Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Today, honourable senators, I am delighted to
congratulate Canada's Paralympic athletes for their record-breaking performance
in Salt Lake City. They brought home 15 medals, and Canada is now ranked sixth
in the world, a spectacular jump from fifteenth in the 1998 games in Nagano.
From Canmore, Alberta, our blind Nordic skier Brian McKeever, with his
brother and guide Robin, won two gold medals and a silver one. Calgarian Lauren
Woolstencroft, injured the first day, fought back to win two golds and a bronze
in alpine skiing. Calgary alpine colleague Karolina Wisniewska collected the
largest number of Canadian medals, with two silver and two bronze.
From New Westminster, veteran alpine sit-skier Daniel Wesley brought home a
pocket full of gold, silver and bronze, and his teammate Scott Patterson of
Vancouver was on the podium for the first time with a bronze.
After injuring his knee in a practice run, world champion blind alpine skier
Chris Williamson from Scarborough and his guide Paralympian Bill Harriott from
Calgary kept trying throughout the week and, on the final day, blazed down the
mountain for a gold medal.
Our sledge hockey team, of which I am so proud, came within a whisker of the
bronze in one of the most exciting contests of the games. We tied Sweden, went
into overtime and tied, and then went into a five-player shootout and tied. The
game finally came down to a one-on- one shootout and Sweden won. Team captain
Todd Nicholson of Ottawa, a leader on and off the ice, was named all-star
defenceman of the games.
The other members of our team — Nordic sit-skiers Shauna Maria White from
Hinton and Collette Bourgonje from Saskatoon, alpine sit-skier Stacy Kohut from
Banff, alpiners Ian Balfour from Pincher Creek, Gord Tuck from Victoria, and
Mark Ludbrook from Whistler, who carried in our flag — all competed with great
skill and heart.
In the end, the Canadian team brought honour and affection to this country as
they fulfilled, with class and pride, the values of "Mind, Body and Spirit"
that are the international Paralympic creed. These are individuals whose
excellence goes far beyond competitions. They are vivid and willing examples to
all Canadians, particularly disabled young people, who see and hear their
message, which is, "Yes, you can reach your goals."
Thanks to the CBC and other news outlets, Canadians had a chance to witness
the accomplishments of these magnificent athletes. Hopefully, this will
accelerate support for their efforts as well as the larger message that Canada
must become a country where access and opportunity is truly the right of each
citizen. We thank the athletes, their coaches, Sport Canada and all of the
sponsors for leading the way. It was a great games for Canada.
Hon. Yves Morin: Honourable senators, 150 years ago, before vitamin C
was discovered, sailors exploring the world knew that eating citrus fruits
prevented scurvy. Since then, we have added iodine to salt, fortified milk and
margarine with vitamin D, and most recently added folic acid to white flour and
March is Nutrition Month. This year, Nutrition Month is particularly
important as it was officially stated recently that obesity, especially obesity
in children, has now surpassed tobacco smoking as the most important preventable
public health problem in our country. As a matter of fact, one preschool child
out of four in North America is overweight. We are now aware, more than ever, of
the deleterious influence of the fast food industry and its very effective
marketing on the food habits of our children and, in my case, grandchildren.
Honourable senators, in universities, hospitals, clinics and laboratories
across the country, researchers are exploring how what we eat affects our
health. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, through its Institute for
Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, under the able direction of Dr. Diane
Finegood, funds more than 400 researchers across the country.
At Laval University, the Institut des nutraceutiques et des aliments
fonctionnels, under the direction of Dr. Paul Paquin, has a close interest in
the relationship between diet and prevention. Increasingly, the scientific
evidence indicates that certain molecules or ingredients in food have beneficial
effects on health, that go beyond basic nutrition. This is precisely what Dr.
Paquin's research is on.
At the University of Manitoba, CIHR funded researcher Dr. Hope Weiler is
focussing on nutritional intervention in pre-term infants and its effects on
catch-up growth, bone mineralization and neurodevelopment.
Honourable senators, sharing research results is an important undertaking.
The information is vital, not for just those with specific health concerns, but
for everyone who wishes to maintain and improve their health. The Canadian
Health Network, funded by and in partnership with Health Canada, is a rich
source of health information provided by more than 700 non-profit organizations
dedicated to helping Canadians understand recent research findings, so that they
can make healthy choices.
The government must therefore be involved not only in research on nutrition
but also in insuring that the knowledge thus acquired is made readily available
to Canadians. This area is, honourable senators, one of the most important areas
of public health, not only in this country, but in the entire international
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, like most Canadians, I am
deeply concerned about what is happening to our country. I have raised this
issue many times in this place. The management of our economy over the last 10
years has resulted in the worst decade for living standards since the 1930s.
For the past two years, the loony has been falling against the U.S. dollar at
an annual pace of nearly 5 per cent. Over the last decade, U.S. productivity has
increased by about 23 per cent while Canada's productivity has risen by a mere
16 per cent.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley said the low value of the
Canadian dollar is a crutch that allows Canadian companies to remain
competitive, even if they are not. He said that some companies cannot compete
and would fold if our currency increased in value against the U.S. dollar. He
said that productivity is the country's most pressing economic concern. I
believe he tried to get the Finance Minister to do something, but the Finance
Minister has been too wrapped up trying to assume the Liberal leadership.
Honourable senators, our businesses will not survive if things do not change
soon. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance can talk up the dollar all
they want, but now is the time to actually do something. The federal government
may have reduced personal income taxes slightly, but the high level of taxation
on property, payrolls and capital reduces profit that could be spent on
productivity, research and development, and working on technology. The
government needs to play its part by reducing regulation and taxes and improving
coordination among all levels of government on business issues.
Three things make Canada less competitive on the world stage — high
government debt levels, high taxes and high government spending. Innovation must
come from the private sector. The role of government is to ensure that there is
reward for risk, and create and atmosphere in which the private sector can
innovate. Otherwise, government should stay out of their way.
Lord Black was not really wrong when he described this country as too
socialistic and headed for economic ruin. We are in a situation possibly similar
to that of Argentina, today.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, on March 7, 2002, CBC
Radio in Charlottetown celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. It was a great
day both for management and staff of the station and for the people of Prince
Honourable colleagues, my province has an illustrious history in radio, going
all the way back to 1926 and the Bayfield Street Charlottetown studio of CFCY —
the "Friendly Voice of the Maritimes." In fact, the founder of CFCY, Mr. Keith
Rogers, was one of Canada's broadcasting pioneers. When public broadcasting
finally arrived in Prince Edward Island in 1977, a strong tradition of quality
local programming already existed.
From the day it went on the air from the old studios above the Atlas Tire
store in Charlottetown, CBC Radio gave notice that it was committed to carrying
on this tradition of programming about the Island, for the Island.
Combining local, regional and national news and current affairs with
information about the community, and demonstrating its strong commitment to
discovering and sharing with Islanders their heritage and culture as expressed
in stories, poetry and song, CBC Radio quickly became a valued institution in
CBC Television, of course, also continues to leave its mark on the Island,
but it is the FM radio service that has carved out a special place in the hearts
of our citizens.
Prince Edward Island is a small and intimate community. We tend to know one
another, or at least who our fathers and mothers are and where they come from.
Most Islanders know our CBC Radio hosts by first name. They are good neighbours
who come into homes every single day bringing winter storm warnings and road
reports, news about community festivals and events and political debate. CBC
Radio has been a mainstay of Island life during its quarter century of service.
Honourable senators, I know that CBC Radio is important to millions of
Canadians, but it is especially important in rural communities where there are
fewer broadcasting choices and where the boundaries of the communities are more
clearly drawn. In such places, CBC Radio is an indispensable and powerful force
contributing to community renewal and growth and also serving as a bridge
between provincial and national identities.
Honourable senators, Canada is a stronger and richer country because of
public broadcasting. I invite you to join with me in wishing the management and
staff of CBC Radio Charlottetown a very happy twenty-fifth anniversary.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, for the past week, we
have heard much well-deserved praise in tribute to Jean- Paul Riopelle from
those who have known him well and those who are experts in the field. What has
this great man left behind in the century that has just come to a close?
Jean-Paul Riopelle has left a huge body of work, joyous and larger-than-life
work. He was one of the leading artists of this past century. A painter,
sculptor and engraver, a man whose ardent love of nature was so evident in his
canvasses, he has left his mark on his time. Riopelle was unique.
He joined forces with Paul-Émile Borduas and the automatists in 1944. The
cover of their 1948 Manifesto featured a Riopelle watercolour. In 1948, he
settled in Paris, where he made a huge name for himself. Moving back and forth
between France and Canada until 1988, he then returned here to live. His name
will be on people's lips for a long time.
Honourable senators, we have been incredibly fortunate to have had such a
genius among us. Thank you, Jean-Paul Riopelle.
Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux: Honourable senators, the Company of Young
Canadians, in existence now for more than 30 years, has hit the news again. I am
proud that my name was mentioned yesterday along with such notable Canadians as
former Foreign Affairs Mminister Lloyd Axworthy, former Toronto Mayor Barbara
Hall, environmentalist Maurice F. Strong, and First Nations leaders Phil
Fontaine and Georges Erasmus, to name a few, as members of the alumni of the
Company of Young Canadians. However, I am not impressed with the reasons for
which we and others have been mentioned in the press this week.
A freedom of information request reports that the RCMP labelled us as members
of a subversive terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Canadian
society. None of the people mentioned were terrorists. Our "crime" was that we
were idealists in pursuit of social reform.
In the Canadian North, thousands of our people benefited from our programs.
Agricultural societies were created; organic farming was pursued; and moms and
tots programs were organized to counsel non-Aboriginals through the long
northern nights because of the problems of depression. These were just a few of
The idea of the Company of Young Canadians was inspired by the Peace Corps,
established five years earlier by President John Kennedy. Its purpose was to
enhance our citizenship. The experience benefited thousands of young Canadians.
The Company of Young Canadians, established by Parliament in 1966, was a child
of the progressive attitudes of the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Pearson.
In 1970, the RCMP, by its failure to foresee the October Crisis, readied
itself to pounce on anyone who did not fit its view of the ideal Canadian. I
remind those in the RCMP that, today, I am alive and well. I am neither a
subversive nor a terrorist. I am a loyal Canadian and I am a proud alumnus of
the Company of Young Canadians. We were agents of social change. I like to think
that we played a large part in bringing Canada's regions into the industrial
revolution of the 21st century.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present
the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance,
which deals with the Main Estimates, 2002- 03, first interim report.
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has the honour to present
Your Committee, to which were referred the 2002-2003 Estimates, has, in
obedience to the Order of Reference of March 5, 2002, examined the said
estimates and herewith presents its first interim report.
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix,
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Murray, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-49, to implement certain
provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on December 10, 2001.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding
rule 57(1)(f), bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading later
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I give notice that tomorrow,
Wednesday, March 20, 2002, I shall move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs be
authorized to examine and report on the implementation of statutory review
provisions contained in selected legislation relating to legal and
That the papers and evidence received and taken during the examination of
such legislation during previous Parliaments, and reports thereon, be referred
to the Committee; and
That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than
December 20, 2003.
Hon. Vivienne Poy: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday,
March 26, 2002, I will call the attention of the Senate to the significance of
March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, is the Leader of the
Government in the Senate in a position today to confirm what we learned from the
scrum outside the other place, that Eurocopter has withdrawn the Cougar from the
Maritime Helicopter Project competition?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Honourable Senator Forrestall has asked if I can confirm. Yes, Eurocopter
informed officials of the Department of Public Works, on March 18, 2002, that it
is withdrawing the EC 725 helicopter from the competition, which was a business
decision on their part.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my other question for
the Leader of the Government is a matter that I have raised here on a number of
occasions. It is in regard to the preciseness with which Canadian Forces are
operating in Afghanistan and generally on service in Operation Apollo.
Has the government moved to amend the special duty area pension order to
include Afghanistan and the service on Operation Apollo?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I cannot give Senator Forrestall an answer to that question. I thought the
matter was covered in the Order in Council. It is a particularly narrow issue,
although it is not narrow in terms of those who would receive pension benefits.
However, in my reading of the answer to your question, it is not necessarily
covered. Therefore, I will make a specific request to that issue.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, there is confusion as to
whether those presently serving are covered. The special duty area pension order
deals exclusively with veterans' benefits for war service. The order allows, as
the leader will know, a lower evidence of burden on veterans for those disabled
or having been killed in a special duty area. Indeed, she now knows that it has
only to be shown that death or injury resulted from an injury or an illness
during such service. As a preventive measure, a special duty pension order also
removes the pre-existing condition from the disabled veterans receiving the
benefits. In other words, it must be specific because the order, in the
beginning, was location- specific.
Finally, disability due to service in a special duty area allows for — and
this is part of the importance of it — veterans to apply for or, in some cases,
be awarded public service jobs, for example, without competition.
The fact of the matter is that, as of last Thursday, the special duty area
pension order had not been amended to include service in Afghanistan or to
include troops engaged in Operation Apollo, where troops are fighting al-Qaeda
and the Taliban on the front lines. With Canadian Forces personnel on Canadian
ships intercepting one in six of all ships intercepted in the adjacent sea, it
becomes clear that we are dealing with a large number of people.
It is also clear that this anomaly will raise some questions in the minds of
veterans and their families until such time as it can be cleared up. If a simple
amendment to the order is required, I have no doubt that the order would stand
up. If only a simple amendment is required, let us prepare that amendment to
avoid embarrassment for the veterans and their families. They should not have to
say, "The order was not area specific, but the intent was clear." Let us make
it specific and clear. Is that possible?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, as the honourable senator
knows, up to 2,500 Canadian service people are now or have been engaged in the
activities of Operation Apollo, either on land or at sea. This is an important
issue for all of them. I will make inquiries to try to speed up a resolution
because, obviously, it is a sensitive matter.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, the Leader of the Government in
the Senate will remember that the last time we discussed this issue, in the
fall, I mentioned that 8,600,000 cheques of $125 had been sent before the
election to help poor people pay for their heating oil, since prices had
increased. Eight million cheques were sent. Many people received cheques. The
whole operation cost $1.5 billion.
Apparently, 7,700 deceased persons, 4,600 persons living abroad and 1,600
inmates received cheques to help pay for their heating oil. Moreover, it has
been determined that 600,000 individuals who were eligible for these cheques did
not get one. Those who were in dire straits did not get a cheque, while some who
were living in relative comfort did! In short, $500 million was not given to the
right people. Apparently, $500 million vanished. It is normal to ask — these are
public funds — where the government will get that money. Out of taxpayers'
pockets! We know that some of those who received these cheques are well off.
Only one third of those who were living in relative poverty received a cheque.
The government does not know where $500 million went, and it does not want to
recover the other $500 million.
The agency — because we do not talk to ministers any more, we talk to
agencies — said, through its spokesperson, that it would not recover the money
and that the case was closed. Could the Leader of the Government explain this?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the honourable senator will recall, the process for sending out the GST
rebate cheques was on the basis of whether individuals had applied in the past
for GST rebates. Those eligible for GST rebates are among the poorest people in
the country who are deemed, on the basis of their tax returns, to have incomes
well below the average in Canada. It was on that basis that the system sent out
cheques to those individuals.
We have had this discussion before about what happens if someone receives a
rebate cheque although they have died. In that case, we know that their estate
must return that cheque to the federal government. It would be fraudulent for
another person to sign that cheque on behalf of the intended recipient, unless
the person was the inheritor of the estate. In that case, there would be narrow
provisions upon which they would be allowed to do that.
We never questioned that some cheques ended up in the wrong hands. We knew at
the time that, in all likelihood, some cheques would turn up in the wrong hands.
Some people who, perhaps, deserved the money did not receive it. Regrettably,
that was due to the system that was used. Apparently, those individuals had not
been entitled to a GST rebate for that particular year.
Senator Bolduc: Honourable senators, I do not understand why the
government says that it will not recover the money. It is turning this into a
matter of principle. The government gives money to people who were not supposed
to receive it and says that it will not recover the money. What is this
On the one hand, the government says that it will not recover this money from
people who are comfortably off and, on the other hand, when a taxpayer owes
$2.25, the government spends $25 to recover it. What is the explanation for this
state of affairs?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, we all know that Senator
Bolduc does not receive a GST rebate because he has told us that he did not
receive that cheque. I would assume that that applies to each honourable member
of this chamber. We are not entitled to a GST rebate on the basis of the income
that we earn from the Government of Canada.
