Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
tomorrow we mark International Women's Day. The Canadian theme for 2002 is
"Working in solidarity: Women, Human Rights and Peace." The purpose of
establishing annual events such as this is to draw the attention of the
international community to an issue so that those who are privileged can help
those who are not. While women here at home still live with inequalities that
must be redressed, it is women in lesser-developed countries that stand to
benefit the most from International Women's Day.
International Women's Day was first marked in 1911 to protest women's working
conditions. There are still women around the world who labour in intolerable
conditions and who are forced into situations where they must exploit every
possible option, however deplorable, in order to feed themselves and their
Too many women are being denied basic human rights and are living under
oppression, which is engendered by poverty, powerlessness and violence. This
tragedy is aggravated by the fact that women, as a general rule, are the ones
responsible for child rearing, so the next generation grows up in the same
However, today is also a day to celebrate progress made by women over the
past year. In Afghanistan, a country where women have one of the shortest life
expectancies, there is now a Department of Women's Affairs headed by Dr. Sima
Samar, and the Minister of Health is also a female physician. The government is
making concerted efforts to encourage women to take their rightful place in
public life and to rebuild the country so that it respects human rights and
peace. We must continue to recognize the importance of women's rights, because
where women are respected and valued, so too are all human rights, and peace
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I rise as well today in
recognition of International Women's Day, which will be marked tomorrow, March
8. This year's theme is "Working in solidarity: Women, Human Rights and
Peace." Today we are perhaps more keenly aware than ever of the concept of
peace. While many of us define peace simply as the absence of war, it is
important that we draw attention to the fact that human rights are also a
Surely we can agree that we have made major strides in advancing women's
rights and causes in Canada. Many Canadian women today have never had the
experience of not being allowed to vote, or being prevented from pursuing
academic goals or being denied the opportunity to sit in Parliament. These are
accomplishments of which we are rightfully proud.
However, statistics reveal significant problems remain. Consider, for
instance, that 51 per cent of Canadian women have been victims of at least one
act of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. Many women still live
under the constant threat of violence and degradation.
The present reality is that, in Canada, two women are killed each week as a
result of domestic violence. Findings from general social surveys show that
women represent 98 per cent of victims of sexual assault, kidnapping or
hostage-taking in the home. They account for 80 per cent of criminal harassment
victims. Consider that women's after-tax income is still only 63 per cent of
what men take home, despite the fact that they work longer hours.
What is especially disturbing when you look at these trends is that our
youngest women are still facing traditional inequalities. According to the
report released last year, entitled "Economic gender equality indicators
2000," women aged 15 to 24 work 18 per cent more than their male counterparts.
Honourable senators, that represents about two weeks more work every year. While
the share of paid work done by young women is high, their share of unpaid work
is even higher.
While the statistics paint a very dark picture indeed, they also supply
glimmers of hope. For instance, researchers have observed an overall decline in
wife assault and in the severity of violence directed against women in Canada.
We have also observed a greater gender balance in many fields of education.
Women are making steady progress into fields that have been heavily male
dominated, and women's share of job-related training is increasing, especially
in training sponsored by employers.
Honourable senators, March 8 is a time for us to consider the major
contributions that women have made in our society. More important, it is a time
to stand up for those who have no voice and to remind everyone that the struggle
for women's rights continues right here at home and around the globe.
We all have a role to play in advocating women's rights. We are called to do
more, and we must do more. In support of women, peace, and the ideals of
Canadian society, we must acknowledge inequality in all its forms and unite to
conquer its roots.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I did not intend to
speak on International Women's Day tomorrow. However, I am reminded that I was
the first person ever to interview a battered wife on television, and it was an
unbelievable experience in my life.
Today, when I went to the Victoria Building, all the ladies were receiving a
rose, and so did I. I do not know if it had anything to do with my speech
yesterday, but I got a rose and I thanked the ladies profusely.
However, I wish to speak about something else. Regarding an indecent attack
on the CBC by a certain broadcaster, I would like to set the record straight.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is not the only television network that
receives public funds in Canada. They all do. Every documentary, drama and
certain children's and variety programs that meet the Canadian content rules are
largely paid for by the taxpayers of Canada, whether through the federal
government, the provincial or territorial governments, municipal or regional
governments or Telefilm Canada, which has a television fund. I make bold to say
that more than half, and in most cases more than that, of the costs of making
such programs in Canada is paid out of the Canadian governmental budget.
The recent attacks on the CBC by a particular broadcaster, whose contribution
to Canadian content leaves much to be desired, is indecent and unwarranted.
That thought has brought me to another one. Since my public declaration that,
in due course, I would ask the Senate to approve a special study on the
concentration of ownership of the media, particularly in its cross-media
existence, I have received many letters supporting this move. This support has
been shown as well in discussions I have had in person with various groups
across this land. Several senators have also encouraged me to pursue the matter.
Consequently, I shall do so. It is my intention to send a letter to all
senators to gauge their interest and, if there is any interest, to call a
meeting of interested members of the Senate before the April break in order to
determine the best way to proceed.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, I want to make a
statement on International Women's Day to ensure it is not the exclusive
preserve of the opposite sex.
In addition to some of the progress that we have been making internationally
and, of course, nationally, I wish to point out one area we should all think
more about. That is valuing the homemaker, the person who rocks the cradle, one
might say, who rules that world and who is also the person in charge of the
initial education of our children, as well as a great deal of their later
I know, as a father of seven daughters and being married to a wonderful woman
for 53 years now, a great wife and mother, that that is a part of society that
is not recognized. We are great on making inroads toward equality of employment
opportunities. I have seen that through my daughters and their children. We have
made some great strides in that area, but we are still almost in the dark ages
when it comes to tax allowances or recognizing that the woman of the house and
women generally get stuck with care- taking and education. I do not think they
are complaining about it, but many claim they are not recognized as an equal
partner in building the country and building the marriage. Tax deductions or tax
allowances are always based on what the male is doing outside the home, not on
what the woman is doing inside the home.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, on March 1, 2001, I rose
in this place to extend congratulations to Colleen Jones and her rink from the
Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia, upon winning the Scott
Tournament of Hearts: Canadian Women's Curling Championship, being the third win
by skip Colleen in that event.
This past weekend in Brandon, Manitoba, Colleen Jones and her rink defeated
Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson 8-5, to win this national title. In so doing,
Colleen Jones made Canadian curling history by winning an unprecedented fourth
national championship as skip.
We congratulate skip Colleen, lead Nancy Delahunt, second Mary-Anne Waye,
third Kim Kelly, alternate Laine Peters and coach Ken Bagnell. One cannot say
enough about this superb team of female athletes who have won three national
titles together while managing to juggle their family lives, careers and
personal pursuits. They are our heroines.
I know that all honourable senators join me in wishing this rink every
success as they represent Canada in defence of their World Women's Curling
Championship title, scheduled for Bismarck, North Dakota, starting on April 6.
It was good to see the front page and headline, reporting that this female
athletic triumph deservedly received in the local and national press.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I, too, would like to say a
word on the occasion of International Women's Day. I would like to take slight
issue with Senator Taylor, who seems to be suggesting that all the battles have
been won in the employment world for women. Legally speaking, it is true, the
battles have been won, but in practice, not necessarily.
I have just a couple of figures, honourable senators. I asked my staff to
keep track of the weekly appointment reviews that appear in The Globe and
Mail for the past five or six months, from October 1 last year to March 4 of
this year. They appear in the Report on Business, and they are a weekly summary
of those paid ads for executive appointments. Women made up approximately 23 per
cent of those appointments, 89 women to 293 men. Twenty-three per cent is not
our share of the population, and I can tell you, honourable senators, that if we
were to remove the number of women who had been promoted in the non-profit
sector, the numbers would be even lower.
I am reminded of a study done in the United States using Standard & Poor's
numbers for most of the 1990s, which showed that the fraction of women in top
level management had nearly tripled. Sounds wonderful, does it not? It went from
1.3 per cent in 1992, to 3.4 per cent in 1997. You can project the trend line
The point is, we have a long way to go. In this chamber, we can hold our
heads high. At 32 per cent women, we have a better standing than almost any
legislative chamber in the world. There are fewer than a dozen that have a
higher percentage of women than does this chamber. I suggest we try to achieve
the same results everywhere.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, presented the following report:
Thursday, March 7, 2002
The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources has the honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-39, An Act to replace the
Yukon Act in order to modernize it and to implement certain provisions of the
Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement, and to repeal
and make amendments to other Acts, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference
of Wednesday, December 12, 2001, examined the said Bill and now reports the
same without amendment.
NICHOLAS W. TAYLOR
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when
shall this bill be read the third time?
On motion of Senator Christensen, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday
next, March 12, 2002, I will call the attention of the Senate to certain issues
related to the redistribution of seats in the House of Commons, subsequent to
the decennial census of the year 2001.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. She will recall that a month or so ago I
asked her a question relating to the air travel tax that this government will
use to pay for new air security measures and equipment.
On March 6, the Ottawa Citizen carried an article in which a leading
aviation security expert named Michael Boyd said that Canada is making a mistake
by buying expensive and unproven bomb detection machines from U.S. suppliers.
According to Mr. Boyd, the machines in question are "abominably slow and
abominably unreliable." He also claims that the machines are prone to false
alarms that substantially delay baggage handling and force security to use
ineffective hand searches of checked bags.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate please explain what the
government intends to do about these allegations, and does she have any
information as to whether they are accurate?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
Honourable Senator Oliver for his question. Clearly, the Government of Canada
intends to buy the best equipment and will analyze all the comments that it
receives, including the one that was found in the newspapers, to ensure we are
getting the best available machinery on the market.
Senator Oliver: Honourable senators, at $1.6 million per machine, the
government is putting big money into this new equipment. To give assurance to
members of the Senate and to properly address our concerns, could the Leader of
the Government in the Senate please make queries of her colleague the Minister
of Transport as to the validity of these claims and could she file something
with the Senate so we could all read the response?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I certainly can follow through
as the honourable senator has indicated. However, the machinery in question is
being purchased not only by us, but also by the United States. Not only has our
country done a review of the capability of this machinery but so, too, has the
If further evaluations are done and, in particular, if there is a response to
the honourable senator's particular question, I will get back to him as soon as
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader
of the Government in the Senate. The report by the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence has opened many Canadians' eyes to just how poorly
the Liberal government is controlling the activity at ports across our country.
Given that roughly 15 per cent of dock workers in Montreal, almost 40 per
cent of stevedores in Halifax and almost 54 per cent of longshoremen in the Port
of Charlottetown have criminal records, can the Leader of the Government in the
Senate please tell us why the government does not have a policy in place
requiring mandatory background checks on personnel working at our ports across
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the honourable senator has indicated, those are certainly the kind of
statistics found in the Senate report. Questions were raised by the port
authorities themselves concerning the validity of those particular statistics.
However, it is incumbent upon the government — and it has undertaken to do so —
not only to study the report in detail, but also to make further inquiries as to
what the port authorities think of the particular advice that is provided to us
by our Senate committee.
To date, the port authorities have indicated that they were not asked to
appear before the National Security and Defence Committee. Since they did not
appear before that committee, I am certain that the government will want to
conduct further investigations.
Senator Cochrane: That is good news. Perhaps we will then follow
through with Senator Angus' request yesterday about an inquiry into this whole
issue. I am certainly looking forward to that response.
What assurances can the minister give to Canadians that it is our government
and not the Hells Angels or other crime organizations that are in control of our
ports? This is what the report is saying.
Senator Carstairs: With the greatest of respect, I do not think the
report went quite that far. Clearly, we do have a port authority structure in
Canada. That port authority is an independent structure. It has obligations to
ensure proper security, and the Government of Canada has the responsibility to
ensure that it is doing its job effectively.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader
of the Government in the Senate. What is the government doing to resolve the
conflict between the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on
the one hand and the Department of National Defence on the other on the issue of
the United States putting weapons into space?
The Department of National Defence wants to cooperate with the Pentagon plans
to put laser guns and other weapons into orbit. The Department of Foreign
Affairs says Canada will tell the Americans that we are against the
weaponization of space. Who will resolve this interdepartmental conflict so that
Canada's long-standing policy opposing the weaponization of space remains firm?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
quite frankly, I do not see the same conflict that the honourable senator seems
to feel exists between two government departments. It is clear who speaks on
international policy, including our relationship with the United States, and
that is the Department of Foreign Affairs.
As to individual members in the defence establishment who may wish to move to
a policy of more weaponization, the policy of the Canadian government is very
clear. Under our auspices and under our agreement, there will be no weapons in
Senator Roche: That answer is certainly welcome, namely, that the
Canadian government will speak with one voice in upholding the policy it has
held to oppose the weaponization of space — a policy of some 30 years,
irrespective of who was in power at any given moment.
The United States has given notice of its forthcoming withdrawal from the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to pursue the development of its National
Missile Defence system. This system is, as any check of Pentagon Web site
material shows, the first step in the weaponization of space. Is the Canadian
government now studying this issue carefully so that it will understand that any
Canadian support for a national missile defence system will violate Canada's
long-standing policy against weaponization of space?
Senator Carstairs: As the honourable senator has indicated, the
Canadian government has a policy of some 30 years' standing. It has no intention
of changing that policy. Further, through the Conference on Disarmament, the
Canadian government is continuing to make efforts to secure a multilateral
agreement banning space-based weapons.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, my question is directed
to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I believe that the security
measures and the abuse of the privacy of our cars is an abuse of power. It is
totally unnecessary; consequently, it is a make-work program. However, I do not
want to talk about that today. I do want to talk about the ugly, atrocious
building that is now being built on sacred land that belonged to the Algonquin
centuries ago. The building will be ugly and it will deform the dignity of the
sacred precinct. Therefore, I want to know whether the minister could use her
immense power to have this building torn down and replaced by a nicer one. While
she is at it, could she please ask that a john be built inside the building and
remove the outhouse that is there.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I am in agreement
and disagreement with the honourable senator's question. I am in total agreement
that it is a rather ugly structure, and I am in disagreement about the so-called
immense power that I am supposed to have.
