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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 37

Thursday, February 28, 2008
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Thursday, February 28, 2008

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

Prayers.

[Translation]

Royal Assent

Notice

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that the following communication had been received:

RIDEAU HALL

February 28, 2008

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will proceed to the Senate Chamber today, the 28th day of February, 2008, at 3:30 p.m., for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to certain bills of law.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook
Secretary to the Governor General

The Honourable
        The Speaker of the Senate
                Ottawa


[English]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Tributes

The Late Honourable Jacques Hébert, O.C.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I received a notice from the Leader of the Opposition, who requests, pursuant to rule 22(10), that the time provided for consideration of Senators' Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute to the Honourable Jacques Hébert, whose death occurred on December 6, 2007.

I remind senators that, pursuant to our rules, each senator will be allowed only three minutes and may speak only once, and the time for tributes shall not exceed 15 minutes.

(1335)

[Translation]

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, today I would like to pay tribute to a friend and former colleague, Jacques Hébert, who passed away on December 6.

He was a man of ideas and of action, a journalist, a pamphleteer, a friend to youth and to humanity, and his personal qualities and achievements helped him earn a spot among the great figures of his time. As a witness and leavening force of his time, he dedicated his energy and passion to world travel, confrontational journalism, writing, publishing, young people and many more worthwhile causes.

In all of his careers, in all the battles he fought, in all the causes he stood up for, he shook things up, stirred things up and moved things forward. With his free and stubborn spirit, he cast a critical eye on society, striking down myths, taboos and prejudices.

As an architect and linchpin of the Quiet Revolution and an indomitable opponent of the death penalty, he decried all forms of injustice and advocated in favour of the changes that have moved our society forward along the path of modernity, justice and freedom.

Senator Hébert championed the causes of the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, those on whom society has given up. He was the social conscience of his time; he breathed life into his society.

Throughout his life, Senator Hébert encouraged us all to join him on his quest for justice and freedom. He showed us the way. As he put it, "If we keep unerringly to the path of freedom, we will find ways to overcome our trials."

Who could forget his hunger strike in the Senate Hall? Professor Léon Dion described Senator Hébert's noble, unselfish, idealistic action as a response to the entreaties of a deeply rooted, nationwide sense of democracy.

Through his actions, words and writings, Jacques Hébert revealed to us the remarkable arsenal of strengths and qualities that we each possess. He gave us the tools we need to build a society free from war, hatred, poverty and injustice. He believed that we could create a better world through our young people and two organizations in particular: Katimavik and Canada World Youth.

As we pay tribute to Jacques Hébert, let us salute the man and his work and, above all, let us underscore his bequest to us all: the responsibility for spreading freedom, brotherhood and justice across our country and around our world.

Let us also remember Creed, written by his friend Frank Scott — distinguished jurist and poet, and founding member of Canada World Youth — a creed Senator Hébert often recalled, a creed that could well have been his very own:

This world is my country
The human race is my race
The spirit of man is my God
The future of man is my heaven.

May heaven be all that you hoped, dear friend.

To his family, friends, and partners, and to all of those who admired him, I wish to offer my most sincere condolences and my treasured memories.

Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable colleagues, I too would like to say a few words in honour of a former colleague, mentor, and most of all, friend, who left us in December: Jacques Hébert.

Right from my arrival in the Senate, Jacques Hébert was always a guide to me, discreet and efficient, and generous with his time and advice. To this day, I am grateful to him for having enlightened me as he did so well. From wherever he is now, he is probably smiling at how religiously I continue to follow his advice. I am also still living in the same apartment he recommended back in 1995.

Perhaps it also made him smile to note that there was actually a quorum at the church service on December 14.

I especially want to perpetuate the memory of Jacques Hébert as a beacon for Canadian youth.

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Everything has already been said on the matter, and said much better than I ever could, but as a mother and grandmother, I must express the gratitude felt by the many Canadian parents and grandparents whose children and grandchildren have done well or better in life, thanks to Katimavik and Canada World Youth, and thanks to Jacques.

To all these young people, he has shown the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Jacques, my eternal adviser and now adviser to the Eternal.

[English]

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, I was a good friend of Jacques Hébert, as were so many of us here.

As people who are younger than I am will find, like all institutions, this one has its ups and downs. Jacques Hébert was the whip here when we were having a big "up." Allan MacEachen was the Leader of the Government, and I am sure I am not the only one who recalls the day when Jacques was made whip. He was terrific.

He was a wonderful Canadian, a wonderful man, and his passing is a great loss.

Jacques and I became particularly friendly because we both started to travel the world at a young age. Jacques left Canada — I think for the first time in 1945 — with a Model T Ford and some kind of a contraption behind it, to visit South America at the end of the war.

I began travelling in 1958, and both of us had travelled extensively in Africa. There is a French term for people who have been in the bush in Africa.

[Translation]

We call them "broussards," or bushmen. Since Jacques was older than me, I always referred to him as "Bushman number one" and to myself as "Bushman number two."

[English]

Some years ago we went to Gabon together. He kind of got me into this because there was a country that he had not visited, which I referred to as Spanish Guinea, but which is actually now called Equatorial Guinea.

Jacques arranged all of this; and whenever he went to a country he had never visited before, he sent a card from that place to Mr. Trudeau, with whom, as honourable senators know, he was a close and long-time friend. In fact, he was possibly the person who got Pierre Trudeau to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Jacques and I, Bushman number one and Bushman number two, took a dug-out canoe up a river. I got a terrible case of malaria. It was a pretty strange business. We visited a CIDA project that was an earthen oven on a beach, which caused me to start wondering about that whole process of projects that would build an earthen oven on a beach. In the book he wrote about that time was a chapter about our trip, and he talked about our visit to a place called Coho. It was amazing. Coho is the Spanish word for "crippled," and the town was named Crippled.

Honourable senators, one of the unpleasant duties of a long-serving senator is participating in memorial services for his or her great friends. Jacques Hébert was not only a great Canadian but a great friend.

(1345)

[Translation]

Hon. Lucie Pépin: Honourable senators, today we pay tribute to an uncompromising man who lived life to the fullest, a man I came to know in the 1960s and for whom I have great respect. It was difficult to spend time with Senator Hébert and not be changed in some way. Quite simply, he left no one indifferent. I will remember him as a caring friend, a unique individual and a walking encyclopedia, someone I thoroughly enjoyed talking to.

