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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 87

Wednesday, February 6, 2002
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker


Wednesday, February 6, 2002

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.


The Honourable Sheila Finestone, P.C.

Tributes on Retirement

Hon. B. Alasdair Graham: Honourable senators, one of Canada's finest parliamentarians, the gifted Edward Blake, once said over a century ago that "the privileges of Parliament are the privileges of the people and the rights of Parliament are the rights of the people." This simple statement is enormously powerful when one really thinks about it. It reminds all of us who are privileged to be in the public service of the very great responsibilities that we bear.

As I think of the many gifted parliamentarians I have had the honour of working with over the course of my own career, I can think of very few who would rival the remarkable Senator Sheila Finestone.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Graham: Over the years, Sheila has epitomized, in her dedication to the people of this country and her province, not only the words and the spirit of Blake's reflection, but also the very active and disciplined pursuit of justice, both at home and abroad.

All of us think daily of the new world in which we find ourselves as Canadians. Never have we needed more the fine personal example and wonderful dedication to people that Sheila has brought to every road she has travelled. She has planted and nourished and cultivated the seeds of freedom, both at home and across this planet, and she has done so with relentless passion and formidable purpose. She has done so with relentless passion and formidable purpose, whether as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, as leader of the Canadian delegation to the Beijing World Conference on Women, as a popular and admired president of the International Parliamentary Union, as special advisor on land mines to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or through her continuing and untiring efforts on behalf of minorities across the country.


Someone once said that those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it. That expression has taken on new meaning in the aftermath of September 11. Canadians now search for their identity as never before. Canadians reflect upon the future of their children and their children's children as never before. Canadians look to government with increasing hope and a new understanding that public service is indeed of great importance to the future of this country. I am confident that the year 2002 will see a continuing growth of Canadian awareness that the pundits who predicted the death of sovereignty in the new age of globalization were very wrong.

The example that Senator Finestone has set for people at home and abroad — not to speak of the example she has set as a mother of four, to her extended family and to all of us — is now more than ever a shining light for a more sombre and thoughtful Canada. It is an example for all those young people who are thinking of entering the service of their country with passion, commitment and courage. Indeed, Blake's simple words possess a value which is increasingly significant to those of us in this chamber who encourage young Canadians to give their energy, their hearts and their minds to their country.

The privileges of Parliament are, indeed, the privileges of the people, and the rights of Parliament are the rights of the people. Honourable senators, the outstanding, devoted and tireless career of Senator Sheila Finestone is a brilliant example to all that those words are fundamental to our wonderful Canadian identity, an identity which she has given all to cherish, to nurture and to defend. Thank you very much, Sheila. We have all been enriched by your example, your friendship and your presence in this chamber.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, upon his retirement, Javier Perez de Cuellar, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, observed that, now that he was a free person, he felt free and light as a feather. I reflected upon those words of the former Secretary-General, but could find no relationship between them and Senator Finestone. Therefore, I delved further and came across the words of Virginia Graham who is, as far as I know, no relation to my honourable friend opposite. Virginia Graham observed, "When some people retire, it's going to be mighty hard to be able to tell the difference." That, honourable senators, caught my imagination in that it mirrored our distinguished colleague, Senator Finestone, so much so that it is my prediction, vis-à-vis her retirement, that it may be somewhat premature for people to think of Senator Finestone as completely retiring from this Hill, given that there are six by-elections on the horizon.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, in the event that she enters the other place and cannot garner support for any bill that she should choose to sponsor, I would remind you of the great work Senator Finestone put into Bill S-21, and I am convinced that she will be able to garner the support of this house. While she is back in that other place, perhaps she could push amendments to the Broadcasting Act, amended by Bill S-7 which was passed in this chamber last June under her leadership.

Honourable senators, during her time in the Senate, a short three years, she has left a clear mark as one of the founding members of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, and the first deputy chair of our Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. Senator Finestone has worked to place human rights front and centre in policy decisions.

For many years, I have admired Senator Finestone, particularly her tenacity to stay the course when she felt strongly on issues, and I was delighted to see that tenacity continued and maintained as she worked in this house on bills such as the clarity bill, which seized the country shortly after the senator was appointed. We all recall her tough questions of the government on Bill C-36. These files were not easy, as they went to the very core of Senator Finestone's beliefs in a just society.

I am quite sure that the government will continue to hear from Senator Finestone in the future. Sheila, you are a true "tzedeket," a truly righteous person, and a real "mensch." In the Irish tradition, "Sheila" means "one with great insight," and in the Hebrew tradition, "Shelah" means "asked for." We will continue to ask for you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I rise in tribute to a respected public servant and a dear friend, Sheila Finestone. She has served her country for over 17 years, and she achieved numerous accomplishments throughout her career in politics since her first appointment as an MP for Mount Royal in 1984. Notably, she has been a leading advocate for the eradication of poverty among the elderly, their lack of protection in the workforce and exclusion from opportunity, as well as for pension reform.

From 1984 until her appointment to the Senate in 1999, Sheila Finestone has faced with great courage and determination the burning issues of farm women, small business entrepreneurs, single parents, the disabled, the Canadian Pension Plan, and reform and pay equity for women.

Sheila worked locally but thought globally. She continually expressed a deep interest in universal issues including freedom, equality and justice. It was an interest she translated into her work in the Canadian Parliament as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women and as the president of the Canadian group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

As the chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, I must add that Sheila Finestone will be warmly remembered and deeply missed as a distinguished member of that committee. As senators, we know that one of our most important activities and where so much of our value lies is committee work. One of the major tasks of the committee is to develop awareness of an issue and help channel that awareness into consensus. Sheila Finestone's contribution to the Transport and Communications Committee remains remarkable. She possesses the intrinsic ability to assess competing camps and quickly find areas of collaboration and compromise. Her speeches were often nobly censorious and captivated the attention of her audience for their lack of idleness and their straightforward approach to the issue under discussion.


