Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 114
Wednesday, May 8, 2002
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker
Wednesday, May 8, 2002
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, in connection with the crisis
in the Middle East, I recently received an intensely emotional e-mail and would
like to share some excerpts from it with you. The writer, Magda Nicola, is a
Canadian of Middle Eastern descent who lives in Ontario. The message she has
sent to her friends is an appeal to step up the efforts to restore peace in the
region. I will read a few passages from it:
Ultimately, for many of you to whom I am sending this
e-mail, peace in the Middle East will not affect you personally. You may have
to pay more petrol, or you may have to cancel your long awaited trek through
Egypt, but for me, it's different. It is my father's birthplace and...I still
have a great deal of family residing there.
I live with a constant nagging of fear that my cousin, or my aunt, or other
close family members will be injured, or killed simply because they happen to
be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I live with a constant nagging fear
that I will never have the chance to see my cousins, my aunts, uncles, or
other close family again. Every morning I wake up and I realize only when I
don't hear it, that I've been holding my breath for bad news coming from
cities and towns where my family lives....
Do you remember how you felt on 9/11 when you heard about the atrocious
attacks in the U.S.? Do you remember the absolute panic you felt when you
started to think about the people you knew who could have been affected? Do
you recall how helpless you felt, and how you felt when you realized that
everything you knew to be safe suddenly wasn't.
It's a terrible feeling. Please remember that when I hear of a suicide bomb
in a city or town where my family lives that is how I feel. Every single time.
Please remember that every single person who has family residing in Israel or
Palestine feels that way. Every single time a bomb goes off, a shot is fired,
a house is bulldozed, or people are rounded up. Please remember that every
single person who lives in Israel or Palestine feels that way every single
day. It's a terrible way to live.
I agree with Ms. Nicola that this is a terrible way to live. The heavy
atmosphere of terror that has spread after September 11, 2001 is there to remind
us of this. There is nothing worse for a human being than to feel threatened,
particularly by people toward whom one feels no animosity in the least. It is
hard to feel obliged to pay with one's life for actions for which one is not
accountable, or for a political decision one does not, in any way, support.
We may have a tendency to forget this, but this conflict affects millions of
people who live in constant fear for their loved ones. It is for their sake, as
much as for those who are living through this crisis every day, that this
conflict must come to an end.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, yesterday Honourable
Senator Lise Bacon delivered a statement on the visit to France of a group of
parliamentarians under the auspices of the Canada-France Association. I do not
want to repeat what our chair said so aptly about the purpose of that exchange.
Now, after the second round of the presidential election, I would just like to
add a few words about the electoral system.
The first ballot of the presidential election, held on April 21, shook up
France. The left was rejected. The French reacted on the second ballot, and the
extreme right lost, perhaps in an unprecedented defeat, in that second ballot.
As honourable senators will know, France has "married" a parliamentary and
a presidential regime.
After last Sunday's vote, some raised the concept of "reforming the
Republic." A special issue of Le Monde was devoted to this. We had the
opportunity, moreover, to attend two round table discussions, involving both
political figures and intellectuals.
Now, however, they need to wait for June and the legislative election. I do
not doubt that a degree of balance between left and right will be restored, but
the question still remains unanswered: Which will win out, right or left? Only
then will France be able to address the matter of cohabitation.
In conclusion, I will just say that we had an opportunity to learn first hand
how the electoral system operates. Our visit was, therefore, extremely
Hon. Yves Morin: Honourable senators, National Nursing Week provides
us with an opportunity to draw attention to the essential contribution made by
nurses to our health care system. With this year's theme being "Always There
for You: Caring for Families," we also want to stress the vital role played by
nurses in the promotion of health for Canadian families.
Nurses are the single largest occupational group within the Canadian health
care system. More than 225,000 registered nurses provide quality, cost-effective
health care. Nurses are team players who recognize the value of collaborative
partnerships among health care providers. They play an integral part in
maintaining our strong national health care system.
Health research is providing us with the evidence we need to ensure that
their role can be maintained and strengthened. For instance, research carried
out by Dr. Ann Tourangeau and supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research has provided us with evidence that the knowledge and skills of
registered nurses make a difference in patient survival rates. Dr. Tourangeau
looked at the outcomes of 47,000 Ontario patients. Results showed that patients
with the best outcomes were attended to by more experienced nurses with higher
levels of education.
Through CIHR's Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, under the
able leadership of the scientific director Dr. Morris Barer, we are learning
more about how to ensure that nurses continue to be in a position to contribute
to the health and well-being of Canadians.
The knowledge gained through this type of research allows us to improve
health care services and the quality of life of Canadians. National Nursing Week
is an opportunity for us to express our support for nurses and to stress their
professionalism and dedication.
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, on April 25 and
26, 2002, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Canada
co-chaired the fourth meeting of the International
Inter-governmental Consultative Group on Anti-Doping in Sport, a group that
provides direction and guidance to government representatives of the World
Anti-Doping Agency. The meeting was the largest ever, with 130 delegates
participating from 44 countries.
At the last meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, Canada proposed the creation
of an international instrument against doping in sport. Last week, governments
agreed to the development of a memorandum of understanding to strengthen
collective efforts in eradicating this most serious problem.
In addition, the World Anti-Doping Agency is also developing a World
Anti-Doping Code. Both the memorandum of understanding and the code are expected
to be implemented in time for the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Athens,
Performance enhancing drugs in elite sport represents a global challenge to
the continuing values and integrity of sport. Canada is recognized around the
world for our efforts to eliminate doping in sport, exemplified by our
significant efforts in developing international agreements on anti-doping.
We must ensure that sport is a clean and healthy pursuit, that sport is an
activity that we want our young people to become involved with and excel in. The
route to the winner's podium should always be through honest endeavour,
commitment and hard work. I applaud the government for its determined efforts to
resolve this serious problem.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the pleasure of
drawing to your attention the presence in the gallery of our former Senate
colleague the Honourable James Ross, and Mr. Alexander.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you.
Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention the presence in the
gallery of a group of guests of Senators Prud'homme, Biron, Nolin, Pépin and
Cools. These guests are members of the Bois-de-Boulogne self-help group,
Middle-East Immigrant Aid Society in Canada. They are accompanied by their
president, Mrs. Claude Ayas.
On behalf of all senators, I welcome you to the Senate.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Thursday, May 9, 2002, I will move:
That the date of presentation by the Special Senate Committee on Illegal
Drugs of the final report on its study into reassessing Canada's anti-drug
legislation and policies, which was authorized by the Senate on March 15,
2001, be extended from August 31, 2002 to Thursday, September 13, 2002.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Thursday next, May 9, 2002, I shall move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology have the power to sit on Wednesday, May 22; Wednesday, May 29;
Wednesday, June 5; and Wednesday, June 12, 2002, at 3:30 p.m., even though the
Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, my question relates to
the revelation in Monday's Globe and Mail about problems and questionable
practices with the government's $40- million-a-year visibility in sponsorship
programs. The article is based on 3,000 pages of internal audit documents from
Public Works that detail, among other things, instances of political
interference with the program, double-billing, over-billing and other
questionable practices by advertising agencies, including scant controls on
payouts, unexplained spending and suggestions that bureaucrats were intimidated
when they raised questions about how the program was being administered. Would
the Leader of the Government in the Senate please provide honourable senators
with her government's response to these revelations?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As the honourable
senator is aware, the government had concerns about the sponsorship program and
conducted an internal audit two years ago that led to a number of administrative
changes within the department.
At approximately 3 p.m. this afternoon, following Question Period, the
Minister of Public Works, the Honourable Don Boudria, will table the Auditor
General's report. It is my understanding that anything that the Auditor General
recommends will be put in place.
Senator Nolin: Honourable senators, we have also learned that the RCMP
gave out contracts under this program in order to increase its visibility. Does
it not look like a conflict of interest when, on the one hand, the RCMP is
looking into the operation of the program and, on the other, it is using the
program to increase its visibility?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, we do not know at this point
whether the RCMP is looking into it, nor even if that is one of the
recommendations of the Auditor General. It may be the case, however. I have not
seen a copy of the Auditor General's report. I will get my copy, like all other
parliamentarians, after three o'clock this afternoon.
However, while there may have been administrative problems with the
sponsorship program, those problems were first identified internally. We must
remember that. It is also important to remember that many excellent groups
received sponsorship dollars — not only in the province of Quebec but also
throughout the country. Those sponsorships were an important component of the
visibility of the federal government. The RCMP received one of those contracts
for its musical ride, which, despite the comment made by the Honourable Leader
of the Opposition, has nothing to do with the Liberal party and has everything
to do with the promotion of what I still believe, and what most Canadians
believe, is one of the finest police services in the nation and in the world.
Senator Kinsella: Cover up!
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, on this topic, my question
pertains to the problems with the Department of Public Works' visibility and
sponsorship programs raised by the recent internal audit. One case in the audit
deals with political interference by four Ottawa area members of Parliament who
successfully overturned a department decision not to use the program to fund
Ottawa's Tulip Festival. These members of Parliament, including the Honourable
John Manley, acted despite the fact that three other departments were already
involved in funding the Tulip Festival.
Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate provide her reaction to this
specific example of political interference?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
believe it or not, members of the House of Commons and members of the Senate are
politicians. One of the jobs that we are given as politicians is to respond to
inquiries, questions and, yes, in some cases, specific requests for funding by
our constituents. That is what the members of Parliament in this case did. They
went to the department and they said, "You have cut off this funding, which had
every indication of being granted, six weeks before this festival was to occur.
You decided unilaterally not to give sufficient advance warning so that planning
could have been done in an organized way." The Tulip Festival in this city is a
national festival. It is not only a festival for Ottawa but also a festival for
the nation, and an extremely valuable one. In this case, I think the politicians
were doing their jobs.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Tulip bulbs keep the country together!
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the minister did not listen to
my question. Three other departments had already contributed to the festival.
The issue, according to the Prime Minister, is federal visibility. On the issue
of visibility, could the Leader of the Government in the Senate try to
rationalize why the federal government would need more visibility in a festival
where three other federal departments are involved, namely, in the National
Capital Region, and also where the federal government's presence is felt at
every street corner in the city. Three other departments had already contributed
to this festival, so why would the government have to put more money into the
Tulip Festival for federal visibility?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the issue here was the little
time available once these volunteers were informed that their money was to be
cut. That is the issue here. As good representatives of their constituents, the
very same volunteers, these members argued, and argued well, that the money,
which had been given in previous years — this is the not the first time — should
again be granted.
