Honourable senators, after five years of studying this bill and meeting with
the concerned organizations, I feel it is time to move this legislation forward.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Sheila Finestone: Honourable senators, I am sure you all share my
extreme joy and pleasure at listening to Senator Adams speak in Inuktitut. I
felt an enormous sense of pride, privilege and a true expression of what Canada
is all about — this post modern nation of the 21st century, the most diverse and
pluralistic nation in the world. I thank you for the privilege of being able to
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Johnson, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C., for the adoption of the tenth report of
the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill C-7,
in respect of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other
Acts, with amendments) presented in the Senate on November 8, 2001.
Hon. Landon Pearson: Honourable senators, this debate was stood in the
name of Senator Cools, but she has yielded.
As sponsor of Bill C-7, I should like to speak today to the tenth report of
the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
I wish to express my concerns about the amendments contained in it,
particularly those amendments on which I either abstained when I did not fully
understand or opposed during the voting process. Having now studied the
amendments thoroughly, I believe they are either redundant or in some cases
actually harmful to the best interests of the young people whose actions have
brought them into conflict with the law. As a result, I will be voting against
accepting the report.
Before I discuss the amendments in more detail, I should like to focus for a
few minutes on the context of the bill itself. The phenomenon of young people in
trouble with the law is a complex one, generated as it is by a combination of
troubled, often chaotic living circumstances and tendencies common among most
adolescents towards risk-taking and experimentation and among some towards
defiance and increased aggression. Responding in an appropriate manner to the
difficulties of this life stage is very challenging, yet it can and must be
Almost every young person I have known has pushed beyond the limits of the
law at one time or another. Some do so often enough in such visible
circumstances that they get caught. A smaller number, alas, do act out of malice
and must be held accountable, and we have to recognize that a handful become so
violent that they commit very serious crimes and constitute a real danger both
to society and to themselves. Yet, at least until they turn 18 years of age, I
am convinced that all young people are open to change; they are far more open
than most adults, who tend to become rather rapidly fixed in their patterns of
behaviour. This is why a youth criminal justice system, separate and apart as
much as possible from the adult system, is so important for their future as well
as for ours.
To some extent the existing law, the Young Offenders Act, was crafted in
recognition of the opportunities for behavioural change that the fluidity of
adolescence provides. Certain provinces, notably Quebec, took the YOA and the
opening it provided for alternative measures and experienced a relative success.
Others did not, however, and we have ended up overall with the largest rate of
youth incarceration in the Western World.
Honourable senators, it seems to me that that rate of youth incarceration
speaks to a certain ambiguity in the YOA that has led provinces to widely
varying practices. To some extent, this ambiguity lies in the stated purposes of
the YOA. It is also to be found in the funding that accompanied implementation —
funding that was used in certain jurisdictions more for the construction of
custodial facilities than for alternative measures. This ambiguity has also
allowed for the growth of a certain amount of public mistrust of the YOA. This
mistrust, however ill-founded, is a social reality and it has to be taken into
As legislators, all honourable senators in this chamber know that the law is
a human creation, since we spend so much of our time engaged in the process.
Just as no person should be above or beyond the law, so no law should be too far
removed from the people in whose interests it is designed. Otherwise it will not
be either as effective or as respected as it should.
During the seven years I have been in the Senate, I have assisted laws to
change and evolve in response to social change. Therefore, I never hold out for
a perfect law. However, in this case I do hold out for the best response to
these times and these circumstances. I am convinced that the YOA is no longer
adequate, although it is far ahead of the Juvenile Delinquent Act that it
replaced. I am also convinced that the new Youth Criminal Justice Act, with its
emphasis on the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth; on fair and
proportionate accountability that is consistent with the greater dependency of
young persons and the reduced level of maturity, on enhanced procedural
protections of youth to ensure that they are treated fairly and their rights are
protected; on ensuring timely interventions — especially important given young
persons' perceptions of time — and on reducing the number of young people
needlessly brought into the justice system and into custody is much more
appropriate for today.
Honourable senators, I am happy to say that most of the witnesses who
appeared before our committee agreed with these objectives. There was also clear
support at committee for another of the bill's main objectives: less use of the
formal justice system and more diversion and other extra-judicial measures for
the vast majority of youth crime.
Experience in Canada and other countries has shown that measures outside the
court process can prove effective and timely in responding to less serious youth
crime. Even though the YOA permits the use of alternative measures, over 15
years of experience makes it clear that it does not provide enough legislative
direction regarding their use.
The proposed Youth Criminal Justice Act is intended to enable the courts to
focus on serious youth crime by increasing the use of effective and timely
non-court responses to less serious offences. These extra-judicial measures
provide meaningful consequences, such as requiring the young person to repair
the harm to the victim. They also enable early intervention with young people,
as well as the opportunity for the broader community to play an important role
in developing community-based responses to youth crime. One of our witnesses,
Judge Peter Harris, even told us that the new law, once implemented, would cut
his caseload in half and enable him to concentrate on finding the most
appropriate judicial response to the young people before him who had committed
the most serious crimes.
Most witnesses before the committee also strongly supported reducing our
overall use of custody in this country. Young persons in Canada often receive
harsher custodial sentences than do adults for the same type of offence. It was
disturbing for many honourable senators to discover that almost 80 per cent of
custodial sentences now are for non-violent offences.
In contrast to the YOA, the new legislation provides that custody is to be
reserved primarily for violent offenders and serious repeat offenders. The YCJA
recognizes that non-custodial sentences can also provide more meaningful
consequences and be more effective in rehabilitating young persons than
The bill also contains measures for the rehabilitation and reintegration of
those who do go into custody. A weakness of the YOA is that a young person can
be released from custody with no required supervision and support. Bill C-7
requires that every period in custody be followed by a period of supervision and
support in the community as part of the sentence. The emphasis in the bill on
assisting a young person to make a successful transition back to the community
is based on the belief that virtually all youth can reintegrate if they receive
the proper support, assistance and opportunities.
