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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 41

Monday, March 7, 2005
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker


THE SENATE

Monday, March 7, 2005

The Senate met at 8 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Tributes to Slain Constables

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed with further business, I would ask honourable senators to rise and observe a minute of silence in memory of the four slain RCMP constables, Anthony Gordon, Lionide Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann, whose deaths occurred on March 3, 2005, in Mayerthorpe, Alberta.

Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, on March 3, 2005, a senseless tragedy took the lives of four members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. They were Constable Peter Christopher Schiemann, Constable Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, Constable Lionide Nicholas Johnston and Constable Brock Warren Myrol. Canadians are proud of the Mounties, as they are familiarly known. They are part of our history and our heritage, particularly in Western Canada where their fame was established.

In times of loss such as this, we remember again that RCMP officers are called every day to ensure the safety of our society, and to risk their lives — a commitment that will never be required from most of us. We honour the duty to public service that brought these four men into the RCMP. We deeply regret the cost they have paid. A national memorial service will take place on Thursday in Edmonton as testament to the impact of this loss on our country and those who personally knew and cared for these men. I know that some honourable senators will attend on behalf of the Senate. At this time I would like to extend our most sincere condolences to the friends and families of these four officers.

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my colleagues and I join with all Canadians in expressing sympathy and sorrow to the families of the four young RCMP officers whose lives were cut short on March 3. They were simply going about their jobs in an ordinary rural area, fulfilling the motto of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: "Maintiens le droit." It is a motto that is a quiet understatement, in typical Canadian fashion, of the work of the police. It is a statement that does not focus on the risks inherent in a task critical to the proper functioning of our country. Our police officers do put their lives on the line every day, a fact that is sometimes overlooked in the course of daily life. We owe a continuing debt of gratitude to each and every one of these officers.

Perhaps it is because Canada is a relatively peaceful nation, and because the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police forces do their work so well, that it is such a jolt to our collective conscience each time we lose one of those who are truly everyday heroes. Losing four in one incident is almost unthinkable. It is no consolation that this was the single deadliest incident for the RCMP in 120 years.

We will not forget the tragic loss of Constables Lionide Nicholas Johnston, Brock Warren Myrol, Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon and Peter Christopher Schiemann — four caring young men who were proud to serve their community and their country as officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2005

Congratulations to Canadian Athletes

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games took place in Nagano, Japan, from February 26 to March 5. Team Canada took home a total of 84 medals: 40 gold, 29 silver and 15 bronze. More than 1,900 athletes representing over 80 countries participated in the winter Special Olympics. Team Canada was represented by 72 athletes who competed in six sports. They were accompanied by 17 coaches and nine mission staff.

Special Olympics is a program of sport training and competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The mission of Special Olympics is to enrich the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sport as they learn those skills and acquire new abilities.

For the first time in history, a Canadian team had representation by more than one athlete from Prince Edward Island. Michael Morris, from Stratford, and Rose MacDonald, from Morell, both competed in cross-country skiing for Canada. Mr. Morris won silver in the 500-metre race; Ms. MacDonald won gold in the 500-metre race and bronze in the one-kilometre event. Ms. MacDonald has been with Sport Olympics P.E.I. for the past 17 years and Mr. Morris has been with the organization for the past five years. Both were chosen Special Olympics P.E.I. athletes for the year in early February. I congratulate Michael Morris and Rose MacDonald and the other Canadian athletes for their success at Nagano.

(2010)

Canada-United States Relations

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I rise today to alert Canadians to the actions of the current government that will forever alter a long and fruitful relationship that we have had with our neighbours to the south. I alert my fellow citizens to the serious deterioration in Canada-U.S. relations that was precipitated by the previous Prime Minister, and which has now been totally jeopardized by the recent words and actions of the current Prime Minister.

Rarely in the history of a long and mutually dependent relationship have relations between Canada and the U.S. been so strained. They are strained by the negligence and lack of real leadership displayed by our Prime Minister. Rarely in the history of our country has so much been at stake, and yet so much ignored. Rarely have we seen such a despicable display of petty politics masked as serious diplomacy. The manner in which Canada has handled a matter of grave public policy — the matter of our country's participation in the continued defence of the Western world — will forever be a black mark on our relations with the U.S.

Honourable senators, Canadians will be the losers in so many ways. Why? Simply because an arrogant Liberal government is in search of an issue to define their drifting government. We have come to the brink in our relationship with our strongest allies and largest trading partner simply because of a small-minded, highly partisan, almost childish approach to unilateral diplomacy. This is all directed by the misguided Prime Minister, who is unable to see that Canada has nothing to gain and everything to lose in not participating in the North American missile defence system.

What assumptions are the Prime Minister and his colleagues relying upon to take this miscalculated risk, honourable senators? Are they the same assumptions and stereotypes that have influenced the Chirac government in France, the favourite destination of Minister Pettigrew, who knows little beyond the street names in Paris?

Honourable senators, I want to quote a prominent Canadian who speaks very eloquently about our relationship with the United States. This person is in a position to observe America through an interesting lens. I quote:

It is hard for us to imagine, given the well-entrenched stereotypes, that the all-powerful Americans — the superpower — can feel vulnerable, alone or hurt and misunderstood. But they do.

Those are the sage words of Pamela Wallin, Canada's Consul General in New York.

After the Prime Minister's announcement last week, Americans have every right to feel hurt about the way Canada's government has treated them. They have every right to feel misunderstood.

My fear, honourable senators, is that our American friends will misunderstand Canadians. My fear is that they will mistake the lunacy that is masked as Canadian public policy as representing the true sentiments of their friends, relatives, business partners and neighbours to the north.

We have many ties that bind us as Americans and Canadians. We must stop this destructive government from gnawing at those ties in a desperate attempt to feed their political contempt for a government that stands up for itself.

Honourable senators, we have entered a dark era in Canada-U.S. relations, but I want to let our American friends know that many of us carry that candle of hope — that eternal flame, that light that will burn ever brighter.

Nova Scotia Arts and Cultural Community

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, tonight I rise to speak about an economic sector in Nova Scotia that makes an immense contribution to the vibrance of my province's economy. I am referring to Nova Scotia's arts and cultural community. The direct and indirect impact of the arts and culture sector in Nova Scotia, as measured by its contribution to the province's GDP, was estimated at $1.2 billion in 2003. This includes approximately 28,000 direct and indirect jobs that depend on arts and cultural activities.

Every year, honourable senators, Nova Scotia welcomes the world to a dizzying array of cultural and performing arts celebrations. In 2004, Nova Scotia was host to more than 800 festivals and events throughout the province.

One example is the Celtic Colours International Festival. Every year, more than 300 artists from all over the Celtic world — including Scotland, Ireland, the United States and Canada — perform at over 30 venues around Cape Breton Island. In 2004, the festival was recognized by the American Bus Association as:

...one of the top musical festivals in Canada.

Countless other arts organizations enrich Nova Scotia on a daily basis. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia dates back to 1908, and it is Atlantic Canada's largest art museum. The gallery's collection comprises over 10,000 works, including paintings, textiles, ceramics and sculptures. Led by chief curator Jeffrey Spalding, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia aims to bring the art of the world to Nova Scotia, and the art of Nova Scotia to the world.

