- SENATORS' STATEMENTS
- Le Festival jeune artiste du Manitoba
- Commemoration of the Persons Case
- Armenian Genocide
- Journalists and Media Workers Lost in the Line of Duty
- Refugee Rights Day
- The Late Robert M. Bateman
- St. John Ambulance Day on Parliament Hill
- National Victims of Crime Awareness Week
- Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients
- ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
- QUESTION PERIOD
- Aboriginal and Northern Affairs
- Foreign Affairs
- Human Resources and Skills Development
- Science and Technology
- National Defence
- ORDERS OF THE DAY
- Speaker's Ruling
- Criminal Code
- National Security and Defence
- Social Affairs, Science and Technology
- Study on Management of Grey Seal Population off Canada's East Coast
- Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources
- Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, on Sunday, April 7, I had the pleasure of attending the Festival jeune artiste du Manitoba (JAM), an initiative of the organization Canadian Parents for French — Manitoba.
This festival, which was held at the Université de Saint-Boniface, was really a French-language singing contest open to all FSL students aged 11 to 19.
After participating in the general auditions and reaching the semi-finals, the 12 finalists performed live on stage, with live musical accompaniment.
I was very moved by the energy, determination and commitment of these young people. Despite the fact that French is not their first language, their talents and spirit were on full display as they performed in the language of Molière.
Honourable senators, I would now like to read the vision statement of Canadian Parents for French - Manitoba:
A Canada where French- and English-speakers live together in mutual respect with an understanding and appreciation of each other's language and culture and where linguistic duality forms an integral part of society.
They are committed Canadians, hard-working parents and volunteers, and we should all applaud their commitment.
Congratulations and many heartfelt thanks to Canadian Parents for French - Manitoba.
Hon. Nancy Ruth: Honourable senators, I want to reflect on two decisions that were made on or for this day some years ago.
The first was a 1928 Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled that women were not qualified to sit in the Senate. Now, that is almost enough to make me be quiet, but not quite.
There was an outrage among Canadian women and men who could not believe that women were not persons. Thank goodness for those courageous and dedicated women and men who worked to reverse that appalling decision at the British Privy Council in 1929.
Hon. Nancy Ruth: Honourable senators, the second item I wish to speak to relates to something that occurred 11 years ago, in 2002. The Canadian Parliament recognized the atrocities suffered by Armenians in 1915 as being "genocide." The Bloc motion called on the government of the day to designate April 24 as a day of remembrance of the Armenian genocide. Thousands and thousands of innocent people died in Armenia and Anatolia in those years — Christians, Muslims, as well as those of other faiths. There is no doubt that the Armenians faced terrible atrocities in 1915 and that the suffering was horrendous.
One hears stories from the Armenian community of the pain and suffering inflicted and how their families perished. One also hears stories from the Turkish community of the pain and suffering inflicted and how their families suffered. Both sides have strong and emotional opinions of what exactly happened nearly 100 years ago. Accounts of the event are sometimes different.
Canada should encourage the examination and resolution of the issue by the Armenians and the Turks. Canada should encourage our Canadian Turkish and Armenian communities to build mutual understanding and respect.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, again I rise this year to bear witness to journalists who in the preceding year were killed in the line of duty. They died because they were seeking information that the world needed to know.
In 2012, there were 70 who lost their lives in the line of duty: in Bahrain: Ahmed Ismail Hassan; in Bangladesh: Jamal Uddin; in Brazil: Eduardo Carvalho, Valério Luiz de Oliveira, Décio Sá, Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes; in Cambodia: Hang Serei Odom; in Colombia: Guillermo Quiroz Delgado; in Egypt: Al-Hosseiny Abou Deif; in Ecuador: Byron Baldeón; in India: Dwijamani Singh, Rajesh Mishra; in Indonesia: Leiron Kogoya; in Iran: Sattar Beheshti; in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Hussam Salama, Mahmoud al-Kumi; in Lebanon: Ali Shaaban; in Mexico: Adrián Silva Moreno; in Nigeria: Enenche Akogwu; in Pakistan: Saqib Khan, Rehmatullah Abid, Mushtaq Khand, Abdul Haq Baloch, Abdul Qadir Hajizai, Razzaq Gul, Mukarram Khan Aatif; in the Philippines: Christopher Guarin; in Russia: Kazbek Gekkiyev; in Somalia: Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, Ahmed Farah Ilyas, Hassan Yusuf Absuge, Liban Ali Nur, Abdisatar Daher Sabriye, Abdirahman Yasin Ali, Ahmed Addow Anshur, Farhan Jeemis Abdulle, Mahad Salad Adan, Ali Ahmed Abdi, Abukar Hassan Mohamoud, Hassan Osman Abdi; in Syria: Naji Asaad, Mohamed Quratem, Mohamed al-Khal, Basel Tawfiq Youssef, Hozan Abdel Halim Mahmoud, Mohammed al-Ashram, Mona al-Bakkour, Maya Naser, Abdel Karim al-Oqda, Yusuf Ahmed Deeb, Tamer al-Awam, Mosaab al-Obdaallah, Mika Yamamoto, Ali Abbas, Hatem Abu Yehia, Mohammad Shamma, Sami Abu Amin, Ahmed al-Assam, Bassel al-Shahade, Ahmed Adnan al-Ashlaq, Lawrence Fahmy al-Naimi, Ammar Mohamed Suhail Zado, Anas al-Tarsha, Rémi Ochlik, Marie Colvin, Rami al-Sayed, Mazhar Tayyara, Gilles Jacquier; in Tanzania: Daudi Mwangosi; and in Thailand: Wisut "Ae" Tangwittayaporn.
