Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, pursuant to written notice
given earlier this day, I rise to give oral notice that I shall raise a question
of privilege this day, Tuesday, October 18, 2005, with respect to two meetings
held in room 705 of the Victoria Building, one beginning on the morning of
October 17 and the other beginning on the morning of October 18 of this year
involving some members of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence and witnesses invited by the committee to testify.
As the meetings that are the source of my concern were held yesterday and
today, this is clearly the first opportunity at which this question might be
raised. My concern is that these meetings were not just in contravention of the
Rules of the Senate, but that the nature of the contraventions was such
that they infringe upon the ability of all senators to carry out their
Should you find that there is a prima facie question of privilege, I am
prepared to move the appropriate motion.
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, on
October 18, 2005, we mark several milestones of great importance to Canadians.
Today is Persons Day, a significant day for all Canadians and particularly here
in the Senate of Canada.
October is Women's History Month, and this year's theme — Women and War:
Contributions and Consequences — was chosen in recognition of the irreplaceable
role that women have filled in Canada during times of military conflict. As
honourable senators know, this year has been designated the Year of the Veteran
because it marks the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, a
war of monumental significance for Canada and in 20th century history.
The large numbers of men serving overseas in the war effort forced government
and industry to turn to women to fill the labour shortage. Toward the end of the
Second World War, women filled over 800,000 jobs in the Canadian economy, of
which more than a quarter of a million were in the munitions industries. Women
worked in every sector of employment — in the service industry, operating heavy
machinery on family farms, and overseas with the military or the Red Cross.
Women assumed a more visible role in society that highlighted their abilities
and potential to make a wider contribution to their country in peace time.
The Government of Canada hosted two events earlier this month at the Canadian
War Museum to recognize the contribution of women during periods of war. On
October 3, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and Veterans Affairs Minister Albina
Guarnieri presented a commemorative 1945 Victory Bond certificate to the museum
to recognize the men and women who served in the Canadian military, as well as
to recognize the importance of household finances to the nation's finances
during wartime. The following day, Françoise Boivin, member of Parliament for
Gatineau, on behalf of Liza Frulla, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister
responsible for Status of Women, unveiled a plaque at the museum that honours
the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Services.
Remarkable acts of heroism and sacrifice can pass unnoticed during times of
tribulation, and it has often been small, humanitarian acts by women that have
been lacking in the official record of Canada's war history. Women sent packages
overseas containing everyday necessities for soldiers and prisoners of war to
alleviate difficult conditions.
Women left to cope with the loss of husbands, brothers and sons formed social
networks that became the origins of many of today's social services. Their
experiences galvanized some to work toward world peace, and some to work through
religious and social organizations to build a more caring and tolerant society.
This Women's History Month, I encourage Canadians to reflect on the
contributions to our nation by all women who lived during times of military
conflict. Although these efforts were sometimes extraordinary, they were more
often commonplace but nonetheless remarkable. We have been immeasurably
fortunate to benefit from the courage, compassion and sacrifice of women on
behalf of their fellow citizens.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, 76 years ago today, the
Privy Council made its historic ruling in the Persons Case. That day was indeed
a landmark victory for all Canadian women in the struggle for equal rights.
While we continue to pursue many facets of this struggle, today we recognize
more than ever the many contributions and achievements of Canadian women, both
past and present.
As we celebrate Women's History Month with the theme "Women and War:
Contributions and Consequences," I am reminded of the words of the Famous Five
pioneer, Louise McKinney, who said:
The purpose of a woman's life is just the same as the purpose of a man's
life: that she may make the best possible contribution to her generation.
Honourable senators, many generations of women have served as powerful
examples of living such a life. We need look no further than women's huge
contributions in the time of war.
In 1941, for instance, the federal government enrolled more than 45,000 women
in military services other than nursing. The Canadian Women's Army Corps, CWAC,
was just one avenue that many followed. By the end of the Second World War, more
than 21,000 women had worn the uniform of the CWAC.
Subsequent generations of women also became involved. During the Korean War
in the early 1950s, more than 5,000 women were enrolled in Canada's war effort;
and decades later, in the Gulf War in 1991, Canadian women engaged in combat for
the first time.
Today, the number of women who are active in the Canadian Forces is simply
unprecedented, a staggering number. More than 7,000 women are members of our
armed forces. In our reserve forces, the numbers are even greater. Currently,
more than 15,500 women serve as reservists, representing 18 per cent of Canada's
Canadian women have bequeathed a truly remarkable legacy to today's young
women and to generations to come. Like Senator Austin, I encourage all
honourable senators to participate in Women's History Month, whether through
attendance at special events or by simply listening to stories and celebrating
the people who inspired them.
It is of paramount importance that all Canadians be aware of the countless
achievements of women and their contributions to this great nation. After all,
as Nellie McClung once said: "People must know the past to understand the
present and to face the future." I would certainly agree with that.
Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, I rise today to
acknowledge Mental Illness Awareness Week, which was celebrated from October 3
to 10. Canada is looking forward to the report of the Standing Senate Committee
on Social Affairs, Science and Technology on mental health with great interest
and great hope.
Each of us individually can make a difference. We can offer our encouragement
and support to someone living with mental illness and to their family. We can
mobilize all the passion, humanity and experience in our communities to prevent
isolation and the stigma associated with mental illness.
Above all, honourable senators, I ask you to consider the emotional
development of children in your families and in your communities because mental
illness and early childhood development are inextricably linked. I refer
honourable senators to the book entitled, Emotional Intelligence, by
Daniel Goleman. Good emotional development — high emotional IQ — from birth can
prevent many mental illnesses, many addictions, and much loneliness and despair,
and can modify the course of genetically acquired mental illnesses. Low
emotional IQ is linked to school dropout, crime and suicide.
Strong coping skills, strong empathy, strong self-esteem and so much more
begin in the home and are strengthened for many children by quality child care
and by the magic to be found in our libraries and playgrounds long before
children enter the doors of our schools. Children develop their emotional IQ as
they discover themselves, the world and life itself, with all its possibilities.
Sadly, too many children never attain their potential.
Honourable senators, we will always be fighting an uphill battle against
mental illness unless we accept our parental and community responsibilities to
offer each child the emotional nurturing required for strong neural development
and, ultimately, for strong human beings who can deal positively with the life
challenges faced by every man, woman and child throughout life.
Yet, we know that these challenges are faced disproportionately by children
and youth whose earliest years have been marked by abuse, bullying, family
turmoil and a lack of resources in the home and in the community — a failure to
make early childhood development a priority and a failure to intervene at the
earliest possible signs of mental, social and emotional problems.
Yesterday, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, said: "This
is unbearable.... The scourge of youth suicide cannot be ignored.... As a
mother, this is something I cannot accept."
Honourable senators, you and I have so many opportunities to touch the lives
of others and to call forth the best in our communities. Let us use the
privileged position we have been given to work hard and to reach out to our
fellow Canadians, especially children and youth. Let "Each one reach one" be our
commitment, our mantra.
Honourable senators, could we take up this challenge to a greater extent than
before, so that Mental Illness Awareness Week remains alive? Let us not forget
that prevention is our best hope.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, when Terry Fox reached
Prince Edward Island in 1980 during his legendry Marathon of Hope run across
Canada, he crossed the Northumberland Strait by ferry. On Sunday, September 18,
to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of this heroic young man's achievements,
more than 14,000 people walked, jogged and rode by wheelchair over the
13-kilometre Confederation Bridge. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic for
only the second time since its completion seven years ago in order to
accommodate this unique event, the purpose of which was to raise money for
It was a remarkable morning. The tail-end of Hurricane Ophelia made for some
interesting weather conditions, but that did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of
Islanders and other Atlantic Canadians who made the crossing. Good food and
entertainment helped keep spirits high. I walked the Confederation Bridge with
my granddaughter, Carolyn Crossman, who crossed in a stroller during the
inaugural 1997 walk held in conjunction with the official opening of the bridge.
Honourable senators, cancer affects everyone, even children. It was
heartening to see schools from across the Island take part in this worthwhile
event. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope was
commemorated in every province in Canada, not just in my province. I am proud to
say that Prince Edward Island was the only province with 100 per cent
participation from its schools.
The Confederation Bridge walk was an exciting and meaningful adventure for my
family, but I would like to acknowledge the work of the many volunteers who made
it such a success. The view from the navigation span of the Confederation Bridge
is dramatic and inspiring — much like the spirit of a forever-young Terry Fox.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the pleasure to table copies of the nine commissions, dated
September 27, 2005, appointing the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada as
deputies of the Governor General, to do in Her Excellency's name all acts on her
part necessary to be done during Her Excellency's pleasure.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government
response to the seventeenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human
Rights on the issue of on-reserve matrimonial real property.
Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights
of Parliament, which revises the October 2004 edition of the Rules of the
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-11, to establish a procedure for
the disclosure of wrongdoings in the public sector, including the protection of
persons who disclose the wrongdoings.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Rompkey, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second
reading two days hence.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 23(6), I have
the honour to table in the Senate, in both official languages, the report of the
Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting
its participation to the meeting of the Committee for Economic Affairs and
Development at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD,
held in Paris, France, June 17, 2005, and its participation to the third part of
the 2005 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
held in Strasbourg, France, June 20 to 24, 2005.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present a
petition on behalf of Canadians calling on Parliament to amend the Canada Health
Act and corresponding regulations to include Intensive Behavioural
Intervention/Applied Behavioural Analysis, IBI/ABA, therapy for people with
autism as a medically necessary treatment and to require that all provinces
provide or fund this essential treatment for autism. Petitioners are also
calling for the creation of chairs at universities in each of the provinces to
do studies and research on the matter.
As was Senator LeBreton's petition, this petition was given to me by a
remarkable 12-year-old named Joshua Bortolotti. Twenty-one months ago, Joshua's
sister Sophia was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Joshua has talked to
many of us on the Hill. One cannot help but be moved by seeing this young man
working on behalf of his sister.
Since that time, Joshua's family has learned about the limited availability
of services, how long the waiting lists are for this treatment, and the
discriminatory cut-off age of approximately six for necessary publicly funded
Honourable senators, it is in Joshua's honour that I present this petition
Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, a Conference Board of Canada
report published today has found that of the top 12 OECD countries for which it
annually measures economic and other important indicators of performance, Canada
has ranked dead last in an overall economic indicator that combines GDP data per
capita, inflation, employment growth, unemployment rate and other key measures.
Last year, Canada ranked sixth, and the year before that we were third. The
report goes on to say that Canada is simply not living up to its brand as a
wealthy, environmentally responsible, socially conscious, healthy society.
Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate please advise us what went
wrong? Why has Canada fallen so far behind under this government's watch?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, it
is nice to have a question from Senator Angus. To continue with the reference to
the report that he identified, the report says, "Canada remains one of the best
countries in the world in which to live," and "our economic, social and
environmental performance stacks up well against the world's best."
The numbers that the honourable senator mentioned are numbers in the
Conference Board of Canada study; namely, that Canada, in their ranking, is
twelfth, down from sixth last year. This change in ranking is attributed to
weaker productivity and investment spending.
There is no question that improving our productivity is absolutely essential
to our economic future. The government has been addressing this issue. I am sure
that senators are aware of the concerns expressed by the Minister of Finance,
the Honourable Ralph Goodale, with respect to productivity. Productivity is
achieved by an overall effort of the community. It is not the responsibility of
government alone. I am sure Senator Angus recognizes that it is the
responsibility of private investors, the business community and individual
The government has made key investments in education and training because
critical to productivity is the need for a world-class workforce. Honourable
senators will be familiar with the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, which has
now invested more than $9 billion in research and development to create, at the
highest levels in our society, the most innovative economy that can be created.
We have pursued significant issues in trade and are achieving the opening of
markets in which we have not hitherto traditionally been important traders.
Most important, honourable senators, is that this government has followed the
soundest macroeconomic policies of any country in the developed world.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Austin: Surely I need not recite here our performance, which
includes eight surpluses in our government budgeting process, which have created
the opportunity to supply to the provinces $41 billion for health care.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
Senator Austin: Is that not an accomplishment? Of course it is.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Austin: To assist in productivity, we have one of the lowest
rates of inflation of any of the developed economies. That rate continues, and I
hope it will continue well into the next mandate of the Liberal government.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Tkachuk: Can we have a time out?
Senator Austin: No, the question is too important to give a summary
answer. It is a critical question as Senator Angus often, but not universally,
Honourable senators, we should bear in mind that while we have to address the
questions of productivity, which the Minister of Finance has raised and which
are raised in other places, including the Conference Board of Canada, we are, to
return to the Conference Board report, "one of the best countries in the world."
Senator Angus: Honourable senators, I am sure we are all grateful to
the Leader of the Government in the Senate for that lecture on the meaning of
Honourable senators, this government has been talking about productivity and
innovation since the very day it was elected, with nothing to show for it beyond
press releases, media opportunities and study piled upon study.
Eleven years ago, in October 1994, in a document entitled, pretentiously I
might suggest, "A New Framework for Economic Policy," the Right Honourable Prime
Minister Paul Martin stated that the key to stronger growth is increased
productivity through more innovative and efficient combinations of people,
ideas, capital and resources. The Prime Minister has spent more than nine of
these intervening 11 years since as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister.
Why has the Prime Minister failed so miserably to implement a productivity
agenda that will deliver real results and not have us lagging behind our
partners in the industrialized world?
Senator Austin: With respect to the issue of productivity, there are
systemic issues with which we have to deal. Honourable senators are aware of
Honourable senators have seen our measures to deal with the cities and an
attack on the infrastructure problems that have emerged there.
Honourable senators have seen us deal with the issue of productivity when it
comes to daycare for families in this country.
There are any number of measures being taken. However, I assure Senator Angus
that he will be delighted to see the forthcoming budget of the Minister of
Finance in February 2006.
Senator Angus: The honourable senator is a harbinger of good news. I
am sure all honourable senators have seen the report of the Banking Committee
which was filed in this chamber in June of this year. The report is a special
study on productivity and is entitled Falling Behind: Answering the Wake-up
The Banking Committee heard experts from around the world. Committee members
rendered the verdict collectively, as reported in this report, that we are
indeed lagging behind. It outlined a recipe of measures to fix the problem, none
of which were mentioned either in detail or en passant by the answer just given
by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Has the government taken notice of this report? Is it implementing the
suggestions, so clearly detailed in this report, to improve our performance?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on
Banking, Trade and Commerce did exceptional public policy work in dealing with
the issue of productivity in this country. Exceptional work is the committee's
The issue of productivity is one that concerns all Canadians. Government has
to be a spark plug in dealing with the issue of productivity. The government is
that spark plug and will continue to be that spark plug.
Honourable senators, I did deal, en passant, with the question. I referred to
the forthcoming budget in February 2006. Being an objective and fair-minded
observer of these issues, I am sure Senator Angus will be pleased to see the
additional measures that the government will be taking at that time.
Senator Tkachuk: Perhaps the honourable leader could tell us what is
Senator Forrestall: How long after that will the election come?
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I welcome back the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is terribly good to see that the
honourable senator is back to giving his charming speeches.
Can the leader tell us the timetable for the proposed omnibus purchase of
fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, tactical transport aircraft, a
replacement for the Hercules and the new army medium-lift helicopters, a package
of some $7 billion or $8 billion?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, at
this moment, I cannot provide a timetable.
First, I will have to get used to Senator Forrestall rising in his new seat.
I was looking to his old seat when I heard his voice. I congratulate him on now
being in the front row. Now that I know where he is, I will try to address him
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, after 40 years I am entitled
to some respect.
There have been news reports that the government is intending a process of
sole sourcing of the contracts that I have just been talking about. The Boeing
Chinook leaps to mind quite readily. It is a piece of equipment which, after
refurbishing it, we got rid of in 1994 by selling it to the Netherlands. Can the
Leader of the Government give us some indication that the government is prepared
to commit to a fair and open competition to replace these assets in the reported
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I am most interested in Senator
Forrestall's representation because in past questions he has urged a more rapid
procurement process, given the needs of the military to be in more updated
equipment at the earliest time. I now hear him saying that what is most
important in public policy is that there be open and, obviously, fair and
transparent procurement processes. As Senator Forrestall knows, that does delay
the availability of equipment. It serves other public policy purposes, but it
sometimes delays the ability to put updated military equipment into the hands of
I will take the honourable senator's representations into account.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, the minister will appreciate
that 4,073 days ago I asked if the government would replace the Sea King. I am
still waiting for an answer.
Could the Leader of the Government give us an undertaking to bring to this
chamber, in some fashion, the timetable for these critical and crucial purchases
so that Canadians, in particular members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have
to use this equipment, will have some idea of what is happening?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, among us all, Senator Forrestall
is one who most understands the military procurement process. He understands as
well that the military is not of one mind with respect to the criteria required
for any particular application.
Having the military settle on the agreed criteria, we then have experienced,
over time, new requests and changes in procurement as new information becomes
available to those who are the clients of the process, in particular the
There are difficulties in producing a timetable, as I have just explained.
However, I will make inquiries and endeavour to provide a delayed answer to
Senator Forrestall when it is provided to me.
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, my question for the Leader of
the Government in the Senate concerns the consequences to Canada, and to
thousands of border communities along the U.S. border, of an American policy
known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. As honourable senators will
know, by December 31 of next year, all people entering the United States will
have to carry a passport, if they travel by aircraft. A year thereafter, all
people entering the United States by land will have to carry a passport. That
will result in some 7.7 million fewer visitors to our country, according to the
Conference Board of Canada.
In view of the imminent visit of the American Secretary of State, and despite
the government's dallying with all kinds of interesting threats with respect to
energy, and cozying up to China as opposed to dealing with our primary trading
relationship, perhaps I could ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to
indicate whether representations have been made to work directly with the
Department of Homeland Security on this issue and, if not, why not?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
appreciate the substantive part of Senator Segal's question and I will endeavour
to address it.
The government has been making representations to the United States'
administration with respect to the border issues that have been raised by
Senator Segal. There are ongoing discussions with respect to the American policy
that he has outlined. Senator Segal and other colleagues will have noted some
American political leaders, even Senator Hillary Clinton, asking for a review by
the administration of these policies.
The question of border crossings affects both countries. Senator Segal and
others know that there are a number of border communities in the United States
that would be significantly impacted if Canadians travelled in substantially
fewer numbers to the United States. It is an ongoing and significant topic, and
it is being pursued in bilateral discussions between Canada and the United
With respect to the gratuitous political comment, I see that Senator Segal
wants to join one of the senior Quebec Conservative politicians in departing
from the policies of the Leader of the Opposition in the other place. Mr. Cannon
had very interesting new ideas for Mr. Harper on Kyoto and the environment and,
as Senator Segal — who is a close observer of public policy — may have noted,
Mr. Harper was very keen about trading with China, and enhancing and diverting
trade to China. At this early time, Senator Segal seems to be prepared to ask
Mr. Harper to adjust his thinking.
Senator Segal: Honourable senators, I appreciate the Leader of the
Government's attentiveness to what various members of our party are saying. I
think that is prudent on his part because our party is actually preparing to
form a government that will be responsive to Canada-U.S. relations, and that
will take the U.S. relationship seriously. As the Leader of the Government in
the Senate knows, the Leader of the Opposition in the other place called for the
appointment of a special envoy on softwood lumber.
My question to the Leader of the Government is as follows: He will know that
the President of the United States and as well, as he indicated, Senator
Clinton, have indicated that they think the notion of necessarily requiring a
passport all the time does not make economic sense. Sadly, the Department of
Homeland Security and the Department of the Secretary of State are still
pursuing that policy. That gives the government a rare opportunity to make a
representation while Secretary Rice is here in Canada. I would like the Leader
of the Government to give us an assurance in this chamber that that
representation will be made in the strongest possible way by the Prime Minister.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, with respect to the last point
made by Senator Segal, I believe I have already answered it, although it is not
harmful for him to repeat his question.
We are making strenuous representations because of the economic and social
impacts that those measures adopted by Congress with respect to border security
would have on both countries. There is an examination going on at a very high
level between the two countries to determine how both policy objectives can be
achieved; that is, easy access and egress across the border for citizens of both
countries and the security issues that are important to both countries.
With respect to, again, the political rhetoric, I am delighted that the
honourable senator's party is endeavouring to prepare itself to be a government
one day in the future, and that future will always be there, Senator Segal,
ahead of you. Of course, there is no one here who would deny the importance, in
the Westminster system, of governments alternating, but of course the
alternation requires a party to prove to the Canadian people that it is ready.
That is the litmus test. Welcome to the game.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, now that the labour dispute
at the CBC and Radio-Canada has been settled, there are some matters pertaining
to the governance of that corporation in such circumstances on which Parliament
should have some information. My particular interest is in the role of the board
of directors and of the government in representing the shareholder.
First, did the board of directors sign off on the management strategy to lock
out the union members? If they did not, or if they were not consulted, why not?
Second. did the board of directors, or a committee thereof, monitor the
dispute as it evolved and offer advice or instructions to the management?
Third, did the government, as representing the shareholder, give any advice
or instructions to the board of directors, as they would be entitled to do in a
matter such as this?
