The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, we begin today's session
with tributes to the Honourable Lois Wilson, who will retire on April 8 of this
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I rise today to pay tribute to a friend and colleague. How can we speak about
her? We can call her "the honourable," or "senator, the honourable" or "the
very reverend." What Senator Wilson is, of course, is a very special person.
For the purposes of this endeavour, we shall refer to her as "the Very Reverend
If I were to offer a brief description of this woman, I would call her small,
but mighty, because that is truly what she represents. Her accomplishments in
the human rights and ecumenical movements are legendary. She was an important
voice on the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights and a strong advocate on
its formulation in this chamber.
The Very Reverend Lois Wilson became the first woman president of the
Canadian Council of Churches and the first Canadian president of the World
Council of Churches.
Like many honourable senators, I first learned of Lois Wilson when she became
the first female moderator of the United Church of Canada. For those of us out
there trying to blaze trails for women, this was a mighty first in terms of what
she had accomplished. The Very Reverend Lois Wilson had been, for some years,
part of what I believe was the very first husband-and-wife team ministry in the
United Church. Senator Wilson served with the Canadian Institute for National
Peace and Security, and as chair of the International Centre for Human Rights
and Democratic Development. Senator Wilson was also an advisory board member for
10 years with Amnesty International.
In 1984, in partial tribute to many of these achievements, Lois Wilson was
made an Officer of the Order of Canada. The following year, she was awarded the
Pearson Peace Prize by the United Nations Association in Canada, and the World
Federalists Peace Award.
Senator Wilson's life has been dedicated to the service of others. She has
worked her entire life to advance the state of humanity by defending our rights
and fostering respect for all religious faiths. She has been motivated by an
unwavering determination to improve our world by manifesting the ideals and
values that we all share but have been unable to implement successfully, such
universal values as peace, love and above all respect for each other.
Despite all her public achievements, I am certain that Senator Wilson would
count her family, her husband Roy, their four children and 12 grandchildren, as
among her most important accomplishments.
We wish Senator Wilson the very best in all future endeavours and offer our
sincere thanks for her exceptional contribution to this place because
exceptional people make exceptional contributions, and she is indeed an
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, as indicated by the Honourable Senator Carstairs, the Honourable
Senator Wilson will be taking her leave from the Senate of Canada. Thus, I rise
to express, on behalf of my colleagues and the opposition benches, and in my own
name, our appreciation for the service that this remarkable woman has so
unselfishly rendered in this chamber and to so many beyond these walls, whether
in Canada or abroad.
The Very Reverend Lois Wilson has been an engaged humanist in many houses,
that of her family, her church and of this Upper House of Parliament. She has
been an independent activist in family life as wife and mother, in church life
as the moderator of the United Church of Canada, and in Parliament as an
Honourable senators, students of democracy and freedom have always asked, "quis
custodes custodiet?" which translates to "Who shall guard the guardians of
the state?" The answer is to be found in exemplary leaders such as Senator Lois
Wilson, a leader in the community who learned at an early age the great lesson
taught by Edmund Burke, who stated, in 1771: "The greater the power, the more
dangerous the abuse."
Senator Wilson has always been and will always be an important player as a
defender and guardian against abuse. Our very reverend colleague can be singled
out because of her fortitude and sense of service and for her dedication to
community and civic duty.
Shortly after being summoned to this chamber, Senator Wilson made the
I was reminded that I bear the same name as the first woman senator —
Wilson — and that I therefore have large shoes to fill. I'll do what I can —
co-operatively with all of you, honourable senators, in bringing wholeness to
a broken world by addressing international human rights in their broadest
I am sure all honourable senators will agree that Senator Wilson has filled
those shoes admirably and achieved the goal of furthering the cause of human
rights. Senator Wilson was instrumental in establishing the Parliamentary Human
Rights Group and served as the first co- chair, along with Member of Parliament
Throughout her life, Senator Wilson has played a role on the international
stage, a role that continued during her tenure in the Senate when the Government
of Canada asked her to be the country's Special Envoy to the Sudan Peace
Process, to head Canada's delegation to China concerning religious freedom in
1999, and in the year 2000, to head Canada's delegation to the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea to explore the normalization of diplomatic relations.
First and foremost, honourable senators, Senator Wilson was a front-line
activist. Whether hiding names of people, in her shoe, to be turned over to
Amnesty International, or smuggling money into South Africa for the trade
unions, or marching arm-in-arm with mothers of the "los desaparecidos" in
Argentina, she has put her convictions above her own personal safety in order to
further the causes she holds so dear.
The promotion and protection of human rights has a passionate advocate in the
person of Senator Wilson. I am confident that she will be a strong voice in
defence of human rights, in all corners of the world, for many years to come.
Honourable senators, as we bid Senator Wilson farewell from this chamber, we
express our encouragement and solidarity with her as she continues to prosecute
her human rights mission.
Lois, in that continuing journey, we all wish you Godspeed.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, the well-established
separation of church and state in our political system has, unfortunately, led
many to believe that religion has no place in public affairs. However, to argue
that the spiritual values of love, respect, tolerance and compassion that
underscore the agenda for social justice are not needed in public discourse
would be to deprive the political process of the fullest understanding of
humanity. That should be our foremost concern.
Fortunately, there are individuals in public life who do understand how our
lives, as citizens, are enriched by the protection and advancement of those
attributes of human dignity, implanted in us by the creator.
Senator Lois Wilson is a witness to the bonding of values and politics. If
you type Lois Wilson's name into a search engine in your computer, an
astonishing array of her activities can be seen in an instant. She was a United
Church minister for 37 years; president of the Canadian Council of Churches;
first woman moderator of the United Church of Canada; the first Canadian
president of the World Council of Churches; president of the World Federalists
of Canada; chancellor of Lakehead University; chairman of the board of the
International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development; and a board
member of the board of Amnesty International, Victoria University, Toronto; the
Institute for International Peace and Security and the Environmental Review
Board for the Disposal of Nuclear Waste. She has been a senator since 1998 and,
in this capacity, Canada's Special Envoy to the Sudan Peace Process and head of
delegations to China, to examine religious freedom, and to North Korea, to
explore normalization of diplomatic relations.
On top of all this, she is the author of six books, the recipient of the
Order of Canada, the winner of the Pearson Peace Prize and foremost, as Senator
Carstairs has noted, foremost, the wife of the Reverend Dr. Roy F. Wilson, with
four children and 12 grandchildren. A full life, indeed.
However, this is not a eulogy. Lois Wilson takes her leave of the Senate, but
not her activist life. One might be tempted to say that this independent-minded
person will now be freed of her obligation to appear in the Senate chamber so
that she can spend even more time pursuing the human rights agenda that has won
her world acclaim. Lois Wilson may be tiny of stature, but she is a giant in
plodding through the thorny bushes that scar the human landscape. As Marion
Pardy, the present Moderator of the United Church in Canada, told me this week:
"Lois's stature in church and society reaches gigantic heights through her
contribution to theological education and her prophetic witness as a provocative
writer, global educator and engaging preacher."
While the quantity of her work is impressive, to say the least, it is the
quality I wish to highlight here. Take, for example, her work as a panel member
for the federal environmental assessment review of the proposed concept to bury
high-level nuclear waste in the Canadian Shield. Not content with merely
learning the technical complexities of the nuclear waste problem, Lois wrote a
book, Nuclear Waste: Exploring the Ethical Dilemmas, to help the public
understand the ethical options that must be faced.
In this book, Senator Wilson frankly reveals the passionate commitment she
brings to social and ecological justice. Here is but one sentence revealing her
The believing community must always be a source of permanent unrest and
disturbance in society, allowing nothing to silence or dissolve it.
Her advocacy for the rights of Aboriginal peoples, fearing yet another
incursion into their land, is one of the many legacies she leaves us as the
Senate takes up its consideration of Bill C-27.
Following her philosophy of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the
afflicted, Lois plunged into the political quagmire of Sudan, working with both
churches and governments to stop the genocide in that benighted land. Sudan has
the dubious distinction of having far more internally displaced people than
almost any other country. It cries out for a peace initiative, and that is how
Similarly, Lois took a Canadian team to North Korea last year as a first step
toward normalizing relations with one of the last holdouts in the communist
world. She journeyed through the countryside and saw an economy in virtual
collapse. Rather than labelling North Korea as an "axis of evil," she set to
work with government officials on an overall coordinated plan for recovery. This
is one more manifestation of a central tenet she holds: If you want peace,
prepare for peace.