Her service, however, has often gone above and beyond the legislative content of a bill. We have seen her at work with Bill S-7, an amendment to the Broadcasting Act, where she brought to light the principle of public participation as the necessary and basic element to fulfil our commitment to democracy.

Sheila Finestone's remarkable political career, her numerous awards and recognitions are only part of what makes her so unique. Anyone who has been close to Sheila knows that above and beyond eloquence, intelligence and dignity, she remains profoundly a "people's person." Her qualities are not confined to her intellect but encompass those that are matters of the heart, will and moral values — qualities she devotedly endorsed and defended throughout her life.

With boundless passion, Sheila Finestone has worked to promote the cause of women, to protect those children whose voices could not be heard, to ban anti-personnel land mines, and to bring justice, equity and freedom to the less fortunate. As she helped reweave and rebuild the fabric of our own nation, she has been also an ambassador of peace and hope to the world at large. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Sheila Finestone for her remarkable services.

Honourable senators, the Senate will genuinely miss an extraordinary member. However, we all know that Sheila does not rest on her laurels. Undoubtedly, she will continue to devote herself to worthy causes.

In tribute to you, Sheila, I say "À bientôt." I am proud to know you and to call you my friend.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our dear colleague who sat on our Human Rights Committee. I do not want to repeat the words that I said there, but I want to note in this house that the Human Rights Committee could not have successfully concluded its first report as quickly as it did without the persistence and the loyalty that Sheila gave to the committee and the support that she gave me, in particular, as the chair of that committee.

It took us a number of years to plant the seeds that would eventually produce the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. We seem to be too trammelled by all the other procedures and emergencies that arise in this place. When Senator Finestone came to this chamber, she said, "Why does the Senate not have a human rights committee? This is intolerable! We will get one going." In fact, we did. The two words that are not in Sheila's vocabulary are "no" and "impossible."

When I attended my first IPU meeting, some people were of the view that there was a lot of discussion in the IPU but very little action. Again, Sheila would show up and say, "We have to do something about land mines." The first thing she would do is say, "Here is a list of parliamentarians that you must approach. You must get an undertaking of what they will do in their country. I want results. Please report back at about five o'clock this afternoon." Of course, we would laugh, but at five o'clock she would come and ask, "What have you accomplished?" She single-handedly changed the Canadian delegation to an action-oriented group. More particularly, the IPU noted Sheila's contribution and began to change. Those senators who attend IPU meetings know that there have been clear results not only in the area of land mines but also in many other areas. The IPU is slowly moving forward, a result of the constant and insistent prodding of Sheila Finestone.

In the human rights field, I have noticed her dedication to the cause of reclaiming privacy for Canadians. She has insisted on this through inquiries and bills both in this house and in our committee. What was interesting about her approach is that she understood, in this country of moderation and compromise, that words are not just words — we must live them. She would be the one on the committee who would say, "If we are to get this done, we must do so not only within the Senate. We must contact the minister and the Prime Minister." We would all ask, "How will we do that?" She would reply, "Never mind. I will do it." And she would. She never left the bureaucracy out of the equation. She had a healthy respect for the Public Service of Canada, and she knew how important they were in the success of any proposal. She was able to build the coalitions needed to get the support required for these issues.

Many honourable senators have already stated what Sheila Finestone has done in the community, so I will not repeat that. I simply want to place on the record, as I did in committee, that Sheila will not give up the many causes she has pursued merely because she has left the Senate. She will certainly find another avenue from which to prod us. She may be one of those interested witnesses who will come and testify before a particular committee. She will also ensure that the things in which she believes continue to flourish in the fertile ground of Canada.

Sheila, I know that this is only one milestone of many more to come. I look forward to working with you as I did before you were a senator. The Human Rights Committee is indebted to you for your commitment and for your foresight in understanding its mandate and in ensuring that it was always action oriented. We will continue to follow your example. Best wishes in your next endeavour.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Vivienne Poy: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Senator Sheila Finestone, a woman who is an experienced and respected parliamentarian.

I met Sheila for the first time when she came to the Senate. Since then, I have watched her and listened to what she had to say. As I listened and learned, it became clear to me that Senator Finestone is a woman who believes in putting words into action, as Senator Andreychuk just mentioned. She did not just talk about social justice issues and human rights; she worked toward bringing about real and effective change, both as a senator and formerly as a member of Parliament.

As I got to know her, I realized that we shared many of the same concerns. Throughout her career, Sheila has been a champion of women's rights, an advocate for multiculturalism, and she expressed concern about the conditions in developing countries. She also has very close ties to her community and continues to work with individuals, community groups and institutions. Sheila recognizes the importance of her gender and her heritage in shaping the person she has become.

Whenever Sheila took on a new challenge, whether it was during her tenure as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, or as the Canadian Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, or, most recently, as Special Advisor on Land Mines, she left her mark. Part of the reason is Sheila's superb ability to assess a situation quickly and accurately and to call a spade a spade. This ability served her well on the Human Rights Committee, on which I had the good fortune to work with her.

One day, Sheila said to me that I reminded her of herself 20 years ago. Whatever she meant by that, I accepted it as the greatest of compliments. Little does she know, though, that I am a lot older than she thinks.

Sheila has now retired from the Senate and will be greatly missed. However, I have no doubt that she will continue to work in the national and international community for many years to come.

With your departure, Sheila, I feel that I am losing a valued colleague, a mentor and a friend. Like everyone here, I will miss you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, permit me a word to say what a joy it has been to have worked with Senator Finestone on various occasions over the years. Those of us who share her passion for adequate protection of the right to privacy in this country will recognize and honour her leadership in the best way we know how, which is to keep that issue alive until her efforts are crowned with the success that they deserve.



Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, a considerable number of us have known Sheila Finestone as an MP, a minister or a senator. Having had the privilege of knowing her before she was in Parliament, I should like to pay tribute today to her activities before making the leap to politics in 1984. Her parliamentary career had its foundations established long before she was first elected to the House of Commons.

It is no exaggeration to describe Sheila Finestone as a born leader. She was totally committed to her community very early on. A born catalyst, she has always devoted herself to building bridges between groups of women, such as the federation of Jewish women and the federation of francophone women, which led to her presidency of the Fédération des femmes du Québec.

At the time, the federation's membership consisted of both francophones and anglophones, and I must admit that the atmosphere of collegiality that existed in her day has not always reigned since her departure. It is no surprise that her activities on the national and international scenes have focused on building bridges to promote women and cultural communities. Sheila's commitment also left its mark on the history of the 1980 referendum.

She was heavily involved in organizing the Yvette movement to lobby for recognition of the dignity of women, particularly homemakers. We owe part of the success of the referendum campaign to her and to the other women leaders of the time.

Before Sheila was elected, she was well known for her involvement in the Liberal Party of Canada. Many will recall the chicken dinners and spaghetti suppers she organized throughout all the regions of Quebec, year-round, winter or summer. Her election, in which I was involved, was one of the crowning achievements of our party's history in 1984.

A woman of conviction, becoming a member of Parliament was for Sheila an accomplishment that would enable her to continue to work towards the values she held so dear: equality, freedom and justice.

My dear Sheila, on behalf of all women, not just those involved in politics, but all those whom you have motivated to advance their causes, I should like to express our gratitude. If these women continue to be committed and actively involved in claiming their rightful place, it is because you and others like you have led the way. With your degree of commitment, I am absolutely sure that you will miss the political life. You will always be welcome here on the Hill, particularly since I am sure you still have some unfinished projects.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, as a Montrealer, I knew Sheila Finestone by reputation for years before coming here, and I admired her. It was impossible not to admire a woman who had accomplished so much.

Once I came to the Senate, I got to know her as a friend and colleague. This turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.


As this is not a funeral but a celebration of Sheila's career so far, I thought it would be appropriate to utter a few home truths as we wish her well. I suppose the fundamental one is that Sheila Finestone has been driving people crazy for years. She drives people crazy for many reasons. First, she just wears us out.


Sheila is what the French call a "force de la nature."


She is a human dynamo. Heaven knows where she gets the energy, but I have seen people 20 years, 30 years or maybe 40 years younger than Sheila wiped out, exhausted and taking to their beds while Sheila was still going strong accomplishing more and more before the day would end. She is absolutely unbelievable.

Honourable senators, she drives people crazy because she is not biddable. You cannot tell Sheila what to do, unless she believes it is the right thing to do. We in this chamber have seen her more than once rise to vote against the government on bills that the government held dear. We know the kinds of persuasive arguments that are brought to bear on members of a caucus, but Senator Finestone would not vote in a way that she did not think was right. Even if I sometimes disagreed with her, I was always profoundly moved by her dedication to what she thought was right.

She has driven us crazy, perhaps not least because she is never swayed by logic, law, precedent or custom.

As Senator Andreychuk has noted, the word "no" is not in Senator Finestone's vocabulary, nor is the word "impossible." If they are used, it just means that she will work a little harder to get to where she believes we need to go, and she is so often right in her assessment of where we need to go. She has been absolutely fearless in representing the values in which she believes.

I will name just a few of those values. Senator Finestone believes in the advancement of women, justice for women in the work world, in politics and in their family lives. She particularly believes in justice for children. She also believes in the advancement of bilingualism and biculturalism in this country, and the advancement of minority language communities. As others have noted, she believes in federalism and the preservation of Canadian unity. She believes in the preservation, health and advancement of the Jewish community of Canada. Above all, and perhaps wrapping all these things together, she believes in the cause of human rights. I do not think there has been a more faithful or dedicated servant of human rights in this Parliament for many years.

Yes, she has driven us crazy, but on the way she has won the affection and respect of hundreds of people.

Honourable senators, I have been privileged to work with Sheila in the Inter-Parliamentary Union where, as Senator Andreychuk noted, she has accomplished great things, particularly for women. The IPU is an organization of parliaments from around the world. As we all know, many of those parliaments are, shall we say, male-dominated. Sheila created a role for women. Sheila created the women's wing of the IPU, and then went around the world to ensure that it was not just fortunate Western women who could participate. There are women in countries from Cambodia to Mongolia to Uruguay who have a place and recognition now in their parliaments that they never would have had had Sheila Finestone not gone to bat for them and with them. They love her for it, and so they should.

She has fought for the removal of land mines and for human rights. She has fought for everything of which I can think. I have seen in the councils of the IPU, how her directness could take issue with hypocrisy and with many evil elements of human life. In spite of her direct attack on things that were wrong, even the people she was attacking felt warmth, affection and respect for her. She would reach out to them, and they would reach back. She would end up persuading them to her point of view.

She has served Canada well here and around the world. She has helped to give us stature and respect. I think that it is fair to say we have returned those sentiments. God speed.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, on occasions such as this, it is incumbent upon us to be brutally frank and candid about our departing colleague, the Honourable Sheila Finestone.

Sheila was not always the easiest person with whom to deal. When I first encountered Sheila, she was explosive, opinionated, feisty and the newly-minted member of Parliament for that great riding of Mount Royal. We had a barbed and rather frosty exchange. It is fair to say we even clashed.


I did not know anything about Sheila Finestone at the time, or her background. Unlike me, she was always very definitive in her views and was not easy to persuade. Then I discovered that her father was the great Monroe Abbey. Monroe Abbey was a civic leader in Montreal. He was influential not only in the Jewish community there, but also as a national leader across Canada. Monroe Abbey was an activist in the Canadian Jewish Congress. As a 12-year-old youngster, I had the privilege to hear Monroe Abbey speak at a community function in the late 1940s in my hometown of London, Ontario. He was impressive, persuasive and a tireless advocate for lost causes, for immigrants and for religious freedom. Monroe Abbey stood against racial discrimination. He was in favour of sports and law reform, and he was a staunch, lifelong Zionist. Monroe Abbey was a member of the Order of Canada as well as a Q.C. Monroe Abbey was named after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, the father of the Monroe Doctrine and a drafter of the American Constitution.

