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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 56

Thursday, October 1, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


 

THE SENATE

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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

Prayers.

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before proceeding to Senators' Statements, I would like to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Hendrik Count Dobrzensky de Dobrzenicz, Knight Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion in Obedience, Sovereign Military Hospitaller, Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta and his wife, Aline. On behalf of all honourable senators, we welcome you to the Senate of Canada.


SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Tributes

The Honourable Joan Cook

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I received a notice earlier today from the Leader of the Opposition who requests, pursuant to rule 22(10) of the Rules of the Senate, that the time provided for consideration of Senators' Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute to the Honourable Senator Cook, who will retire from the Senate on October 6, 2009.

I remind honourable senators that, pursuant to the rules, each senator will be allowed only three minutes and may speak only once. The time for Senators' Statements can be extended by up to 15 minutes. However, these 15 minutes do not include the time allotted to the response of the senator for whom the tribute is made.

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, when I speak in this place, my remarks sometimes draw a reaction from my friends on the other side of the aisle.

Today, I am more concerned about the reaction behind me because Senator Cook made it abundantly clear that she did not want tributes to mark her retirement. In disregarding her wishes, I recognize that I am putting myself at considerable personal risk, but leadership must have some privileges and I will take the chance anyway.

Senator Cook is a fiercely proud and devoted Newfoundlander and Canadian. When she arrived in the Senate in March 1998, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Al Graham, spoke of Senator Cook's long history of community work. He spoke of her service as a member of a national consultation group on women and poverty, her work with the Girl Guides of Canada that led to her being named a national life member of that organization, and her work on mental health issues.

Among other things, she founded a non-profit social centre in St. John's, Newfoundland for mental health consumers. She is also deeply involved with the Newfoundland branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, the Salvation Army senior citizens home and the United Church Food Aid Centre.

Senator Cook continued her dedication to these causes after coming here through her work in the chamber and in committee, notably with Fisheries and Oceans and Social Affairs, Science and Technology. I know how valuable her work was to Senator Kirby during that committee's lengthy study of Canada's health care system.

Honourable senators, I feel a particular kinship with Senator Cook. She was my predecessor as whip — a position she held for close to a year. Serving as whip can be a thankless job. I am sure the alumni of that position on both sides of the chamber would agree. Senator Cook managed to keep us in line with charm and grace, somehow persuading us that one or another task was our own idea all along.

She also tried to draw the line with respect to tributes, insistent that her many years of work in the Senate and to her party not be extolled. However, she did not request that I refrain from disclosing her membership in what I discovered to be an Atlantic conspiracy.

Let me explain. I was reflecting that she — from Newfoundland and Labrador — was my predecessor. Of course, I am from Nova Scotia. I then began to think about other people who have allowed their arms to be twisted to take on the job. Honourable senators, I am beginning to suspect that a conspiracy is afoot and has been for decades. Perhaps laws of nature are at work here, the power of which even the Parliament of Canada dare not defy.

The number of Atlantic Canadians who have held this position is vastly disproportionate to our share of the population of Canada. On this side, Senator Cook took over from Senator Losier-Cool — a New Brunswicker. She took the whip position from Senator Rompkey — from Newfoundland and Labrador. Senator Bill Petten served as whip of the Liberal Party for 17 years — from 1974 to 1991.

Who holds the position now? While technically an Ontarian, Senator Munson was born in New Brunswick.

Senator Munson: Only looking for extra work.

Senator Cowan: This secret plot to keep the whip in Atlantic Canada has not always been confined to our side. Senator DeWare from New Brunswick served as whip from 1999 to 2001. She took over from His Honour who served as the whip for five years in the 1990s — also from New Brunswick. I will quickly list some others: Senator Phillips from Prince Edward Island was whip for seven years. Just so you know that I am not the only alumnus from Nova Scotia, Senator J.M. Macdonald served as Progressive Conservative whip in government and in opposition from 1963 to 1984. Who would have the fortitude to do the job for that long? Only an Atlantic Canadian.

It seems there have been aberrations. One or two honourable senators from other provinces occasionally have managed to twist the whip from our strong Atlantic hands, but there have been relatively few.

Honourable senators, why is this? Why do we have this so-called overrepresentation from Atlantic Canada? I have a theory.

Senator Stratton: Too many of them.

Senator Cowan: There can never be too many Atlantic Canadians, Senator Stratton, even in the Senate.

Teddy Roosevelt famously advised people to speak softly, but carry a big stick. I would like to suggest the Senate version is smile sweetly and wield the whip. Who better to do that than Atlantic Canadians?

Senator Cook, you set a good example as a whip for which I am grateful. Above all, you have showed us all how dedication to important causes and to one's province can yield results for all Canadians. I thank you for that. Enjoy your well-earned retirement with your beloved daughters and grandchildren.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, when a senator retires, tradition and practice is that we list the person's accomplishments in the Senate — important roles, and so on.

Senator Cook has indeed had a distinguished presence in the Senate — chief government whip; valued member of the important Internal Economy steering committee; in high demand to serve on various key committees, one of the key ones was the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology; and many others as noted by the previous speaker, Senator Cowan.

It is Joan Cook, the person who has left the most favourable impression on her colleagues and friends on both sides of this chamber. Maybe I should not have done this, but I did it anyway for the fun of it. I canvassed our caucus as well as members of her own caucus and staff of the Senate to see if I could find any unkind comment from anyone — I could not find one. All were kind.

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I was chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans when Joan served as deputy chair. That was when I really got to know her. We worked together for five years and we never once failed to come to an agreement. During those five years, we became good friends and remain so to this day.

I was always impressed with her deep knowledge of fisheries and oceans issues. Also impressive was her ability to articulate convincing arguments, as was her willingness to listen, to be receptive and to be convinced of other points of view. She has been a strong advocate of her beloved Newfoundland and Labrador and a strong voice for the people of coastal communities who need that strong voice. She never forgot her roots. She is down to earth, modest and friendly.

[Translation]

She is a wonderful, warm woman.

[English]

She is a people person and a free spirit.

The Senate is a much better place for you having been here, Joan. Your family and friends can be justifiably proud of your contribution to your beloved province and to Canada.

To her daughters Diane and Jean, and to her grandchildren who are here today, John, Luke and Mara, as well as to Matthew and to Joshua who were unable to be here today, be proud of your mother and grandmother. You have good reason to be proud. Know that she will be missed here by her friends in the Senate.

Thank you, Joan. We will miss you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Today, honourable senators, I say farewell on your behalf to a good friend, a wonderful colleague, and one of the finest women it has been my privilege to know.

The Honourable Joan Cook — and honourable she truly is — has served this chamber with distinction since March 6, 1998. Appointed by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, he knew that he was appointing someone of great compassion, great common sense and who is a workaholic. She finds her peace in the solitude of her garden, where, in typical fashion, she is overworked and underpaid.

A health care advocate, particularly in mental health, Joan brought to the Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee a practical knowledge of the health care system and a desire to enhance the system so that it better serves Canadians from coast to coast to coast. A proud Newfoundlander and Labradorian, she brought her deep concern over the fisheries to her fine work as member and deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. Her desire to ensure her institution, the Senate, was well run kept her active in the Internal Economy Committee, although this is often frustrating work.

She served our caucus, first, as caucus chair and then as whip. It was the iron fist in the velvet glove that made us know we had to sit up and listen when that call came from the whip's office. Joan is very direct and you know when she is giving you the goods. This has earned our respect in full measure.