Taken as a whole, the proposed YCJA will ensure a fairer and more effective
system while reducing the numbers of youth going into the formal justice system,
reducing overreliance on incarceration in this country and, for those who do go
into custody, increasing reintegration measures for a successful transition and
return to the community.
Honourable senators, I will now turn to some of the amendments. I will not
address all of the amendments as others will speak to them, but I will focus on
those to which my own experience is particularly relevant.
First, I would like to address the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
I have been involved with this document since its inception under the leadership
of Poland in 1979. Canada was a member of the international working group that
drafted the convention and took an active part in its development. At that time,
I participated as a stakeholder of a concerned non-governmental community. From
the time it was adopted until I came to the Senate, I chaired the Canadian
Coalition on the Rights of Children that promoted Canada's ratification of the
convention in 1991. I worked with many aspects of the convention, including the
section on youth justice. I truly believe this new bill is in full compliance
and in many instances exceeds the minimum of the protections called for. It
certainly strengthens rights and protections available under the current YOA.
The reference to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child found in the
preamble to Bill C-7 is a clear indication that Canada is in compliance, and
therefore the suggested amendment to clause 2, in my view, is not needed. On the
contrary, I am afraid that it would only serve to add confusion and conflict in
interpreting the bill.
The declaration of principles in clause 3 of the bill sets out the principles
that apply in the act. They are in compliance with the convention but, most
important, many of them articulate the convention's provisions in language that
reflects Canadian jurisprudence. This is important because the language of the
UN convention represents a compromise to allow acceptance by a wide range of
different systems and is not precise or clear enough for an advanced system of
youth justice protection such as Canada's. The interpretation provision in
clause 3(2) provides that the act shall be liberally construed to ensure that
young persons are dealt with in accordance with the declaration of principles.
Inserting the suggested amendment would, I contend, only serve to increase
confusion and conflict and add unnecessary complexity. Therefore, I would urge
honourable senators not to accept the amendment.
A further amendment, also related to the convention, concerns what happens to
a youth who receives an adult sentence. It is important to note that when a
youth receives an adult sentence, the youth is not directed to serve the
sentence in adult custody. Clause 76 of the bill provides that a young person
under 18 with an adult sentence should serve the sentence in youth facilities.
It should also be noted, by the way, that the bill is clear that a young person,
anyone under 18, serving a youth sentence would never serve it with adults. They
must be kept separate and apart. However, if a judge is convinced that it would
be in the best interests of the young person, or if keeping the young person in
youth custody would jeopardize the safety of others, including others in youth
custody, only then can a youth with an adult sentence be placed in adult
There are exceptional circumstances that must be taken into account for youth
with adult sentences who may be an unmanageable security risk to other youths in
the youth facility. The rights and safety of other young people must be taken
into consideration, as well as the best interests of the youth with the adult
sentence. I know of at least one case in Ontario where one young person in a
youth facility killed another because the guards failed to exercise caution.
These provisions must be looked at, along with the range of other measures in
the bill that limit the overall use of custody for youth and eliminate transfer
to adult court.
It is of the utmost importance that the transfer system be fair and that the
youth justice court take into account the individual circumstances of each case,
including the age and maturity of the youth and the seriousness of the offence.
A suggested amendment would change clause 76 by requiring that when a youth
with an adult sentence is placed in adult facilities, the youth would be kept in
a youth custody section of the adult facility, separate and apart from any adult
who is detained or held in custody.
There are several grave concerns with this approach, most notably its
devastating effect on youth. The suggested amendment would allow young persons
with adult sentences to be placed in adult facilities but would require that the
youth serve the sentence separate and apart from adults. The very small number
of youth in adult facilities, on average six, spread across the country per
year, including both males and females, would mean that these youth would be
forced to serve their sentence in isolation, in effect, warehoused in solitary
confinement, as they would not be able to attend programs or otherwise associate
with adults. This would not be in the best interests of young people.
The suggested amendment creates a major problem in another area. It
eliminates the authority to place an offender with an adult sentence who reaches
adulthood, or is an adult at the time of sentencing, in anything but custody
with other youth. The suggested amendment provides only for placement in the
youth custody section of an adult facility, separate and apart from adults, and
removes the ability to place an older person in adult custody. There are many
instances when a young person with an adult sentence turns 20 or older, or where
a young offender receives an adult sentence but was only charged many years
after committing a serious offence as a youth, and should be placed in adult
custody. With this amendment, that would no longer be possible.
Another set of amendments I would like to discuss are the ones related to the
age for presumptive offences. In the YOA, section 16 allows for a Crown
application pre-trial to move a young person aged 14 or over to adult court. The
number of those under 16 who are transferred to adult court is small. Over the
last four years, Quebec has transferred but eight, and Ontario but nine.
However, the fact remains that they are transferred pre-trial and they are
transferred to an adult court.
Under the new law, there will be no transfer to adult court, and adult
sentences for the worst offences will only be given after conviction.
Furthermore — and this is why I am not against leaving the age at 14 for
presumptive offences — the trial judge has considerable discretion in sentencing
and, indeed, a new alternative for the most violent young offenders. This
alternative is known as the intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision
order. Instead of ordering an adult sentence, the youth justice court can make
this order if the young person has been found guilty of one of the most serious
offences, the young person is suffering from a mental or psychological disorder
or an emotional disturbance, an individualized treatment plan has been developed
for the young person and an appropriate program is available for which the young
person is suitable for admission.
The Department of Justice has set aside special funding for the provinces and
territories to ensure that this sentencing option can be made available
throughout the country. It provides an opportunity to bring all possible
therapeutic resources together to assist the young offender to avoid serious
reoffending in the future.
For the very small group of young people who are very violent, being able to
work with them from the age of 14 offers a much better chance at rehabilitation
than working with them at 16, when it may already be too late.
