Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, yesterday, Prince
Edward Island suffered a great loss with the passing of Elaine Harrison, a
beloved Island teacher, artist and environmentalist. Originally born in Nova
Scotia, Elaine moved to Prince Edward Island in 1933, where she spent many years
teaching English and Latin. She was a remarkable individual who loved her
students and had a tremendous impact on their lives. She was very unconventional
and always taught students to think outside the box. As one former student said,
"education to Elaine was not a means to an end; it was a way of being and
relating to the world."
Elaine was also a painter, poet and very passionate person. She cared deeply
about nature, the environment and animals. She was an active member of the
P.E.I. Arts Society and the Great George Street Gallery. Elaine's passion for
life will live on through her paintings. They show her powerful personality and
speak to you through their vivid colours.
Elaine received many honours during her lifetime, including an honorary
degree from the University of Prince Edward Island and a Council of the Arts
award for distinguished contribution to the literary arts, as well as having a
scholarship established in her name.
Elaine was once asked to provide some highlights of her life. Her response
illuminated her personality and her gift for writing poetry. She said:
A summary of my life? I dislike summaries, straight lines, neat designs,
labels and systems. All is movement and change with sunlight and shadow.
Like the coming and going of the seasons or the waves moving toward the
shore. But there are the constant things like great music, poetry, art and
the little acts of kindness and love to stay with us and steady us through
life. Like small pebbles found embedded in Island cliffs and left there by
glaciers and rivers long ago silent.
Honourable senators, I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to know
Elaine. I am sure that people who have had the pleasure of meeting her will
always remember her. There is no question that she will be greatly missed.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I would like to draw
attention to and express regrets concerning the renewal of resolution 1422 of
the United Nations Security Council.
Honourable senators will remember that the resolution, which was originally
adopted last July, provides that the International Criminal Court should, for a
12-month period starting July 1, 2002, not commence or proceed with
investigation or prosecution of any case involving current or former officials
or personnel from a contributing state not a party to the Rome Statute over acts
or omissions relating to a United Nations established or authorized operation
unless the Security Council decides otherwise.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan also opposed the resolution and
expressed his belief that the request was unnecessary. Unfortunately, it was
renewed on June 12, 2003, by a vote of 12-0, with France, Germany and Syria
I would like to express my regrets with the renewal of the resolution. As
convenor of Parliamentarians for Global Action's International Law and Human
Rights Program, I share the same concerns raised by the association in its press
statement of June 11. I will be so bold as to state that these concerns are most
likely shared by many of my colleagues in this chamber.
Parliamentarians for Global Action has stated that its members:
...have vowed to uphold the principle of equality of all before the law.
The organization fears that a renewal of Resolution 1422 would not only put
a certain class of persons above the law, but may also endorse the view that
the Security Council can amend multilateral treaties by unlawfully acting
under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in the absence of a threat to the peace.
Additionally, unopposed rollovers of the resolution each year could
eventually lead to the development of customary rules against the
universality of international justice.
I would also like to laud the words of Canadian Ambassador Paul Heinbecker in
supporting the court and opposing the resolution when he stated:
The ICC's principal purpose is to try humanity's monsters, the
perpetrators of heinous crimes....We believe that a system based on law —
the fair, predictable, equal application of principles agreed to by all — is
in everyone's interest. We believe we must defend these basic principles,
even if it means we must sometimes respectfully disagree with friends.
Honourable senators, I urge the Canadian government to continue to press for
full implementation of the Treaty of Rome that created the International
Criminal Court. We must continue to pursue the protection of the integrity of
the newly established court. In this way, we will have taken one bold step
forward towards preventing mass atrocities, crimes against humanity and acts of
impunity that offend the conscience of the international community.
I urge the Canadian government to continue to pursue its goal for the full
establishment of the International Criminal Court.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next
sitting of the Senate, I shall move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be
empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3)(a), to sit during the traditional
summer adjournment of 2003, even though the Senate may be then adjourned for
a period exceeding of one week, until such time as the Senate is ordered to
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next
sitting of the Senate, I shall move:
That the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of
Parliament be empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3)(a), to sit during the
summer adjournment of 2003, even though the Senate may be then adjourned for
a period exceeding one week, until such time as the Senate is ordered to
return, and that, notwithstanding the usual practices of the Senate, the
Committee be empowered to conduct its meetings by teleconference.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. One problem endemic to armed
conflict in Africa has been the use of child soldiers, most of whom are pressed
into service. This is an abhorrent practice, and Canada has taken several
initiatives to address the problem of child soldiers. Still, we are faced today
with the very real fact that our peacekeepers, and those from other countries,
will likely come face-to-face, in the war in the Congo, with child soldiers,
some as young as seven years old.
My question is: The Leader of the Government in the Senate has told us that,
for reasons of security, she cannot share the rules of engagement of the
peacekeeping force in the Congo. While I can respect that, can she assure us
that those rules of engagement have special provisions when it comes to facing
young children in armed conflict?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I do not know if there are special provisions in the rules of engagement, as the
honourable senator indicated. For security reasons, I cannot present those to
the chamber. However, what I can do, and what I would be very pleased to do, is
to ensure that the Minister of Defence is well aware of the shared concern of
the honourable senator and myself, that when one is dealing with children,
obviously special precautions must be taken and needs met.
Senator Andreychuk: I know that the information coming out of the
Congo is that an over subscription of children is being used; in other words,
that the majority of confrontations will, no doubt, be with these young,
aggressive children who have been brainwashed into that position.
Is there any special program that the United Nations will put into play in
this regard? I speak from my understanding of what happened in Uganda. It is one
thing to try to stop a conflict, but what do you do with these children who know
only machine guns, power and force? If there is no backup program when you are
trying to stop them from using guns, or even removing the guns, then some sort
of backup program must be instituted. I have yet to hear either the United
Nations, Canada or anyone else address the problem of what to do once the forces
are there, and what to do with these children. These youngsters cannot be
handled as normal soldiers.
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator puts some interesting
questions. She is quite right; they are children. Whether they are soldiers or
not does not get around the fact that they are children. As honourable senators
know, international treaties exist that spell out the age at which individuals
can go into the forces, but such treaties do not apply to situations like the
I will indicate to the honourable senator that I will take up this matter
with the Minister of National Defence and share our mutual concern, and also
with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to see if such programs have been
contemplated, and if so, at what stage in their development they may be. At the
moment, I must tell you that I know of no such programs.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Globe and Mail reported,
today, that Health Canada has prepared emergency plans to prevent the SARS virus
from spreading to Aboriginal reserves, due to fears that health conditions on
reserves are ideal for the rapid transmission of such disease. Reserves have
been told to identify buildings that could be used to isolate patients and have
been given a list of medical supplies that they should ensure they have in
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if the federal
government will be increasing its contribution to the First Nations and Inuit
Health Branch in order that reserves may meet the new requirements brought about
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the hope is that we will not have to deal with SARS in Aboriginal communities.
As the honourable senator knows, SARS has been well isolated in this country to
date, but the Canadian government is very concerned because the housing
conditions on reserves, as he has indicated, would make the spread of that
disease very rapid, should it occur.
Clearly, any decisions made about funding for the First Nations and Inuit
Health Branch would have to be made at the time of any such outbreak. That
branch is now doing preliminary assessments and putting into place some
protocols that, should SARS strike, it is hoped that they would then know
immediately how to treat it.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, in spite of the emphasis on
Health Canada's new plans in regard to the SARS outbreak, too many Aboriginal
reserves in this country have been struggling for a long time against one of the
most deadly infectious diseases in the world: tuberculosis. Health Canada
numbers show that the First Nations' TB rates are 20 to 30 times higher than
that of the Canadian non-Aboriginal population. Yet, this disease seems to go
unnoticed. In 1992, the elimination strategy aimed at eradicating TB from First
Nations communities by the year 2010, but that strategy has not been updated
since it was released.
Will Health Canada's emergency plans for SARS prevention on reserves mean
that a renewed emphasis will be placed on infectious disease control on
reserves, particularly in relation to TB?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator has identified an ongoing problem within our Aboriginal reserve
communities. That is why extra money was put into the budget this year for the
Aboriginal health branch, in order to address some of those issues.
Clearly, the issue of tuberculosis is not one that will go away. TB is the
result of a combination of things: not only the living and housing conditions
but also, in many cases, the lack of adequate nursing personnel and physicians.
Many of these communities do not see physicians from one week to the next.
I can assure the honourable senator that I will raise the issue of
tuberculosis on Aboriginal reserves with both the Minister of Health and the
First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and indicate that the guidelines that are
being developed for health care workers and for the First Nations people should
not only look at the issue of SARS, but also at the active tuberculosis rates.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, hopefully, this will
be the last question I ask about mad cow disease. Am I correct in believing that
all quarantines have been lifted in regard to mad cow disease?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the information I have is that there has been a lifting of all the quarantines
on all of the farms, but we are still awaiting some test results. The position
is still the same; that is, only one cow has been diagnosed with BSE.
Senator Gustafson: Honourable senators, that is good news.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, has the government had
any direction as to when the Americans may lift the border ban on beef going
into the U.S.?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
as the honourable senator probably knows, the word seems to be quite positive
from the United States. However, there now seems to be some concern about the
Japanese, who have indicated that they will not accept American beef if the
Americans have access to Canadian beef. The matter seems quite complex at this
All I can tell the honourable senator is that negotiations are ongoing with
the Japanese government to see if we can allay its fears in the way we seem to
be making significant progress in allaying the fears of the United States.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate and pertains to an issue that has been
before the courts and is now before cabinet. It is viewed by many, including
some of the leading clergy in the land, that there is a basic erosion of the
supremacy of Parliament by virtue of the fact that the courts appear to be
making decisions by establishing the law rather than by interpreting it. Is the
government prepared to seek the counsel of Parliament on the issue of gay
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I think the honourable senator is well aware that there is an all-day meeting of
cabinet taking place. I was there this morning. I had to leave in order to be
here this afternoon, which is my preferred option. I always prefer to be here in
The honourable senator will not have to wait too long before he hears exactly
what the government will do with respect to same- sex marriages.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, some of the leading clergy
are saying that Parliament and not the courts should decide what is and is not
marriage and that, for the government to be consistent with its arguments before
the court, it should request an appeal to the Supreme Court. My question relates
to what is being done today. Will the minister provide the government's
definition of marriage? Will we have to wait until after the cabinet meeting to
find out what the definition is or whether the government will appeal?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators will have to wait to hear if
the government will appeal. Senators will then have to wait to see what kind of
government legislation may or may not be introduced.
The bottom line is that if the Supreme Court were to uphold the decision from
Ontario, the government would have to write legislation. There would be no
option in that case, if the Supreme Court ruled in exactly the same way as the
Ontario Court of Appeal.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, is the minister saying to
this place that Parliament does not reign supreme in this country, that, in
spite of what the courts dictate, the government does not have the right to
interpret legislation concerning this particular segment of our society in the
way that it sees fit, as far as Parliament is concerned?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I do not think the honourable
senator understands the Constitution or the Charter of this country. What the
courts of this nation are doing is interpreting the Charter. For me, it is the
supreme law of the land, as it is for Senator Beaudoin. There is no question
about that, as far as I am concerned. All the courts do is interpret. Any
legislation that follows will have to flow from the Parliament of Canada. In
that way, in making legislation, the Parliament of Canada is supreme. In
interpreting legislation, I suggest that we have to turn to the courts.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As the minister will recall, in the
Maritime Helicopter Project slide-show presentation to 12 Wing on July 31, 2001,
it was stated that:
...endurance requirements have proven to be too stringent for the market
place. Only one competitor is compliant....
