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Proceedings of the Standing Joint Committee for the
Scrutiny of Regulations

Issue 7 - Evidence

OTTAWA, Thursday, October 25, 2001

The Standing Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:35 a.m. to elect the Joint Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, House of Commons, and for the review of statutory instruments.

Mr. Jean-Michel Roy, Joint Clerk of the Committee: Honourable senators and members, I see a quorum.


In accordance with Standing Order 106.1 of the House of Commons, the first item on our agenda is the election of a joint chairman.


I am ready to receive motions to that effect.


Senator Nolin: I propose Mr. Pankiw.


Mr. Harris: I propose Mr. Grewal.

Mr. Roy: The procedure when we have two motions is to vote on the first one. If the first motion is defeated, we move to the second one.

Mr. Wappel: On a point of order, I do not want to disrupt the meeting early on but I understand that we have a sitting co-chair from the Senate. Is that correct?

Mr. Roy: Yes.

Mr. Wappel: Why are you running the meeting?

Mr. Roy: I am presiding over the election of the chair from the House of Commons, as the clerk from that house. Following that, that is the end of my role.

Mr. Wappel: Is that in the rules?

Mr. Roy: It is standard procedure that each joint clerk of the committee presides over the election of the chair for his or her side.

Mr. Wappel: I could understand that if there were no chair, but I find it strange when there is a chair.

Mr. Roy: That will be the end of my role.

Mr. Harris: Point of order. Mr. Roy, I had some difficulty adjusting my translation setting, so I did not immediately hear the call for nominations. It has been customary in the past that the official opposition in Parliament would have the first nomination, and I was prepared to do that. I am not bilingual and I was having trouble with my translation button, but I wanted to make that point.

Senator Stratton: There is a motion on the table before us.

Mr. Roy: I stated the procedure and Senator Nolin caught my attention. The procedure is to vote on the first motion before us and we vote on subsequent motions if the first motion is defeated. As I am sure you understand, I am the clerk of the committee and, as such, am not supposed to entertain points of order and things like that. I am not the chair of this meeting.

It has been moved by Senator Nolin that Mr. Jim Pankiw be elected joint chair of this committee.

All those in favour of the motion, please signify.

All those against the motion, please signify.

The motion has been defeated.

We will now move to the second motion. It has been moved by Mr. Harris that Mr. Grewal do take the chair of this committee as joint chair.

All those in favour?

All those against?

In favour eight, against four. I declare Mr. Grewal the duly elected joint chair of the committee, and I invite him to take the chair.

Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette and Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Joint Chairmen) in the Chair.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Good morning, members. Thank you for your support. I will try my best to live up to your confidence in me as your co-chair.

The next item of business is to elect the vice-chair, who is normally from the House. I would ask for nominations for vice-chair.

Senator Stratton: I nominate Jim Pankiw.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Any there other nominations?

Mr. Lee: I nominate Tom Wappel as vice-chair.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Any other nominations?

If not, we will vote. All those in favour of the first motion, to elect Jim Pankiw as vice-chair, please signify.

All those against?

The count is three in favour, thirteen against. The motion is defeated.

On the second motion, all those in favour of electing Tom Wappel as vice-chair please signify.

All those against?

The count is twelve for, three against. The motion is passed. Mr. Tom Wappel is elected vice-chair of the committee.

Congratulations, Mr. Wappel.

Mr. Wappel: Thank you, colleagues.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): The next item on the agenda is the review of statutory instruments.



(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7A:1)

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We now proceed to the first item on our agenda, "Letters To and From Ministers".


Mr. Peter Bernhardt, Counsel to the Committee: The enabling authority for this instrument provided for the making of an order fixing the date of coming into force of several provisions of the Canada Shipping Act. The order then purported to bring into force all of the relevant provisions except for section 578.

This committee took the view that Parliament had contem plated that all of the named provisions would come into force together and that there was no authority to have some come into force on one day and others come into force at another time.

The Department of Transport disagreed with this view, but because what would have become section 578 had by now been included in the proposed Marine Liability Act the department undertook to include in the Marine Liability Act a provision to revoke section 578 as of a date prior to the date of the coming into force of this order. The committee agreed that this would provide a satisfactory resolution to its objection.

Unfortunately, a dispute then arose as to the correct date on which the order came into force. This was important because it would govern the date that you insert into the Marine Liability Act.