However, honourable senators, it has been as a wife, a mother and a grandmother that Joan has shown the trueness of her colours. If you want to have Joan's face light up, just ask about her family. She is so proud of each and every one of them — and they know it. Her daughters, Diane and Jean, are in the gallery to show how very much she means to them, along with her grandchildren.

I have a particular reason for missing Joan. Each Christmas, my family was the recipient of one of her homemade fruitcakes. I can only describe it as nothing short of bliss to take one's first bite. One year, she actually hand-mixed it with a broken wrist. This is just another example that Joan Cook never let anyone down in her entire life.

Friends and colleagues of Senator Cook have endowed the Senator Joan Cook Award at Memorial University of Newfoundland to be offered annually to a student of Canadian politics — a wonderful recognition of all that Joan is. A special human being, Joan is well loved and she will be very well missed.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the Honourable Senator Joan Cook.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Joan Cook: Honourable senators, I have a feeling the tide is going to rise before I get through what I am about to say. Those of you from coastal communities will know what I mean when I say that.

Honourable senators, first, let me say thank you to my friends and colleagues for their kind remarks.

Today is a time to remember, and I remember the superb orientation to this place from the leadership of the day, Senator Sharon Carstairs. Sharon, you gave me a solid foundation which allowed me to participate fully in the work of the Senate. I am proud to call you friend. Thank you. And, Sharon, the legacy of the cake will continue.

To Senator Comeau, my first fisheries chair, you integrated me fully into the roles and responsibilities of the Fisheries Committee. Thank you. I must confess that, in the beginning, the use of many acronyms, such as IQs, ITQs and TACs, was a mystery that I could not solve on my own. I finally had to ask the clerk for clarification. On a lighter side, at a committee meeting when we were doing the aquaculture study, Senator Comeau indicated that the committee would be consulting with other jurisdictions such as New Zealand — a place that I have always longed to visit. Well, we did just that — through the miracle of teleconferencing in room 257 East Block, next door to my office, late in the evenings, because of the time change. I will share a secret with honourable senators: Often, Senator Comeau walked me home. A practical and frugal chair, together we produced first-class work.

Senator Cowan, whips are indeed special people. My first seat in this place had just been vacated by my wonderful friend and mentor, the late Honourable William J. Petten, from Newfoundland and Labrador, known as Bill. My friend Bernice is also in the gallery today. Senator Petten was whip for many years, as Senator Cowan said.

Your Honour and honourable senators, today marks the end of an incredible journey for me — a journey that began on St. Patrick's Day 1998, when I was sworn in as a member of the Senate of Canada, representing Newfoundland and Labrador. Today I take my leave, having served 11.5 years. Some would say that I had the luck of the Irish. During that time, I have faced challenges that I could have never dreamt of and opportunities that are afforded only to a few people.

Honourable senators, my statement will primarily focus on Senate committees. I believe this is where senators make an invaluable contribution to the fabric of Canadian society, especially to minorities. I will share with you some of my experiences.

First, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, under the direction of retired Senator Michael Kirby, tabled two landmark reports that have, in part, been implemented by the government of the day.

First, The Health of Canadians — The Federal Role addressed, among other things, wait times for care. Today, that has been acknowledged and a system is in place.

Second, OUT OF THE SHADOWS AT LAST: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada. From the first report, it became evident that mental health and mental illness was a priority. Through the persistence and dedication of the committee, this issue was given the legitimacy it deserved. A recommendation that a federal commission be created to contain this work is a reality today. Again, the government heard and acted.

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It has also been a privilege to be a member of the Subcommittee on Population Health, chaired by Senator Wilbert Keon, whose mandate was to examine and report on the impact of the multiple factors and conditions that contribute to the health of Canada's population. The report was tabled in the Senate in June 2009, and we eagerly await the government's response. To make sure honourable senators read the report, I will say that of special interest to me is recommendation 10. It is about my province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Yesterday, under the capable leadership of the current Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, Senator Art Eggleton, I received an early birthday gift. Bill C-32, known as the tobacco bill, passed without amendment. Thank you.

Fisheries was my first committee, as I said, chaired by Senator Comeau. The committee has evolved, moving along the continuum of rules, regulations, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization and a food-based focus to a name change of Fisheries and Oceans. Today, under the leadership of Senator Bill Rompkey, the focus is on Arctic sovereignty and the role of the Canadian Coast Guard. The committee has recently returned from a 10-day visit to the North and Alaska in pursuit of evidence-based knowledge on climate change, sovereignty and security. I feel the Senate has a social responsibility to help enhance the lives of the 29,000 Canadians who call Nunavut their home, where 83 per cent identify themselves as Inuit, as they cope with the issues of climate change and the thawing of the Northwest Passage. The report on this study is due by year end.

My third committee, the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, under the chairmanship of Senator George Furey, came later in my tenure — a steep learning curve, to say the least. It was an opportunity to have hands-on involvement and insight into all aspects of this honourable institution. It was in this committee where I honed my skills of listening, perception and practicality. Being a member of this committee was important to me. This forum is where senators and administration achieve consensus on a variety of issues respecting the policies set forth by both entities.

Honourable senators, I have given you but a glimpse of the Senate committees at work. I believe that the strength and vision of this place is clearly evident in the work of its outstanding committees.

Another essential element that I have been a part of is the scrutiny of legislation in this place. Forever will I remember the midnight sittings as contentious legislation was debated and moved along by due process.

Honourable senators, during my time here, I have seen this place adapt. Structural reform may be necessary in some areas as this institution naturally evolves, but I believe the structure of the Senate committees is effective and strong. Through this medium, the Senate is making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

On a personal note, thank you to the staff who ensure that this place runs smoothly. You all know who you are. Just below the radar, the job as mandated is getting done in a first-class manner.

I thank my staff, Julie and Leslie, who have shown the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon to keep me on track.

To my colleagues, past and present, I believe I have served with dedication and with single-mindedness of purpose to the best of my ability. I thank you for your support and the opportunity to know you and to work with you.

Honourable senators, my daughters Jean and Diane are in the gallery today.

Eleven years ago, Diane was here with her young boys, Matthew and Joshua. Today, I am proud to say they are fourth-year university students and have grown into fine young men.

Jean came alone that day; however, today she brings John, Luke and Mara, who enrich our lives on a daily basis.

So, guys and gals, Nanny Joan is coming home to enjoy the riches of life with you and all that life will afford us on a daily basis; home to feel the wind on our face and to taste the tang of the salt sea air while waiting for the next challenge that, I know, is just around the corner.

To my colleagues, life is a journey. It has been said: Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, before I begin my formal statement, I want to say to my friend Joan, there are many people on that side that I will not be disappointed to see leave, but she is definitely not one of them. We had a great time, Joan and I, on Michael Kirby's committee, and we spent much time travelling around the country on the health care study. She is a terrific person. I personally will miss her very much.

International Day of Older Persons

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, today on behalf of the Government of Canada, and especially as the Minister of State for Seniors, I want to take this opportunity to commemorate the International Day of Older Persons. Officially named by the United Nations, October 1 gives the world an opportunity to recognize seniors for their countless contributions, whether cultural, social, economic, environmental or the many other ways that seniors contribute to society every day.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons, and the theme is, "Towards a Society for All Ages."

I like to think that everyone in this chamber shares the philosophy of creating a Canada that fosters the well-being and quality of life for all Canadians, regardless of age.

