Debates
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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 28

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Anti-personnel Land Mine Ban Treaty

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, Canada put itself at the vanguard of international diplomacy, disarmament and humanitarianism in 1997 with the Ottawa Convention and the historic treaty banning anti-personnel land mines. These so-called defensive weapons on the battlefield kill and maim innocent civilians, primarily women and children, long after hostilities have ended, and also cripple the economic recovery of countries that have been at war. The Ottawa Convention was the culmination of years of courageous work by activists, non-government organizations and governments, led by Canada's then Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy.

Recently, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson represented Canada at the Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World where the achievements of the Mine Ban Treaty were reviewed and future challenges were discussed. One hundred and forty-four countries have now ratified the Mine Ban Treaty and accepted its legal prohibitions. As a result, millions of stockpiled mines have been destroyed, affected areas have been cleared and victims and their families have been assisted.

The Ottawa Convention has been a great success, although 51 countries have yet to ratify the treaty and 15 countries, including the United States, still reserve the right to use anti-personnel mines. Clearly there is still much work to be done. Canada played a leadership role in the Nairobi Summit, and is committed to the 70-point strategy adopted to accelerate efforts over the next five years to destroy stock piles, clear minefields and assist the estimated 300,000 survivors around the world. Government has renewed the Canadian Landmine Fund through 2008, bringing our financial commitment to more than $200 million since 1997.

Making the world more fully aware of this devastating weapon and its impact on families and communities in the poorest regions of the world is also a great and worthy education mission. Honourable senators, there is neither a grain of nobility nor a brave purpose in hiding a lethal weapon beneath the soil to indiscriminately destroy the life of a child at play.

I want to take this opportunity to commend and congratulate the government and the Prime Minister for continuing to adhere to the Mine Ban Treaty and to promote vigorously the elimination of land mines throughout the world.

Heritage

Children of Mowachaht and Muchalaht First Nations—Request to Fund Visit to Ottawa for Opening of Yuquot Exhibit

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would like to advise that, owing to the diligent work of Senator Carney and a modest contribution on my part, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Museum of Civilization are undertaking to ensure that five children of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations have received funding that will assist them in participating in a unique celebration of their culture, which relates to an exhibition of Yuquot culture at the museum in early 2005.

Hon. Senators: Bravo!

The Senate Family

Expression of Appreciation

Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, on the eve of the holiday adjournment, please join me in thanking and congratulating those who devote themselves each day to ensuring that the Senate runs smoothly. I would like to begin by thanking senators on the Internal Economy Committee for their hard work and support. As honourable senators know, the Internal Committee has the disagreeable duty of enforcing the rules on resource use to ensure the sound management of public funds. It has the responsibility to ensure that taxpayers' money is used efficiently and responsibly.

[Translation]

I want to thank my predecessor Senator Bacon for her courage and her perseverance in what were often very trying circumstances.

[English]

I express my thanks as well to the members of the Subcommittee on Budgets, Senators Massicotte, Lynch-Staunton and Day, who have the heavy responsibility of evaluating the financial needs of Senate committees and making recommendations on optimizing our limited resources while receiving value for money. I also thank the members of the subcommittee on senators' services; your contribution is essential to carry out our mandate appropriately.

I know that all honourable senators will join me in thanking and congratulating one of the most vitally important resources we have: our employees. We have the good fortune each day to be able to count on a team of committed and experienced employees who are proud to serve this institution, whether in Legislative Services, in Parliamentary Precinct Services, in administration or in our own political offices. Our employees work tirelessly, sometimes under great pressure, and always demonstrate the availability and flexibility that are needed day-to-day. Whether we think of maintenance personnel, security personnel, procedural clerks or the pages, their dedication is equalled only by the pride they take in providing ever better service to this great institution.

(1340)

I cannot conclude without a special tribute to the support of the Senate's chief administrator, Mr. Paul Bélisle. It is thanks to his work that we have been able to assemble and motivate this wonderful team that we call the Senate family. Thanks in particular to Ms. Lucie Lavoie, who ensures the efficient functioning of the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Secretariat. Without her, many of us would be lost.

[Translation]

My best wishes to all for a happy holiday.


[English]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism Act

Committee Authorized to Meet During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(f), I move:

That, pursuant to rule 95(3)(a), the Special Committee of the Senate on the Anti-terrorism Act be authorized to meet Thursday, December 16, 2004, even though the Senate may be adjourned for a period exceeding one week.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

Access to Census Information

Presentation of Petitions

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present 205 signatures from Canadians in the provinces of B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick who are researching their ancestry, as well as signatures from two people from the United States who are researching their Canadian roots. A total of 207 people are petitioning the following:

Your Petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately direct the Chief Statistician of Canada to return care and control of schedules of Historic Census to the National Archivist for subsequent public access in accordance with the Access to Information and Privacy Acts; and

That continued public access of Historic Census Records, without condition or restriction, be insured by amendment to the Statistics Act.

Including the signatures I presented to the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Parliaments, I have now presented petitions with over 29,550 signatures all calling for immediate action on this very important piece of Canadian history.


QUESTION PERIOD

Transport

Airline Industry—RCMP Investigation of Airport Workers for Possible Ties to Organized Crime

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, after a Transport Canada audit of security clearances granted to airport workers to check for ties to organized crime, 73 cases have been forwarded to the RCMP because they have been found to be suspicious or incomplete. This was reported December 12 in the Ottawa Citizen.

Pending the final outcome of the RCMP investigation, could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us the precise status of those workers being investigated? Have they been suspended with or without pay? Are they still on the job? Have any of them had security clearances revoked?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I do not have any information with which to assist Senator Di Nino today. If I had been given notice, I would have had the opportunity to search. This question requires specific facts. Of course, I cannot give answers that deal with specific individuals, but I understand that the question asks essentially for a broad answer.

Senator Di Nino: I thank the government leader for that answer, and I understand. I look forward to the leader's response at the earliest opportunity, understanding that we may be gone soon for a little while.

Auditor General's Report—Airport Businesses Linked to Organized Crime

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: The Transport Canada review was prompted by the Auditor General, who reported on the topic of criminal elements in our airports last March. In the report, the Auditor General also identified 16 current active airport businesses with ties to biker gangs, organized crime and drug trafficking. Beyond studying the issue further, how is the government dealing with this problem?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am best advised to take that question as notice and seek to give Senator Di Nino as comprehensive an answer as I can at the earliest time available to me.

Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, surely, as a member of cabinet, the leader must have some idea of how the government is dealing with serious and potentially harmful situations in our airports. I am not asking him to divulge cabinet secrets.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I am simply not at leisure to discuss cabinet business, as Senator Di Nino well knows. This is an issue that the Deputy Prime Minister has addressed publicly as one of real concern to the government. How I can describe that concern in detail will depend on the advice of her department because that is where the consideration is being given and the factual answers for Senator Di Nino lie.

Citizenship and Immigration

Minister's Office—Dismissal of Staff Member Tied to Terrorist Organization

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, an article in yesterday's Toronto Sun stated that a senior staffer in the office of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Sgro was fired last summer because he allegedly had ties to a terrorist organization, the Tamil Tigers. As a result of his affiliation, police have launched a national security probe into the minister's office.

This is unfortunately one of many serious incidents surrounding the minister and her staff in recent weeks. While the Leader of the Government in the Senate cannot answer questions relating to a police investigation, quite rightly, can he tell us if the Prime Minister will allow the scandal at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to deepen, or will he finally put an end to it and ask for the minister's resignation?

(1350)

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I cannot answer the question as to what the Prime Minister will do. I am only in a position to answer questions related to what the Prime Minister has done. It is not possible for me to deal with a hypothetical question of that nature.

I have seen the story that was in the Toronto Sun on December 14, and anticipating that I might receive a question, I have asked for whatever information can be given but have not yet been supplied with any material.

Allegations of Political Interference by Minister—Investigation by Ethics Commissioner

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question.

As is well known, the Ethics Commissioner is also investigating the conduct of the minister and her staff. Last week, a House of Commons committee learned that, despite a light workload, the Office of the Ethics Commissioner had to hire outside legal help to conduct this investigation. The Toronto law firm that was hired, Borden Ladner Gervais, has close ties to the Liberal Party. Apparently, the report arising out of this investigation will never be made public.

Is the federal government and the cabinet not concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest arising from the assistance of a Liberal-friendly law firm in the investigation of a Liberal cabinet minister?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I do not know whether Senator LeBreton is serious about her question, but if she is serious then I have to breach my undertaking to Senator Stratton to keep my answer succinct.

The legal fraternity of Canada acts with a very high degree of professionalism. Law firms in this country cannot be identified as being Liberal or Conservative, or anything else. The firm to which the honourable senator refers was headed in my community by Leon Ladner, who was well-known as one of the staunchest of Progressive Conservatives, which was the national party opposite to my own.

I want to make it very clear that lawyers have duties under their own code of ethics with respect to conflict of interest. Lawyers, in accepting a file, are honour bound, duty bound and legally bound to ensure that they do not have a conflict of interest. The whole idea that a law firm can be tied politically is totally without foundation.

Granting of Immigrant Status to Individuals under Protection of Churches

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to ask a supplementary question.

Minister Sgro has appeared on television. The interview related to the person who had spent some considerable time under the protection of the church and was being released. In answer to questions about why she reversed her position, Minister Sgro said words to the effect that it is Christmastime and everyone wants to be Santa Claus. Following that comment, the television screen showed Minister Sgro next to this gentleman, with Ms. Catterall on the other side.

Does the government leader believe that the minister's behaviour was appropriate?

In Prime Minister Trudeau's time, coming into Canada was not a right. There were legal and transparent conditions attached to becoming a Canadian citizen, and if an individual complied with the conditions he or she could become a Canadian citizen. In other words, no longer would the immigration system operate on patronage and be open to manipulation. In fact, it would be neutral.

The actions of Minister Sgro, as well as her words yesterday, are a signal around the world that if you are a Liberal you might get in. If the minister's reversal on her position came about because she felt in the Christmas spirit, then she is at odds with what the Liberal Party had in mind when it instituted some excellent procedures for our immigration and refugee system.

Will the government give an undertaking that this kind of conduct will not continue and that the act will rule on behalf of the people and not be part of any process?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I receive this question from Senator Andreychuk with a bit of surprise, because she has usually asked questions in this chamber that deal with compassion and humanity. Today, she is dealing with laws, rules and regulations.

We have an excellent immigration system, but it also includes within its normative conditions the opportunity to give consideration to issues of human compassion. The minister has the legal right to exercise her discretion with respect to such issues.

One such issue was discussed in this chamber last week, with respect to the Bondarenko family, who were not entitled to remain in Canada. In that case, Senator Moore asked for compassionate permission for temporary leave for the family to stay in Canada. That leave was granted by the minister, and this chamber applauded the announcement of that act of compassion.

With respect to individuals who have positioned themselves under, to use the phrase of Senator Andreychuk, the protection of the church, Senator Andreychuk well understands that there is no legal standing for them. However, all governments have been reluctant to tread across the sanctity of the church, although it has been done from time to time in circumstances thought appropriate.

The Minister of Immigration sought discussions with church authorities to determine whether an agreement or understanding could be arrived at in dealing with individuals who were within the precincts of the church, and some progress was made there.

With respect to the case that Senator Andreychuk refers to specifically, I should like to quote Reverend Darryl Gray of Union United Church, the church in question, after this decision was announced. He said, "We have always believed that, once the immigration minister had a chance to examine Menen's case for herself, she would recognize that this family merits Canada's compassion and protection."

Senator Andreychuk: The minister's answers to the church issue some months ago were incorrect. She categorically said that there would be no protection in churches, despite pleas from many people to exercise compassion and care in those cases because we were treading into a religious field and thus should tread carefully. The minister did not exercise compassion at that time.

Do we have to wait for Christmas and the minister's largesse to exercise compassion? Surely, compassion has to have some element of justness and reasonableness for all churches and all people who may find themselves under the protection of the church in one form or another. Compassion should not be a matter of a minister saying that it is Christmastime. That statement was a religious one — something we have been cautiously trying to avoid. There are faiths in Canada that do not celebrate Christmas. Beyond that, there are ground rules that apply to terms of compassion.

I thought this was an afterthought. In the interests of so many people who come to Canada, I thought there would be a reasoned response to a compassionate need. If we want to deal with the case in Nova Scotia, we should give tributes to Mr. Cohen, the lawyer for the Bondarenko family, Senator Moore and a whole host of other Canadians and Nova Scotians who pleaded for the case of that family, and the minister responded. While I wish the minister had responded earlier, I believe that she has now responded to the overwhelming belief held by Canadians that these people should be allowed to stay. That was not what was witnessed yesterday.

(1400)

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, briefly, I do not agree with the facts as argued by Senator Andreychuk. I believe that the minister, on the advice of her officials, exercised a compassionate judgment in this case. She will continue to discuss with various religious authorities conditions under which people who seek the protection of the church should be the subject of compassionate leave or removal from Canada to comply with the rules to which Senator Andreychuk referred regarding immigration.

The situation with respect to immigration does give rise to popular appeals. Senator Andreychuk raised interesting questions, namely, when compassion should be based on popular appeals, and is compassion, by definition, something that is raised by popular appeals or is compassion to be found in other aspects of the circumstances.

