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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 68

Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker




THE SENATE

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Tributes

The Honourable Peter A. Stollery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I received a notice from the Leader of the Opposition who requests that, pursuant to rule 22(10), the time provided for the consideration of Senators' Statements be extended today for the purpose of paying tribute to the Honourable Senator Peter Stollery, who will retire from the Senate on November 29, 2010.

I remind all honourable senators that, pursuant to our rules, each senator will be allowed only three minutes and may speak only once.

I will ask, if it is agreed, that we continue our tributes to Senator Stollery under Senators' Statements. In so doing, we will have a balance of the 30 minutes for tributes, not including the time allotted for Senator Stollery's response. Any time remaining after tributes will then be used for other statements.

Is it agreed, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, only my fellow Nova Scotian, Senator Lowell Murray, stands in the way of Senator Stollery being Dean of the Senate. However, Senator Stollery's career on the Hill began long before he came here in 1981.

In 1972, he was elected to the House of Commons for the riding of Spadina. He was then re-elected on three subsequent occasions. In the other place, he served as Chair of the National Liberal Caucus and then as Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State and Minister of Communications, our colleague the Honourable Senator Fox.

As a senator, Senator Stollery served with distinction on several Senate committees, including the Special Joint Committee on a Renewed Canada and the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He chaired that committee during the hearings that led to the critically acclaimed 2007 report on sub-Saharan Africa.

Up to this point, what I have described sounds like a fairly traditional political biography. However, as we all know, Peter is anything but traditional. His unique approach to the world began early in life when, in 1958, he left his home in Toronto and did not return for three years. During that time, he visited 75 countries and covered 75,000 miles.

He taught school for a year in Algeria at the North African headquarters of the French Foreign Legion. He then set off across the Sahara in the heat of July, a feat he was often told was impossible. He made his way across the Horn of Africa, at first in a little Renault and then, when that gave out, on foot, hitchhiking for a ride on the tops of trucks or with locals curious about this crazy Canadian who was walking across Africa.

He supported himself in part by writing a series of articles for Maclean's. His first article in April 1961 was captioned "Nomad in the Sahara," and the photograph on the magazine cover of the bearded, unkempt desert traveller gave no hint of his future membership in the upper chamber of the Parliament of Canada.

The next year, he returned to Algeria in what turned out to be the violent, last days of French rule in that country. As he wrote in his dispatches for Maclean's, "they were an appallingly fascinating object lesson in how not to govern or to live."

That experience gave Peter a unique perspective on the importance of a healthy political system, and the consequences to individuals and entire societies if those who govern do not govern well.

Senator Stollery's curiosity of the world knows no bounds, whether it is the habitat of wild mushrooms or understanding the psychology of bonefish. As a result, he probably has the most eclectic list of qualifications and associations of anyone in this chamber, from membership in the Mycological Society of Toronto to being a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society to being a licensed crane operator, and that is only part of the list.

However, his greatest passion is his desire to understand people in Canada and throughout the world.

Peter, you will be sorely missed here. It is difficult to imagine how you can be replaced, but I suspect that you are already planning an interesting and unusual next stage for yourself. Our best wishes to you as you explore new worlds, whether fly-fishing, canoeing in the Arctic or trekking across Siberia.

Hon. Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about the departure of our colleague, the Honourable Peter Stollery.

First of all, I want to thank you, Senator Stollery, for the kind and respectful way you welcomed me to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

It was through our travels with that committee that we were able to get to know each other better. I will always have fond memories of our breakfasts — after you went for your regular jog — during which we would solve the problems of the world. Your great interest in international affairs and humanitarian assistance led you to participate in a number of missions abroad. I often learned more from you and your keen analyses than I did from the notable and important expert witnesses in the countries we visited.

However, you are more than just a learned man and a world citizen, and it was your humility that touched me the most. You show such interest in ordinary people and make a real effort to interact with them to learn more about them and learn a bit about their everyday lives.

Your vast experience and in-depth knowledge enriched the work of our committee during what turned out to be a passionate study of the emergence of China, India and Russia in the world economy and the effect of this on Canadian policies. Your involvement in the committee played a huge part in the very high-quality report we produced.

We will miss you, Senator Stollery. I hope you will be able to make many trips to Latin America, where you often go to recharge, and I also hope you will be able to take many more of the long bike rides that you enjoy so much.

I feel extremely privileged to have spent time with you, and it will always be a pleasure to see you again, my friend. Enjoy your retirement.

[English]

Hon. David P. Smith: I rise to pay tribute to Senator Stollery, whom I have known for many years. As honourable senators have heard, he first came to the House of Commons in 1972 and was elected four times. Then on July 2, 1981, a day that will live in history, he came to the Senate. I actually remember a chat the day before, on Canada Day. I will never forget that chat.

(1410)

Senator Stollery and I share some characteristics — not all, and I will let you decide which ones. Peter Stollery is truly unique but in a nice and special way. He is very much a Torontonian. Stollery's has been at Bloor and Yonge forever, and 100 years from now, it will still be there. He is eccentric, but a likeable eccentric. A raconteur, Peter Stollery gives new definition to that word. His stories could fill many encyclopedias.

Senator Stollery is well travelled, but you have already heard about that. Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, Vasco da Gama and Magellan were amateurs by comparison. Mind you, they did not have airplanes then, but many of the places Peter visited, he travelled by boat and even motorcycle, and I believe even biked a bit.

Peter knows every inch of Latin America, whether it is tangos in Buenos Aires, sidewalk cafes in Panama or the Andes, he has been there. I cannot think of any parts of Europe Peter has not been to, not to mention remote little parts of Russia and all these former Soviet Union places. I have heard the stories and they are great.

We heard about Algeria and North Africa. I read a lot of those articles Senator Stollery wrote in the late 1950s, when it was a little tense there for a while with the French colonies and de Gaulle. I could go on about the Orient, India and the South Pacific, but in a phrase, Peter has been everywhere.

Senator Stollery is good company. He is articulate. He is a hard-working and dedicated parliamentarian. He is an experienced retailer. I mentioned Stollery's, which is about a block from where I live, because I am a Torontonian as well. Peter knows everything about shirts, and even men's underwear. Peter can feel a fabric and tell you exactly where it came from; he is that good. Peter is a pro and fun to be with. He will be missed.

Senator Stollery, I thank you for the great legacy that you have left to the House of Commons, Senate, Canadians and even Torontonians.

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I too would like to add some words in praise — I think it is praise — of Senator Stollery. To say that Senator Peter Stollery is a unique man is an understatement, and it is certainly no secret, at least not in this chamber. He is well travelled, adventurous, colourful and well read.

Peter regularly educates all who listen on an infinite number of places and things, and he is mostly right.

Senator Tkachuk: Even if you do not want to listen.

Senator Di Nino: Peter and I have served on the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade together for a number of years and have shared experiences both in Canada and in foreign lands.

In sharing his wisdom with colleagues, the example that sticks most in my mind is Peter's cure, or should I say "prevention" for malaria, which he also shares unselfishly — not the malaria, the prevention — with all who wish to partake.

I confess, Peter, that I enjoy a different brand of single malt, but your choice is not bad, either.

Honourable senators, Peter Stollery has served Canada for 38 years, and during this time has contributed much to the success of his party. I have never found Peter overly partisan, and he has always been quite prepared to cooperate, even though positions and opinions may differ.

Senator Stollery recently informed me that one of the new challenges he will undertake in his retirement will be to learn how to fix washing machines. I think we are seeing the beginning of a new career here, though I can hardly imagine Peter Stollery as the Maytag man.

Peter, you truly are an eclectic man. The Prime Minister will have a tough time duplicating you, but I suspect he has already chosen your successor.

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh.

Senator Di Nino: Peter, have I created a little excitement here? This is good.

My friend, I extend best wishes to you for many more years of a life fulfilled, whether on your bicycle, motorcycle or fixing washing machines. Good luck.

[Translation]

Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool: Honourable senators, I too wish to express my regret as we say goodbye to a wonderful colleague, for whom I have a great deal of respect, and whose wisdom and experience will be sadly missed beginning next week.

[English]

As was mentioned before, to say that Senator Stollery is a well-travelled man would be a silly understatement. Is there a country on this earth that he has not visited, with or without his trusty bicycle? I would love to know.

However, this interesting fact is probably the main reason behind Senator Stollery's vast knowledge and intuitive grasp of world issues, which made him such a valuable member and chair of our Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

[Translation]

That landmark committee report on Africa, tabled in 2007, served to remind Canada and the rest of the world of the importance of our Senate and the quality of the work we do. That report also came at a time that was a turning point in the evolution of our modern world, when foreign aid to Africa was being recalibrated and our government was establishing its new policy on international development.

[English]

I shall miss Senator Stollery's urbane manners and his dapper style, sometimes eccentric but always with taste. I shall also miss Senator Stollery's very human approach to relationships and his respect for French, my language.

[Translation]

Senator Stollery was always very proud to speak with me in French.

[English]

While I know Senator Stollery will be quite happy keeping in shape and fly-fishing in his new life after the Senate, I suspect he will miss this place, just as we will miss him quite a lot.

[Translation]

My dear colleague, thank you for everything and all the best as you begin this next chapter of your life, as a "Maytag man." We look forward to seeing you again.

[English]

Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I would like to make a comment about Senator Stollery. To my mind, Senator Stollery is what a senator should be. I felt very comfortable with him from the first day we met.

I knew the Stollery family in Toronto. I knew the men's store. I shopped there occasionally. I knew his uncle, Art Stollery, very well.

We travelled together a few times, and I knew that Peter had great knowledge about almost everything. As a matter of fact, we were at meetings in India, and during the meeting, some of us would look out the window and point out the different birds that were flying around. I thought I would catch him —

Senator Stollery: It was close.

Senator Mahovlich: While in New Delhi, I said to my wife: I think I got him here. I am going to ask him a question. We were going down to breakfast and I cornered Senator Stollery, and said: Who was the great British architect that helped design this great town of New Delhi?

Peter started to squirm. He moved around in his chair and started to talk to himself, and he talked and talked. After about a minute, Senator Stollery said: It was not Lutyens, was it? Gosh, that was the answer, and he got it.

I happen to have a Lutyens bench up at my cottage. I have okayed it with my wife, and we intend to invite him up there one summer. We will both have a chance to sit at this Lutyens bench.

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, it is my true pleasure to rise and pay tribute to the Honourable Peter Alan Stollery, world explorer, journalist, taxi driver, businessman, member of Parliament, fisherman, bread maker — and I suspect butcher and candlestick maker, but I have no proof of such — teacher, stove repairman, bibliophile, linguist, roofer and senator — a Renaissance man.

(1420)

Renaissance men thirst for knowledge. Knowledge, as we know, is power, and Peter Stollery possesses that power to a degree that I have rarely encountered. He did not settle for books as the sole source of his knowledge. His approach to life has been scientific in that he did not only read about the world, he went to experience it, feel it, see it and touch it.

To say that his life experiences have been rich does not begin to scratch the surface of his journeys: riding elephants through Asia, hitchhiking through Europe, driving through North Africa, travelling with the French Foreign Legion, and biking through Russia and Central America — living through life.

It is no surprise then that our former colleague Senator John B. Stewart once remarked of Peter Stollery, "he will make what seems to be an out of left field remark about a certain subject, which over time invariably ends up being true."

Senator Stollery has served this chamber and the other place for 38 years — 38 remarkable years — and he has done so with an élan that probably will never be duplicated.

