The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, we have received a notice
from the Leader of the Government, who requests, pursuant to rule 22(10), that
the time provided for the consideration of Senators' Statements be extended
today for the purpose of paying tribute to the late Honourable Senator Doody,
whose death occurred on December 27, 2005.
I remind senators that, pursuant to our rules, each senator will be allowed
only three minutes and they may speak only once. Furthermore, the time for so
doing should not exceed 15 minutes.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I rise today to pay tribute to one of our colleagues, William "Bill" Doody,
who passed away on December 27 of last year. Senator Doody enjoyed a long
career, both here in Ottawa and especially in his home province of Newfoundland
and Labrador. Shortly after his death, Premier Danny Williams praised him as a
strong advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador who made an invaluable
contribution in shaping the province that we see today.
William Doody was widely credited as having been instrumental in building the
success of the Progressive Conservative Party in Newfoundland and Labrador in
the 1970s. He was elected three times to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of
Assembly, beginning in October 1971, at a time of considerable political
upheaval in that province. He served in the province's first Progressive
Conservative cabinet under then Premier Frank Moores, along with another of our
former colleagues, the late Gerald Ottenheimer. Throughout his eight years in
the provincial legislature, Bill held various cabinet posts, including Minister
of Mines, Agriculture and Resources, and Finance Minister. He was deeply
involved in jurisdictional issues relating to Newfoundland and Labrador's
offshore resources, which remains of paramount importance to the province to
In 1979, a few months after Bill retired from provincial politics, former
Prime Minister Joe Clark appointed him to the Senate. From 1984 to 1991, he
served as the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. During his time in
this chamber, Senator Doody worked to advance the best interests of Newfoundland
and Labrador at the federal level. He brought considerable wisdom and experience
to his work in this place, which was especially evident — and some of us will
remember this — during the heated GST debate. He could also be quite vocal in
raising his concerns, as he was during the debate which amended the Terms of
Union between Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada, which ended the province's
denominational education system.
I know I speak for all honourable senators in saying that we thank Senator
Doody for his many years of service to the country. We will all miss him very
much. On behalf of all the Conservative senators, I offer our condolences to his
family — his wife, Doreen; his daughter, Christine; and his sons, Liam and
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, on
behalf of those of us on this side of the house, I wish to express our feelings
of deep sadness at the loss of our former colleague Senator Doody, known to us
all fondly as "Bill." He died, to me unexpectedly, just after Christmas, at
the age of 74; much too young.
Senator Doody was a dedicated, loyal and hard-working man who had earned the
respect and high acclaim of his colleagues, friends and contemporaries as a
result of his long and distinguished record of service both to Newfoundland and
As has been recounted, Senator Doody was appointed to this place in 1979 by
then Prime Minister Joe Clark, prior to which he was a successful businessman,
political organizer and provincial politician, having served in the Newfoundland
and Labrador House of Assembly with energy and distinction from 1971 to 1979.
His skills, experience and tireless passion for politics were put to good use by
successive Newfoundland premiers who appointed him to several senior portfolios,
including that of finance.
Senator Doody brought a wealth of experience and skills to this place. Those
of us who were here for the goods and services tax debate will remember the
patience of Senator Doody in dealing with his counterpart on the opposition side
— a position I now hold — Senator Royce Frith. There were times when they
stopped speaking to one another, but I am pleased to say that they reconciled
and had at least a distantly cordial relationship even after that trying
When Senator Frith died, I remember Senator Doody rising in tribute and
sharing a humorous event involving Senator Frith, who constantly played computer
chess. I think it was Senator Doody who arranged to go into his office and make
moves, unbeknownst to Senator Frith, which I found typical of the humorous side
of our former colleague.
Senator Doody did a great deal to make his province and our country a much
better place. His departure came as a shock to all of us. On behalf of his
colleagues in this place, both present and past, I offer his wife, Doreen, as
well as his children and grandchildren, our sincere sympathies.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, as Deputy Leader of the
Government during seven long years, Bill Doody opened this chamber every sitting
day and closed it every night, sometimes very late at night. The deputy
leadership of the government, as those who have held the position will attest,
and as Senator Comeau is about to learn, is the most thankless and difficult job
in this place. Senator Doody held it during a time of unprecedented
confrontation and partisanship in the Senate, and he conducted himself
By 1991, he had well earned the right to ask to be relieved of those
responsibilities. He soon became chairman of the Canadian section of the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and was a most visible and active
Canadian presence in the affairs of the CPA all over the world.
He had been a respected cabinet minister in his province and was widely
regarded as the strong and able mainstay of his government. He was an ardent
Newfoundlander, steeped in its history and culture. Nine years ago, Senator
Doody was one of the speakers at ceremonies in Beaumont Hamel when the
government designated that 1916 battlefield, together with Vimy in France, as a
national historic site.
All parts of Canada gave of their sons in that war. I know Vimy is the big
event for most, but in terms of my background, my history and my traditions,
there is no shrine more sacred than Beaumont Hamel.
If Senator Doody were with us today, I am sure he would be among those
pressing the government to arrange a suitable remembrance at the National War
Memorial next July 1, the ninetieth anniversary of Beaumont Hamel, before we
proceed with the customary celebrations of Canada Day.
At his funeral in St. Patrick's Church Fallowfield, his son Liam delivered a
brief but masterful appreciation of his father's qualities. "His opinions were
always notable for their careful consideration of all sides of an issue, a trait
not commonly seen in our increasingly polarized world," — to which, by way of
perfect illustration, I would refer, as Senator LeBreton has done, to Senator
Doody's brilliant speeches in this chamber in 1996 and 1997 on the
constitutional amendment regarding the Newfoundland and Labrador education
As Leader of the Government in the Senate during most of Senator Doody's time
as deputy leader, and as his seatmate on the opposition benches in more recent
years, you will understand that I feel I have more reason than anyone here to
remember him with profound gratitude as well as with admiration and affection.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, recently, Newfoundland and
Labrador declared the first surplus in decades, due mostly to revenues from
offshore oil. Bill Doody gets some share of the credit for those revenues
because, in his first portfolio with the Moores administration in 1971, he
challenged federal jurisdiction over the offshore.
It could be said that he went from running two St. John's supermarkets to
being a super minister because his next portfolio was finance. Clearly, he knew
the importance of the bottom line, and he was tough with his colleagues in
enforcing controls on spending. He had to say no to some of the major
initiatives of his colleagues and he did. In fact, far from a flamboyant man, he
played a major role in a unique moment in our province's history, the first
government after Smallwood's Liberals.
In his own quiet yet determined way he did so much to build the party and the
reputation of the government. The esteem in which he was held was clear in the
Conservative leadership convention when he lost to Brian Peckford by only 30
votes. He showed the same kind of strength when he tabled, as Deputy Leader of
the Government in the Senate, the motion to end debate on the Liberal filibuster
over the GST.
He was an able man who knew the issues and could debate them with force and
vigour. I recall that on the issue of denominational schools in our province, he
and I were on opposite sides, but he defended his position, as Senator Murray
has said, with great knowledge and great skill. Here in the Senate he was highly
regarded by his colleagues on both sides.
What I will remember most was the man himself and his sense of humour. He
understood the ebb and flow of fortune and the fickleness of fate, and he was
able to laugh at life with his own wry sense of humour, couched often in the
caustic quotes of a well-stocked mind. I always enjoyed meeting him. We would
greet each other with some mock title, such as Your Lordship or Your Eminence,
and he would stop then and comment on the affairs of the day and the proposals
of the mighty with great humour and sagacity. He knew the wisdom of the line of
Robbie Burns that "the rank is but the guinea's stamp, the man's the gowd for a'
Honourable senators, Bill Doody was an outstanding public servant. He gave
the Queen more than full value for the shilling he took; and he gave in full
measure until he could give no more. I salute him and I offer my deepest
sympathy to Doreen, the British nurse he married in St. John's, and to his
children Liam, Steven and Christine.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I wish to join those who
speak in remembrance of our colleague William (Bill) Doody who passed away on
December 27, 2005.
During the fall of this past year, when I was in a hospital in Fredericton,
New Brunswick, I received a bouquet of flowers from Bill and his wife, Doreen.
What amazed me was that, clearly, he was dealing with his own major health
issues and yet he was worried about me. At his funeral, his son spoke of his
love of family and friends, and it was obvious, if one knew him, that he was
loyal to both.
I first met Bill when he ran for the provincial leadership against Brian
Peckford in Newfoundland and Labrador. When Peckford won the leadership, he
immediately called an election and Bill was asked to be the honorary campaign
chair, which he agreed to do. It was not long after that 1979 election win that
Joe Clark, who had recently become Prime Minister, appointed Bill to the Senate,
filling a vacancy in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Bill had a long and distinguished career, both provincially and federally. He
clearly was a statesman and displayed that as Deputy Leader of the Government in
the Senate, as well as with his service on a long list of standing Senate
committees. When I was chair of caucus, he was always helpful to me. He was an
able and astute politician whose experience and wisdom we will clearly miss in
Honourable senators, we have lost a great Canadian and friend, but he will
live on in our hearts and memories. To his wife, Doreen, and family, whom he so
dearly loved, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences for the loss of a
wonderful husband and father.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I rise today as well in
honour of our former colleague, Senator Bill Doody, who passed away, as others
have said, on December 27, 2005. Senator Doody was a true dean of this place,
the Senate, and a well-known political figure in my province.
He served the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for more than 30 years. He
was first elected to the provincial House of Assembly in 1971. Not long
afterwards, he was appointed to serve in the cabinet of Frank Moores, and it was
here that Bill truly excelled.
He was known for his tireless efforts in each of the challenging portfolios
that he commanded. Over the years, Bill served as Minister of Mines, Minister of
Agriculture and Resources, and Minister of Finance in the Moores government. He
also served in Brian Peckford's cabinet as Minister of Mines and Energy.
When I arrived in Ottawa, I remember being impressed by our then Deputy
Leader of the Government in the Senate. I looked to him for guidance. He was
among the most astute politicians that I have ever known. He was incredibly well
versed in issues of finance, and even more importantly, he could express the
most complex issues and arguments in clear language that anyone could
It was evident to me then that his colleagues liked to hear him speak, and
many of us readily sought his perspective on issues. I was also delighted by his
quick wit and his endearing sense of dry humour.
Honourable senators, with the passing of Senator Bill Doody, our province of
Newfoundland and Labrador, and our people, have lost a remarkable ambassador
whose contribution was great, and Canada has lost a great Canadian.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I respectfully ask that you
all rise and join me in a minute of silence.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, under rule 22(10), the
Leader of the Government has asked me to have the period set aside for Senators'
Statements extended today to pay tribute to the Honourable Senator Shirley Maheu,
who died on February 1, 2006.
Under the rule, I remind honourable senators that their remarks may be no
more than three minutes in length, that no senator may speak more than once and
that they have 15 minutes in all.