Senator LeBreton: There is no one who is prouder of the National
Capital Region or the City of Ottawa than I am. I was born and raised here.
However, the fact is that the federal government was using taxpayers' dollars to
sell the federal government to the citizens of Ottawa and to the country —
especially when they realize Ottawa is their capital — and then would bring in
the question of volunteers in reaching for an answer. By her answer, it is clear
that the minister has no explanation for this situation.
Senator Carstairs: I should like to ask the honourable senator why,
then, is it that the embassies sponsor this particular festival? The Chinese
embassy has a giant tulip in front of its building, advertising the Tulip
Festival. Similarly, the American embassy has a large sign in front of its
building celebrating the Tulip Festival. Is the honourable senator saying that
we should get all the rest of the countries in the world to sponsor the Tulip
Festival but that we should not be asking the Canadian government to contribute?
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of
the Government. Why would the government give so much priority to tulips in
Ottawa and so little priority to the softwood lumber issue, which is a national
issue? They have committed a piddling $20 million to an advocacy program in the
United States and $30 million to develop new markets in other places in the
world. Why cannot the government spend some political will on raising this issue
and giving it priority in its relations with the U.S. rather than spending the
money to raise tulips — a real fading flower in British Columbia at this moment
— in Ottawa?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
with the greatest respect, I think the Honourable Senator Carney got carried
away with her rhetoric. She is comparing a sponsorship program for a festival
with the months of activity that the government has been engaged in trying to
settle the softwood lumber issue and the work of a number of cabinet ministers
toward trying to put programs together that will help those most affected in the
softwood lumber dispute. I do not think we should be comparing those two
Senator Carney: Honourable senators, the government is not comparing
them. They care more about tulips in Ottawa than they do about the 50,000 people
who will be out of work in British Columbia, Quebec and other provinces. I am
asking the minister again: If I am carried away by rhetoric, what is her answer
to the people in Canada and British Columbia that all the government can spare
is $50 million to advertise in the United States and develop other markets for
softwood lumber in other countries?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the softwood lumber file, as
the honourable senator knows very well, has been going on for some time in this
country. It has engaged ministers in a major way, through months and months of
activities. Those activities are ongoing. Ministers are working together to come
up with a plan. The honourable senator has indicated one that she has read about
in the newspaper, which I cannot confirm today. However, I can confirm that the
planning is ongoing and the planning will be far more substantial than the
$150,000 sponsorship program of the Tulip Festival.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, can the disinterest that the government has shown in the softwood
lumber issue be illustrated by the fact that the Minister of International Trade
said that no unemployment had been created by the softwood lumber controversy?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
there has been absolutely no disinterest in the issue of softwood lumber. It has
been a significant and major issue before the Government of Canada for months.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: To be more precise, does the Leader of the
Government agree with the Minister of International Trade, who said only last
week that no unemployment had been caused by the forthcoming levy that the
United States will introduce and, as a result, no mills will be closed? Does she
agree with that statement?
Senator Carstairs: Quite frankly, since I did not hear that statement
directly, I will neither confirm nor deny it.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I will follow up with a
question on Liberal volunteers, and it relates to the audit that was done on the
Public Works sponsorship program. The audit revealed a number of cases of
double-billing and over- billing. For example, one agency demonstrated proof
that it had put up three Canadian flags at a university football game by
submitting four pictures of the same flag. That was another Liberal volunteer.
In another instance, an advertising agency presented two different pictures of
the same ad to demonstrate that the federal government had received prime
advertising space at car races in Vancouver and Toronto. Another example under
the sponsorship program is that the government agreed to pay $500,000 to an
organization in Montreal. However, the final amount came to $625,000, and there
was nothing on file to account for or to explain the increase. Auditors also
observed instances of claims for work that might not have been done, as well as
instances of highly suspect invoices.
Who does the Leader of the Government in the Senate hold responsible for the
mismanagement of the sponsorship program?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I deeply resent the fact that volunteers in this country would be given a
political label of any stripe. Volunteers, whether they are volunteers for
palliative care or volunteers for the Tulip Festival, are not asked about their
Billions of dollars worth of volunteer aid is given in this country every
single year. I firmly believe that many of those volunteers — tragically and
perhaps from a lack of foresight — vote Tory, but that is as it should be.
Volunteers should be volunteers when they seek activities other than when they
are volunteering specifically for a political party, at which point they do put
on a label. The volunteers funded through these sponsorship programs are not
labelled politically, nor should they be labelled politically.
With respect to the honourable senator's question on the internal audit, it
was performed by and for the Department of Public Works and, on the
recommendations of that audit, many changes were made. It is clear that the
government was not pleased with some of the activities, particularly from
Groupaction, when they seemed to be paying out for contracts that seemed to have
very little variation among them. It was the government that called in the
Auditor General and asked the Auditor General to examine this matter. That is
the report we will receive later this afternoon, and that is the report the
government will act upon.
Senator Tkachuk: I thank the honourable senator for her protection of
Liberal volunteers. However, I would like to ask that question again. These
revelations about Groupaction have been around for some time. However, it is
only now, this afternoon, when the government hears that the cops will be called
in, that all of a sudden they will do what is necessary. It is not that we have
not known about this, yet no action has taken place. The government gives us the
same old answer to the question of who is responsible: "Well, it is not us; we
are just the government." If it is the bureaucrats, why has someone not been
fired? Why has the minister not been called on the carpet? The simple question
that the Leader of the Government in the Senate, as a cabinet minister, has the
responsibility to answer in this place is this: Who is responsible?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the most important word
Senator Tkachuk uttered in his last statement was the word "allegation."
Senator Tkachuk: No, I did not.
Senator Carstairs: Yes, you did. You read Hansard. They are, in fact,
allegations. That is exactly what the Auditor General is examining and that is
what the government will act upon.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
on the visibility program.
In order to ensure that all honourable senators have the full picture, $40
million dollars was spent to increase Canada's visibility, primarily in Quebec.
Senator Kinsella: How much?
Senator Nolin: Forty million dollars. This stems from the result of
the 1995 referendum. Let us be plain. I am not making this up; the Prime
Minister has said so on many occasions.
The problem lies in the program's effectiveness. On the one hand, the Prime
Minister tells us that the program has made it possible to increase Canada's
visibility and that we must stop being critical of the amounts spent. According
to the Prime Minister of Canada, the public now realizes that Canada is a very
On the other hand, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Stéphane Dion,
a Quebecer to boot, has said that he has not met a single Quebecer who has
changed his or her mind because of the visibility program. Which of them is
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the sponsorship program was
designed to increase the visibility of the federal government not only in the
province of Quebec but also outside the province of Quebec. We know from the
figures given that the majority of the monies were spent in the province of
Quebec. That is clear.
Did Canada need a greater visibility in the province of Quebec? I would say
resoundingly "yes." The Government of Quebec spends millions promoting its
particular agenda for the province of Quebec. It was very important that the
federal government fight back. One way to do this was through the sponsorship
program; another way to do it was through the clarity bill, which regrettably
was not wholeheartedly supported on the other side.
We are putting our finances in order because, in times of economic stress,
people often look at other forms of governing. There is no question about that.
It was not just one issue; it was a group of issues, and the sponsorship program
was a part of that. I think most of what Mr. Dion was reflecting in his question
was that it was part of an overall strategy and not a one-shot deal.
The Hon. the Speaker: I am interrupting to ask honourable senators if
they could be a little more respectful of the senator speaking at any given
time. I am having difficulty hearing the questions and the answers. I also
remind honourable senators that we have less than 10 minutes left in Question
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, the Leader of the Government
reminds me of a former Quebec premier, Jean Lesage. When he raised his voice and
thumped the table during cabinet meetings, it was because he did not have a good
file. On leaving the meeting, he would ask me if what he was saying made sense.
The Government Leader spoke of allegations and I am going to lay out the facts.
The facts are much more eloquent than allegations.
What is the government's policy on procurement? Last year, the Government of
Canada spent $121,000 on golf balls! I am a golfer. I like golf. But let me tell
you that I have never asked the government to pay for my balls.
That is not all. The government was billed $15,886 for tees. Where I live, 12
tees cost a dollar.
There is more. The Liberals must be poor because, on top of not paying for
their tees, they play when it is raining and fork out $54,852 for golf
umbrellas. It is simply shocking!
And get this: In addition to buying $43,900 worth of microwaves, they bought
Mr. Martin and Mr. Rock are competing on this. The first spent $30,000 on
television sets; the second, $90,000. There was even $1,700 spent on perfume. Is
this Minister Gagliano's policy on procurement and government priorities?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the first thing the honourable
senator did was to compare me with former Premier Lesage, who is not a bad
person with whom to be compared. I can now be compared to the honourable senator
because he started to thump on his desk. I do not mind being compared to the
honourable senator as well in terms of competency in this chamber.
We all know that those individual items were used for promotional events
throughout the country. One can argue whether those were worthwhile expenditures
or not. However, they were given out to Canadians attending Canadian events
across the country. They had on them logos representing the country.
Frankly, I am not a golf player, so I did not get one. Perhaps I can find one
for Senator Bolduc.
Senator Bolduc: However, I am sure that Tiger Woods paid for his own
tees when he played golf with the Prime Minister.
There are contradictions in the government's policies.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, those who follow what is going
on realize that the Minister of National Defence recently said that the U.S.
proposal to create a Northern Command did not bother him. Yet, the former
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Axworthy, who is a friend of the Americans,
said that Canadians should be careful.
Mr. Godfrey, an eminent representative from Toronto, is against Quebec
sovereignty, but supports Canadian sovereignty. He says that the proposal on
Norcom is dangerous. There is some contradiction here. I simply want to
understand what is the government's policy.
Mr. Martin — I do not know if he is campaigning — spoke about the need to
revitalize cities, to ensure that urban development in Canada was on par with
that of other major countries.
The Prime Minister, however, said that it was not a priority. What are the
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, I will begin with the
honourable senator's offside comments. Honourable senators cannot make those
kinds of comments and not expect me to respond to them. They are part of an
honourable senator's statement when he or she stands.