Another suggested amendment deals with recovery of costs of legal counsel. As
you are aware, the bill guarantees a young person the right to retain and
instruct counsel without delay, to exercise that right personally at any stage
of the proceedings, to be told of their right to counsel and to have counsel
provided. The bill also provides, in clause 25(10), that nothing prevents a
province from establishing a program to recover the costs of a young person's
counsel from the young person or parents, and that the costs can only be
recovered after the proceedings are completed.
A small number of provinces are currently recovering costs from those who
have the ability to pay, as part of the administration of justice. A recent
Ontario Court of Appeal decision upheld this practice and stated that costs
could be recovered at any stage of the proceedings. While clause 25(10) is not
strictly necessary, and while I know that the mover of this amendment did so
with excellent intentions, on closer examination we see that it contains a
degree of protection for the young person that does not currently exist.
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I am
sorry to inform the Honourable Senator Pearson that her alotted time has
Senator Pearson: May I have leave to continue?
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I consent to Senator Pearson being given leave to finish her speech,
as she has requested, so that we do not embark on an interminable question
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Since some senators can make suggestions about the
length of extension of time, I should also like to make a suggestion. I suggest
that since Senator Pearson is the sponsor of the bill, we give her an extension
of one-half hour.
Senator Pearson: I do not need half an hour.
Senator Cools: The question must be settled. There are two suggestions
before the chamber.
Senator Pearson: Honourable senators, the recovery of the cost of
counsel from the parent or young person can take place only after the
proceedings are completed. This ensures that the young person will have counsel
throughout the proceedings without consideration of ability to pay. Deletion of
this subclause would remove this protection and therefore I cannot support it.
I could make similar arguments with respect to the other proposed amendments,
but time does not permit. I would, however, like to make a quick reference to
the amendment related to Aboriginal youth. All members of the committee are very
conscious that Aboriginal youth are greatly overrepresented in the system. This
is a very serious situation that must be addressed. However, I am convinced that
the framework of the bill, without amendment, is adequate to allow good things
to happen. The most important thing is that the resources designated for them be
allowed to flow.
Honourable senators, I undertook to sponsor Bill C-7 because I was convinced
that the youth criminal justice system it creates would mark a substantial
improvement over the YOA system for both young people and society. Having
studied it in the company of over 60 witnesses in committee, I remain convinced
that it is more respectful of the rights of young people to due process when
they come into conflict with the law, more respectful of the nature of
adolescents, and more respectful of the capacity of young people to take
responsibility for their actions than is the YOA. I also believe it is more
respectful of society by ensuring that the most violent young offenders will not
only be held accountable but will be offered more opportunities to change before
they re-enter society, as they inevitably will. Nothing any of the witnesses
said has persuaded me otherwise.
Of course the bill is not perfect, nor will it solve all the problems related
to youth justice. There will never be enough money, programs or human resources
to address the difficult circumstances that make some young people rebellious
and vulnerable, or to help them find their way to responsibility and maturity.
During the implementation stage, certain flaws in the proposed legislation
may very well appear, and we may find ourselves required to amend the new act,
just as we did the YOA shortly after I came to the Senate. However, the bill I
want to implement is Bill C-7 as it stands, without the amendments recommended
by the committee. The reason for that, as I said earlier, is that I believe
these amendments to be either unnecessary, inconsistent with, or indeed harmful
to the purposes of the bill and to the best interests of young people.
As a result, I will vote against the committee's report and I urge all
senators to do the same. We will then be able to vote for a youth criminal
justice system that will prevent crime by addressing the circumstances
underlying a young person's offending behaviour, rehabilitate young persons who
commit offences and reintegrate them into society, and ensure that a young
person is subject to meaningful consequences for his or her offence, in order to
promote the long-term protection of the public.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, would the Honourable Senator
Pearson take a question?
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable Senator Cools, a
short time ago the chamber gave permission for Senator Pearson to finish her
speech, without questions.
Senator Cools: I understand that Senator Pearson rose and asked for
leave, and that it was granted. That is the agreement the chamber made.
As to the amount of time that Senator Pearson was actually given, the chamber
did not address its mind to that question at all. That was an announcement made
by one senator, but the chamber did not make any judgment on that particular
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, with respect to consent, on
several occasions recently, we have agreed to stay within the time limits set
out in the rules, in order that all senators may have a chance to speak.
However, we have consented to allowing a certain amount of additional time in
order to permit a senator to finish her speech and avoid cutting her off before
she had reached the end. This is purely in order to let everyone say what they
have to say and ensure that we do not become involved in an endless question
period, as has happened in the past.
Senator Cools: The problem is that I remain on the horns of a dilemma,
which is that we have rule 99, and I believe rule 97, and a related set of
practices around this place essentially upholding the right of the Senate to
hear from the important players on a committee. Rule 99, as we said before,
indicates that the senator presenting the report shall explain to the Senate the
basis and the effect of each amendment. The chairman of the committee has
declined to do that.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I believe that the committee
chair acquitted herself properly of her mandate and responsibilities when she
presented the report and no one can say otherwise.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when I
sought the leave of this chamber, I made it very clear that the purpose was to
give Senator Pearson the chance to finish her speech. It is up to the chamber to
decide whether to give her more time.
Senator Cools: It is my understanding that, right now, we are past the
question of leave. I understand that we are now on a point of order. I believe
that Senator Robichaud just raised a point of order. Did I not hear him say,
"point of order"?
Senator Robichaud: Yes.
Senator Corbin: He clarified the record.
Senator Cools: Maybe Senator Robichaud wants to withdraw his point of
order. Are we not now on a point of order? I was under the impression that
Senator Robichaud raised a point of order on the question of the committee
chairs responding to the Senate in respect of a committee report.
It is a long-standing principle of any chamber that the chamber has the right
to hear from the important players on a committee about a report of the
This is simply not acceptable.
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: I heard Senator Robichaud say
"point of order." I did not hear him ask for a ruling.
Let us make it simple. Senator Cools wishes to ask questions of Senator
Pearson. I will ask Senator Pearson whether she is ready to answer questions.