The office that I occupy is across the hall from that of Senator Stollery. That closeness has enabled me to hear of his exploits and to enjoy his learned insights as we tried to rationalize some of the world's problems. I shall truly miss those conversations.

Of his many works, I must applaud Senator Stollery for his chairmanship of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and its Africa Report, surely one of the most important and poignant studies ever undertaken by the Senate of Canada.

I thank you, Senator Stollery, for sharing some of your life with us in this place, and I await news of your future travels. In closing, I refer to the words of the late Senator Harold Connolly:

Can I praise you who could at once protest you have only done what you have been called upon to do? Would you not argue that the rewards which have come to you in satisfaction of heart and soul, if not in material things, have more than compensated for any services you have given? And yet, I must risk your protest. You have given so much and asked so little that surely you are entitled to know something of the esteem in which you are held. In the hearts of those you have served, there is stored up for you a wealth of gratitude. Voiceless it may be but it is all the more tangible therefore, surpassing far anything that could be inscribed upon a page or built of stone or marble. I remind you of this because it is your due.

Bon voyage, Mr. Chairman.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise before you today to pay homage to a friend and colleague, the Honourable Senator Stollery. Senator Stollery has served in the upper house for 29 years. During that time, his hard work has positively impacted the lives of many people in Canada and abroad. When I was first appointed to the Senate 10 years ago, Senator Stollery was among the first to welcome me. He shared sage advice that continues to be extremely beneficial for me. In addition to being a valued friend, Senator Stollery was also a great mentor. I learned a great deal from him while we sat together on the Foreign Affairs Committee. I admired his dedication and commitment to the committee.

Senator Stollery, your knowledge and wisdom on this committee will be greatly missed. You may be leaving this chamber this month, but you are leaving behind all the timely and wise advice you have given us over the years. The skills you have taught me will stay with me for a long time, and I thank you for your help.

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I wish to join those paying tribute to Senator Stollery today as he prepares to leave the Senate. I hesitate to describe it as retiring because, frankly, retiring is not a word that I would associate with Peter Stollery. I have worked with him on the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, studying a wide range of countries and issues. Like many, I came to appreciate his energy and drive through those countless meetings, and I think we can all agree that the fine work of the committee during that time was due in no small part to his efforts.

His perspective has been unique. Though a lifelong reader, he believes that the best way to learn about a land and its people is to go there — preferably on a bicycle — and to talk to as many people as will listen. From the Sahara Desert to the jungles of Panama and the Russian countryside, Senator Stollery's travels and experience have informed a world view and emphasized his first-hand knowledge.

Whenever the committee embarked on a regional study, Senator Stollery was always the strongest advocate for travel. To be sure, this advocacy was not out of some abiding love of hotel accommodations and airline food. It grew out of the belief that, notwithstanding the importance of witness testimony, if we want to truly know a place, we have to see it. He was usually proven right, and many a library researcher had to rework a draft report based upon what senators saw and heard on their fact-finding missions.

I recall during our Africa study when I received a package of information from the Library of Parliament. Among the documents was an article about Algeria written for Maclean's magazine in the early 1960s by a young Peter Stollery. Rich with local detail, it was written from the perspective of one who had lived there — someone who both knew and cared about the region and its people.

This passion has by no means diminished over the years, as anyone who worked with him on the Africa study can attest. Similarly, his enthusiasm for the China, India and Russia study reflects his belief that Canada should always be looking outward and always be eager, as he is, to explore new opportunities.

He once described his first experience in Africa as a "curious young Canadian traveller overland on his own." Now older but no less curious, we can only wonder what paths he will pursue now that he no longer has to heed the bells.

To conclude, Honourable senators, I congratulate Senator Stollery for almost four decades of public service. Someone will fill his seat, but he will never be replaced.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, the Honourable Senator Stollery.

Hon. Peter A. Stollery: Honourable senators, it is an unusual experience, retiring from nearly 40 years of political life in Parliament; so I put a note or two together.

When I was first elected to the House of Commons in 1972, it was a difficult election for Liberals. As to who would form the government, Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Stanfield, much depended on the recount in the then Ontario constituency of Norm Cafik, Liberal. He lost on election night and was re-elected on the recount, giving a two-seat majority to the Liberals who, under the parliamentary and able guidance of Allan MacEachen, formed the government. It was an exciting but worrying time for me. There I was, just elected and broke, having paid for my election myself, facing defeat in a month or two in another election.

Here I am more than 38 years later with people saying nice things about me, which I appreciate. They do not say anything about you when you are defeated in the House of Commons; you are gone. I did not know anything about Parliament when I came here. One big difference between being elected to the House of Commons and being appointed to the Senate is that when someone is elected to the House of Commons, they come in with other people. They become friends because they all go through the same horrible experience for the first time. It is like their year at school.

When someone comes to the Senate, they come in on their own, and it takes longer to develop camaraderie. I have been lucky. I have had many friends during my time in the House of Commons and I have developed camaraderie here in the Senate.

I want to thank all those who have enriched my life: all the people in faraway places who taught me about the ways of the world and those who helped me and taught me on my political ways. It was an assortment of characters, of whom I want to single out Mr. Ken Counsell, the late husband of our former colleague Senator Trenholme Counsell, and Mr. Joseph Ricciuti of Toronto.

Honourable senators, allow me one moment to mention my parents: my mother, who put up with my unorthodox ways and my late father, Alan Stollery, who encouraged me.

(1430)

[Translation]

I learned to speak French because, in 1955, my father said, "We have two languages in Canada. People need to speak more French in Canada." When I found a job in French-speaking Algeria in 1958, I sent him a note, to which he responded, "Go! It will give you the opportunity to learn French." Of course, 1955 was long before bilingualism was fashionable.

[English]

That was from a businessman in Toronto who did not speak a word of French and who had rarely been out of Ontario.

Without the inquiring mind of my dad who gave me an inquiring mind, I would be nothing.

Honourable senators, I have a lot to be grateful for and I am grateful. I want to thank all of you for your kind words and my heartfelt thanks to those who made me.

I see Mrs. Calvert in the gallery, who has been on the Hill since 1962 and has worked with me for a long time. I wrote in my notes that she has put up with me. I think the truth is we put up with each other since 1972. That is quite a record.

I end, honourable senators, by saying, first, that Senator Mahovlich nearly did stump me in New Delhi. I do not know how I ever came up with Lutyens; I am not kidding. I was thinking of all kinds of obscure architects and the name popped out at the right moment.

Second, regarding this business of airplanes and travel, I do not believe in airplanes. I am lucky because I started my life before the long-distance jet, so I spent my years travelling over land and by sea. One cannot meet anyone sitting in an airplane looking down from 30,000 feet.

Third, to Senator Di Nino, we do not move on to washing machines and dryers until the next part of the course. At the moment, we are learning about stoves, and there are more wires in the back of a stove than I have ever seen in my life.

Thank you very much.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Royal Winter Agricultural Fair

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, every November, the city meets the country at the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair that takes place in the city of Toronto. This year's event, which took place from November 4 to 13, was no exception. As the largest indoor agricultural and equestrian fair and competition in the world, The Royal brought tens of thousands of Canadian and international breeders, growers and exhibiters to Exhibition Place for this one-of-a-kind event.

When The Royal first began in 1922, it boasted 17,000 entries and more than 150,000 visitors. Today, the event attracts over 350,000 participants and visitors from across the country and all over the world.

It has been noted that many of the visitors to The Royal do not have an agricultural background, and the many displays and events show Canadians where their food comes from, and the importance of agriculture in the Canadian economy.

The agriculture and agri-food system contributed almost $90 billion to the Canadian economy in 2006, representing 8 per cent of the gross domestic product. The industry employs 2.1 million individuals.

In my home province, agriculture is one of the province's three main industries, and the direct impact of the agriculture and agri-food sector is about 15 per cent of the GDP, or approximately $560 million. Every year, this unique event offers a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best that rural Canada has to offer.

My home province has a long tradition in the world of agriculture and, as one can imagine, we have a long tradition of sending competitors to The Royal. It may come as no surprise that my province also has a long tradition of bringing ribbons home, and this year was no exception. This year, both young and veteran Island participants made the trip to Toronto to compete. In the poultry competition, Island exhibitors dominated a number of age divisions and classes. Beef and dairy competitors placed high in a number of divisions and classes. In the seed potato competition, one Island entry was named "Reserve Grand Champion." In the table-stock potato competition, entries from Islanders took first place in a number of classes.

Honourable senators, please join with me in congratulating the competitors from my province and across the country. Every single person who participated should be highly commended for his or her dedication, hard work and commitment to provide safe, high-quality food for people in Canada and around the world.

National Child Day

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, Senator Cochrane, Senator Munson and I hosted two events to celebrate National Child Day over the last couple of days. We were delighted to carry out the tradition initiated by our former colleague, Senator Landon Pearson, of hosting annual events to celebrate children and youth.

It has been 21 years since the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This year's National Child Day was planned to start us thinking about community. Our children can have a tremendous impact on their communities, through sport, education or volunteering.

Yesterday, we held a special event in this chamber, where we hosted over 300 children from schools in the National Capital Region for a celebration of children by children and youth. We were indeed treated to amazing performances by young Canadians.

Performers included 11-year-old violinist and master of ceremonies Dominique LeBlanc, who hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

KidSingers, a choir and part of the Leading Note Foundation, gives children from underserved communities the opportunity to learn and make music together.

Two of our Senate pages, Andrew Ruban and Maria Habanikova, engaged the children in a great question-and-answer session about the Senate and what we do here. It was amazing to see how much the children knew about what we do.

There was also a fantastic performance of Aboriginal song and throat singing from small children and youth from the Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre.

Percussion group Boom! gave us a taste of West African and Brazilian drumming. This place was rocking yesterday.

A gifted public speaker, Mike Nordby, hailing from Newfoundland and Labrador, a personal fitness coach, community builder and fundraiser, spoke of inspiring youth and young adults to overcome obstacles and discover possibilities.

We organized this event in conjunction with Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa. Katie McGregor from Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa, CAYFO, presented the Awesome Youth Award to young Timi Boyo, a 16-year-old grade 12 student at the Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School, who has held the highest overall average each year since grade 9 and is a leader in philanthropy through his work in cancer research and interacting and engaging with seniors with Alzheimer's disease.

This morning in the Senate foyer, we hosted almost 100 representatives from different groups who dedicate their lives to ensuring that children and youth realize their potential.

On the Hill, many senators and members of Parliament share that commitment to the well-being of Canada's youth. I was happy to see so many of those colleagues here this morning.

On behalf of Senator Cochrane and Senator Munson, I would like to thank His Honour; the Clerk of the Senate, Gary O'Brien; the Usher of the Black Rod; the Senate pages; and all the staff in the Senate Administration for their support of our events.

I also want to thank the Senate staff responsible for installation, security, translation and audiovisual services. Without them, these events could not happen.

I also offer our sincerest gratitude to our terrific staff who planned and organized this celebration. It is obvious that they take the meaning of National Child Day to heart, and we appreciate their help in showing the children and youth of Canada that the Senate is a place where we are standing up for their future.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

The Estimates, 2010-11

Study on Vote 10 of the Supplementary Estimates (B)—Second Report of the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament Tabled

Hon. Percy E. Downe: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, which deals with Vote 10 under Parliament in the Supplementary Estimates (B) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

(1440)

Study on User Fee Proposal

Public Safety—Twelfth Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

Hon. John. D. Wallace, for Senator Fraser, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, presented the following report:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its

TWELFTH REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred the document "National Parole Board User Fees Proposal" dated September 27, 2010, has, in obedience to its order of reference of Monday, September 27, 2010, examined the proposed user fee.