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, with
deep sadness, I pay tribute today to a friend and colleague, the Honourable
Shirley Maheu, who died on February 1 following a long and courageous fight
I will always remember Shirley Maheu as a lady with a big heart and a
multitude of friends and admirers thanks to her charm, compassion, refinement
and even her political instincts.
It was my pleasure to know and work with her for many years. On many
occasions and until quite recently, I was honoured to share with her the
responsibility of presiding over our meetings. I was always able to count on her
support, her advice and her friendship.
She was known for her tireless devotion to the community and worked with many
charitable organizations, including the Red Cross and the Canadian Cancer
Society. She was also involved in the creation of the group Carrefour
multiethnique to provide assistance to refugees and immigrants.
Elected to the House of Commons in 1988, after serving Saint-Laurent for six
years as a municipal councillor, Shirley was re-elected in 1993. In 1996 she
was summoned to the Senate and became Speaker pro tempore in October of
2004, and she filled the position with poise, skill and dedication.
Shirley was extremely proud to represent her province in the Senate, just as
she had been proud to represent Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, a riding known for
its diversity of language, culture and religion. Always the loyal Canadian,
Senator Maheu subscribed to the values of tolerance, social justice and
pluralism. She knew very well from her life experience the advantage of having
two official languages and a diverse population working together and meeting the
challenges of building our great country.
Those who attended her funeral service in Montreal on February 4 were filled
with pride and admiration for our valued colleague as Canada's national anthem
was played one last time, accompanying her casket as she left Saint-Sixte Church
for her final resting place.
I am joined by all senators in expressing our sorrow and our deepest
sympathies to her husband René, her children and her grandchildren.
We wish her a fond farewell.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
today we pause to pay tribute to one of our colleagues, Senator Shirley Maheu,
who passed away February 1.
For many years, Shirley ably represented the interests of her beloved home
province of Quebec, first in the other place and then in this chamber. Long
before she entered federal politics, Shirley Maheu led an accomplished life.
Along with her husband René, she operated an insurance brokerage firm. Out of
that experience, she became a founding member of the Saint-Laurent Chamber of
Commerce and was an active member of such organizations as the Insurance Brokers
Association of Quebec. In addition to her professional pursuits, she also served
as the honorary president of the Saint-Laurent chapter of the Red Cross Society.
In 1982, Senator Maheu entered a new phase of her life when she was elected
to the Saint-Laurent city council. Six years later, she decided to take on
federal politics. She enjoyed great success in the other place, as she was twice
elected to the House of Commons to represent the people of
Honourable senators, it is a sad irony that Senator Maheu passed away 10
years to the very day of her appointment to this place. During a decade of
public service in the Senate of Canada, she made valuable contributions to many
committees, including two that she chaired — the Standing Senate Committee on
Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders, and the Standing Senate Committee on
Human Rights. As we all know, for the past year and a half she served admirably
in the Senate chamber as Speaker pro tempore.
Senator Maheu was a hard-working and dedicated member of the Senate of Canada
and was deeply committed to her political party, her province and her country.
We will not soon forget how Senator Maheu helped to advance the federalist cause
in Quebec over the course of several decades. It goes without saying that these
fine qualities, among others, will certainly be missed by many people across the
On a personal note, even though we were political opposites, Shirley and I
enjoyed a very high personal respect and friendship for each other, and I was
sad indeed when I learned of her passing. On behalf of all Conservative
senators, I wish to offer our sincere condolences to Senator Maheu's large
circle of family and friends.
Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, when I think of Senator Shirley
Maheu I instantly think of the expression "courage in the face of adversity."
That expression truly does Shirley Maheu justice. Often it is said that a person
only gives the best of themselves when they have to overcome an obstacle or a
challenge. Well, that was certainly the case for Shirley.
She was a true fighter and her two greatest weapons were tenacity and
determination. When she set a goal for herself, she always saw it through.
Shirley was profoundly humane and an approachable politician. She was close
to people, to those she represented in particular, as municipal councillor for
Saint-Laurent, as the Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville and
later as a senator. She came to political life through her active involvement in
various socially-oriented community agencies.
Her political adventure began when she successfully sought election to the
Saint-Laurent municipal council in 1982. This decision was undoubtedly an
altruistic gesture, since Shirley primarily wanted to serve her community. Those
who knew her well know that she was always at the ready, whether to comfort
victims of a fire or lend a hand in developing a new business.
She was resolutely federalist and very attached to Canada, for she believed
that Canadian federalism was the best political system for both Quebec and the
rest of the country. She was very active during the two referendums held in
Quebec. She never stopped trying to convince her fellow citizens of Canada's
advantages. She did it with great passion and conviction. An anglo-Quebecer, she
was also an enthusiastic proponent of bilingualism and the protection of
language rights of each minority in Canada.
She was an activist and ready to defend those who are most vulnerable.
Whether she was defending seniors or immigrants, it must be said that she fought
a lengthy battle for the equality of all.
We will remember Shirley as a champion of the right to equality. We will also
remember her as a people person who was approachable and generous. We will keep
dear to our hearts the memory of what our colleague and friend represented most
to us: a woman of courage, conviction and action. We sympathize with René,
Ronald, Richard, Daniel and Marc in their loss.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, as we all know, we
lost an esteemed colleague from this chamber on February 1. Senator Maheu's
contributions to Canadian public life were tremendous. Several senators have
spoken about her many achievements throughout her political career. As a
councillor, member of Parliament and senator, she gave so much of herself to her
community, her province and her country.
Knowing of her great personal strength, I was not surprised that at the time
of her death on February 1, she had already booked her trip for our caucus
meeting taking place that day. She had been determined to get back to Ottawa to
continue her good work and to support the party to which she had given so much.
I know that I will certainly miss her great presence in this chamber, and I
appreciate the time that I was able to spend with her. I offer my deepest
condolences to her husband, René, and her four sons, Ronald, Richard, Daniel and
Marc. I remember with great fondness Shirley's hard work, perseverance and good
heart. We have lost a good friend and a great Canadian.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, I should like to
associate myself with the remarks made about our colleagues Senator Bill Doody
and Senator Shirley Maheu. I would have spoken myself, but I do so by
associating myself with the earlier remarks and will speak about something else
Senator Cools: You will have to wait until tributes are finished.
Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, Senator Maheu left us on the
first day of February. Her death leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of all who
were close to her for so many years.
I have lost not just a colleague, but a friend. I will remember Shirley as a
woman who loved life. Her perpetual smile and delightful sense of humour
identified her as someone who always saw the positive side of life. No matter
what the task or how hard it was, she did it right and with good humour.
Shirley's stoicism in her pain taught us a lesson in courage. She knew her
illness would have the upper hand, but she did not let that stop her or prevent
her from living. She continued to travel up to a few weeks before her death. Her
illness did not keep her from her work, either. She sat in the Speaker's chair
in this chamber on the last sitting day of the Thirty-eighth Parliament.
Although she was in the middle of chemotherapy, she was determined to get to
our national caucus on February 1. When I spoke to her two days before, she told
me she had arranged everything in order to be in Ottawa. She passed away,
unfortunately, the very morning of the meeting.
Shirley was an insurance broker by profession. She dedicated her entire life
to public service. As was mentioned earlier, she was a municipal councillor in
Ville Saint-Laurent, then an MP for the federal riding of Saint-Laurent and,
finally, a senator, as of 1996. In both the House of Commons and the Senate, she
held a number of positions of responsibility, testimony to the confidence her
colleagues placed in her.
A truly federalist Quebecer, Shirley was committed to defending all human
rights and fighting all forms of injustice. She considered it a sacred trust to
improve the daily lives of her fellow citizens.
Shirley, you have gone, but you have left us with your inspiration to
continue to help those less fortunate than us. And when we think of you, it will
be with a smile.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I wish to concur with the
remarks made by all of our colleagues.
I knew Senator Doody as a deeply religious man of conviction. He defended
Newfoundland's school system to the very end. Things turned out otherwise and he
felt a deep sense of regret. I understood his attachment to his religious
system, which disappeared with a constitutional amendment against which we
fought in the Senate as long as we could. I too want to offer my sincere
condolences to his family.
As for Shirley, I was the Member of Parliament for part of the same riding
when there were no women on the Saint-Laurent municipal council. I always had
the same argument with Mayor Lorrain, which consisted in repeating to him that
we needed to have women on the council, that it was wrong not to. I was with the
mayor when Shirley became a municipal councillor in 1982. As luck would have it,
I was a member of the electoral commission in 1988 when the electoral districts
were divided and it was decided, which made me very happy, that Ms. Maheu would
become our Liberal Member of Parliament.
I was with her in Paris when she found out, in the middle of the night, that
she was being offered a position — I am looking at her family, they know all
these secrets — which was not necessarily in the Senate. Senator Bacon described
her as a woman who was always strong and determined, who had the strength of her
convictions and who was convincing. We spoke at length about what her next
political move should be. That is how it was decided in Paris that she would
become senator while Mr. Cauchon would become minister — which probably did not
make many people happy, but certainly gave a boost to the Canadian delegation
when one of its members became a minister and another a senator.
I will remember Shirley for her devotion to her electors and her riding. I
would concur with the remarks of one of her great friends, Senator Bacon. I know
of their friendship and I would echo what she had to say. I join with her in
offering my sympathies to Mr. Maheu and his four sons. Mr. Maheu is an
extraordinarily dynamic man, very involved in all aspects of life in
As the Honourable Speaker mentioned earlier, I too, would say that I had
never heard our national anthem, O Canada, resound with such vigour as it
did on the day we attended her funeral at Saint-Sixte church.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I too rise in tribute to my
friend and former colleague, the Honourable Shirley Maheu, who passed away in
Throughout her life, Senator Maheu devoted herself to public service. She
first served the people of Montreal as a councillor before deciding to run for
Parliament in 1988. She went on to represent the riding of
Saint-Laurent—Cartierville and was subsequently called to this place in 1996.
Her successor in the other place, the Honourable Stéphane Dion, described
Senator Maheu as "a goddess in her riding." He said she was dedicated to the
idea of multiculturalism. She was more than tolerant and respected every one of
Those of us who knew her certainly agree with those sentiments, but we can
also attest to her straightforward approach and strong work ethic. Her devotion
and dedication to her party and people was simply unmatched.
Following Shirley's death, we learned that she had plans to be at a caucus
meeting in Ottawa on the day she died. I am told that throughout her brave
battle with cancer, which lasted a year and a half, she refused to miss a single
caucus meeting. I wonder how many of us would share that remarkable level of
commitment under such trying circumstances.
I extend my sincere condolences to Shirley's husband, René, and their four
sons. I know her legacy will continue to live on among the people she so proudly
represented, and here in this place she will be warmly remembered and remain in
the hearts of all those she has touched.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would ask you to rise and
join with me in observing a minute of silence in honour of our colleague,
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, in the history of every
nation there exist significant moments that help to shape its people. For our
country, one of those seminal moments occurred at dawn on April 9, 1917, when
Canadian soldiers began their successful assault on Vimy Ridge. Many believed
Vimy to be an invincible fortress. Previous French and British attacks had been
thrown back. Now it was time for the Canadians to give it their best.
