Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 88
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we begin, I would
ask you to rise and observe one minute of silence in tribute to Master Corporal
Anthony Klumpenhouwer, who was killed tragically a few days ago while serving
his country in Afghanistan.
Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to
the gallery where we have as visitors Mr. Slobodan Mikac, Managing Director of
Croatian Trade and Investment Agency and Ms. Mikac, accompanied by Her
Excellency Vesela Mrden Korac, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia.
On behalf of all honourable senators, we welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I rise today to correct the
record of last Thursday, April 19. In the course of debate on the Standing
Senate Committee on National Security and Defence budget, Senator Stratton asked
when the committee would be traveling to Newark and Washington. I responded the
third week in May, but the correct dates are June 3 to June 8.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, on April 14, 2007, the
City of Toronto, indeed all of Canada, lost an extraordinary citizen, an
extraordinary daughter. June Callwood was bigger than life. Her imprint as a
writer, broadcaster, activist, wife, mother and friend was broad and deep. She
touched the lives of thousands with a stubborn determination and a fearless and
invincible attitude. That she was unconventional is an understatement. To her,
failure was not acceptable.
June Callwood left a legacy of accomplishments in numerous fields which have
been widely reported. I believe she would agree that her enormous contributions
to making life better for thousands of the less fortunate among us were her most
valuable and rewarding public accomplishments. She broke down barriers,
courageously went where others would not, and was always the first to roll up
her sleeves and pitch in.
I did not know her well. She was a community pillar and an icon, and yet, the
times I met her or when our paths crossed, I was awed by her gentle strength,
her dignified presence and her strength of character. She inspired Canadians for
three generations. She embodied the principle "if you can help, you must."
Of June Callwood's legacy we will say, "The world is a better place because
Hon. Yoine Goldstein: Honourable senators, Dr. Arnold Toynbee, a
renowned historian, called the Jewish people a fossil of history and predicted
their imminent demise. That was a good number of decades ago. He is long gone.
We are here.
Today marks the fifty-ninth anniversary of the establishment of the State of
Israel, a Jewish homeland for those who wish to be there.
Canada, through Lester B. Pearson and many others, played a crucial role in
the events leading up to the founding of the Jewish state, and Canada continued
its active support of Israel when it was attacked on the day of its independence
by all of its Arab neighbours. Canada has continued to play a significant role
in the support of Israel throughout its many tribulations. Canada and Israel
enjoy a free trade agreement, and institutional cooperation is actively pursued
between Canadian and Israeli universities and scientific establishments.
Canada and Israel share fundamental common values: We both enjoy a
democratically elected Parliament, an independent judiciary, gender equality and
a free press, and we respect the rule of law. We are both societies ruled by
laws and not by men. As a Canadian Jew, I am particularly proud of the
supportive and moral role that Canada has played and continues to play in
support of its sister democracy, Israel.
I am sure all honourable senators will join me in offering our very best
wishes to Israel on the occasion of its fifty-ninth anniversary.
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, it was with great
sadness mixed with considerable admiration that we learned this past weekend of
the tragic events that occurred near Merrickville, Ontario, not far from Ottawa.
According to witnesses, Master Seaman Roxanne Lalonde, a 12-year naval
reservist, did not think twice before jumping into the frigid waters of the
Rideau River when she saw her friend struggling in the rushing current. Master
Seaman Lalonde had just returned to her home in Merrickville and was awaiting a
new posting in Kingston after serving for a number of years with HMCS Scotian
Although she was trained in rescue swimming, the waters proved to be too
strong, and both she and Grant Galipeau, the 15-year-old boy she was attempting
to save, lost their lives.
Honourable senators, this tragic event underscores the bravery and
selflessness of so many members of the Canadian Armed Forces when faced with
extreme conditions. Although we often hear of acts of valour by our servicemen
and servicewomen abroad, these same men and women are clearly ready to respond
in the same way here at home.
Master Seaman Lalonde is a shining example of that type of person, a person
of the highest calibre who willingly put another's life before hers, one who
leads by example, the type of person who serves in the Canadian Armed Forces.
She is most certainly a hero and will be long remembered for her selfless act of
On behalf of all honourable senators, I wish to express our deepest
condolences to the families and friends of both Master Seaman Lalonde and Grant
Galipeau during this very difficult time.
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I rise today to
pay tribute to and to celebrate the life of Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, one of the
33 people whose lives were tragically cut short by the brutal massacre that took
place last week at Virginia Tech.
Jocelyne was a loving and devoted wife and mother who took pride and passion
in her French heritage, as well as the environment. Originally from Montreal,
Jocelyne moved to Truro, Nova Scotia, in the 1990s, where her husband was a
professor at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and where she worked hard to
spread her passion for the French language. In 1997, she helped to create
Truro's first French-language school, called École Acadienne de Truro.
In 2001, she and her family moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, where both she and
her husband took jobs with Virginia Tech. She was a French-language instructor
and he was a horticulture professor.
Last Friday, over 400 people gathered in the town of Truro, Nova Scotia, to
celebrate the life of this courageous and passionate woman. While her life may
have had a terrible ending, her memory and love of life will live on in her two
daughters and in the many people she touched in her role as a teacher. Perhaps
if the troubled young man who caused this destruction had spent time with this
wonderful woman, this tragedy could have been avoided.
My sincere condolences to her family, and to all those who lost someone in
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, yesterday at 9 a.m.,
Mr. Brian Ellis of Prince Edward Island began his walk across our province — a
walk that he has undertaken to promote the importance of organ and tissue
donation. I am sure that his choice of timing is no accident because this week
marks National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week.
Brian made the same walk last year, but his personal situation was different.
As a dialysis patient, he hoped to educate Islanders about kidney disease,
dialysis and its impact, as well as organ donation.
Eight months ago, Brian Ellis received a gift — the gift of life. Brian is a
donor recipient who now enjoys a life much different than the one he led a year
ago. In order to promote the act of organ and tissue donation and to bring
attention to such a worthy cause, Brian has set out again to walk across the
According to the Canadian Association of Transplantation, there were more
than 4,000 individuals on the waiting list for organ donation last year.
Unfortunately, because of a lack of organs, doctors were able to perform only
1,803 transplants and, most sadly, nearly 200 of those Canadians on the list
lost their lives while waiting — about four people per week. Despite incredible
strides in medical procedures in recent years, the sad truth is that without
increasing the number of organ donors, our medical advances mean little to those
who wait for the transplant that never comes.
In addition to organ donation, many Canadians are unaware of the possibility
of tissue donation such as corneas, heart valves, bones and skin. Almost
everyone can donate tissues within certain time limits and regardless of age or
medical history. In fact, I have experienced this type of donation first-hand:
The corneas of a relative have given someone else the gift of sight, greatly
improving that person's quality of life.
Honourable senators, a full donation by one person has the potential to save
up to eight lives through the donation of vital organs. That full donation can
also improve the health and quality of the lives of another 50 people through
the donation of tissues.
I would like to encourage all Canadians who are considering the gift of life
to learn more about the requirements in their home province and to urge them to
make certain that their families are fully informed of their wishes. I would
also like to thank those Canadians who have already made the necessary
arrangements to become organ and tissue donors. Their compassion, goodwill and
remarkable generosity will offer hope to the thousands of their fellow Canadians
who are waiting for transplants.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the 2006 annual report of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal entitled, To
ensure that Canadians have equal access to the opportunities that exist in our
society through the fair and equitable adjudication of human rights cases that
are brought before the Tribunal, in accordance with subsection 61(4) of the
Canadian Human Rights Act.
Hon. David Tkachuk (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the
Government Response to the Second Report of the Standing Senate Committee on
Official Languages entitled, Understanding the Reality and Meeting the
Challenges of Living in French in Nova Scotia.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table
the fourteenth report of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and
Defence regarding the subcommittee's attendance at the ninetieth anniversary of
the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
On motion of Senator Day, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would like to begin by congratulating the minister responsible for
the Old Port on his announcement in Montreal in support of a site that will be
the pride and joy of Montrealers and Quebecers. This project in response to the
increasing use of these facilities was developed in collaboration with various
museums by the previous government. I would like to congratulate the minister on
taking this step.
Honourable senators, my question is for the Minister of Public Works and
Government Services. In light of other decisions that I have not been pleased
with, my question is about the polling review decision. Canada's Auditor General
has already reviewed the public opinion polling contracts and, in her February
2004 report she said:
We found that the government managed its public opinion research activities
We all know — especially we Liberals — that Ms. Fraser does not usually mince
words. Despite the review conducted by an experienced and independent office
that is the only entity with the legitimacy, authority and impartiality required
for this type of institutional audit, the minister decided to appoint Daniel
Paillé to conduct a review of his own — which is a first — to reach conclusions
different from those of the Auditor General. The minister has emphasized that
this individual is an independent consultant.
We know that Mr. Paillé, a Quebecer, officially supported Ms. Marois during
the Parti Québécois leadership race in the fall of 2005. If the sovereignists,
who would dearly love to see Quebec separate, changed sides in less than a year,
it would not go unnoticed. According to the minister, Mr. Paillé is now a
federalist who cares deeply about the interests of Canadians.
We agree that Mr. Paillé has some academic knowledge. This is not necessarily
a prerogative of the federalists, and it certainly provides no guarantee of an
enlightened assessment of the Government of Canada's administration. Mr. Paillé
has, at times, committed errors in judgment. For instance, he had to apologize
before the National Assembly of Quebec for having used departmental letterhead
to write a letter in which he objected to the opening of a child care centre
near his home, claiming that it would affect the value of this property.
In light of these facts, it seems to me that the minister probably showed a
lack of diligence in placing his trust in that individual. Perhaps he was
influenced a little too much by the political issues in Quebec.
How can the minister now try to reassure us that Mr. Paillé will provide an
objective report, in the best interest of all Canadians, and that this million
dollars has not been awarded for purely partisan purposes?