It was probably her vast experience in analyzing the threats to human rights
on the front lines that led her to campaign so hard for the establishment of the
Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights and the parallel body, the
Parliamentary Human Rights Group. This has been a solid accomplishment, indeed.
She understands intuitively that the political agenda for social justice must
be based on an integrated agenda that respects human rights in all its
dimensions. She injects into this process the moral values of mutual respect,
caring and equity. She presents herself as an ecumenical Christian, one who
reaches out to people everywhere to respond to their joys and hopes, their grief
and anxieties, and especially to those who are poor and afflicted.
In short, Lois Wilson is an outstanding example of a whole person.
George Gershwin, the great musical composer, wrote a memorable song
containing the words: "Who could ask for anything more?" As we salute Senator
Lois Wilson today, I say, who could ask for anything more?
Hon. Lois M. Wilson: Honourable senators, it is with gratitude, pride,
and some small measure of satisfaction and work accomplished that I take my
leave of you in this chamber.
Many of you have had far more political experience in policy-making than I
have had. From you I have learned a great deal, and my learning curve, since
being appointed to the Senate almost four years ago, has been steep and
satisfying. Pearl Buck, on her eightieth birthday, said: "I am a far more
valuable person than I was 50 years ago. I have learned so much since I turned
70. Indeed, I can honestly say I have learned more in the last 10 years than in
any previous decade." For me, the learnings of the past four years have been
extensive and fun, as they have been for my children and grandchildren, some of
whom may be seated in the gallery.
When I was appointed, I knew none of you well, and I knew nothing of Senate
procedures. The poet W.H. Auden says, "At 20 we find friends for ourselves, but
it takes Heaven to find us one when we are 75." Forging friendships always
opens up new windows for the soul, and I value those friendships, particularly
those made with colleagues on committees. I will greatly miss my staff, and
especially Doreen Jones, without whom I could not have done one quarter of what
I have accomplished, as well as, I might say, the assistance of my unpaid
secretary at home — my husband — who keeps agitating for a raise in salary. It
helped a lot when I was told that the procedure was much like a church ritual —
you simply had to know whether the offering should precede or follow the sermon.
I have also appreciated the repartee with the security guards and the energy and
zest that pages bring to the Senate.
For the opportunity and pressure to keep learning and for the opportunity to
bring my professional life experience to this chamber, I am grateful. I leave
proudly aware that the ecumenical, interfaith and non-governmental communities
in Canada with whom I work on societal issues now know in greater detail just
how to connect with government and its legislative processes. Publishing my
"Senatorial Saga" every four months revealed to me that few of the recipients
had any notion of the wide spectrum of issues that the Senate deals with. I
continue to observe that Ottawa governmental circles whirl around in their own
orbit, unaware and largely disconnected with the concerns of the ecumenical
community or of the non-governmental clusters, such as Canadian Pensioners
Concerned, or of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, or of folk
living in remote villages in Northern Ontario. At least I have had a shot at
facilitating that interface and that necessary connectedness. I have had a
unique opportunity to see and be part of the legislative process, and to share
with my constituency not only how government works well, but also how it
frequently falters and sometimes stumbles.
I leave also with some sense of anticipation, not because I am tired of being
in the Senate, but because every turning in life brings with it new
opportunities, most of them unknown. I hold with Macbeth, who said, "I look
forward to that which should accompany old age, as honour, love, obedience,
troops of friends." What he did not say is, and more time to go canoeing!
When I was appointed, I said in my maiden speech to the Senate that I would
do what I could, in cooperation with honourable senators, to bring wholeness to
a broken world. Knowing that my time in the Senate was extremely limited and
that, as an independent senator, I needed to carve my own niche if I were to
survive, let alone contribute to the whole, I decided on four focuses for my
work, and those I have tried to keep: first, Canada's foreign policy and record
in international human rights; second, support for the aspirations of the
Aboriginal peoples in Canada; third, facilitating civil society as it emerges
more and more strongly as a constructive partner with government on policy
issues; and fourth, advocacy for an equitable and just role for women.
Honourable senators, the next portion of my address should be labelled
"Unfinished Business" because all my work has been work in progress, and it
will continue after I have left.
First, my lifelong commitment to human rights is reflected in the
establishment of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights of this chamber.
Since the committee's focus is reviewing the mechanisms of government dealing
with Canada's international and national human rights obligations, and not
simply obvious emerging human rights violations, it will be some time before we
reap the fruits of the work of this important committee. I deeply regret not
being able to continue as a committee member, but I have full confidence in its
leadership, as do many human rights agencies and interests across this country.
There has been a great deal of satisfaction for me in co- founding the
Parliamentary Human Rights Group with Irwin Cotler, M.P. Because of its
inclusion of senators, members of Parliament and NGOs, it has been able to
create an energetic exchange between these various groups on human rights
issues. There is planned a publication of the seven expert presentations already
made to this group over the last year and one half, and all of you may avail
yourselves of that publication when it sees the light of day, probably in the
fall. The group will continue to meet under the leadership of Senator Oliver,
Irwin Cotler and an executive drawn from all political parties.
Second, my appointments by the Minister of Foreign Affairs have been made
because of my global church background. The highlights for me have been my
appointment as Canada's Special Envoy to the Sudan and my leadership of two
government delegations — one to China on the issue of religious freedom and the
other to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea just before diplomatic
relations were established. I was also appointed to monitor the elections in the
Chiapas state in Mexico and to be an observer at the UN Human Rights Commission
in Geneva. I intend to pursue some of these interests as a private citizen, and
I will likely come back to haunt some of you for not demonstrating more
I also served on the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples for some
time because it deals with what I think it is the single most important human
rights issue Canada must face, and I will continue to follow proceedings with
Much of my work has been in facilitating access for NGOs to government
officials or ministers and assisting the members of civil society to understand
the systems of governance. This cannot be done by short-term appointments; I am
glad that I had four years so that I was able to make some progress.
I am also glad that negotiation with the Prime Minister's Office allowed me
to be appointed as an independent senator. People always want to know what I
expected from the Senate and what I found on arrival. I replied that before my
appointment I was assured from all sides that this body was non-partisan, but I
discovered, to my disappointment, that this is not entirely so. I have always
felt that parliamentary reform needs to take place for both the House of Commons
and the Senate. I hope that some senators who have a much longer tenure than was
accorded me, will take up this work with enthusiasm. Individual senators do some
impressive work, but the reform of the institution, as such, is necessary to
restore credibility to the political process, at least in the mind of the
My fourth piece of unfinished business includes issues concerning women.
Despite the 33 per cent female component of the Senate, it still falls short of
the desired 50 per cent. I was honoured to be the Canadian woman, along with
women from England and Ireland, on a panel discussing the situation of
contemporary women that the Canadian High Commission mounted in London, Leeds
and Belfast, in December 2000. For the last six months I have been engaged with
the Canadian Initiative on Women, Peace and Security, which concerns the
implementation of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1325, calling for the full
and equal participation of women in all matters related to peace and security. I
was delighted when Senator Jaffer agreed to carry on this important work.
What about the future? I am not worried about filling my days. The academic
and who-done-it writer Carolyn Heilbrun, author of The Last Gift of Time,
which I thought I had better read, said: "Don't worry about the whole ballet.
Just dance the next few steps." I rest in the observation of that great
detective writer and theologian, Dorothy Sayers, who wrote: "Time and trouble
will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable
by any earthly force. It is gratifying not to have been tamed."
I thank you for all the days we have had together. I appreciate the tributes
that you have paid to me on this special day. I look forward to the days ahead.
I appreciate the tributes paid to me on this very special day and I am eager
to see what the future will bring.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to
the presence in the gallery of June Freeman, George Freeman, Nora Casson, the
Honourable Sheila Finestone and numerous other guests of the Honourable Senator
Wilson. In the name of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, today, March 20, is
International Francophonie Day. I wish to draw honourable senators' attention to
Canada's contribution to the international Francophonie. Canada was one of the
founding members of the Agence intergouvernmentale de la Francophonie. It has
taken an active role in the establishment and development of a number of
institutions within the Francophonie.
As one of the 55 member countries of the Francophonie, which have in common
the use of the French language, Canada has ensured for itself a lead role on the
international scene. All Canadians can appreciate their country's unique
contribution to the development of a modern international francophone community
characterized by its diversity.
The Francophonie is above all a community of peoples who, to various degrees,
speak or use French in their lives or their international relations. Whether
from Marseilles or Montreal, Martinique or Main Street, Moncton, we all speak
French, each in our own particular accent.
As the Acadian writer Antonine Maillet so aptly put it, these different
accents are like the various instruments that make up an orchestra and produce
magnificent symphonies together. It is this linguistic symphony I love so much,
this Francophonie I so love to defend.
This October, the IXe Sommet de la Francophonie will take place in Beirut,
Lebanon. The summit's theme is: "Dialogue of cultures. Together but different.
Living together with our differences." This is the challenge Lebanon would like
to take up at the next summit, in conjunction with the International
I encourage everyone to celebrate this Journée internationale de la
Francophonie with other francophones or francophiles.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, as Senator Losier- Cool
said so well, today, Wednesday, March 20, international Francophonie Day is
being celebrated throughout the world.
This is the fourth year that thousands of Canadians all ages will take part
in activities designed not only to show that we share a beautiful language, but
also to reflect all of the cultural diversity it expresses.
Honourable senators, the term "francophonie" was coined more than 120 years
ago by French essayist Onésime Reclus. Mr. Reclus used the word to describe the
regions where French was spoken. Now, this term, used with a capital "F,"
includes not only the 170 million French-speaking people, but also the 500
million people living in the 55 states and governments, on five continents, that
are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
As a French Canadian from Sudbury, Ontario, I am proud to wish everyone a
very good Francophonie Day.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your
attention honours that have come to two distinguished members of this place. The
Italian government has honoured Senator Ferretti Barth with an award of
distinction. It is before me in Italian, but I will not read it, as not only do
I not speak Italian or French, I am still working on my English. I will read it
in English. It is Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.
This is the third most important honour in Italy. It has been awarded to very
few women or persons of Italian descent living outside the country. I am told
that Senator Ferretti Barth is the only Canadian to have received this award. It
is given to her for her dedication and tireless work with neglected persons and
elderly people of the Italian and other cultural communities. We are very proud
to have her with us in this chamber, and we honour her today.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I also wish to call your
attention — and I must give equal time to each of these impressive women — to
Senator Chalifoux. The Woman of Vision award is presented to women who have made
contributions both in their careers and their private lives that have positively
affected Albertans and all Canadians. It is the seventh year the award has been
presented. This year, Senator Chalifoux has been chosen as the Woman of Vision
for Alberta and for Canada, and we salute her.
Those of us who have travelled with the senator in Alberta will understand
why this honour has been awarded to her. After a caucus meeting, some of us
spent a day with Senator Chalifoux in Edmonton visiting Aboriginal groups. We
know the depth of respect accorded her, so we are not surprised that this honour
has come to her.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I rise to express my
sorrow at the passing of my friend Dalton Camp. I valued his friendship. Above
all, I valued his astonishing capacity with the words he used to explain the
conditions of our national soul and to keep Canadians in touch with what was
happening in our country. I will miss time spent in Alan Fotheringham's house
enjoying a drink — not him of course, nor I — and engaging in very important
conversations. His contribution to our country and its citizens has been
invaluable. I will miss him.
Every night, when I look at the stars and see a light flashing through the
sky, I know it is not Mr. Diefenbaker chasing Dalton Camp; it is Dalton Camp
trying to rearrange the stars —
— in his own way. To the members of his family and to all his friends —
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, today, March 20, 2002, the
Francophonie celebrates its international day. On this unique occasion, this
great community of peoples spread out across five continents gets together and
celebrates the beautiful language we have in common.
According to the official statistics, there are some 170 million francophones
throughout the world, but there are also 500 million people living in the 55
countries and states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
Millions of men and women in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and India are
therefore celebrating their membership in the French-speaking community today.
This year, the International Francophonie is paying tribute to Léopold Sédar
Senghor, one of the founding fathers of the Francophonie, who died on December
20, 2001. Senghor said of the Francophonie:
It is this humanism that has spread across the world: this symbiosis of the
dormant energies of all the continents, of all the races awakening to their
The last Games of la Francophonie, which were held in Ottawa in 2001, showed
us how marvellous it can be to see people of different origins and cultures
united around one ideal, that of belonging to one big family. In these times of
uncertainty, it is a fine example of harmony and openness to contemplate.
Diversity should not be an obstacle.
In Canada, this day is part of the Quinzaine nationale de la francophonie.
For us, this is a time for all Canadians to reflect on our dual heritage, with
its two official languages and cultures. This heritage strengthens our ability
as a country to forge ties with many other countries, and as peoples, to mingle
more easily with the other peoples of the world.
Of course, more remains to be done for this linguistic duality to be
effective. The various reports on this subject and the day-to- day reality are
there to remind us of this fact. However, I am reassured by the interest shown
by the various levels of government in francophone groups throughout Canada;
this shows how important it is to strive to preserve our culture and promote
Honourable senators, on this International Francophonie Day, I invite you to
celebrate our cultural heritage and the pride it brings us.
Hon. Jack Austin, Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures
and the Rights of Parliament, presented the following report:
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
The Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament
(formerly entitled the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and
Orders) has the honour to present its
Your Committee, which was authorized by the Senate to examine the structure
of Committees of the Senate has, in obedience to its orders of reference of
March 15, 2001, and October 18, 2001, proceeded to that inquiry and now
presents its report entitled: Modernizing the Senate Within: Updating the
Senate Committee Structure.
JACK AUSTIN, P.C.
(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 Austin, 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-51, for granting to Her Majesty
certain sums of money for the Public Service of Canada, for the financial year
ending March 31, 2002.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
second reading two days hence.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-52, for granting to Her Majesty
certain sums of money for the Public Service of Canada, for the financial year
ending March 31, 2003.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
second reading two days hence.
Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Tuesday
next, March 26, 2002, I will move that notwithstanding the motion adopted by the
Senate on December 4, 2001, the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the
Rights of Parliament be authorized to extend the date for the presentation of
its report on the time allocated to tributes in the upper chamber from March 31,
2002 to May 31, 2002.
Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I rise again on the issue of
the report of our colleagues on the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence. I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate two
weeks ago, and again last week, what the government's intentions were with
respect to the recommendations of that report, and in particular the
recommendation about an inquiry. I ask again: What is the intention of the
government? Is there any plan to implement any of the recommendations, and if
so, which ones and when?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as I indicated to the honourable senator when he last asked this question, the
government has taken this report under active consideration, but no decisions
have been made.
Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I hope you would all agree
with me that since the report came out, we have been reading headlines in our
national media, almost on a daily basis, about the issue in our ports in
particular, but also other elements of the border questions that were studied by
the committee. In yesterday's National Post, we were informed that six
years ago officials from all aspects of law enforcement warned this government
that Canada's major ports would become a hotbed of criminal activity if the
Ports Canada Police were disbanded. Six years after that advice was ignored, the
Senate committee report has identified the ports as a breeding ground for
organized crime and terrorism.
Honourable senators, the headline was blatant, "Liberals Ignore Warning." I
ask again: What does the government plan to do specifically about this problem
of organized crime in our ports?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
it is interesting that the senator would ask about ports police when, indeed,
that is not one of the recommendations that has come forward from our Senate
committee. They have not recommended that we re-establish the Ports Canada
Police. They have indicated that there should be a public inquiry, and that is
the issue the government is taking under consideration.
Senator Angus: In fairness, that was not responsive to my question. My
question is, what will this government do now that it has been pointed out that
it was specifically warned six years ago by every law enforcement agency with
jurisdiction in this nation, and six years later it was determined by a group of
our colleagues seriously studying the matter that indeed organized crime is
rampant in our major ports all across the nation? Nothing has been done about
it. I think we all deserve an answer. Canadians deserve an answer. What will
this government do about the organized crime situation in our ports?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the honourable senator cannot
start from one headline and jump to a totally different issue. Well, actually,
the honourable senator did just that, but it is not logical. If one wishes to be
logical, one must start with a premise and bring it to a conclusion. The
honourable senator has taken a premise and come to a totally different
conclusion, which is not logic as logic was taught to me.
In terms of the question asked with respect to the actions that the federal
government will take, I have given that answer. They are studying the report of
the Senate, and they will make decisions with respect to that report in due
Hon. J. Micheal Forrestall: Honourable senators did not pay much
attention to us at the time the port structure was dismantled.
Senator Angus: They are too worried about reports that do not contain
anything, and they pay $1 million for them.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate flows from the announcement yesterday by
Eurocopter of the withdrawal of the Cougar from the Maritime Helicopter Project
I quote from the Eurocopter spokesman who is reported to have stated:
My opinion is this process has been too long, and is confused and probably
lacks direction. That's certainly not normal that we are coming to a situation
where two of the competitors, for perfectly opposite reasons, are unhappy
about the process. That should ring some bells.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain to this chamber why
Eurocopter is so upset with the definition process and with the further changes
and requirements; and what, if anything, is the government considering with
respect to further modifications in the requirements for this helicopter?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Eurocopter admitted yesterday that it could not meet the basic criteria of the
statement of operational requirements. The purpose of the dialogue that has
taken place between Public Works, the defence ministry and the industry is so
that we can build the best possible helicopter for our troops. That is what we
want. If Eurocopter cannot build it, then clearly they have to withdraw from the
Senator Forrestall: No, it is not clear that they had to withdraw at
all, but I have to accept the position of the government leader on that.
Eurocopter is the majority shareholder in the NH-90. They have suggested that
unless they receive assurances of favourable consideration from the government
with regard to flexibility in the program requirement specifications, they will
not compete with the NH-90, not to mention the Cougar. The NH-90 is a modern
helicopter, but it is small and a long way from certification. It has less
maximum lift than the Cougar and less cabin volume — in other words, a smaller,
less appropriate vehicle.
That is why I ask: Will the government release a new basic vehicle
requirement specification to accommodate the NH-90 in the Maritime Helicopter
Project competition? If so, can the minister give us a categorical assurance
that the technical compliance of the contenders will be evaluated on the basis
of real capabilities and not virtual ones?
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator asks an important question
based simply on the following: What is our purpose in going through this
exercise to come up with the best plane for the military? The purpose is just
that — to get the very best plane. That does not mean that we will bow to
individual helicopter corporations who think they have the best product. The
military in Canada will determine and has determined what it requires. Public
Works will then determine how it can acquire what the military has indicated
that it needs.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, we are now so far from the
original requirements suggested by the military that my honourable friend's
position is now somewhat academic. We know that the Cougar was not suitable. The
minister has just said that. Now we are dealing with the NH-90, which Eurocopter
has said they would be pleased to support if the government would further reduce
the requirements so as to accommodate the NH-90. In other words, will the
military make more changes? This concern is clearly out there.
The government has been checkmated to some degree on this particular
question, and I am wondering what will happen. Will we wind up with what we
should have done years ago and make a non-competitive award based on certain
controls, give the contract to the Westland group for the EH-101 and get this
plane into operation? Or will we further downgrade the military requirement to
the point where we will have specifications that will allow the NH-90 — smaller,
less weight, less endurance, less everything — to be a viable competitor? Of
course, under the government's directive, it is the least costly helicopter, not
the one with the best value, that will win this contract. What will happen?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, as I have said many times and
I will repeat today, the statement of operational requirements known as the SOR
— as the honourable senator knows well from the Web site that he is on almost
daily — comes from the military. It defines a military helicopter that will be
among the most capable in the world. Those requirements have been established
and they will not change.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, my questions concern $158
million worth of sponsorship contracts awarded to three Montreal firms known to
have close ties to the Liberal Party: Groupe Everest received $56 million in
contracts. Groupaction Marketing Inc. and Lafleur Communications Marketing
received $102 million in sponsorship contracts. What are sponsorship funds? Are
they like what cigarette companies used to give out, or are they government
grants? I find this intriguing.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the Government of Canada sponsors a great many activities. Sometimes they take
the form of artistic activities and sporting activities, and sometimes they are
in the form of signage at arenas. We saw some of that at recent competitions
that have taken place, where the Canada trademark was on display in a variety of
settings. That is the kind of sponsorship that the federal government provides.
It has two purposes. First, it seeks to encourage those activities by providing
communities with the monies whereby the activities can take place in a positive
way and in a positive venue. Second, it also tells Canadians — there is no
apology to be made for this — of the value that the federal government places on
Senator Tkachuk: I just want to get this straight: Taxpayers give
money to the federal government and then the federal government gives money to
these organizations. Departments such as Canadian Heritage or HRDC used to give
out this money. Perhaps at times they managed it badly. In the case of HRDC,
they did manage it badly and were found out. Do people apply to the agency for
the cash that is sitting there, or do they apply to the federal government for
the money that is sitting there?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, since the agencies are part of
the federal government, when one looks at the overall scheme of things, I
suppose people apply to the federal government. Yes, in some cases they do apply
through individual departments. However, if they want money through the
communication branch of government, for which money has been set aside, then
they would do it through that ministry.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I am now somewhat confused.
These agencies are independent companies, as far as I know, unless donating
money to the Liberal Party makes them part of the government. Obviously, they
have to do something for the 12 per cent.
When people want access to this cash to put on a play or have a building
sponsored, do they apply to this private company that gives money to the Liberal
government for a piece of the action? To whom do they apply to obtain the money?
Senator Carstairs: They apply to the Government of Canada.
Senator Tkachuk: The Government of Canada then decides that some
cultural group, such as a dance group, gets the cash. What does the agency do
for its 12 per cent?
Senator Carstairs: If the honourable senator is saying that no one
should ever use an advertising agency in this country, then I suspect he is
prepared to dissolve a rather large industry. Some organizations go through a
promotional organization or an advertising agency. They do that because they do
not feel equipped to make the request on their own behalf. That is perfectly
legitimate in this country.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I like advertising agencies. I
am not saying they should not be hired; they are a big part of our industry. I
have done work for advertising agencies, but I am saying that people actually
have to do something for the percentage they receive.
An agency gets 12 or 15 per cent when they perform a media buy, create copy,
or something like that, which is fine. They receive the grant after the federal
government has done all the paperwork and has made its decision, and the
minister had better ensure that the agency does not decide this.
Let us say the government gives a dance group $100,000. The agency then takes
12 per cent. By my calculation, that leaves only $88,000 for this dance group.
The dance group about which the Liberal government cares so much all of a sudden
has $12,000 less than what it applied for. I want to know what that agency in
Montreal does for the $12,000.
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator says that he is in favour of
advertising companies, and he seems to have some understanding of what it is
that agencies do within the operation of Canada as a community. I can only
assume that the honourable senator is opposed to the ultimate grant to the
group, be it a dance, figure skating, art or theatre group. I do not quite
understand what the problem is, honourable senators.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, let me be clear. Let us say that
the Government of Canada gives $100,000 to a figure skating club. That is good
for the figure skating club, and the Liberal government thinks it is good for
them. However, somewhere in between, the agency receives $12,000 from the
federal government. This is my money, your money, honourable senators, and the
people's money. As I say, $12,000 is taken off the total and given to Groupe
Everest, Lafleur Communications or Groupaction. I just want to know why these
three private firms get to pick up a piece of the cash as it is flowing down to
the people who actually asked for and need the money. What do these companies do
to deserve it?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, quite frankly, it is because
they are using the advertising agency to bring it about.
Senator Tkachuk: The advertising agency actually gets the money for
the group. A group does not go to the federal government; it goes to the
advertising agency to get the people's money. Is that what happens?
Senator Carstairs: It may happen that way, if that is the choice of
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table in this house a response to a question
raised in the Senate on February 20, 2002, by Senator Forrestall regarding the
use of the Joint Task Force 2.