Nova Scotia also possesses one of the most versatile, talented and successful professional orchestras in Canada. Symphony Nova Scotia is the largest cultural sector employer in Nova Scotia, with an active volunteer base of over 100 music lovers, and is host to more than 14,000 school children annually. Music director Bernhard Gueller and 37 core musicians perform over 50 concerts to more than 75,000 people every year.

Honourable senators, in 2003-2004, the Canadian Council for the Arts recognized Nova Scotia's rich and dynamic arts and cultural community by awarding more than $4 million in funding to provincial artists and organizations. I wish to congratulate all those who contribute daily to making my province of Nova Scotia one of the most artistically diverse and creative provinces in Canada.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

The Estimates, 2004-05

Supplementary Estimates (B) Tabled

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 28(3), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the Supplementary Estimates (B), 2004-05, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

The Estimates, 2005-06

Tabled

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 28(3), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the 2005-06 Estimates, Parts I and II, the government expense plan and Main Estimates.

Statistics Act

Bill to Amend—Report of Committee

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon, for Senator Kirby, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Monday, March 7, 2005

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

EIGHTH REPORT

Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-18, An Act to amend the Statistics Act has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Wednesday, February 2, 2005, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

MICHAEL KIRBY
Chair

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?

On motion of Senator Keon, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.

The Estimates, 2004-05

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Supplementary Estimates (B)

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, later this day, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(f), I will move that the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Estimates, 2005-06

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Main Estimates

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, later this day, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(f), I will move that the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, with the exception of Parliament vote 10.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Estimates, 2005-06

Notice of Motion to Refer Standing Vote 10 to the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, later this day, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(f), I will move that the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine the expenditures set out in Parliament vote 10 of the Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, and that a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(2020)

[Translation]

Budget Implementation Bill, 2004, No. 2

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-33, to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 23, 2004.

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Day, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.

[English]

Financial Administration Act
Canada School of Public Service Act
Official Languages Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-8, to amend the Financial Administration Act, the Canada School of Public Service Act and the Official Languages Act.

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

On motion of Senator Rompkey, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.


QUESTION PERIOD

Foreign Affairs

Canada-United States Relations—Comments by Minister

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on Friday last, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Pierre Pettigrew, appeared on CBC's program Politics with Don Newman, and for fear that I did not hear accurately what I thought I had heard, I sent for and received a transcript of the program. Newman was questioning the minister on anti-American sentiments surrounding the issue of ballistic missile defence that emerged during the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa this past weekend. Mr. Newman stated:

...when they talked about anti-missile defence, there was a lot of anti-American talk.

Newman later asked the minister:

Were you trying to contain it to that small room?

Then Minister Pettigrew responded:

One of our views as well was that it was not good to hear it in Parliament, either.

Clearly, honourable senators, we must ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he agrees with Minister Pettigrew's statement. Is it now the government's policy to exclude Parliament from debating matters such as this?

Second, were we to adopt a motion in this house to have a debate on missile defence, it would of course be conducted in Parliament. With respect to the Minister of Foreign Affairs' statement that it would "not be good to hear it in Parliament either," what is government policy?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am not familiar with the program or the transcript to which Senator Kinsella refers, but we had an exchange just before we adjourned the week before last on the question of the parliamentary debate on ballistic missile defence. Senator Kinsella will remember my answer that the premise of the debate was the supposition that Canada might enter into an agreement on ballistic missile defence, and as we have not done so but maintained our current policy, that debate seems moot.

That was my answer the week before last. That is my answer today.

On the question of anti-American sentiment, this government does not have an anti-American sentiment. This government has as its policy the development of the closest and most supportive and productive relationship with the United States consistent with Canadian interest and Canadian sovereignty.

While I am on my feet, I noted with great interest the rhetoric of Senator St. Germain during Senators' Statements today, and I want to tell him that I know he knows what the word means. I want to tell him that aided by The Vancouver Sun's editorial on Friday, March 4, 2005, under the headline, "It's business as usual for the U.S. and Canada, never mind the rhetoric," the point made in the editorial is correct. At no time, from the relationship of Prime Minister Diefenbaker with President John F. Kennedy, which was not noted to be a close and warm one, through to this current time, has the development of the two-way flow of business been impaired. In fact, during Mr. Trudeau's time, in the years —

Senator Stratton: We do not need a history lesson. We need a succinct answer.

Senator Austin: In the years 1970 to 1980, Canadian exports to the U.S. soared by 343 per cent. Under all governments, Canadian exports have expanded.

Honourable senators, I am aware from the Prime Minister's statement on the weekend that the governments of Canada and the United States have agreed to have a different view with respect to Canada's participation in ballistic missile defence and are moving on with an agenda related to other aspects of Canada-U.S. relations.

The Prime Minister will be meeting with the President on March 23 to discuss NAFTA border issues and other questions of North American interest. That meeting will include, of course, President Vicente Fox of Mexico, and President Bush.

The Senate

United States—Missile Defence Program—Comments by Chairman of National Security and Defence Committee

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, taking the answer that we received from the minister in the Senate, we can assume that he dissociates himself from the views of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who thinks there are certain things that Parliament ought not to debate, or that should not be heard in Parliament.

Had the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence been here, I would have posed my next question to him. As we know, the Senate has authorized that committee to hold important hearings outside of Ottawa. I wonder whether the minister has read the letter that was published in some newspapers by the chairman of that committee, a letter in which, if I read it correctly, he seems to think that it would have been a good thing for Canada to have signed on to the missile defence treaty. Does the minister agree with the Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence or does he disagree?

(2030)

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, of course each senator has the right, the privilege and the duty to give his or her best judgment to every issue of public policy.

I noticed also that Senator Kenny, in an article in the Ottawa Citizen on March 1, 2005, laid a great deal of blame at the door of Stephen Harper, who is the Leader of the Official Opposition in the other place. Senator Kenny said, in effect, that the main reason was that Stephen Harper "decided to sell out his beliefs and values for a mess of pottage in Quebec." I will not read the whole article — I am sure it is familiar to the other side — but the opportunism of the Leader of the Opposition in the other place is described in detail in this particular article.

Canada-United States Relations

Missile Defence Program—Effect of Non-Participation on Business Community

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, today, if I read correctly, 85 per cent of Canada's CEOs state that the decision on ballistic missile defence is the wrong one.

An Hon. Senator: It was the right decision.

Senator St. Germain: Your going down to Washington may have caused us some real problems. However, that is okay; we will get over that.

My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is this: Does he not take seriously the views of the leaders of our business community? Who will be affected more than them, more than their organizations? They talk about loss of jobs, about jeopardizing trade, which was built up so adeptly by Prime Minister Mulroney — of the Conservative Party.

Honourable senators, my question deserves a straight answer. Eighty-five per cent of Canada's CEOs say that this decision has caused grave damage to our relationship with the U.S. That is not rhetoric; that is a quotation.

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I say to Senator St. Germain that it is always natural in the business community to be concerned with change and with uncertainty. As I have pointed out to honourable senators, the statistics as far back as Prime Minister Diefenbaker indicate that the Canadian business relationship with the United States has continued to expand dramatically regardless of policy differences on non-economic and commercial issues.

