Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, we have had consultations with the other side. Given the number of
senators interested in making statements today — and we have a backlog — I ask
for leave to extend the period for Senators' Statements today by up to 15
minutes, for a total of up to 30 minutes, with the provision, of course, that
given that our two ministers are not here today, the house would also grant
leave that Question Period not be held today.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed,
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Honourable senators, during the last week of
October, I welcomed Taiwan's official representative to Canada, David Lee, to my
home province of New Brunswick. Since no commercial flights fly to my region, I
met Mr. Lee at the Quebec City airport, and we travelled four hours by car to
Edmunston, New Brunswick.
During his visit to New Brunswick, Mr. Lee met with business leaders and
groups, in particular the vice-president of the Conseil économique du
Nouveau-Brunswick, representatives from Enterprise Grand Falls Region and from
Enterprise Madawaska, as well as a number of business people interested in
exporting various products to Taiwan, such as hardwood floors, small motors,
signs, labels, potatoes, chicken and beef.
These business people had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Lee and discuss the
export potential of their products. Research going on at the Grand Falls
Community College has proven to be very important, with the renewal of the
memorandum of understanding relating to research signed between Taiwan and
Canada, through the National Research Council.
On Wednesday, October 31, we took the three-hour scenic drive from Edmundston
to Fredericton via the Saint John River Valley. In Fredericton, we visited the
legislative assembly and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, followed by a visit with
Premier Shawn Graham as well as three provincial cabinet ministers: the
Honourable Ronald Ouellette, Minister of Agricultural and Aquaculture; the
Honourable Rick Doucet, Minister of Fisheries; and the Honourable Greg Byrne,
Minister of Business New Brunswick.
Discussions between Dr. Lee and the provincial ministers focused on
additional exports to Taiwan of New Brunswick products via packaged marketing
such as seafood, beef, beer, wine and other possible targeted commercial
Although the task of organizing Mr. Lee's visit to New Brunswick required
time and energy from my office, I believe that fostering greater links between
Taiwan and New Brunswick will benefit the citizens of New Brunswick as we
continue our quest into the global marketplace.
Taiwan and its trade organization TAITRA have been incredibly successful and
serve as a model not only for Asia, but also for all the countries that aspire
to a better future for their business communities and their residents.
I hope that we will see an increase in exports from New Brunswick to Taiwan
in the coming years.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, three weeks ago, on November 1,
the Minister of Public Safety declared that he would not seek from the American
authorities commutation of the death penalty to life imprisonment for Mr. Ronald
Smith, a Canadian citizen from Alberta on death row in the state of Montana.
The two main reasons stated by the minister for this radical departure from
past practice, subsequently repeated in the Senate last week by the Leader of
the Government are, first, that it sends — and I quote:
. . . the wrong message, that there are no consequences for serious
crimes committed in other democratic countries.
— like the United States, and that the government is, and I quote again:
. . . not serious about dealing with these terrible crimes.
— after having brought in "some new tough law-and-order legislation."
These two arguments fly in the face of fundamental justice as guaranteed by
section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and confirmed by a unanimous
decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the United States v. Burns
case of February 2001.
It is a pity that the government has decided to return to the days when one
single person, in his or her own mind, without any open adversarial procedure,
which is the essential character of the criminal justice system in our country,
can decide, ex parte, that a person — in this case a Canadian citizen —
will be executed for the mere sake of government image — that it has to appear
"tough on crime."
In other words, the new position of the new government is to preach the
violent example of lethal injection, all the while ignoring the U.S. Supreme
Court concerns and the numerous medical and scientific objections by Americans
that have condemned lethal injection as an inhumane means of execution. Instead,
the government is intent on restoring the principle of lex talionis, "an
eye for an eye," and reinforcing the culture of violence and retribution.
The government decision to permit the imposition of the death penalty on a
Canadian citizen by the state of Montana is contrary to Canada's international
obligations, confirmed in three different conventions and covenants signed by
As I have already mentioned, this policy is contrary to our own Charter of
Rights and Freedoms, guaranteeing fundamental justice and prohibiting cruel and
unusual treatment. It flies in the face of our heritage in the belief of the
sanctity of life that Canada implemented through its decision to abolish the
death penalty 30 years ago.
The explanation given by the government leader that the United States is a
democracy and, as such, possesses a credible system of justice is contrary to
the findings of our own Supreme Court in the United States v. Burns case.
The court noted in 2001 that at least 87 persons were released from death row
in the U.S. after having been wrongly convicted and that the overall rate of
prejudicial error in the American punishment system was 68 per cent.
Further, quoting, among others, from the American Bar Association, the
Canadian court observed:
The adequacy of legal representation of those charged with capital crimes
is a major concern. . . . The defendant's life ends up entrusted to an often
underqualified and overburdened lawyer who may have no experience with
criminal law at all, let alone with death penalty cases. . . .
Studies show racial bias and poverty continue to play too great a role in
determining who is sentenced to death.
The government thought it more politic to exchange the highest principle of
the protection of every human life, the foundation of our shared humanity, for a
message tinged with partisan propaganda, for purely electoral reasons. This is a
sad moment for the legitimacy of our convictions and our values as a nation.
History has taught us that when principles are trumped by electoral gains, in
the short term, we find ourselves in the worst of all compromises, perhaps even
willing to sacrifice human life.
I take great exception to this denial of our fundamental principles, the
principles at the core of our free, humanist society, and I urge the government
to immediately reconsider the dangerous path it has embarked upon, and to
intervene with the American authorities to ensure that Ronald Smith's death
sentence is commuted to life in prison.
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, on November 23, Her Majesty's
Canadian-Pacific Fleet ships Algonquin, Calgary, Ottawa,
Vancouver and Protecteur and their 1,100 Canadian sailors and aircrew
returned to Esquimalt from an exercise in the vicinity of the southeast coast of
The naval task group sailed from Victoria, B.C. on October 22 and joined the
USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in the southwest marine
operating areas. No navy in the world has the level of interoperability with our
American allies as does the Canadian Navy. Calgary integrated with the
carrier strike group and assumed the role of "friendly force." The remaining
four Canadian ships formed a task group and became the "opposing force." The
two forces trained on interception and detection over vast ocean operating areas
and this coalition exercise enhanced naval interoperability and provided ships'
crews with valuable training and experience in a multinational setting.
As of last week, there were 3,012 Canadian sailors deployed internationally
and off our coasts. HMCS Toronto completed a port visit to Istanbul,
Turkey in support of our common values shared through NATO, in which Turkey had
the larger standing army. In order to share our common values with those Islamic
countries who are our allies and friends, Toronto is now operating in the
central Mediterranean, in company with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, and HMSC
Charlottetown is continuing en route to the Persian Gulf, in company with
the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, as our ongoing maritime
contribution to the campaign against terrorism.
Lastly, 85 of our sailors were employed in support of Canadian Forces
international missions from Haiti to Sudan and Afghanistan, as well as CFB Alert
and in Sierra Leone. Of that total, 61 are deployed to support Canadian Forces
operations in Afghanistan, in difficult areas such as mining anti-explosives and
doing what has to be done to help protect Canadian Forces.
Our naval men and women continue, around the world, on the seas, in the air
and on the land, to reflect the values and international and geopolitical
strategies of Canada in a complex world. They do so with clarity,
professionalism and competence that is a credit to our Armed Forces and to the
country we love and share together.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, today I would like us
to share in the honour our colleague, Senator Prud'homme, has received. Senator
Prud'homme was recently recognized by President Putin as a friend of Russia. I
believe that this honour does us all credit and that it is important to
With your permission, I would like to read an excerpt from the statute
relating to this award. As you can see, Senator Prud'homme is proudly wearing
his medal. I will read about what it signifies:
The Order of Friendship is bestowed upon recipients for their significant
contribution to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between
nations and nationalities and to the development of the economic and
scientific potential of Russia, for their exceptionally fruitful mutual
enrichment of cultures, nations and nationalities and in bringing them
together, and for strengthening peace and friendly relations between states.
Honourable senators, rarely does one of our colleagues receive such a mark of
friendship, and I believe that it is very appropriate that Marcel Prud'homme,
the dean of Parliament, should be the recipient of this honour. I believe that
our colleague has worked tirelessly, through difficult times, to bring Canadians
and Russians together. The Russian president has recognized his efforts. We
congratulate Senator Prud'homme on receiving this award.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I am touched. I just
spoke with the Prime Minister of Russia and, as I told him, it is always risky
to ask me to speak. You know my reputation. Fidel Castro claims that I can speak
longer than he can. Last summer I had the opportunity to travel around Venezuela
with Hugo Chavez and, in a standoff, we talked for seven hours and twenty-five
minutes on television.
I will not take advantage of your kindness, but wish only to say that I have
learned one thing in life: to take bold action in the most difficult moments of
I attempted to engage with the East Bloc countries in more difficult times. I
had powerful supporters. I dared to do so openly, under the watch of the
country's security services, as reported in La Presse yesterday. I
believed that it was my duty as a parliamentarian, and that others should be
allowed to carry out their duty of providing security services.
