The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the Leader of the
Government has requested, pursuant to rule 22(10), that the time provided for
consideration of Senators' Statements be extended today for the purpose of
paying tribute to the Honourable Jean-Marie Poitras, who died on February 27,
I remind honourable senators that, pursuant to the Rules of the Senate,
each senator will be allowed three minutes and may speak only once and that the
time for tributes shall not exceed 15 minutes.
Hon. Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis: Honourable senators, it is with great
emotion and pride that I rise today in this venerable house to pay tribute to an
exceptional man, the Honourable Jean-Marie Poitras, whose life work, dedication
and social involvement have greatly contributed to improving the lives of
I was sitting in the other place in 1988 when Jean-Marie Poitras was
appointed to the Senate by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney to join the
Progressive Conservative caucus. What struck me the most from being around
Senator Poitras at the time was the deep respect he had for those around him,
and the respect that people gave him in return. He emanated humility and quiet
strength, and his actions were always rooted in wisdom.
Outside Parliament, there was another place where my path often crossed with
that of Senator Poitras, which was at Saint-Mathieu church, in my parish in
Sainte-Foy, where his son, Abbé Michel Poitras, was the vicar. Senator Poitras
attended mass with his wife, Thérèse Michaud. He was a man with a rich inner
life and well-entrenched fundamental values, who was never afraid to show his
faith. At a prayer breakfast, where he spoke in front of the Montreal business
community, he shared his deep thoughts and firm beliefs about his duty, as a
human being, to always try to better himself and to help others, no matter how
successful he became.
I also remember a man who put his family first, a family he was very close
with, and very proud of. He was the father of Claire, Lise, who is deceased,
Michel, Claude, Diane and Marie.
Jean-Marie Poitras, who was originally from Abitibi, had a career that
spanned over 50 years. He was an outstanding manager who knew how to surround
himself with the best. After studying at Laval University, he started his career
in the insurance business. In 1954, he founded the Quebec branch of the
Insurance Institute. A few years later, in 1965, he became the President and
Chief Executive Officer of Laurentienne Mutuelle d'assurance, a position he held
until 1982. He presided over a number of boards of directors, including the
board of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank, now known as the
Laurentian Bank of Canada.
After he was appointed to the Senate, he chaired the Standing Senate
Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and sat on the Standing Senate
Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.
As he pursued his career in business, Senator Poitras became involved in
Quebec's cultural community. He chaired the board of the Régie du Grand Théâtre
de Québec and the Société du Musée du Séminaire de Québec. He was subsequently
elected president of the Opéra de Québec.
From childhood, Jean-Marie Poitras was dedicated to serving his community,
says his son, Abbé Michel Poitras, who is now the parish priest at
Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures. According to Michel Poitras:
. . . the scouting movement was his first love, and that is where he got a
taste for social involvement. He entered scouting at the age of 14, rose
through the ranks and eventually became president of the Association des
scouts du Canada.
Senator Poitras was a great philanthropist whose involvement in social causes
and the business community was recognized by numerous organizations and
government bodies. For example, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, a
Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.
He was a model of altruism, creativity and determination. It was a great
honour for me to know and work with the Honourable Jean-Marie Poitras, who was
a great builder, a great Quebecer and a great Canadian.
Hon. Michel Rivard: Honourable senators, I am very proud to add my
tribute to that of my colleague, the Honourable Senator Fortin-Duplessis.
I first met the Honourable Senator Poitras in the early 1980s, a few years
before he was appointed to the Senate of Canada. He was then at the peak of a
brilliant career in business.
In 1989, I had the pleasure of attending his induction into the Académie des
Grands Québécois. Very few people in Quebec City have received this highly
In 1981, his alma mater, Laval University, awarded him an honorary doctorate
in business administration. In 1988, he was inducted into the Canadian Business
Hall of Fame.
Despite all these honours recognizing his contributions to business and the
community, the Honourable Jean-Marie Poitras remained a simple, approachable man
who was always willing to give his time to causes that were close to his heart.
The Jean-Marie Poitras Foundation reflects this dedication to helping the less
fortunate in our society.
In closing, I would like to express my condolences to his family and say
again how much I admired this exceptional man. We will miss him.
Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, I also wish to pay
homage to the memory of Jean-Marie Poitras. When I was a member of the Quebec
National Assembly representing the riding of Jean-Talon, I had the opportunity
to meet and work with Jean-Marie Poitras.
In addition to his human qualities and tremendous kindness, I was always very
impressed by his extraordinary expertise in business and insurance, his chosen
field of work. Whenever his business provided financial support to cultural and
social activities in his community, it was always announced in press conferences
in Quebec City. However, what impressed me the most was seeing Jean-Marie
Poitras a few weeks later at a meeting with the rest of the volunteers in the
community groups, as an ordinary volunteer, helping improve his community and
contributing to its well-being.
All senators who had the opportunity to know Jean-Marie Poitras in this
chamber will never forget him, nor will the people of Quebec, particularly those
from the Quebec City region, and those who had the good fortune of appreciating
this great man's many fine qualities.
Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I was pleased to attend the
dedication of a new Veterans Memorial Monument in Boularderie, Cape Breton, on
September 12, 2009.
The Boularderie District Veterans Memorial Committee hosted the dedication
event of the newly-constructed monument, which is located on the grounds of St.
James Church in Big Bras d'Or.
This project was initiated to recognize the sacrifices made by the veterans
of Boularderie and the surrounding area. The community believes that the men and
women who served our great country deserve to be honoured and remembered for
what they have given up for Canada.
One of the biggest challenges for the committee was collecting the names of
the veterans from the different wars and military missions. The final list
comprises 291 names which are engraved on the monument. That is an amazing
number, considering the small size of this community. These names represent sons
and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours.
Honourable senators, this truly was a community project. It clearly
demonstrates the strong dedication of the people in Boularderie to remember
veterans. It was a grassroots remembrance initiative — a memorial which will
last for generations and will ensure that the legacy of these men and women will
never be forgotten. This monument is now part of the history of Boularderie and
it will help to ensure the stories of the veterans from the community are told
Honourable senators, the initiative for this monument came from the MacLeod
family, John K. and Norma. Honourable senators, for your information, John K.
and Norma are the parents of our Black Rod, Mr. Kevin MacLeod. I am also told
that the Black Rod did the basic design work for the monument.
Congratulations to the MacLeods for bringing their idea to the St. James
Cemetery Committee and for being the catalyst in making this event happen. The
MacLeods have ensured that this legacy of ultimate sacrifice will be passed on
and never forgotten.
I also take this opportunity to applaud the Boularderie and District Memorial
Committee and, for that matter, the community of Boularderie Island, for their
efforts in honouring Canada's veterans.
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay
tribute to a great Canadian—Jack Poole. Jack grew up, like many of us, in a
small prairie community, namely Mortlach, Saskatchewan. When I took my pilot
training in Moose Jaw on Harvards, I flew over Mortlach virtually every day.
Jack's Metis heritage was never forgotten as he enjoyed his many successes.
He used his many skills and his intuitive intelligence to build a real estate
empire, namely the Daon Development Corporation of Vancouver. Like many of us in
that business, he had his setbacks but they were quickly overcome by his sheer
determination, good judgment and sound business acumen.
The time allotted for Senators' Statements does not permit me to list all his
many philanthropic, business and community achievements. His generosity and
accomplishments are legion in our province of British Columbia and throughout
Jack Poole's leadership was critical to winning the 2010 Olympic bid. He
continued after the bid by providing the guidance necessary to bring this venue
to its present positive state. He was instrumental in selecting John Furlong as
CEO of VANOC. One of Jack Poole's greatest assets was being able to surround
himself with extremely qualified people.
VANOC's latest economic report is due next week, and it shows they are doing
very well in spite of the economic slowdown. Under Jack Poole's guidance, VANOC
is setting new standards with regard to ethics and the environment. There is no
question Jack Poole will be recognized as the guiding force behind the success
of the Olympics.
He was recognized by the Métis Nation of B.C. for his many accomplishments
and for the pride and leadership he brought to Aboriginal people.
Honourable senators, we have lost a dedicated, talented and inspiring person;
a son of Saskatchewan, British Columbia and, really, a son of all of Canada.
I offer his family my deepest sympathy on the loss of a great husband, great
father, great grandfather and great great-grandfather.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate Mr. Ernie Ingles,
Vice-Provost and Chief Librarian of the University of Alberta, who was recently
designated President of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.
For over 30 years, Ernie Ingles has been a key player in the Canadian library
community. As part of his commitment to Canadian libraries, Mr. Ingles has been
a member of numerous associations, such as the Bibliographic Society of Canada,
the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries, and has served as
President of the Canadian Library Association.
