Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 140, Issue 40
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham: Honourable senators, the assassination of the
courageous young Prime Minister of Serbia rocked the world last week. A
brilliant, passionate anti-communist, Zoran Djindjic joined the Democratic Party
in its founding days, and in 1997 he led three months of anti-Milosevic
protests, which captured the imagination of freedom fighters the world over. In
his country's darkest hour, Zoran Djindjic was able to unite Serbia's infant
pro-democracy movement, ensuring a popular uprising that would sweep
then-President Milosevic from power in October of 2000.
At the request of Prime Minister Chrétien, I had the privilege of
representing Canada in Belgrade for Mr. Djindjic's funeral last Saturday.
Hundreds of thousands of Serbs marched through the streets to pay their
respects. The silent crowd that followed Prime Minister Djindjic's coffin was
the largest since the street protests that toppled Milosevic two years ago. Many
waved placards bearing a picture of the lost leader. The quotations on the
placards had been taken from a speech that Mr. Djindjic had made only two weeks
earlier — remarkably, after another unsuccessful attempt on his life. "Anyone
who thinks they can stop the implementation of reforms and the rule of law by
having me killed is seriously mistaken," the placards read.
As I listened at the graveside to George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign
Minister, praise Mr. Djindjic's efforts to transform his country into a
candidate for European Union membership, I thought, as a Canadian, of the
compelling nature of his words. "Your death strengthens our will to make your
vision a reality," he said.
There were many who compared the Serbian tragedy to the loss of John F.
Kennedy nearly 40 years ago. Yet, while the tragedy has engulfed the nation, the
structure and the system endure. There are many who feel that this final act of
brutality will strengthen the will of a people who have suffered too much in the
past, and strengthen their conviction to walk the long road to a better world
for their children.
Honourable senators, as Serbia weeps, I think of Kennedy's ringing words and
the difficult days to come. We must remember that the torch has now been passed
to a new generation, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace,
and proud of an ancient heritage. All of us who have the privilege of living in
free countries must be there to help them hold it high.
At the funeral, I had the privilege of personally expressing the profound
sympathy of the Canadian people to the slain Prime Minister's courageous widow
and her two young children, to ordinary citizens in the street and to a wide
range of government leaders. While the country is feeling vulnerable at the
moment, I sensed a fierce determination to carry on and ensure that all of the
dreams of Djindjic would be realized.
I was very proud of our Canadian Embassy staff, led by the Ambassador to
Serbia and Montenegro, His Excellency Donald McLennan. Honourable senators, we
have promises to keep for the future of that country and for the good of the
wider world community.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I was honoured, as a
senator from Nova Scotia, to attend the launch of Atlantic Scene at the National
Arts Centre 12 days ago. Atlantic Scene is a large festival that showcases and
celebrates Maritime arts and culture. The NAC President and CEO, Peter
Herrndorf, who studied law in Nova Scotia, announced that the showcase, to be
held in the National Capital Region from April 22 to May 4, 2003, will be the
first in a series of biennial regional festivals that will celebrate the best of
Canadian arts and culture from sea to sea.
The NAC, nightclubs, galleries and museums across Ottawa and Gatineau will
stage 85 events involving 400 new and established artists from the East Coast
during the festival. The Atlantic Scene line-up, which includes music, comedy,
theatre and dance performances, readings from authors, film screenings and
cooking demonstrations, truly had something to please everyone. There is even a
kitchen party planned for May 3, which is sure to make displaced Maritimers feel
nostalgic and to give non-Maritimers attending the festival a sense and taste of
how things are in Atlantic Canada.
Several federal and provincial government departments and agencies have
teamed up with corporate and individual sponsors to showcase the artists from
Atlantic Canada. The $1.5 million investment in Atlantic Scene is part of the
NAC's mandate to promote arts and culture in Canada and abroad, and Peter
Herrndorf has taken this mandate seriously. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities
Agency, ACOA, and the Department of Foreign Affairs have made it possible for
arts presenters to attend the festival and to seek out new talent and touring
productions for audiences beyond the two-week festival.
CBC radio and television programers are working with the NAC to cover the
festival, thereby making it possible for Canadians outside the National Capital
Region to experience the rich diversity of Atlantic Canadian culture. Two
network specials will be created during the
festival. One special will showcase the unique comedy created by Atlantic
Canadians, while the other special will examine the lives of several of the
festival's participants in greater detail as they travel and perform for
audiences at home and abroad.
In conclusion, the arts and culture industries of Atlantic Canada are
important facets of the region's economy, stimulating tourism and the export of
artistic products from the area. A two-week showcase of this magnitude in the
nation's capital provides an excellent cross- section of artists, writers and
performers from each of the four Atlantic provinces and other Canadians and arts
presenters to enjoy.
Hon. Yves Morin: Honourable senators, this March, Canadians mark
Nutrition Month with a new tool in their efforts to eat healthily: mandatory
nutrition labelling requirements for pre-packaged foods. These nutrition-fact
tables are some of the most advanced in the world. They list calories and 13 key
nutrients that health professionals and consumers consider important to health.
For the first time, Canadians will be able to see, by reading food labels,
just how the foods they choose can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer,
osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
When this regulation comes into force, there will also be a public awareness
campaign to help Canadians use this information to make informed and healthy
Individual Canadians will be wiser and our health care system will benefit.
Over the next 20 years, nutrition labels should save about $5 billion due to
reduced incidence of cancer, coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes.
The nutrition labelling requirements are the culmination of a huge
collaborative effort that began in 1998. Consumers, industry representatives,
health care professionals and many federal and provincial government departments
helped to create the regulations that will benefit all Canadians.
One nutrient of particular note that will appear in the nutrition label — and
it is a Canadian success story — is trans fatty acid. Research has shown that
this product of food processing increases the risk of coronary artery disease
and can have detrimental effects on cognitive development and vision in infants.
One of Health Canada's own research scientists, Dr. Nimal Ratnayake, has
contributed significantly to this research. He developed an internationally
accepted method of analysis for trans fatty acids and demonstrated that their
levels in Canadian food supplies were higher than those observed in other
As a result of Dr. Ratnayake's research, voluntary labelling of trans fatty
acids was introduced a number of years ago and has already resulted in a
significant reduction of this substance in the Canadian food supply.
Honorable senators, I invite you to join me in congratulating scientists
throughout Canada, as well as those from Health Canada's Food Directorate. Their
hard work made this great achievement possible, and Canadians are reaping the
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw to your attention
the presence in our gallery of a delegation from the National Assembly of
Zambia, headed by the Honourable Jason Mfula, Deputy Speaker. On behalf of all
honourable senators, I welcome him to the Senate of Canada.
Honourable senators, I also have the pleasure of drawing your attention to
the presence in our gallery of a group from the Children's Miracle Network. They
are a remarkable and courageous group of children dealing with serious injury or
illness and have been chosen as champions across Canada to travel to Ottawa and
then to Disney World. On behalf of all honourable senators, we welcome them to
the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver presented Bill S-16, to amend the Constitution
Act, 1867 and the Parliament of Canada Act (Speakership of the Senate).
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Oliver, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second
reading two days hence.
Hon. Joan Cook: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Thursday
next, March 20, 2003:
I will call the attention of the Senate to a Position Statement presented
to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans concerning the possible closure of
the fishery for Northern and Gulf Cod in NAFO Areas 2J3KL and 3Pn4RS.
Hon. James F. Kelleher: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. Recently, the Leader of the Progressive
Conservative Party, the Right Honourable Joe Clark, argued that while Canada may
not be able to make a significant contribution in the war against Iraq due to
our seriously depleted military, we could redeem ourselves by participating in
the rebuilding of post-war Iraq.
Last night, in responding to the speech of President Bush, Foreign Minister
Graham touted a similar line, saying that Canada would participate in the
post-war building of Iraq.
Canada has tremendous experience in civilian-military cooperation in this
regard in a host of countries around the world. Indeed, a contribution such as
this would fit nicely with the government's expressed foreign policy emphasis on
human security. A central tenet of the human security doctrine applies to Iraq
in that in order to prevent another war in Iraq some time down the road, we will
have to engage in a substantial amount of peace building with the Iraqi people
as part of the post-war reconstruction of that country.
These types of operations, if they are to go right, take a lot of lead-time
and careful planning. They take an extensive commitment of time and resources.
Given that we do not know how long the war in Iraq will last, there is no time
like the present to at least begin contingency planning. With war now imminent,
have we begun to think about this?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for his question. I am delighted to report that we are not
only thinking about it, but that contingency planning has begun. The role for
the Government of Canada in the post- war building of Iraq will be extremely
important. The lead minister will be the Honourable Susan Whelan, Minister for
In terms of rebuilding, I think it will be similar to the commitment of $250
million made yesterday to Afghanistan as part of rebuilding that country. That
money is in addition to the $116 million that was given in the fiscal year that
will end March 31.
Senator Kelleher: Honourable senators, have we approached the United
Nations to ask for their involvement in this regard?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I believe Kofi Annan has made
it clear that he sees that as an ongoing and important role for the United
Nations. It is clear from the position that we have taken with respect to the
war, which may regrettably happen in 36 hours, that we want to be part of any
multilateral effort. Obviously, we would be part of a UN.effort in this regard.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I wish to thank the
government for the clarity of the declaration of the Prime Minister yesterday.
For once, we had some clarity in that position.
Senator Robichaud: It was clear all along.
Senator Nolin: It was not very clear at all. Now it is clear.
Now that the Prime Minister has clearly stated the position of the government
and we heard last night the statement of the President of the United States of
America, has the government reflected on the legality of the position taken by
the U.S. government?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I do not agree with the honourable senator when he says that the Prime Minister
only brought clarity yesterday. I think the Prime Minister has shown dramatic
and positive leadership on this issue from the very beginning.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Carstairs: Our Prime Minister, over and over again, has
indicated his support for multilateralism and his deep-seated belief in the
United Nations and its processes. That makes me doubly proud, to be a member of
the Liberal party and sit with members of a Liberal government.
As the honourable senator is aware, legal experts will argue both sides of
the issue of whether this war is legal or illegal. A legal opinion from Great
Britain today would indicate that it is legal. I am sure other legal scholars
will argue that it is not legal. Clearly, there were two resolutions of the
Security Council outlining the work that must go on in terms of disarming the
Iraqi government. The decision made by the Canadian government was not made on
the basis of legality; it was made on the basis of policy and our firm belief in
Senator Nolin: We must be clear. The Prime Minister has said that
Canada would be part of the war if there were a UN decision to that effect.
Is the government on one side of the legal opinion or the other? On one side,
there are those who say, as in the U.S., that there is total legality from the
actual resolution of the Security Council. The other side says there is not
sufficient legal support for a decision, based on the actual resolution of the
UN council. To what side does the government lean?
Senator Carstairs: As I indicated to the honourable senator, the
decision of the Government of Canada was based on a policy decision, not on the
vagaries of legal opinions, which, as the honourable senator will know as a
member of that extremely interesting profession, can give an opinion on almost
everything. Five lawyers in a room together will quite often give five different
The reality is that the decision was not based on whether the issue was
legal; the decision was based on whether it was good policy. The Government of
Canada decided it was not good policy. What was good policy was to support the
multilateral approach and the United Nations.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I attended the House of
Commons debate yesterday. I will not hide the fact that I stood up and applauded
vigorously, which was not according to the rules. I was not alone. I was in the
company of a Liberal, but I do not want to embarrass my friend. I almost
instantaneously became an independent Liberal yesterday; however, I will delay
I agree with the decision taken yesterday. After having listened to speeches
until midnight last night, I was depressed and happy. I was depressed to see
that the official opposition is not the government of the day. I was happy that
Mr. Kenney, who spoke last, is totally out of touch with the reality of Canadian
public opinion. I am totally in agreement with what took place yesterday in the
House. I showed it by standing up and applauding three times with no shame, to
the distress of the press. Thank God for the distress of the press.
Is there still time for the Senate of Canada to vote on this issue? This
house is, after all, the closest to the mother house and the British
parliamentary tradition that I have defended since I was a little boy because I
believe it is one of the best systems. The debate taking place in the British
house today is the best example we can show to the world of people being able to
stand up, speak up and be counted by having a vote on this issue. My preference,
if it is not too late, would be to be able to do the same thing. Honourable
senators know where my vote would rest.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As the honourable
senator is aware, a vote is to take place in the British house today. With the
time change, I do not know whether it has been completed or not. However, they
are making a decision to go to war. We have made the decision not to go to war.
In terms of any further debate we wish to have on Iraq, the resolution of the
Honourable Senator Roche is still on the Order Paper. I would welcome any
interventions by honourable senators on that motion.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, I put my question in the
context of the deep appreciation that many Canadians feel for the government
having made a correct and courageous decision in deciding that Canada would not
participate in the war in Iraq. I ask the minister if she would convey this
appreciation to Prime Minister Chrétien and Foreign Affairs Minister Graham.
Given that the United States is crucial to almost all of our foreign
relations and that the United Nations is a cornerstone of foreign policy, what
steps is the government taking to ensure that the unity of the United Nations
can be restored as quickly as possible, with the full participation of the
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the honourable senator for his question. I will be delighted to take his
remarks of appreciation to the Prime Minister.
As to his question about unity within the United Nations, that is exactly
what our ambassador representing the Government of Canada has been doing over
the last few weeks. He has, on at least two different occasions, proposed
compromise motions that, it is hoped, would preserve the unity. That the
Government of Canada is already looking at post-war Iraq and will work with the
United Nations on that endeavour is a singular way in which the nations can come
back together following this war, should it occur, and I think we all think it
will. That is where the unity will have to begin, and Canada will be very much a
playing partner in that process.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, as I understand the
Canadian government's position, it is based on policy and not international law.
I would therefore ask, based on policy, will we withdraw any active support for
the war? That is where good public policy, based on what the government has
said, would lead us. Therefore, there would be no ships in any ancillary or
indirect role, no aid in any manner at all, and all our troops now involved with
either British or American troops would be withdrawn.
If the Leader of the Government in the Senate's position on respect for
international law is correct, as I heard it stated here earlier today, what will
this do to the position that we have been putting forward for an international
rules-based system, the International Criminal Court, the respect for the Kyoto
Protocol, the respect for the land mines treaty, and for a whole host of
terrorist legislation, 12 pieces in all, that is squarely based on compliance
through international law? Are we to believe that international law is so
flexible that these are of little importance?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the honourable senator first asked a question with respect to active support.
The honourable senator is aware that there are Canadian ships in the Persian
Gulf. They are participating in the war against terrorism. They will not be an
active participant in the war against Iraq. The honourable senator is also
broadening that question to deal with the issue of the exchange officers. There
are, in fact, 31 exchange officers at the present time. They will remain at all
times under the command of our Chief of Defence, and they will not be allowed to
participate in an active way in this war with Iraq.
In terms of the honourable senator's other question, she well knows that the
United States has not chosen to be a part of many of those international
obligations that we, in this country, have accepted, whether it is the land
mines treaty or the Kyoto accord or the International Court of Justice. That is
deeply regrettable. It is my hope that, in the future, they can choose to become
part of those international obligations. That, quite frankly, in no way will
change our opinion. We are committed to these international treaties and
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, my question had nothing to do
with the United States and their respect for international law; it had to do
with Canada's respect for international law. We have always based our movements
in the international sphere on international law, because the underpinning of
the United Nations is the rule of law. From what I understand, the position
taken on whether, in fact, this war is justified has little relevance to
international law and is simply a public policy issue, public policy often being
of self-interest. My question is: If we did not give any weight at all to the
international legal system, what signal are our actions and justification today
giving to the rest of the world and those who are errant and who do not sign
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, we made it clear from the
outset that we expected explicit authorization for the use of force to come from
the Security Council. The Security Council did not take that explicit step, and
that is why we are not part of this war.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of
the Government in the Senate. It is supplementary to Senator Nolin's question.
