Debates
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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 65

Wednesday, June 1, 2005
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Universal Health Care

Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, I was moved to speak today after reading the message delivered by former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow on May 11, 2005 in Saskatoon. As the twenty-first recipient of the annual Distinguished Canadian Award, he made an impassioned plea for medicare. He said:

But medicare didn't fall from Mars on this planet. ... It was the will of Canadian men and women with foresight and vision and guts and determination to build a greater country, and so too it falls on us to make sure that the basic platform structure remains intact and is reformed and made more relevant and stable.

Referring to his study of Canada's health care system, Mr. Romanow said that what he heard most often is that "this cherished program will not go under without a fight."

Honourable senators, I go back to a very special book, Towards a Just Society: The Trudeau Years, written by Thomas Axworthy and Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1990. I quote therefrom:

It was in medicare, however, that the most important battle to hold the line in social security was fought and won. The creation of medicare was a triumph of the Pearson years. The architects did a better job of it than even they realized, and it was to stand the Trudeau government in good stead almost twenty years later, when the plan was assailed from within. What in fact was built into Canada's medical care system was a set of national standards, which gave later federal health ministers the leverage required to save the system.

The first set of problems arose in the late 1970s....A few hospitals began to charge user fees...enough to impose a serious financial penalty on lower-income Canadians and even those in the middle-income category...a serious threat to the concept of universality, which was the very foundation of medicare in Canada...

By the early 1980s, a two-tiered medical care system was developing in this country: one level of care for the rich and another for the poor. It was an alarming trend, to say the least. The Canadian medical care system — one of the best in the world — was in danger of ceasing to exist. At the centre of the battle for its survival was a remarkably determined woman, Monique Bégin, then minister of national health and welfare.

Bégin found the ammunition she needed in the legislation itself. Firmly embedded in it were the four essential principles of medicare....These were national standards that had to be upheld; it was the law...

If Ottawa had allowed the forces of conservatism, coupled with provincial jurisdictional squabbling, to erode Canada's medical care system, it would have been sacrificing the basic social principles on which this country is founded. The Canadian way has always been to strike a healthy balance between pulling our own weight and ensuring that our neighbours' basic needs are met. Health care is one of the most basic needs, and it took decades to establish a national health care system.

Fifteen years later, on May 1, 2005, the Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health, said at the Friends of Medicare Conference:

I call it the Charter because, like the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it enshrines the equality of all Canadians when it comes to health care.... But above all, Medicare is a partnership of values where all governments have — time and again — committed themselves to those 5 bedrock principles. Indeed, this was done as recently as the First Ministers Agreement last September. Medicare, in fact, would not have endured these forty years if governments were always at daggers drawn or not in fundamental accord as to core principles.

The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry to inform Senator Trenholme Counsell that her three minutes have expired.

The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

Congratulations on Citation as "Greenest" Prime Minister

Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I rise today to draw your attention to a report in today's edition of the National Post entitled "Mulroney is named greenest PM ever. He had the biggest impact on the environment." A jury of 12 Canadian environmentalists assembled by Corporate Knights magazine has ranked the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney as the Prime Minister who made the most positive impact on Canada's environment. The jury included some of our country's most well-respected environmentalists, including the heads of the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund.

Among the many achievements of the Mulroney government cited by the jury was the acid rain accord with the United States and the creation of significant new national parks on South Moresby Island in British Columbia, on Ontario's Bruce Peninsula, and the beautiful Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan. Also, the position of Minister of the Environment was elevated to senior cabinet level status for the first time by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and a Cabinet Committee on Environment was created that reviewed the environmental implications of all government initiatives.

During Brian Mulroney's time in office, Canada was provided with much-needed international leadership in this area. This leadership was particularly true at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 where Canada was the first country to say we would sign a treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.

Summarizing his time in office, Corporate Knights magazine said:

Mr. Mulroney was a leader who had the courage to spend his political capital on more occasions than any other Prime Minister doing what was right for Canada's environment — even though trees can't vote.

On behalf of all Conservative senators, and I would hope all senators in this chamber, I would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Mulroney for this special recognition.


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[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie

Meeting of Parliamentary Affairs Committee, April 25-26, 2005—Report Tabled

Hon. Pierre De Bané: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 23(6) of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the parliamentary association of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) regarding its participation in the meeting of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee of the APF, held in Damascus, Syria, on April 25 and 26, 2005.


[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

The Environment

Kyoto Protocol—Management of Funding Portfolio

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, Kyoto funds are sitting idle instead of being used to cut greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Ottawa Citizen, federal documents show that a large portion of the billions of dollars the government has set aside since 1997 to deal with climate change has gone unspent, while the country's greenhouse gas emissions have risen.

Honourable senators, here are some of the facts. Between 1997 and 2004, $3.7 billion was budgeted to prepare for the Kyoto accord. Only one half of these funds has been spent. Some $1.4 billion has not been used. Some $700 million, which was designated as a contingency fund, has been sitting idle.

Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to grow. In 2003, they grew faster than the economy. This is a serious problem because the Liberal strategy on climate change depends on the annual greenhouse gas emissions growing more slowly than the economy as a result of better energy efficiency and conservation.

Environment officials claim that the unspent money is being saved for projects that they are planning for the end of the decade.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain why these badly needed funds were not used when they were needed to prepare for the Kyoto Protocol, which was also the period for which they were budgeted?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I will take the Honourable Senator Stratton's question as notice.

Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, in 2006, the Auditor General will conduct a review of Kyoto spending. Environment Canada is thinking about conducting its own review — much like the fox counting his chickens. We are talking about funds that date back eight years. That is how long they have been mismanaged in a portfolio which is crucial to the future of Canadians. Will the Liberal government stop studying how badly it has misused Canadian taxes and start using these funds more wisely?

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, now that I have heard the honourable senator's supplementary question, I would like to comment on his line of questioning.

First, I concur with Senator LeBreton in the recognition of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as a leader in conceptualizing what must be done to deal with the environmental concerns of our society. I recall the steps that were taken in 1992 after the Rio de Janeiro conference when Canada committed to be a full player in what is now known as the Kyoto Protocol. As the federal government, the provinces and industry move to deal with the objectives that Canada has now accepted, I look forward to the support of the Conservative Party for what Prime Minister Brian Mulroney started.