The Senate

United States—Missile Defence Program—Comments by Chairman of National Security and Defence Committee

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Leader of the Opposition): I wonder whether the government leader can explain Senator Kenny's statement as Chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. The committee is composed of nine honourable senators, six of whom come from the government side. Was Senator Kenny speaking on behalf of the entire committee, or just the six Liberals on the committee? I can find no resolution in the minutes of that committee to indicate to me where he had authorization from the committee to express a view, notwithstanding what the view was.

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, any senator, as I have said in answer to the previous question from Senator Kinsella, is free, privileged and entitled to state his or her opinion about any issue of public policy. I am not aware that Senator Kenny was speaking for anyone but himself. The material that I have seen only had his byline.

Senator Kenny, as honourable senators know, is an advocate for a much stronger military. The committee has done yeoman service — and I believe this is the view of all members of this chamber — in pointing out the capacities, or lack thereof, in certain aspects of the Canadian military to do its task. Honourable senators are aware that the Security and Defence Committee is now studying defence policy.

Senator Stratton: Answer the question instead of giving a history.

Senator Austin: I do not answer to you, Senator Stratton; I answer to the entire chamber. The honourable senator should propose a motion changing the rules of the Question Period, if he wishes to do that.

Honourable senators, I was asked a question by Senator Kinsella. Senator Stratton should have the good grace to let me answer it.

The Hon. the Speaker: Order, please. Senator Austin.

Senator Stratton: If that is the case, I would ask the leader to be more precise with respect to the question.

Senator Austin: I have the floor, honourable senators. Senator Stratton can rise on a false point of order, if he wishes, after I finish speaking.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I am having difficulty hearing the questions and answers. I would ask honourable senators to respect the senator standing at any given point in time in our Question Period, so that myself as well as other honourable senators are better able to follow the exchange.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, to finish my answer, which I hope is a useful one to the opposition side, on the question of the work of the committee, I was making positive reference to it. Apparently Senator Stratton does not want me to do that. I should like to conclude by saying that the government has listened to the representations of the Senate and the committee by providing an additional $13 billion to National Defence.

Foreign Affairs

United States—Missile Defence Program—Notice of Non-Participation

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: My question relates to the way that the United States was notified of the Canadian government's decision respecting ballistic missile defence. My understanding is that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pettigrew, advised his counterpart, Ms. Rice, that the Canadian government would not participate in this particular scenario. Since then, there is information out there that President Bush has not returned telephone calls. He has now, but it took nine or ten days.

In his visit to Ottawa, President Bush apparently raised the ballistic missile defence issue with Prime Minister Martin. Would it not have been proper procedure for the Prime Minister to at least advise the President of the decision of the country on something that goes right to the very core of our sovereignty?

I concur with Ambassador Cellucci, that Canada has put into jeopardy its sovereignty by virtue of not wanting to be at the table.

Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate respond to why the Minister of Foreign Affairs, instead of the Prime Minister himself, relayed the message on BMD, especially since the President raised the subject with Prime Minister Martin at the late fall meeting in Ottawa?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the normal form of communication of government policy is between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State. These are the two cabinet-level officers who deal with communications in that particular area.

I have not heard of any complaint by the United States, and the Prime Minister said on the weekend that he had had no complaint from the President with respect to the question of notice.

(2040)

International Trade

United States—Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy—Opening of Border to Beef Exports—Court Injunction

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government. The recent U.S. court injunction blocking the planned resumption of trade of younger cattle from Canada to the U.S. is extremely bad news. I foresaw this, unfortunately. I wish I had not even thought of it because this is such a terrible situation.

Clearly this matter should be on the top priority for the Prime Minister at this time. Could the leader please inform this chamber if the Prime Minister has spoken directly to President Bush about this issue, with a view to offering Canada's full support and assistance for an appeal of the injunction by the U.S. Department of Agriculture? If so, could the leader give us a report on the contents of this communication and where it may be at the present moment?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the Prime Minister raised the matter of the temporary injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana regarding the United States Department of Agriculture's minimal-risk rule, and discussed it with the President. As honourable senators know, the Government of the United States, as represented by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, has taken the position that the requirements of the minimal-risk rule in combination with the animal and public health measures already in place in the United States and Canada provide the utmost protection to both U.S. consumers and livestock. The United States also remains fully confident in the underlying risk assessment developed in accordance with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness guidelines, which determine Canada to be a minimal-risk region.

Secretary Johanns has expressed disappointment in the U.S. court ruling to temporarily delay the implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's minimal-risk rule, which would establish trade with Canada for live cattle less than 30 months of age.

With respect to the second part of the question, honourable senators, Canada sought standing in the Montana court and was denied standing by the Montana judge.

Senator St. Germain: There is no question, and I firmly believe, that the government has done everything possible in this situation in regard to the beef problem itself. Then the Leader of the Government says that it is always natural that change and uncertainty make our top CEOs nervous. The leader just said that, and rightly so. The CEOs of the beef industry, the lumber industry and all these industries are looking at their respective situations from their own perspectives, whereas other CEOs are looking at these industries and asking when it will happen to them.

With regard to the March 23 meeting in Texas between the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S., which is still a few weeks away, there are already indications to the effect that the NAFTA irritants Mr. Martin wanted to address are being dropped from the agenda. I do not know how much truth there is to that, but I would like to find out what is being dropped from the agenda.

Furthermore, if the Prime Minister is having problems getting his calls returned by his American counterpart on a timely basis, this cannot be good for the beef industry either. Nine days seems like an awfully long time. I can remember sitting in Prime Minister Mulroney's office when the shake and shingle decision came down and he grabbed the phone and he called the President of the United States right there and then, in front of me. Senator Austin will recall that I had 90 per cent of that industry in my riding at the time as the Member of Parliament for Mission-Port Moody.

With Mr. Martin's struggles to achieve direct day-to-day communications with the President on a variety of issues, it is left to our freelancing ambassador to the U.S., who has come out and said that the decision on missile defence is based on cows and lumber. I am sure that has been very damaging to the relationship, as well as cabinet ministers like Andy Mitchell and Pierre Pettigrew who are doing a less than stellar job of filling the void communicating with the administration in Washington. I believe Mr. Mitchell has done a reasonably good job, but Mr. Pettigrew's work is really up for question.

Therefore I would like to know exactly how the government intends to resolve these problems if we are not receiving responses in a timely fashion from the President of the United States in regard to calls placed by the Prime Minister. Does the minister not agree that nine days, or whatever the lapse was from when he placed his call to when he received a return call, was an exceptionally long time?

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I thank Senator St. Germain for his succinct question. I very much appreciate that in being succinct Senator Stratton did not want to call the honourable senator to account for the length of his question.

Senator Stratton: Try it once in a while.

Senator Mercer: Did you have that question cleared by the leadership, Gerry?

Senator Austin: I will provide the answer in this way: The relationship between Canada and the United States with respect to BSE is a very cooperative one at the level of the two governments. Both governments have agreed on standards of risk and the Government of the United States has moved forward with its ruling which, as Senator St. Germain has said, has been temporarily set aside by a Federal Court judge in Montana.

