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LCJC - Standing Committee

Legal and Constitutional Affairs



OTTAWA, Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs met this day at 11:45 a.m. [ET] for clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-230, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Senator Mobina S. B. Jaffer (Chair) in the chair.


The Chair: Senators, I invite my colleagues to introduce themselves.

Senator Batters: Senator Denise Batters from Saskatchewan.

Senator Tannas: Scott Tannas from Alberta.

Senator Simons: Paula Simons, Alberta, Treaty 6 territory.

Senator Klyne: Good morning, Marty Klyne from Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 territory.


Senator Petitclerc: Chantal Petitclerc from Quebec.


Senator Pate: Kim Pate. I live here in the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg.

Senator Cotter: I am Brent Cotter, a senator for Saskatchewan.

Senator Boyer: Yvonne Boyer, Ontario.

The Chair: I’m Mobina Jaffer from British Columbia.

Senators, as you know, a vacancy has arisen in the position of deputy chair of the committee. I am therefore ready to receive a motion to elect a new deputy chair. Are there any nominations?

Senator Tannas: I nominate Senator Batters.

The Chair: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Tannas that the Honourable Senator Batters be deputy chair of this committee. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Thank you. I declare the motion carried. Congratulations, senator.

Senator Petitclerc, welcome to our committee. It is nice to have you.

Colleagues, as you know, we are meeting to begin clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-230, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Before we begin, I would like to remind senators of a number of points. If at any point a senator is not clear where we are in the process, please ask for clarification. I want to ensure that at all times, we have the same understanding of where we are in the process. In terms of the mechanics of the process, when more than one amendment is proposed to be moved in a clause, amendments should be proposed in the order of the lines of a clause. If a senator is opposed to an entire clause, the proper process is not to move a motion to delete the entire clause but to vote against the clause as standing as part of the bill.

Some amendments that are moved may have consequential effects on other parts of the bill. It is therefore useful to this process if a senator moving an amendment identified to the committee other clauses in this bill where this amendment could have an effect. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for members of the committee to remain consistent in their decision making. Because no motion is required to move amendments, there can, of course, have been no preliminary analysis of the amendments to establish which ones may be of consequence to others and which may be contradictory.


If committee members have a question about the process or the merits of something, they may raise a point of order. The chair will listen to the arguments and decide when we have discussed the procedural matter sufficiently, and will then make a decision.

The committee is the master of its own proceedings in accordance with the rules established by the Senate and a senator may appeal a decision by the chair before this committee by asking whether the decision should be discussed.

Finally, senators must know that, in the event of a tie, the motion is defeated.


Are there any questions, senators?

Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-230, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act?

Senator Tannas: Senators, before we proceed to clause by clause, I wish to raise a concern that I have about something that may be missing from this bill. According to the Constitution, bills that appropriate public money require a Royal Recommendation. We have several Speakers’ decisions that outline when a Royal Recommendation is necessary. A Royal Recommendation is necessary when a bill allocates money not previously authorized or broadens an existing authorized expenditure. A Royal Recommendation is also needed if a measure extends benefits. There is a caveat that if the action only imposes a minor administrative expense on a department or agency, a Royal Recommendation may not be necessary.

I’m concerned that the bill, which requires the engagement of outside medical professionals for mental health assessments, may trigger the need. This could be a new expenditure and outside the previously authorized allocation of funds for the government. Further, we are going to compel the minister — the minister must effect transfers to hospitals. This will potentially result in large expenditures and/or require expanded capacity.

I’m particularly inspired, I guess, by the testimony from the person from the Philippe-Pinel National Institute of Forensic Psychiatry in Quebec.

I suppose the provisions in this bill that are to be used by the department could fall within the exception of being minor, but we don’t know. My interjection here is not to prevent us from considering the bill but to make sure we are proceeding correctly. In my opinion, it would be a disservice to Senator Pate if we proceed only to have it stopped later in the process.

I’d like to suggest we simply delay the clause by clause to hear the Law Clerk’s views on the Royal Recommendation and/or potentially invite the Parliamentary Budget Officer to provide an estimate of this cost to determine if these additional funds can be considered minor or if indeed a Royal Recommendation would be required.

That’s my proposal. I leave it in the hands of steering or the committee to determine how we proceed.