Today, Canada's seniors are living longer, healthier lives and are more financially secure than previous generations.

Seniors are valuable members of society who possess a diversity of skills, knowledge and experience, which they share with their families, communities and our country. The significance and value of seniors' wide ranging contributions as volunteers, mentors, leaders and skilled and experienced workers cannot be underestimated and cannot be overstated.

The resilience and sustainability of our society depends on the continued participation of older Canadians.

International Day of Older Persons also presents an opportunity to reflect on our success in supporting seniors, both as a government and as a society.

We are confident that our government's actions taken on so many fronts since 2006 are improving seniors' lives. We are proud to support seniors as they strengthen our communities, help build our country's institutions and values, and enrich our proud history.

I will shortly have the pleasure to table the government response to the final report of the Special Senate Committee on Aging. I am confident that you will find the response clearly demonstrates the steadfast commitment of our Conservative government to support Canada's seniors, today and in the future.

In closing, I want to express my appreciation and sincere admiration to older Canadians for their invaluable contribution to society. Without them — and us, I might say, speaking for myself — we cannot learn from the past, and because of us and them, our country is more prosperous and diverse than ever before.

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Autism Awareness Month

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, today is October 1, and October is Autism Awareness Month. Many of you know how important this cause is to me.

I was saddened to see a story in the media only yesterday of a father in Edmonton who was so overburdened with the care of his autistic son — so stressed — that he killed his son and then took his own life. This tragic story tells us much about the painful isolation autism creates.

Autism, as we all know, is a baffling disorder. What causes it, how to treat it and how to cure it are mysteries we still must solve.

Our own Senate report, Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis, speaks to the urgent need for funding for research and for families to afford treatment for their children. Too many families in this country are facing the tremendous challenge of this disorder on their own. I have met several of them.

There is Suzanne, the courageous grandmother who is raising funds to provide services for children even before they have a diagnosis. There is Josh, as we know, the devoted big brother who raises funds to help his little sister with autism. There are many other people I have had the honour to meet and the pleasure to work with. As this month unfolds, I ask honourable senators to remember that too many Canadians are facing autism on their own. We must show support and provide funding to help prevent terrible tragedies such as the one that took place in Edmonton.

Too many families are stressed and at the breaking point from the burden of dealing with autism without sufficient support. We can and must do better.

I ask honourable senators to remember these people and do what they can to break down the wall of autism and reach out to end their isolation and help create a better, more inclusive Canada.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I rise to extend my congratulations to President Jintao Hu and the Chinese people, 1.3 billion strong, as today they celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of their People's Republic of China. The Chinese people have overcome incalculable and insurmountable obstacles to bring their nation from where it was in 1949 to where it is today. The Chinese people are known for their ingenuity, their industriousness and their tenacity. In the last many years, they have expanded in every field of human endeavour, particularly science, medicine, technology, industry, academia, scholarship and the arts. They have moved to the forefront of contemporary society. I greatly admire the people of China and their capacity to struggle with adversity, as in their heroic efforts in last year's earthquake. The Chinese people have an ability to maintain their ties to their culture of antiquity, alongside their bold capacity to face modernity and modern challenges, as demonstrated by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which we can all agree was an international triumph.

Honourable senators, Monday last marked nine years since the passing of Canada's former Prime Minister, the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I had the honour to be personally chosen by him to serve in this place. Among Mr. Trudeau's most worthy contributions were his efforts to establish diplomatic relations between Canada and the People's Republic of China. Today, I uphold his faith in diplomatic discourse as a means of advancing the peoples of the world, reducing conflict and attaining world peace.

I also uphold today the memory of another Canadian, from my home province of Ontario, Dr. Norman Bethune, and his contribution to China during the Chinese Revolution. The affection felt by China for Dr. Bethune remains legendary.

Honourable senators, I speak now of China's friendship with Canada, in particular the annual Great Wall Friendship Award, established in 1999 by Beijing's municipal government to honour foreign professionals living in Beijing who make significant contribution to Beijing's development. Several Canadians have been honoured by this award, including Peter King of Ottawa, a former civil servant known to many of us.

Honourable senators, today we celebrate the founding of the People's Republic of China and the coming together of many peoples of diverse ethnicities, religions and languages — the coming together of populations whose numbers are too vast for our minds.

Yesterday, several senators, myself included, celebrated this sixtieth anniversary with China's ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Lan Lijun, and the many guests of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China. Once again, I congratulate President Jintao Hu, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, the Government and the people of China for their significant achievement.

The Late Richard Wackid

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, it was with a great deal of sadness that many on Parliament Hill learned late on Monday of the death of Richard Wackid. Richard, who had been an institution in our House of Commons caucus in the whip's office for decades, was known and respected by members of all political parties as he was often engaged in negotiations with them.

An athlete, Richard began to feel that his legs were not functioning as they should in spring 2008. This led to the diagnosis in early summer of that year of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, although to many Canadians it has become synonymous with Sue Rodriguez.

All of us who knew Richard were devastated by the news of his passing. Here was a young man struck down in his prime and condemned to live the remainder of his life with one muscle after another slowly paralyzing. Richard remained in good spirits.

In my meetings with him he would state this question, "Why me?" but he refused to dwell on it, concentrating instead on imparting his knowledge to colleagues and to showing his love and concern for his wife Danielle and his daughter Stephanie.

I was privileged, along with others, to persuade Richard to allow us to raise some funds for him in order to make his home accessible. I was deeply touched by the incredible generosity of people on the Hill, of all political parties. They wanted to help one of their own. Richard was both shocked and humbled by the gifts sent to him. Those of us who knew Richard were not surprised. He was a loving and giving human being, and everyone wanted to show how very respected and loved he was.

I offer my deepest sympathies to his wife and daughter and to his extended family, and also to those who worked with him. They were there to help him on this difficult journey and now they are in pain. I hope their memories of Richard and the knowledge that they were there for him when he needed them will help to ease their pain.

Support for Soldiers Returning from Afghanistan

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, when you see the strength and the spirit of our ill or injured soldiers returning from Afghanistan, you know that they deserve our gratitude and respect, but these young men and women also need our support to ready themselves for re-entry into the civilian world. Many will have to do so with life-altering injuries.

Petawawa, one of three major troop deployment bases in Canada, is also home to one of the eight new one-stop service points for our returning soldiers and their families. Support centres are up and running in Halifax, Vancouver, Edmonton, Shilo, Toronto, Valcartier and Gagetown as well as Petawawa. These units are making a difference for soldiers, several of whom I had the opportunity to meet.

There was a young medic who was attached to the famous Charlie Company during Operation Medusa, a major Canadian-led assault against the Taliban in 2006. Several fellow soldiers were felled and the young medic was left with a shoulder full of shrapnel. He survived and was treated for injuries.

Once home in Canada, the real damage began to take hold. Disks in his spine had been damaged by the rocket blast. Then the nightmares began and he turned to alcohol to try to dull the painful images locked in his mind. It did not work.

However, with the help of the Operational Stress Injury Social Support organization, he began to turn things around. Today, he has stopped drinking. He is taking proper medication for both his physical and psychological injuries, and he has been posted to the Integrated Personnel Support Centre at Petawawa as a transition to a civilian role he now takes up, or will soon take up, with OSISS, the organization that is helping him.