Senator Pearson: My answer is yes.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: It must be Thursday. It is like there is a
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, we keep coming back to this
discussion. I maintain that if we decide to no longer allow this practice, which
was an attempt to facilitate the debate, leave will simply no longer be given
because it could lead to interminable debates or question periods.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when you
gave leave just now, it was to allow Senator Pearson to complete her speech.
Is leave granted for Senator Pearson to answer questions?
It is your decision, honourable senators. Is leave granted?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: Leave is not granted.
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the
debate on Bill C-7.
Senator Cools: Which debate is the honourable senator speaking about?
We are on a point of order.
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: Did the Honourable Senator
Cools ask for a point of order?
Senator Cools: No, but Senator Robichaud had raised a point of order.
That is what was before the chamber when Her Honour came forward and put a
question about whether leave would be granted to Senator Pearson again. The
question before the chamber at the time was a point of order.
On motion of Senator Watt, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on consideration of the first report of the Special Senate
Committee on the Subject-Matter of Bill C-36, to amend the Criminal Code, the
Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money
Laundering) Act and other Acts, and to enact measures respecting the
registration of charities in order to combat terrorism, tabled in the Senate
on November 1, 2001.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, on October 15, 2001, the
Government of Canada tabled a bill to fight against terrorism. This is an
omnibus bill and it contains a number of measures that are unprecedented in
Bill C-36 deserves meticulous study; we began this review when the bill went
for pre-study, and the report tabled on November 1 by Senator Fairbairn is the
product of our initial reflections. I agree with this report.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Justice appeared before the Justice and Human
Rights Committee of the other House. A number of amendments were proposed. My
remarks today relate solely to the report of the Special Committee on Bill C-36
chaired by Senator Fairbairn, which is before us for consideration today. We
will study Bill C-36 as amended in due course.
I support the idea that the legislation should undergo very careful scrutiny
by a Senate committee within three years of its coming into effect and, as part
of this careful parliamentary scrutiny, that the Minister of Justice should
table an annual report on the measures taken pursuant to Bill C-36.
I also subscribe to the idea of a sunset clause — or a self-repealing
provision — for Bill C-36 as a whole after a five-year period, excluding the
provisions concerning the implementation of international conventions.
Regarding oversight and review, the appointment of a senior official seems an
entirely pertinent and appropriate amendment.
I also support the amendments proposed by the special committee regarding the
registration of terrorists, preventive detention, the certificates of the
Attorney General prohibiting the disclosure of information, those persons who
are required to keep secrets in perpetuity, charitable organizations, and
regulatory powers. I also support the definitions of "terrorist activity" and "security," the defence in the interest of the public under the Privacy Act,
the issue of "facilitating" and the list of terrorists, the offence of
mischief, and the use of the term "terrorism."
Before concluding, I should like to say a few words on the topic of the
interception of private communications.
Clause 62 of Bill C-36 sets out new measures that would allow the Minister of
Defence to authorize the use of telecommunications to intercept private
communications. Although there are certain conditions that must be met,
jurisprudence has shown that intercepting private communications without a
warrant violates section 8 of the Charter and cannot be justified under section
It is precisely because of this type of requirement for a search warrant,
combined with the respect of restrictions and safeguards, that the Supreme Court
was able to confirm the constitutionality of Section VI of the Criminal Code in
a number of decisions.
Thus, only authorization from the Minister of Defence could allow the
Communications Security Establishment to intercept private communications to or
from a foreign point.
Even though clause 62 of Bill C-36 is based on real and urgent objectives,
even though there is a rational link between intercepting private communications
and preventing terrorist attacks, and even though the means would not be
completely arbitrary since certain criteria would have to be met, the test of
minimal impairment is not met.
In fact, other less invasive measures could be implemented, including the
requirement for a warrant to intercept private communications and safeguards
that would at least balance the discretionary powers of the Minister of National
Defence, should these powers not be given to a neutral and impartial judge. On
this, the committee recommends requiring legal authorization when possible and
appropriate. I agree entirely.
Honourable senators, I therefore hope that the government will accept these
recommendations and I propose, officially, that this report be adopted by the
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing
Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (official third
party recognition) presented in the Senate on November 6, 2001.—(Honourabe
Senator Austin, P.C.)
Hon. Jack Austin moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and
the Rights of Parliament met on several occasions to deal with the question of
third parties and their standing in this chamber. This question was raised by
Senator St. Germain. The committee has unanimously recommended to this chamber
that certain rules be adopted in anticipation that at some future time third
parties may have standing in this chamber.
The key issues for the committee were essentially two. First, what defines a
party? Second, what representation should be required to reach the level of
official status as a third party?
In brief, the committee's recommendation is that a third party should be one
that is recognized as a political party under the Canada Elections Act, and that
to obtain that recognition a party must run a minimum of 50 candidates in a
federal election. Should a third party do so, it would be recognized under the
Canada Elections Act as a party for the purposes of that legislation. That would
found the basis on which the next step would take place; that is, that a
presence in this chamber of five senators adhering to that third party would
then constitute an official third party in this chamber.
Honourable senators, the committee unanimously believes that this is an
effective form of recognition for senators who wish to be associated with a
I should like to touch briefly on the consequences of recognition of a third
party. Essentially, the consequences are to provide a place in the order of
debate and to provide that allowances be paid to the leader, deputy leader and
whip of a third party. As we have noted in our recommendations, such allowances
would require amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act.
We recommend that the Rules of the Senate be reviewed and that the
standing committee of which I am chair bring proposed amendments to the Senate
following adoption of this report by the Senate. We have not prepared rules
pending the decision of this chamber.
The first recommendation is that the Senate accord official recognition to
parties that are registered as parties under the Canada Elections Act at the
time that recognition is sought in the Senate and that have at least five
members in the Senate. Recognition would be withdrawn only if the party's
membership in the Senate fell below five members.
