Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I rise today to make a
statement in recognition of Sir Samuel Cunard, whose two hundred seventeenth
birthday was celebrated on November 21 last.
Born in 1787 in the family home off Brunswick Street in Halifax, Samuel
Cunard is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurs ever produced by Nova
Scotia or Canada. His spectacular business career spanned over half a century.
During this time, S. Cunard & Company became a household name in Halifax, and it
endures to this day.
At 52 years of age, he gained international acclaim as the "colonial" who
successfully introduced steam to the North Atlantic, when in 1839 he founded the
incomparable Cunard Line. Samuel Cunard revolutionized ocean transportation,
commerce and communication between the old and new worlds.
On May 28, 2004, Canada Post Corporation issued a stamp to commemorate Samuel
Cunard. Launched in Halifax, this stamp recognized the risks and successes of
Cunard, including his establishment of the Transatlantic Mail Service between
England and Halifax in 1840.
The name Cunard is proudly emblazoned on the world's newest and greatest
ocean liner, Queen Mary 2. This luxury liner is the proud replica of the
original Cunard liner that frequently visited Halifax, particularly during World
War II when she was converted for wartime service and transported more than half
a million service men and women. After that war, the Queen Mary brought
50,000 war brides to Pier 21 in Halifax and to their new country, Canada.
Samuel Cunard was a visionary who proved that if you set your sights high and
work hard, all is possible. It is, therefore, about time for Cunard to be more
fully celebrated by the raising of a statue to him on Halifax's harbourside. We
commend the efforts of the Cunard Steamship Society, of Halifax, and its
tireless chairman, John G. Langley, Q.C. I thank him for his assistance herein,
and I encourage him to continue to work toward the raising of a statue in honour
of Samuel Cunard, perhaps on Sir Sam's two-hundred twentieth birthday in 2007.
Hon. John Buchanan: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to a
dear friend of many years, the late Judge Robert Jardine McCleave.
Bob, as he was affectionately called by family, friends and political
colleagues, was the longest serving member of Parliament for Halifax, having
been elected in 1957, re-elected in 1958 and 1962, defeated in 1963 but
re-elected in 1965 with his running mate, Senator Michael Forrestall. He was
re-elected in 1968, 1972 and 1974.
Bob was very helpful to me in my first election to the Nova Scotia
legislature in 1967, as, of course, was Mike Forrestall. My constituency was
part of their Halifax riding. I was co-chairman of their successful 1965
election win in Halifax and travelled extensively in the riding with both Bob
and Mike. From 1967 to 1977, Bob and I campaigned through the Sambro area,
Terence Bay and Ketch Harbour, where we visited schools and homes and attended
various functions. It was always a wonderful political and personal pleasure and
experience to be with him.
In 1977, Bob was appointed a provincial court judge. In 1980, I appointed him
Chairman of the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board, and in 1984 I appointed him
chairman of the very controversial hearings into the opening of uranium mines in
Judge McCleave carried out his roles as provincial court judge, Nova Scotia
Labour Relations Board chairman and chairman of the hearings into uranium mines
in a very exemplary way.
Bob McCleave was described by a close friend, Harold Shea, former editor of
the Halifax Chronicle-Heraldand correspondent here on the Hill, as a
very kind, generous individual. I echo those sentiments.
Many hundreds of people, family, friends and political colleagues from all
parties, attended his funeral in Halifax. I extend my condolences to Sylvia and
Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, in the last few days you have
heard a great deal about the planned exhibit, Encounters at Yuquot, which will
open at the Canadian Museum of Civilization on January 21, 2005, to celebrate
the historic importance of the
traditional home of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations. However, in my
exchanges with Senator Austin on the importance of the 18th century Spanish and
British explorations in the area, little has been said about Yuquot itself.
Yuquot, which means "where the wind blows in all directions," is situated on
the southern tip of Nootka Island on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island at
the entrance to Nootka Sound. Commonly referred to as Friendly Cove, Yuquot can
be reached only by water and air. Blessed with a warm, if wet, climate and
stunning mountain scenery, Yuquot was central to the Aboriginal people who first
came there more than 4,000 years ago. Today, there is little to mark the site
beyond two houses that are inhabited part of the year by band families, a small,
historic church and a staffed lighthouse on a rocky point that separates the
cove from the open Pacific.
Yuquot was the centre of a whaling society for hundreds of years, and buried
in the bush is the remnants of the whaling shrine that depicts 92 carved human
and whaling figures and contains 16 human skulls. The shrine itself is currently
at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and we are hoping that it
will be returned to the Yuquot people.
The band is trying to develop Yuquot as a tourist destination. It is now
visited by recreational boaters, kayakers and tourists who make the trip aboard
the sturdy coastal freighter MV Uchuck III, sometimes accompanied by
Luna, the lonely whale who is stranded in the sound and who pesters boats and
floatplanes with affectionate but alarming attention.
The Yuquot region was first visited in 1774 by Spanish explorer Juan Perez
who sailed from Mexico to anchor his ship off Estevan Point, south of the
entrance to Nootka Sound. He traded with the local Aboriginal people but never
left the ship.
The first European to establish a temporary settlement at Yuquot was the
legendry British explorer Captain James Cook who anchored in Nootka Sound on
March 31, 1778 to refit his ships for his voyage to the Hawaiian Islands, where
he was killed. Local legend has it that a tall spar, or log, installed as a mast
at Yuquot broke off en route to Hawaii, forcing Cook to seek refuge in a lagoon
on Big Island Hawaii, where he was killed in a spirited exchange with local
In 1789, Captain Martinez established a Spanish fort at Yuquot, which was
Spain's northernmost garrison on the Pacific, and the only fort in Canadian
The battle between Spain and Britain for access to the Pacific Ocean,
controlled until then by papal decree that divided the Pacific between Spain and
Portugal, led to the famous Nootka Convention in 1790, which gave both Spain and
Britain rights in the Pacific.
In 1792, Britain's Captain George Vancouver and Spain's Juan Francisco de la
Bodega y Quadra met at Yuquot but failed to resolve their dispute.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am sorry to inform the
honourable senator that her three minutes for senators' statements have expired.
Senator Carney: May I finish my sentence?
The Hon. the Speaker: Unfortunately, the rules provide for no means of
extending the time.
Shall we not see the rules on this occasion, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Carney: They failed to resolve the dispute, despite the
watchful assistance of Chief Maquinna, whose descendent Mike Maquinna is the
current chief of the band. In 1794, both countries agreed to abandon Nootka and
it was returned to its Aboriginal inhabitants.
There are many stories to tell about Yuquot. I urge honourable senators to
take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Encounters at Yuquot exhibit
in January to learn more about this fascinating era in Canadian history.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, tomorrow, December 3, 2004,
we will observe the twelfth annual International Day of Disabled Persons, a day
on which we recognize the dignity and fundamental rights of over 600 million
people, worldwide, who have a disability. It is also a day to shed light on
disability issues and to promote the benefits to be gained by everyone when
people with disabilities are fully integrated into society.
This year's observance focuses on the motto, "Nothing about us without us."
