The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform you that I have received the following communication from
Government House which reads as follows:
October 9, 2007
I have the honour to inform you that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and
His Excellency Jean Daniel Lafond will arrive at the Peace Tower at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday, the 16th day of October, 2007.
When it has been indicated that all is in readiness, Their Excellencies will proceed to the Chamber of the Senate to formally open
the Second Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament of Canada.
Secretary to the Governor General
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk has received a certificate from the
Registrar General of Canada showing that Bert Brown has been summoned to the Senate:
The Hon. the Speaker having informed the Senate that there was a senator without, waiting to be introduced:
The following honourable senator was introduced; presented Her Majesty's writs of summons; took the oath prescribed by law, which
was administered by the Clerk; and was seated:
Hon. Bert Brown, of Kathyrn, Alberta, introduced between Hon. Marjory LeBreton, P.C., and Hon. Terry Stratton.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the honourable senator named above had made and subscribed the declaration of
qualification required by the Constitution Act, 1867, in the presence of the Clerk of the Senate, the Commissioner appointed to receive and
witness the said declaration.
The Senate met at 6:35 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: As there is no business before the Senate,
is it your pleasure, honourable senators, that the Senate do now
adjourn during pleasure to await the arrival of Her Excellency the
At 7 p.m., Her Excellency the Governor General proceeded to
the Senate Chamber and took her seat upon the Throne. Her
Excellency was pleased to command the attendance of the House
of Commons, and, that House being come, with their Speaker,
Her Excellency was pleased to open the Second Session of the
Thirty-ninth Parliament of Canada with the following speech:
Members of the House of Commons,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to address the first words in this chamber to
the members of the Canadian Forces, some of whom are
present here today. Their commitment and courage in the
name of justice, equality and freedom — whose benefits are
not accorded to all peoples in the world — are worthy of our
The Speech from the Throne is an important moment in
our country's democratic life. Through the Speech from the
Throne, the Government shares its vision with Canadians.
And it is thus that we open the Second Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament today.
Fifty years ago, on October 14, 1957, during her first visit
to Canada as its Sovereign, and for the first time in
Canadian history, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened
the First Session of the Twenty-third Parliament.
This room is filled with history, and we mark history
again this year as we celebrate a number of anniversaries. I
think, in particular, of the bicentenary of the Abolition of
the Slave Trade Act in the British Empire. I also think of the
sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Citizenship Act
on January 1, 1947. And I think of the fortieth anniversary
of the Order of Canada, whose one hundredth investiture
ceremony we will soon be celebrating at Rideau Hall.
And although Canada is a young country, its history is
marked by our unwavering willingness — which I was
touched to see all across Canada — to be and to continue to
be a generous society. A society that is concerned about the
well being of others. A society that is protective of the spirit
of this bountiful land, a deep respect learned from
Aboriginal peoples. A society that is committed to finding
solutions to today's challenges. A society that is open to
creation and quick to innovate. A society that is filled with
young people who have an unprecedented openness to the
STRONG LEADERSHIP. A BETTER CANADA.
Canada is the greatest country in the world, a nation of
enormous potential built through the imagination and
dedication of ordinary Canadians. Canadians who have
worked hard to build a better life for their families.
Canadians who have joined with their neighbours to
create a society founded on peace and prosperity.
Canada is their legacy to us.
Canadians expect their government to help them build on
this legacy. They want a government that sets clear goals
and delivers concrete results. A government that is
accountable. A government that puts Canadians and their
Our Government has worked hard to meet these
expectations. Canadians now have more money in their
pockets because taxes have been cut. Families now have real
choice in child care through the Universal Child Care
Benefit. Canadians now have a government committed to
helping them get the medical care they need more quickly. A
government that is tackling crime and making
The results are clear: the economy is strong, the
government is clean, and the country is united.
Now is the time to continue building a better Canada. In
the next session, our Government will focus on five clear
priorities: strengthening Canada's sovereignty and place in
the world; building a stronger federation; providing effective
economic leadership; continuing to tackle crime; and
improving our environment.
STRENGTHENING CANADA'S SOVEREIGNTY AND
PLACE IN THE WORLD
Canada is built on a common heritage of values, which
Canadians have fought and died to defend. It is a country
that continues to attract newcomers seeking refuge and
opportunity, who see Canada as a place where they can
work hard, raise families and live in freedom. Our
Government is resolved to uphold this heritage by
protecting our sovereignty at home and living by our
The Arctic is an essential part of Canada's history. One of
our Fathers of Confederation, D'Arcy McGee, spoke of
Canada as a northern nation, bounded by the blue rim of
the ocean. Canadians see in our North an expression of our
deepest aspirations: our sense of exploration, the beauty and
the bounty of our land, and our limitless potential.