To explain that recommendation, it may be that at a future time the party to
which these five senators belong has lost its registered standing under the
Canada Elections Act, because it does not meet those tests. Nonetheless, our
suggested rule is that, if there are five senators who support that party at a
time when it was qualified to be recognized as a third party, then the standing
of that third party would continue in this chamber as long as there were five
senators adhering to its caucus.
Honourable senators, I could go on, and I am sure you would love to have me
continue to discuss this issue. However, I would be pleased to take questions,
or to adjourn the debate in the name of Senator St. Germain who has asked me to
do so, with the consent of honourable senators.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators will do what they wish, but
I rose with the intention of asking for an adjournment of the debate. I am here
and Senator St. Germain is not here.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I should like to ask a
question of Senator Austin.
The Hon the Speaker pro tempore: Will you take questions,
Senator Austin: Certainly.
Senator Cools: I thank Senator Austin for his report. This report
speaks about third parties. I am wondering why the term "third political
party" is not used. "Third party" has a restrictive meaning in law, and there
is the possibility of confusion. When I saw the item on the Order Paper, I found
myself going to the report to find out what "third parties" we were speaking
about, and I discovered it was third political parties. That is my first
My second question deals with the number five. Five members of this chamber
are necessary to be treated within this process as a political party. I found my
imagination running to figure out why the number five and why not six, four or
ten? As the honourable senator would know, in a court judgment some months ago
the judge in the case said that a political party could be composed of two or
three members. The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
encountered that judgment when we were studying the electoral bill.
Could the honourable senator give us a more detailed explanation in regard to
the language of the report as to the selection of the number five? Some senators
may have a different proposal for a different number for a different set of
Senator Austin: I thank Senator Cools for her questions.
On the first question, the definition of "party" is that contained in the
Canada Elections Act. Our recommendation under paragraph 13 is that a party must
be registered under the Canada Elections Act at the time that recognition is
sought in the Senate. That statute provides for the conditions precedent.
I mentioned in my short comments in introducing the report that part of the
provision of the statute for recognition is that, at minimum, 50 candidates
should have run under that party label in the previous federal election. We do
not need to go beyond the definition of a party that is contained in the
legislation; rather, we need to fit exactly and on all fours with that
On the second question about the figure of five members, essentially, we
followed the leadership of the House of Commons with respect to its ratio. Our
report discusses how they came to the figure 12 as the official number for a
party. Through serendipity, it turns out, as the report notes, there was a party
with 12 elected members, and the other place accommodated that party with
official status at that level. They are 301 members and we are 105. The wisdom
of the committee was to take a proportional number — and that number is five —
and to follow generally the practices of the other place on this particular
Honourable senators, that is the best answer I can give you.
Senator Cools: I thank Senator Austin for that response. Essentially I
now understand the thinking behind the proposal; you looked at the ratio within
the House of Commons and adopted the same formula.
I understand that you are relying on the definition of "political party"
within the Canada Elections Act in regard to "third party." However, my first
question related more to why you are not using the term "third political
party," rather than just "third party." I understand that you use the Canada
Elections Act as a point of reference. However, if you look to the wording in
the report, you keep saying "third party," and I am wondering why you are not
more explicit in the report and say "third political party" or "other political
Senator Austin: On the advice of counsel to the Senate, we linked the
definition specifically to the definition of "political party" under the
Canada Elections Act. One cannot be more specific than that. However, it is a
definition by reference to the Canada Elections Act.
Senator Cools: I would like to make it clear that I would like to
speak to this report. I believe Senator Corbin was ahead of me; does he wish to
take the adjournment or shall I?
Senator Corbin: Honourable senators, I should like to adjourn debate,
but before doing so I would just like to say that, in my opinion, the content of
this report would make a fundamental change in the nature of this legislative
assembly that is the Senate. It would be made more partisan.
I am not at all convinced this is the way to go. Great democrat that I am,
open to anything that fosters democracy, I still think that we need to take time
to think very seriously about the consequences of adopting such a report. I
appreciated Senator Austin's explanations that this is not a rule being proposed
to us, because these come after adoption of the report.
However, before the matter of third political parties is addressed, we need
to deal with the situation of the independent senators, who do not have the same
ability to fully exercise their power as individuals as do senators affiliated
with recognized parties.
The government and opposition parties are the only ones I recognize here in
the Senate. There is never any reference to the Liberal Party, or the
Conservative Party, in the Senate; it is always the government and the
If these recommendations are retained, we will be fundamentally changing the
forces present in the Senate, which will further complicate our work.
Let the House of Commons do as it wishes, comply with the Canada Elections
Act, but we are not an elected chamber and that is where all the difference
lies. I call for adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I should like to move the
adjournment of the debate in the name of Senator St. Germain. Senator Corbin has
Senator Corbin: I can interpret myself.
Honourable senators, I had indicated earlier that it was my intention to
adjourn the debate. Then I said, "Before doing so, I have a few comments to
make," and before sitting down, I said, "I adjourn the debate," when I should
have said, "I move the adjournment of the debate." I have not used my full
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I withdraw my request to
ask questions. Could the Chair indicate to us how long we can speak in
situations when we say, "I intend to adjourn the debate, but before doing so,
let me tell you about this"?
Senator Robichaud: Fifteen minutes.
Senator Prud'homme: As I did yesterday, I sometimes say more by
speaking very little. I made a mistake yesterday on the question of the Middle
East, and I will correct it in due time. I should have spoken 15 minutes, and
then I would have had time to correct myself. I would like to have it indicated
eventually, not today, how long we can speak when we stand up to say that we
want to adjourn the debate, but continue to speak until we ask for the
Senator Corbin: Honourable senators, it is a matter of courtesy. I was
probably a little too quick in asking to adjourn the debate. This issue was
raised by Senator St. Germain, and it would be most proper for him to respond
first to the report. I withdraw. However, I will speak later.
On motion of Senator Austin, for Senator St. Germain, debate adjourned.