The process in the United States requires the United States to desist while an injunction is outstanding. Senator St. Germain knows also, I am sure, that the U.S. Congress can set aside the U.S. Department of Agriculture ruling by majority votes in the two Houses. The President and his administration have made it clear that they will oppose the setting aside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture ruling and are making serious efforts with the House of Representatives to prevent it from joining with the U.S. Senate in setting aside the ruling. If both Houses do not support the setting aside, then the ruling cannot be set aside and the ruling goes forward as laid down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, subject, of course, to the courts.

The Secretary of Agriculture has made it clear the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working aggressively to deal with an appeal process, which they hope to bring on quickly, or to trial if that is the sooner of the two processes.

With respect to phone calls amongst leaders, honourable senators, that question has a false bottom. The relationship between the President and the Prime Minister is an excellent one. As I pointed out, the Prime Minister has been invited to join President George Bush and President Vicente Fox on March 23 for a discussion on a number of issues that are of common concern to the three leaders. Of course, one of those is the functioning of the NAFTA. There are other issues relating to the border. I do not have the full agenda, but I can assure Senator St. Germain that he should have every reason to support a close and effective dialogue between Canada and the United States and should take no joy from critics who have a political interest in causing a disruption in that relationship.

Senator St. Germain: I do not know who is taking any enjoyment out of this situation because, as the government leader knows, I have been in the industry and I am waiting to get back into the industry at the present time. Logically there is nothing definitive to cause one to make even a small investment in the cattle industry. No one is making light of the situation.

I am really concerned and the farm community is concerned about the U.S. Senate's position, and the President has a lot of influence in the Senate. The Republicans control the Senate. If there is an indication that the Senate will continue in the track that it has taken, we will need the full support of the President.

(2050)

Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate think that we will get the full support of the President? Can he give us any information as to what transpired in the phone call? Was the meeting that is scheduled to take place in Texas not arranged before the decision on the ballistic missile defence program was announced?

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, the answer to the latter question is yes, and I have answered the previous questions. I thank Senator St. Germain for his support in building the best possible relationship between Canada and the United States.

Foreign Affairs

Release of Foreign Policy Review Paper

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, when will the foreign service policy review statement be released?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am tempted to say "in due course," but I hope that it will be released shortly.

Senator Andreychuk: Honourable senators, the last Prime Minister indicated that there needed to be a foreign policy review. Minister Gray embarked on that review by having round table discussions with some Canadians. Canadians were not fully engaged at that time, as they knew there would be a change of Prime Ministers and perhaps a change of perspective.

The present Prime Minister indicated that he would put a new look on foreign policy, and we have yet to see an indication of that. This situation has become critical. We do not know the direction of our foreign policy, yet we are making foreign policy decisions.

Are we to presume that the existing policy is the policy? How do we judge whether the decisions being made by the government are correct? They do not go against any policy guidelines set out by the government.

Even more critical, honourable senators, the foreign service community is in jeopardy. We do not know how the foreign service will be composed or what capacities are needed, yet Mr. Peter Harder is stating that he needs a rotational foreign service, that he intends to increase its ranks abroad, and that the foreign service will not have a monopoly on international affairs.

Does Mr. Harder speak for the government? Does he have an indication of where this government is going on foreign policy, or are these his personal views based on what is presently in existence?

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, there were so many questions in that set that you will forgive me if I cannot answer them all in one tranche.

There are many changing circumstances in the international community, but the Prime Minister and the government have made it clear that the objective of our foreign policy is to play a role in the world that contributes to peace and to the building of capacity to govern, to administer and to bring social and economic well-being to foreign communities in accordance with Canadian values. That will translate, in the policy document, into a series of proposed programs and a set of priorities and directions.

I would ask for the patience and indulgence of honourable senators for the rest of the answer. The government is having discussions among ministers and with officials. That process will, I hope, conclude soon.

As to the statements by Deputy Minister Peter Harder, Mr. Harder is a very senior and knowledgeable public servant. Those statements are statements for which he takes ownership. The policy itself will be disclosed soon, I hope.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I regret to advise that the time for Question Period has expired.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table four delayed answers. The first is in response to a question raised in the Senate on February 16, 2005, by Senator Tkachuk, regarding Ernst Zundel.

[English]

I have two delayed answers to questions asked by Senator Forrestall on February 10, 2005, the first regarding the costs incurred in the selection process of Canada's new maritime helicopter and the second regarding the competency of the Sikorsky H-92.

I have the response to a question raised on February 16, 2005, by Senator Murray regarding new early learning and child care agreements in official language minority communities.

Immigration and Citizenship

Refugee Claim by Mr. Ernst Zundel

(Response to question raised by Hon. David Tkachuk on February 16, 2005)

On February 24, 2005, the Federal Court of Canada — Trial Division ruled that that the evidence in support of the certificate conclusively established that Mr. Zundel represents a danger for the security of Canada and that the certificate signed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Solicitor General of Canada is reasonable. The certificate now becomes an enforceable removal order.

Mr. Zundel filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee in January 2005. However, the Committee refused to grant a request to defer removal pending review of his complaint. As such, on March 1, 2005, the Canada Border Services Agency removed Mr. Zundel from Canada.

Approximate Litigation and Detention Costs

With regard to litigation involving Mr. Zundel, approximately 2,435 hours were expended by Department of Justice litigators and litigation staff in 2003.

Number of Employees Position Salary range Hours spent on File
1 LA-3B $120,800 - $147,800 3.5
1 LA-3A $110,300 - $143,800 1288.5
1 LA-2B $94,535 - $132-065 .33
3 LA-2A $72,335 - $119,500 1015.41
2 LA-1A $52,2005 - $74,475 106.25
1 SI-2 $44,705 - $50,767 21.5

In 2004, the number of hours expended by litigation counsel and their staff was approximately 3,802 hours.

Number of Employees Position Salary range Hours spent on File
1 LA-3A $110,300 - $143,800 1752.92
2 LA-2A $72,335 - $119,500 1500.44
3 LA-1A $52,2005 - $74,475 302.4
1 SI-2 $44,705 - $50,767 246.5

Some of the numbers for 2005 are presently unavailable.

Number of Employees Position Salary range Hours spent on File
1 LA-3A $110,300 - $143,800 N/A
2 LA-2A $72,335 - $119,500 78
3 LA-1A $52,2005 - $74,475 N/A
1 SI-2 $44,705 - $50,767 34

The detention costs are estimated to be approximately $175.00 per day. As of his deportation from Canada on March 1, 2005, Mr. Ernst Zundel had been detained at the Metro Toronto West Detention Centre for a period of 740 days at a cost of $129,500.

It would be difficult to accurately assess the total cost of the court proceedings, given the number of departments and agencies involved in certificate cases. However, these types of costs were justified by the decision of the federal Court, which confirmed the validity of the certificate.

National Defence

Replacement of Sea King Helicopters—Costs Resulting from Changes and Delays in Selection Process

(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on February 10, 2005)

The EH-101 contract in 1992-93 was for approximately $5.8 billion. This contract included only the cost of 50 helicopters and not other costs like the cost of in-service support.

The facts as requested are outlined below:

The actual cost to cancel the New Search and Rescue/ New Shipborne Helicopter Project was $478.3M.

The cost to support the Sea King from 1994 to 2010 is estimated at $850M, including over $80 million in upgrades.

The cost of 15 Cormorant Search and Rescue Helicopters was $790 million.