Hon. Michael Fortier (Minister of Public Works and Government Services):
I thank the honourable senator for her question. The senator's absence was
noticed last week — her presence was greatly missed — and, had she been here,
she would have witnessed some interesting debates on this matter, among others.
Before responding to the question I would also like, if I may, to talk about
last Friday's announcement. The senator is assigning me responsibilities that
are simply not mine. I am not the minister responsible for the Old Port of
Montreal. That would be Mr. Lawrence Cannon, but I was very pleased to make the
announcement. Furthermore, Senator Fox was my special guest at the head table
and he appeared very proud of the announcement. I would also like to
congratulate him — as I did in May of last year — for he submitted, with Mr.
Lucien Bouchard, a report on the Société du Havre de Montréal, of which Mr.
Cannon and I have made use. Thank you for showering me with praise, but I am
pleased to share them with our colleague Senator Fox.
To return to the question, I would not call this a counter-inquiry. I will
simply recall the facts. We talked about it during the last election campaign.
After carefully reading the Auditor General's report, we believed, as a
political party, that more than a sample of contracts needed to be reviewed as
the Auditor General did.
I reminded Senator Tardif of that last week. Mr. Paillé's review will cover
the period from 1990 to 2003. He will review all polling contracts awarded by
the Government of Canada, not just a sample. I would like to remind you that the
sample studied by Ms. Fraser led her to raise serious questions about the
We have kept an election promise. Mr. Paillé is very qualified. I would like
to remind you that La Presse editorial writer André Pratte confirmed that
Mr. Paillé had all the qualifications to carry out the task. I feel very
reassured by our government's choice, as should honourable senators.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I was not questioning his professional
qualifications. Rather, I was questioning the choice of an individual who does
not believe in Canada. That is the choice of someone who, while a member of the
Quebec government, intervened and withdrew a public tender issued by the Société
immobilière du Québec in order to ensure that a Quebec labour ministry office be
located in Saint-Jérôme; that is to say, close to his political interests,
rather than in Saint-Antoine. The people there remember that as a purely
We are not questioning his professional qualifications, but rather, whether
or not he can be impartial, and whether an individual who does not believe in
this country and who will be preparing a report — paid for by Canadian taxpayers
and costing $1 million — can be objective. We believe that this individual is
definitely not capable of preparing such a report in an objective manner.
Senator Fortier: I will give the same answer I gave last week. I think
that Quebec — and I would like to draw the attention of honourable senators to
the results of the election on March 26 — is no longer dealing with the same
battle between separatists and federalists that we had back in Jean Chrétien's
day. Quebec has evolved. You have people who are evolving with you, people like
Mr. Lapierre, who has been a Bloc member and a minister of the Crown in the
other place. I do not recall ever hearing the honourable senator say that he was
a man who wanted Quebec to separate and should therefore not have his place.
Quebecers went through two referendums in 15 years. Many people voted yes in
one or the other and, in 1995, the results were very close.
People have evolved. Mr. Paillé joined me in Parliament to make an
announcement, with Canadian flags behind him. His task will be purely analytical
work and his report will be public. You will be able to see whether this report
is objective or not, since you will have in hand not just the conclusions, but
the entire report. I ask honourable senators to wait for the report instead of
being afraid to be afraid.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: We are not going to discuss the entire
political history of Quebec. I can think of other people involved in the Parti
Québécois such as Minister Bachand, who publicly said that he no longer believed
in this option and professed his faith in Canada. Will the minister ask Mr.
Paillé to profess his faith in Canada?
That is what we expect from someone who is going to work in the interest of
Canadians, instead of saying that his political opinions, a year later, after
running in a leadership race, are personal opinions. As far as I am concerned,
there is no doubt in my mind that this person does not have enough objectivity
to conduct an independent investigation.
Senator Fortier: The honourable senator will understand that I
disagree with her. She does have enough objectivity. The report will be public,
and she will have the opportunity to look at the findings.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
The minister clings to the idea that Mr. Paillé, despite contrary evidence,
might be capable of conducting this investigation. He did not answer my question
the other day as to whether he could possibly do it better than the Auditor
General, Sheila Fraser.
Could the minister indicate what part of this investigation that he believes
the Auditor General could not do less expensively, equally or better, and could
not do far more objectively without any of the questions about the bias of a
separatist getting $1 million from the Government of Canada?
Senator Fortier: I thank the honourable senator for his question.
The Auditor General published the report in 2003. She has since, as the
honourable senator knows, followed with another report where she said that
looking forward after 2003, she is satisfied that the rules for this particular
aspect of contracting have been followed. As far as we are concerned, and as far
as she is concerned, that is the end of it with regard to spending more time on
I bring the honourable senator back to the 2005-06 election. This is not a
surprise; it was part of our platform. I am surprised that he is surprised, to
be honest. It is not as though we have come out from the broom closet with
something. We said we would do this if we were elected and we were elected. I
think it is more the fact of Mr. Paillé's involvement than anything else.
If the Liberal Party and the folks who were around even back to 1990 during
the Mulroney years have nothing to fear, then they have nothing to fear from
this report or from Mr. Paillé.
Senator Mitchell: Neo-conservative governments always say that they
understand smaller government and always work towards it.
Why would the minister continue in this way to create more bureaucracy to do
something that the Auditor General has in place, has already done the background
work on, is perfectly efficient and capable of doing, and could just as easily
be asked to do as Mr. Paillé?
Senator Fortier: Honourable senators, as I just said, the Auditor
General has dealt with this issue. She gave us a hint in 2003 when she said that
she was concerned with some items in the report. We read that report and agreed
with her concern. We made it clear in our 2005-06 platform that if elected we
would look into the Auditor General's concerns. We have gone back to 1990.
Canadians want to know what happened. The people that we talked to say, "Let
us figure out what is going on and let us see whether the contracting rules were
followed; if they were, that is fine; if not, we want to know exactly what took
Senator Tkachuk: That is why Prime Minister Paul Martin established
the Gomery Commission.
Senator Mitchell: The defence is that the government kept a promise. I
am sure Danny Williams would love to hear that defence with regard to his
This minister stood in this house and was very derogatory about the people
who sit in the Senate. When I hear this kind of political partisan approach to
issues, all I can say is that for one who said that, the minister has certainly
lowered the bar.
Senator Tkachuk: Please, at least, we know who we are.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: I have to say that it is very hard, honourable
senators, to take seriously the neo-conservative government's advocacy of
First, Bill C-2 had to be rushed through, and months later still has not been
proclaimed. Bill C-2, the centrepiece of "accountability," still has not been
Second, the Prime Minister hires a stylist — God knows he needs one — but
will not reveal to the people of Canada what that stylist costs. Now we see the
Fortier fiasco as it builds. First, the CGI friend gets a $400-million contract.
Second, Mr. Paillé must be a friend; otherwise, why else would he give that kind
of money to a separatist?
Does the minister honestly expect that Canadians could possibly be satisfied
with the explanation that the decision on the $400-million CIG contract was made
by departmental officials and that Minister Fortier himself had absolutely
nothing to do with it? What does that say about accountability?
Hon. Michael Fortier (Minister of Public Works and Government Services):
I am sorry, but I did not hear the honourable senator's question.
Senator Mitchell: Does the Minister of Public Works expect that
Canadians could conceivably be satisfied with his explanation that the
$400-million CGI contract was decided upon by departmental officials alone
without any involvement on his part? What does that say about accountability?
Senator Fortier: Honourable senators, I believe the honourable senator
is mixing up issues. One issue is whether the minister was involved directly or
indirectly in the award of this contract or any contract. The answer is no. I
have said that before and I repeat it again.
I do not know what set of criteria the senator is using with regard to how a
minister is or is not supposed to be involved in contracting. My government and
I do not get involved. We leave this to the people at Public Works and
Government Services, where there are 10,000 people looking after procurement,
and they do a great job of it.
The honourable senator suggests that I am involved. If he is brave enough, he
should make that statement outside. He is also insulting the people at Public
Works and Government Services Canada, people who do this work on behalf of all
I have not been involved, nor would I think of being involved, because it is
not my nature. Senator Mitchell will have to accept my word with respect to this
matter. Should he choose not to accept my word on the matter, I would suggest
that he go outside and make that statement to reporters.
Senator Mitchell: This is like high school; we have to go outside.
Did Minister Fortier, who claims to have had absolutely nothing to do with
this contract, sign the submission that went to Treasury Board and ultimately to
cabinet for approval?
Senator Fortier: We do not comment on the status of contracts. Senator
Mitchell should know that, having been here for a while.
Senator Tkachuk: He was never in government.
Senator LeBreton: He was the leader of the opposition in Alberta.
Senator Fortier: Oh, he has never been in power. That is true.
The department will make public the information with respect to who has won
this contract when it is ready to do so.
Senator Mitchell: Honourable senators, could the minister confirm, on
the record, that he did not meet with CGI officials, in person or by phone,
either recently, before or during the tendering process leading up to the
decision to give the contract to CGI? Could he confirm that he did not meet with
CGI officials in any way on that process?
Senator Fortier: I have never met with them at all to discuss this
Senator Mitchell: Could the minister please confirm what role he
played in rewriting the terms of reference of the contract so that it
specifically precluded a number of CGI's competitors?
Senator Fortier: As I indicated to the honourable senator, I have not
been involved, directly or indirectly, in this or any other contract, and that
includes RFPs, which are public, and on MERX. The honourable senator can visit
the MERX website, if he wishes.
The tendering process is run by public servants. Ministers do not have a role
to play in it. I do not know what Senator Mitchell does not understand in "we
do not have a role to play." I would ask the honourable senator to please keep
that in mind.
Senator Mitchell: That certainly is not an explanation that was ever
accepted from our government.
The Hon. the Speaker: I recognize Senator Trenholme Counsell.
Senator Mitchell: I have just one more question.
Why will the government not —
The Hon. the Speaker: Order. The chair has recognized the Honourable
Senator Trenholme Counsell.