In arguing that the determining date was the date of registration, rather than the date of making, the Minister of Transport advanced an interpretation of section 6(2) of the Interpretation Act that ran counter to that which had long been established and had always been universally accepted. Eventually, it was necessary to seek from the head of the regulation section of the Department of Justice confirmation that the position that had up until now been accepted by everyone did in fact continue to govern.

In effect, the reply received from the regulation section indicates that the Department of Justice has clarified the situation for the Department of Transport. In fact, this appears to have been the case because Bill S-2, which received Royal Assent last May, did indeed contain a provision deeming section 578 to be revoked as of the appropriate date. Action on the matter has therefore been completed satisfactorily and the file can be closed.


The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): I did not read the letter from the Department of Justice. Did the Department in fact write a letter?


Mr. Bernhardt: The letter is from Mr. Salembier. At that time, he was the acting chief of the regulation section at the Department of Justice.


The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Are all members satisfied with the response?

Hon. Members: Yes.



(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7B:1)

Mr. Bernhardt: The file is fairly well summarized in the chairmen's letter of April 5, 2001 to the Minister of Transport. In March 1999, the committee tabled a report on this order. Of particular concern was the legality of subsidy payments that had been made under it. The government's comprehensive response to that report did little more than simply restate that the order was valid. The committee concluded that this was not adequate and determined that officials from the Department of Transport should appear to identify the wording in section 178(1) of the National Transportation Act, 1987 that had been relied upon in support of the conclusion that this order was consistent with the letter of the law. That appearance took place last October 5.

In the chairmen's letter of April 5, they advise the minister, in part, as follows:

Having had the opportunity to hear from, and pose questions to, representatives of the Department of Transport, the Committee remains of the view that...moneys that were paid in the form of subsidies to the Canadian National Railway pursuant to the variation OrderYwere paid without legal authority.

Nevertheless, the National Transportation Act, 1987 was repealed upon the coming into force of the new Canada Transportation Act. The new act does not provide for the payment of subsidies in connection with the operation of uneconomic branch lines. It is therefore the case that no payments were made for losses incurred from the operation of the Chandler subdivision after July 1, 1996 and that no similar situations can arise in the future.

In view of this, and given that there seems little likelihood that corrective action would be taken by the government, the committee decided to simply inform the minister that, while it continues to be of the view that legislation should be tabled to retroactively validate this order, the committee would not be pursuing the matter further at this time.

The minister's reply of May 15 is simply an acknowledgement of this. That would seem to put the matter to an end.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Since subsidies were paid without the legal authority for quite some time and the amount mentioned in the letter is huge, although the legislation is repealed, what happens to those subsidies that were paid without the legal authority? Is it in the best interest of the committee that corrective action should have been taken the day the legislation was deemed not to be meeting the criteria of the committee?

Mr. Bernhardt: First, it must be noted that the department has never agreed with the committee. The department has steadfastly maintained that these payments were lawfully made. The committee has steadfastly maintained the opposite. The commit tee has reported, the committee has pursued the matter after the report, the committee has heard from witnesses. I suppose we can describe it as an agreement to disagree. That is what is reflected in the chairmen's letter. The act has been repealed; the situation cannot arise again. The subsidies have been paid; the money has been spent.

It was the consensus of the committee when this file was last before members that it was one of those you-cannot-win-them-all files. Hence, the committee decided at that point that it would simply go on record as saying that it continues to be of the view that the payments were illegal but that, given that it has been impossible to convince the Minister and the Department of Transport of that, there seemed to be little point in carrying the file forward.


Mr. François-R. Bernier, General Counsel to theCommittee: Section 8(1.1) of the regulations creates a right of recovery for the payment of pension plan contributions made by a deemed employer from the actual employer. The committee has taken the position that the act did not authorize the making of a regulation creating a right that would not exist otherwise, that is, that right of recovery. While the agency disagrees with that view, it has agreed to a statutory amendment that would clarify the authority for a provision of this kind.

The committee wanted to know whether the department would also be prepared to retroactively validate the currentsection 8(1.1). As members can see from Mr. Wright's letter, the agency is not prepared to do that.

As to the second question, which is the timing of the introduction of the statutory amendment that has been promised, there is a copy of the letter to Mr. Mingus asking that this amendment be considered at the next available opportunity.

With the agreement of members, we will continue to monitor progress of this file.


The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): However, in this particular case, no specific legislative provision authorizes this action. The regulation does not conform to any particular provision.

