THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
First Session, Thirty-eighth Parliament, 2004-05
Hearings: OTTAWA, Monday, May 16, 2005 4 p.m. - Issue No. 13 - Eleventh meeting on:
Examine and report upon Canadas obligations in regards to the rights
and freedoms of children.
MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE
The Honourable A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair
The Honourable Landon Pearson, Deputy Chair
The Honourable Senators:
*Austin, P.C. (or Rompkey, P.C.), Baker, P.C., Carstairs, P.C., Ferretti Barth, *Kinsella (or Stratton), Losier-Cool,
Oliver, Poy, Stratton
*Ex officio members
Changes in membership of the committee:
Pursuant to rule 85(4), membership of the committee was amended as follows:
The name of the Honourable Senator Ppin, substituted for that of the Honourable Senator Baker, P.C. (May 10,
The name of the Honourable Baker, P.C., substituted for that of the Honourable Senator Ppin (May 12, 2005).
The name of the Honourable Senator Stratton substituted for that of the Honourable Senator LeBreton (May 16,
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P., Minister of State (Public Health).
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (by
videoconference): Eduardo Bertoni, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression;
Lisa Yagel, Attorney.
Health Canada: Kelly Stone, Director, Division
of Childhood and Adolescence; Dr. Sylvie Stachenko, Deputy Chief Public
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA):
David Moloney, Vice-President, Policy Branch; Sarita Bhatla, Director, Human Rights
and Participation Division; Natalie Zend, Senior Child Rights Analyst, Policy Branch.
OTTAWA, Monday, May 16, 2005
The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met this day at 3:05 p.m. to examine and report upon Canada's
international obligations in regards to the rights and freedoms of children; and to monitor issues relating to
human rights and, inter alia, to review the machinery of government dealing with Canada's international and
national human rights obligations.
Senator A. Raynell Andreychuk (Chairman) in the chair.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, we have the benefit of a video conference. We are here to continue
to monitor issues relating to human rights, inter alia, and review the machinery of government dealing with
Canada's international and national human rights obligations.
In particular, we are studying Canada's role in the inter-American system and, more particularly, the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. We are pleased to have
by video conference, Mr. Eduardo Bertoni, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, and Ms. Lisa Yagel,
We welcome you to the Senate of Canada and, in particular, to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights.
I understand you have an opening statement and then I will proceed to questions. Please proceed.
Mr. Eduardo Bertoni, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter
American Commission on Human Rights: Honourable senators, thank you for the invitation to speak before this
committee. I would like to start my intervention with a brief explanation of my mandate as Special Rapporteur
for Freedom of Expression for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Then I will give an overview of how
the American Convention on Human Rights protects freedom of expression. I will also make references to the
decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in this area. Finally, I will mention some freedom of
expression issues that, as far as I know, have been receiving attention by this committee and by Canadian
The American Convention on Human Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man are the
principal instruments through which the inter-American system provides for the protection of human rights. The
organs responsible for enforcing these international obligations are the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The commission has three main functions: first, the processing of individual complaints; second, the
preparation of reports on human rights situations in member states; and, third, the proposal of measures to
strengthen respect for human rights in the region.
On the other hand, as set out in the convention, the court has two distinct legal functions: first, the
advisory functions; and, second, the contentious function.
In the context of the inter-American system, and particularly the commission's duty, let me talk about my
office, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The office operates within the legal
framework of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The duties and mandates of my office are that we
prepare an annual report on the status of freedom of expression in the Americas and submit it to the commission
for consideration and inclusion in the Inter-American Commission's annual report to the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States.
We prepare thematic reports. We gather the information necessary to write the reports. We organize
promotional activities. We immediately notify the commission about emergency situations regarding freedom of
expression. We provide information and technical support to the commission about the prosecution of individual
cases pertaining to freedom of expression.
With respect to our legal duties, our office developed a set of principles four years ago that were reflected
in an instrument called the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression. This declaration is the
basic document for interpreting article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and the American
declaration. The declaration of principles was approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in
The right to freedom of expression is stated in broad terms in article IV of the American Declaration of the
Rights and Duties of Man, and in article 13 on the American Convention on Human Rights. These instruments
provide the following with respect to freedom of expression. The American declaration, in article IV says:
Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination
of ideas, by any medium whatsoever.
All of you know Article 13 of the American convention. I will not read it now.
It is important to underscore that freedom of expression is not included in the list of rights that are
non-derogative in states of emergency in the American Convention on Human Rights. However, any restrictions on
freedom of expression in the context of an emergency situation must conform to the requirements of
proportionality, scope, and non-discrimination set forth in article 27 of the convention. In imposing such
restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, states should also bear in mind the importance of freedom of
expression in guaranteeing other fundamental human rights.
I want to talk now about the cases decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that deal with freedom
of expression. I will start by saying that the court has only decided four cases on specific issues regarding
the interpretation of article 13 of the convention. It is also important to mention that, in this area, the
court also produced an advisory opinion in 1985. Among other statements in the advisory opinion, in number five,
the court recalled that the right to freedom of expression is also protected in various other international
human rights instruments, including article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In the advisory opinion, number five, the court established that a comparison of Article 13 of the American
convention with each of the foregoing provisions shows "the extremely high value that the convention places on
freedom of expression" and that "the guarantees contained in the American convention regarding freedom of
expression were designed to be more generous and to reduce to a bare minimum restrictions impeding the free
circulation of ideas."
The Inter-American Court on Human Rights highlighted in that advisory opinion the importance of freedom of
expression in a democratic society by saying that: "Freedom of expression is a cornerstone upon which the very
existence of a democratic society rests. It is indispensable for the formation of public opinion. It is also a
sine qua non for the development of political parties, trade unions, scientific and cultural societies
and, in general, those who wish to influence the public. It represents, in short, the means that enable the
community, when exercising its options, to be sufficiently informed. Consequently, it can be said that a society
that is not well informed is not a society that is truly free."
In the same advisory opinion, the Inter-American Court emphasized that there are two aspects to the right to
freedom of expression: first, the right to the expression of thoughts and ideas and, second, the right to
receive them. Therefore, limitation of these rights through arbitrary interferences affects not only the
individual's right to express information and ideas but also the right of the community as a whole to receive
all types of information and opinions.
In The Last Temptation of Christ case decided in 2001, the Inter-American Court had the opportunity to
address fully the scope of prohibition of prior censorship in Article 13. The case involved the prohibition in
Chile of the exhibition of the film The Last Temptation of Christ. The Inter-American Court noted that
Article 13 does not allow prior censorship with the exception of prior censorship of public entertainments "for
the sole purpose of regulating access to them for the moral protection of childhood and adolescence." As the
banning of the film applied to adults as well as to children and adolescents, it violated, in the thoughts of
the court, the Article 13 prohibition of prior censorship.
The issue of indirect restrictions on freedom of expression was addressed in another case: The Ifcher
Bronston case, decided by the Inter-American Court in 2001. The petitioner in that case, Baduk Ifcher
Bronston, was a naturalized citizen of Peru and was the majority shareholder in the company that operated the
Peruvian television Channel 2. As majority shareholder, Mr. Ifcher Bronston exercised editorial control of the
channel's programs. One of the channel's programs, Contra Punto, reported various news stories about
abuses, including torture and acts of corruption committed by the Peruvian intelligence sources. As a result of
this report, Mr. Ifcher Bronston was subject to a number of intimidating actions culminating in a decree to
revoke Mr. Ifcher Bronston's Peruvian citizenship.
The court found that "the resolution that revoked the citizenship of Mr. Ifcher Bronston constituted an
indirect means of restricting his freedom of expression as well as that of the journalists who work and
investigate for the program Contra Punto on Peruvian television channel 2."
Additionally, the court concluded: "By separating Mr. Ifcher Bronston from the control of channel 2 and
excluding the journalists from the program Contra Punto, the state not only restricted the right of these
individuals to circulate news, ideas and opinions but also affected the right of all Peruvians to receive
information, limiting their right to exercise political opinions and develop themselves fully in a democratic
Two major freedom of expression cases were decided by the Inter-American Court in 2004, both dealing with
criminal defamation. In the first case, the La Natin case from Costa Rica, a journalist and the
newspaper she worked for were charged with criminal defamation due to an article that the journalist published
in the paper about a Costa Rican diplomat. The article partially reproduced articles that had appeared in the
In ruling in this case, the court emphasized the importance of freedom of expression in a democratic society
and the essential role of journalists in exercising this right. The court noted that while the right to freedom
of expression is not an absolute right, any restrictions upon its exercise must be previously established by
law, and must be strictly necessary to protect one of a number of legitimate aims: the protection of the rights
or reputation of others, national security, public order, or public health or morals. That restriction must be
proportionate to the interests justifying it and narrowly tailored to the achievement of this objective,
interfering in the most minimal way possible with the effective exercise of the right to freedom of expression.
Within this context, the Inter-American Court analyzed the compatibility of the sanctions imposed against the
journalist with the provisions of Article 13 of the American Convention. The court first noted that the
journalist had been expressing statements and opinions of public interest. The court stated that because of the
importance of the public's ability to oversee public administration in a democracy, public officials and those
who are involved in matters of public interest are naturally subject to a greater degree of scrutiny by society
than are private individuals who are not involved in such issues.
