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[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Thursday, May 13, 1999

• 0830

The Standing Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons for the Scrutiny of Regulations met this day at 8:30 a.m. for the review of statutory instruments.

Mr. Derek Lee (Joint Vice-Chairman) in the Chair.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)): Colleagues, in the absence of the two co-chairmen, I will take the Chair this morning.

Mr. Wappel: I am sorry to begin the meeting on a point of order, but there is nothing at the beginning of the agenda about the RCMP regulations. There was nothing on the agenda about that matter at our previous meeting. I missed two meetings. Perhaps we could get an update on what is happening with those regulations?

Mr. François-R. Bernier (General Counsel to the Committee): The last time this matter was discussed, I specifically requested instructions from the committee as to whether that instruction, following enactment of the new regulations, was still in force, and I was told that the item was not to be put on the agenda.

We received a fairly long reply from the Solicitor General to the chairmen's letter. My colleague, Mr. Peter Bernhardt, has practically finalized additional comments that I will review this week or early next week.

Taking translation into account, we were thinking of having a meeting on June 3 devoted exclusively to those regulations. Alternatively, we could discuss this item at the meeting on May 27. It is up to the committee to decide between those dates, but the plan is to go with the date of June 3.


The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): The first item on our agenda is a Special Agenda Item, Import of Arms Permit.

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, a letter was sent to the Minister of National Revenue over two years ago. Its receipt was acknowledged by the then minister on September 17, 1996. However, a reply has not been received, despite four subsequent reminders.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Let me start off with the math. I see two and a half years without any kind of a reply to the committee's letter. Are there any comments now?

Senator Kelly: Which item are we looking at now?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We are on the first item, which is Import of Arms Permit.

Senator Kelly: It seems to me that that very eloquently describes the time frame within which this committee seems to work. I gather this whole thing started in 1991. We explained in 1996 to the minister that we had not heard. How many times do we go around on this thing?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Mr. Wappel has a comment.

Mr. Wappel: A comment, I do not think, is even needed. We should call the deputy minister before us to explain, if nothing else, why they cannot answer a letter. I know that the letters were addressed to the minister. I understand that. However, the minister has no clue about what is going on in things like this. No minister does. They give them to their deputy ministers, or someone in the department who is supposed to look after this angle, and they are supposed to cover for the minister. In this case that has not happened, in my opinion. Therefore, we should insist that the deputy minister come here to explain why this committee is being ignored, over two successive ministers.

Mr. Bernier: As Mr. Bernhardt pointed out — and this fits in with what Mr. Wappel was saying about Ms Stewart's acknowledgement in her letter of 1996 — Ms Stewart wrote that she had asked senior officials of Revenue Canada to review the matter raised and provide a reply as soon as possible. In light of that, it would be legitimate to address a request for an appearance to those senior officials.

Mr. Wappel: I suppose I could have put it that way.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): As I see it, colleagues, this is not a mere delay issue. This is two and a half years of not replying when the minister herself has already acknowledged the letter and indicated that a reply would be forthcoming shortly. I thought I would hear from those around the table that we are dealing with a minimum summary conviction offence, but I have not heard that.

Senator Kelly: From time to time, we have to take a look at this kind of thing. I thought we decided some time ago on a standard routine: We would accept a certain amount of delay, past which we would do just what you are suggesting. I thought we had agreed on that. It seems to me we keep falling away from that stance. Even with changes in membership on this committee, we still seem to fall into a standard pattern of being awfully patient. Should we not have something that would trigger just what was suggested now?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We have never established what you might call a drop dead date, for any of these files or replies. We tend to deal with each on its own merits. If the House were to go into a prorogation of significance, or an election, we would lose time, which happened in this case. We lost approximately half a year when the House was not sitting during the 1997 election.

Mr. Wappel has suggested that we call the deputy minister. Are we agreed that we will do that?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Is it agreed to do that on the earliest possible date that we can fit on our agenda?

Mr. Bernier: Can we do it before the RCMP regulations on June 3?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): It looks like a 15-minute item, if Mr. Wappel leads off. Is that agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We will go to the next item, which is under New Instruments, railway interswitching regulations.