Health

Ill Effects of Contraceptive Depo-Provera—Parliamentary Review—Aid to Users

Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, women in Canada and the United States were alarmed by the warning late last month of a serious health risk to those who had been using the long-acting injectable contraceptive drug Depo-Provera. The drug's maker, Pfizer, issued letters saying that the drug may cause a significant loss of bone mineral density, that the loss increases with duration, and that it may not be completely reversible.

Unfortunately, the warnings came as no surprise to women's health groups who, in the early 1980s, were raising concerns about Depo-Provera. In 1988, then Health Minister Jake Epp announced that its long-term safety had not been demonstrated, and it would not be approved for use in Canada. In 1991, a coalition of these women groups wrote to then Minister Benoit Bouchard stating studies had shown increased cancer risk and others that showed a decrease in bone density.

Nevertheless, the drug was approved six years later, and now women, including some very young women, must pay the price, because the drug was widely promoted to them by health professionals. Now women are asking that some important steps be taken to help everyone learn from this tragic error.

Does the government support the call from women's groups for parliamentary hearings to review the approval post-marketing surveillance and use of Depo-Provera, and will it make full disclosure?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am most interested in Senator Spivak's question. I think it falls into two parts. Government intervention is not the only way a parliamentary debate on this subject can be launched. Senator Spivak could launch an inquiry here, and we could support that inquiry and allow the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to delve into the topic.

With respect to what information the government would provide, if the inquiry is launched, or in contemplation of the inquiry, I could undertake to make inquiries of the Department of Health in that regard.

Senator Spivak: Given that we have been led down the garden path with respect to so many drugs that consumers took for granted were good for them, and that turned out not to be good for them, the leader's suggestion is one method of proceeding, but it is a slow one.

Would the government support programs to inform and care for women who have unwittingly used this drug? This is not a precedent. This has happened before. Health Canada assured everyone that this drug was safe.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I will advise the Minister of Health personally of the questions of the honourable senator and seek to reply by letter as soon as I am in a position to do so. She may then raise the question again.

Reaction to United States Food and Drug Administration Assessment of the Drug Bextra

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): While I am on my feet, if I may, I would reply to a question asked yesterday by Senator Keon regarding the drug Bextra, which was first approved for the Canadian market in 2002 for the treatment of symptoms of arthritis and relief of menstrual pain.

Health Canada issued an advisory to health care professionals in December 2002 and published a summary article in January 2004 warning of rare but serious skin and hypersensitivity reactions associated with Bextra, and Bextra thereafter labelled the drug to reflect these risks.

To date, Health Canada advises me that they are not aware of evidence to indicate that long-term use of Bextra by arthritis patients is associated with an increased risk of heart and stroke problems equivalent to those recently linked to Vioxx. Recent information from the manufacturer discloses a study showing increased cardiovascular risk when Bextra was used following high-risk heart surgery, but not other types of surgery. Bextra is not approved for use in any surgical setting in Canada.

National Defence

Definition of "Weaponization of Space"

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, the Prime Minister of Canada says he wants a written assurance from the United States or an undertaking in some other convincing form that a missile defence program will not result in the weaponization of space. I would equate that possibility with what happened over 2000 years ago with the first use of gunpowder.

As the Leader of the Government in the Senate knows, what is in international treaty law is in, and what is out is out. The government must be specific. Could the leader define for this chamber exactly what the government's definition of "weaponization of space" is, and by what international mechanisms or groupings would we understand it?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Senator Forrestall is asking for details about a negotiation that has not yet been concluded. The Prime Minister has made it clear that Canada wants to understand what the United States has in mind with respect to Canadian participation in a missile defence system. That system has to provide Canada with the kind of information that will protect our sovereignty and allow us full knowledge of the nature of its development.

The Prime Minister has also said that, should we join and subsequently it became clear that the program was moving in the direction of weaponization of space, then Canada would withdraw from that program. We do not support any measures to install weapons in space.

Senator Forrestall: Is the minister suggesting to us that the government, on this question, led by the Prime Minister, is happy and accepting of a situation that leaves Canadians in the dark, as he approaches some kind of a deadline with our friends and allies to the south with respect to this question? Will he at least tell Canadians what the Canadian side of the story is all about? What do we understand "weaponization" to mean?

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, as Senator Forrestall knows, the government has undertaken to sponsor a debate on this subject in the other place, and it is also available to us, if we wish, to engage in a debate. Pending that debate and the advice that Parliament may give to the Prime Minister, other decisions will be taken.

(1410)

Agriculture and Agri-food

Aid to Farm Producers

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, my question is in relation to the crisis situation in agriculture. The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have now declared many of their municipalities in a crisis situation. The reason is that farmers are unable to meet their land tax bills. Many of them cannot pay their year-end bill, and they are looking toward seeding in the spring not knowing how they will raise the finances to put in a crop. Is the minister aware of what the municipalities have done in relation to the crisis situation and in making the public aware? Has the government paid any attention to what it might do to alleviate the situation?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the question is somewhat general in terms of agriculture and the problems in that sector. I will begin an answer, and I know Senator Gustafson can ask a supplementary question.

I am told that, to date, producers have received nearly $1.5 billion in 2004 through the following government programs. For 2003, the Canadian Agriculture Income Stabilization Program, CAIS, provided over $390.8 million to producers. In 2004, it provided approximately $118.8 million in "interims" and $63.4 million in special advances; $105 million was paid under the Cull Animal Program; $597 million has been paid to producers under the direct cattle payment component of the Transitional Industry Support Program; and $225.7 million has gone out under the general payment element of that program.

With respect to production insurance indemnities, payments for crop losses in 2004 have yet to go out, but producers have purchased more than $7 billion in coverage for their crops, and current estimates are for $779.4 million in indemnity payments. This is, in part, in answer to a question that Senator St. Germain asked me yesterday with respect to the cattle part of the program.

If I have not covered the key point that the honourable senator is pressing, I would ask him to continue.

Senator Gustafson: Most of the cattle farmers that I know tell me that they have never received anything. The biggest portion of that money went to the processors.

Senator Austin: It was not from the federal government.

Senator Gustafson: I beg to differ. I ask farmers every day, "Have you ever received anything?" They say, "I never applied for anything and never got anything."

Senator Austin: They never applied?

Senator Gustafson: What we do not need is another bureaucratic nightmare with programs that drag on and on. The best I can see coming out of it is that somebody gets a job.

There is a crisis. The municipalities would not be raising this issue if there was no crisis. The honourable leader knows all the reasons, but probably the major reason is low commodity prices in the grain industry.

Will the minister keep this matter before cabinet? Parliament will soon be in recess for a month or more. The first thing we know, it will be time to seed. It is most important that he keep this matter before the cabinet, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, who comes from the Prairies. It is important that they remain informed as to what is happening out there and remain in touch with the municipalities.

Senator Austin: I will do so. I will provide Senator Gustafson's representations to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Finance tomorrow.

Citizenship and Immigration

Granting of Immigrant Status to Ayoub Family

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, in the spirit of Christmas, as was mentioned earlier, I ask the minister to bring to the attention of the Minister of Immigration a real tragedy taking place in Montreal. It is the case of three members of the Ayoub family living in the basement of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church in Ms. Jennings riding. They have been there for one year.

The tragedy of that family is that since 1948 it has, almost every two years, been expelled from one camp to another camp to another camp. Senator Pépin has been very active, and I thank her for that. It is the case of a man, Khalil Ayoub, 67 years old, his brother Nabih Ayoub, 69, and his brother's wife, Thérèse Boulos Haddad, who is 62. They are in the basement of a church. Everybody would like to receive them into their house, including me. It is a very sad tragedy. They have lost their appeal for asylum in Canada. I think the time has now come for some member to reactivate this document.

It is sad to see a family leaving their home, Haifa in Palestine, in 1948, and shipped from one camp to another in Lebanon.

I conclude by saying that the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is simply horrible. I am talking about a country that most of us like. There are no rights whatsoever for the Palestinian refugees in these camps. The situation is horrible in every way, shape or form. They cannot work. Considering their age, and in the spirit of Christmas, the New Year and Hanukkah, something should be done for these people, who have the sympathy of everybody in Montreal and everyone who reviews the documentation, including many Liberal members who have been visiting them and have come to the same conclusion.

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Senator Prud'homme is right that Senator Pépin has mentioned this issue to me. I will take the statement of the honourable senator with me and speak to the minister personally about this situation. I do not have any personal knowledge of the situation, but I will be happy to bring the statement of the honourable senator to the minister's attention.

Delayed Answer to Oral Question

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to present a delayed answer to an oral question raised in the Senate on December 13, 2004, by Senator Spivak, regarding agricultural workers in China and the situation in Tibet.

Foreign Affairs

China—Visit by Prime Minister—Human Rights Issues

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mira Spivak on December 13, 2004)

Canada is well aware of the problems faced by China's rural workers, and we are doing our part to address these problems through such means as poverty reduction programs administered by CIDA.

Canada is also engaged with China on issues relating to Tibet, including human rights and good governance. Through CIDA programming, we are helping to reduce poverty in Tibet and assisting China to better protect the rights of its citizens through improvements in its rule of law and implementation of its international commitments.

The Prime Minister will be addressing a broad range of issues during his forthcoming visit to China, including those relating to equitable economic development, human rights and good governance in Tibet and the rest of China. The Prime Minister understands that these are issues Canadians care about, not just in China, but in a global context. Canada believes that direct engagement with the Chinese Government on providing fair and equal economic opportunities, on reducing poverty, and on improving the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights, is the best way to work toward achieving those goals.

Question on the Order Paper

Request for Answer

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, is there any progress on my question of yesterday?

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have asked about it and the department is providing the answer because it is a question on the Order Paper. It is not within the leadership office. We try to do our best. I have asked them to put a rush on it. We are trying to get the mills of the gods to run a little more quickly.


[Translation]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Appropriation Bill No. 2, 2004-05

Third Reading

Hon. Joseph A. Day moved that Bill C-34, for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005, be read the third time.

Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.

(1420)

Appropriation Bill No. 3, 2004-05

Third Reading

Hon. Joseph A. Day moved that Bill C-35, for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005, be read the third time.

Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.

[English]

Bill to Change Boundaries of Acadie—Bathurst and Miramichi Electoral Districts

Second Reading—Order Stands

On Order No. 3:

Second reading of Bill C-36, An Act to change the boundaries of the Acadie—Bathurst and Miramichi electoral districts.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I wonder if I could ask the Deputy Leader of the Government about this government bill. It is affecting my province. I do not know why the government is neglecting to commence second reading on this bill. We are ready to deal with this bill at second reading. My understanding from a communication I received from the Deputy House Leader in the other place, Mr. Bélanger, was that they wanted this bill to proceed. It proceeded rather quickly through the other place. I said, "The opposition will be very happy to be cooperative, but it takes the government to initiate the debate."

I do not understand why the government side is not proceeding with the bill.

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I should like to inquire of Senator Kinsella whether he is agreeable to proceeding with this bill without sending it to committee.

Senator Kinsella: Absolutely not.

Senator Austin: Then there is no reason to proceed with this bill today, as the committee to which we would send it would not have time to report tomorrow.

Senator Kinsella: In my respectful opinion, that is somewhat of a non sequitur. Second reading debate is about the principle of a bill. I am interested in hearing the argument of the government as to the reason it supports this bill in principle. We cannot be informed of the position of the government on the principle of this bill because there was no debate in the other place at second reading.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame!

Senator Kinsella: There was no position and, thus, no report and no third reading debate. Nothing happened in the House of Commons that would inform us as to the Government of Canada's view on the principle of this bill.

I have heard serious views, as senators can appreciate, coming from the province where two of these ridings are impacted by this proposed legislation. To the extent that I represent the province of New Brunswick, I am eager to engage in this debate to learn what is the principle. Having heard the debate on the principle of the bill and if the bill is adopted at second reading, then the committee will have time to reflect upon the details. Bill C-36 deals with a serious matter. It affects the franchise of people in the ridings of Acadie—Bathurst and Miramichi. There is no partisan interest because Acadie—Bathurst is in the hands of the NDP and Miramichi is in the hands of the Liberals. The exchange taking place is between these two ridings, and there are some serious principles as to how electoral districts are defined.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have no problem whatsoever with respect to the merits of this bill and it being examined with great care, as is suggested by Senator Kinsella. However, the issue that he raises that is relevant at this moment is a procedural one. The situation as we see it today is that there is no purpose in beginning a debate on the principle of this bill if it cannot be dealt with before the Senate rises this week — that is, if we rise this week — or next week.

What is required is debate in this chamber on second reading, and we do not know how long that will take. Presumably, the bill will then be sent to committee. We do not know how long that will take.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Why not start the debate?

Senator Austin: Given the moment, there is no urgency to deal with this bill, although the government would greatly favour its passage before rising for the Christmas holidays.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: There is no urgency, but pass it quickly.

The Hon. the Speaker: I take it this order is to stand, honourable senators.

Order stands.

[Translation]

Royal Assent

Notice

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

December 15, 2004

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Louise Charron, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in her capacity as Deputy Governor General, will proceed to the Senate Chamber today, the 15th day of December, 2004, at 5:00 p.m., for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to certain bills.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Uteck
Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable
        The Speaker of the Senate
                Ottawa

[English]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Second Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (budgets of certain committees) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Furey).

Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, the report before you approves the requests made by committees for their study of legislation. I am happy to inform colleagues that all of the submissions received were approved.