However, I do want honourable senators to know that the building is a
temporary structure. Developments and discussions are ongoing as to how we can
best meet the security needs on the Hill without blighting the architecture of
this wonderful set of buildings that we are all privileged to spend much of our
daily lives in.
Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, my question concerns a U.S.
State Department report, released earlier this month, that once again puts
Canada in an embarrassing and very negative light as a "major money laundering
country" appearing on a list of nations of primary concern for money
Yesterday's Ottawa Citizen ran a lead story on page 1, under the
headline "Illicit cash pours over border: U.S. names Canada `major money
laundering country'." It went on to say:
In its latest annual report on the international drug trade and suspicious
money, the State Department says the U.S. is worried about the movement of
large sums of cash across the border.
"Canada remains vulnerable to money laundering because of its advanced
financial services sector and heavy cross-border flow of currency and monetary
instruments," says the department's International Narcotics Control Strategy
In spite of the legislation we passed in 2000, our nation remains on this
list, a list that includes countries like Switzerland, with its secret banking
system, and the Cayman Islands and other similar tax havens. Of particular
concern is laundering of monies earned through the drug trade that allegedly are
being used to finance terrorist activities at an international level.
Honourable senators, I am asking the Leader of the Government to please
indicate whether the government has looked at the U.S. State Department's
report, and if so, could she advise as to how, in spite of the legislative
initiatives of the past few years, Canada is still being regarded as a country
of primary concern for money laundering.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for his question. As he well knows, there are statistical
gathering measures, most particularly in the United States. Sometimes their data
is based on a period of time — between the reporting and the actual publication
of that data — in which legislative changes have taken place.
I should like to think this is an example, that since the gathering of the
data and the issuance of the report, we have made significant changes, not only
with the money laundering bill itself but also with the changes to the
I will, however, make sure that the United States, through the Department of
Foreign Affairs, is made aware of these changes in legislation, and hopefully
the department can deal with any concerns that they have in the United States.
It is all too true, unfortunately, that sometimes our American brothers and
sisters like to find problems outside of their country without examining whether
they have the same problems within.
Hon. Edward M. Lawson: One of the other countries that the United
States has designated as a country of concern for money laundering is the United
Senator Angus: There, you have it.
Honourable senators, I am sure we are all reassured by the response of the
Leader of the Government. I am sure that she, as well as all of us, is still
very offended when we see headlines stating that Canada is one of the leading
money laundering countries.
If the honourable leader is saying that the U.S. State Department report is
wrong and it is out of date — and I hope she is right — that is one thing, but
the report notes that the Canadian government has not yet implemented the
regulations that define cross-border currency movements, nor is FINTRAC a member
of the Egmont Group, which would allow it to exchange information with its
foreign counterparts. Why is this, if indeed it is so? Why is Canada dragging
its feet? When will the government implement these regulations, and when will
FINTRAC join the Egmont group?
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator has put very specific and
detailed questions before the chamber. Obviously, I do not have that kind of
information available. However, I will obtain it, and we will file it as a
delayed answer as soon as possible.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is a bit repetitive, but important.
On March 23, 2001, Justice Pierre Blais brought down a judgment that addresses
the matter of contraventions issued on federal territory, under agreements with
the provinces. Six provinces were involved: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Yesterday, a Finance Department legal counsel said that they had received a
letter from Ontario indicating that Ontario could not enforce the Blais
judgment, and thus could not comply with the judge's recommendation. I quote
from the Blais decision:
— if any, the respondents shall, within no more than one year from the date
of this order, ensure that the said agreements are amended to comply with the
order. Upon the expiry of that time, if the agreements have not been amended,
they will become void.
The word is "they," plural. All agreements with the provinces will become
void. Could the minister tell us what will happen if they do?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): First, the
honourable senator knows that they are in effect until March 23, 2002, because
the judge gave that one-year grace period. It will not surprise the honourable
senator to learn that I asked for an update on this file this morning, since I
can see March 23 looming just as quickly as he can see March 23, 2002, looming.
I hope to have an answer for him and for this chamber shortly.
Senator Gauthier: Honourable senators, this is an important question
dealing with airports, maritime law and all properties that are in federal
jurisdiction. I would like the government to please tell us if we are returning
to the old system, or will something different be done?
Senator Carstairs: That is exactly why I asked my staff this morning
if we had an update on this policy. I will continue to try to get this policy
announced sooner rather than later.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table in the house two delayed answers. The first
is in response to a question raised in the Senate on February 5, 2002, by
Senator Robertson regarding competition in the United States with Chilean
salmon; the second is in response to a question raised in the Senate on February
5, 2002, by Senator Kinsella regarding National Defence.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Brenda M. Robertson on February 5,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working with other federal departments and
the aquaculture industry to explore the full range of options that may be
available to assist concerned salmon producers during this particularly
challenging period in the global market place. Specifically, the Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency government is reviewing an interim financial
assistance package that has been proposed by the industry. The package
involves either the deferral of current loans or issuing bridge loans to
finance potential losses. In addition to the Minister of State for ACOA, the
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has met separately with industry on this
matter and will examine this option in a broader federal context.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Noël A. Kinsella on February 5, 2002)
International law, including the Geneva Conventions, does not preclude the
use of the death penalty. It does provide for legal safeguards for the
The CF deploys worldwide in a variety of countries that retain the death
penalty and other punishments not found in Canadian law. If Canada were to
adopt a position that it could not transfer detainees to such countries, the
CF would likely not be able to participate in most international missions,
including UN-sanctioned missions.
For the protection of its citizens and for broader international security
goals, Canada must be able to operate in and with countries that do not have
the same domestic legal norms, but that do meet the international standards
for the trial and punishment of offenders. Canada will transfer detainees to
countries that meet those international standards.
International law allows the transfer of detainees to other national
authorities. Canada will continue to meet all legal requirements regarding the
transfer of detainees.
In this Coalition operation, the authority responsible for the long-term
treatment and security of detainees is the United States. The United States
has assured Canada that detainees are being treated in accordance with the
principles of the Geneva Convention. Canada welcomes this commitment.
Canada remains strongly committed to the fight against terrorism.
Everything possible must be done to bring Al Qaeda and those responsible for
the September 11th events to justice.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government) moved the third
reading of Bill S-34, respecting royal assent to bills passed by the Houses of
She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak at third reading to Bill
S-34. I would like to begin by thanking the Standing Committee on Rules,
Procedures and the Rights of Parliament for the excellent discussion of the
issues that took place between committee members and with witnesses before the
committee on items of discussion generated by this bill.
As the sponsor of the bill, I was pleased to appear before the committee as a
witness. The committee also heard from Mary E. Dawson and Louis Davis from
Justice Canada, Mr. John Aimers and Mr. Paul Benoît from the Monarchist League
of Canada, and Dr. David Smith from the University of Saskatchewan.
The committee met 21 times to discuss this bill. That will give you an
indication of how serious and dedicated the members of this committee were, and
I would like to thank and congratulate honourable senators for their dedication
Honourable senators, this bill aims to modernize the royal assent process by
allowing royal assent through written declaration. At the same time, this bill
preserves the traditional ceremony by requiring its use at least twice per
calendar year, including the first appropriation bill of each session. The
process of written declaration brings Canada on side with the rest of the
Commonwealth countries, as Canada has been the only Commonwealth country, for
quite some time now, to continue with the traditional form of the ceremony
The provisions in this bill are of a procedural nature and relate solely to
the process of signifying royal assent. The traditional ceremony and proposed
written declaration both recognize the convention that the Crown, the Senate and
the House of Commons, the three elements that comprise our Parliament, be
included in the process of royal assent.
The Governor General or one of her deputies will still exercise the
prerogative of assent, but the manner in which assent will be granted will be
expanded. There will be the option of having royal assent signified in the
Senate by way of the ceremony with which we are all familiar, and we will also
have the option for royal assent to be signified by written declaration, which
will then be communicated to both Houses.
Some have expressed some concern that we are quietly doing away with one of
the important ceremonies that takes place in the Senate and is an educational
tool for the public. Honourable senators, I think we must be realistic. The
attendance of honourable senators and members of the House of Commons for royal
assent ceremonies in this chamber has declined significantly over the years.
I concede that royal assent ceremonies are often hastily organized at the
last minute. However, I have undertaken, along with my colleague, the Honourable
Ralph Goodale, the Leader of the Government in the other place, to plan the
traditional royal assent ceremonies in advance, thereby ensuring the ceremonies
that do occur are both well respected and well attended by senators, members of
the House of Commons, and the public.
We have demonstrated that by taking creative new approaches we can improve
attendance on occasion, as we saw in the last royal assent ceremony held on
February 18, 2002, when 60 honourable senators were present in this chamber and
approximately 30 members of Parliament, including at least four cabinet
ministers, attended behind the bar.
Others have expressed the hope that we may see the Governor General here for
royal assent more often. I know honourable senators fully realize that neither
this chamber nor the other place has the authority to require the Governor
General's appearance. That is true under this bill, just as it is true without
this bill. However, since we will be able to give more advance warning of the
formal ceremony, I am hopeful that the presence of the Governor General will be
made much easier.
It will be 19 years this April since Senator Royce Frith, then Deputy Leader
of the Government, tabled a notice of inquiry calling the attention of the
Senate to the advisability of establishing alternate procedures for the
pronouncement of royal assent to bills. It has been 15 years since the Special
Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons, the McGrath committee, dealt
with the issue of Royal Assent in its second report. It will be 15 years this
November since the then Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and
Orders, chaired by the late Senator Gildas Molgat, tabled its fourth report
calling for changes to the royal assent procedure, strikingly similar to those
that we see before us today.
Our honourable colleague Senator Murray introduced Bill S-19 in July 1988
also along the same theme of the bill before us today. The Leader of the
Opposition, Senator Lynch-Staunton, tabled Bill S-15, Bill S-7 and Bill S-13
during the past few years, all of which concerned royal assent. With a few minor
changes, those bills were very similar to the bill currently before us.
Honourable senators, it has taken almost 20 years of true sober second
thought, but it would seem we are now ready to move on with much needed
adjustment to our process of royal assent. The bill the committee has returned
to us is a very good product, and I encourage all honourable senators to support
the bill as it now stands before us. Let us modernize this important ceremony so
that it is used when most appropriate and when attendance will be the greatest.
By doing that we will preserve and hopefully enhance the prestige and importance
of this important ceremony. I encourage all honourable senators to support this
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: As the honourable senator is aware, I am not a
member of this committee, nor for that matter any committee. However, I attended
some committee sessions. I attended the meeting at which the Leader of the
Government was present. I made suggestions during that meeting that appear to
have been incorporated. Would the honourable senator kindly address my concerns
regarding the wording of the bill and how the redrafting will address the
objection that I had raised at that time?
Senator Carstairs: Perhaps I can indicate the objection made by the
honourable senator at that meeting. The bill requires in clause 5 that a message
be sent to the House when written royal assent has been used. The honourable
senator asked the very thoughtful question of what would occur should the house
not be sitting. If we had a royal assent ceremony in late June, and the House
did not sit until September, would royal assent then be deemed to be in force
The response is that we will have to sit in order to receive the message that
royal assent has been given, unless of course we want it to be deferred for
several months. Logic would tell us that we would not want to defer,
particularly as the last bill of the session is usually an appropriation bill,
and obviously the government would want royal assent right away. Therefore, it
will be necessary to continue with other business before the chamber, to have
written royal assent and then an announcement to that effect, while the chamber
is in session.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Is the honourable senator aware that if this
proposed system does not work it will be a total, degrading failure for this
house, and an insult to the Canadian people?
If we are to change this ceremony, it must then be held on an occasion of
national importance. It must be scheduled well in advance; it must be televised;
this place must be filled and the galleries filled with students of various
kinds for it to have any value whatsoever. Is the honourable senator aware that
if the ceremony does not have significant national value it will be an insult to
our government, to the process and especially to this chamber, which will be
held responsible for its failure?
Senator Carstairs: Each and every one of us has an obligation to
ensure that when we are holding the formal ceremony, it is a success. That is
why, when the committee was meeting, Minister Goodale and I signed a letter to
the committee, which has been subsequently tabled with the chamber, indicating
that a number of things must take place in order to ensure that the proposed
royal assent ceremony takes on the seriousness which we believe this particular
occasion warrants. We are of the opinion that advance notice is one of those,
and we are trying to plan for a royal assent ceremony on or about March 20. We
hope to be able to give notice next week so that there will be time for people
to make their plans.
At that point, I would also be looking to make a motion before the Senate,
asking for permission to televise this event. In the past, the process has often
been that we gave notice of royal assent in the afternoon, then held it an hour
or an hour and a half later. Thus it has not been possible to televise that
particular ceremony. By providing ample notice, we should be able to make that
Another suggestion has been made by Senator Poulin which I think is
excellent, and I am hoping to put it in place with the help of my colleagues on
the other side. Senator Poulin suggested that we might hold a conference between
two members of this chamber — one from this side and one from the other side —
to explain to the public watching on the television exactly what bills are being
given royal assent and what is contained in those bills, such that it will
become an educational exercise. I do not think that will be possible for this
next royal assent, but it is something which I have taken under advisement, and
I know it is supported by the Leader of the Opposition.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Hon. John G. Bryden moved the second reading of Bill C-30, to
establish a body that provides administrative services to the Federal Court of
Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court of
Canada, to amend the Federal Court Act, the Tax Court of Canada Act and the
Judges Act, and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.
He said: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to rise to introduce second
reading debate on Bill C-30, the Courts Administration Service Bill. This is a
complex bill, but its objective is straightforward: to improve the efficiency
and effectiveness of the Federal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada
through structural changes to those courts. Nothing in the bill is intended to
change the existing jurisdiction of either court. These amendments are aimed at
administrative improvements only.
