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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 9

Thursday, November 1, 2007
The Honourable Rose-Marie Losier-Cool, Speaker pro tempore


Thursday, November 1, 2007

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



Remembrance Day

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, on November 11 Canadians will gather at cenotaphs in every province and territory, including the National War Memorial in Ottawa, to honour our fellow citizens who died in service to our country in times of war and conflict. Remembrance Day gives each of us the opportunity to pay solemn respect to the over 100,000 soldiers throughout our history who have given their lives fighting terror, brutality and oppression around the world.

We will remember the 71 soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2002, and the ultimate sacrifice they have made in helping the Afghan people to rebuild their war-torn country. The recent losses of these brave Canadian Forces members have made all Canadians, young and old, more keenly aware of those unfinished lives and the deeply felt pain and pride of their family members and comrades who are left behind.

Honourable senators, 2007 marked the ninetieth anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was considered a turning point in the First World War and it helped to shape Canada as a nation. However, Canada paid a heavy price at that battle. On Easter Monday 2007, we remembered the battle that began at dawn on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, and ended with the loss of 3,598 Canadian soldiers.

Although the events of World War I took place nine decades ago, Canadians have not forgotten and will never forget the sacrifices of the past. Our veterans are vigilant in reminding Canadians of the great debt that we owe to our country's fallen soldiers. We proudly join Canada's servicemen and women, past and present, in remembering those who willingly went overseas on our behalf but sadly did not come home.


Honourable senators, the theme of this year's Veterans' Week is simple and powerful. It is a phrase we all know — "Lest we forget."

This phrase is, of course, the reason why we mark Veterans' Week and Remembrance Day — to ensure that those who have lost their lives in defence of our freedom and democracy will never, ever be forgotten.

On Remembrance Day, we think of these thousands of young Canadians and how their lives might have been had they not been cut so short. It is with a heavy heart that we pay tribute to them and thank them.


Winnipeg—Third Annual Nygård for Life Pink and White Charity Ball

Hon. Rod A. A. Zimmer: Honourable senators, on Friday, September 21, I attended, with my guest Carisa, the third annual Nygård for Life Pink and White Charity Ball, Winnipeg's largest and most prestigious charity event, held at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Nygård International hosted a sell-out crowd of 1,200 guests who attended the gala fashion show and dinner — including VIPs, Nygård associates, suppliers and customers — all dressed in pink and white in support of breast cancer awareness and research.

The evening began with Jim Bennett, President and CEO of Nygård, presenting a cheque to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in the amount of $600,000. The high-energy fashion show featured proud cancer survivors as guest models.

Nygård International was founded by Peter Nygård in 1967. Over the past 40 years, it has grown to be the number one sportswear manufacturer in Canada.

Nygård International has its world headquarters in New York City's Times Square. It also has complete design, production and distribution facilities in Winnipeg and Los Angeles, sales and marketing offices throughout Canada and the United States and extensive operations throughout the Orient and Mexico.

Although Peter Nygård's great success in the business world is impressive, his commitment to charitable causes, notably breast cancer, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. As a touching finale to the fashion show, Peter Nygård paid a heartfelt tribute to his lifelong personal hero and breast cancer survivor — his mother, Hilkka Nygård.

As part of the company's ongoing global campaign to increase awareness and support of breast cancer, an exclusive, one-of-a-kind "goddess gown" specially designed by Peter Nygård was raffled off, with all the proceeds donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Honourable senators, the magnitude of Peter Nygård's contribution sets the bar extremely high for corporate giving and clearly brings us closer to a cure for this tragic and terrifying disease. As a cancer survivor myself, I am truly grateful for his generosity and commitment to such a worthy cause — breast cancer awareness and research.

Centres of Excellence

Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: On October 15, Industry Minister Jim Prentice fulfilled a promise that was made in Budget 2007 by announcing $105 million for seven Centres of Excellence that are focused on priority areas in research and commercialization for Canada.

These priority areas are key to developing our entrepreneurial advantage — an important component of Canada's new Science and Technology Strategy. This strategy will encourage innovation in the private sector and create partnerships among organizations that are critical to our growth and development.

While our public spending on research is comparable to the G7 countries, our private sector invests far less than it should. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to correct that situation.

Canada is also a middle-of-the-pack performer when it comes to business expenditures in research and development relative to gross domestic product, ranking 14 in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and six in the G7 in 2004.


The seven Centres of Excellence include the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital; affiliated with the University of Toronto, which institute works to strengthen knowledge translation in health care; the Brain Research Centre at the University of British Columbia; the Canada School of Energy and the Environment at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge; the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, affiliated with the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa; the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University; the National Optics Institute in Quebec City, the mission of which is to give business a competitive edge by developing innovative solutions and technology platforms using optics and photonics; and the Life Sciences Research Institute in Halifax, affiliated with Dalhousie University.

Honourable senators, these initiatives will encourage the research from which will grow tomorrow's innovative, life-saving discoveries. I note that one of the centres listed is focused on knowledge translation in health care. I hope that someday we will have a national knowledge translation network across Canada for health research discoveries, and thus improve our health system while reaping the economic benefits to our country.


Women's History Month

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, the month of October gave us the opportunity to acknowledge, commend and celebrate the many generations of women who helped build Canada and make it one of the most free, fair and prosperous countries in the history of humankind.

This year, Women's History Month recognized the participation of immigrant women in building our nation, reminding us of the important role these women have played and continue to play in Canada's political, economic and cultural life. It was also an occasion to reflect on the number of challenges they have faced and to highlight the courage and determination they have shown in taking their rightful place.

In addition to the significant contribution these women have made to our country, this year's theme, "Celebrating Immigrant Women," reminds us that Canada is a wonderful welcoming land where immigrant women can soar to reach the stars. I think, for example, of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, two immigrant women who became Governors General of Canada.

Designated in 1992 to commemorate the Persons Case and the official recognition of women as persons under the law, Women's History Month gives us the opportunity to celebrate the progress made in women's rights and to examine the challenges that remain. It is also a chance to celebrate the collective power of women of the past and present.

To adapt a quote from writer Milan Kundera, "The struggle of a woman against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." Let us remember all the struggles that have paved the way for women's equality, and remember the invaluable contribution of immigrant women who have chosen Canada as their new home.


Grosse Île Immigration Centre

Hon. Pat Carney: Honourable senators, the Canada-Ireland Parliamentary Association recently visited Grosse Île, Quebec. Grosse Île is the historic Canadian immigration station located on an island in the St. Lawrence River. The parliamentary association was accompanied by His Excellency Declan Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada.

The low-lying island was the first and final contact with Canada for thousands of Irish immigrants who died from the ravages of the 19th century famine years — disease, poverty and the conditions of the coffin ships that transported them to Canada. Of the 7,553 who are buried at Grosse Île in graves stacked five deep, 5,424 died in the peak famine year of 1847. Some of my Irish kinsmen were among them.

It was a fiercely wet and windy day when the parliamentary group disembarked on the wharf under the huge Celtic cross imported from Ireland and mounted on Quebec granite on the bluff that guards the small harbour. Some 4 million immigrants passed through Grosse Île during the period 1832 to 1937, when the immigration station was closed.

Inherited memories haunt what is now the Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada. Yet, when I asked Parks Canada guide Phillipe Gautier, who has Irish ancestors, what his reaction to the island was, he said, "Hope." The Irish and other immigrants came with hope in their hearts for a better life, or one in Heaven, and those who survived contributed greatly to the building of Canada.

I had a three-fold reaction to this visit. First, this is one of the most under-reported and murderous episodes in Canadian history. Second, the site is a tribute to the pioneers of public health in Canada who have helped to eradicate so many of these dreadful diseases. Third, the memorial is a tribute to the general concern and outpouring of help from Canadians of that time, both French and English.

We read about eyewitness reports of slick, excrement-slippery floors; the lack of straw for beds; the lack of spring water, which forced patients to lap water out of ditches like dogs; children dying in dirty rags; starvation; and the constant lack of nursing care.

Last evening, on Halloween, my Casey cousins and I explored the graveyard of St. Patrick's Church in Fallowfield, and found the grave of Darby Kelly, the first of our family to come to Canada during those famine years. Beside him is the grave of his son Michael, who survived the journey. Two daughters died in the coffin ships.


We should remember the dead of Grosse Île, but we should honour those who went on to make a new life. "Hope is the main emotion I feel," said young guide Phillipe. "Hope kept them going forward."


The Honourable Bill Rompkey, P.C.
The Honourable Peter A. Stollery
The Honourable Francis Fox, P.C., Q.C.

Congratulations on Thirty-fifth Anniversaries of Election to Parliament

Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, after yesterday's tributes to our colleague and friend, Senator Rompkey, I took the liberty of finding out which other senators here had the honour of being elected for the first time in 1972.


Having sat in the other place with Senator Rompkey, I want to join my colleagues in congratulating him on his work and support for Labrador and all of Canada. The travelling alone puts him in a class all his own. Félicitations, cher collègue!

My first surprise in doing this research was noticing that my friend and colleague, Senator Stollery, had also been here for the same period of time, having also faced the voters of Trinity-Spadina in 1972 in his first of four successful bids. He continued on for 35 years in the Parliament of Canada.

Between cycling across Russia to touring in South America, he found time to commit himself to helping people around the world, particularly in Africa. We often refer to the Segal report, but I think even Senator Segal would admit that the report on Africa was supported by the work that Senator Stollery completed. I want to thank Senator Stollery and ask this house to adopt the report as soon as possible.

I had the honour of sitting with Senator Stollery in the other place and serving with him here on the Foreign Affairs Committee.


Thirty-five years of public life is extraordinary. I would like to congratulate him, too.

As I was researching this, I was surprised to see that our colleague and friend, Senator Francis Fox, despite his 10-year absence from Parliament, also celebrated his 35th anniversary of political life this year.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Dawson: He, too, was elected in 1972 and was a member of the other place until 1984, when we both went back to work in the private sector.

I can assure you that, during his temporary absence from Canada's Parliament, Senator Fox continued to work for Quebecers and Canadians by remaining active in the Liberal Party, of course, and by sitting on numerous boards. He volunteered with Montréal International and with the Montreal harbourfront project, where he demonstrated his commitment to serving his fellow Canadians.

Let us not forget, that after working in the private sector, he came back here to serve with Prime Minister Paul Martin.

I know that he is a humble man, but on behalf of this chamber and all Canadians, I would like to thank him sincerely for his dedication to the people of Canada and Quebec.


Remembrance Day

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I would like to add to the statement on Remembrance Day made by my leader.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Remembrance Day meant mostly casting our minds back to the monumental conflicts of the First and Second World Wars. With each day that passed, the memory of these conflicts naturally receded, until war for many Canadians, I am sure, seemed like ancient history. Bravery and sacrifice on the scale that was required of our soldiers during those wars seemed impossible to imagine, and something that a new generation — today's "coddled" generation — could never rise to.

That type of thinking was wrong on all accounts. International terrorism has raised its ugly head, and war has once again become very real for Canadians. Like those earlier conflicts, this war against terrorism is not a battle we sought, nor one we desired, but neither is it one we turned away from.

Canadian soldiers, like those in last century's wars, have answered the call in Afghanistan. Like their forefathers, they have acquitted themselves with honour, bravery and perseverance in the face of terrible hardship.

Too many of them, as we know all too well, have also made the ultimate sacrifice. That is more than enough to earn them our respect, and it surely has. We grieve their loss, and we sympathize with their families.

This year on Remembrance Day, we will remember and honour them just as we have those who have died in past wars. I also hope that each and every day as this war progresses we will think of them and of their fellow soldiers who are sacrificing so much on our behalf. God bless the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.



Defence Construction (1951) Limited

2006-07 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2006-07 annual report of Defence Construction (1951) Limited.

Citizenship and Immigration

2006-07 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the annual report to Parliament on immigration for 2007.



Departmental Performances

2006-07 Annual Reports Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): For those with time on their hands this weekend and who want to peruse a few documents, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the departmental performance reports for the period ending March 31, 2007.

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Authorize Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee to Study Policies in Order to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration be authorized to examine and report on changes to Senate policies necessary to incorporate into the 64-point travel system for individual senators and into committee travel budgets the costs of purchasing carbon offsets that meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also meet internationally recognized standards and certification processes;

That the committee also evaluate, as a further means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the possibility of expanding the use of teleconferencing and other technological systems to reduce the need for witness travel to Ottawa; and

That the committee present its final report to the Senate no later than December 12, 2007.


The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

Alleged Cash Payments—Judicial Inquiry

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last night, and previously in The Globe and Mail, disturbing information has come to light about a former Prime Minister of this country. There is now undeniable proof that Mr. Mulroney received a cash payment of $300,000. Even the leader, a well-known Mulroney friend, cannot deny it any longer.

Given the fact that Mr. Mulroney benefited from a $2 million settlement from the Government of Canada, based on what now seems to be erroneous information, will this government call a judicial inquiry to clear up the matter once and for all? We have a judge with time available by the name of Justice Gomery, who would be ready to preside over such a group.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. The matter of Mr. Mulroney's settlement with the previous Liberal government is a matter of record. It was in connection with the Airbus matter. The allegations that she presently makes have nothing to do with Airbus. The honourable senator knows this.