Senator Mitchell: Why will the government not submit the contract to
an inquiry, perhaps conducted by the procurement auditor?
The Hon. the Speaker: The chair has recognized the Honourable Senator
Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, my question is
for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I read with much interest the
report of Dr. Gordon Chong, entitled Child Care Spaces Recommendations.
Supporting Canadian Children & Families: Addressing the Gap Between The Supply
and Demand for High Quality Child Care.
In this report, reference is made to the establishment of a "national child
care spaces investment fund" to be administered by a third party to which
federal funding for new child care spaces would be deposited annually. However,
in reports of Minister Solberg's comments regarding new child care spaces, there
is no reference to such a fund. Rather, an interview with the minister indicated
that the dollars allocated from the federal government annually for new child
care spaces would be included in the Canada Social Transfer to provinces and
territories. Will the money, after year one, be placed in a fund as recommended
in the report, designed specifically for child care spaces; or will it be lumped
into the Canada Social Transfer without absolute assurance that this additional
money will be marked exclusively and totally for child care?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, I saw the report that Mr. Gordon Chong, a
very qualified and eminent Canadian, has submitted. Budget 2006 established the
Universal Child Care Benefit, which as of July 1, 2006, has been providing
assistance to families. Budget 2006 also set aside $250 million per quarter for
the new child care spaces initiative beginning in 2007-08. Bill C-52 would
legislate this program by providing $250 million for the creation of child care
spaces distributed to the provinces and the territories on an equal, per capita
basis. This funding will flow through the CST beginning in 2008-09.
Senator Trenholme Counsell: I guess, then, the recommendation on page
13 of the report regarding the establishment of a national child care spaces
investment fund will not happen. Rather, I conclude from the honourable
senator's remarks that the money will go into the Canada Social Transfer, which
is a large basket. The money is directed to many places. I would like to know
why — perhaps in a delayed answer — this fund is not being established.
I was pleased that the word "quality" was used several times in this
report, but in the recommendations regarding measurement and evaluation, there
was no mention of quality, which I believe is a serious oversight.
While quality child care was included in the report, there was absolutely no
mention of early childhood care, except in Appendix V, which refers to current
federal government programs. In other words, there is no ongoing emphasis on
early childhood development.
The criteria for the measurement and evaluation of new spaces recommended in
the report were these: number of spaces, degree of innovation and employer
involvement in the provision of these spaces.
Would the honourable leader agree that the standard of quality child care
should have been included in the list of recommendations to measure the success
of future child care spaces? It was commendable that the word "quality"
appeared throughout the report, yet when one reads the recommendations for
evaluation of this ongoing program for new spaces, the report only talks about
numbers, innovation and the involvement of employers.
Senator LeBreton: I would suggest that no government would embark on
the issue of child care without insisting that it be quality child care. That
much is obvious.
As I said previously, Budget 2006 commits $250 million a year to the
provinces and territories to support the creation of flexible child care spaces
beginning in 2007-08. This amount is in addition to $500 million for early
childhood development and $350 million for early learning and child care through
the Canada Social Transfer.
In addition, the budget provides a 25 per cent investment tax credit to
encourage businesses to create new licensed child care spaces, providing up to
$10,000 of assistance for each space provided or created.
The government takes this issue very seriously. We realize the country is
diverse and that child care needs vary from location to location. There are
quite different needs in smaller and rural centres as opposed to large urban
centres. The government is committed to quality child care spaces, and I believe
the measures we have taken in Budget 2006 and Budget 2007 go a long way to
addressing these needs and concerns.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I have a question for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Last November 23, I put a question to Senator Fortier. Unfortunately, he was
not present at the time, so Senator LeBreton took the question. The answer to
that question was received last week, and I can see why it took so long to
produce. It is pretty embarrassing stuff.
The question was:
. . . is it the policy of the federal government to have day care centres
in all federal buildings or workplaces?
— that is, as it is encouraging the private sector to do, sort of, I add:
If so, can we know the costs of them, both capital and operating, and how
many places exist?
Well, coast to coast to coast, this government, which is one of the largest
employers across the country — maybe the largest — has a grand total of 11
daycare centres. Five of those centres are here in Ottawa, leaving only six for
the whole rest of the country.
The total rent subsidy, which is the only dollar figure provided, is a grand
total of $1.3 million a year, which is probably less than the coffee budget for
a single ministry. The policy portion of the answer reads, in part — and I
It is Treasury Board policy to provide departments with the authority to
establish workplace day care centres when it can be demonstrated that they are
financially viable and self-supporting with a proven and sustained demand.
Anyone who has done any work in this area knows that, when the employer does
not have a daycare centre, parents who work for that employer are obliged to
make other child care arrangements. Having made other child care arrangements,
it is quite disruptive to move one's toddler out of that daycare centre and into
the lovely new one the government will provide. However, anyone involved with
this area also knows that if you build it, they will come.
Hence, I shall repeat my question to the government leader: Is the Government
of Canada prepared to do as it is urging private employers to do; that is, to
create a proper network of high quality daycare centres in its workplaces across
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, I wish to thank the Honourable Senator
Fraser for that question. As the honourable senator knows, when she asked that
question, I took it as notice. I am surprised at how long it took the answer to
be forthcoming. However, I am doubly surprised that the honourable senator would
choose to read the answer into the record. We have been the government for just
a little over a year; her government was in power from 1993 to 2006. When I read
that delayed answer, I said, "Oh, well, another example of they did not get it
The current government has taken a lot of initiatives in the budget to
provide child care spaces. I do not know of any specific plan regarding
incentives for child care spaces provided in the various government offices;
perhaps I shall ask specifically whether this government intends to do a better
job than the previous government in providing the spaces.
Senator Fraser: The previous government, as the minister knows, had
negotiated for the first time in Canadian history a very elaborate and
well-funded daycare program to cover the whole country, a program that all the
provinces had signed on to. This government chose to go another route; hence, I
was asking whether the government would put its money where its mouth is, which
is not where the previous government's policy was leading.
However, let me put a supplementary question to the Minister of Public Works.
This government's policy is apparently to privatize federal buildings at a
galloping rate. Is the minister prepared to make it standard policy that, in
negotiating contracts for those privatizations, he builds in requirements for
the inclusion of daycare centres paid for by the new proprietors?
Hon. Michael Fortier (Minister of Public Works and Government Services):
Honourable senators, the honourable senator knows that the process for disposing
of these buildings has just begun. We are hoping, if the transaction turns out
right and we get an interesting offer from a party or several parties, that we
turn ownership over to them.
If there are any initiatives involving daycare facilities in those buildings,
I think it should come from an effort on the part of the departments that are in
those buildings and the proprietor. I think it is best that the tenants and the
landlords come to an agreement on this issue rather than imposing daycare
facilities in the process of the disposal of the buildings.
Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. A week or so ago, all political parties
in the House of Commons urged the government to amend the Employment Insurance
Act. In addition to this demand from the opposition parties in the House of
Commons, a large number of Canadians have found very serious problems with the
employment insurance program. Seasonal workers such as fishers and those from
other important sectors in different regions, as well as self-employed workers,
will be affected by this reform.
Does the government intend to follow up on the recommendations that were made
on employment insurance reform, considering that the employment insurance
surpluses were financed by Canadian workers, who are entitled to receive a fair
return on their investment?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): I wish to thank the honourable senator for his question. The EI
system strikes a balance between temporary income support for Canadians while
they find employment, and keeping people in the workplace. There are some areas
in the country where there is still high unemployment.
The minister is taking into account these high unemployment areas. The report
of the committee in the other place has been referred to the minister. This is a
very important question because of the diversity of the Canadian workforce. In
some areas of the country the unemployment levels are very low, while in other
parts of the country where there is seasonal employment, the levels are very
I will attempt to obtain for the honourable senator a definitive answer from
the minister as to how he intends to respond to the recommendations of the
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your
attention to the presence in the gallery of the participants of the Spring 2007
Parliamentary Officers' Study Program.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. David Tkachuk (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government):
Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the answers to three oral
questions asked by the Honourable Senator Carstairs, on March 20, 2007,
regarding Budget 2007 tax credits to families; the Honourable Senator Milne, on
March 28, 2007, regarding heritage preservation and the demolition of buildings
at the Pickering land site; and the Honourable Senator Carstairs, on March 29,
2007, regarding the Budget 2007 proportion of gross domestic product allocated
to foreign aid.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Sharon Carstairs on March 20, 2007)
Canada's Conservative Government has taken decisive and substantial
measures to assist those Canadians in need. Even a brief examination of
Budgets 2006 and 2007 would clearly show how we're helping hard-working
Indeed, in our first two budgets we have introduced a number of tax relief
measures with tax savings totalling nearly $38 billion — which have completely
eliminated 885,000 low-income Canadians from the tax rolls.
Among the myriad of tax-measures we've introduced include the Working
Families Tax Plan proposed in Budget 2007, and Budget 2006 measures such as
the Canada Employment Credit, increases to the Basic Personal Amount and the
reduction in the lowest personal income tax rate.
It should be noted that Budget 2006 and 2007 also introduced several
measures benefiting those Canadians with income too low to pay personal income
tax — such as the Working Income Tax Benefit, the one-point rate reduction in
the GST and the Universal Child Care Benefit, which helps all families with
young children by providing $1,200 per year per child under age six.
These measures are in addition to the existing support for low-income
families provided through the GST credit, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the
National Child Benefit Supplement.
As mentioned, our Government announced the new Working Families Tax Plan in
Budget 2007. In its entirety, the Working Families Tax Plan removes 230,000
low-income Canadians from the tax rolls. Furthermore, over one-half of the
tax relief provided by Budget 2007 will go to Canadians with incomes under
$37,178 -the bottom personal income tax bracket threshold.
This plan includes a child tax credit, providing up to $310 in tax relief
for each child under 18, and an increase in the spousal and other amounts to
the same level as the Basic Personal Amount — providing up to $209 of tax
relief in 2007 for single earner families.