The document goes on to state that the:
...goal is to rationalize specification to the operational requirement,
thereby opening MHP to greater competition.
Knowing, in July 2001, that Team Cormorant was the only technically compliant
bid and that Treasury Board guidelines say that, in a lowest priced competition,
only technically compliant bids are acceptable, why did the government go out of
its way to change the rules? Cormorant, by the Department of National Defence's
own admission, won this competition two years ago. In the meantime, we still fly
less-than-adequate aircraft off our vessels.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
let me begin by saying that we do not fly unsafe aircraft. No member of the
Canadian military is ever asked to go up in unsafe equipment. The Canadian
people should understand that.
In terms of the honourable senator's question with respect to technical
specifications, they have remained consistent with the statement of operational
requirements. There was massive consultation with industry. Some changes were
made to the technical specifications, but changes were only made where they
maintained the integrity and the intent of the statement of operational
Senator Forrestall: As long as a bird can fly, I suppose it is still a
bird, is it not?
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I have just pointed
out a major problem of this government, one it has failed to admit and to
correct. This little fact makes an absolute mockery of the damage-control
process conference held at the Department of National Defence on June 5 of this
year. Everyone involved should take a second or two for other thoughts.
We now find out that the Minister of National Defence asserted that $800
million, in the last budget, was enough to make ends meet at what I call "Fort
Discourage on the Rideau." That was false and the money fell some $200 million
short, a fact I brought to this government's attention several months ago.
Will the minister confirm that the Minister of National Defence has plans now
to eliminate C-130E long-range search and rescue aircraft and the Leopard 1 main
battle tanks, and to scrap the 280 Class destroyers as part of his reallocation
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I will begin with the honourable senator's introduction to his question, in
which he insists that a press conference held for the information of the media
was a damage-control press conference. It was not. It was an informational press
As to the concerns the honourable senator has raised with respect to
particular pieces of equipment on which the government may be making decisions,
no decisions have been made with respect to any of those pieces of equipment.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I am pleased to see
that the Leader of the Government at least now knows that some kind of a meeting
took place with senior press members on June 5, which, if not to effect damage
control, was at least an attempt to smooth the way. The fact remains that the
standing requirement for this vehicle has been so substantially changed as to
reduce its effectiveness to a level not acceptable to bad weather operations
either on the West Coast or the East Coast, let alone in the North or in our
mountains, on augmentation search and rescue activity.
My question is, and we go back to where we were 10 or 15 years ago: Before we
break for the summer, can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell me how
long "soon" is?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator makes reference to equipment, operational requirements and technical
specifications that may have been satisfactory 10 or 15 years ago. Technology
has progressed a great deal in 10 or 15 years. We want a helicopter that is the
best possible piece of equipment at the time that that helicopter is produced,
not one that perhaps was the best piece of equipment in 1990.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I am delighted that the
Leader of the Government in the Senate chose to spend some time with us today
because I am hoping she can shed some light on an issue that all senators,
indeed all Canadians, should be concerned about — what I call "Big Brother
coming on strong."
Honourable senators, the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization is
requiring all member countries to develop a computer chip for passports that
contains a person's personal information, including a photograph. The
subcommittee of the agency recommended last week that facial recognition
technology should be the method by which to identify travellers. The agency's
final decision on the matter is expected shortly.
I understand that Canada's passport office has already begun digitizing
millions of photos. These photos will be downloaded into a foreign country's
database every time a passport is scanned at its borders.
What is the status of Canada's compliance with the International Civil
Aviation Organization's call for development of a computer chip for passports?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
the federal government is trying to ensure that the Canadian passport remains
one of the safest, if not the safest, passport documents in the world. The civil
aviation study to which the honourable senator has alluded is not yet final but
will be shortly. At that point, Canada's passport will have to be compared with
what is recommended internationally. Canada will determine what our passports
must be and Canada will continue to have the highest possible standards.
Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, the use of biometric data travel
documents is a prime example of technology moving faster than our ability to
properly assess its impact on both privacy and data protection. Before Canada
allows the biometric information of its citizens to be entered into a foreign
database, the federal government must be sure that the safeguards applied to
this information meet the highest Canadian standards possible. Has this concern
been specifically raised with the International Civil Aviation Organization, and
can the minister assure this chamber, and indeed all Canadians, that appropriate
safeguards will be in place before the federal government signs on to this
Senator Carstairs: The honourable senator has raised an important
question with respect to technology. Sometimes the technology is very advanced
but is not necessarily the right technology for the citizens of Canada. The
technology that is determined for Canada will be based on the protection of
Canadian citizens, maintaining that we have a high-quality passport.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, my question to the Leader of
the Government in the Senate is somewhat unusual. It starts from a personal
base, although I think it is in the public interest and in the interests of all
senators. It has to do with the inordinate amount of pornographic messages,
unsought and unwanted, that are popping up on the computer in my Senate office.
It is getting so that I hate to turn on the computer because I will be
immediately confronted by a number of pornographic e- mail messages. Needless to
say, this is very offensive, and I think it is an abuse of not only me but also
my staff. Perhaps other senators are also experiencing this distasteful invasion
of our privacy.
Can anything be done by Senate technicians, whom I regard as very competent
in handling communications problems, so that this deplorable material can be
blocked before getting through to senators' computers? Such an action here might
lead to a wider public basis to protect the integrity of the e-mail
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the
honourable senator for that question, but it is not appropriately addressed to
me. It should be addressed to the Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal
Economy, Budgets and Administration who looks after the Senate's computer
network. I will bring that question to the attention of the committee's chair,
the Honourable Senator Bacon.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, my question for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate is in regard to a letter sent to the Honourable
Sheila Copps, Department of Canadian Heritage, concerning the Winnipeg Symphony
Orchestra and a $250,000 loan. The letter enquires as to the status of the loan.
The letter to the minister states that the funds were urgently required by May
2003, and, as of June 13, there was no information to suggest a date when these
funds would be received. Does the minister have any information as to when this
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): All I can tell the
honourable senator is that I spoke this morning with the Honourable Sheila
Copps, the Honourable Rey Pagtakhan and the Honourable Stephen Owen regarding
this particular problem, and I hope it will be sorted out very quickly.
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, I simply want to know when the
funds will be received. I ask the leader to please let me know when that
Leave having been given to revert to Notices of Motions:
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and
notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources have power to sit at 5 p.m. today, even though the Senate may then
be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
I am asking this permission, honourable senators, because the committee has
three witnesses to hear today. One is resident here and the other two have
travelled some considerable distance. I am concerned, given the other events
that are attending us these days, that we move the matter of the study ahead as
quickly as possible. I ask the Senate's permission to do so.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Why would the honourable senator not be able to
arrange this meeting in the committee's regular time slot? Why is it outside the
time slot? If these people have travelled all this distance to be here today,
why could they not have travelled to be here during the regular time slot?
Senator Banks: Our regular time slot is 5 p.m. Tuesday, or when the
Senator Stratton: Has the committee chairman consulted with the deputy
Senator Banks: Yes.
Senator Stratton: Have regular committee members on both sides agreed
Senator Banks: It is my practice in that committee not to begin our
meetings until we have a quorum and representation from both sides of the house.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, under Government Business, I would like us to begin with Item No. 6
under Bills and then resume the order proposed on the Order Paper.
Hon. John. G. Bryden moved second reading of Bill C-35, to amend the
National Defence Act (remuneration of military judges).
He said: Honourable senators, Bill C-35 relates to the revision of the pay of
military judges, of which we have three.
The Military Judges Compensation Committee was established in 1999, at the
same time as a comparable committee was established for all of the Supreme Court
judges in the country. Every four years, the committee reviews the remuneration
of military judges and submits a recommendation to the Minister of National
Defence. This practice is parallel to that used for fixing the compensation of
the other judges in Canada.
The main purpose of the bill is to provide clear authority in the National
Defence Act to make retroactive pay adjustments for military judges, if such is
the recommendation made by the Military Judges Compensation Committee, and if
the recommendation is accepted by the government.
At the moment, there is a one-off. The last time, there was no authority to
make a retroactive award, even if the government were to accept the
recommendation of the review committee.
This is in order to continue to assure an independent and objective,
effective mechanism to deal with the pay of military judges, just as we do with
other judges in our system.
Bill C-35 will enable the government to implement committee recommendations
that may have a retroactive effect. The government must be able to implement any
recommendations from the committee that it accepts. It cannot possibly simply
accept a recommendation and have no way of implementing it. This legislation
will ensure that the compensation committee process is an effective one.
Retroactive pay adjustments are routinely implemented for other members of
the Canadian Forces and employees of the public service, as well as for other
judges if so recommended by the judicial compensation committee. Bill C-35
merely ensures that there is clear statutory authority to make retroactive pay
adjustments for military judges back to the beginning of the compensation
committee's review period. That review period happens once every four years, and
arises again in September of this year.
A number of other minor amendments to the National Defence Act are also
included in the proposed legislation. These amendments deal with, in one
instance, the warrants and reporting procedure for the obtaining of samples for
forensic DNA analysis. The other ones ensure that there is greater clarity and
consistency between the English and French versions of the act. These are two
small issues that will best be discussed in committee if this bill is referred
to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.
Just quickly to conclude, the proposed amendments to the National Defence Act
represent an important contribution to the effectiveness of our military justice
system. Honourable senators, I encourage all of you to support the proposed
On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved second reading of Bill C-47, for granting to
Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the
financial year ending March 31, 2004.
He said: Honourable senators, in February 2003, the Minister of Finance
tabled the Estimates in the House of Commons to support his request to spend
public funds. Included in the Estimates was information pertaining to budgetary
and non- budgetary appropriations.
Appropriation Bill No. 2, 2003-04, provided for the release of interim supply
to the tune of $17.8 billion for the Main Estimates 2003-04, allowing the
government to continue to function until Parliament reviewed the entire budget
in June. The interim supply received Royal Assent. The bill under consideration
applies to the rest of the expenditures.
The bill before you, honourable senators, is Appropriation Act No. 2,
2003-04. It provides for the release of the remainder of full supply for fiscal
2003-04, which was outlined in the Main Estimates, amounting to $41.1 billion.
The 2003-04 Main Estimates — the "Blue Book," honourable senators — has been
made available to each of us. Part I and Part II were tabled on February 26 of
this year. The tabling of the Main Estimates was the first phase in implementing
the expenditure plan set forth in the Minister of Finance's budget of February
The granting of full supply provides the funding required by the government
to carry out its functions for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The 2003-04 Main Estimates total $175.9 billion, including $2.9 billion in
non-budgetary expenditures — items such as loans and investments — and $173.1
billion in budgetary spending. Those expenditures are consistent with and
reflect the bulk of the $180.7 billion expenditure plan set out in the February
budget. The balance includes provisions for additional expenditures that are not
sufficiently developed at this time and will be sought through Supplementary
Estimates later in this fiscal year.
The government submits the Estimates to Parliament in support of its request
for authority to spend public funds. Appropriation Act No. 1, which the Senate
reviewed in March of this year, provided for interim supply in the amount of
$17.8 billion. The balance of the full supply is now being sought in this
Budgetary expenditures, honourable senators, include the cost of servicing
the public debt; operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other
levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown
corporations. Non- budgetary expenditures, as I indicated previously, include
loans and items such as that.
