In the Chamber
Click the links below to review past speeches/statements I have given in the Senate.
Korean War Veterans Day Bill
Second Reading—Debate Continued
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Martin, seconded by the Honourable Senator Neufeld, for the second reading of Bill S-213, An Act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I see that it has been nine days that I have not been able to get to this particular matter. With permission, I will say a few words in support of this very worthwhile bill that has been initiated by Senator Martin. It deals with an escalation of the recognition from a resolution that was passed by this chamber to a bill that would be a bill from this chamber and, if passed, adopted by both chambers, thereby giving it a higher degree of authority. I commend Senator Martin on bringing forward this bill, and I will be supporting it.
Honourable senators will know that the purpose of this bill is to recognize the Korean War veterans for the tremendous contributions and sacrifices that they made. It will recognize July 27 as a national day of remembrance in honour of Canadian war veterans of the Korean War. It was on July 27, 1953, that the Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed. Thus, this coming July will be the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the armistice, so it would be very appropriate if this bill moves through and is adopted well prior to that date, so that we can do some proper planning.
Much has been said, and rightly so, of the injustice to the veterans of the war often called the "forgotten war." Many honourable senators have outlined the details of the Korean War, as have I, for the purpose of illustrating its size and intensity and why it certainly should not be forgotten. While I will not repeat that which has been said, I will list a few facts about the war to serve as context.
Honourable senators, the Korean War ran from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. In those three years, the total number of United Nations forces killed, wounded or missing was close to 1 million. Canada contributed over 26,000 of our Armed Forces to the Korean War, the third largest total of the nations who came to the aid of South Koreans at the time, behind only the United States and the United Kingdom. Of these 26,000, 516 lost their lives, many of whom are buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery just outside Busan in South Korea.
As is often the case, our Canadian troops proved vital in the fighting. In one instance, members of the Canadian Armed Forces earned a United States Presidential Citation for their critical role in defending the hills of Kapyong. At any other time in our history, this war would have gained the full attention of the public. As we reached the midway point of the 20th century, however, it was unquestionably overshadowed by other events. At that time, a war-weary nation, having finished the Second World War and now the Korean War, was preoccupied with many other events. At that time, a weary nation anxious for peace actively strove to put the Korean conflict, as it was then called, in the backs of their minds. No doubt World War II had exhausted our national psyche, and we were just beginning to adjust to the psychological Cold War.
Wars fought over the Pacific in lands foreign to Canadians at the time received less attention than the Second World War. A war fought in lands that many Canadians had called home only decades before, the Second World War, was much closer to their psyche.
This war was also a first for the United Nations, and that is an important factor. Canada's involvement was part of a UN action. Canada did not declare war on North Korea. This perhaps could explain the lack of public response at the time as well. It does not, however, diminish the fact that this was in every sense a war.
These facts should not distract from the attention our history owes to the Korean War but rather amplify the sheer heroism of those who served the United Nations through the Canadian involvement.
Canada had just been exhausted by World War II and those who went to Korea came of age in the shadow of World War II. The bravery these men and women showed in going to Korea remains hard to understand but greatly appreciated. One would be hard-pressed to overstate the importance of the Korean War. For South Koreans, our veterans remain revered heroes.
Even today, the difference between North and South Korea is as different as night and day. South Korea today is the world's thirteenth largest economy. They enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Asia and remain one of the most innovative and inventive populations in the world. This success is the result of the free and just society that survived due to the efforts and sacrifice of the United Nations force, including our Canadian Forces.
In the North, misery and oppression remain. The threat of famine is omnipresent, and North Koreans are in the bottom third of the world in terms of life expectancy. The erratic and eccentric behaviour of North Korean leadership is often made light of in today's international media, but this only masks the cruelty by which they keep their population under heel. Local media is oppressed and any dissent is met with a violent end. This is the oppressive, ideological regime that the UN forces were fighting against.
The Korean War served to bolster the United Nations as a world body that would prove indispensable for years to come. In the Cold War years, the world was a powder keg, and yet the United Nations served as a body through which necessary military action could be taken and not seen as aggressive by any one particular side.
The armistice that followed the Korean War brought an international contingent of soldiers under the UN flag to help keep peace, a force that included, of course, a sizable Canadian contribution. The Canadian contribution to the Korean War would go on to create a unique niche for our Canadian Forces preserving peace and order in much of the 20th century.
Our military is a small force made up of incredible men and women, which allows us to make contributions far greater than our size would warrant. Our soldiers' skills and abilities proved indispensable not only in Korea but later in Cypress, the Golan Heights, and of course during the Suez Crisis when Lester B. Pearson, then foreign minister, is considered to have fathered the modern concept of peacekeeping. These peacekeepers would go on to ensure that small regional conflicts would not create the spark that would engulf the world in a global nuclear conflict. Because of these actions around the world, the Canadian Forces are still synonymous with peacekeeping.
Thus, with the benefit of hindsight, I strongly support Senator Martin's bill. It is a symbolic act that tells our Korean War veterans and their families that we are forever indebted to their sacrifice.
During my visit this past summer to London for the unveiling of the Bomber Command memorial, a veteran approached me with a note. The veteran could no longer speak, but he had heard that I was one of the many working to see Bomber Command recognized for their sacrifices during World War II. The note said, "Thank you; I no longer feel like a criminal." Although this statue is across the ocean in London, this Canadian veteran felt vindicated after all these years.
Honourable senators, never underestimate the power that such symbolic gestures have on our veterans. A national day of remembrance for the Korean War veterans would be a great gesture.
Today, we have a large Korean community in Canada who are making an important contribution to our Canadian society. Just last week the Korean National Forum and Celebration was held here in Ottawa and brought together community and business leaders from across Canada. In the Senate gallery a large Korean youth choir observed the workings of our chamber. Many of these youth would not have been here if they did not have a free and open society in South Korea, one made secure by our own Korean War veterans.
As Senator Martin will attest, Korea is keenly aware of the horrors the Korean War unleashed on their peninsula. Canada has been fortunate never to have had war within our borders in the modern era, thanks, in no small part, to the brave men and women who race to such conflicts to ensure that violence is contained.
We can never do enough to repay their sacrifice, honourable senators, but we should never stop trying.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
(On motion of Senator Mitchell, debate adjourned.)
International Human Rights Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I rise to salute International Human Rights Day. Sixty-four years ago today, the United Nations unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which ranks high among international instruments of all time.
John Peters Humphrey, a native of Hampton, New Brunswick, was the principal author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His original handwritten draft is in the archives at McGill University, where he was a law professor for many years.
A book entitled The Boy Who Was Bullied has recently been written by Anne Scott, of the same community of Hampton, New Brunswick. The book will be officially launched at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday of this week, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day.
Scott's book tells the story of John Peters Humphrey, starting with his childhood in Hampton, the tragedies he faced and his great achievements. The book's target audience is children, but I believe we can all benefit from the reading of this book, which sheds light on the pressing issue of bullying as a human rights issue. By telling John Humphrey's story, Scott sends the message to students that human rights education begins with them in the classrooms and the playgrounds.