The estimated cost for in-service support for the Cormorants is $1.7 billion, which is the contractual ceiling value for 25 years. The actual cost will depend on the number of hours flown on the helicopters, the rate of exchange and actual inflation indicators. This cost, which forms part of the current contract, was not included in the 1993 contract for the EH-101.

The acquisition contract for the 28 new H-92s is valued at $1.8 billion.

The contract value for 20 years of in-service support for the new H-92 is $3.2 billion. This cost, which forms part of the current contract, was not included in the 1993 contract for the EH-101.

The Maritime Helicopter Project has $220M in contingency which equates to 7.5 per cent of the project value. This amount is standard for low to medium risk Major Crown Projects in the Department of National Defence.

A significant savings for the Government of over $1 billion has resulted from the cancellation of the 1993 contract and the decision to proceed with separate Search and Rescue and Maritime Helicopter Projects as outlined below:

50 EH-101 Helicopters $ 5.8 billion* (cancelled contract)

Total $ 5.8 billion

Cancellation Fee $ 478 million15 EH-101 Cormorants $ 790 million*28 Sikorsky H-92s $ 1.8 billion*Sea King Maintenance $ 850 million (1994-2010)

Total $ 3.9 billion

* Not including service support

Replacement of Sea King Helicopters—Competency of Sikorsky H-92

(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on February 10, 2005)

With regard to the status of the H-92 as a naval helicopter, all bidders were required to provide a detailed technical plan for review and acceptance by the Crown for any modifications required to their basic helicopter in order to meet Canada's requirements.

With regard to whether an H-92 has ever flown off the back of a naval ship, all bidders were required to provide detailed plans and substantive performance data to demonstrate their capability to operate in the naval environment.

With regard to whether the H-92 was designed to operate from a Canadian frigate, neither aircraft has operated from a Halifax Class frigate. A flight test program is scheduled to validate the required performance.

Social Development

Proposed Child Care Agreement with Provinces—Provision for Official Language Minorities

(Response to question raised by Hon. Lowell Murray on February 16, 2005)

At the February 11, 2005, meeting, Federal/Provincial/ Territory (F/P/T) Ministers responsible for Social Services recognized the urgent need to accelerate the development of quality early learning and child care across the country.

F/P/T Ministers discussed a national vision and principles for early learning and child care systems in each province and territory. Given provincial/territorial responsibility in this area, F/P/T Ministers recognized the need for flexibility under a new agreement, to allow each jurisdiction to design and deliver programs and services that best meet their respective priorities and circumstances.

F/P/T Ministers have agreed that under a new agreement, early learning and child care will be guided by four principles — quality, universally inclusive, accessible and developmental. The principle of "universally inclusive" is intended to ensure that programs and services respond to the needs of all children, including those living in various linguistic and cultural circumstances.

In developing a new agreement, the federal government has sought to include a specific reference to official language minority communities, consistent with the federal objectives of the Official Languages Act.

A new agreement will include the necessary flexibility to allow provinces and territories to address the range of linguistic needs in their jurisdictions, including official language minority communities.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before calling Orders of the Day, in response to exchanges that I heard during Question Period, I draw the attention of honourable senators to our rules that clearly indicate that questions can be posed to the minister or committee chairs, that they are to be posed with a brief preamble and, on the other side, responded to with a brief preamble.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Business of the Senate

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I ask that we call Government Motions as the first item of business, followed by Bill C-12, Bill C-29, Bill C-6 and Bill C-39.

The Estimates, 2004-05

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Supplementary Estimates (B)

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice earlier this day, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

Motion agreed to.

The Estimates, 2005-06

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Main Estimates

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice earlier this day, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006 with the exception of Parliament vote 10.

Motion agreed to.

The Estimates, 2005-06

Vote 10 Referred to Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice earlier this day, moved:

That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine the expenditures set out in Parliament vote 10 of the Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, and that a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.

Motion agreed to.

(2100)

[Translation]

Quarantine Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Lucie Pépin moved second reading of Bill C-12, to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.

She said: Honourable senators, I am rising today to ask you to support Bill C-12, better known as the Quarantine Act. To some of you, this legislation may well be a very old memory. It is also possible that others do not have any recollection of it, and this would be perfectly understandable. The current Quarantine Act dates back to 1872 and has remained basically unchanged since then.

This legislation was drafted at a time when people, goods and diseases arrived by ship after weeks if not months of travel. It goes without saying that this act is unsuited to today's reality. Nowadays, distances are covered more rapidly and people, like diseases, travel by plane and reach their destinations within hours.

Times change and we expect legislation to follow suit. The new version of the act that I am introducing today modernizes the provisions that are obsolete, and includes several other changes that will help health authorities counter the risks posed by new infectious diseases and the spread of such diseases.

Before getting into the specifics of the improvements made to the act, I would like to talk about the context that guided this change, which many see as a positive one. Canada's public health system is critical to Canadians' health and safety. It combines both the art and the science of protecting and promoting health, preventing diseases and injuries, and extending life.

Moreover, it is incumbent on the public health system to identify and monitor threats to health, and to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of diseases. This complex public health safety net is invisible to many. When the public health system is working well, only a few people notice it. However, when a new disease surfaces, the role of public health is scrutinized. This was the case when SARS crossed our borders in 2003. Within a few days, we were challenged by a dangerous disease that, until then, was unknown. You may remember that severe acute respiratory syndrome killed hundreds of people worldwide, including 44 in the Toronto area.

SARS proved that disease did not stop at the border and that viruses also propagate faster with over a billion people traveling by plane each year. We have all realized that globalization is not just a financial network and the delocalization of businesses. It also affects health and, in particular, the mobility of diseases and viruses. In addition to surprising us, SARS tested our ability to react. Atypical pneumonia showed us our strengths but especially our weaknesses in reacting to imported epidemics. Obviously, we learned a great deal from SARS, the biggest lesson of which is the importance of having the means to take immediate and decisive action when it comes to international health challenges.

In terms of emergency planning and intervention, the public health care system is the first line of defence against new and ongoing threats to public health. That is why a health care system has to have access to a wide range of modern tools to maintain a state of readiness so it can effectively manage the next infectious disease outbreak. The country's reaction to SARS showed the urgent need for national leadership and coordination of public health activities, particularly during a crisis.

Many of us remember the important work done by Dr. David Naylor, chair of the National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health. The Naylor committee examined the events related to the SARS crisis and made recommendations, particularly for the legislative reform of public health administration.

In support of the recommendations in the Naylor report and the vision that inspired members of this committee, this chamber asked the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to examine and report on the infrastructure and governance of the public health system in Canada, as well as Canada's ability to respond to public health emergencies arising from outbreaks of infectious disease.

The Senate committee's report, published in November 2003, lists the initial measures required to facilitate the renewal and reform of health protection and promotion in Canada, including the creation of a new health protection and promotion agency headed by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. The measures we have taken show that these recommendations were taken seriously.

Last September, the Government of Canada acted quickly to strengthen public health by creating the Public Health Agency of Canada and appointing the nation's first Chief Public Health Officer. This is only the first step in a series of measures to strengthen our public health system.

One of the other important lessons we have learned from the SARS crisis is the need to have modern quarantine legislation that will be effective in preventing communicable diseases from entering the country, stopping their spread and preventing their transmission beyond our borders.

