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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 96

Thursday, May 10, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Thursday, May 10, 2007

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Dylan Hardy

Congratulations on Winning Essay Portion of Try Judging Competition

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a young man from my province and from my home city of Saskatoon.

Last month, the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association announced that Dylan Hardy, a student at Bishop James Mahoney High School, was one of its three Try Judging contest winners. The contest involved grade 10 and grade 11 students from across Canada who were asked to submit entries — poems, posters and essays — on the role of a judge.

Mr. Hardy, who won the essay portion, and the other contest winners — Miss Cassandra Sellars of Newfoundland, for poetry, and Miss Jocelyn Brock of Oakville, for her poster — along with their teachers, will be in Ottawa next week at the expense of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association.

During their visit, they will have dinner at the Rideau Club hosted by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. They will tour the Supreme Court of Canada, Parliament Hill and the Museum of Civilization. They will be given special seating during Question Period in the other place, after which they will meet with the Speaker of the House.

Honourable senators, I hope you will join with me in congratulating all of the contest winners and their teachers, Ms. Christine Ivey, Mr. Dave Barret and Mr. Leon Bomok, but please excuse me if I take particular pleasure in the achievements of young Mr. Hardy. He has set a fine example for the youth of my province and I expect to hear much of him in the future.

[Translation]

National Nursing Week

Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, it is National Nursing Week in Canada. I am very pleased to speak about this event, which honours my chosen profession. Beyond a doubt, nurses make a great contribution to the health and quality of life of Canadians.

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By using their knowledge and listening to their patients, nurses play a key role in the understanding, accepting and treatment of disease. By being present and offering compassion, they provide a considerable amount of support when a patient's life has been interrupted by an illness.

Their humanity is unmistakable; it is recognized and appreciated. The amount of confidence the public has in them is proof of that. Our health care system, however, faces challenges that complicate the work of nurses. Already affected by the stress of their responsibilities, they are increasingly the object of physical, psychological or verbal violence. Obviously, improved services, decongested emergency rooms, shorter waiting lists and more nurses would improve the relations between disoriented patients and nurses.

Paradoxically, the Canadian Nurses Association revealed yesterday that 15 per cent of nursing graduates will not find a job in Canada. The risk is that those who cannot find jobs here will leave the country to work in the United States, and many of them do. Needless to say, our governments must do more on this front and increase the number of full-time positions in order to retain the nurses who are leaving and relieve the nurses who are working here. The quality of the health care system depends on nursing services.

This year's theme, "Think You Know Nursing? Take A Closer Look.", invites us to look at the varied roles nurses play in our communities.

Nurses' contributions extend beyond their work in hospitals. Nurses serve as part of our Canadian Forces, sometimes in war zones. In fact, yesterday I took part in a tribute by Senator Cook to four nurses who recently served in Afghanistan: Lieutenant Jeff Lee, Captain Odette Rioux, Captain Christine Matthews and Major Vanessa Daniel.

We salute them with respect.

Many nurses are activists. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Lois Scott for the development of telehealth in Canada. Ottawa nurse Jane Brownrigg and her colleagues pressured the city council to adopt a smoke-free bylaw in 2001. Cathy Crowe of Toronto has been working on behalf of homeless Canadians for 15 years.

Nurses work with government, the police and emergency planning officials to make sure our communities are ready in the event of an epidemic or a natural disaster. They are also active in international development.

Launched at the initiative of Nancy DiPietro, the "Give an Hour" campaign enables Canadian nurses to support their counterparts affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

I have no shortage of examples, but I am short of time to share more of them with you. Therefore, in keeping with this year's theme, I invite you to take a closer look at nursing and, above all, to support what nurses are doing.

[English]

Mental Health Week

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, today I would like to recognize the Canadian Mental Health Association's fifty-sixth annual National Mental Health Week, which was launched earlier this week and runs from May 7 to May 13.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is using this opportunity to help raise awareness and promote mental health well-being among Canadians. This year's theme is "Work-Life Balance: It's a Matter of Time."

To officially launch National Mental Health Week, CMHA, together with Desjardins Financial Security, released a study of mental health issues and practices within the workforce. The results of this study, while troubling, are not surprising to those of us who have been on the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology and who have studied the issues of mental health, mental illness and addiction.

The study released by CMHA found that 43 per cent of Canadians have had a colleague who has had mental health problems and 34 per cent have had a colleague leave their job because of problems related to mental health. Sadly, of those who leave their jobs for this reason, many do not return to the workplace.

What is even more troubling is that those who suffer from poor mental health, be it long or short term, are still reluctant to seek help. Many are afraid to reveal their illness because disclosure may limit their career advancement or, indeed, may cause the loss of their job.

Our committee recognized that there are many gaps in the research of mental health in the workplace. What we did learn, however, was that disability claims related to mental illness is the fastest growing category of disability costs in Canada.

Honourable senators, according to the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health, mental illness is costing Canadian businesses $14 billion a year. This is not something that can be ignored.

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Investments in policies to support employees' good mental health and to reduce mental health risk factors in the work place are a must. The payback for the company would be greater productivity and a more positive work environment for employees. This week the Canadian Mental Health Association is focusing on bringing mental health issues in the workplace "out of the shadows."

Honourable senators, we all have a role to play, as family members, as friends, as co-workers, as employers and as employees in recognizing the importance of a positive work-life balance and the importance of making good mental health a priority.

Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, I also rise today to offer some thoughts on Mental Health Week. I was reminded to do just this by a front page headline in the Toronto Star on May 4, 2007, that read: "Children's Mental Health Week — ONE IN FIVE children and youth in Ontario struggles with their mental health." In that same issue, I read another article, "Mental illness is still a family secret — Parents are too embarrassed to seek help for kids, survey finds."

In a survey released this week by Kinark Child and Family Services, Ontario's largest children's mental health centre, 38 per cent of Canadian adults said they would be embarrassed to admit their child or teen had a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. Executive Director Peter Moore of Kinark Child and Family Services said:

With this huge percentage of the population embarrassed to admit, let alone discuss, their child's struggles with mental health issues, we are a very long way from removing this painful and damaging stigma in Canada. There is a sense of blame and families feel responsible and that it is their fault. There is still huge general discomfort. It is an issue that has been in the shadows for generations and generations.

The findings of a study by the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre are potentially tragic. Almost 50 per cent of Canadian adolescents aged 15 to 24 who are depressed and suicidal are not accessing mental health services. Dr. Amy Cheung, youth psychiatrist and author of this study commented:

Early intervention is critical to successful treatment. Left undiagnosed and untreated, kids with mental illness or behavioural disorders and focus problems drop out of school or engage in high-risk behaviour such as substance abuse or living on the street. Many are at risk of suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among youth.

The report entitled Out of the Shadows at Last reflected the deep concern of the Senate Social, Science and Technology Committee about the capability of Canada's mental health system to respond to the needs of children and youth. We learned about inadequate early diagnosis and intervention, fragmentation of care, under funding, shortage of professionals, insufficient involvement of younger persons and their families in therapy, and so much more.

As many as 15 per cent of Canada's children and youth suffer from anxiety, attention deficit, depression, addiction, neuro-chemical imbalances and other disorders. Equally disturbing is that learning disabilities, anxiety and depression co-exist in as many as one out of ten of our children and youth. At a conference on the subject of learning disabilities entitled "Putting a Canadian Face on Learning Disabilities," hosted by the Learning Disabilities Association of New Brunswick, on April 13, 2007, Dr. Lex Wilson, Director of the Learning Disabilities Institute at Mount Allison University, added to this picture by telling his audience that as many as 50 per cent of children and youth with learning disabilities also suffer from depression.

Honourable senators, a million or more of our youngest citizens are collectively referred to as "the orphan's orphan" within Canada's health care system. One presenter to the Social Affairs Committee said that the greatest omission is the failure to stress the reality that most of the mental health disorders affecting Canadians today begin in childhood and adolescence. It will take a village to change all of this. Parents and children need support in their quest for diagnosis, therapy and help. Parents cannot raise healthy children alone.

Many challenges await us. Sustained early intervention must become our mantra. The failings in Canada's mental health system affect children and youth more acutely and more severely than any other sector of the population. It is imperative that we act aggressively and passionately.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Study on Canadian Television Fund

Report of Transport and Communications Committee Tabled

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, entitled: The challenges ahead for the Canadian Television Fund.

On motion of Senator Bacon, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

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[English]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Sixteenth Report of Committee Tabled

Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the sixteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, which deals with the conduct of staff.

With leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g), I move that the report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Furey, leave has been denied. Do you wish to move that it be taken into consideration at the next sitting?

On motion of Senator Furey, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

Divorce Act

Bill to Amend—Report of Committee

Hon. Art Eggleton, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

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

SEVENTEENTH REPORT

Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-252, An Act to amend the Divorce Act (access for spouse who is terminally ill or in critical condition) has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Thursday, April 19, 2007, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

ART EGGLETON, P.C.
Chair

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

On motion of Senator Di Nino, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

Study on Issues Related to National and International Human Rights Obligations

Report of Human Rights Committee Tabled

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, which deals with the United Nations Human Rights Council.

On motion of Senator Andreychuk, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

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Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Parliamentary Conference on Northern Dimensions, February 28-March 1, 2007—Report Tabled

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 23(6), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association regarding its participation in the Parliamentary Conference on Northern Dimensions, in Brussels, Belgium, from February 28 to March 1, 2007.

Agriculture and Forestry

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Meet During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That, pursuant to rule 95(3)(a), the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to sit on Friday, May 18, 2007, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week.


QUESTION PERIOD

Finance

Atlantic Accord—Offshore Oil and Gas Revenues

Hon. James S. Cowan: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. During the last election campaign, Mr. Harper repeatedly promised to respect the Atlantic accord. He said, in a brochure that was published by the Conservative Party: "The Conservative Party believes that offshore oil and gas revenues are the key to real economic growth in Atlantic Canada. That is why we would leave you with 100 per cent of your oil and gas revenues, no small print, no excuses, no caps."

As we know, the recent budget broke that promise. Now the public accounts committee of the Nova Scotia legislature has been trying, without success, to get Foreign Affairs Minister MacKay, Nova Scotia's representative in the federal cabinet, to appear before it to explain why the federal budget forces Nova Scotia to surrender the Atlantic accord's protection of offshore royalties.

Will the leader intervene with her colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to ensure that the people of Nova Scotia get the explanation they deserve from this government over its broken promise on the Atlantic accord?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for that question.

Honourable senators, Budget 2007 fully honours the commitment with respect to the offshore accords by allowing Nova Scotia to operate under the existing equalization system for the life of the accord. No changes were made.

Insofar as the honourable senator's question about Minister MacKay appearing before the Nova Scotia public accounts committee, I understand the invitation was extended to him some time ago. Mr. MacKay had a conflict at the time. He was recently away. We have learned only through the media that another invitation is on its way. The Foreign Affairs Minister will respond when he receives the invitation.

Senator Cowan: The Leader of the Government has said that no promises were broken. Here is what the Premier of Nova Scotia had to say:

After months of "promising to fix the fiscal imbalance" — "fix it for a generation" was the promise — we were given two options: Either keep the accord or give it up in order to gain new equalization dollars.

It was not what we expected after the current prime minister championed our cause when he was in opposition. . . . What we expected was the Government of Canada to live up to its agreement.

What we got was something completely different.

Premier MacDonald went on to say that he does not believe the Conservatives understand how suppressing Nova Scotia's potential violates every principle behind the concept of the federation. He said:

. . . I will make them understand that the accord was intended as our ticket out of equalization. And I will make them understand that a deal is a deal is a deal.

Why does the Prime Minister continue to contradict the premier and mislead the people of Nova Scotia?

Senator LeBreton: I was thinking that that was a good imitation of Howie Mandel: "Deal or No Deal." The fact is, as the honourable senator may know, for 2008-09, Nova Scotia chose the new system, which will result in the province receiving $95 million in additional benefits. In March, Minister Flaherty confirmed that Nova Scotia has a full year to revisit its decision to opt into the new formula on an ongoing basis.