The book highlights the many hardships that John Humphrey endured in his early life. Both of his parents died when he was still a young child, and due to a severe accidental burn his left arm was amputated when he was six years of age. Because he was different, John was bullied and taunted as a child, in spite of which, or perhaps because of which, he developed a keen sense of compassion in his later years.
John Humphrey went on to become a professor and dean of law and became a director of the United Nations Division for Human Rights. It was there that he prepared the first draft of the Declaration of Human Rights, working with several others, including Eleanor Roosevelt, who expressed her hope at the time that the declaration would become the international Magna Carta of human rights. It was adopted on 1948 on this day, December 10.
Copies of the book, The Boy Who Was Bullied, have been distributed in New Brunswick schools in both of the province's official languages.
Honourable senators, it is important to remember that human rights are not only meant to be protected in the international arena. We all have a commitment to respect human rights and to uphold the fact that all human beings possess the same rights, regardless of gender, race, or religious, cultural or ethnic background.
Scott's book educates young children in elementary and middle school about the importance of standing up for human rights. She shows how in the case of John Peters Humphrey, standing up against bullies and standing up for what is right is defending human rights, and that anyone — whether a child or a representative at the United Nations — has the power and the responsibility to defend human rights.
John Humphrey's legacy lives on in the practice of respecting human rights in Canada and worldwide and now, with Anne Scott's new book, The Boy Who Was Bullied, that legacy will be enriched by educating and inspiring our youth about the importance of respecting universal human rights, by taking a stand against bullying and by promoting respect and dignity. Congratulations to Anne Scott and best wishes for a successful launch of her book on Wednesday of this week at the United Nations.
Third reading of Bill C- 46, An Act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act
Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act
Bill to Amend—Third Reading
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, perhaps I can say a few words as the chair of the committee before which this bill passed.
Let me remind honourable senators that we are dealing with Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act. The Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act is a fairly substantial piece of legislation. In order to understand the amending document, you must have them both in front of you and flip through the two documents. That is what many of us on the Finance Committee have been doing over the past week since we received this piece of legislation.
Honourable senators will recall that 7 per cent of our income as senators is what we are currently paying in to help cover the service costs of the pension plan, as the actuary refers to this in pension terms. The service costs are, of course, costs paid out to now-retired parliamentarians.
This means 7 per cent of our income amounts to and covers 14 per cent of the costs. The plan, as stated in the supporting documentation to the amending bill, is to move our share to 50 per cent of the service costs, which amounts to 20 to 25 per cent of our annual income, or annual indemnity.
I have not heard any honourable senator say we should not pay our fair share, the fair share being 50 per cent: the employer pays 50 per cent and the individual pays 50 per cent. All honourable senators seem to accept that. It sounds logical. The question is, 50 per cent of what? That takes us to the issue of costs.
If we are paying 50 per cent of the cost, and that takes 25 per cent of our annual income, we should have some confidence in the costs. That is where the actuary comes in to tell us what the costs are. We, at length, tried to find information in relation to the costs. The costs are, again, to cover the current and future liabilities of the plan.
Usually, honourable senators, these costs are covered out of a fund. There is full disclosure of how much the fund is generating in terms of growth on an annual basis and in terms of interest. If the fund was used like the teachers' fund, there would be capital gains on an annual basis. If it were like the Canada Pension Plan, we could go and look at what the independent board is managing, how they are managing the funds and how much they have made.
The problem that we have discovered is that there is not a fund to which we can go. The money goes into general revenue. All the money that senators donate to the pension plan goes into general revenue and is paid out when a member retires and he or she begins to draw a pension. It comes out of general revenue. We asked what the interest was on that. The contribution by the members, plus the interest, plus the employer's amount that is paid in would normally determine the size of the pot. The problem is that the employer is putting nothing in. The employer just says we are there, the employer being the Government of Canada.
The interest rate that appears in the statute is 10 per cent, and that is being changed to 5 per cent. We hear from the actuary that he never really used the 10 per cent figure anyway. He said he used 5.2 per cent even though, if you were reading this legislation, you would say 10 per cent. That 10 per cent is too high nowadays, but it should change on a regular basis. When the economy recovers, 10 per cent might not be too high, but we are now legislating 5.2 per cent.
Honourable senators, we have something that we see referred to on a regular basis as an unfunded liability of the federal government. In addition to the accumulated debt that has gone up through the last few years of huge annual deficits, we have an unfunded liability by the government.
We heard about that with respect to all the pensioners of Nortel and their unfunded liabilities. I hear back in my home area that municipal pension plans are under tremendous strain. Senator Wallace will know that. His Honour knows that our municipalities are under tremendous strain because they are being required by legislation to fund their liabilities for pensions.
Why should we not be saying that this particular pension plan should be equally funded, properly funded, actuarially funded, so that the funds will be there? We know they will be there, and they will not be just another debt tucked away for future taxpayers to cover. I submit to honourable senators that that is the first area of concern that we discovered during this particular study of the bill.
There are a couple of interesting points that Senator Marshall was able to bring out during questions that she asked. These are Senator Marshall's words from the transcript of a hearing before the Chief Actuary: "I want to talk about the minimum benefits and the minimum death benefits."
Honourable senators, as I have discovered, if the person receiving a pension dies or if there is no survivor, then a minimum amount is paid out to the estate. The amount that is paid out to the estate would be typically what was left that could be attributed to that pensioner before he or she died, including what he or she had paid in, plus interest, plus what the employer might have paid in. However, that is not so in this program.
In this particular program we find that there is no interest and there is no employer amount that would be paid out to the estate — not survivors as that is defined because they can draw a pension — for others. All they would get is what they had paid in and, as Senator Marshall has pointed out, the money could be sitting there for 20 or 30 years. It is only the capital paid in that will be returned as a minimum death benefit.
Honourable senators, that is another inequity in this particular matter that should be rectified but we are not in a position to do so at this stage. Therefore, I am raising issues that senators should be aware of, otherwise we would be voting without knowing about some of the issues.
We have discovered that this particular plan is a plan that has two parts. There is the basic plan, which is like a registered retirement savings plan, and it is the amount that the Income Tax Act provides that can be put into a plan. That amount changes on an annual basis, somewhere around $38,000, but all of our income is a tax benefit. We can have a benefit through a pension, so the additional amount is provided for through a retirement compensation arrangement. There are two pieces, which is what makes the legislation so complicated.
The second portion does not have the same tax treatment as the first portion. When the actuary gets involved and starts dealing with the two portions and the different tax treatment for the two portions, most of us wonder where we are in terms of explanation. It was very, very difficult for us, honourable senators.
The impact is something that we can understand. In order to determine the impact, the actuary said he uses an average age for a member of the House of Commons. When a member goes in, he or she is approximately 50 years of age, stays for approximately 10 years, pays into the plan for 10 years and draws on the plan for approximately 30 years. Senators, on the other hand, go in at an average age of 60, retire at 75, so they are paying in for an average of 15 years and receive for an average of 15 years.