Since the SARS crisis, the first priority of the health department has been to revitalize quarantine services. Health Canada continues to provide quarantine services at all of Canada's international airports. Quarantine officers in the airports provide health assessments to international travelers who are identified as ill.

As I mentioned earlier, the legal framework in which these officers do their work has become completely inadequate. Thus, it is indispensable for them to have access to a complete range of modern public health measures. For example, the outdated nature of the Quarantine Act is such that an Order-in-Council is needed for each addition to the list of diseases. This considerably reduces the federal government's ability to react rapidly to a public health emergency. It was in this context that the outdated and redundant Quarantine Act was thoroughly revised to respond to the urgent problems involving the spread of communicable diseases.

This bill is the new, decisive step that must be taken in order to protect Canadians in the event of a public health emergency. Bill C-12 has been designed to complement current provincial and territorial public health legislation.

In short, this bill adds a new level of protection to Canada's nationwide public health network. It is an instrument that will make it possible to detect threats to public health at the very moment they enter the country. Once the new act is passed, the federal government will have the necessary legislative tools to reduce the risks and dangers of transmitting disease internationally.

We must not think only of our obligations to the Canadian people; protecting public health is the business of the entire world. The World Health Organization is currently reviewing its International Health Regulations to ensure that every country in the world helps to eliminate the spread of disease, rapidly and decisively.

Many aspects of Bill C-12 are significant in the management of diseases. The bill gives the federal health minister and quarantine officers at major international airports the authority to initiate immediate and full action. In a context of cooperation with our provincial and territorial counterparts, the quarantine bill will streamline public health processes by eliminating the distinction between listed diseases and other diseases that appear.

This bill sets out the federal government's legislative authority to examine arriving or departing individuals or conveyances which may pose a public health risk to Canadians and people worldwide.

Where there are incidents or risks to public health, the bill will continue to allow for public health measures to be taken at Canadian points of entry, such as screening travellers to determine appropriate measures. These include a medical examination, vaccination or other necessary measures, and even the detention of any person who refuses a medical examination or vaccination until there is no longer a risk to public health.

(2110)

If there is an outbreak of a serious communicable disease in another country and there are genuine concerns about its being a threat to public health in Canada, the Government of Canada could prevent a carrier from entering the country if there were no other reasonable alternative. These powers will not do any harm to international transportation. Although it would be an extreme solution, the Government of Canada could close its border points if there were a public health emergency.

The authorities responsible for enforcing the law could also require any person wishing to leave Canada to undergo a medical examination if he or she represented a significant danger to public health in the destination country. These authorities could also hold the individual if the assessment indicated that he or she represented a significant risk.

Some of these powers are already in the current legislation on communicable diseases, but the new bill contains a far more inclusive list of the diseases for which the competent authorities can retain passengers.

The new powers include the Minister of Health's ability to create quarantine facilities anywhere in Canada. The bill includes the possibility of compensation when the minister takes temporary possession of a location for public health purposes. The government is also committed to compensating the owners of conveyances or other things damaged or destroyed in the carrying out of an order.

Obviously, public health is everyone's business. Each of us must be aware of his or her responsibility, but the government can, as was demonstrated during the SARS crisis, take financial or taxation measures to provide assistance to individuals or companies affected by a crisis such as this.

Within the framework of the Quarantine Act, the government would generally opt for solutions tailored to each situation, and would provide compensation to individuals and businesses affected on a case-by-case basis. Flexibility is required.

Still in the same vein, we should point out that the amendments to the existing act will not cause any major change in the expenses of air carriers or airport authorities.

Nevertheless, in the case of public health emergencies, everyone would be expected to assume additional costs. Still, this is the price that must be paid in order to protect the health of Canadians.

In addition, the legislation will specify the powers to gather and transmit personal health information in order to safeguard public health. These powers will observe the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The legislation will ensure that human rights are respected by authorizing recourse to a lawyer, an interpreter, or a second medical opinion.

The powers set out in the legislation will be exercised by control officers, who will usually be customs officers, as well as by quarantine officers, who will be health professionals, and by environmental health officers, whose mandate will be to ensure that conveyances, goods and cargo are not carrying agents of communicable diseases, and if necessary, to carry out decontamination and disinfection procedures.

The new version of the act is also more in line with proposed revisions to the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations. The updated Quarantine Act will maintain an appropriate balance between the protection of individual rights and freedoms and the protection of the public. Moreover, this balance will respect the jurisdictions of our provincial and territorial partners and clearly set out the roles and responsibilities of each in this shared field of jurisdiction, public health. The act operates at Canadian international borders and therefore does not conflict with, but is complementary to, provincial and territorial public health acts.

The Canadian Public Health Agency has relied on the expertise of many stakeholders in drafting Bill C-12, because it believes this is an important bill that will enable the federal government to fulfill its responsibilities to the Canadian public and the international community.

Recent events — including SARS, the West Nile virus and the avian flu — have shown us that infectious disease outbreaks can seriously threaten our health. The SARS crisis alone is enough to show us the necessity of having public health tools suited to today's reality. By passing this bill, we can offer Canadians this necessary additional protection.

Therefore, I invite you, honourable senators, to pass this important bill as rapidly as possible in the interests of the health of the world and the safety of the Canadian public.

On motion of Senator Keon, debate adjourned.

[English]

Patent Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Banks, for the second reading of Bill C-29, to amend the Patent Act.

Hon. James F. Kelleher: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise this evening to speak to Bill C-29, to amend the Patent Act. I have read the tutorial that the sponsor of this bill in the Senate gave at second reading and found his lesson adequate. I will not go into the meat and bones of this bill. Suffice it to say that the amendments to the Patent Act are sensible. It is only too bad that it took the Federal Court of Appeal decision before the government recognized the act's shortcomings.

Neither is the second part of this bill objectionable. It rightly corrects an oversight in the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act, an oversight that excluded the Senate from reviewing appointments to the act's Drugs Advisory Committee; I am sure this was not intentional. We wait with bated breath for the announcement as to which committee will be selected to review those appointments. The legislation stipulates that the committee dealing with industry should be the one. However, since we do not have an industry committee, per se, in the Senate, it remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma inside a riddle. Will it be the Banking Committee? Will it be Foreign Affairs? Will it be Social Affairs, Science and Technology? Stay tuned, honourable senators, all will be reviewed and revealed in good time.

While the bill is touted as a housekeeping bill, its implications and implementation, it seems, are proving to be anything but straightforward. Honourable senators will recall that Senator Oliver noted in a question last December that the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act had been given Royal Assent in May 2004, yet six months later, no generic drugs had been sent. It seems the problems are manifold.

The intra-industry squabble between patent owners and the generic drug industry is compounded by the lack of regulation available from Health Canada and Industry Canada to accompany the legislation. Two weeks ago, the Leader of the Government in the Senate promised the regulations in the next few weeks. That was February 10. I am sure the honourable leader recalls that promise. I checked the latest issue of the Canada Gazette, Part II, dated February 23, and those regulations have yet to arrive. Honourable senators, I hope that a few weeks will not turn into a few months.

