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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 31

Thursday, May 27, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, May 27, 2010

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Conflict Resolution

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, for decades Canada has taken pride in its international reputation of being a non- violent nation. Canadians have embraced a culture of peace. I am confident we can all agree that peace is still something we are committed to promoting; that it is, indeed, our central goal that we all aspire to achieve.

Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of co-hosting a conference that focused on Bill C-447, which calls for the establishment of a Canadian department of peace. This bill was proposed by member of Parliament Bill Siksay. The department will serve as a sensor for the early detection of conflict before it escalates into violence. It will also act as an incubator for creative solutions to violence with the intention of building a culture of peace in Canada and abroad.

Bill C-447 has been seconded by 21 members of Parliament. Unfortunately, this bill will not receive second reading as it requires expenditure.

What is even more unfortunate is that for every dollar that the government spends on peacekeeping missions, $2,000 is spent on purchasing weapons. This priority is unacceptable. Less money needs to be spent on war efforts and more money needs to be spent on peacekeeping and conflict resolution strategies.

Reallocation will have not only a dramatic positive impact on civilian populations in developing parts of the world often targeted by war efforts but also will be consistent with the political and moral inclinations of Canadians.

In the past, war was declared by men in suits and fought by men in boots. Soldiers comprised the majority of warfare casualties.

However, this situation is no longer the case. Wars waged today claim not only the lives of brave soldiers in the battlefields, but in the 20th century, of the 120 million people who died from war, 95 per cent were civilians. We must ensure that innocent civilians in foreign and native lands no longer become collateral damage to wars that are waged for unjust causes and that employ immoral means.

Honourable senators, I work with women in the tribal lands of Pakistan. They tell me they have witnessed first-hand the toll violence has taken on local women. I have spoken to mothers not only consumed with the fear of being attacked, but also overwhelmed with concern for their sons who may become suicide bombers. These women already have so little. They are forced now to bear the burden of having to watch their communities completely crumble.

If a Canadian peace department were established, we would be able to communicate with communities, resolve conflicts without resorting to violent measures and aid communities like the one I spoke of in Pakistan that are particularly vulnerable.

The idea of establishing a department of peace is beyond overdue. We must strive to become a beacon of hope. We must usher in a new era of conflict resolution. We know how to live harmoniously in our great country. We now need to share this knowledge with the world.

Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Hon. Elaine McCoy: Honourable senators, I rise today to draw the attention of honourable senators to a landmark agreement that was signed last week. It was signed by a number of forestry companies and environmental non-governmental organizations, ENGOs.

This agreement is called the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. It is truly a model for the world. As a result of this agreement, logging will be suspended in almost 29 million hectares of boreal forest land that covers almost the entire caribou habitat of these logging companies in Canada. At the same time, the companies will engage in intensive caribou protection planning while preserving sufficient fibre to continue the operation of their mills.

The agreement is a win-win situation for everyone involved, not the least are the caribou and other wildlife species. The environmental organizations have agreed to stop their global "do not buy" campaigns, therefore putting Canadian products back into global markets.

This agreement can become a model for other resource sectors as well. I think it is memorable because, after a decade of fighting, these organizations have come to agree amongst themselves in a way that they will achieve measures much better than they could have achieved alone.

To that end, it is worthwhile to put on the record the companies and ENGOs who signed the agreement. They are: AbitibiBowater, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, AV Group, Canfor Corporation, Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades Inc., DMI, F. F. Soucy Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper, Kruger Inc., LP Canada, Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd., New Page Port Hawkesbury Ltd., Papier Masson Ltée, SFK Pulp, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., and Weyerhauser Company Limited. All these companies are members of the Forest Products Association of Canada, which is also a signatory to this milestone agreement.

The environmental organizations include the Canadian Boreal Initiative; the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society; Canopy, formerly known as Markets Initiative; the David Suzuki Foundation; ForestEthics; Greenpeace; the Ivey Foundation; the Nature Conservancy of Canada; and the Pew Environment Group. These organizations were all supported in their efforts by the Hewlett Foundation.

I commend these organizations to the attention of honourable senators. I congratulate them and I am particularly proud to see that Canadians — not governments but Canadians — have found a way to reach across and rise above their differences in a way that will become a role model around the world.

(1340)

Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering Science, Trades and Technology

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, from May 14 to 16, I had the great pleasure to attend the biennial conference of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This year's theme was "Leading the Way: Empowering Women, Building Communities."

The conference brought together 250 delegates from all over Canada who are committed to the advancement of women in the sciences, engineering, trades and technology, the SETT fields. We gathered to learn, network and engage in the issues that surround the obstacles and challenges of women in the sciences, engineering, trades and technology fields.

I had the added honour to moderate a panel discussion entitled "Human Resources: The Future Workforce." From keynote speakers such as Nan Armour and Betty-Ann Heggie to presentations on outreach, recruitment and retention, the conference was truly a success.

This conference also marked the national launch of the WinSETT Centre. In 2003, the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology embarked on the Women in SETT Initiative to effect change at the institutional level. The centre is located in Edmonton and its goal is to increase the retention and recruitment of women in the SETT fields. The WinSETT Centre will be the catalyst for the ongoing and sustained employment and advancement of women in SETT fields. The centre will achieve its mission by developing and disseminating, through collaboration and partnerships, the tools and expertise useful to industry, government, educational institutions and women in SETT organizations to recruit, retain and promote women in SETT.

This national centre provides Canadian women with the necessary resources they need to succeed in SETT fields. From employment opportunities to mentorship and advice on reaching a work life balance, the WinSETT Centre is there to help women achieve greater representation in these non-traditional fields.

There remains a continuing under-representation of women in these fields in Canada. In 2006, only 26 per cent of those engaged in the computer science and IT fields were women, 12 per cent in engineering and 4 per cent in the construction trades. These numbers must change.

The centre's progress is a direct reflection on its board members and sponsors, such as the Government of Alberta; the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta; the NSERC/Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Atlantic Region; Suncor Energy; the University of Alberta; the Province of Saskatchewan Status of Women Office; and Vale Inco.

We hope that the centre will achieve its goals and provide women with the necessary resources and tools to contribute to Canada's innovation agenda, as well as garner greater economic security for Canadian women.

The Late Honourable Martha Palamarek Bielish

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, the death of the Honourable Martha Bielish at the age of 94 on May 18 was marked by expressions of warm remembrance and respect, particularly and deservedly in her native Alberta. In that province, her unselfish service, notably to rural women and their families, began. It spanned most of her adult life and many generations and it resulted in changes and improvements in the lives of those people who have inspired others who came after her to persist and prevail as she had done.

Senator Bielish was appointed on the recommendation of Prime Minister Joe Clark and she served in this chamber from 1979 until 1990. The first woman from Alberta and the first woman of Ukrainian heritage in the Senate, she immersed herself fully in its work, participating in all the committees that dealt with the issues she cared most about: Agriculture and Forestry; Social Affairs, Science and Technology; Health, Welfare and Science; Transport and Communications.

Senator Bielish was a most knowledgeable, authentic and convincing advocate for her people. Her maiden speech, delivered on October 10, 1979, was an occasion for her to reflect on her background as a farmer in partnership with her husband; as a member — she did not describe herself as a leader — although she was — of the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada and the Associated Country Women of the World; as an Albertan; and, from those perspectives, her resolve to serve Canada in the Senate.

Her service was fittingly and repeatedly recognized over the years by distinctions and awards in Alberta and internationally. On her passing, her daughter-in-law summed up Senator Bielish's lifetime as one of "small acts that made a huge difference."

The memory of this senator, farmer, feminist and teacher is being honoured by the establishment of a scholarship in her name at the University of Calgary, which conferred an honorary degree on her in 1981. The Senate was honoured and enriched by her presence.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Exinvest Inc.

2008 Report on the Administration of the Privacy Act Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report on the administration of the Privacy Act from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2008.

2008 Report on the Administration of the Access to Information Act Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report on the administration of the Access to Information Act from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2008.

[English]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Third Report of Committee Presented

Hon. David Tkachuk, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

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

THIRD REPORT

Your Committee recommends that the following funds be released for fiscal year 2010-2011.

Banking, Trade and Commerce (Legislation)

Professional and Other Services   $        0
Transportation and Communications   $        0
All Other Expenditures   $ 7,300
TOTAL   $ 7,300

Respectfully submitted,

DAVID TKACHUK
Chair

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

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

Study on Current State and Future of Energy Sector

Fourth Report of Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee Tabled

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, entitled: GLOBE 2010 Conference: Beyond the Science.

[Translation]

Transport and Communications

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Issues Related to Communications Mandate—Second Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Dennis Dawson, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on March 16, 2010 to examine and report on emerging issues related to its communications mandate and on the wireless sector, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary.

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

Respectfully submitted,

DENNIS DAWSON
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix A, p. 449.)

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

Senator Dawson: Honourable senators, since we are nearing the end of the session, I would appreciate it if we could consider this report later this day.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Dawson, report placed on Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.)

(1350)

[English]

National Security and Defence

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Study on National Security and Defence Policies—Second Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Pamela Wallin, Chair of the Standing Committee on Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, presented the following report:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, to examine and report on the national security and defence policies of Canada, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered:

(a) to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary;

(b) to adjourn from place to place within Canada; and

(c) to travel inside Canada.

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

Respectfully submitted,

PAMELA WALLIN
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix B, p. 455.)

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

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

[Translation]

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of the United Mexican States

Address to Members of the Senate and the House of Commons—Motion to Print as an Appendix Adopted

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

That the Address of His Excellency Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of the United Mexican States, to Members of both Houses of Parliament, delivered earlier this day, together with the introductory speech by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister of Canada and the speeches delivered by the Speaker of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Commons, be printed as an Appendix to the Debates of the Senate of this day and form part of the permanent records of this House.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(For text of speeches, see Appendix, p. 624.)

[English]

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Committee on Economic Affairs and Development and First Part of 2010 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, January 21 to 29, 2010—Report Tabled

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association to the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development and the First Part of the 2010 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held in London, United Kingdom and Strasbourg, France, from January 21 to 29, 2010.

Honourable senators, for the benefit of some of the newer senators, the last time I tabled one of these reports someone asked me how the meeting was; I was not at that meeting. With regard to the report I table today, no senators participated in this meeting, but in the spirit of transparency, reports are tabled in both chambers.

[Translation]

Aboriginal Peoples

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Progress Made on Government's Commitments since the Apology to Students of Indian Residential Schools

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to study and report on progress made on commitments endorsed by Parliamentarians of both Chambers since the Government's apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools;

That the committee hear from the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the President of the Métis National Council on this subject; and

That the Committee report no later than December 2, 2010.

[English]

Foreign Affairs and International Trade

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

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, on behalf of Senator Andreychuk, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, she will move:

That notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, the date for the presentation of the final report by the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the rise of Russia, India and China in the global economy and the implications for Canadian policy be extended from June 30, 2010 to December 31, 2010 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until March 31, 2011.


[Translation]

QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety

Cost of Security for G8 and G20 Summits

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Canada is proud to be hosting the G8 and G20 summits, but I doubt it is proud of the Harper government's spectacular ability to squander public money and run up deficits, which is one of the Conservative government's bad habits. In the midst of a global economic crisis, the Conservative government plans to borrow — since the deficit already stands at more than $50 billion — over a billion dollars for a two-day summit.

I would like to compare the Conservatives' so-called sound money management with the cost of past summits: $30 million for the G20 in Great Britain in April 2009; $110 million for the G20 in Scotland in 2005; $381 million for the G8 in Japan in 2008; and under a Liberal government, $190 million for the G8 in Alberta in 2002. The Harper government claims it needs to borrow $1.1 billion, with the interest. That simply does not make sense.

Security is just the beginning. The Conservatives' favourite television network, CTV, has reported that on top of the $933 million — which seems a little short — spent on security, the government plans to spend another $161 million. The Conservatives have no reason to be proud of how they manage Canadian taxpayers' money.

Can the Leader of the Government explain to us how the Conservative government has gone — in a few short weeks — from a spending estimate of $179 million to an actual expenditure of $1.1 billion, which will further increase our deficit?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I read in the newspaper this morning what it cost for the G8 meeting in Italy. I hasten to remind the honourable senator that we are hosting the G8, and then backed right up against it is the G20 meeting.

Honourable senators, we have always stated that the final figure for the costs for the summits will be finalized after the summits are over. However, based on the best expert advice that the government was given and on a medium-level threat assessment, we did in fact budget, as was stated on the record, $930 million for security. This amount should come as no surprise. It was already on the record that $930 million was budgeted and, of course, a few days ago a significant portion of this $930 million was accessed.

(1400)

Canada, as we know, will host the world's most influential leaders in June. The scope and magnitude of the security operations associated with hosting these two major summits back to back, as I mentioned, is unprecedented, and of course, it will represent the largest deployment of security personnel for any major event ever held in Canada.

[Translation]

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I would like to point out to the leader that the difference between the estimated $179 million and $1.1 billion is $921 million, which is a 500 per cent increase.

Since the Conservatives are such good managers, it will not have escaped the honourable senator that with this borrowed $921 million one could have continued supporting organizations whose funding was cut, such as the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the FrancoFolies de Montréal — it is true that this has to do with culture — the gay pride festival in Toronto — it is true that this has to do with homosexuals — as well as the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women and the Réseau des tables régionales de groupe de femmes du Québec — these are just women's organizations.

Can the leader tell us how the Conservative government plans to improve the way it manages public funds so that Canadians will not have to pay for its inability to control its spending? She might also ask the Auditor General to examine these costs and these funds and the advisability of committing them on Canadians' behalf.

[English]

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator is incorrect in her statement. I have already said $930 million was budgeted for this event, so it should come as no great surprise that $800 million has been accessed for security at the summits.

Security is expensive. The experts we have to rely on base their assessments on low-, medium- and high-level security matters. We had a firebombing in Ottawa a week or so ago. Obviously, this firebombing has heightened the concern of security personnel. We will not allow thugs and lawless individuals to interrupt and disrupt the summit.

Senator Hervieux-Payette mentioned many programs that could have been funded from this money. We are hosting the summit. This event is something that is a reality. We must ensure the security of all world leaders who travel to Canada. However, if the senator wants to address what programs could have been funded in the past, she can ask herself what could have been funded from the $1 billion blown on the long-gun registry, or the billion-dollar boondoggle at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, or the $40 million that went out the back door and we still do not know where it went.

We can address these specious arguments, but these monies were budgeted for the summit and, obviously, the safety and security of the world leaders attending the G8 in Huntsville and the G20 in Toronto are paramount. We must not sacrifice the safety and security of our summit. Unlike the Liberal leader, who said he is embarrassed by Canada, we are proud of Canada.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I do not want to take the time to go back, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate seems to want to do, and rehash historic events and bring up the Avro Arrow or the railway crisis of Sir John A. Macdonald. We could do this all over again, but we want to talk about recent history.