Of course, not all injuries occur in a war zone. An air force captain suffered from hearing loss and a chronic ringing in the ears. An ill-fitted helmet had left the tactical helicopter pilot unprotected from the relentless noise of the helicopter for more than a decade. She finally realized there was a serious problem and was eventually grounded. The hearing loss means the soldier no longer meets the standard for what is termed "universality of service," the ability to fulfil the basic soldiering functions required of all Canadian Forces members. However, she too is now gainfully employed at the IPSC in Petawawa, helping other injured military members.

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The work of these support centres and the willingness of Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence to work together is beginning to ease the paperwork burden for our troops.

Whether a soldier decides to return to military life after illness or injury or to explore a civilian career, there are now the beginnings of a seamless process to help with everything from artificial limbs to retraining, from tax advice to child care. There are a growing number of other systems, too.

Chief of Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk launched a campaign regarding post-traumatic stress disorder. Former CDS General Rick Hillier established the Military Families Fund, and there is the new Project Hero Scholarship, which provides financial aid for the children of Canadian Forces who are killed while serving.

As citizens, it is up to each of us to find a tangible way to make a difference for those who gave their lives or limbs to protect ours. I ask all honourable senators to check out the Canadian Forces' Personnel Support Agency, www.cfpsa.com, for some ideas on how we can each say "thank you."

[Translation]

Sixtieth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would also like to add my congratulations for the sixtieth anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

[English]

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed to hundreds of thousands of people in Tiananmen Square the founding of the People's Republic of China. The crowd, which was silent at first, broke into a great roar of triumph. China had been in a state of civil war since 1927, caused by an ideological split between the Chinese Nationalist Party and the Communist Party of China. The changes in China following that announcement were swift.

The first Premier of the People's Republic of China, Zhou Enlai, who had been central to the rise of the Communist Party with Chairman Mao, led the development and redevelopment of the economy and the restructuring of society. However, the transition to modern China was not without its difficulties and 1958 signalled the start of the era referred to as the Great Leap Forward. The social transformation that Mao envisaged involved mobilizing the rural masses to meet China's industrial and agricultural problems, highlighting manpower over machines. This system was disastrous and led to widespread starvation, with as many as 65 million people dying in a few short years.

In 1966, Mao initiated another social movement known as the Cultural Revolution. Fuelled by a power struggle, the revolution lasted 10 years and led to a complete upheaval of Chinese society.

After the death of Mao in 1976, and under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, China experienced another change, the adoption of a market economy, which led to one of the most remarkable national, economic and social transformations in the history of the world. Today, China's economy is ranked third in the world, behind the U.S. and Japan, with an annual economic growth rate in excess of 8 per cent for each of the past 30 years. China now manufactures and exports more products than any other nation in the world.

China has also become a leader in science and technology. Many cutting-edge technologies have been developed in the past few years in that country.

October 1 is a celebration of the past, the present and the future of China. Those who lived through the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution cannot forget the struggles of the past; those born in the modern age look forward to a bright future for their children.

October 1 is about celebrating the present, and Beijing will certainly not be sparing any effort in celebration of their National Day festivities. They are anticipating that the parade will involve in excess of 187,000 soldiers and civilians, with hundreds of military vehicles and aircrafts involved.

Honourable senators, today we salute our friend and our second-largest trading partner, the People's Republic of China on their National Day, which leads into the week-long Autumn Festival celebrations.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Study on Aging

Final Report of Special Committee on Aging—Government Response Tabled

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government response to the final report of the Special Senate Committee on Aging entitled: Canada's Aging Population: Seizing the Opportunity.

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Ninth Report of Committee Presented

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

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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

NINTH REPORT

Your Committee recommends that the following funds be released for fiscal year 2009-2010.

Banking, Trade and Commerce (Legislation)

Professional and Other Services    $ —
Transportation and Communications    —
All Other Expenditures    8,300
TOTAL    $ 8,300

Respectfully submitted,

GEORGE J. FUREY,
Chair

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

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

Tobacco Act

Bill to Amend—Tenth Report of Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee Presented

Hon. Art Eggleton, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

TENTH REPORT

Your committee, which was referred Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act has, in obedience to the order of reference of Wednesday, September 16, 2009, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

ART EGGLETON,
Chair

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

(On motion of Senator Eggleton, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Agriculture and Forestry

Budget and Authorization to Travel—Study on Current State and Future of Forest Sector—Sixth Report of Committee Presented

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

Thursday, October 1, 2009

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

SIXTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 to examine and report on the current state and future of Canada's forest sector respectfully requests supplementary funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, and requests that it be empowered to travel inside and outside Canada, for the purpose of such study.

The original budget application submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that Committee were printed in the Journals of the Senate on May 7, 2009. On May 12, 2009, the Senate approved the release of $17,460 to the Committee.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the supplementary budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

PERCY MOCKLER,
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 1288.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

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

[Translation]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving the trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years).

(Bill read first time.)

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

(On motion of Senator Comeau, placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading of the bill two days hence.)


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[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

Prime Minister

Perception of Government

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

On the evening of Thursday, September 17 of this year, a gala celebration was held in Montreal to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's 1984 election victory.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Cowan: Although a number of current cabinet ministers were present, Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend. He did, however, send a video tribute. Unfortunately, I have not been able to watch that video. Regrettably, neither the text of Mr. Harper's remarks nor the video has been placed on the Prime Minister's website.

Fortunately, some of what was in that video has been reported in the media. The Ottawa Citizen, on September 18, reported that in his video tribute the Prime Minister said, "Much as Brian Mulroney's government was reviled, once in power (later governments) did precious little to chart a new course." Needless to say, I was surprised to read the current Prime Minister using such language to refer to a prior Government of Canada. "Reviled" is a very strong word.

Now that we know that Prime Minister Stephen Harper believes that the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney was reviled, what measures is he taking to ensure that his own Conservative government will not suffer a similar fate?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): The question is completely out of order. It has absolutely nothing to do with government business.

An Hon. Senator: Absolutely.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

Human Resources and Skills Development

Assistance for Former Nortel Workers

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I have a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

My question is about former Nortel workers. Both the Leader of the Government in the Senate and I recognize and understand some of the issues related to Nortel and the people who have been laid off. This area was once referred to as "Silicon Valley North," where research and development were an essential driver of our economy.

The 5,000 employees who were laid off last November have not received their severance pay, and more than 500 pensioners have already lost their drug, dental, supplementary health care and life insurance coverage. We have already witnessed the creditors, the bond holders, the suppliers and even the United States' Internal Revenue Service make their claims on what is left of Nortel assets. However, the real assets, as both the honourable senator and I know, are the people who made the company an international high-tech leader. They have been told they must wait in line for what I believe is rightfully theirs.

What is the government doing to help these people? I receive many representations each and every day from pensioners who gave so much to make Ottawa a leader and whose lives today are filled with uncertainty and financial hardship.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank Senator Munson for the question. The fact is that the high-tech industry is still a vibrant and growing part of the Ottawa community. Nortel has had a long and troubled history. There are very complicated issues with regard to the pensions. I have friends who are in that situation. As honourable senators know, the sale of a portion of Nortel assets to Ericsson has now been approved. The proposed sale of assets to Avaya is still under consideration.

The particular situation of Nortel pensioners, as Senator Munson knows and as I said a moment ago, is a very complicated issue. There was some encouragement for Nortel workers, as a result of the sale of assets to Ericsson, that jobs here were being sustained and maintained.

