I have only known Senator Landry for two days and already he has succeeded in extending a hand of kindness and cooperation to me, which explains why his colleagues and friends from New Brunswick regard him with such respect and affection.
Whatever the trappings of this institution may be, Senator Joe Landry has no intention of forgetting where he came from or what led him into a lifetime of work which has now placed him in the Senate of Canada.
He was born in Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick, and grew up as a teenager during the Depression. After having completed his education in local schools, Senator Landry left home to work as a stevedore on the Halifax docks and, after that, as a carpenter and electrician in Labrador. He saved his pay and, in 1947, he invested it all in a partnership to help rebuild a fish plant that had burned down in Cap-Pelé. That began a tremendously successful career, which led to another plant in his home town, then another plant in Nova Scotia, another plant in Prince Edward Island, and a plastics plant back in Cap-Pelé.
His products are exported to the United States, to Japan, and to France. In 1989, he was honoured with an export award from the province of New Brunswick. He contributes a great deal to the economy. He has 50 full-time, year-round employees and 840 seasonal workers in three maritime provinces.
Needless to say, Senator Landry, we are delighted that you wish to participate in, and work with, the Fisheries Committee of this house.
In addition, for years, while he was pursuing all of these activities, he supported and worked with the University of Moncton in New Brunswick.
I am told by his friends that he is a master lobster chef, and perhaps we can find a special occasion, a social occasion, in the Senate to test out those capabilities as well.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Fairbairn: All of us on this side of the house are looking forward to working with you, Senator Landry, and we wish you the very best in your new career.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): I am also pleased to add my congratulations to those of the Government Leader on the appointment of Senator Landry, wishing him every success in his duties. His credentials are most impressive and there can be no doubt that they will serve him well when the time comes to study certain bills, particularly those directly affecting his fellow New Brunswickers.
Much has been made of the fact that Senator Landry will have to leave us in June of next year, only 16 months away. When that time comes, I have no doubt that many will deplore the fact that, once again, the mandatory retirement age will deprive his colleagues of the experience and knowledge which will have been advantageous to us all. Bon succès, sénateur!
Hon. Louis-J. Robichaud: Honourable senators, I would also like to extend a most cordial welcome to an old friend, Senator Joseph Landry, who has now joined us in the Senate. He was sworn in yesterday with great ceremony, and we were all delighted to see his many good Acadian friends and all his friends from New Brunswick.
Just a few days ago he sat here, proud and vigourous, with a lively vocabulary that reflected his wit and common sense. Throughout his life, he fought for social justice, and that is how he will be remembered, both as a minister with the provincial government in New Brunswick and during his many years in the Senate.
I remember - and this was many years ago - that a Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Mackenzie King, once said that the CCF were Liberals in a hurry. Norbert Thériault was, if that is possible, a Liberal in a hurry.
Norbert Thériault was a minister in the cabinet that I had the honour to chair in New Brunswick from 1960 to 1970. He held major cabinet posts, thanks to his genius for mathematics and his academic training.
Few people are aware of the fact that our colleague who is leaving us has a family of 10 children, and that they all went to the University of Moncton. His brothers and sisters also went to various universities. One of them died recently, and we all offer our sincere condolences.
Norbert Thériault always was an inspiration to me. He was an outstanding minister of municipal affairs, when that was the task at hand, and became minister of health when he was called to that department. All his brothers and sisters have a great deal of respect for their patriarch, and all his children and grandchildren think that a man of the stature of Norbert Thériault should not change his hair!
He was born in New Brunswick in 1921. It should have been 1971, but it was 1921. He went on to receive several academic degrees and became a prominent public figure. Today, the people of Canada, and New Brunswick particularly, owe a debt of gratitude to a great friend of mine, a great friend of Canada and a great friend of the Senate of Canada, Norbert Thériault.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable Senators, I also regret that Senator Thériault will be leaving us. Once again, this leads us to question the wisdom of mandatory retirement from this place, since more often than not it deprives us of experience and knowledge from which we would all like to have benefited as long as possible.
I say this despite the fact that I do not recall agreeing with much, if anything, that I heard Senator Thériault say in this place. I will always remember, however, how convinced, even passionate, he was in his convictions. His last speech summarized the many things in which he believes and for which he has fought so hard. In listening to him, one could not but admire how deeply he feels for traditional Liberal values and what difficulty he had in hiding his distress at his party having strayed so far from so many of them.
We will miss Senator Thériault's political conscience, a rare thing in this day and age. I wish to join my thanks to those of all my colleagues for all of his contributions here since his appointment in 1979, along with wishes for many years of active retirement.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I should like to speak in the same spirit as my colleague Senator Lynch-Staunton in deploring the mandatory retirement age which causes us to have to make these observations today.
I do want to extend my good wishes and farewell to our former colleague Norbert Thériault, who retired from this place on February 16, after 17 years as the senator for Baie du Vin, New Brunswick.
During that time, he never lost sight of his Acadian roots, and he fought enthusiastically and hard for the rights of minority francophones both in New Brunswick and everywhere else in Canada.
He is always an advocate and friend of the fishery and of fisher people, the unemployed and the less fortunate. None of that is surprising because his attitudes and concerns go right back to his roots in Eel River Bridge, his early years in the fishing industry, his studies at St. Francis Xavier University and 55 years of marriage to Josée, during which they raised a family of 10 children.
Those are the factors which formed the foundation of Norbert Thériault's commitment to public life from the Baie Ste-Anne school board to the municipal council, and then to his first election to the New Brunswick legislature for the riding of Baie du Vin in 1960. For 18 years he fought through six elections, leading to his participation in the cabinet of our colleague the legendary premier of New Brunswick, Senator Robichaud.
Norbert Thériault truly made a difference when, as Minister of Health, he spearheaded the introduction of province-wide health insurance in New Brunswick in the late 1960s. In this house, that contribution was felt in numerous committees on fisheries, agriculture, transport, national finance, banking, social affairs and veterans affairs, and on special committees such as those on controversial issues like the drug prices bill and unemployment insurance, to mention only a few.
His commitment to this country is profound. When I spoke to him recently about being cheered by the knowledge that he would be back in his province of New Brunswick promoting Canada, he chided me for restricting his scope. He is prepared to promote Canada nation wide.
That was the message to us following the referendum when he urged us to be generous in our hearts, minds and souls.
Let us hope that, as Canadians, we can provide proof to the people of Quebec that Canada depends to a very large extent on them, and that they are part of us, and we part of them.
Senator Thériault, thank you. From the day you went into politics, you said that your wish was to be still called Norbert when you retired. Norbert, thank you for your work and dedication, for urging us to protect the Canadian social safety net and for committing yourself to fight for a united country whenever and wherever you travel. Thank you for your good humour and your passion, and most of all for being a good friend.
I join everyone in this house in sending our best wishes to you, Josée and your great family, who, I am sure, will be happy to have more of the time that you have previously given so generously to this institution, the people of New Brunswick and your beloved country. God bless.
Hon. Eymard G. Corbin: Honourable senators, yesterday, I had the opportunity to welcome Senator Landry and I look forward to working closely with him in his areas of interest.
I, too, would like to take a few minutes to lament the departure of Senator Norbert Thériault. I feel that our colleague Louis Robichaud was rather reserved - because of his great modesty - in talking about Norbert Thériault's contribution to New Brunswick's political evolution.
During the 1960s, I was a provincial public servant in Fredericton. Sometimes, in late afternoon when my work was done, I would slip away to listen to the debates in the legislature. It was right in the midst of the turmoil surrounding the study of the equal opportunity program. I saw Louis Robichaud, Norbert Thériault, Adrien Lévesque and all the other government members at the time defend New Brunswick's revolutionary social equality program day after day, week after week. This program was so successful that it is here forever, as everyone knows.
I was inspired by the performance of these provincial politicians. Senator Thériault, among others, probably planted in my mind the seed that eventually led to my decision to also go into politics - federal politics, of course.
Senator Thériault has always been in touch with reality, mostly with the reality of the people. He never betrayed his origins. He has always respected his origins. I remember that when I was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, I had to travel to Senator Thériault's region, among other places, to explain federal policies. Although he was then a member of the official opposition, and even though it was a Saturday afternoon, he was with his fishermen to defend their interests. He taught me more than one lesson in that respect. He never forgot his origins or his political support base.
Senator Robichaud talked about Senator Thériault's family. I had neither the good fortune nor the privilege of knowing them all, but I know for a fact that Senator Thériault's family was, and still is, one of his best information networks in Eastern Canada: so much so that he was often aware of the news before it was printed in the newspapers or announced on television. He was well informed in that respect.
He often reminded us of our duty and our social conscience. His humanism will undoubtedly mark us for a long time. I hope that he will not stop trying to be heard above the fray, above the confusion, and that he will not hesitate to defend his views at any time and to stay in touch with us to remind us of our social duty.
Thank you, Senator Thériault, for your contribution. I wish you good luck and a long life.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella: Honourable senators, on behalf of my New Brunswick colleagues, I now rise to express our affection for Senator Thériault and our appreciation for his work. If I were a good student of Acadian literature, I could quote from Antonine Maillet's works, especially La Sagouine, in which she gives a good description of an Acadian family's genealogy. Unfortunately, I do not know enough in this area, except to say that Senator Thériault is the son of Edmour and Céline.
Honourable senators, Senator Thériault has been a model for all New Brunswickers in his commitment to public service.
As a young college professor, when I returned to New Brunswick in the mid-1960s, I recall watching Norbert when he was a member of the cabinet of then-Premier Robichaud, now Senator Robichaud. I have vivid images of his dynamism, his enthusiasm and his commitment to the program of equal opportunity which was a very real, Liberal progressive program. As Senator Robichaud has alluded, Norbert was a major deliverer of that program, which was a social revolution for our province of New Brunswick.