For example, how about the G7 plus 1, which was the first time the Russian president was invited to the meeting in Halifax in 1995? What was the total cost for that summit? I am told the total cost of that event was $25 million.

That is compared to this budget of $1.09 billion for the G8 and G20 summits. I acknowledge there is a second event. Indeed, in 1995, some of the materials used at the G7 in Halifax were recycled and used again by government in some significant residences around this city.

Even if we factor in inflation from 1995 to 2010, there is absolutely no way $25 million becomes $1.09 billion. How can the minister justify that amount?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, first, in response to the senator's opening comments about going back and saying what money could have been spent on, I was responding to his colleague, Senator Hervieux-Payette.

Even Senator Mercer can grasp this point, I am sure: The world has changed significantly since 1995. Certain events in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania in September 2001 changed the whole dynamic for security and providing security for world leaders, and we all understand that change.

When one looks at the enormity of the two major summits being held back to back in Canada this June, based on the information we must rely on and the best security experts that are available, we must rely on and follow the advice of our security intelligence people. Obviously, security for events of this magnitude is costly but, as I said, it was well known we anticipated it would be costly. That is why an amount of $930 million was budgeted for security for the G8 and the G20 summits.

Senator Mercer: Honourable senators, if we want to talk about recent events, I bring up the meetings in Halifax because it was the last time the leaders could go out and touch and meet the people.

Let us talk about a couple of other events; let us talk about the G20 summit in Great Britain. This amount is 20 times what the G20 conference cost in Britain. Again, let us talk about post 9/11 and the G8 meeting in Kananaskis; a two-day summit that cost $190 million. Let us talk about the bill for the security for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games for 10 days or more because of the need to be there before and after the games. The cost was much lower than that amount.

It is unbelievable that the minister can justify this amount when comparing the amount of security that was provided at the Olympics, at the G20 meeting in Great Britain and at the G8 summit in Kananaskis.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the G8 meeting in Kananaskis was a gathering of the G8 representatives. We are talking about two major conferences; we are talking about a world that is much more dangerous. Unlike Halifax, we obviously have a situation nowadays where it is unwise for world leaders to go out and take their chances walking alone on public streets.

We cannot compare the cost of these back-to-back G8 and G20 summits, given the security concerns, given threats that have been made public against the G8, let alone goodness knows what our security advisers have been advising the Department of Public Safety and others. The fact is that $930 million was budgeted. We knew it would be costly. That is why we budgeted $930 million. As Minister Toews and Minister Flaherty have said publicly, perhaps countries — Canada and others — may want to consider other ways of dealing with large summits like this in the future. However, these summits are valuable. They provide an opportunity for Canada and our allies and friends to sit down face to face. They are beneficial to the country. There are benefits to countries that host these events, provided that people do not break the law. All of this can be assessed after the summits are over.

(1410)

Hopefully, with the security measures that will be in place, these summit meetings will be productive and safe and will have long- term benefits not only for Canada but for other countries as well.

[Translation]

Firearms Registry

Hon. Joan Fraser: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The leader mentioned the firearms registry earlier. I imagine she is aware of a recent University of Montreal study in which Marie- Pierre Gagné shows in her master's thesis in criminology that the gun registry has saved 2,100 lives in the past seven years. That is an average of 300 lives a year and nearly one life a day. Approximately 250 suicides and 50 homicides a year are prevented thanks to the gun registry.

Does the Leader of the Government not feel that these study findings should provide the government with food for thought?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I would have to see the study the honourable senator has mentioned. Many studies are done on any number of issues that are before Parliament. I would have to see what the information is and how the research was conducted.

There is a bill in the other place that is being debated as we speak. It is quite problematic that people deliberately try to confuse what is fact with what is not fact.

Canada has strict gun control legislation. People have to go through a rigorous process in order to obtain firearms. They require a licence to possess a firearm, unlike the long-gun registry, which is limited in its use. That is even misleading, because it is part of a database. To say that part of the database is accessed each and every day is incorrect.

The strongest gun control laws and the licensing system were brought into this country by Conservative governments, first in the 1930s by the Bennett government and second by the Mulroney government in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

With regard to this particular study, I would like to obtain a copy of it and have people who have opposing views critique it.

I was speaking to an active, working-on-the-street police officer the other day who told me that everywhere he goes, when confronting a situation involving a domestic dispute, he assumes there are firearms in the house. He does not need a registry; he makes that assumption. He said that any police officer who would do otherwise is acting unwisely.

If Senator Fraser feels the study is something that should be in the annals of Parliament, I suggest she table it and we can perhaps better respond to it.

Senator Fraser: I had hoped that the minister would take my question as notice. In fact, I still hope that she will take my question as notice. While she is ascertaining the response to that question, I would like to put a supplementary question.

It seems to me that frequently, when the minister discusses the gun registry, she mentions the figure of $1 billion.

Senator Comeau: Actually, it is $2 billion.

Senator Fraser: The gun registry costs a few million dollars — not $1 billion — a year to operate. If we are into a cost-benefit analysis, where does the government set the limit on how many dollars a Canadian's life is worth? If it is true that the gun registry saves anything like the number of lives that this study suggests, then why not preserve it?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, there is no value that can be put on anyone's life. That is a troubling statement that the honourable senator has made. There is no value one can put on a human life.

With regard to the honourable senator's question, I am simply making the point that in this country we have the most rigorous licensing and firearms acquisition program, bar none. There are many steps an individual must go through in order to obtain a firearm, including those people who buy shotguns and rifles.

The fact is that most crimes that are committed in this country are committed with illegal smuggled guns — long guns and handguns.

The honourable senator can go back and check the debate when this subject arose previously in the Senate. My colleague says the cost is $2 billion, not $1 billion. It was suggested then that the money should have been spent properly, providing police with the proper funds and resources, tightening up security at our borders, and giving more resources to the Canada Border Services Agency so they could stop these guns from being smuggled into the country. Of course, the guns being smuggled into the country are tied into the illegal drug trade. It is a vicious cycle.

The long-gun registry, by and large, targets innocent, law- abiding people, whether they are farmers or duck hunters. We assume this is a rural versus urban issue, but it is not. Many people in urban centres belong to clubs where they go out to shooting ranges, so they are part of the equation as well. They already go through a rigorous process. They would not have a gun unless they went through a rigorous process of licensing.

To take the initial step and to register long guns, in our view, is targeting the wrong people. It is not addressing the real problem of crime and the illegal guns that are in this country.

(1420)

As this police officer said to me the other day, he would never go near a home without assuming a gun is on the premises. Even if the registry does not indicate the presence of a gun, that is no guarantee that one is not there.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, some of the most compelling testimony that we heard on Bill C-68, which was the gun control legislation, related to the issue of suicide. It was compelling because emergency physicians said that if someone presented in the emergency room as an attempted suicide with a knife or by pills they were often able to save them. When someone attempted suicide with a gun, they were rarely, if ever, able to save them.

Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate at least take as notice the question of Senator Fraser, review this study and explain to her colleagues that the issue is worth their time and energy to examine?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, obviously a person who is suicidal has severe problems and mental health issues. There are many services in the system that try to prevent these attempts. It hardly needs stating that if someone attempts to take his or her life with a gun they will be more successful than with other means. That is obvious. That problem is much more compelling and bigger than blaming the lack of a gun registry for suicide.

Then we can go the next step. After having gone through rigorous examinations to obtain guns, if people know they have someone in their family who is suicidal, why would they leave the gun in a place where it is accessible? There are all kinds of questions we can ask. These are all great tragedies.

With regard to the study that Senator Fraser mentioned, I invited her to table the document in the Senate. That remains my position.

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question is also directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I do not want to be argumentative, but I spent five years on the street as a policeman. I know what I am talking about.

The most dangerous calls that we ever went on as policemen were domestic calls. A policeman always presumes there is a gun. If they do not, they die. I have been shot at, so I know what it is to be shot at.

When we make reference to Bill C-68, I travelled this country and saw the negative impact the legislation had on our Aboriginal peoples. The son of one of our senators from the North was charged because he had his gun outside his cabin that was surrounded by polar bears. These are examples of the ridiculous things that took place.

Licensing and storage requirements were instituted by the Mulroney government years back. I have talked to policemen. Unfortunately, most of the fellows I was a policeman with are retired, but I have spoken to policemen on the line. They say the gun registry provides a false sense of security.

There were some on this side who voted for Bill C-68.

My question is a common sense question: Why is it honourable senators on the other side will not listen to the rank-and-file policemen on the street who know what is going on?

Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for that excellent question. I want to see common sense injected into the debate. I was raised on a farm. I have never fired a firearm in my life. I do not own a firearm and my husband does not own one. My father owned a firearm. We kept a loaded shotgun in our summer kitchen to scare off and kill predators. We had many predators.

I remember when Senator Ghitter outlined all the steps and pieces of paper one had to fill out — all the forms and background checks one had to go through — to obtain a firearm. That demonstration was to prove that we have a rigorous system of licensing our firearms.

The problem is not the farmer with the shotgun in the summer kitchen, the hunter or people in the urban centres that belong to gun clubs. The problem is illegal, smuggled guns — guns, gangs and drugs are all related.

As this policeman told me — and as Senator St. Germain encountered when he was a policeman — only a few days ago, he never approaches a house without the assumption that there is a gun in that house. It is his own instinct as a police officer that tells him that, not some registry that now has incomplete information.

[Translation]

Delayed Answer to Oral Question

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table a delayed response to an oral question raised by Senator Cowan on April 28, 2010, concerning Fisheries and Oceans, short-term transitional measures for lobster fishers in 2009.

Fisheries and Oceans

Lobster Industry

(Response to question raised by Hon. James S. Cowan on April 28, 2010)

Up to $15 million was provided for Short-Term Transitional Measures (STTM) to assist qualified low- income harvesters severely harmed by the collapse in market demand for their products due to the global recession. This program provided support for 2009 only.

Qualifying lobster licence holders in Quebec and Atlantic Canada received a grant in an amount dependent on their recorded lobster landed values for 2008 and 2009. The maximum payable amount that any grant recipient received is $5,000.

The Government of Canada targeted this assistance towards lobster licence holders who were the most severely affected by the recent economic crisis. The program was targeted at those who earn most of their income from lobster and had relatively low lobster landed value.

The program targeted licence holders to mitigate the impact on price and demand of lobster, due to the economic crisis in 2009. The Government of Canada assisted crew members through enhancements to Employment Insurance.

The STTM has provided support to all harvesters who met the criteria and who applied for the program. There was a total of $8.6 M payments made. In some cases harvesters did not qualify because they were able to adjust their activities to mitigate the impact of lower prices.

There is $5.4 M of unspent funding which has been reported at year end as lapsed funding which cannot be re- profiled or carried forward. This will be returned to the consolidated revenue fund.

The lapsed funds are a result of a lower amount of licence holders who qualified for payments than originally predicted, due to the harvesters mitigating the 2009 price drop in lobster by increasing their fishing effort, thereby increasing their lobster landings. These increased landings resulted in higher revenues from lobster fishing than anticipated, hence, fewer than expected lobster licence holders qualified under the STTM program.


[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Study on Current State and Future of Energy Sector

Fourth Report of Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee Placed on Orders of the Day

Leave having been granted to revert to Presentation of Reports from Standing or Special Committees:

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, earlier today, when the GLOBE 2010 Conference: Beyond the Science report was tabled by my colleague in the Senate, in the flurry of excitement about the tabling of that report, the motion for when it is to be considered was neglected. I can make that motion specifically now, if honourable senators allow me.

I move that consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources be placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

[Translation]

The Estimates, 2010-11

National Finance Committee Authorized to Study Supplementary Estimates (A)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of May 26, 2010, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

(Motion agreed to.)

(1430)

[English]

International Boundary Waters Treaty Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Order Withdrawn

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Fortin-Duplessis, for the second reading of Bill S-213, An Act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act (bulk water removal).

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I opened debate on second reading of this bill on April 27, explaining that I was opening a point only to keep my bill alive.

[Translation]

I did so in anticipation of the introduction of a government bill that was promised in the Speech from the Throne of November 2008.

[English]

Since that time, the government has made good on the undertaking in the November 2008 Throne Speech, and on May 13, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Cannon, presented Bill C-26 in the other place. That is an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act and the International River Improvements Act.

Let me say that the government bill goes considerably beyond the private member's bill that Senator Carney and I authored, presented and re-presented through several parliaments and sessions of Parliament. The origin of our private member's bill was our unsuccessful attempt back in 1995 to plug some loopholes in a prohibition against bulk water removals that were contained in a government bill brought in by the then Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Manley.

Our private member's bill is still on the Order Paper. Bill C-26 has overtaken it; the government bill goes considerably beyond our bill. It is more extensive in its application and more detailed in that it has enforcement provisions and measures. It contains offences and punishments. It transfers to the text of the law provisions that had been in the regulations that are now in the regulations in that act, a transfer that Senator Carney and I had sought in our private member's bill.

Having read the government's bill and having had the opportunity to discuss it, I have had several questions, and government officials have been very good about discussing these with me. I may want to pursue these questions further if and when the government bill is passed by the House of Commons and comes here for our consideration. Nevertheless, if only because of its wider scope and substance, I feel that the government bill — and Senator Carney of course agrees, because I of course took the caution of consulting her on this matter yesterday, her seventy- fifth birthday I might add — is a better basis than our private member's bill on which to move forward.

Honourable senators, while reserving my right to debate and take any initiative on the government bill that I feel may be warranted, I ask leave to withdraw Bill S-213 from the Order Paper. I again express my appreciation to elected and appointed officials of the government for their openness and forbearance with me in explaining the government's position.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted that the bill be withdrawn?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Order withdrawn.)

National Day of Service Bill

Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Wallin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Marshall, for the second reading of Bill S-209, An Act respecting a national day of service to honour the courage and sacrifice of Canadians in the face of terrorism, particularly the events of September 11, 2001.

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to rise today to participate in the debate on Bill S-209, an act respecting a national day of service to honour the courage and sacrifice of Canadians in the face of terrorism, particularly the events of September 11, 2001.

The bill has just two clauses. The first clause sets out the short title of the bill as the national day of service act. The second clause of the bill designates September 11 of each year as the national day of service. It goes on to set out the purpose of the bill being that the national day of service is a day to voluntarily engage in community service, perform good acts and participate in activities within our communities. As outlined by the sponsor of this bill, Senator Wallin, the national day of service is intended to honour the victims of terrorism, pay tribute to Canada's civilian and military efforts in the battle against terrorism, and commemorate the events of September 11, 2001.

The bill's preamble sets out the context of the bill in more detail and notes that September 11 took the lives of thousands of citizens from 90 countries, including 24 Canadians. We have no memorial or protocol to commemorate the events and aftermath of September 11. As a legacy for those who suffered because of terrorism, we should "rekindle the spirit of kindness, generosity and goodwill" that unified Canada during the events of 9/11 and create this national day of service act.