The Inter-American Court found that the Costa Rican court had placed an excessive limitation on the
journalist's right to freedom of expression by requiring her to prove the underlying factual basis for the
articles from the Belgian press. It cited the European Court of Human Rights in stating: "The punishment of a
journalist in assisting the dissemination of statements made by another person would seriously threaten the
contribution of the press in the discussion of the issues of public interest."
In the second case, decided in 2004, the Caneset case from Paraguay, a former presidential candidate,
Ricardo Caneset, was charged with criminal defamation due to statements that he made about another presidential
candidate during the campaign. Caneset was found guilty of defamation and sentenced to four months in prison,
and fined as well costs and civil liability.
The Inter-American Court determined that this constituted an excessive limitation of Caneset's right to
freedom of expression, given that the expression that gave rise to the sanctions were made in the context of a
democratic election and referred to matters of public interest. The Inter-American Court, as it did in the case
of La Natin, emphasized that any restrictions on the right to freedom of expression must be
proportionate, and that public figures such as a political candidate are subject to higher levels of scrutiny
than private persons.
I wish to finish my presentation today with a brief reference to one issue that is, as far as I believe,
under close study by this committee and Canadian scholars. The issue is related to hate speech expressions. As I
mentioned before, the broad protection of freedom of expression under the American Convention on Human Rights is
not absolute. The American Convention, like many international and regional covenants, declares hate speech to
be outside the protection of Article 13, and it requires states' parties to outlaw this form of expression.
Paragraph 5 of Article 13 provides:
Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitute
incitements to lawless violence or to any other similar action against any person or group of persons on any
grounds including those of race, colour, religion, language, or national origin shall be considered as
offences punishable by law.
The basic outline of hate speech under Article 13(5), unlike the similar provisions found in international
treaties and domestic law, has yet to be interpreted or developed by the Inter-American Court or the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Given the lack of inter-American jurisprudence in the area of freedom
of expression, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression explores its possibilities confined through a
study of comparative case law from the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human
Rights. We included our study in our last annual report.
It would appear at first glance that the ban on censorship would extend to hate speech in the same way that
it covers the restrictions on freedom of expression as laid out in paragraph 2 of Article 13. However, because
there is a discrepancy between the English and Spanish language versions of the text of Article 13, the issue
requires further analysis.
In the English version, as noted previously, the text of paragraph 5 provides that hate speech: "... shall be
considered as offenses punishable by law," which implies that hate speech can be regulated through subsequent
imposition of liability. In the Spanish version, however, this same paragraph provides that hate speech will be
prohibited by law. That suggests that hate speech, given that it must be prohibited, can be regulated through
censorship. That linguistic difference could be resolved through various means of interpretation available in
international law, including the general and supplementary rules of interpretation that are expressed in Article
31 and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. In our report, we were inclined to interpret the
difference in favour of freedom of expression. Again, I highlight that it is only our interpretation the
interpretation of the Office of the Special Rapporteur.
In our view, in the Spanish version of the American Convention. Paragraph 4, Article 13, states: "...public
entertainments may be subject by law to prior censorship for the sole purpose...for the moral protection of
The reference in Spanish to paragraph 2 is similar to the English text which says: "Notwithstanding the
provision of paragraph 2... " Both the Spanish and English versions imply that paragraph 4 was meant to be an
exception to paragraph 2. Paragraph 5 makes no similar exception to paragraph 2 in either Spanish or English,
and so it follows that hate speech could be governed by paragraph 2's imposition of subsequent liability.
As I said earlier, there is no conclusive decision by the Inter-American Court on this specific issue. There
is no specific recommendation in individual cases to come out of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
I hope my presentation will be useful to the deliberations of the committee. Universalization of human rights
treaties is an important goal to be achieved for the respect for human rights. In my opinion, because of the
Canadian tradition in this area, the ratification of the American Convention on Human Rights by Canada would
help to strengthen human rights in our hemisphere. Ms. Yagel and I will be happy to take senators' questions.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Bertoni. I understand that your presentation was based on a case study to
indicate the application of the principles of international human rights and how you are attempting to put your
system in line with other conventions and treaties, both UN and others. That is helpful to our work.
Like every treaty and convention, the drafters did not think of everything and were caught in their time. I
am reminded of the time when the American Convention on Human Rights was drafted, when some governments were not
as free and transparent as they are now. I presume that freedom of expression took on different flavours in
different countries and now you are trying to rationalize it closer to an international standard.
You pointed out the dilemma of having to use two languages and how to interpret any discrepancies. In Canada,
we are accustomed to working in two languages.
You quickly said, at the end of your comments, that there would be some benefit to Canada coming in as a
signatory. Do you believe it would be beneficial to Canada because it would "complete the Americas," as some
people have said, or do you believe that Canada would bring something fundamental to the operations of the
Mr. Bertoni: Honourable senators, this question may be out of my mandate as Special Rapporteur on
Freedom of Expression but I do not want to evade your question. I think that it would be a bit of both. It would
be important for all countries in the Americas to become signatories to the American Convention in Human Rights,
and I think that Canada could help to operate the American Convention and the Inter-American Court on Human
Rights and to establish a system that would be better than the one currently in place.
Senator Poy: Mr. Bertoni, as Special Rapporteur, could you please tell me what kind of jurisdiction
you have to monitor freedom of expression in the different countries of the Americas? I wish only a practical
answer on how you go about that.
Mr. Bertoni: We are within the framework of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The
rapporteurship was established in 1988 as one more rapporteurship within the human rights field. The only
difference is that in our office, there is a special rapporteur working on a full-time basis. The other
rapporteurs are the commissioners themselves. Our jurisdiction is the same as the other rapporteurships have. In
some ways, we are part of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The mandate of the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression has been given by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Within the mandate, we have different kinds of activities. The first
is monitoring, as you said; we monitor freedom of expression in our region from different mediums. Sometimes we
practice in loco visits, in situ visits to the countries. For example, I just came from Columbia.
In our visits, we interview people from civil society, public officials, judges, prosecutors, et cetera, so it
is a kind of fact-finding mission. After the missions, I report to the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, and in some cases we develop a specific report on the situation on freedom of expression in a particular
That is one part of our mandate, but we also monitor the situation in relation to freedom of expression
during the whole year. We receive information of what is going on with freedom of expression issues in different
countries, and we receive information not only from civil society but also from states. Sometimes if we want to
look closely at some situation, we ask for the information directly from the state. We gather all the
information and if it is an urgent situation, we have to communicate it immediately to the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights. If it is not, we gather all the information and we include the relevant information
in our annual report.
We present our annual report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights every year. The commission
makes their comments, we include the comments of the commission, and then the commission includes our annual
report, which contains monitoring of situations on freedom of expression. As I said, the commission includes it
in their own annual report. The commission then presents their annual report to the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States.
This is part of our mandate regarding monitoring activities, but we also have a mandate regarding promotional
activities, such as organizing seminars. We participate in seminars. We produce publications on different
issues. For example, in our annual report we include different aspects that we consider relevant for freedom of
expression. In the last annual report we included three aspects: access to public information, hate speech and
freedom of expression, and the concentration of the ownership of the media. Last year, we included aspects such
as access to public information, the discriminatory allocation of public advertising and defamation laws. Each
year we include in our annual report some chapters that are relevant for the study of different aspect of
freedom of expression in our region.
I do not want to be very long in my answer, but I do not know whether I am answering your question.
Senator Poy: Can I just follow up with a very short
The Chairman: I was just about to encourage shorter answers, because we have a number of senators who
wish to participate, and we have a short time frame.
Senator Poy: Would you care to comment on what you might have done in Canada with the rise of
anti-Semitism within Canada? Has anything been done?
Mr. Bertoni: As far as I remember, no.
Senator Poy: Very well. Thank you very much.
Senator Carstairs: I would like to return to the issue of Canada's lack of signature on the American
Convention on Human Rights. Is there anything being done at your end? Obviously we need to do something at this
end, too, but is there anything being done at your end in order to try and persuade the Canadian government to
put its signature on this convention?
Mr. Bertoni: Senator, I apologize, but to answer this kind of question is not exactly under the
mandate that I have in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The advice is for the government to ratify
all of the convention. Again, it is not under my specialization, and I will not give you a good answer.
I would say that in freedom of expression areas, it is important to have all the Americas on board. This is
what I can say to your question.
Senator Carstairs: The other area that I would like to pursue very briefly is that in addition to my
membership on this committee, I am also a member of the Human Rights Committee on the Interparliamentary Union,
and as you know, we hear human rights cases of violations of the rights of parliamentarians. Can you give me
some ideas, from your perspective, of how these two organizations, both your rapporteurship and the committee,
could work more closely together in that many of our cases do involve members of the Organization of American
Mr. Bertoni: Yes. You are right. Let me answer your question with a practical I think there is a
practical answer. Since the year 1999, we have met every year, sometimes personally, sometimes virtually by
Internet, with the other rapporteurs the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, the OSCE Rapporteur for
Freedom of the Media, and last November I met with the Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression in the African
system. As you said, I really believe that it is very important to work closely among the different systems. For
example, the UN system and the OAS system can overlap in some countries, so it is important to work together.