Furthermore, Mr. Ingles has held library positions at the University of
British Columbia, the University of Calgary, the University of Regina and, since
1990, the University of Alberta, where I had the pleasure of working with him as
part of the university's leadership team.
Mr. Ingles is a founding Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of
the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, now known as
Canadiana.org, an organization committed to digitizing Canadian knowledge
and to providing online access to a wealth of information pertaining to our
nation's history and development.
Mr. Ingles is also a published author of over 30 articles and four
monographic compilations. More recently, he compiled and co-edited a revised
edition of Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairies to 1953. For his
outstanding contributions to research and knowledge, Mr. Ingles was elected a
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001 and awarded the Queen's Jubilee
Medal in 2003.
As President of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Mr. Ingles
will lead an organization comprising the following: Twenty-eight major academic
research libraries across the country; Library and Archives Canada; the Canada
Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, and the Library of
I congratulate Mr. Ingles and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries
on behalf of all senators.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, 47 years ago this week,
the Progressive Conservative government of John Diefenbaker inaugurated the
Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada's largest centre for ocean research.
Known as the BIO, this federal government facility is a modern oceanographic
research institute, located on the shores of the Bedford Basin in Dartmouth,
In the early 1960s, W.E. van Steenburgh played an instrumental role in
promoting the concept of an oceanographic institute in the Bedford Basin. He
believed that maritime science should be a national priority. He also believed
that multidisciplinary research teams, with dedicated vessels and laboratory
support, were required in order to meet the future knowledge needs of ocean
management. On October 25, 1962, after years of advocacy, BIO was officially
Since then, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography has become a world-class
multidisciplinary research institute of oceanography. The key feature of its
research success has been the melding of diverse research disciplines within a
single family. For instance, hydrographers, geologists, chemists, biologists and
other specialists work together side by side to provide peer-reviewed advice
and support to government decision making on a broad range of ocean issues. This
multidisciplinary dimension makes the Bedford Institute of Oceanography unique.
BIO has been studying the ocean ecosystems and their resources for more than
30 years. Since the 1980s, it has undertaken comprehensive studies of the marine
geology of Atlantic Canada, providing critical support to oil and gas
Today, BIO employs over 600 researchers, engineers, technicians, natural
resource and environmental managers and support staff. The institute is home to
four federal government departments: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural
Resources Canada, Environment Canada and the Department of National Defence.
For instance, Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages a number of branches at
BIO. The science branch, which is the largest branch, has five primary functions
including research, monitoring, data management, scientific advice and products
A wide range of research programs are carried out by these five functions.
They include supporting fisheries, aquaculture, oceans and habitat management,
ocean resource development and safety around the water.
Honourable senators, Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the
world, with 240,000 kilometres. With this in mind, the Bedford Institute of
Oceanography in Nova Scotia is an essential component of our country's ocean
management. Almost 50 years after its creation, BIO continues to be involved in
numerous national and global projects and studies on the world's ocean
Honourable senators, please join me in wishing the Bedford Institute of
Oceanography of Nova Scotia a happy forty-seventh birthday.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee
on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Standing Committee on Rules, Procedure and the Rights of Parliament has
the honour to present its
Pursuant to Rule 86(1)(f)(i), your committee is pleased to report as
Changes to the Rules of the Senate take effect at the time they are
adopted by the Senate. A printed consolidation containing these changes is
not, however, automatically prepared when a change is adopted, and the on-line
version is not immediately updated.
Instead, current practice in relation to printing updated versions of the
Rules of the Senate and integrating changes into the on-line version is
that a new version, containing previously approved modifications, must be
approved by your committee before being tabled in the Senate. It is only when
the new version is tabled that it is printed and posted on-line. To repeat,
the changes contained in this updated version were approved previously by the
Senate, and entered into force at that time.
This process sometimes leads to significant delays between a change to the
rules being approved by the Senate and the new text appearing in printed or
on-line format, with consequential inconvenience to senators and other users.
To avoid such delays, your committee recommends:
1. That the Clerk of the Senate be authorized to prepare and print from
time to time, as required, for tabling in the Senate by the Speaker,
consolidated versions of the Rules of the Senate containing any
changes approved by the Senate to that time and any minor typographical
2. That the Clerk of the Senate be authorized to update the on-line
version of the Rules of the Senate from the time any change is
approved by the Senate.
DONALD H. OLIVER
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Oliver, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary
delegation of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association to the Visit to Rome,
Italy by the Mediterranean Special Group, held in Naples, Italy, from June 14 to
Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and
notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans have the power
to sit at 5 p.m. on October 27, 2009, even though the Senate may then be
sitting; and that rule 95(4) be suspended in relation thereto.
The Hon. the Speaker: We have the notice. Leave is required and
explication. Would you like to explain, Senator Cochrane?
Senator Cochrane: Honourable senators, we have out-of-town witnesses
who are waiting to appear before the committee. I speak on behalf of the
committee when I say we would appreciate it if the Senate would allow us to sit
a bit earlier.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators,
my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Last Thursday, I asked the government leader several serious questions about
the H1N1 pandemic threat. I asked for a clear statement as to the advice the
government was giving Canadians with respect to the H1N1 vaccine and the annual
seasonal flu vaccine. I asked the leader to detail the government's plan to
ensure that as many Canadians as possible receive the H1N1 vaccine. The minister
did not answer either question.
Instead of having the courage to stand as the government's representative in
this place and answer, Senator LeBreton chose to accuse me of fear-mongering and
spreading false information, and then muttered crude personal insults from her
seat — insults which can now be found in the Debates of the Senate of
Honourable senators, the issues surrounding the H1N1 pandemic and the vaccine
are serious and of real and immediate concern to Canadians. This weekend, the
media reported that Canadians are confused about what they should do to protect
themselves and their families.
Yesterday's Globe and Mail reported a poll which found that opposition
to the vaccination has grown sharply, with a majority — 51 per cent — saying
they would not get the shots, up from 38 per cent in July. Does the minister
believe that all of these Canadians are fools?
I am not surprised that Canadians are confused and divided over whether or
not to take the vaccine. Canadians are having trouble trusting this government
with the critical matter of their health and well-being because this government
refuses to be honest and forthright with Canadians.
Indeed, the conduct of the Leader of the Government in the Senate last week
was another example of her government's preference to engage in petty, partisan
politics, rather than truly lead and be honest with Canadians.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.
Senator Cowan: This is not a laughing matter, Senator LeBreton.
What will the government do to reassure Canadians that the vaccine now being
administered is safe for their use? We know that tens of millions of dollars
have been spent by the government to inform Canadians about its Economic Action
Plan. How much money is being spent by this government to inform Canadians about
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, I made it clear last week and I will make
it clear again today: The government takes the whole issue of H1N1 seriously.
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and Dr. David Butler-Jones,
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada's Public Health Agency, have criss-crossed
the country to inform Canadians of the seriousness of this flu and to urge
people to get their vaccination.
Regrettably, misinformation about the safety of the vaccine has penetrated
the public's thought process. I believe that this is being remedied and that
Canadians will not only take the issue seriously, but also do the responsible
thing for themselves, their families and their communities by having the
vaccination in order to stop the spread of this dangerous flu.
Honourable senators, Canada is one of a few countries that can vaccinate each
citizen who needs and wants the vaccine. As I mentioned a moment ago, we urge
Canadians to be vaccinated. It is the best way to protect our health and our
In terms of communicating with Canadians, I have talked about the regular
briefings that have occurred. As well, a brochure has been put out by Health
Canada. I have requested copies of it so that they might be distributed to each
senator. We have provided numerous guidance documents to help medical
professionals, businesses, students and others. These documents include the H1N1
preparedness guide, which is being distributed across the country.
It is regrettable that two weeks ago we heard the fear-mongering that Canada
would not have the vaccine. Today, we hear the fear-mongering about a
misinformed public. This situation is not unique to Canada because the same
thing is happening in the United States and in other jurisdictions. The
government and the minister are committed to the communication of the correct
information, not only on the adjuvant vaccine but also the non-adjuvant vaccine.
Yesterday, I saw that many people turned up at the various health clinics to
be vaccinated. The distribution of the vaccine is administered by the provinces
and the territories. It is a good sign that so many people turned out for their
vaccinations. It bodes well for future acceptance of the vaccine.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. We get the impression that the
government has a deliberate tendency not to heed advice, even from well-known
and well-respected entities.
I want to talk about one of my cherished causes: child soldiers.
