Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 69
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- QUESTION PERIOD
- Delayed Answers to Oral Questions
- Official Languages
- Information Commissioner
- Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- The Estimates, 2009-10
- Canada Securities Bill
- Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act
- Canada Pension Plan
- Study on Application of Official Languages Act and Relevant Regulations, Directives and Reports
- Industrial Hemp Industry
- Economic Recovery Bill (stimulus)
- Conference on Combating Antisemitism
- Declaration on Strengthening the Financial System Adopted by the G20
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today in recognition of the thirtieth anniversary of Farmers Helping Farmers, an innovative Prince Edward Island group that brings Islanders together with thousands of people in rural African communities. Since its inception in 1979, Farmers Helping Farmers has strived to meet its primary goal: To help Kenyan and Tanzanian farmers to become more self-reliant in agricultural food production.
Over the past 30 years, Islanders have travelled to Africa to share their agricultural skills and experience. Members have also raised more than $8 million for African farm groups, and the resulting projects have helped upwards of 100,000 people.
While these projects are small in scale, they are practical and focused on things that make an enormous difference to the families and communities involved. In the early 1990s, the group provided small hammer mills to nine women's groups for grinding corn into flour, providing employment and a source of revenue to the groups, as well as a service to their communities.
As well, Farmers Helping Farmers helped women's groups in 30 communities to improve their water system by providing piping to the water supply or water tanks, helping about 5,000 people and freeing the women from the labour and time required to bring water from distant sources.
In recent years, the group has built on this work and branched out into a number of new areas. Some Island schools have been twinned with African schools. Students exchange letters and photos to encourage a better understanding of one another. Island school children, community organizations and youth groups have donated funds to help buy books and school supplies, mosquito nets and even pay the salary of two primary school teachers. All in all, Farmers Helping Farmers has kept its practical focus and emphasis on working through partnerships at the community level.
These achievements have received widespread recognition. In 1999, Farmers Helping Farmers received the Agriculture Institute of Canada's International Award. In 2003, their Wakulima project became the first recipient of CIDA's Bill McWhinney Award for excellence in a volunteer project which sustainably improves the future prospects of the community in a developing country.
Honourable senators, I commend the dedicated members of Farmers Helping Farmers. These community-minded people volunteer their time and energy to coordinate projects and raise the funds necessary to complete them. Organizations like this are a shining example of the potential of people willing to work to make a difference in the lives of others.
Please join me in congratulating Farmers Helping Farmers on this special milestone and wishing them the best in their future work.
Hon. Doug Finley: Honourable senators, on Friday, November 13, in my home region of Ontario's south coast, people from all across North America travelled to Port Dover, a town of about 5,000, to participate in festivities that happen each and every Friday the 13th. These events bring together motorcycle enthusiasts from across Canada, the United States and many from further afield.
This event, on occasion, has attracted as many as 120,000 people and 10,000 motorcycles daily during the months of nice weather. Even last February, it attracted 10,000 people in weather marginally above freezing. In poor weather, the town's population doubles in size; and in the good weather, the town's population grows by a factor of 25.
This latest gathering, the forty-ninth version of the largest rally in Canada, has not always been as big. The tradition began in 1981, when Chris Simons and a small group of bike-loving friends got together at a local establishment known as the Zoo in Port Dover on what happened to be a "Friday the 13th." They had such a good time that Simons suggested they do it again the following Friday the 13th. Word of the upcoming party got around, and ever afterward, heading to Port Dover became the thing to do for motorcycle enthusiasts on this allegedly unlucky day, and it has since grown exponentially.
There has never been an issue with violence or other major problems in the 20 years of its existence. The event congregates motorcycle enthusiasts, local families, seniors and tourists who want to experience a Friday the 13th happening in the beautiful town of Port Dover, a delightful place nestled on the Lake Erie shoreline and a jewel in the crown that is the wonderful tourist region of Ontario's south coast.
This rally enormously benefits the economy of Norfolk County. It serves as a great fundraising opportunity for local service clubs such as the Lions Club and the Kinsmen. Due to good fortune and the great south coast hospitality, this event has blossomed into a wonderful tradition and turned Port Dover into the motorcycle mecca of Canada.
I wish to applaud all of the people who came out last Friday. I am told that some 30,000 people made the beautiful November trek to Port Dover and that townspeople had to scramble to welcome the huge surge of unanticipated visitors, doing so with typical grace and hospitality. I am told that the ladies of the Grace United Church sold out their famous chili for the first time ever.
I hope all honourable senators will plan to make the trip to Port Dover on the next Friday the 13th, which is Friday, August 13, 2010.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I have already mentioned the town where I reside, Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick, is known as the cradle of the Acadian flag, the blue, white and red tricolour flag with a star on the blue.
To make it more official and tangible, the Saint-Louis-de-Kent community came together on Sunday, November 8, 2009, to hoist a huge Acadian flag that was nearly 9 by 18 metres, on a 37-metre pole in the middle of town, where the bridge meets the hill.
That is how the village of Saint-Louis-de-Kent wants to honour and display its historical legacy.
The people of Saint-Louis-de-Kent are prouder than the flagpole is tall, and their hospitality is far greater than the size of the flag they hoisted.
It was Msgr. Marcel-François Richard, a man from Saint-Louis-de-Kent who also served there as vicar and priest, who, in the 19th century, proposed the adoption of the flag, with its tricolour and star, as a symbol of Acadian identity.
On August 15, 1884, the Acadians met at their second national convention in Miscouche, Prince Edward Island, and chose a distinctive flag.
Msgr. Richard wanted Acadia to have a flag to remember not only that its children are French, but also that they are Acadians.
Msgr. Richard had the first flag made by Marie Babineau, a resident of Saint-Louis-de-Kent.
At this memorable and touching ceremony, the Saint-Louis choir sang the Acadian national anthem, Ave Maris Stella, and the participants were then treated to a very interesting and fascinating lecture by historian Maurice Basque.
Honourable senators, this flag is a symbol of the tenacity and vitality of the Acadian people. It is a reminder of who we are, of our sense of belonging and our francophone identity. In other words, over the years, the tricolour and star has been the most powerful symbol of cultural identity for the Acadian people.
I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the mayor and municipal councillors, and to Bernard Landry, the president of the organizing committee for the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Acadian flag. It was a job well done and a memorable event.
Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, I had the privilege to attend November 11 ceremonies in Kandahar with 11 family members of fallen soldiers.
Canada is the only country that has this kind of program that allows families to travel to the place where they lost their loved one and to meet fellow soldiers who knew, loved and worked with the lost soldier. One of the mothers said to us that she came with a broken heart and left with one that was healing.
Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay also presented a Canadian Sacrifice Medal, the first awarded in Afghanistan, to Sergeant Vince Adams who had been wounded by a bomb. After his recovery, he returned to Afghanistan to finish his tour. He is now teaching his fellow soldiers about ways of detecting and avoiding roadside bombs.
This remains a brutal reality for our troops. We met with many of them, visiting not only the main base in Kandahar, but travelling, as well, to four forward operating bases where our troops are working with and living alongside Afghan soldiers and providing direct security to Afghan villages.
We also met with our volunteer civilians and military personnel working with the PRT, the provincial reconstruction teams. We traveled to the Dahla Dam, Canada's signature project designed to bring clean water to a thirsty desert.
It is nearly two years since I was in Afghanistan. It was with great pride that this time we travelled on Canadian Chinooks with Canadian pilots, with air cover provided by Canadian Griffins.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Wallin: To see the progress in ensuring security and civilian support is both real and impressive. Morale is high and there is a sense of hope and accomplishment.
Our mission in Afghanistan has matured and we are at the very heart of the allied operation. We are considered and acknowledged by our allies, including U.S. General Stanley McChrystal whom we met, to be the brains of the Afghan operation. They are all looking to put a little more Canada in their approach.
This is an incredible tribute to our troops and to our civilian volunteers, to their selflessness, fearlessness and their strength of character. Their willingness to risk their lives to protect those of strangers is the ultimate act of patriotism. We thank them.
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I join my colleague in recognizing Farmers Helping Farmers as they celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. This Island-based, award-winning organization of community-minded people with agricultural backgrounds is committed to assisting Kenyan farmers in becoming more self-reliant in agricultural food production. By assisting with the development of small-scale, practical agricultural projects, this organization has touched the lives of more than 100,000 people in East Africa since 1979.
I extend my congratulations to Farmers Helping Farmers as they celebrate their anniversary. It is through organizations such as this, providing hands-on, practical, sustainable solutions, that we shall see real change evolve in Africa.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I rise today to confirm that Canada has been chosen to host the one hundred and twenty-sixth General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the fall of 2012. Formal approval came at the IPU assembly in Geneva a month ago when the governing council approved the venues for the IPU's 2012 assemblies, with the spring session in Uganda and the autumn, in Quebec City. This is great news for Canada.
The IPU is the largest inter-parliamentary forum in the world with 153 member countries. It works for peace and cooperation among peoples. The general assembly is the principal statutory body that expresses the views of the IPU on parliamentary and political issues. It meets twice a year to study international issues and make recommendations for action on matters from hunger to AIDS, peace and prosperity, to organized crime.
The Parliament of Canada has hosted IPU assemblies on three previous occasions. The last time was in 1985, some 25 years ago. For three years, the executive members and I have been united in our desire to see Canada host a general assembly again. In 2007, the Joint Inter-Parliamentary Council and the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration approved in principle Canada's offer to host the IPU.
Since then, we have been negotiating with the IPU to seek the support of member countries. Finally, after intense lobbying and a few obstacles along the way, our group's bid received the support of multiple countries and Quebec City was finally chosen to host the one hundred and twenty-sixth General Assembly.
Honourable senators, Canada has been given a remarkable opportunity to host a world-class inter-parliamentary assembly. The Canadian group still requires the approval of JIC and the Senate's and House of Commons' internal economy committees before it can host the assembly. If the Canadian group is granted this honour, it would be the largest conference ever hosted by a Canadian Parliament in our history.
More than 1,500 parliamentary delegates from more than 150 national parliaments would gather in Quebec City in October 2012. The political, economic and cultural spinoffs of hosting an IPU meeting are significant. In Canada's case, it would serve to: underscore our long-standing commitment to the principles of parliamentary democracy; help reinforce bilateral and multilateral partnerships; and showcase Canada's rich cultural heritage and diversity.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Annual Report of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for the period from April 1, 2008, to March 21, 2009, pursuant to the Privacy Act.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Audit Report of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada pursuant to section 72.(2) of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It has been reported that several private schools in Ontario have received access to the H1N1 vaccine, even though the medical officer of health does not consider them to be a priority group. Meanwhile, most doctors' offices in Ontario, including that of my doctor, have yet to receive shipments of vaccine to give to their patients. There remain patients in identified priority groups who still have not received their vaccines in Ottawa, where I believe the clinics are closed until Wednesday, and in Brampton, where clinics are also closed until Wednesday.
Since this Conservative government has bungled its plan to protect Canadians against H1N1 so badly, what concrete steps will it take to fix its mistakes and ensure that every individual in this country who is in a priority group will receive treatment immediately?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for that question. As I have said in this place many times, the Canadian public does not want this serious issue to be politicized. All levels of government are working extremely hard on this issue. I have great faith in the Canadian public as many public opinion polls indicate that the public believes the various levels of government charged with the roll-out of the vaccine are doing a good job.
Honourable senators, by the end of this week over 10.4 million doses of H1N1 vaccine will have been delivered to the provinces and the territories. The vaccine is distributed as quickly as it is produced. The federal, provincial and territorial governments jointly determine the priority groups to receive the H1N1 vaccine distribution, but I cannot answer for the decisions made by the provinces and territories on the roll-out. There is enough vaccine for all priority groups, and Dr. Butler-Jones said this morning that 20 per cent of the population has been vaccinated. There will be sufficient H1N1 vaccine available in Canada for everyone who needs and wants to be immunized. Dr. Butler-Jones and other public health officials have said that this mass immunization campaign is the largest in Canadian history. It started ahead of schedule on October 26 and will continue over the weeks to come. I concur with Senator Stewart Olsen's statement last week in this place that all honourable senators should applaud and congratulate the front-line medical personnel who have provided yeoman's service in distributing this vaccine.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Milne: I agree with the Leader of the Government in the Senate that we applaud the front-line people because they not only give the shots but they also take the shots. Unfortunately, many shots are to be taken because this government has lost its hold on its pandemic plan. A person's ability to gain access to this life-saving vaccine depends more on their lot in life than on their need for the vaccine.
To make this matter worse, Canada, in spite of what the leader has said, is experiencing a shortage of vaccine while the company that produces it exports it. Currently, this government cannot provide enough vaccine to treat adequately the priority groups, let alone the rest of Canadians. When will the government step up to the plate and handle this issue properly by giving Canadians a plan?
Senator Finley: Tell that to the people.
Senator LeBreton: Simply because the honourable senator rises and makes outrageous statements does not mean that those statements are true because they are false. I wish that the honourable senator would listen to the reports of front-line medical workers and provincial and territorial ministers of health and truly witness what is happening. Some jurisdictions in Canada will have completed the roll-out of the vaccine over the next few days.
The honourable senator is incorrect in stating that the priority groups have not received access to the vaccine. The majority of those in the 20 per cent of the population that has been vaccinated are in the priority groups. All jurisdictions of the provinces and territories are moving to vaccinate the next recommended group, which includes children between 6 and 18 years of age and seniors with underlying health conditions. There is no doubt that during the first week of the roll-out of the vaccine, there were long lineups. However, any reasonable person would take note of the fact that the provincial, territorial and regional health authorities responsible for rolling out the vaccine have developed plans so that a much more orderly process is taking place.
The honourable senator's hysterical description is not shared by the Canadian public or by the various levels of government responsible for rolling out the vaccine.
Senator Tkachuk: We are in the schools.
Senator Milne: Your Honour, I take exception to being called "hysterical" in this chamber.
Perhaps I can receive an answer to this question: Since they are vaccinating children in private schools, when will children in public schools be vaccinated?
Senator Tkachuk: In Saskatchewan, they started vaccinating in schools yesterday.
Senator LeBreton: I believe what I said has been borne out by many people's comments. Over-the-top hysterical reactions have caused some of the difficulties that, thankfully, have been overcome.
I repeat: Over 10.4 million doses of H1N1 vaccine will have been delivered as of this week. In the first few days there was some confusion in sorting out the priority groups. As I said in my first answer to the honourable senator, I cannot address the specific issue of whom the various jurisdictions choose to vaccinate. I cannot answer that question. Some people felt that the vaccine was administered to groups that should not have received it so soon. The vaccine is rolled out by the provinces and the territories, and is distributed by regional health authorities.
Senator Comeau: Stop criticizing your premier.