Honourable senators, the events of September 11, 2001, were without a doubt unconscionable. Those acts of terrorism that specifically target civilians are the most detestable, yet all acts of terrorism, no matter where they occur around the world, are reprehensible and leave us struggling to make sense out of actions that are completely nonsensical and beyond our understanding.

Honourable senators, the bill seeks to formally recognize the events of 9/11 by commemorating the kindness of strangers shown that day and encourage similar acts of community service in the future. In that way, it tries to make sense of something that was beyond our comprehension.

Honourable senators, we must be careful that while recognizing the terrible events of September 11, 2001, we do not disregard the acts of terrorism that occur regularly around the world or the actions of those who combat terrorism in all its forms.

The kindness and community service shown by Canadians on September 11, 2001, and the days following was wonderful: it was a reflection of Canadian generosity of spirit and humanity. Canadians regularly rise to the aid of others around the world. The most recent example is our overwhelming response to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake. Within days, Canadians had donated tens of millions of dollars to support the relief effort in that devastated Caribbean country.

This bill seeks to legislate a day to encourage community service, yet we must recognize that Canadians regularly volunteer their time in their communities. According to the 2007 Canadian Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, almost one half of Canadians over the age of 15 volunteer for a charitable or non- profit organization, and this volunteerism is recognized by National Volunteer Week, the third week of April each year.

Again, we must be careful that in attempting to seek some meaning from the horrific acts of September 11 we do not forget the generosity of Canadians who contribute regularly and selflessly to their communities and to the countries in need around the world.

As the sponsor of the bill has outlined, the bill does not include any mandatory provisions or oblige any ceremonies or participation. Yet, I do wonder how the bill would be implemented if passed into law. How would a national day of service be promoted and communicated on a yearly basis to Canadians? If Parliament legislates a national day of service, is there somehow not an obligation somewhere to implement it? If not, what is the point of the legislation?

Honourable senators, I am also mindful that we have several other similar items before this chamber. Our colleague Senator Dallaire has moved a motion calling upon government to establish a national day of remembrance and action on mass atrocities on April 23 annually. Our colleague Senator Mercer has introduced a bill, which has received second reading and been referred to committee, that seeks to recognize November 15 each year as national philanthropy day to honour all Canadians who demonstrate the spirit of giving.

(1440)

Honourable senators, while I support the sentiment behind Bill S-209, I am cognizant of the fact that this bill is commemorating a single event that occurred in another country, the United States. In that way, it is not inclusive. It does not recognize that terrorism takes many forms and that acts of terrorism happen around the world every day. It also does not recognize that Canadians regularly give of their time and their resources to help support others in need, both within Canada and around the world.

I am incredibly saddened by the loss of 24 Canadian lives during the events of September 11, 2001, but I find myself questioning whether this legislation is the best means to recognize the efforts of our Armed Forces to preserve and safeguard democracy, or to celebrate the generous spirit of giving that Canadians display on so many occasions, not just in response to acts of terrorism.

As Canadians, we take great pride in honouring and celebrating the contribution and sacrifice made by our Armed Forces and their families, both past and present, on Remembrance Day, November 11 each year. We recognize all those whose lives are forever changed by the events of all wars in all its forms, and we pledge never to forget.

Honourable senators, in closing, I would thank Senator Wallin for bringing this bill before the Senate for debate. I urge honourable colleagues to examine this bill closely and to also consider the initiatives of Senators Dallaire and Mercer and what might be the most appropriate way to celebrate the spirit of giving of Canadians, to commemorate the efforts of our Armed Forces personnel, and to honour all victims of acts of terrorism around the world.

Hon. Pamela Wallin: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Hubley: Absolutely.

Senator Wallin: I listened to most of the senator's remarks, although I was out of the chamber briefly. I sense that she is not completely supportive of this piece of legislation for some of the reasons she has outlined. I am wondering, since there are other pieces of legislation, other ideas and concepts, whether it would not be helpful to move the legislation swiftly to committee so we might have that discussion.

Senator Hubley: I thank the honourable senator for her question. I believe this bill should go to committee and, yes, I certainly did have some reservations. I think those reservations should be explored more fully within the committee setting.

(On motion of Senator Banks, debate adjourned.)

Supreme Court Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Tardif, seconded by the Honourable Senator Rivest, for the second reading of Bill C-232, An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act (understanding the official languages).

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Honourable senators, since the advent of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada is one of three fundamental institutions of Canadian government, — this Parliament and our provincial legislatures being the others.

The issue before us in debating Bill C-232 lies squarely in how we obtain the best judges for Canada's senior court. By tradition, three judges are from Quebec and six are not. Of the six, three come from Ontario, one from the Maritimes and two from the four western provinces.

Most Canadians agree that what matters most is that the Supreme Court of Canada has our best judges. The reality is that most of the best judges and lawyers outside Quebec are not bilingual. It is true, of course, particularly in New Brunswick and Ontario, that there are excellent jurists who are bilingual but, even in these provinces, it would be naive to believe that many among the leaders on the bench and at the bar speak both French and English fluently. In the rest of the Canada — in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia — so few of the top judges and lawyers are bilingual that their numbers are not significant.

One is then faced with deciding whether a requirement for bilingualism is to trump judicial competence measured by every other criteria: intelligence, legal knowledge, experience, compassion, open-mindedness, and a sense of the human condition. Fluency in French and English is undoubtedly highly desirable for a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada. In the appointment process, bilingualism should continue to be a useful criterion for selection. However, to make bilingualism compulsory would change something that is useful into something that would diminish the court over time by depriving it of far too many worthy candidates.

I do not suggest there is no advantage in a judge receiving legal argument without the need for an interpreter, but the Supreme Court's interpreters are excellent and have proven so over many years. Incidentally, for a judge to be able to hear argument in a second language requires the highest imaginable degree of bilingualism. Requiring bilingualism at this level would diminish the candidate list even further.

Great Chief Justices of the Supreme Court from Western Canada have included Chief Justice Duff, Chief Justice Dickson, the present Chief Justice McLachlin, and, from Western Ontario, Chief Justice Laskin. These people were and are among our greatest jurists. None of them when they came to the Supreme Court of Canada initially had any French, or certainly not enough French to listen to a case pleaded in that language without the assistance of interpreters. No one would dispute that Canada would be a lesser country if these jurists had been barred from serving in the highest court.

[Translation]

I personally would like to be given the time to master the beautiful French language. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a country that values both official languages: French and English.

[English]

Honourable senators, in the strongest terms, I urge this Senate to defeat this bill. Bilingualism is a worthy objective, but we must never allow it to become a mechanism restricting the flow of legal talent to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Raine: Yes.

Senator Tardif: I appreciate the honourable senator's commitment to speaking in French and to continuing to improve her French.

She makes a dissociation between judicial competency and linguistic competency. How would the honourable senator argue with the fact that being able to comprehend someone who is pleading in one of the official languages is not part of the competency a judge should have? It seems that being able to comprehend the case being pleaded before one is an essential competency that a judge should have.

Let me quote a professor of constitutional law at the University of Montreal who says that a judge's words are his tools. Some might argue that we are giving up judicial competency for linguistic competency. I disagree. A surgeon's tools are scalpels and a jurist's tools are words. If I may be allowed to push the metaphor, in the operating room of the federal state with two official languages, is it not better to have a judge who can work with both linguistic scalpels? How can we dissociate the two — linguistic competency and judicial competency?

[Translation]

Senator Raine: Thank you very much. That is a good question. I imagine that words are interpreters' tools as well. Interpreters are true language professionals.

(1450)

I am no expert, but I recognize that mastery of a language is the interpreter's area of expertise. In legal matters, lawyers and judges have the expertise.

I have never heard any complaints about the competence of the interpreters at the Supreme Court.

Honourable senators, it is time now for both sides of the chamber to proceed with some sober second thought.

[English]

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, such a circumstance has certainly occurred. A lawyer who pled and lost his case before the Supreme Court of Canada indicated that he could not understand his own arguments when played back in English from the simultaneous interpretation. When this bill goes to committee, I suggest that we invite that lawyer to appear as a witness.

[Translation]

Let me give you an example. I have often referred to the phrase "égalité réelle" between the two language groups, as set out in our Official Languages Act and upheld by Supreme Court of Canada decisions. When I have used the words "égalité réelle" in this chamber — and I have verified this on a number of occasions — the term has been translated into English this way.

[English]

It was translated as "real equality" in English. The term is not "real equality." it is "substantial equality." There is a significant difference in meaning between "real equality" and "substantial equality." Therefore, at the highest court of the land, such a nuance would make a difference. Does the honourable senator not agree that this distinction makes a difference and that simultaneous interpretation does not cover all facets?

[Translation]

Senator Raine: I imagine that if all the Supreme Court judges were bilingual, we would have many more problems than simply the one you gave as an example.

[English]

If we pass this law and mandate bilingual Supreme Court judges, we will have many more problems than we do today.

[Translation]

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question for Senator Raine. First, I hope that the senator knows that the Supreme Court of Canada has nine members and Canada has a population of approximately 34 million people.

Does she truly believe that we could not find bilingual men or women in English Canada who could fill these positions that open up once or twice a year? I would like to remind her of this: when the first woman was appointed to the Supreme Court, I was here in Parliament, in the other place. I was asked if there were any competent women in Canada. They questioned the competency of Canada's female lawyers.

Today in Canada, 55 per cent of women have earned degrees. I can assure you that there are certainly enough women in Canada to fill positions at the Supreme Court and ensure that people have equal access to justice.

Honourable senators, do you not believe that in Canada we can find individuals in every province who could master both French and English?

[English]

Senator Raine: Honourable senators, as I said in my speech, bilingualism is a worthy objective. However, we must never allow it to become the mechanism restricting the flow of legal talent to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, could Senator Raine explain what she meant when she said that it would be a problem if Canada had nine bilingual justices on the Supreme Court? That is what I thought I heard her say.

Senator Raine: Honourable senators, I can only imagine that if the criteria to select Supreme Court judges include bilingualism, the quality of the justices will change. The majority of our top jurists are not bilingual. We will restrict the talent pool and I think that would be a mistake.

Senator Tkachuk: Senator Carignan would be unable to be a Supreme Court judge.

Senator Fraser: Honourable senators, I sit on a committee with Senator Carignan, and his understanding of legal English is impressive, which is all this bill requires.

As honourable senators know, I disagree with the honourable senator, but I apologize if I misinterpreted her comments.

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan: Senator Greene Raine, I would like to return to Senator Tardif's remarks about the nuance in the translation of the French words "égalité réelle" into English. She explained the nuances between the two versions, and everyone understood, although we are using simultaneous interpretation and translation systems.

My question is this: You used simultaneous interpretation to understand her speech. Did you understand the nuance between the two words, with the help of interpretation?

[English]

Senator Raine: I am sorry; I missed the question. Could the honourable senator please repeat it?

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Senator Tardif explained that there was a difference between the words "égalité réelle" in French and the words "real equality" in English. Do you think that she was able to explain that nuance, even though she had to rely on translation? What I am trying to show is that we can explain nuances in one language if we use the proper words and if there is translation. Here, Senator Tardif showed the difference between the words in both languages. She gave her explanation in one language and it was translated.

My question is simple: Did you understand, even with the simultaneous interpretation, that there was a difference in nuance between the two expressions?

[English]

Senator Raine: Honourable senators, I apologize that I did not understand the honourable senator's question because someone passed me a note.

I certainly did understand the nuance; it was very clear. The professionals that deal with language and translation are the translators. The professionals that interpret the laws of our country are the Supreme Court judges. Their tools include their intelligence and their experience. That is what is important.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

[Translation]

Hon. Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis (The Hon. the Acting Speaker): Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to grant an additional five minutes?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(1500)

[English]

Hon. Lucie Pépin: Does the honourable senator believe that if our Canadian men and women are brilliant enough to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, they are brilliant enough to be bilingual?

An Hon. Senator: But of course.

Senator Raine: I think there are many brilliant people in our country who are not bilingual. There are many brilliant people in our country whose first language is not English or French, and they are having a hard time entering many parts of our institutions. For them to learn two further languages will make it even more difficult.

Hon. Elaine McCoy: Honourable senators, if there are no further questions, I wish to participate in debate.

I rise on Bill C-232 to express the reasons why I will not support this bill. It seems to me we have been talking about it in the abstract. We had a good legal dissertation from Senator Carignan, which I followed in translation and read in translation, and I appreciated the fine arguments he put forward. We had a good presentation by Senator Tardif, who presented the other side of the question as the sponsor of the bill. I honour her passion and I reach out to her and share her enthusiasm for the subject, but I regret that I cannot support her in this particular initiative.

Speaking about the bill in the abstract, it seems to me we are missing some realities. As someone who has been to the Supreme Court of Canada — and I am sure one or two honourable senators here have as well — I will talk a little about what that experience is like and what I went through. It seems to me the bill negates the very flaw that it allegedly corrects, that there is an opportunity and a necessity for a judge not to miss a nuance in argument. I do not think that happens or is based on linguistic ability.

The first thing about the Supreme Court of Canada, which we probably all know, is that one does not get there as of right. One must obtain leave to appeal from the Supreme Court of Canada. Something over 500 leaves to appeal are filed every year, and about one in ten is accepted.

Some cases go to the Supreme Court of Canada as of right. If the federal government or a provincial government refers a constitutional question, the Supreme Court of Canada takes it without question. Some major criminal cases — I turn to Senator Baker as he will know about those cases better than I — go pretty much to the Supreme Court of Canada as of right. On the whole, the Supreme Court of Canada chooses to hear only cases they themselves say are of major public importance or that will settle an important and subtle question of law.

Most cases are settled at Courts of Appeal, if they are on appeal at all, in the provinces where they are dealt with, in the language of choice. The other thing we all know, of course, is that every Canadian has the right to deal with the Supreme Court of Canada in the choice of his or her language, French or English. There is no question about that right. One can file papers in French or in English; that is not a problem.

That is my next point: It is all done in writing. With respect to the leave to appeal, first one must put the argument together, support it with all the precedents being relied on and then put behind it all the excerpts from the previous judgments, the Court of Appeal and perhaps the trial court that are being relied on. This entire package is put together, and I forget how many copies are necessary, nine or more. They pile all these things together, send them in and wait to hear back. Often, one is not even called to appear. The court may decide not to hear the case and send a little note back saying, "Leave to appeal denied." Much of the process is done in writing.

If a person is among the one in ten that is invited to proceed on an appeal, that person goes through the whole process again, only now the package is probably much thicker. I remember that process well because, when I was senior legal counsel with the Public Utilities Board of Alberta, I was involved in my first Supreme Court of Canada hearing and I was working to deadline. Since the organization was a government body, my secretary said, "It is 4:30; I am going home."

I said, "I have to put this factum together."

She said, "I will see you in the morning."

I said, "That will be too late."

