Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Hate crimes: Canadians show solidarity in
condemning hate crimes against all people of all faiths.
Honourable senators, in the early morning hours of April 5, 2004, the library
of the United Talmud Torah school in Montreal was set ablaze. Anti-Semitic
leaflets were reportedly left at the scene of the fire, leaving little doubt
that this crime was one motivated by hatred.
This attack followed an equally deplorable spate of racist attacks in
Toronto, where two Jewish schools and a synagogue were vandalized and a Jewish
cemetery was desecrated. The Al-madhi Islamic Centre in Pickering was also set
on fire and vandalized, showing that all religious and ethnic groups are
vulnerable to this kind of attack. Jewish homes were spray-painted with
swastikas, a chilling reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust, so close to our
National Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom HaShoah, which we marked this past Sunday.
Honourable senators, Yom HaShoah is an opportunity for Canadians of all
religious and cultural backgrounds to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust
and to remind ourselves of the devastating effects of religious and ethnic
hatred on our communities and our society. As we reflect on the horrors of the
past and compare them with more recent acts of hatred, we should take the
opportunity to reaffirm our Canadian values of harmony and multiculturalism and
reaffirm our commitment to protect all Canadians from those who would commit
crimes of racist violence and hate.
Honourable senators, I know that all of us here will join together with all
Canadians in condemning these kinds of attacks regardless of who is targeted and
continue to fight for our Canadian values of multiculturalism, openness and
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, the week of April 18 to
April 24 is National Volunteer Week. Therefore, I rise today to pay tribute to
the roughly 6.5 million people across Canada who give freely of their time and
energy for the betterment of others. Without their dedication and hard work,
many areas of our society, such as the arts and culture sector or sports and
recreation groups, would not function as well, or perhaps at all.
In the year 2000, for example, volunteers contributed approximately 1 billion
hours of their time. That is an amazing contribution, especially when one
considers that those hours are equivalent to about 550,000 full-time, year-round
The theme of this year's celebration is "Volunteers grow community!" More
than 5,000 events are scheduled to take place across the country this week to
recognize the contribution volunteers have made to almost every aspect of our
society. It is important that we continue to use National Volunteer Week to
celebrate the role of volunteers in our communities and to promote charitable
involvement and giving.
We must encourage people of all ages to get involved, not just for the
overall benefit of society, but for the benefit of the participant as well.
Volunteers often build and strengthen existing skills through their philanthropy
and explore areas of personal interest. However, other advantages are less
There is an old saying that it is better to give than to receive. Volunteers
put those words into practice every single day. When one gives of himself or
herself as a volunteer, the personal satisfaction and the pride that the
volunteer feels is immeasurable. It is my hope that charitable organizations
across the country will gain many new recruits this week who will experience
these feelings first-hand.
Through teaching, fundraising, counselling, organizing and countless other
activities, Canada's volunteers help grow their communities by making them a
better place to live.
Honourable senators, during this National Volunteer Week, let us say a
heart-felt thank you in response.
Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, a few days ago the
Franco-Ontarian flag was officially raised in front of the Lycée Claudel
building in Ottawa. The event was held in the presence of His Excellency Mr.
Philippe Guelluy, Ambassador of France to Canada. Also in attendance were Mr.
Jean Poirier and Mr. Brian Beauchamp, presidents of the regional ACFOs; Mr.
Alain Landry, chairman of the Lycée Claudel board of directors; the members of
the board of directors; and Ms. Jacqueline Égon, the lycée's principal.
The teaching staff and more than 800 students, boys and girls registered at
Lycée Claudel, also attended the ceremony.
As the senator representing Northern Ontario, and as President of the
Fédération Canada-France, I was proud to attend this ceremony.
Let us not forget that the French language and culture have been present in
Ontario for 350 years. The first French speakers to settle in Ontario were the
missionaries who established the mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in
The white and green Franco-Ontarian flag, decorated with the fleur de lys and
the trillium, reflects the history and hope of the francophone community of
Ontario. It was officially raised for the first time on September 25, 1975 at
Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Congratulations to all those who took part in this initiative by Lycée
Claudel, which recognizes the richness, contribution and value of the French
language and culture in Ontario.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I rise today on the occasion of
the visit of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to Canada this week. I want to praise
the Prime Minister for agreeing to see the Dalai Lama. This is a good thing, but
I am puzzled as to why this meeting has been placed into a so-called spiritual
frame. I am sure that when the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury meets with
political leaders, the discussion covers more than just spirituality. In this
complex global village, the Pope's views on many issues, such as the horrible
violence in the Middle East, are well received and respected in political
circles. History has taught us that the views of religious leaders go beyond the
spiritual and very much into everyday realities.
On a personal level, as a reporter in the late 1980s and early 1990s I
witnessed the brutality of the Chinese police in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. I
watched as my cameraman videotaped the Chinese police beating defenceless monks.
I then listened in the Jokhang Temple as the monks told their stories of
harassment by the Chinese authorities. As a result of these experiences, I had
the not-so-welcome opportunity of spending a number of hours in a Chinese jail
in Lhasa. We were ordered to give up the tapes. Fortunately, the authorities did
not get all of them and we were able to transmit their story to Canadians.
Fifteen years have passed since my experiences in Tibet, and I am
disappointed to hear that our Department of Foreign Affairs has recommended
that, when meeting with the Dalai Lama, political leaders should bear in mind
that "emphasis should be on the spiritual and civic matters as opposed to
political issues which might appear to confer recognition of sovereignty." This
visit is described as an extremely sensitive political issue.
Honourable senators, there is a reality check here. The Dalai Lama has met
presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens around the world, while Canada, as
a sovereign nation, is worried about upsetting the authorities in Beijing. It
has been argued by some that meeting the Dalai Lama may affect our trade
relations with China, which are, by the way, very much in China's favour.
Honourable senators, this is nothing short of diplomatic blackmail. There
should not be a price tag on human freedom. Canada and China have forged a great
friendship over the last few decades, but I do not think we need any lessons on
how to treat a guest in our own house.
I stand here today as a witness to history, as a person who has some
understanding of the issue of human rights. I urge others to stand up and listen
to whatever message the Dalai Lama will deliver. At this time, the issue is not
so much about recognizing the autonomy of Tibet; it is about first recognizing
the autonomy of the mind and the fundamental right to speak it.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable Senators, I give notice that, at the next
sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of
Parliament be authorized to review rule 86(1)(g) and the mandate of the
Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration in order to
provide it with a role in the selection of the Senate Ethics Officer and any
successor to that position;
That the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
or a subcommittee of that Committee, that is made up of at least one
representative from each recognized party, be empowered to establish and
follow measures to identify suitable candidates to be the Senate Ethics
That these measures include:
a) the determination of selection criteria;
b) the dissemination of advertisements to solicit applicants for the
c) the evaluation of applicants through a professional agency;
d) the preparation of a short list;
e) the review of the short listed applicants prior to interviews; and
f) the recommendation of the selected candidate to the Senate; and
That the process and guidelines to be followed by the Standing Committee on
Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration in determining a suitable
candidate for the position of the Senate Ethics Officer be included as an
Appendix to the Rules of the Senate.
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next
sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on February 13, 2004,
the date for the final report by the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence on the need for a national security policy for Canada be
extended from June 30, 2004, to September 30, 2005.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate
and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs be authorized to join
the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the House
of Commons for a joint meeting in order to meet with His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and his delegation; and
That the Committee be authorized to meet at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April
22, 2004, even though the Senate may then be sitting, and that rule 95(4) be
suspended in relation thereto.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted,
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: May we have an explanation?
Senator Di Nino: As honourable senators know, His Holiness has
undertaken a historic visit that includes three cities. He is in Vancouver
today, will be in Ottawa until Saturday and will then travel to Toronto for 11
days of "kalachakra" teachings, or teachings of peace. He will be in Ottawa for
a short time and the foreign affairs committees of the Senate and the other
place have extended an invitation to His Holiness to speak to us about peace,
compassion and human rights from a foreign perspective in respect of what is
happening in the world today.
The chair of the committee told me that he spoke with my colleague regarding
this matter and I certainly was under the impression that he did so as a member
of the committee. The expectation is that we will receive His Holiness and hear
his opinions on the world issues of peace, compassion and human rights.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I give notice that at
the next setting of the Senate, I will move:
That, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on February 26, 2004,
the date for the final report by the Standing Senate Committee on National
Security and Defence on Veterans' Services and Benefits, Commemorative
Activities and Charter be extended from June 30, 2004 to September 30, 2005.
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 4(h)
of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table petitions signed
by 37 people asking that Ottawa, the capital of Canada, be declared a bilingual
city and the reflection of the country's linguistic duality.
The petitioners pray and request that Parliament consider the following:
That the Canadian Constitution provides that English and French 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 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
Therefore, your petitioners ask Parliament to affirm in the Constitution of
Canada that Ottawa, the capital of Canada — the only one mentioned in the
Constitution — be declared officially bilingual, under section 16 of the
Constitution Acts from 1867 to 1982.
Hon. Marisa Ferretti Barth: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 4(h)
of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table petitions signed
by 2,008 residents of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, asking that Ottawa,
the capital of Canada, be declared a bilingual city and the reflection of the
country's linguistic duality.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Most honourable senators will be aware of
the recent arrest in Ottawa of Momin Khawaja, who was reportedly linked to a
plot to carry out terrorist attacks in Britain. Strict security measures were
put in place almost immediately around National Defence Headquarters. That was
two weeks ago, about the same time as the arrest.
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether this Canadian
citizen was linked to any plot to carry out attacks in this country?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have no information to provide to Senator Forrestall.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, I trust the leader might have
his staff look into this matter and I will ask the question again tomorrow.
A recent al-Qaeda manual has ranked killing Canadians as a priority.
Yesterday the U.S. announced measures to tighten security ahead of elections and
warned that terrorists might be already in place.
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell this chamber if we are
currently at a higher state of vigilance?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators will know that matters of security
are not generally discussed and that the paramount issue is the safety of
Canadians. When it is in the interest of the safety of Canadians, the security
forces act on the information they have, if they have any at all, without public
discussion. I have no information to provide the honourable senator, and I doubt
that I will have information in the near future.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, the leader has surprised me
somewhat. I thought he might at least rise to the occasion and tell us when we
might have a general election.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, since the United States
makes public announcements regarding different levels of security using colour
coding, that is, yellow, orange or red, should Canadians not be provided with
similar information so that we are aware of our status?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, we do provide Canadians with
information, but we do not have colour codes. Canadians are given narrative
Senator Stratton: Perhaps the Leader of the Government in the Senate
will indicate what level we are at now?
Senator Austin: Extremely watchful.
Senator Stratton: Is the official position of the government that the
current security level is extremely watchful? The public has a right to know.
Can we tell the public that security is at an extremely watchful level?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I would be delighted if Senator
Stratton would tell the public the government is extremely watchful about public
Senator Stratton: If we are at "extremely watchful," what are the
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, we do not keep our security
alerts in categories; we use a narrative form to advise the public.
Senator Stratton: In other words, obfuscation and bafflegab works. We
are asking about the levels of security. Surely to goodness the Leader of the
Government in the Senate can provide this chamber with that information.
Senator Austin: I would be delighted to provide that information in
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, my question concerns the
revelation last week that, against Industry Canada rules, Mr. Neelam Makhija,
acting as a middleman, collected $2 million in commissions for helping three
British Columbia companies obtain grants from the Technology Partnership
The consultant in question lives in Toronto and, apparently, has a remarkable
record of obtaining grants for companies that would otherwise be denied them
and, in at least one case, for getting a grant for a project that had been
turned down before the recipient hired him.
Beyond the three known companies, another six have had their payments from
the Technology Partnership Program frozen while Industry Canada auditors
investigate their dealings with Mr. Makhija.
I expect that the Leader of the Government in the Senate will realize that
two Industry Canada rules were broken. First, the companies were working with an
unregistered lobbyist. Second, commissions and contingency fees violate Industry
Canada contract rules.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate report to the Senate on how
much money went out the door before the auditors realized there was a problem?
Second, could the government leader also advise the Senate how long the auditors
expect to take to complete their work?
The Leader of the Government in the Senate may also wish to comment on why
someone from British Columbia would have to go to Toronto to hire an
unregistered lobbyist to get the grant.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have seen the reports of this story and I will endeavour to provide the Senate
with information when it is made available to me. I do not have a statement to
make on the findings of any investigation. I am aware, as I said, of the
allegations. It is my hope that, if there is malfeasance here, such malfeasance
was not sourced in British Columbia.
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, my second question involves the
expenditure of money and is supplementary. I recently phoned the Canada Revenue
Agency to get specific tax information, which I was given, by a real person. I
subsequently learned from my accountant that the information I was given was
incorrect. In fact, my accountant said that information given through this
process by the CRA is so often incorrect that in his company they take the best
two out of three answers. It is a serious situation for anyone who files an
incorrect tax return. Why should Canadians have to hire an accountant to fill
out their income tax forms?
What is the redress for an individual who is given incorrect information by
the CRA in their very public Web process, and when can I expect my refund?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, if
such a thing has ever happened, I am sure there will be a record of it and a
precedent established. I will search for the answer in that form.
Senator Carney: Honourable senators, I want an answer from the Leader
of the Government in the Senate that can be given to Canadians about what
redress they can expect when they either telephone the agency or use the Web
site and are given incorrect information. Surely, the government leader is able
to get a response or a remedy for those of us in that position.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I thought I had answered the
question in a very serious way. To repeat my answer, I said that if such a thing
has happened, I will search for the precedents and see what is the policy of the
Canada Revenue Agency when taxpayers have been improperly advised.
Senator Carney: I am asking the government leader to supply that
answer to the Senate.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, I have a question for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Several international health groups, including the Canadian Cancer Society
and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, have made public their concerns
that the federal Tobacco Control Strategy will soon be eliminated. They say that
the government's program expenditure review has put the strategy's work on hold,
including its new advertising campaign. Despite the falling smoking rate, the
need for such a program has not gone away. Tobacco use is still responsible for
over 45,000 deaths per year in Canada, which is more than those caused by car
accidents, drug overdoses, suicides, murders and AIDS combined.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if these health
groups have true concerns, or if there is something in the works that could
alleviate their anxiety?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
certainly will make enquiries and try to make the information available quickly.