Honourable senators will know that on April 13 the so-called Kyoto plan was announced by Canada, as was Project Green, along with a long series of phases toward reaching the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol.

I commend to Senator Stratton a closer study of the measures that have been undertaken by the Government of Canada to deal with the Kyoto Protocol. Currently, we are discussing with the provinces and industry the specific steps to be taken. Some announcements have already been made.

I have mentioned before in this chamber the voluntary agreement of the auto industry, which is not only one of our largest and most significant economic units but also a substantial polluter.

We are having discussions with the steel industry, whose contribution to the economy of the province of Ontario is so important. As well, we are having discussions with the energy industries, whose activities are important to the economies of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In this area of shared jurisdiction, it is not possible for the government to launch unilateral programs. That would not be the most effective use of these funds. Having said that, I will take both the honourable senator's question and his supplementary question as notice for further response.

Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, it is not that we are not interested in what will happen in the future. Our biggest concern is with what the government has done in regard to environmental concerns since taking office. The general response is that it has done little, which speaks for itself in light of the questions that have been asked and answered.

How much money that should have been spent has been left unspent? The Leader of the Government in the Senate can tell me all he wants about future agreements. I am asking: What has been done in the past? That fundamental question needs to be answered.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have answered that question, but I will summarize my answer. Simply put, the money was set up as an encouragement to industry and the provinces to sign on to environmental targets. Honourable senators are aware that the process of coming to an agreement has taken more time than the government anticipated. Spending money uselessly is not the objective of the government, nor, I am sure, is it an objective of the opposition.

Trying to measure the government's performance in dealing with the environment on the basis of money spent is quantitative, not qualitative.

Finance

Bank Mergers—Release of Guidelines

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, my question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate concerns a subject that I know is near and dear to his heart. It deals with matters in the financial services sector generally and bank mergers in particular.

Senator Oliver and I have addressed a series of questions to the Leader of the Government on the issue of mergers and when the guidelines will be released. My understanding of the answers given in the chamber, either viva voce or via a delayed response, is that the leader will keep us advised. However, we find in the newspapers of this week comments by the Minister of Finance that he is now, possibly, ready to release these long delayed merger guidelines that I believe the Leader of the Government told us were due to be released in June of last year. The release was delayed by the intervening election.

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Would the Leader of the Government tell us the government's current position on bank merger guidelines, rather than have us learn that from newspaper articles?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, let me first deal with some implied and some not-so-implied comments in the question.

I undertook to keep this chamber advised, and to do so I must wait for a question from honourable senators or table a government policy document, if such a document is available to table. As yet, no document is on hand to table.

The newspaper articles deal with speculative issues and a comment in passing by a minister. I believe the general nature of the comment was that, if the political temperature in the other place would permit it, there could be a focus on the substantive issues relating to bank mergers.

I have said in this chamber before that the government is open to moving forward with bank mergers. I am not aware of any policy statement, as such, that is yet available, but clearly the government is approaching the issue in a positive way.

Senator Angus: I appreciate that. Let me make it clear, honourable senators, that it was for the very reason that the newspaper article was speculative and full of innuendo that I addressed my question to the Leader of the Government.

As the Leader of the Government is well aware, this matter is important to the country and to the integrity of our financial services sector, and there must be clarity on it. In my role as Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, I can state that the question of when a position will be taken is constantly raised in the committee.

My supplementary question is this: Putting aside the newspaper articles and the politics of the matter, does this government have the will and the courage to announce a firm policy, or will we, yet again, adjourn for the summer break wondering what position the government will adopt? Does it all depend on the political climate and "temperature" of the parties? If that is so, it would not seem to me to be the way public policy in a sector as important as the financial services sector should be decided.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I would respond to Senator Angus by making these points.

First, there is no question that the government believes that the question of bank mergers deserves to be examined by Parliament, in consultation with all interested stakeholders in the country.

Second, the government has made it clear that it wishes to move forward with this issue, but it needs to have a parliamentary agenda that is prepared to deal with this issue on the merits. As Senator Angus has said, this is an important policy move that is not to be taken casually or lightly and, hopefully, not to be taken politically in the party-partisan sense.

Canadians and Parliament should look at this matter to see where the public interest lies with respect to bank mergers. On that point, I believe Senator Angus and I are in agreement.

Senator Angus: Would the Leader of the Government undertake — I use that word loosely — to advise himself and honourable senators if a set of guidelines will be presented by the Minister of Finance before we adjourn for the summer break?

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I will make a further inquiry, but it is my information and belief that a further official government move will not be made until the fall.

Privy Council

Indian Residential Schools Resolution—Funding of Settlements Pending Report of Government Representative

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate and is a follow-up to a question asked yesterday about the long-awaited changes to residential schools, school abuse and the compensation process.

As we have heard, the accord signed between the Assembly of First Nations and the federal government on Monday named former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci as the federal representative to negotiate a new settlement package for the survivors. He is obliged to report by March 31 next year. Any changes to the compensation process are greatly anticipated, as the current process is infamous for spending much more on administration costs than on compensation payments for these victims of abuse.

I read an article detailing the fact that $20,000 was spent to fly a lawyer across the country in order to prepare evidence binders and rent space, all to deal with a claim that had a $3,500 ceiling. The article also dealt with the government's appeal of a $1,500 award to an elderly and ill Flora Merrick.

Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if the federal government will undertake changes to make the compensation process more efficient, while awaiting the negotiator's report next spring? What will be done between now and then? Five or six people who would qualify for compensation are dying every day. This horrible injustice was inflicted on our Aboriginal peoples. Would the Leader of the Government comment, please?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I take it that the question is focused on what the government policy will be pending the report of the government representative who is dealing with a resolution of the Indian residential schools situation.

The government is cognizant of the weaknesses of the policy on which it launched itself. That policy was based on classic litigation principles — the proof of loss or damage based on evidence, and then negotiations in an alternative dispute system or through litigation. The result was the kind of action that Senator St. Germain mentioned in his recital before asking the question. When you are involved in a strict litigation process, you are in an adversarial process and you act in an adversarial way so as not to admit or accept liability.