How we are working together is that, as I said, every year we meet and we make joint statements. You can find
our joint statements on our web page, for example. This is one way in which we have started working together.
Maybe it is not enough, and I understand that, but it is a way to discuss different aspects of freedom of
expression and try to establish common ground among the different systems. We made those joint statements in the
past. I hope we will be able to work on joint statements in the future.
In our region, the joint statements are important because sometimes, for example, the legislatures or civil
society quote our joint statements in the change of the law, in the draft of a new law, and so on and so forth.
Why I am saying that that is important is because those are statements not only by the rapporteur from the
Organization of American States, but also from rapporteurs in other regions. That kind of statement expresses
the importance on a particular issue around the world, not only in one region. This is one way in which we are
trying to work with other systems, and again, maybe it is not enough, but it is a way to start.
Senator Pearson: Who does and does not belong to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights? Which
countries do not belong, aside from Canada?
Mr. Bertoni: I want to be very precise on that. Give me one second.
Senator, I apologize, maybe I do not understand your question very well. Your question is what countries are
not parties to the American Convention on Human Rights, or which countries are not accepting the jurisdiction of
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights?
Senator Pearson: I think it was the second, but I would have assumed the second and the first were
more or less the same. It is the second.
Mr. Bertoni: Not really, because a lot of countries are part of the American Convention on Human
Rights but they do not accept the jurisdiction of the court. This is a possibility under the American Convention
on Human Rights.
Senator Pearson: I would be interested in the answer to the second question.
Mr. Bertoni: Again, I want to be very precise. I do not have all 34 countries in mind.
Senator Pearson: I am assuming that Cuba does not belong. I know it is only an observer at the OAS.
Mr. Bertoni: I will go country by country, senator, if you
Senator Pearson: I did not know the list was that long. Never mind. Yes, go ahead.
Mr. Bertoni: Argentina these are countries that are under the American Convention on Human Rights,
is that right?
Senator Pearson: Yes.
Mr. Bertoni: Then I can tell you which countries did not accept the jurisdiction of the court. The
countries under the convention are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominica,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua,
Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Trinidad-Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. The countries that did not accept the
jurisdiction of the court from this list are Dominica, Grenada and Jamaica that is it. This is the information
that I have from this document, which is published by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. I can send
this information to the Senate, if you wish.
Senator Pearson: I am sure we can get it on the Internet.
Mr. Bertoni: It is on the Internet, yes.
The Chairman: That information was in our original report, discussion of which was chaired by Senator
Maheu: those who took the jurisdiction of the court, those who did not, those who added reservations, those who
added declaratory statements. We do have that and I believe we will have it updated, if that will be helpful.
Senator Pearson: I think it is of interest to those of us who know the Americas, to look at the
countries where the issue is probably greater, and wonder how you begin to get a handle on them. I recognize
that is not your jurisdiction; it is to tell people how to join. However, I think freedom of expression is a
huge issue, and I am concerned.
For example, for Brazil, which as far as I can see has accepted the jurisdiction, my experience there has
been that there have been problems with children having their freedom of expression repressed. Children do not
always express themselves verbally. They sometimes do it in other ways. I am wondering whether you have some
comments on that.
Mr. Bertoni: Yes, Senator, thank you for your question. Let me tell you that there are two aspects in
our system. One is the individual cases system, which is that any person, or any NGO, can make a submission to
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights denunciating a violation of any right, including freedom of
expression. This is one part of our activities in my office. We assist the commission in developing the
documents related to the individual cases system.
The other part and I go back to the first question is the monitoring of the situation in regard to
freedom of expression. You are right. I will not refer to any particular country now, but there are many
countries where a large percentage of the population is not allowed to express themselves for different reasons.
Poverty is one of the reasons. For example, you will find in our 2002 annual report, a specific report that
we called "Freedom of Expression and Poverty." We included in that report the problem that we are seeing in some
countries, or in some regions, with people who are not allowed to express themselves freely.
Within that report, for example, we included the importance of community radio. Sometimes people cannot
access commercial radio or TV stations, but community radio I am thinking now indigenous radio, for example
is a means that permits people to express what they want to express in a specific media communication.
You are right: There are many countries where part of the population not only children, but women, too
are not allowed to express themselves freely. Some years ago, we included a report within our annual report
raising the issue of freedom of expression and the rights of women.
Freedom of expression, from my perspective, is a very important fundamental right, of course, but it is a
very broad right. When we start thinking about freedom of expression, we must think not only in the individual
category. It is important for individuals to express themselves, but it is also important in the collective
category, the possibility of people receiving information. Again, because we saw that kind of problem, for
example in 2004, we included a report on the problem of the concentration of ownership of the media, because
that creates a problem with freedom of expression.
I do not want to be very long in my answers. I apologize for that.
The Chairman: Perhaps I could just follow up with a question. You seem to be utilizing the same
skills, the same approaches to the issues of human rights, and in your case particularly, freedom of expression,
as other bodies around the world. Have you experienced any resistance to your presence in the countries where
you are doing your work? In other words, have you been denied access at any time?
Second, do you feel that your reports are taken into account in the work of governments? Have you made a
difference beyond influencing people by virtue of the publication of your reports? Do you think they have made
fundamental changes in laws or public policy?
Mr. Bertoni: I will start with the last one. Definitely, I would say yes. I just came from my office,
and I just read, for example, a decision of a court in Argentina that quoted the declaration of principle on
freedom of expression that was included in our annual report in the year 2000. It was developed by our office.
I will give you another example. We worked on the confidentiality of the sources of information of
journalists some years ago. In Mexico, for example, the General Attorney's offices in 2003 worked in some
guidelines regarding this issue, and they quoted our report. I have many more examples. Day by day, our reports
are more important for the developing of new laws or new jurisprudence in the countries.
Regarding your first question, I have never received firm opposition from any government to visit any
country. On the contrary, the governments generally are open to our visits. Sometimes there are some political
moments, let me say it in that way, that some governments do not act very quickly to send an invitation to visit
the countries. However, they have never said that they opposed our visit. I am not sure if I am being very
The Chairman: That is fine. I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding when Senator Carstairs put a
question. She was referring to the IPU, which is the Inter-Parliamentary Union, one that we, as
parliamentarians, are part of.
Some years ago, because of the uniqueness of freedom of expression and political expression, a committee was
set up to look into those who are either detained or in some ways have their rights thwarted. Senator Carstairs
is part of that committee.
Do you work specifically with parliamentarian groups rather than the machinery of human rights groups
regionally and internationally? Would you be open to doing that? There may be a benefit, both ways.
Mr. Bertoni: The misunderstanding was my fault. I understood the question but I started answering with
regard to the intergovernmental system rather than on the IPU. As far as I remember, we have never worked with
the IPU, but we are very open to working with any such organizations or groups.
On the other hand, it would be very important to work with parliamentarians from throughout the hemisphere
because we understand that freedom of expression is a fundamental right for all people, including
parliamentarians. In some countries, parliamentarians, congressmen and congresswomen are experiencing problems
with regard to freedom of expression, and this falls under our mandate.
The same is true for judges and prosecutors. From time to time we hear about judges having problems with
regard to their freedom of expression. Obviously, in the case of judges, it could be a little problematic, but
in some instances, judges give opinions on cases that are not under their jurisdiction, which also causes
We try to reach all the groups that we can. We truly believe that freedom of expression is a fundamental
right for all persons, and we do not discriminate among parliamentarians, judges or journalists.
Many people present to our office, which is the Office of the Special Rapporteur, for freedom of expression.
I always say the same thing: We work not only for the protection of journalists. Of course, journalists are one
of the groups that use freedom of expression on a day-by-day basis, but there are other groups in the same
situation, i.e., human rights defenders, congressmen or congresswomen, et cetera.
The Chairman: Thank you very much for your input. It has been very helpful to hear a practical
approach to the work in the hemisphere, as you have called it. That is a phrase with which we are not so
familiar. We talk about "multilateral" and "regional." You have highlighted the Inter-American Court in the
hemisphere and we will continue to deliberate on Canada's role. We have already filed one report in the Senate
and we will soon follow up with a report on the government's role in the accession to the Inter-American Court.
Thank you for your input. Thank you also for your work on behalf of human rights, particularly freedom of
Honourable senators, we are now in the portion of our Senate study where we are examining and reporting on
Canada's international obligations in regard to the rights and freedoms of children. We have had several
witnesses and several ministers, as the obligation to children spans many ministries. We are particularly
pleased that the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of State for Public Health, is here, and with her is Ms.
Kelly Stone, Director of the Division of Childhood and Adolescence, and Dr. Sylvie Stachenko, Deputy Chief
Public Health Officer.
Welcome to the committee. As you know, we are studying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but we want
to go beyond just the convention and look at all aspects that affect children and how we can improve the
machinery, the public policy and the laws that affect children. I understand you have a short opening statement,
Madam Minister, and then we will turn to questions. Please proceed.
