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The Senate of Canada Annual Report 2001-2002

· by the Speaker of the Senate
· by the Clerk of the Senate and
  Clerk of the Parliaments
Annual Report 2001-2002 Cover
Printable Version
Foreword by the Speaker of the Senate of Canada

It is with great pleasure that I launch the first Senate Annual Report, which provides an overview of activities in the Chamber, in committees, and by individual senators during 2001-2002. I hope that the report will prove of interest to long-term Senate observers, as well as enlighten those who are new to the work of our institution.

1.  The Senate in Context

Since Confederation, the Upper House has been a place where regional, provincial and minority interests are advocated, where legislation is examined and revised, and where national issues are investigated. It is a place where all regions are equally represented, regardless of how their populations fluctuate, to balance popular representation in the House of Commons or, as we refer to it, "the other place." Furthermore, given the nature of their mandate, senators and Senate committees can explore public policy issues in depth and relatively free from partisan political dynamics. This is the foundation on which the Senate serves Canadians.

2.  About Canada's Senators

 The Senate's Role in the  Legislative Process
4.  The Senate and Canadians
5.  On the International Scene
6.  The Senate Administration
7.  How to Reach Us
  For the most part, the Senate agenda reflects national priorities, such as the economy, health care and the environment, to name just a few. However, international events can also have an impact on work in the Chamber and in committee. Sadly, this was the case during the Senate's current reporting period, with the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.

These acts of terrorism on North American soil propelled security, defence and immigration considerations to the forefront of the government's legislative agenda. In response, the Senate and the House of Commons undertook an urgent review of Bill C-11, An Act respecting immigration to Canada and the granting of refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger, which was already on the Order Paper when the fall 2001 sittings began. The government also introduced Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other Acts, and to enact measures respecting the registration of charities in order to combat terrorism. The Senate Special Committee to examine Bill C-36, assigned to pre-study the bill before it passed from the House of Commons to the Senate, focused on its human rights and civil liberties implications. The committee's recommendations led many observers to remark on the key role of the Senate in ensuring changes to the more controversial elements of the legislation.

My colleagues and I are honoured by such expressions of confidence and support for the work of the Senate. As you read this report, I trust you will find its contents of interest and reach similar conclusions.

Dan Hays
Speaker of the Senate

Foreword by the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments
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Those of us who work in the Senate Administration are keenly aware of the range of legislative work undertaken in the Senate during 2001-2002. We are proud to be a part of this institution's achievements and feel privileged to work in support of our legislators, who share our dedication to fulfilling the Senate's mandate. As a result, we are very pleased with this opportunity to share information about our activities.

Although generations of Canadians are taught that, in the words of Sir John A. Macdonald, the Senate is the house of "sober second thought," relatively few understand what this means in practical terms. This annual report provides essential information about the "what, who, why and how" of the Senate. You will discover that, while Canada's first prime minister aptly characterized the institution, there is a great deal more to know about who senators are, what they do and how they are supported in fulfilling their constitutional mandate.

This report reinforces the spirit of public service and accountability that underlies our work in the Senate. I hope that it also demonstrates to readers the major role played by the Senate in ensuring that all legislation — whether it is introduced by individual senators or the government of the day — meets the social, economic and cultural needs of Canadians.

Paul C. Bélisle
Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments