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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 99

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker


THE SENATE

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

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

Prayers.

The Honourable Lois M. Wilson, O.C., O. Ont.

Tributes on Retirement

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 year.

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 Lois Wilson."

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 exceptional person.

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 independent senator.

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 following statement:

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 sense.

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 Irwin Cotler.

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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 philosophy:

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 Lois responded.

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?

(1350)

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 involvement.

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 great interest.

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 public.

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.

[Translation]

I appreciate the tributes paid to me on this very special day and I am eager to see what the future will bring.

[English]

Visitors in the Gallery

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.


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[Translation]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

International Francophonie Day

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 Francophonie.

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.

[English]

The Honourable Marisa Ferretti Barth

Congratulations on Receiving the Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy

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.

The Honourable Thelma J. Chalifoux

Congratulations on Receiving Woman of Vision of the Year Award of Alberta

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.

The Late Dalton Camp, O.C.

Tribute

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 —

[Translation]

— in his own way. To the members of his family and to all his friends —

[English]

— I send Dalton a big hug.

[Translation]

International Francophonie Day

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 complementary warmth.

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.

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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 national unity.

Honourable senators, on this International Francophonie Day, I invite you to celebrate our cultural heritage and the pride it brings us.


[English]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Eleventh Report of Committee Presented

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

ELEVENTH REPORT

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.

Respectfully submitted,

JACK AUSTIN, P.C.

Chair

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 1328.)

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.

Appropriation Bill No. 4, 2001-02

First Reading

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.

Appropriation Bill No. 1, 2002-03

First Reading

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.

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Time Allocated to Tributes—Notice of Motion to Extend Date of Final Report

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.


QUESTION PERIOD

National Security and Defence

Report of Committee on Survey of Major Security and Defence Issues—Government Response

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.

Report of Committee on Survey of Major Security and Defence Issues—Port Security

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 course.

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.

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National Defence

Replacement of Sea King Helicopters—Withdrawal of Eurocopter from Competition

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 tendering process.

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 bidding process.

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.

Public Works and Government Services

Sponsorship Funds

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 sponsorship.

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.

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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 the group.

Senator Tkachuk: Okay, I have it.

[Translation]

Delayed Answer to Oral Question

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.

National Defence

Joint Task Force 2—Authorization of Counter-Terrorist Operations

(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on February 20, 2002)

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.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Business of the Senate

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.

[English]

Nuclear Fuel Waste Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

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.

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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 decision-making process?

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 chicken coop.

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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 issue.

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 collaboration.

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 disposal.

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 required.

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 quote:

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?

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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 fuel waste.

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.

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

Yukon Bill

Third Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

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 cause considerably.

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 them.

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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 were serving.

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.

I wish the people of the Yukon well.

On motion of Senator Watt, debate adjourned.

[Translation]

Legislative Instruments Re-enactment Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

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 language.

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.

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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 legislation.

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 quagmire.

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 urgent manner.

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 survival.

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 Chamber.

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?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and bill read second time.

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Joyal, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

[English]

Budget Implementation Bill, 2001

Second Reading

On the Order:

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 10, 2001.

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 need.

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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.

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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?

Motion agreed to and bill read second time.

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Cools, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance.

The Estimates, 2001-02

Report of National Finance Committee on Supplementary Estimates (B)—Debate Adjourned

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 report.

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 adjournment.

On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.

[Translation]

Business of the Senate

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.