In the Chamber
Click the links below to review past speeches/statements I have given in the Senate.
Bill C-6, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products—Third Reading
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, my comments on this matter will not be long as you have already heard from me at length. Because this legislation has elicited a number of rather sharp remarks along the way and has been somewhat difficult, it is important that we congratulate the chair, Senator Eggleton; the deputy chair, Senator Keon; and all members of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for handling this legislation in such an able manner.
As well, I would like to thank and congratulate Senator Martin, the sponsor of this bill, the first bill she has sponsored in this chamber. We both learned a lot working together, she as the sponsor and me as the critic.
Honourable senators, reference to U.S. legislation has been made throughout. I have not had time to research the U.S. legislation fully, but I have researched it to the extent that I can tell you that there are many problems with the resulting act that was passed less than two years ago. There are many complaints from industry and individuals about how the system is working. I suggest that holding up the U.S. legislation as a model for us passing our legislation is, perhaps, a bit in the wrong direction. In my view, if this legislation passes without amendment, as is being urged by Senator Martin, there are sections of this legislation that will not stand up to scrutiny or to court challenge. Unfortunately, that will happen many years from now.
In the amendments that we rejected yesterday, by a vote of 42 to 44, there were certain technical amendments that were clearly necessary, as advised by drafting and legal counsel. I regret very much that the minister did not see fit to at least adopt those technical amendments because, without them, the sections do not make sense and do not apply. One of them was an amendment made at a House of Commons committee which did not reflect the process and the procedure in this chamber. We have let that go and I think that is unfortunate.
Honourable senators, these points of our record will be reviewed by lawyers making submissions, and I think it is important that we lay out for them the weakness in this particular legislation. I found the misrepresentations that were made by the minister in relation to the amendments to be very disappointing. I have mentioned that before. We should try not to involve fear-mongering. We should not try to characterize legislation as being an absolute must because of cribs, babies, toys, and so on. This legislation applies to everything that one can imagine, for example, hockey sticks, toasters — everything one can imagine. To try to make one's point by talking about babies and cribs is to move this legislation in a direction where we made some serious mistakes with respect to the anti-terrorism legislation that was passed so quickly after 9/11. Honourable senators, we have to try to avoid that. I tried to get the minister to engage in a reasonable dialogue on the amendments, but I was unsuccessful in achieving that dialogue.
Honourable senators, two points were made: one is mandatory reporting. I absolutely agree that mandatory reporting is necessary. There was no amendment that would change that mandatory reporting. To suggest that the amendment would require us still to get information from the United States with respect to Canadian products is absolutely and categorically false.
With respect to recall, the only change with respect to recall in the amendments was to try to reflect what the government representative said was the process that they would be following and that they do follow. The only other change was that if there is a mandatory recall, it would be done by the minister, as opposed to an inspector, because it is such a serious and fundamental step. As I pointed out before, that is exactly what the Minister of Agriculture does. The power for recall for the Department of Agriculture rests with the minister. We wanted to reflect that same power in this particular legislation. Unfortunately, honourable senators, that was rejected yesterday.
I have made my points with respect to those amendments. I do not intend to reintroduce those amendments here today, but I stand by my view, on the advice of many, that this legislation is an unnecessary overreach and will cause problems in the future.
Tribute to Senator John G. Bryden
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, it is a great privilege to be able to join with other senators in paying tribute to my good friend from New Brunswick, John Bryden. John was born in Port Elgin, New Brunswick, and that is the same area of southeastern New Brunswick from which Roméo LeBlanc and Senator Trenholme Counsell came, both of whom were senators here and to whom we have paid tribute in the past.
Port Elgin is also close to Sackville, New Brunswick, which is the home of the world-famous Mount Allison University. Therefore, it was no surprise that John elected to go to Mount Allison University for his first degree. He continued at the University of Pennsylvania, and studied law at the University of New Brunswick.
John has been married for over 50 years to Lorrie, and they have three children — Jock, Tricia and Peter — and eight grandchildren. In addition to his wife Lorrie, it is great to see people with whom he has worked along the way, including Hélène, Len and Barbara, who are sitting with him in the gallery, along with his brother, Rod.