In the reality of the situation, it is sometimes more costly to claw back
certain issues than to not do that, and to recognize that the system, from the
outset, was not absolutely fair. However, the system was as fair a system as the
government could use at a time when many people in Canada were in crisis because
fuel bills had escalated so quickly and dramatically. The government made the
decision that this system would be the way in which to administer the rebates.
Senator Bolduc: Honourable senators, I would point out that the
minister gives the impression that there were only a few cheques. That is not
the case. We are talking about $500 million — half a billion dollars. I find
this scandalous. Anywhere else, the government and the ministers would be out of
a job. In Ottawa, they are promoted when they do things like this. It is crazy!
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I have no indication that $500
million is an accurate figure. We will hear from the Auditor General about the
true figure. I have no proof that the figure spoken to today by the Honourable
Senator Bolduc is, in fact, correct.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, last weekend, a
conference was held in Memramcook, New Brunswick, at which the status of French
in the Atlantic provinces was discussed. On this occasion, a Canada Post
employee complained that her language rights were not being respected.
Is the minister aware of this conference? If so, is she aware of the problems
mentioned by this employee? Can the minister confirm that Canada Post is doing
everything in its power and everything that it is required to do to respect the
language rights of its employees?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the Honourable Senator Nolin is well aware, the Honourable Stéphane Dion,
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs responsible for ensuring that the official
language policy is at its full blossoming, has indicated that he is listening
carefully to issues such as the one that has been indicated today. Canada Post
is a Crown Corporation and has obligations under the Official Languages Act. I
will certainly bring to the attention of Minister Dion that a complaint was made
and that it must be considered extremely seriously. I am also pleased with the
recent announcement of the new Institut de Moncton, which will, I hope, ensure
that languages flourish in this country, in particular, the minority languages:
French in most provinces and English in the Province of Quebec.
Senator Nolin: Madam Minister, it would appear that this is not a
recent situation and that it has been dragging on for some time. This is not an
isolated complaint. The phenomenon is apparently widespread. Could the minister
ask the minister responsible for Canada Post about the measures being taken to
ensure that the basic language rights of Atlantic Canadians are being respected
in law and in fact?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator
for his question. I will raise this matter not only with Minister Dion, whom I
know has a particular interest; but also with Minister Manley, who is
specifically responsible for Canada Post.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, my question is addressed
to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Apparently, Health Canada plans
to announce the creation of a new organization to increase the effectiveness of
drug monitoring after the drugs have been approved for sale. Last year, the
Canadian Medical Association demanded that Health Canada set up such an
organization. The department is responsible for ensuring that drugs are safe for
doctors to prescribe. Two years ago, an Oakville teenager, Vanessa Young, died
after taking the stomach drug prepulcid. It has since been pulled off the
Can the Leader of the Government tell us when this drug monitoring agency
will be set up?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the honourable senator raises a serious issue. A coroner's report has indicated
that we must have far greater monitoring of prescription drugs that are put on
the market and keep accurate records of their side effects. My understanding is,
that action is now underway.
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency has inspection programs to ensure food safety. However, it is unclear
what powers this drug monitoring agency will have. Can the minister — and she
has indicated it somewhat in answer to my first question — tell us what powers
the agency will have and whether it will be an organization similar to the
Canada Food Inspection Agency?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I do not have that exact
information available for the honourable senator today. The 14 jury
recommendations that were made on this issue and directed at Health Canada have
been receiving careful consideration. Health Canada is working to improve the
post- market surveillance program. On April 1, 2002, which is approximately 10
days from now, Health Canada will open a new directorate with responsibility for
post-approval activities. This new directorate will improve Health Canada's
capacity. As to whether it will have the full ability of the agency to which the
honourable senator made reference, I cannot answer that at the present time.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, recent statistics
continue to underscore the difficulties facing our farmers in Canada. For
instance, between 1998 and 2001, Canada lost more than one-quarter of its farm
workers. This fact was revealed in a recent Statistics Canada survey and it is
the largest decline in the number of farm workers in 35 years.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate please tell us what her
government's thoughts are on these very serious trends?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
first, we should be careful about that statistic. Yes, there was an indication
that the number of farmers who were listing farming as their major source of
income had declined by 26 per cent. However, it is not quite accurate to say
that there were one quarter fewer farm workers. The regrettable part — and I
think Senator Gustafson would agree — is that more and more farmers are having
to seek off-farm employment opportunities and can no longer depend totally on
their farm income as the source of their viability as an economic unit.
In terms of what the government is doing specifically, as the honourable
senator knows, the provinces and the federal government have signed an agreement
to work together. They had meetings before Christmas. They are having meetings,
I believe this month, in order to come up with long-term plans for the
agriculture sector in Canada.
Senator Gustafson: Honourable senators, does the minister feel that it
is fair that farmers must work at two jobs, working for 16 or 18 hours a day,
while people in other walks of life can work at one job and make a decent
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, no, I do not think that is the
ideal way in which our agricultural community should survive in this country.
Obviously, great stress is placed on farm families when that occurs. That is why
the federal government is working together on an agricultural policy framework.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, in the recent speech
to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, the federal Finance
Minister tried to alleviate the concerns of farmers by explaining that the
federal government is working with the provinces to develop a new agricultural
policy intended to improve the safety net programs. However, it is my
understanding that the crux of this new policy will focus on issues of
environmentally responsible farming and food safety. In fact, most analysts
doubt that the new policy will contain any new aid for programs to help combat
low commodity prices.
Has the minister any thoughts in this area?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I can only say that I understand that the discussions taking place between the
federal and provincial agriculture ministers is broadly based, that it is not
limited only to the few areas that the honourable senator has indicated and that
the consultations will expand and intensify literally over the next few days.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table the delayed answers to two questions. The
first one was raised in the Senate on March 7, 2002, by Senator Jean-Robert
Gauthier regarding linguistic rights; and the second one was raised in the
Senate on February 20, 2002, by Senator Pierre Claude Nolin regarding the
modernization of the armed forces equipment.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier on March 7, 2002)
The Contraventions Act is a statute that aims at simplifying and
facilitating the prosecution of federal offences found in federal laws and
regulations. The purpose of the agreements signed pursuant to the
Contraventions Act is the implementation of the Act and not the enforcement of
federal laws and regulations.
Since Ontario has formally committed itself to continue working to comply
with the Federal Court judgement in Commissioner of Official Languages and Her
Majesty, the Department of Justice has sought an extension of the time frame
imposed by the Court.
If such an extension is granted, the Department of Justice and the Ministry
of the Attorney General of Ontario will pursue actively their solving of the
issues raised in the judgement.
In the event of a failure of the negotiations pertaining to the signing,
within the additional period that could be granted by the Court, of an
agreement that would comply with the original Federal Court decision, the
Government will suspend the application of the Contraventions Act in Ontario
and will return to the summary conviction process of the Criminal Code for the
prosecution of contraventions other than parking contraventions.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin on February 20,
The government's investment in the military is already substantial and
should not be assessed solely from last budget perspective. The Department of
National Defence has base funding this year of more than $11 billion.
Under the government's fiscal framework, that funding is increased
automatically over time in line with increases in public sector wages DND's
base funding is increased annually by an automatic 1.5 per cent to protect
Defence from rising costs.
Moreover, the government has made substantial investments in the military.
The last two budgets have added greatly to DND's funding:
$700 million of the base funding this year was provided in those two
budgets, and by 2004-2005, that number will have risen to more than $800
million per year.
By the end of this fiscal year, those budgets will have added $2.5 billion
cumulatively to the defence budget, and they will add another $3.9 billion in
the next five years.
All told, in the last three budgets the government will have invested a
total of over $7.6 billion in the military by 2006-07.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to
the presence in the gallery of Jean Gleason, Hammond Dick, Sam Donnesey,
Clifford McLeod, Leslie Smith and Dixon Lutz, all elected representatives of
First Nations in the Yukon.
On behalf of all senators, I welcome you to the Senate.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C., for the third reading of
Bill S-34, respecting royal assent to bills passed by the Houses of
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Grafstein,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Ferretti Barth that the Bill be not now
read a third time but that it be amended in clause 3 by adding the following
after subsection 2:
3(3) The signification of royal assent by written declaration may be
witnessed by more than one member from each House of Parliament.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, it is an honour for me to speak
to you briefly about why I am supporting not only the principle and the content
of Bill S-34 but also the amendment introduced by our colleague Senator
First, I should like to express the pleasure I had to work with the
honourable members of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights
of Parliament under the chairmanship of Senator Austin and the various witnesses
and participants who attended the various meetings of that committee.
It might appear almost trivial in the minds of some observers, that it took
us many hours and much reflection to come forward with a bill after many
attempts by various members of this chamber. I bow to Senator Murray, who
considered the issue, and, of course, I cannot but recognize the various
attempts made by Senator Lynch-Staunton to finally bring the issue to a positive
I should also like to commend the government leader for the government's
initiative of making the proposal of Senator Lynch- Staunton a government bill.
That being said, it did not mean that the work was complete. Today, when I was
reading The Hill Times, I noticed a headline that read: "Royal Assent
Goes Modern." It seems that our procedure is antiquated, of another age, or
that we are an oddity in the sphere of the Commonwealth countries, because our
Royal Assent has not varied through the 135 years of our Confederation.
I should like to remind honourable senators that the issue of Royal Assent
involves a very important constitutional element, and Professor David Smith
outlined this very clearly when he appeared at our committee's hearings last
fall. He said the following:
The time of Royal Assent is when the Queen-in- Parliament makes law. Then
the representative of the Crown personifies the nation; the Senate embodies
the federal principle; and the Commons represents the people through their
representatives. One may dispute the description of the parts, but not the
parts themselves, nor their inclusion in a manner visible to all.
Royal Assent is provided for in section 91 of our Constitution. Its
introductory clause states:
It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the
Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good
Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes
of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the
That means that the Crown, the Queen, is an essential part of the legislative
process in Canada, and it personifies the nation. The Constitution is not silent
on the way the prerogative of the Queen should be exercised. In fact, sections
55, 56 and 57 of the Constitution provide the cases where the Queen, or the
representative of the Queen, can withhold consent to Royal Assent. Even though
it has rarely happened in the past, and if it were to be used it would create a
major constitutional crisis, there is no doubt that those powers are still in
our constitutional statute.
What is the constitutional status of Royal Assent? Royal assent exists
substantially in the Constitution. What the Constitution does not provide is the
way Royal Assent is given. Traditionally, Royal Assent has been given through
the physical presence of the representative of the Queen, either the Governor
General or his or her delegate, a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Traditionally, the Queen's representative attends in this chamber and nods to
the concurrence of both legislative Houses having adopted a specific bill. In
other words, there is no provision in the Constitution that explains or
describes the process.
The process is essentially a matter of convention; that is, it is not
written. What is a convention? There is an interesting quote from a group of
learned professors from Laval University — and my colleague Senator Beaudoin
will certainly nod to this. When can we say that there is a convention?
I quote from our constitutional law text, second edition, on page 45:
Three conditions have to be met —
— for a constitutional convention to exist.
There are to be three conditions for a convention to exist. The first one is
— there must be precedents.
It means that the gesture, the attitude, has to be repeated not once, but
The second condition is as follows:
— the actors must believe to be bound by a rule;
In other words, those who repeat those things have to appear to be bound by
The third condition is stated as follows:
— and there should be a reason for the rule.
In other words, there should be a reason for this.
That is the nature of a constitutional convention. That is how,
traditionally, our Royal Assent has remained the same. The concurrence of those
three elements has been confirmed repeatedly over the last 140 years, in the way
Royal Assent has been given in this chamber. Those aspects are fundamental to
the understanding of our Constitution.
If it is a convention, is it meaningless? I would submit, honourable
senators, that conventions are part of our constitutional order. The Supreme
Court of Canada, in many instances, has ruled that conventions are part of the
Constitution. I should like to quote from the ruling in the Reference re:
Secession of Quebec. The court said, at paragraph 32, the following:
... the global system of rules and principles which govern the exercise of
constitutional authority in the whole and in every part of the Canadian state.
These supporting principles and rules, which include constitutional
conventions and the workings of Parliament, are a necessary part of our
This is the constitutional convention that is part of our constitutional
order. It is important, if we want to change this, to question — as members of
the committee have done during the hearings and debates that followed the
introduction of the bill by the government leader, and the alternative proposals
that our colleague, Senator Grafstein, has tabled at the committee — the
essential elements of the procedure we follow presently.
In my opinion, there are at least three elements. First, there is the
presence of the Governor General, or his or her delegate. Thus, there is a
physical presence. Second, it must be transparent. Both Houses of Parliament
attend that element of consent of the Governor General, or his or her delegate.
Third, of course, it is public. Anyone can, outside the members of Parliament
from both Houses, attend that element of the nodding, of the consent given.
What does Bill S-34 do? It provides an alternative to the convention we have
followed up to now. What is the alternative? It is in the form of a written
Honourable senators will ask: What changes in the three elements have you
just given? The first element is that it is still the person; it is still a
personal act. It is still coming from the person who happens to be, according to
the Constitution, the Governor General or his or her delegate. That person is
chosen by the Governor General according to the Letters Patent, and Bill S-34
does not change that. According to the Letters Patent, the Governor General
retains the same power to choose the person he or she wishes to appoint for the
exercise of that responsibility. This is still a personal act.
Transparency is less obvious in the bill as it is written now, and that is
why I support the amendment of Senator Grafstein. The transparency is that the
written declaration will no longer be performed within the precincts of the
Senate. The written declaration will be performed in a private office, whether
the residence of the Governor General; the office of the delegate of the
Governor General, who has traditionally been a justice of the Supreme Court; or
someone else down the road who the Governor General, according to the Letters
Patent, may decide to appoint for the specific exercise of that constitutional
responsibility of the Governor General. In other words, Royal Assent will be
done in private.
According to clause 4 of the bill, notice of Royal Assent is given to both
Houses. The bill, as presently written, is less transparent than when the
Governor General, or his or her representative or delegate, comes into this
The amendment that Senator Grafstein has introduced is not a new amendment.
Members of the committee discussed that aspect of the work extensively. Some
committee members thought that the written declaration could not happen without
the presence of a representative from both Houses. We set aside that proposal.
We thought it was too stringent. However, the proposal of Senator Grafstein that
was discussed in committee, as introduced by Senator Cools, is a sound and
permissive proposal. It allows at least one member from each house to be
present. Neither the Governor General nor his or her delegate is compelled to
request the presence of the representative of either house in order to give the
written declaration. However, any of us would be able to request to be present
when the bill is assented to by the Queen's representative or his or her
delegate. Essentially, we want to maintain flexibility in the procedure.
Honourable senators, some research has been conducted on this subject. Up to
1885, the Governor General always gave Royal Assent to bills himself. In the
early years of Canada's history, parliamentary sessions were very short. The
session would typically last for one or two months and the Governor General
would traditionally give Royal Assent at the opening and closing of the session.
Through the years, parliamentary sessions have been extended. Various
governments wished to give Royal Assent to pressing legislation, especially in
situations of immediate implementation. In these cases, the Governor General
could not always be present, and from 1885 onward, the Governor General started
to appoint delegates.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I regret to advise Senator
Joyal that his 15 minutes have expired.
Senator Joyal: Honourable senators, within three minutes I would be
able to conclude my remarks.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, it is simply a matter of allowing the Honourable Senator Joyal to
conclude his remarks.
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Joyal: Thank you, honourable senators.
The frequency of the ceremonies started to multiply. The multiplication of
the ceremony meant that the Governor General could not be present and therefore
started to delegate that responsibility. That event triggered the justices of
the Supreme Court to become involved in the legislative process.
Bill S-34 responds to those two needs in a perfect respect of our
constitutional principle. I urge honourable senators to support the amendment
because it is important that flexibility and transparency be maintained. That is
a fundamental element of a democratic system and is well served by the bill as
amended by Senator Grafstein.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is the house ready for the
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion in amendment?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion in amendment agreed to.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak at the third
reading stage of Bill S-34.
Although there is no time for this today, I would love to challenge Senator
Joyal on several of the issues he raised, including what he said about the
definition of "conventions." It is my clear understanding that the ancient
Royal Assent ceremony, which we have held until now, was the meeting point of
the law of Parliament, the lex parliamenti, and the law of the King, the
lex prerogativa, and is not related to the issue of conventions.
