House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was compensation.

Topics

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not think there is any need to hear further comment on the matter. The Chair is quite prepared to dispose of it now. In my view there is no breach of privilege in this case. The two hon. members can certainly converse and exchange information about what has happened in this case.

There have been cases on which I have already made decisions with respect to matters that come before the House which, by their nature, are confidential until presented to the House. Where the information contained in the documentation is released beforehand to some other people outside the House there may be a breach of the privileges of the House.

However in the case the hon. members have brought before us today this appears to be a relatively normal briefing or update on what is going on in negotiations here and there in which the Government of Canada may or may not be engaged. It seems to me it is certainly not a breach of the privileges of the House for the government, or anyone else who may be in any way connected with the House, to have briefings with other people on that kind of material.

Accordingly I am not prepared to find in this case that there has been a question of privilege. I urge the hon. members to exchange the information they have indicated they wish to exchange, but beyond that I do not think it needs to come back to the House.

We have another question of privilege. The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader wanted to say something about a question of privilege raised yesterday by the hon. member for Delta--South Richmond.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member raised a question of privilege concerning an article written by the legal counsel to the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations.

Mr. Speaker, you indicated at the time that it was your first inclination that the committee should deal with the issue and then perhaps come back to the House if need be. I urge upon you that view, Mr. Speaker. It makes sense to me. It would be the appropriate approach.

Having had an opportunity to review the article it seems to me the counsel was not so much defending the government or one side or the other but was defending the committee itself. On the other hand, perhaps the counsel did not have the authority of the committee to do that.

I submit that for your consideration, Mr. Speaker.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will reply to your questions from yesterday.

My argument and that of other opposition members on the committee was that the scrutiny of regulations committee had made a finding that the aboriginal communal fishing licence regulations were illegal. I argued that the committee and the department of fisheries had engaged in inexcusable delays in acting on the finding and that after five years the only remaining issue to be decided was the date of the tabling of the disallowance report. Of late the committee has been taking about twice as long as in the past to table its disallowance reports.

It was argued in committee that the honour of the crown is at stake when fishermen are prosecuted under admittedly illegal regulations and when the committee dithers not about the illegality of the regulations but about when they should be revoked.

Mr. Bernier has taken a contrary position. He says the committee is highly effective in carrying out its responsibilities. He says its handling of the aboriginal communal fishing licences regulations has been in order. That of course is the position of the government majority on the committee.

Mr. Bernier claims to be merely setting the record straight or correcting errors in the public record. If Mr. Bernier were correct I would not only not have a question of privilege. I and other members of the opposition would have no issue with either the committee's handling of its 1997 finding that the aboriginal communal fishing licence regulations were illegal or the timing of the tabling of the disallowance report.

Mr. Bernier's claim that the committee is working effectively and efficiently with regard to the fishing regulations goes to the very heart of the argument before the committee and in a February 11 Hill Times story entitled “Opposition parties say regulatory feet-dragging hurting fishing industry”.

Mr. Speaker, you asked if Mr. Bernier was merely correcting errors in the public record as contained in the regulatory foot dragging story, a story which chronicles government foot dragging and blocking of action in the scrutiny of regulations committee to prevent tabling of a disallowance report on the illegal fishing regulations. The answer is an emphatic no. Mr. Bernier does not correct errors.

I will be specific. Mr. Bernier wrote that the committee did not first look at the issue in January 1997. He said it did not do so until November 1997. The fact is, the committee's general counsel was directed to review the fishing regulations on January 3, 1997. The general counsel's legal analysis that the regulations were illegal was dated March 20, 1997. What did occur in November 1997 was that the committee adopted the position that the regulations were illegal and decided to advise the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of its finding.

Mr. Bernier then goes on to other dates where he disagrees with my position in committee and the regulatory foot dragging--

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

With great respect, while no doubt the submissions the hon. member is making are relevant to the committee and it only confirms the view I expressed yesterday having heard the arguments he and other hon. members presented to the House, this matter ought to be raised in the committee.

This is a question dealing with the work of the committee. The person the hon. member is complaining about is engaged to work with the committee and not with the House. He is not even an employee of the House. He is an employee of the Library of Parliament and accordingly I can only say to the hon. member that in my view this matter should be dealt with in the committee.

If for some reason the committee's resolution of the matter is unsatisfactory the hon. member can always come back to the House and try again, but in my view this is a committee matter. Everything he is saying is material that the committee should be hearing and considering whether or not its privileges in any way were damaged by its employee, if we like, writing a letter to the Hill Times setting out the facts that it did.

