The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would like to welcome our
new Usher of the Black Rod, Kevin Stewart MacLeod, who is serving for the first
time in chamber duty. Welcome to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I rise today also to welcome our new Usher of the Black Rod, Kevin
The post of Usher of the Black Rod is one of the oldest continuously held
offices in Canada, dating back to the first meeting of the Legislative Council
of Lower Canada in 1791. No, Mr. MacLeod, you are not that old. You do not date
that far back.
The origins of the Usher of the Black Rod can be traced to 1348 in the United
Kingdom, where the House of Lords is served, much as our chamber is, by the
Usher of the Black Rod.
A native of Boularderie Island, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Mr. MacLeod
attended Carleton University and the University of Dijon, and holds a Bachelor
of Arts and Master of Arts in History and International Relations.
Mr. MacLeod comes to us from the Department of Canadian Heritage where he has
served for the past 22 years, most recently as Chief of Protocol. As Canada's
leading expert on state ceremonial and protocol, our new Usher of the Black Rod
has managed numerous royal visits, installations of Governors General, state
funerals, Canada Day ceremonies and other national events. No doubt he is a
familiar face to many senators who have seen him working to organize various
national ceremonies that take place within the parliamentary precinct. During
the 2005 royal visit, Mr. MacLeod served as Acting Canadian Secretary to the
In addition to his work at the Department of Canadian Heritage, Mr. MacLeod
spent more than 15 years in the Canadian Air Force Reserve. He holds the
distinction of being the only Canadian to have been promoted through all three
levels of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen. He is the author of a number
of books, most notably The Crown of Maples, La Couronne Canadienne, which
has recently been published by the Department of Canadian Heritage; and A
Stone on Their Cairn, a historical fiction based in late Victorian Cape
Breton. A keen student of Canadian history, a proud Nova Scotian and an avid
player of the bagpipes, Mr. MacLeod brings a diverse array of skills to the
I am sure that all honourable senators would like to join with me in wishing
Mr. MacLeod well as he starts his new duties as Usher of the Black Rod. From a
fellow Nova Scotian, a special welcome to you, Mr. MacLeod.
Hon. Pana Merchant: Honourable senators, I rise to address a program
without a plan. The Saskatchewan government has just announced that it will join
with Prime Minister Harper in tinkering with the appointments process to this
house. They claim to have been working on this non-plan since 2006, yet they are
musing about senatorial selection as a part of municipal elections. They have
announced that they would elect a pool of six potential Senate appointees.
Examination of these two concepts is important. In the last municipal
elections in Saskatchewan, voter turnout was only 22 per cent. That low turnout
is not the only important factor: of devastating consequence in Saskatchewan is
the fact that huge numbers of Aboriginal people are not eligible for municipal
elections because they live on First Nations reserves or in areas where
municipal elections do not occur. This non-plan would disenfranchise Aboriginal
people who make up the largest and fastest-growing single group in Saskatchewan.
By 2016, 45 per cent of Saskatchewan kindergarten students will be Aboriginal.
They are the growth of my province. Democracy should not deliberately bar people
In the Saskatchewan non-plan, barring the Aboriginals is the first of the
non-democratic and non-elected components of this plan. The second of the
non-elected components comes from selecting a pool of six, at once, waiting to
be appointed possibly in 2010, 2012 or even 2020, as long as 12 years from now.
Two of our six Saskatchewan colleagues will serve until 2020.
I welcome our honoured colleague Senator Brown regardless of the process that
brought him here. He received just over 300,000 votes and the population of
Alberta is 3 million plus. Most important, elected once, appointed years later
and serving for, perhaps, 20 years is not electing senators by any concept that
Canadians will accept. You cannot tinker, because it is meaningless.
Honourable senators, this is the kind of tinkering that is under way by the
Conservatives to give a spurious impression that democratic reform is taking
place. Notably, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador have
all indicated that they will have nothing to do with this silly, unworkable and
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to Canada
Company, an organization that was formed in 2006 for one express purpose: to
bring Canadian community leaders together to support our troops in their work at
home and abroad. Their focus is singular: ensuring that Canadians who serve, or
wish to serve, in either the Canadian Forces or the Reserves receive the widest
possible support and care for themselves and their families.
Canada Company's genesis was a compelling idea of Blake Goldring, one of
Canada's leading business chief executive officers. As an example of their
activities, early this month, Blake Goldring, Honorary Colonel with the Royal
Regiment of Canada and Chair of Canada Company, officially welcomed 3045 Royal
Canadian Army Cadet Corps into the Royal Regiment of Canada family.
The re-badging ceremony took place in Arctic Bay, Nunavut, and was made
possible by Canada Company members. The 3045 is Canada's most northerly Quebec
corps. At the ceremony, each member of the regiment was presented with a new
Royal Regiment of Canada cap badge and the corps itself was presented with its
new flag and colours.
We should all thank Canada Company for its good work. We owe a debt of
gratitude to those who generously give of their time to support our women and
men in uniform.
As much as the serving members appreciate what is done on their behalf by
organizations like Canada Company, we, too, should take a moment to thank this
organization on behalf of all Canadians for travelling to a remote part of
Canada to recognize units like the 3045, as well as for the volunteer and
generous support they give Canada's men and women in uniform all year long,
right across the country.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I am pleased today to draw
your attention to a new initiative of the Government of Prince Edward Island to
cover the cost of palliative care medication for those who wish to spend their
last days at home.
On May 13, the Quality End-Of-Life Care Coalition of Canada released a
progress report on hospice palliative home care in Canada. It identified Prince
Edward Island as one of only two jurisdictions in Canada that did not cover
palliative drugs for home care. On the same day, the report was already obsolete
with the announcement by Premier Robert Ghiz of a provincial program to help
those in palliative home care.
This new program does not consider financial need when looking at whether to
cover palliative care medication. All Islanders will be eligible for this
program. We will now have the ability to preserve the wishes and dignity of
those in the final stages of their life. These people will no longer have to
choose between the financial burden of palliative care medication and spending
the end of their life in comfortable and familiar surroundings.
Congratulations to Premier Ghiz on initiating this program.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, the People's Republic of
China is a land of antiquity. The Chinese now number 1.3 billion souls. They are
known for their brilliance, their industriousness and their tenacity. In recent
years, they have been forging ahead in every sphere of human endeavour, seeking
their rightful place among the nations and peoples of the world.
For two weeks now, we have been hearing their voices and their pain. On May
12, 2008, a natural disaster, a massive earthquake, struck China in and around
its Sichuan province. Daily, our consciousness has been filled with reports of
the enormous rescue and relief efforts as the Chinese government and its Armed
Forces respond to the Chinese people and these terrible circumstances.
The devastation and suffering are great. More than 60,000 are dead, over
360,000 are injured and 5 million are homeless. Further, there are continuing
aftershocks,182 to date.
Honourable senators, the government and the people of China have recently
completed three days of national mourning. Such suffering is a call to prayer
and action; a call to expressions of sympathy, support and universal humanity
from us to the people of China.
In so doing, I call upon the memory and work of a great Canadian from my home
province of Ontario, Dr. Norman Bethune, called Beth by his close friends and
associates. This physician — this great Canadian humanitarian — served the
Chinese people and China as a doctor and surgeon attending the wounded during
the trying Sino-Japanese War. He died in China in 1939.
Honourable senators, we are reminded that natural disasters represent the
story of finite and frail humankind pitted against infinite nature in all its
fierce omnipotence. Nature in its disasters, particularly an earthquake, is a
stern and merciless taskmaster. It is a dead reckoning, an uneven encounter
between humans and natural forces.
Honourable senators, I extend to the people of China my personal sympathies
in this time of unspeakable sorrow, particularly to the families of those who
have perished. I also extend my sympathies to all those injured and to all those
rendered homeless. I thank the President of China, Hu Jintao; and the Prime
Minister, Wen Jiabao; and the brave, enduring military forces. The President's
and the Prime Minister's sensitivity and steadfastness in the face of
incalculable difficulties have given new meaning to the term "leadership." I
laud all those Canadians who are assisting China's extraordinary and colossal
relief efforts and I also praise the international community's efforts, and
pledges, now at about $5 billion.
Honourable senators, I uphold the people of China. My prayers are with them
in this adversity.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, my statement would belong in
Question Period if we were to categorize it by subject matter. However, I cannot
find a way to make it a question without it being completely convoluted. I will
address my statement to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
I hope the leader will accept my congratulations. The honourable senator will
recall that I asked her several times over the past weeks about the residential
development on Carman Road in Gatineau Park.
We have now learned that the National Capital Commission, I presume with the
approval, or perhaps even the urging of the government, has arranged to buy the
property so that it will be precluded from residential commercial development. I
congratulate the honourable senator, her government and the National Capital
Commission on having done so.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, another blow has been
dealt to the forest industry of my home province of British Columbia. First, it
was the pine beetle infestation; then a depressed U.S. housing market, mill
closures and pulp and paper mills shutting down. Early this week, a devastating
fire destroyed the plywood manufacturing mill in Prince George. The city has
declared a local state of emergency as a result of having experienced what has
been called the largest fire in Prince George's history.
The forest industry in British Columbia today, like other timber production
facilities across Canada, has seen a much more vibrant era. The loss of the
plywood mill in Prince George, a well-known economic generator for northern
British Columbia, can only be regarded as a major loss to the city, the region,
the province and the country as a whole.
The mill, which now sits as charred ruins, has a payroll of some 350
employees. It is the livelihoods of those workers that we must keep in the back
of our minds as the situation is addressed over the coming weeks.
Honourable senators, I give thanks that the 40 workers who were on the job on
Monday night made it to safety. My thoughts are with the workers and their
families whose livelihoods remain in limbo as a result of this tragic incident.
I ask all of you to think of these people as we go forward in trying to deal
with this very challenging situation.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I should like to draw your
attention to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Gundars Daudze,
Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia, the Saeima. He is
accompanied by a number of his distinguished colleagues who are members of the
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table,
in both official languages, the Information Commissioner's annual report for the
period ending March 31, 2008, pursuant to section 38 of the Access to
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 Address of His Excellency Victor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, to
members of both Houses of Parliament, delivered on May 26, 2008, together with
the introductory speech by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister of Canada and
the speeches delivered by the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House
of Commons, be printed as an Appendix to the Debates of the Senate of
this day and form part of the permanent records of this House.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government. In the summer of
2005, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation offered US$18.5 billion for
Unocal, an American oil company. That offer nearly led to the largest foreign
acquisition ever made by a Chinese company, but the American authorities,
staunch champions of free trade, opposed the purchase, and the China National
Offshore Oil Corporation was forced to withdraw its offer.
According to information in the South China Morning Post, this same
company is now trying to lay its hands on the entire Talisman group, a Canadian
company. Could the Leader of the Government tell us whether what was bad for the
United States would be good for Canada and whether the Canadian government is
going to approve the purchase of Canada's non-renewable natural resources by
foreign interests without doing anything?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for that question. I am sure
honourable senators do not expect me to respond to news reports or speculation
in the Chinese media.
I am aware of the actions of the U.S. government. I have no knowledge of this
matter at the moment, so I will take the question as notice.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I would like to add some information for her
consideration and especially for the discussion in cabinet about this important
issue, which I feel should be examined very carefully.
We know that the Chinese government owns 71 per cent of this company. As a
lawyer with the firm Northern Rose in Beijing has said, China wants to make sure
that it will have a supply of raw materials.
In just four years, this company has invested 3 billion euros in Australia,
Indonesia, Canada and Nigeria. We are not talking about a transaction between
two private companies. This is not just a takeover of a strategic Canadian
sector by foreign interests. A non-democratic country is buying up a strategic
Canadian sector, removing it from the market and controlling it using its own
Can the Leader of the Government tell us when her government will shoulder
its responsibilities and stop the transfer of Canadian crown properties in the
mining and oil sectors to foreign government interests?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for putting that
information on the record. The honourable senator has previously asked questions
in this chamber about foreign state-owned enterprises. The Minister of Industry
has commented and is on top of the issue of foreign state-owned enterprises and
the impact they could have on Canada.
I realize that the honourable senator's question was framed to put this
information on the record. I appreciate that and I will take her question as
Hon. Yoine Goldstein: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary
In the course of considering any such request by the Chinese oil company,
will the minister and the cabinet take into consideration the abysmal human
rights record of this particular company in other countries, where it has bought
and is now managing a variety of investments, including, amongst other places,
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, it is difficult to answer a
question based on media reports, or speculation on what the cabinet may or may
not do. I am well aware of some of this company's endeavours from reading the
media myself. However, it would be improper for me to speculate on how the
cabinet may handle such an issue since I have no idea whether it will even come
before the cabinet or whether we will need to deal with it. I cannot make a
commitment on behalf of the government on something that we have absolutely no
knowledge of at the moment.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, I have a question for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate about the extremely difficult and
unfortunate matter of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Julie
At the outset, I wish to say that I share the views of millions of Canadians
that private lives are private lives.
Senator Comeau: Having said that?
Senator Fraser: Yes, having said that, we all know when we move into
public life at any level that some degree of overlap may occur, and that where
that overlap involves serious questions of the public interest, then some degree
of privacy — only some — but the relevant degree of privacy may have to be
Indications have been piling up that the public interest and, in particular,
national security questions have been or may have been involved in this matter.
The most obvious case, of course, is the matter of the confidential document
that was in, I believe the Prime Minister called it, a "non-secure place" for
several weeks with the possibility — we do not know — of repercussions for
national security and, indeed, for Canada's diplomatic relations with our
There are questions now about when the former minister knew about Ms.
Couillard's relationship with organized crime. There are questions about
possible dissemination of information involving the national security system in
airports; there are questions about the possible electronic surveillance of Ms.
