Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 140, Issue 8
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
The Honourable Lucie Pépin, Speaker pro tempore
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker pro tempore in the Chair.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I
wish to direct your attention to the presence in the gallery of members of the
YWCA Canada's National Executive, who are in Ottawa as part of their Week
Without Violence Against Women. They are guests of the Honourable Senator Mobina
On behalf of all the senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, just as a controversy now
swirls around the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department for allegedly treating
Black people in a discriminatory fashion, it is time for us to look carefully at
the laws that we have put in place since September 11, 2001, to determine if
they have resulted in racial profiling and in condoning racial discrimination.
The Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency has begun the systematic collection
of data on Canadian air travellers. This information, which is kept for six
years, will detail all travel movements of Canadians who travel abroad.
George Radwanski, Canada's Privacy Commissioner, has stated that "the
government has no business systematically recording and tracking where all
law-abiding Canadians travel, with whom we travel, or how often we travel."
Passenger data, indiscriminately collected and stored, can be read and used
by those who collect it in any way that they choose. For visible minorities,
that prospect could be frightening.
It is my contention that senators must be ever vigilant to ensure that such
powers given to a government agency do not allow it to become a basis for racial
profiling. The words of Deputy Justice Minister Morris Rosenberg are of little
comfort in this regard. At a recent conference of security and intelligence
experts, Mr.Rosenberg indicated that he would not automatically rule out the
technique of racial profiling to target individuals for extra scrutiny at border
or airport security stops.
In the past 12 months, we have put legislation in place that could give
authorities the belief that racial profiling is condoned, or even encouraged, by
parliamentarians. Ms. Anvradha Bose, Executive Director of the National
Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, spoke to the
special committee studying Bill C-36 on anti-terrorism. She said: "Since
September 11, we as visible minorities have gone from suspicion to outright
Honourable senators, we must ensure that, as these laws are implemented,
racial profiling does not become one of the methods used in dealing with
passengers when they travel within and outside of Canada. Not only is racial
profiling morally indefensible, but it is also contrary to our Charter of Rights
and Freedoms and our human rights legislation.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise
today to recognize the efforts of all who are involved around the world with the
wonderful organization Habitat for Humanity.
Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 125,000houses in over 80
different countries. This is a great organization that does not discriminate
according to race, religion or ethnic background and that makes affordable
housing available to low-income people worldwide.
This past weekend, I was honoured to take part in an event in Charlottetown
where the keys to three new homes were presented to three Island families. These
families, if not for this fine organization, may not otherwise have been able to
enjoy what so many of us take for granted.
The three homes— one single-family dwelling and one duplex— were the work of
well over 200 dedicated volunteers, as well as the families themselves, who were
on site almost every day during construction.
The benefits to the families who receive a Habitat for Humanity home are
considerable and go well beyond the obvious luxury of a warm bed and a
comfortable place in which to raise one's family. The lower mortgage payments
allow more of a family's income to be spent on such things as food and
Habitat for Humanity is about realizing dreams, about fulfilling a lifetime's
worth of ambition and, perhaps most important, about giving our children the
best possible chance for success.
I am so proud of the work of Jim Wicks, Chairperson of Habitat for Humanity
in the Queen's Region of Prince Edward Island, of his board of directors and of
all the volunteers. I wish them all the best as they continue their good work.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, the ninth conference of
heads of state and governments of countries using French as a common language
was held in Beirut this past October 18 through 20.
As we all know, Canada is active in two major world forums, the Commonwealth
and the Francophonie.
Our involvement in these two forums is a reflection of how we are perceived
throughout the world. These two forums give us two distinct venues for
participating in the leading debates of the day. We are also a member of the G8.
The Prime Minister was, appropriately, the representative of our country at
Beirut. There was provincial participation as well.
In the early 1970s, the Government of Canada, under Prime Minister Pierre
Elliott Trudeau, had proposed having "participating government status" within
the Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie. Quebec was awarded that
status in 1971 and New Brunswick in 1977. The premiers of both these provinces
were in attendance at Beirut.
In 1985, the Francophonie Summit was created on the instigation of Prime
Minister Mulroney and French President François Mitterand. At these summits,
Quebec and New Brunswick have participating government status.
I am delighted with this successful collaboration within the Canadian
federation and want to draw attention to it.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, the YMCA has chosen
this week to highlight violence and to unite Canadians against violence in our
communities, especially violence that targets women. At least 51 per cent of all
Canadian women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. This
is unacceptable. Last year, more than 75,000 Canadians participated in over 150
activities organized by local YWCAs. I am pleased to inform honourable senators
that the National Board of the YWCA joins us here in the chamber today.
The YWCA is the largest service organization for women in Canada. Violence
against women is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, social progress and
social stability. Not only does this violate women's rights under the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it also impacts women's ability to grow and
develop into healthy, well-adjusted, contributing members of Canadian society.
Violence against women happens everywhere: at home, in schools and in the
workplace. It can take many forms — emotional, psychological, sexual and
physical — and it affects a woman's sense of self, her self-confidence and
self-esteem. A victim of violence is more likely to suffer from chronic health
problems, including depression, eating and anxiety disorders. She is more
prone to hospitalization and suicide. Her experience makes it more difficult for
her to maintain a job and enjoy financial security. In effect, it imprisons her
in a vicious cycle.
Violence is a trauma that many suffer in silence. Aboriginal women and women
of minority status are particularly vulnerable. To stop this violence in our
society, we need to take action. We need to speak about violence in order to
influence values and attitudes and change behaviour.
Honourable senators, the YWCA's Week Without Violence reminds us all of the
work that still remains with regard to violence against women.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, this country has lost one of
its clearest thinking intellectuals. Hubert Guindon passed away last week. I met
Hubert during my post-graduate studies in the United States in 1952. Born in
Eastern Ontario, he had a degree in philosophy and was studying at the
Department of Sociology of the University of Chicago at the time.
Hubert did not live like the rest of us: in the evening, he played bridge at
International House, where we lived; he worked during the night and slept in
late in the morning. I do not know if that was part of his non-conformist
mentality, but he certainly was a great thinker and he had a keen sense of
political and social observation.
He read everything, from Marx to Louis Irving Horowitz, in the best tradition
of university studies. During the summer, he did fieldwork in empirical
analysis, taking up the work of Léon Gérin in Saint-Denis de Kamouraska. He also
led a team with Fernand Cadieux, who greatly influenced Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Upon his return from Chicago, he taught at the Université de Montréal, where
I was a lecturer in public administration. We pursued our discussions between
periods at hockey games at the Forum until just recently. His students loved him
because he was a born educator.
I do not think that Canada has produced another expert in social sciences who
comes as close to C.W.Mills as he did. He covered the whole broad field of
social organization and action at home. In 1963, he was the first person to
point out that, with the nationalization of colleges and hospitals, Quebec's
bureaucracy was being revolutionized.
Hubert Guindon was skeptical about the future impact of these new adventures,
as he always took with a grain of salt the moralizing statements made by the
leaders of various social movements and groups with corporatist tendencies. He
had harsh views on such institutions as the Church, the universities, Parliament
and political parties, professions and unions.
Hubert left the Université de Montréal because of academic differences and
moved on to Concordia University. He published mainly in English. A few years
ago, a Toronto publishing firm reprinted some of his writings for academic
journals. His speech to the Royal Society of Canada on seriousness and
solemnity, entitled: "Du sérieux et du solennel," reflects his sharpness of
mind and his sense of humour. These past years, he was putting the final touches
on a book on the great Hannah Arendt. I hope that a colleague of his will be
able to publish it.
Hubert was also a man of great charity who provided supportive care to dying
AIDS patients until the end. He lived in the inner city of Saint-Henri, and all
loved him. He was a modern-day St. Francis of Assisi from whom a battered
Church, with which he had made peace, sought advice from time to time. In his
retirement, at his country home, he baked bread and gave it to the Carmelites
who lived nearby.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I rise to call your
attention to what can only be described as a deplorable situation that has
developed between Canada and the United States. Bilateral relations have reached
a 20-year low, possibly an all-time low. Not since the Trudeau era has there
been such contempt between our two nations. Prime Minister Mulroney repaired and
rebuilt Canada's relations with its largest trading partner and its best friend,
resulting in the best bilateral relationship in the last century. These
relations gave us environmental agreements, international strength and security
for our people, free trade and NAFTA. Certainly there were disputes, but
mutually agreeable compromises were found.
Today, we find ourselves at odds with our American friends over the issues of
softwood lumber, farm subsidies, environmental problems, and immigration and
national security, to name but a few.
Where, not so many years ago, Canada was at an economic par with the U.S.,
today, Canadians have fallen behind their American friends and neighbours. A
recent poll says 66 per cent of Canadians want closer economic and cultural ties
with the U.S. toincrease their standard of living. The survey showed that left-
leaning members of the Liberal caucus, the New Democrats and the Nationalists
are out of touch with Canadians. Eighty-seven per cent of Canadians believe
Canada needs to look beyond its borders to survive economically. With the U.S.
purchasing some 80 per cent of our GDP output, it should come as no surprise
that fostering excellent relationships between the two nations will only lead to
an even stronger economic climate here in Canada.
A J.P. Morgan study released last Friday shows that all the gains achieved
through the free trade deal have been lost within the last two years. Only
socialist Liberals and handout seekers are fearful of the Americans. Only those
who do not want to compete on an equal footing and those who want a low dollar
policy oppose stronger cross-border ties. Canadians want and deserve a better
standard of living. Canadians want a government that is not afraid to stand tall
and shoulder-to-shoulder with our American brothers and sisters.
Honourable senators, the only thing to fear is fear itself.
Hon. Bill Rompkey, Chair of the Committee of Selection, presented the
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
The Committee of Selection has the honour to present its
Pursuant to Rule 85(1)(b) of the Rules of the Senate, your
Committee submits herewith the list of Senators nominated by it to serve on
the following committees:
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
The Honourable Senators Carney, Chalifoux, Christensen, Gill, Hubley,
Johnson, Léger, Pearson, Sibbeston, St. Germain, Stratton and Tkachuk.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
The Honourable Senators Chalifoux, Day, Fairbairn, Gustafson, Hubley,
LaPierre, Lapointe, LeBreton, Moore, Oliver, Tkachuk and Wiebe.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKING, TRADE AND COMMERCE
The Honourable Senators Angus, Fitzpatrick, Hervieux- Payette, Kelleher,
Kolber, Kroft, Meighen, Poulin, Prud'homme, Setlakwe, Taylor and Tkachuk.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL
The Honourable Senators Baker, Banks, Buchanan, Christensen, Cochrane,
Eyton, Finnerty, Kenny, Milne, Spivak, Taylor and Watt.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES
The Honourable Senators Adams, Baker, Cochrane, Comeau, Cook, Hubley,
Johnson, Mahovlich, Moore, Phalen, Robertson and Watt.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, Austin, Bolduc, Carney, Corbin, De
Bané, Di Nino, Grafstein, Graham, Losier-Cool, Setlakwe and Stollery.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
The Honourable Senators Beaudoin, Jaffer, FerrettiBarth, Fraser,
LaPierre, Maheu, Poy, Rivest and Rossiter.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON INTERNAL ECONOMY, BUDGETS AND
The Honourable Senators Angus, Atkins, Austin, Bacon, Bryden, De Bané,
Doody, Eyton, Gauthier, Gill, Jaffer, Kroft, Poulin, Robichaud and Stratton.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, Baker, Beaudoin, Bryden, Buchanan,
Cools, Furey, Jaffer, Joyal, Nolin, Pearson and Smith.
STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT
The Honourable Senators Bolduc, Forrestall, Morin, Lapointe and Poy.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL FINANCE
The Honourable Senators Biron, Bolduc, Cools, Day, Doody, Eyton, Ferretti
Barth, Finnerty, Furey, Gauthier, Mahovlich and Murray.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE
The Honourable Senators Atkins, Banks, Cordy, Day, Forrestall, Kenny,
Meighen, Smith and Wiebe.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON OFFICIAL LANGUAGES
The Honourable Senators Beaudoin, Comeau, FerrettiBarth, Gauthier, Keon,
Losier-Cool and Maheu.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RULES, PROCEDURES AND THE RIGHTS OF
The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, Bacon, Di Nino, Grafstein, Joyal,
Losier-Cool, Milne, Murray, Pépin, Pitfield, Robertson, Rompkey, Smith,
Stratton and Wiebe.
STANDING JOINT COMMITTEE FOR THE SCRUTINY OF REGULATIONS
The Honourable Senators Biron, Hervieux-Payette, Hubley, Kelleher, Moore,
Nolin and Phalen.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
The Honourable Senators Adams, Biron, Callbeck, Day, Eyton, Fraser,
Graham, Gustafson, Johnson, LaPierre, Phalen and Spivak.
Pursuant to Rule 87, the Honourable Senator Carstairs,P.C. (or Robichaud,
P.C.) and the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton (or Kinsella) are members
exofficio of each select committee.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: When shall this report
be taken into consideration?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: At the next sitting.
Senator Rompkey: I believe all honourable senators know, we have been
working on time constraints. The report will be circulated, and I hope we can
discuss it later this day.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Out of order.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted?
Some Hon. Senators: No!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): With the greatest
respect, honourable senators, this is a procedural matter. If we do not get
unanimous leave to deal with the report today, it is automatically put on the
Order Paper for tomorrow. Therefore, no vote is required.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting
of the Senate.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Thursday next, October 24, 2002, I will move:
That the recommendations and proposed rules contained in the Fourteenth
Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of
Parliament presented to the Senate in the First Session of the 37th
Parliament on June 11, 2002, be adopted, mainly:
1. a) Recommendation:
That the Senate adopt a procedure that would
(a) enable the Senate, following its approval of a report
submitted by a select committee, to refer that report to the Government
with a request for a comprehensive response within 150 calendar days;
(b) require the Leader of the Government in the Senate to
either table the Government's response within the
150 day period or provide the Senate with an explanation; and
(c) deem the report and the comprehensive response to be
referred upon tabling to the select committee for review, and provide
that the select committee be deemed to have been referred the matter for
consideration should the
150 day period lapse without a comprehensive response being received.
b) Proposed Rule:
That the Rules of the Senate be amended in rule 131,
(a) by renumbering rule 131 as 131(1); and
(b) by adding after subsection 131(1) the following:
"Request for Government response
(2) Where the Senate adopts either a resolution or a report from
a select committee, other than the report on a bill, requesting the
Government to provide a full and comprehensive response to the
report, the Clerk of the Senate shall communicate the request to the
Government Leader in the Senate who shall, within one hundred and
fifty calendar days after the adoption of the report, either table
the Government's response or give an explanation for not doing so in
(3) Where the Senate adopts a resolution or a report under
subsection (2), the report of the select committee and the response
of the Government or the explanation of the Government Leader for
the absence of a response are deemed to be referred to the select
committee one hundred and fifty calendar days after the adoption of
2. a) Recommendation:
That the Senate adopt a rule based on Senator Gauthier's proposal
relating to petitions, setting out the requirements as to their form and
content, providing for a presentation procedure and providing that the
subject matter of each public petition shall be referred to the appropriate
standing committee, which shall consider it and, where it believes such
action to be desirable, report back to the Senate with findings and
b) Proposed Rule:
That the Rules of the Senate be amended by replacing
rules 69 to 71 with the following:
"Presentation of petitions
69. (1) A Senator may present a petition to the Senate, including a
petition for the passage of a private bill or for the redress of a
(2) A Senator who presents a petition to the Senate must sign it as
the sponsor, but the signature of the Senator is not an indication that
the Senator agrees with the content of the petition.