I would like to say that, in view of the planetary state of mind, it is wrong
and unhealthy for there to be only one military, economic and political power in
For the planet to do better there must be checks and balances, and what I see
more and more of in Russia is unbelievable.
The Speaker was there with some colleagues. It is unbelievable the
development and the partnerships that can take place. A military man from
Toronto, Mr. Forest, was honoured today with a military medal. He said, "What
has happened? We were together from 1942 to 1945. We were together in history.
We must get back." We have much in common with Mother Russia. We work together
on many development projects. We face the same difficulty; the same minority
groups. People think in Quebec, in my province, that we have one problem. Russia
deals with something like Quebec's problem 100 times over.
It is important to study the current time zones more. The Duma includes
members from 11 time zones from Vladivostok to Moscow. Imagine what it is to be
a member there. There is an election on this topic. There are four pillars on
which they are placing a significant amount of effort — and this should touch
Canadians, businessmen and young people — those pillars are housing, health,
education, and especially agriculture.
Honourable senators, there are unlimited possibilities for people who are
interested. I told some businessmen this morning, "You only think business,
business, business, but business needs political stability. If you have
political stability, then you can start to become more prosperous." As
neighbours, Canada and Russia can develop the North together and be partners in
the future there. That is what we want to do.
If I dedicate this medal to anyone, it would be to the young people of
Canada. I would tell them: Do not be afraid to stand up and fight for something
you believe in. If you are lonely or if, at times, no one listens, then reach
out. As I said in La Presse yesterday, my policy is reaching out. If
there is no one to take my hand at first, then I reach out again the day after.
I know that at the end of the day people will establish contact. That is what I
think we in the Senate, more so than in the House of Commons, should be able to
I am speaking with great passion. I must calm down. I will be going back to
my so-called seniors' residence to confront another great experience next
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I indicated in my
question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate yesterday that I was very
concerned about the way in which consultation was conducted with respect to the
proposed expansion of the Nahanni National Park. The purpose of the consultation
was to obtain the views of people with respect to the proposed expansion, and in
the end there were three options given to the people for consideration.
The process has concluded. Throughout that process, the mineral assessment
report was not made available to the public. Only in the last few days has that
report been made public. However, throughout the consultation process with
respect to the park, this very important piece of information about the
geological state of the area and the minerals that land contains was never made
available to the public. I consider this a major flaw in the consultation
process, and the government should do something about it.
I have written letters to the Minister of the Environment and to the Prime
Minister. The Prime Minister was recently in Fort Simpson and visited the
Nahanni National Park, so he knows what I am talking about.
Many people in the Dehcho region where I live are concerned that the
consultation process was not conducted properly and that there needs to be a new
approach taken. The approach I am proposing is one that had been used in the
northern coastal region of British Columbia.
The Spirit Bear conservation area was created a number of years ago, and it
was completed with the participation and cooperation of First Nations people,
environmentalists and industry. The result was successful. Therefore, I suggest
that the same kind of approach be taken in the North. There would be a better
result than that obtained from the approach that was taken by Parks Canada. As I
said, that has a major flaw in it because it did not include this MERA report,
which is so important in the consideration of the park expansion.
I hope honourable senators will be understanding and sympathetic as I
continue to pursue this matter.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, as the month of November draws
to a close, I remind you that this month is Special Olympics Month in Canada.
The Special Olympics is an international movement that provides opportunities
for people with intellectual disabilities to train and compete in athletic
I am proud to have been part of Canada's team in Shanghai for the 2007
Special Olympics. Canada's team gave exceptional performances and showed the
world exemplary sportsmanship.
Over 7,000 athletes from 160 countries participated in the Special Olympics
in Shanghai. That is an impressive number. Not long ago, in China, where I lived
for several years, one rarely saw people with mental disabilities. They were
hidden away. People were ashamed of them. The fact that 1,000 Chinese athletes
participated in these games is proof that the Special Olympics have the power to
Many honourable senators may remember a time when we thought mentally
challenged people were incapable of participating in sports. In fact, many
mentally challenged people were kept isolated from society as if we were ashamed
of them. Started in the 1960s, the Special Olympics has shown the world what
kind of hogwash that prejudiced thinking was.
Putting the principle of inclusion to work, the Special Olympics breaks down
barriers and challenges our thinking about people with intellectual
The movement has changed a small part of the world in a big way. The Special
Olympics movement is alive and well in Canada, but we can do more to give a
greater number of potential athletes a chance to participate. For Special
Olympics month, I urge honourable senators to get involved. Senators can coach,
volunteer to encourage an athlete to practise, or contribute financially to the
movement. By supporting the Special Olympics, honourable senators will help to
reach out to these potential winners and will strengthen the Special Olympics
movement. Honourable senators will help break down the barriers that still exist
for people with intellectual disabilities. By supporting Special Olympics, they
will help to make Canada more inclusive, and the world a better place.
Hon. Rod A. A. Zimmer: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize
the achievements of our colleague, Senator Marcel Prud'homme. Today Senator
Prud'homme was awarded the Order of Friendship by the Russian Federation. The
Order of Friendship is awarded to citizens in the Russian Federation and to
foreign citizens who have made a significant contribution to strengthen peace
and mutual understanding between peoples and states. The award is the highest
one given by the Russian government to a non-citizen. The only other Canadian to
receive this award is the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor
General of Canada.
Senator Prud'homme's interest in international relations can be traced back
to his days as a student leader at the University of Ottawa in the late 1950s
and early 1960s. Senator Prud'homme took an active interest in the Algerian
liberation movement and demonstrated in support of the Algerian people several
Senator Prud'homme's passion for international issues, his openness to the
Third World and his deep desire for a fair and equitable world order has
permeated his career of 43 years in federal politics. Although he has been a
passionate supporter of the Palestinian people and a tireless advocate for the
Arab world, Senator Prud'homme's involvement extends to countless other
countries across the globe. Indeed, only last year he was awarded the Freedom
Fighter Award in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution
Today, honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to our esteemed colleague,
Senator Marcel Prud'homme. He is a shining example of the important role that
we, as parliamentarians, have the opportunity to play in Canada and on the world
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I would like to add a few comments to what my colleagues have already
I am very pleased to salute Senator Marcel Prud'homme, who was awarded the
Russian Federation's Order of Friendship in recognition of his exceptional
contribution to strengthening and developing Canada-Russia relations. This
honour is reserved for Russian citizens and foreigners who have made significant
contributions to strengthening peace and mutual understanding among peoples and
Over the years, Senator Prud'homme, a respected parliamentarian who has
always been ahead of his time, developed and maintained productive
interparliamentary relations between Canada and Russia, as well as with other
countries, often in defiance of prevailing ideas at the time.
This award acknowledges his efforts, his commitment and his ability to build
friendly relations with his counterparts in various countries and to establish
fruitful interparliamentary relations with varied and various States around the
world. This recognition is a sign of the Russian Federation's high regard for
Senator Prud'homme and, as such, it is also a tribute to the Senate of Canada
and the work of its members.
Senator Prud'homme truly deserves this tribute, and I would like to offer him
my sincere congratulations.
Hon. Art Eggleton, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology
has the honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-220, An Act respecting a
National Blood Donor Week has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of
Tuesday, November 27, 2007, examined the said Bill and now reports the same
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the third time?
Senator Eggleton: Honourable senators, with leave, later this day.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
An Hon. Senator: No.
On motion of Senator Eggleton, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third
reading at the next sitting of the Senate.
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been
received from the House of Commons with Bill C-307, An Act respecting
bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, benzyl butyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
On motion of Senator Comeau, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second
reading two days hence.
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next
sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That this house urge the Government to reconsider its decision not to
appeal the death sentence of Ronald Smith, a Canadian citizen, who is on
death row in a prison in Montana, and seek from the American authorities a
commutation to life imprisonment; and
That the Government abides by the basic principle of the sanctity of life
and commit itself to supporting, at all international forums, the abolition
of the death penalty in the full knowledge that this country abolished
capital punishment more than 30 years ago.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Di Nino, for the second reading of Bill C-15, An
Act respecting the exploitation of the Donkin coal block and employment in
or in connection with the operation of a mine that is wholly or partly at
the Donkin coal block, and to make a consequential amendment to the
Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act.
Hon. Gerard A. Phalen: Honourable senators, I rise today to add my
voice in support of Bill C-15, the Donkin coal block development opportunity
In order to understand the importance of the reopening of the Donkin block, I
believe it is important to understand the history of coal mining in Cape Breton
and the role it has played since the 1600s.
The first mention of coal in Cape Breton came in 1672 when French explorer,
colonizer and Governor of Acadia Nicholas Denys declared "there is a mountain
of very good coal four leagues up the river at Sydney Harbour." He was granted
the right to levy a duty of 20 sous per tonne on coal extracted from Cape
The French military mined coal in the late 1600s by literally prying coal
with crowbars from outcroppings on the cliffs along the shoreline. Coal was
extracted from exposed seams along the cliffs and used by the French in the
construction of their fort at Louisbourg. It was not until 1720 that the first
coal mine was officially opened at what is now Port Morien. Over the next 100
years, coal mining continued on a small scale by either the colonial government
or through leases by private individuals.
