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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 2

Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Senate met at 2 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Afghanistan—Fallen Soldiers

Silent Tribute

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed, I would ask honourable senators to rise and observe one minute of silence in memory of Lieutenant Andrew Richard Nuttall, Sergeant George Miok, Sergeant Kirk Taylor, Corporal Zachery McCormack, Private Garrett William Chidley, Sergeant John Faught and Corporal Joshua Caleb Baker, whose tragic deaths occurred over the last three months while serving their country in Afghanistan.

Honourable senators then stood in silent tribute.

[Translation]

Budget Speech

Accommodations for Senators in Commons Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: I remind honourable senators that the budget speech will be delivered in the other place at 4 p.m. today, Thursday, March 4, 2010.

As in the past, senators must take their seats in the section of the gallery reserved for the Senate in the House of Commons. Seating will be first come, first served. As space is limited, this is the only way we can ensure that those senators who wish to attend can do so.

[English]

Honourable senators, is it agreed that we would invite the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate to express words of welcome to the new members of the Senate?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

New Senators

Congratulations on Appointments

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am proud to rise in the chamber today to welcome five distinguished Canadians to our ranks. All have demonstrated impeccable leadership, community service and dignity in their lives. These qualities will serve them well, and they will be a credit to the Senate of Canada.

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu endured a parent's worst nightmare when his daughter, Julie, was murdered in 2002. Three years later tragedy struck again when his daughter, Isabelle, died in a car accident. He has since written that when we lose our parents, we grieve for our memories, and when we lose a child, we grieve for our dreams.

After Julie's death, he channelled his grief into activism and founded the Association of Families of Persons Assassinated or Disappeared. When Senator Boisvenu founded the association that he led for five years, his dream was to help families regain control over their lives and to show them the way to begin dreaming and living again. He is also the co-founder of Le Nid centre, which helps abused women.

A public servant by profession, Senator Boisvenu has served in a variety of positions in the Quebec government, including deputy minister of the department of regions. His strength of character and experience in life will serve him well as he begins down his next career path in the Senate of Canada. I welcome Senator Boisvenu's family and friends here today. I know Julie and Isabelle are in the senator's heart on this very special day. Welcome, Senator Boisvenu.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator LeBreton: Senator Bob Runciman, a fellow Eastern Ontarian, was the MPP for Leeds-Grenville for nearly 30 years. He has served in the cabinets of three premiers in various roles, including public safety, economic development and trade, Solicitor General and correctional services. Most recently, he served as opposition house leader.

Honourable senators, as a testament to the support and respect that Senator Runciman has garnered, he was chosen not once but twice by his fellow caucus members to serve as interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Before entering provincial politics, Senator Runciman worked in production management in the chemical industry, as a reporter and as an owner of a newspaper and commercial printing business.

Senator Runciman and his wife Janet have the distinct advantage of living in one of Canada's most beautiful areas, Brockville and the Thousand Islands, where he obviously would enjoy summer boating. As an avid golfer, he will contribute greatly to our caucus golf team.

He is particularly proud that both his daughters and his son-in- law are members of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Senator Runciman, it is a great honour to welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator LeBreton: Senator Vim Kochhar is the president and founder of the Vimal Group of Companies in Toronto. He was responsible for project management around the world for InterContinental Hotels and Howard Johnson Hotels.

Senator Kochhar created the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons. This foundation has spearheaded the establishment of the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, the Canadian Helen Keller Centre, the WhyNot Marathon for the Paralympics and many other great causes.

As Senator Kochhar once said, the wheelchair is not a symbol of disability, it is a symbol of freedom for people who cannot walk. This approach in recognizing the strengths of all people, regardless of their disability, is inspiring and will undoubtedly guide him as he begins his work in the Senate.

As a member of the board of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and chair of the Canadian Paralympic Foundation, it is no surprise that Senator Kochhar was chosen by India Abroad as one of the 30 most influential Canadians of Indian origin.

As a champion for people living with disabilities and as an exemplary Indo-Canadian citizen, I am especially proud to welcome Senator Kochhar to this chamber.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator LeBreton: Senator Elizabeth Marshall, a graduate of Memorial University with a bachelor of science in math, became a chartered accountant in 1979. She has a distinguished career, both as a public servant and as an elected official.

Senator Marshall served as Newfoundland's Auditor General for 10 years prior to her election to the House of Assembly in 2003 in the riding of Topsail. Before that she was a deputy minister in various portfolios, including social services and works, services and transportation.

Her vast experience as a professional public servant and as an elected official will be extremely beneficial as she embarks on her new role in the Senate of Canada on behalf of her beloved Newfoundland and Labrador.

Senator Marshall's family history is rooted in Newfoundland and Labrador. She is proud of the fact that she is the first member of her family to have been born in Canada. Her mother served in the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service during World War II and her father was a member of the Newfoundland Rangers Force, which integrated into the RCMP after the province joined Confederation in 1949.

Senator Marshall, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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Senator LeBreton: Senator Rose-May Poirier was first elected to the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly in 1999. She served in the government of Premier Bernard Lord as a cabinet minister in the portfolios of human resources, local government and Aboriginal affairs. Prior to her election, she was a successful business person, having worked in the insurance industry and also as an executive manager for Tupperware Canada.

Outside of politics, Senator Poirier has a hobby of collecting beach glass, which has led the senator and her daughter to make jewellery from the beach glass and display it at craft shows and summer markets in and around her hometown of Saint-Louis-de- Kent. She is quick to point out that each piece of beach glass has its own story to tell. We can hardly wait to hear some of them. Senator Poirier is an avid reader and proud of her family. Her husband Donald, as well as many relatives and friends from New Brunswick, are here with us today to witness the beginning of her new career in the Senate of Canada. Welcome, Senator Poirier.

I am sure that honourable senators will join me in welcoming these five exceptional Canadians who represent the heart and soul of our country. All are committed to working in the interests of all Canadians and I am extremely proud that they have joined our ranks. As we debate and decide upon issues of the day, these Canadians will make a valuable contribution. I know all honourable senators, and I am sure most people in the country, will join with me in stating that their service to the Senate will be of great benefit to our beloved Canada.

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I add my voice to that of the Leader of the Government in the Senate in welcoming our five new colleagues to this chamber. Much has been said and written about these appointments, but as always, the real measure of the wisdom of each of our appointments is the quality of our work here. Each honourable senator brings expertise and a unique perspective to this place. I look forward to working with each of you in the weeks and months ahead as we do our part to make Canada the best that it can be for all Canadians.

Let me take a moment to repeat some of the advice I gave to the 27 senators appointed by Prime Minister Harper last year. First, honourable senators, do not believe everything you have heard or read about this place. Look around. Take a few minutes to check out the backgrounds of your colleagues on both sides of this chamber. Honourable senators will find an unusual assemblage of highly accomplished Canadians with diverse backgrounds, often with international reputations — scholars, lawyers, surgeons, former judges, mayors, elected representatives from provinces and from the other place, journalists, community workers, members who have served in the Canadian Forces, artists, musicians and athletes. There is a rich depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise here.

Honourable senators, read some of the landmark reports that have issued from this place. A significant number have become leading works in their fields, cited and referred to again and again over the years and sometimes over the decades. Invariably, Canadian public policy has been better informed because of these reports.

Honourable senators, pull out some of the legislative studies our committees have undertaken. You will see the seriousness with which your colleagues analyze and assess the proposals that are before us in this chamber. They listen to Canadians who have taken the time to present their considered and deeply held views; they check for unintended consequences of particular drafting in the language of bills; and they work to craft amendments that will solve the identified problems.