There are three basic elements to the bill: One, the bill would consolidate
the current administrative services of the two courts in a new body to be called
courts administrative service; two, it would separate the existing Federal Court
Trial Division and the Federal Court of Appeal into two distinct courts managed
by two separate chief justices; three, it would confer superior court status on
the Tax Court of Canada.
The bill comprises 199 clauses. The bulk of the substantive amendments
dealing with each of the three aspects described above are found in the first
three sections of the bill, as follows:
Clauses 1 to 12 deal with the establishment of the Courts administrative
Clauses 13 to 58 contain amendments to the Federal Court Act, the large
majority of which result from the creation of a separate Court of Appeal.
These clauses also include consequential amendments relating to other aspects
of the reform.
Clauses 59 to 81 are amendments to the Tax Court of Canada Act and largely
deal with the establishment of the Tax Court of Canada as a superior court.
These clauses also contain consequential amendments resulting from the other
two aspects of the reform. I will touch briefly on each of the three elements
I have outlined.
At present, the Federal Court and the Tax Court each have separate bodies,
known as registries, that provide administrative services to the particular
court. These services include corporate services such as the managing of the
facilities of the courts, human resources, information technology, finance,
library, security, and publications. These registry activities involve registry
officers who advise and help litigants on court procedure, maintain court
records and provide administrative support to the judges. Finally, the services
include direct support to the judiciary through law clerks and judicial
This bill was drafted in response to certain concerns about this arrangement
raised by the Auditor General in April of 1997. At the request of the Minister
of Justice, the Auditor General had conducted a first-ever audit of the Federal
Court and the Tax Court. He concluded that there were extensive savings that
could be realized if the registry of the two courts were consolidated.
That is what Bill C-30 would do. It would establish a new courts
administrative service that would provide administrative support to the Federal
Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Tax Court, and also the Court Martial
Appeal Court. It should be noted that the Court Martial Appeal Court uses
Federal Court judges and draws on the services of the officers, clerks and
employees of the Federal Court.
This new service would be headed by a chief administrator appointed by the
Governor in Council after consultation with the Minister of Justice and with the
chief justices of each of the four courts. The term of office is five years, but
the chief administrator may be reappointed to the position. Any reappointment
and any termination of the chief administrator's appointment also requires
consultation with the chief justices of the four courts.
As many of us in this chamber are very well aware, the principle of judicial
independence is critical under our Constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada
noted in Valente v. The Queen:
It is generally agreed that judicial independence involves both individual
and institutional relationships: the individual independence of a judge, as
reflected in such matters as security of tenure, and the institutional
independence of the court or tribunal over which he or she presides, as
reflected in its institutional or administrative relationships to the executive
and legislative branches of government.
Nothing in Bill C-30 affects the individual independence of the judge. The
issue, rather, is the institutional independence of the courts in question, thus
ensuring that the judiciary retains control over matters that touch directly on
the judicial function.
Bill C-30 works to ensure this in several ways. Clause 8(1) of the bill would
specifically provide that the Chief Justices "...are responsible for the
judicial functions of their courts, including the direction and supervision over
court sittings and the assignment of judicial duties."
Clause 8(2) enumerates examples of those powers, including the power to
determine the sittings of the court, assign judges to the sittings, assign cases
and other judicial duties to the judges, determine the sitting schedules and the
workload of the judges, and prepare hearing lists.
By contrast, the powers of the Chief Administrator are set out in clause 7(1)
and clause 7(2) states:
The Chief Administrator has all the powers necessary for the overall
effective and efficient management and administration of all court services,
including court facilities and libraries and corporate services and staffing.
Clause 7(3) outlines the duties and functions of the Chief Administrator
where it states:
The Chief Administrator, in consultation with the Chief Justices of the
Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Court Martial Appeal Court and the
Tax Court of Canada, shall establish and maintain the registry or registries
of those courts in any organizational form or forms and prepare budgetary
submissions for the requirements of those courts and for the related needs of
It is anticipated that there will be strong collaborative partnership between
the new chief administrator and the Chief Justice. However, and this is very
important, in the event there is a disagreement on an aspect of court
administration, the bill is very clear: the judiciary retains control. To this
end, clause 9(1) states:
A chief justice may issue binding directions in writing to the Chief
Administrator with respect to any matter within the Chief Administrator's
The courts administration service will be at arm's length from the government
to ensure the appropriate independence of the courts. However, Bill C-30 is
careful to provide for accountability, especially to Parliament, for both the
administrative effectiveness and also with respect to the use of public
Clause 12(1) would require the chief administrator to send an annual report
to the Minister of Justice on the activities of the service for the year. The
minister is then required to lay a copy of the report before each House of
The model reflected in Bill C-30 was developed in close collaboration with
the Federal Court, the Tax Court and the Court Martial Appeal Court. The advice
and views of the chief justices were sought throughout the process on both the
overall structure and its technical implementation. The courts were actively
involved both to ensure that judicial independence is respected and upheld in
the proposed structure, and also to ensure that the Canadian public continues to
be well served and to receive the highest quality of justice we expect from
these courts. Indeed, the proposed new court administration service enjoys the
full support and commitment of the four courts.
Honourable senators, as I said before, the bill is in part a response to the
recommendation of the Auditor General in his report of April 1997. I want to
mention one recommendation the Auditor General made that was not accepted. In
his 1997 report, the Auditor General also recommended the complete merger of the
judicial functions of the Federal Court and the Tax Court. This was, as he noted
in the report, "the most contentious issue" that he had reviewed. It was
strongly opposed by the judges of the Tax Court and by the tax lawyers. In the
end, this recommendation was not accepted by the government and is not reflected
in Bill C-30. Instead, the administration functions only of the courts would be
I am pleased to advise honourable senators that following the introduction of
the former Bill C-40, the predecessor of Bill C-30 — and they are virtually
identical — the then Auditor General expressed his support for the approach
taken by the government. In a letter to the Minister of Justice dated June 26,
2000, the former Auditor General wrote:
We are pleased that the proposed legislation reflects the key recommendations
of our April 1997 report to the Minister of Justice. With proper implementation
the proposed measures should significantly improve the efficiency and
accountability and the administrative services provided to the courts while
maintaining the independence of the judicial function.
The second main element of the bill is the formal separation of the current
Federal Court Trial Division and the Federal Court of Appeal. The purpose is to
clarify the roles of respective chief justices of these courts and to ensure
that each court can be managed most efficiently.
Right now, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court is responsible for the
overall management of both the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. Bill C-30
would create two separate courts — the same structure that is the usual one for
most provincial superior courts. The current Chief Justice would continue to be
responsible for the Federal Court of Appeal but would not be responsible any
longer for management of the Trial Court. The current Associate Chief Justice
would become the Chief Justice of the Trial Court with overall management
responsibility for that court. The Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal
would continue, as now, in a place of precedence at the top of that structure.
This is also the norm in the provincial superior courts.
The final main reform in Bill C-30 is to confer on the Tax Court of Canada
the status of a superior court. This is intended to establish the Tax Court as a
full and equal partner with the other three courts in the newly consolidated
administration. This change of status is not intended to make any substantive
change to the jurisdiction or remedial powers of the court. Honourable senators
may note that the proposed sections 19.1 and 19.2 of the Tax Court of Canada Act
appear to confer additional jurisdictions upon the court. For example, with
respect to contempt, ex facie or outside the court, vexatious proceedings and
constitutional questions, these are, in fact, not enhanced jurisdictional
powers. They merely codify certain jurisdictions that the Tax Court has been
exercising and exercises now at common law.
I should also add that this superior court status would not result in any
additional costs. Judges of the Tax Court already receive the same salaries and
benefits as superior court judges.
Honourable senators, I believe that Bill C-30 represents a strong model for
effective, efficient court administration, and I invite you to join me in
supporting the bill.
Hon. Lowell Murray: May I ask the honourable senator several
Senator Bryden: Yes. How many?
Senator Murray: I would not want my honourable friend to miss his
plane, so he can let me know if I am impinging on his schedule.
Has the government given my honourable colleague a note in respect of the
extent of the savings that will be realized once Bill C-30 is passed?
Senator Bryden: I thank the honourable senator for his question. The
government has not provided me with that information. If the figures are
available, we would deal with that at committee, I am sure.
Senator Murray: Can the honourable senator say with certainty that
there will be fewer person-years involved in these overall activities as a
result of this bill?
Senator Bryden: No, I cannot say that.
Senator Murray: I do not quite understand what the problem is that the
government is trying to remedy by raising the Tax Court to the status of a
Senator Bryden: Honourable senators, the purpose is to put the Tax
Court at the same level as the other courts of particular jurisdiction, which
would include the Federal Trial Court and the Federal Court of Appeal. All of
these courts are statutory courts that get their jurisdictions from individual
acts that they administer in certain regards, whether it is the Income Tax Act
or whatever. It is intended to ensure that it is a fully equal partner with the
other courts that will be supported by this new service.
I anticipated this question, so I have this answer prepared.
It will promote the cooperative and collaborative approach to consolidated
services and shared facility that was identified by the Auditor General. He
wanted to pull the Tax Court into the Federal Court. That was said not to be
advisable. Instead, this bill would put them under at least the same
administrative umbrella. It would be an important precondition to achieving
efficiencies and ensuring effectiveness in the court's administration. It will
not involve any change in the jurisdiction of the Tax Court, nor will it
increase any of the costs since the members are already currently compensated at
the same level as Superior Court judges.
One other thing might be helpful. It is worth noting that with the
amalgamation of district and county courts in various provinces with superior
courts across Canada, the Tax Court now has the only remaining federally
appointed judges without superior court status. There are no new rights or
responsibilities. It is to bring them under the same umbrella as all federally
Senator Murray: I appreciate that answer. In the case of the chief
administrator, I followed the sponsor of the bill quite carefully, and I take it
that in extremis, the chief justice may issue a written instruction to the chief
administrator if there has been a disagreement between the two. However, as a
matter of practice, to whom will the chief administrator report on a day-to-day
basis? Is it to the minister, the Department of Justice, or is it to one or
other or all of the chief justices?
Senator Bryden: I believe, having read the bill, that the chief
administrator is intended to be a quasi-independent person who is accountable
through the Minister of Justice to Parliament. He does not report to the
Minister of Justice. He files a report with the Minister of Justice once a year,
a report which the Minister of Justice would place before Parliament.
The ability to direct the chief administrator statutorily is in the hands of
the chief justice, if it comes to that. The ability to appoint or reappoint is
done by Order-in-Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, but
only after consultation in either appointment or reappointment, or indeed
termination and not reappointment, with each of the chief Justices of each of
the four courts.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, clause 2(b) of the bill
2. The purposes of this Act are to
(b) enhance judicial independence by placing administrative services at
arm's length from the Government of Canada and by affirming the roles of chief
justices and judges in the management of the courts; and
Why did the government decide to stop at that limited list of courts? Why not
include other bodies of the federal government that are daily charged with
dealing with rights and responsibilities and granting decisions that affect the
rights of individuals in this country?
Senator Bryden: This act was designed to deal with the administration
of these four courts and to set up a single administrative structure instead of
the three separate registries, since the Federal Court acts for the martial one.
It was not designed to be a general bill dealing with any judicial or quasi-
judicial body appointed by the federal government. It is designed to do what it
is outlined to do, that is, to provide for the administrative functioning and
support to these four federal courts.
Senator Nolin: As the sponsor of this bill in the Senate, do you not
think that those bodies need to have their independence protected by the law?
Senator Bryden: Yes, but the purpose of this bill, as I understand it,
is not to protect the independence of every federal body that exists. It is to
deal with these four courts. I do not know, because I have not looked, whether
the other bodies to which the honourable senator is referring have their
independence protected in their own acts or wherever, but this is a bill that is
limited to the coordination of the services provided to these four courts.
Hon. George J. Furey moved the second reading of Bill S-40, to amend
the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.
He said: Honourable senators, I take this opportunity to present Bill S-40
for second reading today.
This bill amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to provide Canadian
securities and derivatives clearing houses with legal protections in the event
that one of their members becomes insolvent or declares bankruptcy. Such change
will bring us in line with the United States and other G7 countries.
Before discussing the bill further, I should like to provide some background
that may be of assistance in helping put the legislation in context. As
honourable senators know, one of the government's long-term economic goals is to
achieve a strong economy, and one that is internationally competitive. An
efficient and strong financial sector is a key requirement for achieving those
Securities and derivatives exchanges and their clearing houses are central to
the financial sector and, indeed, to the overall economy. They play an important
role in the raising of capital for investments in the Canadian economy and in
minimizing and hedging risks in the financial and agricultural sectors.
Canada's securities and derivatives clearing houses provide centralized
facilities for the clearing and settlement of trades on our four exchanges.
These clearing houses are among the most efficient in the world, enabling
customers and businesses to buy and sell securities and derivatives and to have
these transactions settled in a timely manner at a reasonable cost.
Bill S-40 will expand the scope of the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to
include protection for the netting agreements of our securities and derivatives
clearing houses, as well as protection for collateral posted by their members.
Without these changes, more securities and derivatives trading will occur
outside of Canada and principally in the United States.
Honourable senators, I should like to take a moment to comment on the terms
"netting" and "collateral." Essentially, "netting" means that if a member
of a clearing house, for example, had bought a security for $1,000 and sold
another for $900, that member's net obligation to the clearing house is $100.
Netting is a powerful way to significantly reduce the net payment and delivery
obligations of members of the clearing house. In some cases it can be as high as
In general terms, "collateral" means an asset, whether a cash deposit or
the transfer or pledge of a security provided to a creditor or, in this case, to
securities and derivatives clearing houses. Collateral would be posted with the
clearing house and would fully or partially offset a member's payment or
delivery obligations to the clearing house.
The Canadian securities and derivatives industry is a key player in Canada's
financial system as it provides a mechanism for raising capital, channelling
savings into investments, and minimizing and hedging risks through derivative
The size of the industry is significant. In the year 2000, for example, there
were over 190 securities and derivatives firms in Canada, employing
approximately 36,000 people.