In addition to the considerable contributions John has made as a senator in this chamber, he was also a very successful lawyer, businessman, senior public servant and political operative. I was at the convention in New Brunswick for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 1978 and I can recall volunteering for John's campaign. His good friend and mine, Tony Barry, recently reminiscing about the 1978 campaign, said, "Oh, that was a close one."
Unfortunately, I could not convince John to get involved in the 1982 leadership convention, in which I was a participant.
However, he was convinced to come out in 1984 to help Frank McKenna, who, as you have heard, was very successful. Following Frank's choice as leader of the Liberal Party, in 1987, he swept all of the seats in the province of New Brunswick. That 58-out-of-58 victory for the Liberal Party is probably one of the highlights of John Bryden's political career.
John went on to participate in several other campaigns for Frank McKenna, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.
Before he got involved — or sometimes at the same time as he was involved — in the political campaigns, John was busily involved in business with his brother, Rod Bryden. I recall many times in the 1980s meeting John on planes going back and forth to New Brunswick, as I was doing the same. He was President of Paperboard Industries at that time.
John was appointed to the Senate 15 years ago yesterday, as has been indicated by my honourable colleague. He had the experience of having been a public servant in the government of Louis Robichaud. He had also worked in the area of law, where negotiations were very important. That was clear in the work he did in the Senate with respect to two points which I recall, and they have already been mentioned: the Special Committee of the Senate on the Pearson Airport Agreements, and the legislation with respect to animal cruelty. The latter had lost that balance between rural and urban. John decided he would find that balance and he did so, ultimately coming forward with a private members' bill that passed both houses and achieved that critical balance.
Honourable senators, if you are passing southeastern New Brunswick and you see an honourable senator sitting on his red tractor with his old straw hat, you will know it is our good friend, John Bryden.
Tribute to the Late Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, is it one's career that defines the person, or is it the person who defines his career? Roméo LeBlanc was a wonderfully diverse person who had a wonderfully diverse career, but I suggest to you his career was more a function of his personality and upbringing than vice versa.
He was the youngest of seven children born in a small francophone community in southeastern New Brunswick. Being the youngest of seven may have explained why the other members of the family helped him to finish high school when none of them had had that opportunity. He continued his studies and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of St. Joseph's College in Memramcook. Next, he worked in Montreal at a student newspaper and later at L'Evangeline, a French newspaper in Moncton. He soon returned to St. Joseph's to complete his education degree, after which he taught for a period of time until he received a scholarship to attend the Sorbonne in Paris.
He returned to Canada and was soon hired by Radio-Canada, where he remained for eight years working in Washington and London. In 1967, Prime Minister Lester Pearson persuaded Roméo LeBlanc to return to Canada and work in his office at the Prime Minister's Office in Ottawa.
Shortly after, Mr. Pearson resigned and Pierre Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister. Roméo LeBlanc stayed on with Mr. Trudeau until 1971, when he returned to work at the University of Moncton, at the time a very fast growing, French-language university.
An opportunity came for him to run for political office in 1972. The only difficulty was that his opponent for the Liberal Party nomination was also named Roméo LeBlanc. His opponent was much shorter, so we called him "little Romeo." Big Romeo won the nomination and proceeded to Ottawa, where he became a cabinet minister from 1974 until 1984, with a hiatus of nine months during Joe Clark's government.
Roméo LeBlanc is probably best known for his work as Minister of Fisheries. Honourable senators have heard many stories of him being a friend of the fishermen. I remember him well during this period as the minister responsible for New Brunswick, and how fair he was in the involvement of the federal government in the development of the Province of New Brunswick.
He served in this chamber for nine years, his final year as Speaker. I was privileged to be here in the chamber when he was sworn in as the twenty-fifth Governor General of Canada. There was not a dry eye in the gallery, I can tell you, from all my Acadian friends who were in attendance with me.
Honourable senators, Roméo LeBlanc was a gentle, modest and accomplished man, who communicated his principles of loyalty to family and society throughout his province and indeed the entire nation—very successfully. Here in the Senate, we would like Roméo LeBlanc's children, Dominic and Geneviève, to know what a difference he made to the people of New Brunswick and the rest of Canada.