Another major positive development was the Working Income Tax Benefit
proposed in Budget 2007, a benefit that will help people over the 'welfare
wall' into a better, more prosperous life for themselves and their families.
The WITB will help make employment more rewarding and attractive for more
than 1.2 million low-income workers, including single parents and those
employed on a part-time or temporary basis. It will provide couples and single
parents earning between $3,000 and $21,167 up to $1,000 annually. There is an
additional supplement of up to $250 for those eligible for the Disability Tax
This particular measure has been roundly applauded from all corners. The
Canadian Labour Congress said the WITB "initiative is worthy of support."
The Retail Council of Canada said it "should help to reduce the disincentive
for some individuals to leave welfare to find paid work." The Canadian
Association for Community Living congratulated the government for its
introduction, saying it would "assist people with disabilities over the
welfare wall." Even the NDP finance critic called it "an important program
that goes in the right direction."
As we move forward, Canada's Conservative Government is further committed
to reducing personal income taxes. This commitment is supported by the
Government's Tax-Back Guarantee, which means interest savings from national
debt repayment will go to personal income tax reductions so that Canadians can
take home more of their hard-earned pay.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Lorna Milne on March 28, 2007)
Regarding the demolition of three vacant residential dwellings on the
Markham portion of the Pickering Lands site, Transport Canada was legally
committed to follow through with the demolition as this was the ground for
issuing Notices of Termination to the tenants under the Ontario Tenant
Protection Act several years ago. The first inaugural meeting of the
Transport Canada Heritage Advisory Committee was held after the three tenants
in Markham were notified of Transport Canada's intent to terminate their
tenancies for the purpose of demolition.
All properties on the Pickering Lands Site are subject to review by the
Federal Heritage Building Review Office for federal heritage significance.
Transport Canada has also been working with the municipalities on their local
heritage plans. As referenced by the Honourable Lorna Milne in the Senate on
March 28, 2007, Transport Canada offers municipalities the opportunity to
bring forward their local heritage plans prior to demolitions. Despite a
number of prompts from Transport Canada, no such local heritage plans were
received from the Town of Markham.
The Department will call a Transport Canada Heritage Advisory Committee
meeting shortly depending on the progress of local heritage evaluations as
well as clarification of other related matters.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Sharon Carstairs on March 29, 2007)
The Government has consistently increased the International Assistance
Envelope. Budget 2007 reconfirms the government's commitment to grow by 8 per
cent per year, so as to double international assistance by 2010-11 from
2001-02 levels. This means that international assistance will grow to
approximately $4.4 billion in 2008-09.
In addition to the 8 per cent growth, the budget provides $315 million in
new money ($200 million in further development assistance to Afghanistan and
$115 million to support the Advanced Market Commitment).
While the quantity of aid Canada provides is important, its quality is just
as important. Budget 2007 provides clear direction on improving aid
effectiveness by strengthening focus, improving efficiency and increasing
accountability of Canada's international assistance programs.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to
Government Business, I wish to present the ruling on the point of order raised
concerning extensions of the time limit on speeches.
Honourable senators, on Tuesday, March 27, 2007, Senator Murray participated
in the debate on the motion to amend the second reading motion of Bill C-288,
dealing with the Kyoto Protocol. At the end of the 15 minutes allotted to him
for debate, the senator agreed to ask for an extension of his speaking time in
response to a request by Senator Fraser to pose a question. Leave was granted
with the condition that the extension be for no more than five minutes.
Following the exchange between Senator Fraser and Senator Murray, Senator
Cools rose to put a question to Senator Murray. However, as the agreed extension
of five minutes had expired, as Speaker I informed Senator Cools of that fact
and indicated that she was being recognized for debate. While acknowledging that
Senator Murray's time had by agreement been extended for only five minutes,
Senator Cools objected to this limitation on debate and proceeded to put a
question to Senator Murray, which was duly answered. Senator Cools then
continued with some comments that led to a request for a further response from
I then recognized Senator Joyal, who asked whether Senator Murray's time had
been extended so that he could ask him a question. I answered by stating that
the debate had passed to Senator Cools. This led Senator Cools to state that she
had thought she had "asked the chamber if we could extend Senator Murray's time.
Senator Murray stood up and spoke and I was answering him."
After some additional exchanges with several senators about what had actually
happened, debate on Bill C-288 was adjourned and Senator Cools rose on a point
of order to challenge the practice of granting leave to extend a senator's
debate for a five-minute period of time. According to the senator, this
practice is "unfair" because it denies senators the right to express
themselves on important issues that require further debate.
Intervening to speak to the point of order, Senator Fraser reminded those
present that the Senate is master of its own proceedings and suggested that the
Senate should perhaps reconsider the practice of automatically giving five
additional minutes each time leave is sought to extend debate. Senator Comeau
was of the opinion that the practice of granting leave for five minutes had
created the equivalent of a Senate convention or practice, which serves
everyone's interests fairly. It was his opinion that the five minutes was
originally a courtesy period given to allow the orator to wrap up a speech. He
added that, if the Senate wanted to change the practice of granting an extension
of only five minutes, the senator requesting leave to extend debate should
indicate how much additional time was needed.
Senator Cools rose again to stress the importance of taking advantage of the
immediacy of questions and comments following a senator's intervention. In her
opinion, a comment or question does not carry the same weight when it takes
place after the fact and senators should be able to put comments or questions
directly to the senator involved. In closing, Senator Cools repeated that she
had thought she had asked for an extension of Senator Murray's time and that was
how she believed that she had participated in the debate on Bill C-288.
I wish to thank, as always, those senators who contributed to the discussion
on the point of order. At the time, I decided to take the issue under
advisement. While the Senate was adjourned, I reviewed the Debates of the
Senate, Rules of the Senate of Canada, precedents and relevant
authorities and am now prepared to give my ruling.
First, I would like to point out that rule 37(4), which deals with the time
limit on senators' speeches, is quite categorical. It states:
. . . no Senator shall speak for more than fifteen minutes, inclusive of
any question or comments from other Senators which the Senator may permit in
the course of his or her remarks.
This time limit on debate was incorporated into the Rules of the Senate
in 1991, together with numerous other rules that were drawn up to more clearly
structure the Senate's sitting day and to better assure the ability of the
government to transact its business.
Despite these mandated time limits on debate, it remains possible to extend
the time for an individual senator's debate through leave. Originally, such
requests were without any restriction. This then led to objections that too much
time was being monopolized when leave was granted. Speaker Molgat acknowledged
this situation in a ruling made on May 11, 2000, when he addressed a point of
order similar to this one. Referring to rule 37(4), Speaker Molgat recognized
There is no doubt that the current rule is restrictive. With growing
frequency, requests are being made to extend the time for debate and the
question and comment period that can follow a speech. Only rarely are these
requests denied. This practice, in turn, may now be giving rise to a sense of
frustration. This appears to be evident based on the objections that have
occasionally been raised by some Senators who find the process too open-ended.
Speaker Molgat went on to state that, through rule 3, it is procedurally
acceptable to suspend rule 37 strictly limiting the time available for debate
and, at the same time, impose specified conditions or limits of time to a
request to extend the time for debate. As Speaker Molgat explained in his
. . . I do not find it procedurally objectionable to have a request for
leave to suspend the rules limiting the time for debate combined with a
proposal to fix the time of the extension. Indeed, following the model of the
House of Lords . . . it might be useful and advantageous to the Senator, who
is requesting more time, to indicate how much time is needed in order to
improve the likelihood of a favourable response. Moreover, such an approach
would, I think, be in keeping with the intent of rule 3 regarding the
suspension of any particular rule. According to this rule, the purpose of any
proposed suspension should be "distinctly stated." As much as possible, I
have usually permitted an explanation so long as it did not involve any
prolonged discussion. This I think is a sensible approach that could serve the
Senate well until the rules of debate are revised.
I concur with Speaker Molgat's assessment and I accept his ruling, which was
not appealed. In addition, I have found that House of Commons Procedure and
Practice, by Marleau and Montpetit, supports this position. It states on
page 498 that — and I quote:
During debate, unanimous consent has been sought to extend briefly the
length of speeches or the length of the questions and comments period
I believe it is perfectly in order to set a specific time limit when
requesting an extension of a senator's time in debate. Indeed, there is nothing
prohibiting the inclusion of any condition in a request for leave to suspend a
At the same time, I should note that, in reviewing the precedents, there have
been numerous instances since Speaker Molgat's ruling when rule 37(4) was
suspended in order to give leave for a few additional minutes of debate. As
mentioned by Senator Comeau, it would seem that the Senate does generally give
leave for no more than five minutes, probably because it is usually sufficient
to allow senators to wrap up their speech or to answer a few questions. This is
not to say that it has become a convention or practice. In fact, no rule or
precedent is ever created through the use of leave. However, I should add that
there is nothing that binds the Senate to a particular limit, if any, in
extending the time for a particular senator in debate. Indeed, in my study of
precedents, I identified a number of instances where the Senate gave leave to
extend debate by more than five minutes. I have examples when the Senate granted
an additional 10 minutes, 15 minutes and even as much as 30 minutes.
In addition, there is nothing preventing an additional request for an
extension of time in debate when the original extension is exhausted. This is
what I think Senator Cools thought had happened on March 27. However, as the
Debates of the Senate show, the request was not actually put to the Senate
and there is no indication that the Senate had agreed to the extension of
additional time to Senator Murray beyond the five minutes. This, in turn, led to
some confusion about whether Senator Cools was participating in debate on her
own time or asking Senator Murray a question, prompting Senator Cools to raise
her point of order.
In summary, it is my ruling that a request seeking leave to extend debate is
procedurally acceptable. Equally, it is competent for the senator requesting
leave, or any other senator, to specify the length of time for that extension.
In all such cases, however, the leave of the Senate is required to suspend the
limits of debate established by our rules.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of
order. I would note that it is the responsibility of the Honourable the Speaker,
as the Speaker for our debates, to maintain order and decorum in this chamber
pursuant to rule 18. Rule 18(5) is very clear:
When the Speaker rises, all other Senators shall remain seated or shall
resume their seats.