That system is now in the process of being altered. Instead of continuing in the adversarial mode, the government has said that it wants an overall review and an equitable settlement with those who have been affected by their treatment in the residential school process.

Having explained the background, I do not have a specific answer for the honourable senator with respect to the way in which the government will conduct itself in the interim. I hope to be able to supply honourable senators with further information shortly.

Indian Residential Schools Resolution—Binding Nature of Government Representative's Report

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Since 2003, apparently, the government has tried to drag Aboriginal claims from the courts into what was to be a faster, less formal system. Approximately 50 of an anticipated 12,000 claims have been settled. During that time, the 87,500 surviving students have been dying at the rate of five a week.

Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if the recommendations that the negotiator will bring forward next year will be binding on the federal government? Has the federal government committed itself to implementing the changes within a specific timeline? It is always the implementation that destroys the programs that have been instituted by government for our Aboriginal peoples.

Senator Rompkey is well aware of this inclination. Presently, we are working on something to expedite benefits for a group of Aboriginal peoples in the East. Hopefully we can do something for those in the West. How long must these people wait for results?

Again, I ask if the recommendations will be binding on the government and whether a timeline will be set.

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Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the intention is that the Honourable Frank Iacobucci provide the government and the people of Canada with a recommendation. I do not believe that a recommendation of that kind would serve to bind; it would not be binding on any of the parties. It would act as a focus around which settlement negotiation can take place. All of the parties will contribute to the work of Mr. Iacobucci, and he will come to conclusions based on input from all of the interests in play here.

I believe that his report will lead to a narrowing of the issues and a much more rapid conclusion by negotiation. I want to say, if I did not make it clear, that the alternative dispute resolution process that is now in play with respect to the claimants will continue for those former students. They have access to it if they wish to choose that option, or they can wait for the recommendations of Mr. Iacobucci and the conclusions of the many legal actions that are now extant in the courts.

Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, the information I have is that these schools were established in 1840 and the last one was shut down in 1996. To be totally honest — and I do not see this as a partisan issue at all — government after government has failed to deal with the problem.

As I mentioned yesterday regarding specific cross-claims on land settlements, one can always find excuses and say there are third parties involved that have to be negotiated with. There is credence to that argument. However, if we do not overcome these arguments, these people will continue to live in poverty, in a Third World state. Their education opportunities are being hindered. There is a litany of things going against these people.

If Mr. Iacobucci's findings are not intended to be binding, how can we expect results when, as the minister knows, native claims and implementation seem to get lost in the bureaucracy of Ottawa? The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is likely the most guilty, paternalistic organization in the world. How can we work around this?

Senator Austin: It would be fair to the players to point out that the announcement of the appointment of Mr. Iacobucci is pursuant to an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations. This appointment and this manner of proceeding have the endorsement of the Assembly of First Nations. Indeed, they recommended that the government take this process as an alternative to litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods. The government has accepted the recommendation of the AFN and is proceeding on an agreed basis with a group that represents a majority of the students who were affected by this particularly serious activity.

I share with Senator St. Germain his impatience with the reaction to the injustices that have taken place. However, we must move in accordance with the rule of law and the interests of the Canadian community as a whole. We must take into account what processes lead to what quantum of damage. Senator St. Germain will know, having served in a previous government, that this is the responsibility of government.

At the same time, we have never been closer to a reconciliation and resolution of the residential schools question than we are now. Finally, we have both the government and the Assembly of First Nations agreeing to a process in which the litigants have the option of endorsing or continuing with their litigation.

Finance

Policy on Hedge Funds and Cross-Pillar Mergers Among Financial Institutions

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I have a further supplementary question to my earlier question on the financial services sector. The Leader of the Government has agreed to seek some indication of a timeline for the guidelines on mergers. Could he also inform senators where the government stands on the issue of cross-pillar mergers, that is, for example, a bank with a life insurance company?

The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce reviewed the matter at the request of former Minister Manley and submitted its report. We understood that a task force was being established in the Department of Finance to review that matter and to come back with a policy statement in that regard. If the honourable leader could obtain information on that matter, it would be very helpful.

In addition, for the last several days on the front pages of all the financial papers, great concern has been evinced about the unregulated state of hedge funds. Literally billions of dollars are now reposing in the hands of these hedge fund operators. The Investment Dealers Association of Canada has come up with a report urging all levels of government that have jurisdiction to take steps. To the extent the federal government can do so, does it intend to respond either by bringing in regulations or by overseeing, given the present environment of this critical area, where consumers' savings and investments are being placed?

Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): The Honourable Senator Angus and I served for a few years on the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, so these issues are familiar to each of us, as they are to many others in the chamber. The issue of cross-pillar mergers is one of the major aspects of financial institution policy. My honourable friend is as aware as anyone of the differing opinions in the financial institution system on whether cross-pillar mergers should be allowed. We have heard from some insurance companies that such mergers with banks would be unwelcome. Others have been more amenable to the concept. I cannot respond now, but I will make an inquiry.

With respect to hedge funds, which is becoming a subject of considerable awareness in the general public regarding what could take place in terms of asset value under adverse circumstances, I will make inquiries. I am not sure what would be the result of those particular inquiries.

To complete this discussion, perhaps Senator Angus would also like to invite me to ascertain where the government might stand on a national securities commission.

Senator Angus: I am quite happy with my other three inquiries. However, we are all waiting with bated breath on news pertaining to a national securities commission.

Delayed Answer to Oral Question

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to present a delayed response to an oral question raised in the Senate on May 31, 2005, by the Honourable Senator LeBreton regarding the Privy Council Office.

Privy Council Office

Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities—Strategic Office for Preparing Government Responses

(Response to question raised by Hon. Marjory LeBreton on May 31, 2005)

There are four staff members in the PCO Coordination Sponsorship Matters group. They are as follows:

Ursula Menke, Chief;
Doris George, Executive Assistant;
Melanie Tod, Director of Internal Communications; and
Robert Quinn, Senior Advisor.


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ORDERS OF THE DAY

The Estimates, 2005-06

Second Interim Report of National Finance Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator LeBreton, for the adoption of the eleventh report (second interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (2005-2006 Main EstimatesFoundations), tabled in the Senate on May 19, 2005.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators will have had an opportunity to at least cursorily review the eleventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, which is the second interim report on the Main Estimates 2005-06.