In 1826, Frederick, Duke of York, the favourite son of King George III, who
had been granted sole right by the Crown to all coal resources of Nova Scotia,
handed the leases over to one of his major debtors, a London jewellery firm
which set up the General Mining Association.
The years from 1826 to 2001, when the last mine was closed in Cape Breton,
would see a roller coaster of ups and downs for the mining towns of Cape Breton
as well as the people of the region.
For instance, by 1903 the Dominion Coal Company was producing 3,250,000
tonnes of coal per year, and by 1912 the company had 16 collieries in full
operation. At that time, the production of those mines accounted for 40 per cent
of Canada's total output.
It is estimated that over the years of the Dominion Coal Company operating
the mines, they extracted roughly 250 million tonnes of coal. It is also
estimated that there remains 257 million tonnes of economically recoverable coal
The story of coal mining in Cape Breton is also the story of the miners
themselves and, indeed, one of both successes and tragedies. It begins in 1873
when eight coal companies operated in Cape Breton — and miners were paid 80
cents to $1.50 per day, and boys were paid 65 cents — and continues through the
1900s with roughly 100 mines having operated in the Sydney coalfields.
It has often been said that coal mines formed the nucleus of some Nova Scotia
communities. From the company stores and the housing in the immediate vicinity
of the mines to the development of entire communities, the mines played a major
role. When the mines closed, as they always did, they left behind a social
legacy of success or failure. Some communities continued to exist in varying
degrees of prosperity, while others collapsed and were abandoned.
The history of coal mining in Cape Breton is also a story of immigration.
With the boom in coal and steel development, small villages in Cape Breton grew
into bustling industrial towns. Immigrants came from all over the world to work
the mines. Over a 10-year period, starting in 1901, Glace Bay went from being
the forty-sixth largest population centre in Canada to the twenty-second.
The people of Cape Breton have shared in both the successes and failures of
the coal industry, and we have shared the grief of the many personal tragedies
the mines have seen. We Cape Bretonners are, one could say, inextricably linked
to the coal mines.
Therefore, honourable senators, when the Nova Scotia government announced in
2004 it was accepting bids to reopen the Donkin mine, it was big news in the
area. Work began on the Donkin mine in 1980. By 1987 two parallel tunnels had
been drilled 3.5 kilometres to what is known as the Harbour seam, ending at a
depth of about 160 metres below the ocean floor, at a cost of roughly $100
In the meantime, the market conditions for Donkin coal had changed, and the
development of the coal mine was put on hold. In 1992, the Cape Breton
Development Corporation sealed the tunnels and allowed them to fill with water.
However, by the new millennium, prices had rebounded, and in 2005, a Swiss
company, Xstrata, submitted the winning bid to redevelop the Donkin mine.
Xstrata subsequently began work and announced in September of 2007 that it had
completed pumping out 350 million gallons of water from the tunnels. Xstrata
continues to study the feasibility of reopening the Donkin mine and has said it
will make a final announcement on the reopening in August of 2008.
I was pleased to read in recent newsletters from Xstrata about their
environmental planning and monitoring, including that they had been carrying out
field studies to be used in preparing an environmental assessment and industrial
process mandated by the department of Nova Scotia Environment and Labour. I was
also pleased to read that the water they had pumped out of the Donkin mine is
being treated through aeration, settling ponds and final settling prior to being
released. As well, Xstrata has been holding a series of public meetings to
ensure that the community is kept up to date on their operations.
The other issue I was pleased to see Xstrata addressing is that of
transportation. It was reassuring to read that they have assured the community
that trucking coal on local, public roads did not form part of their strategy.
Unfortunately, it became clear that there was considerable confusion and
uncertainty over regulatory jurisdiction because both the Governments of Canada
and Nova Scotia have offshore ownership claims, and these uncertainties, as well
as overlaps and confusion in employment and safety regimes have put at risk the
reopening of the Donkin mine.
Bill C-15 clarifies the jurisdictional issues. It does not guarantee the
development of the Donkin mine, but it removes confusion regarding regulatory
Bill C-15 also sets up a royalty regime by which the government believes it
will see up to $5 million in royalties remitted to the Province of Nova Scotia
annually — considerably more than the 20 sous per tonne royalty first collected
by Nicholas Denys in 1672.
Honourable senators, when the government introduced this legislation in the
other place, they said they believe it will result in up to 275 direct jobs in
the mine as well as 700 indirect jobs.
Any legislation that sees almost 1,000 new Nova Scotia jobs and $5 million
annually in royalties gets my support. I hope, honourable senators, that it also
gets your support.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, would the honourable senators
permit a question?
Senator Phalen: Yes.
Senator Murray: Will the honourable senator agree with me that the
sponsor of the bill, Senator Oliver, was lamentably negligent in his opening
speech in not paying tribute to the heroic efforts on behalf the Donkin mine of
our former colleague, the Honourable John Buchanan, who, as Premier of Nova
Scotia and a member of the Senate, was one of the great champions of the Donkin
mine? Will he join me in expressing our satisfaction that Senator Buchanan's
dream may be about to come true?
Senator Phalen: Yes, honorable senators, I agree with that.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gustafson,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Angus, for the second reading of Bill
C-11, An Act to give effect to the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and
to make a consequential amendment to another Act.
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators . . .
[The honourable senator spoke in his native language]
Honourable senators, I am pleased to stand here today on behalf of the Inuit
of Nunavik. I thank senators for giving me an opportunity to address the
important elements of this bill.
Honourable senators, Bill C-11 intends to give effect to the Nunavik Inuit
Land Claims Agreement and is a reprint of Bill C-51 from the previous session.
At that time, it was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
This bill would recognize the agreement as a treaty in the meaning of section
35 of the Constitution of Canada. We must remind ourselves of the sensitivity
and seriousness of the bill because it does deal with the Constitution of Canada
and existing Aboriginal and treaty rights.
As you know, the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement is a landmark that
opened a new era for modern treaties. That agreement led to the process to amend
the Constitution of Canada in 1982 to recognize and protect two categories of
Aboriginal rights: existing and treaty rights.
I want to share with you a reflection I had in mind while preparing this
Aboriginal rights were not constitutionally recognized when we negotiated the
James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. At that time, the pattern was to
surrender our rights before negotiations. Since 1982, the situation is quite
different because the Constitution of Canada, 1982, recognizes and protects our
rights. I extend my thanks to the negotiators for having focused only on the
subject of James Bay at that time and for not including offshore claims in their
decision. Offshore claims were not included because it was not appropriate to do
so and such a mandate was not received from their members.
Since 1982, we have been expecting acknowledgement and respect for those
rights, but we have seen many attempts to infringe and to extinguish Aboriginal
In my view, Parliament had the power to extinguish Aboriginal rights prior to
1982. Since then, this power has been taken away by the new section 35 of the
Constitution of Canada.
Here is what former Chief Justice Lamer wrote in the decision, Van der
Subsequent to s. 35(1) aboriginal rights cannot be extinguished and can
only be regulated or infringed consistent with the justificatory test laid
out by this Court in Sparrow.
Indeed, the Supreme Court of Canada developed five essential conditions to be
met by the Government of Canada to be cautious of infringement of Aboriginal
rights. Those conditions have been developed to meet the honour of the Crown, to
fulfil the Crown's fiduciary duty and to respect the Constitution of 1982.
The first condition is a clear, plain and legal justification that must
support the infringement. A legal and clear justification could be, for example,
the need for conservation of environment or to build a bridge over Aboriginal
lands in respect of the customary practices.
We must ask whether the government is pursuing a compelling and substantial
legislative objective and if this objective is attained in a way consistent with
the Crown's fiduciary obligations to Aboriginal people.
Honourable senators, I have not seen any legal basis to justify why Nunavik
Inuit would have to release and surrender their rights. From what I understand,
negotiators for Indian Affairs have developed options to the surrender and
extinguishment of Aboriginal rights to avoid uncertainty and litigation in
I disagree with a strategy having the effect that existing Aboriginal rights
are technically surrendered.
The second condition is voluntary, valid and informed consent on the part of
beneficiaries. Nunavik Inuit have not been fully informed that they were
surrendering their existing Aboriginal rights. If they had known, they would
never have accepted this.
With this agreement, Nunavik Inuit would renounce the exercise or assertion
of any Aboriginal or treaty right other than those set out in the agreement.
Moreover, if they exercise or assert rights outside of the agreement, they cede,
release and surrender them.
In my view, it is neither acceptable nor honourable for the Crown to use
technical wording in order to extinguish existing Aboriginal rights and to avoid
exercise of judicial rights.
The third condition is that beneficiaries must understand clearly the
consequences of their consent.
Bill C-11 will affect Nunavik Inuit in many ways. For instance, clause 11 of
the bill provides that legal instruments made under the agreement will not be
subject to the Statutory Instruments Act. This exemption will have significant
and negative consequences for Nunavik Inuit rights.
Indeed, the Statutory Instruments Act requires that Canadian statutory
instruments be examined to ensure that they are lawful, that they do not
trespass unduly on existing rights and freedoms, and that they are consistent
with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If this protection is
important for all Canadians, why would Nunavik Inuit not be part of this
protection? We are Canadians, after all.