Finally, when the minister is bringing in the answers to those questions,
would he also table a list — and I know it is public knowledge already — of the
names of the directors of CBC and Radio-Canada, the dates of their appointment
and the mandates and terms of office under which they are serving?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with
respect to the last point, I have no problem in tabling the list in question,
although, as Senator Murray says, it is easily accessible on the Internet and in
so many other places.
With respect to the balance of his question, with regard to the role of the
board of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I will have to take notice of
that question. Senator Murray is asking for specific information and it may or
may not be available to the government.
The federal Crown is a shareholder, but by its legislation the CBC operates
independently of any direction by the Government of Canada in the ordinary
course of its affairs. As I say, I will take notice of the question and provide
whatever answer I can provide.
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I do not want to prolong this
discussion, but I would draw the attention of the minister to the document put
out by the President of the Treasury Board some weeks ago on the governance of
Crown corporations, in which he establishes very clearly the responsibility of
the board of directors at the heart of those Crown corporations and of their
accountability through a minister to Parliament. Therefore, I offer the view
that nothing I have asked for ought to be unavailable to Parliament.
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, statements have been made by
Minister John McCallum and other government members that the government is
obligated to provide a severance package to David Dingwall. Could the Leader of
the Government in the Senate advise whether there were any conversations between
Mr. Dingwall and the government, either directly or through a representative,
prior to his resignation in which the terms of his resignation were discussed?
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I
have no information on this subject other than the statements made by Minister
McCallum in the other place, which are available to all senators.
Senator Tkachuk: If there were no such conversations — or perhaps
there were; I do not know and obviously the minister here does not know either —
could the Leader of the Government advise the Senate as to precisely how it was
determined that Mr. Dingwall may be owed severance?
Senator Austin: Minister McCallum has answered that question several
times in the other place. I will speak with him personally to see if I can add
anything to the answer.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, Minister McCallum is a member of
the cabinet. He may have given that answer to the House of Commons, but he is
not a member of the Senate, the last I heard. Perhaps it is the obligation of
the Leader of the Government in the Senate to advise senators here. He is a
member of the cabinet. He must have approved. How was it determined that Mr.
Dingwall may be owed severance?
Senator Austin: I understand the honourable senator's interest in the
answer to the question. I will make inquiries to see if I can add anything to
the answers that Minister McCallum has given in the other place.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, does the government have, in
fact, a written legal opinion that the severance is payable? If so, could the
government leader report back to the Senate, first, with the name of the person
or law firm that provided the opinion, and second, could he table the precise
facts on which the opinion was based?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, Minister McCallum has said in the
other place that he has no written opinion. He has received verbal advice from
law officers of the Crown. It is not the practice to identify law officers of
the Crown specifically.
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, is it the position of the
government that any head of a Crown corporation who resigns voluntarily before
his term is over is entitled to severance? For example, John McCallum appointed
his former Royal Bank colleague Gordon Feeney as Chairman of Canada Post. Is it
not a matter of government policy that severance is paid if Mr. Feeney or any of
the other defeated Liberal candidates who are working for the Apprenticeship
Advisory Committee, Crown corporations or as ambassadors voluntarily resign
before their term is up?
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, the minister responsible, the
Honourable John McCallum, has advised that he will follow the employment law as
it is advised to him by the officers of the Crown. The circumstances of any
particular situation may vary and there is no specific and sole rule of thumb
with respect to these circumstances. They each have to be taken on precise
Senator Tkachuk: I will take as much licence with time as the Leader
of the Government has and quote Howard Levitt, the editor of Dismissal and
Employment Law Digest, who wrote in the National Post on October 6:
If the monies are truly being paid based upon legal advice, as alleged,
there are only three possibilities, none of which are palatable to the
Dingwall did not actually resign but was fired. It is not uncommon for
dismissed employees to be offered the option of "resigning" on the basis
that it looks better on their resumes. But the government is denying that
this is what occurred;
Dingwall had signed an initial employment contract permitting him to
resign, at any time, and collect severance as if he had been fired. If the
government is encouraging employees to resign in that fashion, that would be
a scandalous abuse of public funds...
That is our point. A cheque is being written to Mr. Dingwall. We have the
minister of the government in this place saying he does not have to tell us or
he does not know. Public money is being given to a former Liberal cabinet
minister for seemingly no reason whatsoever that we are able to ascertain. This
is a serious matter of public policy, and the minister should address it.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, the terms of employment of any
person by the Government of Canada are affected by the prevailing laws of
employment in Canada, and Minister McCallum has advised the other place that he
will apply those laws. I cannot add anything further to the words of the
minister responsible for this particular file.
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, the next four items are delayed answers to oral questions raised in
the Senate, and they are as follows: The first delayed answer is in response to
a question raised on June 28, 2005, by Senator Tkachuk, concerning lobbyist
contingency fees. The next delayed answer is in response to a question raised on
July 19, 2005, by Senator Cochrane, concerning comments by the Minister of
Social Development regarding early learning and child care. The next is in
response to a question raised on July 18, 2005, by Senator Forrestall regarding
the denial of benefits to a former JTF2 soldier. The last is a response to a
question on September 28, 2005, by Senator Meighen regarding the potential
liquefied natural gas terms analysis on Passamaquoddy Bay.
(Response to question raised by Hon. David Tkachuk on June 28, 2005)
The Lobbyists Registration Act requires lobbyists to disclose
whether they charge contingency fees. The Act only requires lobbyists to
disclose whether or not they charge contingency fees for a particular
undertaking. When a lobbyist registers, this information is added to the
Public Registry of Lobbyists.
The Act does not regulate the charging of contingency fees by lobbyists.
Policies on contingency fees relating to federal contracts, grants and
contributions are set out in Treasury Board's policies.
The Registrar of Lobbyists administers the Lobbyists Registration Act
in an independent manner.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Ethel Cochrane on July 19, 2005)
Under the new national early learning and child care initiative,
participating governments have agreed to work towards an early learning and
child care system that is universally inclusive and affordable to Canadian
However, building an inclusive and affordable system will take time, and
services may not be available to every family that want them within the next
The intent is that over time, parents who want to access these services
could do so, at an affordable cost. Services would be open and responsive,
without discrimination to young children, including those with particular
Provinces and territories will have the flexibility to determine how to
enhance their early learning and child care systems, based on the particular
needs of their communities. Federal funds will support a mix of services that
could include child care in regulated family day homes, nursery schools, child
care centres, and preschools. Funds will also support measures to improve
quality and make early learning and child care more affordable.
Governments recognize there are some groups with particular challenges in
accessing regulated early learning and child care, including rural families
and families with non-traditional work hours. With the significant increase in
funding available under this initiative (an average 45 per cent increase
across the country), provinces and territories will have a greater capacity to
develop innovative programs for families with more challenging needs.
Experts working in the area of rural child care have confirmed that it is
possible to deliver innovative, regulated early learning and child care
programs in rural communities. They note that such programs will require more
flexibility, and may be more costly, but that they can be delivered without
sacrificing the provision of quality care.
This new initiative is a major step forward and will go a long way in
helping to build an early learning and child care system that is accessible
and affordable to Canadian parents.
The new initiative will not provide a regulated early learning and child
care space for every child under age six in Canada. Rather, it will begin
removing the systematic barriers that have prevented some families from
participating in these programs and services, including families living in
(Response to question raised by Hon. J. Michael Forrestall on July 18,
VAC awards disability pensions to all eligible veterans and Canadian Forces
members for service-related disability or death.
As part of the application process, VAC requests all necessary medical and
service information from DND to support a member's disability pension claim.
VAC and DND have been working closely through the DND-VAC Centre to obtain
necessary information for the VAC disability pension program while respecting
the need to protect information related to national security.
Any member of the Canadian Forces who suffers a service related disability
is eligible for a disability pension. The Minister of Veterans Affairs is
prepared to have her officials immediately review any case brought to her
attention where there is any doubt about the member's ability to obtain the
Any members injured while deployed to a Special Duty Area, such as
Afghanistan, including members of Joint Task Force 2, are eligible for and are
receiving VAC disability pension and related health care benefits. DND is also
providing pensions and service coordination to the surviving spouses and
children of Veterans who are killed in the line of duty. As of September 14,
2005, 21 veterans and their families are receiving VAC benefits as a result of
service in this Special Duty Area.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Michael A. Meighen on September 28,
The Government of Canada is aware of the proposals to construct Liquefied
Natural Gas (LNG) receiving terminals on Passamaquoddy Bay and the St. Croix
River estuary and the concerns that the local inhabitants have expressed
regarding these proposals.
The decision to restrict the use of Head Harbour Passage in 1976 by oil
tankers carrying more than 5,000 cubic meters of oil was made only after
studies conducted by the federal government indicated that there were
considerable environmental risks to Canada. The government is initiating a
study to examine the full range of impacts that the potential construction of
LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay would have on the Canadian side of the
border. This study will include environmental, transportation and
socio-economic considerations. When the results of this analysis are completed
the Government will make a decision in the light of the findings and other
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before calling Orders of
the Day, I would like to introduce our new pages. First, we have Joseph-Daniel
Law. Joseph is from Tecumseh, Ontario. He is currently in his third year at the
School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.
Next is Breagh Dabbs. Breagh was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon. She is
currently in her second year at Carleton University, majoring in political
science and international relations.
Finally, we have Rachel Dares. Rachel was born and raised in Toronto. She is
currently in her third year of journalism studies at Carleton University.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons returning Bill S-31, to authorize the
construction and maintenance of a bridge over the St. Lawrence River and a
bridge over the Beauharnois Canal for the purpose of completing Highway 30, and
acquaint the Senate that they had passed this bill, without amendment.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cochrane, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, for the third reading of Bill S-12, An
Act concerning personal watercraft in navigable waters.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Madeleine Plamondon: Honourable senators, the aim of Bill S-12 is
to make it possible to ban or restrict the use of personal watercraft on
navigable waters. Therefore, pursuant to this bill and after public
consultation, a local authority may adopt a resolution proposing to the minister
that the use of personal watercraft on navigable waterways be forbidden or
The bill raises questions that, to my knowledge, have not been addressed. Is
the federal government's jurisdiction over navigation truly obvious to everyone?
Is navigation the only criterion needed to declare that the federal government
has jurisdiction? If we navigate on non-navigable waterways or ones declared
non-navigable by the courts, does the federal government still have
jurisdiction? Does a waterway that is not navigable in its natural state, but
which becomes navigable as a result of human intervention fall under federal
jurisdiction, such as the Rideau Canal?
Another aspect that was not raised is the minister's regulatory power. The
justification being given for the minister's involvement is the federal
government's jurisdiction over navigation. A local authority might consult the
community and, for health, safety or environmental reasons, adopt a resolution
forcing the minister to make regulations forbidding or restricting the use of
personal watercraft, provided that navigation would not be impeded.