Honourable senators will recall the interest of our Standing Senate Committee on National Finance with respect to foundations and the importance we attached to this new concept. I have had an opportunity to review the statements made by the Honourable Senator Oliver, the Chair of our committee, when he spoke in this chamber yesterday. I found his comments essentially to be reflective of the spirit of the debate and the report that has been distributed to you. There may be some areas where I would perhaps have expressed the concerns of our committee in a different manner, but the recommendations that appear there have been adopted unanimously by our committee.

Honourable senators, the study with respect to foundations is one that has been ongoing by the Auditor General as well. It is important for us to understand a few of the basic terms that are used in relation to foundations, otherwise we may be arguing at cross purposes. The foundation may be an endowment, which means that the growth in a particular year is all that is distributed and that the endowed amount, the principal, will remain throughout the life of the foundation. For example, the Pierre Trudeau Scholarship Fund is based on an endowment and the capital will always remain in the fund. In fact, it may grow if the foundation has the opportunity to bring in more capital, which some do.

Other foundations are set up for a finite period of time — five years, 10 years — as determined by the document that creates them, which is the funding agreement. At the end of five years, 10 years or some other period, those foundations will cease to exist unless they receive a new injection of funds.

We discussed both types of foundations, and there is a schedule in our report that outlines each of the two different foundations: the endowed foundation and the general foundation.

Another important term is the word, "audits." The Auditor General has, in two Auditor General's reports, raised concerns with respect to the auditing of foundations. The audit to which the Auditor General refers may not be the audit that generally comes to mind. When the Office of the Auditor General was first created, it was for the purpose of financial auditing, that is, to review the financial records and documentation of a particular organization, government department or the like.

There are other types of audits in addition to financial audits. For example, we have environmental audits nowadays, where an engineer will determine whether a particular company is operating in such a manner that that company is creating or should have environmental concerns or is meeting all of the regulations and laws with respect to the environment. There are audits with respect to intellectual property, where an auditor will go into a company and determine what intellectual property might be in existence within that company and whether it is being handled correctly. There are value-for-money audits, which are close to determining whether an organization is following the policy purpose for which the organization was created. A similar audit to that is the performance audit. Is the company, organization, agency or foundation performing according to the standards set up in the funding agreement when the entity was created? A more precise type of performance audit is the compliance audit, which typically would be based on a defined — rather than dealing with policy issues — agreement, where it would be determined whether all of the points are being followed.

We must keep all of those types of audits in mind because, when someone suggests that an audit should be done, the next question that should be asked is: What type of audit are you talking about?

Honourable senators, each foundation is created by a document that defines the relationship between the funds being made available from the government and the particular foundation. We refer to that particular document as a funding agreement. Foundations are a fairly new vehicle for bringing about government policy. They are less than 10 years old. The first one, I believe, was established in the 1996-97 fiscal year time frame. We are dealing with a new type of vehicle that is intended, by virtue of being funded from the government purse, to achieve defined public policy purposes.

In the past, general government departments implemented all government policy, then a new type of vehicle came along called a Crown corporation. Later on we had independent, stand-alone agencies within the government, such as the intellectual property organization. That organization used to be a department of the Department of Industry, and before that Consumer and Corporate Affairs, but it is now a stand-alone agency that collects funds to operate. In 1996-97, along came this new vehicle called a foundation.

The Auditor General has had some difficulty with foundations because the Auditor General was not accustomed to being involved with that kind of organization. Indeed, the government's initial policy statement on foundations specified that the Auditor General would not be involved. Independence being the most important aspect of foundations, the government decided that, once the funds were transferred to a foundation, the foundation would appoint an independent board. The government would not be involved in the appointment of board members. There would be a mechanism within the funding agreement to appoint members who were knowledgeable in the subject matter of particular interest to the foundation. That board of directors would hire outside auditors to do the financial audits and would report on an annual basis to the sponsoring minister.

The questions that the Auditor General asked were: What about all those mechanisms we had in place for government organizations? What if the policy purpose for which this was created has changed? Should the government not be able to go in and tell them to stop doing what they are doing and give the money back? That goes to the fundamental concept of a foundation. It is independent, and the government should not be able to interfere with respect to how much a foundation pays its board of directors. It should not be able to interfere with the composition of the board of directors, and it should not have anything to say about how the funds are distributed and the decisions are made by the board.

Honourable senators, with respect to foundations we are struggling with the concept of lump sum funding by the government when there has not been demonstrated a need for all of those funds by an organization that is independent of government and merely reports on an annual basis through the sponsoring department or minister.

Clearly, we have made some mistakes. I believe everyone now recognizes that. Mistakes were made when we created Crown corporations, and mistakes were made when we created stand-alone agencies within government.

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We are now making adjustments to rectify those mistakes by amending the funding agreements and the issue of what the Auditor General should be able to do.

Honourable senators, when Bill C-43 comes to us — the budget implementation bill for this fiscal year — we will see further adjustments being proposed that will allow the Auditor General to get involved, with certain restrictions. The Auditor General will have more say about what transpires with respect to certain foundations.

Funding agreements are being amended to provide for more specific reporting. Adjustments are taking place. These agreements must be amended because certain foundations are running out of funds and have asked for an injection. At that time, the government will have an opportunity to request amendments to the foundations' funding agreements.

Honourable senators, we will see that this is an important evolving means of implementing government policy. It is important that we, as one of the Houses of Parliament, remain engaged in this issue. It is important that we direct our National Finance Committee to continue to be involved in monitoring these particular foundations to ensure that there is proper accountability and that the funding agreements are being followed in the manner that was intended at the time of their creation.

I commend to honourable senators another close reading of our report.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Joseph A. Day: I would also ask that honourable senators consider an amendment to this report and add to it what we should have included at the time we prepared it; that is, a request that the government, through the appropriate minister, report to the Senate within the appropriate 150 days of receipt of the report. Our rules now provide for this procedure under section 131(2). This motion in amendment assumes that this report will be adopted by the Senate, and then we will pass it on to the appropriate minister for review.

Honourable senators, I move that the motion to adopt this report be amended by adding the following words:

and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response to the report from the government, with the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance being identified as the ministers responsible for responding.