I assume the reason Tiger Woods had to pay was because these items were for
Canadians. They were to promote Canada to Canadians. As much as we might love to
have Mr. Woods as a Canadian, he is still an American citizen.
With respect to the much more serious question the honourable senator has
asked this afternoon, NORCOM is not a Canadian program; it is an American
program. Does that mean we should not have an interest in it? We should,
absolutely, because it may impact on our own defence policy, and I think that is
the exact reason Minister Eggleton has announced that we must conduct a defence
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I am confused. Could
the Leader of the Government make a synthesis between the 40 million tulips,
Senator Carney's lumber, the volunteers and Senator Bolduc's golfballs? Could
the minister put all of that together for us, please?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I think the best way to put it together is to say that it makes for a lively
Hon. Jean Lapointe: Honourable senators, my comments will be brief.
This is the most animated debate that I have witnessed since arriving in the
Senate. I wonder if, perhaps, the scent of the tulips has awakened our
Conservative friends. I think that, next time, we should try to discuss the
cannabis flower. This would make the debate more lively.
I am very happy to see that the Honourable Senator Carstairs has regained her
vigour and health.
My question is quite simple. Which flower should we choose to wake up our
friends for the Senate's next sitting?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I must reply to that question
by saying that part of the reason I have not been feeling very well is because
none of the flowers agree with me. They cause me to have severe asthma attacks.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question to the Leader
of the Government in the Senate relates to a different subject. It concerns
Deputy Prime Minister Manley and the Minister of Finance. They are now saying
that the value of the Canadian dollar, as low as it is, is of great concern to
the government. Week after week I have asked questions in regard to this matter.
The concern is that we are losing head offices and companies are being acquired
by our American neighbours at a huge discount as a result of the value of our
The Prime Minister has always used the phrase, "a low dollar," — and most
Canadians do not understand what he is talking about, even at the best of times.
However, Minister Martin is a former businessman from a recognized business. I
am not sure what Mr. Manley did before he entered politics. These people state
clearly that the value of the dollar is too low. What has happened to change the
government's mind now that we have lost MacMillan Bloedel, along with many
energy companies in Alberta, as well as many resource companies in British
Columbia? All of a sudden the lights are going on signalling that this is a
problem. What has caused this?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
obviously, I can only say that the honourable senator has not been listening for
some months. A number of cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, have
questioned the decline of the Canadian dollar, which now appears to be on the
rise. A headline in one of today's papers stated that it could quickly climb to
70 cents. We have heard that before. It is obviously a hope.
We are subject to the international marketplace, which is what has kept our
dollar low. The government, through the Bank of Canada, which makes decisions
about these things, has allowed the bank to set interest rates because that is
the way in which our Canadian democracy works. The impact has not raised the
value of the dollar to any significant degree.
The Canadian economy is doing well. In fact, it is doing far better than the
economy of the United States. Our productivity is increasing faster than it has
for the past two decades. The economic forecasts are good.
Yes, the senator is correct. When the dollar is low we become attractive to
companies south of the border as far as takeovers are concerned. However, there
have been some Canadian takeovers. Some Canadian companies have merged. As well,
some Canadian companies are investing abroad.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am sorry to interrupt,
but I must advise that the time for Question Period has expired.
Senator St. Germain: May I ask a short question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted for the Honourable Senator St.
Germain to ask a short question, honourable senators?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker: I hear "no." Leave is not granted.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, Senator St. Germain indicated
that he has a short supplementary question. If it is agreeable to honourable
senators, I would be prepared to answer that short supplementary question.
The Hon. the Speaker: For leave to be granted, it must be done with a
unanimous voice. I do not hear a unanimous voice for leave.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table a delayed answer to an oral question raised
by the Honourable Senator Oliver on March 7, 2002 concerning airport security
and the efficacy of proposed bomb detection equipment.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Donald H. Oliver on March 7, 2002)
The Explosives Detection Systems (EDS) equipment currently being deployed
is the most up-to-date available, and has proven its ability to effectively
detect a wide range of explosive substances. This equipment has been certified
by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and is being used successfully in
Once the full complement of EDS equipment has been deployed, all carry-on
and checked baggage will be screened for explosives at the targeted airports,
representing 99 per cent of total air passenger traffic in Canada.
Explosives detection equipment is one component of the enhanced security
regime that the government has put in place. The new Canadian Air Transport
Security Authority will be responsible for managing security screening of
passengers and baggage at Canadian airports. Its responsibilities include
establishing a stable, well-qualified and well-trained security staff to
provide effective and consistent screening services across the country. As
well, the Authority will be responsible for ensuring the proper use, operation
and maintenance of EDS equipment, ensuring compliance with Transport Canada's
EDS regulations and standards, and acquiring new EDS equipment and associated
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to Orders
of the Day, I should like to draw your attention to the presence in our gallery
of Ambassador Eidur Gudnason and his wife, Eyglo Helga Haraldsdottir of Iceland.
Ambassador Gudnason is the Consul General of Iceland in Winnipeg. They are the
guests of Senator Johnson.
Welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: I also wish to draw the attention of honourable
senators to guests in the gallery who are attending the Spring 2002
Parliamentary Cooperation Seminar. We have with us, from Hong Kong, Mr. Arthur
Cheung and Ms Sharon Tong; from the Parliament of India, Mr. Navin Kumar
Kalingan and Mr. T.K. Mukherjee; from the Parliament of Jamaica, Ms Heather
Cooke and Ms Rosemarie Douglas; and from the Parliament of Scotland, Ms Carol
Welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Finally, honourable senators, I should like to
welcome a page, a guest from the House of Commons, Ted Aubut from Halifax, Nova
Scotia. He is enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa and is
studying history and international politics.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kolber, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Maheu, for the adoption of the sixteenth report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (Bill C-23, to amend
the Competition Act and the Competition Tribunal Act with one amendment and
observations), presented in the Senate on May 2, 2002.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have a few remarks to make
regarding the Banking Committee report on Bill C-23, a bill that seeks to amend
the Competition Act and the Competition Tribunal Act.
I believe that Bill C-23 has received detailed study by our committee. We
were not pressed for time. We took a number of weeks in committee to study the
bill, and I believe that we should proceed on more legislation in this fashion.
Committee members spent many hours in hearings. No witnesses were turned away.
There were also many opportunities to meet with the stakeholders, who were able
to explain the controversial aspects of the bill.
As our study of Bill C-23 proceeded, a number of factors came to the
attention of the committee. While there never was full agreement for specific
amendments, it was clear that the disagreement over certain clauses crossed
party lines. Further to this, one controversial subject was the airline-specific
provisions that exist in the Competition Act itself and how these airline-specific provisions were strengthened by the new clauses to the Competition Act
provided by Bill C-23.
To address the committee's concern, committee members decided unanimously to
write a letter to the minister responsible, Allan Rock, asking for his guarantee
that he or his successor would appear before the Senate Banking Committee in
two-years' time to discuss the impact of the amendments on the Competition Act
and to discuss further whether other amendments should be made at that time.
Although Minister Rock agreed to appear, he would not guarantee that his
successor or other members of the government would appear.
The committee decided to not proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of the
bill until it received a response from Minister Rock. His letter is appended to
the report, along with the committee's letter and a Progressive Conservative
observation report. The Liberal members of the committee were fully satisfied
with his response. The PC members of the committee decided that his response did
not fully address their concerns, so we have written an observation report that
is only supported by the Progressive Conservative members of the committee.
In this report, we cover three major points. The first, and what I believe is
the most important point, is that the PC senators believe the Competition Act is
intended to be a framework law, as it states in its opening clauses. Therefore,
it is most important that the government refrain from amending this law of
general application by adding industry-specific clauses. Currently, there are
airline-specific clauses that are obviously more appropriate to a transportation
policy than competition law.
The second major point of the observation report is the necessity to provide
parliamentarians with an opportunity to conduct a regular review of the
Competition Act laws. To date, amendments are made on an ad hoc basis, and the
PC senators believe that Canada's competition policies would benefit from
periodic reviews, perhaps every three to five years.
The third major point made in the observation report has to do with the new
provisions of private access for small- and medium- size businesses. The PC
senators applaud these provisions but believe they do not go far enough. For
this reason, in our observation report, we recommend that two further changes be
made: one, that complainants should be entitled to the award of damages; and,
two, that the burden to obtain leave should be amended. Senator Oliver, in his
speech, will expand on each of these issues.
On a point of interest, while the committee was finishing its study of Bill
C-23, the House of Commons Industry Committee issued a report on competition.
One of the recommendations in that report was that the government should repeal
all airline- specific provisions in the Competition Act.
At clause-by-clause study, one amendment was moved by the Liberals, an
amendment purely technical in nature, that brings the French and English
versions of the bill into parity. We changed the English version of the bill. PC
members of the committee thought it was unusual to amend the bill with such a
technical amendment, particularly when the Commissioner of Competition
recommended that the bill be passed as soon as possible and that the clause in
question merely be not proclaimed until it can be corrected in an omnibus bill.
Normally, when we make these amendments, it would be for something that would
have significant legal consequences. The PC senators did not see it in this bill
and thought it would be very appropriate to be dealt with by an omnibus piece of
legislation. The Liberal members disagreed, moved an amendment and changed the
bill, causing it to be sent back to the House of Commons.
I will end my comments by saying that, overall, we support the philosophical
reason for the bill; that is, the need to prevent a monopoly situation in the
country in regard to the airlines. We fully support other provisions. We think
this is perhaps not the appropriate place to do it and hope that the government
will take action in the future to correct this situation.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: Honourable senators, if there is some time,
may I ask the honourable senator a question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Will you take a question, Senator Tkachuk?
Senator Tkachuk: Yes.
Senator Taylor: Honourable senators, my question is with regard to
competition from foreign airlines within Canada. Is that issue within the ambit
of the bill? Did the committee have a chance to look at it?
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, that was not a great concern of
ours in the bill. We talked about that a little bit. Minister Collenette was
there. He was very clear that, until the Americans decide to allow Canadian
domestic carriers to operate freely in the United States, there seems to be no
reason to allow American carriers to fly in Canada.