I note that the committee is a joint committee of both the Senate and the House. It is well equipped to deal with this matter. I urge the hon. member to take the matter up with the committee to see what happens there. It seems to me that if the committee finds that there has been a breach of its privileges it can make a report to the House saying so and the House is free to act on the report.

However until it receives a report from the committee it seems to me to be premature for the Speaker to intervene in a matter that really is a matter for the committee. If it does not find a breach of privilege how is the House likely to react to that? It can always report to the House and a decision can be made here later, but I would urge him to take the matter up there and I think that is the appropriate venue.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to several petitions.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

February 20th, 2002 / 3:25 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, in January of last year the Prime Minister told the House the Government of Canada would create a legacy to honour the memory of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. On that occasion the Prime Minister spoke of Mr. Trudeau in the following words:

--Canadians were moved to reflect on and discuss not only the Trudeau legacy but the meaning of Canada and our attachment to it.

His vision was of a mature, confident Canada shaping its own destiny, tied together by a common citizenship, based on shared rights and mutual responsibility--

A bilingual Canada in which citizens could enjoy and benefit from our rich French and English heritage. A country respectful of the special place of aboriginal people. A multicultural Canada, opened to the world and fully seized of its global responsibilities. A just Canada in which opportunity is truly equal.

Last week the Minister of Human Resources Development and I published our innovation strategy. In the strategy we spoke of the need to create a Canadian program similar to the Rhodes scholarships to promote excellence, encourage those who seek it and reward those who achieve it.

I am honoured to announce today that the Government of Canada will endow the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation with $125 million allocated in the budget to enable the creation of a truly world class program for advanced studies in the humanities.

The Foundation will award internationally competitive doctoral fellowships, similar in value and stature to the Rhodes, so that Canadian universities will continue to attract the very best students from our own country, and around the world. And all of this, in the name of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

What is a more fitting legacy to man who symbolized youth, excellence and the innovative spirit?

The innovation agenda that we announced last week spoke of creating in Canada a culture of excellence to strengthen our economy and to increase our prosperity, but excellence is not measured by material progress alone. Yes, we want the highest standard of living in the world. We want to make the best products and services to create a research climate that will fire technological achievement and spur scientific discovery. The knowledge economy demands no less. Together we will do all of that and more.

But there are equally urgent and important questions of first principles, of values, that go beyond our standard of living to our quality of life. These are questions that can be answered only by excellence in the human sciences, in philosophy and in law, in government and public policy.

The endowment that we announce today will challenge young people to address the great questions to which Prime Minister Trudeau devoted his life, both in and out of politics, as an academic, a lawyer and a statesman.

How can we build a Canada that creates the conditions for, and removes the obstacles to, individual and collective freedoms?

How can we move forward with confidence, fully expressing our sovereignty in a world in which our interests are entwined with those of other, equally sovereign countries?

What are our responsibilities to one another as citizens both of Canada and of the broader world beyond our borders? How can we advance that great Canadian project to move ever closer to the ideal of a just society in which liberty is assured and opportunity is equal?

Thirty years ago this month Pierre Trudeau acknowledged that the pursuit of excellence of the highest values, of the just society will never end. He said:

To seek the Just Society must be amongst the highest of human purposes. Because we are mortal and imperfect, it is a task we will never finish; no government or society ever will. But from our honest and ceaseless effort, we will draw strength and inspiration; we will discover new and better values. On the never-ending road to perfect justice we will, in other words, succeed in creating the most humane and compassionate society possible.

We pledge today to continue that honest and ceaseless effort. To do so we have enlisted the participation of a remarkable group of people. We are delighted that the board of directors of the Trudeau Foundation will include such distinguished Canadians as Peter Lougheed, Louise Fréchette, Bob Rae and Bill Davis.

I also want to recognize the participation of Marc Lalonde, Senator Jacques Hébert, Roy Heenan, Ted Johnson, former premier Roy Romanow and university leaders Robert Lacroix, Martha Piper and Sean Riley. I am also indebted to my colleague, the Minister of Canadian Heritage for her help in shaping this program and to her deputy minister, Alex Himelfarb, for his invaluable assistance.