Honourable senators, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Sheila has left a lasting trace of activities, ranging from women's, children's, privacy and human rights to international peace and harmony, not only in Canada, but abroad. When you attend international meetings, more often than not, someone will come up and say, "Do you know my friend Sheila Finestone?" Sheila has always had a grand and great range of interests and intensity. Above all, Sheila has had and still has a fire in her belly for the underdog.

Honourable senators, not only was Sheila Finestone a great member of the House of Commons, but she was also a great senator. It is not very often that members of the House of Commons make the transition and become equally important and potent as a member of this chamber.

I extend these words to Sheila Finestone's family. To Sheila I offer the traditional blessing that she, like our matriarch, Sarah, live to 127 years and have a long and fruitful life.

Happily, honourable senators, I learned just a month ago, when Senator Finestone and I travelled abroad together, that she plans to continue to be a resident of Ottawa.

Sheila, I have a number of tasks that I intend to talk to you about because we need your help, creativity and energy. I promise not to clash with you too often. I will be calling you soon.

You have made us proud and privileged to be your friends. God speed.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: I am very pleased today to join with my colleagues to pay tribute to a great parliamentarian, Sheila Finestone. However, I am saddened to do so, because I know she will be sorely missed by all of us here in the Senate chamber. We have lost one of our most vocal and hardest-working members.

During her short three years in the Senate, Sheila accomplished a great deal. She worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for her province, her country and for all Canadians.

Many of us here will remember Sheila for her contribution in the area of individual privacy rights. Looking after the rights of individuals always comes first with Sheila. In her years of political service, both before and during her Senate appointment, Sheila chaired and served on countless committees. I will not begin to name these committees, nor the many awards she has received throughout the years for her diligent work. However, I will say that many of these awards were given for her lifelong efforts in the defence of cultural, linguistic and minority rights, speaking up for the rights of those who felt they could not speak for themselves.

I have very much enjoyed working with Sheila on the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. There I had the opportunity to experience her skills and knowledge first-hand.

I will miss Sheila for her sharp wit and quick remarks, both in the chamber and around the committee table, for her ability to liven up any discussion and for her ability to immediately strike at the heart of any piece of legislation. More important, all Canadians who value equality and individual rights will miss Sheila Finestone in the Senate.

Sheila, I wish you all the best as you begin the next stage in your incredible career.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I have known Sheila Finestone for her 18 years in the Parliament of Canada. Today we have heard quite a number of vigorous words used to describe her, all of them quite true. To balance some of those words, I will add three of my own because they have endeared her to me throughout all these years, and those are: kindness, laughter and love.

From the beginning, I kept a close eye on the member for Mount Royal in the other place because she replaced a person in whom I had invested, with great enthusiasm, a significant amount of time, effort, admiration and friendship, the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. No matter how you looked at that succession, those were challenging shoes to fill, and I was keen to see how Sheila would choose to do that.

Well, she used her exceptional background and skills to chart her own course in her own way, both as a member and later as a senator in this chamber. There was indeed an element of continuity in that course with her predecessor. She was actively involved into the constitutional debate during that time and since, and always with a deep love of Quebec within a united Canada.

Sheila has a passion for human rights, individual and multicultural rights, and equality rights for women, whatever their life choices might be.

In her farewell speech to this house last December, Sheila noted her role models in parliamentary life. One was that extraordinary rights activist, the late Senator Thérèse Casgrain. Another was the former health minister, Monique Bégin. The third was Mary Two-Axe Early, one of the more courageous and persistent advocates for the rights of Indian women.

Internationally, Sheila crossed paths early on with women's rights legends: Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug. These are formidable women, but I have no doubt whatsoever that our Sheila stood toe to toe with them and gave no quarter in the history of her own life that brought that passion to the cause. It is little wonder that Sheila's role in Parliament became focused on those Canadians who make up more than 50 per cent of our population and who are still fighting for access to equality, in all its forms, in communities across our country.

When the first cabinet of this government was formed in 1993, it was inevitable that it should include Sheila Finestone as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women.

Senator Fraser, with great vigour, described the degree to which Sheila drove us crazy. I do not want to breach the confidentiality of the cabinet room. I was there with Sheila at that time. I think she drove them crazy as well, and that was a good thing. I was proud of her, and we supported each other.


As the woman in charge of the status of women in our government, Sheila Finestone led the Canadian delegation of women senators and members of Parliament to the Third World Congress on Women in Beijing in 1995, where Canada made history with its action plan on equity rights for women. That leadership lives on, not just in memory but in action that is taking place in countries all over the world where such thoughts could not have been imagined a few short years ago.

When Sheila was appointed to the Senate in 1999, she brought that vision and energy with her. She reconfigured her focus without leaving any of her former causes behind. However, again, she got herself into vigorous and churning waters over the issue of privacy under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her private bill to guarantee the human right to privacy is still on the Order Paper of the Senate. I must say that it was an interesting situation to find Sheila sitting at the head of the table as a witness before our Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, where vigour certainly is the order of the day.

As Sheila fulfilled her role in the Senate, she always came back to the fundamentals: children, poverty and all the international concerns. She has never confined her focus to her own country. This was never as remarkably evident as when she served as the Special Adviser on Land Mines. Indeed, she is to be hugely commended, not just by us, but by all of those in the world whom she has tried to help.

After her appointment to the Senate, Sheila did not hesitate to jump right into committees with active participation. Others have said that she walked her own line. About that there is no question. Having come to us from the other place, I think we all agree that she was generous in her support of initiatives in this house, as long as they maintained a reasonable partnership with her own principles. When that was in doubt, that is when we heard from Sheila, again with vigour.