(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on February 20,
Legally that authority rests, as with all Canadian Forces deployments, with
the Minister of National Defence. However, the Minister of National Defence
will consult with the Prime Minister and at times with some or all of his
Cabinet colleagues whenever JTF2 is deployed on an operation, as was the case
with the Afghanistan deployment.
The CDS authorizes individual missions for JTF2 in Afghanistan if they fall
within the approved Rules of Engagement. If the mission were intended to go
beyond the Rules of Engagement the CDS would seek authorization from the
Minister, who would then consult with the Prime Minister, in order to amend
the Rules of Engagement.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, under Government Business, I would like us to start with Item No. 5,
that is, second reading of Bill C-27, before returning to the order set out in
the Order Paper.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gauthier, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Gill, for the second reading of Bill C-27,
respecting the long- term management of nuclear fuel waste.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, I am pleased to have this
opportunity to make a few remarks concerning Bill C-27.
It is important to note at the outset that this bill represents the
culmination of scientific research and development and a full environmental
assessment of the concept of nuclear fuel waste management.
Honourable senators, it also must be acknowledged that Bill C-27 represents
the commitment of the federal government to formalize and implement a
comprehensive approach to support nuclear fuel waste management in this country.
Having stated these two issues, I will begin by commending the government for
taking a strong leadership position in this complex issue. I am in full support
of the need to move forward with legislation as the preferred mechanism for the
Government of Canada to fulfil its policy objectives in respect of the policy
oversight of a waste management entity. This important piece of legislation will
provide us with a sound framework upon which to address the issues of nuclear
fuel waste management. I can think of few issues of greater importance to us all
that have passed through this chamber.
Having said that, honourable senators, there are four concerns with respect
to the current bill that I want to put on record before the bill proceeds to
committee. Essentially, my concerns relate to issues that I believe have not
been adequately addressed in the bill. The issues relate to the information
access mechanism of the bill, the proposed establishment of a waste management
organization to be run by the owners of the nuclear fuel waste industry, the
lack of clear provisions preventing Canadian owners from bringing waste
generated outside Canada back to this country for disposal, and transparency and
accountability of the proposed management model.
Regarding information access, as Senator Gauthier aptly stated:
Canadians want to participate directly in the important decisions affecting
their lives and those of their children. Local communities near existing
reactor sites want to know what will be the fate of the nuclear fuel waste
currently located within their boundaries.
Indeed, this is true.
Let me speak to the first issue concerning a lack of access to information
and of public support for the bill. As all honourable senators know, the process
that has gotten us to where we are today has been a lengthy one. The formal
review of this issue dates back to 1989, when the Environmental Assessment and
Review Process Guidelines Order established the Nuclear Fuel Waste and Disposal
Concept Environmental Assessment Panel, also known as the Seaborn panel. In
March 1998, following nine years of study, the panel submitted its
recommendation to the Government of Canada following an exhaustive review that
included extensive consultation generating input from 531 registered speakers
and 536 written submissions. Following the recommendations of the panel, the
Minister of Natural Resources Canada also consulted the stakeholders, including
the public, provincial governments, waste owners and other interested parties,
to identify options for proceeding with the next step on the long-term
management of nuclear waste.
One of the key conclusions reached by the Seaborn panel was that broad public
support is necessary to ensure the acceptability of a concept for managing
nuclear fuel waste. I believe, as others do, that the current bill falls short
on this front.
Many concerns have been voiced about the insufficiency of public
consultations and the lack of public participation required by Bill C-27 of the
future waste management organization, or WMO.
Clause 12(7) clearly states:
The waste management organization shall consult the general public, and in
particular aboriginal peoples, on each of the proposed approaches. The study
must include a summary of the comments received by the waste management
organization as a result of those consultations.
Subsequently, the minister may engage in consultations with the general
public. This strategy leaves the consultation process too flexible, and open to
the whim of public officials. A public consultation on such an issue requires
transparency and accountability throughout the process.
At the end of the process, the minister recommends to the Governor in Council
which approach has been selected for the management of nuclear fuel waste. As
clause 15 states: "- and the decision of the Governor in Council shall be
published in the Canada Gazette."
Honourable senators, two elements are of concern here. The selection of the
approach should be returned to Parliament for a decision. Again, I mention the
concern regarding the limiting of access to crucial information to the public
concerned about this issue, including individuals and host-site municipalities.
As Senator Wilson mentioned in her statement on this question, in practical
terms, a very select few are acquainted with the Canada Gazette.
Again I ask, how can the public be sufficiently informed in this matter? How
can this approach ensure that decisions are widely known by the Canadian public?
How can public support be acquired and be an integral part of the
It is my understanding that the waste management organization will not be
subject to the federal Access to Information Act, nor to the Auditor General.
Indeed, this is a huge gap in the mechanisms facilitating public oversight.
We need to ensure that the public has an opportunity to bring forward any
concerns that they might have on this issue. I also believe that the proposed
legislation must state precisely how the public will be involved in the review
of options to dispose of nuclear waste as part of the framework in both the
short term and long term.
Honourable senators, let us remember that the September 11 crisis in the
United States has put all of us in a different place in time in terms of looking
at all issues from the perspective of public security and safety. Things that
once seemed impossible have become reality. Today, it is clear that we not only
need to rethink the issue of public safety, but we need to rethink how to
involve the public in decisions that impact on their safety.
Ensuring that radioactive waste disposal is carried out in a safe,
environmentally sound and comprehensive manner may have been perceived as being
primarily a concern for government and industry leaders prior to September 11. I
would propose that today it is a different issue in that the public needs and
wants to provide input on the matter from conception to implementation.
Therefore, I recommend that the government agree to launch an effective
public consultation that will review the regulations governing nuclear fuel
waste management and disposal in this country. This process does not need to
prohibit the passage of Bill C-27. Rather, it can complement it. However, the
proposed legislation should be amended to include a clause that allows for the
development of a comprehensive public participation program in the ongoing
duties of the waste management agency that will be established under the bill.
My second concern relates to the establishment of an independent nuclear fuel
waste management agency, the WMO. As proposed in the bill, the primary role of
this group would be to propose approaches to the Government of Canada for
managing nuclear fuel waste and to implement the approach in accordance with the
proposed act. It can be understood, in some respect, that delegating management
responsibilities to a private industry- formed and funded organization would
theoretically be cost efficient because the bill ensures that waste owners will
set aside funds to meet financial responsibilities over the long term. My
concern is that if they do not set aside funds for whatever reason, what are the
mechanisms and safeguards that will reduce the probability that fiscal
responsibility for waste management is not passed on to the consumer directly?
As currently stipulated, all nuclear energy corporations would become members
of the waste management organization and would have the responsibility of
interpreting and meeting broad policy objectives set by the federal government.
The WMO would become a private entity appointing its own board of directors and
its advisory council. This is contrary to the Seaborn panel recommendations.
Indeed, it could be perceived as a "board of foxes" guarding the proverbial
As Grand Chief Coon Come of the Assembly of First Nations stated to the
Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural
Resources on November 6, 2001:
— we need to have some kind of public body, a public agency...because
they're not representing an industry, they're not there to maximize the return
on investment, they're not there to represent their shareholders, they're
there to represent the public as a whole.
The second issue of concern is that the proposed waste management
organization is guided by broad objectives and policies. As Grand Chief Matthew
Coon Come further remarked:
The phrase "comprehensive, integrated, and economically sound" can be
interpreted in many ways. The phrase is sufficiently broad and general to mean
all things to all people, depending on the perspective one brings to the
This leads to further misinformation and misinterpretation, and could
potentially aggravate the current mistrust of the industry. It is difficult to
envision an industry-based waste management organization that would have the
ability to examine broad-based issues, thus engendering public trust and
I support the need to do what must be done to guarantee the agency's
independence from vested interests and to avoid the potential for mistrust and
confrontation, not just from informed citizens but also from the government and
industry players themselves.
Therefore, I would support the need for an amendment to the bill to allow for
the establishment of an independent commission to handle the long-term
management of spent nuclear fuel, rather than the current model proposed in the
bill that allows for an industry-led corporation to oversee its own waste
management organization. There may be merit in having government representation
at the table, given that some have criticized the government as shirking its
responsibility on this issue.
