April 3, 1998 (36th Parliament, 1st Session)


Bill Gilmour


Mr. Bill Gilmour (Nanaimo—Alberni, Ref.)

Madam Speaker, my discussion will centre not on the bill, because by and large we support portions of the bill, but on the origins of the bill.
The bill originated in the Senate, and this is where the Reform Party has some difficulty. The Senate is unelected, unaccountable, unlike the House of Commons, and we feel bills should be originating in this House. They then should go through the other place for sober second thought. That is fine. We agree with that. However, we have major difficulty with having bills originate in the Senate
The reason we have the difficulty is the unelected and biased nature of the other place. I would like to go through the appointments the Prime Minister has made to the other place since he came to power.
There are 28 appointments and the reason I wish to go through this list is to show how biased the appointments are and that legislation originating in the other place has to be biased because of the make-up of the Senate.
The Prime Minister's appointments to the Senate were Sharon Carstairs, a former Manitoba Liberal leader; Landon Pearson, who is married to the son of former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson; Lise Bacon, former Liberal deputy premier of Quebec; Jean-Robert Gauthier, a long time Liberal member of Parliament. John G. Bryden was a candidate for Liberal leader in New Brunswick and managed the Prime Minister's 1990 New Brunswick Liberal leadership campaign. The point I am making is that these people are all very biased.
Rose-Marie Losier-Cool has no patronage connection disclosed; Céline Hervieux-Payette, former Liberal cabinet minister under Prime Minister Trudeau; Marie-Paule Poulin, former deputy secretary to the cabinet in the privy council office. These are all senators appointed by the Prime Minister.
Doris Anderson has no patronage connection that was disclosed; Bill Rompkey, former Liberal cabinet minister in the Trudeau government; Lorna Milne, former Liberal riding president and a Liberal Party worker; Joseph Landry, former Liberal member of the New Brunswick legislative assembly; Shirley Maheu, former Liberal member of this House.
Nick Taylor is a former Alberta Liberal leader; Jean Forest's patronage connection was not disclosed; Eugene Whelan, former Liberal cabinet minister under Trudeau; Leonce Mercier, Quebec Liberal organizer; Wilfred Moore, no patronage connection; Lucie Pépin, former Liberal member of Parliament.
Catherine Callbeck is former Liberal premier of Prince Edward Island; Sister Peggy Butts, no Liberal connection that we could find; Fernand Robichaud, former Liberal MP in the government; Marisa Ferretti Barth, no connection; Serge Joyal, former Liberal MP and prominent Liberal backroom fellow. Thelma Chalifoux has no patronage connection; Joan Cook, failed provincial Liberal candidate and loyal Liberal worker; Archibald Johnstone, no patronage connection.
The last appointment which raised a lot of concern in this House and across the country was Ross Fitzpatrick, prominent B.C. Liberal organizer and golfing buddy of the Prime Minister. In fact, he is a former business associate of the Prime Minister.
The point I wish to make is that 20 of these 28 appointments have blatant Liberal connections. Any bill that originates in the Senate, as Bill S-3 did, and then comes to this House by definition has to be biased.
What these appointments demonstrate is that the Senate is not working and it needs to be reformed. The Senate was set up by the Fathers of Confederation to represent the provinces. That was the original intent of our Senate. Quite clearly from the list I have just read, the majority of senators appointed by the Prime Minister represent not the provinces they come from but the Liberal Party, the party of the Prime Minister.
Again, that is the concern we have with legislation that originates because it is by definition biased. The bill we largely support but we do not support the process. The process is flawed and any bill that comes through the Senate should be looked at. By definition, a money bill cannot come through the House but other bills we feel should originate with all of us who are elected, accountable.
If we go back to our constituents and they do not like what we have done, we will not be elected in the next election. That is accountability. There is no accountability in that other place. By definition we feel all bills should originate in the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985
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