Senator Taylor: The honourable senator's answer is interesting. That
is what I hear all the time. Has anyone asked the Americans whether they wish to
have competition, or have we presumed that they do not?
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, Minister Collenette made it
clear in committee that the government asked the Americans, but it is not on the
table for the Americans. They do not want to discuss it.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I should like to add my
concurrence to the remarks made by Honourable Senator Tkachuk. I do not think
that the Senate should ever be afraid of doing its job and, where necessary,
taking the legislative steps to improve legislation. As Senator Tkachuk has
said, the Competition Act, per se, is framework legislation. Regretfully, this
framework legislation has now had clauses added to it that deal specifically
with Air Canada and with the airline industries. It has clauses that do not
cover all companies in the same class. This taints the framework competition
legislation and, as a body of sober second thought, it behooves us to carefully
look at such a conundrum and, where possible, to correct and change it.
The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce reviewed Bill
C-23 carefully. It heard a number of witnesses, and some of them more than once.
It has had extensive research done on a number of important proposed sections in
One thing that is apparent to any casual observer is that the position of the
government with respect to framework legislation such as the competition bill is
not clear and coherent. As one example, the Industry Committee in the other
place has been studying this framework legislation for more than two years and,
not surprisingly, observed that the legislation has been encroached upon by the
inclusion of industry-specific clauses. This is contained in proposed section
104.1 of the Competition Act, which I will deal with later.
As honourable senators know, members of the Industry Committee appeared
before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to discuss a
report that they released at the same time that the Senate Banking Committee was
reviewing the controversial clause. After two years of intensive study, the
House of Commons committee recommended — and I quote:
That the Government of Canada repeal all provisions in the Competition
Act that deal specifically with the airline industry (subsections 79(3.1)
through section 79(3.3) and sections 79.1 and 104.1).
The recommendation of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry,
Science and Technology to the Government of Canada is that it repeal all those
provisions in this framework legislation.
The Liberal-dominated Industry Committee feels that the framework legislation
in its present form is inadequate and inappropriate. One must ask, if the
Liberal-dominated Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce is
moving amendments to send the bill back to the House of Commons, why it does not
also add an amendment to include this important aspect of the bill's legislative
history that has received much attention from the Liberal-dominated Industry
Committee in the House of Commons. One cannot help but wonder who is calling the
shots and why defective legislation is not being corrected as recommended.
We had evidence from Professor Wong to the effect that if section 104 were
deleted and section 103 remained, it would give the Commissioner of Competition
virtually all the powers he would ever require to deal with the activities of a
dominant carrier on issues such as predatory pricing.
With your leave, honourable senators, I should like to say a few more things
about the controversial section 104, so the position of the PC party can be
clearly understood by Canadians.
For the most part, the Competition Act has been a generic economic framework
law. The same competition rules apply to all business sectors.
Some two years ago, this changed for one particular sector — the airline
industry. When Air Canada acquired Canadian Airlines, the government responded
with a series of initiatives, including amendments to the Competition Act.
Changes were made to the abuse of dominance provisions of the act and
theCommissioner of Competition was given the power to use a temporary order or
injunction against an airline alleged to be abusing its dominant market
position. This temporary order power is found in section 104.1 of the
The merits and implications of section 104.1 were debated when first proposed
in the year 2000. Evidence presented at recent Senate Banking Committee hearings
on Bill C-23 has rekindled the debate and highlighted what many believe are
inherent inequities in the provision. Furthermore, the perpetuation of
provisions such as section 104.1 of the Competition Act that apply to one
specific industry, and indeed one particular company — Air Canada — raises a
more fundamental concern about the role of general framework laws in our
Honourable senators, let me be more specific about why section 104.1 is
particularly odious and should be removed from the Competition Act.
Under section 104.1, the Commissioner of Competition can issue a temporary
order prohibiting an airline from engaging in conduct that could, in the opinion
of the commissioner, constitute an anti-competitive act under the abuse of
dominance provisions of the Competition Act. The following conditions must be
(a) the Commissioner has commenced an inquiry...
(b) the Commissioner considers that in the absence of a temporary
(i) injury to competition that cannot be adequately remedied by
the Tribunal is likely to occur, or
(ii) a person is likely to be eliminated...suffer a significant
loss of market share, suffer a significant loss of revenue or suffer other
harm that cannot be adequately remedied by the Tribunal.
The commissioner is not required to notify anyone or receive any
representations before making a temporary order under section 104.1. A temporary
order can last up to 80 days, but the airline against which the order is made
can apply to the Competition Tribunal to have the order varied or set aside.
Clause 13.1 of Bill C-23 would amend section 104.1 by giving the Competition
Tribunal authority to extend the commissioner's temporary order until the
Competition Bureau has had enough time to receive and to review information
relating to the case.
It is my view that section 104.1 vests too much power in the commissioner.
There is no judicial oversight at the time the temporary order is issued. The
commissioner is not required to justify his position to an impartial arbiter. As
far as the Canadian airline industry is concerned, the commissioner is the
investigator, the judge and the jury when it comes to the issuing of a temporary
order. Consequently, section 104.1 sacrifices respected tenets of our judicial
system, most notably accountability and impartial review, for expediency.
Honourable senators, some may argue that section 104.1 is necessary because
it allows the commissioner to act quickly to stop alleged anti-competitive
conduct. This may be so, but Bill C- 23 will provide the commissioner with an
equally effective alternative for dealing with abuse of conduct. Under proposed
section 103.3 of the Competition Act, the commissioner will be able to apply to
the Competition Tribunal for an interim order on an ex parte basis,
The proposed section 103.3 process, which is of general application to all
business sectors and not specific to any one industry, will be expeditious.
Witnesses appearing before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and
Commerce estimated that it would take only two or three days to obtain an
interim order from the tribunal.
Proposed section 103.3 will allow the commissioner to achieve the same
objectives as section 104.1 by proceeding before the tribunal. However, there
will be two notable advantages to the proposed section 103.3 process. First, it
will serve as an important check on the commissioner's power because the
commissioner will have to demonstrate to the tribunal why an interim order
should be issued. Second, it will enhance the accountability of the
It is important to mention that Air Canada unsuccessfully challenged section
104 in the courts. In deciding to hear Air Canada's appeal to a decision of the
Competition Tribunal, even though the temporary order in question had expired,
the Federal Court of Appeal stated the following, among other things, and I
The appeal raises important questions about the role played by the Tribunal
in reviewing the exercise of the Commissioner's powers that should be settled
sooner rather than later. The power to issue temporary orders is important
both to the Commissioner's ability effectively to protect the public interest
in competition among domestic air carriers, and to the interest of Air Canada
in carrying on its business without undue hindrance and uncertainty about the
ground rules within which it must operate. Moreover, the economic health of
air transportation in Canada is a matter of considerable concern to millions
I agree with the premise underlying these statements, that is, that a
temporary order power is important to effectively protect competition. My
concern, however, arises from who issues the order — the commissioner or the
The Competition Act must provide authority for an expeditious process for
issuing interim orders. It is my view that this authority should rest with the
tribunal rather than with the commissioner. At the time the commissioner issued
a temporary order that was the subject matter of this court case, he did not
have proposed section 103.3 at his disposal. Perhaps the court might have been
less sanguine about section 104.1 if proposed section 103.3 had been available
to him at that time.
I have already mentioned that section 103 will allow the commissioner to
apply to the Competition Tribunal for an interim order on an ex parte
basis, without notice, to prevent the continuation of a broad range of
anti-competitive conduct on all business sectors, not just the airline sector.
In essence, proposed section 103.3 extends airline industry-specific power found
in section 104.1 to all economic sectors but requires the commissioner to go to
the tribunal for an order rather than issue the order himself.
It is my position, and the position of a number of witnesses who appeared
before the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, including
the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and noted competition law expert Mr. Stanley
Wong, that proposed section 103.3 makes section 104.1 redundant in the
legislation. One witness noted, and I quote:
Bill C-23, with the addition of clause 103.3, which provides the
Commissioner with the power at the outset of his investigation to obtain an
emergency interim injunction, provides him with the tools of general
application that could be used to address and prevent anti-competitive
behaviour in any industry.
It is evident that proposed section 103.3 will give the commissioner the
necessary tools to protect the public interest in competition in the airline
industry and to act quickly to prevent anti-competitive conduct by a dominant
Some witnesses have expressed concerns about the wording of proposed section
103.3. Mr. Stanley Wong, for example, argued that the wording of both section
103.3 and section 104.1 is flawed and recommended that existing section 100 of
the Competition Act should be transformed into a general injunctive power. While
I share these concerns, it is my view that proposed section 103.3 is preferable
to section 104.1 because it allows the commissioner to act quickly when the need
arises, and he has the added benefit of judicial oversight.
Clearly then, with the introduction of proposed section 103.3, there is no
need for the temporary order power to continue to reside with the commissioner
alone. Section 104.1 could be removed from the Competition Act without
compromising the commissioner's ability to prevent the continuation of
anti-competitive conduct, and that, honourable senators, is precisely what the
Industry, Science and Technology Committee in the other place concluded as well.
It is also worth noting that retaining section 104.1 of the Competition Act
along side proposed section 103.3 may raise concerns that go to the very
independence of the office of the commissioner. Retaining section 104.1 could
give rise to allegations that the commissioner may be biased against a
particular airline if the commissioner chose to proceed against the airline
under section 104.1 when the same type of remedy was available through the
tribunal where he would have to give notice, not ex-parte, under the
general interim order power of section 103.3. If the commissioner were to act
under section 104.1, he could be placed in the difficult position of having to
defend his actions against allegations of bias and abuse of power himself.
Parliament intended, honourable senators, that the Competition Act would be
an economic framework law of general application, much like such framework laws
as the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act.
These laws establish a uniform and consistent approach for all industries in
In 2000, this changed with the passage of airline industry amendments. Today,
Bill C-23 is further eroding the Competition Act's position as a general
framework law. Amendments to section 104.1 and a proposed new $15 million
administrative monetary penalty applying only to a dominant air carrier are
making the act more industry specific.
