The Senate met at 2:00 p.m., the Speaker in the Chair.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I am sure that all colleagues in this chamber will join with me in congratulating Peter MacKay on his becoming Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and to wish him well in his new and challenging responsibilities. There is no question that his parliamentary experience, youthful energy and innovative ideas will benefit not only his party but all Canadians, whatever their political leanings.
Also, honourable senators, last Thursday evening, at the PC leadership convention, a moving and well-deserved tribute was paid to the Right Honourable Joe Clark in recognition of over 30 years as an active participant in the public life of our country. I need not add to what was said with such feeling and emotion that evening, but I do want to associate my caucus colleagues and myself with the sentiments expressed on that occasion. Few Canadians today are as deserving of such respect and gratitude as is Joe Clark, and all of us associated with him will always feel particularly privileged to have had him as our leader.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I should like to join with the Leader of the Opposition in welcoming Peter MacKay as leader of their party and to wish him the best, but not too much success, as he would probably understand coming from this side of the chamber.
I think it is only right that we fulsomely express our appreciation for the leadership roles that new leaders take on in the legislatures and in the Parliament of this country. That recognition, of course, would lead me to join with the honourable senator also, in his tribute to the Right Honourable Joe Clark.
Mr. Clark, in serving this country for many decades, deserves the appreciation of all of us for his dedication to the political process, his belief in and understanding of parliamentary tradition, and the respect that he deserves for years of service to all of us. When politicians serve, they not only serve the party that they represent; they serve all of the individuals for whom they have been elected. Mr. Clark, on a number of occasions, has shown true leadership, true dedication, but, more important and above all, appreciation of the parliamentary system.
Congratulations on Receiving Order of Merit of Republic of Italy
Hon. Dan Hays: Honourable senators, over the weekend, I had the pleasure of representing the Senate, along with Senator Ferretti Barth and our colleague from the other place, Massimo Pacetti, Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, during the celebrations of Italy's National Day at the Leonardo da Vinci Centre in Montreal, or, more precisely, in Saint-Léonard. At that time, our colleague Senator Ferretti Barth received a prestigious honour from the Ambassador of Italy, His Excellency Marco Colombo, in recognition of her devotion and service to the Italian community.
Senator Ferretti Barth has been made Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, the highest distinction that country can award. My sincere congratulations to Senator Ferretti Barth. I am very pleased that Italy has acknowledged in this way her exceptional contribution to public life, the Italian community, and relations between our two countries.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, a passionate humanist and great philanthropist, who passed away recently. He was the uncle of the present Aga Khan, Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, forty-ninth hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Moslems.
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan was one of those who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
During that time, he catalysed United Nations' efforts in response to several major humanitarian crises. When Pakistan was created at the end of a difficult civil war, he directed UN efforts to take charge of the ten million refugees this conflict created. He helped thousands of Vietnamese refugees who had left their communist country find new homes. In the early 1970s, he played a critical role in assisting the Asians expelled from Uganda by dictator Idi Amin.
My family and myself benefited directly from his assistance. We found asylum in Canada, thanks, in large part, to his sustained efforts. He continued to advise us for a number of years.
While preferring to remain out of the limelight, Prince Sadruddin received many honours. His exceptional humanitarian efforts were frequently recognized. He was made Commandant of the Légion d'honneur by France, Commander of the Golden Ark by the Netherlands, and more recently Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services rendered to humanitarian and artistic causes.
With his passing, the world has lost a great philanthropist, one who fought unceasingly to lessen the suffering of millions, regardless of caste, skin colour or religion. A highly devout Moslem, he was always prepared to do his part to improve the lot of others, within the true spirit of Islam.
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan worked in the shadows to improve the lot of the world's most vulnerable people. His death leaves a huge void. He will be greatly missed.
Tribute to Health Care Workers
Hon. Yves Morin: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to the courageous health care workers involved in the fight against SARS in Toronto. They are truly our modern Canadian heroes.
Throughout the outbreak, they have exemplified the caring professions, fulfilling their obligations of caring for the sick at the risk of their own health and at the risk of their own lives. In fact, according to an article published in the Canada Communicable Disease Report, 73 of the 144 suspected and probable cases of SARS during the first outbreak were health care workers. The Globe and Mail has reported that 16 of the 38 cases in the most recent cluster have been health care workers. We know, for instance, that two general practitioners in Scarborough have been on respirators for six weeks and their condition remains critical.
Were it only their own health, that would be bad enough, but affected doctors, nurses and other health care professionals must worry about whether they have transmitted the disease to their families. We know, in fact, that this has occurred. As a result of this, many health care workers must endure separation from their families and they cannot respond with a parent's best instinct, a reassuring hug, when their children are afraid or scared of what is happening.
Throughout, they continue to carry on their work of caring for the ill and comforting the dying, encumbered as they are with face masks, gloves and gowns.
Honourable senators, I know you will join me in saluting the courage of these valiant health care workers, who are examples of true heroism.
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, on Wednesday, May 28, I had the good fortune of attending a banquet in honour of Dr. Claudette Tardif, Dean of the University of Alberta's Faculté Saint-Jean. This evening was organized to pay tribute to Dr. Tardif and to allow the Faculté Saint-Jean to launch a scholarship named after Claudette Tardif for leadership and academic excellence, in recognition of a woman who has contributed selflessly to the field of French education in Alberta.
Claudette Tardif is finishing a fruitful and successful term as Dean of the Faculté Saint-Jean. Born of Ukrainian heritage, Claudette fell in love, at a young age, with la francophonie and with a francophone, her husband, Denis.
She has devoted her life to the Faculté Saint-Jean. She began as a student, and then became a lecturer, professor, and Vice Dean. On June 30, 2003, she will finish her second term as Dean of the Faculté.
The Honourable Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta, made the following statement:
Dr. Claudette Tardif has led the Faculty of St. Jean to outstanding achievements in learning. A school that boasts French language degree programs in arts, science, business, and education, and the only bilingual Bachelor of Commerce program in Canada, the Faculty of St. Jean's success is that much richer today because of the involvement of Dr. Tardif.
In addition to her university involvement, Claudette Tardif has sat on a number of boards for organizations that promote French in Alberta and educate Canadians and the whole world about the franco-Albertan reality.
Among her many awards, I would like to highlight: first, L'Ordre du Conseil de la vie française en Amérique in 2003;
— second, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award; and, third, the Edmonton ITV Global Television Woman of Vision Award, 2000. That is just to mention some of them.
I was impressed by the Alberta Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Lois Hole, who gave warm thanks to Claudette Tardif. She stressed the importance of bilingualism in Canada and in all of its provinces.
Thanks to professionals and leaders such as Claudette Tardif, Canadians realize that bilingualism gives an added value to their community life.
The warm applause from the more than 400 people attending demonstrated their appreciation for Dr. Tardif, her accomplishments and her role as a leader in education for francophones in Edmonton, Alberta and Canada. With a very strong speech, the Honourable Lois E. Hole reiterated her support for the culture and language of both of Canada's founding peoples.
I would like to thank Dr. Tardif for her commitment to promoting Canada's francophonie and I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to the Right Honourable Joe Clark. He and I entered party life at the same time, in the early 1960s. I have watched him rise from a ministerial assistant to a member of Parliament, to the leader of his party, to the Prime Minister, and then on to a very distinguished career as Minister of External Affairs.
He has always been a formidable adversary, an energetic party activist, and an outstanding and potent debater in the House of Commons — in summary, a true man of the Commons, following in the footsteps of John Diefenbaker, who was also a great lover of the Commons.
I have only one quibble, and it relates to one small aspect of the grand tribute paid to him by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, when he said that Mr. Clark was the second best foreign minister of this century. I would beg to respectfully quibble with him. I believe that the first and most outstanding foreign minister of this century was the Right Honourable Louis St. Laurent, closely followed by the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson. Where Mr. Clark's rating is after that, I leave to history.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw to your attention the presence in our gallery of Raymond Dupont, former member of Parliament for Sainte-Marie, later member for Chambly, and Marcel-Claude Roy, former member of Parliament for Laval.
This morning, they were awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal. They are the guests of Senator Prud'homme. On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
I wish to draw the attention of honourable senators to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Stephen Graham, an Officer of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He is midway through an eight-week placement with the Senate Committees Directorate, where he is working on a number of projects for us.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
2002 Annual Report Tabled
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the report of the Information Commissioner for the period ending March 31, 2003, pursuant to the Access to Information Act.
Report of Committee
Hon. George J. Furey, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:
Tuesday, June 3, 2003
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its
Your Committee, to which was referred Bill S-5, An Act respecting a National Acadian Day, has, in obedience to the Order of Reference of Tuesday, October 8, 2002, examined the said Bill and now reports the same with the following amendments:
1. Page 1, in the Preamble:
(a) Replace line 1 with the following:
"WHEREAS Acadians, in view of their origin, history and development, constitute the first permanent settlement from France in Canada and now reside in most of the provinces and territories of Canada;
WHEREAS the Acadian people have"; and
(b) Add after line 10 the following:
"WHEREAS it is in the interest of all Canadians to be able to share in the rich historical and cultural heritage of Acadians and to become more familiar with all its aspects, both traditional and contemporary;".
2. Page 1, clause 2: Replace line 20 with the following:
"2. In this Act, "National" means that it relates to all Canadians throughout Canada.
3. Throughout Canada, in each and every".
GEORGE J. FUREY
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?
On motion of Senator Furey, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.
Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Including In Legislation Non-derogation Clauses Relating to Aboriginal Treaty Rights
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that at the next meeting of the Senate, I shall move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs be authorized to examine and report on the implications of including, in legislation, non- derogation clauses relating to existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and that the committee present its report no later than December 31, 2003.