We cannot bring them back, but we can bear witness to what they gave for us.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize Refugee Rights Day, which took place on April 4 this year. It is an annual day to commemorate the Supreme Court's signing of the 1985 Singh decision, one that is deeply tied to our values of equity as Canadian citizens.
The Singh decision was a milestone decision for refugee rights in Canada. It involved seven appellants, six of whom were named Singh. They were citizens of India claiming refugee status based on their fear of persecution due to political beliefs. In this decision, the Supreme Court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the fundamental rights of refugees. The court decided that "everyone" includes refugee claimants under section 7:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Honourable senators, Canada has been enriched by the many Canadian citizens who once started their lives as refugees. There are former Governors General who are notable examples.
Since the Singh decision, Canada's refugee system has won the reputation of being one of the fairest in the world. We have created the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, which independently makes decisions on refugee claims following oral hearings. Subsequent court decisions have also recognized that the Charter protects people from hardships such as deportation to persecution.
Each year Canada provides asylum to more than 10,000 persecuted persons and welcomes another 12,000 refugees from abroad.
Honourable senators, I am pleased to say that our government has been diligent in upholding our reputation as a leader in refugee protection. In December, the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act came into force. This legislation brings about major reforms to Canada's refugee system, providing timely decisions to eligible refugees.
Honourable senators, I wish to commemorate the twenty-eighth anniversary of Refugee Rights Day and hope that we continue to work towards protecting the rights of refugee claimants in Canada.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I rise today to honour the late Robert Bateman, a successful entrepreneur and dedicated community leader on Prince Edward Island, who passed away on March 31 at the age of 62.
Bob Bateman was, without a doubt, a warm and engaging individual. He was a devoted family man and worked hard to improve the lives of his fellow Islanders.
He was also a highly successful businessman. He built Prince Edward Air from the ground up, starting with one leased airplane and growing it into a 25-plane fleet with 130 employees, which he sold in 2010. All in all, he spent more than 30 years of his life involved in aviation as a pilot, a flight instructor, and in management roles with other airlines.
His accomplishments in business were well recognized. He was awarded the 1998 Transportation Person of the Year Award by the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce. Canada Post named Prince Edward Air its "Service Provider of the Year" in 2003, and he was honoured with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2004. In 2005, he was inducted into the Junior Achievement Prince Edward Island Business Hall of Fame.
His achievements outside the business world are no less impressive. He and his wife Carolyn are fierce advocates for those affected by autism spectrum disorder. Along with Carolyn and two other couples, Bob established the successful Stars for Life Foundation to provide a lifelong living and learning experience for young adults with autism. Together they worked toward building the Stars for Life Home and Resource Centre, which opened its doors in 2011.
Bob received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award and was made an Honourary Lieutenant-Colonel by the Prince Edward Island Regiment. He was Prince Edward Island chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council and served on many boards including the Charlottetown Airport Authority and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He was a long-time member of Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce, and was made a lifetime member of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association last year.
In November 2011, he was diagnosed with ALS — Lou Gehrig's disease — but he was determined not to let it affect his enjoyment of life. He made a list of all the things he wanted to do and set out to do them. He faced his illness with courage and determination, and embraced life until his passing. The legacy he left, both personally and professionally, will serve as a reminder of his compassion, his warmth and his strength of character.
I offer my deepest condolences to Carolyn and his sons, Adam and Scott, and to all his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
Hon. Don Meredith: Honourable senators, before making my statement I would like to thank all senators and His Honour for sponsoring the first successful St. John Ambulance Day on the Hill yesterday.
Thank you for your support. It was a wonderful event.
Hon. Don Meredith: Honourable senators, I rise today in recognition of Canada's eighth annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week and to applaud the launch of the website NeedHelpNow.ca. This website is an online resource for victims of cyberbullying, created by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. As a youth advocate, I am a firm believer in the importance of providing our youth with tools for success. I was honoured to join members of the Conservative caucus on Monday in tweeting photos to raise awareness of this life-saving campaign.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a registered charitable organization dedicated to the safety of our children. For over 30 years they have reduced child victimization by providing programs and services to the Canadian public. The website is an essential resource for our youth in crisis.
With increased use of social media, cyberbullying has become a widespread phenomenon that is detrimental to your youth. While bullying is not a new trend, the use of social media has propelled it to a new level. The anonymity of the Internet creates a channel for embarrassment, harassment or bullying of young people. Once information or photos are posted online it can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove content that is accessible to countless viewers worldwide.
This has been devastating to youth right here in Canada as in the tragic cases of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, two teenagers who committed suicide after enduring months of cyberbullying.
Honourable senators, I applaud the actions that have been taken by the Senate in recently tabling a report on cyberbullying. I commend Prime Minister Harper, who met with Rehtaeh Parsons' parents yesterday. Her father later told reporters that he knew his daughter was distressed but did not have tools for coping with this problem. He went on to state:
... there was absolutely nothing we could do to help our daughter but stand there and watch her die.