Couillard. On none of these matters do we have, nor do I expect the Leader of
the Government to offer today, final answers. However, I ask the leader to give
us the assurance that the government will conduct a full and proper inquiry
about the national security implications of this matter, including any elements
of which we are not yet aware.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): As the honourable senator rightly points out, much of this
matter is speculation and allegation. The action the Prime Minister took upon
becoming aware of the situation involving the documents was immediate. The
minister in question resigned, as the Prime Minister publicly stated. It was a
disappointing day, not only for the Prime Minister and the government but also
for former Minister Bernier.
The various allegations and stories that are circulating are obviously of
interest. The government quite rightly takes the safety and security of
Canadians very seriously. We all know that as cabinet ministers we have an
obligation to keep cabinet documents and secret papers well secured; we sign an
oath not to disclose cabinet discussions. I know that my colleagues adhere to
this oath; I know I do, very carefully, and we take it seriously.
I assure the honourable senator that the Department of Foreign Affairs is
conducting a thorough review of this whole issue, and I have every confidence
that they will take any action they deem necessary.
Senator Fraser: That is very reassuring to hear, and I am sure all
honourable senators would agree with that.
It seems at least possible, on the basis of what has been made public and
what has been alleged, that the appropriate areas for investigation may go
beyond the simple purview of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is why I
asked whether the government would undertake such an inquiry. Clearly, an
inquiry by the Department of Foreign Affairs is the starting point as well as a
major element of such an inquiry, and I am glad to have the leader's assurance
that is being done.
I ask again if we could have the assurance that the inquiry will be as broad
as necessary and that, when the work is concluded, Parliament will be informed
of whether there were any breaches or changes needed in the system. In other
words, that Parliament and the people of Canada through Parliament may have
confidence as they go forward that if something happened, it will be fixed; and
if something needs to be changed, it will be.
Senator LeBreton: The operative word here is "if." The documents
have been returned to the Department of Foreign Affairs. I have every faith that
the department will review this matter completely. I would dare suggest that if
we were to give direction or tell the Department of Foreign Affairs how to
conduct a review, that direction would not be well-received. We have no
intention of doing that.
The department has said they will thoroughly review the situation. I do not
think we need to be reminded here that they have a sterling record, and I have
every confidence that when they do review this matter and report, the government
will take the appropriate action.
Hon. James S. Cowan: Honourable senators, I believe my colleague
Senator Fraser was asking for an assurance that the government — not just the
department — assure the Canadian people that it is conducting as thorough an
investigation as is required to get to the bottom of this.
We are not casting aspersions on the quality of work being done by the
department. Simply, if the investigation disclosed the need to go further and
involve other departments, this government would assure the Canadian people that
it would do what was necessary to ensure there was a complete and thorough
I do not think the Leader of the Government in the Senate addressed that part
of Senator Fraser's question.
Senator LeBreton: Actually, that is a question that is almost
impossible to answer. Obviously, if the Department of Foreign Affairs, after
they have conducted their review, brings matters to the attention of the
government, the government will obviously take the appropriate action.
However, I do not think at this time that we should be speculating on the
small but large word of "if" — such that "if" the Foreign Affairs Department
finds something, does this mean that so-and-so will then take other actions?
Once the Department of Foreign Affairs has conducted its thorough review, the
government will respond. Let us wait and see what Foreign Affairs finds out
through their thorough review before I or anyone starts running off saying: "If
such-and-such a case happens, we will do X, Y and Z." That will not serve
Obviously, as the Prime Minister has said, this was a very disappointing turn
of events for the government. The minister resigned because of the improper
handling of government documents.
As Senator Fraser quite rightly pointed out — and I do not think any of us in
this chamber needs to point it out — private lives of ministers are no one
else's business. Here we are dealing strictly with the breach of duties of a
member of cabinet in the handling of government documents.
Insofar as the response of our NATO allies, as of this morning we have not
had any concerns expressed to us. Again, let us wait and see what the Department
of Foreign Affairs reports after they have done their thorough review of the
Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, the leader indicated that
there has been no concern expressed by our NATO allies. That would imply that
there is international intelligence or communications in those documents. Could
she tell us what those documents were that were left?
Senator LeBreton: Actually, Senator Downe, I do not know what the
documents contained. I have no information on that point. I am just saying that,
as a result of media stories that have surrounded this resignation, we have had
no concern expressed by our NATO allies.
Senator Downe: The Minister of Foreign Affairs has access to tons of
intelligence information filed by our allies around the world. This security
breach would be of great concern, and far more than disappointing.
I am intrigued by the minister's report that Foreign Affairs is conducting
the reviews. Are cabinet documents not the responsibility of the Privy Council
Senator LeBreton: I do not know what documents we are talking about
here. I have not seen them and I have no personal knowledge of them. I do not
even know if they were cabinet documents. They could very well have been
documents provided by the department. Media reports seem to suggest that.
As Senator Downe well knows, cabinet documents are controlled and handled by
the Privy Council Office. All of us are responsible for those cabinet documents
and for their safe handling and return.
In this case, I do not know what the documents are. From the reports, they
appear to be documents provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Like all
honourable senators, I am basing my knowledge of the documents on what I have
read in the newspapers.
Senator Downe: The leader must have a bit more knowledge because she
indicated that our NATO allies have not contacted us. Notwithstanding the lack
of information on what is in the document, is it the government's intention to
inform our allies of what was left at the apartment of the alleged girlfriend?
Senator LeBreton: I will explain to Senator Downe again that, as of
this morning, our NATO allies have not expressed concern as a result of the news
reports. We have had no direct expression of concern as a result of the news
stories. I do not know what is in the documents. Foreign Affairs is conducting a
review, and it is important that the government wait until that review has been
fully conducted and we know exactly what the documents are and what is in them.
Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell: Honourable senators, I have been
listening carefully, and I am very concerned that a cabinet minister in the
Government of Canada is relying on the media for her information. I would have
thought that in the time since this matter erupted the cabinet would have been
well-briefed. The government knows what the document is, as it was returned to
them on Sunday, I believe. It alarms me that an esteemed cabinet minister would
say that all she knows is what she has read in the media.
Has the cabinet, which is responsible to the citizens of this country, been
kept up to date on this crisis?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I referred to the media only
with regard to the fact that NATO countries have not yet expressed any concern
in response to media reports.
I was very clear in my answer to Senator Fraser. These were obviously
classified documents, and Senator Trenholme Counsell is incorrect to assume that
this information would be distributed to all cabinet ministers. Proper
procedures were followed.
Once the Prime Minister learned of the mishandling of classified documents by
the former minister, action was taken immediately. The minister handed in his
resignation, as one would expect him to do. I am not, nor should anyone be, in a
position to discuss what the classified documents might contain. As it was the
Minister of Foreign Affairs who had these documents, the Department of Foreign
Affairs is quite rightly looking into the matter.
I have no information on what the documents contained. My only reference to
the media was that, so far, although this could change, no concerns have been
expressed by our NATO allies.
It is obvious that when such an incident occurs it is not in the interest of
the government, Parliament or the country to have people spreading more
information. This is something between the then Minister of Foreign Affairs and
the Prime Minister. It was handled judiciously and the minister did the
Let us wait and see what the Department of Foreign Affairs reports after
conducting a thorough review of what these documents contain, how they were
handled and their degree of sensitivity. No one has this information. It is
dangerous to speculate rather than await the results of a thorough investigation
by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, contrary to the leader's
assertion that the Prime Minister acted immediately, the Prime Minister did not
act immediately. He had notice of a potential security breach two weeks ago when
this issue first arose.
Had the Prime Minister shown leadership two weeks ago, jumped on that issue
and investigated it right away rather than try to spin people on it for two
weeks, perhaps there would have been far less potential damage done to Canada on
a security basis. However, he was busy trying to limit the political damage to
himself and his political future.
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator is flat-out wrong. There was
absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any security matters. I am glad to see
members of the opposition and members of the other parties in the House of
Commons also acknowledging that this has nothing to do with the private lives of
individuals who are married to, or are boyfriends or girlfriends of, cabinet
ministers. That was not the issue.
The issue, insofar as the government was concerned with respect to people's
private lives, was that, as a former Prime Minister said, "The government has no
business in the bedrooms of the nation."
The fact is that the information came to the Prime Minister yesterday
afternoon, late in the day, when he was advised by the then Minister of Foreign
Affairs that he had mishandled documents, a serious breach of his cabinet
responsibilities, which then caused the Minister of Foreign Affairs to tender
his resignation, which was the proper thing to do. The Prime Minister and the
former Minister of Foreign Affairs took appropriate action as soon as the
information became available to the Prime Minister, and that is all that can be
said about it at the moment.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, there appears to be a big
split in the Alberta Conservative ranks. On the one hand, the provincial
Conservatives are saying that they will allow CO2 emissions to
increase by 20 per cent, up to the year 2020. On the other hand, the Harperite
Conservatives, who are based in Alberta, are saying that they will be requiring
a 20 per cent reduction in overall emissions in Canada.
Perhaps the Leader of the Government in the Senate could tell us how Canada
can possibly meet even Mr. Harper's pathetically inadequate CO2 reduction
targets while allowing Alberta to increase its emissions by 20 per cent over the
same period of time?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): As one of my colleagues has said, at least our party in Alberta
is big enough to have a split, which is more than can be said for the party of
the honourable senator.
In any event, the federal government has obligations to the country and to
the world. The various provincial governments take positions that of course they
are absolutely entitled to take in the interest of their own provinces.
As we speak, the Prime Minister is in Europe, where he is meeting with
Canada's G8 partners on issues of global concern, including climate change. He
is in France today. While he is in Europe, he will continue to promote and speak
out on Canada's priorities, including the need for global greenhouse gas
reduction targets that must include developed and developing nations.
As the honourable senator knows, and as I have said in this place many times,
our government's climate change plan is to first provide concrete emission
reduction targets. We are committed to taking action, something that was not
done in the past, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by an absolute 20 per
cent by the year 2020, with our Turning the Corner plan, and we are putting in
place a system of regulations to require the big emitters to reduce their
emissions; not by increasing the tax burden on consumers' pockets, which is the
proposal of the opposition.
Senator Mitchell: I note that the leader comes from a Conservative era
where they had a terrible time doing the math and balancing budgets.
Can she tell us how one region can go up 20 per cent and still achieve an
overall 20 per cent reduction in the country? What region will the Prime
Minister penalize so that Alberta can increase its emissions by 20 per cent and
still meet his albeit inadequate objective of a 20-per-cent reduction overall in
Canada? What region will be penalized and be required to reduce extra amounts of
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, no region will be penalized,
unlike the proposals of the honourable senator's leader, who would penalize
seniors, low-income workers and hard-working, middle-class Canadians. They will
be penalized across the board.
The Minister of the Environment, I believe, has a good rapport with the
various provincial ministers of environment. Because Alberta is where a large
part of the industry is, I am sure industry is impressed with the honourable
senator's fight against it. The fact is, we must govern for the whole country,
taking into consideration all the provinces and their needs, and it is not our
intention to penalize one group at the expense of another. We have always said
that our regulations would penalize the big emitters, and nothing has changed
from that plan.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table eight answers to oral questions raised by
Senator Dawson, on April 8, 2008, concerning the restoration of the Quebec City
armoury and maintaining military operations; by Senator Prud'homme on April 8,
2008, concerning the purchase of helicopters; by Senator Kenny, on April 10,
2008, concerning the function of unmanned aerial vehicles; by Senator Mercer, on
April 15, 2008, concerning marketing of hogs, the subsidy for culling hog stocks
and distribution of meat; by Senator Hubley, on April 16 and May 14, 2008,
concerning the international treaty to ban the use, production and trade of
cluster munitions; by Senator Mercer, on May 14, 2008, concerning Fisheries and
Oceans, the deployment of the Cap Percé; by Senator Cowan, on May 14,
2008, concerning Fisheries and Oceans, transfer of a training vessel; and by
Senator Cordy, on May 14, 2008, concerning Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Coast
(Response to question raised by Hon. Dennis Dawson on April 8, 2008)
The federal government has already announced that the Quebec City Armoury
will be rebuilt. The Department will work with the city and the province to
ensure that it is restored as quickly as possible in a way that is
respectful of both the building's heritage and original design.
Departmental experts are still assessing the damage and it is too soon to
discuss the circumstances surrounding the fire or the cost to restore or
rebuild the armoury.
As for the ownership of the Armoury, it belongs to the federal government
and the Department of National Defence is the custodian. We expect that to
continue as there remains a need to accommodate Canadian Forces units in the
Quebec City area, including those units that were displaced by the fire.
The Department will ensure that the Voltigeurs and the 35e
Régiment de Genie de Combat are able to resume their activities and continue
to play an important role in Canadian Forces operations.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Marcel Prud'homme on April 8, 2008)
The Department of National Defence has already announced its intention to
acquire Chinook helicopters for domestic and overseas operations. This
acquisition is part of the Government's commitment to rebuild the Canadian
This project has been approved by Cabinet and it is anticipated that a
contract will be awarded this year.
Meanwhile, we are working to deliver a helicopter capability as quickly
as possible in order to meet the safety and security requirements of our
troops in Afghanistan. We are confident that this capability will be
delivered in Afghanistan by February 2009, a key requirement of the motion
passed by the House to extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.
We are currently negotiating with the U.S. Government in order to acquire
six Chinook helicopters that are already configured for U.S. Army operations
in Afghanistan. The Minister of National Defence is expected to make an
announcement on this issue soon.
We are also exploring leasing options with industry and are looking at
our existing fleets to determine what might be possible.
Leasing civilian helicopters is common practice in Afghanistan. Private
companies are already providing this service to the UN, the Afghan
government, and some of our NATO allies for operations in lower risk areas.