Hon. Sheila Finestone rose pursuant to notice of November 20, 2001:
That she will call the attention of the Senate to the world's current state
of progress in relation to the Ottawa Convention on the Banning of
Anti-Personnel Land Mines.
She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to give a brief update on the
ongoing land mine elimination campaign, which celebrates its fourth anniversary
on December 3. In many respects, land mines are a weapon of terror because of
their devastating impact on civilians and communities. In this sense, the Ottawa
convention is not just an international component of international law, it has
inadvertently become an essential tool in the fight against terrorism.
What I am about to share with you today derives in part from Mines Action
Canada's recent newsletter, the Landmine Banner, which is a well-written
document. On September 12, 2001, the Nobel Peace Prize winning International
Campaign to Ban Landmines, ICBL, released its third annual report, a 1,100-page
document entitled "Landmine Monitor Report 2001: Toward a Mine-Free World."
The report represents the most comprehensive report in the world on the global
land mine situation containing information on every country in the world with
respect to mine use, production, trade, stockpiling, humanitarian de-mining and
mine survivor assistance.
Landmine Monitor is an unprecedented initiative by the ICBL to monitor
implementation of and compliance with the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and, more
generally, to assess the efforts of the international community to resolve the
land mine problem. Landmine Monitor Report 2001 focuses on a reporting period
from May 2000 to mid-2001. I will bring some major findings from this report to
your attention, but I reserve the right to discuss the question of those who are
in need of mine survivor assistance at another time.
An ever-growing number of governments are joining the Mine Ban Treaty. A
total of 122 countries have ratified and 22 have signed, constituting three
quarters of the world's nations, and the Landmine Monitor was happy to report
fewer land mine victims. Although it estimates 15 to 20,000 new casualties from
land mines and unexploded ordinance in the year 2000, this represents a decrease
of the commonly cited figure of 26,000 victims per year previously.
Unfortunately, I suggest to you that the recent news reports from Afghanistan
imply that the victim count will be higher, and it will escalate to an
inordinate amount this time.
The Landmine Monitor also reports a dramatic drop in the production of
anti-personnel land mines. The number of producers has dropped from 55 to 14
over the past few years. Among those no longer producing anti-personnel land
mines are Turkey and Yugoslavia, both non-signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty. It
is exciting to note the progress that has been made, and the initiative that was
Canadian at the outset has had a significant impact on improving the quality of
life around the world.
Last year, land mine clearance took place in 42 countries. In the majority of
these, clearance was done through humanitarian techniques that aim at using
local resources and preserving local infrastructure, such as houses, water and
electricity sources. Inch by inch, hour after hour, de-miners painstakingly
search for these hidden killers using specially trained dogs, metal detectors,
manual prodders and light projective equipment.
They have looked for other methods of doing this, such as using helicopters
to set off these mines, but there are too many problems with that. We are asking
the engineering societies across Canada during the coming year to enter into a
competition to find and develop new techniques that could make this a much safer
De-miners are in constant danger, with many losing limbs and even their lives
while clearing land. Some land mines are hard to isolate because they relocate
in windstorms and rainstorms. In areas that are supposedly cleared, there can be
movement underground, and the supposedly clear areas are not safe any longer.
Almost any area can become a minefield — schoolyards, houses, farmland,
electricity towers or markets — and can contain anywhere from one to more than
1,000 land mines. Even a suspicion of land mines in an area will result in large
tracts of land, particularly farmland, not being used by communities. They are
Clearing a suspected minefield is no simple task, a matter to which I can
personally attest, having suited up myself not so many years ago in Cambodia, as
well as in Mozambique. Along with other members of an inter-parliamentary union
meeting, I watched the army in Jordan work in the heavy undergrowth around the
Jordan River. It is really quite daunting to pick up a wand, get dressed in an
outfit and go into the field with these de-miners and our Canadian engineering
corps to see what this is all about. It is quite scary, to tell you the truth.
Another person who knows about this is Robin Collins, Co-Chair of Mine
Action Canada. He says:
In order to restore the land safely back to the community, every inch of
ground has to be checked and doubled-checked with 100 per cent confidence.
The biggest...mine clearance —
— test —
— is the confidence the de-miner has in walking across the cleared land.
Regardless of what technology is used...you cannot remove the human component
from the de-mining process.
The human component is equally critical off the immediate battlefield, and we
can be part of that effort to clear that land.
I hope all of us will support Senators Elizabeth Hubley and Ione Christensen
in putting together the Senate Night of 1,000 Dinners. The event is to take
place on November 28. One hundred per cent of the money raised will go to land
mine clearance, so let us all do our part and support this important,
humanitarian initiative. If senators cannot attend the dinner, have one in your
own home, have one in your own neighbourhood, or just send money. Give
generously out of your pocket, and you will get a full tax credit. Please make
your cheques payable to the Canadian Land Mine Foundation.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I wish to speak to this
issue for a few minutes right now. I will be brief. I wish to pay tribute to
Senator Finestone. I must say that I congratulate her in person on the
extraordinary work done on this issue in a parliamentary association which is
dear to me. It is the association I love best, but one from which I am
unfortunately excluded by the rules, although perhaps one day she will be able
to help me back into the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Anyone who knows Senator Finestone knows that when she devotes herself to a
cause, she devotes herself to it 100 per cent. I must say that both as a member
of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's international executive in Geneva, and as the
director of our Canadian branch — of which I am a member for the time being —
she has led the charge in her determination. As another tribute to her, it
should be pointed out that she was made a chargé de mission to other countries
on several occasions in order to get the number of countries necessary to look
into this matter.
I merely wanted to bear witness because it says in the Bible and in the Koran
that one must never hesitate to witness to what one has seen or heard. I have
seen her in action and I wish to say so to the Senate. I also wish to say that I
am sorry that the Government of Canada — but this is not her fault — does not
understand that there are in the Senate of Canada senators with talents for all
sorts of causes.