The issue before us at the moment is an agreement that Mr. Mulroney entered into as a private citizen in the private sector. It has nothing to do with the government. Mr. Mulroney issued a statement last night which I would urge all honourable senators to read.

Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney are presently before the courts on this matter and there is no further response that can possibly be made.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, as we know, the minister across the floor is a former senior advisor in the Mulroney PMO and is now a member of the Harper cabinet and is reportedly, according to rumour, in regular contact with Mr. Mulroney. Has Mr. Mulroney ever discussed with the Leader of the Government in the Senate these financial arrangements with the Government of Canada in regard to cash payments from Mr. Schreiber?

Senator LeBreton: The answer is no.

Secretary of State for Seniors

Increase to Guaranteed Income Supplement

Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Secretary of State for Seniors.

As I walked to Parliament Hill this morning, I realized that the cold of winter will soon be biting at our heels. Too many Canadians will feel the bitter cold in the months ahead: Homeless youth, single mothers, those who are addicted and, sadly, almost 1 million senior citizens.

For almost 1 million senior citizens there was no comfort in the economic statement announced by Canada's government on October 30, 2007. There was no real or fair relief in the tax cuts announced, although I know the honourable leader will remind us that the basic personal exemption will be $9,600 retroactive to January 1, 2007; and $10,100 on January 1, 2009.

Honourable senators will remember that the Old Age Security payment and the Guaranteed Income Supplement total only $1,136.33 at present. Just like the GST cut, this means pennies for our poor seniors — almost 1 million elderly men and women who deserve better than to be left out in the cold by a cold-hearted government.

The honourable leader will tell us that the Guaranteed Income Supplement is indexed to inflation currently and that it increased by $18 per month in January 2007. While elderly benefits are projected to grow by $1.7 billion, at 5.8 per cent, and by an average of 4.8 per cent in the next five years, what this really means is that the elderly population is growing rapidly and consumer prices are growing astronomically.

Therefore, honourable senators, we do not need to hear these data again from the honourable leader. What we do need to hear is why this government, with a budget surplus of $1.6 billion this year, did not substantially increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for our neediest seniors, who are realizing how cold it is and how difficult life will be in the coming months.

Why did the Secretary of State for Seniors not insist that those for whom she should speak ought to receive comfort and hope from a surplus of $1.6 billion?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, the economic update statement that was announced earlier this week by Minister Flaherty, is a commitment to a statement made in the Speech from the Throne that we would engage in broad-based tax cuts.

I have spoken to several seniors about this economic statement. They are very much affected by the cut to the GST. In addition, the government will continue the practice of the GST rebate cheques, which seniors very much appreciate.

As was stated by the Minister of Finance, these are broad-based tax cuts. We have had budgets in 2006 and 2007. At the moment the Minister of Finance is engaged in budget consultations with other ministers and various interest groups in preparation for Budget 2008. That is where sectoral issues are addressed.

I am inclined to repeat what Senator Trenholme Counsell outlined, in terms of highlighting certain initiatives the government has implemented for seniors. These initiatives, by the way, are very popular with seniors.

We introduced pension income splitting a year ago yesterday, and increased the age credit by $1,000. We increased the age limit from 69 to 71 for converting an RRSP. We created the National Seniors Council, which has already met. The last meeting was held in Nova Scotia.


We increased the funding to the New Horizons for Seniors Program projects by $10 million. We introduced Bill C-36, which was passed in May, making it easier for seniors to apply for and receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Last year, we introduced a targeted initiative for older workers, which is about to report under the able chairmanship of the honourable senator's fellow New Brunswicker, former Senator Erminie Cohen. The Speech from the Throne addressed an area in which I have taken a particular interest, namely, the issue of elder abuse.

I will quote from The Globe and Mail of September 2006 regarding what the leader of the Liberal Party, Stéphane Dion, said, although he was not the leader at that point:

At a recent meeting with representatives from a seniors group, he wasted little time before rejecting their suggestion to have a cabinet minister for the elderly. "Please, do we have a better topic?" he asked impatiently.


Funding for Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: I did not receive an answer to my question. I asked why this government did not increase the GIS. Income trusts and tax savings do not at all affect the almost 1 million seniors on the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the poorest of the poor.

With respect to the GST cut, if seniors spend $500 a month, which they cannot spend because they are paying either their taxes, or their rent or whatever it is, they would save $5. Yes, that would buy a loaf of bread, but what else would it buy? Perhaps it would buy two loaves of bread. That is a help; there is no doubt about that.

I have not received an answer to my question. Those of us in this government who have a heart have to look at the poorest senior members of our population, and we have to find a way to do more.

My supplementary question goes back to June 14, 2007, for which I was promised a delayed answer. It is again for the Secretary of State for Seniors, who must be concerned about palliative care. There will be a wonderful international conference beginning on Sunday in Toronto. Why did the Secretary of State for Seniors and her government eliminate the core funding for the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and allow federal funding to be slashed from $150,000 to $200,000 a year to a paltry $40,000 this year for two small projects? That is a cut of 75 per cent from the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. Does the Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State for Seniors not realize the value and the importance of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. However, as the senator obviously does not pay much attention to what the government is doing in this area, I will inform her again on another matter. During the last session I pointed out to Senator Trenholme Counsell what our government is doing through the Department of Health and the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. In response to her questions at that time, I replied that our government is committed to ensuring quality health care for Canadians, including end-of-life and palliative care.

Health Canada continues to fund palliative care projects and work with its partners in efforts to improve palliative care. The federal government is providing $41.3 billion over 10 years to the provinces to help enhance access to quality health care, including home palliative care services. Human Resources and Social Development Canada administers the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits Program, which allows Canadians to take time away from their jobs to care for their gravely ill loved ones and seniors.


Senator Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, I should like to hear the Secretary of State for Seniors speak to the value of this important organization that has worldwide attention, and to say "yes" or "no." Yes, the government gave $15,000 to this mammoth, week-long conference in Toronto but is that enough? What does the minister really feel about the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the leadership, coordination, vision and hard work they are giving to this country?

Senator LeBreton: I answered that question before, honourable senators, when I said that any organization that works to improve the lives of any Canadian and, in particular, senior Canadians is to be celebrated and applauded for their good works.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Emirates Airline and Group. His Royal Highness is in Canada to inaugurate the first direct flight from Toronto to Dubai. He is accompanied by His Excellency Hassan Mohammed Obaid Al-Suwaidi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Canada. They are guests of the Honourable Senator Marcel Prud'homme, P.C.

On behalf of all senators, welcome.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Public Safety

Border Services Agency—Crossing Delays—Possible Referral to Committee

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I bring to the attention of the Leader of the Government in the Senate a disturbing Canadian Press story from Washington, D.C. that appeared in Quorum yesterday, headlined "Business leaders seek faster border crossings after long, costly delays." It appears that, despite the efforts by this government and its repeated promises to reduce delays at the border, the situation at the Windsor-Detroit crossing has grown worse of late. The same recent disastrous situation pertains to the Sarnia-Port Huron crossing. Stan Korosec, President of the Public Border Operators Association, described the recent situation of border delays at a meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington as "a summer from hell." At this meeting, business leaders on both sides of the border called for faster action to eliminate "bureaucratic hassles that are costing them big money." He went on to say that, "We've experienced the worst delays since 9-11." I repeat, honourable senators, "the worst delays since 9-11." He went on to say this, "The volumes are down, the delays are up. . . . We ain't seen nothing yet."

It has been estimated, honourable senators, that these border choke points are costing Canadians $1 million a minute. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce estimates that more than $1 billion dollars of direct business costs are thrown away on both sides of the border each and every month. The critics include former Conservative minister, Perrin Beatty. Even Minister Prentice acknowledged in Washington, according to this press report, that there are problems with the process.

Some say — again, in Washington — that perception of the Canada-U.S. accord, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America heralded by this government, has struck a fatal blow to the whole concept. It appears that Canadian government inaction or inattention has made the situation worse, and may have compounded the problem. Honourable senators, I can attest personally to this problem, as can other senators on both sides of the aisle who witnessed the situation first-hand, particularly in Windsor this spring.

My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is this: What is the government doing to reduce these choke points that reduce our productivity, choking the economy of Ontario and Canada, which depend so much on vibrant economic activity?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Thank you, honourable senator, for that question. There is no question that the situation at the border is causing great difficulties. The honourable senator has outlined some of them in his question. I am well aware of the comments and the concerns of the Honourable Perrin Beatty.


Minister Prentice was in Washington on Monday night and Tuesday of this week to address these issues. I will therefore take the honourable senator's question and concerns as notice and provide him with a response as to how the minister plans to address this issue and what the results were of his deliberations in Washington.

Senator Grafstein: Honourable senators, if the situation were not bad enough, it is worse. Yesterday, in an editorial in The Globe and Mail entitled "The Gaps in the Border," the Auditor General of Canada pointed out that the Canada Border Services Agency that was to integrate the three services of customs, immigration and import inspection has not yet been fully integrated. In her annual report, the Auditor General pointed out even worse consequences, which I will not go into.

In light of these startling revelations and the disastrous impact on our economy and possibly our security, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate refer this matter to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence or the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, which have recent and acknowledged expertise on the subject of the border?

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for the question. The government is well aware of the report of the Auditor General. As I mentioned yesterday, we take her findings seriously. Minister Day has taken concrete and solid measures to address the problems along the border. Obviously, there is still considerable work to be done in light of the thickening of the border, compounded by what is happening in the United States in the run-up to the presidential election.

I wish to put on the record the action that the government has taken to increase security at the border. We have invested $430 million in border infrastructure and security upgrades. As honourable senators know, we have armed border officers. We are hiring 400 officers to eliminate work-alone posts and we are adding 1,000 new RCMP personnel to address policing priorities, such as fighting drugs, smuggling and enhancing border security. We are investing $19.5 million in RCMP Integrated Border Enforcement Teams strategically located along the border to disrupt cross-border smuggling. All of these issues are focused on keeping our border safe from crime and smuggling.

However, in regard to the movement of goods and services across the border and delays in the thickening of the borders in terms of our economic consequences, I will state again what I stated in my answer to the honourable senator's first question. This was an issue specifically dealt with by Minister Prentice when he was in Washington on Tuesday, and I would appreciate it if the honourable senator would allow me the opportunity to obtain a briefing note from Minister Prentice as to what measures were proposed to deal with this serious problem.

Senator Grafstein: Senator Kenny has led an excellent series of studies, reported with recommendations, in the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, many of which have not been implemented. Members of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce have also looked at this question with respect to another aspect. To my mind, this is not a question of bipartisanship; this is a question of vital national importance.

I will certainly await the honourable leader's response. I hope she will respond quickly. I request that the government give consideration to the suggestion that it would be a simple thing to refer the matter to either the Defence Committee or the Banking Committee so they can address this issue immediately. That would help Canada and the ministry to understand exactly what is happening at the border.

Those of us on this side and some on the other side know exactly what is happening at the border, but the bureaucrats and the ministry do not. I say that not from second-hand experience but from first-hand experience. Senator Moore, Senator Mahovlich and certain senators on the other side have been involved in this effort with me. When we see something with our own eyes and we hear the government saying something else, we need to have the officials before the Senate to address this problem. This is an important issue. I await the honourable leader's response and will return to this question.



Saskatchewan—Equalization Payments

Hon. Robert W. Peterson: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week when I posed a question in regard to inequities in the equalization formula for Saskatchewan, the minister referred me to Budget 2007, which she stated contains $878 million in the current fiscal year. I looked at the document and there is no such figure in the budget. In fact, the supposed $878 million is a total fabrication. It includes some old money, some new money and some recycled money. It includes federal transfers and other types of federal programs totally unrelated to equalization. It includes the hypothetical subsidies to businesses that do not even exist. It even includes the hypothetical value of corporate tax cuts that have nothing to do with "spending," as the minister claims. As well, the alleged figure of $878 million is not for one year, but rather is spread over five years. Of this amount, only $226 million is directed to equalization. That is a far cry from the $800 million that Saskatchewan is entitled to if non-renewable resource revenue is removed, as promised, from the calculation.

The Prime Minister published a document in 2005 in which he pledged there would be no caps on equalization. Why is Saskatchewan capped while other provinces are not? Why did the Prime Minister fail to tell Saskatchewan the truth?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I will repeat what I said when I answered the honourable senator's previous question on this subject: Saskatchewan is receiving the largest per capita gain of any province under the fiscal balance package. Restoring fiscal balance brings federal support for Saskatchewan to $1.4 billion in 2007-08, including, as the honourable senator said, $226 million under new equalization, $756 million under the Canada Health Transfer, $75 million for infrastructure, and $342 million for the Canada Social Transfer, including additional funds for post-secondary education and child care. Through Budget 2007, Saskatchewan is receiving $24.8 million for the Wait Times Guarantee Trust, which it will use to help to reduce wait times for cardiac bypass surgery. The province will also receive $44.4 million for projects to help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which should please Senator Mitchell. This funding will directly help the people of Saskatchewan.