Mr. Bernier: Precisely. The Canada Pension Plan regulations do not contain a provision comparable to section 108.1(f) of the Employment Insurance Act which provides clear authority to create the right of recovery by a deemed employer.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Do they not want to bring in a statutory amendment?

Mr. Bernier: A statutory amendment has been promised. However, the Agency is not prepared to validate the regulation retroactively. That makes sense, given their initial position on this matter.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): In their December 18, 2000 letter to Mr. Bernier, CCRA said that they did not believe a re-enactment of the regulation is needed; however, in our letter of October 17, 2000 to CCRA, we say we appreciate their willingness to recommend an amendment to the CPP. Is there a discrepancy there? The two things are not parallel. When they talk to HRDC, do they agree with the committee or do they not? I am looking at the last few lines of their December 18, 2000 letter.

Mr. Bernier: The request is to amend the act. Everyone agreed to that request. What has not been agreed to is the committee's request that, subsequent to the amendment of the act, the regulation be retroactively validated. They did not agree with that. They will amend the act, but they consider the regulation to be regular from the start.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): They agree with themselves, but they do not agree with us, and they will change it.

Mr. Bernier: They will change the statute even though they do not agree with us that there is no authority in the statute. That is, perhaps, not the best way of putting it, but those are the facts.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette):Honourable members, is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.



(For text of documents, see appendix p. 7C:1)

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): The next item of business is SOR/95-586 - Atlantic Pilotage Regulations, 1996.

Mr. Bernier: Madam Chair, with the exception of a minor legislative drafting matter noted in the French version of section 21 of the regulations, it is suggested in the comment that the committee reconsider its objection to the type of charges set out in section 22 of the regulations.


As suggested in the comment, the committee's previous approach to this type of provision was, perhaps, unduly restrictive and may have had more to do with the fact that an actual or real cost provision or charge does not allow those subject to payment of the charge to ascertain in advance from the regulation what they will have to pay.

If we look beyond that issue, however, it seems fair to say that these provisions at least prescribe a manner of determining charges. We would recommend acceptance of this kind of provision by the committee.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 7D:1 )

Mr. Bernier: The repeal the Army Benevolent Fund Act allows the committee to close its file on the benevolent fund regulations. That is a file that was initiated some 15 years ago.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 7E:1)

Mr. Bernhardt: When asked for an explanation for the failure to register this order within seven days as required by the Statutory Instruments Act, the National Farm Products Marketing Council replied that the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency had been of the view that the reference to days in section 5(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act meant business days, not calendar says. That view is apparently also shared by the National Farm Products Marketing Council.

They have been advised that their view is misinformed. Aside from that, no further action would seem to be required. Of course, all future levies orders will also be reviewed for compliance with the seven-day requirement.





Mr. Bernhardt: In December 1997, the committee first raised a number of concerns relating to the Aboriginal communal fishing licences regulations. The committee has taken the view that certain aspects of the scheme embodied in the regulations lack proper authority. These aspects relate to questions of subdelega tion and the authority to provide that the terms and conditions of licences can override the regulations. These matters were pursued with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in the joint chairmen's letter of September 26, 2000. Some 13 months later, a full reply is yet to be forthcoming.

In his letter of July 10, 2001, the minister advised that, because Parliament had been dissolved last fall, his officials were unaware of whether the committee would wish to pursue its concerns and thus had closed the file pending further direction from the new committee.

I might suggest that after more than a quarter of a century of dealing with this committee, department officials should be well aware that the committee is not likely to abandon substantive concerns in midstream.

The minister also cautions that the issues here are complex and will take some time to assess.

As noted earlier, however, it has been nearly four years since the committee's concerns were first raised. It has also been six months since the chairman's April 30 letter, which would have at least alerted the minister to the fact that the committee still intended to pursue the file. I would also note that there have been court actions in relation to these regulations.

Given all of this, perhaps it could be observed that both the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Justice should by now be well-versed in the issues related to these regulations, regardless of whatever complexity might attach to them.

By way of recommendation, perhaps a further letter could be sent to the minister making these points and seeking a complete reply without further delay. If members wish, a time frame for reply could also be given.

Mr. Pankiw: Further to your point about the minister's July 10 letter, it is simply not acceptable. Our letter should use strong language to indicate that he should know better.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): You want the concern to be included in the letter.

