The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before calling Senators' Statements today, and because we are proceeding under a new rule, I remind you of the provisions for tributes contained in rule 22, as amended by a motion adopted on April 1 of this year.
Section 22(10) reads:
At the request of the Government Leader in the Senate or the Leader of the Opposition, the time provided for the consideration of "Senators' Statements" shall be extended by no more than fifteen minutes on any one day for the purpose of paying tribute to a Senator or to a former Senator...
Rule 22(11) further provides that:
The Speaker shall advise the Senate of the amount of time to be allowed for each intervention by Senators paying tribute, which shall not exceed three minutes; a Senator may only speak once.
Before proceeding, honourable senators, I advise that I have received a letter from the Honourable John Lynch-Staunton, Leader of the Opposition, which reads as follows:
Pursuant to rule 22(10) of the Rules of the Senate, I wish to request that the time provided for "Senators' Statements" be extended on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 for the purpose of paying tribute to the Honourable Richard Doyle, former Senator, whose death occurred on April 9, 2003.
Hon. Herbert O. Sparrow: I have a point of order, if I may.
The Hon. the Speaker: Points of order must be raised at the end of Routine Proceedings, which is just before Orders of the Day.
Senator Sparrow: May I then ask a question of the Speaker about the statement that the Speaker made?
The Hon. the Speaker: You may, but I must advise honourable senators that we are using up the 15 minutes that the rules provide for tributes. We have had a request from the Leader of the Opposition to be the first speaker on tributes.
Senator Sparrow: I appreciate that, honourable senators, but the rule reads further that:
The Speaker shall advise the Senate of the amount of time to be allowed for each intervention by Senators paying tribute...
I assume that that must be done before the tributes begin. The Speaker must indicate how much time is allocated, of which there shall not be any more than three minutes per speaker.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I did not read the whole rule, as I believe it speaks for itself. It is three minutes per speaker.
The Late Honourable Richard James Doyle, O.C.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, tributes to our late colleague Richard Doyle, in the days following his death, were understandably concentrated largely on the outstanding contributions he made to his profession and, in particular, to The Globe and Mail, with which he was associated for so many years, and which today continues to benefit from his skills and his understanding of the role of a journalist. So little was said or written about his years as a senator. Indeed, Dic Doyle's too short stay as a member of the Senate allowed those of us privileged to be his colleague, whatever our political allegiance, a unique opportunity to share in and profit from his extraordinary talents and admirable work ethic.
He was loyal to caucus without compromising his beliefs. He brought to any debate a level of intellect and precision of thought that drew undivided attention. He never succumbed to unprincipled compromise, whatever pressure was put on him to do so.
To repeat what I said at the time of his retirement from the Senate, Somerset Maugham once wrote of conscience being the guardian of community rules. Richard Doyle was a guardian of ours.
Dic's office door was always open. I have lost count of the times I went to see him without warning to seek counsel on a bill, to ask for improvements to a text, or simply just to sit and chat and benefit from his wisdom.
His last years here and until his death were not kind to him, as he suffered from a number of infirmities, yet his hand remained firm and his mind as stimulating as ever. This allowed the occasional exchange, the last one a conversation on his 80th birthday last month. Soon after, his beloved wife, Flo, died, and Dic was to follow only a few days later. May they both rest together in a peace they so richly deserve.
Hon. Joyce Fairbairn: Honourable senators, I am honoured to express, on behalf of our government leader, Senator Carstairs, who is unable to be here today, the sadness of senators on this side of the house on the death of our former colleague Richard James Doyle.
When we lose a trusted and beloved comrade, tradition very often dictates a ceremonial remembrance, cloaked in solemnity, sadness and respect. All those qualities were present at the final farewell to our late colleague, which some of us attended, in Toronto two weeks ago today. However, the constant sound of laughter that rippled through Trinity College chapel, and dominated the reception afterwards, truly reflected the character and spirit that motivated this talented, feisty, brave and lovable man — World War II air force veteran, journalist extraordinaire, officer of the Order of Canada, great promoter of literacy, and a senator in the Canadian Parliament.
From the day he entered this place in 1985, until his retirement 13 years later, he made a tremendous contribution to our debates and our committees. Indeed, we shared a great experience on his and my favourite, Legal and Constitutional Affairs, when the two of us, led by that fierce advocate of prison reform, Senator Earl Hastings, toured some of our most famous correctional institutions holding hearings with inmates, wardens and guards who had been left off the witness list on a major parole bill in the other place. We got the job done.
His speeches in this chamber remain forever as evidence of his skill as a wordsmith; his deep compassion for those in trouble without it being their fault, such as victims of hepatitis C; his articulate, and almost fierce, advocacy for Canada, particularly Ontario and Toronto, where he became part of our national newspaper history with his 20-year reign as editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail, a longer period than anyone in that position, other than the paper's founder, George Brown.
If there were a hall of fame or a special sidewalk for the footprints of journalistic heroes, Dic Doyle would be right up there at the top.
He was never keen on the word "journalist." Back in the days when he cut his teeth on the Chatham Daily News, it was a badge of honour to be called a "newspaperman," and, best of all, an "ink-stained wretch." One has only to read Dic's wonderful book Hurly Burly to get a feeling of the rollicking life that occupation offered and the role he played in guiding The Globe and Mail into the position of Canada's national newspaper.
His creed was that the job must be about fact and truth. Those who gathered to speak and honour him and his family represented the best in the business going back perhaps half a century, spurred on by the guidance, the confidence and the freedom granted them and so many others by Dic Doyle. My late husband Mike Gillan was one of those Globe and Mail "ink-stained wretches" who remained a devoted admirer of the editor, the mentor, the senator and always the friend.
Dic's life would not have moved down that remarkable path without the support and the laughter of his beloved wife, Flo, who departed just two weeks before him. Together they have left their children Judith and Sean and wonderful granddaughter Kaelen with great memories and a mighty challenge to live as fully and courageously as they did, particularly through the difficult times and illness of Dic's later years. For Senator Carstairs and all of us, we send them our deepest sympathy and best wishes.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, as an editor, Richard Doyle would almost certainly have wielded the blue pencil on some of the encomiums pronounced by his fellow journalists recently, as he would have scorned and struck a word so archaic and pompous as "encomiums" from my intervention today. Still, he could only be gratified, in particular, by the expressions of enduring gratitude and respect from among those who, early in their newspaper careers, were lucky enough to have had him as mentor and friend. We learned that Dic Doyle's standards and his example helped form the professional conscience of some of today's most respected journalists.
On April 16, many of them joined Senate colleagues, family and friends in the Trinity College Chapel at the University of Toronto. Senator Fairbairn has described the scene. At the Anglican funeral service, Reverend Kenneth Bagnell, a United Church minister and journalist who had served his young apprenticeship under Dic Doyle at The Globe and Mail, expertly combined homily and eulogy in a warm tribute to his friend. John Fraser, who accurately described himself as the Globe ballet critic sent by Dic Doyle as the first correspondent in Communist China, presided over a reception at Massey College, where he is now Master. Clark Davey, Dic's managing editor and partner at the Globe, spoke, as did Michael Valpy, one of Dic's well-known protegés, still at the Globe. Senator Lynch-Staunton spoke for us.
Dic Doyle had come to the Senate a week after his sixty-third birthday in 1985. In any reading of this man's life and work, I believe his fully dedicated years in the Senate complement perfectly the career of the small-town Ontario boy and newspaperman, the young flying officer from RAF Bomber Command, the respected newspaper editor. This life experience, together with his discernment and judgment, his integrity and his insistence on truth, were a gift to Parliament.
In his latter years here and following his retirement, he shrugged off an appalling combination of health problems — cancer, heart trouble, diabetes — and stayed mentally alert, informed, engaged and always forthcoming when asked to help work through a problem or comment on a draft text or proposal.
What he could not shrug off was the sudden passing of his dear wife Florence on March 20. If he was not able to choose the exact time of his own departure, he was, after such a full life and such a grievous loss, more than ready for it and, we may believe, blessed when it came on April 9.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, those who had the privilege to be a seatmate of Senator Doyle knew that our apprenticeship in this honourable house was being served beside a true journeyman senator. Dic Doyle was a colleague who demonstrated to all his heroic eloquence, even in the face of physical adversity. Every statement that he made was punctuated by dedication, integrity, respect, fairness, friendship, truth and justice.
It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and this was ever so true when the pen was in Senator Doyle's hand. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney once remarked, "When Dic Doyle would cut people up, including me, there was never any malice to it." As the former Prime Minister stated, Dic Doyle played a civilizing role and was widely influential in the Senate, precisely because he was so respected.
The editor's pen was ever at the ready, and I often observed the Leader of the Opposition passing back draft speaking notes that Senator Doyle would, shall I say, "adjust," for I am sure that an "imprimatur" was not being sought by the Leader of the Opposition, but perhaps a "nihil obstat" was.