I spent all night. I had my papers together, but I needed to photocopy them however many times — 12 times — and collate them. This was in 1979 or something; we did not have sophisticated equipment back then. I laid out all documents on a board table, and I remember walking around that board table laying page after page for hours on end until the pile became about that thick. Then I had to bind them and ship them off to Ottawa to another lawyer because we needed an agent to carry these piles of paper to the Supreme Court of Canada. That was my first experience with putting together what we call a factum.

Some weeks later, we were scheduled to go to the hearing, but between filing those factums and having a hearing, first, the judges had those papers translated. Second, they had their researchers read them in depth, provide even more research than was provided by each of the parties and then put briefs together. Then the judges read them all, talked about them and finally held the hearing.

I came to Ottawa for that hearing. It was an exciting moment, as one can imagine, in a young lawyer's life, gowned up and feeling special.

The day before, I thought I would stick my head in and see what goes on because I had never been to the Supreme Court of Canada before. All these gowned lawyers looked special — nearly all of them men in those days, as one can imagine, but still they looked special.

I remember being astounded in one case where the appellant was here, the defendant was there and the judge turned to the appellant and said, "Counsel, thank you very much, but we do not need to hear from you."

Oh, my God, I thought, what on earth is happening? He has a right to speak, does he not? He sat there meekly, so naturally I asked someone what that situation was all about. I was told that either the judges completely agreed with him or they completely disagreed with him, but they knew so much about the case already that they did not need to hear anything further. Usually, if the judges tell a person they do not need to hear from them any further, that person worries because the person thinks it is the latter.

That did not happen in my case. We argued. Then we waited weeks and weeks to hear from them. I know that after the case, the judges — nearly always nine judges, but not always — immediately adjourned from the hearing itself into what they call a case conference. They talk to one another for a couple of hours, argue it back and forth amongst themselves and figure out where they stand on the case. Once they figure it out and whether it is 9 to 0, or 6 to 3, then they say, "You write the decision on this one." If there is a dissenting decision, then they say, "You write it." They decide that. Off they go again and get out all their research. They probably do a little more research; their research assistants are busy. They write the decision in the language in which they are competent, naturally. Finally, the decision is put together, translated and issued. The whole process can take at least a year.

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The Supreme Court of Canada case that was most important to me, as it turned out, I did not actually get to go to because I had left the Public Utilities Board by the time the case got to Ottawa. However, I want to share this experience with honourable senators because I think it speaks — in some ways humorously — to this question of not understanding the subtleties of the jurisprudential argument.

It was when ATCO took a hostile takeover run at Calgary Power. Calgary Power said that it was a public utility and the Public Utilities Board of Alberta must therefore approve a merger before it can go forward. ATCO said that was not true: securities law, corporate law prevails and the Public Utilities Board was not involved.

The Public Utilities Board of Alberta had a hearing. The parties, ATCO and Calgary Power, argued, and so did I. The decision of the board ran something like this. It said that counsel for ATCO said this; counsel for Calgary Power said this; counsel for the board said this, and we agree with board counsel. That felt good, I can tell you. Needless to say, the Public Utilities Board upheld the right because it believed, as I did, that this was a matter of public interest and, therefore, the Public Utilities Board had a right to inquire as to whether it was in the public interest. ATCO appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal upheld the board. ATCO appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. By the time it got to the Supreme Court of Canada, I had left the Public Utilities Board, but I paid a lot of attention to this case and I was thrilled when the Supreme Court of Canada also upheld the board, because the board took my position.

They did not, though — and I was disappointed — do that unanimously. It was a 6-to-3, or 5-to-3 decision in favour of the Public Utilities Board. The dissenting judgment was written by Bertha Wilson, who was, as Senator Hervieux-Payette referred to a moment ago, the first woman ever on the Supreme Court of Canada. She had come out of a law firm, Osler, in Toronto and, before she was on the bench, her primary practice had been corporate law; so she took the corporate perspective and ruled that it was only the corporate perspective that mattered, not the public utility perspective.

When I read that, I said to the people who had been on the same side of the case as I was that she just missed the point. She did not understand the subtleties of our arguments. We all laughed and said, is that not always the case; when a judge does not agree with one, one always think they have missed the subtleties of one's points. It is true. Senator Furey is nodding; he is another lawyer. It is the feeling one has when one is ruled against by a judicial being. It often happens that we explain a difference of opinion by saying they missed the subtleties of the points.

What I am trying to describe in my experience with the Supreme Court of Canada is that there is nothing spontaneous. Senator Fraser, who is such a good communicator and so interested in ensuring we all communicate with one another, very kindly gave us several good examples the other day of misunderstandings in debate where a French word may be misinterpreted or misunderstood by one of us. On spontaneous occasions, that is absolutely correct, but this is not what happens in the Supreme Court of Canada. The number of times that a legal argument is studied, hashed over, reviewed, revisited and discussed among the justices, their researchers and law clerks does not allow for very many, if any — I would argue if any — missing of subtleties of arguments or jurisprudence.

In an ideal world, to borrow another of Senator Fraser's wise sayings, all of those in the legal system would be bilingual, fluently and legally. We would be fluently bilingual in all of the legal concepts. That is not the way Canada is made today. My second point is simply that if we pass this bill we will give rise to negative consequences that are unacceptable in today's Canada. We could perhaps work towards that ideal, and I would be happy to work towards that ideal, but it is not possible today to have a large pool of excellent jurists who are bilingual.

I ask leave of the chamber for another five minutes.

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator McCoy: Thank you.

I may yet speak on the free speech debate as well. Every time we talk about one of our privileges or our rights, we must try to remember that it is not a singular right. We have a bundle of rights and privileges, and at all times we are trying to balance them out. We are trying to make sure that we have the optimum outcome. In Canada, that is our brilliance; we have worked things out so that we actually can have the most good for the most people most of the time.

One way we choose to limit the operation of a right — even free speech, I might add — is to say there is a principle of no harm. If exercising this right causes harm over here or harm to an extent that is unacceptable, we will then limit that right as long as an irreparable harm is not done to the person who is claiming the right.

In this case, at this stage in our history, the harm of restricting the pool of eligible jurists to too small a category is unacceptable, when we have found a way that francophones can deal, and successfully so and without harm, with the Supreme Court of Canada.

My last point is that it would be divisive. I am from Alberta. We are not as redneck as we are sometimes portrayed here, but we are largely anglophone and fiercely proud. We have a very lively francophone history as well, and Senator Tardif is an exemplary representative of that community. We are very proud of her.

However, this bill has caused considerable feelings of angst and anger in Alberta and feelings of being barred from an institution that is of such importance to this country.

Senator Robichaud is shaking his head. On a rational basis, I am sure he is correct, but we do know that perception is reality in politics. I watch our federally elected leaders playing blame games, playing games of wedge issues, playing games of so-called culture wars, reaching out time and again to small groups of people to isolate them or at least to reward one and not the other. I believe that is wrong for Canada.

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Honourable senators, I believe we should reach out to one another, building bridges and allowing ourselves to be one of the greatest, most tolerant, most multicultural countries in the world. I believe wise parliamentarians today will say no to Bill C-232.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I have a comment on the divisiveness and another comment on the question of translation and documents.

First, I have been a member of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations since I joined the Senate, which is over 10 years, and year after year, month after month we need to correct regulations that are not properly translated. Even this morning at the committee meeting, the translation of a regulation into French gave unfair treatment to the people who would read it in French. Therefore, to say that once it is written — and most of the documents are written — will give an advantage, I beg to differ that this question is already solved.

Second, my colleagues and I, especially French Canadians coming from Quebec, have been fighting since the venue of the Parti Québécois in Quebec to keep Canada together. Therefore, when Senator McCoy talks about divisiveness, I remind her of all the effort and all the time we have given to building rapprochement between the French and the English, and remind people in the West that we were in Quebec in 1608 to found Quebec City, where we celebrated the four-hundredth anniversary. We are not foreigners in this country. We were here at the beginning. Canada was founded by two official language groups in 1867, and this bill is recent.

When we are fighting to keep this country together, when we are fighting for the future, we are fighting for equality of both French and English. French Canadians of Quebec have all the rights in the world to be heard in their own language and by people who can understand their language. At this point in time, with the amount of money devoted by the federal government to higher education, I have no doubt that this right is possible.

In Europe, lawyers can practice in any country providing they speak the language. A lawyer from France who speaks Spanish can practice in Spain. In the European community, with all their languages, lawyers have the right to move around to practise and be recognized, but they have to speak the language. In this country, we have two languages and I think both of them are equal. Citizens of Quebec have the right to be heard, as do French Canadians from other parts of the country that are minorities.

I remind my colleague, when one is part of a minority, one expects the majority to be generous with them. They expect the majority to understand their feelings. If the majority wins their point on this question, I do not think it serves the interests of Canada, and I think my honourable colleagues here should vote for bilingualism in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Senator McCoy: Was it a debate?

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I only wanted to comment.

[Translation]

The Hon. the Speaker: No, that is perfectly normal. This is a period for questions and comments.

[English]

I advise the Honourable Senator McCoy that her time has now expired.

Continuing debate; is the senator asking for another five minutes?

Senator Tardif: She has already had five minutes.

The Hon. the Speaker: Continuing debate; is there further debate?

(On motion of Senator Champagne, debate adjourned.)

Italian-Canadian Recognition and Restitution Bill

Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Joan Fraser moved second reading of Bill C-302, An Act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Italian origin through their "enemy alien" designation and internment during the Second World War, and to provide for restitution and promote education on Italian-Canadian history.

She said: Honourable senators, I know the hour is late and I shall try not to keep you any longer than necessary, but I believe this bill addresses an important element of Canadian history that many, if not most, Canadians are not aware of, and that is, as the title of the bill suggests, the internment of hundreds of Italian- Canadians during World War II and the unnecessary, unjustified suffering of many other Italian-Canadians during that period 70 years ago.

This bill acknowledges, and apologizes for, the injustices done then. It calls for restitution to be negotiated with the community and for an educational foundation to be established to carry out appropriate work in recognition of the internment, and finally, for Canada Post to issue a stamp or a set of stamps to commemorate the internment of the Italian Canadians.

Honourable senators, it is important to describe, as briefly as I can, the history that led to this bill. It goes back to dark times for Western civilization. In the spring of 1940, France had fallen and, in Europe, Britain stood alone with only Canada and the other Commonwealth countries to support her from across the seas. Emotions ran high. On June 11, 1940, Mussolini declared war on us. This did not come as a total surprise and Canadian authorities had been turning their mind ahead of time to what should be done in such an eventuality.

One of the most eminent public servants ever to serve in Canada, Norman Robertson, had studied the matter and reported to then-Minister of Justice Ernest Lapointe, in 1939, that a large majority of Italian Canadians were not disloyal to this country and that it would not be in the public interest to recommend their immediate arrest at the outbreak of any war between Canada and Italy. He also reported that any arrest on the grounds of disloyalty would have to be based on evidence and corroborated with proof that the individual in question was likely to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety.

Those were wise recommendations from Mr. Robertson, but they did not, unfortunately, avail. When Mussolini declared war on us, the then Prime Minister Mackenzie King invoked the War Measures Act immediately. Six thousand Italians were arrested as enemy aliens. That group included even those who had been citizens of this country since as far back as 1922. Those arrested included Canadians of Italian origin who had served this country in World War I and whose sons were serving this country in World War II. Those arrested included all sorts and conditions of persons, from professionals and business people down to ordinary labourers who were illiterate, many of whom did not speak French or English. How they could possibly be suspected of being spies in any effective sense passes the imagination. We are told that some of those who were arrested were arrested simply because they had Italian names or, even worse, because they looked Italian, whatever that may mean.

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Of those who were arrested, several hundred — we do not know the exact number, but best estimates seem to range between 700 and 1,000 — were interned in camps. Most were sent to a camp up the river in Petawawa. Others were sent to camps on Saint Helen's Island in Montreal and in the Maritime provinces. Incidentally, our internment rate was proportionately far higher than in the United States.

We arrested and interned all those people even though only about 100 people were thought by the RCMP to be active members of the Fascist Party. Not one of those arrested or interned was ever charged, let alone tried, with an offence of any kind under Canadian law.

The internees were released only gradually, some after several months and some only after several years. The consequences of what happened in 1940 were great, then and later, for them, for their families and for their communities. The immediate consequence was, of course, the loss of income to the families. Almost all, I believe all but four of those interned, were men. They were mostly the principal breadwinners. Those families suddenly found themselves alone, without an income and as a result the family property was confiscated. Those families often found it difficult to find other means of support because there was great social discrimination against Italian Canadians, encouraged, of course, by the government policy that said if you even looked Italian you were probably worth arresting.

There was a great sense of stigma in the community, and it was not just stigma in the sense that we may feel an emotion that is not justified in reality. Too many Italian Canadians who were good, loyal Canadians suffered significantly from these events.

I cite only the case of one Ottawa fireman. He never got his job back with the fire department, or even his pension, even though the commissioner who examined his case said he should never have been arrested, let alone detained. That man joined the Canadian Navy in 1942 to serve this country.

It is no wonder, when people were facing that kind of discrimination, that most members of the community remained silent in the following years. They wanted to put it behind them and get on with building their lives in the new country they had chosen. Some of them changed their names to avoid being perceived as Italian Canadians. There are people today who did not know for many years that their father's name was Giuseppe or Giovanni. They thought their father's name was Joe or Jack.

Although many in the community remained silent, and that silence, although understandable, contributed to our collective ignorance of these events, some did press for apologies, notably, although not only, the National Congress of Italian Canadians. Over the years, they kept pressing.

In 1990, on November 4, in a speech to the National Congress of Italian Canadians, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney did something very important — he apologized. Mr. Mulroney said:

What happened to many Italian Canadians is deeply offensive to the simple notion of respect for human dignity and the presumption of innocence. The brutal injustice was inflicted arbitrarily, not only on individuals suspected of being security risks but also on individuals whose only crime was being of Italian origin. In fact, many of the arrests were based on membership in Italian-Canadian organizations — much like the ones represented here today. None of the 700 internees was ever charged with an offence and no judicial proceedings were launched. It was often, in the simplest terms, an act of prejudice — organized and carried out under law, but prejudice nevertheless.

Prime Minister Mulroney went on:

This kind of behaviour was not then, is not now, and never will be acceptable in a civilized nation that purports to respect the rule of law. On behalf of the government and people of Canada, I offer a full and unqualified apology for the wrongs done to our fellow Canadians of Italian origin during World War II.

Those were noble words, and we should honour Mr. Mulroney for them. They were very important at the time; however, as a country, I think we have progressed since 1990. We now acknowledge that it is appropriate, at least on these most serious of occasions, to give open solemn recognition in Parliament of wrongs that were done by the Government and Parliament of Canada. That is what we have done, for example, for Chinese Canadians, for the head tax; Aboriginal Canadians, for residential schools; and perhaps most pertinently in today's context, for Japanese Canadians who suffered mass internment during those same years.