Mr. Bernier: Before we go on, on the previous file, would it be acceptable to the committee to put the proviso we have put before, that is an appearance unless a substantive reply is received before that date?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): That is a good suggestion. Are we agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Senator Moore: What does that mean? I thought we were supposed to be getting substantive replies all along. Does that lead to another kiss-off letter or what?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Now we are into the conceptual difference between punishment and coercion.

Senator Moore: I did not see any of that in your book, by the way.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Perhaps counsel could explain the very subtle difference.

Mr. Bernier: All we would be doing, Senator Moore, is informing the department that unless a substantive reply is finally received before June 3, the deputy minister is requested to appear on June 3. It gives them the option of finally providing

Senator Moore: If you get a letter, counsel, 10 days from now, and you are not happy with it, you will not be able to come back to the committee. Therefore, you will just go back to them and tell them it is not sufficient. Must we go to counsel for their correction?

Mr. Bernier: It is a substantive reply, not necessarily satisfactory but at least we have a reply. The committee cannot function right now because we do not have a reply from the department.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Colleagues, we are dealing with a two-and-a-half-year window of zeros. We must address the two and a half years as well as a substantive reply. I feel that the minister should bring the letter with him or her, whoever it is. Counsel, is that inconsistent with how we have operated in the past?

Mr. Bernier: No, it is just an option. It is an appearance, irrespective.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Counsel was suggesting we provide a reasonable window for the department to comply.

Mr. Wappel: We have given them two and a half years.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): I am talking about a reasonable new window, an escape hatch.

Mr. Bailey: It is not just an appearance that we want. We wish to provide the individual with an opportunity, and it could be 15 minutes, to provide us with an answer for this delay. We want him to bring the answer with him. They should be told our reasons for having them appear. This does not need to be a long delay, it does not need to be anything of a formal nature. We want this item addressed and addressed all at once.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Just so that we do not tie the hands of government in this city, must it be the deputy minister, or could it be one of the ADMs responsible?

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, I believe I said the deputy minister and I believe that we agreed on that. I did not say the assistant deputy minister.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Two and a half years, deputy minister, earliest possible date.

We will move onto the next item, railway switching regulations. Counsel?




Mr. Bernier: These items identify some of the problems that were encountered as a result of the adoption of new drafting practices in relation to coming-into-force clauses a couple of years ago. After an exchange of correspondence, the deputy chief legislative counsel agreed to a change in administrative and drafting practices, as outlined in his letter of July 24, 1998. Those changes were later confirmed in drafting directive number 98.1, which is also included in the material, and that would then be satisfactory.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): That is fine. I feel that our members should commend our collective counsel and the Privy Council Office for identifying and resolving the issue before it got way out of hand.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): It had a potential for serious problems down the road. Let me say that on behalf of members.

Mr. Bailey: In view of the regulations about the interswitching, does this take into account the problem we just experienced with Via Rail? Is that a routine change or does that require a legislative change? I am talking about the accident which killed two people and the steps taken by the railway safety board. Does that take into account what we are doing here? I attempted to find out and I was not successful.

Mr. Bernier: The particular issue raised here is more of a technical drafting issue. Whatever measures may be taken as a result of that incident may well, at some point down the road, require regulatory changes.

Mr. Bailey: They will come under Bill C-77 which is the Railway Safety Act. Thank you.


Mr. Bernier: The explanation received from the Privy Council office would seem to be entirely satisfactory.




(For text of documents, see appendix, p. )

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I should note that the amendments identified as items 1, 2, 3 and 5 in the October 20 letter, have since been made by SOR/98-487.

On item 4, Mr. Willans did not reply to the request for an explanation as to why the required amendment was thought to be more fundamental than those I just mentioned. He simply replied that it would be made as soon as possible after the other ones. He so indicated in September of last year. A letter should be sent asking when that minor correction will be made.

The issue under item 6 relates to the fact that the instruments registered as SOR/91-334 and SOR/97-13 have not been validly made.

In her last letter, Ms Rasmussen requested, first, a clear assurance that those instruments would be re-enacted in their entirety; and, second, that until that was done, no one would be charged with a breach of the regulations.

I find it difficult to read Mr. Willans' letter of September 1998 as providing those requested assurances. I suggest that aspect is not satisfactory.