United States Senator Olympia J. Snowe
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, the debate on health care currently raging in the United States has been of great interest to many of us in Canada. One very significant development took place in the U.S. Congress recently with respect to the health care debate that is worthy of note.
Senator Olympia Snowe is a Republican senator representing the state of Maine. She was first elected in 1994 and re-elected more recently in 2006 for a third term in the U.S. Senate. She obtained 74 per cent of the votes cast. In 2001, she became the first Republican woman ever to secure a full term seat on the Senate Finance Committee. Honourable senators will appreciate how valued and sought after such a position on the Senate Finance Committee would be.
Earlier this month, she showed her independence of mind by being the only Republican to vote with 13 Democrats during the Senate Finance Committee vote on health care reform legislation. Senator Snowe describes herself as "a Republican moderate." This is not the first time she has shown her moderation by voting independently. Previously, she had voted for President Obama's economic stimulus and against former President Bush's proposed health care bill, which she felt was inadequate.
Honourable senators, there may be a lesson for each of us in Senator Snowe's independence. She demonstrates that a representative of a region has a primary responsibility to the people she is representing. Usually, she can achieve that goal through her political party affiliation, but not always. Given a choice between the people she represents and her political party, she chose her people and her region. For this, she has come under attack in some quarters, yet she remains one of the most respected and influential senators on Capitol Hill.
Honourable senators, all of us in the Senate of Canada can learn from her courage and conviction.
Sixtieth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would also like to add my congratulations for the sixtieth anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed to hundreds of thousands of people in Tiananmen Square the founding of the People's Republic of China. The crowd, which was silent at first, broke into a great roar of triumph. China had been in a state of civil war since 1927, caused by an ideological split between the Chinese Nationalist Party and the Communist Party of China. The changes in China following that announcement were swift.
The first Premier of the People's Republic of China, Zhou Enlai, who had been central to the rise of the Communist Party with Chairman Mao, led the development and redevelopment of the economy and the restructuring of society. However, the transition to modern China was not without its difficulties and 1958 signalled the start of the era referred to as the Great Leap Forward. The social transformation that Mao envisaged involved mobilizing the rural masses to meet China's industrial and agricultural problems, highlighting manpower over machines. This system was disastrous and led to widespread starvation, with as many as 65 million people dying in a few short years.
In 1966, Mao initiated another social movement known as the Cultural Revolution. Fuelled by a power struggle, the revolution lasted 10 years and led to a complete upheaval of Chinese society.
After the death of Mao in 1976, and under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, China experienced another change, the adoption of a market economy, which led to one of the most remarkable national, economic and social transformations in the history of the world. Today, China's economy is ranked third in the world, behind the U.S. and Japan, with an annual economic growth rate in excess of 8 per cent for each of the past 30 years. China now manufactures and exports more products than any other nation in the world.
China has also become a leader in science and technology. Many cutting-edge technologies have been developed in the past few years in that country.
October 1 is a celebration of the past, the present and the future of China. Those who lived through the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution cannot forget the struggles of the past; those born in the modern age look forward to a bright future for their children.
October 1 is about celebrating the present, and Beijing will certainly not be sparing any effort in celebration of their National Day festivities. They are anticipating that the parade will involve in excess of 187,000 soldiers and civilians, with hundreds of military vehicles and aircrafts involved.
Honourable senators, today we salute our friend and our second-largest trading partner, the People's Republic of China on their National Day, which leads into the week-long Autumn Festival celebrations.
Bill C-6, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products—Second Reading
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ruth, for the second reading of Bill C-6, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to refresh your memories, if I may, regarding a bill that was before the Senate in June, shortly before the summer break. Senator Martin gave us an outline of Bill C-6, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products, and some of the main amendments that had been proposed. I would like to thank her for her very informative speech and remind all honourable senators what the bill is all about.
Bill C-6 had been previously introduced in the House of Commons as Bill C-52. It did not make it to the committee stage because Parliament was dissolved. Bill C-52 was later introduced with its companion bill, Bill C-51.
Thus, there were two bills: Bill C-51 and Bill C-52, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act. Together, those legislative measures were aimed at implementing the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, and Budget 2008 even earmarked $113 million for those measures.