Whether our new senators agree with the amendments put forward from time to time by their colleagues, I believe they will recognize that the amendments have been thoughtfully and seriously prepared with a view to the best interests of Canadians, even if those interests differ from their own.

Of course the Senate is a political place, but it has a strong and proud history of being less partisan than the other place. All of us are here because we are committed to public service. We are committed to do our best to make Canada the best that it can be, and while no doubt we will disagree many times as to what that goal entails, I believe that there will be many times also when we will find ourselves in agreement. Many of us on both sides of this chamber work hard to find bipartisan solutions to issues. That is not always possible, but I believe that when we are able to set partisanship aside, Canadians and the Senate benefit.

I acknowledge that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish partisan objectives from the public interest, and undoubtedly, at times each of us is convinced that the two are identical, but we were all summoned here with the following words:

KNOW YOU, that as well for the especial trust and confidence We have manifested in you, as for the purpose of obtaining your advice and assistance in all weighty and arduous affairs which may the State and Defence of Canada concern, We have thought fit to summon you to the Senate of Canada.

In those words, there is no mention of partisan politics, of particular interests, of acting as a rubber stamp. Rather, the best advice and assistance we can provide in all matters that concern the state and defence of Canada is what we are expected and obligated to provide. The obligation that we have each assumed is a weighty one.

I will end as I concluded last year when welcoming other new colleagues to the Senate. Honourable senators, I am confident that you will find the work here to be challenging, interesting, sometimes inspiring, and always with the potential of being extraordinarily satisfying. You have been afforded a unique opportunity to serve Canada. Take full advantage of it. If you do, you will find your time here to be a rich and rewarding experience, and Canada will be better off for your having been here. Welcome to the Senate.

2010 Olympic Winter Games

Congratulations to Participants

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, it is with tremendous pride that I rise today to honour the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the extraordinary members of our own golden Team Canada.

Over those 17 days, all of Canada joined together in awe and celebration to witness the incredible achievements of our athletes pushing themselves to the absolute limit in sports where success is measured in small fractions of a second. As my leader Michael Ignatieff phrased it in The Globe and Mail last Monday, the country itself felt like a team. For a couple of weeks we lived the same exhilaration, disappointment and elation — two and a half weeks of excellence, a shining window open to the ultimate competition of the best of the best.

In this great competition of athletes from the world over, Team Canada emerged triumphant. We had 206 athletes competing in Vancouver; 206 extraordinary Canadians at the top of their game and, of course, right here at home our athletes managed the feat of winning the most gold medals ever won by a country at a Winter Olympics. They accomplished it right here at home, cheered on by the entire nation — 14 gold medals and 26 medals overall. We are truly a nation of excellence taking our rightful place amongst the best.

Honourable senators, I am proud of that medal count but prouder still of the true Olympic spirit that shone from all of Team Canada day after day. That spirit was there in the extraordinary courage and determination of Joannie Rochette. It was there in the explosion of joy that resounded across this country when Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal of the games and first ever on Canadian soil. It was there again when Alexandre told the world of his own source of inspiration, his older brother Frédéric who lives with cerebral palsy and whose triumphant fist pump for his Olympian brother carried the jubilation of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Sadly, it was there when all of Canada stopped to mourn the tragic death of young Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia who died during a training run on the luge hours before the opening ceremonies. All young deaths are hard, but the terrible death of a young athlete carrying the dreams of his nation to Olympian heights moved all of us especially deep.

In the Olympic spirit, the Games went on, and what games they were. First, the triumphs of the women of Team Canada, resulting in blazing national headlines of ``Women Reign!'' Then, in the final weekend, our men put on a final push and also racked up medal after medal: curling, skiing, skating, snowboarding. Winter truly belongs to Canada.

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On the subject of hockey, was there ever such a glorious Winter Olympics? First, there was our women's hockey team, towering so high above all others. Then there was Sunday. One could not have scripted a better Olympic day of competition among titans. Sidney Crosby, a fellow Nova Scotian, now belongs to all of Canada. Sidney Crosby has taken his place among the all-time greats of this most Canadian of sports.

Honourable senators, I cannot conclude without recognizing the distinction and honour given to Senator Roméo Dallaire as he carried the Olympic flag into BC Place for the opening ceremonies, and to Senator Nancy Greene Raine, our own in- house Olympian, who was given the honour of passing the Olympic torch to Wayne Gretzky for the final lighting of the cauldron.

I know that all honourable senators will join me in extending congratulations and deep appreciation to VANOC for making the dream a reality; to the army of volunteers who worked smoothly behind the scenes to ensure everything went so well; to the great and beautiful city of Vancouver, whose spirit from the Japanese ``fusion'' hotdogs to the unbelievable cherry blossoms in February lit up these Games, welcoming and inspiring visitors and setting a new standard for host cities of Olympic Games; to the 2,632 athletes from around the world and especially to all 206 athletes of our Team Canada who, with the support of their trainers and families, made the world stop, sit up and take notice. Yes, we are nice and polite, but we also have what it takes and we are not afraid to show it. Next up, the Paralympics. Go, Canada, go!

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Honourable senators, I wanted to make a statement today about the unbelievably successful Olympic Games in Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler. That has already been done, and I concur 100 per cent.

I received an e-mail with the following words written by a 19- year-old student at the University of Ottawa. Her words are perfect. I wish to thank Chelsea Cross for letting me read them to honourable senators today.

[Translation]

The Winter Games are now over, and we are all proud of our athletes.

The following was written by a young student, Chelsea Cross, and I could not have said it better myself.

[English]

Thank you, Olympics.

Thank you for teaching me that although I didn't get along with them in high school, athletes are capable of extraordinary things and are amazing people. Thank you for opening my eyes to friendly competition, to camaraderie, to late nights spent with strangers over a united goal of support. Thank you for renewing my faith, and the nation's, in this beautiful country. Thank you for showing all of us that when we put our minds to it, we can do amazing things.

Thank you for two weeks of non-stop cheering, happiness, sadness, surprise, disappointment, overwhelming success, tears, laughter and memories. Thank you for helping me realize that I have so much to be proud of, in my country, in athletics, in arts, in society and people. Thank you for showing me that despite wars and recessions, despite famines, floods, drought, earthquakes and devastation, that the world can unite to create something spectacular.

Thank you for the chance to witness history, to see something unfold and to share this moment with people all over Earth. Thank you for something that I, and hundreds of thousands of other people, have been able to see as a unique experience that can never be repeated.

To the athletes, thank you for taking our hopes, our dreams and our wishes into your thoughts and onto your shoulders and making them a reality with the best Olympics Canada has ever competed in. Thank you for your hard work and dedication, and know that your triumphs, and your defeats, were felt across an entire nation, and know that no matter the results, gold to last place, we believe in you, and we are proud of you, and we thank you.

Most importantly, thank you, Olympics, for the overwhelming sense of pride that you have awoken in our nation: to crowds of people cheering and screaming, deafening the ears of everyone around; to feeling tears of happiness that you can't explain well up in our eyes as we watch our athletes compete; to holding our breath, excitement bubbling to the top, on the edges of our seats, just to know whether that point-one of a second was enough, to know whether that extra point will take us to the podium; to watch the athletes' faces light up and feel the tears on our cheeks and the unabashed happiness, knowing that everyone in Canada is feeling the exact same thing.

Thank you, Olympics, for what you have done for me, for the nation and for the world.

See you in 2014.

I believe.

Chelsea Cross.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Raine: There is no doubt these Games have changed Canada, especially young people. They will ignite dreams in children everywhere, pride in our country like never before and the realization that all of us can seek to excel in what we do. Congratulations to everyone; congratulations to all who made it happen.

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, I take this opportunity to commend and celebrate all our Canadian Olympians for their outstanding performances over the course of the past few weeks. Canadians are rightly proud of their accomplishments.