However, it is very difficult for me to be able to comment with any great detail on the individual pension issues with regard to Nortel because, as we know, pensions in this country fall under many categories. Some are under the direct responsibility of the federal government; some, the provincial government; and some, the private sector.

As honourable senators know, Ted Menzies, a member of Parliament from Alberta in the other place, was going around the country meeting with stakeholders of publicly-and privately-held pensions. Jack Mintz from the University of Calgary is part of a working group. There will be meetings with provincial finance ministers in Yellowknife in December where a report will be presented to them with regard to the state of all pension funds in the country.

Beyond that, I would be very happy to take Senator Munson's question as notice to see if there is anything else the government can provide with regard to the individual pension holders at Nortel. For the moment, however, that is as complete an answer as I can provide.

Fisheries

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Convention

Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is with regard to amendments to the Convention of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization now laying on the table of the House of Commons which the government can approve without parliamentary consent. There is discussion happening in both houses, I think.

This convention and the amendments to it could, under certain circumstances, open up our 200-mile fisheries zone to control by foreign countries, including the European Union.

I do not have to remind the chamber that this is the same European Union which participated in the demise of the cod stocks off the northeast coast. As a result of that, we have many young Newfoundlanders working in Alberta and elsewhere. This is the same European Union that recently banned Canadian seal products for which this chamber stood up, thankfully for those of us with sealing in our areas. This is the same European Union that now wants to insert itself into policies in the Arctic, about which the Prime Minister has said we must use it or lose it and that, in no uncertain terms, is sovereign Canadian territory.

Therefore, this convention and its amendments are extremely important and I am not sure they have been brought directly to the attention of the Prime Minister. I will ask the minister if she would do that. There is no rush here. Norway is the only state that has approved this convention so far.

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This issue is a complicated one that needs more study. We need to examine it carefully because the convention and its amendments could have serious effects for all of us who represent coastal areas in Canada — all of us, no matter where we come from. On the East Coast, this matter could have serious effects for us down the road.

I ask the minister if she will bring this issue directly to the attention of the Prime Minister, and if she will ask the Prime Minister to take time to examine this complicated area before the government approves the convention and its amendments.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I absolutely will draw the comments and questions of the honourable senator to the attention of the Prime Minister and the government, particularly the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The honourable senator mentioned the European Union and the often one-sided view the EU has of various issues. Senator Rompkey also mentioned the seals. As an aside, when we were in the North in Iqaluit a month or so ago, the Prime Minister had Northerners serve seal meat to all of us. Then, as he continued his trip in the North, he included it on the menu for the media on the aircraft to show support for the sealing industry.

The matter that Senator Rompkey raises is serious. He is on the record in this place many times — and in the other place — as being a strong defender of our 200-mile limit and our fight against tactics by the European Union. I will take his question and comments as notice and hopefully return to him quickly with a detailed and fulsome response.

Senator Rompkey: Not only has the Prime Minister defended sealing, but I draw the minister's attention to the Conservative platform during the last campaign. On page 20, the document says that the government has assumed custodial management of the fishery in the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization regulatory area.

Custodial management means the extension of jurisdiction to the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, beyond 200 miles. The platform of the Conservative Party during the last election specifically states that the government has assumed custodial management.

This provision is the opposite of custodial management. Under certain circumstances, it will allow the European Union to set policy within the 200-mile zone. As far as we can tell, while we may want to give it away — although I do not and most people do not — if we did, what do we receive in return? We have not been able to discover anything that Canada receives in return for including this clause in the agreement. There is nothing new for Canada in the agreement if this clause goes ahead.

I ask again that we take our time to study this agreement, because I do not believe it should go ahead.

Senator LeBreton: I thank Senator Rompkey for his comments. My colleague, Senator Stewart Olsen, and I well remember that section in our platform. We can visualize the events when each section of this platform was unveiled. I recognize and understand the honourable senator's concerns. I will bring his concerns to the attention of the Prime Minister and the government.

Human Resources and Skills Development

Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, the government announced seven months ago in Budget 2009 an Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund with $75 million in new funding over a two-year span. The fund was intended to provide short-term support to Aboriginal people to provide them with the skills necessary to fill specific jobs that are known to exist, by linking Aboriginal employment service organizations to employers who need workers.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell this chamber how many projects have been approved and how much money has flowed under this fund?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): As honourable senators know, as we continue to focus on the development of the North and the need to have northern residents participate in this development and share in the benefits, we have taken considerable actions in improving Aboriginal educational outcomes. Since 2006, we have invested in the completion of 56 school projects. The Economic Action Plan earlier this year committed another $200 million for 10 new schools and major renovations to three others.

Budget 2009 also invests an additional $100 million over three years for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership, and $75 million in the new two-year Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund.

As I mentioned in the spring, Minister Strahl and the President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Mary Simon, added their signatures to the Inuit Education Accord. That accord commits to establish a national committee that will work together to develop a strategy for moving forward on educational outcomes for Inuit students. We have also reached historic tripartite education agreements in British Columbia and New Brunswick, which give First Nations communities greater control over education.

As honourable senators also know, almost a year ago now Minister Strahl launched two new programs, the Educational Partnership Program and the First Nation Student Success Program, which we hope will help First Nations students succeed.

With regard to the honourable senator's specific question about the uptake on this fund, I will seek further information from Minister Finley and her officials as to where we stand at the moment in terms of the progression of this program.

Senator Hubley: I think it is correct that we must be cognizant always of the fact that our Aboriginal people will need help in attaining the jobs developing in the North, and that it is incumbent on our government to support them through this process.

I thank the leader for that information, and I look forward to finding out how many projects have been approved, and that the money is flowing in its expected way.

Can the leader clarify something for me? Does the $75 million in new funding over a two-year span begin when the money starts to flow, or is the clock ticking as we speak?

Senator LeBreton: I will seek clarification on that point.

Justice

Constitutional Rights of Aboriginal Canadians

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. This question is essentially a repetition of a question that I put to her on May 6 of this year, which she took as notice. Her colleagues must not have provided her with the necessary information yet because I have not had any written response. I will ask the leader again about non-derogation clauses. I am sure she will remember.

By way of background, honourable senators, it is now nearly two years since the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs recommended that the government abrogate the hodgepodge of clauses now existing to ensure that legislation does not derogate from the constitutional rights of Aboriginal people, and substitute a standard clause pledging non-derogation of Aboriginal rights in the Interpretation Act.

We made that simple suggestion after an exhaustive study nearly two years ago. Fifteen months ago, the Minister of Justice told us that this idea was worthy of serious consideration, and he would canvass Aboriginal groups for their opinion.

In February of this year, one prominent Aboriginal leader, Mary Simon, of whom we are all aware, and for whom we all have high respect, wrote to the Minister of Justice agreeing to apparently all that was on offer, which was "informal conversations at the officials' level." However, she said that she hoped these conversations would allow Aboriginal groups to have a definitive response to the Senate committee's recommendations within a reasonable time frame, which she defined as the end of this year.

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This preamble to the question has been long because the process has been a long, long, wearying one. What progress has been made? Are the Aboriginal groups being consulted? When can we expect a "definitive response" to the Senate committee's reasonable recommendation?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, I will not tell the Minister of Justice that the honourable senator does a poor impersonation of his voice. There is an old saying: Ask and ye shall receive. I suggest that the honourable senator be patient and she will receive the answer.

Senator Fraser: I am delighted to know that a response is forthcoming, although I will restrain my joy until I see what the response is. In the meantime, for the record, I would never dream of trying to imitate the voice of any member of the Government of Canada. I was trying to indicate a mood rather than imitate any person.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I will restrain my joy in answering the honourable senator's questions.