But two people deserve particular credit. Without Sacha and Justin Trudeau's determination, idealism and yes, their father's famous stubbornness, today's announcement would simply not have been possible. Their father would have been very proud of Sacha and Justin and I thank them on behalf of Canadians everywhere.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the indulgence of the House, may I take a few moments to describe the foundation's purpose and mandate. The Trudeau fellowships will serve two equally important objectives.

First, they will help us keep the most promising young talent here in Canada because 75% of the Trudeau scholars will be Canadian. While each of these gifted young people will be based at a university in one region of Canada, consistent with the Trudeau vision of a Canada greater than the sum of its parts, each of them will also be encouraged to work with colleagues at universities in other provinces. Up to 25 fellowships will be awarded each and every year.

Second, in keeping with Mr. Trudeau's vision of an open, mature and confident Canada, the fellowships will bring the best and brightest from around the world to study the human sciences here.

This purpose befits a man who himself studied in Montreal, London, Paris and Boston: a man who opened Canada to the world, because he was confident of our place in it.

The Foundation will create a virtual network linking all of the Trudeau scholars. At the peak, up to 100 students will be enrolled in the doctoral programs. An annual conference will also take place, and the proceedings will be available to all Canadians.

Prime Minister Trudeau's achievements are recorded faithfully in Hansard , in the national archives and in the history books, but what he truly meant to our country, what he truly meant to the world, cannot be found in any of those places. He helped us see ourselves in a different light. He brought out the very best in us. He demanded great things of us and in so doing he showed us that we were capable of doing great things together. In short, he reminded us that we are capable of excellence.

We have the sense that Pierre Trudeau would have little interest in the bronze or stone monuments that traditionally commemorate our past leaders. He would have wanted us to look ahead, to inspire young people, to build a better future in Canada and from Canada for the world. Today we secure a living legacy for Prime Minister Trudeau enabling the pursuit of excellence, promoting a just society and building a better world. There can surely be no more fitting tribute to Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege today to stand in the House to say something about Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I think the member for Davenport and myself are the only two members of the House who spent some time with the prime minister, myself in the 1972 election and in 1974 and maybe the Minister of the Environment and the House leaders from 1974-77.

It is interesting that in the last couple of minutes I have had three notes from my people in the back that the media wants me for the scrum. I would think Sacha's father would be smiling in heaven saying “Ah, we got the opposition again”.

We are pleased that the Minister of Industry has come forward with a specific application of his innovation strategy. The one thing we can all say about Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whether we are on this side or that side of the House, we never questioned his integrity and certainly we never questioned his love for Canada. It was a great time to be here even, if one was on the other side and in the 1972 election we darn near beat him. However, he was a great Canadian and we should honour great Canadians and that is why I am pleased to stand here today.

I welcome Sacha Trudeau and the involvement of his family in higher education in Canada.

The Canadian Alliance is on record supporting increases to the federal research granting agencies. We are happy that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will be involved in the Trudeau fellowship. The social themes named by the minister for this fellowship are good ones. I am sure the former prime minister would not mind my making some suggestions from this side as to what should be done. With his stubbornness he always wanted to be sure he got his ideas across.

The Canadian Alliance would also like to see greater emphasis placed on all sciences, mathematics, engineering, chemistry, physics, biology to name a few disciplines, by the federal government. In studying impacts on our natural environment as a theme for this fellowship, perhaps the Trudeau Foundation might consider at some point expanding this fellowship to include the applied sciences. For instance, the Sydney tar ponds could be studied not only because of the impact they have had on the families living around the ponds but also the impact the pollution has had on the ecosystem and the food chain. The granting councils have a good track record in science and technology investments and we applaud their work.

On a personal note, I would like to offer my best wishes to Sacha and his family. I am very pleased that they are involved in this project. Their father was not only a man of integrity, a decisive leader and a humanist, but more important, he loved his family and he loved his sons. I have seven children and eight grandchildren. For me, there is nothing more important in life than the family and Sacha's father put the family first. Even with all the important things he had to do in this world, his family was always first. I appreciate that as a father and as a grandfather.

We welcome this initiative by the government. We believe great Canadians should be honoured. This is a great way to honour a great Canadian.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to rise following the announcement made today by the Minister of Industry.

Allow me to begin by making a short comment on procedure. When a ministerial statement is made in the House, it is customary that the statements made afterwards by opposition members take about the same amount of time as the minister's statement, or that they do not exceed it. It is also customary, out of courtesy, for ministers who are going to make a statement to give an advance copy of their speeches to opposition parties, and this was done earlier this morning.