I am wondering why we have not yet heard anything about Bill C-51 being introduced again. We are being asked to consider only half of the legislation proposed in these two bills.
One of my concerns, honourable senators, is that there were two bills in this plan for security of food and products. We see only one-half of that here whereas the two were intended to be studied together.
Honourable senators, it is a good concept, and let me read the purpose of Bill C-6, what it intends to do. I will refer to a number of clauses of Bill C-6 to help us understand what approval is being sought. Clause 3:
3. The purpose of this Act is to protect the public by addressing or preventing dangers to human health or safety that are posed by consumer products in Canada, including those that circulate within Canada and those that are imported.
It is difficult to argue with that purpose, honourable senators. Honourable senators will know that with that kind of wording the federal government's jurisdictional basis for passing this to protect the public is criminal law basis. I believe that is important, honourable senators, as we study the various clauses, that it is a criminal law basis upon which the federal government has jurisdiction to propose this legislation.
Now, honourable senators, as the Rules provide, second reading of a bill is the study of the bill in principle. We are studying the bill in principle in this particular instance.
Bill C-6, the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, replaces another bill with which we are quite familiar, and that is the Hazardous Products Act and Part I of the Hazardous Products Act. If this bill is passed, Part I of the Hazardous Products Act will cease to exist. Honourable senators need to be convinced that it is important to replace Part I of the Hazardous Products Act with this new regime.
Why do we need to do away with the Hazardous Products Act and the regime that has become well-known in the courts and in society? Why must we do away with the present act and pass this new piece of legislation, which is quite different in its approach?
This particular piece of legislation provides for increased federal government control. One part of the legislation that perhaps I could be convinced is acceptable is recalls. Honourable senators are quite familiar with the news about product recall.
Under the Hazardous Products Act product recall is voluntary by the manufacturer or the importer of the product. Under this legislation there is —
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Order, please. There are many conversations in the chamber. Please take them to the reading room.
Honourable Senator Day, please continue.
Senator Day: Thank you, honourable senators. I was talking about recall, and this legislation provides that the government can order a recall or order the manufacturer or importer to recall a product as opposed to the company looking after that recall. Having looked at some recalls in the past year, honourable senators will understand how devastating and important that can be to the future viability of a company. We want to be vigilant in determining the test that the government will apply to impose a recall whereas previously it had been voluntary.
For your information, in 2008 there were 165 voluntary product recalls by companies or individuals. To September of this year, from January to September, there have been 224 voluntary recalls. That does not suggest to me that the system under the Hazardous Products Act was not working, and we will want to be convinced that it was not and that certain recalls did not occur. We must look into that area.
This legislation is a major increase in the government's involvement in setting safety guidelines for new product development. The federal government is now moving into setting guidelines for product development, not just looking at the product after it is finished. A stronger role for the government in oversight will require many more records to be kept and to be made available to inspectors. One can imagine how onerous that much reporting will be for small importing businesses. The government will appoint many more officials as inspectors and verifiers and I will point out the relevant sections shortly.
There is also the issue of recall, to which I just referred. This proposed legislation provides the federal government with a new broad authority to order many new things to be done. The bill includes a wide array of new offences.
The fundamental point is that this new scheme is much more invasive and intrusive than previous legislation and its ideology is vastly different. Perhaps that is good. Perhaps this is the way in which government should operate within society. Perhaps this is what the public expects these days. However, we must understand that there is a change in the scheme.
The preamble in Bill C-6 is rather interesting. Typically, bills do not have much in the way of a preamble. One witness indicated to the committee that preambles have no legal effect, making one wonder why seven "Whereas" paragraphs appear in this bill. Perhaps the drafts people were trying to convince themselves that this proposed legislation was proper and required.
I found the fourth paragraph in the preamble most interesting. It states:
Whereas the Parliament of Canada wishes to foster cooperation with the Government of Canada, . . .
The sixth paragraph states:
Whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes that a lack of full scientific certainty is not to be used as a reason for postponing measures . . .
We recognize that fact and we are suggesting they should continue with that. The reason is that the government is moving away from requiring a scientific basis for making an order.