Bill to Amend—First Reading
The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-39, to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act and the Parliament of Canada Act.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.
Private Bill to Amend Act of Incorporation— First Reading
Hon. Michael Kirby presented Bill S-21, to amalgamate the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and The Canadian Association of Financial Planners under the name The Financial Advisors Association of Canada.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker: When shall this bill be read the second time?
On motion of Senator Kirby, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration two days hence.
Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Domestic and International Financial System
Hon. E. Leo Kolber: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the date for the presentation by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce of the final report on its study on the present state of the domestic and international financial system, which was authorized by the Senate on October 23, 2002, be extended to Thursday, March 31, 2004.
Notice of Motion to Congratulate Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on Two Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I give notice that at Thursday next, I will move:
That the Senate of Canada extend its congratulations and best wishes to the Town of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, its Mayor, Councillors and Townsfolk on the 250th anniversary of its founding, which is to be celebrated on Saturday, June 7, 2003.
Notion of Motion to Adopt Third Report of Committee
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, I give notice that tomorrow, Wednesday, June 4, 2003, I shall move:
That, in accordance with paragraph 58(1)(g) of the Rules, the Third Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, tabled in the Senate this past May 28, be adopted.
Notice of Inquiry
Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I give notice that on Wednesday, June 25, I will call the attention of the Senate to the challenges and opportunities facing smaller airports in Atlantic Canada.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—Request for Public Inquiry
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Over the weekend, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario called for a public inquiry into the way the SARS crisis was handled in Toronto. It called for a full and independent investigation, similar to the one conducted for the Walkerton crisis. Currently, separate federal and provincial reviews are planned, but not a public inquiry. Could the government leader in the Senate tell us if the federal government is supportive of the nurses' association's call for a public inquiry?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, that decision will have to be made by the Government of Ontario. I do not think it would be appropriate for the Government of Canada to comment on that.
Creation of National Disease Control Agency
Hon. Brenda M. Robertson: Honourable senators, last Friday, Minister of Health Anne McLellan visited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta in an effort to see if such an institution could be established in Canada. Afterwards, the minister said that the federal government would consult with public health officials in the provinces before any action is taken on the matter.
As the provinces are primarily responsible for health care, could the government leader in the Senate tell us if any provincial or territorial health officials were invited to tour the CDC with the minister and, if not, why not?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the Honourable Minister of Health made a visit to the CDC at the invitation of the CDC, to examine the site. Clearly, it is premature to indicate whether we would put such a system in place in Canada. It has been made clear, from the statements that the Honourable Minister of Health has made, that any such institution could only be established through collaboration with the provinces and with public health officials involved as well. Therefore, I would assume, if such a decision were to be made, it would only be made after the provincial authorities had taken a thorough look at the CDC.
Senator Robertson: In other words, honourable senators, what the honourable minister is saying is that the federal government does not have a leadership role in this issue. A centre of excellence such as the CDC could certainly be supported by the federal government and would most probably meet with the approval of the provinces. However, I find it passing strange that if, as was stated, the federal government officials wish to involve the provincial ministers of health and the provincial premiers, no invitation was extended to a provincial or territorial representative to attend with the federal minister in Atlanta.
Senator Carstairs: I do not think it is passing strange, honourable senators. The honourable minister decided that she wanted to look at this before she began discussions with her counterparts and before such a decision was made because health is primarily a provincial responsibility. The provincial authorities, I think, would want to have a look at the CDC facility. The Minister of Health wanted to learn first-hand if such a centre might have application to Canada, and she has indicated it may have. Because she understands fully the constitutional implications of that decision, she will begin discussions with her counterparts.
War Museum—Overrun of Construction Costs
Hon. Michael A. Meighen: Honourable senators, my question is also to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Canadian War Museum, originally budgeted at $105 million, is now expected to cost $135 million — an overrun of 28 per cent. The federal government will have to provide the extra funds. The reasons given in the media for the budget increases have included the rising costs of cement and other construction materials, changes in the museum's design, sewer and water problems, and contamination of the soil at the proposed site. Could the leader provide the Senate with a breakdown of the cost overruns for the museum?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, if an exact breakdown is available, and I presume it is, I would be delighted to provide it to the honourable senator. My understanding is that the majority of the cost actually came about due to the contamination of the site, which we knew beforehand would be substantial but apparently was even more substantial, as well as design costs. Other factors were much less important in terms of the overall cost.
Senator Meighen: As previously mentioned, the soil at LeBreton Flats, the site of the museum, is contaminated. In addition to the War Museum, there are plans for a housing development of some 2,500 units in the area. Consequently, it is vitally important that the nature of the contamination is known and dealt with. Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate provide us with the findings of the environmental investigation conducted on the site?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, as the honourable senator has identified, an investigation is critical not just for the museum site, although it would be critical enough if it was just for the museum site, but it is also critical for the housing site. That is why such care has been taken, ensuring that the site is no longer contaminated and that all contaminated materials have been duly removed. If there is such an environmental study, and I would assume there is, then I will obtain that information for the honourable senator.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome— Investigation of Carriers of Symptoms
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It deals with the SARS outbreak in the Toronto area.
On Sunday, it was reported that five deaths last week at Centenary Hospital in northeast Toronto are being investigated as possible SARS cases. Public health officials have said, however, that they do not believe that all these deaths will turn out to be related to SARS. Are all deaths involving pneumonia-like symptoms in Toronto-area hospitals currently being investigated as possible SARS cases?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, my understanding is that if the symptoms are such that they would reflect not just the pneumonia but other symptoms relevant to SARS, then they are investigated as possible SARS deaths. As the honourable senator knows, that investigation requires autopsies to be done, and, as of yesterday, they were not completed. They may be completed now, and we may know whether one of the cases or five or any number in between were as a result of SARS.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome— Monitoring of Quarantine Impositions
Hon. Marjory LeBreton: Honourable senators, there were also reports, on the weekend, that students who had been asked to quarantine themselves due to possible SARS exposure at school were not staying in isolation. These students are now apparently cooperating with public health authorities, but this incident does show the problems of monitoring a voluntary quarantine. Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us whether there are any changes in how the quarantine is being monitored, as opposed to the initial quarantines imposed two months ago?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As I think the honourable senator is aware, one of the things that was done with the initial quarantine and has continued with the second is that contact is made with that individual in his or her residence at least once a day and sometimes more often if there is suspicion that the person may not be maintaining quarantine. If they do not maintain quarantine within their own home, they can be removed and put in an isolation unit where they are forced to obey the quarantine. Those rules have not changed from the first outbreak to the second.
Superintendent of Financial Institutions— Voyageur Colonial Pension Plan
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, we discussed the issue of federal pensions last week, or was it the week before? Time goes too fast. The federal government supervises more than 1,000 pension and retirement income plans, primarily for workers in federally regulated industries such as banking, broadcasting and transportation. The plans range from that of the Adams Lake Indian Band to the Yukon Hospital Corporation. One of these plans is Voyageur Colonial, an inter-provincial bus company formerly owned by Canada Steamship Lines.
Serious allegations have been made regarding the management of Voyageur's pension plan in the period leading up to its sale by CSL to Greyhound. Employees will lose up to 46 per cent of the benefits that they had been promised. The plan trustee made bad investments in real estate, which hurt the plan's solvency. Yet, in spite of the plan's precarious financial state, several employees were given generous early retirement packages in the months leading up to the company's sale to Greyhound.
Employees say that prior to Voyageur's sale, they expressed concern about the state of their plan to the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, who did nothing. My question is simple: Was the refusal of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to get involved part of a normal pattern, or was this a special case for a company owned by the former Minister of Finance?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As the honourable senator knows, a special case would not be made for the Honourable Minister of Finance.
Senator Tkachuk: The allegations surrounding the Voyageur pension plan are serious. Could the leader please report back to the Senate as to why the Superintendent of Financial Institutions refused to get involved in the Voyageur file in the months leading up to the sale to Greyhound?
Senator Carstairs: Before doing that, honourable senators, I would have to confirm that the matter was brought to the attention of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and, if it was, why it was not followed up, or whether it was, in fact, followed up and no case was made. On behalf of the honourable senator, I will inquire of the superintendent to learn if there is any information that I can share.
Superintendent of Financial Institutions— Monitoring of Pension Plans on Watch List
Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I have another question relating to the question from a few weeks ago. Some 75 federally regulated pension plans are currently on the government's watch list. These are plans that may not be able to meet all of their obligations. Is the Superintendent of Financial Institutions actively intervening to prevent employers from taking measures that will further hurt the ability of these plans to meet their obligations, and if not, why will the superintendent not intervene?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the very fact that the pensions are on a watch list responds to the honourable senator's question. Obviously, they have come to the attention of the superintendent and are being monitored.
Deployment of Troops to Congo and Middle East—Comments of Prime Minister
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate, although she may want to tell us about the most recent emergency landing of a Sea King at Shearwater, just yesterday.
Over the weekend, the Prime Minister stated that Canada would send military forces to both Congo and the Middle East. Can the leader tell the chamber which units the Prime Minister is sending to the Middle East and just how large a force he has offered?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): As the honourable senator knows, the government was asked for a commitment, but no specific request was made as to equipment or troops. Therefore, until the details of such a force to the Middle East are made available, I will not have the information the honourable senator requests.
The contribution to Congo is in the order of 50 troops and some pieces of equipment. There are, of course, large cargo planes.
Senator Forrestall: Honourable senators, the incoming and the outgoing commanders of the Canadian army have warned the country that, with our current resources, we cannot fulfil further missions without negative consequences.
Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate give us her assurance that no army units will be sent to the Middle East — and I had thought to include Congo if there were to be many more than 50 — until such time as the current problems referred to by the two commanders have been overcome?