There are different assumptions being made, which would lead one to believe that if a member of the House of Commons is drawing their pension for 30 years and a senator is drawing their pension for 15 years, then there should be some different treatment. Why would there not be a different actuarial treatment? There is no difference. We are all in the pool together. In effect, senators — and I am just telling honourable senators this so they will know — are subsidizing the House of Commons' pensioners. Members, after tax with this new plan in three years, are going up to $38,000 before tax and $21,000 of their income after tax.
Honourable senators, the effect of this legislation is that we will be paying $32,000 of our pre-tax annual income, and after-tax the figure is $18,000. That is what senators can expect to have deducted from their paycheques on an annual basis.
I want honourable senators to know that we had difficulty finding witnesses who could come to our committee and explain this legislation. That is probably one of the most serious aspects of this measure that we have had to deal with. The Internal Economy Committee tried to have someone come and explain the legislation to members of Internal Economy, who could then talk with their colleagues. The Internal Economy Committee was unable to arrange for anyone to come and talk to them.
The Finance Committee asked for the Senate finance department to come and explain; not in actuarial terms but in terms that would help us to understand the impact on the average senator and the average member of the House of Commons. They said they had not been briefed on the legislation and could not tell us that. They said they were not at a stage to come to the committee and talk about that.
We talked to many private sector companies, honourable senators, and asked the same question. They said that this was new legislation and it had just been out for a short while, even in the House of Commons. The private sector companies told us they could not explain what the impact would be because they had not had the opportunity to analyze the legislation.
Treasury Board was the only government department that could speak to the legislation and would come and talk to us about the bill. That was Ms. Arnold, who was the main representative of Treasury Board. I have a quote from Ms. Arnold from her appearance before us. In talking about the legislation she said:
Some changes were kind of a little bit late in the drafting process, which is why you will see it set out this way. If we made these changes or if those changes had been decided upon at an earlier stage, we would not have done it not quite like this.
Honourable senators, that is Ms. Arnold from Treasury Board talking about this legislation that we are expected to understand and vote on.
I asked the Chief Actuary about this legislation, and Mr. Jean-Claude Ménard, Chief Actuary, stated:
This is one of the most complicated plans in Canada, but that is the reality.
Honourable senators are being asked to vote on one of the most complicated plans in all of Canada, if not beyond. That is what we have to deal with.
I am almost finished, honourable senators. I wonder if I might have an additional five minutes.
Hon. Senators: Five minutes.
Senator Day: Thank you.
Honourable senators, we invited witnesses from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation because they had been calling for change to pension legislation for many years. However, they really had not had any opportunity to analyze the legislation. We brought in the Chief Actuary and representatives from the Treasury Board, and that was it, because that was all we could find of witnesses or potential witnesses who were able to help us.
Ms. Arnold, again, came in twice to talk to us, and we asked her about this issue of integration of CPP; how that works and how we can understand the impact of paying into Canada Pension Plan against our normal pension. Really, honourable senators, I could read you a quote that I have, but suffice it to say that she basically has the same difficulty understanding the matter that we do in this particular case. Maybe I will read this one. This quote refers to how an allowance will be payable under Part 1 of the act. Part 1 is the first piece of the two pieces in our program, which is the registered plan in respect of one's situation as a member from January 1, 2016 forward.
You will see, in the chapeau of subsection 2 of 17.1, which is the top of page 12, the calculation set out for the integration with CPP. It is a number of years of service multiplied by 0.02, and then you subtract a percentage, which is fixed by my colleague the Chief Actuary, of the person's average maximum pensionable earnings, which of course are the average maximum pensionable earnings under the CPP. That is then multiplied by the number of years of pensionable service as the member has. That is as uncomplicated as I can make it. It was a difficult provision to draft.
Honourable senators, that is the evidence received by the committee to try to understand this proposed legislation so we could bring it back to the house. I am sorry that we did not hear from the sponsor of the bill because I overheard her indicate during the hearings that she had heard enough, implying that she understood this. Certainly, I would have appreciated hearing from her in the chamber. I cannot tell honourable senators that I understand this clearly enough to vote for it.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Would Senator Day accept a question?
You spoke about inequity in a very specific situation, namely, if a person dies without a spouse. When a married person dies, the spouse receives 60 per cent of the pension. However, if a person who does not have a spouse dies, the pension allows the survivors to receive a refund of the premiums paid by the participant. However, this is very rare. I have rarely seen it. No one will lose the premiums they paid into the plan because those premiums will be paid as benefits: either the spouse will receive the benefits or the person's estate will be reimbursed for the premiums paid.
You explained that, in other situations, the pension plan would pay the estate the employee's contributions, the employer's contributions and even interest when the person was receiving a pension. I have never seen this type of pension plan in my life.
Could you name one plan, in the specific context that we are talking about here, that reimburses the employer and employee contributions with interest when an individual dies?
Senator Day: Honourable senators, I see that my time has run out. I am sorry that I did not realize Senator Carignan had such a depth of knowledge in this matter or we would have had him appear before the committee.
Ms. Arnold is a senior director at Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. After reading her comment, it appears as though this provision is not set up in the same way that return of contributions and withdrawal of allowances are set up, which have interest. That was my point. Senator Marshall said that there is no interest, per se, given for the fact that this has been sitting in the pension plan for 20 years.
Senator D. Smith: Good point.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
An Hon. Senator: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Marshall, seconded by the Honourable Senator Martin, that Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act, be read a third time.
Those in favour of the motion will signify by saying "yea." Contrary-minded will say "nay."
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the yeas have it.
Some Hon. Senators: On division.
(Motion agreed to, on division, and bill read third time and passed, on division.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Martin, calling the attention of the Senate to:
(a) the importance of the Korean War, the third bloodiest war in Canadian History but often called "The Forgotten War"; and
(b) Canada's contribution to the three-year war on the Korean Peninsula, including the 26,791 Canadians who came to the aid of South Korea, 516 of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the 7,000 Canadian peacekeepers who arrived following the signing of the Korea Armistice Agreement in Panmunjom 59 years ago this July 27.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, the adjournment of Inquiry No. 52 by Senator Martin has been taken by Senator Dallaire. I have spoken to Senator Dallaire's office, and he has consented to me speaking on this at this time. With your permission the matter would then be adjourned in the name of Senator Dallaire. He does have the intention to speak on the matter in the next few days.
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: Honourable senators will see this particular inquiry at page 8 of the Orders Paper, Item No. 52. Let me say at the outset that I commend Senator Martin for bringing this inquiry forward and those who have participated in the debate thus far, including Senator Oliver.
I know that we are all in support of the principle of the inquiry. I am not in full support of all of the things that have been said in relation to the inquiry, but, in general, from the point of view of those who have served in the Korean conflict, I believe they are deserving of the recognition that we are calling for in this inquiry. I believe it is a worthwhile initiative for all of us to consider.