Honourable senators have received many emails on this matter. Certainly, we are not guided solely by the number of emails received from individuals expressing concern about a piece of proposed legislation, but we owe it to those individuals to study their concerns. Most of those concerns relate to process and the fundamental rights of justice, as opposed to the concept of product safety. I will deal with some of the clauses brought to my attention via the 600 emails I received in respect of Bill C-6. I suspect that other honourable senators have received just as many.
Clause 15 of the bill addresses the disclosure of information by a minister. This concern has been brought to the attention of the committee. Clause 15 states:
The Minister may disclose personal information to a person or a government . . .
The committee will want to hear from the Privacy Commissioner on this to determine whether it falls within the rules or if this is a special right provided to the minister in the guise of product safety.
Clause 16 addresses confidential business information and states:
The Minister may disclose confidential business information to a person or a government . . .
This raises some concerns because the definition of "government" includes foreign institutions. Thus, one is left wondering what controls will be in place when confidential information is to be disclosed to a foreign institution. Honourable senators, that area will have to scrutinized closely. The definition of "government" includes:
(a) the federal government;
(b) a corporation named in Schedule III to the Financial Administration Act;
(c) a provincial government or a public body established under an Act of the legislature of a province;
(d) an aboriginal government as defined in subsection 13(3) of the Access to Information Act;
(e) a government of a foreign state or of a subdivision of a foreign state; or
(f) an international organization of states.
Why is that definition of government important? It is because, under Bill C-6, the Minister of Health and all the people who work for her will have the right to disclose personal information and confidential corporate information to all of the aforementioned entities.
I would submit, honourable senators, that the committee will want to look very closely at those issues.
Inspectors are addressed at clause 18, which states:
The Minister shall decide on the number of inspectors . . .
The scheme is set up such that the minister may appoint the inspectors, as per clause 18. Clause 28 states that the minister may appoint analysts. Clause 33 states that the minister may review officers and clause 48 states that the minister may appoint the people to issue a notice of violation. That is all it says. The supporting regulations are very broad on the number of people and their qualifications. That is how the minister will determine what these various people will do.
Clause 20 and subsequent clauses address the authority proposed for inspectors and honourable senators will want to look at those. This will be a broad authority to order an owner to hold a product, to give it up or to restrict its movement. The inspector will have authority to use a computer or photocopy machine at the business establishment and to seize and detain for any time any article, including the consumer product and all the related items.
Inspectors will be able to enter a business without reasonable and probable grounds to suspect a violation, which would be the norm for an inspection to take place. When there are reasonable and probable grounds to suspect a possible violation, it is usual to obtain a warrant from a third party, such as a justice of the peace or a judge, before the inspection takes place. That is the procedure in criminal matters. Under Bill C-6, reasonable and probable grounds for entry by an inspector would be a belief that a consumer product is manufactured or sold on the particular property. There is no need to believe that the product is dangerous or problematic. I would think that those clauses should be reviewed more closely.
Honourable senators, clause 20 is about articles. Clause 23 says an inspector may seize "a thing" under the act. I ask, what is a "thing," and go back to the definition section. There is no definition of a "thing," therefore, the inspector can go in and do all these things with respect to articles. Then we go to the procedure following seizure. The inspector seizes an article and ends up with a thing.
There are obvious drafting problems here that must be looked at. I point out a few of these things found through a reading of the act. That is what we do in this place. We read the acts. It is good that we read them because this one was somewhat rushed in the other place in June. It came here in late June.
Let us look at subclause 20(4):
An inspector who is carrying out their functions. . . .
That should be "his or her functions."
. . . or any person accompanying them may enter on or pass through or over private property, and they are not liable for doing so.
Inspectors do not need a warrant, or reasonable or probably grounds that something is happening. They can go over private property willy-nilly and they will not be responsible for any problems that they cause.
We are moving along nicely, honourable senators, and I thank you for bearing with me. I am almost at clause 30, which is about halfway through the bill.
I will speak about the Inspectors' Orders, honourable senators. The interesting thing about these Inspectors' Orders is that they are not considered to be statutory instruments. We can have statutory instruments. The honourable Senator Banks has raised this issue many times. Clause 64 states:
For greater certainty, orders made under this Act, except under section 37, are not statutory instruments. . . .
We do not know what the guidelines are because the guidelines will not be published in the Canada Gazette. They will not go before the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations because they are exempted.