Properly done, these occasions of acknowledgment and apology are occasions of healing. I would argue that they can even be, in a sense, occasions of joy because they represent reconciliation among Canadians, and that is always an occasion for joy.

In the other place, this bill did not go without criticism, and I would like to address some of the criticisms that were raised then. The one that puzzled me the most was that there seemed to be some sense that because a Liberal presented this bill in the other place it somehow made it illegitimate. This bill was presented by Massimo Pacetti, an Italian Canadian from Montreal who has worked for this cause ever since he came to Parliament. Yes, Mr. Pacetti is a Liberal MP. It seems to me entirely fitting that it should have been a Liberal who took this initiative to try to have a formal recognition by Parliament of an injustice that was done by a Liberal government in a majority Liberal Parliament. This strikes me not only as not inappropriate but as immensely appropriate.

Another criticism was that this bill is divisive among the Italian- Canadian community. Not being a member of that community, I cannot claim to understand all of the arguments leading to that particular criticism, but I think one of them relates to the fact that the bill calls for the restitution and the creation of the educational foundation with one organization, the National Congress of Italian Canadians, which is, of course, not the only major organization of Italian Canadians in this country. It is, however, the organization that the other groups that appeared before committee in the other place thought was appropriate to work with. It has established a foundation in the hope that something like this bill would eventually come to pass, to engage in educational activities. As I say, the other groups that appeared before committee in the other place support this bill.

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Finally, another criticism was that the Government of Canada has had, for the past year or two, a Community Historical Recognition Program. The criticism suggests that this would be duplication. I think the key difference is that the Community Historical Recognition Program, which has obvious merit, is nonetheless a rather traditional, classic, top-down program where the government funds specific projects. The projects in question can be plaques and monuments, exhibits, educational materials or commemorative activities whereas this bill calls for is something rather more permanent, the form of which would be negotiated by the community that would then be authorized to administer it.

Honourable senators, there may be many reasons to argue with details of this bill. I know that a number of people have questions, for example, about the notion that Canada Post should be required, in legislation, to issue a stamp, and there may be other details that a careful examination in committee would deem required amendment. However, the principle of this bill is important and well worth supporting.

Mr. Pacetti has said many times that he does not think this is a bill for Italians. He says it is a bill for Canadians, about Canadians, and I think he is right. I think it would be well worth it and highly appropriate for us to acknowledge that and to support his bill. I hope honourable senators will, after study, agree with me.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Before I move the adjournment, will Senator Fraser take a couple of questions?

June 10 will be the seventieth anniversary of the declaration of this act of inhumanity and 50 of those years have seen the Liberal Party in power, with 17 or 18 of those years with the Conservatives in power. Could the honourable senator tell me what any of those Liberal governments did, starting from the beginning until today, to deal with this issue?

Senator Fraser: I am aware that the Martin government was in the process of negotiating, I believe, something similar to the foundation program that is described in this bill.

To the best of my knowledge, Liberal governments, apart from that, not only did not apologize but resisted making an apology. That is not, in my view, a reason not to act now. The fact that something that should have been done and was not does not mean it should never be done. There was, for many years — not only among Liberals — a view that once you got into the business of apologizing, my goodness, you would have to apologize to everyone.

I must tell honourable senators that the first time I heard that, I thought it had a certain amount of sense. Then I started to think, wait a minute, if this country has committed an injustice, this country should not be afraid to say so and apologize. If we have committed many injustices, then we will have to apologize many times. The mere fact that the government of whatever party did not take a specific, although desirable, action in the past does not mean we should not take it now, in my view.

Senator Di Nino: I thank the honourable senator for her response.

Is the honourable senator aware whether any government of Canada has taken any action or dealt with this issue in any manner? Is the honourable senator familiar with any actions by any other government in the past 20 or 25 years?

Senator Fraser: As I suggested in my remarks — and I tried to pay him all honour for this — Prime Minister Mulroney did make a full and, in many ways, noble apology. There is an argument, which I think has resonance, that, fine though that act was, it is not of the same solemnity as something done by Parliament.

It takes nothing away from what Prime Minister Mulroney did, but, in my view, the argument has merit that it alone did not complete the appropriate collective acknowledgment of what our predecessors sat still for 70 years ago.

As I also said in my remarks, I am aware of the present government's Community Historical Recognition Program. Beyond that, I am not aware. There may have been other actions, but there has never been a formal acknowledgment by and in Parliament.

[Translation]

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I asked my staff to do some research. In 2004, a motion was moved in the House of Commons. Allow me to read that motion:

That a humble Address be presented to Her Excellency praying that, following the steps already taken by the Société Nationale de l'Acadie, she will intercede with Her Majesty to cause the British Crown to recognize officially the wrongs done to the Acadian people in its name between 1755 and 1763.

Honourable senators, Senator Fraser said we should recognize the wrongs that have been committed in the past. I think this motion is quite similar to the motion or bill being introduced today when it says:

[English]

. . . to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Italian origin during their "enemy alien" designation . . .

[Translation]

The two are very similar. Some members of the House of Commons voted against the motion to recognize the injustices done to Acadians. I wanted to know how many voted against the motion to recognize the injustices done to Acadians and how many voted in favour of the motion to recognize the injustices done to Italians. I found out that 21 Liberal members voted against the motion concerning Acadians in 2004 but voted in favour of the motion concerning Italians.

That suggests a certain degree of hypocrisy in this debate. I am not saying that we should not recognize injustices done to Italians, but it would be hypocritical to recognize injustices done to Italians and not those done to Acadians. That troubles me. Perhaps my colleague, Senator Di Nino, will comment further.

I am troubled by the hypocrisy that sometimes surfaces in the other place and on the other side of this chamber.

Senator Fraser: I hope that Senator Comeau is not accusing me of hypocrisy.

Senator Comeau: That is not what I said.

Senator Fraser: Good. With respect to the Acadians, it is clear that their deportation was one of the greatest injustices ever committed in Canada. My memory is not very good, but in the case of the 2004 motion, it seems to me that the argument then was legalistic. The Acadian deportation, which is what we are talking about here, was carried out by authority of the king at the time, and we were not allowed to censure the king.

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It seems to me that if the government had wanted to, it could have found a way to formally apologize without infringing on the privileges of the monarchy, which no one wants to do.

That said, as I said earlier, two wrongs do not make a right. Where wrongs have been done, they must be acknowledged, and that is true in the case of the Acadian expulsion, in the case of Italian Canadians and Aboriginal people, and in all the other cases of injustice we know too well.

If Senator Comeau wants to move a motion about the Acadian expulsion, I will be happy to second it. Legal obstacles aside, I am sure it is possible, and I encourage him to do so.

Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, the word "apology" was not mentioned anywhere in the 2004 motion, which recognized the wrongs that were done in 1755 when men, women and children were deported from their land. Canada's Parliament was called on to ask the Crown to recognize that the Acadians were not guilty of the offence for which they were punished by being deported.

In 2004, when the motion was moved, the feeling was that it would be defeated. It was suggested that the mover wait, in order to avoid a situation where one of the two chambers would vote against the motion, which would send the message that the Acadians were in the wrong. In voting against the motion, the House of Commons was saying that the Acadians were in the wrong.

Before we move this sort of motion, we must be absolutely certain no one will vote against it. We have to ensure that the motion will pass before we move it again. All that is to say that I was not trying to accuse the honourable senator of anything.

The Senate did not vote on the motion, but the House of Commons voted against it and, in so doing, did not recognize the wrongs done to the Acadians. I still have a list of the people who were sitting in each chamber in 2004, who are still here today and who completely reversed their vote. I wanted to raise the point, but it was never my intention to accuse the honourable senator of anything.

Senator Fraser: It is always possible that some members of the other place have matured and come to understand what is important in our collective life. In any event, we are the chamber of sober second thought and sometimes even sober first thought. But I repeat: two wrongs do not make a right.

[English]

Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, I do not doubt the sincerity of Senator Fraser's comments on this issue. I have been involved with this issue since the first day I came to Parliament nearly 20 years ago. I have been directly involved in the actions taken by certain governments in trying to address this issue.

I will deal with the honourable senator's comments after I have an opportunity to study them closer and will express my thoughts on them, and then the wisdom of this body will decide. I move adjournment for the remainder of my time.

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

(On motion of Senator Di Nino, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of students from École Joseph-Moreau, in Edmonton. They are guests of the Honourable Senator Tardif.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome them to the Senate of Canada.

[English]

2010 Olympic Winter Games

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Raine calling the attention of the Senate to the success of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games held in Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler from February 12 to 28 and, in particular, to how the performance of the Canadian athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games can inspire and motivate Canadians and especially children to become more fit and healthy.

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I know it is late in the day, but I promised Senator Raine that I would speak today on her inquiry. We have had many disagreements today or many interpretations of different issues, but I think we can agree on the senator's inquiry. I rise today to share with honourable senators my thoughts about the inquiry launched by Senator Raine regarding the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Our colleague rightly pointed to these Olympians as a source of inspiration for physical fitness and health among Canadians, especially young Canadians who were with us only moments ago.

Statistics do not lie and we know that when it comes to physical fitness we are in big trouble in this country. I remind you that Senator Raine said nearly one in four Canadians are obese.

As we raised the alarm about the danger of cigarette smoking and its lethal health effects, so we must raise the alarm about the deadly effects of obesity and lack of physical fitness. Obesity leads to lifelong chronic illnesses, including diabetes. Worldwide, physical inactivity contributes to 2 million preventable deaths every year.

Facts are also available to show how we can overcome this obesity epidemic, and it starts with our children. To be healthy, children and youth need 90 minutes of physical activity every day, yet a Canadian survey indicates that only 36 per cent of two- and three-year-olds and 44 per cent of four- and five-year-olds regularly engage in unorganized sport and physical activity each week. Less than one third of children in Canada walk or ride their bikes to school and only one province, Manitoba, has mandated daily physical education for children up to grade 12.

What are kids doing if they are not inside playing? They are inside sitting in front of a television or computer screen, on average for six hours a day during the week and seven hours a day on weekends.

What should we do? As we labelled cigarettes to warn people of their health effects, so should we insist that televisions, computers and other entertainment screens have a clear message printed on them: "Warning: Excessive screen time is dangerous to your health and leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression." Depression is something the Senate studied and issued a report on.

Yes, depression. We know that being physically active helps one stay mentally active and healthy. I know my weekly hockey games and my basketball games with my friends are of huge importance to my physical and mental well-being; just ask my wife.

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Physical activity has also been identified as a way to prevent Alzheimer's. When it comes to kids, physical activity leads to better health but also better grades and happier children. An initiative in Ontario to increase physical activity among kids resulted in a 36 per cent increase in reading scores and a 24 per cent increase in math scores.

The United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have all come out strongly to say that every school child should have physical education every day. Physical education in schools is absolutely important, but I want to advocate something else for children, though it sounds like nothing. I want to defend the right of children to have lots of time every day for unstructured play; a time to go outside and play.

This most elemental activity, one we all shared at one time, is now missing from the lives of most Canadian children. As schools struggle to meet rigorous academic standards, we see that recess has been cut back or eliminated. Remember that period of time when you played marbles in the cold outside only to do something? By the way, recess was my favourite subject in school.

Recess is extremely important. Studies show that recess, in addition to the benefits of physical fitness, helps children stay focused and on task once they are back in the classroom. When they are active, children produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and problem-solving. The bottom line is that play leads to excellence.

This play is especially important for children with attention deficit disorder, ADD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, whose numbers, as we know, are growing. Consider for the moment the story of James Watt. He was called the inventor of the steam engine by many. Legend has it that young James was in the kitchen of his home daydreaming. He was doing nothing but daydreaming while the kettle was on the stove. As he stared out into space, he noticed the kettle's top sputtered and jumped as the steam built up. He saw the power behind the steam and the rest, as they say, is history.

Let us consider whether young James would have been able to have such a moment if he was staring at a computer screen or busily finishing his homework to climb in the car with mom and dad to be driven to a soccer practice, after which was a violin lesson or an organized play date with a kid across town. It is all organized.

I am talking about unstructured play. Let us be reckless a little bit; let us let our children be free in that way. We need to remember it is okay for kids to be bored from time to time. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that unstructured time helps children use their creativity. They find out what they like and they have time to work out their social skills. They learn how to solve problems. Children who have unstructured play tend to be more resilient.

Why do they not walk or bike to school? Think how much happier and healthier children would be, how much cleaner our air would be and how much safer our streets would be if children biked and walked to school. However, we live in an environment now where parents are so worried about their children's safety that they insist on driving them to school, even though crime rates are at their lowest level in decades.

This fear for our children's safety has become unhealthy. Consider modern playgrounds. We will not find a see-saw or a merry-go-round. They are too dangerous, as are monkey bars and slides that are six feet tall. We want to create a world where no child can be injured and, in the process, we are creating a generation of inactive, overweight children who are losing out on the adventure and normal risk-taking that is such an important part of childhood.

I worked closely with Special Olympics athletes and there was a time long ago when we had horrible names for those with intellectual disabilities and when such children were not allowed to play or to be part of sport. Can you imagine? These Special Olympians were not allowed to be part of sports. There are 32,000 Special Olympians in this country and millions around the world. Yet Dr. Frank Hayden, a great friend of mine — we call him Dr. Frank in the Special Olympics movement — convinced Eunice Shriver of the Kennedy family. It worked two ways. It did not come only from the Kennedys but started here in this country. They produced a report many years ago in the mid-1960s to say it was okay to allow those with intellectual disabilities to go out and play, participate and be part of our society.

I think the rest of society must go back and allow children to do the same things.

If kids do not encounter any risks, how will they develop confidence and common sense? In the United States, some schools have outlawed tag and other running games because children might fall and hurt themselves. Of course, every playground fatality or serious injury is a tragedy, but they are less frequent than lightning strikes. In our bid to prevent them, we are creating a generation of kids who cannot do a chin-up or develop the cardiovascular fitness required for a good game of tag.

Honourable senators, research shows clearly that children who lack opportunities for play do not grow into happy, healthy adults. I applaud Senator Nancy Greene Raine's call for the Olympic Games to serve as inspiration for better physical activity in adults and children. Those games were indeed inspirational and so were the Paralympic Games. I spent a week there.

We use the term, "Own the Podium." We owned the podium, and it was exciting and wonderful. Now I think it is time to go back to the basics. We had the terminology long ago of ParticipACTION. It was fun; I still have my T-shirt with the pink sneaker on it.

However, I think it is time we "Own the Playground." It is time to return to owning Canada's playgrounds: the one at school or down the street; the one where everyone meets in the summer after dinner and plays until the street lights come on.