I admire Sheila Finestone enormously. Only this week, I found her haunting my thoughts as I prepared to participate in a conference in Moscow on a very progressive CIDA joint project on women and labour market reform in Russia. Over the last three years, a key player on the Canadian side of this issue has been Status of Women Canada. I was searching their records for words that would convey the essence of the issue. This is what I found:

Though we live in economically challenging times, gender equality is not a bonus of good times. Equality rights are human rights — a basic principle that shapes the way we live, in good times and hard times. There is no one answer, no one action, no one player that can make equality happen. Gender equality is everybody's business... In the new century, the nations considered the leaders of the world will be those who have achieved gender equality.

When I turned the page, I discovered that the author was none other than our former colleague Sheila Finestone. Those words will go to Russia with me.

Sheila, I send you my warmest thanks for your friendship, for your support and good wishes for all those causes that I know you will continue to champion. I will miss you. Parliament will miss you. The Senate will miss you. I say, in conclusion, that Canada would be a much poorer place without your presence.

Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, when I think of Sheila Finestone, I am always reminded of two magnificent women. As a historian, that is the way one thinks. One of them is Marie Gérin-Lajoie — the daughter of Sir Alexandre Lacoste — who, in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, fought five cardinals in Rome, the Pope himself and Henri Bourassa in order to be able to bring fundamental rights to the women of our country. She did not succeed very well, but what she found is that, essentially, men were very weak in the defence of women.

The second person of whom I am reminded is Madame Thérèse Casgrain, whom I knew very well and who once summoned René Lévesque, after he had moved from one position to another. I was having tea with her when René arrived, and she said:


Sit down and explain yourself!


She once said that to me when I was on This Hour Has Seven Days and had said something of which she disapproved. She summoned me and used the exact words.


Dear Senator Finestone, it is your turn to let us tell you how much we love you, and this love resonates here in the Senate, in Parliament, on Parliament Hill and all across our beautiful country.


In the middle of the night, since old men have little to do in bed, I woke up and I proceeded to contact all my colleagues in this chamber, all 104 of them — and I created a few as I went along, of course — in order to arrive at the following conclusion: Should Sheila Finestone intend to stand for re-election anywhere, we will all come and help her. We will work for her. In the process, we will achieve two things. We will get her elected with the largest majority in the history of the world, and we will put the Senate on the map.

Hon. E. Leo Kolber: Honourable senators, dear Sheila, I took a great deal of time to prepare my remarks. However, I had to tear them up and throw them away because everything has been said already. This is to tell Sheila that I concur in all the wonderful things that have been said about her. Not to unnecessarily disturb the interpreter, to wrap up, I should like to say — "biz hundert un tsvantsik." For those who are not trilingual, that means, "You should live to 120."

May you enjoy wonderful health, Sheila, bask in the warmth of your family, your children and your grandchildren, and truly savour the fruits and results of a fabulous career.

Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, Senator Sheila Finestone reached out to me many times with support and encouragement, particularly in the events we held when she chaired the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Canada and I chaired the Canadian Parliamentarians for Global Action.


Senator Finestone has been an inspiration to me. I reach out to her today with gratitude in my heart.


Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, I met Mrs. Finestone in 1984 when she arrived on Parliament Hill. At that time, I was the Liberal Party whip in the other place. I found her to be a person who worked hard, was devoted, very disciplined, and at times demanding. One of her great strengths was that she said what she thought, something, incidentally, that a number of you continue to do. When Sheila Finestone had something on her mind, she never backed down. In any case, that has been my experience after having spent 16 or 17 years working with her.

I looked at Mrs. Finestone's curriculum vitae in the Canadian Parliamentary Guide, and there is no mention of her contribution with regard to official languages. Mrs. Finestone did a fine job of representing the English-speaking community of Montreal, both in the House of Commons and in the Senate. She even co-chaired the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages. This should have been mentioned. Mrs. Finestone represents Canada's duality, our linguistic duality as I understand it: two official languages, one federation, one united country. Mrs. Finestone is a staunch defender of her beliefs. I congratulate and thank her. She lives in the same building as I do, and I expect to see her again, since she owes me a Scotch.

Hon. Pierre De Bané: Honourable senators, I wish to join my colleagues in paying tribute to Senator Sheila Finestone. A great humanitarian, she has always spoken with her heart as well as with her head, and has never shied away from the problems and challenges facing our society. It was Saint-Exupéry who said that only the heart sees clearly. Recently, Senator Finestone and I had an opportunity to take part in a debate in this chamber on the Middle East, a troubled region of the world. We both tried to make our small contribution to end the suffering of both Israeli and Palestinian families.

During a recent trip she made to the United States, Senator Finestone took the initiative of passing along to Secretary of State Colin Powell a copy of the speech I gave in this chamber on this issue. As a Canadian born in Palestine, I was deeply moved by her gesture. I admire her open-mindedness and hope that she will continue to be able to make an invaluable contribution to end the suffering in this part of the world and the terrible situation of the Palestinian people.

I thank her for her many contributions since 1984, in all of which she was guided by both her heart and her intelligence.

Thank you very much, Sheila.


Senator Finestone, thank you very much. Good luck.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Golden Jubilee

Hon. Jim Tunney: Honourable senators, we have heard some wonderful tributes, and all of them deserved. I should like to turn our attention for a moment to another international figure. We have been talking about a person here whom I would call the Queen of the Canadian Parliament. I would like also at this time to refer to and pay tribute to another Queen who, 50 years ago this morning, not by her choice but because of the death of her father, became Queen of England, Queen of the British Empire and Queen of Canada. We must consider what her life must be like when her freedom is restricted, when all of her movements are judged, and not all of them positively. Yet she is willing to represent her office and her subjects and do so with grace during all these years.