Your committee recommends that, in accordance with section 5 of the User Fees Act, the Senate approve the proposed increase to the National Parole Board's component of the pardon user fee from $35 to $135, which creates a total fee of $150 (including the RCMP's component).

Your committee has also made certain observations which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN D. WALLACE
Deputy Chair

(For text of observations, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, p. 978.)

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

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

[Translation]

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Permit Televisual recording and Photographic coverage of Next Royal Assent Ceremony

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

That at the next Royal Assent by traditional ceremony at which His Excellency the Governor General is present, television cameras be authorized in the Senate chamber to record the ceremony, with the least possible disruption of the proceedings; and

That photographers also be authorized in the Senate chamber at that time to photograph the ceremony, with the least possible disruption of the proceedings.

Old Age Security Act

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-31, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (Eliminating Entitlements for Prisoners Act).

(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.)

[English]

Gender Equity in Indian Registration Bill

First Reading

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons with Bill C-3, An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs).

(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.)

Agriculture and Forestry

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Extend Date of Final Report on Study of Current State and Future of Forest Sector

Hon. Percy Mockler: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That, notwithstanding the Order of the Senate adopted on Thursday, March 11, 2010, the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, which was authorized to undertake a study on the current state and future of Canada's forest sector, be empowered to extend the date of presenting its final report from December 31, 2010 to March 31, 2011; and

That the Committee retain until March 31, 2011 all powers necessary to publicize its findings.


QUESTION PERIOD

Heritage

City of Edmonton Bid for Expo 2017

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

Yesterday, we learned that the federal government has slammed the door on Edmonton's bid to host the World's Fair in 2017, the only Canadian city to bid on this event. Let me remind this house that the three-month event, expected to attract nearly 5.3 million visitors, would have marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, as well as Canada's one hundred and fiftieth birthday, and all while showcasing discussions on sustainability, human energy, fossil fuels and other international issues.

Suffice it to say that Edmontonians and Albertans alike are extremely disappointed with the government's decision. In fact, it was the Prime Minister who encouraged municipalities to move forward on bids for this expo event. The Mayor of Edmonton, His Worship Stephen Mandel, expressed his dismay by stating:

It's clear when it comes to Edmonton's growth and ambition, Ottawa is simply not interested, and our minister has failed us absolutely, completely.

Bid committee member Randy Ferguson also expressed his frustration, saying:

Albertans took a kick in the teeth today.

How could the leader's government decide to let Edmontonians down with its refusal to support Edmonton's bid for Expo 2017, an international event that would be most beneficial for all Canadians?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I think it is very clear from the remarks of the Minister of Finance over the past months, and indeed as late as yesterday, that a key element of our next phase of economic recovery will be to return to balanced budgets. As the Minister of Finance emphasized, our government will not make significant new government spending commitments.

This requires difficult decisions to be made, no doubt. One of those decisions was not to proceed with the funding for a bid to host Expo 2017 in Edmonton. Supporting an expo bid would require the federal government to spend over $1 billion once we have taken into account the full cost of security and other federal obligations to host an event of this size.

It should be noted that in the past the government did support Edmonton's bid for the World University Games.

[Translation]

Senator Tardif: I have a supplementary question. We have just learned that the federal government will spend $300 million to close Camp Mirage in the United Arab Emirates, and, at the same time, that it has decided to not support Edmonton's bid to host Expo 2017 for economic and financial reasons. However, honourable senators, the economic, social and cultural benefits of holding Expo 2017 in Edmonton cannot be denied.

How can the leader justify her government's refusal to provide the support that is necessary to hold such an event?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: The figure the honourable senator quoted for Camp Mirage is a speculative one. I do not think there has been any confirmation of that figure. Having said that, we are dealing with the Edmonton bid. In this context, and in view of the commitment of the government to return to balanced budgeting, we felt that we must show respect for taxpayers and not proceed with support for this bid.

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Clearly, the government will have to make some tough decisions and, undoubtedly, this was a difficult one. In the interests of the taxpayer, the $1 billion security cost, which we have already had evidence of, cannot be supported generally, not only by the citizens of Canada but also the citizens of Alberta.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, it is clear that the government's fiscal irresponsibility chickens have come home to roost right on Edmonton. The reason the government cannot afford to support this immensely important project is that they have squandered Canadians' money over the last few years. Let me count the ways: a $56 billion deficit; Camp Mirage, $300 million; G8 and G20, $1 billion-plus — they cannot even come up with a clear accounting of that.

Would the Leader of the Government in the Senate just admit that the reason the government feels they do not have the money for this incredibly important project — for Edmonton, for Alberta and for Canada — is that they have squandered Canadians' money and they simply do not know whether they have enough to do this properly?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the G8 and G20 conferences, which were meetings that Canada was in line to host, were extremely expensive, and a great deal of that expense was for security. The fact is that the government has fully accounted for the expenditures of the G8 and G20.

The request for support for the Edmonton bid obviously had to be considered in the context of our efforts to pay down the deficit, after the very successful economic stimulus that has helped to provide jobs for over 420,000 Canadians. The government has already signalled that we cannot continue to spend money when we are trying to bring the budget into balance, and we felt that we could not burden taxpayers with $1 billion at this point in time.

Senator Mitchell: Do the math. It is not $1 billion today; it is $1 billion over seven or eight years. That is far less, about $150 million a year. Can the government not even afford $150 million a year for the people of Edmonton, the people of Alberta, and the people of Canada to send a message across the world about how significant we are and how much we have to offer the world?

Senator LeBreton: Edmonton is an important and significant city. The government has undertaken to support other endeavours in the city of Edmonton. The citizens of Edmonton, the citizens of Alberta and Canadian taxpayers generally, after experiencing this difficult worldwide economic downturn, want the government to return to balanced budgeting. Unfortunately, that means having to say no to some compelling requests.

Senator Mitchell: Before the government turned down this project, did they consider that, if the Minister of Finance can be believed when he says that he will actually balance the budget by 2014, there would be plenty of time afterwards, and presumably some surplus budgets, with more than enough money to do this project, which not only would send great messages and defend the oil sands to the world but would also create a great deal of economic development?

Senator LeBreton: There is no doubt this was a difficult decision for the government, but there is also no doubt that the country is faced with difficult decisions as a result of the worldwide economic downturn. Canada has led the world in providing leadership to get through this period and we are best positioned as we come out of this state. The honourable senator would be the first on his feet demanding that the government live up to its commitment to get back to balanced budgeting, and that is exactly what we are doing. Decisions like this, however difficult, are being made in the interests of the taxpayer.

Senator Mitchell: The leader says it was a difficult decision. How difficult was it to decide to pump $50 million into Minister Clement's riding for things like gazebos?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, with regard to the economic stimulus spending, all expenditures were made in cooperation with provincial and municipal governments.

Senator Mitchell: So is this.

Senator LeBreton: The expenditures worked because they helped create over 420,000 jobs during the difficult economic downturn.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Sydney Harbour Project—Atlantic Gateway Strategy

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, the dredging of Sydney Harbour has been identified as integral to the future economic growth of the industrial Cape Breton area. The project has been marked as the number one economic priority by both the local and provincial levels of government. All the assessments have been made regarding the project, with an estimated cost of $38 million. The province and municipality have committed to funding half the cost of the dredging, contingent on the federal government assisting with the remaining $19 million. The project was ready to go last spring. All that was needed was a commitment from the federal government, but that has not happened.

This past week, the Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality received a rejection letter from the Minister of Transport Canada, Chuck Strahl, stating that his department does not fund dredging for private ports and will not fund the project.

Does this letter from the Transport Canada minister mean that the federal government will not fund this project? Can the leader inform this chamber on the status of this request?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, obviously the government is very interested in finding a solution to the dredging of Sydney Harbour. As I have said before, and as Senator Cordy well knows, this is a complex and costly undertaking that will require the involvement of all levels of government and the private sector. The government, at this point in time, has nothing further to add other than that we are continuing to seek solutions.

Senator Cordy: I find it incredible that the leader would say that the government is "obviously very interested." We have heard nothing. This is not complex. The leader said that she needs the involvement of all levels of government. We have the involvement of the municipal government. We have the involvement of the provincial government. Both levels of government have committed to funding. It is their number one priority for the Cape Breton area.

I have also met with members of the private sector in the Cape Breton area. They are also fully committed to this project. It is only the federal government that has not yet made a commitment.

On April 28 of this year, I asked about federal funding for the dredging of Sydney Harbour and the leader took my question as notice. On June 17, I raised the question again about the dredging of Sydney Harbour because I had not received a reply to my first question, and I still have not received a reply from April 28.

Over the past several months, this government has spent exorbitant amounts of taxpayers' money on wasteful G8 and G20 summit spending on a fake lake, Glow Sticks, pens and zipper pulls. They have spent money on government advertising and recently a $500 million move from Camp Mirage.

This project is of great economic importance to the Cape Breton area, with both municipal and provincial governments making financial commitments.

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The request was for $19 million from the federal government. Why is the federal government dragging its feet and giving the Sydney dredging project the runaround? What is the government waiting for?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I cannot add anything to what I said a moment ago. We would obviously like to see a solution to this situation. The honourable senator is obviously very concerned and has very strong views, which I will be happy to pass on to my colleague the Honourable Chuck Strahl.

I thought that a written response had gone to Senator Cordy. I apologize for that and I will find out what happened to it. However, there is nothing more that I can add at this time.

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I am concerned that the minister has sloughed this project off as something that is not important.

In the announcements that the government has made repeatedly about the money it was going to put into the Atlantic Gateway it said that there would be wonderful programs. We have continued to ask questions about spending on the Atlantic Gateway. We can find no money that has been spent.

It has been determined by the New Democratic government currently in place and by the previous Progressive Conservative government in Nova Scotia that the number one priority of the province is the dredging of Sydney Harbour. There is nothing complex about the dredging of the harbour. It is a simple matter of the federal government coming to the table and making a decision.

I remind the leader that I asked a similar question about the dredging of Sydney Harbour and about the use of Atlantic Gateway money to do the job, with no gateway money having been spent thus far. I am still waiting for a response to that.

The leader says that this is a complex matter. Everyone can tell the leader that the dredging of Sydney Harbour is the simplest part of the entire gateway project.

Senator LeBreton: Senator Mercer has the same problem as Senator Mitchell of putting words in my mouth that I never said.

I thought I had communicated that the federal government is seeking a solution to the Sydney Harbour situation. There have been several meetings with our partners at all levels of government and in other countries working on an effective Atlantic Gateway strategy that will provide new opportunities for the Atlantic region in the new global economy.

Good progress has been made on the Atlantic Gateway initiative, both at the government and the official levels. The government is fully committed to our Atlantic Gateway strategy.

With regard to Sydney Harbour, I cannot add anything more than what I said in response to Senator Cordy. The government is seeking a solution, but it must be a solution that includes the full partnership of the province, the municipality and the private sector.

Senator Mercer: As Senator Cordy said in her original question and as was stated by the Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Premier Dexter, this is their number one priority. They have come to the table and have their money for their half of this project. The federal government need only say "yes" and we can start dredging.

