The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 22(10), I
have received a request from Senator Austin, the Leader of the Government in the
Senate, that time be provided under Senators' Statements for the purpose of
paying tribute to the Honourable Senator Douglas Roche, who will be retiring
from the Senate on June 14, 2004.
Accordingly, tributes to Senator Roche.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, to
refer to the work of Senator Roche and his focus over these many decades as a
career is a misnomer. It could only be accurate if we called his work his
vocation. As a journalist, educator, politician and diplomat, Senator Roche has
been unremitting in his constructive work to end humankind's destructive
impulses, and has promulgated the message that only through a peaceful world can
we safeguard future generations and their quality of life.
Although Senator Roche started his political career in 1972 as a Progressive
Conservative member of Parliament, he later moved on to politics of a more
elevated order when he worked as Canada's Ambassador for Disarmament to the
United Nations and served as Chairman of the United Nations Disarmament
Committee during his tenure there. On his appointment to this chamber on
September 17, 1998, by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Roche clearly
did not accept certain sage guidance, which I am sure was proffered, and instead
chose to sit as an independent, for the valid reason that he could freely
advocate his values and beliefs without the ties of party concerns.
Senator Roche has worked throughout his life to ensure that we here in Canada
and people around the world have a future. He is the author of 17 books, and has
dedicated two of these to his grandchildren, Nicholas and Isabelle. In his most
recent book, The Human Right to Peace, Senator Roche declares:
The immediate goal is for every generation to ensure that there will be a
following generation. The advance of civilization thus far tells me that
humanity is not fated for oblivion; indeed the new interconnected human
community is a source of strength to continue building the culture of peace.
Among the numerous awards and honours bestowed upon Senator Roche for his
work on development, nuclear disarmament and fighting global poverty, he has
received the Order of Canada and was named a Knight Commander of the Order of
St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II.
We often say of the best politicians that they understand the positive values
of their society and that they also have an ability to communicate with
individual citizens and to take their concerns to heart. Senator Roche certainly
has these qualities and is a man who carries our highest respect for who he is
and what he believes.
He possesses a faith in the potential of his fellow human beings that is a
true inspiration to those of us who watch him work on our behalf. More than
that, he believes in the goodness of creation, in the beauty of this world and
that it is worth protecting.
All of us owe Senator Douglas Roche a debt of gratitude and a debt that will
be repaid, I am sure, in his view, if we are collectively successful in building
a culture of peace for future generations.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, if one could have sat in the Senate of ancient Rome, one would no
doubt have heard the words "dicamus bona verba," meaning "let us speak
words of good omen." Today, in paying tribute to Senator Doug Roche, I wish to
use these very same words to describe his work as he takes his leave of the
Senate of Canada.
Our colleague brought to this chamber the experience of a parliamentarian who
had been elected on four occasions to the House of Commons. His contributions to
domestic and international affairs have been many, particularly in the area of
disarmament. Canadians applauded the choice of former Prime Minister Mulroney,
who appointed Senator Roche in 1984 as Canada's Ambassador for Disarmament.
Since his appointment to the Senate for Alberta in 1998, Senator Roche has
been a thoughtful and assiduous member of this chamber. His experience as a
teacher, author, parliamentarian and diplomat has been available to the chamber
and committee work. Most recently, his study and guidance on Bill C-6,
respecting assisted human reproduction technology, was extremely important. I
recall his advice: While passing the bill was troubling to him, not to pass it
was more troubling.
Honourable senators will miss his sage counsel because of the age
discrimination provision in present legislation affecting membership in this
Senate. However, the good news is that, given the appeal of the Charter and
non obstante provisions to so many in the foothills of the Rockies, we hope
to see Senator Roche rejoin us one day as an elected senator.
Whatever the future may hold, I fully expect that in my weekly reading of the
Register there will be continuing reports of his ongoing work.
In closing, I wish to say to my friend: Continue to be a catalyst of energy,
devotion and reform for justice and equality. Maintain the flame of goodwill and
the vision of a planetary community in which development and justice are sought
together and the world's vast resources set to work for the building of the
In the words of Lady Jackson, Barbara Ward:
If this seems a utopian vision, it must be said that the Christian faith is
visionary. It dares to pray "thy kingdom come." It dares to dream of a time
when He shall say: "Behold, I make all things new."
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: It is with a great deal of pleasure, honourable
senators, that I rise to pay tribute to the Honourable Senator Douglas Roche. I
have known Senator Roche by reputation as a member of the other place, as the
founding editor of the Western Catholic Reporter and, above all, as a
fierce defender of the United Nations, most particularly on the issue of
Upon his arrival here, I asked him if he and former Senator Lois Wilson would
like to meet with me so that I could give them a briefing on Senate rules,
procedures and practices. Liberal senators affectionately refer to this as
"Senate school." They agreed, and we spent several hours together. Both were
eager to learn all of the rules and, most particularly, how they could be made
to work for them. It therefore came as no surprise that, within days, Senator
Roche was on his feet with a Notice of Inquiry on the issue of disarmament.
However, it was his dedication to the special study of the Social Affairs
Committee that culminated in the report, "Quality End-of-Life Care, The Right
of Every Canadian," that forged a lasting bond between us. Under the then rules
of the Senate, he could not sit as a member, but that did not prevent him from
being an active participant of the committee. He attended every session. His
insightful knowledge and understanding of the care of a dying person and the
impact on the family gained from his personal knowledge was invaluable.
Senator Roche is a man of principle. He understands the importance of
compromise, but never at the sacrifice of principle. He has my respect and my
admiration. He will be a great loss to this chamber.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I well recall the genuine
satisfaction and excitement of Progressive Conservative organizers in 1972
reporting that they had been successful in persuading Doug Roche to leave behind
an influential and non-partisan career as a respected journalist and author to
stand as a candidate for our former party under the leadership of Robert
Stanfield in the general election of that year. That satisfaction is equalled by
my regret today at seeing him leave this place.
Joe Clark named Doug Roche opposition critic for external affairs, Brian
Mulroney appointed him Canada's Ambassador for Disarmament and Jean Chrétien
appointed him to the Senate, not because those three leaders shared all his
principles or agreed with all of his views, but because they believed it highly
important that his principles, his views and his voice be heard and understood
in the formulation of national policy.
His policy — global security through disarmament and international
development — was hard for many of us to accept unreservedly during the Cold
War, and it is not much easier in the unstable circumstances of today, even as
we acknowledge that his vision of the world's future is the one we want for
ourselves and for humanity. Anyone standing for Doug Roche's principles and
advocating his policies has a tough row to hoe.
It is not that he has ever lacked opportunities to speak out. Indeed, he
never really needed the platform the Senate gave him, and one wonders with what
sentiment he leaves the parliamentary arena. How does he measure progress toward
the ideal, distant goal to which he has given most of his life — in centimetres,
or should I say inches, since he was a member of a caucus that fought the metric
system so ferociously?
For thousands of people here and elsewhere who are determined as he is to
struggle against all odds for an alternative to confrontation and conflict and
for a different world, Doug Roche is a revered and inspirational leader. I chose
the words "revered" and "inspirational" because a man of his careful
theology would object to being described as iconic.
The record will show that he has been tough and skilful, persistent and
courageous in advancing his cause, unyielding when it came to principle, and
always respectful of others and their principles, no matter how strongly he may
have disagreed with them.
At the beginning of our daily sittings when the Senate Speaker prays that we
may serve the cause of peace and justice in our own land and throughout the
world, we are permitted to believe that Doug Roche was sent here to help us do
just that, and we may hope that others will defend the cause as well as he has
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, it is an honour and a
pleasure to rise to pay tribute to our colleague Senator Roche. As a teacher, a
diplomat and a parliamentarian, he has set a shining example for all of us who
work toward the goals of peace and human security.
He has served in a staggering number of roles, not only in Parliament as a
member and a senator, but also as Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, Chair of
the United Nations Disarmament Committee and then as adviser on disarmament to
the Holy See delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. He has also been
Chair of the Canadian United Nations Association. Yet, somehow, with all the
work he has been doing, he has found the time to write 17 books on the subjects
of nuclear disarmament, peace and human security.
Personally, I can tell you that Senator Roche has been a great inspiration to
me, and that his support of my work on the United Nations resolution 1325
through the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security has been appreciated
I knew of Senator Roche before I came to this chamber, as both of us have
worked with the Oblate Fathers. Senator Roche, Father Laplante and I
collaborated, and we wanted to remind all colleagues here of your favourite
prayer, from the Prophet Micah — a prayer you live by — the three things to
achieve social justice: The Lord asks you to act justly, to love sincerely, and
to walk humbly with God.
Senator Roche certainly lives this prayer daily. He has been our conscience,
and his sage advice will be greatly missed.
Hon. Yves Morin: Honourable senators, it is both my privilege and my
pleasure to rise today to pay tribute to my friend, Douglas Roche. I would say
"Senator Roche," were I not at risk of ignoring all his other titles, which
are: former Ambassador for Disarmament; Officer of the Order of Canada; former
President of the United Nations Association of Canada; author of 17 books; and
Visiting Professor of the University of Alberta. I could go on for some time,
exhausting my voice before I would exhaust his accomplishments.
The common element of all that he undertook, including his years in the
Senate, is a deep and abiding sense of public service and commitment. Whether
the subject is equitable social and economic development, nuclear disarmament,
even the reform of this chamber, Senator Roche has proven himself to be
thoughtful, sincere, and ever concerned with the well-being of all people in
Canada and throughout the world.
I have valued and enjoyed my opportunities over these years to discuss a wide
variety of issues with Senator Roche, and I have always found his views to be
thought provoking — a catalyst for thinking about issues from many different
I wish him the best in his retirement, and I look forward to continuing to
have opportunities to discuss these issues with him in the future. He will be
Thank you, Doug.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, unfortunately the 15
minutes for tributes have expired. I should like Senator Roche to know that
remaining on my list are Senators Hubley, Banks, Prud'homme, Tkachuk, LaPierre
and Fairbairn, and we may get to some of these under Senators' Statements, but
it is my duty and privilege now to ask him to respond.
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, 20 years ago, when I was
taking my leave from the House of Commons, I made what I called my final speech
in Parliament. This time I really mean it.
I grew up in the Sandy Hill area of Ottawa, only a few blocks from where we
are sitting, during the 1930s and 1940s. I never dreamed that one day I would be
able to serve Canada as a member of Parliament, an ambassador and then a
senator, but that is the kind of country we have — one in which a person of
modest means can aspire to work in Canada's parliamentary and diplomatic
When still a young man, I went west and found, in Alberta, a new home, one
that not only took me in but also sent me back to Ottawa to launch my political
career. In Edmonton I found the energy, creativeness and sense of purpose that I
was looking for. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity, along with my Alberta
colleagues, of whom His Honour is chief, to have represented a great province in
I must tell honourable senators, frankly, that in 12 years in the House of
Commons and nearly six in the Senate, I have never lost the feeling of honour
just to be able to walk onto the floor of these two great institutions.
Now, the clock inexorably moving forward, I depart, but not before expressing
my deep appreciation to all my colleagues in the Senate, starting with His
Honour, and commending him for, among his many admirable qualities, his
excellent eyesight in recognizing figures in this corner of the chamber.
The Senate clerk, Paul Bélisle, and the table officers, officials of the
Senate, the interpreters, Hansard reporters and editors, pages, and all the
staff, have extended countless courtesies to me.
It is abundantly clear that I would not have survived in the Ottawa political
culture without the extraordinary assistance of Pam Miles-Seguin. I hired Pam
some 30 years ago when she was fresh out of school, and she has strengthened my
professional life ever since. I have lost count of the many administrative and
logistical problems she has solved for my family and me.
Honourable senators, if you want someone who can organize your life for you,
and who can do half a dozen things all at the same time and keep smiling in the
process, run, do not walk, to seek out Pam.
I am also grateful to Bonnie Payne, my assistant in Edmonton, who has been
with me for 15 years, and to all my research assistants, including Steve Grunau,
Todd Martin and Chris Hynes.
There is no way to adequately thank my wife, Patricia McGoey, and my
children, Evita, Douglas Francis, Mary Anne and Patricia. Their love and support
have strengthened me immeasurably.
Honourable senators, when I made that final speech in the House of Commons 20
years ago, I talked about disarmament and development as the two indispensable
requirements for peace and global security. These themes, along with the
guaranteeing of human rights and the protection of the environment, are with us
However, despite the wars of our time, which inflict such terrible suffering
on so many, the world is moving forward. The elements of a culture of peace —
respect for all life, rejection of violence and a desire for social justice —
are coming into much sharper focus.
Of course, much work remains to be done — an agenda that I commend to you. I
personally, as long as God gives me the strength, will never rest until nuclear
weapons, the ultimate evil of our time, are abolished.
I close with the optimistic words of Isaiah: "Peace, peace to the far and
near, says the Lord; and I will heal them."
Honourable senators, thank you for the opportunity of being with you. I wish
you well. Bonne chance. God bless you all — and God bless Canada!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, further to the house order
of March 23, 2004, to the effect we would hear tributes for Senator Robertson
today, in addition to Senator Roche, and pursuant to rule 22(10) and a letter
that I have received from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate requesting
additional time under Senators' Statements, we now pay tribute to the Honourable
Senator Brenda Robertson, who will be retiring on May 23, 2004.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, Brenda Robertson came to the Senate just shy of 20 years ago, bringing
here with her a unique public experience, in particular in the field of health,
which has been of great value to all of us in this chamber.
In 1967, she became the first woman ever to be elected to the New Brunswick
legislature and was subsequently re-elected four times. She held a number of
cabinet positions, including Minister of Health, and it was in that role that
she initiated the Extra-Mural Program in 1981, the first government-insured home
care program to be incorporated under the Canada Health Act. In a brief to the
Kirby-LeBreton committee on the state of the health care system in Canada, the
purpose of the Extra-Mural Program was described as being "to provide a
comprehensive range of coordinated health care services for individuals of all
ages for the purpose of promoting, maintaining and/or restoring health within
the context of their daily lives." Her initiative has been used as a model in
many other jurisdictions around the world.
Senate reports generally receive a wide and appreciative audience, owing to
the commitment and knowledge of its members who are unafraid to study
controversial matters, and Brenda has contributed to the kind of expertise that
helps make such reports so valuable.
Her years in the Senate were most productive, and just listing her many
accomplishments would exhaust my time, so I will limit myself to one that
affects us all individually and collectively.
Following the chaos of the GST debate, it was clear that the Senate, to avoid
a similar incident, needed better rules to guide this place, rules which, until
then, had not been found necessary. Our rules, those under which we presently
operate, resulted from efforts by the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing
Rules and Orders, as it was then called, under her chairmanship. Our colleagues
now on the government side were not at all pleased by this turn of events at the
time and actually boycotted the committee studying the rules, but the fact that
they have been resorting frequently to them over the years, particularly the one
related to time allocation, shows that certainly there has been quite a change
of mind on that side since.
New Brunswickers have never forgotten Brenda. They still turn to her for help
and direction in provincial matters, and she never fails them.
She promoted for years Maritime union, and I have no doubt that she will now
have more time to devote to this issue.
She has been an incredibly loyal caucus colleague, accepting every
responsibility without complaint and always fulfilling her commitments with
Thank you, Brenda. As you turn the page on this chapter of a long and
distinguished public career, I want you to know that it has been a joy and a
privilege to be associated with you. May New Brunswick and Canada continue to
benefit from your talents for many years to come.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, I join with you
today in paying tribute to a colleague in the Senate, a fellow New Brunswicker,
and a sister in politics, the Honourable Brenda Robertson.
As you already know, and Senator Lynch-Staunton mentioned, Senator Robertson
was the first woman elected to the New Brunswick legislature in 1967. She became
the first woman member of the New Brunswick cabinet in 1970, and she held five
portfolios before she was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1984. I believe
that she is the longest still-serving politician from our beautiful province of
Many senators have witnessed her dedication to social issues since her
arrival in our chamber. Her tireless work on the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology is proof of her long-standing dedication
to the plight of the unemployed, the needs of underprivileged children and the
challenges of the health care sector.
Senator Robertson's career has been studded with firsts that are dear to my
heart, as a woman and as a New Brunswicker. It is because of her formidable work
as a pioneer well before her arrival in the Senate, and continuing during her
years with us, that I again express my great respect for her.
I even believe it was her example that encouraged me to seek and obtain the
presidency of the Association des enseignantes et enseignants francophones du
Nouveau-Brunswick in 1983. At that time, Senator Robertson was the provincial
minister responsible for reforming social programs. I remember that was when our
respective responsibilities brought us into contact. I hope that her memories of
that time are as good as mine.
My biggest regret, all these years, is that my colleague has always preferred
blue, but taste is dictated by nature and tolerance is a characteristic of the
New Brunswick woman, and so I respect her choice.
My other regret is that I was unable to buy the magnificent house that
Senator Robertson used to have on the coast in Shediac. Thus, I had to become a
citizen of Moncton.
You win some and you lose some, I guess.
May the next decade be as challenging and stimulating to you as the past,
dear senator. I thank you for having been such a beacon, and I shall miss not
seeing you around this chamber. Goodbye.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, the contributions to public affairs made by our colleague and friend
Senator Brenda Robertson have been of such quality and quantity that the
limitation of time impedes our ability to do justice to the tribute that ought
to be made in her regard at this time. However, I will attempt it. I would want
to frame a few thoughts by words such as "admiration," "amity," and "affection" and underscore her legacy of good work for the people of our
province of New Brunswick and the people of Canada.
Not only is she the most outstanding Minister of Health that our province has
known, but she has been an exceptional member of the Senate of Canada. It is
noteworthy and true, as has been mentioned, that she was the first woman elected
to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1967 and re-elected in four
subsequent provincial elections. Her work in the legislature was first-class,
and it is the quality of this work that explains her repeated re-election and
the esteem and admiration of the people of New Brunswick for her.
Clearly, this senator is a role model — a role model, yes, for women to
participate in public affairs, but also a role model for all who wish to excel
in service to society.
Senator Robertson has one of the best political minds in the country, and I
have learned so many things from her over the years, including the lesson of how
much politics operates in the medical community. I know that Dr. Keon and Dr.
Morin can well appreciate how much I would have learned about such medical
politics when I was asked by then Minister of Health Brenda Robertson to conduct
a public inquiry into the granting of hospital privileges.
Honourable senators, the 1981 first ministers' constitutional meeting was
another occasion where our colleague greatly influenced New Brunswick's and
Canada's future. Senator Robertson was part of our New Brunswick team that
supported the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Indeed, we were together with the
premiers and Prime Minister Trudeau in the small room down the street when the
former Prime Minister secured from Premier Lévesque the agreement that dissolved
the gang of eight.
Honourable senators, there are three major bodies of water near Senator
Robertson's home in New Brunswick. As mentioned by Senator Losier-Cool, there is
the Northumberland Strait of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but there is also the Bay
of Fundy and the Petitcodiac River. These three bodies serve as a suitable
metaphor to partially describe Brenda Mary, as she is affectionately known by
her close friends. The warm summer waters of the strait and its powerful ice
floes of winter speak to her fortitude and care in the area of social policy.
The high tides of Fundy speak to the high levels of achievement and excellence
that she sought for all our people. Her enthusiasm and vigour for acting, not
only in some distant future on issues but also in the here and now, is
symbolized by that remarkable rush of the tidal bore of the Petitcodiac River in
her beloved Moncton.
It was Senator Robertson who walked me into this place in 1990. While she
might be walking out by herself, because of the legal requirement, she will
remain always for me, and indeed for us, an important guide.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Michael Kirby: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to
Senator Robertson, in part on behalf of all the members of the Standing Senate
Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, because of the enormous
contributions she made to our health care study, but not inconsiderably on
behalf of myself personally, because of the length of time I have known her and
our many discussions about health care and politics over the years.
I first met Senator Robertson at an early meeting of the Council of Maritime
Premiers, in 1971, when she was a minister in the New Brunswick government and I
was Chief of Staff to the Premier of Nova Scotia. We were just getting the
Council of Maritime Premiers started.
Our paths crossed on a number of occasions in the ensuing years, but we again
got together when she joined the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology at the beginning of our health care study. When she was
Minister of Health in New Brunswick, Senator Robertson put forward a lot of
ideas. As an aside, the first two female provincial ministers of health in the
country, Senator Callbeck and Senator Robertson, both serve on the Social
Affairs Committee. That is an interesting reflection in terms of the pragmatic
solution to many of our problems.
Senator Robertson actually went way beyond the normal call of duty. As
honourable senators know, one of the central issues in the health care debate in
this country is the issue of waiting lists. While the committee was doing its
health care study, Senator Robertson needed a hip replacement. It was useful to
have people on the committee who had practical experience in health care. She
carefully arranged it so that her scheduled hip replacement operation was
delayed three times, so that when the committee put out its report we would be
able to say, in all seriousness, that members of our committee clearly had
first-hand experience of the difficulty of being on waiting lists for major
operations. We appreciate the fact that you went well beyond the call of duty in
doing that, Senator Robertson.
It is also true — and Senator Lynch-Staunton mentioned this in his remarks —
that one of the ideas that originated with Senator Robertson when she was
Minister of Health in New Brunswick was the idea of an extramural hospital. That
idea manifested itself again in the Senate committee's report as the foundation
of our post-acute home care program, although the motivation was somewhat
different. Many of you from the East Coast will understand the enormous
creativity those of us in Maritime politics have with conducting a raid on the
federal treasury. In the days when the extramural hospital program was developed
in New Brunswick, it was not only the right health care policy but also a policy
that was developed at a time when the federal government paid 50 per cent of all
hospital expenses. Therefore, the simple solution to getting home care paid 50
per cent by the federal government was to define an individual's home to be an
That was, in fact, one of the wonderful financial benefits for which the
federal government never did find a solution. Clearly, it was so creative that I
think the federal government decided they had to fund it just because the
creativity alone made it worthwhile. The fact of the matter, honourable
senators, is that we adopted Senator Robertson's idea in our post-acute home
care proposal. Interestingly enough, a year and a half after our report came
out, two other provinces are now in the process of adopting that proposal. It is
an enormous tribute to Senator Robertson's 25 years in the health care sector —
30 years in total — that an idea that began 25 years ago in New Brunswick ends
up, at end of Senator Robertson's career, in a federal report that is now being
implemented across the country.
So, Senator Robertson, on behalf of all members of the committee and myself,
in particular, I want to thank you very much for your enormous contribution.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I did not know Senator
Robertson when I came into this chamber, except to look at her on the front row
and view her as nothing but regal splendour. We were quite intimidated by her
mere presence in the beginning.