There are, as honourable senators know, four exchanges in Canada for
securities and derivatives trades, which clear and settle through three clearing
houses. Securities and derivatives are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange,
TSE, for senior equities; the Bourse de Montréal for all non-commodity
derivatives trading; the Canadian Venture Exchange in Calgary for junior
equities; and the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange for commodity derivatives.
The clearing and settlement of securities and derivatives trades is done
through three clearing organizations: the Canadian Derivatives Clearing
Corporation, the Canadian Depository for Securities, and the Winnipeg Commodity
Exchange Clearing Corporation.
Securities and derivatives clearing houses are a critical feature to the
efficient operation of securities and derivatives markets. They are important
for three main reasons. First, securities and derivatives markets rely on the
efficient and timely clearing and settlement of transactions to lower
transaction costs. Second, clearing houses are critical to securities and
derivatives markets in that they provide opportunities to raise capital for
investments, and they also help to hedge financial risks. Third, clearing houses
are essential for reducing settlement risk in the securities and derivatives
The centralization of clearing and settlement services within a clearing
house helps achieve those objectives. Any factors that negatively affect their
operation and increase their costs will impact on securities and derivatives
markets by reducing their efficiency by increasing trading costs.
A serious potential cost to clearing houses lies in the risk that a member
may default before a transaction is settled, which would result in financial
loss to the clearing house and, ultimately, to its members. Because of this,
securities and derivatives clearing houses require members to post collateral,
usually in the form of securities, and to net their payment and delivery
obligations with the clearing house. These risk-reducing measures are critical
to the efficient operation and competitiveness of Canadian securities and
derivatives clearing houses with clearing houses in other countries,
particularly those in the United States.
It has recently become apparent that changes are required to help Canadian
securities and derivatives clearing houses be competitive internationally.
Without these changes, more securities and derivatives trading will occur
outside of Canada, principally in the United States.
Current Canadian bankruptcy and insolvency laws, which include the Bankruptcy
and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and the Winding-up
and Restructuring Act, do not protect netting agreements with clearing houses to
the same extent as they do in other countries. For example, these statutes do
not prevent stays imposed by a court on the ability of securities and
derivatives clearing houses to realize collateral in the case of a bankruptcy or
insolvency of one of its members. Stakeholders have raised this concern.
The Bourse de Montréal, on behalf of the Canadian Derivatives Clearing
Corporation, along with the WCE Clearing Corporation and the Canadian Depository
for Securities have all asked that the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act be
amended to cover securities and derivatives clearing houses.
These stakeholders have expressed the importance of Canadian bankruptcy and
insolvency laws from lowering settlement risks to their clearing houses and
their members. That is, they encourage changing the laws to ensure they will be
spared from the added costs that result from poor bankruptcy protection — a
solution easily achieved by making the necessary changes to the Payment Clearing
and Settlement Act. The proposed changes will allow them to lower their costs,
to be more efficient, and to compete on level terms with the United States and
other G7 countries.
Honourable senators, it may be instructive to take a moment to look at how
the system in other countries operates. In the United States, for example,
bankruptcy and insolvency legislation generally exempts securities clearing
organizations from court- ordered stays and allows them to net the obligations
of members and to realize on their members' collateral.
The current law hinders our competitiveness with the United States. A great
deal of Canadian securities and derivatives trading occurs on their exchanges
because of the potential risks one faces due to the lack of protection in
Canadian bankruptcy and insolvency legislation.
The Canadian industry needs to have a competitive legal regime so that it can
keep more trading activity in Canada. However, it is difficult to attract large
international dealers if Canadian clearing houses face higher costs as a result
of their inability to enforce their netting and collateral agreements with their
members, or because they present greater risks to their participants in the
event of insolvency of one or more members.
In Europe, the 1998 Settlement Finality Directive established a legal
framework for payment and security settlements systems in countries in the
European Union. This directive requires member states to ensure that security
settlement systems can net obligations, and it ensures that the netting is
legally enforceable and binding on third parties, even in the event of
insolvency proceedings. It also allows collateral security to be realized
expeditiously in any winding-up procedure. This means that collateral security
will be insulated from the effects of insolvency and can be realized to the
benefit of the claimants. Given how our competitors function, it is imperative
that changes be made to ensure that Canadian securities and derivatives clearing
houses can compete with those in the United States and Europe.
Honourable senators, it is also important to take into account the position
of the Bank for International Settlements on this issue. The BIS is an
international organization that fosters cooperation among central banks and
other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability. It has become an
important forum for international monetary and financial cooperation between
central bankers and increasingly for other regulators and supervisors.
The work of the BIS has contributed to the setting of standards, codes and
best practices that are deemed essential for strengthening the financial
architecture worldwide. In November 2001, the BIS and the International
Organization of Securities Commissions made recommendations about security
settlement systems, including securities clearing houses.
A central recommendation is that these systems have a well- founded legal
basis so that their rules and procedures can be enforced with a high degree of
certainty. This includes the enforceability of transactions, netting
arrangements, and the liquidation of assets pledged or transferred as
These issues are addressed in Bill S-40. The amendments in this bill protect
netting arrangements and prevent stays imposed by a court on the ability of
securities and derivatives clearing houses to realize collateral in case of
bankruptcy or insolvency of one of its members.
In conclusion, honourable senators, I should like to leave you with the
following considerations. As mentioned earlier, securities and derivatives
clearing houses are a critical element in the efficient operation of our
financial markets. Their efficient operation lowers the cost of securities and
derivatives trades, thereby making our markets more efficient, less costly and
better able to fulfill their role in providing access to capital, channeling
savings into investments, and minimizing and hedging risks in the financial and
An important risk faced by securities and derivatives clearing houses is that
one of their members may default before a transaction is completed and settled.
As honourable senators know, these clearing houses take measures to reduce this
risk by requiring members to post collateral and to net their operations with
the clearing house. However, without a competitive legal regime, Canadian
securities and derivatives transactions may continue to migrate to other
countries, in particular the United States.
An important component of Canadian securities and derivatives trading occurs
on exchanges in the United States. The Canadian industry would like to retain
trading in Canada and attract international dealers and brokers. The amendments
in this bill will help to ensure that this happens.
Honourable senators, it should be noted that these changes are in keeping
with a commitment made by the government in the Speech from the Throne in
January 2001, to keep Canadian laws and regulations competitive.
In addition, in considering this bill, I urge honourable senators to keep in
mind the following two points: first, that these changes are in line with
recommendations by the Bank for International Settlements and the International
Organization of Securities Commissions regarding securities settlement systems;
and, second, that they are supported in Canada by financial sector participants
and their associations, by provincial governments and by the insolvency
For these reasons, honourable senators, I urge you to support the passage of
this legislation without delay.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Angus, debate adjourned.
Hon. Serge Joyal moved the second reading of Bill S-41, to re- enact
legislative instruments enacted in only one official language.
He said: Honourable senators, the title of Bill S-41 may cause a bit of a
stir among some. The title reads as follows: An Act to re-enact legislative
instruments enacted in only one official language.
The title, honourable senators, refers us immediately to the issue of
linguistic rights. The Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs is in the process of debating a bill, which was referred to us by the
House of Commons and which raises important issues related to the protection and
the recognition of linguistic rights.
Bill S-41 is obviously not something that was pulled out of a hat. It does
come from somewhere, and I will attempt to remind you of its origins and scope.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in the Mercure case in 1995, confirmed
that linguistic rights, and I quote:
— are basic to the continued viability of the nation.
In other words, when dealing with linguistic rights, we are dealing with that
which defines Canadian nationality. For this reason, when the Fathers of
Confederation had to decide how to provide for legislative texts in both
languages spoken in Canada at that time, they passed section 133 of the British
North America Act, a simple paragraph I shall now read for you:
The Acts of the Parliament of Canada and of the Legislature of Quebec shall
be printed and published in both those Languages.
Some might wonder what was meant by acts of the Parliament of Canada. Did
this refer exclusively to legislative texts, such as Bill S-40, which Senator
Furey spoke to this afternoon? Should we define "act" more broadly in order to
include all of the regulatory activities that, as many of my colleagues know,
have an enormous impact when it comes to adopting the obligations and
restrictions that apply to an inestimable number of activities in Canada?
The Official Languages Act, enacted in 1969, to some extent set out the
obligation that is contained in section 133. I would remind the honourable
senators that section 4 of the first Official Languages Act, the 1969 one,
stipulates that all rules, orders, regulations, bylaws and proclamations that
are required by or under the authority of any Act of the Parliament of Canada to
be published in the official gazette of Canada shall be made or issued in both
official languages and shall be published accordingly in both official
languages. This provision in section 4 was picked up again in the 1988 statute.
A number of the honourable senators were present when it was debated, either
here or in the other place.
This requirement to enact regulations and legislative instruments arising out
of legislation enacted by the Parliament of Canada in both official languages
was the object of a judicial interpretation. Many of my colleagues will recall
the Blaikie case in Quebec, a Supreme Court of Canada judgment in 1979
after the passage of Quebec's Bill 101. This judgment established that Quebec
could not enact legislation in French and publish it subsequently in both
official languages. When legislation was enacted, it had to be passed in both
languages and then published in both. This interpretation for Quebec applies
mutatis mutandis, as my old teacher would say, to the federal government,
because the provision it addresses for Quebec is identical for the Canadian
government, as well as for the Province of Manitoba. I shall revisit this later.
The Blaikie judgment addressed the enactment of legislation and we
know what happened in Quebec subsequently. I shall come back to this.
In 1981, there was a second Blaikie judgment, which specified that
this applied not only to laws but also to regulations and that consequently
section 133 should be interpreted more broadly, since, as we know, violation of
a regulation is, in some cases, as likely to have legal and criminal
consequences as mere non- compliance with an act.
Consequently, the situation as far as Canadian case law is concerned, in both
its legislative texts — section 133 of the Official Languages Act — and its
interpretation by the Supreme Court of Canada, is very clear, very formal.
What happens when one or the other of these legislative activities — either
the adoption of laws or the adoption of regulatory texts, instruments and orders
— has not been done in both official languages? This immediately brings to mind
the Manitoba case.
Some of us had to deal with this same principle, including myself, when I
served as Secretary of State for Canada. Honourable senators will recall that in
Manitoba, in 1890, an act allowed for Manitoba to enact legislation in English
Subsequent to the Forest case, all of Manitoba's legislative activity
was ruled unconstitutional and invalid because it did not respect the
obligations outlined in section 133. We were faced with a situation without
precedent in Canada's legal and political history, which had the effect of
causing a complete legal vacuum in a province, as its entire legislative history
was invalidated by the court.
It was the Supreme Court, in 1985, that proposed a solution for this
situation. A fundamental question, which had rarely been debated in Canada's
Parliament, had to be answered, that of the principle of constitutional
In other words, when the rights of an individual are not respected and these
rights are violated for a certain length of time, how is it possible to remedy
this unprecedented situation?
As a result of the Blaikie decision, the Government of Quebec was
forced to pass remedial legislation, as defined by the Superior Court of Quebec.
Reference is made to this in Asbestos v. Attorney General of Quebec in
1980. Following the Blaikie ruling in 1979, the Government of Quebec
passed legislation to retroactively validate legislation that, since 1976, had
only been passed in one official language. In the reference resulting from the
Manitoba decision, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the validity of
remedial legislation, or of a sort of legal amnesty, adopted by the Government
Regarding the Government of Quebec's actions subsequent to the Blaikie
case, the Supreme Court stated, and I quote:
The day after the decision of this Court in Blaikie No. 1, the
Legislature of Quebec re-enacted in both languages all those Quebec statutes
that had been enacted in French only. See: An Act respecting a judgment
rendered in the Supreme Court of Canada on 13 December 1979 on the language of
the legislature and the courts in Quebec.
In 1985, the Supreme Court therefore recognized the validity of this remedial
Quebec legislation, which validated a posteriori the statutes it had
enacted solely in French but had published in both official languages.
What has this got to do with Bill S-41? I will tell you, honourable senators.
The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, in its report of
October 10, 1996, raised the question of the constitutionality of five
regulations it found had been published in both official languages but passed in
English only. The seal of the Governor in Council was only on the English
version, although the regulations had been published in both languages in the
There are two elements to the valid passage of a law: it must first be passed
and then printed and published to make it available to the majority of
Publication is an essential element, based on the principle that ignorance of
the law is no excuse. If that is the case, then the law must have been
published. Publication is an essential element to the validity of a law, which
is why section 133 clearly indicates both "printed" and "published." This is
a vital element in any examination of the undertaking contained in Bill S-41.
The Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations reached the conclusion
that five regulations had been published in both official languages but not
enacted in both official languages. It did a kind of review of the regulations,
and in referring to the original text of these five regulations in question in
order to ensure that the text conformed to the way it was published, discovered
the absence of a French version.
Obviously, the question arose as to whether, if it had found five, there
might well be other old regulations dating back as far as 100 years — who knows
— and others which, due to their nature at the time, contained some element of
Examples of these would be regulations relating to national security and
international relations, orders relating to the Official Secrets Act or texts
with some connection with federal-provincial relations.
We are aware of the exceptions mentioned in the Access to Information Act. We
discussed them during the debate on Bill C- 36, the Anti-terrorism Act. The
Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations raised the issue of the
validity of certain specific texts, but in doing so, raised the possibility that
other statutory instruments, orders or instruments adopted by virtue of enabling
powers granted by Parliament, but passed in only one language, may be published
in one or both official languages.
Some of my colleagues objected to federal regulatory activity, given that it
was virtually impossible for any one person to know all of it. And often in the
past, this activity was not entirely codified. Of course, there was a
codification done in 1978, but this does not guarantee that all of the
regulations are integrated.