We can debate that at some other time. Conventions are a very troublesome
area. They govern the exercise of power and the relationship between cabinet and
Parliament. Therefore, it is not quite the same thing.
I should also like to make the point that until 1947 or 1948, the Governor
General of Canada kept an office in the East Block. I hope that with the passage
of this bill we may see our way to re- establishing that office, perhaps even
the same historical office.
Honourable senators, most senators here know that I am an ardent supporter of
the monarchy, particularly the constitutional monarchy here in Canada. I
fervently believe that it is the highest achievement of constitutionalism.
Constitutional monarchy embodies the special and unique personal and
political relationship that the monarch, Her Majesty, possesses and holds with
each and every individual subject citizen. It is a relationship wrapped in the
duty of allegiance owed by each to Her Majesty, the sovereign, and the duty owed
by the sovereign to each individual subject citizen.
I was reminded of this last Friday, honourable senators, March 15, 2002, when
I attended the luncheon held by His Honour James Bartleman, the Lieutenant
Governor of Ontario, in honour of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, and
again on Friday evening when I was honoured to be a head table guest at a dinner
in Toronto for His Royal Highness hosted by the Monarchist League of Canada.
Honourable senators will know that His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
is the first cousin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. His father and Her
Majesty's father, King George VI, were brothers.
Honourable senators, my intervention today is to record here a matter of
great importance. This bill has been around for some years now in its various
incarnations. It is now Bill S-34, and in other sessions it had been S-7, S-15
and then S-13. At all material times, and in all my interventions, I have
insisted that this bill required a Royal Consent, that it required the
involvement and agreement of Her Majesty's representative in Canada, the
Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson. This
constitutional fact was either unknown or ignored here by many senators.
I repeatedly read and recorded here Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Royal
Consent as signified in 1967 in the United Kingdom, both in the House of Lords
by the Lord Chancellor Lord Gardiner and in the House of Commons by the
Attorney-General Sir Elwyn Jones. I quoted the significations word for word. I
draw attention to my speeches here on December 1, 1999, and, particularly, my
speech on this bill when it was Bill S-13, on May 2, 2001. I said, at Debates
of the Senate, page 757:
I absolutely insist that this bill needs the involvement, consent and
approval of Her Excellency, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, prior to its
introduction and debate here.
In that same speech, I also said:
The Senate and the bill's sponsor, Senator Lynch- Staunton, have a duty to
proceed with proper and due regard to these vital parliamentary and
constitutional principles, with due regard to Parliament's law and with the
respect and allegiance due to Her Majesty and her representative in Canada,
Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson.
Honourable senators, the Senate owes Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Adrienne Clarkson the proper respect and dignity. Her Majesty's representative
should receive no less from this chamber.
...It is my intention not to vote on this bill until I receive an
indication that Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is involved in some way or
other in this pressing matter of Royal Assent in Canada.
Honourable senators, I meant that most sincerely. I honoured my commitment at
the time because I felt very strongly that such a bill could not and should not
dare to proceed without Her Excellency's approval at the outset.
Honourable senators, I felt very affirmed and gratified when last fall the
Government Leader, Senator Sharon Carstairs, introduced this bill as Bill S-34,
which it now is and when, prior to its second reading, she rose and indicated
that the Royal Consent had been signified. On October 4, 2001, Senator
Carstairs, in Debates of the Senate, at page 1379, said:
I have the honour to advise this House that:
Her Excellency the Governor General has been informed of the purport of
this bill and has given consent, to the degree to which it may affect the
prerogatives of Her Majesty, to the consideration by Parliament of a Bill
entitled "An Act respecting royal assent to bills passed by the Houses of
I further note that, in her same speech, while not mentioning me, she cited
Lord Gardiner in the United Kingdom's House of Lords. I felt justified by
Senator Carstairs' close reading of my speeches and by her acceptance, as I had
proposed, of the constitutionally correct course of action, which was to obtain
Her Excellency's Royal Consent prior to second reading.
Honourable senators, the Royal Assent, the actual enactment of bills into
laws, is the quintessential point in Parliament. It is the culmination of the
process, its highest point and, simultaneously, it is the meeting point, the
union of the three estates of Parliament in their seminal role.
Honourable senators, the Prime Minister represents the state of politics of a
country, but Her Majesty the Queen, through the Governor General, represents the
state of the country itself and its people themselves. That is why she is the
Head of State.
Honourable senators, I wish to say the following. When I came to this place,
this Senate, I took the Oath of Allegiance. I believed it then and I believe it
now. I am not a republican, as is our Leader of the Opposition, Senator John
Lynch-Staunton, who was the originator of this bill in previous sessions. I have
been claimed by my background, my culture, my own study, the constitution of my
personality and by the cast of my mind.
In conclusion, I should like to say that the monarch Her Majesty, as Queen in
Canada, is no mere empty form or ornament; Her Majesty is the source and
authority of all power. About the Royal Assent, many misrepresent it, decrying
its constitutional importance and relegating it to mere sentiment, but the Royal
Assent is no sentiment.
I close by recording here a statement from Benjamin Disraeli on this subject.
In his 1852 book entitled, Lord George Bentinck: A Political Biography,
Mr. Disraeli describes the true force and meaning of the Royal Assent by the
Queen. Remember that this man was not the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
at the time. He wrote:
As a branch of the legislature whose decision is final, and therefore last
solicited, the opinion of the sovereign remains unshackled and uncompromised
until the assent of both houses has been received. Nor is this veto of the
English monarch an empty form. It is not difficult to conceive the occasion,
when supported by the sympathies of a loyal people, its exercise might defeat an
unconstitutional ministry and a corrupt parliament.
That is the true and profound meaning of the Royal Assent in which Her
Majesty embodies the subjects and the citizens of the whole realm, over and
above each of the two Houses of Parliament.
When I was a child, I was told that the difference between republicans and
monarchists is that monarchists do not aspire to be King or Queen because the
occupant of that position has been settled by history. However, with
republicans, everyone knows that in the United State of America every shoeshine
boy and every other person wants to be president. That is why I am a supporter
of the monarchy, because the question of this high power is settled
When I was a little girl, a schoolmistress of mine used to tell me, "Beware
of any man who wants to be King. Beware of men and women who would be King or
Queen." Honourable senators should ponder on that.
Honourable senators know the dangers to modern Commonwealth democracies that
are being posed by modern cabinets and governments themselves, particularly with
the ascendancy of the universal primacy all over the world of the Prime
Minister's Office and also with the ascendancy of unelected bodies in policy
matters, such as the Supreme Court of Canada. Canada's famous constitutionalist,
Professor Arthur Lower, cautioned of the danger of absolutism in cabinet
government. In his 1958 book entitled, Evolving Canadian Federalism,
Professor Lower wrote:
Most people would content themselves with saying that Canada is a monarchy
and that the monarch's ancient attributes give us theory enough: `the King is
the fount of justice'; `the King can do no wrong'; et cetera. But what if the
Cabinet became King, with both King and Constitution in its hands?
That is the inherent danger of absolutism in cabinet government.
Honourable senators, I thank Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada,
Adrienne Clarkson, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Canada. I uphold her
and I celebrate her in this year of her Golden Jubilee. About her I say, God
bless the Queen, God save the Queen.
Honourable senators, I should like to close by reading a particular stanza —
very rarely used — of God Save the Queen, now the Royal Anthem, which
O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies
And make them fall.
Confound their politics
Frustrate their knavish tricks
On Thee our hopes we fix
God Save us all.
Long may she reign over us.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to and bill, as amended, read third time and passed.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Poy, for the third reading of Bill C-15A, to amend
the Criminal Code and to amend other Acts, as amended.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to third
reading of Bill C-15A. I shall confine myself to the issue raised by clause 71
of this bill, being the particular clause that amends the Criminal Code, section
696. The issues of this clause and the parent Criminal Code sections are the
issues of the miscarriage of justice. It seems that daily our newspapers report
on more miscarriages of justice, wrongful convictions, and wrongful
prosecutions. The very famous cases, usually cases of homicide and murder,
punctuate our consciousness. We are all aware of the cases of Guy Paul Morin and
Donald Marshall. Clearly, correction is needed. Toronto's excellent,
accomplished criminal lawyers like Alan Gold, Morris Manning and Edward
Greenspan have raised these questions publicly and have repeated their concerns
Honourable senators all know that I thought that the powers of the Minister
of Justice, under this clause, should be wide so as to permit the minister to
choose the best and the most able persons to conduct those reviews. I also
believe that the minister should consider for appointment not only lawyers, but
other professionals, including coroners, forensic pathologists, ex-chiefs of
police and former parliamentarians. However, today I am speaking to a different
Honourable senators, I wish to raise the question of the dominion and the
domination of ideology, particularly radical feminist ideology and its
consequent distortion and mischief in the administration of justice, in both the
criminal law and civil law, but particularly in the criminal law. I refer to the
plethora of problems that have flowed from the premise of the radical feminist
ideological posture that all men are beasts and that all women are victims; that
women are morally superior to men; that men are morally inferior to women or
that men are somehow morally defective; and the proposition that men are
inherently liars and that women are inherently truth tellers.
Honourable senators, I am speaking of the plethora of wrongful convictions
and prosecutions in sexual and physical abuse that have flowed from the
misguided premises of the recovered memory movement — now discredited, thank God
— the sexual assault witch hunts, the misguided and one-sided zero- tolerance
domestic violence policies directed at male offenders but not at female
offenders, and other ideologically based phenomena. I hope that the new Minister
of Justice will turn his mind to these problems, which are of some enormity. I
shall cite a few cases.
The first is the case of Regina v. Nelson. James Nelson, now about age
34, was convicted in 1996 of several assault and sexual assault charges and
served about three and one-half years in prison. Last August 23, 2001, there was
an about-face. In a short, one-paragraph judgement, the Ontario Court of Appeal
allowed Mr. Nelson's appeal, set aside his conviction and granted him an
acquittal. In this exceptional and unusual step, the Court of Appeal, in
judgement delivered by Mr. Justice Laskin, said:
The proposed fresh evidence meets the test in R. v. Palmer and shows
that the trial proceedings resulted in a miscarriage of justice. Although
ordinarily we would order a new trial, in this case we enter an acquittal
because of the Crown's acknowledgement that there is no reasonable possibility
of a conviction and because the appellant has largely served his sentence.
Therefore the appeal is allowed, the conviction is set aside and an acquittal
An acquittal was entered. The entire text of the judgment is that one
paragraph. This case is exceptional because Mr. Nelson's accuser is a woman
named Cathy Fordham, a close friend of Mr. Nelson's ex-spouse, who at the time
was in a child custody battle with Mr. Nelson.
There are many press articles about this matter. I commend one article
particularly, which is the National Post article of September 8, 2001, by
Christie Blatchford, headlined "Crying Wolf: In a system that assumes children
don't lie and women are victims, false allegations happen with alarming
regularity and frequency." Miss Blatchford interviewed Detective Wendy Leaver
and reported the following:
The fact is, as Detective Leaver said, some women enjoy the process. `It's
a sex assault,' the veteran investigator said, `and as a society, we accept
that as horrendous. You wouldn't believe the attention we pay to you.' And
some women are outright malicious, and see a rape claim as a way to punish a
boyfriend or a former spouse, especially if they are locked in a custody or
support battle, and some are mentally ill.
Honourable senators, compare that one paragraph in the 2001 judgment of Mr.
Justice Laskin to the harsher and tougher words of Provincial Court Judge
Fraser, in Ontario Provincial Court, on the same man, Mr. Nelson, a few years
before, on November 14, 1996. Judge Fraser said:
Further, to offer additional protection to the complainant, due to the fact
that this is now the third time that this individual is being sentenced for
criminal behaviour involving this complainant, I am going to, for the reasons
stated — the repeated contact with this individual, the need for specific
deterrence of Mr. N. — order that this offender not be released on full parole
until at least one-half of the sentence has been served.
Judge Fraser waded into the area of parole. All of this was to protect this
complainant, the alleged victim, who has since been revealed to be a chronic and
accomplished malicious liar, and who now stands charged and convicted with
public mischief arising from this case and others.
Honourable senators, every time I read one of these cases, and I read many, I
continue to wonder at how and why so many courts, judges and crown prosecutors
have allowed themselves to be so deceived by the radical feminist ideology which
says that women do not lie and that every male is a potential rapist.
Honourable senators, human goodness like human vice is not a gendered
characteristic. They are human characteristics. Men and women are equally
capable of virtue and are equally capable of vice.
Justice must be blind to unscientific, artificial and unproven ideological
notions of human behaviour. Justice has to look at the facts and the law, and
therein make its judgment, because judgment should not be based on gender or
gender notions of behaviour.
Honourable senators, the record is peppered with these cases. These are all
miscarriages of justice. They are not homicide cases, they are not as
spectacular as the Guy Paul Morin case, but there are many of these individual
I come now to certain cases of wrongful prosecutions, of which there are
many, but which thankfully, though difficult for the accused, ended in
I wish to cite the Provincial Court of Alberta, June 22, 1998, case in R.
v. Ghanem. Mr. Ghanem had been charged with assaulting his wife, a domestic
assault. He was tried and acquitted of this particular charge. Mr. Ghanem's wife
had charged him in an effort to imperil him and to ensnare him in their divorce
proceeding. This fact is very well documented in the judgment.
It seems that Mr. Ghanem was elsewhere when the assault was supposed to have
taken place. Apparently, it turns out, he was in another place with other
people. He had an alibi. Judge Fraser writes about the investigation and the
lack of an alibi, saying:
It was also disclosed to the police officer immediately upon being told of
the allegations. The officer chose not to investigate the alibi and instead
just laid the charge. Apparently he didn't feel he had any responsibility to
Judge Fraser, in his reasons for acquitting Mr. Ghanem, said the following:
I find the evidence of the complainant and her mother to be contradictory,
confusing, contrary, conflicting, irreconcilable and quite frankly, false.
Judge Fraser was emphatic about the falsehood. Then Judge Fraser turned his
mind to the question of zero-tolerance policies for domestic violence. He said:
I want to make two further comments because one is curious as to how a man
could be falsely accused in these circumstances right up to and including a
trial. The reasons are quite clear to me and disturbing. First, the police
apparently have a policy of zero tolerance in domestic assault cases. Any zero
tolerance policy is dangerous. It is especially dangerous when it is not
properly applied. If the police consider zero tolerance means laying a charge
whenever they receive a complaint, they are incorrect. The power to arrest and
lay charges is an awesome power. Used incorrectly it is oppressive to the
public. Complaints must be investigated. An officer doesn't automatically have
reasonable grounds just because someone makes a complaint of domestic abuse.
Honourable senators, these cases of wrongful physical and sexual abuse
prosecutions abound and are compelling investigations. In previous speeches in
this chamber, I have spoken to the issue of false accusations. However, I spoke
on false allegations made in civil proceedings, usually child custody disputes
in which no criminal charges were laid or prosecutions ensued. In those speeches
in this chamber, I have recorded dozens of those cases, adjudicated cases citing
the judges' findings, for example, as in my speech of February 17, 2000.
These cases were false accusations of mostly child sexual abuse and some
physical abuse used as a strategy to obtain sole custody in judicial proceedings
and in divorce proceedings. However, earlier today I have been speaking to
criminal charges and criminal proceedings.
Honourable senators, time does not permit me to cite more cases. However, I
should like to make a very special appeal here to the Minister of Justice under
this clause in the bill to say to him that these matters are compelling
investigation. I wish to take this opportunity to urge the Minister of Justice
to direct his mind to these problems and to this subject matter. I also take the
opportunity to urge him to promote the notion that the administration of justice
should eschew radical feminist ideology.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill, as amended, read third time and passed, on
Hon. George Furey moved the third reading of Bill S-40, to amend the
Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.
He said: Honourable senators, I have nothing to add to was said at second
reading, except to say that the bill was reported back on March 14. It received
the support of industry, finance and members opposite.
I had understood earlier that Senator Angus may have wished to speak, but at
this time, if he is not here, I would suggest that we just move forward.
Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Christensen,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Léger, for the third reading of Bill C-39,
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.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I am pleased to have the
opportunity to speak on Bill C-39 once again.
At its fundamental level, this bill modernizes the language of the present
act and aims to put the decision-making power in the hands of those it most
directly affects, the people of the Yukon.