These Main Estimates support the government's request for Parliament's
permission to spend $58.9 billion under program authorities for which annual
approval is required. There is also $117 billion, or approximately 66.5 per cent
of the total outlined in the budget, in the Estimates, which is statutory, and
authority for those expenditures appear in statutes other than this supply bill.
Those forecasts are provided, therefore, only for the information of
honourable senators, and you are not voting on that expenditure at this time.
You are voting on the expenditure of the balance of the Main Estimates, which
amounts to $41 billion.
Honourable senators, schedules attached to the legislation reflect the Main
Estimates for the year. This particular bill provides for authority to spend
those amounts, less the amount voted on in Appropriation Act No. 1, which we
voted on in March of this year.
I thought honourable senators would be interested in looking at schedule 1 of
the bill on page 38, which outlines the amount that Parliament is seeking for
this fiscal year. Item No.1, under the heading "Parliament," is $41.7 million
for the Senate —
Senator Cools: That is cheap.
Senator Day: — compared to $205.5 million for the House of Commons —
five times as much as the Senate.
An Hon. Senator: And they are on vacation.
Senator Day: In fact, honourable senators, the amount of $41 million
can be compared to the Canadian Centre for Management Development, which is $25
million, or the Library of Parliament, which is $23 million.
Honourable senators, therefore, will be aware that the Senate is, indeed, a
very frugal and worthwhile institution in Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Day: Honourable senators, I bring to your attention increases
in budgetary spending, such as: $450 million for direct transfers to individuals
due to increases in Old Age Security Payments; $402 million to assist National
Defence in performing its good work; $204 million to the Canadian Institutes of
Health Research; $187 million for Canada's commitment to international
assistance through the Canadian International Development Agency; $173 million
to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development; $168 million to
Health Canada; and $164 million to Veterans Affairs to increase pensions to
There are some decreases as well that I thought I would highlight: $542
million related to agricultural risk management due to termination of the
Canadian Farm Income Program. If programs are discontinued, there is a recouping
of those funds, but often another program is implemented, such as in relation to
farm risk, and that would be another expenditure in another place. Next are
decreases of $100 million from Canadian Heritage related to the Canadian
Television Fund, and $81 million from the strategic infrastructure and regional
Honourable senators, on the non-budgetary side, there is an increase of $1.15
billion for the Export Development Corporation due to an anticipated increase in
concessional loan disbursements and loan repayments from the Canada Account loan
There are also non-budgetary decreases, honourable senators, and I have
highlighted some of those decreases.
Honourable senators have already heard the debate with respect to the report
of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, which was presented last
week and adopted earlier this week.
Supply bills are dealt with in a different manner from most bills that come
before honourable senators. The report that we have already studied, presented,
debated and accepted forms the report of the National Finance Committee with
respect to this particular supply bill.
Therefore, honourable senators, after debate on Appropriation Act No. 2 is
concluded, and if honourable senators are inclined to accept this bill at second
reading, then there will be a motion to proceed directly to third reading. I
urge honourable senators to support this bill at second reading.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I thank Senator Day for his
very thorough presentation as to the contents of this appropriations bill. As he
has pointed out, the Main Estimates for 2003-04, on which this bill is based,
were referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in March.
Since that time, we have heard from the officials of the Treasury Board. We
reported on that meeting here in the Senate. We went on to hear from the
President of the Treasury Board, Madame Robillard. We reported a second time on
Let me add that the Estimates for this fiscal year are still before us, and
we will have occasion, as the year goes on, to hold further meetings within that
rubric as the spirit moves us.
Honourable senators, I do not intend to follow my friend with an analysis of
the content of this appropriations bill. Rather, I intend to take advantage of
the latitude that parliamentary tradition offers in a debate on an
appropriations bill to pursue an issue that I raised briefly at the time of the
debate on an interim supply bill last December.
The matter I have in mind is federal-provincial fiscal relations, with
particular attention to what is called a fiscal imbalance, which has been very
much in the news in recent weeks and will continue to occupy the attention of
media and commentators as well as provincial and federal politicians.
A while ago, the Quebec government of former premier Bernard Landry appointed
a commission under Mr. Yves Séguin to look into this matter. The Séguin
commission found, in its opinion, that there is a serious "déséquilibre fiscal"
between the two orders of government, with federal revenues growing faster than
federal expenditures into the medium-term future, and provincial expenses
growing much faster than their revenues in the medium-term future.
Since that time, the issue has been taken up by other provinces and by
commentators; and, more recently, a new government was elected in Quebec — a
federalist government under Premier Jean Charest. Lo and behold, the Minister of
Finance in that government is Mr. Yves Séguin, the man who headed the commission
on fiscal imbalance under the previous government. Premier Charest has announced
that they intend to set up an office, a department as it were, of fiscal
imbalance to pursue the question with Ottawa and with their sister provinces
across the country. I think it is a safe bet that we have not heard the end of
this issue for some time.
The federal government's response over the months has been largely through
the voice of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr. Dion, reading a
brief provided to him by the Department of Finance. The response has been to
stonewall demands to redress this imbalance; stonewall it, first of all, by
denying it exists, by attacking the methodology used by the Séguin commission
and others, and by suggesting that projections of future budgetary surpluses or
deficits are invalid because they are based on "status quo" assumptions. All
that, of course, is true and due allowance must be made for those factors in
making future projections.
Still, it has been done in the past. One of the things I want to do today is
to refer very briefly to some examples in the past where the provinces and the
federal government were able to come to some reasonable consensus as to what the
future seemed to hold on revenues and expenditures at both levels of government,
and to act accordingly.
Last February, as we know, as part of a first ministers' agreement on health,
federal transfers to the provinces for health were increased. Indeed, provision
is made for this in Bill C-28, for five years to 2007-08. On the other hand, in
the budget that was tabled, there is a table with assumed levels to 2010-11, for
which no provision has been made beyond 2007-08. Whatever it is, those who
predict that the federal-provincial ministers, and perhaps first ministers, will
be back at the table on this very issue, making the same arguments within two to
three years, are probably pretty close to the mark.
In addition, we have the growing problems of post-secondary education and of
the universities. I will not go into them in detail today, but I have been
concerned for some time that the enormous attention and publicity that is
rightfully being given to health problems may be shuffling issues such as
post-secondary education off into a corner.
The problem is one of a need, in my view, for a coherent, longer-term
approach and agreement on these matters. The federal government has got to stop
stonewalling. Now that the Charest government is in office in Quebec, the
federal government can no longer brush off the declarations of Quebec on this
issue as being nothing but separatist propaganda.
At a minimum, the federal government will have to agree, and soon, to a study
of federal-provincial fiscal relations with an emphasis on the financing of
social programs. This can be done either by royal commission, by parliamentary
committee or jointly by the two orders of government. Each of these models has
been employed at one time or another in the past. What is important is that it
be undertaken soon, that it be comprehensive and that it be as objective as
The most famous and far-reaching study was that done by the Rowell-Sirois
commission appointed in 1937. Its mandate was to re-examine "the economic and
fiscal basis of Confederation and of the distribution of legislative powers in
light of the economic and social developments of the last seventy years." I do
not believe we need to go quite so far in the examination that is called for
In the 1960s, there was a Tax Structure Committee comprising three ministers
from the federal government and one from each province — a federal-provincial
Tax Structure Committee that reported periodically to first ministers. Mr. Dion,
who keeps insisting on the impossibility of doing anything coherent or valid by
way of future projections, should obtain an introduction to the Honourable
Mitchell Sharp, who was finance minister during the second mandate of the
Pearson government, from December 1965 to April 1968.
In that capacity, Mr. Sharp inherited the chairmanship of the Tax Structure
Committee: this committee of federal and provincial finance ministers and
officials that, among other things, tried with some success to do exactly what
Mr. Dion today finds so impossible, that is to examine trends in revenues,
expenditures and debt of federal, provincial and municipal governments in the
light of major federal-provincial shared programs.
I trust that, as a distinguished academic, Mr. Dion will not be offended if I
also suggest a reading list for him on this subject. Much of the policy and
politics surrounding the creation of the Tax Structure Committee was described
in an interesting and sometimes entertaining fashion in the memoirs of two
senior mandarins: Tom Kent's A Public Purpose, published in 1988, at
pages 272 to 277; and Gordon Robertson's Memoirs of a Very Civil Servant,
published in 2000, pages 220 and 221.
Mr. Sharp himself referred to this Tax Structure Committee in his own memoir,
entitled: That Reminds Me. I have a note here, in my own writing, saying
pages 139 and 140, and I think those are the pages of Mr. Sharp's memoir that
deal with this matter. I remember he quoted himself extensively from a speech he
had given in the House of Commons on the work of the Tax Structure Committee.
Both Mr. Kent and Mr. Robertson credit R.B. Bryce, the deputy finance
minister of those years, with the idea of a federal- provincial tax structure
committee, described as "a comprehensive review of the nature and extent of
federal and provincial taxes in relation to the financial responsibilities that
now had to be carried by the two levels of government."
The first report of the Tax Structure Committee came down in 1966, looked
ahead five years and is available at the Library of Parliament. Also available
there is what I take to be the final report of the committee delivered by
Finance Minister E. J. Benson to a first ministers' conference, presided over by
Prime Minister Trudeau in February 1970.
The exercise of the mid-1960s was preoccupied with the major financial
pressures on provincial governments arising from the tremendous expansion of
post-secondary education to accommodate the post-war baby boom and the need to
make fiscal adjustments in favour of the provinces to enable them to meet this
"We both argued," says Mr. Kent, in referring to Gordon Robertson and
himself, "that the provinces needed the money more than the federal government
did." This is not a sentence we have heard very often recently or one we will
hear in present circumstances. However, there is no denying the present needs of
the provinces in view of the heavy responsibilities that they carry and will be
carrying into the future, especially in the field of financing social programs.
It was interesting that in 1966, through this federal-provincial Tax
Structure Committee, all provinces and the federal government were able to agree
on a projection of an annual rate of revenue increase in the provinces of 7 to
7.8 per cent as against an annual rate of expenditure increase in the provinces
of 8.5 per cent for the succeeding five years. They were able to make that
projection. At the same time, they projected that federal expenditures over the
succeeding five years would go up by 6.5 per cent per year as against annual
revenue increases for the federal government of 7 to 8 per cent.
Mr. Sharp saw that total provincial expenditures would be rising at what he
called "an abnormal pace," largely because of rising costs of higher education.
Therefore, he envisaged the need for a fiscal transfer that would rise as higher
education expenditures rose.
All that was just before medicare. By the time the 1970 report was presented
by Mr. Benson to a first ministers' conference, medicare was in the process of
being implemented across the country. Governments were facing what seemed like
unmanageable demands on their treasuries at a time of rising inflation and
unemployment. Federal and provincial ministers saw rising expenditures in
hospitals, health, welfare and post- secondary education. The Tax Structure
Committee presented the issue quite starkly to first ministers and said:
If expenditures continue to rise at their projected rates, still higher
taxes or deficits or both are unavoidable. The alternative is a strong and
effective curtailment of expenditure growth, probably resulting in a
reduction in the volume and quality of selected public services. These
prospects — for higher taxes and/or appreciably slower growth in services —
are further heightened in the immediate circumstances by the pressing need
to minimize deficits for the government sector as a whole as one means of
helping to bring prolonged and severe inflation under control.
