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.
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,
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.
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Senator Marshall, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Senate of
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Thank you, Olympics, for what you have done for me, for the nation and
for the world.
See you in 2014.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
Thank you, Senator Munson. Your personal involvement serves as an example for
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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 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?
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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
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:
. . . 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.''
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
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
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
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
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
Hon. Rose-May Poirier, seconded by the Honourable Senator Runciman,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
CONSIGLIO DI NINO
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
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?
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?