Our wish today, honourable senators, is that our friend and mentor now rests with sacred scribes in the Bosom of Abraham.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to add some words on the passing of Senator Doyle. For those of us who speak about ethics, a topic currently before the Senate, one should simply read the speeches of Senator Doyle to know how one should conduct themselves in this chamber. Senator Doyle was probably the most principled senator that I have come to know in this chamber. He gave of his time, as other speakers today have noted, and I was fortunate to have an office close to his. He took it upon himself, without my invitation, to pass on his wisdom, which I found held me in good stead in every case.
He used words, but his words were measured. He valued the words, and he knew that any word spoken in this chamber would be a word that he would have to put into action and live by. Therefore, he did not speak quickly. When he spoke, he spoke with great thought, care and always with the guiding principle that he was here to serve Canadians and that it was a privilege to be in this place. That was the message that he conveyed to me on my first meeting with him that I should never forget, and I hope I have not.
He was also one to pass on, in a succinct way, some of the truths of this place that sometimes are not seen at the start. He told me that I may see Progressive Conservatives and Liberals in the Senate, but he said that is not the important thing when one works here. He wanted me to remember that there are spenders and savers. Anyone who served on the Internal Economy Committee while he was a member certainly grew to know which side of the fence he was on. He was very cautious to work for the best interests of the citizens.
If any new senator wishes to form an impression of Senator Doyle or to take a lesson on how one should conduct onesef in this chamber, they should simply go back over his wonderful, humorous speeches that are reported in Hansard. They are full of wisdom.
I know that when his wife passed away, much of him passed away with her. As has been pointed out, his passing was almost a blessing, but his life was certainly a blessing for us.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I am pleased to speak today of the importance of having next week as National Forestry Week. Canada's forests have played a significant role in the economic development and prosperity of our country. Canadian forests cover more than one half the country's land mass and reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 2000, Canada's forest industry provided direct employment to 373,000 people and indirect employment to another 700,000, and forest products contributed $20.8 billion of the country's gross domestic product.
I am certain you are aware that Canadian forests offer many benefits to the health and well-being of Canadians. Forested areas are home to almost two thirds of Canada's 140,000 species of plants, animals and micro-organisms. They provide tourism opportunities and fulfil recreational needs for an increasing number of urban dwellers. Forests have also had an important moderating effect on climate conditions. They filter our air and water and they rebuild and regenerate soils, preventing erosion.
However, all these important assets are vulnerable to climate change. Climate change is already affecting countries around the world, prompting international governments and non- governmental agencies to take action to help us deal with the effects of climate change. The globe's surface temperature has increased 0.6 degrees since the late 1800s. It is predicted to increase another 1.8 to 5.8 degrees by the year 2100.
Available research indicates that regional variations in temperatures have caused such changes as declines of some plant and animal populations, the earlier flowering of trees and the emergence of new insects and pests. The impact on Canada's forests is expected to be profound. Major changes are predicted in future forest growth and survival, tree species migrations and ecosystems shifts, increased shoot damage and tree die-back due to winter thaws, greater risk of forest fires and insect infestation and increased damage to forests due to extreme weather events. These, in turn, would produce socio-economic effects such as changes in timber supply and value, loss of forest stock, changes in land values, reduced land use options, increased land use conflicts and dislocation of parks and natural areas.
Honourable senators, the effects of climate change are already with us but, as the effects become increasingly evident, Canada's forests will be called upon to play an even broader and more complex role. For example, forestry practices such as reforestation can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a fact that could affect the development of future forest management strategies. On the other hand, our forests must, at the same time, adapt to new conditions resulting from climate change. Less precipitation and less rainfall, combined with more sun and high temperatures, can expose our forests to extreme drought conditions. The forest industry and policy makers will have to develop policies and practices that enable our forests to be managed in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner. These policies must be implemented in order to generate forest products and contribute to the vitality of our rural communities while simultaneously adapting to changes in the climate and the world market.
In conclusion, the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry is studying how Canada's agriculture, forests and rural communities can adapt to the effects of the changing climate. A preliminary report of its findings will be issued in June.
Atlantic Scene—Anne of Green Gables Musical
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, in a world troubled and weighed down by conflict, strife and disease, there is one magical story of youthful exuberance and family life that continues to entertain and lift the spirit. It is an Island story of a little, red-haired orphan girl who finds a home in the mythical rural village of Avonlea, under the sheltering roof of an old family homestead called Green Gables.
Written by Prince Edward Island authoress Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908, Anne of Green Gables has become a classic of children's literature, translated into numerous languages and read and enjoyed by countless children and adults around the world.
In 1965, as part of the inaugural Charlottetown Festival at the newly-opened Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Anne of Green Gables, the musical, was born. Based on L. M. Montgomery's enchanting novel, the music was written and composed by Don Harron and Norman Campbell, with lyrics by Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore.
Anne of Green Gables, the musical, is a Canadian cultural icon. Moreover, honourable senators, it has also become a vital part of Prince Edward Island's tourist industry. Indeed, the Charlottetown Festival was named the top event in Canada for 2003 by the American Bus Association and has been consistently named one of the top 100 events in North America by the same prestigious organization.
Since its opening performance on the Confederation Centre's main stage, Anne the musical has played to about 3.2 million people worldwide — in Charlottetown, of course, but also in other Canadian cities as well as in New York, London, England, and Japan.
Honourable senators, I am proud to inform you that Anne of Green Gables, this timeless classic of Canadian musical theatre, is presently on stage at the Centrepoint Theatre in Nepean as part of the Atlantic Scene Festival of East Coast artistic talent. Anne opened last night to a sold out and appreciative audience and will run through to May 3 with eight performances. I am sure you will join me in wishing the entire cast and crew of Anne of Green Gables a successful week at the Centrepoint Theatre and another record-setting summer in Charlottetown.
Anne Shirley was a fiery and outspoken little girl. She probably would have made a good parliamentarian. She believed passionately in family and home, and in loyal and true friendship. Indeed, she referred to her friends as "kindred spirits."
Honourable senators, to conclude, I can only repeat those familiar words of the song from the musical: "Anne of Green Gables, never change. We like you just this way."
Liberal Victory in Provincial Election
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, on October 30, 1995, and again on April 15, 2003, most of us anxiously watched election results coming in from the Province of Quebec. Fortunately, in each case the results were positive for Quebec and for Canada. The common thread through both was the Honourable Jean Charest, now the new Premier of Quebec.
None of us will ever forget Jean Charest's commitment to Canada, a commitment to a cause that, for him, has always transcended political lines, a commitment that he has eloquently put forward at every point in his career and in every corner of this country. It was this overarching commitment to the future of Canada that ultimately led Jean Charest to Quebec City and to his splendid victory last week.
Of course, honourable senators, it did not happen overnight. It took two provincial elections, five years and countless hours of hard work, rebuilding the party in his own image, not to mention the challenge of overcoming the ever-present sceptics and naysayers. However, overcome them he did. I know that all honourable senators will watch with considerable interest as he puts in place the bold and innovative program for change he set forth during the election campaign, a program that Quebecers have enthusiastically endorsed.
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure and honour, along with Senator Rivest, of attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet or Conseil des ministres. For the first time in ten years, the Canadian flag could be seen in the Salon rouge.
Michel Morin wrote the following in his April 14 article in the Tribune de Sherbrooke:
The Liberals owe this victory, one as yet unexpected ten days or so ago, entirely to their leader. Admittedly, Jean Charest's campaign was an exemplary one, and one that will likely go down in the annals of Quebec's political history.
Later on in the article, he wrote that the victory was not a Liberal victory, but:
...the victory of their leader, Jean Charest, and his alone!
We can now look forward to tough, reasoned positions articulated by the Government of Quebec on all issues; a Quebec that, as Jean Charest stated, will once again assume a position of leadership in the Canadian federation.
I wish to extend my best wishes to Jean, his wife Michèle and their children Amélie, Antoine and Alexandra, as he embarks upon this very important role for Canada and for the future of Quebec.
I know that he had the assurance of the invaluable support of his family throughout his campaign, which has enabled him to say, without hesitation, "I am ready."
And ready he is, honourable senators.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Vivienne Poy: Honourable senators, as most of you are aware, in December of 2001, the Senate voted unanimously to recognize May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada. This was followed by a formal signing of a declaration on May 21, 2002. This month, the Government of Canada unveiled a new poster in honour of Asian Heritage Month at the Diversity and Culture Conference. Celebrations are taking place in most major cities across Canada throughout the month of May.
Canadians of Asian heritage across the country have been delighted at this official recognition of our significance to Canada. We view this month as a valuable opportunity to raise awareness among the mainstream community about Asian- Canadian contributions to Canada. Volunteers are working very hard to reach out to their communities and to make their events as inclusive as possible.