I am sure that as a result of the kind of progressive liberalism which Norbert Thériault has lived and manifested, he is probably leaving this place at a good time. I say that because the "reform Liberals" seem to have not quite kept the faith, or to the message of social justice and humanitarianism, of which Norbert has been so representative.
Senator Robichaud alluded to the fact that Senator Thériault's old seat, which is two down from Senator Robichaud's, has been filled with what some might call indecent haste. However, we know that seat was not taken by the new senator from New Brunswick, the Honourable Senator Landry, to whom we extend our cordial welcome.
Social justice has been the mark of Senator Thériault, something which is well recognized in my province. Norbert, you have always been a model of mine. I have had the privilege of being closely associated with Norbert's family; his sister and I were colleagues at St. Thomas University, which Norbert attended a few years ago.
I should like to close with a story that I tell about an incident which occurred during the GST debate. That was in my early days in this distinguished chamber. As I keep telling the story, I do not know whether or not it has become more and more apocryphal. However, I am glad that Senator Keon is here.
The story, as I relate it, is that after that evening when there was some misunderstanding as to whether or not the doors were closed and all senators were in for the vote, the vote was nevertheless taken. Subsequently, there was a vivacious discussion in this chamber. Senator Thériault rose, looked across the floor and saw Senator Keon. He said, "Senator Keon, for me, is like God; he gave me my life. I say to Senator Keon, `What good is my life without my vote?'"
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, when Senator Thériault spoke for the last time in this chamber on February 1 of this year, he left his fellow senators with the greatest gift that I believe he could give us: He left us with his vision of Canada which, in my opinion, could well be required reading, at the very least, for every practising and non-practising politician in the country - even Senator Lynch-Staunton.
Senator Thériault reminded us that the ultimate measure of the wealth of a society is the condition of its least fortunate or poorest members. He spoke substantially of the need to update Canada's social security system. He reminded us that it is the task of government to support and to help the most vulnerable in our society.
Senator Thériault referred to what he called the "blind, right-wing ideology" which dominates so much of Canadian life today. He said that he would fight this view of things to the end because, he told us, behind every statistic and number lies a human being. He observed that all kinds of people have worked hard all of their lives, but in so many cases they still find it impossible to make ends meet. "Do we stigmatize them, too?" he asked. He said that those who are obsessed exclusively with the bottom line, as he put it, have no real concerns about the people.
I wish to quote him directly. He said:
Do I need to remind you which vision I favour?
Government, he said,
- is there to serve the quality of life of the people. It is, in itself, neither an abstract concept nor a holy quest; we should never forget this.
When Senator Thériault had concluded, and before I moved the adjournment motion that day, I praised him briefly for having one of the most persuasive social consciences in all of Canada. He reminds us of all the things about this great country that too many of us, unfortunately, have begun to forget. He spoke of a Canada for which too many of us may have stopped fighting. Norbert's words were those of a compassionate Canadian; a compassionate Canadian who understood that the real glue of this federation is social justice and tolerance.
For many years, Norbert was a colleague and my neighbour in the East Block, where we both had our offices. I valued his friendship and his fierce loyalty to the first principles of social justice. I want to thank Norbert for his good company on many occasions, some with our dear colleague Senator Louis Robichaud, who just spoke so eloquently. I learned a great deal from Norbert about how one should operate in public life. We even discussed, on occasion, how we each tried to help raise 10 children in our respective families.
Most of all today, I want to thank Norbert for his wonderful parting words. I also want to assure him that his last request to his colleagues here in this chamber will be honoured. All of us will work together to preserve the wonderful country that Senator Thériault loves so unconditionally.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, I, too, wish to pay tribute to my Acadian colleague and friend Norbert Thériault, who asked me last night to do so. I would like to thank him, on behalf of the people of New Brunswick and Canada, for his hard work. I commend him for his genuine sense of social responsibility.
I would also like to thank him personally for his kind and friendly reception when I first came to the Senate. He always made himself available, for business or to socialize. He was always introducing me to one person or another on the Hill.
We will miss watching you walk into this Chamber with your kindly appearance. I wish you health, happiness with your family and good luck. Visit Ottawa once in a while and, as we say in Acadia, come and see us.
I had the honour of joining, in Calgary, with hundreds of Mr. Manning's old friends, supporters and former associates in public life to say a final farewell to a gentleman who had dominated the political life of his province for more than a quarter of a century.
As I was growing up, E. C. Manning was the only premier I knew. He was a figure of stability and respect. For 33 years he was a feature of the Social Credit government in several cabinet posts, with 25 of those years as premier.
Mr. Manning was raised on a farm near Rosetown, Saskatchewan, where as a teenager he listened to the Christian broadcasts of Alberta educator and lay preacher William Aberhart on the Back to the Bible Hour radio show. That drew the young Manning to Alberta where he not only teamed up with the Social Credit movement but also took over the leadership of that government on the death of Premier Aberhart in 1948. He also became the host of the Back to the Bible Hour for almost 50 years.
E.C. Manning led my province through a period of momentous change, reflecting the transformation of Alberta from a have-not province of small towns and farms to a modern, resource-rich society. While preaching a gospel of fiscal conservatism, he also laid the post-Depression foundations of Alberta's systems of education, social welfare, health care, and seniors' support. He also set out a resource management system for oil and gas development which continues to be respected throughout the world.
I doubt that Mr. Manning ever contemplated a career in the Senate when he left active politics in 1968. I happened to be in Prime Minister Trudeau's office when that call was made in 1970. Unfortunately, I could only hear one side of the conversation as Mr. Trudeau assured Mr. Manning that he would not be required to sit as a Liberal.
For 13 years Mr. Manning sat as an independent senator in this house. He worked with the committees of National Defence and Banking and the Special Committee on Science Policy. He was also associated with that Special Joint Committee on Senate Reform which recommended that we have an elected Senate.
Mr. Manning himself became a leading advocate of the triple-E Senate - elected, effective and equal - which took root and flourished in Alberta in the late 1980s, and produced in 1989 the first ever provincially elected senator, the late Stanley Waters.
Throughout his years in public life, Mr. Manning worked steadfastly for strengthening Alberta in a strong and united Canada. Perhaps Reform Party leader Preston Manning best described his father's love of province and country during his eulogy at the funeral last Friday when he said:
...If Ernest Charles Manning, the builder, could have one last political word on this day...he would say... "Do not let internal discord do to Canada what wars and depressions and hard times were unable to do. Continue to build."
We send our best wishes and sympathy to Mrs. Muriel Manning, to Preston and his wife Sandra, and to all the Manning grandchildren who carry such warm memories of an extraordinary Canadian gentleman.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, on behalf of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and of the Progressive Conservative Party generally, it is an honour to join with the Leader of the Government in the tribute that she has just paid to our late former colleague, and in the condolences which she has so well expressed on behalf of all of us to his family.
When the Honourable Ernest Manning came to the Senate, he had already spent 35 years in the public life of Alberta and of Canada. Far from easing into his retirement in 1970, he remained active and generous in his service to his fellow citizens for another 25 years, 13 of them in this chamber.
Those who were privileged, as I was, to serve in the Senate during even part of his 13 years here remember him with respect and admiration. The high quality of his contribution is something to which others can only aspire. He spoke with wisdom and authority on the most important questions facing the country. At the same time, he was able, with a single question or a brief intervention, to get to the essence of a difficult issue or a complex legislative proposal.
I saw this happen many times, not only in this chamber but in various committees, including the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance which he attended so consistently and served so conscientiously until his retirement in 1983.
It is, of course, in the Province of Alberta that his influence is still so prominent today, 28 years after he left the office of premier, and where it seems destined to endure long after his departure from this earth. Alberta had been a province for only 30 years when Mr. Manning was elected to the legislature in 1935.
The Leader of the Government has alluded to the fact that there is a unique political culture in Alberta, sometimes called social conservatism. It is Ernest Manning's creation. There is, in modern parlance, zero tolerance for anything less than probity in the conduct of Alberta's affairs. That is his legacy. Albertans expect high standards of public service from their politicians. He set those standards for his family, for his colleagues, for his adversaries, and for his successors. His presence is still felt in the politics and in the economy of that province. He has shaped its modern history as no other individual has done. Alberta and Canada are much better for his long and constructive service and his inspired leadership.
Hon. H.A. Olson: Honourable senators, I wish to make a brief contribution to these tributes. First of all, I wish to endorse the comments of Senators Fairbairn and Murray about Ernest Manning's record and reputation. There is absolutely no doubt in the mind of any Albertan that Ernest Manning earned the respect of everyone, no matter to which party they may belong, by running a high calibre, reputable government for his entire term. There was never a question of scandal, or anything approaching a scandal, in that government. The reason was simple: He told them that that was the way things were to be, and they were.
In addition to the public knowledge and appreciation of Ernest Manning shown in the tremendous outpouring of sympathy and respect to his family upon his death, I have a special knowledge of this great man. Senator St. Germain will understand this. Ernest Manning did a few things for me, personally, which probably made the difference in whether I was ever to become a successful politician.
I ran on the Social Credit ticket for the first five elections -
Senator Berntson: I even voted for you once.
Senator Olson: I can tell you that Mr. Manning was a busy man. He was premier of a province in which there was a great deal of economic activity. He took the time during every election to come to Medicine Hat and help me win in my riding. We used to rent the largest hall that we could get, which was the senior high school auditorium. You could put 1,200 chairs in it, and we filled every one of them, as well as all the standing room. Other parties wondered how we won every time, but we did.
Senator Fairbairn: You did not win in 1972.
Senator Olson: That was different. I was running for a different party then, and that is where I got into trouble.