This theme is not new. It has been used in the disability rights movement for
many years. It supports inclusion of persons with disabilities in determining
the policies that impact upon their daily lives. Too often, such decisions by
governments, employers and others are made without the meaningful involvement of
those who will be affected most.
I am proud to say that the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs,
Science and Technology has incorporated the spirit of this year's International
Day of Disabled Persons into its work by asking all Canadians to participate in
the committee's final report on mental health. A questionnaire posted on the
committee's website asks people who have been affected by mental illness or
addiction to tell their personal stories or express their opinions on how to
improve mental health services in our country.
It is the committee's belief that the responses gathered by the questionnaire
will provide valuable insight that might not be gathered otherwise.
I hope honourable senators will join me in expressing support for the greater
inclusion of all disabled individuals in all aspects, particularly the planning
and implementation, of the policies and decisions that frame and will frame
I would draw the attention of honourable senators to a marvellous report
prepared by Senator Smith in 1981, which I believe has never been duplicated in
calibre since that time, and which brought to everyone's attention our
tremendous problem with disability.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-302, to change the name of the
electoral district of Kitchener— Wilmot—Wellesley—Woolwich.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Rompkey, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second
reading two days hence.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at
the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That, as a follow-up to the goodwill generated by the visit of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama to Ottawa last April, the Senate call upon the Government of
Canada to use its friendly relations with China to urge it to enter into
meaningful negotiations, without preconditions, with representatives of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to commend the
Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for its initiative in inviting the
Ukrainian ambassador yesterday to give a briefing about the current crisis in
Ukraine. I also believe that the Government of Canada has taken the proper
initiatives, first by denouncing, in a timely matter, the Ukraine election as
one that was not free and fair and then by indicating that all peaceful efforts
should be continued toward resolving this crisis in Ukraine.
I have, however, been receiving telephone calls and emails indicating that
the Canadian government may move on sanctions. In light of the evidence we heard
yesterday that there has been a round table agreement between representatives
from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, the European Union and both candidates, Mr.
Viktor Yushchenko and Mr. Viktor Yanukovich, on a tentative agreement on some of
the issues, what is Canada's position at the moment? Does Canada maintain that
an impartial second election must take place, or is it moving to take further
action, as some people in the community believe the government has indicated? I
do not know the source of their information, but I would like a clarification.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, my
information is that our position is as stated by Senator Andreychuk. We welcome
the developments that have taken place in the Ukrainian Parliament and the
tentative steps taken by President Kuchma with respect to a review of that
electoral process. We are supportive of an internal resolution of the matter
through appropriate steps to determine the electoral process democratically. We
believe that no external pressure should be brought to bear.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I, too, wish to take this
opportunity to thank and applaud the Leader of the Government in the Senate for
his very prompt and encouraging response to the question I asked in regard to
the government's position on the issue of the possible execution of Tenzin Delek
Rinpoche. Many governments of the world have joined in the chorus, and hopefully
this action will save Rinpoche's life.
Honourable senators, Canada's Ambassador to the UN, Allan Rock, announced
that Canada intends to shift its policy in favour of Israel in UN General
Assembly votes on resolutions involving Israel and Palestinian. Now we hear from
Liberal MP Derek Lee, who has stated that Mr. Rock has overstepped his authority
in making such an announcement and had chastised him for not checking first with
For clarity, honourable senators, which is it? Are we to believe Mr. Rock or
Mr. Lee on this issue of critical importance to the stability and peace of the
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the
statement made by Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations, the Honourable
Allan Rock, was made on the authority of the Government of Canada.
Senator Di Nino: I thank the honourable senator for that response.
Did Mr. Rock get the clearance from the Minister of Finance or, indeed, the
Prime Minister before making this statement?
Senator Austin: I have answered the question, honourable senators.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: As we know, honourable senators, there will be
maybe 15 to 25 votes on this issue in particular. It seems obvious that immense
pressure has been exercised to distance ourselves from the votes last year. Even
so, sometimes we have abstained in these votes, including votes on resolutions,
such as the one last year. Now we intend to support the resolution on the
"denuclearization" of the region, which I have always favoured. To have a full
picture, it may be advisable for Canada to wait until all the votes have been
taken on all of the resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I have already indicated that I will ask for a special debate on that subject.
My question is: Does the government wish to play a role in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict? If it does, given our past and our great
responsibility in 1947, not 1948, perhaps the honourable leader could advise
whether Canada must be perceived as being acceptable by both sides in order to
be a good broker.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I very much appreciate the
question from Senator Prud'homme. He has summarized our purpose very well. Our
purpose is to be of the utmost assistance to achieving peace in that very
troubled Holy Land. That peace depends, in the Canadian view, on an agreement
being reached through negotiation by the parties themselves. The objectives of
that peace are a secure Israel, free from the current attacks by various
elements in the Palestinian community, and a separate Palestinian state, equally
living in peace and security and able to develop its economy for the benefit of
the Palestinian people.
The statement made by Ambassador Rock relates to only three of 19
resolutions, as Senator Prud'homme is aware. Canada has assessed the resolutions
in terms of the words that are being used today as compared to last year or
previous years. After a careful review of the drafts and taking into account the
new opportunities for peace that may be opening up in the Middle East, the
government decided that it would be the right signal to change its position on
In one case, the government has decided to vote in support of a resolution
that is in line with our nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy. Our
vote is, essentially, directed to Israel and asks that Israel sign the
non-proliferation treaty, which it has not done up until this time.
In the other two resolutions, we are changing our abstention to a vote
against because we believe that those two resolutions have an unnecessary
hostile nature to them and would not promote the coming together of the Israelis
and the Palestinians in a negotiation toward the peace objectives I have
Senator Prud'homme: May I ask the Leader of the Government in the
Senate to kindly point out to the government a new trend? If we allow this new
trend to continue, it will become customary. We are told and we believe that
there are areas called the "occupied territories," but in this major debate it
seems that those pushing for influence want to change the term from "occupied
territories" to "disputed territories." This view is shared by a powerful
minister in cabinet who has nothing to do with foreign affairs, and it concerns
me. Therefore, my first point is to make sure that we stick to what has been
Canada's policy on this matter and cease in putting forward this new term.
Honourable senators, I am most concerned about our reputation. If Canada
wants to perpetuate its reputation of being a fair broker, then I would find
myself ill at ease in this new approach, as should many Canadians and the
Canadian government. If we end up voting with the United States and Israel, and
maybe Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu in this new trend,
Canada may be letting down other important friends. It would mean that there is,
indeed, a new switch taking place and it would be subject to debate.
My two points, honourable senators, are, first to remind officials and even
cabinet ministers that the phrase is "occupied territories" not "disputed
territories," as we are having pushed down our throats. As well, we must be
careful whose company we are voting in, if Canada wants to show the rest of the
world that we want to play a role. If we vote the other way, Canada will not be
in a position to play a role. It would be very sad if that were to happen.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I do not want to get into a
debate with Senator Prud'homme during Question Period. However, I want to
reiterate that Canada's policy towards the Middle East issue is a balanced one
and seeks to promote the cause of peace and seeks to play a role, with the
agreement of both sides, in facilitating that peace process.