There is another exemption in clause 37. Clause 37 deals with interim orders of the minister. What is an interim order? An interim order is when the minister has not gotten around to completing the regulation, so the minister can issue an interim order that is a regulation. That is what the bill has provided. The minister's interim order "contains any provision that may be contained in a regulation." The provision can be put in an interim order that lasts for up to a year.
The exception here is that "An interim order is exempt from the application of sections 3 and 9 of the Statutory Instruments Act." The minister does not have to go to the Privy Council Office, PCO, to ensure the interim order is within the rules, and it does not have to be published in the Canada Gazette. Those provisions are in sections 3 and 9. Again, that situation is not acceptable.
One must think of this legislation in terms of due process for, for instance, the small-business person or the small manufacturer who imports something. How will they put up with all these rules, all the inspectors, all the analysts and all the review officers that the minister has the power to appoint? We do not know who these appointment are. We barely know what authority they have, and we do not know what powers they have.
Honourable senators, the rules provide for two ways to go. If an offence is committed under this act, then the minister can decide to go one way or the other. If the minister decides to go via prosecution before a court, that is fine: We understand that. However, if the minister decides to go the administrative route, the other route, and issue a notice of a violation, then a whole lot of other rules begin applying and there is no court involved. Fines can be $5 million per incident, and another section says that if an incident continues more than one day, each day is an incident. Another clause of the bill provides for that situation.
Two years per incident and $5 million per day are provided for in this bill. Clauses 41 and 60 provide for violations continued on more than one day.
Clause 39, honourable senators, states that the directors are liable. However, the bill goes on to say there is no defence of honesty or having done due diligence. Those defences are not there. In fact, they are specifically excluded. Why would those defences be excluded for an agent, a director or an employee, who has performed due diligence? Why would the agent, director or employee be responsible under clauses 39 and 58, for those who are taking notes?
I do not have the answers. I raise a lot of questions and I notice a number of honourable senators opposite taking notes of various clauses. I hope they will have answers for me on some of these issues of due process. These issues are of fundamental rights of justice that we are here to defend.
The people from our regions will be impacted because of these issues. People will be impacted by a group of people appointed by the Minister of Health without that committee of the appointment commissioner that we had all voted for with Bill C-2, the Accountability Act. That appointment commissioner would have been a third party making these appointments, and we would have some confidence that a third party would supervise this process. That party would understand those things but it is not there. The appointments commissioner was never implemented. Even though we have spent millions of dollars in approving that position, each year it was not done.
All these individuals appointed somehow by the minister will interfere with the day-to-day operation without any scrutiny or any oversight, requiring more documentation. Honourable senators, is that where we want to go with respect to public safety?
We all agree that public safety is important. Is this bill the best way to achieve public safety with respect to consumer products?
Honourable senators, those are my comments. I look forward to this matter moving to committee. Which committee it goes to will be a matter of negotiation between leadership. I have pointed out that I believe there are serious legal issues that should be discussed and most of us, if not all of us, agree on the social aspects of this bill.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Do honourable senators wish to continue the debate? Senator Day, will you accept a question?
Senator Day: Yes, I will.
Hon. Jerahmiel S. Grafstein: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for drawing my attention to this bill. I was involved in the establishment of the first Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, so this issue of consumer protection is close to my background and heart.
However, when I looked at clauses 56, 57, 58, 59 and 60, they struck me as being unconstitutional in the sense that mens rea is no longer a condition precedent to a criminal offence. These provisions seem to be an extravagant use of the criminal power and I hope that the committee seized of this matter will deal with that issue and ask law officers of the Crown to come and deal with that particular matter. On the face of it, prima facie, these provisions are unconstitutional. I want the honourable senator's comments.
Senator Day: I am very concerned about the constitutionality with respect to due process and violations. Many of the emails each of you has received have brought out those same points. The law of trespass has been set aside. All of the due process with which we have become very familiar and that gives us some comfort has been set aside.
The short answer is I agree. Thank you for bringing that to our attention.
Hon. Elaine McCoy: I thank the honourable senators who introduced and have spoken to this bill. I want to add a few brief comments on the bill as a former minister responsible for consumer affairs.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Does the honourable senator have a question for Senator Day?