Senator Pate: Thank you very much, Senator Tannas. I appreciate your concern. I do think this is a matter of procedural substance that probably should have been raised at second reading as a concern, but I’m quite happy to speak to it.

With Bill C-83, the government gave money to Correctional Service Canada specifically for these sorts of provisions. My understanding from the clerk as early as this morning is that we still have not received further detail about how that money was spent. At Finance Committee, we received some detail, and it was very evident it was not being used for any new beds, contrary to what was allocated according to the Royal Recommendation with Bill C-83.

As well, it was a near identical procedure — with the exception of a requirement to move people out — that Bill C-83 was implementing. At that time, we did ask the Parliamentary Budget Officer to cost putting someone in segregation — in an SIU versus a hospital bed — and it deemed that the reallocation would actually be cost-effective. It would cost less to allocate those monies to contract those monies externally. Therefore, we have the costing.

The Senate worked on these amendments as part of Bill C-83, which seemed to be part of what gave rise to the additional funds being allocated under Bill C-83. We had one witness from the Philippe-Pinel National Institute of Forensic Psychiatry who, with respect, wasn’t aware — when I asked the question — that there had been a move at one point to open a much larger unit that Correctional Service Canada then balked on. This is someone who didn’t have the same level of experience, I would argue, as others who might have answered differently.

We also heard from other witnesses, notably, Michael Spratt, who was asked specifically that question with respect to legal aid funding in terms of having to go to court for the 48-hour review. He indicated that, in his legal opinion, that wouldn’t come into the realm of a Royal Recommendation because it impacted, if at all, provincial funding but was merely a reallocation of resources.

In addition, virtually this exact provision is what was in Recommendation 69 of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights report, which has been tabled twice in the Senate and accepted twice by the chamber.

I don’t see the need for it. I see it as a reallocation of resources rather than new resources being applied.

Right now, as when Senator Simons raised the question about the MOU, the fact that Correctional Service Canada has chosen to let memoranda of understanding lapse doesn’t obviate the reality that they still have exchange of service agreements with every province and territory for health services. It puts the onus on Correctional Service Canada to actually reveal where they’re spending those monies they have already been allocated for this exact purpose. In addition, they’ve been allocated money for mental health advocates that they also haven’t been able to account for.

Senator Simons: I have received further correspondence in regard to the MOU in Alberta. This may be helpful. The letter we received informed us that the MOU ended in 2006 in Alberta. This is not a recent state of affairs. It’s almost 20 years. Since then, their protocol is, “ … once an offender is certified, they are transferred to our regional psychiatric centre in Saskatoon within 24 hours.” So these expenses would be within the existing envelope. I still find it peculiar that this is the strategy. I suspect that, as we get further into the bill, there will be a discussion about how a disabling mental health condition is not quite the same as a certifiable one. Other than that, they deal with psychiatric matters within the facility with staff that they contract from Alberta Health Services, or AHS, but they’re not allowed to send people out to beds.

The Chair: Anyone else?


Senator Carignan: It is quite clear to me that there is an issue with the commitment of funds.

The testimony I heard highlighted the material and financial resources needed for the implementation of this bill. The most striking reply I got was when I asked the Institut national de psychiatrie légale Philippe-Pinel how many prisoners are considered to be suffering from “mental illness” as defined at the time of their detention. The answer was that they all were. Every one. So I don’t know if the goal is to put a red cross on penitentiaries and say they have become hospitals.

This obviously has a huge financial impact on the allocation of resources or creation of resources, because it is not covered by the current amounts budgeted. I think the services should look into this before we go any further.

The Chair: Were you here when Senator Pate provided the explanation?

Senator Carignan: Yes, I heard it and my staff briefed me on it quickly.

The Chair: So you heard it?

Senator Carignan: Yes.


The Chair: Anyone else?

Senator Dalphond: I will speak briefly on the point of order. I think it deserves to be looked at. But there’s also —

Senator Cotter: Can I understand? Are you raising a point of order, or did you just want to have a conversation, senator?

Senator Tannas: I’m prepared to make a motion. If it’s deemed to be in order, I would make a motion that we postpone clause by clause until the next meeting and ask the Law Clerk to examine the bill and give us his opinion.

Senator Cotter: I’m trying to understand what we’re doing. It was brought to my attention by the way Senator Dalphond began. I think this is really a motion to adjourn consideration of this presently and isn’t really a point of order at this point.