I once heard someone say that our colleague was that rare combination of idealist and man of action. Truer words were never spoken. He believed in a just world, and he never stopped working to create that world. Our colleague was not the sort of person who asked himself whether or not something was done. He simply asked himself whether it was possible. As he said, himself, "Nothing will stop me when I believe in a cause."

Seeking unanimous approval mattered little to Senator Hébert, and he defended his ideas with an energy and a dash of provocation that were part of his charm. Never in his public life was the senator afraid of finding himself at the centre of the storm. In the late 1950s, he was already making a name for himself with his criticism of the trial of Wilbert Coffin, which he described as the greatest miscarriage of justice of the century. His tenacity earned him jail time for contempt of court. Later, he influenced the in-depth reform of public education. He unabashedly shook things up on many other occasions during his lifetime.

A consummate nonconformist, Senator Hébert had many sides. He was definitely a polemicist, but he was also — and usually all at the same time — a political activist, a journalist, an essayist and a defender of civil liberties, the oppressed and the orphans in our society. He was president of the Civil Liberties Union, which he founded with his friend Trudeau in 1972.

Jacques Hébert also worked at Radio-Canada from 1962 to 1970 as a writer and host. A lover of the written word, he founded two publishing companies, Les Éditions de l'Homme in 1958 and Les Éditions du Jour in 1961. He also headed the Association of Canadian Publishers from 1965 to 1974. As a publisher, Jacques Hébert published the first works by Michel Tremblay, Marie-Claire Blais, Victor Lévy-Beaulieu and Roch Carrier. He made an undeniable contribution to the democratization of reading.

Senator Hébert's legacy will be his unshakeable belief in the complete development of young people. This is most certainly because he always considered himself one of them. Even at 84, he remained young at heart. His commitment to young people translated into the creation of Canada World Youth in 1971 and Katimavik in 1977.

We all remember the devotion he showed, even jeopardizing his own health, in order to save the Katimavik program. For 21 days, at 63 years of age, Senator Hébert slept in the foyer of the Senate in a sleeping bag.

An open-minded and adventurous man, he was an idealist who dedicated his life to his fellow human beings. He was willing to give everything to make the world a better place. He remained true to himself, even in death, by donating his body to science.

May his generosity and altruism serve as an example and a model for generations to come.

[English]

Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, since Confederation, Ottawa has been blessed by the brightest and the best men and women who have come from Quebec to serve Canada. After the Quiet Revolution, we witnessed the arrival of the "three wise men": Jean Marchand, Gérard Pelletier and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. These men were invited by Mr. Pearson to join the Liberal Party, and what a difference they made for Quebec and Canada. However, there were two other wise men that came with them: Fernand Cadieux — in my opinion, the Marshall McLuhan of French Canada — and that Renaissance man of so many talents, our dear friend, the indefatigable and exuberant Jacques Hébert, who was appointed to the Senate shortly before me in 1983.

It was a gloomy day when I heard that our ebullient friend Jacques — so full of the lust for life —had passed away after a long illness. Jacques was the ultimate Renaissance man; there was nothing he could not do with grace and skill. He was more than a senator; he was a journalist, world traveller, publisher, editor, radio commentator, author and above all, a raconteur par excellence. He was our senator to the world.

Jacques served with great distinction as Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Youth and was the indulgent, but tough, government whip. He received many honours, including being nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2002, all of which he carried lightly. He created Canada World Youth as well as Katimavik. He travelled around the world to over 130 countries and wrote wonderful books about China, the tropics and, as Senator Stollery said, about South America and Cuba.

(1350)

However, Jacques was more than that. He was a fighter for great causes. An outstanding example was Katimavik. He went on a hunger strike in this place when the Progressive Conservative government of the day decided to cancel that particular program, and he fasted in the antechamber of the Senate for 21 days. We were all worried about his health. After five or six days, we implored him to stop and he would not. I called Pierre Trudeau and I said: "Your friend out here is dying. His health is being damaged." Trudeau said: "Do not worry about Jacques. He will be okay." Two or three days later, on day 15 of the fast, I called Trudeau again and I said to him: "Jacques is going to be hurt. He is going to be damaged." Trudeau said: "Forget about it. He is a strong man. He can handle himself." After 21 days of fasting outside, he ultimately gave up because he had made a point and brought Katimavik to the attention of the media. In 1991, Prime Minister Chrétien resurrected that program.

Honourable senators, after he retired from the Senate, Jacques became an advocate for the dispossessed. He became an advocate for a forgotten group in Quebec, the Duplessis orphans, who had been placed in Roman Catholic institutions by Duplessis during the 1940s and 1950s where they endured physical and sexual abuse, electrical shocks and even lobotomies. Jacques, once again, took up the side of those who could not speak for themselves.

Another earlier example of his courage and leadership was the case of Wilbert Coffin, a Quebec man, hanged after allegations that he had killed three Americans. Coffin repeatedly proclaimed that he was innocent, but he was hanged. It was Jacques who had covered that case as a journalist and called it the biggest legal miscarriage in Quebec's history.

Jacques became a leading activist against capital punishment, and it was eventually abolished by Parliament. That was one of his great victories.

His heart was always with Katimavik and the young people. Every few months, you will recall, he would hold a reception outside, surrounded —

The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Cools.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I wish to join Senate colleagues, particularly Liberal colleagues, in paying tribute to our own senator, Jacques Hébert.

Honourable senators, the first day I arrived in this place, I was greeted interestingly by Jean Marchand. When I entered this chamber, I was seated next to Jacques Hébert. For quite some time, he and I were seatmates.

I have a view of Jacques Hébert as a very special fellow. There are times when he would be so angry, that you would not think he was so special. However, he was a very special man. It was painful to attend his memorial service in Montreal on December 14, 2007 because for me, it marked the end of an era.

The last time I saw Jacques Hébert, Gérard Pelletier and Pierre Trudeau together was in July 1996 on the occasion of the St. Francis Xavier University retirement tribute to Allan MacEachen in Antigonish when Mr. Trudeau spoke. I remember at that event, thinking to myself that this would be the last time I would see the three of them alive together.

Honourable senators, Jacques Hébert was a son of Quebec. He was a man of the people. He was a great man of letters. He was a federalist. He was a defender of Wilbert Coffin. He was a dear, close personal friend of Pierre Trudeau. He lived fully and completely.