It may sound frivolous, but it is not. I wonder if the leader is aware of any
war that has ever been started by anyone, anywhere, that was legal.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
if the honourable senator were to examine the preliminary clauses of the Charter
of the United Nations, he would learn that there are some justifications for
war, justifications which would make it legal, one of which is a war in which
you are attacked and you respond.
Senator Banks: Honourable senators, the question was based on
"started," not "declared."
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I can say it is one thing to
talk about starting, but in general terms and legal terms, one does declare war.
One can look back at Canada's participation in World War I and World War II. In
World War I, because of our Constitution of the day, we were at war virtually
because it had been declared by the United Kingdom. In the Second World War,
because the Statute of Westminster passed in 1931, we had a lag time that was
quite deliberate on the part of the Government of Canada. We waited, I think,
six days before we declared war so that it would look like a Canada declaration
of war and not a United Kingdom declaration of war.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I want to pursue the
point that Senator Banks and Senator Nolin have started. Incidentally, please
assure the Prime Minister that Senator Roche's observations are not the
unanimous observations of this chamber. I think Senator Banks is right in that
there is quite a difference between attacking unprovoked, for your own reasons,
your own ends, and defending yourself. We all recognize that difference, and I
wish to ask a few questions in that regard.
Have the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and CSIS been placed on a higher state of
alert due to new threats of al-Qaeda and some of its allied groups and the
coming conflict with Iraq?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
to the best of my knowledge, there has been no change in the state of alert in
Canada. As the honourable senator knows, the Americans have gone to a higher
level. They had been at that level and had dropped back. They have now returned
to that level. They are not at their highest state of alert, as I understand,
which would be red; I believe they are at orange at this particular point in
time. There has not been, to the best of my knowledge, a similar change in
attitude in Canada.
Having said that, I think that the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and CSIS have
all been very attuned to the world situation since the events of 9/11, and we
are all in a higher state of alert since that time than at any other time in our
history, other than when we were at war.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, I was asking in the context
of the last 72 hours or so.
Honourable senators, the Croatian member of the tri- presidency of Bosnia has
warned that al-Qaeda operates out of Bosnia. There is a suicide attempt warning
against coalition warships in the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa and the
Arabian Sea. A Canadian has already been killed in Yemen. Has the government
raised the threat against Canadian Forces personnel deployed outside of this
country in the last 72 hours?
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator is always so well informed
that I suspect he knows that there have, in fact, been some deaths in Yemen: one
American, I understand, one Canadian, and one Canadian injured. It would be
premature to say they were direct terrorist acts because there is no proof of
that, but clearly the situation has raised concerns.
I suspect the honourable senator is referring more to the ships in the
Persian Gulf, because the vast majority of our troops are presently in that
theatre. They are all on a high state of alert, as they have been and continue
to be part of the war on terrorism. That is the very reason we should remain
there, because terrorists who may be in that region, not just Iraq, may well use
this opportunity to try to find safe havens elsewhere. Part of our reason for
having our ships there is to prevent that from happening.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, in fact, Canadian naval
warships are escorting British and American surface traffic up through that area
to their staging grounds. When one escorts someone, it seems to me one is taking
sides, that one is involved. Thank God we are a little bit involved.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I ask the leader why
the government has, in the last day or two, deployed a platoon-plus of Canadian
soldiers to the United Arab Emirates. Was there a reason that force protection
was required in that region and, if so, for whom?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I must tell the honourable senator that I do not have any specific information
as to why that platoon has been placed there, if it has been, but I will try to
obtain that information for the honourable senator.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I have one final
question. Again, going back to what Senator Banks and Senator Nolin said, we are
in a unique position in the world. France stated today that if the Iraqi regime
used weapons of mass destruction against their neighbours or coalition forces,
it would be prepared to join the war on Iraq. Since Canada has already turned
its back on its traditional allies — the U.S, the U.K. and Australia — and sided
with France at the United Nations, what will the position of the Canadian
government be in the event the government of Iraq, as has been suggested could
happen, uses forces of mass destruction? I do not necessarily mean nuclear
forces; I mean chemical or biological warfare, as it presses southward to the
point of embarkation for the United States and its allied forces?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the United Nations clearly would have an emergency meeting if weapons of mass
destruction — which have never been clearly proved to be in the hands of the
Iraqi government — were deployed. You may then have a Security Council decision
that it was not able to come to earlier. In any case, we have committed
ourselves to the decisions of the Security Council, and it will be on the basis
of those decisions that we will make future decisions.
Senator Forrestall: Is that the case even if it takes a month?
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, on another topic, Federal
Court Judge Michael Kelen ruled last month that even though the Department of
Citizenship and Immigration had extended to March 31 the deadline for applying
new rules for skilled worker immigrants, the department had not done enough to
process the backlog of between 80,000 and 120,000 files before the new rules
took effect. Immigration officials have also stated that not all skilled workers
on this list will be processed by the deadline.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us how many applicants
would have qualified under the old rules and what measures have been taken to
process the outstanding number of immigrant applicants caught between the old
and new rules?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the honourable senator began his question, he talked about a decision of the
Federal Court, which, of course, has been appealed. Therefore, I cannot comment
on his preamble with respect to the judgment that has come down.
In terms of his other question, no, I do not have those numbers here but I
will seek to obtain them for the honourable senator.
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, I appreciate that. I have a
supplementary question. This is the latest example of the many serious problems
within the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. In recent months, we have
learned of a refugee board facing its highest caseload ever, a backlog in
spousal immigration claims, confusion over a controversial new identification
card, and other situations. Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate
tell us what concrete steps the department is taking to deal with these obvious
problems of mismanagement?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I do not agree with the
honourable senator's statement that there have been mismanagement problems. We
have a huge number of individuals who wish to come to this country, I think
partly for the very reasons we heard yesterday, that Canada does believe in a
multilateral approach and does believe in the United Nations and the decisions
of the Security Council.
Having said that, there are clearly backlogs that need to be addressed. That
is exactly the reason why the department was given substantial new monies, in
order to reduce those backlogs.
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, surely a better answer than "We
have given some money" would be appropriate to those tens of thousands of
people who are out there caught in a trap that is not of their own making.
Obviously, the Leader of the Government must have some plans or ideas to share
with us with regard to some of the things that the department is doing to solve
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the process is clear. Extra
officers have been hired. They have been trained. They are working on a daily
basis to reduce the backlog. The appropriate processes are in place. Sometimes
those processes are long because, as the honourable senator knows, there are
appeals. The government is working to deal with these individuals who desire to
be either refugees in our country or landed immigrants through the landed
There are a great many people who want to come to Canada, and the department
is doing the very best it can.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourables
senators, I have the honour to table four delayed answers, one to a question
raised in the Senate on February 5, 2003, by Senator Oliver regarding Bill C-22,
expenditures on advertising and training; one to a question raised in the Senate
on February 5, 2003, by Senator Andreychuk regarding immigration; one to a
question raised in the Senate on February 12, 2003, by Senator Stratton
regarding the Canada Child Tax Benefit; and one to a question raised in the
Senate on October 30, 2002, and February 12, 2003, by Senator Kinsella regarding
(Response to question raised by Hon. Donald H. Oliver on February 12,
The purpose of the Child-Centred Family Law Strategy is to help parents
focus on the needs of their children following separation and divorce. It is
composed of three pillars:
- Implementation of the legislative framework proposed in Bill
- Enhanced funding for family justice services; and
- Partial Expansion of Unified Family Courts.
Together, these three pillars will create a family justice system
- Minimizes the potentially negative impact of separation and divorce
- Provides parents with the tools they need to reach parenting
arrangements that are in the child's best interests; and
- Ensures that the legal process is less adversarial so that only the
most difficult cases will go to court.
Not only will the Government be devoting $63 million in new funding (over
5 years) to the provinces and territories for family justice services — the
services needed to ease the conflict and stress that come with separation
and divorce and help parents while they are making decisions about the care
of their children — in addition, there will be funding of $16.1 million a
year for 62 new judges in order to expand Unified Family Courts.
Unified Family Courts improve outcomes for children and their families by
simplifying the process, providing easy access to an array of family justice
services and involving specialized judges who are experts in family law.
Forty-six of these judges will be promoted from the provincial court level
and the provinces will also be required to reinvest the money they save on
their provincial judicial salaries in family justice services.
Overall, this is a much greater investment than the $48 million ($47.7
over 5 years). However, this funding is essential to the implementation of
the family law reforms to the Divorce Act in Bill C-22, which
will foster a cooperative approach to parenting after separation and divorce
that focuses on the best interests of children.
Education and information about the new legislative reforms are a
cornerstone of this strategy, which seeks to promote a child-focused
perspective on the part of parents, professionals and judges. The Department
of Justice will play a key federal role in the continuing development of the
family justice system in Canada, by participating in activities supporting
the evolution of child-centred family law in collaboration with the
provinces and territories. The Department will serve as a resource for
training and professional development, including producing extensive public
legal education and information materials, not only for lawyers and judges,
but also for parents, children and youth and front-line service providers.
There will be a comprehensive communications strategy developed that will
promote positive parenting and will serve to inform Canadians about the
importance of the Divorce Act reforms. In addition, the Department
will facilitate the exchange of information nationally and internationally
and will operate a toll-free line to educate and assist the public.
This funding will also support activities to improve the national and
international enforcement of support and custody orders. Further, research
and evaluation will play a very important role during implementation,
particularly in monitoring the legislative reforms and collaborating with
the provinces and territories on evaluations of family justice services for
families and their children. The funding will also provide the opportunity
for Statistics Canada, through the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics,
to develop the necessary data and information sources that have been so
lacking in the family justice area.
(Response to question raised by Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk on February 5,
This review considers elements of risk that a person might encounter if
returned to their country. Persons who face removal from Canada are eligible
to seek such a review. This procedure is in place to ensure that no one is
removed from Canada when there are sound grounds to conclude that harsh or
inhumane treatment might be incurred.
Other factors involving humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) concerns are
not considered in such a review. Should a person wish consideration on such
grounds then it is incumbent upon the family to file a separate application
seeking such redress.
The issue of children's interest is a most serious one and is explicitly
recognized in the new immigration legislation. However, immigration officers
are instructed to keep in mind that the inclusion of the best interest of a
child into the legislation does not mean that the interests of the child
outweigh all other factors in a case. The best interest of a child is one of
many important factors that officers need to consider when making an H&C or
public policy decision. A final decision is based on a balanced assessment
of all the important factors germane to a particular case.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Terry Stratton on February 12, 2003)
The Government acknowledges the difficulties which some low income
Canadian families face. Budget 2003 makes a series of long-term funding
commitments to support families with children, including $965 million per
year investments in the National Child Benefit (NCB) and $965 million over
five years for child care.
Budget Plan 2003 already recognizes the problem associated with the
clawback and states: "Going forward, and building on the NCB initiative, the
federal government and the provinces will need to ensure that low- and
modest- income families with children have enhanced incentives to work and
earn income. This will include examining the reduction or `claw-back' rates
for the CCTB as well as other elements of the tax and benefit structure that
may affect incentives to work and earn income for low- and modest- income
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Noël A. Kinsella on October 30, 2002
and February 12, 2003)
Canada's support for the Northern Ireland peace process is characterized
by our engagement and support at many levels. The situation in Northern
Ireland is a domestic matter. Canada does, however, play an active role in
supporting the efforts of both the UK and Irish Governments to create a
climate of trust and transparency between the parties to the conflict and to
achieve lasting peace. The importance of Canadian support has been
acknowledged on many occasions, including during the September 2000 visit to
Ottawa of former Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, and during the
visit of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his February 2001 speech to a
joint session of the Canadian Parliament.
An important element in Canada's approach to the Northern Ireland peace
process is our promotion of high- level dialogue and contacts. Key parties
frequently meet with Canadian ministers to discuss the peace process. The
November 9, 2002, meeting in Toronto between Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Bill Graham, is a recent
example. The November 10-12, 2002, visit to Ottawa by Jane Kennedy, the UK
Minister of State for Northern Ireland is another. In such meetings, the
Government of Canada has urged that all steps be taken to advance the peace
process, including measures to strengthen or restore Northern Ireland's
Canadian parliamentarians play an important role in promoting dialogue.
Groups like the Canada-Ireland Parliamentary Friendship Group and the
Canada-UK Parliamentary Association have been particularly active in this
regard. The June 2001 all-party visit of the Speaker of the House of Commons
to Belfast and Dublin, and the return visit in September 2002 of a
delegation of Northern Ireland parliamentarians led by the Speaker of the
Northern Ireland Assembly have contributed to strengthening networks between
our parliamentarians. In addition, staff of the Parliament of Canada have
provided training on parliamentary procedures for their Northern Ireland
Assembly counterparts, both in Ottawa and in Belfast, and efforts are being
made to further develop exchanges between the two institutions.
Another example of Canada's support has been our financial contribution
of more than $5 million to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).
Projects supported by the IFI help build trust and cooperation between the
communities. The IFI Wider Horizons program, whose training in
cross-cultural relations is mainly conducted in Canada, has been
particularly effective in this regard. The Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade has also funded three community projects from its Human
Security Program since 2000. The most recent project, supported jointly by
this program and by Bombardier, the largest private sector employer in
Northern Ireland, was a two-day workshop carried out by Peaceful Schools
International. PSI is a Canadian non-governmental organization dedicated to
providing support to schools committed to creating and maintaining a culture
of peace. The workshop brought together teachers, students, NGOs, members of
the public and government officials in Belfast.
Canada can also take pride in the role played by our individual citizens,
experts and organizations who play a vital role in supporting the peace
process. Perhaps best known is General de Chastelain who heads the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning. But, there are
numerous other Canadians who have been asked to lend their expertise, such
as former Chief Justice William Hoyt of New Brunswick and Justice Esson of
British Columbia on the UK Commission of Inquiry into the "Bloody Sunday"
shootings by the British Army. More recently, retired Supreme Court of
Canada Justice Peter Cory was appointed to head an inquiry into allegations
of security force collusion in certain killings.
Canadians are also working on the initiatives to reform policing in
Northern Ireland, an issue which is one of the main stumbling blocks to the
re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly. In 2001, retired RCMP
Assistant Commissioner Al Hutchinson assumed the position of Chief of Staff
for the Oversight Commissioner for Policing Reform in Northern Ireland, and
he will assume the position of Oversight Commissioner in December of this
year. He is supported in this work by two other Canadians, Bob Lunney and
Finally, sports and cultural activities are helping to bridge the gap
between communities and build non-sectarian relationships. The Belfast
Giants, a hockey team consisting mostly of Canadians and owned by Canadians,
is now one of the most popular professional teams in Belfast. This has had a
positive impact by attracting the interest and support of both communities.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons returning Bill C-12, to promote physical
activity and sport, to acquaint the Senate that the House of Commons has agreed
to the amendments made by the Senate to this bill, without amendment.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding with the
Orders of the Day, I wish to introduce the pages visiting us from the House of
Mathieu Lambert-Bélanger from Timmins, Ontario, is enrolled in the Faculty of
Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. His specialization is political
Dale Alexander of Mascouche, Quebec, is enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at
the University of Ottawa. She is majoring in translation.