He does indeed refer to further amendments being enacted. However, I am not clear whether this really describes the complete re-enactment of the two invalid instruments. Certainly, it would not include that requested assurance that people will not be charged for breach of an illegal or ultra vires regulation.

On this point, I suggest that the chairmen write to the Minister of Transport.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Any comments on how we should proceed? We are dealing with some lack of clarity from the department, acknowledging that the two regulations in question are nullities.

Mr. Wappel: I do not want to be unduly technical, but we are getting responses from the department. We are getting responses from the legal counsel to the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. What authority does the Minister of Transport have over the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority?

Mr. Bailey: That is correct. That is my question.

Mr. Bernier: The minister is responsible for the administration of that act. In any event, that act has now been repealed and replaced by the Canada Marine Act. Under that act, the Minister of Transport is directly involved.

Mr. Wappel: When we were discussing an issue involving the Hamilton Harbour Commissioners and the Ministry of Transport officials, they indicated that, under the Canada Marine Act, they have no jurisdiction. They said there is nothing they could do. Is this the same kind of case?

Mr. Bernier: It is not. It may be similar in terms of the administrative structure. I cannot speak to that aspect, as I have not looked at it. However, the regulations are now made directly by the Governor in Council.

Mr. Wappel: Let me put it another way. If we did not like these regulations, could we disallow them, assuming they were not already a nullity? In other words, there are some agencies about which we can do nothing. There are some regulations we cannot disallow. My question is simple: If there was not a nullity, could we disallow?

Mr. Bernier: I would have to study the matter. The original regulations were made by the Seaway Authority, subject to the approval of the Governor in Council. Those would not be normally disallowable.

Under the Canada Marine Act , the Seaway regulations are deemed to have been made by the Governor in Council, and are now amendable by the Governor in Council on the advice of the Minister of Transport.

I will go out on a limb and say that given the act, Parliament has said we should deem these to have been made by the Governor in Council. Yes, they are now disallowable.

Mr. Wappel: Then the correct person to write to would be the Minister of Transport. Does our Chair wish us to do something else?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): One thing that is bothering me is that the department has not accepted that the regulations are a nullity. That is a pretty simple step to take. They may not want to take it, but intellectually it is binary language, the regulations are either valid or they are not.

I wish that the department could simply address that question, and if they were to address it, then we could easily begin to address the steps to rectify this situation. I regret that their counsel, while appearing to be cooperative and timely in his responses, does not seem to hit the nail on the head.

We ought to go back one more time with a simple paragraph that says: Your regulations do not have wings; they are a nullity. What will you do?

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Chairman, if I may, perhaps, taking your suggestion, we could write back and say: The committee has reviewed the matter. We believe the items to be a nullity. We want a definitive answer as to what you will about it. If you do not agree that they are a nullity, then we expect you to appear here to tell us why.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Yes, I think that is fair. We have a bundle of files coming down the pipeline involving the Minister of Transport.

Could I ask counsel, would it be feasible to tack this particular file on to those, or would that overload the agenda, which is already significant?

Mr. Bernier: Those other files, Mr. Chairman, really involve, as I recall, replies that are unsatisfactory in substance. In this case, we are not sure that we have a reply. It is not complete, or it is unclear.

Mr. Willans does refer to further amendments to be enacted as soon as possible. Does that include re-enacting the invalid instruments? Perhaps it does, perhaps not.

Mr. Wappel: I am suggesting, Mr. Chairman, that we reply for him. We tell him what the situation is in our view, and either he accepts that or he puts his position forward here.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We are asking counsel to craft a letter that would effectively do what Mr. Wappell has said.

Mr. Bernier: To Mr. Willans?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Yes.

Mr. Wappel: Actually, I thought we were writing to the minister. I do not care to whom it goes. However, the point is that we have accepted counsel's advice that these are nullities. This is not correspondence written between counsel. This is the decision of the committee. The committee has decided. If they do not like our decision, they had better come here and tell us why they do not like it. They may be right.

Mr. Bailey: I would like to suggest that, possibly, this is the tip of the iceberg. With the establishment of the new port authorities, airport authorities and so on, we will see an increase in such occurrences.

My suggestion is that we clarify the ministerial responsibility for each authority. You might say it is the same; however, where do we stand when it comes to regulatory measures? How do we correct them from here? Do we go to the authority or do we go to the minister?