Prince Edward Islanders are full of pride for one of our own. Summerside's Heather Moyse earned herself a gold medal in the two-woman bobsleigh competition. Teamed with pilot Kaillie Humphries, the ladies of Canada 1 broke track records and became this country's first ever Olympic gold medalists in women's bobsleigh.

A rugby player on Canada's national team, Heather picked up the bobsleigh just months before the 2006 Olympics in Turin. She and Helen Upperton finished fourth, just 5/100ths of a second behind the bronze medal team. That same year, she was the only Canadian athlete selected to the all-star team at the Women's Rugby World Cup.

In recent years, she was awarded the Prince Edward Island Female Athlete of the Year in both 2005 and 2006, the Prince Edward Island Lieutenant Governor's Award in 2006 and earned her Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto.

Heather's accomplishments off the bobsleigh track and rugby field are equally impressive. She has been serving others, both at home and abroad, throughout her career. In 2001, she was chosen to do an internship as a disability sports program officer with Commonwealth Games Canada in Trinidad and Tobago. While there, she established Camp ABLE, a sports leadership camp for deaf and hearing-impaired teens in the Caribbean, coached girls/ women's rugby and worked with the Paralympic Association and Disabled Peoples' International.

Heather is Prince Edward Island's first female athlete to win an Olympic gold medal and the second Islander to do so. I offer my sincere congratulations to her on her Olympic gold and to all Canadian Olympic athletes who, win or lose, represented this country with such integrity and strength.

[Translation]

The Late Jacques Hétu, O.C.

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, on February 9, 2010, the Canadian classical music community lost Jacques Hétu, our best-known composer, whose works were among those played most often, both here at home and abroad.

Originally from Trois-Rivières, Jacques Hétu first studied with Clermont Pépin at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec, in Montreal. After winning the Prix d'Europe and a scholarship from the Canada Council for the Arts, he went on to study in Paris with Henri Dutilleux and Olivier Messiaen. When he returned to Quebec, he taught composition at Laval University and then at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where a room has been named in his honour.

He had 82 works in his catalogue, including five symphonies, 21 concertos for orchestra and various instruments, two string quartets, and pieces for piano and voice. One in particular is Les Abîmes du rêve, inspired by the poems of Émile Nelligan. Jacques Hétu remains the favourite composer of most performers in Quebec and Canada.

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To properly describe his music, I would like to quote the words of the people who knew it best, who said, ``Hétu rose above the divergent musical trends and brought us richly toned lyrical music that displays emotion and cohesive discourse within solid structural limits.''

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Officer of the Order of Canada and Officer of the Order of Quebec, Jacques Hétu was awarded the Prix Hommage by the Conseil québécois de la musique on January 31, 2010.

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra will present one of his compositions during its first concert of the season in September. His loved ones have told us how badly he wanted to be in Toronto last night, March 3, when the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was presenting the premiere of his last symphony. But, alas, it was not to be.

I was very moved to represent the Department of Canadian Heritage at the tribute concert held on February 19, 2010, in Montreal.

Jacques Hétu may no longer be with us, but his music will live on forever in our hearts and minds.

[English]

The Honourable Jim Munson

Fundraising Efforts for Victims of the Earthquake in Haiti

Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, many parliamentarians from both houses have initiated or promoted in some way fundraising events for earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the birthplace of our Governor General.

Personally, I was privileged to co-host a concert in Sudbury with a prominent local businessman, Gerry Lougheed Jr. The event raised $75,000.

Many senators, in their region, rose to the occasion. However, I regard with great esteem the creativity and energy of one of our colleagues for his contribution to the national effort on behalf of the earthquake victims. Senator Jim Munson suggested to the National Capital Commission that a ``Skating-for-Haiti'' event be organized, including performers on ice, for the first weekend of Ottawa's legendary Winterlude Festival.

His initiative galvanized skating enthusiasts, capital region residents and visitors alike, into a common purpose — raising money for the poorest nation in our hemisphere where the capital city was flattened and hundreds of thousands of people were killed or injured by the colossal quake. Skaters' donations and portions of sales by vendors of that iconic Ottawa food pastry, the Beavertail, realized $13,000.

Senator Munson skated 100 kilometres during that first weekend and raised $10,000. A total of $23,000 was donated to the Red Cross, and that amount was matched by government funding. From all accounts, Jim and his organizers had a cracking good time despite an unfortunate tumble by his loyal staffer, Amélie Crosson Gooderham, who slipped on the ice and broke a wrist.

Colleagues, please join me in complimenting Senator Jim Munson for his fantastic idea on behalf of the people of Haiti and for serving as a rallying point for the local Haitian community.

[Translation]

Thank you, Senator Munson. Your personal involvement serves as an example for us all.

[English]

2010 Olympic Winter Games

Congratulations to Participants

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, not to be repetitious, but last Sunday marked the closing of the twenty-first Olympic Games. Vancouver and Whistler are aglow, having successfully hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The Games marked a major achievement in Canadian sports history. As has been said, some 26 million Canadians watched and cheered for our athletes and our country. Canada won 26 medals in total, a new Canadian record, and Canada set a new Olympic Winter Games record in winning 14 gold medals.

Today, Canada's athletes are the best in the world in many sports, including speed skating, ice dance, bobsleigh, curling and hockey, to name but a few. These games and Canada's great sporting achievements would not have been possible were it not for the extreme dedication to excellence espoused by VANOC, led by John Furlong, and its 25,000 volunteers, private sector supporters, provinces and territories and the Government of Canada.

Canada has been left with a great opportunity to build on the wide ranging success story that is the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. At no other point in my life do I recall Canada being more proud, British Columbia shining brighter and Vancouver being more energized than during these past two weeks of February.

The world witnessed Canadians coming together as one in celebration of our country in the international spotlight. The world also witnessed our majestic landscape, our infrastructure and industry, our hospitality, our athletes, our people and our cultures.

However, it was the cultural component of Canada's 2010 Games that set us apart from all other Olympic Games. Front and centre were the Four Host First Nations, for it was on the traditional lands of the Squamish, Lil-wat, Musqueam and Tsleil- Waututh First Nations that these games were held, and in an unprecedented move, the chiefs of the Four Host First Nations were given head-of-state status by the International Olympic Committee. In no other Olympic Games and the soon-to-start Paralympic Games has a country's indigenous or Aboriginal peoples played such a central role. The opening ceremonies, which prominently featured wonderful performances by First Nations, Inuit and Metis people from across Canada, were broadcast to an international audience of an estimated 3 billion viewers. During the Games, 240,000 people took in Aboriginal arts, culture and languages at the 2010 Aboriginal pavilion. It was the Chief Executive Officer of the Four Host First Nations who, when commenting on the impact, said: ``For so long we've been in the shadows looking in. Now we are saying, stand with us, be part of our culture.''

Honourable senators, now that the Games are over, we must continue to stand with Canada's Aboriginal people to ensure their priorities continue to be greeted with meaningful attention and respect. Let us continue to work together so that these feelings of being proud to be Canadian and proud to be part of building Canada make it a greater place to live and a magnificent supernatural place to witness. Honourable senators, Canadians, let not this glowing flame of inclusion ever burn out.

The Late Edith Josie, C.M.

Hon. Hector Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to a famous First Nation Yukoner who passed away in January. Edith Josie was 88 and known around the world, thanks to her newspaper column, ``Here Are The News.''

Edith Josie's ``Here Are The News'' columns were written in Yukon's northernmost community of Old Crow, 1,000 kilometres north of Whitehorse. They were first published in The Whitehorse Star beginning in 1962, and, subsequently, were syndicated by the Toronto Telegram and Fairbanks News-Miner. Beyond this readership, her columns were translated into numerous other languages.