Hon. Ross Fitzpatrick moved the second reading of Bill C-3, to amend
the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act.
He said: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure, today, to present Bill C-3
for second reading, which amends the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Pension
Plan Investment Board Act. The measures introduced in this bill complete the
investment policy reforms to the Canada Pension Plan, or CPP, that the federal
and provincial governments initiated in 1997. The federal and provincial
governments are joint stewards of the Canada Pension Plan.
Following a warning in the early 1990s by the Chief Actuary of Canada that
the sustainability of the Canada Pension Plan was at risk if changes were not
made, governments recognized the need for reform. The Chief Actuary predicted
that the CPP's assets at the time — the equivalent of two years of benefits —
would be depleted by 2015 and that contribution rates would have to increase to
more than 14 per cent by 2030 if the plan was to be sustainable.
The Canada Pension Plan was established in 1966. Back then, the government
came to the realization that Canadians were in need of a public pension plan
that could be carried from job to job and province to province. The answer was
the CPP, a compulsory earnings-based national plan set up jointly by the federal
and provincial governments to which virtually all working Canadians contribute.
The plan provides retirement income to those who have worked in Canada and
contributed to the plan. It can also provide their families with financial
assistance in the event of death and disability. It was designed to complement,
not replace, personal savings and employment pension plans.
Honourable senators, the importance of the Canada Pension Plan to Canada's
overall retirement income system becomes clear when we take note of the fact
that the plan is one of the system's three supporting pillars. Canada's
retirement income system is a blend of public and private pension provisions and
considered by many to be one of the most effective ways of providing for
retirement income needs.
In addition to the CPP, the other two supporting pillars are: first, the Old
Age Security program, which provides public pensions for seniors and ensures all
Canadians a basic income in retirement; and, second, the private component of
this system, which includes tax-assisted, fully funded, employer-sponsored
pension plans, registered retirement savings plans and other private savings.
The Canada Pension Plan worked well for 30 years. However, the Chief
Actuary's warning that the sustainability of the plan was in jeopardy spurred
the federal and provincial governments to release a discussion paper on the
issue and to hold cross- country public consultations on the Canada Pension Plan
in the mid-1990s.
In joint hearings from coast to coast, Canadians gave their governments a
clear message: They wanted their governments to preserve the Canada Pension Plan
by strengthening its financing, improving its investment practices and
moderating the growing costs of benefits. Governments heard from a good
cross-section of Canadians at these hearings, not just from one or two special
interest groups. They heard from senior citizens, young people, social planning
groups, pension experts, actuaries, chambers of commerce and from many
interested and concerned Canadians.
Following the public consultations, the federal and provincial governments in
1997 adopted a balanced approach to CPP reform so that the plan could meet the
demand of the coming years when the baby boomers would be retiring. These
changes included a rapid increase in CPP contribution rates and building up a
larger asset pool while baby boomers are still in the workforce, investing this
fund in the markets at arm's length from government for the best possible rates
of return, and slowing the growing cost of benefits through administrative and
expenditure measures. All together, these measures ensured that a contribution
rate of 9.9 per cent could be sufficient to maintain sustainability of the plan
Federal and provincial ministers concluded in their most recent financial
review of the CPP in December 2002 that the plan is financially sound and is on
track to provide retirement pensions in the future.
A key part of the 1997 reforms was a new market investment policy for the
CPP. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board was set up in 1998 to implement
this new investment policy. Established as an independent professional
investment board, the mandate of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, or
CPPIB, is to invest for contributors and beneficiaries and to maximize
investment returns without undue risk of loss.
Prior to the board's creation, the investment policy for the Canada Pension
Plan was for funds not immediately required to pay benefits to be invested in
provincial government bonds at the federal government's interest rate. This
resulted in an undiversified portfolio of securities and an interest rate
subsidy to the provinces.
Now, under the new investment policy, CPP funds that are not needed to pay
benefits and expenses are transferred to the CPP Investment Board and invested
in a diversified portfolio of market securities in the best interests of
contributors and beneficiaries.
Before turning to the specific measures in Bill C-3, I should mention that
this new policy framework is consistent with the investment strategies of most
public sector pension plans in Canada, including the Ontario Teachers' Pension
Plan and the Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System. The CPPIB operates
under investment rules similar for these other public sector plans. They require
that pension plan assets be prudently managed in the best interests of CPP
contributors and beneficiaries. Like other plans, the board is subject to the
foreign property rule.
As honourable senators are aware, the CPP Investment Board is responsible for
billions of dollars of retirement funds belonging to Canadians. It is imperative
that the board be fully accountable to Canadians and the federal and provincial
governments. It is also imperative that the retirement funds of Canadians be
managed to the highest professional standards and at arm's length from
governments, with experienced managers making investment decisions.
As many honourable senators know, the government's framework established for
the CPPIB is designed to ensure full transparency and accountability. The board
keeps Canadians well informed of its policies, operations and investments
through quarterly financial statements, through an annual report tabled in
Parliament, at regular public meetings in participating provinces, and through
an informative Web site where it makes its financial results and investment
Full accountability is also assured through a process with strong checks and
balances in place for identifying and appointing CPPIB directors. Directors are
selected from a list of candidates identified by a nominating committee. The
CPPIB has a strong board of directors with investment, business and financial
experience. Independence from governments in making investment decisions is
critical to both the success of the CPPIB and public confidence in the CPP
investment policy. I believe it is worth noting that both the public and the
pension management experts have indicated that they support the independence and
quality of the CPP's Investment Board of Directors.
I will now turn to the specific elements of the bill that we are debating
today. To begin, I remind honourable senators that the money invested by the CPP
Investment Board today will be needed to help pay the pensions of working
Canadians who will begin retiring 20 years from now. Under Bill C-3, all of the
CPP assets that are currently administered by the federal government will be
transferred to the CPPIB over a three-year period. These assets include a $5
billion cash reserve and a large portfolio of mostly provincial government bonds
that is valued at about $32 billion. These changes will mean that all CPP assets
will now be managed by one independent professional organization. This move not
only makes a great deal of sense but it also represents the final steps in the
1997 reforms of CPP investment policy.
Several benefits will ensue as a result of Bill C-3. First, consolidating all
CPP assets under the management of one organization provides sound investment
and risk management strategies for all CPP assets and will put the CPP on the
same footing as other public sector pension plans, thereby contributing to the
sustainability of the CPP.
Second, according to the analysis of the Chief Actuary of Canada, fully
investing all CPP assets in the market will earn a greater return, thereby
producing a very large benefit in the order of an additional $85 billion over 50
years for the Canada Pension Plan. This will add considerably to the soundness
of the Canada Pension Plan and enhance the confidence of Canadians in their
public pension plan.
Third, phasing in the transfer of the plan's assets over three years will
help to ensure that the transfer is absorbed smoothly by the capital markets,
the CPP Investment Board and provincial government borrowing programs.
The transfer of all assets to the CPPIB will lead to prudent, sound
investment diversification as well as increased performance. I remind honourable
senators that all provincial and territorial governments unanimously support the
transfer of these assets to the CPPIB. Their support is important because any
changes to CPP and CPPIB legislation must have their approval.
Honourable senators, I have mentioned that the CPPIB is responsible for
establishing and fully disclosing its investment policies and for investing CPP
assets while properly minimizing risk. Together with the 1997 reforms to the
CPP, these new measures will ensure that the Canada Pension Plan remains on a
sound financial footing for future generations.
The CPP reflects a national belief that retirement for working Canadians
should not be a time of hardship. The CPP also captures the Canadian value of
shared responsibility among contributors and governments to provide reliable
support to working Canadians after they cease active work.
As I stated at the beginning of my remarks, Canada's retirement income system
is built on three pillars. It is a blend of public and private pension
provisions and it is considered internationally to be one of the most effective
ways to provide for retirement income needs. In summary, allow me to review
these pillars. First, there is the Old Age Security program that provides public
pensions for seniors and ensures all Canadians a basic income in retirement.
Second, there is the Canadian Pension Plan, the subject of today's debate, the
national contributory pension plan that provides working Canadians and their
families with income support at retirement and in the event of disability or
death. Third, there are tax-assisted, fully-funded, employer-sponsored pension
plans, registered retirement savings plans and other private savings.
The measures in Bill C-3 will only further enhance this retirement income
system. I believe that the establishment of the Canada Pension Plan was one of
the most important public policy initiatives ever undertaken. The measures in
Bill C-3 will strengthen the system further and help the government to fulfil
its commitment to making Canada's retirement income system secure for all
Canadians. I urge all honourable senators to join with me in supporting Bill
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Bolduc, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kinsella,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, for the second reading of Bill
S-14, to amend the National Anthem Act to reflect the linguistic duality of
Canada.—(Honourable Senator Corbin)
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, the purpose of Bill S-14
is to add an appendix to the act, which would include a combined version of the
National Anthem of Canada, half French and half English. As our colleague
Senator Kinsella has said, this does not involve any change in the words of our
national anthem. They stay the same.
Sung in this way, our national anthem would constitute a fine example of the
linguistic duality that has shaped our country and is an ongoing source of pride
to Canadians in general.
Let us say a few words about our system of linguistic duality in Canada.
In 1999, Justice Bastarache indicated in Beaulac that it is
appropriate to interpret language rights under section 16(1) of the Charter in
the same way as other rights and freedoms with Charter guarantees, that is
broadly, liberally, generously and purposively.
The concept of equality is not limited as far as language is concerned. On
the contrary, French and English enjoy equal status, and that equality must be
real if it is to have any meaning. According to Justice Bastarache:
This principle of substantive equality has meaning. It provides in
particular that language rights that are institutionally based require
government action for their implementation and therefore create obligations
for the State... It also means that the exercise of language rights must not
be considered exceptional, or as something in the nature of a request for an
I would remind honourable senators that the Beaulac case centred on
subsection 530(1) of the Criminal Code, which grants the accused the right to a
trial in the language of their choice. This is not a procedural right, but a
substantive right. The purpose of this right is to provide defendants who speak
one of the two official languages equal access to the courts in order to allow
them to protect their cultural identity. This right also applies for new trials,
as is the case in question, because the defendant is in the same situation as he
was for his first trial.
Justice Bastarache points out that the administrative drawbacks that may be
entailed when this right is exercised are not appropriate factors to justify
refusing it from being exercised. The Official Languages Act requires sufficient
institutional infrastructure and not simply the obligation to accommodate the
defendant. This infrastructure is based on the equality of both official
Finally, still in this judgment, refusing the defendant's request must be the
exception to the rule and the onus to justify such a refusal rests with the
Crown. Obviously, the later the request is made in the trial, the easier it is
to justify a refusal. Currently, it is up to the trial judge to exercise his or
her discretion as set out in subsection 530(4) of the Criminal Code.
That is the situation, as it exists in Canada, which lies at the very heart
of our Constitution with respect to linguistic duality. Some will say that this
is very far removed from the national anthem. That is true.
Senator Prud'homme: Very far.
Senator Beaudoin: But these are linguistic matters nevertheless. I am
suspicious of comparisons, because they can be deceptive. This is often
mentioned in speeches, but we can also use it. Everything depends on the facts.
It seems to me, and this is my point, that, in a bilingual federation, the
national anthem should be sung in both languages at the federal level. This is
part of our heritage and our linguistic rights are enshrined in the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I do not think that this is asking too much from
Canadians. We are not asking everyone to speak two languages, not at all. But
the fact is that it exists. To some extent, the national anthem is sung partly
in French and partly in English, and this is quite all right with most people.
Personally, I am always somewhat distracted when I hear the person next to me
singing in one language, while I am singing in the other language.
Senator Prud'homme: That is the beauty of the thing.
Senator Beaudoin: Let me talk. This situation can lead to cacophony,
and this should be avoided when singing a national anthem.
To sing half of our national anthem in French and the other half in English,
as Senator Kinsella explained, is definitely a very interesting idea. While we
may agree or disagree with it, at least this bill reflects Canada's linguistic
I think it should be passed. Amendments can be put forward, and I will be the
first to consider them. It is not too much to ask in this country of ours, which
has two official languages and two legal systems, to have a national anthem with
one portion sung in French and another in English, not simultaneously but
consecutively. I therefore agree with the principle of Bill S-14 and urge you to
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, are you not concerned
that a real "cacaphony" is precisely what is being proposed in the bill before
us today? You are suggesting that everyone should be allowed to sing in either
official language. Historically, that has been our wish exactly: that English
Canada learn the "O Canada," which after all is a translation, while French
Canada, and we in Quebec in particular, sing it as it was written.
The anthem by Sir Basile Routhier was not a translation. Let us leave that to
English Canada. I am opposed to all of these changes: what is being proposed is
a real "cacaphony." I would have much more to say on this. Senator Beaudoin
just mentioned that we have two government systems and two legal systems.
However, as far as I know, these are not mixed. We do not apply part of the
Civil Code and part of the common law. The various points of view are put
forward and a conclusion is reached. I would be terrified by such changes.
Does Senator Beaudoin recall the opposition of certain senators to the
changing of a single word proposed in Senator Poy's bill? Incidentally, the
proposed changes are supposed to provide clarity to this bill. I have put
together some 200 pages of notes on all national anthems. When we look at the
changes made in other countries, we invariably conclude that we are better off
with what we have.
All the national anthems I will mention in my speech are precisely dated.
When we get to the "O Canada," it says that it was adopted in 1980. As if,
suddenly, 1880 or 1909 did not mean anything anymore. Having heard all the
arguments, would Senator Beaudoin not be prepared to reconsider his position by
the end of this debate? Do you not agree that we are headed for a real "cacaphony"? I can imagine how our fellow Canadians would react if they were
asked to sing "la terre de nos aïeux." It is sad, because that is the original
wording, but the emphasis would not be on that. I have listened carefully and I
would like to know if Senator Beaudoin is not leading us to a real "cacaphony"?
Senator Beaudoin: First off, I must say that the word is
"cacophony," according to the dictionaries.
Senator Prud'homme: I did it deliberately.
Senator Beaudoin: Yes, but you have no right to butcher the French
Senator Prud'homme: I was not butchering the French language. I was
doing this on purpose because I knew that the senator would be quick to pick up
on this word.
Senator Beaudoin: I will trust my colleagues' judgment.
Senator Prud'homme: Especially the translation.
Senator Beaudoin: Honourable senators, it is true that we are not
required to learn two languages. I remember my years in classical college, when
some things were said in French and other things were said in Latin. We were
proud to be able to speak another language.
Canada is a wonderful country with its two universal languages and two legal
systems. It is not too much to ask that 21 words be sung in French and 21 words
in English. This does not diminish our enthusiasm for our national anthem.
If it can be proven that there is an error in Bill S-14, I will listen to the
arguments to this effect and admit that I am wrong. But I have looked at it from
all angles and have not found any errors.
I am willing to consider anything, having worked in law my whole life. If you
can prove this is not the right solution, I will accept a better one. We are
here to discuss things.
Senator Prud'homme: That is true.
Senator Beaudoin: We are simply going back to the original version of
the national anthem, from before the First World War. It is not the end of the
world. We are not changing the copyright. We are simply saying that men and
women should be treated equally.
The finest section of the Constitution, section 28 of the Charter, stipulates
that Canadian law applies equally to persons of both sexes. It is wonderful.
Canada managed to apply the amendment when other countries did not. If the
amendment to the Charter works for Canada, why would it not for the national
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable Senator Beaudoin's time has expired.