Honourable senators, my opinion is that such discrimination is against the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is thus totally unconstitutional.
I see another negative consequence where it is said that Nunavik Inuit will
have no right to challenge this agreement. Indeed, sections 2.7 and 2.8 of the
agreement state that Nunavik Inuit — and I quote:
.shall have no claim or cause of action based on the finding that any
provision of this Agreement is invalid and
.shall not challenge, or support a challenge to, the validity of any
provision of this Agreement.
Giving up judicial rights goes against the rule of law and our Constitution.
There is a third important concern about consequences on Nunavik Inuit in
relation with their judicial and Aboriginal rights.
Sections 2.29.5 and 2.29.6 of the agreement provide that Nunavik Inuit will
release the government and others from all claims, whether past, present or
future, known or unknown, that relate to any Aboriginal right respecting their
lands and natural resources.
The surrender of these claims could turn out to be a very serious handicap in
the future, especially in relation to environmental issues. What will happen if
the territory becomes polluted? What will happen if there is intensive fishing
or hunting that threatens the Nunavik Inuit's ability to harvest for their
While Nunavik Inuit are Quebecers, these sections must be studied
constitutionally and legally by virtue of section 8 of the Civil Code, which
prohibits surrendering civil rights.
Moreover, section 2.29.7 provides that the Nunavik Inuit will compensate the
government in the event of a claim. Has this commitment really been explained to
the Nunavik Inuit, and did they understand it properly? In my opinion, the
answer is no.
The fourth condition is that the federal Crown has to meet and to consult
persons to explain the agreement and its consequences.
When representatives from the federal government and Makivik travelled from
community to community, I am doubtful that they explained the extinguishment of
existing Aboriginal rights and the consequences. Nunavik Inuit would have said
no if the agreement had been fully explained.
The fifth condition is that an equitable compensation must be offered for the
rights to surrender.
Courts regularly point out that infringement of Aboriginal rights must be as
minimal as possible and that fair compensation must be provided. Again,
compensation is not the only issue when survival is at stake.
On compensation, the agreement provides $50,671,460 for educational, social,
cultural and socioeconomic needs of 10,000 individuals, which represents
$5,067.15 per individual. The agreement provides that that amount will be paid
over a period of 10 years, which represents $506.71 yearly per individual.
One cannot do too much with that amount of money.
In 1993, Nunavut Inuit received, for a similar agreement, more than $1
billion for 17,000 individuals. This means $58,000 each. Why such a difference?
Honourable senators, who did the evaluation? Who has been consulted on the
value of his or her rights? How much will the next generation receive? While
Makivik is a non-profit association without any pecuniary gain for its members,
why do some members believe they will receive cash from this agreement?
Thirty-five million dollars is also provided to implement the agreement and
to finance three bodies — wildlife management, land-use planning and impact
review. This amount will be paid over a period of four years.
What will happen after this period? I do not think Nunavik Inuit have
specialists to accomplish this task and, unfortunately, it is only to the
benefit of outsiders who have no knowledge of customary practices. Reading the
whole agreement, it is evident that outsiders do not know, nor understand,
In the compensation field, resource royalties raise perplexity. According to
section 15.1.1 of the agreement, Nunavik Inuit have the right to be paid 50 per
cent of the first $2 million of resource royalties received by the government in
that year. The question is what exactly this section is talking about, given
that the definition, from the agreement, refers to royalties prior to
Indeed, resource royalties are determined by Canadian laws respecting mining,
gas and petroleum resources. The calculation is usually based on the production
of the resource, and no royalties are payable prior to production. Canadian laws
require royalty on the production. This phrase, found in the agreement, is a
very unusual one.
Honourable senators, I want to take a few minutes to provide more detail on
understanding consequences and consultation.
I have chosen to expand my point of view on those two topics, having in mind
that the nation-to-nation relationship is an ongoing and evolving situation and
it could be difficult to reach a permanent solution.
The Constitution of Canada recognizes and protects two categories of rights:
existing Aboriginal rights and treaty rights. The impact of the agreement is to
extinguish existing Aboriginal rights, leaving only one category of rights; that
is, treaty rights.
The Department of Indian Affairs explained that they have developed a new
formula called "non-assertion technique certainty." The United Nations said
that this may be another semantic for the older "extinguishment policy." For
me, this is a misleading technique.
This agreement has never been presented as a tool to surrender existing
Aboriginal rights. I and many other Inuit will never accept to surrender our
existing Aboriginal rights. A question that comes to mind is this: Do we really
need a treaty, and why a treaty if we are losing our existing rights? It would
be better to stay with our existing Aboriginal rights, recognized and protected
by the Constitution of Canada, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
Nunavik Inuit are threatened in another way. Section 2.10 provides that
Nunavut law will apply to Nunavik Inuit and to Nunavik Inuit lands. I do not
know if many Inuit of Nunavik are familiar with Nunavut law, and I do not think
that it will be possible for us to comply with both the common law and civil law
at the same time. It is unacceptable that citizens must comply with two legal
systems. Another consequence is that Nunavik Inuit must comply with legal rules
without any possibility to influence by vote or petition. Is that normal?
An example can be found in the 2006 Annual Report of the Nunavut Wildlife
Management Board. As indicated by its name, this board manages wildlife and
adopts regulations. From its annual report, we learned that the board has
approved closure of beluga hunting in the area of Sleeper Island and King George
Island. They never consulted with people.
This area is near the communities of Inukjuak, Kuujjuarapik and Umiujaq. I
have never heard that the Nunavik Inuit were consulted or informed about this
closure, which is a threat to their capacity to harvest their needs for
Honourable senators, let me speak now about another threat to my people, and
I am equally sure this threat has not been fully explained to them, either.
According to article 5.3.4 of the agreement, current quotas and restrictions
will apply. It seems to me that people do not make a distinction between
domestic activities for survival, and commercial and sporting activities.
While we understand quota for commercial and sports activities, it is not
fair to apply them to domestic activities. The reality is that such quotas and
restrictions put in jeopardy the day-to-day needs of individuals, since 75 per
cent of Inuit food comes from sea and land. Domestic activity for subsistence
and to feed our families is different from commercial and sports activities.
The question of quota is worse when we read articles 5.3.7 and 5.3.8 which
state that Nunavik Inuit will be stuck with a quota for 20 years on the beluga,
for example. This provision is not a benefit; it is an unacceptable restriction.
Bill C-11 is not a simple administrative ratification of the agreement. This
agreement has major negative impacts on human beings and their constitutional
Consultation means interactive consultation by government representing the
Crown directly with the person affected by the agreement. Governmental
representatives mostly consulted with Makivik, which is not the government of
Nunavik. The purpose of this corporation is to administer the benefits from the
James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The provincial statute established this
corporation in 1978 and I do not see, in the descriptions of their legal powers
and objectives, anything that would give them the power to negotiate
constitutionally existing Aboriginal rights of Nunavik Inuit. I, for one, have
neither seen nor heard that Nunavik Inuit have given out an individual power of
attorney to negotiate away their existing Aboriginal rights.
Honourable senators, you know how important it is to determine who has the
legal capacity to represent Nunavik Inuit and to negotiate their rights. Bill
C-11 and the agreement describe Makivik as representing Nunavik Inuit and, in my
view, that representation is not legally possible without a power of attorney at
least from the individuals involved.
This acute question came out from the lawsuit from Nunavut against the
Government of Canada. Listen to this, honourable senators. This suit was
initiated in December 2006, and is based on a similar agreement that Bill C-11
would ratify. The Inuit of Nunavut seek relief and $1 billion in damages for
breach of contract and breach of fiduciary obligation. I have absolutely no
intention to comment on this case. My interest is with regard to who has the
right to represent whom in a case like Bill C-11.
The lawsuit is entitled "Inuit of Nunavut as represented by Nunavik
Tunngavik Incorporated." In its defence, the Attorney General of Canada says:
. . . the Crown says that NTI does not have standing to bring a claim for
damages on behalf of any individual Inuk or any Inuit company or business. .
This situation puzzles me because Makivik plays an equivalent role to NTI,
but for Nunavik Inuit. The problem is that the government seems satisfied that
Makivik represents Nunavik Inuit when it is time to extinguish existing
Aboriginal rights. Does that mean that later, if Nunavik Inuit must sue the
government, they must act individually and personally after they have lost
existing Aboriginal rights collectively? If they sue the government, it will be
at their own expense and they must indemnify the government as provided by
article 2.29.7 of the agreement. What does the government have in mind, exactly?
This important matter needs to be clarified now and for our future generations.
In the previous session, some honourable senators raised their concerns and I
expressed my point of view. Today, I have raised many problems and concerns, but
there are many others such as the discrepancies between the English and French
versions. Furthermore, Nunavik Inuit will be in a minority situation in the
Nunavut Management Wildlife Board, Nunavut Planning Commission and Nunavut
Impact Review Board, and their decisions will affect their lives in many ways.
There are also other important concerns. For example, why is Quebec not part
of the agreement? From another perspective, we see in this country many
difficulties in implementing modern treaties.