In these efforts, we need your help. No doubt you are aware that SARS has left its mark on Asian communities in Toronto, but I want you to know that the Asian community is fighting back. We are rallying together in the fight against SARS, as well as some of the racial language that has come with this disease. We want you to know that SARS is not a Chinese disease, nor is it an Asian disease. We are uniting together to celebrate our communities and, given the recent crisis, we need to do this now more than ever.
We invite all honourable senators to come out and show their support and leadership by attending and publicizing these events. Whether you are in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary or Vancouver, please make an effort to attend at least one event during the month of May. All the activities are listed on the Canadian Heritage Web site, and I will send more information to your offices.
According to the 2001 census, Canadians of Asian heritage now make up almost 10 per cent of the population of Canada. In cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, we now form a critical mass. There are over 1 million Asian Canadians in Toronto and almost 700,000 in the Vancouver area. The numbers have also grown exponentially over the past few years in cities across the country, including Ottawa. Undoubtedly, if immigration patterns remain stable, this number will continue to grow. As such, what affects the Asian community affects us all — socially, politically and economically.
Honourable senators, I invite you to join in the celebrations and pay tribute to the strength that Canada has derived from those of Asian heritage. Cultural diversity continues to enrich this nation, and we must embrace it as a unique Canadian asset, as Canada opens its doors to the world.
In May, Canadians can learn about Asian heritage and Asian Canadian history. This is an opportunity for the building of new networks and friendships that will last a lifetime. I know that Asian Heritage Month will have a positive impact on all Canadians. We are all proud of our multicultural country and its many achievements. In the face of the many crises that threaten the values that we hold dear, it is important that community and political leaders work together to reinforce the multicultural ideals that form such an essential part of our Canadian identity.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw your attention to the presence in the Speaker's Gallery of Ms. Cheryll Hannaford and Ms. Shirley Sharzer. They provided assistance to our former colleague Senator Doyle in his years here. Welcome to the Senate.
Ninth Report of Committee Tabled
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament, which deals with its mandate under rule 86(1)(f) of the Rules of the Senate.
Budget and Authorization to Engage Services and Travel—Report of Committee on Study of Matters Relating to Straddling Stocks and Fish Habitats Presented
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, presented the following report:
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has the honour to present its
Your Committee, which was authorized by the Senate on November 6, 2002, to examine and report from time to time upon the matters relating to straddling stocks and to fish habitat, respectfully requests for the purpose of this study that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary, and that it be allowed to adjourn from place to place within Canada.
Pursuant to section 2:07 of the Procedural Guidelines for the Financial Operation of Senate Committees, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that Committee are appended to this report.
GERALD J. COMEAU
(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 774.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Comeau, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Cooperation and Development Meeting, March 25-28, 2003—Report Tabled
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 23(6) of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian section of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, as well as the related financial report. The report concerns the meeting of the assembly's Committee on Cooperation and Development, which was held in Ottawa from March 25 to 28, 2003.
Absence of Leader of the Government
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as you can see, the Leader of the Government in the Senate had to absent herself from the national capital as a part of her responsibilities as a minister. Unfortunately for all of the senators, and fortunately for me, I cannot give answers on behalf of the Government Leader in the Senate. However, I can take note of any questions.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the response to an oral question raised in the Senate on April 3, 2003, by Senator Stratton regarding total government expenditures, net revenue from the goods and services tax and net revenue from employment insurance premiums.
Total Government Expenditures, Net Revenue from Goods and Services Tax and Net Revenue from Employment Insurance Premiums Since 1993
(Response to questions raised by Hon. Terry Stratton on April 3, 2003)
This Government's commitment to good fiscal management speaks for itself. This Government took office in 1993 with a plan to restore the integrity of the Government's finances by first reducing and then eliminating the deficit.
And the Government has done that. Moreover, it has done so though a prudent and balanced approach to managing the nation's finances.
When the final financial results for fiscal year 2002-03 that came to a close on March 31 are reported later this year, they will show that this Government has recorded its sixth consecutive budgetary surplus. Over this period of fiscal surpluses, the Government has reduced the debt by more than $47 billion.
Further, as announced in the 2003 Budget, the Government is committed to balanced budgets or better and further reducing the public debt in each of the next two years. This will mean eight consecutive years when this Government has delivered balanced budgets or better.
Expenditure control has been the key underpinning of the Government's fiscal management. With the elimination of the deficit, the Government has made investments in key high-priority areas, such as health care, and skills and innovation. Even with these investments, program spending relative to the size of the economy is about 12 per cent of GDP, which is near a postwar low and well below the 16 per cent of GDP recorded in the early 1990s.
The Government is committed to ensuring that its programs continue to be relevant, effective and affordable and will reallocate spending from low to high priorities. To this end, the Government announced in the 2003 Budget that it will launch an ongoing examination of all of its non- statutory spending on a five-year cycle.
The Government's commitment to expenditure restraint and balanced budgets enabled the Government to introduce the largest tax reduction in Canadian history. The 2003 Budget built on that five-year, $100 billion tax reduction plan by introducing further tax reductions.
In response to the suggestion that the surplus is due to net GST revenues and the cumulative balance in the Employment Insurance (EI) Account, it is incorrect to say that the budgetary balance is due to the excess of a particular revenue source or sources. The budgetary surplus or deficit reflects the balance of all revenues and expenditures.
The EI Account has existed for some time and has been consolidated with the books of Canada since 1986, on the recommendation of the Auditor General. The cumulative surplus is simply a bookkeeping entry that adds up annual premium revenue and program cost transactions.
Health—Alternative Fuels Act
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answers to Questions Nos. 44, 45 and 46 on the Order Paper—by Senator Kenny.
Natural Resources—Alternative Fuels Act
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answers to Questions Nos. 47, 48 and 49 on the Order Paper—by Senator Kenny.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency— Alternative Fuels Act
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answers to Questions Nos. 51 and 52 on the Order Paper—by Senator Kenny.
Canadian International Development Agency—Alternative Fuels Act
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answers to Questions Nos. 53 and 54 on the Order Paper—by Senator Kenny.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade— Alternative Fuels Act
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government) tabled the answer to Question No. 84 on the Order Paper—by Senator Kenny.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I would like to introduce to you a visiting page from the House of Commons.
Catini St. Pierre, from London, Ontario, is enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa and her major area of study is history.
Welcome to the Senate.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Herbert O. Sparrow: Honourable senators, this is not necessarily a point of order, but it may be. It is in relation — and I need to be further advised on this — to the Speaker answering a question I had pertaining to tributes at the beginning of today's sitting. In the provision for tributes, it does say that the Speaker shall advise the Senate of the amount of time to be allowed for each intervention by senators paying tribute, which shall not exceed three minutes, and that a senator shall speak only once.
That provision would indicate that if there were more speakers than would take up their three minutes, as allowed in the 15 minutes, then the Speaker is to notify those senators that they have only one minute to speak, or two minutes to speak, whatever the number of senators who wish to speak within that period of time.
Honourable senators, that raises a number of questions. One, it would mean, then, that anyone who intends to speak on that matter must notify the Speaker so that he can make a list. That is not normally the way the Senate operates. Basically, when a senator rises, he is allowed to speak.
In His Honour's response to me, he said that he had read that statement in the rules, and it indicated that each senator had three minutes to speak. However, if honourable senators refer to the report of the committee when it reported on these changes, and when the senator moved this amendment — and this is where some of the confusion arises — that was the exact wording of the committee's report to the Senate.
That report stated that on those occasions when a large number of senators wished to speak, it might be necessary to reduce the time allotted to individual speakers. Your committee strongly believes that 15 minutes ought to be a maximum, and that no leave to extend the time should be sought or granted. That indicates that there should have been a provision if there were to be more than, say, five speakers. If there were to be six, then the time would have to be cut down for each of those speakers.
Could His Honour tell me whether I am reading that provision correctly?
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, Senator Sparrow's matter is more in the nature of an inquiry than a point of order, but because this is the first time that we have used the new rules for tributes, perhaps it is appropriate to try to clarify questions such as the one the honourable senator is asking.
Senator Sparrow's comments envisage the answer in terms of there being more than five wishing to pay tribute, leading to the conclusion that they would not have three minutes each, which is the maximum that any one senator, under the rule, is permitted to speak in tributes.
As to the list of those wishing to pay tribute, it is not unusual for the Chair to receive an indication from senators through the deputy clerk, who liaises with the Speaker from the Table, to have an indication of who wishes to take the floor in paying tribute. That was the case today and, in fact, there were five names on the list that, with the assistance of the deputy clerk, I used to call senators. I might observe that there was some deviation from that list during the paying of tributes.
