Download as PDF
Text size:

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 7

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

THE SENATE

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.

Prayers.

Business of the Senate

Official Photograph of the Senate

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before we proceed I have been asked to inform you that there is a photographer in the south gallery to take an official Senate photo.

In the past we would fill up the seats more at the north end of the chamber because the camera does not take very good photos at the south end, but I leave it to the whips to give direction.


(1340)

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Diversity in the Workplace

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I rise today to draw your attention to some of our country's success stories in matters of diversity, integration and employment equity.

On February 21, the annual ranking of "Canada's Top 45 Diversity Employers'' was announced in The Globe and Mail. Every year, an editorial team of researchers compiles a list of Canada's top companies that lead their industries in attracting and retaining employees and that have exceptional workplace diversity and inclusive programs. Some of this year's top diversity employers included Bombardier Aerospace, Canada Post Corporation, the Ontario Public Service, Statistics Canada and the City of Vancouver.

Honourable senators, Canada's businesses are always seeking new ways to become more inclusive. Allow me to refer to some of the City of Vancouver's progressive and forward-thinking programs that benefit its 6,900 employees.

First, for nearly 40 years, the City of Vancouver has maintained an equal employment opportunity program that focuses on issues of diversity and inclusiveness, accessibility and employment equities; second, it manages advisory committees on multiculturalism and for persons with disabilities, women and LGBT employees; third, it provides new staff with diversity training workshops that cover topics such as cross-cultural communication; fourth, it offers training materials for employees in a number of different languages; and, fifth, it established the Mayor's Task Force on Immigration that makes policy recommendations to city council.

Honourable senators, Vancouver is one of Canada's most diverse cities. The 2006 census shows that 42 per cent of its 2 million-plus residents are visible minorities, and by 2031, they will account for more than 2 million according to new population projections by Statistics Canada.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was interviewed by The Globe and Mail for the story in February, and he spoke at length about the city's success stories in matters of diversity. When asked if he believes there are any downsides to having such a diverse population, he said there are none. He refers to it being a blessing.

Honourable senators will be pleased to know that the government of Stephen Harper is working with British Columbia to improve the Foreign Credential Recognition Program so that skilled newcomers and internationally trained professionals can maximize their talents. On December 10, a $4 million investment in this program was announced for British Columbia alone. What is more, last week's budget included a clause to help foreign-trained workers cover the costs associated with the Foreign Credential Recognition Program.

Mayor Robertson said:

There is a need to consistently reinforce our commitment to diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity, and the best way to reinforce it is to reflect it.

As one of the world's most diverse countries, we must embrace the business case for diversity as does the City of Vancouver.

I hope that all honourable senators will join me in encouraging Canada's public and private sector employers to hire, retain and promote more visible minorities and immigrants.

Journalists and Media Workers Lost in the Line of Duty

Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, again this year, I rise to commemorate the 44 journalists and 4 media workers around the world who were killed last year because of the work they were doing as journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 27 of the 44 were murdered because of their work; 6 were killed in crossfire or combat; and 11 were killed on other dangerous assignments.

They were: in Afghanistan, James P. Hunter and Rupert Hamer; in Angola, Alberto Graves Chakussanga and Stanislas Ocloo; in Belarus, Aleh Byabenin; in Brazil, Francisco Gomes de Medeiros; in Cameroon, Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota; in Colombia, Clodomiro Castilla Ospino; in Greece, Sokratis Giolias; in Honduras, Nahúm Palacios Arteaga, David Meza Montesinos and Joseph Hernandez Ochoa; in India, Vijay Pratap Singh; in Indonesia, Alfrets Mirulewan, Ridwan Salamun, and Ardiansyah Matra'is; in Iraq, Amira Hatem, Mohamed Abd al-Kareem Hadi al-Bayati, Aysar Mahmoud Hamid Zankana, Omar Rasim al-Qaysi, Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, Safa al-Din Abdel Hamid, Riad al-Saray and Sardasht Osman; in Lebanon, Assaf Abu Rahal; in Mexico, Carlos Alberto Guajardo Romero, Luis Carlos Santiago and Valentin Valdés Espinosa; in Nigeria, Sunday Gyang Bwede and Nathan S. Dabak; in Pakistan, Mohammad Sarwar, Pervez Khan, Abdul Wahab, Misri Khan, Ejaz Raisani, Ejazul Haq, Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, Azamat Ali Bangash and Malik Arif; in the Philippines, Joselito Agustin and Desidario Camangyan; in Rwanda, Jean-Léonard Rugambage; in Somalia, Barkhat Awale and Sheikh Nur Mohamed Abkey; in Thailand, Fabio Polenghi and Hiro Muramoto; in Uganda, Paul Kiggundu; and in Yemen, Muhammad al-Rabou'e.

They died because the work they were doing was so precious for freedom of information and for the rest of the world. They died for us. Honour them, honourable senators.

The Honourable Dennis Fentie

Tribute

Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to a great Canadian and Yukoner.