Witnesses questioned the appropriateness of an administrative monetary
penalty directed at one company, Air Canada. One noted that administrative
monetary penalties may indeed be appropriate remedies for reviewable matters
under Part VIII of the Competition Act, but such penalties should be studied
before they are proposed in legislation and not implemented to penalize one
A number of witnesses who appeared before our committee argued that
industry-specific provisions have no place in a law of general application, and
I agree with that proposition.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Oliver, I regret to advise
that your 15 minutes have expired.
Senator Oliver: I have only one paragraph left.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I propose that Senator Oliver
be allowed to finish his remarks.
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Oliver: Thank you. Honourable senators, I was attempting to
explain to you that a number of witnesses appeared before the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on this important piece of framework
legislation. The witnesses raised a number of troubling and difficult aspects
and concerns about this legislation. The difficulty we have is that the Liberal
majority on the Banking Committee proposed one amendment, and that one amendment
was a clerical amendment. Before the committee, there had appeared the Chairman
of the House of Commons Industry, Science and Technology Committee that studied
this particular legislation and these problems for two years. As a result of
their study, they made recommendations for improvement and enhancement of this
framework legislation that we feel should also go back to the House of Commons
at the same time as the other Liberal amendments so that this bill can receive
the kind of amendments it deserves and needs in order to be good framework
I wanted to bring those remarks to honourable senators' attention as this
bill is reported from committee.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I could make a speech, or,
with leave, I could put a brief question to the honourable senator.
Senator Oliver: Please, although I would also like to hear a speech
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, my friend quoted with approval
the recommendation of the Commons Industry, Science and Technology Committee to
the effect that those clauses of the Competition Act that are industry specific
ought to be repealed. Therefore, I will put a brief question to him comprising
two parts: First, are the problems that those clauses seek to address real
problems requiring a legislative solution? Second, if the legislative solution
ought not to be in the Competition Act, where ought it to be?
Senator Oliver: Honourable senators, they are real problems because
there is no accountability in the excessive powers that have been given to the
commissioner, and they too can perhaps become the subject of abuse and misuse.
Senator Murray: I was referring to the industry problem, the dominant
carrier problem identified, and whether that is a real problem that needs a
legislative solution. If so, in what statute ought that legislative solution be
Senator Oliver: I am glad the honourable senator asked the question,
because that is a question that I asked the Honourable David Collenette,
Minister of Transport, when he appeared before our committee. My question to him
was: Do you really think that in framework legislation we should have industry-
and company-specific clauses that deal specifically with Air Canada, which is
the dominant carrier, with either 68 or 80 per cent market share, depending on
whose evidence you believe? I asked whether such sections should not be in
transportation legislation, and whether there should not be a new vision for the
airline industry in Canada that would contain and deal with the problems we have
with competition in the airline industry today. The minister indicated that
there was a need for a vision and that, at present, there was not a Canadian
airline policy sufficient to deal with these problems. When Air Canada bought
Canadian Airlines, it was felt that the significant place to put such a section
was in the Competition Act because there was not a place in the Transportation
Act to deal with it specifically.
The answer to your question, Senator Murray, is that we need a new vision and
a new airline policy, and these sections should be put in that new policy,
hopefully in a transportation act.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill, as
amended, be read the third time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Cook, for the third reading of Bill S-18, to amend
the Food and Drugs Act (clean drinking water).—(Honourable Senator St.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise to
speak on Bill S-18 and give a condensed form of my remarks. I thank Senator
Robichaud for adjourning the debate in my name.
Honourable senators, it is not my intent to burden you with a bevy of
statistics about how the volume and the quality of our water has been in decline
over the last few decades but to express to you one or two simple yet important
points that I believe surround this subject.
I have read what other honourable senators have had to say, and I have been
following the general public debate about the safety and quality of our water
resource. While I will not get into the debate as to whether water should be
labeled as a food, I will say there should be a definitive policy to categorize
how water is to be treated within our legislative system. We must qualify what
legal authority water, as an essential element of life, is to come under.
We do regulate water to a certain degree under the Department of the
Environment. That authority exists to protect our water and its sources from
further detrimental actions, namely, polluting forces. Recognizing, as Senator
Grafstein did, that more and more Canadian communities are developing water
problems, such as we saw in Walkerton, Ontario and in Saskatchewan, perhaps the
time has come to put in place some kind of mechanism so that communities can
again feel safe about the quality of their drinking water.
As a general rule, I do not believe in creating unnecessary legislation or
excessive regulations when ordinary common sense will do. There are far too many
regulations in place today, and we never seem to rescind or eliminate those
regulations that have no true bearing in today's world.
Clean water legislation has been the subject of debate for quite a while in
Canada, probably since the Americans introduced their clean air and water
legislation back in the early 1970s. I understand that Health Canada has been
drafting legislation for about 20 years. The real reason the federal government
never came forward with that legislation was because they feared they would be
responsible for providing clean water for everyone. I do not believe that would
be the case, but they should ensure that our Aboriginal Canadian communities
have clean, safe drinking water. Who really knows how much the tab for that
responsibility might be, if they were responsible for that?
Honourable senators, should that fear distract Parliament from putting in
place some procedures that would force everyone to stop and think about our
treatment of water so that a clean and plentiful supply is in place for future
generations? Water is a natural resource and, therefore, requires the
involvement of the various levels of government if there are to be any
regulations and statutory authorities created.
Bill S-18 proposes that water come under the protective authority of the Food
and Drugs Act to determine the regulatory regime that will apply. As I mentioned
earlier, I see no harm in including water in this bill, but I would be hesitant
to endorse the construction of an onerous regulatory regime for the collection,
distribution and use of water. I believe that the various levels of government
can reach an agreement on basic standards that would be applicable across the
country, and that existing guidelines can be strengthened and enforced without
creating and imposing a new layer of regulation and bureaucracy.
This would be the preferable course of action, if at all possible. However,
the unfortunate incidents in Ontario and Saskatchewan tell us that governments
have not sat down to fix this problem. If enacting Bill S-18, as laid out so
well by Senator Grafstein, results in responsibility and common sense being put
into the equation, then I think all honourable senators should support this bill
and send it to the other place for their reasoned assessment.
Honourable senators, I live in the Fraser Valley where there is no city water
supply. The aquifer that services the wells that are located where I reside
comes off the glacier on Mount Baker. The aquifer passes through the Fraser
Valley, a highly concentrated area of dairy and hog farms. As a result, there
has been considerable concern, from an environmental aspect, about the water
supply and how various institutions dispose of their waste.
The concentration of our population is along the 49th Parallel, and because
of continued urban growth in this area, tremendous concern has developed for the
safety and the quality of the water.
Again, I compliment Senator Grafstein and those senators who support Bill
S-18 because the issue of water must be dealt with. We should put more thought
into how it should be dealt with, and I look forward to further debate and
participation regarding this particular issue.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Would the Honourable Senator St. Germain
take one question?
Senator St. Germain: Yes.
Senator Grafstein: Honourable senator, in the course of my
investigation, which was anecdotal and less precise than I would have liked, I
came across a story about bad water in the Fraser Valley. A colleague advised
me, some years ago, about an outbreak of bad water that resulted in a boil water
advisory in the Fraser Valley. Some 10,000 to 12,000 people became ill because
of that incident. Does the honourable senator recall that event? Could the
honourable senator tell us whether the cost of that health problem was ever
calculated? An answer to that would give us an indication of the cost to the
health system in British Columbia of that incident.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, I vaguely recall an incident
that occurred not long ago. I am not certain whether the most recent problem was
related to the disposal of waste from these highly concentrated agricultural
operations, which are becoming much more efficient in production and are
therefore producing more and more waste. There is no question that the
geographical layout of the Fraser Valley is such that everything flows from the
Hope area down the valley to the ocean, and there is great concern about that.
Honourable senators, I am unable to answer Senator Grafstein's question with
any definitiveness. A boil water advisory was in effect at some point, but I
cannot recall the exact details of that.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, for Senator Cordy, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing
Joint Committee on Official Languages (Vote 35 under Privy Council), tabled in
the Senate on April 25, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Maheu).
Hon. Shirley Maheu: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the
ninth report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages, which deals
with the committee's examination of the estimates of the Office of the
Commissioner of Official Languages for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2003. I
wish to point out that the tenth and eleventh reports of the committee address
issues that arose directly from the committee's examination of the estimates of
the office of the commissioner. Therefore, since the three reports are
inter-related, my remarks on the ninth report will also apply to the tenth and
eleventh reports of the committee.
The tenth report expresses the wish that government consider the advisability
of increasing funding for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
The eleventh report proposes that the Office of the Commissioner of Official
Languages should undertake a campaign to make Canadians more familiar with the
Official Languages Act.
The Commissioner of Official Languages, Dr. Dyane Adam, appeared before the
Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages on April 23 to present the
Commission's activity report in order to undertake an examination of the
estimates for projected activities.
As the commissioner said, and I quote:
Preserving language rights is urgent, and to do it we need the right tools.
In a structured and consistent manner, my Office must assess the repercussions
of draft legislation, programs and policies in all fields, such as the
administration of justice in both official languages, Government On-line,
immigration, modernization of human resources management, air transportation,
health and education, to name just a few examples. To this end, we must expand
our research capacity. We need to create a section of auditors responsible for
conducting horizontal investigations and providing special studies.
To achieve its mission, the Commissioner of Official Languages carries out
investigations and provides policy advice and information regarding the
application of the Official Languages Act.
The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has had to get involved
in a number of contentious cases, including the municipal mergers on the Island
of Montreal, the Montfort Hospital and Charlevoix in the east.
The Office of the Commissioner does not merely react and wait until a
complaint is made and investigated. It is proactive and it wants to continue to
be. For this reason, the committee is proposing, in its eleventh report, that
the Office of the Commissioner launch a national awareness campaign to inform
Canadians of their linguistic rights, which, unfortunately, are all too often
The Office of the Commissioner also advises federal authorities on their
responsibilities under the Official Languages Act. The Standing Joint Committee
on Official Languages is currently reviewing Part VII of the act. I can assure
you that the development of minority communities is far from guaranteed. There
are many shortcomings in this regard. This is why I am asking all honourable
senators to read the eighth report on the consultation of French-speaking and
English-speaking minorities in Canada.
The Government of Canada must demonstrate a firm commitment to minority
linguistic communities. The fact that it reiterated its commitment to Canada's
linguistic duality in the Speech from the Throne is no coincidence.