But the North needs new attention. New opportunities
are emerging across the Arctic, and new challenges from
other shores. Our Government will bring forward an
integrated northern strategy focused on strengthening
Canada's sovereignty, protecting our environmental
heritage, promoting economic and social development, and
improving and devolving governance, so that northerners
have greater control over their destinies.
To take advantage of the North's vast opportunities,
northerners must be able to meet their basic needs. Our
Government will work to continue to improve living
conditions in the North for First Nations and Inuit
through better housing.
Our Government will build a world-class Arctic research
station that will be on the cutting edge of Arctic issues,
including environmental science and resource development.
This station will be built by Canadians, in Canada's Arctic,
and it will be there to serve the world.
As part of asserting sovereignty in the Arctic, our
Government will complete comprehensive mapping of
Canada's Arctic seabed. Never before has this part of
Canada's ocean floor been fully mapped.
Defending our sovereignty in the North also demands
that we maintain the capacity to act. New Arctic patrol
ships and expanded aerial surveillance will guard Canada's
Far North and the Northwest Passage. As well, the size and
capabilities of the Arctic Rangers will be expanded to better
patrol our vast Arctic territory.
Ensuring our capacity to defend Canada's sovereignty is
at the heart of the Government's efforts to rebuild the
Canadian Forces. Canada's men and women in uniform risk
their lives for their country, and deserve the equipment and
training required for a first-class, modern military. Our
Government will modernize Canada's military to provide
effective surveillance and protection for all of our country,
cooperate in the defence of North America, and meet our
responsibilities abroad to the United Nations and our allies.
Further, recognizing the important role that the Reserves
play in this modernization, our Government will work with
the provinces and territories to bring forward a
comprehensive plan to modernize reservist reinstatement
At the same time as our Government rebuilds to meet our
future needs, it will continue to improve support for our
veterans who have contributed so much to defending
Canada in the past.
Rebuilding our capabilities and standing up for our
sovereignty have sent a clear message to the world: Canada
is back as a credible player on the international stage. Our
Government believes that focus and action, rather than
rhetoric and posturing, are restoring our influence in global
affairs. Guided by our shared values of democracy, freedom,
human rights and the rule of law, our government will
continue Canada's international leadership through
concrete actions that bring results.
A commitment to action means that Canada must make
common cause with those fighting for the values we uphold.
Our government will immediately call upon Parliament to
confer honorary citizenship on Aung San Suu Kyi. Her long
struggle to bring freedom and democracy to the people of
Burma has made her the embodiment of these ideals and an
inspiration to all of us.
Nowhere is Canada making a difference more clearly
than in Afghanistan. Canada has joined the United Nations-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan because it is noble and
necessary. Canadians understand that development and
security go hand in hand. Without security, there can be no
humanitarian aid, no reconstruction and no democratic
development. Progress will be slow, but our efforts are
bearing fruit. There is no better measure of this progress
than the four million Afghan boys and two million girls who
can dream of a better future because they now go to school.
The Canadian Forces mission in Afghanistan has been
approved by Parliament until February 2009, and our
Government has made clear to Canadians and our allies that
any future military deployments must also be supported by a
majority of parliamentarians. In the coming session,
members will be asked to vote on the future of the
Canadian mission in Afghanistan. This decision should
honour the dedication and sacrifice of Canada's
development workers, diplomats and men and women in
uniform. It should ensure that progress in Afghanistan is not
lost and that our international commitments and reputation
Our Government does not believe that Canada should
simply abandon the people of Afghanistan after February
2009. Canada should build on its accomplishments and shift
to accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police so
that the Afghan government can defend its own sovereignty.
This will not be completed by February 2009, but our
Government believes this objective should be achievable by
2011, the end of the period covered by the Afghanistan
Compact. Our Government has appointed an independent
panel to advise Canadians on how best to proceed given
In our own neighbourhood, the Americas, Canada is
back playing an active role. The Canadian model of
constitutional democracy and economic openness
combined with social safety nets, equitable wealth creation
and sharing across regions has much to offer those countries
struggling to build a better future.