Mr. Pankiw: In addition to our concern, although I do not want to say that his July 10 letter was a stalling tactic, we should call him on it and say that we do not want to receive any more of this type of correspondence, that we want the matter dealt with by a set date.

Mr. Wappel: Even if the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal were not aware of the procedures of this committee, which may be possible, it is 100 per cent certain that his officials are aware. At the very best, they misled him by advising that they thought the file should be closed until such time as the committee decided to reopen it. Perhaps we should not use the word "misled," but using the usual diplomatic language of our counsel we should indicate clearly that there is no way that officials would not know that we would not abandon such a matter and that we expect a response promptly, failing which we will examine whether we should call officials before the committee.

Senator Stratton: I see heads bobbing up and down in unison indicating agreement with that.

Mr. Cummins: I should like to underline the point that committee counsel made; that is, that matter has been before the committee for over four years. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Justice are fully aware of the matter, as the issue has been raised in court and debated in court on a number of occasions. In fact, there are matters currently before the court where this particular issue is being debated. I think there is some expectation in the world outside of Parliament that the committee would deal with this matter promptly. There is some very real hope that that would be the case.

I think we should ask the minister to respond to this matter within 30 days so that the issue can be dealt with before Christmas. It has been dragging on for a long time.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I see consensus around the table. There are many issues involved in these four regulations. I believe that the solution is to amend the legislation eventually. That will take a long time, if we go at this speed. I support what Mr. Cummins and others have said, that we must write a strong letter to the minister. If possible, we should call the minister to appear before the committee in order that he will understand the procedure, because he is saying that he was not aware.

I see a lot of nonsensical things in the minister's letter. He says that he was not aware and that he will begin the process now. He has already wasted a little more than one full year of the committee's time. In my opinion, we should write a very strong letter and then attempt to have the minister appear before us if he continues at the same slow speed and with this nonsensical approach.

Mr. Bernier: Is it agreed that the committee inform the minister that it wishes to receive a reply before its last scheduled meeting of 2001 and that, alternatively, it will request the minister to appear at that last meeting?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): That meeting would be on December 13. That makes sense, because it is six weeks away.

In an effort to speed up the minister's answer, I would suggest that we send a copy to the deputy minister as a precaution. In fact, I think the answer was drafted by the department. It will serve to advise them that we know who is sometimes advising the minister.

Mr. Grewal and I are reviewing the letters before they are sent. We will ensure that your comments are reflected.

Senator Stratton: The co-chair suggested that we request the presence of the minister at this meeting?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): No.

Senator Stratton: I do not think so. If you are to haul anyone on the carpet, it should be the deputy.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Yes. We will see what the answer is. We will decide at our December 13 meeting who to summon, if the answer is not satisfactory.

Senator Stratton: All right.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I meant at the last meeting of the year to resolve the matter quickly after the letter. Depending on whether we receive any response from the letter, we will have the minister before the committee. We should prepare for that, I guess.

Mr. Cummins: It is interesting, if committee members do not recall, that the first letter that was sent, December 9, 1997, contained very strong and explicit language. It may be worth noting that in that letter it was stated that the committee characterized the regulations as a flagrant contradiction of essential principles of administrative law. It went on to say that there is no authority for this provision and that the Governor in Council is simply seeking to do indirectly that which he is not legally authorized to do directly, such as a prescription is not only illegal but represents an abuse of the powers conferred on the act.

That is fairly strong language. The matter has been a festering sore in the industry for a long time. I am grateful that the committee will deal with the issue promptly.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): As a point of information, we have been told time and again that the law would be changed. If it is not initiated, it is certainly not the fault of this committee. There is more than one regulation that is not necessarily in conformity with the law. Whenever the law is changed, I hope that all the flaws in the regulations will be corrected by having the proper act modified. They answered our strong letters every time by saying, "It is coming. We will modify the act." It is not an easy act to change.

Mr. Macklin: Madam Chairman, I want to confirm that this letter will contain a reference to the fact that we will be summoning someone from the department in the event of a failure.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Yes.

Mr. Pankiw: It will not just be someone; it will be the minister.

Mr. Bernier: I thought that was the agreement, but the senator objected.

Senator Stratton: No. I was suggesting get both.

Mr. Pankiw: I would suggest the minister. What benefit is it to have his bureaucrats come here and put their spin on it? Let's have the minister here to speak for himself.

Mr. Macklin: Let us clarify, then, that we will be requesting both the minister and deputy minister appear, failing an appropriate response.