In conclusion, honourable senators, Bill C-11 would give effect to an
agreement that would have impacts for Nunavik Inuit. We must analyze those
impacts in depth. On the one hand, we have the Constitution of Canada that
recognizes and protects existing Aboriginal rights and treaty rights. On the
other hand, we have a policy that tends to extinguish existing Aboriginal
rights. In my view, the Constitution of Canada must prevail.
Since they are recognized and protected, existing and treaty rights impose
positive duties on governments to respect, promote and fulfil such rights.
Constitutional protections will be meaningless if nothing is done to implement
Aboriginal rights and to ensure that our people use and enjoy their rights.
Unfortunately, with Bill C-11 we have no more existing Aboriginal rights, and
the treaty ensures that we will never have them again.
In closing, let us recall the words of Chief Justice Lamer in the
Delgamuukw case as a legacy. He said:
Section 35(1) did not create Aboriginal rights; rather, it accorded
constitutional status to those rights which were "existing" in 1982 . . .
Since Aboriginal title was a common law right whose existence was recognized
well before 1982, section 35(1) had constitutionalized it in its full form.
Honourable senators, let us examine this subject seriously, and for all the
reasons that I have explained, let us refer this important matter to the
Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. This committee
has full expertise on constitutional matters, and this bill goes to the core of
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I wonder if the
honourable senator would take a question.
Senator Watt: Yes, I will.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, there is a huge amount of
confusion, and perhaps Senator Watt can clarify this for the Senate. He spoke of
the ratification that took place in 2006 where, of approximately 6,000 eligible
voters, over 4,800 ballots were cast, which reflected some 80 per cent, and
4,651 were "yes" votes, which is 78 per cent of all eligible voters. There
were 183 "no" votes, and 10 ballots were rejected.
I believe Senator Watt's legal counsel is Mr. Jean Roberge, and he states in
a letter on page 5 that their ignorance was the reason they ratified the
agreement so overwhelmingly. I do not know who he wrote this on behalf of, but I
imagine he was representing Senator Watt.
The big question is, does the honourable senator agree with that statement in
view of the fact that in 1975 he was a signatory to the James Bay and Northern
Quebec Agreement and, in that agreement, in section 2.1, in consideration of the
rights and benefits herein set forth in favour of James Bay Cree and Inuit of
Quebec, the James Bay Cree and Inuit of Quebec hereby cede, release, surrender
and convey all their native claims, rights, titles and interests, whatever they
may be, in and to the land of the territory in Quebec, and Quebec and Canada
accept such surrender?
I know of the concerns of Senator Watt, and I am sure they are sincere.
However, I see a conflict here, and possibly he can explain it. Chief Justice
Lamer was the greatest advocate in establishing treaties of negotiation, and
obviously there was a significant amount of negotiation on behalf of this
particular treaty that has been entered into. I know that it is complex, and it
will go to committee, but I thought I would ask this question. I would
appreciate it if the honourable senator could provide a brief answer.
Senator Watt: Honourable senators, that is a mouthful of an area to
respond to. However, I will gladly respond to indicate the difference between
what happened then and what is happening now.
Honourable senators, as you are aware, before I entered into this great
chamber I was an activist, and I was also elected by my own people to represent
them in the field of movement toward settling claims. In 1970, leading up to
1971, we occupied ourselves in the Quebec court, battling it out in the court
with an interlocutory injunction. During that time, a written mandate from the
people, a legal power of attorney, was given to us, to the corporation and to
me, mentioning my name as president and the lawyer. Only the legal person
holding the power of attorney could exercise that power of attorney.
After the six-month court case we won partially, but it was appealed in the
Court of Appeal. In the Court of Appeal, we lost. The lower court ruling was
overturned, but not completely. We still had the ability to go to the Supreme
Court of Canada, but we decided not to, knowing the great amount of money
already spent, and it was hard for us to continue to fight an uphill battle, not
knowing if we would go anywhere if we continued to fight.
We decided to return to our people and say, "Look, we are at this juncture
now. You have to make the decisions. We speak for you, we represent you, but we
cannot act on your behalf without any meaningful legal document that gives us a
power of attorney to move forward." Leading up to the agreement in principle,
we obtained the power of attorney from the people, and then we negotiated with
Hydro Quebec, the development corporations, and federal and provincial
governments. Tri-party tables were organized all over the place.
After we concluded the agreement in principle — this is a long story, and I
am sorry that I cannot make it shorter — we went back to the people again and
said, "Okay, here are the principles that we managed to nail down, but again we
cannot move forward unless we get a clear mandate from the people that we are
representing." Then the question of power of attorney arose again, so we
obtained the power of attorney to move forward. That is the movement of it.
To get to the point of the question about whether there is a conflict between
what I am doing now and what happened before, the James Bay and Northern Quebec
Agreement was negotiated and enacted by law, Bill C-9, which was umbrella
legislation put forth by the federal government in 1975. That was before 1982,
so we had unfinished business to deal with; that being the offshore issues. This
is what we are dealing with now. When you are a political person with
responsibility to be answerable to the people, there are times you do not share
the information with your own resource people. The question of repatriating the
Constitution was arising at the same time, so I decided to put my energy into
the constitutional field so I that I would never have to go through the same
thing that I went through by extinguishing my rights even before I opened my
mouth or got to the table. That was the name of the game. That was the policy of
the government, and the only policy that existed at that time.
If you think there is a conflict, no, there is no conflict. The negotiated
Aboriginal rights were entrenched in 1982, so it is clear in my mind that there
is no conflict.
Getting back to the earlier point that was raised, if I understood correctly,
my legal assistant put something in writing stating that it was due to the
ignorance of the people that they voted the way they did. If that is the
interpretation, I do not think he meant to say that. I do not know whether I
answered the question. My answer was lengthy.
Senator St. Germain: I thank the honourable senator.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carney, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Nolin, for the second reading of Bill
S-215, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses.—(Honourable Senator Comeau)
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I wanted to ask the Deputy
Leader of the Government, who has moved the adjournment of this debate, whether
the telephone line of the Honourable John Baird is still busy.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, it might be my telephone line that is busy. I will try to make sure
that my line stays open and that the minister's office is able to get through.
To allay the anticipation of my honourable colleague's next question, I began
going through my notes last night and writing comments on the speech that I will
be giving as soon as possible.
Senator Murray: Honourable senators, I would simply add that in a
previous life I had quite a lot of experience writing speeches for people, and
if the senator needs help, I will be glad to provide it pro bono.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I ask this question in
ignorance of the process. Yesterday, Senator Comeau undertook to table copies of
letters he had. I do not know what that process is. May we expect to see those
Senator Comeau: Those two documents were tabled yesterday. I imagine
the table officers would probably have copies, should the honourable senator
wish to see them.
The Hon. the Speaker: Shall the matter continue to stand in the name
of Senator Comeau?
Hon. Art Eggleton moved second reading of Bill C-287, An Act
respecting a National Peacekeepers' Day.—(Honourable Senator Tardif)
He said: Honourable senators, I rise to support this bill, which comes from
the other place. The bill was proposed by the member for
Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, Brent Denis. He noted at the time he moved this
that his riding includes what was once the riding of Algoma East, which was
appropriately represented by the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, who is
credited more than anyone with the kind of peacekeeping operations that were
started back in those days, particularly in reference to the 1956 Suez crisis.
In fact, as we know, this is the fiftieth anniversary of the awarding of the
Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Pearson, which occurred in 1957.
To a great extent we can say that peacekeeping, certainly as it was in those
days, is a Canadian invention. I am pleased that in the name of Mr. Pearson we
continue to see in our country an operation called the Pearson Peacekeeping
Centre. The centre is located in Nova Scotia and helps to train people from many
different countries in peacekeeping operations. It is a proud way to represent
the legacy of Lester B. Pearson.
This bill is intended to honour those who have served in peacekeeping
missions, most notably, of course, but not exclusively, the Canadian military.
There have been over 60 of these missions, and Canada has participated in 50 of
them, which is almost all.
Over 100,000 Canadians have participated, and some 114 have lost their lives
during peacekeeping operations. All people who have served have served with
great bravery and dedication to the cause of peacekeeping, and they do so in the
name of our country.
In addition to the military, though, many people have helped to rebuild civil
society in several countries, including people from the RCMP; the municipal and
provincial police, who have helped train local police; judges; municipal
administrators; NGOs and civilians from many different walks of life.
One of the operations I know the Canadian Forces were involved with was the
removal of land mines. Many countries are plagued with land mines that have
killed or injured not only our troops, but also many civilians.
There have been many people involved in these peacekeeping efforts, and
peacekeeping has changed over the years. In fact, today we sometimes refer to it
as peacemaking or peace support or even peace enforcement, because it is
different from the days of Lester Pearson and the Suez crisis or, even following
that, the missions in Cyprus and the Golan Heights.
In those cases, by and large, two armies were brought to a ceasefire
agreement. It is a question of what is called the green zone or a zone between
them that is patrolled by the peacekeepers. That is the kind of peacekeeping
mission most Canadians are familiar with.