If, in fact, I — or whoever is in the Chair at that time — have received an indication, as I would expect to do in the normal course, of more than five senators wishing to speak, it would be useful, where a request has been made to use an additional 15 minutes for tributes, to indicate, before calling Senators' Statements, that less than three minutes would be available. However, there is no better answer in the rules than the one I am attempting to give you now, that I can think of, Senator Sparrow. I hope that will be helpful to honourable senators.
Senator Sparrow: Is His Honour suggesting that if a senator wishes to speak on tributes, he or she must notify the Speaker beforehand? That would be unusual if that were the case. It is courtesy, in some instances, to notify the Speaker that you wish to speak, but it is not a requirement, and I am hoping that we are not making that a requirement.
It is obvious that sometimes one comes into the Senate not knowing that tributes are to be made that day; that one might come in while tributes are being made, and there is no opportunity even to notify the Speaker except when the senator stands. Somehow or other, we need further clarification on that issue.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Sparrow, you are quite right, and I agree that it is not necessary that a senator submit his or her name in advance. It would be wise for them to rise early, to signal to the Speaker a desire to speak, and then their name could be added to a list that might already be in the hands of the Speaker through the means that I described earlier.
Again, this is a new rule and we will have to learn how to use it. If, for any reason, senators find it wanting, it will then, of course, need to be brought forward again as a consideration of whether the rule is as we want it to be.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, on the same point, very briefly, it is also understood that if senators could not make that list that day, they can get up at any time thereafter on Senators' Statements for the purpose of rendering homage to someone who may have passed away, whether a sitting senator or not. I have been following the matter closely, and I believe it is part of the deal that took place when this new rule was adopted. No one will be excluded. If they are not reached on the list that day because of the 15-minute limit, they can rise to speak on the following day under Senators' Statements and use their time for that purpose.
I would like to be advised if I am wrong in my interpretation.
The Hon. the Speaker: No, Senators' Statements are a standard part of our routine proceedings, and my understanding is the same as the understanding of the Honourable Senator Prud'homme. We have often seen it to be the case, which is that tributes are often paid under that proceeding.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I have been listening for a minute or so and I am a little curious because this chamber now seems to abound in rules. When I first came here, the Senate had something like 80 rules, and now it seems that every day we are creating more. We are creating them at such a bountiful rate that we are now at a stage where no senator knows the rules. It is quite an interesting phenomenon.
In particular, my concern is the following: Am I to understand that we are now creating two classes of senators, those on the list and those not on the list? In other words, is it the listed and the "list-less"? If we are, I would like to know the nature of the relationship between the senators on the list and those not on the list — the list-less? Further, I would like to know what the relationship is between the two, the nature of the speaking order of those on the list and those not on the list — the list-less — and how the precedence or order of speaking is determined.
The Hon. the Speaker: The best answer I can give, Senator Cools, is that it is similar to Senators' Statements, where there is a specific time allotted, 15 minutes, and a three-minute time limit.
The best answer I can give to the senator's general question, is that it is a direct analogy to that process in terms of the way in which we would proceed. I refer you again to my comments on the assistance I sometimes receive through the Table from senators who have phoned the clerk's office to indicate a desire to speak or ask a question. Together with senators rising when an item is called, that is the information that whoever is in the Chair at that particular time must use to determine an order of speaking and to call the senators in that order.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I should like to offer a suggestion which is consistent with the tradition of the Senate and the senators' management of this chamber. I encourage senators to discourage the use of such lists so that we can employ the ancient technique of indicating that we wish to speak by simply rising. There is much to be said for the rough and tumble of debate and the general amount of noise and fuss that a good debate generates.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I draw to your attention the presence in our gallery of our former colleague, the Honourable Léonce Mercier.
He is here with the group known as Amis de Charles, from the Magog-Orford area. This is a group of professional men and women actively involved in volunteer work.
I also want to draw to your attention the presence in our gallery of Monsignor Tardy, who is accompanying this group. Welcome.
Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Adjourned
Hon. Lorna Milne moved the third reading of Bill S-13, to amend the Statistics Act.
She said: Honourable senators, it is with great pride that I rise this afternoon for what may be the last speech I will make in this chamber on the issue of the historic census.
This campaign has come a long way since it began five or six years ago. The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has recommended that this bill be passed without amendment. I urge honourable senators to do exactly that and without delay.
There is no doubt whatsoever that this has been a most difficult time for everyone involved. It has also become far more complex than I could possibly have imagined. The numbers tell that story.
The issue has survived the terms of office of three cabinet ministers, two privacy commissioners, an expert panel, cross- country town hall meetings, a handful of polls, 60,000 petitions to both Houses of Parliament, two motions in the other place, an inquiry in the Senate, two references to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, two national archivists, an unbelievable seven different bills, my own two private members' bills introduced here in the Senate, two in the other place by the member for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey and another two by the member for Ottawa Centre.
We now have before us, at third reading, Bill S-13, which is a government bill. It seems as if the only things that have remained constant in this whole debate are the Chief Statistician, Dr. Ivan Fellegi, and myself. We seem to be the proverbial yin and yang of this debate, although Senator Murray would probably say that listening to Dr. Fellegi and me has been more like watching the Hatfields and the McCoys.
In the 21st century, though, freedom of information and the right to privacy act much more like a yin and yang in Canadian public policy. Each of them is appropriate in certain amounts, and no democracy can function properly if one consistently trumps the other. Neither Big Brother watching over us nor the impenetrable shrouds of secrecy are appropriate in Canada these days. Information and privacy issues are all about balance. In the end, I believe that is exactly what Bill S-13 provides.
I will not be shy about the fact that Bill S-13 gives a major victory to genealogists and historians, for they have earned it. The bottom line is that those who have fought for eventual free access to historic census information have won their battle. The government has fundamentally shifted position from forbidding access forever to enabling broad access to the records. For that reason alone, this bill should be passed.
However, for those who have serious privacy concerns, there are strict limits on the ways in which the records can be used. For example, for the first 20 years after the census records are opened, people may see the records, may access the records, but may only publish "tombstone" information, which includes name, age, relationship to the head of the household and national origin. The exact list of tombstone information will be determined by a regulation.
Furthermore, historians or other researchers will only be allowed to have access to the records if a community leader, academic dean or a person of that stature reviews the research proposal and can vouch for the fact that the research will be beneficial to the community.
Another key component of this bill is that 92 years after each census is taken, control of the records will be transferred to the National Archives. The National Archivist is our country's historian. There is no doubt that, under his careful watch, these records will be preserved and protected for the use of Canadians for generations to come.
The other key thing that this bill does is that it sets out a scheme to deal with future censuses. All future census forms will ask Canadians if they will allow their information to be stored in the National Archives and released after 92 years. The handling of all future census information will be governed by prior informed consent. Where there is no consent, the information will not be released.
I will not stand here in the Senate and tell honourable senators that I have the right to force Senator Murray to release his information to the public 92 years after the 2006 census. That is not my right — it is his right to decide how information about him will be released in the future. Even though Senator Murray is out of the chamber for a few minutes, I dearly hope that Senator Murray will release his information to the National Archives. It would be a great loss to our country's history if future generations could not find a proper record of one of Canada's most notable senators.
I would be remiss, honourable senators, if I did not convey to you some of the tone and discussion that took place at the committee stage of this bill.
I began this speech by talking about the yin and the yang of the debate. Those senators who know their parables know that the yin and the yang must co-exist in order to create balance in life. I can tell senators that balance was the key word in the debate in the committee. Although most witnesses who appeared before the committee came down firmly on one side or the other side of the issue, the Chief Statistician and the National Archivist being notable examples, the vast majority of senators on the committee spoke of nothing but balance. Senator Murray, in particular, noted that this bill was a delicately framed balance that should not be disturbed. The government agrees wholeheartedly with that view. In fact, the committee chose not to pass amendments to the bill because it would simply not entertain upsetting that balance.
Now, even though all the witnesses knew, going into the hearings, that this bill was constructed to balance all the various interests, that did not mean that they did not try to upset the apple cart. Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski was particularly cutting in his remarks on the bill. He wanted nothing to do with it. He is still of the firm belief that the government made an unambiguous promise to Canadians that their census information would never be released. He still thinks that to pass this bill would be to forever destroy Canadians' faith in the privacy laws that are designed to protect them.
Senator Kinsella: He is right.
Senator Milne: Interestingly, the Information Commissioner did not want anything to do with this bill either. In the Deputy Information Commissioner's presentation to the committee and in a subsequent letter from the Information Commissioner himself, that office argued that to pass this bill would be a great step backward for those who want openness in government. The Information Commissioner believes that under current legislation the courts will, in the long run, force the government to release all historic census information 92 years after the anniversary of the census — with no restrictions. The Information Commissioner wants this bill defeated so that he can take the fight to the courts where he is convinced that he will win.
I believe, though, that an important social issue such as this should not be left to Canada's courts. It is clearly Parliament's responsibility to find an effective balance to the competing interests. I believe that this bill is an appropriate and realistic compromise. I also believe that although they may be a little disappointed with some of the details, the vast majority of genealogists and historians also think that this is an appropriate, workable and realistic compromise.
