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Annual Report 07/08




Foreword

1. Legislate for Canadians

2. Investigate the issues

3. Advocate for change

4. Support senators' work

5. Financial Statements

6. Learn more about the Senate

7. Appendixes


 

WORKING FOR CANADIANS
Every day, senators are taking action in behalf
of Canadians.

Listening to Canadians
Senators stayed in touch with their people's concerns.

•   They spent nearly 1,000 hours listening to Canadians
     in committee meetings.

•   They heard from over 1,600 witnesses.

Improving our quality of life
Senate committees proposed ground-breaking ideas to improve Canadians' quality of life. 

•   They tabled 58 special studies on issues that affect
     people's lives.

•   They made over 250 recommendations to government
     on improving policy.

 

 
Listening to Canadians

Improving our quality of life


A Senate committee that's touring the country to examine rural poverty in Canada may be an expense, but if the initiative gives our parliamentarians a better grasp of what causes poverty in the rural regions, then it's worth it. After all, they can't solve a problem if they don't know the causes of it.
The Guardian (Charlottetown) editorial, February 23, 2007

… Senate committees have done good work investigating public policy options, particularly on health care, defence, banking and urban development.
National Post editorial, September 9, 2006

 
Taking action in the field
Senators made 44 visits to communities and cities in
Canada and abroad to find out the facts.

From rural Aboriginal communities to war-torn Kandahar, senators were on the ground where issues arise,
searching for ways to improve current conditions.


Reinvigorating our democracy

The Senate tackled a review of Senate reform proposals.

Participating in this review, Stephen Harper became the
first sitting prime minister to give testimony before a
Senate committee.

Taking Action in the field

Reinvigorating our democracy
 



In fiscal year 2006-07, they continued to fight for our vision of a better world in a myriad of ways.

Challenging the status quo
Senators strengthened proposed laws.

•   They introduced 24 private senator's bills to improve
     conditions for Canadians.

•   They amended or made observations on nearly half
     the bills they passed.

Getting results
Senate policy work had a positive impact on government: 

•   "The federal government agreed Thursday to meet a Senate         committee's challenge on official bilingualism at the 2010            Olympics." Vancouver Sun, Peter O'Neil, March 2, 2007

•   "More than half of the [National Defence and Security]                     Committee's recommendations have been implemented
     by successive governments and this has not been by
     chance or happenstance." 

      C.C.N. Mathews, Customs Excise Union (CEUDA),October 18, 2006


•   "The Conservative government intends to table amendments      to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist
     Financing Act today. Those amendments follow a Senate
     committee report released on Tuesday that calls on the
     government to better regulate additional industries,
     including payday-loan operations and jewelry and precious         
stone dealers." Ottawa Sun, Alan Findlay, October 5, 2006




Challenging the status quo
Getting results
 

Several good laws emanate from the Senate, like Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier's bill that gives the Official Languages Act powers of enforcement, a major step forward for the country's francophones. Several senators have contributed to the public debate, making good use of their status to become champions for a cause ….

Le Droit editorial, Pierre Jury, December 16, 2006

 

Pushing national debate
In the Senate chamber, senators drew major national issues into light.

•   They started over 20 inquiries and moved or gave notice
     of 17 substantive motions encouraging Parliament to act.

•   They submitted over 30 written questions.

•   They made over 500 statements.


Pushing national debate

 



  Noël A. Kinsella

Through our democratic institutions, we are able to express our values as a country and to shape its future.

 

 

We are fortunate to enjoy, in Canada, peace and freedom unparalleled in the world. Through our democratic institutions, we are able to express our values as a country and to shape its future. The Senate, as the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, is one institution through which Canadians interact with their representatives and are empowered as citizens.

We are privileged to serve in a unique location, both within our system of governance and in terms of the architectural beauty that surrounds us. The Senate is the only place where the three elements of Parliament are brought together - the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons - as it is here that proposed laws of the land, having gained the support of both the Senate and the Commons, are given Royal Assent.

During the Confederation debates, the man who would become our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, famously referred to the Senate as the "House which has sober second-thought." Through our efforts in the chamber and in committees, senators have continued to build upon this principle.

I hope this report on activities provides you, the reader, with a better sense of how the Senate serves Canadians. May the information contained herein demonstrate the deep commitment senators have to enhancing and improving Canada for the benefit of all its citizens.

Noël A. Kinsella
The Senate Speaker

 

  George J. Furey

Careful budgeting ensures that senators can carry out in-depth study, foster public debate and serve our constituents.
 

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration oversees all financial and administrative matters related to the Senate's operations.  It delivers the Senate's annual budget; approves the use of Senate resources by senators and their committees; and oversees the Senate Administration, a body of some 450 employees who provide the logistical and procedural expertise the Senate needs to operate.

The committee 15 members share responsibility to our fellow senators to ensure conditions that allow them to work effectively and efficiently. This entails supporting the service of our non-partisan Senate Administration staff with solid administrative policy.  Careful budgeting ensures that senators can carry out in-depth study, foster public debate and serve our constituents.

As well, the committee shares a more general responsibility to be scrupulous and careful with the use of public funds.  This dictates analyzing each expenditure and every policy to ensure that Senate operations are as efficient as possible.  To be accountable and ensure the Senate operates in a fiscally responsible manner is to be diligent and ever-mindful of the right of Canadians to a positive return on their investment in the Senate.

That return is represented in the pages of this report - in such results as provocative reports on mental health and security, fulsome debate over important legislation and senators' advocacy on a vast range of social issues.  Our committee is proud of the Senate's achievements and we hope you find, as you peruse this report, that we are serving Canadians well and responsibly.

George J. Furey, Q.C.
Chair, Standing Committee
on Internal Economy,
Budgets and Administration


 
  Paul C. Bélisle

In assisting senators with their legislative duties, the Administration's employees demonstrated dedication, passion and commitment to excellence.
 

In many ways, this report on activities demonstrates the pride that we in the Senate Administration take in the work we do. But more than that, it outlines how the Senate serves Canadians, and helps raise awareness and understanding of its essential role in our democratic system of government.

I am proud to say that the Senate's full and sensitive legislative slate of the past year brought out the best in the Administration. In assisting senators with their legislative duties, the Administration's employees demonstrated dedication, passion and commitment to excellence. It has been gratifying to observe their professionalism and ethical conduct during a busy and challenging session of Parliament. By serving with competence and impartiality and by fostering a climate of respect and probity, they not only managed to do what senators and Canadians expect of them - they succeeded in reinforcing their trust.

The face of the Senate Administration is changing. As you will read in this report's section on the Administration, our vision of a truly representative and inclusive workplace reflecting the diverse cultural mosaic and linguistic duality of Canadian society is becoming a reality. I can say with satisfaction that the adoption of innovative, flexible and effective strategies for integrating diversity into human resources programs has resulted in a richer and more vibrant organization.

I am grateful to all those who contribute to this development, betterment and continued excellence.

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


 

 

Fiscal year 2006-07
The start of fiscal year 2006-07 was also the start of Canada's 39th Parliament; the January 21, 2006 election had given rise to a minority Conservative government. Given party membership in the Senate, this meant that the governing party had fewer than 25 per cent of the seats in the upper chamber in this fiscal year.

Following a four-month period of adjournment, Governor General Michaëlle Jean officially opened Parliament with the Speech from the Throne in the Senate chamber on April 3, 2006. The Senate held its first sitting of the 39th Parliament on April 4. On March 31, 2007, the end of the fiscal year, the 39th Parliament was still in its first session.

 

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