Honourable senators will allow me to set the stage for what transpired in 1950, the state of matters in Canada and the state of matters generally, because that led to what took place, how we reacted and what the situation was from the point of view of Armed Forces personnel who were sent from Canada in relation to what was known as the Korean conflict. I will get into that issue.
I do not believe anything underhanded was done by the government or by anyone in referring to this as a "conflict" at the time. It was a result of Articles 45 and 47 of the Charter of the United Nations of some five years prior to that.
Typically, in the past, a war was one nation declaring war on another nation. This was not the case in this particular matter because it was a restoration of peace through a resolution of the United Nations, so it was called the Korean conflict.
The problem is that normal public discussion is of the view that when the conflict is of such a level that people are being killed and shooting at one another, we normally would call that a war. That has resulted in some misguided statements. There was an attempt by some to put down the importance or to forget the Korean conflict. I think that is not the case.
Honourable senators, at the end of the Second World War in 1945, as a result of peace negotiations — because Korea was part of land occupied by Japan — the southern part of Korea came under the assistance and support of the United States, and the northern part by Russia.
In 1949, China turned to a communist state as well. The North of Korea was supported by Russia — the U.S.S.R. at that time — and China, the People's Republic of China. They wished to create a communist country in the North, and the United States wished to create a free and democratic society in the South. The thirty-eighth parallel was the dividing line. That is the context.
The United Nations had played a part in this by 1947, calling for a free and open general election in both the North and the South of Korea as a whole, as a country. Unfortunately, in the North there was not a free and open election and the election was recognized only in the South, resulting in de facto two countries: North Korea and South Korea. That is the context that we are in as of 1950.
Canada at that time, between 1945 and 1950, was supportive of the United Nations, but we were also hoping to reap a peace dividend from the end of the Second World War. We were going through a period of rapid downsizing to try to save some funds.
Then, in 1950, along comes a request from the United Nations Security Council to two nations to provide support for the peace establishment and peacekeeping mission in Korea. Canada, at that time, was also gearing up for its support of the newly created institution of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By the end of 1952, Canada had 10,000 Armed Forces personnel in Europe as a result of our commitment there, and that continued for a good number of years.
I think honourable senators will be astonished to learn that in 1951, 45 per cent of the government's budget went to the military in gearing up for the conflict in Korea and for NATO operations and activity in Europe, such as building the infrastructure. That can be compared to less than 8 per cent of our budget last year with respect to the Armed Forces.
We were in a period of rapid rebuilding to meet our international obligations at the time that the call went out for help. What happened that resulted in the call going out from the United Nations is in itself fascinating.
Because of what was happening in China and Chiang Kai-shek going to Taiwan, the nations of the world continued to support the nationalist government in China having a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations. This body had been in existence for only five years. The Soviet Union insisted that the communist regime be recognized. Mao Zedong and the communist regime had taken over in 1949. Therefore, the best thing the Soviet Union felt they could do at that time was to boycott their seat and the activities in the Security Council.
The result of their boycott was that decisions could be made without them, and a decision was made to engage in peacemaking and peace restoration in Korea as a result of activity that started in June 1950, when the North Koreans, with no expectation by anyone, came across the thirty-eighth parallel and invaded the South. That immediately resulted, on the same day, in a Security Council meeting, with Russia boycotting, and the motion passed. As a result, two days later the United Nations called for help.
For a short while, it looked like this would end quickly. The Americans had troops available, and it looked very much like the North Koreans were pushed back. However, early in the summer of 1950, General Douglas MacArthur was leading the United States forces, and they commanded the United Nations forces. We had only three ships in there at that time. MacArthur decided, contrary to everyone, including the Canadian government — and Lester Pearson was very upset about this — to push on with the troops into what was then North Korea.
As a result of that, the Chinese came in. Therefore, the conflict escalated significantly in the summer of 1950, and that is when the call went out for much more help from all the nations, including Canada.
That sets the stage for the conflict that ultimately, with all the extra help that came from Canada and other nations, resulted in a stalemate at the thirty-eighth parallel.
Honourable senators, we sent many Armed Forces personnel to Korea at that time as a result of the United Nations, and over 500 Canadians died helping in the UN action.
The actual date when the Americans started the Joint Command under the UN banner was June 27, 1950. I told senators the story about General Douglas MacArthur. Not long after, President Truman fired General MacArthur for his statements, and basically the stalemate resulted.
Let me tell honourable senators about the stalemate, because it was not that they just stood there and did nothing. Tunnels were made. I had the wonderful opportunity, as I have mentioned in this chamber before, to visit South Korea with Korean War veterans in 2003, for the fiftieth anniversary. We went to the demilitarized zone. In fact, the tunnels in a valley are still there and still manned by Korean soldiers on both sides of the border. North Koreans would tunnel through, attack the border, and then run back. That went on during that stalemate and has gone on for years since.
One of the very interesting things we saw is that beyond this valley, on the North Korean side, is what looks like a city from a distance. This is all part of the propaganda of the Cold War era. Although it looks like a prosperous industrial city, it is just a facade. It is just the front end of what would appear to us to be buildings. That is part of the standoff and the propaganda war, and we have seen other things happen since.
Honourable senators, I have told you about joining that delegation. One of the things that really struck me was that Canada was the third largest foreign participant in that conflict. We are recognized for that. There is a wall of honour in Seoul that features Canada very prominently. It is truly a great tribute to the men and women from Canada who participated in that conflict.
Honourable senators may also wish to visit the Monument to Canadian Fallen, which is located here in Ottawa, just on the south side of the National Arts Centre. It is identical to a monument that stands in Pusan, Korea, where the United Nations Memorial Cemetery is located.
We attended that United Nations Memorial Cemetery and visited the graves of fallen Canadians. They are very well maintained. It was a moving experience to visit the graves of the 516 Canadians who sacrificed their lives. The monument depicts a Canadian soldier holding a young Korean girl in one arm and holding in his other hand — might I have another five minutes?
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: Thank you, honourable senators.
The soldier is holding two Korean children. The young girl is holding 12 maple leaves that represent the 60 Canadian soldiers who have no known gravesite and 5 Canadian sailors who were lost at sea. The young boy is holding the maple leaves as well as the Rose of Sharon, which is the national flower of Korea. It symbolizes the ongoing friendship between our two great countries.
Honourable senators need go no further than the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower to see the names of the fallen that are written into the Korean War Book of Remembrance, just down the hall. South Korea is among the world's 20 largest economies and, as of 2007, has become a member of the trillion-dollar club of world economies. That, in itself, is a tribute to the work of the United Nations and the Canadians who served to help bring about a free and prosperous society.
Honourable senators, I would like to conclude by telling you about one of the people travelling on the return to Korea pilgrimage in 2003. He had never been back there since the Korean War. I was sitting with him, and I kept looking and thinking that I recognized him. After two or three days, we did get to how we happened to know one another. It turned out that he had been a drill instructor sergeant of mine when I attended Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean. It was a most amazing reunion.