At any rate, for every election, Mr. Manning came to Medicine Hat, and I was deeply appreciative. I was a farm boy from north of Medicine Hat. No one knew me or of me, but if Mr. Manning endorsed you, you got elected; at least, that is the way it seemed. Everyone came to see him. When he drew an enormous crowd, I would get up and say a few things too, and I would get elected.
Honourable senators, Mr. Manning did a few things that were unique in the world. He set up the regime of rules and regulations respecting the development of natural resources in Alberta. Gas and oil were two of the most important, but there were other natural resources. It is a model that countries all over the world have followed.
I can remember, for example, when Nigeria found important oil deposits in the bay off Port Harcourt. The Nigerians sent people to Alberta to find out how things were done, and they set up a similar regulatory system when they went home. Now, there are important differences between that country and Canada.
Alberta is an example of the successful management of natural resources which, by the way, all belong to the province. These resources were transferred to the provinces in 1930, I believe, and this regulatory regime was acceptable to all major and minor gas and oil companies. It served the interests of the people of the province who owned the resources.
In closing, I too wish to endorse what has been said about the desirable and positive characteristics displayed by Mr. Manning during his public life.
Hon. Louis J. Robichaud: Honourable senators, I also wish to endorse what has been said about Ernest Manning. I am the only former premier in the Senate who sat as premier with Premier Manning, and we lasted together in that capacity for 10 years. For those 10 years, Premier Manning was one of the outstanding premiers, one of the great Canadians we had during the 1960s, which I remember so vividly because I lived those years fully. In the 1960s, Premier Manning was one of the outstanding premiers. Leslie Frost, premier of Ontario, was a good premier as well. He was replaced by John Robarts, who was a great friend, a great premier and a great Canadian. Premier Robarts contributed to the economy of this country more than anyone I know.
Where are they now? When I looked recently at a picture of the premiers from 1960, I came to the realization that yet another had passed away. One more figure had disappeared from that picture.
Premier Manning was not only a great premier of Alberta, he was a great Canadian and a personal friend. To Muriel, Preston and the rest of the family, my sincere condolences.
Senator Langlois was a renowned lawyer specializing in maritime law. He served Canada courageously and gallantly during the Second World War as a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy. Throughout his time in public life, he was always a man of the sea, the Gaspesian sea at Ste-Anne-des-Monts in the Gulf of St. Lawrence where he was born.
Senator Langlois studied law at the University of Laval and was practising maritime law when World War II broke out. He joined the navy a few days later and went on to captain at least two corvettes on convoys crossing the Atlantic. As many honourable senators are aware, much of the allied success during World War II was due to the brave and determined men who sailed in those corvettes and kept the supplies moving over to Britain and Europe.
Senator Langlois remained in the navy for five years until forced, by virtue of his having been nominated, to stand for Parliament in 1945. For 12 years he represented the people of the Gaspé and was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Postmaster General. He then moved closer to the sea as parliamentary secretary to the then minister of transport in the other place. On July 8, 1966, he was summoned to the Senate where he served for 22 years.
Honourable senators will also recall that Senator Langlois was deputy leader of the government for many years, during which he had many epic exchanges with a fellow Quebecer and the then leader of the opposition, the Honourable Jacques Flynn. Senator Perrault will remember some of those exchanges, I am sure, as he was the leader in this place and Senator Langlois was the deputy leader.
Honourable senators, eulogies should be serious, but I smile when I think about Jacques Flynn. Jacques Flynn had these exchanges with Léopold Langlois, and they were delightful. You would think they were tearing each other's hair out. Come Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, they would get in the same car and drive to Quebec City. His daughter could not understand that kind of behaviour. I hope that the way they approached their relationship as senators on opposite sides of this chamber will remain as a model for honourable senators for a long time to come.
For several years Senator Langlois chaired the Transport and Communications Committee. The Senate benefited greatly from his expertise in the area of maritime law. He helped redraft the Maritime Code, which was designed to replace the Canada Shipping Act.
Senator Langlois saw Canada through some great times, entering the House of Commons in 1945 under the Prime Ministership of the late Mackenzie King and witnessing the rather tumultuous events that occurred in the post-war period. He had the opportunity to observe the leadership of our party under Mr. St. Laurent, Mr. Pearson, Mr. Trudeau, and Mr. Chrétien.
We mourn his passing, and, like his many friends in the Gaspé, we are very proud of him. He will be remembered as an honest and brave man who actively participated in Senate proceedings and who accomplished a great deal. Most important, Senator Langlois should be recognized as one who courageously defended the cause of freedom and who served Canada well.
I have many fond memories of Senator Langlois, and while I know that time marches on for all of us, the news of his death brings sadness for those of us who remember him during his term here.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton: Honourable senators, I never had the privilege of meeting Léopold Langlois, but I do know a great deal about his personal and political career. When I was appointed to the Senate, as it happens the district of Granville was designated as mine, the very district which Senator Langlois had represented in this Chamber for the 22 years he was here.
Shortly after I was sworn in, I read up on my predecessors and was struck by the qualities of each of them. We express our final respects today to the gentleman whose qualities have been so aptly described by Senator Olson.
The Parliament of Canada has gained much from 35 years of the active presence of Mr. Léopold Langlois, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to his loved ones for having supported him in his political career to the benefit of all Canadians.
To his family, I offer my most sincere condolences.
Hon. Raymond J. Perrault: Canada has suffered a number of grievous losses in recent weeks. Those who have served this nation well in their various political persuasions have gone to another place, and it is very much to be regretted. People such as Léopold Langlois have made a marvellous contribution to the operations of our political system.
As has been pointed out, Léopold served as an effective and dedicated Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. He served with me and with my predecessor in that capacity. He was of invaluable assistance in the operations of this place. When it came to major issues, and smaller issues as well, he exercised superb judgment. He knew how the system operated. His was a voice of moderation and conciliation. Yes, there were quarrels between the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Jacques Flynn, and Léopold, but that simply indicates that the Senate was operating fully in accord with democratic principles. As I said, his was a voice of moderation and conciliation. He developed excellent relations with the opposition when it was necessary to do so, and we were always able to keep the Senate operating in the public interest.
It has also been pointed out that Léopold Langlois had a distinguished law career. His specialty, as some of you know, was marine law. He was one of Canada's outstanding counsel in that field. He was an outstanding Canadian who served Canada well in war and peace. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. That was his standing when he left the forces.
Together with those with whom he served and those who knew him only by reputation, I extend my very warmest best wishes and condolences to those he has left behind. We will certainly miss him in Canadian public life and in our communit
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I did not want to rise earlier since I will have the opportunity to do it a least three times this afternoon. I just would like to say a few words about each senator whose name was mentioned today.
First, I would like to extend the most cordial welcome to Senator Landry. I hope to have the opportunity to meet him more often and to know him better. I am quite impressed by his biography and I extend my warmest greetings to him.
I would be remiss not to bid a fond farewell to Senator Thériault. It is an open secret on the Hill that Senator Thériault was probably the closest friend of my predecessor, Senator Azellus Denis. I wish him all the best in his retirement. I know that we will see him again on many occasions.
I must say that he taught me a great deal about Acadian pride. He has always told me that he, too, has been saying what I have often said of our French friends, namely that we have survived without their help. Senator Thériault has always made it a point of honour to remind me that Acadians have survived without the help of Quebecers. This has always impressed me, as he has always kept me informed of the history of the Acadian people, which is actually the history of my own people. I owe him a lot in this respect.
Senator Langlois was also a great friend of my predecessor, Azellus Denis. I met him as a student and, later, as a member of Parliament when he was a senator. I support Senator Olson's comments.
The son of our friend Senator Langlois is one of the most outstanding lawyers in Canada, as was his father.
Last but not least, I should like to offer Senator Manning's son my deepest condolences. I had occasion to meet his father - and Senator Olson will remember this - when I visited Alberta with Mr. Pearson in June of 1967 for the Klondike Days. We went on to visit the Saskatchewan Dam and Diefenbaker Lake and to attend the Pan American Games in Manitoba.
I remember that Mr. Manning's father had written a book entitled Political Realignment. Very few people would remember this book. Later I learned that my good friend Senator Olson, after having read the book attentively, had decided to join the Liberal Party, a decision that I have always applauded. He may want to correct me on that point, as I am speaking today from memory.
I wish to concur with all the good words that have been said by all senators.
Hon. Richard J. Stanbury: Honourable senators, we have had a lengthy afternoon, and, essentially, other than welcoming Senator Landry, it has been a sad afternoon. I have difficulty restraining myself from commenting on those sad events because I have been in the Senate with all of those outstanding people. It is a great sadness to lose Senator Thériault, who is a great, warm friend, and to recognize the loss of Senator Manning and Senator Langlois.
On the same day, Mr. Pearson appointed to the Senate Charles McElman of New Brunswick, whom many of us remember warmly, and who retired just a few years ago. He also appointed John Nichol of British Columbia, who was my predecessor as president of the Liberal Party of Canada, Earl Urquhart of Nova Scotia, and Hazen Argue of Saskatchewan, who are no longer among us. It was a red letter day for the Senate of Canada. They were all excellent appointments.
I wish to pay tribute to Keith Davey, who is here, and to Earl Hastings, who has recently suffered serious surgery but tells me that he is recovering nicely at home in Calgary. They are both outstanding Canadians who have each played a prominent role in the political history of Canada.
Senator Hastings is a petroleum landman who is highly respected in the petroleum community. I remember him first as president of the Alberta Liberal Association and as a great Alberta campaign leader during the Pearson elections of 1962, 1963 and 1965. Of course, he continues in that leadership role to this day.
However, during the last 30 years he has combined those activities with aggressive participation in the Senate, as chairman of Senate committees on the northern pipeline, on energy and on internal economy, as a delegate to the NATO North Atlantic Assembly, and always as the champion of inmates of federal institutions if he felt their rights were being ignored. No wonder the John Howard Society named him "Distinguished Humanitarian" in 1985, and the St. Leonard Society presented him with the Cody Award in 1992.