I also remind the honourable senator that the previous Liberal government denied the existence of the fiscal imbalance for Saskatchewan altogether.

Senator Nolin: That is your government.

Senator Peterson: The honourable leader and I seem to agree to disagree. Is there a committee to which this matter could be referred for greater clarification?

Senator LeBreton: I am not in the business of referring matters to committees.



Support for Manufacturing and Forestry Sectors

Hon. Lise Bacon: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In the Speech from the Throne, presented on October 16, 2007, the government promised to support the manufacturing industry, and the forestry industry in particular.

The economic and fiscal update presented on Tuesday by the Minister of Finance completely overlooked those industries, which are facing unprecedented crises. The Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, Raymond Bachand, said he was very disappointed by the Canadian government's failure to act. Why did the government abandon Quebec in this file? When will the government start putting its money where its mouth is, in terms of support for the manufacturing sector?


Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I wish to reiterate that the announcement of Minister Flaherty this week was not a budget, but rather an economic update. The economic update committed to deliver on a promise in the Speech from the Throne to provide broad-based tax cuts. There is no question that the manufacturing sector and the forestry industry are experiencing severe difficulties, which the Prime Minister has acknowledged.


As the Minister of Finance has reported, and as I responded in an earlier answer, at the moment Minister Flaherty is conducting consultations with the various sectors as he prepares for the budget in 2008.

The intent of the tax measure in the financial update was simply to provide broad-based tax relief. It in no way diminishes the importance the government will place on the manufacturing and forest industries, that, as the Prime Minister and every minister that is involved in these sectors have stated, are in very difficult circumstances indeed.


Senator Bacon: The economic update presented by the Minister of Finance contains no targeted measures for the troubled sectors. Of the 300,000 jobs lost in the manufacturing industry, 130,000 were in Quebec. When will the federal government intervene to help the manufacturing sector in the very short term?


Senator LeBreton: Again, the intent of the tax measure in the economic update was to provide broad-based tax relief for all Canadians. It did not target specific sectors. The Minister of Finance made it clear in his budget consultations, as has the Prime Minister, that the forestry sector and the manufacturing sector are particularly affected at the present time, although they all benefit from the broad-based tax cuts to small business, corporations and individuals.

In response to the economic statement this week by Minister Flaherty, the President of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association said:

The reduction in the federal corporate tax rate is an extremely important step in sustaining Canada's ability to retain and attract business investment. It keeps us in the game as countries around the globe are lowering their tax rates to do the same. . . .

I also want to point out to Senator Bacon that in Budget 2007, we introduced an accelerated capital cost allowance which allows manufacturers to write off their investments in equipment over two years to encourage new economic investment and to create jobs. If honourable senators will recall, this initiative which is worth $1.3 billion, was extremely well received by business.


Income Trusts—Change in Tax Treatment

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is about accountability and trust. Exactly one year ago this morning, Canadians woke up to what was, for many, a financial nightmare: the announcement by this government of a tax on income trusts.

By the time of the last election campaign, many Canadians had already begun to invest for their financial security in income trusts. During the last election campaign many of those Canadians increased the proportion of their savings that were in income trusts, and many more Canadians moved their savings into income trusts.

The tax on income trusts happened because an economist named Stephen Harper and the political party of which he is the leader had told them that this was a safe place to put their money — that if Canadians invested there for their financial security, they had nothing to worry about. The Honourable Ralph Goodale, the former Liberal finance minister, had already said that after careful consideration the Liberal government would not tax income trusts, and Canadians received a similar and unequivocal message from Stephen Harper.

In a Conservative Party of Canada backgrounder of December 9, 2005, Mr. Harper said:

A Conservative government will preserve Income Trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them. Only the Conservatives will give seniors security by pledging to levy no new taxes on Income Trusts.


In a speech on the same day Mr. Harper said,

Whether it is death taxes, or taxing income trusts, a new Conservative government will never let this happen.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame, shame.

Senator Banks: He repeated that undertaking in speeches all across the country — "a new Conservative government will never let this happen."

On January 13, 2006, he said, "We will help Canadians benefit from their own savings and not monkey around with their income trusts."

Well, what happens —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I am sorry, Senator Banks, but the time for Question Period has nearly expired and I want to give the Leader of the Government a chance to give a short answer.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, the question was so lengthy that it may take me a little more than a minute to respond, but this is important.

The fact is that the government acted to restore balance and fairness to the tax system, and this was supported by all provinces. Minister Flaherty levelled the playing field between corporations and income trusts —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The time for Question Period has expired.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this is the second day in a row that the Speaker has allowed a question to be asked at the very last second of Question Period.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

Senator Comeau: Let me make my point, please.

Senator Banks went almost two minutes over the 30 minutes. I have a stopwatch; I was checking on it. Senator LeBreton was asked to give a very short answer and after 20 seconds, the Speaker asked her to sit down.

I raise this as a point of order with the suggestion for the Honourable Speaker that if she is going to allow a questioner to proceed after the 30 minutes has elapsed, she at least provide the same amount of time for the Leader of the Government in the Senate to respond to the question. Better yet, as soon as the 30 minutes have expired, Your Honour should call an end to Question Period, which is clearly set out in the Rules of the Senate.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I will ensure that my watch is coordinated with the clock. The Speaker has a new watch. Perhaps the Speaker pro tempore will also purchase a new watch.

Senator Banks: I rise to address the point of order.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Points of order are not to be raised during Question Period.


Library of Parliament
Scrutiny of Regulations

Membership of Joint Committees—Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that the following message had been received from the House of Commons:

ORDERED,—That the list of members and associate members for Standing Joint Committees of the House be as follows:


Members: Mike Allen, Gérard Asselin, Carolyn Bennett, Gerry Byrne, Blaine Calkins, Ken Dryden, Cheryl Gallant, Peter Goldring, Gurbax Malhi, Fabian Manning, Louis Plamondon, Denise Savoie—(12)

Associate Members: Jim Abbott, Harold Albrecht, Dean Allison, Rob Anders, David Anderson, Dave Batters, Leon Benoit, James Bezan, Steven Blaney, Sylvie Boucher, Garry Breitkreuz, Gord Brown, Patrick Brown, Rod Bruinooge, Ron Cannan, Colin Carrie, Rick Casson, Michael Chong, Joe Comuzzi, John Cummins, Patricia Davidson, Dean Del Mastro, Barry Devolin, Norman Doyle, Rick Dykstra, Ken Epp, Ed Fast, Brian Fitzpatrick, Steven Fletcher, Gary Goodyear, Jacques Gourde, Nina Grewal, Art Hanger, Richard Harris, Luc Harvey, Laurie Hawn, Russ Hiebert, Betty Hinton, Rahim Jaffer, Brian Jean, Randy Kamp, Gerald Keddy, Wajid Khan, Ed Komarnicki, Maka Kotto, Daryl Kramp, Mike Lake, Guy Lauzon, Denis Lebel, Pierre Lemieux, Tom Lukiwski, James Lunney, Dave MacKenzie, Inky Mark, Colin Mayes, Ted Menzies, Rob Merrifield, Larry Miller, Bob Mills, James Moore, Rob Moore, Richard Nadeau, Rick Norlock, Deepak Obhrai, Brian Pallister, Glen Pearson, Daniel Petit, Pierre Poilievre, Joe Preston, James Rajotte, Scott Reid, Lee Richardson, Gary Schellenberger, Bev Shipley, Carol Skelton, Joy Smith, Kevin Sorenson, Bruce Stanton, Brian Storseth, David Sweet, Myron Thompson, David Tilson, Bradley Trost, Merv Tweed, Dave Van Kesteren, Maurice Vellacott, Mike Wallace, Mark Warawa, Chris Warkentin, Jeff Watson, John Williams, Lynne Yelich


Members: Sue Barnes, David Christopherson, Ken Epp, Carole Freeman, Monique Guay, Rahim Jaffer, Denis Lebel, Derek Lee, Rick Norlock, Pierre Poilievre, Paul Szabo, Tom Wappel—(12)

Associate Members: Jim Abbott, Harold Albrecht, Mike Allen, Dean Allison, Rob Anders, David Anderson, Dave Batters, Leon Benoit, James Bezan, Steven Blaney, Sylvie Boucher, Garry Breitkreuz, Gord Brown, Patrick Brown, Rod Bruinooge, Blaine Calkins, Ron Cannan, Colin Carrie, Rick Casson, Michael Chong, Joe Comuzzi, John Cummins, Patricia Davidson, Dean Del Mastro, Barry Devolin, Norman Doyle, Rick Dykstra, Ed Fast, Brian Fitzpatrick, Steven Fletcher, Cheryl Gallant, Peter Goldring, Gary Goodyear, Jacques Gourde, Nina Grewal, Art Hanger, Richard Harris, Luc Harvey, Laurie Hawn, Russ Hiebert, Betty Hinton, Brian Jean, Randy Kamp, Gerald Keddy, Wajid Khan, Ed Komarnicki, Daryl Kramp, Mario Laframboise, Mike Lake, Guy Lauzon, Pierre Lemieux, Tom Lukiwski, James Lunney, Dave MacKenzie, Fabian Manning, Inky Mark, Colin Mayes, Réal Ménard, Serge Ménard, Ted Menzies, Rob Merrifield, Larry Miller, Bob Mills, James Moore, Rob Moore, Deepak Obhrai, Brian Pallister, Daniel Petit, Joe Preston, James Rajotte, Scott Reid, Lee Richardson, Gary Schellenberger, Bev Shipley, Carol Skelton, Joy Smith, Kevin Sorenson, Bruce Stanton, Brian Storseth, David Sweet, Myron Thompson, David Tilson, Bradley Trost, Merv Tweed, Dave Van Kesteren, Maurice Vellacott, Mike Wallace, Mark Warawa, Chris Warkentin, Jeff Watson, John Williams, Lynne Yelich.

That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours of the names of the Members to serve on behalf of this House on the Standing Joint Committees.


The Clerk of the House of Commons



Canada-United States Tax Convention Act, 1984

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Angus, seconded by the Honourable Senator Brown, for the second reading of Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Canada-United States Tax Convention Act, 1984.

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

Hon. James S. Cowan: I move the adjournment of the debate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those in favour of the motion will signify by saying "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed to the motion will signify by saying "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

Motion agreed to, on division.

Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded by the Honourable Senator Brown:

That the following Address be presented to Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada:

To Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.


We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Senate of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, never in recent history has the North been given such attention by the national government.


The need for northern development and the importance of the North for Canadian sovereignty are the first issues highlighted in the Throne Speech. The Governor General concluded by referencing the North Star, clearly placing Canada as a northern country. The Prime Minister could do no better than to follow the trail first laid out by northerners.

We are proud to be Canadians, and we are especially proud to be northern Canadians, who are different people than southern Canadians. We love the cold and our unique northern environment. The rigours of living in an inhospitable environment have taught us important lessons: namely, that helping each other, sharing and getting along are important and key qualities that characterize northerners.

We also recognize the strength that comes from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together to create a common vision. A give-and-take society is the kind of society we have created in the North; people have learned to get along. A person would not survive by acting otherwise in the North. Northerners are intimately linked to the land and the environment in which we live, and are sensitive to anything that might threaten them.

People from across the North are amused and even bemused by the sudden interest in our lands, especially as it relates to Arctic sovereignty. Northerners, especially Inuit and Inuvialuit, have been occupying the far reaches of the Arctic since time immemorial. The presence and strength of their communities — from Griese Fjord to Pond Inlet, from Cambridge Bay to Sachs Harbour — should be Canada's strongest argument for Arctic sovereignty.

Therefore, while I welcome the proposals — some new, many previously announced — to purchase new patrol vessels, expand the Arctic Rangers program and establish a world-class Arctic research station, I am concerned that there is little being done about the social and economic development of Northern territories. There are people living in the North, and these initiatives must be conducted with respect for and in consultation with them.

Too often the Prime Minister makes surprise announcements during hastily-arranged trips and imposes technocratic-like decisions without regard for the real concerns of the people. I heard it said this summer when the Prime Minister came to the North, without announcing or telling the leaders that he was coming. The Prime Minister was insensitive and, to a certain extent, rude in coming to the North without an appropriate announcement to the people there.

Although the Throne Speech promises an integrated northern strategy, it is rather vague on how this will be accomplished. Will northerners and their governments be fully consulted and involved in developing this strategy? There is a fear in the North that all the decisions will be made from afar, in Ottawa. In the past, when we were under the administration of the federal government, decisions were often poorly made. The government should have had the common sense to seek advice from and the involvement of the people of the North. In that regard, people are afraid that this scenario is happening again; that decisions are being made by the federal government without the involvement of local people.

A new government has just been elected in the Northwest Territories that will soon be determining its priorities. These priorities will certainly include the completion of a devolution agreement to hand over the control of lands and resources, and will also include a fair and reasonable deal on resource revenue sharing. These two issues are important matters with which the governments in the North have been dealing. I hope that the federal government will recognize that the issues of revenue sharing and devolution are important, and I hope the government will deal with them appropriately.