Canada's view is that it stand on all 19 resolutions. That is its position.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Statistics Canada has reported that net farm income bottomed out in the year
2003 to the lowest level since 1978. Prairie farmers are hardest hit, with net
cash income plunging to 65 per cent in Alberta, 62 per cent in Saskatchewan and
45 per cent in Manitoba. At the same time, we heard from the province of Quebec
that farmers were protesting, across the province, the situation that exists
My question relates to an article that appeared in the Regina Leader-Post
on November 26, which reported on comments made by the federal minister at
the Canadian Western Agribition, which is one of the country's largest livestock
shows. In the article, entitled "Minister pledges support," Andy Mitchell seemed
to imply that additional support might be on the way for producers facing grim
Is this new money that is being appropriated to meet the need in agriculture,
or is it not new money?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have not seen the story as reported by Senator Gustafson. I responded yesterday
to a question asked by Senator St. Germain that the Minister of Agriculture is
reviewing this situation day by day.
I have no further information I can give to the honourable senator with
respect to his specific question.
Senator Gustafson: Honourable senators, the minister is in cabinet.
Would he inquire for us from the Minister of Finance, Mr. Goodale, who is from
Regina, and also the minister responsible for agriculture, whether this is new
money, so that the farmers will know where they stand?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I will inquire into the accuracy
of the story presented and, if I can provide the honourable senator with further
information, I will do so.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate and it is a follow-up to a question I
asked yesterday of the Leader of the Government about how long it would be
before generic drugs could be shipped to Africa. Today I will ask about the
federal government's funding commitments to fight the spread of AIDS in our own
The last federal budget doubled this commitment to $84 million over a
five-year period. However, that money has not yet been distributed. Health
Canada says it is working on related administrative matters that have yet to be
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate provide some details on when
this money will be available for use in Canada?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
will have to obtain that information from Health Canada and provide it in the
form of a delayed answer.
Senator Oliver: The United Nations reported last week that AIDS
infection rates for women are up in every region of the world, and Canada is no
exception. Over the past three years, women have accounted for 25 per cent of
the new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in our country.
The HIV/AIDS infection rate in Canada's minority groups is also alarming,
especially among African-Canadians and Aboriginals. For example, Health Canada
reports that, while Aboriginals make up 5 per cent of Canada's population, they
comprise 25 per cent of our HIV infection rate.
When the increased federal spending is made available, would the Leader of
the Government kindly advise, will it be specifically targeted to address the
rising infection rate among these groups?
Senator Austin: Again, honourable senators, I will pursue the
direction of Senator Oliver's question and endeavour to provide information as
soon as possible.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, according to media reports
last week, records obtained by the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
under access to information revealed the ongoing costs of a victims' assistance
program would be $1.7 million. That is $1.7 million the government, apparently,
is not willing to spend under its Victims of Crime Initiative. Victims are
trying to get help. Government documents stated that "increasing pressure" was
anticipated for cash assistance to help victims to get to hearings. One document
The most persuasive argument is that, in the absence of means to attend
hearings, the government hasn't really given victims a voice at parole
Honourable senators, this government has long claimed to support victims of
crime. When former Justice Minister Anne McLellan set up the initiative back in
2000, she said:
This funding has been put in place to help organizations better meet the
needs of victims and those who work with victims.
The government's lack of action speaks louder than its words. It seems that
including victims of crime in the criminal justice process is not a priority for
this government. Will the honourable leader tell us when the government will
start helping victims attend parole hearings?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
will make inquiries to see whether the facts alleged in Senator LeBreton's
question are well-founded.
Senator LeBreton: The information obtained through access to
information is probably accurate.
The Toronto Star reported that the public safety department is
"considering assistance" but that it may be just one of many "competing claims
for government cash." Will the government revamp the Victims of Crime Initiative
to ensure that needy victims are able to get to parole hearings so they feel
they are receiving some justice out of our system?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I hope to report at an early time
on the question raised by Senator LeBreton relating to victims of crime.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
Canadians, along with many others around the world, were horrified on September
11. Indeed, Canadians numbered among the victims of the tragedy at the World
Trade Center. A memorial foundation has been established to oversee the
construction and operation of a memorial to the victims of the World Trade
Center disaster. Will the Government of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians, look
into making a significant contribution to honour the memory not only of the
Canadian victims of that tragedy but for all who have been victimized by it?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
will certainly make inquiries and take Senator Kinsella's representation to the
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
Canadians have watched, with a fair degree of confusion, the dispute over
awarding visas to exotic dancers. As an issue of policy, surely all members of
this honourable house are of the view that women's rights are a fundamental
value in Canadian society. We are not surprised that there would be a high
demand in Canada for exotic dancers because Canadian women, pursuant to Canadian
values, do not want to be objectified or victimized in the sense of the
continuing effects of gender discrimination.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate compare the advancement of
women's rights in Canada — including the right not to be treated as objects and
the fact that this value is expressed by Canadian women refusing to participate
in that trade — with the policy of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration
of giving preference to non-Canadians to come to Canada to fill an occupation to
which Canadian women are not responding? Does the government not find that there
is an inconsistency here? Does it have plans to build its program on the policy
of non-discrimination against women?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, it
is a central Canadian value that there is non-discrimination against women and
others who have been defined as classes in society. Canadians are devoted to the
Charter and to its provisions for equality.
With respect to the question of exotic dancers, since 1998 a Department of
Citizenship and Immigration visa program, based on normal considerations, has
permitted immigration, both temporary and otherwise, for categories of people
with skills that are in short supply in Canada. This program has now been
discontinued as a discrete program, but Canadians are still permitted to apply
to have people come into Canada who are dancers, exotic or otherwise. The
category still exists with respect to women who seek positions in Canada as
Honourable senators, I would suggest that neither that category nor any other
category in the immigration system acts against equality of rights and the
standing of women. The occupation in question is legal, and so long as it is
performed legally, there can be no argument with respect to gender
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, a lot of things are legal but
not just. Canadian women have spoken very directly in saying that exotic dancing
is not an area that speaks to the elevation of the status of women in Canada.
Why did the government allow its officials in the immigration department to use
their bureaucratese to define this as a special category?
The allusion to domestic workers encompasses a whole category of problems in
and of itself. This honourable house might want to research the abuses that from
time to time are reported in that field.
With regard to the exotic dancing field, it is important to underscore the
point that Canadian women, in not applying for these jobs, are stating that this
field of endeavour should not be supported. Therefore, there is an apparent
disconnect between Canadian women and the Department of Citizenship and
Immigration setting this field up as a special category. However, I thank the
minister for his answer.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator
for his comment. I should like to add that there is nothing inherently illegal
or discriminatory in the category of a domestic servant or in the category of an
exotic dancer. That there may be abuses in this category does not deal with the
question of gender discrimination.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I should like to deal first with Bill S-18 today and then call all
other bills in the order in which they stand on the Order Paper.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Losier-Cool, for the second reading of Bill S-18, to
amend the Statistics Act.
Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would like to comment briefly on Senator Lynch-Staunton's speech of
yesterday with respect to the emails that have been forthcoming from those in
favour of the bill and the misinformation contained in them — not all of them,
but a significant number of them. Not only did Senator Lynch-Staunton receive
those emails, but I did as well. The honourable senator has a right to be a
little upset because he knew nothing about the fact that there may or may not
have been another private member's bill tabled. He has a right to be upset and
shocked at that kind of behaviour. On the other hand, I was just disappointed. I
understood where it was coming from.
I want to begin by identifying myself with the statements made previously in
this debate by Senator Comeau, who I believe gave an excellent speech with
respect to this bill.
I am fundamentally opposed to this bill at this stage. What does this short
bill mean? It has only two clauses. Having been introduced by Senator Milne as a
private senator's bill a few Parliaments ago, it now comes before us as a
government bill. It allows for the release of historic census records, without
condition, 92 years after the date of the census. It also contains provisions to
authorize Statistics Canada to seek permission from Canadians to deposit their
individual census records at the National Archives building of Canada for
further research purposes.
The issue of confidentiality of census information was canvassed in two legal
opinions alluded to by Senator Milne in her speech in support of this bill. As I
understand it, it was on the basis of these legal opinions that the results of
the 1906 census records were released to the National Archives. This bill is
designed to allow release of data from 1911 to 2001 to the National Archivist on
the ninety-second anniversary of each census. The National Archivist is then
given permission to grant access to this information. However, as Senator Comeau
has pointed out, this, despite the legal opinion, seems to be quite a departure
from the present law and the confidentiality clauses contained in the census
forms filled out by Canadians from 1911 to the present.
Section 17 of the Statistics Act as presently written indicates that there is
a "prohibition against divulging information," and section 18 states that
information given on the census form is deemed to be privileged.
Looking at the census form, it seems clear, at least to a non-lawyer like
myself, that a statement relating to Statistics Canada and stating that "no one
outside the agency can have access to your identifiable information" means no
one gets the information, with no time limit on that undertaking. The form goes
on to say "confidential when completed" and "confidentiality of your census
questionnaire is protected by law," which again seems fairly straightforward. It
does not say, "protected by law until the law is changed" or "confidential until
we say different." No, those who have filled out these forms were comforted and
guided by the fact that they believed that the completed forms would be kept
secret — perhaps used in a generic way to help government track trends in
society, but not in a way that would result in its public release.
If the government wanted to make this information public, they should change
the law now, but change it for future census years and future census forms. One
of the greatest hallmarks of law is that it is to be predictable and
non-retroactive. This legislation breaks both of these conventions. It brings
unpredictability to bear on a subject of immense personal privacy. It also
changes the law in such a way as to have a retroactive effect.
We have all argued in this chamber against this type of legislation in the
past, and we should take a stand against it again in relation to Bill S-18: no
Bill S-18 also retroactively breaches one's entitlement to the protection of
privacy. Those who filled out these forms, even those who did so 92 years ago,
before we ever talked about the crystallization of a right to privacy, believed
their information should not be divulged. We in this chamber should respect the
understanding of those who in 1911 filled out census forms.
Senator Comeau asked: Are there consequences for breaking promises made long
ago? I believe there are. We are continually told that those who are involved in
politics are held in low esteem by the public. We are also told of public apathy
at election time. What type of examples are we setting for the public at large
if we can so easily ignore promises made to fill out these forms so many years
We, as legislators in Canada's national Parliament, hold our power and
authority as a sacred trust given to us by the people of Canada. If we are to
exercise that trust in such a way as to violate rights set out so long ago, I
believe we are actually breaking that trust as we act to take away rights, the
rights of privacy and confidentiality, and that we are feeling this apathy and
disrespect for politics which is so rampant in Canada today.
Honourable senators, this is not a good bill and should not pass this
chamber. I look forward to our committee discussions, which I believe should
focus on our duty to uphold promises made long ago in an effort to ensure that
rights conferred are not taken away.
In closing, I look at this bill particularly in light of today's world. We
have all kinds of information on the importance and the significance of
individual privacy, as reflected in Senator Oliver's bill on controlling spam
and other bills coming forward to protect individual privacy, and yet Bill S-18
totally disregards promises made to maintain that privacy. That is wrong.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
I have listened carefully to the debate and will be adding my comments next
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C., for the third reading of
Bill S-10, A second Act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of the
Province of Quebec and to amend certain Acts in order to ensure that each
language version takes into account the common law and the civil law.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, it is with great
enthusiasm and pride that I want to reaffirm in this place, in this debate at
third reading, the official opposition's unqualified support for this bill.
I want to congratulate my colleagues who participated with a great deal of
diligence and rigour in the consideration of this bill in committee. I would
have liked to be with them, but I was held up elsewhere. I did, however, follow
your debates very diligently by reading the proceedings.
First of all, I would like to say a few words about the importance of this
bill. Canada is the only country in the world where the two main civil legal
traditions, namely the French derived civil law and the British derived common
law, legally coexist. Needless to say, the French civil law has full, complete
and exclusive jurisdiction in the province of Quebec, while the British common
law has full jurisdiction in the other Canadian provinces.
For the sake of understanding in this debate, a little background is
important. My colleagues at the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs will find nothing new in what I have to say, but those
who take an occasional interest in the issue may, because there are very
important reference points.
First, these two systems of law, like the two official languages of Canada,
for example, are equal. One is not more important than the other; both, in their
geographical areas, are of equal value. Thus the importance of harmonization.
Some may wonder perhaps how it is that, within a system of common law, or in
the case of Quebec a system of civil law, the larger must fit in with, harmonize
with, the smaller.
This is poor logic. It is a legal fiction, the result of the compromise
responsible for the very origins of our country. Anyone not understanding that
has his head in the clouds. The Civil Code of Lower Canada is what lies behind
that Canadian compromise. Without it, there never would have been a province of
Quebec. George-Étienne Cartier would never have agreed to the Canadian
compromise. The two regimes have full jurisdiction over their respective
geographical areas; they are equal.
To repeat what I said at second reading, this harmonization of federal laws
is — and I suggest you accept this argument — an eloquent demonstration of the
undeniable advantages of our form of government. It is a form of government
which allows the coexistence of two systems of private law. With this process,
federal legislation will be harmonized with these two systems which, I might
add, have been under the authority of the provinces since 1867.
This explanation is necessary to an understanding of the mechanics of the
harmonization process. It is a process I find to be taking a bit too long. At
the beginning of the process, in 1999, we were told that there would be about
ten such harmonization acts and they would come out once a year. After five
years, here we are with only the second. I feel the speed needs to be picked up.
I do, however, have the utmost respect for the work done by the Justice
Department staff, who have had to adapt federal legislation as it affects the
private rights of Canadians anywhere in Canada, regardless of which jurisdiction
they fall under, and harmonize that legislation. I understand the importance of
what they are doing, but I do feel that the speed needs to be picked up a bit.
A huge terminological effort is involved. The words have to have the same
meaning for everyone before the courts, wherever they may be and regardless of
the system of private law used. That is why terminology is so important. That is
where an effort needs to be made.
This harmonization became necessary, indeed mandatory, after the adoption of
the new Quebec Civil Code in 1994.