I then got to know her, fortunately, as she really was and is — that is, as a
true hard-working member of the committees with which I have worked as well, in
particular the Internal Economy Committee and the Rules Committee. Those two
committees are not well-known outside this place; however, the issues before
those committees require much discipline from committee members. I discovered
her strength of character in serving with her on those committees, as well as
her advice and wisdom, which I appreciated and continue to appreciate. The one
thing I did learn, both in leadership races and in serving with her on those
committees, is that this lady does not change her mind; she sticks to her word.
I wish nothing but the best for you in the future, senator, and the best of
health. I know you will think of us once in a while, as you sit down in the
evening with a certain glass. I know full well that you will turn this page and
move on to something new immediately after leaving here. To that new life, all
the best, and thank you for your help.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I regret to advise that the
15 minutes for tributes to Senator Robertson have expired, which means that it
is now my duty, and again my privilege, to call on Senator Robertson.
I might say I leave on the list, Senator Robertson, Senators Carstairs,
Tkachuk, Murray, Bacon, Cools, St. Germain and Day. We may get to some of them
in Senators' Statements, but I will figure out how to do that later.
I will now call on Senator Robertson.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Honourable senators, thank you very much for
that. I should go out and come in again. It might extend the time a bit. That
was very pleasant.
Honourable senators, on May 23, as some of you know, I shall become a private
citizen. Although I shall miss this magnificent chamber and my friends here,
life moves on. Thank you for the very many nice things you have said about me. I
am truly grateful for the opportunities that I have had for public service and
believe that, as I leave public life, it is important to continue to work for
the strengthening of our communities, our provinces and our country.
Before coming to the Senate in 1984, like many Canadians, I took our country
a bit for granted — its prosperity, democracy, freedom and security. Now, 20
years later, I have learned that we should take nothing for granted. Our country
is extraordinarily complicated and our world is dangerously unstable.
It will be for others in this chamber, and for new senators, to comprehend
the complexity of their times and to guard against the forces that endanger the
kind of country that all Canadians want to live in.
How quickly time flies. I read in my local paper the other day that I am the
longest-serving active politician in New Brunswick. I was not aware of that, but
it certainly gives one reason to pause. It has been a great ride — more than 19
years here and, before that, over 17 years serving the people of New Brunswick
as a member in our provincial legislature. There is so much more to do; that is
I am not sure if the intent of the Senate's mandatory retirement age
provision was a scientifically based determination that most of us are a spent
force by the time we reach 75. Obviously, the drafters of that rule did not
anticipate the increase of life expectancy in contemporary society for nowadays,
most of us — Doug Roche included — are just getting warmed up at this age.
However, as we know, rules are rules in this place and so we must carry on.
Many honourable senators know that I have always been a proponent of Senate
reform, including moving to an elected body, but certainly not a mirror image of
the other place. Well, maybe it will happen. Certainly the new leader of the
Conservative government in waiting has spoken clearly on this subject. Lately,
there has been speculation about whether the current Prime Minister may be
favourably inclined in this regard. However, to change the Senate without
changing the entire system, I believe, would be an exercise in futility. I
personally feel that some form of proportional representation should be examined
carefully. Certainly the Prime Minister should be elected by the country and not
by an individual constituency. I know that many agree that reforms are long
My friends, Canadians deserve an upper chamber that is more reflective of the
country and of our contemporary values. I do believe that we in this place have
demonstrated, particularly through excellent committee work, the contribution
and the value added to our national parliamentary process the Senate was
intended to provide. I hope to live to see the day when all Canadians will look
to the Senate for leadership and at the institution with the respect that should
be accorded a legislative body chosen by the people, not appointed by a Prime
Notwithstanding my beliefs and hopes in what the future may hold for the
Senate, I must say that it has been an honour and a privilege to serve my
country and the people of New Brunswick in this chamber. It has been a
responsibility that I have taken always most seriously. It is a part of my life
that I will always look back on with pride. I want to pay tribute to my
colleagues in this chamber, past and present. Regardless of our abilities or
political beliefs, we come here with a common purpose — the service of our
country. There can be few nobler callings than public service.
Let me express my appreciation for the people who really make this
institution work — cleaning staff who maintain the chamber and the offices of
the Senate, bus drivers, protective services, pages, researchers, library staff,
clerks and their staff and, of course, the administration of the Senate and our
own support staff. I do not know how I would have gotten by in the last 10 years
without Ross McKean. He has kept me all the more organized. Those senators who
know me well know I am not very organized. I am usually juggling about six
things at one time. Ross has had to put up with that, but he has done it in a
great way. I want to thank all of you for making my job and our jobs so much
more pleasant because of your courtesy and your unassuming professionalism.
For 37 years, it has been my honour to represent, to serve, to work with the
people of New Brunswick. There will be another time very shortly, in May, to
speak to this in more detail down home. Suffice it to say I would not be here
today had I not earned the trust and the privilege to represent the people of
Riverview. I must say, too, that in four of the last five elections, I took
their deposit. That was not mentioned.
In 1967, as a rookie MLA, I came to the provincial legislature in Fredericton
to sit in opposition. I started in opposition; I leave in opposition. I sat
there for three years to discover that there were no female washrooms in the
members lobby. The press were more interested in what one wore than what one
said. Many believed that men could not serve with a female minister leading a
department. It was quite interesting, really; many challenges but great fun in
the long haul. Through three and one-half terms serving in government alongside
a great leader, my friend Richard Hatfield, and so many superb colleagues, I
have been fortunate and grateful to have the chance to work for New
Brunswickers. Of course, I shall always be grateful to Brian Mulroney for having
had the trust in me to serve my province and my country in this institution.
Finally, I should like to acknowledge the support of my family and some of my
friends. My family is up there in the gallery, including two of my children. The
third could not make it. I could not have succeeded without them. For all these
years in public life, they gave me unwavering support. The trust and advice of
my family and friends kept me on the straight and narrow so many times. We have
shared lots of laughs and a few tears along the way, but as I said at the start,
it has been a great ride. I cannot imagine having taken it without my family and
As we get older, how time flies. You just get up in the morning and you have
to go to bed. As someone once said, "Hello, I must be going."
The book is far from finished, honourable senators and friends. I am simply
turning another page. I wish you all well in the years ahead.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before going to Senators'
Statements, I would indicate that I intend to call on three senators who had
wished to speak on Senator Roche's retirement in the order of Senators Hubley,
Prud'homme and Banks, followed by three who were left on the list for Senator
Robertson's tributes, namely Senators Carstairs, Tkachuk and Murray.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, it gives me great pleasure
to rise in tribute to the distinguished gentleman who sits just across the
aisle. Senator Roche is greatly admired and respected throughout the world for
his work on nuclear disarmament and arms control. In my own relatively brief
time here, I have been impressed not only by his knowledge and expertise but
also by his great humanity and the unfailing courage he has shown in grappling
with the global issues of war and peace.
The international arms community is a shadowy place, honourable senators,
where borders and national loyalties often are ignored and where laws are
undermined and skirted around. As Western democracies, we have pursued peace and
disarmament on the one hand, while at the same time allowing our arms
manufacturers and contractors to continue arming the world, particularly the
Let me give honourable senators one very real and disillusioning example. A
little more than a year ago, as the United States began its international
campaign to convince the rest of the world that the evil dictator of Baghdad
should be removed and just prior to the return of UN arms inspectors to Iraq,
neighbouring Jordan hosted another kind of international event. Arms
manufacturers and suppliers from around the world and their prospective
customers gathered in Amman to exhibit the latest in weaponry, from guns to land
mines, from battlefield tanks to fighter aircraft, from missiles to
sophisticated tracking systems. The Special Operations Forces Exhibition, or
SOFEX, is held every two years. The British firm Vickers was there exhibiting
the Challenger tank, recently offered to Jordan, as was the American weapons
giant Lockheed Martin, which manufacturers the Longbow "fire and forget"
missile and the Hellfire II antitank missile, as well as the F-16 fighter jet.
Other American firms participating in the arms fair include Raytheon, the
world's largest manufacturer and supplier of the Tomahawk cruise missile, the
same kind that had rained down on Afghanistan earlier that year and the same
missile that would be used once again when the coalition forces invaded Iraq for
a second time.
Many of the potential customers of SOFEX need little introduction. Two of the
three rogue states comprising President Bush's axis of evil were there, Iraq and
Iran, as well as Syria, Libya and the Sudan, all of them viewed at the time as
sponsors of terrorism by the United States State Department.
Honourable senators, there is something almost unbelievable about this. We
are reminded that there is a lot of work to do if we are to realize a world in
which peace, non-aggression and civility prevail over violence, arms
proliferation and war.
Senator Roche knows better than most the challenges we confront. I should
like to thank him for his remarkable contribution to the work of this chamber.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I will certainly not add
to the many eloquent things already mentioned about my colleague and friend
I have known him as the most passionate member of the External Affairs and
National Defence Committee, which I had the pleasure of chairing in the House of
Commons for nearly 10 years.
Senator Roche had always believed that the external affairs and national
defence committees should be combined. Why? Because those specializing strictly
in national defence matters are often unaware of international problems, which
are of somewhat greater interest to those responsible for external affairs, and
vice versa. The experts at Foreign Affairs and CIDA are often unaware that,
unfortunately, there are some horrible people in this world and consequently we
need a Department of National Defence. Senator Roche and the other committee
members succeeded in raising the awareness of both sides in the External Affairs
and National Defence Committee.
I want to thank Senator Roche for the role he played back then in raising the
awareness of his colleagues on this committee. His strong convictions never
wavered. He will continue — we are certain — to devote himself to those who
believed in him.
As I did not get the opportunity to do so earlier, I want to take this
opportunity to pay tribute to Senator Robertson and to Senator Beaudoin, who has
always been a wonderful friend.
More than 15 appointments will be possible, and one of my wishes is that the
next Prime Minister, whoever he will be, will at long last show the way, because
he will have the option of achieving one house that has total equality by
appointing women until we reach a complement of 53 or 52. Within less than a
year and a half, we can achieve that great goal. I thank you very much.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I hope you will permit me to
address my remarks to Senator Roche. I claim that privilege for two reasons:
first, because it is he who first marched me into this place, along with Senator
Taylor, another victim of age discrimination; and, second — this is the only
sense in which I have the advantage over all honourable senators, I believe — I
have had the privilege and honour of knowing Doug Roche since 1970 when he was
the editor of the Western Catholic Reporter. I think that trumps about
Not wanting to add to the long list, which is still not fully exhausted of
your many accomplishments, Doug, I want to point out that when the leader
complimented you by saying that you sit here as an independent so as not to be
constrained by party discipline, I know that Senator Murray would gleefully
regale us with tales of the fact that you were never constrained by party
discipline in matters of principle.
Certainly, since I have been here, you have, in more senses than one, been
the conscience of this place in many respects. I have no idea how that will be
replaced or how that will be succeeded, but when the next Prime Minister,
whoever that might be, succeeds in filling up the Alberta quotient of senators
again, he may succeed you, but he will not replace you.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, others have commented on
Senator Robertson's remarkable contributions to New Brunswick, both in her
service in the legislative assembly and here in the Senate. I will spend the
limited time available to me to comment on her quiet and effective championship
of disability issues here in the Senate.
As a result of her intervention, this chamber and the Senate as a whole has
become more sensitive to the needs of the less able in our community. For
example, the Senate has led the parliamentary world in having the first
committee report made available in ASL and LSQ sign language for the hearing
impaired. The gallery has been adapted to make it more accessible to the
handicapped. There is a working committee to identify the special committee
needs of Senate employees and to ensure that special equipment needs are met. I
am sure that many of you are not aware of these special initiatives. That is
typical of Senator Robertson. She goes about her business in a quiet, effective
way and, as a result, we will all suffer a loss when she retires.
She has my gratitude, and I wish her Godspeed.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I wish to pay tribute to
Senator Robertson. Brenda, you and I have always wondered, when the government
members so graciously clap for us, whether it is for our departure or for the
Coincidentally, May 23 is not only the day Senator Robertson retires from the
Senate but also, I believe, it was 75 years ago on that day that she arrived in
this world. I do not think that Senator Robertson will be retiring from the
Senate, because the lady I have known, the senator from New Brunswick, is
unlikely to be retiring, given all that she does. She is simply leaving Ottawa.
I did not know Brenda Robertson from New Brunswick, that courageous first
female elected member in the New Brunswick legislature and the first female
cabinet minister in the New Brunswick legislature. I only knew Senator Brenda in
the Senate. That can be rather overwhelming. Those of us who have shared caucus
discussions in the Senate know exactly what I am talking about.
We have shared a great deal of politics, a bit of strategy, intrigue and
plain old political plotting, and it has all been fun but, in that, you have
shown me what a bright political mind you have.
I have the highest respect for Brenda, who has been a wonderful colleague, an
honourable senator, and someone whom I consider to be a friend.
Brenda has shown us what resilience she has after overcoming physical
challenges from two hip surgeries, suffering the personal loss of her husband
and best friend, Wilmont, to rallying and giving us and Canadians all of her
heart, until the very moment of retirement.
Brenda was one of the first, if not the first, Atlantic members of caucus to
see the importance of a political merger between the two Conservative parties —
and she did lots of work to achieve that — and the importance of re-orienting
our focus on what really needs to be our target of attack.
Brenda, I know your family will be glad to have you back in New Brunswick,
and I hope they know how much we will miss you here. To your family, thank you
for sharing such an important, valuable and irreplaceable Canadian with us. To
you, Brenda, good luck and God bless.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, we sometimes hear politicians
saying, "If only we could get all of the voters in one place, the better to
explain to them the benefits of our policy." On one celebrated occasion in the
mid-1970s, I thought Brenda had just about accomplished that, when I believe I
saw most of the voters of New Brunswick massed outside the legislative building
in Fredericton to protest her policies when she was Minister of Social Services
We all know politicians and cabinet ministers who cut and run, or run and
hide, the minute their policies or programs come under attack. Brenda Robertson
was never of that kind. As Minister of Social Services, and later as Minister of
Health, she was responsible for controversial policy and program changes, and
for difficult decisions. What I always admired about her is that she stood her
ground, explained and defended her position and, when she could not persuade her
critics, won at least their respect and understanding.
As it has turned out, many of the changes she introduced in both the welfare
and health portfolios, changes that were worrisome to people because they were
new, have stood the test of time and have served New Brunswickers well.
The same may be said, as Senator Lynch-Staunton indicated, for the
comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of the Senate of Canada that she
brought in as chairman of the Rules Committee. This was not, to put it mildly,
an assignment she sought, but as soon as the government obtained a majority in
this place we prevailed on her to accept the challenge, which she did with
characteristic courage and determination. When she presented the new set of
rules, the then leader of the Liberal opposition, Senator MacEachen, compared
her and us unfavourably to the totalitarian regime then in power in the Kremlin.
As with so many other initiatives of our government, such as free trade, NAFTA,
the GST, the Liberals embraced the Robertson rules fully and shamelessly once in
How shall we remember Brenda? We will think of her every time the Liberals
bring in closure, or deny the adjournment of a debate, or bring us back on a
Friday morning. This is another way of saying that we will never forget you,
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I rise with great pride
today to inform this chamber of the recent achievements by Canada's curlers on
the national and international levels. It truly has been a month of success, not
only for the country but for the province of Nova Scotia, as all these
tournaments have involved rinks representing my home province.
On February 29, in Red Deer, Alberta, the defending Canadian champions
representing the Mayflower Curling Club of Halifax defeated a younger but very
talented Quebec rink 7-4, in a very close match at the Scott Tournament of
Hearts. The Canadian champions — skip Colleen Jones, third Kim Kelly, second
Mary-Anne Arsenault and lead Nancy Delahunt — have won four straight times and a
phenomenal fifth championship in six years, both national records.
These dedicated women have learned how to win. They do not rest on their
laurels but continue to push themselves to that championship level of their
game. The Jones rink is an inspirational role model for all athletes, female and
male alike. The Canadian champions will compete in the World Women's Curling
Championship in Gavle, Sweden, from April 17 to 25.
On March 14, at the Nokia Brier in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, another Nova
Scotia rink, again from the Mayflower Curling Club of Halifax, bested the
defending Canadian champion, Randy Ferbey of Alberta, in a come-from-behind 10-9
victory. The Nova Scotia rink consisted of skip Kevin Dacey, third Bruce Lohnes,
second Rob Harris, lead Andrew Gibson and fifth Matt Harris. These men managed
to keep up with the Joneses, and they will represent Canada at the World Men's
Curling Championship in Gavle.
Finally, over this past week, the Women's World Junior Curling Championship
took place in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. As I mentioned in a past statement, the
Canadian champions hail from Chedabucto Curling Club in Boylston, Nova Scotia,
and did the country proud. Skipped by Jill Mouzar, third Paige Mattie, second
Blisse Comstock and lead Chloe Comstock, their record was 10 wins and one loss
throughout the tournament. Their only loss was in the final game to Norway by a
score of 9-6. That result earned a silver medal for Canada, something of which
our junior women champions can be very proud.
I am most pleased today to offer these three tremendous rinks from Nova
Scotia this chamber's appreciation for their excellent efforts, and to wish the
Jones and Dacey rinks good luck at the World's next month.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table a document entitled, "The National Security
Committee for Parliamentarians: A Consultation Paper to Help Inform the Creation
of a Committee of Parliamentarians to Review National Security."
Hon. Joan Fraser, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport
and Communications, presented the following report:
Thursday, April 1, 2004
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has the
honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-7, to amend certain Acts of
Canada, and to enact measures for implementing the Biological and Toxin
Weapons Convention, in order to enhance public safety, has, in obedience to
the Order of Reference of Thursday, March 11, 2004, examined the said Bill and
now reports the same without amendment.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, 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. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the
fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications,
entitled "Interim Report on the Canadian News Media."
On motion of Senator Fraser, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. George J. Furey, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Thursday, April 1, 2004
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the
honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-14, to amend the Criminal Code
and other Acts, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Wednesday,
February 25, 2004, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this bill be read the third time?
On motion of Senator Rompkey, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third
reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the report of the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Group respecting the inaugural
general meeting of Inter-Parliamentarians for Social Service, held in Seoul,
South Korea, from August 28 to 31, 2003.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the report of the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Group on the Co-Chairs' annual
visit to Japan, held in Tokyo from March 1 to 6, 2004.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the report of the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Group/Canada-China Legislative
Association respecting the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific
Parliamentary Forum held in Beijing from January 12 to 14, 2004
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, I give notice that on
Tuesday, April 20, 2004, I will move:
That the petitions calling on the Senate to declare the City of Ottawa,
Canada's capital, a bilingual city, be sent to the Standing Senate Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for consideration;
That the committee consider the merits of amending section 16 of the
Constitution Act, 1867: and
That the committee report to the Senate no later than October 21, 2004.
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I come from a part of
Canada where there are many official languages, many of them Aboriginal
languages. I am very pleased today, pursuant to rule 4(h), to table petitions
signed by 35 people asking that Ottawa, the capital of Canada, be declared a
bilingual city and the reflection of the country's bilingual duality.
The petitioners pray and request that Parliament consider the following:
That the Canadian Constitution provides that French and English are the two
official languages of our country and have equality of status and equal rights
and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the government of
That section 16 of the Constitution Act, 1867 designates the city of
Ottawa as the seat of the government of Canada;
That citizens have the right in the national capital to have access to the
services provided by all institutions of the government of Canada in the
official language of their choice, namely English or French;
That Ottawa, the capital of Canada, has a duty to reflect the linguistic
duality at the heart of our collective identity and characteristic of the very
nature of our country.
Therefore, your petitioners ask Parliament to confirm in the Constitution
of Canada that Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is officially bilingual,
pursuant to section 16 of the Constitution Act, from 1867 to 1982.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, my question is to the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. Would the leader provide an update on
the status of Bhupinder Liddar's appointment as Canadian Consul General to
Chandigarh? Is he going or not?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have nothing further to advise.
Senator Comeau: This is getting to be quite a disturbing
characteristic of this government. We have seen similar actions in the past
regarding Brian Mulroney. We have seen the situation regarding François
Beaudoin. I will not name all the others. Would the Leader of the Government in
the Senate agree that it is high time that the reputations of fine Canadians be
protected and not soiled by their own government?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I absolutely agree that the
reputations of Canadians should never be soiled by their government without
cause. In this case there is no information to indicate the reason for the delay
in effecting the appointment, but certainly no intention, either, of affecting
the reputation of Mr. Liddar.
Senator Comeau: The Leader of the Government has just now said it
again. There would be no reason to do such things without cause. Do it or get
off the pot. What is the cause? Please tell us so that Canadians do not have to
worry about this kind of limbo being created for a long period of time. In the
case of Brian Mulroney, it was years. He finally had his day in court and won.
Is that what Mr. Liddar will have to go through to restore his reputation? There
is now a cloud over his head.
Senator Austin: Unfortunately, honourable senators, due process is
time consuming. It is, however, absolutely required to achieve a balanced
judgment on whatever is being judged. Patience is always urged in these cases,
and for a very good reason.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I believe him when he
says that he would not partake in such activities, but we know this has
happened. It is an abuse of power. Can the minister tell Canadians what the
present government is doing to prevent a recurrence of this episode, which has
involved witch hunts and personal attacks?
Senator Comeau: Stevie Cameron!
Senator St. Germain: I do not want to mention names.
I have the deepest respect for Senator Austin as an individual and I know
that the minister would not do this personally. However, it has happened. The
media has written about it and we all know it has happened. What remedy is the
present government taking to prohibit these vicious personal attacks and abuse
of power by the PMO and others?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I absolutely deny any vicious
attack or abuse of power by the government.
If Senator St. Germain is referring to the actions of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, then he will be aware that those actions are taken on the basis
of its own independent judgment, under the authority that it is given by
Parliament. The government has no role to play in the decisions of the RCMP with
respect to its investigations. If Senator St. Germain sees an abuse of power by
the government, I should like him to name a specific circumstance so that we can
talk about hard cases rather than this airy-fairy abuse of power,
Senator St. Germain: I can tell the minister that there is no
airy-fairy Gerry. I will name them: Allan Rock and Stevie Cameron. There are two
examples. There is also an example of a vicious attack on a former Prime
Minister, a great Canadian and someone who contributed greatly to this country.
Regardless of how one cuts it, there was an attack on him. The government sent
him $2 million because of the injustice that was brought on him, yet my
honourable friend sits here today and says that these abuses do not happen.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, it has no value to go down the
path of a circumstance in which the former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable
Brian Mulroney, has resolved whatever issues affected him with the Government of
Canada. He has asked that they be set aside, put on the shelf. I do not know why
Senator St. Germain wants to keep raising Mr. Mulroney's name and reminding the
Canadian public of events that should have been put away.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have risen before
to ask this question: Is it now the practice and the policy of the government to
obtain a complete security clearance before a head of mission is appointed?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, it is my understanding that it is
the practice to seek security information on persons who are the subject of a
possible Order in Council. That has been a long-standing practice.