(3) More than one Senator may sponsor a petition.
(4) A Senator who presents a petition for the purposes of rule 71
shall present it with the report of the Examiner of Petitions attached.
Content of petition
(5) A petition to the Senate must:
(a) be identified as a petition;
(b) be addressed to the Senate or to the Senate in
(c) respectfully request the Senate to do something that
it is able to do;
(d) if it is the petition of one or more individuals,
contain the original signatures of the petitioners, their names and
correct addresses and the dates of their respective signatures; and
(e) if it is the petition of a corporation, be dated and
duly authenticated and under the seal of the corporation.
Form of petition
(6) A petition to the Senate must:
(a) be in a form prescribed by the Committee on Rules,
Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, on sheets of paper of
standard or legal size;
(b) be an original, not a photocopy or facsimile;
(c) be legible, whether it is written, typewritten,
printed or some combination of these;
(d) be free of extraneous matter in its text and of
(e) reproduce on every sheet its identification as a
petition to the Senate or to the Senate in Parliament assembled and
the text of the request, if it consists of more than one sheet of
signatures and addresses.
Examiner of Petitions
(7) The Director of Committees shall be the Examiner of Petitions.
Petition on behalf of public meeting
70. Petitions signed by persons purporting to represent public
meetings shall be received only as the petitions of the persons who
71. (1) In this rule, "public petition" means a petition to the
Senate or the Senate in Parliament assembled by at least 25 persons,
other than Senators and members of the House of Commons, that is filed
for examination, presentation, referral and report under this rule.
Filing for examination
(2) A person may file a public petition with the Clerk of the Senate
who shall, at the request of a Senator who proposes to sponsor it, refer
it to the Examiner of Petitions for examination for compliance with rule
(3) Where a Senator presents a public petition in the Senate with a
report by the Examiner of Petitions attached advising that the petition
is in compliance with rule 69, the petition, its subject-matter and the
report shall be referred, without notice and without debate, to the
appropriate standing committee.
(4) The committee to which a public petition is referred under
subsection (3) may report on its findings and recommendations, if any,
to the Senate.".
3. a) Recommendation:
That, with the exception of clauses 26.1(8) to (11), the Senate adopt
the substance of the October 16, 2000 motion of Senator Kinsella,
seconded by Senator Forrestall, that would add a rule 26.1 to provide
for the expeditious consideration of secession referendum questions or
referendum results by Committee of the Whole, upon their being tabled in
a provincial legislature or otherwise officially released.
b) Proposed Rule:
That the Rules of the Senate be amended, in rule 26,
(a) by adding the following before subsection (1):
(1) Constitutional Business: Orders of the Day for motions under
(b) by renumbering subsections (1) and (2) as (2) and (3) and
all cross-references thereto accordingly; and
(c) by adding the following after rule 26:
26.1 (1) Immediately after the government of a province tables in
its legislative assembly or otherwise officially releases the
question that it intends to submit to its voters in a referendum
relating to the proposed secession of the province from Canada,
motions to refer that question to Committee of the Whole for
consideration and report may be moved without leave at the next
sitting of the Senate, and, if moved, must be considered and
disposed of in priority to all other orders of the day.
Clear majority considered
(2) Immediately after the government of a province, following a
referendum relating to the secession of that province from Canada,
seeks to enter into negotiations on the terms of which that province
might cease to be a part of Canada, motions to refer the subject of
the clarity of the majority achieved in the referendum to Committee
of the Whole for consideration and report may be moved without leave
at the next sitting of the Senate, and, if moved, must be considered
and disposed of in priority to all other Orders of the Day.
Order of business
(3) Notwithstanding rule 23(8), the Speaker shall call for
motions under this rule as the first item of business after Question
(4) Motions under this rule shall be considered and disposed of
in the following order: a motion, if any, by the Government Leader;
a motion, if any, by the Leader of the Opposition; a motion, if any,
by the leader of a recognized third party in the Senate; motions, if
any, by other Senators.
(5) Only one order of reference at a time may be made under
subsection (1) or (2) and, as soon as an order of reference is
adopted, with or without amendment, the remaining motions shall be
dropped from the Order Paper.
(6) Where the Senate adopts an order of reference under this
rule, the Committee of the Whole shall report within fifteen
calendar days after proceedings commenced in the Senate under
subsection (1) or (2).
Transmission of findings
(7) When the Senate adopts a resolution in respect of a report
presented pursuant to this rule, the Speaker of the Senate shall
transmit copies of the resolution and of all proceedings held under
this rule in the Senate and in the Committee of the Whole, including
a complete copy of every representation made under this rule, to the
Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Speakers of each
provincial and territorial legislative assembly in Canada."
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the Leader of the Government able
to confirm that all militia units have been told they are facing a 10 per cent
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator asks a question for which I cannot provide an answer. I have no
knowledge whatsoever that the reserve units have been told that they are subject
to a 10 per cent cut in their budget. I will, however, seek that information on
the honourable senator's behalf.
While I am on my feet, I will answer two other questions that he has now
asked twice and that I have not been able to answer.
With respect to the PPCLI heavy equipment that was brought from Afghanistan
back to Canada, it is now in Vancouver and is waiting to be off-loaded from the
In terms of the honourable senator's question with respect to the 2RCR Battle
Group, the group is undertaking collective training that will progressively
bring it to a high level of readiness, in accordance with the army's previously
approved readiness schedule.
It is a perfectly normal aspect of their training. The honourable senator is
correct, there was some postponed parental leave. It was not cancelled, but
postponed, and the men agreed to do that.
Senator Forrestall: It would be miraculous if you could postpone
I appreciate the minister was not in a position to answer my first question
and will likely not be able to answer the first, and possibly the second,
supplementary. However, I shall pose them in the hope that she may include them.
Will the minister find for us the reason for this budget cut? Is it to help
defray the costs associated with Operation Apollo and to help fight the
operation and maintenance deficit of the army, now valued at about $175million
annually? Could the minister also tell the chamber if all Canadian Forces units
are facing a 10 per cent budget cut to their individual unit budgets?
Senator Carstairs: As the honourable senator indicated in the preamble
to his question, I am not able to provide that information except for one aspect
of it, namely that Operation Apollo, which has a shortfall of funding of some
$400 million, will be funded by Supplementary Estimates. That would not fall
into the category that the honourable senator has identified, but I will try to
generate the information that he has requested with respect to the other
Senator Forrestall: I express the hope, on behalf of a lot of
Canadians, that the Supplementary Estimates will benefit those men and women who
have to fly Sea King helicopters.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader
of the Government. At the meeting of LaFrancophonie in Beirut, Canada signed the
final communiqué that reportedly endorsed the land-for-peace agreement proposed
by Saudi Arabia in March. Is the Saudi Arabian proposal for a solution to the
Palestinian terrorist acts the policy of the Government of Canada?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I understood the preamble insofar as my honourable friend talked about the
agreement of land for peace, but I am afraid I missed the second part of the
question. Would he repeat that for me, please?
Senator Tkachuk: At the meeting of La Francophonie in Beirut, Canada
signed the final communiqué along with all the other countries. That final
communiqué reportedly endorsed the
land-for-peace agreement proposed by Saudi Arabia in March. Is the Saudi Arabian
proposal for a solution to the Palestinian terrorist acts the policy of the
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, first, I cannot tell the
honourable senator whether the final communiqué included a sign-off on the
land-for-peace agreement proposed by Saudi Arabia. I would have to investigate
that communiqué before I could make any further statement on that issue.
Senator Tkachuk: Are we to assume, then, that the Leader of the
Government in the Senate does not know the details of the final communiqué that
was signed off by the Prime Minister on the weekend?
Senator Carstairs: I must tell the honourable senator that I have not
read the final communiqué. To my knowledge, it has not appeared on my desk.
Therefore, I cannot distinguish whether the so-called land-for-peace agreement
was part of that communiqué.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the
so-called "spiritual leader" of the Hezbollah, a terrorist organization,
attended La Francophonie. Did the Prime Minister know in advance that the sheikh
was attending and did we raise any objections to his attendance?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
my understanding is that the Prime Minister did not know that he was attending,
although I found it interesting that the person sitting next to the individual
in question was, in fact, the American ambassador. In terms of the actual
attendance at the meeting, my understanding is that the Prime Minister did not
know that the sheikh was in attendance.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I am a little confused. The
minister knows who was sitting next to the terrorist leader of the Hezbollah,
but she does not know what was in the communiqué that Mr. Chrétien signed last
weekend as the Prime Minister of the country. My honourable friend is a cabinet
minister and the Leader of the Government in the Senate. We know who sat next to
the terrorist leader, yet we do not know what is in the agreement and we do not
know what the Prime Minister signed off on.
How does my honourable friend know that the American ambassador sat next to
the leader of the Hezbollah? The Honourable Senator LeBreton, who is sitting
next to me, says that it is not true and that he did not sign the communiqué,
but I do not know. I want to know whether the Government of Canada and the
Minister of Foreign Affairs knew, in advance, that the sheikh would be attending
the conference in Beirut, and did they protest his attendance?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, it is my understanding that
the Prime Minister did not know that this leader of the Hezbollah was in fact
attending this conference. Whether others knew, I do not know. As to the actual
appearance of the American ambassador, there was a picture in the newspaper and
so it was relatively easy to get that information.
The communiqué that has been signed has not appeared on my desk; only
newspapers appeared on my desk. Therefore, I cannot at this time tell my
honourable friend what was in that communiqué. If it is of concern to the
honourable senator, I am sure I could get copies of the communiqué and table
them in the Senate.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, do the Leader of the
Government in the Senate and the Government of Canada recognize the Hezbollah as
a legitimate organization or do they see them as a terrorist organization?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The Hezbollah
organization has many arms, many branches. The branch that provides humanitarian
aid and the branch that provides cultural support have not been declared by the
United Kingdom as terrorist organizations. There are, however, aspects of the
Hezbollah that have been so designated, although some countries have not yet
gone through the formal process that we have in identifying certain
organizations as terrorists at the highest level of legislation that is
presently permitted to us.
Hon. Pierre De Bané: Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate
recognize that one of the most consistent elements of Canada's foreign policy is
to work against the exclusion of participants at international forums?
The Canadian government has been following this policy for years and one of
the countries that benefited from it is Israel; we always fought to ensure that
no one was excluded. Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate agree that
Lebanon is a democratic country and that the Hezbollah is a party that got a
number of members elected to the Lebanese Parliament?
The Canadian government has had contacts with this party, which sits in the
Lebanese Parliament, for years. If the Canadian government were to follow the
reasoning of my colleague, it should withdraw from all international
organizations where it objects to the presence of one of the representatives.
Senator Carstairs: I thank the honourable senator for his question. As
he has identified, Canada has had a history of discussion and dialogue—
repartee, if you wish — the purpose of which is to find peace and security in a
world order that values peace and security. Lebanon is indeed a democratic
country. It might surprise honourable senators opposite to learn that in that
democracy, 12 members of Parliament, elected by the people, are members of the
Hezbollah political party.
The issue is very simple. The Government of Canada continues to dialogue. It
condemns terrorist activities, no matter who perpetrates those terrorist
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is to the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. It deals with visible minority
appointments to the superior courts of Canada. The minister is intimately aware
of many gender parity issues that continue to plague Canada, and I know the
minister is sensitive to the needs to have our major institutions more carefully
reflect the mosaic of Canada.
Would the minister advise the number of visible minorities, as defined by
federal government legislation, that have been appointed to the superior court
bench since the Chrétien government took power in 1993? How many judges have
been federally appointed from the province of Nova Scotia since 1993? How many
of those appointments have been visible minorities? How many Black lawyers have
been elevated to the Superior Courts of Canada since 1993? How many Black or
visible minorities are now chief justices of any courts in Canada?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the honourable senator asks an extraordinarily detailed question. Obviously, I
will have to get back to him with an equally detailed answer, and I will do so
at the earliest opportunity. He knows, however, that if one is to define oneself
as a visible minority, it is a self-designation. Therefore, it may not be
something that I can necessarily get him in absolute detail.
Ican say that I personally was extremely delighted with the appointment of a
member of the Aboriginal community to the court in Manitoba not too long ago. It
was the first time that had occurred in my province, and for me, it was a giant
step forward. Having spent a good deal of my life in Nova Scotia, I do
understand where the honourable senator is coming from, and I will try to get
the most detailed information for him.
Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, the Commissioner of the
Environment and Sustainable Development, Johanne Gelinas, published her 2002
report this morning. Chapter 2 of this six-chapter report is entitled: "The
Legacy of Federal Contaminated Sites." Honourable senators, what a sad and
shocking legacy it is.
The exact number of contaminated sites is not known even by the Canadian
government. The government owns sites contaminated by petroleum products, heavy
metals and other toxic substances that gravely threaten human health and the
welfare of our citizens.
The commissioner found, honourable senators, that the federal government
still does not know the following: how many of the sites are contaminated, the
full extent of the risk to human health in the environment and the likely cost
of cleaning up and managing these sites. Furthermore, the government does not
have a ranking of the worst sites by order of risk, does not provide the
long-term stable funding needed to manage the problem effectively and, most
important, does not have the firm central commitment, leadership and action plan
essential to the timely cleanup or management of high risk contaminated sites
under its control.
Honourable senators, the health threat is very real. There is a real danger
of water contamination in sites in every region of our country. The health of
our most vulnerable citizens — our children, our disabled and our elders — is at
Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the
Senate. Canadians must have immediate assurance that the government will
allocate more funding to clean up every last contaminated site in this nation.
Do we have such an assurance from the government?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the honourable senator raises a report that was tabled this morning by the
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and it is not good
news for Canada. He is absolutely correct. The good news that was there was
limited in nature. There was some indication that we have done a little better
than we were doing in 1996, and there was more information, a little more money
and some prospect for a little improvement. However, the reality is that if we
do not take a major step in this way, the problems will continue, and they will
explode and become worse than they are today.
Honourable senators, I have no disagreement with Senator Angus, and, on
behalf of both of us, I will bring his representation before the cabinet because
this report shows us that we have a great deal more to do.
Senator Angus: Honourable senators, I thank the minister for that
candid response and the indication that she will carry the message to the powers
that be at the centre. A poll undertaken by Environics in October 2001 showed
that 84 per cent of Canadians felt that cleaning up communities affected by this
kind of toxic waste and contamination is extremely important, and 78 per cent
felt it was even more important than cutting personal income taxes — for
corporate taxes, it was 91 per cent. Imagine that, honourable senators.
The report of the commissioner says that it is far easier and less costly —
up to 40 per cent less expensive in the case of ground water supply
contamination, according to an estimate by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency — to prevent environmental damage than to try to correct it after
contamination occurs. Pollution prevention is extremely important, as the
minister clearly agrees.
What, then, is the plan of the government to prevent future contamination of
this nature and, of course, to contain and clean up the current contamination?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I do not know if Ican go so
far as to say to the Honourable Finance Minister that Honourable Senator Angus
recommends there should be no cuts to either personal or corporate taxes but
that all that money should be used to support the environment. I have perhaps
taken a little liberty with what the honourable senator had to say, so I will
not put those words in his mouth.
However, some things of a positive nature have happened, and some of them
have taken place since the audit was done. For example, in 2002, just this year,
the Treasury Board issued policy guidelines on how to estimate the cost and
liabilities of federal contaminated sites because we do not actually know what
those costs will be, and we need to have at least a reasonable figure as to what
it will be. Also in 2002, the Treasury Board publicly released an inventory of
federal contaminated sites that includes an assessment of the risk posed by
these sites. That is the first time that has happened.