Senator Keon: Honourable senators, when the Tobacco Control Strategy
was announced in 2001, then finance minister Paul Martin and then health
minister Allan Rock promised that the funding of this program would be
sustained, but the funds were cut last year by $13 million. Despite that loss,
the program may still yield results as long as the funding is not cut any
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether the funding
will remain stable at the present rate or whether additional cuts might be
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I will add that question to my
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is also
directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It relates to the avian
flu that has struck the poultry industry in British Columbia. There has been
great concern on the part of growers in that industry that there was no
effective emergency strategy in place to deal with the outbreak. That is
reinforced by the fact that some of the farms that were originally contaminated
still have not been evacuated of poultry and poultry manure.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate elaborate on what measures
the government has in place and what would be done if another outbreak occurred
elsewhere in Canada?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency acted expeditiously the moment avian flu was
reported in the poultry population in British Columbia. According to my
information, Health Canada was advised on February 18 of this year that an avian
influenza virus had been certified in one broiler breeder stock in British
Columbia. A series of steps have been taken from that time until this date.
Action was taken almost immediately to quarantine reported sources. Following
that, an order was given for the destruction of the infected poultry population.
As Senator St. Germain knows, a hot zone was established and then expanded.
One of the most difficult parts of this avian influenza issue is that all
efforts made to trace the manner in which infection is spreading have not
resulted in a definitive answer. Currently, 31 breeder farms are infected in
addition to a number of farmyard flocks and, to date, no source of the infection
and no methodology for its transport have been defined.
This is an extremely serious matter for the bird industry. At the same time,
we have not been able to detect an avian flu occurrence in the wild bird
population. That adds to the mystery and difficulty.
In the meantime, there is no expectation of a human health problem of any
consequence with regard to the virus in question.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, the Leader of the Government
will know that there has been great controversy in British Columbia with regard
to dump sites, et cetera. I believe that these things should have been part of
an emergency program already in place.
There was an outbreak in the state of Texas and they immediately took such
aggressive action that they were able to contain it to, I believe, only one
farm. There have been other outbreaks of this unfortunate epidemic in other
areas of the country.
I know that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did as good a job as possible
in dealing with the BSE situation. For some odd reason, it seems we are
stumbling in establishing who is responsible for what at the provincial and
There have been protests in Cache Creek, where there is a major GVRD dump
site. People have protested against bringing these infected birds into the area.
This leaves the feeling that no one knows what is really going on, something
which is reinforced by the farmers, who do not know what is going on. No one can
put a handle on the outbreak.
I do not think anyone is trying to lay blame. Officials are looking at how to
contain the outbreak and deal with it effectively and immediately. However, this
has been an issue for two months now. There was a recent outbreak at a
Cloverdale farm. As opposed to being able to contain the situation, we are
stumbling along. Again, I lay no blame on anyone.
Is the federal government responsible for establishing emergency programs to
deal with an issue of this nature, or does such responsibility revert to the
provincial government? Establishing jurisdiction is important in dealing with an
outbreak of this sort.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, Senator St. Germain has raised a
number of points.
First, I would like to make it clear that the CFIA reported today that avian
influenza has been detected on 33 commercial premises and in 10 backyard flocks
in the Fraser Valley area. The new sites are outside the original
10-kilometre-wide hot zone where the first avian flu cases were confirmed in
February. All backyard flocks with a confirmed infection have been depopulated.
Depopulation continues on a priority basis for all other premises.
The health of animals and its role in the human food chain is the
responsibility of the federal government. As Senator St. Germain knows, under
the Health of Animals Act we have established a program of compensation when the
federal government orders the destruction of infected or potentially infected
animals and, in this particular case, poultry. The disposal of the carcasses is
the responsibility of the provincial government, which has been assiduous in
attempting to supervise the destruction of poultry either infected or ordered to
be destroyed because of potential infection.
There have been problems in British Columbia with some communities whose
populations fear the contagion of these birds. Health scientists say that the
level of contagion risk to humans is extremely low. They also say that once
these birds are dead they are no longer infectious. There are communities that
do not want these bird carcasses on any terms whatever.
I believe the province has been doing very well under the circumstances and
that both governments have cooperated extremely well. The poultry industry is
aware of and has approved the measures being taken. Issues of compensation are
not contentious, and the federal government has begun to pay compensation.
As to why this situation has been going on for this long, I answered that
inquiry in response to the first question posed by the honourable senator. We do
not know. Scientists cannot discover the nature of the transmission vehicle.
Speculation has been that infection is carried on equipment or perhaps on the
clothes of farm workers who go from one farm to another. In the last few weeks,
those people have been given new clothing that was not used in a previous
exposure and the contagion has continued.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, the Leader of the Government
has just said that there are 33 cases. This means that there have been two new
cases over the course of the last 24 hours, further exacerbating the situation.
It is not a question of being critical. The province is doing as much as it
possibly can, as is the CFIA.
Why is it that other areas have been able to contain the spread of the virus
so rapidly and we have not? There must be an explanation. Perhaps it will emerge
down the road. At the present time, the concern of the farmers is that the
process of arresting the spread of the virus seems to be prolonged.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, thus far, the contagion has been
contained to the Fraser Valley, which is a very large area. Chinese in the
provinces of Guangdong and Fujian took several weeks to depopulate very
substantial bird flocks. Senator St. Germain may recall that every bit of
poultry was destroyed in Hong Kong in order to deal with an avian flu epidemic.
The only way known to science to destroy this contagion is to destroy the
population entirely and then rebuild it after the period of infection has
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, my question relates to
the United States trade ban on live cattle.
Now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to lift the remaining
restrictions on Canadian beef from younger animals, which effectively opens the
door to $170 million of Canadian beef exports to the U.S., could the Leader of
the Government in the Senate comment on when the government expects the U.S. to
end the trade ban on live cattle?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have no information for Senator Gustafson as to when the Government of the
United States may come to a conclusion on live cattle being moved into the U.S.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, we certainly know that
the issue is moving younger cattle on the hoof into the United States.
Undoubtedly, the Prime Minister will raise the U.S. trade ban on live cattle
when he visits the President at the end of the month. However, as we know, the
battle against protectionism by the American government must be fought on other
fronts. Senators, including Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, as
well as Hillary Clinton, contend that Canada has lax testing standards for mad
cow disease. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our scientists and the
Department of Health have done an excellent job, which has been revered around
the world. What will the government do to set the record straight on this very
important health issue?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): As Senator Gustafson
knows, the consultation period that was initiated by the Department of
Agriculture in the United States, and on which we exchanged comments some two
weeks ago, has closed. We believe that the U.S. ought to rule on a positive
resumption of imports of live cattle under as well as over the age of 30 months.
It is the view of the Canadian government that the United States Department
of Agriculture will take a science-based approach. It is also the view of the
Canadian government that should the United States take a science-based approach,
it will then find that Canadian cattle can be safely imported into the United
States. However, it is impossible to say when they will come to the same
conclusion. I think, finally, that measures are underway to refute the
inaccuracy of the statements made by those U.S. senators to which Senator
Senator Gustafson: Honourable senators, when high-profile people are
not informed of the situation, it is necessary to create an educational program
to make them aware of what is in fact happening. Perhaps the government should
write these people a letter telling them what we have done, as this is a very
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, as we know, people sometimes make
comments in error because they do not have appropriate information or because
they do not want to know anything different from the comment they made.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators may not be aware that the
Leader of the Government in the Senate has made known his opinion on where
Canada's disease control centre should be located. Shortly after taking on his
new position, Senator Austin stated in a press release:
When researchers at the University of British Columbia were the first in
the world to solve the genetic code for the SARS virus last April, it
confirmed Vancouver's place amongst the top medical research centres in the
world. I am convinced that B.C. would be an excellent and appropriate site for
Canada's national centre for disease control.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if he consulted with
his colleagues on the government side before releasing his statement and whether
his colleagues are in full agreement with his views?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
consulted with as many colleagues as I could. I discovered that there were a
variety of views with respect to this particular issue; but nothing I heard
changed my view.
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, in case some of you did not
know and are unfamiliar with it, I would like to tell you a little bit about the
National Microbiology Laboratory. It is the only Level 4 containment facility in
Canada, meaning that it is the only place in the country that is able to study
the most deadly of diseases in both human beings and animals. The National
Microbiology Laboratory, along with its talented scientists, is recognized
around the world for its state-of-the-art work. Of course, it is located in
Given its many fine attributes, would the Leader of the Government in the
Senate agree that the National Microbiology Laboratory would be the most
appropriate site for the new national centre for disease control?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I want to say that Canada's
facility located in Winnipeg is one of the world's best in terms of a Level 4
diagnostic laboratory system. It definitely is an essential part of a disease
control management system for Canada. It must be there.
As Senator Stratton may not know, the question of a centre for disease
control was given over to a study by scientists headed by Dr. David Naylor. His
report included the unanimous opinion of some 10 or 11 other scientists that the
Vancouver facilities for disease control, which are of long and experienced
standing and are very integrated in their work in the fields of genomics,
microbiology and epidemiology, received 12 of the 20 points awarded for the
establishment of a centre for disease control, while Winnipeg received four of
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour of presenting 10 delayed answers to oral questions.
The responses are for the following: a question posed by the Honourable Senator
Stratton on March 11, 2004, concerning payouts to EDS Canada for the gun
registry computer system; a question posed by the Honourable Senator St. Germain
on March 29, 2004, regarding British Columbia's outbreak of avian influenza in
the poultry industry; a question posed by the Honourable Senator St. Germain on
March 23, 2004, regarding protocol for flying flags at half mast; a question
posed by the Honourable Senator St. Germain on March 10, 2004, concerning
consumer beef prices; a question posed by the Honourable Senator Spivak on March
24, 2004, concerning mandatory labelling of genetically modified grains; a
question posed by the Honourable Senator Spivak on February 26, 2004, concerning
bovine spongiform encephalopathy — the decision not to ban blood in feed; a
question posed by the Honourable Senator Sparrow on February 16, 2004,
concerning the cost of the Canadian firearms program; a question posed by the
Honourable Senator Meighen on February 26, 2004, regarding the compensation for
veterans exposed to chemical agent testing; a question posed by the Honourable
Senator Gustafson on February 5, 2004, regarding BSE's effect on cattle trade;
and a question posed by the Honourable Senator Gustafson on February 26, 2004,
concerning the income stabilization program — support of provinces.
I want to say to Senator Lynch-Staunton that I gave him an undertaking some
weeks ago and have not been able to keep it. However, I want to assure him that
I am assiduously pushing the people who get the answers, and I hope to have them
in the near future.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Terry Stratton on March 11, 2004)
In the fiscal year 1997-1998, EDS was awarded the original contract to
develop, implement and manage the Canada Firearms Centre information system.
As of December 31, 2003, the Canada Firearms Centre has paid EDS approximately
$165 million to develop and subsequently operate the information system. I
would like to point out that the IT system developed by EDS is operational. It
has been working since the law came into force in December 1998. To date, it
has been used to license almost two million firearm owners and to register
almost seven million firearms. It has also been successfully enhanced over the
years to provide improved services to Canadians, for example, by means of
(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerry St. Germain on March 29, 2004)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is allowing products to move
with general and specific permits, weighing the risk of spreading disease when
issuing these permits. This will remain in place until it is clear that there
is no further infection in the area and the incubation period of the disease
is past (3 weeks) without further infection.
Table eggs that have been washed and graded, are allowed to move from the
control area to all of the province of British Columbia. Cooked poultry
products can be moved any where in Canada.
Movement restrictions are being reassessed as more information emerges
through the CFIA's surveillance and investigation activities. We will seek to
minimize these restrictions, where possible, but our first consideration is
stamping out this disease.
CFIA scientists are completing a risk assessment and consulting with the
industry and provincial governments. The continued discovery of new infected
flocks must also be taken into account.
For domestic purposes, the restrictions will be lifted in the control area
after at least 21 days have elapsed after the last case has been reported and
following the completion of the stamping-out policy and disinfection
The CFIA provides compensation to owners of animals ordered destroyed under
the authority of the Health of Animals Act. The compensation program is
part of the CFIA's effort to control or eradicate animal diseases that
threaten Canada's livestock population. Such diseases are listed in the
Reportable Diseases Regulations.
The compensation program is designed to encourage owners to report disease
in their herds and flocks at the earliest signs, thereby preventing or
reducing the spread of disease and assisting owners in rebuilding their herds.
The control of animal disease is a shared responsibility of the owner, the
industry, and the federal government. In addition to the human and animal
health benefits of reporting disease in farm animals, public confidence in
Canada's safe food supply is enhanced. Early reporting and control of any
disease outbreak also helps Canada maintain its excellent international animal
health status which bolsters Canadian exports of animals and animal products.
The amount of compensation awarded to owners is determined by an assessment
of the market value of an animal and takes into consideration factors such as
genetic background, age and production records. If an individual animal or a
small number of animals are ordered destroyed, the veterinary inspector, with
the written consent of the owner, may establish the value based on knowledge
of the local market.
Each animal is evaluated and its market value is determined; however, the
compensation awarded is subject to maximum levels set out in the Compensation
for Destroyed Animals Regulations. The owner is awarded market value less the
value of the carcass received if salvage is possible, but if the animal's
market value is equal to or exceeds the maximum allowed, the owner is awarded
the maximum compensation amount.
Owners of animals ordered destroyed may also be awarded compensation for
disposal costs including transportation, slaughter, labour, and equipment.
Additionally, compensation is paid for things such as contaminated animal
products or feedstuffs that are ordered destroyed to control the disease.
The Health of Animals Act does not provide compensation for costs
associated with testing animals. The farmer is compensated, however, when an
animal dies during inspection or testing, or is injured so severely that the
animal has to be destroyed during inspection or testing. Producers whose farms
are found to be infected are not paid for costs such as feed and labour,
including the producer's time, nor for cleaning and disinfecting the infected
The compensation provisions of the Health of Animals Act are not
designed to address impacts of control measures on other producers in a
control area or the impacts of market changes, nor are they intended as
insurance. The Act is intended to provide compensation for animals
destroyed as a means of encouraging animal owners to report specific diseases
in their herds and flocks at the earliest signs, thereby preventing or
reducing the spread of disease.
Disease eradication programs in livestock and poultry are not only for the
public good, but for the good of the industry itself. Historically, producer
groups have agreed that the financial cost of an eradication program (testing
costs, mustering fees, etc) is a worthwhile investment in the future of their
industry and the protection of their families and enterprises against animal
(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerry St. Germain on March 23, 2004)
The current policy regarding the half-masting of the National Flag of
Canada was adopted by cabinet in 1966 and revised in 2003. Upon the death of a
member of the Privy Council, the National Flag of Canada is flown at half-mast
on all federal buildings in the member's city of residence until dusk of the
day of their funeral. This does not include the flag which flies atop the
Peace Tower, should the member's city of residence be Ottawa, Ontario. This
flag is lowered to half-mast from dawn until dusk on the day of the funeral of
the Member of the Privy Council.