This is important not only for the people of Cape Breton but for all Nova Scotians because coal for the generation of electricity is imported to the terminal at Sydney Harbour. Ships can only come in at 70 percent capacity because Sydney Harbour has not been dredged. That drives up the cost of coal, which keeps the price of electricity in Nova Scotia exorbitantly high.

If Sydney Harbour was dredged, it would help keep the cost of coal a little lower, which would stabilize the price of electricity across Nova Scotia. This is a pan-Nova Scotian issue, not an issue for only the people of Cape Breton Island.

The minister said she wanted the cooperation of the other two levels of government. They have said they are in. Where is the federal government?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, Senator Cordy referred to Minister Chuck Strahl's response. It is correct, as the honourable senator knows full well, that Transport Canada only funds the dredging of publicly-owned harbours, as Chuck Strahl stated in his response.

As I said, the government is interested in finding a solution to the dredging of Sydney Harbour. Ministers MacKay and Ashfield are working diligently with their officials to find alternative solutions to this very complex issue.

I do not know what more I can say. The government is seeking a solution to the matter and Ministers Ashfield and MacKay are working on it. What Minister Strahl said is the absolute truth, and this is the case all across the country: The Department of Transport only dredges publicly-owned harbours.

Industry

Long-term Disability Benefits—Nortel Employees

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, my question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week the Banking Committee held two hearings on Bill S-216, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to help protect people on long-term disability who worked for self-insured companies that go into bankruptcy. This, of course, particularly affects disabled Nortel workers.

At the end of the two hearings, the government members on the committee voted to adjourn the debate, even though everyone knows full well that time is running out for these people. Their life circumstances will change dramatically at the end of this year, which is only a few weeks away. Those people are waiting to hear from the government, as am I.

Will the government support Bill S-216 or propose an alternative to help protect people in such circumstances, including the disabled Nortel employees?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I understand that witnesses who appeared before the committee were not unanimous in their positions for or against the bill and that many of the witnesses identified potential unintended consequences of how the bill would proceed to achieve its goal.

I believe that the committee is seized with this issue. It is, as we know, a very difficult issue. The government has been working to seek solutions for people who find themselves in this difficult situation. I was not involved in the committee hearings, but I understand that the members of the committee simply asked in good faith that they have time to properly study the submissions of the witnesses.

Senator Eggleton: I agree that not every witness took the same position on Bill S-216, although I think the arguments presented against it were very weak. That is, of course, subject to interpretation. However, every last one of them agreed that there are people who are sick and disabled who need attention and help. The leader said that the members want time to look at the provisions of the bill.

The bill has been around since the spring. It got second reading here on June 17. It is not as if it is something new. It is a very simple eight-clause bill. However, the one thing about time that is absolutely certain is the end of December. That is only a few weeks away. The company-sponsored health care benefits will be cut off at the end of December. Some of those pensioners, because of cancer or heart diseases, Parkinson's disease, et cetera, need thousands of dollars to make up for that. How will that be made up?

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Their incomes, which were already cut in half when they went on to LTD, will now be cut in half again, or even more so. This is all happening at the end of the year, so time is running out. How much more time is necessary for the government to be able to come to a decision to do something to help these people? If it is not Bill S-216, then what will it be?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I did not say that the members of the committee needed more time to study the bill. I think they clearly understand the bill. I believe I said the committee did not continue on in its work on the bill in view of some of the witnesses who appeared before the committee who were not unanimous in their support and talked about unintended consequences. I could be wrong, but that was my understanding.

With regard to the Nortel pensioners, certainly the government and all of us are mindful of the situation that these people face. The Canadian pension system is already recognized as one of the strongest in the world but, having said that, we know that there are some elements that require attention.

We also know that pensions such as this one do not fall within the small 10 per cent of pensions that actually are the responsibility of the federal government but, as the honourable senator knows, are more the responsibility of the provincial governments.

We have taken some action as a government thus far to protect workers and their pensions in times of bankruptcy. We implemented the Wage Earner Protection Program to guarantee the timely payment of unpaid wages up to $3,250 in the event of a bankruptcy. We also amended the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to elevate unpaid wages up to $2,000 to super priority, and we amended the act to elevate unpaid employer contributions to a pension fund to super priority.

As Senator Eggleton well knows, there are no easy answers. Minister Clement is the minister primarily responsible for the bankruptcy side, but not the pension side. The ministers responsible are certainly seeking ways to improve the situation and address these concerns. At this point in time, all I can say to the honourable senator is that when Minister Clement is in a position to announce his intentions he will do so, and I would expect it will be sooner rather than later.

Senator Eggleton: That gives me some hope. I might add that this is not about pensions; this is about long-term disability. The measure cited by the leader — the Wage Earner Protection Program — is the measure I cited in committee, as well, because it is a good example of where the government has already taken action to move people up the list, even into super priority status, which I did not even ask for in my bill. I suggested going to a preferred or middle status.

Will the minister take up with her cabinet colleagues the urgency of this matter, please — the urgency to deal with this before time runs out for these Nortel people?

Senator LeBreton: I can assure Senator Eggleton that my cabinet colleagues, especially those who live in the Ottawa area — because it is something that is more prevalent in the Ottawa area — are very mindful of this situation.

I know this matter primarily involves long-term disability. As I said a moment ago, I believe Minister Clement has heard their pleas, and I expect Minister Clement will have something to say about this sooner rather than later.

[Translation]

Justice

French Language and Immigration Services

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. La Presse ran an article on November 18, 2010, about French-language services before the Immigration and Refugee Board in Montreal. According to the author, a lawyer who specializes in immigration law, "it is getting harder and harder to obtain services in French" before this federal administrative tribunal.

Why is it that people cannot get a hearing in French before this federal administrative tribunal in Montreal, the board refuses to send French-language documentation to Montreal in some cases, and it is sometimes impossible to obtain the services of a French-language interpreter in Montreal? Why are French-language services being refused?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the fact is I cannot explain it. I was not aware of the case and I have not seen the article.

Canada has an Official Languages Act, which is there to ensure people are provided services in both official languages. Why, in the city of Montreal, in an immigration office, this was not provided is something that I will look into. I cannot imagine what possible explanation could be given for not providing French-language services to clients in Montreal, but I will certainly be happy to take Senator Chaput's question as notice and look into it.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Tax Conventions Implementation Bill, 2010

Message from Commons

The Hon. the Speaker informed the Senate that a message had been received from the House of Commons returning Bill S-3, An Act to implement conventions and protocols concluded between Canada and Colombia, Greece and Turkey for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, and acquainting the Senate that they have passed this bill without amendment.

[Translation]

Official Languages Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Chaput, seconded by the Honourable Senator Mahovlich, for the second reading of Bill S-220, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act (communications with and services to the public).

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, today I want to speak in support of my fellow senators who have already spoken about Bill S-220, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act (communications with and services to the public).

This bill, which is a noble initiative of Senator Maria Chaput, deserves our full attention. I would like to congratulate Senator Chaput on taking the necessary step of proposing an update of the Official Languages Act, which dates from 1969 and was merely tweaked in 1988. At that time, there was less of a need to consider family makeup and the travelling public. But because of immigration, mixed marriages, travel and family moves from one end of our country to the other, over the years the Official Languages Act is no longer very current.

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I understand and appreciate Senator Chaput's speech in which she indicated that managing existing resources remains critical for providing services in French. It is also important to keep in mind that this bill does not entail a significant increase in federal resources.

Another important objective of Bill S-220 is to increase clarity. The legislation in its current form is so ambiguous and unclear that even the civil servants who are supposed to enforce it cannot explain the what it means. It is filled with complicated sentence structures, vague terms and ambiguity — and I have not even gotten to the rights of travellers, the concept of travellers and their right to bilingual services.

However, honourable senators, right now I would like to come back to the change in the composition of today's families.

There is an increasing number of mixed families that the Official Languages Act does not provide for, such as families with a francophone mother and an anglophone father, an anglophone mother and a francophone father, one anglophone or francophone parent and one parent whose first language is neither French nor English, and allophone parents who want their children to be able to speak both of Canada's official languages.

My question is this: why does the Official Languages Act not reflect this reality?

Why is the largest group in Canada's current population, mixed families, not mentioned, not recognized, in the current Official Languages Act?

The unique character of Canada's linguistic minorities is part of our everyday reality. Whether we like it or not, these families, our families, are part of that reality.

While 22.8 per cent of states say they are bilingual or multilingual, very few manage to achieve true linguistic equality. The battle for language dominance takes place within the state, and the stronger language triumphs. From that moment on, the state begins to oppress the weaker language and protect the stronger. In his treatise "Linguistics and Colonialism," Louis-Jean Calvet coined the term "glottophagy" to describe the devouring of one language by another.

When we talk about state bilingualism, we need to understand that the state's official languages must be used not only in the legislative arena, in debates, in drafting and enactment of legislation, but also in public administration, justice, teaching, et cetera.

We live in a world where 45 countries are officially bilingual, which represents nearly one-quarter of countries worldwide. There are 193 sovereign states, of which 45 are bilingual. Unfortunately, the Americas have the fewest number of bilingual states. Only Canada and Haiti have two official languages.

Demographic weight plays a critical and fundamentally political role. Canada's take on multiculturalism is unique in the world. Luckily, we do not have significant risks of intercommunity conflict. Linguistic minorities are found all across Canada: in the North, South, East and West.

The most important thing to remember is that if we want these treasured minorities to continue to exist — if we do not want to lose them — we must ensure that services are offered in the minority official language.

How can we ensure that French will be maintained within mixed families while also ensuring the vitality of the minority community?

First, we must make those concerned understand that their minority language has not been eliminated and that it is just as important in our eyes as the dominant language.

Second, we must ensure that the services offered in the minority language are of the same quality as those offered in the dominant language of the region in question.

We should not be satisfied with simply translating the facts. Rather, we must adapt our methodology, our actions, and our attitudes. Everything must be viewed in the appropriate context.

Another of our mandates is to help the federal government assume its responsibilities and set an example worthy of being followed.

The federal government must take a leadership role. It must lead by example to show the provincial governments that it is indeed possible to take into account the public's expectations and that these expectations are normal, given that Canada has two official languages.

Federal, provincial and local service providers must cooperate not only with each other, but also with local centres to ensure the survival and vitality of minority communities, be they anglophones in Quebec or francophones elsewhere, in British Columbia, for example.

I refuse to believe that Canada is bilingual only in word, not in deed. We have bilingual money, bilingual debates, a bilingual Parliament, bilingual cabinet meetings, and both English and French are used in teaching, the media, et cetera.

So why are public services not bilingual in well-defined areas and in places where there is a need?

I would like to emphasize again the importance of offering high-quality services; with modern technology at our disposal, translation is easy. However, translation is not what we need. We need people on staff who can offer what the public needs: high-quality services on site, not just translated sentences and memorized lists of words.

We cannot compare our system to other countries, such as Ireland, whose bilingualism is merely symbolic. Their money and stamps are bilingual, but everything else takes place exclusively in English: their parliamentary debates are in English, as are their ministerial meetings and teaching, et cetera. I learned the following from a study published by Laval University:

Government services are available only in French in Chad and are available in a second language in a limited way in Israel (Arabic), the Seychelles (French and Creole), Sri Lanka (Tamil), the Philippines (Filipino), Vanuatu (French), Kenya (Swahili), Canada (French outside of Quebec), and South Africa (language depends on the region).

In the public service, the language of work is nearly always the dominant first language. In Canada, it is English . . .

Why should bilingualism not move toward linguistic equality?