Senator Dalphond: If I can resume.

Senator Cotter: I apologize.

Senator Dalphond: I understand that what he’s raising is a kind of point of order. He wants to have an opinion from the Law Clerk about this issue.

What I want to say is that any bill we pass when we put into legislation a new crime, for example, will translate into police officers having to enforce the law, Crown prosecutors having to engage proceedings and systems to deal with these things, judges to hear the matters, and maybe people in the jail systems having to deal with those who would be convicted and having to serve time in jail. This is not necessarily something that requires a Royal Recommendation because it may result in expenditures. This is not considered an expenditures bill.

Here, however, the evidence is not clearly saying that there will be expenditures, but all the evidence shows that, for example, an MOU will have to be entered into in order for an inmate or an incarcerated person to be transferred to hospital within 48 hours to be assessed. We were also told about some other aspects.

Maybe it’s worth exploring where the line is. When it’s incidental, I guess it’s okay; when it’s clearly spending money, it’s not okay. Where is the line in between? I personally would benefit from an opinion from the Law Clerk about this.

Senator Cotter: This is helpful, at least in understanding what the process is that we have under consideration. I had thought, when Senator Tannas introduced his intervention, that he was proposing, for the benefit of Senator Pate, an early consideration of this question so that, if I might put it like this, the bill doesn’t have the rug pulled out from under it at a subsequent point. If that’s the nature of the line of inquiry, it seems to invite Senator Pate to decide whether she wants to run the risk of having a bad outcome in the Senate when this might be raised more formally there, which I presume could happen. In that sense, I thought it was Senator Pate’s call.

If this is a motion to adjourn consideration of this to answer this question, I understand it’s a legitimate line of inquiry, but it does seem to arise at the eleventh hour since we’ve been studying this bill and hearing about these questions of costs for a few months. In that respect, it seems to me unfair to Senator Pate to have her bill not considered today if she wishes to have it considered. I think I would vote against the motion to adjourn clause-by-clause consideration.

Senator Batters: My point was going to be about how this came about this morning. It was after the chair asked, “Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of this bill?” that Senator Tannas raised his intervention. It seems that is actually the very appropriate time to raise such a point and to determine, before we proceed to clause by clause, whether this is a topic that should be dealt with. I think that’s the appropriate point. It’s not really a point of order, but it’s just that point in the process when the chair considers that and when we decide whether we’re going to clause by clause.

The Chair: Senator Tannas, I’m putting you on the hot seat, but would you be agreeable to what Senator Cotter suggested, that we proceed, and it’s Senator Pate’s call?

Senator Tannas: I’ll abide by the will of the committee or call of the chair. I’ve heard that it’s a valid concern. I apologize for the lateness of it, especially to Senator Pate, who’s worked hard on this bill, as she does on all of her bills. I think it’s a legitimate concern, chair. To do nothing other than clear the air, maybe we have a vote, and then I’m happy to move on. But again, I leave it to you.

The Chair: We’ll try to resolve it without a vote first.

Senator Pate, did you want to say anything else?

Senator Pate: I’d be quite prepared to ask the Parliamentary Budget Officer to update their costing based on this. My preference would be to proceed with clause by clause at this point, but I would undertake to get that costing and make sure it’s distributed and share that with folks.

One of the realities is that if you ask Corrections if they will need more money, I can tell you today what their answer will be. That’s what they said on Bill C-83, and that’s why new allocation of monies was made at the House level for resources. They have not been able to establish what they spent that money on. We heard from the Correctional Investigator that they’ve, in fact, gone from 600 mental health beds to 200 mental health beds in the time that they’ve also cut MOUs.

The reality is that I would trust something from the Parliamentary Budget Officer to try to assess that information. I’m not certain that we can trust something that will probably rely on Corrections itself to be necessarily accurate, quite frankly.

Senator Tannas: If we proceed to clause by clause and not report this out until we’re back here in two weeks or 10 days or whatever, and we get a PBO number and the Law Clerk says that, based on the number, in his view, this requires a Royal Recommendation or does not require a Royal Recommendation, before we spill it into the chamber, I would be okay with that, if that’s helpful.