As I said, the Province of Quebec has had a code of civil law going back to
1866. From 1866 to 1994, in Quebec, the Civil Code of Lower Canada governed the
rights of individuals. It is a law that has evolved. During all that time, it
was the law for Quebecers; it even evolved differently from the French law on
which it was originally based.
Quebecers have adapted this civil law to their own reality and in 1955 the
Government of Quebec came to the conclusion that it needed to undertake a
complete reform of the civil code because it could no longer be done piecemeal.
Thus, the first reform began in 1955, the second in 1980 because of the
modernization of family law, and the comprehensive reform of the civil code in
1990-91, which led, in 1994, to the new Quebec Civil Code. The changes were
extensive enough that all lawyers and judges in Quebec had to go back to school
to study and relearn certain concepts that, with the reform, had changed
I agree with those who have remarked that the new civil code is a coming of
age for the Quebec legal system.
We inherited a code that had been greatly influenced by the French. We had
been adapting it for a long time but, in 1994, we wiped the slate clean and
adopted a code whose concepts truly reflect the reality and the civil evolution
I would like to read you a passage from the book, Commentaires du ministre,
by former Justice Minister Gil Rémillard, who presided over the introduction of
the new civil code. He wrote:
The purpose of the reform of the Civil Code was to convey, at the dawn of
the 21st century, the profound changes that have taken place in Quebec society
with respect to social and family relationships, values, knowledge, the
economic context, and the new perspective of human relationships in society
since the adoption in 1866 of the Civil Code of Lower Canada, and to bring the
legislation into line with the present reality. But this reform does not
abandon the previous legislation: it extends, improves and consolidates it.
In my view, this harmonization process became mandatory after the reform in
1994. However, the fact remains that since 1867, roughly 300 federal laws have,
in their entirety or in large part, affected the private rights of Canadians
and, in a very legal way, interfered in provincial jurisdictions. I am not
saying that Parliament has acted in contradiction of the intentions of the
Constitution. On the contrary, Parliament may full well, in the exercise of its
authority, influence and disrupt individual civil rights and has done so some
Understandably, Quebec civil lawyers accustomed to legal precision and their
own terminology, and even more so members of the public, have the right to ask
questions and demand changes when faced with federal laws that do not take their
legal sensibilities into account.
When the new code took effect in 1994, it seemed obvious to Quebecers that
from that moment on Parliament had to make a comprehensive effort of
harmonization in federal law. That is what we are doing now.
That is why the official opposition, here in this chamber, eagerly and
unreservedly supports this effort, which it would like to see advance more
quickly. We will pass bills as they come in and we want to make our support very
I remind you, honourable senators, that this is not a matter of one law
absorbing another. There is no reason whatsoever to be concerned or to think
that Quebec's system of law will interfere with the common law of the other
Those who, unfortunately, spread this kind of myth have never stopped to
consider how our country came to be. It was the result of a compromise. It did
not happen out of the blue; it was not easy, but it happened. Today, we are
asked to harmonize civil law and common law in federal legislation. It follows
naturally and equitably from this compromise, and that is why we have to support
this harmonization reform.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are the honourable
senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to, and bill read third time and passed.
Hon. Aurélien Gill moved second reading of Bill C-7, to amend the
Department of Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act and to make
related amendments to other Acts.
He said: Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that I rise at second
reading stage of Bill C-7, to amend the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and
the Parks Canada Agency Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.
This bill will give legislative effect to the government reorganization that
was announced on December 12, 2003 as it affects Parks Canada, the Department of
Canadian Heritage and the Department of the Environment.
The bill will update existing legislation to reflect two Orders-in-Council
that came into effect in December 2003 and July 2004. They transferred control
and supervision of the Parks Canada Agency from the Department of Canadian
Heritage to the Department of the Environment. The bill also clarifies that
Parks Canada is responsible for historic places in Canada, and for the design
and implementation of programs that relate to built heritage.
The bill is primarily technical in nature. It updates the Department of
Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act. It also amends the
statutes that enable Parks Canada to deliver its mandate, notably the Canada
National Parks Act, the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, the Canada National
Marine Conservation Areas Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Canada Shipping Act,
and the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act.
Canada's national parks, national historic sites and national marine
conservation areas represent the soul of Canada and are a central part of who we
are and what we are. They are places of magic, wonder and heritage. Each tells
its own story. Together, they connect Canadians to our roots, to our future and
to each other.
I would like to assure the Senate that Parks Canada's organizational
integrity has been maintained. Parks Canada remains committed to working with
Canadians to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's
natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations.
Responsibilities for safeguarding and celebrating heritage will continue to
be shared among departments and agencies across government.
Built heritage includes sites, buildings, and monuments recognized for their
historic value. It includes battlefields, forts and citadels, shipwrecks,
archeological sites, cultural landscapes, bridges, houses, cemeteries, railway
stations, historic neighbourhoods, ruins, technological marvels, schools,
canals, courthouses, theatres and markets.
Responsibility for built heritage is assumed through various programs dealing
with national historic sites, federal heritage buildings, heritage railway
stations, federal archeology, heritage shipwrecks, and the federal role in the
Historic Places Initiative. These activities interest all the senators and the
Through the Parks Canada Agency, the Minister of the Environment is
responsible for three key sectors: the management of built heritage under Parks
Canada, federal government leadership for built heritage and Canada-wide
leadership for built heritage sites.
Senators are probably most familiar with the first sector, the role of Parks
Canada as the steward of national historic sites. Parks Canada is responsible
for Canada's program of historical commemoration, which recognizes nationally
significant places, persons and events. The aim of this program is to celebrate
Canada's history and protect sites of historic significance.
Parks Canada administers approximately one sixth of 900 national historic
sites that attest to the richness and diversity of our country's history. Its
role as steward of these sites and their historic value and resources is similar
to its role with regard to national parks. Unfortunately, a great many of the
built heritage resources under Parks Canada are at risk.
The Auditor General's report on protection of cultural heritage in the
federal government indicates that two thirds of national historic sites and
federal heritage buildings under Parks Canada are in poor to fair condition.
Despite strong management systems that put care for cultural resources at the
centre of planning and reporting for national historic sites, the future of many
of these places continues to be threatened. Repairs to masonry and wooden
structures weakened by the harsh climate are continuing, as is the case for the
Fort Henry National Historic Site, which is in need of repair. Coastal erosion
threatens to literally wash away significant portions of the Fortress of
Louisbourg National Historic Site.
These examples are symptomatic, not exceptional, of the state of our cultural
resources and of the infrastructure that supports the ability of Canadians to
visit such sites. These resources, once lost, will be gone forever and with them
will go their evocative testimony to Canada's dramatic past. Addressing the
ongoing deterioration of resources needs to be a priority for this government.
Federal government programs relating to built heritage are the minister's
second key area of responsibility. Through its leadership in the Federal
Heritage Buildings Program, Parks Canada works with departments to protect the
heritage character of buildings while the property is within federal
The Auditor General has indicated that problems similar to those for national
historic sites administered by Parks Canada exist for national historic sites
and federal heritage buildings administered by other federal departments. The
government is considering ways to respond to the Auditor General's concerns over
weak conservation standards and accountability requirements, as well as the
recommendation to strengthen the legal framework to protect built heritage. For
many years Canada has lagged behind other G8 nations, and its own provincial and
territorial governments, in the protection of historic places.