In France, the President appoints senators and they become chargés de
mission, according to their talents, and report directly to the head of
government. In life, one must know how to use the talents available to one. The
Senate of Canada probably has talents for any cause you can think of.
I will say this in English for Dr. Keon. Here is a man who is known, believe
it or not, in Saudi Arabia. The best doctors in his field in Saudi Arabia are
all trained by Senator Keon. They are proud to say that they have been trained
by a Canadian, Dr. Keon.
I think all of us have some talent to offer to Canada. I would use this
little intervention to open that door. Perhaps Senator Robichaud could transmit
this message to the government. Senator Graham is a great friend of mine. I did
not expect to see this motion.
I merely wished to draw attention to the impeccable work done by Senator
Finestone on this issue, on behalf of the Government of Canada and on behalf of
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham: Honourable senators, I should like to say a
word on this particular topic. Senator Prud'homme has drawn me into the
discussion, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps purposely.
My first words would be those of congratulations to Senator Finestone for her
consistency on this most important topic, not just to Canadians but to people
around the world. She referred to her own experience of getting suited up and
watching Canadian engineers in our Armed Forces going through the de-mining
process. I have never had that experience, but I did have a rather interesting
experience when I was asked in 1989 to go to Namibia in advance of the first
free elections in that country in many years.
As honourable senators know, Namibia had been ruled illegally by South Africa
for over 30 years. Steps were taken by countries around the world to rectify the
situation. The movement was led by the United Nations. A group of us was asked
to go to Namibia to determine whether the election law was fair, what the
conditions were, and whether we could make recommendations to improve the
In flying from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, up to Oshakati, which is
near the Angolan border, we flew at treetop level for quite some time.
I was sitting next to the pilot, and I turned to him and said, "This is the
longest approach to an airport I have ever made in my life." He replied: "Did
they not tell you?" I asked him, "Did they not tell me what?" The pilot then
said to me: "We have to fly at this level in order to avoid possible
We landed in Oshakati, where I met with some United Nations officials and
representatives of police forces from around the world. Then it was suggested
that perhaps I should go out into the countryside and meet with some of the
headmen, as they call them — leaders of tribes and so on — to which I readily
agreed. I was asked whether we should go by the main highway or the back roads.
I replied, "Perhaps it would be more interesting to go via the back roads."
In the course of the journey, my driver said to me: "On April 1, I saw 30
bodies over there." There had been an incursion from Angola into Ovamboland.
During our discussion, I asked the driver whether UNTAG soldiers ever come out
here. He replied that they did not, and I asked why. "Because they do not have
casspirs," he said. Casspirs are huge trucks with reinforced steel bottoms that
are built to withstand the blast of a land mine. When I asked the driver whether
there were land mines in this area, he replied that there were. To that, I said:
"What in the name of God are we doing out here?" He said to me: "I know where
the land mines are. I know the way."
We proceeded, honourable senators, to the border, where we met some Canadian
peacekeepers. I invited the Angolan soldiers from the other side of the line to
come over and meet with peacekeepers from several countries, including Canada,
and they did.
The outcome was that we did make our recommendations for improvements to the
electoral law and several other areas, 75 per cent of which were approved.
On that occasion, we urged Martti Ahtisaari, later the president of Finland,
who was the special representative of the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, to exercise his authority under Resolution 435 of the United Nations.
Subsequent to that, we met with Louis Pienaar, the former South African
ambassador to France, who was then the administrator on behalf of South Africa
in Namibia. We urged him to go along with the changes that we were recommending.
He did not accept all of our recommendations, but, indeed, as I said, 75 per
cent of them were accepted.
Honourable senators, that was just a little story about my closest experience
with land mines. The central purpose of my rising on this occasion is to
congratulate Senator Finestone for her interest and her initiative in this
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: If no other honourable
senator wishes to speak, this item will be considered debated.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier, pursuant to notice of September 19, 2001,
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology be authorized to examine and report on the document entitled
"Santé en français — Pour un meilleur accès à des services de santé en
He said: Honourable senators, I would like to tell you about a voluminous
report released in June by the Fédération des communautés francophones et
acadiennes (FCFA), which is entitled "Santé en français — Pour un meilleur
accès à des services de santé en français" and, in English, "Improving Access of
French-Language Health Services."
That project was funded by the federal Department of Health. The report deals
with access to French-language health services by minorities in Canada. The
Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes coordinated the study for
the Comité consultatif des communautés francophones vivant en situation
minoritaire, or the advisory committee on minority francophone communities.
I should like to talk about the conclusions of that report and propose that
this document be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology for review and consideration.
First, let us look at the importance of language in the provision of any
health service. In my opinion, sound communication is the basis of any health
service. Indeed, the ability to understand a patient's health problem and to ask
questions, advise, inform, educate and treat that patient in the official
language of his choice is an integral part of the quality of any health service
Can we imagine an elderly person not being able to be understood by a nurse
when he calls for help in a state of crisis? Can we imagine a woman trying to
express her suicidal thoughts to a psychiatrist in a second language that she
does not master? Can we imagine a child who tells the emergency room doctor that
he is feeling sick, only to be treated as cardiac patient?
These are extreme examples, but they illustrate the importance of proper
communication between the medical staff and the patient to ensure the quality of
health services. This is why an advisory committee on minority francophone
communities was set up to make recommendations to the Department of Health on
The FCFA undertook a vast study at the request of the advisory committee to
evaluate French-language health services in the Canadian provinces and
territories. Moreover, a national forum with over 200 participants was held in
Moncton, on November 3 and 4.
The issue is topical and so I thought I would tell you today about the
report. Today, the honourable senators were approached by representatives of the
Fédération, and I hope they had a chance to discuss the report with them and
familiarize themselves with their concerns.
The Official Languages Act clearly states that departments are included in
the definition of federal institutions and that they are responsible for
implementing measures to promote, develop, support and even foster services to
The term "interdepartmental" refers to the responsibility shared by Health
Canada, in particular, with all the other departments and agencies that make up
our government. In this light, the issue has aroused keen interest among those
who have followed these matters closely over the past few years.