I would agree that there has been at least a little bit of, though not
enough, progress, and we seem to be moving in the right direction.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: On a supplementary question, while the
minister is doing all this research and providing all the answers, would she
kindly determine how many of these sites existed between 1984 and 1993?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I think it is safe to say that
all of the sites that we are referring to have existed for a long time. Frankly,
I do not consider that an excuse for us not to act. The action must be ongoing.
This is the legacy we are leaving to our children, grandchildren and, hopefully,
great grandchildren, and they should not be left entirely to deal with the
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. As she well knows, last week the Supreme
Court of Canada agreed to hear an appeal of a class action lawsuit against the
government brought on behalf of roughly 10,000 disabled veterans who had been
declared incompetent to manage their own affairs. They are suing for the unpaid
interest on money the government had held in trust for them over the decades.
The amount that could be owed to the veterans is thought to be between $3
billion and $5 billion.
Honourable senators, this case could have been settled years ago. However, by
fighting it, the government has callously deprived veterans of their own money
and further driven up the cost, to taxpayers, of compensation. It is estimated
another $2million a week in interest is continuing to accrue in a case where two
lower courts have already ruled against the government.
Could the leader tell us why the government did not settle this suit when it
had the chance? Will it now do the honourable thing and pay the veterans back
before more of them die without receiving a cent of their own money?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
clearly the government does not take the position that there is a valid claim.
That is why the case is going further in court, and, because it is in court, he
knows Ican make no further comment.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is to the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Prime Minister has said that he
would consult Parliament before ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, and then, a few
weeks ago, he said he would ratify it before Christmas. The provinces have
clearly indicated they need to review the facts, the government's plan and the
cost implications before they could be party to it. Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol
could possibly present the greatest negative impact on Western Canada in recent
Can the minister tell the Senate when the government will release its plan,
and will the government seek unanimous support from each of the provinces before
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the federal, provincial and territorial ministers were to have met yesterday
with respect to the Kyoto accord. That meeting has been postponed for one week.
The meeting will be held next Monday, at which time the government will present
a plan to the provinces in the hope that the provinces will enter into dialogue
with respect to that plan and make available to the federal government their
suggestions for how Kyoto targets can be met.
Regarding the announcement by the government that there will be a
ratification vote, it will be held in both chambers. The government has
indicated that they would like that vote to take place prior to Christmas.
However, as the honourable senator knows, Parliament frequently has its own
timetable. I can assure the honourable senator that the ratification will take
place in the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada.
As to the comment that unanimous approval of all the provinces is required
before ratifying the Kyoto accord, quite frankly that is not the case, as it is
an international treaty.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
It may be an international treaty, but the senator from Manitoba, the Leader
of the Government in the Senate, knows of the negative impact and divisiveness
of the National Energy Policy. Once again, it appears that there is a high
degree of insensitivity to the needs of the West.
Take a look at parks. The government wishes to turn the entire western part
of Canada and the North into parks without taking into consideration the
economic needs of these regions. The largest block of the vote comes from
Here again the Leader of the Government in the Senate is saying the
government does not need unanimous support. Does the government not feel that
this type of initiative requires unanimous support to prevent the divisiveness
and the separatist mentality from feeding on it, an attitude that has been
created in the West by Central Canadian decisions?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I will go back and canvass a
few of the issues that the honourable senator has spoken of.
First, I come from a western province where the government supports the
ratification of the Kyoto Protocol 100 per cent.
Interestingly, at the time of the origination of the National Energy Program,
I happened to be in transition from the province of Alberta to the province of
Manitoba and considered myself to be a full-fledged Western Canadian. I
supported the National Energy Program, because when I compared it with the new
oil, old oil policy south of the border, particularly in the State of Texas, it
was apparent Albertans were at an advantage compared to their American
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, it is the same senator who
now sits in the Senate who during the Meech Lake debate said this chamber should
be abolished or destroyed.
How does the Leader of the Government in the Senate now justify the argument
that because she supported the National Energy Program these divisions do not
exist and are being fed by these types of initiatives where unanimous support is
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, to be very clear on my
position on the Senate, and we will rewrite history here, because at no point
did I ever, in any fora, talk about the abolition of this chamber. It would be
very hard for me to have done so with a father who sat here for 25 years. He
would have gotten out of his grave to let me know definitely that my views were
erroneous on that particular issue.
If the honourable senator is asking me whether I have supported the
initiatives for a more equal, elected and effective Senate, yes, I have
supported those initiatives, and still do.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, is there a danger that
Canada may sign an agreement like we did in the GATT, when Canada gave away
certain rights and went on to keep its part of the agreement whereas the rest of
the countries did not? Agriculture has suffered ever since. We moved in a
positive way according to the agreement, but the rest of the countries did not.
Is there any safeguard in this area?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, we know that the Americans
have indicated that they will not support the Kyoto Protocol. On the other hand,
we know that all of the European Union countries are in agreement with the Kyoto
Protocol, as are a number of other nations throughout the world.
The step we must take is one that is in the best interests of Canada. I
believe that what is in the best interests of Canada is signing the Kyoto
In signing the Kyoto Protocol, there may be some minor downsides. However,
there will be terrific upsides, including, I hope, the recognition that we need
a higher percentage of ethanol in our gasoline tanks throughout this country.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I wish to ask a
supplementary question regarding the matter of the Francophonie conference.
Honourable senators, I do not want anyone to have the impression that the
Prime Minister of my country consorts with terrorists; I do not want that to
happen. Therefore, my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is:
Did the government know that the particular leader of the Hezbollah in question
was not invited by the secretariat of la Francophonie itself but by the
President of the sovereign country of Lebanon? He only attended, if memory
serves me right, the first session, the opening session, sitting next to the
American ambassador and the bishop of the Maronite Orthodox Church of Lebanon.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for that information, which reconfirms what I indicated
earlier; that is, that the Prime Minister did not know he had been invited and
did not know that he was in the room.
In fact, he went on to say, in comments to the media, that he does not always
like everything that people have to say and that probably people do not like
everything that he has to say. However, I should hope that Canada will continue
to engage in dialogue.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I am sure we would all
agree with the statement made earlier by Senator Oliver.
As you know, new U.S. laws permit border officials to pluck Canadian citizens
born in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan from
border crossings and force them to submit to fingerprinting, photographing and
filling out a form detailing their travel plans. Canada has protested very
strongly because it penalizes certain Canadians.
My question is: Are there any new developments respecting the Canadian
citizen whose whereabouts are more or less known? I will be in touch with the
Syrian government this afternoon. Is there any development? I think, if it were
someone of another origin or another religion, Canada would be in an uproar, and
the press would be in uproar, as would both Houses.
Until it is proven otherwise, this man is a Canadian citizen who, as the
Canadian government said, went through all security tests before he became a
Canadian citizen. I wonder if the leader has the latest news about this very
dangerous precedent of deporting someone because he happened to land in the
If there were a place he should have been deported to, it is Canada, where he
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As the honourable
senator has indicated, Mr. Maher Arar has been identified by the Syrian
government as someone who is in Syria. He has not been in Syria, according to
them, throughout this whole period of time. He was apparently in Jordan for a
time but is now in Syria.
Unfortunately, the situation is that he is not only a Canadian citizen; he is
also a Syrian citizen. The United States should have taken his travel document,
identified him as a Canadian citizen and, if they were going to deport him
anywhere, deported him to Canada. We do not have the same authority with respect
to Syria because they can choose to treat him as a Syrian citizen rather than as
a Canadian citizen. The Canadian government has made representation to Syria,
and we hope that Mr. Ararwill be allowed to return to Canada because, although
he still maintains his citizenship in Syria, he makes his home in Canada.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I rise with a certain
amount of sadness to deplore a situation in this chamber that is discriminatory
to some of us, if not many of us, who are finger-challenged. Many people in this
august group use that little BlackBerry, blueberry, raspberry, or whatever it is
called. They play with it and they get all the information they want. Those of
us suffering from arthritis in our hands cannot hold a BlackBerry, a blueberry
or a raspberry. The end result is that we are discriminated against because we
cannot bring our computers into the chamber. The computers used by the
parliamentary reporters and by Senator Gauthier do not make any noise. Most
modern computers on the planet do not make any noise.
The time has come for Her Honour to take us out of the 12thcentury and bring
us into the 21st century by allowing laptop computers to be used in this
chamber, like all the civilized legislatures on Planet Earth.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: First, honourable senators, let me
congratulate the Honourable Senator Pépin on her appointment as Speaker pro
Second, I would ask Senator LaPierre to make the necessary motion to send
this important point of order to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and
the Rights of Parliament for review.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I
thank you for raising this issue, but I think that we must now move on to the
Orders of the Day.
Hon. Tommy Banks moved the second reading of Bill C-5, respecting the
protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada.
He said: Honourable senators, I am proud once again to reintroduce to you the
grand old lady of legislation, SARA, the Species at Risk Act.
When considering this proposed legislation, we must remember that there is
now overwhelming support for national legislation to protect endangered species.
Canadians do not want species to become extinct because of human activity. This
proposed legislation would be familiar to most of us. It has been nine years in
the making. It is the product of the most remarkably
thorough consultation and study and re-examination and amendment. It has been
a cumulative process of negotiations and agreements. I am proud to present this
legislation to honourable senators. This bill takes into account the different
approaches and the various needs of those who have a stake in species
protection. Much time has been spent in finding the right balance and the best
practices to make Bill C-5 efficient and fair.
The proposed legislation now has a very broad base of support in Canada. It
is supported by provincial and territorial governments, municipal governments,
non-governmental organizations, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, representatives of
industry and many other interested Canadians.
I hope honourable senators will allow me to summarize briefly four of the
most important points of the species at risk bill. First, the bill is only one
component of an overall strategy for the protection of species at risk. That
strategy depends upon an effective federal-provincial-territorial working
relationship under the umbrella of the accord for the protection of species at
Last month, Canada's wildlife ministers all met in a successful meeting in
Halifax to discuss their progress on this issue. The accord for the protection
of species at risk has fostered a number of provincial and territorial actions
to protect species, many of them rooted in law. The proposed legislation is the
Government of Canada's response to its own obligations under that accord. We
cannot and should not and must not demand less of ourselves than we do of our
provincial and territorial partners.
Second, protecting habitat is crucially important in the preservation of
species. By encouraging landowners rather than forcing landowners to follow
voluntary conservation measures, we can safeguard threatened habitat. These
measures are both formal and informal, and they are all stewardship agreements
involving governments and volunteer organizations, and business and industry.
Many Canadians are involved in stewardship to protect our precious species
and to preserve our diverse habitats. Canada must sustain its rich store of
ecosystems. Stewardship is its own element through the habitat stewardship
program. Stewardship is part of the federal-provincial-territorial accord. It is
the essence of this bill that is before us, which I hope will become law.
Third, the proposed legislation assures a rigorous, independent and
scientific process to assess species. This is a process that will operate at
arm's length from the government. It will create the mechanisms and the powers
to do something about those assessments by determining plans to help the species
Fourth, this bill deals with the issue of compensation. As many honourable
senators would agree, anyone who is treated unfairly or in any way made to
suffer a loss from the extraordinary impact of critical habitat should be
compensated in a fair and reasonable way. Work has already begun on general
regulations for compensation, and more specific regulations will be developed
over the next few years. These regulations will be built on practical experience
gained in implementing the stewardship of the species at risk bill.
This proposed legislation complements actions already underway. It is a truly
pan-Canadian approach because it emphasizes cooperation through conservation
actions and incentives and stewardships. It proposes stronger measures to
protect critical habitat. It proposes independent, scientific assessment of
species. It proposes appropriate compensation measures.
It is time, honourable senators, for this legislation to proceed. I hope that
all honourable senators will agree that Bill C-5 should be referred to the
Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources for
its consideration. The committee's expertise in carefully considering this
proposed legislation is an essential step in finally bringing effective
protection to the species at risk in our country. It is time to put this
legislation to work on the ground where it can actually make a difference and
begin to do what it is supposed to do. I commend it to the attention of
Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak on Bill
C-5, the Species at Risk Act. To echo the words of Senator Banks, I would say,
"Here we go again." I would thank Senator Banks for his cogent remarks. I am
sure he will not be surprised if I differ slightly from his interpretation of
More than 10 years ago, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney began the process for
Canada and for the world. At the Earth Summit in Rio, he stood up for the global
convention on biodiversity — the convention to stem the tide of species loss. He
stood up to U.S. opposition to that treaty. The first leader of an
industrialized nation to pledge support, he influenced undecided nations, such
as Great Britain and Germany, to support the treaty.
In June 1992, Prime Minister Mulroney delivered the Biodiversity Convention.
Six months later, Canada became the first industrialized nation to ratify that
convention. On December29, 1993, it entered into force. Since then, it has
required— and this is important— Canada to legislate the protection of
The present government has spoken of its commitment to protection. It was a
Red Book promise. However, between the thought and the action, as T.S. Eliot has
said, falls the shadow. In October 1996, the government introduced Bill C-65,
the Canada Endangered Species Protection Act, which died at committee stage in
the other place when an election was called. In April 2000, the government
introduced Bill C-33, the Species at Risk Act. That bill died too, when an
election was called. The government introduced Bill C-5, the Species at Risk
Act, in February 2001, and then, last month, it prorogued Parliament. Now we
have BillC-5, a reinstatement of version three, with some of the laudable
amendments of the House of Commons Environment Committee.
Ten years and four bills — that lends a new meaning to the phrase "better
late than never."
From another perspective, 10 years is a blink in time. Consider the span of
time for species to evolve and flourish. A decade has no meaning. Consider the
extinction of a species. Ten years means nothing. When the last individual of a
species dies, another earth must evolve before that species can live again. We
have lost and cannot recover the passenger pigeon, or the blue walleye that
lived in Ontario waters, or Dawson's caribou, the woodland caribou of British
In another respect, 10 years means a great deal. As the government introduced
its bills and allowed them to lapse, two species of fish in British Columbia
were declared extinct.
In Canada we have recorded 11 extinct species since the
mid-19thcentury. Two of them vanished in 1999. We have 402species in various
risk categories, including the blue whale, which is the largest animal ever to
have lived on the planet. In May it was placed on the COSEWIC endangered list,
which means that it is facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
Frogs are one good example. Two years ago, a team of scientists led by Jeff
Houlahan of the University of Ottawa analyzed data gathered in 37 countries.
They found that amphibian numbers overall have been falling for decades at a
rate of 2 per cent a year. Canada has seen a 60 per cent reduction in the range
of the leopard frog, and its complete disappearance from British Columbia.
The prime reason is the destruction of habitat. The "H" in the acronym
HIPPO, which is shorthand for what we are doing to the natural world, stands for
habitat destruction, "I" for importing invasive species, "P" for pollution,
a second "P" for the swelling human population, and "O" for overharvesting —
something we certainly know about in our coastal waters.
Why should we care? I cannot say it any better than Edward Wilson, the
eminent Harvard biologist and Pulitzer Prize winner. In his book, The
Diversity of Life, he wrote:
What difference does it make if some species are extinguished, if even
half of all the species on earth disappear? Let me count the ways. New
sources of scientific information will be lost. Vast potential biological
wealth will be destroyed. Still undeveloped medicines, crops,
pharmaceuticals, timber, fibres, pulp, soil restoring vegetation, petroleum
substitutes, and other products and services will never come to light.