Let me turn to the disposal of waste outside Canada. There is a lack of
clarity in the current bill concerning the stipulation prohibiting foreign waste
from being disposed of in Canada. Nothing in the proposed legislation prevents
Canadian nuclear power companies from establishing plants in the United States
or elsewhere and producing nuclear fuel waste to be brought back to Canada for
disposal. This is a serious shortcoming that the committee must address.
In particular, I believe an amendment is needed to qualify that the
definition of "nuclear fuel waste" refers only to that originating in Canada.
The section defining "purpose of the act" must clarify that the bill is
exclusively concerned with management of domestic nuclear fuel waste, not
nuclear fuel waste from other countries. There must be an explicit statement in
the proposed legislation prohibiting the import of waste into Canada for
Honourable senators, these are not new issues. They have been raised by
others and were reviewed — but rejected — when the bill went through the House
of Commons approximately one year ago.
Bill C-27 does provide for policy oversight, ensuring that the waste
management agency meets its policy objectives. However, the bill sets out little
in terms of direct public oversight to provide assurance that the activities of
the agency do not have implications that run counter to the principles of
distributive justice, that is, business interest versus the good of the public.
It is conceivable that the WMO could implement policy in a way that may
unjustly burden citizens. For example, the basic concern of mayors of
communities currently hosting nuclear facilities is that waste management
decisions made without their involvement could unjustly affect the social
well-being of the host communities. Hosting a nuclear facility involves the
costs of developing and having in place an emergency plan, maintaining a
well-trained emergency response team, an emergency measures office,
appropriately informing the public, as well as costs associated with the
devaluation of property and the subsequent decreases in revenue from taxes.
The proposed WMO should act in the public interest and be accountable to the
public. It needs to take into serious consideration that, as a public service
provider, an organization is responsible for its customers, particularly when
the well-being of present and future citizens is concerned.
Honourable senators, much concern has been expressed in relation to Bill
C-27's lack of transparency and accountability to the Canadian public.
Mechanisms must be in place to ensure that public oversight at all levels is
Finally, honourable senators, the legislation fails to address another
important issue, that is, a debate about a timetable for disposal of nuclear
waste from given sites to others, which might be a reasonable alternative. The
Mayor of Pickering said the following:
For as long as 40 years the municipalities —
— of Clarington and Kincardine and the city of Pickering —
— have served as so-called interim storage sites. With the legislation
currently before us, there's every likelihood we would continue to serve as
stop-gap storage sites for decades more. In effect, we would become the de
facto permanent storage sites for nuclear waste without adequate scrutiny,
consideration, or preparation for what that means in the longer term.
A critical path and timetable are needed to ease of burden of responsibility
in such communities.
Honourable senators, I look forward to a full discussion of this bill in
committee and the emergence of an improved bill.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, I have deep concerns about
this bill, and I wish to register my objections at the second reading debate.
There are extreme dangers inherent in nuclear waste materials, which
necessitate a process that will ensure the safety of Canadians in the disposal
process and ensure that we meet the social conditions surrounding this subject.
After lengthy examination, the Seaborn panel came to two conclusions, which I
From a technical perspective, safety of the AECL concept has been on
balance adequately demonstrated for a conceptual stage of development, but
from a social perspective, it has not.
As it stands, the AECL concept for deep geological disposal has not been
demonstrated to have broad public support. The concept in its current form
does not have the required level of acceptability to be adopted as Canada's
approach for managing nuclear fuel waste.
Let us compare what the Seaborn panel advised the Canadian government to do,
as opposed to what the government actually did. The heart of the bill concerns
setting up the waste management organization. Clause 6(1) states:
The nuclear energy corporations shall establish a corporation, in this Act
referred to as the waste management organization —
Who are the nuclear energy corporations?
Bill C-27 identifies them as Ontario Power Generation Inc., Hydro-Québec, New
Brunswick Power Corporation, any successor of these corporations and the Atomic
Energy of Canada Limited. In other words, the very manufacturers are now to be
the custodians of the waste management process. What did Seaborn say on this
central element? Seaborn said that a nuclear fuel waste management association,
which is now called a waste management organization, should be established at
arm's length from the utilities and the AECL, with the sole purpose of managing
and coordinating the full range of activities relating to the long-range
management of nuclear fuel waste.
Why did Seaborn argue that the new organization should be at arm's length
from the producers of the nuclear materials in the first place? Let me give you
one paragraph from the lengthy report, which I commend to all honourable
senators. Seaborn stated:
For various reasons, there is in many quarters an apprehension about nuclear
power that bedevils the activities and proposals of the nuclear industry. If
there is to be any confidence in a system for the long-term management of
nuclear fuel wastes, a fresh start must be made in the form of a new agency. The
agency must be at arm's lengths from the producers and current owners of the
wastes. Its overall commitment must be to safety.
Seaborn cited as an authority for that very important conclusion that they
came to the Joint Committee of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Royal
Society of Canada. Honourable senators cannot find a much higher authority than
that on this subject. They said:
The Joint Committee is concerned that this body have high public
credibility and considers that this requires detachment from the organizations
which have been closely associated with the generation and handling of nuclear
Who will be on the board of the waste management organization as set out by
Bill C-27? I will tell honourable senators who will be on that board — every
nuclear energy corporation. The bill states:
6.(2) ...every nuclear energy corporation shall become and remain a member
or shareholder of it.
What did Seaborn say about who should be on the board? He said: "The board
of directors appointed by the federal government should be representative of key
stakeholders." They should be people who have a legitimate interest in the
subject and who go far beyond the narrowness of those who actually produce the
material — all the people who will be affected in one way or another.
It will be pointed out to me by the proponents of Bill C-27: "What am I
worried about? It has an advisory council that will be comprised of various
people." I am worried because the advisory council will have no legislative or
no determinative function whatsoever. Moreover, the advisory council determines
who will be on the advisory council. They say that the members of the council
should have a broad range of scientific and technical disciplines "as needed in
other social sciences."
Honourable senators, Seaborn said clearly that the representatives of social
sciences have an integral role to play, especially with respect to the
consideration of the Aboriginal peoples whose land this will affect when we go
to the Laurentian Shield. Seaborn quoted a concern, and I can express my
argument most succinctly by quoting what he said while he quoted from the
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and
Labrador and the Grand Council of the Crees, who said:
— we recommend that the proponent be required to undertake a meaningful
process of consultation with representative First Nations communities and
umbrella organizations regarding this concept in the Canadian Shield. Such
consultation should be funded by AECL but undertaken by First Nations people
themselves according to their own methodologies with their own experts, and
according to their own concerns, values and priorities.
Honourable senators, this is not being done. Seaborn called for extensive
consultations and an advisory council, representative of a wide variety of
interested parties. This has not been done in Bill C-27.
There are other points to which I would like to object, but I promised the
deputy leader that I would make a short intervention. The core of my objection
is that the centrepiece of Seaborn's recommendation — that it be an independent
arm's length body — has not only not been followed, but the government has done
the reverse. That is the centre of the principle of this bill. Thus, if this
bill is to go to committee this afternoon, I should like the record to reflect
that it was passed on division so that my objection, which would be a negative
vote on second reading, would be so recorded.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it your pleasure to
adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Senator Roche: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.
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. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I am pleased to say a few
words about Bill C-39. This is an important and interesting bill that deals with
the Yukon, a part of Canada that, like the Northwest Territories, has struggled
and continues to struggle for responsible government. This bill advances that
At the same time, there are unresolved issues of Aboriginal rights among some
Yukon First Nations. While some have settled land claims and self-government
agreements, others continue to struggle to conclude these important
negotiations. We heard from two of these groups — the Kaska Nation and the
Carcross/Tagish First Nation. They asked us to delay the passage of Bill C-39
until their claims were satisfactorily dealt with.
Honourable senators, there are two forces at work: On the one hand, there is
a territory that, by this proposed legislation, will obtain control of the vast
lands of the Yukon and will control its non-renewable resources; and on the
other hand, there are numerous Aboriginal peoples who are still seeking
ownership of and control over their ancestral lands. Through this bill, the
Yukon government will achieve its objectives, while the Aboriginal people — the
first peoples of Yukon — will not. It is not surprising that some have referred
to this bill as Yukon's land settlement, rather than their own land settlement.