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Why not? Yes, we have administrative forms that are bilingual but, unfortunately, the services offered are not up to par: they are not always available in the person's language, whether that is English or French. I would like to go one step further and say that linguistic equality can happen only if the proportion of public servants matches the proportion of the population that speaks that language.

Switzerland has a remarkable system that others can aspire to. Its central administration is bilingual everywhere and even multilingual within some of its cantons. The Swiss system also proves that it is possible to offer bilingual government services across the entire country. In the various regions, the public has access to these services in two or even three languages. Other countries that set good examples include Belgium and Cameroon.

As for the rights of travellers, specifically air passengers, Bill S-220 could give the federal government the chance to make competition conditions consistent among airlines and require them to provide services in the minority language in places where there is significant demand.

Allow me to remind you, as I did a few weeks ago, of what happened in Vancouver.

Honourable senators, early this year, Canada welcomed the whole world to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. British Columbia was proud to host those events. Unfortunately, though, we have a blot on our record. We did welcome the world, but we let Canadians down. Our English and French linguistic duality was not in evidence during the Games.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages received 46 complaints about the Vancouver Games, including 38 specifically about the lack of French during the opening ceremonies. On investigating, the commissioner's office found that those 38 complaints pointed to violations of Part VII of the Official Languages Act, which is the law of our country.

Before the Games, Canadian Heritage negotiated an agreement with the Vancouver Organizing Committee with a provision regarding official languages.

In his 2009-10 report, the commissioner said that he was disappointed that the provision was not explicit regarding the promotion of Canadian linguistic duality.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is it agreed, honourable senators, that Senator Jaffer will be granted five more minutes?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you, honourable senators. Why was the provision on language not more specific regarding the committee's responsibilities on linguistic duality?

I believe that Air Canada is justified to have been requesting, for years now, that all airlines be treated equally in federal legislation.

Today, Canada is still an example of linguistic inequality. While equality is within reach in certain areas, we still have a long way to go before we can say that we are a perfectly bilingual country.

Honourable senators, taking into consideration all of these conditions and recommendations, I strongly urge you to support this bill and to ensure that it is sent to the appropriate committee. Please keep in mind that we cannot ensure the vitality of our linguistic minority communities unless the Official Languages Act is updated and unless we pass bills like Bill S-220, which I am honoured to be supporting today.

[English]

Honourable senators, when we did not represent a linguistic duality at the Winter Olympic Games, we robbed ourselves and the world of knowing what the true fabric of Canada is. As a British Columbian, I was angry and I now know that we have a lot of work to do in this chamber. When we do not represent our linguistic duality adequately in communications, we do not represent our people well. When we do not reflect our linguistic duality in providing services to Canadians, we let them down.

When I first came to this country, my husband and I decided that our children would learn the three languages of the Americas; namely, French, English and Spanish. It meant sending our children to Quebec and Mexico many times. Now that I am a senator, I am determined to find ways to provide British Columbian children with the means to be fluent in our official languages. That is their heritage.

I am also a grandmother, and I know it is vital that my grandson knows that he belongs to a great country where he has to speak both our official languages. That is not a choice.

Honourable senators, for the sake of unity of our country, for the sake of the great people of our country and for the sake of our children, both French and English must be reflected in all our public communications, services and private communications. That is who we should be. That is who we are.

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, this bill was adjourned in my name and I want to continue the adjournment in my name.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Conflict of Interest Act

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Day, seconded by the Honourable Senator Losier-Cool, for the second reading of Bill S-208, An Act to amend the Conflict of Interest Act (gifts).

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I note that Senator Angus has had to leave for a while. I know that he wanted to participate in the debate on this bill today. He is aware that this is the fourteenth day for this motion. Since he intends to speak to this bill shortly, I would like to move adjournment in his name.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Angus, debate adjourned.)

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[English]

Importance of Canada's Oil Sands

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Eaton calling the attention of the Senate to the benefits of Canada's oil sands.

Hon. Stephen Greene: Honourable senators, I would like to thank Senator Eaton and Senator Segal for their remarks about Canada's oil sands. There is no doubt the oil sands are an economic success, and they have amply demonstrated that they are a moral success as well. They are the industrial expression of our values of environmental protection, conservation and free trade.

I am grateful to them for their brief history of the oil sands, which may be the first time many Canadians have heard about the very Canadian manner in which the oil sands were developed. Now I would like to talk a bit about the politics surrounding the oil sands.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that under the Chrétien government, it was the lone Liberal minister from Alberta, Anne McLellan, who protected the oil sands from others within the cabinet who would have taxed or regulated the industry out of existence. She helped ensure that a second national energy program did not destroy the industry.

Let me be equally candid by saying that had the carbon tax proposed in the last election by Michael Ignatieff and Stéphane Dion become law, we would have suffered a self-inflicted wound that would have made the NEP look like a paper cut. I have never understood why Liberal senators from Alberta continue to support a carbon tax to this day, in defiance of Anne McLellan's vision.

Of course, as we know, most of the criticism of the oil sands does not come from Canadian politicians. It comes from professional activist groups, some of them environmental terrorists, if you will, and most of them are based in foreign countries.

A recent article in the Financial Post documents that at least 36 different anti-oil sands campaigns in Canada are financed by the multi-million dollar Tides Foundation, a U.S.-based international lobby group. To hide the foreign nature of the money, the Tides Foundation hires Canadian front men who answer to their U.S. paymasters. I love Americans as much as anyone else, and perhaps more than most, but I am not ready yet to have our political decisions influenced by them in any way. The Tides Foundation's Canadian arm has received over US$56 million from American taxpayers since 2000.

There are other American activist groups besides Tides. In fact, nearly US$200 million has been spent by American activists to influence Canada's domestic policy in recent years. For example, the ads aimed at destroying Alberta tourism were paid for by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Another great example, according to the Financial Post, is the David Suzuki Foundation, which holds itself out to be as Canadian as maple syrup, but which has raised over US$10 million from U.S. activists. There is no question that being an environmental activist is lucrative work.

However, American environmental hustlers and hucksters are small fry compared to the 800-pound gorilla in the room, a multinational corporation that goes by the name of Greenpeace International. Based in Europe, Greenpeace has a budget in excess of US$200 million a year, and the oil sands are one of their richest sources of fundraising.

One of Greenpeace's favourite tactics is organized, planned lawbreaking. Greenpeace activists, including many who fly in from overseas, regularly trespass in and vandalize oil sands, mines and refineries. Of course, these highly orchestrated stunts are professionally filmed by Greenpeace, which broadcasts them to the world, along with a fundraising message. It is an endless cycle of fundraising to carry off media stunts for the purpose of doing more fundraising.

In a way, Greenpeace is like many oil companies in that it sees the oil sands as highly profitable. Yet even in their stunts, Greenpeace proves the moral superiority of Canada's oil sands, for only in a country like Canada, a liberal democracy where political dissent is constitutionally protected, could foreign saboteurs break into strategic industries with the knowledge they would not be shot dead by police or private security.

Greenpeace has never broken into a refinery in Saudi Arabia or Iran — they would be shot on sight — and they have never even had peaceful press conferences in those countries either. Canada is not the largest oil producer in the world, but we are one of the most ethical oil producers in the world. This is precisely why we are the main focus for Greenpeace; we are easy pickings. They will not get shot but they can make a lot of money.

Compare Greenpeace's shrill assaults on the oil sands, including their routine offences here, with their obedient and docile approach to the world's largest polluter, China. According to the World Bank, 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities are in China. China is now the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. China regularly has environmental catastrophes, yet Greenpeace China appears to have an iron rule: Do not criticize the Chinese government.

Not a single Greenpeace ad or video or page on their website criticizes the Chinese government. Greenpeace actively opposes nuclear power and nuclear weapons everywhere in the world, but not in China. China even has its own version of the oil sands and Greenpeace is silent about that, too.

If Greenpeace were to criticize China the way it criticizes Canada, it would be kicked out, and China's nouveaux riches have become an important source of fundraising for Greenpeace. Greenpeace has clearly made a choice: Stay quiet about the environment in China in return for the right to fundraise.

The fact that we allow Greenpeace to operate in Canada is a sign of our strength, not our weakness. Unlike many major petroleum producers in the world, we do not kill our critics; we listen to them and learn from them.

Canadians would not tolerate an energy industry that behaved like those in OPEC countries, but Greenpeace apparently does tolerate the behaviour of OPEC oil — both the national oil companies and the governments that run them. They are okay with the way they do things in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and other countries; at least that is what we have to believe because Greenpeace is silent about oil production in those countries.

Canadians, on the other hand, would never countenance the genocide in Darfur that Sudan committed, partly for oil, but Greenpeace stood by silently.

We Canadians would never abide the treatment of women, gays and other minorities in Saudi Arabia and Iran, but Greenpeace has not bothered to put out a press release.

We Canadians would never tolerate the massive theft of oil, both by dictators and government officials like those in Nigeria, who have stolen over $350 billion from the country's treasury, leaving their country underdeveloped. Does Greenpeace care? We do not know.

Even the massive fundraising budgets of Greenpeace and the U.S. Tides Foundation and others are not the real story here. Who really benefits from a tax on the oil sands? We know that the good folks at Greenpeace do, but are there others?

In the five years since the oil sands came on strong, Saudi exports to the U.S. fell by 80 million barrels a year. At current prices, that is more than $6 billion a year, and Canada's oil sands are expected to grow in size, further reducing U.S. imports from OPEC. A new pipeline to the West Coast could open up Asian markets to Canadian oil, allowing us to sell to China, Japan, India and Korea, who together import far more oil than the U.S.

Canada will never replace OPEC as a source of oil. Even the most optimistic projections predict the oil sands can provide only about 6 per cent of the world's total demand. Nevertheless, as a result of our oil sands, tens of billions of dollars a year are being steered away from OPEC dictators and toward our peaceful liberal democracy. There is no doubt that OPEC benefits from a tax on our oil sands.

While I have been critical of international environmental lobbyists like Greenpeace and the Tides Foundation, let me state the obvious: I respect their freedom of speech and their right to peacefully criticize the oil sands and our government. Our country deeply values honest reflection and we know that self-criticism is a necessary part of improvement.

It is just that when highly paid foreign lobbyists lecture us on our morality, while staying silent about the morality of the alternatives to the oil sands, it strikes me that something is amiss. They are not applying the principles they espouse equally across the board, with the result that what they claim they are aiming for — ethical oil — would recede further from achievement if they were successful in shutting down the oil sands. When they do not apply their ethical principles equally, all that remains is their fundraising engine, where the perpetuation and profitability of their organization becomes more important than the reasons they set up in business in the first place. These concerns have led them to practice selective environmentalism, an environmentalism that is based on hypocrisy.

When you press these lobbyists on their alternatives to Canadian oil sands, they suddenly get very fuzzy because they do not want to talk about OPEC. They talk about new technologies that have not been invented yet; they talk about green energy solutions that will come in 30 or 40 years. They do not answer real questions like, "If not the Canadian petroleum products, what should Americans put in their gas tanks this week?" Certainly, 300 million Americans will fill up their gas tanks with production from somewhere.

A morally serious critic of the oil sands would acknowledge that if it is not to be Canadian ethical oil, it must be oil from OPEC. At the end of the day, that is my biggest objection to the professional fundraisers who masquerade as environmentalists. They are intellectually dishonest. They know that shutting down the oil sands would not take a single car off the road. It would simply exchange ethically produced Canadian oil for OPEC oil. That is it.