It is wonderful that, when we enter this place, we pray for her, and we should never stop that tradition. Throughout the war years, the years after the war, and through the troubles and turmoils that we have seen since, our one real figure of stability has been our gracious Queen Elizabeth II.

The Late Pauline M. McGibbon


Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, it is with great sadness that I inform you that the Honourable Pauline McGibbon, Ontario's twenty-second Lieutenant-Governor, passed away on December 14, 2001.

An inspiring role model, this remarkable woman was known for many firsts. In 1974, when she was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, she was the first female representative of the Queen in Canada and the Commonwealth. She was the first female chancellor of the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph, the first female governor of Upper Canada College, the first female chairman of the board of trustees for the National Arts Centre, the first female president of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, and the first woman to serve as director on not one but four major Canadian corporations: IBM Canada, Mercedes-Benz Canada, George Weston Limited, and Imasco Limited.

While serving as Lieutenant-Governor from 1974 to 1980, she raised much public awareness of the vice-regal position, using it to promote the arts and, in the process, winning the hearts of Ontarians with her gracious style and personality. She had such a love for people that, in addition to using the funds allocated for entertainment, she would return most of her annual salary in order to host more functions open to the public. During her term, she hosted more than 1,000 receptions, gave nearly 500 speeches and had over 92,000 visitors to Queen's Park, more than any of her predecessors.


A champion of the arts, she established the annual Pauline McGibbon Honorary Award in Theatre Arts, and through her dedicated service on the boards of many arts organizations, she continued to enrich the cultural life of Ontario.

As a tribute to her outstanding dedication to public service, she was presented with numerous awards and honorary degrees. Some of her official honours include the Centennial Medal in 1967 and the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 1977. She was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1967 and promoted to Companion Member in 1980. In addition, she was inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1988 and received the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992.

To quote Ontario Lieutenant-Governor Hilary Weston:

Pauline McGibbon opened the way for women, who now hold the majority of vice-regal positions in Canada. We will always remember her as a great lady — a proud Ontarian, who served her sovereign and province well.

The Senate

Democratic Reform—Elected Senators

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I wish to compliment colleagues in this place for their courage and conviction in releasing today "A Discussion Report on Democratic Reform of Parliament." In particular, I believe all senators should note the backgrounder, on page 7, pertaining to Senate reform.

Honourable senators, I have been an advocate for elected senators and for a reformed Senate since day one, as one who supported the elected Senate process in Meech Lake and later in Charlottetown. When I ran for my seat in the other place 20 years ago, one of my issues was Senate reform. I now restate my challenge to the Prime Minister to appoint only elected senators to this place. Again, if he were to guarantee to the people of Canada that he would only appoint elected senators to the Senate, then I would challenge all senators to push for an elected Senate. In so doing, I would challenge them to run for their respective regions, as I am prepared to do in British Columbia.

The Western provinces, in particular, have been advocating for fairer and better representation for many years. A couple of provinces have even adopted their own legislation to do so. I know that the present Leader of the Government in the Senate spoke to the immediate need for an elected Senate when she was opposition leader in the Manitoba legislature.

Honourable senators, Canadians eagerly await the commitment of the Prime Minister to respect the wishes of the people and the parliamentary representatives that serve here in Parliament.

The Late Peter Gzowski, C.C.

Champion of Literacy

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, last week Canada lost one of its greatest champions: journalist, author, broadcaster Peter Gzowski. His gravelly voice, infectious laugh and challenging questions were finally silenced by the effects of a lifetime of smoking, and he lost the battle with emphysema.

What a send-off he received. His passing triggered an astounding cross-Canada flood of personal memories and affection, that flowed day after day last week, particularly on the CBC, his broadcasting home of over three decades.

I knew Peter for a long time. His consistency of daily influence in informing and entertaining Canadians is legend. In my book, however, his finest gift to the country he loved was his relentless advocacy for literacy — for all those millions of citizens who, unlike himself, could not claim an ability to read and write and use the magic of words to enhance their lives.

Underneath his sometimes gruff and even shy exterior, Peter cared passionately about finding ways to encourage and help others to share the joy of literacy, whether it was through his radio programs or his golf tournaments to raise funds for local learning projects and organizations. Indeed, a lasting legacy will be the Peter Gzowski Invitationals. Since 1986, with the help of friends, broadcasters, writers, actors, artists, entertainers, educators, sponsors and an army of literacy volunteers, a goal of $1 million has now reached well over $6 million with annual tournaments in every province and territory, including on the ice in the High Arctic. This was not just a game. It was a mighty cause for an issue that is desperately in need of attention and action at every level of our society, including government and this Parliament. Eventually, Mr. Gzowski's deteriorating health prevented him from playing the courses.

I have a vivid memory of a fairly recent PGI in Ottawa, when a storm rolled through and there was Peter, on the eighteenth green, soaked to the skin in an astounding purple shirt, with myself, also drenched, challenging players to pay out five bucks to putt against the "Great One." The result was zero for Peter and more dollars for our cause.

Peter and I shared many literacy platforms and cheered each other on. We were friends. He scolded me once for calling him an icon, but I was right.

Already I feel lonely without him, but I know that he is swinging his golf club up on a cloud, urging me to keep on marching. In his memory, literacy will remain my cause until the day I join him on that other course.

Nova Scotia

Financing for Small Business—Bank of Montreal Program

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, the fallout from the attack of September 11 on the World Trade Center in New York has been felt around the world. My province of Nova Scotia is no exception. Our exporters have incurred increased delays and increased costs of moving goods over the border. There has been a downturn in retail sales, and small businesses and small business entrepreneurs have been under enormous pressure just to maintain positive cash flow in their businesses.

Honourable senators, there is a limit to what various levels of government, from municipal to provincial and federal, can do to assist small business. As a senator from Nova Scotia, I am always interested in finding ways in which our citizens and our businesses can be promoted so that they can compete with the best in the world. Very often our businesses — the lifeblood of the Canadian economy — are held back because most of the Toronto-based lending institutions are oblivious to our needs and activities down East.