Honourable senators, I presume that this rule is as simple and easy to
understand in French as it is in English. I would like all of my colleagues to
respect this rule. I have been sitting in the Senate for 14 years and, for 14
years, I have been tempted to remind my colleagues of this rule.
Today, honourable senators, I have had enough. Allow me to speak frankly and
say: please; I know that, during Question Period, we have some difficulty
maintaining decorum in this chamber, but when the Speaker rises to speak, the
least we can do is respect the rule we ourselves devised and sit down.
Honourable senators, I would add that while I realize that the rules do not
apply to Senate staff, I am also directing my remark to the clerk in the hope
that the clerk will ensure that Senate staff also strive to respect this rule,
The Hon. the Speaker: Are there other senators who wish to comment? I
am ready to rule on this point of order.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I should like to concur with
Senator Nolin on this. He specifically mentioned Question Period. Unfortunately,
I was out of the house for most of Question Period, but I wish to support
Senator Nolin in this point of order. I would also say that sometimes, in the
rough and tumble of this place, there is a little bit more excitement, senators
are oblivious or forget or overlook the fact that they should observe certain
Senator Nolin made a profound point that the rules also apply to the table
officers. It is not unusual for there to be distractions, as table officers are
running back and forth toward the Speaker and the table. I should like to thank
Senator Nolin for bringing forth his very important point, and I support him in
This chamber is less boisterous than is the other place and when a senator
raises a point of order, he should be supported in his efforts. Time and again
in this place I have said that true democracy, freedom and liberty are in the
rules. It often seems that fewer and fewer in this place understand their way in
and around the rules as the rules have become the purview or the preserve of the
staff and table officers. I recall a time when 10 to 15 senators would be on
their feet ready to speak on questions of privilege and points of order.
Senator Nolin, when a senator rises I feel a need to give my support because
speaking on a point of order is difficult. I would add that the system provides
that senators are to rule this place. When I came to the Senate, the leaders and
the senators actually ran this place. The Speaker of the Senate hardly ever
spoke, and it was understood that he was not to speak until he was invited to do
so. I hasten to say that we would do this country a great service if we were to
adopt the role of all senators mastering the system. In that way, all senators
would be well acquainted with it and would assist to move proceedings along.
Honourable senators, when I came to the Senate, the book on the Rules of
the Senate was about 10 per cent of its size today. Hence, I shudder each
time we make more rules. The more rules, the less some senators know them and
the more senators are reliant on their staff. I was raised to believe in this
system and to respect it. Senators should work hard as a group, no matter the
side of the house on which they sit, to preserve the institution. That is why I
was so distressed about some of Senator Fortier's comments on the Senate and the
statements by the Prime Minister and by the Leader of the Government in the
Senate. These parliamentary institutions are the embodiment of our liberties.
I encourage all honourable senators to take hold of it. I support Senator
Nolin. His point of order is valid.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would like to participate in this debate and remind honourable
senators that showing courtesy and respect for everyone is one of the
fundamental rules of a democracy that works. I would be very pleased to see all
senators show respect when our colleagues are asking questions and to make sure
that questions are asked in accordance with the Rules of the Senate.
Hon. Jean Lapointe: Honourable senators, on behalf of my colleagues, I
would like to support the point of order raised by Senator Nolin, who is quite
right. To be frank, I am disappointed by the behaviour of this senator, who has
been here in this chamber for the past year or so. He is a Liberal senator, who
sits rather close by and who talks. He is always talking.
You know, the fact that he is absent today will not stop me from telling him
what I think. I am sure all senators know me well enough to know that I will
tell him to his face. When the Leader of the Government in the Senate is trying
to answer questions and the voice of that other senator is more prominent, I
find it shocking. It is also important for everyone to respect the Leader of the
Opposition in the Senate when she is speaking.
Once again, I would like to congratulate Senator Nolin on this point of
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would like to thank all
senators for their input and, as Speaker, I am prepared to give my ruling on
this point of order.
I agree with everything that has been said by the honourable senators. The new
position of the House of Lords in Westminster states that the Speaker has the
same level of responsibility as the Lord Chancellor did in the past. It was not
up to the Speaker to rule; rather, it was up to the Lords.
Things here in the Senate of Canada are not the same as in the other place.
As Senator Cools very clearly indicated, it is the senators who are responsible
for the running of this honourable chamber. I would therefore like to remind all
senators that, as parliamentarians, they are all responsible for respecting all
As Speaker of the Senate, I try to facilitate the full participation of all
senators in the debates and during Question Period, while respecting both ethics
and collegiality. That is the tradition of our chamber, although it is very
different from the other place.
Hon. W. David Angus moved third reading of Bill C-36, to amend the
Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act.
He said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to say a few words at third
reading of Bill C-36, to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security
Act. This bill proposes significant procedural modernizations and upgrades to
Canada's Pension Plan and Old Age Security program. The Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce met last week to study the bill and I
am happy to report that the committee unanimously supported it and has reported
this important piece of legislation without amendment. Indeed, honourable
senators, there seems to be considerable approval for and support of Bill C-36
on both sides of this chamber as well as in the other place.
Members of the committee heard from several interesting witnesses, including
the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development
Canada; and Mr. Jean-Claude Ménard, Chief Actuary in the Office of the
Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada. The committee clearly
recognized that the proposed legislation will bring important improvements to
the daily lives of Canadian seniors and those with long-term disabilities. The
proposed administrative improvements to the Canada Pension Plan and to the Old
Age Security regime result from submissions given over the past few years to the
Department of Human Resources and Social Development Canada and to various
federal and provincial politicians. A key intent of the bill is to resolve
issues raised by seniors and by those with disabilities.
Honourable senators, seniors are a commanding force in Canada today, and
their influence is far reaching. Canada's new government understands that
today's seniors are healthier, wealthier and more technologically savvy than
they were just 10 years ago.
They asked to be heard, and our government is listening. Through letters and
formal consultations, Canadian seniors have asked for improved access to their
benefits. Bill C-36 will consequently modernize and streamline the delivery of
CPP, OAS and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits. It will allow seniors to
monitor their contributions. It will enhance Canadians' access to the Canada
Pension Plan Disability Benefits, and it will allow seniors to review their
Honourable senators, let me quickly highlight two key improvements in Bill
C-36. One of the most important changes in the bill is the provision that will
enable low-income seniors to apply for their GIS benefit only once, and this
will remain in effect for the rest of their lives. After an initial application,
their income tax information, as provided through the Canada Revenue Agency,
will determine access to GIS benefits, and the senior in question will never
need to reapply for the benefit regardless of fluctuations in his or her income.
Seniors have been asking for this significant improvement for over 10 years.
A second key provision of this bill will make it easier for long-term
contributors to the Canada Pension Plan to qualify for the Disability Benefit.
Currently, a person needs to contribute to the CPP in four of the past six years
to become eligible for the disability benefit even if he or she has paid into
the plan for most of his or her life. Under this amendment, people with 25 or
more years of contributions would only need to contribute to the CPP in three of
the past six years. If they are eligible for the benefits, they will receive
them for as long as they meet the medical criteria.
Honourable senators, the Chief Actuary assured us at committee that these
proposed changes are actuarially sound. They reflect the recommendations made by
federal, provincial and territorial ministers of finance. They reflect the
observations of the Auditor General, and they reflect the opinions and
representations of many Canadian seniors and disabled people.
Honourable senators, Canada has one of the best retirement income systems in
the world. Bill C-36 will make it even better. I ask all honourable senators to
support this bill in order for our seniors and disabled people to benefit from
its improvements as soon as possible.
On motion of Senator Cordy, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventh report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, (budget—study of the Federal
Government's New and Evolving Policy Framework for Managing Canada's Fisheries
and Oceans), presented in the Senate on March 29, 2007.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Bill Rompkey: I move the motion standing in my name.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eleventh report of the Standing
Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled, Canadian Security
Guide Book 2007: An Update of Security Problems in Search of Solutions — Coasts,
tabled in the Senate on March 27, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Atkins)
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, if there is no one who
wishes to comment on that report, I move its adoption.
On motion of Senator Tkachuk, debate adjourned.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth (interim) report of the
Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence entitled, Canadian
Security Guide Book 2007: An Update of Security Problems in Search of Solutions
— Seaports, tabled in the Senate on March 21, 2007.—(Honourable Senator
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, if no one wishes to speak
on this report, I move adoption.