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Minister Flaherty was in Nova Scotia a week or so ago. He met with the deputy premier and other Nova Scotia officials. The Deputy Premier, Angus MacIsaac, said after the meeting:

. . . the federal budget was an extremely positive document from an infrastructure perspective for the province of Nova Scotia.

That is an additional benefit for Nova Scotia. With regard to the accord, the government lived up to the commitment it made to Nova Scotia, and the province has options to consider, whether to stay with the old program or opt into the new one. They have a year to decide.

Foreign Affairs

Atlantic Accord—Offshore Oil and Gas Revenues—Propriety of Minister Appearing Before Nova Scotia Legislature

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, my views on the equalization issue and the offshore accords are on the record, and are not the subject of my supplementary question.

The problem that arises with regard to any federal minister giving an account of federal policies before a provincial legislature is both an issue for Parliament and a constitutional issue.

I ask the Leader of the Government to share with us the views of the government's constitutional advisers and obtain a considered reply from the government as to the propriety of any federal minister, accountable as they are to Parliament and to their electors, appearing to give an account of themselves before a legislative committee in a province.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, that is a very good and valid point. Senator Murray is absolutely right that it is probably not proper for a member of the federal Parliament to answer to a provincial or territorial legislature. I will seek the definitive word on the protocol.

Finance

Change to Formula for Equalization Transfers to Provinces

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Harper government has decided to change the formula for equalization transfers to the provinces to one based on per capita rather than the previous adjusted tax points formula. Could the Leader of the Government please explain the government's reasoning for doing so?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, as per Minister Flaherty's fiscal balance plan, the decision was made to move to a per capita formula. I will be happy to take this question as notice and will inquire as to why that course was chosen.

Senator Moore: Would the Leader of the Government assure all senators representing the smaller provinces of this federation that she and the government have studied the effects this change in transfers will have on our lesser-populated provinces? Will she table the study that must have been conducted by the government to project the effect of the transfer cuts in areas of post-secondary education, social services and health care in Nova Scotia and the other seven provinces that are adversely affected by that decision?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, it should be pointed out that under the new formula all provinces are better off than they were under the old system. How one can conclude that a province that is entitled to more funding under equalization will be worse off is a puzzle to me.

I will take the question as notice and will be happy to respond through a delayed answer.

Change to Formula for Social Transfers to Provinces

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, my question, directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, is also on the topic of the Canada Social Transfer. That money goes to the provinces for post-secondary education and social services.

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Since 1977, the social transfer has been made up of tax points plus cash, distributed according to a formula that took into consideration regional inequalities across this country. However, that has changed with the last budget and we are now going into per capita funding. Per capita funding means my home province receives an increase this year of $7 per person, whereas richer provinces get much more. For example, Alberta residents will get $102 more and Ontario residents will get $50 more.

Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate not feel that this per capita funding will widen the gap between the rich and the poor provinces?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for her question. I will deal specifically with the Canada Social Transfer. That is the honourable senator's question. If the honourable senator read the Minister of Finance's paper last fall, entitled Advantage Canada: Building a Strong Economy for Canadians and studied the budget closely, she would see many areas in the budget where provinces will benefit. In addition to the Canada Social Transfer, where provinces and Canadians will benefit greatly, there is the ecoENERGY Renewable Initiative, funding for infrastructure, direct payments to families with children under the age of six, assistance for disabled and payments for victims of hepatitis C. The government has undertaken a whole host of programs to assist Canadians.

With respect to the Canada Social Transfer, with Budget 2007, the Canadian government has brought forward a fair and principles-based fiscal package that balances the interests of all provinces and territories and allocates Canada's social transfer cash on an equal per capita basis. It ensures equal support for all Canadians no matter where they live and ensures equal treatment of all provinces and territories. The strengthened equalization program, together with the move to equal per capita cash, returns fundamental fairness in fiscal arrangements.

Senator Callbeck: The leader may think this per capita approach is fair, but when one considers the tax point values, there is absolutely no way it is fair. Right now a tax point in Alberta is worth $310 per person. In my home province of Prince Edward Island that tax point is worth $129 per person.

Under this new plan, Alberta will receive an increase in the cash portion of that transfer of roughly $4 million, compared to Prince Edward Island, which will receive $1 million.

It is obvious that this per capita funding does not take into consideration regional inequalities and disparities that exist across this country. I do not know how the leader can call this policy or this drastic change to per capita funding fair.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, as I mentioned in my earlier answer, our government recognized the entire issue of fiscal balance, which is the first time any government had done so. It certainly was not recognized in the past. All provinces and territories will receive more funding and transfers this year and each year into the future, including these investments. The federal government will allocate $2.1 billion more over the next two years in equalization. There will be an $800 million increase for 2007-08 in post-secondary education, rising by 3 per cent each subsequent year. We will allocate $16.3 billion to infrastructure and $250 million per year to provinces and territories for child care spaces. We will transfer $3 billion over seven years to labour market training and $1.5 billion to Canada ecoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change.

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If the honourable senator is suggesting that somehow or other the people of Prince Edward Island will not benefit from all of these programs, I suggest that some people there would disagree with her.

Fisheries and Oceans

Coast Guard—Acquisition of Icebreakers—Deepwater Port in the Arctic

Hon. Bill Rompkey: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Before the 2006 election, the Conservatives made several promises regarding Arctic sovereignty. They included three new heavy naval icebreakers capable of carrying troops, and they also promised a new combined military civilian deepwater docking facility in the Iqaluit region.

The May 2006 budget made no mention of either the icebreakers or the deepwater port. In May and June 2006, I asked the minister why these promises had not been kept. It is now a year later and the promises still have not been kept.

The March 2007 budget made no mention of either the icebreakers or the deepwater port for the Arctic. The Arctic icecap continues to melt at an alarming rate. There will be an increase of foreign traffic through the Northwest Passage and throughout the Arctic, yet we have no real or effective presence there.

In regard to the deepwater port, this week we heard from fisheries executives from Nunavut. Recently, when a Canadian naval vessel was in Nunavut, the personnel from their vessel had to disembark by a rope ladder and travel to shore in small fishing boats. Two budgets have come and gone, with no delivery on promises made almost two years ago.

Why has the government broken its promises to the people of the Arctic when the government is awash in cash? Why has the government broken its promises to deliver adequate icebreakers and a deepwater port for the Arctic?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, we have not broken any promise in connection with the icebreakers in the North. For the first time, the government has made commitments to the North which they intend to keep. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Defence are both committed to and working hard together on the issues of the deepwater port in Nunavut.

The honourable senator has asked about the icebreaker issue before. I did respond in a delayed answer as to the timeline with which the government is working. Senator Rompkey cannot say that we have broken promises in regard to our election platform. We were elected in January 2006 and sworn in during February 2006. When all of what we have already done in a little more than a year and two months is considered, the honourable senator cannot say that commitments we have made are broken promises, when we still have a considerable length of time in our mandate to complete our work in accordance with our election platform.

National Defence

CFB Goose Bay—Promise of Battalion and Squadron

Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I have a further question on the subject of Arctic sovereignty. In May 2005, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor promised a new rapid reaction army battalion of 650 regular force personnel and a new squadron of long-range unmanned aerial craft for Goose Bay.

While still in opposition, Stephen Harper wrote to Premier Danny Williams that a Conservative government would establish a new rapid action army battalion for Goose Bay. On September 30, 2005, O'Connor told The Evening Telegram:

Military officers follow orders from the politicians. If you're not getting any action it's because the Minister of Defence and the Prime Minister have not done anything.

In government it was a different question. On February 12, 2007, MGen. M.J. Ward told the House of Commons:

There really hasn't been any specific action taken on the Goose Bay initiative.

On February 15, 2007, when O'Connor was asked about the commitment, he said no decision had been made and that he was trying to work out the details. So much for politicians telling the military what to do.

Minister O'Connor began making promises to Goose Bay in May 2005. It is now May 2007. For two years, Minister O'Connor has done nothing. The government is stringing along a remote northern community that is increasingly fearful of its future.

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I ask again: Why have the promises to Goose Bay of a battalion and a squadron and those to provide icebreakers and a deepwater port to the Arctic not been fulfilled?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I will not remind the honourable senator of some of the infamous promises made by the government of which he was a part that were never kept. By the way, I would hope that the honourable senator is not reminded of what he intended to do with Goose Bay.

As I have said many times before, I will not respond to speculation and stories in the newspaper. Suffice to say that the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence have stated quite clearly that this government will keep CFB Goose Bay open and viable. We know this was not the position of the previous government. This is a commitment that this government made and it is a commitment that we intend to keep.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Canadian Food Inspection Agency—Regulations on Manufacture of Cheese

Hon. Mira Spivak: Honourable senators, according to the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, the Minister of Agriculture has introduced a policy that will cost Canadian consumers $250 million more for cheese, make low-fat cheese far more difficult to produce and be disadvantageous to Canadian cheese producers internationally. There was no consultation with retailers, consumers or many others in regard to regulations that will be in place next month that will define the percentage of full-fat milk that various types of cheese must contain.

Cheddar cheese, for example, would require 83 per cent full-fat milk, an amount you cannot find in cheddar even from the Village of Cheddar in Britain's Somerset County, not to mention the environmental problems posed by disposal of whey that cheese producers, until now, have used to make the low-fat products that Canadians are demanding.

It may be that the political clout surrounding the Dairy Farmers of Canada is not without justification. However, to cushion the blow they received from the WTO with this proposal that will reduce the healthy choices Canadians can make is, in my opinion, not the best choice.

My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is: Why was this chosen as a way of addressing this problem?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for her question. When she mentioned "cheddar," I was reminded of the name of the Prime Minister's latest cat. Being a cat lover, I was happy to hear that he now has three of them.

In answer to the honourable senator's question, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has undertaken a regulatory process based on the recommendation from the moderator of the Dairy Industry Working Group, which will further harmonize federal regulations and clarify the ingredients which may be used in the manufacture of cheese.

The process will include consultation with the stakeholders, the lack of which, I understand, was one of the problems. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has already met with the stakeholders to discuss the moderator's recommendation and to advise them of the intention of initiating the regulatory process.

As requested by the CFIA, the Dairy Processors Association provided an impact analysis regarding proposed compositional standards for cheese. This submission, along with others received during the consultation process, will be taken into account. I wish to assure Senator Spivak that all submissions will be considered.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will conduct an overall cost-benefit analysis, as it is a key part of the regulatory process. As I mentioned previously, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is receiving input from stakeholders on the proposed scope of the regulations as they relate to standards for the manufacture of cheese. Minister Strahl is expected to announce a decision in the very near future.

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Senator Spivak: I thank the Leader of the Government in the Senate for her answer. Not to put too fine a point on it, a way will be found to use whey in the Canadian way.

Senator LeBreton: That is very clever. I hope there is a way to be found.

Fisheries and Oceans

Coast Guard—Redeployment of Icebreakers

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I am tempted to return to the debate on accords, but I will leave that for another day. It will be interesting to see how Senators Comeau, Oliver and Cochrane vote on the budget and then go back to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

The captain of the Louis St. Laurent, Stewart Klebert, sent an email on April 20 to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Minister Hearn, and copied it to several MPs and the Commissioner of the Coast Guard. In the email he questions the validity of moving Coast Guard ships from Dartmouth to Argentia, calling the reasons for the move "extremely weak rationale."

Captain Klebert referred to the 1997 study which Canada's growing-old government is using as its own rationale for moving the ships to Newfoundland. He noted that the same 1997 study found good reason for keeping the vessels in Halifax Harbour.

Captain Klebert said:

It has been my experience that many of the studies conducted will tell you exactly what you want to hear.