Our government has appointed an Official Languages Coordinator, Stéphane
Dion. The committee's hope that the Office of the Commissioner will conduct a
national awareness campaign to inform Canadians reflects the government's will.
However, all these initiatives cannot be implemented without financial support
from our government.
In conclusion, last year the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages
asked the government to increase funding for the Office of the Commissioner of
Official Languages to meet additional needs amounting to $6 million. The
commissioner informed the committee that the budget for her office last year was
increased by $2.4 million and was granted a temporary amount to renew its
technological platform. In the view of the Standing Joint Committee on Official
Languages, the heavy workload and the expectations placed on the Office of the
Commissioner of Official Languages justify the committee's suggestion in the
tenth report that the funding of the office be increased by $4 million.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, I ask that the debate
on consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official
Languages concerning vote 35, the annual budget for the Office of the
Commissioner of Official Languages, be adjourned in my name.
The committee is proposing an increase in the votes for consideration of the
bill, but it is doing so in a very special context. Everyone knows that votes
requested cannot be increased, but that it is possible to recommend certain
The committee believes that improved advertising would help publicize the
work of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. This advertising
would help make Canadians aware of linguistic duality, language rights and the
obligation of federal authorities to serve Canadians in the official language of
their choice. Institutional bilingualism and linguistic duality are not about
forcing all Canadians to speak both official languages.
In Canada, 19 million anglophones do not speak French and should be entitled
to services from federal institutions in their own language.
The same principle applies to the four million francophones in Quebec who do
not speak English. They, too, should have access to the services provided by
federal institutions in the language of their choice, when and as they wish.
I therefore move that the debate be adjourned, because I would like to speak
to this issue at greater length.
Hon. Lowell Murray: May I ask Senator Maheu a question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Would the honourable senator take a question?
Senator Maheu: Yes, I would.
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I noticed that the last time the
deputy ministers were shuffled, the government was careful in its press releases
to identify one of the deputy ministers who was promoted as a francophone. This
act of public relations led me to believe that very few francophone deputy
ministers were promoted during the shuffle.
Has the Official Languages Commissioner reported on the situation of
anglophone and francophone deputy ministers?
Senator Maheu: I am not aware of such a study, however the committee
has taken note of what Senator Murray has said.
Francophone deputy ministers are rarely promoted. It is our intention to ask
the minister responsible, Stéphane Dion, about this the next time he appears
before the committee.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is moved by the
Honourable Senator Gauthier, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fraser, that
further debate on the motion be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate,
for the balance of Senator Gauthier's time.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: No.
Motion agreed to, on division.
Hon. E. Leo Kolber: Honourable senators, I request leave to revert to
item No. 5 under Reports of Committees.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): It should be
at the end of the Orders of the Day.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is indicated that it would be appropriate to
ask for leave at the end of Orders of the Day.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate
Committee on National Finance (study on the role of the government in the
financing of deferred maintenance costs in Canada's post-secondary
institutions), tabled in the Senate on October 30, 2001.—(Honourable
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, this item is in consideration
of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, the
study on the role of the government in the financing of deferred maintenance
costs in Canada's post-secondary institutions.
Now is not the time for me to enter into a lengthy discussion of the many
problems and challenges facing post-secondary education in this country. In any
case, I would be far from the best qualified person here to do that. Suffice to
say that Canadians expect that their post-secondary educational institutions
will be places of academic excellence and places where academic excellence will
be rewarded. At the same time, they want university education to be available to
everyone regardless of economic circumstances. They want their post- secondary
education institutions to contribute to some understanding of the economic and
social problems facing the country and to our cultural life. They want their
universities to impart the knowledge and skills that young Canadians need to
make a life and make a living in today's economy.
These considerations and many more make up what one might call the great
expectations that Canadians have of higher education. The challenges are truly
formidable for the governors of universities, the administrators, the professors
and the students, especially facing a situation in which there will be an
anticipated 20 per cent increase in enrolment during this decade. These people
at our universities have to fight and argue for a share of attention and
resources, public and private, to enable them to confront the challenge
When I say "public and private," it is useful to note, 55 per cent of
post-secondary institution revenues come from the various levels of government,
19.3 per cent from student fees, and the rest from various private contracts and
The Senate addressed one part of this challenge — that is, the problem of
deferred maintenance costs in Canada's post-secondary institutions and the role
of the government in financing these costs. I think we can take some
satisfaction and the post-secondary education community can derive some hope and
confidence in the thoroughness of the study and the debate that took place here,
and in the realistic and practical recommendations that the committee chose to
Honourable senators know that maintenance of the existing plant and equipment
is not a very sexy subject for politicians. It is not a very attractive cause
for governments or for private sector donors, who, as Senator Bolduc pointed out
during the debate, would far rather be associated with ribbon cuttings of new
institutions or with endowing chairs in one or another of the academic
Nevertheless, keeping the plant in decent repair is a vital issue. As Senator
Moore told us on March 20, 2001:
If we are to enjoy the benefits of a first-class education system, we must
be prepared to support that system, and support entails investment in
everything from high-speed data links to roofs that do not leak.
Roofs that do not leak: We heard a lot about that during our committee
deliberations. During the 1990s, governments reduced funding levels of
post-secondary educational institutions. Rather than cut back substantially on
courses, on professors or on students, many universities deferred spending on
maintenance. The wisdom of that may well be questioned and we did question it.
However, dubious as the practice may be, it is a fact that it happened, with the
results that we know about. The Canadian Association of University Business
Officers has estimated that the accumulated cost of deferred maintenance in our
institutions is as high as $3.6 billion — this at a time when the universities
already have to invest in expensive new learning technologies and at a time when
they are confronted with this projected 20 per cent increase in enrolment and
the consequent need for expansion of physical facilities.
This is a very serious problem. I think that honourable senators in this
chamber, the post-secondary education community and the country owe a debt to
Senator Moore, who has been the prime mover of this undertaking by the Senate.
Those who are interested in how the Senate works might find it instructive to
trace the evolution of this debate over a period of time. Senator Moore started
with a Notice of Inquiry that he would call the attention of the Senate to the
emerging issue of deferred maintenance costs in Canada's post-secondary
education institutions. He spoke on March 20, 2001, outlying and defining the
problem clearly. He was followed in that debate by our former colleague Senator
DeWare, and by Senators Callbeck, Meighen, Andreychuk, Joyal, Gauthier, Kinsella
and Atkins, the latter of whom had chaired a round table on post-secondary
education for the Conservative Party last June.
The list of senators who participated in the original debate — the list I
have just read — is a list of people who have quite direct knowledge and
experience of the problem. They are university professors and administrators,
university governors, former federal and provincial ministers, all of whom spoke
with a background, not just of obvious concern, but of some knowledge and
experience in these matters.
In June, Senator Moore obtained support for a motion to instruct the Standing
Senate Committee on National Finance to examine and report on the role of
government in the financing of deferred maintenance costs in Canada's
post-secondary institutions. When we returned last September, the committee
devoted four meetings and heard 15 witnesses on this reference. I tabled the
report on October 31 last.
Let me say a word about the recommendations. In a general way, I should tell
honourable senators that we chose to highlight what I think were the most
practical and doable ideas presented to us in the course of our hearings. We
were at some pains to acknowledge the fiscal situation facing all governments.
While that situation has improved in recent years, the fact of the matter is
that, at the federal level, the debt is still at a level where I do not think
any of us can say that we are completely out of the woods.
Second, it bears repeating that this is not a problem in respect of which the
federal government should take total ownership. I quite agree that the federal
cutbacks in the 1990s were greatly responsible for the financial stringencies
that some of the provinces and all of the universities had to face.
Nevertheless, it is an area that demands the cooperation and collaboration of
both levels of government.
Of the seven recommendations that we put forward, the two that I regard as
the most promising are those that adopt the approach of the federal
Infrastructure Program. One recommendation was a plan put forward by the
Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and by the Canadian
Association of University Business Officers, calling for a new infrastructure
program targeted to the elimination of the accumulated deferred maintenance
problem at post-secondary institutions. Their plan would involve a total of $3
billion to be shared 40 per cent each by the federal and provincial governments
and 20 per cent by the universities.
A somewhat different version of the same idea was to make universities
eligible under the present Infrastructure Program. The total amount available
might be increased and universities would be made eligible to take part in that
program on the same basis that municipalities currently do. This would probably
require the consent of the provinces. It is a very simple idea and doable.
Another model to be considered is that provided by the Medical Equipment
Trust Fund. In 2000, the federal government announced that $1 billion would be
made available to enable provinces and hospitals to purchase medical equipment.
The provinces determine the priorities, and the money is distributed by the
federal government, on a per capita basis, across the country.
There were other recommendations involving the tax system and the use of the
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as a mechanism to re-mortgage some of
the institutions and provide the funds for attacking this deferred maintenance
The recommendations were practical and realistic. The debate on the report
involved Senator Moore, Senator Bolduc, Senator Banks, Senator Callbeck and
I conclude by saying that the Senate and its committee have canvassed this
issue thoroughly. It is an urgent problem. We have identified practical
solutions based on existing programs, the parameters of which are well known to
the government. We have identified solutions that do not require extensive
analysis or study. We have identified solutions that will not break the bank and
are well within the fiscal capacity of the federal government. These solutions
do require political will.
Honourable senators, we have done our part on this quite serious issue. At
the behest of our colleague Senator Moore, with whom I am happy to be associated
in this undertaking and this motion, I move, seconded by Senator Moore, that
this report be adopted.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would yield to Senator Moore, but when we conclude this particular
item I will move the adjournment of debate, having held the adjournment of the
debate on the main motion.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): I am at a
loss as to where we are in relation to this item. I thought the debate was
concluded because the question was put and the motion was adopted. Are we
agreeing now that Senator Moore and Senator Kinsella should speak to the topic?
I am seeking direction from the Chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: The honourable senator is quite right. I put the
motion, Senator Moore seconded it, and it was passed. We would require unanimous
consent to return to the motion to debate it further.
Is it your wish, honourable senators, to do that? Is it agreed that we
withdraw the approval of the report on which we just voted?
Senator Kinsella, Senator Murray moved a motion, and I put the motion and
paused, but obviously not long enough. The matter was voted, and the motion was
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): That is the end
of that, then.