Our government has recognized that this is unacceptable. Prime Minister Harper met with federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson yesterday and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter to discuss new legislation targeting those who distribute photos with malicious intent. I strongly support legislation to deal with those who bully our youth. Our youth are not only 20 per cent of our population; they are 100 per cent of our future.
Honourable senators, NeedHelpNow.ca provides tools and resources for coping with self and peer exploitation and is a strong resource for not only youth, but also for parents and schools. This website will undoubtedly save lives. I urge honourable senators to promote this resource and in doing so foster the well-being and safety of our most precious commodity, Canada's youth.
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, on Friday, April 26, I will be hosting a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal ceremony at the Saskatchewan Native Theatre in Saskatoon for the recipients whom I nominated and who received their medals from the Office of the Governor General throughout the year.
The medal recipients are Darlene Lanceley, for her long-standing exceptional work in many aspects of Aboriginal education; Myrna LaPlante, for her dedication to helping the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal Women; Dr. Priscilla Settee, for her outstanding work on local and international indigenous environmental issues; Darlene R. Okemaysim-Sicotte, for her dedication to helping the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women; Dr. Carlos S. Maningas, for his leadership in the Philippine Association of Saskatchewan; Melanie Elliott, for her award-winning community science programs; Walter and Maria Linklater, for their long-standing dedicated community work as elders; Glenis Joyce, for her leadership and dedication to improving the lives of girls and women; Myles Anderson, for his exceptional talents as a gifted First Nation carver; Cadmus Delorme, for his remarkable student leadership as a young First Nations man; Kenneth T. Williams, for his outstanding achievements and success as a Cree playwright; Andrea Menard, for her remarkable contributions as a Metis singer and actor; Commanding Officer Captain Avery Beaudin, for her outstanding achievements in the Canadian Forces Reserves; George Kays, for his outstanding youth volunteer work in the community; Dr. Jean Barman, for her contributions as a historical writer and mentor to many graduate and post-graduate students; Dr. Peter Li, for his outstanding contributions to research and academic work on Chinese Canadians; John Lagimodiere, for his impressive and successful initiatives in cross-cultural training and communications; Louise B. Halfe, for her valuable contributions to Canadian literature as a Cree poet and educator; Shannon Loutitt, for her accomplishments as a Metis marathon runner and role model; Pauline and Herb Muskego, who after the loss of their daughter, Daleen Bosse, raised the public awareness of missing and murdered Aboriginal women; Gwenda Yuzicappi, for her tireless dedication to raising the awareness of missing and murdered Aboriginal women; Nora Cummings, for her lifelong contributions to the community as a Metis senator; Tyrone Wilfred Tootoosis, for his many accomplishments as a First Nation actor-storyteller; and Don Meikle, for his long-standing dedication to making a difference for disadvantaged youth.
These deserving individuals have each, in their own unique way, contributed to the betterment of the lives of people from Saskatchewan and our beautiful country of Canada. I am sure their families and friends are proud of their many outstanding accomplishments.
Hon. Pierre Claude Nolin: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the 58th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, held in Prague, Czech Republic, from November 9 to 12, 2012.
Hon. Michel Rivard: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation at the First Part of the 2013 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held in Strasbourg, France, from January 21 to 25, 2013.
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, my question today is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Honourable senators, for years, First Nations leaders, First Nations citizens, the families of the missing Aboriginal women and girls, and national and international human rights groups have been demanding that this government take action and call for a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
In February, a significant Human Rights Watch report found that not only did the RCMP and police authorities ignore claims of missing Aboriginal women in B.C., but they took part in the cycle of sexual and physical abuse against these very women who were seeking help. This report clearly showed that a national inquiry is the only way forward to help these victims and their families, but this government has refused to create one.
As the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, stated in February, the government will continue its "vigorous criminal justice agenda," but she would not directly comment on the idea of a national public inquiry.
The need for a national inquiry or commission is most succinctly stated in British Columbia Commissioner Wally Oppal's report of B.C.'s missing women inquiry. His report stated that among the most serious challenges is public indifference. Nothing but a national commission can get to the bottom of this problem.
Last week, Aboriginal Affairs ministers from the provinces and territories met in Winnipeg and jointly called upon the federal government and demanded a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Manitoba's Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson, chairman of the working group of the provincial and territorial Aboriginal Affairs departments, stated:
We jointly call upon the federal government to call a national inquiry into this matter of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
My question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate is quite simple. Will the government now heed the demands from the provinces and the territories and call a national inquiry into the over 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in this country?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator. This question has been raised many times in the past.
There is no doubt, and the government has made it very clear, that this is and has been a very serious situation. Obviously, our thoughts and concerns are expressed towards the families of these murdered and missing women.
The government has taken a number of positive steps to address this issue. It has established a national centre for missing persons; improved law enforcement databases to investigate missing and murdered women; created a national website to help identify and find missing persons; supported the development of school and community pilot projects aimed at reducing vulnerability to violence among young Aboriginal women; supported the development and adaptation of victim services so that they are culturally appropriate for Aboriginal women and peoples; and developed a best practices list to help communities, law enforcement and justice partners to address, deal with and investigate these serious issues. We have worked alongside Aboriginal communities to develop community safety plans and supported development of public awareness materials to help end the cycle of violence affecting Aboriginals, most particularly Aboriginal women and children.