Is the honourable senator seeking leave to continue?
On motion of Senator Corbin, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Poy, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Banks, for the second reading of Bill S-3, to amend
the National Anthem Act to include all Canadians.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Terry Stratton: I would like to inform honourable senators and,
in particular, Senator Poy that I will speak to this matter later this week. It
will be this week.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Poulin, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Poy, for the second reading of Bill C-227,
respecting a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.—(Honourable
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I am pleased to have
this opportunity to speak in support of Bill C-227, respecting a national day of
remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
I congratulate Senator Poulin for presenting this bill. From time to time,
when our colleagues in the House pass a bill worthy of our support, we must
congratulate them as well.
One need only read the "whereases" at the beginning of the bill to grasp
the significance of this World War I battle for our fledgling nation. This was
the first time Canadian troops fought together against a common enemy on foreign
soil. It was certainly a turning point for our country and the beginning of
Canada's march towards nationhood.
We, who were not there, cannot imagine the horrors faced by our young
soldiers. However, I believe, if anyone has ever captured this battle so that it
will remain with us forever, Will Longstaff has done so in his painting
displayed in the Railway Reading Room, depicting the ghosts of Canadian soldiers
scaling Vimy Ridge.
A great deal of the credit for this victory goes to Major-General Arthur
Currie, the Commander of the First Canadian Division at Vimy. The story goes
that he instilled confidence in his men by sharing with them the objectives of
the various battles they were to partake in and how these objectives would be
accomplished. For example, Currie distributed maps to his troops, took them into
his confidence, ensuring that not only were they to follow orders, but also they
would know why the orders were given and would understand them as well.
The five-day battle on Vimy Ridge, fought, at least initially, in a sleet
storm, resulted in the enemy being removed from the high ground. This was a feat
that the French troops in 1915 and the British in 1916 had failed to accomplish.
By the end of the battle, in which we were victorious, we had taken more ground,
more guns and more prisoners than any previous British offensive. However, the
cost was heavy, honourable senators — 10,000 Canadian casualties, 3,598 of whom
lost their lives.
At that time and since then, Vimy has become a rallying cry for the country,
a true symbol of unity. Westerners, Quebecers, Ontarians and those from Atlantic
Canada fought shoulder to shoulder, wearing the same identifying "Canada"
patch on their shoulders. They were all Canadians united in a common cause.
Our late Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn captured the feelings of all
Canadians when he spoke during the ceremonies held in 1992 to commemorate the
75th anniversary of this battle:
The Canadian corps demonstrated a level of intelligence, skill, courage
and teamwork that terrified the enemy, electrified our allies and sent a
surge of pride and self- confidence through the Canadian population that has
lasted to this day.
In 1992, I had the great privilege of accompanying Prime Minister Mulroney
and a number of veterans of the battle to the ceremonies marking the 75th
anniversary of Vimy. Again, in 2000, I had the honour to go to Vimy as part of
the delegation that brought home the Unknown Soldier to be laid to rest just a
short distance from here. Going there, admiring the beautiful monument, which is
arguably the most awe-inspiring of its kind anywhere, instils a deep and lasting
sense of pride in our country and in our history.
On July 3, 1921, on the occasion of the unveiling of the Cross of Sacrifice
at the Thelus Military Cemetery on the slope of Vimy Ridge, a former prime
minister and former member of this chamber, Arthur Meighen, spoke in these
No words can add to their fame, nor so long as gratitude holds a place in
men's hearts can our forgetfulness be suffered to detract from their renown.
For as the war dwarfed by its magnitude all contests of the past, so the
wonder of human resource, the splendour of human heroism, reached a height
never witnessed before...
France lives and France is free, and Canada is the nobler for her
sacrifice to help free France to live. In many hundreds of plots throughout
these hills and valleys, all the way from Flanders to Picardy, lie fifty
thousand of our dead. Their resting places having been dedicated to their
memory forever by the kindly grateful heart of France, and will be tended
and cared for by us in the measure of the love we bear them. Above them are
being planted the maples of Canada, in the thought that her sons will rest
the better in the shade of trees they knew so well in life. Across the
leagues of the Atlantic, the heartstrings of our Canadian nation will reach
through all time to these graves in France; we shall never let pass away the
spirit bequeathed to us by those who fell; their name liveth forevermore.
Honourable senators, it is important that Canadians are made aware of the
history of their country. To that end, it is vital that we teach our young
people about the sacrifices that have been made by previous generations of
Canadians. Symbols do matter, honourable senators.
Honourable senators, I support Bill C-227 without reservation, and I
encourage you all to cooperate in order for it to be passed without delay, so
that it may be proclaimed before April 9 of this year, the day I hope will
become Vimy Ridge Day.
On motion of Senator Atkins, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Milne, for the second reading of Bill
C-300, to change the names of certain electoral districts. —(Honourable
Senator Rompkey, P.C.).
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, this is a bill like many
others that have come before us over the years for the changing of names of
certain constituencies in Canada. The MPs in question have consulted with their
constituents and have brought forward these names as being more properly
representative of the geographical and cultural realities of the ridings.
This is the second time that this bill has been approved unanimously by the
House of Commons. It began as Bill C-141, which died because it did not make it
through the legislative process before prorogation, and is now before us as Bill
It is true that boundary commissions are sitting. Some have reported and some
have not. I believe that about half have reported. In some cases, even those
that have reported have not seen fit to change the names of boundaries as
suggested in Bill C- 300. In any case, the boundary commissions, even those that
have reported, are not finalized. There is an opportunity for MPs to ask for a
review of the commission report and to make further suggestions to the
boundaries commission. As a matter of fact, it is possible to delay those
reports of the boundary commissions.
I would further point out that, even when the boundary commission report is
adopted and the names are changed, no elections can be held on the basis of
those new ridings for a year after the boundary commission has reported. If, by
approving Bill C-300 now, we make changes to the boundaries in time for the next
election, and if we approve Bill C-300, this is evidence that can be put before
the boundary commissions for review.
I ask honourable senators to adopt this bill that we have received from the
House of Commons. There are some amendments that will need to be made, in
particular with regard to the name of the Kelowna riding. Senator Fitzpatrick
intends to move a motion in committee to more properly reflect that. I think he
has consulted with the member of Parliament in the House of Commons on that
matter as well.
I would ask for your support, honourable senators, in passing Bill C-300.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I would like to ask a
question. I have been working on this subject for 35 years and I have very
strong views on the matter. You speak as though you are sure that the next
general election will be held before July 1, 2004. If the election were to take
place after July 2004, it would be under a completely new set of seats and
names. I am of the opinion that there will be an election in April of 2004, as I
said to the Banking Committee. However, we are now coming to the end of the day
for changes on something that we cannot know will be put into effect.
If there is an election before the year 2004, the bill that you are proposing
to us for consideration — and I follow that in the committee — will come into
effect with all the expenses that this involves. The changing of a name seems to
be easy, but there is a lot involved. New maps must be printed. Do you not think
that we should leave it to the new commission that has already been established?
Their report will go to the House, changes in names will take place there, and
if there is an election, all these new names will be part of it. Furthermore, if
there is an election before July 1, 2004, then it will take place using the
At this late stage, why are we changing names for only one election? That
will only create more confusion for the electors, who must be already confused
from being moved from one district to another.
I know the pressure. I was elected, as you were, but I think it is the duty
of the Senate to reflect gently sometimes and to refuse certain expenses that
are frivolous just for the sake of changing a name.
Senator Rompkey: Honourable senators, with regard to the timing, as I
said this point has not come up recently. This bill had a previous life but just
did not make it all the way through the process. With regard to the question of
why now, this is a bill that has been around for some time.
With regard to the question of on what date will we have the election, all of
the boundary commissions have not yet reported. Some reports can be delayed for
six months, if the commissions request a delay. We have no idea when the reports
of all the boundary commissions will be in and when they will be approved. Even
after approval, it will be a year before an election can be held on those
Why now? These changes come from both sides of the House, and the House has
approved this bill unanimously. The members of Parliament have consulted with
their constituents and these names better reflect the geographic and cultural
realities of the ridings than the previous ones. That process has gone on for
some time in the House of Commons. We are respecting the wishes of the people in
those constituencies to have the names of their constituencies reflect their
reality more accurately than it does at the present time. I hope the Honourable
Senator Prud'homme will approve of that.
On motion of Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kirby, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Cook, for the adoption of the Third Report (final)
of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology,
entitled: The Health of Canadians — The Federal Role, Volume Six:
Recommendations for Reform, tabled in the Senate on October 25, 2002.—(Honourable
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I rise today to participate in the debate concerning the adoption of the final
report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology entitled: "The Health of Canadians — The Federal Role, Volume Six:
Recommendations for Reform." I should like to take this opportunity to speak
about developments in progress in the area of palliative and end-of-life care.
I would like to begin by congratulating Senators Kirby and LeBreton for their
excellent work as chair and deputy chair of the committee. I also wish to thank
all of the committee members for their efforts and their great devotion over the
two years of the study on the future of health care in Canada.
During the course of its work, the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs, Science and Technology sat for over 200 hours, held 76 meetings and
heard from over 400 witnesses. These statistics illustrate the extensive amount
of time and effort put in by members of this place to produce thoughtful and
thorough reports, not only on health care but also on a range of issues that,
either directly or indirectly, affect the daily lives of citizens. Indeed, the
Senate is one of the most effective public policy think- tanks in Canada.
Several of my honourable colleagues have already contributed to the debate,
and I would like to thank them for their insight and contribution to the
discussion. I would also like to invite all of those who wish to speak on this
matter to do so.
I believe that we are currently in exciting times when it comes to health
care renewal in Canada. In its budget 2003, the federal government stated that
it would invest $34.8 billion over the next five years to renew the health care
system. This investment is aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of
health care services and at ensuring the sustainability of this top priority of
Canadians today and in the future.
In addition, the budget provides $1.3 billion over five years to support
health programs for First Nations and Inuit. Funding is a key step in fulfilling
the September 2002 Speech from the Throne commitment to improve the life chances
of Aboriginal people. We senators have a wealth of knowledge and experience to
contribute to the discourse that will inform the federal, provincial and
territorial governments as they work toward implementing the first ministers'
Health Care Renewal Accord 2003. The accord, and the budget 2003, includes a
five-year, $16-billion health reform fund for the provinces and territories to
target primary care, catastrophic drug coverage and home care, including short-
term acute home care, community mental health and end-of-life care.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments are currently working on
determining the core set of minimum services that will be provided under the
health reform fund. Health ministers have until September 30, 2003, to agree on
these services. It is important to note that because each province and territory
has varying needs in respect of its populations and is at different stages of
reform in each jurisdiction with respect to programs such as home care, there
will be flexibility so that each province and territory will define its best way
to meet the objectives of the health reform fund.
The Senate has already been studying the issue of palliative care and
end-of-life care for some time now. It undertook its study of the issue in 1995
when the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, of which I
was a member, was struck. Under the chairmanship of Joan Neiman, this committee
presented a number of unanimous recommendations regarding palliative care and
end-of-life care in its final report, entitled "Of Life and Death." The
recommendations included making palliative care more accessible, establishing
standards of care and ensuring that health professionals receive improved
training in palliative and end-of-life care.
In 2000, the Subcommittee to Update "Of Life and Death," as it was known,
released its final report entitled, "Quality End-of- Life Care: The Right of
Every Canadian." The committee recommended, above all else, the need for
federal leadership and collaboration and the development of a national strategy
to improve end-of-life care in Canada. The 2000 report was, in many ways, a call
to action to support informal caregivers, to provide access to palliative and
end-of-life care at home, to increase training and education for health care
professionals, and to enhance research in the area of palliative and end-of-life
care. The report also expanded on the concept of palliative care to include all
end-of-life situations. This report was unanimously adopted in the Senate,
signifying recognition by honourable senators of the importance of palliative
and end-of-life care for all Canadians.
The third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science
and Technology that is currently before us reaffirms the findings and
recommendations of both the 1995 and 2000 committee reports and the chapter
dedicated to palliative care. Among the recommendations is the establishment of
a national palliative home care program and the provision of income and job
protection for those caring for a gravely ill or dying loved one. The report
recommends expanding coverage to include palliative home care in order to ensure
that end-of-life care is available to all Canadians. This coverage would be in
line with the federal government's recommendation on this issue as put forward
in the first minister's Health Care Renewal Accord 2003.
As well, the recommendation addresses the needs of palliative and end-of-life
patients and their families. We know that 80 per cent of Canadians wish to die
at home, but it is estimated that only 15 to 20 per cent are able to do so.
Integrated palliative and end-of-life care is essential to ensure that Canadians
have access to all of the services and supports that they need when they are
needed. However, it is also important that Canadians have access to quality
palliative and end-of-life care in institutions outside their homes such as
hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities.
In addition to the chapter dedicated to palliative care, many other themes in
the report also apply to palliative care. The report makes recommendations
concerning the importance of providing additional funding for research. This is
critical in the area of palliative care in order to build research capacity and
to enable results that will help inform decisions on the delivery of quality
palliative and end-of-life care for all Canadians.
One of the themes of this report was reforming primary health care, which
includes palliative care. The report also highlighted the importance of
technology in the health sector. Indeed, telehealth and tele-hospices are
essential when it comes to providing all Canadians with information on
palliative care and guaranteeing them access to palliative care, particularly
those who live in rural or outlying areas.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of Health and Social
Services for Prince Edward Island recently announced a tele-home care pilot
project to be carried out in the province from 2003 to 2006. Tele-home care uses
telecommunications technology to provide care, instruction and education to
patients in their own homes. This is where most Canadians want to be in their
last days. The federal government will provide $400,000 in start-up funding for
the tele-home care pilot project, which will expand the provision for home care
service to eligible veterans and other home care clients throughout the
This project builds on the work of the tele-hospice pilot project initiated
by Prince Edward Island's West Prince Health Region in April 2000. The
tele-hospice project has had excellent results and is recognized at national and
international levels as an innovative way to use technology to support the
health care needs of a rural population.
During a visit to Prince Edward Island this past fall, I was given a
demonstration of the tele-hospice project. Utilizing available tools and
technology to deliver palliative care services and information to people, no
matter their location, is key to improving the quality of life of patients and
their families, and is indicative of a health system that is accessible,
portable and comprehensive. I am hopeful that the knowledge gained from this
tele-hospice project will be used in other regions of Canada.
If honourable senators will allow me to digress for one moment, I think you
would be amazed at what the technology can actually do. During the
demonstration, I sat in front of a machine and became the home care patient. I
was contacted by my home care nurse via a telephone line and a small television
screen. I could see the nurse and she could see me. Attached to this piece of
machinery was a blood pressure cuff; so we took my blood pressure. They measured
the oxygen in my blood. They examined, with a small camera, an area of my arm
that I had wounded many years ago. They were able to see that the scar was
properly healed and that there was no concern.
I did not allow myself to be a patient for the use of the attached
stethoscope. I was convinced that my executive assistant, travelling with me,
had bronchitis and so I asked her to sit in the chair while she moved the
stethoscope to different areas of her chest. They diagnosed that she did indeed
have bronchitis, and we made sure that my assistant received treatment.
This begs the question, of course: Is this not rather impersonal? In fact, I
experienced exactly the opposite reaction. Patients liked this system for a
variety of reasons. One woman said she liked it because she did not have to get
up in the morning and have a bath. Another liked it because she did not have to
clean, since the home care worker was not going to arrive at her house. Another
liked it because she knew that the home care nurse was at the end of this
machine more than once a day, if she needed to consult her more than once a day.