Honourable senators, in saying goodbye to this great Canadian and this great humanist, I share with you that I served on the special committee that he chaired in the late 1980s on unemployment insurance. As honourable senators will remember, particularly those who later endured the GST debates, as Liberal senators travelled down East, we certainly won the communications battle. I have vivid memories of travelling with Senator John Stewart and Senator Jacques Hébert in Nova Scotia. Some honourable senators may remember that Senator MacEachen gave me the name "the fair maiden of Canso" because of the ticklish issues surrounding the fishermen and unemployment insurance during that big battle.

(1355)

In any event, this is the passing of an era. This is the passing of a particular group of men who emerged from Quebec to meet many challenges and, particularly, to bring about the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.

Honourable senators, in saying goodbye to Jacques Hébert, perhaps I could read a famous poem that is known to many as an Irish or Gaelic blessing. Perhaps I could read that because the man of letters in Jacques Hébert emerges quickly:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I offer his family my deepest sympathy.

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today to join in paying tribute to the life and work of Jacques Hébert. His illustrious career as a senator, an activist, a human rights advocate and a champion of young people earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens. While we mourn his passing, we also celebrate a life filled with passion, idealism and service to the people of Canada.

The senator is perhaps best known as the founder of Canada World Youth. That organization has offered thousands of young people from across the country from different cultures the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience they needed to contribute to and take an active role in society. That led to the inspiration to found another organization, Katimavik, which enables young people to do volunteer work in Canada. Both of these organizations have contributed immensely to enriching the lives of young people.

While these are perhaps two of the late senator's proudest legacies, what is less well known is the fact that the inspiration for these ideas originated in Prince Edward Island. In the fall of 1939, as a young student from Montreal, Jacques Hébert enrolled at St. Dunstan's University in Charlottetown. At that time, he did not speak English and knew little about the world beyond his neighbourhood in Montreal where he lived as a child. When he visited Prince Edward Island in 2005, he told a local reporter that his experiences living on the Island in a different culture convinced him of the importance for all young Canadians to learn more about themselves, their country and one another. I was extremely pleased when the University of Prince Edward Island awarded him an honorary degree in 2004 to recognize his outstanding contributions to this country.

In his dormitory room at St. Dunstan's University, he hung a framed quotation by the First World War French flying ace, Georges Guynemer. Translated, it says: "When you have not given everything, you have given nothing." Those words express the lifelong commitment of Jacques Hébert to give of himself to his fellow citizens.

I hope successive generations of young Canadians will continue to be inspired by his legacy.

[Translation]

Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, I would like to pay tribute to a great Canadian who made an important contribution to this country's progress, as an author, journalist, publisher, civil libertarian and parliamentarian.

When I was called to the Senate in 1995, my first official meeting was with the government whip in the Senate, the Honourable Jacques Hébert. I knew about his commitment to young people, his writing and his friendship with the late Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. However, what I did not know about was his sense of humour. I discovered this sense of humour when I first walked into his office for Canadian because they reaped the benefits of the vision for youth nurtured by Jacques Hébert for over 35 years through Canada World Youth and Katimavik. That vision deserves our respect and admiration. Thank you, Jacques Hébert!

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would ask that you all rise and join me in a minute of silence, after which we will continue with further statements.

Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.

Certified General Accountants Association of Canada

One Hundredth Anniversary

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention and afford special recognition to the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, which this month commenced a series of nationwide celebrations marking its centenary. The CGA association was founded in Montreal in 1908 by Mr. John Leslie, assistant comptroller of the Canadian Pacific Railway, to help and support accountants to enhance their professional skills. This new organization soon proved its worth and achieved considerable popularity. As a result, the association sought and was incorporated by a special act of Parliament on April 14, 1913.

This self-regulating professional association is today the fastest growing accounting designation in Canada. It represents an estimated 68,000 Certified General Accountants and students, in Canada and, as well, in Bermuda, the nations of the Caribbean, the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong.

CGA-Canada is renowned for the expert training and professional development it provides to its members and its students. It plays a valuable role for Canadian businesses through strategic counsel and financial leadership in all sectors of the economy. The CGA association representatives appear on a regular basis before committees of the House of Commons and the Senate, and provide much appreciated assistance in the Parliament's legislative process.

Honourable senators, I know from personal experience that the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce has benefited frequently from expert opinions brought to it by the CGA association on bills and special studies before the committee.

Honourable senators, I suspect most of you are aware of the restrictions that have long reserved certain public audit functions to chartered accountants, or CAs, to the exclusion of CGAs and CMAs. This remains a sore point. I commend honourable senators to the report of the Competition Bureau, which appears to validate the CGA position on public-practice rights. I believe the report acknowledges that regulations or other barriers that impede free access to certain professions such as public accounting, including certain audit functions, are unnecessary and tend to stifle competition and restrict productivity in Canada.

Honourable senators, in honour of its one-hundredth anniversary, CGA-Canada will be selecting, during the course of the year, 100 CGAs who have made a difference to the profession and the communities in which they live. The recipients will be honoured and recognized for their contributions at a special gala ceremony in Montreal in October.

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Congratulations to the CGA Canada on achieving this impressive milestone and good luck in all their endeavours going forward.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Power—Carbon Capture Power Plant

Hon. Leonard J. Gustafson: Honourable senators, I have some very good news for Saskatchewan, and some very good news for Canada. According to Ian McKinnon of Bloomberg.com:

SaskPower, Saskatchewan's government-owned power company, plans to spend $1.4 billion on the world's largest clean-coal and carbon-capture plant, after getting financial help from the federal government.

The project includes rebuilding the coal-fuelled unit at Boundary Dam Power Station, the company said today, in a statement on its website. The Canadian government, in yesterday's budget, committed to the spending of $240 million on the development . . . .

The unit would produce 100-megawatts of power, and about 1 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide would be captured and injected underground to boost production of the oil fields, according to the statement.

This is very good news for Canada and good news for Saskatchewan.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

The Estimates, 2008-09

Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Estimates, 2008-09.

[English]

Drinking Water Sources Bill

Report of Committee on Subject Matter Tabled

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, which is a report on the subject matter of Bill S-208.

I move, with leave of the Senate, that this report be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day, at Item No. 20 under Other Business.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Leave is not granted, Senator Banks.

Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

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

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Fourth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. George J. Furey, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its

FOURTH REPORT

Your Committee has approved the Senate Main Estimates for the fiscal year 2008-2009 and recommends their adoption. (Annex A)

Your Committee notes that the proposed total budget is $90,232,000.

Your committee also recommends that any budgetary surplus in the funding envelope for Senators' Research and Office Expenses that results from a higher than average number of Senate vacancies be frozen and allowed to lapse at the end of fiscal year.

An overview of the 2008-2009 budget will be forwarded to every Senator's office.