Canada's efforts in Haiti are a compelling example of
how we can work with our neighbours to ensure security
and development. Canadians understand that our country
has a responsibility to help countries struggling to make a
better life for their people — particularly in promoting
democratic governance in fragile states. In Haiti and
elsewhere, our Government will bring greater focus and
effectiveness to Canada's international assistance to ensure
that Canadians' money is well spent.
The best hope for fostering development and our
common security in the hemisphere and beyond is through
bolstering international trade. Through renewed focus on
trade and investment arrangements, Canada has already
secured a deal with the European Free Trade Association,
the first new agreement in more than half a decade. Our
Government will keep advancing Canada's trade interests in
the Americas and around the world to open up new markets
for Canada's innovators.
STRENGTHENING THE FEDERATION AND OUR
Next year we mark important anniversaries spanning our
country and its history. We will celebrate the 400th
anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. Canada was
born in French, reflected in the presence of francophones
throughout Canada, and in Parliament's recognition that
the Québécois form a nation within our united country.
We will also celebrate the 250th anniversary of the
establishment of Nova Scotia's representative assembly,
which marks the birth of Canadian parliamentary
democracy, and the 150th anniversary of the founding of
the Crown Colony of British Columbia.
John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier and the
other Fathers of Confederation brought many peoples and
regions together to create a federation that has served
Canadians well for 140 years.
Our Government is committed to strengthening that
union: it has concentrated on its national role by reinvesting
in neglected federal responsibilities, such as trade, defence,
public safety and security. It has put fiscal relations with
provinces and territories on a principled basis and increased
the level of transfers to support quality health care and
Our Government believes that the constitutional
jurisdiction of each order of government should be
respected. To this end, guided by our federalism of
openness, our Government will introduce legislation to
place formal limits on the use of the federal spending power
for new shared-cost programs in areas of exclusive
provincial jurisdiction. This legislation will allow provinces
and territories to opt out with reasonable compensation if
they offer compatible programs.
Our Government will also pursue the federal
government's rightful leadership in strengthening Canada's
economic union. Despite the globalization of markets,
Canada still has a long way to go to establish free trade
among our provinces. It is often harder to move goods and
services across provincial boundaries than across our
international borders. This hurts our competitive position
but, more importantly, it is just not the way a country
should work. Our Government will consider how to use the
federal trade and commerce power to make our economic
union work better for Canadians.
Canadians understand that the federation is only as
strong as the democratic institutions that underpin it. Our
Government believes that Canada is not well served by the
Senate in its current form. To ensure that our institutions
reflect our shared commitment to democracy, our
Government will continue its agenda of democratic reform
by reintroducing important pieces of legislation from the
last session, including direct consultations with voters on the
selection of Senators and limitations on their tenure.
In addition, the integrity of our federal voting system will be
further strengthened through measures to confirm the visual
identification of voters.
Our government supports Canada's linguistic duality. It
will renew its commitment to official languages in Canada
by developing a strategy for the next phase of the Action
Plan for Official Languages.
Our Government remains committed to improving the
lives of Canada's Aboriginal people. The Government will
reintroduce legislation to guarantee to people living on
reserve the same protections other Canadians enjoy under
the Canadian Human Rights Act. Our Government will also
present legislation on specific claims, which will finally bring
fairness and timely resolution to the claims process.
Our Government recently concluded a final settlement on
Indian Residential Schools and will launch a commission for
truth and reconciliation. The Prime Minister, on behalf of
our Government, will use this occasion to make a statement
of apology to close this sad chapter in our history.
PROVIDING EFFECTIVE ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP
FOR A PROSPEROUS FUTURE
This is a time of economic uncertainty and volatility in
the wider world. While the economic fundamentals of our
country are strong, Canada is not immune from this
turbulence. Canadians understand these challenges and
want a government that is a competent and effective
manager of the economy.
With Advantage Canada, our Government has laid out a
sensible economic plan to secure better-paying jobs and
solid growth for Canadians. The Minister of Finance will
soon provide a Fall Economic and Fiscal Update, which will
outline the next steps in that plan to ensure that Canada has
a modern infrastructure, an innovative and entrepreneurial
business environment, and a tax system that rewards hard
work — all based on a foundation of sound fiscal
As part of ensuring economic security for Canadians, our
Government will bring forward a long-term plan of broad-based tax relief for individuals, businesses and families —
including following through on its commitment to a further
cut to the GST. To complement this, our Government will
support Canadian researchers and innovators in developing
new ideas and bringing them to the marketplace through
Canada's Science and Technology Strategy.