Clause 7 of the policy states that:
Upon the death of a Privy Councillor, who is not a current member of the
Canadian Ministry, or a current Senator, the Flag is flown at Half-mast:
A. on all federal buildings and establishments in his or her place of
residence, excluding the Peace Tower if the place of residence is Ottawa,
from the time of notification of death until sunset on the day of the
funeral or the memorial service;
B. on the Peace Tower from sunrise to sunset on the day of the funeral
or the memorial service, as the case may be.
This should explain why the flags on Parliament Hill, with the exception of
the Peace Tower, were flying at half-mast on March 23, 2004. They were at
half-mast in honour of the late the Honourable Mitchell Sharp, P.C., C.C.,
whose city of residence was Ottawa. On March 27, 2004, the National Flag of
Canada on the Peace Tower was lowered at dawn and kept at half-mast until dusk
that very same day.
The policy regarding half-mastings in Canada is available for all Canadians
on the Department of Canadian Heritage Web site at:
(Response to question raised by Hon. Gerry St. Germain on March 10, 2004)
The BSE situation has affected all participants in the beef supply chain
and I appreciate the concerns that have been raised on this issue by both
cattlemen and consumers. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring
that a fair, open, and efficient marketplace exists. The Competition Bureau
has indicated that the evidence to date does not suggest behaviour that is
contrary to the Competition Act. The Bureau has said that it will consider any
additional information brought to its attention that may point to a breach of
In addition, on March 11, 2004, the Government of Alberta also released a
report into the issue concerning consumer beef prices. This report concluded
that packers had not profited unfairly from the BSE situation. The report
indicated that, although cattle prices have fallen significantly, many new
costs have arisen. These include the costs to implement new procedures to
minimize contamination, such as SRM removal brought forward by this government
to ensure food and animal safety. The report also indicated loss of export
markets for certain products and cuts has translated into a reduction of
On March 22, 2004, representatives of the Canadian Council of Grocery
Distributors appeared before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and
Agri-Food. The presented data showing that average retail beef prices in their
members' stores have fallen 13.8 per cent since May, 2003. The Canadian
Cattlemen's Association has suggested that claims that one sector of the beef
industry is profiteering at the expense of others are simplistic and require
more in-depth analysis.
The Government of Canada also announced a few days ago that a further $680
million will be provided directly to cattle producers to help them with cash
flow difficulties during this period of uncertainty, and $250 million to
Canadian agricultural producers, including cattle producers, as transitional
support until new Business Risk Management programming is fully implemented
later this year.
The most pressing issue in resolving the BSE crisis, however, is the
reopening of international borders. The Government continues to work closely
with foreign officials to expedite this process.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Mira Spivak on March 24, 2004)
Sound science is the basis of the federal government's health, safety and
environmental assessments of new products. As with any new product of
biotechnology, biotechnology-derived wheat will be subjected to a thorough
safety assessment before the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) would
consider authorizing its unconfined environmental release. No wheat with new
traits will be approved until the proponent has completely satisfied all
regulatory requirements and has provided the CFIA with sufficient evidence
that the crop will not pose a significant risk to the environment.
Along with a complete characterization of the modified crop, the CFIA will
consider the impact of the biotechnology-derived wheat on weediness and pollen
outflow to related species, as well as the effect on non-target organisms and
on biodiversity. As part of this environmental assessment, any impacts on the
control of volunteer wheat as a result of the novel traits will also be
In order for a wheat variety to be sold in Canada, it must be registered by
the Variety Registration Office of the CFIA, pursuant to Part III of the
Seeds Regulations. The registration process for a Plant with Novel Trait
(PNT) wheat variety and a conventional wheat variety is the same with the
exception that a Plant with Novel Trait (PNT) wheat variety must be approved
for human consumption by Health Canada and for unconfined environmental
release and feed use by the CFIA before it is registered.
The variety registration process ensures that new varieties of wheat being
introduced in Canada have agronomic, disease and quality merit. Recommending
committees recognized by the Minister, evaluate new varieties and make
recommendations to the Variety Registration Office as to whether or not they
meet the merit criteria necessary for registration. Market acceptance is not a
consideration for variety registration.
Once a biotechnology-derived crop has been granted approval for
commercialization, it is treated just like any other commodity crop. Growers
are free to implement identity preservation systems for certain specialized
types of production and can co-operate with their neighbours to minimize the
impacts of surrounding production methods. The CFIA continues to sponsor
public research into pollen flow and the resulting data can be used by farmers
who wish to minimize the impact of pollen flow from surrounding crops.
The CFIA listens to the concerns of all producers. Biotechnology and
organic agricultural practices are but two production approaches available to
people working in the agriculture and agri-food sectors. Producers need access
to a variety of technologies and production techniques that offer the
potential for improved returns, conservation of natural resources and greater
flexibility in production management.
Organic production practices are established by organic grower groups, who
although requiring zero tolerance for pollen flow from biotechnology-derived
crops, know that gene flow from crop production is not unique to
For matters of health and safety, the Government requires mandatory
labelling in Canada. To date, the foods that have been assessed and approved
by Health Canada are considered to be as safe and as nutritious as foods
presently on the market. As such, Health Canada can require mandatory
labelling if there has been a change in nutrition or safety.
In Canada, labelling policy allows industry to voluntarily label products
for method of production (i.e. product of biotechnology), provided the label
is truthful, not misleading and complies with other regulatory standards. This
approach allows food manufacturers to meet consumer demand for information
while remaining consistent with international trade obligations.
The Government of Canada has supported the work undertaken by the Canadian
General Standards Board, since 1999, to develop a Canadian standard for the
voluntary labelling of genetically engineered foods. The Standard is currently
in the final stage of approval at the Standards Council of Canada.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Mira Spivak on February 26, 2004)
The Honourable Mira Spivak was advised that Canada does not plan to ban the
feeding of cow blood to calves. The Honourable Senator asked what
consultations took place between the United States FDA officials and U.K.
officials before our government decided to continue this ill-advised practice?
What science supports our policy of which governments in the U.S. and the U.K.
For the moment, the ruminant feed bans in both Canada and the United States
allow for the feeding of blood products derived from any species (including
ruminants) to other ruminants. The U.K. is subject to a European Union-wide
animal product to farm animal feeding ban, which includes blood products.
Under these restrictions, animal origin protein from all species of animals
are prohibited for feeding to livestock.
On January 26, 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the
agency responsible for administering the feed ban in the U.S., announced they
would be moving to make several amendments to their ban, including the removal
of the exemption for feeding blood products to ruminants. As of yet, the FDA
has not published their amendments so it is not known what blood restriction
will apply. The Government of Canada was not given any indication by the FDA
that a change on the feeding of blood products was forthcoming nor were any
formal discussions concerning the feeding of blood products held between the
Government of Canada and FDA officials prior to the making of this
With respect to Canada's position on the feeding of blood products to
ruminants, scientists at both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and
Health Canada have reviewed the current knowledge about the potential for
blood to contain and transmit bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
infectivity and have concluded that the risk is very low. While there is
evidence indicating BSE can be transmitted from infected sheep to other sheep
via blood transfusion, there is no evidence indicating the disease can be
transmitted via the consumption of blood products processed into animal feed
ingredients (for example, blood meal, dried blood plasma or serum).
At the moment, no final decision has been taken on whether a change is
necessary. But all options to strengthen the current feed restrictions remain
under active consideration.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Herbert O. Sparrow on February 16,
The Firearms Program has not cost two billion dollars — in fact, it has not
even cost one billion dollars. We do not anticipate reaching one billion
dollars until sometime during 2004/05.
As of March 31, 2003, the full cost for the Program was $814 million as
reported in the 2002/03 Department of Justice Departmental Performance Report.
This number includes the Information Technology costs and the reimbursements
to the provinces and federal partners, such as the RCMP and the Canada Border
Services Agency. This total also includes all of the supplementary estimates
that were approved by Parliament.
The money that has been invested in the Canada Firearms Centre's
information technology system, including its development and operation over
the past seven years, has been money well spent. The information technology
system has been operational since 1998, the date the law came into effect. The
system has been used successfully to license 2 million firearms owners and to
register almost 7 million firearms.
The total projected expenditure relating to the Program for 2003/04 is
approximately $133 million. This amount represents $116 million for the Canada
Firearms Centre and an estimated $17 million identified by our other federal
partners. All of these monies were approved by Parliament, and I can assure
you that the Program continues to focus on efficient and cost-effective
(Response to question raised by Hon. Michael A. Meighen on February 26,
While a dollar value cannot be placed on individual pain or suffering, this
tax free payment offer of $24,000 is being provided to these Veterans as a
gesture of goodwill in recognition of their service. The amount is consistent
with ex-gratia payments provided to other groups of Veterans such as the Hong
Kong Prisoners of War. It is estimated that 2,040 veterans or primary
beneficiaries of veterans who participated in Suffield and Ottawa would be
alive today to receive this payment.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson on February 5,
The Government of Canada reaffirmed its commitment to producers on March
22, when the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture announced the
Transitional Industry Support Program, which will provide nearly $1 billion to
the agricultural sector. $680 million of this is earmarked specifically for
cattle producers, to help them with cash flow difficulties during this period
of uncertainty. Another $250 million will be available to all Canadian
agricultural producers, including cattle producers, as transitional support
until new Business Risk Management programming is fully implemented later this
year. The government will continue to monitor the situation facing the sector,
and may consider additional programming to address specific needs.
As the honourable senator knows, the Government of Canada has worked
closely with its provincial counterparts and industry from the outset to find
solutions to the situation that has resulted from the confirmation of BSE in
Canada. Last summer, governments committed $520 million to the BSE Recovery
Program, which succeeded in keeping cattle moving through the value chain and
helped prevent a backup of animals into the domestic market. In the fall,
governments committed up to $200 million for the Cull Animal Program, which
was designed to help producers feed older animals (whose meat could not and
still can not be exported) until they could be slaughtered domestically.
But as the honourable senator surely knows, the real solution to the
situation facing the Canadian cattle and beef sector is the reopening of
export markets for live cattle and beef products. Let me assure him that the
Federal Government, provincial governments, and the industry are committed to
working together to this end, and will not rest until this goal is realized.
The Government of Canada has demonstrated its commitment, at the Prime
Ministerial, Ministerial and officials level, to work with counterparts in the
United States to normalize trade in cattle and beef between our two countries.
President Bush publicly stated that science will be used as a basis in the
U.S. Administration's approach to this issue, and Canada's efforts have
centred on the scientific rigour of our BSE risk mitigation measures. The U.S.
Government's confidence in these measures was reflected in the partial
reopening last September of the U.S. border to certain Canadian beef products
derived from animals under thirty months of age and in their subsequently
adopting nearly identical measures after the detection of BSE in Washington
On November 4, 2003, a proposed rule was promulgated which, if implemented,
would allow the resumption of U.S. imports of certain classes of live animals
from Canada, including youthful slaughter and feeder cattle, sheep and goats.
This process was temporarily suspended following the detection of BSE in the
United States in December, but was re-started in early March after the joint
Canada-U.S. investigation concluded. Comments are now being requested on the
possibility of allowing imports of beef products from animals over thirty
months of age.
In addition, almost immediately following the meeting between Prime
Minister Paul Martin and President Bush, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico committed
to working together toward harmonizing policies and regulations on BSE, and to
managing BSE within a North American context. Since last September, the three
countries have been pressing the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),
to update the international guidelines for BSE to reflect a risk-based
approach that takes into account current understanding of the disease.
The U.S. has committed to work with us to reintegrate the North American
market on a timely basis to the full extent possible. While it is premature to
predict when the proposed U.S. live cattle rule will be finalized, we are
hopeful that this will take place in a timely manner. All indications coming
from the U.S. continue to be that science will be the deciding factor in the
finalization of the rule and the resumption of live ruminant trade.
The option of processing more cattle in Canada is being explored at many
different levels. Different groups are proposing the construction of new
plants or the expansion of existing facilities. New packing plant capacity is
expected to come on line at within the few months in Ontario and in Prince
Increasing domestic slaughter capacity encourages value-added processing in
Canada. This would create wealth and jobs in this country, and reduce some of
our dependence on the export of live animals. Governments and industry are
working within the Beef Value Chain Round Table forum to explore the issue of
increasing domestic slaughter capacity, in the context of long term
The development of new markets is a more challenging task. Governments and
industry have been working to reopen historical export markets; to widen the
range of beef products that can be exported to countries that are already open
(e.g. United States, Mexico); and to identify new markets. The difficulty in
selling Canadian beef, given its high quality and resulting high price, is
that sales are limited to high quality beef markets.
In November, the Government of Canada provided $1.5 million to the Beef
Information Centre to support the marketing of beef from older cattle that
could not be exported due to current border closures. This was done to
encourage the consumption of beef domestically, further reducing our
dependence on the export of live animals.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson on February 26,
In response to the Honourable Gustafson's question regarding the coming
into force of the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) Program
under the Agricultural Policy Framework. The launch of the CAIS program was
announced in December 2003. All provinces have signed the Implementation
Agreement. The CAIS program is available to producers in all provinces.
In December, program changes were suggested by industry. The following
changes have been incorporated in amending agreement number 3.
- a simplified deposit option for 2003 which allows producers to only
deposit 1/3 of the normal amount required to fully access government
payments corresponding to the level of coverage selected;
- a commitment to review deposit options for 2004;
- raising the cap on the government payment from $975,000 to $3 million
per producer; and
- governments contributing to 60 percent of negative margin coverage.
In order for the amendment to come into effect it must be signed by
two-thirds of the participating provinces representing more than 50 per cent
of total production margin.
To date, three provinces (Alberta, Ontario and Prince Edward Island) have
signed the amending agreement. Several other provinces have indicated that
they will be shortly seeking necessary authorities.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that a
message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill C-8, to
establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to
amend certain acts in consequence, and acquainting the Senate that they have
adopted the amendments made by the Senate to this bill without amendment.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved third reading of 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.
He said: Honourable senators, Bill C-7 is an important piece of legislation,
which the Deputy Prime Minister has described as one that is required to fill
gaps and one that is urgently needed. It is in that light that I would like to
present my submissions on behalf of the government with respect to this bill.
Bill C-7 seeks to enhance public safety and to establish a new act to
implement the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, a convention that was
entered into by the Government of Canada some time ago. The bill was reinstated
in the other place in February of this year and received first reading in the
Senate on the same day. On March 11, the bill received second reading and was
referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.
Honourable senators will recall that the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee
on Transport and Communications, the Honourable Senator Fraser, reported the
bill to the Senate without amendment on April 1, 2004.
