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The Senate of Canada Annual Report 2002-2003

  by the Speaker of the Senate of Canada  
  by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration  
  by the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments  


The Senate in Context  


About Canada's Senators  


The Senate's Role in the Legislative Process  


The Senate - Active, in Touch, in Tune  


The Senate on the World Stage  


The Senate Administration  


How to Reach Us  

Foreword by the Speaker of the Senate of Canada

It is with pride that I submit to you the 2002-2003 Annual Report of the Senate of Canada. The report gives an account of most of the activities undertaken by the Senate and its committees, as well as certain initiatives of individual senators. It should be noted that this report covers the period from April 1, 2002, to March 31, 2003, and thus straddles two sessions of the 37th Parliament. (The first session ran from January 29, 2001, to September 16, 2002, while the second started on September 30, 2002, and was still under way on March 31, 2003.)

Canada's senators are more than lawmakers in the strict sense of the word. Given the nature of their mandate, they are able to study public policy issues in great depth, largely unfettered by partisan thinking. Over the past year, they focused their attention on issues with broad ramifications - Canada's drug policy on cannabis, the health of Canadians, intercity bus transportation and airport security, to name but a few. There were hours of debate in the Chamber and hundreds of witnesses heard in committee.

The report also bears witness to the Senate's very active role on the international stage. The productive relationships we maintain with the representatives of other parliamentary institutions confirm our own institution's vitality, legitimacy, usefulness and raison d'être.

Dan Hays
Speaker of the Senate

Foreword by the Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

As the body mandated to examine all financial and administrative matters related to the Senate's internal management, the Committee that I have the honour of chairing endeavours to ensure the responsible use of public funds received by the Senate to carry out its functions. The Committee is aware of the intrinsic ethical aspect of its mandate and is careful to act as a trustee for and on behalf of the Canadian people. Its decisions are always guided by concern for accountability and transparency.

The Senate and its internal operations consistently strive for efficiency in the best interests of all Canadians. This report is the permanent record of the highlights of 2002-2003 and an account of senators' activities as legislators.

I am particularly proud of last fiscal year's achievements. I welcome this opportunity to point out that all this good work was made possible by the dedication and professionalism of the Senate Administration, all of whom I wish to thank. At all levels, the Senate team is made up of motivated and determined people who provide service of the highest possible quality.

Lise Bacon
Chair, Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

Foreword by the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments

The Senate Administration, which I have the privilege of directing, is at the service of senators. Its mission is to facilitate their work and the attainment of their objectives as parliamentarians and key players in the Canadian legislative process. To do so, the Senate Administration depends on human and financial resources, for which it is accountable.

An annual report is an opportunity to look back over what has been done, to see what progress has been made, and to feel justifiably proud.

We appreciate the opportunity that has been given us here to convey information on our activities, accomplishments and projects, as well as financial data for the 2002-2003 fiscal year. This report also gives an overview of basic facts about the Senate as an institution: What is the Senate? Who makes up the Senate? Why does Canada have an Upper House? How does the Senate go about its daily work? The answers to all these questions are in this report. Newcomers to the parliamentary scene will welcome the information, and old hands may be surprised to find that they did not know as much as they thought.

The Senate is guided by an unwavering concern to do its job in the best interests of all Canadians, no matter where they live and no matter where they are from. This report reflects the Senate's sense of responsibility and confirms its desire to serve.

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