(2120)

I have another concern, and that is the rather grandiose claims that are being made for Mr. Chrétien's pledge in the first place. While the drugs that are sent to Africa under this act will be welcome, and indeed are amongst the least that we can do to help, they will only extend lives, not save them. HIV/AIDS is a deadly disease for which there is no known cure, yet the sponsors of this bill in the other place, without saying so explicitly, have couched the debate in life or death terms. I would remind them that they could do more for the people of Africa and be more effective in eradicating this deadly disease if we met OECD and UN-recommended international aid budget targets. However, even with the finance minister's recent commitment to double the international aid envelope by 2010, the government will fall short of that target.

That target, honourable senators, is 0.7 per cent of GDP, a target that was set in the 1960s by Lester Pearson. Honourable senators, then we could really make a difference. Then we could invest a significant amount of money in education and preventive health initiatives in Africa that would really save lives. We could help to create an environment in which those lives would really be worth living, rather than the present one of chronic poverty, disease and demi-violence that plagues so much of that continent.

Honourable senators, I know that the sponsors of this bill are well-meaning and that they are not using the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa to distract Canadians from the fact that their aid budget does not live up to what might be expected from a country of Canada's size and wealth. For that reason, we support Bill C-29.

The Hon. the Speaker: As I see no senators rising, are honourable senators ready for the question?

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to and bill read second time.

Referred to Committee

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?

On motion of Senator Day, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill

Third Reading—Order Stands

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Banks, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ferretti Barth, for the third reading of Bill C-6, to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and to amend or repeal certain Acts.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this bill is subject to a request for a ruling. I undertook to prepare a response and have done so. I am prepared to give the ruling. However, our practice is that we do so in the presence of the senator raising the point of order. I did ask the table to advise Senator Cools, who raised the point of order, that the matter would be dealt with today, but I see she is not here. I have asked that a page go to her office, and no one is in her office.

The giving of a ruling should not delay steps being taken on a matter. On the other hand, we are only at debate stage and, as senators know, this matter of the ruling does not delay a debate. I am looking to the house leaders for some guidance on this matter. I am prepared to give the ruling, but I do not like to depart from the practice of doing so in the presence of the senator who made the point of order.

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I cannot inform this chamber as to the whereabouts of Senator Cools, but if Your Honour could delay the reading of his ruling until tomorrow, I am certain that she would be here. I want to advise this chamber that I will also ask her when she intends to speak on this bill as well. Therefore, I will adjourn, if I may, the debate in the name of Senator Cools.

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): We would concur with the position that Senator Stratton has taken. My understanding is that the ruling would be tomorrow, at which time we would see who engages in debate so that we could begin to move the item forward.

The Hon. the Speaker: Just to be clear, honourable senators, I will give the ruling tomorrow. Senator Cools will have notice by today's Hansard and by the intervention of the two house leaders with respect to the matter confirming their position. In the meantime, the matter stands.

Order stands.

Personal Watercraft Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Spivak, seconded by the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-12, concerning personal watercraft in navigable waters. —(Honourable Senator Ringuette)

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to commend Senator Spivak for her commitment to the environment and to navigation safety. While I share most of the concern conveyed by the senator on this issue, I cannot support Bill S-12, for many reasons.

The main reason I oppose this bill is that I believe it overlaps with current legislation regarding existing boating regulations. Furthermore, Bill S-12, if it becomes law, does not provide an open forum for democratic consultation, bypassing municipal and provincial authorities.

On the first issue, after carefully studying this bill, it has come to my knowledge that federal legislation currently exists regarding the utilization of boats on our waters. The Canada Shipping Act provides the statutory authority to restrict boating activities for motives of general public safety and the protection of the marine environment.

[Translation]

Under this legislation, the government was able to impose boating restrictions throughout Canada. It is important to note that the government uses the Boating Restriction Regulations to control boating by all watercraft, including personal watercraft, by regulating their access and speed to ensure public and environmental safety. These regulations cover all aspects of boating by all watercraft throughout Canada. They include a mechanism to restrict or even prohibit the use of all motorboats, including personal watercraft, on Canadian waterways.

Bill S-12 includes a mechanism allowing the minister to approve a resolution restricting the use of certain waterways.

Here is an example of duplication and redundancy. Subsection 8.1 of the Boating Restriction Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act states that:

Where a designated authority or a designated provincial authority seeks, in respect of certain waters, the imposition of a restriction on navigation that is of the same nature as a restriction imposed by these Regulations, the authority may submit to the Minister a request for such a restriction together with a report that specifies the location of the waters, the nature of the proposed restriction, information regarding any public consultations held in respect of such a restriction, and particulars regarding the implementation of the proposed restriction.

(2130)

Also, "designated authority" is said to mean the deputy minister of a federal department, the chief executive officer of a federal agency or a representative designated by one of these persons to act on behalf of that person for the purpose of the administration of these regulations.

And "designated provincial authority" means any department of the government of a province designated by that government to process requests to impose restrictions on navigation in respect of waters within that province.

With these regulations, the primary objective of Bill S-12 is already feasible and being enforced. This primary objective is to limit access to certain waterways. This is precisely why I believe this bill would only make enforcing these environmental and public health restrictions complicated and redundant. More worrisome yet is the process whereby a group of owners without a structured organization in the communities could ask for a certain type of permissible craft to be restricted or prohibited.

I strongly believe that public and democratic consultation is essential to protect the rights of Canadians. It makes no sense to me that a group of users of a given waterway could limit public access to other undefined groups. The consultation process proposed in Bill S-12 would allow an association of cottage owners, for instance, to dictate its wishes to other users by prohibiting a certain type of craft and not another, or a certain practice and not another, after having superficially consulted the local population.

It is important to note that municipal governments and provincial governments, in particular, would be almost completely ignored in this process. In New Brunswick, it is possible to fine those who violate existing regulations through the local authorities, including municipal police forces and the RCMP. Several provinces have this authority under some provincial provisions.

[English]

Provinces already have legislated in areas affecting the utilization of public waterways. Most provincial legislation exists to determine waterways deemed for public usage, as does the Beds of Navigable Waters Act in the Province of Ontario, or to define marine insurance liability, as does the Marine Insurance Act in the Province of Manitoba. Most provinces have adopted environmental protection legislation to protect water sources and to limit public access to bodies of water designated for consumption. The main objective of the Watercourse and Wetland Alteration Regulation under the Clean Water Act of New Brunswick is an example of such legislation.

The issue of noise pollution is, ironically, of great interest to New Brunswickers. We cherish our peace and tranquility, especially when we are at cottages or canoeing on our beautiful waterways. In New Brunswick, the provincial government can control the level of noise from all sources on lakes and rivers by regulations under the Clean Environment Act.

Bill S-12 would restrict the noise made by only one kind of watercraft and would not address the issue of noise pollution by other kinds of watercraft or other nautical activities.

[Translation]

Enforcement of the existing regulations is a real burden, and is what this bill attempts to address. It is, therefore, of great importance for the municipal and provincial authorities, who are already responsible for enforcing many of the regulations on public waterways, to be more involved in our objectives for enforcing these regulations. In my opinion, Bill S-12 would be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

Let us take as an example the Madawaska River in my part of the country to better illustrate my point. Originating in Lake Témiscouata, in Quebec, this river runs through a number of Quebec communities before crossing into New Brunswick and passing through a number of wooded areas with scattered cottages that are not grouped together into any kind of organization.