I walk home. However, as most senators head home, they jump into a taxi and head down Bronson Avenue to the airport. Before the Bronson Bridge, there is a little park. Maybe I will have a park one day in my name. Regardless, there is a park and it is named the Senator Eugene Forsey Park. It is a sweet little children's park. I never see anyone in it. Sometimes when I go by, the gates are locked. I cannot understand that. Senator Eugene Forsey was a wonderful sweet man who served this country well, so someone obviously thought to name a park after him. Those of us who worked in the media back then were always talking to Senator Forsey because we did not understand how Parliament worked. That one park sits out there and I never see anyone in it. We need to be more proactive.

We are cocooning our children indoors. We believe we are keeping them safe but I do not think we are, and keeping them indoors is leading to obesity.

In closing, I endorse Senator Raine's proposal and will use her words:

. . . we must use the school system to deliver the necessary physical education programs. These programs must start in kindergarten and go all the way to Grade 12.

That is what the honourable senator said. This proposal is not rocket science. To help them grow into healthy adults, we need to ensure that schools offer physical education, that we limit the time children spend in front of screens and that we push them out the door so they can play and explore. We need to let the children play.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)

(1610)

The Senate

Motion to Extend Wishes of Appreciation to Canadian Navy—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Segal, seconded by the Honourable Senator Stratton:

That the Senate of Canada offers to the Canadian Forces Maritime Command, known today as the Canadian Navy and formerly known as the Royal Canadian Navy, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the Senate's best wishes and its most sincere expression of gratitude, appreciation and respect, and pays special tribute to the courage, competence, loyalty and determination of the men and women who served, serve and will serve under the White Ensign, the Canadian Forces Naval Jack and the Maple Leaf, always in the cause of freedom, humanity, peace and stability and always in the name of the people of Canada.

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, this motion stands in the name of Senator Rompkey, but he has agreed that I speak today.

Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise to endorse the motion put forward by Senator Segal to recognize the one hundredth anniversary of the Canadian Navy. The motion conveys the best wishes and sincere appreciation of gratitude, appreciation and respect to the members of the Canadian Navy on this significant milestone. It pays tribute to the courage, competence, loyalty and determination of the men and women who have served over the past century. They can all take great pride in that century of service to the people of Canada.

In paying truth to the outstanding contributions by the Canadian Navy, both in times of peace and times of war, I want to pay special tribute to those men and women who died in the service of their country and in the pursuit of peace. We remember their valour and their sacrifice in the cause of peace and security. In that same spirit, I also offer our thanks to the veterans of the Canadian Navy for the part they played in service to their country.

The people of Prince Edward Island, a province surrounded by water, have a special affinity to the Canadian Navy. There is a strong seafaring tradition in the province, where many have made their livelihoods as fishers and seafarers. That is why so many Islanders volunteer to serve in the navy over the past 100 years. They brought with them their love of the sea, the call of adventure and their dedication to serve.

There is also a long and proud tradition in the naval reserves on Prince Edward Island. HMCS Queen Charlotte was established in 1923, and over the years, thousands of Islanders have been recruited and trained as reservists. HMCS Queen Charlotte stands today overlooking the Charlottetown harbour. Its members continue to maintain the high standards that the navy has come to represent. They too are celebrating the navy's one hundredth anniversary and have a number of special events planned for this year in communities across the province.

Prince Edward Island cities also have the special honour of being namesake cities for ships in Canada's fleet. HMCS Summerside is a Kingston-class coastal defence vessel. It was launched in 1998 and officially commissioned in July 1999. The ship's sponsor is Mrs. Theresa Gallant of Summerside, a dedicated volunteer in her community. Mrs. Gallant always considered the crew as part of her family and hosted many large barbecues for the men and women who serve aboard the ship when it comes to port in its namesake city.

This is the second vessel to use the designation of HMCS Summerside. The first, launched in May 1941, was a Flower-class Corvette, and was officially commissioned in September 1941. She was engaged in the convoying of merchant ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and later in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She remained in service until 1945.

Honourable senators, I have a special attachment to Prince Edward Island's other namesake ship. In October 1994, I was honoured to be invited to become the sponsor of the tenth of 12 Canadian patrol frigates to be delivered to the Canadian Navy. I was at the shipyards in Saint John, New Brunswick when HMCS Charlottetown was launched and officially named for the capital city of Prince Edward Island. As sponsor, I had the pleasure to crack the bottle of Champagne across her bow. His Honour, the Speaker knows how special this ship is because he had occasion to visit her.

Almost one year after the launch, following the completion of sea trials, HMCS Charlottetown was commissioned in the city for which it was named. The people of Prince Edward Island warmly welcomed the captain and crew of the ship when she made her impressive entry into the harbour. Hundreds of people were on the wharf and at the water front in Charlottetown awaiting her arrival. They had the opportunity to tour the frigate and meet members of the crew. HMCS Charlottetown has returned several times since her first visit.

HMCS Charlottetown is the third to carry the name Charlottetown. The first Charlottetown was built in the early days of the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. It provided escort duties to convoys across the Atlantic. In September 1942, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in the St. Lawrence River with the loss of nine crew members, including her captain.

The second HMCS Charlottetown was commissioned in April 1944 and she, too, took up escort duties in the Atlantic. Fortunately, the ship and her crew survived and she was paid off — retired — in British Columbia in 1947.

HMCS Charlottetown is part of a proud tradition of ships named for Prince Edward Island's capital city. Since her launch and commissioning, the people of Prince Edward Island have had a special attachment to the frigate and her crew. Members of the crew continue to come to Prince Edward Island to participate in fundraising. They have earned the respect and admiration of the people of the province who follow the movements of the frigate with great interest.

Since she was commissioned, HMCS Charlottetown has seen lots of action. She certainly embodies her motto, "All Challenges Squarely Met." She has taken part in many sovereignty and fishing patrols in Canadian waters along with international missions. Those international missions have included deployments to Europe with the Standing NATO Force Atlantic. In 2001, HMCS Charlottetown became the first East Coast warship to become fully integrated into a United States carrier battle group to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions against Iraq. She also saw action in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the waters off the coast of Iran and Pakistan as part of Canada's marine contribution to the campaign against terrorism.

This year, the crew of HMCS Charlottetown is engaged in training and readiness inspections, both locally in Halifax and out at sea. This preparation will allow HMCS Charlottetown to continue to protect Canada's interests here at home and around the world.

The activities of HMCS Charlottetown demonstrate the continued contributions of the Canadian Navy to bring about greater peace and security in the world. The professionalism of her officers and crew exemplify the high standards that the Canadian Navy maintains and upholds. As sponsor, I commend and congratulate the officers and crew of HMCS Charlottetown for their dedicated service to this nation and its people.

The Canadian Navy continues to play a vital role. Canada is surrounded on three sides by oceans. The Canadian Navy plays an active part in protecting Canada's sovereignty and ensuring that this country continues to contribute to peacekeeping efforts around the world. The deployment of a naval vessel to Haiti earlier this year to aid earthquake victims is a further demonstration of the varied roles the Canadian Navy plays around the world.

Honourable senators, I am pleased to join in supporting this motion. As the Canadian Navy celebrates its one hundredth anniversary, I encourage all Canadians to express appreciation and best wishes to all our navy personnel.

(On motion of Senator Rompkey, debate adjourned.)

(1620)

[Translation]

The Honourable Wilbert J. Keon, O.C.

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government) rose pursuant to notice of May 6, 2010:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the career of the Honourable Senator Keon in the Senate and his many contributions in service to Canadians.

He said: Honourable senators, I will save my speech for a little later, as I believe I will have the right of final reply. I would simply like to begin this inquiry.

[English]

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I would like to join in paying tribute to our former colleague Senator Wilbert Keon who has recently retired from the Senate.

During the course of nearly 20 years in this chamber, he made an outstanding contribution to the Senate. His commitment, dedication and hard work in the service of the people of Canada have been a great source of inspiration to all who had the opportunity to serve with him.

I had the privilege for many years of being his colleague in the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. During that time, the committee produced a number of outstanding reports. Senator Keon's wide-ranging knowledge and experience were invaluable to his fellow committee members.

Of particular note was the Subcommittee on Population Health, which Senator Keon chaired. Driven by his concern for the health and well-being of all Canadians, he steered an in-depth examination of the disparities facing different sectors of the population. The final report presented clear and focused recommendations to help combat these disparities.

Senator Keon's career in the Senate was the culmination of a lifetime of service to his fellow citizens. As a medical doctor and founder of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, he pioneered a number of leading-edge innovations in the treatment of heart diseases. Among the many recognitions he has received for his public service are the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Distinguished Leadership Award, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and induction as a Member of the Order of Canada. These well-deserved honours reflect the respect and esteem in which he is held by his colleagues and fellow citizens.

Senator Keon will be greatly missed in the Senate. He always demonstrated kindness and understanding to those around him. Both inside and outside the chamber, he took the time to discuss an issue thoroughly and to listen with an open mind. He was always interested in hearing the views of others with calm and respect. He certainly is very passionate about the subjects he holds dear. I am sure he will continue to work on those issues that mean so much to him.

It was a great pleasure and distinct privilege to serve with him. I wish him and his wife, Anne, all the best in the future.

(On motion of Senator Champagne, debate adjourned.)

The Senate

Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools—Motion to Resolve into Committee of the Whole to Hear from Representatives of Aboriginal Community Withdrawn

On Motions, Item No. 31, by Honourable Senator Joyal:

That, at 3 o'clock p.m. on Thursday, June 3, 2010, the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole in order to hear from the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the President of the Metis National Council, for the purpose of reporting on progress made on commitments endorsed by parliamentarians of both Chambers since the Government's apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools.

Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I would like to seek leave of this chamber to withdraw the motion that appears under my name under Item No. 31. The reason for this is that earlier today. Senator St. Germain introduced a motion that deals with essentially the same objective.

I will remind honourable senators of the contents of Senator St. Germain's motion. Because he just introduced it today, the motion does not appear in today's Order Paper, however I have a copy of the text. His motion states:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to study and report on progress made on commitments endorsed by Parliamentarians of both Chambers since the Government's apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools; and

That the committee hear from the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the President of the Métis National Council on this subject; and

That the Committee report no later than December 2, 2010.

The objective of my motion as originally drafted would have asked this chamber to host the four Aboriginal leaders whom I mentioned earlier to testify on the progress made in the last year since the formal apologies of the Government of Canada. Instead of hosting the leaders here in this chamber next week or the following week, which will commemorate the second year of the apologies, Senator St. Germain proposed that the subject be addressed by the Aboriginal committee and that the committee report to this chamber.

The objective of my motion was to ensure that all senators had an opportunity to hear or read the testimonies of the Aboriginal chiefs on what progress has been made, what the difficulties are, and what the achievements are — because we must also look into the positive aspects of things— and to report to this chamber so that we can satisfy ourselves that there has been movement.

Why is this so, honourable senators? It is for a simple reason. The Indian residential school policy, you will all remember, is a policy that was implemented in the early days of Confederation — in fact, in the 1870s — and successive Canadian governments continued to implement it into the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The objective of that policy, to quote Prime Minister Harper, was "to kill the Indian in the child." It was essentially to ensure that the Indian child or children were removed from their families and put into a residential school 400 or 800 kilometres from their original community. They were forbidden to speak their Aboriginal language; there would be corporal punishment if they were caught speaking their own language. They were stripped of their Aboriginal clothing and Aboriginal traditions and were to be educated like other Canadians. The results of that policy are out of proportion with the objective pursued by the policy.

The policy had the objective of educating the children by removing the "Indian-ness" in the child. By so doing, of course, the end result was simple to understand: when the Aboriginal child went back to his original community, he would not be able to find the parameters of his cultural identity, and he had not yet been transformed into "a White kid."

Among the Aboriginal population, we created a disarray of cultural identity, which explains in large part why the Aboriginal peoples have remained outside the mainstream of Canada and were unable to contribute to the making of our country according to their own talents, resources and capacity.

That policy came to an end in the early 1980s. It is almost impossible to understand today that this policy had lasted for so long. The first step forward was taken in 1998 — not that long ago —when the government of the day announced:

The Government of Canada today formally expresses to all Aboriginal people in Canada our profound regret for past actions of the federal government which have contributed to these difficult pages in the history of our relationship together.

Eight years later, in 2006, the government of the day reached a financial settlement with Indian, Inuit and Metis peoples' representatives in partial recognition of the damage inflicted through years of oppressive assimilation policies. Then, the major step happened on June 10, 2008, when Prime Minister Harper offered an official apology, on behalf of the Government of Canada and parliamentarians, to former students of Indian residential schools in a solemn declaration in the House of Commons. The government recognizes that the treatment of children in residential schools is a sad chapter in our history and that such a policy has had lasting and damaging effects on Aboriginal culture, heritage and language. We all know that many of those kids were victims of sexual assault and physical violence, and that the scar left on those children by that policy has lasted.

(1630)

The government took the initiative, after the formal apology by Prime Minister Harper, to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2009 — not that long ago. Honourable senators will remember when the Aboriginal leaders testified in this chamber almost one year ago today that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had not produced results because the first chair of the commission, Justice LaForme, resigned after less than one year in office because he and his assessors could not agree on the agenda of the commission and how it should work. Fortunately, they were replaced and the commission has started its hearings. As I read the reports, it seems that we are making progress. Honourable senators will understand that I introduced my motion to have an opportunity to listen to the four Aboriginal chiefs on the progress made since the second incarnation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Senate has a constitutional duty to uphold the honour of the Crown. What does that mean? It means that, throughout history, the Crown in Canada has had a special responsibility to Aboriginal peoples who trusted the Crown from the 17th century to the 20th century by signing many agreements and treaties with the Crown. For Aboriginal peoples, the Crown is the trust, which means that the representative of the Crown is the trust. It is up to this chamber to ensure that the commitment made by the Crown to the Aboriginal peoples is served and implemented through the years.

The government apologized formally two years ago, and this chamber has a special duty to protect minorities. It is also the responsibility of honourable senators to ensure that the commitment made by the government two years ago is followed up and monitored regularly. In that way, once the Truth and Reconciliation Commission achieves its terms, it will be assured that we will together a system that can repair the cultural and human damage created by the former policies throughout all those years.

Through discussions with the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, the motion introduced by Senator St. Germain today will serve that objective. The Aboriginal Committee will have an opportunity to hear from the four Aboriginal chiefs and will receive a report on the testimony, progress and difficulties at the commission before December 2010. Honourable senators will then debate the report and be assured that the Senate has upheld its constitutional duty to honour the Crown and thus ensure that damage to Canadians who have been aggrieved through 200 years of policy has been repaired.

I am happy to seek leave today to withdraw my motion and to support the motion introduced by Senator St. Germain earlier today.

(Motion withdrawn.)

The Senate

Motion to Encourage the Minister of National Defence to Change the Official Structural Name of the Canadian Navy—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Bill Rompkey, pursuant to notice of May 4, 2010, moved:

That the Senate of Canada encourage the Minister of National Defence, in view of the long service, sacrifice and courage of Canadian Naval forces and personnel, to change the official structural name of the Canadian Navy from "Maritime Command" to "Canadian Navy" effective from this year, as part of the celebration of the Canadian Navy Centennial, with that title being used in all official and operational materials, in both official languages, as soon as possible.