I am no expert in this field, but it seems to me that some clarification is
needed. In truth, I am puzzled by the bill's approach. First, can federal
legislation grant jurisdiction to a local authority in order to adopt a
resolution on health, safety and the environment, which traditionally fall under
provincial jurisdiction or are at least shared with the provinces?
Also, can a resolution by a local authority force the federal minister to act
in his exclusive jurisdiction over shipping? In other words, could the federal
legislator confer jurisdiction on a local authority, which, in exercising this
jurisdiction, would be forcing the federal government to exercise its
jurisdiction over shipping?
Finally, could excluding the provincial authorities cause problems down the
In addition, I am wondering why the bill deals only with personal watercraft,
when there are many other types of craft. I am also wondering about the
consultation process involving local communities and residents referred to in
the bill. We all know that, in resort areas, the population is higher during the
summer months. This means that a majority made up of summer residents could
impose its views on permanent residents. Is that really democratic? Is that the
best way to make things happen? What will happen in the case of waterways or
lakes bordering on more than one municipality? Have recent technological
advances been taken into consideration? It may be that the reasons for many of
the complaints about personal watercraft have been worked out to a large extent.
The regulatory context has changed as well. As our colleague Senator Céline
Hervieux-Payette issue mentioned on December 13, 2004, relevant regulations
already exist and Bill S-12 is a duplication. Regulations restricting the use of
vessels have been made under the Canada Shipping Act and also apply to personal
These regulations provide an age limit for using and operating vessels,
designate how far a vessel can go from shore, set speed restrictions, and
provide the possibility of restricting and banning the use of vessels and
personal watercraft on Canadian waters.
Regarding the application of the regulations, a designated authority or the
designated provincial authority can ask the federal minister to submit their
sector to the restrictions. The number of orders issued under this regulatory
control shows that the regulations restricting the use of watercraft are
commonly used. Nonetheless, some improvements could be made on a practical level
and on how quickly an order can be obtained.
It is also surprising to see that it was not until June 21, 2005, as far as I
know, that a Transport Canada representative informed the committee that the
issue was resolved and under control. According to this representative's
account, there are more than 2,000 restriction orders in Canada. These orders
are issued at the request of local communities and in consultation with
provincial authorities. These orders cover both vessels and personal watercraft.
The regulatory control is working, but it can be improved.
In closing, this bill does not take into account the technological advances
of recent years, it addresses personal watercraft only, and it duplicates
existing regulatory controls and risks causing jurisdictional problems.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein moved second reading of Bill S-43, to
amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings).—(Honourable Senator Grafstein)
He said: Honourable senators, Bill S-43 is a simple amendment to clarify a
gap in the Criminal Code. It is proposed that section 83.01 of the Criminal Code
be amended by adding the following after subsection (1.1):
(1.2) For greater certainty, a suicide bombing comes within paragraphs (a)
and (b) of the definition "terrorist activity" in subsection (1).
This amendment would clearly establish "suicide bombing," per se, as a
criminal offence. Over the last four years, the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe, the world's largest international governmental and
parliamentary organization dedicated to human rights, has consistently passed
numerous unanimous resolutions condemning suicide bombing as "a crime against
From Vladivostok to Vancouver, 55 states, including Canada, are active
members of the OSCE. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly emerged in 1990 from the
Helsinki Process that started in 1974. Honourable senators will recall that this
was the beginning of the thaw in the Cold War. In order to inform senators about
the appropriate international context, I have placed on the Order Paper of the
Senate as the subject of an inquiry the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's most
recent resolution on suicide bombing. This resolution recites a more than
four-year history of the OSCE resolution, and was adopted once again unanimously
at the fourth annual OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Washington on July 5, 2005.
Canada, as an active state of the OSCE, has repeatedly supported resolutions
declaring suicide bombing as a "crime against humanity." The obvious purpose of
this amendment is to conform Canada's international principles and practices to
our domestic criminal law. This amendment, of course, fully accords with Jewish,
Christian and Muslim teachings against the intentional taking of innocent lives
by the tragic action of a person or persons committing suicide.
Last July 18, this summer, in response to London suicide bombings on July 7,
more than 500 British Muslim religious leaders and scholars, after expressing
condolences to the families of the victims, issued a fatwa that explicitly
condemns "The use of violence and the destruction of innocent lives." "Suicide
bombings," the fatwa states, "are vehemently prohibited." This fatwa was
proclaimed by the British Muslim Forum, or the BMF, outside the British Houses
of Parliament. There, the BMF Secretary-General, Gul Muhammad, quoted the Koran,
saying: "Whoever kills a human being ... then it is as though he has killed all
mankind; and whoever saves a human life, it is as though he had saved all
mankind." That is a quote from the Koran, Surah al-Maidah (5), paragraph 5,
Mr. Muhammad went on to say that, "Islam's position is clear and unequivocal:
Murder of one soul is the murder of the whole of humanity; he who shows no
respect for human life is an enemy of humanity." Approximately 50 Muslim leaders
and scholars from around the U.K. stood together outside the Houses of
Parliament in London, in support, as Mr. Muhammad publicly read out this fatwa.
In a separate public statement the British Muslim Forum, with nearly 300
mosques in the U.K. affiliated to it, noted that "This fatwa will be read out in
mosques across Britain on July 22," and it was. This public statement also
stated: "We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism in the world." Then,
40 Islamic leaders and scholars, at a meeting at London's Islamic Cultural
Centre organized by the Muslim Council of Britain, a different organization,
issued yet another declaration denouncing suicide bombings.
Even before the time of Moses, the taking of human life intentionally was
prohibited. Witness the story of Cain and Abel. This was encapsulated in the
sixth of the Ten Commandments. At Sinai, in the covenant that Moses unveiled,
the idea of freedom was limited or circumscribed by the Ten Commandments. One
tablet dealt with honour, respect; the other dealt with human beings. That
Decalogue is found in the Old Testament, in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17.
The original Aramaic text of the Old Testament uses different words for
intentional versus unintentional killing. The King James Version, in modern
translations, now uses this translation: "You shall not murder." This
translation more linguistically nuances and more closely represents the original
meaning of the ancient Hebrew text. The original Hebrew word is "tirtzach" and
that ordinarily refers to the intentional killing without cause. The root word
of that word in the Ten Commandments is "ratzach" which ordinarily means the
intentional killing without cause.
The Talmud explained, in reference to suicides, "For the world was created
for only one individual to indicate that he who destroys one human life is
considered as though he destroyed the whole world." Hebrew law considered
accidental killing as not punishable. The Old Testament distinguished carefully
between intentional murder without cause and accidental killing. Thus, in the
Old Testament, "Cities of Refuge" were designated so that an unintentional
killer could flee to escape revenge or retribution. Under the Old Testament,
breaking other sacred laws such as honouring the Sabbath is permissible if
breaking that law will help save a human life. To protect one's own life against
intentional murder by another, the law of self-defense is likewise permissible.
Christian theology, including Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Rites
denominations, make it equally clear, prohibiting intentional murder of innocent
people. In Matthew 19:18, Jesus is quoted to have said: "Thou shalt do no
murder." Killing in self-defence is also not deemed murder in the New Testament.
As for suicides, Corinthians 6:19-20 prohibits the taking of one's own life.
Those more familiar in this chamber with the Christian coda might be more
expansive on Christian theology on the question of the intentional taking of
innocent lives with mens rea.
The rationale for our Criminal Code is to be precise, to ensure that crimes
are proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Strict onus of proof remains with the
state, so clarity is essential when the Criminal Code and the power of the state
are arraigned against any person. Is there any reason whatsoever not to clarify
the Criminal Code and make suicide bombings an express criminal offence? On a
careful reading of our Criminal Code and the Anti-terrorism Act, there is no
specific criminal offence of suicide bombing. A specific prohibition against
suicide bombing would directly assist in prosecuting both those unsuccessful
suicide bombers and those who individually conspire to assist in suicide
bombings. Peace, order and good government lies at the base of our system of the
rule of law. Suicide bombing is, therefore, in my view contrary to our national
principles of constitutional governance.
Our criminal law as it stands does not directly prohibit those who
intentionally choose to lose their lives as a means of taking other or as many
innocent lives as possible. If suicide bombing is tantamount to homicide, then
the Criminal Code should eliminate any doubts whatsoever about this conduct as a
criminal offence. This surgical amendment will help bring attempted suicide
bombers, and those collaborating with suicide bombers, to justice. While a
modest amendment, it represents an important clarification of principles deeply
embedded in our Criminal Code. The Criminal Code has evolved to give greater
emphasis to victims, including their families. The amendment would help to
remediate appropriate victims' concerns.
The nature of criminal law, honourable senators — and many of you who have
practised criminal law would know this — is to mediate between morality and
reason. The purpose of criminal law is to draw precise lines between what is
acceptable and what is aberrant behaviour. In the process, criminal law
forewarns, censures, ostracizes, isolates and seeks to undermine — and hopefully
reduce, if not expunge — aberrant behaviour from society. The criminal law
requires precision rather than vagueness as the state arraigns all of its mighty
powers against the aberrant behaviour of an individual.
I believe, honourable senators, I have made the case to remediate the
criminal law to prohibit, expressly, suicide bombings under the Criminal Code. I
remain indebted to my parliamentary colleagues at the OSCE and the OSCE
Parliamentary Assembly and the work of the organization Canadians Against
Suicide Bombings, who urged the UN and Parliament to take action to remedy this
unnecessary uncertainty in our criminal laws. I reviewed legal views, including
those of Professor John Castel. This amendment is long overdue. I urge a speedy
adoption of this amendment and your support for approving second reading of this
bill so that it can be quickly referred to the Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs for detailed consideration.
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette moved second reading of Bill S-44, to amend
the Public Service Employment Act.
She said: Honourable senators, I have the honour today to open the debate at
second reading stage of Bill S-44, to amend the Public Service Employment Act,
which I introduced on September 28.
This bill has a dual objective. First, it would do away with the practice of
using geographic criteria to determine an area of selection for purposes of
eligibility in appointment processes.
Second, it would ensure that both internal and external public service
appointments would be free of bureaucratic favouritism.
At the present time, the Public Service Commission can set geographic
criteria for eligibility to compete in both internal and external competitions
for positions in the federal public service. This geographic restriction on
obtaining federal government jobs is set by regulation at a radius of 50
kilometres around the official location of a competition, thereby keeping some
competent Canadians from obtaining employment. The current selection process
seriously limits the access of all Canadians to jobs in the public service. The
situation applies to federal government jobs within a region, or even an entire
province, because applicants are automatically rejected if they live outside
that 50-kilometre radius.
For instance, in the greater Ottawa region, the capital region, which
includes portions of Ontario and Quebec, the population is almost 1 million.