This amendment, honourable senators, is reflective of the unanimous agreement of our committee at the time we adopted the report. If Honourable Senator Oliver were here, I am sure he would be prepared to second this motion in amendment.

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

Hon. David Tkachuk: I noticed on page 2 of the report on foundations that there is mention of 23 such foundations, four of which were established under new legislation: Asia Pacific Foundation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, and Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology. These were all under new legislation. The others were under the Canada Corporations Act. Why are they set up under new legislation? Why are they not all under the Canada Corporations Act?

Senator Day: We asked the same question of the various government officials who appeared before us.

A representative of the Ministry of Finance was in attendance and indicated that the manner of setting up the structure of governance, which is what we are talking about here, was a matter of debate between the sponsoring department and Department of Finance. In certain instances, they felt that new government legislation that would come before us and define what is being done was important. In other instances, they felt they could set up the corporate structure through the Canada Corporations Act without the necessity of creating a corporate structure by virtue of stand-alone legislation.

Therefore, we asked if it was important that legislation come before Parliament. If we are not presented with stand-alone legislation and everything is done under the Canada Corporations Act, we do not see the structure as parliamentarians. That was one of the points we made.

Before any foundation is established or before any change is made to an existing foundation, either one or both of those proposals should come before both Houses of Parliament for consideration. This does not preclude the creation of the entity under the Canada Corporations Act, but the funding agreement should be reviewed by Parliament before that particular foundation is set up in that manner.

The Hon. the Speaker: The honourable senator's time has expired.

Senator Day: With the indulgence of honourable senators, I would be pleased to try to answer the follow-up question of my colleague.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Tkachuk: By any chance, did the committee discuss the possibility that all foundations would require a new piece of legislation rather than any foundation being placed under the Canada Corporations Act? If Parliament were to examine the agreement, how would that agreement be placed before Parliament?

Senator Day: We did discuss the issue of whether all organizations and all new foundations should be created by separate legislation. We were not unanimous on whether we should be directing the government to do so. We want to be able to review the structure in some manner, and we believe it is important for Parliament to do the same.

Senator Tkachuk: I noticed in the second group of foundations that seven of them spend the interest but not the endowment. One is called the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which is named after one of our former prime ministers.

Did the committee gather testimony on why a former prime minister would have a foundation named after him? Was it the intent of the government to have foundations for all past prime ministers or only for those who have passed away?

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Senator Day: We did not get into that discussion.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton: Did the committee look into what happens to the funds in a foundation if it is wound up and has surplus funds? How are they distributed, or what happens to them?

Senator Day: Yes, we did discuss that issue. We were told that it should be covered in the basic funding document, but that it might not have been, in certain instances, covered, and we did not get into that.

As you will appreciate, there are many sub-issues such as the ones we talked about. If the funding agreement came before this house, we would ask whether that money should come back to the Crown by virtue of the organization no longer having a reason to operate or be distributed to other non-governmental organizations as determined by the board of governors or directors at the time. We did not resolve many outstanding issues such as that, and that is why we feel that we should continue this dialogue and look into some of these issues.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, is it not a fact that in most cases of a foundation winding up the funds are to be pro-rated amongst those who have benefited from the funds? When I followed this file more closely, I could find only one case, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, where, in the case of winding up, the funds would be returned to the original contributors, meaning the provinces and the federal government.

As I recall, in many cases of a foundation winding up, the money is to be distributed pro rata to beneficiaries of the fund rather than being returned to the governments who originally funded them. Quite frankly, I find it appalling to think that, 20 years after a fund has been created, the winding up means that the funds are distributed to those who may no longer be there, rather than be returned to the government, in this case, the Government of Canada. Can the honourable senator confirm that or, I hope, deny that?

Senator Day: I can neither confirm nor deny that. I have not had the opportunity to review the funding agreement for the Asia Pacific Foundation, but I can tell the honourable senator that it is one of the foundations that is an endowment that I referred to during my introductory remarks. Some of the funding agreements, as the honourable senator may recall, provide the foundation with the opportunity to raise funds from other sources, and other funding agreements do not.

This question and answer illustrates the importance for us to review the funding agreement, namely, the document that creates the particular mechanism, of each foundation that is created. It also points out the weakness in some of the earlier foundations that were created, where some of the points were not properly covered. As a result, the various sponsoring government departments are now attempting to amend the funding agreements to bring in reporting requirements, dispute resolution mechanisms and so many points such as those that were not covered in the original funding agreements.

The Hon. the Speaker: The five minutes have expired, Senator Day. I have a list of Senator Cools, Senator Stratton and Senator Tkachuk. Do you wish additional time?

Senator Day: I am in the hands of the leadership. I will try to answer the questions.

Senator Tkachuk: I have one supplementary question.

Senator Rompkey: We would be happy to hear other questions and answers.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: I was listening to the honourable senator with some interest. This is a subject matter that I know a little bit about. The senator moved a subsequent motion asking the minister to respond to the committee's report. Am I correct that he just moved a motion to that effect?

Senator Day: Yes, we were tracking the wording of our rule 131(2), which uses the interesting words, "provide a complete and detailed response." That is why I used those words.

Senator Cools: This is no ordinary report. This is a report on the study of the Main Estimates.

Could the Honourable Senator Day share with us why he believes such a motion would be necessary? The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, in its ordinary routine of business, has frequent visits from the Minister of Finance and the President of the Treasury Board. The Senate Finance Committee is quite capable of obtaining ministers' responses to these issues with greater ease than any other committee.

Since it is a report on the Main Estimates, why is it that the minister's response would not be obtained during other committee proceedings on the Main Estimates?

Senator Day: In proposing this motion to amend, I was reflecting the will of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. That is why I asked this chamber to adopt this amendment with respect to rule 131(2).

You are right. We do have an opportunity to bring in ministers. We have good cooperation from all of the ministers that we request, and they often come on short notice. More often, I think, with respect to legislation that the committee is dealing with, rather than the Main Estimates, but also with respect to the Main Estimates, we could bring in any one of the ministers. In fact, this study on foundations flows from our general mandate and the general authority given to us by this chamber to continue to study the Main Estimates.