Premier Roland has identified the development of clean hydroelectric energy as a priority both for economic development and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I hope that the federal government will quickly sign on as a partner in this venture.

There is a tremendous need in the Northwest Territories to complete a highway down the Mackenzie Valley. Chief Cece MacAuley was here a couple of weeks ago, and I spent a day with her in meetings with Minister Strahl and other federal officials. Her main concern was the need for a highway down the Mackenzie Valley, which would make it possible for communities to be linked, have cheaper food and a means of transportation. This is a critical issue for the people of the North that I hope the federal government will deal with.

I would be remiss if I did not gratefully acknowledge the Prime Minister mentioning in the Throne Speech that the government would apologize to residential school survivors. I have to assume the Prime Minister read my speech on this matter last spring when I said the government should do this.

I am also pleased the government will be introducing legislation to deal with specific claims. This is a current issue in Canada. The Okas and Caledonias of the world exist because of unresolved historical grievances, as it were.

Our Senate committee dealt with the specific claims issue and we made recommendations. We are pleased that Minister Prentice and the government have stated that they will follow the recommendations made by our committee to resolve that issue.

As I commend the government, I wish to acknowledge Minister Prentice, in particular, who has had many years of experience in this area, for acting boldly and progressively on this critical issue. I hope that Minister Strahl will continue his good work.

The budget speech referred to measures to continue improving housing on reserves, and access to clean drinking water. These statements are welcome, and they would improve the economic life of Aboriginal people. I highly recommend to the Prime Minister and the government that they refer to the Senate report entitled A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out, which would provide the Prime Minister with excellent solutions as for building Aboriginal economies.

Climate change and what can be done about it is a major concern for northerners. I made a number of trips into the Arctic last spring. In all the areas and communities that I visited, people said that the North is definitely changing; weather patterns are changing. Northerners are beginning to see erratic weather signs such as earlier warming in the year, and signs of birds and insects that they had never seen before.

The Throne Speech claims that progress has been made and will be made in the area of climate change. The Prime Minister is a late convert to the issue and, while better late than never, I hope the government will continue in this vein. The Prime Minister's targets are modest and his timetable long. Significant cuts to emissions will not occur for another 30 or 40 years.

I assure honourable senators that climate change is real and it is accelerating, as I said earlier. There are signs everywhere in the North. Scientists are documenting dropping water levels in lakes and rivers, the collapse of glaciers and the retreat of sea ice. All this is happening faster than originally predicted.

Much has changed in just the last 10 years. It is hard to imagine what 40 years will bring if we do not act swiftly. As set out by Sir Nicholas Stern in his paper entitled Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the world has a clear choice: Pay billions now to slow climate change or pay trillions later to adapt to it. Protecting our current energy-intensive economy at the expense of our future well-being may prove not to be the wisest choice.


Therefore, the government must act quickly to ensure that the massive oil sands development in Fort McMurray, which already has huge environmental impacts, not only in northern Alberta but across the Arctic, are developed in a carbon-neutral manner that protects water supplies.

To be fair, the proposals in the Throne Speech are headed in the right direction. Binding targets for real cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are essential, but I am not convinced that the aspirational goals that the Prime Minister has embraced, along with George Bush of the U.S. and John Howard of Australia, will get us there.

Putting Canada at the forefront of clean technologies is exactly where we should be headed. However, again, the Throne Speech gives no indication that the government will make the necessary investments in research and development.

According to some estimates, the last two years of government dithering on the subject of climate change has already cost Canadian businesses billions of dollars. Our competitors in England, Sweden and California have a head start now, and we may find it hard to catch up.

Moving forward on an emission-trading market is also a useful initiative, but it must be broad and rigorous enough to work. A national or, better yet, international trading system, and not a bunch of weakly-linked provincial ones, is essential. British Columbia has become tired of waiting. I understand that B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell is in Portugal this week to sign on to the European system.

In other areas of the environment, I am encouraged by the government's determination to strengthen legislation to protect our water supplies. Fresh water is vital for life but, as reported in The Globe and Mail last week, it is not something we can take for granted. Again, the Honourable Senator Jerry Grafstein has been at the forefront in sounding the alarm about clean drinking water.

With respect to the issue of parks, I was pleased to see mention of preservation of the Great Bear Rainforest. I went to British Columbia last year to learn more about the initiative, and I was impressed by the way environmentalists, industry, government and First Nations were able to come together to protect essential areas of northern B.C. while still providing for economic development for local people through mining, forestry and tourism.

I hope that a similar approach will be taken in the expansion of the Nahanni National Park, an issue that is important for the region I come from. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the Deh Cho government when it is created through the current land claims and self-government process. Whether that government will be self-sustaining depends on the use of minerals, oil and gas and other resources to create wealth, jobs and business opportunities for its people.

The mineral and energy resource assessment recently completed on the Nahanni Parks region shows many areas with significant potential for mineral development in the proposed expansion area. Minerals such as copper, gold, zinc, uranium, lead and tungsten are scattered throughout the area. I have no doubt that further analysis will reveal even more resources.

If Parks Canada and the more radical environmental organizations have their way, all this wealth will be swept up in a huge expansion of the park to more than seven times its present size. Once the park boundaries are set, it will be impossible to change them.

In my view, this is nothing but a land grab by Parks Canada and environmentalists. People need to work to eat. A park, while good for its own reasons, has few employees and puts limited dollars in the local economy. The government must ask itself whether the local people and Canada itself will benefit more from the sustainable development of these resources, or from creating a massive park in the wilderness.

Canada and the Deh Cho leaders need to examine seriously whether giving up all those resources is truly in the best interests of the local people.

The Throne Speech proposes to create a new, single window for major project approvals, whether for mines, energy development or infrastructure. It must promote administrative efficiency while remaining sufficiently rigorous to protect the environment. It must also respect the right of Aboriginal people, especially those established through a land claims agreement.

The Throne Speech contains many other plans, and I look forward to contributing to those debates as specific bills move through the Senate.

Before I close, I mention that as a northerner, Dene and Metis, I support the government to end the long-gun registry. It has been a sore point for many people in the North who depend on the use of guns daily to hunt and put food on the table.

I will summarize by saying the government proposes to take certain initiatives in the North involving the military, scientific research, deep sea ports and parks. While this is good, it needs to be —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Sibbeston's time has expired. Is the honourable senator asking for more time?

Senator Comeau: He is asking for one minute.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: One minute.

Senator Sibbeston: While these initiatives are good, they need to be mindful of the people who occupy and live in these far northern lands.

There was mention of the North Star being a guide at the conclusion of the Throne Speech by Her Excellency. Incidentally, something more glamorous and spectacular are the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights. I add that while it is good to arouse the attention and imagination of southern Canadians by looking at the North Star, instead of looking up, look to the inhabitants of the North — the Inuit, the Inuvialuit, the Dene, the Metis, and more recently, the non-native people who have made their homes in the North. Look to their toughness, hardiness, vitality and friendliness in accommodating people of the North. They represent all that is good about Canada, people who have a fierce understanding and love for their land. Let that be your guide. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Continuing debate.

Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I rise today to voice my opinion on an important issue of current national debate. On October 17, Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition, presented his response to the Speech from the Throne for the Second Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament. I would like to state my agreement with the key messages that Mr. Dion emphasized.

The Liberal Party has many points of contention with regards to the government's current plan for Canada, such as their failure to keep Canada's Kyoto commitments and the government's unwillingness to commit to ending the Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan by February 2009. Furthermore, the government failed to rise to action in the combat against poverty in Canada.

In addition to these points, they have not attempted to create plans to improve further the economic situation of Canadians, especially for those in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

The Liberal Party of Canada will continue to be clear on its point of view on these important issues while also maintaining the best interests of Canadians. The bottom line is that Canadians do not want another election. Canadians want Parliament to do its work. They want a Parliament that works for them. The Liberal Party of Canada will continue to work for what Canadians want.

Three federal elections in three and a half years, in addition to the numerous provincial elections that have taken place recently, are too many in the minds of Canadians.

I agree, honourable senators: It is time for Parliament to continue to do what it does best, work for Canadians.

On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.


Heritage Lighthouse Protection Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Pat Carney moved second reading of Bill S-215, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses.—(Honourable Senator Carney, P.C.)

She said: Honourable senators, Bill S-215, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses, represents the seventh attempt in seven years to grant protection to heritage lighthouses of Canada.

It was introduced six times previously, including during the second session of the Thirty-sixth Parliament, the first, second and third sessions of the Thirty-seventh Parliament, the first session of the Thirty-eighth Parliament, and it has proceeded to committee stage in the other place. It never received Royal Assent before those parliaments rose.

This bill, co-authored originally by me and the late Senator Forrestall, has been introduced five times by him and twice by me. Some of you will remember that it grew out of the ad hoc Senate committee on light stations back in the 1990s, when we found out this was a problem for Canada's marine heritage. It has been a very long time in the parliamentary mill.

Despite the broad support for this bill from all parties in Parliament, we have not yet been able to enact it thus far. I am looking for your support to expedite the passage of this bill through the Senate and back to the other place, where it was before committee in June, before Parliament was prorogued. As a matter of fact, I was called as a witness to appear before the committee. On Thursday, I was at the airport en route to Ottawa when I found out that Parliament had been prorogued on the previous Wednesday night.

I have the agreement of the opposition parties, in principle, to bypass the committee process in the Senate and proceed directly to third reading, since it is exactly the same bill which we debated and amended less than a year ago.

It should be noted that this bill is supported in principle by the departments of Environment, Heritage and Fisheries and Oceans. I have letters of support from the ministers.

This bill, as many of you know, addresses the problem that lighthouses, once deemed to be surplus to operational requirements, have no mechanism for their preservation. In the past, they have been blown up, burned down, jack-hammered or left prey to vandalism because the operational departments have no means of transferring them to interested community groups, except on a specific regional, ad hoc basis. These groups are prepared to take on their maintenance.

The present heritage designations are too restrictive to apply to most and do not provide a public consultation process, nor for the actual preservation of the light stations.

For instance, in Canada there are only 14 light stations that have national historic site status, but they are not actively protected and preserved. They may have rotting shingles and they may have mould because of moisture. This is the case, for instance, for the lighthouse on Seal Island on the southern tip of Nova Scotia where we have lost a historic lighthouse by demolition by neglect. On Seal Island, Canada's second oldest lighthouse lies in pieces, the victim of dry rot. Such cases are a national shame. Each day that goes by without the kind of legal protection afforded by the heritage lighthouse protection bill is a day that lighthouses are left exposed to neglect.

The main feature of this modest bill is to facilitate the designation and preservation of heritage lighthouses as part of Canada's culture and history, and to protect them from being altered or disposed of without public consultation.

The bill defines heritage lighthouses as a lighthouse designated as a heritage lighthouse under this Act, and includes any related built structure that is included in the designation.

The bill also provides that heritage lighthouses be reasonably maintained, which seems to be an issue of concern. It defines "alter" as "to change in any manner," and includes "to restore or renovate," but does not include the performance of routine maintenance and repairs.

I could take the time of the Senate to read the other main parts of this short bill, but it would serve the interests of the Senate better to move this bill back to the committee stage in the other place, where it was prior to prorogation, and where it is entitled to be reinstated by virtue of Standing Order 86.2 of the other place if it passes through the Senate within 60 sitting days.

The key to this bill is that the Canadian public will be consulted before any lighthouse is disposed of and destroyed. Currently there is no method by which to protect those structures.

As I have mentioned many times in this house, on my own island the second lighthouse keeper's house was simply demolished without our knowledge, although housing is terribly scarce on our island. That facility could have been used by us. Many communities have examples of lighthouses that have been burned down or destroyed.

There is very strong public support for this bill. People do not recognize that there are lighthouses in all provinces except Alberta and Saskatchewan. There is an old and famous lighthouse just off Toronto's waterfront.

Groups advocating for successful passage of this bill include the Heritage Canada Foundation, the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society, whose president Barry MacDonald worked with Senator Forrestal on the original bill many years ago, and the Nature Conservancy of British Columbia.

Many coastal communities and even some inland communities have urged passage of this bill because some lighthouses, which are surplus to the requirements of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans — this is true particularly of the East Coast — may be transferred to local communities and represent economic opportunities and jobs. For instance, off of the B.C. coast there is an operational lighthouse in the Gulf of Georgia, but it has been de-staffed. The Nature Conservancy of B.C. would like to take over the maintenance of that facility and run it as a tourist operation for mainly European visitors, who will pay money to go and sit on an island in the middle of the Gulf of Georgia. I already sit on an island on the Gulf of Georgia, so I understand the attraction. The money so raised would help preserve that lighthouse.

Other lighthouses on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts are still very important operational lights, providing vital navigation services to our maritime community, yet these light stations too are often in a state of decay, neglected by DFO. They include Race Rocks, off the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait in B.C. as you come in from the Pacific Ocean, which was built by the Royal Navy in 1860. While the site is managed by an educational institute as an environmental station, the light tower itself has experienced severe damage, since once the lightkeepers were removed and the heat turned off, the structure started to crumble.