The operation brought together for the first time the four divisions of the
Canadian Corps. Soldiers from every province, all nine as they then were, fought
at Vimy Ridge, and no less than four Victoria Crosses were awarded to Canadians
in the course of that single action.
The father of our esteemed colleague, Senator Norman Atkins, fought at Vimy
Ridge as a member of the 46th (Queens) Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery.
Fortunately, Gunner George Atkins kept a personal diary for posterity. On that
date his entry was:
Put over a barrage this morning at 5 o'clock. The Canadians took Vimy Ridge
a flying. Took a lot of prisoners, etc.
How very Canadian. That is an understatement personified.
Fourteen years ago, Senator Atkins and I had the distinct honour of attending
the seventy-fifth anniversary celebration of the Battle of Vimy. We were both
deeply moved by that ceremony, which was presided over by both Prime Minister
Brian Mulroney and by the President of the French Republic, François Mitterrand.
When I think back to our visit, these words, from Pierre Berton's book
Vimy, come to my mind:
They lay out...in no man's land, twenty thousand young men of the first
wave, stretched out along the four-mile front, crouching in the liquid gruel
of the shallow assault trenches or flat on their bellies, noses in the mud,
holding their breath for the moment of the assault.
I am delighted that Canada's remarkable monument at Vimy is currently
undergoing a major restoration, essential work that should be completed by
December 2006. A rededication ceremony will be held on April 9, 2007, on the
90th anniversary of the battle. The memorial commemorates the 3,598 Canadian
soldiers who fell on the field of battle and the 7,104 who were wounded there.
Perched at the top of Hill 145, it is the largest Canadian war memorial and a
symbol of our national spirit. Those who have the opportunity to visit Vimy will
find the visit deeply moving and unforgettable.
Honourable senators, let us pay tribute, some 89 years on, to this courageous
achievement and pause to remember the sacrifices of those young soldiers who
paid the ultimate price to secure our freedom, a task that continues even to
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, it is with sadness that I rise
today to remember the life of Cpl. Paul Davis of Nova Scotia, who lost his life
serving Canada in Afghanistan. On March 2 of this year, Cpl. Davis was killed in
an accident while on patrol just west of Kandahar.
Paul was known as "Smiley" to his childhood friends because he was always
happy and always smiling. He grew up in Sackville and Bridgewater in Nova
Scotia. Cpl. Davis had been in the military for about eight years. He served in
Bosnia during that time and had trained with JTF2. He was a member of B Company,
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Manitoba.
A few weeks after Cpl. Davis had been deployed, I was speaking with his
father Jim, a friend of mine. He was telling me how worried he was about his son
being in Afghanistan, but he also told me that Paul was excited and happy to be
serving his country. He told his father that this is what he had been trained to
do. In fact, Paul had turned down a promotion and instead volunteered to go to
Corporal Davis died in service to his country doing what he wanted to do. Jim
Davis said this about his son: "I'm extremely proud of him. There's no question
about that at all."
Honourable senators, I believe we should all be proud, not only of Cpl. Paul
Davis, but also of all the wonderful men and women who serve in the Canadian
Forces. They put their lives at risk to protect us and our democracy. They also
serve on dangerous missions such as in Afghanistan where they are working to
bring peace, security and freedom to the Afghan people.
My heartfelt condolences go to Corporal Davis's wife, Melanie, and their two
children in Manitoba and to his family in Nova Scotia. My thoughts and prayers
also go out to the family of Master Corporal Timothy Wilson of Grande Prairie,
Alberta, who was also killed in this accident.
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, I rise today to again extend
my congratulations to Team Gushue on their historic gold medal victory at the
2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
In February, Brad Gushue, Jamie Korab, Russ Howard, Mark Nichols and Mike
Adam, together with their coach Toby McDonald, made sporting history in Canada
by bringing home our first Olympic gold medal in curling.
However, for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, their victory means far
more than that. In addition to being the first Newfoundlanders and Labradorians
to receive gold medals at the Winter Olympics, they have also inspired a new
confidence and a sense of pride in the people of my province, especially among
On the day of the gold medal match-up with Finland the province came to a
virtual standstill. Students were given the afternoon off, and many people left
work early so they could gather around their televisions to support their team.
Days later, when the team arrived home following the games, an estimated 2,000
fans were at the airport to greet them, many of whom travelled hours to be
A gold medal is the ultimate symbol of excellence and is an outstanding
accomplishment for any athlete. However, for a province as geographically
isolated and as small in population as mine it is all the more impressive. It is
truly a testament to these curlers and their community that they developed their
skills to the highest possible level.
Honourable senators, I thank Team Gushue for serving as a powerful example to
all Canadians, not only our athletes, of the great achievements that follow from
hard work and dedication. These fine men have shown that we can compete with the
best of the best and win. I commend them for being positive role models for our
youth as well as outstanding ambassadors for Canada and Newfoundland and
Hon. Yoine Goldstein: Honourable senators, I am pleased to announce
that today marks the tenth anniversary of the creation of the Tolerance
Foundation, which I have the honour to co-chair.
Founded in 1996, the Tolerance Foundation is a non-profit socio-educational
organization whose mission is to inform and raise awareness among high school
students aged 13 to 17 about the dangers inherent in intolerance, prejudice,
racism and discrimination in all its forms.
Through its school activities, the Tolerance Caravan, interactive theatre and
educational tools for youth, the Tolerance Foundation is working to create a
more inclusive Canada.
For the past 10 years, the caravan has crisscrossed Quebec and connected with
more than 120,000 young students in some 100 high schools. In March 2006, the
caravan travelled to Alberta, visiting Calgary and Edmonton schools. A new
English-language caravan is in the works, and it will tour English-language
schools across Canada.
The Tolerance Foundation is very honoured that the Honourable Senator Roméo
Dallaire has agreed to be the Honorary Chair of the tenth anniversary of the
foundation. He will speak to us about tolerance at our annual general meeting
this coming Monday.
Honourable senators, tolerance is a passive state. While it reflects mere
acceptance of differences, acceptance or tolerance of differences is not enough.
Our goal is to instil a realization that diversity in our society is a
significant value, that diversity is to be celebrated, that diversity is to be
actively valued and not merely accepted. La Fondation de la tolérance has been
on this journey for 10 years. Hopefully, before the passage of a further 10
years we will reach that destination: the celebration of diversity, the
celebration of differences, as fundamental, positive societal values and not
causes of division.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to take this
opportunity to remind honourable senators that they and this Senate can indeed
make a difference.
That fact was recently illustrated by an important initiative spearheaded by
our honourable colleague Senator Milne regarding amendments made to the
Statistics Act under Bill S-18. The bill has enabled increased access to both
past and future census records. It is an excellent example to all senators and
to Canadians in general of the kind of work senators are performing in order to
benefit Canadian society.
One of the key provisions of the bill allows for the release of personal
census records from censuses taken between 1911 and 2001 after a 92-year waiting
period. In addition, starting in the 2006 census year, Canadians will be able to
decide if they will allow their personal census information to be released
publicly after a period of 92 years. As a result, individual census records
would be released only where consent has been given.
To briefly review the bills' timeline, individual returns for the 1901 census
were released by the government 92 years later, in 1993, in accordance with the
Privacy Act regulations. In 1997, Statistics Canada announced that it had
concerns about privacy guarantees and therefore would not release any further
census returns, despite the fact that for roughly 250 years returns had been
made available to the public through National Archives.
Senator Milne took up the cause on behalf of historians and genealogists in
1998 through an inquiry in this chamber. Then, in December of 1999, Senator
Milne sponsored her first of several private bills in the Senate to legislate
the desired changes.
My first recollection after arriving in the Senate was the continuous filing
of petitions to bring this important issue to the attention of the government.
Thank goodness that we have governments that, upon reflection, can change
their minds. After consideration, the government decided that it could release
the census statistics and was able to release the 1906 census records
immediately. Parallel to this decision was the government's announcement that it
would introduce a bill to govern the release of census records in the future.
While the first effort was not what stakeholders were looking for, Senator
Milne persevered and, ultimately, a new bill was brought forward and began its
journey in this chamber.
Honourable senators, a number of concerns had been raised about privacy,
which was one of the objections made to Bill S-18.
No complaints to date have been filed with the Privacy Commissioner, and as
of the present time, there are over 800,000 hits per day to the archives with
respect to the information.
Honourable senators, this has been a huge success for this chamber.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I am very pleased this afternoon to say a few words of congratulations to the
new Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Senator Noël Kinsella.
On February 8, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Senator Kinsella as
Speaker, and in so doing said: "Senator Kinsella is respected on both sides of
the Senate as an eminent and experienced parliamentarian and I am confident that
he will be an excellent Speaker of the Senate." I wholeheartedly agree with the
Prime Minister's words, as undoubtedly all honourable senators do as well.
As Senator Hays demonstrated during his time in the chair, the role of
Speaker of the Senate requires a great deal of even-handedness, courtesy and
composure. Throughout his almost 16 years of service in the Senate of Canada,
Senator Kinsella has consistently demonstrated these qualities. He has always
displayed a calm disposition, even in the most heated debates, and his steadying
influence has long been a tremendous benefit to those privileged enough to serve
in this place.
Senator Kinsella's deep and abiding respect for the Rules of the Senate of
Canada also make him extremely well-suited to this new position. After all,
the Speaker of the Senate is charged with the responsibility of preserving order
and decorum in this chamber. I sincerely hope His Honour will not find that too
big a challenge in the weeks and months ahead.
Senator Kinsella has an extensive human rights background, most notably for
the Province of New Brunswick as the head of the New Brunswick Human Rights
Commission and the Atlantic Human Rights Centre at St. Thomas University. His
vast knowledge and experience in this area will serve him well in fulfilling
another of his responsibilities, because, in addition to carrying out the duties
as a representative of one's own province, the Speaker must also fulfill a
diplomatic role, receiving visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, and
often travelling abroad as a representative of the Canadian Parliament and/or
Honourable senators, I am certain that the Speaker will perform these duties
to the best of his ability, and I extend to him our congratulations and very
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I
wish to join with Senator LeBreton in saying a few words about the new Speaker,
Besides being a renowned scholar, human rights activist and consummate
diplomat, he has great knowledge of his chamber, as well as its practices,
precedents and conventions. He has served this institution with unfailing
dedication since 1990, as whip, deputy leader and Leader of the Opposition, and
I am convinced that the experience he gained in those positions will assure us
all that he will serve us well as Speaker.
As a former Speaker, I know that Senator Kinsella has those skills necessary
to discharge his duties. I have every confidence he will represent our
institution, not only here with his presence in the chair, but elsewhere, with
poise, and perform exceptionally well in his new capacity. I know he will be
well served by the support and wise counsel of his wonderful wife, Ann. I know I
speak for all in this room when we wish you both every success.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I would also, with great pleasure, like to introduce this afternoon our new
colleague, the Honourable Michael Fortier.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator LeBreton: Senator Fortier will represent the senatorial
division of Rougemont in the Province of Quebec.