The remainder of genealogists can be fairly divided into two groups. One group believes it should not compromise on any issue and should fight to the bitter end because its side is right. This group is of the opinion that access to government files is a key right in a democracy and that any fettering of that right should not be tolerated. This group is not willing to settle for anything less than complete access to all censuses 92 years after the date of the census.
The government firmly rejects that approach. It is not appropriate to trample on Canadians' privacy rights. Indeed, a balance must be struck.
Finally, there is a group of genealogists that is perfectly willing to compromise but cannot, in good conscience, support this compromise because this group thinks it goes too far. A large part of the executive of the Canada Census Committee, including co- chairs Muriel Davidson and Gordon Watts, hold this view. They have provided me with many of the petitions that I have presented in this place. At the very least, I owe it to them to tell honourable senators where their line in the sand is.
First, in January 2003, the government released the 1906 census for unrestricted research and publication. The 1911 and 1916 censuses were taken under the exact same legal regime as the 1906 census. As a result, the Canada Census Committee believes that the bill should be amended to allow the 1911 and 1916 censuses to be released without restrictions, as was the 1906 census.
Second, as the bill is currently drafted, on all future census forms, Canadians will be asked to give permission to allow their forms to be stored in the National Archives and released after 92 years. This is the "prior informed consent" provision.
The Canada Census Committee is concerned that all those people who do not answer the question one way or another, who just simply leave the box blank, will be forever forgotten in Canadian history. They ask that the section be rewritten to ensure that the forms for all Canadians will be stored in the National Archives, unless they fill in the box indicating that they want to be excluded.
Honourable senators, all of that being said, I believe that this is a very good bill. It is a fair compromise. We could probably debate this forever and never have unanimity on the subject. The issue simply does not lend itself to that kind of a result.
The bottom line is that this is a good bill and should be passed. I believe that it is necessary for it to pass in order to allow Canadians guaranteed access to their history.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, I have a question for Senator Milne. Did I understand correctly that, if one checks the box, he or she is not giving permission for these documents to be released, the documents are sealed forever?
Senator Milne: That is correct.
Senator Comeau: I have been filling out census forms for a number of years. With all of the censuses that I have completed to date, there was an undertaking that the information that I was providing was confidential. It was my own. I was providing information to the government to help it plan government programs, for statistical purposes and so on.
All of the censuses that I have up until now signed in privacy with my government will now be accessible to anyone who wishes to see them after 92 years have elapsed. The promise or the undertaking that was made between myself and my federal government will be broken 92 years after the undertaking was taken; is that correct?
Senator Milne: That is only for tombstone information, which includes your name, address, whatever national background you wish to assign to yourself — I call myself Canadian — and the members of your family. That will happen after 92 years. After a further 20 years beyond that time, all of that information will become open.
Senator Comeau: Therefore, all of the information asked for on what is called the "long form," which asks confidential questions — and I do not know if the honourable senator has had a chance to look at it — will be made public in spite of the fact that an undertaking was given to these people that this information would not be divulged. That is my understanding.
Does this not also make it possible that information, once provided to government, becomes open after a certain number of years? What happens to the information requested when we apply for long gun registry cards, information even more personal than that contained on the census forms? If we take the tack that these files are what are referred to as government files, they no longer contain private information. They become government files. Is this the kind of information that after a certain number of years will be made public under the Access to Information Act?
I invite the honourable senator to look at some of the information on the long gun application forms to ensure that she understands the implications of the legislation we are being asked to pass in this house.
Senator Milne: Honourable senators, I would inform Senator Comeau that I have seen those forms. Very sensitive questions are asked on them. They come under a completely different section of the government. They do not fall under Statistics Canada whatsoever. Historically, they have never been nor I assume will they ever be transferred to the archives of Canada.
The census of Canada has always been transferred after 92 years and opened to the public after 92 years. This bill simply continues the tradition, which is a tradition in every single country in the Western world.
Senator Comeau: Honourable senators, I believe I used the same words that the honourable senator used and that were used by the people who signed those petitions. I have no qualms about people signing petitions to petition government to do things that they feel are important. I do not begrudge people doing that at all. However, these were viewed as government files. Once information is requested by these individuals, it becomes a government file. If we are authorizing, through this bill, the release of information that the government had undertaken on the census form to keep private and confidential, then are we not setting a precedent? In the case of long gun information, is it not the very same thing whereby this information becomes, at the drop of a hat, through a piece of legislation, available to the public? It may not be 92 years; it might only be 10 years. I am just alerting senators to the fact that we are stepping into an area where legislative provisions and undertakings of privacy and confidentiality are taking a direct hit. I am sure even the honourable senator would agree. If that kind of information becomes part of government files, what is to stop us from mounting another campaign next week to have these other government files made public?
Senator Milne: I would inform Honourable Senator Comeau that, presently, under the Access to Information Act, all government files are public after 25 years. Whether that will apply to the handgun registration, I do not know. However, I know that all government files are presently open to the public after 25 years, and I personally believe that they should be.
Senator Comeau: Does that mean that the income tax return that I filed 25 years ago is now available to the public?
Senator Milne: I should correct myself to say that income tax information is not available.
Senator Comeau: We must be very careful in how we proceed with these kinds of items. I invite the honourable senator to again look at the gun registry application forms. Applicants are asked all kinds of information. The honourable senator is saying that these forms are available after a few years to the general public and could be published everywhere. I am sure people will start putting in information that will not be of any use to government if this is the kind of approach that government uses with very private, confidential information. Let us be careful where we go with this.
Senator Milne: If that was in the order of a question, I can perhaps respond by saying, "Ninety-two years in the future."
Senator Comeau: I do not think we should be flippant about it. I do not think we should say that a person's privacy diminishes the longer the person is dead. I think we owe it to our predecessors and our ancestors not to do that. If they felt that something was their own or was private, I do not think we should erode their privacy regardless of how long they are dead. I do not think the fact that someone dies takes away the privilege of their own confidential and private information. We should be respectful of their privacy even after they have passed away.
Senator Milne: I quite agree with the honourable senator, and I was not intending to be flippant.
I believe the present Privacy Act legislates that 25 years after a person's death, their private papers can be made public. I would also point out that as soon as a person dies and their will is probated, their will, which is probably the most private thing that a person has, is automatically made public, and must be made public.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): The Honourable Senator Milne is mixing apples and oranges.
Senator Milne: I followed Senator Comeau's lead.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: When you prepare your will, you know, depending on what jurisdiction you live in, that it could be made public. You know that ahead of time. My objection to this bill is the following: No matter how basic the information to be made public, no matter the strict qualifications to those entitled to that information, it violates a pledge that is made on every census form. I will read it to colleagues. This is on the long form, and it applies to the short form: "The law protects what you tell us. The confidentiality of your census questionnaire is protected by law. All Statistics Canada employees have taken an oath of secrecy. Your personal census information cannot be given to anyone outside Statistics Canada — not the police, not another government department, not another person. This is your right." This was on the 2003 census form.
This bill violates a pledge made by the Government of Canada. I do not care whether it is just a name, an address, a city or a telephone number that is available elsewhere. I do not care whether it is in 92 years, and I do not care whether it is limited to people who are academics. I see this as the thin edge of the wedge. That is why I am opposed to this bill. It violates a pledge made to every Canadian who filled out this form. Does the honourable senator agree?
Senator Milne: I would repeat that this same sort of pledge is made on the census forms of the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany, and every single one of them eventually releases the census information to the public.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: What is the point?
Senator Oliver: That does not make it right.
On motion of Senator Kinsella, for Senator Murray, debate adjourned.
Interim Report of Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament Committee—Debate Adjourned
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report (interim) of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament entitled: Government Ethics Initiative, deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on April 10, 2003.
Hon. Lorna Milne: Honourable senators, I rise on this occasion to lead this chamber's discussion on the interim report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament on the government's ethics package.
Since we returned from the Christmas break, your committee has spent many long hours looking at the best way to construct a new ethics regime for the Senate. We have heard from many witnesses, and I believe it is worth mentioning them. From the academic community, we heard from David Smith from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; Dale Gibson, University of Alberta; Maureen Mancuso, University of Guelph; and Peter Mercer, University of Western Ontario. We heard from the Right Honourable Herb Gray and the former Honourable Senator John Stewart who gave us their perspectives as former parliamentarians. We heard from Lord Williams of Mostyn and Brendan Keith, who is the Clerk of the House of Lords registry in Great Britain. They talked to the committee about the British experience. We also tapped into the experience of the current federal ethics commissioner, Howard Wilson, and two of his provincial counterparts, Robert Clark from Alberta and Ted Hughes from the Northwest Territories.