It was refreshing, therefore, to read over the Christmas vacation that one of our largest financial institutions, the Bank of Montreal, started a new program, called Prime Rate Sale, to assist small business owners during these tough economic times. This is a rate sale program that enables small business customers to borrow amounts of between $50,000 and $250,000 for terms of up to two years at the all-time low prime rate of 3.75 per cent. They could either do that or take out a new small-business line of credit for up to $50,000 at 3.75 per cent.

After I read that in the newspaper, I wondered if this would expressly exclude those business people from Atlantic Canada, so I did a search. I made an inquiry as to how Nova Scotia businesses were doing and learned that in Atlantic Canada, of 129 total applications processed as of the middle of January, all had been approved. This was most encouraging, but what about Nova Scotians? Those 129 applications represented $16.6 million in financing for small businesses in Atlantic Canada. In Nova Scotia, 45 of those 129 applications were from our entrepreneurs, representing $6 million.

Honourable senators, in troubled times I feel assured that this endeavour has helped a great number of small businesses in Nova Scotia, and, accordingly, helped our provincial economy.

Prince Edward Island

National Junior Women's Curling Champions

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am very proud to rise in this chamber today to pay tribute to a team of young women from my home province who have once again risen to the top of their sport. Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Gaudet rink, playing before a hometown crowd at Cahill Stadium in Summerside, won the National Junior Women's Curling Championship. This is the second straight year this team has won the national title.

Suzanne and her teammates are now preparing once again to take on the world at the World Junior Curling Championships in Kelowna, British Columbia, in late March. The team is comprised of lead Kelly Higgins, second Carol Webb, third Robyn MacPhee, skip Suzanne Gaudet and coach Paul Power. They are to be congratulated on their success.

Suzanne Gaudet has truly become a force to be reckoned with at the national and international levels. With her victory in Summerside, she became the first skip since 1978 to win back-to-back national junior women's titles. She and her teammates now look to repeat as world champions in Kelowna, following on last year's world title in Utah.


There has never been a repeat winner at the world championships, but I am confident that this great Prince Edward Island team will change that next month.

The city of Summerside and the hundreds of volunteers who worked tirelessly to put on the event should also be commended for hosting a first-rate event.

It is estimated that the week-long championship resulted in $1.5 million in spinoffs for the local economy, during a time of the year when tourism dollars are difficult to generate.

Honourable senators, again, congratulations to all the volunteers who staged such a successful event, and I wish the best of luck to the Suzanne Gaudet rink at the upcoming world championship competition.

World Council of Churches

Celebration of Christianity in Armenia

Hon. Lois M. Wilson: Honourable senators, over Christmas I received the "News Bulletin of the World Council of Churches" with its account of the celebrations of 1700 years of Christianity in Armenia. A delegation from the World Council attended the September 21 to 23, 2001, celebrations of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Christianity was proclaimed the state religion by the Armenian King Trdat III in the year 301, making Armenia the world's oldest Christian nation.

The celebrations culminated with a blessing ceremony and the consecration of a newly built cathedral in honour of Gregory the Illuminator. The presence of more than 22 representatives of different churches and religious organizations at the many worship services gave the participants a sense of belonging together across borders. The short news item was accompanied by a picture of Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Garegin II, who were, the caption stated, placing roses on a memorial for the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Thus, there was visible unity on this point from Protestants, Roman Catholics and Orthodox Communions at the highest levels, and worldwide.


The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, there are only two minutes remaining for this item on the Orders of the Day. I will allow only one more senator on the list to speak.


Ms Jeanne Milne

Congratulations on Becoming Finalist in Cadillac Fairview's ARC Award Competition

Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, it is with pleasure that I announce that Ms Jeanne Milne of Calgary, daughter of Senator Milne, is one of the four finalists in the Cadillac Fairview ARC Award Competition that recognizes highly creative innovators in Canadian retail. The award consists of a $50,000 cash prize. Ms Milne is being recognized for the creative and innovative hardware store that she developed called, "The Art of Hardware," in Calgary. I am sure that honourable senators will join with me in congratulating Ms Milne and wishing her good luck. As well, let us congratulate Senator Milne for having such a creative daughter and Ms Milne of Calgary for having such a remarkable mother.


First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill

First Reading

Hon. Gerry St. Germain presented Bill S-38, declaring the Crown's recognition of self-government for the First Nations of Canada.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator St. Germain, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Tuesday, February 12, 2002.



Answer to Order Paper Question Tabled

Use of Antibiotics in Farm Animals

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answer to Question No. 18 on the Order Paper—by Senator Kinsella.



Bill to Remove Certain Doubts Regarding the Meaning of Marriage

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wiebe, for the second reading of Bill S-9, to remove certain doubts regarding the meaning of marriage.—(Honourable Senator Finnerty)

Hon. Isobel Finnerty: Honourable senators, I have read with interest the continuing debate on Bill S-9. Senator Cools has presented a thorough and carefully documented history of the meaning of marriage. This is an impressive piece of research. I am grateful for the opportunity to have read it.

All around us, our traditional beliefs are challenged. What we were taught as youngsters is constantly being questioned. I am certain that many of us would find it much easier to survive if we could pause from time to time to absorb the never-ending changes.

Bill S-9 calls on the Parliament of Canada to freeze for all time the traditional Judeo-Christian definition of "marriage." The term "marriage," it is argued, should be exclusive property of two persons of the opposite sex who, one assumes, are in a loving and long-term relationship. Like most of you, honourable senators, it would be my predisposition to agree with the sentiments of Bill S-9.

Honourable senators, I am hopeful that all of you will ask yourselves this question: Will any Canadian be disadvantaged or greatly insecure if the traditional definition of "marriage" is not frozen in time?