Ms. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of State, (Public Health): Thank you for
this opportunity to report on Canada's progress in advancing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As a
family physician and someone who has worked closely with children for most of my professional life, I know how
crucial it is that we ensure every child receives the love, security, opportunity and support to which he or she
I must say I was very much looking forward to appearing before your committee. It is always an opportunity
for a minister to learn a great deal, and obviously with such expertise around the table I hope that we will
have time at the end for me to pose a couple of questions to you in terms of the things that I am struggling
with around the issues.
Also, as someone who was a little more familiar before with CIDA and the challenge in this federation of 13
jurisdictions, and also as chair of the Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, obviously Senator
Pearson and I have struggled about some of the things that cross all government departments and all
jurisdictions, and how you actually sort out appropriate governance around ensuring that we, as a country, do
what is right.
I assure honourable senators that the Government of Canada takes its commitments under the convention
seriously. We work hard to ensure that our programs and services create a Canada fit for children. I have my new
favourite book, Madam Chair, which was sort of the loot bag for the town hall meeting we did in St. Paul's with
Senator Pearson. It has been a fabulous present to the people in my riding and to the people of Canada a
Canada that has children's best interests at heart; that not only ensures their survival but enables them to
achieve their full potential; that encourages their active participation in decisions affecting them and within
society at large, and which stamps out discriminatory practices that deny them their rights.
Before I briefly highlight some of our health-related activities to advance this vision, let me first pay
tribute to Senator Landon Pearson. She has dedicated a lifetime to advancing children's causes and is recognized
worldwide as an eloquent champion of children's rights. She played the pivotal role in drafting A Canada Fit
for Children, our response to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which she presented to the
United Nations in April 2004. Canada was one of the first countries to complete a national action plan,
demonstrating not only our resolve to address children's rights domestically but to play a leadership role in
the world as well. It has been our good fortune to have a champion such as Senator Pearson to do this. For all
of us who belong to the children's caucus, to have Senator Pearson teaching us every Thursday morning at 8 a.m.
was really part of my early days as a parliamentarian.
Senator Pearson personifies our government's conviction that investing in the care and education of children
is an investment in our collective well-being, an investment in our future. It will be a great loss when she
takes her well-earned retirement later this year. I want to reassure her that the rest of us will do our best to
fill her shoes.
The Public Health Agency of Canada does play a leading role in meeting Canada's obligations under the UNCRC.
Ms. Stone and Ms. Stachenko are very much part of that, and in their own right take huge personal responsibility
on the international scene in looking after the health of Canadians as well as Canada's leadership roles in the
world, both of them. We thank them very much.
The agency, on behalf of the Minister of Health, has responsibility for coordination of the UNCRC at the
federal level. The agency shares responsibility for legislative implementation, along with required periodic
reporting to the UN in subsequent monitoring with the Department of Justice, and as you know the next report is
due at the UN in 2009.
The agency is responsible for programs that support families and strengthen communities, promote healthy
lives, protect children from harm and encourage education and learning. With these programs and its work on
child policy and research, the agency contributes to the fulfilment of Canada's international commitments under
the UNCRC and the priorities as identified in A Canada Fit for Children.
For example, the agency has been instrumental in coordinating federal funding for the UN's North American
consultations on violence against children. Recently, the UN showcased one of our agency-funded initiative
called "Breaking the Cycle," an integrated early identification and prevention program for pregnant women and
substance-involved families with young children.
The agency's Division of Childhood and Adolescence provides expertise, leadership and policy development, as
well as research and strategic analysis of the trends affecting the broad determinants of children and youth's
health and rights in Canada. This work recognizes that there are many influences in a child's life, and that
everything is connected from the way we deal with poverty and public education to community development.
We know from our experience in population health that it takes the efforts of an entire community to raise
healthy, happy children able to realize their potential. That is why our children's programs, namely, the
Community Action Program for Children, the Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program and the Aboriginal Head Start in
Urban and Northern Communities, are grounded at the grassroots level. Our early childhood development
initiatives involve a broad cross-section of partners. We work with provincial and regional health authorities,
health and social service professionals, the voluntary sector and families to help ensure that children grow up
in safe and supportive environments.
We also work closely with Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit health branch, which implements
community-based programs dedicated to serving children and their families in First Nations and on-reserve and
I have to say that, as the minister, visiting some of these programs has been an absolute treat to see what
is happening from downtown Saskatoon to Yellowknife, to other places around this country to see what those
professionals do with very few resources but always with hope and a commitment for which we again thank all of
them on the front line.
The many social inequities and health problems that continue to plague aboriginal communities underline just
how important it is to make sure these youngsters get off to a good start in life. Recognizing the crucial role
of families in promoting and protecting children's rights, PHAC's Division of Childhood and Adolescence (DCA)
also promotes effective parenting programs. These include the Postpartum Parent Support Program; public
education, prevention and capacity building initiatives surrounding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and
national prevention campaigns for Sudden Infant Death and Shaken Baby syndromes.
In its efforts to improve the health of children, the division also provides supports to the Joint Consortium
for School Health, or JCSH. The consortium provides leadership and facilitates a comprehensive and coordinated
approach to school health by building the capacity of the school and health systems to work together. Provincial
and territorial ministries and national/federal departments and agencies are able to align their efforts to
promote the healthy development of children and youth through school-based and school-linked policies, programs,
practices and activities.
Aside from community-based programs, the Public Health Agency is actively involved in Centres for Excellence
for Children's Well-Being which have been established to link expertise from across the country, spanning the
continuum from academic research to front-line service delivery.
There are four centres of excellence: The Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special
Needs, Early Childhood Development, Child Welfare, and Youth Engagement. Canada takes very seriously its
obligation under Article 12 of the convention to encourage youth participation. We strive to reflect youth input
in all of our initiatives. All four centres of excellence have also developed a focus in their work on the
challenges faced by Aboriginal children. Equally important, they engage Aboriginal organizations and researchers
as core partners in their work.
Each centre compresses the time it takes to gather, assess and disseminate the latest knowledge and to get it
to the people who care for and work in the interest of children and youth. By bringing academic researchers,
policy-makers and service providers together in the same networks, knowledge is being applied more effectively
in policy and practice. Everyone learns from one another about the needs of Canada's children and shares best
practices that meet them.
The DCA plays a leadership role on the international stage as well. In fact, it was instrumental in getting
children's rights onto the agenda of the Organization of American States at the Third Summit of the Americas in
Quebec City in 2001.
The director of the DCA is the Government of Canada's permanent delegate to the Directing Council of the
Inter-American Children's Institute, a specialized agency of the OAS. Canada helps foster the implementation of
children's rights among the developing OAS countries and encourages international cooperation to that end.
With the international community, Canada annually celebrates World Health Day on April 7. The theme of World
Health Day 2005 is "Healthy Mothers and Children", and the slogan is "Make Every Mother and Child Count".
While the health of mothers and children in Canada is among the best in the world, the aim of the day is to
raise awareness and promote action about a tragic set of facts: Every year, more than half a million women
around the world die from pregnancy-related causes, and 10.6 million children under the age of five years die,
40 per cent of them in their first month after birth. Many of these deaths could be prevented with available
interventions. It is necessary for us to work together with our international partners to address this critical
situation in order to save lives and reduce the burden of suffering. Such action will also strengthen societies.
Healthy mothers and children are the foundation of healthy and prosperous communities and nations.
As Senator Pearson has often reminded us, the fact that virtually every country in the world has committed
itself to a code of binding obligations towards it children gives us tremendous hope for the future and put
children's rights at the cutting edge of the global struggle for human rights. It also places tremendous
responsibility on governments and civil society to live up to these commitments.
While there is no question that there is still a long way to go, I believe the progress we have already
achieved so early in the first decade of A Canada Fit for Children proves that it is only a matter of
time until all of Canada's children can count on a better future and a better world.
Senator Carstairs: Healthy children become healthy adults. Obviously our first goal in terms of public
health is to produce healthy children. I like your tree that indicates the various obvious impacts on how we can
produce those healthy children.
You indicated in your remarks that you were having consultations with children and youth. Can you give us
some examples of the kinds of interactions that are taking place between your department or your officials and
the children of this country?
Ms. Bennett: It is interesting that in terms of sexual health and in relation to children and
adolescents, children are going online for probably 70 to 75 per cent of the information they now receive. In
the Public Health Agency of Canada, we have decided that we cannot actually write the content for a website
without talking to these children. Together with Alex Jadad at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, we are
developing the websites and the programs that will allow children and adolescents to ensure that the content
includes the questions they are asking and the answers they will understand, and we hope that it will be able to
put in place things that actually make for healthy choices and change behaviours, if that is deemed to be
Ms. Kelly Stone, Director, Division of Childhood and Adolescence, Health Canada:
The Centre of Excellence for Children's Well-Being that is targeted toward youth engagement is our best
weapon these days. After completing its first phase of five years, we have a very good centre where we are
developing the tools for engaging young people that allow us to work with provinces, territories and various
departments in the federal government who want to have outreach with young people. It could be health itself on
the tobacco side. It could be something related to heritage. There is a variety of federal, provincial and
territorial departments with which our youth engagement centre is working.