The government's first responsibility is to ensure that Canadians are safe.
All the other rights and freedoms are second to this. This is not solely about
the security of long-time Canadians, but also current and future immigrants and
newly established Canadians. In fact, Canada is so attractive to potential
immigrants because it offers a secure and non-violent society.
Bill C-7 will give twelve departments, including the authorities responsible
for law enforcement and the agencies responsible for border control and
intelligence, additional tools to better evaluate threats to transportation and
national security, and to better intervene and prevent such threats.
The Senate committee heard from various witnesses including the Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Minister
of Transport, the RCMP Commissioner, the Director of CSIS, the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, representatives of B'Nai
Brith Canada, the Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties
Monitoring Group, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Air Canada,
Air Transat, the Air Transport Association of Canada, the Canadian Border
Services Agency, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Bill C-7 and its predecessors have been the subject of much debate over
several years. Since it was first introduced two years ago a number of
amendments have been made to improve Bill C-7 and, as a result, it has evolved
into a more balanced bill.
The bill was first written in the months immediately following the terrible
events of September 11, 2001, when departments were assessing how we, as a
government, reacted to the crisis and the necessary actions that had to be
taken. A realization arose that we had, in one sense, been lucky in that some of
the regulatory tools that we needed at that time to deal with the horrendous
tragedy were already in place.
In the hours and days that followed September 11, several public servants
worked to cope with the incredible impact of this horrific event. Then came the
time when ministers and public servants had to evaluate whether we had the tools
to handle the next event, an event we all hope will never happen but,
realistically speaking, is likely to happen.
As I said, the bill was drafted in those first few weeks and months following
September 11, 2001 and has been amended and tested against potential events
since that time. One of the areas of concern was and is that the ability to
react quickly to unprecedented and heretofore undreamed of events must be there.
No one would have believed that a number of aircraft full of innocent people
would have been hijacked with such precise timing and then used as bombs to kill
many more innocent people. That concern resulted in the proposal before us to
expand the existing limited power to make instant regulations to be known as
interim orders. This provision caused much debate and discussion, and I think
that the changes made to the earlier versions of this bill serve to illustrate
the balance that has been sought and achieved in this bill.
While in committee, we heard testimony about the unpredictable and more
difficult reality of today's threats against public safety. September 11, 2001
taught us that airplanes are no longer just a means of transportation. They can
be used as bombs. The international threat environment has reached North America
in a way it never did before and we must do what we can to prepare for the next
attack. For Canada and our allies throughout the world, heightened and
sustainable vigilance is the new reality. While Canada may not be a primary
target for terrorist attack, we have been named as a possible target, and we
must not forget that. We must be prepared. The cry has gone out from our Senate
Standing Committee on National Security and Defence for better preparation. Most
recently, there was a report by the Auditor General discussing emergency
preparedness and how well we are handling matters.
I must say that some of the provisions in this bill respond to some of the
concerns outlined in those reports and others.
As Minister McLellan has said:
...if you look around this world in terms of what is happening, there are
more global threats, and more threats of terrorism, and we have an obligation
to be able to tell Canadians that we are doing everything we can within reason
to protect their safety and security. We have an obligation to do our part in
conjunction with our allies to help protect the people who live in this world.
If we do less, we will have failed.
Minister Valeri also spoke to this new reality when he advised that this bill
gives the Government of Canada the ability to make air travel more secure. That
is what we seek to achieve.
Some have questioned why we need this bill when the government already has
many provisions that allow for rapid reaction in times of emergencies. The short
answer is that no other legislation covers the subject matter to which these new
proposals apply. The Deputy Prime Minister, during her appearance before the
...the proposals in this bill come at a time when it is imperative that
Canada close the legislative gaps that currently exist with respect to
national and transportation security.
We need this bill to provide the level of security that the public expects
and, indeed, deserves. The answer must begin by recognizing that legislation
deals with the prevention of terrorist actions as well as with the response to
Under "prevention" the bill deals with matters such as requirements for the
implementation of security measures for pipelines, the sale of explosives, the
manufacturing of biological and toxic weapons, and the assessing of individuals
to be onboard an aircraft.
With respect to the assessing of individuals to be onboard an aircraft,
consider, for example, a flight from Toronto to Vancouver, which I referred to
during second reading, involving a large aircraft carrying a large fuel load.
The aircraft will fly over several Canadian cities as well as several American
cities. I can buy the ticket on the Internet and I can check in at the
electronic kiosk. My possessions will be screened at the security point and, at
the time of boarding, I need only present any document with my picture on it.
The security people cannot go behind that. Whatever name I have used and
whatever picture is on the document is acceptable. Under Canadian law, no one
can examine who I am from a security point of view for this flight, other than
by referring to the documentation that I have presented.
As the law now exists, we do not know who is flying and we are not allowed
access to that information. Being in such a position is not helpful in trying to
prevent terrorist attacks.
During its consideration, the committee was careful to ask if the appropriate
balance between protecting the privacy of Canadians and protecting against
serious threats, an important objective, had been achieved.
I believe that Bill C-7 does strike this balance. Many senators agreed that
we should be better equipped to identify individuals in Canada and on our planes
who intend to do us harm. Senator Beaudoin's assessment of Bill C-36 is relevant
for the purposes of analysing this legislation in the spirit of the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
Bill C-7 strikes an appropriate balance between the government's duty to
ensure public safety and its duty to respect the rights of individuals as
guaranteed by the Charter.
We believe that we have taken important measures to ensure privacy protection
and strike a balance between that right and security concerns.
Canadians want the assurance that, when their children board a plane to
travel or to visit their grandparents, they will reach their destination safe
What price must we, as Canadians, pay to ensure safety and security? That was
the question asked by Senator LaPierre of one of our witnesses. Clearly,
honourable senators, the role for this legislative body is to determine the
balance between our privacy rights, our fundamental rights and liberties, and
the collective right to security, the security that the public expects. That is
the balance we are trying to achieve with this Bill C-7.
In this country, we cherish our fundamental rights, our freedom and our
privacy. In fact, that is what makes Canada so attractive to new immigrants.
They know they can come here and have that security of person that they do not
have in other places. We do recognize that we may have to give up a bit of those
rights for the public good, to ensure the safety and security of others. It is
very clear, honourable senators, that Canadians do want a secure society.
The Minister of Transport, along with his colleague the Deputy Prime
Minister, who is also the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,
appeared before our committee on March 30. They were both of great help in
advancing our understanding of the requirements for this legislation and the
subsequent balancing that they have gone through over a considerable period of
time and the urgency of this bill.
The Deputy Prime Minister stated in that appearance before the committee the
We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent. Rather, we must remain
vigilant to guard against new threats. We must always be looking for ways to
improve our strategies and emergency response capabilities. We must ensure
that we do this in a way that reflects Canadian values, safeguards our
liberties and respects our laws, our Constitution and our sovereignty.
In appearing before the standing committee, the Minister of Transport
responded to concerns of certain senators that the bill seemed to focus mostly
on airline security. The Minister of Transport advised that security legislation
already exists for other modes and pointed out that, in addition, Bill C-7
introduces security for pipelines and certain power lines, as well as enabling
significant security improvements to the marine mode of transportation.
Specifically, the Minister of Transport referred to Part 12 of the bill,
which would allow the government to permit him, as Minister of Transport, to
enter into agreements respecting the security of marine transportation or to
make contributions or grants in respect of the cost or expense of actions that
would enhance security on vessels and at marine facilities at our ports.
I quote the Minister of Transport:
The part is necessary because the existing Canada Marine Act constrains the
government from providing funds to port authorities, for instance, to support
their capital plans —
— for additional security measures.
As you know, senators, security circumstances have changed considerably
since that provision was put into the Canada Marine Act in 1998.
That statement is quite clear, honourable senators. We would agree with the
minister that the circumstances have changed considerably since that time. That
is part of the approach of Bill C-7, to go through many different statutes.
There are 23 different statutes that are touched upon in this proposed amending
legislation — to clarify, to rectify and to enhance, all from the point of view
of public security.
In speaking to this part of the Canada Marine Act and Bill C-7, the Minister
of Transport noted that last month's budget made reference to marine security as
part of the government's commitment over the next five years to address security
priorities. In the budget, the government committed a further $605 million to
address security issues in addition to the over $7 billion in funding for
security measures that were announced in the 2001 budget.
I will, if I may, make a few general comments on certain provisions that are
essential to the security of Canadians, but that were less touched on during our
deliberations. They will certainly be of interest to the senators.
As far as Part 1 is concerned, the proposed changes to the Aeronautics Act
would make it clear that aviation security requirements would apply not only to
passenger safety but also to the safety of the public, crew members, aircraft,
aerodromes and other aviation facilities, such as control towers and runway
The proposed provisions relating to the Aeronautics Act would authorize
requirement of security clearances for those wishing to take part in pilot
training, to pilot a crop-dusting plane, or to pilot or crew on a large private
As well, any aircraft registered outside Canada would not be allowed to land
at an aerodrome in Canada unless the aircraft and all persons and goods on board
had been subjected to requirements that are acceptable to the minister.
Similarly, outside of Canada, the minister could assess the security of air
carriers providing, or contemplating providing, flights to Canada, or that of
the facilities used in such carriers' operations.
The last proposed provision of the Canadian Aeronautics Act I will mention
concerns so-called acts of air rage. The proposed provision would ensure that no
person could engage in any behaviour that endangers the safety or security of an
aircraft in flight or of persons on board an aircraft in flight by intentionally
doing one of the following: interfering with the performance of the duties of a
crew member, lessening the ability of any crew member to perform that crew
member's duties, or interfering with any person who was following the
instructions of a crew member.
Following the events of September 11, 2001 and subsequent anthrax-related
incidents in the United States and, to a degree, here in Canada, the serious
harm occasioned by hoaxes having the appearance of actual terrorist activity was
felt here in Canada as well as in many countries around the world. Bill C-7
contains measures to defer that type of harmful behaviour. More specifically,
Part 4 of the bill will create a new Criminal Code offence that criminalizes
both those who convey false information that is likely to cause reasonable
apprehension that terrorist activity is likely to occur, and those who commit
acts that are likely to cause a reasonable but false apprehension that terrorist
activity is occurring or is likely to occur. Those are the only aspects that
deal with the Criminal Code, whereas honourable senators will recall that the
Criminal Code was the primary focus of Bill C-36 when we dealt with that.
I will now turn to Part 7 of the bill, which deals the Explosives Act. Here,
the main thrust of the proposal is to ensure that it would be very difficult to
obtain explosives for improper purposes. The purchase of explosives or
components of explosives has been adequately regulated for some time in order to
ensure their safe use. However, as evidenced tragically by Oklahoma City — and,
more recently, in Great Britain in the past few weeks — ordinary substances such
as ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer, can be abused for improper purposes.
Consequently, changes are proposed under the Explosives Act that would, for
instance, provide restrictions on the acquisition, possession, use or sale of
any explosive or class of explosives, to deal with this new type of threat.
I should also like to mention the following important provisions contained in
Part 13, dealing with the National Defence Act. Reserve Force members of the
Canadian Forces who are called out for military duty during an emergency would
be reinstated in their civilian employment by their employers on return from
that service. I am confident that all senators will applaud this initiative.
The proposal in Part 19 of Bill C-7 would assist the federal government's
Financial Transactions and Report Analysis Centre of Canada, sometimes referred
to as FINTRAC — which I will refer to, with your permission, as the centre. In
the fulfillment of its mandate to uncover money laundering activities or
financing for terrorist activities, these amendments would allow the centre,
where an agreement has been entered into, to access information from government
national security databases that the centre considers relevant to carry out its
mandate, and only for that purpose. That would allow the centre to share
compliance-related information with financial sector regulators and supervisors.
This past March, in an Ottawa Citizen article on the operation of
FINTRAC, it was reported that information on 25 separate cases of terrorist
financing involving $22 million had been disclosed to law enforcement agencies
in fiscal 2002-03. The information on 29 suspected cases of terrorist financing
involving in excess of $35 million had been disclosed in the first nine months
of fiscal 2003-04. I am sure that we want this very good work to be assisted in
every way, which is the goal of the amendments to Part 19 of Bill C-7.
Honourable senators, the provisions with respect to interim orders, or what
some people refer to as instant regulations, will only be used where there is a
demonstrable requirement for immediate action to deal with a significant threat
to public safety. The provisions providing for the interim orders must take
authority from the act under which they are created. If there were more time,
they would have to have been properly generated as regulations. If they could
not have been a regulation, they cannot form the subject matter of an interim
As explained at committee, an interim order can be reviewed by the Standing
Joint Committee on the Security of Regulations immediately upon its issuance
and, as a result of an amendment to the Statutory Instruments Act that we passed
here last year, the Standing Joint Committee can recommend to Parliament that
the interim order be revoked. An interim order can only be made if the act — and
I just made that point — that contains the authority to make a regulation about
that matter provides for the authority in the form of a regulation.
I would also remind honourable senators of the requirement, provided for in
Bill C-7, for Governor-in-Council approval of the interim order. That approval
must be within 14 days of the issuance of the interim order; otherwise, the
interim order expires automatically. There is also a requirement for the tabling
in Parliament within 15 days of the interim order being made and for the
publishing of the interim order in the Canada Gazette within 23 days.
Honourable senators will see there are many checks put in place to avoid
potential abuse or free wheeling use of this proposed authority.
To turn to another complex area of the bill, the issue of disclosure of air
passenger information to certain foreign countries has been raised by a number
of senators. The Commissioner of the RCMP and the Director of CSIS indicated in
their testimony before the committee that, before air passenger information
could be shared with an official in a foreign country, under the strict
disclosure regime in this bill arrangements that set out privacy safeguards will
be in place. CSIS already has a statutory process for entering into relations
with foreign states and trading information. During her appearance before the
committee, the Deputy Prime Minister committed to issuing a directive to the
RCMP to have the same procedure in place to ensure they will do the same.
I remind honourable senators that Bill C-44, which dealt with the issue of
providing passenger information to the United States, was passed in late 2001.
We were required to pass that bill quickly in order to ensure that we could fly
aircraft to the United States. The witnesses indicated that they anticipate
similar requirements from countries within the European Community and others, in
which event this legislation will provide for a framework and a model to ensure
that there are proper controls on the exchange of that information. Of course,
if an individual wishes to protect his or her privacy information, then he or
she should not fly to that country.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Stay home.
Senator Day: I will now talk about sharing of information with foreign
governments, and I am talking about Part 11.
Part 11 would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow for
the making of regulations providing for the disclosure of information for the
purposes of national security, the defence of Canada or the conduct of
international affairs. These regulations would specify the conditions relating
to the disclosure of such information, thereby protecting the handling of
personal information by the Canada Border and Revenue Service Agency and the
Department of Citizenship and Immigration.