Honourable senators, they were right. The fact that it took quite a long time
for governments at both levels to heed the advice and analysis does not detract
at all from the soundness of the analysis. It seems to me that what we need is
this kind of consensus, analysis and advice today. When I talk about consensus,
analysis and advice, I talk about the kind of consensus that would be reached,
hopefully, as a result of an objective examination by federal and provincial
ministers and their officials.
Fast forward now to February 1981, honourable senators. The House of Commons
created a special committee acting as a parliamentary task force under the
chairmanship of Herb Breau, MP, to "examine the programs authorized by the
Federal- Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Established Programs Financing Act
of 1977, focusing on fiscal equalization, the tax collection agreements, the
Canada Assistance Plan and the Established Programs Financing within the context
of the government's expenditure plan as set out in the October 28, 1980 budget."
The staff of the Economic Council of Canada did analytical studies for the
committee, and the committee also had the benefit of research and advice from
the parliamentary centre and from the library. The idea was to complete a study
prior to the renegotiation of the federal and provincial fiscal arrangements
that was then imminent.
The committee found the system "fundamentally sound" but in need of some
adaptation to new circumstances. They found that there was no long-term
structural mismatch in the revenue and expenditure responsibilities of the
federal government. That is to say they felt that the revenue-raising capacity
of the federal government had certainly not reached a structural ceiling, as
they put it. I do not know what they would find today.
A majority of the committee said that further transfer of revenue sources or
tax room to the provinces would not be appropriate at that time. They did not
favour the transfer of further tax points to the provinces. They recommended
that the Established Programs Financing be separated into two transfers, one for
post-secondary education and one for health. Here we are, 23 years later, about
to proceed in the direction suggested by the Breau committee. They also wanted
to earmark the equalized value of the taxes transferred.
They suggested a three-year notice from the federal government before
termination or amendment of these agreements. Indeed, we find a provision very
much like this in the Social Union Framework Agreement that Ottawa signed with
nine provinces a couple of years ago.
In the Breau report, I think honourable senators will find the basis of the
Canada Health Act, passed several years later, in its recommendations. There was
a strong emphasis on accountability to Parliament for federal spending. Many of
the recommendations in health and social assistance, which was then covered by
the Canada Assistance Plan, post-secondary education and equalization are still,
in my opinion, worth reading, and some have found their way into policy and into
law in the intervening years.
I believe that this year, 2003, there is a greater need for an overview of
federal-provincial fiscal relations on the financing of social programs to
provide guidance and stability for the medium term, which is not present now.
Honourable senators, the problem of trying to match projected revenues with
projected spending responsibilities is certainly one of the oldest in
federal-provincial relations. There has been plenty of attention to the problem
in recent years by analysts, including some in and close to the federal
government. The problem is that the federal government does not wish to engage
itself. I saw, recently, a study in response to the recent demands for re-
examination of the situation and the recent comments about fiscal imbalance.
Last July, the Department of Finance put out a document entitled: "The Fiscal
Balance in Canada." Essentially, they brush off the whole argument by saying
both orders of government have access to the same major revenue basis.
"Arrangez-vous," they are saying to the provinces. They go on to say that the
federal government faces a much greater fiscal constraint than the provinces as
a result of its debt burden. They say both orders of government have key areas
of responsibility and are facing growing demands on their resources, in which
connection they add:
The federal government also faces growing spending pressures in other
areas such as: elderly benefits, aboriginals, research and development,
skills and learning and, more recently, security.
That list of federal responsibilities is very interesting because there is
not one of them that exclusively belongs to the federal government. All of these
areas they have mentioned are areas in which the provincial governments have
either primary or concurrent responsibility. Once again, it seems to me, it
points up the need for more coherence and coordination in federal and provincial
The conclusion of the Department of Finance is that there is no evidence of a
vertical fiscal imbalance in Canada. End of argument, so far as the federal
government is concerned.
No evidence? There was a discussion paper done for the Romanow Commission on
the Future of Health Care in Canada. That was last August. The study was
entitled: "Federalism and Health Care: The Impact of Political-Institutional
Dynamics on the Canadian Health Care System" by François Rocher of Carleton
University and Miriam Smith, also of Carleton University.
The vertical imbalance is particularly important in the health care
field. There is a growing gap between the fiscal capacity of the federal
government compared to the provinces and territories and their ability to
finance their own programs. The provinces and territories are responsible
for programs based on services to citizens such as health, education, social
services, et cetera, which are growing faster than the provincial tax base.
For the federal government, the situation is the inverse: the federal
government has revenue sources that are likely to increase more rapidly than
the programs it finances.
This is a study done for a federal royal commission. However, I think it
rather gives the lie — and it does so in much more detail than I have quoted —
to the assertion by the federal Department of Finance that a federal-provincial
fiscal imbalance simply does not exist.
It is not as if we did not see this coming. Twelve years ago, the Economic
Council of Canada, in its annual review, found that to maintain levels of
programming and existing spending commitments to 2015 would require an increase
in provincial, local spending as a share of GDP, and a corresponding decline in
federal spending. The next year there was a Federal-Provincial Study on the Cost
of Government and Expenditure Management, which predicted that:
...the relative aging of the population will continue to increase...the
demand for hospital and medical services.
In forecasts using realistic unit cost scenarios, the resulting pressure on
provincial spending requirements emerged as the dominant trend in government
spending needs over the next generation.
Ten years ago, G.C. Ruggeri and co-authors in a paper entitled: "Canadian
Public Policy" said:
the federal government has developed a fiscal structure with revenue
growth potential substantially in excess of the built- in growth of its
spending responsibilities. Provinces, on the other hand, face rapidly
growing expenditures on `people programs,' particularly health care, but
their revenue growth falls short of their spending requirements because,
unlike the federal government, they do not dominate a revenue source with
high income elasticity.
They say that:
The matter is complicated by the fact that vertical fiscal imbalance
exists alongside horizontal differences between provinces.
In 1996 there was a federal follow-up study entitled: "Canada's Health,
Education and Social Service Spending: Developments and Prospects" that found
that "provinces, constitutionally responsible for health care, will face the
most fiscal pressure" in social programming in the years ahead.
While the numbers have changed, I do not think the situation has materially
changed in the intervening period. We have had a series of ad hoc solutions,
Band-Aid solutions if you like, brought to bear every time there is a so-called
crisis. Whenever there is an election coming up, another couple of years are
provided for in terms of federal transfers, and the provinces dutifully take the
money and run. However, it is not solving the problem that needs to be solved in
terms of some medium to longer-term stability.
Last year, in July, the Conference Board of Canada did a study for the
provincial premiers. Their projection shows that between 2001 and 2019-20,
federal revenues are projected to increase by 3.5 per cent, and its expenditures
by 2.5 per cent, whereas provincial-territorial revenues were projected to
increase by 3.4 per cent and their expenditures by 4 per cent.
Professor Tom Courchene, in another piece written, I think, in August of last
year, came to a similar conclusion, which I shall share with you:
...there appears to be evidence of serious horizontal, (interprovincial)
imbalances to go along with the vertical (federal-provincial) imbalance, so
that a federal-provincial tug of war is in the offing.
Then he says, in one sentence:
To elaborate, it is important to recognize that the same projections that
would generate a balanced budget (let alone a surplus) for Ottawa for fiscal
year 2002-03 will lead to an outcome where virtually all provincial budgets
will end up in deficit....
...one can speculate, as I have elsewhere, that this emerging vertical
fiscal imbalance is ultimately not only about revenue shares but rather also
about the division of spending responsibilities.
I think that will give you something of the flavour of what is on the public
record on this issue.
As I say, the question of a fiscal imbalance of revenues and responsibilities
of the two orders of government is as old as federalism itself and well known in
Canadian federalism. It was only a very few years after Confederation that some
adjustments had to be made in favour of Nova Scotia and perhaps other provinces.
The occasion for that was the threat by Nova Scotia to pull out of
Confederation, and changes were made in the fiscal regime as between Ottawa and
the provinces at that time.
I think there is no doubt that we need a thorough examination of revenue and
expenditures of both orders of government for the medium-term future. People who
are taxpayers and who are served by provincial governments in health, education
and welfare, and by the federal government through its direct social programs
and the responsibility it has for vital areas, such as defence, security and
international trade, should not be short- changed in terms of quality by ad hoc
short-term approaches and unnecessary political bickering and finger-pointing.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: I will put the question. It was moved by the
Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Lavigne, that this
bill be read the second time. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt
Motion agreed to and bill read second time.
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this bill be read the third time?
On motion of Senator Day, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third
reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved the third reading of Bill C-44, to compensate
military members injured during service.
He said: Honourable senators will recall that I spoke to Bill C- 44 at second
reading last Friday, when it was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence. The committee, in recognizing the obvious merit
of this matter, dealt with the bill and reported it back to the house on Monday
afternoon without amendment. Bill C-44, which deals with compensation for
military members injured during service, is now before honourable senators at
third reading. It is retroactive in nature only and provides an example of how
government and Parliament are able to move on an issue that obviously cries out
for a quick solution.
Retired Major Henwood has been fighting this battle for eight years. Once the
Minister of National Defence and the department became focused on the issue,
things happened quickly.
Senator Meighen had hoped to speak to the report to urge the minister to take
action, but now he will undoubtedly thank the minister for taking that action. I
do not think further debate is necessary in respect of this bill, certainly from
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I rise to support
Senator Day's comments.
On motion of Senator Forrestall, for Senator Meighen, debate adjourned.
Hon. Yves Morin moved the third reading of Bill C-31, to amend the
Pension Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act.
He said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the merits and importance of
Bill C-31. I am confident that honourable senators will find this bill worthy of
their full and enthusiastic support because, first and foremost, the proposed
legislation could bring peace of mind to our men and women in uniform. I also
believe that Bill C-31 reflects the realities of the 21st century requirements
and responsibilities faced by our Canadian military and police forces.
Honourable senators, members of our Armed Forces and of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police have always displayed courage and determination in the face of
the most dangerous situations. Over the years, some of them have tragically and
heroically given their lives in the service of their country; others have been
It is therefore essential that these heroes be able to benefit from the
fullest protection in terms of life insurance and disability pensions.
Honourable senators, I would invite you to pass this bill swiftly.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I rise to support Senator
Morin's comments. Bill C-44 was referred to committee and was adopted without
amendment. I am hopeful that it will pass third reading.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C., for the third reading of
Bill C- 28, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in
Parliament on February 18, 2003,
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Nolin, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., that the Bill be not now read a
third time but that it be amended in clause 64, on page 55,
(a) by deleting lines 11 to 39; and
(b) by renumbering clauses 65 to 130 as clauses 64 to 129, and
any cross-references thereto accordingly. —(Speaker's Ruling).
The Hon. the Speaker: During last evening's sitting, Senator Nolin
spoke on the third reading motion of Bill C-28, a budget implementation bill.
During the course of his remarks, he proposed an amendment to delete certain
lines at clause 64 on page 55 of the bill. The effect of the amendment was to
delete the entire clause.