How do you reach young people? We are looking to reach not just the Student Council young people, but all
young people across the country. How do you reach Aboriginal young people and street young people? How do you
bring those young people together, and how do you teach them to work with one another? How do you then teach
them to work with adults? What kind of preparatory work is needed and what questions do you put forward to
develop the kind of dialogue that will help inform the policy, the law, the program that you are trying to
The Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement is also undertaking quite a bit of research with a number of
universities. It should be intuitive, I suppose, but now we know from our research that engagement is good for
young people. It is good for their health. When street people, for example, had an influence over the design of
their shelter in downtown Vancouver, they felt a sense of ownership about the fact that someone listened to
them. They organized the common room in a way that made sense to that small group of young people. They then may
come back for a bigger discussion. That discussion grows because someone is listening to them. At the end of the
day, over a longitudinal study, you see that these young people feel a sense of ownership in, first, their local
environment, and then in their community. It is a way of building citizenship and, in turn, of building
Those are the messages that we are now using in our youth engagement centre, and to help deliver those
messages to the countries in the Organization of American States that are trying to figure out how to engage
their own young people, and down to engaging children, which is, as much as anything, an exercise in
There are two angles. There is the research angle. We know it is good for children; the issue is how we draw
children and young people in. Then there is the actual product. We have a number of examples where we are
building better laws, programs and policies because we have the contributions of youth who will have to exercise
those laws and policies when they get older.
Ms. Bennett: I was impressed with the meeting I had with the Centre of Excellence for Youth
Engagement. Its mandate is to work with academics to assist all levels of government or policy-makers on how to
engage with youth. That starts with the idea that governments do want to engage with youth, and then the
academics will figure out what is meaningful and whether it is working.
Kids have an uncanny sense of when they are being manipulated or used, or whether it is only occupational
therapy for the policy-maker, who asks: "Did we engage youth?" and ticks off the item.
It has been interesting to see academics take this project on in a real way to ask whether this is meaningful
or not, and whether we should move on to a different method that kids can respect and want to keep doing. I was
thrilled to discover that academics can measure what works and what does not work so that we do not just have
junk happening that makes us feel better but does not have the desired effect of really making kids feel
Senator Carstairs: Junk in is junk out, as we both know.
The biggest issue facing young children is probably obesity. How will we deal with the balancing of, first,
the problem of obesity, and second, the problem of self-image? The two are very much inter-related.
Ms. Bennett: Ms. Stachenko knows more about this area than I do. As a family physician, I found that
every time you would measure a child and put the little "X" up over the average, you just did not know quite
what to say. Would we actually trigger an eating disorder by making parents obsessed by this? I used to say to
my own children that they could take that weight and grow taller with it. I would try to word it in a way that
indicated that perhaps we do not have to put on much more weight while we are still gaining a few inches.
I have been having interesting conversations in various places, such as Friday night with the
interdisciplinary group of international researchers looking at arthritis. The biggest determinant of arthritis
is probably obesity in children. Evolutionarily speaking, we were not supposed to take all our weight through
our lower back, hips and knees. When Homo sapiens stood up, all of that weight went through joints that
were only meant to hold the rear half. If you look at gorillas in the zoo, you will see that they take half
their weight on the front, with their hands on the ground.
Obesity is something of a problem. I did not realize somehow that arthritis was linked to it. However, almost
anything you name is linked to it. That is why we love my tree; right?
Almost all, diseases have a relation to diet, exercise and smoking choices. Diseases revolve around
modifiable risks. However, we cannot take a direct war on obesity or on food in the way that we did on tobacco.
It is much more complex. We need the food companies. We need everybody on side, as healthy choices must be made
the easy choices, because there is such a huge buffet of choices out there. Everything is involved, from portion
size to explaining in a different way that it feels good to eat well. There is pleasure involved as well.
The French have done a much better job than we have, with our Victorian guilt, which is not working. I think
of Einstein's definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different
results. We have continued to do all of these things. They are just not working. We must look at different
approaches, teaching kids how much fun it is to run, jump and play, and how delicious it is to take the green
grapes and put them in the freezer and eat them like candy. There are interesting, complex ways of dealing with
I am a big fan of the school health consortium. It is in its fledgling state. The deputy ministers of health
and education at some point will meet the deputy ministers of recreation and sport. We will look at such
differing areas as vending machines to compulsory physical education, from bullying and self-image to all of the
things that are part of a holistic approach to children feeling good about themselves and making healthy
Senator Pearson: My commitment in regard to children emerges out of personal experience, like yours.
There is no great virtue to it; it is just something you feel you must keep moving on.
Ms. Bennett: It will not stop at your next birthday.
Senator Pearson: No, it will not stop as my family increases.
I have two specific questions. They are not easy, and I do not expect easy answers. The first is fairly
narrow. If we are to protect children adequately from violence, the data must be available. We have to know the
size of the problem with which we are dealing. You agree with that. We have a good incidence study on child
abuse and neglect, from which we have been using data from the child welfare agencies, and so on. We do not know
how many children do not come into those categories. If your child is sexually abused by someone outside the
family, that child may not get into the child welfare system. That incident may not be recorded somewhere. Is
some thought being given to expand the incidence study on child abuse and neglect to include these children who
are not always included? This is often raised as a problem. That is my first question.
Everything we know about the problem of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is
rolled up in the issue of Aboriginal children. All of the difficulties that Canada has can be found in that
issue, including the jurisdictional problems and the conflicts of culture. I know that we are seized with it. I
know that the Committee on the Rights of the Child will ask us again next time what we have done to address this
The minister was talking about the determinants of health, early childhood and prenatal nutrition. That is
the direction in which we should be going. We have a problem figuring out how to rally our resources from the
various places that offer them.
Do you have any suggestions for the direction in which we as a committee should be going? We will be making
recommendations about the rights of Aboriginal children. Do you have any thoughts about what we should be
Ms. Bennett: You are right that we do not have the kind of data or the quality of data that we need.
Certainly, in running around the country on these public health goals for Canada, at almost every round table in
every province, I find that the quality of the data is still worrisome.
It is interesting when we look at the public health goals for Canada. In women's health at Women's College,
it was non quo sed quo modo: It is not what we do but how. It is interesting that people want to talk
about two sets of goals for Canada, not only what we want but how we are to do it. We have to have goals around
the learning culture: Getting decent data, adapting it, and changing it. If it is measured, it gets noticed. If
it gets noticed, it gets done. It is like Management Theory 101.
It will be very interesting to figure out how we acquire data, particularly around child abuse and neglect,
when the abuser is not actually the parents. Whether it is a rumour, whether it is an uncle, whether it is a
teacher, we have to find out what we can do about that.
Incest is a topic that we will not talk about. I can remember being up north a number of times you and I
have had this conversation and we do not know how to get to the data because it is a big secret. It is still a
I have been trying to get data by asking questions. At women-owned detox centres in downtown Toronto, 85 per
cent of the clients have experienced incest or child abuse. Friends of Shopping Bag Ladies felt 110 per cent of
their clients had experienced incest or child abuse because they had been abused more than once. Maybe Ms. Stone
can tell us in how we can acquire this data, particularly around Aboriginal kids. You have to be culturally
sensitive. As you know, these kids think they have been studied to death, that it has not been done in a totally
colonial way, and they are fed up with people running in, taking out data and pretending to know what to do with
Part of the challenge is hiring more Aboriginal health professionals, more Aboriginal physicians, nurses, and
social workers. We must hire more culturally sensitive and home-grown health professionals such that we can let
them help one another as well as be role models.
One of the things I wanted to ask you about is my concern with meconium testing for fetal alcohol syndrome
disorder. What Hazel Park is doing up in Owen Sound is very interesting. It enables us to find a child at birth
that is affected with FASD and to put that child into the kind of situation that can provide the best possible
outcome. It is also enabling us to help a mother identify that she herself has FASD, and to get her help before
she has three, four, or five more affected children.
I would love this committee to help me with this challenge being put before us now, of children's rights
versus mother's rights.
The Chairman: Perhaps I could intervene at this point. I am sure that Senator Pearson and you have had
the discussion, but for the benefit of the rest of us, what is this test at birth?
Ms. Bennett: Meconium is baby poop. You can test the very first diaper to see if there is alcohol
there. The debate is between identifying a child who has been affected during pregnancy versus tattling on the
mother. In a society where there would be a risk of intervention of child welfare services or such entities,
there is a debate that is raging. If the population of fetal alcohol syndrome disorder in a community should be
about 1 per cent, what they found in the Owen Sound study is that it is actually 4 per cent. That is much higher
than you would have identified just by taking a history.
This is a difficult struggle in terms of children's rights versus mother's rights. I would love your help on
Ms. Stone would like to talk about how we build on the successes.
Ms. Stone: I can answer specifically around the Canadian incidence study. Your suggestion is a good
one, and in the future that is something we should look at. I cannot say I have a solution now, but expanding
beyond the family issues is something we need to look at.
What we are doing now is beginning to slowly add First Nations sites, which is a major area that the UN has
expressed concern about in terms of data-gathering on Aboriginal children in a way that we can compare them to
children at large in Canada. This is a big step for us. I would look to and talk with my colleagues about future
expansion. The incidence study is a very important one.