The Hon. the Speaker: I have asked if there were a willingness to
return to the motion with unanimous consent. I have a "no" from the senator on
my right. Accordingly, there is no unanimous approval to return. Therefore, we
will now go on with the Order Paper.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cools, calling the
attention of the Senate to:
a) to the public's need for the Senate and the Parliament of
Canada to take into their cognizance the current conflict between Ottawa
residents with their Ottawa City Council and the National Capital Commission
regarding the National Capital Commission's proposal to re-zone a riverfront
parkland to build a 244 dwelling housing development on that riverfront
parkland, a matter well reported in the media;
b) to the national capital parkland known as the Moffatt Farm, a
riverfront parkland on the heritage waterway, the Rideau River, at Mooney's
Bay, near the entrance to the Hog's Back Locks, all of which form a part of
the ancient and historic Rideau Canal and the Rideau Canal Waterway System,
a parkland which for decades has been held by the National Capital
Commission as a commissioned public trust for its protection for the public
good and for the public use;
c) to the meaning in law of a commission, being that a commission
is a public body with a public purpose, authorized by letters patent, an act
of parliament, or other lawful warrant to execute and perform a public
office, and further, that the National Capital Commission is no ordinary
entity, or no simple arms length crown corporation but is a commission a
peculiar constitutional entity, intended to perform a public duty;
d) to the current land use designation zoning of Moffatt Farm
which is zoned as parkland, as are other Ottawa national capital parks such
as Vincent Massey Park and Hog's Back Park, parklands whose maintenance and
sustenance are of great importance and concern to Ottawans;
e) to the National Capital Commission contracted agreements with
private developers, including that one with DCR Phoenix, regarding the sale
for development of the parkland, Moffatt Farm, to the same DCR Phoenix, a
private developer currently acting as the National Capital Commission agent
before Ottawa City Council and the Ontario Municipal Board in proceedings
about the National Capital Commission proposed re-zoning of Moffatt Farm
from parkland zoning to residential zoning so as to permit the National
Capital Commission's sale of this parkland to private developers;
f) to Ottawa City Council's unanimous decision, on March 27, 2002
rejecting and soundly defeating the National Capital Commission/DCR
Phoenix's proposal for re- zoning and development of the Moffatt Farm
parkland, to the city government's strong objection to the proposed
development, being the building of 244 expensive, luxurious high end houses
on the Moffatt Farm parkland, a parkland also known for its environmentally
g) the responsible ministry's and the National Capital
Commission's own protocol that holds that the National Capital Commission
should defer to municipal government on planning issues and land use;
h) to another motion overwhelmingly adopted by Ottawa City
Council, on April 10, 2002, expressing the City's wish to purchase the
Moffatt Farm parkland, also asking the National Capital Commission to honour
City Council's decision and also to withdraw its own appeal to the Ontario
Municipal Board asking the Ontario Municipal Board to overturn City Council
and force the re-zoning of Moffatt Farm from parkland zoning to residential
i) to that same City Council motion of April 10, 2002, which said:
"WHEREAS the Moffatt Farm has been in public ownership for the past 50
years, since its expropriation, and has, until 1999, been designated a
Capital Park by the National Capital Commission;
AND WHEREAS the NCC has determined that this property is surplus to
national needs and intends to sell it;
AND WHEREAS the Moffatt Farm is outside the General Urban Area, and
designated as Waterfront Open Space in the Regional Official Plan, which
is land in, or intended to be in, public ownership and intended for public
recreation and environmental conservation uses;
AND WHEREAS the Moffatt Farm has no `right of development' at this
time, being designated Major Open Space, Waterway Corridor and
Environmentally Sensitive Area, zoning that offers the highest possible
AND WHEREAS, in the Ottawa Official Plan, the Moffatt Farm is
designated as a District/Community Park, a use identified in the 1973
Carleton Heights Secondary Plan as a means to address inadequate parkland
for this area of the City;
AND WHEREAS, since 1973, the population of this community has doubled
and available parkland has already decreased;
AND WHEREAS the City of Ottawa has a policy to acquire, where possible,
waterfront properties that form the Greenway System and preserve these
lands for public open space use;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Ottawa offer to purchase the
entire Moffatt Farm property from the NCC, at a price which will be based
on its current and future use as a District Park; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City request the local Members of
Parliament (National Capital Caucus) to urge the NCC to respect Council's
unanimous decision and withdraw its appeal to the OMB."
j) to the growing public disenchantment and disappointment of
Ottawans who perceive the National Capital Commission's corporate culture as
running roughshod over Ottawans with wanton disregard for local communities
of which the Moffatt Farm community is only one of several which include Lac
Leamy, Sparks Street redevelopment and others, all of which have resulted in
diminishing public respect for the National Capital Commission and its land
use proposals in the national capital area;
k) to the burgeoning public unease about the destiny of Ottawa's
precious public lands as many Ottawans are anxious that the National Capital
Commission is conducting its affairs in land use matters, more as a private
development company and less as a public commission entrusted with Her
Majesty's and the public's interest in the proper land use of unique,
historical, heritage parklands and properties; and
l) to the public need for Parliament's study and review of the
National Capital Commission in its entirety, including its role, structure,
organization, operations, authorizing statute, its parliamentary
appropriations, finances, and its relations with Canadian citizens,
especially Canadian citizens living in the Ottawa area, its land dealings,
its land developments, and its agreements with private developers selected
by the National Capital Commission as recipients, buyers, of treasured
historic lands.—(Honourable Senator Kinsella).
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would like to make a few remarks with reference to this matter now
before the Senate.
I wish to make six points. I do this not having completed all of the research
that I wish to do on the matter.
The matter relates, honourable senators, to the National Capital Act, which
created the National Capital Commission. Prime Minister Diefenbaker introduced
that legislation in 1958. There have been some amendments along the way.
However. basically the model is 44 years old. By any estimation, a piece of
legislation that creates a type of machinery to deal with an item, in this case
the National Capital Region, needs to be reviewed. When one goes to the source
legislation a number of issues present themselves.
One of the first issues is the principle that all Canadians have a direct
interest in the open lands and assets that are looked after by the National
In other words, the National Capital Commission holds these properties in
trust, or on a fiduciary basis, on behalf of Canadians from every part of
Canada. They are not managing land and assets and conducting programs for the
enrichment of the National Capital Region or for people who are resident in this
part of Canada, but rather their mandate, in principle, is to represent and
manage on behalf of all Canadians, Canadians from every part of the country.
Therefore, when questions as to decisions that the commission would make are
analyzed, if there is a controversy around those decisions, particularly when it
comes to the disposition of open lands, it seems that those decisions of the
National Capital Commission must be assessed through the lens of whether they
are good for all Canadians.
Questions are being raised as to whether or not the original purpose of the
National Capital Act has been changed. When we consider that the act was brought
in in 1958, perhaps the time has come for Parliament to review the adequacy of
this model of legislation.
Furthermore, honourable senators, it seems to me that all of us recognize the
socio-economic and, in particular, the mobility dynamics of Canada in the year
2002, where today more Canadians from coast to coast come to the national
capital than ever before because of the infrastructure of transportation and the
general increased mobility of Canadians. That is a significant change, and it
means that, in a real and practical way, Canadian families from coast to coast
are stakeholders in the use of all public lands in the national capital in far
greater numbers and in ways not thought of 50 years ago.
Therefore, a decision of the National Capital Commission relating to the
disposition of these public lands affects, in a very real, hands-on way,
individual Canadian families from across the country who come to the national
capital area more frequently and more often. The section in the National Capital
Act dealing with the sale of public lands held in trust for all Canadians needs
to be looked as it relates to its adequacy to deal with this changed Canada of
It seems to me, we require a provision for a recall mechanism. Section 10(2)
of the act, which gives the power to the National Capital Commission to sell
lands held in trust, could be amended by Parliament to provide for a review
mechanism by Parliament or a parliamentary committee upon the receipt, for
example, of 1,000 signatures of citizens from any part of Canada.
As well, the section of the act that gives the authority to the cabinet to
overturn any decision by the NCC to not sell land should also apply to any
decision to sell land. There is a provision in the act which provides that
cabinet can override a decision of the NCC to not sell land, and I would suggest
that the same provision should apply to the sale of land.
The National Capital Commission, in my view, honourable senators, should not
be selling assets to private developers if the purpose of doing that is for the
NCC to offset ongoing costs of the commission. If the NCC needs money for its
operations, it, like any other agency or ministry, should bring its case to
Parliament. It should not be out selling assets to generate funds to do that.
In a publication called A Place for Canadians: The Story of the National
Capital Commission, by Greg Gyton, I found, at page 114, an interesting line
which reads as follows:
Driven by the need to make ends meet, the NCC negotiated some bold deals...
Should the NCC, indeed should any agency of the Crown, in order to make ends
meet, be out negotiating away assets — in this instance, assets that are held in
trust for all Canadians?
The matter that drew my attention to this need for a review by Parliament is
the proposition regarding a piece of property, public, open lands known as the
Moffatt Farm, which is on the bank of Mooney's Bay along the Rideau waterway. I
went out of my way to walk that land recently so I would have a sense of the lay
of that land and have some personal experience of the beauty of the piece of
property in question.
The proposition, as I understand it, and I have not completed the study, is
that the NCC will transfer that property, or part of it, and that it will be
used for a housing development. That kind of decision does nothing for Canadians
from New Brunswick who come to the National Capital Region and who would want to
sit along the banks of the Rideau waterway. It seems this is a classical example
of something wrong with the NCC being placed in the situation that they are
forced to sell assets in order to make ends meet. There is something wrong there
that needs to be examined.
Honourable senators, the NCC has appealed the decision of the City of Ottawa
not to rezone the Moffatt Farm land to make it available for uses other than
park use. The NCC has made an application to the Ontario Municipal Board
appealing that decision of the City of Ottawa. I would urge honourable senators
to support the view that the NCC should withdraw that application before the
Ontario Municipal Board, and to do so forthwith.
Honourable senators, as I indicated, I have not completed my work on this,
but I thought it of some urgency to say what I had to say this afternoon.
I move the adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will Senator Kinsella take a question?
Senator Kinsella: Yes.
