Complete text of this included below:
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker (1430) [English]
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I call the attention of all honourable senators to the presence in the gallery of our distinguished former colleague, the Honourable Senator Pat Carney.
On behalf of all honourable senators, welcome back.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the amendments by the House of Commons to Bill S-215, An Act to protect heritage lighthouses:
1. Preamble, page 1: Add after line 15 the following:
“AND WHEREAS it is important to provide access to heritage lighthouses in order for people to understand and appreciate the contribution of those lighthouses to Canada’s maritime heritage;”
2. Clause 2, page 2: Replace line 9 with the following:
“this Act, and includes any related building”
3. Clause 2, page 2: Replace lines 19 to 28 with the following:
“”related building”, in relation to a heritage lighthouse, means any building on the site on which the lighthouse is situated that contributes to the heritage character of the lighthouse.”
4. Clause 6, page 3: Replace line 6 with the following:
“include any related building that the Min-“
5. Clause 7, page 3: Replace line 29 with the following:
“whether any related buildings should be”
6. Clause 11, page 4: Replace line 19 with the following:
“lated building should be included in the des-“
7. Clause 16, page 5: Replace line 23 with the following:
“house and whether any related building”. —(Honourable Senator Murray, P.C.)
Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, in rising to commend this motion to your attention and support, I will be brief.
After 10 years and seven or eight iterations, and with Senator Carney having flown all the way from Vancouver to ensure that we do this right, I would not dare do anything to impede the progress of this bill toward passage by the Senate and Royal Assent.
The issue that is addressed by these amendments and the issue in which Senator Carney and I as well as other proponents of the bill on the one hand, and the government on the other, have been joined this past little while is that of public access to lighthouses and sites designated as heritage lighthouses and areas.
Senator Carney’s concern, and our concern, was that ministerial designation of a heritage lighthouse as provided under this bill would be, if not a dead letter, certainly of dubious effect without some assurance of public access to these heritage sites.
I pause long enough here to thank our friends on the Senate committee who assisted Senator Carney and me with this undertaking. At committee we wrote into the text of the bill binding stipulations to ensure that the designation of a heritage lighthouse would be accompanied by the provision of access.
At the House of Commons, the government stated that the provisions we had written into the bill at the Senate committee went too far. They found those provisions to be too constraining. The government, as it not infrequently does, invoked the well-known doctrine of unintended hypothetical consequences in the future. This led to a series of negotiations and discussions involving the sponsors of the bill and various interested parties outside Parliament. There are and have been many interested and strongly committed parties urging this bill upon us. We had negotiations and discussions that led to the amended bill that is now before us.
Senator Carney and other proponents of the bill agreed to a new preambular clause in the bill, which I will read:
AND WHEREAS it is important to provide access to heritage lighthouses in order for people to understand and appreciate the contribution of those lighthouses to Canada’s maritime heritage. . . .
In the body of the bill, there are now references not only to the lighthouse to be designated but also to “related” buildings. The minister in charge of Parks Canada, the Minister of the Environment, may designate a lighthouse as a heritage lighthouse. He or she may also designate any related building as part of the heritage site. This, together with the preambular reference to the importance of providing public access to heritage lighthouses, seemed to us to be an honourable compromise, which we have accepted and which, on behalf of the proponents, I commend to honourable senators.
Finally, honourable senators, let me say again that this bill has at least a 10-year history in Parliament. It originated, I believe, with our late friend and colleague, the Honourable Michael Forrestall, a veteran of over 30 years in both Houses of Parliament, whose memory I salute with affection this afternoon.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Murray: The legislation was taken up by Senator Carney from the West Coast, whose prodigious persistence knows no bounds, as I have better reason to know than almost anyone here, having inherited the bill and having acted on her instructions for these many months.
I should also say a word about our friends in the House of Commons. Mr. Gerald Keddy, MP, from Nova Scotia; and Mr. Larry Miller, MP, had the carriage of this bill in the House of Commons and did so with quite exceptional skill, vigour and commitment.
Mr. Miller is the Member of Parliament for Bruce—Grey— Owen Sound. He has Georgian Bay in his constituency, with six lighthouses — which explains to some extent his great interest in this matter — dating back to the period 1855 to 1859. It seems to me that this is a matter of interest and concern not just to those of us who have some connection on one or other of the coasts, but to people like Mr. Miller in the province of Ontario.
The minister who oversees Parks Canada, Mr. Baird, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Hearn, also need to be congratulated. It is Mr. Hearn’s department that will foot the bill for much of this going forward. Naturally, he had to take the traditional and frugal perspective on these matters given the many other demands on the budget of that department. We thank him, also, for his interest and forbearance.
On the first occasion that I went to see Mr. Miller, the MP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, he told me that he had looked up my biography in the parliamentary guide and that I was born the same year as his mother. However, after that rather rocky start, our relationship came to a productive end.
Thank you, honourable senators. I do commend this bill to your attention.
Hon. Bill Rompkey: Honourable senators, I wish to make a few comments on this bill, having had some association with it. Lighthouses are very powerful instruments, and it is our argument that lighthouse keepers are very powerful people.
There is an apocryphal story about two ships meeting: The signal from the first ship indicates, “I have the right of way. Change direction to starboard.” The signal comes back from the second ship, “I have the right of way. Change your direction to port.” The signal from the first ship replies, “I am a battleship. Change your direction to starboard.” The signal comes back from the second ship, “I am a lighthouse. Change your direction to port.”
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Rompkey: To go from the ridiculous to the sublime, I want to call on the assistance of Honourable Senator Smith in reflecting on the origins of that old hymn, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”:
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
Senator Smith: Let the Lord.
Senator Mercer: Would you turn up the music, please?
Senator Campbell: The temptations!
Senator Rompkey: That puts it in context.
If one lives on the coast, lighthouses are probably second only to the cross on the church steeple in terms of iconic signals. The church was obviously built on a hill because it could be used for navigation purposes. However, a lighthouse becomes very important to people who live on the sea.
I simply want to give credit to Senator Michael Forrestall. I learned at lunch today that he was in the Merchant Navy. That was something I had not realized before. He spent some time on the sea and was quite well aware of its perils and glories, and the importance of lighthouses. If one is out there, one needs some connection with the shore and with home. The lighthouse gave us that.
Therefore, I want to pay tribute to Senator Forrestall, who initiated this bill, and also our friend Senator Carney, who continued the effort. I hope that the Senate will give it proper approval today.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I, also, would like to thank everyone, both in the Senate and in the House of Commons, who was involved in the work that went into this bill to move it through Parliament.
I would also like to not let it pass by without remembering the hard work that our late and dear friend Senator Forrestall put into initiating this bill. He put much heart into it when he came up with the bill. I also want to thank Senator Carney, who approached the bill with gusto and enthusiasm, and Senator Murray, who acted as an intermediary between the various interests that had to arrive at a solution as to how to proceed with the bill.
Finally, I want to thank Minister Baird and Minister Hearn. Minister Baird is the lead minister to administer most of the provisions of this bill. Minister Hearn must find the money to fund the application of the implementation of the bill.
Congratulations to all.
The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Murray, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Spivak that the Senate concur in the amendments made by the House of Commons to this bill without amendment, and that a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House accordingly.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Motion agreed to.