It is important to have on the record the thorough research of Senator Cools and the supporting arguments of Senators Wiebe and Banks. Their speeches eloquently honour and trace the path that has led us here today. I am certain that there will be speeches against Bill S-9. I understand the frustrations of those who advocate a more inclusive or broader definition of "marriage." For the gay and lesbian community, the road to fairness, equity and inclusion has been long and rough.

Honourable senators, I can also understand that there would be some suspicion on the part of gays and lesbians regarding the motivations of those who take a view that traditions must not be altered. The more stridently traditional views are proclaimed, the more one suspects the motivations of those who express such underlying loyalty to tradition. Surely this is a natural, although sometimes unfair, reaction.

However, once we have heard all the arguments on both sides of this issue, I believe it will be time for us to move on. I do not believe that the path into the future is a quagmire of sin and evil simply because we do not choose to freeze in time, by way of legislative actions, definitions that we have cherished in the past. I believe that the future is resplendent with new challenges, new relationships and new definitions. Let us pursue this path armed with a generosity of spirit and determination to promote inclusion and not exclusion.

Honourable senators, is it scandalous to let the definition of "marriage" evolve? I think not. Is it sinful to let the definition of "marriage" evolve? I think not. Therefore, let us not put ourselves in the position of voting for this bill, and let us not put ourselves in the position of voting against this bill.


I believe that we should simply let Bill S-9 die on the Order Paper. In so doing, we may freely embrace the future with an open heart.

I truly hope, honourable senators, that everyone who wishes to speak on this debate has done so. The collective wisdom in this chamber will be to quietly let the bill die, having been neither approved nor defeated by the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I should like to ask Senator Finnerty a question.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will Senator Finnerty accept a question?

Senator Finnerty: Yes.

Senator Cools: In the past two years the Senate had before it two bills, which passed, both of which upheld the precise definition of marriage as contained in Bill S-9. The names of the bills have been long forgotten by most people. They are now laws. One was Bill C-23, section 1.1 of the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act, and the other one was Bill S-4, section 5 of the Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1. Both of those bills upheld the government's position, the current state of the law, which is that marriage is a voluntary union between a man and a woman. Could Senator Finnerty tell us how she voted on both of those bills?

Senator Finnerty: I was not here at that time.

Senator Cools: One of those bills, Bill S-4, was before the Senate last April, I believe.

Senator Finnerty: Perhaps I was too new to have started doing my own research into them.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I shall put the following question to Senator Finnerty: How could the Senate adopt an alternative position to that which it had already adopted in previous legislation?

On motion of Senator LaPierre, debate adjourned.


Interim Report of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada Tabled

Leave having been given to revert to Tabling of Documents:

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the Interim Report of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, by Commissioner Roy J. Romanow.

Ethics Counsellor

Motion to Change Process of Selection—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator DeWare:

That the Senate endorse and support the following policy from Liberal Red Book 1, which recommends the appointment of "an independent Ethics Counsellor to advise both public officials and lobbyists in the day-to-day application of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials. The Ethics Counsellor will be appointed after consultation with the leaders of all parties in the House of Commons and report directly to Parliament.";

And that this Resolution be sent to the Speaker of the House of Commons so that he may acquaint the House of Commons with this decision of the Senate.—(Honourable Senator Kinsella)

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, this motion speaks to a matter of not only long-standing interest but also of current interest, affecting the role of an independent ethics counsellor.

Honourable senators, as the inquiry by Senator Oliver started, we had expressed a number of concerns about the fact that the Ethics Counsellor in place was not independent. This has been a subject of fairly broad debate across Canada as the government seems to be unmoved by the criticisms of a fairly broad spectrum of Canadians.

Some of us were of the view that the government did not care about this, and that there are only so many things the opposition could focus on. We were tempted to let the matter drop. However, as each government scandal and alleged wrongdoing by ministers of this government occurs it becomes important in the view of Canadians to have an ethics counsellor who is a true ethics counsellor, independent of the Prime Minister and the executive; in other words, an ethics counsellor who is an Officer of Parliament.

The most recent example of the executive's interference with the work of the Ethics Counsellor occurred within the last few days. Howard Wilson, the Ethics Counsellor, has admitted that he approached the Prime Minister and asked whether he should continue his investigation into recent alleged election offences committed by members of the House of Commons. In particular, while Maria Minna was a minister of the Crown, Mr. Wilson is quoted as saying, after speaking with the Prime Minister, "She is no longer in the cabinet, and I need not continue." Therefore, the Ethics Counsellor stopped his inquiry.

As the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party said yesterday, it is a joke to pretend there is an Ethics Counsellor when his mandate is so limited. It is bad enough that he only reports to the Prime Minister, his boss, but it is even worse that the code covers only a limited number of persons.

Honourable senators, the groundwork for a code of ethics and an independent ethics counsellor was laid by the report of a special joint committee of this house and the other place, jointly chaired by the present Speaker of the House of Commons and our colleague Senator Donald Oliver. It is my belief that the public's disillusionment with public life in Canada is due in large measure to the low esteem in which they hold politicians. We now have the opportunity to work toward creating an independent ethics counsellor appointed by and responsible to Parliament. This is absolutely necessary as part of the process of rehabilitating the role and image of parliamentarians as people who work to serve all Canadians.

I feel that all honourable members of this house should reflect very carefully upon the proposition contained in this motion and lend support to it. Given the fact that our colleagues opposite can be comforted by the fact that it was a policy from their own Red Book 1 that had recommended the appointment of an independent ethics counsellor to advise both public officials and lobbyists in the day-to-day application of the code of conduct for public officials, it seems to me that we have source or background documents in the political formulations of members of both sides of this house that would lend support to this proposition, and I would hope it would be embraced by all members of the Senate.

On motion of Senator Milne, debate adjourned.

The Senate adjourned until Thursday, February 7, 2002, at 1:30 p.m.