He said: Honourable senators, this motion is about restoring pride of place to a world-class national service with its own history and culture forged in war but operating effectively in restoring peace and dealing with disaster. This motion is about acknowledging a modern navy giving outstanding performance both at home and abroad.

Recently, HMCS Fredericton returned home to Halifax in time for the May 4 celebrations marking the one hundredth anniversary of the navy. The frigate had been deployed for six months to the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa, conducting counter-piracy and anti-terrorism operations alongside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, and coalition partners. Such is the modern role of our navy: protecting our own shores but able to operate proudly and successfully in blue water anywhere in the world.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Commodore Ken Summers led a task force to the Persian Gulf to enforce the United Nations embargo. By the mid-1990s, new Halifax-class frigates were able to act as one-for-one replacements for American warships. Canadians abroad assumed command of coalition fleets. This year, a Halifax-class frigate and an Iroquois- class destroyer provided aid to the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

The achievements and innovations of this nation's navy have established Canada's reputation in the naval community and in the world at large. As Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden has said, tonne for tonne, Canadian ships and personnel are equal to the best in the world.

The origins of the Navy go back 100 years. In the first decade of the 20th century, Sir Wilfrid Laurier decided to develop the Dominion's own permanent fighting navy. The title "Royal" was approved by King George V in 1911.

Underfunded and short-handed as the navy was, leaders like Admiral Charles Kingsmill and Commodore Walter Hose built up the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, with volunteers from all walks of life, and the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, drawn from the ranks of the merchant navy. They turned out be the fighting navy that represented us only six years later in the Great War.

Canadians acquitted themselves well in the naval conflict of this war. The first naval flying ace in the world was a Canadian — Redford "Red" Mullock of Winnipeg. Canadian Raymond Collishaw of Nanaimo, B.C., was the leading naval ace of the First World War with 60 confirmed victories. Of 936 Canadian naval aviators of World War I, 53 gained the status of air ace in combat.

It was World War II that saw the navy come to maturity. When war with Germany broke out in 1939, the RCN, although remarkably efficient, had so long been underfunded and shorthanded that it was still little more than an offshoot of the Royal Navy. Enormous Canadian naval expansion became necessary to meet enemy threats in the Atlantic. At the beginning of World War II, the navy consisted of 13 ships and under 3,000 personnel. However, ships poured out of shipyards all across Canada, and men and women volunteered in huge numbers. Throughout the war, Canada commissioned 434 vessels of which 341 were fighting ships. Of those ships, 31 were lost. Just under 400,000 men and women passed through its ranks. Well over 2,000 paid the supreme sacrifice. Canada played a pivotal role in the Battle of the Atlantic — that long and relentless battle that, more than anything else, made possible the liberation of Europe.

The navy engaged in virtually every type of operation in every theatre of war. Canadian naval airmen flew with the Fleet Air Arm.

The RCN, no longer only an offshoot of the Royal Navy, had become a major national institution by 1945. However, it was still at risk. Cut back from nearly 100,000 to 7,500 personnel, morale suffered.

Brooke Claxton, then Minister of National Defence, ordered a commission of inquiry in 1949. The subsequent report of Rear Admiral Rollo Mainguy has been called the Canadian navy's "Magna Carta." Initiating major changes to "Canadianize" the navy, it came just as the Cold War gave the RCN new and meaningful roles. An apparently imminent threat of war with the Soviet Union gave Canada the NATO role of convoy escort and anti-submarine warfare. Thus, when the navy celebrated its fiftieth birthday in 1960, the RCN, with about 20,000 men and women, had grown to well over 50 vessels.

(1640)

Once more, the navy was threatened. After the election of 1963, the Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer, set about modernizing Canadian defence capabilities. To the navy's chagrin, Hellyer succeeded first in integration and, finally, in the unification of the Armed Forces.

The navy battled for its survival and its identity, but lost the fight against the politicians. Admirals who opposed Hellyer's policies were retired early, if they had not already been fired. Many other officers retired early as a form of protest, and most of those who remained did so to preserve a navy that had been recast in the form of Maritime Command.

For a number of years confusion reigned at National Defence headquarters and morale took a serious hit. The new green uniform disregarded naval tradition, and the new rank structure, based on army practice and culture, had little relation to naval requirements.

Other navies did not emulate Canada's example, as Hellyer had predicted. Yet, in spite of it all, the navy rose above the setbacks. It continued to meet all national and NATO requirements. Its contribution was noted and some of its ambitions realized when, in 1985, sailors got back the blue uniform. The return of this universal symbol of identity was met with great rejoicing, ushering in a new era.

As we celebrate the centennial, there is renewed interest in naval matters. A recent editorial in The Globe and Mail urged the return of the Royal Canadian Navy, the title King George V approved in 1911. The response from sailors has been instructive, the vast majority of whom never served in the RCN. In general, they reject what they see as a backward step. They want to be seen as moving forward, not backward.

That view was anticipated by Lieutenant-Commander Alan Easton in his excellent account of his World War II sea service in his book 50 North. He recalls a wartime conversation with a senior Royal Navy officer:

We went on to speak of tradition. He said that in the RN tradition was a heritage of which they were very proud, and in a sense was the moral backbone of the service. "You are not far removed from it yourselves, you know. You are part of the Empire and much of our stock is British."

That's so, sir, I acknowledged. But, although we learned your customs and in fact were patterned after the Royal Navy, I feel, and I think most of us feel, that we have no direct right to your traditions. Nor, could they apply really, because, what made them occurred mainly before we were in existence.

Our tradition, I suggested, is possibly being made now.

That point of view, I believe, would be shared by the majority of those serving in the navy today and by many who have retired. For half of the hundred years that the navy has existed, those who enlisted did not serve in the RCN. The RCN disappeared with a wave of Paul Hellyer's wand. Unification was seen as an insult to the many who had served in the RCN because it instantly and arbitrarily took away symbols and traditions that were part of their long and distinguished legacy of service. Surely, bringing back the designation RCN today would be doing the same thing to those who have served over the past 42 years. What of the innovations that are truly Canadian? Now women serve and command at sea; now we have bilingual warships; now we have a diversity of people from many ethnic and racial backgrounds reflecting the unique mix that is Canada itself. These are traditions that are in part handed down and are in part earned by Canadian sailors who never served in the RCN but who proudly served in what is commonly known as the Canadian navy. Like those who suffered from unification they should not have their accomplishments cast aside.

The men and women of today's navy know that for some time they have been working more and more closely with the USN whose continent we share. Indeed, they interface more and more with foreign navies who identify them as the Canadian Navy. Francophones have been in what is now Canada longer than any, except for the First Nations and Inuit. Francophones do not use "Maritime Command" when identifying the navy. For them, the French word for navy is "La Marine." Navy/marine is a term that has survived 42 years of official, political and statutory deletion.

Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden has pointed out how closely the story of the navy parallels the development of Canada. Both came from humble beginnings but aspired to contribute beyond the shores of the country. Both modelled themselves on remarkable institutions of Great Britain. Both came of age in the crucible of war. He could have added, that just as Canada has emerged from the shadow of Britain to tread the world stage as a respected and able nation in its own right, so did the Canadian Navy emerge from the shadow of the RN to become a world-renowned navy in its own right. It has become a navy reflecting the diversity, creativity, competence and multi-culturalism of the country itself.

This chamber is not the Royal Canadian Senate, although we owe much to British origins; we are the Senate of Canada. We are Canadians with our own constitution and identity. So it is with the Canadian Navy, with its own insignia, customs, practices and history.

The connection with the sovereign is acknowledged through the presentation of the Queen's Colours, which recently occurred for the third time in Halifax. Additionally, the use of HMCS is a practice well accepted by today's sailors.

The face of young Canada is rapidly changing. The demographic is no longer one of British, or even European, ancestry. The talent pool for the future navy has no connection with the royal designation. As the population ages, the navy is in an almost life-and-death competition with every other industry. If the navy does not attract more Aboriginals, more francophones, more of the anglophone and francophone immigrant communities and visible minorities, it will die a slow death.

Maritime Command is a bland nonentity that has no synergy with other naval forces and has no discernible character with which the Canadian public can identify. Everyone knows the navy. The time has come to institutionalize the name "Canadian Navy/La Marine Canadienne." This motion is simple: Let us throw Maritime Canada overboard and signal that the Canadian Navy will be called officially the Canadian Navy/La Marine Canadienne.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Anti-terrorism

Special Committee Authorized to Study Matters Relating to Anti-terrorism

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government), pursuant to notice of May 26, 2010, by the honourable Senator Segal, moved:

That the Special Senate Committee on Antiterrorism be authorized to examine and report on matters relating to anti-terrorism.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Committee Authorized to Refer Documents from Study on Bill C-26 During Second Session of Fortieth Parliament to Current Study on Bill S-9

Hon. Joan Fraser, pursuant to notice of May 26, 2010, moved:

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs during its study of Bill C- 26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime), during the Second Session of the Fortieth Parliament, be referred to the committee for the purposes of its study on Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime) (Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act) during the current session.

She said: Honourable senators, I have another long speech that I want to give but not, you will be gratified to hear, today.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Fraser: I would like to move the adoption of the motion standing in my name.

(Motion agreed to.)

(1650)

Transport and Communications

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Issues Related to Communications Mandate—Second Report of Committee Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Reports from Standing or Special Committees:

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications (budget—study on current and emerging issues related to its communications mandate-wireless sector—power to hire staff), presented earlier this day.

Hon. Leo Housakos moved the adoption of the report.

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

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

[Translation]

Adjournment

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

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

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, June 1, 2010, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, June 1, 2010, at 2 p.m.)


APPENDIX

Address of
His Excellency Felipe Calderón Hinojosa
President of the United Mexican States to both
Houses of Parliament in the House of Commons Chamber,
Ottawa on Thursday, May 27, 2010

His Excellency Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and First Lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala, were welcomed by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, by the Honourable Noël Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, and by the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons.

[English]

Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): I call upon the right hon. Prime Minister.

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister): Your Excellency Mr. President, hon. Speaker of the Senate, hon. Speaker of the House of Commons, hon. colleagues, distinguished guests, dear friends, it is my great honour and pleasure to welcome and introduce today a man I have come to know and to admire greatly since we both came to our respective offices in 2006, His Excellency Felipe Calderón, President of the United Mexican States.

[Translation]

President Calderón and I have attended a number of summits together, including the G20, APEC, the Summit of the Americas and the North American Leaders' Summit.

This is the president's second visit to Canada. I have also visited his magnificent country on three occasions.

[English]

It is always a pleasure to see President Calderón, as well as the First Lady of Mexico, former congresswoman Margarita Zavala, who I am delighted to report is also with us today. I, of course, am very grateful, as we all are, that the President accepted our invitation to address the Parliament of Canada.

[Translation]

We are fortunate to host a leader with such a sense for politics, legal affairs and the economy, a leader who shares our commitment to freedom, democracy and justice. President Calderón has shown remarkable courage in fighting the merciless drug cartels which spread violence and misery throughout our hemisphere. He leads a country that we love, a neighbouring country, a country that is one of Canada's major trading partners.

[English]

Over the last 16 years, the North American Free Trade Agreement has brought Mexico and Canada closer together than ever before. It has increased trade, travel, investment and raised living standards for both of our peoples.

Thousands of Canadian companies are now doing business in Mexico and its glorious beaches provide warm and hospitable winter relief for tens of thousands of snowbirds.

Educational and cultural exchanges are flourishing and our seasonal agricultural workers program is widely recognized as a model for international labour mobility arrangements.

We are working closely to combat drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, including through the anti-crime capacity building program our government announced last year.

The Canada-Mexico partnership has fostered public and private sector co-operation across a wide range of economic sectors. Our governments also routinely co-operate on international issues as diverse as reform of international institutions, trade liberalization and hemispheric security.

[Translation]

Of course, no relationship, no partnership is perfect. False refugee claims have affected our friendly relations with some countries, including Mexico. But as I have said before, that has nothing to do with the Mexican government.

Colleagues, this is a problem with our system. And our two countries are working together to remedy the situation.

Last month, we took a major step toward resolving this problem by introducing a special visa program for Mexican business travellers.

[English]

On the fundamental, timeless principles that underpin free societies and successful economies, Canada and Mexico are as one. Here I would like to quote President Calderón, speaking at the World Economic Forum in 2007, where he strongly defended our shared principles. He said:

Many countries in Latin America have chosen a move toward the past, and among their most harmful decisions are seeking nationalizations, expropriations, state control of the economy and authoritarianism...

He said that Mexicans had chosen a different, better way. He said, "We have decided to look to the future and to strengthen democracy, markets and investment".

Colleagues, that is precisely the message that Canada has advocated throughout the Americas and around the world, especially during the economic turmoil of the past two years.

[Translation]

Like Canada, Mexico was hard hit by the global recession. And like Canada, Mexico was brought into a crisis that was not of its making. In the years preceding the recession, we made the wise decision to pay down our debt. And that is why today we are not caught in the spiral that is jeopardizing the economy of so many other countries.

Canada and Mexico have also fought against protectionism, and our two countries have advocated for a strengthened global financial regulatory system.

[English]

Clearly, Canada and Mexico share these priorities and many more as we head into the G20 summit in Toronto next month. With a fragile global economy hanging in the balance, it is crucial that we build consensus at the summit on reform of the financial sector, control of sovereign debt and the framework for strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth over the long term.

Mr. Speaker, fellow parliamentarians, please join me in welcoming a great friend and partner of Canada.

[The Prime Minister spoke in Spanish, interpreted as follows:]

Mr. President, welcome. Our house is your house.

[Applause]

H.E. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (President of the United Mexican States): [President Calderón Hinojosa spoke in Spanish, interpreted as follows:]

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, distinguished Madam Harper, Mr. Noël Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons, members of this honourable Parliament, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour for me to address this Parliament, an essential institution in a nation that has been able to make plurality its greatest strength.

My visit reflects the high priority that our relationship with Canada, a country with which we are bound by a long history of friendship, has for the people of Mexico. Please allow me to highlight one fact that symbolizes the natural ties between our countries.

Every year, at the start of winter, monarch butterflies depart southern Canada on a journey of 5,000 kilometres to my state of Michoacán in Mexico. There they spend the winter in the conifer forests and they return to Canada when spring arrives. This fantastic journey spans the lives of several generations of butterflies, which have their homes and their destinations in Mexico and Canada.

The fact is that we have much in common and Canadians and Mexicans share much more than belonging, proudly, to the same North American legion. For decades, Mexico and Canada have been working under the same democratic principles with a vocation of humanism and solidarity. We established diplomatic relations 66 years ago.

That relationship of friendship and collaboration was strengthened 16 years ago through the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since then, the volume of our trade has grown more than fivefold, from slightly over $4 billion in 1993 to almost $22 billion in 2009. Today, there are close to 2,500 Canadian enterprises in Mexico. We have a long history of partnership and association. Today, we have many different co-operation mechanisms, such as the Canada- Mexico partnership.