Our Government will improve the protection of cultural and
intellectual property rights in Canada, including copyright
reform. Our Government will also take measures to improve
the governance and management of the Employment
The bedrock of our workforce is middle-class Canadians
and their families. These families worry about the rising
costs of higher education and the expense of caring for
elderly parents. They worry about affordable housing and
the number of homeless people on our streets.
Our Government is committed to helping Canadian families
meet their needs. The Working Income Tax Benefit will help
Canadians get back into the workforce, and the registered
disability savings plan will help families care for children
with severe disabilities. Our Government will continue to
invest in our families and our future, and will help those
seeking to break free from the cycles of homelessness and
Our Government will announce an infrastructure
program, the Building Canada Plan, to support our long-term growth. By investing in our transport and trade hubs,
including the Windsor—Detroit corridor and the Atlantic
and Pacific gateways, our Government will help rebuild our
fundamentals for continued growth.
The result will be safer roads and bridges, shorter
commutes, more competitive business, improved cultural
infrastructure and a better quality of life for all Canadians.
Our Government will stand up for Canada's traditional
industries. Key sectors including forestry, fisheries,
manufacturing and tourism are facing challenges. Our
Government has taken action to support workers as these
industries adjust to global conditions and will continue to do
so in the next session.
The agricultural sector will benefit from our
Government's promotion of biofuels and the new Growing
Forward agricultural framework. Our Government will
recognize the views of farmers, as expressed in the recent
plebiscite on barley, by enacting marketing choice. Together
with our Government's strong support for Canada's supply-managed system, these approaches will deliver stable,
predictable and bankable support for farm families.
Our mining and resource sectors present extraordinary
opportunities across Canada, and our Government will help
move forward by providing a single window for major
project approvals. With these increased opportunities for
employment, our Government will continue to foster
partnerships that help Aboriginal people get the skills and
training to take advantage of these job prospects in the
North and across Canada.
TACKLING CRIME AND STRENGTHENING THE
SECURITY OF CANADIANS
Canada was founded on the principles of peace, order
and good government. This is the birthright of all
Canadians; yet Canadians feel less safe today and rightly
worry about the security of their neighbourhoods and the
country. There is no greater responsibility for a government
than to protect this right to safety and security.
In the last session, our Government introduced important
and timely legislation to tackle violent crime. Unfortunately
much of this legislation did not pass. That is not good
enough to maintain the confidence of Canadians. Our
Government will immediately reintroduce these measures
with a single, comprehensive Tackling Violent Crime bill to
protect Canadians and their communities from violent
criminals and predators. This will include measures on the
age of protection, impaired driving, dangerous offenders
and stricter bail and mandatory prison sentences for those
who commit gun crimes. Canadians expect prompt passage
of this crucial legislation.
Our Government will go further with a Safer
Communities strategy to deal with the critical intersection
of drug, youth and property crime. Our Government will
strengthen the Youth Criminal Justice Act to ensure that
young offenders who commit serious crimes are held
accountable to victims and their communities. Our
Government will introduce tough new laws to tackle
property crime, including the serious problem of auto
theft. New measures to address elder abuse and to curb
identity theft will also be introduced. Our Government will
implement the National Anti-Drug Strategy giving law
enforcement agencies powers to take on those who produce
and push drugs on our streets.
In addition to tougher laws, our Government will provide
targeted support to communities and victims. It will help
families and local communities in steering vulnerable youth
away from a life of drugs and crime, and the Anti-Drug
Strategy will help to treat those suffering from drug
addiction. It will again ask Parliament to repeal the
wasteful long-gun registry. Our Government will also
ensure effective law enforcement — starting with resources
to recruit 2,500 more officers to police our streets.
The concern of Canadians in protecting our communities
extends naturally to protecting our country against threats
to our national security: those who would attack the
peaceful pluralism of our society through acts of terrorism.
Canada has experienced the tragedy of terrorism before. The
report from the public inquiry into the Air India bombing
will be an important contribution to safeguarding the lives
of Canadians in the future.
Our Government will address Canadians directly on the
challenge of protecting our free and open society with a
statement on national security. The Government will
introduce legislation to make sure that Canada has the
tools it needs to stop those who would threaten our cities,
communities and families, including measures to strengthen
the Anti-Terrorism Act and to respond to the Supreme
Court decision on security certificates.
IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH OF
Threats to our environment are a clear and present
danger that now confronts governments around the world.
This is nowhere more evident than in the growing challenge
of climate change.
Our Government believes that action is needed now to
ensure our quality of life, particularly for those most
vulnerable to health threats from the environment — our
children and seniors.
Climate change is a global issue and requires a global
solution. Our Government believes strongly that an effective
global approach to greenhouse gas emissions must have
binding targets that apply to all major emitters, including
Canada. Canada has already engaged the international
community at APEC, the G8 and the United Nations and
will continue to press for a new international agreement that
cuts global emissions in half by 2050.
As we pursue a global consensus, Canada is acting even
more aggressively at home. Our Government will implement
our national strategy to reduce Canada's total greenhouse
gas emissions 60 to 70 per cent by 2050. There will be a 20
per cent reduction by 2020. Our Government will bring
forward the elements from Canada's Clean Air Act, which
had all-party consensus, for parliamentary consideration.
This strategy will institute binding national regulations
on greenhouse gas emissions across all major industrial
sectors — with requirements for emissions reductions
starting this year. Our Government will also bring forward
the first-ever national air pollution regulations. In so doing,
our Government will put Canada at the forefront of clean
technologies to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas
emissions. Our Government will also establish a carbon
emissions trading market that will give business the
incentive to run cleaner, greener operations.
At the end of 2005, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions
were 33 per cent above the Kyoto commitment. It is now
widely understood that, because of inaction on greenhouse
gases over the last decade, Canada's emissions cannot be
brought to the level required under the Kyoto Protocol
within the compliance period, which begins on January 1,
2008, just 77 days from now.
The world is moving on to address climate change and
the environment, and Canada intends to help lead the effort
at home and abroad.
Beyond regulating greenhouse gases and air pollution,
our Government has also acted to protect sensitive areas,
including a massive expansion of Nahanni National Park,
and preserving the Great Bear Rainforest, Point Pleasant
Park and Stanley Park. Through our new infrastructure
plan, our Government will promote a cleaner environment
by investing in public transport and water treatment, and by
cleaning up contaminated sites. A new water strategy will be
implemented to help clean up our major lakes and oceans
and to improve access to safe drinking water for First
In the past, environmental legislation and regulation have
had little impact because they have lacked an effective
enforcement regime. In the coming session, our Government
will bolster the protection of our water and land through
tougher environmental enforcement that will make polluters
Environmental protection is not just about protecting
nature. It is about the health of Canadians. Recent events
have called into question the safety of basic products such as
food for our families and toys for our children.
Our Government shares the concern of parents about the
safety of consumer products and food. Canadians should
expect the same standards of quality from imported goods
as they do from products made at home. The Government
will introduce measures on food and product safety to
ensure that families have confidence in the quality and safety
of what they buy.
CONCLUSION: THE NORTH STAR
Canadians can be proud of their country and its
achievements. Working together we have built a nation
that is prosperous and safe; a land where merit trumps
privilege; a place where people from around the world live in
harmony; a federation that is united at home and respected
Like the North Star, Canada has been a guide to other
nations; through difficult times, Canada has shone as an
example of what a people joined in common purpose can
achieve. Yet Canada's greatest strength lies in its energy and
determination to move forward and build a better future.
Our Government is committed to strong leadership to
realize that future. A Canada proud of its leadership in the
world and confident in its economic future. A Canada built
on a strong federation and a robust democracy. A Canada
that is safe for our families and healthy for our children.
Canadians, standing on a proud history, look onto a
horizon as limitless as the promise of our country. It is up to
us to build on the legacy we have inherited, to seize the
opportunities of the future, and to bring about an even
better Canada for our children.
May your deliberations be guided by Divine Providence,
may your wisdom and patriotism enlarge the prosperity of
the country and promote in every way the well-being of its
The House of Commons withdrew.
Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to retire.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour
to inform you that Her Excellency the Governor General has
caused to be placed in my hands a copy of her Speech delivered
this day from the Throne to the two Houses of Parliament. It is as
Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this
speech be taken into consideration?
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government)
That the speech of Her Excellency the Governor General,
delivered this day from the Throne to the two Houses of
Parliament, be taken into consideration at the next sitting of
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government)
That, pursuant to rule 85(1), the Honourable Senators
Bacon, Carstairs, P.C., Cowan, Fairbairn, P.C., Fraser,
Nancy Ruth, Segal, Stratton and Tkachuk be appointed a
Committee of Selection to nominate (a) a senator to preside
as Speaker pro tempore and (b) the senators to serve on the
several select committees, except the Committee on Conflict
of Interest for Senators, during the present session. The
Committee of Selection will report with all convenient speed
the names of the senators so nominated.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators,
to adopt the motion?