Prior to being summoned to the Senate of Canada, Senator Fortier built a
successful career as a financier and lawyer, not only in Canada, in the province
of Quebec, but also abroad.
He is well known to members of the Conservative Party, most notably as a
candidate in the 2000 federal election and as the national campaign co-chair for
the general election of 2005-06. I am confident that the combination of
professional experience, accomplishment and public service will be a most
valuable asset to Senator Fortier as he faces the challenges of his new career
Senator Fortier holds an important portfolio within the federal cabinet, that
being Minister of Public Works and Government Services. In addition to carrying
out his duties as a minister of the Crown, he will be a much-needed voice at the
cabinet table for the people of the greater Montreal area.
Our new Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, has expressed
total confidence in Minister Fortier's ability to be accountable to Parliament
and, therefore, to the Canadian people during his time in the Senate of Canada.
I know I speak for all honourable senators in extending my congratulations
and best wishes to Senator Fortier. I wish him every success as he takes on his
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I,
too, would like to say a few words of congratulations and welcome to our new
A very warm welcome to our new colleague, Michael Fortier, the senator from
Rougemont, who will sit with us as Minister of Public Works and Government
Though he is new to our chamber, Senator Fortier is no stranger to politics.
A key Conservative Party organizer for 10 years or so, his political involvement
and credentials are impressive for such a relatively young man.
In 1998, for instance, following Jean Charest's departure for provincial
politics, Senator Fortier ran to succeed him as leader of the then Progressive
Conservatives. Though he was not successful in replacing Mr. Charest, he
remained a strong party loyalist and organizer, running as a candidate in Laval
West in 2000.
More recently, Mr. Fortier co-chaired Mr. Harper's campaign for the
leadership of the new Conservative Party in 2003, and he co-chaired the party's
national campaign during the recent general election. In that regard, I will say
that the activities that led to his appointment to the Senate are part of a long
Besides impressive political credentials, Senator Fortier brings considerable
professional talent and experience to the chamber. I am certain that his skills
as a lawyer specializing in, among other things, securities, mergers and
acquisitions — in addition to being a corporate financing director — will serve
him well in discharging his new duties both as a senator and as a minister.
Although his appointment raised some eyebrows, I see it as an example of our
chamber's importance in helping governments respect the federal principle. It
confirms that even the harshest critics can find the Senate a useful place for,
among other things, a government lacking elected cabinet representatives from a
province or a region. I did not expect this.
I will close by offering my congratulations to Senator Fortier. I am certain
that he will use his talents and experience to benefit our country and our
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): I would also like to
congratulate the new Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Honourable
Marjory LeBreton, a woman who has a wealth of experience, who is intensely loyal
to her party and who is known for her talent, dedication and intelligence.
Indeed, the wealth of experience she has gained as a front-line organizer and
strategist for Conservative leaders from John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield, Joe
Clark, Brian Mulroney and now Stephen Harper will be invaluable to her as she
meets the day-to-day challenges of her new position.
Moreover, the passion Senator LeBreton brings to worthy causes will serve her
well throughout her term as government leader.
I wish her all the best and look forward to working with her as we get on
with the very important business of our nation.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the new Deputy
Leader of the Government and the new government whip, Senators Gerald Comeau and
Terry Stratton, respectively.
I am extremely proud to be so ably assisted in my duties as Leader of the
Opposition by two experienced, high-calibre women. I know that we will make a
good team, and I look forward to working with the new Deputy Leader of the
Opposition, the Honourable Joan Fraser, and our new whip, the Honourable Joan
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
on behalf the Prime Minister, pursuant to section 72.062 of the Parliament of
Canada Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a copy of
the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a copy of the
commission appointing the Honourable Marshall E. Rothstein Deputy of the
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I
rise under Tabling of Documents to request leave to table reports relating to my
duties as Speaker.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Hays: The first is a report entitled, "Official Visit to
Ireland and Romania, October 9 to 15, 2005;" and the second is a document
entitled, "Report on Official Visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and
Switzerland, November 6 to 12, 2005."
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I
wish to table a document which is a report relating to the visit and meeting in
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to attend the Twenty-third Presiding
Officers' Conference of Speakers of Parliaments within Canada.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That, for the remainder of the current session,
(a) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday or a Thursday, it shall
sit at 1:30 p.m. notwithstanding rule (5)(1)(a);
(b) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday, it stand adjourned at 4
p.m., unless it has been suspended for the purpose of taking a deferred vote
or has earlier adjourned; and
(c) where a vote is deferred until 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, the
Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings, immediately prior to any
adjournment but no later than 4 p.m., to suspend the sitting until 5:30 p.m.
for the taking of the deferred vote, and that committees be authorized to
meet during the period that the sitting is suspended.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next
sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Senate congratulates the Honourable Noël Kinsella on his
appointment as Speaker and expresses its confidence in him while acknowledging
that a Speaker, to be successful and effective in the exercise of the duties
of that office, requires the trust and support of a majority of the Senators.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 58(1)(i),
I give notice that two days hence, I will move that:
Whereas the federal government has a leadership and coordination role, and
a direct service delivery role for certain populations, with regards to
palliative and end-of-life care in Canada;
And whereas only 15 per cent of Canadians have access to integrated,
palliative and end-of-life care;
Be it resolved that the Senate of Canada urge the Government to provide
long-term, sustainable funding for the further development of a Canadian
Strategy on Palliative and End-of-Life Care which is cross-departmental and
cross-jurisdictional, and meets the needs of Canadians.
And that a message be sent to the House of Commons requesting that House to
unite with the Senate for the above purpose.
NOTICE OF MOTION TO AUTHORIZE COMMITTEE TO STUDY
ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY
AND CO-OPERATION IN EUROPE 2005 DECLARATION ON
ANTI-SEMITISM AND INTOLERANCE
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I give notice that
on Friday next, April 7, 2006, I will move:
That the following Resolution on Combating Anti-Semitism which was adopted
unanimously at the 14th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Association,
in which Canada participated in Washington on July 5, 2005, be referred to the
Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights for consideration and that the
Committee table its final report no later than October 30, 2006:
RESOLUTION ON COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM
Recalling the resolutions on anti-Semitism by the OSCE Parliamentary
Assembly, which were unanimously passed at the annual meetings in Berlin in
2002, in Rotterdam in 2003 and in Edinburgh in 2004,
1. Referring to the commitments made by the participating states emerging
from the OSCE conferences in Vienna (June 2003), Berlin (April 2004) and
Brussels (September 2004) regarding legal, political and educational efforts
to fight anti-Semitism, ensuring "that Jews in the OSCE region can live
their lives free of discrimination, harassment and violence",
2. Welcoming the convening of the Conference on Anti-Semitism and on
Other Forms of Intolerance in Cordoba, Spain in June 2005,
3. Commending the appointment and continuing role of the three Personal
Representatives of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE on Combating
Anti-Semitism, on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims,
and on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, also focusing on
Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other
Religions, reflecting the distinct role of each in addressing these separate
issues in the OSCE region,
4. Reaffirming the view expressed in earlier resolutions that
anti-Semitism constitutes a threat to fundamental human rights and to
democratic values and hence to the security in the OSCE region,
5. Emphasizing the importance of permanent monitoring mechanisms of
incidents of anti-Semitism at a national level, as well as the need for
public condemnations, energetic police work and vigorous prosecutions,
The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE:
6. Urges OSCE participating states to adopt national uniform definitions
for monitoring and collecting information about anti-Semitism and hate
crimes along the lines of the January 2005 EUMC Working Definition of
Anti-Semitism and to familiarize officials, civil servants and others
working in the public sphere with these definitions so that incidents can be
quickly identified and recorded;
7. Recommends that OSCE participating states establish national data
collection and monitoring mechanisms and improve information-sharing among
national government authorities, local officials, and civil society
representatives, as well as exchange data and best practices with other OSCE
8. Urges OSCE participating states to publicize data on anti-Semitic
incidents in a timely manner as well as report the information to the OSCE
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);
9. Recommends that ODIHR publicize its data on anti-Semitic crimes and
hate crimes on a regular basis, highlight best practices, as well as
initiate programs with a particular focus in the areas of police, law
enforcement, and education;
10. Calls upon national governments to allot adequate resources to the
monitoring of anti-Semitism, including the appointment of national
ombudspersons or special representatives;
11. Emphasizes the need to broaden the involvement of civil society
representatives in the collection, analysis and publication of data on
anti-Semitism and related violence;
12. Calls on the national delegations of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
to ensure that regular debates on the subject of anti-Semitism are conducted
in their parliaments and furthermore to support public awareness campaigns
on the threat to democracy posed by acts of anti-Semitic hatred, detailing
best practices to combat this threat;
13. Calls on the national delegations of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
to submit written reports at the 2006 Annual Session on the activities of
their parliaments with regard to combating anti-Semitism;
14. Calls on the OSCE participating states to develop educational
material and teacher training methods to counter contemporary forms of
anti-Semitism, as well as update programs on Holocaust education;
15. Urges both the national parliaments and governments of OSCE
participating states to review their national laws;
16. Urges the OSCE participating states to improve security at Jewish
sites and other locations that are potential targets of anti-Semitic attacks
in coordination with the representatives of these communities.
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the
next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology be authorized to examine and report on issues arising from, and
developments since, the tabling of its final report on the state of the health
care system in Canada in October 2002. In particular, the Committee shall be
authorized to examine issues concerning mental health and mental illness;
That the papers and evidence received and taken by the Committee on the
study of mental health and mental illness in Canada in the Thirty-seventh and
Thirty-eighth Parliaments be referred to the Committee; and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2006 and
that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize the findings of
the Committee until September 30, 2006.
That the Committee be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to
deposit any report with the Clerk of the Senate, if the Senate is not then
sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, I give notice that two days
hence, I will move:
That, whenever the Senate is sitting, the proceedings of the upper chamber,
like those of the lower one, be televised, or otherwise audio-visually
recorded, so that those proceedings can be carried live or replayed on CPAC,
or any other television station, at times that are convenient for Canadians.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
present a petition from residents of my province, Prince Edward Island,
concerning early learning and child-care agreements signed by the Province of
Prince Edward Island and the federal government last November.
The petition reads:
We, the undersigned, draw the attention of the Senate of Canada to the
Whereas the previous federal government and the Province of Prince
Edward Island signed the early learning and child care Agreement in
Principle on November 24, 2005;
Whereas the agreement represents a federal investment of $20.4 million
over five years to create the additional high quality and affordable early
learning and child care spaces that are so desperately needed in our
Therefore, we call upon the Senate to urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper
and the federal government to commit to the implementation of the original
early learning and childcare agreement, and, in doing so, make sure that the
children of Prince Edward Island have the best possible start in life.
Hon. Daniel Hays (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my
question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, with whom I recently
learned I share a common background, the two of us having been raised on dairy
farms. As such, the Leader of the Government in the Senate will not be surprised
that my first question concerns agriculture.