International Trade

Government Initiatives

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, while Liberals are busy trying to force a wasteful election that nobody wants, the government has been hard at work opening new markets and creating economic opportunities for Canadians. My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can the minister update us on recent initiatives taken by the Government of Canada on international trade matters?

Senator Comeau: Finally, we have a good question.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for her maiden question, which I am thrilled to answer. The Conservative government is focused on the economy and is working to open markets for Canadian companies, which means jobs for Canadians. The government continues to expand Canada's trade network around the world. The government has launched discussions on economic partnerships with the European Union and with India; and has completed free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association. Honourable senators, in contrast, despite 13 years in government, the Liberals signed only three agreements.

On September 25, Minister Day fulfilled the Conservative campaign commitment and opened a new trade office in India, bringing the total to eight and, thereby, further strengthening Canada's presence in this important market. As well, the minister launched free trade talks with Ukraine last week.

The government is also expanding its relationship with China. Since 2006, 14 visits have been conducted to China, including visits this year by the Ministers of Trade, Finance and Foreign Affairs. Minister Day is opening six new trade offices in Chinese cities to attract trade and investment to Canada, and to help Canadian business reach the Chinese market. At this time of global economic downturn, Canadians can count on the government to defend free and open trade on the world stage.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour of presenting delayed answers to eight oral questions. The first was raised by Senator Fox on February 12, 2009, concerning Industry, maintenance of the recently acquired C-130J aircraft; by Senator Dyck on March 10, 2009, concerning Justice, violence against Aboriginal women; by Senator Milne on May 5, 2009, concerning Natural Resources, the technology early action measures program; by Senator Mercer on May 5 and 14, 2009, concerning Natural Resources, black liquor; by Senator Fraser on May 6, 2009, concerning Justice, consultations with Aboriginal groups about non-derogation clauses; by Senator Cordy on May 14, 2009, concerning Natural Resources, the American Wind Energy Association conference in May 2009; by Senator Mitchell on June 3, 2009, and Senator Callbeck on June 11, 2009, concerning Natural Resources, the ecoENERGY for renewable power program; and by senators Brown and Day on June 11, 2009, concerning Natural Resources, the MAPLE reactors.

Industry

State of Aerospace Sector

(Response to question raised by Hon. Francis Fox on February 12, 2009)

On December 20, 2007, the government signed a contract with Lockheed Martin for the supply of 17 new C-130J Super Hercules tactical air transport aircraft. Under this contract, Lockheed Martin is also responsible to provide a proposal for the in-service support for the aircraft.

A contract amendment to add the value of the in-service support is expected in 2009, once an agreement is negotiated with Lockheed Martin. If it becomes the in-service support provider, Lockheed Martin will be contractually required to execute all in-service support work for the new C130Js in Canada, with the exception of sparing (spare parts) or as otherwise agreed in writing by Canada, as stated in Article 130.17 of the contract which states:

"Subject to the Contractor's certification pertaining to Industrial and Regional Benefits submitted pursuant to the Solicitation of Interest and Qualification, and subject to the contractual provisions to that effect, the Contractor shall execute all the in-service support work in Canada if it becomes the ISS provider, with the exception of sparing, work identified in paragraphs 1.4 and 1.5 of the Competition Plan L07BV0062, or as otherwise agreed in writing by Canada. In accordance with the certification and for greater certainty, the Contractor agrees in this role to execute no less than 75% of the totality of the in-service support work in Canada".

Lockheed Martin submitted their In-Service Support (ISS) proposal to the Government of Canada on February 23rd 2009. It is currently being reviewed by the Government to determine if Lockheed Martin meets their obligations. The Government is evaluating Lockheed Martin's ISS proposal and intends to enforce all requirements of the contract.

Justice

Violence Against Aboriginal Women

(Response to question raised by Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck on March 10, 2009)

Any murder is a terrible crime and must be treated seriously by the criminal law. To that end, the Criminal Code contains comprehensive provisions with respect to the offence of murder and the penalties. Specifically, subparagraph 231(4)(a) of the Criminal Code already specifies that murder is automatically first degree when someone kills a police officer. This is an exception to the rule in subsection 231(2) that a first degree murder is a planned and deliberate murder. It is also extended to corrections personnel in subparagraphs 231(4)(b) and (c). These provisions were designed to offer an extra measure of protection to those justice system officials who voluntarily place themselves in the front ranks of the dangerous task of protecting Canadian communities from violent criminals.

The crime bill, Bill C-14, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (organized crime and protection of justice system participants), that the Honourable Senator referred to, would add to the sentencing provisions for murder by specifying in clause 6.01 that any murder committed in connection with a criminal organization, like a gang, is automatically first degree murder regardless of who the victim may be or whether the killing was planned and deliberate. This measure is designed to respond to the increasing danger posed to Canadian communities by organized gangs of violent criminals who are responsible for up to 20% of all the homicides committed in Canada.

Violence against women, including Aboriginal women, must be treated seriously. Unfortunately, Aboriginal women are disproportionately victimized by violence. A 2006 report by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) notes that, aside from high rates of offending, Aboriginal people in general have high victimization rates: they are one third more likely than other Canadians to be victims of crime, and nearly twice as likely to be repeat victims. Aboriginal women are particularly vulnerable: they are three and a half times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to be victims of spousal abuse and much more likely to sustain injuries as a result.

One important way to protect Aboriginal women is through community crime prevention and justice administration programs that target community and family issues and which Aboriginal women themselves have a hand in devising and operating. A good example is the tripartite Aboriginal Justice Strategy co-funded by the Government of Canada and the provinces and territories.

The issue of violence against Aboriginal women is currently being examined by a federal, provincial, territorial Working Group whose mandate is to focus on the effective identification, investigation and prosecution of cases involving serial killers who target persons living in a high risk lifestyle, including but not limited to those working in the sex trade. This Missing Women Working Group is examining best practices to enable earlier detection of potential serial murders, as well as strategies to protect potential victims. In addition, the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Working Group on Aboriginal Justice Issues is focusing on victimization in Aboriginal communities as a result of family and interpersonal violence.

This approach goes beyond legal responses. It focuses on prevention and improving the overall response of the criminal justice system. While this work continues, we can be reassured that our existing criminal law does, in fact, treat the murder of anyone, including Aboriginal women, seriously.

Science and Technology

Funding

(Response to question raised by Hon. Lorna Milne on May 5, 2009)

The TEAM program was established as a sunset program with a fixed time frame to end on March 31, 2008, and was, in fact, extended for an extra fiscal year to March 31, 2009. The planned ending of the program has had no adverse impact on any of the projects supported by TEAM, and all funding support was fully disbursed.

The TEAM organization was merged with Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Office of Energy Research and Development, and several of the original staff will continue to monitor the progress and results of the TEAM projects over the next few years. Of the five international projects supported by TEAM over the past five years, all are progressing well. Two are fully completed and have started reporting on results achieved. The remaining three projects will continue to full implementation, as the federal funding was provided when it was needed most, namely in the first phases of multi-year projects. These three remaining projects are expected to be completed over the next 1-2 years, as originally planned.