If anything, shutting down the oil sands would make the world dirtier and more dangerous, because production would shift to regimes where the environment is regularly ignored and abused, where human rights are not even an aspiration, and from which hundreds of millions of dollars a year are channelled to the world's worst terrorists. That, more than anything else, is why we must discount the oil sands' most bitter critics — not because they represent foreign rather than Canadian interests, not because they are green-washing their fundraising campaigns as environmentalism when they are really about meeting their corporate budgets, but because if we were to follow their advice, energy production would move away from Canada, the most ethical producer, to countries that do not share our ethics — including our environmental ethics — and that would be a tragedy for the world.

(On motion of Senator Comeau, for Senator Segal, debate adjourned.)

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Racism in Canada

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Oliver calling the attention of the Senate to the state of Pluralism, Diversity and Racism in Canada and, in particular, to how we can develop new tools to meet the challenges of the 21st century to fight hatred and racism; to reduce the number of hate crimes; and to increase Canadians' tolerance in matters of race and religion.

Hon. Vivienne Poy: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Senator Oliver's inquiry on the current state of pluralism, diversity and racism in Canada. I will examine the effects our multicultural policy has had on ethnic minorities and immigration, and how we can move forward as a successful pluralistic country.

His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili people to whom Senator Oliver referred, defines pluralism as "peoples of diverse backgrounds and interests coming together in organizations of varying types and goals for different kinds and forms of creative expression, which are valuable and deserving of support by government and society as a whole." In other words, pluralism goes well beyond respecting cultures to accepting different ideas and different practices that may sometimes challenge our own beliefs.

The Aga Khan has praised Canada's record of supporting pluralism and has established the Global Centre for Pluralism on Sussex Drive in Ottawa as a centre for research and education, for dialogue and exchange, and as a meeting place for diverse peoples seeking common ground.

Professor Will Kymlicka, of Queen's University, recently wrote a report for the Government of Canada. In it he stated:

. . . we have witnessed not only growing evidence of Canada's comparative advantage in the integration of immigrants, but also growing evidence that the multiculturalism policy has played an important role in this comparative success.

. . . there is growing evidence that immigrants to Canada and visible or religious minorities fare better than most, if not all, other Western democracies.

He went on to state:

. . . recent research has revealed the following:

— There is a high level of mutual identification and acceptance among immigrants and native-born Canadians.

Despite all of the above, have we recently taken a wrong turn, at least according to our media? Consider the following: A headline in The Globe and Mail that stated, "Multiculturalism: mosaic or mistake?"; a TVOntario panel called, The End of Multiculturalism?; the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, a private think-tank launched this year that seems to be anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-Charter of Rights and Freedoms and anti-family reunification; articles in the press referring to ethnic neighbourhoods as "ghettos"; the election of Rob Ford as Mayor of Toronto — the most multicultural city in the world; and a recent Maclean's article entitled "Too Asian?".

At the same time, as if in direct contradiction to all these strident voices attacking the success of Canada's pluralistic model, the new Mayor of Calgary is a progressive, 38-year-old business professor named Naheed Nenshi, an Ismaili Muslim whose family came to Calgary from Tanzania. What is happening?

I believe that diversity is Canada's greatest strength. In Toronto, we have the opportunity of living in a society transformed by mass migration that is vibrant and cosmopolitan. We have constant contact with people from all over the world, which helps to broaden our minds.

I can see that multiculturalism has been a success in Canada, both in my public life and in my private life, since I am in constant contact with diverse communities across Canada. Our policy needs to be upgraded to allow for more interaction between cultures to dispel ignorance. At the same time, let us not forget that the Canadian approach has been largely successful in creating the kind of pluralistic society to which we aspire. This view is supported by all of the academic studies that look at educational outcomes, adoption of citizenship, degrees of social acceptance and political participation.

This success is also supported by most polls, even those taken immediately after the events of September 11, 2001. For example, in 2002, 83 per cent of Canadians agreed that people from different racial and cultural groups are enriching the cultural life of Canada. In 2006, the same percentage agreed that Muslims make a positive contribution to Canada.

Some have suggested that multiculturalism be renamed. "Interculturalism" and "pluralism" have been suggested. However, no matter what we call it, it is our Canadian brand. Instead of renaming it, we should look at it as an evolving policy, as a work-in-progress.

We all know the constant narrative emerging from Europe about the failure of multiculturalism. Honourable senators, we are not Germany or France — countries that do not have a multicultural policy, so their situation cannot be compared to our Canadian model. If anything, the lesson we should take from Germany is that their treatment of Turkish temporary workers has led to their current impasse, especially since our present government is increasingly opting for temporary workers. We do not want to go down the German path.

The Institute for Research on Public Policy, when comparing Canada to Europe in a major study in 2007 entitled Belonging: diversity, recognition and shared citizenship in Canada found that:

. . . there is little evidence of the deep social segregation feared in parts of Europe. . . . Canada is not "sleepwalking into segregation." There is no justification for a U-turn in multiculturalism policies comparable to that underway in some European countries.

One of the major challenges we are facing is how religion is to be accommodated within the context of multiculturalism. In Ontario, inclusion of Sharia law in family law was debated, as was the issue of public funding of all religious schools. Both initiatives were abandoned.

In Quebec, we all know about the Bouchard-Taylor Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences and the proposed law to ban the wearing of the niqab when receiving or delivering public services.

Meanwhile in Ontario, a recent court order opens the door to a woman wearing a niqab while testifying in court. We have had a number of honour killings reported, which has spurred public debate about religious diversity. The so-called honour killing is not about diversity. It is murder, and our law treats it as such.

Charles Taylor, co-author of the Quebec report, calls for dialogue, without which, he says, we will lose our way. Taylor says that the recent European Islamophobia is "the kind of utterly ignorant stupidity on which democratic societies flounder." He goes on to say "but that it is true of any kind of dismissive view of the other."

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Unfortunately, when politicians manipulate multicultural policies and start anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric for their own political capital, they often spur on racism against specific communities. We need to look no further than the recent arrival of a boatload of Tamils claiming refugee status and the political rhetoric surrounding this arrival, which has heightened tensions around immigration and towards asylum seekers as well as established visible minority communities.

Please note that when individual refugee claimants arrive at our airports, there is no outcry. These people are fortunate enough to arrive by plane instead of risking a dangerous journey across the ocean on leaky boats.

Bill C-49, which is in second reading in the other place, is meant to deter human smuggling activities that are international operations. The bill will end up targeting refugee claimants who arrive in groups with arbitrary mandatory detention for up to one year, with no opportunity for appeal in the case of a negative decision.

According to Amnesty International, the bill fails to honour our legal obligations under Canadian and international law and will do nothing to prevent human smuggling.

Another challenge for our pluralistic model is the declining economic performance of recent immigrants, especially when compared to earlier immigrant cohorts. Put simply, new immigrants are taking longer to catch up in their earnings to the native Canadian-born residents. The underemployment of new immigrants is costing our country billions in lost revenue. Interestingly, immigrants often tell me that they are willing to sacrifice their own careers for the sake of a better future for their children.

The fact of underemployment, while meriting serious policy discussions around foreign credential recognition, accreditation and labour market planning, does not negate the positive trends in terms of social and political integration of immigrants reflected in positive education outcomes, intermarriage between different cultural groups, adoption of citizenship and a sense of national pride.

Is there racial conflict in Canada? Yes, there is, as can happen in any human society, but it does not mean that our multicultural policy is not working. Our ethnic neighbourhoods do not consist of an underclass living in ghettos as they do in Europe. In fact, many of these neighbourhoods are affluent.

By the second generation, most of the residents integrate into Canadian society and move into other neighbourhoods. It is interesting to note that the number of mixed unions between a visible and non-visible minority grew by 33 per cent between the 2001 Census and the 2006 Census. According to a poll this spring, the majority of parents have no problem with their children marrying someone from another race.

Immigrants, as well as their children, show a strong desire to engage in our political system. They apply for citizenship at more than double the rate in the United States. They are active voters and participate as candidates for public service. More foreign-born citizens are elected to Parliament in Canada than in any other country, both in absolute numbers and in terms of parity with their percentage of population.

A report prepared at the end of 2008 for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada found that most second-generation immigrants were doing as well or better than their Canadian-born counterparts, especially with respect to education. Many of them are transnationals who move freely between continents. Everywhere they go, they bring with them Canadian values that they grew up with.

A new look by Ryerson University at the role of immigrants in spurring on innovation in Canada found that despite making up only 20 per cent of the population, at least 35 per cent of our 1,800 Canada research chairs are foreign born. All of these statistics suggest that our tapestry is intact. Unless Canadian families start having more children, we will be dependent on immigration for all our net labour growth by 2017, which is six years from now.

Diversity is a benefit to Canada as long as we keep improving the way we solve problems when they appear, and in this process, the media has a huge responsibility. As Charles Taylor said:

Our societies will hold together only if we talk to each other with openness and frankness, and, in doing so, recreate a certain sense of solidarity from all our different roots.

(On motion of Senator Andreychuk, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Senate Online

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Mitchell calling the attention of the Senate to the online presence and website of the Senate.

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, this is a very important issue. Accordingly, I would like to move adjournment of the debate in my name.

(On motion of Senator Chaput, debate adjourned.)

[English]

Women's Equality in Canada

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Grant Mitchell rose pursuant to notice of October 21, 2010:

That he will call the attention of the Senate to the state of women's equality in Canada.

He said: Honourable senators, I will speak to my inquiry, and I will read it first: I will call the attention of the Senate to the state of women's equality in Canada.

I call attention to this issue because I place a great deal of premium, as I am sure all my colleagues in the Senate do, on general equality in Canada, but women's equality in particular, and I call attention to this issue also because I believe that we have regressed in that important area of equality over the last number of years, so I want to do two things. I want to assess where we are with women's equality in this country and then talk about how or why we have regressed — honourable senators can imagine what that might involve — and then talk about what we might do to improve upon the circumstances of women's equality in this country.

By way of assessment, in terms of violence against women in Canada, over 50 per cent of women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. One to two women are murdered by a current or former partner each week in Canada, and the idea is not original but it is powerful that, perhaps, for many women and children, the least safe place in their world is their home.

Spousal violence makes up the single largest category of convictions involving violent offences in non-specialized adult courts in Canada, at least over the five-year period from 1997-98 to 2001-02, and over 90 per cent of those offenders were male.

An article in The Globe and Mail by Gerald Caplan in July 2010 makes this point: in Canada, no fewer than 178 women — I will repeat that number — no fewer than 178 women on average were killed each year between 1994 and 2008. It is a breathtaking number.

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He goes on to say:

Why has our government not declared war against the enemy at home who continues to murder so many women?

Nearly 70 per cent of gun-related deaths involve a long gun, and an overwhelming number of those victims have been women.

As of March 31, 2010 — another breathtaking statistic — the Native Women's Association of Canada has found 582 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

In the area of pay equity today in Canada, women, on average, earn 72 cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues. However, women with children earn 52 cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues. Two thirds of all minimum wage earners in our country are women, and women are overrepresented among part-time and unpaid workers, as well as those in the lowest income bracket. Among top earners, men outnumber women by more than 333 per cent.