Consequently, there is a shadow of doubt regarding the validity of some
regulations. Understandably, this raises the issue of the validity of measures
taken based on these regulations, and in some cases, criminal obligations that
may result if an individual is charged pursuant to one of these regulations and
challenges whether or not the regulations apply, given that they do not respect
the obligations set out in the Constitution and the Official Languages Act, as
interpreted by the courts.
Now, honourable senators, you will better understand the relevance of this
bill's title. It is a bill to rectify omissions committed when certain
legislative measures were passed. Some of these omissions are known — as the
Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations mentioned in its report
— and others may not be, but could well exist. This will deal with a number of
the specific cases mentioned by the committee, as well as other potential cases
that we may not know about, but which we can reasonably presume exist.
This is an important preventive and remedial bill. What is its purpose? To
standardize all of the government's regulatory and legislative activity based on
the Canadian Constitution and the Official Languages Act.
Honourable senators, I have tried to outline this in the simplest way
possible and to describe the prior court judgments and our obligation, as
legislators, to ensure that all of our legislative heritage — that which has
been passed and that which remains to be passed — fully respects the principles
of linguistic equality contained in the Canadian Constitution.
A number of incidental questions also arise, but I do not want to prolong my
presentation any further. We are at the second reading stage and will certainly
have the possibility in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs to hear representations by the Department of Justice, as
well as other witnesses and to clarify certain implications of this bill. In my
opinion, at the second reading stage, the essential questions raised by the bill
have been addressed in order to pique the interest of the honourable senators
and the members of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, so as to
ensure that the bill gets the examination and debate it deserves.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I would like to ask Senator
Joyal one question, if he is agreeable.
Senator Joyal: Yes, of course.
Senator Murray: Senator Joyal has succeeded in piquing my curiosity.
In the five cases to which he refers, in which regulations had been enacted in
one official language, were these regulations, which came under the authority of
a single minister, or orders-in- council, from the cabinet?
Senator Joyal: Honourable senators, the list of the regulations will
give you a good idea of what is involved. They are given in paragraph 2 of the
committee report and are: the Public Lands Mineral Regulations, the Hull
Construction Regulations, the Aids to Navigation Protection Regulations, under
the Canada Shipping Act, the Flue-cured Tobacco Producers' Marketing Order,
under the Agricultural Products Marketing Act, the Regulations respecting
Aeronautics, under the Aeronautics Act. These are just a few examples. This does
not concern just one department or one minister. There is, of course, the
Department of Transport, and we are all familiar with its tradition, which I
have had personal knowledge of in other circumstances, but there is also one
relating to agriculture.
Senator Murray: Are these not orders-in-council?
Senator Joyal: One of them is the one relating to flue-cured tobacco
in Quebec. This is, moreover, why the bill, in defining its scope, clearly
defines what is involved when we refer to instruments. It means legislative
What does it mean? A legislative instrument is an instrument enacted by or
with the approval of the Governor in Council or a minister of the Crown in the
execution of a legislative power conferred by or under an act of Parliament or
an instrument that amends or repeals an instrument referred to in paragraph (a).
Therefore, in addition to regulations, decrees are covered.
Senator Murray: Out of curiosity, I cannot help but ask the following
question: Have we sinned five times in English and five times in French —
equally in both languages?
Senator Joyal: The honourable senator is leading me to a slippery
slope. We are aware of historical tradition, honourable senators. I do not
really like to use the term "tradition" because I have a great deal of respect
for traditions, as they frame and structure behaviours.
However, there has been a habit, in the administration, and particularly in
some departments, such as the Department of Transport, for example. We cannot
excuse it, but we can explain it.
Transport Canada was a department where many of the professional resources
were often borrowed from abroad — from Great Britain — when it was time to
establish the infrastructure to regulate the merchant marine. We understand the
history of these services in Canada, aeronautics in particular, and other
transportation sectors. As a result, there was a propensity in this department
to adopt regulations in only one official language in the beginning. Then, when
it came time to print and publish them, since they had to be applied throughout
Canada, they were inevitably made available in both official languages.
The regulatory activity that consists, as the bill states, of making
regulations, that is, drafting them and affixing the seal, was traditionally
done only in English, in a number of departments. It was a different time. I
believe the courts have done us a favour. The Official Languages Act did us the
favour of specifying that, henceforth — since the Blaikie (No.2) judgment
— all this activity must be carried out in both official languages. However,
this interpretation of section 133 that I gave you is quite recent. It had not
yet been given by the courts in the first years of Canada's Confederation. The
Blaikie judgment is a recent judgment. It was prompted by Quebec's Bill
It is important to understand that, for 100 years, the specific obligations
were somewhat vague. I have no doubt now that the statutory instruments, orders,
and other instruments outlined in the bill are made, adopted and printed in both
Hon. Joan Fraser: Could Senator Joyal provide us with the date on
which the most recent sin — to use the same term as Senator Murray — was
committed? Since when have we once again become as white as the driven snow?
Senator Joyal: Honourable senators, in looking at this list of the
five omissions from the report of the Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of
Regulations, I see that it dates back some years. In order to have a more
precise answer to the question, I would have to do more research. As I have
said, section 4 of the first Official Languages Act, passed in 1969, is quite
precise, however. There was a legislative obligation for passing instruments,
not just publishing them. It can be presumed that the obligation we have had
since that time is a clear one. In order to be totally honest and respectful of
the professionalism of the Canadian government, I would have to take the time to
identify what the more recent omissions are. This we could go into when in
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C., for the third reading of Bill S-12, to
amend the Statistics Act and the National Archives of Canada Act (census
records).—(Honourable Senator Murray, P.C.)
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, our friend Senator Milne
opened debate on third reading of her bill, Bill S-12, on February 19. At that
time, I made a few preliminary remarks on behalf of Her Majesty's Loyal
Opposition. I intend now to take up where I left off on that occasion.
Today, I want to refer briefly, but I hope satisfactorily, to the testimony
that was heard by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology when it had the bill under study, to the report that the committee
tabled in this place and to a compromise that I, and many others, believe is
available, which strikes a better balance between the right of Canadians to
privacy and the public's right to access to information.
This bill was before us for second reading debate in February and March 2001.
I believe the main issues were canvassed thoroughly during that debate. The bill
was referred to the committee, which heard witnesses on September 19 last. It
considered the bill again on December 13 and reported the bill to the Senate on
I regret to say that I was not present at the committee. However, I have read
the verbatim transcripts carefully.
The committee report on this bill is essentially a narrative of the testimony
that the committee heard on September 19, supporting or opposing the bill. In
support of the bill, beside the sponsor, Senator Milne, there was the National
Archivist, Mr. Ian Wilson, and the former President of the Canadian Historical
Association, Mr. Chad Gaffield, who was a member of the expert panel on this
matter. The expert panel was appointed by the government.
Opposed to the bill, at least in its present form, were Statistics Canada, as
represented by Assistant Chief Statistician Michael Sheridan, and the
Commissioner of Privacy, Mr. George Radwanski.
In its report, the committee notes the existence of this compromise proposal
by Statistics Canada. I draw the attention of honourable senators to a paragraph
in the committee report found in Issue No. 45, at page 10. Speaking of the
compromise proposal, the committee said:
This proposal would provide more limited access than anticipated by Bill
S-12. Access to historical census records would be provided only for
genealogical research about one's own family and for historical research. Only
family members (or their authorized agents) or those conducting historical
research (peer reviewed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council) would be given access. While access would be unrestricted,
researchers would only be permitted to make public the following basic
information: name, age, address, marital status and birthplace. Furthermore,
those accessing information would have to sign a legally enforceable
undertaking confirming that they agree to be bound by these terms.
A bit later, the committee concluded:
In summary, many witnesses and Committee members favoured the disclosure of
historical census records after 92 years, but there was disagreement as to
whether Bill S-12 provides adequate privacy protection. Some members of the
Committee favour the provisions of the compromise proposal over the process
delineated by Bill S-12. For these reasons, the Bill was agreed to on division
of the Committee.
I think it is fair to say that the committee decided not to take the time
that might have been necessary to try to come to a conclusion on the merits of
the compromise proposal versus the bill itself and that they have thrown the
ball firmly back into our court by sending the bill back to us adopted, on
When I spoke on September 19, I said the bill goes far beyond its stated
purpose, which is to provide access to personal census records for genealogical
or historical research.
The government has refused to make these personal records available because
of regulations promulgated in 1906 and 1911 under the 1905 and 1906 Census and
Statistics Act and because of legislative provisions passed in the Statistics
Act of 1918, all of which require that personal information collected in the
course of a census remain confidential.
During the debate at second reading, I read the relevant regulations and
provisions of the law into the Senate record. I will not repeat that exercise
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Milne, believes that the 1918 legislation
and the 1906 and 1911 regulations have been overtaken by the 1983 Privacy Act
and its provision for release of government information after 92 years. On the
basis of her speech here on February 19, I acknowledge that she seemed to have
some support for that position from the Department of Justice, or from at least
one officer in the Department of Justice, judging by the quotations that she
placed on the record on February 19.
If Senator Milne is right, then this bill is not necessary at all. All that
remains is for the Department of Justice and/or the cabinet to instruct the
Chief Statistician to turn over those records to the National Archives and
provide immediate access to the 1906 personal census records and access next
year to the 1911 personal census records.
However, the government and/or the Department of Justice have not done so.
They continue, I think properly, to consider themselves constrained legally by
the earlier legal enactments to which I have referred. I think it is safe to say
that they believe themselves constrained also, morally and politically, by
undertakings of confidentiality given by past governments.
Even the expert panel appointed by the government was of the view that
legislation would be needed to release information collected since 1918 because
of the confidentiality provisions in the law passed in that year.
On that point, Mr. Radwanski said, when he appeared before the committee, and
I quote from his evidence of September 19:
While there may be some dispute as to what Parliament intended in the early
censuses, there is none as to what the government actually said in its
regulations and, from 1918 on, in legislation. Since 1971, when Statistics
Canada began sending forms directly to respondents rather than using
enumerators, respondents have been told in writing that their information will
We have this bill before us. I have to confess that one sympathizes — and I
do — with Mr. Gordon Watts, an expert in genealogy, who came to the committee in
support of the bill, when he told the committee:
I am interested in my ancestors. I am not interested in Mr. Radwanski's
ancestors. I am not interested in Mr. Fellegi's ancestors. I am looking for my
Just so, honourable senators, and that is the purpose of the compromise that
was before the committee from Statistics Canada, and to which Mr. Radwanski
referred, and to which the committee referred in its report.
I also want to share with you several comments that were made by the
Commissioner of Privacy in his testimony before the committee. He said:
This bill, of course, goes far beyond what has been proposed even by most of
the advocates of access to census records, and far beyond the compromise that
both I and the Chief Statistician have publicly supported. It also raises a
deeply troubling issue by proposing legislation that limits or eliminates
existing rights retroactively, and violates a promise repeatedly made to
Canadians by successive governments. The bill, as you know, states that every
individual who has filed a census return and has not made a valid written
objection is deemed 92 years later to have given irrevocable consent to public
access to his or her census return.
Later, Mr. Radwanski said:
This would apply to all censuses taken to date, despite the government
having explicitly told respondents that their returns would not be accessible.
To call this "consent" is frankly to debase the term and to cause real
concerns to anyone who must be preoccupied, as I am, with the concept of
meaningful consent with regard to privacy.
Mr. Radwanski also points out in his testimony that only the individual
census respondent is considered to have any right of privacy. He mentions that
none of the other people affected by census information would, under this bill,
have any right to object. That could include relatives and descendants of
respondents. Mr. Radwanski said:
Not only do the dead or very old lose their privacy, but so do their
survivors. This could also include people who are not respondents, but who are
included in a census record because they are part of a household.
Honourable senators, it could even include, as I discovered reading the long
form that Statistics Canada put out, someone who happened to be spending the
night in a particular dwelling the night before the census form was filled in. I
will not speculate as to the possible implications of that.
One of the stated benefits of this bill has to do with information relating
to the medical histories of one's ancestors. I note from reading the transcripts
that Senator Graham raised this matter at the committee. When Mr. Radwanski
referred to this as supposedly one of the most important benefits of the bill,
I would respectfully suggest that it is one of the most dangerous aspects of
this bill. One of the great emerging issues in the privacy field is the issue of
genetic privacy and who has the right to the genetic information of an
There has been reference earlier in the debate in some questions involving
Senator Fraser, Senator Milne and me to other countries. Since February 19, I
took the occasion to read census questionnaires not only of our own country but
of Australia and of the United Kingdom, in the latter case what is called the
"England Household Form." I must say that while the census forms of those
countries are intrusive enough, they are rather less so than the Canadian long
form in certain respects. There is, for example, no reference to same-sex
relationships in either the England or Australia documents. Information that is
required about sources of income is less detailed in the England and Australia
forms than it is in the Canadian long form. In both the England and Australia
forms, the respondent has the option of replying or not to the question on
Finally, in Australia, as I pointed out on February 19, the information can
be divulged after 99 years only if the person has signed his or her agreement.
Let me quote you the relevant provision from the Australian form.
Question 50: Does each person in this household agree to his/her name and
address and other information on this form being kept by the National Archives
of Australia and then made publicly available after 99 years?
Then it continues:
Answering this question is optional. A person's name and identified
information will not be kept where a person does not agree or the answer is
left blank. See page 15 of the census guide for more information.
I did not track it down that much. As you see, it is obvious that even after
99 years the respondent will have had to have signed his or her approval at the
time of the census being taken, and that even after 99 years the personal
information may not be divulged.
I also note in passing that income information is sought on the Canadian
form, in particular the sources of one's income. It occurred to me, and I have
confirmed, that this is the kind of information that, when we file it — as we
do, with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency in the course of filing our
annual income tax return — is kept confidential forever.