It also puts into law the form of responsible government that has been
practised in the territory for more than 20 years and articulates more clearly
the concepts outlined in the Epp letter of 1979.
The devolution of power has been a long process and has spanned decades. The
importance of this bill to the Yukon cannot be overstated. It means that
decisions affecting the territory and her resources will be made locally, not by
a politician or a bureaucrat sitting in Ottawa. This proposed act marks the
latest and one of the most significant steps in the territory's political
It must be a very special honour for Senator Christensen to stand as sponsor
of this bill. Today, her work has come full circle, and I commend her for her
dedication and her tireless efforts on behalf of the people of the Yukon,
Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal, today and in the decades past.
Indeed, there are many strong arguments to be made in support of this bill.
First and foremost, the bill modernizes the statutory language relating to
Yukon's governmental structure so that it better reflects the practice of
responsible government. This is essentially putting into law the approach to
government that has been in practice since the late 1970s. The bill also sends a
positive message to resource developers and businesses regarding the territory's
economic climate. Consider, for instance, its likely contribution to the
development of the local mining industry. Bill C-39 will eliminate bureaucratic
obstacles and open the door for Yukon-made regulations. This will provide
greater regulatory certainty and eliminate duplication — factors so crucial to
fostering the development of this industry in particular.
Perhaps more important, however, this bill brings the people of Yukon into
closer contact with the government structures that are there to serve them.
Essentially, it gives them the power to be masters of their own destiny, similar
to the powers enjoyed by the provinces. The bill contains a number of features
that publicly acknowledge past successes in managing local resources. It also
indicates the level of respect held for the abilities of the Yukon government in
handling Yukon business. Under the new Yukon Act, for example, the minister is
required to consult with Yukon representatives — the Executive Council — before
introducing legislation that would have the effect of amending or repealing the
The territorial government will also become responsible for operating the
Northern Affairs programs currently controlled by DIAND. The Yukon government
will receive $34 million a year from Ottawa to help cover the cost of running
Of course, the importance of this legislation is providing job security for
the federal government employees in Yukon, and that is another important
consideration in support of this bill.
Passing this bill will mean that job offers from the Yukon government can be
made to these federal employees. This will also allow for everything to be in
place to accommodate the smooth transfer of power to the territorial government.
When I spoke at second reading, I voiced my support for the bill. However, I
noted the absence of some Aboriginal voices in discussions in Ottawa and the
consultation process. I am pleased to be able to say that the Standing Senate
Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources heard from some of
those concerned Aboriginal communities. I am especially satisfied that they were
given a forum to discuss their reservations with this bill and state their
concerns for the record. The testimony of the Kaska Nation and the
Carcross/Tagish First Nation was insightful and a crucial element in our
understanding of the implications of the bill. Above all, it was an opportunity
for us to hear the thoughts and reactions of local people firsthand.
In her remarks last week, Senator Christensen highlighted some of the valid
questions and major concerns raised by the Standing Senate Committee on Energy,
the Environment and Natural Resources. While the committee was not afforded the
opportunity to have the minister appear on this bill, Senator Christensen
relayed his response in her last speech. I accept the response offered by the
minister. However, I also feel compelled to reiterate the primary concerns of
Recently, we heard from both the Kaska Nation and the Carcross/Tagish First
Nation that they had made significant progress in their negotiations. In fact,
they were relatively confident they could complete negotiation of their final
agreements within six to eight months. Surely, after decades of discussion, this
shows they are indeed very close to resolving these historically significant
issues. Clearly, this is positive news.
However, I am gravely concerned that the mandate will expire March 31, 2002,
and that Aboriginal negotiators have been informed that if the substantial items
have not been finalized by that date, there will be no more negotiating. The
crux of their arguments is that Canada has a constitutional obligation to settle
with all Yukon First Nations prior to transferring the administration and
control of all public lands to the Yukon government. Their concern is that Bill
C-39 fails to make clear that the Yukon government is not acquiring jurisdiction
over the administration and control of lands where Canada's obligations under
the Rupert's Land and North-Western Territory Order of 1870 remain unfulfilled.
They also take no comfort in the take-back land provisions. In their
presentation to the committee, representatives from the Kaska Nation told us
that they think, and I quote:
— the appropriate course for Canada is to maintain administration and
control until the claims are settled and not hold out any false prospects that
they will be taking land back.
They raise a reasonable point in acknowledging concern over the take-back
land provision. It would appear difficult, in a hypothetical situation, for the
federal government to take back lands after a territorial government had granted
third party rights. As the committee was told, there are major questions about
the resources of Yukon and its ability to pay out the amount of compensation
that would be required to remedy such a violation. As they indicated, a
situation such as that would place particular pressure on Yukoners to cover the
costs of compensation.
A final point that the witnesses addressed was the language in the
non-derogation clause. This was a contentious issue with regard to another bill
that the committee recently studied. The Kaska Nation highlighted this point in
reference to Bill C-39, saying they would be better off having no non-derogation
clause at all than having it as it is currently expressed.
I trust, however, the Government of Canada will remain true to the spirit of,
and its obligations arising from, the 1870 order. I am confident that these
claims will be settled in good faith by all parties involved and that this bill
will in no way infringe upon that process.
It cannot be denied, nor should it be overlooked, that concern exists at the
local level over this bill. While Aboriginal groups were particularly effective
in communicating their dissatisfaction with the proposed legislation and making
compelling arguments, there are other indications of displeasure with the bill.
For instance, local media and the official opposition party in Yukon have cited
supposed shortcomings of the bill. However, their arguments primarily deal with
issues surrounding transparency and the process involved in drafting the
In hearing these latter concerns, I am reminded of the old saw: "You cannot
please all people all the time." This bill to me is like that. On the one hand,
some people say it goes too far, while, on the other hand, others say it does
not go far enough.
Some critics have argued that Yukon should have outright ownership of its
land. This legislation falls far short of doing that. However, it will see Yukon
gain the power to do most of what the provinces can do. The territory will be
able to sell and lease land. It will be able to decide what type of development
takes place on property through its power to issue permits.
Perhaps more significantly, the territory will retain the money made from
sales and leases of Yukon water, Yukon land and Yukon resources. Basically, as a
result of this bill, decision- making power with regard to land, minerals and
water in the Yukon Territory will rest firmly in the hands of the people and the
Government of Yukon, as it should, I believe.
Honourable senators, it has been said before, but I believe it warrants
repeating: This bill received the overwhelming support of all parties in the
House of Commons. I believe this reflects the overwhelmingly positive intentions
of this bill, as well as an appreciation of its importance in the life and the
development of Yukon.
There are issues with this bill, but no one refutes the merits of devolving
greater powers to the Yukon government.
Again, I would like to congratulate Senator Christensen and all the people of
Yukon on this achievement. I am confident that official devolution in 2003 will
bring continued success to the territory and mark a new beginning for all her
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, for the second reading of Bill
S-41, to re-enact legislative instruments enacted in only one official
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, I would like to say a
few words in connection with Bill S-41, the Legislative Instruments Re-enactment
Senator Joyal has very clearly delineated the context of this bill and has
provided an excellent synthesis of it.
The Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations has discovered
that five legislative instruments were published in both official languages
although not enacted in both but rather in only one of our official languages.
The purpose of Bill S-41 is to correct this and to retroactively re-enact these
texts in both official languages. The texts in question are the following:
Public Lands Mineral Regulations (June 25, 1958); Hull Construction Regulations
(February 7, 1958); Aids to Navigation Protection Regulations (August 6, 1964);
Flue-cured Tobacco Producers' Marketing Order (July 13, 1961); and Regulations
respecting Aeronautics (December 29, 1960).
With the exception of the Public Lands Mineral Regulations, abrogated on
December 20, 1995, all the others were in effect at the time the committee
released its report. In that context, the joint committee indicated that these
regulations might be invalid, even if they had been published in French and
English, because they had not been re-enacted in both official languages after
Moreover, Bill S-41 gives the Governor in Council the power to re-enact
retroactively, in both official languages, legislative instruments that were
passed or published in only one language or not published at all. As Senator
Joyal explained, there may be other instruments that were not passed in both
The importance of bilingualism in our federation cannot be overemphasized.
Section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867, deals with the legislative,
parliamentary and legal language. Out of the four original provinces, Quebec is
the only one mentioned. Sir George- Étienne Cartier saw parity between the
status of French in Ottawa and of English in Quebec City.
Section 133 provides that either the English or the French language may be
used in the debates of the Houses of the Parliament of Canada and of the Houses
of the Legislature of Quebec; that both languages shall be used in the
respective records and journals of those Houses; that either of those languages
may be used by any person, or in any pleading or process in or issuing from any
court. Finally, this section provides that the acts of the Parliament of Canada
and of the Legislature of Quebec shall be printed and published in French and in
In the famous Jones case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that
section 133 provides a constitutional guarantee. The federal Parliament cannot
go against the provisions of that section, but nothing prevents it from going
beyond its wording, which is a minimum, and from granting more. Section 133
gives the "constitutional right" to use either language in the areas and
places specified in it.
The Parliament of Canada also recognized statutory rights after 1867. In
1968, realizing that the Constitution was seriously flawed with regard to
official languages, Parliament adopted the Official Languages Act. Section 2 of
that act puts French and English on an equal footing in all the institutions
that come under the government and the Parliament of Canada. Both languages have
equal rights and privileges as to their use in the institutions of the
Parliament of Canada and of the Government of Canada.
This 1968 legislative measure was in response to the report of the Royal
Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism — the Laurendeau-Dunton Commission
— set up by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. The coming into effect of this
legislation signalled the beginning of significant language reforms.
A new Official Languages Act was passed in 1988.
The legislation between 1968 and 1988 plays an important role in Canadian
policy. Furthermore, in Beaulac, Mr. Justice Bastarache said, with respect to
the Official Languages Act:
The objective of protecting official language minorities, as set out in s.
2 of the Official Languages Act, is realized by the possibility for all
members of the minority to exercise independent, individual rights which are
justified by the existence of the community. Language rights are not negative
rights, or passive rights; they can only be enjoyed if the means are provided.
This is consistent with the notion favoured in the area of international law
that the freedom to choose is meaningless in the absence of a duty of the
State to take positive steps to implement language guarantees...
Honourable senators, it is my view that Bill S-41 remedies important
oversights with respect to legislative and/or regulatory bilingualism. I hope
that this sort of error will not recur.
Bill S-41 does not contain any list of the regulations which do not respect
the provisions of section 133 of the 1867 Act. Apart from the five regulations
identified by the Committee's report in October 1996, it is impossible to
determine the number of legislative instruments that will have to be re-enacted
either from an instrument published in both official languages or from a
translation of the original version.
One might wonder why the Department of Justice has waited over 22 years
before proposing measures to correct this situation.
The report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations
states, at paragraph 15, and I quote:
The government has had ample time in which to identify those federal
regulations which are subject to section 133 and that are still in force in
order to bring them into conformity with section 133. As your committee sees
it, rather than address the problem of the continued existence of
unconstitutional regulations, the governement has chosen to ignore it, and
when that was no longer possible as a result of the raising of the issue by
the joint committee, the government put forward the argument that "good
faith" absolves it from complying with its constitutional obligations.
This inaction could have had significant consequences on the enforcement of
the provisions of certain federal statutes and on the rights of those who are
subject to trial. The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs will have to clarify this issue when it studies the bill.
The backgrounder published by the Minister of Justice on March 5, 2002
states, and I quote:
The proposed bill provides an efficient and cost-effective way to address
any remaining uncertainty while, at the same time, demonstrating the
Government's ongoing commitment to the rule of law, respect for the Charter
and the importance of linguistic duality in Canada.
The government should have thought of some way to comply with the
Constitution well before the month of March 2002. Nonetheless, I support moving
forward with Bill S-41, even if it means studying it much more carefully in
committee and examining better ways to rectify this situation.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Rivest, debate adjourned.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, under Government Business, we would like to proceed first with Item
No. 1, followed by Committee Reports Nos. 1 and 2, and then move to second
reading of Bill C-49.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twelfth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on National Finance (2001-02 Estimates), presented in the
Senate on March 14, 2002.
Hon. Lowell Murray moved adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, you will note that there are before us three
reports from the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, two relating to
the fiscal year ending this month and one relating to the Main Estimates for the
fiscal year beginning April 1.
Unless provoked, I do not intend to speak to the other two orders. However, I
will speak now to the twelfth report of our committee that deals with the
2001-02 Estimates to pave the way for the interim supply bill which, if history
is any guide, will not be long coming.
As I begin, allow me to say a word about the work of this committee. This
committee has met 45 times so far in this session of Parliament. Twenty-six of
our meetings have taken place since September last. In all, this amounts to
something in the vicinity of 70 hours of deliberations. We have brought in 13
reports. We have considered five sets of Supplementary Estimates or Main
Estimates. We have completed committee stage of three government bills and one
private member's bill. We have completed a study on deferred maintenance at
post-secondary educational institutions, which subject is still being debated
here and is gaining some attention in certain circles, notably education and
government circles across the country. As well, we will be reporting later this
week on our study of the federal government's equalization program.
As chairman, I mention this simply to commend my colleagues on the committee
for the seriousness and diligence with which they have gone about their work. If
you examine the attendance records of this committee, you will find that the
attendance of your colleagues on the committee has been exemplary. We have a
very good mix of members on this committee of highly experienced and relatively
new senators. That, in itself, I think, has added something positive to our
deliberations. It often happens that some questions are more obvious to some of
the newer senators than they are to some of the older senators. In any case, the
mix has been very productive for the committee.
I want to say a word of commendation to the clerk, the Library of Parliament
research officer and other staff who service this committee. The fact is that a
workload such as this imposes an increasing burden on the finite human resources
that are at our disposal. On behalf of the committee, and indeed on behalf of
the entire Senate, I wish to commend them.
Honourable senators, I will flag several items in this report that will form
the backbone of our agenda for the weeks and months following the Easter break.
We have mentioned the Treasury Board contingency Vote 5 items. We have
discussed this matter in this place on several occasions in the past. The
committee is quite concerned with the apparent flexibility that departments give
themselves to use this contingency vote to finance new initiatives and various
bright ideas that the government or ministers think are expedient to implement
with or without proper parliamentary scrutiny.
The government and its officials, when confronted with this issue, plead the
historical legitimacy of a contingency vote as well as the practical necessity
of a contingency vote. We accept both of these arguments up to a point. There
probably has been a contingency vote since 1867. One is necessary precisely to
provide for unforeseen contingencies.
The question is whether the money is being used properly. The committee is
compiling a file documenting the quite limited uses to which the vote was put in
the early days and the rather more liberal use of it in modern times. We will be
getting at that in some detail in the coming weeks and months.
Honourable senators, we have also a section in this report dealing with
foundations and agencies. The concern is expressed that they are operating at
arm's-length from government and have not been subject to the usual financial
Here, I should like to draw a distinction. Two agencies, the Canada Customs
and Revenue Agency and Parks Canada were created by Parliament at the insistence
of the government. I and other honourable senators objected in the chamber when
this was done. We objected in particular to the fact that these agencies were
created for the purpose of getting out from under the Public Service Staff
Relations Act and other administrative or legislative constraints that apply to
the rest of the government. We protested that.
However, we lost the battle. Parliament has decided. Those agencies are in
existence.We have no intention of revisiting that decision and those debates. It
remains only for us to ensure that these so-called "arm's-length" agencies
respect the essence of parliamentary accountability which, we have been assured
by ministers, is inherent in the legislation that created the agencies.
I am rather more concerned, and I think it is fair to say that the committee
is rather more concerned, about some of the other agencies. Certain other
agencies were created under the aegis of the Canada Corporations Act or a
similar statute and, toward the end of a fiscal year, the government spills
surplus money into these agencies. Perhaps Parliament catches up with the entire
process later but, meanwhile, the money is gone. Money that could have been
applied to the national debt, a tax reduction or some other purpose, has been
spilled into the new agencies that have sprung up.
These agencies are at considerable arm's-length from the government. We are
never quite clear what they are supposed to do. They are rather slow to get off
the ground. The entire arrangement bears the marks of improvisation, and quite
expensive improvisation at that.
Some of these agencies, such as the one that we mentioned the other day, the
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, were essentially created privately, albeit a
not-for-profit foundation. Parliament has no paternity over the creation of
these foundations at all. We do not even have a respectable role of midwifery
with them. We are simply called upon to approve a funding estimate, and later,
perhaps some legislation.