Senator Carstairs: As the honourable senator is well aware, 2,700 of our men and women in uniform are deployed abroad. We have made a huge commitment to deploy another 1,800 to Afghanistan. As the generals stated, that is truly pushing our numbers. Therefore, any contribution made to the Middle East would be of a specialist nature, such as deployment of the kind of troops that we sent to Congo.
Transportation of Troops via NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency Aircraft
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: My final question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. If, indeed, we do send troops to the Middle East this summer, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate assure the chamber that no Canadian Forces personnel will be transported aboard the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency aircraft until an investigation of the fatal crash that killed a large number of Spanish troops is completed and the report released? Spain has stayed all contracts with NAMSA to transport troops to Afghanistan due to the fatal air crash related to the particular type of aircraft deployed. That aircraft is extremely dangerous.
Hon Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Unlike the honourable senator, I cannot comment on the dangerous nature of the aircraft, but I can say that Canadian troops will not be sent to a place where they could be in any danger whatsoever. I will bring representation to cabinet to address the honourable senator's concern about that aircraft.
United States—Renewal of Softwood Lumber Agreement—Quota System
Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate in respect of the softwood lumber issue. My office received some information that suggests that the government has made an offer to the United States in the form of a quota system.
Could the honourable senator give us an update on the quota system, which would truly affect the small lumber operators in British Columbia? Concerned business people have phoned to ask me about the federal government's position on promoting a quota system.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for his question. A proposal was developed by the federal government based on extensive discussions with the softwood lumber industry and was presented to the United States last Friday. Discussions are currently taking place between the two nations.
I can also state that, although there is some information to the contrary, the Maritimes will be allowed to ship 100 per cent of their historic shipment levels free of any export tax.
Senator St. Germain: Honourable senators, it is of great concern that facilities now being built may be required to operate under a quota system. Apparently, quota is issued on the basis of historical shipments. In all fairness, how will companies currently operating without a quota be treated in the event that both American and Canadian negotiators accept a quota scenario?
Honourable senators, my question is not intended in any way to be confrontational; it is simply a straightforward question about a system that currently has no quota and the fact that facilities are being developed — planer mills and others —that could be required to operate under a quota system. If a quota system were implemented, how would these newer facilities be dealt with, given that they have no historical shipping records? How would this issue be reconciled?
Senator Carstairs: As the honourable senator has indicated, there is no quota system currently. There is a completely level playing field, and that will be maintained.
Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question. Is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware that the provincial government, in the person of Minister de Jong, has said that British Columbia will not accept an interim quota system?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I am unaware that Minister de Jong has made such a statement, but I am aware that a Canadian position was worked out with the Department of Industry and placed before the American government.
Senator St. Germain: The Leader of the Government in the Senate makes reference to the fact that the playing field is level. This simply does not clarify the issue. If quotas were traditionally issued on historical shipments to the United States and an organization is starting up that has no historical records of shipments, how can the playing field be level? Is the honourable senator saying that these people would be allocated a certain amount of quota, if and when the quota system is implemented?
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, I understand that the status quo, that which is currently in existence, will be the basis for any quota and not what existed in the past.
United States—Participation in Missile Defence System—Effect on Policy Against Weaponization of Space
Hon. Douglas Roche: Honourable senators, since the onset of talks with the United States concerning Canadian participation in a missile defence program, the government has stated that the government's opposition to the weaponization of space would "remain constant." The Prime Minister, when speaking in Europe, added that Canada would not join the missile defence program if there were any possibility that it would lead to the placement of weapons in space. Before the government signs on to the program, could it obtain a guarantee that the missile defence program will not involve the weaponization of space?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for his question. The statement of the Prime Minister was unequivocal: The Canadian government is not in agreement with weapons in space, and that is its bottom line entering into any negotiation. As the honourable senator is aware, Canada cannot control what America may do on its own, but we can control the aspects of our participation. We have indicated that we will not support weaponization of space.
United States—Participation in Missile Defence System
Hon. Douglas Roche: I would draw the attention of the honourable leader and senators to the documentation contained within the missile defence agency that clearly shows an interlocking between the ground-based interceptors, which are being built, and the space-based interceptors, which are in research and are funded.
I turn now to the NORAD side of my question. Minister of Defence John McCallum stated that NORAD represents the logical organization to lodge ballistic missile defence. Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell the house what the financial cost of enlarging NORAD to run missile defence will be? More particularly, how much will Canada have to spend on this system, which has not been proven to work? Money spent on such a system could further deprive the Canadian Armed Forces of their necessary equipment.
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, those questions are extraordinarily premature. We have decided to enter into talks, which are generally not costly, in and of themselves. We have certainly not gone beyond the talking stage. As those talks unfold, whether we agree to be part of this system or whether we choose not to be part of this system, implementation would have to take place before costs would be incurred.
Senator Roche: When I first raised questions on this subject about two years ago, the minister told me I was being premature because there were not even any discussions with the Government of the United States. It is precisely because those discussions and formal talks have begun that this question is not premature.
Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, the question is premature because all that is going on is talk. Sometimes we use the expression "talk is cheap." In this case, hopefully, the talk is even cheaper in the sense that all it will be is a discussion with the United States about their potential missile defence system, with our commitment that we will not support weaponization of space.
It is also our concern — and this is critical — that if the Americans are to proceed with this system, then what is the future of the NORAD relationship between Canada and the United States?
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in this House, a delayed response to an oral question raised by Senator Andreychuk in the Senate on February 27, 2003, concerning the Commonwealth and efforts to accept return of Zimbabwe.
The Commonwealth—Efforts to Accept Return of Zimbabwe
(Response to question raised by Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk on February 27, 2003.)
At the last Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Coolum, Australia, March 2002, Commonwealth leaders expressed concern about the situation in Zimbabwe and mandated a troika, consisting of the President of South Africa, Prime Minister of Australia, and President of Nigeria (past, current and next Chairpersons of the Commonwealth) to "determine appropriate Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe, in the event of an adverse report from the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Zimbabwe Presidential Election, in accordance with the Harare Commonwealth Declaration and the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme.
After the election, the troika met and in light of the critical report of the Commonwealth observer group, recommended that Zimbabwe be suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth for one year, after which the situation would be reviewed. Canada welcomed the decision of the troika, and even before suspension was announced, Prime Minister Chrétien announced a set of actions Canada would take to reflect our opinion of the flawed election; namely, the withdrawal of all funding to the Zimbabwean Government and a ban on entry to Canada by members of the Zimbabwean Government.
Canada has continued to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe closely, and does not believe that there has been sufficient change in adherence to the Harare Principles to warrant the lifting of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth. This view has been conveyed to other Commonwealth leaders and representatives in bilateral and multilateral fora. Canada therefore welcomed the announcement by the Commonwealth Secretary-General on March 16 that the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth will be kept in place until the Heads of Government meeting in December 2003. Canada will continue to work with other Commonwealth members and the Commonwealth as an organization to encourage positive change in Zimbabwe.
Request for Answers
Hon. J. Michael Forrestall: Honourable senators, I have a question with respect to questions on the Order Paper. We are into June. It is not outside the realm of possibility that we may not be back here until sometime in the fall. I am wondering if the government has any intention whatsoever to respond to questions that I have on the Order Paper, questions which have been on the Order Paper since October 2, 2002. Is there any possibility of them being answered?
Hon. Sharon Carstairs (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, there is a very strong possibility, given the fact that my office reports to me that very few questions, both on the Order Paper and those which I have taken as notice, have not received responses. However, I will instruct my staff to make inquiries to see if we cannot speed up the process for Senator Forrestall.
Senator Lynch-Staunton: And for Senator Lynch-Staunton.
Senator Forrestall: All 43 of them?
Senator Carstairs: As a matter of fact, I think Senator Kenny managed to put on the Order Paper even more questions than the honourable senator opposite. We are well through the responses to his questions. Quite frankly, I hope that the honourable senator's questions will receive the same amount of attention.
Senator Forrestall: Mine have been on the Order Paper longer than his.
Senator Carstairs: Senator Lynch-Staunton has also indicated he has questions awaiting responses. I will discuss the matter with my staff to determine where the answers are.
Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Order Stands
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Kinsella, seconded by the Honourable Senator Corbin, for the second reading of Bill S-14, to amend the National Anthem Act to reflect the linguistic duality of Canada.—(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, this item stands in the name of the Honourable Senator Prud'homme, whose views on this bill we would like to hear. If he is really unable to speak to it tomorrow, I will be refusing further adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Stand.
Senator Kinsella: On division.
Order stands, on division.
Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Poy, seconded by the Honourable Senator Banks, for the second reading of Bill S-3, to amend the National Anthem Act to include all Canadians.—(Honourable Senator Cools).
Hon. Vivienne Poy: Honourable senators, I notice that Senator Cools is not in the chamber. I asked her whether she would speak on Bill S-3, and she said yes. Thus far, she has not. Is there another way of getting an indication from her that she will definitely speak on this matter?
The Hon. the Speaker: The Deputy Leader of the Government is not rising. I cannot answer the question.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Your Honour, I will not speak.
The Hon. the Speaker: The options are to bring the matter to a vote — that is, to refuse to allow the order to stand — or to let it stand and to renew the honourable senator's request to Senator Cools.
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Does the Honourable Senator Poy wish to request that we deal with the question? I am not sure of the intentions of the honourable senator.
Senator Poy: Question.
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, are we on Bill S-14?
The Hon. the Speaker: No, we are on Bill S-3.
Senator Prud'homme: It stands in the name of the Honourable Senator Cools. If Senator Cools does not speak, I do not speak either.
The Hon. the Speaker: I will ask the chamber. Are you ready, honourable senators, for the question?