Those 1 million residents have almost exclusive access to 60 per cent of all
federal public service jobs, and that excludes Crown corporations and agencies,
and the 5,000 employees of Parliament Hill. With a small percentage of these
jobs located in Montreal and Toronto, we therefore have 0.3 per cent of the
Canadian population having sole access to roughly 60 per cent of federal
government jobs, and 60 per cent of the federal public service amounts to
roughly 200,000 jobs. If you average the salary at a low of $55,000 per year per
job, this represents an annual payroll of $11 billion, with about $7.5 billion
in Ontario alone. Along the same lines of argument, and in the spirit of
equality and justice, 3 per cent of the population within the capital region do
not have access to the other 40 per cent of federal government jobs.
Therefore, 99.7 per cent of Canadians have access to only 40 per cent of
federal government jobs available, as they live within 50 kilometres of the jobs
located across this land of ours. For instance, people living in Kingston cannot
apply for a job in Ottawa. People living in Hamilton cannot apply for a job in
Toronto. People living in Edmundston, New Brunswick, cannot apply for a job in
Fredericton or Bathurst, New Brunswick.
The Hon. the Speaker: Just a moment, please, Senator Ringuette: The
sound is not working for some reason.
Senator Ringuette: Is it okay now? Did somebody miss something?
Senator Cools: Start over!
Senator Rompkey: Say it again.
Senator Ringuette: The official website for job openings for the
Government of Canada is jobs.gc.ca. For the purpose of this exercise, let
us visit this site on a particular date — a week ago, October 11. There were
four options listed. The first was jobs with no geographic restriction. There
were 43 jobs listed in various locations across Canada. The second was jobs in
your region. For example, the National Capital Region and eastern Ontario had 30
jobs listed, 18 exclusive for this region and 12 for various regions, which is
of the 43 mentioned in number one, therefore 60 per cent exclusive. In New
Brunswick, for instance, 11 jobs were listed but two were for New Brunswick
only. The other nine were from the various locations of the first one, the 43
jobs, therefore, 18 per cent exclusive. In Quebec, 24 jobs were listed, 14
restricted to 50 kilometres, therefore, 58 per cent exclusive. The third is all
jobs listed by category. The fourth was jobs for executive levels, and one job
I will now highlight for you some facts as stated in the Public Service
Commission 2004-2005 Annual Report, Chapter 1, that was tabled two weeks ago.
Last year, nearly 35,000 people were hired into the public service. Hiring is
still predominantly for a contingent workforce of specified-term period, casual
or student employment. The number of new indeterminate, permanent hires fell to
9,426 in an organization of 153,043 indeterminate, permanent employees. Of these
indeterminate hires, only 3,400 were recruited from outside the public service,
the remainder being hired from the term pool. Only 26 per cent of those 35,000
hired as term or casual came from outside the public service. Workers hired from
the contingent workforce clearly had an advantage in competitions for permanent
jobs, having enjoyed privileged access to the workforce and the opportunity to
learn about the job and the public service prior to competing for the position.
According to Chapter 1, managers have met the minimum policy requirement to
recruit nationally for all senior level jobs. Otherwise, they have opted for
provisions to limit competitions by geographic area. This option is used to
manage large numbers of candidates. As a result, 19 per cent of all externally
advertised jobs and 28 per cent in the National Capital Region use a national
area of selection. Under the new Public Service Employment Act, PSEA, Bill C-25
that we adopted two years ago, managers will have even greater discretion over
the appointment process. Managers will determine whether to advertise positions
and how many candidates to consider for a position.
These statistics do not take into consideration other covert tactics used by
managers to undermine the equality and impartiality of the hiring process by
hiring casual or temporary employees, without competition, by using employment
agencies or headhunters.
I urge honourable senators to consult the very long list of employment
agencies in the Ottawa region Yellow Pages. Managers regularly use most
of these agencies in order to covertly hire employees.
Honourable senators, this information provided by the Public Service
Commission and the promises made two years ago so that we would not amend Bill
C-25, the Public Service Modernization Act, prove that it is crucial for us to
pass Bill S-44 as soon as possible.
Two years ago, Treasury Board received $40 million to implement Bill C-25;
this amount included funding to update electronic recruiting technology, so as
to eliminate geographic restrictions on eligibility.
This has not yet been done. As most of us predicted, the increased
flexibility that the Public Service Modernization Act gives managers means that
they can constantly impose geographic restrictions. Only 19 per cent of the jobs
in all the regions and 28 per cent of the jobs in the National Capital Region
are filled in accordance with the Public Service Commission's national hiring
Honourable senators, I do understand that opening the hiring process for
federal jobs to all Canadians will increase the administrative work for
managers, but my scales tip for equity and fairness. The administrative burden
should not be a factor in respecting Canadians' mobility rights under the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Minister Alcock announced two weeks ago that there would be a gradual
increase in the percentage of national selection for jobs in the capital region
— to 37 per cent in December 2005, to 62 per cent in April 2007, and 93 per cent
in December 2007. I welcome this effort. However, two wrongs do not make a
right. Let me explain.
This is akin to reverse discrimination. It is not just that, for the last
three decades of discrimination based on geographic barriers for the 60 per cent
of federal jobs in Ottawa, as parliamentarians and Canadians we should accept
this concept. The reality is that, still, 40 per cent of federal jobs across the
country will have geographic barriers for all Canadians, including those living
in the capital region. Opening up the 60 per cent of federal jobs in Ottawa is
not opening the access to 100 per cent of federal jobs to all Canadians, which
is the priority objective of this bill.
We need this bill. We need it to legislate equity and fairness for all
Canadians in order that a national area of selection would be mandatory.
I also want to alert honourable senators that, out of the 5,000 or so
employees on Parliament Hill, many are permanent employees who are not hired by
MPs or senators. They are employees of the House of Commons or of the Senate and
the necessary units to make this place work smoothly. Here, also, we witness
discrimination in regard to most of the competitions on the basis of geography.
Let me give you an example.
This September, the Library of Parliament opened a competition number
05-F-13, closing on September 28, for an indeterminate position as a senior
officer, Accounting Operations with Finance and Material Management, carrying a
nice salary of between $62,000 and $72,000. I wish to table a copy of this
competition. May I table a copy of this competition?
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Is leave granted
for the document to be tabled, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Ringuette: Is it not ironic that, even on Parliament Hill,
with parliamentarians representing the voice of all Canadians, even here we
allow geographic barriers to employment on the Hill, the centre of our country's
democracy? Bill S-44 does not remove the geographic barriers for employment on
Parliament Hill. We should not be required to legislate this to include all
Canadians. It should be a given that here, on Parliament Hill of all places,
employment is for all Canadians.
I therefore request that senators who are members of any committee dealing
with the administration of Parliament officially ban geographic barriers from
any competition for employment with and for the administration on Parliament
Hill. I will certainly have both my eyes and ears on what will be going on.
It is funny that, for decades, successive Canadian governments, their
diplomatic corps and all Canadians have taken great pride in promoting equity
and fairness around the world. It is time that we indeed bring equity and
fairness to bear right here at home, for all Canadians living from coast to
coast to coast. It is most unfortunate that we must legislate equity and
fairness in this way for our own people so that their access to federal
government jobs is not curtailed, and so that their mobility rights under the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not undermined by the federal
In regard to mobility rights, article 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a
permanent resident of Canada has the right...
b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
Honourable senators, why, in an era of cutting-edge technology and instant
communication, does the government select candidates to fill public service
positions from among the people whose place of residence is near the position to
Most people would acknowledge that a skilled person who finds suitable
employment based on education and experience is willing to relocate, whether
they are in the private sector or the public sector. For years, the hiring of
federal employees has been subject to geographical restrictions; as a result, 80
per cent of them come from Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto, and 60 per cent of them
live in the National Capital Region.
We can imagine the influence this 80 per cent has on the development of
policies and programs. They analyze problems, make recommendations and apply
programs based on their local community, their heritage and the knowledge
acquired in their region of the country. Parliamentarians and the public then
wonder why. Why do programs not satisfy regional needs? Why are policies and
programs developed based on urban communities? Why are there so many
administrative formalities? Why does everyone have to leave a voice-mail message
rather than talk to a person? Why do federal employees not understand the
workings of our natural resources processing industries in fisheries, forestry
and agriculture? Why do they not understand the needs of seasonal workers in
Many federal employees do not know anything about the realities of the
sectors I have just mentioned, except for the data they analyze and use to
formulate their hypotheses. Residents of rural communities and distant regions
cannot get federal jobs. They feel left out and lose confidence in their central
government. The current process prevents them from benefiting from opportunities
that should be offered to them as Canadian taxpayers.
Tax professionals are not concerned about the taxpayer's place of residence.
Why should applications from skilled job seekers be rejected because of their
place of residence? We are all taxpayers.
The geographical restriction based on a 50-kilometre radius is not
By virtue of the responsibilities and mandate of this institution, honourable
senators have a duty to stand for equality of treatment among the population of
the diverse regions that compose this great country. By presenting this
accessibility bill today, I am doing precisely that. By the assent in 2003 of
the new Public Service Modernization Act, managers have greater responsibility
and flexibility to consider a number of factors when recruiting and selecting a
person for a position. This cause for concern is greater for me in respect of
limiting national candidates' access and the potential for bureaucratic
patronage. I have been hearing about this serious issue for the last 12 years.
As well, the problem has been highlighted by a lack of planning surrounding
human resource management. In many departments this lack amounts to inefficient
The 2004-05 report of the Public Service Commission states in chapter 2 at
page 44 that only 36 per cent of organizations within the public service have a
human resource plan or planning process in place. Honourable senators, no
service organization in the private sector would survive or be able to compete
without a minimum of human resource planning. Currently, it seems that managers
hire on a whim. No wonder they use the back door to recruit. The remaining 64
per cent of federal departments have no human resource plan so how could they
have any idea of the current and future needs of their departments?
The second objective of Bill S-44 is to prohibit bureaucratic patronage or,
as the Public Service Commission calls it, "personal favouritism." For many
years parliamentarians have suspected that managers were engaged in patronage
appointments. In 2003, Auditor General Sheila Fraser audited the hiring process
for student summer jobs. She found that 25 per cent of students employed for
summer jobs within the public service were hired through bureaucratic patronage.
During the hearings of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in
2003-04, the issue was raised with Maria Barrados, President of the Public
Service Commission of Canada. Thankfully, as a follow-up, the PSC studied the
issue and submitted its findings this October in a report entitled, Study of
Personal Favouritism and Recruitment within the Federal Public Service. The
report contains some interesting data. Page 11 of the report states:
Sixteen percent of our survey respondents believe that personal favouritism
occurs often or always in their work unit....28 per cent believe it occurs
often or always, 45 per cent believe it occurs some of the time.