Honourable senators, I move the adoption of the second report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

(1430)

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Report of Committee on Study of Issues Related to Mandate Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (budget—release of additional funds (study on issues related to its mandate)—power to travel) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Banks)

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I move the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, Senator Furey was perfectly right: The previous report dealt with legislation and this one deals with orders of reference. I wish to take this opportunity while we are on an order of reference of one of the committees to map out the fact that the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans had requested an order of reference to study the impact on coastal communities of the privatization of fish resources. We had zeroed in on the Pearce-McRae West Coast report and the proposal for a new licensing framework on Canada's East Coast. Both reports proposed privatization or what some people call "corporatization" of the resources.

The impact of privatization on coastal communities will be profound, devastating and irreversible. The handover of the fisheries resources to private interests without a parliamentary debate, without providing communities an opportunity to express their concerns, is wrong. Parliamentarians have an obligation to reflect on this matter.

In British Columbia, the solution being proposed is to remove fish from a common property resource pool and turn it into private property by way of individual transferable quotas, which I will refer to as ITQs.

According to the United Fish and Allied Workers Union that appeared before the committee last week, "in all likelihood this action is contrary to the Constitution and seems to have happened without any debate in the House of Commons. Surely assigning property rights to fisheries deserves having a light shone on it by Canada's lawmakers."

Honourable senators take pride in claiming to be the voice of the under-represented, the underdog and the disenfranchised. The Senate claims to represent the interests of the regions, but yesterday the Internal Economy Committee report turned its back on coastal communities. The budget report demonstrates that the impact of privatization on coastal communities is not worth a proper study, let alone any kind of study. Coastal communities, according to the Internal Economy Committee, are not important and not worth the Senate's consideration. In effect, the Internal Economy report is saying that the DFO is right and coastal communities are wrong.

It has been brought to my attention that apparently Senate budgets are now being evaluated based on their capacity to attract headlines. This is the new Senate where Central Canadian newspaper headlines and public relations are more important than providing a voice for minorities, the underprivileged and the under-represented. This is the Senate of flash and sizzle, a mirror image of the House of Commons, poll-driven, attention-grabbing and urban-focused. This is where the budgets will be directed.

Headlines in The Globe and Mail and National Post are what drive the budget agenda now. Latch on to the reporters and you have got it made. The new motto is "No flash, no cash."

I would like to provide a brief summary of the Fisheries and Oceans Committee work plan so that honourable senators will know what we had proposed.

For the remainder of this year and next, we had proposed travel outside and within Canada. The reason we did this is DFO has been promoting for a number of years the New Zealand fishery as the ideal model for the future of Canada's fishery. New Zealand privatized some years ago. It has a sizable percentage of its quota reserved for the Aboriginal population. Because New Zealand is the model for Canada's future, our committee believed it would be extremely useful to study the benefits, disadvantages and the impact on people and communities of the New Zealand model. This was a real life situation. It was like getting into a time machine and going into the future of what Canada's fishery will be all about.

New Zealand operates under what they call a quota management system, or QMS, that is based on ITQs. Since 1986, when the QMS was introduced, the system has been described as either heaven or hell in the fisheries debate. For most classical economists, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and right-wing think tanks, the ITQ system in New Zealand is presented as a solution to inefficient state management. Social scientists and biologists, on the other hand, consider the system as a recipe for community dislocation, uneven income distribution and unsustainable fishing. What is happening in New Zealand would give us a picture of what will happen in Canada.

First, I would like to speak about the workers. Since privatization, New Zealand allows fishing companies to hire foreign workers, such as Vietnamese and Indonesians, at starvation wages. Some are paid less than US$200 a month to work on the trawlers. Living conditions and hygienic standards on the trawlers are described as "socially unacceptable." There are long hours. The workers are subordinated and mistreated at sea. Vulnerable people from the poorest regions of the world are housed in the most atrocious conditions and they are paid like dogs.

For their business practices, the New Zealand privatized fishery makes charter arrangements. It charters out to such outfits as Ukrainian fishing trawlers.

On the question of ownership, New Zealand is currently looking at allowing foreign ownership of the majority shares of its fish companies. This is a natural extension of privatization and corporatization. It is a corporate fishery. This is where Canada is heading.

When the quota system was introduced in 1986 in New Zealand, it was believed that quota ownership would act as an incentive for resource users to manage the resource responsibly. In practice, the evidence suggests that this has not happened. In 1999, the New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment concluded:

There is little evidence yet to suggest that —

— the QMS —

— is delivering sustainable management of fish stocks or the marine ecosystem they inhabit... The dominance of the private property rights approach has, to differing extents, excluded the values and priorities of...recreational users, local residents groups and other concerned groups from policy and decision-making processes.

As well, of the 236 or so commercial stocks managed by the New Zealand quota management system, the population size is only known for about 15 per cent of them. Half of the 35 fish stocks for which population estimates are available are known to be depleted below sustainable levels.

Over the last 20 years, fish stocks — populations of orange roughy, oreos, snapper and rock lobster — have been severely overfished. Some fish stocks have been reduced to just 3 per cent of the unfished size.

According to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, that country's largest national conservation organization, New Zealand's largest fishery, the hoki fishery, has been on the decline for some years. The annual catch limit was reduced from 250,000 tonnes in the 2001-02 season to 180,000 tonnes for 2002-03. The recorded catch for 2001-02 was 200,000 tonnes.

For the orange roughy, the country's most valuable export fish, which is equivalent to the cod stocks off Newfoundland, quotas have also seen drastic reductions. Most orange roughy stocks are reportedly below 20 per cent of their original size. One stock is at just 3 per cent and may take decades for the depleted populations to recover, if ever.

Honourable senators, all of this is happening under the private-corporate system that is being proposed for Canada.

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans concluded that this subject matter was worth studying. The Internal Economy Committee did not agree that there was a useful purpose in looking at the impact of corporatization in other jurisdictions.

(1440)

If the Internal Economy Committee believes that reviewing the experience in the New Zealand situation is not important, then so be it. We accept that. That being the case, why would Internal Economy not provide for at least the opportunity for our committee to meet with our own coastal communities in Canada, as outlined in our proposal, in order to give coastal communities a voice? Again, Internal Economy responded in the negative to that suggestion.

The Internal Economy Committee has completely gutted the Fisheries Committee's plan. The Senate passed our mandate to study the impact of the Pearce-McCrae report on the East Coast framework, but Internal Economy is now saying that this study is only worth the equivalent of one of the Defence Committee's many consultants. Privatization is being promoted to manage the salmon fishery in B.C., which is something that requires sober second thought but, according to Internal Economy, this is not important.

There are two opposing sides on the question of privatization in Canada. One side is not being heard, and that side is made of the people of coastal communities being disenfranchised, the crews on fishing vessels, Aboriginal communities and particularly the Inuit of the North who have to observe this sudden corporate interest in fish adjacent to their shores while they look on from the shore without jobs. On the other side, we have the DFO mandarins and the right-wing think tanks funded by U.S. based right-wing foundations like the Donner Foundation. We have central Canadian newspaper editors and classical economists who genuflect to 19th century economic theory.

In Canada, towns like Canso, Nova Scotia have suffered the results of corporate fishery. As the Chair of Internal Economy would probably know, towns like Harbour Breton, Newfoundland are being shut down, while FPI decides where to move its quotas. Other Newfoundland towns to be impacted are Fortune and Marystown, which may soon be on FPI's chopping block. Towns like Surrey, P.E.I. now question the value of ITQs. Coastal villages in the North in areas well known to Senator Adams and Senator Watt are looking from the shore at southern interests fishing their quotas, and with respect to towns up and down the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, coastal communities quite familiar to Senator Austin, the Pearse-McRae report is proposing privatization and corporate interests. Apparently these towns do not deserve to be heard, based on the non-budget allocated to the Fisheries Committee. In fact, Fisheries budget was not even in its report.

Welcome to the new Senate. This is a far different institution. We will no longer be able to go to our little "red book," so I will probably recommend to the communications people that we delete a number of the provisions contained in it, starting with the part that states that one role of the Senate is to give minority communities fair representation in the Senate. Let us delete that from the book.

I turn now to interest-based constituencies. It was said that senators are able to take a focused approached to the needs of a variety of professional and vocational interests in our social fabric, thus knitting together national constituencies of people who might otherwise have an inadequate voice in Parliament. Mention is made of rural communities, so we can scrap that.

We can also delete the part that states that perhaps less well known is the influential and hard work many senators do for the more marginalized in our society. Scrap that.

We should also get rid of the part that states that the Senate has the capacity to examine issues in greater depth, issues that the House of Commons sometimes overlooks in the passion of politics. This is no longer applicable in this new Senate. It refers to issues that do not arise in the House of Commons. Let us scrap that because we are only looking for sizzle and flash. This is the new Senate that is proposed by the budget reports of yesterday.

If this is the kind of Senate that we want, by all means, go ahead, but I leave it up to you to make the decision. Is this the right thing to do? Are we doing the right thing? Will we be another House of Commons looking around for cheap and fast headlines, or will we really be the voice of coastal and rural communities that need our voices and our help at this time in their history?

Senator Banks: Will Senator Comeau accept a question?

Senator Comeau: Certainly.

Senator Banks: I found, as I am sure we all did, everything Senator Comeau had to say interesting. The motion before us, however, has to do with the budget of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. I am sure the senator's remarks were not made to denigrate the work of that committee. I looked in vain at the list of motions present having to do with the budgets for committees to find the budget motion for the Fisheries Committee, and unless I have a bad copy, there is not one. Can Senator Comeau tell us why that is so?

Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, I would be most pleased to do so. The Fisheries Committee will have to look at the proposal being put forward by Internal Economy, which amounts to a grand total of $18,000. That is what the Internal Economy Committee of the Senate of Canada is reserving for the value of the one of the most spectacular changes ever being proposed since the Magna Carta, for crying out loud, since the common property resource was instituted in 1215.

Right now, in Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is proposing to privatize these common fish stocks. Our Fisheries Committee wanted to examine this, and the Internal Economy Committee responded by saying that it would give our committee a budget which would be the equivalent of one of the Defence Committee's consultants. That is what your committee is worth. That is why there is no Fisheries Committee budget before this chamber. The committee will have to meet to discuss the ramifications of this Internal Economy report. Does the Fisheries Committee have a future in this place? That is why there is no budget motion before the house.

I took this opportunity to speak because it was the first opportunity to do so under Reports of Committees. My comments have nothing to do with the committee which Senator Banks chairs.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Comeau's time has expired. It is up to him to request additional time. Leave is not being requested.

Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, I should like to endorse the remarks and comments made by the Chairman of the Fisheries Committee regarding the lack of focus, if I can put it in that fashion.

Honourable senators, we are at a crossroads. We have troubled seas, and we have known that for a number of years. The cod stocks disappeared not too long ago, and our coastal communities have been impacted by that. I am not referring only to Aboriginal people, I am also talking about the coastal people in the Maritimes.

Unfortunately, the Government of Canada, or DFO, decided to move in the direction of privatizing the fishery. Honourable senators, this is the wrong time to do that. The resources of the sea are in trouble. Knowing that, why are we moving in the direction of privatization? What will happen now? We have already lived through one experience wherein a lack of awareness on the part of the DFO put us into a predicament, and I believe we are moving in that same direction again. We will not be able to recover the resources, and we will continue to live with a troubled sea.

Honourable senators, we need money to do our work. We should at least learn from the other countries that have lived through this experience — gone through this system. That is what the committee was planning to do. However, with the limited budget that has been approved for the committee, I do not think we will be able to conduct our study in a thorough fashion.

(1450)

If there is no other way to rectify this matter, I would like the leadership here to take the matter to the cabinet and ensure that proper consultations take place.

If they are still serious about privatizing the fishery, the coastal communities will need the quotas. If they do not have the quotas, how will they survive? Will social assistance programs delivered by the government be enough?

Much information needs to be collected in this area. I would encourage the Senate to restore the funds the committee asked for, or the leadership to take the matter to the cabinet to stop the nonsense that has taken place.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

[Translation]

Official Languages

Budget—Report of Committee on Study on Operation of Official Languages Act and Relevant Regulations, Directives and Reports Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages (budget—study on the application of the Official Languages Act—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, I do not intend to make any comments. The report is fairly straightforward. I think we could dispense with comments. If there are any questions, I will, of course, answer them.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

[English]

Agriculture and Forestry

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of Development and Marketing of Value-added Agricultural, Agri-food and Forest Products Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (budget—study on value-added agricultural, agri-food and forest products—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C.)

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn moved the adoption of the report.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the debate.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will those in favour of the motion for the adjournment of debate on Order No. 5 under Reports of Committees on the Order Paper, please say "yea"?

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will those opposed to the motion please say "nay"?

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: I believe the "nays" have it.

No honourable senators rising, the motion fails.

I will put the question.

[Translation]

Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I would like to know which motion we will be voting on.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Robichaud's point is well taken. We are now on Motion No. 5, a motion to adjourn the debate on that motion having been defeated.

I believe we are at the point where a senator may speak to the motion.

No honourable senator rising, I will now put the question.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of Present State and Future of Agriculture and Forestry Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (budget—study on the present state and the future of agriculture and forestry in Canada—power to hire staff and travel) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C.)

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Transport and Communications

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Report of Committee on Study of Media Industries Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications (budget—release of additional funds (study on current state of Canadian media industries)—power to travel) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C.)

Hon. Joan Fraser, for Senator Carstairs, moved the adoption of the report.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, could I ask the chair of the committee to explain the item in the budget for professional and other services? The amount being asked for is $176,128. For transportation and communications, $181,761 is being requested. Could the honourable senator provide an explanation of what transportation costs are being envisaged and what is meant by "communications" within that amount of $181,000?