In the written response of April 17 to my question on this subject, Canada's growing-old government notes that the first priority of the Coast Guard was to inform the staff and workers of the decision, thus the plan could not be included in draft versions of the business plan; that has since been added.

Honourable senators, it is extremely weak to use workers as an excuse for hiding the plans of this government and covering up the fact that this move is purely political to save their three Newfoundland federal seats because of Atlantic Canadians' disgust over the government's betrayal on the issue of offshore accords.

Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate assure honourable senators that Captain Klebert will not be admonished or arrested — like people yesterday in the Department of the Environment — for speaking the truth? When will Canada's growing-old government reverse this decision which even their own captains think is ludicrous?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I was thinking I would get Senator Rompkey involved in helping me answer this question. I provided the honourable senator with an answer to this matter previously. The fact is that this government accepts its responsibility to all citizens in this country, no matter where they live. We are attempting to deal with a host of issues.

In terms of the Coast Guard and the military, there is a great deal of work to be done in refurbishing and rebuilding the military. I do not agree with the premise of the honourable senator's question. I have forgotten the words used. We are making decisions based on the best interests of the military and people in the country, no matter where they live.

Seniors

Appointments to National Seniors Council

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, it seems that the legislation to protect whistle-blowers will not come into effect as the open, transparent and accountable government itself begins to fall victim to whistle-blowing.

Honourable senators, Canada's growing-old government has become good at sleight of hand tricks that keep their Conservative friends happy. More examples of this new open, transparent and accountable government include an announcement on May 3 of the appointment to the National Seniors Council. While the council was a good idea — I like the idea of helping our Canadian seniors — what concerns me is the positive attitude with which the Secretary of State for Seniors lauds the openness of the process, saying the members were selected through a public recruitment process held in March.

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I do not recall having received a notice of any intention to appoint people or a call for nominations or even a newspaper ad informing the public of these posts. I may be wrong, but I am sure many honourable senators have not seen such a notice either. I have checked with some of my colleagues in the other place and they tell me that they have not seen anything either.

There was one sentence in a press release of March 5 that directed people to the government appointments website. One sentence in an obscure press release seems hardly open to me. I know my 87-year-old mother did not have an opportunity to go to the website and put forward her name, as she should have.

Can the leader show us other documents, newspaper articles or letters that were used to inform people of the open process, or will she print up something later, now that it seems her hand is once again caught in the cookie jar of old Tory tricks?

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the time allotted for Question Period has expired.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Nancy Ruth, for the second reading of Bill C-48, to amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, just to remind you, Senator Andreychuk opened second-reading debate yesterday. She used only five of the 45 minutes open to her; she has 40 minutes remaining.

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I did start yesterday, hoping that His Honour's watch had not been repaired and that I would be able to finish. I assure honourable senators that I will not take 40 minutes.

As honourable senators recall, Bill C-48 amends the Criminal Code in order to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption. I enumerated the Criminal Code sections that already have some aspects of anti-corruption measures. I went on to indicate that this convention, by and large, follows what Canada has already in place but ensures fully that we are in compliance with the convention.

The convention requires state parties to have measures in place to enable the confiscation or forfeiture of property used, or destined for use, in the commission of offences established by the convention. These offences include bribery of domestic public officials and foreign public officials. This requirement is not yet fully met by Canada.

The Criminal Code currently provides for the forfeiture of offence-related property, but only if it is related to an indictable offence under the Criminal Code itself. That includes offences of bribery of domestic public officials, but not the offence of bribery of foreign public officials. Bribing a foreign public official is an offence in Canada, but the offence is included not in the Criminal Code but in a separate statute, the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. As a result, the provisions dealing with the forfeiture of offence-related property do not presently apply to the offence of bribing a foreign public official. The proposed amendments will make these provisions apply to the offence of bribery of foreign public officials under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. In other words, the Criminal Code will be consistent with the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

Honourable senators, these are only a few of the elements of the convention that require legislative action on our part. The convention mostly establishes requirements and sets standards that Canada already meets. Once this bill is passed, Canada will meet all the necessary requirements of the convention and will be in a position to become a party to the convention. We will then become a full member of the Conference of States Parties, which will monitor the implementation of the convention.

With that in mind, I should like to note other key obligations Canada will be entering into when we become a state party.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption follows the pattern of other crime treaties developed in the United Nations. These recognize that domestic and transnational crimes are primarily a matter for national legislatures and national courts but that international cooperation is needed to investigate and prosecute cases. As well, the convention recognizes that international assistance is needed to help developing countries establish national laws and enforcement mechanisms to combat crime in their own countries and to cooperate with other parties to the treaty when asked to do so.

As a comprehensive global instrument, the United Nations Convention against Corruption covers all these areas. As I mentioned earlier, states that ratify or accede to the convention are obliged to have anti-corruption offences to meet the standard of the convention — and we are taking measures to do so in Bill C-48. States must also ensure that they have adequate laws and institutional capacity to investigate and prosecute these offences. As well, they are required to cooperate with each other. This means that, in cases with transnational elements, Canada will be able to extradite accused persons and provide mutual legal assistance to the law enforcement agencies of other states parties where the necessary legal and Charter requirements are met in each case. As a party, Canada will also be able to make similar requests from other states parties.

The convention sets minimum standards only. Our existing treaties, agreements and arrangements, especially with countries where we have a large volume of cases — for example, the United States, the United Kingdom and European countries — generally have higher standards. These bilateral agreements will remain in effect. The convention does ensure that all corruption offences are covered and it extends international cooperation within the scope of the convention to the states parties where no cooperative arrangements have existed until now.

The convention also requires states parties to ensure that they have effective regimes to prevent and combat money laundering related to corruption offences. Canada already meets and exceeds these requirements.

The convention also includes measures for the recovery and return of proceeds derived from corruption. This was a very important issue for many developing countries. The convention breaks new ground in setting standards and calling for the return of such assets, and Canada both meets and supports these new requirements. Canada's legislation already allows for the return of proceeds of crimes to an innocent third party. The innocent third party can be the requesting state in the case of corruption involving public funds. As well, Canada will provide legal assistance to give effect to an order of forfeiture issued by a foreign court of criminal jurisdiction.

The convention also requires states parties to take measures to prevent transfers of proceeds of corruption offences. These measures include requirements that financial institutions report suspicious transactions. Such reporting requirements are already in place in Canada.

Finally, the convention requires states to take preventative measures to share information about corruption, to train their own officials and, where possible, to provide resources and expertise to help train experts and officials in other states parties that need such assistance.

Concerning technical assistance and exchange of information on corruption issues with other states parties, I am pleased to say that Canada has already provided such expertise and assistance, even though we are not yet a party to the convention. We have also taken an active role in establishing the conference of the states parties, even though we could only participate as an observer because we have not yet ratified the convention.

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As well, we have made substantial contributions in resources and expertise to the UN Secretariat and the Conference of State Parties to start this process. We are also actively engaged with the conference in efforts relating to the gathering of information necessary to determine where and on what specific aspects of the treaty assistance is needed. This information will enable us to develop a comprehensive assistance strategy in which Canada's efforts will be coordinated with those of other donors. Coordination will maximize the effectiveness of our efforts.

Canada is also active, with other interested parties, in developing a better understanding of information needs as the global effort against corruption progresses. This understanding will enable us to begin assembling the necessary information ourselves and to assist other states parties in developing their own capacity to gather and analyze information about corruption. In turn, that information will inform and support the parties' anti-corruption efforts and ensure that all parties are able to meet information-sharing requirements in the future.

In order for the convention to be effective, the Conference of States Parties will develop a mechanism to improve the capacity of parties to achieve the objectives of the convention and to review its implementation. In other words, the parties will be kept accountable for the commitments they make in joining the convention. Canada will be an active participant in that process as it evolves.

I believe this convention has the potential to contribute to lowering the level of corruption in all states that commit to live by its standards; and it will be the cornerstone of more efficient, effective and accountable international development assistance.

Canadians can be assured of the role that Canada has played so far. The convention has 92 states parties signed on; a further 48 states, including Canada, have indicated their intent to ratify by signing the convention. Honourable senators, Canada needs to support this worldwide effort against corruption, which is, in effect, the convention's prime intent.

Honourable senators, in conclusion, I would be remiss if I did not point to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights report, Promises to Keep: Implementing Canada's Human Rights Obligations and the report that we recently filed on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, where we point out a comprehensive approach to international treaty making. It would be my hope that there would be no time delay between the signing and ratification, except that which is necessary for parliamentary involvement.

It is time that we limit the time gaps in our international treaty making. I am pleased that we are using Bill C-48 as a compliance mechanism for the United Nations Convention against Corruption. I think we could do better in the treaty making, but I believe that by putting Bill C-48 in place, we will go a long way in being in compliance and in a position to ratify this treaty.

Hon. Lowell Murray: Will the sponsor of the bill accept a question or two?

Senator Andreychuk: Certainly, I will answer them if I am able.

Senator Murray: This bill would be enacted under the criminal law power of Parliament. Can the honourable senator satisfy my curiosity as to why there is a separate section on municipal corruption? I see that the federal and provincial officials are covered in the early part of the bill, but that there is a separate section on municipal corruption. Why is there a separate section?

Senator Andreychuk: I do not have my copy of the Criminal Code with me; I am sorry. I was prepared for that yesterday, but I will certainly get back to the honourable senator with the answer.

My recollection is that we have had pieces of legislation in various places. The convention is trying to put it together in an orderly way. We were talking about the term "public officials" in the convention and some of the sections within Bill C-48 are trying to bring consistency from within the Criminal Code for all officials. That may be the case; however, I did not bring the Criminal Code.

I apologize to the honourable senator and I will get back to him with the answer. I certainly would invite him to come to the committee when we explore these issues in depth.

The intent of all the amendments is to bring all levels of government in line with the convention and to have some consistency between them. There was a variance between municipal and other governments, as I recall.

Senator Murray: I appreciate the invitation of the honourable senator, but I believe I have a conflict with another committee. I thank her for the answer, although I notice that the definition of "official" is a person who (a) holds an office; or (b) is appointed or elected to discharge a public duty. I would have thought that covers the waterfront of all the orders of government. In any case, she will look into that question.

While the honourable senator is at it, I would like her to place on the record — as soon as she can find out, or before third reading, — what the extent of the consultation has been with the provinces, which are responsible for the administration of justice.

Finally, again to satisfy my curiosity on this matter, "suppression of the truth" is one of the offences under the municipal section. I do not see it explicitly referred to under the federal and provincial sections. Could the honourable senator undertake to find out whether we take a more relaxed view of suppression of the truth at the federal and provincial level than at the municipal level?

Senator Andreychuk: Again, there is no intent to have any different standard at the municipal level. The difficulty comes in how the Criminal Code and these separate acts were developed.

It is my understanding that there have been consultations with all necessary parties, including with people from development assistance and private organizations, and we will be exploring that in the committee.

[Translation]

Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I would like to present the position of the Official Opposition regarding Bill C-48. As Senator Andreychuk put it so well, Bill C-48 is an act to amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Senator Andreychuk explained very clearly the impact of this bill and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. She also reminded us that this convention came into effect in December 2005 and that 89 countries have already ratified it.

Although Canada already meets many of the requirements of the convention, a few technical amendments are necessary to ensure the implementation of this international agreement and to enable us to apply it.

The Criminal Code must be amended, first, to redefine the notion of "official" to include any individual "elected" to discharge a public office; second, to specify that corruption offences can be committed either directly or indirectly; and third, to grant the court the authority to seize or confiscate offence-related property.

Essentially, Bill C-48 amends the Criminal Code so that, in the event of corruption, we may deal with public officials more efficiently.

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As a member of the Official Opposition, I am very pleased to support this bill and, thus, work constructively on implementing this initiative, which aims to eliminate corruption among public office holders.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to and bill read second time.