If we keep the buck rolling from one to the other, we may never get an answer. This may be the key time for this committee to establish its procedure.

Senator Moore: What is the protocol?

Mr. Bernier: If we are back to the minister, and given the suggestion that we tie this matter in with those other files, then there may be a tie-in, because when the committee sees the other files it might wish to consider an appearance by the minister. In the course of that appearance, he could also deal with this one.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): I suggest that counsel write back to Mr. Willans. Mr. Wappel wants the minister.

Mr. Wappel: I think Mr. Bailey wants the minister as well.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): That is done. Subject to any dissent, we will write to the minister.

Mr. Bernier: If the minister does not agree with the position, the committee may wish to invite him to explain why.

Mr. Bailey: I would like the minister to give this committee some clarity. We can, within a port authority or an airport authority, have a different regulatory measure that is not covered. Where does the minister stand on such matters?

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We will all have the opportunity to ask that question, if and when the minister appears.

We will move to the item under Reply Unsatisfactory (?), the food and drug regulations.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. )

Mr. Peter Bernhardt (Counsel to the Committee): Mr. Chairman, there are two outstanding issues with respect to this file. The first concerns removing the objective discretion conferred on inspectors by sections A.01.044(1) and A.01.044(2) of the regulations. All that is required here is deleting the words to the satisfaction of an inspector from each of the two provisions.

In the course of his appearance before the committee last April, Mr. Robert Ray, who was then the DIO for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, advised that while Health Canada would have to be consulted, these consultations would begin in a matter of a few days. The agency's letter of February 1 indicates that work on the amendments continues but it should be completed in the near future.

Meanwhile, a year has gone by in what is, after all, a very straightforward deletion of a few words from two provisions, and that is all that remains to be done.

The situation is similar with regard to the other amendment. This one simply involves some clarification of section B.01.009(3)(f). When he appeared before the committee last April, Mr. Ray reported that the first step would be to circulate a discussion document to the industry, and that this would be done in the near future. Apparently, this document would also deal with a number of issues related to labelling generally.

The agency is now advising that things have been delayed and consultation with the industry should occur later this year. It is difficult to escape the feeling that these amendments are no longer being viewed with the same urgency as they were when Mr. Ray was before the committee in person.

Mr. Wappel: Mr. Ray seemed very sincere when he was there. Unfortunately, it appears that he is no longer there.

Was Mr. Chartier here with him?

Mr. Bernhardt: No.

Mr. Wappel: I happen to have a private member's bill dealing specifically with nutrition and information on labels of foods. As a result of that bill, I have been in consultation with numerous people and organizations. It is my observation that industry is stonewalling badly on mandatory labelling. They want voluntarily labelling. They want voluntary rather than mandatory nutritional information and labelling here in Canada, notwithstanding that it is mandatory in the United States.

They have already held some consultations, which were supposed to have concluded last year. They did not conclude last year. Now they are supposed to conclude later this year. I am virtually certain that they will not conclude later this year and the matter will continue in a major gab fest between Health Canada and industry representatives, probably until after the next election.

To me, it indicates that this is simply a way of postponing this matter. Forget any idea that discussions with the industry will be concluded by the end of the year. I suggest that we simply write back and say that that answer is not satisfactory and we need the changes done as soon as possible.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Is there agreement on that?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

Mr. Bernier: We will send a copy to the responsible minister, given that the committee is setting a firmer deadline, just so that he is aware.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): The next item is under Progress, on board trains regulations.


Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, although there has been some slippage, work on the amendments, including those promised to the committee, is progressing. I suggest further inquiries as to progress at this time.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Is that agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): The next item, also under Progress, Consumer and Corporate Affairs omnibus regulations.


Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, as of April 14, the Canada Cooperatives Act, which is the new statute, has not been brought into force, contrary to expectation. Perhaps a letter should be sent asking for an explanation for the delay in bringing the legislation into force, after which our amendments will be made.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): According to the file, the department was pretty clear about having the act and the regulations in force by March 31 of this year. You are telling us now that they are not in force. That at least gives cause for a good question.

Is that agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Under Progress(?), RCMP public complaints regulations.