However, in an increasingly global and interconnected world, I am convinced that Canadians and Mexicans must mutually avail ourselves of the advantages that we offer and plan and build a higher level of integration. Mexico is doing its part in promoting closer and better integration among countries in North America. Mexico is transforming itself into a modern nation, one that is safer, more competitive, more equitable and more sustainable.

One of the most important transformations is the effort to uphold the rule of law in Mexico. I firmly believe that progress and sustainable development, human development, can only be brought about in a country of laws. For that reason, we have deployed the full force of the state to meet the threat of organized crime and to guarantee a new security of the entire population.

This struggle is neither exclusively nor chiefly intended to halt drug trafficking. The primordial goal is to ensure peace and tranquility for Mexican families and for those who visit or invest in our country. It is a struggle against criminal organizations, transnational organizations that, as in other parts of the world, seek to secure control over peoples and communities and directly affect the well-being of the citizenry. That is why combatting those criminals with resolve and determination was an urgent task that could not be delayed.

As I explained to the Mexican people on the first day of my government, the struggle for public security is a battle that will take time, that will take money and, unfortunately, it will also require human lives. But it is a battle that must be undertaken and, as I said to them, we, the people of Mexico, together are going to win.

To put a halt to those criminals and their activities, we are not only meeting the criminals in combat, driving them back and seizing record amounts of weapons, illegal funds and drugs that threaten the youth and the young people of the entire hemisphere, but fundamentally we are also rebuilding our law enforcement agencies, our justice administration and our security forces, particularly at the federal level.

Since the start of my administration, we have tripled the budget allocated to the federal police and we have increased its officer numbers. We are recruiting young, honest, upright women and men who are better trained, better paid and better equipped.

I would like to thank Canada for the co-operation and assistance it has provided through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in this struggle for the security of Mexico and of our entire region. In addition, we are transforming our judicial system into one that uses open oral trials, which will make it more transparent and more efficient.

In combatting organized crime, we are also protecting human rights, which face the greatest threat. It is the criminal groups that through violence undermine the freedoms of the Mexican people.

Today, Mexico has consolidated itself as a full democracy with a system of strong parties and an active and plural political life. Above and beyond their differences, our parties have agreed on electoral reforms that seek to strengthen our democracy. The legislative branch is currently studying an initiative for political reform that will give citizens greater power and ensure that the mandate they confer is translated into public policies that benefit them.

At the same time, we are transforming our economy to make it more competitive and to increase its capacity to create jobs. Toward that goal, we have undertaken a series of structural reforms that had been neglected for decades in Mexico: a reform of the pension system that will safeguard the retirement of civil servants and yield public finance savings equal to 30 points of GDP at net present value; a tax reform that reduced the public deficit and our dependence on oil income; a reform of energy policy that enables Pemex, the state-owned oil company, the possibility of entering into flexible contracts with the world's leading specialized companies. With this, Pemex will have access to cutting edge technology, greater investment flows and, above all, increased operating capacity. Through this, we are helping to ensure the energy independence of Mexico and of the region.

In addition, we have raised our investment in infrastructure from three to five percentage points of GDP every year in order to build the roads, ports, airports and power plants, the facilities for telecommunications that we need to become modern. This is the largest infrastructure investment in decades and it will make Mexico a privileged logistical platform for trade and investment in the global economy.

These projects, my friends, make Mexico a stronger, more modern and more competitive country, an important focus for investment and a strategic partner for Canada. All these reforms and actions are preparing us for a better future and at the same time they are enabling us to overcome the terrible economic crisis that Mexico, along with other nations, experienced last year.

In 2009, Mexico was confronted by a perfect storm. Our economy suffered its worse contraction in modern times. At the same time, we faced an unprecedented public health contingency with the emergence of a new strain of the human influenza virus, H1N1. We suffered the second worse drought in 70 years and the largest drop in oil output in our history.

Today, one by one, we are overcoming those challenges, any of which would have derailed a weaker country than Mexico. Addressing those developments enabled us, once again, to corroborate our great strength as a nation.

We are now beginning to reap the fruits of our efforts. The economy grew by 4.3% in the first quarter of this year and similar growth is expected for the year as a whole for all of 2010. Mexican exports are expanding at a rate of 40% yearly and so far this year, 400,000 new jobs in net terms have been created. That is the highest number of jobs created over a four month period in the history of our country.

At the same time, we are working to ensure equal opportunities for all Mexicans. To achieve that, we have trebled the budget of the popular insurance program which provides the country's poorest families with medical services. We have also built or refitted more than 1,700 hospitals and clinics in the country, more than one per day over the past three and a half years. This will enable us in 2012 to reach a target for which Canada has set the global standard: universal health care coverage. In other words, doctors, medicines and treatment for every Mexican who may need them.

We are also promoting equality of opportunities through more and better education. More than six million children of all ages now receive federal government grants to ensure they do not drop out of school for financial reasons. We have increased university coverage and today almost 90,000 students graduate with engineering degrees or technical qualifications every year.

At the same time, we have stepped up our programs to fight poverty with the opportunities program which has served as an example to many developing nations. We have provided a direct source of income for more than six million of Mexico's poorest families, accounting for one out of every four Mexicans, provided that the parents take their children to school and to regular medical checkups. With this program, Mexico has succeeded in reducing its poor from 35 million people to 14 million people living in extreme poverty in only 10 years time.

Today, despite the crisis, we have increased the budget by 50% for the opportunities program.

My government has also set itself the task of protecting the natural heritage of the Mexican people of today and of tomorrow, and that is why we have adopted an active policy for caring for the environment. For Mexico, Canada has been one of the planet's leaders in environmental protection.

One of the exemplar experiences of humanity in dealing with a threat similar to that of climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer, was the Montreal protocol, which, under the leadership of Canada, is enabling us to successfully resolve that enormous challenge.

Today, with humanity once again facing a severe, scientifically corroborated challenge, that of global warming, we need that same determination and that same Canadian leadership to help us all find safe ways to bring about a better shared future. On our part, Mexico was the first developing country to implement a national climate change strategy and the first to unilaterally establish specific targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

In our view, tackling global warming is not a task solely for the developed nations, for one nation or any other, not only developed nations but all nations under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. It is incumbent upon us all. We are promoting payment programs for environmental services for that reason, so as to preserve the country's forests, and, at the same time, to benefit the poor indigenous and rural communities that live in the woods and rain forests. With this, we have learned that climate change can indeed be combated and, at the same time, that poverty in our communities can be fought.

At the end of this year, Mexico will host the 16th conference of the states parties to the United Nations convention on climate change. My country is working to build consensus and to serve as a bridge between the economies of the developed countries and those of developing nations.

As you can see, my friends, Mexico is a country in transformation. That makes us a more valuable neighbour and a strategic partner for the future of North America's prosperity.

As I said previously, the world grows more globalized day by day and is divided into large, increasingly integrated economic regions. Some regions in Asia and the European Union have succeeded in combining their potential, unconvinced that those regions that can maximize their comparative advantages will be assured of success in this age of unprecedented interconnections. Therein lies the importance of Canada and Mexico working together.

We need more integration, not isolation nor protectionism, and we have agreed with Canada on that point in the G20 and other forums. Integration is key to restoring strong, sustained growth in North America. For that reason, our future and, in particular, our economic prosperity and that which we want depend on strengthening our financial labour and commercial markets.

Our economies are complementary and they must work together to raise a regional competitiveness and foster the economic growth of the region. That will translate into more jobs, increased wealth and greater well-being for both Canadians and Mexicans.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Parliament, dear friends, Canada has always been an example of how to create prosperity by encouraging the economic and cultural integration of migrants. On that topic, our countries also share common ground. Over its history, Mexico has also received asylum seekers and refugees from different parts of the world.

My country recognizes the generous Canadian tradition of providing a refuge to those escaping persecution, discrimination or widespread violence. However, I also know that there have been some who, abusing the generosity of the Canadian people, have perverted the noble aims of the asylum system to their own ends, which led the Canadian government to require visas for those travelling between our countries, visas that were not required previously.

The people of Mexico are good friends to Canada. Mexicans visit this great, beautiful country for many reasons and it enriches our societies. Hundreds of thousands of tourists used to visit Canada every year and those numbers have dropped by almost 40% over the past 12 months.

We thoroughly respect Canada's right to make decisions regarding its immigration system. I cannot, however, fail to convey to you our regret at that series of incidents and those decisions. We sincerely hope that the solution this Parliament is studying through comprehensive amendments to the refugee law will also serve as a bridge that will enable us to renew the exchanges of our visitors. At the same time I reiterate to you our full willingness to work with the Canadian government so that this temporary measure can be put behind us.

Our complementarity also arises from our different demographic structures. Mexico's young, hard-working and increasingly welltrained population contributes to the productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector and certain other areas of the Canadian economy. We have demonstrated this over the past 36 years with a temporary employment program that is an example for the world: first, Mexican workers contribute to Canada's economy; and second, the program assures their return to their country of origin, to their homes and their families. The program can be expanded if we are able to broaden our horizons and avail ourselves of the opportunities offered by our economic complementarity.

Greater integration is what will make North America a more competitive economy and we must redouble our efforts in that undertaking. I invite you to work with Mexico and alongside our common neighbour to forge closer economic ties, and in consolidating North America as the world's most competitive and prosperous region of the world. Together we can make that a reality.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Government of Mexico has every interest, full willingness and an all-out commitment to work with the Canadian government and society on the topics of our common interest. Our peoples and governments, which love peace, freedom and democracy, work hard to bolster a friendship that assures us a promising future, a future of unity and prosperity.

Today Mexico is undergoing deep changes. It is a stronger and more determined nation to meet the future head-on and take its proper place in the world. Let us continue to work together to strengthen our economic, educational, cultural, scientific and technological exchanges, and to strengthen tourism, security, and mutual understanding between Canadians and Mexicans. Let us continue to improve and cultivate our relations. We are partner countries, we are neighbours, but above all, we are friends. Long live Canada. Long live Mexico. Thank you very much.

[Applause]

Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Speaker of the Senate): [Speaker Kinsella spoke in Spanish, interpreted as follows:] Mr. Speaker, Prime Minister, hon. senators, hon. members of the House of Commons, Your Excellency Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of all those assembled here today, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to you, Mr. President, for addressing our Parliament. Your thoughtful comments reflected and underscore the strong friendship between our two countries.

This friendship is bolstered by a continuing dialogue and is enhanced by regular exchanges between Canada and Mexico. Mr. President, your visit today is one example, and it has been my pleasure to visit your country as well. It was a singular honour to be present at your inauguration in 2006, and last year I had the honour to lead a parliamentary delegation to Mexico to discuss details of the forthcoming interparliamentary meetings. While there, I had the opportunity to visit La Heroica Escuela Naval Militar in Veracruz and to pay respect to fallen Mexican heroes in the Hall of Honour.

One of the many dynamic aspects of the bilateral relationship between our two countries is parliamentary co-operation. The very successful interparliamentary meetings permit Canadian and Mexican parliamentarians to engage in discussions on a range of issues concerning both of our countries.

[Translation]

The 16th Interparliamentary Meeting was held in Canada last November, and I had the honour of hosting the Mexican delegation in Ottawa, and also in my home province of New Brunswick. We shared our views on national security, trade, investment and the economy, the environment and clean energy, and international cooperation.

Canada and Mexico also work together through multilateral parliamentary forums, such as the Interparliamentary Forum of the Americas, FIPA, and the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, GOPAC. The Canadian delegates are looking forward to discussions at the seventh plenary meeting of the Interparliamentary Forum of the Americas, which will be held in Mexico this November.

[English]

[Speaker Kinsella spoke in Spanish, interpreted as follows:]

Your Excellency, the ties that have been forged between our nations are many and varied, and they are strengthened through regular dialogue. Mr. President, thank you once again for expressing your country's deep commitment to our bilateral relations and to our shared values.

On behalf of all present today, I would like to congratulate you and wish you an enjoyable and productive visit to Canada.

Thank you, merci, gracias.

[Applause]

Hon. Peter Milliken (Speaker of the House of Commons): President Calderón, Mrs. Zavala, Prime Minister, Mrs. Harper, Speaker Kinsella, hon. senators, hon. members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of all parliamentarians, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for having addressed us here today. This chamber has welcomed many distinguished guests in the past, but as the leader of Mexico, one of Canada's closest allies and friends, you occupy not only a place of honour, but really a seat at the family table.

[Translation]

[Speaker Milliken spoke in Spanish as follows:]

Señor presidente, esta es su casa.

Time does not permit me to list the many close ties between our two countries: bilateral, regional, commercial, cultural, academic, and others as well. Trade between our countries is growing by the day, and our friendship continues to deepen.

[English]

Such different countries, such different histories, and yet Mexicans and Canadians now work together, play together, learn together and build together. Two hundred thousand Mexicans come to Canada every year and we return the favour five times over, though strangely, not at the same time of year.

As Speaker of the House of Commons, I have been gratified to see the deepening parliamentary relations between Mexico and Canada. Indeed, in the more than 60 years since our two nations established diplomatic relations, the strength of those parliamentary bonds have only grown in intensity.

For many years now, the annual interparliamentary meetings have been held between both Canada and Mexico, during which highlevel parliamentary representatives, including the Speakers from both countries, come together to discuss a number of issues of common concern and set out the mechanisms for closer collaboration in the future. I myself have had the pleasure of leading several of these delegations to Mexico and of hosting the meetings here in Ottawa, along with my colleague, the Speaker of the Senate. In recognition of this increased co-operation, 10 years ago our embassy in Mexico created a congressional relations unit in order to work more closely with the Mexican congress and support intensified parliamentary co-operation between Canada and Mexico, yet another tie that binds our two nations.

A few years ago, a Mexican friend told me that the first people to land on the shores of this nation hundreds of years ago were actually from Mexico, but they took a look at the white, snow- covered lands, shook their heads and said "acá nada", which means "over there, nothing", and so we were named Canada. Needless to say, I corrected his story.

[Translation]

Mr. President, I know that you come from the magnificent city of Morelia in the state of Michoacán. This colonial city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its beautiful historic buildings. That is yet another thing that Canada and Mexico share. I hope that you will be able to see the Rideau Canal, not too far from here, on your visit. It is the oldest operating canal system in North America, and it links the City of Ottawa to the City of Kingston, my hometown and my riding.

[English]

Mr. President, it has been a pleasure to welcome you in the House of Commons. Occasions such as this one are all too rare and they are precious because they offer us, the people of Canada, the opportunity to hear from you about how our Mexican friends and neighbours are doing, the challenges they face, the strides they are making, the goals they have set for themselves and for their country and the ways in which perhaps we can help each other. That is, after all, what friends are for.

Muchas gracias, señor presidente.

[Applause]