The diversity of life is an insurance policy for our future, providing us
with the means to adapt to climate change and other environmental problems. Do
we really want to take the risk of cancelling that insurance?
Last summer I read Edward Wilson's book, The Future of Life, and I
highly recommend it. Among other things, it gives us an understanding of how
dependent we are on the gifts and surprises of the natural world. They include
antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs, aesthetics, analgesics, blood thinners,
blood-clotting agents, cardiac stimulants and regulators, immunosuppressive
agents, anti-cancer drugs, fever suppressants — you get the picture.
Some 40 per cent of all prescription drugs are extracted from plants, from
micro-organisms or animals. Therefore, why on earth would we want to destroy a
species that may be the source that we need in years ahead? The fact of the
matter is that scientists know something about the 71,000 species reported to
occur in Canada. They also estimate that roughly the same number remain
undescribed or unreported by science. Our country is home to almost one fifth of
the world's wilderness. It has one quarter of the world's wetlands, one fifth of
its fresh water and one tenth of all its forests. To save the few dozen species
that we know are in danger and those that are threatened on the face of it would
seem the least that we could do.
Edward Wilson writes:
The strength of each country's conservation ethic is measured by the
wisdom and effectiveness of its legislation in protecting biological
The wisdom and effectiveness are what we are here to examine today, and to
judge the wisdom of this bill. If we get it wrong, it will not be effective. If
we get it wrong, future generations may not be so benevolent in judging us. This
brings me to the substance of the bill.
Honourable senators have heard once, and no doubt will hear several times,
that this bill is the best legislation that the government could possibly
design. Nine years and all the consultation sessions,et cetera, have led to the
drafting of this bill. Perhaps we should not change a comma. Perhaps the bill's
nickname, SARA, likens it to an old lady and is deserving of our due deference.
We have two options: We can pretend that is the case. We can pretend that the
bill has been forged with great intelligence and great compromise and therefore
should not be amended, or we can look at the reality that this is not the bill
that our colleagues on the House of Commons Environment Committee wrestled long
and hard to make workable. It is not the bill that they recommended. It is not
the bill that 1,300 scientists say is needed to give effective protection to
Canada's species at risk. It is not the bill that landowners want. It is the
bill that the government was prepared to give us, tempered with the fear of a
revolt in its ranks if it did not admit to a compromise.
It is, by any measure, a timid bill, but it does not begin to flex the muscle
— it could be a first step— that the federal governmentcould legally exercise to
protect species at risk.
Before I speak of the bill's deficiency, in my humble opinion, I want to
acknowledge its positive points. Among them is the fact that it does legally
establish, as Senator Banks has said, COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of
Endangered Wildlife in Canada, which makes the scientific assessment of the
status of species. It does require the minister to consult on COSEWIC
appointments with such respective scientific bodies as the Royal Society of
Canada. It does not, as the scientists have requested, require that at least
half of COSEWIC's members come from outside government to ensure that body's
The bill also establishes a national Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk,
to provide advice and add wisdom to the process. That, again, is a very good
move. However, in each of the key elements of endangered species legislation—
listing, scope, habitat protection and compensation— this bill is timid.
Consider the first element: listing. The bill confirms COSEWIC for
assessments of species, then gives over to cabinet the power to list them as
extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, and it gives to the
Governor in Council the power to ignore the science-based evidence altogether.
It is a formula for political meddling in the logical conclusion of a scientific
An endangered fox is no less endangered because cabinet does not want it
listed. However, in the eyes of the world, or in the eyes of those who know
little about our system, we may be seen to be doing a fine job of keeping our
A more rational regime would clearly separate science and politics.
Scientists, through COSEWIC, would list the species and cabinet would decide
what action, if any, it would take to protect them. Economic and political
considerations would not be ignored. They would be clearly delineated.
Senator Banks has said that most of the provinces and territories have
introduced or amended their legislation as a result of signing on to the
national Accord for the Protection of Species. However, what are the practical
applications of their laws? As of last April, the provincial record was
appallingly consistent. Political discretion on listing is available everywhere
except Nova Scotia. When left to political discretion, only one third of the
species listed by COSEWIC were on provincial lists, leaving 67 per cent of the
COSEWIC-listed species in those jurisdictions with no legal protection, no
access to funding and no research or recovery planning.
Listing is the cornerstone of the endangered species legislation. I, and many
others, believe it should be science based. The Commons committee gave us a
compromise— the "reverse onus" option on listing in which a species listed on
COSEWIC would become part of a legal list within six months, unless cabinet
determined otherwise. The government, under threat of a caucus revolt, agreed to
lengthen the time frame to nine months. When cabinet makes that decision, the
minister must set out the reason in a statement in the public registry. It is
not the best approach, but it is a compromise with which most people can live.
It is important to note that some 233 species already listed by COSEWIC will
automatically be listed upon proclamation of this bill, and then the decision
will be up to cabinet to reverse, if they so choose.
The scope of the bill is the second element found wanting. The government
would have us believe that this bill would protect endangered species wherever
they live in Canada, whether on federal lands or in a provincial park. The
minister has said so repeatedly, so he must believe it to be true. However, on
looking at the precise wording of the bill with respect to killing or harming
an endangered species or destroying its residence under clause 34, this bill
does not apply. Clause 34 includes the words, "... to lands in a province that
are not federal lands unless an order is made ..." by the Governor in Council.
It is called the "safety net approach," an approach that the Progressive
Conservative party championed. Let the provinces do their job. If they are not
doing it, string out the federal safety net. However, this bill does not ensure
that the safety net will ever be unwound.
The government introduced Bill C-5 in the last session of Parliament with
language that gives the Governor in Council the discretion to act or not to act
in provincial or territorial lands. The Commons committee amended that "may"
to "shall" and even left some wiggle room. Cabinet would only be required to
invoke federal law if, in the opinion of the minister, it was required. The
government found even that unacceptable.
Thus, in this bill, we are left with two distinct classes of species at risk.
We have those that, by chance, make their way to federal lands — about 5 per
cent of our country outside the territories. By law, they and their dens and
nests are protected if they are near a post office, an airport, a military base,
a Coast Guard station or a national park. Then we have all the others whose life
and residence may or may not be protected by cabinet order, unless they are
aquatic species or protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. That is
what is in this bill.
I can only think that, when the minister wrote, "the government will be
obliged to order prohibitions to protect them," he was thinking of the
government's moral obligation. This bill imposes no legal obligation on the
government to do anything off federal land for any species on the verge of
extinction, unless it lives in water or is protected by the Migratory Birds
Convention Act, nor does the bill have any specific provision for such
transboundary species as the grizzly bear, the woodland caribou or the swift
Constitutional experts say that the government has the power to protect
cross-border species and their habitat. The power arises under both section 132
of the Constitution Act, 1867 and the peace, order and good government power
under section 91 of the Constitution. An earlier rendition of the bill, Bill
C-65, even made a stab at this. Given that between 80 and 90 per cent of all
species at risk in Canada cross our border with the United States, this lack of
protection is the most obvious loophole.
Three years ago, 12 U.S. senators wrote to President Clinton, prior to his
Canadian visit, urging himto ask our Prime Minister to ensure that any new bill
contain habitat protection of
U.S.-Canada shared species and all lands. They must be disappointed. However,
perhaps we in this chamber can fix this significant hole in the legislation —
and I am smiling.
The third element, habitat protection, is such an essential element of
species protection that it deserves its own debate entirely. Canada's eminent
ecologist, Dr. David Schindler, put it this way:
Species protection without habitat protection is nearly always a complete
scientific impossibility. Suggesting otherwise is the equivalent of
maintaining that the earth is flat.
For a time, the last edition of Bill C-5 had no mandatory protection of
critical habitat, even on federal land. An endangered species' residence was
protected, and that was all. It is rather like saying to people that they can
stay in their homes, but that we will destroy their gardens, their offices,
their schools, their roads and their shopping centres. The Commons committee
fought hard to correct this major flaw, and we now have a bill that defends the
critical habitat of species on federal land or of aquatic species. Elsewhere, it
is discretionary. Is that good enough?
I have a very specific example that I should like to share with honourable
senators today, and I hope to raise it with the minister and his officials when
they appear before the committee. It arises in my home province of Manitoba,
which is also the home province of the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
On the edge of the Ontario border is Nopiming Provincial Park, a very special
area of towering pines and woodland caribou. Some 60 per cent of the park is
also licensed for logging to Tembec, a multinational corporation based in
Quebec. Yes, Manitoba allows companies to log our provincial parks. In May 2000,
the Manitoba government's Woodland Caribou Conservation Strategy listed the
Nopiming caribou herd as high risk. The main threat to its survival was
described as "timber harvesting operations and increases in other activities."
The Manitoba government banned all hunting and told campers they could not pitch
their tents in areas where the caribou raised their young. A provincial plan
recommends protecting two thirds of the caribou concentration zones in the park.
However, clear-cutting, which is a clear destruction of habitat, is still
allowed. In May of this year, COSEWIC again examined and listed the woodland
caribou in Manitoba's boreal forest as a threatened species, meaning that it is
likely to become endangered if the threatening conditions are not reversed.
Before we pass this bill, I should like the minister to clearly tell us how
it will protect the Nopiming caribou. As I read it, once this bill is
proclaimed, cabinet could end all hunting, which the Manitoba government has
already done. Cabinet could exercise its discretionary powers to protect the
caribou's residence— a pointless move. Caribou cannot survive without mature
forests for habitat and mature lichens for food. To protect habitat within the
park, there must be a recovery strategy to identify it and an action plan to act
on that strategy. According to clause 42, the minister has two years to develop
any recovery strategy. For action plans, the Commons committee wanted to give
the minister another two years, but that did not happen. There is now no
timeline. The minister could take five years, 10 years, or even 20years to
develop any recovery strategy. Even more critically, critical habitat protection
in a provincial park is possible only by cabinet order, at cabinet's discretion.
A cabinet order requires the minister's recommendation, and it expires after
One saving grace in this bill is that, once critical habitat is identified,
either in a recovery strategy or an action plan, the minister must publicly
report every 180 days on the steps being taken to protect it. How many such
reports will we read on the Nopiming caribou?
I certainly respect the government's desire, as Senator Banks has described
it, to support the Canadian constitutional structure and to develop strong
working relationships with the provinces. However, we need to know exactly how
this bill will operate when faced with a provincial government that has a long
history of habitat destruction in its park system— my own province. How will it
deal with a government that is so committed to that approach that it is now
proposing to extend logging roads in the region and has removed a
138-square-kilometre portion of Atikaki Wilderness Park. "Atikaki," in
Saulteaux-Ojibway, means "caribou country."
We need to know, because if this bill will do nothing, or if this or future
governments lack the will to exercise their discretionary powers, then we would
be very unwise to sanction it. It will clearly be an ineffectual act.
On compensation, in principle, Bill C-5 takes a step in the right direction.
It recognizes that landowners should not bear the sole burden of the economic
costs of species protection.
We do not know, however, what the rules will be, and we may not know before
we vote on this bill. The preferable course for us, and especially for
landowners, would be to see those regulations presented to our committee. I
sincerely hope the minister will allow us to examine them.
In closing, I wish to remind all senators that this chamber has already
spoken on some of the critical aspects of this bill. In June 1999, we adopted
the report of the Subcommittee on Boreal Forest of the Standing Senate Committee
on Agriculture and Forestry. In that report, we said that Canada needs strong
endangered species legislation that recognizes the importance of preserving the
habitat on which endangered species depend for their survival. The Senate
committee recommended that the federal government "must use its existing
Constitutional authority regarding," among other things, "endangered species."
I think this bill falls short of those recommendations. Thus, we have a
choice— we can hear witnesses, debate sound amendments and then pass the bill
without a comma changed because that is the wish of the government, the majority
in this chamber. We can also look at the bill a little more critically. We all
know the situation in the other place with respect to this bill. The question we
have to ask ourselves is: What is the situation in the Senate? Are we about to
engage in a pro forma exercise, or will we do what Canadians of goodwill expect
Faced with a bill that is flawed, though not fatally, can we set aside
partisanship and work together to improve it? I sincerely hope that members
opposite will use the time we have on this bill to do the latter.
Senator Banks: Honourable senators, will the Honourable Senator Spivak
answer a question?
Senator Spivak: Of course.
Senator Banks: I was glad to hear the senator refer to how well the
government responded to the wishes of Parliament, how well it works and how
responsive this government is to the wishes of Parliament. I was also glad to
hear the honourable senator recount the fact that the government is, in fact,
governing and it is the government that makes decisions with respect to matters
such as the rights of provinces. I was glad to hear the honourable senator
acknowledge that there are such rights. Part of the business of the Senate is to
ensure that the rights of provinces are protected.
The senator asked how the government will deal with a situation in which a
province is recalcitrant. It is the intent of the bill and of the government
that the coercion should be by carrots rather than by sticks. However, the
senator has asked how the government will deal with the situation and said that
it would require a great deal of "will." My comment is that it is difficult to
put will into legislation. However, I share all the other hopes expressed by the
Does the senator agree that it would be appropriate to get on with this
matter as quickly as possible and to refer the bill to committee as quickly as
possible so that it is not derailed by a prorogation of Parliament for a fourth
Senator Spivak: Honourable senators, I think the bill should be
referred to committee as quickly as possible. I wonder if the senator knows
something that those on this side do not know about future prorogations. How
many can there be in one Parliament?
In response to the honourable senator's question concerning the provinces,
environmental protection is a shared jurisdiction. It is obvious to anyone with
any common sense that if the habitat in a provincial park is completely
destroyed, there will no longer be any caribou. That is an urgent crisis.
It seems to me that, perhaps, this bill has hamstrung the cabinet in some
ways. Hopefully, we will be able to discuss that issue in committee.
When the subcommittee examined questions concerning the boreal forest, we
travelled to the northern part of Quebec, where we heard from trappers who could
not speak English. They spoke to us through an interpreter and described how a
logging company had clear-cut everything around their little logging cabins.
Thus, they could no longer hunt because there were no wild animals. I said,
"That's terrible, but why did you not move somewhere else?" They responded by
saying, "We cannot because for thousands of years every bit of space has been
I hope this issue will be discussed in committee in terms of what powers the
federal government will really have under this bill to correct what I think is a
perfectly terrible thing that is happening in my own province. I am not even
looking at any of the other provinces.
Senator Banks: Will the senator agree that absent the bill becoming
law there is nothing the government can do given that it has the will to do it
and that we need this bill in order for there to be a hammer?
Senator Spivak: I do not agree with that. I would ask in reply: If the
government cannot do anything in this bill, are we further ahead?
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I know that Senator
Spivak is an avid supporter of immigration, which is an honourable direction for
any country. However, any country that has exceedingly high populations has
virtually destroyed its habitat.
My other point is that the policy in Canada is to encourage new people coming
to this country to settle in the hinterlands. I have been an avid outdoors
person and hunter most of my life. I see habitats disappearing and wildlife
being put in jeopardy. It is not being put in jeopardy by hunters or native
trapping but by the incursion of people. People destroy everything. What they
have not destroyed remains to be seen.
I am not saying that we in any way, shape or form should become
anti-immigration. Look at countries like India and China where the incursions of
man have virtually destroyed every ounce of habitat that exists. How can we sit
here and say that we want more people to inhabit the hinterlands while still
protecting the environment?
Senator Spivak: Obviously, honourable senators, that is a rhetorical
question. The reason is that if we do not protect the earth, we will not have an
economy or a proper place in which people can live. Much of the literature
points out that there is a balance to be sought between where people should live
and what we should protect. It is obvious that if we do not use our common
sense, we will not survive.