There are a number of programs that have been set up by the Government of Canada to provide funding to research and development (R&D) and demonstration projects for technologies to tackle climate change, both in Canada and around the world, including the following:

  • The Program for Energy R&D, managed by NRCan;
     
  • The Industrial Research Assistance Program, managed by the National Research Council;
     
  • The $550-million (M) SD Tech FundTM, managed by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC);
     
  • The $500-M NextGen Biofuels FundTM, managed by SDTC;
     
  • The $230-M ecoENERGY Technology Initiative, managed by NRCan;
     
  • The $1-billion Clean Energy Fund, managed by NRCan;
     
  • Funding under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, managed by NRCan;
     
  • Funding under the Asia-Pacific Partnership, managed by Environment Canada; and
     
  • Funding from the International Science and Technology Partnership Canada.

Natural Resources

Forestry Subsidies—Softwood Lumber—Black Liquor Subsidies

(Response to questions raised by Hon. Terry M. Mercer on May 5 and 14, 2009)

The Government of Canada has been raising its concerns with the United States (U.S.) Administration and Congress, calling on American legislators to end the tax credit for black liquor as soon as possible in advance of its expiry on December 31, 2009. The Minister of International Trade has pressed the matter with United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, as well as Congressman Charles Rangel, the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Congressman Sander Levin, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Trade. The Minister of Natural Resources has written to U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, to express Canada's concerns. Canada's Ambassador to the U. S. has pursued the issue with Senator Max Baucus, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Senator Grassley, the ranking Republican member of that Committee. Canadian Embassy officials have continued to raise Canada's concerns with their contacts in the U.S. Congress.

Canada has not been alone in raising concerns. In late May, a joint press release was issued by Canada, Brazil, Chile and the European Union (EU) and a joint letter was sent from the Ambassadors of these countries in Washington to key Members of Congress calling for rapid action to eliminate the tax credit for black liquor as soon as possible.

On June 11, 2009, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley released a legislative "staff draft" proposal to clarify the types of fuels that qualify for the alternative fuels tax credit and eliminate from eligibility fuel derived from the processing of paper or pulp (i.e., black liquor). The Government of Canada has submitted comments indicating support for any effort to prevent the use of the alternative fuel mixture credit in this unintended manner. Canadian officials continue to raise their concerns with the U.S. Administration and Congress.

The US subsidy is delivered through the refundable tax credits in the U.S. tax system, and so the actual payments made under the program are not public information. The most current estimations of total payments over the life of the program are between USD $7-10 billion. Companies first started receiving payments in late 2008, and the program is due to expire December 31st, 2009.

Our Government announce=d on June 17, 2009 the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, which provides $1 billion to pulp and paper companies in Canada for capital expenditures to improve energy efficiency or environmental performance. This program will allocate funding on the basis of $0.16 per litre of black liquor. Black liquor is a liquid by-product of the chemical pulping process and is used to generate renewable heat and power. Eligible companies will be able to make capital expenditures in any of their pulp and paper mills, including mechanical pulp mills. These capital expenditures must be made by March 31, 2012. The program will allow pulp and paper mills in Canada to further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while helping to position them as leaders in the production of renewable energy from forest biomass. The program website is: http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/subsite/ pulp-paper-green-transformation/

Justice

Constitutional Rights of Aboriginal Canadians

(Response to question raised by Hon. Joan Fraser on May 6, 2009)

The Government is aware of the concerns surrounding the long-standing issue of how to deal with repeated calls for non-derogation clauses in federal statutes. The Government takes Aboriginal and treaty rights very seriously, and is committed to ensuring respect for the exercise of such rights in a manner consistent with the high level of protection they are afforded under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. This includes continuing to seek out opportunities for engagement with Aboriginal groups that may be affected by government legislation dealing with lands and resources.

In his July 2008 response to the Senate Committee report on non-derogation clauses, the Minister of Justice stated that the Government of Canada would seriously consider the Committee's recommendations, but would first need to seek the views and reactions of Aboriginal groups.

Following a period of initial contact by Departmental officials in the fall and winter of 2008, the Minister of Justice sent letters in March 2009 to the leaders of various national Aboriginal organizations. The letters asked each organization to identify an appropriate contact person who could present and discuss their organization's views on this issue.

Justice Departmental Officials are now in the process of conducting meetings with the contact representatives identified, to discuss the Committee's report and non-derogation clauses generally. The Government is particularly interested in hearing the views of Aboriginal organizations on recommendations 1 and 2 of the report — that is, the repeal of existing clauses in favour of a single clause in the Interpretation Act.

As for a timeline for implementing such legislative reforms, this is not a simple matter. What may appear to be a straightforward legislative change is in fact quite complex and involves a number of legal and policy considerations. These include debates over the appropriate wording for an Interpretation Act clause and the legal impact of such a clause, and the need to obtain the views of Aboriginal groups that may be particularly affected by the repeal of existing non-derogation clauses in various statutes. In fact, it is not yet clear whether all Aboriginal groups wish to see existing individual non-derogation clauses essentially "disappear" from a variety of federal statutes in favour of a single legislative provision.

For these reasons, the Government is focussed on the need to properly listen to and understand the views of Aboriginal groups on this issue before determining what approach to take with respect to the Committee's recommendations. This process of engaging Aboriginal groups might take time, but it is a necessary and essential step. The Government understands the frustrations surrounding the issue of non-derogation clauses, but it wants to ensure that any proposed actions or reforms are effective and forward-looking, do not create new risks or challenges, are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal people, and are carried out in a respectful manner.

Environment

Wind Energy

(Response to question raised by Hon. Jane Cordy on May 14, 2009)

The American Wind Energy Association hosted its annual conference and trade show in Chicago on May 4-7, 2009. A number of companies and research organizations from Canada, including officials from federal, provincial and municipal governments, participated in this conference. Federal officials from the departments of Natural Resources Canada and Industry Canada, as well as trade commissioners from the Consulate General of Canada, participated in this conference.

The federal government has set an objective that 90 percent of Canada's electricity be provided by non-emitting sources, such as hydro, nuclear, solar, clean coal or wind power, by 2020. These and other clean, renewable energy technologies contribute substantially to our economic growth, while playing a key role in achieving the government's commitment to reducing Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020, and by 60 to 70 percent from 2006 levels by 2050.

Government Policy on Climate Change—Government Support of New Energy

(Response to questions raised by Hon. Grant Mitchell on June 3, 2009 and Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck on June 11, 2009)

This Government has set an objective that 90 percent of Canada's electricity needs to be provided by non-emitting sources, such as hydro, nuclear, solar, clean coal or wind power, by 2020. These and other clean, renewable energy technologies contribute substantially to our economic growth, while playing a key role in achieving the government's commitment to reducing Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020, and 60 to 70 percent from 2006 levels by 2050.

The $1.5-billion (B) ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program (the Program) was launched on April 1, 2007, to support the deployment of up to 4,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable power from sources such as wind, tidal, biomass, geothermal, small hydro and solar photovoltaic. The Program provides qualifying projects with a power production incentive of one cent per kilowatt-hour for 10 years.

As of July 20, 2009, the Program had committed $1B to 72 renewable energy projects representing approximately 3,215 MW of renewable power capacity. This Program has been tremendously successful in achieving its goal of getting provinces to take action. All provinces have implemented renewable power procurement policies and initiatives.

This Government is aware of the important role that programs, such as the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program, are playing in growing Canada's renewable sector and wants to be sure that any future federal efforts are successful and effective as this Program.

Natural Resources

Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories—Medical Radioisotope Supply

(Response to questions raised by Hon. Bert Brown and Hon. Joseph A. Day on June 11, 2009)

When was the decision made to build the MAPLE reactors and who was responsible for this decision?