No one has asked that this matter be stood. Senator Poy has asked that we consider whether we wish to deal with the question now. My obligation is to look to honourable senators. Do senators wish to deal with the question now?
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Does Senator Poy wish to speak to this order? The honourable senator has the right of reply, which will close the debate.
Senator Poy: I think enough has been said about it.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, last week Senator Poy asked me, "Are you going to speak?" I said, "Of course, I will," but I was waiting for Senator Cools. Now I see that Senator Cools seems not to be in a position to speak. That is what I understand. The item stands under her name, not mine.
What I will do is ask that the item stand adjourned in the name of Senator Cools and do to Senator Cools what we did together. If she says no, she will not speak, then I will speak, as I told Senator Poy last week.
Last week, Senator Poy kindly asked if I intended to speak, and I said yes. This item stands adjourned under the name of Senator Cools. I am waiting to see what she will do. If it is a deadline that is concerning us, that is another matter. I do not see any deadline for today.
I promise to speak as soon as Senator Cools says she will not speak. I will then let the matter go.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is well established that the Senate is the master of its proceedings. We can deal with this question now, if senators so desire.
Senator Poy, I believe, will exercise her right of reply; is that right?
Senator Poy: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: That causes me to give notice to all honourable senators who may wish to speak that they should rise and speak now. Once I recognize Senator Poy and she speaks, that will have the effect of closing the debate.
Does Senator Prud'homme wish to speak?
Senator Prud'homme: My remarks will be very simple. Tampering with a national anthem is the last thing a Parliament should do. If you tamper with one word, one phrase, you open the door to a number of groups who will want to be included because they feel excluded.
My major speech will refer to O Canada as written by Sir Basile Routhier with the music of Calixa Lavallée. Senator Forrestall and I are almost the two last living members of the committee put together by the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson. We listened for months to proposals from all across Canada. At the end of the day, I stood by the mission given to me by Mr. Lester B. Pearson. As Senator Lapointe has stated, O Canada should never be tampered with, and I will tell you why when I speak on this issue. However, it applies equally to what I call the English version. Like many French Canadians, I resent when anglophones speak of the French version. It is not a French translation; it is a text. However, I am allowed to say politely, "the English version," when referring to the version by Judge Weir that we have debated here.
Change has taken place. I listened very attentively to Senator Poy's view. However, I still believe it would be a mistake to tamper with this Canadian symbol, as much as it is to politically abuse the Canadian flag, as is sometimes done. Symbols should be above everyone.
I believe that I am the only one here who voted for the Canadian flag. I was elected in a by-election under a minority government on that sole promise. Mr. Pearson told me to go ahead. He said that even though his was a minority government, he was determined to do it by the next election. I was with him in Winnipeg when he was booed by members of the Royal Canadian Legion. There was only Ms. Pearson, his secretary, and I standing behind Mr. Pearson, and yet we did it.
Honourable senators, if national symbols are tampered with, there will be no end to it.
I am sensitive to what Senator Poy said. I was born in a family of 12, and my mother said that boys and girls would be treated equally in her family. She differentiated herself politically from my father. She worked and voted for André Laurendeau in 1944, the first time that women could vote.
I am absolutely positive that we must never tamper with our few Canadian symbols.
I am a French Canadian and I live under the monarchy that I respect very much. I am a member of the Queen's Privy Council by her own hand, contrary to other members of the Privy Council who were made Privy Councillors by various Governors General.
I respect my tradition and I believe that our symbols should remain untouched. That is why I ask Senator Poy not to proceed to change even one word of the anthem. If one word is changed, others will want other changes. The First Nations have approached me. They have said that if this bill passes, they will ask to be included in the national anthem as well. They have strong views about being excluded from the English version.
As I said, when we start tampering with symbols, there is no end. We will have established a precedent by passing Senator Poy's motion.
Out of respect for our Canadian symbols, I say that we should not tamper with our national anthem in either language, nor should we tamper with our flag. Also, we should not abuse our head of state, the Queen, until Canadians, and only Canadians, decide that we must.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, I have received a message from the office of the Honourable Senator Cools indicating that she cannot speak this afternoon but would still like to take part in the debate on this bill. I am merely passing on the message. It does not specify when she would like to speak.
Senator Prud'homme: Honourable senators, what is the message?
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, if we adjourn this matter in the name of Senator Cools, she will have two days left within which to speak.
Senator Prud'homme: No, the item will revert to day one.
The Hon. the Speaker: She will have 15 days in which to speak.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, Senator Prud'homme has expressed his views on this. The bill is therefore back to day one, and there must be a full fifteen-day period to allow the next senator who wishes to speak to do so.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): There have been rulings in the past, I believe by Speaker Molgat, that adjourning an item in a senator's name cannot be interpreted by that senator as permission to block indefinitely debate on that item.
This item has stood in the senator's name for quite some time. I would hope that she would not take advantage of the fact that the order will be back to day one tomorrow to adjourn it for another 14 days. I would hope that someone will tell her that this chamber is anxious to vote on this item. If nothing is heard from her by the end of this week, I would hope that we can move on it early next week.
Senator Prud'homme: I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Lynch-Staunton. However, since Senator Kinsella kindly asked when I would speak on this issue, I made a study of motions, in the last two or two and a half years, that appeared on the Order Paper for the full 15 days. One motion, dealing with the conflict of interest of bureaucracies, et cetera, stood under Senator Kinsella's name for 15 days. It died on the Order Paper and then was reintroduced in another session.
We must be very careful, honourable senators, even though Senator Lynch-Staunton is quite right. If someone thinks they can exercise a dictatorship, I think the Senate will deal with that. As His Honour just said, the Senate is the master of its own rules.
If the Senate decides to pass an item that has been standing under the name of a senator for too long, the Senate will do so. In the meantime, I see that Senator Cools is in the chamber. Perhaps she would like to participate in the debate.
Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, I just walked into the chamber because someone came running out to call me in. I want honourable senators to know that I was meeting with a delegation of members of Parliament from Bahrain, which, as we know, was a former Emirate. I was in no way shirking any duty. I was attending to another aspect of my duties in meeting with these individuals, who were very interested in discussing with me the role of the Senate, and particularly my interests in matters of family.
If someone could tell me what is happening and why my presence is so urgently needed, I would be happy to take part in debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Poy had a question for you.
Senator Cools: Senator Poy should hold her questions for me until I appear in the chamber.
Senator Poy: Actually, Senator Cools was not here. I did not see Senator Prud'homme, but he spoke in her place just now.
Senator Cools: He cannot speak in my place.
Senator Prud'homme: On a point of order, I did not speak for Senator Cools. It is a well-established tradition. Who would dare get up here and say, "I speak on behalf of Senator Cools"? I would not dare to do that. Others may if they wish, but not me.
When you asked me openly, "Do you intend to speak on this item?" I said, "Of course." When I saw that the bill was about to be voted on, I took the initiative of saying, "Sadly, this is not the date that I had chosen." I will let go three items under my name today because I cannot proceed any more, to be frank, but they are not on this particular issue.
I am not speaking on behalf of Senator Cools. However, any senator can get up. Usually, we ask senators whether they mind. Senator Chaput did that last week. She said, "Will you speak?" I said, "Of course. All you have to do is ask whether you can speak, and the item reverts to the name of Senator Prud'homme."
I spoke. Unfortunately, I will not be able to speak again unless someone puts an amendment. I can speak on the amendment. However, the rule is very clear.
I did not speak for Senator Cools. I took the initiative, following my words to His Honour that, yes, I would speak, even though it is not my choice to speak today. Now it is done. I could have done it in a more articulate way, but my time has passed. I cannot speak any further on the matter. I think I have said enough. I could speak for hours on that issue — it is one that is passionate and emotional for Canadians — but I do not speak for Senator Cools. Therefore, my time is up. Now we go back to square one, under the name of Senator Cools. Senator Cools will decide what she wants to do, but let me not dare to tell her what she should do. I do not think that would be advisable. She can do what she wants.
Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I see where we are. Senator Poy had asked me several days ago when I intended to speak on her bill. I told her that I intended to speak on her bill this week.
If Senator Poy had had a question to put to me, my intention was to be in the chamber as soon as I finished meeting with these people from Bahrain; she could have held her question until then. It was my clear understanding that I had indicated to Senator Poy, in a private conversation, that I was planning to speak very shortly on this bill. In any event, now I know why I was called into the chamber and I understand what was happening. In that case, I move the adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Adams, that further debate be adjourned to the next sitting of the Senate, for the balance of her time. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Cools: Your Honour, I heard you say "balance of time." May I ask, balance of what time?
The Hon. the Speaker: I am sorry?
Senator Cools: I heard you say something about "the balance of time."
The Hon. the Speaker: I assume you started your remarks.
Senator Cools: No, Your Honour, I have not started speaking.
The Hon. the Speaker: That is fine. The order stands in your name. However, I draw to the attention of all honourable senators what has come up in the exchange in this matter, which is that the Senate is the master of its proceedings. If a senator wishes to deal with a matter — and this is for all senators, not just Senator Cools — standing in the name of another senator, that is for all honourable senators to decide.
Senator Cools: I should like to add that I agree that the Senate is the master of its proceedings, but part of the principle of this place is that the Senate does not move to act on any matter precipitously. If a senator's name is attached to the adjournment, some sort of deference and respect is granted to that senator. I had discussed the matter with Senator Poy and had said very clearly that I was planning to speak very soon.
Honourable senators, in the name of establishing precedents and differentiating between precedents and bad practice, it is not healthy to do and to act in this way. If a senator holds the adjournment and another senator wishes to speak, all that senator has to do is consult with the individual and, in most cases, you will find that he or she will yield the floor if it is desirable. I would submit that there is a better way of doing things.
If honourable senators do not mind, I would like to finish my meeting with the members from Bahrain.