Senator Tkachuk: Yes; we talk more to Dalton McGuinty than you do.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: When the leader talks about "over-the-top" reactions, is she diminishing the reactions of the families of the 200 people who have died from H1N1?
Some Hon. Senators: Shame!
Senator Mitchell: Shame on the leader of the government for not acknowledging the real impact of what this government has not done — shame on her for not acknowledging that.
Some Hon. Senators: Shame!
Senator Mitchell: This is about real people. This is not about jurisdiction, needles or the volumes; it is about real people. Honourable senators on the government side have not talked about real people once — not a single time — in this Senate chamber.
Two hundred people have died from H1N1, many of them infants and young people who would not normally have died from other types of flu. That raises the question about how many of those people would have died had they been able to get a vaccination in time. I wonder whether the minister can tell us how many of the 200 people got vaccinations early in the process and died anyway.
Senator Tkachuk: Shameful.
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the H1N1 virus is a serious flu. It attacks people who heretofore have not been attacked by a normal flu. A normal seasonal flu, as honourable senators know and as Dr. Butler-Jones has pointed out, takes a significant number of lives.
No one can possibly express the proper words to deal with the tragic loss of life, certainly not I. No one should have to face a situation of losing a child or any member of their family.
Having said that, no one should get up and make statements like Senator Mitchell has just made. Frankly, I am at a loss for words.
Senator Tkachuk: Reprehensible.
Senator LeBreton: Dr. Butler-Jones, Minister Aglukkaq and everyone feels the loss of these families. The government, the public health agencies and everyone is doing their utmost to ensure that people get vaccinated because, as Dr. Butler-Jones pointed out today, vaccination is still the best defence against the spread of the flu.
That is why the government at all levels and health officials urge that priority groups be first in line. It was acknowledged that a few mistakes were made, but not many when one considers the overall extent of this immunization program, which is the largest ever undertaken in the history of the country.
It is reprehensible in the extreme for anyone to stand up and suggest that any level of government, whether provincial, municipal, territorial or federal, is somehow or other responsible for the death of people.
Senator Mitchell: I just asked the honourable senator if she knows how many of the 200 people received vaccines. Clearly she does not, because she has not answered the question.
Additionally, how many of these people did not get vaccines because they were not available in time? I want to know whether the government is studying that and whether it is looking back to discover something so as not to make the same fundamental mistake again.
Senator Mockler: It is your responsibility as a senator.
Senator Mitchell: I heard you the first time.
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, as Dr. Butler-Jones has said, eight months ago, most Canadians had never heard of H1N1.
Senator Mitchell: Maybe you should have advertised it better.
Senator LeBreton: No one advertises sorrow and grief, Senator Mitchell.
Senator Mitchell: Advertise H1N1.
Senator LeBreton: Our government is second to none in the world in the roll-out of the vaccine.
Australia went through their winter season without having the vaccine available. Also, it is shocking to put the burden on any member of a society, such as Australia, that somehow or other they should have the burden of the sorrow of losing loved ones because they did not have the vaccine available. It is quite shocking that anyone would think that way.
I really think, honourable senators, that on reflection —
Senator Mitchell: It is shocking you do not take it more seriously. We do not have answers to these questions. That is what is shocking.
The Hon. the Speaker: Order!
Senator LeBreton: Upon reflection, when the honourable senator reads what he has said today and the way in which it was said, I think that he will come to regret his actions here today.
Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, I have a follow-up question for the minister. Last year, a number of Aboriginal communities were hit especially hard by H1N1. I realize that the provinces and territories are responsible for administering vaccines, but can the minister tell us whether the Canadian government made sure that Aboriginal people in isolated regions were able to receive the vaccine?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for the question because he has allowed me an opportunity to provide some encouraging news. During the first wave, the Aboriginal communities in the North and remote communities were more susceptible. The flu spread more quickly with many people living in close proximity in homes. That was one of the lessons learned from the outbreak in the spring.
Once the World Health Organization and the various health agencies decided upon a proper vaccine for H1N1, Northern and remote communities were given priority status. They were part of the first wave, and the vaccine was shipped to them. As a result of the territorial governments working in partnership with the AFN and the various Aboriginal organizations, there has been a tremendous uptake and roll-out of the vaccine, to the degree that there are literally no reports of serious outbreaks.
It is one of the success stories. The community, the health authorities and nursing stations have done an excellent job in vaccinating the population.
Hon. Hugh Segal: I wonder if I could ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to either advise the chamber or perhaps take as notice a question about what arrangements have been made to ensure that the members of the Canadian Forces, both at home and abroad, and the reserve units across the country — air, sea and land — have also been afforded an opportunity to be vaccinated to the extent that it falls within the federal jurisdiction.
Senator LeBreton: I thank the senator for the question. I will be happy to get the information, but I believe the Canadian Forces have been provided with the vaccine through their own medical systems, and they are in the process of vaccinating the members of the Canadian Forces.
Honourable senators will also know that in the provinces and territories, first responders — firefighters, ambulance personnel and all the people who work in hospitals — are also part of that vaccination profile.
However, with regard to the exact roll-out, I believe it is well on its way to being completed. I will be happy to confirm that information.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The diabetes rate for Aboriginals is twice the national average, and more and more teenagers are being diagnosed with the disease.
The Native Council in my province of Prince Edward Island delivers a program for Aboriginals that provides education and guidance to those diagnosed with this disease, as well as prevention in youth. The program is funded through Health Canada's Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative. However, the funding expires at the end of this month — November.
Will the government renew this worthwhile initiative?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank Senator Callbeck for the question. I agree with the work the government and Health Canada does, and I am well aware of the higher incidence of diabetes among Aboriginal people. I am quite certain that valuable programs like this are a top priority for the government, but I will take the honourable senator's question as notice.
Senator Callbeck: Honourable senators, this program ends at the end of November. Today is November 17, so that is less than two weeks away. The Native Council in my province, and Aboriginal people across the country, need to know what is happening with this diabetes initiative.
When will the Leader of the Government in the Senate report back to us?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I will report back as soon as I possibly can. I was not aware that the funding ran out at the end of November. Usually, when I think of the funding of programs, I think about the fiscal year. I do not understand why this one ends at the end of November. In any event, I will find out as soon as I humanly can.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Much of Canada is quite properly focused on the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in February 2010. However, for youth in the northern regions of the world, there is another event on which they are focused. From March 6 to 13, 2010, nearly 2,000 international youth from regions north of the sixty-fifth parallel will gather in Grande Prairie, Alberta, to compete and to share cultural knowledge and experience. This is a unique opportunity to showcase Canada's North and specifically to show what Canada and northern Alberta have to offer the youth of the world's northern regions.
Some orders of government understand the significance of this event, but others seem perhaps to not quite understand it. To date, the province of Alberta has committed $1.5 million; the City of Grande Prairie has committed $1.5 million, of which $500,000 will be in cash; and the County of Grande Prairie has committed $500,000 in cash, plus gifts in kind. That means that so far there are commitments by the other orders of government of $2.5 million in cash, plus gifts in kind. The Government of Canada has to this point committed $400,000.
With every other order of government stepping up to ensure a quality games event and that our best foot is put forward to the youth of the world, would the leader ask her government to find out whether it will increase its commitment to match those of the other orders of government and, in so doing, help make the 2009 Arctic Winter Games the best since they began in 1970?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank Senator Banks for the question. Honourable senators, of course our government is a proud supporter of the 2010 Arctic Winter Games, which are being held in Grande Prairie next March. We have every confidence that these games, like all similar games, will be a great success.
As the honourable senator knows, on March 7 of this year a contribution of $400,000 was announced for the games by Minister Ambrose on behalf of the Minister of State for Sport, Mr. Lunn. At that time, Debbie Reid, the president of the 2010 Arctic Winter Games Society said:
On behalf of the Host Society I want to express our appreciation to the Government of Canada for its commitment not only to our Games, but to the Arctic Winter Games movement. . . . Your involvement and financial assistance will be of great support as we prepare to host the circumpolar world just a year from now.
This funding was approved under the guidelines of Sport Canada's sports hosting program and I have noted the plea of Senator Banks for the federal government to increase its funding. I will make no commitment in that regard, but I will pass his concerns on to the Minister of State for Sport, the Honourable Gary Lunn.
Senator Banks: I would be grateful for that, and I thank the leader. I would just add that the contributions by the various orders of government to events of this kind are one of the few things with which I have a certain intimate familiarity. Ordinarily, there is a quid pro quo — "After you, Alphonse; after you, Gaston" — contribution that usually ends up with some kind of proximate balance between them.
The leader is quite correct that the recipient of the commitment of $400,000 was gracious and grateful. It is hard to say no when someone hands you a cheque for $400,000; and it is hard to be rude and one hopes that no one ever would be.
However, I want to point out as background to the question that that has been the amount that Sport Canada has committed to this event for many years now, I think, since 1970. Costs have changed since 1970. I would appreciate it if the leader would take that into account when she speaks to her cabinet colleagues about the question.
Senator LeBreton: I thank Senator Banks for his interest in these important games. I will certainly bring his arguments to the attention of my colleague.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, public opinion has indicated that 82 per cent of the Canadian people are supporting the troops in uniform in this country, which means we are no longer in the Vietnam era when we actually had to go to work in civilian clothing. However, we are seeing more and more instances on campuses and in institutions of higher learning, be they universities, CEGEPs and even high schools, where recruiters are being prevented from going to these institutions in order to participate in career days. As such, the Armed Forces is prevented from getting the best and brightest in this time when there are no more blue collar soldiers but, in fact, when we need the best and brightest to do the job.
This being an honourable profession, and the federal government being the employer, what specifically is being done by the government, be it the Prime Minister or the Minister of National Defence, to counter this movement of keeping military recruiters off campuses and out of career days, if we consider it to be such an honourable profession?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I thank Senator Dallaire for the question. The Chief of the Defence Staff Natynczyk commented within the last few weeks about the number of people who have come forward and that the recruitment numbers are quite encouraging.
Senator Dallaire does not have to convince members on this side of the importance of our military and how proud we are of them. We have shown that by our increased support of the military, not only in terms of their own personal well-being, but also the equipment we send them into theatre with.
With regard to individual educational institutions not allowing recruiters onto their premises in order to participate in recruitment days, I will have to look into the responsibility, whether it is the individual institution or if there is some particular reason for denying recruiters onto their premises. Certainly it is not something that I would like to see.
Honourable senators, Canada's commitment and our commitment as a government to our military, and our extreme pride in our military in all of its endeavours going back to the Boer War, is something I am now pleased to see the government paying attention to in the new handbook for new Canadian citizens.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table three responses to oral questions raised by Senator Chaput on February 25 and June 2, 2009, concerning the Treasury Board Secretariat, Air Canada's linguistic obligations; by Senator Munson on May 12, 2009, concerning the Treasury Board Secretariat, Access to Information Act; and by Senator Callbeck on June 23, 2009, concerning Justice, civil Legal Aid.
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Maria Chaput on February 25 and June 2, 2009)
As with any other institution subject to the Official Languages Act, Air Canada uses its own budgetary resources to provide employees, as required, with language training to ensure services are provided in both official languages where there is a requirement to do so.
There are no specific funds allocated to help organizations such as Air Canada with expenses related to fulfilling their linguistic obligations.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Jim Munson on May 12, 2009)
Coordination of policy and guidance under the Access to Information Act
There is no central review or coordination for the release of information that is requested under the Access to Information Act (ATIA). Under the ATIA, the "Head" of each government institution covered under the Act is responsible for the decisions made in the administration of its provisions. This includes decisions made with respect to the release of records under the control of the institution as a result of an ATI request.
The Government is deeply committed to increasing openness and transparency and to upholding the principles of the Access to Information Act. This is why the Government introduced the Federal Accountability Act, which made a number of changes to the Access to Information Act. An important change was to expand the coverage of the Access to Information Act to all Agents of Parliament, all parent Crown corporations and their wholly-owned subsidiaries, five foundations and the Canadian Wheat Board. Moreover, as designated minister for the purpose of section 70 of the Act, the President of the Treasury Board is now required to collect annual statistics to assess the compliance of government institutions with the provisions of the Act and its Regulations.
The changes to the Policy on Access to Information were brought about as part of Policy Suite Renewal, which is an important component of the Federal Accountability Action Plan and the government's Management Agenda. The renewal of government policies clarifies the responsibilities and accountabilities of Ministers and Deputy Heads.
A chronology of the implementation of these changes is provided below.
Access to Information Changes since January 2006
On April 11, 2006, the Government of Canada introduced the Federal Accountability Act, which contains legislative changes, and the Federal Accountability Action Plan, which contains non-legislative changes, delivering on its commitment to make government more accountable.
As is common for complex legislation, different sections of the Act came into force at different times. Some came into force at Royal Assent, on December 12, 2006, some came into force on specific dates and others came into force at dates set out by Order-in-Council.
All access to information legislative components of the Federal Accountability Act are now in force. Furthermore, the new Policy on Access to Information replaces the 1993 Access to Information Policy.
Chronology of legislative and non-legislative changes
December 12, 2006
The Federal Accountability Act increased the number of investigators the Information Commissioner may use for investigations concerning information related to defence or national security. The Act also clarifies the time limit for making a complaint to the Commissioner under the Access to Information Act.
Furthermore, the Federal Accountability Act requires the President of the Treasury Board, as designated Minister for the purpose of the Access to Information Act, to collect annual statistics to assess the compliance of government institutions with the provisions of the Act and Regulations.
April 1, 2007
The Federal Accountability Act expands the coverage of the Access to Information Act to the Canadian Wheat Board, and to the following Agents of Parliament and foundations created under federal statute:
- Office of the Information Commissioner;
- Office of the Privacy Commissioner;
- Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages;
- Office of the Chief Electoral Officer;
- Office of the Auditor General;
- Canada Foundation for Innovation;
- Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology;
- Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation;
- Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada; and
- The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.
September 1, 2007
The Federal Accountability Act provides a duty for institutions to assist requesters without regard for their identity; expands the coverage of the Act to include wholly owned subsidiaries of all parent Crown corporations covered under the Act; and expands the coverage of the Act to include the following seven additional Crown corporations:
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation;
- VIA Rail Canada Inc;
- Atomic Energy of Canada Limited;
- National Arts Centre;
- Public Sector Pension Investment Board;
- Export Development Canada; and
- Canada Post Corporation.
April 1, 2008
The new Policy on Access to Information takes effect. Changes to the policy reflect changes made to the Federal Accountability Act and the expected enhanced results of the policy are:
- Sound management and decisions in responding to requests from applicants who are exercising their right to access records under the control of a government institution, regardless of their identity;
- Complete, accurate and timely responses to requests made under the Act;
- Clear responsibilities in government institutions for decision-making and effective administration of the Access to Information Act and the Access to Information Regulations; and
- Consistent public reporting on the administration of the Act through the government institution's annual reports to Parliament, statistical reports and the annual publication of Info Source, produced by the Treasury Board Secretariat.