Senator Stratton: He can sit there and say, "I do not have the deputy minister here. I apologize. I will get back to you."

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7F:1)

Mr. Bernier: Good progress is being made on the revocation of section 4, and this will be monitored in the usual way.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Are there any questions?

That should be okay. Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


Mr. Bernier: The proposed corrective regulations were sent to the Department of Justice for review as of May of this year. I would suggest that a follow-up should be sent at this point to ascertain the progress.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Are there any comments?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): It is a wake-up letter; correct? When you say "follow up," what do you mean?


Mr. Bernier: We merely sent a copy of the proposed corrective regulations to the Justice Department for review last May.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): What if we ask them to respond before Christmas? I think they have had sufficient time to think about this since May.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Are there any other comments? If no not, is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


Mr. Bernhardt: Last April, the committee was advised that the proposed amendments to these regulations should be pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette by the fall. To date, this has not taken place. Perhaps it is time to ask the department whether prepublication is imminent.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Should we follow the same procedure, the one just before Christmas?

Mr. Bernhardt: Exactly. We can ask whether they still intend to pre-publish this fall. I guess that is by Christmas.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): All right. Are there any comments?

Mr. Macklin: That is fine.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.







Mr. Bernier: In this case, I believe a letter should go to the department inquiring as to the result of the consultations that are mentioned by Mr. McCullough in his February 8 letter.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): The only comment I have is that there is a legal question. The letter says that the issue will be addressed in consultation with the Justice Department, and that that will begin in six months time.

That six-month period is probably already over.

Mr. Bernier: Yes, you are quite correct, Mr. Chairman. Those are the consultations with the individual ports themselves. The consultation with the Department of Justice was to start in February, I believe. You are correct. At this time, we should have been informed of the outcome respecting the consultations with Justice and the process of consultation with individual ports should have been initiated. Presumably, there can be a progress report on that as well.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Are there any comments?

Mr. Macklin: Are we still requesting it by our meeting of December 13?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Yes. It is just a progress report. They were supposed to start their consultations in August. I can understand that they have not finished them.

Mr. Macklin: No. I think it is appropriate that we do put dates in. We must get them to be responsive.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): We would like a progress report by December.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


Mr. Bernhardt: There are five promised amendments that remain to be made to address matters raised in connection with this order. Four of these are amendments to the processed products regulations. The other is an amendment to the fertilizers regulations. The amendments to the processed productsregulations are to be included as part of a complete rewrite of those regulations.

In June, the Food Inspection Agency reported that the new regulations had been drafted and that their legal counsel was reviewing the draft, prior to its submission to the Department of Justice. The amendment to the fertilizer regulations is included in the package of miscellaneous amendments that was with the Department of Justice for review in June. Again, it seems to be time to follow up, to see where progress is on those, similar to the previous several files.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): With respect to the fertilizer regulations, the department mentioned in its June letter that the amendment was included in an omnibus bill and that it was waiting for the bill to be reintroduced. Do we need to ask them? What is their tentative schedule for reintroducing them?

Mr. Bernhardt: No. The amendment is to the fertilizer regulations. The package they are referring to is a package of miscellaneous amendments for which a kind of fast-track procedure exists. They had been organized, drafted and sent to the Department of Justice as of June. If the Department of Justice is satisfied with them, the amendments will go back to the department for further process. One would expect that action on those should be pretty much complete.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): This is before the law is amended. They said they are willing to do it because they do not know when the new law will be introduced.

Mr. Bernhardt: Exactly.

Mr. Bernier: Initially, the department said that they would do the amendments suggested by the committee after the passage of new legislation. The letter of June 18 states that they do not know when the proposed new act will be introduced and so they will go ahead with the committee's amendment, irrespective, in another separate package of amendments, without waiting for the bill.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): All right.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): What is the follow up? Would it be a progress letter?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Comments? Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7G:1)

Mr. Bernhardt: As the note explains, Mr. Chairman, this instrument resolved one final outstanding matter that had been raised in connection with an earlier amendment. In turn, these 2000 amendments gave rise to three minor points. Amendments were promised in connection with the first two. The third point concerns some inconsistencies in country names in the schedule to the regulation. The schedule listed a series of reciprocal agreements from CPP that had been signed with various other countries. The departments explained that, in some cases, there is a difference between the name that was used in a particular agreement and what the department considers to be the correct name of the country.