Therefore, 73 per cent of public service employees interviewed during the
audit acknowledge the occurrence of bureaucratic patronage.
Page 14 of the report states:
We note that not all manipulation of qualifications is evident. In our
recent audits, we have found examples of tailoring qualifications to favour a
particular candidate or group of candidates in both competitions open to the
public and those open only to public servants.
In both examples cited, manipulation is evident. This includes "changing
education, language and security requirements to match a specific candidate's
Another report tabled this October by the Public Service Commission is
entitled, Audit of Staffing File Documentation. Page 2 of the report
We found inadequate or missing documentation mostly in the assessment
We found that competitive processes were better documented than without
The rationale for the use of an appointment without competition was
inadequate or missing in 15 per cent of the files; the assessment was inadequate
in 38 per cent of the files; and 66 per cent of the files were without
In its 2004-05 annual report, the Public Service Commission reports no
political patronage. However, it does link bureaucratic patronage when analyzing
and defining the issue of non-partisanship. Page 34 of the report defines
bureaucratic patronage or personal favouritism. It states:
Within the federal public service's staffing and recruitment process,
personal favouritism involves an inappropriate action or behaviour by a public
servant who, by using knowledge, authority or influence, provides an unfair
advantage or preferential treatment to: 1) a current employee or 2) a
candidate for employment in the public service, for personal gain (benefit)
and contrary to the good of the organization.
Most recognize that bureaucratic patronage can have a detrimental effect on
the general public and, in particular, on public service employees. It has been
demonstrated that the mere perception of bureaucratic patronage in the workplace
impacts on employee motivation and effectiveness. Imagine the impact when 73 per
cent of our public servants surveyed acknowledge that it was happening in their
This situation is not exclusive to Canada. Other jurisdictions have tried to
deal with this problem. For example, in the United Kingdom favouritism or
bureaucratic patronage is referred to in the recruitment code, which establishes
the fundamental recruitment principle where appointments must be on merit. In
New Zealand, this problem is addressed through policy convention. It appears
that the Australian model to deal with this issue works in a more efficient
manner. Provisions against bureaucratic patronage are made on two levels in
Australia. A direct provision was made when they modernized their Public Service
Act in 1999. Section 17, entitled "Prohibition on patronage and favouritism,"
provides that a person exercising powers under the new act or regulation in
respect of the engagement of the Australian public service employees, or in
relation to the Australian public service employees, must do so without
patronage or favouritism. Provisions against bureaucratic patronage are included
in the Public Service Commissioner's direction in respect of three of the
legislated values. Not only has Australia acted against bureaucratic patronage
via principles, conventions and official practices of the department, but also
it has given an official legal status that includes a grievance procedure.
Honourable senators, in conclusion, I believe that every competent Canadian
should be able to apply for government jobs regardless of their home address and
where the job is located in Canada.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Ringuette: It is a question of equity; it is a question of
fairness; it is a question of rights under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The current selection process seriously limits job accessibility within the
Public Service of Canada to all Canadians and thus deprives all Canadians of
better equipped public employees.
It is the objective of this bill to amend the Public Service Employment Act
and the act that will replace it to enhance access by Canadians to public
service jobs in all parts of Canada by removing geographic limits to the
selection process and adding grievance options against bureaucratic patronage. I
hope that, like all other Canadians, honourable senators will support this bill
and not accept any delay tactics that may be proposed.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Harb, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Mercer, for the second reading of Bill S-22, An Act to
amend the Canada Elections Act (mandatory voting).—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I believe that this item has been debated. It now stands at day 15,
and perhaps it might be dropped from the Order Paper.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is that agreed, honourable senators?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette,
P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Smith, P.C.:
That the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of
Parliament study and make the necessary recommendations on the advisability of
amending Senate practice so that bills tabled during a parliamentary session
can be reintroduced at the same procedural stage in the following
parliamentary session, with a view to including in the Rules of the Senate,
a procedure that already exists in the House of Commons and would increase the
efficiency of our parliamentary process.—(Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C.)
Hon. Bill Rompkey (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, this order now stands at day 15. However, I know that Senator Lapointe
wishes to speak on the matter, and I notice that he is not here at the moment.
Would senators agree to restart the clock to give him an opportunity to speak on
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
On motion of Senator Rompkey, for Senator Lapointe, debate adjourned.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, it is now time to
consider a question of privilege, pursuant to notice given earlier today by
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, I rise on a question of
privilege, of which I have previously given both written and oral notice. My
concern arises from meetings with witnesses and some members of the Standing
Senate Committee on National Security and Defence that took place yesterday and
today in room 705, Victoria Building.
First, no public notice was given of these meetings, in contravention of rule
92(1), which reads:
Except as provided in sections (2) and (3) below, all meetings of Senate
standing and special committees shall be held in public and only after public
I note that the proceedings of these meetings were neither recorded nor
broadcast, and the absence of public notice effectively made them secret
Second, to the best of my knowledge, no senator who was not a member of the
committee received a notice, which effectively makes it impossible for senators
to attend and participate in the deliberations, thereby breaching the
fundamental privileges of all senators and essentially rendering inoperative
rule 91, which reads:
...a senator though not a member of a committee may attend and participate
in its deliberations but shall not vote.
How are senators to attend a meeting of which they have no knowledge?
In this context I would draw to your attention a point of order raised by the
Honourable Senator Colin Kenny in which he objected to subcommittees meeting
without giving public notice. He based his argument on the breach of rule 91.
In his ruling of June 7, 1999, Mr. Speaker Molgat said:
By giving public notice, committees ensure that all senators, as well as
members of the general public, are informed of upcoming meetings.
Historically, notice has been provided by a variety of means, ranging from
posting paper copies of the notices in various locations on Parliament Hill to
the current practice of putting them on the Internet and faxing them directly
to interested parties. This rule certainly applies to meetings of standing
committees such as the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and
Administration whenever it meets in public session.
Honourable senators, the purpose of giving notice is to enable both senators
and members of the public an opportunity to prepare for the hearings. If no
notice is given, people will not only be unprepared, they are likely to be
altogether absent. This surely defeats the very purpose of holding hearings in
the first place. What is the point of hearings if no one is there to hear them?
How useful are hearings if no one is prepared?
Third, I understand there was no simultaneous interpretation available during
the course of the meetings, which is in contravention of section 4(2) of the
Official Languages Act, which reads as follows:
(2) Facilities shall be made available for the simultaneous
interpretation of the debates and other proceedings of Parliament from one
official language into the other.
There may be exigent circumstances that might compel Parliament or its
committees to operate without simultaneous interpretation. However, I do not
believe that any such difficulties were present this morning or yesterday which
might justify the absence of simultaneous interpretation.
Finally, these meetings were not held during the time slot allocated to the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. While it has been
stated repeatedly that committees are the master of their own procedures,
scheduling extra meetings with little or, in this case, no notice makes it
difficult or impossible for senators to attend.
While those are the basic points I wish to make, I would add that I managed
to obtain a copy of a document marked in bold upper case words: "Confidential:
Not for Public Distribution" which bore the heading: "Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence, Consultations, Ottawa, October 17 and 18" and
then listed the agenda. Both listed the meetings that began on the two mornings
that are the subject of this question of privilege, with their times and
locations noting that: "Participants will meet with committee members for
informal discussions on a series of themes."
In closing, I cite Beauchesne's 6th edition page 11, paragraph 24:
...The distinctive mark of a privilege is its ancillary character. The
privileges of Parliament are rights which are "absolutely necessary for the
due execution of its powers." They are enjoyed by individual Members, because
the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services
of its Members; and by each House for the protection of its members and the
vindication of its own authority and dignity.
If a senator is effectively denied the right and the ability to attend
meetings of select committees due to the absence of the notice required by the
Rules of the Senate, that senator cannot perform his or her functions; that
senator cannot fulfill his or her duties. The rights of that senator have been
infringed, the privileges of that senator have been violated, and the rights and
privileges of Parliament are accordingly under attack. This attack on our
privileges as parliamentarians cannot go unremarked and unchecked.
As I noted when I gave oral notice earlier this day, this is the first
opportunity at which I could raise this matter. It directly affects my
privileges as a senator, and the privilege of all senators, and I believe that
this is a grave and serious breach of our privileges. Accordingly, if you find
that there is a prima facie case, I stand prepared to move the appropriate
Hon. Colin Kenny: I thank honourable senators for the opportunity to
I agree with the argument that has been put forward by Senator LeBreton. It
is essentially correct in terms of the rules, if there had been a meeting of the
committee. There was, however, no meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence at that time. There was a meeting that commenced
at 4:30 pm on Monday, October 17, and the usual notice was distributed and sent
out by the clerk. That meeting was posted, and notice circulated in the normal
What Senator LeBreton is referring to is a meeting that I, personally, was
having with a group of individuals, and as a courtesy, I advised the other
members of the committee that I was going ahead with this meeting. This was a
meeting between a senator and a group of individuals who were assisting me and
some members of the Library of Parliament in preparing research to produce
documents for subsequent work.
There was never any intention for the committee to meet. To be more precise,
there was no meeting of an official nature. The clerk of the committee phoned
every member of the committee on Friday, advising them that there was no
official committee meeting but that senators should be aware that I was having
this meeting. They were free to come. If the people who were attending were of
interest to any senator, then I was happy to have those senators present.
However, it was not a committee meeting.
I have been advised by the clerk — and I might say that this happened when I
was not in Ottawa — that the office of every senator involved was advised that
this was not a committee meeting. There was no notice sent out for it.
Therefore, I am somewhat at a loss, inasmuch as I think I am entitled to meet
with anybody I want to meet with. In this case, I was meeting with individuals
who were interested in the subject matter that I was interested in, and the
purpose of that meeting was to better prepare myself — and the people from the
library — on a subject matter that is of interest to the committee.
We had a talk. There was no translation. There was no record of the meeting.
It took place in room 705 of the Victoria Building simply because there is not
enough space in my office for people to sit down and to have the discussion. The
only way one could characterize that meeting was as a private meeting. Committee
members had been aware for some time that I had intended to meet with these
people. It was simply to say to them, "Do not feel excluded, and if you want to,
come and sit in." In fact, only one person chose to come and sit in, and they
did that today, and they did so for a brief period of time.
For the meeting that was official, which did take place last night, all of
the proper rules were followed. The appropriate notice went out. There was
translation and there was recording. Proper notice was given and the meeting
took place in the proper time slot. That is available for anyone to see.
As for the document that was referred to by Senator LeBreton, I must say I
saw that for the first time today. As she stated, it is a document that
describes — and I would be happy to table it — my meeting, and then goes on to
discuss the other official meetings that were taking place that day. However,
they were two totally separate things.