Senator Fraser: Honourable senators, this committee hopes to travel to Western Canada for the week beginning January 31, which is the first week that we expect the Senate to resume sitting. That trip would be to Vancouver, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg to hold public hearings on our study into the news media. The cost of that trip in total would be nearly $166,000.

We hope to do a two-day fact-finding trip to Washington in March, I believe, which would cost $60,000. The reason for that trip is that the American regulatory authorities have been grappling with many of the issues that have come before our committee and we thought it would be very helpful to hear their point of view. As well, we are engaging a special adviser who has already done a great deal of work for this committee, in particular in connection with the writing of its interim report. He is an expert on communications issues. He has worked with other committees' studies both in this place and in the other place. We hope to do some research on Canadians' usage of and confidence in the news media, because this study has been undertaken to serve the Canadian public. That cost is about $70,000. Some research studies of a more technical nature, some bibliographic, would total $25,000. I hope that answers the question of the honourable senator.

(1500)

Senator Kinsella: I thank the honourable senator for that helpful response. With regard to the Washington trip, for example, the budget is expected to cover expenses for all members of the committee travelling. How many support staff, beyond the 12-member committee, are included in the budget?

Senator Fraser: The clerk of the committee, one researcher and, I believe, two interpreters will go to Washington. I apologize to the honourable senator that I do not have that number at my fingertips, but we would take the appropriate number.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Budget and Authorization to Travel and Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of State of Health Care System Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (budget—study on mental health—power to travel and hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Study on Legal Issues Affecting On-Reserve Matrimonial Real Property on Breakdown of Marriage or Common Law Relationship

Interim Report of Human Rights Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report (interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, entitled: On-Reserve Matrimonial Real Property: Still Waiting, tabled in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Andreychuk).

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk moved the adoption of the report.

She said: Honourable senators, I wish to spend a few moments on this tabled report and ask for the approval of the Senate. There was some urgency in this matter because we wished to send a signal to both the Minister and the House of Commons.

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, in its last session, studied the subject of on-reserve matrimonial real property on the breakdown of marriage or common law relationships and the policy context in which they are situated. In its November 2003 report, A Hard Bed To Lie In: Matrimonial Real Property On-Reserve, the committee found several solutions to the problems that occur when marriage breakdown or partnership breakdown occurs on reserve. Compelling cases were heard of individuals who have suffered emotional, financial and personal harm due to these situations.

For on-reserve women who hold no interest in their family homes, there is no choice as to who has to move when breakdown occurs. I quote from the forward in the 2003 Senate report as follows:

It is the woman and, in most cases, it is the woman and her children. What a choice: be homeless or be in a loveless relationship, maybe an abusive relationship. Is that what Aboriginal women deserve? No, it is not. Is it humane? It is definitely not.

At that time, the committee put forward possible short-term and long-term solutions to address this outstanding problem. Despite many acknowledgements of the injustices from both federal and Aboriginal leaders, progress has been slow.

When the new Parliament convened on October 4, 2004, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights decided to call on the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to inform the committee as to what government action had been taken on this compelling issue. He stated that, while he valued the contribution of the Senate committee, he would be proposing that the next steps be taken by the House of Commons. It was our understanding that he wished the House of Commons to conduct the consultation with the Aboriginal community because he believed that bringing legislation in immediately without this consultation would leave the legislation in jeopardy because of a minority government.

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights expressed its concerns on several issues. First, the ultimate agreement would have to be reached between the Aboriginal leaders and the federal government, in consultation with provincial governments, if any consultation were to be effective. Second, the committee did not want these consultations to lead to more analysis, assessment or even further consultations. It is time to act and one wonders how a House of Commons committee can bind either the executive or the Aboriginal community.

Therefore, so that this phase can be effective, your Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights is recommending that there be precise time limits, a precise mandate and a consultation that will include Aboriginal people on the ground: Aboriginal women who have been affected, Aboriginal women's organizations and the Aboriginal leadership in various communities. The committee strongly believes that to simply consult the Aboriginal organizations and the leaders of these organizations would not be sufficient. Many witnesses who appeared at the committee's initial hearings indicated that they did not necessarily share the opinions expressed by Aboriginal organizations and community leaders. The voices of women need to be heard.

A further recommendation of the committee is that the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples should be involved in the consultations by way of a joint committee, or at least in consultation with the House of Commons committee, or as expert witnesses. Certainly, the expertise on this issue in the Senate should not be ignored. Utilizing the expertise of our committee would likely avoid further delays in remedying this inequality. While the committee did not question the political will from the federal, provincial or Aboriginal governments and leadership to arrive at a solution on this problem, the inertia is more obvious than the action.

The minister agreed with the Human Rights Committee that there is an injustice and, therefore, there is no further need to study the human rights aspects. In particular, Aboriginal women and children are being denied the benefit of the Charter of Rights, perhaps international law as well, and Canada cannot take pride in its protection of the human rights of Aboriginal women and children until this is remedied. Therefore, the committee is asking that its order of reference from the Senate on November 3, 2004 be extended to the end of 2005 so that the committee can continue to monitor the situation to ensure that timely progress is made. If we do not do so, we will not be living up to our fiduciary responsibility or to the obligations of the Senate.

(1510)

Honourable senators, I urge you to adopt this report.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are 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 report adopted.

Human Rights

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Report of Committee on Study of International Obligations Regarding Children's Rights and Freedoms Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (budget—release of additional funds (study on Canada's international obligations in regard to the rights and freedoms of children)—power to travel) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget—Report of Committee on Study of Issues Related to National and International Obligations Adopted

The Senate proceeded consideration of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (budget—release of additional funds (study on issues relating to human rights) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of Cases of Alleged Discrimination in Hiring and Promotion Practices and Employment Equity for Minority Groups in Federal Public Service Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (budget—study on the Federal Public Service—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of Legal Issues Affecting On-Reserve Matrimonial Real Property on Breakdown of Marriage or Common Law Relationship Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (budget—study on an invitation to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Andreychuk)

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Study on Charitable Giving

Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, entitled: The Public Good and Private Funds: The Federal Tax Treatment of Charitable Giving by Individuals and Corporations, tabled in the Senate on December 14, 2004.

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, yesterday I had the privilege to table the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee's fourth report, entitled The Public Good and Private Funds: The Federal Tax Treatment of Charitable Giving by Individuals and Corporations. I would like to make a few comments.

Canada is a distinct society. Our society is evolving and quickly changing. Government cannot keep up with all of the demands placed upon it by our civil society. Fortunately, the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well across all of our country. We are all volunteers.

We know, however, that volunteerism is not enough. There is a growing demand to provide services to underfunded sectors of our society — health care, the arts, the poor, ecology, education and research. We know government cannot do everything for everybody.

The purpose of our report is very simple; that is, to unleash the charitable spirit of Canadians at all levels of income and all parts of society. It is fitting to do so during this festive season. We want to convey the message to all Canadians. We hope the Canadian public will carefully study this report. If they agree, I encourage them to send a Christmas card to their member of Parliament, to their senator and to the cabinet, to express support for our recommendations.

I would like to thank the deputy chair, Senator Angus, and each and every member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce who worked quickly, diligently and effectively to review the evidence and produce this unanimous report.

I wish to remind honourable senators that this is a unanimous report by all members, all parties, including our independent colleague, Senator Plamondon. All committee members — Liberal, Conservative and independent — supported the report and its recommendations. The members of the committee represent all the regions of Canada. Furthermore, they have a direct personal experience with the charitable sector as volunteers themselves.

This report makes seven recommendations designed to augment charitable giving. The committee is confident that the implementation of the seven measures identified in the report will result in greater charitable giving of all types and sizes to charities and by individuals and corporations at all levels of income and profitability, all the while respecting the taxpayers' dollar. As a consequence, greater benefits will be enjoyed by all.

We wish you all seasons greetings, and end with this thought: The committee believes that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We hope the Senate agrees.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I put the report in my briefcase last night intending to read it, but other matters intervened, and I did not do so. I take it from what the honourable senator has said that among the recommendations are proposed tax changes to encourage voluntary donation to charities.

Did the committee hear from people in the Department of Finance, for example? Did the department offer, even in a ballpark way, a costing of the kind of tax expenditures the committee might have been considering? Is it the hunch of the honourable senator that the recommendations in this report will be welcomed or resisted by the guardians of the federal fisc?

Senator Grafstein: Senator Murray will recognize that the terms of this committee were outstanding. As chairman, I found the terms of reference to be outstanding. I believe, based on the testimony and conversations I had with other members of the committee, that this study was encouraged by the Department of Finance.

The honourable senator has raised the question of tax changes. The committee is recommending a tax deduction from 25 per cent to zero on securities and ecologically sensitive lands. That is one of our major recommendations.

The honourable senator will recall that, in 1997, the House of Commons and the Senate passed a resolution to reduce the capital gains tax from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. A five-year moratorium was put on that to observe whether it would work. That moratorium passed. In 2002, they made it a permanent part of our tax structure. We have taken the next step and recommend reducing it from 25 per cent to zero.

Under the current scenario, if people are encouraged to give securities, as an example, they have to take a tax bite by taking the capital gains if they want to sell the security, and then take their tax reduction. Our recommendation would remove that. It saves bookkeeping, administrative costs and government costs. We believe that it accelerates the incentive to Canadians to give from their RRSPs, among other things, directly to the charities of their choice.

The cost impact on this in 2003 was $2.5 billion overall. The estimate for this year is $1.5 billion, so we are lagging behind 2003 in terms of overall giving.

Canadians pride themselves in being charitable; we believe we are charitable. However, a look at the numbers within the numbers reveals something else: The average amount of giving per capita in Canada is $220; if you look at the mean, we believe on anecdotal evidence that it is $40.

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That means 25 per cent of Canadians — and that is the total number — get a charitable receipt. That is one quarter of our population. If one compares it in economic terms to the United States — and this is an invidious comparison to some — we give below 0.5 per cent of our GDP while the United States gives 1.5 per cent. The United Kingdom gives twice our rate. In comparative terms, we pride ourselves in being generous of spirit, but the numbers do not disclose that.

I expect positive support from the government because I estimate that we will unleash another $1 billion to charities for research, for arts, for all of the things that I suggested, which are in desperate need of funds.

We have made it such that we also appeal to individuals with lower income. Here is one of the problems with charities, which all of us have encountered. If someone gives $150 to a charity, it costs $25 to issue a receipt — $25 of the $150. That is the anecdotal evidence. We know that at the end of the year people always complain about the fact that they cannot get their charitable donations.

The United States went through this many years ago, and now they allow charitable donations under a certain amount — and we have recommended an amount of under $250 — if the donor supplies a cheque, a credit card or other suitable documentation as evidence. This recommendation helps charities.

By the way, there are over 80,000 charities in Canada. This recommendation will allow these charities to get on with their work and unleash more money directly to the purposes for which they are established. We do not think there is any downside in this measure; we think there is only an upside.

Senator Murray: Speaking of invidious comparisons, did anyone draw the attention of the honourable senator to the relatively more generous treatment of political donations as compared to donations — I was about to say to other charities — to registered charities? Did the committee members draw any conclusions or make recommendations on that matter?

Senator Grafstein: That is an excellent recommendation. The good news is that the committee has considered a number of these issues. There were a number of issues that Senator Plamondon and others have raised with respect to the administration of charitable foundations. That will be part of the second phase of our study.

The committee's goal was to complete the first phase of the study quickly and efficiently in order to influence the government with respect to its pre-budget analysis. The second phase will deal with all of these questions. I am particularly interested in the question that the honourable senator raised. I assure him that we will give it cogent consideration.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of Charitable Giving Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (budget—study on charitable giving—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Grafstein)

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of State of Domestic and International Financial System Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (budget—study on the present state of the domestic and international financial system—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Grafstein)

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I move the adoption of the report standing in my name.

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Is there $69,000 in there for transportation and communications? Could the honourable senator provide a breakdown as to what is involved in that regard, such as the number of people travelling, the number of support staff? That information would be helpful.

Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, this sum includes trips to Washington. The number of participants on those trips would be 16 — 12 senators and four staff. The committee is trying to familiarize itself with what is going on in Washington.

Let me tell honourable senators about the impact of financial legislation in the United States that affects us here in Canada. Everything that happens with Mr. Spitzer, who is the Attorney General in New York and who regulates the financial system in New York State, affects us directly in Canada because a number of companies are involved publicly on both sides of the border.

In addition, the Banking Committee has a deep impact on what we do in terms of our competitiveness and so on. What we are trying to do with this particular round, in a very cost-effective way, is to liaise with our sister committees in the United States and take a look at what they are doing, to give us an early warning and to further prepare us for our deeper studies.

The good news is that the chairman of the finance committee in the United States is a very good friend of Canada's. Senator Chuck Grassley is a personal friend of mine. I am sure we will have an important, persuasive and comprehensive review of what they are doing there. We look forward to that meeting.

I want to say something to honourable senators because Senator Massicotte is here. I did an analysis with Senator Massicotte in terms of preparing for my budget. I want to commend him and the committee for doing excellent work on a cost-benefit basis. Senator Day is here; they did excellent work.