On motion of Senator Tkachuk, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Fraser, for the
Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cook:
That the following Resolution on Combating Anti-Semitism and other forms
of intolerance which was adopted at the 15th Annual Session of the OSCE
Parliamentary Association, in which Canada participated in Brussels, Belgium
on July 7, 2006, be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights
for consideration and that the Committee table its final report no later than
March 31, 2007:
RESOLUTION ON COMBATING ANTI-SEMITISM AND OTHER FORMS OF
1. Calling attention to the resolutions on anti-Semitism adopted
unanimously by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly at its annual sessions in
Berlin in 2002, Rotterdam in 2003, Edinburgh in 2004 and Washington in 2005,
2. Intending to raise awareness of the need to combat anti-Semitism,
intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, as well as racism,
xenophobia and discrimination, also focusing on the intolerance and
discrimination faced by Christians and members of other religions and
minorities in different societies,
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
3. Recognizes the steps taken by the OSCE and the Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to address the problems of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, including the work of the Tolerance
and Non-Discrimination Unit at the Office for Democratic Institutions and
Human Rights, the appointment of the Personal Representatives of the
Chairman-in-Office, and the organization of expert meetings on the issue of
4. Reminds its participating States that "Anti-Semitism is a certain
perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards
Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish
community institutions and religious facilities", this being the definition
of anti-Semitism adopted by representatives of the European Monitoring
Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) and ODIHR;
5. Urges its participating States to establish a legal framework for
targeted measures to combat the dissemination of racist and anti-Semitic
material via the Internet;
6. Urges its participating States to intensify their efforts to combat
discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities;
7. Urges its participating States to present written reports, at the 2007
Annual Session, on their activities to combat anti-Semitism, racism and
discrimination against Muslims;
8. Welcomes the offer of the Romanian Government to host a follow-up
conference in 2007 on combating anti-Semitism and all forms of
discrimination with the aim of reviewing all the decisions adopted at the
OSCE conferences (Vienna, Brussels, Berlin, Córdoba, Washington), for which
commitments were undertaken by the participating States, with a request for
proposals on improving implementation, and calls upon participating States
to agree on a decision in this regard at the forthcoming Ministerial
Conference in Brussels;
9. Urges its participating States to provide the OSCE Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) with regular information on
the status of implementation of the 38 commitments made at the OSCE
conferences (Vienna, Brussels, Berlin, Córdoba, Washington);
10. Urges its participating States to develop proposals for national
action plans to combat anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination against
11. Urges its participating States to raise awareness of the need to
protect Jewish institutions and other minority institutions in the various
12. Urges its participating States to appoint ombudspersons or special
commissioners to present and promote national guidelines on educational work
to promote tolerance and combat anti-Semitism, including Holocaust
13. Underlines the need for broad public support and promotion of, and
cooperation with, civil society representatives involved in the collection,
analysis and publication of data on anti-Semitism and racism and related
14. Urges its participating States to engage with the history of the
Holocaust and anti-Semitism and to analyze the role of public institutions
in this context;
15. Requests its participating States to position themselves against all
current forms of anti-Semitism wherever they encounter it;
16. Resolves to involve other inter-parliamentary organizations such as
the IPU, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), the
Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) and the NATO Parliamentary
Assembly in its efforts to implement the above demands.—(Speaker's
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have a ruling on the
point of order that was raised with reference to this item.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2007, Senator Cools raised a point of order challenging
procedural acceptability of the motion moved by Senator Fraser, for Senator
Grafstein, to authorize the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights to
consider the resolution on combating anti-Semitism and other forms of
intolerance as adopted by the fifteenth annual session of the OSCE (Organization
for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Parliamentary Association. Senator
Cools had four concerns with the motion, and I propose to address each of them
The first concern is that the motion asks the committee to table its report
no later than March 31, 2007. Given that this date is now passed, I agree with
Senator Cools that the reporting date will require an amendment.
Secondly, Senator Cools noted that the motion refers to "Parliamentary
Association", but observed that it should refer to the "Parliamentary
Assembly". Senator Cools is correct with respect to the nomenclature and this
error should also be corrected by an amendment.
Senator Cools then turned her attention to the larger question of whether it
is in order to ask a committee of the Senate to "judge a proceeding of another
assembly," which, in her view, is prohibited by long-standing parliamentary
The first issue to be determined, in my mind, is the nature of the OSCE
Parliamentary Assembly. Honourable senators, those of you who are participants
in the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association will be familiar with this
organization. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is, in essence, the vehicle by
which parliamentarians from OSCE-member nations can convene to consider and
debate issues that touch on the mandate of the OSCE intergovernmental
organization. In other words, the assembly exists as a construct of its member
parliaments, of which Canada is one.
In my opinion, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is not a body with the same
standing as our Parliament or another parliament. Furthermore, in that one of
the fundamental goals of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is to promote
interparliamentary dialogue and cooperation, this type of motion seems to be in
keeping with the very objectives of the organization and would not constitute
any violation of its status.
In addition, the motion itself does not in any way direct the committee to
take any stand whatsoever, nor does it ask the committee to in any way pass
judgment on the resolution. A motion to refer the subject matter of the
resolution to the committee would be in order. It is only a very small
additional step to refer the resolution itself to the committee for
consideration and report. Accordingly, I do not find that the motion is acting
in the manner feared by Senator Cools.
This leads us to the last issue raised by Senator Cools in the point of
order. Senator Cools questioned the ability of the Senate to refer to its
committees "proceedings of other assemblies other than from the House of
We are familiar with the privileges that apply, especially in
Westminster-style parliaments, to the proceedings of their legislatures.
However, as has already been established, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has no
such standing and its proceedings are not really analogous to those of a
parliament such as ours. To the contrary, the motion does not attempt to refer
proceedings of another parliament but the conclusions of a body of which
Canada's Parliament is a member for the consideration of one of our committees.
Furthermore, a similar motion referring a resolution from the same
institution to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights was adopted by the
Senate on February 10, 2004. Therefore, I also find that this aspect of the
point of order is not sustained.
Having disposed of the various points raised in Senator Cools' point of
order, I wish to consider the two issues raised by Senator Murray. First, he
questioned the manner in which Senator Cools called the Senate's attention to
her concerns. In Senator Murray's opinion, it appeared to him that Senator Cools
followed a novel approach whereby she debated the merits of the motion before
signalling that she objected to its procedural acceptability. The senator then
concluded by again debating the subject of the motion.
In my reading of the Debates, I will accept that Senator Cools'
concluding remarks may have strayed back into the merits of the motion, but I
will also accept her contention that they did so in the context of her point of
order. Nonetheless, Senator Murray's point is logical: any honourable senator,
being of the opinion that an item on the Order Paper is not procedurally
correct, should ask that the matter be resolved first, before entering into
debate on the merits of the motion. I would, therefore, ask honourable senators
to bear this in mind in the future.
The second matter raised by Senator Murray was whether a committee such as
the Human Rights Committee needs an order of reference in order to consider a
matter as is put forward in the motion. In his comments, Senator Murray noted
that only two committees are explicitly authorized to undertake work of their
own volition — the Rules Committee and the Committee on Internal Economy,
Budgets and Administration. Despite this limitation, Senator Murray noted that
"some committees allow themselves a great deal of latitude in discussing and
reporting on matters within their mandate without a specific order of
reference." For the record, I should like to remind senators that the Rules
of the Senate also authorize the Committee on Conflict of Interest for
Senators to initiate work within its areas of responsibility.
The Rules of the Senate are clear that it is only these three
committees that can initiate consideration of matters that fall within the
mandate spelled out in the rules. All other committees must have their matters
referred to them by the Senate.
There is no question that there is a wide range in the specificity of orders
of reference given to committees. As noted by Senator Murray, some orders of
reference are very broad and give committees a great deal of latitude, while
others are more narrowly focused.
For example, the Foreign Affairs Committee has an order of reference
authorizing it to "examine such issues as may arise from time to time relating
to foreign relations generally" — a very broad order of reference. Others, such
as the order of reference to the Transport and Communications Committee to
examine and report on the objectives, operation and governance of the Canadian
Television Fund, are more specific.
In his intervention, Senator Murray asked me to reflect on "the extent to
which the Senate wishes to keep its standing committees on a short leash."
While the senator raises an interesting issue, it is not a matter for me, as
Speaker, to decide. Rather, it is a matter only the Senate can decide when it
considers proposed orders of reference.
In conclusion, debate on the motion may continue, but amendments relating to
the reporting date and the name of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly should be
moved to correct it.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dallaire, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C.:
That the Senate call on the Government of Canada to take a leading role in
the reinvigoration of the urgent matter of nuclear disarmament in accordance
with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the Preparatory Committee
Meetings scheduled to convene April 30 to May 11, 2007 in Vienna which act as
a prelude to the next Treaty Review Conference in 2010; and
That the Senate urge the Government of Canada to take a global leadership
role in the campaign of eradicating the dire threat to humanity posed by
nuclear weapons.—(Honourable Senator Murray, P.C.)
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I shall take up where I left
off on April 17. I thank Senator Dallaire, whose motion provides the occasion
for us to reflect on recent circumstances that have brought us closer to nuclear
destruction, not farther away from it. The increased threat is graphically
illustrated, as Senator Dallaire reminded us, by the famous doomsday clock,
which the atomic scientists advanced from 12 minutes to nuclear midnight, where
it stood a while ago, to seven minutes, and then to five minutes in January of
this year. The question that demands the attention of all who have political
responsibility of any kind is how to turn the hands of that metaphorical clock
back by changing the dangerous reality it represents.
Senator Dallaire told us that the nuclear non-proliferation regime
established in 1970 is in danger. Action and inaction by signatories and
non-signatories have eroded and weakened it. The review conference of 2005
failed. The next such review is scheduled for 2010. Meanwhile, the opportunity
to reverse course, to restore the effectiveness and credibility of that treaty,
comes next month at preparatory committee meetings in Vienna. I trust Canada
will spare no effort to try to revive the process and save the treaty from a
descent into irrelevance.
Senator Dallaire reminded us that, in the treaty, the issue of
non-proliferation — non-nuclear countries obtaining nuclear weapons — is
inextricably linked to that of nuclear disarmament, disarmament by states that
presently have nuclear weapons. That element, disarmament, has waxed and waned
over the years, but it seems to have achieved renewed prominence in the
declaration made last January by the former United States cabinet secretaries
George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and William Perry, with former senator Sam Nunn.
Those U.S. statesmen recommended a series of steps that need to be taken —
"concrete stages," they called them — to achieve the promise of the non-proliferation treaty. However, they acknowledge that none of these steps by
themselves is adequate to the present danger. About 20 years ago, President
Reagan and the Soviet Union's Mr. Gorbachev had come to Reykjavik with the goal
of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether. They had not succeeded; however, as
the statement recalls, their vision "shocked experts in the doctrine of nuclear
deterrence but galvanized the hopes of people around the world." I believe I
counted, in a three-page statement, eight times that Secretary Schultz and the
others came back to this objective — "a world without nuclear weapons."
I do not believe this was mere rhetoric on their part, nor does one have to
read between the lines of their statement to understand why the ultimate
objective of complete nuclear disarmament has now become much more immediate and
pressing in their minds.