Senator Batters: Personally, I think it would be better, rather than to do a clause by clause. Frankly, my views on a clause by clause will be impacted by the very result of the PBO and then I can’t pull that back after we’ve gone through the clause by clause. I think we should have that information first because, as I’ve expressed in the last few meetings, a concern of mine is the significant mental health costs that can result from this and potentially taking away from elsewhere in a very overburdened system.

The Chair: Senator Dalphond, I’m going to call on you. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you said that you would like to know what the line is before we proceed; is that what you’re saying?

Senator Dalphond: I would feel more comfortable, quite frankly.


Senator Carignan: I would also rather get the opinions first, as much for the costs as for the line, and then go ahead with clause-by-clause consideration. If there is an issue, we could fix the bill by adopting amendments or provisions to make certain parts of the bill more acceptable rather than defeating it entirely — something we could not do in a vacuum.


The Chair: Anyone else?

Senators, do you want to proceed to a vote? The question is as follows: Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill S-230, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act? Is it agreeable that we proceed now?

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

Some Hon. Senators: No.

The Chair: We had better take a vote. The question is whether we can proceed just now.

Vincent Labrosse, Clerk of the Committee: The Honourable Senator Jaffer?

Senator Jaffer: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Batters?

Senator Batters: No.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Boyer?

Senator Boyer: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Carignan, C.P.?

Senator Carignan: No.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Cotter?

Senator Cotter: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Dalphond?

Senator Dalphond: No.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Klyne?

Senator Klyne: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Pate?

Senator Pate: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Petitclerc?

Senator Petitclerc: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Simons?

Senator Simons: Yes.

Mr. Labrosse: The Honourable Senator Tannas?

Senator Tannas: No.

Mr. Labrosse: Yeas, 7; nays, 4; abstentions, nil.

The Chair: Senators, we will proceed with clause by clause.

Senator Cotter: Notwithstanding the outcome of the vote, I think Senator Tannas proposed a wise move forward, and I think Senator Pate was in agreement, that in the interim, however we deal with it — amend, adopt or not — it would be helpful for this question to be known, and we have a small window of time for that to be explored. Whether it is now or at the end of the meeting, I think we should figure out a mechanism by which the Parliamentary Budget Officer can provide us information on what essentially is a procedural question as opposed to more evidence about the bill.

Senator Pate: I agree with that, and it would likely take priority if it came from you as chair of the committee rather than from me as a member of the committee.

The Chair: Are we all agreeing that we want to hear from the Parliamentary Budget Officer? Senator, you had also suggested an opinion from the Law Clerk as well? May we do this at the end, please? Thank you.

Shall the preamble stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the title stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the alternative title, stand postponed?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall clause 2 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 3 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 4 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 5 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 6 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 7 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 8 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 9 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 10 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 11 carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the alternative title, carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the preamble carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Shall the title carry?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the bill carry?

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Batters: On division.

The Chair: Does the committee wish to consider appending observations to this report?

Senator Batters: No.

The Chair: Is it agreed that I report this bill to the Senate in both official languages?

Senator Batters: Except wouldn’t we wait for the results?

The Chair: We already agreed we won’t do it until we get them.

Senator Batters: That needs to be expressly part of that.

The Chair: Thank you. Senators, as we agreed, I will not report this back to the Senate until we get the opinion of the Law Clerk and the Budget Officer.

Senator Dalphond: If we get the opinion and we get PBO report. I guess we’re going to reconvene, discuss that and then agree whether to send the report to the house?

Senator Cotter: I agree with Senator Dalphond that we should not have the motion that you report back to the Senate until after we have had that consideration. With respect, I would suggest we not entertain a motion along those lines just yet.

The Chair: I agree. We will wait for that one.

Does anybody want to move a motion as to exactly what you want the PBO and Law Clerk to study?

Senator Klyne: I didn’t want to get into the exactness of that; I will leave that to Senator Tannas.

Maybe this is a question for Senator Pate. With regard to the cost of this, is there some way we can meld in some form of advance consultation with provinces? Or maybe you can explain to me who receives the burden of this when they say inmates get moved from a Corrections facility to other beds for mental health care?

Senator Pate: It’s a combination of the Correctional Service Canada allocating resources and contracting beds so they can be developed within the province and then the province providing the services.

Senator Klyne: Is that within the scope of what you are planning to pose to the PBO?