Senator Dyck: I thank the leader for her answer. She has given that answer several times in the past. At least this time, honourable senators, she did not list the dollar value of what her government has invested over the last five years. That seems to be the standard answer.
It is important for the government to recognize that, without knowing the scope of the problem, they will not know that all those programs that she has just listed will work. They can develop a program, but if it is not really getting at the root causes or they do not know what they are trying to get at, then they are spinning their wheels unless they actually understand.
The Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan and a leading expert in indigenous issues, Dr. Ken Coates, has stated that without an in-depth, nationwide look at the problem, it is hard to know whether the right actions are being taken at the right time.
The actions have to come from a really solid shared understanding of what the problem is. If you don't know the underlying patterns, how do you know the money's going to the right place?
I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate this: Her government seems to be refusing a national inquiry even though it is the morally right thing to do. For a government that prides itself on being good fiscal managers, will your government at least call a national inquiry because it is also the fiscally responsible thing to do?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I think we all understand the problem. We know what happened. What happened is a terrible tragedy.
We believe as a government, however, that the way to address this very serious problem is going forward and putting in place the programs and the supports, and working with our Aboriginal communities, including the First Nations policing route, to address the issue going forward. That is really what is required now. We have to create a situation and a climate whereby these horrible events do not happen now or in the future.
Senator Dyck: I thank the leader again for that answer.
If we understood the problem, then I do not understand why we have set up a special parliamentary committee to look into the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. If we understood it, we would not need that special parliamentary committee that has been struck in the other place. Could the leader explain that to me?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I answer, of course, in this chamber for the government. I answer and respond to what the government is doing. I do not speak for all parliamentarians, and honourable senators would not expect me to, nor would they want me to. Parliament is a unique institution. In the other place they established this committee, and that is their right as parliamentarians.
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I was disappointed to learn last week that the Health Council of Canada will lose its funding at the end of the fiscal year.
That organization was set up in 2003 by Prime Minister Chrétien and the premiers. The corporate members of the council are the federal and provincial ministers of health, who chose 13 councillors from across the country with an expertise in health care. It was created to ensure accountability and equality of access to health care by Canadians, regardless of where they live. Then its role was enlarged when it was asked to measure the progress in the 2003 and 2004 health accords.
This council has completed dozens of reports. They are very wide-ranging, dealing with everything from home care and chronic health conditions to children and youth. The council has done a lot of work. We have received a lot of valuable information about what is working and what is not in the health field. The council is well respected in the health care field.
With a council such as this providing such valuable information and making progress, why would the government cut funding to it?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this is very similar to questions I get often in this place.
When programs are established, they are given a mandate. Most programs that are established have a beginning and a conclusion. In this case, the Health Council of Canada's 10-year mandate expires in 2014, meaning that its mandate has expired. There is no need to continue federal funding of this organization.
I was pleased to note that several people who observe the health care field support this position. As a government, honourable senators, we have committed to long-term, stable funding that will see health transfers reach historic levels, unlike the previous government that balanced its books on the backs of the provinces and territories when it in fact cut health care funding.
Senator Callbeck: It is true that the health accord of 2004 had a 10-year mandate, yes. However, as I said, this council was set up before that. It was set up in 2003. In fact, according to its own website, the Health Council was set up by first ministers prior to the health accords. It was set up to ensure accountability and equality of access.
Since that time, progress has been made in the health field. The reports that come from the Health Council are one of the best ways for Canadians to know what has been done. Clearly, this government, the Conservative government, has no intention of helping to ensure accountability and equal access to the health care system.
To end the funding for the Health Council is just another indication of the government's lack of interest in the whole health care field. Why does the government refuse to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories on improving health care in this country?
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator's statement is absolutely, flat out wrong. Federal and provincial governments will continue to track wait times, numbers of surgeries, drug costs and best practices in health care efforts through the very well-respected organization called CIHI, the Canadian Institute for Health Information. This organization provides a tremendous service to the federal government and the provinces. In this area, the federal government works, has worked and will continue to work collaboratively with the provinces.
As I mentioned earlier, we have committed to long-term, stable funding, which will see transfers from the federal government to the provinces reach historically high levels.
Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate about the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Qatar proposed moving ICAO's headquarters from Montreal to Doha. Qatar has criticized Canada and Montreal, citing how difficult it is for certain delegations to get Canadian visas as one of the reasons behind the proposal. ICAO is by far the biggest international organization in Canada, and we need to do everything we can to keep it here.
The vote on Qatar's proposal will take place this fall. What concrete action is the Government of Canada going to take to ensure that ICAO's headquarters remain in Montreal?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this is an area I am not in a position to respond to; I do not have the information. I will be happy to take the question as notice.