The agricultural sector was, of course, dealt with in the concluding remarks
of the Throne Speech. However, this is something that we must follow up on,
particularly today, given the demonstrations that are occurring outside this
place as we speak.
By way of background, in February 2005, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
reported that net farm income across Canada is expected to fall 16 per cent this
year. This decline follows a difficult period for the agricultural sector. In
2004, grain prices were 25 per cent lower than 2002. In 2005, the crop index
fell another 15 per cent. There have been previous government attempts to
address this issue. In response to that problem, in 2005, the federal government
announced funding of almost $1.2 billion to the grains and oilseeds sector. In
the Speech from the Throne, the government of Prime Minister Harper
characterized this type of support as something akin to years of neglect, and
promised a more effective farm income stabilization and disaster relief program.
Can the minister now give us — in detail preferably, but in a general way at
least — information on what this new program is, when it will be implemented,
and how it will address the problem we are sharing with those demonstrators
outside of the chamber today?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. I will have a difficult
time not calling him "Mr. Speaker," since that is what I have been doing for a
number of years. As he has pointed out, I was raised on a family dairy farm, and
I know full well that there is no group of people that works harder than our
agricultural producers all over Canada. Before I proceed with my answer, I must
say that we have a senator in our caucus, Senator Gustafson, who, at every
opportunity, reminds us of the very serious problems facing our farmers across
Since we were sworn in on February 6, our new Agriculture Minister, Chuck
Strahl, has spent his time meeting with agriculture and agri-food ministers
throughout the country. As many of you know, on our very first day in
government, on February 6, the first act of cabinet was the authorization of
payments of $755 million under the Grains and Oilseeds Payments Program. To
date, 73,000 cheques totalling near to $400 million have gone out to producers.
Having travelled the country on the election campaign where we met many farmers,
we feel very connected to them, and our government is committed to making
long-term sustainable efforts to assist them.
Senator Hays: The payments about which the honourable senator spoke
were announced and committed to by the Liberal government that preceded this new
government, and, in part, I am looking for some indication of the kind of
support that Prime Minister Harper's government will give to agriculture. Will
it be more than in the past? At the present time, we have no indication of that,
but I will tell you that the people outside and farmers generally, who comprise
a large constituency of the Prime Minister's party, are expecting more and are
expecting it soon.
To be more specific, on December 21, when the Prime Minister was campaigning
as Leader of the Opposition, he said that he would scrap the Canadian
Agriculture Income Stabilization Program and introduce a much more responsive
program. In meetings with the provincial agricultural ministers, we have seen
Minister Strahl basically abandon that commitment, and the honourable senator
can confirm whether or not that is the case. There was a promise, and there is
an expectation of a new program, and we do not have one, and the $755 million
that we are pleased to see implemented and distributed does not comprise an
answer in terms of our expectation of the new government.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate give honourable senators
details, and tell us why this crisis in agriculture is not a policy issue which
is as important as the five principal ones outlined in the Throne Speech, given
the gravity of the problem faced by Canadian farmers?
Senator LeBreton: I dare say that the problems of the farming and
agricultural sector have not just happened since February 6. With regard to the
Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization Program, or CAIS, as they call it, we
certainly recognize that CAIS is seriously flawed. We heard this from
agricultural producers loud and clear, and that is why we intend to replace it.
I notice that some of the provincial agricultural ministers are saying something
different, but the fact is that if they are listening to the farmers in their
jurisdictions, CAIS does need to be replaced.
You can understand that I would not be in a position to comment at this
moment. We were just sworn into government; this is the first day of Question
Period and the third day of Parliament, thus any future announcements with
regard to agriculture will be forthcoming. I am sure that at the end of the day,
my former farm friends will feel that they have been given a much better hearing
by this government.
Senator Hays: Honourable senators, I hope so. I will conclude today's
questions on agriculture by quoting from "Measuring the Farm Income Crisis,"
dated early this year from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, which draws
to our attention the fact that per-farm income in the United States in 2004 was
above $39,000 U.S. per year, and the average farm debt of a U.S. farmer taking
in that income was approximately $100,000 U.S.
In sharp contrast, Canada's net per-farm income for 2004 was $27,000
Canadian, and the average farm debt was over $200,000. That is one of the cries
for help that we hear today from those demonstrating outside the Parliament
Buildings, and that gives us a measure of how much assistance is needed by
Canadian farmers to address this serious problem.
Can the Leader of the Government give us comfort in terms of what we can we
expect and give us an indication of the kind of support being described in these
new programs that will achieve that level?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for his question, and
I notice that the statistics cited were from 2004; it is 2006. We were sworn
into government on February 6, and we do have matters such as the budget yet to
be dealt with. With the makeup of our government and caucus and the help of
people like Senator Gustafson, I am confident that we will be developing
programs that will be much more substantive in sustaining our agricultural
Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, I wish to pursue the
agricultural issue as well, but from a different aspect. Before I ask my
question of the Leader of the Government, I wish to offer the traditional as
well as my personal sincere congratulations to our Speaker on the assumption of
his office, and I concur with the remarks made previously. We look forward to a
distinguished period under the leadership of Your Honour in this chamber.
I also wish to congratulate the Leader of the Government on the assumption of
her new responsibilities.
I have some familiarity with that office, and I know that you will work
diligently to discharge your responsibilities not only here in the Senate but
also in the cabinet process.
Representing the Senate in the cabinet process is one of your duties. Of
course, you get to determine what the interests of the Senate are in pursuing
those issues, but we on this side get to advise you. Please take these questions
as advice rather than as an attempt to pursue purely partisan advantage, at
least for today.
Honourable senators, I had the opportunity to represent this chamber at
Cancun, and I had the advantage of being one of three federal ministers at the
Hong Kong negotiations in the Doha round. I accompanied the then Minister of
International Trade, the Honourable Jim Peterson, and the then Minister of
Agriculture, the Honourable Andy Mitchell, so I have some familiarity with the
issues that I now want to raise.
The issues relate to the deadline for the continuation to success of the Doha
round, and that deadline is the end of this month, April. Talks are under way to
try to resolve difficulties that relate to the agricultural sector and other
sectors, but I want to focus on the agricultural sector.
The most critical concern is with respect to Canada's balance of economic
interest with respect to agriculture. We can be a proficient, effective and
profitable exporter of agriculture. We can be successful in our grains and
oilseeds business; we can be successful in cattle. In order to be a success in
these areas, which constitute about 80 per cent of our agricultural export
potential, we need an international open and free trading market. We do not have
that. Honourable senators are familiar with the constraints imposed by
subsidies, subventions, grants and other games played by agricultural producers
internationally. The Doha round was intended to create a level playing field for
agriculture in the international trade system. However, Canada has also desired
to protect certain industries that are described as supply managed.
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us today, given the
deadline of April 30 to which these negotiations are headed, the position of the
government with respect to both the objective of a free-trading agricultural
system and the role of supply management?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank Senator
Austin for that question.
I am fully aware of the Doha round and the deadline. I will take most of that
question as notice. We realize the difficulty that the government faces at the
WTO. We will want to achieve a more level international playing field, but the
government will vigorously defend supply management.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I thank the leader for that
answer, particularly since historically part of the party that is now described
as the Conservative Party, and particularly western MPs, were opposed to the
supply management system. Thank you for clarifying that supply management will
be high on the government's priority list.
With respect to this round, will Canada be represented by one of the
ministers of the government in the negotiations that are leading to some
conclusion at the end of this month?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I wish to clarify. As the full
party document states, we have not been a party opposed to supply management.
Having been raised on a dairy farm in Eastern Canada, I understand what supply
management means to rural Ontario and rural Quebec, for example. There are other
issues on which our party has taken positions, but it is quite incorrect to say
that our party was opposed to supply management.
It is my belief that a minister of the government will attend the Doha round.
Senator Austin: On a point of clarification, I realize that the
present Conservative Party is the party for which the Leader of the Government
is speaking. I was speaking about some of its predecessors because I understand
that my honourable friend's party is an amalgamation of other political parties.
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, there is only one Conservative
Party. If we are looking at divisions, we should be looking at the divisions in
the Liberal Party.
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I have a question for the
Minister of Public Works and Government Services. I would first like to welcome
the minister to the Senate and to one of the most difficult files in government.
It currently takes an average of 15 years for the Department of National
Defence to acquire a major piece of military equipment. Reports from the
Conference of Defence Associations, the Minister of National Defence's Advisory
Committee on Administrative Efficiency, the Defence Management Studies Program
at Queen's University, and this chamber's own Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence have consistently criticized the number of layers
of approval and review in the federal government that delay capital procurement
to the extent that equipment is sometimes already obsolete when it arrives.
Could the minister describe to this chamber what "value-added" Public
Works and Government Services Canada brings to the National Defence capital
Hon. Michael Fortier (Minister of Public Works and Government Services):
Honourable senators, I will use this opportunity to thank Senator Hays for his
kind and generous words and to thank everyone who has welcomed me so generously
since I was sworn in on Monday.
In response to the question with respect to procurement and defence — defence
assets in particular — since I have been sworn in I have had several briefings
and have noticed that with respect to certain of these acquisitions indeed there
has been a time lag of a number of years, although I am not sure whether it is
I am sure honourable senators know that Public Works has a number of
individuals embedded, if you want, with DND who have been working in the
department in trying to speed up the procurement process. It is my intention to
speed it up much more and, with the help of the Minister of National Defence,
Mr. O'Connor, to close the gap that Senator Kenny has identified.
Senator Kenny: I would like to thank the honourable minister for his
reply. The recent Assistant Deputy Minister of National Defence (Materiel),
Allan Williams, advised the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and
Defence last year that he had set a goal to reduce the procurement process from
the average of 15 years to 11 years, which is still outrageously long, in my
Could the honourable senator outline what proposals his government has made
to achieve this goal? As well, I would like to have an estimate of how much time
can be saved if Public Works and Government Services Canada were not involved in
the National Defence capital acquisitions process.
Senator Fortier: As I indicated earlier, Public Works is involved in
the National Defence capital acquisitions process. There is a procurement
process with respect to several departments. We have professionals in Public
Works who specialize in the acquisition of several assets, including procurement
As I said earlier, it is my intention, and the intention of the Minister of
National Defence, to ensure that we speed up the process. We will be looking
into these matters in short order. Therefore, we share the honourable senator's
view in terms of closing the gap, and we will work hard to achieve those goals.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader
of the Government in the Senate.
For the past two years, the former government has pushed forth an agenda to
support cities across Canada entitled the New Deal for Cities and Communities.
That agenda includes two key elements: To build infrastructure and support
transit, and generally to ensure that our cities can compete internationally
because they are the engines that drive our economy.
Yesterday in the Speech from the Throne, the word "cities" appeared only
once. Terms like "infrastructure" and "transit" did not appear at all.