Senator Pate: The PBO, when they costed this initially — actually, not this but when we requested the costing for Bill C-83, when the amendment was being proposed, that’s what they based the costing on, so this would be an update, I would imagine, of that process. My understanding is that’s part of what led to the allocation of additional resources that were not used by Corrections in the way that they were allocated.

Senator Klyne: Thank you.

The Chair: Who wants to move the motion? Senator Tannas, I’ve just been told that it’s not the Law Clerk but the tabling officer we will refer it to.

Senator Tannas: I would move that we request that the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the tabling officer review the bill to ensure that it does not require a Royal Recommendation; that they be provided with the transcript of this meeting to help guide them in their work and whatever other information they feel they need; that they report back as quickly as possible; and that we then reconvene to finish clause by clause.

The Chair: May I offer a friendly amendment? It won’t be just this meeting, but it would be the whole proceedings of this bill. Is that acceptable?

Senator Tannas: That’s fine.

The Chair: Does anybody else want to speak on that?

Senator Cotter: I was just trying to write out some words for Senator Tannas’ motion because I think the PBO’s role isn’t to address the question of Royal Recommendation, but presumably the table officer.

Senator Tannas: His role is to cost it.

Senator Cotter: Can I propose some language, or do you want to take a stab at it, Senator Pate?

Senator Pate: I’m happy to have you propose the language, but I want to be clear. We are talking about the provisions that are in clause 4, the transfer out, as opposed to the whole thing, taking into account the comments that Senator Dalphond made. If we asked for a costing of the whole bill, absent any other context, it could be a very different picture, much like if you asked for the costing of any criminal law bill.

Senator Tannas: To me, it is in this transfer process and moving from “shall” to “must,” with the new definition for the assessment. That is where my concern lies.

Senator Cotter: We want him to focus on that.

Senator Pate: I thought it was clause 4 that people were focused on.

Senator Carignan: The entire bill.


We have to look at the entire bill. In any case, we are working backwards, in my opinion, but the decision has been made. We should nonetheless look at the entire bill and the evidence produced, with the attendant consequences.


The Chair: How does everyone else feel? We have a motion by Senator Tannas. Senator Tannas, would you like to reword it, or Senator Cotter?

Senator Cotter: My assistant will take care of it. It started to fall apart like a cinnamon bun. I will leave a little hole to address the question that Senator Tannas wants to propose in his motion, inspired perhaps by Senator Carignan’s intervention or perhaps Senator Pate’s.

The motion would be that we direct the chair of the committee to request that the Parliamentary Budget Officer provide a cost estimate regarding the implementation of Bill S-230 — I’m not snapping up Senator Carignan’s intervention because it is Senator Tannas’s motion, so I think he gets to fill in the phrasing there, and we might debate that — and an opinion of the tabling officer regarding whether the adoption of Bill S-230 would constitute — I don’t know what the phrasing is — a violation of the Royal Recommendation.

An Hon. Senator: Would necessitate a Royal Recommendation.

Senator Cotter: Would necessitate a Royal Recommendation. Does that work for you? Now you just need to fill in that little phrase.

Senator Tannas: The implementation of the new elements, I guess, is really what we’re talking about.

Senator Batters: Aren’t the new elements the whole bill? Isn’t this bill amending that Corrections —

Senator Tannas: They are already going on, but in some cases the commissioner doesn’t have to do it if he or she doesn’t want to. Now we’re saying, “You have to in every case; you don’t have a choice.”

The Chair: Senator Tannas, was your objection that it shouldn’t be “shall” and that it should be “must”?

Senator Tannas: It is “must”; in some clauses before, it was “may,” and in others it was “shall.”

The Chair: There are two proposals going on here, but it’s your motion, and you want what? I’m not going to put words in your mouth.

Senator Tannas: Everything Senator Cotter said, but I think we would say the new elements in Bill S-230.

Senator Cotter: It is moved that the committee direct the chair of the committee to request that the Parliamentary Budget Officer provide a cost estimate regarding the implementation of the new elements of Bill S-230; and the opinion of the tabling officer regarding whether the adoption of Bill S-230 requires or would necessitate a Royal Recommendation.

The Chair: Are you satisfied with that?

Senator Tannas: Again, and that they be provided, frankly, with the transcript here so they get the context of what we’re looking for in the request.

Senator Cotter: And that the officers be provided with a transcript of this meeting and the deliberations of the committee regarding Bill S-230.

The Chair: You are moving that motion, right?