Senator Andreychuk: The practice is that if there is a recommendation
for an appointment, it is always subject to security clearance before the actual
Order in Council is made. If that rule was followed in Mr. Liddar's case, is the
honourable leader saying that there were assurances from the RCMP that there was
a security clearance but that something has happened in the intervening period
to warrant investigation, or is he saying that the first check is being done
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have no information to offer
the chamber with respect to the process of security clearance in this particular
circumstance. I cannot go to the dance with Senator Andreychuk on her
Senator Andreychuk: It is not a dance; I am declining the offer.
Senator Austin: I will go to other dances with you, however.
Senator Meighen: Stop waltzing around the question!
Senator Andreychuk: It is neither a tango nor a waltz. It is a
straight question. The responsibility lies with the government. The government
continues to ask for more legislation to make Canadians safe. However, the way
we make Canadians safe is by administering the existing practices and policies.
When a head of mission goes overseas, he or she goes with the authority to
bind the state. There must be a full security clearance or that person should
not be appointed. Mr. Liddar's appointment was announced, so I presume he was
cleared. Therefore, there had to have been a proper RCMP investigation, CSIS
investigation and some certification to the government that there was a
I think the government should answer by saying that it sought a clearance and
received a clearance before it made the appointment. I agree that the honourable
leader cannot go into the details of RCMP investigations at the moment, but did
the government follow the rule to obtain a security clearance before the
appointment? That is a government responsibility, not an RCMP or CSIS
Senator Austin: As I have said in answer to a question posed as the
first supplementary question of Senator Andreychuk, I am absolutely confident
that the government will follow a long-standing policy, but I have no
information with respect to the circumstances being addressed.
Senator Andreychuk: Could I ask the Leader of the Government to look
into this matter and determine whether clearance was obtained? Could we have
that answer in a written form in due course?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have grave doubts that I would
be able to obtain any information with respect to this issue until it is made
public by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Senator Andreychuk: I am not asking for security information nor am I
asking for existing government assessments. I simply want to know whether the
government received a clearance before it made the appointment, or did it make
the appointment without the clearance? That is a government responsibility and
such information should be available to the public. I am asking if the policies
were followed. When we send Canadians abroad, it is extremely important that
they have the full trust, confidence and security clearance on behalf of
Canadians. It is a government responsibility to assure Canadians of that fact
only. If there was no clearance, we need to know; if there was a clearance, we
need to know. The content of the clearance is not for us to know.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I am certain that in the proper
course the information that Senator Andreychuk is requesting will be available,
subject to the rights of privacy under Canadian law to which the individual in
question is entitled.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, the gentleman in question
has publicly announced that he is giving up his privacy rights to not reveal
Honourable senators, the Senate will adjourn today and may or may not return
on April 20. The case in question is becoming most embarrassing. If one reads
The Hill Times, one will see that names are being thrown out by Mr. Cleroux.
Names like Stan Darling are being used. I do not know how many senators know
Stan Darling, but he is as straight and honest as an arrow. One could never find
a better man than Stan Darling in the House of Commons.
There is then Mr. Corbett, for whom Mr. Liddar worked; and then Senator
Forrestall. These names are in Mr. Cleroux's article, so I might as well mention
them. Names like Joe Clark have been thrown in. These names go back 20 years. My
name is included in the article. It would be much more tragic if I were to say
exactly what happened. I will not because it is too embarrassing and it is too
divisive. I hope the minister is listening carefully. It is too dramatic and too
divisive. Senator Macquarrie was a man who happened to hold some opinions or
views that were not popular in the old days — with whom I personally have no
relationship, except to know that we happened to share the same opinion. He was
a great mentor of many members. Senator Macquarrie was no fool; he was a great
historian, a great scholar.
Names are being thrown out. The Sikh community in Canada is growing. Canada
is changing dramatically. There are hundreds of thousands of new Canadians. They
wonder what is going on. What is wrong with this man? Is this a witch hunt? I do
not know. Being 40 years in Parliament, I know what I am talking about, sir.
Senator Stratton: Question!
Senator Prud'homme: As you may know, 30 years ago, I met the
commissioner of the RCMP. I requested security clearance, and was completely
secure at my request.
As we are about to adjourn, would the leader convey our concerns to the
proper authorities? I am being very calm in dealing with this issue because I
know how hot, explosive and even dangerous the issue will be if it drags on and
on. It is unfair to Mr. Liddar.
Senator Stratton: Question!
Senator Prud'homme: I do not know who is saying that. Who wants me to
ask the question?
The Hon. the Speaker: Would you come to your question, Senator
Senator Prud'homme: I would like the government to know how extremely
concerned we are as members who care for Canadians' rights.
Senator Austin: I assure Senator Prud'homme and also Senator
Andreychuk that the views expressed by them on this issue will be conveyed to
the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. A speech given by the Prime Minister in
Winnipeg last Friday placed all hopes for health care funding on the outcome of
the first ministers meeting this summer. Dr. Sunil Patel, President of the
Canadian Medical Association, was critical of the Prime Minister's desire to put
off this discussion until the summer, saying:
If we continue with the dithering and debate, it could very well be a death
knell for the Canadian public health care system.
Does the federal government have any backup or fallback or alternate plan to
deal with long-term health care funding if a deal cannot be reached by the
provinces in the summer?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
Senator Keon's question has two parts. With regard to the first, an integrated
attack on Canada's health problems as they have been emerging, and as the
honourable senator has in previous questions outlined in this chamber, requires
the cooperation of the federal government and the provinces under our
Constitution. The federal government's role, as we know, is the power of the
chequebook. The provinces are the administrators of these programs. They decide
the priorities under current practice. In order to be able to add new items to
the agenda, two things will be required — an agreement and cash. That is what
the July meeting is all about.
As to the second part of the honourable senator's query, I do not think it
would be useful for me to answer his hypothetical question, which is: What will
the federal government do if there is no agreement? The Prime Minister is taking
every possible step to ensure that the provinces understand that the Government
of Canada wants that conference to succeed and is willing to add funds to health
care in Canada, provided there is agreement with respect to the objectives and
an accountability with respect to the application of those funds on the part of
I should like to add in this rather long answer that the Canadian Health
Council is designed, subject to the agreement of the federal government and the
provinces, to play a critical peer group role in designing new objectives for
Canadian health care.
Senator Keon: I thank the Leader of the Government for his answer. I
agree it is unfair to ask him to speculate on what might come about, but I
believe everybody agrees that, in the short term, there will have to be more
cash from the federal government. Everybody who is sincere about this matter
also agrees that cash is not the answer, that this needs a lot more — planning,
communication and so forth — to make the system as we know it now financially
It would be a serious setback if, in the short term, some cash does not flow
to keep things going until we design a master plan. My supplementary question
is: Does the minister perceive some cash flowing without having to wait for all
this to be settled?
Senator Austin: As Senator Keon knows, this chamber passed Bill C-18,
and I am sure the cheques are on the way to the provinces for the $2-billion,
one-time cash infusion. Hopefully, that will be used as a transitional fund for
existing operations. All of us hope that the federal government and the
provinces will come to a balanced agreement that will ensure the current
standards of health care in Canada and, indeed, improve them.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Since April is the Canadian Cancer Society's
Daffodil Month, I have a supplementary question of the Leader of the Government
in the Senate, pursuant to both a speech made by Senator Carstairs on March 23
and a general question of health care funding raised by Senator Keon.
As I am sure the government leader is well aware, Health Canada has a
national strategy for the control of HIV/AIDS, which causes, incidentally, about
600 to 700 deaths per year, and that is funded at over $42 million per year. It
has a national strategy for the control of diabetes, which causes about 31,000
deaths per year, and that is funded at an average of $23 million per year.
However, Health Canada's national strategy for cancer control — a disease that
takes close to 60,000 people per year — is funded at only $600,000. That is the
amount Health Canada provides to the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, an
organization that has developed a blueprint for substantially improving the
cancer morbidity and mortality statistics across the country.
My question to the Leader of the Government is this: Will he seek to obtain a
commitment from the Government of Canada to provide the Canadian Strategy for
Cancer Control with the kind of improved funding that is required to implement
its own blueprint?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have received vigorous advocacy from the B.C. cancer control groups and research
groups in my own province of B.C. I am aware of the concern that they have with
respect to the federal government's present support for overall strategic
definition of the work to be done and the networking of people to attack the
problem of cancer in Canada. I consider the honourable senator's representation
to be a very important one. I will add his comments to my own which I have taken
forward to the Minister of Health.
I recognize that he is wearing a lapel pin indicating his support for cancer
research in Canada. This morning I received in my office a bouquet of daffodils
from British Columbia.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, my question is again to
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I should like to follow up on a
question I asked a month ago and, to which, in spite of all odds, I know I will
receive an answer. That question concerned the rather stingy compensation the
government has decided to provide veterans who were subject to chemical agent
testing by our own government.
It always seems to be the case, honourable senators, with this government
that no action is taken on veterans' compensation until the government is
pressed to the wall to do so, usually by a lawsuit instituted by the veterans
themselves. This case is no different. It was only after a lengthy and expensive
class-action suit by the veterans that the government agreed to provide them
with this limited compensation.
That means, therefore, that the veterans who themselves spearheaded the
lawsuit have accumulated substantial legal fees that they are now responsible to
My question for the leader is this: Will he, now that the government has
decided on a compensation package for the veterans, undertake to urge his
colleague the Minister of Veterans Affairs to agree over and above the
compensation package to pay for the legal fees? As he well knows, had it not
been for the legal action, there would have been no compensation package, and it
is the veterans themselves who are forced to bear the not-inconsiderable burden
of these fees. It seems to me that equity and justice would dictate that the
government pay those fees.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
will convey that representation to the Minister of Veterans Affairs.
However, I would add that all ministers are obliged to follow the advice of
the Minister of Justice as represented by the Department of Justice. I believe
that it would be possible for the Minister of Veterans Affairs and myself to
have a meeting with the Minister of Justice on this topic.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate, and it has to do with VIA Rail.
Recent newspaper reports indicate that Prime Minister Paul Martin, former
owner of Voyageur Bus Company, was not known to be a friend of VIA Rail, as was
shown by route cuts in his early budgets.
Before entering cabinet, Mr. Martin was openly critical of VIA Rail, and
The Globe and Mail newspaper of March 10, 1989 reported the following:
"VIA Rail is being used to destroy Voyageur," he charged, adding that the
federal subsidies to the Crown corporation represent unfair competition.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate advise the Senate as to
whether the decision in the most recent budget to cut back VIA Rail's capital
budget was that of the Minister of Finance alone, or did the Prime Minister have
a hand in that decision?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, did
I understand Senator Oliver to be quoting from a newspaper story from March 10,
Senator Oliver: Yes.
Senator Austin: That was at a time when the government of the Right
Honourable Brian Mulroney was in office. Am I correct? If that were the case,
Paul Martin would not have been a member of the government and, indeed, as a
backbench MP, would have been entitled to have and manage investment interests.
I am a little puzzled by the question. Perhaps the honourable senator could
Senator Oliver: The question, honourable senators, is clear to me.
What The Globe and Mail reported on March 10 was a quotation of the words
used by Mr. Martin, and Mr. Martin, as owner of Voyageur Bus Lines, said that
"VIA Rail is being used to destroy Voyager." He also said that federal
subsidies to the Crown corporation, VIA Rail, represent unfair competition. That
was the quotation in The Globe and Mail.
The question is this: If that was his view then, are the cuts to VIA Rail's
capital budget in this most recent budget by his hand?
Senator Austin: The honourable senator is asking for some sort of idle
speculation, and I have no intention of providing it.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I have a couple of
brief questions for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. One is to ask if
the minister knows whether the EH-101 Cormorants have, as yet, been put back
into full service.
My question has to do with Canadians involved in the Iraq war. I preface my
remarks by extending my deepest sympathy to the families of not only Canadians
who lost their lives in that war but also to the families of all those injured.
On March 2, 2004, the London-based British daily The Independent
reported that a little-known terrorist group called Jaysh Ansar al-Sunnah
claimed in a videotape to have killed Canadian and British intelligence agents
near Yusufiyah on January 5.
Can the Leader of the Government tell the chamber whether any Canadian
government-employed personnel, either permanent or contract, have been killed in
Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, in
order to give an accurate answer, I will make inquiries and provide an answer to
Senator Forrestall as soon as possible.
While I am on my feet, as a result of a question which Senator Forrestall
asked me yesterday, I would draw his attention to the release today of a
document, "The National Security Committee of Parliamentarians," which is a
consultation paper to help inform the creation of a committee of
parliamentarians to review national security.
Senator Forrestall: Would the minister send that over, please?
I have a brief supplementary question. I hesitate to ask, but the Toronto
Star reported the other day that Richard Flynn, 54, of Mississauga, a
retired RCMP officer, was killed in a bomb attack on January 5, near Falluja.
Can the Leader of the Government tell us if this former member of the RCMP
VIP protection squad was in the employ of any government department or agency at
the time he was so sadly lost in that incident?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, the information I have is that he
was retired from government service and was an employee of a private company.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I have one quick
question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The mad cow disease has
been very well handled by the government and especially by the health
authorities in working together to try to get the border re-opened. Does the
minister have any new information on the possibility of the border re-opening
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I do
not. As the honourable senator is well aware, we are awaiting the termination of
the consultation period which was decided upon by the Department of Agriculture
in the United States, and my understanding is that date is April 7, which is a
week away, to say the obvious. I would hope, as I know the honourable senator
does, that shortly after that date we will have some signal from the United
Leave having been given to revert to Presentation of Petitions:
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present a
petition of 94 households from the northern municipality of Inukjuak, bringing
the total to 246 households from the Nunavik region.
The petitioners pray and request that the Senate of Canada consider the
That the villages of Nunavik are isolated northern communities with no
road access to the goods and services paid for by taxpayers and readily
available throughout southern Canada;
That the costs of living in Nunavik northern villages varies from a low
of 150 per cent to a high of over 200 per cent of the cost of living in
southern Canada, the average being 182 per cent of the cost of living in
That the higher cost of living in Nunavik and the filing of income tax
returns, which are not available in the Inuit language, is therefore a
burden on those individuals;
That the residents of Nunavik who do not file are hereby deprived of
significant sums of money in refunds to which they are entitled;
That the above conditions give rise to legitimate grievances and fuel
discontent among the residents of Nunavik;
That equality before the law requires more than treating people in the
same way, but requires people to be given equal access and opportunities;
Therefore, your petitioners pray that the Senate:
(a) study their grievances set out in this petition, the current
systematic discrimination against them in the tax system and all other
related matters that may seem fit to it, with a view to recommending
measures that could be taken to provide the fair treatment and economic
well-being of the residents of Nunavik; and
(b) urge the Government of Canada to respond to those grievances without
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Poulin, for the third reading of Bill C-16,
respecting the registration of information relating to sex offenders, to amend
the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, Senator Cools had asked
me a question on Bill C-16, concerning the situation that faces police officers
in regards to crimes against children and women.
Very briefly, dealing with crimes of this type is very difficult for a police
officer. The individuals who commit these crimes are generally loners, whereas
often more than one individual is involved in other types of crimes.
The perpetrator of crimes against children and women could be a next door
neighbour, or anyone, for that matter. To put it succinctly, that is what makes
it so challenging for police officers, and that is why a registry is that much
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I rise to address Bill
C-16 at third reading. Bill C-16 will create a national sex offender registry in
Canada, and we on this side support this bill.
Bill C-16 was passed in the other place first as Bill C-23 in the Second
Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament, but it did not really begin as a
government initiative. To call it that oversimplifies the events. In truth, this
legislation would likely not exist if not for the tireless efforts of Jim and
Ann Stephenson, whose son Christopher was killed by a sex offender. Mr. and Ms.
Stephenson convinced the Province of Ontario to create a sex offender registry
and continued to lobby for a national database. Eventually, all provinces came
together and asked the federal government to build this registry.
The sex offender registry will provide a useful tool for law enforcement
officials investigating sexual assault, abduction of children, sex-related
homicide and other crimes. The registry will also help those who have been
convicted of these offences by allowing them to quickly be disqualified from
suspicion in sex crimes investigations.
The legislation is tempered. It is not a public registry. The information
will be accessible to police, not neighbours. While some have said this is not
strong enough, the evidence appears to support this as being the best approach.
It increases offender compliance with the database and avoids hanging a scarlet
letter around the neck of individuals who have served their sentences.
This legislation has much to commend it. That having been said, Bill C-16
should not pass without us acknowledging that it is far from a perfect bill. Of
course, there is the old saying, and I quote, "The perfect is the enemy of the
good." That is why we support this legislation, even with its flaws. It is a
good start and can be improved upon over time, but we would be remiss if we did
not place the criticism of the bill on the record.
When I examine this bill, it seems evident that the government wants to be
seen to be creating a sex offender registry, but deep down I suspect that some
in government find the idea distasteful. They think of such a registry, I would
guess, as a right-wing, hot-button, law-and-order issue, something that they are
forced to do for political purposes but that is not something they would
normally choose to place on their political agenda. This is evident not only
from the fact that the penalties for reporting are so low, but from the hoops
the system has to jump through to add any name to the registry.
In committee, one witness, Professor Allan Manson, said that a sex offender
registry was a waste of money. He said there was not much "bang for the buck."
His views, I think, articulate the real views of some in government and society.
The registry, he said, would cost too much money and make us feel like we are
doing something when it is really a distraction from other initiatives. His
reason for this seemed to be that there were no bulk numbers of sex crimes
I ask you, honourable senators, what is one life worth? Professor Manson
cited a study that focused on a sex offender registry in Massachusetts. He said
that researchers had looked at past homicides and concluded that had a sex
offender registry been in place only four of 136 homicides would have been aided
by the registry. He seemed to take this as an indictment. I saw it as a victory.
The registry could have solved four of these heinous crimes, and that statistic
does not include abductions and sexual assaults that do not end in homicide.
When we pressed him about other victims, he had no statistics with him, but
he pointed out that 79 per cent of sexual assaults against children happen in
their homes, by family members. Again, where he saw an indictment I saw 20 per
cent of cases where the offender registry could be valuable. Even if it was just
a quarter of that number, 5 per cent, it would be well worth the cost.
None of those statistics include sex offenders who stay on the straight and
narrow because they know they are being scrutinized. None of those statistics
include the improved efficiency with which police will now be able to disqualify
past sex offenders so that they can focus on other aspects of the investigation.
None of their statistics addressed the situation of a woman, having been
sexually assaulted by a stranger, who remembers certain characteristics, like a
tattoo or a scar. The database would be very useful in more effectively
addressing those and many other situations.
Let us look at a real-life example. The Ottawa Citizen reported last
Thursday, March 25, 2004, on page D3, that a 33-year-old man convicted of
possessing and distributing child pornography and using the Internet to set up a
sexual encounter with what he thought were two 13-year-old girls was released
after spending six and a half months in jail. The man is in treatment. The
authorities believe he is at a very small risk of re-offending. He may go on to
a productive life, crime free.
However, we should nonetheless have knowledge of his whereabouts for the
safety of our children. As well, by reporting regularly, he would be reminded of
his conviction; it would remain fresh in his mind. With any luck, this would act
as a further deterrent to re-offending. This database does not hang a scarlet
letter around his neck, but it keeps him on a reasonable leash.
It is a useful tool but, again, it is far from perfect. During second
reading, I raised a number of concerns that I hoped we would receive answers to
in committee. The minister and government officials responded to some of these
questions, but I still have some concerns, and I am not the only one.
Honourable senators, while researching this bill, I asked the Toronto police
for their comments. Staff Inspector Bruce Smollett responded to my request with
the following comments and criticisms, which I wish to place on the record:
First, while there is provision for retroactive data entry into the new
federal databank, it is restricted only to those offenders serving a sentence,
or who are incarcerated at that time.
Second, an investigator may only access the federal database when the
investigator reasonably suspects a crime of a sexual nature has occurred. This
poses two problems. First, the police cannot use the database to quickly rule
out the possibility of a sexual abduction. Second, there is no stated
authority to access the database in order to verify or audit compliance by
Third, disclosure of offender information contained within the federal
database may only be provided on the authority of the RCMP Commissioner. The
RCMP cannot delegate such authority to either provincial or municipal police
services. This may become problematic when there is a requirement to disclose
such information to a Crown's office.
Fourth, there is no provision for geo-coding. Investigators cannot search
the database for offenders who reside within a certain radius of an incident.
Fifth, offenders are only required to report fifteen days after a change in
residence. Or similarly, should they go on a lengthy holiday, they are only
required to notify of their extended absence fifteen days after the
commencement of their holiday — even by telephone. There should instead be a
provision for the offender to notify fifteen days prior to an address change
or some other planned lengthy exclusion.
Staff Inspector Smollett worried that "the federal database will serve more
as a statistic based information system with limited investigative values for
Other concerns have also been raised. First, during deliberation before the
committee, Tony Cannavino, President of the Canadian Professional Police
Association, who supports the legislation, I should say, pointed out that
failure to register on the sex offender database by an offender results in a
maximum of a two-year penalty, but that failure to register in the gun registry
results in a maximum 10-year penalty. When asked about this in committee, the
Minister of Public Safety had no answer for why this was so, saying only that
she found the comparison to be "not helpful." However, it is helpful. It is a
fair observation of the government's priorities.
Second, as mentioned by colleagues in the other place, the process to be
placed on the registry is far too cumbersome and invites unequal application. In
order to be placed on the registry, a Crown prosecutor must bring an application
before a judge. If that application is granted, the offender has access to
separate proceedings by which he can apply to be taken off the registry if he
feels that the stigma of being in the registry is affecting him in a "grossly
disproportionate" way. This brings an inequity into the system since certain
judges may grant applications while others will refuse them. Moreover, certain
Crown counsel will bring the applications while others will not. Certainly a
mandatory database with stronger penalties for non-compliance would be an
improvement on this legislation.
Third, as I stated in my speech on second reading, photographs of offenders
are not mandatory. They may or may not be included at the discretion of the
functionary interviewing the offender. Upon investigation, I have been informed
that this is because police services are in the midst of an upgrade to a better
database that will be able to incorporate digital photographs. We need to
monitor developments to ensure that these improvements are employed fully once
they are constructed.
Fourth, a glaring inadequacy is that young offenders are not included in this
database. While I understand the need for young offenders to be treated
differently, I do not know why they should be exempt from this legislation. It
cannot be because of stigma. The government has stressed time and time again
that the database is an investigative tool and that this information will only
be accessible to investigators. They have also stressed that this is not a form
of punishment; rather, it is an "administrative consequence."