Honourable senators, it is a good time to remind the federal government of
its constitutional responsibilities to deal fairly and expeditiously with Yukon
First Nations. They were promised under the 1870 Rupert's Land Order, when vast
tracts of northern lands — Rupert's Land and Northwest Territories' land — were
transferred to Canada:
...that upon transference of the territories in question to the Canadian
government, the claims of the Indian tribes to compensation for lands required
for purposes of settlement will be considered and settled in conformity with
equitable principles which have been uniformly governed by the British Crown
in its dealings with the aborigines. Yukon first nations cite these orders as
central to the federal government's responsibility in dealing fairly with
At the same time, there is a movement in the northern parts of our country —
the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut more recently — towards
responsible government and eventually self-determination to the point where they
each will become a province.
Honourable senators, there does not have to be conflict between the struggle
for responsible government and the First Nations' quest for settlement of their
land claims. These two movements can occur at the same time. My experience, as
premier of the Northwest Territories in the 1980s, shows that devolution of
powers and the development of responsible government are a good thing. We found
that when we took over programs and responsibilities, we were able to deliver
and do a much better job than officials who lived far away from the people they
I am concerned that some land claims in the Yukon have not been settled.
There is a federal mandate, apparently, which may expire at the end of March. I
hope that the federal government will re-examine and extend its mandate so that
these claims can be settled in the next year or so. I urge the Yukon government,
once they have these additional powers, to be generous and open because they
will be sitting at the table with the federal government and First Nations. The
Yukon government now has the responsibility to contribute as much as possible to
the resolution of these claims.
Honourable senators, I take some comfort in the fact that the transfer
agreement, a precursor to this act signed in 1998, calls for the transfer to
occur by April 2003. That leaves a year in which the Yukon claims can be settled
if it is to be done in advance of devolution taking place.
I am satisfied that there are provisions for the federal government to take
back the administration and control of public lands for the purposes of settling
land claims with the Yukon First Nations.
Honourable senators, as a show of good faith, I am prepared to support the
bill. However, I intend to monitor the progress of the Yukon land claims
negotiations. By passing this bill, we are honouring the promise of responsible
government to Yukoners. At the same time, it is incumbent upon us to insist that
the federal government does all it can to keep its promise of dealing fairly
with the First Nations of the Yukon.
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. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, Bill S-41 may seem
particularly technical and insignificant to many of you. In fact, it could have
an enormous impact on the entire Canadian legal system, given the difficulty
underlying the drafting of this bill.
We know that, under the constitutional provisions of section 133 of the 1867
Constitution, the Parliament of Canada and the Quebec Legislative Assembly were
given by the Fathers of Confederation a very specific responsibility as far as
the French and English languages are concerned. The Parliament of Canada and the
Legislative Assembly of Quebec have the constitutional duty and responsibility
to enact and publish all legislation, orders and regulations arising out of
their legislative prerogatives in both official languages. This affects all
procedures and proceedings of these two important institutions.
Now, honourable senators, following on the Supreme Court of Canada's judgment
in Blaikie, which addressed certain provisions of Quebec's Charte de la langue
française, it appears that the federal government had, since 1867, the practice
of enacting its regulations and orders in English only. It apparently then had
them all translated and published in both of Canada's official languages, in
compliance with section 133. What is somewhat surprising about the initiative
taken by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, on behalf of the Minister
of Justice, is that the Canadian government appears to have been aware of this
legal difficulty with the legislation enactment process for more than 20 years.
I imagine that this doubt must have existed since the comment made by the
Supreme Court of Canada, in 1977, if I am not mistaken. This doubt was so
serious that, 20 years later, the Canadian government decided to do something.
It is very easy to measure the legal consequences that such a quagmire could
have had in the past 20 years, if the Government of Canada had done nothing. For
example, any lawyer who wants to challenge regulations or an order issued by the
Governor General of Canada could argue that the regulatory provisions were not
adopted in both official languages, even though they might have been published
in both languages. This could invalidate the regulatory provisions in every area
because this has been done in a consistent manner. Even though, at first glance,
this bill seems to be rather innocuous, it deals with an extremely serious
problem that could create real chaos in Canada's legal framework.
Honourable senators, the first definitive version of the Quebec government's
Charte de la langue française, Bill 101, included a provision to the effect that
Quebec laws would only be passed in French. Camille Laurin, the minister
responsible for this important Quebec language legislation, was well aware of
the situation. This was a rather curious political move.
This was confirmed in a recent biography: Dr. Laurin knew that this section
violated the provisions of section 133. He went ahead anyway. He thought he
could score political points with this. He claimed that the Supreme Court was
preventing Quebec from legislating freely. He knew exactly what he was doing
when he included this provision. It was invalidated by the Supreme Court in the
Blaikie case. That is when the issue was raised in relation to the federal
This bill is important. We are rather surprised that the government has
introduced it in the Senate. We do not have the list of the regulations that
were improperly made because section 133 was not complied with. This section
requires the Canadian government to adopt its laws and regulations in both
official languages, not only to publish them in both official languages and have
them translated. We do not have that list. We assume that it is very long. The
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs will surely ask
questions regarding the existence of that list, when officials from the
Department of Justice are summoned. We do not know for sure, but we can imagine
that this may be very important.
The second question will undoubtedly deal with the 20 years it took for the
government to decide to act, when it could have caused an immense legal
These are the essential provisions of the bill. It is retroactive. Some may
worry about the legal value of the approach taken by the government. Of course,
it fulfills our constitutional obligations. The latter must be met within the
framework of the constitution. If this type of problem arises, it has to be
remedied in a manner that is constitutional. So, we have this bill, which is
retroactive. It states that anything that might have been done wrongly is now
acceptable. It is a pragmatic approach. It would be an extremely lengthy process
to correct everything in our parliamentary system.
There are many uncertainties. We do not know the nature of the problem we are
dealing with. There is no doubt that this is a practical solution to a problem.
Once again, this bill may not make newspaper headlines, but it is a serious
issue in the context of Canada's Parliament legislating in a manner that
satisfies our constitutional requirements.
Honourable senators, we all recall the consequences of the Forest ruling on
the Government of Manitoba and its statutes. Corrections had to be made in an
Honourable senators, we all recognize the eminent value of the principle of
linguistic duality. This duality is entrenched in the Official Languages Act and
the Constitution of Canada. It involves certain provisions regarding the
Parliament of Canada and the Legislative Assembly of Quebec.
There are also other extremely important language rights. From a
constitutional perspective, it is imperative that the protection of Canada's
linguistic duality receive a constitutional legal basis. Otherwise, governments
might fail to apply these provisions, even though they are acting in good faith.
This does not only apply to the legislative process, but also to education.
Minority groups in Canada have had to take their cases to the Supreme Court
of Canada to have these constitutional provisions applied. In the Ottawa area,
in the case of Montfort Hospital, French language minority groups had to go to
court to ensure that their fundamental constitutional rights were respected.
There is still work to be done in Canada to ensure that linguistic duality is
not merely about providing services in the official language requested. We
should also ensure that our constitutional legislation on duality protects not
just individuals but minority language communities as well. I am thinking of
sectors such as education, health and social services, on which our minority
language communities in Canada, be they English- or French- speaking, depend for
This bill deserves to be studied in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs. It contains some important technical features, which
may turn out to be highly significant. We will examine them and report to this
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, Senator Joyal, seconded by
Senator Corbin, has moved that this bill be read the second time. Is it your
pleasure to adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Taylor, for the second reading of Bill C-49, to
implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on December
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, in rising to speak on Bill C-49, I should like to underscore two
matters. The first is the proposal to set in place an airline security fee; the
second is the Canada Fund for Africa. I should like to begin with the latter,
namely, the Africa fund.
As was mentioned earlier in this debate, some of us find great merit in the
proposal to make available a dedicated fund of some $500 million to support
development in Africa. However, it is important to have adequate machinery in
place to ensure that these funds will reach the people who are most in need in
Africa. We would like to see a sound program evaluation system attached to the
mechanism, such that we would be able to monitor where the funds go and whether
they are being used effectively and efficiently. There is just too much in past
experience to indicate that funds that are made available from the developed
world to the underdeveloped world, to the Third World, end up in the hands of
the dictators or the rich and the powerful and are never seen by those most in
I believe that it is the intent of the government, as it is the intent of the
people of Canada, that our development funds reach the people who are most in
need. I also believe that this is the same principle that underlies the Prime
Minister's own view, which he expressed only a few days ago. It is a view shared
by other governments that are part of the G8.