First, as they acknowledge, the fitful progress towards disarmament has left
non-nuclear weapon states "increasingly sceptical" of the sincerity of the
nuclear powers. I would add that it has probably made some of those non-nuclear
states less hesitant to try to achieve their own strategic goals by going
Second, when they refer to the Cold War deterrent strategy, they doubt
whether the old Soviet-American "mutually assured destruction" factor can be
replicated with an increasing number of potential nuclear enemies around the
world without, as they say, "dramatically increasing the risk that nuclear
weapons will be used."
Third, they point out those new nuclear states "do not have the benefits of
years of step-by-step safeguards put into effect during the Cold War to prevent
nuclear accidents, misjudgments or unauthorized launches." These former
officials would know more than most of us about the false warnings and the
dangerous incidents that, as Senator Dallaire said, have brought us so close to
nuclear holocaust when the standoff essentially involved only two nations.
Fourth, non-state terrorist groups that might acquire nuclear weaponry "are
conceptually outside the bounds of a deterrent strategy."
The conclusion is that the various intermediate stages along the road, while
necessary, are inadequate. We must be focused on the purpose and the objective —
elimination of nuclear weapons.
It should also be clear to all of us that just as the danger is no longer
primarily that of nuclear war between two superpowers, the remedy will not be
found only in superpower negotiations. The leadership of the United States is,
of course, vital. The leadership by example, and not just by resolution, of the
five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, all of whom are
nuclear weapon states, will be indispensable. However, as even the former U.S.
officials recognize, it will take a worldwide consensus to achieve our
objective. This is where Canada comes in. There is an opportunity and a
responsibility for Canada to take the lead in rescuing a process that is now
As honourable senators know, we were the first nuclear-capable state to
decide not to develop our nuclear weapons capacity, and we were the first to
divest ourselves of the nuclear weapons we had acquired from the U.S. Meanwhile,
in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the late Honourable Howard Green placed arms
control and disarmament at the centre of Canadian policy for the first time.
Mr. Green is properly remembered for his political leadership on the issue.
Less conspicuous in the public media, now as then, was the research capacity and
the technical expertise quickly assembled in our foreign service and defence
establishment, initially under General E.L.M. Burns as Disarmament Advisor to
the Canadian Government. These experts provided the technical and institutional
support and much intellectual energy, not just for their own minister and
government, but also for the multilateral negotiations at the official and
political levels where the other countries acknowledged and often deferred to
The process that is limping into Vienna at the end of this month needs a real
injection of both political and intellectual energy if it is to survive. I
believe Canada is well placed to take the lead, and not just because of our
reputation. Surely, we could assemble the expertise needed in the present
circumstances — some of it is probably to be found within the government now —
and provide real value-added at the technical and official levels in the
multilateral negotiations that must take place.
The essential element, of course, is political leadership, and here the
timing is almost perfect for the present government. They have refurbished
Canada's relationship with the United States; they are modernizing and
rebuilding our Armed Forces. All that is to their credit. At some considerable
political risk to themselves, and at deadly risk to our serving soldiers, they
have committed Canada to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. This is a government
that can credibly take the lead in a renewed and concerted international effort
to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and eliminate them as a threat altogether.
I suspect that much of the world community going into Vienna is waiting for
someone to take the lead, and that Canada will not lack for allies, great and
small, if our government stepped forward.
Nor will they lack support in Parliament and in the country. Both Houses of
Parliament are represented in the Canadian chapter of the International
Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament, which I commend to honourable
senators as a very good forum for discussion and which I found to be also an
excellent source of timely information on these issues.
I am convinced that a new government initiative to resuscitate the
international nuclear disarmament process would be very welcomed in Canada.
Canadians know that the threat of nuclear destruction has increased in recent
years, as nuclear technology has become more accessible throughout the world,
nuclear ambition has become more prevalent among nations and security systems
have become more diffused and therefore less effective.
Statesmen and experts who are concerned about the current danger contend that
nothing less than a worldwide consensus will be required to overcome that
threat. It is unthinkable that, in 2007, the international community could fail
as it did at the 2005 conference. The multilateral negotiations leading to the
2010 conference are critical. The process is in need — and very urgently so — of
a new momentum. Under these circumstances, where will the required leadership
come from, if not from Canada?
Canada has proven itself time and again as a NATO member and a NORAD partner.
The current government — and this is to its credit — is renewing and
strengthening Canada's commitment under these alliances. Disarmament is just as
important to Canadians, and the international situation provides a major
opportunity to our country. While there is no consensus at the international
negotiating table, such a consensus is very present among Canadians. It is up to
the government to take the necessary initiative.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Would Senator Murray
entertain a question?
Senator Murray: Of course.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: I would like to thank the senator for
this very eloquent and well-documented speech. As Senator Murray said, Canada is
a country that has disposed of its nuclear weapons. However, as a NATO member,
we have maintained the ability to deliver these systems through the use of
aircraft, missiles, and artillery, even during the 1970s. Thus, when it comes to
nuclear weapons, the issue is one of ethics, and perhaps even of a two-prong
Instead of modernizing the nuclear arms fleets, if we start to eliminate
them, the need for a missile defence system would go by the wayside; there would
be no nuclear weapons or nuclear delivery systems.
Recently, our NATO ally, the U.K., signed a deal to spend $40 billion over
the next 20-odd years to upgrade its nuclear submarine capability and upgrade
its Trident nuclear submarine capability.
Do you think that they know something that we do not if they feel that in
this post-Cold War era they must do this upgrade? I could understand doing that
type of upgrade for the circumpolar Arctic North; it might make sense for us to
have nuclear powered submarines to travel under the ice. To upgrade nuclear
delivery submarines to the new generation seems illogical. Are we going down the
wrong road or are they smoking something we do not know about?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable Senator
Murray, before you answer the question, you will have to ask for more time.
Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. David Tkachuk (Acting Deputy Leader of the Government): Five
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: You have five minutes,
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, the last thing I would want to do
is to be unkind to the British, but I am aware of the intentions announced by
their government on this matter.
To put it mildly, there is an inconsistency — and not only an inconsistency,
but also a contradiction — between the commitment of most NATO members to the
objective of nuclear disarmament, on the one hand, and their inclusion of
nuclear capacity as part of their strategy, on the other.
I do not understand why the British are doing what they are doing. If I were
really being unkind, I would say that it is something in the nature of a status
symbol that they are seeking.
On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Tardif calling the
attention of the Senate to questions concerning post-secondary education in
Canada.—(Honourable Senator Callbeck)
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak
on the inquiry of Senator Tardif regarding the state of post-secondary education
First, I want to thank the honourable senator for initiating this inquiry on
a subject that is also of great importance to me. I want to thank Senators
Trenholme Counsell, Segal, Losier-Cool and Moore, who have spoken on this
inquiry. Today, I would like to further that debate and discuss the issue of
broadening access to post-secondary education.
Senator Tardif reminded us that we must aim higher than our current
post-secondary attainment of 44 per cent if we are to compete on the global
stage with countries such as the United States, India and China. Today, we are
told that 73 per cent of new jobs in our knowledge-based economy will require
post-secondary education. That means that three out of four new jobs will
require post-secondary education. With Canada's post-secondary attainment rate
for young Canadians aged 25-34 at only 53 per cent, that means that we have a
gap of 20 per cent between our current post-secondary attainment rate in that
age group and the post-secondary attainment rate.
If that is not enough, certainly other numbers should alarm us. Canada's
population will shift in the next decade. By 2026, there will be 300,000 fewer
young adults, which means that unless we increase participation substantially,
the hallways of our colleges and universities will echo for lack of students and
we will have gaps in our labour market. There will not be enough graduates to
fill the high-skilled jobs created by the knowledge economy or left vacant by
retiring baby boomers. Remember, honourable senators, within 20 years it is
expected that retirees will outnumber new workers four to three.
According to the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, 30 per cent of
18-20 year olds in 2001 were enrolled in or had completed university; 35 per
cent were in college. That leaves 35 per cent of young Canadians on the outside
looking in. We know who some of these young Canadians are — some are Canada's
Aboriginal people. Fifty-eight per cent of our Aboriginal youth living on
reserve do not even finish high school. Some are youth from low-income families.
Less than one half of students from families whose income is below $25,000
participate in post-secondary education.
In Canada today, most students or potential students are from middle- and
high-income families. Post-secondary participation for children with higher
annual family incomes — that is, over $50,000 — range from 63 per cent to 77 per
cent. More than 80 per cent of children whose parents attended university will
attend university themselves. They are students who come from families where
going to college or university is a family tradition; where going to college or
university is the last step before adulthood. Children growing up in these
families do not hear the words, "if you go to university." They hear, "when you
go to university."
Canada's challenge is to increase the number of young Canadians who hear
these words. To do that, we need to make some changes. We have to make
post-secondary education attractive for more than just middle- or high-income
Canadians. We have to increase participation by Aboriginal people, youth from
low-income families, people whose families have no history of higher education,
and youth from rural Canada.
We have to show young Canadians that post-secondary education is an option.
We have to elevate their educational ambitions. We need to make higher education
a tradition for more families and a possibility for all families. As Senator
Trenholme Counsell stated, we must do more to create an environment where each
young Canadian can contribute to the very best of his or her potential.
How do we do this? The most obvious first step is to make post-secondary
education more affordable.
Unfortunately, this is not what is happening today. In 2006-07, the average
tuition and fees for an undergraduate university student is $4,347. Compare this
amount to 1990-91, when it was $1,464. This amount of $4,347 does not include
many other costs associated with post-secondary education. Students have to
live. They have to eat. They have to buy books. These costs are not trivial and
they must be taken into account.
The average student debt today is more than $22,000. According to Statistics
Canada, even while taking inflation into account, bachelor degree graduates from
the class of 2000 owed on average 76 per cent more than graduates from 1990.
Student debt is certainly continuing to increase.