The committee wants to carefully scrutinize what is being done here. We want
to determine if we cannot set out some proper guidelines for the creation and
operation of these agencies, and in particular, for their accountability to
The third issue that we flagged is the reform of the public service. Again,
agencies such as Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency have been mentioned because they have large
numbers of employees, particularly the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and
they are no longer subject to the provisions of the Public Service Employment
Act and its guiding principles. We want to examine that question anew.
However, the larger question is the ongoing overall reform of the public
service that has been announced and that is in some ways the talk of the town,
at least among those involved or interested in it. There is rather an
underground controversy going on about it, the details of which escape me, but
there is clearly quite a division of opinion in the public service, and perhaps
in the government itself, about what is being done and what the outcome is
likely to be.
I come to the question of the merit principle. Some reports note that the
merit principle as we have known it, in the recruitment of public servants, will
disappear with this reform. It may well be that some of the legislation
governing the public service has been overtaken by time and ought to be changed,
but there is a question of the fundamentals. There is a question of the merit
principle concept, and it seems to me that our aim ought to be to reinforce it
in any reform of the public service and not to diluted it.
It occurs to me also that the emasculation of the Public Service Commission,
which seems to me to be one of the objectives of this exercise, ought to be
resisted. I do not care if it does go back to Sir Robert Borden, as indeed it
does. There was good reason for it, and we ought to first examine principles and
concepts before we idly throw them away in the guise of administrative
efficiency, modernity or any other interests.
Honourable senators, we have had a conversation about this with the minister,
Madam Robillard. These matters fully deserve the attention of the committee in
the coming weeks and months. I assure you that they will receive our attention
and, in due course, a full report will be made to the Senate.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I should like
to ask a question of Senator Murray.
The honourable senator made reference to a suspicion that many corporations
are created in order to dump money into them — money that would otherwise lapse.
He specifically referred to the proposed Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which
would receive $125 million. Would the honourable senator provide an explanation
of the nature of that foundation? Why would taxpayers' money go into that
foundation? Would it be subject to the Auditor General's review?
Senator Murray: I do not know that I can reply at any length except to
refer my friend to the eleventh report of the committee, when we were discussing
Supplementary Estimates (B). We were called upon in Supplementary Estimates (B)
to approve the expenditure of $125 million as a transfer to finance the affairs
of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. The foundation is a private,
not-for-profit foundation under the Canada Corporations Act, I believe. I think
we were told who the directors are. They are people of various political stripes
known to all of us.
One of the questions asked of the officials at the committee was exactly the
question Senator Kinsella has put: Will the Auditor General be the auditor for
this foundation? The answer appears to be no. It is a private foundation. The
official said that a fine line has been drawn between the obvious interest of
government and Parliament in seeing that its money is spent properly, on the one
hand, and the autonomy of a foundation such as this on the other.
The question was raised whether this foundation would be financed 100 per
cent by public funds or whether private funds would be involved. I think the
answer was that they would accept private as well as public funds.
Senator De Bané criticized the intent of the foundation to offer financial
assistance to people studying in Canada only. He made the point that Mr. Trudeau
himself had attended a number of institutions abroad, and some of our best and
brightest are studying at the London School of Economics, Harvard and Oxford,
and the foundation ought not to limit the assistance to students studying at
These substantive questions were raised, as well as questions about the
process of parliamentary supervision. We reported on them in our eleventh
report, and I invite my friend to have a look.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, I should like to say a few
words about the questions raised by my friend, one of them being what I consider
to be evolving structural organization of the government. It has changed a great
deal in the last few years. No one has looked at it in a systematic way, but it
has changed a great deal. We have to understand that. Traditionally, we had
ministries with one deputy minister, because the ministry is a kind of
corporation with one deputy minister, with one head. It is important to realize
that. We used to have as many as 20 or 25.
Suddenly, during the last 15 years, we began to have semi- judicial
organizations called "administrative commissions" outside the ministries. The
Public Service Commission is an example. We wanted an arm's-length relationship
vis-à-vis the government. We also wanted to give these administrative
commissions some regulatory power at certain times, and some judicial or
semi-judicial power for the arbitration of cases, which is the case with respect
to the Public Service Commission, which has an administrative duty, as well as
regulatory powers and semi- judicial powers. Later, we had some business-type
organizations, such as Crown corporations, in which money could be involved.
Those were the traditional days: the ministries, the administrative commissions
and the Crown corporations.
Then, with the Financial Administration Act, we modified the situation for
the organizations that were partly in and partly out. We had two kinds of
government corporations: Crown corporations, such as CN, and departmental
corporations, such as Statistics Canada.
For the last 10 years, we have had special agencies, which are organizations
taken out of the ministries for administrative operations. We decided to create
a special agency without a boss, and sometimes, as we did with Parks Canada and
the revenue agency, we just got them out of the civil service. In my mind, that
is troubling, but I do not say that it is bad.
Regardless of whether if you are inside the public service or outside of it,
some principles should be kept, such as the merit principle. Other principles
are included in the Financial Administration Act, and they are financial
administration, financial accountability, merit and competition. Merit is not
easy to judge when one judges or evaluates people. The only way to do it is to
open the field to candidates. We have a jury, we process through written or
verbal examination, and then we decide, relatively speaking, who is the most
That is the only way to do it. If we do not do that, we have a system of
protection and, finally, patronage. That is the history of Canada. It was the
history of England before 1855. It was the history of the United States before
1923. We know very well what happened in the public services.
Under the coalition government in 1917 during World War I, we had finally a
system that was partly based on the British system. Included in it was a civil
service commission, which was an administrative agency outside the government,
and it judged the merit of the people who came into the civil service. That was
the idea. It worked not too badly at the beginning. People were not used to it
because one does not change traditions just like that. There were various cases
of patronage. Finally, a royal commission in 1935 decided that the power of
appointment must be given to the civil service commission itself. Otherwise, it
would be friends of ministers, pressure by House members, pressure by a friend,
and finally, you are in a mess. The public administration is not good in that
Although it is not in the open, because higher civil servants are discreet,
apparently there are big discussions in the government between the Privy
Council, the Treasury Board, the Public Service Commission and the ministry.
Some people, probably at the Treasury Board, want to have all the administrative
power for regulation in the public service. They already have what we call the
"working conditions," such as labour agreements, but they also want to be able
to delegate selection to the ministries.
Let us be very prudent, honourable senators. If we do that, we must put in
the legislation of every ministry the fact that there will be a merit system
with competitive examinations if one is to advance and to be promoted. If the
principles of financial administration that are in the public service act are
added to the legislation of every ministry, then I am not troubled greatly
because we have a guarantee. If someone does not behave according to the
regulations, that person will be thrown out. However, let us not forget: We must
have principles in public administration, otherwise it is a mess. History proves
that. I will not expand on that point, but I know that there is a debate. The
pressure is intense at the civil service commission.
Honourable senators, I know a gentleman who was involved in that in 1935. I
knew him as a young man when I too was interested in those matters. This
gentleman was an old House member on the other side, Mr. Jean-François Pouliot
from Rivière-du-Loup. He was involved in a royal commission. I read through
that, and it was anecdotal; in terms of patronage, it was history at its best.
It has been described in a way that no one else could describe it. We changed it
immediately after that, because the government of Mackenzie King accepted it.
That was the beginning of a better, higher, civil service for Canada. We want to
The Hon. the Speaker: I wish to advise honourable senators that if
Senator Murray speaks now, it will have the effect of closing the debate on this
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, since Mr. Carrier is in the
gallery, I am taking this opportunity to point out that the committee is taking
the problems that Mr. Carrier and his staff are facing at the National Library
Our friend Senator Corbin raised the issue on several occasions before the
committee and he did so vigorously. I simply wish to draw your attention to a
paragraph in the interim report on the budget for the year 2002-03, which begins
on April 1. It reads:
Some senators asked questions about the financing of the National Library.
On page 18-3, we see that the library's budget is only increased by $489,000,
to $36.7 million for 2002-2003. Yet, the National Librarian pointed out that
the facilities housing the collections are seriously deteriorating. Senators
were dismayed to learn that these facilities are in such disrepair that there
is a constant risk of flooding or fire. Upon reading the budget, they are
under the impression that nothing is being done to meet the wishes of the
National Librarian and to remedy the problems that are causing damage to
invaluable documents. Mr. Bickerton recognized the existence of the problem at
the National Library and he told the committee that the National Library had
recently requested $1 billion in additional resources. He anticipates that the
money allocated to correct the above-mentioned problems will appear in the
next supplementary estimates. He could not say whether the amount requested
would be sufficient to put an end to the problems, but he did say that
Treasury Board's policy was to encourage departments and organizations to
prepare capital spending plans that include costs to repair and maintain their
I do not know whether Mr. Carrier finds these assurances comforting, but I
felt that they should be put on the record.
I am hopeful for any small bit of encouragement that may be provided to him
by the words of this report, by the testimony of the Treasury Board officials
and by the very determined manner in which our honourable colleague and friend,
Senator Corbin, brought these matters to the attention of the committee and the
Hon. Anne C. Cools moved the second reading of Bill C-49, to implement
certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on December 10, 2001.
She said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to second reading of Bill
If I may, honourable senators, I wish to say that I was a little distracted
as I listened with such interest to Senator Bolduc's comments and Senator
Murray's comments. As always, I was touched and impressed by the quality and
volume of the knowledge that sits on our Standing Senate Committee on National
Bill C-49 will implement many of the measures that were contained in Minister
Paul Martin's December 10, 2001, budget. In particular, two of these measures
flow directly from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United
States. The first of these two measures is the proposed Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority intended to deliver enhanced security services at Canadian
airports and on board flights. The second measure is the proposed Air Travellers
Security Charge to fund these enhanced security measures for air travellers.
In addition, Bill C-49, if passed, will also create the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund and the Canada Fund for Africa; will introduce tax measures
to encourage the acquisition of skills and learning; will improve the
environment; and will make the operation of the tax system fairer. Further, the
bill proposes to improve parental benefits under the Employment Insurance (EI)
Honourable senators, I wish to begin by providing a brief overview of the
measure contained in the 2001 budget speech. The 2001 budget is built on the
government's long-term plan for a stronger economy and for a more secure and
protected society. Bill C-49 is responding to the immediate economic and
security concerns of Canadians resulting from the events of September 11.
In respect of the personal security of Canadians, particularly air
travellers, the 2001 budget provided a new approach to air security and
introduced measures for intelligence, policing, emergency preparedness, military
deployment and for the better screening of visitors, immigrants and refugees
entering Canada through airports.
To safeguard the economic security of Canadians, the 2001 budget advanced the
government's long-term plan through measures that would make the Canada-U.S.
border more open and efficient. As well, the long-term plan included strategic
investments in health, skills, learning and research, strategic infrastructure,
the environment, Aboriginal children and international assistance. All of these
proposals have been advanced in a fiscally affordable way. Bill C-49 includes
several of these measures.
Honourable senators, I shall begin this debate by speaking to the
government's new and necessary approach to air security, particularly the
establishment of the proposed Canadian Air Transport Security Authority as a new
agency. As honourable senators know, the 2001 budget announced $2.2 billion in
funding for the proposed Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. This
authority will be responsible for delivering a number of key air transport
security services. It will be required to demonstrate that consistent, effective
and highly professional services be delivered at or above the standards set by
federal regulations and rules. Transport Canada will continue to regulate the
delivery and provision of these security services. This department will dedicate
new resources, particularly by hiring additional screening personnel, by
increasing the level of security in the air transport system, by adjusting
requirements as appropriate and by ensuring compliance to high standards through
an enhanced enforcement program. This new separation between the service
delivery and the regulatory monitoring will respect the distinction between the
two functions and will enhance the checks and balances in the system.
Honourable senators, the primary purpose of the Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority is to provide effective, efficient and consistent screening
of all those persons who have access to aircraft or restricted areas at
designated airports and to screen, as well, all of their belongings. For the
delivery of these screening services, the new authority will have the power
either to recruit and deploy its own screening officers or to enter into
arrangements and agreements for local delivery with security organizations or
also to authorize airport operators to provide for these services.
The new authority will be empowered to certify all screening contractors and
screening officers, regardless of who employs them, on the basis of criteria
that are at least as stringent as the criteria provided for in Transport
Canada's regulations and standards.
This new authority will also have the power to establish contracts to address
certain basic working conditions that affect the ability of screening officers
to do their jobs effectively, such as wages and hours of work, even though the
screening officer may not be an employee of the authority. This new authority's
approach to screening will provide the benefits of flexible delivery mechanisms,
private sector involvement and sensitivity to local needs, while yet
simultaneously creating consistency and constancy across the whole system and
country. By utilizing the variety of mechanisms available, the authority will be
able to put into place a well-qualified and well-trained workforce.
Honourable senators, in addition to certification and pre-board screening,
the authority will also be responsible for the following: the acquisition,
deployment and maintenance of screening equipment at airports, including
explosives detection systems; contributions for airport policing related to
civil aviation security measures; and contracting with the RCMP for armed
officers on board aircraft.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority will be a Crown corporation
accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Transport. Two of its
eleven-member board of directors will be nominated by the airlines and two by
the airport operators.
With the creation of this new authority, Canadian air travelers will benefit
from effective, efficient and consistent security screening at airports. The
authority and the other comprehensive and far-reaching initiatives of the budget
will ensure that Canada can maintain its good record for safety and security and
that Canada will succeed in its efforts to enhance air transport security in the
months and years to come.
Honourable senators, Bill C-49 also makes another far-reaching proposal. This
proposal is the new Air Travellers Security Charge. These new air travel
security measures as proposed will be funded by the Air Travellers Security
Charge, a charge that will be paid directly by air travellers, passengers, the
primary beneficiaries of the new measures. The charge will be collected by air
carriers or their agents when airline tickets are purchased. The government
believes that these costs should be borne by the travellers who actually use the
Canadian air transportation system rather than by all taxpayers.
For travel within Canada, this new security charge will apply to flights
connecting airports where the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has
responsibility for passenger screening. The charge on domestic travel will be
$12 for a one-way ticket and $24 for a round trip. For continental United States
travel, the charge will be $12 and $24 for a ticket to travel outside Canada and
the continental U.S. The new charge will not apply to direct flights to or from
small and remote airports where the authority will not be taking over
responsibility for passenger screening. That is an important fact. There are
also exemptions from the charge for certain speciality services, such as air
ambulance services. All proceeds from the charge will be used to fund the
enhanced air travel security system. The government will review the charge
annually, beginning in the fall of 2002 this year, and if revenues exceed costs
over time, the charge will be reduced.
Honourable senators, the December 2001 budget had also addressed the
immediate needs of Canadians through targeted investments intended to boost
confidence in the economy in a way that fits within the government's prudent
fiscal framework. By investing in strategic infrastructure, in skills, learning
and research, and in health, Aboriginal children, the environment and
international assistance, the 2001 budget reflected the government's long-term
vision while providing important support for the economy as a whole.
Several of these strategic investments are included in Bill C-49. The first
such investment is infrastructure investment. This involves the establishment of
the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, with a minimum of $2 billion in
federal funding, to provide additional support for large strategic
infrastructure projects across Canada. Such projects will bring lasting economic
and social benefits while providing both stimulus and long-term productivity
benefits. Previous budgets had allocated funding to improve provincial and
municipal infrastructure, including green infrastructure, highways and
On reflection, Budget 2000 had introduced the Infrastructure Canada Program
and the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program, initiatives that the 2001
budget are now building upon with the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.
Working with provincial and municipal governments and the private sector, this
fund will provide assistance for projects in highways and rail, in local
transportation, in tourism and urban development and in water and sewage
treatment. I should also mention that the infrastructure minister will now be
responsible for all government infrastructure initiatives. This will ensure
better coordination and integration of all the government's infrastructure
Honourable senators, another strategic investment in the 2001 budget involves
the establishment of the Canada Fund for Africa. The 2001 budget had announced
$500 million over three years for African development to implement a proposal
known as a New Partnership for Africa's Development, NePAD. African leaders
presented NePAD at the G8 Summit last July in Genoa, where G8 leaders, including
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, had pledged to support the initiative. Since then,
the Prime Minister has been clear that development in Africa will be a key theme
at this year's G8 Summit, which Canada will host in June of this year, 2002, in
The Canada Fund for Africa will establish a government program to provide
funding for activities that will help reduce poverty, provide primary education
in Africa and will set Africa on a sustainable path to a brighter and better
future. The creation of this fund reaffirms that Canadians are earnest in their
duty to help the less fortunate in the world. It also echoes a commitment made
in the Speech from the Throne, that the long term well being of Canada and
Canadians depends on its success in improving global human security, prosperity
Honourable senators, whether through the education system, or through
on-the-job training, or through universities and other centres of advanced
research, the Government of Canada has long recognized the importance of
investing in human beings. The government remains committed to provide every
opportunity for Canadians to upgrade their skills and job capabilities. For
example, under the Canadian Opportunities Strategy announced in the 1998 budget,
the government had introduced the Canada Millennium Scholarships, the Canada
Education Savings Grants and the Canada Research Chairs program and had invested
in the Canada Foundation for Innovation, among other initiatives.