Respectfully submitted,

GEORGE J. FUREY, Q.C.
Chair

(For text of Appendix, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 614.)

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: When shall this report be taken into consideration?

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

Settlement of International Investment Disputes Bill

Report of Committee

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has the honour to present its

THIRD REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-9, An Act to implement the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention), has, in obedience to the order of reference of Tuesday, February 12, 2008 examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

CONSIGLIO DI NINO
Chair

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

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

Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

Bill to Amend—Report of Committee

Hon. Joyce Fairbairn, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, presented the following report:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has the honour to present its

FIFTH REPORT

Your Committee, to which was referred Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Wednesday, February 27, 2008, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

JOYCE FAIRBAIRN P.C.
Chair

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

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): With leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(b), I move that the bill be read the third time later this day.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

On motion of Senator Comeau, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(b), bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading later this day.

[Translation]

The Estimates, 2008-09

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Main Estimates

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009, with the exception of Parliament Vote 15.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave grantes, honourable sentors?

Hon. Senators: Agreed

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

Motion agreed to.

Motion to Refer Vote 15 to the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament Adopted

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

That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine the expenditures set out in Parliament Vote 15 of the Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009; and

That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.

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

Motion agreed to.

(1415)

[English]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-343, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (motor vehicle theft).

Bill read first time.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: 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.

[Translation]

Anti-terrorism

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Provisions Governing the Security Certificate Process Set Out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism be authorized to examine and report on the provisions governing the security certificate process set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27, as recently modified by An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (certificate and special advocate) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, S.C. 2008, c. 3, as well as conduct a review of the operation of that process in the context of Canada's anti-terrorism framework; and

That the committee present its final report no later than December 31, 2008.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study the Rise of China, India and Russia in the Global Economy and the Implications for Canadian Policy

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be authorized to examine and report on the rise of China, India and Russia in the global economy and the implications for Canadian policy; and

That the committee present its final report no later than October 1, 2009, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until March 31, 2010.


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[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

Parliament

Alleged Offer of Financial Compensation to Influence Vote of Former Member for Surrey North

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is very specific, and I would appreciate a very specific answer. I speak without the translation to ensure that she understands.

Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate please tell this chamber if she believes that it is appropriate for a parliamentarian to be offered financial compensation to influence his or her vote on any matter before Parliament?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, the answer to that question is no, I do not.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: We read this morning that some very serious allegations have been made that go to the very heart of our democracy. Allegations of million-dollar bribes are usually something we hear about taking place in other countries, not democratic countries. My concern, therefore, is not only about how allegations such as this affect the view of Canadians in regard to their political system but how other countries perceive Canada.

Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us what her government intends to do in order to get to the bottom of these allegations?

Senator LeBreton: I heard the honourable senator point out that these are allegations. They apparently are in the form of a book, an advance copy of which was given to The Globe and Mail. The record is very clear, that Mr. Cadman met with people of all political parties. It is a matter of public record that officials of our party met with Mr. Cadman to discuss the possibility of him rejoining the Conservative Party caucus. The Prime Minister has stated that he had called Mr. Cadman to seek out information as to what his intentions were with the infamous vote in May 2005. Mr. Cadman made it clear that he intended to support the Liberal Party on the motion. The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition at the time, told Mr. Cadman that he respected his view and that was the end of the matter.

The person's word that we should take is that of Mr. Cadman. Mike Duffy specifically asked about whether officials of our party had met Mr. Cadman about rejoining the party. Mr. Cadman said to Mike Duffy, "Yes. Well, that was the only offer on the table that I had from anyone." That was common knowledge and was written up in Tom Flanagan's book that was published last year. There were no offers on the table up to that point about anything from any party. We have to take the word of the late Mr. Cadman. He was an honourable man.

We must not forget, honourable senators, that this was a crucial vote. Mr. Cadman's vote was not the vote that secured the victory for the Liberal government of Paul Martin. The vote was secured by the enticement of Belinda Stronach to cross the floor when she was offered a cabinet post.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

An Hon. Senator: That's a real million-dollar offer.

Senator LeBreton: While I am on my feet, it is a matter of public record as well that Mr. Cadman had received overtures from members of the Liberal Party, including Prime Minister Paul Martin, member of Parliament Keith Martin and member of Parliament Mr. Dosanjh. Everyone was in pursuit of Mr. Cadman's vote, but to suggest that anyone would suggest a life insurance policy for a person clearly quite ill is remarkable. There is absolutely no truth to these allegations and no better person to believe than Mr. Cadman himself.

(1425)

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Three provisions of our system indicate that these allegations are in violation: First, order 23. (1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons states:

The offer of any money or other advantage to any Member of this House, for the promoting of any matter whatsoever depending or to be transacted in Parliament, is a high crime and misdemeanour, and tends to the subversion of the Constitution.

Second, section 41.(3) of the Parliament of Canada Act states:

Every person who gives, offers or promises to any member of the House of Commons any compensation for services described in subsection (1), rendered or to be rendered, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and to a fine of not less than five hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars.

Third, section 119.(1) of the Criminal Code, under Corruption and Disobedience, states:

Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years who

(a) being the holder of a judicial office, or being a member of Parliament or of the legislature of a province, directly or indirectly, corruptly accepts, obtains, agrees to accept or attempts to obtain, for themselves or another person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by them in their official capacity, or

(b) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives or offers to a person mentioned in paragraph (a), or to anyone for the benefit of that person, any money, valuable consideration, office, place or employment in respect of anything done or omitted or to be done or omitted by that person in their official capacity.

Since there is a cloud over this question, and I am quite sure that the Liberals were in Parliament at the time and would gladly participate in any kind of investigation, does the Leader of the Government in the Senate intend to recommend to the Prime Minister, to get to the bottom of these allegations, that he ask for an inquiry and refer the matter to the RCMP?

Senator LeBreton: First, the honourable senator reads quite properly. It is a matter of public record and, clearly, there is nothing to this allegation, and the late Mr. Cadman has confirmed this. I agree with the rules that the honourable senator read into the record. There is nothing to support the allegations in this book about something that happened almost three years ago. There was much public documentation then and since on the various efforts of both the Liberals and the Conservatives to pursue Mr. Cadman in an effort to secure his vote on that crucial budget.