However, I was stunned to receive from the minister, right in the middle of oral question period, a new text which had been inflated, if I may use that expression, in the sense that it was much more detailed. Unfortunately for you, Mr. Speaker, and for the members of this House, this means that I will probably not take as much time as the minister did when he made his speech.

As we know, human knowledge is at the core of what is now called the new economy. Indeed, this new economy is primarily based on the production, use and communication of human knowledge. The grey matter is becoming the single most important factor of a nation's economic development.

This new economic situation, to which Quebec, Canada and all the countries of the world are confronted, requires a number of adjustments to the role of the state, in order to allow our respective economies to keep pace with the changes and to remain competitive.

Consequently, Quebec, Canada and all the other nations of the world must work to successfully enter the era of this new knowledge-based economy. Therefore, we cannot oppose any initiative that seeks to promote the development of human knowledge.

Nor are we opposed, and far from it, to letting the federal government use this noble objective to pay tribute to the refined intellectual that former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was.

The rather laudatory comments of the minister reflect the deep attachment that many Canadians, particularly among the members of the federal Liberal Party, still have to Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

While we certainly applaud the principles on which today's government initiative is based, we nonetheless question the appropriateness of such an announcement at this time.

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology is currently studying the whole peer evaluation system in the process of granting research grants and scholarships. It would have been proper, or at least prudent, for the minister to await the recommendations of the committee before launching this new initiative with such unbridled enthusiasm.

Moreover, we also question the vehicle chosen by the government to channel the amount of money that it plans on allocating for higher education merit scholarships in the humanities and social sciences. It would appear as though the choice to establish the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, a private foundation that does not report to parliamentarians, is based more on sentimental considerations than on requirements for efficiency or transparency.

Why has the government chosen to transfer the envelope allocated for this purpose to a private foundation instead of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, for example, which could very well have accomplished this mission that comes under its mandate?

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology's study, to which I made reference earlier, has shown that 55% of researchers and graduates work in the humanities and social sciences, whereas less than 13% of federal research grants are in awarded this sector. So we agree that something must be done, but as I mentioned, this may not be the most appropriate vehicle.

How will this foundation be held truly accountable for managing the considerable sums of public money—after all, we are talking about $125 million, which is no modest sum?

We are also concerned about the tangent that this government seems to be taking with this initiative, which will no longer assess candidates based on the excellence of their work and proposed projects, but based on themes decided by someone who has not been specified.

Indeed, the minister stated, a few minutes ago, that “the Foundation's board of directors, in consultation with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canadian universities and other partners”—without specifying who—“will choose the specific themes of study”.

To finish, we hope that the quality of those who will make up the board of this foundation, some of whom, incidentally, are no strangers to the Liberal government, far from it in fact, will be able to allay the concerns we have about the public interest, scientific research and about researchers themselves.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our party I wish to say a few words in support of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau foundation fellowship that was established today.

The foundation comes out of the budget with an allocation of $125 million over the next number of years. The idea is a superb one. The foundation would be comparable to Rhodes scholarships over the years and would retain a lot of bright people in the country. It would have people from other parts of the world come to Canada to study as well.

The foundation would have 80% of the students from Canada and 20% would come from other parts of the world. We applaud that. This is a great honour for the former prime minister. The pursuit of excellence is an excellent idea. This country needs to invest a lot more into knowledge, research and ideas.

Knowledge is power and ideas are power. Innovation, and the whole area of research and development, is extremely important. I also think it is a much more appropriate thing to do in memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau than the naming of a mountain would have been about a year ago when that was suggested by the government across the way.

I knew Pierre Elliott Trudeau very well. I spent 16 years in the House of Commons with him from 1968 to 1984. I remember him as prime minister for almost all of that time. For a short while he sat as leader of the opposition when my friend from Calgary was the prime minister back in 1979 to 1980. When I think of Pierre Elliott Trudeau I think of a person who had a lot of courage, a person of ideas and perhaps more than anything else a person of great determination who had a vision and would fight for that vision. We would often disagree with him but we had to admire his courage and determination to succeed with the vision that he fought for.

I think of the Official Languages Act, which I supported; multiculturalism; and his fight for the patriation of the Canadian constitution with a charter of rights enshrined in the constitution. That was a very divisive issue that divided all parties in the House of Commons. We had differing ideas but it was his sheer determination that eventually got us a constitution with a patriated charter of rights. Even at that time he had to compromise on issues in the charter of rights and the amending formula. It showed he had some flexibility as well when he pursued his vision.