Senator McCoy: No.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Does any other senator have questions for Senator Day before I recognize Senator McCoy?
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: I have a question regarding clause 2, and the definition of "government." The clause states:
(d) an aboriginal government as defined in subsection 13(3) of the Access to Information Act;
Could the honourable senator give his opinion with regard to whether that definition of an Aboriginal government is appropriate?
Senator Day: Honourable senators, I must confess I had that underlined and thought I must look at that before we get to committee. At this stage of looking at the bill in principle, this is a huge definition of government. Where government becomes important is if we look at the clauses that can give away personal information to governments. An Aboriginal community government might not be the worst government they might want to give information to. We will have to look at why they go to the Access to Information Act to define an Aboriginal government, but I do not have an answer for the senator at this stage.
Training Programs for Cadets
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, it is good to see you all back.
Honourable senators, I have no doubt that we each share the concern of a lack of work for and the resulting inactivity of our country's youth. I wish to draw to your attention the cadet summer training program, a program available to Canadian youth aged 12 years to 18 years.
The aim of the program is the development of leadership and citizenship qualities and the promotion of physical fitness and stimulation in the interests of sea, land and air activities. Sea cadets, army cadets and air cadets each have their own training programs designed to offer challenging, safe and fun activities while allowing cadets to benefit from increased self-confidence, self-esteem and teamwork.
Approximately 4,200 sea cadets participate in activities such as sailing and seamanship. About 8,000 army cadets receive training in leadership, citizenship and teamwork. Approximately 10,000 air cadets attend summer training and their courses include powered flight, glider pilot training and air traffic control instruction.
There are 24 cadet summer training establishments across Canada. Each is located in a unique setting, such as the Rocky Mountains, north of 60 in Whitehorse and in the Atlantic provinces at Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
In addition to travel within Canada, there are international exchanges for certain selected senior cadets during the summer. They are selected on merit, and their visits include various foreign locations such as the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan. Cadets on exchange represent Canada as youth ambassadors abroad and participate in training or cultural activities with their foreign cadet counterparts.
Honourable senators, cadets are not members of the Canadian Armed Forces. The cadet program is not designed as a recruiting vehicle for the Canadian Armed Forces. Some former cadets do join the Armed Forces, but the vast majority of cadets choose careers outside of the military.
Regardless of the path they choose, most former cadets credit their experience in the cadet program with enabling them to become successful in both their professional and personal lives. This is a wonderful opportunity for the youth of our nation to develop important personal qualities and broaden their interests.
I had the opportunity to visit the Argonaut army cadet camp in New Brunswick this summer. I spoke to both the cadets and their parents, and their comments on the program were positive. Honourable senators may wish to look into this particular possibility for the youth in their regions.
China-Canada Legislative Association Delegation Visit
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, further to His Honour's introduction of our visiting friends from the People's Republic of China, I, too, wish to welcome the representatives of the China-Canada Legislative Association of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China.
The delegation is led by Zheng Silin, Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress. He was also a former governor of one of the provinces in China and a former Minister of Labour and Social Security for the 1.3 billion people who live in the country of China. Two vice-presidents of universities and the former Deputy Commander of the Chinese navy accompany Mr. Silin.
China became Canada's second largest trading partner, after the United States, a few years ago. Two-way trade between Canada and the People's Republic of China increased almost fivefold in the decade 1993 to 2003.
China's economy has been growing steadily since the economic reforms of 1978, which sought to change the former solitary nation into a country open to international involvement. In 2002, China became the world's third-largest economy, according to the World Trade Organization, ranking behind only the United States and Germany.
China's rapid growth has been beneficial not only to its Asian neighbours but also to nations worldwide. Their vast reserves are helping and will continue to help the world out of this current economic downturn, including — and perhaps I should add particularly — their investment in helping the United States of America. Even in this time of economic downturn, China is expecting an annual growth of between 6 and 8 per cent this year.
The growth of Canada-China trade relations has been beneficial to both countries. Increased trade exports from China to Canada have helped raise income levels in China and likewise it has helped in Canada. China's importation of Canadian resources has led to the diversification of our export products. Where we once depended primarily on wheat as our export to China, we have added industrial goods and forest products to our major exports to that wonderful country.