On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Rompkey, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Milne, for the second reading of Bill C-300, to change the names of certain electoral districts. —(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, if Senator Rompkey were to listen, he would have the shock of his life. In the spirit of what happened today — Senator Poy, too, and perhaps Senator Fairbairn — it is a gift I am giving, so you had better use it fast.
I have been approached in the spirit of cooperation. I want to use Senator Poy also as an example. I want to give to the government what it wants.
Beside this bill on the Order Paper is the word "thirteen." This item stands adjourned under my name. I have worked on this matter so long that I will not speak for a long time. I am against any change to electoral districts between elections, but there is immense pressure coming from the other chamber by members who believe that the next election will be held with the actual map and not a new map. That is also my opinion.
Therefore, if we change the names now, they will apply at the next general election. Senator Milne, who looks on attentively today, chaired that committee. We know how strongly Senator Joyal made his views known about this bill that did not pass in the last session. It has returned with some amendments. It is the same bill. It now stands at 13 days, under my name. In the spirit of cooperation, I will say that I totally disagree with the change of names.
I have made my speech now. If no one else speaks, I am sure His Honour would be happy. I said to Senator Robichaud that I would clean up most of the items standing under my name so I can get out of here.
I think this bill sets the a wrong precedent. I have sat on every committee on electoral reform since 1964. It is bad that members of Parliament suddenly, due to pressure from a village or because of electoral pressure or electoral games — and this applies equally to all commoners — say, "I want to change the name." The best time to change names is when there is a new electoral map; then you apply.
I will give honourable senators an example. There is a new district called Bout de l'Ile. I was totally opposed to that in Montreal. In the new map, it says Bout de l'Ile, which is Pointe- aux-Trembles in Montreal. I opposed it. They wanted Bout de l'Ile , and they got it with a new map. They want it now. Since it is going to be on the new map, I started to mellow.
As a result of a friendly conversation with Senator Rompkey, who seems to be having a very important discussion, I will say that this bill is a bad precedent. I am against it. I know Senator Joyal has very strong views on that, so he will be taken by surprise when he hears that maybe we will put the question, but this bill is bad because it will cost money. That is what people do not understand. As soon as a district's name is changed, the map must be reprinted. This is only for a short time because there will be a new election. Will it be held according to the old map, in which case this bill will not apply? Will it be held according to a new map, in which case this bill will apply?
I am in the hands of honourable senators. If Senator Rompkey persists, I will be straightforward. I have had strong representations from the chief government whip of the other side. I negotiate in public, not in private. She called me. I ran so fast that my heart was pumping . She is the chief government whip and I like her. She voted with me, by the way, against the Iraq war in 1991. We were only two of four Liberals who voted against it. She is a lady you should listen to. I listen to her.
As a gift to her and as a gift to Senator Rompkey, I will not oppose her. I made my pitch to my colleagues. Changing names between elections is a bad precedent. It costs money. If that is what the Senate wants and if that is what the government is ready to let go, I will sit down and say that I made my views known. However, we are here to talk historically about how much things could cost. That is one of our responsibilities. We cannot have change without cost, especially if the change will be for such a short time.
I have made my speech as I promised; that is number two. I kept my promise to Senator Poy; that is number one.
To honourable senators I will say that this bill is a bad precedent. Why? It is bad because it is temporary. That is the only polite way to say it. I am sure if Senator Joyal were here, he would repeat the opinion that he put to the committee.
The bill was defeated the last day of the last session. Now everything is coming back. I see Senator Milne. She was so furious. Senator Beaudoin was at that committee. The last thing we did was to defeat that same bill. The bill has been reinstituted. It is under my name. If Senator Lynch-Staunton thinks I want to exercise a boycott, I would say no.
This is a bad precedent, but senators may decide to proceed. I do not know what we will do.
Senator Joyal made such a pitch at the committee last session on the same bill that it was defeated, to the surprise of the Chair of Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Senator Milne. I did not vote, so she could not be unhappy with me. I was not a member of the committee. However, Liberal committee members voted against it and the bill was defeated. I like to tell stories as they are, not as they are perceived to be or as you may have been told behind the curtain. These are exactly the facts and I stand by my facts. If someone wants to challenge my facts, then they become debatable.
That is all I have to say.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house ready for the question?
Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Motion agreed to and bill read second time.
Referred to Committee
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?
On motion of Senator Rompkey, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
Seventh Report of Committee Adopted
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by the Honourable Senator Chalifoux, for the adoption of the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (amendment to Rule 131—request for Government response) presented in the Senate on February 4, 2003,
And on the motion in amendment of the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Milne, that subsection (3) of the Committee's recommendations to amend Rule 131 of the Rules of the Senate be further amended by replacing the words "communicate the request to the Government Leader who" with the following:
"immediately communicate the request, and send a copy of the report, to the Government Leader and to each Minister of the Crown expressly identified in the report or in the motion as a Minister responsible for responding to the report, and the Government Leader",
And on the motion of the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by the Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C., that the motion for the adoption of the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament and its motion in amendment be not now adopted, but be referred back to the Standing Committee for further study and report.—(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I had indicated I wanted to adjourn debate on this motion moved by the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by the Honourable Senator Chalifoux, and the amendments put forward by the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by Senator Milne, and an amendment by the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by myself.
I read all of them, and it was not easy. I read especially Senator Cools' long speech. I know some people are impatient with her, but she works so hard, so I try to find something that would convince me otherwise. I am satisfied for myself. I said I would not hold this up any more.
If someone else wants to take the floor, fine. If not, that is my speech. I am satisfied, after having read everything.
That is my speech for that motion. I have read it. I wish members would read them all. There is a lot of stuff in this.
Some Hon. Senators: Question!
The Hon. the Speaker: We will vote on the amendments in the order that they were received by the chamber. I will put the question on the first amendment —
Senator Kinsella: No, the last amendment.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, we have dealt with the last amendment to this motion and moved on to the main amendment, then on to the question on the main motion.
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I agree with my honourable colleague. We work our way from the last amendment up to the second one and then on to the main motion.
The Hon. the Speaker: I called it an "amendment," but, in fact, it is not an amendment. It is a motion to refer the amendment back to the committee. We will deal with that matter first. Is it agreed, honourable senators?
An Hon. Senator: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Someone said no.
Senator Robichaud: Honourable senators, so that we are clear, we will vote on the motion for referral to committee, moved by the Honourable Senator Cools, then move on to the motion in amendment put forward by the Honourable Senator Lynch- Staunton and, finally, to the main question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I will choose my language carefully. I have tried to never vary from the principle that this chamber should deal with the last matter relating to an item before we proceed to the next item on the Order Paper. We will, eventually, deal with the main motion, perhaps amended, perhaps not.
I made an error in calling the motion of Senator Cools to refer an amendment back to the committee. It is not an amendment. It is a dilatory motion that is proper, even though it follows an amendment. Since it is a dilatory motion, I propose that we now deal with the last matter that was before us, that is, the motion of Senator Cools to refer the matter back to committee. I will now put the question.
It was moved by the Honourable Senator Cools, seconded by Honourable Senator Prud'homme:
That the motion for the adoption of the Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament and its motion in amendment be not now adopted, but be referred back to the Standing Committee for further study.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: No.
Some Hon. Senators: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those in favour of the motion please say "yea."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those opposed to the motion please say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: The "nay"s have it, and the motion is defeated. We now move to the motion in amendment of Senator Lynch-Staunton. Are honourable senators ready for the question?
It was moved by the Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton, seconded by the Honourable Senator Milne —
An Hon. Senator: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion in amendment?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker: Carried.
Are honourable senators ready for the main motion as amended? I will put the main question.
It was moved by the Honourable Senator Milne, seconded by the Honourable Senator Chalifoux, that the report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament (amendment to Rule 31 — request for Government response), presented to the Senate on February 4, 2003 —
Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion as amended?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
The Hon. the Speaker: The motion is adopted, on division.
Motion agreed to and report adopted, on division.
Report of Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee—Debate Continued
On the Order:
Resuming debate on consideration of the sixth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce entitled: Competition in the Public Interest: Large Bank Mergers in Canada, tabled in the Senate on December 12, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Lynch-Staunton).
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I had been holding this matter up because finally there is now an amendment to our rules that allows us to ask a minister to reply to a report, and I would like to see that rule applied to this report and all future reports.
However, it would be not up to me to make the amendment but up to the chairman or a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, if they agree. In this particular instance, the Banking Committee embarked on its study at the request of the Minister of Finance, and I believe it would be only appropriate for the Minister of Finance to comment on the report, and the best way to achieve that is to pass a motion to that effect in this chamber. However, I think it is only proper that the chairman of the committee, or a member of it, move that motion. Therefore, I will adjourn the debate.
On motion of Senator Lynch-Staunton, debate adjourned.
Report of National Security and Defence Committee—Debate Continued
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the consideration of the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (study on the proposal of the Valiants Group) tabled in the Senate on December 12, 2002.—(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I have very attentively read this report. You may be surprised to know that I could not get a copy because there were none left. I wrote to the very able clerk and asked her to provide me with a photocopy of the only copy that was available. That means that either people thought it was not an important item, and I am not of that view, or else that it was a very popular item and that we ran out of printed copies. I mention that for the benefit of Senators Atkins, Kinsella and others.
I would suggest that honourable senators read the fourth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, regarding the study on the proposal of the Valiants Group. It is most interesting. You will see that people have done their homework. Among our many witnesses was a prominent man who is a strong proponent of this, Mr. Southam. Personally, I am satisfied that the committee did excellent work.
I think, though, that every department, including the National Capital Commission and Heritage Canada, are ambiguous about this because of the militaristic aspect for some and the lack of equilibrium between men and women for others.