One might ask why the department's preference should be taken over the name of the country set out in an international agreement signed by that country. However, there does not seem to be much to be gained by pursuing the point. Given that, I would suggest the third point not be followed up.

The amendments agreed to were to be sent to the Department of Justice for review this summer. Again, it would be time to follow up progress on those.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Any comments? Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Carried.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7H:1)

Mr. Bernier: In this case, I believe the department has provided a satisfactory explanation of the purpose of section 4(2).

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): The file is closed then?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Carried.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7I:1)

Mr. Bernhardt: These regulations establish quotas on a provincial basis for the amount of turkey that can be marketed in interprovincial and export trade for each year. The year runs from May 1 to April 30.

In the present instance, the quota for the period May 1, 1999 to May 2000 was varied after that period had expired. There is no authority, however, for such a retroactive variation. In addition, the way in which this was done also had the effect of eliminating quotas that had been put in place for the period May 1, 2000 to April 30, 2001.

The National Farm Products Marketing Council has reported that all this was done by mistake. In effect, they were simply too slow in making SOR//2000-201. By the time it came into effect, the period had already expired and a later amendment dealing with the current period had accidentally been inserted.

Quotas for the period May 1, 2000 to April 30, 2001 were subsequently restored by a later amendment. That question is resolved.

That just leaves the question of the retroactive adjustment of the quotas for the period from May 1, 1999 to April 30, 2000. One might perhaps be tempted to ask whether turkey was marketed in excess of the quotas as they properly read, but it is difficult to see what remedial action would be insisted on if this were in fact the case. In view of this, the reply should simply be considered satisfactory.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Any comments? Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Carried.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7J:1)

Mr. Bernier: In this case, the explanation for the failure to observe the registration deadline in the Statutory Instruments Act is that it was caused by an "administrative problem."

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): An error was admitted?

Mr. Bernier: There was a "problem."

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): The file is closed?

Mr. Bernier: Yes.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Yes.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Carried.


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7K:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7L:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7M:1)


(For text of documents, see appendix, p. 7N:1)

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We turn to the items under "Action Promised."

Mr. Bernier: Perhaps we can deal with all of the instruments listed under the heading of "Action Promised" and "Action Taken" as two groups - that is, unless members have specific questions on them.

With regard to the four instruments listed under "Action Promised," there is an undertaking to revoke one provision and to amend another four.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. 7O:1)


(For text of documents, see Appendix p. 7P:1)

Mr. Bernier: As for the instruments listed under "Action Taken," some seven amendments are recorded as having been made at the request of the standing joint committee.

Regarding SOR/2000-133, I note for members that the translation of the comment on the last instrument - which was a translation from French to English in the second paragraph - is faulty. A reference to the Canada Pension Plan regulations should be to the Old Age Security regulations. The reference is correct in the French version.


The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Which version is the correct one?

Mr. Bernier: The French version is correct. As for "Statutory Instruments Without Comment", could someone let Mr. Lee know that there were only 16 such items.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): They are making progress.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Are there any other comments? Is it agreed?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Carried.

I believe that concludes the agenda.

Senator Finestone: I am sorry to have been late, but it seems impossible to avoid.

I wish to address an article regarding this committee. The article was written by Mr. Grewal and published in The Hill Times. Outside of a few exaggerations, I find the article to be a good one. However, Mr. Grewal brings to the attention of readers an issue about the statutory footing and the regulations for those parliamentary organisms that have been delegated. Does that issue need to be dealt with?

Did everyone see this article? I draw to your attention the second page, the second paragraph and following three para graphs.

The committee must determine whether to act on this issue. This committee's operation is a vital part of the structure of Parliament, but that is not well known. Perhaps we could elevate the level of public information.

Mr. Wappel: To which paragraphs are you referring?

Senator Finestone: From the first paragraph, which states that we have no authority, and following. If anyone knows something about that, it would be Mr. Wappel. He has had the longest term in serving this committee. I consider it a privilege to sit on this committee, quite frankly. Some part of a meeting should be devoted to this.


Senator Finestone: Have you a copy of this article? In my view, it is important to read it because it is fundamental to the parliamentary process.


The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): May I make a comment, Madam Chair?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): You may comment. I made my comment by not voting for you. I felt somewhat insulted in the way you wrote the article, when you said that we ignore our responsibility. I feel we are responsible parliamentarians here.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I do not say that we are not responsible; do not misunderstand me.