This report, tabled with the clerk on April 10, goes into great detail on the role and function of an ethics commissioner. I will get into the specifics of our recommendations shortly but, as an aside, I wish to bring two matters to the attention of all honourable senators. First, we have appended all of the present rules that apply to the Senate, to the report. However, your committee has not yet looked into the actual rules that should make up a code of conduct. This report does not deal with specific issues such as spousal disclosure of assets, gifts to senators, or travel that is paid for by third parties. All of those issues will be dealt with in a second round of work on this proposed bill. Second, and much more important, your committee has not taken a stand on whether the position of ethics commissioner should be created by statute or through the Rules of the Senate. I will have more to say on that topic later.
Your committee has agreed on ten important points, eight of which are recommendations to the government concerning the creation of the position of ethics commissioner. I will deal with each one of those eight in turn and provide short comments. Honourable senators should know that your committee agonized over these recommendations, and they have been edited right down to the last letter. They reflect the genuine consensus of the committee.
When it comes to the creation of the position of ethics officer, there is only one issue that your committee has not yet decided on. It is my sincere hope that when the government proceeds with this initiative, these eight features that we agree on will be reflected in the proposals — if not to the letter, certainly to the spirit.
First: "Each of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Executive should have its own ethics officer." One of the key themes that ran throughout your committee's work was the need to recognize that the Senate is a constitutionally independent institution in Parliament, with a distinct purpose and culture. The mere fact that senators are appointed rather than elected demands that ethical rules be framed from a different perspective. Your committee strongly believes that one ethics officer with divided responsibilities and divided loyalties could not properly serve this institution. The only way to ensure that the ethics regime could properly reflect reality in the Senate would be to have our own ethics officer.
Second: "The duties and functions of the Senate ethics officer shall be defined in the Rules of the Senate and shall be carried out within the constitutional powers, duties, rights and obligations of the Senate." In addition to being a separate and distinct house of Parliament, the Senate must also be an independent institution. Moreover, it is your committee's strongly held belief that parliamentary privilege demands that senators have the right to discipline themselves without interference from the courts, the House of Commons or the executive.
There is no doubt that the rules governing the conduct of senators in the day-to-day activities of any ethics officer must be contained in the Rules of the Senate and not in statute. As I will note later, your committee is still deeply divided on how the position itself should be created.
Third: "A Senate ethics officer shall be appointed after agreement of the leadership of the recognized parties in the Senate, followed by a confirming vote in the Senate." The committee heard from provincial ethics commissioners who had one very clear message for us: The regime we have will only be as strong as the trust that senators have in the ethics officer. If it is not possible for all senators to feel that they can be open and honest with the ethics officer, the regime will collapse into irrelevance. By institutionalizing input from both sides of the aisle in the appointment of the ethics commissioner, the government can go a long way to ensuring that the person who holds the position will have the trust required to carry out this very sensitive job.
Fourth: "A Senate ethics officer shall serve for a term of seven years." One of the strengths of the Senate is its institutional memory. Indeed, the Senate was created because the founders of our country believed that Canada would benefit from the contribution of those who have extensive experience to draw upon. Your committee did not think that the five years proposed in the legislation was long enough for a person to build the expertise that characterizes this chamber of Parliament. On a personal note, I know that it took me several years before I felt that I had my sea legs around here, and I am not sure that I have them yet.
As such, your committee has recommended that the term be extended to seven years. I point out, however, that we have not yet tackled the question of whether the term should be renewable.
Fifth: "A Senate legal officer shall have legal expertise." The general consensus among the members of your committee is that the best person to fulfill the role of ethics commissioner would be a retired judge, but that does not mean that your committee would recommend that only retired judges would be considered. However, it would be fair to say that we all had pictured in our mind's eye that kind of a person. There is indeed no question that there will be a significant legal component to the role of an ethics commissioner as he or she would be required to evaluate the conduct of a senator against a set of rules that will include conflict of interest rules. Your committee feels that it would be best to ensure that an ethics commissioner have some legal experience.
Sixth: "The rules of conduct, including those currently in place, shall be incorporated into the Rules of the Senate following a detailed study." This recommendation is closely related to the second recommendation but has a slightly different emphasis. Already, there are extensive rules that govern the conduct of senators. Your committee believes it would be beneficial for those rules to be brought together in one coherent place. This is the easiest way to ensure that all ethical issues are addressed efficiently, without overlaps or gaps, and in a manner that is logical. For reasons that I outlined earlier, the best place for this coherent package to go is into the Rules of the Senate to ensure the independence of the Senate as an institution.
Seventh: "The Senate ethics officer may advise senators on their obligations and rights under the Rules of Conduct." Ted Hughes, the current ethics commissioner for Yukon, noted that his position was 10 per cent policeman and 90 per cent priest. The fact of the matter is that this regime will work best if it is used as a tool to properly organize the affairs of senators so that potential conflicts may be avoided before they arise.
Your committee also heard that even though the Prime Minister's current ethics commissioner, Howard Wilson, does not have any responsibility for senators, many honourable senators do consult him for advice on how to effectively organize their affairs. An ethics commissioner must have the freedom to consult and offer advice in a purely confidential manner, of course, if this regime is to work properly.
Eighth: "The Senate ethics officer shall report and make recommendations to the Senate, or to a committee thereof, as set out in the Rules of the Senate, but any final decision shall rest with the Senate." I repeat, "but any final decision shall rest with the Senate."
Honourable senators, your committee wants to make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that we do not believe that the courts should have any role whatsoever, either in interfering in the administration of or the ultimate decisions made under any ethics regime. These issues must not be justiciable. In his testimony before our committee, Peter Mercer from the University of Western Ontario indicated that certain steps should be taken in order to prevent these issues from ending up in the courts. His key recommendation in this regard was to structure the position of ethics officer to make it clear that it is only advisory and that all final decisions must rest with the Senate. Your committee unanimously agrees that the position must have no decision-making power and be wholly subservient to the will of the Senate chamber.
Those, honourable senators, are the recommendations that we have for the government. Those are the areas in which I can say that there is substantial agreement within the committee. I must now move, however, to the one area where there is significant disagreement within the committee.
To legislate or not to legislate? That is the question. Should the ethics officer be created within the rules of the Senate, or do modern political realities demand that we proceed by statute? Frankly, the committee was split on this subject.
As I noted before, all senators on your committee firmly believe that the courts must be kept out of this system to the extent that that is possible. As an independent branch of government and of Parliament, we ourselves must be the ones to determine whether the conduct of senators is appropriate. If the position is created through legislation, there is no doubt that the risk of judicial scrutiny is somewhat increased.
Furthermore, to the extent that the number of elements of the regime that are contained in statute are increased, the risk of judicial interference also increases.
Some senators on your committee believe that any risk at all of judicial interference is too great and that we must protect parliamentary privilege at all cost. They assert that it is the duty of senators to protect our privileges. Others on the committee take a very different view. Some senators argue that a statute- based system would offer the Canadian public the strong, independent and transparent system that they deserve.
There was a sense within the committee that various parliamentary officers that are created by statute, such as the Auditor General and the Information Commissioner, are seen by the public to be independent. It was argued that if the position of ethics officer was created by the Senate rules, or within the Senate rules, the public would see that as an attempt to keep the investigation of all ethical matters within what I have heard described as the "old boys' club" of the Senate. These senators have noted that the public is watching our actions closely.
In her testimony, Ms. Maureen Mancuso from the University of Guelph noted that "fully two out of every five Canadians have no confidence at all in the Senate as an institution," and that 61 per cent of Canadians believe that the best way to reduce corruption in government would be "to create an independent ethics commissioner to investigate the public's complaints." Some senators believe that an ethics officer created within the rules could not address these very real public perceptions.
As I noted from the outset, this report is the product of extensive work by your committee. Each word of this report was carefully hammered out and represents a consensus of the committee, even though it is not a final report. We spent almost 12 hours drafting it — eight hours in one day, in fact — just to finalize the 10 points, eight of which I have been speaking on today, that honourable senators will find at the beginning of the report. We also heard from all of the witnesses that I listed at the start of my remarks.
I believe this is a good report, and your committee put an incredible amount of time and effort into crafting it. Honourable senators, I am proud to place this report before you for your consideration. You can rest assured that the committee will continue to look at many issues on this important topic. It is my hope that the government will listen carefully to everything we have said. I also hope that all senators will work together to build a new ethics regime that will provide us all with expert, independent advice when needed and that it will reflect the unique nature of this chamber while living up to the increasingly high expectations of the Canadian public.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Colin Kenny: Honourable senators, I wish to ask a question of the Honourable Senator Milne.
The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to advise honourable senators that Senator Milne's time has expired.