Senator Murray then intervened to explain his interpretation of the
significance of this deletion. As he put it, "the effect of the amendment that
Senator Nolin has proposed would be to allow the Federal Court judgment to
operate across the board, as it were, to all those school boards that would be
affected by that judgment." As if anticipating a possible point of order,
Senator Murray went on to provide some information about the somewhat confusing
views expressed in the parliamentary authorities. At the same time, however, he
seemed to express the opinion that, in the end, the amendment was not out of
Senator Murray's participation was prescient, for it just preceded a point of
order that was raised by Senator Carstairs, the Leader of Government, who
suggested that the amendment "is in substance exactly the amendment that was
raised last week, which Your Honour declared to be out of order."
Senator Murray then spoke again to offer a more detailed statement of his
position with respect to the point of order. After reviewing numerous
precedents, he noted that "there are a number of things that can be done in the
context of a bill of this kind, that are perfectly in order and perfectly
consistent with both the constitutional and parliamentary tradition and practice
in this Parliament." He then went on to list some of those options available.
I want to thank the honourable senators for their intervention. I have
reviewed the matter and I am ready to rule on this point of order.
In assessing the merits of this point of order, it was necessary to take into
account that the Senate is currently debating the third reading motion of a
bill. Senate practices, acknowledged in our own Rules of the Senate, make
it clear that it is possible to amend clauses at third reading. In addition, it
is even possible to move the reconsideration of any clause at this stage so long
as the bill is still before the Senate. This is provided for in rule 77. The
fact that we are reconsidering an amendment on clause 64 does not, in and of
itself, make the amendment out of order. I do not think that was the rationale
behind Senator Carstairs' objection.
Instead, I believe that the thrust of the senator's objection is that the
amendment itself is out of order because it infringes the financial initiative
of the Crown with respect to the authorization of expenditures. This was the
substance of my ruling during last Friday's sitting, to which Senator Carstairs
In this case, however, whatever the results of the amendment, it is not
identical to the proposal that was made last week. That amendment sought to
insert a phrase in clause 64 at the end of line 19 on page 55: "into force on
December 17, 1990, except in respect of cases in which school authorities and
lawyers representing Her Majesty in right of Canada, have agreed to file
consents to judgment before the appropriate court." I interpreted that as an
amendment to the bill which involved the expenditure of money. The amendment
moved by Senator Nolan may or may not have the same effect. Senator Murray
explained what that effect might be, but it is certainly in a different form
from last week's amendment proposed by Senator Beaudoin.
The parliamentary authorities are consistent in recognizing the procedural
validity of any amendment to a bill that seeks to delete a clause. For example,
the most recent Canadian manual of practise, Marleau and Montpetit, states at
...since 1968 when the rules relating to report stage came into force, a
motion in amendment to delete a clause from a bill has always been
considered by the Chair to be in order, even if such would alter or go
against the principle of the bill as approved at second reading...
In the Senate, our rules and practice are equally generous with respect to
amendments. There are numerous examples that could be cited, as Senator Murray
himself did last evening. Consequently, it is my ruling that the amendment moved
by Senator Nolin is in order. Third reading debate on Bill C-28 and the
amendment can proceed.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, I am told that the
amendment moved yesterday by Senator Nolin has been ruled in order by the
Speaker of the Senate. I am, naturally, in full agreement with the amendment,
and I invite all honourable senators to vote in favour of it.
This amendment seeks to respect the Federal Court decision confirming the
rights of school boards to a 100 per cent rebate of the excise tax they paid.
Bill C-28 must be placed in its true context. This concerns the legal
principles established by the courts, no more no less. When a court hands down a
decision, the principle of res judicata applies, and when the Supreme
Court renders a decision, that decision acquires force of law. That is our
system. I quite like this constitutional democracy. I simply want to ensure
respect for the principle of the rule of law. Senator Nolin's amendment is
clearly in keeping with this.
Furthermore, given our constitutional law, I do not see how we, as a
legislative house, could determine that this does not apply to the school boards
in group two. They are in the same situation, with regard to the facts, as the
schools boards in group one. Consequently — and I hope that the law will be
respected — the same legal principles apply.
The legislative branch, or Parliament, and the judicial branch each have, in
their respective jurisdictions, independent and substantial powers. In my
opinion, this amendment respects the principles of law as interpreted by the
courts. If a court says — and this is the case here — that such and such a thing
must be done, it must be done, even if expenses are incurred. There is nothing
unconstitutional about this.
Honourable senators, I do not see any infringement on the powers of the
Senate or the House of Commons, and we, as the Parliament of a democratic
country, must respect the principles of law as interpreted by the courts.
In conclusion, as I stated last Friday, I believe that the principle of
res judicata is a principle inherent in our legal system, our judicial
system and our jurisprudence. It has existed for many, many centuries, probably
since the Middle Ages, perhaps even from the Roman Empire, but I shall stop
here. There is no point in going back twenty centuries to make my case.
Honourable senators, I suggest that this amendment be adopted by the
Parliament of Canada, the Senate and the House of Commons.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I attended the hearing of
the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance at which this matter was
discussed in some detail. The Deschênes School Board won a decision in the
Federal Court in October of 2001. Other boards were similarly interested. They
subsequently took their action. They were successful. The government —
Department of Justice, various ministers — did nothing after that until December
21, 2001, when a ministerial announcement was issued indicating that the
minister intended to bring in legislation retroactive to 1991. Other boards were
already in the legal process. They were already exercising their rights and
their capacities to do so within the law of the land.
For society to function, there must be certainty. In Canada, that certainty
is provided by the rule of law. I find such an approach of retroactive
legislation to be repugnant to our whole system. I really find it strong-handed.
I think someone alluded to it in the debate yesterday as being when the larger,
weightier party to an action changes the rules, moves the goalposts and makes it
difficult for citizens to proceed with the exercise of their rights.
Think about it. What did the government do? They did nothing. They did not
appeal. I found it interesting that they did not appeal the decision of the
Federal Court. They could have, but I think they probably knew they would not be
successful. What did they do? They waited until now, and they buried their
action in a piece of key legislation dealing with very important budgetary
matters. I find the whole thing quite presumptive. They issued a statement
saying, "We intend to do this." I do not know if that was meant to be a threat
to other parties not to proceed when they have every right to do so.
Their approach is to try to make us part of their scheme. What is happening
here is an awful thing. I cannot tolerate retroactive legislation. It flies in
the face of due process, natural justice and anything else of which you can
I would, therefore, lend my support to the amendment and urge other
colleagues to do so.
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 Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, Senator Prud'homme gave me assurance that he would speak on this bill
no later than today, and he asked whether I would concur with him that after
second reading the bill not go to the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs but rather to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages. That
was satisfactory to me. Therefore, I do not concur that the item should stand.
The Hon. the Speaker: If no one is moving adjournment, I ask
honourable senators if they are ready for the question.
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Kinsella,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, that this bill be read the second
time. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of
order. I did not know that we would proceed so rapidly today. I was solving an
issue in His Honour's office. I wanted to speak today on the previous Order
I want Senator Kinsella to hear me because I am so furious at this motion. I
had said that I would speak today. I had told Senator Kinsella that I would
speak today. I told him to delay, delay, and delay in my brief absence.
I am furious. It is the worst thing that could be done in this country, to
allow this sabotage of one of the greatest "héritage de notre peuple canadien
francais du Québec." It is on the day of the death of Pierre Bourgault. Now you
can laugh. We will now have a "franglais" national anthem.
I want honourable senators to know that I had arranged with Senator Kinsella
that the bill should be sent to the Official Languages Committee. I will wait
for the committee.
I have all my notes here. I was here a minute ago. I went to solve a problem
in His Honour's office. I had promised that I would speak today. I am very
However, it is okay. I will wait for another time.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Lapointe,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Gauthier, for the second reading of Bill
S-18, to amend the Criminal Code (lottery schemes).—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Senator LaPierre is representing the Senate at another function. He has asked
that he be allowed to speak to this bill at a later date.
On motion of Senator Carstairs, for Senator LaPierre, debate adjourned.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved the second reading of Bill C-411, to
establish Merchant Navy Veterans Day.—(Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C.).
He said: Honourable senators, I yield my time to speak to Senator Atkins, and
I will attempt to speak on this tomorrow.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Is that procedure appropriate?
The Hon. the Speaker: It is not relevant who speaks first or second
because of the 45-minute time limit. It seems that Senator Day is comfortable
with having the opposition speak first on this government bill. He will have 45
minutes, provided that he speaks second. I do not see anything wrong
procedurally. If Senator Atkins wishes to speak now, he may do so.
Senator Atkins: Honourable senators, it is with pleasure that I rise
to address Bill C-411.
This bill is short but significant. It acknowledges the tremendous efforts of
the veterans of the merchant navy in the defence of Canada and, as well, sets
aside a day to remember their contribution to freedom. Bill C-411 would
designate the third day of September as merchant navy veterans day. I commend
the effort of Mr. Paul Bonwick, Member of Parliament for Simcoe—Grey, for
bringing forward this bill.
As honourable senators will recall, it has been a long and difficult fight
for the veterans of Canada's merchant navy to gain recognition for their valiant
efforts, particularly during the Second World War. The merchant navy was often
called the fourth arm of the fighting service, and the Canadian fleet grew
rapidly during World War II. By the end of the war, Canada's merchant marine
navy had grown to 180 ships and 12,000 members. Many more Canadian merchant
mariners sailed on Allied ships.
The sea lanes of the North Atlantic Ocean were hazardous and the Canadian
merchant navy seamen faced dangerous and difficult circumstances, including cold
North Atlantic weather, U-boats, surface radar, mines and enemy aircraft.
The book of remembrance for the merchant navy lists by name 1,629 Canadians
and Newfoundlanders who served on ships registered in Canada or Newfoundland who
lost their lives in the Second World War. A total of 198 Canadians were
prisoners of war and some were interned for up to five years.
Recognizing the efforts of the navy merchant veterans for their contribution
to Canada's efforts in various conflicts is long overdue. I am pleased to
support the designation of September 3 as a day when Canadians salute the
veterans of the merchant navy for their bravery and tremendous contribution to
the liberty and freedoms we enjoy today.
Resuming debate on the consideration of the fourth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Human Rights entitled: Enhancing Canada's Role in the
OAS: Canadian Adherence to the American Convention on Human Rights,
tabled in the Senate on May 28, 2003.—(Honourable Senator Fraser).
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I rise to speak today to the
fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, entitled
"Enhancing Canada's Role in the OAS: Canadian Adherence to the American
Convention on Human Rights."
I would like to begin by paying tribute to Senators Andreychuk and Maheu.
Senator Andreychuk was the founding driving force of the Committee on Human
Rights and piloted this very important study of our adherence to inter-American
legal systems. Senator Maheu guided the committee, to which I no longer belong,
to the conclusion of its work. It is a very important study. It recommends that
Canada take all necessary steps, including a public debate, in order to adhere
to the American Convention on Human Rights and, by extension, to accept the
jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court by July of 2008, which is the thirtieth
anniversary of the coming into force of the convention.
I share the committee's goals. It is important to strengthen the web of
international law and human rights. I think Canada has a proud record in doing
so. We should be working to extend our adherence to these instruments in our own
hemisphere as well as around the world.
I would note that if we do adhere to the convention and join the court, the
court will be strengthened in two ways: first, financially because we will be
contributing to it, and it is not a rich court; it needs all the support it can
get; and, second, by being able to furnish judges to it, which some of the
witnesses before the committee suggested would be useful to the court. The court
is doing excellent work but, again, we would contribute very well to it.