Last week, His Honour and colleagues visited the Senate and senators of the
Republic of Italy, at which time we held a discussion on this very topic. The
President of Italy and the Speaker of the Italian Senate underscored the same
concern. We have abroad in Canada a consensus that has been expressed by the
Prime Minister. Other developed countries that are making development aid
available to that theatre of the world are now looking to ensure that these
development funds reach the people who are most in need.
Honourable senators, perhaps we should address things in a more systematic
way. Perhaps we should choose an area like health care, for example, and focus
on it as the Canadian contribution area.
One part of the bill that caught my attention and which raises some question
is found on page 109 of the bill. I hope that the committee will look at this.
Part 5 deals with the Canada Fund for Africa, and subclause 3(2) describes the
eligible activities for which the Canada Fund for Africa could be applied. In
the English version, the subclause states that an eligible activity is an
activity that would be directed at objectives set out, inter alia:
— for support in the Africa Action Plan called for by the Group of Eight
industrialized countries in Genoa in July of 2001 and that are adopted by the
Group of Eight at its summit scheduled at Kananaskis in June of this year.
The French version of that subclause is clearly written in the future tense:
— qui seront adoptés par le Groupe des huit au sommet —
The logic of it is that this part of the bill anticipates a decision that
could take place in June. What happens, however, if that decision is not taken?
Perhaps we need an explanation. The committee should delve into the timeline for
application of that part of the bill.
Honourable senators, let me turn to the other concern that has been canvassed
by colleagues earlier in this debate, namely, the airport security charge.
Senator Bolduc: Tax!
Senator Kinsella: I hear the term "tax." That, I believe, is what it
is, although the bill itself uses the term "charge."
Senator Robichaud: It is a levy.
Senator Kinsella: I was going to make a compromise and call it an
"airline security fee."
Senator Lynch-Staunton: It is a tax.
Senator Robichaud: It is a levy.
Senator Kinsella: Whatever it is called, whilst I am supportive of the
Africa fund, I am not supportive of the air security fee/tax/ charge/levy. If,
at this stage, we are debating the principle of the bill, what is the principle
of the bill? Is the principle of the bill to establish the Africa fund and other
tax measures, or is it a transportation safety issue? Perhaps the bill is
totally out of order —
Senator Robichaud: No, no!
Senator Kinsella: — and should be withdrawn or examined by His Honour.
Perhaps that is something we should keep in the back of our minds as we
carefully analyze the bill.
Senator Robichaud: Yes, way back!
Senator Kinsella: My concern about the air security fee/tax/
charge/levy is that on the economic side, as I try to understand the logic of
the government, the government seems to be saying, "Look, it is only $24
charged to those who use the system." A family of four or five travelling on
their savings for a vacation or to see distant family members would disagree
that it is "only $24."
The government plans to deposit the monies collected from the airline
security fee into the General Revenue Fund. The fee is not related to the cost
of security. We have no documentation or studies that support a $24 fee. What
happens if the real cost of airline security turns out to be $20 per passenger
or $10 per passenger? Who gets the refund? No one, because the way the fee is
structured, it is nothing but a tax grab.
Beyond economics, the consequences of this fee are more far- reaching than
one might initially suspect. Since the security of air travel first became an
issue in the 1970s, it has been understood that security, like aircraft
maintenance, is an essential component of our national transportation system. It
is a transportation issue. It is in the public's best interest for an airplane
to take off at one airport and land at its scheduled destination without any
forced interruptions. Surely, the tragic loss of some 3,000 human lives in New
York's World Trade Center, including 24 Canadians, and another 200 lives at the
Pentagon shows this.
Honourable senators, I happen to live in Fredericton, New Brunswick, along
the flight path of departing and landing aircraft for the Fredericton airport,
so I, as well as my neighbours, know full well the benefit of planes reaching
their scheduled destination.
Think about it, honourable senators. For years, the lines between private and
public interest have been blurred. Many airports have established fees for
runways and terminal improvements, often at the government's behest, but these
are private interests. Only those who travel will utilize them. With the
transfer to local airport authorities, I can understand the logic of the
decision taken by them to improve their facilities, paying for it in part by
levying a fee for those who use the airport facility. These are private
interests, in a sense, and only those who travel utilize them. I see those fees
as justifiable fees.
However, a public interest such as security is there for everyone, regardless
of who uses it. Those who may not be flying at all may have aircraft flying over
their heads as they walk down the street. There is a safety issue that goes
beyond those who are getting on the airplane that happens to be flying overhead
at any point in time.
I repeat: A public interest such as security is there for everyone,
regardless of who uses it. Is health care only for the sick? Are highways only
for those with cars? Will we toll all federal highways to pay for their
policing? Will we charge small businesses a fee when the RCMP Commercial Crimes
Division investigates the latest scam on their behalf? Will our National Defence
Headquarters charge municipalities for disaster relief? Will we make the United
Nations pay the full cost of our participation in peacekeeping operations,
allowing the organization to subsidize our national defence as if we were a
Third World country?
If the government is prepared to do this with such an important component of
national security, how long will it take for the logic or the mindset, this
"group think," to begin to permeate our social security system? Why should
Canadians pay through income tax to fund a health care system they may only use
once or twice a year or a university that they may never enter? The answer is
that everyone in our society benefits from all such services. The tragic example
on everyone's mind is the benefit that all those victims on the ground in New
York would have derived had airport security been better.
Honourable senators, we all benefit from airline security. While the
traveller reaches his or her destination and comes home safely, non-travellers
do not have to raise their eyes to the sky in fear every time a plane flies
over; the airline does not have to spend millions to replace aircraft; and
insurance companies do not have to pay out millions or billions in loss, injury
and damage claims. The proposal in that part of Bill C-49 is that the traveller
should exclusively have to pay to use these new measures, and it takes an
approach that I believe is inappropriate. The issue is not simply security for
the person who gets on an aircraft. Airline security affects everyone. The
example I give is of people walking the street with airplanes flying overhead.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the principle upon which this
airline use or safety tax or fee or charge is being applied.
In addition to what I think is a faulty policy principle is the practicality
consideration and the immense cost. There are other ways to achieve the capital
expenditures that the planners have envisaged for new safety screening
equipment, et cetera, which will cost some $350 million in both the first and
second years. At present, there is a front-end load in terms of the capital
expenditures. The way in which that can be dealt with is to use the fundamental
principle that we use when we are buying a house or any other major capital
expenditure item, and that is to amortize the item over the normal life
expectancy of the given asset. The capital cost of all this new safety equipment
could be spread over the expected life of that equipment. We would therefore not
be faced with a fee of $24 per ticket, which as I understand it is based on the
expenditure of some $340 million or $350 million in the first two years of this
program to buy this equipment. If that cost were to be amortized over a long
period of time, the fee would probably be down to $3 or $4 rather than $24.
There are fundamental problems of principle with the way in which this tax
has been conceptualized and put together. There is something wrong with the
mechanics of it. I would hope that in committee, if we will not do it here in
the chamber — I do not see great enthusiasm on the other side to challenge the
principle because we are dealing with apples and oranges here — the bill could
be split or that part which is particularly offensive could be cut away so that
honourable senators could be supportive of some parts of the bill they deem to
have great merit.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it was moved by the
Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Taylor, that this
bill be read the second time.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eleventh report (final) of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (Supplementary Estimates (B)
2001-02), presented in the Senate on March 14, 2002.
Hon. Anne C. Cools, for Senator Murray, moved the adoption of the
She said: Honourable senators, it is my understanding that Senator
Lynch-Staunton wishes to speak to this motion. Perhaps he could rise to take the
On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, today is Wednesday, a day on which committees sit at 3:30 p.m. With
leave of the Senate, I move that the Senate do now adjourn and that all items on
the Order Paper that have not been reached stand in their place.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Thursday, March 21, 2002, at 1:30 p.m.