Specifically, the Canadian government is refusing to recognize all of the
recommendations proposed by legal entities, political entities, well-known NGOs
and even the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed
Conflict. All of these organizations have recommended that the government halt
legal proceedings concerning child soldier Omar Khadr and repatriate this child
so that he can be reintegrated into and rehabilitated in his own country.
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State
(Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I have nothing
further to add to the situation with regard to Omar Khadr.
The honourable senator has asked the question about child soldiers, and I
have acknowledged the significant debate and varying opinions on the matter. I
do know about the view of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of
the United Nations, but the government's position has not changed in respect of
Senator Dallaire: There have not been many debates on child soldiers.
On the contrary, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has told his staff not to use
the term anymore. Why, despite all of the advice from legal experts and NGOs
involved in protecting children in an international context — and we did sign
the child soldier protocol, after all — are we refusing to implement legislation
to prevent the recurrence of the circumstances that put a Canadian in
Senator LeBreton: I will take the honourable senator's question as
notice and refer it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Senator Dallaire: Honourable senators, we have been following the
American line, as the leader indicated previously, with regard to Omar Khadr. We
might be sensitive to what influences the Americans. The United Nations' Special
Representative for Children and Armed Conflict recently stated in Washington
that Mr. Khadr's family, many of whom are in Pakistan, is quite closely linked
to al Qaeda, and that there is a fear Mr. Khadr might return there.
Is it possible that the extension of the family is influencing the political
decision to not stop the trial and repatriate that ex-child soldier?
Senator LeBreton: I will not respond to the honourable senator's
question. I can only say that Mr. Khadr, as I have said to the honourable
senator on previous occasions, faces serious charges. President Obama has
indicated that the U.S. will follow certain procedures with regard to closing
Guantanamo Bay and dealing with its prisoners. However, Mr. Khadr faces serious
charges in the United States and the Canadian government will await those
deliberations, which is the same policy followed by the previous Liberal
Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week, I was in Geneva chairing the
Inter-Parliamentary Union's Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
Once again, Afghanistan was identified as limiting the ability of
parliamentarians to function appropriately, in particular with regard to female
Malalai Joya was suspended from the Afghanistan Parliament on May 21, 2007
for something that she said, not in Parliament, but on a television station. She
remains suspended, and it appears that she will not be reinstated prior to the
election in the spring of 2010.
Can the minister tell this chamber what intervention this government has made
on behalf of Ms. Joya to ensure that democracy and the rights of women — the
essence of our mission in Afghanistan — are addressed?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, our troops are in Afghanistan to ensure not
only the rights of women and children but also the rights of all Afghans who are
desirous of living in a democracy.
With regard to the specific question the honourable senator asked, I am not
aware of any statements that the government has made, but I will inquire as to
whether or not they have done so.
Senator Carstairs: As the minister is aware, this government has an
international obligation to respond to the plight of women and United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1325. We learned also that, while the constitution
of Afghanistan deems that 25 per cent of the members of the Afghani Parliament
will be women — a considerably larger percentage than we have down the hall in
the House of Commons — they are not allowed to speak. Each time they stand up,
they are drowned out by the male parliamentarians pounding on their desks until
the female parliamentarians sit down.
Can the minister tell me what interventions have been made with respect to
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, obviously, this is a dreadful
situation. All governments and all freedom-loving citizens should be horrified
at these actions. The Prime Minister has made it clear on many occasions that we
cannot stress strongly enough our concern for the rights of women in
As the honourable senator knows, Minister Cannon, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, was recently travelling abroad. He met with officials in the Middle
East, although I do not believe he was in Afghanistan. I will certainly take the
honourable senator's question as notice and ask the minister whether he or his
officials have pursued this particularly serious issue.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, if women are discriminated
against in Parliament, to which they are duly elected, it does not bode well for
how women are treated outside of Parliament and in the rest of the country.
Can the minister give us an outline of the progress that has been made in
Afghanistan since our mission there with respect to women and, by inference,
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the situation in Afghanistan in
general, and with regard to women, and young women attempting to go to school in
particular, is very serious. The government has supported a number of
initiatives that directly benefit women. Honourable senators have heard the
Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, outline them often, as has the
Minister of Foreign Affairs. I will be happy to request of both of them the long
list of initiatives taken by not only the Canadian military but also Foreign
Affairs Canada, CIDA and NGO workers in Afghanistan.
Honourable senators, the situation with regard to women is troubling. Thanks
to our own interventions and the interventions of NATO, and particularly our
friends to the south in the United States, the situation that women faced under
the Taliban has improved, but not to the degree that one would hope for or
expect. The situation there is so fluid that great progress can be made, for
example, in opening a school, and then they will burn it down. All of this is,
quite naturally, troubling to the government. We have expended considerable
resources in Afghanistan not only financially but also in loss of lives and
injuries to our soldiers. Obviously, such stories are not encouraging.
There is a belief that our presence in Afghanistan is making a difference not
only for Afghan citizens in general but also for women and young girls. I will
be happy to provide the honourable senator with a detailed description of all
the good work that our people are doing over there.
Hon. Rod A. A. Zimmer: Honourable senators, my question is for the
Leader of the Government in the Senate. In 2006, Amnesty International wrote to
the Minister of Defence, warning that detainees taken by Canadian Forces could
be tortured, which is a war crime. General Rick Hillier confirms that the
government knew this abuse was happening since his first visit to the Afghan
prisons. Today, the Minister of Defence is still transferring detainees to
Honourable senators, why has the government ignored General Hillier's report
and not acted upon this sensitive information?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, there is some question as to whether the
former Chief of the Defence Staff actually said that. He did say to Canwest that
he did not recall seeing the report of Richard Colvin. There is some question as
to the validity of the earlier media reports about what the former Chief of the
Defence Staff said.
First, let us be clear: We are not talking about Canadian soldiers here. No
one is suggesting that Canadian soldiers have ever acted or participated in any
way in the torture of prisoners. We are talking about prisoners who are under
the control of the Afghan army. We acted decisively two and a half years ago to
improve the transfer arrangement that had been put in place by the previous
Liberal government so that we can now monitor prisoners after they are
transferred to Afghanistan authorities. To this end, Canadians have made over
170 visits to detention facilities.
Ministers receive advice, obviously. I believe that this goes to the
erroneous media reports about what the former Chief of the Defence Staff said.
Honourable senators, there are thousands of memos and pieces of information. The
ministers were not made aware of either the allegations or the charges. Once the
reports of the allegations of abuse became known, the government did take the
allegations seriously. We specifically acted by putting in place an improved
process. As the honourable senator will recall, there was a time during which we
did not transfer any prisoners until the process whereby we were able to monitor
the situation in the detention facilities was put in place.
Let us be clear, honourable senators. We are not talking about Taliban
prisoners being abused or tortured by members of the Canadian military. That is
not the case. It never was the case. There is much misunderstanding about that.
Our military personnel in the field in Afghanistan have always conducted
themselves in a professional and outstanding way. We actually made improvements
to the handover of prisoners as a result of the allegations that came out.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, a number of months ago the
government announced its carbon CO2 greenhouse gas reduction target
of 20 per cent below 2006 levels by 2020. Everyone who is concerned about these
things knows that while that target does not actually reflect what would be
required by science, if it is ever started, it would be a start.
Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate please tell us whether the
government's commitment to starting to do something about this target is
contingent upon getting an agreement at Copenhagen, which the minister has
announced he does not think will be possible?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State
(Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. Our government
has been engaged domestically, continentally and internationally in negotiating
a new climate change agreement. Just recently, the Prime Minister and the
Minister of the Environment participated in the United Nations process. The
Minister of the Environment accompanied the Prime Minister to the White House to
discuss the Clean Energy Dialogue with American counterparts. Minister Prentice
also attended the major economics forum in Washington.
At present, we are engaged and working toward a new plan that will turn the
page on Kyoto — an agreement that, I will remind honourable senators, the
Liberals never had any intention of implementing. I only have to refer you to
Eddie Goldenberg's book for proof of that.
Canada's position is no different from that of the United States of America
or most other Western industrial democracies. The treaty must reduce carbon
emissions and must include targets for the major emerging industrial giants.
As I have said before many times, the Economic Action Plan invests $1 billion
over five years in a clean energy fund for pilot projects and research,
including renewable energy projects such as wind power.
Senator Mitchell: I do not think the Prime Minister was involved in
the UN process. I think he was in Canada eating doughnuts in a doughnut shop.
Maybe he was drinking coffee, too.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, Oh.