(Response to question raised by Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck on June 23, 2009)
Provinces have constitutional responsibility for the administration of justice (including legal aid) and property and civil rights. However, recognizing the need to work collaboratively with jurisdictions in ensuring the justice system is fair, relevant and accessible, the federal government provides funding for criminal legal aid, through contributions managed by the Department of Justice, and for civil legal aid, through a block transfer referred to as the Canada Social Transfer.
Until 1995-1996, the federal government contributed to civil legal aid in the provinces through the Canada Assistance Plan as an item of "special need". In 1995-96, the Canada Assistance Plan funding was replaced by the Canada Health and Social Transfer and subsequently the Canada Social Transfer. Budget 2007 announced that the Canada Social Transfer contributions for social programs, including civil legal aid, increased to $6.2 billion in 2007-2008, and would increase annually by 3 per cent to $7.2 billion in 2013-2014. Within this "block transfer" each province has authority and flexibility to allocate resources according to its needs and priorities.
The federal position remains that matters pertaining to civil legal aid funding should be explored within the confines of the Canada Social Transfer, and that given the "block-transfer" nature of the Canada Social Transfer there is no specific federal policy mandate for civil legal aid.
Leave having been given to revert to Tabling of Reports from Inter-parliamentary Delegations:
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group to the Nineteenth Annual Summit of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, held in Boise, Idaho, United States of America, from July 12 to 16, 2009.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to motion of November 5, 2009, moved:
That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Parliament Vote 10 of Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010; and
That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to motion of November 5, 2009, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010 with the exception of Parliament Vote 10.
(Motion agreed to.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C., for the second reading of Bill S-214, An Act to regulate securities and to provide for a single securities commission for Canada.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, before I agree to the adjournment, I would ask the honourable senator to advise when she might speak briefly to this matter.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, like all honourable senators present, I have noted that the government has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of this procedure. Therefore, at this time, I believe that it would be difficult for me to speak to a bill that may, in fact, have no legal effect. I will quite simply ask my colleagues to be patient and to wait.
If the Supreme Court declares the bill to be legal, then I will be in a position to comment.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, this item on the Order Paper shall stand in the name of Senator Hervieux-Payette. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(On motion of Senator Hervieux-Payette, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
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. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I rise on a point of order respecting Bill S-241, An Act to amend the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (credit and debit cards) introduced by Senator Ringuette.
Without commenting on the merits of Bill S-241, I submit that this bill contains provisions which would require new spending and thereby make the bill inconsistent with both the Constitution and the Rules of the Senate. The Constitution Act, 1867 states that bills appropriating any part of the public revenue shall originate in the House of Commons and be accompanied by a Royal Recommendation. Senate rule 81 requires that the Senate not proceed with a bill appropriating public money unless accompanied by a Royal Recommendation and initiated in the other place.
Bill S-241 would add an additional purpose to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions by creating an oversight body to monitor and make recommendations about the use of credit and debit cards in Canada. The need for a Royal Recommendation for a new purpose and to cover new expenditures for the establishment of a new body has been clearly stated on numerous occasions by the Speaker of the other place.
On September 19, 2006, for instance, in the other place, the Acting Speaker ruled on Bill C-293 on development assistance abroad that:
. . . the establishment of the advisory committee for international development cooperation provided for in clause 6 clearly would require the expenditure of funds in a manner and for purposes not currently authorized.
On February 11, 2008, the Speaker of the other place ruled in the case of Bill C-474 respecting a new mandate for the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development that:
Bill C-474 also proposes a new mandate for the commissioner.
. . . clause 13 of Bill C-474 would modify the mandate —
— would impose additional functions on the commissioner that are substantially different from those foreseen in the current mandate. In the Chair's view, clause 13 thus alters the conditions set out in the original bill to which a royal recommendation was attached.
The same ruling added with the respect to the creation of an advisory council to assist the commissioner that:
Clause 7 of the bill provides for the governor in council to appoint 25 representatives to the advisory council. Section 23 of the Interpretation Act makes it clear that the power to appoint includes the power to pay. As the provision in Bill C-474 is such that the governor in council could choose to pay a salary to these representatives, this involves an appropriation of a part of the public revenue and should be accompanied by a royal recommendation.
Honourable senators, given that Bill S-241 would add a new purpose to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and would establish a new body with the power to appoint and the implicit power to pay, I submit that the bill requires a Royal Recommendation and is out of order in this chamber.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, as I understood Senator Oliver's point of order — and I may have missed something at the very beginning — it relies significantly on rulings that have been made in the other place, and it seems to me it has been clearly established by now that, on this precise matter, we are bound by our precedents in the Senate and not by whatever may be done or not done in the other place. I believe it has been established over and over again, honourable senators, that bills are considered in order in the Senate if the extra spending that they would involve if they became law is merely ancillary to the fundamental purpose of the bill that the Senate has deemed appropriate to adopt.
It seems to me that is the case here. What we are talking about is a bill that proposes a specific action in pursuit of a public policy that the Senate might find advisable to adopt, and we should not be deterred by the fact that it might cost a few dollars to do so. We have not been deterred in adopting similar bills in the past, and I do not think we should be this time.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I concur with Senator Fraser that this point of order should not go forward.
I invite honourable senators to look at precedents in matters of Royal Recommendation. As a matter of fact, in February of 2009, the Speaker ruled that the debate on Bill S-201, the National Portrait Gallery, could continue because the proposed legislation did not require spending of funds, as was argued by the opposing senators. The Speaker was clear on the issue and said:
While one might suspect that there will be expenses as the bill is implemented, the bill itself does not require or authorize them. Whether they are incurred would depend on separate decisions as to how the measure is implemented.
In the case of Bill S-234, on May 2008, the Speaker ruled "on the side of allowing senators the largest opportunity possible to consider proposals."
Your Honour, debate on this bill should continue.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I think Senator Oliver made his point clearly; this bill involves the spending of new money. In fact, it creates a new oversight body to monitor and make recommendations. Were this oversight and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions not created, the bill would be absolutely worthless. It is not even worth continuing to debate it.
If we decide, as a chamber, that we ought to pass this bill, obviously we would have to look at creating a Superintendent of Financial Institutions. This involves spending money and creating a new oversight body. Accomplishing the purpose of the bill involves spending money. With respect to spending money, if we go back through our jurisprudence, we will find that it involves a Royal Recommendation.
It is not like people have said in the past: Let us pass the bill and if ever we can get some money, we will look at implementing the bill. That bill is not the case at all. This bill is a case of creating new purposes; for example, the installation of an institution and all kinds of things that otherwise have absolutely no use if we do not create these things. I think Senator Oliver's comments are in order.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, on the point of order, I think it is possible that if the bill required, as Senator Comeau has said and as Senator Oliver has said, the establishment of a new body, there might be a point of order for Your Honour's consideration, but the bill does not say that.
The bill seeks to amend the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, which sets up the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. This bill does not say that there should be a new body created; it says that an additional purpose of the act, which establishes the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, is to provide an oversight body. It provides an additional duty to the superintendent, but everything that is to be done as set out in this bill is to be done by the superintendent and not by some additional body.
The concept that this bill requires the establishment of some new oversight body is not correct, in my view. This bill says that, in addition to those duties that are set out in the act that establishes the superintendent, his or her duties include the things that are set out in this act. It then says subsequently in the bill that the superintendent shall do these things; not that some other oversight body shall do them, but the superintendent shall do them.
Senator Oliver: First, I think that Bill S-214 can be clearly distinguished from the bill that Senator Tardif referred to when she quoted from the Honourable Speaker's ruling in Bill S-201.
In this particular case, as we have been told, an additional purpose is being added, and in that additional purpose, there is a brand new advisory group to be created. It is implicit that the members of this group, like members of the other groups in this act, will be paid. The implicit act of payment is the appropriation, which means that there is a requirement for a Royal Recommendation. That is the difference between Bill S-201 as referred to by Senator Tardif and Bill S-241.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, first I want to raise an important point about the financial initiatives of the Crown, which is what Senator Oliver raises here.
We should understand clearly that any bill that proceeds through this chamber, this house, will involve some sort of spending or financial involvement. However, every financial involvement and every bit of spending is not an appropriation. Perhaps we should try to establish that here within this debate on Bill S-241. Can the honourable Senator Oliver show this house which of these clauses in Bill S-241 appropriates money? I cannot see any appropriation clause within this bill.
Honourable senators, we must understand that since the House of Commons has fallen down — and this house, too — in maintaining what used to be called the financial control of the public purse — in the last several years, the bills no longer identify the appropriating clauses. Perhaps we should go back to doing that. Otherwise, we find ourselves in this large and vague area.
Honourable senators, I have only just looked at the bill — I have not studied it well — and I can see no clause in it that one can describe as an "appropriation clause." Perhaps Senator Oliver can identify within this bill the clauses that are the appropriation clauses. That is my first point.
Second, section 53 is usually read. Section 54, which addresses the question of the Royal Recommendation, the financial initiatives of the Crown, and section 53, which governs their origination in the House of Commons, is another way of saying that it must be done by a minister. There is nothing whatsoever in these two sections of the BNA Act, section 53 and section 54, that speaks to this bill. Perhaps I will put them on the record again.
Section 54 is clear. It says "for the Appropriation." It does not say "spending." It says "Appropriation."
It shall not be lawful for the House of Commons to adopt or pass any Vote, Resolution, Address or Bill for the Appropriation of any Part of the Public Revenue, or of any Tax or Impost, to any Purpose that has not been first recommended to that House by Message of the Governor General in the Session in which such Vote, Resolution, Address, or Bill is proposed.
Honourable senators, there is no tax, no impost here; there is no appropriation here. I tend to think that the point of order is not in order.
Honourable senators, while we are at it, this whole phenomenon of the Royal Recommendation, as well as the whole field of the Governor General's special warrants, is so neglected. Many years ago, we participated in a major committee study on the use of the Royal Recommendation over in the House of Commons. We discovered that it was just applied relatively casually by the table officers and was no longer the full-bodied process it used to be generations ago and actually involving the Governor General.
In any event, the onus is on Senator Oliver to identify for us the appropriating clauses in this bill and to put before this house a clear argument that those clauses are, in fact, appropriating clauses. Let us bear in mind that "appropriation" has a definite and valid parliamentary meaning. It does not mean simply the spending of some money. There is no bill that could possibly come through here and be passed that does not involve some sort of spending, but that is not an appropriation. Supply bills are called "appropriation acts" for a good reason, and, honourable senators, this is not an appropriation act in any form or fashion, and neither are any of its clauses appropriating clauses.
The final point I should like to make, honourable senators, is that the sponsor of this bill — and I believe I heard someone say it was Senator Ringuette — is not here today. It would be nice, honourable, kind and thoughtful if, in the instance of raising points of order, we could do so in the presence of the individual senator whom it touches so that that individual senator, the proponent, may be able to respond.
I know it is unusual, Your Honour, but we have done it in the past: if the house could find it in its wisdom to adjourn this point of order until Senator Ringuette could be here, which I assume will be tomorrow, so that she may be able to say a few words on the subject, I would be prepared to give my agreement to that sort of motion.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, on the last point raised by the Honourable Senator Cools, the chair is satisfied with what it has heard. However, in the not too distant past, a pause was taken in a debate to help the chair determine a point of order, and I think it did extend over a couple of days. This chair would not be offended, if all honourable senators are agreeable, if we were to suspend the opportunity that the chair has of hearing and receiving advice from the house to give the sponsoring senator the opportunity to make a presentation.
If that is agreed, honourable senators, I will hold this matter in my name with the understanding that when the sponsoring senator is in the chamber and we come to this item on the Order Paper, I will hear further argument on the point of order.
Is it agreed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Point of order suspended.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Callbeck, seconded by the Honourable Senator Dallaire, for the second reading of Bill S-234, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan (retroactivity of retirement and survivor's pensions).
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, this order stands at day 15. That means that I must speak on it.
I last spoke on September 16 and said I was waiting for answers from Access to Information Canada, on questions I had put on the Order Paper, and for questions that I had put to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Just recently I received the information from Access to Information Canada, which came in a box containing 1,300 pages. It is taking a little time to go through that box. I am still hopeful that I will get the answers to the questions that the leader took as notice, as well as those on the Order Paper.
I would like to adjourn the debate in my name.
(On motion of Senator Callbeck, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
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. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: It is my pleasure to talk about the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages' report entitled Reflecting Canada's Linguistic Duality at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: A Golden Opportunity. As honourable senators are aware, my province, British Columbia, will host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
First, I would like to recognize the work done by Jack Poole, who, until recently, headed the Vancouver Organizing Committee, VANOC, for the 2010 Games, and, unfortunately, passed away due to illness.
Mr. Poole knew the stakes here high with staging the Olympics. Heading the Olympic Games was a massive undertaking not only for him but also for the province and the country. He said to the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, that if we do not deliver a win, we will take a tremendous hit because the government is giving us everything we are asking for.
Mr. Poole has gone to another place knowing there will be very successful games in Vancouver due to his hard work. He was truly a visionary and gave a lot of himself to all Canadians. I want to thank his wife and five children for sharing him with us all to the very end.
I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the former Prime Minister, Mr. Jean Chrétien, and the former Premier of B.C., Mr. Glen Clark, for their vision to apply to have the Olympic Games come to British Columbia.
I would also like to recognize the work that Premier Gordon Campbell has done with his vision of strong success for support of the Olympic Games. The other person who should be mentioned today, as she has worked hard on behalf of all of us, is Senator Raine, who has worked with the Olympic committee and has raised awareness of the games.
As a senator from British Columbia, I have the honour of representing the host province of the Olympic Games. This is a highly anticipated event not only by the people of our province, but by all Canadians. These are not just Vancouver's Olympic Games; they are Canada's Olympic Games.
I am proud of the progress made in the preparations for these Games. We are ready to welcome everyone. I cannot tell you how gratifying that is. I invite you all to come see these Olympic Games and I want to extend a warm welcome to all senators. We — my colleagues Senator St. Germain, Senator Campbell, Senator Neufeld, Senator Martin, Senator Raine and I — await your arrival with open arms. I can hardly wait for the athletes and their families to arrive. All those who come will receive a warm welcome.
Honourable senators, as you know, British Columbia is a multicultural province. I am proud of how many people in my province speak French. During the Games, visitors will discover the image, the wealth and the diversity of our province. I can tell you that we are almost ready to welcome the world.