All I can say is that the other members of the committee were advised in an
effort to be transparent and not the other way around. They were advised that it
was taking place simply because, previously when I had had preparatory meetings,
some members of the committee had said, "Well, I would not mind sitting in. If
you are going to have a discussion with these people, I would be interested in
hearing what they have to say." Honourable senators, that is the explanation of
what took place.
Every member of the committee, I believe, will say that they received a phone
call in their office from the clerk making sure they understood that it was not
an official meeting of the committee. That is why no notice was sent out. We do
not send out notices for private meetings. We do not have translation for
private meetings. The private meeting was a preparatory exercise so that I, in
particular — but the staff as well, who do a great deal of work on these matters
— would be better prepared for the work that the committee is doing. That is the
Hon. David Tkachuk: Senator, please have some respect. We are members
of the Senate, of the Parliament of Canada; we are not the village idiots. This
is the October 17 and 18 agenda of the consultations of the Standing Senate
Committee on National Security and Defence. There was to be an 11:30 a.m. to 4
p.m. thematic discussion with a panel of experts. I will table it for all
senators to read. The agenda states that a light working lunch will be provided
and that participants will meet with committee members for informal discussions
on a series of themes. It then goes through the themes and the location. It then
says that at five o'clock a panel of experts will give testimony, which the
honourable senator calls his real meeting. This is not really a meeting. The
agenda then goes through to the evening. The next morning the meeting is
reconvened with a panel of experts.
Who is the honourable senator trying to kid here? This is a serious matter.
There was no translation between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. so that he could get around
the rules. He sought the concurrence of our leadership and his leadership. I am
not sure how his leadership responded, but our leadership said no. We did not
say no to be disrespectful. We do not say no on this side because we do not
respect the good work the committee. We said no because the Rules of the
Senate are set up to protect us, the minority. We are the minority in this
place. I am hopeful of the day that the honourable senator will be part of the
minority and he will understand what all of this means. Our rules are meant to
prevent abuses of power and the abuses of the majority. That is exactly what we
It seems that the honourable senator does not care what the rules are. The
rules are established so that we can function and provide an opposition to the
government in this place. If one committee unilaterally decides to ignore normal
procedures and simply go its merry way, others may follow. What is to stop any
chairman of the majority party from calling a meeting at any time outside of
what has been established in the rules and sending out notices in one official
language only to those privileged few who are members of that committee?
Honourable senators, I am a proponent of bilingualism because I do not speak
French. If a chairman were to send me this agenda in French only, I would be
very upset, as would all honourable senators, whether they speak one language or
two or three or four. This agenda was not only the outline of what Senator Kenny
calls his non-meeting but also of the meeting itself, which he says was a
meeting at five o'clock and is also in here in one official language.
It is my view, Your Honour, that this is a clear question of privilege, one
which affects us all and needs to be resolved in short order. A finding of a
prima facie case of privilege will enable the Standing Committee on Rules,
Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to consider this matter and ensure that
it does not occur again.
Senator Kenny: If I may, there have been errors of fact here.
First, Senator Tkachuk, I did not seek any permission to hold this meeting. I
did not go to the leadership of either party and request permission to hold the
meeting because it was not a committee meeting. There was no need or cause for
me to go to either side to request the meeting. I did have a discussion with my
deputy leader and advised him that it was not an official committee meeting.
Second, it went out in one language because that is the language that I
communicate in. If the honourable senators look at the official committee
communications that have taken place since the committee was founded, all of
them have been bilingual.
Having said that, for something that is a personal notice from me to my
colleagues saying, "Look, I am going ahead with this," I am entitled to
communicate in whatever language I choose. It was by way of informing them that
I welcomed them to drop in if they wanted to do so. I had really no expectation
of people coming to the meeting.
On the other hand, the last time I had a meeting of this sort I had a senator
say, "Had I known you were meeting, I would have been interested and I would
have come." That is why I asked that a note be sent around to people. To say
that I sought approval from your leadership or my leadership, I did not.
Senator Tkachuk: On a point —
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, reference has been
made to a document. I believe that the honourable senators who referred to it
were prepared to table it. Do we have consent for the document to be tabled?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Tkachuk: Your Honour, there seems to be another issue. I want
to ensure that I have this right. I believe Senator Kenny said that the clerk
was involved in this private meeting. Perhaps the honourable senator will be
able to clarify this point and perhaps the Rules Committee could look at this
issue, namely, for whom does the clerk work? Does the clerk work for the
committee? Is he or she an employee of the chairman of the committee? It seems
that these waters have been muddied, and perhaps the Rules Committee could
clarify the issue.
Hon. Tommy Banks: I do not want to interrupt Senator Kenny's train of
thought, but I want to declare a mea culpa because I may be affected by
the question of privilege.
I held a meeting last night with the clerk of the committee of which I have
the honour to be the chair, with two researchers from the Library of Parliament
and with a panel of experts who will be appearing before our committee this
afternoon. I only invited one other member of my committee to be there. That
meeting was in preparation for this evening's meeting. I must say that I do that
quite often. I can, if requested, provide the agenda that was prepared for that
meeting. It took place last night. The circumstances seem to be virtually
identical, and I am wondering whether I have done something wrong and should not
in future have meetings in order to be better prepared for subsequent committee
meetings with the witnesses who are to appear at those meetings. I ask the
question rhetorically, I guess, of Senator Tkachuk.
Senator Tkachuk: Is my honourable friend asking me a question?
Senator Banks: Yes. Was I wrong?
Senator Tkachuk: Perhaps the members of the Rules Committee can look
into that as well, if they wish.
Senator Kenny: In this case, the clerk phoned around simply because
there was a regular meeting of the committee that night. To ensure that there
was no confusion between the two, I asked the clerk, upon hearing of this
notice, to give me a description of what happened. I am happy to read it into
Barbara did a courtesy call to all committee members on Friday, October 14,
2005, as Senator Kenny requested, informing senators of two days of meetings
with experts and emphasizing that this was not a formal committee activity.
The committee members were told that they were welcome to participate in
discussions with researchers and experts and could feel free to come and go as
they pleased, but it was by no means a command performance and an official
committee activity. Otherwise, an official meeting notice would have been
Barbara provided an overview of both days to all committee members for
their interest. The itinerary that was drawn up for the purposes of the
experts was e-mailed for their information to Senators Forrestall, Meighen,
Banks, Cordy, Day and Munson. Senator Forrestall was the only senator who
indicated any interest in attending, and his office was the only office that
asked for an overview of which experts would be in attendance.
Barbara received a call from Senator Kinsella's office late Friday
afternoon with respect to the meeting with the experts. Barbara emphasized
that the experts were witnesses for the evening panel, from 5 to 5:45 on
Monday, October 17, 2005, as listed on the meeting notice. The fact that they
were meeting with researchers earlier in the day had nothing to do with the
Committees directorate; rather, the meetings were initiated by the researchers
to maximize the information that could be learned from these qualified
A representation was also made late Friday afternoon by Senator Kinsella's
office to the Deputy Principal Clerk, Cathy Piccinin, raising concerns that
the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence was allegedly
meeting at a time outside of its allotted 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday night
meeting slot. A concern was also raised that a document (itinerary) with the
header "Senate Committee on National Security and Defence: Consultations" had
been given to certain committee members but concealed from ex officio members.
The fact that the document had a header stating the committee name led to the
conclusion that the meetings must be official meetings.
It should be emphasized that all arrangements for the day meetings with the
experts were made by Senator Kenny's office, and the meetings were carried out
with researchers assigned to the committee by the Library of Parliament.
Honourable senators, there was no effort at all to have something that was
surreptitious or to have an official meeting of these people. It was simply a
courtesy call to let other people know that I was going ahead and having this
meeting and, if it was of interest to somebody, they could feel free to come or
not, as they chose.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Briefly, honourable senators, as a member of
this committee, I am well aware of the workload assumed by members of this
committee and by the chair in particular. Without for a second questioning the
intent of the chair or, indeed, of anybody else, I think the problem lies in the
communication of what exactly was proposed to be held. That is often the case,
as we all know. Language is such an imperfect tool of communication, whether it
is written or spoken.
As I told the chair when the message came to my office, not being resident in
Ottawa, and even more so for somebody like Senator Banks, who is resident much
farther away than I or Senator Day, the message that came through was that while
the proposed gathering was not an official meeting, it was something that would
be of great assistance to members of the committee in carrying out their work.
Therefore, I, for one, felt rather guilty that I had made previous commitments
and was not able to be there.
As I also explained to Senator Kenny, it was not clear in the message that I
received that this was essentially a meeting between staff and experts. I know
the dilemma that the chair found himself in because, as he mentioned himself, on
another occasion he had been criticized for having such a meeting between staff
and experts at which he attended and had not informed other members of the
We must be careful, given the Rules of the Senate and the necessity of
protecting the rights of the minority, about holding too many informal meetings
and proceeding in a way that, in many ways, leads people to believe that one is
doing indirectly what one cannot do directly. That is the danger.
Certainly, we have a hard-working and talented staff on this committee. They
have innumerable meetings with possible witnesses and others. The chair himself,
as with any other senator, is entitled to meet with whomever he wishes. The
danger is a proliferation of semi-official or unofficial gatherings at which a
large number of people are present minus some members of the committee. If these
types of meetings continue, we could be in the position of having a very
well-informed staff, a very well-informed nucleus of committee members, and
substantially less well-informed other members of the committee who were unable
to attend these informal meetings as frequently as those who are resident in or
As far as I am concerned, I would be satisfied with an undertaking or a
conclusion that we have to be careful in the holding of informal meetings among
a considerable number of people, particularly those related to a committee,
because it leads to the type of difficulty that we find ourselves in today.
Perhaps the lesson has been learned, and perhaps, going forward, we can be more
careful in these situations. I, for one, hope that we can reconsider our
practices and in the future endeavour to limit these types of non-official,
Senator Tkachuk: As a point of clarification, would the "Barbara" that
the senator was referring to be Ms. Reynolds, who is the clerk of the committee?
Senator Kenny: Yes.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, the answer is in the
affirmative. Ms. Reynolds is the clerk of the committee.
Hon. Madeleine Plamondon: I should like to make a comment. As a
senator and as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and
Commerce, I did not know that there was some kind of preparation like this with
the library staff. Do the people who see the committee and the witnesses on CPAC
know that preparations have been made with the witnesses before the questioning?
Are the dice loaded because they know in advance the approach, if not the
I will be suspicious from now on, if there are such meetings, about the
questions prepared by the committee. I will prepare my own questions.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, I think we might be
ready to hear from two senators based on the information at hand. Unless there
is new information, Senator Kenny will now have the floor, followed by Senators
Forrestall and Cools.