Hon. Herbert O. Sparrow: Can the honourable senator tell us how and
when the land was obtained by the National Capital Commission? Was it purchased
by the federal government through monies advanced to the National Capital
Commission, or was the property donated to the Government of Canada by the
Senator Kinsella: I am afraid I cannot answer the question.
Senator LeBreton: It was expropriated.
Senator Kinsella: It might have been expropriated. The land base of
the National Capital Commission has been acquired in a variety of ways. I will
get back to the honourable senator with a verifiable answer.
Hon. Nicholas W. Taylor: I particularly liked the point made by the
honourable senator that what is in Ottawa belongs to all Canadians, whether from
New Brunswick or Alberta. That is important. I do think we should be able to
throttle this proposal somehow or another. How can the Senate shut it down?
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee
on National Finance will have an opportunity to meet with and hear from the
Chairperson of the National Capital Commission, who is scheduled to appear
before the committee on June 11. I would encourage all honourable senators to
read a copy of the act and reflect upon whether a bill that was legislated in
1958 can deal with the changed world and involve Canadians travelling the way
that we do.
Honourable senators, we know from experience in our own communities that
zoning and other related issues could become complex. In this instance, I am
trying to speak to the larger framework issue. If properties are being disposed
of as a source of revenue for an agency, there is something wrong in principle.
Once the open lands are gone, if they are used for commercial or other purposes,
then they will not be available for Canadians from the other provinces and
territories who come to Ottawa.
Senator Taylor: Coming from a province that will sell anything that is
not nailed down, I am interested in knowing how to go about it.
The Senate is not supposed to be able to pass a money bill. Someone might
argue that because they are not receiving money, this is not a money bill. Has
action been initiated in the other place to stop this, or is this matter
strictly before the Senate?
Senator Kinsella: We have to thank the Honourable Senator Cools for
having allowed the Senate to apprehend the issue. I have just begun my
examination of it. The fact that we are looking at the kinds of issues raised in
our debate may be helpful in and by itself. At some point, Parliament will have
to look at the legislation because it is probably outdated, whether initiated by
a member of the Senate or of the other place.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C.,
calling the attention of the Senate to certain issues related to the
redistribution of seats in the House of Commons subsequent to the decennial
census of the year 2001.—(Honourable Senator Stratton).
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to
Bill C-441 which, if passed, would change the names of 14 electoral districts in
Canada. This process would be done pursuant to the 1985 Electoral Boundaries
I am concerned about a bill of this nature coming to us at a time when
Canada's electoral boundaries will undergo significant readjustment pursuant to
the last census. It seems decidedly inappropriate, especially in Ontario where
provincial and federal electoral boundaries coincide —
The Hon. the Speaker: I see Senator Robichaud rising.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, we are now at Item No. 43 of the Orders of the Day. I thought I heard
Senator Stratton speak to Bill C-441, which has already been stood.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I was not paying enough
attention myself. Could I ask the Table to tell the house the order number for
Senator Stratton: Senator Robichaud is correct.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, has Bill C-441 passed?
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, it is my error and it is not
Bill C-441. However, I am speaking to Inquiry No. 43, which is at day 15. I
request leave to rewind the clock to allow me to speak.
I should like to speak to this item because of my concern, especially in
Ontario where provincial and federal electoral boundaries coincide, to proceed
with changes to constituencies that may be significantly changed pursuant to
redistribution. I wish to speak to this matter at some length after the
sessional break. Therefore, I move that debate be adjourned.
On motion of Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.
Leave having been given to revert to Reports of Committees:
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kolber, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Callbeck, for the adoption of the fifteenth report of
the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (budget
2002-2003) presented in the Senate on April 30, 2002.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. E. Leo Kolber: Honourable senators, the last time I rose to speak
to this report, I was asked a few questions. I now have the answers that
honourable senators were seeking.
The Banking Committee had requested $383,000. The Internal Economy Committee
is proposing $122,000, or 32 per cent of the amount requested. I should point
out that it is under the heading "Transportation and Communications" that the
largest reduction occurred. The committee's request under that heading has been
reduced by over 90 per cent, or $258,000. This reduction is the result of the
The committee was planning to travel under its study of the WTO and financial
services. However, because of the collapse of Enron in the United States and its
impact on financial systems across the world, your committee has decided to
postpone its study on the WTO in favour of a study on the Canadian perspective
of the Enron collapse. The committee will look into Canadian accounting
practices, securities regulations and governance systems to ensure that the
circumstances that led to Enron's collapse do not occur in Canada.
The present allotment of funds would be sufficient to begin the committee's
study into Enron. We would review our budget application with respect to travel
by the committee. I expect that at some point during our study, most likely next
fall, it will become necessary for the Banking Committee to travel to Washington
and perhaps to New York so that it may fully explore the issues surrounding
Enron. The budget as approved to this point will only allow for four senators
and two staff to travel. I am not certain that it will be sufficient, so we may
need to request additional funds in the future.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I have a question for the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce.
I am interested to hear that the committee will be undertaking a study of
Enron from the Canadian perspective. However, I would have preferred to hear
that the committee is planning a study on Nortel, which has suffered a similar
disaster for its shareholders and employees and which, unfortunately, has not
been subjected to the same kind of investigation Enron has. As soon as Enron
collapsed, five or six congressional and senatorial committees were struck; as
well, the auditors are now before the courts.
Here in this country, we had a major collapse. Nortel is probably the second
most widely held stock in Canada, assuming that Bell is the most widely held.
Many people received Nortel shares as the result of a dividend. Nevertheless, as
far as I know, no public hearings are planned, although there may be a class-
I should think that the Banking Committee is ideally positioned to focus on
Nortel in this study. It would be studying the same type of subject matter as it
will be under the Enron rubric, but it would have more of a Canadian focus, if
not an exclusive one.
Senator Kolber: I wish to thank the honourable senator for his
question. What the committee will be studying is what I and some of my
colleagues on the Banking Committee refer to as "Enronitis." Enronitis is a
disease, and it may be that Nortel suffered from some aspects of that disease.
One thing the committee will explore, which will sweep Nortel into the tent, is
the use of options and when they can be exercised, a lot of which applies to
Nortel. The governance of Enron and why the directors did not know it was going
the collapse within months will also be studied. I do not know if our study will
necessarily be company- specific; however, I do not know how to avoid it.
We will have to talk about Nortel at some point, so the honourable senator's
question is well put, and I am sure we will address it.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: My question is to the Chairman of the Banking
Regarding the committee's mandate with respect to corporate governance, does
the committee intend to look at the compensation of the chief executives?
In Canada, we have the same disease they have in the U.S. Corporate
executives and chief executives are becoming greedy in Canada. I am a staunch
defender, as honourable senators know, of the market economy and the capitalist
system. It is the best and, by far, the most efficient system in the world.
Nevertheless, in the last couple of years people have gone mad. There are now
experts on compensation, and these experts generally come from a consulting
business. These experts come in and decide on the ideal formula to compensate
In the beginning, we heard about executives being remunerated in the range of
$500,000, $600,000, $1 million, maybe even $2 million or $3 million. I can accept
that; it is fair. However, no longer are we talking about those amounts; we are
now talking, in one case, about $153 million, and in that case the shares and
the profits went down considerably. That is one aspect. In other companies,
executives are earning $25 million or $30 million.
In Canada, where our businesses are smaller, those amounts are excessive. I
do not understand why the judgment of boards of directors is so bad as to accept
things like that.
I should like the Banking Committee to look at that, if possible.
Senator Kolber: The committee will look at that issue; I agree that
there have been obscene examples. However, the problem becomes how to legislate
against it. The committee will need to hold hearings. At this time, I do not
have a good answer for the honourable senator.
Remember, with respect to the numbers the honourable senator is putting
forward, probably 90 per cent is related to exercising stock options, not just
salaries. An individual who has held stock for 25 or 30 years is entitled to
those earnings, if they have made the stock grow and the shareholders have made
I do not want to get into a huge debate, but there are many aspects of it.
There is the question of short-term gains. You are right, and it is on our
agenda to study.
Senator Bolduc: The committee should focus also on the responsibility
of the board of directors. The chairman has that experience, I have it, as do
many of us here.
I have sat on many boards. Sometimes the directors feel overwhelmed by the
executives. Not only is the chairman in attendance, but the president is as
well, along with all the
vice-chairmen. Those people come with expertise. A director who is with an
insurance company, or any other type of company, sometimes feels uncomfortable
as a board member. A director knows that he or she is there to represent the
I do not have any precise answer, but that is what the committee should
study. The committee should pay particular attention to financial institutions,
which, unlike other institutions, have a public interest mandate. If a financial
institution were to collapse, many people in Canada would be hurt.
Senator Kolber: Corporate governance is high on our agenda. As the
honourable senator knows, four major studies have been done on corporate
governance, the latest one being the Saucier study.
I have dedicated much time to sitting on boards. It is a many splendoured
thing. There are no simple solutions. I suspect that, among other things, the
committee will have to look at qualifications respecting board members and
whether there should be such a thing as a professional board member. I am
convinced that today's board members do not have the time to devote commensurate
with their responsibilities.
Hon. Herbert O. Sparrow: Senator Lynch-Staunton made the suggestion
that the study be on Nortel rather than Enron, and the Chairman of the Banking
Committee responded that perhaps Nortel could be swept into the study. I would
be on the side of Senator Lynch-Staunton, in that if the study were on Nortel we
could sweep Enron into that. It is important.
My question is the following: Now that this proposal — namely, that the
committee study Nortel — has been made, what do we do from here? Where do we go
from here? Is the Chairman of the Banking Committee prepared to take this
proposal to his committee, discuss the issue there, and bring it back to us
here? How would that be handled?
Senator Kolber: Our committee has decided to do the study about the
Enron effect, and we will certainly include things like Nortel. That will get
swept into the tent.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Would the
honourable senator not agree that, before anything can be done in the Banking
Committee, there would have to be an order of reference from the Senate? Given
that, we will be alert to the sentiment here in the Senate that we want to look
at Nortel, and have whatever it is the honourable senator is proposing under the
committee's study on Nortel brought in.
Will the Banking Committee be making a motion in the Senate before June for
an order of reference?
Senator Kolber: That order of reference exists. It is a generalized
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
The Senate adjourned until Thursday, May 9, 2002, at 1:30 p.m.