I had never known that he had gone to Korea. I knew him for three years as a drill instructor. He was born in Pointe-Verte, New Brunswick. He enlisted in the Armed Forces when he was 17 years of age. He served in many different places and was a member of the Second Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment. After Korea, he returned to Canada, served in a number of places and ended up being a drill sergeant and instructor at the military college from 1960 to 1965. His name, honourable senators, was Sergeant Alexandre Doucette. After his military career, he worked at Pratt & Whitney for a good number of years. Unfortunately, he died last month at the age of 86.
Honourable senators, I would ask you to consider the sacrifice made by many — those who went, and the families that remained and tried to carry on. It is important that we recognize them and that we not forget.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, as agreed, this inquiry stands in the name of Senator Dallaire.
The War of 1812
104th New Brunswick Regiment of Foot
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, with so much being written on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 to 1814 between British North America and the United States of America, many not-so-well-known events of our history are being rediscovered. I remind honourable senators of one such event about the 104th New Brunswick Regiment of Foot. This event serves to illustrate how one area of our country has come to the aid of another and the sacrifices made to keep our country united.
With the recommencement of hostilities between Britain and France in 1803, a shortage of British regiments in North America led to the creation of five defensive units in the colonies. These units were responsible only for the defence of the area where they were stationed. One such unit was formed in New Brunswick and volunteered for general service. The unit was elevated to an infantry unit of the line known as the 104th New Brunswick Regiment of Foot in 1810. It was the only Canadian regiment to be raised to full-time regular service in the then British army. The unit could be moved to any British garrison in theatre of operations as a regular part of the British army.
When war broke out with the United States in 1812, detachments of the 104th were posted along the main New Brunswick border. With the buildup of American troops in Sackets Harbor, opposite Kingston, Ontario, and upstate New York during the winter of 1812 to 1813, there was deep concern about a pending American invasion of Upper Canada that spring. To strengthen Upper Canada's defences before the end of the winter, six companies of the 104th were ordered to trek overland to Quebec and then on to Kingston. In all, roughly 573 soldiers made that march. Setting off from Fredericton, New Brunswick, on snowshoes on February 16, the 104th marched 550 kilometres in minus 31-degree temperatures, arriving in Quebec City in mid-March. The trek took 24 days in the unforgiving Canadian winter. After two weeks in garrison in Quebec City to recover, the 104th set out for Kingston where they arrived on April 12, having covered a total of 1,125 kilometres on foot. These soldiers were poorly clothed and were provided with the meekest of rations. As such, their march stands out as one of the great feats of Canadian military history.
Regiments typically have identifying flags around which the soldiers rally. Those flags are referred to as the regimental colours. The colours of the 104th Regiment were carried proudly during that entire journey. After the regiment was disbanded, the colours were retired to then Lieutenant-General Martin Hunter of the regiment who lived in Scotland. One hundred years later, his family donated the colours to a museum in New Brunswick. Through the generous donations of Jack Irving and his son John of Saint John, New Brunswick, the 104th regimental colours have been restored and are now part of a collection at the New Brunswick museum. Those colours have been loaned to Canada's War Museum in Ottawa and are part of the 1812 exhibit there.
I encourage honourable senators to visit the War of 1812 exhibit at the War Museum. While viewing the colours of the 104th New Brunswick Regiment of Foot, imagine the 600 soldiers marching through the cold of winter from New Brunswick to Ontario to help keep Canada independent from the United States.
The Late Bruno Joseph Bobak, C.M.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, Bruno Bobak, a famed Canadian artist, died in New Brunswick this Monday at the age of 88.
Born in Poland in 1923, Bruno Bobak immigrated with his parents to Canada at the age of four in 1927. At the age of 13, he began Saturday morning art classes in Toronto, where he honed his talent and studied under Arthur Lismer of the famed Group of Seven.
In 1943, at the age of 20, he answered the call to enlist with the Canadian Forces and was sent to England to join the Allied Forces.
Bobak joined the Canadian Forces with the Royal Canadian Engineers as a sapper, but still found time to pursue his love of painting. During his service he won first prize in the 1944 Canadian Army Art Exhibition at the National Gallery here in Canada for a watercolour entitled Cross Country Convoy. Recognizing his talents, the Canadian Forces appointed him as one of the official war artists, the youngest in Canadian history.
During this time he submitted roughly 105 paintings to the Canadian war collection. Travelling with the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, Bobak's depictions were both personal and historical, depicting battle scenes with a terrible beauty that only a select few can accomplish.
In his time overseas, Bobak also met and married fellow war artist Molly Lamb. After the war, they settled in Vancouver, where he won much critical acclaim for the surrealist style he developed in response to the mystical qualities of the Western Canadian landscape.
In 1960, Bobak and his family moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick. In 1962, he became the Director of the Arts Centre at the University of New Brunswick, a post he held from 1962 to 1988. Taken with the natural beauty of New Brunswick, he continued to draw and paint up until the time of his death, contributing to an arts show as recently as April of this year.
In 1995, both Bobak and his wife, Molly, received the Order of Canada for their respective contributions to our nation and to the world through their wonderful works of art.
With Bruno Bobak's death, Canada has lost one of its great artists. Should honourable senators find themselves in Fredericton, I would encourage them to visit the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, home to many of Bobak's works. Honourable senators will find themselves in awe of his raw talent and depictions of Canada and Canadians, both at war and in peace.
Honourable senators, join with me in celebrating the life and work of a great Canadian who has made a difference.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to bring to your attention another page in the Bomber Command history that I have spoken about in the past. Late June will become known as the period when we recognize Bomber Command because of a number of campaigns for recognition that have come together just in the last while.
I first want to tell honourable senators about a monument that friends of Bomber Command have placed in the southern part of England. It is just going up and being unveiled. Just imagine those large Lancaster and Halifax bombers, with the four big engines as they were taking off; and the last bit of land they would have seen before they went off on their mission. There is a monument being created there.
Later this week, the Queen will be unveiling a monument at Green Park, near Buckingham Palace, to recognize the special and unique contribution of Bomber Command.
Honourable senators will recall that over 10,000 Canadians died serving in Bomber Command and that at one time we had over 50,000 Canadians in uniform serving in Bomber Command during the Second World War. There has been a request for the last 67 years for some special recognition.
Yesterday, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence announced a new honour to recognize Bomber Command. I think that is a wonderful announcement, honourable senators. There will be a bar for those who served in Bomber Command to be worn on the medal that all members of the army, navy and air force receive, which is called the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.
This is a wonderful bit of good news for Bomber Command.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
The Estimates, 2012-13
Supplementary Estimates (A)—Eleventh Report of National Finance Committee Adopted
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eleventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance (Supplementary Estimates (A) 2012-2013), presented in the Senate earlier this day.
Hon. Joseph A. Day moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, this is the eleventh report of our committee, but it is the first report with respect to Supplementary Estimates (A). I would first of all like to thank the Library of Parliament representatives on the Finance Committee, Sylvain Fleury and Édison Roy-César, for working diligently in getting this report prepared for us with very short notice.