The minister's third area of responsibility is to provide Canada-wide
leadership in built heritage. Only a small portion of historic places in Canada
are owned by the federal government, so cooperation with the provinces and
territories is key.
Decade after decade, more historic places are being lost. The remaining
heritage buildings and structures, cultural landscapes and archeological sites
continue to be threatened. Recognizing the need to defend its results to protect
built heritage, the Government of Canada has responded with the launch of the
Historic Places Initiative, the most significant conservation effort related to
historic sites in our national history.
The Historic Places Initiative is based on the acknowledgement that
government alone cannot save all historic buildings and other historic places.
The keystone of the initiative is a broad national coalition with provinces,
territories, and municipal governments, coupled with equally valuable
contributions involving Aboriginal peoples, heritage experts, and a
comprehensive number of institutions, organizations, communities and
individuals. In the field of heritage we are truly in an era of policy
The goals of the initiative are to create a culture of heritage conservation
in the country by providing Canadians with basic tools to preserve and
commemorate historic places under federal jurisdiction. Strategies focus on
helping Canadians build a culture of conservation.
Moreover, through this Historic Places Initiative the government is also
committed to continue to work closely with Aboriginal people to enhance the
commemoration of their history within the system of national historic sites. In
partnership with the First Nations, the government intends to increase its
efforts in the creation of parks and sites to commemorate their history.
You will agree that there is still a great deal to be done and substantial
progress to be made in this area, but I am convinced that we will soon see an
increase in the number of historic sites with historic importance for the First
Nations and enhanced preservation of those sites.
In addition to increasing the number of Aboriginal history designations, the
government, through Parks Canada, intends to work closely with First Nations
communities, which will translate into more purchases from Aboriginal
businesses, higher employment rates, strengthened economic relationships, and
enhancement of Aboriginal themes in relevant parks and sites.
It is heartwarming to see that the voices and the stories of the First
Nations are gradually occupying a larger place in Parks Canada's programs. The
First Nations want to be appreciated as an intrinsic part of Canada's history,
which often appears to begin with colonization.
For us, identity is closely entwined with the land, which shapes our way of
life. Our heritage and our culture must be taken more seriously and there must
be greater respect for the sacred places and burial grounds found all across the
land. Public opinion must better recognize the First Nations' attachment to the
places associated with rituals and ceremonies.
We hope that this greater emphasis on Aboriginal history will take us out of
prehistory and give us our rightful place in the history of this country.
We continue to hope that, one day in the not-too-distant future, important
aspects of First Nations culture will be better known and respected by the
majority of Canadians. We hope, for example, that an inukshuk will no longer be
viewed as just a pile of stones, but as a true symbol signifying passage and
presence, a monument to the glory of the age-old way of life of the Inuit. We
hope our elders will no longer be viewed as mere tourists sporting a few
feathers at the entrance to parks containing sacred sites.
One of the interests of this government initiative is to review legislation
on historic sites in order to protect First Nations heritage. In my opinion,
this is a heritage that should be known, respected, studied, supported and
Honourable senators, this interesting little aside is one of the many reasons
you should support this bill. The protection of Canada's built heritage is not
only about saving what is meaningful from the past. It is also about sustaining
communities for today and tomorrow. Rehabilitation of existing buildings
capitalizes on the energy invested in the original structures and prevents
unnecessary use of new materials and energy.
Less demolition means reduced pressure on landfill sites. The revitalization
of historic downtown areas decreases the need for new civic infrastructure, such
as roads, sewers and public transit. By contributing to such sustainable
communities, public policy truly makes a difference in people's lives.
Consensus has emerged on the role that Canada and Canadians want for historic
places in our lives and in our communities. One of the common goals is the need
to provide all Canadians with the practical information and tools they need to
protect historic areas. The launch in 2004 of the Canadian Register of
Historic Places is a product of that collaboration.
For the first time in one place, Canadians will have a register of the
buildings and sites that are recognized as historic by any level of government.
It is anticipated that the register will contain approximately 20,000 historic
places when it is fully populated. The register will be an important tool for
policy-makers, community organizations, teachers, students and families who want
to learn about and help preserve the past.
Another important accomplishment is the development of the Standards and
Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, which provides
clear, accessible guidance to achieve good conservation practice. This document
was developed in consultation with federal, provincial, municipal and
non-governmental stakeholders, so there would be a common benchmark for
conservation principles and practices in Canada.
It has already been adopted by Parks Canada and by several provincial and
municipal jurisdictions. The Standards and Guidelines is a model of
promoting a new approach to the science and the technology of building
conservation and promoting and circulating this information broadly to all
Parks Canada also implemented the Commercial Heritage Properties Initiative
Fund, a new program announced in 2003 to engage the private sector in the
conservation of historic buildings. This fund is a four-year, $30-million plan
designed to tip the balance in favour of conservation over demolition.
It provides financial incentives to eligible commercial historic places
listed on the register to encourage a broad range of commercial uses for
historic properties within our communities. Fiscal measures such as this program
are central to helping to engage others to achieve the government's goal for
Historic places bring us together around our past, and inspire our future.
They provide places of discovery for our children. Both new citizens and
Canadians of long standing will find common benchmarks.
What we cherish as part of our national identity we also recognize as part of
our national responsibility. All Canadians share the obligation to preserve and
to protect Canada's unique culture and national heritage.
Together we hold our national parks, national historic sites and national
marine conservation areas in trust for the benefit of this generation and future
The agency will continue to play a critical role in the protection of
heritage places, and it is through this role that it earns the respect of
Canadians and the admiration of the international community.
Honourable senators, I respectfully encourage all of you to join me in
passing Bill C-7.
Hon. Serge Joyal: I know that by tradition and by convention the
Leader of the Opposition has the first question. If he has a question, I would
certainly defer to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
I would like to propose the adjournment of the debate, but first I want to put a
question to Senator Gill.
He mentioned that the Auditor General noted certain problems concerning the
Parks Canada Agency. He said that the government was now in a position to
examine the issues raised by the Auditor General. Could he provide more specific
information on the government's recent policy regarding the problems raised by
the Auditor General?
I have a supplementary. Does Senator Gill think that the transfer of the
Parks Canada Agency from the Department of Canadian Heritage to the Department
of the Environment will facilitate the solving of the problems mentioned by the
Senator Gill: Honourable senators, based on my understanding of the
current policy, we must recognize that we are no longer able to adequately
maintain historic sites, monuments, buildings, et cetera, without some help.
This admission follows the Auditor General's remarks. This means that we must
share with members of the public, provincial governments and others the costs
Approximately one sixth of historical monuments are maintained at federal
government expense, and that is not enough. The policy states clearly that the
public needs to be more involved, including Aboriginal groups, when it concerns
them. We will perhaps then manage to better preserve our heritage.