I do not think the honourable senator's question is a real one. Either we
want to survive or we do not want to survive. Frankly, Canada is a huge country.
It seems to me there is lots of room for immigration. It is also one of the last
countries in the world with real wilderness, a treasure which not only is
essential to our survival but is also an economic treasure. People will want to
see wilderness when they no longer have it in their own countries, which is
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is the house ready for
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and bill read second time.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
when shall this bill be readthe third time?
On motion of Senator Banks, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on
Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.
Hon. Yves Morin moved the second reading of Bill C-8, to protect human
health and safety and the environment by regulating products used for the
control of pests.
He said: Honourable senators, I have the honour of presenting Bill C-8 on
pest control products. This bill is sponsored by the Minister of Health, and it
replaces the act passed in 1969. This bill was passed by the House of Commons on
June 13, 2002. It is the result of years of work, not only by the Pest
Management Regulatory Agency, but also by groups of Canadians whose interests
are divergent and sometimes even conflicting.
In Canada, about 90 per cent of all pesticides are used by the agricultural
industry, to help ensure that Canadians and people around the world get food at
an acceptable cost. However, a number of these products pose a rather high risk
to the environment and particularly to human health. This explains the conflicts
and tensions that may exist.
Regulation of pesticides in Canada is an area of shared jurisdiction. The
assessment and the approval of pesticides is under federal jurisdiction, while
the sale, use and disposal of pesticides is under provincial jurisdiction. The
Bill C-8 is to enhance health and environmental protection, make the system more
transparent and strengthen the
post-regulation controls of pesticides.
Bill C-8 prohibits pesticides from being imported, from being sold and from
being used, unless they have been registered by the minister. Once they are
registered, their use is very carefully controlled in accordance with detailed
Under Bill C-8, registration of pesticides is the application of a
science-based approach. A new product will be approved or accepted only if there
is reasonable certainty that there is no harm to human health, to future
generations and to the environment under the conditions under which a pesticide
has been approved.
The registration must also consider possible exposure from multiple sources,
such as food, water, home and school, and it must also consider exposure from
pesticides that act in the same way. This is called cumulative risk.
Finally, registration must take into account the specific conditions of
certain populations, such as pregnant women, children, farmers and their
Protection of health and the environment under Bill C-8 will also be assured
by registering only pesticides that are more efficient than those already in use
and by expediting evaluation of pesticides that are considered to be of lower
Post-registration assessment of a pesticide will be carried out at regular
intervals. This review, in addition, may be performed if there is some mention
of side effects, after information is received from governments here or abroad
or, finally, after requests from even a single citizen.
The enforcement of the proposed legislation will be strengthened by giving
more powers to inspectors and by higher penalties, up to $1 million in fines and
up to six months of imprisonment.
Bill C-8 will make the registration of pesticides far moretransparent by
involving the public at all levels of decision-making, by rendering the register
available for study by any Canadian citizen and, finally, by establishing an
advisory council that will assist the minister in discharging her duties under
Honourable senators, Bill C-8 is a piece of legislation on pest control
product regulation that places Canada on the cutting edge as far as health and
environmental protection are concerned. At the same time, it gives Canadian
agriculture the leeway it needs to fulfill its important role on the world
level. This regulatory process is particularly transparent and involves
Canadians at every step of decision-making. This is why I urge you, honourable
senators, in the best interests of everyone, to support this bill so that it can
become law as quickly as possible.
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Will the honourable senator take a question?
Senator Morin: With pleasure.
Senator Robertson: To which department does this pesticide bill
Senator Morin: It reports to the Department of Health. There is now a
pesticide management regulatory agency that is an agency within the Department
of Health, under the responsibility of the Minister of Health. The agency has
the responsibility of assessing and regulating pesticides.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, debate adjourned.
The Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer moved the second reading of BillC-10, to
amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act.
She said: I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to rise at the
second reading stage of Bill C-10, to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to
animals and firearms) and the Firearms Act. This bill affords me the first
opportunity to sponsor a bill in this house, and I thank all my colleagues,
Senator Fraser in particular, for their support.
The provisions in this bill were initially presented to Parliament in
December 1999 as part of an omnibus bill. The provisions regarding animal
cruelty and firearms were split from the rest of the omnibus bill in 2001 and
are the only two subjects of this bill.
Honourable senators, allow me first to discuss the animal cruelty provisions
of Bill C-10, which represent the first major reform in more than 50 years and
the first reform since the animal cruelty provisions were created in 1892 to set
out the offences in a comprehensive, integrated whole.
As you are aware, the changes proposed here are a reflection of the debate on
society's use of animals. This is a debate that has gone on for decades. There
are, however, some who confuse that broad debate with the goals and objectives
of Bill C-10. It is extremely important to clarify this: Bill C-10 does not in
any way change the status of animals before the law.
The amendments proposed in Bill C-10 have two basic objectives: first, to
increase the maximum penalties available for cruelty offences; and second, to
modernize the law and to rid it of its complexities and anachronisms.
I should like to take a few moments to explain the rationale for these
changes. The rationale for increasing the penalties available for intentional
cruelty and criminal neglect is very straightforward. The way in which society
traditionally recognizes the seriousness of a particular conduct is through a
specifically prescribed penalty for that conduct. Canadians have made it clear
that the animal cruelty penalty provisions no longer reflect the way that
society views these crimes. In addition, scientific research increasingly shows
a link between animal cruelty and violence toward humans, particularly in the
context of domestic violence. Scientific literature suggests an association
between a pattern of cruelty to animals in childhood or adolescence and a
pattern of dangerous and recurrent aggression against people at a later age.
One American study noted that "while most animal abusers will not commit
sensational murders, serial killers almost invariably have histories of animal
abuse earlier in their lives." Many notorious serial killers, including Alberto
DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, had a history of animal abuse that started in his
The research confirms that animal cruelty is a crime of violence and
illustrates why characterization of animal abuse as a property offence is
misleading and inappropriate.
Bill C-10 significantly increases the sentence for intentional cruelty by
creating a hybrid offence and by increasing the maximum sentence to five years
for a criminal indictment and to 18 months for a summary conviction.
This greater flexibility in sentencing allows the Crown to ask for a sentence
appropriate to the circumstances and sends a message to judges, the prosecution
and members of the public that acts of cruelty towards animals are acts of
A strong majority of Canadians have clearly said that they want those who are
guilty of cruelty to animals to be punished more severely.
Honourable senators, Bill C-10 extends from two years to life the maximum
duration for an order prohibiting an offender from owning or having custody of
an animal. Bill C-10 also permits the court to order that a convicted offender
must repay to a person or to an organization the costs associated with caring
for an animal that has been abused by the offender. This will allow humane
societies to recoup some of the costs involved in treating and caring for the
animal. It will also provide an additional means by which offenders may be held
responsible for their actions as part of their sentence.
A second rationale for the amendments to the animal cruelty provisions in
Bill C-10 is to update and modernize the law. This involves ridding the law of
anachronisms that add confusion rather than clarity to the law. One example of
an anachronism in the law is that distinctions are made between different types
of animals. For example, one section deals only with cattle, while another
section deals with dogs, birds or animals kept for a lawful purpose. It is time
to modernize and clarify the animal cruelty offences.
The second aspect of this modernization of the law is to correct a loophole.
At the present time, a person who kills an animal in a brutal or savage way, but
with a legitimate excuse, cannot be accused of cruelty. The only limitation is
whether they cause the animal unnecessary pain, suffering or injury. Bill C-10
will create a new offence of intentionally killing an animal in a brutal or
savage way, regardless of whether the animal suffers. The following are actual
examples of this kind of conduct: attaching an animal to a railroad track,
attaching an explosive to an animal, or putting an animal in a microwave oven.
Honourable senators, in the course of the public debate about this bill, we
have all heard questions as to whether any further changes are necessary to the
animal cruelty provisions of this bill. I should like to comment on these
It has been the law in Canada since 1892 that no one is exempt from obeying
the minimum standard imposed by the criminal law. All persons who deal with
animals, whether they are pet owners, farmers, researchers or trappers, have a
legal obligation to deal with animals in a humane way. Doctors and hockey
players are not exempt from the law of assault. Similarly, industry and pet
owners are not exempt from animal cruelty provisions.
The humane treatment of animals is not a crime. In fact, the leading case on
animal cruelty recognizes that animals may be
used for purposes that cause them pain. The issue is not whether pain was
caused but whether avoidable pain was caused. I believe that the vast majority
of farmers, researchers and others are humane and do not violate the law.
I believe that it is also important to live up to the expectations of
Canadians that all those who take care of animals must continue to meet minimum
standards of behaviour set out in criminal law.
In fact, the Criminal Lawyers' Association testified before the House of
Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights that it was the view of
their members that the animal cruelty provisions did not change any of the
defences available to accused persons. I hope this provides reassurance to those
people who are fearful that changes to the law may mean that something is being
Honourable senators, I would be remiss in my remarks today if I did not
address two criticisms of the bill that I expect may be discussed in this
chamber. Some critics of Bill C-10 suggest that unless defences are written into
the offence provisions themselves, farmers, researchers and trappers will be
dragged into court by animal rights activists. I note three things in this
regard. First, as I mentioned earlier, humane practices are not an offence.
Second, recent amendments to the Criminal Code will offer strong protections
against private individuals using the courts for non- judicial purposes. Third,
even though not required as a matter of law, an amendment was made to the bill
by the committee in the other place to clarify that any and all common-law
defences apply specifically to proceedings regarding animal cruelty.
A second criticism discussed in the other place is that the law needs to
reflect the fact that animals may be used for lawful purposes. I am not sure
that that suggestion is terribly helpful, because the courts are very clear
about this concept.
Honourable senators may be interested to learn that my husband and I used to
be poultry farmers. In fact, my father owned a large poultry farm. As a result,
I am familiar with the practices involved in farm operations.
I know that people who make their living through animals may fear that the
new provisions will threaten their activities or may expose them to new types of
legal proceedings. I hope that the discussions that will take place in the weeks
to come, in this chamber and in the standing committee, will help dispel some of
That said, I would like to comment on the second part of the bill, the
amendments to the Firearms Act.
In 1995, Parliament adopted Bill C-68, thereby creating a broad program to
ensure safety with respect to firearms. We are now proposing amendments that
will allow for the streamlining of the administration of the firearms program.
These proposed changes are in response to extensive consultations with
program partners and stakeholders, including the policing community and gun
owners. The bill will improve efficiency in the administration of the program
without affecting the provisions of the program dealing with safety.
It is a win-win proposition. Gun owners get the changes they asked for, and
the Canadian public gets a program that is less expensive to administer, while
not overlooking the public safety considerations that are important to
These administrative changes simplify processes and requirements. As an
example, pre-processing of visitors bringing guns into Canada will also make
processing at the border more efficient. The bill will improve the day-to-day
administration of the firearms program by ensuring more direct accountability.
This will be achieved by consolidating operational authority for the program
under a Canadian firearms commissioner who will report directly to the Minister
Statistics tell the story of why it was necessary to establish more safety
standards for firearm use. Each year in this country, there are on average more
than 1,000 firearm-related deaths, and a greater number of Canadians are
hospitalized each year because of firearm-related injuries. Furthermore, among
industrialized countries, Canada has the fifth highest firearm death rate for
children under 15.
The overall homicide rate in Canada is at its lowest level since 1967. We
know that firearms homicides rank first. Everyone here today— in fact, everyone
in Canada— wants real action to be taken to reduce the criminal use of firearms.
The Canadian firearms program is another means to keep firearms out of the
hands of those who should not own firearms. Let us examine the rates of domestic
homicides across the country. When I was the president of the YWCA, much of my
work focussed on eliminating violence against women and family violence. I hope
that all honourable senators support this bill. We know that female domestic
homicide victims are primarily shot with firearms. From 1979 to 1998, 40 per
cent of these were firearms homicide victims.
A vast majority of domestic homicides are committed with rifles and shotguns.
Statistics for 1998 show that, in 63 per cent of firearms domestic homicides
committed in Canada, the weapon used was a rifle or a shotgun. Another 21 per
cent of these victims were shot with a sawed off rifle or shotgun.
This is why any practical approach to domestic violence must include
proactive action regarding shotguns and rifles.
Honourable senators, let me give you a brief update on licensing. The
implementation on the firearms program is wrapping up, that is, the licensing of
firearms owners and the
registration of their firearms. Licensing and registration of firearms help
to keep firearms from those who should not have them and encourage safe and
responsible gun use.
The law requires that all firearm owners have a firearms licence. While the
vast majority of firearm owners are safe and responsible, all applicants for
firearm licences are screened to ensure that there is no risk to public safety.
Owners are also subject to continuous screening after they receive their
licence. This helps to keep firearms from those who pose a risk to themselves or
Since December 1, 1998, more than 7,000 permits have been either denied or
revoked by public security authorities. This figure is 50 times the total number
that were revoked in the last five years of the previous firearm control system.
As I already mentioned, there is a key component in the issuance of permits
that helps reduce the number of domestic homicides involving the use of a
firearm. Indeed, the act provides that, before issuing a permit, the current or
previous spouses of the applicant must be informed, that is those who are living
or who have lived with the applicant in the previous two years.
Moreover, spouses and members of the applicant's family, as well as other
people concerned, can contact the Canadian Firearms Centre to voice their
concerns. To this day, 26,000calls have been made to report offences or express
concerns regarding the owner or potential owner of a firearm.
Canadians continue to show overwhelming support for the firearms program.
Seventy-six per cent favour a national firearm registry, according to a recent
poll. The law enforcement community also remains steadfast in its support of
this program because of its essential crime-fighting tools.
Although the firearms program is still being implemented, it is a national
investment in public safety that is already paying safety dividends. The
amendments to the Firearms Act included in BillC-10 will help to ensure that the
key public safety goals of the Firearms Act are met while ensuring that the
administration of the program is more efficient, effective and client friendly.
Ten, twenty or thirty years from now, when we look back on the inauguration
of this important program, we will all take pride that Canada was a world leader
in this essential public safety field.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have a series of questions.
I am somewhat confused. Does the concept of an animal capable of feeling pain
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, because this is the first time
the honourable senator has asked me a question, I am not sure if he is pulling
my leg or if he is serious.
The definition of "animal" is set out in the bill. I am sure the honourable
senator is very capable of deciphering for himself what it means. According to
the language of the bill:
"animal" means a vertebrate, other than a human being, and any other
animal that has the capacity to feel pain.
Senator Tkachuk: That includes fish.
Senator Jaffer: It does.
Senator Tkachuk: Who will decide what is avoidable pain?
Senator Jaffer: As the honourable senator very well knows, the way our
process works is that if there is a question of cruelty to animals, that
question is first submitted to the police and then the prosecutor who then
decide whether to pursue the issue. Ultimately, the courts of our country
Senator Tkachuk: I will not pursue this subject. I am sure the
committee will get into the question of a person fishing, being reported, and
then having to prove in court that the animal did not suffer avoidable pain.
I wish to obtain the views of the honourable senator on this subject, as she
is the sponsor of this bill. I was intrigued by the honourable senator's
reference to serial killers. Is it the position of the government that passing
this bill will prevent serial killers from becoming serial killers? In my
opinion, if someone grows up to be a serial killer, he or she may beat up on a
few cats and dogs as practice along the way. I do not see this as a way to
prevent a serial killer from developing into one. Is it the government's
position that they will use the fact that some person or some kid is cruel to an
animal as a way to predict future serial killers?