Under this bill, however, it would eventually be made public. There is no
exemption in the bill. The questions are quite detailed. You would fill them in
and, under Senator Milne's bill, they would eventually be divulged, be made
On February 19, I made reference to the representation Senator Milne made in
her speech immediately preceding mine concerning allegations of bad faith or
worse on the part of Statistics Canada, and in particular Dr. Ivan Fellegi, the
Chief Statistician. I suggested at the time that we must give Dr. Fellegi and
Statistics Canada the opportunity to reply to our colleague's representations.
My opinion on this matter is reinforced, having taken the opportunity to read
the transcript of Senator Milne's speech. She states that the Chief Statistician
has shown "complete and utter intransigence and inflexibility." She accuses
him of failing to do what he is "legally and morally required to do." In
particular, she makes the following representations: First, of providing "false
information" as a basis of focus group studies commissioned by Statistics
Canada; second, of "disregarding the will of Parliament" by not releasing the
individual returns from the 1906 census; and, third, "breaking the law by
withholding the 1906 and 1911 individual returns from the National Archives."
Honourable senators, these are serious representations concerning a senior
public servant and the agency he heads, Statistics Canada. The public servant in
question I know is highly respected and I also know that the agency, Statistics
Canada, enjoys an excellent reputation at home and abroad. These representations
have been made by a senator in the Senate. I believe we must deal with them. We
will not have another opportunity to do so. The only way to do so, in my view,
is to refer the bill back to the committee and have Statistics Canada answer on
their own behalf. I intend therefore to move an amendment to make this possible.
I repeat, the substance of the bill before us goes far beyond the stated
objectives of the bill. I make my own the words of the Privacy Commissioner, Mr.
Radwanski, who said:
My suggestion, senators, is to draft, introduce and then pass legislation
that reflects the compromise position which precisely permits individuals to
research their own genealogy, subject to undertakings not to use it for other
purposes, and that also permits legitimate research, provided again that it
does not get used in such a way as to compromise the rights of individuals in
the kinds of areas about which we are concerned.
Then he uttered the sentence that I endorse completely:
There is a solution, and it is before us, but it is not the bill that is
before the Senate at this time.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I move, seconded by Senator
That Bill S-12 be not now read a third time but that it be referred back to
the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for
Honourable senators will know what I intend by that amendment, which is that
the representations made by Senator Milne concerning Statistics Canada and Dr.
Fellegi be taken up by the committee and that the appropriate officials of the
government appear to answer to them.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Lorna Milne: I must say, honourable senators, that I would
absolutely delight in having a further crack at Dr. Fellegi when he appears
before the committee because there are many more questions I would like to ask
him. I also want to make sure that the members of this chamber know that nothing
that I said in my speech was news to Dr. Fellegi, because he had been in my
office and we had spoken about this long before the Senate committee meeting.
He still did not come to that Senate committee meeting; he sent a
representative. If it should happen to be that this bill is referred back to
committee, which would not bother me a bit, I would like to have a time limit on
the duration it may be before that committee. I would not like to see the bill
sitting in limbo for another six months or a year. I would like to see the
committee report back to the Senate perhaps by the end of April. Would that be a
reasonable time frame?
If I can amend the amendment to add that caveat, I would like to do so.
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I appreciate the point made by
the honourable senator. I do not have a view on that. I would assume that is
something that ought to be negotiated between the government, my friend and the
chairman of the committee.
Senator Milne: In that case, perhaps Senator Murray would want to add
it to his motion.
Senator Murray: I hesitate to take it upon myself to instruct the
committee as to a particular date to bring in its report, not having had the
opportunity to consult with them. I have no objection in principle to imposing a
deadline, if that is the wish of the Senate. Why do we not let it stand until
next week until somebody has had an opportunity to discuss the matter with the
chairman of the committee?
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein moved the third reading of Bill S- 18, to
amend the Food and Drugs Act (clean drinking water).—(Honourable Senator
He said: Honourable senators, do you ever wonder why the public is sceptical
about politicians and politics? Do you ever wonder why politicians rate so low
in public esteem? One reason is that the public believes politicians do not care
about the obvious cares of the people they have been chosen to serve. Does
anybody care, they ask?
Mother Teresa scoffed at politicians with her oft-repeated observation that
"politicians care more about power than people" — so true, honourable
Honourable senators, we have one startling example for the rationale behind
this glaring deficit in public trust — the tragedy in Walkerton. That was a
clear and public danger to public health. Since that so-called wake-up call
almost two years ago, the situation with respect to clean drinking water in
every region of the country continues to deteriorate.
We now learn from Walkerton that some 85 volumes, with hundreds of thousands
of lines of testimony, have been generated with an estimated cost of $150
million — that is for the preliminary report of the inquiry, for the cost to
renovate the water system, the costs incurred to the health system, and the
economic costs to the community.
Walkerton is comprised of some 5,000 residents — $30,000 per resident. That
is the cost to the taxpayer for the lack of regulation in respect of the water
system of that small community. Still, Walkerton was not a wake-up call.
Bill S-18, my modest but cost-effective step, is to redress the problem of
clean drinking water, which is deteriorating in every region of the country.
This bill is curative. This bill is preventive regulation, precisely what
Parliament was established to do: to prevent bad conduct by the rule of law, by
The evidence, honourable senators, is uncontroverted. In Newfoundland, there
are constant boil advisories. Honourable senators from Newfoundland know that.
In Quebec, there are constant boil advisories. Senators from Quebec know that.
In the Maritimes, there are constant boil advisories. Senators from the
Maritimes know that. In Ontario, my region, there are boil advisories in urban
regions, northern regions and throughout the province. In Manitoba — the Leader
of the Government in the Senate knows it — in Saskatchewan, Alberta and in many
rural and urban regions across the country, the situation continues to
deteriorate. Most obscene of all is the situation with respect to the Aboriginal
communities. Our Aboriginal representatives here in the Senate know that, and
still there is no concerted action or leadership to prevent this clear and
present danger to public health in the country.
The federal Minister of Health cannot object to this bill. Why? Because the
department does not know. The Department of Health collects no reliable data
about the number of bad drinking water systems in Canada, the number of boil
advisories, or the state of the water systems in this country. The Department of
Health has no reliable calculation with respect to the costs to the health
system of bad drinking water. The department does not know.
We know that Canadians die. We know that children are affected. We know that
children's health is permanently damaged due to bad drinking water. We know that
25 per cent of all Aboriginal communities suffer from bad drinking water
systems. The situation is so bad that Aboriginal women, in order to cleanse
their wombs, will leave the reservation for two or three years so that they can
have healthy babies. This is in the 21st century. This is in Canada.
What does the federal government proffer as a preventive or curative measure?
It offers only guidelines, and the testimony before the Senate committee about
the guidelines is that they are inadequate.
However, the Government of Canada does regulate water. It regulates bottled
water through the Food and Drugs Act. It regulates packaged ice, but it does not
regulate clean water in our water systems. The federal government regulates
water on trains and in planes and in parks, yet the federal government refuses
to regulate clean drinking water in our urban and rural communities.
Canada has the largest supply of fresh drinking water in the world. However,
today, on the front page of The Globe and Mail, the World Water Council advises
us through its Canadian representatives that the situation with respect to water
management in this country is worsening every day and, within decades, will be
An internationally respected scientist from the University of Alberta, Dr.
Schindler, whom I had the privilege to meet last July at a summit on water
organized by M.P. Dennis Mills at the Wahta Mohawk Territory, estimated to me
that no less than 100,000 Canadians would suffer from physical ailments from bad
drinking water. We did not get those statistics from the Department of Health
because it did not have them. We had to extrapolate them from the American
experience. Imagine that!
Over 100,000 Canadians every year suffer incalculable damage to their immune
systems with respect to physical ailments arising from bad drinking water, and
we have no cost figures on this. However, if we extrapolate using the Walkerton
example, we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars incurred every
year by the taxpayer because of an absence of leadership on this narrow issue.
The only argument I have heard against the bill is that there are so-called
"constitutional problems." We know there are constitutional problems. Are
there constitutional problems under the Constitution? No, certainly not, and
that is what Mr. Justice Dennis O'Connor said in the report on the Walkerton
inquiry at page 445. He says that the federal government has the power to
regulate clean drinking water systems, obviously, if it chooses.
Honourable senators, I want to commend Senator Taylor and the members of the
Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, who
meticulously reviewed this bill and unanimously concluded that it should be
adopted. I want to thank them because they, with great patience and diligence,
listened to testimony from across the country. Other than some voices of concern
raised by federal officials who are not able to defend their position, everyone
agreed that this bill was a salutary bill — no objection, none whatsoever.
Some argue that the federal government should not take "ownership" of this
bill. Why? Because once the federal government "takes ownership," it may have "responsibility." However, the federal government does have ownership. It has
the ownership of the cost to our health system. It has ownership of the cost to
the children who are affected by this water. It has the cost of ownership for
the responsibility to the Aboriginal community to which it is directly
responsible under the Constitution. It has the ownership to protect the safety
of our national health system. The federal government does have ownership, so it
cannot run and it cannot hide from its responsibility.
The American government, which does not like to take on state
responsibilities, has taken over ownership of this problem in the United States
since 1974 because of exactly the same problem. There were wake-up calls and the
federal government of the United States reacted. Now, the federal government,
under its environmental agency, regulates water in the United States.
This is interesting. If one wants to phone the federal environmental agency
in the United States and give them a long-distance code, one can find out
immediately, by computer, about the most recent water advisories within that
region. It is a simple process, but not in Canada. We simply do not know.
Honourable senators, we have yet to hear the final recommendations from Mr.
Justice Dennis O'Connor, who, by the way, in this marvellous Part I of the
report, reviewed all the problems and did it at the cost of millions of dollars.
I commend Senator Taylor because he came to the same conclusions with less money
through the work of the Senate committee: same conclusions, less money, cost
effective. Congratulations, Senator Taylor, and all members of the committee.
We have yet to hear from North Battleford. I can tell honourable senators
beyond reproach that it will cost millions of dollars to repair the situation
there. We know the problem in Southern Alberta. We know the problem in the
Northwest Territories. We know the problem in all the territories.
Honourable senators, we have senators in this chamber representing the great
province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Is it not amazing that in the 21st
century there are rural communities in Newfoundland, families with dozens of
children, and some of those households have never had clean drinking water? They
live on boiled water. Imagine.
Tomorrow the world will celebrate International Women's Day. Women of the
world arise. Imagine being a housewife in Newfoundland and bringing up a family
on boiled water. Think about it. It is shocking.
Honourable senators, let us get on with the job. This bill has been talked
about in the other place. All parties save one, the Bloc Québécois, commend us
for the work done on it. They are anxious for this bill and want to dig their
teeth into it. Let them get on with the job. I urge honourable senators to
support this bill and send it to the other place. I am confident that we will
have at least added a footnote to the health and safety of all Canadians.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, after so many
compliments and accolades to the committee, I am in the strange position of
trying to gild the lily. I will resist, but I will blow on it a little. If
honourable senators are talking in their regions about the values of the Senate,
they might want to note how cheaply this investigation into pure water was done,
as compared to what the Ontario government had to pay.
The bill was very well drafted. The legal eagles that we have, and there are
many around Ottawa, saw this and it was felt to be perfect. There were no
changes. I do not know what that means. It was either so hopeless they did not
know where to start, or it was so good they did not dare try.
One thing that has come through, and perhaps it is not quite understood, is
that we have spent the last generation cleaning up our sewage. In other words,
we have put in very stringent regulations as to what can come through a sewer
and out into the water. However, we have done little or nothing on wastewater.
Even the city of Ottawa, the great capital with the National Capital Commission,
allows wastewater to be dumped into the river untreated. In many areas,
wastewater does not go through a settlement system to take the sand out of it.
There are irrigation reservoirs in the West filling up due to the fact that
cities are letting their wastewater run off. The irrigation reservoir then
becomes a sediment trap.
The next time you are walking to work, look at how many dogs per block there
are. Then remember that they are using the surface and that washes into the
system and then into the water. There are other things as well, such as washing
your car. Some people even get away with draining their oil. The point is that
wastewater flows off the streets, through our sewers and into our rivers. Water
comes from stockyards and feeding pens, as well.
To save costs, we take nearly 80 per cent of our drinking water from surface
water, not from wells. That surface water is not contaminated by sewage, but by
the wastewater that flows off the land. That is one of the interesting things to
recall when we re- examine the whole area of pure water. It is not a case of
sewage any more. It is a case of surplus water and the amount the population has
spread. We have pig farms, feedlots, dogs and people all contributing to the
wastewater that flows from the surface into the streams from which we get 80 per
cent of our drinking water.
Until now, we have been getting by with a little chlorination or other basic
treatments. The fact of the matter is if we tried to make sure the wastewater
was treated before it went into the sewer, it would make it that much easier to
clean before the public used it.
The second item that we run across is the question of provincial rights. We
asked all the provincial ministers to appear before the committee to give their
opinions. Most of them said yes, then I got a second letter, usually from the
justice department in that provincial government, saying no, they decided they
would not appear because it was a provincial problem, not a federal problem.
If you are taking in water that is poisonous or not suitable for cooking, it
is a people problem, not a provincial or federal one. That is why the Senate is
so well suited to put this issue forward. We are supposed to be less concerned
about the interplay between provinces and the federal government, and more
concerned with citizens and, in particular, the way minorities are affected. The
federal government sits on its hands and says it is a provincial responsibility.
The province sits on its hands and says it is a federal responsibility.
Consequently, we have, for example, our First Nations left trying to drink
I have a good illustration of what can be provincial or federal. If you go
back to your hotel room tonight and open a bottle of water, that is regulated by
the federal government. The federal government decides whether or not that is
safe to drink. If you turn your tap on, the provincial government decides
whether or not that is safe to drink. That is intriguing. Maybe all we need is a
law saying labels should be applied stating that it is approved either by the
federal governmentor by the province.
There is another idiosyncrasy with respect to surface water. If you pollute
it to the extent that the fish cannot live, you would be prosecuted by the
federal government. However, if you pollute it to the extent that people cannot
live, the federal government would not prosecute. It is a provincial
responsibility. In other words, fish have rights that people do not have.