Honourable senators, I am a strong supporter of programs that help troubled
and at-risk youth to get back on the right track. I do not support the "lock
them up and throw away the key" philosophy, but we all know that sexual
offences are often the result of a compulsion. They have a very high rate of
recidivism as a result of that compulsion.
A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Studies
and reported in yesterday's The Globe and Mail makes the point strongly.
I would like to quote from the story.
Treating sex offenders in custody for their deviant urges has little impact
on whether they go on to commit sex crimes — or other offences — after they're
freed, according to a new study."
The article quotes the study as saying:
It is reasonable to conclude that the overall treatment program did not
have any meaningful effect on recidivism rates. We still have much to learn
about how best to intervene with sexual offenders.
It seems to me that individuals with such a problem should be monitored, no
matter their age.
Finally, in terms of Charter scrutiny, the government's representatives have
stressed that they are confident that the database will pass Charter scrutiny,
but some of my colleagues are not so sure. The problem of retroactive additions
to the database appears to be a core concern. Included in this concern is the
fact that this new federal database will incorporate all of the names in the
Ontario sex offender database. This means that, in some cases, offenders who
have completed their sentence will be incorporated into the Ontario registry. A
different offender who committed the same offence at the same time in Manitoba
or Nova Scotia may not be included or will not be included in the database. As
pointed out by several of my colleagues on the committee, this creates another
inequity in the database.
Let me be clear. I support the retroactive application, but I raise this
issue because this problem could have been minimized, if not eliminated, had the
government responded to the need for this action quickly. Manitoba created a
community notification advisory committee to review cases of convicted sex
offenders thought to be at high risk to reoffend eight years ago, in 1995.
President Clinton passed Megan's Law in the United States in 1996. The Ontario
registry came into force three years ago, under Christopher's Law. If the
federal government had cooperated with the provinces at that time and created a
national database in conjunction with Ontario or created one before they did,
the problems could have been avoided. Instead, they needed to be begged to act.
Honourable senators, we on this side support this legislation. It is a good
start. It provides a new investigative tool for the police. It will ultimately,
I believe, save lives and prevent the victimization of many innocent people.
However, we should be vigilant and look for ways in which we may improve it over
A review of the registry is scheduled to take place two years after it comes
into force. I hope the government will take that review seriously and look for
ways to make this good start into an even better tool for law enforcement and
Honourable senators, I am not deluding myself. Bill C-16 will not solve by
itself the problem of sexual offences. Even if it were a perfect database, it
would not be a panacea. Indeed, the fact that we need this kind of legislation
speaks to a failure of our society to deal with this issue at a fundamental
level. We should not pass this legislation, pat ourselves on the back for having
done something, and never think of this uncomfortable topic again. It must not
distract us from developing strategies and allocating resources in support of
other programs that would aid us in preventing and combating these horrible
Bill C-16 is an important tool. I believe it will help law enforcement in the
difficult task of investigating these heinous crimes and will reduce repeat
offences. I will be voting in favour of the bill, and I will urge all honourable
senators to do so as well.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I want to say a few
words about this bill, which I support. I commend Senator Pearson for her
comments. I think she fairly, adequately and passionately laid out why we need
legislation. I will not repeat her comments. She has adequately made the case
for the registry, and Senator Di Nino has added further comments today in that
Public expectation has grown in believing that this tool, this registry, will
be a benefit to Canadians. It is being tested elsewhere in the world, and
therefore it is of some note that Canada wishes to do the same. However, I have
stood before and said that we should not be fooled. The registry will have
difficulties. This is not the first time that legislation has come forward where
there were grave questions about whether it was constitutional and could
withstand a Charter challenge. Those pieces of legislation were withdrawn, as
they clearly offended Charter principles.
I commend the government on attempting to balance the need of society for
protection and the need to ensure that the privacy of offenders be maintained.
The government is in fact required to do so by virtue of the fact that offenders
serve their sentences. We should punish people for offences, but once they have
served the sentences, they should then become citizens like any others. That
principle is very important in society. The registry goes beyond that, and so it
is an intrusion and puts a longer stigma on people than the classic punishment
model used to do. Therefore, I think we must institute a sexual offender
registry with some caution.
Honourable senators, there is a tendency to pass legislation and to publicize
it in an effort to give a comfort level to people that we are protecting them.
Professor Manson, on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association, fears that the
registry might even be a detraction; that is, people will believe that they are
now protected from sexual offenders and will not take other appropriate steps.
Following the discussions in our committee, Senator Di Nino has already noted
that we must be vigilant to ensure that there are other mechanisms and avenues
to support those who could be vulnerable in our society. Therefore, this bill is
not the be-all and end-all. It is simply one tool, a tool that has difficulties
It is important to put the other side of the argument on the table. That
argument was made by the Canadian Bar Association, which represents prosecution
and defence counsel.
On page 1530-3 of the evidence given before the Legal and Constitutional
Affairs Committee on March 24, 2004, Professor Manson stated:
I think it is important to understand why we think it is bad policy. That
gives context to any potential Charter difficulties because, if we assume that
at some point there might be some constitutional challenges, the same factors
will apply with respect to the section 1 justification.
He went on to say:
We think this scheme, and in fact any sex offender registry scheme, will
achieve very little, will cost a lot, and will distract attention from real
sources of risk to children and other vulnerable people. It will distract
attention from developing potential strategies for ameliorating those risks,
which everyone has to agree underlies the concern to develop a scheme like
this, the need to protect vulnerable people in the community, especially
In answer to another question by the Canadian Bar Association, the minister
indicated that she believed it was not a punishment, that Bill C-16, in using a
registry, was in fact an effective investigative tool. She said that it is like
the DNA Identification Act. However, when Professor Manson came before the
committee, I asked him the following question:
What troubled me was in the government's submission. They said that being
put on a registry was not a punishment. It was an investigative tool and it
was for the benefit of the people on the registry as much as for people who
might some day be subject to a sexual predator. Based on the fact that they
say the DNA has discounted convicted criminals as often as it has ensnared
them, do you believe that the sexual registry is part of the punishment of the
crime that you committed or is merely an investigative tool, a condition but
not necessarily a punishable one?
In his reply, Mr. Manson stated:
When you are creating burdens that impact on people's liberty interest, it
has to be viewed as part of a punishment. It does that by requiring people to
physically report but more importantly by subjecting people to potential
penalties for failure to comply.
He went on to say:
I think it is wrong to assume that it is an investigative tool. It is very
unlikely. It is not like the DNA database.
When probed further about what kind of investigative tool would comply with
the Charter, he said, on page 1530-9.
I would refer you to a report done by Justice Archie Campbell of the
Ontario Superior Court on the Bernardo prosecution. He did a one-person task
Incidentally, he was also the judge involved in the SARS inquiry. Mr. Manson
went on to say:
In his lengthy and detailed Bernardo inquiry, about what went wrong with
the investigation and why it took so long, et cetera, he talked a lot about a
new software program a number of police agencies are using. It is called
ViCLASS. It is about tracking violent offenders through characteristics of
offence. I understand that most sophisticated police agencies in Canada are
now plugged into it. That is a tool. It creates no burdens and penalties. It
means when you investigate case X and you bring your prosecution against that
offender, you put all of your facts into a database and it is available to all
the other police agencies. Whether they are in Vancouver, Saskatoon or
Restigouche, they can plug in and say, "We have a similar case. Was this guy
in our province?" That is a tool that makes sense. DNA is a tool that makes
He went on to say that "This" — meaning the registry — "just does not make a
lot of sense."
Professor Manson has put a large red flag on the fact that he does not
believe it will pass and will be considered to be part of punishment. I think we
have to watch this legislation to see which school of thought is correct.
Having said that it was bad policy, Professor Manson, on page 1530-3,
indicated some serious Charter concerns. One he put forward was that the
registry will not trap the people who have committed the homicides. He stated:
In 2001, 39 children in this country were, out of 554 homicides, children
under the age of 12. Thirty were killed by their parents, six by friends and
relatives and only three by strangers.
His caution was that there is not this need to trap other people, that it is
children who are vulnerable in their own settings. His words were that we should
work on "dysfunctional home contexts".
He further went on to say:
Secondly, if we look at the nature of this kind of registration scheme and
listen to the police argument that it will help the investigation and
apprehension of people who have committed crimes of this nature, especially
crimes against children and other vulnerable people, you have to remember that
there are three preconditions before that could ever happen. The first is that
the real perpetrator must have been previously convicted; therefore, people
like Paul Bernardo, for example, would not be on your registry. Secondly,
assuming that, the perpetrator would have to be someone who was on a registry,
complied with the registration, and committed the new offence or attempted to
commit it near the registered address. If they moved to the next county it is
a different ballgame.
He is cautioning that there will need to be an extraordinary number of
resources to ensure everyone has access to the data and that it is
cross-referenced across this country — a monumental task with which CPIC, the
existing RCMP system, struggles.
The potential Charter violations that he pointed out are listed on page
1530-4. He believed that the first reason there may be a Charter violation is
that orders are of a mandatory length, based solely on the maximum length of
sentence. They do not engage the section 7 principle of a guarantee of
Mr. Manson added:
There is no link between blameworthiness, dangerousness and the risk and
length of the orders. The orders are all 10 years, 20 years or life. They are
mandatory and there is no link between these periods and the actual case and
the risk presented by that offender.
The second question regarding a Charter violation is that the bill is
complicated by "retrospectivity". There are two aspects of this in the
legislation. With respect to mandatory orders, the proposed subsection numbers
are 490.013(2) to (5). With respect to "retrospectivity," it pops up twice.
Proposed subsection 490.012(3) provides for lifetime orders in the case of
people previously convicted, including those convicted before the legislation
comes into force. That is the retrospective application. Then there is 490.019
that permits notices to be served on people previously convicted or those in
the Ontario registry.
We do not need to get into a debate about referential adoption in the use
of the Ontario registry in that regard. Our point is a simple one:
Constitutional law in Canada, both the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of
Canada — for example, from cases like Gamble v. The Queen, 1988 —
people are entitled to be sentenced in accordance with the law that exists at
the time of the offence; and 11(h) of the Charter, a sentence cannot be
compounded or supplemented after the person has been convicted and
The third concern we have is the exception in 409.012(4), if an offender
shows that there is a gross disproportionality between the impact on their
privacy interest and the public interest, that they are exempt. In our view,
this is an illusory exemption, and those defences are constitutionally
prohibited as explained by Chief Justice Dickson in the case of Morgentaler.
The Canadian Bar Association is saying that this is untested and uncharted
ground. We are identifying something that has been traditionally punishment in a
whole bunch of cases. We are trying to put forward this tool and say that it is
not a part of the punishment. That will be quickly challenged in the courts.
If we pass this proposed legislation and the court finds it unconstitutional,
or a violation of the Charter, will Parliament stand up and be counted, or will
we aim at the courts and say, "Look, we did this but the courts threw it out"?
We will undermine again what I call the independence of the court and the proper
role of the court.
While I have the same fears as the Canadian Bar Association, we have tested
and tested this legislation —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I am sorry to
interrupt the honourable senator but her time has expired.
Senator Andreychuk: I have but two sentences. I would ask leave,
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted for
Honourable Senator Andreychuk to continue?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Andreychuk: We have tested and tried to be responsive to the
concerns of the Canadian Bar Association and to the proportionality between the
victim and the offender. I believe we should take the risk and see if there is a
Charter challenge. However, I think the Department of Justice should be very
cautious when it assesses its cases, and when it puts its registry in place. It
must monitor so that, two years hence, we can be assured that we have done the
right thing and that we are, in fact, using the right tools. If the tools turn
out to be punishments, we should be ready to do the kinds of things that are
necessary, like reinforce the ViCLASS, and other things that I think are more
appropriate as investigative tools.
While I think there are legal cautions that must be sounded, there are some
practical reasons to test this tool. On balance, I am in support of this
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable
senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by the
Honourable Senator Pearson, seconded by the Honourable Senator Poulin, that this
bill be read the third time. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt
Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator De Bané, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Finnerty, for the second reading of Bill
C-21, to amend the Customs Tariff.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak at
second reading of Bill C-21, to amend the Customs Tariff.
This bill, as we all know, extends the General Preferential Tariff and the
Least Developed Country Tariff for 10 years, until June 2014.
We in the Conservative Party of Canada will support this bill but not without
some comment. These tariffs, as noted by the sponsor of the bill, have been in
place for some time now. The General Preferential Tariff, or GPT, dates back to
1974. It has been renewed twice since then, each time for a period of 10 years.
The Least Developed Country Tariff, or LDCT, was first established in 1983. Like
the GPT, it also expires on June 30, 2004.
The government's primary rationale for the GPT and the LDCT is the
preferential tariff trade treatment for developing countries as a means for
fostering growth and the well-being of poorer nations.
That was the rationale in the beginning, and it remains the rationale today,
as can be gathered from the words of the sponsor of this bill in the other
place. He stated:
...extending the GPT and the LCDT for another 10 years reaffirms the
government's commitment to promoting the export capability and economic growth
of developing and least developed countries — the main reasons why these
programs were initially established.
Honourable senators, these are fine words reflecting fine intentions. How
unfortunate that the government's policy on international development does not
give it the importance that it deserves. If the government really wanted to
promote economic development in these countries why, during the nineties, did it
reduce by 29 per cent the budget allocated to help these nations? This reduction
is the largest one in all public spending envelopes in Canada. Also, if the
government is really committed to the well-being of the world's least developed
countries, why is our assistance program not specifically geared to them?
Honourable senators, it may come as a surprise to learn that, according to the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the number one
beneficiary of Canadian official development assistance is not a country that is
among the least developed nations. It is not Haiti, Sierra Leone or Chad as one
might think, but Poland, which is among the top nations in 2003, based on the UN
human development index. Indeed, Poland ranks twenty-sixth out of 175 countries.
This makes it, based on the HDI, a country with a high human development index.
The number two beneficiaries of Canadian assistance are the countries of the
former Yugoslavia which, based on the HDI, are all performing well. In fact,
only two of the 34 least developed nations based on the UN human development
index are among the top 10 beneficiaries of Canadian assistance.
Honourable senators, these statistics, along with the record cuts to the aid
budget by the Liberal government, give me and, I am sure, you pause for
reflection, especially when one considers the government's stated reason for
Bill C-21 — that is, that the renewal of these tariffs is necessary to promote
economic growth of developing and least developed nations.
To steal a phrase from television's Dr. Phil, let me ask the government:
"How's that working for you so far? The answer, I suspect, is, "Not at all."
Senator Murray: Is that what you are doing with your afternoons?
Senator Meighen: That will show you that I do watch what goes on
Otherwise, we would not be faced with the need to renew these tariffs for
another 10 years. For that reason, I find it somewhat disingenuous of the
government to rationalize Bill C-21 as part of its effort to promote
development, especially when they fail to provide an overarching international
development framework in which such measures can be judged and can succeed.
In fact, if anything, the Liberal government's approach to development has
worked at counter-purposes to the measures contained in Bill C-21. It is no
wonder they need to be renewed.
I know there is more to the LDCT and the GPT than the role of promoting
economic development. Indeed, debate on this bill in the other place focused on
the impact that those and various other tariffs and trade agreements have on
Canadian industry, notably the textile industry. These are important issues that
received a substantial airing as Bill C-21 proceeded through its various stages
in the other place. No doubt these issues will dominate discussion when this
bill is referred to the appropriate Senate committee.
That is why, honourable senators, I have sought today to apply a mild
corrective and draw some attention to the development side of these measures,
because it is these tariffs alone, among several others, that seek not only to
promote trade but also the economic growth of developing countries.
That is a lofty and worthwhile goal, but one that can never be reached unless
such measures are complemented by other sincere efforts to promote development.
Speaking of goals, in 1968, Lester Pearson, who had recently retired as
Canada's Prime Minister, chaired a UN commission that set 0.7 per cent of gross
national income as the appropriate target level for aid. The target for reaching
that level was set in 1975 by the Pearson commission.
Nearly 30 years later, aid is at 0.29 per cent. In the budget tabled last
week, the Minister of Finance announced that the envelope for international aid
will be increased by $248 million in 2005-06, as part of the government's
commitment to increasing this envelope by 8 per cent annually until 2009. That
commitment was made in order to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals,
established in December 2000.
In 2009, where will we be in terms of development aid? It will reach a
colossal 0.32 per cent of our gross national income. This is less than half of
the goal that former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson set for Canada in 1975; an
objective approved by the United Nations, the World Bank and the OECD.
Honourable senators, with Bill C-21, the government is asking us to renew for
10 more years certain tariffs that are intended to benefit countries in the
developing world, tariffs that have already been renewed several times and that
have been in place for decades. I assume, and the government can correct me if I
am wrong, that the reason these measures have a time limit is that we hope, one
day, to find they are no longer necessary. We hope to find that the
least-developed countries that are in need of such help today will, one day,
graduate to other types of tariffs. I would wager, however, given this
government's current lacklustre approach to development, that many of us will
find ourselves 10 years from now — I will still be here — being asked to renew
these measures once again.
Honourable senators, I stated at the outset that we on this side will support
this bill because the measures contained in it are necessary. We support it also
in full recognition that those measures are by no means sufficient. It is high
time that this government provided the development framework within which such
measures would have a better chance of bearing fruit.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
That, pursuant to Rule 39, not more than a further six hours of debate be
allocated for the consideration of the third reading stage of Bill C-4, to
amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Ethics Commissioner and Senate Ethics
Officer) and other Acts in consequence;
That when debate comes to an end or when the time provided for the debate
has expired, the Speaker shall interrupt, if required, any proceedings then
before the Senate and put forthwith and successively every question necessary
to dispose of the third reading stage of the said Bill; and
That any recorded vote or votes on the said question shall be taken in
accordance with Rule 39(4).
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I would ask that the motion standing in my name be withdrawn from the
Order Paper because, as a result of the eminently reasonable consideration of
the opposition, it is now redundant.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella, (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), moved that
Bill S-17, to amend the Citizenship Act, be read the second time.
He said: Honourable senators, it is now time for the Parliament of Canada to
show leadership in order to correct a terrible mistake that victimized a
specific group of people.
Bill S-17, to amend the Citizenship Act, will do just that. It will remedy
the situation where a person has, as a child, lost Canadian citizenship through
the operation of law simply because a parent of that person acquired the
nationality or citizenship of a country other than Canada and renounced his or
her Canadian citizenship.
Canada's first citizenship act was passed in 1947. Prior to World War II,
Canada had a patchwork of legislation, which included the Naturalization Act of
1914, the Canadian Nationals Act of 1921, and the Immigration Act of 1910.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of
I believe we have forgotten something. Senator Kinsella moved, seconded by
myself, that this bill be read the second time, but the question was not put to
the house from the Chair. Perhaps that ought to be done.
The Hon. the Speaker: Thank you, Senator Corbin. I believe that is
It is moved by the Honourable Senator Kinsella, seconded by the Honourable
Senator Corbin, that this bill be read a second time.
Senator Kinsella: Thank you, honourable senators.
In 1947, the Citizenship Act was the first Canadian citizenship act adopted
by the Parliament of Canada. It was written in that era, over 50 years ago, and
seen in today's light, it was discriminatory to women, certain minority groups
and children. In Part III, sections 17 and 18 took away the citizenship of
Canadian-born women and children without their consent or, in some cases, even
their knowledge. The rights of women and children were superseded by their
husbands and/or fathers. As a result, Canadians automatically lost their
Canadian citizenship if the husband and/or parent had a different citizenship or
the latter changed his and their citizenship.
Those glaring omissions and inequities resulted in Parliament passing a new
Citizenship Act in 1977. The 1977 act ensured that all children born in Canada
after 1977 would not ever lose their citizenship, but Parliament failed to make
the act retroactive. Therefore, those children born between 1947 and 1977 whose
parents renounced their own citizenship automatically lost their birthright and,
in some cases, were made stateless.
Some children ceased to be Canadian and did not automatically receive the
citizenship of another country. They had to wait until the age of majority to
apply for citizenship. In a unanimous 1997 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada
in the case of Benner v. Canada (Secretary of State) found the 1947 act
violated the rights of children born abroad to Canadian women. Thus, remedies
were put into effect to protect the citizenship rights of these children. As a
result, foreign-born children of Canadian women are now allowed to return to
Canada as citizens by simply petitioning the government.
However, Canadian-born children of that same Canadian woman cannot
automatically ask to resume their Canadian citizenship. They must apply for
immigration, qualify under current standards and wait in line for years for
their visas, arrive in Canada as landed immigrants and establish themselves for
one more year before they can apply for citizenship. This procedure can easily
take three or four years.
The government and members from all sides have now recognized this error and
wish to right this wrong. Honourable senators, it is appropriate that this
chamber, mindful of inequities when they are found in the law, be ready to deal
with them, and I would ask for your support.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Corbin: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise today to
speak in support of Bill S-17, to amend the Citizenship Act.
As Senator Kinsella has just indicated, this bill would correct a problem
encountered by a number of individuals who have been called "Canada's lost
children." They are people attempting to reclaim their Canadian citizenship — a
citizenship that was lost through operation of law and not through conscious
choice or through their own actions or decisions. They are people who were born
in Canada of Canadian parents. Their Canadian citizenship was lost only because
their parents moved out of Canada between 1947 and 1977 and the custodial parent
took out citizenship in another country. The individuals affected would
currently be at least 57 years of age and as young as 27 years old. In so doing,
the children were taken along willy-nilly, losing their Canadian citizenship but
maintaining the same citizenship of their parent.
Honourable senators, Canadians born in Canada after 1977 do not and cannot
face this problem, because the Citizenship Act has been corrected for them.
Unfortunately, the law was not changed for those born prior to 1977. In my view,
our current legislation fails to deal appropriately with the right of
citizenship for people dispossessed of their citizenship in this manner.
While I am sure that many children who have left Canada in the company of
their parents will have no particular desire to return, those who wish to return
ought to be able to come to Canada as citizens and not as immigrants. This bill
corrects this inequity in the law. We do not know how many so-called lost
children there are, but we do know that at least some of them wish to return to
the country of their birth, to reclaim their birthright. I wish to stress that
they are not and should not be coming to Canada as immigrants, subject to the
various restraints and restrictions that the Immigration Act imposes, along with
delays. They will be returning to Canada as Canadian citizens.
The issue raised here by Senator Kinsella is not a question of immigration.
It is a question of citizenship and the right — the entitlement — of people who
are born in this country of Canadian parents to hold and retain citizenship in
Canada, the land of their birth.
Honourable senators, this is one of those occasions when one of the laws of
Canada, a law that is no longer in force, has been found to have inequitable
consequences. The current law has not addressed the problem, and it is our
opportunity to remedy the wrong done to Canada's lost children. It is an issue
deserving of detailed examination by a committee of this house.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Kinsella,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, that this bill be read a second time
now. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons returning Bill S-15, to amend the Act of
incorporation of Queen's Theological College, acquainting the Senate that they
have passed this bill without amendment.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Gill, for the second reading of Bill S-9,
to honour Louis Riel and the Metis People.—(Honourable Senator Stratton).