Senator Mitchell: Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate
please clarify her answer? Could she tell me what her commitment is to a
specific plan that Canadians could see, laying out the steps, the regulations
and the requirements of various sectors in the industry? When exactly will we
see that plan? Will it be before Copenhagen or after, and, if so, how long after
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the Prime Minister was involved
in the United Nations process. He was in New York. He came back to Canada to
welcome the Tim Hortons head office back into Canada. What does the honourable
senator have against Tim Hortons? I think Tim Hortons is terrific.
The Prime Minister went to New York and participated in a climate change
meeting organized by the UN Secretary-General. There are pictures of this
meeting — if the honourable senator cares to have a copy, I will send him one —
where the Prime Minister worked with all of the leaders of the industrialized
world, including President Obama. He participated in that event. The Prime
Minister then participated in this great announcement where our corporate tax
measures have created a climate whereby a company like Tim Hortons decided to
move its head office back to Canada. He then went on to Pittsburgh for the G20
The honourable senator is quite incorrect, as usual.
With regard to the honourable senator's request for an exact timetable, I
will be happy to refer his request directly to the person who will deliver for
us on the issue of environmental policy, because he is an outstanding minister
and understands the file very well. I will refer the question to my colleague,
the Honourable Jim Prentice, and ask if he will be so kind as to provide the
honourable senator with a timetable.
Senator Mitchell: That will be great. Thank you.
The government has been in power for four years.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator Mitchell: As the government has taken four interminably long
years, and did not start when it could have, it is striking to note that the
minister's 2020 target will require bigger cuts in emissions than the Kyoto
targets required, those very targets that the government said could not be
achieved two, three or four years ago. It said that it was impossible and that
they would ruin the economy.
Could the leader please confirm that in fact that the government's cuts, the
ones the government says it is committed to, will be bigger than the cuts
required under Kyoto? Could the leader tell me once again when they will start?
Senator LeBreton: It was not us who said the Kyoto targets could not
be met; it was the honourable senator's side that said that. The honourable
senator criticizes what we have done on this file in four years. Four years is a
heck of a lot shorter time than 13 years, in which the previous government did
Minister Prentice is being realistic and working hard on this file. It is
obvious that any movement on climate change and greenhouse gas reductions has to
involve the major emitters. It makes no sense to proceed without having the full
participation of the emerging economies of China, India and Brazil.
Senator Mitchell: So we cannot get the full participation at
Copenhagen, but full participation is the prerequisite of action. Is the
honourable leader saying, therefore, that if we do not get an agreement in
Copenhagen, then the government will not be starting? That is the logic of what
Senator LeBreton: Senator Mitchell is always trying to put words in my
Senator Mitchell: You should listen to yourself.
Senator LeBreton: You should listen to yourself, Senator Mitchell. You
might be enlightened.
The fact is that I have full confidence in my colleague, the Honourable Jim
Prentice. I think he is handling the environmental file carefully and
realistically. When he attends the meetings in Copenhagen, I believe he will
clearly and properly represent a reasonable position for Canada. Certainly, he
has been forthright with the Canadian public in regard to what he sees as the
difficulties we face as a country going forward in the world economy.
Hon. Judith Seidman: Honourable senators, I would like to again ask my
question from the end of last Thursday's Question Period.
Last week, the Liberal Party promised to create a body to advise —
The Hon. the Speaker: There are only thirty seconds remaining in
Senator Seidman: Tomorrow, then.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I will take
the 30 seconds. In fact, Senator Seidman tried last week to ask a question and
she is trying again today. My question is to the minister. When will senators
from this side be able to ask a question?
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to present answers to oral questions raised by
Senator Tardif on February 25 and June 2, 2009, concerning Treasury Board
Secretariat, sale of crown properties; by Senator Murray on February 25, 2009,
concerning Treasury Board Secretariat, meeting Air Canada's linguistic
obligations under the Official Languages Act; by Senator Rompkey on
October 1, 2009, and by Senator Milne on October 7, 2009, concerning Fisheries,
the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization; and by Senator Mercer on October
8, 2009, concerning Fisheries and Oceans, Canso, Nova Scotia.
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Claudette Tardif on February 25 and
June 2, 2009)
As part of this Government's rigorous expenditure review to ensure spending
is as efficient and effective as possible, Budget 2009 laid out a clear
process for the ongoing review of government assets. When the Government looks
into the possibility of selling the assets of a Crown corporation, an analysis
of the impact of the sale on services to the public in the official language
of their choice, on the language of work of federal employees and on the
development of official language minority communities will be carried out as
part of the usual decision-making process.
From this analysis the government can determine whether the assets to be
sold should still be subject to the Official Languages Act (the Act).
If yes, it is possible to implement mechanisms similar to those adopted for
Air Canada in order to extend application of the Act to the assets that are to
With regard to mechanisms put in place to ensure that privatized Crown
corporations meet their obligations under the Act, it is important to
note that these institutions are responsible for fulfilling vested
obligations, as with any other institution that is subject to the Act.
In addition, these corporations would be part of institutions that are subject
to oversight by the Treasury Board.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Lowell Murray on February 25, 2009)
Air Canada has been subject to the Official Languages Act (the
Act) since it came into force in 1969. When Air Canada was privatized in
1988, the government decided that this institution would continue to be
subject to the Act via specific provisions in this respect included in
the Air Canada Public Participation Act.
As an institution subject to the Act, Air Canada is responsible for
meeting its linguistic obligations.
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Bill Rompkey on October 1, 2009, and
Hon. Lorna Milne on October 7, 2009)
The amendments to the 1978 NAFO Convention are important for Canada and for
the Canadian fishing industry. They will help to ensure the conservation and
sustainable management of fish stocks and ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic
Ocean and thereby contribute to the economic development and prosperity of
coastal communities in Atlantic Canada.
The Government's overriding objectives are to curb overfishing, to ensure
the sustainability of the fish stocks and the long-term health of the
ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic, particularly in the interest of Canada's
There have been many definitions of custodial management. This Government
was clear that the rules in NAFO needed strengthening. Foreign overfishing and
governance weaknesses in NAFO that undermined Canada's fish stocks and
fisheries management advances had to be curtailed.
After years of foreign overfishing and collapsing stocks in NAFO in 2006 we
strengthened the NAFO Conservation and Enforcement Measures and witnessed a
dramatic improvement in compliance in the NAFO Regulatory Area, outside our
200-mile limit. Many fish stocks are now showing signs of recovery, including
straddling stocks important to Canada's fishing industry.
With the amendments to the 1978 NAFO Convention, we will build on the
compliance successes to codify requirements of the states whose vessels fish
in the NAFO Regulatory Area plus further modernize and improve the way NAFO
makes management decisions for fisheries outside Canada's 200 mile limit.
With respect to sovereignty, the amended Convention is quite clear. The
amended NAFO Convention explicitly maintains Canada's sovereign rights to take
management decisions on fisheries within its 200-nautical mile Exclusive
Economic Zone. It is clear that NAFO has no mandate to take management
decisions within Canadian waters nor does it give foreign fishing vessels
rights to fish in Canadian waters. In a recent Senate Fisheries and Oceans
Committee meeting a respected University of Victoria Legal expert confirmed
Should it be in Canada's interest, for example, to protect a sensitive
ecosystem which straddles its 200 mile EEZ a new provision enables Canada to
request an appropriate measure. Canada maintains control over its waters and
such a measure would only be applied in Canadian waters if a) Canada requests
that they apply; and b) votes in favour of such measures. This
provision clarifies that coastal States requirement to adopt compatible
measures in waters under national jurisdiction and in NAFO according to the
United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement. This provision also applies to the other
coastal States in NAFO including Denmark (for Greenland), France (for Saint
Pierre et Miquelon), and the USA. Only a coastal state can request that NAFO
consider such a measure and they have a full veto.
The existing NAFO Convention has failed Canadians. The amended NAFO
Convention implements international legal requirements, modern,
conservation-based governance approaches and a mechanism to resolve disputes.
In short, the amendments to the 1978 NAFO Convention are beneficial for
Canada and especially for the fishing industry of Newfoundland and Labrador,
its economy and its people. Canada's fishing industry brings billions of
dollars to the economies of our coastal communities. Canada is committed to
the long-term viability of this industry.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Terry M. Mercer on October 8, 2009)
Last year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) initiated a review of the
detachment locations in eastern Nova Scotia in order to determine if resources
were being deployed in the most efficient manner possible to ensure a high
level of service to the people of the area.
This review identified a number of sites that may not continue to be
effectively situated to meet present operational demands, due to a variety of
factors, including decreases in fishing activities in the adjacent areas as
well as remoteness from facilities and partners.