[English]

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Andreychuk, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Public Service Employment Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cordy, for the third reading of Bill S-201, to amend the Public Service Employment Act (elimination of bureaucratic patronage and geographic criteria in appointment processes), as amended.—(Honourable Senator Stratton)

Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, it is unfortunate that Senator Ringuette is not in the chamber today because it would appear that her bill will pass in her absence. However, I rise to speak to Bill S-201, which proposes to amend the Public Service Employment Act to eliminate bureaucratic patronage and the use of geographic criteria in the appointment process.

There is little doubt that the issue of regional areas of selection has been at the top of Senator Ringuette's agenda since she came to the Senate seven years ago.

Currently, a job notice for a clerk in Prince Albert might specify that the applicants must live in Saskatchewan, or a competition for a carpenter in Moncton might be limited to persons living within 100 kilometres of that city. Senator Ringuette's bill proposes to make these jobs open to all Canadians, regardless of where they live.

In principle, I do not object to what Senator Ringuette is attempting to accomplish through her bill. It would be preferable that, in general, federal public service positions be open to all Canadians, reg of selection. Increasingly, the technology is available to make that happen.

In particular, the introduction of a new web-based recruitment and screening tool, known as the Public Service Resourcing System will make it easier to electronically sift through the large number of applications that will follow the introduction of a larger pool of potential applicants. The Public Service Commission is gradually rolling this system out in tandem with its expansion of national areas of selection. Progress is being made.

A little more than one year ago, in April 2006, all officer-level jobs open to the public and located in the National Capital Region were made subject to national area of selection. On June 30, 2006, the Public Service Commission launched a pilot project to implement the use of national areas of selection for all officer-level jobs that are open to the public in certain federal organizations in the provinces of Alberta and Quebec.

On April 2, 2007, the Public Service Commission extended the use of national areas of selection to include officer-level positions open to the public in all regions of Canada. Officer-level positions include scientific and professional, administrative and technical functions. This provides the Canadian public with greater access to federal public service job opportunities, even if the positions are located in a different city or province than the applicant's place of residence.

[Translation]

Honourable senators, I support the underlying principle of this bill but I have reservations about how it is drafted.

Having already shared my concerns at report stage, I will only mention them only briefly in order not to waste the Senate's time.

First, the bill does not contain a coming into force provision, which means that the enactment will be in force from the day it receives Royal Assent. The Public Service Commission will not have an opportunity to implement it gradually.

[English]

While recent years have seen significant progress in eliminating regional restrictions, we are told by the Public Service Commission that this is proving to be easier said than done. This is why they are proceeding on a step-by-step basis, rolling out national areas of selection gradually.

My second concern is that the bill provides little or no flexibility. At times, such as when there is a short-term need that must be filled immediately, it might make more sense to hire locally than to engage in a time-consuming national search where the successful candidate might hem and haw about relocating for a short-term, lower-level job. A manager would be tempted to get around this by calling a temporary help agency, likely at a greater cost than hiring directly, with the result that much of what this bill seeks to gain would be lost. While this is hindsight, perhaps during committee study we should have requested the officials to prepare a cost-benefit analysis before we proceeded to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. I would encourage members of the other place to seek out such an analysis. In committee, I moved an amendment to provide some degree of flexibility but, unfortunately, a sub-amendment watered it down.

My third concern is that the definition of "bureaucratic patronage" is left to the regulations. Few would dispute the principle that merit should be the basis for hiring in the federal public service and, indeed, this is a matter of law under the Public Service Employment Act. As well, the existing law also says that hirings must be free of political interference. However, what exactly does the term "bureaucratic patronage" mean? There is no preamble, just a sentence in the bill to say that hiring must be free of bureaucratic patronage.

While we have a general idea of what Senator Ringuette is driving at, as she focused in committee on favouritism and the hiring of family members for summer jobs, Bill S-201 is not that precise. Honourable senators, the reality is that even though it is flawed, Bill S-201 will pass in this place because the opposition majority has the numbers to pass it.

[Translation]

I sincerely hope that our colleagues in the other place will pay special attention to possible improvements and that, if they decide to adopt Bill S-201, they will first amend it.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.

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[English]

Official Development Assistance
Accountability Bill

Second Reading—Order stands

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dallaire, seconded by the Honourable Senator Banks, for the second reading of Bill C-293, respecting the provision of official development assistance abroad.—(Honourable Senator Segal)

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I am not sure if I should call this a point of order or a point clarification. I am going through the rules trying to figure out the terminology, but I notice that Bill C-293 has been adjourned again. There is, to me, an implication that we are avoiding bringing this bill to debate, as the honourable senator on the other side never seems to be there, to enable us to move this item forward. I am looking through the rules to see whether that can be raised as a point of order within this chamber.

The Hon. the Speaker: The last time this item was before us, the Senate adopted a motion that the item would stand adjourned in the name of Senator Segal. It was done properly, so it is adjourned in the name of Senator Segal. However, it is the practice of the house that any honourable senator who wishes to speak to this item can rise and speak to it.

Hon. Fernand Robichaud: If I may, the process of standing is the same as an adjournment motion, so an adjournment could still be refused at any time, could it not? The idea is to help debate move along.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, my understanding is that standing is a continuation of an adjournment, but, at the same time, I have always been led to understand and have always followed the practice that if another senator wants to take the floor from the senator who is holding the adjournment, he or she, usually politely, asks that senator to yield, and then can rise and speak. At the end, the order falls back to the senator who yielded; otherwise, it would have little meaning in that a senator could not adjourn and go away and return a day or two later and be able to carry on the debate. That is my understanding, and whenever I ask for the floor or take the floor, I always ensure that I obtain the agreement of the senator in whose name the order is standing.

His Honour was just saying it is the practice that senators will yield to others, as a matter of courtesy and so on, but the real courtesy is that the senator who wants to speak will also inform the other senator that he wants him to yield the floor.

Senator Dallaire: My point is that I have the impression that debate on the bill is being avoided in order not to move the item forward. Can I raise that in the chamber is that inappropriate?

Senator Cools: I am quite sure that some senators are very busy. For example, right now, I am working on four or five different speeches, and I am holding the adjournment of a few debates. That is in no way an attempt to block anyone else from speaking. One does not want another senator to take over the debate and allow it to come to a vote, or something else.

The system must respect the fact that a senator is holding an adjournment. The rule provides for adjournment for 15 days; and sometimes a matter will stand for 15 days. I try to keep the time shorter than that. It depends on the complexity of the issues. Some of these matters seem terribly simple at first blush, but when you start to work on them, they are remarkably difficult. Unless a senator is deliberately trying to be obstructionist, which is relatively rare among senators, one should assume that the senator is doing some work on the question and is planning to rise as soon as he or she is ready to speak.

Senator Dallaire: I thank honourable senators for their assistance.

Order stands.

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

Hon. Donald H. Oliver moved second reading of Bill C-277, to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child).—(Honourable Senator Comeau)

He said: Honourable senators, I am happy to rise today to speak to this bill. This bill is similar in many ways to two private member's bills that I introduced some time ago dealing with a stand-alone anti-spam bill to punish, among others, those people who send fraudulent, indecent or pornographic materials to the email addresses of children in order to lure them.

Regrettably, both of my private member's bills on this important legislation languished and died in committee. I am especially pleased today to speak to this bill, which is designed to protect children from luring.

The private member's bill arose in the other place, and it is an act to amend the Criminal Code, luring a child. It was introduced by Mr. Ed Fast, the member of Parliament for Abbotsford.

Bill C-277 is straightforward. It contains one clause, which amends section 172.1(2)(a) and (b) of the Criminal Code, increasing from five to ten years the maximum penalty for luring a child. It also sets the maximum penalty for a summary conviction at 18 months. This would bring the maximum sentence for luring a child in line with other similar sexual offences in the Criminal Code.

The meaning of luring a child is found in section 172.1(a) to (c) of the code. It involves an adult, using on-line communications with a child for the purposes of a range of sexual crimes.

No doubt many of us will recall the debate when this section of the code was put in place in 2002 as a response to rapid growth of the Internet and the accompanying threat that children could be lured into dangerous situations through the use of on-line computer systems.

Honourable senators, there have been numerous convictions under this section of the code since it became law, some of which have resulted in prison terms of up to three and a half years. However, even when the court is faced with a repeat offender under the current law, the maximum sentence that may be handed down remains at five years.

Let us compare this particular offence with other similar Criminal Code offences that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years or more. Some of these include: Interference and touching for a sexual purpose; exposing a child to bestiality; incest; sexual assault; and distributing child pornography. For the purposes of consistency, we need to remember that only two child sexual exploitation offences carry a five-year maximum sentence. These two offences relate to child pornography where contact with a child, a potential victim, is not part of the offence.

Therefore, the 10-year maximum on indictment and 18-month on summary conviction for an offence of luring a child put in this bill is consistent with how we treat other child sexual exploitation contact offences in the Criminal Code.

This underscores the frightening truth that the risk of physical contact between an adult and his or her victim is very real. Typically, a relationship of trust is established through an on-line communication, and then it is exploited.

Through my work on the anti-spam legislation, I have become familiar with how easily families and children, in particular, can be exposed to unsolicited email with pornographic or fraudulent content. Email addresses can be harvested from Internet chat rooms, potentially putting unsuspecting youth at risk. This potential danger to our children is a fact we need to recognize as we consider this bill.

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I wish to quote another parliamentarian, Mark Warawa, on September 29, when he said in the other place:

However, it is the direct contact that is made between the predator and the victim via the Internet, where a relationship of trust is created for the sole purpose of exploiting the young person and betraying his or her trust, which escalates this behaviour above that of an attempt and puts it onto a level with that of the other child sexual exploitation offences.

With this understanding in mind, we recognize that at the current sentencing level there is a difference between how we treat luring a child and other similar offences, a difference that this bill seeks to correct.

In our examination of Bill C-277, it is also helpful to consider how other nations deal with sentencing for luring offences. Most other nations, honourable senators will see, have much higher penalties for these types of offences. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the maximum sentence is 14 years in prison; in Australia, it is 15 years in prison. In the United States, federal legislation provides for a mandatory minimum of five years, with a maximum of 30 years.

These examples are particularly useful either because the legal systems of these countries closely resemble our own or because, as is the case with the United States, we share a border that can be easily crossed by pedophiles who may want to meet with children they have contacted through the Internet. In these cases, the evidence is clear: Our penalties for luring a child are much less severe than they are in the other nations that are similar to ours. Some have argued that the result is that Canada is now viewed as "a pedophile haven."

What about the incidence of luring? Is it something that warrants our attention? Sadly, Internet luring is far more widespread than we would like to imagine. According to an Ipsos Reid study from November 2000, 20 per cent of Internet users between the ages of 12 and 24 had face-to-face contact with people they had first met over the Internet. Another study of that year, from the United States, showed that 19 per cent of youths had been sexually solicited over the Internet. In my view, that is a shocking statistic. I repeat, honourable senators: 19 per cent of youths have been sexually solicited over the Internet.

On March 22, Staff Sergeant Mike Frizzell, who is with Strategic and Operational Support, National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights that:

Luring is rampant because of the anonymity of the Internet, which provides offenders from anywhere in the world the opportunity to solicit numerous children at the same time without leaving their own homes, that is, until they make contact and have set up meets. Age, sex, and location are always the first questions asked, allowing offenders to identify viable targets.

He was speaking in the context of Bill C-22, which raises the age of consent, a bill that is still in the other place. However, the point is applicable to our discussion. Luring is a widespread problem in need of our attention.

To give a simple illustration of how Internet luring actually works and its impact on people's lives, I should like to draw honourable senators' attention to Cybertip.ca, a program of Child Find Manitoba. Cybertip.ca is a useful tool in the fight against Internet-related sexual offences. I would like to quote from a success story posted on the site as follows:

A mother in Ontario contacted Cybertip.ca through the toll-free number after she learned that her fourteen year old daughter had been conversing with a thirty-five year old male on the Internet. The mother found evidence on her child's computer that the male suspect had been sending her child pornography images. A Cybertip.ca analyst conducted various searches, added value, and verified the information provided. The report was then referred to Kingston Police Services. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the child had been conversing online with other adult males and had been sexually assaulted by a male out of Pennsylvania. This male was arrested and charged with four different counts relating to this case.