Clearly, if they have a patient in crisis, they can be in contact three, four,
five or six times per day through the use of this technology. It really was
quite an exciting experiment.
At that point, there were only 15 machines in Prince Edward Island. I came
back here and consulted with the Minister of Veterans Affairs, who was
interested in the delivery of palliative care services to veterans, and I asked
if we could do something to deliver home care to veterans in Prince Edward
Island using a similar initiative. That is how the pilot project came into
What interested me the most was the cost of this machine. We are talking
about low tech here. We are talking about a machine that costs $5,000, and the
only thing that is required in a person's home is an electric plug and a phone
line. Nothing else is needed to make this system work. I became excited about
the system because I could see that it could be used in remote communities
throughout Canada. It could provide much more in the way of hands-on service at
relatively low costs.
The young nurse at the other end said that she finally met one of her
patients because the woman had been in hospital and they had to go out and do a
home visit to change a dressing. The woman presented her with an afghan that she
had knitted for her. She said that each day, after the home visit, she knitted a
little bit more because she knew at some point she would meet her home care
It really is a remarkable success story, and one that we should move toward
adopting in a great many places.
Another issue addressed by the committee was the use of pharmaceuticals. We
know that not only is the use rising, so is the cost. They are playing an
increasing role in health care for Canadians in a variety of circumstances,
including in the context of palliative care. Sometimes the cost of drugs can be
prohibitive. No Canadian should have to face financial hardship because he or
she has to pay for drugs that they need to maintain their health.
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology's
recommendation for expanding coverage to include catastrophic prescription drug
costs is another area identified by the federal government as a priority. It is
one of the target areas identified for the $16-billion health reform fund that I
mentioned earlier in my speech. Such coverage would help many of those in
palliative and end-of-life situations a great deal.
In my view, the Senate has greatly contributed to the increased awareness of
palliative care and end-of-life issues among Canadians and all levels of
government. The developments in palliative care that I am addressing today
reflect the commitment of the Government of Canada to take action. The federal
government is recognizing and supporting a new national resolve to enable
Canadians to continue life as they always have in physical, emotional and
spiritual terms, regardless of their stage of life.
In addition to the report before us, the federal government has also taken
into account the recommendations of the final report of the Romanow commission.
Mr. Romanow recommended targeted funding for home care, which would include
end-of-life care as a priority. As well, both the Romanow and Senate committee
reports recommended that the federal government take action to provide support
by way of income support and job protection for those faced with caring for a
gravely ill or dying loved one.
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, the
Romanow commission and other provincial reports on health care will undoubtedly
contribute to the continuing debate on health care reform, and provide federal,
provincial and territorial governments with viable and concrete options for
As many in this chamber know, I was appointed as Minister with Special
Responsibility for Palliative Care in March of 2001. I am very honoured to be
the first federal minister with special responsibility for palliative care. This
is the first position of its kind, not only in Canada but also, from what we can
discover, in the world. It is a role that has provided me with the opportunity
to make a specific contribution to Canadians concerning an issue that is of
great personal importance to me.
In June 2001, Health Canada established a secretariat on palliative and
end-of-life care. In addition to supporting me in my role as minister, the
secretariat was given the mandate of promoting and facilitating a Canadian
strategy on palliative and end-of-life care through collaboration with
organizations and experts within and outside the federal government, and
coordinating federal initiatives on palliative and end-of-life care.
Under the leadership of the secretariat, a key accomplishment has been the
commitment to, and ongoing development of, a strategy. The secretariat is
working in collaborative partnerships with external stakeholders on the
strategy, which is aimed at taking an integrated approach to end-of-life care as
part of health care over the course of a lifetime. Implementation is taking
place by way of a structure that has been established consisting of a
coordinating committee and five working groups in the area of best practices and
quality care, public information and education, education for care providers,
research and surveillance.
Recognizing that palliative and end-of-life care is an issue that has
implications beyond the health sector, the federal government has been working
through an interdepartmental working group to ensure that its programs and
policies in the area of palliative and end-of-life care are developed and
implemented in the context of a broader strategy. Indeed, the palliative care
file provides the federal government with an opportunity to demonstrate its
commitment to working horizontally in order to provide Canadians with timely
information and services when they need them the most.
Many of the measures adopted so far by the federal government in the area of
health care follow up on the commitments made in the September 2002 Speech from
the Throne. They include the commitment to modify existing programs to allow
Canadians to care for a gravely ill or dying child, parent or spouse without
putting their job or their income at risk.
Caregiver protection is an important priority to me as minister with special
responsibility, and it is also a priority of the Canadian strategy. I am
honoured to be part of a government that will provide concrete support to
families on a fundamental and critical matter. I have been working closely with
the Minister of Human Resources Development Canada. I am, therefore, very
pleased that in its budget 2003, the federal government has committed to
providing a new Employment Insurance benefit for a six-week compassionate care
leave for people who take time off from jobs to care for a gravely ill or dying
This compassionate care program will involve amending the Employment
Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code. As well, provinces will be required to
amend their labour laws to ensure compliance with the Employment Insurance Act,
and they have agreed to do so as part of the Health Accord.
Some of them have done so already. The labour laws of six out of 10 provinces
include provisions for compassionate leave to care for a close family member who
is injured or ill. Saskatchewan is leading the way in providing 12 weeks of job
protection. The concept is not new, with most provinces having already
recognized the need for measures in this area.
The federal government is aiming to implement the program in January 2004, at
a cost of $221 million per year. Honourable senators, I think it is important to
acknowledge that every penny spent on this benefit program will go a long way
toward improving the quality of life of palliative care patients and their
The compassionate care benefit will be complemented by tax measures outlined
in the 2003 budget, including $20 million a year to expand the list of eligible
expenses for the medical expense tax credit. This measure has the potential to
be of great help to palliative care patients and their families as, in certain
situations, medical expense costs can be very burdensome.
The federal budget outlines two other tax credits that will, in some
instances, be of great help to palliative care patients and their families. One
of these is the $50-million-a-year credit for a new child disability benefit for
low and modest income families. That could provide up to $1,600 annually for a
child qualifying for this tax credit.
Another is $80 million a year to improve tax assistance for persons with
disabilities. While using the disability and medical expense tax credits were
recommendations in the final report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs, Science and Technology, they are also strongly supported by the
palliative care advocacy community and key associations such as the Canadian
Medical Association. In addition, expanding tax measures to assist end-of-life
patients and their families is one of the objectives of the strategy for
palliative and end-of-life care.
I have consistently expressed my strong support for using a variety of
mechanisms to assist people in end-of-life situations. By including these tax
initiatives in the recent budget, the federal government is taking action to
address the particular needs of patients and their families in a significant
way. This is a very important achievement for palliative and end-of-life care in
Research is another of the priorities in the Canadian strategy. There have
been recent developments in the area of research. In its 2003 budget, the
federal government announced that it would be granting an additional $55 million
per year to fund the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
In fact, the Institute of Cancer Research at the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research chose palliative care as first amongst six priority areas for
research to be considered for special funding. In conjunction with the
Secretariat on Palliative and End-of-Life Care at Health Canada, a joint
ICR-Health Canada working group has been established to identify specific
In January of 2003, the ICR working group presented its recommendations. I am
pleased to note that the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has committed
$3.6 million over a five-year period for palliative, end-of-life care research.
This, along with the CIHR's new program to support fellowships to train
physicians to conduct research in palliative care — which was announced last May
— will go a long way towards increasing the number of researchers and the
capacity in the area of palliative care. This will enable evidence-based
decision-making that will ultimately translate into improved quality palliative
and end-of-life care for all Canadians.
In addition to the ICR, five other institutes have expressed an interest in
making palliative care a priority: aging; human development, child and youth
health; circulatory and respiratory health; genetics and neurosciences, mental
health and addiction.
The National Cancer Institute of Canada is also becoming more involved in the
area of palliative care research. The institute is in the process of reviewing
its overall strategic approach and, to that end, is holding a series of focus
groups to discuss the priorities that will inform its new strategy. It is
encouraging to note that supportive care, including palliative care, is one of
their emerging priorities.
As well, the government recently announced the first-ever Canada research
chair in palliative care. Dr. Harvey Chochinov at the University of Manitoba
will receive $1.5 million in funding from Industry Canada and Western Economic
Diversification to advance research in palliative care and to improve the
quality of life for patients and their families.
While research has an important role to play in terms of innovation in the
area of palliative and end-of-life care, equally important is the role of
technology, which can be a useful tool in providing both access to care and
advice to people in palliative care situations. I had the privilege of
announcing recently, together with two of my cabinet colleagues, that the
federal government will provide $500,000 to the Canadian Virtual Hospice, a Web
site that provides information on best practices in the area of palliative and
end-of-life care. CVH is a virtual site for patients to connect with each other,
for family members to seek support, for answers from a qualified doctor or
nurse, for information for physicians and nurses themselves, and for physicians
to have access to a specialist in palliative care. This is an exciting new
concept that I believe will go a long way towards improving knowledge and
expertise in end-of-life care for Canadians.
The training and education of health care professionals is paramount if we
are to improve the quality of health care in general and, more specifically,
palliative and end-of-life care in Canada. Many aspects of end-of-life care are
not comparable to the medical care we receive at other stages of our life. For
example, pain control is a big factor for those receiving palliative care. It
also has a huge impact on the quality of life of people living with other
diseases and chronic conditions. However, a 2001 study of medical students
revealed that they received, on average, one hour of training on pain management
in their four years in medical school. This is clearly not enough. I am pleased,
however, to be able to say that there is progress in the area of education for
health professionals. McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, recently made
palliative care a core part of their medical school curriculum. McMaster is the
first university in Canada to do so, and I look forward to others following
Honourable senators, I must tell you that the doctor who is directing this
program stopped me at a conference in the fall and said that she had heard me
give a speech in Hamilton about the lack of core programming in palliative care.
She decided that she could do something about it, and went back to her
university and did so.
Indeed, investing in innovation and education is key to sustaining a modern
health care system. That is why the government is providing $90 million over
five years towards health human resources and the expansion of professional
development programs to ensure that health professionals acquire the necessary
knowledge and training to work effectively in a variety of disciplines,
including palliative and end-of-life care.
As all honourable senators are aware, palliative care is something about
which I am very passionate. I believe that every Canadian should have access to
quality palliative and end- of-life care, as it is a barometer of the quality of
our health care system and of the values we hold as a nation. End-of-life care
is just as important as care at the beginning of life. I believe that this is
something that holds true for all Canadians.
As the minister with special responsibility for palliative care, I am
committed to moving the palliative care agenda in Canada forward, and to the
development of a Canadian strategy on palliative and end-of-life care. It is
important to keep in mind that partnerships and collaboration between the
federal, provincial, territorial governments and the external stakeholder
communities are crucial in order for us to have a positive impact on palliative
and end-of-life care in Canada and to continue to be a leader internationally on
this important issue.
Given the demonstrated interest of the Government of Canada, the Parliament
and this special Senate committee, I am optimistic that our long-term goal of
providing quality palliative care to all Canadians is quickly becoming a
Honourable senators, if I needed any further proof of the value of the work
that I and so many of you have contributed to the issue of palliative care, it
would be my trip on Friday to the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. I went to
visit a former colleague of ours, the Honourable Philippe Gigantès. He is in the
palliative care unit there. I had spoken with his daughter a week before and
discovered that he was not in very good shape. When I arrived there, because of
the treatment he had received in the palliative care unit, directed by Dr.
Bernard Lapointe, he was lucid, welcoming and had a number of visitors. He had a
quality to his life that can only be provided by people who have an
understanding of what quality end-of-life care is all about. It is, and
continues to be, my passion. It continues to be, I know, the passion of many of
you in this room.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Will the honourable senator accept a question?
Senator Carstairs: Of course.
Senator Keon: First, allow me, honourable senators, to congratulate
the minister on behalf of all Canadians on her dedication, her energy and the
enormous accomplishment she has made in this field. People will be indebted to
her for a very long time.
Having said that, I remain concerned about the agenda not moving as quickly
as many people would like to see it moved. One of the barriers, which the
honourable senator touched on at the end of her speech, is that we do not have
the appropriate health professionals in place. We also do not have the plans to
train the appropriate health professionals in order to put this program in the
place that it should occupy.
The honourable senator referred to the fact that about 80 per cent of people
are not dying in their own beds. Instead, they are dying in highly sophisticated
hospital beds, where they would be much better with a bouquet of flowers each
day than having their blood work done. We cannot seem to get out of that
My question is: Does the honourable senator have a plan for getting the 16
health sciences centres involved in educating multidisciplinary teams? It is not
good enough, I believe, to have educational programs in medicine, nursing and so
forth. We must have a leadership in the health sciences centres that will
address the education of particularly the multidisciplinary team that will move
out into the homes, because much of our intellectual resources are now
concentrated in the large teaching hospitals. I will repeat the question: Is
there a plan to address the health sciences centres in their broadest context to
educating multidisciplinary teams?
Senator Carstairs: I thank the honourable senator for his question.
The honourable senator is quite right. If we do not have a broader plan to
educate physicians and nurses, then it will not become a reality because there
are very few trained palliative care professionals in this country.
I have sought out the Executive Director of the Association of Canadian
Medical Colleges. They will shortly present a proposal to the Department of
Health as to how they can provide education programs in all of our medical
schools in Canada with respect to palliative, end-of-life care. I am hoping the
proposal will come forward within the next few weeks, and will persuade the
Department of Health to use some of the resources they have now received in this
I should also inform honourable senators that, as of 2004, there will indeed
be a curriculum for nurses in the country. They have requested a program, and it
will be one they have developed. That will help to increase the number of
professionals at that level. However, I still believe that the critical player
is the physician. All physicians must know about palliative care and that it is
an option. That is why I think undergraduate medicine is such an important tool.
If young doctors who end up being oncologists, cardiologists or in internal
medicine do not have some grounding and understanding of what can be provided in
end-of-life care, then they will not make it as a recommendation to their
patients. We know that there are some excellent centres across the country, but
it is very hit and miss at the present time. The only way I think that this will
be enlarged is if we educate the doctors and nurses and make it a reality
throughout the country.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator LeBreton, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (study on the proposal of the
Valiants Group) tabled in the Senate on December 12, 2002.—(Honourable
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, Senator Atkins was good
enough to allow me to speak in his place, and I will be taking the adjournment
in his name when I am finished. I will not be long.
Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to speak on the fourth report of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. It is in fact a
report of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. This is a very short report,
which is nevertheless extremely important to our country. In this report, we
address a proposal by the Valiants Group for the erection of statues in downtown
Ottawa to salute the heroic wartime sacrifice of certain valiant men and women
who fought victoriously for Canada.
These statues that are proposed to be erected will commemorate the giants of
our history as they struggled for our freedom and independence during the 17th,
18th, 19th and 20th centuries. These people were not just warriors, honourable
senators; they were real nation builders. Consider, for example, Pierre Le Moyne
d'Iberville, Joseph Brandt, Sir Isaac Brock, Laura Secord, Georges Vanier,
Andrew Mynarski and many others.
"Valiants" is such an appropriate name for these people whose activities
are proposed to be celebrated and commemorated. Every Remembrance Day, at war
memorials across our country, those attending hear the recitation of "In
Flanders Fields." Without fail, the great hymn "O Valiant Hearts" is sung.