Rule 131 contemplates a process whereby a committee report is not only tabled and then lost, but is also sent to the respective government departments. The departments reply within a period of time. The reports come back to the Senate and then are referred to that committee. The process keeps the issue alive, and we are keen, as a committee of this Senate, to keep this issue with respect to foundations alive.

We would like to hear what the ministers had to say with respect to our various recommendations, and this is a way that our rules provide for doing that.

Senator Cools: I would have thought that the ongoing study on the Main Estimates would always be of great interest to the responsible minister, and that the motion would not be necessary because such study is an ongoing thing. The Main Estimates study is unique. No other committee has that particular, special role. The situation is weakened by using rule 131 because that rule of the Senate is for committees doing other studies that the ministers may not even be aware of. The study of the Main Estimates is peculiar and a special thing, and it should not be weakened. As I said before, these ministers come before this committee often. As a matter of fact, some years ago the then minister, Maurizio Bevilacqua, came to the committee under the rubric of the Main Estimates to speak to the question of the foundations. The matter of the foundations is a matter that those ministers are very alive to. They do not need too much prodding to appear before the committee.

Senator Day: Thank you, Senator Cools. Yes, I do recall the Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua coming before our committee, and his appearance is referred to on page 4 of the report with a summary of the information he gave us.

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It was not our intent, nor was it the belief of our Standing Senate Committee on National Finance that we were doing so, to in any way weaken the procedure of the committee by doing this.

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question is with respect to foundations. My understanding is that the NDP budget, Bill C-48, provides the government with power to create new foundations and Crown corporations. I know the honourable senator cannot respond to Bill C-48 at this time, but when he was considering the subject of foundations, was his consideration related only to the past, the present and not the future? In other words, are these recommendations that he would make with respect to future or potential future foundations?

Senator Day: I thank the honourable senator for his question. We have used these new vehicles known as foundations for implementing public policy. We examined those that had been created in the last six, seven or eight years, and we considered the weaknesses or perceived weaknesses that we found. Based on our historical findings, we made recommendations about what should be done in the future if any other foundations were to be created.

Senator Stratton: One would expect that the recommendations would go to the minister responsible. Is this, in part, why particular ministers have been asked to respond within a certain period of time? Since Bill C-48 will be before us shortly, it is important that we have answers to those questions.

Senator Day: Yes, honourable senators, we chose 150 days because that is the time frame referred to in rule 131(4) of the Rules of the Senate. Rule 131(3) also requires that we send the report to the ministers responsible. That is why I have highlighted in the proposed amendment the specific ministers mentioned in our report who should be replying to the request.

Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, on page 3 there is a description not only of the foundations but also of how they are funded. The majority, 16 of 23, are allowed to spend not only the interest but also the initial capital. The second group of seven receives only the funding interest. Examples of those are the Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology, Canada Health Infoway and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

From what I understand, there is a period of time that is agreed to within which all the money is disbursed, whether it is five years or one year or three years. Is that period of time included in the agreement, and is that then filed in a public place so that the taxpayer can have access to that information, perhaps on a website? At the end of that period, who asks for additional money? Is that request made by those who administer the fund, the board of directors, or does the request come from the organizations themselves which receive the money? How does that work? How do we know when the time is right to wind these up?

Senator Day: The funding agreement for each particular foundation will provide for the manner of disbursing the funds over a period of time, and that varies depending on the funding agreement.

Having said that, some of these foundations are entitled to lever those funds in order to get other funds. For example, if a foundation created by the government wanted to invest in some scientific research, it could go to the institution doing the scientific research and offer to give it $1 million for a $3 million project if it can raise funds from other sources to cover the $3 million. All of that detail is contained in each funding agreement.

Having reviewed these funding agreements, the point we make is that there is no one type of funding agreement, and that we should, as Parliament, be reviewing these in some detail. We should see them before a foundation is created rather than afterwards. We do have a say in this when an appropriation bill comes to this chamber. We do consider foundations then, but we are all busy with other details so we do not have an opportunity to conduct a detailed examination of these funding agreements. We do not focus on foundations as one item but rather as part of an entire series of appropriations for each government department. That is why it is important to examine these funding agreements.

The other question asked was: How do we know when a funding agreement comes to an end? If it is not amended, the agreement comes to an end when the funds have been disbursed, and the funds will be disbursed over the years specified in the funding agreement. However, we have discovered by reviewing two or three of these foundations that they have received supplementary funds. How did they get more funds? The government obviously decided that what they were doing was worthwhile. They wanted that to continue. The foundation did not have the funds. The minister responsible would be advised of that, and so the government provided additional funding to that foundation.

That is when we have an opportunity to rectify these funding agreements that were wanting in certain aspects in the past. That is the point that we have made. If any new foundations are created, or if there is an amendment to the funding agreements of existing foundations, we believe that a committee of each House should have an opportunity to examine those amendments and those proposals.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I have many problems with the honourable senator's amendment. It is not an amendment. It is subsequent motion. He is not amending the report itself. It is a new motion, is it not?

Senator Day: I would thank Senator Cools. This is a motion to amend the motion to adopt the report. We should have included this in the report, but we did not. We have seen other reports with that provision. Rule 131(2) provides for that. However, we did not do that. Therefore, on behalf of the committee, I moved a motion to amend this report to add that provision, so that when, presumably, honourable senators accept the amendment, they will vote on the report as amended.

Senator Cools: The question is becoming even more muddied, because the proper place for a committee to amend a report —

Senator Lynch-Staunton: It is not amending a report.

Senator Cools: He just said so. He is amending the motion to adopt the report.

Senator Stratton: Perhaps the honourable senator would clarify that. My understanding is that he is amending the motion and not the report.

Senator Day: Thank you. Let me add to that by saying that I am doing this on behalf of the committee. At the time the committee adopted the report there was a motion that we would go through these steps and ask for this — in other words, that the report be sent to the minister, pursuant to our rules. We did not do it properly. We are now asking honourable senators to indulge us in that and to follow rule 131(2).

An Hon. Senator: Question!

Senator Cools: The proper way to have proceeded would have been to include that as one of the recommendations within the report. That would have been a better way.

However, I still have some problems with the phenomenon, because this committee has greater ability to bring these ministers before it than any other committee because this is the ministers' main business. Therefore, I do not understand why this is being requested.