Honourable senators, this is what we are up against in the struggle to combat Internet luring — seemingly invisible predators who are able to slip into our homes and take advantage of those who are among the most vulnerable members of our society, our own children.

I urge this chamber to send Bill C-277 to committee so that we may more fully examine some of the crucial issues around luring a child and how to treat this offence in our Criminal Code.

Technology is constantly evolving, as is our use of this technology. We must be ever-vigilant in our approach to protect our children and ensure that the Criminal Code provides adequate tools to get the job done.

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I also rise to support Bill C-277, which amends the Criminal Code based on another amendment to the Criminal Code that was passed by the Chrétien government in 2002. At that time, there was a rising concern about luring children over the Internet for sexual purposes and it was becoming apparent that some amendment to the Criminal Code was necessary.

At that time, the maximum penalty was five years. The problem has grown substantially over the last five years, since that legislation was put into effect. The suggestion now is that the maximum penalty should be doubled, to 10 years. I think that makes sense, because it would send a clear message that luring is an abhorrent behaviour, a behaviour that this country will not accept. It will certainly send to the judiciary a signal that we consider this behaviour to be a very serious matter.

I shall not speak at great length about this, because it can be dealt with further in committee, but I should like to quote from a report of the Media Awareness Network, an Internet-education organization established by some of the leading companies in this country — Microsoft Canada, Bell Canada, CTV, CanWest Global, Rogers Cable. The big communications companies have gotten together and put this not-for-profit Media Awareness Network together.

Canada's leading Internet-education organization says that Canadian youth are among the world's most active Internet users, with 80 per cent having regular access in their homes. More than half use the Internet with little or no supervision. Twenty-five per cent of young Canadian Internet users have been asked by someone they have only met on the Internet to meet face to face; 15 per cent have gone to meet an Internet acquaintance face to face; and almost two in 10 of this group went to these meetings alone.

The percentage may seem small by the time you get down to that last line, but it still represents a lot of young people, and the situation is very dangerous. This bill warrants passage at second reading. It will then be sent to the committee that I chair, where, hopefully, we will hear from the MP who originated the bill and we will be able to further explore it at that time.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Eggleton: Yes.

Senator Cools: I should like to thank the honourable senator for his intervention. There may be some colleagues here who do not know that Senator Eggleton was the mayor of a major Canadian city for some period of time — my city, Toronto — and that he has a lot of knowledge.

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The honourable senator said that, under Mr. Chrétien, a bill was passed, but that since that time the problems have worsened, or words to that effect.

Has the senator any evidence of what is happening in our communities that causes these problems to worsen? I am sure the honourable senator will recall many of the terrible incidents we had in Toronto.

Senator Eggleton: The main statistic I used was from the Media Awareness Network. The problem is that there is greater use by young people of the Internet. Studies by this not-for-profit organization have shown that more than half of young people use the Internet without supervision. That provides people who try to lure youngsters for sexual purposes an opportunity to communicate directly with them. Parents should be providing much more supervision. However, that being said, we do have a significant number of these incidents.

The organization that Senator Oliver quoted has done some national studies. They provide statistics by province. One of the biggest increases has been in Ontario. These statistics indicate that these incidents are on the rise and that the amount of unsupervised use of the Internet has risen significantly as well.

Senator Cools: I have come to understand that the mental or psychological deficits of some of these offenders are not easy to cure and they have a tendency to persist in those behaviours.

Has the honourable senator gleaned any information on this from his research?

Senator Eggleton: It is important that we send the message that we consider this crime to be very serious. Doubling the penalties sends that message. Every case is different and the court will still have discretion as to how each case is handled, although, in our discussions on Bill C-9, we will consider limiting those discretions. I do not think that is advisable, but that is another matter.

The courts do have discretion in these cases. Increasing the maximum penalty sends a clear message that this is an extremely serious matter.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to and bill read second time.

Referred to Committee

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

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

Human Rights

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Issues Related to National and International Human Rights Obligations—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eleventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, (budget—study on Canada's international and national human rights obligations—power to hire staff), presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Andreychuk)

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Banking, Trade and Commerce

Budget—Study on Present State of Domestic and International Financial System—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, (budget—study on domestic and international financial system), presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Grafstein)

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Study on Issues Dealing with Interprovincial Barriers to Trade—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the seventeenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, (budget—study on interprovincial barriers to trade—power to travel), presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Grafstein)

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Budget—Study on State of Early Learning and Child Care—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, (budget—study on child care) presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget—Study on Literacy Programs—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, (budget—study on literacy) presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget—Study on Current Social Issues of Large Cities—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fourteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, (budget—study on cities) presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget—Study on Impact and Effects of Social Determinants of Health—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the thirteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, (budget—study on population health) presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Study on Use of Aboriginal Languages in Senate Chamber—Fifth Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (budget—study on aboriginal languages—power to travel), presented in the Senate on May 3, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

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Fisheries and Oceans

Budget—Study on Issues Relating to New and Evolving Policy Framework—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (budget—release of additional funds (study on the federal government's new and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans)), presented in the Senate on May 3, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Johnson)

Hon. Bill Rompkey: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

National Security and Defence

Budget—Study on National Security Policy—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (budget—release of additional funds (study on the national security policy of Canada)), presented in the Senate on May 3, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Kenny)

Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I move adoption of this report.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I wonder if Senator Kenny would accept a couple of questions.

First, could he advise us of the amount of the budget that he is requesting?

Senator Kenny: The total amount of the budget being requested is $957,360, less the $223,000 already approved.

Senator Comeau: $957,000, roughly, less the $220,000 that has already been approved. Could the honourable senator advise as to the intent of the spending of this money?

Senator Kenny: Yes, I would be happy to. The committee is currently engaged in a study dealing with first responders, as well as a study dealing with port security, and it is also looking at the question of the collection of international intelligence. The first two reports are continuations of previous reports, and the second one is a relatively new one that was begun about four months ago.

Senator Comeau: Recently a meeting was held at which there was a request made that the deputy chair not be from the government side. My understanding is that the committee members voted against having a government member as deputy chair. Am I correct?

Senator Kenny: No, the honourable senator is not correct.

Senator Comeau: Who then became the deputy chair?

Senator Kenny: Senator Atkins became the deputy chair.

Senator Comeau: I think I phrased my first question as directly as I possibly could, which was that it was a government-side member who became the deputy chair. Am I not correct in saying that the deputy chair is an opposition-appointed member?

Senator Kenny: There was a government member in the person of Senator Tkachuk who was nominated and he withdrew his name before there could be an election, leaving only one candidate. The government member was nominated and then voluntarily withdrew his name. I cannot be held accountable for that.

Senator Comeau: Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand there was a more recent meeting at which the issue of a replacement for the deputy chair was discussed and that the decision was made by the group at that time through a democratic vote with the highest number winning. I understand the idea of having a government-side member as deputy chair was rejected by the committee members. Am I wrong?

Hon. Lowell Murray: Is it a fact that Senator Atkins was elected as deputy chair and that for him to be replaced would require his resignation, which has not been forthcoming?

Senator Kenny: If I may, I will take the questions in order. The first answer is: No, the honourable senator is not correct; there was no meeting of the committee discussing whether there would be a government deputy chair. In fact, we have had a successful experience with a government deputy chair who handled the job skilfully. The committee welcomed the government deputy chair. The committee was richer for having that. There absolutely was no discussion whatsoever of that, and where the honourable senator got that information is beyond me. The honourable senator is welcome to check the records. We keep records of our meetings. That subject has not come up in a single meeting of our committee when I have been in the chair, and I have been in the chair for all of the meetings.

As for Senator Murray's question, he is quite correct that Senator Atkins has not resigned. Therefore, there is not, at this moment, a vacancy.

Senator Comeau: I believe Senator Murray asked whether a resignation was requested from the current deputy chair and whether he refused.

Is it correct that a request for his resignation has not been made?

Senator Kenny: I have no reason to ask for anyone's resignation for anything. I am the chair of the committee. I preside over the elections.

An Hon. Senator: The clerk presides over them.

Senator Kenny: The clerk does not; I preside over that election. I have not asked for anyone's resignation. I do not think it is my place to ask for anyone's resignation.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: I understood the honourable senator to say that he believed or understood that Senator Atkins' resignation was asked for. I wonder if we could have some clarification as to what Senator Comeau meant. Who would have been asking? It is not the business of the chairman to be seeking resignation from a democratically elected chair. I do not know. He is fielding questions. Maybe I cannot answer the honourable senator's question. I would like to know who was asking whom for what. I would like the record to show who was asking or wanted to ask Senator Atkins for a resignation.

Senator Kenny: The honourable senator is asking me questions beyond my competence. I know no one who has asked Senator Atkins to resign. Certainly it has not taken place at any committee meeting I have chaired.

Hon. Terry Stratton: I would like to take a look at this budget. I would like to go back, because this is a substantial budget that includes what has been previously approved: A senior military adviser; a military adviser for enlisted personnel; a full-time national security adviser, which is a new position; a senior intelligence and national security adviser; a writer-editor-researcher; a communications consultant; clerical assistance, and it says miscellaneous. That is a total of about eight people.

In addition, I have learned — and I think the chamber should know — that there are four full-time Senate staff working for this one committee. That is a total of 12 people who work for this committee.

This budget includes a full-time national security adviser, which is a new position that we never had a chance to discuss in the subcommittee on budgets because we did not approve it at the time. We left it for this stage.

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Would Senator Kenny give honourable senators an explanation as to the nature of the role of this full-time national security adviser? Does he have someone in mind? If so, who would that be? Did he interview just the one person or did he actually go out and solicit resumés from several people?

Senator Kenny: First, I have to tell my friend opposite that there was ample opportunity to discuss this issue, both in the subcommittee, which I went to twice, and in the full committee, where we discussed this position at some length.

In terms of the specific questions: Is there someone in mind? No. Have résumés been solicited? No. We have not been voted any funds for such a position and, therefore, it seems precipitous to proceed with a hiring process because this chamber will decide whether such a position will exist. The very idea of going forward and soliciting résumés, or suggesting that there is a position when this chamber has yet to approve it, seems to me to be inappropriate and imprudent.

Senator Stratton: That is a nice way of not answering the question.

What will this person do? Senator Kenny has eight people, plus outside experts, advising him, plus four full-time staff. Tell us what this person will be doing.

Senator Kenny: Before Senator Stratton came back into the room, I discussed the work that we are doing and the work we hope to do in the future. As I am sure the honourable senator is aware, we have been holding hearings with members of the intelligence community to deal with an issue that was troubling to the previous government and is on the agenda of the current government. The issue has to do with the collection of foreign intelligence. At present, the CSIS Act prohibits the collection of foreign intelligence, and there is an active debate in this town as to whether the act should be amended to provide for "a full-service intelligence capability."

As my friend opposite knows, we have the very capable Communications Security Establishment, but we do not have a robust human intelligence collection capability. Once we crossed that issue, we encountered the question of where such an establishment should be lodged. A school of thought believes it should be lodged in CSIS. Another school of thought is that it would be more appropriately placed in some conjunction with DFAIT. Yet another school of thought suggests it should be placed in a separate place, which I believe merits consideration.

Finally, there is some value in considering on what an agency of this sort should focus. We must also consider the other ancillary issues, such as stovepipes that would affect cross-communication from one agency to another.

Inasmuch as none of the members of this committee have had any experience in the intelligence community, and since none of the members of this committee are knowledgeable on the subject, we are endeavouring to ensure that we have people who do have experience to assist us in our deliberations.