Women in poverty: One in seven women in Canada lives in poverty. That is over 2 million women. When mothers are poor, of course, in so many cases, so are their children. More than 1 million children live in poverty in Canada, and poverty is strongly linked to poor scholastic achievement, and so it sustains itself and it sustains itself and it sustains itself. If that is not a statistic that should humble every last well-off, privileged Canadian, I do not know what kind of statistic would. Income level is a key determinant of health, and women and children living in poverty are more susceptible to poor physical and mental health, and of course that perpetuates the cycle once again.

The recent Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum for 2010 is quite startling. Canada is at number 20 in a global measure of equality between men and women. Get this: It actually sits behind Sri Lanka, Lesotho and Latvia. It is shameful.

We could do something about that kind of evidence of inequality. It might take some time, but certainly when you start working at difficult problems one step at a time, you can begin to solve them. What do we, on the other hand, see from the Conservative government when they are confronted with that kind of blatant inequality, which is manageable in the sense that they might well be able to fix some of it if they would only worry about inequality and poverty and women's inequality as much as they worry about jets?

Conservatives have done this: They turned a woman's fundamental right to pay equity into something up for grabs at the collective bargaining table. That was, of course, last year when they changed the pay equity appeals process from women being able to take their pay equity issue to the Human Rights Commission, where it would be treated as a right, to women only having recourse to take it to the Labour Relations Board where, of course, it is a subject of negotiation. For anyone to say that that is not a diminution of that right is to say, by definition, they do not understand what a right is.

This government has cut the operating budget of Status of Women Canada by 43 per cent while — get this; this is so petty — removing the word "equality" from the mandate of its women's program, as if "equality" and "women" would be two words they would never want to put together. I mean, what might that lead to?

They eliminated the 2011 mandatory long-form census, which will damage the credibility of data that is critical to providing programs and policies to women in poverty, Aboriginal women and disabled women. If you cannot define the group and the problem, then I guess you do not have to work at fixing it or paying some money that might help fix it either. It is a backdoor way for them to begin to cut costs in places where people are absolutely vulnerable, while they are spending, without even tendering — is it $16 billion — on jets.

You wonder why they are so quick to buy the jets and so slow to help people in categories like this, or so slow to help the veterans, for that matter.

They banned the words "gender equality" from the lexicon of the Department of Foreign Affairs and embarrassed, literally, Canada on the world stage by excluding reproductive health from our G8/G20 plans. Talk about freedom of speech. They are afraid to have "equality" put in the same phrase as "women."

Shame. It is just unbelievable.

The government removed the gender equality unit in the human rights division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. I wonder how much money they saved by doing that, and I wonder how much the damage they will do will cost, because the work that group was doing will not get done, economic consequences and all.

They axed $1 billion annually from the Liberal early learning and child care agreements that would have made child care affordable for low-income women. If you focus on low-income women, by definition you begin to focus on overcoming poverty, and that would give not only low-income women, but medium-and other income women as well, the chance to go to work in the paid sector. I know there are some people who do not think they necessarily should do that, but they have to do that, and they have a right to do that, go to work in the paid sector and have some sense of confidence that their children are being well taken care of and are safe. How much is that to ask for?

They axed the Kelowna accord, which would have provided much-needed health, education and economic development funding to Aboriginal women. If ever there is a focus or a problem, a concentration of poverty amongst people generally in Canada, certainly amongst women, it would be amongst Aboriginal women. It is definitely borne disproportionately by women generally, and disproportionately by Aboriginal women.

They eliminated the national child supplement — so much for supporting families. They ignored a November 25, 2008, motion passed unanimously in the House of Commons — of course, they are inclined to ignore what goes on in the House of Commons, those darned votes — to develop a violence against women prevention strategy.

They abandoned women again by attempting to scrap the gun registry with Bill C-391 which, of course, would deprive Canada's police officers of a vital tool for public safety, and certainly for supporting and sustaining the safety of women.

This government has reduced the percentage of women in the Senate itself since they have been in government.

In addition, they certainly have enhanced all of that regression in our policy in this important area by what they have done with cutting funding for groups, international groups that have worked on women's equality, worked on the status of women, worked on issues that affect women internationally. Just to name a few, they cut funding to Match International, which I think had been receiving funding for its work with women's equality around the world for 34 consecutive years. They just cut it.

This government has cut funding to the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Le Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail, New Brunswick Pay Equity Coalition, Alberta Network of Immigrant Women; L'Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale, Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses, Womanspace resource centre, and I could go on. There are many of them.

In response to a clear-cut problem that has been defined clearly for a long, long time and that I believe is absolutely fundamental to the values that Canadians hold — the sense of equality, the importance of equality, of opportunity, a sense of helping your neighbour when they are less fortunate — the government simply cut programs. They were so small as to take "equality" out of anywhere that it might have been expressed — or many places at least — where it has been expressed in government documents and government websites, in the same breath as "women." They took "equality" away from the phrase "women's equality" and cut funding to help people so desperately less fortunate than us around the world, funding to groups that have been helping these people for, in many cases, literally decades.

That is the kind of legacy that kind of ideology and that kind of dogma has brought this country to in this very important area.

Are there actions that we could take? There are very many.

First of all, we certainly — and are doing so — should maintain the gun registry. Gun control laws have reduced the rates of robberies, suicides, firearms, murders, and particularly murders of women. The gun registry saves women's lives. Do honourable senators know what the gun registry actually costs? According to a report that was suppressed by this government and was not allowed to be released before the vote, it costs $1.5 million a year. I think $1.5 million is only change for Mr. Clements' riding. That amount is what would be saved and that is how the government has been trying to justify it.

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We could conduct gender-based analysis of all federal government legislation and policies, including international policies, to determine how public policies differentially affect women and men. The government says they conduct gender-based analysis, but when they are asked for a concrete "yes" or "no," with evidence of it having been done, it simply is not being done.

We should support Mr. Ignatieff's bill on pay equity, which calls for swift action to implement the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force, including a new pay equity commission to ensure pay equity in the federal public service, Crown corporations and federally regulated corporations.

One of the most significant features for people to be accorded status in society, if not the most significant feature, is their level of income. By definition, therefore, women are disadvantaged significantly in achieving equality of status and all the things that come with that equality. Honourable senators, consider all the problems that would be solved as a result of their gaining equality of status in significant ways if they earned as much money, because they do not, period.

We should expedite the inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. The government said it has put up money. Apparently some of the money has begun to arrive, after months and months with no sense of urgency.

We should restore the Court Challenges Program. What is the government so afraid of? Are they afraid they will be questioned in a democracy about some of the things they are doing that maybe they should, or should not, be doing? They talk about democracy but then shut down the Court Challenges Program, which has been critical to women defending their rights in this country — women who are disadvantaged and do not have the money to do it. That disadvantage is not a problem for the government.

We should think about what is happening in the United States. President Obama has established the White House Council on Women and Girls to provide a coordinated federal response to challenges confronted by women and girls, and to ensure that all their cabinet and cabinet agencies consider forcefully and rigorously how their policies and programs impact women and families. President Obama has also appointed a White House adviser on violence against women to advise him specifically on domestic violence and sexual assault issues. It is an important thing to do and it is not that difficult. In fact, it is not difficult at all. However, it is a question of where one places priorities.

The government should reintroduce a national daycare program, and they should ensure that they absolutely take action now they have completed the report required by the United Nations on UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

May I please have five more minutes?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Are honourable senators prepared to grant Senator Mitchell five more minutes?

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): And not a second more.

Senator Banks: He said not a second more.

Senator Mitchell: Yes, I heard that. Thanks for that generosity.

Many problems in the world, in this country, and in the Third World are solved when women begin to access education. We know many Third World countries have diminished abilities to grant that access. In a place like Afghanistan, one of the admirable reasons — and there are many — why we are, have been and should be there for the period we have been there is because women do not have a chance even to go to school in Afghanistan.

I am talking about international situations for women in Third World countries, but I bet honourable senators would find inequality in that regard here with Aboriginal women, for example, if honourable senators studied it. How easy is it for Aboriginal women to access an education? I am talking about that equality.

Let us look at the issue from an economic point of view, from the power of the economy. It is interesting that McKinsey and Company, a well-regarded international consulting firm, conducted a study with Amazone Euro Fund. The firm selected 89 European-listed companies with the highest listed level of gender diversity in top management posts, and compared them to companies that did not have as much involvement of women in their upper management posts. What they found was striking:

There can be no doubt that, on average, these companies outperform their sector in terms of return on equity (11.4% vs an average 10.3%). . . .

For the other firms that do not have as much involvement of women at upper management levels, their operating results — earnings before interest and taxes, EBIT — were 11.1 per cent versus 5.8 per cent, and their stock market growth was 64 per cent versus 47 per cent over the period of 2005 to 2007.

This study is a statistically significant study. If the government wants to improve poverty or fight poverty in the Third World, let us educate women. If honourable senators want to improve many of the social problems that confront Canada today, let us improve women's equality here, and if the government plain and simple wants to improve the economy and create more jobs, place women where they have a chance to be absolutely fundamentally equal in our economy.

Senator Wallin: I want to adjourn the debate in my name.

(On motion of Senator Wallin, debate adjourned.)

Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Pamela Wallin rose pursuant to notice of November 18, 2010:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to the efforts and accomplishments of Canadian military members, diplomats and aid workers in Afghanistan over the past ten years, which has included significant milestones in security, basic services, economic development, diplomacy and humanitarian assistance;

The Government of Canada's plans for continued assistance to that country to build on this progress through a new non-combat role for Canada's engagement in Afghanistan until 2014 by training Afghan security forces so that Afghanistan can progressively take control of its own security and future; and

The fact that the Canadian Government will persist with its successful education and health initiatives for children, promotion of regional diplomacy and delivering humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

She said: Honourable senators, I want to speak to the inquiry I launched last week into the accomplishments of the Canadian military; our civilians, diplomats and aid workers; and our government in terms of the actions in Afghanistan.

In June this year, our Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence heard a compelling plea from Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada, Mr. Jawed Ludin. He said, ". . . remain involved in the security agenda by building up our forces . . . . that is our single most important and strategic priority. We would like to get it right, with your help."

Based on this testimony and testimony from so many others, our committee recommended the Canadian Forces stay in Afghanistan after the end of the combat mission to do exactly that: to help build up Afghanistan's security forces.

Now, honourable senators, this government has answered the call. Canada will provide up to 950 military trainers and support personnel until March 2014 to continue training Afghan National Security Forces, which includes both the National Army and the National Police.

Needless to say, Ambassador Ludin was glad to hear this news. "This is extremely welcome news," he said, "and much in line with what my country needs at this present juncture."

This government has rejected the clearly defeatist attitude of some senators opposite who said Canada should "cut and run." That is not the Canadian way; it is not part of our long and proud history as warriors and humanitarians.

We did what the Afghans, our allies, the Liberals in the House of Commons and we ourselves know to be the right thing. Leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, have welcomed our commitment. Yesterday in a meeting, American Senator Joe Lieberman, the Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, praised Prime Minister Harper's decision as principled, and "not made as the result of a public opinion poll." He added:

I understand how politically difficult it is to sustain support for this fight in Afghanistan. I also understand how people naturally become weary of war, but I want to emphasize to you how important Canada's contribution has been, and how grateful the people of the United States are that you will continue to be there with us in a training role. It matters to us. It matters to the people of Afghanistan.

Everyone is pleased because Canada's and NATO's aim in Afghanistan is to help build up the Afghan National Security Forces so that increasingly they can take over the security and defence of their country. As Colonel George Petrolekas once said about Afghanistan:

Victory is the preservation of hope while gradually equipping the Afghans with the tools of state to continue the preservation of hope on their own.