This past Saturday, Dennis Fentie stepped down as Premier of the Government of Yukon. His 15 years in political life in Yukon was truly a success story. Raised by a single mom, he had to overcome many obstacles over the years as he found his place in the world.

Dennis Fentie was first elected in 1996 and became premier in 2002. As I have mentioned previously in this house, prior to Premier Fentie assuming office, Yukon was experiencing double-digit unemployment and many of our people, and particularly our young people, had to go elsewhere in Canada to find work.

During his two mandates, Premier Fentie was largely responsible for creating an investment climate in Yukon in concert with the federal government that has brought an era of prosperity that is being referred to as Yukon's second gold rush.

The secret of Premier Fentie's success was his ability to negotiate partnerships with all levels of government, to stand by them and to honour those agreements once they had been struck.

Honourable senators, Premier Fentie will go down in history as a builder and a visionary who could plan for the future. I know I speak for all Yukoners when I wish him well in all his future endeavours.

Mr. Paul Smith

Congratulations on Order of Merit of the Police Forces Award

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, on June 8, 2011, Chief Paul Smith of the Charlottetown Police Services was appointed by the Governor General to the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. He was recognized for his 30 years of policing services on Prince Edward Island, the last 16 of which he has been chief of the Charlottetown police force.

The Order of Merit of the Police Forces was created in 2000 to recognize the men and women of the Canadian police services who demonstrate exceptional merit, contributions to policing and to community development.

Chief Smith is certainly well deserving of this honour. Under his leadership, the Charlottetown Police Services grew and evolved. Chief Smith oversaw amalgamation, relocation to a new state-of-the-art facility, the establishment of canine and street crime units and, finally, the adoption of an up-to-date system for information and intelligence sharing.

In addition to his leadership within the police service, Chief Smith is also known for his community involvement. He serves on various committees such as the Victim Services Advisory Committee, the John Howard Society of Prince Edward Island, the Prince Edward Island Provincial Council of Scouts Canada, and he was a past coach with the Charlottetown Abbies Soccer Club.

Whether in uniform or on the soccer field, Chief Smith is known for his dedication and exemplary service. I congratulate him on his prestigious appointment to the Order of Merit and thank him for his hard work and contributions to our community.

(1350)

Deafblind Awareness Month

Hon. Vim Kochhar: Honourable senators, the month of June is a Deafblind Awareness Month in Ontario, and today the deaf-blind community in Toronto is celebrating JuneFest. I want to share and celebrate with you the transformation of the lives of people who are deaf-blind in Canada.

Honourable senators, 95 per cent of what we learn comes from our eyes and ears. I do not know how many of you can visualize being blind or deaf, but both of these disabilities together bring total darkness and emptiness.

That is why, decades after Helen Keller's death, her life stands as a beacon of hope for those who constantly struggle just to perform routine tasks that most of us take for granted.

Twenty-seven years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Kerry Wadman, who is totally deaf and blind and one of the very few university graduates in the world like Helen Keller. He persuaded me and my Rotary Club to build a completely barrier-free home for the deaf-blind in Toronto.

With inspiration from Kerry, support from friends and assistance from the Government of Ontario, we were able to build the first barrier-free independent living apartment complex in the world in 1992. Nineteen years later, it is still the only independent living, barrier-free home in the world and is known as Rotary Cheshire Homes. Ten years later, we opened the first training centre for the deaf-blind in Canada, the Canadian Helen Keller Centre.

From the outside, its uniqueness is not immediately evident. However, it is a communication-adapted, barrier-free apartment complex designed and built specifically for deaf-blind adults to live independently and affordably.

Some of the building's features include tactile surfaces, Braille and large-print signage, a network of vibrating, flashing and amplified devices and a comprehensive security system. The tenants also have access to professional intervenors to access information.

Honourable senators, Rotary Cheshire Homes and the Canadian Helen Keller Centre are just two more examples of what makes Canada a leader in the disability movement. To have had the opportunity and privilege of being a part of these two institutions makes me a very proud Canadian.

The Honourable Sister Peggy Butts

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, there is a strong argument supporting the notion that where one comes from helps to shape the individual that he or she will become. This seems to arise more out of the sense of community in which one was raised as opposed to the actual physical earth, but then that is the sort of thing that shapes a community.

I am a Cape Breton girl, through and through.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Cordy: There are many reasons why it is a great thing to be a Cape Bretoner, and I am sure that Senators MacDonald and Murray will attest to that. Instead of trying to list these things, I would like to show you, by example, some of the company that I keep.

Over the next few months, I will introduce you to a number of Cape Breton women who have been influential and done a great deal for our country. I count these women to be among my personal heroes.

The first in my series is someone who has been referred to as the "rebel with a cross.'' That is Sister Peggy Butts.

Senator Butts, as she was known to many of you in this chamber, was born in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She later joined the Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Peggy's life as a nun gave her incredible insight and experiences that served her well during her time in the Senate. She was certainly able to bring to the table a voice that was unique.

Sister Peggy made outstanding contributions to social justice in Nova Scotia. She was a founding member of the Eastern Regional Health Board of Nova Scotia, and she served on the provincial Task Force on the East Coast Fishery as well as on the Nova Scotia Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment.