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, the minister will speak before
the committee, and that is the best time for Senator Tkachuk to ask that
Senator Tkachuk: Senator Jaffer is the one giving the speech,
honourable senators. That is a question she should have asked the minister,
since she has the speech in front of her. For example, "What does this mean? Is
this your position?" Since she was the one to say it, she must know what it
means. I want it explained, as I do not understand the reference.
Senator Jaffer: With the greatest of respect, honourable senators, if
Senator Tkachuk had asked for my position, I would have stated my position.
However, he asked for the position of the government, and I felt that the best
person to answer that question would be the minister and not myself.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Tkachuk: Let me rephrase the question. What is the honourable
senator's position on that subject?
Senator Jaffer: My position is that children learn violence from many
sources. If they start learning violence by abusing animals, that is a first
step. It has been made clear in many polls that Canadians do not want children
to learn violence at any stage. It
is my position that animal cruelty is one way that children learn how to
commit violence, and it is up to us as a society to protect animals.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Tkachuk: The honourable senator mentioned in her reference to
the Firearms Act that Canada had the fifth highest rate of firearms death in
children. How many children die from firearm accidents and how many die from
Senator Cools: By mothers.
Senator Jaffer: I would ask the honourable senator to clarify what he
means by "accident" and by "murder." I do not follow his question.
Senator Tkachuk: The honourable senator stated that we have the fifth
highest fatality rate of children by firearms. I wish to know how many of them
are deaths caused by someone else pulling the trigger on purpose to kill a child
and how many are caused by accidents, such as two children playing or
Senator Jaffer: I wish to inform the senator that I do not have the
answer. I will attempt to get the answer. However, I am sure that the honourable
senator, who is very conversant with the committee process, will raise the
question with the appropriate witnesses.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: In the ranching and farming community, roping
and branding animals have been part of the tradition of this country since the
time of our original settlers. There has been a huge hue and cry by people who
claim they are animal lovers or activists. Why are we not responding to the
radical behaviour of these groups, some of which will never be satisfied? Some
have gone so far as to declare themselves vegetarians because they feel that
anything done to an animal contravenes the civility of dealing with animals. How
are we to deal with these groups? The organizers of the Calgary Stampede have
already faced challenges from these groups, and I think the government is
exacerbating a situation that is part of the history of this country, at least
for those of us in the West.
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senator, I hear two questions. First, what
standards are presently in place and, second, how will we ensure that farmers
are not penalized for their present practices?
I would point out that the bill specifically gives a definition of the word
"negligently." For the purposes of this bill, "negligently" means "departing markedly from the standard of care that a reasonable person would
use." I would respectfully suggest to the honourable senator that the people
who prosecute would have to show that the actions departed markedly from that
standard of care.
As for the second question, with the greatest of respect, many situations are
being discussed around the country as to the treatment of animals. What the
honourable senator set out is not covered in the bill. The bill is very clear
about humane practices being carried out. What the honourable senator speaks
about is outside of this proposed legislation.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, first, I would thank Senator
Jaffer for giving an enormous portion of her speech in French. That is an
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Fraser: I was particularly struck by Senator Jaffer's
interesting statement that her family were poultry farmers. I do not know how
many other lawyers in this chamber whose families were poultry farmers. Does the
honourable senator think that there is anything in this bill that would have
impeded her family's ability to carry on that business?
Senator Jaffer: I would thank Senator Fraser for her kind remarks. I
would just say that I am still working on my French. If I made any mistakes in
pronunciation, I hope you will all be patient with me.
As for being a poultry farmer's daughter, my husband and family are some of
the larger poultry farmers in the lower Fraser Valley. I can tell you in all
confidence and honesty today that there is nothing in this bill that would
impede the work that my family does in farming.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I may be wrong, but I believe
I heard Senator Jaffer say that statistics indicate that 63per cent of domestic
homicides are committed with firearms.
Senator Jaffer: I did not hear the honourable senator's question.
Would she please repeat it?
Senator Cools: Certainly. I thought I heard the honourable senator
say, but I am not certain as I am quite some distance away, that 63 per cent of
domestic homicides were committed with firearms.
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I am not sure if that is what I
said. With His honour's permission, I would suggest that I answer the question
after Senator Stratton has spoken.
Senator Cools: His Honour does not have the authority to waive the
rules in that manner. I am putting a question to the honourable senator right
now. However, if she does do not want to answer, I understand.
Senator Jaffer: It is not that I do not want to answer; I wish to
check my notes.
Senator Cools: I appreciate that. The honourable senator wants to be
In the honourable senator's speech she spoke about women, domestic violence
and domestic homicide rates. My question is about the rates of domestic
homicides. How do rates of domestic homicide by firearms compare to rates of
domestic homicide by stabbing, by blunt instruments and by bare hands?
Senator Jaffer: That is a significant question. As the honourable
senator and I are both members of the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, I would suggest that she put
that question to our witnesses, as they will be better able to respond.
Senator Cools: I appreciate that the honourable senator is aware that
we sit on the same committee. However, I was seeking a response for the benefit
of this chamber. To me, a response to a question in a Senate committee is not a
substitute for a response to a question in this chamber.
I want it to be clear because so much of this government's policy on firearms
was supposed to have been driven by the whole notion of violence against women.
I am prepared to say, quite strongly, that it is a falsely framed issue and that
violence against women has never been a true factor in firearms questions. If
any honourable senator were to look at the data on homicides, he or she would
quickly see that the numbers for killings, for example, by methods of
strangulation by bare hands are greater. More people are killed by bare hands
and by knives than by firearms. I am always curious to note that this government
singles out firearms rather than, for example, knives. For that matter,
thousands of people are killed in this country by cars on a daily basis. I have
never heard any preoccupation with that.
On the question of domestic homicide, this is an important question and we
should know the answer.
Senator Jaffer: I have now found my answer with respect to the figure
of 63 per cent. Senator Tkachuk has refreshed my memory. I said that 63 per
centof family violence was perpetrated with the use of long guns.
Senator Cools: I am right. That is what I did hear, namely, 63per cent
involved long guns. Where did that number come from? What is the absolute
number? Does that 63 per cent comprise 10 people or 20 people? From where does
the number come and what is the absolute number? What does it represent?
Senator Jaffer: In order to make myself clear, honourable senators, of
the deaths by guns, 63 per cent are by long guns. That is what my statistics
Senator Cools: Is the source of those statistics Statistics Canada?
The honourable senator has merely repeated the number she gave us before.
Senator Jaffer: I believe that number comes from Statistics Canada,
but I will confirm that and let the honourable senator know.
Hon. Willie Adams: Honourable senators, I wish to ask a question. How
will hunters and the killing of animals be part of Bill C-10? Those hunters are
shooting animals. I know that they sometimes do have shooting accidents, but has
nothing to do with cruelty to animals.
Senator Jaffer: I may not have understood the honourable senator. Is
he asking where there is cruelty to animals when there is hunting by guns? I may
have not understood the question.
Senator Adams: The honourable senator has put down the percentage of
people killed in hunting accidents. What has that to do with cruelty to animals?
Earlier she mentioned people killed in hunting accidents. Maybe a gun went off
and the bullet hit someone, but what has that to do with Bill C-10?
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, the bill that I am sponsoring has
two parts. One part is with respect to cruelty to animals, and the other part is
with respect to firearms. There are two separate parts to this bill, and perhaps
that is where the confusion lies.
Senator Adams: Why do we have to amend the act in Bill C-10? Is it
because the original Bill C-68 does not work?
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, it has been a few years since the
Firearms Act was passed. This bill modernizes the description of firearms,
providing that there is no forfeiture of goods and providing that an
authorization licence or registration certificate for firearms be reworked or
amended. It makes it easier, as I stated in my speech, for people to be
processed. That is what this bill is doing.
Senator Adams: The honourable senator mentioned trapping. Bill C-10
does not mention anything about trapping. It just mentions cruelty to animals.
We have people who have to live and feed their families. They have been affected
for so many years. I believe 20 years ago Green Peace stopped everyone from
hunting and trapping and so forth. You mentioned trapping earlier as well. What
has that to do with cruelty to animals?
Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I may be mistaken, but I do not
remember saying a great deal about trapping. However, I did say that this bill
does not outlaw humane practices. The practices that have gone on so far will
continue. This bill will cover only something beyond what is reasonable
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, as a result of this bill, I
believe the stampedes of the country will be in trouble in the future, for
example, the Calgary Stampede, the Morris Stampede and the Swan River Stampede.
I can just see it happening now with the passage of this bill.
Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-10, which amends
the Criminal Code to deal with cruelty to animals and the Firearms Act. As
stated earlier, this bill is part of the original Bill C-15, which was an
omnibus bill that included provisions to deal with sexual exploitation of
children. The bill was divided in two and became Bills C-15A and C-15B.
Bill C-15B died on the Order Paper on prorogation. It is now back before us
today as Bill C-10.
This bill aims to prevent cruelty to animals, and the debate has been
contentious, as has been seen today. Let me give you the perspective of those in
the area of wildlife. I have here a letter sent by Dick Reeves, Executive
Director of the Wildlife Information Network of Manitoba. I should like to quote
what he says about Bill C-15B, now Bill C-10, because it is the essence of the
concerns of some of those on the other side of this bill:
We applaud the federal government's concern regarding animal welfare and
encourage reasonable and responsible efforts to deal effectively with animal
welfare issues. However, without more precise wording to protect animal use
industries such as farming, hunting, fishing, trapping, and medical
research, C-15B is creating an environment ripe for hundreds of potential
legal prosecutions and challenges by animal-rights groups and organizations
down the road. Unfortunately, Bill C-15B is neither reasonable nor
responsible in its approach to this issue.
That is the other side. I do not see where that has been proven to be untrue
He goes on to say the following:
At a minimum, the legislation needs to be re-worked to ensure that, in no
uncertain terms, traditional and lawful uses of wildlife that are set out
under provincial wildlife legislation and angling laws shall not come to be
viewed as cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. Further, the legislation
should not create the opportunity for lawsuits from animal rights extremist
organizations bent on winning through the courts changes in animal use
practices that they cannot find support for in the court of public opinion.
That passage states the issue clearly.
Bill C-10 also deals with amendments to the Firearms Act and the Criminal
Code. Honourable senators, these amendments have been described as being merely
technical amendments. The bill will create the position of Commissioner of
Firearms. I wonder who and what level will get that job. That individual will
hold office at the pleasure of the government, and cabinet will determine the
salary. I will guarantee you it is at least $150,000 a year.
The commissioner will be in charge of the whole application of the Firearms
Act, but his duties will be delegated by the Minister of Justice. In other
words, the commissioner will be just a toady. He will do exactly as the Minister
of Justice says.
However, clause 52 of the bill amends section 97 of the Firearms Act to
authorize the Governor in Council, the Justice Minister or the provincial
minister to exempt employees of some businesses from certain provisions of the
Firearms Act for up to one year. The minister could also exempt any non-resident
from application of the act.
This new power could be used when an American police officer, such as a sky
marshal, is travelling on a commercial flight and finds himself temporarily in
Canada. The bill does not provide for the minister or Governor in Council to
name these exemptions, and there are no provisions for the government to report
on how many exemptions have been granted over a period of time.
The part that I find abhorrent is that the cost of the firearms registry has
been climbing since its inception in 1996. The registration costs were
originally projected to be $85 million for the period 1996-2003. Registration
fees were to recover the cost of implementing the system so that the total cost
to the taxpayer was $5 million. That was the projected cost given to us by
Minister Rock in committee. He said to us that it would be no more than that.
Senator Oliver: Is it more than that now?
Senator Stratton: In November 2001, Treasury Board official Richard
Neville told the Senate Committee on National Finance that the costs are now
eight times the minister's original projection of $85 million, now reaching
almost $700 million and projected to go close to $1 billion. That is absolutely
reprehensible. That is immoral, if nothing else.
Most of the new technical amendments will be contained in regulations that
Parliament has yet to see. Canadians do not know if the new technical amendments
to the Firearms Act as a result of this bill and the subsequent regulations will
reduce or, at least, contain the climbing costs and administration problems of
the firearms registry.
How can you proceed to make technical changes when you do not have your costs
under control? The government has no more credibility with this bill than it had
with Bill C-68, because it has not demonstrated to us at any time or in any
place that the costs will not increase. You cannot tell us the costs will not
increase. They will increase, and the honourable senator knows that.
Honourable senators will study this bill in committee and, no doubt,
questions will arise. I will be delighted to have the minister appear before the
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, Senator Jaffer made an
excellent presentation while trying to defend the indefensible. It was
impossible. They sent her on a "mission impossible," and they sent her without
helicopters or tanks. Senator Jaffer is a victim. The government should be
ashamed of themselves for doing that to a great woman from British Columbia.
Have you no pride, no shame?
Is the honourable senator aware that the costs will escalate from over $700
million to $1 billion?
Honourable senators, I applied for a PAL, a Possession and Acquisition
Licence that allows a person to hold an unrestricted firearm, as well as a
restricted firearm. I would just state that I have never owned a restricted
firearm, but I wanted to apply for the best licence available to me. However, I
have received a letter from the firearms organization in New Brunswick stating
that they wanted to revoke my licence. When I contacted that organization by
phone, I was put on hold and told that the normal waiting time for someone to
respond to my call was 64minutes. Honourable senators, that is the situation
with a government expenditure of $700 million plus. You have to wait for 64
minutes before someone will answer the phone after you make contact with them by
dialing about 10,000 little numbers on the dial pad. Is the honourable senator
aware of that? That fact should certainly be on the record.
Passage of this bill will have an impact upon many of us, although not so
much on myself in light of the fact that I am a Metis who no longer lives off
the land. However, many Metis do live off the land, as did their ancestors.
As an aside, I have heard that they are attacking the Metis again on CBC
Is the honourable senator aware of the waiting period I have described and
the inefficiency that has been bred into that organization?
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, that is just another example of
the classic inefficiency of the system. No, I was not aware of that. I find it
incredible that a caller is put on hold for 64 minutes.
I will relate a tale. I applied for a Possession Only Licence. It took 10
months to get it. I sent my application in and they returned it stating that I
had omitted to enclose the cheque. When I sent the cheque in, there was another
excuse. I went through this process six or eight times before I received my
Possession Only Licence. It took 10 months. I was in a bit of a panic because my
deadline was approaching. This is just another classic example — and there are
thousands of them out there — of the inefficiencies of the system. I hope that
answers the question.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I did not intend to rise today
to speak to Bill C-10. However, considering that the Senate will likely refer
the bill to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, I
believe it is appropriate to share with you some concerns I have with this bill.
I will limit my comments to the first part of the bill which deals with
cruelty to animals.
During our recess, I tried to understand what we were being asked to do
regarding this bill. I will start by expressing my concerns over the issue of
the definitions contained in the bill. As was raised by Senator Tkachuk, the
definitions contained in a bill are always very important. That is particularly
so in this instance because one must bear in mind that the Criminal Code
contains no definition of the word "animal."
This bill does define what is considered to be an animal. As Senator Jaffer
has said, an animal is a vertebrate. If I remember from my zoology classes when
I was in college, a vertebrate is essentially an animal with a nervous system. I
see Senator Keon. He will understand the subtlety of what "a nervous system,"
The question that this raised in my mind was: How do other systems that are
comparable with our common law system define the term "animals"? I found out
that the Protection of Animals Act in the U.K. has defined an animal to be any
domestic or captive animal. Then they define what is a domestic or captive
If you reflect for a moment on what that means, you will no doubt conclude
that a domestic or captive animal is an animal that is under the control of a
human being. This bill does not specify that. This bill states that animal means
a vertebrate — living on its own. This is consistent with another provision of
the bill that amends the Criminal Code to remove animals from the status of
property in the code.