I look forward to that day. I can already imagine how pleased people will be to be welcomed in their own language. I can already imagine how pleased the people of British Columbia will be to welcome the entire world. The 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a golden opportunity for Canada to promote its linguistic duality here and abroad.
The permanent presence of both languages during the 2010 Olympic Games ought to perfectly reflect our linguistic duality. It is necessary to ensure that everything is done before the Games. Throughout its appearances, VANOC, the organizing committee, has shown its willingness to improve its preparation process for the Olympic Games.
Do we have more and more communities that speak both of Canada's languages, French and English? Did we promise to support the Olympic Games organizers? Do we want our guests to go home convinced that Canada is truly a bilingual country?
I dream, idealistically, of the almost perfect image in its various forms. It would all begin with bilingual advertising in every form: vignettes and audiovisual ads, flyers, posters, and so on. In addition to that type of advertising it would be possible to find bilingual information on the websites of the institutions involved.
Everyone knows that most people visiting Vancouver, whether the athletes and their families, political or sports personalities, or regular visitors, will travel by plane to get there and therefore the announcements at the airport and on the plane — I am talking about Canadian airline companies — would be made in both official languages of Canada and the International Olympic Committee.
Vancouver's public transit would also have at least a partially bilingual staff. Hotels play an important role in the well-being of our visitors. The qualifications of the staff and their level of bilingualism are essential. The televised broadcast of the Games in English and French is also a high priority. All signage at the sporting events also reflects our country's linguistic duality. When the new arrivals travel around, regardless of the mode of transportation, they have to be able to read either of the official languages, which is why bilingual signage is so important.
Being welcomed in English and French at the Olympic Games sites will please everyone who is looking forward to attending the events. Recruiting temporary bilingual staff and volunteers is a decisive factor in that regard. The francophone community, francophiles, and other communities that speak French play an important role.
I have no doubt that the opening and closing ceremonies will take place in the two official languages of Canada and the International Olympic Committee. The athletes have worked very hard for years and years to amaze us with their performances. Do they not deserve bilingual commentary?
I am absolutely certain that our athletes will win medals during these Games. We should demonstrate our appreciation for their efforts in both official languages.
After drinking in the athletic performances, visitors will look for the same bilingual road signs on their way back to their hotels. That is my dream of how the Games will unfold in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
To help make this Canadian dream come true, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages released a report entitled Raising our Game for Vancouver 2010: Towards a Canadian Model of Linguistic Duality in International Sport — A follow-up in September. It contained several recommendations that I would like to review even though my colleagues, Senators Tardif and Chaput, talked about them recently.
Some issues still need to be addressed. The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages' fourth recommendation called for Canada's linguistic duality to be reflected on official Games websites. I want to point out that the parties involved, the front-line organizations involved, still do not have bilingual websites.
What are people waiting for? The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages and the Commissioner of Official Languages both issued recommendations that raised the issue of bilingual volunteers at the airport in Richmond, B.C.
Another important issue is signage at venues. Unfortunately, there is no French in sight at the Richmond Oval.
The countdown is on. We do not have two years or one year or even five months to go. We are barely 100 days away from the opening ceremonies. The report I mentioned earlier recommended that the Privy Council Office ensure the full and immediate participation of all municipal, provincial and federal institutions. The Privy Council office must not wait any longer; it must make recommendations swiftly.
All aspects of organization, before, during and after the Olympic Games, whether it is advertising, modes of transportation, hotel and motel services, greetings or translation and interpretation, for the Games themselves and the ceremonies, everything must be done in the official languages and, why not, in other official languages as well.
I personally work hard to put an end to the trafficking of women and children. Unfortunately, during large sporting events, especially international ones like the Olympic Games that we are talking about now, human trafficking is inevitable. Nevertheless, I would like every measure to be taken to prevent trafficking as much as possible. It is absolutely necessary that we demand a zero-tolerance approach yet again.
I thank you, honourable senators, for helping to make the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games a success, and I would like to acknowledge all the parties involved, including John Furlong and, VANOC, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games; James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages; Senator Chaput, Senator Champagne and the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages; Graham Fraser, the Commissioner of Official Languages; the mayor and city councillors of Vancouver, Richmond, Whistler and all the other municipalities and organizations involved in the success of our Olympic Games, British Columbia's Olympic Games, and especially Canada's Olympic Games, representing our bilingual and very diverse country.
I would like to share with you a quick story about my family. I am proud that my children speak French fluently. Now, my grandson Ian, who is three years old, is starting to speak French.
Now he says that I have three names: Daiyma, my name in our mother tongue, Grandma, my English name, and Grand-mère, my French name. My grandson says he is very proud that his grandmother has three names.
Honourable senators, come February, when you arrive in Vancouver, I am sure that my grandson and all British Columbians will say, "Welcome to the Olympic Games" and also, "Bienvenue aux Jeux Olympiques". They will be ready to welcome all Canadians and visitors from around the world to their province.
Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, if we want the government to do its part to fix the little problems we discovered while preparing this report, I suggest that we move on to the question so that this report can finally be adopted.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day:
(a) Canada supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
(b) Canada condemns the use of violence and force by Iranian authorities against their own people to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations following the Iranian presidential elections of June 12, 2009;
(c) Canada condemns the use of torture by Iranian authorities;
(d) Canada calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners held in Iran;
(e) Canada calls on Iran to fully respect all of its human rights obligations, both in law and in practice;
(f) Canada condemns Iran's complete disregard for legally binding UN Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747, and 1803 and International Atomic Energy Agency requirements;
(g) Canada affirms its opposition to nuclear proliferation and condemns any pursuit by Iran of nuclear weapons capability;
(h) Canada recommends to international organizations of which it is a member that a new set of targeted sanctions be implemented against Iran, in concert with allies, unless Iran comes into compliance with its human rights and nuclear obligations in law and in practice
Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, I rise today in support of Senator Grafstein's motion relating to Canada's responsibility regarding Iran. This identical motion was passed unanimously in the House of Commons on October 27, and I believe it behooves us to join in this unanimity so that all of the Parliament of Canada speaks with one voice.
Iran continues to defy the wishes of the democratic world. Iran continues to threaten its neighbours. Iran continues to deny any access in relation to its nuclear aspirations, and Iran continues to disregard the very principle of human rights, all the while claiming legitimacy as a "democratic society."
On September 23, Canada led the way when Minister Cannon and our representatives walked out of the United Nations as President Ahmadinejad began his "not so veiled" rantings against the United States and Israel and his continued denial of the Holocaust. By the time his tirade was over, he was speaking to a virtually empty United Nations chamber. Prime Minister Harper said it best:
There are times when things are being said in this world and it is important that countries that have a moral compass stand up and make their views known. Our absence there will speak volumes about how Canada feels about the declarations of President Ahmadinejad.
I agree completely with the Prime Minister's statement then and I am very proud of the actions, as we all should be, taken by our minister and the Canadian delegation in September.
The civilized world should not and must not be silent in the face of human rights abuses nor the looming and very real possibility of a nuclear capacity that could threaten the world far beyond the borders of the Middle East. We have seen the footage of beatings when democrats took to the streets on the anniversary of the sacking of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. We are aware of the atrocities committed within Iranian prisons against those arrested for demonstrating against a stolen election. We now know of the recent Israeli naval seizure of 500 tons of weapons and rockets being shipped by the Iranians to Hezbollah and Hamas via Syria. Iran's ruling class is under the mistaken assumption that the civilized world is either stupid, unaware or unconcerned about the internal aspirations of a government determined to destroy its enemies through force and annihilation and silence courageous Iranian dissenters through intimidation and physical and mental torture.
Canada and Canadians have no quarrel with the people of Iran. They have shown immense courage and determination in their attempts to bring democracy to a country that has, for so many years, allowed no popular voice to speak. However, as long as the Iranian people suffer under a leader who has no qualms about persecuting his own citizens and as long as the rest of the world is threatened with the ambitions of a megalomaniacal ruler whose priority is nuclear weapons, it is Canada's responsibility and duty as a civilized nation with values we cherish to never remain silent in the face of human suffering and threats to peace and stability.
This identical motion in the House of Commons was not debated. There were no rousing speeches given by any member of any political stripe in order to convince colleagues to pass it. It was presented and passed unanimously. This motion is not contentious. It is common sense. It is not divisive. In the other place, a four-party chamber and independent MPs stood united. The motion is simply stating the facts as Canadians and their representatives see them and it is asking for action by Canada and our allies to assist in preventing more human rights abuses and insisting on compliance by Iran relating to its nuclear obligations in law and in practice.
I ask my colleagues on all sides of this chamber to unite with the other place by putting this motion on the record as having been passed without question by all parliamentarians, and in doing so, we make our views plain to Iran and the world community and make it clear that Canada will not stand by silently while human beings are tortured or oppressed and our friends and allies are threatened.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I listened to the end of the speech. I was in my office gathering up the souvenirs of my 45-year political career, which is starting to get me quite worked up. But I listened to the speech by my brilliant colleague, Senator Segal.
This time, I do not have anything remotely close to a prepared speech.
I just want to say, as I said last week, that I am interested in these matters. The reason I will be asking, in a few minutes, to adjourn this matter in my name, or in the name of Senator Di Nino, as the Senate wishes, is that progress is being made in discussions that are going on at the moment. In my departing speech next week, I will touch on a subject that is close to everyone's hearts, including colleagues who may think I disagree with them, though I do not. Because this progress is ongoing, does it help the debate to condemn, to happily stand up and say, "I condemn," even though we may agree fundamentally with the resolution? There is no doubt that there are things going on in Iran.
What I would like to ask — and I leave this with my colleagues — is what is the role of Canada? Is it sufficient? Are we happy to just condemn or to take actions like those of the Minister of Foreign Affairs? I have piles of condemnations, which lead to other condemnations. I like action.
I do not think this kind of motion will help the situation at the moment. There is progress being made. Great discussions are going on between the President of the United States of America and Iran.
Do we, as Canadians, have to find solutions by strongly and repeatedly condemning? If so, we will have no more partners to help. I will explain next week that the role of Canada is clearly to try to be different. Is our job as senators to be happy to condemn and to ask people if they heard our condemnations?
If honourable senators decide that is the role of Canada, then I will remain silent. However, you may believe that the role of Canada could be very different from that. The eyes of the world are always looking at Canada.
I will not say this is a bad resolution. Only someone who does not know what is going on in the world would disagree. However, I will not say that we should repeatedly condemn and recommend that others do as well, as that leads us to many debates. A debate on subparagraph (g) of the motion alone could be very long.
Since, as I said, I did not expect this motion to come forward today, I will move the adjournment of the debate, reserving the rest of my time for a later date. Any other senator can take the floor before I am ready to speak or after I leave this place.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, I would like to take part in this debate. I have a lot of respect for Senator Prud'homme, and for his political and human experience. Unfortunately, there are situations in life where human rights are massively violated.
I am going to give the example of the Baha'i community in Iran. I am a member of the committee advising the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the prevention of genocides. Based on our observations, the government in Iran is deliberately fomenting genocide against the Baha'is. And this is just a part of that government's overall policy.
In the context of a government that openly tramples human rights, I want to take you back to the doctrine initiated by Canada in 2001 and approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, which has to do with the responsibility to protect. That doctrine is not merely about imposing sanctions that could end up harming children more than anything else.
The nuclear component is important, but the human rights situation is awful, and it must be clearly addressed by stressing the responsibility to protect these rights.
I do not agree with Senator Prud'homme when he says that we must show restraint. On the contrary, we must show leadership and be fully involved.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I can reply to Senator Dallaire. Our colleague is the best informed person when it comes to these major issues. He cannot be wrong in his comments. It goes without saying that anyone who still has a bit of intelligence, a bit of understanding of what the use of torture by any authority means, cannot be opposed to these views.
The problem in the Senate is that we have to deal with catch-all motions that include a number of measures, with one being readily acceptable, another one questionable and yet another one that could be amended and on which we can vote. It is in that sense that I would like to make a difference. I propose that we stop presenting motions which, when we do a clause-by-clause review, lead to one or the other being adopted or rejected.
My experience at the United Nations and in the International Parliamentary Union makes me believe that we should stop proposing endless motions that allow some to agree with a certain proposal, but to disagree with the last or the next to last paragraph, because this ultimately makes people vote against the motion, or abstain.
If we want to condemn the use of torture by Iranian authorities, then the Senate should simply condemn the use of torture by Iranian authorities. Period. Let us debate it. I do not know anyone in their right mind who would object.
I am asking that we reflect on the fact that putting several points in a single motion, each of which call for a debate that we may or may not all agree on, and on which amendments could be made, such as adding that others must also comply. Consider the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is debatable and can even be amended. Everyone knows what I am referring to.
I agree wholeheartedly with Senator Dallaire's comments because he touched on a very important element. However, it is the overall motion that leaves me perplexed. We have been asked very abruptly and very suddenly to debate a motion that, in my opinion, could be the subject of several debates. That is why I wanted to tell you, honourable senators, that I have been thinking carefully about this issue. We can all continue to reflect on this matter over the next few days.
When we see Senator Dallaire on television, he brings honour not only to the Senate, but also to major issues and important principles. We must listen to him. He always brings a reasoned position and vast experience to our debates. Every time he speaks, as he did here today, he makes us stop and think. I will conclude by saying that, for this motion, I think certain things should have been excluded and made the subject of another debate.
Given that Senator Dallaire is deeply concerned about this issue, as am I, he could propose an amendment stating, for example, that "the Senate condemns —"
That is crystal clear. This way the debate would not be very long. But asking us to give our full support without discussing every point seems a little much.
I do not disagree with the honourable senator, but I wish we had more time to think about this. Be that as it may, as you know, in my case, time is running out very quickly. Others will have to take up the torch, if it is necessary.
Senator Dallaire: Honourable senators, it is true that I have debated the issue of human rights and that I do not necessarily agree with the sanctions. I would like a more vigorous measure, but imposing sanctions certainly seems to me to be a minimal action as regards human rights.
However, there is another side to this. I am a benefactor of the Pugwash movement. This is not a four-legged animal, but a town in Nova Scotia where there is a movement advocating not only non-proliferation, but also nuclear disarmament. I could make the point in an omnibus motion on disarmament, and not only non-proliferation. However, I feel that including non-proliferation is a significant act with regard to a country that wants precisely to acquire a capacity that too many countries already have and that none of them needs.
Nuclear disarmament should begin with our country's objection to the use of nuclear weapons in NATO's defensive arsenal, and we should begin to act more like the Germans, the Dutch and the Belgians.
But even in its omnibus form, this motion seeks two fundamental objectives in that country, and adopting it would certainly be a minimum action, so as to engage Iran in a more serious process later on.
Senator Segal: May I ask a question?