Mr. Bernier: In this instance, Mr. Chairman, I have been informed that the consideration of the required amendment has been suspended for the moment but that someone will communicate with me later this year.

I am not sure what the amendment being suspended means, or even why one cannot reply to my letter now as opposed to some time in the next year.

I think that at the very least, Shirley Heafey, who I understand has probably been busy with other things, should be asked for a precise indication of when she intends to provide a reply.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): With due regard to the trials and tribulations of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, this is the kind of reply which could not help but grab the attention of long-serving members of the committee, but it is kind of an honest letter, and we have to give points for honesty and a forthright disposition.

Mr. Wappel: On a matter of translation, does le dossier en rubrique mean amendment or the file in question?

Mr. Bernier: It is the file under reference.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Given the absolute honesty of the letter, I think that we should get back in touch with them and, in our usual manner, request some more crisp movement.

Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, levity aside, as I am sure members realize, we are dealing with an issue of service of documents as part of a process. As such, we must seriously address the issue to ensure that the substitute service provisions are adequately framed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We will reply and seek a resolution.

Mr. Bernier: I could either indicate that the committee, having considered the matter, wishes a reply now, or alternatively, I could ask for a precise indication of when the file will no longer be en suspens and a reply will be forthcoming.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We do not agree that any file should be in suspension. It is our file. We did not suspend it, so it is not in suspension.

Mr. Wappel: Why do we not say, While you may have suspended the file, our committee has not and we want an answer.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We will probably not get another look at this file until after the summer.





(For text of documents, see appendix p. )

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Are there files here that counsel wishes to bring to our attention?

Mr. Bernhardt: The enactment of Veterans Health Care Regulations resolved a number of matters raised in connection with the predecessor regulations, which were the Veterans Care Regulations. We raised some 10 points, which are set out in counsel's letter of April 11, 1997, with respect to the new regulations as well as with the amendments that were made to them by SOR/93-309 and SOR/95-540.

The department replied satisfactorily on some of these points, and they undertook to make amendments on the others. These, in turn, are the amendments made by SOR/98/386, which is the first of the referenced items.

There was one matter that remained outstanding and this, together with four new points, were taken up in the letter of December 11, 1998.

That brings us to the department's latest reply of February 22. It promises action on two of these points. There are three which need to be pursued. They are points 1, 2 and 3 of that most recent correspondence. Each involves a matter of drafting. The intent of the provisions is in need of clarification. It is not a problem where the department does not have the authority. It is just not expressing clearly what it is trying to get at. I suggest a further letter on those points.

As I am sure Mr. Wappel has noted, Mr. Brunton has suggested that a meeting with counsel might assist in their understanding, particularly on one of the points in question.

We have exchanged telephone messages. My latest call has yet to be returned. Certainly, any subsequent letter that counsel sends will indicate that we are perfectly willing to meet with them to go over any of these points, if that will assist the department.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): It looks like we are heading in the right direction and the department seems pretty attentive to responding.

Mr. Bernhardt: This is the third series of amendments. In a sense, they are moving faster on this matter than the committee. We are having trouble catching up.

Mr. Wappel: Do not put that on the record.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Seeing no motion to delete anything from the record, we want to be honest, too.

The next item is Action Promised.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. )

Mr. Bernhardt: These regulations make a number of amendments to various Department of Transport regulations that were requested by the committee. Four new matters were raised in connection with the amendments made to the Ships Registration Forms Regulations. The first point revolved around what can and cannot be corrected merely by publishing an erratum in The Canada Gazette. A satisfactory reply has never been received from the department. Action, however, was promised on the other points.

As a result of recent amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, the regulations have become unnecessary. Forms relating to registration of ships are now to be established administratively rather than by regulation.

In its letter of March 30, the department advises that the regulations will be revoked when new ships registration and tonnage regulations are made. Pre- publication is expected to take place by this July.

At the end of the day, the substance of the department's reply on the Ships Registration Forms Regulations has never been entirely satisfactory. However, their revocation in the fairly near future has been promised.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): The department's proposed use of publishing an erratum as a means of amending a regulation may become moot. I do not see the department accepting what to us around this committee would be pretty clear. However, if it is to become moot, then I guess we can move on. Is that your view, counsel?

Mr. Bernhardt: It looks like the time frame will be fairly short. If that turns out to be the case, I suppose we can let it go by the books.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Is it agreed?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Shall we move on to the next item.