Could the honourable senator tell the chamber what the possible impact of allowing this minister 150 days to respond could be on the final adoption of the report on these estimates?

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Senator Day: Honourable senators, that is such a speculative question that I truly cannot answer it.

The Hon. the Speaker: I see no other senator rising to speak. Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: I will put the question on the motion in amendment.

It was moved by the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ferretti Barth, that the motion be amended by adding the following words:

and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response to the report from the government, with the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance being identified as Ministers responsible for responding.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Cools: No.

Motion in amendment agreed to, on division.

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

Motion, as amended, agreed to and report adopted.

Third Interim Report of National Finance Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator LeBreton, for the adoption of the twelfth report (third interim) of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (2005-2006 Main Estimates—Officers of Parliament), tabled in the Senate on May 19, 2005.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, the twelfth report, third interim, of the Finance Committee on its study of the Main Estimates 2005-06 deals with another continuing mandate issue: officers of Parliament. Many senators have heard me speak to this issue in the past and I would expect that the debate will continue. Similar to the motion on the eleventh report, this motion should be amended.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I move, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ferretti Barth, that the motion be amended by adding the following words:

and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response to the report from the government, with the President of the Treasury Board being identified as Minister responsible for responding.

Again, I would urge all senators to read the report carefully. There are fewer recommendations in the twelfth report than in the eleventh report because the committee focused on two issues only: the remuneration for officers of Parliament and the appointment process.

The term "officer of Parliament" is the subject of our report because it is not a defined term, and it was therefore necessary to develop that definition in the first part of the report.

We looked at five officers of Parliament: the Chief Electoral Officer, the Auditor General, the Privacy Commissioner, the Information Commissioner and the Commissioner of Official Languages. Some believe that the Public Service Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Commission should be included as offices of Parliament. We did not adopt that definition. We talked to each of the above five officers to determine their major concerns and how things worked for them. As a result, the committee has three recommendations for consideration by the Senate.

Independence from government and from cabinet is the important feature of an officer of Parliament, as defined in the committee's report. Officers of Parliament review government mechanisms and structures and provide information under their mandate to both Houses in respect of their review. That provides parliamentarians with the background information and evidence to hold accountable ministers and their ministries. Independence is critical. Officers of Parliament are the agents of senators and members. Therefore, the committee recommends that these officers be appointed by parliamentarians rather than by Governor-in-Council. Parliamentarians should play a role in choosing the individuals who will be their agents.

There are various means available to appoint such officers and the committee has made a recommendation to that effect. As well, it is necessary to have an appropriate budget to do the job relevant to the issue of independence. The current budget process is such that the officers of Parliament develop a budget in conjunction with the Treasury Board Secretariat and it is then given to Treasury Board. Thus, the role of parliamentarians is to review these estimates and talk about them after the fact, fait accompli.

The Auditor General is one of several who have pointed out the importance of reconsidering the manner in which the budget for officers of Parliament is determined. We reviewed a number of models, and the committee has not recommended a specific one. One model includes the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons reviewing the budget of the officer and then presenting the agreed-upon budget to Treasury Board for inclusion in the Main Estimates, without any debate. Another model is to choose a committee of knowledgeable peers not connected with Parliament who would make the recommendation. I know the minds of honourable senators are racing ahead to the issue of fixing of judges' salaries and then tying parliamentarians' salaries to that. Each of these models brings with it a certain amount of experience and concern.

The committee did not study the issue in enough depth to make a final recommendation as to the manner in which it should be done, but it strongly recommends that officers of Parliament be independent. We must remember that they are our agents. They work for us to help us do our job. Therefore, we should play a more significant role in the manner in which they are appointed and the manner in which their funds are determined on an annual basis.

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Honourable senators, I would urge your support of this particular report, and I urge you to support the amendments so that we can continue the dialogue with Treasury Board.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion in amendment agreed to.

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

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

Motion, as amended, agreed to and report adopted.

National Blood Donor Week Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by the Honourable Senator Christensen, for the second reading of Bill S-29, respecting a National Blood Donor Week.—(Honourable Senator Stratton)

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I believe there are no further senators wishing to speak on this item at second reading.

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 Milne, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.

[Translation]

Personal Watercraft Bill

Second Reading

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 Massicotte)

Hon. Paul J. Massicotte: Honourable senators, I would like to speak at second reading to Bill S-12, concerning personal watercraft in navigable waters. First, I wish to thank Senator Spivak and her team for their open-mindedness, assistance and understanding with respect to the changes and to my approach to dealing with certain problems raised by the bill.

This bill has been before the Senate for a long time. When I examined it, I wondered whether there could be a simpler, administrative solution to regulate personal watercraft without having to introduce new legislation.

[English]

After many consultations with Senator Spivak's office, the Minister of Transport, and officials from the department, we have made significant progress toward resolving many of the personal watercraft problems, most of which relate to safety and noise.

First, the Department of Transport officials have confirmed their engagement to proceed with a new draft set of guidelines based on a U.S. model bill. These guidelines will be posted on the Department of Transport's website. The guidelines are also part of the personal watercraft pamphlet and will be available at all appropriate transport offices.

Since the problem with personal watercraft is not necessarily the craft itself, but rather the behaviour of the person operating the craft, these guidelines would show personal watercraft users how to behave using such apparatus. In addition, the industry has had reservations and concerns about targeting only personal watercraft and not other vessels. These guidelines would target the behaviour and not the personal watercraft, per se.

Second, the Department of Transport will undertake a major marketing initiative in posting signage at strategic points where personal watercraft are more likely to congregate, reminding everyone of all the key safety rules. This initiative includes development of a plan that may involve the main manufacturers and may also include a parallel campaign to raise awareness with the enforcement community. I suspect that, after a certain time, this kind of campaign will create a momentum, reducing dangerous behaviours with watercraft on Canadian waters.

Finally, the Department of Transport has agreed to amend the Boating Restriction Regulations by adopting a schedule that, where local authorities so request, after appropriate public consultation with their constituents, all watercraft enter and depart designated shores in a straight line course of 200 metres perpendicular to shore. This suggestion came from Senator Spivak's office, given her experience with other countries. This regulation would ensure that bathers, kayakers, canoeists, fishermen and other people enjoying the shore area would be at far less risk of being injured or killed by an accidental personal watercraft encounter. This limit would also significantly reduce the noise problems that many cottage owners have complained about over the years.