With respect to Aboriginal child rights, it is a big topic and a big discussion area. To boil it down, we
need to look hard at our success stories and build on them. We do have them. Our success stories are such
because they have been done in close partnership with the Aboriginal communities in a culturally sensitive
manner that takes into consideration the particular traditions of that community, the way in which their elders
view their history and traditions, and how they want their children to be taught. It is, in a sense, community
ownership of the programs. Bureaucrats are not coming in and imposing things. The community takes it and shapes
it in a way that makes sense for them with capacity-building guidance.
We have good success stories like the Aboriginal Head Start program and the Canada Prenatal Nutrition
Program. There are others, but if we are wondering where to go next, we can start with those programs and look
at what makes them a success. What is the recipe that made those programs successful? We can try to model that
in the next programs on which we embark, which may have a different flavour to them.
With respect to youth engagement, I was with Cindy Blackstock in Centres of Excellence this afternoon talking
about the challenges of engaging young people within an Aboriginal community, engaging the elders, and having
the elders and the youth speak with each other and look at the future of their community. That is a whole other
layer that we had not really thought about. I, at least, had not thought about it in the past in terms of making
programs successful for Aboriginal communities and, in particular, for Aboriginal kids.
Ms. Bennett: I was thinking of you when I was in Israel in January. CIHR and CISEPO did this amazing
project with Bedouin youth. They gave each of the kids a camera to go out and take pictures of things they
thought related to public health, but when the kids came together, they decided to talk about violence and
denormalizing it in their own lives, both in school and in their homes. They came together and did a
presentation in the school auditorium about violence and how they do not think it is okay.
I thought that that might be an interesting project to launch in our Aboriginal communities, to actually have
the kids coming together with one voice to say that it just is not okay to live our lives in this community
where somehow violence is normal and the kids want it not to be normal anymore. It is pretty impressive.
Senator Ferretti Barth: It is a pleasure to have you here with us today. Health care is a shared
federal-provincial area of jurisdiction. How would you qualify your relationship with the various provincial
Ms. Bennett: That is a good question. Theresa Oswald, Manitoba's Minister for Healthy Living, is
co-chairing the national consultation process to define public health goals for Canada.
As my co-chair for this process around public health goals, she has a very interesting approach. She chairs a
cabinet committee in Manitoba on kids. It has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together all of the
departments that deal with kids. Tim Sale, who is now the health minister, was once the minister in charge of
kids and is very progressive.
In each of the provinces where we have been to conduct the health goals process, of the six themes, theme
number one is on kids. It is about the early start sort of opportunity, opportunities for healthy development
and learning throughout life. Quebec is doing its own thing but in each of the other nine provinces the health
minister has come to the meetings, and in each one of them the health minister has welcomed us and shown us what
they are doing. It has been very impressive.
Senator Ferretti Barth: One thing intrigues me a great deal. I am from Montreal and as you know,
Quebec is a multicultural province. Our children come from diverse backgrounds. I am curious as to the nature of
your relationship with provincial ministers when it comes to your public health program, and as to how the
situation compares with programming in place in Quebec.
Ms. Bennett: Formal agreements are in place for families at risk. Joint committees always stress
cooperation, collaboration and communication in their operations. However, our involvement with all
jurisdictions is governed by formal agreements.
Senator Ferretti Barth: Are you required to set up different programs in the other provinces to
harmonize with the programming already in place in Quebec?
Dr. Sylvie Stachenko, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Health
Canada: Naturally, each province is different and has different needs. Priorities are set by the joint
committee comprised of provincial and federal government representatives. Of course, there are a number of
guiding principles in place, but each province clearly has its own programming.
Ms. Stone: Overall, we respect the fact that Quebec is very well advanced in its social programs. As
we do with other provinces and territories, we have joint management committees where it is sensible to do that.
With Quebec, we try to harmonize the funding and the program objectives with what Quebec already has in place,
where it is appropriate, so we are not competing but are, in fact, trying to bring them together. Where
possible, as with other provinces and territories, we create hubs in communities where funding streams from the
province, the territory, the municipality, the federal government come together to paper over the cracks so that
it is made as easy as possible for families at risk to get the support that they need. In the case of Quebec,
they are often very far out front, so we come in to try to harmonize with that.
Senator Ferretti Barth: Quebec was one of the first provinces to start the social programs, as we
Which programs have been established by Health Canada to promote early childhood development? Which existing
programs have produced positive results and have encouraged you to step up your efforts in the area of early
Ms. Bennett: There are a number of programs, from prenatal nutrition to the CAPC programs. There are
pools of money for which people can apply, community by community, and qualify. Now there will be the agreement
with Minister Dryden around the early childhood development money. That will be a separate deal with the
provinces that will have the "quad" agreements, being quality, universal, accessible, and developmental.
Quebec is so much further ahead on the early childhood development piece. We always hope that when a certain
province is further ahead, that they get to move even further ahead. They get to use the money with more
creativity and more innovation on those specific things.
To respond further to the previous question in terms of the relationship with Quebec, we certainly learned
during the joint committee on custody and divorce that we have a lot to learn from Quebec in the way that they
deal with young offenders, in terms of taking a much more therapeutic approach to dealing with youth at risk and
children who have found themselves in trouble with the law. I guess it was mainly also on that change to the
Young Offenders Act.
Senator Poy: I have been looking forward to having the opportunity to ask you two questions. They are
very different. We all know that it is a basic right for children to have good health, but the treatment of
autistic children is discriminatory because it cuts off at age 6. I would like to know how you are dealing with
Ms. Bennett: I would, too. It is such a difficult area. As a minister, I have to tell you that one of
the most difficult things to deal with, in all areas of health, is in the areas where we do not know the cause.
We have trouble, even within the public health agency, of finding a home for all of the diseases that do not
really have prevention promotion programs. We have trouble with ALS, we have trouble with MS, we have trouble
with all the diseases where there is really no known cause and therefore there is no prevention promotion
program. We do this, in a way, through the CAPC programs, recognizing that the supports for both education and
health, the overlap of autism, are provincial issues. We have been trying to help mainly through funding of
$16.2 million to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to work on the research aspect in order to gain more
knowledge. Through the Centres of Excellence for Children's Well Being, we are funding a number of local
research community projects. Some $500 million to the provinces through Social Development Canada will help to
provide support for their investments in young children and families. It is such a difficult issue.
I continue to think about this one grandmother in my practice whose daughter had autistic twins. They could
no longer even go to the cottage. I remember going to fundraisers for the schools to purchase supplies that they
needed. It is a difficult issue.
Senator Poy: I do not understand the cut-off age of six years. Perhaps that is a provincial decision,
but where does the federal government come into this when the rights of children to have good health are at
Ms. Bennett: I recall sitting at the Inter-ministerial Committee on Human Rights, or the CIDU meeting
in New York, where the Canadian representative, sitting in front of me, tried to explain the patchwork-quilt of
women's rights in Canada because of the differences between the provinces. People have trouble understanding
why, as a country, we cannot insist on and enforce some of these things. The various provinces have taken
different decisions on where the education system clicks in and how they support these children who do not fit
into the regular school classroom, or the ones who clearly need a different kind of special care in terms of
their educational and treatment needs. As some programs become more effective, it makes it even more difficult
for us to figure out what is the right thing to do.
Senator Poy: It is difficult, I understand, with the cut-off age. My second question is supplementary
to Senator Carstairs' question about obesity in children. What is your view on regulating the number of fast
food restaurants that are allowed in a certain geographic area? In some areas, there is no choice of restaurants
where you can buy something healthy to eat. That happens too, with children. If the only choice is a soft drink
when kids are thirsty, that is what they will drink. Could you do something about that?
Ms. Bennett: An interesting study, senator, showed the increased incidence of poor health with the
increased incidence of fast food outlets. A more interesting study last year showed that in Harlem, New York,
there were no grocery stores and only fast food outlets. Perhaps the situation could be improved by regulating
the fast food outlets rather than by ensuring healthy choices for children.
My meeting last week with a representative of McDonald's was hopeful in terms of their efforts. They want
healthy choices and they want people to make healthy choices. For example, you can buy apple slices or carrot
sticks in little bags. We have to work with some of the outlets. They want to be able to provide the kinds of
foods that people want to buy. We must reward good behaviour. They have vastly more marketing dollars than I
have, as a minister. It is a matter of having healthy, easy choices and of us figuring out how to do that, given
that time is such an important commodity in the lives of people. We need to find easier ways for families to
feed themselves in a way that is healthy, and where kids can pick the neat stuff.
There was an article in the newspaper on pedometers and how they can be effective as motivators. We have that
information at the public health agency. The CIHR was handing out information on metabolism from Ms. Diane
Finegood. I attended a Grade 5 classroom in January where I asked the kids what a pedometer is. Every student in
the room put up their hands. The teacher was working with one of the programs whereby, at the beginning of every
phys-ed class, he handed out pedometers and, at the end of the class, took them back. The kids are choosing only
the activities for which they get the high numbers. The kids do not want to participate in a sport that has them
sitting on the bench the whole time. We are finding out whether the kids can achieve 10,000 steps each day.
Then, it is up to the parents to try to do better and reach 12,000 or 14,000 steps each day on the weekends.