The decision to build two MAPLE reactors and an isotope processing facility was made by AECL in August 1996 to create a dedicated isotope producing reactor. Following a year long environmental assessment, construction began in December 1997.

How much money was spent on the MAPLE project?

Mr. Hugh MacDiarmid, President and Chief Executive Officer of AECL, and Mr. Steve West, President of MDS Nordion, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources on June 4 and June 11, 2009, respectively. Mr. MacDiarmid stated that AECL has invested approximately $250 million (M) and Mr. West stated that MDS has invested $350M in the MAPLE project. Information relating to the cost of MAPLE can also be found in the 2008 Annual Report of AECL and the 2008 Annual Report of MDS.

Which government cancelled the MAPLE project?

The Minister of Natural Resources announced on May 16, 2008, that the Government of Canada had accepted the decision of the Board of Directors of AECL to terminate the MAPLE reactors project.

Can it be confirmed that "the MAPLE reactors are in 'cold standby' and could be fired up to produce isotopes, perhaps within months"?

The MAPLE reactors are currently in an extended shutdown state. According to AECL, the company would have to overcome significant technical and regulatory hurdles to make the MAPLE reactors operational. At least five to six years of intensive research and analysis are needed before consideration could be given to bringing the MAPLE reactors on-line to produce medical isotopes. AECL has also noted that estimates to complete the project are an additional $500 to $700M, with no guarantee that any unforeseen first-of-a-kind technical risks would not materialize.

How long would it take to build a new reactor to replace the 52 year-old National Research Universal (NRU) reactor?

There are no standard timelines for building a new reactor, including a new research reactor in Canada to replace the 52 year-old NRU reactor. Research reactors are unique, one-of-a-kind devices designed for specific research missions or purposes. In addition to the time required to establish the research mission for the reactor and to go from concept to design, research reactors must meet stringent regulatory requirements as with any other new nuclear facilities such as power reactors.

In the Canadian context, the principal pieces of legislation are the Nuclear Safety and Control Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Regulatory approval and licensing are required for all phases of the project, including the site preparation, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning. Based on the planning experience for new power reactors in Canada, it is anticipated that the regulatory approval process for the license to construct alone would likely take a minimum of two years. International experience has also shown that construction timelines vary significantly based on national regulatory regime, funding, technical and other issues.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Canada Elections Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator MacDonald, seconded by the Honourable Senator Greene, for the second reading of Bill S-6, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (accountability with respect to political loans).

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak on behalf of senators from this side regarding an important bill. First of all, I would like to quote my colleague from the other side, Senator MacDonald. I will quote part of his speech on Bill S-6. He said:

The bill would create a uniform and transparent reporting regime for all loans to political entities, including the mandatory disclosure of terms and the identity of all lenders and loan guarantors.

I would like to inform my colleague that we have absolutely no problem with the concept of transparency. He went on to say:

Increased transparency for every loan means Canadians will be able to see for themselves who is borrowing from whom, when, how much and on what terms.

In my colleague's opinion, this measure will guarantee the same transparency in the case of loans and contributions. I think that is a good change that people will generally be happy both locally and nationally. Consistency and transparency will make it easier both to monitor compliance by the people subject to the rules and to enforce the legislation.

With regard to the principles, we are following the government. My colleague also said:

. . . the disclosure requirements will ensure transparency.

That is the very idea behind disclosure. He continued:

Requiring a fair market rate of interest further levels the playing field for all borrowers and lenders.

Later on, he said:

This change will be an important means of ensuring that candidates . . .

I am skipping a part here that we do not agree with.

. . . are held accountable for money they borrow in that community.

It is a basic legal principle that if we sign a loan contract, we are responsible for our signature.

The problem, honourable senators, is that only financial institutions can lend money. I searched the text in vain for any suggestion that only financial institutions have the right to influence the selection of a leadership candidate. According to which principle does only one sector of society have the right to lend money to an individual, an official leadership candidate, who signs a contract, the terms of which are usually fairly standard — two or three per cent at the moment — to the exclusion of all others? I think that this constitutes giving exceptional power, power that financial institutions are not very comfortable with.

I would add that in the current economic context, a bank is perhaps the last place a candidate would go, given the credit issues we are dealing with right now. The conditions would probably be unacceptable because right now, Canadian businesses that go to their banks — I have to help business people every week — are finding that they impose excessive conditions intended only to protect shareholders' interests, and certainly not to help a leadership candidate get involved. I am talking about female entrepreneurs in particular.

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Right now, thousands of women entrepreneurs who ask banks for loans — business loans — are met with such stringent conditions that they have to go to a federal institution called the Business Development Bank of Canada because the private sector cannot lend them money at acceptable rates under conditions permitting them to continue operating their businesses.

As such, I believe that it would be a major disadvantage to restrict this to the financial sector only, and I hope that we will have an opportunity to hear from groups of women in Canada about how it would hurt them to restrict loan options to this sector alone.

I would like to reiterate the principles: transparency, reasonable conditions, acceptable terms, current interest rates.

Another rule of law, which seems to be a little different from what I learned in civil law, states that a candidate who successfully obtains a loan would automatically commit his or her riding association, if the person is a member of Parliament, or the party for the debt incurred. The only problem with that rule is that, in our legal system, the individual who is liable for a debt is the borrower. Yet in this case, it would mean putting an excessive burden on both the party and the association, which could interfere with the choice of candidate, although the candidate should be chosen by all the members of the party, and not by the authorities previously elected.

Another clause in this bill that poses a problem for me has to do with the impossibility, when the loan covers a period longer than one year, and when individuals cannot make a contribution to help that candidate pay off his or her debt.

Given that Canada is a very large country and candidates must travel from one end to the other, which can become very costly, it would be unreasonable to ask candidates to pay back their debt in just one year. Experience has shown us that it is practically impossible, so that loan could be spread over two or three years. I think the idea of having some sort of correspondence between the debt repayment and the people who can help repay it, especially with the current limit of $1,100, is reasonable, and candidates will be able to pay off their debts.

I would nonetheless like to remind the honourable senators who will be examining this bill that we have not yet seen the contribution report of the candidate for leadership of the Conservative Party who is now the Prime Minister. It is now 2009, seven years later, and we still do not know who contributed to his campaign, even though he is usually a champion of transparency. Today, all the other parties are expected to be as transparent as possible. During the most recent election campaign, the Liberal leadership candidates gave full disclosure, revealing the names of all their contributors. The process was far more transparent than the law requires.

Before we start examining Bill S-6, maybe we should ask the Prime Minister to release the list of his donors. Then we will be able to believe in the integrity and sincerity of our colleagues who want to work with us to make the process even more transparent.

I would like to insist on the fact that there were three female candidates in our party's last leadership campaign. Two of them had to quit during the campaign because of a lack of money. I believe that, in a country that cannot support good people in a democratic process, we must change the rules to ensure that those who wish to serve their country can do so. In this case, the limitation and the conditions imposed certainly go beyond transparency and actually have a perverse effect on the effective participation of female candidates who do not always have the same networks as their male colleagues.

I will close by stating that if the bill is adopted without any changes, then, as the popular saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

(On motion of Senator Smith, debate adjourned.)

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Adjournment

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

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

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, October 6, 2009, at 2 p.m.

Hon. Fernand Robichaud (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, October 6, 2009, at 2 p.m.)