Honourable senators, building on these, the 2001 budget further encourages
the acquisition of skills and learning by making changes to the tax system.
First, tax assistance will be provided to help apprentice vehicle mechanics cope
with their extraordinary costs. Beginning this year in 2002, apprentice vehicle
mechanics registered in a provincial program will be able to deduct the cost of
buying new tools in a year to the extent that those costs exceed the greater of
$1,000 and 5 per cent of their apprenticeship income.
A second measure will affect adult students who must now include as income
any government assistance they receive to pay their tuition fees for basic
education at the primary or secondary school level. Bill C-49 will remove this
impediment by exempting from tax the tuition assistance for adult basic
education provided under certain government programs, including Employment
A third measure will involve the education tax credit, which assists students
to offset their education expenses. The October 2000 economic statement and
budget update had doubled the amounts on which the credit is calculated. With
the passage of Bill C-49, the education tax credit will now extend to students
who receive financial assistance for post-secondary education under certain
government training programs, including EI. Approximately 65,000 Canadians who
are upgrading their skills will now have access to the same tax benefits as
other post- secondary students.
Honourable senators, new spending and tax measures intended to ensure
continued progress toward a cleaner and healthier environment were also part of
the 2001 budget. One of these measures involves commercial woodlot owners who
can currently be subject to income tax when transferring woodlots to their
children. As a result, woodlots may have to be harvested prematurely to generate
the revenues required to pay the tax on the transfer, which can be detrimental
to the sound management of this natural resource. Bill C-49 proposes to extend
the existing intergenerational tax-deferred rollover for farm property to
intergenerational transfers of woodlot operations that are farming businesses
managed in accordance with a prescribed forest management plan.
Additional tax measures, all designed and intended to improve fairness in the
tax system, were also announced in the December 2001 budget. One such measure
will make permanent the 1997 budget measure that provides special tax assistance
for donations of certain securities to public charities and the 2000 budget
measure that reduces the tax on employment benefits for donations of eligible
securities acquired through stock option plans. Another measure will improve the
system for providing GST credits. Beginning in July 2002, GST credit
entitlements for a quarter will be based on an individual's family circumstances
at the end of the preceding quarter, not those at the end of the previous
Honourable senators, Bill C-49 will include other tax measures, which are as
follows: A cash-flow benefit to small businesses by deferring their federal
corporate tax instalment payments for January, February and March, 2002, for at
least six months without penalty; the allowance of full deductibility for the
cost of meals provided to employees at a construction work camp where the
employees cannot be expected to return home each day; and the removing of
tax-related impediments to venture capital investment in Canada through the use
of partnerships by Canadian pension plans and foreign investors.
Honourable senators, the final measure in Bill C-49 will further improve the
delivery of parental benefits under EI, Employment Insurance. The current
50-week cap on the combined amount of sickness, maternity and parental benefits
that an individual can receive under EI results in women who become ill, not
having full access to these extended benefits. To enable a mother to receive her
full entitlement of special benefits, this cap increases by one week for each
week of sickness benefits she takes while pregnant or receiving parental
benefits. This bill will also improve the parental benefits that can be claimed
following the birth or adoption of a child by providing parents with a window of
up to two years within which to claim benefits. In unfortunate cases where the
child is hospitalised for an extended period of time following its birth or
adoption, this change will provide more flexibility for parents who want to
start claiming parental benefits once their child arrives home.
In conclusion, the 2001 budget builds on Canada's sound fiscal and economic
fundamentals. The economic stimulus provided in the budget is in addition to the
stimulus provided by the large tax cuts the government announced in October,
In the 2000 budget, the government introduced the largest tax cuts in
Canadian history. In October, 2000, the government had accelerated that plan.
This year, lower taxes have put $17 billion back into the pockets of Canadian
families and businesses — needed money that they can spend or save as they wish.
By next year, the value of the tax cuts will grow to $20 billion. This is a
significant stimulus which is already working its way through the economy.
The 2001 budget struck the right balance. It provided support at a critical
time, without jeopardizing the advances of our past or the prospects of our
future. The government will continue to invest in people, cut taxes, reduce debt
and build a stronger economy. However, we will not go back into deficit.
Honourable senators, the Government is definitely on the right track. I urge
all senators to support Bill C-49.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, obviously the Budget
Implementation Act, 2001, addresses a number of subjects, the main ones being
the new Crown agency for administering airline security and the air travel tax,
as well as the new funds, the Africa Fund and the Strategic Infrastructure Fund.
Between six and eight sectors of the Income Tax Act are affected. I will not
go into all this today. Because there will not be much debate on the amendments
relating to the Income Tax Act, I will concentrate the bulk of my criticism on
four items, the first concerning the tax on air travel.
The new surcharge of $12 per flight or $24 return on air travel is by far the
most contentious measure. It is far higher than it needs to be. It will
adversely affect travel that ought not to be affected, and government has not
even looked at the potential economic downsides.
Honourable senators, back in December, the government announced it was taking
over airport security, and imposed this $12 tax to cover the cost of running and
improving it. We were promised that the tax would cover those costs and nothing
more. How did the government decide that $12 would be exactly the right amount?
We know the minister's officials took the number of people boarding planes in
the year 2000, subtracted 30 per cent, then assumed that passenger levels would
remain at that lower level for the next five years. It then divided the amount
of money needed by this deflated denominator to arrive at $12. The reality is
that passenger loads have almost recovered to September 11 levels. This tax
could raise an extra billion dollars in revenue over the next five years if it
is not significantly reduced.
I am very sorry to say this, but the government should not be using the
tragic events of September 11 as an excuse to pad its surplus. This is another
version of EI, a dedicated tax that is anything but dedicated.
Nothing in Bill C-49 specifies that revenues from this tax must match the
cost of airport security. There is nothing that forces the government to lower
the tax if it raises too much money. Of course, the government is promising to
review the tax in the fall and lower it if necessary. That promise was made in
desperation when the Liberal member of the Finance Committee in the other place
was about to cast the deciding vote to cut the tax. Do you remember the promise
to axe the GST? We are still waiting.
Honourable senators, beyond the rather questionable math used to set the rate
during committee testimony in the other place, it was learned that the
government made a new economic impact assessment prior to announcing the tax.
The minister of finance might want to take a few minutes to read his own
government Treasury Board guidelines, as they specifically require departments
and agencies to conduct an impact assessment before setting or changing a user
While the government failed to look at the potential damage this tax could
cause, the problems are obvious. There is the matter of service to remote
communities. Places like Sandspit, British Columbia, and Îles de la Madeleine,
Quebec, where air travel is the only reliable year-round means of getting in and
Honourable senators, if you live here, in the National Capital Region, it is
a 20-minute drive to take your child from Kanata, Hunt Club, Hull or Orleans to
the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. If you live in Kuujjuaq, Quebec,
forget about driving your child to a hospital in Quebec City or Montreal. The
two of you will have to fly, and it will cost the two of you an extra $48.
Then there is the impact of this tax on passenger travel. An extra $24 return
will not make that much difference when applied to a $2,000 ticket from Edmonton
to Ottawa. However, it will make a significant difference on a $200 seat-sale
flight from Ottawa to Toronto — except for civil servants, of course, because
their tickets are paid by the government. So the government is taxing itself.
Several of the carriers serving smaller communities have pointed out that
this could create a major disincentive to fly on short-haul routes, and they are
right. If you and your spouse are flying at your own expense from Ottawa to
Toronto, or from Edmonton to Calgary, or from Regina to Saskatoon, you will
notice an extra $48 between the two of you. That is almost what you would spend
on gas one way; and if you have a small enough car, it may cover the return
trip. You will think about getting in your car and driving.
Some people will consider taking the bus. A round-trip bus ticket from
Montreal to Toronto is about $165, including tax. If a budget-conscious
traveller books a week in advance, a companion ticket is free. If you live in
the Quebec-Ontario corridor, add VIA to the list of travel options. A round-trip
economy ticket from downtown Montreal to downtown Toronto on VIA costs $235,
including all taxes; and if you buy your ticket far enough in advance, that fare
drops to a tax-included amount of $142.
Honourable senators, there is not an airline seat sale around that beats
those bus and train prices, once you have included all taxes and NAV CANADA
charges. If you factor in the time it takes to get to the airport, to check in
and to go through security, as well as the time it takes to pick up your luggage
at the other end and then the time it takes to get a cab downtown, you find that
you have spent a lot of money to save a couple of hours of travel time. The
result is that an extra $24 charge on short-haul flights will shift a lot of
travellers off the planes and into cars, buses and VIA at the expense of
competition and service in the air.
If the government really wants competition in the airline industry, shrinking
the market so that short-haul runs can no longer support two carriers is not a
very smart thing to do. The government has refused to consider any other model
than a flat $12 rate, regardless of distance travelled. That rate is simply too
high for short-haul flights. Nor has the government considered other
alternatives to keep the tax down. For example, it wants the tax to pay for all
equipment the year it is purchased, rather than amortizing the cost over the
life of the equipment. That alone would lower the tax to $8.
The Minister of Transport now tells us that airlines can offset the tax by
reducing their prices to account for the savings in having the government run
the transportation system. That saving, some $70 million per year, works out to
about $2 per ticket.
A further problem is that, as written, this tax will apply to some flights
for which there is no security. For example, it is not unusual for passengers on
a special charter to be bused onto the tarmac and taken directly to their
waiting plane. Another example occurs at Vancouver International Airport. There
is the main terminal that many of us have been through at one time or another.
There is also the south terminal, two kilometres from the main terminal. The
south terminal is the point of departure for smaller planes and charters. You
walk in one door and then out the other to go to your plane, without passing
through security. As written, the bill applies to the south terminal, unless the
minister agrees to waive the tax, as he already has for flights from the
Vancouver harbour to Victoria Harbour. Why does Bill C-49 give that kind of
discretion to the minister instead of simply saying that no tax shall apply if
no security services are provided?
Another problem would be the way the tax applies when the same trip involves
two airlines that do not have an integrated ticketing system. You will pay the
tax once on the ticket for the first airline and then a second time for the
ticket on the second airline. You will then have to apply for a refund, as you
only went through security once.
Honourable senators, this tax has not been well thought out. It ought to be
sent back to the drawing board before it causes unnecessary harm.
Here is an additional argument, which I think is a good argument. Even though
the flat rate was adopted by the government in part because of its apparent
simplicity, changing complex computer reservation systems has proved a complex
undertaking. Provincial sales tax, the point of ticket purchase, the number of
legs in the trip and the airports of origin and destination all must be factored
in. However, the government has yet to resolve even the basic issue of how to
implement the fees. So we might have some problems, like we had with the credit
to offset heating costs.
These things were decided suddenly in January, to be applicable at the end of
March. Even though the bureaucracy works hard and tries to be efficient, it is
not easy to apply a new system for the whole of Canada. We might have some
problems, although I hope not. We have more than 125 airports in Canada. I do
not know if all of them are covered with the security services. What will happen
with private planes and charter flights? For example, how will this affect
Senator Watt when he travels?
We have all become aware of the problems with the proposed airport tax in
recent weeks. Over the next five years, that tax could increase to $1 billion
more than we were told last December, because the Minister of Finance made some
rather pessimistic assumptions about passenger loads to figure out what rate was
needed to raise $450 million per year. One has to wonder about how reliable any
other number coming out of that department is.
This proposed tax could damage competition and lead to reduced service on
short-haul flights, where bus, car and train travel are cheaper alternatives.
The tax will cause not only economic impacts but also regional impacts. Taxes
and surcharges will make up almost half the cost of some short-haul flights. The
government ignored its own guidelines.
Turning to the second aspect of this legislation, most of the money from this
tax will be used to pay the bills of the proposed Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority, a new corporation that the government plans to set up to run
airport security. In recent years, those of us on the opposition benches have
been concerned about the poor governance structures that are sometimes put in
place when the government creates new agencies and foundations.
There are two tests that we have to apply to this proposed new security
agency. First, given the amount of money that it will spend, basically the
lion's share of the $12 ticket tax, is the governance structure adequate to
protect taxpayers' money and to ensure that it is able to improve airport
security? Second, are there sufficient mechanisms available for Canadians to
judge whether the authority has significantly improved airport security or
whether it has become another expensive boondoggle?
In this respect, the legislative framework set out in Bill C-49 is deficient
in a number of areas. First, let us look at what the government can hide. Clause
32 of this bill allows the minister to block the tabling of information in
Parliament that would otherwise be required under section 10 of the Financial
Administration Act if he or she feels that it would be detrimental to public
security. I understand that, for public security purposes, we have to make a
compromise, but the minister could use that pretext of public security to hide
some other things that are not interesting in terms of administrative
management. We all know that.
This affects three types of information. The first is directives from cabinet
to the entity, the authority. The second is significant problems found during an
annual audit that the Auditor General feels should be drawn to Parliament's
attention through inclusion in the agency's annual report. The third is
significant problems found during a special examination that the Auditor General
feels should be included in the entity's annual report to Parliament.
Honourable senators, special examinations are the Crown corporation
equivalent of the value-for-money audits performed on government departments. By
law, each Crown corporation must undergo a special examination every five years.
Its purpose is to give the board an independent opinion on whether the
corporation's financial and management control and information systems, and
management practices, are proper. In practice, the problems have to be really
serious for the Auditor General to order that the results be reported to
Parliament. It happens less than 10 per cent of the time.
There are no safeguards built into this bill to ensure that the minister does
not use transportation security as an excuse to simply block publication of
embarrassing information. There is nothing to ensure that the minister does not
confuse transportation security with security of tenure in office, because he
has a built-in interest. I do not say he is dishonest, but he does have a
built-in interest. It is different.
Further, normally under the Financial Administration Act directives from the
government to a Crown corporation come from cabinet, on the recommendation of
the minister, following consultation with the board as to the content and effect
of the directive. Such directive must be tabled in Parliament. However, Bill
C-49 proposes to allow the minister to issue written direction to the authority,
on his or her own, on matters of airport security without ever going to cabinet.
He or she need not consult the board, and there is no requirement that the
directive be tabled in Parliament.
As well, Bill C-49 specifically declares that these are not statutory
instruments. This denies Parliament a mechanism for review of those directives.
Indeed, Parliament need not even be informed of such directives. Further, the
bill requires the authority, its directors and employees to comply with such a
directive, but what if compliance with the directive places the authority, its
directors or its employees in violation of other federal laws, the laws of a
province, or the by-laws of a municipality? In such a case, which law would the
directors and employees follow and which one would they break?
The bill does require the minister to conduct a review of the legislation
governing the authority after five years and to table a review in Parliament,
and there is no requirement that this shall be an independent, arm's-length
review. This agency could be a boondoggle of the highest magnitude, but we would
only be told what the minister wants us to hear. This is important. In terms of
a five-year review, I do not mind that people inside conduct a review, but
ideally this should be an independent review by either the auditor or the
Honourable senators, as drafted, Bill C-49 does not add the authority to the
list of entities subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
It would only be subject to this law if cabinet chose to pass a regulation to
that effect. This government has not been known for openness. Are there not
ample safeguards in the existing access and privacy laws to prevent the release
of information that would jeopardize security? Given the amount of money this
new corporation will be spending, is it appropriate to exempt all information?
It will be spending something in the order of $300 million. For example, if the
minister leans heavily upon the authority to hire a speech writer or a screening
contractor whose head office just happens to be in Shawinigan or elsewhere,
should the public not be able to determine how many of their hard-earned tax
dollars are at play?