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I think my time has expired. I simply want to say that I wish to keep the minute or two that I have left, and ask for the adjournment of the debate in my name. If the rules require it, then I move the adjournment in the name of Senator Di Nino.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): I do not want to prevent an honourable senator from asking other questions.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, Senator Prud'homme's time has expired.
Senator Segal: I would like to put a question following Senator Dallaire's comments.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Prud'homme was the last speaker and he moved the adjournment.
Senator Comeau: He cannot move the adjournment if his time has expired.
Senator Prud'homme: I have one minute left.
Senator Comeau: I am prepared to recommend to the senator that the adjournment be in the name of Senator Di Nino, under whose name the adjournment was originally.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to have the adjournment stand in the name of Senator Di Nino?
Hon. Tommy Banks: I have a question of procedure, honourable senators. Maybe I misunderstood, but when Senator Prud'homme first began to speak today, he spoke for a few minutes, not his whole time — I suspect this is a table question, Your Honour — and then proposed the adjournment. Senator Dallaire then spoke, continuing debate.
I think that Senator Prud'homme's interventions after that were in the form of a question on Senator Dallaire's time, not using up Senator Prud'homme's time. I would think, therefore, that Senator Prud'homme has considerable time left in his time to speak on this motion. I hope that is the case.
(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Di Nino, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Milne calling the attention of the Senate to recent developments concerning the Canadian industrial hemp industry.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I want to take this opportunity to bring you all up to date on an industry that has been close to my heart almost since the beginning of my tenure in this place — the industrial hemp industry in Canada.
Many of you have listened to me speak passionately about the development of this industry before, while some of our new colleagues may be learning of the existence of the hemp industry in Canada for the very first time. This story will let them know what a brand new backbench senator can do, if you want to do it.
Lesson No. 1: Policies are never perfect when they spring from the cabinet table; and No. 2, bills still are not perfect after the bureaucrats have written them.
I was given the job of sponsoring in the Senate a bill that amended the Food and Drugs Act. By the time that bill reached the Senate, there was a long list of government amendments that had to be made to the bill. After hearing compelling evidence in committee about the non-narcotic nature of hemp and its potential value as an agricultural crop, I had the bureaucrats over a barrel. I gladly agreed to move their amendments if they added one more — to legalize the growing of hemp — and it worked.
To go back, when I arrived in the Senate in 1995, Health Canada was allowing the limited production of hemp for scientific research purposes through the use of research permits, following a system that had been set in place in 1961. The growing of industrial hemp was prohibited in this country from 1938 until 1961, except during the Second World War, when they really needed it.
By 1995, however, a grassroots movement had begun with the objective of demonstrating that a crop of industrial hemp — that is non-narcotic hemp — could be grown specifically for commercial purposes. The historic stigma surrounding hemp production is largely due to its appearance. Because it has a similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana.
The major difference, of course, is their tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, content. That is what makes you high when you smoke marijuana. A marijuana plant can contain as much as 20 per cent THC, but an industrial hemp plant contains far less than 1 per cent. You can smoke a whole field of it and all you will get is a headache.
Senator Banks: Speak for yourself.
Senator Milne: In 1997, Health Canada gathered together a group of expert representatives from other government departments with stakeholder interests in the development of regulations for the commercial production of hemp. The act was amended later that year, and after much promulgating and actually threatening to call the minister up before the National Finance Committee to explain the delay, regulations were finally produced in mid-March of 1998, with the first licences for commercial purposes being issued by June of that year, just exactly too late for the 1998 growing season.
This year, 2009, is the tenth year of growing hemp in Canada. According to the latest statistics of Agri-Food Canada, the exports of hemp fibre, seed and oil have grown exponentially, reaching a total of $3.5 million in 2007.
Somewhat to my astonishment, hemp seed and hemp oil are the most popular products of the plant, while I had originally thought it was strictly a fibre crop. Hemp oil pressed from the seed of the plant is nutritious because it contains the essential fatty acids of omega 3 and omega 6, as well as amino acids and anti-oxidants.
It can be used as cooking oil, in salad dressings, spreads and dips.
Research is ongoing, but hemp seed oil has potential health benefits for diabetes, cancer, lupus, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and hypertension. They say it is the plant of a thousand uses. Another fast-growing area of research is the role of essential fatty acids in growth and development, as well as in treating diseases like coronary heart disease.
The fibre is also increasingly finding a market. A number of automobile producers are using hemp to help improve their image. In an effort to be perceived as green, well-known European companies such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW are using hemp for interior components, including door panels and dashboards. Some manufacturers in the American industry are following the European example and have started to use hemp to make stronger, lighter and less expensive composite panels.
In Europe, there is a continued demand for industrial hemp fibre. For instance, in the United Kingdom, hemp fibre is used to produce construction materials, such as insulation and particle board. In addition, the strength of hemp fibres makes them ideal for use in high-end paper applications where durability is an advantage. Paper applications are by far the largest market for hemp fibres in Europe.
In the Middle East, the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Lebanon have joined forces to initiate the transformation of soils currently used to produce hashish in the Bekaa Valley into industrial hemp production. This Bekaa Valley project has been well-received by producers looking to make the change to produce a legal crop. This is an example of Canadian hemp production expertise being exported and implemented in another market.
As Canada continues to develop this industry, we are becoming a leader in genetics behind industrial hemp production. We are finding opportunities to benefit from our expertise by exporting this knowledge.
The body care product is another growth factor for hemp seed oil. To many, the essential fatty acid content of hemp oil makes it ideal as an ingredient in both "leave on" and "rinse off" topical body care products. Hemp oil helps soothe and restore skin in lotions and creams. It acts as an emollient and provides a smooth after-feel to lotions and lip balms, conditioners, shampoos, soaps and shaving products. If anyone wants to try it, I have some hemp hand cream in my office.
With cosmetic companies taking advantage of the moisture retention qualities of hemp oils, the uses and marketability of industrial hemp oil have great potential to increase. Growing consumer awareness and product availability will also help expand the market.
Early last year, the Ontario Hemp Alliance advised me that they would be initiating a Canadian hemp industry review project. This was a proactive initiative on the part of the producers, processers and other industry stakeholders with a view to providing Health Canada with an industry perspective on the application and administration of the present regulations. Hopefully, it will provide Health Canada with a firm base upon which to complete the department's original objective to review these regulations.
The review was conducted over a four-month period last year with the hope of bringing attention to the role of industrial hemp as a valuable new crop for Canada. It also provided an opportunity to draw producers and processers from across the country together in a cooperative and collective working group with the objective to advance further the potential growth of Canadian hemp crops.
Stakeholders identified a number of issues during these meetings. They included the need to include one or two hemp industry representatives on the advisory committee to Health Canada responsible for evaluation of the cultivars. There were also concerns raised about the cost of THC sampling and testing in the production process. There is a need to review the current protocols since the cost of multiple testing is very high. It is almost prohibitive for farmers. All varieties currently permitted for use in Canada produce very low levels of THC.
Finally, it was recommended that production licences be extended for up to five years with provision for annual amendments. Currently, a licence to produce industrial hemp is issued for only one calendar year at a time. This is a real problem for our farmers.
Health Canada has approved the production of 27 different varieties of industrial hemp cultivars in Canada. These varieties have been developed in Canada.
Manitoba is the largest producer and processing province of industrial hemp. It grows there over a wide variety of climate and soil types, making it ideal for areas of the province where crops with longer growing seasons, such as beans, corn and sunflower, cannot be grown. In Manitoba, producers have traditionally concentrated on the production of hemp grain to convert to oil or powder. Existing Manitoba grain processors include Hemp Oil Canada in Ste. Agathe and Manitoba Harvest in Winnipeg. Manitoba is also home to hemp fibre production thanks to the Emerson Hemp Distribution Company that processes raw hemp fibre into its components of hurd and bast fibres, that is, short and long fibres.
Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers Coop in Dauphin is providing the fundamentals for a fibre processing facility, Parkland BioFibre. The Manitoba government pledged $4 million in loans and grants to this project last December. In the past, this project has been given financial support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
Saskatchewan is also home to a vibrant and growing hemp industry. It is at the centre of some valuable research being done by Satya Panigrahi at the University of Saskatchewan. Professor Panigrahi is a University of Saskatchewan's Saskatchewan Agricultural and Food Research Chair in Agriculture Material Utilization and Bioprocess Engineering. He is studying hemp's future as a viable industrial crop that can be used to produce green products. To make his point, the engineer near has spent the last four years investigating how hemp fibre can be mixed with other materials and moulded into environmentally-friendly products.
He has already used hemp and recycled materials to create a plastic replacement called hempstic, a fibreglass alternative to make auto body parts and shingles that combine hemp, flax, recycled rubber; and Eco-Bricks. An Eco-Brick is a bio-composite building block made with 75 per cent hemp stock fibre, combined with flax and recycled plastic from milk jugs, juice cartons and anything else made of plastic. This is collected at Saskatchewan recycling outlets. They are a stackable, fire and mould resistant construction material that can be nailed, sawn and treated exactly like a wooden board. Stucco can be applied to the bricks and they have an insulation value of up to R50. This is much higher than the R10 to R23 insulation used in most houses. They are priced at about 30 per cent to 50 per cent less than wood for a house.
In Ontario, the recent news in the hemp industry continues to focus on the production and processing of hemp fibre. Recently, three foreign investors pledged more than $2 million to join Stonehedge Bio-Resources to build a processing facility located in Stirling, halfway between Ottawa and Toronto. That is currently underway. This facility will process hemp into building and insulation materials. It will also produce a pelleted fuel from the end by-product of its decortication process.
In addition, hemp research is ongoing at the University of Guelph as part of a larger project dedicated to producing various materials from waste products and inexpensive plant material using nanotechnology. The Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre of Excellence, which I told the Senate about back in the spring, has developed nano-engineered bio-plastics formed entirely from plant materials suitable for making lightweight car parts that are stronger than steel. In fact, bio-materials, such as soy oil and corn or hemp stocks, can be used to produce everything for which we presently use traditional plastics. Everything from building panels, carpets, furniture and packaging materials to lubricants and paints can be made from natural products, including hemp.
Honourable senators, I have noted before that investing in research such as this is essential to learning how to lower our dependence on non-renewable resources and to building a better future for us all. The Government of Canada has shown their interest, and I congratulate them in this research, by investing in the hemp and flax industry so that farmers can harness new opportunities and access new value-added markets. In March, the government announced a $9.6 million investment in the Natural Fibres for the Green Economy Network. This is a multidisciplinary network that brings together Canada's top researchers —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The Honourable Senator Milne's time has expired.
Senator Milne: Honourable senators, may I have five minutes more?
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Agreed.
Senator Milne: This is a multidisciplinary network that brings together Canada's top researchers, industry and producers to help create additional profitable natural fibre-based industrial value chains by improving varieties, technologies and processes and by improving products made out of natural fibres. In addition, last November the Province of Manitoba and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada unveiled a new national strategy for developing the hemp industry in Canada. Many industry watchers say the creation of a national strategy gives the industry instant credibility. With all of this activity in the industrial hemp industry, it is no wonder that Canadian stakeholders are as optimistic as ever that hemp will continue its penetration into mainstream markets.
In the 10 years since hemp was legalized, I have seen a tremendous amount of work done to promote and develop the Canadian industrial hemp industry. I take this opportunity to thank all the people who have spent so much time and so much of their efforts in promoting it. I encourage honourable senators to support initiatives in their regions that will further develop the production of hemp. After 10 years, Canada has become a global player in the genetics behind hemp production continues to export that knowledge to our competitive advantage.
In closing, it is clear that the success story behind industrial hemp can be used as a model to address the question of how Canadians develop economic opportunities while addressing a number of issues related to maintaining a sustainable environment.
(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Raine, debate adjourned.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-51, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on January 27, 2009 and to implement other measures.
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Comeau, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Fairbairn, P.C.,
That the Senate endorse the following Declaration, adopted by the Conference on Combating Antisemitism, held at London, United Kingdom, from February 15 to 17, 2009:
THE LONDON DECLARATION ON COMBATING ANTISEMITISM
We, Representatives of our respective Parliaments from across the world, convening in London for the founding Conference and Summit of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, draw the democratic world's attention to the resurgence of antisemitism as a potent force in politics, international affairs and society.
We note the dramatic increase in recorded antisemitic hate crimes and attacks targeting Jewish persons and property, and Jewish religious, educational and communal institutions.
We are alarmed at the resurrection of the old language of prejudice and its modern manifestations — in rhetoric and political action — against Jews, Jewish belief and practice and the State of Israel.
We are alarmed by Government-backed antisemitism in general, and state-backed genocidal antisemitism, in particular.
We, as Parliamentarians, affirm our commitment to a comprehensive programme of action to meet this challenge.
We call upon national governments, parliaments, international institutions, political and civic leaders, NGOs, and civil society to affirm democratic and human values, build societies based on respect and citizenship and combat any manifestations of antisemitism and discrimination.
We today in London resolve that;
1. Parliamentarians shall expose, challenge, and isolate political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the State of Israel as a Jewish collectivity;
2. Parliamentarians should speak out against antisemitism and discrimination directed against any minority, and guard against equivocation, hesitation and justification in the face of expressions of hatred;
3. Governments must challenge any foreign leader, politician or public figure who denies, denigrates or trivialises the Holocaust and must encourage civil society to be vigilant to this phenomenon and to openly condemn it;
4. Parliamentarians should campaign for their Government to uphold international commitments on combating antisemitism — including the OSCE Berlin Declaration and its eight main principles;
5. The UN should reaffirm its call for every member state to commit itself to the principles laid out in the Holocaust Remembrance initiative including specific and targeted policies to eradicate Holocaust denial and trivialisation;
6. Governments and the UN should resolve that never again will the institutions of the international community and the dialogue of nation states be abused to try to establish any legitimacy for antisemitism, including the singling out of Israel for discriminatory treatment in the international arena, and we will never witness — or be party to — another gathering like Durban in 2001;
7. The OSCE should encourage its member states to fulfil their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and to fully utilise programmes to combat antisemitism including the Law Enforcement programme LEOP;
8. The European Union, inter-state institutions and multilateral fora and religious communities must make a concerted effort to combat antisemitism and lead their member states to adopt proven and best practice methods of countering antisemitism;
9. Leaders of all religious faiths should be called upon to use all the means possible to combat antisemitism and all types of discriminatory hostilities among believers and society at large;
10. The EU Council of Ministers should convene a session on combating antisemitism relying on the outcomes of the London Conference on Combating Antisemitism and using the London Declaration as a basis.
11. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of explicitly antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of explicitly antisemitic programmes;
12. Governments should fully reaffirm and actively uphold the Genocide Convention, recognising that where there is incitement to genocide signatories automatically have an obligation to act. This may include sanctions against countries involved in or threatening to commit genocide or referral of the matter to the UN Security Council or initiate an inter-state complaint at the International Court of Justice;
13. Parliamentarians should legislate effective Hate Crime legislation recognising "hate aggravated crimes" and, where consistent with local legal standards, "incitement to hatred" offences and empower law enforcement agencies to convict;
14. Governments that are signatories to the Hate Speech Protocol of the Council of Europe 'Convention on Cybercrime' (and the 'Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems') should enact domestic enabling legislation;
Identifying the threat
15. Parliamentarians should return to their legislature, Parliament or Assembly and establish inquiry scrutiny panels that are tasked with determining the existing nature and state of antisemitism in their countries and developing recommendations for government and civil society action;
16. Parliamentarians should engage with their governments in order to measure the effectiveness of existing policies and mechanisms in place and to recommend proven and best practice methods of countering antisemitism;
17. Governments should ensure they have publicly accessible incident reporting systems, and that statistics collected on antisemitism should be the subject of regular review and action by government and state prosecutors and that an adequate legislative framework is in place to tackle hate crime.
18. Governments must expand the use of the EUMC 'working definition' of antisemitism to inform policy of national and international organisations and as a basis for training material for use by Criminal Justice Agencies;
19. Police services should record allegations of hate crimes and incidents — including antisemitism — as routine part of reporting crimes;
20. The OSCE should work with member states to seek consistent data collection systems for antisemitism and hate crime.
Education, awareness and training
21. Governments should train Police, prosecutors and judges comprehensively. The training is essential if perpetrators of antisemitic hate crime are to be successfully apprehended, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced. The OSCE's Law enforcement Programme LEOP is a model initiative consisting of an international cadre of expert police officers training police in several countries;
22. Governments should develop teaching materials on the subjects of the Holocaust, racism, antisemitism and discrimination which are incorporated into the national school curriculum. All teaching materials ought to be based on values of comprehensiveness, inclusiveness, acceptance and respect and should be designed to assist students to recognise and counter antisemitism and all forms of hate speech;
23. The OSCE should encourage their member states to fulfill their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and to fully utilise programmes to combat antisemitism including the Law Enforcement programme LEOP;
24. Governments should include a comprehensive training programme across the Criminal Justice System using programmes such as the LEOP programme;
25. Education Authorities should ensure that freedom of speech is upheld within the law and to protect students and staff from illegal antisemitic discourse and a hostile environment in whatever form it takes including calls for boycotts;
26. The Criminal Justice System should publicly notify local communities when antisemitic hate crimes are prosecuted by the courts to build community confidence in reporting and pursuing convictions through the Criminal Justice system;
27. Parliamentarians should engage with civil society institutions and leading NGOs to create partnerships that bring about change locally, domestically and globally, and support efforts that encourage Holocaust education, inter-religious dialogue and cultural exchange;
Media and the Internet
28. Governments should acknowledge the challenge and opportunity of the growing new forms of communication;
29. Media Regulatory Bodies should utilise the EUMC 'Working Definition of antisemitism' to inform media standards;
30. Governments should take appropriate and necessary action to prevent the broadcast of antisemitic programmes on satellite television channels, and to apply pressure on the host broadcast nation to take action to prevent the transmission of antisemitic programmes;
31. The OSCE should seek ways to coordinate the response of member states to combat the use of the internet to promote incitement to hatred;
32. Law enforcement authorities should use domestic "hate crime", "incitement to hatred" and other legislation as well as other means to mitigate and, where permissible, to prosecute "Hate on the Internet" where racist and antisemitic content is hosted, published and written;
33. An international task force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts should be established to create common metrics to measure antisemitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations and practical instruments for Governments and international frameworks to tackle these problems.
Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism
34. Participants will endeavour to maintain contact with fellow delegates through working group framework; communicating successes or requesting further support where required;
35. Delegates should reconvene for the next ICCA Conference in Canada in 2010, become an active member of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition and promote and prioritise the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, after last week's debate, I consulted all the requisite authorities and naturally I had the right to speak at this time. However, I prefer to listen to the wise advice of Senator Carstairs, who indicated that it was inappropriate to speak to a motion on which Senator Grafstein, our friend for 40 years, had not yet finished his speech. He will have every opportunity to do so. When I have spoken to this motion, he will then be the last speaker.
Therefore, I do not wish to repeat what I said two weeks ago about the other motions.
I will not repeat the glory expressed in my statement but rest assured I meant it. Honourable senators know what I said graciously and without reservation about the extremely great work of Senator Grafstein around the world, as evidenced in the Debates of the Senate two weeks ago.
During the recess I read the Debates of the Senate in preparation for my upcoming departure. I was moved by the words of Senator Carstairs on November 5 when she said:
Senator Prud'homme's amendment is certainly one way of dealing with it.
She also said:
Honourable senators, I am becoming increasingly concerned with these motions coming forward from organizations. For example, Senator Oliver could come before us and present the emergency resolution at the recent Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly or three resolutions from various working groups from the spring assembly. We could have an Order Paper an inch thick if every one of us who goes to an international conference comes back and places the motions that have been passed at that particular conference on the Order Paper.
Every parliamentarian attends conferences where many resolutions are taken. Senator Grafstein is extremely active in that area. He is the only one who moves motions to debate all of these resolutions that demand immense study.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Therefore, honourable senators, similar to what I proposed two weeks ago in my motion in amendment on another resolution, I move:
That the words "That the Senate endorse" at the beginning of the motion be replaced by the words "That the Senate take note of".
The wording of the amendment was approved by Senator Carstairs. She said that was the way in which she would like the vote to take place. Otherwise, I will have to debate and repeat the same thing, but I prefer to keep my powder dry for my final speech next week, which will be as gracious as I hope you know me to be.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: On the motion by Senator Grafstein, seconded by Senator Fairbairn, Senator Prud'homme moves in amendment, seconded by the Honourable Senator Comeau:
That the words "That the Senate endorse" at the beginning of the motion be replaced by the words "That the Senate take note of".
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, before I take the adjournment of the debate, I wish to say to the Honourable Senator Prud'homme that I understand that his time in this place is running out.
Senator Prud'homme: As is the honourable senator's.
Senator Grafstein: I have one week or so more after he leaves.
Senator Prud'homme: He has six more days.
Senator Grafstein: I want to be fair to the honourable senator and hear the substance of his comments on any of these resolutions that he so chooses. I hope to respond to all that he says. I would rather have some substantive response to the substance of the resolutions as opposed to a procedural motion to put this item off. On the substance of the issue, I agree with the honourable senator that some of the international resolutions, such as the United Nations resolutions, are not fit for the wastepaper basket. However, there are other resolutions that I think should have a life.
I believe when we spend taxpayers' money, go abroad and work hard on these resolutions, we have a responsibility as parliamentarians to bring them back here, if they are important, and have a debate, which is our mandate and the basis upon which we take taxpayers' dollars to go and debate these issues overseas. This is not a frolic of my own, or a frolic of Senator Carstairs or of honourable senators. This is the entitlement of Parliament to hear, as we go to Canada-U.S meetings. Each time we have gone to a Canada-U.S. meeting, for years and years, we table a report here for people to comment on. That is the purpose of this place.
Our purpose is not to go to an international meeting, have a lot of fun there, show up, pass a resolution and do nothing about it. I believe our duty is to pass those resolutions if we believe in them, particularly if they are unanimously approved, and come back to our home Parliament, as it says in this resolution, for a substantive response.
I hope the honourable senator will allow us an opportunity to give a substantive response and then I want to respond to the substance of his comments. I am always interested in his opinions.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Pépin, that the amendment —
Hon. Anne C. Cools: I want to ask Senator Grafstein a question. Your Honour, I am on my feet, Your Honour.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: May I ask a question?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Grafstein has moved the adjournment of the debate.
Senator Cools: I will have to get a whistle back here. I have been on my feet, trying to put a question to Senator Grafstein.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Grafstein has moved the adjournment of the debate.
Senator Cools: I was on my feet before he did so.
Senator Stratton: It is not debatable.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Pépin, that further debate be adjourned until the next sitting of the Senate.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
(On motion of Senator Grafstein, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Grafstein calling the attention of the Senate to the following Declaration on Strengthening the Financial System, adopted by the G20 on April 2, 2009, at the London Summit:
DECLARATION ON STRENGTHENING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM-LONDON SUMMIT, 2 APRIL 2009
We, the Leaders of the G20, have taken, and will continue to take, action to strengthen regulation and supervision in line with the commitments we made in Washington to reform the regulation of the financial sector. Our principles are strengthening transparency and accountability, enhancing sound regulation, promoting integrity in financial markets and reinforcing international cooperation. The material in this declaration expands and provides further detail on the commitments in our statement. We published today a full progress report against each of the 47 actions set out in the Washington Action Plan. In particular, we have agreed the following major reforms.
Financial Stability Board
We have agreed that the Financial Stability Forum should be expanded, given a broadened mandate to promote financial stability, and re-established with a stronger institutional basis and enhanced capacity as the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB will:
- assess vulnerabilities affecting the financial system, identify and oversee action needed to address them;
- promote co-ordination and information exchange among authorities responsible for financial stability;
- monitor and advise on market developments and their implications for regulatory policy;
- advise on and monitor best practice in meeting regulatory standards;
- undertake joint strategic reviews of the policy development work of the international Standard Setting Bodies to ensure their work is timely, coordinated, focused on priorities, and addressing gaps;
- set guidelines for, and support the establishment, functioning of, and participation in, supervisory colleges, including through ongoing identification of the most systemically important cross-border firms;
- support contingency planning for cross-border crisis management, particularly with respect to systemically important firms; and
- collaborate with the IMF to conduct Early Warning Exercises to identify and report to the IMFC and the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on the build up of macroeconomic and financial risks and the actions needed to address them.
Members of the FSB commit to pursue the maintenance of financial stability, enhance the openness and transparency of the financial sector, and implement international financial standards (including the 12 key International Standards and Codes), and agree to undergo periodic peer reviews, using among other evidence IMF / World Bank public Financial Sector Assessment Program reports. The FSB will elaborate and report on these commitments and the evaluation process.
We welcome the FSB's and IMF's commitment to intensify their collaboration, each complementing the other's role and mandate.
To strengthen international cooperation we have agreed:
- to establish the remaining supervisory colleges for significant cross-border firms by June 2009, building on the 28 already in place;
- to implement the FSF principles for cross-border crisis management immediately, and that home authorities of each major international financial institution should ensure that the group of authorities with a common interest in that financial institution meet at least annually;
- to support continued efforts by the IMF, FSB, World Bank, and BCBS to develop an international framework for cross-border bank resolution arrangements;
- the importance of further work and international cooperation on the subject of exit strategies;
- that the IMF and FSB should together launch an Early Warning Exercise at the 2009 Spring Meetings.
We have agreed to strengthen international frameworks for prudential regulation:
- until recovery is assured the international standard for the minimum level of capital should remained unchanged;
- where appropriate, capital buffers above the required minima should be allowed to decline to facilitate lending in deteriorating economic conditions;
- once recovery is assured, prudential regulatory standards should be strengthened. Buffers above regulatory minima should be increased and the quality of capital should be enhanced. Guidelines for harmonisation of the definition of capital should be produced by end 2009. The BCBS should review minimum levels of capital and develop recommendations in 2010;
- the FSB, BCBS, and CGFS, working with accounting standard setters, should take forward, with a deadline of end 2009, implementation of the recommendations published today to mitigate procyclicality, including a requirement for banks to build buffers of resources in good times that they can draw down when conditions deteriorate;
- risk-based capital requirements should be supplemented with a simple, transparent, non-risk based measure which is internationally comparable, properly takes into account off-balance sheet exposures, and can help contain the build-up of leverage in the banking system;
- the BCBS and authorities should take forward work on improving incentives for risk management of securitisation, including considering due diligence and quantitative retention requirements, by 2010;
- all G20 countries should progressively adopt the Basel II capital framework; and
- the BCBS and national authorities should develop and agree by 2010 a global framework for promoting stronger liquidity buffers at financial institutions, including cross-border institutions.
The scope of regulation
We have agreed that all systemically important financial institutions, markets, and instruments should be subject to an appropriate degree of regulation and oversight. In particular:
- we will amend our regulatory systems to ensure authorities are able to identify and take account of macro-prudential risks across the financial system including in the case of regulated banks, shadow banks, and private pools of capital to limit the build up of systemic risk. We call on the FSB to work with the BIS and international standard setters to develop macro-prudential tools and provide a report by autumn 2009;
- large and complex financial institutions require particularly careful oversight given their systemic importance;
- we will ensure that our national regulators possess the powers for gathering relevant information on all material financial institutions, markets, and instruments in order to assess the potential for their failure or severe stress to contribute to systemic risk. This will be done in close coordination at international level in order to achieve as much consistency as possible across jurisdictions;
- in order to prevent regulatory arbitrage, the IMF and the FSB will produce guidelines for national authorities to assess whether a financial institution, market, or an instrument is systemically important by the next meeting of our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. These guidelines should focus on what institutions do rather than their legal form;
- hedge funds or their managers will be registered and will be required to disclose appropriate information on an ongoing basis to supervisors or regulators, including on their leverage, necessary for assessment of the systemic risks that they pose individually or collectively. Where appropriate, registration should be subject to a minimum size. They will be subject to oversight to ensure that they have adequate risk management. We ask the FSB to develop mechanisms for cooperation and information sharing between relevant authorities in order to ensure that effective oversight is maintained where a fund is located in a different jurisdiction from the manager. We will, cooperating through the FSB, develop measures that implement these principles by the end of 2009. We call on the FSB to report to the next meeting of our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors;
- supervisors should require that institutions which have hedge funds as their counterparties have effective risk management. This should include mechanisms to monitor the funds' leverage and set limits for single counterparty exposures;
- we will promote the standardisation and resilience of credit derivatives markets, in particular through the establishment of central clearing counterparties subject to effective regulation and supervision. We call on the industry to develop an action plan on standardisation by autumn 2009; and
- we will each review and adapt the boundaries of the regulatory framework regularly to keep pace with developments in the financial system and promote good practices and consistent approaches at the international level.
We have endorsed the principles on pay and compensation in significant financial institutions developed by the FSF to ensure compensation structures are consistent with firms' long-term goals and prudent risk taking. We have agreed that our national supervisors should ensure significant progress in the implementation of these principles by the 2009 remuneration round. The BCBS should integrate these principles into their risk management guidance by autumn 2009. The principles, which have today been published, require:
- firms' boards of directors to play an active role in the design, operation, and evaluation of compensation schemes;
- compensation arrangements, including bonuses, to properly reflect risk and the timing and composition of payments to be sensitive to the time horizon of risks. Payments should not be finalised over short periods where risks are realised over long periods; and
- firms to publicly disclose clear, comprehensive, and timely information about compensation. Stakeholders, including shareholders, should be adequately informed on a timely basis on compensation policies to exercise effective monitoring.