Having said that, I was going to let these matters go, but I do not think honourable senators will be surprised to learn that someone wishes to adjourn the debate in his name. A week ago, I informed Senator Atkins that I was prepared to let this matter go ahead and that, if he wanted to find someone to continue, that would be agreeable and, if not, he, too, could let it go. He found someone on the government side who worked very hard on this and who, after I finish speaking, will ask for the adjournment of the debate. If he does so, I will second, with pleasure, his motion to adjourn. He was a member of the committee that looked into this matter. However, he is not ready to speak today.
I suggest senators read this excellent report. It is very clear. I go back to what I said earlier. It is encouraging to see senators take an interest in the development of the history of their country, and this is a part of that. I would suggest, therefore, that senators who have an interest in our historical background read the report and then listen attentively in the future to the views that will be well expressed by the gentleman who will follow me and who, because of his interest in the matter, will ask for the adjournment of the debate.
On motion of Senator Day, debate adjourned.
World Health Organization—Motion Requesting Government Support for Taiwan's Request for Observer Status—Debate Continued
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Di Nino, seconded by the Honourable Senator Atkins:
That the Senate call on the Government of Canada to support the request of the Government of Taiwan to obtain observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO).—(Honourable Senator Poy).
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, this matter is adjourned in the name of Senator Poy. I have spoken with Senator Poy and asked if I might speak today, and then adjourn the matter in her name.
I would ask honourable senators to take close look at this motion. It is that the Senate call on the Government of Canada to support the request of the Government of Taiwan to obtain observer status at the World Health Organization. The important words are "observer status."
I should like to speak to the background of this matter so that we will all understand the context. This issue, from a political point of view, has been fomenting just below the surface for several years. The issue is whether Taiwan can be granted observer status and allowed to participate in meetings of the World Health Organization. It is not full membership, but observer status, that is being sought.
Canada, of course, is a founding member of the World Health Organization.
Let me read to you the preamble of that organization, to which Canada has been, since 1948, a signatory. It states:
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social conditions.
Taiwan's bid for the WHO is a health and human-rights issue, and is not and should not be considered a political issue.
The recent outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, which we have come to know as SARS, illustrates why Taiwan should become part of a global health community. Moreover, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Bill Graham, indicated that the Government of Canada continues to work with Taiwan through collaborative centres such as the Centre for Disease Control, in order to exchange up-to-date information within the health care communities of both nations.
Surely, the participation of Taiwan in the World Health Organization would help achieve this stated objective by the Government of Canada?
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade recently studied the ongoing issue of Taiwan receiving observer status at the World Health Organization. Their report, which was tabled on April 8, 2003, a month ago, recommended support for the bid of Taiwan to obtain observer status, and has been sent to the minister for consideration.
In addition, no less than three separate motions have been introduced in the other place during this legislative session. Each one, in one form or another, addresses this particular issue. Most recently, on May 27, 2003, a motion was passed in the House of Commons supporting Taiwan's bid for observer status in the World Health Organization.
The motion was passed in the other place with an overwhelming majority of 163 to 67.
Furthermore, the United States Congress, the European Union and Japan have strongly voiced their support for Taiwan to be able to participate in the work of the World Health Organization. It seems only natural that a country such as Canada, which advocates universal health care, would support Taiwan's bid for observer status so it may participate in the world health community.
I find it interesting that a nation that has as much to offer to the medical community as Taiwan still struggles to even participate at gatherings of the World Health Organization.
Taiwan boasts 14 internationally recognized medical schools and maintains a sophisticated health care and research system that is comparable to many found in the industrialized countries of the world.
Taiwan has already assisted and has expressed a willingness to continue to assist, scientifically and financially, in the programs of the World Health Organization.
Let us not forget that Canada, in 1948, and Taiwan were both founding members. It was not until 1972 that pressure was brought to bear to force Taiwan to withdraw. Let me explain the position of the People's Republic of China because it is important for us to understand.
The foreign ministry spokesperson for the People's Republic of China is quoted as saying:
Taiwan, as a province of China, is ineligible to participate in the World Health Organization, an organization open only to sovereign countries, nor is it eligible to attend the WHO as an observer.
That is the position of the People's Republic of China.
However, Taiwan can become an observer of the World Health Organization without being recognized as a state. This is the important point. It is not necessary to be a state and a member of the United Nations in order to be a member of the World Health Organization. It is not necessary for Canada, in supporting Taiwan's observer status at the World Health Organization, to become involved in the political debate between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.
Five health entities have been awarded observer status to the World Health Organization, including the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the Order of Malta. All are members of the World Health Organization. Even some non-governmental organizations have been granted observer status, such as Rotary International, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. As well, among the World Health Organizations' 192 members are Niue and the Cook Islands, neither of which is a UN member.
The global outbreak of SARS has highlighted the importance of this matter from a human rights and health perspective. If anything, SARS has proven to us that an epidemic such as this knows no borders.
Taiwan has a population of 23 million. More than 150,000 Taiwanese people visit Canada annually. In addition, approximately 150,000 Taiwanese immigrants and students who are living in Canada make frequent visits to Taiwan. Ten million people travel in and out of Taiwan each year, in addition to the 20 daily flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Excluding Taiwan from the World Health Organization puts the lives of many people, including Canadians, at risk. Had the World Health Organization been able to respond to Taiwan's initial request for assistance at the first outbreak of SARS, the situation would not have escalated to the level it is at the present time. Instead, the World Health Organization sent a team of two officials to Taiwan seven weeks after the request was made.
While in Taiwan, the World Health Organization inspectors made no public statements, nor did they meet with any high-level Taiwanese health officials. As of May 28, Taiwan's SARS situation is at 610 cases with 81 deaths. The World Health Organization has a sample of the virus, which was obtained with Canada's help, and the organization would have been able to immediately assist the Taiwanese in securing their situation, had they been able to do so. The inclusion of Taiwan in the proceedings of the World Health Organization will be beneficial to all nations of the world in the future.
Taiwan and the People's Republic of China participate in the World Trade Organization and there is no reason, honourable senators, why we cannot use our good offices as friends of the People's Republic of China, and as a country that recognizes the People's Republic of China, to assist in sorting out this issue. It has, for many years, been considered a political issue, but in fact it is a world health issue and should be dealt with from that perspective.
The people of Taiwan are more than ready to assist in this regard, if given the opportunity. In the year 2000, the Economist Intelligence Unit of the United Kingdom rated the medical practice in Taiwan second among all the developed and newly industrialized countries, next only to Sweden. Honourable senators, I urge you to support this motion and to express your concern to the Government of Canada that this matter should be resolved.
Not including Taiwan in the World Health Organization is a direct contradiction of what is stated in the constitution. We have an obligation, as a friend of the People's Republic of China and a participant in the world community, to try to convince the People's Republic of China that Taiwan should and can participate as an observer without violating any of the political aspirations of the People's Republic of China.
It is time to acknowledge that health issues transcend political borders. We urge the government to find a way. I ask you to support this important motion on behalf of Taiwan in the interest of the global community.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I wish to speak to this matter and then, with her approval, I will adjourn in the name of Senator Poy.
I simply want to add my support for this motion that Taiwan be granted observer status in the World Health Organization. I have supported that position for some years, both publicly and privately and with the World Health Organization. I do not want to repeat the comments and details that Senator Day and others have put on the record. They are a fair comment and a good reason that we should support this motion. However, I do want to deal with two matters.
In passing this motion, I hope that honourable senators will be mindful of the fact that there is a political issue in which the United Nations and other nations have been involved for some time. That is the status of Taiwan. While I support the motion, and would, under normal circumstances, say that there is a political environment in which the issue of the determination of Taiwan should be dealt with, I must put that aside when health is an issue. Certainly, health is an issue; and, therefore, it is a human rights issue.
I am aware that Taiwan has had communications with the World Health Organization. Recently, in conversations with that organization, they indicated that they do receive information from Taiwan, but it is usually through coordinating centres which could be in either Australia or, in fact, China. Therefore, we should not feel threatened because there is absolutely no information available because, in fact, I believe that Taiwan has been acting responsibly in sharing the information to the best of its ability.
The outbreak of SARS has highlighted the fact that we cannot wait for a political solution because this is a world health issue. Diseases travel quickly and information must travel more quickly than through second-hand channels, such as coordinating centres. With the SARS epidemic, we have had a graphic illustration that instant information, using the most modern technology, will probably be our best defence against the spread of diseases.
The sharing of information directly between researchers and governments would be the best answer. Consequently, this is no time to delay and wait for political answers. We must act responsibly on the basis of human rights in a world health crisis atmosphere and ensure that the best, first-hand evidence is obtained. That would be achieved by Taiwan being granted observer status and being understood in the World Health Organization. On that basis, I would hope that no government anywhere in the world would say no to this.
I know that, in the past, concerns have been expressed when indirect routes were taken. In this case, the direct route of health and safety information should trump all other considerations. Consequently, I think we should move expeditiously in agreeing to this motion.
On motion of Senator Andreychuk, for Senator Poy, debate adjourned.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C., calling the attention of the Senate to Canadian foreign policy on the Middle East. —(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Marcel Prud'homme: Honourable senators, I do not wish to speak on this inquiry, but if anyone wishes to speak, I would be interested in hearing them before I speak.
Leave having been granted to revert to Inquiry No. 13:
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Gauthier calling the attention of the Senate to the demo-linguistic data in the 2001 Census dealing with Canada's language profile and many other useful facts of national importance.—(Honourable Senator Gauthier).
Hon. Jean-Robert Gauthier: Honourable senators, this inquiry is very important to me because, following each census — 1971, 1981 and 1991 — the government must adjust its services to the public. Important services are provided in both official languages by federal institutions and offices in the National Capital of Canada, Ottawa, which are — as defined by the regulations — subject to numbers.