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Stratton, do you wish to speak?
Hon. Terry Stratton: I would ask leave to speak to this item later
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted, to return
to Bill S-9 later this day?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Is that leave binding?
The Hon. the Speaker: If leave is granted, yes, we would return to it
later this day.
Senator Cools: My question is based on what happened yesterday. When I
got leave to be able to move the adjournment on Senator Mobina Jaffer's motion,
it turned out to be not so binding.
I just wish to check that it is, indeed, binding.
Senator Stratton: I will speak later this day.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I think in both cases the
leave was applicable. There were other circumstances, as I recall, namely a vote
on adjournment, and I appreciate Senator Cools' position on that.
The other thing to clarify, Senator Stratton, is when later this day would we
return to this? Does the honourable senator have a time in mind? Would it be at
the end of Commons Public Bills?
Senator Stratton: Before the adjournment is fine.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators, that we
return to Bill S-9 immediately prior to the adjournment motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator LaPierre, for the third reading of Bill
C-250, to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda).—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: Honourable senators, I intend to speak to the
legality of this bill, but my colleague must leave, and I would yield to him.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, under the yielding
provision, Senator Beaudoin would lose his right to speak, unless leave is given
for him to speak later.
Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to third
reading of Bill C-250.
Honourable senators, Bill C-250 has been the subject of much debate from
across this country. In my region, over the last two months in particular, the
voice of Western Canadians has been very strong and clear — that is, they do not
want this legislative amendment as presently worded added to our Criminal Code.
The very fact that representatives from all major faith groups — Catholic,
Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — in Canada have sounded the alarm over the hate crime
bill should say something to you.
Honourable senators, most Canadians who practise their faith aggressively
oppose Bill C-250. The only other time I can recall Canadians objecting so
strenuously to something their Parliament was about to adopt was when the gun
registry legislation was being debated. Why the government, and indeed the
Senate itself, seems so determined to rush through this legislation and not
provide Canadians the opportunity to be heard and their questions seriously
considered is beyond belief.
When Bill C-250 was before this place in the last session, I spoke to the
bill. I spoke to the concerns of the people in my region, and I spoke against it
being hastily passed by Parliament. Honourable senators, I sought to have the
committee fully charged with examining each and every concern raised by
Canadians. I raised some of these questions at the recent committee hearings. I
had asked for a definition of sexual orientation and what this really means. I
would ask how the words "sexual orientation" make gays and lesbians an
identifiable group and whether the words "sexual orientation" include other
Honourable senators, our democracy was built based on Judeo-Christian values
and the principles of law. In Canada, it seems that successive Liberal
governments have sought nothing other than to secularize the faiths out of our
democracy and laws. The fact that we had to include the amendment clause to
protect our faith-practising communities gives real cause for concern. Every
citizen across the land is fearful that their constitutional rights are being
trampled upon, so much so that their freedom of expression and speech will be
confined to being no more than the freedom of thought. What bothers most
Canadians is that hate crimes are now being based on vague and undefined
Honourable senators, Canadians have been very clear with their concern over
the bill, but one succinct account of the bill came to me from Carole Cole of
Dundalk, Ontario, where she said the following:
The ground of "sexual orientation" does not satisfy the characteristics
of the existing genus of the original identifiable groups. Colour, race and
ethnic origin are characteristics which are generally both visible (henceforth
the term "identifiable group") and innate.
All Canadians should be protected equally by the law. This proposed
amendment, however, not only creates a special category or privileged class of
people, based on controversial forms of sexual behaviour, for which any crimes
defined under the sections 318 and 319 will be considered hate crimes
committed against a distinct class of people, but also flies in the face of
freedom of speech, and freedom of religion as guaranteed under the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
Although the current provision contains a defence for a bona fide religious
speech, both the amendment for a "religious text," which is arguably vague,
and the existing defence are inadequate in that: 1) They do not extend to all
offences; 2) the legislative history and the wording of the defence appear to
limit its application to hate against religious groups; and 3) the courts have
signalled that they would provide a narrow interpretation to the defence.
Furthermore, recent jurisprudence demonstrates that when there is a
so-called "collision of dignities" between homosexual rights and religious
rights, homosexual rights are the preference of the courts, and these will
Precedent recently established by court jurisprudence, such as the Owen and
Harding cases, indicates that religious freedom could very well be jeopardised
by this amendment, and it could therefore force the Judaeo-Christian majority
of our population to become second class citizens, unable to speak their
religious convictions or moral standards in the public square.
The defence would therefore be inadequate, particularly considering the
provision's potential applicability to speech within places of worship and
places of religious instruction. Moreover the fact that hate has no statutory
definition, but is a rather judicially malleable concept, combined with a
relatively low standard of mens rea that is required to constitute the crime,
will inevitably muffle otherwise valuable speech out of fear of prosecution,
thus violating the individual's or an institution's Charter rights.
Canadians believe it is fundamentally inappropriate to pass legislation
that can be used to intimidate, accuse or harass citizens intent on defending
their rights to advocate moral or religious issues related thereto in the
public square. Judaeo-Christian values are at times non-negotiable on moral
Honourable senators, I pray that you move to defeat this potentially very
divisive bill. It is not in the national interest of peace and good government,
nor is it in the interest of secular, spiritual harmony.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I move, seconded by
That Bill C-250 be not now read the third time but that it be amended, on
page 1, in clause 1, by replacing lines 8 and 9 with the following:
"by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sex.".
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion in amendment?
I know Senator Beaudoin wishes to speak. When Senator Beaudoin yielded, my
recollection is that leave was granted for him to speak later, even though he
had yielded and our rules provided he would have lost his right to speak. Do I
recall correctly, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Yes.
Hon. Gérald-A. Beaudoin: I thank my colleagues.
Senator Beaudoin: Honourable senators, Bill C-250 appears to be
acceptable in strictly legal and constitutional terms. We will have a free vote;
everyone will vote as he or she sees fit. We are living in difficult times. We
have discussed the constitutional issue thoroughly in committee. I have
carefully read the speech given in the Senate last Friday by my colleague,
Senator Joyal, on the subject of Bill C-250.
I come to the conclusion that this bill respects the Constitution. The
Supreme Court, I am certain, were it ever asked for an interpretation, would
lean in that direction. The current body of precedent is clear, in my opinion.
I know that this is a controversial issue but we have no choice and, since
there will be a free vote, of course, everyone can express his or her own
opinion. We have examined the constitutional issue in committee with experts the
past few days. I want to emphasize that; it is important. In Vriend,
1988, the Supreme Court found that the words "sexual orientation", which are
not in the Individual's Rights Protection Act and which the Alberta legislators
said they did not wish to include, should be read into the act. The Supreme
Court ordered them added to the act, because of the principle of equality before
the law, as stated in section 15 of the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and
The Supreme Court added that section 1 of the Charter did not justify the
omission of the phrase "sexual orientation" from the Alberta law. There has
been much talk in the newspapers about the three decisions on same-sex marriage.
A few months ago, the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Ontario Court
of Appeal handed down rulings on same-sex marriages. The Quebec Court of Appeal
has just done so as well. These three appeal courts agree. According to all
three courts, homosexuals have the right to marry.
There is a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada on the question of
same-sex marriage and on the definition of the word "marriage." It was
scheduled for April 16, 2004, but has been delayed until October 2004.
The body of precedent suggests that, if Bill C-250 were before the Supreme
Court, that court would conclude that the term "sexual orientation" is
acceptable in law and that it can be added to the list of identifiable groups in
section 318 of the Criminal Code — I am talking here in terms of constitutional
law, not morals or other kinds of law. In my opinion, this might, therefore,
refer indirectly to same-sex marriage, as interpreted by the Quebec Court of
Appeal, the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Court of Appeal of British
Columbia in the definition of marriage. There is every indication that the
Supreme Court would go in that direction.
However, we are waiting, and the matter has been held over until October, at
which time both sides will present their case to the Supreme Court. By October,
there is a strong possibility that the Prime Minister of Canada will have filled
two positions at the Supreme Court, which will become vacant in June following
the departures of Justice Louise Arbour and Justice Frank Iacobucci. In any
event, the Supreme Court can sit with seven judges.
I am speaking only on the constitutional issue. We are all free to go in
whatever direction we like. Some prefer to take a religious approach. There is a
very clear provision in Canada. Each religion can interpret this as it likes.
Catholics, Protestants, followers of Islam and Judeo-Christians are all entitled
to their religion, and this right in entrenched in the Constitution. There is
consequently no doubt that the religious leaders each have the authority to
follow the tenets of their religion.
In Canada, the courts have indicated that we are free to have no religion.
This does not threaten the rights of religious groups. In my opinion, since all
religions are equal, section 1 of the Charter could not restrict the application
of clause 1, according to the courts that have already handed down rulings.
Let us be clear, with regard to religion, each of us is free to vote
according to his or her conscience. But, from a constitutional point of view, I
believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Supreme Court will agree with the
principle of Bill C-250, because it is consistent with Charter equality rights.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to Senator
St. Germain's amendment because, although his amendment improves the consistency
of the Criminal Code in meeting the already established protection under the
Charter, the Constitution, and the 1976 Human Rights Act, I should like to add
that he did not go far enough. While ethnic origin is important, as Senator St.
Germain so rightly pointed out, I believe that national origin is also of great
importance and, personally, it would be difficult for me to decide which is of
greater importance to me, my Ukrainian ethnicity or my own country of origin,
Canada, in terms of any hate propaganda. They both speak to who I am. Hate
propaganda directed at either should not be acceptable if we are to amend the
Criminal Code on this matter.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I move, seconded by Senator
That the motion in amendment be amended, by adding, before the words
"ethnic origin" the words "national or."
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I rise to speak in support of Bill C-250 at third reading. I recognize
that we have two amendments before us, and I will also address those, and do so
from the position I attempted to articulate in support of the bill when I spoke
on the principle of the bill at second reading.
We are now at the stage where the substantive detail of the bill and the
specific effect of the bill, which have been studied in committee, are now
before us. I concur with my colleague, Senator Beaudoin, that, from a legal
standpoint, the bill is perfectly legal and constitutional.
However, honourable senators, I should like to make at least four points,
which I will place on the record at this time.
First, in my opinion, this bill is about the human rights of every human
being. We are all members of the human community, and so hold any and all of
those rights referred to as human rights. This is often referred to as the
universality of the human rights idea. Overlooking universality is, of course,
exactly what those who violate human rights do, whether those violators be
repressive governments or others. They are quick to claim many things and
protect themselves, but they fail to grasp or respect fully the twin commitment
to universality and a form of equality inherent in the very human rights idea.
The first step on the road to systemic human rights violations is invariably
to denigrate the person or persons targeted. The sad psychology seems always the
same: Undermining the dignity and worth of the hated person or persons. This
dislodges both conscience and sensitivity, which normally would prevent innocent
people from being brutalized. Crude propaganda is sometimes used to cement such
bizarre beliefs about the human dignity of those targeted.
Second, the Senate, being the second chamber of our bicameral Parliament, is
part of the legislative branch in our Canadian system of governance. This raises
for me the very idea that was inherent in Senator Beaudoin's intervention,
namely, that if we fail as legislators to act in this matter, then we ought not
join with those who criticize our judiciary when it stakes out an active
position in the matter of equality. I refer here to the principle of ejusdem
generis in the interpretation of law, what some describe as analogous
ground, given the fact that section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
guarantees that everyone is equal before and under the law and has equal benefit
and protection of the law without discrimination and without discrimination on
the basis of a number of specified grounds. As well, as Senator Beaudoin has
pointed out for us, the Supreme Court, in Vriend, has used the ejusdem
generis principle and said directly that sexual orientation is an analogous
ground. Therefore, in Vriend, the court read into the Human Rights Act a
ground of discrimination that was not placed there by the legislators — sexual
I believe it will be inevitable that, if called upon to do so, the courts in
Canada will read into section 318 of the Criminal Code this analogous ground.
Either we act as legislators or we had better not criticize the courts if they
do what we do not do.
The Senate of Canada also has a special role to play in our system of
enacting legislation in the area of keeping an eye out to ensure that minorities
in Canada are protected. Very few groups that are victimized by hatred
constitute the majority. It speaks for itself that the matter before us is very
much a question of speaking for what some might describe, sadly, as a despised
This is our job, honourable senators, if we have any job at all. Therefore,
our analysis, I suggest, of this bill involves very much an assessment of the
targeting which impacts on Canadians because of their sexual orientation.
Further, I give my assessment of the need for this addition of sexual
orientation to the list of grounds contained in section 318 and applicable to
section 319 of the Criminal Code. I call the attention of honourable senators to
the annual reports published each year by the federal, provincial and
territorial Human Rights Commissions. Those reports clearly demonstrate that
discrimination against Canadians, against persons because of their sexual
orientation, is not at all an abstraction but, sadly, a very real phenomenon. We
have the numbers right there.
I believe the Human Rights Commissions do excellent work in the promotion of
social justice in Canada. They should be encouraged in their work in this
particular area, irrespective of the enactment of Bill C-250 and irrespective of
those sections in question in the Criminal Code.
Why do I say that, honourable senators? I say that because of the limitation
contained in this bill in section 318(3), namely:
No proceeding for an offence under this section shall be instituted without
the consent of the Attorney General.
Much has been made of that provision to try to respond to those who fear its
Honourable senators, it was precisely because of this type of qualification
that Criminal Code action was not taken against anti-Semitic school teacher
Malcolm Ross in my province of New Brunswick. Rather, complaints had to be filed
under the New Brunswick Human Rights Act, which did not require the approval of
the Attorney General. A full court of nine judges in the Supreme Court of Canada
unanimously upheld that proceeding.
Obviously, I would prefer not to have this qualification in the legislation,
but I am prepared to accept it because I think the bill is fine the way it is.
I have examined the evidence gathered by the Senate committee that studied
this bill. I have also carefully examined the mountains of material submitted by
individual groups and churches, which all honourable senators have received.
Much of the argumentation is about questions that, in my assessment, do not
relate to this bill at all. Some contain points of view allegedly based on
religious and moral principles. I certainly accept the right of those who
postulate such views to express the same; indeed, I will defend that right of
religious conviction and freedom of expression.
However, I have great difficulty in understanding the theological basis of
many of these positions. Indeed, I would argue that these positions are not a
proper analysis theologically nor philosophically. In all faith communities one
finds theologians who cogently argue that one must not discriminate nor demean
persons because of their sexual orientation, but rather the commandment of love
for all created in the Imago Dei must trump hatred.
Honourable senators, this bill proscribing hate propaganda is doing simply
that. We are not dealing with anything other than proscription of propaganda and
hate and the consequences that would flow from that — consequences that do not
speak to nation-building.
Theologically, most faith communities believe that hatred is wrong. For
example, in my own faith community in the Roman Catholic Catechism, we will find
in article 2303:
Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbour is
a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbour is a
grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.
I speak this way as a student of theology myself who has read a fair amount
in the area. It is my conclusion that most theologians recognize that every
human being, as I said, has inherent dignity given the nature, the source, the
origin of our creation.
Finally, the catechism of my church provides also at article 2358 that
persons who are homosexual:
...must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign
of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
Hon. Lowell Murray: I wanted to ask the Deputy Leader of the
Opposition whether he had addressed the amendments proposed by his colleagues
Senator St. Germain and Senator Tkachuk. Does he have anything to say about
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, I think my position is
perfectly clear. I find the bill as drafted "perfectly constitutional," to use
the words of my colleague Senator Beaudoin. It is satisfactory to me. The bill
does not need to be amended. Furthermore, the debate across the country on this
issue might very well turn out to have been quite salutary because it has forced
us to examine where the line is drawn between religious approaches and religious
tenets, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience on the one hand and
interference with the rule of law.
In my judgment, that has been one of the healthy outcomes of the debate that
we have had up to this point.
Senator Murray: I appreciate that point. On that last point, does the
honourable senator agree with me that this bill, having already died twice on
the Order Paper, ought now to be brought to a final vote and conclusion very
Senator Kinsella: As this is the second day of debate at third reading
stage of this bill, I would hope that we would allow for a fulsome debate and
reach a judgment on it.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I should like, very briefly, to
place on the record why I plan to vote against the proposed amendment and
subamendment. I believe this clause should include "sex" as one of the
prohibited grounds, but I think it should be done separately. I cannot possibly
support an amendment that deletes the reference to sexual orientation — that is
what this bill is all about. It is about coming to the public, official, formal,
solemn defence of an extremely vulnerable minority.
We have supported this bill at second reading and in committee. I personally
support it strongly. I want it on the record that when — I hope before too long
— this chamber, in a second bill, is asked to include sex as one of the grounds
in this same portion of the Criminal Code, I will gladly support that.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: I should like to have some clarification, because
I sense that Senator Fraser was speaking to two questions simultaneously. It is
my understanding that, at this moment, the question before us is Senator
Tkachuk's subamendment and that we must dispose of that before we can move on to
the other one.
Am I correct that Senator St. Germain's amendment is, in fact, not before us
at this time but that the question before us and to which we are currently
speaking is Senator Tkachuk's subamendment?
The Hon. the Speaker: I think that is a question for Senator Fraser.
Senator Fraser: I promised to be brief, so that is the only question
that I will take, honourable senators.
It is my understanding, from listening to the debate, that we have been
engaging in senatorial fashion in a rather wide-ranging debate on all the
questions related to this legislation. It was in that spirit that I rose.
Senator Cools: My question may go to Senator Fraser, or to the sponsor
of the bill, or to someone else. It is my understanding that the question
currently before the Senate is Senator Tkachuk's subamendment.
Could I get that clarified?
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Fraser is taking no more questions, and
that is obviously the case, Senator Cools.
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
Senator Cools: I should like to speak in this debate, Your Honour, and
I should like to make it clear that I wish to speak on Senator Tkachuk's
amendment. According to my understanding of the rules, senators are allowed to
speak on each question. Therefore, I am reserving my right to speak on the other
questions as we move along. I am just trying to be crystal clear as to what I am
Senator Tkachuk's amendment goes some ways, although not, to my mind, a long
way, to meeting some of my concerns. Honourable senators, since I did not get an
opportunity to speak at second reading of this bill a few weeks ago, I shall
have to rely on what I said at second reading in the previous session of
Honourable senators will remember that, at that time, I raised a concern
about the inclusion of the term "sexual orientation" in what is called the
genocide section of the Criminal Code. I did so because it was my clear
understanding that section 318 of the Criminal Code, as it was designed,
addressed immutable characteristics, including race and colour, et cetera.
Mr. Robinson told us that religion is not immutable. However, at the time
these sections of the Criminal Code were created, religion was inherently
connected and tied to race. In other words, most members of the Jewish race were
members of the Hebrew religion, and most Arab people were members of the Muslim
faith, so there was an inherent connection.
Senator Tkachuk's amendment goes some way to meeting some of those concerns,
but I am still concerned about the phenomenon of including these terms in that
section of the Criminal Code. To my mind, everyone should be protected, not only
identifiable groups — whatever that may mean. That is another problem I have; I
am not sure how to identify "sexual orientation."
I take my lead on some of this from Mr. Svend Robinson. When he appeared
before us in committee, he told us very clearly that Bill C-250, in point of
fact, was not necessary and that the existing provisions of the Criminal Code
were satisfactory for the job of proceeding with prosecutions in the instances
where any crimes were committed.
On March 10, 2004, when appearing before the Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Mr. Robinson said the following:
This bill is largely symbolic; I would be the first person to concede that.
There will not be a lot of prosecutions under this legislation. Yet the
symbolism is enormously important because it says to gay and lesbian people
that our lives and our safety and our security are just as important.
Honourable senators, I do not know anyone in this chamber who does not
believe that the lives of all Canadians, all human beings, are especially
important. I do not know anyone who believes that the life of any homosexual
person is not important.
That was also confirmed at a March 11, 2004, meeting of the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. At that time, Mr. Jones from the
Vancouver police appeared before us. I took the trouble to ask Mr. Jones whether
these provisions were needed by the police force. He responded in essentially
the same way. He said:
The power of this legislation is in the message it sends to Canadians about
those things that we hold most dear — and that is the protection of those
disadvantaged or minority groups or marginalized groups.
Honourable senators, the Criminal Code is a mighty instrument. Historically
it has been the thought, when creating criminal law, that one does not use it as
a social tool, a teaching tool or a public relations tool. The danger with using
the Criminal Code is that when you create a power of prosecution, there is
always a temptation and possibility that that power will be abused. As William
Lyon Mackenzie — the grandfather of King — once said, there is a natural
disposition among humans in positions of power to abuse power and to quickly
substitute their own interests for the public interest. I put that comment
Honourable senators, in the famous Keegstra case, which is one of five
prosecutions under these sections, Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin essentially
dissented, as did Justice Sopinka. She described freedom of expression in the
Charter as the right to let "loose one's ideas on the world." She referred to
the "chilling effect" of the exercise of this freedom of expression by
law-abiding citizens because of the subjective concept of hate. In her opinion,
criminal sanctions do not operate as a deterrent to hate mongers, while they
chill the free expression of the ideas of ordinary individuals who, by fear of
criminal prosecution and because of inherent vagueness of the provision, will
refrain from exercising their freedom of expression.
She went on to say that the Criminal Code section 319 imposes limits on
freedom of expression in relation to the search for truth, vigorous and open
practical debate, and the value of self-individualization. She also stated that,
in her opinion, and mine as well, the hate propaganda provision raises serious
questions as to whether it furthers the principles and values of social peace,
individual dignity, multiculturalism and equality.
Honourable senators, millions of Canadians in this country are concerned that
by criminalizing speech — this is what this bill does — they will be subject to
vexatious, menacing and malicious prosecution. For that reason, Bill C-250 is
pernicious and unprecedented. It is a direct attack on Canadians who hold strong
moral views, religious and non-religious, about human sexuality, the human
anatomy, the human body and the design, purpose and function of the human body.
They hold strong moral views about sexual practices, such as sodomy, rimming,
sado-masochism, swinging and so on.
Honourable senators, not content with equality before the law, Bill C-250
seeks by coercion to establish domination over those who disagree and to subject
those who disagree to the oppression and the weight of the Criminal Code.
Bill C-250 will subject many Canadians — make no mistake — to criminal
prosecution. In addition to ordinary people, this bill would also expose
professionals — such as nurses, doctors and teachers — to prosecution if they
make condemnatory statements about dangerous human sexuality practices such as,
for example, fisting, rimming, sodomy and sado-masochism.