That has been a very successful formula in the past. The people Senator Stratton referred to, who are our other advisers, have helped to make our reports successful. I cannot stress enough the value of the military advisers, who work on a part-time basis. Anyone looking at their remuneration will realize that we are getting a terrific deal and that they have contributed substantially to the quality of the 19 special studies of this committee.

Senator Cools: They are very good studies; excellent studies.

Senator Kenny: Thank you.

Our hope is to maintain the quality of those reports, and to do that it is important that we have people who are knowledgeable in the area who can assist us in interpreting what frequently is a rather arcane vocabulary and concepts that sometimes are very new to us. We have tried for six years to get this sort of resource in the library, but the library has had neither the funds nor the capacity to hire people to work with such resources.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I regret to inform the Honourable Senator Kenny that his time has expired.

Senator Kenny: I move the question.

Senator Tkachuk: I move adjournment of the debate.

Senator Kenny: No.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, seconded by the Honourable Senator Stratton, that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will those honourable senators in favour of the motion please say "yea"?

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will those honourable senators opposed to the motion please say "nay"?

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the "nays" have it.

It is moved by the Honourable Senator Kenny, seconded by the Honourable Senator Furey, that the fifteenth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be adopted.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: In my opinion, the "yeas" have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Please call in the senators. There will be a 30-minute bell.

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Motion adopted on the following division:

YEAS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Banks Kenny
Biron Lovelace Nicholas
Callbeck Mahovlich
Cook Mercer
Cools Milne
Corbin Mitchell
Cowan Moore
Dawson Munson
De Bané Peterson
Downe Poulin
Eggleton Sibbeston
Fairbairn Stollery
Furey Tardif
Hays Trenholme Counsell
Hervieux-Payette Zimmer—31
Hubley

NAYS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Cochrane Nancy Ruth
Comeau Oliver
Keon Stratton
LeBreton Tkachuk—9
Massicotte

ABSTENTIONS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS

Adams Murray
Dyck Prud'homme
Meighen Watt—6

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Fifteenth Report of Committee Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Other Business, Reports of Committees, Item No. 1:

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Moore, seconded by the Honourable Senator Downe, for the adoption of the fifteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (committee budgets—legislation), presented in the Senate on May 3, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Stratton)

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.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Effectiveness of Canada's Promotion of Democratic Development Abroad—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (budget—study on the effectiveness of Canada's promotion of democratic development abroad—power to hire staff), presented in the Senate on May 1, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Stollery)

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Budget—Study on Evacuation of Canadian Citizens from Lebanon—Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (budget—study on the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon in July 2006), presented in the Senate on May 1, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Stollery)

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: I move the adoption of this report.

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Study on Matters Relating to Africa

Motion to Adopt Report of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee and Request for Government Response—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded by the Honourable Senator Keon, that the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade entitled Overcoming 40 Years Of Failure: A New Road Map For Sub-Saharan Africa, tabled in the Senate on February 15, 2007, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of International Trade, the Minister of International Cooperation and the Minister of National Defence being identified as Ministers responsible for responding to the report.—(Honourable Senator Stollery)

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on Africa. This intervention is somewhat overdue. A couple of years ago I spoke about the importance of the Doha Round to Africa and that sort of thing.

First, I would like to thank the people who worked so hard to make our Africa report such a success. If success is determined by the number of people who have been interested in reading it, I want to tell honourable senators that we have had, at last count, 4,417 downloads in English, 1,161 in French, as well as 1,200 paper copies.

To give honourable senators an idea of the continuing interest in the subject, in the last month, downloads have increased by 1,500. It is a subject of continuing interest.

I want to thank Senator Corbin, who instigated and pushed for this study over the last several years. There was no resisting him, and he finally got us into it. It has been a fruitful and satisfying business.

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I should also like to thank members of our staff. As honourable senators may or may not know, the committee took two field trips to Africa. The first trip included Senator Corbin, Senator Mahovlich, Senator Downe and Senator Di Nino, who was a tower of strength in all of this. We were joined by Senator Andreychuk when we travelled to Ethiopia, the Eastern Congo and Western Congo.

I cannot emphasize how hard these people worked. The best example is this: We kept telling people that the committee heard from 200 witnesses — which is true. That is the number of witnesses we had in Ottawa. Then we realized that the committee would hear from another 200 during our travels. We sometimes travelled in armed convoys. The UN forces in the Congo provided helicopters with snipers.

In the very area where we travelled extensively, Bukavu to Goma, about 1,000 people a day were being murdered. We visited a clinic in Goma — a most moving experience — where only one operation is carried out, that is, to repair the vagina of girls who have been raped. We did not know the clinic's function prior to our arrival, where we were cheered by women. As I said to some of our colleagues, these poor and unfortunate women should have been throwing rocks at us.

We continued on to the Western Congo. One has to understand that there is no road system uniting the east and the west in the Congo. Although the Congo is not two countries, it is certainly two different places. Friends of mine have commented that I always talk about Kivu, or the Eastern Congo. In my own mind, I separate it from Kinshasa, Western Congo. It is because they are such different areas. You can only travel from one area to the other by riverboat or airplane.

Our staff was tremendous. Mr. François Michaud is the committee clerk. I do not have to tell anyone here how much work is involved to organize this type of endeavour. Peter Berg was tremendously useful in writing our report. Mark Sorbara, who is the administrative assistant of Senator Di Nino, was terrific. He had studied Africa, was filled with ideas, and was excellent. He was mugged in Chad — I believe it was — on his way to join us.

We left the Western Congo and travelled to Nigeria, where Senator Andreychuk joined us. We then went to Mali, and then we came back.

I would describe the first field trip as an on-the-ground trip, to see the geography. For example, we visited a cotton farm in Mali. In that day, we travelled approximately 240 kilometres outside of Bamako. In Africa, 240 kilometres is not very much, but nevertheless it gave members of the committee an idea of what people have to deal with in carrying merchandise from one place to another.

On the second field trip, we were joined by Senator De Bané, Senator Dawson and Senator Smith. Allison Goody, who is now going on to do better things, was our terrific researcher. Ms. Goody is an elegant writer, along with Peter Berg. David Murphy from my staff also joined us.

The second field trip was onerous, because we held hearings everywhere. As I said to Ms. Goody, you may want to come back to Africa because you may want to see it other than at four o'clock in the morning in an airport as you are leaving for some distant place.

I also wish to thank some of the people who met us. I arrived in Dakar at 2:30 in the morning, after having been on the airplane for 12 or 13 hours. I will never forget the cheerful people who met me there. It was not an easy business, but the only way it could be done was to cover some of the geography of this enormous area.

We went to Dakar, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nairobi, and then consulted with our aid partners in Copenhagen, The Hague and London.

Again thanking people who helped us complete this large, two-year project, I also want to thank Senator Segal. He did not come to Africa, but he was instrumental in helping us get our report through the system here in the committee. He was a very good companion here in Ottawa, very helpful, and I thank him for it.

The whole experience was amazing. When something is done right, there are all kinds of little accidents that happen. You cannot plan them. You do not know the changes that will take place that, for one reason or another, make things better. That is what happened with our Africa report.

The report is self-explanatory; it does not need much explanation from me. I reread our report, Overcoming 40 Years of Failure: A New Road Map for Sub-Saharan Africa, last night, in preparation for my remarks today. The report speaks for itself.

The views expressed in the report are not particularly the views of the committee. It was not us who said — and I quote:

Corruption alone costs Africa $148 billion a year. Obasanjo, the leader of Nigeria, said that since independence, African leaders have stolen $140 billion from their people. If these leaders can invest one-half of that loot in Africa, things will turn around.

We did not say that. Those comments — which are quoted in our report — were made by an economics professor, Mr. George Ayittey. Mr. Jay Naidoo of the Development Bank of South Africa said, "Corruption has two sides to it, where did Mobutu put his stolen money?" We did not say that. Our witness said that. It was Professor Paul Collier, director of the world-leading Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, who argued that western banks have been "living off the immoral earnings of others." They are, in his words, "pimps," but "pimping bankers are no better than any type of pimp." That is in our report, but it was not us who said it; it was the witnesses. Paul Collier was one of the most highly qualified people we had before the committee. He also said, "Economic decline is the single greatest driver of conflict."

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Listen to what Mr. Ian Smillie, research coordinator, Partnership Africa Canada, said. This is on the subject of trade and the problems of trade for Africans.

Sierra Leone once exported rice, the staple of its diet. Today, however, in a country with disastrous levels of unemployment, it imports most of its rice. The reason is huge U.S. government subsidies to American rice farmers. If this were to change, it could create five million person days of work per year in Sierra Leone.

The report addresses three issues. We received a lot of press because of comments we made about CIDA, but I must emphasize that the whole world aid program by developed countries has problems.

If you have read the newspapers, you have surely read of the problems of the World Bank in Washington. It is not just Mr. Wolfowitz. They have 13,000 employees. They spend $25 billion a year and many questions have been asked, many of them by Mr. Raymond Baker, who wrote a book called Capitalism's Achilles Heel, every chapter of which is actionable. Mr. Baker talks about the role of the international banking system in accepting the deposits of stolen money. Every chapter is actionable, but no one is suing, because he has the goods. The corruption issue is certainly a huge problem, and an even bigger problem is the fact that Africans have been excluded from the world trading system by us, by the developed countries.

As I said, our report is self-explanatory and it contains so much that is worth reading that I recommend it to senators.

Have you ever heard of the cotton subsidy? It is so unbelievable. Cotton, a commodity of great importance to West Africa, is an excellent example of how domestic support, given by rich country governments, can be devastating to developing countries. U.S. support for domestic cotton farmers amounts to roughly $4 billion.

The committee has done some division and it works out to U.S. $168,000 per year per person in the U.S. cotton business which is comprised of only 25,000 people. The subsidy is equal to the GDP of Burkina Faso. The level of assistance ensures that cotton farmers from rich countries, 25,000 in the United States alone, receive inflated prices for their harvest while world prices fall, seriously harming the 10 million West Africans who depend on cotton production for their livelihoods and their health and education.

American cotton subsidies are destroying livelihoods in Africa and other developing regions. While American cotton barons get rich on government transfers, African farmers suffer the consequences. American cotton farmers receive three times more in subsidies than the entire U.S. aid budget for Africa's 500 million people. Imagine. We should be ashamed of the situation that has been allowed to fester for 45 years.

I am not a particularly guilt-ridden person, but when I see something that is so shameful that people live on the backs of the poor and could not care less, I find it disgraceful.

The Hon. the Speaker: I advise the honourable senator that his 15 minutes have expired.

Senator Stollery: May I have five more minutes? I will end briefly. I could continue all afternoon.

The president of Mali, who appeared before the committee said, "The cotton subsidies are killing us, are completely destabilizing our country."

This is not a partisan issue, I must emphasize. Most members of the committee agree with what I have said, I am certain. I would like to end, honourable senators, by quoting from a speech that Senator Di Nino and I heard in Hong Kong. This should not take me more than a couple of minutes.

I was at the Doha Round, and happened to hear a speech by the Minister for Foreign Relations, Ms. Leila Rachid de Cowles, of Paraguay. I speak Spanish and I was amazed by what this woman way saying in the speech of her life. She said:

Some months ago, U.S. president George W. Bush declared before the United Nations that the United States stood ready to eliminate tariffs, subsidies and other barriers in order to achieve the free flow of trade in goods and services.

A year ago, in September 2004, in the same context, the World Food Summit, leaders of European powers undertook before the heads of state of government of developing countries to do their utmost to eradicate hunger and poverty considered to be the worst scourges to afflict humanity.

The pronouncements by the United States and the European Union together constitute the raison d'être of the Doha development agenda. Nevertheless, the negotiations under this round which contain an implicit promise to raise standards of living worldwide and alleviate poverty through the removal of trade distortions may well collapse or achieve only a fraction of their potential.