Edith Josie's tales of life in the far north captured the imagination of the world. People from far-flung places caught a weekly glimpse of life in a small community in northern Yukon. They were mesmerized by Edith Josie's columns until the columns were discontinued in 2005.

I know this situation firsthand because my mother bought the newspaper specifically so she could read ``Here Are The News.'' In the late 1960s, my twin brother and I were working outside of Old Crow and we met Edith, and my brother told her we wanted our names in the newspaper. Sure enough, to my mother's surprise, the next week Edith reported that ``Archie and Dan Lang are in town and want their names in the newspaper.''

Fellow senators, I wish reporting today was always that accurate.

Edith Josie's remarkable life was well recognized. She received the Canadian Centennial Award in 1967, the Yukon Historical Museums Award in 1995, the Order of Canada in 1995 and a National Aboriginal Achievement award in 2000.

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In January, I was honoured to return to Old Crow, along with the Commissioner of Yukon, Geraldine Van Bibber, to join her family and community in remembering Edith's remarkable life and to say goodbye.

As the senator for Yukon, I salute the life of Edith Josie and her contribution to bringing greater awareness of our part of the world. She will be missed.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

The Senate

Rules of the Senate of Canada—March 2010 Edition Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table the March 2010 edition of the Rules of the Senate, prepared by the Clerk in accordance with the decision of the Senate and reflecting the changes since the last edition was published in October 2005.

[English]

Clerk of the Senate

2008-09 Annual Accounts Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the Senate administrative rules 305, paragraph 5(1), I have the honour to inform the Senate that the Clerk of the Senate has tabled a detailed statement of receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year terminating March 31, 2009.

[Translation]

The Estimates, 2009-10

Supplementary Estimates (C) Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2009-10 Supplementary Estimates (C) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

The Estimates, 2010-11

Parts I and II Tabled

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, Parts I and II of the 2010-11 Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

[English]

Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

First Report of Committee Presented

Hon. George J. Furey, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration has the honour to present its

FIRST REPORT

Your Committee has approved the Senate Main Estimates for the fiscal year 2010-2011 and recommends their adoption. (Annex A)

Your Committee notes that the proposed total budget is $92,871,100.

An overview of the 2010-2011 budget will be forwarded to every Senator's office.

Respectfully submitted,

GEORGE J. FUREY,
Chair

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 38.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

(On motion of Senator Furey, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Committee of Selection

First Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino, Chair of the Committee of Selection, presented the following report:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Committee of Selection has the honour to present its

FIRST REPORT

Pursuant to rules 85(1)(a) and 85(2) of the Rules of the Senate, your committee wishes to inform the Senate that it nominates the Honourable Senator Oliver as Speaker pro tempore.

Respectfully submitted,

CONSIGLIO DI NINO
Chair

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g), I move that the report be considered later this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Di Nino, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.)

Second Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino, Chair of the Senate Committee of Selection, presented the following report:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Committee of Selection has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Pursuant to Rule 85(1)(b) of the Rules of the Senate, your committee submits herewith the list of senators nominated by it to serve on the following committees:

Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples

The Honourable Senators Campbell, Brazeau, Demers, Dyck, Hubley, Lovelace-Nicholas, Patterson, Poirier, Raine, Stewart Olsen, Sibbeston and St. Germain, P.C.

Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

The Honourable Senators Eaton, Duffy, Fairbairn, P.C., Lovelace-Nicholas, Mahovlich, Mercer, Mockler, Ogilvie, Plett, Rivard, Robichaud, P.C. and Segal.

Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce

The Honourable Senators Gerstein, Greene, Harb, Hervieux-Payette, P.C., Kochhar, Massicotte, Meighen, Moore, Oliver, Ringuette, Rivard and St. Germain, P.C.

Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

The Honourable Senators Angus, Banks, Brown, Frum, Housakos, Lang, McCoy, Merchant, Mitchell, Neufeld, Peterson and Seidman.

Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans

The Honourable Senators Cochrane, Dallaire, Hubley, MacDonald, Manning, Patterson, Poirier, Poy, Raine, Rompkey, P.C., Nancy Ruth and Watt.

Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade

The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, De Bané, P.C., Di Nino, Downe, Finley, Fortin-Duplessis, Mahovlich, Nolin, Segal, Smith, P.C., Stollery and Wallin.

Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights

The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, Baker, P.C., Brazeau, Dallaire, Jaffer, Johnson, Kochhar, Mitchell and Nancy Ruth.

Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration

The Honourable Senators Campbell, Carignan, Comeau, Cordy, Di Nino, Downe, Fox, P.C., Furey, Greene, Jaffer, Kinsella, Marshall, Munson, Stewart Olsen and Tkachuk.

Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

The Honourable Senators Angus, Baker, P.C., Boisvenu, Carignan, Carstairs, P.C., Fraser, Joyal, P.C., Lang, Rivest, Runciman, Wallace and Watt.

Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament

The Honourable Senators Downe, Greene, Lapointe, MacDonald and Stratton.

Standing Senate Committee on National Finance

The Honourable Senators Callbeck, Day, Dickson, Eggleton, P.C., Finley, Gerstein, Marshall, Murray, P.C., Neufeld, Poulin (Charette), Ringuette and Runciman.

Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence

The Honourable Senators Banks, Day, Lang, Manning, Meighen, Nolin, Pépin, Wallin and Zimmer.

Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages

The Honourable Senators Boisvenu, Champagne, P.C., Chaput, De Bané, P.C., Fortin-Duplessis, Losier-Cool, Mockler, Seidman and Tardif.

Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament

The Honourable Senators Brown, Carignan, Carstairs, P.C., Cools, Duffy, Fraser, Furey, Joyal, P.C., Keon, McCoy, Ogilvie, Oliver, Smith, P.C., Stratton and Wallace.

Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations

The Honourable Senators Boisvenu, Dickson, Harb, Hervieux-Payette, P.C., Martin, Moore, Poirier and Wallace.

Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology

The Honourable Senators Callbeck, Champagne, P.C., Cordy, Demers, Dyck, Eaton, Eggleton, P.C., Keon, Martin, Merchant, Ogilvie and Seidman.

Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications

The Honourable Senators Cochrane, Dawson, Fox, P.C., Frum, Housakos, Johnson, MacDonald, Martin, Mercer, Merchant, Plett and Zimmer.

Pursuant to Rule 87 of the Rules of the Senate, the Honourable Senator LeBreton, P.C. (or Comeau) and the Honourable Senator Cowan (or Tardif) are members ex officio of each select committee.

Respectfully submitted,

CONSIGLIO DI NINO
Chair

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be taken into consideration?

Senator Di Nino: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(g), I move that the report be considered later this day.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Di Nino, report placed on the Orders of the Day for consideration later this day.)

[Translation]

The Estimates, 2009-10

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Supplementary Estimates (C)

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Supplementary Estimates (C) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

The Estimates, 2010-11

Notice of Motion to Authorize National Finance Committee to Study Main Estimates

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, with the exception of Parliament Vote 10.

Notice of Motion to Authorize the Standing Joint Committee of Library of Parliament to Study Vote 10 of the Main Estimates

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I shall move:

That the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament be authorized to examine and report upon the expenditures set out in Parliament Vote 10 of the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette presented Bill S-201, An Act to amend the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act (credit and debit cards).

(Bill read first time.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

(On motion of Senator Ringuette, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

Canadian Payments Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Pierrette Ringuette presented Bill S-202, An Act to amend the Canadian Payments Act (debit card payment systems).

(Bill read first time.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

(On motion of Senator Ringuette, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

[English]

National Philanthropy Day Bill

First Reading

Hon. Terry M. Mercer presented Bill S-203, An Act respecting a National Philanthropy Day.