Hope is indeed a wonderful word. Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance, who twice commanded our forces in Afghanistan, has said that Canada's unique combination of warrior and humanitarian skills is also bringing and keeping Afghans on side. Brigadier-General Vance believes the population is becoming hopeful and when they are, it has a "galvanizing effect." Progress on education, literacy, health care and security has caused that effect.

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Brigadier-General Vance also pointed out that the re-establishment of a professional army will be one of the lasting legacies and success stories of the international commitment in Afghanistan. That is what Canada will continue to do — to help establish a professional army.

Right now and for the past few years, Canadian troops have been successfully both training and mentoring Afghan forces, and mentoring has often meant going into combat with them. This new assignment is a training mission and the training will happen behind the wire within secured compounds. However, we have to be realistic; Afghanistan is a war zone and it remains a dangerous place. There is no guarantee of safety anywhere, but our soldiers, many of whom have signed up for repeated tours of duty, are willing to stand up to do this job.

I understand that today at some point in the other place, the Bloc Québécois, the party dedicated to destroying Canada, is introducing a motion to hold a vote on Canada's mission in Afghanistan. They and others allege the Prime Minister has broken with the parliamentary resolution in 2008 and, therefore, he should have sought approval for this three-year training mission.

Not so. He remains committed to parliamentary votes when sending troops into a combat mission. That is what the 2008 parliamentary resolution was about, a combat mission in Kandahar. Nothing in the resolution said Canadian Forces would entirely abandon Afghanistan at the end of next year; and it was this prime minister who set the modern precedent for seeking Parliament's permission when sending troops into harm's way in a combat mission.

This is, as I have said, a training mission, not combat. Therefore, there is no precedent to ask permission, any more so than there was a need to get Parliament's approval to send our troops to Haiti to help out after the earthquake, or to the Olympics or to the G8.

Other critics wonder why, after the parliamentary motion to end combat in 2011, the Prime Minister would now be open to the requests of our allies to do what we do so effectively. I am reminded of what economist John Maynard Keynes once said when he was criticized for changing his position on monetary policy during the Depression. He replied:

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

An open mind is too rare a quality in our political leadership, and I am proud of the Prime Minister for hearing the heartfelt pleas of our allies.

The facts in this case are that the Afghan National Security Forces still need building up and there is still a shortage of NATO forces to help do that. We were asked to help out, and the Prime Minister said Canada would step in to fill that gap. Many, including the Afghans, are happy that he did.

What will this training mission entail? It means that our battle-hardened professional troops will give Afghan forces the best possible education they could receive in soldiering: how to care for and use firearms properly; how to read maps; how to draw up plans; how to pack gear; how to build infrastructure; how to develop their officer corps and their military discipline.

They are being trained by the best. Our Canadian Forces — our land, sea, air and special forces — are a military equal of any on this planet. This government helped them get back to a place where they can be the best they can be by providing, in a timely way, the equipment they needed to do the job after a decade or so of darkness.

Earlier governments sent our troops into harm's way without the tools to do the job, in jungle fatigues and Jeeps no more secure than a tin can. They needed strategic heavy airlift capacity. The government fast-tracked the purchase of C-17 transports, which were quickly put into service not only in Afghanistan, but to help in Haiti and other missions.

Our troops needed a tactical heavy transport capability and the government ordered and is taking delivery of the new Hercules C-130J aircraft to replace the old Hercs. Our forces needed heavy lift helicopters, as recommended by the independent panel on which I served so proudly. They now have Chinooks and Griffins to provide cover so they do not need to hitch rides on helicopters belonging to other countries and depend on the kindness of strangers.

They needed new vehicles and upgraded armour and they got those. The Canadian Forces have not been so well equipped to do their job in decades; and this government is committed to keeping them well equipped by green-lighting the purchase of 65 F-35 joint strike fighters, with delivery to start within six years. These fifth-generation aircraft were selected in a competitive fly-off against a Boeing airplane. They have stealth capability, which means they have very low radar signatures, which in turn means that more of our pilots and aircraft will return safe from combat missions because the enemy cannot see them. They are interoperable, which means their powerful on-board computers will communicate with the computers of all other F-35 aircraft, which our allies are also buying. This will give them unprecedented ability to together analyze battle space and act in concert.

Those are the technical benefits, but there are incredible economic benefits, too. It is estimated that for the $9-billion purchase cost, Canada's aerospace sector stands to win $12 billion in contracts over the 40-year life of the contract. That is at least $3 billion worth of work for Canada's 80,000 aerospace workers.

They would get $3 billion more than they would get from a standard contract with industrial and regional benefit offsets. That is because our industry will have the opportunity to bid on contracts for each of the more than 3,000 aircraft expected to be built worldwide.

In addition to buying equipment, this government has moved as well to help our soldiers who are returning from Afghanistan, our new generation of veterans, many of whom have suffered physical or psychological wounds. Over the past five years, we have invested $2.5 billion of new money in veterans programs and benefits.

Recently, the government almost doubled this amount, announcing a further investment of $2 billion. On top of that, another $52.5 million will be spent in the next five years on the Legacy of Care Program. The total in new spending for veterans will be more than $4.5 billion.

In addition, the government has moved to make the disability award, the so-called lump sum payment, more flexible so veterans can receive it in instalments, as a lump sum or in some combination of both. It is a show of respect for the men and women who risk all for us.

What has Canada accomplished so far in Afghanistan? Well, our troops pretty much singlehandedly held Kandahar province, the Taliban's homeland, for years. They commanded American troops in the field. Based on their own experience, they have helped Americans better understand Kandahar, counterinsurgency, asymmetrical warfare techniques and the psychology of the local population.

More recently, our troops have helped train up the surge of U.S. forces; and now with both brain and brawn on the ground, we have moved to largely eject the Taliban from the Kandahar region. That effort has been so successful that Brigadier-General Vance, not a guy known for making rash statements, is calling the war in Afghanistan "winnable." Winning, he says, is that the Afghans are able to manage the emergency without there being a clear and present danger every day to their capacity to continue to govern. General Petraeus echoed the same sentiment at a recent True Patriot Love dinner when he spoke from his base in Kabul to our troops and the civilians gathered.

There will be, and all agree, no victory day parades, but we are helping give the Afghans the skills they need to offer the basic obligations of any state — to secure the country and protect the people.

Canadian Forces have also been hard at work in OMLTs, the operational mentor liaison teams, training and mentoring battalions of the Afghan army's 205th corps. In Kandahar province today, three ANA army brigades, totalling 10,500 Afghan soldiers, are now bringing security to the local population, operating with international forces, demonstrating their capability to plan and conduct operations.

Canada's achievements go far beyond the purely military. With our whole-of-government approach, we have helped bring about huge changes in that country. For example, since we arrived, total school enrolment in Afghanistan grades 1 through 12 has grown from 900,000 boys, mostly in Taliban indoctrination centres, to 7.3 million students, 40 per cent of whom are girls. Nearly 3 million girls whose faces have been hidden, whose voices have been silenced, whose mothers and grandmothers have been killed now have hope.

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We know that if we are to have any sense of hope for failed states, it is by educating the young girls and women. There are nearly 12,000 schools across Afghanistan, 50 in the Kandahar region. Nearly 4,000 community schools have been constructed or fixed up with Canada's help and more than 900 are under construction. There are more than eight times as many teachers on the job, 158,000. Eight out of 10 Afghans have access to health care, and in places like Bamiyan province it is of high quality. As a Canadian program, we have inoculated 7 million kids against polio; and 20,000 village councils have been elected, implementing 40,000 projects. The Afghan army strength is at 120,000, much of it capable of operating with no allied support. That means 21 battalions, two corps headquarters, six brigade headquarters and six garrison support units. The Afghan police are capable of operating with no external support in 12 districts. They use routine adviser assistance in another 39 districts and fuller assistance in a further 39 districts. This is huge progress.

As for Canada's goals as set out in the government's quarterly reports, we have achieved 100 per cent of our targets for training corrections officers and managers. We have given 1,100 people micro loans. The 2011 target to train 500 health care workers has been met and exceeded. In fact, this year we have trained 1,200. Literacy programs and vocational training have also exceeded targets.

May I have an extra two minutes?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Honourable senators, is leave granted for five minutes?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Senator Wallin: In addition to the vocational and literacy training, we have our signature project, the Dahla Dam and Irrigation System, which is making a harsh desert green by providing perhaps the most important of needs for Afghans: food and clean water. Canada is in Afghanistan as part of a UN-mandated, NATO-led mission with more than 60 other countries and international organizations at the request of a democratically elected Afghan government. Canada's objective, then and now, is to help Afghans build a more secure, stable and prosperous country that is no longer a safe haven for terrorists.

Canada is committed to helping Afghan people build a country that is better governed. The facts on the ground indicate that security forces need further training. That is why we are there. Without training, there can be no transition. By continuing to train, there will be more and better security forces, and we will be able to hand back that lead responsibility by 2014. It is achievable, and it is the right thing to do.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, may I ask a question?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is the Honourable Senator Wallin prepared to accept a question in the remaining time?

Senator Wallin: Do I have time?

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Yes.

Senator Wallin: Sure.

Senator Cordy: I thank Senator Wallin. Certainly, Canada has an excellent military. I have had the opportunity to visit many bases across the country. As a Canadian and particularly as a Canadian senator, I am extremely proud of the men and women who represent us in Canada and around the world.

The training of the Afghan police force and military would be best accomplished if delivered by the Canadian military. Last week I had the opportunity to attend meetings of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. At the Civil Dimensions of Security Committee, of which I am a member, an Afghan witness who worked in Afghanistan appeared before our committee to talk about the good things happening in Afghanistan. Certainly the honourable senator listed those good things today; and the education of women is certainly one that I am very proud of.

The witness raised some concerns, however, that trouble me. First, Pashtuns represent 50 per cent of the population in Afghanistan, but represent only 20 per cent of the police force and the army. It is hoped that those numbers could be increased.

Second, he said that the members of the Afghan police and army do not have an allegiance to the government but rather to individuals. His concern is that when NATO troops leave Afghanistan, the police and army will not have an allegiance to the government and that their allegiance to individuals will lead them instead to leave the Afghan army and police forces to work for the warlords and drug lords. That concerns me.

Senator Wallin: I assume the honourable senator is asking me to comment on that statement.

Senator Cordy: Yes.

Senator Wallin: In Afghanistan there is a volunteer army and police force. People are not forced into the activity. I want to make that clear in case there are any misconceptions.

Certainly, there are concerns in the country of Afghanistan. Even the UN has put it almost at the bottom of the list in terms of liveability. This is a difficult country. There has been a long history of corruption, and that will not change overnight. My experience in meeting with Afghan military and police and their respective leadership is that they take great pride in being able to move forward and provide this basic, most fundamental service that any state can provide. Afghans are a proud people and they are powerful warriors. Who else could have stayed at war with the Russians for 30 years and kept them at bay followed by 10 years of fighting the Taliban?

My sense is that they take pride in this work. I do not know why the honourable senator would assume that they would go to work for warlords.

Senator Cordy: I did not say that. I relayed what the witness said.

Senator Wallin: That may be true of some individuals, but I do not know. My sense from those whom I spoke to on the ground in Afghanistan is that they take great pride in the possibility and prospect of rebuilding their country.

(On motion of Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.)

(The Senate adjourned until Wednesday, November 24, 2010, at 1:30 p.m.)