Finally, joining this system would demonstrate our commitment to our Latin
American friends and to our integration into the hemisphere as well as our other
Generally, I support what this report is trying to achieve, but I believe
there are serious problems in two areas. I do not think that the committee has
adequately addressed one of those areas. One it has addressed very well; but not
the other one.
The first of these areas, and the one I think the committee addressed well,
has to do with the right to life. Article 4.1 of the American Convention on
Human Rights reads:
Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall
be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one
shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
On the face of it, that would suggest that it is a provision banning
abortion. We heard expert testimony that it has not been interpreted in that
way. However, we also heard testimony from a number of witnesses who suggested
that if we were to adhere to the convention this might mean, if a case were
brought to the Inter-American Court, as it very well might be — we know how much
people care about abortion matters — that Canada would be obliged to legislate
in the field of abortion. It would not impose upon us an obligation to legislate
in any particular way, but it would perhaps impose upon us the obligation to
As honourable senators know perhaps better than any other Canadians, Canada,
thanks to a decision by this chamber, has chosen not to legislate in the field
of abortion. I am not at all sure that Canadians are even remotely interested in
re-entering this debate at this time, and certainly not as the result of a
decision of an international court.
The committee, in my view, took the appropriate response. It said that we
should take a reservation on this clause of the convention; that is, when we
ratify the convention, say that we refuse to accept that this particular clause
applies to us; it will not apply to us. If we did that, the problem would be
over. Cases could not be brought to the Inter-American Court in this manner.
The other problem in the convention that concerns me greatly is its treatment
of freedom of expression, in two particular areas. Let me start by citing
article 13.2, which reads:
The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing paragraph —
— that is to say, freedom of expression —
— shall not be subject to prior censorship...
Anyone who remembers the debate on the Pentagon Papers will be aware that in
general the communications media tend to resist anything that could be called
prior restraint on publication, the idea being that you should be free to
publish what you believe needs to be published and then take your lumps if you
got it wrong. However, in Canada, we have some laws that might come under that
heading. We have, for example, laws prohibiting publication of certain legal
matters that are before the courts. We have laws about such things as the
publication of juvenile offenders' names. Therefore, one would wish to be very
sure that we could not find ourselves being obliged to overturn laws that
Canadians believe are good and justified. In that case, as the committee
recommends, we could file an interpretive declaration when we ratify the
convention; which is to say that we accept this article of the convention but we
understand that it does not apply to Canadian law in certain fields, such as the
publication of young offenders' names. I think that would probably work. So far,
However, now we come to Article 14 of the convention. That article is, in my
view, far more problematic, both in its substance and in what the committee has
recommended we do about it.
Article 14 reads:
1. Anyone injured by inaccurate or offensive statements or ideas
disseminated to the public in general by a legally regulated medium of
communication has the right to reply or to make a correction using the same
communications outlet, under such conditions as the law may establish.
2. The correction or reply shall not in any case remit other legal
liabilities that may have been incurred.
Honourable senators, I am sure that sounds good. Who among us, having been
unfairly damaged or maligned by the press, might not think that a right of reply
would be a wonderful thing to have? Indeed, responsible media do make great
efforts to carry corrections and rectifications when it is demonstrated to their
satisfaction that they have done an injustice. However, to write into law a
right of reply would set, in my view, a very dangerous precedent in our system.
The committee heard only one witness who was an actual expert in freedom of
His name is Mark Bantey, and he is a distinguished lawyer in Montreal with a
very long record of legal work in this area. He said that, in his view, this
clause of the American convention was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms, specifically, contrary to section 2(b) of the Charter which
guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The fundamental principle here, honourable senators — and it is a fundamental
element of the freedom of the press — is that only the press, with very rare
exceptions, may decide what the press shall publish. Just in case you think I am
taking a journalist's knee jerk reaction to this, I thought I would cite for you
some legal decisions. There is a long history of jurisprudence in this area, and
I will draw some of it to your attention.
One of the legal decisions in the United States that has been viewed as a
monument in this area involved the case of Miami Herald Publishing Company v.
Toreno in 1974. In that case, the State of Florida had a statute allowing
political candidates to compel newspapers to publish a reply if they felt
unfairly treated. The United States Supreme Court said that legislators may not
interfere with editorial discretion, that is, the decision to print or not to
print a reply. The court found the mandatory right of reply statute to be as
offensive as censorship. If you think through the implications, I am sure you
can understand why.
There is a long history of jurisprudence in Canada on this — for instance,
the well known Reference re Alberta Statutes, 1938, even before there was
a Charter, in which the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the editor's ability
to decide on the content of his publication without state intervention.
Later on, in 1979, in another very important case, a monumental precedent in
this area, in Gay Alliance Towards Equality v. The Vancouver Sun,
Martland J. concluded the following:
The law has recognized the freedom of the press to propagate its view and
ideas on any issue and to select the material which it publishes.
"To select the material which it publishes."
Finally, I would draw to your attention in this matter the case of Triegerv. Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 1988, in which the high court of Ontario
said, among other things:
It is not the function of government or indeed the courts to dictate to
the news media what they should report.
I think those are important precedents and important arguments to bear in
mind in this matter.
There are, however, other grounds than the constitutional grounds for
opposing the application of this clause to Canada, and Mr. Bantey, to whom I
referred earlier, drew our attention to some of them. I will quote from his
testimony. He said:
Article 14 basically gives an automatic right of reply to anyone who
happens to disagree with an article or an opinion published in a news
medium. Will this provision, if enacted in legislation, flood the news media
with inept, useless or irrelevant rebuttals? How do you run a newspaper if
you are printing hundreds of replies from hundreds of individual citizens
and public officials?
A British House committee examining freedom of press issues, the Fox
committee, said that a mandatory right of reply is inherently objectionable
because it "entitles a person, who may be without merits, to compel a
newspaper to publish a statement extolling his non- existing virtue."
If the media are compelled to publish replies, shall they be forced to
publish replies that are themselves libellous, obscene, racist or
inaccurate? What if the editor knows that the reply contains blatant
falsehoods meant to mislead the public? What if the reply is irrelevant to
the issue at hand?
I can assure you, honourable senators, that in the practical operation of the
press, be it electronic or print, those are very real questions that one would
find oneself faced with on a distressingly regular basis.
Some of the witnesses before the committee said, "Well, this is not really a
problem because Canadian law, specifically Quebec law, includes the right of
reply." This is not, in fact, true. In the applicable legislation in Quebec,
there is one clause that is a little ambiguously worded, but taken in
conjunction with another clause, it makes it clear that, in Quebec, if a
newspaper or other communications medium allows the person who deems himself or
herself to have been offended to exercise a right of reply, then the fact of
publishing that reply means that there are no damages — quite different from the
However, nothing in Quebec law obliges the press to publish a reply crafted
by someone else. If they want to do it they can, but if they do not want to do
it and want to fight that case in the courts, they can fight that case in the
courts. It may be the case that, in due course, the judge will decide that the
communications medium has committed libel and will order, among other things,
the publication of the court judgment in the offending medium. However, that is
the publication of the judge's judicious and judicial words, not the publication
of the offended person's words crafted in any way he or she sees fit. The
distinction is important, and even that is very rare. It generally does not work
out that way, so the argument that we already have this in Canadian law really
does not bear any examination at all.
The committee recommended on this matter, and I quote from the report:
...that the Government of Canada consider making an interpretive
declaration to express its understanding that the right of reply under
article 14 is not absolute and that it is exercised according to applicable
My difficulty with that recommendation, honourable senators, is that it
suggests that there are occasions when legislation, whether federal or
provincial — provincial, in this matter — is appropriate. I do not think that
general legislation guaranteeing a right of reply is appropriate, at any level.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The time allocated to
the honourable senator has expired. Does she have leave to continue, honourable
Senator Fraser: I would need another two minutes.
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Fraser: I would further draw to your attention, honourable
senators, that decisions of the Inter-American Court, once one accepts its
jurisdiction, are binding. They even outrank decisions by the Supreme Court of
Canada, so that I would have very grave reluctance, indeed, to submit to this
I believe that Canada should adhere to the American convention, but I believe
we should take a strong reservation on that clause — no ifs, ands or buts. For
that reason, it is with regret that I shall abstain from supporting the
committee's report, even though I support all the other parts of it.
Hon. Tommy Banks: May I ask a question of the senator?
Senator Fraser: If the Senate is willing, yes.
Senator Banks: I may have misunderstood the honourable senator, and I
would ask her to straighten me out if I did. I think the honourable senator said
that section 14 talked about the obligation to right of reply in regulated
media. I do not think in Canada — and the honourable senator would know this
immediately — that newspapers are regulated media.
Second, there are many international conventions and treaties that many
different countries have signed and ratified, except that they have reserved
their ratification on a carved-out area and say they agree with all of this
except this part here. I wonder if that would be an alternative in this case.
Third, when the honourable senator was speaking about electronic media, was
she taking into account the fact, and I am sure she was, that during election
campaigns there are regulations with respect to equal time that apply in the
electronic media in Canada?
Senator Fraser: Obviously, newspapers are not regulated in anything
like the way electronic media are regulated. A vigorous lawyer could make the
argument that they are regulated by the mere fact that they must have business
permits to operate.
My recommendation is precisely that we take a reservation, not an
interpretative declaration, on this element.
I cannot now remember the honourable senator's third question.
Senator Banks: Had the honourable senator taken into account that
during the course of a declared election campaign there is tit- for-tat in the
Senator Fraser: Yes. I was at pains to say that there were a very few
rare exceptions to this rule. The fundamental notion of freedom of the press is
that we need it to enhance democracy. Extending free speech by publicizing
election platforms enhances democracy. Thus, it does not offend the basic
principle, in my view.
On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the consideration of the Seventh Report of the
Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
(document entitled: Santé en français — Pour un meilleur accès à des
services de santé en français (French-Language Healthcare — Improving Access
to French-Language Health Services)) tabled in the Senate on December 12,
2002.—(Honourable Senator Ringuette).
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, I am interested in taking part
in the debate on consideration of the seventh report of the Social Affairs
Committee. I move that the debate stand in my name until the next sitting and
depending on the amount of time I have left to continue.
Resuming debate on the consideration of the fifth report (interim) of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, entitled: The
Myth of Security at Canada's Airports, deposited with the Clerk of the
Senate on January 21, 2003.—(Honourable Senator Atkins).
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, with respect to consideration
of the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence, I have the permission of Senator Atkins to speak briefly today in order
that debate on this item be continued. I ask that debate be adjourned in the
name of Senator Atkins for further consideration and that we resume the counting
again. Honourable senators know what I mean.
On motion of Senator Banks, for Senator Atkins, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton
calling the attention of the Senate to the Budget presented by the Minister
of Finance in the House of Commons on February 18, 2003.—(Honourable
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, if the Honourable Senator
Robertson does not mind, I would like to speak to this item.
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: I do not mind at all.
Senator Atkins: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the 2003
federal budget read in the other place in February by the new Minister of
Finance. In preparing my remarks for today, I took the opportunity to review
previous speeches I have given on budgets brought down by the present finance
minister's predecessor, Mr. Martin. I was struck by the consistency of the
criticism I have raised over the years.
While I have been consistent in my criticism, the government has been
consistent in the content of the budgets. There has not been enough money for
the military. Student debt is ignored. Instead of concentrating on two or three
areas and dealing with them totally and conclusively, we are continually faced
with what we on this side have called a "scattergun approach" — a little money
here, a little money there, but not nearly enough to make a significant
difference in the lives of Canadians.