Senator Dawson: So that the leader has some background, the contract is up for renewal. We know this government has not made a strong effort at having friends at the international level, and since this decision will be taken by members of the United Nations, some of whom we have snubbed in the past, I am asking what effort Canada will make — I am hoping they will make an effort, now that the leader has been sensitized to the issue — to ensure visa requirements are facilitated and regarding the financial requests that may be made of Qatar for support of the institution that is based in Montreal and has made Canada the centre of international aviation for the last 15 years. When can we get an answer from this government before the decision is taken by the organization?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator for the question. I said I would pass on those additional comments. I will not, of course, stand by and allow the honourable senator to indicate that the government is not a supporter of many initiatives with the United Nations, including being a major financial contributor and a major contributor to the United Nations World Food Programme. As a matter of fact, I think we are the largest or second largest contributor to that program.
In the honourable senator's efforts to find out information with regard to Qatar, I cannot stand by and let him make improper or untrue comments about our commitment to the United Nations.
Senator Dawson: I would not want to quote the minister, but last week when she talked about those bureaucrats at the United Nations, I do not think those bureaucrats at the United Nations were quite proud of being partners with Canada.
Bowing out of the decertification organization and being the only one out of 125 countries to bow out as a result of a minor question of money certainly does not make us friends enough to be able to go around asking, "Can we count on your support for keeping the OAC in Canada?" I do not think that is the way we make friends, honourable senators.
Senator LeBreton: I put on the record very valid reasons for why we made the decision. The decision was made because we were not contributing one bit to the drought situation in Africa; we were simply paying for meetings of people to talk about the problem.
We have taken definitive action through various programs with other countries and within the United Nations to actually focus our aid and deliver programs where they are needed most, with regard to the people who actually live and are confronted with problems in Africa.
Senator Dawson: That is probably one of the reasons why a country like Canada, which has been on the UN Security Council every 10 years for the last 30 years, was defeated by Portugal. If we do not respect the UN, how will the UN respect us?
Senator LeBreton: I have seen no evidence that this government does not respect the United Nations.
Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, while the original intent behind the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is quite sound, I fear it is getting out of control. In 2005 we had 150,000 foreign workers; now we have 340,000. In fact, in the last decade the number has tripled, and there is evidence of an increasing reliance on low-skilled workers.
Yesterday, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, appearing before a committee of the House of Commons, warned the government not to allow temporary foreign workers to take away jobs from Canadians or to drive down wages. He said one does not want an overreliance on temporary foreign workers for lower-skilled jobs because it distorts wage adjustments that lead to Canadians getting better pay and delays changes that make companies more efficient.
The Prime Minister has recognized this problem and has said it needs to be examined further. Given the accelerated pace at which temporary foreign workers are being allowed into the country and given that many of them are doing jobs that Canadians could do, there is a sense of urgency here.
When will the government announce some changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to get it under control?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I did address these concerns last week. I am aware of the testimony of the departing Governor of the Bank of Canada. He is appearing before the Banking Committee today, I understand. The honourable senator is right that the original intent of the program was to help employers find temporary help in the cases where there are absolute and acute labour shortages.
Of course, in the recent budget we committed to fixing the program to ensure that Canadians have first crack at these jobs. We know of some incidents that were reported in the media recently, which we have some grave concerns about, and we are investigating these particular concerns, but I can assure the Honourable Senator Eggleton that the government is seized of this matter. Obviously this program, as intended, is a good program, and we are determined to make the necessary changes to ensure it delivers on what it is supposed to deliver and also to ensure that any available jobs in the country are available first to Canadians.
Senator Eggleton: I understand that answer, and I am glad that is happening. I am looking for the answer to the question of when, because meanwhile this program is marching on.
For example, in 2005, aside from the top categories of agriculture and live-in caregivers, if those are removed from the list, the top applications were for such things as musicians and singers, actors, producers and related occupations in the movie industry, and specialist physicians and a number of other specialist kinds of occupations. Then, as of 2008, just three years later, and this continues to today, those have been replaced by another group. The top number is for food counter attendants and kitchen helpers, and also light-duty cleaners. These are jobs that Canadians can do. Maybe these companies do not want to pay enough money, and given that the government has said you can pay up to 15 per cent less wages for these foreign temporary workers, you could understand why they might want to go that route.
They have to pay a decent wage so people can have a decent standard of living. I think that is the point Mr. Carney is making. Stop the flow of these people into this country for unskilled workers; let the companies work it out with Canadians because 1.4 million Canadians are still unemployed and need jobs.
In Toronto alone, from 2005 to the current year, we went from 23,000 to 64,000 foreign temporary workers, and I can tell honourable senators they are not in Toronto to pick raspberries and blueberries. Many of them are standing behind counters in McDonald's and Tim Hortons.
One of the instruments that is used by the government and that has gotten us into this massive acceleration is a thing called the A-LMO. That is the accelerated labour market opinion.
Will the government, as an interim measure, pull back on the A-LMOs to stop this flood of people going to serve in restaurants and taking jobs that Canadians could be doing?
Senator LeBreton: I notice when Senator Eggleton was listing all of the various categories that the previous government was a part of in the foreign workers program, he specifically did not mention strip club workers.
Senator Mercer: He would know nothing about that!
Senator LeBreton: That is quite funny, honourable senators. The odd time Senator Mercer does say something funny.