Similarly, the roof of Point Atkinson, at the entrance to Vancouver Harbour on a point that was charted by Captain Vancouver, suffered severe storm damage last winter. Those lights are operational. It is important to note that the maintenance problems of operational lights have nothing to do with Bill S-215. That is important because government departments are trying to allocate costs to the heritage preservation bill that are not inherent to the legislation proposed. These problems with operational lights are problems of neglect by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, DFO, and they need to address them. It is a red herring to drag them into the issue of preservation of some of these lighthouses.

The Speaker in the other place has twice ruled that our various acts to protect heritage light stations are not money bills. If they were, they could not be introduced in the Senate. Yet DFO spokespersons, testifying before committees both here and in the other place, have repeatedly and erroneously inflated the potential costs inherent in the bill.

In past hearings, the false and misleading information that officials have presented includes the assertion that there are 750 lighthouses in Canada that would require funding pursuant to the provisions of this bill. This fabrication is deliberately designed to undermine support for the bill since the resulting cost estimates to protect them under the bill would be in the $384-million range, according to these officials. In fact, DFO evidence to the Senate committee states that the bill's definition of "lighthouse would comprise 256 light stations owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada and 504 aides to navigation owned by Fisheries and Oceans that the public perceives as lighthouses."

Inflating the number to 750 by adding flashing buoys and channel markers, is ridiculous and insulting to coastal Canadians, who know the difference between a channel marker bobbing around in the water and a light station at the transverse point of a difficult navigational area, and presumably members of this chamber know the difference too. In the discussion of the bills that have preceded this one, it was demonstrated that my colleagues definitely know the difference between a channel marker and a light station.

In fact, as I have said, only a few light stations would receive heritage status. Bill S-215 would provide community commitment and involvement and thus share the cost burden, whatever it might be. Heritage Canada Foundation's most recent magazine, which has been sent to each senator to show support for this bill, states:

The Heritage Canada Foundation says Canada is the only G8 country with no law protecting historic sites owned by the federal government. As of 1994, the U.S. counted 611 historic light stations. Today, one in seven American lighthouses over 50 years old is protected. The U.S. National Park Service released a lighthouse preservation manual in 1997 that covers how to deal with specific maintenance problems associated with the structures, including masonry, iron, wood, concrete and lanterns.

The maintenance costs of maintaining such lights can average about $2,000 a year. If you take DFO's own stated figures of 256 light stations in Canada and use the American figure of one in seven as heritage, in my mathematics we come up with 36 potential heritage light stations in Canada. That is a far cry from the 750 that DFO suggests.

I am asking honourable senators to help move this bill along. Another red herring I must point out to colleagues in this house is the environmental risks posed by the fact that some lighthouses may have lead paint. When I visited Peggy's Cove light station this summer, the postmistress told me that DFO officials were inspecting this world-famous facility and digging their penknives into the paint to determine if any lead paint was involved. Of course, it would have lead paint. It was built in the early 1900s. Anything before about 1950 in Canada had lead paint, including most of the Atlantic housing stock. We are not proposing demolishing half the housing stock in Atlantic Canada because at some time houses had lead paint. Treasury Board has ruled that the mitigating measure for risks posed by lead paint is a fresh coat of paint, and Parks Canada is my source for that information.

The substantive provisions of this bill remain the same as they were the past six times it was introduced, and each time it received unanimous support in this chamber. This bill was amended and passed by the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans less than one year ago, on December 7, 2006. Given the ample debate that there has been on the provisions of this bill, I hope that honourable senators will refrain from adjourning the debate today and support my forthcoming motion to allow this bill to proceed directly from second reading to third reading, without referral to committee in the Senate. I also hope that this bill can be read a third time at the next sitting of the Senate.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I move the adjournment of the debate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those in favour will signify by saying "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed will signify by saying "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

And two honourable senators having risen:

Hon. Terry Stratton: Honourable senators, as there are senators in the Victoria Building, there should be a 30-minute bell.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, it will be a 30-minute bell.

Call in the senators.


Motion agreed to on the following division:


Adams Hervieux-Payette
Andreychuk Hubley
Bacon Joyal
Brown Keon
Bryden LeBreton
Callbeck Mahovlich
Campbell Milne
Chaput Mitchell
Cochrane Moore
Comeau Munson
Cook Nancy Ruth
Corbin Nolin
Cordy Oliver
Cowan Pépin
Dawson Peterson
Day Poulin
De Bané Smith
Di Nino Stratton
Eggleton Tardif
Fairbairn Tkachuk
Goldstein Trenholme Counsell
Gustafson Watt—44





Banks Stollery—2


Kelowna Accord Implementation Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Larry W. Campbell moved second reading of Bill C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord.—(Honourable Senator Tardif)

He said: Honourable senators, as you already know, Bill C-292 made it to committee stage in the last session. I have no wish to repeat the speech I made on March 27, 2007 in its entirety. I should like, however, to reiterate that this is not a partisan effort. I strongly believe that it is in the interests of all Canadians that the Senate takes the time to review the benefits that would be derived from the Kelowna Accord.

Bill C-292 admittedly calls for the immediate implementation of the Kelowna Accord and requires that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development prepare a report reviewing the progress made by the Government of Canada in fulfilling its obligations under the accord. I ask honourable senators opposite to move this bill along to committee stage so the members of the committee will be able to finally take the time to study the intention of the bill and determine the implications of this proposed legislation.

I fully understand that the Conservative government has its own approach, which may lead to future improvements. However, the Kelowna Accord is a different strategy. The accord took a crucial and innovative step forward in addressing the lack of input from local communities and large segments of the Aboriginal population. In any development program, there needs to be agreement from both sides and participation from each party to ensure that, three or five years down the road, the institutions that are created do not simply fall apart.

We cannot continue to move forward if the beneficial commitments made by past governments are not fulfilled because of ideology. It is not fair to either the organizers of the conference, the bureaucracy that worked so hard in drawing up the strategy or the Aboriginal groups that dedicated their time and investment into the success of these initiatives. The government needs to build trust, instill a sense of cooperation, and give the communities a stake and a say in their future.

Honourable senators, this chamber sensibly saw fit to refer this bill to committee in the last session. I ask that Bill C-292 be allowed to move forward again to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, where, under the leadership of Senator St. Germain, we can continue to work on improving the lives of those who are most at risk in this great country.

On motion of Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.

Committee of Selection

Second Report of Committee Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded by the Honourable Senator Champagne, P.C., for the adoption of the second report of the Committee of Selection (membership of Senate committees), presented in the Senate on October 23, 2007. —(Honourable Senator Cools)

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I definitely wish to speak and I should like to raise a point of order regarding the second report of the Committee of Selection.

Honourable senators, it appears to me that this report is deeply flawed because it did not obey the Senate order of reference for committees and canvass every senator to ascertain their interest or lack thereof in committee membership. In Question Period, the government leader has consistently refused to answer questions about the government's attitude towards me. On Tuesday, October 30, the Government Whip, Senator Stratton, was most unclear. At page 119 of the Debates he said:

In all my years in leadership on both sides, every senator in this chamber, independent or otherwise, has received a form on which to indicate their preference for service on committees, in some form or other. We on the government side look after a certain number of independents, and I would be amazed if Senator Cools did not receive that form.

Declining to answer my question, he added:

I answered the one question, and that is all I will do.

Honourable senators I am absolutely certain that I have neither received nor seen any written solicitation of my interest to serve on committees. My staff has informed me yet again that they have received none and that they searched. The fact is that the legal and constitutional duty rests with the committee chairman to ascertain my interest or disinterest in direct contact with me. On Tuesday, the Chairman, Senator Segal, for whom I have great respect and affection, accepted full responsibility for this. I admire him. He said at page 117 of the Debates:

First, to the extent it turns out that Senator Cools was not canvassed, as I was informed that she was, let me accept full and complete personal responsibility for that oversight, which I do without exception and without any qualification.

Honourable senators, I note that the Selection Committee proceedings do not reflect any statement from him that he had canvassed me. The committee records of the debate are the true authority. The constitutional duty as assigned by the Senate to ascertain the interest, willingness and availability of all senators is not vested in the party leaders or the party leadership; it is vested with the Selection Committee chairman, as constituted and ordered by the Senate. That is the legal and constitutional position. Party caucuses are informal, non-legal entities whose wishes, while helpful to their memberships, do not bind the Senate. The Senate is bound by its own orders and law. The Senate ordered Senator Segal to canvass every senator. Consequently, the responsibility for ascertaining my interests in committee service rested with the chairman, Senator Segal. Senator Segal's responsibility could have been discharged by discussions between him and myself prior to the committee's adoption of the report. That would have been the proper course of action.

Honourable senators, it is well-established law that the Speaker or a committee chair must not put a question that is incomplete, defective or out of order. Sir Reginald Palgrave, in his famous chairman's handbook, said:

This is his duty, because he is, to this extent, responsible concerning the questions that he submits to the consideration of the meeting.

Honourable senators, the situation regarding the second report, already complicated, has become confounded by Tuesday's debate — so confounded as to invalidate the report and cause it to be null and void, ab initio. Tuesday's debate has established clearly that Chairman Segal had not spoken to me, as had no one on the government side. Further, both Chairman Segal and Senator Stratton expressed surprise that I had not received any questionnaire from some unknown staff of some unknown senator. Yet, knowing that they had received no completed questionnaire from me, neither chose to speak to me directly and to remove doubt. All of this is immaterial anyway, honourable senators, because the only solicitation and canvass that I am owed legally and formally is the one that I was owed from the chairman on behalf of the committee.

Honourable senators, the heart of the matter, and therefore the purpose of my point of order today, is the Speaker of the Senate and his position. On Tuesday, Senator Segal involved the well-respected Speaker of the Senate in this woeful tale. On Tuesday, October 30, I said:

I noted that Senator Segal has stated that I am an independent.


Immediately, Senator Segal responded to me. He said:

I believe the Rules of the Senate specify that the status of every senator is affirmed by that senator in their relationships with the table, and is not appropriate for anyone on either side to make a reference that has not already been undertaken by individual senators on their own behalf. I am not aware that she has done that.

Honourable senators, Senator Segal has invoked the Senate rules, the table and the Speaker. Senator Segal has asked the senators to countenance the table and the Speaker's role, further confounding the report and this proceeding. I believe there has been sufficient misunderstanding, mistrust and intrigue around this report and that the situation is so confounded as to put this report in that class of parliamentary proceedings that are called "impure or corrupted proceedings." Honourable senators, I wish to ask Her Honour to rule on this matter. I believe that the Senate is owed some clarification on this question. Specifically, I am asking Her Honour to clarify and rule on four points. I have great affection for the Speaker and for Her Honour, and I do not wish to involve Their Honours in this woeful tale, so I am asking them to clarify and rule on four points: First, the nature of my relationship with the table, and the meaning of Senator Segal's words about my affirmation in my relationships to the table; second, the role of that relationship with the table in the committee's consideration, or, rather, lack of consideration of myself for membership in committee; third, the role of the Speaker; and fourth the law and the Constitution for the reasons supporting Their Honours' ruling.

Honourable senators, I wish to read a letter that resonates with Senator Segal's statement. It is an email to Bruce Campbell, a member of my staff, from Stephen Ball of the Government Leader's office, sent on July 31, 2007. I note that, thankfully, it was not a letter to me, because I do not have those kinds of discussions with any staff.

The letter reads:

Hi Bruce,

I see that Senator Cools is still listed on the Senate website and on the parliamentary website as representing the Conservative Party of Canada.

It appears that the Speaker or the Clerk of the Senate would like to have written notification from Senator Cools before authorizing changes.

While she may be well aware of this, I would appreciate it if you would draw this to her attention.


Stephen Ball
Office of the Hon. Marjory LeBreton, P.C.

Honourable senators, I wish to record here that the Speaker of the Senate has never asked me for any such letter. Neither, honourable senators, do I believe that I owed the Speaker a letter. Interestingly, there is a previous and similar email dated July 4 to Bruce Campbell from Mr. Ball. It reads:

Hi Bruce,

When Senators cease to be members of the Conservative caucus, their names and the names of all their staff members are removed from the group — SEN C. I expect the same would apply to any senators who might leave the Liberal caucus, in that their names would be removed from — SEN LIBERAL.

A separate group was formed to accommodate Senators Murray, Atkins and Spivak and their staff.

Most senators who are not part of a caucus are to be found in the group — SEN IND.

You may wish to ask the people at Information Technology to add Senator Cools, yourself and any other staff members to that group.


Stephen Ball
Office of the Hon. Marjory LeBreton, P.C.

Honourable senators, I wish to be crystal clear that I am not asking the Speaker to rule on either the substance or the merits of my failed relationship with the Conservative caucus. To protect him, I have been specific to four points upon which I have asked the Speaker to rule. I have great respect and affection for Speaker Kinsella. Knowing that he is of the Conservative caucus and might have seen the widely distributed letter announcing that I was no longer a member of the national Conservative caucus, I feel a need to protect him, so I do not want him involved in any of that.