Such regulations would, moreover, have to be laid before each House of
Parliament and each House would refer the proposed regulations to the
appropriate committee of that house. Honourable senators will find this
provision in favour of parliamentary overview and transparency in clause 70 of
With respect to Part 11, the committee heard that information sharing with
foreign governments currently takes place within the confines of agreements and
arrangements. They are for clearly defined and specific purposes and must be
compliant with the collection, use and disclosure provisions as provided for in
the Privacy Act.
In response to concerns raised by Senator Jaffer, representatives of the
Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada clearly
stated that racial profiling is not an element of this program or any of their
programs, nor is it condoned. If honourable senators believe that racial
profiling is taking place on the ground, then that is an area we should
investigate, but it is not a reason to not support this bill.
The RCMP and CSIS, as well as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, also stated
unequivocally that racial profiling is not condoned or authorized in Canada.
They do not collect data on religion, race or ethnic background. In fact, the
process of automated advance screening, such as is the case with passenger
information, ensures that all travellers are reviewed in a consistent and equal
fashion. The information provided by commercial air carriers is used to identify
suspected or known high-risk travellers and known inadmissible persons.
Another important issue raised by several honourable senators concerns the
level of accountability and oversight applicable to CSIS and the RCMP. Pertinent
to this, the deputy minister provided the following information:
A related commitment of the government was announced on December 12, 2003,
was the creation of a new national security committee of parliamentarians,
members of the House of Commons and senators, to review national security
matters. It will be a joint committee...
This committee will be unique in the culture of the Canadian Parliament...
They will be sworn in as Privy Councillors and members will have access to
information that will not be normally available to others. We want to swear
them in so that they can have access to a wide range of secret and
This committee of parliamentarians is going to reflect a major departure in
that it will be unique by being a joint committee, people sworn in as Privy
Councillors, and to discharge their obligation on behalf of all Canadians, it
will have to be a non-partisan venue where everyone is focused on the safety
and security of Canadians.
That is the end of the quote from Minister McLellan.
In addition, Mr. Justice O'Connor will be making recommendations on an
independent review mechanism for the RCMP national security activities. Minister
McLellan also indicated that she would be proposing that this new national
security review mechanism be used to provide a review of the RCMP activities
under proposed section 4.82 of the bill.
I would like to remind honourable senators that a number of specific review
mechanisms are already in place to ensure that CSIS and the RCMP be held
accountable for their conduct. The Privacy Commissioner may initiate an
investigation on how the agency collects, uses, discloses, retains and disposes
of personal information under section 37 of the Privacy Act. Other existing
review mechanisms include the Office of the Auditor General, the Security
Intelligence Review Committee, the Office of the Inspector General for CSIS, and
the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP. Of course, there are
always committees of both the House of Commons and the Senate, that have
authority to review various aspects of legislation and how that legislation is
Proposed section 4.82 of the bill has generated a lot of discussion among
honourable colleagues. It seeks to provide information on air travellers in
order to better inform risk assessments. Under this proposed section, airlines
and operators of airline reservation systems would be asked to share passenger
information upon request with designated RCMP and CSIS officials to assess
threats to transportation or national security. To ensure that the right balance
between security and privacy is achieved, the proposed section requires that the
Commissioner of the RCMP and the Director of CSIS appoint certain designated
officials only to handle that information initially. It will not be for just
anyone within their agencies. Those designated officials would match the
passenger information against restricted information related directly to their
respective mandates under the bill. They would also be authorized to disclose
that passenger information to a third party only for very restricted purposes
and only if certain thresholds of reasonable belief were met — for example, if
they had reason to believe that the information would assist an aircraft
protective officer with his or her duties.
Proposed section 4.82 provides a good model of how information can be used
and how it can be shared. In assessing passenger lists, it is conceivable that
certain passengers may be found to have outstanding arrest warrants issued
against them by a judge. This information would be passed on to a peace officer
Some honourable senators questioned this indirect activity of passing on
information on individuals who had an outstanding arrest warrant issued against
them. Draft regulations were made available to us that listed the offences for
which passenger information could be used to assist in the execution of an
outstanding arrest warrant. Each of those listed offences is subject to a
penalty of five years or more and is either directly or indirectly related to
the mandate of the RCMP or CSIS for national security.
As was indicated by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,
the current draft regulations tabled with the committee include very serious
offences that could place the public at risk. These offences are linked directly
to potential risks to transportation security and include violent and organized
crime offences. They are reflected in the draft regulations because they relate
specifically to the RCMP's mandate under 4.82 to assess threats to
From a police perspective, a fugitive with a court-ordered arrest warrant for
a serious offence such as murder, kidnapping, child abduction and drug
trafficking could very well pose a threat to the safety of passengers on an
aircraft. Again, these draft regulations have been tabled to provide honourable
senators with an opportunity to respond and to ensure transparency.
As the Commissioner of the RCMP indicated to the committee, if we were to
restrict the offences to terrorist acts only, the regulations would be of
limited effectiveness because terrorists may not have a criminal record. If they
do, it would more likely be related to crimes such as forgery, fraud and
organized crime. The regulations must support the RCMP's mandate under the bill
to identify any person who could threaten transportation security in the context
of its broader public safety mandate.
There were suggestions from some senators to defer passage of Bill C-7 until
after Parliament had studied the anti-terrorism legislation and the
investigation into the Maher Arar affair had been concluded.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
Senator Day's time is up. Does he wish to seek leave to continue?
Senator Day: Honourable senators, I would ask for your indulgence. I
can finish quickly, but I do think it is important to go through this bill in
detail, as it is an extensive bill.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted,
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: I apologize for running over the time allotted, but this
is an extensive bill and some portions of it have not been properly aired
heretofore. I wanted to spend some time talking about those aspects.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Send it back to committee then.
Senator Day: I will now touch on Bill C-36 because that bill was often
referred to in debate. This is not the review of Bill C-36 that will be taking
place. However, we heard so much debate on Bill C-36 that I will touch on the
relationship between the two bills.
Both of these bills, Bill C-7 and Bill C-36, represent appropriate
legislative responses to the threat posed by a new reality of terrorism, which
is clearly not a temporary phenomenon. Each bill focuses on distinct aspects of
the fight against terrorism.
The Anti-Terrorism Act, which was Bill C-36, focused on bringing terrorists
to justice, cutting off their financing, and discouraging them through
incarceration and charges under the Criminal Code. Bill C-7 enhances Canada's
comprehensive and balanced approach to national security and terrorism in
transportation. It strengthens our ability to protect ourselves and respond to
terrorist acts. It recognizes that terrorist acts are likely to take place, and
it deals with how we will address those activities and how we might be able to
prevent some of them.
Its first goal, to thwart acts of terror, is exemplified by provisions to
protect air travellers by the exchange of information, which I talked about. The
second goal is to respond to unpredictable acts of terror, which is the reason
for the interim order authority.
For Canada, as well as many other countries, heightened and sustained
vigilance is the new reality. We must remain vigilant to guard against the new
Honourable senators, we heard compelling testimony in committee about the
changing face, fluidity and unpredictability of threats to Canadian security.
Air travel further facilitates the globalization of such threats. We have
witnessed the horrors of September 11, Bali and Madrid.
Although Canada has not been the primary target, we are a named target.
Heightened vigilance is critical. Bill C-7 will enable our law enforcement,
security intelligence and border agencies to assess the threats that we are
facing, to share threat information with our partners and possibly prevent an
incident from happening.
We also need to ensure that the tools we use to prevent crimes and serious
incidents remain appropriately balanced with fundamental interests such as
privacy and human rights, and that they promote transparency and accountability.
The proposals in this bill come at a time when it is imperative that Canada
close what the Deputy Prime Minister has described as current legislative gaps
with respect to national and transportation security. Bill C-7 will provide
essential tools for safety and security. At the same time, our liberties will be
safeguarded and our constitutional rights respected.
The Senate has played an extremely valuable role in reviewing this public
safety bill. I should like to thank all of those honourable senators who
participated in the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications
for their hard work in this regard.
There is no doubt that terrorist threats to transportation and national
security remain a major concern. Enacting the proposed provisions set out in
this bill will help ensure transportation and national security for all
Canadians, which is essential if we are to continue to enjoy the life to which
we have become accustomed in Canada.
I would, therefore, respectfully ask all honourable senators to join with me
in supporting Bill C-7.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, will Senator Day
Senator Day: If honourable senators will allow me more time, I will be
pleased to attempt to answer some questions.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: We already have.
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, the honourable senator
started out his presentation, as did the minister, by reminding us of September
11. We had been told that the passage of Bill C-36 would be a response to the
events of September 11. The honourable senator has phrased his remarks in such a
way to imply that if we pass Bill C-7, with its broad, sweeping powers, Canada
and Canadians will be secure. No government can give such an assurance and
guarantee of safety, but a government may take steps which will provide a
greater measure of safety.
Would Senator Day respond to the point made by the Canadian Bar Association?
Mr. Simon Potter, former President of the Canadian Bar Association, representing
the CBA, said:
The Canadian Bar Association sees no point in putting another
anti-terrorism law on the books, particularly one so broadly drafted as this
one, when Canada has not yet determined whether the current laws are now, or
indeed ever were, absolutely necessary and when we have not yet assessed the
impact already felt on our rights and freedoms.
Passage of Bill C-7 would further and needlessly complicate the critical
task of deciding whether these quite unprecedented laws are needed.
We are not calling only for delay. Speaking to the merits of it, we see
serious flaws in this proposed legislation. It condones violation of privacy
by, for example, allowing police to peruse airline passenger records for a
full week after the flight has landed. You have had witnesses come before you
saying they want to prevent violence on the flight. That hardly accords well
with the need to keep the records for a full week.
If the goal is to preserve the safety of the aircraft in flight, why not
destroy the records within 24 hours? Why do we need to warehouse all this
information in data banks? This provision gives police a week to comb through
flight records for purposes that are wholly unrelated to fighting terrorism.
Why would we want, in the name of fighting terrorism, to give such broad
sweeping powers in respect of not only terrorism but also in respect of all
other purposes that may be negative or may be nefarious? Why do we cloak these
measures in the name of fighting terrorism? Why has the government not heeded
the plea of the Canadian Bar Association? Does the honourable senator believe
that their questioning of and sincere concern about this bill is warranted?
Senator Day: I would thank the honourable senator for her question. I
was present when the Canadian Bar Association appeared. I would have been more
appreciative of their presentation had they dealt with specifics rather than
generalities. Both ministers have said there are gaps in the framework of
legislation, that this bill is absolutely necessary to fill those gaps and that
it is urgently needed. The minister would have been well aware of Mr. Potter's
position, which the minister does not accept.
To suggest that this is merely another piece of anti-terrorist legislation
does a serious injustice to the work of many people over several years. There
are 23 different pieces of legislation. Many amendments have been made to Bill
C-7 through representations made by parliamentarians and through committee work
prior to it coming before the Senate this final time.
We specifically asked the representatives of the RCMP and CSIS if seven days
were adequate from the time information is received to the time they must deal
with it. They indicated that was the minimum length of time, and that they would
prefer to have the information for 28 days. The Commissioner of the RCMP and the
Director of CSIS indicated that they could not complete their mandate in fewer
than seven days.
For the Canadian Bar Association to say that this information would be used
for many unrelated purposes is totally contrary to indicators in the proposed
legislation. The bill specifically indicates for what purpose the information
could be used and against what criteria the names could be matched. It is
specifically outlined in the bill. To suggest otherwise is to suggest that there
is a kind of conspiracy whereby information could be used for reasons other than
those contemplated in the bill.
Senator Andreychuk: In fairness to the Canadian Bar Association, the
honourable senator's representation of it and of all lawyers across Canada is a
touch harsh, if I may be diplomatic. They specifically spoke to some of the
problems with the bill, which would allow the police to take our records not
only for flight safety reasons but also to conduct criminal record searches. The
information could then be given to other police services, such as the FBI and
the CIA, as well as to any other country's representative with whom we would
choose to make an arrangement. This information could be blanketed everywhere.
Ministerial officials rightly said that, once the information leaves our
borders, we have no control over it. It could be used for any purpose after
that. Under this, they are entitled to share the information with the Canada
Revenue Agency and with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. It casts a rather
wide net. The Canadian Bar Association and I are making the point that perhaps
parts of the proposed legislation are needed to deal with air rage, hoaxes, and
to uphold international treaties, but the proposed provisions are so sweeping
and so broad that we would give a mandate to ministers to invoke emergency
powers with very little specificity in the act. Would that withstand a
constitutional challenge by the Canadian Bar Association and others?
Senator Day: I thank the honourable senator for her follow-up
question. I certainly was not intending to be harsh on the CBA, of which I am a
long-standing member. Rather, I was looking for the right words to describe my
impression of their presentation. It would have been more helpful for me, and I
think for members of the committee, had they spoken to the clauses specifically
as they appear. So much time was spent on generalities and on the broad subject
of national security and anti-terrorism as opposed to dealing with what this
proposed legislation will do.
The RCMP and CSIS will deal with any information in accordance with their
respective mandates only. Specific rules apply regarding with whom those
organizations can share information that they think should be passed on and
under what circumstances. The minister has stated clearly that protocols and
agreements would be in place, internationally and nationally, as to how and to
whom that information could be passed. Many good points are dealt with in this
CSIS came to us and said, "We are in the business of sharing information and
have been doing so since we were created." We know that.
This is a good model with many more checks and balances than we have had in
the past. We should hold this up as a good example of where we would like to go
and expand it into other areas. We are dealing now with just the Aeronautics
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, this measure does not just
cover aeronautics, although that is a subject to which I wish to return. It
gives many ministers broad and sweeping powers that are not defined. They are
tantamount to an emergency, when the minister deems it. It would allow interim
orders to be used instead of regulations that must pass through the normal
The government says it is concerned about having the right checks and
balances, yet it has given broad and sweeping powers instead of incorporating
into the regulations what it requires. We are used to regulations. We are used
to the provisions of the Emergency Measures Act. Instead, the government is
using a shortcut to give to the minister the same powers. The minister simply
has to invoke an interim order.
Why are there three exemptions from the Regulations Act? One covers the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why were those made exempt from the
Regulations Act if we are trying to find a balance?
While I am on my feet, perhaps I can ask another question which is less
legalistic and which deals with something we did cover in committee. We did not
have time to get into the legal questions. The honourable senator is absolutely
right. By the time we had dealt with the broad policy issues, it seemed as if
the time to study this very legal and intricate bill was running out.