I have been talking about this for years, and here is an opportunity to raise once again the issue of "where numbers warrant" versus "significant demand."
Parliament held this debate 20 years ago. I took part in it. At the time, Senator Lowell Murray and I co-chaired the Special Joint Committee on Official Languages. I have the report and it is a lengthy one. Recommendation No. 4 of the report states, and I quote:
That locations "where numbers warrant" and locations "where there is significant demand" be determined by the Governor in Council upon recommendation by the Commissioner of Official Languages and that the appropriate regulations be passed under Section 35 of the Official Languages Act.
There was a census in 2001. Treasury Board was to consult the users and it did.
Indeed, Diana Monnet, from Treasury Board, sent a letter to the francophone and anglophone communities in Canada, as well as to the Official Languages Commissioner. Even the official languages committees of the House and the Senate received a letter. Unfortunately, this letter was not circulated among the committee members. This is regrettable since this information is important to us.
On October 10, 2002, Diana Monnet asked these communities and other individuals involved such as Mr. Dion, the minister responsible for the Privy Council, to provide comments. By law, the committee was kept informed in writing, and that letter was not distributed to the committee members, and I do not know why. When I learned that a letter had been duly sent recently, I asked for a copy. I was told that I needed to obtain permission. Months passed before I was able to obtain a copy. I circulated the letter as soon as I received it, because I considered it important. A fundamental principle of the Official Languages Act is that, where there is significant demand, the government must provide services in both official languages.
This was something the Senate did not take part in. We were not informed of the process. I know, however, that, subsequent to this study, institutions subject to this legislation — there are 114 or 115 of them — must provide services to suit the public they serve. A federal institution in the capital region has no choice but to provide services in both official languages. In other regions, it depends on the numbers or the demand. After each decennial census, there must be a review, a reflective exercise on the application of the Official Languages Regulations, communication with the public and service delivery. This review is mandatory. Offices, agencies, departments and federal institutions must serve Canadians, but once again, Parliament must be involved. We must be advised. We must know what is going on. We have worked very hard for this right. I think this is elementary.
Surprised at the silence and aware of the importance of this exercise, particularly with respect to head offices, offices and institutions, I wrote to each of the representatives mentioned in the act; the communities, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), Stéphane Dion and Diane Adam, asking them to brief me on what had happened.
Imagine, a parliamentarian having to write to federal agencies and institutions to find out what is going on. I received replies from the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne and from Dr. Adam. I was given some information on the review of the regulations.
Based on the information I received, five meetings were held from November 5, 2002 to May 22, 2003. Parliamentarians must examine the recommendations made by these officials. Draft regulations must be tabled for 30 days, which are calculated based on the House of Commons, not Parliament. Section 85 or 86 of the regulations says that it is the sitting days of the House of Commons that count. Thirty days after the draft regulations are tabled, committees or Parliament must vote on them. The draft regulations are then published in the Canada Gazette and become the regulations by which the Official Languages Act is enforced, is implemented, and is carried out.
If it were not for the fact that, fortunately, Minister Robillard, the President of the Treasury Board, told me in committee that she had written to us about this on October 10, I would not have known. I did not hear about it. I am sorry to say so, but we did not receive this information.
That annoys me because, if there is one senator in this House who tries to work seriously on this issue, it is I. I know the Act and the regulations, too. I cannot accept being pushed aside and not being given all the information I need to work effectively.
There were five meetings of the group. I shall try to obtain the minutes of these meetings to find out how they were received. What problems did they discuss? What solutions were found to the many problems? I will not be much longer, because the message has been received.
Some cities and regions in Canada were exempt from providing services in both official languages. For example, in Victoria, British Columbia, the number of francophones did not warrant offering services in both official languages. But they will as a result of the 2001 census. The City of Kingston, which is not far from here, did not have the required number either. Some honourable senators will remember that when the Collège Militaire Saint-Jean was moved to Kingston, that was one of the major questions raised in Parliament: would services in both official languages be available in Kingston? There were going to be students, young people, from all over Canada. We were told that no, the numbers did not warrant it. That caused some concern. Some steps were taken, and we were told, "Do not worry; we are going to meet the standards of the Province of Ontario."
In Ontario, we have a law, Bill 8, passed a few years ago, which says that in a region where there are 5,000 people whose mother tongue is French or English, services must be provided in both official languages. Kingston, as of this moment, is eligible to receive all federal services because there will be more than 5,000 people speaking each official language in the area.
I do not know if I am advocating change, but it is high time that the Senate took care of these matters. I thought we would have an independent standing Senate committee and that senators would be interested in this. It has taken four, five, even six months to find out that a letter was sent to the committee, and that the letter had not been circulated. Why? I do not know. I do know that change is on the horizon. I promised myself one thing: if changes result in fewer services, I want Parliament to know about it. I was told not to worry. I still do not have the numbers. I am waiting. I am told that the numbers will be available at the end of June, that we will be able to review the entire issue of the regulations and Canadians' right to obtain services in both official languages from their federal institutions. Is it too much to ask that senators be informed on a regular basis, that correspondence sent to us be circulated? I think this is quite reasonable. I would simply like to end on a positive note.
The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages must be proactive and collegial and not act like a little club, a dictatorship. It should be a parliamentary body where information is shared by everyone.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, if no other honourable senator wishes to speak on this matter, it shall be considered to have been debated.
Bill to Amend—First Reading
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-31, to amend the Pension Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-25, to modernize employment and labour relations in the public service and to amend the Financial Administration Act and the Canadian Centre for Management Development Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.
Bill read first time.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?
On motion of Senator Robichaud, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.
Motion to Refer 2002 Berlin Resolution of Organization for Security and Co-operation in European Parliamentary Assembly to Committee—Order Stands
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion, as modified, of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.:
That the following resolution, encapsulating the 2002 Berlin OSCE (PA) Resolution, be referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights for consideration and report before June 30, 2003:
WHEREAS Canada is a founding member State of the Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the 1975 Helsinki Accords;
WHEREAS all the participating member States to the Helsinki Accords affirmed respect for the right of persons belonging to national minorities to equality before the law and the full opportunity for the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and further that the participating member States recognized that such respect was an essential factor for the peace, justice and well- being necessary to ensure the development of friendly relations and co-operation between themselves and among all member States;
WHEREAS the OSCE condemned anti-Semitism in the 1990 Copenhagen Concluding Document and undertook to take effective measures to protect individuals from anti-Semitic violence;
WHEREAS the 1996 Lisbon Concluding Document of the OSCE called for improved implementation of all commitments in the human dimension, in particular with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms and urged participating member States to address the acute problem of anti-Semitism;
WHEREAS the 1999 Charter for European Security committed Canada and other participating member States to counter violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and manifestations of intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racism, chauvinism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism;
WHEREAS on July 8, 2002, at its Parliamentary Assembly held at the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, the OSCE passed a unanimous resolution, as appended, condemning the current anti-Semitic violence throughout the OSCE space;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution urged all member States to make public statements recognizing violence against Jews and Jewish cultural properties as anti- Semitic and to issue strong, public declarations condemning the depredations;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution called on all participating member States to combat anti-Semitism by ensuring aggressive law enforcement by local and national authorities;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution urged participating members States to bolster the importance of combating anti-Semitism by exploring effective measures to prevent anti-Semitism and by ensuring that laws, regulations, practices and policies conform with relevant OSCE commitments on anti-Semitism;
WHEREAS the 2002 Berlin Resolution also encouraged all delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly to vocally and unconditionally condemn manifestations of anti- Semitic violence in their respective countries;
WHEREAS the alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents and violence has been documented in Canada, as well as Europe and worldwide.
RESOLUTION ONANTI-SEMITIC VIOLENCE IN THE OSCE REGION
Berlin, 6 - 10 July 2002
1. Recalling that the OSCE was among those organizations which publicly achieved international condemnation of anti-Semitism through the crafting of the 1990 Copenhagen Concluding Document;
2. Noting that all participating States, as stated in the Copenhagen Concluding Document, commit to "unequivocally condemn" anti-Semitism and take effective measures to protect individuals from anti- Semitic violence;
3. Remembering the 1996 Lisbon Concluding Document, which highlights the OSCE's "comprehensive approach" to security, calls for "improvement in the implementation of all commitments in the human dimension, in particular with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms," and urges participating States to address "acute problems," such as anti- Semitism;
4. Reaffirming the 1999 Charter for European Security, committing participating States to "counter such threats to security as violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and manifestations of intolerance, aggressive nationalism, racism, chauvinism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism";
5. Recognizing that the scourge of anti-Semitism is not unique to any one country, and calls for steadfast perseverance by all participating States;
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
6. Unequivocally condemns the alarming escalation of anti- Semitic violence throughout the OSCE region;
7. Voices deep concern over the recent escalation in anti- Semitic violence, as individuals of the Judaic faith and Jewish cultural properties have suffered attacks in many OSCE participating States;
8. Urges those States which undertake to return confiscated properties to rightful owners, or to provide alternative compensation to such owners, to ensure that their property restitution and compensation programmes are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner and according to the rule of law;
9. Recognizes the commendable efforts of many post- communist States to redress injustices inflicted by previous regimes based on religious heritage, considering that the interests of justice dictate that more work remains to be done in this regard, particularly with regard to individual and community property restitution compensation;
10. Recognizes the danger of anti-Semitic violence to European security, especially in light of the trend of increasing violence and attacks regions wide;
11. Declares that violence against Jews and other manifestations of intolerance will never be justified by international developments or political issues, and that it obstructs democracy, pluralism, and peace;
12. Urges all States to make public statements recognizing violence against Jews and Jewish cultural properties as anti-Semitic, as well as to issue strong, public declarations condemning the depredations;
13. Calls upon participating States to ensure aggressive law enforcement by local and national authorities, including thorough investigation of anti-Semitic criminal acts, apprehension of perpetrators, initiation of appropriate criminal prosecutions and judicial proceedings;
14. Urges participating States to bolster the importance of combating anti-Semitism by holding a follow-up seminar or human dimension meeting that explores effective measures to prevent anti-Semitism, and to ensure that their laws, regulations, practices and policies conform with relevant OSCE commitments on anti-Semitism; and
15. Encourages all delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly to vocally and unconditionally condemn manifestations of anti-Semitic violence in their respective countries and at all regional and international forums.—(Honourable Senator Prud'homme, P.C.).