The report, entitled "Improving Access to French-Language Health Services,"
describes the precarious health status of francophones in minority-language
communities. These French-speaking Canadians are in general older, less likely
to be working and have fewer years of schooling.
Before 1972, there were no French-language secondary schools, apart from
private institutions that served only the affluent. Today, French-language
education is available right across the country. There are French elementary,
secondary and post-secondary institutions and I must say I am very proud of
The study used the definition of health adopted by the World Health
Organization, that is a state of complete physical, mental, and social
The study looked at a continuum of care, starting with health promotion,
disease prevention and health protection. To this must be added health
maintenance, community care, institutional care and specialized institutional
The study is broad. It looked into 63 categories of service in public,
physical and mental health, six kinds of delivery points — medical clinics,
community health centres, home care, hospitals, other care institutions, and
community organizations — in 68 regions across the country, for four levels of
accessibility in French: no service, little service, partial access or full
The situation in terms of access to all these health services is, as you can
guess, not very good. Generally, information gathered on site has shown that
half of francophones have little or no access to health services in French; that
there are significant variations between the provinces and between the regions
in certain provinces; that, in addition, less than a quarter of the 63
communities observed have access to services in French; that there are important
differences in the various kinds of services offered; and, finally, that there
are also important differences according to location. In fact, the level of
inaccessibility for the French-speaking community is three times higher than
that for the English-speaking community.
The study points out that the development of health services in French has
followed a path, in time and in space, from creating awareness to creating
structures and finally to consolidating services. It places the provinces and
territories on a curve that traces these three developmental phases. For
example, New Brunswick, where the Acadians make up one third of the population,
is in the consolidation phase, Ontario and Manitoba are in the creating
structures phase, and the other provinces are at various levels in the awareness
It concerns accessibility. I will give you one striking example. Yesterday
there was a death notice in Le Droit for a friend of mine, Jean Tanguay
of North Bay. He had headed the ACFO for two terms. About four years ago, he had
a heart attack and was admitted to hospital. He had already had a brush with
death back in 1992, with a heart attack toward the end of his first two-year
term as President of the ACFO. At that time he deplored the fact that, in the
city of his birth, emergency and intensive care staff had not been able to speak
to him in his mother tongue. Yet francophones account for 25 per cent of the
population of North Bay. In an article in his local newspaper, he confided that
it had always been his wish to die in French. An ACFO colleague, Anita
Corriveau, is quoted as saying that she is not certain he saw that wish
This man was one of the leading lights of Ontario's francophonie. For eight
years, he did everything possible to help the francophone cause, yet he could
not die in his own language. He was not able to get treatment in French. Yet
North Bay is not the far north.
The report sets out certain tools that could perhaps be used to improve
service. The main ones would be as follows: situations that promote networking
and training of francophone interveners — we have a shortage of doctors in the
country. It is hard to get new graduates to go and practice in the north;
centres providing health care in French, such as community health centres; the
use of technology in such projects as telemedicine and teledialysis, remote
consultation and dialysis services which is feasible today and will soon be used
so that remote regions will have medical services that are as advanced as those
in urban centres.
It can be done by radio, television or the Internet. I have been there.
I will tell you about my experience. At the Ottawa General Hospital, my
doctor communicated with a physician in Texas about my illness. If it is
possible to speak to Texas from Ottawa, it must be possible to speak to North
Bay from Ottawa to provide up-to-date care and professional service. The study
is important for us. At page 40, it states that improved access to health care
in French will be all the easier if it is based on the concerted efforts of
three main groups of stakeholders: communities, institutions and political
authorities. The community must demand and promote these services. There must be
means to plan, coordinate and deliver these services. The last, but not the
least, factor is that there must be a political will, a commitment by government
recognizing through policies, legislation and regulations the importance of
access to health care services in French.
Based on the percentage of francophones in the 63 Canadian regions that were
looked at, the study defines the above-mentioned tools that should have
priority. It categorizes the level of access to French-language health services
as: minimum, basic and advanced.
Where the percentage of francophones is sufficient, as in eastern Ontario for
example, we must support the establishment of francophone structures where the
medical staff and patients can communicate in French. This is the case, for
example, at the Montfort Hospital, which you have all heard about in recent
years. I am taking this opportunity to reiterate my support to maintaining and
developing this institution, which provides health care services not only in
French, but also in English, and which also provides highly specialized clinical
training in French to the medical staff. The Montfort is the only hospital of
its kind in Ontario. If it did not exist, we would have to invent it. According
to the study, it must be maintained, but we do not know for sure if it will be.
We have been waiting five or six months for the ruling of the divisional court
of the Ontario Court of Appeal. There is some hesitation.
I know that negotiations are currently taking place to try to keep the
Montfort open, to try to make it even more efficient, even though it is already
one of the most efficient institutions in Ontario. The government itself says
so. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a solution to the problem.
I know because I have been working on the solution for four or five months. I
hope we can keep the Montfort and give French-speaking Canadians a professional
and competent service.
Honourable senators, I will end by quoting from page 62 of the report:
Because of its own intrinsic value, as well as its importance to society,
health care must be a priority for all government authorities, federal and
provincial, and for all institutions involved in health and education, as well
as for every one of the minority French-language communities.
I urge you to consider the report, so that in committee we can all find out
more about the needs of a community that numbers more than a million Canadians
across the country. In the year 2002, all these Canadians should have access to
modern and competent medical care.
On motion of Senator Morin, debate adjourned.
Hon. Jim Tunney, for Senator Gustafson, pursuant to notice of
Wednesday, November 21, 2001, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry have the
power to sit at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2001, to hear from the
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, even though the Senate may then be
sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
Motion agreed to.
Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motion:
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,
November 27, 2001, at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, is leave
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned to Tuesday, November 27, 2001, at 2 p.m.