Keith Davey, of course, is "The Rainmaker," the author of an intriguing political memoire. Our political hips were joined at the time of the Liberal convention in 1957, which chose our hero, Mike Pearson, as leader. While the join is a little more elastic now, I think he would agree that it has never been ruptured. Keith was the spark plug of the revival of the Liberal Party after the Diefenbaker sweep in 1958 - first in Toronto, then as national director of the party all across the land. He has continued to be the guru most sought out by neophytes and leaders alike on matters of political organization and strategy.
When I first knew Keith, he was an advertising manager in the broadcasting field. He developed that job into a communications consultancy. Walter Gordon brought him to Ottawa as director of the party. His main preoccupations are politics, family and sports. However, considering his passion for all sports, I suspect that Dorothy sometimes thinks that I have the order of priority wrong.
In the Senate, he will always be remembered for his leadership of the special committee on the media, and his subsequent follow-up on the concentration of media ownership in Canada and its impact on the Canadian society.
Senator Davey does not speak often, but on each occasion over his 30 years in the Senate, his excellent and pungent speeches have stimulated acerbic but good-natured interventions from his colleagues opposite.
Honourable senators, if I had the means available, I would ask you to toast the contribution, over 30 years of membership in the Senate of Canada, of our dear colleagues Senators Keith Davey and Earl Hastings.
Hon. Norman K. Atkins: Honourable senators, I want to add my congratulations to Senator Davey. I am not surprised that Senator Stanbury thinks that the 10 appointments on February 24, 1966, were good ones. They were all Liberal!
Senator Stanbury: Of course!
Senator Atkins: It is interesting that when I have the opportunity to talk to Senator Davey, he always plays down the fact that he has been around this place for 30 years.
Legend has it that in the early 1960s, when Prime Minister Pearson - who, by the way, knew a lot more about baseball than Keith Davey ever did - asked Keith what he would like to do following his years as a political guru, Keith indicated that there was only one place he really wanted to go, and that was to the Senate. That came as a great surprise to the Prime Minister, who thought that Keith was too young and too valuable to be put in this place. However, he has made a tremendous contribution not only to the Senate but also to the Canadian community. I should like to wish him well. He still has five years to serve here, and I am sure we will hear a lot more from him before he reaches the age of 75 and retires from this place.
Hon. Keith Davey: Honourable senators, after 30 years, you learn to speak briefly. I will be very brief, and to the point.
So many generous things have been said about me today; Senator Atkins is perfectly correct in that. I worked five years with Prime Minister Pearson. He then determined that I should go to the Senate. First, however, he wanted me to go to the CBC. He could not understand why I would want to go to the Senate when I could stay at the CBC. However, thanks to Mr. Gordon and to the Prime Minister, I was able to come here. It is something that I have never regretted.
As you mentioned, 10 of us were appointed in one day. That day, The Toronto Star ran an article which said: "Poor Keith Davey. Gone and lost, never to be seen again!" Some people might think that is accurate; I do not know.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Senator Atkins in particular. He is proof positive that it is possible for people to be competitive and, in many ways, to take on each other, as honourable senators do in this chamber. When the chips are finally down, however, this is really a wonderful way to work. In Canada, democracy works. People such as the honourable senators in this chambers make it work.
I would also be remiss if I did not say a word or two about my friend Senator Stanbury. When I was the youngest of Liberals, I think he was maybe one or two months older. All through my life, I have found him to be Mr. Integrity.
In actual fact, honourable senators, that did not occur. The record should not state things that did not happen. It is equally important that we correct this matter, because if we are to deal with other bills initiated in the Senate, we will not be sure of their number if Bill S-1 was not, in fact, introduced at that time.
Perhaps one way to resolve this situation is for us to agree unanimously that what is reported to have happened, but did not happen, be deemed to have happened.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is it agreed that we deem the matter to have occurred?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Born in Belgium, Henri Masson came over to Canada with his widowed mother in 1921. He was 14 years old and an only child.
In 1929, he married the love of his life, his best friend, Germaine St-Denis, an Ottawa-born francophone. Three children were born to the couple: Armande, Carl and Jacques.
In 1945, at the age of 38, Masson gave up his trade as an engraver to become a full-time artist. True to character, he portrayed with absolutely no pretention the people and places which make up this great country of ours.
As a professional artist who painted full time, he was a pioneer in his time. Indeed, very few artists dared venture as he did, in their everyday lives, on the precarious path of creative expression. Henri Masson was a courageous man.
He was also a man of deep conviction because he led an active and intense spiritual life. Just recently, he said, and I quote:
When I spend the day out in the country, contemplating the scenery and observing it so that I can later transpose it onto canvas, I feel filled with a presence and I realize what it means to pray.
Honourable senators, his success and numerous public accolades notwithstanding, Henri Masson was known for his simplicity, humility and generosity.
Over the years, the paintings of Henri Masson have been widely shown in many Canadian cities. Today, his works are included in the permanent collections of public art galleries across the country: the National Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Musée du Quebec.
On the international scene, he participated in numerous exhibitions in the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Brazil and India, and his works continue to be appreciated in museum collections in Israel, Chile and Venezuela. Among the many distinctions he received for his accomplishments, he was named to the Order of Canada in 1994.
Henri Masson leaves behind not only his three children, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren but also a multitude of friends and admirers. As if all these personal and public memories were not enough, Henri Masson also helped to make the world he left a better place to be than the one he came into. Such a legacy beckons us. After all, is that not the main purpose of our existence, individually and collectively?
I am convinced that all honourable senators will want to join me in drawing special attention to the important contribution that this great man has made to our country.
May I therefore extend on your behalf, honourable senators, our sincere sympathies to all of Henri Masson's beloved family members and friends. We shall all miss him.
Wednesday, February 28, 1996
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its
The Guidelines for Senators' Research Expenditures were established as a pilot project in 1988 and, after eight years, the program has proven successful.
Your Committee believes that the program would be more effective if peer review were eliminated and the research and general office budgets combined, while retaining the flexibility of the two previous budgets.
Senators have commissions to discharge their duties and it is inappropriate to perpetuate the concept of having a Senator's research projects reviewed by his or her colleagues.
Your Committee therefore recommends that, effective April 1, 1996, Senators no longer be requested to submit applications for their research allowance. It also recommends that research and general office expenses be combined, and that the flexibility of the two previous budgets be retained.
On motion of Senator Kenny, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Wednesday, February 28, 1996
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its
Your Committee has agreed that the following guidelines regarding witness expenses be adopted:
1. Committees may apply for $10,000 in emergency funds when there are insufficient funds in a Committee's budget for the payment of witness expenses.
2. Committees may reimburse expenses for no more than two witnesses from any one organization and payment will take place upon application.
3. Any prepayment of witness expenses would be made from a Committee's budget.
4. The Chairs of Committees will have the discretion to decide if a resident of the National Capital Region will have his or her expenses reimbursed when appearing before a Committee in Ottawa.
On motion of Senator Kenny, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Wednesday, February 28, 1996
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its
Your Committee has agreed that authorization be given for the necessary costs of the former members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs to undertake their upcoming trip to Europe, if it takes place during this period of prorogation, under similar circumstances as the study on Corporate Governance.
Your Committee has also agreed that if the trip takes place after the opening of the new session and upon the re-establishment of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs; (i) the budget from the previous session be reinstated; (ii) the budget be increased from $152,840 to $170,000, and (iii) an amount of $14,000 be transferred from Professional Services to Travel Expenses.
Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g), I move that the report be adopted now.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Finlay MacDonald: Could we have an explanation, please?
Senator Kenny: I would be pleased to provide you with an explanation, Senator MacDonald. The committee has for some time been planning this trip, which is scheduled to begin in the next few weeks. In order for the planning to go ahead, the committee needs to be sure that the funds are available. The funds were previously voted to the committee, and this report essentially reinstitutes a budget which was previously in existence.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
Wednesday, February 28, 1996
The Committee of Selection has the honour to present its
Pursuant to Rule 85(1)(a) of the Rules of the Senate, your Committee nominates the Honourable Senator Ottenheimer as Speaker pro tempore.
Senator Hébert: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g), I move that this report be now adopted.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: As an independent senator, this is a recommendation that I am very pleased to receive.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
I ask that the report be printed as an appendix to the Journals of the Senate for this day.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(For text of document see Journals of the Senate.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
Senator Hébert: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g), I move that this report be now adopted.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: I see that the honourable chief government whip has a bit of a problem with his voice. Consequently, I will permit him to dispense with reading the names of all the members of each committee. It is still my hope that, eventually, I will hear the name of someone who is familiar to you and who is present here.
There are two other independent senators besides myself. I do not know if our names appear on that list of committee members. I am almost embarrassed to ask the Clerk to read the list. This will be my contribution for today.
The Hon. the Speaker: We have a little problem. When the report was tabled by the Assistant Clerk, some honourable senators said to dispense with its reading. This means that the Senate requested that the names not be read. It would be difficult, honourable senators, to now reverse that decision. Maybe we can get an answer to your main question, which is whether or not your name appears on the list. Would it be good enough to have that answer?
Senator Prud'homme: I will certainly co-operate with my honourable colleagues. I just received the list. I have learned to read rather quickly the good news as well as the bad news. I see that, once again, independent senators do not exist. I do not wish to speak on behalf of Senators Pitfield and Lawson, with whom I discussed this issue. I am not their voice. I am an independent senator. However, a quick glance tells me that our names are not on the list. This means that, once again, for all intents and purposes, independent senators do not count. I shall not insist. I know the rules. I could oppose the decision. I could kindly ask you to come back tomorrow.