Senator Cotter: I am.

The Chair: It’s on the floor, and Senator Batters wants to discuss that.

Senator Batters: I had a little suggestion about the wording. I think you said “the new elements of”; I would suggest that it say “the new elements contained within Bill S-230.”

The Chair: That’s a friendly amendment, right? Is that acceptable? Do we need to take a vote on this, or is everyone accepting it?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Thank you.

Senator Pate: How often have these kinds of assessments been sought on other bills? I know we passed other private bills that clearly had cost implications where we didn’t interrogate the same.

The Chair: It’s unusual. The table officers have been scrambling. It is unusual.


Senator Carignan: We have a new policy here at the Senate, with a larger number of private bills being introduced. In the past, when senators wanted to draw the Senate’s attention to a matter, they made an inquiry. Now they introduce a private bill. As a result, there has been a large number of private bills in the Senate in the past few years, which was not the case before.

Obviously, if a bill is introduced... For example, there was a bill on fiddling day, and royal assent was not really an issue. On the other hand, in the case of bills with major financial implications and potentially giving rise to the expenditure of public funds, those are government bills, introduced by a government minister. Those bills automatically require royal assent because they are introduced by government ministers. The fact that it was introduced in the past, here in the Senate, by a senator who is not a member of cabinet... The more bills that are passed, the more senators will introduce bills that are important to the Senate, and the more often the issues involving the need for royal assent will arise.


The Chair: The procedure was different because we were all whipped. We didn’t have this new system. What we see now is under the new system. That’s the issue. The system is completely different.


Senator Carignan: Whether the system is new or old doesn’t change anything. The Rules of the Senate still provide for inquiries. In the past, the procedure was an inquiry; now a bill is introduced. I am not opposed to such bills and have introduced some myself, and I have others to introduce, but it is a question of procedure.


Senator Cotter: That observation was very helpful, Senator Carignan.

This is an acknowledgement of the bit of a dilemma that perhaps Senator Tannas faced here. It’s not always easy to know at the beginning of the study of a bill whether it will have the implications some might be concerned about. It seems to me perfectly legitimate to raise this question at a particular time when, based on the evidence, one might develop some anxiety around this point. I think probably we need to be flexible in the consideration of when those concerns get expressed, and it feels to me like we’re following a good process with this bill.

Senator Pate: It’s helpful to hear that, because I know — whether it’s judicial education or electronic monitoring — we passed a number of bills that will clearly have significant financial implications in terms of the administration of justice, and we haven’t requested these kinds of costings. If this is now going to be part of the procedure, it is helpful to know that. In anticipation of that, with Bill C-83 and the amendments we were making, we actually sought those costings from the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It’s interesting that I’m not certain that others have done the same with previous private bills.

Senator Cotter: I wanted to add that there might be additional costs as a result of this newer process that Senator Carignan articulated, but we have started to save a bit of money in terms of the cost of whips that are required in the Senate.

The Chair: I will ignore that.

Senator Batters: We haven’t, actually. Just some groups call them “liaisons.”

I wanted to make a comment about the judicial education bill. By the time it did finally pass, it was a government bill. The Trudeau government brought it back as a government bill, so it wouldn’t have required a Royal Recommendation.

The Chair: We call the question. All those in favour of Senator Tannas’s — we did it already.

An Hon. Senator: I don’t think so. Wasn’t Senator Batters —

The Chair: She was just making a comment. We passed it, right? The clerk tells me we passed it.

Senator Pate: I think we already have some of the costing.

The Chair: Senators, this was difficult.

Senator Simons: I have one tiny note I wanted to make for the record. When we were speaking recently with Jeff Wilkins from the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, or UCCO, I mentioned to him that I had met with members of his union in Edmonton, and I misidentified the union leader with whom we had met. He was the deputy regional vice-president and not the regional vice-president. I wanted to apologize for that misidentification.

The Chair: Thank you for the clarification.

Senators, I’m told this has not happened before, and Senator Tannas, thank you for doing it to me. We always work things through, so thank you very much for everyone’s cooperation.

When we come back, we will be looking at the sterilization bill. Please get ready for the sterilization bill. If we have the answer from the PBO and the tabling officer, we will proceed with that first. Is that acceptable?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Thank you, everyone. May I please ask steering to stay behind.

(The committee adjourned.)

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