How do we build on these things that actually work, in order to motivate people? One challenging element for
us is how to get the researcher to show what works and what does not work. Some of us have this sneaking
suspicion that handing out pamphlets does not work. How do we show that we will do the stuff that works? Ms.
Silken Laumann's Active Kids Movement and Action Schools! B.C. are examples of programs that work, and there are
others across the country. Whether it is to combat obesity or illness, how do we find these neat little things
that truly work to change behaviour? How do we disseminate that so everyone can steal the goods ideas from one
In my riding, there is a walking school bus. In downtown Toronto, all the parents were driving their kids to
school, which is bad for the environment, exercise and just about everything. Now, there is a kind of Pied Piper
system whereby two parents pick up the kids and walk them to school. It is working extremely well and the kids
do not seem to care. Whether it is safety and security or whether it is video games, there must be other ways in
which we can entice kids into healthier ways to spend an hour.
The Chairman: Minister, I thank you for appearing today. If we have active adults, we will probably
have more active children.
Our study is on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and, while we did not address that directly, I hope
that your ministry will continue to see how the convention can be implemented in Canada. Perhaps at a later date
we may wish to have you or your officials back. In any event, it has been extremely helpful to gain insight on
children, on the practical side.
Ms. Bennett: To those of you interested in children's rights, and the people who watch the important
work of this committee, I hope that they will fill out the workbook at www.healthycanadians.ca and say
how important children's rights are in relation to public health goals for Canada. It would very much help the
results of our little study.
The Chairman: Thank you, I think that is a very good note. We will adjourn for two minutes to change
I would welcome our next panel, the members from the Canadian International Development Agency. We had hoped
to have the minister, but the minister is not available. Instead, we have the Vice-President of the Policy
Branch of CIDA, Mr. David Moloney and with him are two other officials. I understand there will be a short
presentation and then we will go to questions.
Welcome, gentlemen. This is the continuation of our study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We
would like to receive some perspectives from CIDA.
Mr. David Moloney, Vice-President, Policy Branch, Canadian International
Development Agency: Minister Carroll was not able to attend today, and sends her regrets. With the
committee's indulgence, I will read her statement into the record.
We all know that children's rights are often overlooked, or taken for granted. Let me commend the committee
for examining this important issue for the first time. I appreciate the opportunity to provide an international
perspective to these questions. Canada has had a long-standing commitment to the rights of children, both at
home and abroad. We were instrumental in drafting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 1990, we
co-hosted the first World Summit for Children, in the year that the convention came into effect.
In 2000, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs co-hosted in
Winnipeg the first major international conference on war-affected children. This groundbreaking event galvanized
the international community to take action to protect the rights of children in war-torn countries around the
At the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in 2002, Canada, with strong support from CIDA,
successfully negotiated text on key issues such as war-affected children, Aboriginal children and child
I understand some committee members may be concerned that the recently released International Policy
Statement indicates a diminished commitment to children in Canada's development policy. I want to assure you
that that's not the case. Canada remains committed to the children of the world, a commitment that goes hand in
hand with CIDA's mandate to reduce poverty in developing countries, and to contribute to a more secure,
prosperous and equitable world.
Children make up a disproportionately large number of the world's poor. About 40 per cent of children in
least-developed countries live on less than a dollar a day. Poverty denies children their human rights at a
critical stage in their development. Not only can this seriously hinder children's future well-being,
productivity and prosperity, it can undermine all of our attempts to fight poverty. Why? Because the surest way
to reduce poverty and achieve peace is to build a world fit for children, a world in which all girls and boys
can go to a school, earn a livelihood, raise a healthy family, take part in their community, and eventually,
leave their own children the legacy of a better planet.
In these countries, girls and boys under the age of 18 may not have a vote. They may not be given space to
voice their concerns. They may be among the most abused and exploited members of their societies. Yet, in many
cases, children are already running their households, having children themselves and contributing to the
In all cases, children have the power to perpetuate cycles of poverty and violence or, with our support, to
break those cycles and build a better future. For all these reasons, the international policy statement seeks to
integrate Canada's focus on children throughout all programming sectors. It does this by reaffirming our
commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, six out of eight of which involve the fulfilment of children's
rights by focusing on five sectors directly related to their achievement. These sectors are good governance,
health, including HIV/AIDS, education, private sector development, and environmental sustainability. Gender
equality will be systematically and explicitly integrated across all programming within each of the five
I wish to emphasize that these sectors are not isolated priorities. They build on and complement each other.
Each sector also works to improve the lives of children.
Take health, for example. Every year, more than 10 million children die from preventable diseases and
malnutrition. Every day, 1,400 girls and women die from causes related to childbirth. CIDA has provided close to
$54 million annually over the past few years to support family planning, reproductive health, and safe
CIDA will continue to focus on children's right to life, survival and development, and to ensure the highest
attainable standard of health.
Or consider education. More than 130 million children around the world do not go to school.
In the past four years CIDA has quadrupled its support for basic education. CIDA will continue to help
countries ensure that every girl and boy can access complete, free, compulsory and quality basic education. Yet,
all this is not enough. We have learned from experience that regular health and education programs do not
automatically reach the most marginalized children, like the 100 million children who live on the streets or the
10 million children who have become refugees due to conflict. In other words, traditional programming does not
always reach those hardest to reach. This is where the Action Plan on Child Protection as part of CIDA's social
development priorities has provided leadership. It did so by specifically targeting programming at the most
marginalized children, with a particular focus on child labour and, with support from General Dallaire in his
then capacity as special adviser, on war-affected children. This approach allowed us to bring visibility to
children who, until then, were practically invisible and for this we have been recognized and applauded
It is for this reason that the human rights pillar of the good governance priority in the international
policy statement specifically commits us to building on and integrating the leadership we have demonstrated in
child protection for the most marginalized and excluded children, namely the 180 million children involved in
the worst forms of child labour, the 13 million internally displaced, the 15 million AIDS orphans, and the 2
million girls who enter the commercial sex trade each year. We will do this by expanding a human rights approach
that sees all children as powerful actors in their own development; by building the legal and institutional
capacity of government and civil society organizations to implement commitments to all children; by committing
to promoting the meaningful participation of marginalized children in policy dialogue, bilateral projects and
research; and by using the findings of our child protection research to inform our programming, particularly for
the most marginalized.
Honourable senators, we believe that the international policy statement offers an ambitious but achievable
plan to enhance Canada's role in the fight against global poverty and insecurity. To be successful in this
fight, we need to continue our focus on children.
Through their courage, their experience and their creativity, children can transform attitudes and
behaviours. In so doing, they can empower themselves, and help break long-standing cycles of poverty in their
communities. For all these reasons, Canada remains committed to children, including those hardest to reach, in
its development policy. Thank you.
The Chairman: I appreciate that was the statement of the minister. However, I presume the questions
will be either directed to you about the statement or about CIDA's operations.
Senator Pearson: Thank you for the statement and the reassurance that is in the statement that the
rights of children will be protected.
My concern is that you tended to speak in the past tense about the child protection policy and the research
for example, we use the findings of the research that is already done. These were programs that, in my
experience, were extremely effective. All my experience on children's rights issues is that when they are
blended with the more general discussion of human rights, they tend to drop to the bottom of the priority list.
In the days of the child protection program, when you had child rights officers in each sector of the
department, and so on, I would be interested to know whether that will still continue. I can accept the fact
that you may not have a child protection policy per se, but I do think that for those of us who are interested
in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the people who are working in the field must
really understand what a child rights perspective is. If that is not built in as part of their training, or if
it is not built in as part of something that they have to check off when they look at the programming, then it
will slip. It just slips; it always does. Kids always slip between the cracks.
I am not sure how you can comment on that. You are not the minister. Are you no longer planning to do
research on child protection? Are there child protection officers still designated in the various departments?
Are you having regular meetings on training and education with respect to the Convention on the Rights of the
Mr. Moloney: Thank you for those questions. The answer is yes, we are continuing each of those
activities. You will know that the Child Protection Research Fund launched the first fruit of its work with the
very successful research study and book Where are the Girls. There are a number of further projects that
are in the works. We have extended, within policy branch, that fund for a further period of time.
The Child Protection Unit has been extremely active within the policy branch in terms of taking that research
and other research, developing programming tools and guidelines, working in terms of building training modules,
but then also delivering training modules. My colleagues here are, as you know, Senator, actively involved in
CIDA personnel and partners receive regular training in children's rights. That exists now; that will
continue, using modules that we have developed and others. Each of those modules is rooted in a rights-based
approach and that will continue.
We have an active network within the agency, and are bringing agency officers together with a total of 200
members through an extranet. There is a library. We have extensive published resources.
We believe in integrating the specific children's results that I referred to in the minister's statement.
Those are specific results to which the government and CIDA have committed in the IPS in specific areas of
governance, human rights, education and so on. These are commitments on which we will continue to follow up.
Whatever is the best way structurally to implement those commitments may evolve over time, but those
competencies will remain important, and the funding for that programming will remain important.