We heard from representatives of Air Canada, Air Transat, WestJet, other
small airlines and the aviation association. They questioned the effect this
bill will have on a very fragile industry. If we pass Bill C-7, they indicated
that the government will be entitled to seek all this information from the
airlines or from travel agencies and that they will be obliged to provide it.
This will create an unnecessary, added cost to what they believe has to do with
flight security. It will be after a plane takes off that this information will
be disseminated and held for seven days. The small airlines are saying that they
simply do not have the capacity, the capability or the technology to comply with
Their second problem was that the government has not provided a plan or
costing. The inference in this bill is that the airlines will have to suffer
these costs. Air Canada pointed out that after 9/11 it has cost them a minimum
of $100 million to put in place a platform to handle these operations. That
platform will be obsolete if this bill is passed. There is no assurance that the
government will share the costs or, at the very least, a plan with them. They
said there has been very little discussion about it.
Why would we give such broad and sweeping powers to a minister when such
powers could jeopardize our air travel? I am not talking about international
flights but, for example, a flight from Regina to Toronto or a flight from
Lethbridge to Calgary. All this information about Canadians will be picked up.
How will we respond to the cry from those in the airline industry that they
cannot manage this bill? This measure follows the Auditor General's report
wherein it is indicated that as far as what the government has been mandated to
do, they are neither technologically up to speed nor do they have the financial
or human resources to take care of what exists already. We are spreading them
even thinner with the illusion that Canadians will be safer.
I am sorry to bunch all my questions together. There are at least 1,000
questions that have not been answered.
Senator Day: I thank the honourable senator for her 1,000 questions. I
will choose from those questions a couple to which I think I can reply.
Earlier, I was talking about the exchange of information under the proposed
section of the Aeronautics Act. The honourable senator moved from that proposed
section to interim orders. Interim orders are not a new concept. They exist
under the current law in the Aeronautics Act and in the Canadian Environmental
Protection Act. The concept is an existing one. When an emergency situation is
perceived and quick action is needed and there is not a regulation in place,
then the minister or deputy minister can make an interim order. This can only
happen when, for whatever reason, there is not a regulation in place, perhaps
because the situation had not been anticipated.
There are many checks on such an order. It must be filed in both Houses of
Parliament within 15 days. It must be approved by the Governor-in-Council within
14 days. It can be challenged by the Standing Joint Committee of the Senate and
the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations. There are many checks on
that particular provision.
The most important check is that, first, the order cannot be made if there is
not a statutory and regulatory basis for it. Second, one cannot be charged with
violating it until it is brought to that individual's attention, even though it
is in existence. There is much protection for the individual in this measure.
The issue of small airlines brings us back to proposed section 4.82. It is
important for honourable senators to know that there is a schedule at the back
of Bill C-7, page 104. It outlines the maximum information that the Commissioner
of the RCMP or the Director of CSIS may reasonably require.
If honourable senators would turn to the bill, they will see that it provides
that the commissioner or a person designated may require any air carrier or
operator of an aviation registration system to provide information that is in
the air carrier's or operator's control. There was a debate in committee as to
what control meant. Certainly, the argument can be made, and it was agreed by
the departmental people when I asked that specific question, that this does not
force them to gather all the information that appears in the schedule. It is
only such information that is in the schedule and that they have in their
control that they may be required to give up. This provision does not force them
to do something that they are not already doing.
The objective is to move them along and to get to the stage where the
information that they do have can be readily passed on to others, to the RCMP
and to CSIS. In that regard, the government has said that they have had lots of
consultation and will conduct more.
It may turn out that a small operator is not able financially to put that
information in place. Undoubtedly, if the government really wants it, they
cannot force that operator to give them the information. If the information
cannot be given to them without having certain equipment in place, then
undoubtedly some accommodations will be made.
Senator Andreychuk: It was made absolutely clear that the schedule to
which the honourable senator refers contains the items that the government shall
want and that they can mandate the carriers to collect it. Therefore, it will be
in the control of the airlines once they are asked to collect it. As the
airlines said, this will stop any purchase of tickets at airline counters
because they will not be able to handle this kind of information.
The whole point is that this information will be self-acknowledging
information. In other words, an individual could say, "I am Mary Smith and I was
born in 1954," and that is the information the police will spend their time
searching. It will not match up to who I am and what I look like. However, that
is the information that will be triggered. Honourable senators will also agree,
I suspect, that a terrorist will not identify himself or herself as a terrorist.
The individual will probably use an alias and then disappear into the fabric of
Canadian society. Nevertheless, the police will be scanning literally thousands
of pieces of information on honest citizens. We will have the same set-up that
we had on the gun registry, where we will spend all our time licensing citizens
who comply with the law, while we do nothing about the criminal element that is
using the guns on the street.
Will we not end up having the police running around looking at records on
citizens instead of putting their resources into intelligence networks to find
the terrorist cells and the terrorist activities?
Senator Day: Honourable senators, I do not agree with the honourable
senator that CSIS or the RCMP can force the collection of this evidence. My
reading of this proposed section is that they may require such information that
is in the air carrier or operator's control. Senator Andreychuk and I can argue
about what the word "control" means, but the honourable senator said "force them
to collect," and that is different from what is in their control.
Could the honourable senator please repeat her second question?
Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, in a nutshell, the names of
average Canadians who travel all the time will be scanned. The authorities will
have a monumental task sifting through all the information, when in fact the
resources of the police, of CSIS and of the government would be better utilized
in targeting terrorists and terrorist activity. In other words, this
self-generating information from passengers will be information about honest
citizens who happen to need to fly in such a large country. An individual who
must travel from Ottawa to Regina has almost no alternative but to fly. Would we
not be better to marshal our resources, in light of what the Auditor General and
our own Senate committee said: Target the terrorist activity; do not target
Canadians and have the resources deflected on needless information shifting and
sifting, and causing perhaps the downfall of some airline?
Senator Day: I appreciate the honourable senator helping me with the
second part of her question.
The way this process was described to us was that the RCMP and CSIS will have
designated individuals who will have a very restricted database of individuals
who could potentially cause difficulty with transportation security or are a
menace to national security, depending on the department or agency. Restricted
individuals will look electronically at a restricted database. In other words,
the information will come in and names will be run through a computer.
Designated individual will only look at the matched information, when a name
comes out on who is flying on that aircraft that day against the restricted
database of potential problem individuals. If there is a match, there will be
I do not have the same concern that the honourable senator has that the RCMP
as an agency will become bogged down in a bunch of paper. They have already
thought that one through.
Senator Andreychuk: As a supplementary, the honourable senator says
that the information will be electronically matched. The United States is
attempting to do CAPPS II, which is just that, to match up the data, and they
have not been able to perfect that technology as yet. Do we have that kind of
technology? In light of what the Auditor General has said, that RCMP data about
forged and false and missing passports cannot be uploaded to the equipment being
used by port authorities, that it has to be transcribed manually, it is no
wonder there is such a backlog and that our border is not safe. We do not have
the necessary technologies. This all sounds good on paper, but it is not
Senator Day: I thank the honourable senator for that question. I
believe that Canadian technological ingenuity will lead the way in this regard.
I have no doubt that we will be able to help our American friends if they are
having difficulty with this.
On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.
Hon. Mac Harb moved third reading of Bill C-14, to amend the Criminal
Code and other Acts.
He said: Honourable senators, I understand there is consent with regard to
this bill that no honourable senators have indicated an interest in speaking. In
light of that, perhaps we can proceed with third reading.
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I would ask the honourable
senator to repeat that explanation, because I did not catch it. It is our
understanding that the government side will speak today and that Senator Nolin
will speak tomorrow.
Senator Robichaud: He just spoke.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: He is still in the other place. They do not
Senator Harb: Honourable senators, I do not have much to add to my
initial speech. If the honourable senator is interested in speaking at any point
in time, that would be quite fine with us.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Jaffer, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Léger, for the second reading of Bill C-22, to amend
the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals).
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, I want to talk about the
history of Bill C-22. This bill was numbered Bill C-10B in the Second Session of
the Thirty-seventh Parliament and died on the Order Paper when Parliament was
prorogued. It was reintroduced as amended on June 6, 2003.
Bill C-10B had a lengthy history. In the last session, it was part of Bill
C-10, which the Senate split in December 2002 into two parts. Bill C-10A dealt
with the firearms program that was passed in the last session, while Bill C-10B
dealt with cruelty to animals and amendments thereto.
Bill C-10 reintroduced the same provisions as Bill C-15B, which died on the
Order Paper at the end of the First Session of the Thirty-seventh Parliament
without making it to Senate committee stage.
Bill C-15B, in turn, had reintroduced several provisions that were part of
Bill C-17 and Bill C-36. Both died when the Thirty-sixth Parliament was
dissolved on October 22, 2000, without passing second reading in the House of
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs proposed
five amendments to Bill C-10B on May 29, 2003. The first amendment dealt with
the definition of an animal. The original definition included "any other animal
that has the capacity to feel pain." The amendment cuts off the definition after
the words "other than a human being." This amendment was accepted by the House
of Commons on June 6, 2003.
The second amendment dealt with the unnecessary death of an animal. It
deleted the offence of "killing without lawful excuse" and added the element of
"causing unnecessary death" to the offence of causing pain or suffering to an
animal. Concern was raised with regard to whether or not lawful killing would
still be an exception. The argument put forth by the Liberal's Paul Macklin on
June 6, 2003, was that:
The term "unnecessary" has been judicially interpreted in the context of
"pain." In essence, it means that "no more pain than is reasonably necessary
taking into account the objective sought."
Mr. Macklin argued that the word "unnecessary" could not be logically applied
to killing where the only relevant question is whether or not there was good
reason for killing.
The Senate feels, given a ruling by Justice Sopinka in R. v. Jorgensen,
that the use of a provincial permit is not valid when it comes to breaching a
federal statute such as the Criminal Code. The House rejected this amendment
twice — on June 6, 2003 and September 25, 2003.
The third amendment dealt with Aboriginal hunting, trapping or fishing rights
that would clarify that no Aboriginal person would be convicted of an offence if
the pain, suffering, injury or death is caused in the course of traditional
hunting, trapping or fishing practices, provided that any pain, suffering or
injury caused is no more than is reasonably necessary in carrying out
traditional practices. The House rejected the Aboriginal amendment, saying that
Aboriginal people, if charged, would have the protection of section 35 of the
Constitution. Further, the House argued that it would be confusing for police to
know what are traditional practices before laying a charge.
The fourth amendment provided the legal justification or excuse and the
colour of right defence. This means the accused "must show that he believes in a
state of facts which, if it actually existed, would constitute a legal
justification or excuse." That is found in Martin's Criminal Code. The House of
Commons accepted the amendment.
The fifth amendment, which was accepted by the House of Commons, corrects a
line in the French version of the bill.
The current penalties for cruelty to animals are found in sections 444, 445
and 446 and 447 of the Criminal Code and are treated as "wilful and forbidden
acts in respect of certain property," as provided in Part XI of the Criminal
Code. A person found guilty of cruelty to an animal is liable to six months in
jail and a fine of $2,000. These provisions have not been amended since 1982.
Recently, several incidents involving cruelty to and mistreatment of animals
have raised the public's indignation. In 1998, the Department of Justice held
consultations to completely revise the way in which the system dealt with the
problem. Government officials say that this examination was justified by a
series of studies showing that cruelty to animals may be a precursor of violent
behaviour toward people.
The government says that Bill C-22 is a reflection of Canadian indignation
for the mistreatment of animals. The amendments proposed in Bill C-22 do not
target usual and acceptable animal care practices, in particular, animal
husbandry, responsible use of animals in research or other practices governed by
more specific legislation. The concern expressed by witnesses at the committee
were, for example, that researchers would be under threat by this bill. They did
not feel comfortable with it whatsoever and wanted it amended. As well, fairs,
festivals and rodeos across the country expressed concern that there would be
severe restrictions placed on them in conducting such events as the chuckwagon
races at the Calgary Stampede. Those concerns were expressed at committee and
amendments were proposed.
That completes my remarks, and we will see what happens in committee again.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Honourable
senators, it was moved by Senator Jaffer, seconded by Senator Léger, that Bill
C-22 be now read the second time. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, with leave of the Senate, I ask that Bill C-3, to amend the Canada
Elections Act and the Income Tax Act, which is set down on the Orders of the Day
for Wednesday, April 21, be brought forward now.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators,
to adopt the motion that Bill C-3 be considered today?
Hon. Terry M. Mercer moved the second reading of Bill C-3, to amend
the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act.
He said: Honourable senators, last June the Supreme Court of Canada handed
down the decision in the Figueroa case. He was the leader of the
Communist Party of Canada. I know him, having met him in my former capacity when
I sat on the advisory committee of political parties to the Chief Electoral
Officer. I find him a charming gentleman and a well-meaning fellow. If you get a
chance to meet him, I think you will agree.
The Supreme Court ruling struck down the central feature of our system of
political party registration, namely, the requirement that a political party
field at least 50 candidates. To give Parliament time to respond, the court
suspended its ruling for one year. That suspension expires on June 27. It is
important that new rules be in place by that date to ensure that our electoral
system remains fully operational and that it is not open to abuse. The purpose
of Bill C-3 is to deliver a timely response to the Supreme Court decision.
Honourable senators, I believe that Bill C-3 provides a balanced, targeted
and effective response, and I am very pleased to sponsor the bill in the Senate.
While I am sensitive to the concerns that this chamber be allowed sufficient
time to do its work and that it not be asked to act with undue haste, the fact
remains that the courts deadline looms. I ask honourable senators to give this
legislation their early consideration and support in order to safeguard the
integrity of the electoral system.
In striking down the 50-candidate requirement for party registration, the
Supreme Court's decision calls for a re-examination of key principles underlying
political registration in this country. The essence of the court's ruling is
what defines a political party. It is more than simply the number of candidates
it runs. The decision makes it clear that, under the Charter of Rights, a
strictly numerical candidate threshold is not a valid measure of whether a party
is genuine or not. Instead, the ruling looks to the fundamental role that
political parties play in a democratic process as vehicles of political
expression, debate and participation. As the decision makes clear, a party is
more a function of ideas and objectives than an arbitrary number of candidates
The court did not go on to provide a recipe for what constitutes a party.
Frankly, it left that job to Parliament and gave us a year to devise a new
approach. Bill C-3 is the first, and I underline first, culmination of these
efforts. It is a critical first step toward a new framework for political party
registration in Canada, and there will be further steps in the future.
With the elimination of the 50-candidate rule, we are faced with two key
challenges: first, to come up with new ways of defining what a party is; and,
second, to distinguish legitimate parties from groups that might seek to
register to take advantage of the system, in particular the tax credits for
To achieve these goals, Bill C-3 contains two fundamental pillars: first, new
party registration and accountability measures; and, second, a series of
measures to prevent abuse.