With reference to fiscal imbalance, when the term "all governments" was
mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, the Mayor of Toronto stated today that
he was hoping that included municipalities and not just provinces and
My question is twofold: First, why was infrastructure and transit, which are
so vital to our cities, left out of the Speech from the Throne? Second, does the
phrase "all governments" referenced in the speech include municipalities? For
example, will there be consultation during this process with mayors and with the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): With regard to
yesterday's Speech from the Throne, I believe it was clear to all who were
watching, including parliamentarians, that the government will begin with the
five priorities. Given that this is the first session of this Parliament, we
have some very specific priorities.
The last time I checked, the people who would like a cut in the GST and who
would like payment for child care live in cities. When the government puts
forward a Speech from the Throne, the speech is directed to all Canadians and
not only to people who live in one part of the country or the other.
Senator Eggleton: Honourable senators, since our cities are so vital
to our economy, I trust that the government will put them on its priority list.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, the Conservative Party did not
elect any members of Parliament in the recent election from the three largest
cities in the country. To address that shortcoming, the Prime Minister invited
an elected Liberal member from Vancouver to join his cabinet and then he
appointed a senator from Montreal and placed him in the cabinet, even though
during his election campaign he stated senators should be elected.
The Prime Minister's response to the lack of representation from the city of
Toronto is that members from the outlying 905 region can represent the city. I
would like to remind honourable senators that the city of Toronto has a
population of about 2.5 million people, which is larger than some of the
provinces in this country.
My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is: Will she
recommend to the Prime Minister that one of her esteemed Senate colleagues from
Toronto, sitting very close to her in the Conservative ranks, be appointed to
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Is the honourable
senator offering himself for the position?
I am a very big fan of the city of Toronto. I understand there is angst from
the people of Toronto, speaking as an Ottawa Senators' fan. However, I will
refer the honourable senator's question to the Prime Minister.
On the question of cities, the Prime Minister's choices of Senator Fortier
and Minister Emerson to represent Montreal and Vancouver were good decisions.
These two men are very capable of representing those cities. It is hard to argue
the point that people such as Jim Flaherty or Tony Clement are not very familiar
with issues regarding Toronto.
As a person from Ottawa, I am always amazed at media coverage. A person would
have thought there were only three cities in the whole country: Montreal,
Toronto and Vancouver. We had many members of Parliament elected from cities
such as Ottawa, Hamilton, Burlington, Edmonton and Calgary. I think cities are
well represented in our government, but I will pass on the comments of the
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, my question is to the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. First, I wish to congratulate her on her
new position. Having known her for 40 years and worked with her, I am sure she
will distinguish herself in this place.
My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate deals with CFB
Gagetown and the recent announcement that during testing where Agent Orange was
sprayed, the levels are up to 50 per cent. Could the minister inform the house
as to what the government is doing as a result of that test? We must consider
that the previous government dragged out this whole problem. What action does
the present government intend to take?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I am glad the
honourable senator elaborated on how many years we have known each other. It has
been a long time, and he has been and still is a great colleague.
With regard to the question of Agent Orange testing at CFB Gagetown, in the
last Parliament, then member of Parliament Greg Thompson championed this issue.
As the Minister of Veterans Affairs, he has responsibility for this concern.
Recently I heard Minister Thompson respond to a similar question. He indicated
that the government is working to develop a plan for dealing with the effects of
Agent Orange and what I believe is called Agent Purple.
I will take the question as notice and report back to the honourable senator
regarding this issue. I am aware of the numbers and how many people are affected
by this subject.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed to Orders
of the Day, I wish to announce to the house that tomorrow the official
photograph of the Senate will be taken. A message, I take it, has been sent to
all honourable senators' offices.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, throughout the tributes
today and most of Question Period, there were constant interruptions on our
public address system, which have been identified as being caused by the use of
Blackberries, most particularly Rogers Blackberries.
Your Honour, through you, I would urge all senators to please turn their
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Your Honour, I have had this afternoon the
most difficult period of trying to follow the questions being put and the
responses from the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I thought it was my
batteries. I just threw away a battery.
Your Honour, if my colleagues do not think that is serious, let them have a
hearing problem, throw away a good battery, and wander around for 24 hours
without being able to hear anything.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I thank Honourable Senator
Carstairs for raising this matter at our session this afternoon. I wish to draw
the attention of all honourable senators to page 19 of our rule book. Rule 19(4)
reads as follows:
No person, nor any Senator, shall bring any electronic device which
produces any sound, whether for personal communication or other use into the
Senate Chamber, whether on the floor, inside the Bar, outside the Bar or in
Honourable senators, the reading of the rule is crystal clear, and I would
encourage all honourable senators to act accordingly.
Hon. Joan Fraser (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Your Honour, I am
seeking clarification, which I hope would avoid a formal point of order.
Earlier this day we heard a series of notices of motion to give orders of
reference to committees. We all know that senators are very anxious to get down
to work in the committees, and I am not disputing the legitimacy of that desire.
However, the committees have not yet been constituted. The Senate Committee of
Selection has not yet been constituted. The question that immediately arose, not
only in my mind but in the minds of others with greater experience than I, is
whether it is in order to have on the Order Paper something referring to a
committee which has not yet been constituted. Perhaps Your Honour could give me
some guidance in that respect.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I do not have the temerity to
argue much about procedure or points of order, but the question that Senator
Fraser has raised did occur to me, obviously, as it has occurred to others.
Needless to say, the purpose of my motion and I suspect that of Senator Keon was
to get a leg up and to save a day.
I read the rules as carefully as I could and asked others as carefully as I
could, and I came to the conclusion, based on the best advice that I could get,
that the introduction of a notice of motion did not, in and of itself,
contravene the rules of this place and that there has been no prohibition
I understand that this situation is perhaps rare and unconventional. However,
my rationale was that even though it is not the case that committees have not
been established, it is the case that the Committee of Selection has not yet
been put in place and has not yet chosen the senators who will become members of
Honourable senators, the committees are prescribed following the use of the
word "shall" in the Rules of the Senate. Those committees exist, but
the membership in them has not yet been determined.
I believe it is proper and in order to introduce a notice of motion in this
respect and perhaps even to pass such a motion. To use an absurd example, I
could introduce a notice of motion or even propose a motion that would set out
the order of reference of, let us say, the Transport Committee, of which I am
not a member. A proper motion such as this could be considered by this house and
would obviously have to be concurred in by the committee itself. While these
things are rare, I hope they are not out of order.
Hon. John G. Bryden: Your Honour, since I am on my feet for the first
time, I wish to offer my congratulations. Just because we are from the same
province, I do not expect preferential treatment all the time.
I understand that Senator Banks is saying that there are committees outlined
in the rules, but there is no one on the committees. Those committees may not be
active. I believe that it would help us all if His Honour would take it upon
himself — if he wishes a formal point of order, I am prepared to move it — to
give this house some direction in relation to this question. It may be the thin
edge of the wedge, where we can do all kinds of things when we have empty
committees and empty holes and we just anticipate doing things.
Your Honour, if it would help to activate your skills, I would make this a
formal point of order. On the other hand, if you would be prepared to take it
under advisement and report back to the chamber, I think we would all be
Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, of course the committee can
review the order of reference when it receives it. When the Senate sets an order
of reference and the committee has no power to review it, the committee can
request a different order of reference if it wishes. The difficulty I have with
this procedure is not procedural but substantive.
The committee itself should discuss the order of reference that it wishes to
have, and this chamber should not presume on the committees and their
determination. These notices, and the debates that may follow, make assumptions
or intend to impress a set of terms of reference on which senators have not
themselves been consulted nor have they discussed.
I do not object to the procedure. I believe the procedure is correct, but
substantively, I do not think the anticipation is desirable.
Senator Carstairs: Your Honour, in essence, what we have today is a
notice of motion. I think it would be entirely appropriate for us not to vote on
that notice of motion until such time as the committees have been formed.
At that time, we also could hear from the chairs of those committees as to
whether they think this is a good reference to accept or not to accept.
I know what the individuals were trying to do today; they were trying to put
things into motion so that, if we formed the committees quickly, then the
committees could get to work just as quickly. However, I will adjourn every one
of these, should they be moved, if indeed there is not a committee in place.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I see one possible
problem here. Once the committee has been formed and the honourable senators
have defined their terms of reference and decide to report to the Senate, the
Senate could have before it two motions relating to the terms of reference of
one committee. This could complicate matters even more. It would be simpler to
wait until the committees meet, and the honourable senators define their terms
of reference and report to the Senate.
Otherwise, if the Senate had to address such motions, it would have to decide
which motion would take precedence — the one introduced today or one that the
committee might introduce later. I believe that might cause some problems.
Hon. Terry Stratton: We are arguing about a good point. Often there
have been parliamentary gaps where committee members wish to work and we have to
say, "No, you cannot work because your committee does not exist." We had a
recent example of that in the last inter-parliamentary session.
I would suggest, Your Honour, that perhaps you should look at having the
proponent of this motion withdraw the motion until the Selection Committee has
determined who serves on the various committees. The motion can be put forward
The Hon. the Speaker: I thank all honourable senators for their input
on this subject. I will be happy to delve a little deeper, but I believe Senator
Carstairs has, as they say proverbially, hit the nail on the head. We have
before us at this time a notice. That notice goes on the Notice Paper, not the
Order Paper. Good points have been raised, and I will look into this matter. If
honourable senators agree, and Senator Fraser presented it that way, perhaps we
do not need to deal with this as a formal point of order. A good point has been
made, but I believe we are all secure given that all that will be recorded today
is something on the Notice Paper and not on the Order Paper.
For clarity, I mentioned the photograph being taken tomorrow; is that agreed
by all honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: I believe that will occur between 2:00 and 2:20.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of Her Excellency the Governor
General's Speech from the Throne at the opening of the First Session of the
Hon. Andrée Champagne, seconded by the Honourable Senator Hugh Segal,
That the following Address be presented to Her Excellency the Governor
General of Canada:
To Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Chancellor and
Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the
Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Merit of the
Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:
We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Senate of Canada in
Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency
for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of
She said: Honourable senators, allow me first to tell you how proud I am as I
present this motion and prepare to read this speech today. I have been a member
of this illustrious assembly for only six months. You do me a great honour, and
I thank you most sincerely for it.
This is a very good opportunity to reiterate my great pleasure at finding
myself here, finding former colleagues from the other place, seeing again a
colleague from stage and studio and meeting those I had not yet met, whose
achievements were highly praised.
I would also like to take this special moment to congratulate some of my
colleagues. First, our new Speaker, Senator Kinsella. We are all certain that,
in his new seat, he will act with the same great wisdom that drew our esteem and
led to our friendship when he was Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. We are
almost as proud as are his fellow New Brunswickers.
I would like as well to thank Senator Hays for his dedication during the
previous session. Along with all of you, it is with sadness that I note the
absence of Senator Maheu, whom I knew in another life as the honourable member
for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. I heartily echo the tributes my colleagues have
paid to her today. I will miss her kindness.
You will understand my not failing to mention the appointment of two women to
positions of great importance in this chamber.