Progress in these negotiations has been slow and poor since the very outset. The enthusiastically rhetorical speeches often delivered under this roof bear little relation to the intransigence stance taken by the leading actors on the stage of multilateral trade. We are a long way from achieving the objectives which we set ourselves and proclaimed in July 2004.

Paraguay, a developing and land-locked country, is attending this conference with a view to working towards an improved multilateral trading system and campaigning for fair treatment, which takes into consideration the specificities, vulnerabilities and size of the economies of its members. However, the work that my country and the other developing countries' members of this organization strive to promote is failing to find support from nations with greater possibilities of influencing the final results of the round.

Honourable senators, I will not go on any further. I recommend this speech to everyone. I think every civilized person should read this speech and should take it to heart and quit beating up —

Senator Comeau: Speech or report?

Senator Stollery: I am trying to stick to the time limits, honourable senators. Do you want me to read some more?

Senator Comeau: Time is up.

Senator Stollery: Honourable senators, I recommend that the Senate adopt the report on Africa from the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

On motion of Senator De Bané, debate adjourned.

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Study on National Security Policy

Interim Report of National Security and Defence Committee—Order Stands

On Reports of Committees, Order No. 23:

Consideration of the eighth (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 — Airports, tabled in the Senate on March 20, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Kenny)

Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I would like to speak to this report, but I would like to take the adjournment for the remainder of my time. The same would apply for the next item.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators, that this item remain in the name of Senator Kenny?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Order stands.

Interim Report of National Security and Defence Committee—Order Stands

On Reports of Committees, Order No. 24:

Consideration of the tenth 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 — Border Crossings, tabled in the Senate on March 26, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Kenny)

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators, that this item remain in the name of Senator Kenny?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Order stands.

Aging

Budget—Report of Special Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Special Senate Committee on Aging, (budget—study on the implications of an aging society in Canada), presented in the Senate on May 8, 2007.—(Honourable Senator Keon)

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: I move the adoption of this report.

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

Motion agreed to and report adopted.

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Sixteenth Report of Committee—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the sixteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (conduct of staff) tabled in the Senate earlier this day.—(Honourable Senator Furey)

Hon. George J. Furey: With leave of the Senate, I move that the sixteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration be now considered.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Furey: Honourable senators, the sixteenth report of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration arises out of an incident that occurred in which the actions of a staff member of a senator affected the privacy of certain other senators. The matter was debated at the time in this chamber and in committee. In light of the incident, your committee, acting within its mandate and on its own initiative, decided to conduct a study and refer the matter to its steering committee for review and investigation. The steering committee reported to the committee this morning and your committee adopted the report of the steering committee, with one minor change. Your committee's report has attached to it, as Appendix A, the amended report of the steering committee.

The report contains 12 findings and recommendations. With respect to the facts, the subcommittee found that a staff member of Senator LeBreton, Mr. Jeffrey Kroeker, gathered and distributed to the media unpublished information that was confidential and that contained personal information concerning senators. It found that Mr. Kroeker was acting alone at all times in these endeavours. More specifically, it found that he had undertaken his research without the knowledge or approval of Senator LeBreton, Senator Stratton or members of Senator LeBreton's staff.

In your committee's view, Mr. Kroeker's conduct was unethical and breached the provisions of chapter 206 of the Senate Administrative Rules on access to information and privacy.

With respect to the specific terms of the order of reference, the conclusion was that, in light of the present rules, procedures, practices and conventions of the Senate, it would not be appropriate or permissible for persons working in the offices of senators, including senators who are ministers of the Crown, in circumstances such as those brought to light by its examination of the facts of this case, to 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 expenses associated with that stay.

Your subcommittee noted that while the Senate Administrative Rules govern in a comprehensive way the dissemination of information about senators, they do not at present govern the gathering of information and, in particular, personal information about senators and other identifiable individuals. Therefore, the report recommends that an additional provision be added to the Senate Administrative Rules.

The steering committee's order of reference required it to have due regard in the conduct of its proceedings for considerations of natural justice. We are satisfied that it did so.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, at this time I wish to thank the committee for its work. Their report finally brings this regrettable incident to a close.

On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.

The Senate

Failure of Government to Appoint Qualified People to the Senate—Inquiry—Order Stands

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Banks calling the attention of the Senate to the failure of the Government of Canada to carry out its constitutional duty to appoint qualified persons to the Senate.—(Honourable Senator Fraser)

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I have already spoken on this matter. I rise in order to clarify a statement that I made that may have misled this house when I gave my speech last week.

With the permission of the chamber, honourable senators, when I was speaking on this particular matter, I was making a point that no other prime minister other than the current Prime Minister had disagreed and failed to make recommendations to the Governor General in the appointment of senators. At that time, I pointed out there were two exceptions — one of them being the Prime Minister who served for only four months, Kim Campbell, and another Prime Minister, Arthur Meighen, who served for less than three months — making the point that they were not in office long enough to make the appointments. They were not purposely not making the recommendations.

At that time, I did not point out to this house that the Right Honourable Arthur Meighen also served another term in office for a period more than three months — in fact, for a period of 16 months, some five years earlier — and he did, at that time, make several appointments — 15 by my count — to the Senate during that period of time.

I did not wish to mislead this chamber in suggesting that Arthur Meighen did not make appointments to the Senate. It was only during the period of time that he was Prime Minister for three months that he did not. If I caused any misunderstanding or if I misled any member of this chamber in my remarks, I apologize.

The Hon. the Speaker: This item stands in the name of Senator Fraser.

Order stands.

(1650)

Study on Funding for Treatment of Autism

Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee and Request for Government Response Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Watt:

That the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, entitled Pay Now or Pay Later, Autism Families in Crisis, tabled in the Senate on March 29, 2007, be adopted; and

That, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the government, with the Ministers of National Revenue, of Intergovernmental Affairs, of Health and of Finance being identified as Ministers responsible for responding to the report.—(Honourable Senator Cowan)

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I recognize that it is late in the day, but I do want to speak to this motion and move it forward. I rise to speak to a subject that honourable senators know I care passionately about. The subject, of course, is autism. I endorse the remarks made by the Honourable Senator Eggleton, who provided details about the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology entitled, Pay Now Or Pay Later: Autism Families In Crisis. He shared some examples of the heart-wrenching testimony we heard during the committee's work, especially the testimony of parents who, day in and day out, deal with the demanding and difficult task of providing care, finding care and buying care for their children with autism. He also shared the very positive experience of hearing from adults with autism, who were able to tell us how autism has affected their lives and about the treatments they did or did not receive.

I am proud of this report and the attention it has drawn to this pressing issue that affects one in 160 families in this country. We learned a lot from individuals and families affected by autism, but the inquiry also allowed us to learn something about ourselves and about our system of government, and that is what I will focus my remarks on today.

Autism is a complex condition that affects people differently and in varying degrees. It is a baffling condition that challenges us because it overlaps so many areas of responsibility and jurisdictions. We tend to think of autism as a health issue because it is considered a neurological disorder, yet the treatment for autism involves a whole range of professionals beyond the field of medicine. Teams of educators, therapists, social workers and counsellors must all come together to help individuals and families with autism.

Unfortunately, this is where we, in Canada, stumble and fail far too many people. Let us remember that our health care system was brought into being some two generations ago and was designed to fund care provided in doctors' offices and hospitals. At that time, autism was seldom seen, and when it was diagnosed, it was considered to be a psychiatric disorder.

Honourable senators, now we know that autism is not an illness that can just be treated in hospital or in doctors' offices. It cannot be cured with a prescription or a vaccination. No surgical treatment that we are aware of will help people with autism connect with the world. While there may not be complete consensus among professionals and families with autism about the best treatment options, one thing is clear: A multidisciplinary approach that includes the medical and educational systems and social services is what works best.

Unfortunately, getting those sectors to work together and funding those sectors to work together is not something that Canada does best. Autism demands a new approach; it needs a new box of policy tools to help individuals and families affected by autism. Right now, in Canada, we spend too much time explaining why we cannot help people; we offer the tired arguments of provincial and federal jurisdiction as an excuse.

From my perspective, the time has come to spend less time offering excuses and more time finding solutions. This means abandoning the jurisdictional shell game. Of course, funding for health and education is a provincial concern. That is a fact, but so what, honourable senators? That does not reduce the number of people with autism. That fact does not help families who are going broke paying for expensive treatment for their children.

One of the recommendations of the committee's report is that a federal-provincial-territorial meeting be held to develop a national strategy for autism. We also recommended that people with autism and their families be at the table.

It is essential that this meeting take place and it is vital for any national strategy to tackle the tough issues relate to treatment. As honourable senators know, treatment for autism in Canada depends on where one lives. In Alberta, there is funding to help families and many families are pulling up stakes from other parts of the country — the Maritimes and Ontario — and moving to Alberta to have access to treatment. It is another, much sadder, kind of Calgary Stampede.

However, a problem arises when they get there because Alberta, a victim of its own generosity, perhaps, does not have enough therapists to provide the necessary care. In Ontario there are therapists, but children languish on waiting lists because of lack of funding.

Honourable senators, my point with these examples is that the barriers that prevent us from helping individuals and families with autism are not insurmountable. In fact, they are administrative and bureaucratic in nature. It is about who pays and who does what. That is not difficult to figure out. It requires commitment, an open mind and a willingness to do things differently. We have the tools to address the problems but we have to use them in a different way.

This is the challenge we face. It is my hope that the government response to the committee's report will reflect a willingness to take a new approach and to do things differently. I mean this seriously. Calling itself "Canada's new government," this government must meet the challenge of doing things differently to help the one in 160 families affected by autism.

[Translation]

This is our greatest challenge. The other recommendations in our report are easier to address. Autism is difficult to diagnose and, for now, impossible to prevent, since we do not know its cause. Our report was very clear. Research to understand the causes of autism must continue.

We must also ensure that the research already done on autism and its treatments is available to those who need it, particularly the parents of autistic children who are often overwhelmed by the volume and sometimes contradictory nature of the information available. Research is essential, as is access to information. Everyone supports this initiative.

[English]

In closing, allow me to repeat: The priority that all honourable senators hear from the parents is to make treatment accessible to more children as soon as possible. As one father said to me, "My son does not need research; he needs treatment."

We have to find a way to move beyond the federal and provincial jurisdictional wrangling. We need to acknowledge at a national level that autism is a national issue that requires concerted action. If we can work with the provinces to reduce waiting times for knee and hip replacements and cataract surgery, then we can do the same for autism treatment.

[Translation]

It is time to acknowledge that the obstacles impeding our progress and preventing us from helping people with autism can be overcome with good ideas and a firm commitment to teamwork.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it your pleasure to adopt the motion?

Motion agreed to.

(1700)

Immigration Policy

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Callbeck, calling the attention of the Senate to the importance of Canadian immigration policy to the economic, social and cultural development of Canada's regions.—(Honourable Senator Andreychuk)

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I wish to participate in this debate. However, since I did not have enough time to adequately prepare to discuss such an important issue, I should like to move adjournment of the debate in my name.

On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.

State of Literacy

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C., calling the attention of the Senate to the state of literacy in Canada, which will give every senator in this chamber the opportunity to speak out on an issue in our country that is often forgotten.—(Honourable Senator Stratton)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would like to participate in this very important debate, but I did not have a chance to prepare my comments on the subject. Since I need more time to do so, I should like to move adjournment of the debate in my name.

On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.

The Senate

Motion to Urge Government to Promulgate its Endorsement of the Paris Commitment on Child Soldiers—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire, pursuant to notice of March 1, 2007, moved:

That the Senate call on the Government of Canada to widely disseminate its endorsement of the Paris Commitments to Protect Children from Unlawful Recruitment or Use by Armed Forces or Armed Groups, known as the Paris Principles and adopted by 58 countries in Paris, France, on February 6, 2007; and

That the Senate urge the Government of Canada to take a global leadership role in the campaign of eradicating child soldiers as enunciated in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (2000) as well as Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) on Children in Armed Conflict, and 1612 (2005) on Monitoring and Reporting on Violations Against Children in War.