Senator Milne: Honourable senators, I am quite willing to answer questions. I ask for leave of this chamber to extend the time to do so.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, did the committee have a chance to consider the testimony from Mr. Mark Audcent, the Senate Law Clerk, in relation to sections 119 to 123 of the Criminal Code that dealt with the anomaly in English and French between "fonctionnaire" and "official" and how senators are currently captured by the definition of "official" in light of, ultimately, Mr. Justice Dickson's ruling in the Giguère case, and how that creates, if you will, an absurdity, where senators are caught without the protection afforded to public servants in an earlier section of the Criminal Code? It also includes senators in a way that they may find themselves inadvertently picked up. I did not hear the honourable senator comment on it. Did the honourable senator, or the committee, consider it and then discard this testimony, or did you intend to review it and address it further?
Senator Milne: I thank Senator Kenny for his question.
Honourable senators, that is one of the things that we did discuss at some length. We felt that we were in the preliminary stages of this study, responding just to the creation of the position of ethics commissioner, and have not had the time to go further than that. However, we appended to our report all the provisions that currently apply to us, including those provisions of the Criminal Code. This idea of defining a member of Parliament or a senator as a "fonctionnaire," as the honourable senator has rightly pointed out, is an anomaly. It is something that we will have to look at carefully when legislation comes forward, to ensure it is corrected.
Senator Kenny: Honourable senators, it seems to me that if you are proceeding down the road that you appear to be going down in this report, and if the committee is proceeding along the lines that you are suggesting, and if the report is adopted, we would be missing a leg on the stool if we are not looking carefully at the acts that have been passed.
It seems to me that the committee is looking at a Senate rules- based system that does not require legislation, but which would be compatible with, and function with, existing pieces of legislation. Therefore, if the committee is proceeding on those lines, it seems pertinent to make sure that those pieces of legislation work in an effective and coherent way.
Senator Milne: The Honourable Senator Kenny is quite right. I thank him for the suggestion.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, for Senator Carstairs, debate adjourned.
Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned
Hon. Jean Lapointe moved the second reading of Bill S-18, to amend the Criminal Code (lotteries schemes).
He said: Honourable senators, it is with great humility that I rise to speak today about Bill S-18. After considerable reflection, many meetings and a number of months of studying this matter with my staff, we have reached the conclusion that video lottery terminals located in the bars and restaurants of eight provinces of this country represent a serious problem.
They should be taken out of these establishments and relocated to casinos, race tracks and similar locations, all of which are managed solely by the provincial governments.
By amending the Criminal Code in this way, we will succeed in limiting this scourge, which too often is the cause of innumerable problems for our fellow citizens. We became more aware of the problem by reading numerous studies by university researchers throughout Canada as well as by provincial governments, private institutions and social workers.
According to the organizations that help compulsive gamblers, video lotteries are the gaming form that creates the highest level of dependency, by a very wide margin.
In its 1999-2000 annual report, Jeu: aide et reference du Jeu pathologique du Québec, a telephone help line for gambling and gaming addiction, wrote the following:
Video lottery terminals were mentioned 83 per cent of the time by distressed callers.
Laval University psychologist Robert Ladouceur, one of the top researchers in compulsive gambling, says the following in his lectures on video lotteries:
...video lotteries are reported as the game of choice by 95 per cent of those he treats for gambling addictions.
La Maison Claude Bilodeau, which has been in operation since the fall of 1999, providing services to compulsive gamblers, reported that, since its opening:
...94 per cent of requests for assistance for problems related to compulsive gambling resulted from the use of video lottery terminals.
The gambling report written by Harold Wynne of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse says that 78 per cent of the people with problems play video lottery terminals.
A recent study on treatment for pathological gambling conducted by the Maison Jean Lapointe shows that:
The favourite game of participants who have started therapy is video lottery 83 times out of 100.
The Institut national de santé publique du Québec estimates that 9 per cent of video lottery users develop a dependency and, in all the research documentation consulted, video lottery unanimously and very predominantly represented the main source of problems for gamblers seeking help, in between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of cases.
A study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry says that most problem gamblers are hooked on VLTs, which they use daily or several times a week. They stick close to home, using machines in a neighbourhood bar. Dr. David Hodgins from the University of Calgary said in a presentation made before the Institute Advisory Committee for the Institute of Neurosciences Mental Health and Addiction that there are 3 per cent problem gamblers and 2 per cent pathological gamblers in Alberta, and that 86 per cent of people seeking treatment in Alberta are VLT players.
A study entitled "The Prevalence of Problem Gambling in Prince Edward Island" was released in October of 1999. The report stated that for all but one of the 71 pathological gamblers admitted to the program, VLTs were the primary problem and had caused, by far, the most problems in their lives.
One major problem is accessibility. Whether in large urban centres or in small towns, there is scarcely a single major street or avenue is without these destructive little devices. Another equally serious problem is visibility. Young people who go to bars to have fun with their friends are attracted to video lottery terminals and, if the Nintendo generation is any indication, they will inevitably give in to the attraction. I am very pessimistic about the impact of video lottery on these young people in future.
Gambling researchers say they are more fearful for the future of adolescents than adults. Children today are the first generation to grow up in a world where gambling is not seen as a danger; where, in fact, their churches, service organizations and governments are giving their blessings to gambling as a way of raising money. It is legal, it is accepted, and children today have never known a time when it was not part of society.
The concern has already been justified by results from many research studies, such as the one in Windsor and those in Quebec by noted researchers Jeffery Derevensky and Rina Gupta of McGill University, and Harold Wynne of Wynne Resources in British Columbia. According to the work done by Gupta, Derevensky and Wynne, gambling rates among youth appear to be rising, with between 4 per cent and 18 per cent of adolescents developing a serious gambling problem.
The August 2000 report of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux du Québec shows that in 1996, in the Quebec City area, 7.4 per cent of young people under the age of 18 had gambling problems; 34 per cent of those who took part in the study reported having already used video lottery terminals, which means that they gambled while underage.
In its position paper on Manitoba's gaming policy, the Manitoba Association of Social Workers reported that of the five age categories, the youngest, ages 18 to 24, had the highest percentage — 66 per cent — who have played VLTs within the past year. Their studies indicate that young people are highly susceptible to gambling devices such as VLTs.
Pathological gambling has considerable social and financial impact on individuals, the family and society in general. So many hardships, broken homes, suicides and crimes can be traced back to VLT addicts.
I ask the honourable senators: why do we find most of these destructive machines in our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods? These problems are a heavy burden for the health care system and the courts, and very costly for taxpayers. I shall take the liberty of listing some of the most frequent problems related to compulsive gambling, which is frequently caused by these VLTs.
On the individual level, gambling often creates debt, and that can even lead to bankruptcy. This affects the health of the individual and causes stress, depression and often suicide.
According to Sol Boxenbaum, CEO of Viva Consulting Family Life Inc., which treats a number of gambling-related problems:
Pathological gambling has the highest attempted suicide rate of all addictions. Since the coroner started compiling data, there have been 109 gambling related suicides in Quebec, at least 49 in the past three years. These deaths are definitive only because a suicide note was left, or because the victim's family reported that gambling was the problem. How many other victims did not leave a note, and because pathological gambling is such a hidden addiction, the family was not aware of the problem? How many suicides appear to be accidental death? Some despondent gamblers do not want to burden their families with the knowledge that they had taken their own life, and yet others want their family to be able to collect benefits from life insurance policies.
Dr. Garry Smith, Dr. Harold Wynne and Dr. Tim Hartnagel, in their March 2003 study, "Examining Police Records to Assess Gambling Impacts: A Study of Gambling-Related Crime in the City of Edmonton" said:
In terms of human and social costs, gambling addiction was a factor in four suicides and one suicide attempt in Edmonton in the 20-month period under study. Again, we emphasize that these numbers may understate the problem because in most cases there is no suicide note or even speculation as to why the people took their lives.
When it comes to families, the adverse effects of gambling can cause a lack of money to meet children's primary needs. This leads us to conclude that the entire family suffers from the adverse consequences of gambling.
In its resolutions of 1999 with regard to video lottery terminals, the Canadian Public Health Association stated that research has shown that the spouses of problem gamblers report a higher than normal number of suicide attempts, nervous breakdowns and substance abuse, and that the children of problem gamblers have behavioural or adjustment problems related to school, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, running away and arrest.
At work, the repercussions of compulsive gambling translate into lost productivity and absenteeism.
In terms of crime, compulsive gamblers under duress may even flirt with crime. It has been reported that they resort to theft and fraud to finance their gambling habit.
In their March 2003 study, Drs. Smith, Wynne and Hartnagel said:
Fast-paced, continuous video gambling format such as VLTs and slot machines are most closely associated with problem gambling; therefore, by extension, the crimes commonly associated with problem gambling (fraud, domestic violence, theft and suicide) are linked to the gambling formats with the highest addictive potency.
For those who believe that eliminating video lottery terminals from bars, taverns and restaurants would leave the door open to a number of illegal organizations, let me tell you that the legalization of video lottery terminals in no way eliminated the abuses perpetrated by usurious lenders and pawnbrokers, to the great detriment of compulsive gamblers.