We appreciate our allies' efforts to assist with our need for additional
helicopters, including Poland's announcement that it will deploy additional
helicopters to Afghanistan.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Colin Kenny on April 10, 2008)
We are currently working with our colleagues at Public Works and
Government Services Canada on a number of options to provide our troops with
high performance UAVs as soon as possible.
In fact, we have a project aimed at leasing high performance, long
endurance UAVs capable of intelligence gathering throughout the Canadian
Forces' area of operations in Afghanistan. At this time, there is no
intention to arm these UAVs.
We are also working on the purchase of long-range UAV systems for
domestic and international operations, including maritime and Arctic
(Response to question raised by Hon. Terry M. Mercer on April 15, 2008)
MARKETING OF HOGS
Market Access/Market Development:
In 2007, Canadian pork producers exported $2.4 billion in pork products
to over 80 countries. The Government of Canada has a number of market access
and market development activities underway to further expand these exports.
Canadian government representatives are engaged in the World Trade
Organization negotiations; negotiating free trade agreements in key pork
markets such as Korea; and working to resolve market access issues in
support of the sector's export market development strategy.
The Government of Canada actively supports the market development of
activities of the Canadian hog and pork industry. Since 1991, Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada has contributed more than $19 million to Canada Pork
International (CPI) in support of its export market development efforts. The
Department is reviewing CPI's 2008-09 market development plan and the
associated request for $4.4 million in federal funding.
The Government of Canada has been working closely with producers since
October 2007 to help address the situation caused by low hog prices.
Federal Provincial and Territorial governments have introduced a new
suite of Business Risk Management programs. This new suite contains a number
of enhancements that were requested by hog producers. Payments of nearly
$1.5 billion are expected to flow to livestock producers. In addition,
changes to the Agricultural Marketing Programs Act and its regulations will
make it easier for producers to access up to $3.3 billion in loans through
the Advance Payments Program.
Cull Breeding Swine Program:
To enable hog producers to downsize their operations, the Government has
introduced a $50 million Cull Breeding Swine Program (CSBP). Producers are
eligible for a $225 head payment and funding to offset slaughter and
The program is administered by the Canadian Pork Council. The Council is
working closely with its provincial members and the Canadian Association of
Food Banks to identify ways to maximize the amount of cull pork that is made
available to food banks.
The Canadian Association of Food Banks has indicated their storage and
distribution systems could take approximately 25% of the projected volume of
pork expected to be generated from the animals processed under the cull
program. Furthermore, all meat going to the food banks must be slaughtered
under federal or provincial inspection, of which capacity for larger
breeding animals is limited in Canada. Finally, the meat from these older
breeding animals is most suitable for processed meats products such as
sausages or hot dogs. Access to further processing capacity, as well as
funding to pay for this processing (which is not covered by the cull animal
program), will limit the total tonnes of available pork.
On April 18, 2008 the Government of Saskatchewan announced $440,000 in
funding to process animals culled through the CBSP. The Alberta and Quebec
provincial governments have also pledged funding and other provinces
continue to explore ways in which they might contribute to addressing these
An industry-government task team, established in the fall of 2007,
continues to work to identify short-term measures to assist industry. This
group is seeking to identify shorter-term changes that would improve the
producers' competitive position.
In the longer-term, the pork value chain roundtable, comprising both
industry and government representatives, is engaged in designing and
implementing strategies to address the industry's competitive position.
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Elizabeth Hubley on April 16 and May
The Canadian Forces have never used cluster munitions in operations.
The Canadian Forces recently destroyed their entire stockpile of MK20
"Rockeye" air delivered cluster munitions. The Canadian Forces currently
hold 155-millimetre Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, which are
ground delivered cluster munitions. These munitions have been removed from
operational stocks, and the Department of National Defence is working with
Public Works and Government Services Canada on awarding a contract to
destroy them in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
To date, the Canadian Forces have not faced operational situations where
cluster munitions were required. If the Canadian Forces were to identify an
operational requirement to do so, the Department of National Defence would
insist that the weapon systems possess a high reliability and accuracy rate.
The use of any weapon by the Canadian Forces, including cluster
munitions, would be subject to prior reviews to ensure full respect of
international humanitarian law.
Canada currently regards cluster munitions as lawful weapons if they are
used in accordance with international humanitarian law, which prohibits the
targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. At the same time, Canada
has expressed concern about the impact unreliable and inaccurate cluster
munitions have on civilians.
Canada is participating in the Oslo Process and supporting similar
efforts in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Both of
these initiatives seek to address the humanitarian and development impact of
cluster munitions on civilians.
The CCW is an important conventional arms forum. Within it, many
countries, including Canada, support negotiation of a new legally binding
protocol addressing cluster munitions as a matter of urgency.
Norway initiated the Oslo Process "to outline the objectives and develop
an action plan for a process leading to a new international instrument of
international humanitarian law" on cluster munitions. Canada also fully
supports these efforts to address the impact of unreliable and inaccurate
cluster munitions on civilians and has participated in all meetings of this
Work within the CCW is ongoing and formal negotiations within the Oslo
Process will be held in Dublin from the 19th to the 31st
of May. With regards to declaring a moratorium during the period of the
negotiations, Canada does not foresee the need for such a measure as we have
decided to destroy our remaining stocks.
The Government is considering the results of all work to date in order to
determine the best strategy to protect innocent civilians from inaccurate
and unreliable cluster munitions, while ensuring that the Canadian Forces
can continue to operate effectively in combined military operations with key
allies who may not be party to any new legal instrument addressing cluster
(Response to question raised by Hon. Terry M. Mercer on May 14, 2008)
The deployment of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessel Cap Percé will
enhance the existing maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) system along the lower
north shore of Québec by increasing search and rescue capabilities. The
decision to enhance capabilities in this particular area was made in an
effort to take immediate action to address identified risks to mariners.
Deployment of this vessel to manage risk represents both effective and
efficient use of valuable CCG assets. The Cap Percé has thus far been used
as a training vessel and will now be used to support the existing SAR
system, made up of vessels of opportunity, volunteer response units,
Department of National Defence aeronautical resources, and CCG vessels. The
deployment of this vessel into active service will have no impact on the
Canadian Coast Guard College (CCGC). Practical training will continue to be
provided to CCGC Officer Cadets using the more than 30 training vessels
currently on site, and the over 100 large ships currently in the CCG fleet.
The deployment of the Cap Percé demonstrates action on the part of the
CCG to enhance the overall Canadian maritime SAR system; increasing
capabilities in one area of Canada without negatively affecting those of
Effective deployment of Canadian resources supports the overall SAR
system and provides for the safety and security of all those who earn their
living on Canadian waters.
(Response to question raised by Hon. James S. Cowan on May 14, 2008)
The Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) system is comprised of Canadian
Coast Guard (CCG) maritime units, Department of National Defence
aeronautical resources, volunteer response units, and vessels of
opportunity. The provision of SAR services in Canadian waters is made
possible through a cooperative effort by federal, provincial, and municipal
In support of the maritime SAR system, the CCG provides primary maritime
SAR response vessels, multi-tasked and secondary SAR response vessels, and
maritime personnel. It also oversees the activities of the volunteer
Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA). The CCG ensures the SAR program
operates at maximum efficiency, and within its financial limitations,
through effective program monitoring and management.
One aspect of effective program monitoring and management involves
acknowledging areas of risk to mariners and making decisions concerning the
short- and long-term strategic placement of SAR assets. Deployment of
vessels to meet identified need represents effective and efficient use of
valuable assets in areas of risk.
The decision to deploy the Cap Percé was made in an effort to take
immediate action to address risks to mariners identified in the Lower North
Shore area. Where, at the Canadian Coast Guard College (CCGC), the Cap Percé
(amongst other vessels) was used mainly for training purposes, it will now
be used to save lives. The Cap Percé deployment to the Lower North Shore
will be an enhancement to the Canadian maritime SAR system.
The need for 'hands-on' training for CCGC Officer Cadets was only one of
the considerations taken into account during these discussions. With the
more than 30 vessels already on site at the CCGC, and through practical sea
training aboard CCG vessels across the country, the CCGC will continue to
provide critical marine safety training.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Jane Cordy on May 14, 2008)
The Canadian Coast Guard College will still be able to provide hands-on
training using the remaining 30 boats at its location in Sydney, Nova
Scotia. In addition, Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Officer Cadets attending the
College will continue to have the opportunity to sail aboard working CCG
ships (of varying sizes and capabilities) during their sea-training phases,
to allow them to understand the practical side of their training in actual
Hon. Grant Mitchell: I would like to make a comment under Delayed
Answers. I asked a couple of questions. Not only are these answers delayed, but
I am becoming old waiting for them. I refer the Deputy Leader of the Government
to my written question number 20, asking whether the Honourable Gary Lunn
intended to fill in some of the gaps that he, in his enthusiasm, left in his
presentation some months ago to the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the
Environment and Natural Resources, during which he said the government is
developing all kinds of technologies supporting coal-fired electricity
Will we ever have an answer as to what those technologies might be? I asked
the questions on December 12, 2007: What carbon sequestration technologies did
Minister Lunn say the government is investing in? Which departments was he
referring to as those that are developing those technologies? What specific
statistics will the government impose on which industries to reduce their
greenhouse gas emissions? When will the new carbon capture task force make its
Minister Lunn talked about real action related to greenhouse gas
environmental policy. I wanted to know if he could list those real actions. I
asked that question on December 12, 2007, and I wrote to him specifically. I
have not received an answer.
On February 7, 2008, I asked the leader, Senator LeBreton, whether she could
confirm when carbon emissions trading markets will be established and whether
they will include agriculturally based carbon trading credits as part of that
market. She said that she would take the question as notice and report back to
me. I am wondering if I might encourage her to do that.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Far be it
from me to mention that it gave an opportunity for Senator Mitchell to use the
time of the Senate to re-ask his questions. I think there was one written and
one oral question. We will look into the progress on these items.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator St. Germain,
P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Cochrane, for the second reading of
Bill C-30, An Act to establish the Specific Claims Tribunal and to make
consequential amendments to other Acts.
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak
today to Bill C-30, the Specific Claims Tribunal Act. Our colleague Senator St.
Germain did an excellent job describing the general provisions of the bill, so I
will not speak at great length today. I hope we can move this bill into
committee and deal with it in an expeditious manner.
Bill C-30 is an example of what can be accomplished when people work together
in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill, and such is the nature of the Standing
Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples. We work for the betterment of Aboriginal
people without any due regard, generally, for partisanship.
As honourable senators know, specific claims arise as a result of
government's failure to act honourably and to fulfil promises made to Aboriginal
people. In some cases, government officials acted fraudulently to deprive First
Nations of lands or other resources that were owed to them. Many of these claims
date back decades or even centuries.
Failure to settle specific claims has led to hardship and frustration on the
part of First Nations people, and has thwarted their efforts to improve their
lives. Settlement of claims has been shown to be an incredible boost to First
Nations capacity and to their economic development.
The current system is slow and cumbersome and, in the view of many, biased in
favour of government. Claims can take easily 20 years to wend through the
process, and often the end result is highly unsatisfactory. Government decides
which claims are valid and determines the process by which they will be settled.
First Nations must undertake a lengthy and cumbersome process, and they must
initiate this process by conducting research. The federal government also
conducts research. The research formally goes to the government, and then the
Department of Justice becomes involved in reviewing the research and the case
that the First Nations makes to see whether it is acceptable to the federal
Eventually, the research goes to the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development, and it is in the minister's discretion to accept or reject
it. There is no time limit, so often the submission or the claim becomes lost in
the system and is there for a long time.
There has been much frustration in the present specific claims process, and
thus the need for this bill. The bill provides a new approach and a new
opportunity for the federal government to deal with specific claims in a
First Nations have few avenues of appeal if the federal government rejects
their specific claims. They can go to the Indian Claims Commission, which can
only make recommendations to the minister; or they can go to court. Even if the
claim is ruled to be valid, negotiations can take many years. In the end, if a
settlement is reached, it is often heavily biased in favour of government.
First Nations reach a point of taking a bad deal rather than no deal at all.
Many recent confrontations with Aboriginal people in Canada, such as Oka in
Quebec, Gustafson Lake in B.C. and Ipperwash in Ontario, originated from
unsettled specific claims.
The problem with specific claims has been studied many times. Many proposals
have been made to improve the system, but until now there has been no progress.
Last year, the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples released its
report, Negotiations or Confrontation: It's Canada's Choice. This report
examined specific claims in great detail, and we came to a number of conclusions
and recommendations as to what must be done. I am pleased and proud to say that
Bill C-30 reflects the work done by our committee and the recommendations that
we made. As a senator, it is nice to see our hard work come to positive
fruition, such as is the case with this bill.
The most significant part of this bill is the establishment of an independent
tribunal. This is something that all Aboriginal people in our country have been
wanting. Every time they have spoken about specific claims and the problems with
the delays, they have always said that there should be an independent body,
apart from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
government, that can deal with these claims. Such is the main part of this bill.
It is a big step, a big development and a big decision for the federal
government to finally come through with the establishment of an independent
body. From here on, once the independent body is set up, surely things will go
well; surely all the claims will be dealt with in a judicious and proper manner.
Although the focus will continue to be on reaching negotiated settlements,
there will now be recourse for First Nations. That alone will ensure that the
government will act more quickly and effectively in addressing these legitimate
I must give credit to Minister Jim Prentice. When he became minister, he
appeared before our committee. As he had spent 10 years in this area of claims
commissions when he was a private citizen in Calgary, he knew the process. It
was nice to have a minister of the government who understood the problems and
who was compassionate in terms of the problems of specific claims.