The result is to replace the 50-candidate threshold with a purpose-based
approach that is consistent with the Supreme Court decision but at the same time
preserves the integrity of the electoral system. As such, the bill not only
responds to the June 27 imperative of the Supreme Court decision, but it does so
in a way that makes good sense in policy terms. This is a classic case where the
Charter reinforces the instincts of sound public policy.
Honourable senators, Bill C-3 will, for the first time, add a definition of
political party to the Canada Elections Act. I expect most Canadians and perhaps
even some members of this place will be surprised to learn that no such
definition has existed to date. Now, however, a political party will be defined
by reference to its purpose, whether it seeks to participate in public affairs
by fielding one or more of its members as candidates. A party must have this as
one of its fundamental purposes in order to register and to remain registered.
The party's leader and its officers must attest to and ensure adherence to that
I know the constitution of the Liberal Party of Canada inside out and have
had the opportunity to write some of it, but I have taken the time to read the
constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada and also the constitution of
the former Progressive Conservative Party. Actually, I found there is no
constitution, but there is an agreement. I have read the constitution of the two
unified parties, the Alliance and the old Progressive Conservatives, to find out
that all three of these parties would qualify under the new rules as long as we
pass the threshold I am about to outline.
Parties will have to satisfy other new criteria as well. For example, Bill
C-3 increases the number of members a party must have from 100 to 250.
Senator Stratton: The Hells Angels can do that.
Senator Mercer: That is true, and any one of its chapters. That is why
we have other protections to prevent them from registering. I will get to that.
Bill C-3 also requires that those members sign declarations that they support
the party's registration. This assures that there will be a critical mass of
real members to support the party's commitment to electoral competition.
As well, parties will have to have a minimum of three officers in addition to
the leader, and these officers will also have to provide their signed consent to
act. Like the membership provision, this ensures that the party is not a one-man
band and that it has an organizational nervous system that one would expect of
an entity that would wish to call itself a party.
I would argue, honourable senators, that these are more meaningful criteria
by which to measure parties than the 50-candidate rule the court struck down.
They are more consistent with our evolving democratic values.
Honourable senators, we are all troubled by the serious decline in voter
turnout in recent years and other symptoms of democratic disengagement among
Canadians. While I do not suggest that Bill C-3 will single-handedly solve these
problems, I do believe that it can make an important contribution by opening up
party registration to more players and ensuring a fuller spectrum of ideas in
political debate. It creates an opportunity for greater voter choice. This
increases the chances that voters will see their ideas, priorities and values
reflected in the electoral choices available to them. This is particularly true
of those who traditionally feel alienated or disconnected from the political
process. I also believe it will help citizens reconnect with parties currently
in existence. A greater diversity of parties reflects the pluralism of Canadian
society and promises to invigorate electoral competition and debate.
Honourable senators, I have spoken about Bill C-3 in terms of its new rules
for party registration and the move to a purpose-based approach. As I also
mentioned, however, the second pillar of the bill is a series of measures to
prevent abuse. Of course, despite its many advantages, opening up the system of
party registration to more players also carries certain risks. That is why there
must be an appropriate balance to ensure that parties seeking to register are
genuine and not simply groups masquerading as parties to take advantage of the
tax credit and other benefits of registration.
I have already identified some of the bill's safeguards, such as the
purpose-based definition and stricter membership and party officer requirements.
Beyond these measures, the bill contains provisions designed specifically to
identify and weed out fraudulent parties. Foremost among these is a provision
that allows the Commissioner of Canada Elections to require a party to satisfy
him that it is genuine and meets the definition, failing which the commissioner
may apply to the court to deregister the party. Very important, while such an
application is pending, the ability of the party to issue tax receipts for
contributions will automatically be suspended. If the court deregisters the
party, it could also order that it be dissolved and its assets liquidated.
Officers of a fraudulent party could be held civilly and criminally liable. I
submit that these safeguards are important in that the process of registration
would be taken seriously in light of the consequences of inaction.
The other key anti-abuse measure I want to highlight relates to the
distinction between political parties and interest groups. The blurring of this
distinction was one of the key concerns about the potential impact of the
Supreme Court ruling. If interest groups were simply able to register as
political parties, then the third-party spending limits would become
meaningless. I have a long history of supporting limits and regulations for
third parties. As a private citizen, I made a presentation to the Lortie
commission in support of that.
Bill C-3 responds to this concern by preserving a clear separation between
political parties and third parties. Specifically, it prevents an interest group
from creating a shell party in order to take advantage of the political party
tax credit and then flowing the money back to the parent organization. This
would allow interest groups to reap the benefits of party registration while
avoiding the burdens. The bill prevents this flow-through of funds and contains
other measures to keep the distinction between political parties and third
parties clear. For example, it prevents political parties from soliciting or
accepting contributions on the expectation that they will be transferred to a
sister third party.
Honourable senators, in the time that remains, I would like to address why
time is of the essence with this legislation and what this implies. The fact is
that the Supreme Court ruling will take effect June 27 whether or not
replacement rules are in place. The deadline we face as parliamentarians is not
one imposed by the government but one flowing from the decision itself.
It is no secret that, under Canada's parliamentary system, the electoral
machinery must remain fully operational at all times. Just read the papers.
Should the Figueroa ruling take effect without a new party registration
regime in place, there will be a major gap in our system. At best, there will be
confusion and uncertainty; at worst, litigation and chaos. Bill C-3 is designed
to avoid this, without purporting to be the last word.
That last point is critical. The government has made it clear from the outset
that parliamentarians should have a further opportunity to consider the
consequences of the Figueroa ruling. That is why, on the same day he
introduced the legislation in the other place, the Leader of the Government and
the Minister responsible for Democratic Reform asked the Standing Committee on
Procedure and House Affairs to undertake a broader examination of the Canada
Elections Act and the electoral process generally. The government continues to
reiterate the importance of that broader review and has asked the committee to
bring back recommendations in the form of draft legislation within a year.
As well, the government moved an amendment at committee stage to add a
two-year sunset clause to the bill. This means that the provisions of the bill
will expire two years after they come into force, thereby ensuring that
Parliament will have the opportunity to revisit these issues in the near future
and, obviously, post-election as well. This reflects the ever-changing process
of democracy. By including this clause, we ensure that the legislation may and
will improve. Thus, Bill C-3 is really a bridge to a more wide-ranging review.
It provides a targeted and timely response to the Supreme Court ruling while
creating room for Parliament to undertake a more thorough examination.
Honourable senators, far from forcing parliamentarians' hands, this is about
preserving our role and ensuring that we have a workable electoral system in the
meantime. The June 27 deadline looms and we need new rules to ensure that our
electoral system remains complete and fully operational. Ultimately, Bill C-3 is
about balancing a more open system of party registration with measures to
prevent abuse, about respecting and implementing the Supreme Court ruling while
preserving the integrity of our electoral system, and about ensuring a timely
and targeted response that meets the Supreme Court deadline while ensuring the
opportunity for further review in the future.
This legislation is not only legally and operationally necessary; it is both
sound and beneficial in policy terms. I urge honourable senators to give it the
strong support it deserves.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Will the
honourable senator take a question or two?
Senator Mercer: Yes.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Can the honourable senator confirm that,
during the court proceedings, at some stage, Mr. Rowe offered to withdraw his
action if the government agreed to a figure of 12, yet the government insisted
in fighting to maintain the 50-candidate rule? Much to the government's
surprise, the Supreme Court said that the number of 50 was not Charter-proof and
that, therefore, one person is enough to form one recognized party. Is that not
the result? You are claiming now that this is a wonderful improvement to the
act, but it actually goes against all the government's intentions, which
included maintaining the 50-candidate rule. Mr. Rowe would have been satisfied
with 12 but the government insisted and that is why we are faced with this bill.
Senator Mercer: Honourable senators, I was not a party to that
decision. I do recall the debate. The number 12 is significant because, in the
other place, you need 12 members to maintain official-party status and one of
the arguments was based on that rule.
In reality, the government felt that we needed a cut and dried answer. The
argument was that if we settled upon 12, other smaller parties might decide to
challenge that number and we would be back in court again, forced to defend it.
Now we have the decision. We are implementing it. I think that we are moving
forward. Is this how we wanted it to end up when we began way back when?
Probably not, but that is what the court has told us.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: The court has told us that the government was
pig-headed and would not compromise; it went for the number of 50 and it lost.
Now we are stuck with this mess, and it is a mess. No matter what you call them,
they are not safeguards. Anyone who meets so-called minimum requirements, like
250 members, four officers and an office, telephone and fax machine, needs only
one candidate and he is eligible to register a party. We are encouraging the
creation of regional, fractional parties. That is not what we want. A country
like ours does not need that. We have had enough of regional parties so far.
Some of us have learned that to our — I will not add any more.
I fail to understand why the government, having had since last June to
implement this bill, only brings it to the Senate today, two months before the
deadline. We are being asked to rush it through. This is a stopgap measure, if I
understand the honourable senator's presentation. More elements of the act will
be changed to improve on this provision. Why does the government not ask the
Supreme Court to extend the deadline by another six or 12 months so that this
matter can be looked at with all the time needed? Once it is in place, with an
election looming, this country will be faced with a confusing electoral system.
That is not the purpose nor the intention of Parliament, I would hope.
Senator Mercer: With respect to asking the court to provide a delay,
that would not give us a system by which to govern ourselves. With respect to
regional parties, I do not necessarily disagree. The proliferation of small
political parties is not something that I would desire. I remind the honourable
senator that he, for a time, was the leader of a party that merged a strong
national historic party and a party that arose out of a regional party, being
the Canadian Alliance-Reform movement.
The honourable senator says that regional parties are not what we want. As a
Liberal, I can say we certainly do not want them. However, the success of the
Reform-Canadian Alliance, having now formed the official opposition and having
merged with what I would consider the more historical, traditional Progressive
Conservative Party, shows there is a place in Canadian politics for parties that
grow out of regions.
We all started somewhere. They started there. If we do not have rules in
place as we face the election that is rumoured to be coming up in the next few
weeks or months, as I said in my closing remarks, there is a chance that we will
have some abuse by pranksters and third parties who want to take advantage of
the very lucrative tax credit that we have for funding political parties.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I have one last question and a quick comment.
This bill does not encourage the creation of national parties; it encourages the
creation of nuisance parties for very narrow purposes.
If the bill must receive approval by June 27, why is there, at the end of the
bill, clause 27(2):
If this Act receives Royal Assent on a day that is after June 27, 2004, it
comes into force on that day.
That implies we can pass the bill before the end of June but Royal Assent can
be withheld. Why is that clause there? If this bill has to be law by June 27,
that includes Royal Assent. It says that if Royal Assent comes later — it could
be a day later or a year later — the bill will come into effect on the day Royal
Assent is given.
Senator Mercer: Honourable senators, I am not a parliamentary expert,
but I would suggest that it means that if for some reason we do not pass it
until June 28, then it will come into effect on that day. It will come into
force when it is given Royal Assent.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: That is right.
Senator Mercer: I have often heard members of the opposition in this
place and in the other argue against retroactive legislation. If the suggestion
is that the act come into effect retroactively — that is, if we do not pass it
until July 15 and make it retroactive to June 27 — I do not think it is
practical or reasonable.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: If it is essential that it come into force on
June 27 to respond to an instruction from the Supreme Court, why would we allow
this loophole that allows for an indefinite delay in Royal Assent?
It has nothing to do with retroactivity. Retroactivity would be to make it
effective as of June 27. In effect, this will come into effect on the day Royal
Assent is given. Royal Assent need not be given to bills. It can be refused or
delayed. Unless the Governor General or her representative receives the bill,
Royal Assent cannot be given. Parliament can decide not to pass it on. This
loophole requires some explanation.
Senator Mercer: I can assure Senator Lynch-Staunton that between now
and the time the matter is raised in committee we will do some homework so that
we may provide a more detailed answer.
Hon. Terry Stratton: I have one question before I move the adjournment
of the debate.
In the view of the honourable senator, is this not the first step along the
track to proportional representation?
Senator Mercer: No, I would not be sponsoring the bill if I thought it
led down that road. As a representative of the advisory committee of the Chief
Electoral Officer, I argued strenuously against proportional representation,
which was supported by some of my honourable colleague's new friends and by the
New Democrats. It is not something in which I have any interest, and I do not
think it is necessarily something in which my old friends in the old Progressive
Conservative Party were interested. I am still against it and will retain that
Senator Stratton: I am of the other view. It is the 21st century and I
believe we should have proportional representation now.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud moved the second reading of Bill C-300, to
change the names of certain electoral districts.
He said: Honourable senators, I see that this bill has been on the Order
Paper fifteen times now, which means that if it is not debated today, it will be
struck from the Order Paper.
This bill originated in the House of Commons. I would like a bit more time to
consider it and make sure it is not simply struck from the Order Paper. I
fear that, at some point, the favour might be returned. I want to verify the
facts. That is why I move that the debate be resumed at the next sitting of the
On motion of Senator Robichaud, debate adjourned until the next sitting of
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
pursuant to the order adopted by the Senate on April 1, 2004, the sitting is
suspended until 5:15 p.m. today.
The sitting of the Senate suspended until 5:15 p.m..
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),
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator St. Germain, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Stratton, that the bill be not now read a
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."
On the subamendment of 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."
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Call in the senators.
The vote will take place at 5:30 p.m.
Motion in subamendment negatived on the following division:
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I ask for leave to revert
to Notices of Motions.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Do we not continue the
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): We are on Bill
Senator Austin: We now go to the motion in amendment.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted,
Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Leave is not granted.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, there have been discussions. As I understand, we will continue debate
on the motion in amendment to Bill C-250.
This is not a government bill; it is a private member's bill. I would make a
suggestion to find if there is consensus in the chamber to balance the two
issues of the lateness of the hour and that senators wish to speak. There will
be more time later to debate this bill.
I propose that we begin debate on Bill C-250 and continue until 6:30, at
which time we then adjourn debate to the next sitting of the Senate, if that is
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed,
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of
the debate on Bill C-250.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by
Senator Angus, seconded by Senator Stratton, that the debate be continued at the
next sitting of the Senate.
Is it the pleasure of honourable senators to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will those honourable
senators in favour of the motion please say "yea"?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will those honourable
senators opposed to the motion please say "nay"?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: In my opinion, the
"nays" have it. Resuming debate with the Honourable Senator Angus.
Senator Angus: Honourable senators, I rise this evening on the subject
of Bill C-250, to amend the Criminal Code regarding hate propaganda, and on
Senator St. Germain's amendment to this bill.