A further problem concerns the ability of the minister to place a gag order
on airports and screening contractors. Clause 32 of Bill C-49 requires
authorized aerodrome operators and screening contractors to keep confidential
any information the minister feels would be detrimental to air transport
security or public security. This includes financial and other data that might
reveal such information, and creates yet another roadblock to prevent Canadians
from knowing the value of contracts awarded to friends that may have ties to the
Further, there may be instances where limiting the financial information that
the contractor could divulge to other parties might cause problems for the
contractor. Perhaps when the officials appear before the committee they can tell
us what would happen if a provincial tax auditor wanted to look at the
contractor's books, for example. Which law would the contractor follow? Would
the contractor follow the federal law saying that the information cannot be
divulged because the minister said so, or the provincial law demanding that the
contractor cooperate with its tax auditors?
For that matter, what will happen if the bank wants a full breakdown of the
contractor's revenue and expenditure prior to granting a line of credit? That
happens frequently. The minister demands that you keep some of the details of
your contract secret, while the banks want to see all the details before giving
you an operating loan. In short, you have the contract but you cannot fulfil the
contract. What would happen if a prospective buyer for the contractor's business
wants to view a full set of books prior to agreeing to a price?
Honourable senators, the December 2000 Auditor General's report recommended
that Crown corporation boards have a role in selecting both the chief executive
officer and the chairman of the board — a practice that is the norm with private
sector boards. Bill C-49 partly implements this recommendation by assigning to
the board responsibility for selecting the chief executive officer. A further
step would have been to also make the board responsible for electing its own
chair. The legislation will go beyond that governing most other Crown
corporations in giving the airline industry two seats on the board and two to
It also says that directors, in the opinion of cabinet, have the experience
and capacity required for discharging their duties and functions. While this
wording is a bit stronger than what we are used to seeing, it means nothing if
the minister views running a Liberal riding association as the necessary
"experience and capacity" for the appointment of the rest of the board.
The Auditor General, in his December 2000 report, noted that several Crown
corporation boards did not have enough members qualified to sit on an audit
committee, or for that matter, enough members that were sufficiently familiar
with basic accounting rules to challenge management. There is no requirement in
this bill that any director have experience in financial management or
accounting. I think that is a mistake.
Honourable senators, to sum up, this agency will have some problems.
I should like to say a few words about the Canada Fund for Africa and the
Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund. We understand that the Prime Minister and
the Government of Canada have made a commitment to the G8 that there will be a
new partnership for African development. However, since the adoption of any new
measures by the group of G8 is scheduled for Kananaskis in June 2002, we do not
have much information on the scope of this new partnership. Less than a page of
a bill which is 101 pages in length is devoted to these measures, which involve
an expenditure of $500 million. What do we know? We know the title of the funds.
We know that eligible recipients will receive money, and the minister will agree
to that. It troubles me that the minister has huge discretionary power, and that
there is no accountability.
Honourable senators, we all want to help Africa. However, it seems to me that
we should include at least one or two criteria. For example, do we give money to
dictatorial governments in Africa that constantly violate human rights? We
should think about this, honourable senators. At least two or three broad
criteria should be included in the legislation which will apply to this African
For the last project, the Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund, the
definition is given of what is involved: roads — as in the Duplessis days,
stretches of road — water systems, sewage systems. The minister can also define
other strategic elements. The system is the same. Exorbitant discretionary power
is given to the minister.
This brings us to the issue of what anglophones refer to as "pork
barrelling." We never know what influence is brought to bear because, of
course, some agreements are possible, and we have seen some such agreements in
several areas of Canada, including Quebec.
In my opinion, there is a lack of accountability here. I have nothing against
governmental discretionary power. However, at the very least, legislation should
be structured so as to create a reasonable legislative framework within which
ministers and departmental employees may operate. All that we have here is a
title and an amount of money. This is really going too far.
Hon. Douglas Roche: When Senator Cools finished her speech, I rose for
the purpose of being recognized to ask her a question, but His Honour's
visibility was blocked by a senator who was standing near the Table. I did not
want to interrupt Senator Bolduc. Thus, I am asking His Honour's consent to ask
two questions of Senator Cools now.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators, for
Senator Roche to put a question to Senator Cools?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Leave is granted. Will the Honourable Senator
Cools accept a question?
Senator Cools: Yes.
Senator Roche: Honourable senators, we all know that, usually,
budgetary bills have more than one item in them. However, this budgetary bill is
widely discordant in that the centrepiece, the thrust of the bill, is the air
travellers tax, but it also contains a very important section on the Canada Fund
I declare my position immediately. I am opposed to this tax, and I want to
vote against it. However, if I vote against the tax, I would be voting against
the Canada Fund for Africa, which I very heartily support. I do not want, by one
vote, to penalize the Canada Fund for Africa. I wish to emphasize that to place
honourable senators in the position of having to choose between airport security
on the one hand and development for Africa on the other, in the same bill, is
Why did the government not present a separate bill for the Canada Fund for
Africa? I am sure that Senator Bolduc implied in his comments that it would
receive general support. Why is Africa tied in with airport security?
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I thank Honourable Senator Roche
for his question.
The honourable senator is absolutely correct. Bill C-49 is really a
collection of bills. One could actually separate the items out and place them in
In the interest of giving the senator some reassurance, I would like to share
with him this fact. The government is being extremely zealous, careful, vigilant
and diligent because the overwhelming opinion is that legislation was not
necessary to set up this particular matter. It was the opinion of the government
and the important ministers that they wanted to be sure it was in legislation
because they are mindful of the fact that there are members of the National
Finance Committee who keep posing questions to them, to wit: Why is it that such
large expenditures are being made without legislation? The ministry wanted to be
sure that senators and members of Parliament would be absolutely assured that
they were coming here to ask for the expenditure, to ask for the money in the
form of a bill.
I would have thought that that would make people rejoice. I hope I have
answered the question as to why there is a bill.
Senator Roche: I hope Senator Cools will not mind my saying that her
answer was rather disingenuous. I suppose she gave the best answer she could.
However, I do not accept her answer. I will not debate that point now. I said
that I would only ask two questions, and here is the second question.
Why did the government not conduct a study on the economic impact of the air
travellers tax? The honourable senator indicated that if the revenues exceed the
expenses in connection with the administration of the tax, then the charge will
eventually be reduced. That already indicates that the government does not know
how much revenue the tax will actually raise.
Honourable Senator Cools said that the tax is put on travellers because they
are the primary beneficiaries of airport travel. Would the honourable senator
not agree that the primary beneficiary of airport travel in the age in which we
live is the entire public? This is a matter of national concern, not the
concern, in a primary sense, of the individual concerned. The individual is
Would the honourable senator consider the impact of this tax on travellers
between Edmonton and Calgary, which is a short distance but long enough to take
an airplane? The deleterious consequences of this $24 tax on a run between
Edmonton and Calgary will certainly hurt the economy in both cities. That would
have been found out had there been a study on the economic impact. Why was there
not a study on the economic impact of a tax of such importance in today's world?
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for
I take issue with the honourable senator's first statement to me. I wish to
state for the record that simply because I gave an answer that the honourable
senator did not like in no way makes my response disingenuous.
The honourable senator keeps referring to this charge as a tax. I am not too
sure if he is doing that deliberately, if it is purely an affectation or if it
is an accident. However, the legislation refers to a charge. The legislation,
and the record should be crystal clear on this, refers to it as an air security
charge. It does not call it a tax or a user fee. The term is "charge."
The benefit of the honourable senator's question is whether the government
has really considered the impact of this charge on the pocketbooks and the
purses of air passengers. Quite frankly, I think the honourable senator has a
valid point. It is a worthwhile question and should be answered.
If the honourable senator were to look at clause 12(3) of the bill, he would
see that the government has a proposition therein that the minister can reduce
the amount of the charge. I think I made it quite clear in my remarks that it is
the intention of the government to review the entire matter in the fall; and, if
reductions are necessary, I think I can say the government would be looking at
that with a high degree of seriousness.
I think that the government laid out the bill in a very systematic way.
However, the fact of the matter is that the government has not had much
experience in dealing with the situation that is now put before us in this bill.
We have to be mindful of that. Quite frankly, I do not think any government on
the continent, including the United States of America, has had much experience
responding to the conditions, the emergencies and the problems that have been
created by September 11.
In point of fact, the government is finding its way. Frankly, I am amazed and
impressed that the government was able to respond as quickly as it has and in
such a comprehensive and fair fashion.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I should point out that I
have allowed Senator Roche to put a question to Senator Cools, with leave of the
Senate. Other senators are rising. I will recognize first the Deputy Leader of
the Opposition, Senator Kinsella.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, Senator Cools drew our attention to clause 12(3). There is no clause
12(3) in Part 1 of the bill. Was she referring to Part 2?
Senator Cools: Yes, Part 2, page 21. The bill, as I said before, is
laid out in parts, and each part actually forms a bill. The clause 12 that I was
speaking to is in Part 2, called the Air Security Charges Act. Each part may
have a clause 12. The first part of the bill is the enabling authority and the
constituting of the actual air transport authority agency.
Honourable senators, we are blessed and fortunate because tomorrow night, at
the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, we have an
unusual situation. We will have two ministers — not one, but two — appearing
before the committee to defend the bill. I would love to take the opportunity to
invite all honourable senators to come to question these two ministers. The
ministers are John McCallum, the junior Minister of Finance, and then a more
senior minister, the Honourable David Collenette, Minister of Transport.
Senator Kinsella: I assume there is an assumption behind the last
statement made by Senator Cools. She announced that these two ministers will
appear before the committee. The assumption is that this bill will receive
Senator Cools: I was making a reasonable assumption that the bill will
receive second reading. I was also making a very reasonable assumption that when
the bill has received second reading and is referred to the committee, the two
ministers will appear to satisfy and to answer all the questions that honourable
senators can possibly put to them.
Hon. Edward M. Lawson: I should like to make a few brief comments. On
the security issue, the premise is that this bill is to improve and expand on
existing security. I can accept that. The question is the amount. The Americans
have a maximum charge of $10. Why is ours $24?
Senator Kinsella: In American dollars.
Senator Lawson: That is only $15.50 or $16. It is still too high if
one makes a straight comparison of U.S. to Canadian dollars. The Minister of
Finance said he will review it in September. We know now some things that he
will find when he reviews the charge, and one of them being that it is too high.
Senator Bolduc raised the issue about the south airport in Vancouver. I
understand that part of the philosophy they are applying is that if you do not
go through an airport, for example, with the heli-jets, then you will not pay.
There is some merit to that. It makes some sense. Now we have the south airport.
Remember that the premise is that this charge will improve and expand on
existing security. Existing security at south airport is zero. What will it be
the day after we pass the legislation? Zero. What will it be when it is reviewed
in September? Zero. Where I come from, that is called taking money under false
pretences. It should not happen. Paul Martin is a very good Minister of Finance,
and he says the government will review it. If the government takes the money and
give no benefit for it, what will they do? Will they return the money? Will the
money be given back, at a huge cost to the government? I have never seen a track
record of sending money back.
There are a number of concerns in those coastal communities. I can understand
why they do not have security. When you get in an airplane late in the
afternoon, they give you a plastic knife because they do not want you to have
anything that resembles a real knife. Loggers do not have a plastic knife or a
real knife, but they probably have an axe and a chainsaw. I understand why they
may not want to go through security. We need to use common sense and be
Presently, some of the airport authorities have union contracts representing
some of the workers. The usual thing in long- established, Liberal legislation
is successor status. If Company A takes over Company B and there is an existing
collective agreement, Company A inherits it. Is there such a provision in this
legislation? No. There is zero protection. I suspect that when the government
finishes, many of the existing contractors will probably still be there. They
will be rehired or hired by the government instead of working for the airport
authority, and they will bring in others, and that simple basic protection will
be lost. They will not have it. That troubles me.
Another thing that troubles me is that I understand there is a provision for
11 directors on that board. The government said through the minister that there
would be two representatives from Air Canada, which is good sound logic. There
will be two from the airport authorities, which is good sound logic. The
committee in the other place recommended two from labour. The minister knocked
that, so they have zero representation. What is happening over there? What is
happening with the government? In previous administrations, previous Ministers
of Labour would not have brought in a piece of legislation that did not
recognize that the success or failure of the program would depend on the
cooperation and the ability of the workers to work with management to make it a
success. First, you give them no security on successor status, and then the
minister rejects the committee's recommendation and says no representation.
Who will be the other seven directors? I understand that the minister will
select them, but if you want a successful program, does it not make sense to
have either the workers or their representatives on the 11-man board? What is
I have noticed in the last five or six years that there seems to be an
attitude of "Let's not bother; the minister knows best, and he has the
authority." He appears to be displaying a kind of arrogance that the workers
should not be represented. I would urge the government when considering this
legislation — it is not too late to make the appointments — to give some
recognition to the people who will be largely responsible for the success of the
program, which we must have if we are to have security. The government should
not be taking money under false pretensions by promising to do things or to
increase and expand security when there is zero security now and there will be
zero in the future.
Senator Cools: It seems to me that the honourable senator's statement
was more of an intervention than a question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Lawson did not ask a
question; it was an intervention. However, Senator Cools can ask him a question.
Senator Cools: Did the honourable senator intend that as an
intervention, or did he intend it as a question?
Senator Lawson: I was not asking a question. I was expressing my
Senator Cools: I thought he was asking a question, and I was taking
notes so that I could respond.
Senator Lawson: Idid not want to take the risk. I was afraid the
honourable senator might answer it.
Senator Cools: Do not worry, I will answer it when I close debate.
Senator Lawson, as we all know, has had great ties with labour. In his
remarks, he did raise the question of the 11-member board of directors of the
new agency, the new authority, and he was proposing or concerned that two of
them should be from labour.
I should like to ask the honourable senator the following question: Why would
a statute be necessary for the minister to be able to appoint two directors from
labour? The minister may choose to appoint many more than two. Who would know?
Why does the honourable senator believe it would have to be enshrined in
statute for the minister to appoint two from labour?
Senator Lawson: I do not think it should necessarily be in statute.
However, if there is a provision in the statute for two from Air Canada and two
from the airport authorities, and if that is set as precedent, they should all
be enshrined. If not, why would he reject the recommendation of the committee of
the House of Commons to appoint two from labour? If it is going to be in the
statute, they should all be covered. If it is not going to be in the statute,
make the appointments.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, last Thursday, March 14,
Senator Cools claimed a breach of parliamentary privilege in connection with
debate on Bill S-9, the definition of marriage bill. The incident that sparked
the senator's claim occurred the previous day, Wednesday, March 13, when there
was an exchange between the senator and Senator LaPierre following the speech of
Senator Wilson on Bill S-9.
In making her case, Senator Cools raised the following points. First, the
senator maintained that the arguments of Senator LaPierre, when he spoke to Bill
S-9 on March 6, were blasphemous and unparliamentary and called into question
the motives of Senator Cools in sponsoring the bill. More important, Senator
Cools alleges that through several exchanges that occurred between her and
Senator LaPierre — some recorded in the Debates of the Senate, some not —
Senator LaPierre showed disrespect to a justice of the British Columbia Supreme
Court. In the view of Senator Cools, these remarks constitute a breach of
privilege that could be properly remedied through a motion of apology addressed
to the particular justice, were I to find that a prima facie question of
privilege had been made.
In commenting on the case made by Senator Cools, Senator Murray noted that
there was nothing on the public record that supported the contention of Senator
Cools that Senator LaPierre had spoken disrespectfully of any judge. Senator
Murray also suggested that in raising this question of privilege, Senator Cools
seemed to be in a conflict with her own professed belief in the importance of
protecting freedom of speech in the Senate.
Senator LaPierre then made some comments explaining his assessment of what
had occurred last Wednesday. This was followed by brief interventions by Senator
Lapointe and Senator Stratton.
Having reviewed the transcript of last Thursday, it is my ruling that there
is no prima facie case of privilege. The complaint raised by Senator Cools, as I
understand it, is more in the nature of a point of order than a question of
privilege. Insofar as it is founded in part on the remarks of Senator LaPierre
of March 6, it is clearly out of date.
With respect to any comments that might have been exchanged between these two
senators last Wednesday, these, too, might have been the object of a point of
order at that time had they been on the public record. Be that as it may,
senators should be mindful of the need to respect their colleagues' right to
speak and should refrain from unnecessary interruptions.