(Bill read first time.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

(On motion of Senator Mercer, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

(1450)

[Translation]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years).

(Bill read first time.)

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be read the second time?

(On motion of Senator Comeau, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for second reading two days hence.)

The Acadian Flag

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Fernand Robichaud: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I shall call the attention of the Senate to importance to the Acadian people of the Acadian flag — a flag that brings people together.

[English]

2010 Olympic Winter Games

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Nancy Greene Raine: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 57(2), I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the success of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games held in Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler from February 12 to 28 and, in particular, to how the performance of the Canadian athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games can inspire and motivate Canadians and especially children to become more fit and healthy.

Parliamentary Reform

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 57(2), I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to issues relating to realistic and effective parliamentary reform.

[Translation]

Haiti

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I shall call the attention of the Senate to Canada's response to the devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010.


[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

Justice

Comments by Minister

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

While Parliament's activities were suspended following Prime Minister Harper's decision to prorogue, Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson repeatedly made inaccurate statements regarding the passage of his government's justice bills through Parliament, and particularly through the Senate.

We felt it was our duty to address these inaccuracies with Minister Nicholson. Our leader, Senator Cowan, wrote a letter, supported by facts, to the minister, and also responded to an op- ed that he had published, in order to clarify the content of his statements.

What did the Leader of the Government do to present a factual account on the progress of justice bills through the Senate? Did she set the record straight with her honourable colleagues at the cabinet table and defend the good work of this chamber and all of its members?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I was well aware of the letter and the newspaper columns written by my colleague opposite, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator James Cowan. He presented his perspective of the situation as he saw it. I believe that the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, responded with a rather fulsome letter.

I simply say that I am totally supportive of my colleague the Minister of Justice. The government places great emphasis on justice matters, as witnessed yesterday in the Speech from the Throne. Many people are dependent upon the government to have various justice matters passed by Parliament, such as cracking down on violent crime, drug dealers and grow-op outfits, and many other issues, including violence against women and victims' rights.

Justice matters are very important. Arguing between two parliamentarians on their perspective is not what I am interested in today. We are beginning a new Parliament with a new Throne Speech. We have wiped the slate clean. Let us start working from this day forward to steer through Parliament the justice legislation that Canadians not only demand but support.

Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, on a supplementary question, I would like to quote from what Senator Cowan wrote to Minister Nicholson and what appeared in his op-ed:

An honest examination of the record compels one to acknowledge that the greatest delays to implementation of the Government's justice agenda were caused by the Government itself — sitting on bills and not bringing them forward for debate, delaying bringing legislation into force, and ultimately, of course, shutting down Parliament.

Does the minister herself refute these facts?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, we could enter into a long debate about the various situations that the government faced in the Senate with regard to our justice bills and the various amendments and processes in the chamber at second and third reading, as well as in committee.

I believe that the public wants its parliamentarians to deal with the legislation before them and to work in the interests of the public to get this important legislation through Parliament. That is what I intend to try to do as the Leader of the Government in the Senate. That is what my colleagues in cabinet and in our caucus will try to do. Arguing or having bun fights over past events or crying over spilled milk will not serve the purposes of the Canadian public, who want their parliamentarians to work on matters before them.

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I think there is a difference between crying over spilled milk and misrepresenting the facts.

The Minister of Justice accused the Senate of delaying and frustrating the government's agenda. The so-called ``truth in sentencing'' bill was passed by this house in October last year. It was given Royal Assent on October 23. This government did not bring that bill into force until the end of February. How can that be categorized as the Senate delaying the government's agenda?

(1500)

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I thank the Honourable Senator Cowan for that question.

On that particular bill, I think that the Minister of Justice did acknowledge that it passed through the Senate and that it came into force in February. As the honourable senator is a lawyer, he knows that once a bill of that nature has gone through the parliamentary process and has been given Royal Assent, the bill then requires work with the provinces and territories to ensure that the proper regulatory changes are made to bring it into force. That was the case with this bill and I believe the Minister of Justice acknowledged that situation.

Senator Cowan: In that case, the bill was in this house for 19 days. It then took four months to do whatever had to be done before the legislation could be brought into effect. I can appreciate the point that it takes time to bring legislation into effect after it is passed, but I ask if the minister is deliberately misrepresenting the situation when he blames the Senate for that delay. If he wants to acknowledge that debate is equal to delay, then I agree with him. However, I do not think that is the case.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I will check on that particular bill. However, I think Minister Nicholson was referring to other bills: for example, the most egregious one, which involved cracking down on violent criminals who are responsible for the serious drug trade problems in this country — that is, the people who sell these drugs to our children in elementary schools, in high schools and to the public.

On the particular bill we referred to, I believe that Minister Nicholson explained that the bill did go through this Parliament. The reason for delay was, as we all know, the regulatory requirements of the provinces and territories, where everyone brings their legislation and their laws into line with what the government intended.

Senator Cowan: I appreciate that the minister will look into this situation to determine exactly what her colleagues meant. However, I point out to the leader that the words that the minister used in describing the progress of that bill were as follows. He said, ``this . . . piece of legislation.'' It is not some other piece of legislation but this particular piece of legislation that we are talking about. He went on to say:

. . . this important piece of legislation faced significant hurdles on its way through the minority Parliament.

Perhaps the leader can ascertain from Minister Nicholson exactly what those ``significant hurdles'' were.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I am happy to do so. However, I think people want us to deal with the business of Parliament. I do not think people want us to fight old battles, or worry and talk about process issues. I think they want action. That is what this government intends to do.

Foreign Affairs

International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development—Appointment of President

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Rights & Democracy is a respected organization worldwide that was established by Prime Minister Mulroney to encourage the spread of democracy and the establishment of human rights standards. The organization has given many awards to many Muslim women, including Dr. Sima Samar, who has been a fierce advocate of the rights of Afghan women; and also to Ayesha Imam of Nigeria, for her stance against Sharia criminal laws in Nigeria. We have been able to give these awards because this organization has credibility around the world.

Minister Cannon announced Gérard Latulippe as president of this organization. This appointment is a sad turn of events. Why? In a submission written to the Bouchard-Taylor commission, which was created by the Quebec government to investigate the accommodation of immigrants to the province, Mr. Latulippe stated that ``geographic concentration of more and more immigrants from Muslim countries'' undermines ``the proper functioning of Quebec.'' He further stated that if the Quebec government does not take this matter seriously, they are taking a role in promoting terrorism in the province.

He went on to say:

[Translation]

Intercultural tensions send the process into an upward spiral . . . and a new generation of terrorists is born. Here at home, in the next neighbourhood . . . in the house next door. That is how the public safety of a host society becomes threatened.

He added that, like language, compatibility of values should be among the selection criteria for immigrants.

[English]

These comments are offensive to all Canadians. I accept comments made by an individual to the commission as an individual's thoughts and an individual's rights. However, today he will represent one of Canada's most respected agencies around the world, and he will be our face in many Muslim countries.

The honourable leader was a key member of Prime Minister Mulroney's staff. How can the leader today accept the appointment of Mr. Latulippe?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, has appointed Gérard Latulippe to the position of President of the Rights & Democracy organization. He is an exceptionally qualified person for this position. He has experience promoting democracy abroad, most recently as resident director for the National Democratic Institute in Haiti. Prior to that position, he worked in many countries of the world, most recently in Morocco and in Iraq. I believe that Mr. Latulippe, with his background, will acquit himself well in this position.

While I am on my feet, honourable senators, I want to extend the sympathies of this chamber to the family of Rémy Beauregard, who died of a heart attack in January. The event was a sad one. We express our deepest sympathies to his family.