When Bill C-250 was first introduced in Parliament, I was rather uneasy about
it. I felt it to be bad law and not for the purposes intended, as honourable and
sensitive as they may have been.
In my view, there are ample and effective provisions in existing Canadian law
to protect all individuals on an equal level. This bill strikes me as
unnecessary and one that has the potential to lead our justice system down a
path that we do not necessarily wish it to follow. The bill could possibly open
the floodgates to unintended and undesirable consequences. Indeed, it makes me
think of the old maxim of inclusio unius est exclusio alterius, as well
as the old adage that two wrongs do not make a right.
I concede that the purport of Bill C-250 is politically correct. However, it
in fact tends to accomplish that which it is designed to protect against. It
does not establish equality before the law, but rather it creates inequalities
between people based upon differences. Bill C-250 raises issues fundamental to
the basic fibre of our country.
Canada is a diverse, pluralistic and tolerant society, one of which we are
all proud. As Canadians, we are proud of this rich tapestry, as it has come to
be called. Our country and citizens welcome fundamental differences. We embrace
variety and we cherish the cultural, racial and other diversity that defines our
Honourable senators, the underlying basis of our style of democratic society
is that individuals are recognized as equal, with equal rights, and the
relations and relationships amongst our people are governed by the rule of law.
It is in my view difficult to find fault with the words of Thomas Jefferson,
who, as we all know, was one the key architects of democracy, the democracy we
know and practice here in North America today. He said that all men are created
equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable
rights and that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. I earnestly believe
that if Bill C-250 were enacted as drafted this evening, our cherished equality,
as spoken of by Thomas Jefferson, could be at risk. No one can deny there are
bigoted people in our society who target others based on discriminating factors.
These factors are as diverse and varied as our country and society.
I should like for a moment to share some personal elements from my own life.
As I have said in this chamber before, I have a daughter who was not fortunate,
who has a terrible affliction, a mental illness. I have spent many hours and
days in a psychiatric acute care ward in Montreal where I have seen
discrimination against an identifiable group, a member of which is my daughter.
I have seen it over and over again outside the PACU and in schoolyards where
people are different. They are not necessarily of a different sexual persuasion,
but they are different from others and from what we call normal. Are they on the
list; and, if not, why not and should they be? My reservations about Bill C-250
arise when we start carving out special protections for people with certain
differences, ignoring others who also require such protections.
I truly believe this to be a slippery slope. It begs the question of
criteria. What are the criteria for a group to become protected under section
318 of the Criminal Code? Presently, section 318 defines an identifiable group
as any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic
origin. What are the criteria for a group to be identifiable and protected under
this section? How does sexual orientation fit into it? What else could be added?
What about severely handicapped individuals like my daughter or those other
people who suffer from evident physical or mental disabilities?
Some people would argue that homosexuals should be protected because they are
targets for hatred. This sadly is an unfortunate truth, but there are many other
identifiable groups that are also frequent targets of hatred in this kind of
terrible abuse. It is just impossible, honourable senators, in my respectful
view, to identify all groups that are potential targets for hatred and to
protect them accordingly, other than under the general Criminal Code and the
time-tested laws we have in this country.
In my opinion, it is not the role of government today to carve out another
group. This is a systemic problem that can only be alleviated as our society
evolves and matures and becomes more sensitive and more tolerant about these
kinds of matters.
Honourable senators, governments can only legislate legalities on matters of
substance. They cannot and should not try to legislate attitudes. They cannot
enforce tolerance, nor should they impose acceptance standards. I believe that
what the supporters of this bill are looking for is a shift in attitudes toward
gays and lesbians for political reasons, attitudes that cannot be achieved
through this or any other decent legislation. Bill C-250 may well accomplish the
opposite; in practice, it may actually deepen the divide between homosexual
persons and the rest of our population. Categorizing homosexuality as
identifiable will perpetrate all of the stereotypes and generalizations that gay
and lesbian groups have fought so hard for so long to dissolve. Perhaps another
bill should be introduced to amend the Criminal Code by removing entirely the
concept of identifiable groups, but that is not the issue before us this
Considering that what we have before us is a proposed amendment to Bill C-250
adding new groups to the list of identifiable groups set forth in section 318 of
the Criminal Code, I think it is only appropriate that we as legislators take
this opportunity to, at the very least, maintain a certain amount of consistency
in our laws. Considering that the 1977 human rights legislation includes people
with a pardoned conviction in the list of identifiable groups, is it not logical
that pardoned convicts also be protected under section 318 of the Criminal Code?
By all intents and purposes, pardoned convicts are as worthy of protection as
any other identifiable group. They are the victims of discrimination, targets of
hatred and abuse, and are vastly misunderstood. Oftentimes, their conditions
stem from factors beyond their control, such as sickness or abuse. If anyone
deserves protection, it is people who have served time, sometimes unjustly, and
are trying to integrate back into society to be productive contributors.
The John Howard Society has laid out six main principles surrounding the
rights of pardoned convicts and others who have become involved with the law.
Those principles are as follows: First, people have a right to live in a safe
and peaceful society as well as the responsibility implied by this right to
respect the law. Second, every person has intrinsic worth and the right to be
treated with dignity, equity, fairness and compassion without discrimination
based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental
or physical disability when involved with the criminal justice process — this
list is worth considering for section 318. Third, all people have the potential
to become responsible citizens. Fourth, every person has the right and
responsibility to be informed about and involved in the criminal justice
process. Fifth, justice is best served through measures that resolve conflicts,
repair harm and restore peaceful relations in our society. Sixth, independent,
autonomous, non-government voluntary organizations have a vital role in the
criminal justice process.
Honourable senators, these are just some of the reasons why I am uneasy and
feel that C-250 is bad law.
Hon. W. David Angus: If we go ahead with this bill, then I would
propose a subamendment to Senator St. Germain's main amendment. I, therefore,
move, seconded by Senator Stratton:
That the motion in amendment be amended by adding, before the words "ethnic
origin," the words "pardoned convicts,".
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment? Do honourable senators
wish to speak on the issue?
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It is moved by the
Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Sparrow, that the
further debate on the motion be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will those in favour
of the motion please say "yea"?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will those opposed to
the motion please say "nay"?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: In my opinion the
"nays" have it.
Senator Forrestall: That is not the way I heard it.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is there an agreement
on the bell?
Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, pursuant to rules 67(1) and
(2), I would ask that we defer the vote until 5:30 at the next sitting of the
Senator Cools: Something is wrong here. I wanted to speak to this
subamendment. The next stage —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: There is a motion to
adjourn the debate.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): If I may, the
voice vote was on the adjournment of the debate and Her Honour ruled that the
nays have it. That vote cannot be deferred until the next day. It must be taken
right away. It is non-debatable. The vote must be taken immediately without the
requirement of the bells ringing.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is there agreement on
the length of bell?
Some Hon. Senators: No bell.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, it is very interesting indeed that
Senator Angus has brought forth this particular initiative. I would also like to
say in —
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Senator Cools cannot
continue the debate. We must have the vote.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: I believe the honourable senator is about to
speak to the amendment.
Senator Joyal: If a debate is to continue, it should continue after
Senator Robichaud: The honourable senator wanted to speak to the
Senator Cools: I am having difficulty hearing what is being said
because I am on my feet.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I am also having
Senator Cools: The audio system is not working very well. It is
cutting in and out. Perhaps Her Honour could repeat what she said.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is there agreement on
the length of the bell? No bell?
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Two senators rose to call the vote on the
adjournment of the debate, and it was agreed that the vote could not be
deferred. Now I understand that Senator Cools has, by rising to speak to the
subamendment, agreed that we should not have the vote.
Senator Cools: No, no.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: The honourable senator commenced the debate on
the subamendment; she cannot have it both ways.
Senator Cools: I am a little confused. Which vote were we talking
about suspending until tomorrow?
Senator Stratton: Call in the senators.
Senator Cools: So you want a standing vote.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: We are calling in the
senators now, and the length of the bell will be an hour.
Senator Rompkey: No bell.
Senator Stratton: This is on the subamendment; correct?
Senator St. Germain: This is on the adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: There will be no bell.
We will take the vote now.
Senator St. Germain: No, never. You must have a bell.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: The rule is that if there is no agreement,
there is an hour's bell; however, I believe the whip said that a 15-minute bell
would be appropriate. If there are senators in the reading room or their
offices, it is only fair to give them time to return to the chamber to vote.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed that
there be a 15-minute bell?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The vote will take
place at 6:10 p.m.
Call in the senators.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators,
the question is on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the
Honourable Senator Sparrow, that debate on the subamendment moved by the
Honourable Senator Angus be adjourned.
Motion negatived on the following division:
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak in support of the
subamendment proposed by Senator Angus. I would like to begin by saying to
Senator Angus and to all honourable senators that although we all work here, we
know remarkably little about each other. I was most impressed and touched when
Senator Angus talked about his daughter and the challenges that he and his
family would have faced.
Honourable senators, I am always amazed when we rise to speak in this chamber
by what we learn about other people's suffering. I believe it was Oscar Wilde
who talked about certain aspects of life being a season of sorrow. Everyone has
experienced some form of suffering in one way or another.
I would like to thank Senator Angus for bringing forward his concept of
expanding the list of identifiable groups to include pardoned convicts. I am
surprised and impressed by his thoughtfulness on this matter. It has been a long
time since the Senate has examined any of these issues. When we speak to pardons
we speak to the exercise of clemency in one of its myriad forms. Clemency is an
aspect of the Royal Prerogative exercised by Her Majesty's representative, Her
Excellency the Governor General of Canada.
It might be of interest to some senators that I know a considerable amount
about this subject matter. In 1980, upon the advice of then Prime Minister
Trudeau and then Solicitor General Robert Kaplan, I was appointed to the
National Parole Board. I was a temporary member for Ontario because Mr. Trudeau
wanted to keep me involved in politics. The National Parole Board is the
administrative, quasi-judicial tribunal that looks after the business of parole
applications from inmates and the processing of future parolees.
In that position, I listened and spoke to many inmates and voted on many
cases. The process is quite complicated. I cannot explain it now, but
essentially the Parole Board makes recommendations about parole for inmates that
go before cabinet and are invariably accepted. In that way, Parole Board members
exercise their intentions by voting. It is an elaborate system.
In addition to the granting of parole, which was developed under the former
remission system, the authority and jurisdiction of the National Parole Board
extends to recommendations on pardons. In particular, the subamendment moved by
Senator Angus speaks to pardoned convicts. If they are pardoned, they are no
longer convicts, but that was the language he chose to adopt and that is the
language used currently in human rights legislation.
There are two kinds of pardons: the ones that fall under the Criminal Records
Act and those that fall under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy emanating from Her
Excellency the Governor General on the advice of cabinet. It would be
interesting to go back to see the origins of that particular section, and the
role in it of Edward Blake, a great Liberal of the late 19th century,
particularly as a follow-up of the Louis Riel situation and that set of
insurgencies. If my memory serves me correctly, Lord Dufferin took the
initiative to grant certain pardons to many of the insurgents, and that angered
many cabinet ministers. Thereafter, the Governor General's Royal Letters Patent
insisted that the Royal Prerogative of Mercy could only be exercised on the
advice of the cabinet.
Honourable senators, when I voted on pardon cases I was amazed at how so many
reformed inmates clung to the system that allowed for pardons. I read many
cases. Inmates sometimes spoke of a pardon as though it would make a complete
difference to their lives.
I recently spoke in Toronto. The woman who introduced me told me that she had
just received a phone call from a former inmate on whose case I had worked. The
former inmate had said her life had turned around in a phenomenal way and that
she wanted to thank me for the work that I had done on her case. We all have
these kinds of episodes.
What I am trying to impress upon you, honourable senators, is that the
process for laying out pardon applications is quite elaborate and systematic and
it means a lot to those individuals who seek a pardon.
Despite the fact that many of these reformed or rehabilitated people had been
pardoned, their records sealed and the offences vacated under the Criminal
Records Act, many of these individuals complained of enormous discrimination and
prejudices against them.
Honourable senators, I think it is important that we be always sensitive,
particularly to that group of people in Canada that I call the working peoples
of this country, who are mostly labourers. It is well known that the majority of
inmates in the federal penitentiaries tend to be from the working peoples and
the working classes. I was always deeply touched by the concerns that so many of
these people raised about the hardships they encountered in finding jobs and so
I should also like to share another view, because it is very important. A
part of me says that everybody should be protected from genocide and hate, but
once we identify groups and once we begin to look at that list of identifiable
groups, we begin to realize that many other groups of people are worthy of equal
I must say to Senator Angus that I never would have thought of the group of
people that he mentioned. I am pleased, indeed, to support that group because it
gives us an opportunity to be sensitive to all those people out there who have
had the misfortune of having an encounter with the criminal justice system.
That is the reason, honourable senators, I am opposed to Bill C-250 in the
first place. I believe this particular bill will be used for political reasons,
one of which will be to cleanse Canadians of moral opinions. I am of the opinion
that this bill will engage many innocent Canadians in a prosecutorial process
simply because some of them may happen to express views about certain homosexual
For example, if they wish to express moral views about certain homosexual or
sexual practices, or if religious people wish to express the view that it is not
only immoral but sinful, or if medical personnel wish to express the view that
it is unhealthy, it would be very wrong to expose so many Canadians to vexatious
and menacing prosecutions.
Honourable senators, I spent a lot of time listening to inmates and making
decisions about granting parole. I visited every single penitentiary in Ontario
many times to listen to inmates. I would also mention in passing, honourable
senators, that, when I served on the Parole Board, I had a reputation for being
a firm, fair and honest board member.
Senator St. Germain: Question? We still have time. Why are you calling
Senator Cools: I must object promptly. The Speaker usually stands to
inform us that the time has expired. However, it is not yet 6:30. Is my speaking
Senator Robichaud: Your 15 minutes are up.
Senator Cools: How does Senator Robichaud know that? Was he counting
or is he a magician?
Senator Robichaud: I was counting.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: You have 90 seconds,
Senator Robichaud: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are senators ready for
It was moved by the Honourable Senator Angus, seconded by the Honourable
That the motion in amendment be amended by adding before the words "ethnic
origin," the words "pardoned convict,".
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those in favour of
the motion will please say "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed to
the motion, please say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: In my opinion, the
"nays" have it.
And two honourable senators having risen:
Call in the senators.
Senator Stratton: According to rule 67(1) and 67(2), I should like to
defer the vote to 5:30 p.m. at the next sitting of the Senate.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Accordingly, the vote
will be held tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, April 21, 2004, at 1:30 p.m.