Honourable senators will know that when the supplementary estimates are referred to us, we study them, do the report and try to get the report back here so that honourable senators can be informed of what is in the supplementary estimates before being called upon to vote at third reading on the bill that flows from the supplementary estimates.
This is the report that is just being delivered to honourable senators now. I will touch on a few of the highlights.
I do want to thank and let the Leader of the Government in the Senate and all honourable senators know that we very much appreciate the sensitivity with respect to the time requested to deal with the report so that honourable senators could be informed before being called upon to vote. We will be called upon to vote on Bill C-41 at third reading once this report has been adopted. I appreciate very much that we have had the opportunity to change the business so that honourable senators can be informed about what they are voting on.
The committee studied the supplementary estimates, and the report reflects that study. We met with five different government departments and discussed their appropriation requests for the coming fiscal year.
I point out that these are supplementary estimates. Over the last few days, we did deal with the Main Estimates, the main request for funds for the year that needs to be voted on. Those that are not statutory provisions come in the form of estimates and require a vote. We call it a supply bill or alternatively an appropriation bill.
This is the first additional request for funds. The reason for this is not that the government made a mistake but rather that all of the requests could not be put into place in time for the first request for funds. The Main Estimates are prepared late in the year and then very early in the new year before the budget comes out. Therefore, there are items in the Main Estimates that honourable senators will know may not be proceeded with as a result of the budget.
Those changes will be sorted out in Supplementary Estimates (A), (B) and (C). Supplementary Estimates (A) are typically in June; (B) would be typically in the early fall; and (C) at the end of the fiscal year in February or March. In this cycle, it would be February or March of 2013.
This being Supplementary Estimates (A), we will have some changes as a result of the budget, but the government directive was that Supplementary Estimates (A) should not have any of the reductions. Upon hearing from government officials, it was felt that all the decisions were not made, and the government did not want it coming out piecemeal. Therefore, we will probably see in Supplementary Estimates (B) the various reductions as a result of the budget that we saw in March of this year.
Honourable senators will see on page 2 of the report that voted appropriations amount to $2.1 billion. That is in addition to the $65 billion that honourable senators have already voted on. These are added onto that to determine what the voted appropriations are thus far for this year.
The statutory expenditures are given here as information. They are, in all of our supply bills, only for information purposes; they are not here for you to vote on. Honourable senators are only voting on the appropriations of $2.1 billion.
There are no non-budgetary matters. Budgetary matters are matters that change the bottom line. They are money spent in various ways. A loan is a non-budgetary item. It changes the fiscal situation. However, the money will be coming back in, so we do not vote on that as a non-budgetary item. It will be coming back at some time, according to the terms of the loan. If it goes bad as we saw with some of the student loans and they are not paid back, we will have to see those brought in as budgetary items to forgive certain loans. That is how that is accounted for in this report and in the Main Estimates.
One item I wanted to bring to the attention of honourable senators — and I think the Leader of the Government in the Senate was asked a question on this recently in this chamber — is in relation to the payment of severance to employees who continue to work. The explanation is on the bottom of page 3 and on page 4.
Severance was a negotiated item for all public servants, and the government has now negotiated an end to that practice. However, all of the severance that had been accumulated was deemed to have been vested in those public servants up to the time of the new collective agreement. The question is whether we pay out that vested amount now or when the person leaves. That is a matter of negotiation between the deputy head and the union. Some of them are being paid out now. That does not mean they are leaving. In fact, they are continuing, but that accumulated and vested amount of severance that they acquired by virtue of their employment in the past can now be taken now or later.
We asked about the outstanding liability in relation to this matter, because it is a contingent liability and is not an insignificant amount. Roughly $6 billion will be paid by the government to continuing employees or employees who retired or have decided to leave. That accumulated severance will amount to roughly $6 billion over time. Some may elect to take it now; others may elect to take it at the time they leave. Why would they wait and take it at the time they leave? The amount is determined by the last two months of salary. If the salary goes up significantly by the time they leave in three, four, ten or twenty years, that amount could significantly increase over what they would take now. That is why some are taking it now and some are not.
An amount of $850 million is set aside this year for those who opt to take it. Last year, I think it was over $1 billion, so honourable senators can see that a significant liability is slowly being reduced.
I will discuss some of the other highlights. Honourable senators can see the various departments that appeared before the committee. We talked about the work being done on the Parliamentary Precinct. Some very interesting questions came out of that discussion. We are told that it will carry on over many years, and each five-year plan has a number of contracts and objectives.
Treasury Board and Public Works are satisfied; they are watching this very closely. They were pleased to inform us that some of the contracts have come in under budget and some on budget. In dealing with a large series of contracts or a project over a long period of time, there is always a concern that things may slip a bit. I think that is why the contracts are based on a project-by-project basis as opposed to contracting for the entire work that is anticipated.
The Parliamentary Precinct request in the Supplementary Estimates (A) is for $242 million. That is only because certain contracts were not in place when the Main Estimates were done. Supplementary estimates are to pick up those items that were not finalized and had not received approval from cabinet before the estimates came out.
The Department of Transport talked to us about work they are doing at the Port of Churchill and the Champlain and Cartier bridges. They are all projects that need work.
With VIA Rail there is a pension problem, like there is with so many public pension plans. We hear about it day after day. There is a pension problem with respect to VIA Rail Canada and its employees. To satisfy the pension problem for just one year, $68 million is required. We have to do something, honourable senators, about these pension plan problems that keep cropping up.
Regarding self-government financial transfer agreements to the native bands, there are some outstanding liabilities in relation to negotiations with the various First Nations; that is outlined in here. We had a long discussion with respect to those issues. These are land claim settlements. We asked about contingent liabilities for land settlements, and there are some pretty significant outstanding amounts. We see here the year-to-year amounts being claimed.
There was one figure, honourable senators, that I wanted to bring to your attention, which is at line 138. That requires a change from $3.8 million to $3.8 billion as an outstanding and contingent liability issue.
Apart from that, honourable senators, the facts and the issues are here. I have just highlighted them, but I am pleased that you all have the report. If there are any questions, my deputy chair, Senator L. Smith, or I would be pleased to answer them for you if we can.
Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I have a question. On page 5 of the honourable senator's report, he gives a summary of the additional advertising funding requests.
Can he advise or does he know if the $1.3 million requested by the Department of Canadian Heritage for promotion of the War of 1812 is in addition to the $28 million that was already allocated for that anniversary celebration?
Senator Day: The $1.3 million in advertising next to the last bullet is in addition to earlier allocated funds. I spoke earlier, when I was speaking about the Main Estimates, of the importance of keeping an eye on this kind of project by reason of recent history. This $1.3 million for advertising here would be with respect to contracts that had not been finalized at the time of the Main Estimates, honourable senators. This is exclusively for advertising.
The earlier appropriation was for other types of promotional activities as well.
The Hon. the Speaker: Further debate? Are honourable senators 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 report adopted.)
Appropriation Bill No. 3, 2012-13
Hon. Larry W. Smith moved second reading of Bill C-41, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2013.