The first two verses of that hymn put this project and the people it is to
celebrate in context:
O valiant hearts, who to your glory cameThrough dust of conflict and
through battle flame; Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved, Your
memory hallowed in the land you loved. Proudly you gather rank on rank, to
war. As who had heard God's message from afar; All you had hoped for, all
you had, you gave To save mankind — yourselves you scorned to save.
The Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs took an interest in the Valiants Project
because the group's proposal appeared to have been derailed by the bureaucracy
in Ottawa. We can all understand and sympathize with anyone who is trying to
move a project through the maze of the federal government's bureaucracy.
I will begin by describing the group that is the proponent of this subject.
Mr. Hamilton Southam, a distinguished Canadian known to many senators, is the
chair. Working with him are a number of veterans and military historians, as
well as advisers on sculpture and urban planning. Some of their names will be
familiar to honourable senators: David Bercuson, Jack Granatstein, Clifford
Chadderton and Lieutenant General Charles Belzile are just a few of the people
behind this imaginative proposal. Mr. Southam explained to the subcommittee that
this proposal would provide Canadians with a permanent reminder of the history
of our country as we moved from a French colony to the great North American
nation we are today.
The valiants whose lives are to be immortalized in statue form were chosen by
a group of Canadian historians. The list, which has grown to 16, commemorates
our wars of independence during the French regime, the American Revolution, the
War of 1812 and the 20th century wars.
The Department of Canadian Heritage established an interdepartmental working
group to examine the project. The Valiants Group were included in this
examination process. Unfortunately, at least in the opinion of our committee,
the governmental group determined that this project was to be dropped. Mr.
Southam explained to our committee that the reasons given for dropping the
project were as follows: One, too many statues; two, too many officers; and
three, too much money. He added that he was under the impression that the
bureaucrats felt that the military statues were out of place in the heart of the
capital of such a peace-loving nation as Canada.
The Valiants Group explained to us that they could reduce the number of
statues but still believed that the project is fundamentally sound. Canadians
should remember their history, and they should remember the people who
sacrificed that we may live in freedom. This sentiment is one with which the
committee wholeheartedly agreed.
I have taken the opportunity to correspond with the ministers who I believe
might be helpful in moving the proposal along. Interestingly enough, all seem
rather supportive. The Minister of Defence says in his letter:
In principle, and in general, I fully support the aims of the Valiants
Project and the theme it wishes to present — that Canada, as it is today,
has been shaped by military events to an extent greater than many Canadians
The Minister of Veterans Affairs writes, "Veterans Affairs Canada is
supportive of any initiative that complements its remembrance programming."
Finally, I was heartened to receive a letter dated February 11, 2003, from
the Minister of Canadian Heritage saying that she would look again at this
proposal in light of the work of our subcommittee. She has, therefore,
instructed officials from the Canadian War Museum to work closely with the
Valiants Group along with officials of her department. On behalf of the
subcommittee, I responded to the minister's letter thanking her for her
Honourable senators, our committee's sole recommendation is that the
Government of Canada reconsider the Valiants Project, taking into account the
proposals of the sponsors to reduce the number of statues, to alter the choices
of valiants and to lower the costs.
I might add that the group chaired by Mr. Southam has agreed to raise 20 per
cent of the funds required.
We believe this to be a worthwhile venture and certainly worth the financial
investment required. I therefore urge other honourable senators to join in the
debate supporting the work of the Valiants Group and urge the government to
reconsider its position on the project so that we might go ahead and have the
project completed by August 15, 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the end of
World War II.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Atkins, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator LeBreton calling
the attention of the Senate to the legacy of waste during the
Martin-Chrétien years.—(Honourable Senator Bryden).
Hon. James F. Kelleher: Honourable senators —
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this matter stands in the
name of Senator Bryden, and he rose. Senator Bryden, I must see you.
Hon. John G. Bryden: Honourable senators, I rose because I did not
realize that someone else wished to speak to this item. I wanted to stand this
inquiry and give some explanation as to why it continues to stand in my name.
As honourable senators know, this is a very non-partisan chamber. However, a
good number of honourable senators on the other side of the chamber have
participated in this inquiry in a very non-partisan fashion. I see that there
are more who wish to participate.
This is just not a time at which I feel comfortable in replying to the
thoughtful and non-partisan comments of honourable senators opposite. There are
other events happening this week. The pictures in this chamber tend to remind me
I want to speak to this item, but for me, this is not the time to do it.
Senator Kelleher: Honourable senators, notwithstanding the forgoing
comments, I will continue.
Senator Robichaud: Continue to be non-partisan.
Senator Kelleher: No. I may seem nice, but do not be misled.
Today, honourable senators, I would like to discuss the heating grant fiasco,
as I call it. Paul Martin spent more than $1.4 billion on a heating rebate
program that mainly sent money to people who did not face rising heating costs.
In October 2000, rising home heating costs were a potential election issue.
Paul Martin responded by announcing a one-time fuel rebate payment of $125 for
low-income and modest-income single people and $250 for families. He targeted
the program so badly that cheques were sent to dead people, prison inmates and
to people not even living in the country. Meanwhile, thousands who had fallen on
hard times received nothing.
The cheques were sent in early 2001 to anyone who qualified for a GST credit,
based on 1999 income. It did not matter whether the heating bills were paid by
someone else, or whether there was no imminent increase in heating costs because
the home was heated by electricity, or whether the person's income had risen
dramatically since 1999.
As the Auditor General noted in her December 2001 report, there was:
...a weak relationship between those who received the GSTC and those who
needed assistance for increases in their heating expenses.
The Auditor General noted that only between 15 and 25 per cent of those who
received the payment needed help to pay for increased heating costs stating:
...we estimate that of the more than $1.4 billion paid in relief for
heating expenses, the total amount paid to those who faced an immediate
increase in heating costs was between $250 million and $350 million.
She said that between 25 and 35 per cent of the households that received
assistance did not need it now but might need it in the future. As a result, she
At least 40 per cent of the households that received a payment either
were not low- or modest-income households or would not likely face higher
future heating costs related to the 2001-01 energy market conditions.
Some of her other findings were just as disturbing. Because income changes
from year to year, at least 600,000 Canadians did not qualify based on their
1999 income, but would have qualified based on their 2000 income. Of that
600,000, she said that:
At least 90,000 of these people needed immediate assistance to help with
increased heating costs.
She noted that at least 1 million households received more than one cheque,
At least 4,000 Canadian taxpayers who did not live in Canada and 7,500
deceased people received cheques. While it is difficult to calculate how
many prisoners received the relief for heating expenses, based on available
data the Department estimates that about 1,600 prisoners could have received
In a December 6, 2001 editorial, The Globe and Mail observed:
Even if we assume (charitably) that the Liberals were simply trying to
help low-income Canadians, or (cynically) that they were trying to butter up
as many people as they could before the election, the execution was abysmal.
In an editorial aptly entitled "Toss Another Cheque on the Fire," the
Halifax Chronicle-Herald observed on December 7, 2001:
The audit finds "at least 40 per cent" of recipients did not have low
or modest incomes or were unlikely to face higher heating bills last winter.
That's a truly pathetic mismatch.
Imagine the outcry if a foreign aid agency only managed to get 17 to 60
per cent of relief to the needy and wasted the rest.
As Red Cross Secretary General Pierre Duplessis told this newspaper
recently, his agency expects that, on average, 85 per cent of humanitarian
relief will get through to the suffering in places like Afghanistan, where
agencies face obstacles like spoilage, poor transportation links and
bandits. As much as 95 per cent of aid can get through, he said; 75 per cent
is considered poor.
The editorial went on to conclude:
Although the auditor doesn't say so, the root of these problems was
surely a crass rush to cook up an election goody. A huge expenditure,
directed at nearly eight million households, with little regard to need,
made at cabinet's discretion, as a gift — these look suspiciously like a
recipe for vote buying, not for a darned good program.
Problems were obvious even as the cheques were being mailed out. The
Winnipeg Free Press reported the following on January 30, 2001:
"People who should be getting rebates are people who have heating
bills," said Kim Watts, a married mother of four children. "According to
these rules, my brother who lives at home will get the rebate but he doesn't
have a heating bill. That makes no sense."
"You can have adult children, living with their parents, who will get
the rebate but their parents — who pay the heating bills but don't qualify
for the GST credit — will not," Watts said, adding that people living in
apartments will also receive the rebate. "It's all backwards."
Columnist Gordon Henderson observed in the Windsor Star of February
Finance Minister Paul Martin may be a dirty, no-good, grasping,
throne-usurping plotter in the eyes of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his
paranoid Parliament Hill cronies, but he's never been more popular in
Canada's gated communities.
But this business of sending out federal heating rebate cheques for $125
or $250 (depending on family circumstances) to prison inmates who qualified
for a GST rebate in 1999 is the final proof, as if we needed more, that the
government places the buying of votes light years ahead of management of
financial public policy.
In Mexican jails, you wish you had an influential daddy. In U.S. jails
you find out who's your daddy. In Canada the taxpayer is your sugar daddy,
courtesy of the nice folks in the finance department and at Revenue Canada.
This loopy scheme — hey, why don't we shovel $1.4 billion out of the
ministry window and see where it lands — was introduced in Martin's
mini-budget last fall as soaring energy costs threatened to become an issue
in the imminent election.
Did they direct the money to homeowners staggering under humongous
heating bills? Gosh. No. That would be too complicated. It would require
planning and foresight.
Either Paul Martin and the Liberals do not pay attention or they do not care
how money is spent. While Paul Martin gave the heating rebate to those who got
the GST credit, he had no idea if the GST credit itself was working.
The GST credit was created in 1991 to ensure that lower-income Canadians paid
no more net sales tax than they did before the GST replaced the hidden Federal
Sales Tax. Normally, programs are reviewed every few years to ensure they are
doing what they are supposed to do. If necessary, changes are made.
In 1996, the Auditor General suggested that Paul Martin's Finance Department
study the GST credit to make sure it was meeting its objective. Five years
later, Canadians were told by the Auditor General in December 2001 that:
The Department of Finance has not yet conducted a formal evaluation of
the GST Credit program to ensure that it is meeting its intended objective.
Columnist Greg Weston observed in the Winnipeg Sun of December 6,
The great home-heating rebate boondoggle, exposed this week by Auditor
General Sheila Fraser, may leave ordinary Canadians with a rather nagging
question: What kind of idiots would come up with a $1.4-billion government
handout scheme that gives 80 per cent of the money to all the wrong people,
including thousands of dead ones.
The short answer is the federal Liberal government.
The longer answer is the same idiots who continue to send GST rebate
cheques to thousands of dead Canadians every few months.
Mr. Weston went on to note that after rejecting several options for providing
Paul Martin's finance department came up with the brilliant idea of
sending the heating handouts to the same lower- income Canadians who
received GST rebates. The main problem — as the government knew at the time,
and the AG subsequently reported — there is little connection between those
who get GST rebates and those Canadians who pay their own heating bills.
The situation was made worse by the fact the government was sending
heating handouts to people who qualified for GST rebates in the year 2000,
based on their tax returns for 1999. By the time the government got the
heating cheques in the mail in February of this year, at least 14,000
members of the needy class of 1999 were either in prison, dead or had left
And therein lies the other problem. Since the heating payments were sent
to the people getting GST rebates, guess what? At least 14,000 GST rebate
cheques were also mailed to people who are in prison, abroad or in heaven.
Not only did Paul Martin send money to the wrong people, but he bypassed
Parliament to do it.
Normally, there are only two ways for the government to send out such cheques
— as an expenditure approved by Parliament or as a tax measure approved by
Parliament. Either way, the government would have to bring in a bill. It would
have to answer tough questions such as, "Can you assure us that no cheques will
be sent to anyone who has the same address as the Kingston Pen?"
However, because Parliament was dissolved for an election, the door was open
for a third way — the use of special spending warrants. Those are only supposed
to be used for urgent spending that cannot wait for the recall of Parliament,
such as a war or a flood. The Liberal cabinet approved those warrants on
December 12, 2000.
The original plan was to treat the payments as a credit under the Income Tax
Act. Instead, the payments were sent out as an ex gratia payment,
basically an act of benevolence in the public interest. Putting a bill before
Parliament was too much of an inconvenience.
The Auditor General was highly critical of this process, noting in her
December 2001 report:
We are concerned that parliamentary scrutiny of this initiative was
weakened because the government chose an approval process that did not
involve Parliament. The government decided that it was important to deliver
the relief quickly, and there were few avenues available when Parliament was
We appreciate the importance of delivering the relief quickly to those
who urgently needed it. However, the Department knew on 13 December 2000,
that Parliament would be recalled on 29 January 2001... In our view, a delay
of no more than six weeks would have allowed Parliament the opportunity to
debate and approve the spending of public funds before the spending took
place, and without compromising the government's objectives.
When the Auditor General delivered her report, Paul Martin stayed away from
the House of Commons. The CBC's Anthony Germain reported on The World at Six
on December 5, 2001:
The person in charge was Paul Martin. But he hasn't answered any
questions about the rebates problem because the Finance Minister is busy
drafting next week's budget. Apart from the humour in Parliament, there is a
more serious question for Paul Martin. The theme of the Auditor General's
report this week is that Parliament's power to control spending is eroding.
Sheila Fraser highlights the fact that Martin gave the green light to this
$1.4-billion program without consulting Parliament.
Jim Peterson, the junior Minister of Finance, answered in place of Paul
Martin, telling the House of Commons on December 4, 2001, that:
Sure there were anomalies but it was a darn good program.
Obviously, the Liberals do not learn from their mistakes.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Gustafson, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion by the Honourable Senator Grafstein,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.,
That the following resolution, encapsulating the 2002 Berlin OSCE (PA)
Resolution, be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs
for consideration and report before June 30, 2003:
WHEREAS Canada is a founding member State of the Organization for
Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the 1975 Helsinki
WHEREAS all the participating member States to the Helsinki Accords
affirmed respect for the right of persons belonging to national minorities
to equality before the law and the full opportunity for the enjoyment of
human rights and fundamental freedoms and further that the participating
member States recognized that such respect was an essential factor for the
peace, justice and well-being necessary to ensure the development of
friendly relations and co- operation between themselves and among all member
WHEREAS the OSCE condemned anti-Semitism in the 1990 Copenhagen
Concluding Document and undertook to take effective measures to protect
individuals from anti- Semitic violence;
WHEREAS the 1996 Lisbon Concluding Document of the OSCE called for
improved implementation of all commitments in the human dimension, in
particular with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms and urged
participating member States to address the acute problem of anti-Semitism;
WHEREAS the 1999 Charter for European Security committed Canada and other
participating members States to counter violations of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or
belief and manifestations of intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racism,
chauvinism, xenophobia and anti- Semitism;
WHEREAS on July 8, 2002, at its Parliamentary Assembly held at the
Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, the OSCE passed a unanimous resolution, as
appended, condemning the current anti-Semitic violence throughout the OSCE
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution urged all member States to make public
statements recognizing violence against Jews and Jewish cultural properties
as anti-Semitic and to issue strong, public declarations condemning the
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution called on all participating member
States to combat anti-Semitism by ensuring aggressive law enforcement by
local and national authorities;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution urged participating members States to
bolster the importance of combating anti-Semitism by exploring effective
measures to prevent anti-Semitism and by ensuring that laws, regulations,
practices and policies conform with relevant OSCE commitments on
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution also encouraged all delegates to the
Parliamentary Assembly to vocally and unconditionally condemn manifestations
of anti-Semitic violence in their respective countries;
WHEREAS the alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents and violence has been
documented in Canada, as well as Europe and worldwide.