Senator Kinsella: I appreciate that response. I was very pleased to
hear Senator Gill's comment about the national parks that will, with nothing but
good intentions, be showcasing Aboriginal cultures. I get the impression he
feels as I do that this will, however, further perpetuate stereotypical ideas
about those cultures.
Senator Gill: Honourable senators, this question affects me directly
and I do not seek to lay blame on anyone in particular. We are becoming more
aware of the existence of the culture of the First Nations, some of whose
civilizations go back for thousands of years. Aboriginal people have not,
however, always done anything to help dispel those stereotypes.
I remember when an Aboriginal delegation went to Europe in connection with
the fur boycott. For the most part, the Europeans were disappointed we did not
turn up in feathers and regalia. Our message was this: For once, please listen
to us instead of looking at us! More of this is needed. Neither side is to blame
more than the other. The Aboriginal people are responsible for the creation of
these stereotypes and it is high time things changed.
Senator Joyal: Honourable senators, I would like to ask Senator Gill
one thing. I have listened to his speech carefully, particularly his reference
to Aboriginal culture. I have some concerns from reading the bill, for instance
clause 1, which reads as follows:
...functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters over which
Parliament has jurisdiction...
Here is my concern:
...all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction...
As Senator Kinsella was saying earlier, in the development of sites that
represent encounters between Aboriginal civilization and our European ancestors,
traditionally Parks Canada has always placed greater emphasis on the European
presence. Allow me to give you an example.
The site in Ontario especially, in Midland, it emphasizes much more the
history of the French missionaries of the period than in fact the impact of the
missionaries over Aboriginal culture.
Yesterday during our debate on the harmonization of civil law and common law,
a number of us, including Senator Gill and Senators Watt and Sibbeston, pointed
out the extent to which Aboriginal people were making an effort to gain
recognition for their culture, identity and languages. Still, I am concerned
with the way this bill is drafted. We will still be standing on the outside of
First Nations history on First Nations land, as you said yourself, because the
Canadian government has no jurisdiction within Aboriginal lands. It is up to the
First Nations themselves to define how they want to present themselves and how
they will describe themselves with respect to the diversity of cultures enjoyed
I am trying to recall, from memory, how many Canadian parks, administered by
the Parks Canada Agency, are really Aboriginal parks and not parks dreamed up in
a version of history involving White people dominating the Natives, to use those
traditional terms. This is an extremely important component of the new approach
that must be developed by the minister responsible. However, I do not see
anything in this bill that could bring about a renewal of the principles to be
respected when showcasing Aboriginal heritage.
There are also enormous unsolved problems in Canada involving the ownership
of Aboriginal artifacts located elsewhere than on Aboriginal lands, and the
honourable senator knows what I am referring to. Are you really confident that
the bill as it is currently worded would make it possible to reframe the
appreciation of Aboriginal heritage in the way you have described in your
Senator Gill: If I understand correctly, the aim of this bill is
simply to transfer responsibilities from one department to another. For example,
Heritage Canada and the Parks Canada Agency are transferring responsibility from
the agency to the Department of the Environment. I saw it as a change in
administration and responsibilities. I allowed myself to say a few words but I
did not think it was an appropriate opportunity to go any further. In fact, I
was given the mandate of suggesting to the honourable senators that this bill
was appropriate legislation in response to demands to simplify the
administration. It was with that in mind that I said what I had to say, but this
is not the time to take the matter any further.
I have accepted to support this bill, thinking it was mainly technical in
nature and that I would have a chance to say a few words.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report (third interim) of
the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
entitled: Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction: Issues and Options for
Canada, tabled in the Senate on November 23, 2004.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Joan Cook: Honourable senators, I should like to bring to your
attention three reports tabled here in the Senate last Tuesday by the Chair of
the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology on
mental health, mental illness and addiction in Canada.
To date, we have learned that care for individuals with mental illness and
addiction involves a complex mix of services delivered through federal,
provincial and municipal jurisdictions and private providers. It also includes
initiatives by mental illness and addiction consumers.
Rural and remote communities account for between 20 and 30 per cent of the
total Canadian population. Many of the challenges faced by these communities in
providing mental health and addiction services are mirrored in urban centres
such as the need for integrated and seamless service delivery. However, the
problems involving access to services and the provision of human resources are
usually more pronounced in rural and remote areas, and mental health consumers
must travel great distances to receive services that are fragmented and
Depending on the severity of the illness, it can be quite a challenge to
access mental health care and addiction treatment, as well as to obtain adequate
support services such as housing, education and disability benefits. Mental
health care is a mix of acute care services in general hospitals, specialized
care for specific disorders or populations, outpatient community clinics and
community-based services which provide psychosocial support and private
counselling. In most jurisdictions, these services operate in separate silos and
all too often are detached from the formal mental health care system. This is
not effective and is a fundamental problem of the mental health care system. We
heard this time and time again.
Witnesses repeatedly expressed to the committee how frustrating and
overwhelming it is to navigate through the current system. There is a call to
improve it by supporting integrated service delivery that focuses on a seamless
continuum of programs, services and supports that are available at every stage
of life and as close to home as possible.
Services must be realigned to create clear points of entry and exit, and
clear accountabilities. Infrastructure must support linkages and protocols,
including processes for information sharing and identifying key liaison staff
members. Also, methods must be developed to monitor and evaluate best practices.
A good example of service linkages exists in my home province of Newfoundland
and Labrador. In February of this year, the Health Care Corporation of St.
John's opened a 24-hour-a-day psychiatric assessment service and a short-stay
unit at the Waterford Hospital. Thanks to this service, individuals detained by
police under the province's Mental Health Act are no longer taken to the city
lock-up. They are now assessed in a timelier manner and in a health care
Honourable senators, it is important to recognize that all parts of the
system must have the common goal of providing support to individuals in the
least intrusive and most time-sensitive way.
As with other health services, mental health services and addiction
treatments are quite weak in rural and remote areas of the country, especially
in First Nations communities. In addition to the stresses of dealing with their
illness, these people are often required to travel long distances, which is
costly and inconvenient for them. For some, the psychological and financial
burdens of leaving the support systems in their own communities are
overwhelming, so they remain undiagnosed and/or untreated.
The Canadian Mental Health Association has said that rural and remote
communities may also experience mental health issues triggered by a host of
unique factors such as out-migration and high unemployment rates. According to
the association, simply transplanting urban mental health workers into rural
settings, even if they are willing to relocate, would not necessarily produce
professionals qualified to deal with distinctive rural issues and culture.
Health Transition Fund studies have shown that, since many rural communities
have limited resources and services, collaboration among providers or
realignment of existing programs is a prerequisite to solving some of the rural
health service delivery problems.
Health care providers need to share knowledge and pool resources. Ineffective
services must be eliminated to improve and streamline access to mental health
care and reduce the current fragmentation.
The committee also heard that some services have been consolidated by forming
voluntary networks and alliances but, invariably, the burden falls on the
families. This is unfair.
Honourable senators, we are looking to create a system that offers choices to
people living with mental illness and addiction, choices that promote
independence and recovery. These services should be suited to those who use
them, and they should be culturally sensitive and non-discriminatory. This
should be the case no matter where people live in this vast country.