Senator Kenny: I rise only because new information has come up to
which I need to respond. It is simply to point out that before every meeting of
the committee, a very substantial briefing book is prepared.
In the case of our committee, prior to preparing reports, notes are done up
on each of the issues that senators are likely to want to consider during the
course of the preparation of the report. The issue notes try and go through the
pros and cons of each subject of the issue.
Staff prepare for these things by talking to experts in the field and finding
out what the pros and cons are of a particular issue. The individuals concerned
do not arrive on the staff with the knowledge of every issue that may come
forward. As a consequence, they are regularly going out to talk to people about
what they know or what their views are, or to get a better explanation so that
they can reduce that information so that the committee can understand what the
issues are and have a better opportunity to ask questions.
The briefing books are a very onerous task and are a result, in virtually
every case, of the library officials doing research on their own or actually
talking to people, saying "What do you know about this, and what can you tell us
about this given subject?" That information is then reduced to a size that the
committee members can manage and read in a reasonable amount of time.
Essentially, it is collated in a way that the senators can take best advantage
of during the course of a hearing itself.
It is not an exercise in rigging questions or planting information; it is a
matter of collecting information to save senators time, and organizing it in
such a way that senators, when they are having a hearing, can ask questions on
subjects that are often quite new to them, in a reasonably comprehensive way.
That is the purpose of having these meetings. They are not unusual. I have
been in the Senate for 21 years. These sorts of things have been the practice in
the Senate, where staff go out and ask experts to help clarify an issue. Please
do not read a conspiracy into it; read into it an effort by the committee staff
to be diligent in making preparations for senators on the committee.
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I want to briefly
intervene and make two or three points.
First, I have no question in my mind as to whether or not the committee
contravened in any specific way the rules of the chamber with respect to the
sittings of committees, their hearings and how they conduct themselves. What the
chairman of the committee has indicated to Senate colleagues is essentially
correct. It was very simple.
Whether it was an error in communication, a mistake made by a clerk who had
been with us and who had left us and who had come back and acted in a normal,
understandable way to a direction, I do not know. I do not know the answer to
that. I do know that there is no doubt in my mind that the meeting yesterday
morning was not a meeting of the committee, in any formal sense whatsoever.
We had an occasion and an opportunity to recall not just witnesses who had
already appeared before us — although most of them had — but others as well who
had taken the time to read the first report. We wanted to understand what some
of the finest military and academic minds in Canada thought about that report.
It was important that we go back to the people who had advised us, to see and to
determine and to satisfy ourselves that we had probably got it right. There was
nothing whatsoever wrong with that, as I understand it. The difficulty will need
to lie with your office and your assistants with respect to that; and I assume
you will be duly summoned to the appropriate chamber to give consideration to
My second point is that, while I understand the concern of my deputy leader,
who asked me yesterday morning not to attend the meeting because it was
improper, I had no idea of the basis of that opinion, nor was anyone able to
advise me. However, to facilitate my leadership, I avoided attending the meeting
when I knew, because of the notices that I had received, that the meeting was
highly probably to deal with Bill C-26. There was no difficulty with that.
Where the problem that I have arises is that if we deny ourselves because we
are over-anxious, or we are trying to do too much in too short a period of time,
or whatever, we deny ourselves a very useful function of not just the committees
of the Senate of Canada but of the other place as well. I find that access to
information, no matter how much you think you know about given subjects, is
always enhanced and enriched when you review it with those who are known to be
expert, and who have demonstrated such by their public service and otherwise —
through teaching, perhaps, which is a form of public service. Hence the reports
could only be better — better received, better understood and more credible and
I would not want us to take something that happened here in the last couple
of days and turn it into some charade that somebody was perpetrating upon the
members of the Senate. That is not what it was about at all. It was about
advising those who must finally assist us in putting together reports, to assist
them as well as us in understanding the complex issues faced by Canada's
national Armed Forces today; and they are complex and very deep.
I would conclude with this observation: Perhaps what is required is a
referral to the appropriate committee. I do not think it is a question of
privilege. I do not think anyone's privilege has been affected, really. However,
what probably needs to be looked at is the way in which we perceive. Let us look
at the process to determine whether there is a way to avoid a misunderstanding
because this is clearly a misunderstanding. Ms. Reynolds, probably one of the
finest clerks ever to serve a committee of the Parliament of Canada, might have
made a slip, and I am not saying that she did make one, given her busy schedule.
There was confusion as to what was proper and approved. The members of the
committee work hard and put in longer hours than anyone else. Do not jump on a
system because it is too productive.
Senator Comeau: Oh, oh.
Senator Forrestall: Who said that you did not work, Senator Comeau? I
know the work that you do and you know that I know, so do not get touchy about
things that will not affect you in any way, other than beneficially.
Senator Comeau has led this chamber in innovative ways to reach people
through video conferencing. Has Senator Comeau ever done that outside his
structured committee? I do not know the answer and it is not important. However,
it is important that you use it as a tool to obtain correct, up-to-date
information to assist the committee in its deliberations. That is what we are
after. If there is a better way, then perhaps the committee could tell us about
it. I do not think there is basis for a question of privilege here. However, if
there is, I will be somewhat surprised and I would ask that honourable senators
not let it slow the process or deter committees from seeking any avenue to
obtain good, correct information for reports that are necessary to the
enhancement of Canada through the Senate.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I would like to join this
debate that has raised some important issues. Perhaps, honourable senators, I
could begin by giving His Honour some assistance by delineating the Speaker's
true purpose in this matter.
It is my understanding of rules 43 and 44 of the Rules of the Senate
that the Speaker's function and purpose in this debate is not to make a decision
on the substantive issue of whether there is a breach of privilege, but rather
to make a prima facie decision that has the effect of allowing the real debate
on the substantive issue to move forward. The Speaker of the Senate has the
authority to find the question urgent and important enough that such a motion
can be moved and be followed by debate on that motion. Larger issues are being
raised as this debate proceeds and it is improper to throw those issues onto the
shoulders of the Senate Speaker. I ask that honourable senators understand and
support that. Rule 43(1) of the Rules of the Senate clearly states, in
The preservation of the privileges of the Senate is the duty of every
Senator. A violation of the privileges of any one Senator affects those of all
Senators and the ability of the Senate to carry out its functions outlined in
the Constitution Act, 1867. Action to ensure such protection takes
priority over every other matter before the Senate.
The rule continues and lays out the conditions to be met by such a question
so that the Speaker may deem the matter urgent and a priority. A first blush
finding, which is the meaning of prima facie, allows a motion to be moved so
that the real debate can take place on the substantive issues. Senators must
understand that the process to determine privilege must remain the decision of
the senators and the Senate as a whole. That is extremely important. In a way it
is a great tragedy that we did away with the committee of privileges as a
Committee of the Whole many years ago.
The senator who raised the question of privilege may move a motion and then
the true debate is on that particular motion. I ask honourable senators to bear
that in mind because many senators are unaware that it is through debate on that
motion that the substantive issues are to be tackled. I will speak to that
later. It is apparent that there is no malicious intent on the part of the
committee or its staff to deprive senators of anything. That should be borne in
mind as we move ahead.
The two honourable senators who have initiated this debate on the issue in
respect of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence know
that I, and other senators, have great respect for the work of that committee. I
hope that this discussion in no way hurts, offends or damages any of the
informed, enlightened and erudite persons who appeared before the committee over
the last two days, particularly on Monday. Those individuals who might read the
Debates of the Senate should understand that there is no intention
whatsoever to question their knowledge or integrity. Honourable senators, we
frequently forget that others are watching and listening to the proceedings of
the Senate. Since we are dealing with this phenomenon, we have a duty to protect
those individuals who have come forward voluntarily to appear before committees
and to assist senators in their studies.
Honourable senators, I listened with interest to the comments of Senator
Kenny and Senator Banks, for whom I have great respect. Senator Banks has
intimated and indicated that as a committee chair he has done the same thing,
and more than once, I understand. Thus, we should not isolate Senator Kenny and
the members of the National Security and Defence Committee in any way. Perhaps
we should broaden our minds and consider that these practices might have grown
randomly. Before we judge certain senators harshly or cruelly, we should
ascertain the degree to which some of these practices might have evolved. In
that way, those who are involved in these practices could have an opportunity to
curb them. I am convinced that this house, the Senate, would be satisfied should
such practices be corrected without impugning any senator or employee of the
I say this, honourable senators, because I was trained as a child to believe,
and I do believe, that the beauty of our system is always the process, and that
wherever there is a problem, if we are prepared to do the study and the work,
there is a solution.
Having said that, it seems to me that there is a need for us to have some
clarification of what the powers of a chairman are and what the duties of a
committee are. We know that a committee is a creature of the house. I will quote
from The Chairman's Handbook by Sir Reginald Palgrave:
Duties and Powers of a Committee
A committee being a body endowed with delegated powers cannot act
independently of its originating authority, or exceed the commission
entrusted to it, or entrust its duties to others. The assistance of those
who appoint the committee is its legitimate function.
In other words, a committee is appointed to assist the chamber. Therefore,
Senator Kenny sitting in that situation on Monday was unquestionably attempting
to assist the Senate.
Since, as we understand, the committee is the agent, the creature, of the
house, we also understand that the chairman is the creature of the committee and
therefore the servant of the committee. Likewise, the staff are the servants of
the entire committee.
To the extent that Senator Kenny and the committee were attempting to assist
the Senate in its study on the issues, I would say that there is not a breach of
privilege per se. I think that the issue is more a matter of order.
In any event, if we cannot define exactly how we should proceed, perhaps the
originator of the question of privilege could withdraw the question of privilege
and the matter could be moved forward in a different manner where we can canvass
all the issues pertaining to the proper functioning of a committee.
That is just one idea, and it may not be a workable idea. It would have been
better to have put a motion before the chamber discussing the functioning of
committees and committee chairmen rather than whether privilege was breached in
this situation by a particular chairman. It seems to me that it would be much
better if the issues were canvassed through a motion, absent the finding of a
question of privilege.
In any event, honourable senators, it is clear to me that there is much to be
desired with regard to how committees are functioning these days. I attend many
committee meetings, and I am not happy with how many committee chairmen handle
those committees, and I am quite often not happy with the way in which many of
those committees function. However, I believe the debate should be on those
grounds and those issues.
I have it on good information that it is not only Senator Banks and Senator
Kenny who are doing this but that other committee chairmen are doing likewise.
That is why I have proposed that we go down a slightly different avenue, but I
will accept the decisions that are made. I am looking forward to taking part in
the debate on the motion.
The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, I want to thank all
the senators who took part in this debate. I will be wise and reserve my ruling
so that I may consider what honourable senators have just said. The ruling will
be reported to you at a subsequent sitting.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, October 19, 2005, at 1:30 p.m.