I believe that we were fortunate to have someone like Mr. Prentice as the
Minister of Indian Affairs at the time, who readily agreed and finally made
decisions to proceed with the recommendations that our committee brought forth
to resolve this issue. He did collaborate with the Assembly of First Nations. I
am pleased that Minister Strahl has continued that work and has brought the
matter, in the form of a bill, to Parliament.
This bill will not solve every issue with regard to specific claims,
honourable senators. There remains considerable work to be done on historical
treaties and on claims in excess of $150 million. The specific claims provisions
place a limit of claims up to $150 million. That is a significant amount, but
there are claims that exceed that figure. This bill will not be able to provide
for that, but there is still a negotiations process that, ultimately, we hope
will resolve those larger claims.
Honourable senators, it is important to know that, in addition to working
with the AFN on Bill C-30, the government also reached an agreement to
collaborate on resolving all outstanding issues. I know that Senator St. Germain
mentioned that there are still approximately 800 claims that still need to be
dealt with. This bill will go a long way toward settling and dealing with these
Bill C-30 will also go a long way toward moving forward the hundreds of
outstanding claims in a way that is fair and impartial. The legislation will
provide First Nations with the assurance that their grievances will be heard and
resolved in a transparent and timely manner.
This is clearly a case where we should not let the quest for perfection stand
in the way of achieving good. I know that, despite some concerns raised about a
few issues, the other place passed this bill unanimously.
Bill C-30 will make a tremendous difference in the lives of Aboriginal people
across the country. The measure will also be a tremendous benefit to Canada as
well, both in terms of reducing confrontation and disruptions and by unleashing
the economic and social potential of Aboriginal communities. I urge the
wholehearted support of all honourable senators and recommend quick passage of
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to
adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Gill, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Watt, for the second reading of Bill S-234, An Act to
establish an assembly of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and an executive
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, on May 8, 2008, Senator
Comeau rose on a point of order concerning Bill S-234, An Act to establish an
assembly of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and an executive council. He
asserted that the bill infringes the financial prerogatives of the Crown, as
embodied in provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867, and in Senate Rule 81. In
support of this argument, Senator Comeau cited various clauses of the bill
dealing with specific details of the proposed Aboriginal peoples' assembly and
the executive council. He particularly quoted clause 25, which would appropriate
funds to pay the salaries of members. During his intervention, Senator Comeau
made reference to Beauchesne's, Bourinot, Erskine May, and a Senate Speaker's
Ruling of October 23, 1991.
Senator Fraser expressed the contrary opinion. She emphasized that almost any
legislative measure will involve some expenditure of public money. She suggested
that, if "the principal purpose of that bill is to achieve a matter of public
policy and the expenditure of public money is ancillary to that, it is in order
for the Senate to study such a bill." Senator Ringuette made a similar point,
also noting that many initiatives can have financial consequences.
Finally, Senator Baker remarked upon the considerable recent changes in
financial procedures in Parliament. He focused on clause 52(2) of Bill S-234, to
which Senator Comeau had also made reference. This clause establishes that no
part of the bill, except one clause that does not involve direct expenditures,
can be brought into force, "unless the appropriation of moneys for the purposes
of this Act has been recommended by the Governor General and such moneys have
been appropriated by Parliament." This clause was linked, by both Senators
Baker and Comeau, to citation 611 of the sixth edition of Beauchesne's. That
citation states that, "A bill from the Senate, certain clauses of which would
necessitate some public expenditure, is in order if it is provided by a clause
of the said bill that no such expenditure shall be made unless previously
sanctioned by Parliament."
I thank all honourable senators for their helpful interventions on this
complex and challenging matter.
Let me begin by remarking that Bill S-234 is a wide-ranging measure. If it
continues before the Senate, numerous issues may have to be examined in detail.
These could include points such as its potential effects on the fiduciary
relationship between Her Majesty and the Aboriginal peoples of Canada; on
Parliament's power under section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867, to legislate
on matters relating to Aboriginal peoples and the lands reserved for their use;
on the way Canadians are represented in Parliament; and on how citizens have
input into legislative and policy-making processes. The clauses of the bill
cover specific matters such as the role of the Aboriginal peoples assembly and
the executive council, suffrage, committees, privilege, gender balance, first
ministers' conferences, conflict of interest and languages. These are all very
The current point of order is focussed on the narrow but critical matter of
whether Bill S-234 infringes the financial prerogatives of the Crown. As noted
at page 709 of Marleau and Montpetit, the financial prerogative means that:
Under the Canadian system of government, the Crown alone initiates all
public expenditure and Parliament may only authorize spending which has been
recommended by the Governor General.
An examination of Bill S-234 could suggest indeed that it does involve
spending. Salaries, benefits, officers, the appropriation of funds, staffing and
preparation of estimates are all covered in the bill. Any of these matters
individually could make it fall into the class of bills covered by the earlier
citation from Marleau and Montpetit.
The key to this issue is, of course, clause 52(2). Under this clause, most of
the bill cannot come into force until funds have been recommended by the
Governor General and appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of the bill. No
expenditure whatsoever would thus be incurred by the mere passage of Bill S-234, other than the drafting of the legislation required in clause 51, which
should be viewed as a part of the normal operations of government. In
particular, this means that clauses such as clause 25 can have no effect until
the requisite funding to set up the assembly has been separately appropriated.
In considering the issue of the financial initiative of the Crown as applied
in the Senate, rule 81 is of central importance. This rule prohibits
consideration of "a bill appropriating public money that has not within the
knowledge of the Senate been recommended by the Queen's representative." This
recommendation can only be given in the House of Commons.
When the term "appropriation" is used, it is often used quite loosely.
However, it does have a narrower meaning. An appropriation is a sum of money
allocated by Parliament for a specific purpose. As seen with supply bills,
appropriations quite often fund entities whose legal framework has been
Therefore, one must consider whether Bill S-234 actually appropriates money
within this meaning. As already discussed, funds for the purposes of Bill S-234
will have to be appropriated separately or voted by Parliament, on the Governor
General's recommendation, before the bill can enter into force.
What Bill S-234 would actually do is set up a legal framework for subsequent
action. Nothing can begin to happen to make this framework effective without a
subsequent Royal Recommendation and appropriation by Parliament. The bill,
itself, does not actually authorize the appropriation of any funds. While the
passage of the bill would express a will on the part of Parliament to establish
an Aboriginal peoples' assembly and an executive council, the Crown would not
actually be obliged to give the necessary recommendation, so its initiative
would not be impaired. If the Governor General did recommend the necessary
funds, and Parliament appropriated them, that would have the known effect of
allowing the bill to be brought into force, with the resulting consequences.
Bill S-234 thus appears to respect fully the financial initiative of the
Crown, since no funds are being or must be appropriated. As such, this bill
differs from Bill S-5, considered during the Third Session of the Thirty-fourth
Parliament, which was ruled out of order in 1991 and to which reference was made
in debate on this point of order. Bill S-5 sought to "redress the imbalance . .
. in terms of the benefits accorded by law to Canada's war-time merchant seamen
compared with those provided by law to veterans of the Canada's armed forces."
That bill, contrary to Bill S-234, would have entered into force upon receiving
Royal Assent. As a consequence, it would have probably immediately required new
appropriations to fund the expanded access to the benefit that it created.
Because of these differences, the ruling of October 23, 1991, is not entirely
relevant to the present case.
The point of order raised special concerns about clause 24, which would
authorize the preparation of estimates for the assembly. Reference was made to
Erskine May on this point. The measure in clause 24 seems to fall far short of
the class of bills to which Erskine May refers. To repeat, most of Bill S-234
will not enter into force until an order to that effect is made. This cannot
happen until the necessary funds have been appropriated from the Consolidated
Revenue Fund, which in turn requires a Royal Recommendation. As already noted,
passage of the bill would express Parliament's desire for an Aboriginal peoples
assembly and an executive council, but the Crown would not actually be obliged
to give the necessary Royal Recommendation, so its initiative would not be
Honourable senators, citation 611 of Beauchesne's indicates that there are
circumstances in which a Senate bill can deal with matters that might appear to
have financial consequences if the bill is carefully drafted to deal with the
real restrictions that apply. Bill S-234 respects the financial initiative of
the Crown, while allowing Parliament the opportunity to consider a new proposal.
The bill in no way incurs actual expenditures; it merely sets the stage for such
expenditures to be incurred, if the Crown chooses to recommend them, and if
Parliament chooses to appropriate these funds.
While recognizing the complexities of the issue, there are persuasive reasons
for allowing debate on this bill to continue. We must be vigilant at all times
to ensure respect for the financial initiative of the Crown and for the role of
the other place in spending and taxation. As I noted earlier, this is a
challenging matter, and this point of order has been helpful in allowing a
detailed consideration of these issues. In this specific case there is no
obligation to appropriate new money imposed upon Her Majesty. Nothing can happen
if funds are not properly appropriated following a Royal Recommendation.
Preferring to err on the side of allowing senators the largest opportunity
possible to consider proposals, debate on this item can proceed.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mitchell,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Hubley, for the second reading of Bill
S-228, An Act to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act (board of directors). —(Honourable
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Mitchell,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Hubley, that Bill S-228 be read a second
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: No.
The Hon. the Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: All those contrary to the motion please say
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the "yeas" have it.
And two honourable senators having risen:
The Hon. the Speaker: Please call in the senators. Is there an
agreement between the whips as to how long the bells will ring?
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I would ask your
indulgence that, under the rules, we postpone the vote until 3:30 tomorrow.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is proposed that the vote be held tomorrow
afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Therefore, the vote will be deferred until
tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28, at 3:30 p.m. The bells will ring at 3:15 p.m.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, for the second reading of Bill
S-233, An Act to amend the Library and Archives of Canada Act (National
Portrait Gallery).—(Honourable Senator Segal)
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, I rise to oppose Senator
Grafstein's motion because I very much oppose Bill S-233.
What is the Portrait Gallery of Canada? Is it a building? Is it faces,
photographs and paintings? Is it history? Is it people? The portrait gallery is
all these things, but it is also a great deal more.
The Portrait Gallery of Canada is a showcase. It celebrates Canadians who
have built and shaped our nation, and who continue to do so. The gallery brings
us face to face with this history in a way that is accessible to all. People are
drawn to faces. When one stands in front of a portrait one can immediately feel
the presence and the power of the story. When we learn about the people behind
the faces — women and men, celebrities and unknowns, heroes and more humble
folk, ordinary and extraordinary Canadians — we learn about our country, our
communities and ourselves.
Library and Archives Canada has been collecting portraits since 1872. It has
developed a collection of rare portraits that span the period from the earliest
contacts with our Aboriginal nations to 20th century photography, making it the
second-oldest national portrait collection in the entire world. Library and
Archives Canada holds in this priceless collection over 20,000 paintings,
drawings and prints; 4 million photographs and several thousand caricatures; as
well as more than 10,000 medals and philatelic items.
The portrait gallery staff members play a focused role within the wider
mandates of Library and Archives Canada. Library and Archives Canada preserves
and manages our documentary heritage, including this vital collection. It is
responsible for the overall care and protection of these works on behalf of all
Canadians. With its world-class curatorial and management expertise, Library and
Archives Canada plays a vital role in caring for and preserving our portrait
collections for generations to come.
While the portrait gallery has been busy building its organization and
programming, a great deal of work has also been under way over the past year to
find a host community and a permanent exhibition space for this vibrant
Honourable senators, with respect to the proposition contained in the bill
before us — namely that Ottawa and only Ottawa be the location of this portrait
gallery — let me share two or three reflections which members who are not from
Ottawa may find of interest.
In terms of area, Canada is the second largest country on the planet next to
Russia. It occupies most of the northern portion of North America and covers 41
per cent of our continent. It spans an immense territory between the Pacific and
Atlantic Oceans. It covers 9,984,670 square kilometres or 3,855,103 square
miles. I provide this brief geographic overview in order to point out with great
respect that, regardless of how we may view the many splendours of Ottawa, this
city is not the centre of the Canadian universe.
As Canada's capital, it is the country's "centre of power" and, as such,
boasts many beautiful museums, galleries and attractions. This outstanding
chamber and everyone within it is among them. However, many Canadians — and I
would guess a majority of Canadians — may never travel to Ottawa during their
lifetimes. For most, a trip to Ottawa would be much the same as a vacation to
Europe — completely out of reach financially and logistically.
Senator Grafstein, in his cogent, sincere and forceful speech on this
subject, both on the motion and on Bill S-233, made reference to the government
"pitting one city against the others" by accepting and seeking applications
from other Canadian communities as a location for this gallery. In my view, the
presentation made by my good friend Senator Grafstein seems to suggest that he
might prefer a tension that would be linked to other Canadian cities throwing up
their hands in despair and realizing that, once again, Ottawa wins out without
so much as a discussion with respect to this particular cultural treasure.
I recognize the fact that, as Senator Grafstein has pointed out, such a
gallery in other countries is normally located in that nation's capital. Senator
Grafstein recounted his visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London,
England. I agree, having visited that gallery, that it is a very impressive
sight with an impressive collection relative to the magnificent history of the
However, while once the most formidable power on the planet, the United
Kingdom is actually a very small country geographically. Its entire mass would
fit into just a small portion of the province of Ontario. One could fit all of
Great Britain into Nova Scotia. I do not know what that would do for property
values, Senator Comeau, but one could do it if one had to. From virtually every
corner of Britain, the capital can be reached by car or by rail. Honourable
senators, Ottawa is not so geographically accessible for millions of Canadians.
In a country the size of Canada, the Government of Canada owes its allegiance
to the people of Canada — all the people, from coast to coast. The perception
already exists amongst many that Ottawa lives in a vacuum, out of touch with
those thousands of miles away — and perhaps only a few dozen miles, according to
some —in any direction. Canadian identity and heritage are not confined to the
National Capital Region.