The last thought I want to leave honourable senators with is that the United
States, which is often criticized in many areas, took the bit in their teeth and
decided, way back in 1974, that drinking water was too important to be left to
state governments or to municipalities. Thus rules and laws were set down by the
federal government. The least we can do is try to keep up to them in that way.
I, therefore, join in recommending the passage of this bill as quickly as
possible in order to get it over to the House. Not only that but I would
recommend that honourable senators might do a little lobbying when the bill is
before the House in order to ensure its passage.
On the motion of Senator Robichaud, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing
Joint Committee on Official Languages, entitled "Good Intentions are not
Enough," tabled in the Senate on February 21, 2002.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier moved that the report be adopted.
He said: Honourable senators, the Standing Joint Committee on Official
Languages presented its report entitled "Good intentions are not Enough" on
February 21. I had the honour and the pleasure to table the report here in the
Senate and, of course, it was tabled in the House of Commons by co-chair Mauril
Bélanger, the honourable member for Ottawa—Vanier.
The report makes 16 recommendations regarding the services provided by Air
Canada in both official languages. On May 2, 2001, the committee undertook a
study of the services provided by Air Canada in the two official languages. An
interim report was tabled in Parliament the following month.
The committee continued its study of Air Canada when Parliament resumed
sitting in the fall. The testimony heard during the eight public hearings
allowed the committee members to identify problems preventing Air Canada from
adequately meeting its linguistic obligations under the Official Languages Act,
a quasi-constitutional act.
In its report, the committee urges senior management to introduce an
appropriate system or implementing the Official Languages Act and to change the
corporate culture. There is some resistance. Management must do something.
The committee takes very seriously Air Canada President and CEO Robert A.
Milton's commitment to present an action plan to implement the Official
Languages Act before the end of March 2002.
Most recommendations addressed to Mr. Milton are designed to ensure that Air
Canada's action plan contains the necessary measures to correct the shortcomings
in Air Canada's linguistic performance.
I invite the honourable senators to read this comprehensive and serious
report, which was necessary, in my opinion.
Among other recommendations, the committee calls upon the Minister of
Transport, the Honourable David Collenette, to amend the Air Canada Public
Transportation Participation Act so that it stipulates, unequivocally, that the
Official Languages Act takes precedence over collective agreements.
The unions have told the committee that they accept that the Official
Languages Act has precedence over union contracts. That is important.
The introduction of such an amendment has proven necessary given evidence
that the seniority rules have until now been given greater weight and respect
than the provisions of the Official Languages Act. Other recommendations call on
the minister and the President of Treasury Board to ensure that Air Canada lives
up to its linguistic obligations and that it reflects Canada's linguistic
duality at home and abroad. In addition, the committee draws the government's
attention to a number of issues that have arisen during the course of its work
and upon which it is not yet prepared to make recommendations. In their
conclusion, the members of the committee emphasized that good intentions are not
enough, that it is results that count.
When this report was tabled in the House of Commons, I felt that it was
important to bring to the attention of the Senate that a dissenting opinion was
appended to the report by the opposition party in the House of Commons without
consulting the Senate, without obtaining prior consent from us, without even
talking to us about this measure.
As honourable senators know, I have before the Senate a motion asking that
the House of Commons correct that mistake. I think it is a serious mistake. I
talked about it yesterday. I do not think a house can unilaterally change,
modify, annex or do anything to a report of a joint committee. I will wait until
the House of Commons comes back next week to see what it will do with this
motion, which I hope will be adopted by this house.
In the House of Commons rules, there is a provision that allows for a
committee, when it tables a report, to ask the government for a comprehensive
answer to the report. The government usually gives a committee 150 days to
provide an answer, which I think is important. We do not have such a measure or
procedure in the Senate.
I intend to raise this matter at the appropriate committee so that from now
on, when the Senate adopts a report — I am not saying when we table a report —
that the government be asked to give us a comprehensive answer to that report.
The normal, logical process that should be followed when a committee of the
Senate or a joint committee of the House and Senate makes a report is that we
should receive a comprehensive answer from the government as to what it thinks
about the proposals given to it. This is important in parliamentary terms. It is
important for senators to know that our work is understood. At least the
government would have a chance to say, "This report is silly," or "This is
what we want to do," or "This report has a certain amount of seriousness to it."
This would shift the burden of proof to the government, in order that it take
a clear stand on the follow-up to a report by a joint committee of the Senate.
On this note, I should like to thank you for your attention.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, for Senator Maheu, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on consideration of the third report (interim) of the
Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries entitled: Aquaculture in Canada's
Atlantic and Pacific Regions, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on June
29, 2001.—(Honourable Senator Mahovlich)
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I rise to make a
brief remark on the aquaculture report tabled by the Standing Senate Committee
on Fisheries in June 2001. At the outset, I should like to compliment the chair,
Senator Comeau, and the deputy chair, Senator Cook, for their hard work and
guidance during the course of this challenging study on an important and growing
While aquaculture shows great potential for economically depressed
communities, committee members agreed on the need to proceed with caution
because of potentially negative impacts on our ecosystems. They noted that a
major problem was the absence of objective, scientific information on a number
of issues, including the ecological effects of escaped farmed salmon on local
species, the incidence and possible transfer of disease between wild fish and
farmed fish, and the possible environmental risks associated with the wastes
that are generated by fish farms.
Honourable senators, your committee concluded that without sound scientific
knowledge, it is difficult to see how agencies that regulate the industry can
set meaningful standards and guidelines. To make a long story short, committee
members recommended that the federal government invest in more research to
ensure that the aquaculture industry remains within ecological limits, and that
fish habitat and wild fish stocks are not compromised.
The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries limited the scope of its study to
marine waters on the Atlantic and Pacific coast areas that dominate national
production. However, I should like to point out that aquaculture is also
important in my home province of Ontario. In Ontario, the industry was valued at
approximately $60 million in 1999. Over 4,000 tonnes of fish are reportedly
produced annually, 95 per cent of which are rainbow trout. While fish farms are
located mostly in southern and central areas of the province, there has been
some recent expansion into Northern Ontario, particularly in the waters of
Last October, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released his annual
report under the heading "Cage Aquaculture" that looked at, among other
things, the growing of finfish in net cages in the Great Lakes. The provincial
Caged aquaculture operations do not treat their waste and instead use the
water body itself...to treat their wastes through dispersion, dilution and
decomposition. This method has consequences similar to the practice of
building taller smoke stacks —
— just as they did in Sudbury —
— so that industrial air emissions can be carried away by the wind.
An example of the damage that caged culture operations can cause occurred in
Ontario in 1997 in some of the bays in the north channel of Lake Huron, near
Manitoulin Island. At the LaCloche site in Lake Huron, the Ontario Ministry of
the Environment found that the dissolved oxygen levels were extremely low
throughout the bay. There was absolutely no oxygen present at all in the deeper
waters of the bay over a large area. As a result, fish were not able to survive
in the deep water of the bay and they were forced to move to other areas of Lake
Honourable senators, accounts such as this about the industry worry me. In
fact, they worry many people. Early on, during the course of our study, we
learned about non-indigenous species of fish and shellfish being farmed in
Canadian waters, including Pacific steelhead trout on the Atlantic coast and
Atlantic salmon on the West Coast. In Canada, marine finfish such as salmon and
trout are farmed in net cages, and every year large numbers escape for a variety
of reasons. For many, this is a matter of great concern because of its
biodiversity implications. Committee members were often reminded that when
non-native species of fish are introduced, their effects on the ecosystems and
on native species can be both significant and unpredictable.
What are the long-term impacts? While introduced species compete for food,
will they take over the habitat of other species? Could they interbreed with
native wild populations? These are some of the questions being asked.
In Ontario, Pacific salmon, chinook, coho and rainbow trout were introduced
to the Great Lakes. According to one recent news report, those Pacific fish may
be preventing depleted native salmon stocks from recovering.
Honourable senators, aquaculture in Ontario and in Canada is expected to
increase. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario concluded in his October
2001 report that it was essential that government ministries and agencies work
together to ensure that the aquaculture industry is sufficiently regulated to
protect the environment. That sounds reasonable to me.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: If no other senator wishes to
speak, this item is considered debated.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator De Bané, P.C.,
calling the attention of the Senate to his recommendation for ending the
atrocious cycle of violence raging now in the Middle East.—(Honourable
Senator Prud'homme, P.C.)
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, for more than 40 years, I
have kept repeating that the only way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
taking place before our very eyes is through the spirit of United Nations
Resolution No. 181, adopted on November 29, 1947, with 33 countries for, 13
against, and 10 abstentions. For historical reasons, allow me to name them.
They are, from South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and
Venezuela; from Central America: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama; from
the Caribbean: the Dominican Republic and Haiti; from North America: Canada and
the United States; from Eastern Europe: Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Poland,
Ukraine and the U.S.S.R; from Northern Europe: Denmark, Iceland, Holland, Norway
and Sweden; from Europe, countries that were member states of the United Nations
at that time: Belgium, France and Luxembourg.
Of all the countries in Africa, numbering more than 50 today, there were only
two in the UN back then: Liberia and South Africa. From all the countries in
Southeast Asia, there were only three in the UN: Australia, New Zealand and the
Philippines. The aforementioned 33 countries have a moral responsibility.
Thirteen new member states voted against Resolution No. 181: Afghanistan,
India and Pakistan as well as Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon as well as Saudi Arabia,
Syria, Yemen, Iran and Turkey — the only Arab countries that were in the UN at
the time — as well as Cuba — and I would point out not Castro's Cuba, because we
are talking of 1947 — and Greece.
Ten countries abstained: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Salvador, Mexico,
Honduras, Ethiopia, Great Britain, China, and Yugoslavia.
What did this resolution recommend? Partition of the territory of Palestine
into two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, and a zone "under
special international regime" — read Jerusalem — administered by the UN.
I would draw your attention to the active participation in the drafting of
this resolution by Justice Ivan Rand of the Supreme Court of Canada. It was
under the highly capable direction of a man of great skill and a great
ambassador, Lester B. Pearson, Deputy Minister of External Affairs at the time
and Canada's representative to the UN when Mackenzie King was Prime Minister,
and Minister of External Affairs, when Louis Saint- Laurent was Prime Minister,
that this resolution was adopted.
In order to have a clear understanding of the situation in the Middle East,
it is essential to keep in mind the historical context of Resolution No. 181.
Otherwise, it would be foolish to claim to be able to grasp the political issues
at stake today. In fact, as has been said over and over, it is the Western
countries, burdened with guilt over the Holocaust — a historical event that
cannot be overlooked — which decided to have this resolution adopted. This they
did despite the acts of terrorism that had already been perpetrated by such
Jewish movements as the Stern Gang, the Irgun, with the backing of Menachem
Begin and Itzak Shamir, who were both to subsequently be prime ministers of
I will not go into the murders of Count Bernadotte, or of Lord Moyne in Egypt
at this time. I will reserve that for a later speech.
This historical detour does not claim to determine the responsibility of each
in the present drama, and still less so to judge certain figures. Its sole
objective is to remind us that we have a historical responsibility as far as the
situation in the Middle East is concerned. This is, moreover, the direction we
must take in order to consolidate peace in the region. By what means?
It is not acceptable, I believe, to tolerate a policy that makes the
well-being of a community dependent on the repression of another community. It
is not acceptable for those with a monopoly on military might to take it upon
themselves to bomb civil populations under the pretence of fighting terrorism.
In fact, I would suggest that you read the remarks made by Colin Powell, in
the United States, no later than yesterday.
It is not acceptable for religious extremism, be it Jewish or Islamic, in all
its cruelty and brutality, to be considered a conceivable alternative.
It is not acceptable for the implementation of Resolutions Nos. 181, 194,
242, 338, 3236, and 1322 of the UN General Assembly to be constantly postponed.
I will give you an idea of what the press tells us about these resolutions:
"Canada stands for 242, 338, 13-something," without explanation, so
people say, "Oh, Canada stands for 242."
It is not acceptable for us to stand by and say nothing about this tragedy.
Everything should be done to avoid the lethal trap of this escalation of terror.
What should we do? We should say loud and clear that brute force must yield to
the forces of justice and peace and that we must abide by the spirit of
The resolution is clear, but its spirit is clearer still. It has been the
policy of our country, Canada, and of every Liberal and Conservative government
to say "no" to occupied territories, "no" to Jerusalem belonging exclusively
to either side, "no" to settlements. In other words, we must get back to the
spirit of the resolution. Judging by the feeling of disgust caused by the
current situation, I sense that this solution will eventually prevail. There is
no other one. People who have a short memory are misinterpreting our intentions,
mine included. What would they say — and I am talking to, among others, senators
who are wives, who are mothers, who have children, who have daughters, who have
fiancés — if for the past 50 years they had been subjected to constant
humiliation? What would we say about these people experiencing loss of dignity
on a daily basis? What would they say if they had been dispossessed of their
land, their trees, their water supply? What would they say if they had been
stripped of their nationality, their roots, their culture? What would they tell
these young boys who are committed to dying because life under a regime which,
in many respects, is similar to apartheid is no longer worth living? In short,
what would they tell these people who have lost hope?
I find it unbearable to have to talk daily about the cruelty shown by both
sides. However, this is something I have been faced with since 1964 when I was
first elected to the Canadian Parliament. We are exposed daily to scenes, each
one more horrible than the last.
It is all so confusing. It is also confusing for people promoting the right
of the Palestinians to self-determination to be accused of anti-Semitism. One
inescapable fact remains: the situation in the Middle East is deteriorating
rapidly. Yet, parliamentarians across the world, and especially in Canada, are
deathly afraid to talk about it. I will always be astonished to see how easy it
is to talk about practically anything, be it sports, sex, religion, but, when it
comes to the Palestinian question, everybody clams up. This deafening silence is
very telling. This begs the question of why some subjects are taboo. I want to
draw your attention to how calm I am today, because I intend to make another
very in-depth inquiry, which might surprise several of you. However, today I
want to give you a glimpse of what I will tell you in writing.