Honourable senators, my concerns are not ill-founded. For that, I would like
to go to the views that were expressed in a case called the Little Sisters
case. It is very interesting. Little Sisters is a homosexual bookstore in
British Columbia. I would like to quote the Supreme Court of Canada 2000
judgment in Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada (Minister of
Justice). I cite Mr. Justice Binnie, who is citing the appellant supported
by LEAF. He said the following:
The appellants, supported by the interveners LEAF and EGALE, contend that
homosexual erotica plays an important role in providing a positive self-image
to gays and lesbians...
This is very interesting. Then he continues. He is speaking for other people,
by the way. He is repeating other people's factums.
Gays and lesbians are defined by their sexuality and are therefore
disproportionately vulnerable to sexual censorship.
I disagree with that. I do not believe that anyone is or should be defined by
The intervener LEAF took the position that sado-masochism performs an
emancipatory role in gay and lesbian culture and should therefore be judged by
a different standard from that applicable to heterosexual culture.
These are the statements from the appellant's factum. Clearly, people who
will take a different view from this will find themselves subjected to some sort
of prosecutorial mischief. One can be absolutely certain.
Honourable senators, I would like to respond to one or two points that have
been raised in this debate. Many people are concerned about questions such as
paraphilia, pedophilia being one. I would like to call the attention of
honourable senators to the fact that, for example, on May 19, 2003, there was a
paper presented by Dr. Charles Moser and Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz. They argued in
that paper before the American Psychiatric Association that paraphilias should
be withdrawn from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM.
Honourable senators would know what the paraphelias are, but they certainly
do include pedophilia. The concern of many that I speak to is that somehow or
the other pedophilia will one day be seeking some sort of legal protection.
Honourable senators, I would like to read from a document called the
Journal of Homosexuality. I am speaking from the journal's volume 20, which
was published in 1990. This journal is dedicated exclusively and totally to what
is pedophilia and is entitled "Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical
Social-Psychological and Legal Perspectives." I would like to go to one
particular article in it called "Man-Boy Relationships: Different Concepts for
a Diversity of Phenomena," written by Dr. Theo Sandfort and two others.
If one were to look at page 11 of this publication, published by the Haworth
Press in New York, one would find the following statement:
It is difficult to predict what will happen in the future with respect to
man-boy relationships, child sexuality, the position of children in our
society. Will pedophilia become a lifestyle for some people, based on their
personally designed sexual orientation? Will society allow people to adopt
such a lifestyle, or will society persist in seeing them only as child
molesters? Can sexual involvement between adults and children be only
conceived as child sexual abuse, or will the professionals and the public come
to realize that there are various kinds of intimate involvement between adults
and children and that distinctions between voluntary involvement and forced
involvement can be made...
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Cools, I regret to advise that your 15
minutes have expired.
Senator Cools: I was just finishing off.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are you asking for leave for additional time?
An Hon. Senator: No.
Senator Cools: I did not have to ask.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker: Leave is not granted.
Are honourable senators ready for the question on Senator Tkachuk's motion in
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: I take it we are ready for the question.
Senator Cools, do you have a point of order?
Senator Cools: I have a point for clarification. In the recent weeks,
many votes have been held because His Honour has been responding to some
senators calling out "Question!" For example, that happened some weeks ago,
and I was denied the opportunity to speak at second reading.
I think a better way to proceed is for His Honour, before he calls the
question, to ensure that no other senator wishes to speak.
Senator Robichaud: That is what he does all the time.
The Hon. the Speaker: That is good advice, Senator Cools. I see no
senator rising, however, which would be my signal that a senator wished to
Senator Cools: I was on my feet at that time.
The Hon. the Speaker: I would now ask honourable senators if they are
ready for the question to ensure that they know that we are to proceed.
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: I will put the question. It was moved by the
Honourable Senator Tkachuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Gustafson:
That the motion in amendment be amended by adding before the words "ethnic
origin" the words "national or."
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those in favour of the motion in subamendment
will please say "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Those opposed to the motion in subamendment will
please say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: I believe the "nays" have it.
And two senators having risen:
Hon. Terry Stratton: In accordance with rule 67(1), I should like to
defer the vote until the next sitting of the Senate at 5:30 p.m.
Senator Murray: Perhaps we can have a decision now to debate the
amendment moved by Senator St. Germain, or must that await the vote?
The Hon. the Speaker: Whether or not the amendment passes is an
important consideration in the debate.
Honourable senators, I have an important matter to which I am advised I must
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following
communication had been received.
April 1, 2004
I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Marie Deschamps, Puisne
Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in her capacity as Deputy of the
Governor General, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills
listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 1st day of April, 2004, at 4:48
Johanne MacKenzie for Barbara Uteck
Secretary to the Governor General
The Speaker of the Senate
Bills Assented to Thursday, April 1, 2004
An Act respecting the registration of information relating to sex
offenders, to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to
other Acts (Bill C-16, Chapter 10, 2004)
An Act to amend the Act of incorporation of Queen's Theological College
Hon. Anne C. Cools moved the second reading of Bill C-249, to amend
the Competition Act.—(Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.).
She said: Honourable senators, I propose to speak for only a few minutes on
Bill C-249, the sponsor of which was the Honourable Mr. Danny McTeague in the
House of Commons. Bill C-249 has languished in this chamber for quite some time,
and I have been prevailed upon to say a few words.
Bill C-249 will amend the Competition Act. Honourable senators will recall it
was introduced in the other place some years ago and was there passed by a
majority of 175 to 29 votes.
This bill was before us in the previous session of Parliament and was
referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, where
it was when Parliament prorogued last November.
Honourable senators, the purpose of this bill is to clarify the efficiency
defence clauses found in the merger review provisions of the Competition Act.
This bill will bring Canada's review of mergers more in harmony and in line with
the practice followed in Europe and the United States.
The current Competition Act provides in section 96(1) that a merger should
not be disallowed if the Competition Tribunal finds that the merger "...has
brought about or is likely to bring about gains in efficiency that will be
greater than, and offset, the effects of any prevention or lessening of
competition..." This provision recognizes that mergers can lead to great
efficiencies, and I support the need to include this in the new review section
The provision, however, has been interpreted by the Competition Tribunal to
mean that the efficiencies defence could be used to allow a merger that
substantially raises prices and reduces choices as well as the quality of
It has also been interpreted to allow the creation of a monopoly situation
which, in my view, is inconsistent with the purpose of the Competition Act.
Honourable senators, as I said before, this bill went to the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and rested there because of
I should like to put on the record something that is a bit of a curiosity. It
is very interesting that Parliament prorogued on November 12, but that on
November 13, the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and
Commerce, Senator Richard Kroft, wrote to then Minister Allan Rock to lay out
his concerns about the bill. I should like to put a few passages on the record
from Senator Kroft's letter.
It is dated November 13, the day after prorogation, so the bill was dead.
The letter reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Rock.
As you may be aware, Bill C-249, An Act to Amend the Competition Act,
was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
on September 17, 2003...
I have only read that one line from that paragraph. It continues as follows:
As a result of other matters before the Senate Banking Committee, we began
consideration of this bill on November 5, 2003 with witnesses from the
Competition Bureau, including the Acting Commissioner of Competition, and
continued on Thursday, November 6, 2003 with witnesses including the Canadian
Bar Association, two individuals from the law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon
LLP in Toronto, and Dr. Peter G.C. Townley.
Senator Kroft's letter continues:
As a result of hearing from these witnesses, the committee is not convinced
that it can proceed to report on this bill at this time.
The discussion paper prepared by the Commissioner of Competition on June
23, 2003 entitled, "Options for Amending the Competition Act:
Fostering a Competitive Marketplace" has been drawn to the attention of the
committee. We understand that this discussion paper was prepared at the
culmination of two years of debate, discussion, and commentary and that the
Competition Bureau continues to conduct roundtables and consultations. The
Senate Banking Committee has not received any information to indicate why such
a consultation process has not been conducted with respect to the amendments
proposed in Bill C-249 or why the amendments proposed in this bill have not
formed part of the ongoing consultations. It is our opinion at this point,
that such consultations may be appropriate prior to our committee continuing
further consideration of this bill.
There are various witnesses who have indicated their interest to appear
before our committee on this matter and there have been indications by members
of the committee with respect to other witnesses that they may wish to hear
from, including Mr. McTeague. However, prior to our committee undertaking such
further hearings, which may be duplicative should your department determine
that public consultations are appropriate with respect to this matter, we
would request your response to the matters raised in this letter.
I look forward to hearing from you and am available to discuss these
matters should you have any concerns.
Yours truly,Richard H. Kroft, C.M.Chairman, Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce
Honourable senators, in this letter, Senator Kroft was obviously saying that
the committee is not prepared to proceed with the bill because the committee
believes that further consultations in respect of certain issues and questions
should be continued.
Some days later, the then minister, Mr. Rock, responded to Senator Kroft, in
the following words:
Dear Senator Kroft:
Thank you for your letter of November 13, 2003, in which you expressed your
concerns regarding the amount of consultation that has taken place with
respect to Bill C-249, which was then before the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce (Senate Committee).
As you know, Bill C-249 is a private member's bill. As such, Bill C-249 was
not subject to public consultation by the government before it was first
tabled in the House of Commons in October 2000. It was debated at second
reading and was eventually referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee
on Industry, Science and Technology on February 25, 2002.
Essentially, from there on, the minister continues to set out what I would
describe as some of the background to the movement of the bill. He continues:
On April 23, 2002, the House Committee issued its report on the matter,
entitled A Plan to Modernize Canada's Competition Regime.
Recommendation 28 of the report relates to the treatment of efficiencies and
"The Government of Canada should establish an independent task force of
experts to study the role that efficiencies should play in all civilly
reviewable sections of the Competition Act, and that the report of the task
force should be submitted to a parliamentary committee for further study
within six months of the tabling of this report."
In light of ongoing litigation in the Superior Propane case and the House
Committee's ongoing review of C-249, the government opted to commission a
study on the treatment of efficiencies in merger review internationally and
submit the findings of this benchmarking exercise to a parliamentary
committee. This study, entitled The Treatment of Efficiencies in Merger
Review: An International Comparison, was submitted to the House of Commons
in February 2003.
The House Committee subsequently held hearings on Bill C-249 between March
31 and April 9, 2003, where it received testimony from eight individuals or
organizations. The House Committee adopted Bill C-249 and referred it back to
the House where it received wide support. As you are aware, Bill C-249 was
first read in the Senate in May 2003 and it was referred to the Senate
Committee on September 17, 2003.
Efficiencies have been debated extensively over the last decade, especially
since the Competition Bureau challenged the merger between Superior Propane
and ICG Propane before the Competition Tribunal in 1999. The role of
efficiencies in merger review, which lies at the heart of Bill C-249, has been
the subject of many different presentations during conferences on competition
law and policy, and different views were elaborated in numerous articles on
the subject. I refer to the testimony before the House Committee of Mr. Robert
Russell, lawyer for Borden Ladner Gervais —
That is the old Scott & Aylen law firm.
— who stated:
"There is no single topic in competition policy that has had greater
debate in our system of law than the efficiencies defence...There's been
nothing more widely written on, spoken on, published in Canada and reflected
upon in other jurisdictions..."
As well, the lengthy process of Bill C-249 through the House provided
commentators with ample time to express their views on the matter.
Consequently, I am satisfied that Bill C-249 was the subject of sufficient
consultation and I, along with most of the House of Commons, supported it.
Turning to the question of why the amendments proposed in Bill C-249 have
not formed part of the consultation process associated with the June 23, 2003
Discussion Paper entitled Options for Amending the Competition Act:
Fostering a Competitive Marketplace, I must point to significant
differences between the nature of the Discussion Paper's proposals and Bill
In any event, Mr. Rock, then Minister Rock, continued laying out the entire
background of these discussion papers and the consultative processes that have
been engaged in. He then moves to a conclusion, in which he says:
In light of the above —
This is Mr. Rock's closing paragraph in his letter to Senator Kroft.
— Industry Canada does not intend to initiate specific consultations on
Bill C-249 per se, as this Bill has already been passed by the House of
Commons. Nevertheless, I hope that the Senate Committee will be given the
opportunity to continue its review of this important Bill if it is again
referred to the Senate Committee once Parliament resumes and that the Senate
Committee will recognize the extensive discussions that have already taken
place regarding the treatment of efficiencies. In this context, I trust this
information is helpful in the Committee's decision to conduct further hearings
on the matter.
Yours very truly,Allan Rock
Honourable senators, what we have is a situation where, in between the two
sessions of Parliament, Senator Kroft wrote a letter to the minister saying that
the committee could not continue further study of the bill because the bill
needed more study by the minister, and the minister wrote back saying that in
his view he had no intentions of studying it any more, and his department and
everyone else has given the bill ample study.
I just wanted to place that on the record.
Honourable senators, I work on many, many matters, but the Competition Act is
not one of them. However, I do understand very significantly the issues Mr.
McTeague at that time was trying to advance in the bill.
I should like to say that I think they are worthy causes and worthy issues.
Even though they are not my issues, I consented to do this little task, rather
than to let the bill languish and die off, on the ground that I thought that the
bill was significant enough to merit proper consideration. I truly do not
understand why the bill has languished and has not been taken up for serious
study, especially when the bill had the full support of the minister at the
I must say, honourable senators, I have been a bit miffed, if not bewildered,
that so many Liberal senators have been rushing to try to get Bill C-250 — an
NDPer's bill — into debate and voted upon while, simultaneously, one of our own
colleague's bills — Dan McTeague's — has been allowed to languish, almost die,
without my intervention today at least to move it along.
As honourable senators can see, the Order Paper has been "ticking." The
bill itself is at day 14, needing some activation.
Honourable senators, the hour is late. We are not only late in the hour of
the day, but we are also late in the hour of the session. Even though the
session is a new session, many Liberals, at least, are expecting that we will go
into election mode. Liberals have expected that since last November, which is
not unusual at all.
Honourable senators, for the record, for the sake of dialogue, for the sake
of debate, and for the sake of assisting a House of Commons colleague to move
his concern forward, I highly commend this bill to you for your support and
recommendation. I regret that it has not moved to date. I sincerely regret that
the Senate Banking Committee did not take the opportunity to take this bill unto
itself and to give it the study and the consideration that it deserves. As we
know, there are many able and capable ladies and gentlemen on the Banking
Committee. It is well-known, for example, that the committee has had among its
membership some of the most distinguished gentlemen in the country. Some of
these names are disappearing into history, like Senator Hayden and Senator
Buckwold and others, many of whom I had the privilege to know.
Honourable senators, to make a long story a little bit shorter, this bill is
trying to close a lacunae or a gap in the Competition Act by essentially
combining the sections in respect of the review of mergers so that the question
of efficiencies will be considered in concert with all the other issues that
should be considered when mergers are taking place.
This measure also previously enjoyed the support of the Competition Bureau.
It is interesting that the minister and the Competition Bureau itself supported
this bill. They have some magical rule in the House of Commons where bills can
be reinstated without reintroduction, and they maintain even the same bill
number, so it is a questionable constitutional oddity that they have working
over there. However, they are doing it, and nobody here will question it. I
suppose that if one does not question it, that means it is good and proper and
In any event, I commend the bill to the consideration of colleagues, and I
commend it to the study of our Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and
Commerce — very able gentlemen and ladies, for all of whom I have deep respect.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as
we well know, a private member's bill sponsored and originating in the other
place comes to us and requires a sponsor here. I am delighted that Senator Cools
has acted as the sponsor of this bill, and I know that the member who sponsored
in the other place, Mr. McTeague, will be delighted also.
This is not a government matter, obviously. Not speaking for the government
but speaking as a member of this chamber, I would welcome the bill being sent to
the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, on behalf of the opposition, I have no difficulty with the general
principle of the bill. I would commend our colleagues on the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to do a very careful analysis of the
bill. With that, I would support second reading.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable
senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by the
Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day, that this bill
be read the second time. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (document entitled
Senate Administrative Rules) tabled in the Senate on March 31, 2004.—(Honourable
Hon. Lise Bacon moved the adoption of the report.
She said: Honourable senators, I have the pleasure of introducing the Senate
Administrative Rules, which were prepared under the direction of the Standing
Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
The proposed administrative rules have been studied by a working group
created by the committee on November 5, 2003, chaired by Senator George Furey,
with Senator Stratton and Senator Jaffer as members. The Clerk of the Senate and
the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel collaborated closely with the working
group. I greatly appreciate the efforts of the senators in the working group,
and I thank them for the contribution in further advancing good governance in
The main purpose of the project was to gather and codify into a cohesive,
comprehensive and publicly accessible record the fundamental principles and
rules governing the internal administration of the Senate and its allocation and
use of resources.
In 1992, the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and
Administration considered the possibility of making regulations but decided at
that time not to pursue the option. Over the years, there were discussions
regarding the necessity and opportunity of adopting regulations or rules for the
Senate. Your committee has now been persuaded, by convincing arguments, to adopt
Adopting such a document will improve transparency and the responsibility for
better informing all those affected by the administrative rules. It will also
help the Senate administration continue to improve its services.
For the general public, it will instil greater confidence in the good
governance of our institution.
This codification will improve certainty and transparency concerning the
applicable principles and rules by recommending them. This improved access to
those principles for all persons, including senators, staff and the public, will
strengthen the Senate's accountability.
Finally, as stated in Appendix A, a few helpful changes resulting from the
adoption of the Senate Administrative Rules, including new wording for your
committee's mandate, have been made to the Rules of the Senate.
I recommend the adoption of our sixth report.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I congratulate Senator
Furey and Senator Bacon for the development of this document. I respect the
goals that we are trying to achieve in coming up with something that is more
transparent and reflects what the administration has, in effect, been doing for
a period of time. However, I would request that we have more time to study this
document. In my own case, I first saw it on Tuesday. I was away last week when
it was distributed and, frankly, since Tuesday I have not had an opportunity to
look at it. With your concurrence, I would request that we have a little more
time to deal with this.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I endorse Senator Atkins' suggestion. In the meantime, could someone
prepare explanatory notes and highlight any major changes. It is difficult to
find answers to questions in the book itself. For instance, the mandate of the
Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has been
changed and the appendix has been lifted from the rules. The rule requiring the
clerk to deposit financial statements has changed. Perhaps all of this has been
reproduced in the document but, like Senator Atkins, I have not had an
opportunity to look at it as thoroughly as I should.
Senator Bacon: I agree that, if senators feel they require more time
to read the document, they should have it. However, I would point out that at
the committee stage we had at least five days as well as the two days of this
week to read the document and to work on it.
I would ask Senator Furey to respond to the questions.
Hon George J. Furey: Honourable senators, Senator Lynch-Staunton's
point is well-taken, as is the point of our good friend across the way, Senator
A number of details have been changed, and those could easily be highlighted
so as to make it easier for colleagues to consider those changes and to question
them, if need be.
For example, rule 133 has been removed from the Rules of the Senate
because it seemed to be an administrative rule, so it has been included in the
administrative section. That change could be highlighted with an explanatory
note attached. If colleagues have questions to follow up on that, I would be
more than happy to deal with them. The senator's point is well taken. We will do
that before the next sitting.
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Comeau calling the
attention of the Senate to the House of Commons Debates of February 11,
2004; specifically the concerns caused by Bloc Québécois Stéphane Bergeron's
Motion M-382 in which he is seeking:
That a humble Address be presented to Her Excellency praying that,
following the steps already taken by the Société nationale de l'Acadie, she
will intercede with Her Majesty to cause the British Crown to recognize
officially the wrongs done to the Acadian people in its name between 1755
and 1763.—(Honourable Senator Losier-Cool).
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, my understanding is that Senator Losier-Cool had concluded her
comments on this item. I was going to intervene, but I will stand aside if my
understanding is incorrect.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, the motion is in my
name, but I will allow the Honourable Senator Kinsella to speak. The motion to
which we are referring from the House of Commons debate has been defeated, so I
do not intend to speak.
Senator Kinsella: I will take a few moments to place a few comments on
Honourable senators, I am taking the opportunity today to comment on the
inquiry by my colleague, Senator Comeau, regarding the motion by Bloc MP
Stéphane Bergeron, in which he asks the British Crown to recognize the wrongs
done to the Acadian people between 1755 and 1763. My seat in the Senate gives me
an interesting vantage point from which to follow the debate.
I will limit my observations to Mr. Bergeron's campaign because Senator
Comeau's speech addresses the validity of the motion.
I used the word "campaign," honourable senators, because any serious
initiative of this type would normally rely on proven campaign techniques. From
my experience in many campaigns over the years, the key elements of the campaign
should include the objective, attempts to arouse public interest and support, an
organized course of action and a timetable.
A campaign should also take into account the field of action where the
engagement is played out. Strategies and various tactics are no doubt planned in
the privacy of various party caucuses, but historically they have not been
played out in public on the floor of the House of Commons. This is a harsh,
unforgiving arena, where prisoners are rarely accorded Geneva rules of
protection. This is not to propagate negative stereotypical aspersions on
members of the other place. Quite the contrary, the members of the House of
Commons on all sides of the House perform a democratically vital role in our
accountable and responsible system of government.
All institutions have their own particular traditions, value systems and ways
of doing things. This is true of universities, organized religions, military and
others. Government institutions are no exception. The mission, role, rules and
membership admittance, among other factors, create the unique characteristics of
an institution. Even the House of Commons and the Senate work very differently.
Some might assume that a recognition that it was wrong to deport the Acadians
is a straightforward initiative and that the party affiliation and the
nationalistic persuasions of the mover should be irrelevant. The reality is that
the Commons is an adversarial chamber and a partisan atmosphere is a matter of
daily life. Federalist members are constantly reminded of the reality of the
Bloc Québécois as a separatist party with a stated mission to separate the
province of Quebec from Canada. Federalist members serve on the front lines.
There can be little doubt that patriotism is a factor. It is therefore logical
that federalist suspicions of Bergeron's motives would be aroused. Most Bloc
initiatives are passed through this filter of doubt.
There is a saying that where you stand depends on where you sit. This is
particularly true in the House of Commons. In fairness, the Bloc Québécois is
quite candid in promoting the sentiment that the Canadian federation is
detrimental to francophones in general and to Quebec francophones in particular.
It is therefore the duty of Bloc members to demonstrate by various means that
separation from Canada is the only viable option.
Most would agree that the Bloc Québécois would be justified to mistrust
favourable interventions by federalist members with regard to the separatist
aspirations. Likewise, it is understandable that federalist members have cause
to question Bloc intentions. This motion is no exception. Federalist members may
well suspect this motion as a means to provoke inappropriate comments from
uninformed members. This was well illustrated in Senator Comeau's comments.
It would not be lost on federalist members that the lack of preparation
suggests that the aim was for the Commons to vote against the resolution. The
Bloc would then accuse English Canadians of being against Acadians because they
are francophones. A successful resolution would make the Bloc the champions of
Acadians and the federalist members would be blamed if the resolution failed.