The Criminal Code deals with two classifications of offences: crimes against
a person and crimes against property. Animals are classified as property. With
passage of this bill we will create another class that is not human and that is
no longer property, it is animal. That classification will stand on its own.
That is why the definition of animal in this bill is a vertebrate, in other
words, something living that is not human and not a static good.
The problem is that we are proposing to do with the passage of this bill
something that is not unique but quite special. We are amending the Criminal
Code in such a way that we are creating a new class of objects of offence. In
other words, if you now do something, as the honourable senator has said,
negligently harmful to an animal, you may be charged with a certain offence, and
that offence carries a penalty of incarceration of from six months to five
What are the offences in the Criminal Code that are the object of a five-year
I have looked in the code and I cite an example; causing fire through
negligence. That is a very serious offence. Assault to a person is susceptible
to a five-year sentence. Our Criminal Code must be coherent.
What is the most serious offence against a person and what is the maximum
sentence? What is the maximum sentence for an offence of damage to property? All
the minor offences are a gradation under the maximum.
What we are doing here is creating a new class in the Criminal Code, and we
are establishing a five-year penalty as a maximum. We must look at the two other
categories. To receive the maximum sentence for a crime against property or a
crime against a person, what act must we commit? The philosophy of sentencing in
the code must be coherent, so much so that the Minister of Justice said last
month in the Ottawa Citizen that he intended to launch a major overhaul
of the Criminal Code. Among the issues that he wanted to review in the
overhauling of the code is irrational penalties, because through the years, this
Parliament, the Senate and the other place, has changed the Criminal Code. We
have increased some sentences, redefined crimes and created new crimes. We have
to look at the impact of all those changes and ask ourselves if our sentencing
system is coherent.
Honourable senators know very well that some Canadians think that a
seven-year prison sentence for the possession of marijuana is outrageous and
should be revised. A Senate committee reviewed that issue and came forward with
a proposal that seems to be more in line with today's situation. Sentencing is a
major element of the Criminal Code that needs to be revised.
When I look at the sentencing provisions of animal cruelty legislation in New
Zealand, Australia and the U.K., none of those countries have adopted five years
as a maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences.
Logic is key to a system like ours, a common law system. How do we define the
principles of sentencing so that we maintain coherence in the Criminal Code? We
do not want to create a more serious sentence for one type of deed and a less
serious sentence for something that is even more serious than this offence.
Logic must play a role here.
According to the Minister of Justice and Don Stewart, Professor of Criminal
Law at Queen's University who recently published an article on this subject,
this is a very serious issue. I understand that there is a lobby to protect
animals. I think that the minister in the other place was quite candid when he
said that this bill is the result of a strong lobby. We know that it is an
effective lobby. It is very vocal and very visible. It is in the newspapers
almost daily. I think it is our responsibility as legislators to be very
consequential when we amend the Criminal Code.
Senator Milne and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional
Affairs have questioned the sentencing aspect and suggested that it be revised
at a point in time in our work and that we should try to re-establish the
equilibrium within the Criminal Code.
Honourable senators, I am not against this bill, but I want to share with you
that it does much more than just increase the maximum sentence. It changes
something fundamental in the Criminal Code. This is an important aspect for our
Aboriginal colleagues because there have been practices on the farm or in the
forest with respect to animals that we have known about for a long time. This
country was settled and colonized by European people who hunted. That is what
drew Europeans to Canada. This is an important part of our tradition, our way of
doing things. It is important that at the committee level we have ample
opportunity to revise those points. I think they are very serious, and I wish to
commend Senator Jaffer for bringing this to our attention today.
Honourable senators, even though there is a desire to pass BillC-10 quickly,
we must be sure of what we are doing and the implications that this bill may
have on our legal system.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, Senator Joyal has raised very
interesting points, and I would like to take the opportunity to look at this
bill. I move adjournment of the debate.
Hon. John G. Bryden: Would Senator Joyal accept a question?
Senator Joyal: Yes.
Senator Kinsella: A motion to adjourn debate has been made.
Senator Cools: I had risen to move the adjournment. After I said that,
Her Honour then rose and called upon Senator Bryden. I am quite prepared to
defer to Senator Bryden.
Senator Bryden: I understand that we have created a new area, neither
property, nor human. It is vertebrate — in between. The honourable senator is
concerned that the maximum penalty for cruelty to a vertebrate would be a
maximum of five years, which applies to some rather significant offences within
the Criminal Code.
The honourable senator indicated that for the negligent burning of a
building, the penalty could be five years. Could someone getfive years for theft
of $1 million? As regards cruelty to a vertebrate, there may very well be times
in which a five-year sentence would be appropriate. If someone keeps a
vertebrate alive for days and weeks for the sole purpose of slowly peeling the
hide off that animal while it is still alive, I do not see why that person would
not warrant a five-year penalty as compared to someone who steals money or
property in excess of whatever the number is. We have created a new category,
but to use the amount of the penalty as a reason of concern is an issue. I would
ask the honourable senator to comment.
In Britain, the definition of "animal" in the Animal Rights Act is an
animal that is captive or under the control of a human. I wonder if that is for
the sole purpose of protecting the foxhunt.
Senator Joyal: To the second question, the honourable senator has the
answer. The United Kingdom is sensitive to the regulation of traditional hunting
these days. It is well known in this chamber that there is a great concern among
the British people about fox hunting and that the Parliament of Great Britain
has been called upon to legislate on this matter. The issue will certainly not
die with this bill.
On the first question of the honourable senator, my concern is that the
maximum penalty will now be five years, whereas in most common-law countries the
maximum is two to three years. I can understand that we might want to stiffen
penalties. Perhaps in the last five or ten years there has been a significant
increase in animal cruelty, I do not know. We will hear from the minister and
officers of the department and other witnesses. Perhaps this has become an
endemic problem within Canada and we have suddenly discovered it and want it
immediately stopped. I do not know if that is the case. Sometimes a situation
will arise about which we are not aware and then we will share the information.
The penalty increase is so important in comparison to what it was before that
there must be extraordinary reasons. Again, compared to other countries with a
common-law tradition, none seem to have set five years as the maximum penalty.
That is my first preoccupation.
My second preoccupation is that if we are to determine the maximum penalty,
it must be coherent in the system. As the honourable senator knows, there are
principles in law that determine the definition of sentencing. Those principles
do not seem to be obvious from a reading of the bill as it stands now. That is
why I have raised those concerns.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I
regret to inform you that, pursuant to rule 37, the Honourable Senator Joyal's
time is up. Does Senator Joyal wish to ask for more time?
Senator Joyal: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted,
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cools: I have a question.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Joyal, are you
asking for leave to continue?
Senator Joyal: I would ask leave to respond to questions.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, as I often have to do, even though this is not something I
particularly enjoy, I am prepared to give Senator Joyal the time necessary to
conclude his reply to the last question put to him.
The Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed, honourable
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Joyal: I wish to thank honourable senators for their
Since we are creating a sentence that is very serious in comparison with what
it was before, I should like to use this opportunity at the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to share with the Minister of
Justice and the officers of the department those principles that define
sentencing. The Minister of Justice, in his own remarks at the end of September,
pinpointed that sentencing is a major problem with the present Criminal Code.
I believe that the members of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee,
such as the Honourable Senator Milne, almost came to the conclusion in the
previous session that we need a special study of the elements of our Criminal
Code. We were overburdened with work so we did not do that. However, the problem
remains present in our minds, especially with a bill that creates something
totally new in terms of category and increased sentences.
Senator Cools: The honourable senator has put an interesting
phenomenon before the chamber, and I believe it should be explored.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted?
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, we have reached an impasse. I
agree to give my consent for two questions, namely those of the Honourable
Senator Cools and of the Honourable Senator St. Germain.
Senator Cools: My question is in respect of the new category that is
being created in the Criminal Code. The two categories are crimes against
property and crimes againstthe person. All things human are not persons. Unborn
babies, for example, are not persons.
I summoned a copy of the Criminal Code to look at the crime of infanticide,
which as senators know is a woman's crime. A man cannot be charged with
infanticide. It is a crime that traditionally carries small penalties when such
a charge is laid and prosecuted. Section 233 of the Criminal Code gives us the
definition of infanticide. It tells us clearly that:
A female person commits infanticidewhen by a wilful act or omission she
causes the death of her newly-born child...
I refer honourable senators to section 237, which is the penalty section. I
believe Senator Joyal is quite right in his reasoning about this sentencing
phenomenon. The punishment for infanticide is laid out in section 237, which
Every female person who commits infanticide is guilty of an indictable
offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
Therefore, Senator Joyal is telling us that somehow or other animals are
acquiring a status higher than babies. That is quite interesting to me. We will
have to examine this matter.
Since we have a new category of creature, which is not a person or property,
this new thing, are the unborn animals now?
Senator Joyal: Honourable senators, I will not dare to provide the
honourable senator with a possible answer because it is a most delicate issue.
At this stage of our debate, which is second reading, I believe it is
appropriate to raise the concerns I have. Honourable senators will realize how
serious those concerns are. I thank the honourable senator for identifying the
penalty for infanticide as being a five-year maximum sentence because it
demonstrates the seriousness of imposing a maximum sentence for animal cruelty.
I thank the honourable senator for her question because the issue she raises
will certainly be discussed with the officers of the Department of Justice.
Senator St. Germain: Senator Joyal is concerned about defining the
sentencing, which is a concern. The big concern out there, however, is how to
define "cruelty." It is such a subjective matter.
I listened carefully to what Senator Joyal said because it was well said. He
said that lobby groups like animal rights groups are driving this agenda. They
are forcing the government to do something, not because there is an indication
of a greater amount of cruelty to animals, but because these groups appear to
have become better funded and more vociferous.
This subjective aspect of what is cruelty is, to me, a greater concern than
the sentence. A sentence of a year or six months is devastating to a farmer, a
rancher, an Aboriginal, a hunter or whoever it might be. The honourable
senator's profession and his work with the Criminal Code possibly dictate in his
mind that the question of time is important. However, some of us live in the
practical world of cattle ranching, hunting and trapping.
The honourable senator has presented this new dimension with regard to the
Criminal Code, and we have crimes against the person or property. Does the
honourable senator not think that this becomes the real complexity of how you
define "cruelty" in dealing with these vertebrates?
Senator Joyal: I will try to respond quickly, as I know the deputy
leader has other pressing items on the agenda.
The honourable senator raises two elements: One is the definition of cruelty,
and the other is the matter of "willingly." It must be a conscious act of the
person. Let us talk about cruelty.
My parents did not have the opportunity to have a pig farm, but my father was
involved in the grocery business. When I was a child, he took me to a farm where
they were slaughtering pigs. The pigs were knocked on the head, and then taken
to a hook and suspended. The pig was then opened and prepared for blood letting.
The blood must be warm to prepare certain kinds of products. Sometimes, the pig
recovered because he was not hit strongly enough. Where is cruelty and wilfully
there? This is a clear case where it is not easy to define or draw the line.
In all fairness, and I do not wish to scare honourable senators with the
farming issues of this bill, this is an important issue in BillC-10. We must
understand exactly what we mean by "cruelty" when added to "wilfully."
As Senator Jaffer has said, this departs from the traditional practice and
how it has evolved through the years. We must hear witnesses. Humbly, I am not
an expert. I am simply trying to understand the legislation referred to us.
The concern of the honourable senator is that there might be a vocal lobby
that fights to obtain stiffer penalties for animal cruelty. The farmers are well
represented in our country, and they would be welcome to come before the
committee to express their concerns, as would any other group in Western Canada,
in order that we might understand all of the implications of this legislation.
It does seem to be well intentioned. We must commend the minister and the
honourable senator for this legislation, but there are real implications for
Canadians who are involved in farming and recreation, as well as in the
protection of animals, which is a sound and honest objective to pursue in a
society that behaves in a civilized manner.
On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Senate
Committee of Selection, presented in the Senate earlier this day.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I move the adoption of this
report standing in my name.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, earlier today I withheld
agreement because I was not expecting a full report to be tabled at 2 p.m.
I understand the explanations provided by my former House of Commons
colleague, Senator Rompkey, to the effect that there could not be a meeting
before 1:30 p.m. and that no contact was possible. However, I would not like to
hold up the discussions that are currently underway, given your desire to set up
the parliamentary committees as soon as possible.
Senator St. Germain and I have held consultations. We have some concerns
about the way we are being made use of in this era of reform. Paul Martin
referred yesterday to a major parliamentary reform, and here we are in the
Senate settling for a pure and simple yes without commenting on the formation of
Having consulted Senator Stratton, I felt I ought not to unduly delay what
could be accomplished tomorrow. As I have been appointed to the Standing
Committee on Banking and Commerce, you can well imagine the revolution that is
in the offing.
What a revolution has come, with Marcel Prud'homme on the Banking Committee.
I do not want to make Senator Kolber cry. He came to me and said, "Why do you
not give your consent today?" I do not want to irritate someone who may be my
future chairman. I am a reformist and have always been a reformist. I do not
know if he is to be the chairman, but I would imagine that he has already been
chosen as chairman of the Banking Committee. It would be starting my
relationship on that committee, for the few days or weeks or months or years
that I may be stuck there, having to relearn a completely new field of activity.
It is very dangerous. I hear that many people are interested in that debate.
Honourable senators are aware that I am now coming soon to my fortieth year
in Parliament. I came to federal politics, not provincial politics, where I was
supposed to go. In 1960, I was a Liberal candidate in Montreal-Laurier. At the
request of Mr.Jean Lesage, I gave my seat to Mr.René Lévesque. My first approach
to politics was to go provincial, but my inclination or study was federal
politics. I never shy away from saying to anyone, "If you want to come into
federal politics, you must haveinternational preoccupations. You need
international preoccupation, international comprehension and international
I was good enough for Pierre Elliott Trudeau to be protected by him in the
House of Commons where I was elected not only Chairman of the Foreign Affairs
Committee but Chairman of the National Defence Committee— for over 10 years!
From the day I arrived at university, I was involved in foreign affairs. I
was involved in the Vietnam question. There was a book printed in the United
States which stated that I was used by Mr.Trudeau to change the law in Canada.
That is another debate.
I was involved in the Czechoslovak revolution by helping people come to
Canada. I burned in effigy Orville Faubus of Arkansas for his anti-Black
policies. That was while I was attending the University of Ottawa.
My international preoccupation has always been there. I dare say here— and I
regret to have to say it— that I am deprived from better serving my country by
being a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. I was told
in no uncertain terms why. It is because there is a veto by some lobby that I
should not be on the Foreign Affairs Committee. I will not stand forever and
ever. I know some senator will say, "Well, it is going to be the same thing,
and then he will go away. He will bark but not bite. He is a nice boy." I am
part of a club. This is the best club in the world. Here, we can choose from
among the best to give the best of what we can to bring a little bit of sanity
into foreign affairs.
It is with sadness that I see how uninterested the Foreign Affairs Committee
is at the momentby not seeing fit to even have a briefing on what is going on in
the world. I am not asking for a briefing on Africa, even though it is very
important. Africa cannot put the world in danger at the moment. I am not asking
for a briefing on Latin America, even though it is very important for the French
Canadians of Quebec.