However, peacekeeping has changed substantially. Take, for example, the
operations in Bosnia or Kosovo to see how much it has changed, where ethnic
cleansing and genocide and the conflict is coming from people who are not
wearing military uniforms and do not operate in the traditional military way
that the early peacekeeping missions encountered.
Nowadays, our troops, our civilians and our police need diplomatic skills as
well as the ability to engage in combat if necessary, to defend themselves. They
engage in humanitarian aid. When I was Minister of Defence, it made me proud to
see our troops help build schools, playgrounds and so many other things in
rebuilding civil society, in addition to carrying weapons, doing their duty and
being alert to problems occurring around them. At the same time, our troops
reached out with their hands and their smiles and did so much to help build that
humanitarian effort in these various places. It is for that reason that I
remember how we always referred to our military as having to be multi-purpose
but combat capable. They had to do many different things, but at the same time
they needed the ability to defend themselves when necessary.
Of course, even as peacekeeping has changed over the years, so has conflict
or war. Think back to World War I — a terrible, terrible conflict — when troops
in uniform faced each other across fields. Today, the conflicts and wars engage
innocent people so much more. So many more lives are lost — women, children and
innocent people who are not a part of the operation. Nowadays, we see terrorism
as a big part of conflict and war: terrorism through roadside bombs and suicide
Suicide bombers is the topic of another bill, put before us by Senator
Grafstein, that I will speak to on another occasion.
All of these things have blurred the lines between how we traditionally
understand conflict or peacekeeping and the way it is today.
We used to refer to peacekeeping as being the blue berets or the blue helmets
— and that is not necessarily the case. Some people look at the statistics and
say, "We are not as involved in peacekeeping or blue beret missions as we used
to be." That may be, but that does not mean we are not involved in peacekeeping
operations under another flag or banner. We certainly are.
In Kosovo, we acted under NATO. If we had not acted, there would have been
genocide. There was an ethnic cleansing exercise under way, and it was getting
worse with time. The UN just did not act in time — which is one of the problems
with getting into UN missions. The UN frequently does not act on time. In order
to save lives, we have to get in there, either under another banner, like NATO,
or a coalition of the willing.
Hence, do not say, as some people do, that we no longer involve ourselves as
much in these kinds of international operations. We certainly do; the operations
just are not necessarily all under the UN banner.
While the nature of peacekeeping has changed, honourable senators, the goal
has not. The goal is still to try to bring the kind of peace, freedom and
dignified way of life to people in other parts of the world that we have the
great opportunity of enjoying in Canada, all too often taken for granted. That
goal still applies today.
The bill before us, honourable senators, legislates August 9 as an annual
date for honouring and remembering our peacekeepers. August 9 was chosen as a
result of a loss of lives that occurred 32 years ago on that date. On August 9,
1974, nine of our peacekeepers were killed in a plane that was struck by a
surface-to-air missile en route from Beirut to Damascus. That loss represents
the largest loss of Canadian peacekeepers in one single incident.
However, as I say, 114 peacekeepers in total have lost their lives, and it is
all of those people we remember. August 9 is simply the date that the member in
the other place selected as being the date to remember, pause and reflect on
what our peacekeepers have done.
There is another important day on our calendar every year, and that is
November 11, Remembrance Day. While not exclusionary by any means, on November
11 we focus on those who lost their lives in the First World War, the Second
World War, Korea, and now of course Afghanistan. To have a day to reflect upon
peacekeeping operations, in addition to Remembrance Day, is a good thing to do.
The Canadian peacekeeper has earned the respect and admiration of the
international community. We should now honour them by declaring each August 9 as
National Peacekeepers' Day in Canada.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Would the
honourable senator accept a question?
I have not yet read or had full chance to reflect on the bill, but I have a
preliminary question. The honourable senator mentioned at the end of his
comments that November 11 is the day we honour those who died in wars for the
cause of our country, the day Canadians honour the veterans of past wars — and
Senator Eggleton mentioned some of those wars.
Peacekeepers are soldiers first; peacekeeping is a part of their duties as
soldiers. How will those soldiers feel about August 9 versus November 11? Will
they feel they cannot be a part of November 11? Will participants of November 11
say to our peacekeepers, "You have your own day, August 9; that is your day;
November 11 is reserved for other people in other wars"? In other words, we are
making a distinction between two types of wars: the soldier who served and was
either hurt or killed in action during a peacekeeping effort versus a soldier
who dies or was hurt in combat war. Have soldiers been consulted? Is this what
they want? Have peacekeepers asked for their own special day, other than
Senator Eggleton: As I indicated a few moments ago, while November 11,
Remembrance Day, is not exclusionary to anyone who has served in our country, it
particularly focuses on veterans, Canadian Forces of past and present who have
been in wars and those kind of conflicts that we associate with World War I,
World War II, Korea and Afghanistan. However, in between all of those, and even
currently, we have been involved in many peacekeeping operations. It is a
different level of conflict, but we have been involved in a different kind of
role as well. That is recognized in many different ways. For example, we have a
peacekeeping monument on Sussex Drive, over and above our war memorial.
We also have peacekeeping medals that are given in different conflicts and
wars at different times, different battles — a Canadian peacekeeping medal and a
UN one. There are some distinctions in that regard.
Also many non-military people have engaged in peacekeeping. I have presented
peacekeeping medals to many people in shirts, ties and suits who had never worn
a uniform. Others wear different uniforms, like the RCMP or the municipal or
provincial police, and do not serve in the Canadian Forces. It is an effort to
focus a day on them.
Heritage Canada publishes a lot of material about November 11, much of which
really relates to the wars. I do not think they necessarily mean to be
exclusionary. This day would give that same department an opportunity, on August
9 each year, to reflect upon peacekeeping and the sacrifices made by those
involved and the good work done. In addition to military operations,
humanitarian operations have been carried out in peacekeeping missions as well.
That is how I see these two days.
Just as the peacekeeping monument and the war memorial are complementary in
terms of service to this country and the cause of peace, this additional day can
be as well.
Hon. Nancy Ruth: If peacekeeping includes the police forces helping in
the reconstruction and rebuilding of nations, does it also include other NGOs,
such as teachers, nurses or doctors?
Senator Eggleton: Absolutely. As I said a moment ago, I have given
peacekeeping medals to many people in civilian clothes. There are many who have
served in many different ways. Peacekeeping is so multi-faceted and involves not
only the military, but also people providing humanitarian aid. Many NGOs and
people of different walks of life, including nurses and teachers, have been
involved in these operations. It draws recognition to the 114 people who
sacrificed their lives, and to all those who have served. Some came back
wounded, either physically or emotionally, and some got the peacekeeping medal
because of outstanding service. This honours and brings additional focus to
them, over and above the recognition on November 11.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I wonder if Senator
Eggleton's intention is to use the term "peacekeeping" in the broader sense of
military activity, or is his intention to restrict the term to those who were
involved in activities that at one time were referred to only as peacekeeping,
to be excluded from peace making? For example, those terms of engagement that
permitted the military to engage in the use of force if necessary. Are we
talking only about individuals involved in the non-combative, non-engagement
Senator Eggleton: As I indicated in my remarks, peacekeeping has
changed over the years. Peacekeeping is a general term still in use today. It
started back in the days of Lester Pearson, perhaps before that. We continue to
use it in a generic sense, even though the nature of missions today has changed
a lot. I am not speaking of Afghanistan here, because I think most people
categorize that as a conflict or war condition as opposed to peacekeeping.
People will have different definitions.
However, peacekeeping has changed, and we have had to develop a combat
capability during peacekeeping. We have always needed it, even in Cyprus.
The dangers have become more multi-faceted and challenging in more recent
times: Kosovo, Bosnia, where genocide or ethnic cleansing issues came into play.
Because there has been more combat, we use phrases like "peace making" or "peace enforcement." I think peacekeeping can be used to cover any of those.
It is inclusionary; it does not exclude any of the other phrases.
Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Is Senator Eggleton suggesting that this be
a statutory holiday? I think we all agree that we honour the activities of
people in whatever avenue of life who bring peace, but as a contractor there are
so many holidays that it is very difficult to get any work done anymore.
I would agree that we have a day, but not a statutory holiday.
Senator Eggleton: Honourable senators, I would not mind a statutory
holiday, we all like those. No, it is not a statutory holiday at all. It is
intended as a day of reflection on what our peacekeepers have done, and I hope
we will publish educational materials to help people understand. We have various
other days that do not have statutory implications but recognize different
occasions. We have a Vimy Ridge Day, for example. Again, materials are
distributed to reflect upon the battle of Vimy Ridge, but it is not a statutory
holiday. I am sorry to disappoint those who wanted it, but this is not a
statutory holiday either.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I apologize for
having missed the beginning of the debate.
The term "peacekeeping" can either be considered history, that it does not
exist anymore, or recognized as an all-encompassing capability in which we
provide conflict resolution that ultimately ends up with a peace agreement and
monitoring as we do nation building. Debate has gone on in the academic and
military milieu, and the term "peacekeeping" has remained all-encompassing —
and not purely blue beret, as some might think. As the honourable senator
mentioned, when he was minister and that medal came about, it did not include
the volunteer aspect to peacekeeping. Many of them have been distributed that
way. This is one lovely thing that is not distributed by mail anymore, but by
people; either a fire chief, mayor, MP, senator, et cetera.