This is an appropriate way to remember Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He was a person who exonerated youth and exuberance. He was a great Canadian who loved this country, but he was also a great internationalist. This scholarship would also be available for people in different parts of the world.

My only regret is that this is a little late in coming. We should have had a foundation like this many years ago. When we look at the drop in our standard of living compared to the United States and many other parts of the world a large part of that is due to the fact that we have not been as strong in innovation, research and development and education, nor as productive as many of the other countries in the world. Over the past few years for example we have seen all of the cutbacks in funding of post secondary education. It is something like $5 billion since 1993.

When I look back when Pierre Trudeau enrolled as a first year law student many years ago the tuition fee was probably $200 or $300. It is worth about $3,000 today. Today there is a university in Canada that charges $12,000 for a first year law student. I understand it is considering doubling the tuition fee from $12,000 to $24,000 in the very near future. We are limiting the accessibility to education.

Even though it is late in coming this is an excellent idea.

I am very pleased to support the creation of this foundation in memory of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada.

I can say to the family, to Sacha who was here earlier today, that they can be proud of the contribution their father made and that a foundation in his name would carry that memory forward in terms of looking for new ideas, excellence in research, and positive things to not just improve our country but to improve the world.

Often in parliament we have great political differences. We debate a great number of issues. However today we have parliament coming together to honour a great Canadian for a great contribution and we do that by establishing a foundation that would be there as a worthwhile cause for generations to come.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Pierre Trudeau left a profound mark on Canadian public policy and in the hearts of many of our citizens. As with all prime ministers people still debate the ways he contributed to public life. What can be said unequivocally about Pierre Trudeau is that he continually challenged people to think about their relationships to one another as fellow Canadians and as active citizens in the bigger world. A foundation created to help fund advanced studies seems appropriate and timely, especially given that these studies would focus on excellence in the humanities and human sciences, and would be recognized the world over.

As the minister mentioned in his remarks, special credit goes to Sacha and Justin Trudeau for searching for and advocating a proper and appropriate legacy for their father, to university leaders such as Robert Lacroix, Martha Piper and Sean Riley for their advice and assistance, and to former premiers Roy Romanow and Bill Davis for their encouragement and help, and to many others who helped to pull this foundation together.

The creation of the foundation points to another big issue of concern to Canadians and particularly to university students. This foundation, to quote the minister, would be the equivalent of a Rhodes scholarship. That is an admirable goal, but is something that would directly benefit only a few dozen students, not the tens of thousands of students who are expressing growing concerns about sky-rocketing tuition fees and exploding student debt. Students, many of whom have seen their personal debt and tuition fees double, hope to see more from the government in the days ahead.

Education must be a priority for every country in today's globalized world where we must challenge ourselves and compete with the best that the world has to offer. For example, when Ireland talks about the Celtic miracle, it does not talk only about how tax cuts helped its country and turned around a stagnant economy. It talks first and foremost about education and how it developed an education system second to none with broad access to all.

For decades, Canada has been a country built on the raw power and availability of its natural resources. The Canada of tomorrow would be built upon the strength of its education system and the excellence of its students, scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs. To make that possible, education for all Canadians must be top-notch and it must be made accessible to everyone. The Government of Canada can contribute to that future and has done that today, but it can contribute more by replacing the cuts it has made to the Canada health and social transfers.

I thank the government for putting in place a legacy for a former prime minister who gave of himself, served others and left an enduring impression on Canada. I want to quote from an op-ed piece I wrote shortly after the Trudeau funeral in the year 2000 and the extraordinary outpouring of emotion that followed:

Perhaps our relatively young nation went through a similar period of introspection during the state funeral, and will serve us well as we start out on the 21st century. For a country like ours, perhaps it will also give us pause to stop and think not only about “what was,” but also to ask ourselves “what should it be?”

Part of what this country should be is a country known for its excellence and opportunity in its educational system. We remain hopeful that the House will make further decisions in the days to come that will leave that as a positive legacy for generations to come.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour today to present a petition signed by over 80 individuals in my riding of Saint-Lambert.

The petitioners, residents of Longueuil, while deploring the terrorist acts of September 11 perpetrated in New York City and Washington, respectfully call upon Parliament and all heads of state to follow the path of active non-violence.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would seek unanimous consent for the opportunity to go back to presenting reports from interparliamentary delegations.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?