I do not like the expression I shall use to describe myself. I heard that expression, which does not really hurt my feelings, in a hallway. Someone said, "You know, Marcel Prud'homme is very nice." Then the person added, "He is a nice dog that barks but that does not bite." Give me a break. Use more intelligent expressions to describe us.
It is true that I often take the floor. If that is what is meant by barking, then I find the expression rather cute. After all, a dog is supposed to be man's best friend. This is fine with me. It is also true that I often complain regarding this issue. I understand that perhaps, in the future, the contribution that could be made by independent senators will finally be taken into consideration. As you know, I have a great deal of respect for the Senate.
Honourable senators know that I have a great deal of affection for our institution. I am a faithful servant of the Senate and totally devoted to it. I am a great defender of the Senate on television, radio and otherwise.
As I told honourable senators, I did what I said I would do during the recess. I went to Alberta and British Columbia on your behalf. I believe I did something good for the Senate. People said to me, "We did not believe you would come. Even though you gave your word that you would come, we did not know if you would. Now we know that senators keep their word." Everything a senator does is good for the Senate, and good for the country.
I shall say simply, with a sad smile, that I notice again that the names of independent senators do not appear on the list. If I keep insisting, I know that there will be progress. Having put my views on record again, I am satisfied for today.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I should like to comment on the concerns expressed by the Honourable Senator Prud'homme. Once again he has raised an issue which has long interested and concerned not only him but a great many of our colleagues on both sides of the house.
Although I do not necessarily disagree with what he has said, it is not necessarily up to the government to impose a solution or a new regime with respect to the accommodation of independent senators within our existing committee structure. We will be looking for a consensus, one which is developed by members on this side, members on the other side and by all independent senators. There have been discussions already among the leadership of both sides and, indeed, with all independent senators.
Therefore, I believe that recommendations on possible changes should properly flow out of the Standing Committee on Privileges, Standing Rules and Orders. In fact, it is my hope that, indeed, the committee will quickly devote some of its time to this issue. The fact of the matter is that independent senators possess a great deal of parliamentary experience. That experience and expertise might be better recognized as we carry out our parliamentary responsibilities.
Although my response is, perhaps, not precisely what Senator Prud'homme would have hoped to hear, I trust that it is an indication that we continue to wrestle with this issue in the hope that some kind of accommodation might be found in future deliberations.
Motion agreed to and report adopted.
That the proceedings on the Order of the Day for resuming the debate on the motion for an Address in reply to His Excellency the Governor General's Speech from the Throne addressed to both Houses of Parliament be concluded on the eighth sitting day on which the order is debated.
Bill read first time.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Tuesday, March 5, 1996.
Bill read first time.
On motion of Senator Cools, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Tuesday, March 5, 1996.
Bill read first time.
On motion of Senator Cools, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading on Wednesday, March 6, 1996.
That notwithstanding any Standing Rule or Order of this House, the following Bill, introduced as Bill S-14 in the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament, be reinstated forthwith in this session in the following manner:
An act to restrict the manufacture, sale, importation and labelling of tobacco products (The Tobacco Product Restrictions Act), be deemed to have been introduced and read a first time, read a second time, and referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
That the Standing Senate committee on Foreign Affairs be authorized to examine and report on the consequences of the economic integration of the European Union for the national governance of the member states, and on the consequences of the emergence of the European Union for economic, political and defence relations between Canada and Europe;
That the Committee have the power to engage the services of such counsel and technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary for the purpose of its examination and consideration of the said order of reference;
That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject during the First Session of the Thirty-fifth Parliament be referred to the Committee;
That the Committee have power to adjourn from place to place outside Canada;
That the Committee submit its final report no later than June 30, 1996; and
That, notwithstanding usual practices, if the Senate is not sitting when the final report of the Committee is completed, the Committee shall deposit its report with the Clerk of the Senate, and said report shall thereupon be deemed to have been tabled in this Chamber.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
One of the recommendations in the report is that advertising and government grants be replaced by revenues from a new tax. The committee estimates that $1.14 billion would be needed to replace the lost federal and advertising revenues.
It was stated in yesterday's Throne Speech that culture is at the core of our identity as Canadians, and that the CBC is responsible for interpreting Canadian culture to Canadians. It was also stated in the speech that the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the long-term viability or vitality of the CBC.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us why the CBC should be guaranteed a stable level of funding when other federal programs, including Unemployment Insurance, Old Age Security and health and medical care are subject to huge cuts by way of transfer payments and by other methods available to the government?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the Throne Speech yesterday underlined the importance of our cultural heritage and the vehicles which have an important role to play in that cultural heritage. The Throne Speech did not indicate the method whereby support will be given. In the Throne Speech great emphasis is given to the importance of jobs and growth in our society. It outlines ways of supporting and promoting the creation of jobs. It also outlines the emphasis to be placed on children and youth in our society.
Part of the balance within the program of the government going into the 21st century also includes the importance of maintaining the strength of our cultural institutions in this country. It is not a question of trading one off against the other; it is a question of balance, and wise and prudent management of our resources so that we are able to maintain national institutions that speak to and for all Canadians.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, with respect to my honourable friend's comment about building culture, during the Meech Lake debate we saw B.C. virtually take a position against that particular accord. Today, we find that the Prime Minister of the country has come forward with concepts such as distinct society, which was promulgated in the Meech Lake Accord. He is asking the country to ratify his particular initiatives, and that leaves me in a quandary.
Honourable senators, when I look at what the National Film Board and the CBC have done to defame people such as Billy Bishop and other heroes of this country by placing their integrity in question, I find it hard to believe that they are trying to build our culture and bring us together as Canadians.
When I was a young man serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force as an officer and a pilot, people such as Billy Bishop were our heroes. They are still our heroes and always will be, regardless of what the McKenna brothers say through the CBC.
Honourable senators, my question is this: Why is the federal government saying that it will replace one sales tax, the GST, while at the same time it is prepared to introduce another tax, the CBC tax? It does not make sense to legislate another tax when the disposable income of Canadians is at such a low ebb. Such a tax will contribute to the inability of businesses to expand in this country, and it flies in the face of what my honourable friend just stated about job creation.
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I should make it clear as far as funding is concerned that, while the committee reviewing the mandate of these institutions has made recommendations and suggestions have come forth from various groups and individual Canadians, the government has made no decision at all on funding options. My honourable friend's question is one that I cannot answer directly.
Honourable senators, could the Leader of the Government in the Senate explain why her cabinet colleague Fred Mifflin, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, refuses to discuss with fishers the deep concerns they have expressed in very serious ways? Could she enlighten us as to whether or not the minister might consider meeting with these people to discuss their concerns?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am not aware of the situations to which my honourable friend refers. However, I am aware of the deep commitment and concern that my colleague the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has for the plight of the fishers in Atlantic Canada and, indeed, on the West Coast as well. I am sure that he will follow those concerns and commitments, which he holds strongly, with great determination and compassion.
As my honourable friend knows, the Throne Speech is a framework document that does not include mention of every concern of the federal government. The plight of the fishery is such a critical and ongoing concern that there is no need to reiterate it in this particular document because this issue is consistently under the consideration of the minister and cabinet. In a different sense, perhaps, there is no mention in this Throne Speech of literacy, yet that issue is also an ongoing and urgent concern of the government.
As far as the fishery is concerned, in the vernacular, this government is profoundly concerned about the deep problems of the fishery on both coasts in Canada, and we are committed to continuing to support those affected by these unfortunate events in every way we can.
Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, I was asking if the minister was aware of the current problems some of these people are facing. One problem is the increase in licence fees that has been announced; horrendous increases, so much so that the fishermen in the Atlantic region are willing to accept a 400 per cent increase in their licence fees. They have said so publicly. Honourable senators can well imagine the kinds of increases that are being proposed when people accept a 400 per cent increase. Name one sector of the economy prepared to absorb a 400 per cent increase?
There are many concerns. I will not list them all right now, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is proposing to remove hand line fishermen. Once they retire, their hand line licence fees will be completely removed. Many of these people will not be able to leave to their sons and daughters a lifetime of work. They have worked on building a small fishery in their communities. Many people are concerned that these licences will be passed on to the large companies, conglomerates and shareholders, to be traded like stocks.
Honourable senators, I would urge the minister to become aware of the problems in the fishery in Atlantic Canada and on the West Coast. These problems are not caused by the lack of fish. That is another problem. These problems are caused by the wilful actions of the DFO. The minister's unwillingness to meet with these people to discuss constructive ways of solving this issue is hitting the whole region of Atlantic Canada.
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I will never have the depth of knowledge that my honourable friend and other colleagues in this house have about the specific incidents or individuals in the fishery. I can assure him that it is partially because of my responsibilities to this house that I make a strong and concerted effort to be aware and to try to understand the concerns of the fishery. Indeed, in some of my other responsibilities I have the opportunity to know some of the profound difficulties that are facing individuals in Atlantic Canada and elsewhere.
What I indicated to the honourable senator is that I am not aware in any particular terms of the comments that he made relating to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. I know the depth of the minister's concerns. As a result of our exchange today, I will speak with him.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, my honourable friend is quite right: the situation between Cuba and the United States is very volatile at this point in time. Indeed, even as we speak, as my friend will know, a congressional conference between the House and the Senate is taking place to deal with the legislation which has been before the Congress for some time and which is of deep concern to some Canadian companies which do business with Cuba.
I do not know the outcome of today's congressional conference. However, the views of Canada have been expressed publicly and strongly over the months. They have been reiterated most recently by our ambassador to the United States, Mr. Raymond Chrétien.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, as the Leader of the Government has pointed out, this is a volatile situation. The United States is getting closer to an election. We know that for political reasons, unfortunately, President Clinton, who once vowed to veto any legislation pertaining to matters of great concern to Canada, now seems to be willing to go along with what may be imposed.