Mr. Martin, as Prime Minister, and Mr. Martin, as an MP, and Mr. Dosanjh and others were clearly more persuasive than the people on this side because Mr. Cadman ultimately supported the Liberal government of the day. Mr. Martin's government survived that vote because Belinda Stronach crossed the floor and was catapulted immediately into cabinet and because the Speaker of the House voted as well. There is nothing more to say because those are the facts.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I have a hard time making the honourable leader understand that we are living under a cloud of suspicion. I am quite sure that the Liberals would be willing to participate in any investigation of the matter. In the other chamber, a gentleman who used to be the Liberal Minister of Industry crossed the floor and we did not discriminate. He changed sides because it was his prerogative to do so. The same thing applies to both sides. This government passed a supposedly important bill on accountability. This government pretends to be in favour of transparency, integrity and honesty. Will this government get to the bottom of the matter with an inquiry by the RCMP?

(1430)

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator makes references to the Liberal Party. This is an allegation for which there is absolutely no basis, including the words of Mr. Cadman himself. If one wanted to compare that to the missing $40 million sponsorship scandal, those investigations were made based on actual facts and testimony; the matter is still before the courts.

The incident to which the honourable senator has referred has absolutely no basis in fact. I am sure all parliamentarians, of whatever political stripe, would not want any of us to be running around chasing after allegations in various newspaper articles just because they were written in a newspaper or a book.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Bill C-39—Effect on Canadian Grain Commission

Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I wish to follow up on a question that was asked on February 12 regarding the continuing operation of the Canadian Grain Commission. The Leader of the Government said at the time that Bill C-39 will help to modernize the Canadian Grain Commission.

It is my understanding that, should Bill C-39 pass, the commission would no longer have to report directly to Parliament. The commission does right now, but if this bill passes, it will no longer have to. In addition, the companies that buy their grain from Canadian farmers will no longer have to be bonded so that farmers will be guaranteed a payment.

Further, the appeals process presently in the Canada Grain Act will be removed by Bill C-39. Therefore, the decision of the chief commissioner will be final, leaving farmers with absolutely no way to appeal it.

With all this in mind, my question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is the following: How exactly will this modernize the grain commission? How exactly will the new process add openness to government and how will it help farmers?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): My simple answer is that this is another example of the honourable senator not respecting the wishes of the elected representatives in the other place. Bill C-39 was built on an all-party recommendation of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. As the honourable senator well knows, House of Commons committees are not comprised of a majority of Conservatives — quite the opposite, in fact.

However, the proposed changes in Bill C-39 will benefit farmers — I probably answered this question previously for the honourable senator, but I shall repeat it — by eliminating unnecessary costs, by extending producer protection through the greater availability of binding Canadian Grain Commission review of grading decisions and by focusing the commission on activities that add value for farmers.

Comprehensive research and an independent review of the act and the commission was done in 2006 by Compass, and these reforms are consistent with the goals in our Growing Forward framework for agriculture.

Senator Milne: I thank the honourable senator for that answer. I must say that she is correct — that that is exactly what she said before, that this came out of the committee of all parties in the House of Commons.

However, it is my understanding that that committee also recommended that the Canadian Grain Commission receive increased funding to ensure that essential services be sustained — that is, services to be sustained, not the fat in the wallet of the appointee chosen by this government to oversee the gutting of this institution.

It is clear that the Leader of the Government and I have a difference of opinion on the definition of "modernization." This bill not only ignores the recommendation of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee in the other place, it ignores the government's own response to that committee's recommendations.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate advise honourable senators how much the chief commissioner will be earning to oversee this so-called modernization, while not having to report to Parliament?

Senator LeBreton: Obviously, the honourable senator and I differ philosophically on a number of issues.

(1435)

There are various bodies in this country that operate independently of Parliament and the government. They are "arm's-length" organizations that deal with their stakeholder groups and, in this case, grain producers. Therefore, we have a different approach to the free enterprise system, marketing choice and matters such as that.

I would be happy to take as notice the specific question about the salary that the commissioner will be paid. As the honourable senator knows, when these bodies are set up, a range of salaries is set up for the head of the commission and the members. That applies to all of these appointments, by all governments, when these bodies are set up. I will be very happy to take the question as notice and provide an answer to the honourable senator as a delayed answer.

Justice

Case of Omar Khadr

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I will use a military tactic called a barrage, which is an instrument used to pound at the opposition until the opposition either surrenders or withdraws. Withdrawing in her case would be coming to this side, and I would like that to happen.

I return to the matter of Omar Khadr, if I may. Due to the terribly unsatisfactory responses yesterday, I raise the following question: Since 2002, 435 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanamo Bay. That figure comprises nine from England, seven from France, and others from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

In 2004, three Afghan detainees were sent out because they were between the ages of 13 and 15. They were sent from capture to rehabilitation programs operated by UNICEF in Afghanistan.

We estimate that there were originally nearly 60 of these children. However, today, to our knowledge, there is only one original child soldier from a Western country left in the Guantanamo Bay lock-up.

My question is: Why is Omar Khadr being singled out? Why has he not been repatriated for proper justice in this country?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I hate to disappoint the honourable senator. He will get the same answer I gave yesterday.

Mr. Khadr faces serious charges. He has been in Guantanamo Bay since 2002. If my political clock serves me correctly, that was four years under the previous government, when he was an even younger man. The Government of Canada has sought and received assurances that Mr. Khadr is being treated humanely. Departmental officials have carried out several visits with Mr. Khadr and will continue to do so.

Therefore, as I stated on previous occasions and as I did yesterday, any questions regarding whether Canada plans to ask for the release of Omar Khadr are premature and the legal process is ongoing.

Senator Dallaire: Honourable senators, the barrage system was not necessarily effective; that is why we evolved to more precise weapons.

In February 2007, the U.S. government laid these charges on the young Mr. Khadr five years after being held in custody. The charges were murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, conspiracy, providing material support to terrorism and spying.

The American government also says that this young man was recruited by al Qaeda and had two months of training in June and July 2002. He was 15. It also says that, because this is an irregular force, acts of this kind committed by members of this force constitute war crimes.

That brings me, then, to a small court in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where a Canadian ex-Judge Advocate General sits. They have seen thousands upon thousands of child soldiers conducting heinous crimes far worse than we have seen in Afghanistan. In regard to child soldiers, after they are caught or surrendered, the statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone mandates the prosecution of a child who committed war crimes between the ages of 15 and 18. However, in November 2002, the chief prosecutor decided not to prosecute any child under 18, calling them victims and not criminals. That was a decision welcomed by the international community, including Canada.

(1440)

Now, the former chief prosecutor says the following:

. . . I chose not to [prosecute] as I felt that no child had the mental capacity to commit mankind's most serious crimes. These truly were victims of cynical warlords, tyrants and thugs exploiting their childhood for their own personal criminal gain.

Why is Omar Khadr still in Guantanamo Bay when the crimes he has committed are no different, possibly less, than crimes prosecuted in another court and when this child is a child soldier, meets all of the UN criteria, and, in fact, deserves to be brought home at least to face justice in this country?

Senator LeBreton: I was very interested in the honourable senator's question. The previous government allowed Mr. Khadr to stay in Guantanamo Bay without being charged. Therefore, Mr. Khadr was there under the honourable senator's government having faced no charges. I am curious as to how many times the honourable senator questioned his own government and how many letters he wrote to them about Mr. Khadr.

There is no question that Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges. He has been in prison since 2002. The government has had contact with him and sought assurance that he is being humanely treated. That is all that can be said about this issue for the moment.

I am very interested in the honourable senator's interest. I know the former Prime Minister, Mr. Chrétien, was very interested in this family as well, and we know the consequences of that.

In any event, with regard to Mr. Khadr, he faces serious charges and the government will continue to monitor the situation.

Senator Dallaire: I just told the honourable senator what the serious crimes were and put them in context.

The honourable senator takes me back to the history. When I asked one of the extremist militiamen in Rwanda why they were slaughtering people, he said: "Who do you think you are? Do you think you are immune to that? How many Africans were slaughtered during the holocaust?"

If, historically, our government was inept at doing the job, does that then mean that the "new, more responsible government" should continue the bad practices of the former government and continue to be inept in this case?

There is a human being involved here.

In Afghanistan, our troops have demobilized about 63,000 ex-combatants. Of that, about 7,000 have been child soldiers under the age of 18. Why is it that our troops in the field, where they are in combat, are letting those children go to rehabilitation and reintegration with UNICEF and the Afghan government?

Why is it that Mr. Khadr, a child, has been held in Guantanamo for five years now and is subject to a process in a foreign country and in a jail that does conduct torture? Why are we letting that happen, honourable senator? Could the answer be that he is being held because he killed an American?

Does the government want the scenario to be shifted here? Why does the government refuse to bring Mr. Khadr back, when everything is in place for repatriating that child soldier here?

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator. I will make no comment on the honourable senator's comment about our American allies.

There is no comparison between the horrific situation the honourable senator faced in Rwanda and the situation that Mr. Khadr faces as he awaits trial on a very serious charge.

In terms of child soldiers in Afghanistan, the person we are discussing here is charged with a serious offence. I wish to assure the honourable senator that the government continues to have contact with Mr. Khadr and has received assurances that he is being treated humanely. There is nothing to indicate that is not the case. Departmental officials have, from time to time, visited him and they will continue to do so.

There is nothing more to be said on this case. The matter is being dealt with through the legal system.

(1445)

Health

Budget 2008—Funding for Increase in Health Care Professionals

Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. If I run out of time today, I will certainly carry on this questioning on health care next week because this subject is so important to Canadians.

Yesterday, when I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate why the budget had totally neglected the crisis and the critical need in this country for more doctors, nurses and all of our health care professionals, I received the following answer:

In this particular budget, we have addressed the problem where the problem exists; the education system is the place to start.

I thought I should read the whole speech of the Minister of Finance, and this is what I found in his speech with respect to education. I do not think I missed anything. The minister discussed a new consolidated post-secondary Canada student grant system. That is good, and I will come back to that in a minute. It is not good to give up the millennium scholarships because they are quite different. With respect to Vanier Scholarships, maybe there was some confusion. The Vanier Scholarships are for doctoral scholarships, for PhDs, not for medical doctors, which this country needs along with all the other health care professionals. Research chairs were mentioned, and that is important because they are needed. First Nations education was mentioned in the budget.

Honourable senators, I do not see anything in the budget that would increase the number of doctors in this country. The honourable leader upset me when she said that snapping fingers today would not produce doctors. I want to tell the Senate that what they have done with the number of scholarships, which is what the leader said, will not increase the number of doctors. It will not increase one doctor, one physiotherapist, one nurse or nurse practitioner. It will give more students with low income the possibility of filling one of those places, which is good; however, we need at least 500 more doctors to address our needs.

I would not want to say that I received a non-answer yesterday or that we were misled, but I want a precise answer today. Why did the government, in the 2008 budget, make no effort to address the crisis in health care human resources in Canada? Why did the budget not address the crisis we have in human resources for doctors, specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners and so on?

I do not believe this crisis was addressed at all, although yesterday the honourable leader led me to think it was addressed through the education system. If it was not addressed, why not?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. My answer was that when we provide funds and money for research chairs and doctoral studies, we invest a considerable sum of money in science and technology and by virtue of that type of expenditure, we will ultimately produce people who will end up in the medical field in one capacity or another.

Regarding the situation of doctor shortages, the fact is that in the last three budgets the federal government has transferred money to the provinces, and as the honourable senator knows, the administration of health services is ultimately a provincial responsibility. The federal government has a major role in health services in the fact that it transfers so much money to provinces.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: There is one minute left in Question Period.

Senator Trenholme Counsell: I would not want to interrupt the honourable leader, and perhaps we are interrupting her. I would like to have a few seconds to conclude.

(1450)

Senator LeBreton: I was in the midst of my answer when I saw my microphone go off. I presume I am being told I have one minute left to finish my answer.

As I was saying when the microphone was cut off, we have such shortages right now because the previous government cut the transfers to provinces incredibly in the mid-1990s. Universities and schools were told to cut back on their medical entries. That is why there is a doctor shortage. Through transfers, we are now trying to deal with the problem.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour of presenting a delayed answer to an oral question raised by Senator Milne on November 22, 2006, and February 7, 2008, regarding Heritage Canada, Aboriginal languages initiative.

Heritage

Funding of First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres

(Response to questions raised by Hon. Lorna Milne on November 22, 2006 and February 7, 2008)

The Government of Canada is committed to the promotion and preservation of Aboriginal languages. The Department of Canadian Heritage has supported First Nations and Inuit languages since 1984 through the Canada-Territorial Language Accords, and with strengthened support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages since 1998 through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative.

On November 2, 2006, information was made public concerning changes to the Government's funding for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages.

The Government of Canada recognizes that the promotion and preservation of Aboriginal languages will require working in close collaboration with Aboriginal people, and has approved the renewal of the Aboriginal Languages Initiative until 2011.