The fact of the matter is the honourable senator is right. There are specific areas in the agricultural sector that are unique; he is also right that people appear to be coming in and taking jobs that could be filled by Canadians. The government is certainly mindful of this; we are working hard to address these changes. The honourable senator asked me when. Senator Eggleton was a member of cabinet, and he would have known more given the answer to that question when he was as a member of cabinet than I will as a member of cabinet now.
Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, I have a supplemental question. The government says it has created 900,000 new jobs since 2008, and yet at the end of last year 339,000 jobs in Canada were filled by temporary foreign workers. Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us how many of the 900,000 new jobs they say they have created since 2008 have been filled by temporary foreign workers?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, all I can report is that according to Statistics Canada the effect of temporary foreign workers on employment estimates is negligible, so we are talking about two completely different categories here. We have seen the creation of over 900,000 new, mainly full-time jobs in Canada, and of course they are not to be confused with people coming into this country as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As Statistics Canada said, the effect of temporary foreign workers on employment estimates in Canada is negligible.
Senator Mitchell: They are not separate and distinct categories if there is any effect at all. However, my next question is this: There are reports of up to 300,000 unpaid internships in Canada, and these are actually accounted for by Statistics Canada as full-time employment in the employment statistics. The fact of the matter is that I would like to know how many of the 900,000 jobs the leader says the government has created since 2008 are actually unpaid internships which could not be construed as real jobs at all.
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I think it is pretty clear that the monthly job reports come from Statistics Canada, and looking at the situation in Canada since the economic downturn, we have a stellar record of creating full-time jobs, the best if not one of the best records in the G7.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, today I will follow up on a question I asked a few weeks ago on the government's muzzling of scientific research. An Environment Canada analysis released under the Access to Information Act in 2010 gives us a glimpse of what scientists and Canadians think about the government's policy. The analysis found that Environment Canada scientists are very frustrated with this new process. They feel the intent of the policy is to prevent them from speaking to media. Also, there is a widespread perception among Canadian media that our scientists have been muzzled by the media relations policy. The government is even trying to extend its muscle outside Canada's borders to scientists with whom Canadian scientists are collaborating through a new policy on scholarly publication of articles at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Canada's Information Commissioner has decided there has been enough credible information to justify an investigation. She has recently launched an investigation into the muzzling of scientists in seven federal agencies, including the departments of the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources and the National Research Council of Canada.
Honourable senators, when will the government finally put an end to its policy of muzzling scientists, whose work is paid for by Canadian taxpayers?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the government is extremely proud of our scientists and of the world-class scientific research that they do. Federal scientists regularly provide media interviews and publish thousands of research papers each year. For example, in 2012, Environment Canada scientists published more than 700 scientific articles.
The government made an announcement in the last few days with regard to the oil sands in collaboration with the Minister of the Environment from the Province of Alberta. The public will be able to directly access a portal to receive up-to-date information on the scientific research with regard to the development of the oil sands.
As the honourable senator mentioned, the Information Commissioner has indicated an interest in looking into this matter. The government fully supports the Information Commissioner and her work on this very important issue.
Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, my question is also for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. On March 12 of this year, General Keith Alexander appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services to alert members of the committee of the cyber effects that are growing in that country. He drew a major distinction between the effort to take down the country's critical infrastructure and what would be classed as acts of war. He also reported on the fact that, in the previous six months, Wall Street had suffered 140 cyberattacks.
The Hon. the Speaker: Order.
Senator Moore: I will save my question for tomorrow.
Senator LeBreton: That is good, because I could not find my card in my book.
Senator Moore: I was hoping that the honourable senator did not have a card for this question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, on March 5, Senator Chaput rose on a question of privilege after giving the necessary written and oral notices. Her question of privilege concerns certain remarks in the Senate on February 13, 2013, during debate on Bill S-211. She argued that these comments had attacked her abilities as chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, breaching both her privileges and those of the committee. She outlined how she believed her question of privilege met the four criteria under the special process set out in Chapter 13 of the Rules. The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages has held four meetings since this question of privilege was raised, and on each of these occasions Senator Chaput has served as its chair.
As honourable senators know, a question of privilege must meet all four criteria set out in rule 13-3(1) to benefit from the special procedures in Chapter 13 of the Rules. The first of these criteria is that the matter be raised at the earliest opportunity. As Senator Chaput herself acknowledged, the Senate sat a number of times between February 13 and March 5. To meet the first criterion it would have been necessary to raise the matter on February 14, or to present a compelling case as to why that was not possible. Since this did not happen in this instance, the question of privilege does not meet the initial requirement to allow a prima facie question of privilege. Given this, it is not really necessary to evaluate it in terms of the others. In such a situation, the senator raising the matter still has, under rule 13-3(2), the option of proceeding by means of a substantive motion after notice. In the current case, however, the criteria of rule 13-3(1) have not been met, and there is no prima facie finding of a question of privilege.
Hon. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu moved third reading of Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Criminal Code.
He said: Honourable senators, this is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week and the ideal time to introduce at third reading the bill on victim surcharges, which has been called for and supported by victims of crime.
This bill was passed by a large majority of members of the House of Commons on December 12, and I hope, on behalf of the victims and their families, that this bill will be passed as soon as possible in the Senate. By doubling the victim surcharge and making it automatic, this bill responds directly to the demands of Canadian victim organizations such as the Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared, Victims of Violence and Canadian Parents of Murdered Children.