He said: Honourable senators, today I am seeking your support for a vitally important mission: protecting child soldiers participating in armed conflicts around the world. The use of child soldiers has reached catastrophic proportions, and the immediate intervention of the international community — led by Canada, as a great middle power — is essential.

To better understand the scale of the problem, let me remind you that there are currently between 250,000 and 300,000 children under the age of 18 participating in armed conflicts around the world. Let us not delude ourselves: the problem is far more complex and serious than it appears at first glance. There are currently 53 countries experiencing civil conflict that use child soldiers — children under 18 — as government troops or in paramilitary or rebel organizations.

[English]

When talking about child soldiers, we are not simply talking about the child holding an AK-47 machine gun. These are children who are stripped from their families at a tender age, repeatedly abused and, eventually, disposed of when they are deemed useless or ineffective. Young girls are used as bush wives and consistently raped, beaten and taught to hate themselves, and, in the extreme, they even feel guilt for having been abused by these organizations and by the adults who lead them.

Honourable senators, the reality is that the people committing these atrocities value the children as much as they value dung. We must avoid falling into the trap of looking at this issue on the surface. Rather, for us to be successful in eradicating the use of child soldiers, we must identify the root causes.

According to a report prepared by Gracia Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela, who has been working on this subject for the UN since 1996 and has submitted three separate significant reports on the subject, close to 2 million children have been killed in armed conflict since that time. This number continues to grow, for children, once they are injured, are simply abandoned in the bush and left to die.

Three times as many have been seriously injured and permanently disabled. Some are able to make their way to refugee camps, or luckily NGOs have picked them up in the bush or by the road. Many of them are maimed by land mines, still prevalent in many of those conflicts, and countless others have been forced to witness or even take part in horrifying acts of violence, abuse, mutilation or barbarism.

The conclusion drawn from Ms. Machal's most recent report of 2005 is best described in her words as follows:

The world is being sucked into a desolate vacuum. This is a space in which children are exploited as soldiers; a space in which they are starved and exposed to extreme brutality. Such unregulated terror and violence speak of deliberate victimization. There are few further depths to which humanity can sink.

We keep conflicts alive and thriving by using children as the primary weapons system of those conflicts.

These children are recruited, conscripted, press-ganged, kidnapped or forced to join armed groups to defend their families on certain occasions. In some cases, children join for economic reasons as poverty and hunger drives parents to offer their children for these operations and provide succour indirectly for the family.

Though recruitment methods may vary, they lead to one invariable consequence — abuse of the rights of the child, as declared by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which this country has signed, although a recent report has indicated that we may not be as clear as we could be in applying the rules of that convention.

Once recruited, these children suffer gruelling and life-threatening induction ceremonies. They are used as front line soldiers, as psychological weapons, for logistic purposes, as spies, scouts and, ultimately, sex slaves. When employed as porters, they are forced to carry heavy loads, including ammunition or injured soldiers, over great distances. If they are unable, they are savagely beaten and summarily shot.

Many of those not deployed in support functions are used in fighting and sustaining conflicts. Their lack of training and inexperience leaves them exposed as cannon fodder. Often commanders deliberately exploit them by plying them with drugs and alcohol. As a result, when shelling starts, children get overexcited and forget to take cover. Those who survive the violence become desensitized to suffering and commit violent acts. This leads to the breakdown of social norms of any kind.

Although the majority of child soldiers are boys, we often forget about the effects armed conflicts have on girls. They are used as cooks and nurses, but also as sex slaves, which leaves them with trauma of the body, the psyche and the soul. A young girl of 13 from Honduras who was employed as a child soldier recalls her experience in the following manner:

At my young age, I experienced abortion. There is a great pain in my being when I recall all these things . . . They abused me, they trampled my human dignity. And above all, they did not understand that I was a child and that I had rights.

(1710)

During my time at Harvard, I quickly came to the realization that as long as evil, unethical and brutal commanders who use child soldiers believe that they are low-cost and effective weapons systems, they will continue to use them. As a result, I have been leading an international research project which aims to subtract children from the doctrine of war. However, this is but one initiative and must be supported by state action. The ultimate aim is to eradicate not only the use of children as the primary weapons system of conflict, but also the thought by adults to use children as the primary weapons system.

What about Canada's role in tackling this issue? It is against this sort of backdrop that I ask: Who will defend the rights of these children? Who will stand up for them and say, "No more"? Who will have the courage and vision to provide the international leadership required to tackle this most pressing issue? Honourable senators, I wish I could say that Canada was leading this important mission, but I must sadly report that our government enjoys the role of being a mere spectator.

[Translation]

At present, as the international community slowly begins to explore the best action to take, Canada is nothing more than a passive bystander. Our government's inaction goes beyond a simple lack of interest, and borders on quasi-negligence.

I would remind honourable senators that Canada once played an important role in international relations concerning the protection of children engaged in armed conflict. As Canadians, we can be proud that our government once was a world leader and played a key role in international relations, specifically on the topic of child soldiers and children's rights protocols.

The present government's actions clearly demonstrate a lack of vision, desire and leadership on an issue that is unique to our more modern times, that is, the invention of what is referred to as the child soldier.

We cannot simply trail behind important international initiatives. We should be among those who are leading the charge to make this world a better place, a world in which everyone, especially children, may thrive.

[English]

I take the following words from Winston Churchill, who said:

The price of greatness is responsibility . . . that one cannot rise to be in many ways the leading community in the . . . world without being involved in its problems, without being convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes.

This short quote sums up how Canada has stumbled into a major international responsibility. We may be thousands of kilometres away from where these atrocities are being committed, but we cannot isolate ourselves and hope that someone else will take care of our problems. To the contrary, we must mobilize our resources and lead the charge in dealing with this use of children in armed conflicts as the principal weapon of conflict — not a peripheral, not a marginal use. These children are the primary weapon system of conflicts in 53 countries around the world today. How, then, can we be leaders?

Having said this, I would like to turn now to how we will achieve this eradication of child soldiers. Our mission statement could be quite simple: To provide the necessary leadership to stop the recruitment and use of children as weapons platforms in armed conflicts.

The first step is to build upon what has already been done. In February 2007, a major international conference was held in Paris under the co-presidency of the French foreign minister and the world executive director of UNICEF. This meeting was a result of the review of the 1997 Cape Town Principles and Best Practices on the Prevention of Recruitment of Children into the Armed Forces and Demobilization and Social Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Africa, better known as the Cape Town Principles.

This review was aimed at better reflecting the knowledge acquired and lessons learned since Cape Town. The result was the elaboration of two documents, first, The Paris Commitment to Protect Children from Unlawful Recruitment or Use by Armed Forces or Armed Groups, also known now as the Paris Commitments; and, second, The Principles and Guidelines on Children Associated with Armed Forces or Armed Groups, now known as the Paris Principles.

I remind honourable senators that 58 countries out of 62 that were invited endorsed the commitments, including Canada. However, is not enough to simply endorse. We have seen Canada endorsing commitments and protocols, and not necessarily applying them, putting them into law, using them and acting upon them, building policy and roles for this country in the international forum.

The Government of Canada, through CIDA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, can contribute much more to advancing the fundamental premise that using children as an instrument of war is abhorrent. It is equal to using nuclear weapons. It is equal to using biological weapons and chemical weapons. We abhor those concepts. How is it possible that we can permit conflicts to evolve under our noses in which the principal weapon is the child?

In the conflict in which I was involved, we faced children as young as eight years old armed with AK-47s, opening fire on soldiers, on civilians. We have seen girls, some of them pregnant, who were used as human shields from behind which boys shot at soldiers and civilians. How do you stop that in the field? Do you kill children who kill? Do you kill children who have been abducted, children who are there under duress, children who are half-drugged, children who do not realize the threats they face? Is there not another solution to this catastrophe? Can it not be avoided? Can we not eradicate the use of this abhorrent weapons system in our era?

[Translation]

There is a second step that necessarily follows, the formal step we saw in Paris, one where Canada can build on what it has already done and propose a new direction to the international community. Experts agree that the Paris Principles and commitments are a good start, but they are not a solution in themselves, in the sense that they are not the actual application of the principles. These two documents merely set out the principles.

Consequently, the expectation is that developed countries, middle powers that have the capacity and the potential and that respect human rights, will take these principles, promote them and apply them.

What happens next? Should we wait another 10 years for an international conference on this issue? Should we wait around in the hope that the people who are exploiting children will stop? The answer is no. The status quo is completely unacceptable.

The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to inform the honourable senator that his time is up.

Senator Dallaire: Honourable senators, I would like to speak for at least five more minutes.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted for an additional five minutes?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed. Five minutes.

Senator Dallaire: I would go so far as to say that allowing 10 more years to pass is not an option. Therefore, Canada, and more specifically the Department of Foreign Affairs, together with CIDA and even National Defence — using the 3D approach — must develop and propose a road map for the international community.

This will provide a framework for our efforts to eliminate the use of child soldiers. By working with the humanitarian, military, academic and diplomatic sectors, Canada will be able to propose a concrete, realistic and ambitious plan. Therefore, I am urging the government to immediately undertake the development of this road map in conjunction with our international partners.

The third step will be to ensure that Canada not only respects but also actively participates in the implementation of resolutions 1539 and 1612 of the United Nations Security Council. I would like to remind you that resolution 1539 condemned the recruitment of child soldiers and was intended to ensure that peacekeeping missions would protect the rights of children.

Resolution 1612 introduced a monitoring and reporting mechanism concerning the rights of children in armed conflict. I urge the Canadian government to make every effort to meet its obligations under these resolutions.

The government has to commit public funding to this and put our diplomatic corps, the Canadian Forces and CIDA on the task. It must truly take a practical position and do what it takes to resolve the problem.

(1720)

Nonetheless, even if the letter of the law is respected, a policy absolutely must be created and implemented which emphasizes recruiting young people who are older rather than those who are so very young.

[English]

Needless to say, the threat of child soldiers represents a serious and totally unpredictable threat to our humanitarians, diplomats, soldiers, police and civilians who operate in so many of these complex conflict zones around the world.

Many people are doing work on recruitment, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration, but very little is being done on neutralizing the tactical use of children in armed conflict. The humanitarians and the military must find solutions. To this end, we need to have an honest and serious review and to take the decision, which will be, I remind honourable senators, for the benefit of all children. It will embrace security in these fragile states where impunity and massive abuse of human rights are still prevalent.

I have outlined the problems of children being used as child soldiers in armed conflict. It breaks my heart when I hear the stories of young children who are used as cannon fodder or who die as a result of being forced to blow up mines with their bodies or must live with mental and psychological scars while rape and abuse continues unabated around the world.

These children should be learning, playing and aspiring to great things in life. If honourable senators agree with me that our children are the future, then tell me what kind of future children have who are being abused, who are being forced to kill, who are rejected by their communities, and who live with the guilt of being an instrument of death and sexual abuse.

I have had the barrel of an AK-47 stuck up my nostril by a 12-year-old child. That child was drugged up, exceptionally nervous and totally unpredictable. There is no greater threat than such a situation, and such things happen regularly. The only reason the child did not pull the trigger was that I pulled a candy bar out of my pocket.

Honourable senators, this is life, this is death; this is being used and abused; this is employing children as weapons. This cannot be permitted in an era where we consider human rights to be the fundamental premise of humanity.

On motion of Senator Munson, debate adjourned.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Committee Authorized to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Issues Related to Foreign Relations

Hon. Peter A. Stollery, for Senator Di Nino, pursuant to notice of May 8, 2007, moved:

That, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, May 9, 2006, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which was authorized to examine such issues as may arise from time to time relating to foreign relations generally, be empowered to extend the date of presenting its final report to March 31, 2008.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to.

[Translation]

Adjournment

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, May 15, 2007, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, May 15, 2007, at 2 p.m.