Canso was one of the areas identified in the review for further examination
based on its location at the extreme end of a patrol area and given the
declining fishing activity in the area over the last ten years. Additionally,
support services, such as access to Crown Counsel, are not available in the
immediate area. There is a requirement to travel to other locations to take
advantage of opportunities to achieve cost savings and efficiencies by
partnering with other law enforcement agencies.
These are the operational or technical reasons for seeking expressions of
interest in the provision of new office locations to better deliver the
services of DFO. There are clearly other considerations that will be factored
into a final decision. In the meantime, departmental officials will continue
to work with representatives of the Town of Canso and other potentially
affected parties to ensure that every view is considered before a decision is
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Pépin, for the second reading of Bill S-241, An Act
to amend the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act
(credit and debit cards).
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Does the Deputy Leader of the Government
have any advice on when senators on that side will be speaking to Bill S-241,
which is urgent?
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I realize it
is urgent, but it was brought in recently. We have not had a chance to evaluate
the impact of it. I know that Senator Oliver is currently in the process of
studying Bill S-241. I spoke to him recently. He has not yet received a full
briefing on it yet. We will get to it as soon as possible.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Ringuette, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Milne, for the second reading of Bill S-242, An Act
to amend the Canadian Payments Act (debit card payment systems).
Hon. Pierrette Ringuette: Does the Deputy Leader of the Government
have any advice on when senators on that side will be speaking to Bill S-242? It
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I realize
that it is urgent, but it was also brought in recently. We have not had had a
chance to evaluate the impact of it. We will get to it as soon as possible.
Hon. Pamela Wallin moved second reading of Bill S-240, An Act
respecting a national day of service to honour the courage and sacrifice of
Canadians in the face of terrorism, particularly the events of September 11,
She said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak in support of Bill
S-240, an act that will designate September 11 each year as a national day of
I would first like to call the attention of the chamber to two guests in the
gallery today. They are Maureen Basnicki, whose husband, Ken, was one of the 24
Canadians killed on September 11, 2001; and Danny Eisen from the Canadian
Coalition Against Terrorism.
Welcome. We appreciate you being here today.
I was approached by the Canadian Coalition Against Terror and the Canadian
9/11 families who asked us as senators to find a way not only to remember their
loss but also to remind us all of the many kindnesses of strangers and the many
hands that reached out to someone in need during and since that horrific day.
I support this bill because I believe we must remember what happened on 9/11
and remember those from 90 countries who lost their lives, including the 24
Canadians who perished. We should also mark this day because it changed all of
us forever and we must turn the mourning into memory and the anger into action.
Inspired by the American 9/11 families, the Canadians asked us to consider a
national day of service. Bill S-240, which proposes a national day of service,
is a unifying, nonpartisan bill that everyone can support.
In March of this year, the United States passed a similar bipartisan bill
called the Serve America Act, co-sponsored by 42 senators who worked together to
create a constructive and compassionate way for generations to come to remember.
Since the passage of the Serve America Act, thousands of organizations —
non-profit, faith-based, employers — have mobilized hundreds of thousands of
Americans; people such as Tiffany Bohm in Chicago, Illinois and her classmates
who launched a project to collect 2,974 pairs of shoes, representing each person
lost in the 9/11 attacks, and donate them to a homeless shelter.
John Henry and Ellie Labriola of Southbury, Connecticut set up a lemonade
stand the week before school began and raised more than $100 to donate to a
school uniform drive for other school children in need. In Atlanta, Georgia,
Lilli Love and her friends delivered goodie baskets to fire and police stations
as a way of paying tribute to the first responders of 9/11.
This is the sort of volunteerism we hope Bill S-240 will recognize and
inspire in this country.
This is a simple bill. There are not a lot of complicated clauses or legal
language. It does not oblige us to participate or fund any ceremony, and there
are no mandatory provisions within it. It is simply about the spirit of giving
back, or perhaps of paying it forward.
It began almost spontaneously. A friend whose son was supposed to be on a
plane from Boston on 9/11 called to ask whether, if his boy made it to Toronto,
he could have a place to stay. Of course, family was already huddled together.
We called friends and family together because we needed the safety and comfort
of connectedness in the face of an act that shattered our comfort zone.
That week, I was awaiting cancer surgery. Tuesday, the morning of the 11th, I
rose early making all the preparations that one does in the face of such
uncertainty; bills paid, will updated, and thank yous to those who had gathered
as my safety net. I turned on my television to witness the unimaginable. As the
towers defied the miracle of modern architecture and tumbled down, my father
quietly noted that this would prove bigger than Pearl Harbour.
Too young to remember the true devastation of war but old enough to recollect
the images of troops in our streets when Canada faced the threat of the FLQ, we
all somehow understood together that the world had changed.
I knew that my surgery would be delayed as Sunnybrook Hospital is a
designated international trauma centre, and hundreds of survivors, we all
thought, would surely be flown to Canada for treatment. None came. There were
none to come.
I vowed that if I survived my own surgery I would try to pay it forward.
Still I was struggling with the randomness, the profound unfairness of it all.
Thousands who simply boarded a plane or who rode the elevator to the office as
they had done countless times before, perished for no other reason than they
symbolized all that we cherish about our life — our freedom; the freedom to
work, to live, to love, to speak our mind, to disagree and criticize and make
Several weeks later, I was honoured to host the Canada Loves New York event
at the behest of Senator Grafstein and others. Nearly 25,000 Canadians filled
the famous Roseland Ballroom in New York City and spilled out on that city's
streets to show support.
Prime Minister Chrétien came, as did Mayor Guiliani. Our singers and artists
reached out with their voices and words and images of our flags entwined.
Canadian firemen and police honoured their American colleagues and brought
equipment and spirit and money to help.
At the end of this amazing day, a nurse, who had worked all night before
getting into her car to drive the 10 long hours south, had taken up a collection
in her hospital coffee room. She sought me out and almost apologetically handed
me the envelope with the 60 or so dollars she had collected. She asked only that
it go to a family, a widow or a child in need, and entrusted me with the task.
The tears streamed down our cheeks.
It was that simple yet extraordinary act that today motivates me to ask all
of you to support this bill so that we might always find a reason in our hearts
to make kindness a part of our life and to always act to counter the hatred that
inspired the heinous acts of 9/11.
Bill S-240 was introduced in this chamber in Senator Tkachuk's name on my
behalf. I appreciate his willingness to do so because he too has worked
tirelessly for the victims of 9/11 by introducing other bills, including Bill
S-233, the state immunity bill currently before this chamber. Bill S-233 amends
the State Immunity Act to prevent foreign states from claiming immunity from
Canadian courts relating to their support of terrorism.
Bill S-233 also amends the Criminal Code to provide victims who suffer loss
or damage as a result of terrorism with civil means to seek justice. Amnesty
International as well as human rights activists support Senator Tkachuk's bill.
In the other place we have Bill C-35, the victims of terrorism bill
introduced by the government in June. Bill C-35 will also amend the State
Immunity Act and allow victims' families to seek compensation for terrorist acts
committed outside of Canada.
These pieces of legislation recognize the victims' experiences and their
suffering. It also sends a clear message that Canada will hold the sponsors and
perpetrators of terrorism accountable for their crimes, and will help stem the
flow of money to terrorists and expose the states that allow it.
With Bill S-240, a national day of service bill, the families hope to ensure
that the lessons so painfully learned continue to resonate within our nation's
heart. Bill S-240 will ensure that the passage of time or the ill-will of others
will never somehow combine to diminish this tragedy. It will honour the victims
of terrorism. It will pay tribute to all those who would not stand aside, but
who stood up in the face of terrorism, particularly the men and women of our
To those who have fallen in the fight and to their families, we can never
repay your sacrifice, but we are grateful for the willingness of your loved ones
to risk their lives to protect ours. To those who still stand and fight so that
this will never happen again, we honour them by understanding the true meaning
of their mission: To create hope and to ensure that acts of kindness change
The bill honours the selfless service of our civilian and military
volunteers, which is far more persuasive and far more powerful than the hate
they battle every day. This bill recognizes the spirit of our citizens who,
through their acts of generosity to strangers, are a powerful inspiration to our
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
(On motion of Senator Grafstein, debate adjourned.)
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C.,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Atkins, for the second reading of Bill
S-222, An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (bulk
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, given that the subject matter of this bill is currently being reviewed
by the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural
Resources and that we are now at day 13, I would like to ask for leave to
suspend the 15-day rule until such time as the committee's review is completed.