He said: Honourable senators, the bill before you today, Appropriation Act No. 3, 2012-13, provides for the release of supply for Supplementary Estimates (A) 2012-13 and now seeks Parliament's approval to spend $2.1 billion in voted expenditures. These expenditures were provided for within the planned spending set out by the Minister of Finance in his March 2012 budget.
Supplementary Estimates (A) 2012-13 were tabled in the Senate on May 17, 2012, and were referred to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. These are the first supplementary estimates for the current fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2013.
Supplementary Estimates (A) 2012-13 reflect an increase of $2.3 billion in budgetary spending consisting of $2.1 billion in voted appropriations and $0.2 billion in statutory spending. The $2.1 billion in voted appropriations requires the approval of Parliament and includes major budgetary items such as $850 million in pay list requirements for allocations to eligible departments and agencies for the payments of accumulated severance pay benefits, Treasury Board Secretariat. Second, $242.9 million for projects to rehabilitate the parliamentary precinct buildings under Public Works and Government Services. Third, $202.5 million for Canada's fast-start Financing Commitment under the Copenhagen Accord, which supports climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. That is under the Canadian International Development Agency, Environment Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Parks Canada. Fourth, $160 million to meet operational requirements and ongoing programs, such as ensuring isotope production; addressing legacy costs of the wind-down of the dedicated isotope facilities; and urgent health, safety, security and environmental priorities at Chalk River Laboratories under Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Fifth, $150 million for specific claims settlements, Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Sixth, $73.2 million for the implementation of Port Hope area initiative under Natural Resources; $68 million for incremental pension requirements, VIA Rail Canada Inc.; $41 million for First Nations communities policing services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The supplementary estimates also include an increase of $200 million in budgetary statutory spending items that were previously authorized by Parliament. Adjustments to projected statutory spending are provided for information purposes only and are mainly attributable to the following forecast changes: $110.8 million for the Agricultural Disaster Relief Program to provide targeted financial assistance to help producers return their farms to operation and/or to contain the impacts after a natural disaster — Agriculture and Agri-food; $52.5 million to accelerate repairs and maintenance at post-secondary institutions — Knowledge Infrastructure Program at Industry Canada.
Proposed Appropriation Act No. 3, 2012-13 seeks Parliament's approval to spend a total of $2.1 billion in voted expenditures.
Honourable senators, should you require additional information, I would be pleased to try to provide it with the assistance of the honourable chair, Senator Day.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I would like to thank and congratulate the Honourable Senator Smith (Saurel) for his overview of Bill C-41. Honourable senators have the bill which deals with yet another change from the normal process that we have in this chamber.
Normally, we would not have supplementary estimates coming along. One would think that we should, like a budget, be able to estimate how much money it will take to meet the commitments in the budget, but as I will point out later, there are typically three supplementary estimates that follow the Main Estimates. A short while ago we talked about the Main Estimates which are broken down into an early amount of money, interim financing for the government, and then main supply. We are now into additional amounts that the government is saying it needs.
One of those elements is Supplementary Estimates (A). That typically comes out in this time period, and then there will be a Supplementary Estimates (B) which we should see probably in October, and a Supplementary Estimates (C) in the new year just to close out the fiscal year and ensure that everything is paid for in that particular fiscal year.
We are now at the supply bill stage that goes along with Supplementary Estimates (A). We have been studying in the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance the supplementary estimates pursuant to the order of reference by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and we will be reporting on that soon. We finished our study on the Supplementary Estimates (A), and that report is in the process of being translated. Once it is, honourable senators, and approved by the committee, it will be reported back here and will form the basis for third reading of this supply bill, Bill C-41.
In the meantime, honourable senators, I confirm that, as Senator Smith has indicated, at third reading we will be asked to vote the government in supplementary estimates $2.1 billion for the coming year, and hopefully, before that time honourable senators will have had an opportunity to understand what is in that $2.1 billion through the National Finance Committee report that will be forthcoming in the next day or so.
The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Smith (Saurel), seconded by the Honourable Senator Nolin, that Bill C-41, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the Federal Public Administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2013, be read a second time.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
(Motion agreed to and bill read second time, on division.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the third time?
(On motion of Senator Smith (Saurel) bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Charter of Rights and Freedoms
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cowan calling the attention of the Senate to the 30th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has done so much to build pride in our country and our national identity.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, although I have not spoken to Senator Andreychuk, if honourable senators are agreed, I will speak for a few minutes to this motion and adjourn the debate in the name of Senator Andreychuk.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Day: Honourable senators, on the thirtieth anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I am delighted that Senator Cowan moved this inquiry; the Charter is the most important document reflecting the civil liberties of Canadians.
Honourable senators, human rights matter. Since 1945, almost 60 countries around the world have adopted new constitutions or revised existing constitutions to include a bill of rights. However, the practical application of civil rights varies from nation to nation. Some constitutions are shams and some are simply ignored. A striking example is the experience in the United States. During the first 150 years of the republic, the Bill of Rights of 1791 was largely ignored by the courts; but part way through the last century, the Bill of Rights became the focal point of judicial activism. Totalitarian regimes and many so-called "banana republics" have eloquent bills of rights, which in practice have no enlightened application whatsoever. Every jurisdiction has its own story.
Canadians are experiencing considerable judicial activism, but the level of access to enjoy the promise of the Charter is mixed. Bills of rights look great on paper. Costs may restrict the availability of judicial redress to the middle and upper class due to the costs of engaging legal counsel. Without financial means to pursue a human rights case in court, the promise of the Charter remains theoretical for those who are marginalized by income, often related to race or personal status.
The Trudeau government created the Court Challenges Program in 1978 to assist the disadvantaged to support and promote their rights. Due to increased Charter activity, the Mulroney government expanded the program in 1985. As Senator Cowan mentioned, Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments of 20 and 30 years ago did not fear dissenting views from Canadians. Sadly, the program was cancelled in 2006, except for challenges to language rights cases.
For marginalized citizens, the Charter's promise is elusive, incomplete and beyond reach, as long as we do not have a publicly funded court challenges program. We must revisit this issue in order to make our democracy whole. Only through strategic, often expensive litigation, will the promise of the Charter benefit all citizens. Otherwise, the Charter will slide into an exclusive made-for-the-upper-and-middle-class remedy by ignoring the practical need for universal access.
Honourable senators, marginalization speaks to the ongoing tug-of-war between economic and political considerations and civil rights. Constitutional frameworks seek to accommodate these elements, at least on paper. The achievement of democracy is only fully met when we balance these interests in practice.
Our social history, illustrating how we are supposed to treat each other, is a fascinating story; our constitutional benchmarks are well known. I mention only a few of them that particularly resonate from the last 997 years when the Magna Carta was signed by King John in 1215: the Habeas Corpus Act; the English Bill of Rights; the Quebec Act; the Constitutional Act; the Wartime Election Act, 1917; the Canadian Bill of Rights, 1960; and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982.
Adding to these milestones are international influences preceding our Charter's birth, including France's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 1789; the United States Bill of Rights of 1791; the International Court of Justice of 1945; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, in which a Canadian, John Peters Humphrey, played a major role; the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in 1953; and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976.