Perhaps Canada has a role to play in this matter. First, we could call immediately on our friends in Europe, who are as concerned as we are as to the consequences of the action that may be taken by vicious anti-Castro elements which still exist, especially in the Senate of the United States. We must not hide the fact that hundreds of thousands of Canadians are at the moment on vacation in Cuba.
I wish to put on the record the name of the ex-general who has made a statement about this matter. His name is General Rafael del Pino, who has said that they will destroy -
- the Cuban air force on the ground by launching missiles from southern Florida.
Anyone who knows the situation in Cuba understands the very hard position taken by Cuban refugees in Florida. Regardless of the changes taking place in the world, Cuba is in a position to retaliate vigorously to any attack on its soil. I do not mean to say that it would destroy the United States, but they are in a position to create extreme damage.
I should like to make a suggestion for the time being until we come back, when we can analyze more fully the situation. Canada is well thought of throughout the Americas. We are now a member of the Organization of American States. We are close to our allies in Europe who also have great financial interests in Cuba. Because of Canada's reputation in the world, I hope that the Leader of the Government will relay to the minister that not only should he make our views well known but we should become activists in this very dangerous situation.
Senator Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I spoke with the minister before coming to the Senate today. There is no question about his concern for this matter. Nor is there any question about the concern of the Canadian government with respect to the events that have taken place in Cuba. We have made known very strongly our views to the Cuban authorities on the action, which we condemn, involving the shooting down of unarmed civilian aircraft, which has caused the heat to rise on this issue. We fully support the statement of the United Nations Security Council which strongly deplores this action.
On the business side of the question, yesterday our ambassador directly communicated with the chairman of the house committee in the United States which is seized with the Helms-Burton bill. Again, he reiterated very strongly the Canadian position.
I will pass on to the Minister of Foreign Affairs my friend's comments with respect to further cooperative action. As I have said, he is certainly engaged on the issue. With the help of our ambassador in Washington, he is exploring every avenue with the United States. He is also reiterating very strongly our position on the Cuban intervention, which we strongly deplore.
To protect himself, Salman Rushdie has been forced to live in complete seclusion ever since. Recently, the Iranian authorities have indicated their intention of lifting the fatwah against Rushdie.
Nevertheless, Rushdie has stated that he has no confidence in such declarations, and that he will be satisfied only when the Iranian government has officially annulled the death sentence imposed on his head by Khomeini. In his opinion, Iran will take such a move only if the democratic governments of the world put serious pressure on the country.
In a recent interview, he has mainly mentioned as possible intervenors the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien and the Canadian government.
My question is as follows: Can you tell this chamber whether the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada intend to do so?
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the Canadian government and, indeed, the Prime Minister have been consistently pressuring the government of Iran on this issue. The honourable senator will recall that, at the Halifax Summit in June of last year, the Prime Minister and other leaders called on Iran to withdraw its support for the continuing threats to the life of Salman Rushdie, which is a tragic situation of recent years, especially to those who believe in democratic principles. Mr. Rushdie can count on Canada to continue to pressure the Iranian government to dissociate itself from the fatwah pronounced by the late Ayatollah.
I shall convey the concerns and suggestions of my honourable friend to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. I simply draw to his attention that which I think he already knows, that there is a consistent record of the Canadian government, at a variety of levels including the United Nations and the European Union, very actively pressuring countries within the European Union to use their influence on Iran on this issue.
We have also been active in the UN Commission on Human Rights. I can assure my honourable friend that this government will continue to be so. I will convey his concerns to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as his suggestion to keep up the pressure and to keep Canada in the forefront of trying to resolve this inhumane situation.
Hon. Lise Bacon, seconded by the Honourable William H. Rompkey, moved:
That the following Address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada:
To His Excellency the Right Honourable Roméo Leblanc, a Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:
We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Senate of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.
She said: Honourable senators, the government program set out yesterday by His Excellency the Governor General clearly indicates to all citizens of this country the government's desire and determination to pursue the task in which it has been engaged since the beginning of its mandate, namely to restore to Canada all of the strength and leadership it requires to move into the new century which is almost upon us.
With the new millennium on the horizon, we in Canada face immense challenges on all sides. The work before us - and it is the people's work as well as the government's - is both daunting and inspiring. Building a great nation is a task that has no end. Canadians know this. They will continue to forge a society that is the envy of the world, a society universally known for its tolerance, mutual respect, generosity and deeply rooted attachment to democratic values.
The proposed measures in the Throne Speech which, in the short- and medium-term, will prepare Canada for the sociological, economic and geographic realities of the modern world, must be given the most widespread support possible. Among other support, they will require the collaboration of all the levels of government in this country.
We must direct our energies toward the areas that are immediate priorities for Canadians. Jobs and economic growth, healthier public finances, the role of the state and, in many people's eyes, a new distribution of powers within Canada as a whole are some of the objectives that must be achieved swiftly.
This country challenges all its citizens to show the intelligence, flexibility, cooperation and will to work together, to understand each other, to get along and respect each other.
Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have shown in recent months what Canada meant to them. Spontaneously, in a rush of emotion and pride, they stood up for their country. That is the kind of attitude we need to maintain, not only as far as Canadian unity is concerned but in all areas that are vital to the future and development of our society.
Our country, like many others, is faced with certain problems. These problems can be solved. Canada's past and recent history has shown that dialogue and democracy have always been the best policy.
For the past 15 years, Canada has been put to harsh and emotional democratic tests. Each time there was only one winner: the people. We have every reason to be proud of Canada's democracy, and we are right to be confident about Canada's future.
Although in many instances we can be proud of what we have achieved historically, socially, economically and politically, we must not forget that we cannot take these things for granted and that, just like love, we have to work at them.
We cannot afford to neglect our country. If we do, we will then have to pick up the pieces or start again from scratch. Since it was elected, the Canadian government has seen as its task to build and improve the relationship between government and its citizens and to put its financial house in order. The relationship of trust between governments and those they govern is extremely important. The Liberal government, by introducing regulations on lobbying, parliamentary pension reform, greater transparency and increased vigilance in government spending has managed to restore the trust of citizens in their government. The government has restored the integrity of our political institutions, which is something we can be proud of.
The Red Book, as it is called, indicated the ways to open new horizons for Canada and Canadians. This action plan, based on consistent and complementary economic, social and foreign policy measures, demonstrates that the quality of our social context determines our well-being and that a declining economy has severe consequences for public security and human development.
If economic growth does not materialize, our social efforts cannot be sustained, and if our social efforts are insufficient, our economic assets will be diminished.
The government intends to maintain its objective to create a climate that enhances economic growth. The 1996 budget will explain how the government intends to go about reducing the deficit and bringing it down to 2 per cent of GDP by 1997-98.
It was with determination to take our place among the leading nations of the world, to shape a country that can overcome obstacles, that functions smoothly, that knows where it is going, that two years ago the government undertook to prepare Canada for the year 2000. Its objectives to this point, halfway through its term in office, have been achieved. Integrity and competence have been restored to public life and the deficit reduction and program modification targets have been met. Our essential concern in cutting back certain programs has been to do so intelligently, with awareness for possible consequences such as loss of jobs, impoverishment and dependence on the state. We wanted to avoid fracturing Canadian society, and we have succeeded.
It is under public finances that one finds one of the pillars of the government's strategy. The Throne Speech demonstrates that this objective is still central to the government's concerns. The government's plan zeroes in on the essentials. It is continuing with the building up of a strong economy, in which job creation and growth will both be revitalized.
The government's watchwords are budgetary responsibility and fiscal fairness, a reduced deficit, and a balanced and stable monetary policy. The government's budgetary policy will take two main approaches: encouraging employment and growth while at the same time getting control of debt and the deficit. The two go together: Budgetary rigour will contribute to economic expansion, and economic expansion, by creating jobs, will increase government revenues.
The government's economic policy and its budgetary responsibility have made it possible for real interest rates to fall and inflation to be wrestled to the ground, which has helped make Canada more competitive vis-à-vis its principal trading partners. By striving to align our rates, we will make our businesses more competitive and we will build up the capital assets needed for economic expansion.
Honourable senators, what we want is a country of which all Canadians from all backgrounds and from all provinces and territories can be proud. We want a country with economic maturity, but we also want a country that has collective values. In an era of globalization, we want to belong to a national community that reaffirms what makes it distinctive.
We want our local communities, our provinces for example, to be the bulwarks of our social stability and our economic strength.
The Throne Speech made this very clear yesterday, and I quote:
Canadians are concerned about economic uncertainty, the sustainability of social programs and the unity of the country. The scope and enormity of the challenges are such that no individual, municipality, province or region acting in isolation can expect or hope to address them successfully. It will take the will to reason together and to pull together.
The Government of Canada wants this to be a country that creates wealth and then distributes it fairly. Canada's economy must be centred on innovation and focussed on export. The Canada of the year 2000 must be a country on the leading edge of technical progress, one which exports its technology to the entire world.
The two Team Canada missions in 1994-95 are evidence of just how well the government is fulfilling that fundamental commitment to revive the Canadian economy and create employment.
The balance-sheet with which the Canadian missions to Asia came back is quite simply amazing. Fifteen billion dollars worth of agreements were signed between Canadian companies and those in China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. Canadian industry as a whole, its employees and the general population will reap the benefits of these in the years to come.
Speaking of the years to come, young Canadians, young men and young women, want to contribute their talents and their energies to the building of Canada. It is the duty of government and business to give young people hope, to bring some light to the end of the tunnel by offering hope for the future and job prospects.
This Team Canada-type initiative developed by the federal government, in conjunction with the business sector and the provincial governments, is a most praiseworthy undertaking. The desire to offer our young people the opportunity to acquire experience and to find summer employment is an encouraging sign for our Canadian youth.