Senator Jaffer: How will Canadians trust the work that this man does in Muslim countries, with which Canada needs to build relationships?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I think I have already pointed out that he has credentials and a background in this area. He has worked in many countries in the world. He is involved with human rights organizations through the National Democratic Institute in Haiti.

The honourable senator pointed out that I was part of Mr. Mulroney's government when this agency was set up. If the honourable senator were to go back and check the record, Mr. Mulroney named the Honourable Ed Broadbent as the first president. There were many protests saying that Mr. Broadbent would not exercise his responsibilities in a non-partisan way. We did not prejudge Mr. Broadbent, so I ask the honourable senator not to prejudge Mr. Latulippe.

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The issue is not Mr. Latulippe's various past political affiliations. The issue is his views on matters of human rights and ethnicity.

In his brief to the Bouchard-Taylor commission — which was not delivered off the cuff; it was a carefully written, 37-page brief — he said some alarming things. Let me give you one more quotation. He said:

[Translation]

. . . we are gradually creating a problem. We are slipping, slowly but surely, toward a crisis like the one some European countries have been facing for a number of years now. And we run the unnecessary risk of fostering domestic terrorism.

[English]

This quote is in addition to the one that Senator Jaffer mentioned about terrorists in the house next door. His brief also contained various remarks of an extremely critical nature about Hasidic Jews, as well as a few slighting remarks about Sikhs.

Was the government aware that Mr. Latulippe held these views before it appointed him? If not, why not? If so, why on earth did they think this man was a suitable defender of human rights and democracy?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I believe that the government, in the person of Lawrence Cannon, is aware of Mr. Latulippe's great work in this area. This organization needs leadership, and there has been some great difficulty.

(1510)

When participating in various studies, people are obviously within their democratic right to express their views. I think Mr. Cannon would have satisfied himself through Mr. Latulippe's actions with regard to his responsibilities of late, not only in Haiti but in Morocco and in Iraq, that he has the credentials and the background.

I would caution against prejudging a person's ability to fulfill a function to which they have been named. We have many examples of people who were attacked or questioned and who have turned out to be outstanding leaders in the various fields to which both governments appointed them. I would reiterate that it is important for this organization to get back on its feet and fulfill the function that it was set up to do.

Senator Fraser: I will give the Leader of the Government in the Senate the benefit of the doubt and assume that when she referred to Mr. Latulippe's great work in this field, she was not referring to his brief.

Honourable senators, the government was required to consult the opposition parties about this appointment. It did so. All of the opposition parties said that this is not a suitable appointment, as have other people. Amnesty International says that Mr. Latulippe's appointment is scandalous because of his views, not only about Muslims, Hasidic Jews and Sikhs, but also on matters like capital punishment.

What does the government actually believe that this consultation will achieve if it is not going to pay attention to the serious objections to the candidate it had put forward?

Senator LeBreton: I will have to check to ascertain the nature of the criteria. I know that for officers of Parliament, since I used to do this type of work, consultation and approval was required by all political parties.

I will have to look to be sure of the exact responsibilities, but I believe that in this case Minister Cannon consulted as a duty to inform. I do not believe the consultation required approval from any of the opposition parties. I can consult the honourable senator on many of the things we have in the Throne Speech and she could vehemently disagree. That does not mean I will have to then change my views just because she disagrees.

I am sure this is the case with Minister Cannon. He named this individual. Mr. Cannon is a careful, studious and excellent Minister of Foreign Affairs. He would not have made this appointment had he any doubts that Mr. Latulippe could conduct himself and give leadership to this organization, as it obviously needs from my reading of the many newspaper reports over the last few months.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: The Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate made reference to the appointment of Mr. Broadbent, an appointment which, when the opposition parties were consulted, the leaders all agreed was excellent.

Unfortunately, she is correct in saying it does not require approval. The law says that consultation must take place. However, when one consults, presumably one listens. In this case, the decision was made not to listen at all. Can the Honourable Leader of the Government in the Senate say why this consultation proved so fruitless?

Senator LeBreton: I have already answered that question. Minister Cannon, after consultations, obviously chose to disagree with the views of the opposition, which is his right, and he has therefore gone ahead and named Mr. Latulippe to this position.

Again, I ask that parliamentarians give Mr. Latulippe the opportunity to take on his responsibilities of running this organization. I have full confidence, because I have full confidence in Minister Cannon, that a year from now we will hear no complaints. Everyone will find out, as we often do in cases such as this, that all of the hand-wringing and worrying about positions like this turn out not to be necessary, as was the case with many issues we faced in the last Parliament.

Health

Approval of Bevacizumab

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I had intended to present the question with much more notice, so I am assuming the leader will take this as notice.

My question is about a drug called bevacizumab. Its commercial name is Avastin, and its proprietor in Canada is Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. This drug has been approved by Health Canada for use in the treatment of certain forms of cancer but not brain cancer, and specifically not for the treatment of glioblastoma.

In the United States, the federal drug administration formally approved the use of this drug in the treatment of glioblastoma in May 2009. In Canada, the drug has been prescribed by physicians for the treatment of brain cancer because they believe it to be effective, even though it has not yet been approved by Health Canada for that purpose.

A conference in Calgary last October was told that Hoffman-La Roche Ltd. had completed tests for safety and efficacy of this application and had submitted it to Health Canada with a recommendation for its approval for that use in that therapy.

I appreciate the niceties of proprietary interests and confidentiality, but I would be grateful if the minister would find out and tell us whether a recommendation for the use of Avastin for the treatment of brain cancer, and specifically for glioblastoma, has been received by Health Canada and provide us with a general indication of when Health Canada might make decisions in that regard.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank Senator Banks very much for his e-mail to me indicating that he was intending to ask this question. The moment I received the e- mail I made contact with the Department of Health, asking them to provide me with as much information as possible in order to provide it to him and our colleagues in the chamber.

As the honourable senator anticipated, I will take the question as notice, but I have already put the process in motion to obtain a response to the question.

Senator Banks: When the leader speaks to Health Canada, I hope she will remind them that I am asking the question in the interests of many Canadians who are in this position and who cannot get assistance in terms of the cost of this drug because it has not yet been approved by Health Canada. The provinces cannot agree to cover something until it has been approved by Health Canada. These people are facing the choice between saving their lives and bankruptcy, because the cost of these treatments is about $9,000 a month. It is an important question for several Canadians, and I am grateful to the minister for looking into it.

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator just underscored a problem with the issue of catastrophic drugs and the hardship and pressures created for people who are in dire need of them. I will do everything I can to expedite an answer from Health Canada.

Environment

Reduction of Carbon Emissions

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, while the government put almost nothing about climate change in its Throne Speech, it did make one point that I found very interesting. That point is that the government ``has pursued a balanced approach to emissions reduction.''

(1520)

It has always struck me as odd to try to define an approach to anything when absolutely nothing has been done.

Could the Leader of the Government in the Senate describe to us what elements of this balanced approach exist in such a way as to allow her government to conclude they have actually had an approach, when in fact all the evidence is that they have done absolutely nothing to reduce carbon emissions in this country over the last four long years of their government?

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

The Hon. the Speaker: I will invite honourable senators to exercise certain custody of the tongue during Question Period, other than the questioner and responder.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Thank you, Your Honour. I knew I could not survive the first Question Period without a question by Senator Mitchell. In any event, I thank Senator Mitchell for the question.

First, the government and the Minister of the Environment, Jim Prentice, have been working extremely hard on all environmental fronts. The honourable senator already knows much of what has been done in many areas. The government supports a balanced approach to climate change that achieves real environmental and economic benefits for Canada. We have advocated for an agreement that includes all the major emitters, and we have secured a new international approach within the Copenhagen Accord. We submitted to the United Nations an economy-wide emissions reduction target for 2020 of 17 per cent below 2005 levels.