The Banking Committee is responsible for surveilling hundreds of millions of dollars. The cost of the Banking Committee, which is responsible under the rules of this Senate chamber for oversight of the financial sector — trade, commerce and banking in Canada — is less than one hundredth of 1 per cent of the federal budget for this particular sector. I think that we are a very cost-effective committee.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton: Just for clarification — and I will need some refreshing of memory from my colleagues Senator Massicotte and Senator Day — I believe that our recommendation as members of the subcommittee to the full committee was not to include the Washington trip for this fiscal year. If I am wrong, I will be quickly corrected. Unfortunately, the committees of Senator Comeau and Senator Sibbeston and, I believe, another committee had to suffer cutbacks.

I am convinced that our recommendation to the Internal Economy Committee was not to include the Washington trip, and that then was agreed to. We were talking about budgets for this fiscal year only.

Senator Grafstein: We put forward a much more fulsome budget that was substantially reduced. There were a number of trips and the committee's budget was reduced.

Hon. Paul J. Massicotte: Honourable senators, I do not have it with me, but I believe we have a copy of the submission of the request that the committee made for funding. If honourable senators look at the authorities sheet, which I think is the last sheet, the amount is less than was requested. The difference between the amounts is the Washington trip, which we refused, and the Internal Economy Committee accepted our recommendation.

Senator Stratton: I am looking at the breakdown of the budgets from the Journals of the Senate. It refers to the Ottawa-Washington trip, 16 participants, 12 senators and four staff, for a total of $59,020. Therefore, where are we in this debate?

Senator Grafstein: I misinformed the Senate. My honourable friends are quite right. That amount is for our budget for the following year. The current budget is $36,000.

I apologize to all honourable senators. I was making a case for next year.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Report of Committee on Study of Consumer Issues Arising in Financial Services Sector Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce (budget—study on consumer issues arising in the financial services sector—power to hire staff) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Grafstein)

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

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National Security and Defence

Budget—Report of Committee on Study of National Security Policy—Debate Suspended

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (budget—release of additional funds (study on the national security policy for Canada)) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Kenny)

Hon. Colin Kenny moved the adoption of the report standing in his name.

He said: Honourable senators, I should like to say a few words about the process that we went through to prepare the budget and the purpose of the study that we have under way.

In order to make the submission that we did to the Internal Economy Committee, we were provided guidance by a letter from Senator Massicotte, from which I will quote selectively. In his letter of November 24 he stated the following:

... we must all ensure our committees and work plans get the special attention and efforts they deserve.

To achieve such lofty objectives, and to assist us in our work, please allow me to reiterate the importance that your work plans for any special projects include your objectives, how you expect to achieve them, how you expect to measure your "success", as well as the expected benefits and impact on public policy and/or Canadians' quality of life.

We all recognize that Senate Committees' special projects must go beyond the production of a well-researched report to achieve its desired public policy objectives. It moreover also requires an effective communication plan and pro-active political strategy, often extending well past the publication of any written report. Your plan in this respect should also be discussed in your work plans.

Honourable senators, we went ahead in the usual fashion in preparing the report. We proceeded to examine what had happened with previous committees that had undertaken defence reviews. Perhaps it would be useful, before I go through the steps that we took to respond to Senator Massicotte's request and the subcommittee's request, to describe briefly what we are about in terms of the defence review.

As honourable senators know, we conduct defence reviews in Canada once every seven to 10 years. They are important because they set the defence policy for a long period of time. The last time members of this chamber participated in a defence review was a decade ago, and I can see colleagues like Senator Rompkey, Senator De Bané, Senator Meighen and Senator Forrestall who participated then. That review resulted in a white paper which has represented Canada's defence policy that has lasted now for 10 years.

As those who have been following our reports know, we have a Canadian military in severe distress. We have a military that is underfunded and under-equipped. It has a shortage of personnel and does not have the ability to carry out the assignments that the government has been giving it on a regular basis, so much so that the committee issued a report 18 months ago calling for a pause in all activities of Canadian Forces until such time as they could retrain, re-equip and regroup. I am pleased to say that we have seen some effort at retrenching, but we are faced with a genuine challenge.

In order to adequately prepare for a defence review, we took a look at the work that the previous committee had done a decade ago, and we found that it had a total of 74 meetings and had met for a total of 409 hours to produce its report.

We took a look at the time constraints that were facing us and the fact that we were starting late and came up with a plan that called for 56 meetings, as opposed to 74, and 381 hours of meetings in order to complete the preparations for the report.

The committee collectively developed a work plan that covered a number of issues, which included trying to determine the following: Canada's national interests; the threats Canada had to address; what was required for the threats; the international environment we were going to be working in; the need to review the army, navy and air force; the overall capacity of the Armed Forces working together; the funding made available to the Armed Forces; our current alliances with particular emphasis on NORAD and NATO; our interoperability with the United States military; and our role in the United Nations.

We looked at certain capabilities, such as airlift and sealift capabilities; we looked at joint and combined operations; Canadian Forces transformation; special capabilities such as Joint Task Force 2, the Snowbirds, the disaster response team, the CBRN company, and joint operations in general.

We looked at a plan that would include the following: defence intelligence; defence research; aid to the civil power; the acquisition process that currently goes on in the military; the problems that relate to speaking truth to power; the National Defence headquarters' structure; the current state of the military's infrastructure across Canada; the problems that relate to recruitment and retention; military education, the Royal Military College specifically; the quality of life of military families; the training that currently is in effect for Canadian Forces; and, finally, the reserves.

The committee did this and, as it prepared each one of these, it came up with a list of the witnesses in the work plan that it thought would be useful to have appear to assist the committee in this work.

The committee then took a look at the number of hours available to it and blocked out a work plan starting on October 18, running through ever day the committee would be sitting through to June 13, 2005, where it is blocked out hour-by-hour. I would be happy if someone wanted to know what the committee will be doing on February 28, 2005, because we have a list that the committee has worked through.

I am trying to explain that we endeavoured to come up with a comprehensive work plan for consideration by the Internal Economy Committee. We also wrote Senator Massicotte a letter that reviewed the previous work of the committee, and we provided him, as he requested, with the evidence that the committee had had a substantive impact. In fact, the report that we tabled in this chamber, the 2005 edition of A Canadian Security Guide: An Update Strategy on Security Problems, took each of the over 120 recommendations that the committee had made and reviewed each problem that the committee had encountered.

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We reviewed the recommendation the committee had made; we reviewed the response the government had made to the committee's recommendation; and then we commented on each recommendation. We were able to demonstrate in the course of doing this that the government had responded to better than 50 per cent of the recommendations that the committee had made over the last three years.

The committee, having come forward with this proposal, then presented it to the budget subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. We had three separate meetings, and it was subsequently adopted by the Internal Economy Committee.

I would like to give honourable senators our plans for the remainder of the fiscal year. The committee has thus far held meetings in Kingston, Windsor and Toronto. Most notable in Kingston was our meeting at RMC, as well as our efforts for the first time at engaging the public in a different manner by holding a town hall meeting where we took all comers to make representations. The committee also intends to travel to Regina, Winnipeg, Canadian Forces Base Windsor, and then to St. John's, Charlottetown and Saint John.

Senator Day: You did not have Goose Bay in there.

Senator Kenny: We had a special luncheon to discuss Goose Bay, courtesy of Senator Rompkey. We also have proposed meetings in Edmonton, Calgary and Colorado Springs.

I should draw to the chamber's attention that of the funding we are requesting — and we are requesting a significant amount, slightly in excess of $650,000, between this report and the previous report — 75 per cent is for travel.

The last time a defence review was undertaken, the committee had the benefit of some military transportation. In this case, when we inquired whether military transportation was available to us, we were advised that not only was it not available to us, but also that the military was in such a state that it did not have sufficient airlift to provide for its own needs. It hardly seemed appropriate for politicians to be asking to use military aircraft when there were not enough aircraft for the military.

Finally, I would like to comment on an issue that I am sure is of interest to all honourable senators, and that is the staff that the committee has to assist it in its work.

One of the difficulties we have had over the past three years in studying military affairs, intelligence, national security matters, critical infrastructure and first responders is that there is no expertise readily available to the committee on these matters. I have had numerous meetings with Mr. Paré, the Parliamentary Librarian, and Mr. Finsten, Director of the Research Branch at the Library of Parliament. They simply have not had people who can assist us with military or intelligence matters. The closest they could come when we first asked was to provide us with a rather good researcher, since passed away, whose only experience was in COTC when he was a student at McGill. All of our other researchers have come to us with absolutely no military experience.

I see the Leader of the Opposition smiling. I suspect that he has had more military experience with the navy than have the researchers with whom we have dealt from the library. He has the pictures to prove it as well.

The Senate has been fortunate. Our committee has been fortunate in as much as we have been able to obtain the services of a retired major-general who has provided us with very valuable advice in two or maybe three directions. He decodes a whole lot of the information we receive. The military has its own language and sometimes it is difficult for civilians to understand clearly what is being said. It goes without saying there are no members on the committee who are military. None of us has had military service. The most anyone can point to is Senator Day, who is a graduate of Royal Military College, and Senator Atkins, who served in the United States Army.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am sorry to interrupt, but the honourable senator's 15 minutes have expired.

Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, may I have leave to continue for three more minutes in order to wrap up?

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted to extend the time?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Kenny: I will be brief and I thank you for your generosity, colleagues.

We have a second military adviser who is a former RSM of the Van Doos. He was subsequently the RSM of the army and subsequently became RSM of the Canadian Forces. He has been invaluable because he gives us a perception from the bottom up. He talks to us about how the troops feel and finds ways for the committee to get past the generals and colonels and into the corporals and master corporals. We hear about them, their families and the support system they have on the bases. This is very valuable to us.

We have a national security adviser who is the former director of counter-intelligence for CSIS. If senators think we have difficulty understanding the military, we have extraordinary problems understanding the intelligence community. To have with us, at a modest cost, the former director of counter-intelligence, who is also a former RCMP officer, to provide us with advice and assistance is very helpful.

We have a communications consultant, a writer-researcher and some clerical assistance because we have an extraordinarily high volume of requests and correspondence from people as a result of our reports.

Thank you very much for your patience, honourable senators. I would be pleased to address any questions you may have.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, Senator Kenny has given us, in a general way, an explanation as to the support staff of the committee. I want to probe a bit deeper into that, particularly as it relates to the travel budget. I understand, because the senator gave us a good explanation, why the committee has to go to specialized sectors to get people with backgrounds in these different areas. However, with regard to travel, this committee, unlike most of the standing committees, is not a committee of 12 senators; it is composed of nine senators. Some of the proposals I have seen for field trips involve 22 people; we have to pay the travel expenses of 22 people, for a committee made up of nine senators. Maybe not all senators can always attend.

As Senator Fraser pointed out to us, for her study she is able to travel with four staff in addition to committee members. Hers is a 12-person committee, not a nine-person committee. Perhaps the honourable senator could give us a deeper explication why so many people must travel on these field trips.

Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, it would be my pleasure to do just that.

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One of the requirements that faces us, as it faces all committees when they hold hearings, is to provide for reporting and for interpretation. All of our trips have involved public hearings and as a consequence we have had three interpreters and one French reporter travelling with us. That is standard practice whenever a committee is travelling.

I assume honourable senators have the seen the budget document that was placed on the table. Trip A — Winnipeg, Windsor, CFB Borden, Toronto and Kingston — involved nine senators, two clerks, three consultants, one researcher, one administrative assistant and one media relations person.

Honourable senators, the consultants are there because they understand the issues. I described their unique capability earlier, and when we are at a base it is very useful to have the general and the RSM there and available looking at the military from both directions.

That particular trip also involved looking at critical infrastructure in Windsor and dealing with problems relating to customs and immigration of people crossing at that border, which is why the CSIS consultant was there. We concluded that we did not need two researchers, so we dropped one. We had 48 or 49 media contacts over the course of the trip; consequently, we needed to have our media relations person there to deal with the inquiries as they were coming forward.

Honourable senators will recall that earlier I mentioned that in Kingston we went ahead with a town hall meeting. A town hall meeting requires not only a different room setup than is required for a formal hearing — hence, the room setup must be changed — but it also requires people taking care of microphones. It also requires having each person who chooses to speak at the town hall meeting to sign in. We need to have their name and address, because they become part of the Senate record. It is a complicated exercise not only to get people to come to the meetings, but also to ensure that things are working right at the meetings.

For example, we used a light at the meeting that turned green, indicating three minutes, then orange, indicating 30 seconds, and then red, indicating that the time was up. The meeting was such that an individual was allowed a three-minute statement, after which a senator was allowed a 30-second response. Hence, when a senator started to speak, an orange light came on; it turned red 30 seconds later, to indicate that time was up. Hence, to set up and operate that equipment, among other things, we needed to have the people to do that, on that particular trip. They all worked, they all had a job, and no one was loafing, sir.

Senator Kinsella: For the particular trip that the honourable senator drew to our attention, which took place from November 28 to December 3, $129,250 was budgeted for 22 participants. I understood from the honourable senator that fewer than 22 participants went on that trip. What did the trip cost? Was it less than the $129,000 that was budgeted?

Senator Kenny: Yes, it was. I wish I could be more precise in providing the honourable senator with answers to that. I have asked my committee clerk for it.

In fairness, a number of things happened on that trip that made life a bit irregular. First, we did not get the funding that we were anticipating to visit all of the locations that we had hoped to. Instead, we had interim funding, so we had to readjust the trip on very short notice. Second, the clerk has been working extraordinarily hard, but he does not have all the figures together as of yet. Some of the translation bills have not come in. My understanding is that he has all of the expenses from the hotels. We ended up chartering small planes to get from one location to another. We lost the larger plane to get us from Kingston to Windsor because we could not sign a contract, since we did not have funding.