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, perhaps the Honourable Senator Prud'homme could advise me when he intends to speak to this matter. It has been tabled in this house since last November. I would hope that he could do so before the adjournment in June so as to give an opportunity to have the question put to the house.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Prud'homme: I ask that this item stand, that is all.
Senator Grafstein: Perhaps I could ask Senator Prud'homme —
Senator Lynch-Staunton: Out of order.
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Gill calling the attention of the Senate to the issues of the common approach (negotiations) with the Innu (Montagnais) of Quebec, Quebec and Canada with respect to the current discussions.—(Honourable Senator Watt).
Hon. Charlie Watt: Honourable senators, I would like to continue to have this matter stand in my name because the question of Aboriginal issues, such as those in Bill C-6, is coming. As honourable senators know, our leader tabled a motion this afternoon in regard to the non-derogation clause. I intend to speak on this subject matter. I ask that it remain standing in my name.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, Senator Watt simply meant to protect his right to speak to this inquiry and to say a few words to ask the Senate for more time to prepare. At the same time, he wanted to stand the order until the next sitting and to start all over.
On motion of Senator Watt, debate adjourned.
Committee Authorized to Study Business Development Bank of Canada
Hon. Raymond C. Setlakwe, pursuant to notice of May 8, 2003, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce be authorized to study and report upon the annual report, mission and corporate plan of the Business Development Bank of Canada and other related matters; and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 18, 2003.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Noël A. Kinsella (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, would it be helpful and informative for all honourable senators to have an explication by Senator Setlakwe, the mover of this motion? I would be interested to know exactly what they intend to study.
Senator Setlakwe: Honourable senators, the Banking Committee presented a report recommending, among other things, that the government authorize bank mergers. Concerns were expressed in this report about funding, access to capital by SMBs and individuals in remote areas of the country. That is the purpose of my motion. It is designed to authorize the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to examine the possibility of giving the Business Development Bank of Canada additional powers to make short-term loans, for instance, something it cannot do right now.
Senator Kinsella: I wonder if, during this study, the committee will have the opportunity to examine some of the bank's loan subsidies. I hope that this committee will have the opportunity to hear evidence on projects financed and supported by the bank. This could be a good opportunity for Canadians to examine further certain matters of public interest.
Senator Setlakwe: The purpose of my motion is to authorize the bank to make short-term loans, something it cannot do at present. I do not think that the committee's mandate should include any other subject.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, would this authorization to make loans in remote areas require the Prime Minister's intervention or could it be given directly to the bank?
Senator Setlakwe: I understand the thrust of the question of the Honourable Leader of the Opposition. I can tell him in all honesty that my motion concerns the bank and its loan terms and conditions. It had nothing to do with the Prime Minister.
Senator Kinsella: In light of this clarification and the opportunity to review the annual report of the Business Development Bank of Canada, it would be interesting to examine the bank's mission statement and organization plan. In this kind of study, there is always a part explaining how the entity is organized. If that is agreed, I am prepared to support the motion.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to.
Maritime Helicopter Project—Motion to Receive Briefing in Committee of the Whole—Debate Adjourned
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition), pursuant to notice of May 14, 2003, moved:
That the Senate resolve itself into Committee of the Whole in order to receive Jane Billings, from the Department of Public Works and Government Services, and Alan Williams, from the Department of National Defence, for a briefing on the procurement process for the Maritime Helicopter Project in light of developments since their appearance before Committee of the Whole on October 30, 2001.
He said: Honourable senators, almost two years ago to the day, on June 5, 2001, the Leader of the Government in the Senate agreed, after many urgings by this side, that the Senate meet in Committee of the Whole in the fall of 2001. She said:
I met with the leadership on the other side yesterday, —
That is, June 4, 2001.
— and it was mutually agreed that a meeting of the Committee of the Whole to examine the Maritime Helicopter Project will be held soon after our return in September...
When we did return in September, we had various discussions, both here and outside the chamber, as to who we would like to hear at Committee of the Whole. We submitted a long list of military personnel involved in the Maritime Helicopter Project, including former members of the military who are familiar with helicopters, and even suggested that potential bidders be invited as well as officials in the departments directly involved.
The government was not happy with that list and would only allow two government officials to appear before us, who turned out to be Jane Billings, who is referred to in my motion, who was with the Department of Public Works Government and Services, and Alan Williams from National Defence.
We expressed our disappointment at limiting the number of witnesses to two who could only speak to one aspect of the very complex Maritime Helicopter Project. We felt that, in order to get a broad view and assessment of the project, it would be better to hear from as many expert witnesses as possible. However, it turned out that both Ms. Billings and Mr. Williams were able to give us some information and explanation on the project, including why the bidding had been split into two, which was unprecedented.
While the exchange was not completely satisfactory, because only two witnesses were involved, we at least obtained a better understanding, from the government's point of view, as to how the project was proceeding. One and one-half years have passed and much new information about the process has been made available, some through access to information. We know that one potential bidder, in particular, had made representations through the Canadian Embassy in France. We know that the minister has agreed to re-bundle the project so that there would be only one bid rather than two bids for the same project.
In this chamber, there have been some helpful statements by the Leader of the Government, but it is impossible for her to answer all the questions, which are mainly technical in nature. The Senate should be informed about the new bidding process. What will it entail? What will be the new deadline for replacing the helicopters? What might be the regional benefits? There is also the question of lowest price rather than best-value strategy and whether it will continue. The most controversial aspect is a claim, made by one potential bidder in particular, that the specifications are being tailored in such a manner that it would be eliminated from the bidding process. That is a serious charge that has not been answered adequately. The Parliament of Canada is entitled to more specific information than it has been able to obtain to date.
The exchange with the two officials in October 2001 was helpful. It was conducted on a non-partisan level and questions came from both sides. I want to thank the two officials again for their participation. It would be helpful, given that the idea of having those two officials came from the government side, if the government were to accept the idea that, through this motion, we re-invite the same two officials to come before us to continue the discussion. That could only be helpful in coming to a better understanding of the evolution of the Maritime Helicopter Project, of where we are headed with the changes in the bidding process, and when we will be able to claim that the process is so well underway that it will finally be executed.
This motion builds on the suggestion made by the Leader of the Government in the Senate at the time to invite the same two officials. We are not insisting that others be invited, and we will do it this way for now. If need be, we could invite others at another time.
Honourable senators, I urge support for this motion. It will allow us to obtain an update on a complex, controversial, costly but necessary issue. I do not want to review the problems that we have with the Sea Kings, but as Senator Forrestall told us today, another one was forced down yesterday in an emergency landing. It is necessary that the government move as quickly as possible and that there be the least political interference possible. Certainly, by having key officials of the two relevant departments before us, honourable senators could be reassured that certain anxieties about the process are hopefully unfounded. That is why I urge support for this motion.
On motion of Senator Robichaud, debate adjourned.
Committee Authorized to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Issues Affecting Urban Aboriginal Youth
Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux, pursuant to notice of May 27, 2003, moved:
That, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on October 29, 2002, the date for the final report by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples in its study of issues affecting urban Aboriginal youth be extended from June 27, 2003, to October 30, 2003.
Hon. John Lynch-Staunton (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I have nothing against the motion, and I look forward to the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples because I have been following the work of the committee on and off. However, it could well be that the house will not sit in October. I wanted to ensure that the honourable senator was aware of this and that the committee's deadline may not be met. Did the honourable senator wish to reconsider the date?
Senator Chalifoux: I have been in contact with my committee and my clerk. We hope to have the report by September, but to be on the safe side, we chose October 30 as the deadline.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I understand every effort will be made to get the report tabled when the Senate is in session.
Senator Chalifoux: Yes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to.
Committee Authorized to Hear From Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Officials on Incidences of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
Hon. Thelma J. Chalifoux, for Hon. Donald H. Oliver, pursuant to notice of May 27, 2003, moved:
That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to hear from the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and his officials in order to receive a briefing on incidences of bovine spongiform encephalophy in Canada; and
That the Committee submit its final report no later than November 27, 2003.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this is a motion from the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. We obtained consent last week for the committee to have permission to sit and to meet with the minister in order to address the serious problem affecting the cattle industry. I believe that Senator Chalifoux, who is on the committee, would be prepared to move this motion.
Senator Chalifoux: Yes. On behalf of Senator Oliver, I move the motion standing in his name.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to.
Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Oliver, seconded by the Honourable Senator Stratton, for the second reading of Bill S-16, to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Parliament of Canada Act (Speakership of the Senate).—(Honourable Senator Joyal, P.C.).
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, I request leave to revert to Item No. 7 under Other Business in respect of Bill S-16, which was introduced by the Honourable Senator Oliver. The bill stands in my name and I do not want it to lapse because I have not spoken to it within the required time limit. In all fairness to Senator Oliver, the bill is important and I would prefer to have time to fully prepare my notes before I speak. With leave of the house, I move adjournment of the debate.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
On motion of Senator Joyal, debate adjourned.
The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, June 4, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.