Last time we heard from Mr. Martin, we were to have the security budget,
which actually did little to address Canada's security needs. This time we were
to have, for want of a better phrase, the Prime Minister's legacy budget, but it
had no real focus except increased spending spread over a number of initiatives,
but not enough to really make a difference in any one of them.
As a fiscal conservative, I would have liked to have seen a real commitment
to addressing the country's debt. The greatest thing we can leave our children
and our grandchildren is a country that is mortgage free.
This, however, does not seem to be a priority for this government. The
priority seems to be to spend to satisfy the demands of several interest groups.
Paying down the debt guarantees our future, a future in which we are free to set
priorities unencumbered by huge interest payments.
As it is now, little is left in the reserves, and we may be entering a period
of slow or marginal economic growth. Too bad the government did not pursue a
more prudent course.
Today, I wish to address in some detail four areas where I believe this
budget fails Canadians: the failure to deal with student debt; defence; health
care; and the emerging issue of the failure of this government to adequately
provide funds to replace the crumbling infrastructure of our major cities.
With regard to student debt, I am well aware that this budget puts more money
— $60 million over two years — into the Canadian Student Loan Fund. Also, I know
that provisions have been made for reductions if graduating students find
themselves in financial difficulty.
In my opinion, the first thing the government should do is make the full
amount of scholarship and bursaries tax exempt. Second, it would stop playing at
the margins with the issue of student debt. The problem is that with rising
tuition costs necessitated by the decrease of transfer payments, financially
challenged students are required to take out larger and larger loans.
Under this government, since 1994, some $24 billion has been cut out of the
CHST in relation to health and post-secondary education. In the 2000 general
election, our party proposed a tax credit based on the repayment of Canada's
student loan principal to a maximum of 10 per cent of the principal per year for
10 years after graduation. This would have been very helpful to our graduating
students. However, these proposals do not give young Canadians the answer. The
answer to my mind is a complete, overarching commitment to post-secondary
I have floated this idea before. I believe the government should look
seriously at solving the access problem for all academically qualified students
who are in financial difficulty by creating a program modeled on the one put in
place for veterans returning from World War II. This program was similar to the
GI Bill in the United States. With some innovative thinking, surely we can
devise a system whereby access to post-secondary education depends on merit, not
financial resources. The proper program could be a significant boost to this
country. This requires political commitment, but it is the best investment we
can make in the future of this country.
Students today are graduating from colleges and universities with huge debt
loads. Debt incurred per year, which includes tuition and living expenses, can
approach $20,000. Help is needed, and not just in putting more money into the
loan fund. We must rethink the way we ensure access to post-secondary education
for all academically qualified students.
Students do not want a free ride, but they do want an equitable system of
debt management that allows them to get an education and repay borrowed money at
a reasonable rate when they gain employment. Surely, as a stopgap measure, the
government could intervene to put an end to debt collectors hounding students
within a few months of graduation. Surely, we can afford a moratorium on loan
payments for a period of at least two years after graduation. Students could
have that period to get on their feet and begin to earn an income without
worrying about debt repayment immediately.
With regard to defence, I must begin by congratulating Defence Minister John
McCallum for at least stopping the bleeding off of money from the military.
However, as difficult as his job may have been to obtain $800 million, it falls
short of what is really needed. The capital budget must be set high enough to
permit buying off the shelf.
As senators who have been involved in the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence know, we must bring our military to a point where
it is actually combat capable and equipped properly. This means increasing the
defence budgets to approximately $24 billion by 2010; and we need to increase
our Armed Forces personnel to 75,000, even though the minister disagrees. He
says he wants a smarter, smaller military. That is fine, but the government has
to stop making commitments it is hard to fulfill.
Canadians do not need more stories about our lack of equipment in
Afghanistan, where we are returning this summer, or anywhere else where our
military may serve. We do not have the service personnel to fulfil our
obligations. We need helicopters. It is time to set aside old grudges and bad
decisions. Canadians know that the election promise to write "zero helicopters,"
made for cheap political gain in 1993, was wrong. Our military personnel have
been at risk because of this decision.
In this budget, the government should have made a real commitment to defence,
and it did not. There needs to be a commitment to resource the military to
insure adequate strength levels and the funding of quality-of-life initiatives
for our Armed Forces personnel and their families. While the budget goes in the
right direction, it does not go nearly far enough to make up for the years of
neglect, the years of ravaging the defence budget to pay for other initiatives
or to reduce the deficit.
This government, in its failure to support our traditional allies, has
brought Canada's place in the world to an all-time low. We can do better than
this, and we should be doing better. Canadians deserve better. The time has come
to carry out a thorough review of our foreign policy, and then follow it by a
review of defence policy. It is time to get serious about Canada's role at home
Canadians also deserve better health care. I thought the days of starving our
health care system were over, but apparently not. Of the monies set out in the
budget, $3.9 billion is old money, previously announced. As well, the new money
of $13.4 billion is spread out over three years. This is $1.6 billion short of
the amount recommended by the Romanow report and does not satisfy the report of
the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, either.
Between 1993 and 2001, Liberal budgets cut $15 billion from the transfer
payments to the provinces. There is a lot to make up as we move forward in this
decade. The federal grant contribution, percentage-wise, is significantly lower
than it was just a few years ago. There have been two studies done in this area
in recent months. I would have thought the government would at least use this
budget to consider them carefully, not just ignore them.
Finally, I want to turn my attention to the economic plight of our cities.
Again, this is an area where the Liberal government, albeit the Liberal caucus,
completed a study that focussed on a new deal for urban centres — the centres
that have become economic engines of this country. What happened? The budget
provides for an additional $3 billion in infrastructure support over the next 10
years. This money is to be shared by municipalities across the country. It is
insulting to the needs of our cities when one considers that only $100 million
is available in fiscal 2003-04 and $150 million in 2004-05. Realistically, this
hardly builds more than a highway interchange per year in one city in this
Our urban municipalities need a new deal. They need recognition in a
meaningful way if Canada is to be competitive in the world. The budget fails our
major population centres. Surely we can do better than this. Surely the better
approach is to pick two or three areas and do a thorough, complete job. That is
my suggestion for building a budget: Identify the most pressing needs and
address them; do not engage in this shotgun, Band-Aid approach.
Honourable senators, I look forward to hearing other comments on the budget
as the debate continues.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Robertson, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Stratton:
That this House calls upon the Government of Canada:
(a) to recognize the Ukrainian Famine/Genocide of 1932-33
and to condemn any attempt to deny or distort this historical truth
as being anything less than a genocide;
(b) to designate the fourth Saturday in November of every
year throughout Canada as a day of remembrance of the more than
seven million Ukrainians who fell victim to the Ukrainian
Famine/Genocide 1932-33; and
(c) to call on all Canadians, particularly historians,
educators and parliamentarians, to include the true facts of the
Ukrainian Famine/Genocide of 1932-33 in the records of Canada and in
future educational material.
Given that the Genocide of Ukrainians (now commonly referred to as
the Ukrainian Famine/ Genocide of 1932-33 and referred to as such in
this Motion) engineered and executed by the Soviet regime under Stalin
to destroy all opposition to its imperialist policies, caused the deaths
of over seven million Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933;
That on November 26, 1998, the President of Ukraine issued a
Presidential Decree establishing that the fourth Saturday in November be
a National Day of Remembrance for the victims of this mass atrocity;
That the fourth Saturday in November has been recognized by Ukrainian
communities throughout the world as a day to remember the victims of the
Ukrainian Famine/Genocide of 1932-33 and to promote the fundamental
freedoms of a democratic society;
That it is recognized that information about the Ukrainian
Famine/Genocide of 1932-33 was suppressed, distorted, or wiped out by
That it is only now that some proper and accurate information is
emerging from the former Soviet Union about the Ukrainian
Famine/Genocide of 1932-33;
That many survivors of the Ukrainian Famine/ Genocide of 1932-33 have
immigrated to Canada and contributed to its positive development;
That Canada condemns all war crimes, crimes against humanity and
And that Canadians cherish and defend human rights, and value the
diversity and multicultural nature of Canadian society.—(Honourable
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, this year, 2003,
marks the 70th anniversary of the Ukraine Famine/ Genocide of 1932-33. Joseph
Stalin's collectivization program was a process that culminated in a man-made
famine in one of the world's richest and most fertile agricultural regions.
Estimations are only now being calculated as to the millions who lost their
lives, mainly in the Ukraine but also in North Caucasus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
As American scholar and historian Robert Conquest stated in his book, The
Harvest of Sorrow:
...in 1932-33 came what might be described as a terror- famine inflicted
on the collectivized peasants of the Ukraine and the largely Ukraine Kuban
(together with the Don and Volga areas) by the methods of setting for them
grain quotas far above the possible, removing every handful of food and
preventing help from outside — even from other areas of the USSR — from
reaching the starving. This action, even more destructive of life than those
of 1929-1932, was accompanied by a wide ranging attack on all Ukrainian
cultural and intellectual centres and leaders and on the Ukrainian churches.
He went on to say:
Though confined to a single state, the number dying in Stalin's war
against the peasants was higher than the total deaths for all countries in
World War I. There were differences: in the Soviet case, for practical
purposes only one side was armed and the casualties (as might be expected)
were almost all on the other side. They included, moreover, women, children
and the old.
At the height of the famine/genocide of 1932-33, Ukrainian peasants were
dying of hunger at the rate of 17 persons per minute, 1,000 persons per hour,
and 25,000 persons per day, while the Soviet regime was dumping 1.7 million tons
of grain on Western markets.
By way of a reminder, in 1929, Stalin sought to industrialize the newly
created Soviet Union as rapidly as possible. Funds had to be acquired in order
to purchase the industrial machinery and equipment required to build the new
communist empire and till the soil of the collective farms that were to feed its
At the same time, a way had to be found to overcome resistance to farm
collectivization, which found particular strength in the Ukrainian Soviet
Republic. The legacy of the Soviet master plan in dealing with this opposition
to collective farming and, more generally, to Ukrainian expression of
self-identity has left a terrible scar on the history of the Soviet Union.
Thousands of Soviet agents were dispatched to Ukraine in order to confiscate
grain and food products from the productive peasant farmers, known as the
kulaks. These items were sold to the West in exchange for hard currency with
which the Soviet Union purchased the machinery required to industrialize the
nascent communist experiment.
A few facts highlighting the conditions under which victims of the famine had
to live offer at least a small insight as to the misery that they suffered.
Starving people who attempted to feed themselves with food they had grown
themselves and that had now become state property were considered thieves and
risked either death before a firing squad or confiscation of all their property.
Armed agents of the Soviet forces guarded fields from all those who were
fighting starvation. Only people with permission to travel could purchase train
tickets, thus rendering flight from famine so much more of a remote possibility.
Those who had the responsibility of executing the planned famine/genocide
issued a decree whereby the word "holod," meaning hunger or famine in the
Ukrainian language, was considered counter-revolutionary. By the time the
famine/ genocide finished taking its toll, approximately one fifth of Ukraine's
rural population had perished in approximately one year.