I was hoping to draw the attention of the honourable senator to the committee's expenditures in previous years that have always come in under budget, and in some cases significantly so. Going over budget is not an option in the Senate. In some cases, we have come in as much as 20 per cent under-budget. Frequently, budgeting takes place in advance, prior to knowing the cost of airfares and hotels, because they change seasonally.

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I had asked one of my colleagues earlier, and he told me the answer was in the working papers, but I do not have any working papers. I presume they are submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. The honourable senator just referred to the experience of previous years and pointed out that the committee had come in under-budget in some or all of those years.

Since the creation of the committee, what has been the expenditure year by year?

Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, I am not sure I can give a complete answer. I will give the honourable senator the details I have, and then get more if the response is incomplete.

For the year 2001-02, the total approved was $364,200, and the expenditures were $316,959. For the year 2002-03, the total approved was $477,107, and the total spent was $359,844. For the year 2003-04, the total approved was $359,077, and the total expended was $282,413.

Senator Murray: For the current fiscal year, how much has been approved to date?

Senator Kenny: The figure is $125,000.

Senator Kinsella: I just want to conclude my questioning. Based on the November trip, where the committee did not take 22 people, I am wondering whether the honourable senator could find some economies, because I do not question the quality of the committee's work. A number of senators are concerned with proportionality in terms of budgets; I am wondering if there are economies that can be made, such as were made in the November trip.

The budget documents that I have seen indicate that 22 people will be going on the fact-finding hearings in January to St. John's, Charlottetown and Saint John. For 22 participants, the budget is $125,950. Given the good work that was done in paring things down for the November trip, could the same be done for the January trip?

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Senator Kenny: It is absolutely my hope to be able to do that, honourable senators. Having said that, the Senate budgeting system is not the most flexible system that I have encountered. I can assure honourable senators that it would be our intention to find economies everywhere we go. Currently we are discussing whether it is cheaper to charter between Charlottetown and St. John's or to fly back to Halifax and take a commercial flight from Charlottetown to St. John's. That would be an example of the type of work that the staff is doing. We will not know the answer to that for some time.

We also do not know whether we will be able to have the town hall meeting that we would like to have in St. John's — and I might add in Saint John as well, because we are looking at two town hall meetings on this particular trip — because it takes a significant commitment from the local community to get people to attend these meetings.

Yes, we will endeavour to find economies in every aspect of the budget, and we will return those funds, as we have in the past.

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, if I may, my understanding is that the Defence Committee has spent $129,928. That was the amount given to the committee by Internal Economy. A budget has been requested of $525,672. It is my understanding that the committee has spent approximately $125,000, leaving $400,000 to spend from now until the end of the fiscal year. Is that correct?

Senator Kenny: I am not sure whether Senator Stratton is right or wrong inasmuch as we have not presented that information in this chamber, and I have not yet seen a list of the expenditures for the trip. As I tried to explain to the Leader of the Opposition, the clerk is still working on that. Notwithstanding the hours that the clerk has put in, which are significant, we do not yet have a precise answer to that question.

Senator Stratton: Surely to goodness the honourable senator could tell me in global terms what he will spend between now and the end of the fiscal year. That would be appropriate, would it not?

Senator Kenny: There is no question of that. I did not think that is what the honourable senator was asking. If that is the question, then the answer is that we have budgeted $525,672.

Senator Stratton: Is the intention that between now and the end of the fiscal year, January to the end of March, the committee will spend $525,000 — in three months, essentially?

Senator Kenny: Absolutely. I would refer the honourable senator to the budget document that was tabled in this chamber on November 4. The honourable senator will see there the trip to Windsor, Toronto and Kingston, less Borden, Regina and Winnipeg. Then he will see the trip to St. John's, Charlottetown and Saint John, and then the trip to Edmonton, Calgary and Colorado Springs. The bulk of the costs are airfare and hotels and, as I mentioned earlier in my remarks, we would be delighted if we could find military aircraft to transport us, as was the case in the past, but the military do not have sufficient capacity for themselves much less for us.

Senator Stratton: I know Internal Economy asked the Transportation and Communications Committee to spread costs over two fiscal years. Did they not request that the Defence Committee spread this $525,000 over two fiscal years rather than jamming it all into two or three months?

Senator Kenny: No, they did not ask that particular question. We advised them of the work plan of the committee, which calls for hearings to take place in every province of the country. We are following, although not slavishly, the proposals or the procedure that took place with the last defence review, where hearings did take place from coast to coast. There were also meetings with our allies to the south, as well as meetings with our allies in NATO. In the last defence review, the committee spent a week in Bosnia. It went to Sarajevo. The committee members spent time with First Canadian Battalion and Second Canadian Battalion at Split. They also visited Brindisi in order to visit our sailors who were blockading in the Adriatic.

For logistical reasons, we do not contemplate going to Afghanistan at this time, but there is much to be said for talking to troops in the field.

Senator Stratton: When the committee conducts its hearings in Ottawa, we often hear that the committee sits for a considerable number of hours. This work plan involves considerable work. How many clerks and how many deputy clerks or assistant clerks are utilized on a regular basis? Is it, as is normal, one clerk and one researcher? Committees have, in many instances, half a clerk and half a researcher. Can the honourable senator give us a clear indication of how many clerks, deputy clerks and researchers are used by this committee on a daily basis?

Senator Kenny: I would be pleased to do that. We have two clerks and a legislative clerk. The Senate does not provide us with researchers, but I would point out that that is as a result of the committee having sat in the last Parliament for 719 hours and having heard from 1,110 witnesses. The median number of hours sat by Senate committees was 244 and the median number of witnesses heard was 377. The Committees Directorate has provided us with assistance proportionate to the amount of work that the committee is doing.

Senator Stratton: I am looking here at, of course, proportionality. The honourable senator has three clerks working for this committee full time. Others have half a clerk and have to struggle with the problems of overload. Is other Senate administrative staff working on behalf of this committee?

Senator Kenny: Yes, I am sure that they are. People set up the room and people dismantle the room. We have messengers. We have switchers who turn microphones on and off. These people perform these functions for all committees. I have not inquired in great detail about it.

In fairness to Senator Stratton, these questions would be more appropriately directed to Internal Economy than to me. Those allocations come not by command from our committee; they are worked out through the Senate administration under the direction of Internal Economy.

Senator Stratton: I appreciate that, but I would expect that the committee, particularly the chair of the committee, would be appreciative of how much it costs to operate the committee on a regular basis; how many translators are required, how many switchers are required, and so on. It would be apparent what was being utilized.

I would ask the Chair of the Internal Economy Committee to take a particular interest in this. What percentage of the Senate administrative staff's time is this committee using? It seems to me vastly disproportionate to the rest of the committees.

Senator Comeau: You cannot do this.

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Hon. George J. Furey: In response to Senator Stratton, I do not have that particular statistic off the top of my head. However, in the context that it has been raised, it is a question that is worth looking into. It is information that I am sure will be readily available, and we will undertake to get it for honourable senators.

Senator Stratton: It is important that this information be available to the chamber, simply because we are constantly struggling in committee work to utilize as few administrative staff as possible. They are constantly overburdened. I have expressed to the Internal Economy Committee, particularly to Senator Massicotte who is on the steering committee on budgets, how overloaded the administrative staff is. I think we have reached the point at which we can no longer afford to overburden the administrative staff. It has gone beyond the point where we can keep asking for more.

Honourable senators, it is important to look at this issue. We must do so because it is affecting and will continue to affect the health of these people.

Senator Kenny: No one is more concerned —

Senator Stratton: My question was directed to Senator Furey.

Senator Kenny: If I may, no one is more concerned about the health and well-being of Senate staff than I. I had the privilege to serve as Chair of the Internal Economy Committee for a period of time and I have served on the committee for a number of years. However, the argument that seems to be coming forward strikes me as unusual. Of course we have to be concerned about the health and well-being of Senate staff. We also have to staff Senate endeavours appropriately.

If I follow the logic of the questioning of Senator Stratton, he is arguing for senators to work less. He is suggesting that Senate committees should not be sitting. He is suggesting that our committee should not have sat for 719 hours. This is interesting. We have, in this Parliament, an 80 per cent attendance record. We have a group of senators who are sitting for long hours and 80 per cent of them are showing up at the meetings.

Senator Banks: On Mondays.

Senator Kenny: Thank you, Senator Banks. It is quite appropriate to say that because some senators have to leave their homes on Sunday to get to committee meetings on Monday. We do not have the luxury of a Tuesday-to-Thursday schedule.

One of my objectives since I have been in the Senate is to address and deal with the reputation that we have had as a place of slumber, a place that does not work hard, does not put in a full week, does not put in a full day. We have a group of senators who have collectively decided that they do want to put in a full day's work, that they do want to hear from Canadians, that they do want to address issues that are of concern to Canadians. I must say that defence and national security have clearly been concerns of Canadians.

I am the servant of the committee. The committee would not have an 80 per cent attendance record if the members did not think they were doing something useful. The committee would not be sitting the number of hours it is sitting if the members did not wish to sit those hours. We have a group of senators who want to improve the reputation of the institution and demonstrate to the public that we are carrying our weight. I think that the members of this committee have demonstrated that. I, as their chair and their servant, have endeavoured to put their wishes into effect.

Senator Stratton: While I appreciate that comment from Senator Kenny, that was not the question. The question was not for a justification of how hard the committee is working. The question was with regard to the impact that the workload is having on the staff. I asked Senator Furey what proportion of the time of Senate staff is devoted to this committee. This chamber needs to know.

With regard to the second part of that question, some of us are very concerned with the number of hours being put in by those staff members and the potential impact on their health.

That question is directed to Senator Furey.

Senator Kenny: It is not appropriate to direct the question to Senator Furey.

Senator Furey: Would it be in order for me to ask a question of Senator Kenny?

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Kenny has raised a point of procedure and I should clarify it. We are having a debate on a debatable motion. Senator Kenny was given additional time, which is unlimited. I find that the Senate is best served if we use our rules to permit debate as broadly as possible rather than narrowly. Accordingly, as our rules provide, I saw Senator Furey as a commentator on Senator Kenny's speech, even though it involved something going to Senator Kenny.

In answer to the comment of Senator Kenny, I am attempting to be as liberal as possible in allowing honourable senators to speak.

Senator Kinsella: On the question of order, the matter before us involves, effectively, the Internal Economy Committee. We are proceeding by having individual committee chairs speak and respond to questions rather than making the Chair of the Internal Economy Committee responsible for the entire issue.

There are two bases of knowledge into which it is necessary for honourable senators to probe. One is the specialized knowledge of the committee and the other is the specialized budget knowledge that resides with the Chair of the Internal Economy Committee.

I suggest that, in the generous and progressive nature of this debate, we allow both the Chair of the Internal Economy Committee and the chair of the specific committee whose budget request is being queried to speak, because they both have relevant information.

The Hon. the Speaker: I agree. We need to do that within the rules, and we can and are.

Senator Furey: In reply to Senator Kenny, I have already stated that I think Senator Stratton's questions and concerns are quite appropriate. We will look into the matter and provide the chamber with the information he has requested.

Senator Stratton: Can the Internal Economy Committee take it upon itself to conduct a study with respect to the hours and the potential impact on the health of our staff without a resolution from this chamber?

Senator Furey: I believe it would be appropriate for the administration to look into that question and anything surrounding it. If they determine that the health of individual employees is impacted, that should probably come back here for discussion.

Hon. Madeleine Plamondon: I have attended every sitting of the Senate since I have been here and I have never heard that a security policy is a priority. I have listened with much attention to everyone who has spoken, and no senator has ever given a speech saying that we need a security policy. I have heard people voice their concerns about poverty and minorities.

(1620)

Why are we allocating so much money to a committee to define a security policy when no one here has asked for it? How do we in the Senate define our priorities? Priorities go with budgets. With all respect, we should define our priorities and put the money where the priorities are. If the priority is health or education, we should state that. Over the past year, I have not heard anyone say that the priority of the Senate was to define a policy.

Second, why do we budget so much money for this committee? From the report we have received, there is enough in the committee's budget to define a policy without that much travel. I do not think that members have to travel to define a policy, because they know a lot. The chair of this committee has travelled a great deal and is well informed. I believe that a general has helped him with the information. We should make use of people within the Senate instead of outside. If they do not know enough, as Senator Kenny said, then we should ensure that someone within the Senate is well-informed so that such expertise might be drawn on to serve others in the future. In that way, we do not have to rely on outside help all the time.

It belittles the Senate to solicit outside expertise. We should have more confidence in Senate staff and avail ourselves of their expertise. We should establish priorities before distributing the money, because these activities are very expensive.

Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I should like to confirm my impression now that I have the so-called "working papers," the budget. The chairman of the committee told me a short while ago that, to date, in fiscal year 2004-05, $125,000 has been approved. I understand that, including the $125,000, the budget for the current fiscal year, if the motion before the house is approved, would be $650,600. I do not know whether the honourable senator has the answer to this question, but if he does not, perhaps the Chairman of the Internal Economy Committee knows the answer, and a ballpark figure would be sufficient. What does $650,000 represent as a proportion of the total of all budgets for all committees before Internal Economy — one third or one fourth?