(For text of documents, see appendix p. )

Mr. Bernhardt: The amendments made by SOR/96-482 are a result of final outstanding concerns relating to the provisions in the Public Service Employment Regulations governing appeals.

Members who have been on the committee for some time will recall the committee dealt extensively with these provisions and, in fact, made two reports on them. Those issues were finally resolved and addressed.

Two new matters were raised in connection with these amendments. The commission's reply on the first is considered to be satisfactory. Action on the second was taken by SOR/97-352.

Upon reviewing SOR/97-352, counsel suggested a clarification of the English version of section 4.23 of the regulations. In a reply, the President of the Public Service Commission indicated that while the amendment was not considered to be crucial, the proposed wording would be an improvement and would be taken into account when the regulations are next amended.

In the case of a minor amendment such as this, the committee has often accepted this kind of a commitment with the proviso that it expects the amendment to be made in two years or so. In this case, that would be September 1999.

At this time, perhaps, a letter should be sent to the commission asking when they intend to make the amendment, and pointing out that the committee hopes the matter can be resolved by this fall.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Are we agreed on that proposal?

Some Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We now move on to some successful files involving action promised.


(For text of documents, see appendix p. )

Mr. Bernier: In this case, the department undertakes to promote an amendment to the Canada Shipping Act that will provide legal authority for sections 41, 43, and 44 of the regulations. Until that is done, the department has given formal assurance that no prosecution for breach of those sections will take place.

As for the rest, the replies are either satisfactory or action is promised.



(For text of documents, see appendix p. )


(For text of documents, see appendix p. )


(For text of documents, see appendix p.)


(For text of documents, see appendix p. )


(For text of documents, see appendix p. )

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): If there are no questions, we have completed our agenda, other than to note the huge number of regulations reviewed and statutory instruments without comment. There are 73 of them. That is a very large number. Congratulations to our counsel.

We could adjourn at this time, unless there are matters that need to be taken up.

Our next meeting is slated for May 27.

Senator Moore: We will know more later today upon the adjournment of the Senate, but we may be off that week. There has been much discussion in the last couple of days that this might be the case.

Senator Kelly: In defence of the Senate, I wish to say that we have been known to come back for meetings when the Senate is not sitting.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): We may want to stick handle this because the House and the Senate will adjourn for the summer. We are not sure when. If we adjourn earlier than planned, it will clip some of our important work.

Mr. Wappel: On that very point, we were talking earlier about June 3 as a meeting date, and June 3 is only one week after May 27. Either we could have two meetings in one week, or one meeting in one week, depending on whether the Senate sits and whether we can get some senators here.

The House of Commons will be sitting. It will be up to senators if they can make it. I was thinking that we would have meetings on May 27 and June 3.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Correct.

Mr. Wappel: We do not want to have it on June 10, just in case we are not here.

Senator Moore: I am fine with that. I will show up for a meeting on May 27.

Senator Kelly: I have been wrestling with why we continue to have delays on much of our work. Being a professional engineer, I could be accused of being against the law profession, but I am not. However, there is a tendency in this committee to be satisfied with the elegance of the letters we write back and forth. They are beautifully worded in legal terms. Instead of saying, Why in hell does it take seven years to get an answer?, we say, Notwithstanding the comments you have made very clearly, we tend to differ for the following complex reasons. The lawyer at the other end writes back in the same tone. He gets away with saying such things as, The amendment should be dealt with in the near future, which can mean seven years or nine years.

Having lived my life in a regulated industry, when the government writes to me and says that I must respond within three days, if I do not respond in three days, someone is right on my doorstep.

We must find a better way of communicating. It should be made very clear to everyone that we will be on their doorsteps, too. We should review the way in which we put these things together.

Mr. Bernier: Perhaps we could have enforcement inspectors show up at departments.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): Our enforcement mechanisms have never been fully developed on this committee.

Senator Kelly: That is a beautiful answer. What you mean is that we will not do a damn thing.

The Joint Vice-Chairman (Mr. Lee): There is ample room for creativity here.

If our counsel were not so busy, we could ask them to generate a short paper on the subject. We will not do that yet, but there is room for further discussion.

The committee adjourned.