The Rules of the Senate provide a mechanism for bringing a question of
privilege to the attention of the Senate quickly. It is not a procedure to be
invoked lightly. As rule 43(1)(b) and (d) state, any alleged breach must "be a
matter directly concerning the privileges of the Senate" and it must "be
raised to correct a grave and serious breach." Once proper notice is given in
writing and then orally under Senators' Statements, a senator is allowed an
opportunity to bring the alleged breach of privilege to the attention of Senate
after Orders of the Day. In this instance, nothing I heard met the usual tests
as described in our rules and the parliamentary authorities that would justify a
claim to a breach of parliamentary privilege.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report (final) of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled: Canadian
Security and Military Preparedness, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on
February 28, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Banks)
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, this item stands in the name
of Senator Banks, with whom I have held discussions. Senator Banks is in accord
with my desire to adjourn the debate.
I do wish to speak to the centrality of the issue raised in the report
concerning the need for a foreign policy review before a defence review. I
should like to elaborate on the argument, but I need some time to prepare my
remarks. Thus, I move the adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier, pursuant to notice given December 6, 2001,
That the Senate approve the radio and television broadcasting of its
proceedings and those of its committees, on principles analogous to those
regulating the publication of the official record of its deliberations; and
That a special committee, composed of five senators, be appointed to
oversee the implementation of this resolution.
He said: Honourable senators, this is an issue which is topical. That the
Senate approve the radio and television broadcasting of its proceedings is at
the root of democracy. The experience of the House of Commons in this regard has
been positive, and has been so since 1977. We must make the proceedings of the
There are many myths outside this chamber. I would like us to be serious and
broadcast our proceedings in order to allow Canadians to understand this
institution, the Senate.
We are about to purchase television equipment, cameras and so on. We need to
do this in the context of a new provision that could provide Canadians with
better information. Television is a hot medium. We need to use it. We do not
make enough use of it. I will not talk about that, because it would provoke
numerous debates. I want to revisit the fundamental issue, that of why we should
broadcast the proceedings of the Senate and its committees on television. Our
work would be better known, viewed more positively.
Honourable senators, I would like to adjourn debate in order to continue
presenting my position in the Senate on this motion.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham, pursuant to notice of March 14, 2002, moved:
That the Senate of Canada celebrates with all Canadians the 250th
anniversary of Canada's first published newspaper, the Halifax Gazette,
the publication of which on March 23, 1752, marked the beginning of the
newspaper industry in Canada which contributes so much to Canada's strong and
enduring democratic traditions.
He said: Honourable senators, in the aftermath of Robert Mugabe's actions to
design elections in Zimbabwe that the opposition could not win, much of the
international community has been angered by such an arrogant display of contempt
for the democratic process.
As one who has actively served in many countries in the cause of democratic
development, I am only one amongst many who believe that the elections that were
held were indeed designed to fail. Of course, any experienced election observer
will tell you that dictators attempt to root out the fragile seeds of freedom
first from the minds of ordinary people. Zimbabwe was no exception. In the
course of the election campaign in that country, Mr. Mugabe and his supporters
did what all dictators have done before them. His thugs used violence and
intimidation of the worst magnitude against opposition forces. Less noticed,
perhaps, was that much of the international press was run out of the country,
and Mr. Mugabe implemented laws that severely curtailed press freedom.
Honourable senators, the existence of an open, lively, opinionated and
broad-based newspaper industry is integral to the course and the cause of
freedom in any country. In Canada, we boast more than 100 daily and 1,000
community newspapers with a total circulation of five million daily and 11
million weekly papers from coast to coast to coast.
As a Nova Scotian, I am proud to say that the industry was born in Halifax.
Two hundred fifty years ago, on March 23, 1752, in a newly opened print shop in
Halifax, a man by the name of John Bushell ran off a few modest copies of the
Halifax Gazette. Our National Librarian, the distinguished Dr. Roch Carrier,
who is in the south gallery, was kind enough to bring prized copies of that
first edition, and they have been made available at the desks of all honourable
In John Bushell's day, the town of Halifax had been in existence for only
three years. It was, as Ronald Rompkey of Memorial University — the younger
brother of our own esteemed Senator Bill Rompkey — tells us, a small British
garrison established to offset the fact that the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of
1748 had compelled Britain to give the Island of Cape Breton back to France,
hence finding themselves strategically exposed.
When the Halifax Gazette was born, a commercial and political society
had begun to develop. John Bushell's rather inauspicious and modest publication
was largely supported by the colonial government. Employed as the King's
Printer, much of Bushell's income came from the commissions to produce copies of
new laws and proclamations.
Crowded with shipping news, the equivalent of classified advertising at the
time, localized information relating to the town's position as a trade centre
and political articles scalped from British publications, sometimes months after
they had originally appeared, the Halifax Gazette of the period is a
delight to fascinated readers of today.
I might add that all Canadians may take the time to have a look at one of the
first issues of the paper, so beautifully preserved by the National Library at
the National Library. Beginning tomorrow, it will be on public display until the
end of June. This small sheet of foolscap will catapult us back over centuries
because newspapers have always been, as Ben Bradlee once said, a rough draft of
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am sorry to interrupt
Senator Graham. I must draw attention to the clock. It is six o'clock.
Is it your desire not to see the clock, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Graham: I thank honourable senators.
As far as it is known, the Halifax paper is the third oldest on the North
Honourable senators will understand very well that at the time of Bushell's
death in 1761, the whole thrust of journalism would change, as the political
ferment which culminated in the American revolution against Great Britain would
change forever what became known as the fourth estate.
The ability of the press to influence the hearts and minds was clearly
demonstrated by the famous publisher Benjamin Franklin's attempt to found a
rebellious newspaper in Montreal, under the auspices of the Frenchman, Fleury
Mesplet. This fascinating chapter of our history culminated in the founding of
the Montreal Gazette, La Gazette de Montréal by Mesplet in 1785.
As Senator Joan Fraser can confirm, having been its eminent editor-in-chief at
one point, this daily paper is the oldest newspaper still being published in
Honourable senators, had it not been for the fact that the Halifax Gazette
briefly lost its government patronage in 1766, when, due to the lead up to the
American Revolution it challenged British authority by publishing an issue of
the paper without the required official stamp, what is now the Nova Scotia
Royal Gazette would have beaten out its Montreal rival by over two decades.
In a wonderful little piece entitled "Canadian Newspapers: Celebrating 250
Years," Mr. Stephen Kimber, Director of the School of Journalism at the
University of King's College in Halifax, made the point that Bushell was
certainly no Joseph Howe, the legendary Nova Scotia editor and statesman who won
freedom of the press in Canada. Honourable senators will recall that Mr. Howe,
through the columns of his paper, the Nova Scotian, fought the lucid, courageous
struggle for responsible government in the 1830s and 1840s.
Joseph Howe was one of the Fathers of Democracy in Canada, along with
Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin of the United Canadas of the time.
One of his friends and colleagues was a man by the name of John Boyd, a
second-generation Scot who founded the Antigonish Casket in 1852. The
Casket serves as the local weekly paper for Antigonish and the surrounding
counties, with a present-day circulation of over 7,000.
At its peek, the Casket enjoyed a circulation of over 12,000, with
over 400 copies mailed to expatriates from Nova Scotia who were living in the
State of Massachusetts — or in the "Boston States," as we sometimes called
Over the years, as you might expect, the name "Casket" evoked curious
queries from thousands of puzzled readers from many corners of the globe.
Honourable senators, let me explain. When it was founded, the word "casket"
commonly referred to a lady's jewel box, and it was not until the turn of the
century that the word "casket" was used in reference to a coffin. To this day,
the masthead of the Casket continues to be a picture of a jewel box
overflowing with jewels, with the paper's motto, unchanged since 1852, directly
above: "Liberty — Choicest Gem of the Old World. Fairest Flower of the New."
On June 23 of this year, the Antigonish Casket will celebrate the one hundred
fiftieth year of its founding. I had a special interest in the Casket from the
days when I was the editor of the St. Francis Xavier University student
newspaper, The Xaverian Weekly, which was published by the Casket
Printing and Publishing Company. The Casket also served as an important
part-time breadwinner for the growing Graham family. I started there as a
student and continued for several years as news editor and as sports editor,
largely through the encouragement and patience of the wonderful publisher Mr.
Donald L. Gillis, who, faithfully and with great editorial and business skills,
managed the establishment for 53 years.
Sidebars on the Antigonish Casket would not be complete without
mentioning that, during his student days in Antigonish, our colleague, Senator
Lowell Murray, at one time had the lofty title of Assistant to the Editor. No
one knows if he was ever paid.
The Casket was and is a wonderful paper, and the traditions and
history associated with it are all part of a proud lineage. At the time of its
founding 150 years ago, Nova Scotia had won responsible government and Joseph
Howe was the province's first premier.
The fact that Howe was still alive was rather astonishing. In his day,
duelling was on the wane in Nova Scotia, but a gentleman still found it
difficult to lose his self-respect by refusing a duel. In the famous response to
John Halliburton's challenge in 1840, Howe found himself the winner as
Halliburton fired first and missed. Howe then fired his pistol into the air,
sparing his opponent's life. He was then challenged to a second duel in the same
year. In refusing this second challenge, the relatively youthful editor of the
Nova Scotian reportedly said that "a live editor is more useful than a dead
In so many ways, this off-handed remark contains a wisdom that is well worth
thinking about today. Perhaps on this wonderful two hundred fiftieth anniversary
of the founding of the first newspaper in Canada, it can be put in a broader
As Canadians, honourable senators, we are privileged and blessed to be one of
the oldest democracies in the world. A free and unfettered press is one of the
primary buttresses of our way of life. Too often we tend to forget the brave
struggles of centuries ago fought through the power of the printing press and
the leadership of editors and journalists of conviction.
However, we must be sensitive to the fact that new democracies are now
undergoing the same critical transitions to civil societies that Joseph Howe was
so intensely involved in so long ago.
As I have thought about the Zimbabwes of this world, my mind goes back to a
conversation I had with the editor of a tabloid newspaper, ABC Colour, in
Paraguay over a decade ago at the conclusion of elections that served as
stepping stones to further democratization in that country. In praising the role
of the international observer teams sent to monitor the 1989 elections, the
editor said to me, personally: "But you cannot love us and leave us. President
Rodriguez has promised a new constitution, a free press, electoral reform and a
new code of human rights. You must monitor the situation on a continuing basis
to ensure he lives up to his promises."
Honourable senators, I have never forgotten his words and the poignancy with
which he made his case — only one individual example of the many courageous
leaders of democracy across the globe that I have been privileged to meet. I
related the story in a book that I wrote about democratic development entitled,
The Seeds of Freedom. Of further interest, perhaps, the book was printed for the
Pearson Peacekeeping Press at the Antigonish Casket, which, I have
already said, is a fine old newspaper born at a time when Nova Scotians and
Canadians were beginning to nurture the beautiful, still fragile flower of
As we reflect on this celebration of the roots of our own freedom and the
rich civil society we have today, we must remember all of those who are
persecuted and oppressed, and we must remember that after the elections we
cannot love them and leave them.
Honourable senators, I would like to thank the National Library of Canada,
which has worked so hard with provincial groups and institutions in Nova Scotia
and here in Ottawa to commemorate the early beginnings of the Halifax Gazette
and the seeds of a democratic tradition in Canada. The National Library is
responsible for ensuring that Canadians have access to their newspaper heritage.
In doing so, the library is the repository of much of what we are and much of
what we have come from. In carrying out their responsibilities, the talented
staff of the National Library of Canada do much to nurture the soul of this
great country, preserving our unique and distinct identity for our children and
our children's children yet to come.
In closing, I should like to salute and thank, on behalf of all Canadians,
the National Librarian, Dr. Roch Carrier, who is with us in the Senate gallery
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. John Buchanan: Honourable senators, I did not think I would get a
chance to speak on this item.
First, I want to second the motion of Senator Graham. In so doing, I wish to
point out that the honourable senator has already said everything that I had
wished to say. That is unusual because over the years that I have known him, he
would usually follow me and repeat what I had to say. Here, however, it is the
reverse. What he has said, I was going to say. Nevertheless, I do have some
different things to say this evening regarding this motion.
Senator Graham: I would hope so!
Senator Buchanan: The honourable senator has already outlined the
history of the Halifax Gazette for honourable senators. I wish to add
that all good things did happen first in Nova Scotia and then moved from the
Atlantic out to the West. I can tell senators about all the firsts that happened
in Nova Scotia.
How many of honourable senators know that the first permanent European
settlement was at Port Royal in the Annapolis Valley just outside Annapolis
Royal? Governor Graham of Florida challenged me on that when I made that
statement at a meeting in Boston. Later, I read an article from the New England
governors that said that the first settlement was in Massachusetts in 1619.
Well, in Nova Scotia, we had that settlement in 1605. At the National Governors
Conference in 1984, in Boise, Idaho, I told Governor Graham, "Did you know that
we had the first settlement in North America at Port Royal?" Governor Graham
turned around and said, "I told you before that your statement is incorrect."
I then pulled out the brochure that the New England governors incorporated and
read it. I then said "Here! They say it was 1619 in Massachusetts. Therefore,
you are wrong; I am right." He looked at Governor O'Neill of Connecticut and
said, "Do you know what? I never did trust you Yankees and I still do not." We
did have the first settlement there.
Honourable senators, that is not all. Nova Scotia had the first
representative government. We also had the first responsible government, as
Senator Graham said, which was led by Joe Howe. He started it all. In speeches I
made over the years, I would say that we had the first responsible government in
North America and we still have a very responsible government in Nova Scotia.
Some may not have agreed with that, but it was all true.
Honourable senators, the first wireless message sent by Marconi from North
America to Europe came from Table Head and not from Newfoundland, because he
said one letter was received. We sent a full message from Cape Breton. Also, the
first landing by John Cabot occurred in Cape North, Cape Breton and not in
Newfoundland. We have a plaque to prove it. In fact, I unveiled that plaque. We
have a plaque at Table Head that I unveiled, too. I used to ask Brian Peckford,
"Do you have a plaque?" He does not have a plaque; we have one!
In addition to that, Joe Howe made a famous speech once. He said, "Brag
about your province, boys. Whenever you meet a Texan who tells you how big
everything is in Texas ask him, 'How high are your tides in Texas?'" We have
the highest tides in the world — another first for Nova Scotia and New
An Hon. Senator: You share that with New Brunswick.
Senator Buchanan: Oh, no, Nova Scotia.
In addition, I wish to talk about the electric lights that we see in this
chamber and all over the country. I am not saying that Tom Edison invented them
in Nova Scotia. I am not saying that at all. Furthermore, I am not saying that
Tom Edison was from Nova Scotia. But his father was. They moved from Digby
County, Nova Scotia, to Boston, where he was born.
Honourable senators, we had all those firsts in my great province. I also
wanted to say that we had the first newspaper in Canada and the third in North
America. It was put together by John Bushell. I am extremely pleased and proud
to second this motion.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I rose before but I know that all honourable senators wanted to take
copious notes during that last intervention.
I am sorry that His Honour has left the chamber because in the copy of the
Halifax Gazette dated March 23, 1752, which was circulated this afternoon in
this house, under the "Foreign Advice" section there is an item that is
datelined "Rome, September 24." It says:
A Few Days ago, as the Pope was going in his Coach to the Quirinal, an
ordinary man kneeled in the Street upon his Knees as if he wanted to receive a
Blessing from him, which as he was going to give, the Man threw a Stone at His
The point I wanted to make is that a few days ago His Honour led a group of
our colleagues to the Quirinal, which is now occupied not by the Pope but,
rather, by the President of the Italian Republic, President Chiampi. In the
building beside the Quirinal, we also visited the President of the
Constitutional Court of Italy, which is contained in another former papal
building that is now part of the Italian state. In that particular building at
the Quirinal, the President of the Constitutional Court of Italy took the
Honourable Senator Hays and the group to the room in which the last death
sentence was imposed by the papal court. It is interesting that we have this
item circulated in the Senate of Canada today from this paper of 1752, and one
of the news items speaks to a matter that involved a visit of our colleagues
only a few days ago. I wanted to place that on the record.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau moved, pursuant to notice of March 14, 2002:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries be authorized to examine
and report upon the matters relating to oceans and fisheries;
That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject during the
First Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament be referred to the Committee;
That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2003; and
That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to
deposit any report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then
sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, in order to allow our subcommittee time to finish examining all
budgets submitted by the committees in order to determine what resources will be
required, I move adjournment of the debate.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned to Wednesday, March 20, 2002, at 1:30 p.m.