Recently, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, during a trip to China, opened up six new trade offices. This is a step in the right direction. Over the past three years, we have perhaps done less than we should have to nurture the relationship between Canada and China. Now is the time to strengthen the connections between our two great countries, as a mutually beneficial relationship can ensure economic stability for the bright futures ahead for both of our great nations.
Welcome, gentlemen and lady.
Air Force Appreciation Day 2009
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, today we recognize Air Force Appreciation Day on Parliament Hill. I know that honourable senators have all joined with me in welcoming here the men and women in light blue uniforms who represent the Air Force.
I would like to pay particular reference to Lieutenant-General Watt, who will be retiring later this year. I would like to thank him for his service as Chief of the Air Staff during the past few years.
Honourable senators, the celebration of this year's Air Force Appreciation Day is certainly remarkable. Honourable senators will remember that earlier this year several senators rose in the Senate to celebrate Canada's Centennial of Flight. The flight of the Silver Dart at Baddeck in Cape Breton 100 years ago represented unprecedented success in Canadian aviation.
Today, we continue to celebrate Canadian aviation by recognizing the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was officially formed on April 1, 1924, after Canadian aircrews had served as part of the British Army, Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy Air Service during World War I. During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Air Force was the fourth largest of the allied air forces, having at its peak an enrolment of over 200,000 personnel compared with today's total Air Force members of approximately 14,000.
It was through great effort, perseverance and bravery that the Canadian Air Force was able to develop into the proud organization that it is today. Today, the Canadian Forces Air Command is an important, integral part of the Canadian Armed Forces. It provides many important services within Canada, including search and rescue operations; military security backup for major events, such as G8 meetings and the Olympics; and the training of NATO personnel.
The Canadian Armed Forces is also very active internationally, including transporting military personnel, equipment and humanitarian supplies to many places throughout the world. It is also active in leading participation in NORAD and NATO missions, including Afghanistan. In fact, Canada's Air Force in Afghanistan recently made headlines with the announcement that two CP-140 Aurora aircraft were deployed on a mission to produce maps for the Joint Task Force Afghanistan. Those maps will be used to help our soldiers. We also are aware of the recent deployment of Chinook and Griffon helicopters in Afghanistan.
This afternoon, between five o'clock and seven o'clock in room 256-S, honourable senators are all welcome to come by and thank the members of the Canadian Air Force who are serving us so well throughout the world.
World Intellectual Property Day 2009
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, today I want to discuss the subject of intellectual property, including trademarks, patents and copyrights.
Today we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day. Intellectual property rights apply to non-tangible goods, such as patents, trademarks and copyright. The day is not officially celebrated until April 26, but since it falls on a Sunday this year, we decided to mark the occasion on Parliament Hill today.
World Intellectual Property Day was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization based in Geneva. This United Nations agency is focused on the understanding of and respect for intellectual property rights worldwide.
This afternoon, we will host members of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada. The institute, founded in 1926, is the professional association of patent agents, trademark agents and lawyers who work in the area of copyright, patents, technology and the law. There are over 1,300 members of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada practising within Canada and worldwide, including Australia. Some of us are no longer engaged in the act of practice, but continue to be interested in the good work of the institute.
The term "intellectual property" may be contrasted with real or personal property. Real or personal property is something tangible, like a house or a car, something you can hold or touch. Intellectual property is a non-physical legal right that can be enforced in the courts. It arises by virtue of original creativity, such as composing music or writing poetry. The creator of that work does not own each note or word but has the right to the arrangement of those notes or words.
We may all have an opportunity to delve into the world of intellectual property if the long-promised revision of the Copyright Act ever reaches this chamber. One of the main issues we will have to consider is the balancing of the creator's rights with the rights of the citizen to access and use works readily available by reason of the digital revolution in electronics.
As honourable senators know, an inquiry was raised in this chamber recently by Senator Cowan on the subject of science and technology. His remarks are well worth revisiting, in particular his emphasis on the importance of funding for research and development.
I invite honourable senators to visit with winners of regional science fairs as well as practitioners in the field of intellectual property between five and seven o'clock today in room 256-S.