August 9 is already being recognized by peacekeepers; there are parades all
over the place. My understanding is the honourable senator's aim is to keep it
as a day of recognizing peacekeepers, but not have any more significant role
than November 11. It is not in competition, it is a different exercise. Am I
correct on that?
Senator Eggleton: The honourable senator is absolutely correct. That
is exactly what I was trying to say. Peacekeeping has changed. We still use the
term, although if we were reinventing the term today we might come up with
another one. I also include the traditional kind of peacekeeping that we think
of in terms of Suez, Cyprus, or Israel's Green Line with two armies in
ceasefire, which still occurs today. During my time as minister we had Eritrea
and Ethiopia. I travelled the no-man's lands between those two armies and it had
much the same look as other more traditional ones. However, whether traditional
or a modified kind of peacekeeping, they are all dangerous missions.
On motion of Senator Nancy Ruth, debate adjourned.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to take the
opportunity to introduce three new Senate pages who will be working with us this
I begin with Charlene Kwiatkowski, who comes from Langley, British Columbia.
She graduated from high school as valedictorian and has had the pleasure of
being involved in school and church activities there and in Ottawa. She has a
love for poetry, playing the piano and sewing. Charlene is enjoying her second
year at Carleton University where she is studying humanities and French.
Stephen Lichti comes from Waterloo, Ontario. After graduating from high
school, he joined the Katimavik youth program and travelled across Canada
volunteering with other young Canadians. He is currently in the second year of
study in the Civil Law Program at the University of Ottawa.
Marie-Pierre Daigle is from Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Her love of languages
and culture took her to Russia last summer to perfect her knowledge of the
Russian language. She is currently working toward her degree in International
Studies and Modern Languages at the University of Ottawa.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to introduce a page
from the House of Commons in the person of Heeba Abdullah of Toronto, Ontario.
She is enrolled in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa
where she is majoring in psychology.
Hon. Peter A. Stollery, pursuant to notice of November 22, 2007,
That the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign
Affairs and International Trade entitled Overcoming 40 Years Of Failure:
A New Road Map For Sub-Saharan Africa, tabled in the Senate on February
15, 2007 during the First Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament, be adopted
and that, pursuant to Rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and
detailed response from the government, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs,
the Minister of International Trade, the Minister of International
Cooperation and the Minister of National Defence being identified as
Ministers responsible for responding to the report.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of
order. The motion before us is an unusual one. We are asked to approve a motion
to approve a report, but the report is not before us. We have in the past moved
motions where a report was approved in a previous session and was moved again by
simple motion, primarily for the purpose of obtaining a government response.
However, this case is somewhat different. This report was not approved in the
previous session. Indeed, it can be argued that at least one senator, who was a
member of the Foreign Affairs Committee — the committee that tabled the report —
had serious disagreement with the report, which was the reason he took the
adjournment and had not yet spoken, and the prorogation intervened. I believe
that it was his intention to move an amendment to the report for which we have
precedents in this house.
However, although we now have a motion before us, we do not have the report.
The question is: How can a senator who had wished to move an amendment to a
report move an amendment to a report which is not before us? To put it mildly,
it is somewhat confusing. In my view, it is also an extremely dangerous
This chamber has always taken the attitude that once we have a prorogation,
everything on the Order Paper dies. We do not have a process to revive bills at
the stage they had been in the previous session, as is the case in the other
place. While in my view that may be a bad thing, that is, in fact, our current
If we are able to revive motions, even motions that have not been approved in
the previous session, does that mean that reports from 10 or 15 years ago could
also be revived? Could we actually move a report so old that none of us
presently sitting in the chamber even remember the report? Does that make any
We now appear to be moving one step forward. If this motion were to be
proceeded with, we would be eliminating the need for a fulsome debate on a
report and potential amendments because, I reiterate, the report is not before
The best suggestion might be to send a reference to the Standing Senate
Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade where they then could
present a report, either the identical report or a revised one — that would be
their choice. We would then have the report before us, and we could make the
decision to amend or not to amend, to pass or not to pass.
To proceed to this motion, without a report, is, in my view, unacceptable and
dangerous to the good operation of this place.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I happen to have before me,
on a different file, material on the entire question of revival of bills and
proceedings. However, as we are on this motion, I will say that I believe
Senator Carstairs has a valid point of order.
As I have been reading the motion, I observed a few things: First, that, in
point of fact, the motion is asking honourable senators to vote on something
that the senators have not seen, and it is an item which is not before the
Senate at all because it has not been placed before the Senate for debate in any
form or fashion. In other words, the Senate does not have cognizance of the
report in question and, therefore, is not in a position to debate and vote on
it, as senators have not been able to read the report because the report has not
been put before us.
Second, this report is a creature of another committee from another session.
My understanding, honourable senators, is that when it comes to Senate reports
and debates on them, we can only debate and vote on reports that are creatures
of the current committees and the current session of Parliament.
This is a strange creature. I do not know what it is but it is a strange
creature. Senator Carstairs is absolutely correct; if we can adopt this report,
why stop with this one? Why do we not search back into the annals of Senate
history and adopt several, many and varied reports? It is a strange creature.
The other matter that I want to add here is that this report does not
originate from the committee. The name of the report in question is,
Overcoming 40 Years of Failure: A New Road Map For Sub-Saharan Africa, but
this report does not originate in the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign
Affairs and International Trade.
If it did, it would have been presented and placed before the Senate for
consideration. It would have been presented on the Order Paper, under the daily
routine of business called "Presentation of Reports from Standing Special
Committees," which would have allowed the report to be printed and placed
before us so we can study it. Therefore, it does not originate from the
It seems to originate from an individual — I believe a member of that
committee, but an individual member of the committee — who has moved a motion on
notice. That is why we are on this part of the Order Paper and Notice Paper,
where we are looking at motions on two-day notice.
If honourable senators look at the motion before us — motion number 64 on the
Order Paper and Notice Paper — it says clearly two days: "By the
Honourable Senator Stollery, November 22, 2007". So two days' notice was given
on this motion on November 22. The usual process that is followed is that a
chair or a deputy chair — or it could be an individual senator on behalf of the
chair — will rise under the "Daily Routine of Business" and present the
report, at which point the Speaker rises and inquires as to when the report
should be considered. Then a motion is usually made that it be placed on the
Order Paper, or whatever disposition is desired. It is that process of
presenting the report before the Senate that places it before us for debate.
This report is the same thing. Things do not spring onto the Order Paper.
Bills, for example, are introduced. There is a whole process for placing
proceedings before us. Therefore, this most interesting oddity seems to spring
out of the air. Honourable senators, to that extent, one could say it is
There are thousands of solutions. One could be for the committee to take
cognizance of the report again and then make a new report to this house. There
are many other solutions. However, what is crystal clear to me on the face of it
is that we cannot vote on this motion because it does not place the report
Since I have these documents before me, one of the huge difficulties of this
motion is the whole question of prorogation. I have in front of me a copy of the
prorogation proclamation of September 14. As we remember, that proclamation
prorogued the Parliament of Canada until October 16, 2007.
Honourable senators, this is a proclamation, a royal decree, and not easily
overcome by any simple vote of the House. If one were to look at the
proclamation, it says clearly that it is given:
At our Government House, in Our City of Ottawa, this fourteenth day of
September, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and seven, and in the
fifty-sixth year of Our Reign.
Our Government House, as honourable senators know, is the seat of the
Government of Canada.
I want to put that on the record. However, more importantly, I wonder if I
can put one statement on the record as to what prorogation is and what it is
not, and what it does and does not do. I want to read from Sir John George
Bourinot, Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in the Dominion of Canada,
fourth edition, published in 1916. He says the following on pages 102 to 103:
The legal effect of a prorogation is to conclude a session; by which all
bills and other proceedings of a legislative character depending in either
branch, in whatever state they are at the time, are entirely terminated, and
must be commenced anew, in the next session, precisely as if they had never
In like manner a prorogation has the effect of dissolving all committees,
whether standing or special.
Therefore, honourable senators, this situation is odd, although I have no
doubt it is a well-intentioned situation. There is a solution. However, I and
most people, I think, will have difficulty voting on this motion. In other
words, the motion is defective and His Honour should not put the question on
this motion because it is defective.
His Honour should declare this motion out of order because it asks the Senate
to vote on a matter that has simply sprung over a prorogation. In other words,
it decided to oust a prorogation. In addition, the matter is not before this
house at all because it has not been introduced or presented. This motion states
that "the seventh report . . . be adopted." Before we can adopt a report,
honourable senators, we must take it into our possession, into our cognizance.
Honourable senators, I am sorry that I am not better prepared. Those two
quotations I happened to have here because I have been working on another file.
As a matter of fact, I have not paid too much attention to this issue.
I thank Senator Carstairs for raising it, but this motion is very much out of
order. Perhaps a better solution would be for the mover of the motion to
withdraw it and to start over again.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, it is possible that there
was a flaw in the process of this matter coming before the Senate. I say
However, the record of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and
International Trade will show that at a meeting last week, the committee came to
a consensus to the effect that Senator Stollery would be mandated, on behalf of
the committee, to resurrect the report in the chamber of the Senate in the form
that is now before us. That mandate is simply what Senator Stollery is
attempting to fulfil. We are not resurrecting a report tabled in this Senate 15
years ago. To suggest that that could be done is a rather silly suggestion, in
my opinion. We are doing this on the heels of the previous session.
The report was tabled in this place on February 15, 2007. It was printed and
distributed. It was made available to honourable senators for months. Some
honourable senators spoke, while others chose to delay their participation in
the debate, for their own good reasons. I do not quarrel with that. That can be
done under our rules. However, at one point we must come to some finality, it
seems to me.
If there is a flaw in the process by which we bring this matter anew to the
attention of this honourable house, I ask His Honour to so indicate to us so
that we could correct the process. However, as a member of the committee in
question and as one of the many co-authors of this report, which was the object
of a consensus — I am not denying that there was some opposition to it — I can
say with some certainty that we are not trying to play games. The fact that this
motion is now before the house provides an opportunity for everyone to
participate in the debate and to express their views. That is my contribution,
Senator Stollery: Honourable senators, as Senator Corbin has said, and
as members of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International
Trade are aware, I was mandated by the committee to deal with the report that
the Senate did not adopt in the last session, though a large majority of the
committee wanted that done.
I wish to point something out to honourable senators. I am reading an article
from what I think is today's National Post. This is relevant. It is an
interview of Minister Oda, the minister with responsibility for CIDA. It reads:
If it adopts the recommendations of a Senate report issued this year —
"that's what we are working on, for sure," said new CIDA minister Bev Oda
. . .
It is interesting that what is happening is that the world is continuing
without us because the Senate has not been able to complete the business of this
As honourable senators can imagine, when I had my instructions from the
committee I consulted at the highest levels here in the Senate as to how to
proceed. I did not invent this procedure myself. I was told very clearly that
the report is a public document, that it became a public document once it was
tabled by Senator Segal, and that it was not necessary to table the public
document again because it is a public document. Those were my instructions. I do
not know what else I can do when I am told that by the most senior officers in
On the business of sessions, I remind honourable senators that I have been in
Parliament, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, for 35 years. I know
full well what happens when sessions end. All legislation falls off the table.
That is the way it was until recently. We now have new procedures for sessions,
and this is in some way being caught up in this series of new procedures.
For example, if a bill came to the Senate and the session ended, the
procedure would have to start all over again in the House of Commons. That is no
longer the case. The Rules Committee, if I am not mistaken, is trying to sort
out just what we do in the Senate with legislation from a previous session. It
reflects poorly on our ability to complete our own business. The minister is
taking some of our recommendations seriously enough — and these are only some of
our recommendations, of course — such that she is quoted as having said that
they are trying to comply with some of our suggestions and recommendations.
I was told that it was not necessary to reintroduce the report because it is
already a public document. We feel that we cannot get the response from the
appropriate government departments until the report is adopted. This is not a
partisan argument. I do not think that anyone objected to the procedure at the
meeting. The decision was pretty well unanimous, I would have said. I am looking
at the chair of the committee. I do not want to put words in his mouth, but that
is what I recall.
Therefore, I am somewhat surprised, when I follow the recommendation of the
officials and do what I am supposed to do, that I find myself in this situation.
The world continues outside of this place. Our report has had about 9,000
downloads and has gone all over the world, but we cannot agree to do the obvious
thing, which is: By the way, I am moving the adoption. If you do not want to
adopt it, you can always vote against it.
I find myself perplexed, honourable senators, because I have done exactly
what I was supposed to do. I respect Senator Cools strongly in matters of
procedure. She is a very knowledgeable person, and Senator Carstairs was a
leader of a former government in the Senate.
This discussion has been caught up in the business of when a new session
starts. There are new rules being put together. I do not think it is right that
the Senate report, which is a strong report and one with which both sides agree
— there is no question — cannot be dealt with in the proper manner.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I think we have heard the arguments on both sides of this point. I
suggest that His Honour take the matter under advisement. Unless His Honour is
prepared to render a decision at this point, I suggest that the matter be
adjourned until such time as he returns with a response.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is for the Speaker to
determine when he has heard enough on the point of order, and I will not have
heard enough on the point of order until I hear from Senator Di Nino and Senator
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I want to briefly
intervene by acknowledging the fact that Senator Stollery, as Deputy Chair of
the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
requested of the committee that he be allowed to present this motion, which was
agreed upon by the committee.
I am not sure whether there is a technical misunderstanding here, but I am
confirming the comments made by Senator Stollery and Senator Corbin as they
relate to the committee. I confirm not the words of the motion necessarily, but
the fact that the motion was discussed and approved at the committee.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I rise in support of Senator
Carstairs' point of order. This may be a technical point, but technical points
are important. That is why we have rules. Otherwise, it could just be a
free-for-all in here every day and then it would be a good thing that we are two
sword lengths apart.
Rules matter. Even in the report of the Rules Committee, which is in fact
before the chamber, it is not suggested that reports of committees be revivable
in the same way that it is suggested for bills to be revivable in the second
session of Parliament. I think there are good reasons for this distinction to be
That said, I understand that the Foreign Affairs Committee, or some members
of that committee, have an interest in not seeing this subject die, and I think
the circle can be squared. Perhaps Senator Stollery could rephrase his motion
along the lines of, "Whereas, in the first session of the Thirty-ninth
Parliament, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International
Trade studied these matters, and whereas, the committee discovered whatever it
wants to mention in the first session, the Senate therefore asks the government
to provide the Senate with a statement of its policy" — and we could set a
deadline, as we often do when asking for government responses.
Honourable senators, I think we have two problems: First, there is
disagreement over the content of the study, which is a separate matter; second,
the technical problem, which, as Senator Carstairs says with absolute accuracy,
is that the report is not before us. I do not think we have a method to bring
the report before us just like that, but that does not stop us from asking the
government to take a position on anything we want it to take a position on.
Hon. David P. Smith: Honourable senators, I am sympathetic to the
point of view expressed by Senator Stollery and Senator Comeau. I just caught
the tail end of their comments, as well as the tail end of Senator Cools'
We do have on Reports of Committees, item No. 1, where we dealt with
reinstatement of bills, which I think is very desirable. Senator Cools and I
have an honest difference of opinion. I do not agree with her and she does not
agree with me. The Rules Committee spent a lot of time studying this and arrived
at a unanimous decision before the end of the session, and we hope that will be
dealt with soon.
However, I think there is a point here that the rewording and rephrasing of
the motion can be accommodated. I hate to see us in these straitjackets, but I
think this is a straitjacket that can be easily solved. I am sympathetic to what
they are trying to achieve and supportive of it.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I do not want to repeat
what has been said, but the rules state:
. . . pursuant to rule 131(2)
And rule 131(2) states:
The Senate may request that the Government provide a complete and
detailed response to a report of a select Committee, which has been adopted
by the Senate . . .
The motion to adopt the report includes such a request. I just wanted to
bring that to His Honour's attention.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I should like to apologize to
Senator Stollery. As I said before, I have not read the proceedings of the
Senate committee, and I have no knowledge of what he was saying in respect of
the most recent committee asking him to revive this issue before us. I am purely
responding to the motion as it was, and as it is before us. It is undoubted,
honourable senators, that, as it is written, the major defect still remains the
fact that if Senator Stollery was attempting to resuscitate or revive the issue
and the report, that is not what has happened. As this motion reads, the report
is still not before us for our consideration and vote.
I have known Senator Stollery for a long time and I should like to say I had
no knowledge and I was not attempting to judge that. If the committee gave him
authority, then there is a way for Senator Stollery to revive the report. I
would submit that way involves the committee having to readopt the report or
something of that nature. The report simply cannot be sprung onto the floor by
virtue of this motion. This motion, though well-intentioned, asks us to vote on
the report, but does not place the report before us. That issue still must be
resolved, honourable senators.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I want to make two
remarks. First, Senator Robichaud quoted the rules of this chamber. The language
that he read deals with a report that had been adopted — and the report had not
Second, I want to state that I agree wholeheartedly with the remarks of
Senator Carstairs. They are, in my opinion, legally correct and proper.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I will conclude by hearing
from Senator Carstairs.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I thank everyone for
participating in this point of order. It really is a simple concept. If the
Foreign Affairs Committee brought forward a very quick mandate that they wanted
to do a study on Africa, which we know in fact has been done, they would then
get that approval, move their report and bring it back to the chamber. We would
then have the report. We could vote on the report, or against it, but we would
be voting on the report, honourable senators; we would not be voting on a
That is my point. We must do things in an appropriate fashion, so we are
dealing with reports, not motions.
The Hon. the Speaker: I thank all honourable senators for their
contributions on the point of order that has been raised. I shall take the
matter under advisement and report with a ruling as soon as possible.
Hon. Art Eggleton, pursuant to notice of November 28, 2007, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology be authorized to examine issues relating to the federal
government's new Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy — Mobilizing
Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?