The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which approved Bill C-37 last week, had the opportunity to hear the testimony of key figures and important people who are well aware of the challenges victims of crime face after the fact.
This bill received the support of Sue O'Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime; Sharon Rosenfeldt, President of Victims of Violence, Canadian Centre for Missing Children; and Michel Surprenant, President of the Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared.
I would also like to point out that the Honourable Andrew Swan, MLA, Minister of Justice and Attorney General for the Government of Manitoba, also supports this bill.
The Manitoba government has been a strong voice in support of victims of crime. Manitoba supports Bill C-37.
This bill is very important for victims and their loved ones. I would like to remind honourable senators that this bill is a response to two key concerns of victims of crime, namely, funding for services for victims of crime throughout the provinces and territories and making criminals more accountable for their crimes. As a senator and government spokesperson for victims of crime, I would like to thank all of the witnesses and the Minister of Justice of Canada, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, for his unwavering support for this and other bills. I urge all senators to support this bill to help victims of crime in Canada. Thank you.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twelfth report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (budget — study on veterans affairs) presented in the Senate on April 23, 2013.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, (budget—study on social inclusion and cohesion in Canada) presented in the Senate on April 23, 2013.
Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the twenty-second report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, (budget—study on prescription pharmaceuticals in Canada) presented in the Senate on April 23, 2013.
Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Manning, seconded by the Honourable Senator roman; Meredith, that the seventh report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled: The Sustainable Management of Grey Seal Populations: A Path Toward the Recovery of Cod and other Groundfish Stocks, tabled in the Senate on October 23, 2012, be adopted and that, pursuant to rule 12-24(1), the Senate request a complete and detailed response from the Government, with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans being identified as minister responsible for responding to the report, in consultation with the Minister of Health.
Hon. Mac Harb: Honourable senators, I appreciate having the time to conclude my remarks on this report — a report that I predict will be treated like all other previous reports recommending a cull of seals. It will be put on a shelf and ignored totally.
I suppose many honourable senators are relieved as of late that their offices are not dealing with the large number of calls and emails encouraging the debate of the commercial seal hunt. While this is due to the fact they have allowed the debate on the hunt, I thank them for that, as well as for showing courage.
With a grand total of over 806,000 emails, letters and postcards reaching Parliament, I would say that those opposed to the commercial seal hunt made their point very well. However, I can make a promise: The campaign will go back into full gear should the government proceed with the adoption of the Fishery Committee's report and carry out the grey seal slaughter. This is not a threat; it is a promise. A slaughter has no obvious benefit whatsoever. A slaughter will be costly, cruel and unjust, with no market and thousands of corpses to dispose of.
In fact, this cull would solve nothing and could make things much worse. The government's own marine biologists warn against removing a large number of seals from our oceans, saying that this could have disastrous repercussions and could even result in the final collapse of the groundfish stock, which is only now beginning a fragile recovery.
Honourable senators, I applaud the Minister of the Environment for saying no to the killing of grey seals on Sable Island and I am hoping that the Minister of Fisheries will also find the courage to say no to this report and its recommendations.
I would like to call on honourable senators to receive the report rather than adopt it. By doing so, they will be serving the best interests of our oceans, the best interests of Canadians and certainly the best interests of our international reputation.
The very question of a cull would not have arisen if there was a viable market for seal product. Let us face it, no one is hunting grey seals and only a couple of dozen boats went out hunting harp seals this year. The commercial seal hunt is now essentially a micro workfare program funded by government loans.
Let me explain. Department figures show that in 2012 the landed value of the commercial seal hunt was $1.6 million, yet the cost to the government to support monitoring the hunt, with the Coast Guard and other costs, was $2 million. That is not a smart investment.
For the second year in a row, the Newfoundland and Labrador government loaned $3.6 million to the sealing industries while, at the same time, cutting $4 million from the tourism budget and chopping 1,200 government jobs, hurting real jobs in viable industries.
It is difficult to understand the rationale for such a decision, but, at the very least, it is obvious that it was not based on economics or a real desire to help the hard working people of the Atlantic region.
It is time the government realized that there is no market for seal products. The industry is up against a ban on the sale of seal products in 34 countries. Demand elsewhere is sluggish to non-existent. The government has spent millions attempting to lift the European Union's embargo on seal products, but now people are saying that even if the embargo is lifted — and I do not believe that it will be — it is unlikely that those markets will open up again. That is more money down the drain.
By some estimates, over the past 15 years, the government has spent more than $30 million attempting to resuscitate the industry, all to no avail. The secret is out: the commercial seal hunt is not a viable industry. The minister did not even bother to set a quota for this year's hunt.
I wonder if I may be given another 45 seconds?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, is more time granted?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Five minutes.
Senator Harb: Even the dying industry's most desperate attempts to save itself are a thing of the past. It is over.
The millions of Canadians and animal welfare groups who oppose the commercial hunt are now asking the government and provincial governments to step in with proper transitional job programs for people in the commercial hunt industry.
This is what the government did when the whaling industry ended and, more recently, with funding contained in 2013, to transition workers facing the end of the asbestos industry. Why not do the same for people involved in the commercial seal hunt? A legislated end to the hunt and a subsequent licence buyout would cost less than 2 per cent of what the government has already spent on buyouts on the East Coast since 1992.