Regardless of the outcome, the fact that the Bloc stands to win either way must
surely provoke federalist members.
The fact that Mr. Bergeron has successfully contested three federal elections
suggests that he is familiar with the elements of the campaign. He is no novice
in the political arena. He should therefore be very familiar, as are most
successful elected parliamentarians, of the need for meticulous preparation
prior to ever tabling a motion if it is hoped to pass. The lack of preparation
is therefore revealing.
Honourable senators, it has been suggested that politics is the art of the
possible, but achieving the possible requires effort, time and compromise. There
are no shortcuts in the passage of parliamentary resolutions. As a seasoned
campaigner, Mr. Bergeron would understand the need to prepare a detailed plan of
action. Developing such a plan is long, difficult and daunting — more so when in
opposition. The plan would cover a multitude of responses to unforeseen
contingencies. He would understand that stakeholder support must come from many
quarters and be great in number. He would need to seek, recruit, motivate and
maintain a nationwide network of loyal supporters to the cause to bring pressure
on many parliamentarians to support the Acadian cause. It would be essential
that the plan be inclusive and adaptable to compromise and to arrive at an
ultimately successful conclusion.
All this work must be done prior to ever tabling the motion. This large
amount of work requires a genuine believer because the sponsor quite often
becomes lost in the scramble as support for the objective takes on a life of its
Honourable senators, lack of preparation is a recipe for failure in a
legislative body, but other factors further compounded this particular
initiative. His separatist persuasions might have been mitigated with prior
preparation and consultation with other parliamentarians of different
persuasions. However, this was not done. Additionally, the story that Bergeron
had recently discovered his Acadian roots did little to enhance his credentials.
Bloc comments on the motion demonstrated an offending lack of understanding of
the Acadian psyche.
— wounds must be healed to enable people to live in the present, work for
the future —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
it is now 6 p.m.
Senator Rompkey: Your honour, I believe you would find consent not to
see the clock.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
is there agreement not to see the clock?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, parliamentary and media
comments from the majority side of the House of Commons suggested that the
motion would be defeated.
Minister Stéphane Dion said that:
This motion cannot come from a separatist party. It must come from Acadian
An ardent sponsor advancing the interests of Acadians would make a crucial
and credible assessment of the prospects of passage prior to tabling. He would
have carefully reflected on the implications and impact of a rejection vote.
Does a rejection not imply that the House of Commons agreed that the British had
cause to deport the Acadians? A genuine believer would be reluctant to table a
high-stakes motion that had a high likelihood of failure.
There is no evidence to suggest that any preliminary work was done prior to
tabling. I know of no Acadian group that was approached on the subject. The
National Society of Acadians, NSA, was certainly not consulted. In fact, the NSA
was initially and justifiably exasperated when it was not consulted. The NSA
asked Bergeron to withdraw the motion so that l'Acadie could study the question.
The process was set in motion with the tabling of the resolution. The vote
was fast approaching and no work had been done to ensure passage. Acadian groups
felt compelled to scramble to mount an emergency campaign to seek support for
the motion. This was done on Bergeron's timetable and terms rather than on the
NSA's own agenda. It is understandable that Acadians would not want a federal
vote on the books that essentially suggested that the British were not wrong in
deporting the Acadians.
I will close, honourable senators, by stating that it is relatively easy to
move a single-paragraph motion; and sometimes this generates a strong media
response that places the movers of the motion in a good light, as it did in this
Mr. Bergeron did not lead any campaign. He set a process in motion and let
events take their course. He could have discussed these plans with the Acadians
on Parliament Hill and I am sure most would have given him wise advice. There
are other more prudent ways of gaining recognition of harm done. He could have
taken a less risky approach in this process, which must be gradual. He did none
of that. It was almost guaranteed that the motion would be defeated, and that
defeat is now part of the record of the other place. One can therefore wonder
whether adoption of the motion was the real objective.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver rose pursuant to notice of March 30, 2004:
That he will call the attention of the Senate to the barriers facing the
advancement of visible minorities in the Public Service of Canada.
He said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the increasingly alarming
crisis in Canada's public service. This crisis arises from barriers to the
advancement of Canadians of colour in the Public Service of Canada.
Because of this systemic racism, the progress of visible minorities in making
a substantive and valuable contribution to Canada's public service has come to a
virtual standstill. There is no upward mobility and, more important, there is no
inclination on the part of the government, the Governor in Council or the Prime
Minister to do anything about it. The Speech from the Throne is silent about
visible minorities. The recent budget of the Martin government is also mute.
What is more, the latest annual report to Parliament on employment equity in the
federal public service underscores the deplorable lack of policies and programs
to address the advancements of visible minorities in the federal service.
Many years ago, John G. Diefenbaker, in ruminating about Canada's
multicultural character, said that Canada was not like a mosaic — "a static
thing where each element is separated and divided." He did not believe the "melting-pot" concept was an appropriate analogy either. Rather, he believed
that Canada was like "a garden into which have been transplanted the hardiest
and brightest of flowers from many lands, each retaining in its own environment
the best of qualities for which it was loved and prized in its native land."
It is clear to me that Canada's multicultural garden is a mess — choked with
weeds, parched by a lack of water and ruined through sheer neglect. It is time
to shed some sunlight on the issues, to dig deep down to the roots of the
problem and to seed the development of new programs and policies that will bear
fruit for many productive harvests to come.
Today, I shall explain, first, why an inquiry into the barriers facing
visible minorities in the Public Service of Canada is urgently needed; second, I
shall look at the causes of the problem; and third, I shall present some of my
My message is that systemic racism in the federal public service continues to
impede the progress of visible minorities. Yet, the government simply does not
recognize or acknowledge that there is a crisis. We must illuminate the issues,
clarify the concerns and cast a bright light on the truth — that is, that a
racially diverse and inclusive federal public service is a better public service
for all Canadians, now and in the future.
To begin, allow me to remind you of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, passed
in 1988. Its first goal was to foster a society that recognizes, respects and
reflects a diversity of cultures so that people of all backgrounds feel a sense
of belonging and attachment to Canada. Its second goal was to build a society
that ensures fair and equitable treatment and that respects the dignity of
people of all origins. Its third goal aspired to develop among Canada's diverse
people, active citizens with both the opportunity and the capacity to
participate in shaping the future of their communities and their country.
In recognizing the crucial role that federal organizations can play in
preserving and enhancing Canada's multiculturalism, the act outlines "specific
instructions for the federal government." These include, among others:
ensure that Canadians of all origins have an equal opportunity to obtain
employment and advancement in those institutions;
promote policies, programs and practices that enhance the ability of
individuals and communities of all origins to contribute to the continuing
evolution of Canada;
promote policies, programs and practices that enhance the understanding of
and respect for the diversity of the members of Canadian society.
Have these instructions been followed? Do visible minorities have equal
employment opportunities in the federal public service? Are there programs in
place to enable them to fully contribute their talents and abilities to the
federal service? Are their issues understood? Is their diversity respected? The
answer to these questions, honourable senators, is no, no, no, no, and no.
Under the Employment Equity Act, the federal government must ensure that the
members of four designated groups — Aboriginal people, women, the disabled and
visible minorities — achieve equitable representation and participation in its
workforce. To address the specific requirements of three of these designated
groups, there are special federal government departments, secretariats or
resource centres. There are comprehensive training and awards programs, and
financial, technical and professional assistance to support priority issues.
These initiatives are working and working very well, according to the most
recent Employment Equity Report; yet there is nothing of the same magnitude and
depth for visible minorities. Even the government's newly created Public Service
Management Agency does not include any new initiatives for visible minorities.
Of course, there is the "Embracing Change Action Plan" endorsed in June of
2000 by the government to address the under-representation of visible minorities
in the federal public service and to reflect modern Canadian society. "Embracing Change" was designed to
"eliminate systemic barriers, to foster a favourable corporate culture and to
assume direct responsibility for the achievement of the benchmarks aimed at
building a representative and inclusive Federal Public Service."
Is the plan effective? Are there proportionally more visible minorities being
hired? Are people of colour advancing to positions of greater responsibility
where they can have a positive impact on the diversity culture of the federal
public service? Again, the answer to all of these questions is no. Visible
minorities remain at the bottom of the heap.
Let us look at the annual report to Parliament on employment equity in the
federal public service released last month. It brags about the government's
achievements in "becoming a more representative and inclusive national
institution." It reports that the latest figures "show improved representation
among all designated groups in the Canadian public service — women, Aboriginal
people, persons with disabilities and visible minorities." It also applauds the
fact that "Representation by the first three groups in the public service
exceeds their labour-market availability."
Although the report acknowledges that the government must "step up progress
among visible minorities," it glosses over these pivotal facts: first, that the
government's progress in relation to visible minorities is a disgrace; and,
second, that the government is not doing enough to address the problem.
Visible minorities now make up 13.4 per cent of the Canadian population, yet
persons in a visible minority group represent only 7.4 per cent of the federal
public service workforce — an increase of only 0.6 per cent over last year. What
is more, the percentage of new hires from visible minority groups actually
declined this year.
These statistics are a far cry from the targets established by "Embracing
Change Action Plan." Those targets, committed to by the Government of Canada
were to ensure that, by 2003, one in five of all new hires, or 20 per cent of
those hired from outside the public service, would be members of a visible
minority. By 2005, one in five, or 20 per cent, of all new appointments in the
senior executive groups would be members of a visible minority.
Nevertheless, despite this somewhat sluggish pace of progress, the Employment
Equity Division of the PCO simply promises to continue providing "departments
with models of success" and to supply the tools and assistance in building
departmental capacity to effect change.
Honourable senators, this is simply not good enough. If these models, tools
and assistance are not working today, what makes the Martin government believe
that they will work tomorrow? Denial will not make the problems go away and it
will not ensure that the public service becomes a model and sets an example for
employers of all sectors of the economy.
Honourable senators, I believe the root problem here is a form of systemic
racism, a problem which Canadians of colour have long endured in the workplace.
Let me give you an example. In 1984, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and
the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto commissioned a research
study on racial discrimination in the hiring process. The study concluded that
there is a substantial level of racial discrimination against individuals from
visible minorities seeking employment.
Honourable senators, systemic racism in the Public Service of Canada has
reached an all-time high. Morale among visible minorities is at an all-time low.
There is little, if any, hope of advancement or of being treated equally with
others. Nothing is being done to address this problem because few people
recognize or understand or accept the ugly reality that systemic racism still
exists in this country. There is a widely held misperception that racism,
prejudice and bigotry are things of the past. The fact is that racism continues
to cloud the judgment of Canadians. It is a problem that has simply not gone
For example, Blacks will celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of our
presence in Canada next year. During that period, much has happened to us. We
have gone from slavery to freedom. We have taken part in two world wars. We have
done our part in building this country into what it is today. Despite this, we
I have felt the lash of discrimination. I am painfully aware of what it is
like to receive anonymous hate mail, to be treated with contempt, to have
business opportunities denied to me because I am Black. I know the pain of
watching others bend and eventually break under the pressure of discrimination.
I know what it is like to see potential, unfulfilled lives ruined because of
racism. I know all this and I would like to see it stopped.
Racism has existed in Canada for as long as Black people have been here. In
the 1840s, an Ontario magistrate by the name of Robert Lachlan claimed that the
province's 1,600 Blacks caused more crime than all of their 16,000 fellow White
In 1912, Dr. George Parkin, respected educator and formerly Headmaster of
Upper Canada College in Toronto, claimed that one of the advantages of Canada's
rigorous climate was that it "keeps Blacks out."
During the First World War, Black men were denied the opportunity of serving
their country in the regular army. They were instead relegated to a special
construction battalion. Here in Ontario, it was not until 1965 that the last
segregated school closed its doors. As late as 1968, Black people were denied
the right of burial in some Nova Scotia cemeteries.
Today, how many Black executives are there in major banking and insurance
institutions in this country? How many Black university presidents are there?
How many Black commanders in the Armed Forces? How many Black politicians? How
many Black leaders in the federal public service? Why, after all the rhetoric,
do Blacks and other visible minorities only make up 7.4 per cent of the federal
civil service when we represent 13.4 per cent of the population?
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that everyone in this country is
equal before the law. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national
or ethnic origin, colour or religion. The Canadian Human Rights Act provides
that every individual should have an equal opportunity to make the life he or
she is able to and wishes to have, again, without fear of discrimination. The
Canadian Citizenship Act says that all Canadians are entitled to the same
rights, powers and privileges.
Despite all this, visible minorities in this country still face
discrimination. Perhaps it is not the in-your-face "you may not eat in this
restaurant" type of rejection from 30 or 40 years ago when I was growing up,
but it is something far more subtle and more insidious. It is called the glass
ceiling, a plateau above which visible minorities are unable to rise, no matter
their abilities or competence or achievement. People of colour are never sure
when they will bump their heads on this ceiling, but they know it is there. They
know that if they aspire too high, they will be pushed aside, held back,
squeezed out, denied the opportunity to participate fully and equally with their
Honourable senators, there is a war for equality in this country and, make no
mistake, it is a war. The first step in winning the fight is to get the
Racism exists in Canada, indeed around the world, and remains largely
invisible, hugely underestimated and wholly pervasive. There was a fascinating
article recently in the Guardian publication from London, England. For
me, it describes in very compelling terms the fundamental problems concerning
racism. Martin Jacques, a White man and a visiting fellow at the London School
of Economics, wrote this article about his impressions and experiences with
racism. He begins his article with the following:
I always found race difficult to understand. It was never intuitive. And
the reason was simple. Like every other White person, I had never experienced
it myself; the meaning of colour was something I had to learn. The turning
point was falling in love with my wife, an Indian-Malaysian, and her coming to
live in England. Then, over time, I came to see my own country in a completely
different way, through her eyes, her background. Colour is something White
people never have to think about because for them it is never a handicap,
never a source of prejudice or discrimination, but rather the opposite, a
source of privilege. However liberal and enlightened I tried to be, I still
had a White outlook on the world. My wife was the beginning of my education.
According to the ethnic diversity study just released by Statistics Canada,
for example, almost one third of Black Canadians said they have experienced
discrimination or unfair treatment in the past five years. The report also
showed that Canadian-born and foreign-born Blacks aged 25 to 54 years earned
about $6,000 less, on average, than other Canadians in the year 2000. In
addition, the jobless rate for Blacks was at least 1.9 percentage points higher
than for the rest of the population in the year 2001.
That is deplorable, and the situation is no better in the federal public
In short, no matter how much anyone may try to deny or ignore it, racism
still rears its ugly head in the federal civil service, in the workplace at
large and in society as a whole, and we as senators must act in a positive and
decisive way to solve this issue.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable Senator
Oliver, your time has expired. Are you asking for leave to continue?
Senator Oliver: Might I have another five or six more minutes,
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Oliver: It is not simply a nice thing to do or the right thing
to do, it is the smart thing to do. Consider these statistics: The number of
people from visible minorities in Canada has doubled over the past decade.
Immigration now accounts for more than 50 per cent of Canada's population
growth. Forty-eight per cent of the students at the University of British
Columbia are visible minorities. By 2010, more than half the population of
Canada's major urban centres will be first-generation immigrants, and by 2016
about two thirds of the Canadian labour force will be made up of employment
equity designated groups.
At the rate the federal government is progressing, it will never catch up.
Meanwhile, thanks to progressive immigration laws, millions of non-White
Canadians have come to this country from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and
points in between. In the process, they have made Canada one of the most, if not
the most, multi-racial societies in the world. Diversity is a fact of life in
this country. However, these newcomers must overcome major hurdles. That is not
fair to them and it is not good for Canada, either economically or socially.
For example, newcomers to Canada earn about 15 per cent less than the average
Canadian. Their professional credentials are often unrecognized. This means
qualified physicians, engineers and other professionals often cannot provide
their expertise to other Canadians.
A few weeks ago, I read in The Globe and Mail that an award-winning
rocket scientist from China makes cinnamon buns in a Toronto subway station. We
continue to hear stories about immigrant computer scientists flipping burgers or
doctors driving taxis. What a waste of talent, knowledge and skills. This waste
costs the Canadian economy between $2 billion and $3 billion every year.
As I have shown, Canada is becoming an increasingly diverse society, but I
think that we have a long way to go before we become a truly inclusive society.
As the Honourable David See-Chai Lam, the former Lieutenant-Governor of
British Columbia and a very distinguished philanthropist and Canadian said:
"Tolerant" is a slightly negative word. It's like saying, "You smell, but I
can hold my breath."
To continue with this metaphor, there is an unpleasant odour emanating from
the federal public service. It is the smell of systemic racism. It will not go
away with a few squirts of an air freshener. We need to open the windows and
bring in the sunshine of truth. We need to open the doors of opportunity for
Allow me, in conclusion, to outline briefly some of the steps I feel the
federal government should take now in a decisive, positive and enduring way to
eliminate systemic racism in the federal public service.
First, we need visible and powerful leadership on this issue from the top.
The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney demonstrated his calibre of leadership when
he appointed a Black Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada, a Black
Lieutenant-Governor in the Province of Ontario and a Black senator in the Senate
of Canada. Prime Minister Martin must actively aspire to the same record of
inclusion for visible minorities in the highest offices of this country.
Second, we need a visible minority commission in the Privy Council Office,
something like the Official Languages Commissioner.
Third, I believe a comprehensive executive exchange program would prove
highly effective in both the short and the long term in reducing systemic
Fourth, we must set clear targets for ensuring that leaders of colour are
appointed to the executive ranks of Crown corporations where they can have real
influence on the diverse culture of federal institutions.
Fifth, we need to educate and sensitize both private sector search firms as
well as recruiters within the public service about the problems and issues
impeding the advancement of visible minorities.
Sixth, I believe that we must elevate the role of, and place more
responsibility for hiring visible minorities, with the human resources heads of
federal departments. They need to understand the issues facing visible
minorities and do their part to eliminate these barriers.
Seventh, we must do more, not only to attract visible minorities but also to
keep them on board. Many organizations, both public and private, suffer from the
"revolving door" syndrome. This occurs when a member of a visible minority
joins an organization only to find that the organization's environment is
uncomfortable, so he or she simply leaves.
I believe we need to gain a better picture of the number of people from
ethnic minorities applying for jobs and at what levels also, we need to
understand how many are successful, how many are promoted and how many leave
through the revolving door.
Oftentimes organizations only collect data about the numbers of visible
minorities hired and not the more extensive and quantitative data that will give
them the full picture of the problems and issues.
Honourable senators, I am doing a study with the Conference Board of Canada
and we will be releasing our report on May 27. That report will set out a
guideline of best practices that both the public sector and the private sector
can use if they want to become diverse organizations.
The Conference Board also looked for organizations that have diversity
sensitive recruitment and selection techniques, programs promoting career
development of minorities and fair promotion practices for visible minorities
and the like.
In conclusion, honourable senators, a diverse society looks to the future. It
is a society that uses all of its potential. It is a place where cooperation is
based on talent and where talent and ability are more important than skin
colour. That is the Canada that I have worked all my life to achieve; that is
the Canada that the federal public service must emulate; that is the Canada that
we must build.
Honourable senators, now is the time for government to act.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino, pursuant to notice of March 25, 2004, moved:
That the Senate call upon the Government of Canada:
(a) to expand the Nahanni National Park Reserve to include the
entire South Nahanni Watershed including the Nahanni karstlands;
(b) to stop all industrial activity within the watershed,
(i) stopping the proposed Prairie Creek Mine and rehabilitating the
(ii) ensuring complete restoration of the Cantung mine site,
(iii) immediately instituting an interim land withdrawal of the entire
South Nahanni Watershed to prevent new industrial development within the
(c) to work with First Nations in the Deh Cho and Sahtu regions of
the Northwest Territories to achieve these goals.
He said: Honourable senators, on a regular basis we all receive many letters
and petitions. As I am sure all of you do, I do my best to examine them all, and
where I can, I try to help.
For a number of years, I have been in contact with a gentleman by the name of
Neil Hartling of Whitehorse, an outfitter for many northern Canada experiences,
who has written about the unparalleled beauty of Arctic Canada and some of our
irreplaceable national treasures. As well, for the past two or three years, I
have received information from the Canada Parks and Wilderness Society,
outlining their efforts to safeguard the areas of our northern regions that are
at risk, including the Nahanni Watershed in the Northwest Territories. Mr.
Hartling's appeal this spring about the Nahanni spurred me to act.
I decided to draw attention to this important issue for which I have a real
passion by putting this motion on the floor of the Senate. I must confess that
in my exuberance I went ahead without informing our colleague from the Northwest
Territories, Senator Sibbeston. I did not let him know my intentions before I
introduced the motion. He chastised me and I agree with him. I should have
consulted him. Notwithstanding this oversight, Senator Sibbeston and I have
agreed to work together to move this initiative forward.
The South Nahanni River and surrounding wilderness is one of Canada's and
indeed the world's most spectacular and best known natural places. It is located
in the remote Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories, close to the
border with the Yukon. The river carves its way through the mountains, drops
over Virginia Falls — a waterfall twice as high as Niagara Falls — with its
magnificent Mason Rock, and runs through four major canyons, among the deepest
in Canada, and almost as deep as the Grand Canyon. The watershed, or drainage
basin, including the Nahanni Karstlands, covers approximately 35,000 square
kilometres of wilderness, virtually unmarred by roads and the impact of other
human infrastructure. It is truly a place of remarkable diversity of life.
Karstlands are fascinating landscapes of limestone in which erosion has
produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams and caverns. The Nahanni
Karstlands are of tremendous interest to natural scientists. They include
underground caves and water that flows into the Nahanni River from below the
ground. Dr. Derek Ford, of McMaster University, has described Karstlands as
"truly unique, and as an a assemblage of landforms, there is nothing like it
anywhere else in the world." They are not technically part of the surface
watershed, but they are an integral part of the beauty and importance of the
area being considered, which is why I mention them specifically.
It has been eight years since I embarked on a magic carpet ride — although a
rough ride — when I canoed the South Nahanni River, a world icon for whitewater
enthusiasts. It is hard to express how spectacular the watershed is. It is not
too grand to say that it was truly a spiritual experience. Its stark beauty and
stunning vistas immediately inspired me with awe, from the calm waters above the
falls to the turbulent rapids below.
The first major rapids, referred to from time to time as Hell's Gate or the
"figure eight," are a challenge to even the most professional of whitewater
canoeists. I remember approaching them with a great deal of apprehension, fear
and finally unmatched exhilaration.
Surviving Hell's Gate, mainly thanks to the great canoeist in the stern of my
boat, was for me a remarkable achievement. I continued downriver, past valleys,
mountain vistas, canyons and magnificent lookouts — particularly the gate — to a
wonderful respite at Krause's Hot Springs. The eerie and mystical dance of the
northern lights is the memory of a lifetime. It was truly breathtaking.