I suggest that this enterprise might be our opportunity to let our Canadian
brothers and sisters know that not all things "national," not all things "historical" and not all things relating to
"Canadian identity" must be
situated only in the National Capital Region.
A national portrait gallery situated in another Canadian community would be
no less valid, no less important and no less "national." Ottawa does not hold
a monopoly on valid national institutions. I would hate to assume that, if we
took the Ottawa uber alles approach, someone might suggest we move the
Plains of Abraham or the Citadel in Québec City to the beautiful parklands
surrounding the capital or, God forbid, that sacred site, Fort Henry, from
Kingston and rebuilt somewhere in the Ottawa area because it is the national
capital. This would be done in the name of national historical relevance.
Why is it anathema to consider other great communities in this country —
Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, St. John's, Halifax, Vancouver, et cetera — as a
home to a national institution?
Senator Di Nino: What about Toronto or Kingston?
Senator Segal: I will talk about Kingston. Kingston was the capital of
the United Province of Canada. The only mistake Queen Victoria made during her
remarkable reign was to approve the recommendation to move the capital from
Kingston to Montreal and then, ultimately, to Ottawa, from which we have barely
recovered. However, we must accept it. We must make do with reality as we find
it, but we do not need to compound the mistake time and time again.
The Museums Act of 1990 established four separate museums governed by
independent Crown corporations to replace the all-encompassing control of the
National Museums of Canada, which, at the time, the government of the day
claimed hampered the decentralization and democratization of Canadian national
museums as recommended by the National Museum Policy. The National Museum Policy
had been announced in 1972 by Secretary of State Gérard Pelletier and proposed
the "increased movement of objects, collections and exhibits throughout Canada
for the benefit of more people."
This statement was from one of the three original wise men who came from
Quebec to save Canada. He called for that democratization, which this
government's policy is trying to advance and to sustain.
However, the 1990 act also mandated the boards of directors to seek a
"partnership" with the private sector — fundraising — which meant that the
location of the museums, then restricted entirely to the Ottawa region, was
effectively a handicap, as these boards pointed out in the early 1990s, to
This discussion, this motion and the debate surrounding it, had the unwitting
effect of making it appear that national institutions, museums and galleries,
are primarily about serving the interests of the city of Ottawa itself.
Canada's pride is not relegated to one city, one province or one attitude.
Our national family is large indeed, geographically and historically. It took
100 years for explorers to this great nation to find the western side of the
continent. For us to insist that any national institution should be relegated
only to one place permanently and terminally is, in my opinion, baffling Ottawa-centred arrogance. I do not ascribe this arrogance to any member of this place
or the other. I respect completely the patriotism and sincerity of my colleagues
on this matter. I recognize that their arguments are well-meaning and genuine.
However, I profoundly disagree. I believe that perhaps the time has come to
permit this particular national institution to be placed in another, no less
national Canadian city.
The government's view, which I share, is that national cultural institutions
can be located outside the National Capital Region. In April 2007, the Prime
Minister announced this committee's commitment to the Canadian Museum of Human
Rights in Winnipeg, making it the first national museum to be located outside
the National Capital Region. I think it can be fair to say that was done with
support from all sides of this chamber. There has been significant support for
this project across the country, across the world and, of course, in that great
keystone city of Winnipeg itself.
Last fall, after careful consideration, the government announced an
innovative call for proposals to locate the Portrait Gallery of Canada in one of
nine Canadian cities: Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto,
Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver. The request for proposals, RFP, is
well under way with a deadline for submission of May 16, 2008, only a few days
The RFP invited qualified developers to come forward with prominent and
easily accessible sites in those communities for the development of a permanent
exhibition space for the Portrait Gallery of Canada.
This approach is a first for a national cultural institution in Canada and it
is consistent with the government's desire to ensure access to our cultural
heritage for all Canadians. The government asks developers to come forward with
proposals that demonstrate both private sector and community support for this
project. There is the understanding that a community that actively works to
bring the portrait gallery to its doorstep will set the stage for a long-term,
sustainable and viable community and national relationship.
The Portrait Gallery of Canada is already, as part of Library and Archives
Canada, serving Canadians even as we sit here today. It tells Canadian stories
every day by reaching out to teachers and by offering free tutorials. It shares
our history with audiences around the world through projects like the recent
Yousuf Karsh exhibition in Nice and Paris and the Between Worlds
exhibition of the Four Indian Kings portraits held in the National Portrait
Gallery in London, England.
The Portrait Gallery of Canada is developing innovative partnerships with
other institutions. Last fall, they collaborated with the Art Gallery of Ontario
to bring 17,000 individual portraits, created by Ontario residents for the AGO,
to Ottawa for exhibition. This exhibition, In Your Face, was made freely
available to school groups and launched the portrait gallery's educational
The Portrait Gallery of Canada continues to bring new projects to the public
with the upcoming Frederik Varley exhibit in collaboration with the Varley Art
Gallery of Markham, Ontario and the Canadian Museum of Nature, and with the 2009
opening of Karsh the Storyteller, another compelling exhibit of Canada's
Honourable senators, current and future programming activities are all
possible under the new mandate: travelling, on-line and permanent exhibits;
teaching tools; research; interviews and thought-provoking documentaries; and,
of course, the development of the permanent exhibition space for the gallery
The Portrait Gallery of Canada will be best placed in the host city that
demonstrates the most effective and creative proposals for its placement and
long-term health. That may well be in the nation's capital, which is invited to
bid and the city that already houses so many wonderful institutions. However, we
also believe that other cities with sufficient infrastructure and population
base should also have an opportunity to seek the benefits to be gained from a
major national cultural institution. Canada is looking for the right combination
of a developer and a community with the passion and vision to create an
extraordinary portrait gallery for this country.
I suggest that we should think carefully in this chamber before undertaking
any action that would impede the good work that many of the nine qualified
communities have already invested in this publicly advertised and wide open RFP
I ask the honourable senator, rhetorically, how he wishes to convey to those
other eight cities that they are not worthy of consideration — which is what his
bill would in fact do — and that their cities do not deserve this opportunity. I
can tell you that the Government of Canada is looking forward to reviewing the
proposals and to exploring the potential of any of these great Canadian cities
as a home for the Portrait Gallery of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, we have an active and healthy organization. Within Library and
Archives Canada, the gallery undertakes a wide and successful range of domestic
and international programming, and we have a fair, open and transparent process
in place to find a welcoming host community for the permanent exhibition space.
The program is in good shape and the process to choose a permanent home is well
All this was done under the current legislation, legislation that gives
Library and Archives Canada the mandate to preserve documentary heritage, to
make it known and accessible to all, to contribute to the cultural, social and
economic advancement of Canada and to facilitate cooperation among communities
with shared interests.
Honourable senators, national treasures belong to the country and not only to
the capital city.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Will the honourable senator accept a question?
Senator Segal: Yes.
Senator Fraser: I have two questions which I shall pose as one
intervention. Is Senator Segal interested in apologizing to Her Honour for
calling her "Mr. Speaker"?
Senator Di Nino: Right on!
Senator Fraser: Early in his impassioned remarks, Senator Segal spoke
of numbers of tourists. Are there comparative statistics, or did I miss them, on
the number of tourists, particularly young tourists, schoolchildren, and so on —
let us leave out the navel of the universe for the moment — who visit the other
cities that were mentioned?
Senator Segal: First, let me accept the opportunity to apologize to
Her Honour. I had launched before seeing that the presence in the chair had, in
fact, changed, so I abjectly offer my apology and prostrate myself in front of
her in this context.
I did not mention tourists. I mentioned land mass; I mentioned space; I
mentioned territory; and I mentioned whether it was easy to come to Ottawa from
all parts of the country. I did not give a number for tourists, but that
question from my colleague is a good one. I will look at the numbers and see if
I can provide some detail, but let us not assume because we wander around this
city and see buses full of students coming, which is a good thing to be welcomed
and encouraged, that it is easy for all students from all regions to make that
pilgrimage on an ongoing and regular basis. Let us not assume that the
geographic and financial issues implicit in that pilgrimage are easily sustained
across the vast regions of the country.
From my perspective, young students who go to places like Calgary, Vancouver
or Quebec do this country as much credit and learn as much about our history and
our future as they would by coming only to the city of Ottawa.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: I would like to tell Senator Segal that I am
always impressed by his speeches. I hope he will not agree to become Minister of
Foreign Affairs, because rumours are running rampant and we want to keep him in
Having studied the pros and cons of Bill S-233, I share the honourable
senator's opinion that museums should be spread across Canada.
However, I find it strange that I did not hear any protests from the people
who ardently defend Ottawa's exclusive right to national museums when the
decision was made to build the Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, a museum
that will cost a great deal of money both to construct and to maintain.
I did not hear any protests from the great champions of having museums
exclusively in Ottawa. I wonder whether their statements are just for show.
Honourable senators, when I rise to speak to this issue, I will echo Senator
Segal's opinion. I think the time has come for the whole country to share our
Senator Segal: I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Prud'homme when he
says that the whole country must share Canada's cultural treasures. I do not
take issue with what motivates those who would prefer to have the National
Portrait Museum in the national capital. I take issue with their attitude, but I
do not take issue with their commitment to a national capital that has all the
instruments of national identity.
However, Canada is not England or France. Canada has large regions and large
provincial capitals that are part of our essential heritage. In my opinion, the
current government is quite clear in its approach. In a way, Senator Grafstein's
words take away from our great national heritage, and that is why, with all due
respect, I oppose this bill on behalf of our party.
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I rise today to
discuss an issue in which I feel that the federal government has made an error
in judgment, and that must be remedied immediately.
Bill S-233 would correct the error of selling the National Portrait Gallery
of Canada to the highest bidder and would place the gallery where it belongs,
here in the National Capital Region.
Many voices and opinions have been shared on this topic by people from across
the nation. Some are in favour of it being in the nation's capital while others
believe that Ottawa should share the cultural wealth and locate the gallery's
home in another city or province. I do not want to take away from any of the
cities who wish to have this institution as part of their city. I have been to
every province in this great country and realize the beauty and culture they
each have to offer. In my opinion, the individuality of each province makes
Canada a truly great nation.
That said, however, I cannot help but feel that it is wrong for the Portrait
Gallery of Canada to be anywhere but the nation's capital. In many countries
around the world we see examples of national portrait galleries found in their
nation's capital: Canberra in Australia, London in Great Britain, Washington in
the United States, and I can go on and on. Clearly, I am not the only one who
believes that the National Capital Region should be the home of the Portrait
Gallery of Canada.
When people come to Ottawa, they usually come to see the natural beauty of
the city and to learn about Canada's culture and history. They come to visit the
Parliament of Canada, to learn about our government and how the country is run.
They come to visit the National Gallery of Canada to see works of some of the
most talented Canadian artists. They come to visit the numerous museums that are
found across the city that educate about Canada's history, its flora and fauna,
its technological advances and its military achievements.
While visitors from both Canada and abroad learn about all these great
Canadian things, however, they learn little about the people who made this
country what it is today. Of course, if they take a tour of Parliament Hill, the
experienced and well-educated parliamentary tour guides will speak to them about
the pictures of the former kings and queens, prime ministers and speakers that
grace the walls here, but where will they learn about the many other Canadians,
both well-known and little known, that are meant to fill the Portrait Gallery of
Canada? Will they hop on a plane for a four-hour ride to Alberta to learn this
information? I hope not.
In Senator Grafstein's speech a few weeks ago, the honourable senator
suggested the idea of travelling exhibits that would cross the country for all
Canadians to enjoy. I think this idea is a fantastic one, as it would keep the
gallery in the National Capital Region but would also bring knowledge of
important Canadians to cities across the country.
I do not think anyone should feel left out of learning about Canadian
history, but I also strongly believe that the national institutions, such as
this one, should stay in the nation's capital.
Honourable senators, I also do not think that the manner in which the federal
government is finding the new home of the Portrait Gallery of Canada is a good
one at all. They called for the submissions from nine different Canadian cities;
however, by the deadline for submissions last week, only three cities had put in
offers: Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa. According to the Ottawa Citizen,
Edmonton has a developer with land, design and cash, including a $40-million
gift for Library and Archives Canada; Calgary has a site and promises a big
splash if the city wins; and Ottawa has a developer offering a home in the base
of a condo six blocks from Parliament Hill.
What happens next? An anonymous selection committee evaluates the proposals
and chooses the winner without knowing what the final building will look like or
how it is organized. To me, this approach sounds like trouble and an all-around
bad idea. If we had stuck with the original intention of having the Portrait
Gallery of Canada in the building that was the former American Embassy across
the street from Parliament Hill, the gallery might be open already to visitors,
not to mention the millions of dollars that would have been saved. As Senator
Grafstein mentioned in his speech, over $20 million had already been spent on
renovating the building and preparing it as the home of the gallery. That money
is now lost, thanks to the current federal government.
Not only do these changed plans mean that we would lose this investment but
it would also cost at least $2.5 million less per year to have the gallery in
the nation's capital. This is due to the increased shipping costs that would be
required if the gallery's home were in either Calgary or Edmonton. Most of the
collection that would be used for the gallery is kept at a Gatineau preservation
centre, and having to constantly ship portraits back and forth when exhibits
change would certainly drive costs up. You only have to think of the insurance
costs. Not only that, but shipping such precious items across the country would
certainly increase the risk of damage to these valuable pieces.
Furthermore, if Calgary or Edmonton is chosen as the new site for the
gallery, the construction costs will be cushioned by the oil boom in Alberta.