Also, I do not understand the attitude of the Jewish diaspora, which has made
such a major contribution to every field of human endeavour. I am saying so
directly to my colleagues in the Senate, who have so much to offer. They are
part of the diaspora. I do not understand why they, and all those who support
them, cannot find a just and fair solution to the Palestinian question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I am
sorry, but Senator Prud'homme's allotted time has expired.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I ask for leave to continue.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, inevitably, there will be two
viable states, two states whose security will have to be guaranteed. This has
been my stand for a long time, but it is not my idea. Former U.S. President
Clinton and even Mr. Bush, the current President of the United States of
America, have said so. This is the message I want to give the Senate during the
official visit of the President of Israel to our country.
I was at the official reception last night. I believe we have the duty to
understand, to strive to avoid the sheer madness which has overtaken the whole
area and which threatens to overtake us all. We have no idea when we will be
able to put a stop to it.
Resolution No. 194, passed in December 1948, dealt with the situation of
Palestinian refugees, allowing them to return to their homes and live in peace.
Resolution No. 242, passed November 22, 1967, after the Seven Day War, laid the
foundations for peace in the Middle East by requesting that Israel withdraw from
the occupied territories and that Arab states recognize Israel's right to peace
within safe borders. I defended this resolution within the Parliamentary Union,
all on my own. I made the point that the two sides must recognize each other. It
was not very popular. I did it because I believed in it. It worked.
Resolution No. 338, passed in 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, reaffirmed the
validity of Resolution No. 242, which called for a cease-fire and negotiations
to work for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
Resolution No. 3236, passed November 22, 1974, reaffirmed "the inalienable
right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property." The last
resolution, Resolution No. 1322, was passed by the Security Council on October
7, 2000 with 14 votes and one abstention — a remarkable gesture, where even the
United States did not use their veto. They abstained. This resolution condemned
acts of violence especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, and
it deplores the provocation carried out at holy places in Jerusalem on 28
September 2000 by Mr. Sharon.
In a nutshell, then, these are my feelings on the visit by the President of
Israel. I want so badly for it to be understood that we all need to work toward
a solution. Canada's reputation has earned us a particular mission in the world.
When are we going to understand this? Canada is liked. However, Canada is not
playing its role, out of timidity or for some other reason. What is keeping us
from playing the role we could really play with both sides, because of the
friendship we enjoy within this country and the friendship we enjoy all over the
These are my thoughts, the first time I have put them down on paper. I shall
shortly be addressing the contribution made by the Jewish diaspora throughout
I will name names and give examples, examples of people who fascinate me,
people who have shaped me, people to whom I turn when I seek greater
understanding. I tell myself that it is impossible that people who have
contributed so much to humanity could be incapable of finding a solution to a
problem that runs the risk of degenerating into a conflict of unpredictable
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, with leave of the
chamber, I would like to ask Senator Prud'homme a few questions.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I am agreeable to that.
Senator Nolin: You are certainly an expert in the Middle East
situation, and have been for nearly 40 years. Might I take the opportunity of
your inquiry to ask a question about a current event? As you know, Crown Prince
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has come up with a peace proposal. I certainly do not
know everything about it, but it could be summarized as follows: The Arab
states, which were among those who voted against Resolution No. 181, would
recognize the State of Israel, if Israel were to withdraw from the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank, and if a significant portion of it, East Jerusalem, were to
return to Moslem control. What is your opinion of Prince Abdullah's proposal?
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I know Prince Abdullah
personally. I had the honour to accompany His Honour, Speaker Molgat, to the
Middle East, where we met with him, and also to accompany the Prime Minister,
the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, to Saudi Arabia, where we met with him and
with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has been in this position for 27 years
and is the son of former King Faisal, and whose friendship is an honour for me.
If only people would listen to this peace proposal. Prime Minister Sharon has
implicitly rejected it. If only people realized this may be a step toward a
I would like to mention to Senator Nolin, solemly and with all the intensity
I can still muster, that I am all the more delighted with his question and this
text today because there are new senators among us. I would like them to
understand that these have been my real motivations throughout my life. They
have never changed. No solution is possible, and no survival is possible unless
they accept one another.
Prosperity could be there for all to share. This area could bring about
prosperity. These people should recognize one another. This unusual initiative,
an old idea of Prince Abdullah, is certainly a step forward that Canada should
consider more carefully. We should make our position clearer. My answer to the
senator's question is that this is indeed a possibility, but it is not by any
means the only one. Nothing is easy. If we say from the outset that it is
difficult, we will not do anything. I am an optimist by nature.
That is why I attended the dinner last night despite minor incidents. I had
accepted the invitation even before one of our colleagues urged us to attend. I
think that, as Canadians who want to find a fair balance, we should step forward
and hold out a hand.
Could you explain to me, honourable senators, what people see in Canada that
is so extraordinary? It took Prince Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the
Ismaili community, to tell us in a long interview with The Globe and Mail.
He said that he came to Canada looking for inspiration. He wanted to see how
people from different racial backgrounds can live together. We have a
responsibility to show them that it is being done here. It could be done over
there as well.
Senator Nolin: Is the proposal by the Crown Prince in contradiction to
the oft-repeated position of all Canadian governments since 1948? Is there a
contradiction between the Saudi proposal and the Canadian position?
Senator Prud'homme: No, they are saying "Recognize us." It is the
Canadian policy you just explained. I have the feeling Prince Abdullah looked at
the Canadian policy and borrowed from it. This is the Canadian position. In
return for mutual recognition, they will be able to have political and economic
relations — they might not be friendly at first — but they will have civilized
relations and they will recognize each other, provided that the right to exist
and the right to protection are accepted for both. There needs to be two viable
states. We Christians seem to have abandoned Jerusalem, even though it belongs
to us too. I was born a Catholic and I am attached to the holy places. We must
be involved, as actively and passionately as I am.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: I just want to tell the Honourable Senator
Prud'homme that I have been following his career since 1964. He has shown superb
courage. When nobody was talking about the issue, he showed throughout Canada,
and probably the world, great courage, which cost him dearly, both personally
and in terms of his career. I thank him for that.
I only wanted to ask him if he would accept my compliment.
Senator Prud'homme: I greatly appreciate the comment made by Senator
LaPierre, whom I have known for ages. I thank him very much.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: If there are no more questions, honourable
senators, I move adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are there any more questions?
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I was prepared to take the
adjournment if Senator Taylor had not. I was just thinking what a wonderful
speech this was. The senator talked about Lord Moyne and Count Bernadotte. At
some point in time, I should like to speak to this matter.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk calling
the attention of the Senate to issues surrounding rural Canada.—(Honourable
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I should like to speak
briefly on this item, particularly with respect to the issues involving rural
Canada. As Senator Gustafson pointed out yesterday in a question, on which I
asked a supplemental question, there have been dramatic effects of weather on
rural Canada, particularly in the West. It is unbelievably dry and arid. The
situation is quite frightening. With this simple explanation, I firmly believe
that we should continue the debate on this matter. I ask permission of
honourable senators to start the clock again.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.
Hon. Joan Cook rose, pursuant to notice of March 5, 2002:
That she will call the attention of the Senate to the response of
Newfoundland communities following the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
She said: Honourable senators, the events of September 11, 2001 will not soon
be forgotten in the history of humanity. During and immediately following the
evil carnage in New York City, Washington, D.C. and just outside the city of
Pittsburgh, a better side of our species was revealing itself.
About mid-morning on September 11, air traffic control centres at St. John's,
Gander and Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador were informed that suicidal
hijackers had crashed commercial jets into the Pentagon in Washington and the
World Trade Center in New York City. Following this information, His Worship
Claude Elliot, Mayor of Gander, was informed that all U.S. airspace was closed,
and that Canada had followed suit in ceasing all domestic flights. He was told
that much of the overseas air traffic bound for the United States would be
diverted to those airports.
Before the end of the day, St. John's had received some 4,000 stranded
passengers from 27 planes, and Gander had 38 planes on the ground with 6,595
passengers. Gander is a smaller town but, because of its strategic importance
during World War II and transatlantic commercial viability following that
period, it continues to maintain its long runways, which made it the most
logical choice for landing capacity. Mayor Elliot immediately declared a state
of emergency, putting the town of Gander on alert. He knew that the town, with a
population of 10,500, would have to make preparations to accommodate an
uncertain situation for an indefinite period.
Honourable senators, most of you are aware of the information that I have
just shared. I will not elaborate as it has all been well publicized in all
areas of the media, from the CBC's National to CBS's Prime Time.
However, I do want to bring to your attention the events that followed in the
four days after September 11.
After being told that their flights were being diverted, most of the
passengers parked on the runways of Gander had no idea where in the world they
were. One passenger commented, after leaving a plane 24 hours after landing,
"Now I know why we had to wait so long. These people have been preparing to
take care of us." Food and supplies were delivered to planes, but it took some
time and ingenuity to organize accommodations.
As soon as the word was out, the towns of Gander, Appleton, Glenwood,
Lewisporte, Gambo and Norris Arm had opened up their schools, their churches,
their service clubs and their homes to care for those stranded and to offer some
level of comfort and security in their hour of need.
Lewisporte is a small seaport town with a population of 4,000 located 60
kilometres northwest of Gander. When the bus arrived, Mayor Bill Hooper was
there to extend a personal greeting. By that time, most of the accommodations
had been arranged in public facilities, with one or two exceptions. All elderly
passengers were given no choice and were taken to private homes. A young
pregnant woman was housed in a private home just across the street from the
24-hour emergency facility.
When those travellers left their planes, they had their first opportunity to
view what had taken place. All were overwhelmed, distressed, and in various
states of shock and disbelief. To have had any concern for matters presently
crucial or important in one's personal life seemed somewhat selfish and left one
Those words were used by an Australian family who were experiencing a medical
emergency back home. Once they were set up with housing in Gambo, a church
secretary took them under her wing and set up immediate and constant
communication with Australia. They left Gambo knowing that the family crisis was
A British couple had their honeymoon interrupted. They, too, were housed in
Gambo. There was little time for thoughts of what might have been. Once their
predicament was identified, a family in the community invited them home and gave
them privacy, but also arranged barbecues, organized tours and generally kept
them so busy that they had a honeymoon they will never forget.
Honourable senators, the media archives are filled with many such wonderful
stories from this tragic period. If there is any silver lining anywhere in this
tragedy, it is of unique experiences, special relationships and friendships
forged that will last a lifetime. Much has been written about how grateful the
travellers were for the warm and open hospitality they received from the
Newfoundlanders, but not everyone is aware of how grateful they were in the
aftermath of their tremendous ordeal. I do know that whatever Newfoundlanders
did for their unexpected guests was a natural and sincere response with no
thought given to monetary return.
In the meantime, Newfoundland's guests had their own ideas of reciprocation,
and I feel it needs to be expressed. Honourable senators, one of the passengers
was a vice-president of the Rockefeller Foundation who was returning from Milan
with five colleagues. They, along with others, were accommodated at Lewisporte.
The group was housed in a church and used the school's computer lab as their
communications centre. At the time, they saw no need to be identified, as they
were just people among people caring, praying and surviving. A humorous
statement followed later that "no one knew that the Rockefeller Foundation was
being run for four days from the computer lab of Lewisporte Middle School."
Recognizing the need for equipment upgrading, the Rockefeller Foundation donated
$80,000 to the Lewisporte Middle School for that purpose.
The passengers and crew of Delta's Flight 15 agreed to set up a trust fund
for scholarships for Lewisporte high school students. I am told that they have
pledged in excess of $40,000.
In addition to these sums, I have been informed as well that many of the
churches, service clubs and schools in all the communities that appeared to be
in need of funds for any type of improvements have received amounts ranging from
$250 to $28,000, totalling in excess of $100,000.
In closing, I should like to pay tribute to the citizens of the communities
in Newfoundland and Labrador who opened their hearts and homes during this world
crisis and to the stranded passengers who have acknowledged this goodwill in so
many ways. They have both given us renewed faith in the strength of human
kindness, in the face of such gross adversity.
On Notice of Motion No. 96, by the Honourable Senator Cools:
That the Debates of the Senate of Thursday, November 22, 2001, in
Senators' Statements at page 1757 in the heading "Influence on hate crimes of
bill to remove certain doubts regarding the meaning of marriage" be corrected
by replacing that heading with a more accurate heading, being "Informing the
Senate of the tragic murder of a homosexual man in Vancouver's Stanley Park"
and also that all other corollary Senate records, including the Debates of
the Senate Internet version, be corrected in this manner because:
(a) it is desirable and honourable that Senators during Senate debate
uphold the principled practice that Senators and Senate debate ought not to be
linked to any murder or violent anti-social behaviour; and because
(b) it is desirable and honourable that there be no attempt to connect a
terrible and tragic murder to a Senate debate or to any Senator's
participation in a Senate debate because such connection is offensive to the
extreme; and because
(c) it is desirable and honourable that for the proper functioning of the
proceedings under Senators' Statements that all Senators uphold Rule 22(4) of
the Rules of the Senate which states in part:
"In particular, Senators' statements should relate to matters which are
of public consequence and for which the rules and practices of the Senate
provide no immediate means of bringing the matters to the attention of the
Senate. In making such statements, a Senator shall not anticipate
consideration of any Order of the Day and shall be bound by the usual rules
governing the propriety of debate."; and because
(d) it is desirable and honourable that all honourable Senators uphold the
high standard of virtue that as Canadians we all share a common and collective
humanity such that any person's death diminishes us all, for we are all
Hon. Anne C. Cools: I should like to thank Senator Jaffer for that
correction. Her request for it satisfies any concerns that I had. Consequently,
I submit that the need for Motion No. 96 has been obviated, and I request that
it be removed from the Order Paper.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed, honourable
senators, that the motion be removed from the Order Paper?