Senator Finestone: I was a little insulted when I first read it, but I decided to overlook your youth and zealous approach, because the content was not bad on the second page.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Senator Finestone, I also feel privileged to be on this committee now.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Will you tell that to the press, also?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): I wrote the article when I not on the committee. In my opinion, this is an important issue. There are two ways to deal with it. One way is through the committee and the other is through a private member's bill.

I attempted last time to do it through the committee, but we were not able to do so at that moment. I suggest that we bring this issue before the steering committee of this committee. We could obtain expert advice from members who have been on this committee for a long time as well as our legal counsel and the staff of the committee. After dealing with this issue at the steering committee, we can bring it to the main committee and deal with it.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Before we do that, I would suggest that, first, you use different wording. I do not recommend that the entire article be put on the table, because the cost of regulations should not be part of our mandate. That is not part of our business. We must ensure that the regulations are in conformity with the law. We are not entitled to change the regulations. We are here to say, yes, they are in conformity with the law. If the law must be changed, it must be changed in the House of Commons and in the Senate through the proper mechanisms.

I am quite willing to review the regulations of Crown corporations that escape our jurisdiction right now, and perhaps other technical matters. However, when it comes to the substance, that is not and will not be in the mandate of this committee for the simple reason that it is within the mandate of the Senate and the House of Commons to change the law.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): This article was written from a different perspective, not from the committee's point of view. I was not a member of the committee at that time. I agree with you that the committee's mandate is comparatively narrow compared to the vital problems in scrutiny of regulations overall. There are more problems in regulations than the committee can deal with.

I agree that we should narrow the issues that belong to this committee, debate those, and try to find a solution for those problems that fall within the mandate of this committee. I agree with you totally on that. However, we all know that there are more problems than the mandate of this committee. Naturally, the committee will deal with what is within the purview of the committee.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Can you draft a mandate for the committee's next meeting for us to review and give the steering committee the mandate to come up with some proposals? You will have to limit what we are to examine, because in this article, you discuss the cost of regulations.

Mr. Wappel: Perhaps I could suggest that these are precisely the issues that the steering committee could grapple with. As a steering committee, we would come to certain conclusions, bring those conclusions to the committee, and then the full committee could make a decision as to whether they want to expand or shrink the suggestions that the steering committee brings forward.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): I would like Mr. Grewal to do his homework before we meet at the steering committee.

Senator Finestone: I do not know if I agree with you on that point, but as a member of Parliament over the many years that I was a member, other than visas, there was no more pressing problem for me than the requests and requirements of regulations and the difficulty business people had in meeting regulations that seemed to be uneven, particularly those companies with head offices in Montreal, in my Mount Royal riding, with other offices across Canada. The regulations were administered differently across the country. It was driving the companies and me into a difficult situation. It was a constant confrontation and battle.

When I read this article, I thought, "Why did I not think to do this?" I also said at the beginning that I do not agree with everything in the article. I do believe that the issue is important. I would support the recommendation of the steering committee to examine the issue and return with an overview.

There are a number of issues the steering committee could bring to our attention, issues that include the payment of our staff, the staffing and the work that we must do.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): That issue is solved. They have a job and they will be paid. They will be paid all the time, even during an election. That is the good news.

Senator Finestone: It would have been nice to know that good news; I am pleased to hear it.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): It is recent good news.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Who are the members of the steering committee?

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): You, Mr. Wappel and I.

Mr. Till Heyde, Joint Clerk of the Committee: There are other members. There is one member from the Progressive Conservative party in the Senate; one member from the Bloc in the House; and one member from the New Democrats from the House. In that case, it would be the whips who designate those people.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): There are six members of the steering committee. Can we set up a tentative date for that?

Mr. Wappel: We will have to do that at the meeting.

The Joint Clerk (Mr. Heyde): We must determine from the whips who the members are, first.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): Let us look at the dates for the next meetings, November 8, 29 and December 13. If everyone agrees, that will be the agenda.

Mr. Bernier: I was going to make the observation that, if members felt December 13 to be a risky day, we could go to November 22 and December 6.

Senator Finestone: That sounds better.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): Yes.

The Joint Chairman (Senator Hervieux-Payette): It will be a miracle if we finish before December 20.

Senator Finestone: For your information, we finished on December 23 last year.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): We may finish very early.

Senator Finestone: I wish I could say the same for the Senate.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Grewal): The Senate is working hard these days.

The committee adjourned.

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