Minister Prentice has emphasized the importance of harmonizing our approach with that of the United States due to our highly integrated economies. This is critical to our overall approach and, as I have said before, we have already implemented harmonized passenger vehicle emission standards with those of the U.S.

Last year, Canada and the United States officials met with key stakeholders to develop an action plan under clean energy dialogue. Joint working groups are moving ahead to implement the action plan commitments.

We have released the proposed rules for Canada's offset system, a key element of our climate change approach, and we have made substantial investments in clean energy technologies and continue to work in close collaboration with the provinces and territorial governments who are of course important partners in the area of emissions and the environment.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Mitchell: There are many new senators over there who are very impressed by process, but I would have thought they would be impressed by results. What we are actually hearing is ``dialogue,'' ``talk,'' ``meet'' and ``agree.'' However, could the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell me if they have acted? If so, the proof will be in the pudding. Could she tell me how much emissions have been reduced, let us say, over the last year and how much the government has set as a reduction target over the next year? Could she give me some facts and figures?

Senator LeBreton: A great deal more has been done than was done before. As the honourable senator knows, on December 7 we released tough new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles for consultation. Of course, our standards will align with the United States, beginning in 2011, for the obvious reason of our cross-border shared auto industry. This harmonized approach, both nationally and across North America, will have significant benefits.

There have been many things that have been done, as the honourable senator knows, including the work on carbon capture and storage and other technologies. I will be happy to provide the honourable senator with a long list of what we have done.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Debate Adjourned

The Senate proceeded to consideration of Her Excellency the Governor General's Speech from the Throne at the opening of the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament.

Hon. Rose-May Poirier, seconded by the Honourable Senator Runciman, moved:

That the following Address be presented to Her Excellency the Governor General of Canada:

To Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:

We, Her Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Senate of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious Speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.

[Translation]

She said: Honourable senators, it is a great honour for me to rise and give my maiden speech in this chamber in response to the Speech from the Throne.

[English]

Her Excellency's speech clearly showed that Canada is poised to emerge from a recession powered by one of the strongest economies in the industrialized world. I am pleased to see that, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, jobs and growth will continue to remain the top priority. Being from rural New Brunswick and an area of the province that has faced difficult times lately, specifically in the forestry industry, I am confident that the vision put forward by the government will be good news to our area.

Before I begin, I want to take the opportunity to wish the Speaker, Senator Kinsella, all the best as this new session begins. From past experience in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, I know that the role of Speaker can be challenging at many times. His patience and guidance will continue to be greatly appreciated by all, I am sure. As a friend from New Brunswick, I look forward personally to working with him.

I am also looking forward to working with and getting to know better the leadership of the caucus of the Senate, along with all other senators, over the next few months. I want to personally thank Senator LeBreton, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, for asking me to be the mover of the Throne Speech. Her leadership and guidance the past few days have been truly appreciated as I entered my new adventures here in Ottawa.

[Translation]

I thank Senator Gerald Comeau, Deputy Leader of the Government, for his advice over the past two weeks. He took the time to answer all my questions, and I truly felt that all the help he gave was from the heart.

Many thanks to my sponsor, Senator Mockler, for agreeing to sponsor me. I met Senator Mockler in 1999, when we were elected to the New Brunswick legislature together.

We had the opportunity to work together for 10 years, not only as MPPs, but also at the cabinet table. I am very pleased to be in a position once again that will allow us to continue working together for the well-being of all Canadians.

[English]

Last, but definitely not least, I would like to thank the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, for my appointment to the Senate. His call was probably one of the biggest surprises of my life. Being here today as senator was not something that had ever crossed my mind three months ago. The opportunity to serve the people of Canada, my province and my region over the next eight years is truly a privilege and an honour.

Little did I know back in 1998, when I made the decision to let my name stand for the nomination for the Progressive Conservative Party in the riding Rogersville-Kouchibouguac, what the next 12 or 13 years of my life had in store for me.

[Translation]

Before engaging in politics in 1998, I had the opportunity to participate in municipal politics. After that, my political experience moved to the provincial level, in 1999, where I had the privilege of being the caucus chair. I think I was the first woman appointed to that position in our party.

In 2003, under the leadership of our premier at the time, Bernard Lord, I was the Minister of Human Resources for approximately three years.

(1530)

I was then appointed to the Department of Local Government. I was also the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs for the province of New Brunswick.

[English]

My appointment to the Senate has been an honour, not only for me but also for my family, my community, my province and specifically for all women and all Acadians.

[Translation]

I am truly grateful for my family's support throughout my career. Without the support of my husband Donald and my children, I would not be where I am today.

Very early on in my political career, I learned that time spent with family is precious and in short supply. That is why I want to thank the members of my family — from my grandchildren to my mother, who were here yesterday — who came to witness my swearing-in. I was touched by the fact that 35 people travelled all the way from New Brunswick to Ottawa. I truly appreciated it.

I was also touched by the messages of congratulation, flowers and e-mails I received from people in my riding and other provinces. I was most touched by a call from a 78-year-old woman whom I did not know. She was from Prince Edward Island. Fifteen minutes after the official announcement of my Senate appointment, she found my phone number and called to congratulate me as a woman and as an Acadian.

For those who are not familiar with my corner of the province, I live in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, in New Brunswick. I was born in Miramichi, previously called Chatham. I was educated in English but raised in an Acadian family. My family always spoke French.

I represent the riding of Rogersville-Kouchibouguac, which is 80 per cent Acadian. Anglophones and First Nations members make up the remaining 20 per cent.

I would like to mention an important point. If you have never visited New Brunswick, I strongly recommend that you come see my little village, which is located three kilometres from the entrance to the Kouchibouguac National Park. We are famous for the temperature of our waters, which are warmer than those of northern Florida. Our beautiful national park is worth a visit.

Near Rogersville, you will find the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption monument, which tells the story of Marcel- François Richard, a well-known Acadian. I would also like to mention that the village of Saint-Louis-de-Kent is the birthplace of the Acadian flag.

Last fall, I had the pleasure of participating in a ceremony in Saint-Louis-de-Kent. The town decided to raise the largest Acadian flag in the world. If you have the opportunity to visit the area, especially from early spring until the fall, you will see the flag proudly flying high.

Other attractions are the Pays de la Sagouine and the Village acadien, near Caraquet, on the Acadian peninsula, not far from us. Our corner of the province also hosted the first World Acadian Congress, which welcomed people from all over the world.

[English]

I believe for Canada to continue to be strong, we need to work together to make sure that the provinces are all strong. For our province to be strong, we all need to work together as a region, all with the same focus. That is why I am pleased that the government will focus on completing Canada's Economic Action Plan to protect income, create jobs, ease credit markets and help workers and communities get back on their feet.

The government, in continuing to work on job creation and job protection, and in recognizing that too many Canadians are still looking for work, is helping young Canadians enter today's job market for the first time as they make the transitions to work. The government is building jobs and industries for the future by investing in Canadian skills and education by keeping taxes low, opening markets to Canadian goods and services, and making Canada the best place for our families by strengthening the Universal Child Care Benefit. It is protecting consumers and ensuring that the law protects everyone while those who commit crimes are held to account. The government is standing up for those who helped to build Canada by strengthening Canada's retirement income system, supporting legislation to establish a day for seniors, continuing to stand up for Canada's military and its veterans and continuing to recognize the contribution of Canada's Aboriginal people.

To realize the hopes Canadians hold for themselves and their families, the economy must remain the government's single-most urgent priority. I am confident that the people from my province will be happy with all the things that have been announced in the Speech from the Throne, especially the job creation aspect.