Honourable senators, in conclusion, I believe that this woeful situation is largely the result of this government's hopeless mismanagement in handling human relations. What we have before the Senate is a tangle created by the Conservative Senate leaders. It is the result of hopeless incompetence wrapped in intrigue. The situation has arisen because the Conservative members who organized the ending of my failed relationship with the Conservative caucus, and in their intrigue, bungled.

Honourable senators, I never resigned from the Conservative caucus. My membership was simply dissolved by an individual senator who is not even a member of the Government. Apparently, the Conservatives' bungled declaration of the ending of the relationship is not satisfactory to the Senate. As I had never resigned from the caucus, I had never written a letter to the Speaker, or to anyone, to inform or to ask them to remove my name. As I said, I had taken no action; I had not resigned, and neither had I been formally expelled.

Honourable senators, I wish to be crystal clear. I have accepted that I am out of that caucus. When one is unwanted, one knows. I have accepted that I am out of the caucus and that the Conservative members have put me out. The fact is that Conservative intrigue to expel me, without taking responsibility for that expulsion, ran into a self-created hurdle which they now seek to overcome. Apparently, because the Conservatives' contrived expulsion of me could not legally remove my name, I am still listed as a Conservative senator. Consequently, honourable senators, I would submit that much of this has to do with pressuring me to write to the Speaker.

Honourable senators, this continuing punishment of me, as embodied in the report of the committee, is related to the fact that the Conservative caucus — not the national caucus; most members of the national caucus do not understand what has happened — wishes to coerce me and to extract a letter from me to the Speaker of the Senate, asking him to remove my name from the list of Conservative senators.

As I said before, I never resigned from that caucus, despite remarkable disagreement. I do not believe that any letter from me, or any communication from me to the Honourable Speaker of this, the Honourable High Court of Parliament, should be corrupted by intrigue or compelled by coercion. Furthermore, honourable senators, a letter to the Speaker cannot be untrue. Honourable senators, such a letter from me would be untrue because, first, it did not happen; and, second, it would have the effect of legitimating all of the contrived and dubious actions, rather than individuals in positions of influence and leadership sitting down with me face to face and coming to a parting of the ways, they simply contrived to put me out and to make it appear that I had resigned.

Honourable senators, let us understand the difference between the formal and the informal state that goes on in this place.


Legally, such a letter to the Speaker from me, in addition to legitimizing all their contrived and dubious actions and accepting all of this, would then become the letter of resignation that the party never received from me. Let us understand that I do not accept the way that they have done that. If they knew anything about me, things could have been done much differently.

Honourable senators, my point is to ask the Speaker to look at this business of my relationship to the table and this affirmation that I seem to need from the table.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I had hoped that Senator Cools might have had an opportunity to look again to see whether she had received a communication regarding her committee preference. I do not think she has had that opportunity.

In respect of this issue, on Tuesday the honourable senator stated:

. . . I am not aware of, nor have I received any information from, my staff or anybody in my office to any such effect.

She was referring to whether she had been sent an email regarding her adherence to committee. She later said:

. . . I have been trying to understand why no senators have consulted with me to ascertain my interest in serving on committees.

On Monday, September 17, at 9:46 a.m., EST, the Conservative whip's office sent an email to all Conservative senators and their offices as well as to all non-aligned or independent senators and their offices. Again, the email was sent to all Conservative senators and non-aligned senators. It contained the subject line "committee preference" and was classified as having high importance. Senator Cools was included in the list of recipients.

Before continuing, I note that for more than five years the whips of both parties in this place have sent out all manner of notices and information via electronic mail. We are all in the 21st century and the reality is that, for the most part, email carries as much legitimacy and legal weight as correspondence sent via Canada Post. In fact, emails are much easier to trace than Canada Post correspondence which can be lost "in the mail" whereas emails cannot be lost easily. Anyone using email services understands that emails do not go awry.

The email in question included a printable attachment that requested honourable senators to complete the form and submit their choices. Indeed, the exact wording of the message was as follows:

Honourable senators, please indicate on the attached form which committees you would like to sit and return it to our office, Room 287-S Centre Block, by Monday, October 1, 2007.

Thank you.

This left a generous two-week period for honourable senators to contemplate for which committees they wished to request a position. It is worth noting that every non-aligned or independent senator responded to this request except, it would appear, Senator Cools.

Senator Cools: Always the exception.

Senator Comeau: In examining the email report that accompanies these communications, we found within the system that Senator Cools did receive the email — and this is what I am referring to, Senator Robichaud — it not only indicates that the email was sent and received, but also whether it was opened. Indeed, Senator Cools received the email but the message was not opened. The email was received by her office but not opened.

Therefore, email is much better than Canada Post because with Canada Post, we would not know whether the letter was received in her office. In this case, we know that the message was received by her office. Either she or someone else chose not to open it because the message was delivered to her computer but it was not opened and not read. I repeat the words "not opened." It is likely still there.

Simply failing to open her email does not absolve the honourable senator of her responsibility to submit her committee preferences.

For example, I received my email from the whip's office when my assistant forwarded it to my home, where I was at the time. I submitted my preferences to the whip's office and, a number of days later, my office received a call from Senator LeBreton to advise of the preferences that "had been chosen for me."

No one ever called to speak to me in person about this matter. All such correspondence was done by email and fax. In full respect for my leader, she did call my office but I was not in so I received the message on preferences through my staff. I was not consulted in person.

The honourable senator has been a member of this chamber for more than two decades, which is much longer than I. The process for gaining committee membership has not changed so greatly over that time that she could have possibly been confused about the process or the timing of these events. Such events have occurred at the outset of a new session of Parliament since the Senate began sitting in November 1867. That is quite a long time. Selection of committee membership is not one of the great mysteries of the Westminster system.

Honourable senators, allow me to provide a real-world example. We all receive utility bills through traditional and/or email services and if we do not open them, it does not absolve us of our responsibility to pay those bills. Simply put, just because I decide not to open my email, as seems to be so in this case, it does not mean that I am not responsible for dealing with its contents.

We know that the honourable senator is familiar with the committee preference process because she was a willing participant in submitting a similar form last year, of which I happen to have a copy, prior to the opening of the First Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament. If the honourable senator's staff has forgotten how to use a computer or email, perhaps she would allow them to take a course. I understand that the Senate's information and technology service is more than willing to offer one-on-one instruction. That was a "paid political advertisement" — I hope it earned me some brownie points with them.

All honourable senators in this place are mature adults. Surely we need not resort to chasing after members to finish their proverbial homework. Senator Cools noted yesterday that she found her omission from the second report of the Committee of Selection "most peculiar and odd." The only thing odd is that the honourable senator did not open and respond to the email in question or, at the very least, contact someone to discuss the committee process for independent or non-aligned members of this chamber.

I sincerely hope that the honourable senator and members opposite will not continue to hold hostage the work of our committees merely because of what is, at best, tantamount to a clerical error on the part of the honourable senator who happened not to open her mail.

The issue in regard to whether the honourable senator is a member of our caucus is not, obviously, a part of the point of order. The decision as to who belongs to a caucus is that of the caucus and not of the Speaker or of the table officers. I am quite sure that the other side will agree readily with me on this matter.


If one wished to become member of the Liberal caucus and his or her name is added to the Liberal caucus membership, the only way his or her name can be removed is if he or she puts it in writing to the Speaker. I am quite sure the other side would not want the Speaker to be the deciding officer as to whether one belongs to a caucus or not.

Caucus alone makes a caucus decision and I think that has to be resolved quickly. It is not a question of an individual member saying I wish to continue having my name in a caucus and for the Speaker of the Senate to decide whether that is the case or not.

Honourable senators, I think I have made my point. This is not a valid point of order. I believe that we should have a ruling on this matter.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are there any other senators who wish to speak on the point of order?

Senator Cools: I would like to respond.

I thank the Honourable Senator Comeau for his remarks. The only problem is that his remarks did not address anything that I raised. All that the honourable senator has established is that someone in my office did not open an email.

I would like to say something about this, honourable senators. I have never sent an email in my life, neither have I ever processed one. Senator Comeau's statement that I, Senator Cools, opened emails or that I did not do this or that is irrelevant. I made that point clear yesterday. I said there could be a mistake, and I will ask my staff to check again. However, all of that is immaterial at this late stage because the leaders on the other side have a habit of obfuscating issues by mixing the formal and the informal. Our system operates by an elaborate set of processes and proceedings; and alongside those, there are some informal ones.

The honourable senator may say that sending an email is a part of a process, but the real process as I tried to say before, and I thought I was crystal clear in saying, is that the only legal obligation — not personal obligation, not social obligation — that I was owed would have been direct communication with me from the chairman, Senator Segal, who was charged by order of this Senate to do so.

Besides, I was out of the country in the period of time leading up to our return. In any event, that responsibility cannot be overlooked and cannot be slighted away by any reference to what Canada Post declares or does not declare to be legitimate. Within the context of Parliament, which this is, and within the concept of Senate orders, that application is lame.

Honourable senators, I am going to say it again. I know of no email. I shall go back to my office and I shall inquire again, but it is still irrelevant. That is a red herring that is being passed around here by a senator who should know better; it mixes the formal and the informal processes.

Honourable senators, I have been clear that I was not asking the Speaker of the Senate to rule or to become involved in any business of membership in Senate caucus. The question concerns what Senator Segal said, questions related to him as chairman about the whole business of my treatment by the committee or the absence of treatment. That is what I was hoping we would get some clarification on.

Honourable senators, Senator Comeau has proved my point. He has proved that I never saw or heard or received an email. My office may have, but even that I still have to prove.

Second, the important point is that the committee, as did the chairman, still had a responsibility. Honourable senators, a little bit of courtesy could have dealt with the matter. For years around here, if you think somebody has forgotten or a senator is missing a vote, you run and you fish the senator out.

However, the real question that still remains for Her Honour to answer, which that side is not responding to, is the business of the affirmation of my relationship to the table. That is one of the unique constitutional questions that I was seeking an answer to.

Honourable senators, life is full of tragedies, and there are many ways to deal with many issues. I just want to say that in my view, Senator Comeau has proved my point, because he has totally avoided my constitutional and parliamentary questions.

The parliamentary question that I raised was that the committee itself, as embodied in its chairman, owed me a duty to canvass me.

Senator Comeau: We have heard this argument four times now.

Senator Cools: That did not happen, and I do not view an email as a canvass; because if the email failed, as it did, the chairman still has a responsibility. Also, honourable senators, I still never saw that email, and that is the end of it.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Cools, our rules allow that when the Speaker feels that the chair has heard enough to make a decision, it can.

Since last Tuesday night when you talked about the nominations, when the committee report was given out, I have looked at the rules. What we have now in front of us is the report. The dispute is over the nominations of the people who are on the committee. This report can be amended. I declare that there is no point of order.

Hon. Percy Downe: Question?

Senator Cools: I rise to speak to this report.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The debate is on the report of the Committee of Selection.

I will recognize Senator Downe, who has asked for a question.

Senator Downe: Your Honour, can someone from the government inform me why there is not a standing Senate committee on veteran's affairs?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament makes that decision.

Senator Comeau: Yes, and there is no Rules Committee right now.

Senator Downe: For clarification, somebody is presenting the report. Can they not speak to the report? Can they not defend the report — and who is that?

Senator Comeau: Adjourn it if you are not happy with it.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are there any other questions on the report of the Senate Committee of Selection?

Senator Downe: I will adjourn the report in my name.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, it is moved by the Honourable Senator Downe, seconded by the Honourable Senator Moore, 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: All those in favour of the motion to adjourn will signify by saying "yea."

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: All those opposed to the motion will signify by saying "nay."

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

A question has been asked on the second report of Senate Committee of Selection.


Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the second report of the Senate Committee of Selection presented by Senator Hugh Segal. This report names the senators recommended for membership on Senate committees. Membership on committees is a vital and important function of a senator, which carries with it the right to participate in committee debate, to question witnesses and to vote in committee proceedings. By its adoption, this second report becomes an order of the Senate, and the part of the law of parliament by which the Senate operates. This law authorizes some senators and prohibits others, particularly myself, from membership on Senate committees.

The grounds for my treatment have not been put before the Senate and have not been revealed to me, a senator barred from committees. I have been given no opportunity to answer or defend myself. This treatment is unacceptable.

Honourable senators, this report bars me from committee memberships for reasons that are unconstitutional, unparliamentary and unfair. This report offends the principles of equity, due process and fair dealing. It is the progeny of arbitrariness. Its treatment of me as a senator offends natural justice. Consequently, I will not support its adoption.

In my objection today, I shall also condemn the high-handedness of the Senate government leaders in removing my place from the front bench of this house without discussion with me and without my knowledge. They have moved me to a most undesirable seat from which it is extremely difficult to be seen and heard. I oppose this policy of intimidation, duress and subjugation. The policy of the Senate government leaders towards me is not based in the law and the Constitution, which eschew arbitrariness and seek to limit excess, abuse of power and violation of members of parliament. Their policy is based in human weakness and mean-spiritedness.