My congratulations go to Senator LeBreton, who has become Leader of the
Government. She knows she can count on my support. I am convinced that Senator
Comeau will be a most helpful deputy leader.
Congratulations also to our Acadian from Nova Scotia.
Senator Fraser has also taken on new responsibilities in support of the new
leader of the Opposition, Senator Hays. Congratulations, senator. You too will
have a high-calibre assistant to help you in your new duties. But I hope that
even with her new duties, Senator Fraser will still have time to make life
easier for new senators, whether appointed or elected.
Her smile and her witty and astute comments make new senators feel more
comfortable in this place, which can sometimes seem overwhelming. I want to
extend my sincere thanks to the woman who sat to my left when I arrived here.
This new session of Parliament will bring new challenges to all of us. I know
that we will do our best to make sure that, as always, we unite our efforts and
always provide Canadians with the benefits of that proverbial sober second
thought. We will be asked to study many new bills. We will try to ensure that,
in fact, they do reach the goals expressed by our new government for the
betterment of Canada.
Making the government and public servants accountable will be one of the
major changes in how our country is governed, changes that a large percentage of
voters truly want. Transparency, honesty and clarity of purpose will be the
beacons that guide this administration.
The tax on goods and services has been decried by many since its inception.
One truth remains: The government of the day did make the right decision,
despite the fact that it was not a very popular one. Over the years, the GST was
one of the key elements that allowed our country to finally show annual
surpluses instead of increasing our common debt every year.
Now that Canadians can afford it, the time has come to lighten this load on
our shoulders. Our government will honour the promise made to all of us last
fall: Working Canadians will see their tax burden reduced.
The time has also come to offer our parents the opportunity to choose the
best solution when deciding on child care during their work hours outside the
home or to allow them some well-deserved rest from time to time. We will make
sure that the creation of new child care places is no longer a utopian dream,
but a reality. The financial assistance the government will provide to the
companies and community groups for creating these cosy nests, where parents can
leave their children safely, will encourage the development of all the places
We also want to do our best to ensure that our cities, streets and
neighbourhoods become safe again. If the justice system is adequately
strengthened, we will have renewed hope that firearms — handguns in particular —
will not end up so easily in the hands of young thugs.
Delivering health care to all Canadians across our huge country has been a
thorny issue for many years. We will be happy when the federal government
finally works with the provinces to help reduce waiting times for sick patients.
Adequate sums of money will have to be available and better spent if receiving
care in a timely fashion is to become the way of life in Canada for everyone
Like most people in my province, I am especially thrilled that Quebec will
again be able to hold its head high within our federation, now that its distinct
nature has been recognized nationally and internationally. Together we will work
toward making Quebecers proud and happy to be Canadians too.
During the next while, together, in both official languages, we will look
again at the problems of our farmers, our fishermen and our native people. We
will revisit the Kyoto agreement and see how we can achieve the best possible
results for Canada and the world. We will continue to contribute to peace on our
planet, to the welfare of people in need, wherever they live, sharing our wealth
and our goodwill.
With a continued strong economy, trade controversies hopefully at last
settled, we will be looking forward to the end of this decade to this new
century with enthusiasm and hope.
As for me, within this assembly I want to continue to carry the torch that
Senator Léger held so high. I will reiterate the importance of culture in the
life of a country, and the need to encourage and help out our workers here at
home and when they proudly represent us abroad.
I will also speak again about our young artists from every discipline, who
abandon their dreams too soon because we abandon them too soon. I will express
my anger when I see the public broadcaster and the National Film Board —
agencies that we fund handsomely so that they can acquire cutting edge equipment
— act like simple postproduction companies, without realizing that such
behaviour makes them unfair competitors with respect to the private sector.
During my recent trip to Saskatchewan, I gained a greater appreciation of the
fantastic efforts and achievements of the local arts councils and boards in that
province. They deserve that we should contribute in a better fashion to their
work and that of their numerous volunteers.
As Senator Léger so vigorously urged in her farewell speech, I would hope
that our Senate will establish a body to study all aspects of our cultural
In the Senate of Canada, we alone have the time and the means to do so. That
is one more wonderful reason for not thinking of abolishing the Senate. In
closing, let me say once more how grateful I am for the honour you have given me
today. All that remains is for me to assure you that you can always count on my
cooperation, and, honourable senators, I intend to continue to learn and to
become an ever effective and ever committed senator. May this be a good session
for all of us.
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, it is my great privilege to
second the motion so ably advanced by my colleague Senator Champagne in a
fashion that allows me to make the case to all sides of this chamber for the
opportunity for collaboration and working together as represented by the
propositions advanced on behalf of the government yesterday in this very
As a point of history —
— and I quote it for historical reasons and not partisan ones —
— this is the first time in 16 years that a Conservative government has had
the opportunity to prepare and have the Governor General deliver a Speech from
the Throne outlining its approach to the public interest of Canada.
The governing of a federation such as Canada requires sensitivity to the
needs of the regions, different population centres and individual provinces and
territories, something I know colleagues in this chamber take very seriously
It is my humble submission to honourable senators that yesterday's Speech
from the Throne provides a necessary and previously lacking sense of balance
that is key to the stability required in our confederal relations. It is fair to
point out that the great Liberal Party of Canada associates itself with the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which would not have come into place
were it not for Premiers Hatfield and Davis, who were Conservatives at the time.
I think it is also fair to say, historically, that the Conservative Party has
always been the party of the British North America Act, understanding
fundamentally the difference between section 91 and section 92 of the
Constitution, and seeking to respect those differences in the confederal
tradition that established this very country and the agreements and
understandings that were pertinent at that time. I submit to colleagues that the
proposition advanced yesterday in the Speech from the Throne specifically on the
issue of fiscal imbalance underlines this government's fundamental commitment to
address those specific concerns.
I take note of the point the Honourable Senator Eggleton raised with respect
to cities. I have a high regard for Senator Eggleton. He is the first person who
was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada for whom I ever cast a vote when he
ran for mayor of Toronto. He was the last person, I hasten to add, from the
Liberal Party for whom I ever cast a vote. He formed a coalition of like-minded, thoughtful Canadians in that great city of Toronto where I lived at the
time, who were opposed to a less munificent view of municipal government and its
commitment to enterprise, opportunity and the Canadian way, as expressed by the
incumbent Senator Eggleton so handily defeated.
I was delighted to do that, but I do point out to him that while it is
important to address the cities insofar as the Constitution is concerned, one
cannot have a discussion about cities unless the provinces are at that table.
The simple notion that the federal government would overtax in various parts of
the country while the provinces thereby, do not have the fiscal capacity to meet
their constitutional obligations, and then launch boutique federal programs in
provincial jurisdictions to indicate that Ottawa is all knowing — father knows
best and the provinces cannot be trusted to address their jurisdictional
obligations — is not one shared by the government elected on January 23, and I
think that is a good thing for Canada.
Honourable senators, I also want to point out in as friendly and collegial a
way as I can to our friends in the great and historic, if on occasion
underburdened philosophically, Liberal Party — and we all have burdens to carry,
Senator Fraser, and some carry them better than others — that for all those who
are concerned about the future of our social programs, and I know that all
honourable senators of all affiliations share that concern, the government's
proposal with respect to the reduction of the GST will be a universal social
program providing a tax cut for every single Canadian, wherever they live,
whatever their economic circumstance, as are the proposals with respect to
providing cash support for Canadian families with children under the age of six,
so that they can make some of their own decisions. For example, in rural Canada,
if parents do shift work, they can accommodate their daycare needs in the most
constructive way. That, too, is a universal proposition. Those of us who come
from the progressive wing of the Conservative Party are not troubled by
universality in some of our key and important social programs. I invite our
Liberal friends across the way to reflect on that as we go forward together.
The Speech from the Throne mentioned our Canadian Forces. It is a great
credit to our Prime Minister, and I know that he had the support in this regard
of all Canadians without regard to political affiliation, that he visited with
our troops in Afghanistan. He is the first foreign leader to visit that country,
not just to arrive for a few hours and do a press hit and head home to where it
is safe, but to stay over with the troops in the field to indicate not only our
commitment to the nature of the military deployment but, more important, our
commitment to the core values, such as women having the right to be something
other than marginalized chattels, as they were under the Taliban; young women
having the right for the first time to go to school and be educated. Those are
the values our Canadian troops are supporting and defending with the great
treasure of their own life and limb on behalf of us all. It is for that
compelling reason that I am so supportive of the Speech from the Throne, and its
support for the men and women in our armed forces.
Honourable senators, it is important that we reflect on what is going on
outside, as the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Hays, did so eloquently in his
questions and Senator Austin in his questions as well to the Leader of the
Government in the Senate. I have had the great privilege since becoming a junior
senator from Ontario to visit with some farm organizations and to engage on the
issue of rural poverty. This is not about farming only. This is not about the
collapse of commodity prices. This is not only about, as Senator Gustafson
indicates so compellingly, that 20 years ago a barrel of oil was two bucks and a
bushel of wheat was two bucks, today a barrel of oil is $62 and the bushel of
wheat is still two bucks.
Whenever I visit agricultural organizations, I indicate there is no one in
the room who knows less about agriculture than yours truly, and I do so with
some humility and clear backup in terms of justification.
This is really about fellow Canadians. This is about six million Canadians
who live in rural Canada, a third of whom are living beneath the poverty line,
whether it is the low-income cut-off or, any of the other measures that we care
to use as definitional. These are seniors who cannot get medical care because
they are isolated and because there is no outreach in those areas. This motion
is about huge transportation problems and lack of infrastructure investment,
federally and provincially. It is not only about commodity-based prices,
although it is fair to say that our grain and oilseeds producers across the
country are in free fall. The level of farm sales in Saskatchewan would scare
the devil out of anyone. They continue apace.
I am encouraged by the way in which farming was mentioned yesterday in the
Speech from the Throne and I think it is so important because it reflects our
commitment to the men and women who live in our rural communities, who deserve
the same equality of opportunity, the same opportunity for their families to
find work, and to live in some measure of dignity as we want for all Canadians.
Honourable senators, I want to leave you with one final thought, if I may,
which some of you may say is a profound grasp of the obvious. We are outnumbered
on the government side in this upper chamber. The government of the day was
given a modest margin on January 23. They were nudged a bit ahead because people
agreed, by and large, with our platform. Our friends in the NDP were nudged a
little bit ahead. The Liberals had a minor setback, although I note with a
little bit of pain that when our party is sent packing, we are dispatched with
two seats. When that party is sent packing, it is dispatched with 103. Talk
about a padded penalty box, with Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts! Nevertheless,
the truth of the matter is that in a minority circumstance even the compelling
propositions of yesterday's Speech from the Throne will require a measure of
compromise from all sides. In the committees of the house and, I would argue,
when matters come before this chamber, the spirit of compromise as we reflect on
points of refinement and improvement as is the traditional role of the Senate
will also be constructive and helpful in the process. What the Canadian voters
said, in my judgment, is that they were not ready to trust any one party with
total control of the national agenda, or the parliamentary or legislative
agenda. They were prepared to ask one party to lead but gave every other party a
significant role to play in this process. It behooves all of us who believe in
respecting the democratic mandate as it is articulated, and who believe in
Parliament as a reflective body, to work in every way we can within our parties
for that spirit of compromise and cooperation to be the way in which we dispose
of the program put before us in the national interest. It may not always be
possible, but I hope it can be possible broadly in the spirit that the
electorate has determined.