In closing, and on a personal note, I want to thank the people of the riding of Rogersville—Kouchibouguac for their vote of confidence and for their support in the last three provincial elections. Together, we faced many challenges and opportunities over the last 11 years, but by working together, we have accomplished many great dreams. Our economy has grown, jobs have been created and we have put our focus on continuing in that direction. I am confident, with yesterday's Speech from the Throne, that new opportunities will continue to be brought forward.

Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, I must say from the outset that I did not anticipate delivering my maiden speech on the second regular day of sitting of the Senate, but here I am, and I am honoured to do so, as the seconder of the government's Speech from the Throne. The speech lays out a blueprint for a stronger Canada, and reflects the values of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

This speech is my first public opportunity to thank Prime Minister Harper for my appointment. I appreciate the confidence he has shown in me, and I look forward to contributing in a meaningful way to the deliberations of this great and historic institution and, in some small way, to strengthening the bonds between Canadians and their federal government.

I also want to thank senators on both sides of the aisle as well as Senate staff for their warm welcome and their generous offers of support and guidance. I especially want to thank Senator Segal for sponsoring me and Senator Duffy for his early support and assistance.

As many honourable senators know, Senator Segal is designated as the senator from Ontario Kingston—Frontenac— Leeds. The senator kindly offered to give up the Leeds part of his designation in recognition of my 29 years as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Leeds—Grenville, but I declined, given his long-time summer residency on beautiful Charleston Lake and what I know to be his deep affection for the county, its history and its people. I am proud to adopt the designation of Ontario, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. Honourable senators, if you have not been there, I urge you to visit this summer; the people are friendly and the scenery is unrivalled.

Honourable senators, I would not be standing here today without the love and support of my wife, Jeannette, and my daughters, Sue and Robin. I was touched by the reference in the Throne Speech to plans to create a national museum of immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. Pier 21 is where my wife and her family arrived in Canada from the Netherlands in the early 1950s. My wife and I visited Pier 21 three years ago, and I know what an emotional impact that visit had on Jeannette. I applaud the government for an initiative that recognizes the contributions to our great country by the thousands who entered through the gates of Pier 21.

Jeannette, that Dutch immigrant and proud Canadian, has been by my side every step of the way in my 29 years of public life as an MPP, a cabinet minister, leader of the opposition and as interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

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There are many other people to whom I owe thanks. Some of them were here yesterday for my swearing in. Ray McClure, a retired police sergeant from Brockville, helped me through eight election campaigns, starting with my election to the Ontario legislature in 1981. Ray will soon be 92 years young, but he and his wife Helen, who recently celebrated her ninetieth birthday, were here yesterday.

I learned a lot over those 29 years from the people of Leeds—Grenville, and I want to thank each and every one of them today.

My area, like many, has faced serious economic setbacks in recent years, and there is no doubt that people want their government to focus on jobs and the economy. The Throne Speech recognizes this and lays out a plan to continue the economic recovery.

Another thing my friends in Leeds—Grenville agree on is that if you borrow money, you have to pay it back. Live within your means. The government understands that, too. As Her Excellency noted:

Grand visions for a nation's future will come to nothing if not balanced by the means to pay for them.

Honourable senators, the deficit is the next challenge, and I have no doubt that this government will have the fortitude to deal with it.

The Throne Speech also touched on other issues that have been particular interests of mine over many years. I twice introduced private member's bills in the Ontario legislature calling for consultative elections for senators. Senator Bert Brown was of great assistance as I tried last year, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to pursue Senate reform in Ontario.

I recognize the legislative contributions of this body and the many accomplishments referenced by Senator Cowan earlier today, but I believe democratic legitimacy is important to Canadians and reform of this institution is necessary. Canadians support change in the Senate, and we should honour their wishes.

The Throne Speech makes it clear that the government is serious about justice reform. I spent more than half of my legislative life as either a minister or critic in this area, and I am looking forward to helping move this agenda forward.

We need to ensure that those who do not respect the basic tenets of citizenship and the social contract suffer the consequences. For too long, Canadians have not felt safe on the streets, in the playgrounds and even in their own homes. Increasing the penalties for sexual offences against minors and protecting children against Internet luring and cyber abuse will bring recognition to the emerging perils our children face.

I introduced the first sex offender registry in Canada in Ontario, and I am pleased to see that our government will introduce legislation to strengthen the federal sex offender registry.

Canadians expect violent offenders to serve their time in jail rather than in the comfort of their own living rooms. They expect authorities to have the tools to combat the organized drug trade, that the murderers of Aboriginal women be caught and punished, and that white-collar criminals pay a price for stealing the hopes and dreams of hard-working Canadians. When arrests are made, they want a trial conducted in a timely fashion. A trial that drags on for months or even years becomes a war of attrition, rather than a search for truth and justice.

Only in recent years has the justice system begun to recognize that the pain of victims of crime is long lasting and has physical, mental and even financial implications. Giving the families of murder victims access to special benefits under Employment Insurance is a small thing, but it offers a measure of relief at a time of profound suffering.

Honourable senators, I look forward to the day when all these measures are enacted, and I will do my part to ensure this happens.

The overriding theme I saw in the Speech from the Throne is that our job, the job of government, is to be there for Canadians who play by the rules and to protect them from those who do not. This Speech from the Throne outlines a vision for Canada that I share and a plan that reflects the values of the people I know and have represented for much of my life. I am honoured to support the motion by Senator Poirier that this house adopt the Speech from the Throne.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)

Committee of Selection

First Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the first report of the Committee of Selection (Speaker pro tempore) presented earlier this day.

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I move adoption of the report standing in my name.

The Hon. the Speaker: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Di Nino, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallace, that the first report of the Committee of Selection be adopted.

An Hon. Senator: Could we know what this report deals with?

Senator Di Nino: It deals with the appointment of the new Speaker pro tempore.

The Hon. the Speaker: Have the reports been circulated?

Hon. Anne C. Cools: I do not have a copy of it.

The Hon. the Speaker: They were circulated.

Senator Cools: I have received the second report but not the first report of the Committee of Selection.

The Hon. the Speaker: I will read the first report:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Committee of Selection has the honour to present its

FIRST REPORT

Pursuant to rules 85(1)(a) and 85(2) of the Rules of the Senate, your committee wishes to inform the Senate that it nominates the Honourable Senator Oliver as Speaker pro tempore.

Respectfully submitted,

CONSIGLIO DI NINO
Chair

That is the question before the house. Is there further debate on the question? Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Joseph A. Day: I wish to make the point that when a report is presented but not made available to everyone, and honourable senators then ask that the reading of it be dispensed with, it is difficult to vote objectively and meaningfully.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, to add to the point, when the normal proceedings are altered such that the normal notice times between different stages are abridged, and when leave is requested and granted, we should be attentive. The issue here is not a substantive one, for every senator wants the Committee of Selection reports to move ahead and be adopted. However, we senators should be extremely attentive at all times that the matters the reports are asking to be adopted are actually before honourable senators so we may read them and vote with some intelligence.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I sympathize with the comments made by both of the previous speakers. I will do whatever I can to ensure that such reports are distributed prior to us making a decision. I agree entirely with my colleagues.

The Hon. the Speaker: Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

Committee of Selection

Second Report of Committee Adopted

The Senate proceeded to consideration of the second report of the Committee of Selection (membership of Senate committees) presented earlier this day.

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I believe I heard that the second report was circulated. I thought the other one had been, and I thank you for being so gracious in accepting it. I move adoption of the second report of the Committee of Selection.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

(Motion agreed to and report adopted.)

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[Translation]

Adjournment

Leave having been given to revert to Government Notices of Motions:

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(h), I move:

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at 2 p.m.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at 2 p.m.)