RESOLUTION ON ANTI-SEMITIC VIOLENCE IN THE OSCE REGION
Berlin, 6-10 July 2002
1. Recalling that the OSCE was among those organizations
which publicly achieved international condemnation of anti-Semitism
through the crafting of the 1990 Copenhagen Concluding Document;
2. Noting that all participating States, as stated in the
Copenhagen Concluding Document, commit to "unequivocally condemn"
anti-Semitism and take effective measures to protect individuals
from anti- Semitic violence;
3. Remembering the 1996 Lisbon Concluding Document, which
highlights the OSCE's "comprehensive approach" to security, calls
for "improvement in the implementation of all commitments in the
human dimension, in particular with respect to human rights and
fundamental freedoms," and urges participating States to address "acute problems," such as anti- Semitism;
4. Reaffirming the 1999 Charter for European Security,
committing participating States to "counter such threats to
security as violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and
manifestations of intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racism,
chauvinism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism";
5. Recognizing that the scourge of anti-Semitism is not
unique to any one country, and calls for steadfast perseverance by
all participating States;
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
6. Unequivocally condemns the alarming escalation of anti-
Semitic violence throughout the OSCE region;
7. Voices deep concern over the recent escalation in anti-
Semitic violence, as individuals of the Judaic faith and Jewish cultural
properties have suffered attacks in many OSCE participating States;
8. Urges those States which undertake to return confiscated
properties to rightful owners, or to provide alternative compensation to
such owners, to ensure that their property restitution and compensation
programmes are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner and according
to the rule of law;
9. Recognizes the commendable efforts of many post- communist
States to redress injustices inflicted by previous regimes based on
religious heritage, considering that the interests of justice dictate
that more work remains to be done in this regard, particularly with
regard to individual and community property restitution compensation;
10. Recognizes the danger of anti-Semitic violence to European
security, especially in light of the trend of increasing violence and
attacks regions wide;
11. Declares that violence against Jews and other
manifestations of intolerance will never be justified by international
developments or political issues, and that it obstructs democracy,
pluralism, and peace;
12. Urges all States to make public statements recognizing
violence against Jews and Jewish cultural properties as anti-Semitic, as
well as to issue strong, public declarations condemning the
13. Calls upon participating States to ensure aggressive law
enforcement by local and national authorities, including thorough
investigation of anti-Semitic criminal acts, apprehension of
perpetrators, initiation of appropriate criminal prosecutions and
14. Urges participating States to bolster the importance of
combating anti-Semitism by holding a follow-up seminar or human
dimension meeting that explores effective measures to prevent
anti-Semitism, and to ensure that their laws, regulations, practices and
policies conform with relevant OSCE commitments on anti- Semitism; and
15. Encourages all delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly to
vocally and unconditionally condemn manifestations of anti-Semitic
violence in their respective countries and at all regional and
international forums.—(Honourable Senator LaPierre).
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: Honourable senators, I rise in support of
Senator Graftein's motion; anti-Semitism has become something of a disease in
It saps our vitality and our strength as a people, and it endangers many
aspects of our international and national life.
I do not think that this motion should be referred to the Foreign Affairs
Committee but, rather, it should be referred to the Human Rights Committee
because it is basically a question of human rights. However, I bow to the wisdom
of Senator Grafstein.
Since September 11, 2001 — that dreadful day we shall never forget — we have
witnessed the evolution of racism in our country.
We have seen in our country the growth of racism across the board. A few days
after September 11, a Hindu temple in Hamilton was burned to the ground. Since
then, many minorities, in particular those of the Muslim faith, have been
subjected to name calling, insults and physical attacks. In this very city, an
Arab boy was seriously beaten up a couple of weeks after September 11.
Consequently, are all of these actions that occurred after September 11
symptomatic of the development of a way of life?
I am the moderator of the forum on culture and diversity. Secretary Augustine
talks about systemic racism in our country. Systemic racism seems to engulf us
more and more as the days go on. Racism against a Black person, against an Arab,
against a native person or against a Jew is all the same kind of racism and must
not be tolerated in this fair land. One of the honourable senators whom I
greatly respect told me the other day that he had a consultation about the role
of visible minorities in the federal civil service. He was told that Black
people do not make good managers. When he asked why, he was told that they are
not capable of developing efficient PowerPoint presentations. I think the entire
civil service should be replaced by Black people, if they are not capable of
doing PowerPoint, since the most boring issue of discussion is PowerPoint.
I mention this as an example of what happens. While we were in recess, the
newspapers reported that incidents of anti-Semitism have increased considerably
in Canada. Why? I am a child of a culture, of an environment that welcomed and
made almost natural anti-Semitism. I prayed for the Jews to find the right path.
I prayed so that we could eliminate them from their roles in our society. We
prayed and prayed, so that the day would come and they would all be converted
and that would be the end of it. We did that to the native people, too. We
thought that if we could only send them to the schools to become Roman
Catholics, the end result would be that they would be like us. Thank God it has
For these reasons, I listen to myself, and I listen to my colleague across
the way. I was moved by what the honourable senator was saying. I was quite
moved by the resolution that was passed in this association or this reunion that
he attended. I asked, "Why is it that today we see a growth of that kind of
thing?" People say to me, "The cause has to do with the fact that Israel is
too tough on the Palestinians, and the country is not being humanitarian."
These are not reasons and they are not causes. It does not help us, though,
honourable senators, that many Jewish organizations call anti-Semite anyone who
questions the means whereby Israel assures its security.
I am a Canadian and I have always believed, since I was able to start
believing in things on my own and I was not afraid of being beaten up by some
nun, that the day would come when the Israeli people would have their home. This
summer, in the association of going back to the land of Israel, two young
friends of a friend of mine went back to Israel. I asked them to put a little
note in the wall, apologizing for the part in my past life when I thought that
the Jews were dangerous people to have around. I no longer want this. I really
do not want this. Israel will exist. It has the fundamental right to exist and
it has the right to defend its existence. There is no way out of that. Those who
became anti- Semitic because of the human right that Pearson and Canada defended
since 1948 are doing a disservice to their country.
Honourable senators, it is essential that we raise our awareness. Today, we
are talking about anti-Semitism.
Tomorrow we will speak about another aspect of racism that exists and affects
our people. This is a great country. There is no room for this sort of thing.
This is the land of diversity. This diversity is a condition of citizenship; it
is a fundamental value of our country. To honour it is to be really Canadian.
Consequently, we have laws against racism, but these things seem to spread and
spread in spite of the law. At the end of day, we must think globally and we
must act locally. We must look into our hearts and we must condemn anyone,
whether they be our friends, the teachers of our children or anyone else who
dares question the validity of a person's religion, a person's race, a person's
colour and, above all, the Israeli people who have suffered enough, and need not
suffer the humiliation of anti-Semitism.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Would Senator LaPierre take a question?
Senator LaPierre: Do I have any time left? I will take a question, but
the honourable senator must not make a speech, because that annoys me.
The Hon. the Speaker: You have eight minutes remaining.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, the honourable senator
mentioned 1948. I agree with him because I have a motion following his. He is
aware of the Canadian responsibility of November 29, 1947, where, by a vote of
33 to 10, Canada was the facilitator with Mr. Pearson, the deputy minister, for
resolution 181 that was written by Judge Wren of the Supreme Court, one of the
drafters. That passed 33 to 10.
Senator LaPierre: I am aware of that. I was born then.
Senator Prud'homme: The honourable senator commented on 1948.
Senator LaPierre: It is the spirit of the country I am talking about.
The spirit of our country has always been with Lester Pearson and people who
have supported this action.
I am now a has-been, but when I was famous and had a program on television, I
went across this country and raised money for the universities in Israel and for
the growing of trees in Israel. Therefore, I am happy. This is my contribution.
I may have forgotten the date, but I am an old man, and old men live with their
dreams and their dreams live in their heart. Thank you very much. That is
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Kinsella, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Gauthier:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be
authorized to examine and report on the current state of Canadian media
industries; emerging trends and developments in these industries; the
media's role, rights, and responsibilities in Canadian society; and current
and appropriate future policies relating thereto; and
That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than
Wednesday, March 31, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Stratton).
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the
motion introduced by Senator Fraser on November 26, 2002, seeking an order of
reference to permit the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and
Communications to study a number of issues related to the media in Canada. For
the sake of brevity, I believe that the object of this exercise proposed by
Senator Fraser is to allow the committee to study virtually all elements of the
role of the media in Canadian society.
We on this side of the chamber do not disagree in principle with a study
inquiring into the role of public policy and how it can ensure that the Canadian
news media remains healthy, independent and diverse. However, we do object to
the broad terms of reference sought by Senator Fraser. We can see a focused
study dealing with specific issues of independence and diversity and their
relation to public policy. As Senator Kinsella said when he characterized the
mandate being sought by the committee as being too broad, "a study about
everything in general is a study about nothing in particular."
When describing the questions this study may address, Senator Fraser listed
issues that would take volumes to answer. I have a number of quotes: "Are
Canadians still getting the quality and diversity of news and information that
they need?" "How can we be sure Canadians will have access to news and
information from this country's perspective seen through Canadian eyes?" "How
can we be sure that these Canadian stories will not be drowned out by the voices
from the rest of the world, especially from the United States?" "Are there
elements of public policy that can or should be changed to address the new
problems created by the new realities?"
Let us study media concentration if we must, but let us be reasonable about
what we undertake so that we do our usual credible job on such matters. Senator
Kinsella, in his intervention, listed other questions that could form the basis
of study: the rise of the Internet, the potential loss of sovereignty posed by
technological advances, and the use of satellite dishes. Each of these could
form the basis of an individual study. Are we developing a two-tier society when
it comes to access to information and media?
Before we go any further, I will go back to the events of last spring and
early summer, which lie at the root of the request for this committee's study.
Editorials supporting the Liberal Party were required to be printed by the
owners in all CanWest papers. Editorial control by the ownership was
demonstrated for all to see in the firing of long-time publisher of CanWest's
Ottawa Citizen, Russell Mills. He was fired for speaking out against such
editorial control and for carrying material critical of the government in the
CanWest paper, of which he was the publisher. The firing was universally
condemned. Interestingly enough, since the time of the firing and the public
outrage that followed, we have seen no further incidents of this type of
editorial control or interference by owners, at least not as blatant as those
Does this mean the marketplace, or public outrage, is an effective tool to
deal with such situations? Is there a public policy role for government? When
government moves in to guarantee the freedom of the press, are we not heading
down a slippery slope toward control of the press or the media by government?
As someone in this chamber stated, if the firing had occurred in any other
business, it is doubtful that anything would have been said. Why, then, should
this be any different? Let the public decide.
What should we, public policy-makers, do to protect the marketplace of ideas
and to ensure that the public hears a diversity of voices and opinions in the
coverage of local, national and world events?
The answer arrived at on this side is to conduct a study that is focused and
time-limited. I believe that the following would serve as appropriate terms of
Given changes in the media in recent years — notably globalization,
technological change, convergence and concentration of ownership — the
standing committee should study the appropriate role of public policy in
helping to ensure that the Canadian news media remains healthy, independent
The following is a list of issues and questions to be addressed by the
committee in its study:
1. What are the key, recent developments or tendencies? To what extent
are developments in Canada unique to this country? To what extent are the
experiences common to many countries?
2. How have the developments affected, or how may they affect, elements
of the public interest?
3. What mechanisms exist to protect and promote the public interest in
Canada and in other countries?
4. What is seen as the appropriate role for government, and what are seen
as the responsibilities of the media?
5. What about access?
We have the Internet, after all, and yet we have a two-tier system — those
who have access to it and those who do not.
Such a study would focus clearly on avenues available through the public
policy route to ensure that Canadians continue to hear the diversity of views
now guaranteed to them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The
investigative study would be supported by research into the current state of
ownership of media outlets and rules for self-regulation established by the
media. Statistics on readership, audiences, profits and ownership would be
Committee hearings could begin here in Ottawa, with experts addressing the
issues of freedom of the media, the role of the media in the 21st century and
the business side of the media. The regulators, such as the CRTC and the
Competition Bureau, would be heard from, as would interested government
departments and press councils. We would also hear from those representing
ownership, writers, workers, advertisers and consumer groups.
On February 14, 2003, McGill University, through its Institute for the Study
of Canada, held a conference entitled "Have Journalists Lost Control?" What
can we learn from this conference? At the end of it all, if we were to think it
necessary, the committee would travel to hear varying views from across the
Through the technology of video conferencing, we could learn how other
jurisdictions are addressing these public policy issues. For example, the views
of experts in the United States, Britain, France and Germany would be helpful.
All of this, we believe, could be done in the next fiscal year so that we would
have a report by mid-winter 2004.
Let us be disciplined and respect the taxpayer's money, yet determine if
there is a role for public policy to play in the area of media concentration.
Honourable senators, because no one else has come forward to put an
appropriate fence around this broad-scope definition that has been sitting here
for a long, long time, it needs to have a fence put around it. I have heard talk
about it, but nothing has happened.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Therefore, I move, seconded by the Honourable
That the terms of reference for the study of the current state of
Canadian media industries by the Standing Senate Committee on Transportation
and Communications be amended by removing all of the words after the word
"authorized" and adding the following:
"to study the appropriate role of public policy in helping to ensure
that Canadian news media remains healthy, independent and diverse, given
changes in the media in recent years, notably globalization,
technological change, convergence and the concentration of ownership;
That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than
Wednesday, March 31, 2004.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I rise to speak against the
proposed amendment. I should like to outline my reasons for urging senators to
vote down the amendment.
My honourable friend has read virtually word for word our draft work plan,
which was the result of taking to heart the comments made by Senator Kinsella
some time ago. I believe it was on December 5 that Senator Kinsella spoke. The
committee reviewed his words carefully and discussed the issue of whether we
need to amend the wording of the motion. The committee, which consisted of four
members from the opposition side and eight members from the government side,
considered the matter at length and developed a draft work plan that clearly
provided the focus that we needed.
Senator Kinsella's words were helpful to us, but we did not believe that it
was necessary to amend the wording of the motion. We shared the wording of the
draft work plan with Senator Kinsella and Senator Stratton, and the amendment he
is proposing incorporates many of the words from the work plan.
Honourable senators, it is the unanimous view of the Standing Senate
Committee on Transport and Communications that the wording of the motion as it
appears is appropriate. We are very anxious to get on with this study. I would
urge honourable senators to vote against the amendment and to subsequently
support the motion.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I wish to explain to Senator
Stratton why I will vote against his motion in amendment. While, in some
respects, I think it has the effect of expanding rather than drawing a fence
around the term of reference, what bothers me about it most is that it
concentrates on, if not limits itself to, studying the question of news. The
study ought not to confine itself to that question, or to the questions of
concentration, because the telling of our stories and the spreading of our arts
and culture is at least as important as news and at least as important as
questions of concentration. I believe that the present wording of the motion is
more appropriate to the task that ought to be undertaken.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I have participated in
debates of this kind in the past. Regarding the amendment that has just been
put, I should like to ask permission to adjourn the debate under my name. I do
not want to delay the debate probably any further than tomorrow, but I think we
need time because this motion is very important.
Hon. Laurier L. LaPierre: The honourable senator has had time since
Senator Prud'homme: I know, but in a democracy one could say yes or no
and dispose of the matter. We do not need to jump over the barn.