Supervisors will assess firms' compensation policies as part of their overall assessment of their soundness. Where necessary they will intervene with responses that can include increased capital requirements.
Tax havens and non-cooperative jurisdictions
It is essential to protect public finances and international standards against the risks posed by non-cooperative jurisdictions. We call on all jurisdictions to adhere to the international standards in the prudential, tax, and AML/ CFT areas. To this end, we call on the appropriate bodies to conduct and strengthen objective peer reviews, based on existing processes, including through the FSAP process.
We call on countries to adopt the international standard for information exchange endorsed by the G20 in 2004 and reflected in the UN Model Tax Convention. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of information. We welcome the new commitments made by a number of jurisdictions and encourage them to proceed swiftly with implementation.
We stand ready to take agreed action against those jurisdictions which do not meet international standards in relation to tax transparency. To this end we have agreed to develop a toolbox of effective counter measures for countries to consider, such as:
- increased disclosure requirements on the part of taxpayers and financial institutions to report transactions involving non-cooperative jurisdictions;
- withholding taxes in respect of a wide variety of payments;
- denying deductions in respect of expense payments to payees resident in a non-cooperative jurisdiction;
- reviewing tax treaty policy;
- asking international institutions and regional development banks to review their investment policies; and,
- giving extra weight to the principles of tax transparency and information exchange when designing bilateral aid programs.
We also agreed that consideration should be given to further options relating to financial relations with these jurisdictions.
We are committed to developing proposals, by end 2009, to make it easier for developing countries to secure the benefits of a new cooperative tax environment.
We are also committed to strengthened adherence to international prudential regulatory and supervisory standards. The IMF and the FSB in cooperation with international standard-setters will provide an assessment of implementation by relevant jurisdictions, building on existing FSAPs where they exist. We call on the FSB to develop a toolbox of measures to promote adherence to prudential standards and cooperation with jurisdictions.
We agreed that the FATF should revise and reinvigorate the review process for assessing compliance by jurisdictions with AML/CFT standards, using agreed evaluation reports where available.
We call upon the FSB and the FATF to report to the next G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting on adoption and implementation by countries.
We have agreed that the accounting standard setters should improve standards for the valuation of financial instruments based on their liquidity and investors' holding horizons, while reaffirming the framework of fair value accounting.
We also welcome the FSF recommendations on procyclicality that address accounting issues. We have agreed that accounting standard setters should take action by the end of 2009 to:
- reduce the complexity of accounting standards for financial instruments;
- strengthen accounting recognition of loan-loss provisions by incorporating a broader range of credit information;
- improve accounting standards for provisioning, off-balance sheet exposures and valuation uncertainty;
- achieve clarity and consistency in the application of valuation standards internationally, working with supervisors;
- make significant progress towards a single set of high quality global accounting standards; and,
- within the framework of the independent accounting standard setting process, improve involvement of stakeholders, including prudential regulators and emerging markets, through the IASB's constitutional review.
Credit Rating Agencies
We have agreed on more effective oversight of the activities of Credit Rating Agencies, as they are essential market participants. In particular, we have agreed that:
- all Credit Rating Agencies whose ratings are used for regulatory purposes should be subject to a regulatory oversight regime that includes registration. The regulatory oversight regime should be established by end 2009 and should be consistent with the IOSCO Code of Conduct Fundamentals. IOSCO should coordinate full compliance;
- national authorities will enforce compliance and require changes to a rating agency's practices and procedures for managing conflicts of interest and assuring the transparency and quality of the rating process. In particular, Credit Rating Agencies should differentiate ratings for structured products and provide full disclosure of their ratings track record and the information and assumptions that underpin the ratings process. The oversight framework should be consistent across jurisdictions with appropriate sharing of information between national authorities, including through IOSCO; and,
- the Basel Committee should take forward its review on the role of external ratings in prudential regulation and determine whether there are any adverse incentives that need to be addressed.
We instruct our Finance Ministers to complete the implementation of these decisions and the attached action plan. We have asked the FSB and the IMF to monitor progress, working with the FATF and the Global Forum, and to provide a report to the next meeting of our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I want to deal with this subject matter. Perhaps I was misinformed but I understood that the Honourable Senator Prud'homme wanted to address this particular subject matter. The procedure, as has been pointed out to me, requires me to speak before Senator Prud'homme to allow him to speak.
Senator Comeau: That is correct.
Senator Tardif: Yes.
Senator Grafstein: I will address the subject matter as briefly as possible.
Honourable senators, this is a unique manifesto. It is a declaration made after solemn convocation by the leaders of the free world and others: the G20.
This substantive resolution followed a previous meeting earlier this year in Washington, D.C., where the leaders of the industrial world met and dealt with what they considered to be ameliorating the problems arising out of the current recession.
I will address that issue generally, and then come back to this resolution. To my surprise and concern, a number of items here have been mandated by this government to be implemented on or before the end of this year. To my knowledge, there has not been any public response to any of these 47 recommendations. I will deal with some of them generally in a moment but then come back to the major point.
As an aside, I was born in 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression. The Great Depression shaped my family, my ideals and my approach to politics. The Great Depression was a horrible period in the lives of Canadians, including the lives of most members of my family. I remember when there were no jobs and poverty. I remember not being able to go to a doctor's appointment because we did not have the money to do so. Here we are, some 70 years later, in the midst of the Great Recession. It is not called a depression; it is called the Great Recession.
The question is this: Is it still here? Is it over? If it is over, why are the unemployment figures still rising? Why is it that, today, in Canada, despite the best efforts of members of Parliament, we cannot find out the accurate number for joblessness in this country? Why is it that, after all these years, we still do not know what the jobless rate is in my city of Toronto, previously the engine of growth in this country?
Senator Stratton: Unemployment is 5.1 per cent in Manitoba.
Senator Grafstein: We have figures but they are not complete because, we have been told, the numbers are based on Employment Insurance and that number varies from time to time. In the city of Toronto, we are told that it also includes the welfare rolls but that is not complete. We do not know the number of first-job seekers or the number of people that have a part-time job. We do not know those families that refuse to take EI or refuse to take welfare. We know that, last summer, in Toronto, young people could not find a job. That was clear.
We know that manufacturing jobs have virtually disappeared. We know that retail sales are down from a year previous. We know that, other than cars and houses, everything else is down from the previous year, in every category; there is not one category where things are not down.
There is a strange disconnect between the financial marketplace, where the market is booming, and the real economy where people are seeking a job. One figure that was pointed out to me that disturbed me, because I have had something to do with looking at this question, is that the average income for poverty in Toronto is something like $23,000. If they are below that income, they are below the poverty line. That number is growing. Not only is that number growing, but the average income for the people in that segment has gone down about $1,500 over the past year or two.
The poor are becoming poorer and the jobless statistics are smudged, so we cannot really attack it or understand it. By the way, I am not pointing the finger in any one direction because it applies to my City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, the federal government and the government statistics at all levels. The information is not complete. Any reputable economist will tell us that.
We are guessing for whose benefit? Every once in a while, we read in the newspaper that there are the green shoots and the economy is turning around. However, other economists tell us that is not the case. This recession will be a longer and tougher slog.
I say that because story after story and article after article tells us that about statistics. I refer to an article in one magazine called The National Interest published earlier this year called "Beat the Economists". An interesting and compelling set of arguments indicated that our economists let us down and how the economists followed the herd. That includes economic thinkers here, in the United States and in Europe. They let us down. Maybe we did not hold them to better account when the warning signals were out; when the bubble was booming, before the bubble burst.
This issue is difficult and systemic.
The one area we do not deal well with in Parliament is systemic issues. We are great on firefights, issues of the day and headlines, but we do not look at systemic reforms. This particular resolution, prepared in good faith, called the Declaration on Strengthening the Financial System, is full of concrete systemic reforms to our financial system, which everybody believes was the root cause of the current recession.
We are in a different world now. We are in a world where the old manufacturing jobs will not come back. We are in a knowledge and digital economy, and in a globally interconnected economy. We are in an economy where we have learned at the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry that we are in a system of international supply chains where one part of an item is made in Canada, another in China, another in Europe and then the item is put together to form global value chains.
We are in a different mode. We live in a different world. The old business cycles, which were hermetic and more related to American or Canadian economies, are not there anymore. Therefore the old thinking will not work.
Honourable senators can go through all of this G20 Declaration and read it carefully. I have tried to follow it for the last 10 years, since I have been working on these questions here in the Senate. If you follow all this, the one thing that is clear to me is that the old big companies cannot create jobs. In a recession they cut jobs. That is why the market is now up, because for the last two years companies have been more productive since they have been cutting jobs. However, that does not help our voters. That helps Wall Street and Bay Street. That may help some of you with respect to your pensions, but it does not help the average Canadian. Our job is to watch out for the average Canadian and those who fall below the safety nets established in this country and those who cannot get a job.
Honourable senators, we have a serious problem here. The old system is not working. What is my message based on the evidence I have discovered? For this new economy there is only one thing that really is working, and we have not focused on it, and that is small business. Big business does not create jobs; it creates dividends and clips coupons, and takes advantage of their monopoly or oligopoly positions. However, the one thing we do not help systematically in this country is small business.
Today I speak as someone who has started a number of small businesses — 37 in fact, and I will be working on 38 and 39 after I leave the Senate —and of all those businesses the hardest thing to get was capital, which should be available but is not available to small startup businesses.
I will tell honourable senators one personal story. I remember trying to put together a deal and I needed a few million bucks to start a small business in Canada. I went to the largest pension fund in Canada located in Toronto. I knew the head guy. He told me if I wanted capital like that they did not quite have it, even though they had at that time billions of dollars available for big business. He said they had retained a company in Rhode Island doing their venture capital work for them. If I wanted the $2 million, I would have to go there and pitch them. I felt that since they were in Toronto I should be able to deal with them in Canada. I was told they were not dealing with all that high tech, advanced stuff; instead, they were sending proposals to the U.S. company that was putting out the money for them.
That was just one indication how small businesses are having an unbelievable time getting capital; the $100,000, the $500,000, the $1 million that could create jobs. I know there is not a senator in this room not related to a small business, either directly or indirectly, and has not encountered this problem. I see senators nodding in agreement because everyone knows we have all suffered from that lack of capital.
By the way, I want to point out one area in which the Ontario government has done a terrific job. We have an organization in Toronto called MaRS, which brings new tech companies together with older tech companies, tutors them and finds talent and money. However, one MaRS is not enough. There should be dozens and dozens. There should be a silicon valley in every city of this country, where capital is available to young and interesting entrepreneurs to create new jobs for the new knowledge economy.
Honourable senators, that is my answer to this situation. It is not a complete answer, but we have not done it. It is not as if the money is not available — it is. There are billions of dollars available, but we do not have a couple of hundred million dollars to put into small business.
Things can be done, and I would urge honourable senators to look at this question. In committee after committee we have all heard this. In the Agricultural Committee, in the Foreign Affairs Committee, in the Banking Committee, in every committee small business comes up. They cannot even afford to come and give evidence to a Senate committee, but they come because they say that this is their most urgent message.
I want to leave that. I do not want to be critical without being positive. I would like to, as my friend Senator Prud'homme says, "Don't condemn, Grafstein; come up with some answers." I think I have come up with a lot of answers, and I hope to answer him later this week when he speaks about some of the answers that I think I have that he might have avoided.
Senator Prud'homme: I think the senator is getting away from reality.
Senator Grafstein: I agree. That is for another day.
I will come back again, because Senator Prud'homme and I have a few other words to say to one another, and I hope to pay tribute to Senator Prud'homme when he leaves.
Let us return to the resolution, honourable senators. There are 46 actions dealing with the regulatory system that started early this year. Not one has been brought to Parliament. We have asked questions. Where is the renovation to our financial system taking place? How are we dealing with these reforms? We have been told that this resolution, this declaration, is supposed to be completed by the end of 2009.
Honourable senators, if I could have another five more minutes I will complete my remarks.
Some Hon. Senators: Five minutes.
Senator Grafstein: Briefly, the financial stability board, vulnerabilities affecting the financial system is the first item. Then there is international cooperation and establishing supervisory colleges. They were supposed to establish another 28. I have not heard of one being established in Canada or anywhere else.
All these, by the way, are supposed to be reported to regularly through prudential regulation.
It goes on and talks about the question of capital; reviewing minimum levels of capital and develop recommendations for jobs. Nothing has been heard about that.
There is the scope of regulation, the systemic approach to taking into account macro-prudential risks in our financial system. We have heard nothing about that in this house. We have not heard it before the Banking Committee or the Finance Committee; nor have I heard it anywhere else here. We have not heard it in the other place either.
What about the securities regulations? Yes, when it comes to securities regulations we do have movement on that front. The government has decided to refer a new regulatory regime to the Supreme Court about its constitutionality. The evidence is already clear. If the government wanted to move it could move right away because legal opinion after legal opinion has said that the federal government has the right to reoccupy the field of securities under the interprovincial and criminal power. It is clear: We do not have to take it to the Supreme Court. It is clear in legal opinion after legal opinion. There are four opinions all done, all agreed to, all on the record, both here in Ontario and in other places, and we could move on that basis but are not going to do that. We are sending a constitutional reference to the Supreme Court and delay further; so much for regulatory oversight.
Then it comes to tax havens. I have not heard anything about tax havens and how we will stop people in Canada who use tax havens. I have not heard about that problem. I have not heard about how the governor has dealt with the adoption of these recommendations in Parliament or elsewhere. What is the secret about this need for regulation? Why are we keeping this stuff secret, away from Parliament?
Let us go on to accounting standards. People are moving on those, but we have not heard about it here nor whether or not it will make things more costly for small business. We do not know the answer.
Then the Declaration talks about credit rating agencies. Back to Senator Prud'homme's suggestion: Be concrete. Honourable senators, I have a private bill on the Order Paper that is mired here in the Senate making the Bank of Canada responsible for a credit agency. The Ministers of Finance tell us that credit agencies are the source of the problem; that the credit agencies rated credit even when credit should not have been given. My private member's bill is waiting for committee review.
The next step is to move. My suggestion to honourable senators is that unless we move to provide oversight to financial regulatory reform, which all experts say was the source of the problem, he root of the recession, then Parliament will have failed. Then the Senate will have failed because the only thing we can do here is to provide checks and balances, and to provide legislation with checks and balances. If we have not done in the financial area, which everyone agrees is the source of the economic malaise in this country and elsewhere, then we will have failed our duty and our oath as senators.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators will not believe how happy I am to hear the words of our long-time colleague in his speech today. That is exactly the spirit of what Senator Carstairs said two weeks ago.