I can still see the eagles and osprey above and the Dall sheep on the
mountainside. I remember the magnificent grizzly on the shore, rising up on its
hind legs and giving passionate warning about our foray into its territory. I
remember paddling much faster in respectful acknowledgment. I also remember the
fear in my heart.
Finally, I remember the residents at the base of the watershed in the
Aboriginal village of Nahanni Butte. Each day brought a new experience and
magnificent views of land revered by the First Nations people and all who visit
Once again, I was provided with a greater appreciation for why First Nations
people have so much respect for the land. I hope I have given honourable
senators just a glimpse of why I believe this is a most beautiful piece of
Canada worthy of protection.
Part of the watershed is already protected in a national park reserve, which,
although managed as a national park, the reserve designation indicates that it
is pending the resolution of land claims, in this case the self-governance
negotiations between Deh Cho First Nations and the Government of Canada.
In addition, as part of the negotiations, 18,800 square kilometres of land in
the Deh Cho portion of the watershed were withdrawn from development in the fall
of 2003 for a period of five years with the intent to eventually include them in
an expanded national park reserve. This is 68 per cent of the watershed and 85
per cent of the Deh Cho portion of the watershed. The Deh Cho have been leading
the way toward expanding the park.
In the Sahtu region, the draft land use plan released in January 2003
identifies the Nahanni headwaters, approximately 20 per cent of the watershed,
for protection, with an interest in a national park expansion.
Last month, the Dene Band in the local community of Tulita in the Sahtu
region passed a motion to move the Nahanni headwaters into the Northwest
Territories Protected Area Strategy as a mechanism for providing long-term
protection for the headwaters. This is a process that will allow for a national
park expansion in the upper watershed.
There is significant progress being made. However, this is not enough to
provide long-term security to the wildlife, water quality and wilderness values
of the region because even if initiatives in the Sahtu and Deh Cho regions are
successful, as things stand, 15 per cent — and an important 15 per cent — of the
watershed will remain unprotected.
It is worth noting the circumstances of how this became a protected reserve.
In 1970, newly elected Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, an accomplished canoeist,
visited the South Nahanni River and Virginia Falls. On his return to Ottawa, he
directed the then Minister Responsible for National Parks, Mr. Jean Chrétien, to
establish a national park to protect the Nahanni. There is a story that when Mr.
Trudeau saw the map of the proposed park, he asked, "Is that all?" Whether
truth or myth, this story reflects the need to protect a larger area if we are
to properly protect the wildlife, wilderness values and water quality of the
There have been a series of reports prepared by the federal government
suggesting how to expand the park to improve its ability to protect wildlife and
to better represent the natural region in which it is located.
Mr. Trudeau's fear that the park was too small was correct. The current
boundaries of the park protect 4,766 square kilometres, only one-seventh of the
watershed. This means that the park waters and ecosystems are vulnerable to the
impact of any development that takes place in the other six-sevenths of the
The original boundaries were based on protecting the river, falls and canyons
from development. Little was known about the ecological values of the area at
that time. The boundaries of the current park do not reflect the needs of
wildlife, nor do they adequately represent the area. There are three areas
currently at risk: plant life, wildlife, and the culture and way of life of the
Deh Cho and Sahtu First Nations.
The watershed lies within boreal forest regions of Canada and its sulphur hot
springs, alpine tundra, mountain ranges and forests of spruce and aspen are home
to many species of birds, fish and mammals. A diverse physical landscape
provides habitat for a rich diversity of vegetation and wildlife, unusual for an
area this far north.
The Nahanni protects such species at risk as woodland caribou and grizzly
bears. However, current park boundaries do not protect adequate habitat for
these wide-ranging species.
On March 29, The Edmonton Journal reported that a group of scientists
had discovered that the mountainous wilderness park on the Yukon border is also
home to one of the most genetically diverse population of grizzly bears on the
continent; yet, the park boundaries are thoroughly inadequate to protect the
The research of Dr. John Weaver of the Wildlife Conservation Society
demonstrates what Nahanni park officials have long realized — that the existing
boundaries are not spread out far enough to protect a carnivore like the
The Aboriginal communities in the area, the Deh Cho and the Sahtu, strongly
support the protection of the entire watershed. The watershed is part of the
traditional home and is a cornerstone of the way of life and culture of these
On March 23, I received a letter from Chief Peter Marcellais of the Nahanni
Butte Dene Band of the Deh Cho First Nation strongly supporting my motion.
In part, he writes:
This brief letter is to ... thank you for any action ... which will protect
our traditional lands and waterways in the South Nahanni from the dangers of
There are, unfortunately, looming threats to the Nahanni. While the Canadian
government has reserved most of the surrounding land for potential expansion,
within the 15 per cent of the watershed that is not yet included in any plans
for expansion lie a number of significant dangers to the future of the
ecological integrity of the park. Parks Canada has identified mining as "the
single greatest threat to the ecological integrity" of the South Nahanni River
Watershed. There are two mine sites within the South Nahanni River Watershed.
The first, the Cantung Mine, is located on the flat river approximately 100
kilometres upstream from Nahanni National Park Reserve and World Heritage Site.
The mine is located in an area of important woodland caribou habitat.
The mine produced tungsten from open pit operations in the 1960s and early
1970s. It was closed until January 2002, when it was reopened. Within weeks of
opening, a fuel spill of more than 23,000 litres occurred at the site,
highlighting concerns of the impact on the park down the stream. Waste materials
have been observed downstream as far as 15 kilometres from the mine,
approximately 85 kilometres upstream from the park boundary. The mine is now
closed again. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development released
a report in March 2003 on the reclamation liability of the Cantung Mine. The
report estimates that it would cost approximately $48 million to undertake
complete restoration of the mine site.
The second mine is the proposed Prairie Creek Mine. The mine site is located
on the flood plane, a tributary of the South Nahanni River, 32 kilometres
upstream from the Nahanni National Park Reserve. It poses serious threats to the
ecosystem and wildlife. Concerns about this mine revolve around the existing
toxic legacy of the 20-year-old mine site, the potential for contamination if a
working mine were to proceed and the impact of proposed road access across the
sensitive karstlands that are identified for protection in an expanded national
The mine includes complete mining infrastructure but has never operated.
There have been environmental assessments on small individual projects and
activities at the mine, but there has not been an assessment of the overall
impact of this 20-year-old site. Environmental assessments that have been
completed have found that the proposed mining activities would likely cause
significant adverse environmental impact, unless subjected to stringent
conditions. The proposed road to the Prairie Creek Mine site would certainly
damage the karstlands.
In 1966, the company signed a development cooperation agreement with the
Nahanni Butte Dene Band of the Deh Cho First Nations. The company has frequently
referred to this agreement in its communications. However, in October 2003, the
Nahanni Butte Dene Band withdrew from the agreement with the company and
subsequently issued a press release stating they had terminated the agreement.
The band is concerned about the impact of the mine and, as set out in the letter
I received from them, the band is supportive of protecting the lands in an
expanded Nahanni National Park Reserve.
Those are two existing mining concerns. However, mineral staking continues in
those parts of the watershed omitted from the 2003 interim land withdrawals.
Within the last month, two prospecting permits were issued in the southwest
corner of the watershed. That highlights the urgent need to withdraw the entire
watershed to protect it from potential contamination. Further delay will only
result in a more difficult and expensive task in protecting the land later on.
Honourable senators, it is time to act on the wishes of the local people in
the Deh Cho and Sahtu regions of the Northwest Territories who have formally
expressed their desire to protect the entire watershed.
It is time to act on the advice of scientists, conservationists, canoeists
like myself and wilderness lovers from all over Canada and the world who have
urged the government to protect the watershed, including the Nahanni karstlands,
through the thousands of letters they have sent to government officials. I ask
you to join me in urging the Government of Canada to act quickly to expand the
Nahanni National Park Reserve to protect the entire South Nahanni Watershed,
including the karstlands. We owe this legacy to our future generations.
Honourable senators, I look forward to the contributions of Senator Sibbeston
and other colleagues to this debate.
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak on
the motion to give it support and propose an amendment to put it in tune with
the political reality of the North.
I was initially upset and even embarrassed that Senator Di Nino from Toronto
was the mover of such a motion dealing with a park in the Northwest Territories.
I do take my job seriously, as a senator for the Northwest Territories, and I
thought what is a senator from the south — from Toronto — doing with an issue
that is so central to the North? I could even imagine people up North asking,
"Where were you? Were you in Mexico while all this was happening?"
However, since Tuesday, Senator Di Nino and I have met. We are best of
friends now, and we are on the same path, as it were, to supporting such a
matter. I recognize that I perhaps overreacted, and it was just a tempest in a
teapot as far as I am concerned.
I see him as an ally, and I am glad he came to the North and has been to the
Nahanni National Park. It is a wonderful part of our country. It is majestic,
absolutely beautiful and stunning, and people from all over the world come. I
invite all of you in your time to come to the North and see its beauty and
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, CPAWS, has always promoted parks
and wilderness areas in our country. They have been active in the Northwest
Territories and have worked with the Aboriginal people in our area, promoting
park matters and the expansion of the Nahanni Park.
When I dealt with them the other day, I asked, "What kind of an organization
are you, anyway, to get someone from the South to do your work and lobby? Why
did you not approach the senator for the Northwest Territories to deal with the
park issue?" Since then, I have come to appreciate them. I had a good meeting
with them yesterday.
Honourable senators, the Nahanni National Park is the Deh Cho area, near Fort
Simpson, where I was born and live. The park is in an area where my ancestors
lived. My grandfather, who was a hunter and trapper, though dead now, still has
a cabin in the Nahanni on the Flat River. His cabin is just below Virginia
Falls, the beautiful falls that people come to see.
There is a spot on the Nahanni River, which Senator Di Nino may remember,
called George's Riffle. That is named after my grandfather. He apparently was
coming down in the spring after spending a winter hunting and trapping and
living like a king and he had a spill, so it is named after him.
There is another area called Lafferty's Riffle; that also is named after one
of my relatives. A lake in the area, called Dal Lake, is named after my father,
a man who I discovered only recently was my father, Mr. George Dalziel. As you
can see, I am historically, culturally and emotionally connected and attached to
this part of the North.
One of my uncles, Fred Sibbeston, guided the boat when Prime Minister Trudeau
famously came down the Nahanni River. My uncle Trindell was Trudeau's
interpreter when he arrived at Nahanni Butte and met with the people. He sat
cross-legged in the grass meeting with the Dene people, telling them that he
wanted to create a park out of the area and river that he had just come down.
I made numerous trips into the park, even before it was a park, beginning in
the early 1970s. My children — my sons, in particular — continue to go to the
Nahanni Park to hunt and enjoy the wilderness.
Honourable senators, I have an amendment that deals with two aspects I feel
will enhance the way that the park expansion can be done.
The first deals with a requirement that the federal government respond to and
develop policies directed at making northern parks more conducive to Aboriginal
employment, cultural involvement and business opportunities. A report on this
was completed by a subcommittee of the Aboriginal People's Committee, in
September of 2001. Some of us on the committee went to Inuvik, Whitehorse and
Iqaluit and met with people who were dealing with the northern parks, and we
produced a very good report that has many recommendations. The gist of the
report is that we found, as we met with park officials and aboriginal people
knowlegeable about parks, that southern methods and approaches were being used
to manage northern parks and these approaches did not always work. The
conclusion was that there was need to establish a unique, culturally sensitive
way of dealing with northern parks. This report deals with that.
What I am saying is that before a park is expanded, the federal government,
Parks Canada, ought to respond to this report, ought to come up with policies
that really meet the unique aspects of people in the North. One of the
amendments I am proposing is that our report be studied and reported on by the
Parks officials before any expansion is completed.
The second matter involves the need for a complete assessment of mineral and
energy resources in the proposed park expansion area. The Mineral and Energy
Resource Assessment process, called MERA, was established in 1980 as a
prerequisite to establish parks in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. I am
proposing that this be done. Studies have been done to cover certain parts of
the park in the expansion, but I am led to believe that a complete one was not
done. Hence, before the park expansion is done, I believe a complete mineral
assessment of the area must be done. The studies that have been done indicate
that there are minerals in those lands, but it is important to have a complete
assessment of minerals.
The expansion purports to increase seven times the present size of the park
to take in all of the watershed area. When park boundaries are established, we
know that it is very difficult or almost impossible for them to be changed.
We saw this when the Tuktut Nogait National Park was established in the 1989
era. This park was established along the Arctic coast in the area of Paulatuk.
Senator Adams dealt with this. Honourable senators may recall the issue, where
after boundaries of the park were established a resource development company
exploring the area found that there was good mineralized property in the area
and wanted to develop it and establish a mine. There was an attempt, after the
boundaries were more or less drawn on the paper, to reduce the size of the park,
to exclude the mineralized area.
The people of Paulatuk supported the decrease, arguing that it would create
75 jobs. The Inuvialuit, who were in negotiations with the federal government in
that area, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and even the senator for
the area, argued very hard to have the park decreased so that exploration and
development could occur in that area, but the federal government said that it
would not open up the boundary issue, and so the request was denied. We know,
honourable senators, that once boundaries are established, it is difficult and
almost impossible for them to be changed. Hence, before boundaries are expanded,
it is important to make sure that everyone knows what is in the area, as far as
mineral and oil and gas reserves.
The creation of park boundaries and expansions is a very serious undertaking.
Therefore, before the national park is expanded, we need to know definitively
what the lands contain.
There is a land claims process going on in this part of the North, called the
Deh Cho process. I am a member of that organization, and will eventually be a
beneficiary, so of course I am interested and want to be sure that the issue of
the park and its expansion is done properly.
Present and future generations will be bound. Young people are being educated
and trained in our schools and colleges in the North for employment
opportunities; unfortunately trapping is becoming less and less a way of life.
Hunting and trapping are still important, but every year it does seem that as
people get old there are fewer people trapping, so obviously the wage economy is
important and will become more important in the future for the people of the
Honourable senators, while I very much support the aspirations of the Deh Cho
people to expand the park, some industry and development will be necessary in
the future for young people to be meaningfully engaged. Just like people in the
South, people in the North enjoy driving new Ford trucks, enjoy using computers,
enjoy all the amenities of life. Obviously, if the standard of living is to be
maintained, they will need to have employment opportunities. Development, if
done properly, can be beneficial to people.
While parks are fine, I have always maintained that one cannot make a living
just by being situated close to a park in itself. You still need food, game,
jobs and business opportunities.
The Deh Cho process that is currently underway in the North has in its plans
to eventually set up their own form of government, and there will be need for
money, royalties and taxes to operate and provide services. Wealth and
prosperity can come from a balanced economy.
For all of these reasons, before we launch off into expanding the Nahanni
National Park, we need to seriously consider the two issues that I have raised,
that of park management and administration, so that the federal government and
Parks Canada can develop and have a unique northern approach to management of
parks, and, second, that there be a full resource assessment, so that we know
definitively what is in that land. Only with such knowledge should the
government and the local people make a rational decision as to all of the area
that will be encompassed in the Nahanni Park. Mussi cho, thank you.
Honourable senators, I have an amendment, which will provide that. I believe
these amendments are very good, and I expect they will be well received once
they are understood and considered.
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I move, seconded by the
Honourable Senator Ione Christensen:
That the motion be amended as follows:
(a) in paragraph (a),
(i) by adding the word "possibly" after the word "Reserve", and
(ii) by adding after the word "karstlands" the following:
"at an appropriate time and consistent with the cultural, social and
economic interests of the people of the region, the Northwest
Territories and Canada";
(b) in paragraph (b), by replacing the words "to stop"
with the following,
"to protect the environmental integrity of the South Nahanni watershed
(c) in subparagraph (b)(i), by deleting the word
"stopping" and the words "and rehabilitating the mine site";
(d) in subparagraph (b)(ii), by deleting the words
"ensuring complete restoration of";
(e) in subparagraph (b)(iii),
(i) by deleting the words "immediately instituting an interim land
withdrawal of the entire South Nahanni Watershed to prevent",
(ii) by deleting the word "and" at the end; and
(f) by adding, after paragraph (b),
(i) a new paragraph (c) to read as follows:
"(c) to include as part of the review:
(i) a response to the Senate report, Northern Parks — A New Way that
indicates the government's policy to ensure employment and economic
benefits from the creation of northern parks will flow to local
aboriginal people, and
(ii) a complete assessment of mineral and energy resources in the
(ii) by relettering the current paragraph (c) as (d).
On motion of Senator Christensen, debate adjourned.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver, pursuant to notice of March 31, 2004, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be
empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3), to sit between Monday, April 5, 2004
and Thursday, April 8, 2004 inclusive, even though the Senate may be adjourned
for a period exceeding one week.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, pursuant to notice of
March 31, 2004, I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be
permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit an interim report with
the Clerk of the Senate between Monday, April 5, 2004 and Friday, April 16,
2004, inclusive, should the Senate not then be sitting, and that the report be
deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, I would like to know the
purport or importance of the matter wished to be reported on such that it could
not wait until we come back. I ask this question seriously.
Senator Oliver: I would be pleased to respond.
The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has, for several
weeks now, been conducting hearings into the BSE crisis in Western Canada. More
than 1,200,000 live cattle under 30 months are waiting to go over the border to
the United States. It is a massive crisis. We have prepared a report with
recommendations, but it has not yet been translated. Once it is translated, we
hope to table it. Should the Senate not come back on April 20, we want to ensure
that this important report is available to those it affects.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators to adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Gill, for the second reading of Bill S-9,
to honour Louis Riel and the Metis People.—(Honourable Senator Stratton).
Hon.Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I will be brief. I am
fulfilling a commitment made to Senator Joyal that I would speak to this bill.
I rise today to speak at second reading of Bill S-9, to honour Louis Riel and
the Metis people. I congratulate the sponsor of the bill, Senator Thelma
Chalifoux. I believe that she has been able to include in this bill the
celebration of the many aspects of the rich heritage of the Metis people of
This bill deals with the issue of Louis Riel and his contribution to the
history of both Canada and Manitoba. It acknowledges that the arrowhead sash is
to be recognized as a symbol of the Metis people. It also encourages the various
parts of the Government of Canada to honour Louis Riel and to honour the Metis
people through an appropriate display of the arrowhead sash. Finally, it
requires the Minister of Canadian Heritage to take appropriate action for the
preservation of the memory of Louis Riel and the advancement of the Metis
culture and history. In clause 3 of the bill, the historic role of Louis Riel as
a Metis patriot and his present role as a Canadian hero are both acknowledged.
It is my contention, honourable senators, that this is unnecessary. I would
take us back to Tuesday, March 10, 1992, at which time the Right Honourable Joe
Clark, then Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs, placed a resolution
before the House of Commons that was agreed to by members of all political
parties in both Houses. The resolution stated as follows:
That this House take note that the Metis people of Rupert's Land and the
North Western Territory through democratic structures and procedures took
effective steps to maintain order and protect the lives, rights and property
of the people of the Red River;
That this House take note that, in 1870, under the leadership of Louis
Riel, the Metis of the Red River adopted a List of Rights;
That this House take note that, based on the List of Rights, Louis Riel
negotiated the terms for the admission of Rupert's Land and the North Western
Territory in the Dominion of Canada;
That this House take note that those terms for the admission form part of
the Manitoba Act;
That this House take note that, after negotiating Manitoba's entry into
Confederation, Louis Riel was elected thrice to the House of Commons;
That this House take note that, in 1885, Louis Riel paid with his life for
his leadership in a movement which fought for the maintenance of the rights
and freedoms of the Metis people;
That this House take note that the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes
and affirms the existing aboriginal treaty right of the Metis;
That this House take note that, since the death of Louis Riel, the Metis
people have honoured his memory and continued his purpose in their honourable
striving for the implementation of those rights;
That this House recognize the unique and historic role of Louis Riel as a
founder of Manitoba and his contribution to the development of Confederation;
That this House support by its action the true attainment, both in
principle and practice, of the constitutional rights of the Metis people.
In speaking in support of this resolution, Mr. Clark stated that it was now
time to recognize the constructive and important role Louis Riel played in
defending the interests of the Metis people and his contribution to the
political development of Canada and of the West. He went on to say that the
adoption of this resolution demonstrated how Canada has matured as a nation and
that in our common history we find strength, not weakness.
It should be noted that the spokesperson for the Liberal Party on that
occasion was the member for St. Boniface, the late Senator Ron Duhamel. He
supported this resolution but wished to have added to it that Louis Riel be
recognized as one of the Fathers of Confederation. However, the important point
for us is that he did support this resolution as the method of reconciliation.
I appreciate this resolution by the government. I feel the government has
taken a major step forward.
It is not unusual for the government to seek redress for wrongs committed, at
some far distant time, in the development of our country. For example, in
September 1988, former Prime Minister Mulroney rose in the House of Commons to
extend a formal apology on behalf of the Government of Canada to citizens of
Japanese ancestry who, in the Second World War, were wrongfully incarcerated,
had property seized and were disenfranchised. He said at the time:
Mr. Speaker, the treatment of Japanese Canadians in wartime was not only
unjustified on moral and legal grounds, it went against the grain of the
More recently, the late Honourable Ron Duhamel, when Minister of Veterans
Affairs, dealt in the House of Commons with the issue of 23 Canadian soldiers
who were executed in the First World War for desertion and in one case for
cowardice. These 23 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force lie buried in
Europe. In announcing that the names of those fallen Canadians would now be
entered into the First World War Book of Remembrance along with their
colleagues, Minister Duhamel stated:
We can revisit the past but we cannot recreate it. We cannot relive those
awful years of a nation at peril in total war, and the culture of the time is
subsequently too distant for us to comprehend fully.
I agree with those sentiments and the methodology used to address certain
periods in the history of this country.
Honourable senators, I believe the resolution passed in the Senate and the
House of Commons in 1992 dealing with Louis Riel and the Metis people is the
most appropriate way to deal with all aspects of this matter. I look forward to
listening to the interventions of other honourable senators in this chamber.
On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator LeBreton, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Sibbeston, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Adams:
That the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal
Peoples, tabled in the Senate on October 30, 2003, during the Second Session
of the 37th Parliament, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the
Senate request a complete and detailed response from the Government, with the
Ministers of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Justice, Human Resources
and Skills Development, Social Development, Canadian Heritage, Public Safety
and Emergency Preparedness, Health, and Industry; and the Federal Interlocutor
for Métis and Non-status Indians being identified as Ministers responsible for
responding to the report.—(Honourable Senator Stratton).
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, this matter has been on
the Order Paper for quite some time. Senator Stratton agrees that we ought to
deal with it.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, April 20, 2004, at 2 p.m.