Let us be clear. The federal government is certainly doing a lot. In 2004-05
the federal government spent more than $12 billion on post-secondary education
and training, which was an increase of 60 per cent from 1997-98. The federal
government has also introduced tax measures to help or encourage post-secondary
The Department of Finance projected that the use of these types of education
tax measures in 2005 would total more than $1.5 billion, which was up 92 per
cent from 1998. We are making investments, and these are essential, but they are
not enough. While it is true that post-secondary education is the responsibility
of the provinces, all Canadians benefit from an educated and competitive
workforce. Even if the specific action is provincial in jurisdiction, the vision
should be pan-Canadian.
Following World War II, the Veterans Rehabilitation Act served as a national
approach to meet the educational needs of returning veterans. We provided
support to students to cover tuition and living expenses. They received support
as long as they made satisfactory progress, and graduated with an education or
trade and virtually no debt.
The post-war years were years of great prosperity in Canada. We had a large
workforce that made Canada a world leader. This example clearly illustrates the
national benefits of investment in post-secondary education.
I am not advocating free tuition, but I do think we need to provide more
assistance based on need and ability. I believe we can increase accessibility by
keeping things simple and streamlining options and information so that potential
students feel confident they will get the support they need.
Our goal must be to ensure that the ability to learn, and not the ability to
pay, is a deciding factor for post-secondary education.
In his remarks, Senator Segal spoke about income contingent repayment, which
is a recommendation from the Royal Commission in Ontario. This plan would enable
youth to take courses without paying tuition prior to enrolment. Repayment would
begin after university, through the income tax system, based on the ability to
pay. I realize there are many pros and cons to this approach, but certainly it
is an idea worth exploring.
Investments in education are blue chip investments. Governments get a good
return on their education dollars. University graduates who work full time
typically earn $1 million more over the course of their careers than people with
a high school education. College graduates take home $3.7 billion more every
year than they would if they stopped after high school.
Indeed, because of this, post-secondary graduates contribute much to this
country's tax base, which funds our social and other government programs. People
with post-secondary education have a better quality of life, are healthier and
are employed in higher paying, more fulfilling jobs.
It is clear that higher education pays off for graduates and everyone else.
Canadians who attended college save us an estimated $343.7 million per year in
social services they do not need to use.
While working to make post-secondary education less expensive, we also need
to change the culture we have created around post-secondary education. We still
tend to equate post-secondary education with going to university, and
university is something for the middle or high income groups, although this
thinking has begun to shift in recent years.
In today's job market, post-secondary education has clearly become essential.
It should also be noted that when our economy demands that three out of four
workers need a post-secondary education, we are not just talking about
universities, we are talking about colleges. I think colleges have a greater
role to play in providing a practical education; that is, post-secondary options
that are not entirely academic.
Colleges are especially important in light of the fact that over the next 20
years, skilled tradespeople will be desperately needed. These post-secondary
institutions will certainly have an important role to play as we move towards
making post-secondary education more inclusive.
Senator Losier-Cool has already spoken about the success of New Brunswick
community colleges, about which I agree completely, because I had the privilege
of teaching business administration in the community college of Saint John in
Speaking of success, I want to mention the many achievements of
post-secondary institutions in my home province of Prince Edward Island. Holland
College is making a tremendous contribution to the province's economy by
producing highly skilled workers and tradespeople whom we need now and in the
The University of Prince Edward Island is also expanding, making great
strides to recruit more faculty members, improve campus facilities and create
more research opportunities. UPEI achieved the number five spot in Maclean's
undergraduate university rankings last November, making great progress up the
ladder since being ranked eighteenth in 2000.
I want to point out that not only are UPEI and Holland College achieving
success individually, but they also collaborate in programs such as its new
Bachelor of Education Degree in Human Resource Development, which prepares
students to teach in the field of adult education.
I believe that colleges and universities need to collaborate more. Credits
earned at college can be applied to university. This initiative is one way to
decrease the cost and the risk of failure for students who are forging a new
tradition for themselves and for their families.
We also need to look at distance education options so we can take advantage
of our computer age and use information technology as an educational tool. This
could particularly benefit young people in rural areas.
Senator Tardif has proposed that the Senate establish a subcommittee to
explore some of these issues of post-secondary education in greater depth. I
support her initiative, as I feel that our post-secondary education system is
critical to the future success of Canada. I urge all honourable senators to do
the same for the sake of post-secondary education and Canada's future.
On motion of Senator Hubley, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Banks, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Moore:
That the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
be directed to examine and determine, in light of recent discussions and in
light of present Rules, procedures, practices and conventions of the Senate,
whether it is appropriate or permissible that persons working in the offices
of senators, including senators who are Ministers of the Crown, should obtain
or attempt to obtain from hotels used by senators conducting business properly
authorized by the Senate, detailed breakdowns including lunches or other costs
included in hotel invoices, and including any and all sundry costs associated
with the stay; and
That the Committee be directed to report its determination to the Senate no
later than Thursday, December 7, 2006;
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Stratton, that the motion be amended by deleting the
word "and" at the end of the first paragraph and by adding the following
paragraph immediately thereafter:
"That the Committee be directed to take into consideration whether it
would be appropriate or permissible for persons working in the offices of
Senators to obtain from hotels replacement receipts for the Senator in whose
office they work should the originals be misplaced or be otherwise
unavailable; and".—(Honourable Senator Day)
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, this item is showing the
fourteenth day on the Order Paper and it will drop off after the fifteenth day.
It is a motion that I would like to speak on, and I would also like to consider
the amendment that has been proposed by Senator Comeau and the impact of that on
the basic motion.
Unfortunately, honourable senators, I am not prepared to proceed today and I
will be away on Senate business tomorrow. Therefore, I respectfully request the
adjournment of this matter in my name for the remainder of my time.
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
On motion of Senator Day, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Di Nino, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Andreychuk:
That the Senate urge the Government of the People's Republic of China and
the Dalai Lama, notwithstanding their differences on Tibet's historical
relationship with China, to continue their dialogue in a forward-looking
manner that will lead to pragmatic solutions that respect the Chinese
constitutional framework, the territorial integrity of China and fulfill the
aspirations of the Tibetan people for a unified and genuinely autonomous
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the item under "Motions"
of Senator Di Nino, that we have gone by, is standing in the name of the Speaker
and I am prepared to rule on that item now.
On Tuesday, March 27, 2007, while the Speaker pro tempore was in the
chair, the order was called for resuming debate on the motion urging the
Government of the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama to enter into
dialogue about the future of Tibet. Senator Cools then rose on a point of order
about the form or acceptability of the motion. She emphasized that she was not
speaking to the motion itself. She suggested that the motion was improper
because "the Senate cannot directly communicate with or address a foreign
sovereign." Communications with a foreign government, she suggested, should be
from the Canadian Government and not from the Senate.
Senator Cools quoted approvingly a motion adopted by the House of Commons on
February 15, 2007, suggesting that it offered a more appropriate model to
follow. That motion stated that the Government of Canada should, in the opinion
of the Commons, urge the Government of China and the representatives of the
Tibetan Government in exile to continue dialogue. Senator Cools suggested that a
motion of this type is in keeping with the "lawful and appropriate mode of
proceeding," since it does not speak directly to the Government of China, but,
rather, asks that the Government of Canada speak to it.
In making her case, Senator Cools made reference to Erskine May's Treatise
on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament. To quote the
most recent version, the 23rd edition, at pages 712 and 713:
Addresses have comprised every matter of foreign or domestic policy; the
administration of justice; the expression of congratulation or condolence . .
.; and, in short, representations upon all points connected with the
government and welfare of the country; but they ought not to be represented to
any bill in either House of Parliament.
This indicates that, in the United Kingdom, addresses have been used to
communicate formally with the Crown.
Upon close reading, however, it will be noted that the citation does not
clearly state that an Address is the only parliamentary vehicle whereby a House
can make known its views on one of these classes of topics. The quote makes
clear that they are a legitimate tool, but does not make it clear that Addresses
are the only option available.
Motions of this type are not frequent in the Canadian Parliament, but a few
can be found. On September 20, 1983, the Senate passed a motion demanding that
the Soviet government provide a full explanation of the unwarranted August 31,
1983 attack on a Korean Airlines passenger flight and cooperate with the
investigation into the matter. In this case, the motion called upon the Speaker
to convey the resolution to Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. There had been
leave to put the motion, since no notice had been given.
Similar motions have also been adopted occasionally in the House of Commons.
Instances occurred on September 30, 1998; December 10, 1998; October 10, 2002;
and October 1, 2003. These motions were adopted after unanimous consent and with
one exception without debate.
In the United Kingdom House of Commons, motions urging action by foreign
governments frequently appear on the Notice Paper as Early Day Motions,
for which no day has been fixed. These motions are tabled by backbenchers to
draw attention to some matter of concern, typically without any expectation of
debate, although it does appear that they are subject to review to ensure their
acceptability. As noted at page 390 of Erskine May, "[a] notice which is
wholly out of order may be withheld from publication on the Notice Paper."
Turning to the specific motion in question, no direct consequences seem to
flow from it. It only provides an expression of the Senate's view. The motion
does not require that its content be communicated to anyone and it does not
require action or follow-up. As senators know, there is a general preference in
the Senate to allow debate on a motion or an inquiry unless it is clearly out of
order. Both Canadian and U.K. practice suggest that there is sufficient
flexibility to allow for motions of the kind proposed by Senator Di Nino. Of
course, a motion framed in the way Senator Cools suggested would also be in
order, and would avoid the concerns she raised.
In conclusion, the motion of Senator Di Nino is in order and debate on it may
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, first, I would like to
thank Your Honour for your ruling and for reminding all of us that the motion
intends to add some moral or symbolic support to finding a resolution to a
long-standing injustice. The motion is meant to be neutral, non-confrontational
and helpful to the process. However, in the spirit of cooperation and respect
for our colleagues —
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, that comment might be best
presented tomorrow, when we get to that item on the Orders of the Day.
Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Di Nino: Thank you, Your Honour. We will do it tomorrow.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, April 25, 2007, at 1:30 p.m.