From the industry's point of view, this new schedule would not single out personal watercraft, but would apply to all vessels. This is good progress.

[Translation]

The amendment will be part of the regulatory reform currently under way at the Department of Transport. The schedule would be published in Part 1 of the Canada Gazette in October 2005, with final publication in the Canada Gazette in September 2006.

[English]

These amendments are significant and would probably resolve the concerns addressed in Senator Spivak's personal watercraft bill. Therefore, I ask that if the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications is asked to study this bill, in light of its improvements, it should consider the withdrawal or refusal of Bill S-12, to give place rather to those modifications and to wait and see what the final needs are. There is no sense having new laws created just in case.

Hon. John Lynch-Staunton: Would the Honourable Senator Massicotte accept a question?

Senator Massicotte: Certainly.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: This bill has been through the Senate and the House twice. Rather than going through the agony of reconsidering it, why do we not agree now to send it back to House of Commons?

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Senator Massicotte: If the question is why the bill should be sent to committee, I am not sure it should be sent to committee, but that is the usual process. If the question is why not automatically approve a bill that has been previously approved and why did I make the effort to find solutions to the problems, it is because I am aware of the issue and the problems and think that a much more simple solution is to make amendments to the Personal Watercraft Act as it exists. Why create laws when they are not necessary?

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: I also have a question for Senator Massicotte. He spoke in his comments of model U.S. legislation. I am curious to know if that is because of situations that would apply in international waters, of which we have a great deal between our two countries.

Senator Massicotte: I take no credit for the water act. Senator Spivak has done an immense amount of research on the subject. A representative from her office and myself met with representatives of the transport department. They raised the example — and I do not think our government is aware of it — of a model act that exists in the United States for adoption by states. They are not prepared to adopt it, but they are prepared to post it on their websites as an example of how we should regulate or how operators of personal watercraft should use these machines. This model bill directs people on how they should use personal watercraft. It is an American example that comes to us with the help of Senator Spivak's office.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: If I may be a little clearer, my point is that this bill has been before us previously. As I recall, it was passed twice. It went to the House of Commons twice and died because of dissolution or prorogation; therefore, it is back here. Why do we have to review it a third time? Would Senator Massicotte agree that we have gone through witnesses, debates and everything? Why do we not agree now to send it to the House of Commons? Why must we go through a third review of this bill?

Senator Massicotte: That is a good question. The reason we should look at it a third time is that with the amendments the government has accepted to make, which they have authorized me to announce, I do not think the bill is necessary as it currently sits.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: Did the government make the amendments on the two previous occasions?

Senator Massicotte: I understand that, for some reason, the flexibility was not there. As parliamentarians, we owe it to Canada to seek improvements to regulations and to acts. I see it as my responsibility to make those efforts. For some reason, on this occasion, the government was flexible.

Senator Lynch-Staunton: I will let Senator Spivak have a last word. I would urge this chamber to move this bill as expeditiously as possible.

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): If there is new information, or indeed a new approach, it might be worthwhile to have the committee consider Senator Massicotte's comments and have the bill go through the regular procedure. I take Senator Lynch-Staunton's point that we have dealt with the bill before. However, if there is new information or a new approach or if there are new ideas or new solutions, we should hear about them.

The Hon. the Speaker: As I pointed out, honourable senators, Senator Spivak's intervention will have the effect of closing debate on the matter.

Hon. Mira Spivak: I will not speak to this bill again. I recognize the progress that has been made. It is not sufficient to address all of the issues that were raised in the bill. However, I am not opposed to having it go to committee briefly again in view of Senator Massicotte's concerns. My preference would be to send it to the House of Commons, but I bow to his concerns.

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 Spivak, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Moore, seconded by the Honourable Senator Phalen, for the second reading of Bill S-28, to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (student loan).—(Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C.)

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I would ask His Honour to put the question.

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 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 Moore, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

National Cancer Strategy Bill

Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Forrestall, seconded by the Honourable Senator LeBreton, for the second reading of Bill S-26, to provide for a national cancer strategy.—(Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.)

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I would ask that His Honour put the question for second reading.

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 bill read second time.

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Stratton, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.

[Later]

Spam Control Bill

Second Reading—Order Stands

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cochrane, for the second reading of Bill S-15, to prevent unsolicited messages on the Internet.—(Subject-matter referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on February 10, 2005)

Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: On a point of order, I seek clarification, honourable senators. There is a note attached to this Order Paper item stating "subject-matter referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on February 10, 2005"; therefore, why is the item called every day?

The Hon. the Speaker: The best answer I can give is that it stays on the Order Paper because presumably a senator may wish to speak.

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): That was the agreement.

The Hon. the Speaker: The bill is before a committee now without having been read a second time and passed. The agreement with all such items is that they remain on the Order Paper in their place until they come back to the Senate for debate.

Senator Corbin: Am I to understand that the matter could be debated in the house while the subject matter is in committee? Is that possible?

The Hon. the Speaker: Yes.

Order stands.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Nolin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, for the second reading of Bill S-23, to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (modernization of employment and labour relations).—(Honourable Senator Andreychuk)

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Unfortunately, Senator Nolin, who would like this bill to remain on the Order Paper, has been absent for a considerable length of time travelling on Senate business. He would ask, with the permission of honourable senators, that the clock be rewound on this bill.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

On motion of Senator Stratton, for Senator Nolin, debate adjourned.

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Efficacy of Government in Implementing Kyoto Protocol

Notice of Inquiry—Order Stands

On Inquiry No. 19:

By the Honourable Senator Andreychuk:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the failure of the government to address the issue of climate change in a meaningful, effective and timely way and, in particular, to the lack of early government action to attempt to reach the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol.

Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this matter stands in the name of Senator Andreychuk, but Senator McCoy has indicated that she would like to speak to it, although she is not here today. Could we adjourn the order in the name of Senator McCoy?

Hon. Terry Stratton (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Senator Andreychuk will return tonight. I wish to speak to her before I respond to that.

Order stands.

The Senate adjourned until Thursday, June 2, 2005, at 1:30 p.m.