In other words, since the subject matter is before committee I am asking that
we waive the 15-day rule on this bill until the committee reports back on its
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators have heard the suggestion by
the honourable Deputy Leader of the Government. Is it agreed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: So ordered.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I do not understand. Why is
it necessary? The honourable senator wants to waive the 15 days. The item can
just sit for another 15 days. What does waiving the requirement mean? Is there
any danger of it falling off the Order Paper? The honourable senator would not
want to do that.
Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, it saves me having to get up in
14 days or 15 days, when the matter comes up again. It would save me having to
request an extra extension. No, it is a matter of making it more convenient for
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I think a strict reading of
the rule speaks to debate and that the idea of the rule, in my understanding, is
that we do not want a debate just to be put off and put off. After all, this is
a house of debate. However, in this case the debate effectively is suspended
when the subject matter of the debate had been referred to a committee. I think
where Senator Comeau is going is probably captured by the rule itself.
I believe Senator Cools is right as well, in that we probably do not need to
do this. When the subject matter of a bill or any matter that is under debate
has been suspended, effectively the days for debate are not counted any more
because we are not into debate.
If it would be helpful I will undertake to look into that but if it is
agreed, we have it as an order of the house that as far as the debate is
concerned it is suspended while the subject matter is before committee. Is it
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Dawson, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Cook, for the second reading of Bill S-236, An Act to
amend the Canada Elections Act (election expenses).
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, we are at day 14 on this item, and I heard what the Speaker said a few
minutes ago. However, given that Senator Gerstein is not in the chamber at this
time, I move for the adjournment of the debate on this bill until Senator
Gerstein has a chance to prepare his notes. Therefore, I move the adjournment of
the debate in his name.
(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Gerstein, debate adjourned.)
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Spivak, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Wallace, for the second reading of Bill S-204, An Act
to amend the National Capital Act (establishment and protection of Gatineau
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I would like to pick up
the discussion of Bill S-204 where I left off last June.
Bill S-204 would amend the National Capital Act by establishing and
protecting Gatineau Park.
It would establish the legal boundaries of the park and provide a mechanism
for managing the lands within those boundaries.
Introduced and read for the first time on January 27, 2009, this bill
succeeds Bill S-210, which was introduced during the first session of the 39th
Parliament and Bill S-227, which was introduced during the second session of the
I spoke at each stage of both bills. This bill is very important to me.
In June, around the time when I spoke to this bill, the government introduced
Bill C-37, An Act to amend the National Capital Act and other Acts. That bill
would do the following: modify the governance structure of the National Capital
Commission and increase its transparency; clarify the National Capital
Commission's responsibilities, including those regarding planning and sound
environmental stewardship; establish the boundaries of Gatineau Park; enhance
the National Capital Commission's regulation-making powers; remove the
requirement that the National Capital Commission seek Governor in Council
approval for real estate transactions; and harmonize that Act with the civil law
regime of Quebec because many of the Commission's properties are located within
the province of Quebec.
In summary, the legislative situation is as follows: There are now two
private members' bills: Bill S-204, which is before us, and Bill C-367, which
has been introduced in the other place. The main purpose of these two bills is
to protect Gatineau Park in the long term. The government has introduced its
Bill C-37, whose objectives I have just summarized. The bill includes an action
plan for the National Capital Commission, and its objectives include protecting
All these legislative measures recognize that the park is a valuable natural
resource, and all are designed to secure its ecological integrity, in the
interest and for the long-term enjoyment of all Canadians.
Since we are continuing with the debate on Bill S-204 at second reading, I
had promised last week to track the progress of Bill C-37 and report on the
situation, because these two bills are being studied at the same time. I believe
that it is in our interest to keep track of what is happening.
Last week, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities began hearing witnesses in its study of Bill
C-37. Today, I learned that the notice of meeting has been issued and the
clause-by-clause review of the bill is scheduled for next week, on November 4,
2009. We will then have a good idea of how our colleagues in the House of
Commons will handle this measure, and we will see whether or not it can apply to
the bill that is before us.
It is important to remember that in recent decades a consensus regarding
Gatineau Park has emerged out of a series of public and private initiatives,
planning exercises and consultations by the National Capital Commission and
parliamentary debates on the future of Gatineau Park and the National Capital
Commission. In my opinion, in keeping with this consensus, a law designed to
protect Gatineau Park should first entrench the park boundaries in law, then
require that the management and integrity of the park ecology be given priority.
Lastly, such a law should eliminate real estate development and recognize that
the park was created for the well-being and enjoyment of future generations.
We must also ask ourselves the following question — and I do not intend to
suggest an answer immediately — that is, whether Gatineau Park should be treated
like all other national parks. That is not the goal of Bill C-37. When Bill C-37
is examined in committee, we will have the opportunity to amend it accordingly.
However, I would like to list a few important points that should be included in
a serious bill meant to protect Gatineau Park.
Bill C-37 addresses the boundaries of Gatineau Park, but it is up to us to
assess whether those boundaries are appropriate. Regarding the setting of
boundaries, I think it is important to know whether Parliament has the authority
to oversee the expansion or alteration of the park's boundaries.
Additionally, the issue of ecological integrity is important. Now we must
consider whether the various bills all have the same goal.
As for territorial integrity, honourable senators will recall that there was
quite a debate when we were examining the bills that came before Bill S-204,
specifically, how to analyse and address the Quebec government's involvement in
any territorial changes to Gatineau Park. I think it is important to keep this
The question of the national interest land mass also remains. We live in the
nation's capital. There is no doubt that there is a huge critical mass of
federally owned buildings. In a recent report, the Auditor General pointed out
that the National Capital Commission had unfortunately been managing this
national interest land mass inconsistently and incoherently. Once again, during
the detailed examination of these legislative measures, it will be important to
see how the National Capital Commission plans to remedy the Auditor General's
We cannot overlook the issue of privately-owned property when we examine the
question of the integrity of Gatineau Park's boundaries. Once again, the bills
are somewhat contradictory in that regard and particular attention must be paid
to this issue.
The question of accountability and transparency of the reports to Parliament
on the management of the park is also extremely important. Bill C-37 is very
clear in that regard. That is an important measure that we must try to preserve.
In the interests of Gatineau Park, I think that we should wait for Bill C-37
to be sent back to us from the House of Commons. Then we will have before us two
of the three bills that deal with this issue. Under the guise of examining a
government bill, we will be in a position to make a well-informed value judgment
on the future of Bill C-37. Bills S-204 and C-37 also have some discrepancies.
For these reasons, I move the adjournment of the debate in my name for the
few minutes I have remaining.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Tkachuk, seconded
by the Honourable Senator Stratton, for the second reading of Bill S-233, An
Act to amend the State Immunity Act and the Criminal Code (deterring terrorism
by providing a civil right of action against perpetrators and sponsors of
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I will be speaking today on
the anti-terrorism bill. Before beginning, however, I would like to acknowledge
two people who are in the gallery, Maureen Basnicki and Danny Eisen from the
Canadian Coalition Against Terror, C-CAT, which has been behind this anti-terrorism bill for the last four years. I would like to acknowledge their hard
work and dedication to the cause.
Last week at the trial of the leader of the Toronto 18, a group of would-be
terrorists arrested in 2006, video and other evidence was released. It indicated
that the group was planning to create three explosions, each on the scale of the
Oklahoma City bombing. The explosions were to take place in truck bombs parked
outside the Toronto Stock Exchange, the CSIS regional office in Toronto and at a
military base between Toronto and Ottawa. Plans were also afoot to attack the
Police collected evidence that included bags of fertilizer, like that used in
the Oklahoma bombing, cellphones that would be used as detonators, and
batteries. They confiscated a video of one of the accused trying out a cellphone
detonator. Another video shown on television last week caught two of the
terrorists unloading ammonium nitrate just before police stormed in on them.
Honourable senators, this group was bent on wreaking havoc here in Canada,
but that was in 2006. In the time since, the threat seems to have remained
dormant and the tendency has been to grow complacent about the terrorist threat.
We would do well to remember that just last week a man was arrested in
Massachusetts and charged with planning to carry out terrorist attacks in and
outside the United States. His was among what the newspaper called the latest in
a rash of homegrown terror cases brought to light in recent weeks.
Terrorism is far from dead, and it is an issue, as these recent arrests and
the trial in Toronto tell us, about which we can scarcely afford to grow
complacent. In fact, its methods are so insidious that we need to be constantly
on the alert. Fighting it requires vigilance and ingenuity, and the resort to
every democratic means at our disposal. Just as innocent victims are terrorism's
primary target, so must innocent victims have a right to participate, and
participate actively, in the fight against terrorism.