The stabilization of funding at $5 million per year will ensure that community efforts in support of Aboriginal languages can continue while the Government considers new program and policy options to support this important work.

This is in addition to $4.1 million that the Government of Canada provides to the northern territories for language preservation and $7.9 million to support the production of radio and television programming by northern Aboriginal communications societies, primarily in Aboriginal languages.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Agricultural Marketing Programs Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government) moved third reading of Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act.

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

Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed, on division.

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Message from Commons—Request for Passage—Motion Withdrawn

On Motion No. 1, by Honourable Senator Comeau:

That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House that:

Whereas Canadians deserve streets that are safe from violent criminals, impaired drivers and sexual predators, the Senate intends to pass Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts by March 1, 2008.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, I would like to withdraw this motion, since Bill C-2 has been disposed of.

Motion withdrawn.

Business of the Senate

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I think that if Her Honour were to seek it, she would probably find consent to address Other Business in the following order: Motion No. 80 on the Order Paper, followed by Motion No. 87 on the Notice Paper, followed by Bill S-210 on the Order Paper, and then to stand all remaining items on the Order Paper and Notice Paper in the order in which they stand.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, with every good will towards Senator Tardif, I will not make this a point of order. However, I would like to make a slight correction. We, the four or five independent senators, had a meeting earlier with representatives of both parties. It was the first time all of us have been given an opportunity to come together for such a discussion.

Perhaps we should start making a habit of avoiding anything that could irritate others. I have seen just about everything, so I am not irritated, but it can become irritating to hear "after agreement between the two parties." After all, ten per cent of the members of the Senate are independent, and they are never consulted on these matters. When they are, there is usually a great deal of civility. There is still some civility in the Senate, and consent is given. However, I again heard you say, "after discussions, the two parties agreed."

This is just a comment and, knowing Senator Tardif, I know she will take this into account in future.

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, I accept my honourable colleague's comments.

[English]

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Could we review the order again? It was so quick that I could not keep track.

Senator Tardif: The order is Motion No. 80 on the Order Paper, Motion No. 87 on the Notice Paper, Bill S-210 on the Order Paper, and then to stand all remaining orders on the Order Paper and Notice Paper and all stood items retain their place.

Aging

Special Committee Authorized to Extend Date of Final Report

On the Order:

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

That, notwithstanding the order of the Senate adopted on November 1, 2007, the date for the presentation of the final report by the Special Senate Committee on Aging on the implications of an aging society in Canada be extended from March 31, 2008, to September 30, 2008 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 90 days after the tabling of the final report. —(Honourable Senator Stratton)

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

Motion agreed to.

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Committee Authorized to Study Amendments Made by An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk, for Senator Fraser, pursuant to notice of February 26, 2008, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs be authorized to undertake a comprehensive review of the amendments made by An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act (S.C. 2004, c. 24); and

That the committee submit its final report no later than May 11, 2008.

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

Motion agreed to.

[Translation]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Callbeck, for the second reading of Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings). —(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.)

Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I rise today to ease the strong pressure on Senator Tardif, whom I believe the bill's sponsor is pressing for action.

I do not know whether I am going to provide much action, but I am certainly going to make a few comments about this bill introduced by the honourable senator from Toronto. This is not a new bill. It was first introduced in 2005. I urge all honourable senators to read it. They will see that the conclusion is logical.

I urge the honourable senators to read the comments by Senators Dallaire, Eggleton, Grafstein, His Honour the Speaker Kinsella, and Senator Segal, whose interpretation was quite remarkable, Senator Stratton and myself.

As you know, an election was called and the bill was introduced a second time. Senators Andreychuk, Baker, Comeau, Grafstein and Segal spoke to the bill at second reading. The bill was referred to committee but, unfortunately, an election was held.

I do not believe that anyone acted in bad faith. Today, my name appears second on the list. I am not delaying the bill. Some are saying that I am delaying the bill. That is smoke and mirrors, almost intimidation, as far as I am concerned.

(1500)

I am not at all intimidated by intimidation.

I was wondering how to approach this bill which, we were told, consists of a very small amendment. It is a very small amendment — those are the very words of the bill's sponsor, an innocent amendment, to identify that which we all denounce, terrorism and suicide bombings. I know no one of sound mind who would think for an instant that those are good things.

I could give a very long speech, especially since I have read all the speeches. I thought about it, read up on it and discovered some remarkable things that no one told us about. We heard about Jesus, Mohamed, the Talmud, the Quran and the Ten commandments. We had an extraordinary discussion about life and death. There were some remarkable speeches, one of them historical. For those who are interested, I urge you to read Senator Grafstein's speeches, which provide an extraordinary chronicle of life and death and of terrorism in its general as well specific aspects.

I know there is interest in the Senate in these issues. I think we will send this bill to committee once we have heard from its sponsor — if he wants to say a few words — and perhaps other speakers. When we study it in committee we will be quite busy and I hope we will hear from many people.

When I have to speak to certain issues that are this slippery and difficult, I try to draw on the news of the day. Today my speech will therefore be quite tempered. I quite like to use the news to demonstrate what might otherwise be difficult to express.

This week, two events struck me. One was the symphony orchestra concert in North Korea. That was extraordinary! I have been to North Korea. Obviously that is not allowed. Senator Pépin, in her tribute to me on the occasion of my 44th anniversary, said, "What will Marcel do next? Go to Iran and North Korea?" She was right, I was already in contact with both countries, these two threats to humanity because no one has dealt with such problems. That is what history is all about. A few months ago, North Korea had practically dropped off the map, like Iran and Syria: the axis of evil, and then along came this initiative, not unlike the Ping-Pong match between the United States and China.

[English]

Senator Segal is a great scholar. I watch him, and if he acquiesces, that means I am on the right track. I refer to my example, not the full speech.

[Translation]

I drew my inspiration from reading all the speeches by the honourable senators and by consulting other people. In particular, I read what people were kind enough to send me. You may be surprised to learn that Senator Grafstein's bill was inspired by things that no one — including the sponsor — has talked about, and we shall not be mentioning them today.

In this inspiration that I would like to share with you, I ask: why is there so much hatred? Why are there so many terrible events in all human activity today?

[English]

I will read a quotation, and afterwards I will tell honourable senators who said the following:

More basically, we must always address the root causes that make the recruitment of terrorism and such bombings easier. There is no doubt that terrorism is the expression of rage by the developing world and, despite the walls and instruments that we create in our defence, ultimately the best defence is not a defence around our areas of interest but, rather, by going aggressively to the source of this rage and, ultimately, eliminating it. One of the primary instruments of doing that is not only the application of justice but also the more forceful, useful and quantitative application of international development.

