Mr. Speaker, I believe I am entitled to say today that, with the exception of the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, the department that is the most topsy-turvy, the one that is in the most turmoil and surrounded with the most controversy, the most disliked, is the Department of the Solicitor General.
Reporting to the solicitor general, in addition to the department itself, are the RCMP, Correctional Services Canada, the National Parole Board, CSIS, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the RCMP External Review Committee and the RCMP Public Complaints Commission. Out of all these, is there any one that is operating properly? One wonders.
What, for example, is going on with our secret agents? How can our secret agents be losing documents by having their cars broken into or by leaving them in phone booths?
How could students end up being pepper sprayed during Suharto's visit to Canada? How can prisoners find it so easy to escape? How can there still be drug dealing inside our prisons? What about the mess within the National Parole Board, whose board members themselves, duly appointed by this government, are telling us that a major cleanup is needed?
How is it that the auditor general, in his most recent report of November 1999, is still obliged to call the RCMP Public Complaints Commission to task, as well as the Office of the Correctional Investigator. He comments, moreover:
—both inmates and Correctional Service staff still misunderstand the role of the Office.
With a budget of $1.8 million, one might have expected inmates and staff to at least know what this office does on their behalf. It seems to me that things are far from clear. This leads me to conclude that the government is not all that clear in its supposed search for clarity. Hon. members will realize what I am getting at.
Let me give an example of a clause that illustrates my point. I will read the whole thing and it will not be over until I say end of sentence.
- (1) Where the government of a province, following a referendum relating to the secession of the province from Canada, seeks to enter into negotiations on the terms of which that province might cease to be part of Canada, the House of Commons shall, except where it has determined pursuant to section 1 that a referendum question is not clear, consider and, by resolution, set out its determination on whether, in the circumstances, there has been a clear expression of a will by a clear majority of the population of that province that the province cease to be part of Canada.
All of this is a single sentence.
Members will have noticed that in that one sentence, the word clear or its derivatives is used four times. I say or its derivatives, because the term déclaré in French is a derivative of the word clair, in my opinion.
I consulted a French etymological dictionary to find out if this was indeed the case. I found the dictionary of Jacqueline Picoche here, in the Library of Parliament. Ms. Picoche is a grammar research associate and has a doctorate in literature.
If we look at the word clear, we see that it has two origins, a Greek one and a Latin one. Which is most appropriate in the present case? That is the question, but I am inclined to say the Latin one. However, I would rather rely on Ms. Picoche who tells us that in Greek, the origin is kalein—and now I need my glasses—the derivative is parakalein: to call for help, hence the word paraklêtos which means lawyer, protector, comforter, intercessor. There is also another derivative, ekklêsia, assembly by convocation, then congregation of the faithful and the place where that assembly meets, hence the adjective ekklêsiastikos.
The Latin root is calare, to proclaim, convoke, from which is derived intercalare, to proclaim an additional day or month to compensate for the discrepancies in the ancient Roman calendar.
The verb calare must have had a variation, calere, from which is derived calendàe, first day of the month, and in turn calendarium, agenda. And, in low Latin, calendar must have been a feminine, plural, verbal adjective in noun form; its root cal appearing as cil when combined with other roots, producing concilium derived from concalium, convocation or assembly, from which is formed conciliabulum, meeting place, and the verbs conciliare and reconciliare, to gather and to reconcile.
The verb calare is combined with the archaic agent word calator, which appears in classical Latin as the second element, in a diminutive form, in nomenclàtor, a slave whose job it was to remind his Roman master of the names of his clients at meetings.
I also have other derivatives, such as clamare, to shout, from which is derived clamor, as well as clamoris, shouting.
Mr. Speaker, you are signalling that I have only one minute left. But I cannot explain all this all this in one minute; it is not possible.
I would also like to mention verbs like dêclamare, to speak aloud; exclamare, to exclaim; proclamare, to plead loudly; reclamare, to cry out in indignation. Then there is clarus, clear or illustrious, an adjective that must have been used originally to describe the voice or sounds and have meant suited to call.
There are also families of words such as the clarus family, which also includes the word clarine, a bell for livestock.
I will close with clarifier, or clarify, which means to make clear. I hope I have been clear enough myself and that, from now on, in the House things will be unassailably clear.