Hon. Paul J. Massicotte: Honourable senators, I believe the answer would be approximately one third.

Hon. Percy Downe: Honourable senators, I have a question for the Chairman of the Defence Committee. Does the committee's budget include allocation for the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs?

Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, it does not include that.

Senator Downe: I note that the Defence Committee is traveling to Charlottetown. As the honourable senator knows, that is also the national headquarters of Veterans Affairs. I would hope that, to maximize the benefit, the committee members would consider holding hearings with the people at the headquarters of Veterans Affairs located in Charlottetown.

Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, it is our intention to include those meetings. We have had discussions with Senator Meighen, and, in the course of that trip, two panels are planned that relate to Veterans Affairs.

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, the question raised by Senator Plamondon on the subject of priority is a highly cogent one. I would say to Senator Plamondon that, in my opinion, the first priority — the first duty paramount to all others — that is owed by a state, is to the security and the defence of, when necessary, its citizens, its territory and its sovereignty.

Senator Stratton: Should we sing O Canada!?

Senator Austin: He is absolutely right.

Senator Kinsella: What about education?

Senator Austin: Safety of the individual is first.

Senator Banks: If that security is not guaranteed by the state, and if the defence of the state and its sovereignty is not guaranteed by the state, then everything else becomes moot, and all of the other things that are important to us would cease to exist, were it not for that being the first priority of every state on earth.

One thing referred to by Senator Kenny but not fully grasped by all in the conversations that we have had, is that the present budget and the present study being undertaken by that committee — of which I have the honour to be a member — is not a simple, normal study by a Senate committee in response to a reference. It is in response to a reference by the Senate to the committee, but that is within its purview. As Senator Kenny said briefly at the beginning of his speech, every seven to 10 years — in this case it will be closer to 10 years — it is prudent that Canada undertake a review of its defence capabilities.

Some events have intervened, honourable senators, since the last defence review, which was begun in 1993 by a joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate. As Senator Kenny said, a number of senators who took part in that are present today. I think that 10 years is long enough to say that it is now prudent to undertake such a study.

Honourable senators, such a study requires commitment on the part of the members of the committee and requires the spending of money that may be extraordinary, if I may put it that way, by comparison with any other normal Senate committee study undertaken in the normal course of business. There will be another such study, senators, coming to the committee that I have the honour to chair, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. It will undertake, as a matter of provision in the legislation, a review of the Environmental Protection Act, which has to happen, by statute, every five years. That study will not be ordinary in terms of its costs. It will be expensive. It is required by legislation to be done.

With respect to the question asked about travel by a number of senators, Senator Kenny mentioned briefly the question of truth to power. Honourable senators, without denigrating anyone, we have found by experience and observation over the last three years and, finally, out of the mouths of the people concerned, that if there were something wrong, and I am not saying that there is, with respect to the proper resourcing of the undertakings of our defence and security and intelligence establishments, the bureaucrats in Ottawa could not tell us that.

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The ministers that we ask here in Ottawa cannot tell us that there is something wrong. The senior military officers that we ask here in Ottawa cannot tell us that there is something wrong. The heads of the agencies that are here in Ottawa cannot tell us that there is something wrong because things in this country operate differently from the way they operate in United States, Australia or the United Kingdom.

Those persons are constrained by the policy of the Government of Canada from telling this committee that something might be wrong. If there is something wrong, we cannot find out about it here. We have to find out about it by going to the pointy end of the stick. We learned that in the first year of that committee.

Senator Stratton: Every committee has that responsibility.

Senator Banks: Yes, I agree. What is the next question?

Senator Stratton: The next question is —

Senator Banks: Every committee has that responsibility. This committee is discharging it.

Senator Stratton: Your point is?

Senator Banks: I will be happy to entertain questions as soon as I finish speaking, Senator Stratton.

My honourable friend is right when he says that every committee has that responsibility. This committee is doing it.

Senator Stratton asks the question about equating the work of this committee to the proportion of time and effort being spent by the administration to allow the committee to do its job. It is a perfectly reasonable question. When we find out that the demands on the administration are disproportionate by odious comparison with other committees, there will be two possible solutions. One is to increase the capacity of the administration to serve the business of Parliament. The other is to say to senators, "You must not work so hard; you must do less work."

Honourable senators, I am one of the senators about whom Senator Kenny was speaking. I leave my home every week on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 in order to be here for the Monday meetings of the National Security and Defence Committee, and I have done that every week since the committee was established. I do not want to come here and beg for permission to work or for the administration to be properly resourced so that when we do that work it can do its job. There is no question that the people in the administration who are providing services to this committee are doing so extremely well.

I look forward to the answer to Senator Stratton's question about the proportion of administrative effort to serve that committee. Then I look forward to the answer we will give. Shall we provide the resources to do the work of Parliament, or shall we say to honourable senators, "Stop working so hard"?

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I believe that Senator Stratton had a question, and then I will go to Senator Adams.

Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, my question was rather mundane. We appreciate and understand what Senator Banks says. Everyone in this chamber realizes and understands that, but we are always faced with what we can reasonably ask the taxpayer for as an increase each fiscal year. One side says that we have to ask more so that committees are properly funded, irrespective of what we can reasonably expect of taxpayers. That is the balance that must be struck.

While we are trying to achieve that balance, my concern is that we are pushing the envelope. In this case, the envelope is the administration. That has been stressed to me. I am not the only one saying it. I would not be saying this today if it were just me. The honourable senator should understand the stress that is there.

That is the point here. We can rant and we can talk. I rant and you rant. The point is that there must be a more rational approach here instead of placing ever-increasing demands on the Senate administration at every whim of every committee. I am not specifically talking about the National Security and Defence Committee.

Honourable senators, we ask for more and more, and they respond and respond. I believe that we are at the limit where they can no longer respond. If we cannot go to the Canadian taxpayer and ask for more money, then what do we do?

Senator Banks: Honourable senators, I have never found a dime to be spent in this place of which I have any knowledge that is profligate. Senator Kenny answered Senator Murray's good question about the difference between what was authorized and what was spent. In every case, it was tens of thousands of dollars. I think Senator Murray did the arithmetic. The savings have been substantial because Senator Kenny, the staff and everyone on that committee are extremely careful about the money they spend and the work that they do.

I must tell Senator Stratton that we often are asked those questions in the public domain. I suspect that most of the pressure you are talking about is within this room. When we are asked those questions in public, neither the honourable senator nor I have any difficulty defending the work, budget and the cost of the Senate.

The cost of the Senate right now by comparison with every other aspect of business of the government is the bargain of the century, and every Canadian I have ever spoken to knows it.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Willie Adams: Honourable senators, every military member in Canada must learn how to secure themselves. We have to have guns, ships, soldiers and airplanes. Much has happened since 9/11. There have been studies of security and defence for over three years. Over $2 million has been spent during those three years for studies.

People must be trained for the army. The military has no equipment to do what it needs to do. What do we study? When other countries are at war, we send our military as peacekeepers.

(1640)

Senator Comeau said an hour ago that every year the Defence Committee travels all over the world. Senator Kenny said he had 73 meetings in one year, but he only referred to 15 of them. Where of the other 60 or so meetings that they went to? We have to explain to the taxpayers what we are doing with their money. How has security and defence been improved over the last three years?

Senator Banks: I thank the honourable senator for the question. The short answer is that the budget that is being talked about in the present motion has to do with the large study that I talked about a minute ago, having to do with a review of the defence policy of Canada — not just the budgets, but the defence policy of Canada. What is our attitude internationally when we send out expeditionary forces? What is the means by which we defend our sovereignty? How will we defend Canada?

It also includes the other question to which the senator alluded, and that is the question of national security other than the traditional military view. Those two things have become less difficult to separate lately; they overlap. They have been somewhat melded together. The study on the question of national security, other than the military side, continues and is part of the budget being talked about, as well as the review of the national defence policy.

The thrust of the national defence policy is to ask, on behalf of Canadians, and to determine partly by asking Canadians directly, what we want the defence policy of Canada to be. How high do we place it on our priorities, and where do we place it in respect of the order of where we think money needs to be spent on it? If we are going to do A, B and C, are we properly funding the forces to be able to do those things? Those are the questions that are fundamentally important to Canadians and it is the business of the defence study to find that out. However, the other side continues —

The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to inform Senator Banks — I know Senator Nolin wanted to ask a question, and perhaps Senator Adams has more — that his 15 minutes have expired.

Senator Banks: I would ask for leave to hear Senator Nolin's question at least.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted to provide additional time for Senator Banks? No dissenting voice being heard, leave is granted.

Senator Adams: If a Senate committee has a mandate to study security and defence, the committee should consider not coming to the Internal Economy Committee for its budget but rather going to DND for its budget.

Senator Banks: That would be lovely, but the likelihood of getting money from the Department of National Defence to conduct a study on defence is zero. The Minister of Defence would not allow it, I am sure. I do not want to speak for him, but I would be surprised if he agreed to pay for the cost of that study.

Many internal reviews and audits are done within the Department of National Defence, but I think that objectivity requires that the matter of both the department and the forces be examined by people from outside.

The independent — non-partisan, if I may say — examination of all facets of Canada's life, business and government is the business of Parliament. That is what Parliament is supposed to do. That is what we are undertaking to do in this case.

In that respect, Senator Kenny talked about the attendance in his committee. I want to point out that over 80 per cent of the members of that committee are here today sitting in this chamber at this moment.

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, am I right to assume that to undertake properly and reasonably the mandate given by this chamber to study exactly that, the committee needs this chamber to authorize it to spend reasonably that amount of money now?

Senator Banks: Yes.

Senator Nolin: Thank you very much.

Senator Banks: That is my understanding.

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I want to make a brief observation in response to Senator Plamondon, because I think her question deserves a response. Do we have a sense of priorities? I think that is a very good question. We are sitting here in the Senate and it deserves an answer.

I would point out to the honourable senator that on reading the Journals of the Senate she will notice that there are many budgets, not just a Defence Committee budget, and one of them is for the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. In terms of priorities — that is what the Internal Economy Committee does — we work very hard to establish a sense of priorities. A couple of years ago, the Senate decided that a study should be made of the health care system in Canada. I see here that Senator Kirby, the chairman of that committee, has asked for $163,750 to report on issues arising from and developments since the tabling of its final report on the state of health care. This is a special study on mental health, which has an important social implication in Canada.

It would be a mistake for us to leave the impression that we do not think about priorities, and about the very important social issues that the senator has brought to our attention.

I am not a member of the National Security and Defence Committee. I have no budget here that I am trying to get through today. I am reasonably objective; I have been here for many years. I just want to say to Senator Plamondon that we do deal with important social issues.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Murray is next on my list.

Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I will pick up where Senator Stollery left off. I intended to mention the study that the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology did on health care. That study was one of the more famous, certainly one of the more noteworthy, studies that a Senate committee has done in recent years. I was not a member of that committee, but I do know that they worked exceedingly hard. I would not want to leave the impression that only the committee whose budget is now before us acts with any diligence. The Social Affairs, Science and Technology committee worked very hard on that study. At the same time, as I recall, the committee had to undertake such legislative items as were sent to it by the Senate.

The committee to which I referred issued several reports. Their recommendations have become a major part of the public debate. More important, from our point of view, and in the context in which we are now speaking, the expenditures of the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee on the entire study were a fantastic bargain, when compared, for example, with what a certain royal commission on the same subject had cost the taxpayer.

They have returned to the charge. They are, as Senator Stollery has pointed out, doing a study now of mental health. Goodness knows, it is a very important subject to be studying, and we look forward to their recommendations.

Health care was a controversial subject and was a matter of great priority to everybody interested in public policy in this country. We did not know in what direction the country was heading with regard to the quality and financial sustainability of health care, so the Senate committee did us a tremendous service.

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Defence and security has been a priority, first of all, because there is and has been such confusion and uncertainty about Canada's defence policy as to have made it somewhat of an embarrassment for some years now. The committee has undertaken its work for that reason, and also because security has become such an important public issue since September 11, 2001.

These are factors that must be taken into consideration. Ultimately, and now I join Senator Plamondon, we will have to decide, just as health will have a lesser priority than it had a year or two ago, whether defence and security are going to maintain the same priority for the Senate year after year after year. The question that we will have to consider, ultimately, is whether one third of the entire budget for committees has to go to one committee, namely, defence and national security. Is it necessary that defence and national security occupy that priority and take such a considerable portion of the entire committees' budget year after year after year? My guess is that this will stop somewhere, and it will not be necessary for the Senate to regard this issue in the same light it does now, to give it the same priority and spend the same proportion of our total committees budget on it.

Finally, one little item occurs to me. My observation over a couple of years is that the Internal Economy Committee does not have the kind of analytical capacity that we would like it to have to truly study and analyze budgets submitted by all the committees. It does not operate as, for example, the Treasury Board does in the Government of Canada. Obviously, as time goes on and we spend more money on committees, we will need the analytical capacity of the Internal Committee beefed up.

On matters like travel, it went through my mind that recently I accepted to go to Vietnam for a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, and the parliamentary body sent me an itinerary and a ticket from Vancouver to Hanoi, Vietnam. I asked how I would get to Vancouver, and the answer was that I should use my Senate points, which I thought was a reasonable suggestion. That is what Senate points are for, and, of course, I will use my Senate points while travelling within Canada.