The commercial seal hunt has become nothing more than a political football, with politicians competing for votes by blindly supporting the costly continuation of an industry with no vital signs.
It is time, honourable senators, to stop playing games with the livelihood of these hardworking Canadians and to support them.
It is time to put our efforts and resources toward supporting positive economic employment opportunities for Atlantic Canada and its people. We can and must do better for hardworking Canadians. That is how you get votes.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Will Honourable Senator Harb accept a question?
Senator Harb: Yes.
Hon. Ghislain Maltais: Would the honourable senator be just as supportive of the millions of people, including those who have emailed us, who want to stop the slaughter of red tuna in the Mediterranean, which turns red for days because the tuna is practically canned alive? Would the honourable senator be just as committed to banning the Mediterranean tuna fishery?
Senator Harb: If seals spoke French, English or even Arabic, I could tell them to stop eating red tuna. The honourable senator raised an important issue, and the governments of European countries, Canada and other nations that have fishing vessels in international waters must sit down together to talk about standards and short- and long-term measures relating to this issue.
However, if you want me to speak to the people who contacted you to tell them that something should be done to protect the tuna, I will come up with a more logical response than what you came up with, and I will be willing to work with you to protect the tuna.
Senator Maltais: Red tuna is on the verge of extinction. Seals are not. Could you work a little more quickly while we still have red tuna left? This is happening at the doorstep of a woman who is condemning Canadians who hunt seals. This could make the pill easier to swallow.
Senator Harb: Seals are innocent. They are not the ones eating the tuna. Other people eat tuna; hunters eat tuna. A number of scientific studies have been done to observe what seals eat. Experienced biologists have found that fish makes up no more than 4 per cent of the food in a seal's stomach. Ninety-five per cent of a seal's diet is made up of other things. Seals eat herring. The honourable senator knows what herring is. Herring eat fish eggs, but they eat much more. For every fish a seal eats, a herring eats 3,000 or 4,000 eggs. When the herring eats these eggs, it decreases stocks of cod, the number of fish.
Instead of looking at seals as the enemy, I suggest that we look at them as a friend to fish. We must respect the ecosystem. As politicians, we cannot decide that one animal should live and another should not. That makes no sense.
Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Would the honourable senator take another question?
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: The honourable senator's time has expired.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.
An Hon. Senator: On division.
(Motion agreed to, on division, and report adopted.)
Leave having been given to revert to Reports of Committees, Other, Item No. 6:
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the eighth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, (budget—study on hydrocarbon transportation) presented in the Senate on April 18, 2013.
Hon. Grant Mitchell moved the adoption of the report.
The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Cools, calling the attention of the Senate to:
(a) the new monument recognizing the aircrews of World War II Bomber Command, called the Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial, and to the ceremony for the dedication and unveiling of this monument at Green Park, London, on June 28th, 2012, by Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, and to the attendance at this ceremony of Marshal of the Royal Air Force His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh; and
(b) the attendance at this ceremony of several members of the Royal Family being Their Royal Highnesses, Marshal of the Royal Air Force the Prince of Wales, and Air Marshal Prince Michael of Kent, and Air Chief Marshal the Duke of Kent, and Air Marshal the Duke of Gloucester, and Air Commodore the Earl of Wessex, and Air Commodore the Duke of York, and also Their Royal Highnesses, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Countess of Wessex, revealing the closeness of the Royal Family to Britain's Royal Air Force and their dedication to the memory of all of those who fell in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War; and
(c) Remembrance Day on November 11, 2012, the day for our Canadian veterans and those who served, when we remember, reflect on, and uphold all those who answered the call of duty, and those who fell in active combat, in their assigned theatres of war particularly in the Second World War, in defence of God, King, and Country, the British Commonwealth and the Allied countries; and
(d) Canadian aircrew in World War II, particularly those who served with Royal Air Force Bomber Command, and who are now celebrated in this new memorial unveiled by Her Majesty on June 28th, 2012, being both those with 6 Group Royal Canadian Air Force, and those with the other Bomber Command Squadrons, including some Canadian senators, who faced many Nazi night fighters and Nazi anti-aircraft guns nightly; and
(e) a Canadian from Alberta, a retired airline pilot, Karl Kjarsgaard, who is devoted to the memory of the efforts and sacrifices of the aircrews of Bomber Command, and to his special contribution to the construction of the ceiling of the Memorial, being the aluminum used to build it; and
(f) our own Canadian Bomber Command memorial located at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta, being a wall of remembrance wherein are inscribed the names of the 10,659 fallen Canadian aircrew as a monument to those who fell in Bomber Command, which for many years was the only Allied offensive against Fortress Europe; and
(g) honour, to celebrate, to uphold and to thank all the remarkable Canadian veterans for their incalculable contributions to humanity during the Second World War and to whom we owe an enormous debt.
Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, life as a whip is truly busy. Therefore, I need more time to look at my notes and do some research on the history. I move the adjournment of the debate for the remainder of my time.
The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
(On motion of Senator Munson, debate adjourned.)
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, April 25, 2013, at 1:30 p.m.)