When the Madawaska reaches Edmunston, New Brunswick, there are a number of houses along its banks. It cuts through the heart of the city and runs into the Saint John River. That river is part of the Canada-U.S. international boundary. It is accessible from Maine, as well as from New Brunswick and even Quebec.

The Madawaska River is a small river, about 35 kilometres long. It originates in Quebec, flows through New Brunswick and joins up with a river along a national boundary line. I can barely imagine the horror and complexity of enforcing the bill before us today. An interprovincial and international river — how could it be managed?

It could be possible for several groups of riverfront property owners on the Madawaska River to limit access to one type of watercraft rather than another in one section of the river. Then another group, a few kilometres downstream, could do the opposite. What position would be taken by the municipality through which the same river passes? The provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec would have no say in all this. The RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and municipal police forces which already enforce the existing laws would have to enforce the restrictions set up to please each of these property owners' groups and associations.

In my opinion, it would be negligent to go over the heads of the provinces in matters of regulating watercraft, even if the federal government has the jurisdiction to legislate in this field. Since the regulation of all these craft is already a matter of federal and provincial jurisdiction, and since environmental protection is a task shared by the various levels of government, I think we should simply not go over the heads of the provinces and municipalities by passing this bill.

[English]

As legislators, we cannot bypass joint jurisdiction and we should not legislate where legislation exists. Therefore, it is my humble opinion that Bill S-12 should not pass the Senate, causing duplication of existing legislation and regulation.

On motion of Senator Rompkey, debate adjourned.

(2140)

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Fourth Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (Senate Estimates 2005-2006) presented in the Senate on February 24, 2005.—(Honourable Senator Furey)

Hon. George J. Furey moved the adoption of the report.

He said: Honourable senators, your committee has prepared a budget for 2005-06 that amounts to $80,605,450. The budget before you includes, in your committee's opinion, a realistic funding level needed to allow the Senate to meet its operational requirements for the coming year. The amount was arrived at after careful consideration of several funding proposals.

Non-discretionary items, such as annual increases in senators' indemnities and staff salaries, as well as inflationary increases in travel expenses and general operating costs, account for most of the increase. The budget also includes additional funding in support of committee work, as well as a moderate increase in senators' research and office expense budgets.

It is important in any organization, honourable senators, to periodically evaluate the way things are done to ensure that limited resources are being used in the best possible way. As priorities and workloads shift over time, so too must programs, services and work methods adjust to these new realities so that resources can be reallocated from lower priority to higher priority.

As each program or policy change is implemented, senators will be informed well ahead of time of the effective date of the change. They will also be provided with full details of the change and how it affects their entitlements and the operations of their offices. The administration will, of course, be available to assist senators in adapting to the changes.

Honourable senators, in order to allow your committee to pursue its valuable work, I respectfully ask you to support the adoption of the report.

Senator Stratton: Question!

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Commission of Inquiry on the Sponsorship Program

Motion—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Nolin, seconded by the Honourable Senator LeBreton,

That the Senate of Canada hereby calls upon the government to maintain the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities for as long as necessary to establish the facts and discern the truth, and the Senate of Canada further urges the government to defend the Commission rigorously and reject attempts to impugn the integrity of the Commissioner, Mr. Justice John Howard Gomery.—(Honourable Senator Losier-Cool)

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I rise to speak on the motion put forward by my colleague Senator Nolin on February 3, a motion that would compel the government to defend the commission of inquiry into the sponsorship program and advertising activities, and its chair, Mr. Justice John Howard Gomery.

Obviously my colleague was concerned that a certain witness' lawyers would have had the whole inquiry tied up in Federal Court over a couple of curt news bites in an interview. My colleague has good reason to be concerned. This is not a royal commission. It is a public inquiry called by the Governor-in-Council, as called for under Part I of the Inquiries Act.

If a public inquiry can be called by the Governor-in-Council, then one can be cancelled by the Governor-in-Council. Can you blame them for trying? Day after day, the gatekeepers of the old regime sit before Mr. Justice Gomery, confess their sins and point their fingers upward.

With the daily allegations, the current Prime Minister, who drafted the budgets and wrote the cheques in the old order, seems to the public to either be corrupt or incompetent, or both. Does anyone believe he was just the piano man in the house of ill repute?

Royal commissions and commissions of inquiry have a rich history of affecting life in Canada. The McDonald commission, which investigated the old RCMP security service, led to the creation of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, an agency that is now tasked with many of our nation's counterterrorism activities. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples provided a road map for the new partnership between Euro-Canadians and the Aboriginals.

Even at the provincial level, inquiries have served to enhance the public good. The inquiry called to investigate the wrongful murder conviction of Donald Marshall in Nova Scotia showed the inherent biases against Aboriginals in our justice system, and has been the source of the movement to bring restorative justice to Canadian courts.

While the effects of these crucial inquiries on public policy in Canada are obvious, the government's track record shows that when the inquiry becomes inconvenient for their hold on power — like the puppy on the choke collar that runs too far ahead of its master — they tend to get yanked back.

The Somalia inquiry was taking too long — an election was on the way — and finding out far too much about the lapses in the command structure of our Armed Forces, so the Liberal government of the day yanked the chain, closed the inquiry and had their election. Even our own attempts to continue the inquiry were put down.

Now, as the scandal deepens, members of the governing party, including those in the chamber, want to scrap the Gomery inquiry. Honourable senators, if the government calls this inquiry when it is politically expedient before an election only to scrap it after the election, what will be next?

If the Arar inquiry hints at finding that the government was complicit in the deportation and torture of Maher Arar, will we be in this situation again with an inquiry in jeopardy? If so, then Mark Twain was right when he said:

No man's life, liberty or property are truly safe when the legislature is in session.

This inquiry must continue for the simple fact that it strikes at the heart of something very fundamental to our processes here in Canada and in this chamber. All parliamentarians, whether we are in the upper or lower chamber, or have stood for election or have been appointed by Her Majesty, are trustees of the public good. Our system of representative democracy and responsible government has often been characterized as the most indirect system of indirect representation.

The public only puts its trust in the elected to represent them in the elected portion of the legislative branch, the House of Commons. Some of those in the lower House then are appointed by Her Majesty to the executive branch, namely, the cabinet. The executive branch must then maintain the confidence of the legislative branch, which includes this chamber.

We provide our confidence by allowing their bills to pass our scrutiny and continue on to Her Majesty for Royal Assent. How can we maintain this confidence when we legislate to compel the government to do one act and they use it to do another? The Auditor General's report said that Parliament was deceived. We were deceived. Honourable senators, you were all deceived.

This whole affair reminds one of the comment by another Liberal. This one was British, though. Herbert Henry Asquith, who was England's Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916, once noted that the War Office kept three sets of figures:

One to mislead the public, another to mislead the cabinet, and the third to mislead itself.

We need the Gomery inquiry to continue so that Justice Gomery can continue his investigation and report his findings to Parliament, and not be ridiculed by witnesses brandishing golf balls. Canadians want to know what commission was paid to acquire the golf balls — they do not care about golf balls — and how much was kicked back to the Liberals and to their party. Canadians do want an answer to this simple question: Just who deceived us?

On motion of Senator Losier-Cool, debate adjourned.

The Senate adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.