I do not know whether that practice is of help to those who are planning travel for standing committees, but perhaps we can consider that at the appropriate time and place.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker: As it is now 4:55 p.m., is it your pleasure, honourable senators, that the Senate do now adjourn during pleasure to await the arrival of the Honourable the Deputy of Her Excellency the Governor General?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Senate adjourned during pleasure.


(1700)

Royal Assent

The Honourable Louise Charron, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in her capacity as Deputy Governor General, having come and being seated at the foot of the Throne, and the House of Commons having been summoned, and being come with their Speaker, the Honourable the Deputy of her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give the Royal Assent to the following bills:

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 (Bill S-10, Chapter 25, 2004)

An Act to provide financial assistance for post-secondary education savings (Bill C-5, Chapter 26, 2004)

The Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons, then addressed the Honourable the Deputy Governor General as follows:

May it please Your Honour:

The Commons of Canada have voted supplies to enable the Government to defray the expenses of the public service.

In the name of the Commons, I present to Your Honour the following bills:

An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005 (Bill C-34, Chapter 27, 2004)

An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005 (Bill C-35, Chapter 28, 2004)

To which bills I humbly request Your Honour's assent.

The Honourable the Deputy Governor General was pleased to give the Royal Assent to the said bills.

The House of Commons withdrew.

The Honourable the Deputy of her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to retire.


The sitting of the Senate was resumed.

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[English]

National Security and Defence

Budget—Report of Committee on Study of National Security Policy Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (budget—release of additional funds (study on the national security policy for Canada)) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Kenny)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, Senator Murray had the floor when we rose.

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I thought I had covered the subject adequately.

[Translation]

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, there is no doubt in my mind that this issue is very important. I was impressed by the comments of some of the senators who took part in the debate, including Senator Plamondon, Senator Stollery, who tried to answer her, and Senator Murray, who talked about the question of priorities.

In a perfect world, it would not be a question of priorities; each committee would receive unlimited resources. Unfortunately, that is not the case and was not the case in the 2004-05 financial year.

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans received $18,000 to conduct a study on straddling stocks and Canada's fish habitat.

(1720)

Allow me to put this $18,000 into perspective. The Standing Committee on National Security and Defence received a total of $650,000. One of the items on the agenda of the Defence Committee is the promotion of its report. Of its $650,000 budget, some $20,000 is allocated to this item. I am not saying this item is not important. Indeed, it is important to promote this report properly. However, $20,000 is $2,000 more than the total budget for the Fisheries and Oceans Committee, and is indicative of the priorities of this chamber.

[English]

Is this chamber attaching less priority to fisheries? On a list of priorities, does that mean that the Fisheries Committee and the very important work that it wished to undertake is worth less than one line item in the whole of this budget of $650,000?

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Earlier today, I left it to this chamber to decide its priorities. With that in mind, I would like to help this chamber by proposing a motion in amendment to this report. I move:

That the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be amended in order to release $200,000 to the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

The Hon. the Speaker: Do you wish to speak to the amendment, Senator Comeau?

Senator Comeau: Briefly. This motion does not take away one penny from the Defence Committee.

[Translation]

Since we are considering this report by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, I want to take this opportunity to request that we re-evaluate the priorities of this chamber and that honourable senators be allowed to speak again on the importance of fisheries and oceans to Canada. If we did, we might realize how little priority this Senate accords the future of this country. I do not believe I am alone in wishing to discuss Canada's priorities. Defence is perhaps the top priority, and it deserves, perhaps, the entire budget. However, there are a number of other important areas.

Once again, I do not want to minimize the importance of defence in Canada. However, I do not want fisheries and oceans to be treated the way they have been in the reports we considered yesterday and today.

[English]

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would like to pick up where Senator Comeau left off. No work that is done by committees in the Senate is unimportant. Everything the Senate decides to do is important, and all work is of equal importance. All committee work has to be judged not in terms of its importance, but in terms of the financial resources that are required to make the reference to a committee by the Senate effective. That is the work of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

The amendment that Senator Comeau proposes, I believe, is clearly out of order. However, the case that Senator Comeau makes for the importance of the work of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is beyond doubt, so far as I am concerned. The critical issues that we have on each coast, Atlantic, Arctic and obviously Pacific, from my point of view, are crying for public debate and analysis, and a contribution by the Senate to that debate is an essential part of the work of this chamber.

While I believe the amendment is out of order, I would suggest that we could agree to ask the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration to review its decision in the next few weeks. It moves, as honourable senators know, on its own motion. It does not require any reference from this chamber. I hope it would be agreeable to all that the committee, having heard the debate this afternoon and having access to the transcript of this debate this afternoon, could agree to meet. It is certainly not in order, in my view, for the chamber to indicate an amount. Doing so would usurp the proper function of analysis which is their responsibility by the rules of this chamber.

I would look to the Leader of the Opposition to see if he is in accord with the sentiment of the chamber, as I understand it.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, given where we are in the work this afternoon and the subject matter of the amendment that has been proposed by Senator Comeau — Senator Austin has said we have now a record and the honourable senators who are members of the Internal Economy Committee have access to it — in order to obviate any decision from the chair on orderliness, if Senator Comeau is in agreement, he could withdraw the motion with the full confidence that the subject matter will be taken up by the Internal Economy Committee and then we could move on from there.

The Hon. the Speaker: Other senators wish to participate before we get into the issue of whether the question is in order. I will allow the senators rising to participate in the debate under Senator Austin's name.

Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, I would have no problem with Senator Kinsella's proposal, absent the figure that Senator Comeau put on the matter. However, I would like to first express my confidence in Senator Massicotte and his committee made up of Senator Lynch-Staunton and Senator Day. I think they did a tremendous job. I believe a brief history of Senator Comeau's lament is important.

My understanding from Senator Massicotte and from Senator Day is that Senator Comeau presented a proposal to the subcommittee on budgets requesting a trip to New Zealand. The committee informed Senator Comeau that it did not think the proposal was full enough at that time, so they asked that it be returned to them at a later date for further consideration. In the meantime, there were other matters on Senator Comeau's request that could very well have allowed him to continue with the very important work that his committee does here in Canada on the East Coast and the West Coast. My understanding is that he did not come back to the subcommittee looking for that money.

That being said, I am prepared to support the proposal of Senator Kinsella.

Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I wonder if I might invite Senator Comeau or someone to give me some assurance. I would be remiss if I did not make the suggestion that, in life, you can do certain things certain ways, but there are some things you cannot do other ways.

(1730)

My point is that I agree with the importance of the work and that it be reconsidered, but not if it is understood, notwithstanding the withdrawal by Senator Comeau of his motion, that that $200,000 come out of the budget of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence.

Senator Oliver: That was never said.

Some Hon. Senators: No, no.

Senator Forrestall: Who do I have that assurance from, honourable senators?

Senator Nolin: Let us vote on the motion of Senator Kenny now.

The Hon. the Speaker: We have not done anything yet, Senator Forrestall, and everyone should listen carefully when we decide, with unanimous consent, to do something.

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I want to support the initiatives of our Fisheries and Oceans Committee. Each of us in this chamber is dedicated to and often passionate about the work we do in our committees. I hope all senators can understand how we felt about having our budget cut so drastically. We spent a great deal of time, as Senator Comeau indicated, in planning our work in the best possible way to get the most information possible to turn over to Canadians. I do not think we could do the work we were mandated to do with the budget we received, and I am very pleased that there may be a reconsideration of that budget.

The issue of priorities was raised, which is a delicate subject. Due to the importance of our work to each of us, of course we think that our work is more important than other work that is being done. Each of us has special interests.

With regard to priority, I was reminded of a speech that I gave recently on what Atlantic Canadians thought the priorities of the government should be. Twenty-three per cent of the respondents identified reducing poverty and unemployment, while 22 per cent identified post-secondary education. Seventeen percent of Atlantic Canadians identified lowering taxes and 12 per cent identified paying down the debt. The least popular priorities were the environment at 8 per cent, military spending at 7 per cent and child care at 7 per cent.

I hope that we can get our committee up and running again. This setback has been somewhat devastating to us. I am in full support of what our chair has done today.

Senator Comeau: I wish to comment briefly on the request of the Chair of the Internal Economy Committee that I return to the committee for further consideration of our budget request. Allow me to explain what occurred.

The morning before the day that the committee budgets were to be evaluated, I had a visit from one of the members of the subcommittee — and I hope he does not mind if I tell tales out of school — who indicated to me that if I made a mad scramble I might be able to scrounge a few more dollars from Internal Economy, but that travel outside the country was completely out of the question. That did not come as a complete surprise to me because the indication I received at the committee was that they thought it was somewhat frivolous. However, scrambling to attain a few extra dollars for the committee is not the way I work. That is not the proper way to handle things.

I think that we have all learned a lesson. I still believe that this affair was not handled properly but, that being said, I am prepared to let the Internal Economy Committee study whether we should revisit the priorities of the Senate. Are we following what we said in the book that we published and sent out to schools and to Canadians in general with regard to what the Senate is all about, or are we a different kind of chamber? My position stands on that perception.

I accept what the Leader of the Government in the Senate has said. At least our committee will have a chance for a fair hearing. Therefore, I withdraw my motion.

The Hon. the Speaker: I gather that there would be unanimous consent in the chamber to refer the subject matter of Senator Comeau's motion to the Internal Economy Committee.

Senator Furey: Honourable senators, on a point of order, I am very much in favour of doing this, but Senator Comeau just indicated to this chamber that he did not receive a fair hearing. I would like him to withdraw that assertion because this committee went out of its way to give everyone who came before it a fair and open hearing. He may not have agreed with the results, but he has no grounds to say that this committee treated him unfairly or any differently than it treated any other committee.

[Translation]

Hon. Jean Lapointe: Honourable senators, I am not an expert in defence or security, but I find it a bit much that one thirtieth of the budget of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has been allocated to the Fisheries and Oceans Committee. I realize that security is very important. In fact, our defence system is in great shape: our submarines are sinking and our helicopters are crashing.

All I want to say is that people of goodwill would no doubt be able to come up with an adjustment, and I take this opportunity to wish those people a happy new year, peace and a very merry Christmas.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, am I correct that there is unanimous agreement that the subject matter of the amendment proposed by Senator Comeau, upon being withdrawn, be referred to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration for appropriate action?

Senator Kinsella: That is correct.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there unanimous agreement, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there unanimous consent for Senator Comeau to withdraw his motion in amendment?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion in amendment withdrawn.

The Hon. the Speaker: We are back on the main motion.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, I do not think any of us enjoyed the debate on this item this afternoon, and I am afraid that it will not be the last such debate. To my mind, the whole process is wrong. I have expressed my concerns at the subcommittee, in the chamber and to Internal Economy. The problem, honourable senators, is that we never vote enough money for committees in our budget. Every year, we are faced with legitimate demands. We may think that some of the demands are exaggerated, but those can always be taken care of.

(1740)

For next year, as far as I recall, the indication to date from committees is for more than $2 million, and not all committees have been heard from, including the Anti-terrorism Committee, which was formed last night on Bill C-36. We will have a shortfall in our budget, which will mean going through the same agony of dividing a small pie into more pieces to accommodate more committees. Why do we not bite the bullet and, if we need $4 million or $5 million for committees, put that in and be finished with it once and for all?

We boast about our fine committee work, with reason, because it is recognized across the country and internationally. Some of our reports have gone world-wide and are still in demand, on every topic imaginable. The House of Commons does not have that kind of favour and reputation. To do the work properly and to know that it can be done properly, the resources must be allocated. If it cannot be done in the next budget because we are too far advanced, then do it through the supplementary estimates and put it in next year's budget to avoid this kind of debate, which is not pleasant and which would not be necessary if we were to run this place the way it should be run.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Kenny, seconded by the Honourable Senator Banks, that this report be adopted now.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Aboriginal Peoples

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Report of Committee on Study of Involvement of Aboriginal Communities and Businesses in Economic Development Activities Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples (budget—study on involvement of Aboriginal communities and businesses in economic development activities in Canada—power to hire staff and travel) presented in the Senate on December 14, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Sibbeston)

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Study on National Security Policy

Report of National Security and Defence Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, entitled: Canadian Security Guide Book, 2005 Edition: An Update of Security Problems in Search of Solutions tabled in the Senate on December 7, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Kenny).

Hon. Colin Kenny moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Study on Issues Related to Mandate

Interim Report of the Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report (first interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources entitled: The One-Tonne Challenge: Let's Get On With It!, tabled in the Senate on November 24, 2004.—(Honourable Senator Banks)

Hon. Tommy Banks moved the adoption of the report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

National Security and Defence

Committee Authorized to Meet During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Colin Kenny, pursuant to notice of December 13, 2004, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3), to sit from Monday, January 31 to Thursday, February 3, 2005, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week.

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I have a question of Senator Kenny.

I would ask the honourable senator to look at the following motion by Senator Andreychuk in respect of the Senate not sitting for more than one week. It is my understanding of Senator Kenny's motion that the intent is to sit on Monday January 31. The Senate will be called to this chamber on Tuesday, February 1, of the same week.

Could we have a clarification on the activity of the committee at that time? Is there travel involved?

Senator Kenny: Yes, travel will take place at that time. That is absolutely correct.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to.

Human Rights

Committee Authorized to Meet During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), for Senator Andreychuk, pursuant to notice of December 13, 2004, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be empowered, in accordance with rule 95(3), to sit Monday, January 31, 2005 even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week.

Motion agreed to.

Adjournment

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, February 1, 2005, at 2 p.m.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, February 1, 2005, at 2 p.m.