As this atrocity continued swiftly and horrifically, few outside the Soviet
Union knew or cared to know about it. One voice, Malcolm Muggeridge, a British
journalist who at the time was a dedicated socialist, upon hearing of starvation
in the Ukraine, bought a ticket from Moscow and travelled to Ukraine. What he
saw terminated his affair with communism. He wrote:
I saw something of the battle that is going on between the government and
peasants. On the one side millions of starving peasants, their bodies often
swollen from lack of food; on the other, soldier members of the GPU carrying
out instruction of dictatorship of the proletariat. They had shot or exiled
thousands of peasants, sometimes whole villages, they had reduced some of
the most fertile land in whole world to melancholy desert...
George Orwell also complained about the events of the Ukraine famine,
involving the death of millions of people, escaping the attention of the "large
and influential body of Western thought."
Some, it could be said, refused to see the real issues in their haste to
examine a new emerging Soviet doctrine. Most, I suspect, had no access as the
forces of the Soviet Regime put down dissent and controlled movement,
expression, thought and life in the Soviet Union. In fact, for all the years of
the Soviet Union, the famine was an exercise in deflection, deception and
concealment about this genocide against the Ukrainian people.
Slowly emerging from the long and dark shadow of the years of the Soviet
Union, the Government of Ukraine, in its newly independent status, on November
24, 2002, finally heard its president state:
Holodomor (The Famine/Genocide of 1932-33) and political repressions
planned and carried out by the communist regime put under threat the very
existence of our nation.
It is no exaggeration. Holodomor became a national catastrophe. One fifth
of Ukraine's rural population died in 1932-33. People died by villages. Even
today Ukraine can feel demographic, socio-economic, historic and cultural
consequences of those murderous deeds....
We have to admit — it was genocide. Having a clear purpose, a
meticulously planned genocide against Ukrainian people.
Four days later on November 28, 2002, the Parliament of Ukraine echoed those
words. Further, on March 17, 2003, in Geneva, at the Fifty-ninth Session of the
United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Volodymyr Yel'chenko, State
Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, stated:
The induced famine of 1932-33 was the act of genocide against the
Ukrainian people that took lives of more than 7 million Ukrainians.
Organized by the totalitarian Soviet regime in 1932-33 and aimed at
suppressing people in the regions that were opposed to forced
collectivization, it was one of the most tragic events in our modern
The fact of induced famine in Ukraine was carefully concealed at that
time. Elaborate steps had been taken to deny its existence or diminish its
consequences up till Ukraine's independence. Still, much remains to be done
to increase the global awareness of that event.
At the time the world failed to respond to that tragedy. Today we are
obliged to honour the memory of its victims in order to be able to respond
to other acts of genocide ever, in the future.
The Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament of Ukraine, has taken a series of steps to
honour the memory of the victims of the 1932-33 famine/genocide. They have set a
task for themselves to honour the memory of the victims and to guarantee that
this genocidal famine is not forgotten by generations to come. In their
recommendations, of which there are many, they state:
Participants of the parliamentary hearings held on February 12, 2003, on
commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1932-33 famine genocide and
honouring the memory of the millions of its victims note that the Communist
Party and the most senior government officials of the Soviet Union had been
officially denying for many decades the tragedy of the 1932-33 genocidal
famine. Information on its reasons, artificial nature and its scale had been
concealed not only from the international community but also from several
generations of compatriots.
They go on to indicate that it is only with independence that the seal on
official secrecy surrounding these events was broken, and they have set for
themselves and their government a series of actions.
Honourable senators, in proposing the motion under discussion, the Senate
would seek to assign the Ukraine Famine/Genocide of 1932-33 its rightful place
in the annals of history. In proposing this motion, the Senate would seek to
commemorate the lives of all those millions of people who were so callously and
cynically sacrificed in the name of an illusory ideal that could have known no
greater betrayal than the means employed in trying to reach it.
Canada has taken great strides to condemn all war crimes, crimes against
humanity and genocides, and Canadians, as a society, cherish and defend human
rights and value the diversity and multicultural nature of Canadian society. We
must also join with the many survivors of the Ukraine Famine/Genocide who have
immigrated to Canada and contributed to its positive development. The record is
now emerging and Canada should share in acknowledging the famine/genocide and in
correcting our knowledge of this horrific event by taking the step of approving
this motion. I urge you, honourable senators, to do so.
On motion of Senator Carstairs, for Senator Robichaud, debate adjourned.
Hon. Shirley Maheu, pursuant to notice of June 16, 2003, moved:
That pursuant to rule 95(3)(a), the Standing Senate Committee on Human
Rights be authorized to sit on Mondays, beginning September 15, 2003, on its
study of the examination of key legal issues affecting the subject of on-
reserve matrimonial real property on the breakdown of a marriage or common
law relationship, even though the Senate may then stand adjourned.
Hon. Tommy Banks, pursuant to notice of June 16, 2003, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources be empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3)(a), to sit during the
traditional summer adjournment of 2003, even though the Senate may then be
adjourned for a period exceeding one week, until such time as the Senate is
ordered to return.
He said: Honourable senators, members of this committee, in pursuing this
study, wish to work during the summertime. I suppose that we are the characters
that have recently been portrayed in a cartoon captioned, "Senators Gone Bad,"
in which a senator is pictured saying, "I want to work." We are guilty of that.
Committee members wish to meet at some time during the summer to continue their
consideration of a report, which the committee has undertaken according to its
terms of reference, so that it might be moved along and dispensed with more
quickly. It is the wish of the members of the committee to do so.
I remind honourable senators of an answer that I gave to Senator Stratton
earlier today in respect of the committee. The committee does not believe in,
and I do not believe in, and would not be convening a meeting of the committee
that was comprised of a number of substitutes; that we would want regular,
assigned members of the committee to be present; and that the only dates that
would be chosen for these meetings would be those when a quorum of members of
both sides of the Senate could be in place. I ask leave to sit at the request of
the committee, whose servant I am. We wish to work, honourable senators.
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I would not want to prevent the
honourable senators from working during the summer. Still, I would like to
remind them that there are people who work for the Senate and who need to take
their holidays. We owe them some respect for their private lives.
These people usually take their holidays in the summer months. I repeat. The
work senators do in the committees must not prevent Senate staff from taking
their holidays. There are people who have a life outside the Senate. If they can
take holidays during the summer, let us give them a chance to have a life
outside the Senate.
There are employees who work all year long. They help the senators perform
their duties and they provide support. They need to take holidays. Therefore, if
sitting during the summer months prevents Senate employees from taking their
holidays, they must be given compensation for the extra hours they put in. In
addition to the human side of things, as the person responsible for the budget,
I would like to remind the honourable senators that expenditures for the
business of the Senate also have to be considered.
Senator Banks: Honourable senators, I am talking about a meeting or
two between the time that this house rises and September 16. Would the
Honourable Senator Bacon agree with me that it is unlikely that any employees
would be taking holidays that would extend to 12 weeks? Would she agree that if
we were to find accommodation for that, we could probably find two to four days
between the time that this house rises and September 16, during which we would
not interfere with the holidays of the staff required for two or so days of
Senator Bacon: Honourable senators, I simply wanted to remind you that
there are employees who need holidays. We must grant them respect; I think that
is the least we can do. These employees are dedicated; they are always there
when we need them.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I want to add that a committee is not an independent entity. Rather,
it is a creature of the Senate, answerable to all senators, and meetings are to
be held with fair notice since all may attend and participate. I would be more
sympathetic if those committees requesting leave to sit during the summer would
provide the house with specific dates. The chairmen of these committees
proposing similar motions must select dates convenient to the members, to the
translators, to the clerks and to their families. Those people have obviously
made plans for the summer and it would be extremely unfair for a committee to
decide that its work, valid though it may be, could interfere with the
well-earned rest of our Senate staff, who are so helpful and cooperative when
the house is sitting.
For the moment, I will not support this motion. If Senator Banks and others
who have similar motions would come back and give us specific dates that meet
the agreement of both sides of the committees and are agreeable to their
immediate staff, then I, for one, would be more sympathetic to supporting such a
motion. As presently worded, however, this motion does not have my support.
Leave having been given to revert to Commons Public Bills:
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Biron, for the second reading of Bill C-411, to
establish Merchant Navy Veterans Day.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I will not repeat the
statistics indicated by my honourable friend, but the bill we are dealing with,
Bill C-441, a Commons public bill, deals with the proposed creation of a
merchant navy veterans day, September 3.
Honourable senators, the road to recognition by the merchant navy has been
long and difficult. Approximately 15 years ago, in Sydney, Cape Breton, and Nova
Scotia, a group got together to preserve some of the crumbling World War II
fortifications. That resulted in a nationally recognized military war museum,
namely Fort Petrie. That also gave impetus to the merchant navy to carry on with
some other initiatives.
Honourable senators, the merchant navy stepped up during the war and
performed an extremely important support function. Merchant navy ships delivered
troops, ammunition, goods, tanks, clothing, boots, airplanes, fuel, raw
materials and so on to our forces in Europe.
Some of the merchant seamen were only 14 years of age, while many were too
old for the regular Armed Forces but continued to serve through the merchant
navy. Others joined the merchant navy rather than the regular forces and were
accused of being draft dodgers. This was a myth, and if one looks at the
tremendous and horrible casualty statistics, one would know that that is a myth.
If a ship was sunk, the survival rate for the crew was less than 50 per cent.
One in seven mariners serving aboard merchant ships in World War II died in the
line of duty. At the end of the war, a staggering 25,000 merchant seamen deaths
were attributable to enemy action. They were British and Canadian sailors.
The merchant navy has moved to get recognition, and their battle for
recognition has been going on for at least five decades. In 1992, the merchant
navy veterans were finally given veteran status, but their road to recognition
did not end there because they were given a different class of status from other
military veterans. They made submissions to the Senate's Subcommittee on
Veterans Affairs, and honourable senators will recall a hunger strike in 1998
that took place here in Ottawa by a number of veterans trying to bring attention
to their plight.
I am pleased to advise honourable senators that in the year 2000, the then
Minister of Veterans Affairs and now the Honourable Senator George Baker took
the initiative and announced a $50 million tax-free package for Canadian
merchant navy veterans and surviving spouses. That was the beginning of the
recognition that they deserved.
In 2001, a year later, the then Minister of Veterans Affairs and another
former member of the Senate, Ron Duhamel, announced an additional $34 million
lump sum payment to the Canadian merchant navy veterans.
Honourable senators, this is another step in the long road for the merchant
navy and veterans. This bill, although very short in form, asks that a day be
set aside and be known as merchant navy veterans day. The day proposed is
September 3 of each year because that particular date was the day that war was
declared in 1939. The first casualty of the Second World War was a lady by the
name of Hannah Baird, who has been recognized by Veterans Affairs. She was
returning from England on a ship, and that ship was sunk. It was the SS
Athenia, and it carried many civilian passengers. It is a story not unlike
the passenger ship that was sunk in the First World War. The ship went down, and
Hannah Baird, who was working on board that ship, was the first Canadian person
to die at the hands of the enemy during the Second World War, according to
Veterans Affairs Canada. That was September 3, 1939, and that is why that
particular date is chosen.
I hope all honourable senators will support this bill at second reading.
Hon. Roch Bolduc: Honourable senators, I support this bill. One of my
uncles died in 1943 on board the Lady Hawkins. It was the third time the
ship had been sunk. He was the 2nd Officer Deep Sea, and a young man of 25. The
ship was carrying cargo from New York to England. The first two times the ship
had been sunk, he had managed to survive, but he died the third time.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable
senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?