This Foreign Affairs Committee is probably the only one in the Western world
that saw fit not to have any opinion, any meeting, any briefing or any session
on what may be a world war. Honourable senators should not think that I will shy
away from speaking up and trying to offer a little bit of my expertise and
knowledge. I do so in order that these young people who are pages today may not
be sent to fight for us, the old people, because we have lacked openness in
regard to what is going on in the world of today.
My first choice has always been foreign affairs. I always say that I am in
federal politics because I have international preoccupations and international
sensitivities to understand.
I am not a one-question man— Middle East, Middle East, Middle East. There are
other great questions. Surely that is an important issue, but no one wants to
attack or touch it.
Honourable senators, most of you are new to this place. I did not want to
speak about that today because one of the senators I could name happened to go
through a difficult time today. Because of that, I will abstain from giving his
In 1982, 1983 and 1984, there was a debate here in the Senate on the Middle
East. Read the report. See what happened to all the senators who were members of
that committee at that time. They were accused! How dare we accuse Senator Hicks
from Nova Scotia of being an anti-Semite! He raised money for Jewish causes in
Canada. How dare we accuse Senator Van Roggen. He was a fine gentleman and
chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. There are only two witnesses
left— one is Senator Murray who, hopefully, will participate eventually in the
debate. Just because I happen to have opinions that may not be welcome in some
circles, in particular financial or fundraising circles, I am deprived from
giving expertise on the only thing I know— world affairs!
I will tell honourable senators one thing about the recent trip to Lebanon.
Do you think I need a two-day trip after having had difficulties with my heart?
Do you think I need a trip of two days? I can afford to go. I can pay to go. I
do not need to be nominated. I can go wherever I want, and I will. I do not need
to be appointed by whips or otherwise. I could have been helpful. I know every
single member there in Lebanon. Do honourable senators not think that this is
something I could have offered my Prime Minister? I know not only political
leaders but every single religious leader in Lebanon. I know all of them and I
have visited them. Do honourable senators think this man does not have anything
to offer to Canada?
Why is there this secret cabal? No one would dare stand up here in the Senate
and give the real truth as to why I cannot better serve my country by being
nominated a member of a committee on which I think I have something to offer.
That is okay. My name has been put on the membership list of the Banking
Committee. I will have to adjust. I do not know what I will do. I will go to
school. I will learn. There are very interesting characters on that committee.
They do not know what is coming to hound them. I may not share all their
opinions on the very interestingtopics they will face. Do not take that as a
joke. Who knows, I may need some expertise.
I could ask the former member for Gouin, Yves Michaud, to be my assistant
when the committee examines the banking issue. Incidentally, I am kidding. I
think the way the members of the committee were appointed is unfortunate. I did
not choose them. I see Senator Andreychuk near me. I notice that she is not on
the list for the Human Rights Committee, and yet, she has done excellent work on
this committee. This may have been her choice.
We are here to talk a bit about reform. Perhaps some day we could have more
say in how committee members are appointed.
Her Honour has always been recognized as a progressive woman in Quebec. She
may quietly believe that the time has come for committee members to choose their
own chair and vice-chair. There may be recommendations. What is with this story
of secret cabal and scheming? I prefer things to be out in the open, even if it
means receiving hundreds of insulting letters.
So, I am happy to go even further, thanks to the sound advice of senior
Senate officials like Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Armitage, and Mr.Bélisle, by raising a
debate on this issue. For this reason, after consideration and in response to
the requests of Senators
Rompkey and Robichaud as well as amicable consultations with Senator
Stratton, I would not oppose that they organize themselves today. There are
other ways to fight this.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, like Senator Prud'homme,
I, too, am somewhat concerned about the process that is being utilized. As the
honourable senator mentioned, so many people are speaking out about
parliamentary reform and members of Parliament in the House of Commons being
more significant and not being so-called nobodies when they are 50yards off the
Hill or even when they are on the Hill. I believe the object of the work we do
as senators is not to be obstacles in the way of progress.
When honourable senators are asked to become a committee member, they are
given a choice of Committee "A" and Committee "B" and that is it. That is
not really a choice. One is told where to go. Generally, one is placed in a
situation where possibly people do not want to sit on a particular committee.
I appreciate the fact that there has been a change and that an attempt has
been made to accommodate those of us who sit as independents. However, I think a
little more fairness has to be brought into the process with the utilization of
expertise, as Senator Prud'homme pointed out. When we look through this place,
we see that there is much talent and knowledge and many skills that can be
applied in the proper places. What danger would this man be if he sat on the
Foreign Affairs Committee? He has one vote as an independent. He has no ability
to overturn a government decision.
I think I can speak for my colleague on my left when I say that if some
semblance of fairness is not brought into the system, we will do everything we
can under the rules and regulations to make this place a little fairer.
It is possibly not unfairness that is driving the agenda. I believe the
agenda is being driven by the PMO, as Paul Martin said. It is perhaps time we
changed things a little. We may have to force such change by utilizing the rules
and regulations of the Senate.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Could I ask
Senator St. Germain a question?
Senator St. Germain: Yes.
Senator Kinsella: Rule 85 provides for changes of members on
committees to be made according to a certain procedure. It provides that changes
can be made:
(a) with respect to Government members, by the Leader of the
Government in the Senate or any Senator named by that leader; and
(b) with respect to Opposition members, by the Leader of the
Opposition in the Senate or any Senator named by that leader.
Honourable senators, if a change were to be made affecting the honourable
senator, what is his understanding, as an independent senator, as to who would
have the authority to make that change?
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, in the case of independents,
I think such a change should be a decision of both the government and the
opposition, until another process is established. I believe it is the government
side that decided in the final stages of the last session that independents
would be allowed to sit on committees. If it is the government that has made
that decision — and I compliment them for it — then under the present rules and
regulations, until the rules are changed possibly to mirror more what happens in
the House of Commons, the decision would have to rest with the government.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): I am glad the
Leader of the Government has come into the chamber.
All senators are named to committees on the recommendation of the Committee
of Selection, with approval of the full chamber. There are provisions for
government members and opposition members to be replaced by their own whips or
leader, or whomever the leader designates. In the case of an independent
senator, because he or she is named on recommendation of the Committee of
Selection, I would advance a notion that only the Committee of Selection can
recommend a substitution or replacement to the full chamber.
Senator St. Germain: I would have no objection to that because the
government holds the majority on the Selection Committee. I would presume that
it would revert indirectly back to the government to make the decision.
Senator Kinsella: If that is the situation, because the rules are
silent on that point, is there a danger that an independent senator would be
under any pressure or intimidation to not argue a point of view because the fear
would be that the majority would simply come in and move a recommendation from
the Selection Committee to remove that independent senator from the given
committee? Would the honourable senator have that fear?
Senator St. Germain: Perhaps I am fearless, but I am not fearful of
that because I do not think we are that significant in the overall picture of
things. We sit as independents; everything we do is individual. I reflect more
of what the official opposition thinks than I do what the Liberal side thinks,
but I would not be fearful of being under Senators Rompkey, Robichaud or
Carstairs. I would think that the degree of fairness would be proportionate to
the degree of the importance of my role as an independent senator.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I do not have the advantage of having participated in the whole debate, but I
did hear Senator Lynch-Staunton's reply or intervention, whatever it might have
been. I think it would be appropriate to put some remarks on the record.
I am delighted that there are independent senators who have given us their
choices and will now serve as full members, as in the last session of
Parliament. I think there are some extraordinary circumstances, however, which
we may not like to contemplate necessarily. For example, if an independent
senator were appointed to a committee and died in office, causing a vacancy on
that committee, or if an independent senator indicated to me, to Senator
Lynch-Staunton or to the chamber as a whole that he or she no longer wanted to
serve on that committee, then it would seem to me appropriate to fill that
position. However, like Senator Lynch-Staunton, I think the only way that that
position could be filled, having now been granted to an independent senator,
would be to call a meeting of the Selection Committee and have it determine and
report a decision to this chamber.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is the house ready for
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved the second reading of Bill C-11, to amend the
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak at second reading of Bill
C-11, to amend the Copyright Act. This proposed legislation deals with the
interrelationship between the Broadcast Act, as administered by the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, and the Copyright Act.
The bill also deals with the issue of the Internet and with theissue of the
compulsory licence provisions under the CopyrightAct.
In the Speech from the Throne, the government committed to revise Canadian
copyright rules to ensure that Canada has a progressive regime that supports
increased investment in knowledge and cultural works. This proposed legislation
is consistent with that commitment, but it is only one small step in what I
anticipate will be significant amendments to the copyright legislation to deal
with current activities. We heard the Honourable Senator LaPierre talk about
raspberries, blueberries and different types of organizational devices. The
digital revolution is upon us and it is important that the legislation reflects
Modern copyright legislation is essential to the survival of Canadian authors
and artists, as well as of the cultural industries in which they operate. The
Minister of Canadian Heritage has said repeatedly that we need more Canadian
voices to tell more Canadian stories.
However, our creators and our cultural industries must be able to operate
within a marketplace that is based on clear and predictable rules. Intellectual
property is important to the broadcasting industry, as it is in other areas of
It is doubly important if we are to foster innovation and success by
Canadians in the new economy. The government's approach to copyright is a
measured one that takes into account both the right of creators to know that
their efforts will be rewarded and Canadians' need to have access to a variety
of Canadian content in a variety of formats. I repeat: Canadians need to have
access to a variety of Canadian content in a variety of formats.
Honourable senators will recall the discussion we had before prorogation in
relation to the concentration and convergence of media. I am hopeful that one of
the standing Senate committees will deal with that important issue.
The government's recognition of the crucial importance of copyright is
reflected in the copyright reform process that was launched in June 2001. The
report, entitled "Supporting Culture and Innovation: Report on the Provisions
and Operations of the Copyright Act," was tabled in this chamber on October 3
and extends an invitation to Parliament to participate in the review process in
respect of copyright.
This process recognized that one of the priorities to be addressed was a
provision of the existing legislation that did not keep pace with today's rapid
Honourable senators, compulsory licence provisions, which appear in section
31 of the Copyright Act, permit cable companies, direct-to-home satellite
companies and others to retransmit over-the-air-television— television and radio
signals in the air-waves— to their subscribers. Under this compulsory licence,
retransmission may take place without obtaining the direct approval of the
owners of copyright— the rights holders— as long as the transmitters pay a
royalty, which is fixed by the Copyright Board, and comply with other statutory
The original intent was a good public policy to ensure that all Canadians, no
matter where they live, would continue to have access to a broad range of
over-the-air television and radio signals, while also ensuring that rights
holders would be treated in a fair and equitable manner. That provision came
about in 1989.
Honourable senators, in one sense that is not long ago but, technologically
speaking, it was another era— the pre-Internet era. Retransmission in that era
ended in 1999, after just 10 short years, when a Toronto company began sending
Canadian and American television signals over the Internet. That company claimed
that it too had the benefit and could apply for a compulsory licence and,
therefore, did not require the permission of the copyright holders in what they
were retransmitting over the Internet. Rights holders disagreed and the ensuing
litigation was suspended only when the company agreed to terminate its service.
Subsequently, a Montreal-based company announced its intention to begin
transmitting television signals over the Internet. Its request to the Copyright
Board for an Internet specific royalty tariff was withdrawn only last year when
this proposed legislation was presented in the other place.
The claim that the compulsory licence under the Copyright Act covers
Internet-based retransmission is a matter of great concern for the rights of
copyright holders. Of particular concern is the global reach of the Internet and
the World Wide Web. Unrestricted retransmission of programming over the Internet
would undermine the territory-specific arrangements that come with a compulsory
licence. This could badly impair the ability of Canadian film and television
producers to fully take advantage of their negotiated rights in foreign markets.
However, the government heard from other quarters that the licence must remain
applicable and adaptable to technological change. We must deal with the
The government recognizes that confusion surrounding the scope of the
application of the compulsory licence was not desirable and that section 31 of
the Copyright Act needed to be clarified. A thorough consultation paper and
process ensued to fully explore these issues and to provide all Canadians with
an opportunity to make their views known. There were over 40submissions and the
views were considered. Bill C-11 is largely a reflection of those points of
At the hearings of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian
Heritage, copyright holders expressed concerns about this bill not being clear
Amendments were raised in the other place to clarify that this proposed
legislation ensured that Internet-based retransmitters, which operated under the
CRTC's specific non-media exemption order, could not benefit from the compulsory
licence— section 31 of the Copyright Act. On the other hand, systems such as
cable distributors and systems comparable to cable systems, such as
direct-to-home satellite transmissions, would continue to benefit from the
compulsory licence. In addition, parliamentarians in the other place wanted to
ensure that no retransmitter would be able to reap the benefits from the
transmission of other people's programs by inserting their own advertising, such
as the banner ads that we see on the Internet, alongside the program. Thus, they
strengthened the language in the bill to ensure that the signal would be
retransmitted without alteration. This, of course, does not preclude
technological changes, such as digitizing the work, and it does not mean it will
not be transmitted along with a third party's advertising.
Honourable senators, with these amendments, Bill C-11 received all-party
support in the House of Commons. Furthermore, the government has asked the CRTC
to seek comments from the public and to report in respect of the broadcasting
regulatory framework for persons who retransmit, via the Internet, the signals
of over-the-air television and radio programming.
Indeed, as the Internet evolves, it may be appropriate for the CRTC to
revisit its 1999 decision to not regulate the Internet. If and when the Internet
is used for the purpose of broadcasting, it must be subjected to conditions that
will help to further Canadian public policy objectives.
This bill ensures the transparency and predictability of the retransmission
marketplace. It removes the uncertainty that has plagued rights holders and
retransmitters over the past three years. It maintains and strengthens the
protection afforded rights holders, protections which would be undermined
without the legislation.
The bill maintains and strengthens the protection afforded rights holders,
protection that without this legislation would be at risk of being undermined. I
expect that honourable senators will agree to refer this bill to the Standing
Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for detailed
consideration. I urge your support at this time at second reading.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I commend Senator Day on
the excellence of his exposition. There was one aspect of this bill that he did
not deal with, and that is the regulations that will play an important part once
the bill is passed.
Too often we are faced with what we have begun to call framework legislation,
that is, legislation that sets out, in a general way, its intent, but the real
meat of the legislation will appear in the form of regulations. While we have a
joint committee for the scrutiny of regulations and statutory instruments, it
does its work very effectively after the regulations have been made and only
deals with their legality, not whether they are the most appropriate responses
to the issues at hand.
Regulations are the method by which governments can avoid parliamentary
scrutiny of their legislative schemes. We have before us a very important bill
that deals with the protection of copyright when broadcast signals are
retransmitted through new types of distribution centres, including the Internet.
However, as is often the case now, the real conditions under which copyright
will be protected will be spelled out in the regulations.
I urge senators to consider how important it will be for the communications
industry and Canadian consumers to have the regulations made under this bill
placed before the Senate or the House of Commons for review before the
regulations have the force of law. We, as parliamentarians, must reassert our
place in the legislative process. We should not allow government to bypass
scrutiny through the use of regulation-making power. We in the Senate should
adopt a regular practice of putting forward amendments to all framework bills
that come before us, which would include a meaningful role for the Senate in the
regulation- making process.
Senator Day: Does the honourable senator wish me to reply to that
statement? Is that a question or a comment? If it is a comment, I agree.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Rivest, debate adjourned.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, with the unanimous consent of the Senate, all items on the Order Paper
that have not been reached could stand until the next sitting of the Senate, and
we could move on to the adjournment.
The Honourable the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable
senators, is leave granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, October 23, at 1:30p.m.