Honourable senators, I am Canada's first Black senator, North America's first Black female senator and a senior member of parliament. By Senate precedence, I am a senior and seasoned senator with much experience, skill and learning. Further, I hold significant public support and respect as a Black public woman. In contrast to being barred from committee membership, I should have first choice at committees, and should hold some rank, such as a committee chair. As a Black senator, I do not agree with this capricious and high-handed treatment. By this, the government shackles my independence, my political and juridical independence guaranteed by the Constitution, which I, as all here, am sworn to uphold and defend.

The government's capricious actions reveal a misunderstanding and a misstatement of party discipline. Party discipline is based on the independence of members of Parliament and cannot impair, imperil or prevent critical thinking. Intelligence and free speech are the foundation of Parliament and debate.

Honourable senators, there has been something strange and mysterious at work. Perhaps it was something in the air. It appears that some mysterious beings have wanted to obtain ends that they have decreed for me. They wish to extract decisions from me that I simply would not make. It is as though I have been cloned and that these Senator Cools clones make decisions about me, pretending they are my decisions.

Parliament Hill was alive with Senator Cools clones running about hither and thither resigning me from all manner of Senate memberships and activities.

Honourable senators, in the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance on September 26, 2006, Senator Terry Stratton, the Conservative caucus whip, resigned me as the deputy chair of that committee. The National Finance Committee proceedings, Issue 3, at page 3:37 reads:

Senator Stratton: I want to inform the committee that Senator Cools has decided to step down from her duties as vice-chair of this committee and work on this committee for the interim. I therefore, want to propose Nancy Ruth as vice chair.

Honourable senators, I did not resign or step down as deputy chair or as a member of that committee. I did not take those decisions. I did not give Senator Stratton any authority to do what he did, nor did I know what he was doing. Senator Stratton presented no resignation letter from me to the Senate Finance Committee, and the committee did not ask him for one. Senator Stratton must have been in contact with a Senator Cools clone.

Honourable senators, this audacious, invasive and arbitrary practice of resigning me was pressed into service again. On June 22, 2007, shortly after the Senate had adjourned for the summer and after I had left the office, Senate Conservative caucus chair David Tkachuk, by letter hand-delivered to my office, resigned me from the Senate Conservative caucus. His letter — really a guise of a letter to me — was intended for wide distribution. He wrote:

Dear Senator Cools:

As Caucus Chair, I am writing you regarding your status in Caucus.

Your vote against the Conservative Government's budget bill (C-52), along with a number of other government bills, is only the latest indication that you are no longer in agreement with the philosophy and direction that the Party has chosen.

Helping me toward this conclusion is your general disposition toward Caucus: You have not paid your dues nor have you attended a meeting since October 31, 2006. By all indications you are no longer interested in being a member of our Caucus.

As of today, I will consider your withdrawal official. I will advise the Caucus accordingly.


David Tkachuk
Senate Conservative Caucus Chair

cc: Hon. Marjory LeBreton, Leader of the Government
Hon. Gerald Comeau, Deputy Leader of the Government
Hon. Terry Stratton, Government Whip

Honourable senators, caucus membership is not based on any payment of membership fees. "Caucus dues" is his term for lunch monies. Further, Senator Tkachuk, a non-government member, wants me to believe that he could act solo on behalf of the government to put me out of the Conservative caucus. Honourable senators, the dreaded clones have struck again. Someone is making these decisions.

Honourable senators, this novel practice of resigning me, by now a bad habit, was pressed into service yet again, for a third time. Eager to join the "resigning me parade," National Conservative caucus chair, Rahim Jaffer, jumped aboard the parade float and resigned me from the national caucus. On June 22, shortly after Senator Tkachuk's letter, my office received Mr. Jaffer's email to all Conservatives. He or his staff wrote:


Please be advised that Senator Anne Cools is no longer a member of the National Conservative Caucus, effective immediately. For more information, please see attached letter from Senator Tkachuk's office.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the National Conservative Caucus Chair's office.

Honourable senators, clearly these three individuals, all Conservatives, unwilling or unable to obtain resignation letters from me, simply took matters into their own hands and executed the tasks themselves. It is settled parliamentary law that no senator can resign or retire another senator from the Senate or from any Senate body.

About the Senator Cools clones, I am the only person who can speak for Senator Cools — no one else can. All clones should evaporate. My resignations will always be under my own hand. Any decisions that imitate, mime or feign resignations from me are most improper, calculated and egregious.

Honourable senators, my membership in the Senate Conservative caucus was a decision of one man alone, Mr. Stephen Harper. Caucus chairs, Senate and national, simply have no role in deciding caucus membership, particularly mine. Caucus chairs are like shop stewards, the union representatives, intended to look after members. They are not the government's men. I do not accept the propriety or the legality of any feigned or mimed resignations in my name, intended to achieve the goal of my expulsion while creating the appearance that I had quit. Some Conservatives clearly wanted me out of their caucus, but were unwilling to sit down with me face to face and come to an agreement to part company. Wanting me gone, but reluctant to take the responsibility for such an expulsion, they contrived to mime, to imitate, to feign my resignation, causing it to sound and appear that I had quit.

However, I do accept, based on the strong evidence that I am unwanted in that caucus. I have simply been deleted, excised and abolished with no discussion with me.

Honourable senators, the human condition is perplexing. Many have pondered and prayed on its paucity. Human beings in positions of power frequently substitute their own partial interests for those of the public and are able to convince themselves of their own righteousness, justified by self-created reasons. The lust for power described by St. Augustine as the libido dominandi is a voracious human impulse, ready to devour anything and everyone in its path. Encounters with power indicate the measure of men and women. On this, Jacques Guillet, famous for his work on discernment and the journey of the human soul, said:

Finally, there is the darkness in man himself who is incapable of seeing his own heart clearly, incapable of grasping completely the seriousness of his actions and the results deriving from them.

The human psyche is an artful dodger. Often human beings do not know what is in their own hearts, or the pain and damage they inflict on their brethren. That is the mystery of life. The Senate government leaders' attempts to impair my ability to contribute to this place and to the public discourse are as obvious and transparent as they are heavy-handed and despotic.

Honourable senators, all senators are equal. The first principle of the law of Parliament is the protection of individual members from violation, intimidation and coercion in their parliamentary work, particularly from crown servants and ministers. Each member is inviolate. Senators and members owe loyalty, justice and industry to each other and to their leaders to the same degree as those leaders owe these duties to the members, but they do not owe allegiance. Allegiance is owed to the Queen and to God, but not to the Queen's servants, the ministers. Over the years, I have given, with all my heart, unflinching loyalty and faithfulness to colleagues, leaders and prime ministers, but I have not given allegiance. As a public woman who is Black, I have given generous, heart-felt public service to the people of this country.


Honourable senators, service is different from servitude. Some Conservative leaders falsely maintain that they are owed and can command unquestionable obedience from their members and supporters. This kind of obedience is an aspect of master-servant relationships but it is not an aspect of a caucus relationship. A caucus relationship is a collegial one. I give service but not servitude. I maintain that a master-servant relationship is not part of a relationship between parliamentary leaders and supporters, nor between members, ministers and Crown servants.

Due to my upbringing in the British West Indies, a plantation society founded on slavery, and because of the experience of the Caribbean Black people, particularly the free coloured peoples from whom I am descended and their historic opposition to indenture and noted commitment to public service and responsibility, I hold that a master-servant relationship in any form is not healthy to good governance and is anathema. Members of Parliament are morally and politically bound to apply their intelligence and full critical process to every measure before them.

I was raised in the strictest adherence to the constitutional principles in Barbados which, since 1639, has had a legislative assembly that is the oldest outside of England, and older than any in Canada. Honourable senators, my parliamentary roots are old, long and deep.

In closing, I note that my perspective was formed by my culture, my race and my education in the British intellectual tradition of criticism and self-criticism. This is my persona which, just like my skin colour, is the very essence of my being. No senator is any senator's master. No senator is my master, and I am the servant of none.

Debate in both Houses and the caucuses should be in accordance with well-understood principles and should proceed by the force of intelligence, the force of conviction and the force of moral character for the public good. Suasion and persuasion, not force and coercion, are the cornerstones of good human and political relations, which are vital to the healthy performance of party caucuses. An old maxim holds that a government only functions as well as its party caucus. The protection of Parliament's members to speak freely in debate is the first constitutional duty of every government.

Honourable senators, I object strongly that this report excludes my name and my committee membership from the proposed composition of Senate committees. The moral position of the government in denying me the right to serve on committees is unjustifiable. The government's ruthlessness and recklessness is indefensible. The Constitution does not countenance that any senator or member of Parliament be a supplicant to any leader or to any government.

Honourable senators, I thank you for your attention and, needless to say, I shall be voting against this report.

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Debate?

Hon. Tommy Banks: I understand the issue of time constraints but I have to speak even though I have not yet formulated what I want to say. I believe that from time to time I have annoyed people in this chamber. There is no senator among us who does not have foibles and that in all probability, has not annoyed another senator. I include myself in that group and I, with respect, include even you, Senator Day.

Senators may remember that I was among those who argued that independent senators, as I gather Senator Cools now is, should not be excluded from participation in committees. Perhaps there were not many independent senators at that time but they were not ever appointed to committees. I argued against that because I believed then, as I believe now, that every senator should have the duty, obligation and privilege of serving on a Senate committee. I do not think that anyone here would argue with that.

I am worried that a failure to respond to a request for preference of sitting on committees would result in that senator not being a member of a committee. I do not think that is right. Wherever the obligation resides to fix that, I think it should be fixed.

I think we all want to proceed in respect to this report as quickly as we possibly can so we can get on with the business of this place. I would urge Senator Comeau and the leadership on our side to find a way, forthwith, to amend this report. Senator Stratton, I am not proposing an amendment now because I understand the time pressures. However, I urge you and our leadership to find a way to redress this shortfall.

To restate it most carefully, I do not believe that a failure to respond to a request for preference should, by definition, mean that a senator will not be assigned to a committee. We do not all get to be on our preferred committees; some of us are assigned to other committees. I think every senator has the right to serve on a committee of the Senate, and I urge our leadership to make that so.

I will vote for this motion, but I apologize — I had to make that point because I do not think there is a good enough reason for Senator Cools to not be on a committee.

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: I am sympathetic to Senator Cools in terms of her being on and being involved with a committee. She was once part of the Liberal caucus and I have seen that she contributes greatly to the discussions. Occasionally, she does not agree; our views and hers are not always the same, but nevertheless we should be able to express ourselves and have differences. That is the nature of this Senate.

I find this whole business of political party and partisanship new. I come from the North, which is not steeped in political partisanship. We do not have that culture of parties. We come from a life where we are judged on our own merit, and we are completely free to say what we want.

During my years as a politician, I have been able to say things that are often contrary to the status quo. That is the only way to make progress. People do not make progress by writing nice letters and standing, following the leader, without thinking. Progress is made by challenging the status quo. Senator Cools does that sometimes, and within our system that can be seen as bad, not faithful or contrary to what she ought to do. For these reasons, I am sympathetic with Senator Cools today.


I see the logic in what she wants. She would like a human element; someone to meet with her. It seems as if the leadership on the other side is not willing to do that. The leadership ought to meet with her instead of sending emails and writing formal letters. Why not meet with her face-to-face? Is that difficult to do? Is the leadership not able to do that? Can the leadership not meet with her?

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

Senator Sibbeston: Do honourable senators want me to speak for another 15 minutes? Honourable senators on the government side are impatient. They cannot stand anyone who thinks differently from them. I think that is the nature of the Conservative Party. Discipline: Stand up or sit down as they are told.

Senator Stratton: I thought the honourable senator was non-partisan.

Senator Sibbeston: I am non-partisan. As one coming from the North, I see the government side as different. They are not generous. They are not kind. They are not well spirited at all. They cannot even deal with women. They do not have the heart to know how human it is to deal with a woman who wants to be dealt with properly. They are uncivil .

Senator Di Nino: The honourable senator's leadership should also deal with it.

Senator Sibbeston: We dealt with Senator Cools in our time, and she went to the other party hoping for a better reception. Can honourable senators not deal with her? This is what she asks. This is what it means to be human. Have a heart and deal with her. That is all she wants, the courtesy of being dealt with in a human way.

Therefore, I support Senator Cools, and I will do whatever I can to make it possible for her to be on a committee. She deserves to be. We are all senators from different parts of the country, and we all deserve to contribute. I will support her in any way I can.


Hon. Fernand Robichaud (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Are honourable senators ready for the question?

It was moved by the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded by the Honourable Senator Champagne, P.C., that the second report of the Selection Committee be adopted now.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

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

And two honourable senators having risen:

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Would honourable senators agree to adopt the motion on division and not unanimously?

Three senators request a vote.

Order, please.


Senator Comeau: Five minutes?

Senator Sibbeston: One hour.

Senator Cowan: The honourable senator told me previously it could not be less than 15 minutes. I think 15 minutes would be appropriate.