I do want to associate myself with the words of congratulations for the new
Speaker of the Senate, who, as Leader of the Opposition, afforded me courtesies
and kindnesses upon my appointment that I did not deserve. The Leader of the
Opposition is not in the chamber as we speak, but he was very kind as the former
Speaker. I know that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition had the much more
arduous task of sorting out the editorial opinions of the Montreal Gazette
in a thankless community that demanded nothing but perfection and a rapid
sort-out of difficult issues, which she did with great judiciousness and
I am honoured to serve behind my leader, the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. Nothing has changed. When I came to
Ottawa as chief of staff for Prime Minister Mulroney, Senator LeBreton was the
deputy chief of staff. The Prime Minister said to me, "You report to Marjory."
When I was appointed to this place by a Liberal prime minister, and Marjory
was the chief opposition whip, I reported to Marjory. When there was a complete
change in government — new faces, new names — yes, even Prime Minister Harper,
but here I stand, reporting to Marjory. There is a consistency in this process,
of which I am honoured to be part.
I wish to say a word with regard to Senator Comeau, who has a difficult job,
as so articulately rendered by Senator Murray in his tribute to Senator Doody. I
have known Senator Comeau for many years. We have fought the battles
collectively on behalf of the Acadian community with great pride and some
measure of success and, most importantly, in the great overland trek to nowhere
in 1998, in which I was involved with Senator Fortier, a chap by the name of
Clark and one or two others, Senator Comeau had the great courage to support me
in a very rural and difficult part of Nova Scotia. He and I, in that
circumstance, rose to nothing without a trace.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Will the honourable senator take a question?
Senator Segal: Yes.
Senator Eggleton: The distinguished senator exercised much wisdom as a
resident of the city of Toronto a number of years ago, and still does in his new
Some might wonder why I, a big city boy, earlier today seconded a motion
going to the Agriculture Committee. Senator Segal and I both have an interest in
dealing with poverty issues. Despite recent statistics that indicate that things
have improved, there are still great difficulties in our country, in both rural
and urban areas. Senator Segal is more on the rural side of things and I am more
on the urban side, but we will work together and support each other on these
In his remarks, the honourable senator cited sections 91 and 92 of the
British North America Act with regard to the separation of powers, and
particularly with respect to municipalities, which falls under provincial
jurisdiction. Perhaps the problem is the terminology that we use. Rural areas
are in municipalities as well as urban areas. If the new government has room for
rural policies, why would it not have room for urban policies, considering some
of the issues that cities face? One could call it an urban agenda, but the
issues of transit, housing, homelessness and the massive deficit in
infrastructure are all significant issues for not only the big three cities, but
also for all of our cities and urban areas, which are vital to the economy of
our country and our ability to compete in the international marketplace.
Surely the new government has room to deal with the urban agenda. Whether it
is called the cities agenda or the urban agenda, I think that the government
would make room for it.
Senator Segal: Honourable senators, I will be as clear as possible. I
wholeheartedly support what the Leader of the Government in the Senate said
earlier in response to a question on the same matter. She indicated clearly that
broad policies that affect people constructively in cities are essential to a
balanced national economic program. I do not preclude, nor would I oppose in the
caucus of my own party, any initiatives that assist on any of the issues that
the senator has laid out. The issue is what the appropriate agency is for the
delivery of those programs. The senator and I might not agree in that I would
not always conclude that the municipal administration, above and beyond the
province, is necessarily the best place to deal with an issue such as income
I have been a proponent since the age of 19 of a basic income floor and a
guaranteed annual income. That would help rural and urban Canadians have a
measure of self-respect, and it might be substantially less costly than the
myriad social programs we now cascade upon each other in the process of trying
to be of service. That would have a constructive impact in our cities.
I agree with the core premise that the cities' aggregate economic,
intellectual, industrial and creative power is fundamental to Canada's future. I
do not agree with the premise, however, that our municipal governments, which
have, believe it or not, a lower voter turnout than most other levels of
government in the country, are necessarily the only agency through which those
interests can be addressed. The provinces and the federal government should work
together within the Constitution. Only in exceptional circumstances would I, as
an individual senator, be supportive of going around the provinces in violation
of the Constitution to question their legitimacy and say that Municipality A or
B, big or small, is a better instrument.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I must advise the house
that Senator Segal's time has expired. However, should Senator Segal ask for
unanimous consent to have his time extended, and should that be granted,
questions could continue.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Your Honour,
we agree to an additional five minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Grafstein, you have the floor.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I am delighted with
Senator Segal's great defence of cities as engines of growth, but I think, to be
fair, the agreements that were entered into by the previous government were
entered into not only with the cities, but also with the provinces, so the
constitutional responsibilities were very carefully maintained. The reason for
that, and the difficulty, as Senator Eggleton has pointed out, was to deal with
the separation of powers but to do it in a way with which the provinces agreed.
All of the provinces and territories have entered into these agreements and
are asking where the money is. It is not a question of jurisdiction; it is a
question of comity and fairness. I accept what the honourable senator says about
the government deciding not to deal with the city issue in the old way, but the
federal government on this side dealt with the cities in a new way within the
constitutional framework of the country. Therefore, I did not follow Senator
Segal's argument on that subject.
Senator Segal: When he was Leader of the Opposition Prime Minister
Harper indicated that he was not planning to back away from existing agreements
that had been reached for support of the cities. As to when that is put forward,
when the government assesses where we stand in terms of broad fiscal pressures,
such commitments that may have been made by the outgoing government that were
not fully funded in the A-base, the present government will have to make that
decision. When that decision is made, I suspect that we will hear from ministers
of the Crown as appropriate.
My concern is not about that proposition, as a matter of practice going
forward, but rather doing boutique federal programs at municipal or other levels
and not actually respecting the provinces, which is problematic.
Hon. John G. Bryden: I enjoyed Senator Segal's speech. Having never
heard him speak before, I did not know his oratorical skills, except by
reputation. It is nice to have another good orator in our chamber.
Senator Segal's speech was sufficiently impressive that I paid attention. He
said some creative things and perhaps some new things. We now live in a new
environment under the new government. Does the honourable senator have the
endorsement of the Prime Minister or his office to have made the speech he made?
Senator Segal: Honourable senators, I greatly appreciate Senator
Bryden's kind comments. In the future I will ensure that I diminish oratorical
flourish so as not to be noticed in too much detail when I speak in this
chamber. The risks have been clearly outlined, and I am grateful for that.
When I was given the great privilege of seconding the motion, I did not seek
approval for my text. I spoke as an individual senator reflecting why I would be
enthusiastic in support of that motion. I neither sought nor obtained approval
from any other place for its content.
Senator Bryden: Undermines without getting the approval of the PMO.
Senator Segal: Let me offer the proposition, if I may, as respectfully
as I can: To the extent that there is that liberty of expression on this side
that might not have existed on that same side when the honourable senator
occupied it, that would speak to the difference between our two great national
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, I too stayed
very much awake during the brilliant speech of the honourable senator. I was
waiting for him to speak about this sentence in the Speech from the Throne:
At the same time, it will explore means to ensure that the Senate better
reflects both the democratic values of Canadians and the needs of Canada's
In the past, the honourable senator has not been shy in speaking out about
the Senate, particularly Senate reform. I thought I might be so bold as to ask
the honourable senator what he thinks about the Prime Minister's musings
regarding elected senators.
Senator Segal: In my maiden speech, which I had the honour of offering
in this chamber, I associated myself with the then opposition leader's
commitment to a more determined process of reform in this place in order to make
the Senate more democratically representative.
I also indicated that I thought the former Prime Minister's position, which
was in many ways respectable and appropriate — namely, he did not wish to
proceed until the provinces had reached a consensus on how to proceed — was in
fact acceptable perhaps for that generation of leadership, but that a new
generation was looking to make the entire process more democratic. I associated
myself with that new generation position, and I am proud to associate myself
with the proposition referenced in the Speech from the Throne.
I do not think anybody can be certain as to how events will play out or what
the elements will be. I hope the process will tie democratic reform in the
broadest sense, including proportional representation being important in many
parts of the country, to what might transpire with respect to reform in this
place over the fullness of time.
Hon. Jack Austin: I listened to the last answer and compared it to
Senator Segal's presentation on the divisions of sections 91 and 92 of the
British North America Act. That raises a question.
Prime Minister Harper said he will proceed with Senate elections no matter
what the provinces think. I will wonder for a while how the two fit. However, it
was Senator Segal's speech and not Prime Minister Harper's speech we were
My question is whether the honourable senator supports raising taxes. He
referred to the GST, but does he support raising taxes by 1 per cent for all tax
categories for calendar years beginning in 2007 and beyond? Does the honourable
senator observe that if he supports raising that tax, it has a totally nugatory
effect on Canadians with respect to the reduction of GST by 1 per cent?
Senator Segal: There are many of us on this side who bear the scars
with respect to the introduction of GST legislation.
The difference between the GST and the proposed income tax reductions offered
by the previous administration in good faith is that the GST is money that is
already, in a sense, in the consumers' pocket before they make a purchase. The
government then steps in and takes a portion of it.
It is clear that the GST has generated far more revenue than was thought
possible at the time of its inception. The proposition as advanced by the Prime
Minister in the Speech from the Throne that that money should be left in
consumers' hands to do with what they want is very different from income tax
changes that will affect different income groups in different ways over three to
four years and produce payback for some and not much for others.
On the other hand, the GST will produce an immediate payback for everyone who
purchases fundamental requirements for their homes and families.
As a qualitative measure of the core premise that people own the money they
earn first and the government does not have an a priori right to take it without
justification, the GST cut is the right symbol at this time.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, this is not the time for me to
engage in debate on that particular issue. I do wish to say that we have today,
in effect, a 1 per cent reduction for this calendar year. Will the government
take that away in subsequent years?
Senator Segal: I am not able to offer any prediction as to what the
government will do in its normative budgetary introduction some weeks hence. I
hope when those matters are introduced, we will have ample time to debate the
various constructive points in this chamber in the normal course.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Tkachuk:
That, pursuant to rule 85(1), the Honourable Senators Austin, P.C., Bacon,
Carstairs, P.C., Champagne, P.C., Cook, Fairbairn, P.C., Oliver, Stratton and
Tkachuk be appointed a Committee of Selection to nominate (a) a Senator to
preside as Speaker pro tempore and (b) the Senators to serve on the several
select committees, except the Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators,
during the present Session. The Committee of Selection will report with all
convenient speed the names of the Senators so nominated.
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?