From a different perspective now, gambling has become something of an illusory cash cow for most provinces. If we use the figures given by Professor Neil Tudiver of the University of Manitoba, a compulsive gambler costs society $56,000 per year. If we use the example of Quebec, 2 per cent of the population has a gambling problem, according to Loto-Québec. These figures are a conservative estimate, because they do not take into account data provided by those who provide support for compulsive gamblers. That would mean 140,000 Quebecers are compulsive gamblers and 89 per cent of them have a problem with video lottery terminals. Honourable senators, I invite you to do the quick math and I will let you judge the results for yourselves.
By passing Bill S-18, the Government of Canada will help those provinces that run a deficit with their video lotteries instead of making profits, as some provincial representatives would have us believe. Contrary to what some may think, I have a great deal of sympathy for the operators of restaurants, bars and taverns with video lottery terminals on site. I strongly suggest that the savings from the elimination of video lottery be reinvested in these businesses, so as to make up for their lost revenue.
Gambling is pervasive in our society. Pathological gambling is on the rise in Canada, and the figures are frightening. Not unlike environmental problems, it knows no boundaries. From coast to coast, our provincial populations face a problem of such magnitude that the federal government must take its responsibilities and put a stop to it, as it affects too many Canadian families.
I sincerely believe that restricting accessibility and visibility of video lottery terminals can have a positive effect on our society. That is why, honourable senators, I am asking you to pass Bill S- 18 swiftly, to save the largest possible number of human lives and deal with the hardship that not only compulsive gamblers, but also all those around them, endure.
Eliminating video lottery terminals everywhere except in casinos, at race tracks and in similar locations across the country, will result in improved quality of life for our fellow citizens, young people and seniors in particular.
Hon. Tommy Banks: Would the honourable senator accept a question?
Senator Lapointe: With pleasure.
Senator Banks: Honourable senators, I agree avidly with everything that Honourable Senator Lapointe has said, and I support the purpose of this bill. The pervasiveness of video lottery terminals is a scourge; there is no doubt about that. However, as you have said, VLT income is also a cash cow for provinces. I have not researched this but I believe that the provinces issue licences for the placement of VLTs. Do you have any information about the likely reaction of provinces to what some might regard as an incursion, if this bill were to become part of the Criminal Code?
Senator Lapointe: Honourable senators, I thank Senator Banks for his question. Some provinces will react negatively because this is their jurisdiction. What we are proposing is not within provincial jurisdiction, since we are talking about amendments to the Criminal Code. I really do not care whether the provinces agree or not. I am trying to help Canadians as a whole. The approach I am presenting here today, in case it is not clear, has the approval of 70 per cent of Canadians, according to a centre for research. So the provinces will not oppose the will of 70 per cent of their constituents. These constituents vote when the members run in an election. Those who vote against this bill, while lotteries are destroying our seniors and our young people, have no heart or do not take the interests of this country to heart and will be siding with those behind these machines.
Hon. Herbert O. Sparrow: Honourable senators, perhaps the Honourable Senator Lapointe would tolerate another question and, if I might, a comment prior to that question because I may not have understood exactly what he said in his speech.
I understand — and you can correct me if I am wrong — that gambling in this country is a federal government responsibility. It is covered by the Criminal Code. Some years ago, the federal government made an agreement with the provinces that they would allow the provinces to control gambling, but that permission can be returned to the federal government at any time.
Does the federal government, under the Criminal Code, have complete authority, should it wish to use it, over gambling in the provinces? In addition, are you aware that Statistics Canada just released a report about gambling in Canada? It shows that in the last fiscal year, the provinces collected $6 billion from gambling. That figure of $6 billion is profit. The estimate is that the community itself spends over $18 billion on gambling; those are the losses to them as citizens. That amount is very close to what the GST collects in the nation as a whole.
Please correct these figures if you can. From what Statistics Canada is showing, at least, VLT usage is a terrible blight. Senator Banks said it was a scourge and I think that is a good word. We are primarily taking money from the poor people of this nation. The average household in Canada that makes $20,000 or less spends an average of $357 on gambling in a season. Now, those figures are pretty damning for us as a nation. Should we allow that to be happening?
My next question would be whether you would suggest that the Senate should study gambling in this country in the very near future?
Senator Lapointe: Honourable senators, you know how much I admire Senator Sparrow. If he did not fully understand my speech, I suggest that he use the headphones for interpretation, as I did in order to understand his question. I know that he has a very enlightened sense of humour, so we are two of a kind in that sense.
I thank Senator Sparrow for his question. The figures he presented are correct overall. Two per cent of Quebec's population is addicted to gambling, and it has been established that each of these gamblers costs taxpayers $56,000 per year, for treatment, absenteeism and social costs. Two per cent of the population, or some 140,000 Quebecers, at $56,000 each, represents a cost of $7.8 billion, just in Quebec. Quebec has lottery profits of $692 million, minus $7.8 billion for the treatment of compulsive gamblers, so there is actually a $7.1 billion loss. If Quebec alone is losing $7.1 billion, I wonder what the total loss is for Canada.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, Senator Lapointe is familiar with my interest in social questions, including those where prohibition plays a role in implementing public policy.
Did you, in your research, examine the preventive efforts of various federal, provincial and municipal authorities, and regional public health authorities, where these exist? What preventive efforts are being made to try to contain this problem?
Senator Lapointe: Some efforts have been made. I have seen what is being done in Quebec, where they say gaming must remain a game. Russian roulette is also a game.
They soothe their conscience by allocating a tiny portion of their budget to advertising. Really, a very tiny portion. Much more was spent on making the point that lottery officials seemed to be having more success preventing pathological gambling than other officials were having preventing marijuana use. Yet, you know that if young people want to smoke pot or gamble, nothing is going to stop them.
Senator Nolin: Our committee demonstrated that prohibition was not a good tool for preventing the spread of a phenomenon like cannabis use. You are suggesting in the bill to use prohibition — not so much total prohibition as limiting access to video lotteries. With this prohibition, will the State not be relieving itself of responsibility by saying, "Now that I have changed the Criminal Code, I do not have to think about prevention because my responsibility is fulfilled by introducing this legislation." That is why I asked the question about prevention. You spoke about Loto Québec television advertising. I agree with you; an advertising campaign must not be the sum total of prevention if it is to be effective. It is something far more complicated and detailed than a mere advertising campaign.
I would be interested to know more. If the Criminal Code is amended, will this not weaken the effort made, even if the measure you are asking us to approve were introduced?
Senator Lapointe: I have seen where you were headed right from the start of your question.
It is not a matter of prohibiting the terminals, but of relocating them. The idea is to make them less available. People become addicted because there are video lottery terminals just down the street from where they live.
Let me give an example. A 71-year-old woman, who lives in the same area as the Leader of the Opposition, in Magog, inherited two apartment buildings. They were worth over $300,000.
When her husband died, her sister wanted to get her out of the house, so she took her to play bingo one day. At one point, there was a half-hour break, and the women went down to play the video lottery terminals. This woman never went back to bingo; she thought it was boring. She stayed and played the terminals.
Within five years, she lost both of her apartment blocks. She lost all of the money her husband had left her. Today she is on welfare and when she receives her cheque, she goes and plays the video lottery terminals.
Another example is that of a 74-year-old man who committed suicide after losing his RRSPs. These are two examples I heard of within the past three months.
They voted to keep video lotteries in New Brunswick a few years ago. I was there last week and I asked people questions. If there were a vote now, it would be soundly defeated.
Good-hearted people will support us in this initiative. I talked to a member of Parliament and we have joined forces to find a solution. He is a good man, and if we keep fighting we will get through the barriers and help people who suffer from this addiction. For those who want to play, there will be no prohibition. We are moving the machines. People will have to take a bus or a taxi. If they have the means to gamble at the casino, they can afford a taxi.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, for Senator LaPierre, debate adjourned.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before moving on, I should like to draw your attention to the presence in our gallery of a number of people: Captain Ulf Snarby from Liverpool, Nova Scotia, recipient of the Atlantic Award for Responsible Fishing, and Mrs. Barbara Snarby; Mr. John Carriere from Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, recipient of the Freshwater Award for Responsible Fishing, and Mrs. Freda Carriere; Mr. Timothy Richards from Heriot Bay, British Columbia, recipient of the Pacific Award for Responsible Fishing, and Mrs. Linda Richards; and Captain Rick Misner from Port Dover, Ontario, Chair of the Canadian Responsible Fisheries Board.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you all to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, on Wednesdays we try to complete the business of this house as near as possible to 3:30 p.m., in order to allow the committees to meet. I ask that all remaining items on the Order Paper stand in the order in which they are today.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is that agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to.
The Senate adjourned until Thursday, May 1, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.