I ask if there is consent; if there is no consent, that is it. I should like
to adjourn the motion in my name. It is not a question of killing the motion. I
want to see the meaning of the amendment. Senator Day has explained it very
well. He is contrary minded to what Senator Banks has said. I believe a day of
reflection would not kill anyone. I promise to speak tomorrow. If I do not speak
tomorrow, then we can proceed with whatever is in front of us.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is moved by the
Honourable Senator Prud'homme, seconded by the Honourable Senator Stratton, that
further debate on the motion in amendment be adjourned to the next sitting of
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators in favour of the
motion to adjourn debate please say "yea"?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators opposed to the
motion to adjourn debate please say "nay"?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the "yeas" have it. On
Motion agreed to, on division.
Hon. Aurélien Gill rose pursuant to notice of Thursday, February 13,
That he will call the attention of the Senate to the issues related to
the common approach to negotiations with the Innu (Montagnais) of Quebec,
Quebec and Canada, in relation to the current debate.
He said: Honourable senators, I feel it is my duty as a senator to inform you
about the debates around the new agreement being negotiated at the present time
by the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec with part of the Innu
nation, the Montagnais. These negotiations, which began around 1975, are aimed
at establishing an Innu government and a new type of relationship with other
levels of government. For nearly thirty years now, the Innu have had the same
goal: to resume their responsibilities, improve their living conditions and be
able to live in dignity. To accomplish that goal, they had to first obtain
recognition of their ancestral rights. Then there had to be negotiation of a
sharing formula which would reflect current reality, while at the same time
preserving the land base pursuant to acquired rights.
The Innu also had to have entitlement to certain other parcels of land, also
subject to ancestral rights, as far as certain uses were concerned, as well as
supervisory rights and the entitlement to resource royalties. After 28 years of
hard work and difficult discussions, interrupted several times, the Innu are now
well on the way to signing an agreement which will provide them with the
foundations for self-government. By so doing, the decades of being under the
guardianship of Indian Affairs will be over; they will be able to finally break
down the shameful walls that kept them enslaved on the reserves. The Innu will
again be able to make their own decisions and to take back responsibility for
themselves in all areas. They will at last be able to assume social and economic
responsibility for themselves as a People, though a number of means including an
appropriate taxation system.
This will honour the recognition of First Nations rights present in the Royal
Proclamation of 1763 and made more explicit in 1982, and ought to be source of
pride to Quebecers and Canadians. Alas, it is a source of controversy instead
and has given rise to some opinions and positions that have often proven
Honourable senators, this situation, while currently involving only one
specific part of the country, concerns all Canadians nevertheless. It is, in
reality, just one more reflection of the negative attitudes that have prevailed
so often throughout the country in connection with specific agreements with
Aboriginal peoples. Yet those agreements are intended merely to assure Canada's
First Nations of their entitlement under social justice and constitutional law.
As a result of this connection, I have recently become aware of the position
of Mayor Jean Tremblay of Saguenay, as reported in the local press. He has
submitted a brief to the Quebec Parliamentary Commission, addressing the common
approach proposed in this agreement.
I feel it is worthwhile to look at what he has had to say, because the
mayor's position is a kind of synthesis of the arguments prevailing in this
country that are contrary to aboriginal interests, arguments that are offensive
to Canadian reality as far as the application of moral and political values of
which we are proud is concerned: a concern for justice, tolerance, respect for
diversity, harmony, peace and so on. I wish to raise this with you in order to
illustrate its impact on the country. I will begin by stating that this
position, which got a lot of press in Quebec, is, regrettably, far from
surprising. It reflects the usual concerns of those opposed to agreements of
this kind. The basic premise is that we must not create two classes of citizens,
nor give some an advantage over others.
The argument is that this will be a threat to the rights of non- Aboriginals,
but not those of Aboriginals; that there is no point in turning back the clock;
that the principle of equality for all takes precedence over any other principle
which would divide people into sub-groups. This is the standard human rights
argument, that human rights are individual by definition, that 31 million
Canadians have the same rights, with no differentiations or exceptions. I am
always thunderstruck when this argument keeps cropping up again and again in a
country like Canada. There are differences; we know there are. Those differences
are what have shaped this country. This is why special considerations are fair
and necessary. These specific differences are based on rights rooted in the
history of this country, a long history that had to be acknowledged at the time
the Constitution was repatriated in 1982.
The Innu form a people, my people, with one language and shared traditions,
as well as a unique history sadly marked with injustice and abuse for the past
200 years. They have rights that must be expressed fairly and in a way that
reflects their identity.
Our rights were recognized as the first people of this country. It is now
urgent that those rights take concrete form in social and political life. The
unjust course of history cannot be reversed otherwise.
The position of the mayor of Saguenay is tantamount to a denial of our
specific cultural identity, our history, our ancestral rights, by lifting the
debate to the abstract level. In the brief from the City of Saguenay the
following statement is made:
One could, for example, listen forever to the anthropologists reciting
all the ancestries in order to determine who are the first, the true,
Aboriginal people. In politics — and we are in politics — what we have to do
is address equality of opportunity for the people who are living now,
regardless of race, gender or other individual characteristics.
You will agree that hearing such words from a Quebecer, a resident of the
Saguenay, is somewhat astounding. The First Nations have been battling for many
moons, in the name of equity and human dignity, in order to gain recognition of
their right to exist within their identity as a people on a defined territory.
The mayor of Saguenay also uses the concept of solidarity as an argument for
uniform rights for each and every person in the region, again without regard to
the existence of the Innu people. He goes so far as to manage the scandalous
feat of making the victims of injustice out to be privileged aggressors. So now
the rights of the Whites must be defended against the wicked Indians. One would
think we were back in the 1800s when preparations were being made to park the
Indians on reservations in order to make the good land available to the right
people. This was the history of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, and of just about every
other part of Canada.
Raising the concept of solidarity in order to promote the levelling of
differences in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and elsewhere, whether Labrador, the
North Shore of the St. Lawrence, Western Ontario, Northern Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, or anywhere else in Canada, is an insult to the memory of a
country, an insult to history. The truth is that this country was built entirely
with the total solidarity and participation of the First Nations and Inuit, and
this was done at their expense, with no respect, no fair compensation
whatsoever. The people of the Saguenay and surrounding areas cannot deny that,
still today, the Innu are living as second-class citizens, with no dignity, in
poverty, marginality and dependency. This same situation remains part of the
daily reality of all of this country's First Nations. Where was the equity when
the Indians of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean needed solidarity, as did those all over
Canada, when they were totally stripped of all that they owned in
Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and everywhere else in Canada? What solutions do the
supporters of the mayor of Saguenay's position have to propose that would
guarantee protection of our cultural identities, our political autonomy and our
economic health? What place do the Innu people have in the region, in their
view? The fact is that the Innu, like all of the other Aboriginal people in the
country, bother no one as long as they do not speak up, as long as they accept
the Indian reserve designated for them, as long as they do not make any waves on
the region's political scene. They can remain a kind of negative exception
forever. This is justified by the argument that those who want to leave can do
so. All they need to do is fade into the woodwork, one at a time, good citizens
all, with no regard for their ancestral origins, for their deepest being, for
their aspirations, highly legitimate though they may be.
If they speak out collectively, they are seen as threatening solidarity, if
not justice itself. Whose solidarity? Whose justice? How could it be that a
cultural group with an identity recognized by the Constitution of this country
would not have the right to make any sort of demands as a specific group? Could
the opponents' argument not go this far? Could the Canadian government be wrong
in its interpretation of Aboriginal rights? And on it goes, always demeaning the
image of Aboriginal people, who are seen as nothing but demanding abusers of
public charity. How is it that we have reached this point almost everywhere in
the country? And, more important, how is it that we have not yet got beyond it?
Unfortunately, most Canadians know nothing of the first inhabitants of their
country, historically, culturally, economically or demographically. How could
they understand and accept the new agreements and realize they are justified?
How could they make any informed judgment?
In this context, until the reality of our First Nations is properly covered
in the school texts and curriculum of our young Canadians — that is, as
stakeholders in the social, political and historical reality of this country —
this question should never be addressed unless there is a constant concern and a
real effort to properly inform the entire population.
Appropriate communication strategies must be put in place. Ignorance must be
overcome by sustained educational and information campaigns, not just starting
with the content of the agreements and limited to that, but also, and most
important, on the First Nations themselves, from the historical point of view,
and also in the present context. As long as the historical reality of the first
peoples has not been restored, as long as they are not better known by their
fellow citizens, they will find it extremely difficult to win public opinion
over, as far as the justification of their demands is concerned. The issues
involved are too emotional for any areas to be left in the shadows. Light must
be cast on the entire situation. Honesty and courage are required, along with
integrity. Responsibility must begin with political leaders. Is it normal for
there to be virtually no communications budget in circumstances that are so
crucial for the first peoples? Yet we, in politics, are well aware that people
never react well to the unknown. Unfortunately, however, this is the situation
as the public is confronted with the reality of first people's rights. They are
just waking up, and very late, as they note the changes and envisage the
consequences. Then a desire to be consulted is expressed, and solutions
improvised. Either Indians are declared non-existent, or to have too many
rights, or they are rich pariahs, or lobbyists. They go so far as to dare to
turn their backs on all historical truths and to state that the Whites are the
ones to be sympathized with, and the Indians have everything. Pathetic
statements all. The first peoples have been dispossessed. They are neither
seeking nor obtaining any privileges. All that they are demanding, based on
their rights, is the means to resume responsibility for themselves.
In this context, the equality the mayor of Saguenay is seeking to defend at
any price, far from being compromised by application of a particular model for
the Aboriginal people, can at last be established. We agree, obviously, that all
citizens are equal in the eyes of the State. There are 31 million Canadians, all
with the same rights and duties. This is a fundamental principle, an inviolable
principle in a true democracy. Within those universal rights, however, there is
a duty to consider certain differences. This is the case for francophone or
anglophone minorities in the provinces, which illustrate the prevalence of
inalienable collective rights. This is so because the French and the English are
considered two founding peoples. Here, like Mayor Tremblay, there is not only no
recognition of the undeniable historical reality of the Aboriginals as a
founding people, but, as well, no recognition of the collective ancestral and
Aboriginal rights expressly recognized in the Constitution patriated in 1982.
The Innu cultural identity has its place in the future of a region, a
province of the state. As First Peoples, we have a duty to assume the right to
self-government, to restore our unity, diminished by the act, by Indian Affairs'
policies, by provincial boundaries, by powers that have been shared over our
heads! Who are the Innu? This fundamental question needs to be answered. Why are
the Innu seen as outsiders in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, a land of which they have
been dispossessed? Why are they seen as a threat, a lesser breed? It can only be
because they are considered nothing more than individuals with serial numbers,
members of federal bands that belong to the federal government, whose lands
never were really theirs; it is all make-believe. Yet denial of a people is a
The future must bring recognition, correction, reparation. The future must
bring a sharing of resources, of space, of wealth. The future must be one shared
future. The Innu government is in the process of rebirth. It must be helped in
that birth. The Common Approach with a part of the Innu people can be improved,
of course, and our leaders acknowledge this. To do so, however, requires good
faith. The discussion has been thrown open. If there is dialogue, solutions will
be within our reach.
Positions like the mayor of Saguenay's are not conducive to any exchange of
views. We must admit, moreover, that this harsh reality is the same across
Canada. People are closing their eyes, looking no further than their own
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Gill, I regret to advise that your 15
minutes have expired.
Senator Gill: I would seek time to continue.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Gill: I am almost finished. As long as this country does not
have the political will to truly recognize Aboriginal peoples, they will
continue to be humiliated and considered non-existent, just flies in the
ointment, or isolated bands under Indian Affairs' responsibility. Their claims
will be stifled in a flow of legal mumbo-jumbo, in legal hair-splitting, in a
scattered approach, in harmful ideologies.
Honourable senators, we are not Indian Affairs' Indians, not bands created by
the Indian Act, not privileged members of society. We are peoples. History has
denied our existence; the bureaucracy has crushed us; the federal government has
divided us, spread us thin, reduced us to residents of Indian reserves in the
very heart of our own lands, the provinces have ignored us; Canadian citizens
have ignored us even more. When we seek the reality of the first peoples, we
discover what a sad reality it is, a reality lived out daily within the borders
of this country. We have no choice, therefore, but to object most strenuously to
the dishonest argument of the mayor of Saguenay, who chooses to ignore reality
in order to justify his position. His position is exemplary, but as an example
of what not to do. It ought to serve as an example to all Canadians of what not
to say, what not to use as an argument, what not to uphold as a position, when
there is a collective intention to initiate any meaningful dialogue on issues of
such a difficult nature, of such great importance.
History has its limitations. I will be coming back to you on this issue as
often as it takes. Reclaiming our rightful position in the landscape is not an
easy thing to do. It will take a lot of work, a lot of working together.
Solutions are not ready-made, not all simple. Fortunately, I know that some of
you already support action toward improving relations. Others, too, are already
involved; support has been forthcoming from some political leaders, labour
unions, associations, and other institutions. Now it needs to extend to public
opinion as a whole. Now it needs to permeate the political, economic and social
life of the first peoples of Canada.
I intend to be sharing my views with you on Aboriginal self- government in
the very near future. I can assure you that, when the first peoples have finally
achieved the autonomy that is so dear to their hearts, the people of Canada
will, far from being disadvantaged as a result, be able to benefit from an
unexpected and great advantage, as those who first welcomed them to this country
regain their full identity.
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, I should like to adjourn the
debate in my name, but I should like to ask a few questions before that.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Gill, will you take a few questions?
Senator Gill: Certainly.
Senator Watt: Honourable senators, I have lived through a similar
proceeding in the past: that is, inheriting a politically negotiated tax. That
is what Senator Gill is talking about — a matter that has been negotiated
between the federal and provincial governments and the representatives of his
own Aboriginal people. I know, for a fact, that that is not in there. What is
the next step that your people will take in terms of validating that agreement
at the provincial level and also the federal level? I am talking about future
legislation that would put life into that agreement. Could the honourable
senator give me some indication of what is happening?
Senator Gill: If I understand the agreement process and planning
correctly, it is absolutely necessary to ratify this federal-provincial
The problem is to get there. Negotiations have been going on for a very long
time, almost 27 or 28 years. The process is very hard to follow for people who
sometimes have more or less the means to do so. Moreover, these means are
usually provided by the federal government. This does not help negotiations,
which can move forward or slow down, depending on the number of obstacles. The
same thing happened with the Inuit and the James Bay Cree. We are headed for an
agreement signed by the provincial and federal governments.
Senator Watt: On the Aboriginal side, Senator Gill, has this agreement
been ratified by your people?
Senator Gill: No. We were about to ratify an agreement in principle,
but when the time came to submit that agreement to the three parties, there was
a lot of criticism from the public. The Quebec government then decided to hold
public hearings and conduct studies on the various issues included in the
agreement in principle. The agreements have not been signed. I assume that the
public hearings will resume after the provincial election.
Senator Watt: Honourable senators, I would like to adjourn the debate
in my name. This is a matter on which honourable senators should focus. It is
something our native peoples are living through. Thus, it is important that it
be given some attention by the Senate.
On motion of Senator Watt, debate adjourned.
Hon. Terry Stratton, for Senator Murray, pursuant to notice of
February 27, 2003, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance have power to
engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical, and other
personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and
consideration of such bills, subject-matters of bills and estimates as are
referred to it.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, March 19, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.