While many argue that the government is looking to the private sector to help
fund this project and there is therefore less need to focus on such issues, I
feel that leads to another dilemma that this project forces upon us, namely
privatizing Canadian cultural institutions. As a national establishment, I feel
that the Portrait Gallery of Canada should answer only to the federal government
via Library and Archives Canada, and not to the private organizations with the
deepest pockets. To do so, it seems to me, cheapens the Canadian government and
thus our Canadian heritage.
Honourable senators, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this bill. I
congratulate Senator Grafstein, Senator Joyal and all the other senators for
their hard work on this very important issue.
While we await the passage of this bill, let us continue to strive to reach
our goal for the benefit of all those interested in Canadian culture.
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: As I said before, and I apologize to Senator
Mahovlich for interrupting him, I was asked by Senator Stratton to take
adjournment of the debate in his name.
On motion of Senator Di Nino, for Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Di Nino, for the second reading of Bill C-299, An
Act to amend the Criminal Code (identification information obtained by fraud
or false pretence)—(Honourable Senator Tardif)
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, Bill C-299 has been before the Senate for several weeks now. I
recommend that it be read the second time and referred to committee for thorough
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Johnson, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Segal, for the second reading of Bill C-428, An
Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (methamphetamine).—(Honourable
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, this bill has been before the Senate for a few weeks. I ask that it be
read the second time and referred to committee.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the fifth report (interim) of the
Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples entitled: Honouring the
Spirit of Modern Treaties: Closing the Loopholes, tabled in the Senate on
May 15, 2008. —(Honourable Senator St. Germain, P.C.)
Hon. Gerry St. Germain moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure,
honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dallaire,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Day:
That the Senate call on the Government of Canada to negotiate with the
Government of the United States of America the immediate repatriation to
Canada of Canadian citizen and former child soldier Omar Khadr from the
Guantánamo Bay detention facility;
That the Senate urge the Government of Canada to undertake all necessary
measures to promote his rehabilitation, in accordance with this country's
international obligations on child rights in armed conflicts, namely the
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the
Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict; and
That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House
with the above.—(Honourable Senator Di Nino)
Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I rise to participate in
this debate with mixed emotions. Fundamentally, I do not disagree with Senator
Dallaire's position on the treatment of child soldiers. Instances where children
are subjugated to perpetrate or participate in murder, rape and other criminal
activities by their adult masters are abhorrent. It is easy to see why he has
taken up this pressing international issue.
However, Senator Dallaire's presentation of the Omar Khadr case lacks
balance. This is not a case of the typical child soldier we too often hear
about, particularly in African conflicts.
In his remarks in the chamber, Senator Dallaire presented his case in support
of Mr. Khadr's return to Canada. It is not my intention to debate that
particular point. Let the lawyers do that. I shall simply quote the Supreme
Court decision of May 23, which, at paragraph 35, says:
The ultimate process against Mr. Khadr may be beyond Canada's
jurisdiction and control.
I do wish, however, to address certain aspects of this tragic story that, so
far, have been left out of the debate, and which I believe are important in
presenting a fair, full and more balanced picture.
A key area that needs to be part of the debate is the role and responsibility
of the Khadr family.
Honourable senators, in reviewing the facts surrounding this case, let us
remind ourselves where most of the blame lies. It lies in abundance at the feet
of the Khadr family, and especially the father, who instilled a culture of
hatred, extremism and violence into his family and infected them with his warped
sense of justice and thirst for revenge.
Canada has been generous to the Khadrs. Despite their embrace of violent
Islamic extremism, disdain for Canada and our freedoms and tolerance, they have
leaned on the generous resources that our country provides. The family returned
to Canada to obtain medical treatment for Abdul Karim, who was paralyzed in a
shootout with Pakistani forces and — as we have all read — social assistance has
allowed them to live not uncomfortably in a Toronto apartment.
All the while, they have heaped scorn upon Canada. Ms. Elsamnah praised al
Qaeda and suicide bombers on camera for the CBC. She said that Americans had got
what they deserved on 9/11. I assume that also means Canadians, and all the
other people who perished from all other parts of the world. She also said that
the terror camps in Afghanistan were preferable to the school system here, where
they risk exposure to our values. Imagine that!
Omar's sister said they all wished for martyrdom. I would like to say
something there, but I had better not. Her views were no doubt shared by her
husband, himself an al Qaeda terrorist.
Another Khadr son, Abdullah, awaits the outcome of deportation proceedings
that could result in extradition to the U.S. He was a reputed arms purchaser for
al Qaeda in Afghanistan, buying AK-47s, mortar rounds and rocket launchers. Like
his brothers, Abdul Karim, Omar and Abdurahman, who was also held in Guantanamo
as a suspected terrorist, Abdullah also trained at an al Qaeda camp.
Rounding out this group is the now deceased father, Ahmed Said Khadr, a
friend of Osama Bin Laden and alleged financier for his terror organization.
Though he moved to Canada in 1977, he supported terrorism abroad by funnelling
money through a Canadian front organization. He was arrested in 1995 in Pakistan
for his suspected role in a bombing that killed 17 people. A year later, no less
than former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien interceded on his behalf to appeal to
the Pakistanis for his release.
Senator Segal: Shame!
Senator Di Nino: When eventually freed, as reported, he moved his
family to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, sharing a compound with Osama Bin Laden. In
2003, Mr. Khadr was killed in a shootout with Pakistani forces. Honourable
senators, this is the environment in which Omar Khadr grew up.
Senator Dallaire, in his appearance before the Subcommittee on International
Human Rights in the other place on May 13, compared Canada as well as the U.S.
with al Qaeda. He said that the Americans ". . . are no better than the other
gang. . ." The "other gang," of course, refers to al Qaeda. As well, in reply
to a question, Senator Dallaire equates Canada to al Qaeda for not making, in
his opinion, extraordinary efforts on behalf of Mr. Khadr.
Honourable senators, I am very disturbed by these comments equating Canadians
and Americans with that odious terrorist organization.
In his attempt to clarify his position, the next day Senator Dallaire said:
. . . we cannot avoid the point that if we violate international law in
our pursuit of war on terror, we risk reducing ourselves, collectively, to
the same level of those we oppose.
Frankly, I believe Senator Dallaire further inflamed the situation with those
Honourable senators, the rule of law must be respected, but such a broad,
sweeping indictment not only tarnishes our governments but also reflects on our
politicians, officials, soldiers and citizens. This, to me, is unacceptable.
For the record, to the best of my knowledge, the Government of Canada has
consistently acknowledged that Mr. Khadr was a minor at the time in question,
and demanded that U.S. authorities account for this fact in his detention,
treatment and prosecution. Canadian observers have been sent to the proceedings,
and the government facilitated the appointment of Canadian lawyers.
In contrast, "those we oppose," to quote Senator Dallaire, have vowed death
and destruction to those who do not share their fundamentalist views. They have
broadcast beheadings, detonated bombs in crowded markets, and flown airplanes
into buildings. They have shown no mercy or compassion, and made no distinction
between soldier or civilian, nor between man, woman or child.
Senator Segal: Shame!
Senator Di Nino: I am sure, honourable senators, you are as disturbed
as I am at hearing about a 10-year-old child strapped with explosives and
detonated in an attempt to kill Canadian soldiers in Kandahar. This happened
last week. Certainly, Senator Dallaire is not comparing Americans and Canadians
to those who would blow up their kids for their ungodly quest. Honourable
senators, I have no doubt that unless these heartless and cruel thugs are
stopped, they will continue to wreak havoc among those who disagree with them,
including members of their own communities, all in the name of their ideology.
My honourable colleague suggested that Omar Khadr is being treated
differently than other child soldiers, "because he allegedly killed an American
soldier." I cannot speak to that assertion, but to answer a slightly different
question: Is he being treated differently than other detainees at Guantanamo?
The answer is yes.
Of all the hundreds of people originally held at Guantanamo, only 14 have so
far been charged. Omar Khadr is one of them. He was captured by U.S. forces in
2002 at the age of 15. It is alleged that he threw a grenade at a U.S. soldier
in Afghanistan, killing Sgt. Christopher Speers. While neither I nor anyone in
this chamber can pronounce on the guilt or innocence of Omar Khadr, the
allegations are of the utmost seriousness.
In my mind, doubt is cast on Senator Dallaire's statement that, by mere
virtue of his age:
Omar Khadr is a victim, not a terrorist or a perpetrator.
Mr. Khadr was not an adult at the time when the acts were allegedly
committed. While age must be taken into account to assess the culpability, age
alone cannot wipe away accountability or the finding of guilt. We all know that
under certain circumstance, even in Canada, we try young criminals who have
committed heinous crimes in adult courts.
Honourable senators, I think we can all understand why Canadians' sympathies
lie not with the Khadrs but with the victims who have succumbed directly or
indirectly from the actions of a group of persons dedicated to the butchering of
men, women and children and the destruction of those who aspire to democratic
rights, freedoms and values, including those in the Muslim world.
There is no doubt that Omar Khadr was a minor when he committed the alleged
acts, but this is not the child soldier of Sierra Leone abducted from his family
and forced at gunpoint to commit atrocities. This was a young man who likely
shared a cultural hatred instilled by a family dedicated to a violent,
Unfortunately, Senator Dallaire's opinions have clouded my position on this
issue. His inappropriate comments are an affront to Prime Minister Chrétien and
his government, to Prime Minister Martin and his government, and to Prime
Minister Harper and his government. His comments also offend all Canadians.
Honourable senators, I understand that in debating emotional and
passion-filled issues such as this, and in the heat of the moment, all of us
can, at times, make inappropriate comments. It comes with our jobs. When that
happens, an apology will usually be accepted. As far as I know, Senator Dallaire
has issued no such apology.
It troubles and saddens me that Senator Dallaire has reduced his stature on
this matter by his aggressive and unreasonably critical stance.
Honourable senators, although I strongly support the appropriate treatment
and rehabilitation of child soldiers, because of the issues that I have raised,
I will not be supporting this motion.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I have a question,
but I should first like to thank the honourable senator for responding so soon
to the motion. I am most appreciative of this, particularly because of the
volume of work that he is holding, as Senator Comeau has indicated.
I am not particularly surprised by the angle to the scenario or the motion
that the honourable senator has taken. He did, I suppose, what I did. He has
shown his side or perspective of the case, as he indicated that I showed my side
of the case.
I have the following question. I believe — and I believe I am correct in
saying that the honourable senator also supports this position — that when we
sign international treaties and protocols that become rules of international
law, we are then, as the Supreme Court of Canada indicated in the same
reference, bound to apply them. If there are frictions with our human rights,
then we must also acknowledge that and respond to that.
I am asking the honourable senator, in the end, whether Omar Khadr is, in his
mind, a child soldier. If so, then why does the international optional protocol
on the protection of child soldiers not apply to him? It does not specify who
recruits them, how they are recruited or any other circumstances. It specifies
that they are being used in conflict and being armed and trained to do so.
Senator Di Nino: I am sure the honourable senator did not mean to use
the word "angle" in the way I understood it. What I said is not an angle; it
is a strongly held personal view. I assure you that I have no idea whether my
colleagues on this side or on the other side would approve, applaud or condemn
me for these comments. I want to make that clear.
On the issue of Omar Khadr, as I said to the honourable senator last week
when he asked a question, after I read his comments, I waited for an apology. I
am not asking him for one. It is his prerogative to deal with this issue how he
wishes. However, I was offended. As I said before, at times, when I have opened
my mouth, I have then said to myself, "You idiot, what did you say?" I am not
suggesting that the honourable senator is an idiot or that he said something
inappropriate from his standpoint.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable Senator Di
Nino, your time has expired. Are you asking for more time?
Senator Di Nino: Yes, I am.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Five minutes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: You may continue.
Senator Di Nino: I actually started writing my speech and preparing it
on Sunday afternoon. I do not have the same ability to put words together that
my distinguished and honourable friend Senator Segal has. Whether or not Omar
Khadr is a child soldier is not for me to decide. Three different governments of
this country, under Mr. Chrétien, under Mr. Martin and under Mr. Harper, have
been dealing with this issue to the best of their ability. I do not think they
have abandoned anyone. At least, I do not believe so. It is for someone else to
decide whether he is a child soldier, not for me.
I do say to the honourable senator — and I hope that I reflected this in my
comments — that with the great deal of respect that I have for him and what he
stands for, I was disappointed that he would point a finger at me and at my
family and at the soldiers who are fighting every day to save the lives of
people while other people in their own country are trying to snuff them out. I
found that to be offensive. That is the issue that I am trying to raise. He has
clouded my whole viewpoint on this, because if Senator Dallaire really believes
what he has said, then I think he is wrong in his entire position.
Senator Dallaire: I recognize why the Honourable Senator Di Nino would
mention the argument that I may have potentially insulted him and others with
regard to equating this country to al Qaeda. Just as the interlocutor at that
place asked me a particularly dumb and set-up question, I responded in the same
fashion. I should have known better than to fall into that trap of actually
diffusing the whole exercise by that statement.
In the end, the question remains, and it is not for others. We in this
country who believe in human rights and international law, and who have fought
to actually apply it and who have seen the impacts of impunity and who have seen
countries stand back and let things happen, should actually change the exercise
with energy and verve.
I return to the point: The honourable senator may have described the
circumstances of the family, and he may hate their guts and not like their
politics and everything else. That changes nothing. It does not give us the
right to let some Canadians continue to function in an illegal process, a
process that abuses human rights by permitting torture and by permitting
individuals who are minors and who are used as child soldiers in a combat
operation to be treated differently because we do not necessarily like the tone
or the perspectives of them or of how they were recruited, and so on.
Is Khadr a child soldier? Yes or no? Does Canada still apply the
international conventions and rules that say that child soldiers are not to be
tried or held in jail for six years? If previous governments were no smarter,
then that is certainly not a reference that you want to use either for letting
that happen and for not trying to bring justice to that Canadian.