Bill S-233 is a weapon in the hands of terrorism's innocent, but no longer
defenceless, victims. Its aim, as is apparent in the bill's title, is to provide
terror victims and their families with a civil right of action against
terrorism's perpetrators and their sponsors.
In previous sessions, I have spoken to this bill in its earlier incarnations:
Bill S-35, Bill S-218 and Bill S-225. I hesitate to speak to it at length, but
there are now quite a few more new, friendly and welcome faces around the
chamber, and I would be remiss if I did not say at least a few words in its
Bill S-233, as did its predecessors, amends both the State Immunity Act and
the Criminal Code. It amends the former to prevent states that either sponsor or
engage directly in terrorist activity from claiming immunity in Canadian courts.
In other words, they can be sued for damages in a Canadian civil court of law,
irrespective of any criminal proceedings. The rationale is that money is the
lifeblood of terrorism. Without the resources to carry out their crimes,
terrorists would be unable or, at the very least, be limited in their ability to
plan and execute their operations.
The bill also amends the Criminal Code to allow those who have suffered a
loss or damage as a result of an attack to launch a civil suit against those who
knowingly or recklessly sponsored the attack. This is critical. Civil suits will
allow for the pursuit of terror sponsors who often evade the criminal justice
system due to the high standards of evidence required for conviction.
In civil proceedings, evidence that establishes a defendant's status as a
supporter of terror, which may not be sufficient for conviction in a criminal
proceeding, can be enough to establish liability and to obtain a damages award.
Civil actions also provide a platform for educating the public about the
threat and consequences of supporting terrorism.
They can also serve to deter future acts of violence in two ways: first by
bankrupting or financially-impairing the infrastructure through successful
judgments; and, second, by causing terror sponsors to refrain from future
sponsorship out of fear of the publicity and exposure that would result from a
As it now stands, Canadian law permits civil action against foreign states
for breach of contract, personal injury, death or damage to property that occurs
in Canada, but it does not allow it in cases where sponsoring terrorist acts
results in the murder of Canadians abroad.
There is such an exception in the United States law, however, allowing
civilians to seek money damages against foreign states that either perpetuate or
support terrorist acts. Indeed, such suits have had success in the United States
and family members of victims have been awarded damages. Notable in this regard
is the successful suit against Iran arising out of the 1983 bombing of the U.S.
marine barracks in Lebanon. Also in Chicago in 2004, the Boim family was awarded
damages by the federal court against Chicago-based Islamic organizations, the
same organizations that provided material support to the Hamas killers who
gunned down their son in Israel 10 years earlier.
Honourable senators, as I indicated, this is the fourth version of this bill.
Bill S-233, therefore, has the extra benefit of its predecessor having been
discussed at the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
This, in my estimation, has had two beneficial effects. First, the government
last June tabled at first reading in the House of Commons Bill C-35. This bill
is very similar in tone and intent, and was in fact inspired by the bill we have
before us today. It is worth noting as well that Liberal MP Irwin Cotler has
tabled his own private member's bill in the house, Bill C-408, which again is
virtually identical to Bill S-225.
The second beneficial effect is that this bill has been redrafted in light of
the many and expert comments and suggestions made by the members of the Standing
Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs when they reviewed its
predecessor. I can safely say that even in its earlier form, this bill had
all-party support both here and in the other place. This is important to point
out, because we so recently learned that it is certainly not always the case.
Nevertheless, refinements based on discussions that took place in committee
have been made. The result is a better bill. Let me run through some of the
As I mentioned, and as originally drafted, the legislation aims to amend the
State Immunity Act so that foreign states that knowingly and recklessly sponsor
listed terrorist entities can no longer claim immunity for their action. It also
makes amendments to the Criminal Code to allow civil claims against local and
state sponsors of terrorism. These claims can be brought by people who have
suffered loss or damage as a result of conduct that is contrary to the existing
anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code.
In response to comments made in committee on the previous version of the
bill, clause 2 of this bill proposes a new subsection 6.12 to be added to the
State Immunity Act. This would allow the foreign state's immunity to be lifted
for a new type of behaviour. It will lose its immunity, not only for providing
material support to terrorism, but for itself engaging in terrorist activity,
such as executing an attack.
This change was in response to the Senate committee's comment that victims of
a Lockerbie-type case in which Libya was directly involved in the attack, rather
than sponsoring a terrorist group to commit the attack, would not be able to sue
Libya under our previous bill.
Another change is that the bill now lifts state immunity not only for
providing support to these groups identified in the Criminal Code as a listed
entity, but it also lifts immunity for those who might act on behalf of, in
association with, or at the direction of a listed entity.
This was in response to the Senate committee's suggestion that we expand the
scope of the bill. In other words, it lifts the immunity of a state not only
when it provides assistance to listed entities, but also to other terrorist
groups that are not listed entities.
The committee also suggested that we more specifically define the role of the
Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance in assisting the execution of
Previously, the bill required the ministers to assist to the fullest extent
practicable in identifying and locating the property of a foreign state, agent,
or instrumentality. That has been changed. Now the ministers are required to
assist within the scope of their powers and to the extent that is reasonably
Another change is that the bill previously used the term "terrorist
conduct" to describe the proscribed activity that could trigger a lawsuit
against those who sponsored it. That has been changed to the words "support of
terrorism." The easiest way to illustrate the difference is to look at the
summaries of the bill.
In Bill S-225, the previous version of the bill and the one examined by
committee, the summary read:
This enactment amends the State Immunity Act to prevent a foreign state
from claiming immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts in respect of
the proceedings that relate to terrorist conduct engaged in and by the foreign
In Bill S-233, the bill before you, the summary reads:
This enactment amends the State Immunity Act to prevent the foreign state
from claiming immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts in respect of
proceedings that relate to the support of terrorism or terrorist activity
engaged in by the foreign state.
The wording is more specific and explicitly makes clear that states that not
only sponsor but engage in terrorist attacks themselves are not immune from
Honourable senators, I would like to thank the chair, Senator Fraser, and
other members of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for their hard
work on the previous bill and of course for the suggestions and recommendations
that resulted in the amendments to the new bill, which I presented in June.
Honourable senators, Bill S-233 has all-party support, both here and in the
other place. It has benefited from the critical eyes of legal experts, including
not only those who drafted it but those on both sides who sat in committee as
senators and reviewed it. It is a better piece of legislation for it. As I
mentioned, there is similar legislation in the House.
I look forward to moving ahead in this place with this bill in a way that
takes into account what is happening in the other place so we can put the most
effective tool in the hands of terrorism victims, a tool that provides them with
the means not only to take effective action but that deters future acts of
terrorism in that process. This is, after all is said and done, a victim's
initiative championed by an organization called the Canadian Coalition Against
Terror, CCAT, which represents Canadian terror victims. CCAT has played a
critical role in drafting and advocating for this bill.
It is my understanding that the government bill in the house will be moved
forward in the next two days, 48 hours, but I think it is important that these
private members' bills also move forward so that we can keep some control of the
situation, so to speak. We all know how these things can sometimes go a little
astray. That is why I am pursuing this private member's bill and I am sure why
Mr. Cotler is pursuing his private member's bill in the house. I urge all
honourable senators to move this bill to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Committee for the completion of their study.
Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: May I ask a question of Senator Tkachuk?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Would Senator Tkachuk
accept a question?
Senator Tkachuk: Sure. I do not know if I can answer it.
Senator Jaffer: I listened to the honourable senator carefully, and I
absolutely accept any initiative to protect rights of victims. I commend the
honourable senator for looking at protecting victims' rights.
However, another large group of victims is not protected by this bill. When
the honourable senator was considering this bill, did he reflect on the fact
that there are across our country victims of racial profiling who also need
protection? Has he reflected on how we can protect the hundreds of victims of
racial profiling? We seem to be passing one law after another and giving the
signal that there is but one particular group that we need to look out for. What
are we doing for those victims of racial profiling?
Senator Tkachuk: I am not sure what the question has to do with the
bill, but of course I would be upset and concerned if I believed that certain
groups in society were being maligned or discriminated against. This bill is
about victims of terrorism. It knows no boundaries and there are many groups
that commit terrorist acts.
Senator Jaffer: I was very much taken by what the honourable senator
said. I commend him on that. He said that we need to look at protecting victims.
The honourable senator knows and kindly spoke of all the work that senators have
done on the different bills that have gone through the Senate, and he
extensively commented on the different things the committee has recommended. One
of the things, at the various stages of the various terrorist bills, the Senate
has recommended is consideration of the fate of the Muslim community and the
possibility of profiling when such bills come into being. They can also be
victimized by these acts. When the honourable senator considered the various
victim groups, did he consider the suffering of the Muslim community in our
country as a result of racial profiling?