The lack of ready access to care is a common complaint of rural residents. As
can be expected, the smaller and more remote the community, the more severe the
problem of access.
The committee was told that ensuring coordinated access to a broad continuum
of service and supports is critical to the development of an effective strategy
to address mental illness and addiction, not only in hospitals and other
institutions, but also in the community. Community services should include
supportive housing, income support, education, transportation and peer support.
Those suffering from mental illness and addiction deserve nothing less than to
overcome their isolation, gain their economic self-sufficiency, and achieve hope
Honourable senators, telehealth is becoming an important tool to enhance
health care delivery in rural and remote regions of Canada. As you know,
telehealth involves the use of communication and information technologies to
overcome geographic distances in the delivery and provision of health care. It
is a cost effective way to bring diagnostic treatment and rehabilitation
services to rural communities. Health information technologies can also offer
more professional development opportunities for health care providers.
Telehealth helps to bridge the distance by connecting physicians and mental
health consumers and their families with current information about symptoms,
effective treatments, services and support. Pioneered by the Honourable Dr. Max
House, Memorial University of Newfoundland has been engaged in telemedicine
activities since 1975.
In 2001, the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University developed a very
successful state-of-the-art online learning service, a website that offers 23
courses of continuing medical education to physicians across the country and
contains links to clinical practices, medical libraries and rural medicine
sites. The site is especially beneficial to rural physicians, who often have
trouble accessing specialists and cannot leave their communities to further
their education. The service now partners with 10 universities across Canada and
has proven itself to be a valuable one-stop resource. The website is
continuously growing and provides a much-needed link. It reduces isolation and
is extremely cost-saving. Surveys have shown that 90 per cent of participants
find the training to be helpful and motivating.
The committee also heard about many other valuable provincial websites
devoted to mental illness and addiction that are making a significant difference
to individuals living with mental illness and addiction, and to their families.
Telehealth technologies are developing at an astounding rate, but policies
that support telehealth services are lagging behind. We must develop policies to
provide adequate support; otherwise, telehealth will progress largely in a
In addition, this technology is not universally or readily accessible to all
Canadians, and I believe this is an area in which federal leadership is
For years, rural and remote communities have attempted to recruit and retain
more health care providers. Strategies have included enhancing continuous
education opportunities, using telehealth consultations to reduce isolation,
offering replacements for vacation, and encouraging providers to get involved in
However, because these strategies have not been pursued in a systematic,
coordinated manner, they have had limited effect. There is still a serious
shortage of health human resources in rural and remote communities.
Some rural areas are trying to enhance the quality and quantity of service
provided by better utilizing available resources. For example, nurse
practitioners may take over some of the responsibilities of physicians so
physicians can concentrate on more advanced clinical tasks.
Given the heavy workload of informal caregivers such as family members,
friends and volunteers — especially in rural areas — supporting them with
training and sharing information is another helpful strategy.
As noted by Health Canada, health care providers in rural and remote
communities need to be highly skilled generalists as opposed to specialists.
Some believe that not all team members need to be mental health experts, as long
as one of them has the requisite knowledge, serves as the consultant, and
provides the necessary support and training to the rest of the team.
As part of the Health Transition Fund project funded by the federal
government, nurses from a home care program in Taber, Alberta participated in
training sessions delivered by a mental health therapist. The therapist provided
them consultation, guidance, direction and in-service training. The same project
used collaboration between practitioners with a home care background and others
with mental health expertise who shared knowledge and supported each other.
Honourable senators, in conclusion, the many challenges faced by mental
health and addiction consumers in urban areas of Canada are compounded in rural
and remote communities. They often contend with problems relating to access to
service in terms of physical distance from mental health care providers and
human resource shortages.
Communities are attempting to address these challenges in a variety of ways.
Examples include implementing strategies to recruit and retain mental health
care professionals, enhancing the knowledge of existing professionals through
distance education and knowledge sharing, and delivering telehealth services to
health care providers as well as patients and informal caregivers, to name a
Rural and remote communities must be supported financially and educationally
in these efforts to bridge the gap between mental health and addiction consumers
The Hon. the Speaker: If no other honourable senator wishes to speak,
this order is considered debated.
Hon. Lise Bacon, pursuant to notice of November 30, 2004, moved:
That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs during its study of Bill S-6, An
Act to amend the Criminal Code (lottery schemes), in the Third Session of the
Thirty-seventh Parliament be referred to the Committee for its study of Bill
S-11, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (lottery schemes).
Hon. Serge Joyal, pursuant to notice of December 1, 2004, moved:
That the petitions tabled during the Third Session of the Thirty-seventh
Parliament, calling on the Senate to declare the City of Ottawa, Canada's
capital, a bilingual city, be sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs for consideration;
That the Committee consider the merits of amending section 16 of the
Constitution Act, 1867; and
That the Committee report to the Senate no later than April 30, 2005.
He said: honourable senators, it is my pleasure to move this motion this
afternoon. This is not a new motion. It was moved previously on April 1, 2004,
by former Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier. Our chamber adopted that motion on April
29. However, it died on the Order Paper at the dissolution of Parliament when a
general election was called.
The purpose of this motion today is to resurrect the consent that this
chamber has already given to the motion of Senator Gauthier. Many petitions were
tabled by many honourable senators in the previous Parliament — to name a few:
Senator Munson, Senator Chaput, Senator Hubley, Senator Comeau, Senator
Beaudoin, Senator Fraser, Senator Poulin, Senator Léger. I could name almost all
honourable senators in this chamber who moved some of the 30,000 signatures of
Canadians requesting that the Senate consider the issue of declaring Ottawa a
bilingual city. This motion expresses the consent given by this chamber earlier
this year for the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs,
chaired by Senator Bacon, to proceed with the study of this question.
Honourable senators, there is a stack of information, references, documents
and expert witnesses that the standing committee could listen to and call upon,
the first and foremost being former Senator Beaudoin, who spoke on many
occasions and at length on the issue of Ottawa being declared a bilingual city.
I am sure that honourable senators opposite would be delighted to hear Senator
Beaudoin's interpretation of section 16 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Let me
read it for everyone's benefit:
Until the Queen otherwise directs, the Seat of Government of Canada shall
It is simple. It is a provision that makes Ottawa the capital of Canada.
Under that heading, if there were ever an amendment to the Constitution, that
amendment would be attached.
Senator Prud'homme has proposed amendments previously, which I am sure the
committee will want to consider as well. In the debate that took place earlier
this spring, Senator Fraser supported — I would say vehemently or wholeheartedly
— the proposal put forward by Senator Gauthier. I am sure many honourable
senators will wish to attend and take part in such a study and debate.
The petitions are being sent to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs and not to the Standing Senate Committee on Official
Languages because they deal essentially with a legal matter.
Should a proposal to amend this aspect of the Canadian Constitution be open
to the federal government only or should it be open to the federal government
with provincial concurrence? The present Government of Ontario has previously
expressed that it would be interested in enshrining the bilingual nature of the
Those are issues that will be reviewed by the committee. I seek the support
of this honourable chamber today to reinstate the consent that was given earlier
this year to refer this motion to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?