Senator Oliver: Thank you for your presentation on behalf of the minister. I wish to ask a question
about the international policy statement and the Millennium Development Goals that you talked about. Today you
said that the international policy statement seeks to integrate Canada's focus on children throughout all of the
programming sectors. You said that it is doing this by reaffirming Canada's commitment to the Millennium
As you also know, Canada has been quite severely criticized for not actually meeting the Millennium
Development Goals. It has been suggested that we are not ready to meet the goal of 0.7 per cent target for
development aid by 2015, as set out in those goals.
How do we know that there will be enough to meet the needs for the development of the child if we are not
meeting our development goals? It seems like a contradiction.
Mr. Moloney: As you know, the international policy statement recommits the government to work toward
the goal of 0.7 per cent. The statement commits that the government will continue along the path of growing the
international assistance envelope by at least 8 per cent per year through 2010 and beyond, and makes a new
commitment that, as the fiscal situation permits, that rate of growth may be accelerated.
It is important, as well, to focus on the fact that, in addition to the amount of aid, the quality of our
aid, the extent to which we are integrating these results, the necessity of looking at children, at the needs
particularly of marginalized children, that this is acquiring a focus in what we are doing.
We are also contributing to the needs of children through the kinds of research and advocacy that we are
doing on the international scene with international organizations, with our bilateral donor colleagues, and in
the work that we are doing with the NGOs and other partners.
Senator Oliver: The needs of marginalized children, if you are to do more about those, will require
more dollars. If you do not increase the amount to meet the millennium targets, how will you do it?
Mr. Moloney: As I said, the Minister for International Cooperation does not determine the budget
overall that the minister works with. Our job is to maximize the effectiveness of that budget and ensure that
real needs, such as those of the marginalized children that we are talking about here, are met in as effective a
way as we can.
Senator Oliver: Are you able to reassure this committee, concerned about the rights of the children
that, notwithstanding that Canada has been internationally criticized unlike other countries for not being
able to meet the international standard, you do not feel that this will be, in any way, compromised for any of
the children's programs that we have; is that right?
Mr. Moloney: I am in no position, either way, to comment for the committee on the overall size of our
budget. I am in a position to say that at CIDA we take the rights and needs of children, particularly
marginalized children, quite seriously. We are trying to maximize the effectiveness of our efforts to that end.
Senator Ferretti Barth: We hear a great deal about CIDA and the international aid it provides, but
problems still persist. That has been my observation. I would like to know what kind of relationship you have
with NGOs that deal with disadvantaged children in developing countries.
Mr. Moloney: The type of problems encountered is changing. We are making some real progress in
alleviating poverty, but there are still too many families and children living in poverty. CIDA works closely
with international organizations such as UNICEF and with multilateral agencies. If I am not mistaken, Canada
ranks fifth among countries that donate to UNICEF. CIDA works closely with Canadian organizations.
Senator Ferretti Barth: I would also like to know if any effort is made to consult with children in
developing countries, to ascertain in an impartial, fair and humane way, what their needs and wants may be. It
is all well and good to freely supply aid to these countries without consulting in advance with the children of
these nations, but each region of Africa is different and children have different needs. Does CIDA initiate
consultations of some kind with a view to providing assistance? One good example is ensuring that children are
supplied with clean water when they have access to an unpolluted waterway. In my view, the first step is to
approach the children in these countries, talk to them and identify their needs. Do they need schools,
hospitals, recreation centres or perhaps cafeterias? We build schools, but do we worry about whether or not
children have anything to eat before they go to school? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, for
adults and children alike. Even in Canada, there are children who go to school on an empty stomach. Some law
enforcement agencies have instituted breakfast programs in the schools. Much work is being done in this area.
Mr. Moloney: Getting children involved in discussions in one of CIDA's fundamental guiding principle,
as set out in the Convention. Let me give you several examples. When CIDA drafted its action plan about five
years ago, it took pains to consult with children. This year, when a conference was held in Winnipeg, CIDA and
the Canadian government invited 50 children and youths from 25 developing countries affected by armed conflict.
These 50 youths attended the conference as independent delegates. This is also one of the principles that we
uphold every time we address the UN in New York. Currently, CIDA is carrying out pilot projects in which
children and youth have direct input. Projects that come to mind include one in Kosovo, two in Colombia, one in
Sri Lanka and one in Egypt. These projects are designed to reach out to children in war-torn nations, children
who work despite their young age and who have specific education needs. We seek their input on what they need in
terms of support so that they can exercise their rights. Consultation is an integral part of our approach.
Senator Ferretti Barth: You named many countries, but not a single African nation. Why is that?
Mr. Moloney: I did mention Egypt.
Senator Ferretti Barth: We are aware of CIDA's programs in Africa. CIDA is involved extensively in
Africa, but the situation has remained virtually unchanged. You have supplied aid to Kosovo and to Colombia, but
what about Africa?
Before you answer, I have to tell you that I do not have a great deal of sympathy for CIDA and I do not have
time to give you my reasons, but I am concerned by some of the things that have gone on. It is not only because
Canada channels considerable sums of money into these countries or because there is little account given of how
the money is spent.
Are there measures in place to ensure that international aid genuinely serves to protect children and ensure
their development? Are there accountability mechanisms in place?
Mr. Moloney: It is customary for CIDA to identify the results it wishes to achieve before launching
each project or program. In the case of programs the goal of which is to improve children's lives, programming
divisions must seek spending authorizations from the minister.
It is critically important to be as specific and empirical as possible and to focus on results in other
words, to adopt a results-based management approach.
Senator Carstairs: I have seen firsthand some of the excellent work that CIDA does, but I have always
had a problem. You outlined a number of issues that CIDA is working on around the world: basic education, child
labour, a violence-free world for children, refugees. However, we do not offer all Canadian children a basic
education, and we have child labour laws and conventions that we have not yet signed. Our children are not free
from violence in many circumstances, and we have been called on the carpet, quite frankly, for our treatment of
unaccompanied minor refugees.
What mechanism is there in your department to meet with those departments responsible for ensuring that
Canada's international reputation is not damaged by the fact that someone out there can say, "Look at your own
country. You are not doing those things"? What coordination goes on with those other departments in order for
you to say, "We cannot be speaking out of both sides of our mouths at the same time"?
Mr. Moloney: I am happy to agree with the senator that not all of those are responsibilities that lie
within CIDA's mandate. Certainly, the problems that CIDA faces in the countries in which we work are generally
much worse than the problems that our colleagues are facing in their country back home. Nonetheless, there are
some commonalities in terms of best practices. The international research, some of which we are leading, can
have certain applications.
My colleagues here do engage regularly in a network of child protection and children's rights experts. There
are partner departments around town. There is a deputy minister committee on human rights, of which CIDA is a
member, and there are other committees underneath that. For example, when the Government of Canada participates
in UN conferences and in General Assembly meetings, CIDA is part of the delegation. There is cross-fertilization
there, because as we go before the UN, for example, those are issues that the government is facing in respect of
Canada and in respect of our international responsibilities at the same time. There is a close dialogue that
goes on at a whole range of bureaucratic levels and ministerial levels.
The Chairman: Since the only two countries that did not sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child
are the United States and Somalia, do we raise with our counterpart countries how they go about adhering to the
convention before we choose them as one of the 25 countries? Is there any undertaking to put children's rights
at the top of their planning list before we select them?
Mr. Moloney: The discussions with the 25 development partner countries are only just getting under way
now. Those 25 countries were named with the release of the international policy statement, and discussions have
since commenced in terms of what will be the programming priorities.
In the context of our selection of those countries, a sufficient level of good governance, including
attention to human rights which would include attention to children's rights, was part of the set of filters or
screens that we applied to countries. They needed to be sufficiently poor but they also needed to be well enough
governed that we could be confident that aid would be put to good use. It was important that we already had a
relationship with the government, a sufficient footprint in terms of our aid experience, because Canadians and
the Government of Canada have particular expertise and niches to bring to bear. In a number of these cases, our
work with governments and with ministries responsible for children will continue to be part of that
relationship. The bottom line is that those discussions are to happen over the coming weeks and months.
Senator Pearson: We are focusing here in Canada a great deal on early childhood education.
Education For All, the document that came out of Dakar, focuses a great deal on childhood education. I did
not see anything in the policy review that talked about early childhood education. I know we have supported a
number of programs in the past, and I know that the World Bank is really excited about this initiative. This is
an area where we have a lot to contribute, so I would like to see whether you can bring us an answer as to
whether or not there has been anything done in that respect.
Over the past many years, we have not augmented our core contribution to UNICEF. We do contribute a
substantial amount of money in conjunction with UNICEF programs abroad; but there is a core contribution, and if
you do not have a core, the rest of the structure weakens. Perhaps you could advise what our core contribution
to UNICEF New York has been over the last five years, whether there is any intention in raising it, and if not,
The Chairman: I think some of those questions are for a minister. I want to thank you for coming today
and to give you a "heads up" that those questions and others need answering. If you can do so in written form,
that would be fine. Otherwise, we look forward to the opportunity for further exchange with the minister and
You will see that we are focusing on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its full implementation in
Canada and elsewhere, and the adherence by ourselves and other countries to that convention, so that will be the
focus of any further discussion.
Senators, we will adjourn for two minutes to change over. We can continue in camera.
The committee continued in camera.