The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Honourable senators, I cannot follow what is happening on the floor. I would like to know what we will do about the standing vote that was requested by three senators. Is there agreement between the whips on the duration of the bells?


Senator Stratton: Fifteen minutes.


The Hon. the Acting Speaker: It is agreed that the bells will ring for 15 minutes?

Call in the senators.



Motion agreed to and report adopted on the following division:


Banks Hubley
Campbell Keon
Chaput LeBreton
Cochrane Munson
Comeau Nolin
Corbin Oliver
Cordy Peterson
Cowan Poulin
Day Robichaud
Di Nino Smith
Eggleton Tardif
Fairbairn Trenholme Counsell
Goldstein Zimmer—26


Cools Sibbeston
Downe Watt—4



The Senate

Motion to Strike Special Committee on Aging Adopted

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C.:

That a Special Committee of the Senate be appointed to examine and report upon the implications of an aging society in Canada;

That, pursuant to rule 85(1)(b), the committee be comprised of seven members, to be nominated by the Committee of Selection and that three members constitute a quorum;

That the Committee examine the issue of aging in our society in relation to, but not limited to:

  • promoting active living and well being;
  • housing and transportation needs;
  • financial security and retirement;
  • abuse and neglect;
  • health promotion and prevention; and
  • health care needs, including chronic diseases, medication use, mental health, palliative care, home care and caregiving;

That the Committee review public programs and services for seniors, the gaps that exist in meeting the needs of seniors, and the implications for future service delivery as the population ages;

That the Committee review strategies on aging implemented in other countries;

That the Committee review Canada's role and obligations in light of the 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing;

That the Committee consider the appropriate role of the federal government in helping Canadians age well;

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses, to report from time to time and to print such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the Committee;

That the Committee be authorized to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings;

That, pursuant to rule 95(3)(a), the Committee be authorized to meet during periods that the Senate stands adjourned for a period exceeding one week;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the Committee on this subject during the First Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament be referred to the Committee;

That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 2008, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling of the final report;

And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, that the motion be amended by replacing the words "June 30, 2008" with "March 31, 2008" in the last paragraph.—(Honourable Senator Tardif)

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

Motion, as amended, agreed to.


The Senate

Motion to Strike Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), pursuant to notice of October 30, 2007, moved:

That a Special Committee of the Senate be appointed to consider any matters relating to anti-terrorism that may be referred to it by the Senate from time to time;

That, notwithstanding rule 85(1)(b), the special committee comprise nine members namely the Honourable Senators Kinsella, Andreychuk, Nolin, Day, Fairbairn, P.C., Fraser, Jaffer, Smith, P.C., and Joyal, P.C., and that four members constitute a quorum;

That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to examine witnesses, to report from time to time and to print such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee;

That, notwithstanding rule 92(1), the committee be empowered to hold occasional meetings in camera for the purpose of hearing witnesses and gathering specialized or sensitive information;

That the committee be authorized to permit coverage by electronic media of its public proceedings with the least possible disruption of its hearings; and

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject by the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act during the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament be referred to the Committee.

She said: Honourable senators, with this motion I am calling on the Senate to reinstate the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act. The committee did exemplary work during the last session and previous sessions of Parliament in its examination of the Anti-terrorism Act and on other legislative changes made in response to the events of September 11, 2001.


I want to assure all honourable senators that I am not moving this motion without due consideration. Frankly, this is an initiative that should have been taken by my friends opposite who have a responsibility to manage the government's legislative agenda.

What I am proposing mirrors the government's own public pronouncements about how the anti-terrorism file was dealt with in the Senate.


As you can see, honourable senators, the order of reference presented is almost identical to the one from the previous session. You will also notice that the membership of the committee is the same. We are proposing that the special committee comprise the same senators as in the last session because those senators, in carrying out the committee work, have gained precious expertise and in-depth knowledge of the Anti-terrorism Act and the complex issues surrounding it. This great expertise of the committee members, on this complex matter, has even been recognized by some members of the government.


Bill S-3 was introduced in the Senate on October 23 of this year by the government. When the Minister of Justice, Mr. Rob Nicholson, was asked by reporters why he was introducing the bill in the Senate instead of the other place, according to the National Post, he replied that it was because the Senate had conducted an exhaustive review of the anti-terrorism regime and was knowledgeable on the subject.

Mr. Nicholson's assessment of the expertise that can be found in the Senate on the subject of anti-terrorism mirrored the reviews of his immediate predecessor at the Department of Justice, Mr. Vic Toews, who, when testifying before our Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act on June 12, 2006, said:

. . .one cannot help but be impressed by the level of experience that you have acquired since 2001 on the Anti-terrorism Act, as well as the attention you have given the subject in many meetings, having heard from an impressive number of witnesses, both domestic and international. We, and Canadians, are in your debt.


At that same meeting, the Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Stockwell Day, said:

Your work has been helpful and will continue to be so. We look to this committee for the expertise, the advice, and the proper challenge that you will present to us so that we can ensure that our country fulfills what I believe and our Prime Minister believes to be the first responsibility of any government — the safety and security of its citizens.


During its deliberations, which began in February 2005, the special committee heard from over 100 individuals, associations and organizations, as well as several key ministers. The committee carefully examined every angle of every issue related to the Anti-terrorism Act, and produced 40 recommendations.

In February 2007, the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act presented its main report, entitled Fundamental Justice in Extraordinary Times. The committee's report was the result of a serious, thorough, long-term study of a very complex issue.

In addition to having considerable expertise on the subject, the special committee has the advantage of being able to devote all of its energy and attention to a detailed examination of Bill S-3 when the time comes.

I have a hard time understanding why my colleagues on the government side would not want to take advantage of our senators' expertise on the subject, particularly since their own colleagues and ministers have said that this is one of the reasons why Bill S-3 was introduced in the Senate.

I have an even harder time understanding the logic behind this, given that the government made sure it included some of the recommendations made by the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act in Bill S-3.

Are they not interested in benefiting from the advice and recommendations of the very senators who made those recommendations in the first place?


In the normal course of things, the opposition usually defers to the choice of a government about where to send government legislation following second readings. However, that deference is not absolute and certainly should not take precedence over basic common sense and logic.

In this case, common sense tells us that we should take advantage of the knowledge in our midst and turn to the members of our chamber who have been studying this critical issue for many years, so that we may seek their wise counsel on this important matter.

Therefore, it is in this spirit that I urge all honourable senators to support this motion and to support the reconstitution of the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I had not intended to speak to this today, but let me just make a few comments.

I was intrigued when the government chose to bring back the package in response to the anti-terrorism issues in two separate matters, one being Bill C-3 and the other Bill S-3. In other words, it was the same subject matter but half went here and half went to the other place.

Honourable senators will recall that in February the Supreme Court of Canada came out with a ruling which said that two of the matters that were part of the anti-terrorism package that had been introduced after 9/11 were in conflict with the Charter. The Supreme Court gave Parliament a year to deal with the issue. I should point out that our committee predicted that. Our committee heard from many witnesses. We came out with a report of 140 pages, that contained 40 recommendations, and we predicted those two things literally the day before the Supreme Court came out with their decision.

On the subject matter of anti-terrorism, I find it refreshing when this chamber is able to deal with these issues in a non-partisan manner, which is virtually impossible in the other place. It is fair to say that all the recommendations in our report were developed through consensus. Each side gave a little here and there, but we developed a consensus and the report was unanimous.

It is also interesting that our committee supported a three-year extension of the sunset clauses. A few months earlier in the other place, they had come out in favour of a five-year extension, and their report was about one page. Our report was much more thorough. That recommendation was part of a package in which, when we said we were in support of the three-year extension to the sunset clauses, we thought there should be some other changes. However, those were the changes that were in response to the very issues with which the Supreme Court of Canada was dealing.

Therefore, I believe it is fair to say that when this chamber comes under attack from various sources, one of the frustrating things for those who have had the good fortune to serve in both places — and as a general rule there are always exceptions — is that the committee work done here rarely takes second place to the committee work done in the other place. What happened in this instance was a good example of that.

I close my remarks by saying that I trust these comments will be heard and duly considered in the decision that our colleagues on the other side will make.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I wish to make an amendment. Therefore, I move:

That the motion be amended, in the second paragraph, by increasing the number of members from nine to ten and by adding the name of the Honourable Senator Cools after that of the Honourable Senator Smith, P.C.

Senator Banks: I wish I had thought of that. Well done.

Senator Sibbeston: Honourable senators, we just had a debate about Senator Cools concerning her situation of not being on committees. This is the first opportunity we have had since then to rectify the situation. This is the reason for the amendment. I truly believe that every senator is entitled to be on a committee. While I have not spoken to Senator Cools as to whether she would like to be on this committee, judging by her interest in being on committees, I assume that she would be glad to be on a committee such as this. The fundamental reason for the amendment is that every senator ought to be on a committee.

I urge the leaders of both sides of the house to work cooperatively to review whatever it is that makes it difficult for independents, people such as Senator Cools, to be on committees. The attitudes should change so that every senator is on a committee.

We are all given responsibility. We all come from different parts of the country with a view to making a contribution. During my time here, I have found that one of the best ways to contribute is through the committee system where the work is, where you really feel as a senator that you are doing good work and that you are doing your work as a senator. One does not have a great many occasions to speak in the chamber; committees are where the action is.

I move this amendment with the hope that it will be possible for Senator Cools to be on a committee.


Honourable senators, I urge both parties to come together to see if it is possible for a person such as Senator Cools to be on committees, so that no one is left out and no one feels that he or she is not making a contribution to the Senate.

I hope honourable senators will support this amendment because it is a good idea, and it is our first opportunity to have, in a sense, someone like Senator Cools on a committee.

I hope that people can be open-minded and open-hearted. The situation we saw this afternoon where Senator Cools was left off of committees was not good. It was not fair, and we should not have the kind of Senate where certain people are excluded. This chamber should be inclusive.

For that reason, I make this amendment to see whether we can rectify the situation.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are senators ready for the question on the motion in amendment?

Hon. James S. Cowan: With the greatest of respect, we are mixing apples and oranges here. Senator Cools has made a very impassioned plea to her colleagues in the Senate to be appropriately consulted and to be placed on committees that she might wish to be placed on, and it would be entirely appropriate for her to make her committee choices known to the government whip; I am sure that the government whip will take her views into account. We are always looking for qualified, active and energetic people to participate in the affairs of our committees.

I am sure that with some goodwill, an appropriate committee placement or placements can be found for Senator Cools.

Certainly, from this side, we are not trying to block, in any way, an appropriate committee assignment for Senator Cools, taking into account her wishes.

However, for the specific reasons that were mentioned by Senator Tardif and reinforced by Senator Smith, this is a special committee, and the reason the motion is made is to take advantage of the specialized knowledge that those committee members acquired in the course of their study.

With the greatest of respect to Senator Cools, to add a newcomer — even someone as experienced, intelligent and quick-learning as Senator Cools — to the mix would defeat the purpose of the motion, which is to entrust this sensitive and complex issue to people who have already studied it at great length and whose work has been lauded by at least two senior ministers in the government. The government, obviously, in respecting and understanding the quality of the work that was done in this place, introduced this bill in the Senate for precisely that purpose.

With the greatest of respect to Senator Sibbeston and Senator Cools, I suggest that the appropriate way to deal with Senator Cools' concern is not in this way but through an approach by Senator Cools to her colleagues in the Conservative caucus.

On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.


Business of the Senate

Committees Authorized to Meet During Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition), pursuant to notice of October 31, 2007, moved:

That Committees be authorized, pursuant to rule 95(3)(a), to meet between Monday, November 5, 2007 and Monday, November 12, 2007, inclusive, for the purposes of holding organization meetings, even though the Senate may then be adjourned for a period exceeding one week.

She said: Honourable senators, as you will have noticed, this motion, if adopted, will simply allow Senate committees that so desire to hold their organizational meetings during the break. It does not require that the committees meet.


In discussions with my colleague opposite — and I would invite him to confirm my remarks — we felt that it was a good idea to let the committees wishing to do so be able to hold their organizational meetings, while ensuring that any such meeting to be held would reflect the needs of senators on both sides of the chamber.

Motion in Amendment

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I entirely agree with my honourable colleague on the other side that we did, in fact, agree that any committees that wish to meet next week to hold their organizational meetings have the capacity to do so, with the provision that we had a slight concern that some committees might have some members who would have to travel huge distances to arrive in Ottawa for an organizational meeting.

With that in mind, we offer a safety valve by moving an amendment. Therefore, I move:

That the motion be amended by inserting, after the word "week" the words ", provided that both whips have given approval".

In this way, if the whips feel that the committee in question should not be meeting because of the distances, travel cost and so on, that will not be done. However, if all the committee members do wish to travel to Ottawa to participate in the organizational meetings, I am sure the whips would be sympathetic to providing that permission. That gives us a safety valve in the event that some members might not wish to travel to Ottawa.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Question!

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

Motion agreed to, as amended.



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, November 13, 2007, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at 2 p.m.