An Hon. Senator: Hear, hear!
Senator Di Nino: I am not sure how to take the question. There is no
doubt in my mind that Canada is one of the foremost countries in the world in
respecting the rule of law and all of the agreements that it signs. In my
opinion, Canada is doing all it can, all it must and all it is obligated to do,
and probably more, not only generally but also in this case. The honourable
senator may disagree with that. That is fair enough, and I do not have a problem
with that. However, he is doing the same thing at this point by suggesting that
Canada is not respecting the rights of people that they have agreed to protect.
Obviously, three governments felt that they were doing so. I am not as smart as
all of the people that are working over there. All I can say is that I agree
that we should sign these agreements under the UN auspices, and so on, and I
believe that Canada is respecting its obligations.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The time has expired.
Hon. Yoine Goldstein: Honourable senators, human rights are
indivisible. They are available to all people. I will talk about that and will
suggest, with great respect, that you may wish to reconsider your positions when
this debate resumes.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley rose pursuant to notice of April 29, 2008:
That she will call the attention of the Senate to the Oslo Process and
efforts to ban the use, production and trade of cluster munitions.
She said: Honourable senators, it has been just over 10 years since Canada
took the lead in an historic event. In December 1997, Canada invited the world
to Ottawa to sign a treaty to ban anti-personnel land mines.
It was important to ban landmines because these tools of war not only target
opposing military forces, they continue to kill years and decades after
hostilities have ended, targeting mainly civilians and dashing any hopes for
war-torn areas to rebuild their economies and return to normalcy.
While work continues to clear land mines from affected areas, the attention
of the world community has turned to cluster munitions. Cluster munitions are
bombs that separate in the air over a target and disperse into hundreds or
thousands of smaller bombs. This type of munitions shares a number of attributes
with land mines; they are generally untargeted and, because once they separate
they spread over a very large area, they kill civilians who are unlucky enough
to be in the vicinity of a military encounter.
However, cluster munitions also leave a legacy. There are always a
significant number of these bombs that do not explode on impact. Remnants are
left behind and infect the area long after the hostilities are over. In effect,
they become land mines, just waiting for some child or farmer to activate the
explosive in years to come.
Cluster bombs are problematic and those problems endure. The 2006 hostilities
between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon are an example of the ongoing
impact of cluster bombs.
The United Nations Mine Action Service in Lebanon has estimated that anywhere
from 2,000 to 6,000 rounds of heavy ammunition were fired by Israel each day
during the conflict. Included in that number was a large number of cluster
bombs. Although each cluster bomb counts as a single round of ammunition, in
actuality it disperses hundreds of thousands of individual bomblets. More
importantly for the long-term vitality of the area, it is also estimated that up
to 40 per cent of these bombs failed to explode. In 2006, it is estimated that
up to 1 million bombs were left unexploded in southern Lebanon.
As a result of the use of this weapon, some areas of southern Lebanon have
been turned into large minefields, preventing civilians from returning to their
homes and lives. It is bad enough that these people were displaced by armed
conflict, but they should not have to suffer long after the armies have returned
The international community is coming close to banning cluster munitions, as
it did with land mines. More than 80 countries have signed the Oslo Process,
which would lead to such a ban. Formal negotiations are taking place in Dublin,
from May 19 to 31, which will be followed by a signing of the treaty in Oslo in
The world has copied the template that Canada set 10 years ago and is
marching toward the banning of yet another inhumane weapon. However, the one
noticeable difference from 10 years ago is the leadership shown by Canada.
Over 10 years ago, Canada announced a moratorium on the use, production,
trade and export of anti-personnel land mines. This was almost two years before
the treaty was even signed. Canada had the vision and the compassion to
recognize that even if the world had not quite come around, these were inhumane
weapons and we, as a country, would have nothing to do with them.
In response to a question I posed in the Senate, I have received the
government's answer today. I wish to share a couple of excerpts from that
The Canadian Forces have never used cluster munitions in operations.
Later, the response of the government continues:
Canada currently regards cluster munitions as lawful weapons if they are
used in accordance with international humanitarian law, which prohibits the
targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. At the same time, Canada
has expressed concern about the impact unreliable and inaccurate cluster
munitions have on civilians.
I do give credit to the government in that they have announced their
intention to remove the entire remaining stockpile of cluster munitions from the
arsenal of the Canadian Forces. However, to the best of my knowledge, the
contract to destroy the 155-millimetre, dual-purpose, improved conventional
munitions has not yet been awarded and no date has been set for when this will
be completed. A new treaty is just around the corner and it appears that we have
decided to wait.
Although Canada has declined to take a leadership role, we have been
participating in the process. As I mentioned, Canada has undertaken to destroy
its remaining stockpile of cluster munitions and has participated in all the
meetings and conferences leading up to the signing that will take place later
this year. However, unlike 10 years ago, it is somewhat unclear as to what the
Canadian position will be at these meetings.
There are proposals on the table that would create a number of exceptions and
delays in this treaty. Some suggestions would exempt munitions with
self-destructive devices or include a potentially lengthy transition period
before the prohibitions take effect. It is unclear what stance Canada will take
on these and other issues.
Another concern that I have is the commitment of the Canadian government to
the Oslo Process as opposed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons,
or CCW. As background, the CCW was agreed to in 1980, and included a section
restricting the type and usage of anti-personnel land mines. However, even this
watered-down approach failed to gain general acceptance and did not go nearly
far enough for most nations. That is why the Ottawa process was initiated; it
accomplished in a couple of years what the CCW failed to do in decades.
The CCW is now looking at cluster munitions. However, based on past history,
it may take decades to arrive at a consensus, if it ever does at all. In the
meantime, similar to the Ottawa process, like-minded nations have gathered
together to ban cluster munitions — again, taking an important and historic
stand against an inhumane weapon — but it is unclear where Canada stands.
Does our government want to take the decades-long approach of the CCW,
waiting for a statement full of conditions, exemptions and stipulations, or does
it want to stand up, once again, as it did 10 years ago, and clearly and
unequivocally state that the world would be a much better place if these weapons
were all destroyed, never to be used again?
It is my hope that the Canadian delegation will approach these final meetings
with the attitude that cluster munitions are essentially land mines that are
dropped from the sky. This country gained the respect and admiration of the
world by taking a strong stand on land mines. We lead the world in recognizing
that weapons that target civilians long after a conflict has ended are inhumane
and should not be used under any circumstances. Ten years later, we are being
asked to reaffirm that position.
The world community is moving toward the same recognition of cluster
munitions, and it is about to declare the inhumanity of these devices.
Honourable senators, Canada should again be in the forefront, reiterating its
commitment to human security and making the treaty to ban cluster munitions as
strong as possible.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: If no other honourable
senator wishes to speak, this item will be considered debated.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 1:30 p.m.
His Excellency Victor Yushchenko
to both Houses of Parliament
in the House of Commons Chamber,
on Monday, May 26, 2008
His Excellency Victor Yushchenko was welcomed by the Right Honourable
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, by the Honourable Noël Kinsella,
Speaker of the Senate, and by the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the
House of Commons.
Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): Order. I call
upon the Right Honourable Prime Minister to address the joint session.
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker of the Senate,
Mr. Speaker of the House, colleagues from both Houses of Parliament, honoured
guests, ladies and gentlemen, we have the immense privilege today to welcome the
President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, to this joint session of our
Mr. President, on behalf of my fellow parliamentarians and all Canadians,
thank you for accepting our invitation to speak to us here in this great symbol
of our democracy, and welcome to Canada.
This may be an historic day, but it has been a long time coming.
Many Ukrainians have preceded you here. Roughly 100 years ago, there began
the mass migration of tens of thousands of your countrymen and countrywomen to
Canada. "The men in sheepskin coats", they were called.
They were hardy, hard-working and hopeful people, who saw in our young and
largely untouched country a land of great opportunity. Many were attracted to
the vast open grasslands of the Canadian Prairies, which, while unsheltered from
the harsher elements, reminded them of the steppes back home.
We often now forget how difficult those pioneering days really were. Many of
these settlers endured terrible hardships, but they prevailed and built the
farms, families and fraternities that were vital to the social and economic
development of rural western Canada.
Today, more than a million people of Ukrainian origin call Canada home.
They include: Ed Stelmach, premier of my home province of Alberta; our former
Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn; a great number of my parliamentary colleagues
from both chambers and all parties, many of whom of course are here today; famed
Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar; the great painter, William Kurelek; the late
Supreme Court Justice John Sopinka; and more great NHL hockey players than I
could possibly name.
In fact, Canadians of Ukrainian origin have made a name for themselves in all
the regions of Canada and in every field of activity. Our country is indeed
fortunate that so many of them have chosen to settle in Canada.
Yet, Mr. President, for all that Ukrainians had achieved in this country,
when I was a boy there remained a certain sadness in the Ukrainian Canadian
community. Because, despite sharing with us the opportunity and prosperity that
freedom and democracy had brought them here, Ukrainian Canadians understood that
the bondage and repression of their ancestral land remained as strong as ever
Indeed, I think some doubted whether that would ever change, but change it
In 1991 when it finally broke free of Soviet tyranny, it was Prime Minister
Mulroney and the Government of Canada that stood first among the great
democracies of the west to recognize the independence of Ukraine.
We celebrated Ukraine's hard-won freedom. Since then, we have supported its
efforts to establish democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and we uphold
those values to this day.
As you know, Mr. President, when those who would turn back the clock in
Ukraine tried to stop the Orange Revolution, all the parties of both houses of
this Parliament and all the people of this nation joined with your country and
with your courageous leadership to say, "Never again will Ukraine lose her
After decades of Soviet oppression, it takes time to develop democratic
institutions and the spirit of a free people. However, progress is being made,
and the world is taking notice.
Mr. President, I want to congratulate you on Ukraine's official accession to
the World Trade Organization earlier this month. There have been challenges to
face and there will be others, but it is clear that Ukraine is on the way to a
better future for its people.
That is why, as you know, Mr. President, the Government of Canada strongly
supported Ukraine's request to join NATO's membership action plan at the
Bucharest summit this year. This is, we understand, part of your design to see
Ukraine embrace the transatlantic community and our shared democratic and free
Moreover, Ukraine has always demonstrated its commitment to our NATO allies.
Your country is also part of the UN mission in Kosovo and is supporting a
provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan. In fact, Ukraine is the only
non-NATO country supporting every NATO mission in some way or other.
It is for these and many other reasons that Canada called upon our partners
to endorse Ukraine's eventual membership in NATO and, perhaps even more
importantly, to understand that the decision to seek alliance with others is a
decision for, and only for, the sovereign nation of Ukraine itself.
If any further reason were needed to justify Ukraine's welcome into the
western security partnership, it can be found in the darkest chapter of the
Of course, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor.
A law advanced by my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake, James Bezan, and now
being debated in this Parliament, would provide legal recognition to what
happened in Ukraine under the brutal communist dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.
That is why, in communities all across Canada, events are taking place to
commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. That is why Canada
co-sponsored the Government of Ukraine's motion at UNESCO honouring the millions
who perished in the terrible famine orchestrated by Stalin in the pursuit of his
In Canada, we are not afraid of history or the truth. That is why our
government has acknowledged the injustice done to the Ukrainians interned during
the first world war.
This month, we announced a grant to the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of
Taras Shevchenko, to create a fund to promote the historic recognition of this
sad chapter in Canada's history.
If we know our history, we will not repeat its mistakes.
Nor will we forget its bonds: the shared values and aspirations between our
two countries, built and embodied most clearly by Ukrainian Canadians
And on these we will continue to build our friendship and solidarity long
into the future.
It now gives me great pleasure to introduce a man who embodies not only that
friendship, but also our shared values of freedom and democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of free Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko.
His Excellency Victor Yushchenko (President of Ukraine):
[President Yushchenko spoke in Ukrainian, interpreted as follows:]
Your Excellency Mr. Prime Minister, Your Excellency Madam Chief Justice,
honourable senators, honourable members of the House of Commons, dear guests,
ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you for your kind invitation to
speak today at this honorary meeting.
It is a great honour for me to speak today at the Parliament of Canada. Right
now I am filled with very tender feelings for your country, for this land. For
me, as for millions of Ukrainians, this country, this land, is sacred. This is
due to many reasons, which I will be speaking about.
I have come here to express words of gratitude to the land of Canada, for it
became a motherland for millions of Ukrainians and many generations of my native
people who at different times came to seek their destiny in Canada.
We are very grateful for the support that our country has always had from
Canada. First, it was of great importance that Canada was the first country out
of all the countries of the west to recognize Ukraine's independence. Every
Ukrainian will always remember that.
This decision was the first step in our close partnership in the modern age.
We highly appreciate our modern relations, which have exceptional ties, the ties
In my speech I would like to introduce today's Ukraine and our vision of its
future, as well as share our opinions regarding the progress of and the
prospects for our relations.
First, and probably most important, Ukraine is a country of full democracy.
The leading international organizations recognize Ukraine as a free democratic
state. This conclusion includes such key aspects as election processes, freedom
of speech, freedom of the press, and human rights and freedoms.
That was a time when our old dreams were about strengthening our statehood.
That was the reason for immense changes. The breaking point for this was the
Orange Revolution in 2004. It witnessed the maturity of the Ukrainian nation,
which in critical times stood up for its independence and for fundamental human
rights and freedoms.
The Orange Revolution awoke our society and made irreversible and positive
changes in human minds. Ukrainians believed in their own strengths and in their
ability to stand up for their rights and for their own destiny. We are very
grateful to the international community for it impartial attitude to those
important days for Ukraine.
I would like to express the most gratitude to Canada, which sent the largest
number of international observers in the course of the dramatic election of
2004. The pace of that development, which required centuries for many countries
to do, was covered in several years by us. We were facing many challenges and,
of course, certain obstacles.
However, the recent years have shown that the most complicated problems and
challenges, including the social problems have been resolved in a very
democratic and civilized way. We are speaking frankly about our problems.
We need to improve the public administration in our country to settle all the
disparities in the system of relations between the three fundamental power
institutions. We have to determine their responsibilities and authorities and
that is what we are working on. This is our key target and content of the
constitutional reform that we are working on now. That way we will provide long
lasting political stability essential for the future progress of the country.
As the president and head of state, I have initiated different measures to
combat corruption. Of course, this is a big problem for my country, but I would
like to say that this problem is not a problem of last year or the last three
years. This problem was not brought in by the Orange Revolution.
Unfortunately, this is a very heavy heritage that we inherited from the
previous system. That is why the president today introduced six draft laws on
fighting corruption and they are now in parliament. Last year they already
passed first reading and I am sure that in the near future we will finalize the
enhancement of Ukraine's legislation on fighting corruption.
We also plan to reform the entire system and sector of national security.
Very important changes will happen to the system of justice. These are the tasks
that I have put as priorities in front of the government and I would like to say
that you should not have any doubts that could put our democratic course under
threat. I will do everything possible for no political ambition to stop our
My words are clear and affirming. Our movement will obviously give very
productive results and this will be a very important message to all the
democratic forces in Ukraine. This is the goal of every step in everything I do.
Dear friends, I would like to now speak about several aspects that
characterize practical accomplishments and prospects for our country. For
several years now we are marking out the stable economic evolution and
development of our country. For the last three years the GDP growth has been
estimated at 7.8% annually. Only last year, GDP grew at 6.7% and this is the
high evolution level that we are keeping up every year. Incomes for the
population are growing as well.
Every single year, after the Orange Revolution, the incomes of the population
grew 30% every year. Foreign direct investment has increased immensely. The
investment that came to the Ukrainian economy in the last three years
constituted 80% of the total investment that Ukraine managed to acquire in the
course of its independence.
When I was the chief of the central bank, I had only one dream and that was
that investment in Ukraine could reach the level of that in Poland. Poland, at
that time, received around $4.5 billion to $5 billion annually. Beginning in
2005, the Ukrainian economy has received from $7.5 billion to $8 billion of
foreign direct investment.
I am sure this is a manifestation that the Ukrainian government has managed
to find the right formula in the dialogue, which is very important. I am
referring to the dialogue with businesses since a lot has been done to create
fruitful and favourable conditions which would be attractive for businesses.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would like to invite all Canadian
investors to be more active in the Ukrainian market. We have a number of big and
even international occasions. One of them is hosting the Euro 2012 football
championship final in Ukraine. Only within this project, with this event, we
plan to invest in sport, tourism and infrastructure, including roads and hotels.
The total cost of the project will be $25 billion U.S.
The investment in roads will be $10 billion. This is a big challenge for us.
It is the first time in European football history, that is respected all over
the world, that the cup final will be hosted in eastern Europe. I am sure that
this is a big responsibility for the executive committee of UEFA and a colossal
honour for my own country. It is a great examination and I clearly understand
that the cup final would have been a lot easier to have been hosted by Spain,
Italy or some other country because they have ready-made infrastructures, but I
am sure that this is a genuine policy to the east where we have to get out of
the traditional framework and traditional system of coordinates.
I was present at that very important decision, and I am very grateful to all
the friends from UEFA who took this positive decision for Ukraine.
Once again I want to remind everybody, and I am speaking to Canadian
investors now, that I want them to more actively come to our potential because
our potential is very promising and strong. It triggers positive changes in
different spheres of our lives.
On May 16, Ukraine became a valid member of the WTO and therefore today the
Ukrainian system is equal within planetary economic competition. This will open
new prospects to enhance our foreign economic activities and broad integration
of our economy into the global state.
The second thing, which is also very important, Ukraine has firmly chosen its
course for full integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. This
pact has been approved by our national legislation and all the defining laws
have also been approved. We worked out the logic of the internal reforms and
attained the values that the Ukrainian society wants to address.
Ukraine's accession to the European Union is our main target and the reason
is written in the middle term reform. This is the foundation of our strategy. We
want to approach this membership through political association and economic
integration. Today we are working on fixing that formula in the new, enhanced
agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.
On February 17, we started official negotiations with the European Union on
establishing a free trade area between the Ukraine and the European Union.
In the future, we expect to create such free trade areas with our key
partners and with our remarkable partners, and primarily Canada. We have already
spoken about this with your Prime Minister, and we spent a considerable amount
of time on that very matter.
I also expect that one of the main constituents of the integration process
will be in energy, which will make us closer to Europe.
I would like to say that Ukraine already signed a memorandum on harmonization
of the Ukrainian energy system with the European energy system. This and other
steps are considered to be a direct integration of the Ukrainian economy to that
of the European economy.
Together with Lithuania, Poland, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Ukraine initiated
the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian Energy Transit Commonwealth, founded on clear and
transparent rules for everyone.
Our main target is to introduce Ukraine's capabilities, especially energy
transiting capabilities. Ukraine possesses one of the biggest chains of oil and
natural gas transportation routes. Our goal is to integrate these routes, along
with the entire transiting potential of Ukraine into the common European energy
This is a brilliant initiative that has been put down in the declaration of
the Kiev Energy Summit on May 23 and the initiative goes in line with the common
European energy strategy. This is our contribution to building the common
We also appreciate the results of the recent summit in Bucharest, which
affirmed Ukraine's prospect for membership in NATO. We hope that in December of
this year, we will join the membership action plan for NATO.
When speaking to European aspirations in Ukraine, I want to point out that
this policy is not aimed at forming any plans against anybody. A single
challenge that would not be comfortable for anyone regarding Ukraine's accession
to NATO is not appropriate.
We are only governed by the national interest of the state. In order to
understand why Ukraine's position is so insistent on EU and NATO membership, it
is worth recalling our history, at least of the 20th century. Just pay attention
to the fact that for the last 90 years, Ukraine has declared its independence
six times, starting with Hetman Skoropadsky in 1918.
Hetman only managed to keep the country's sovereignty for a little more than
six months. The same thing happened to the independence of the Ukrainian
People's Republic and the Western Ukrainian People's Republic.
I do not want this range of historic tragedies to be repeated in today's
history of Ukraine. The only non-alternative decision and solution to making
Ukraine eternal is Ukraine's accession to the system of collective security.
This, apparently, will be the first time in our history that Ukraine sovereignty
will be approved by almost 30 countries in the world. Therefore, when we are
speaking to Ukraine's NATO membership, we are speaking about genuine Ukrainian
That is the reason such a strong and insistent policy is being carried out by
the Ukrainian government. In this very context, Mr. Prime Minister, I would like
to thank you very much for the position you expressed during the Bucharest
summit. It was a proven, clear opinion of a country that fully supports this
very place of my country. In my opinion, this is one of the examples of how very
firm approvals of our partnership between our two countries is manifested.
Of course, a very important supporting pillar for this cooperation is about
one million Ukrainian Canadians who have become an integral part of Canadian
society. I am very grateful to Canada for its support of our Ukrainian community
and its spiritual and cultural needs. As a very good indication of our
friendship, we are grateful that Canada commemorates about 10 million innocent
victims of the great famine in Ukraine in 1932-33.
I would like to express my biggest gratitude to the Canadian Senate for
approving a resolution that calls on the Canadian government to recognize the
Holodomor in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation caused
by Stalin's regime. That happened in 2003.
I am confident, ladies and gentlemen, that this address will be supported by
the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament.
In taking advantage of this opportunity, I would like to thank Latvia and its
chairman, who is present today in this room, for their recognition at the
beginning of 2008 of the Holodomor in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the
The partnership between Ukraine and Canada has considerable advantages and
its impetus is felt in many ways. We are united by a clear political position on
many challenges of international life. We have felt the efficiency of our
partnership in recovering from the Chernobyl catastrophe. Ukraine will always
remember the invaluable support provided by Canada to recover after the
We are soldier partners in promoting democracy in the world and actively
cooperating in international missions, supporting peace and stability throughout
Invariably, a very important part of our partnership is the cooperation
between the parliamentarians of our countries. I welcome the activities by the
Ukrainian and Canadian interparliamentary group. I am sure it will make many
further contributions to cementing relations between our countries.
Your Excellencies, the key target of my visit to Canada is to give more
impetus to our cooperation. We are ready to act very efficiently and in a
systematic way. I call upon our Canadian friends and partners to accomplish this
cooperation with new ideas throughout the whole spectrum, starting from nuclear
energy to the participation in projects related to Euro 2012 Cup that will be
hosted by Ukraine.
Dear friends, we highly appreciate our friendship and we believe in it. I
thank Canada for its support. I thank your nation and your people for all the
warm and dear feelings addressed to the Ukrainian hearts. From the heart of
Ukraine to the heart of Canada, I want to state words of gratitude and respect.
We are going forward and we want to go forward together as true, frank and dear
Thank you for your attention. God bless Ukraine and God bless Canada.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Speaker of the Senate): Mr. Speaker, Your
Excellency, President Yushchenko, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, hon. senators
and members of the House of Commons, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of all parliamentarians and all of us gathered here today, I have
the honour, Your Excellency, to thank you for being here and for addressing this
joint session of the Parliament of Canada. Your clear and elegant address
stresses that you are among friends.
President Yushchenko, all those present at today's joint session of the House
of Commons and Senate of Canada have listened carefully to your important
address and we thank you for sharing your analysis with us.
We have taken note of your insight on today's Ukraine, including the reform
process, which you have underlined and have underway, the economic development,
significant new investment and the building of the infrastructure, including
that associated with the hosting of the World Cup. We take note of your insight
associated with your work on the Euro-Atlantic Integration, together with the
single energy system and, of course, NATO.
Mr. President, your assessment of the special relations existing between the
people of Ukraine and Canada is especially appreciated. As you have indicated,
the bonds that unite our peoples are deep and distinct. You have reminded us
that we share the values of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the
growth of peace throughout the world.
Indeed, our people to people relation is a part of a very special common
heritage, to which you, Your Excellency, have alluded.
St. Andrew the Apostle, Patron Saint of the Ukraine, prophesied in the year
55 A.D. that a great people would build a successful civilization along the
banks of the Dnipro River. He might well have predicted the contributions of
these same people who settled along the banks of the Saskatchewan River and in
other places of Canada.
So it is, Mr. President, that the people of Ukraine and Canada share in the
patronage of the great apostle whose distinctive diagonal cross is particularly
well-known in the province of Nova Scotia. I might also add that your patron St.
Andrew is situated in high relief above the Speaker's chair in the Senate
Once again, Mr. President, thank you for your address.
Thank you for being with us in Parliament today and for your thoughtful and
excellent address. As you continue your leadership and stewardship of the
Ukraine, we wish you Godspeed.
Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): President
Yushchenko, Mr. Prime Minister, Madam Chief Justice, Mr. Speaker, hon. senators,
hon. members, mesdames et messieurs.
Mr. President, on behalf of all the members and all of us here in the House
of Commons, I would like to welcome you and thank you for addressing us today.
[The Speaker spoke in Ukrainian.]
Over the last three years, Canadians have watched with hope and admiration as
your nation has, under your stewardship, taken its destiny into its own hands
with impressive results. You yourself have called Ukraine's independence the
nation's greatest creation and affirmed that freedom is the Alpha and Omega of
democracy. I believe all Canadians would share that view.
Indeed, you have always had an ambitious vision for Ukraine and since your
election as President in December 2004, you have worked diligently to make that
vision a reality, to create new jobs, encourage economic growth, make quality
education and medical care accessible and secure the rights of your people, to
name only a few of your initiatives.
Coming from a family of teachers, it is not surprising that you have made
learning and advancement the main priorities for Ukraine and its people.
It is also not surprising that the former president of Poland, Alexander
Kwasniewski, once said of you, "he also strengthened people's faith in the
power of civil society both in his own country and around the world".
Clearly, Ukraine is becoming a success story, a country of many and varied
achievements. Your country has a rapidly growing economy and has just become a
full member of the World Trade Organization.
As well, in the last 15 years, it has become an active participant in
scientific space exploration and remote sensing missions, as well as continuing
to design spacecraft.
But Ukraine is not merely looking inward. It is an active and concerned
member of the international community, playing an increasingly larger role in
peacekeeping operations throughout the world. I congratulate you on the World
Cup event as well, another major international event.
Mr. President, I trust you know that you are among friends here and, indeed,
I hope you consider Canada your home away from home, given that our country has
more than 1.2 million persons of Ukrainian descent, the world's third largest
Ukrainian population behind Ukraine and Russia. Many of them settled in western
Canada and brought with them their language and culture, which continues to
thrive here. I am not sure why it is so, perhaps it is the influence of the wide
open spaces in the west, but you will find the world's largest pysanka, or
painted Easter egg, perogy and kielbasa all in the province of Alberta.
Perhaps you might some day return to Canada for a holiday. I understand you
are an avid mountain climber, even scaling the heights of Ukraine's highest
mountain not once or twice, but once every year. Therefore, we can certainly
offer you some mountaineering challenges. For those quieter times, you can put
your well-known painting skills to good use by capturing some of Canada's
natural attractions on a board.
Mr. President, on behalf of all of us here and, indeed, on behalf of all
Canadians, I thank you for honouring us with your visit today, and I invite you
to return to see us soon. I wish you a pleasant stay in Canada and a safe
journey back to your other home.
Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): I declare the
joint session adjourned.