Senator Grafstein has asked for our support on many resolutions. However, today he is not asking us for support; he is calling for the attention of the Senate. That is exactly the meaning of what Senator Carstairs said two weeks ago. Take, for instance, the very important subject on which Senator Grafstein just spoke. He could hardly touch on two or three paragraphs in 20 minutes; but at least he did bring to our attention something that he valued as important.
He spoke without notes and I will try to imitate his language. If he is aggressive, I will switch and will be very much so myself, but I would rather finish gently. He is bringing it to our attention and that is exactly what we want, to make him understand that that is the way to proceed. That is what Senator Carstairs said two weeks ago, to bring it to our attention, not to ask us to support something that fills six pages.
My colleague will have the last word because he is leaving just a few days after me. However, I know him to be gracious, so he will not attack me when I am absent. I will be close, as I have two months to clear my office.
However, if we go back, he was impatient for me to speak. I go back to some motions that are at 15 days still on the Order Paper, in English. There is one from a meeting in Kazakhstan, from June 29 to July 3, 2008. It is three pages long.
Then there is another resolution, which is dear to him and to me, from Kazakhstan again, in June and July of 2008. There was a delay of 15 days and it went back to zero.
Then there is another one of six or seven pages. This one is June 29, from Kazakhstan again. I think we had better take a trip there to see what is going on.
Then we continue on page 19 of today's Order Paper, with the declaration from February 2009. Later there is one from April 2009. That is the way I like the senator to act, everywhere he goes in the world.
I will repeat what I said in the senator's absence: We know he knows the 100 senators of the United States of America. We know he knows the 50 governors.
When I was in Rome, His Holiness the Pope acknowledged that he knows him. That means the senator is working hard. Of course, I mean the current Pope and his predecessor; the predecessor called him "Jerry." He never called me "Marcel," I must admit.
In the future, the order paper will be only one fifth the size after we depart.
Later on he said that I did not put my views to my colleagues. Later on I could not speak to the inquiries, but I am sure he will ask us to say a few words. If honourable senators want, I will give my acknowledgement right away and say, yes, of course, because they are already at 15 days, but 15 of what? Fifteen sitting days is a long time for a conference that took place in July 2009. Another one is at 15 days today, so do not reproach me for not participating in debate. I have done more in the last two weeks, and more in two days and more today than for quite some time.
I did not even think that the honourable senator noticed that he is at day 15 and 15 on the Notice Paper. At least, it shows my kindness to bring that to his attention. He nods that I am right to bring that to your attention. Otherwise, they will die on the Order Paper. I do not know what he will do when madam calls, but if he asks to say one word, then we know it will go back to square one, and then I shall listen to the honourable senator's speeches from my office in December.
Therefore, I am pleased that Senator Grafstein saw fit to call this to the attention of the Senate because he did not have time to touch on more than two paragraphs. I am sure there are colleagues who are more aware than I am of finance, remuneration, compensation, regulation, credit-rating agencies, tax havens and accounting standards. He did not have time to touch any one of them, but I am glad that by provoking him, he is talking and provoking others to participate in the debate, because it will not die. Therefore, I finish my intervention and I will salute the honourable senator all the time. I know at the end of the day he and I agree on so many things that are more important than some of my colleagues who think that we are always at odds, because we are not.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Continuing debate?
If no other senator wishes to speak, this inquiry is considered debated.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein, pursuant to notice of September 16, 2009, moved:
That the Senate endorse the following Resolution, adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly at its 18th Annual Session, held at Vilnius, Lithuania, from June 29 to July 3, 2009:
RESOLUTION ON ANTI-SEMITISM
1. Reaffirming the commitments made by the participating States at previous OSCE conferences in Vienna (2003), Berlin (2004), Brussels (2004) and Cordoba (2005) regarding legal, political and educational efforts to fight anti-Semitism,
2. Reaffirming, in particular, especially the 2002 Porto Ministerial Decision condemning "anti-Semitic incidents in the OSCE area, recognising the role that the existence of anti-Semitism has played throughout history as a major threat to freedom",
3. Recalling the 2005 OSCE PA Washington Declaration, the 2006 OSCE PA Brussels Declaration, the 2007 OSCE PA Kyiv Declaration and the 2008 OSCE PA Astana Declaration, and the resolutions adopted on combating anti-Semitism,
4. Saluting the commitment and activities of past and present Personal Representatives to the Chairman-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism,
5. Welcoming the efforts of the parliaments of participating States to combat anti-Semitism as highlighted in the Follow-Up Report to the Astana Declaration,
6. Hailing the work of the Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, held in London, United Kingdom, from 15 to 17 February 2009,
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
7. Remains greatly concerned at the increase in xenophobia and other forms of intolerance directed towards vulnerable groups during the economic crisis, including an increase in anti-Semitism characterised by claims that Jews were responsible for the economic crisis;
8. Endorses the declaration of the London Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, and reaffirms in particular:
a. concern for the dramatic increase in recorded anti-Semitic hate crimes and attacks targeting Jewish persons and property, and Jewish religious, educational and communal institutions and the incidents of government-backed anti-Semitism in general, and state-backed genocidal anti-Semitism, in particular;
b. the role parliamentarians, governments, the United Nations and regional organisations should play in combating anti-Semitism in all its forms, including denial of the Holocaust, and in reaffirming the principles of tolerance and mutual respect;
c. its call upon national governments, parliaments, international institutions, political and civic leaders, NGOs and civil society to affirm democratic and human values, build societies based on respect and citizenship and combat any manifestations of anti-Semitism and discrimination;
d. that the participating States of the OSCE must fulfil their commitments under the 2004 Berlin Declaration and fully utilise programmes to combat anti-Semitism including the Law Enforcement programme;
e. that appropriate and necessary action should be taken by governments to develop strategies to address television broadcasts and other uses of the media and Internet that promote anti-Semitism, while ensuring that such strategies and any related legislation fully respect the freedoms of expression, assembly and association, and are not used to repress peaceful activities of civil society, of political or religious groups, or of individuals;
f. that, with the support of the OSCE, measures must be adopted to assess the effectiveness of existing policies and mechanisms in countering anti-Semitism, including the establishment of publicly accessible incident reporting systems, and the collection of statistics on anti-Semitism;
g. the importance of education, awareness and training throughout the judicial and school systems in countering anti-Semitism;
h. the importance of engagement with civil society institutions and leading NGOs to create partnerships that bring about change locally, domestically and globally, and support efforts that encourage Holocaust education, inter-religious dialogue and cultural exchange;
i. that the OSCE should seek ways to co-ordinate the response of participating States to combat the use of the Internet to promote incitement to hatred; and,
j. the establishment of an international task force of Internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts in order to create common metrics to measure anti-Semitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations and practical instruments for governments and international frameworks to tackle these problems;
9. Applauds the extensive work of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to combat manifestations of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, including: the publication of an Annual Hate Crimes Report that monitors manifestations of anti-Semitism; development of Holocaust Remembrance and Hate Crimes Legislation guidelines and other educational materials to combat anti-Semitism; and training of government and civil society members to monitor, report on and prevent manifestations of anti-Semitism.
He said: Honourable senators I do intend, hopefully before Senator Prud'homme leaves, to address this fully. There are a number of overlapping resolutions and, if he continues reading them, he will see that each resolution is mandated to be referred to the sister Parliament to deal with it. This in particular and others I will deal with as a subject matter. I hope that will give him an opportunity to either speak in advance or subsequent to my comments.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, there is one procedural aspect that I do not totally understand. With respect to all these reports from parliamentary assemblies containing numerous resolutions, it seems strange to me that we are given such a short period of time to discuss them and this makes our job difficult.
Should these resolutions not be proposed individually by senators to the various committees, and should those committees not examine the provisions and then bring them to the attention of the Senate, rather than the senators presenting them to the Senate in the form of motions? Is that the normal procedure for a motion or inquiry?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: I thank Senator Dallaire for his intervention. I have duly noted what Senator Carstairs suggested two weeks ago, when she said she would like to see all resolutions from associations and international organizations that members and senators belong to referred to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament for examination. Perhaps we could maintain the status quo until we have the opportunity to send the matter to the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament to determine if there is not a better way to go about it. Senator Dallaire's short intervention echoes that of Senator Carstairs, who made some suggestions in that regard and who has a great deal of parliamentary experience.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): On this point of order, I think everything that has happened now on this resolution 93 is completely in order.
This item is at day 15, and if Senator Grafstein had not spoken and moved the adjournment of the debate, it would have fallen off the Order Paper, although Senator Grafstein could have reintroduced it. Senator Grafstein kept it alive and on the books in order that he may come back to it in the future.
If we wish to refer it to a committee for further study at some point, that can always be done through an amendment to the motion. In my view, everything is completely in order.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It is moved by Senator Grafstein, seconded by Senator Dallaire.
Senator Dallaire: I am not sure about seconding the motion.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Senator Dallaire, there is a motion to adjourn the debate. You do not want to second this motion?
Senator Dallaire: I will second it and respond.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(On motion of Senator Grafstein, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein, pursuant to notice of September 16, 2009, moved:
That the Senate endorse the following Resolution, adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly at its 18th Annual Session, held at Vilnius, Lithuania, from June 29 to July 3, 2009:
RESOLUTION ON WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE OSCE AREA
1. Reaffirming the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security that includes the politico-military, economic, environmental and human dimensions,
2. Recalling the OSCE's role in encouraging sustainable environmental policies that promote peace and stability, specifically the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, the 1990 Concluding Document of the CSCE Conference on Economic Co-operation in Europe (Bonn Document), the 1999 Charter for European Security adopted at the Istanbul Summit, the 2003 OSCE Strategy Document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension (Maastricht Strategy), other OSCE relevant documents and decisions regarding environmental issues, and the outcome of all previous Economic and Environmental Fora, which have established a basis for the OSCE's work in the area of environment and security,
3. Recognising that water is of vital importance to human life and that it is an element of the human right to life and dignity,
4. Alarmed by the fact that almost one billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water, and that two out of every five people live without basic sanitation services, contributing to more than 2 million deaths every year,
5. Recalling that the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability), Target 3, calls on the nations of the world to work towards halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation,
6. Noting the ongoing severity of water management issues and the scarcity of water resources faced by many States in the OSCE region, affected in particular by unregulated social and economic activities, including urban development, industry, and agriculture, and which continue to have an impact on human health, the environment, the sustainability of biodiversity and aquatic and land-based eco-systems, and affect political and socio-economic development,
7. Concerned at the ongoing situation whereby certain areas and people in the pan-European and North American region of the OSCE area lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation,
8. Recalling the OSCE's Madrid Declaration on Environment and Security adopted at the 2007 Ministerial Council, which draws attention to water management as an environmental risk which may have a substantial impact on security in the OSCE region and which might be more effectively addressed within the framework of multilateral co-operation,
9. Hailing the work of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in raising awareness of water management issues and promoting regional co-operation throughout the OSCE area, including in South-Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia,
10. Hailing the achievements of the OSCE project on "South Caucasus River Monitoring", which concluded in February 2009 after six years during which it introduced new parameters for water quality monitoring, harmonised sampling and testing methodologies, trained local staff and established data sharing systems accessible to all partners via the Internet in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia,
11. Recalling the OSCE PA's 2008 Astana Declaration and the resolution it adopted on water management,
12. Hailing the follow-up report on the 2008 Astana Declaration which highlighted initiatives undertaken by Belarus, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America to improve water management practices,
13. Hailing the numerous national and international reports and scientific studies on water management that generate knowledge and inform sound policy development,
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
14. Calls on participating States to address the question of sustainable access to clean water and sanitation globally, in particular given that sustainable access to clean water and sanitation are effective deterrents to infectious diseases;
15. Calls on participating States to undertake sound water management to support sustainable environmental policies and to apply the measures necessary to implement the 2007 Madrid Declaration on Environment and Security;
16. Expresses support for the ongoing work and commitment of the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities in raising awareness of water management challenges and promoting opportunities for participating States to exchange best practices, including its projects in Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan;
17. Encourages the decision-making bodies of the OSCE to continue to set a direction on water management challenges and support the activities of the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and OSCE field presences that raise awareness of water management challenges in the OSCE area and identify environmentally sustainable solutions;
18. Expresses support for the Environment and Security Initiative, which brings together the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the OSCE, NATO, the United Nations Economic Commission in Europe, and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe, to assess environmental challenges, including those relating to water resource management, and to implement projects that raise awareness of these challenges, build capacities and strengthen institutions in order to address them;
19. Encourages OSCE participating States to continue their work with other regional and international institutions and organisations with respect to water management solutions;
20. Supports the establishment of regional and cross-border co-operative activities between scientists and specialists who work to share technologies and best practices, develop country-specific water strategies and expertise, mitigate shared water challenges, foster international co-operation and defuse cross-border tensions.
He said: Honourable senators, I intend to deal with this matter as well, but I want to use some of my time to respond to my honourable colleagues about why this item has been on the Order Paper for the length of time it has.
Close to a decade ago, I introduced a bill dealing with water in this country. That bill, after being in the Senate for the better part of eight years, has finally reached the floor of the other place. I understand that after eight years it will finally be debated in the other place next Tuesday.
This is a crucial issue, and there is another bill that is mired here, which I call the upstream bill. Its aim is to, in effect, map the water sources of Canada, and that will not be done until the year 2035. The state of Maryland has already mapped its water sources, and a complete map is available on the Internet. We will not be finished until 2035.
The rationale for leaving this item on the Order Paper is that I had hoped we would conform to the resolution approved by Canada and the members of Parliament who attended these sessions dealing with water management in the OSCE space, which extends from Vladivostok to Vancouver and includes Canada, which we have not done.
The goal is to bring to the attention of senators the issue in Canada and how we are out of step with water management in Europe. I would hope to draw all these strings together and address this topic in the foreseeable future, and hopefully Senator Prud'homme will be here.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: I would prefer that Senator Grafstein take up the earpieces and listen to the interpretation.
Senator Grafstein: I moved the adjournment of the debate.
Senator Prud'homme: Before he did, I was on my feet.
Senator Grafstein just proved one of the nicest French proverbs.
Senator Grafstein is about to win the battle in the House of Commons over one of his bills that the Senate passed. That proves that, "Time will accomplish more than force, no matter though it take an age, and quiet patience more than rage."
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: It was moved by Senator Grafstein, seconded by Senator Callbeck, that further debate be adjourned for the remainder of Senator Grafstein's time.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(On motion of Senator Grafstein, debate adjourned.)
(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, November 18, 2009, at 1:30 p.m.)