Senator Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I do not know if that is a
question or a statement. I want to make it clear that this particular bill is to
protect victims of terrorism. I do not know what the future holds or what
particular groups will be responsible or what particular countries will be
responsible for terrorist acts. As I pointed out in my speech, terrorist acts
are not only committed by certain nations and certain groups but also by
citizens within our own country — the Oklahoma bombing in the United States
being the perfect example, and the Toronto 18 being another one.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Would Senator Tkachuk take a question from me?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will Senator Tkachuk
accept another question?
Senator Cools: I listened to Senator Tkachuk with care. I must admit I
had not paid much attention to the bill, but I promise faithfully that I shall
read it and give it my attention. Based on what the honourable senator said and
the citation in the Orders of the Day, I am not clear on the meaning of "to
deter terrorism by providing a civil right of action against perpetrators and
sponsors of terrorism." Does the bill address perpetrators and sponsors who are
Canadians and foreigners abroad, living in their countries of origin or
Senator Tkachuk: They are able to sue in Canadian courts those groups
in other countries or those groups here in Canada associated with those other
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I understand it applies to both
Canadians and foreigners in other countries. Could the honourable senator share
with senators the process by which Canadian courts will acquire authority and
jurisdiction over the residents and citizens of a sovereign country? How is that
jurisdiction acquired by the courts in a civil action?
Senator Tkachuk: Those countries that do not have an extradition
treaty with Canada are countries that are able to be sued by a citizen of Canada
who is a victim of terrorism.
Senator Cools: How do you acquire authority over them? For example, if
person A lives in country B, what gives the court the jurisdiction to subpoena,
summon and enforce orders against him?
Senator Tkachuk: You would take a judgment in Canada, as far as I
understand, and reciprocate.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, if the witnesses you need to prove
a case are in another country, where does the power come from to get them here
to testify? How is an order for damages enforced in another country? I am
Senator Tkachuk: The witnesses do not have to come to Canada; the
trial will continue without them.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Senator Jaffer triggered a short question
about 9/11. It is important that we get it on the record. We have another bill
from Senator Wallin that I hope to address in the near future.
It is important that Canadians know that the people who suffered losses in
9/11, included, in my view, practically every race and religion in the world. I
am sure this information is available from the Canadian government. Could the
honourable senator put on the record the number of Canadians who lost their
lives in 9/11, which triggered Ms. Basnicki's lobby and coalition and for which
I commend her? I have spoken to her and other relatives of Canadian victims who
suffered in 9/11.
It is curious to me that people do not understand, based on the new
conspiracy theories, that somehow this really did not happen; that the Americans
did this. It is important to put on the record that Muslims, Jews, Christians,
Catholics, Buddhists and practically every religion were involved in 9/11. A
list would point out that these terrorist acts were indiscriminate against
innocent people of all races and creeds.
Senator Tkachuk: Ms. Basnicki's husband, Ken, was one of 24 Canadian
citizens killed on September 11. Ms. Basnicki is with us today.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Neufeld, for the second reading of Bill C-268, An Act
to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving
trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years).
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, some days ago, when our
lovely new senator from British Columbia spoke to this item, Bill C-268, I rose
to take the adjournment, indicating my interest in speaking to this bill. I
still very much have an interest in doing so. However, in conversation with
Senator Dyck, I learned that Senator Dyck wanted to be the second speaker on
this bill for the simple reason that she would have the additional time that she
feels she needs to be able to record the circumstances of certain Aboriginal
peoples. Having said that, I would defer and yield the floor to Senator Dyck.
She would be free to speak whenever she chooses to do so. The honourable senator
has the certainty of knowing she has the second speaker spot so she can prepare
a more fulsome presentation.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It is understood that
if the bill stands in Senator Dyck's name, she will be the second speaker and
have the time allotted.
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Chaput, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Hubley, that the fourth report of the Standing Senate
Committee on Official Languages, entitled Reflecting Canada's Linguistic
Duality at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: A Golden Opportunity,
Follow-up Report, tabled in the Senate on September 15, 2009, be adopted
and that, pursuant to rule 131(2), the Senate request a complete and detailed
response from the government, with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and
Official Languages and the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
being identified as ministers responsible for responding to the report.
Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, for the past few years the
Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages has made it its duty to promote
the importance of full bilingualism at the Olympic Games to be held in Canada at
the beginning of next year.
Given that the official languages of our country and of the International
Committee are the same, what we will show the world should become the standard
for all countries that organize such competitions in the future. Canada must be
the example to be followed, the model to be imitated.
We are thrilled by the results obtained in light of previous reports
presented. The report being examined today was completed in June and we note
with satisfaction that certain problems it raised have already been resolved.
For example, when it became evident that there were still problems with
translation and interpretation, our government, through the minister responsible
for official languages, Mr. James Moore, did not delay in taking action and made
an additional amount of almost $8 million available to VANOC.
VANOC set up a committee with a mandate to ensure that everything is
compliant with Olympic language laws, and to satisfy our hopes and desires. With
the appointment of Mr. Raffarin and Ms. LaRocque to the committee, we can hope
that solutions will be found to the last outstanding items, which we are still
When I was preparing this speech, I did not know that Senator St. Germain
would be talking to us about the loss the Olympic world suffered on the weekend.
I would be remiss if I concluded this speech without expressing, on behalf of
myself and all our colleagues, our most sincere condolences to the entire
Olympic family following the death last week of Jack Poole. He was a leader
among those responsible for bringing these games to Canada and to Vancouver in
particular. Our most sincere sympathy goes to his loved ones.
For this report to have the desired results, it urgently needs to be adopted
as quickly as possible. I had hoped that we would do so today. I am told that
Senator Jaffer wants to say a few words about the report. We hope that she will
do so soon so that it may be adopted and we may get the results we are all
(On motion of Senator Tardif, for Senator Jaffer, debate adjourned.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the third report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Human Rights, entitled: The Public Sector Equitable
Compensation Act, tabled in the Senate on June 11, 2009.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate
Committee on Human Rights has had an ongoing reference with respect to the
Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. We tabled a report in June, which I
would hope to speak to. In the interim, we have received some new information
and I would appreciate incorporating the new material. Therefore, I adjourn the
(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Segal calling the
attention of the Senate to the government of Iran's imminent nuclear war
capacity and its preparations for war in the Middle East, and to the
commitment of Canada and its allies, including the USA, Russia, Turkey, the
Gulf States, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others, to diplomatic and
strategic initiatives that exclude first-use nuclear attack, the ability of
Canada to engage with its allies in order to understand, measure and contain
this threat, and the capacity of Canada to support allied efforts to prevent a
thermonuclear exchange in the Middle East.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I have been committed to
delivering my speech that has been expected for some time. However, many
developments are taking place in Iran. I am happy to have delayed my
intervention. What I had prepared proves exactly what is taking place. Patience
and negotiations are better than losing your mind and going to war. I shall,
before I leave, give you my views on this very important motion that was well
presented and defended by Senator Segal. I ask permission for adjournment for
the remainder of my time.
(On motion of Senator Prud'homme, debate adjourned.)
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Andreychuk,
seconded by the Honourable Senator Tkachuk:
That the Senate refer to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and
the Rights of Parliament the issue of developing a systematic process for the
application of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it applies to the
Senate of Canada.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have spoken to this
motion on several occasions. It is the companion motion to the bill introduced
by Senator Joyal. Senator Joyal's bill addresses an issue with respect to
employees. My motion addresses a broader area of the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms and its application to the Senate.
Senator Joyal and I have agreed. I thank him for his cooperation in handling
both issues together, which commenced in the Rules Committee. We hope that we
can return the two issues to the Rules Committee for study.
Therefore, I wish to adjourn the debate at this point and bring the chamber
up to date at a future time when we believe that the Rules Committee will have
an opportunity to deal with it in its very busy agenda.
(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Eaton, seconded by
the Honourable Senator Gerstein:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and
Technology undertake a study examining the promotion of Canadian identity,
integration and cohesion with a working title of Who We Are: Canadian
Identity in the 21st Century.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, Senator Eaton and I have been
in discussion with respect to this matter. I am the chair of this committee. We
have had some discussions about how this might unfold and we have not yet
completed those discussions. I received a communication from the senator today
and I am reviewing it.
Since this motion has now reached day 15 on the Order Paper, I would like to
have the clock rewound, if that is the appropriate phrase, and to have it
continued in my name for the balance of my time.
(On motion of Senator Eggleton, debate adjourned.)
(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, October 28, 2009, at 1:30 p.m.)