Like every modern society, Canada must come to terms with the phenomenon of globalization, which is the prime revolutionary force of our times. The strategic position Canada already occupies in this new international dynamic, through its relations, through its weight, through its reputation and through its authority, puts it among the biggest and the best placed to meet the coming millennium.
In order to grow, Canadian society must choose solidarity over egotism. Canadians must look to the bold, to economic innovation and to geopolitical innovation for their strength and energy to free themselves. They must understand that Canada must adapt to major new cultural, structural and sociological arrangements.
To stimulate employment and growth, the financial elements of federalism must be renewed, through greater cooperation between the various public authorities or the according of certain jurisdictions to the provinces. The aim of the Government of Canada to reduce public spending by eliminating overlap in cooperation with the provincial governments is not only being continued, but is becoming a major factor in Canada's new economic order.
Canada was born and has even grown in the most difficult economic times, through the will of its citizens. Each generation has dreamed of a country with a strong economy, a firm belief in social justice and a pride in its diversity, its solidarity and its skills.
The time has again come for the citizens of this country, as for its leaders, to reach back into its history and to seek out the sources of its grandeur, its strength, its distinction and its individuality in its origins.
Canada was built on the good will of its founding peoples. As the year 2000 approaches, and after more than 130 years of history, Canada can no longer survive in the short or medium term on any old sort of political arrangement alone.
On October 30, Quebecers gave a signal, which has been heard. The government will act responsibly and make changes that will benefit all Canadians. The Canadian federation will adapt to the 21st century, and will modernize in keeping with our diversity. The government will not use its spending power to create new cost-shared programs in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction without the approval of the majority of the provinces.
Furthermore, the government is prepared to withdraw from its functions in such areas as manpower training, forestry, mining and recreation, and will propose an improved partnership to the provinces in other areas such as food inspection, environmental management, social housing and tourism.
The Government of Canada wants all Canadians to be in on the debate on the country's future. It will encourage Parliament to listen for the changes Canadians want made. Creating jobs, strengthening the social safety net and renewing Canada by making the changes needed are the government's top priorities. Within a few months, the first ministers will be invited to a conference to discuss these problems and find common solutions.
Together, we will overcome economic difficulties and resolve differences among Canadians. Thanks to the government's tenacity and vision, we are moving in the right direction. This is reassuring for the country, for the people, for the men and women who have faith and confidence in Canada.
However, we are not there yet. The basic solidarity I was telling you about earlier must manifest itself now more than ever.
Medicare, for instance, is one of the great social achievements that define Canadian society. It lies at the heart of the Canadian soul and reminds us of the level of excellence we can achieve.
The government remains committed to five great principles with regard to health care: it must be universal, portable, comprehensive, publicly-funded and administered by the state.
As the Speech from the Throne pointed out, and I quote:
Our legacy to future generations must include the assurance for all Canadians, wherever they live, that there will be a modern and accessible health care system ... that a public pension system will be there to support people in their old age...
The government is committed to adapting our federal arrangements as necessary to meet current challenges and to prepare for the next century. The government will work with the provinces and with Canadians to determine the values, principles and objectives that should underlie the Canada Health and Social Transfer.
Social programs, justice for all, equal opportunities are three of Canada's basic values. Single parent families, low income families and unemployed workers are among the government's top priorities. The new EI plan to be implemented in a few months, while respecting the fiscal parameters of the proposed reforms, will be responsive to the realities of the Canadian job market and will ensure that the impact of economic changes does not fall unfairly on workers who are most in need of support.
The cooperation and understanding of all concerned, including other levels of government, will be essential.
Honourable senators, this cooperation and understanding, a sign of good will, must become universal values for our country in every area.
A country that overcomes its difficulties is a united country.
A country whose people cooperate, help one another and respect the differences among themselves is a united country.
A tolerant country is also a united country.
A country that remembers is a united country.
Together, and only together, can we succeed in setting Canada back on the right course.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, it is an honour and a pleasure for me to second the motion for an Address in Reply to His Excellency the Governor General moved by my esteemed colleague Senator Bacon.
Honourable senators, first allow me to pay tribute to you for the distinguished manner in which you conduct the business of this house.
Long before I came to the Senate, I was aware of your exceptional contribution, not only to your province but also to the whole country. I am grateful for the support and encouragement you gave me on numerous occasions over the years.
As Eugene Whelan used to say, "There are two official languages in this country and I do not speak either one of them." However, to make myself understood, I shall continue in English.
I also wish to pay tribute to a former colleague of mine, the present Governor General of Canada, who brings his own personal integrity and worth to that office. I came with him to Ottawa in the class of 1972, as did other members of this chamber. That was an outstanding class. It is fitting that he occupy that office because he personifies those values of integrity, fair-mindedness and compassion that best define our country.
I speak about our country, Canada, with all the pride of a new Canadian. I was not born a Canadian. For my generation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we are not Canadians by birth but by choice. In 1949, only 52 per cent of us voted to join Canada, a rather timid response. But today, we have come to know that this is the greatest country in the world. We do not have to be told that by the OECD or the UN. It has been a privilege for me to serve in Canada's Parliament for almost 24 years now, both in the House of Commons and now here in the Senate.
The real joy of politics, as honourable senators will know, is the bond that is forged between people. I would not have traded my people for any other. For if there are distinct societies in Canada, then, clearly, we are one. A centuries-old idiom and dialect gives us away every time.
Those centuries have been challenging, to say the least, for our people. We have known struggle and hardship. We still experience that today, but it has only served to strengthen us, as struggle and hardship always does. While we await with great anticipation those benefits that, in years to come, we believe will flow from the offshore and, more recently, from the great nickel discovery at Voisey's Bay in Labrador, we know, like people all across this country, that we will have to brace ourselves in the coming months to cope with the new trading patterns, new financial flows and new technology that are shaking the very foundations of Canadian society.
We in my part of the country are no strangers to both triumph and disaster. Nor are we without a well-developed sense of irony. How could we be when we have just witnessed the new premier of Newfoundland and Labrador rising to impressive heights of popularity on the back of a fish that few had ever heard of, and even fewer had ever eaten!
My province has the lowest per capita income, but we still give to charity at twice the national average. We have the highest unemployment rate, but at the same time we have the lowest crime rate. We make our own special contribution to the values of Canada and to the definition of what it means to be a Canadian.
Perhaps it is easier to get a clear definition of Canada and Canadians from abroad. Those of us who have had the privilege of representing Canada in international councils know the high esteem in which Canada is held. Those people who so often look to Canada for leadership are perplexed and mystified that a country, positioned perhaps as never before to play a leading role in world peace, should at the very moment be contemplating breaking up. This is quite incredible. It is also incredible that, at a time when we as Canadian parliamentarians have a unique opportunity to reach out to new parliamentarians in emerging countries, the budgets of parliamentary associations are being cut.
This is not a time to withdraw from international councils. This is a time for Canada and Canadians to be fully engaged. We can do that through parliamentary associations. I speak as one who, for some years now, has been involved with NATO parliamentarians and has witnessed the events in Bosnia. NATO is not dead. It fact, if it did not exist we would have to invent it. I was pleased to see the government recommit its support to NATO in the Throne Speech yesterday. Yet NATO's value in future may depend not only on its network and its international alliances, its guns and its planes but also on the democratic systems that are espoused and promoted by its parliamentarians.
One of my own personal experiences of what it means to be Canadian came during the visit to Bosnia of our Special Joint Committee on the Review of Defence Policy. The Canadian Forces had arranged for us to meet and talk with the mayor of Ilias, a small town on the outskirts of Sarajevo. That town was in the news again recently because the Serbs who live there want to leave. The mayor also happened to be a member of the militia. He indicated that, while he would rather our soldiers go home and let the Serbs get on with their fighting, he had great respect for Canadians. What was important that day was not what was said or what minds were changed, or what we learned; what was important was that, in the midst of hostilities the like of which we had not seen since World War II, a group of Canadian parliamentarians could have a meeting like that at all. It was held because of the respect on the part of the Serbs for our troops.
Canadians, as represented by the men and women of the Canadian Forces, our peacekeepers, are seen as fair-minded and even-handed, and they are trusted. I discovered that day the importance of Canadian values. I came away with a greater appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a Canadian.
We must change, though, in this country. The change must be based on those fundamental values and beliefs that bind us and define us as Canadians. Richard Gwyn, in his book Nationalism Without Walls, calls Canada not a nation state but a state nation, one that is based not on ethnicity or a common language but on the values and the attitudes that we have developed together during our shared experience. It is those ideals of tolerance, civility and decency that define us and endear us to the world. The Governor General yesterday added the qualities of generosity and compassion, qualities that he hopes to recognize especially. Gwyn goes on to say that it is our image that is important to people abroad, and that our cultural expressions and our institutions reflect those values and those attitudes. Our film and television documentaries and our satires, from This Hour has 22 Minutes to The Royal Canadian Air Farce, all reflect an irony that cannot be called typically North American. Our writers of fiction, such as Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais and Antonine Maillet, are all people who express most clearly the Canadian voice abroad.
Gwyn acknowledges that we no longer have the money that we once had for the arts, or indeed for anything else, but he suggested it is important that we continue to fund those cultural institutions. I was pleased to see yesterday that the government sees the value to Canada of our cultural institutions by its commitment in the Throne Speech to the long-term vitality of the CBC, Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board.
This idea of looking to the past for our bearings, looking to our cultural institutions to express that, was best put in a maritime metaphor by an old friend of mine, Dr. Jim Downy, who is now president of the University of Waterloo. He said:
Descended as I am from a long line of Newfoundland fishermen, I tend to think that we move forward in time, not as a driver drives a car but as a rower rows a boat on a foggy day, taking our bearings for the most part from where and whence we've come. Paradoxical as it may seem, it is the past that is always in front of us; it is the future that lies behind us. I am not being entirely facetious, therefore, when I say that it is our past that we must plan best, finding clues and patterns to a better understanding of our institutional character and purpose. When we have done that, we can take the future as it comes, with our options open, our wits about us, and a strong sense of who and what we are to see us through.