The man who said that is well-known across Canada. That man is in this place and is highly respected. Senator Dallaire has made an intervention. It is always good, when you touch a hot subject, to find someone who may have more credibility on some issues than others might. I was impressed by his intervention. He did not diminish the importance of the bill, since he will vote for it, but he expressed what people sometimes refuse to express.

When will we take the initiative to go to the root of these problems? I have been in Parliament for 44 years. As soon as I arrived, I asked questions on a very hot little issue called the Palestinian question, which became a tragedy for my political life. Honourable senators are aware of that. An immense tragedy for my political life, survival and promotion, but I am still here. All I wanted to do was to convince my colleagues to get to the root of the problem.

When I was in the House of Commons I said that we need to address that question, that it is a cancer that will spread around the world.

Who do you think encouraged me the most? The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He encouraged me to pursue questions along that line, as unpopular as it was.

It is not enough to just be happy, content, to pass along. That will show we are strong. To go home and say to our friends and to the bad men, to anyone you may have in mind and say: You see, I gave it to them, the terrorist or the bad people. I am content, they go back to the bed and that is the end of the day.

I would rather agonize day after day and try to get to the root of the problem, remembering one of our colleagues and a good part of his speech.

This matter will go to committee. Honourable senators, do not be nervous; it will go to committee. I hope the committee will hear as many witnesses as possible because the repercussions of this little tiny amendment are much larger than we were told they would be. When parliamentarians make decisions, they have a responsibility.

Years ago a gentleman called on me. His name is very well known by some here, Rabbi Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He came to Ottawa in 2004. That is a long time ago. Why did he come to Ottawa? This is an open country. He came here to meet with and impress upon the Minister of Justice, Mr. Cotler, who was rather reluctant to go ahead with some of the proposals that were put on the table.

(1510)

What was the proposal? The proposal was the same bill that was reintroduced today for the third time by our honourable colleague. Honourable senators, I read and read on these subjects in order to keep my equilibrium and while looking at the pros and cons, I realize that one of the phrases that the Simon Wiesenthal Center wants and put on the record was that "Canada needs to be outspoken, to send a message to Arab governments regarding the kinds of statements that would be actionable in Canada."

Honourable senators, this bill has immense application. If we pass it, anyone around the world who takes the initiative of listening to all these nuts, clerics or not, who make fatwa or who make threatening statements could be subject to what you may pass, but I stand to be corrected in committee.

I do not take this bill lightly. I believe it is a bill that has immense application. It is not a tiny amendment and therefore, I urge my colleagues to pay attention when this bill is sent to committee, because I believe it will be sent to committee.

Perhaps when I sit down, senators will close the debate. I will not talk too long because I know we will adjourn shortly. I want to do what is right. I hope no senator will say that Senator Prud'homme is trying to delay.

No, I would not delay on these important matters. However, I hate to rush an important matter or to be rushed. This has happened in the House of Commons. In this chamber, we are informed that a bill is coming, so read the extraordinarily good words of Senator Murray. In the other place, they present a bill and they start saying deemed to have been tabled, deemed to have been back, deemed to have been in second reading, deemed to have been in committee, deemed to have been reported back, deemed to be in third reading and deemed to be accepted and goodbye.

Honourable senators, this is an immense project dealing with museums in Canada because there was that kind of agreement, but only a few knew. I am often in the House of Commons, so I question this one and that one. Were you aware that these things were deemed to be done? It happened twice, and that is why we senators should not be afraid of the other chamber. We have a constitutional right and a constitutional duty. Until Canadians question our legitimacy, I have legitimacy to act as I do, as some did yesterday or some will do in the future.

Honourable senators, I have asked someone to watch that my heart does not beat too fast — and I just heard the alarm; I thank him for that, otherwise I would go on much longer. I see that my time has expired.

All I want to say, honourable senators, is please, please, please, is it possible to believe that before I leave this institution senators will join with each other and see if we cannot take some initiative to bring a little bit more sanity to the world. What would be wrong in sending a delegation of parliamentarians to Iran? What would be wrong when everyone says to wait for permission?

Honourable senators, I will close by saying that, of course, I am going to be at the committee. Of course I want to know more about this, but it is not the tiny amendment we were told it was. I will be there, and I hope you will be there, but what is the message I would like to leave? Can we not put a little bit of our energy toward an initiative that would bring more sanity into the world?

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

Hon. Elaine McCoy: I move adjournment of the debate.

An Hon. Senator: Question!

The Hon. the Speaker: It is moved by Honourable Senator McCoy, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cools, that further debate on this bill be continued at the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Hon. the Speaker: I will have to put the motion more clearly and formally.

Will those in favour of Senator McCoy's adjournment motion please say "yea"?

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: Will those opposed please say "nay"?

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: The motion is defeated.

Continuing debate. Has the question been called?

The Honourable Senator Cools is rising to move the adjournment of the debate, so I will put the question to the Senate.

There would have to be an intervening matter before the house from the time an adjournment motion is defeated, so is the question being called?

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

Hon. Anne C. Cools: To bring sanity and a greater sense of peace to the world, perhaps we could begin with this house. I was not aware that there was a final date or a final time for debate on this particular matter.

The Hon. the Speaker: Order.

So that all honourable senators will understand where we are procedurally, a motion to adjourn was duly put and rejected by the house. The rules require an intervening item to be dealt with. No item has been brought forward. A point of order does not constitute an intervening proceeding; therefore, if the question is called, I am obligated to put the question, and so I will put the question.

It was moved by the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Callbeck, that Bill S-210 be read the second time.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Cools: On division.

Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.

Referred to Committee

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

On motion of Senator Grafstein, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Business of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, further to the letters read from Government House, is it your pleasure, honourable senators, that the Senate do now adjourn during pleasure to await the arrival of Her Excellency the Governor General?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Senate adjourned during pleasure.


(1540)

[Translation]

Royal Assent

Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada having come and being seated on the Throne, and the House of Commons having been summoned, and being come with their Speaker, Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give the Royal Assent to the following bills:

An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act (railway transportation) (Bill C-8, Chapter 5, 2008)

An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Bill C-2, Chapter 6, 2008)

An Act to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act (Bill C-44, Chapter 7, 2008)

The House of Commons withdrew.

Her Excellency the Governor General was pleased to retire.

The sitting was resumed.

Adjournment

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

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

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at 2 p.m.