Our Charter is the product of a long journey on the road to embrace civil rights. It is really a combination of guideposts, inspiration and promotion for civil liberties for the 20th century in Canada.
Individual freedom and the recognition of human dignity took on new meaning with the passage of each piece of legislation I have just mentioned, culminating in our Charter of 1982. Each milestone proclaiming our liberties paves the way for the next one, regardless of the time that passes between them. They simply build on each other, reflecting the development of the legal framework required for the ways we treat each other and the respect that we give to each other. One by one, these changes push the old frontiers of human rights into new and unknown territory.
We live in a continuum of ever-expanding human rights. The Charter unfolds as a living tree, extending its reach everywhere, impacting every aspect of our lives. This directly contrasts with previous notions that constitutions embrace frozen concepts.
When ruling on same-sex marriage in 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada depicted our Constitution as that living tree, which, by way of progressive interpretation, accommodates and addresses the realities of an evolving world.
A fascinating phenomenon of legislative action is the challenge and the magic of unintended consequences, honourable senators, flowing from that parliamentary action. Effects on human rights legislation are no exception. New legislation challenges old barriers. Once impenetrable frontiers are discarded, new horizons beckon, speaking to both the frailty and the nobility of human conduct. Consequences of legislation effecting human rights inevitably include resistance to the expansion and acceptance of alternatives. This is foreseen. At work is the living tree of the Constitution.
Charter-related decisions alter relationships in business and family in areas of artistic, academic and political expression, and in attitudes about law enforcement and the development of our sense of self-worth.
These changes take place in an officially bilingual setting, in a broadly expanding immigrant society that is also rooted in a rapidly evolving technologically based country. The dynamic changes demand our attention and our reflection, honourable senators.
By mentioning consequences, I do not speak negatively, although detractors may bemoan and belittle the desire to test new frontiers of civil rights.
The apex of the Charter's influence is our judiciary. Canadians frequently wait for clarity to determine whether or not Parliament is supportive of the Charter-based decision-making of the judiciary. Frequently parliamentarians and judges seem to be partners in human rights progress. Other times, one or the other takes the lead.
The Charter inspires the adjudication of profound human rights issues. At the same time, we see a dramatic increase in the number of women graduating from law school. I do not believe this to be an entirely coincidental situation. In the 1970s, when I was at law school, there were three women in my class of over 100. Today, women outnumber men in virtually all law schools. I think that I can make a reasonable assumption that there is some relationship between the Charter-based cases and the effect of the Charter on the practice of law. This is a consequence of evolving ideas, of the nature and intensity of freedom, attitudes about collective and autonomous action, and the discipline and responsibility we expect of each other in a democratic society.
Since 2008, almost 20 per cent of the Supreme Court of Canada appeals have been Charter cases, many of which speak directly to the ways we treat one another. These decisions have daily application in our lives. I could go over a litany of representative cases, honourable senators, but time does not permit. However, many have changed the way we view society.
In 1982, the Charter's adoption converged with rapid change in Canada. One hundred years ago, knowledge doubled every ten years. Knowledge now doubles in months, not years. This rapid increase brings dramatic change in technology, medicine and resource management. The rapid doubling of knowledge, combined with Charter-related jurisprudence, produces dramatic results. Effects on the legal community and Canadians are profound. Unintended consequences abound.
The legal community and its clients are becoming more and more impatient and frustrated by the diminishing pace of judicial processes — another unintended consequence. We are faced with new ways of approaching the limits of privacy and the multifaceted issues of abuses at school, at work, at home and in medical care facilities, to name but a few. The list is really endless. This is the new legal climate. It is the price we pay for enhanced and expanding civil liberties for Canadians, but doing the right thing should never be regarded as a burden on society.
The Charter is pivotal to the integrating and expanding of the very definition of our democracy. Discovering new horizons of constitutionally based civil liberties authored by the Charter is as wide as it is deep. The dimension of change is considerable and beyond preconceived ideas of human rights parameters.
We have heard many eloquent and impassioned speeches, honourable senators, on this inquiry. The Charter's significance for language and minority rights was reviewed by Senator Tardif. That seems to be an area of rights that is a kind of moving target here in Canada, which it should not be. We thought it was already settled, but it keeps getting challenged. The Charter anchors these rights. This is as it should be.
Senator Losier-Cool made specific reference to minority rights in our home province of New Brunswick. The Charter has provided legal strength to the linguistic and cultural rights of all Acadians. We must acknowledge here, honourable senators, the leadership role that Premier Richard Hatfield played at the time the Charter was adopted.
Senator Smith spoke about the disabled. It is amazing that accessibility, which is only one of the issues facing those with physical disabilities, is yet to be a total reality. The Charter champions the rights of the disadvantaged.
Senator Cordy talked about expanding Canadian values, about the Charter as the inspirational document for new democracy on a planet plagued with foggy civil rights.
Senator Poy praised the new levels of understanding that the Charter brings to our unique multiculturalism that is so fundamental to our evolving identity as a nation.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable Senator Day, I regret to inform you that the allotted time has expired. Are you prepared to ask the House for more time?
Senator Day: Could I have a few more minutes, honourable senators, to finish?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Agreed, five more minutes.
Senator Day: Thank you, honourable senators.
I was just reviewing Senator Poy's praising of the new levels of understanding the Charter brings to the unique multiculturalism that is so fundamental to our evolving identity as a nation.
Senator Hubley lauded the new frontier of women's rights in the world of sports, based on the Charter's equality clause, section 15, and the positive effect for women on the number of gender-discrimination challenges.
Senator Munson addressed many aspects of freedom of expression. No doubt the depths and limits of this issue will be one of the cutting edges of Charter-related judicial decisions for decades to come. Senator Charette-Poulin highlighted the Charter as the means for the Supreme Court to serve as the guardian of our rights.
Prime Minister Trudeau was the Charter's champion and architect, supported by three of the most resilient public policy quarterbacks in our modern history: Roy Romanow, Roy McMurtry and Jean Chrétien. What a fine team. Some might find fault with some of Mr. Trudeau's policies, but when it comes to the Charter, human rights advocates around the planet applaud his leadership. Together, Prime Minister Trudeau and his provincial premiers ushered in a new era of rights and freedoms, a beacon of civil liberty in the often tarnished world of human rights.
In launching this inquiry, Senator Cowan characterized the Charter as "truly transformative in our nation's history." He reminded us that the Charter has "become one of the most important symbols of Canadian identity." The Charter unifies our citizenship and codes and interprets and expands our shared rights. It inspires basic equality in our democracy. It promotes, and at times forces, legislative action to bring practical application to our legal rights.
Our Charter is the compass for Canadians and the cornerstone of our democracy. It acknowledges rights taken for granted by preceding generations. It embraces new rights. It is our legacy of dignity and humanity, now and for the future.
Thank you, honourable senators.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, by agreement, this matter stands adjourned in the name of Honourable Senator Andreychuk.
(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)