Honourable senators, an examination of the past will show that although values and attitudes must not change, policies and procedures should. One of these is our policy towards aboriginal people. To most who fear change in our policy and what it might bring, I say it cannot be any worse than the policy of the past. When we witness the self-destruction that is going on in aboriginal communities, the alcoholism, the drug abuse, the family violence, the jails filled to an inordinate degree with aboriginal people, it is crystal clear that policies of the past have been wrong. Whether through paternalism or simple neglect, we have brought undue and unjustified pain and suffering to those people who were in this country first.
They did not ask the rest of us to come here, honourable senators. Neither did they ask for the disease and the imposition of foreign rules and procedures that were alien to them. They have every reason to be angry about treaties that were not honoured and promises that were not kept. Clearly, throwing money at the problem has not worked, and now there is no more money to throw. In the meantime, it is clear as well that no group can exist in Canada in 1996 purely as hunters and gatherers. While that can remain part of their life still, it clearly cannot be all of it.
The good news, honourable senators, is that aboriginal people have empowered themselves. Whether it is the creation of Nunavut or the creation of an aboriginal police force in the community of Davis Inlet, the Inuit, Indians and the Métis have begun the process of self-help and self-realization. What they want and what is simply their due in a tolerant society that cares is independence, self-reliance, and self-respect.
Honourable senators, there is no one solution for the country and no set of measures that will satisfy all and suit all, but there are elements emerging in the settlement of land claims, such as the one recently signed with the Nisga'a in British Columbia, that appear to be acceptable to all. They include resource rights, territorial rights, special rights in areas such as wildlife and, finally, self-government. There is no definition for that either, no one definition for the country, but it is a concept to which we must commit. Only when they run their own affairs can aboriginal people take charge of their lives, regain their self-respect and chart their future. Only when land claims are agreed to and aboriginal people are given their fair share of control and revenue will we see the smooth and profitable development of resources in this country, such as the one in Voisey's Bay, Labrador. It is imperative that land claims talks be accelerated and brought to a speedy conclusion. I remind honourable senators that whatever happens in the future cannot be any worse than what happened in the past.
With regard to Quebec and the national unity issue, what we must do, I believe, is persuade the people of Quebec that Canada should remain whole, and that they have been, and are, an integral part of the Canadian identity; that it has been their language and their culture that has helped to make Canada unique among the nations of the world. The union and the blend of languages and cultures is what makes Canada strong and enables us often to play a pivotal role in world affairs.
I remember a short time ago spending a week with theVan Doos at Valcartier as they trained in preparation to replace the Princess Patricia's on peacekeeping duty in Bosnia. The general in charge of Valcartier at that time was Roméo Dallaire, a tough but cheerful army man who later was to command the UN forces in Rwanda. I remember late one night he took me in a helicopter and flew me over the Citadel in Quebec City. It was a thrilling sight for me and one that I shall never forget. He was proud of his place; it has a special place for him in Canada, and he is a proud Canadian. He was chosen to command the UN forces, not only because he spoke French, even though that was an asset, and not only because he had been trained in the Canadian Forces, even though that too was an asset, but because he exemplified in his person those values and attitudes that make us special as a people in this country, whether we are French, English, Italian, German, Jamaican or Inuit in origin - compassion, tolerance and civility. It also helped that he had a terrific sense of humour.
Honourable senators, Roméo Dallaire is not alone in the Canadian Forces. The time I spent with them convinced me that this is a very special group of men and women. They have been able to distinguish attractive qualities in each other, and I sense no breakdown in the Canadian Forces along linguistic or racial lines. If only Canadians could experience the kind of camaraderie that exists in the Canadian Forces because, notwithstanding the Somali inquiry, by far the greater part of the Canadian Forces exemplifies all the best qualities that are found in the Canadian population as a whole.
This, then, is the message that I believe we have to send to the people of Quebec, over the heads of the elite and through a fair and faithful medium - if that can be found - that we have lived together as one people, that we have built together a society of which we can be proud and that is the envy of the world. Rather than discuss the destruction of that creation, we must find ways to preserve and enhance it.
Honourable senators, the new society that is emerging in Canada is stimulated by the information society throughout the world. We have been resource harvesters and traders, and now we must trade in information and knowledge. We are challenged by new technology and by collapsing national borders. The challenge is not just to the Canadian government and Canadian business, but to the Canadian worker. He or she will have to survive somehow and find a place in the world. That will not be easy, to which any of us who have had young people graduate recently can attest. I was pleased yesterday to see the commitment of the government to renewed efforts to help young people find training and a job.
While the challenge to compete with greater skills and greater knowledge is upon us, we still have in the country an illiteracy rate that is far too high. This is a situation that the new Canada cannot afford or tolerate.
Honourable senators, I should like to pay tribute to the Leader of the Government in the Senate for her outstanding concern for and contribution to this important issue. From the time of her appointment to this chamber, she realized the tragedy of this situation and has championed the cause. As the Minister with special responsibility for Literacy, she has worked diligently and well to combat this dreaded problem in our country. She has had a great deal of success by encouraging partnerships all across the country for the reduction of illiteracy. She needs even more resources, and I urge the government to give the fight against illiteracy the highest priority.
Honourable senators, it is not just simple literacy that we need to improve. There is an even greater challenge of computer literacy. There is a real danger in this country, I believe, that the two solitudes in the future may not be anglophone-francophone, east-west, have or have not, but those who have and use computers and those who do not. That is an issue that we must address. I hope this chamber can devote time to explore the implications for Canadians of this emerging problem.
I was pleased to hear the new Minister of Human Resources say that he will consider not only the fiscal reality of the country but the special needs of those who live in rural Canada, and particularly those who work in resource-based industries. The people whom I represented have become particularly dependent on what used to be called Unemployment Insurance. In fact, for some time it has been a form of income support. This has happened not out of choice but out of necessity. Our people do not choose to be idle. On the contrary, for years they have been "going down the road." Out of 35,000 people in Fort McMurray, Alberta, 7,000 are from Newfoundland and Labrador. The same holds true all across the country.
Those who stay in the fishery cannot catch more than the quota imposed by the government; those who stay in forestry cannot cut more trees than the law allows each year. The fisherman, loggers and tourist industry workers of Atlantic Canada are caught between a rock and a hard place. There must be some acknowledgment of this. These people are not lazy; on the contrary, elsewhere in the country they are considered to be hard workers. The fact is that their industries are seasonal, and dependent on limited resources. I know that the Minister of Human Resources understands this. He is a tough man, but he is a fair man. Honourable senators, I know that we will get a good deal from him.
In conclusion, whether we live in small or large communities, whether we live on the Atlantic, the Pacific or the Arctic Ocean, from sea to sea to sea, whether we speak French, English or Inuktitut, whether we work with our hands or our minds, whether we enjoy hockey or baseball, whether we are old or young, we are citizens of the greatest country in the world, and that country is in the process of renewal and redefinition.
Although this is a time of great tension and anxiety for us, it is also a time of great challenge. This generation of Canadians will be challenged as no other with the consequences of rough waters and the need to chart new directions. Each of us has a contribution to make and I believe that together we will be up to the challenge.
On motion of Senator Berntson, for Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Hon. B. Alasdair Graham (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, March 12, 1996 at 2 p.m.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, when we adjourn, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate give some thought to some of the business we could look into in the future. For instance, two committees were all but promised to us. In one case, Senator Beaudoin suggested that a Senate committee be struck. There could be discussions between the House of Commons and the Senate to restore our old committees. You chaired one yourself, Your Honour: the committee on the future of Canada, to deal with constitutional issues. I urge the government, through its leader and deputy leader, to give us an answer. While the house is at risk of burning down, as the old latin expression goes, why is the Senate not taking the matter into consideration? I sincerely hope that we will have a Senate committee look into the matter of the future of Canada. The suggestion has been made to the Senate. I would like you to think about it.
The second question, and one which I think senators should take seriously, is that of pensions and double-dipping, accusations of which we hear all the time directed at members of the House of Commons and the Senate. We had a very passionate debate on this matter, during which Senator Simard spoke. If I remember correctly, as I believe I do, Senator Graham said that we could consider this matter. In my opinion, we must deal with it in order that Canadians stop attacking their parliamentarians, which results in less and less respect for the institution of the Parliament of Canada.
You yourself, sir, have probably looked into the possibility of having such a committee. Only the Senate could do this work as it requires the tranquillity which the Senate has, and which was utilized by the committee which studied euthanasia. We should all be proud of the work done by that committee. Europeans, who must agonize over this same problem, have heard about our committee and have requested copies of our record of it, which I am providing.
The Senate, in its tranquillity, can do these kinds of studies. I request that you consider taking into account the two proposals that I have put to you, sir. I do so, of course, without refusing consent to adjourn until when you have proposed, rather than coming back tomorrow.
Senator Graham: Honourable senators, as all honourable senators know, the rules provide that unless I, as deputy leader, move a motion for adjournment to a date other than tomorrow, as I just did, we would automatically return tomorrow at two o'clock. However, we do not presently have any legislation from the other place.
I recognize again the eloquence and experience of the Honourable Senator Prud'homme. He has pointed out several issues that might well be taken into consideration by the Senate on a future occasion. I remind all honourable senators that it is up to the initiative of individual senators to launch inquiries, in the same fashion as the special committee on euthanasia was initiated by our former colleague Senator Neiman.
Having said that, I invite honourable senators, individually or severally, to launch whatever initiatives or inquiries they may wish in the future.
The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, March 12, 1996 at 2 p.m.