In addition to this high level of involvement, Senator Butts had a brilliant mind that well qualified her for governmental work. To her credit, she had earned a B.A. in philosophy, a Bachelor of Education and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science. Sister Peggy spent 18 years as a professor at Cape Breton University and was principal of Holy Angels High School while I attended there as a student.

Some of my fondest memories of Sister Peggy involve Saturday morning basketball practice at Holy Angels High School. Sisters, at that time — in the olden days — wore long black dresses and veils. As Sister Peggy ran down the basketball court, her veil sailing behind her, one could see white basketball sneakers peeking out from beneath her black skirt. Her love of basketball was surpassed only by her love of the Montreal Canadiens.

It was after she received the Weiler Award in 1995 in recognition of her contributions to community and social development in Canada, and after she received an honorary degree from St. Francis Xavier University, in 1996, that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed her to the Senate in 1997. Her very appointment was of interest in that it was the first one of its kind. She was the first religious sister to become a senator. Having taken a vow of poverty when entering the order, Sister Peggy did not possess the land requirements that make up our qualification law for senators. In this instance, the sisters transferred to her name a small parcel of land to fulfill these requirements. The sisters knew well the talent they had in Sister Peggy and believed in her capabilities and ability to serve and do great things in Ottawa for all Canadians.

Throughout her lifetime and, certainly, during her time in the Senate, Sister Butts worked tirelessly, never asking anything in return, even donating her entire salary to charity.

She was a remarkable woman, and our country was fortunate to have had her voice, that of a strong Cape Breton woman, in the Senate. I am sorry that I was unable to serve alongside her in the Senate, but appreciate that I had the opportunity to learn under her guidance at Holy Angels. She left a large legacy to fill and, while we make our best efforts in our day-to-day business, perhaps we can remember Peggy Butts and the enthusiasm she brought to our work.

Honourable senators, I look forward to sharing with you the stories of other great, strong Cape Breton women in the coming months.

Women in the Mining Industry

Hon. Ethel Cochrane: Honourable senators, last week, I had the pleasure of being a keynote speaker at the Empowering Women Seminar in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador.

This remarkable event, hosted by Corona College, brought forth representatives from women's organizations from the mining industry and from various levels of government to discuss the needs and the goals of women in the industry.

As honourable senators are likely aware, mining and exploration are still very male-dominated fields. In fact, while women represent 47 per cent of participants in Canada's general workforce, in this industry the figures are much lower. Despite some gains in the last decade, women still account for only 14 per cent of mining's labour force. Honourable senators may be interested to know that this is the lowest rate of participation by women of all the primary industries.

Honourable senators, the numbers show one aspect of this industry, but they fall short of presenting the full picture. I was highly encouraged and inspired by what I witnessed at the event last week. I met many women who are working hard to make changes in this industry, and I am happy to report today that they are making great progress.

In addition to presentations by government, industry and stakeholders, two recent graduates also addressed the participants. I would like to tell you about them.

Nita Rowsell is a wife and a mother of grown children. After completing the Hard Rock Miner Common Core Program at Corona College, she was hired to operate a 26-tonne rock truck at Teck's Duck Pond Mine Operations. She is currently receiving training as a scoop operator at the mine.

(1400)

The second student is a young woman who enrolled in the Hard Rock Mining Program in 2006. Kim Rowsell was first hired as an equipment operator and was quickly promoted. She received certification in mine rescue and is able to assist all mining operations in the province in the event of an emergency. She is presently working as an underground mine supervisor.

These two impressive women are leading by example. They show that, regardless of age or lifestyle, women can have successful careers in the mining sector. As more women take supervisory, management and executive roles in the industry, the opportunities for all women in the sector will increase.

Honourable senators, I commend Corona College for organizing such an important event. I also congratulate all of the stakeholders who participated and showed a genuine appreciation and understanding of the issues facing women.

Finally, I applaud Bernice Walker, President of Corona College, for her tremendous work and leadership in promoting women's issues and empowering women.

Political Cynicism

Hon. Wilfred P. Moore: Honourable senators, I am moved to make a statement today about a matter of national significance, that being the attitude of cynicism that prevails in our population regarding their participation in and opinion of the politics of Canada.

On Wednesday, June 8, Prime Minister Harper and his entourage flew to Boston to watch a hockey game between the Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks. That junket was made in a publicly-owned aircraft at a cost to taxpayers of some $57,000. It took place on the same day that Mr. Harper and his government announced thousands of job cuts, and it took place a short 20 days after Mr. Harper and his government were sworn into office. His arrogance did not take long to surface. It was an untimely and insensitive waste.

That money could have seen two Canadian families who are down on their luck through for a year. It is little wonder that only one-in-four eligible voters voted to support Mr. Harper and his program. It is little wonder that only a little over 60 per cent of Canadians eligible to vote cast their ballots. It is little wonder that Canadians, including our youth, are cynical. It is little wonder that our youth are crying out for equity and accountability among those in authority. It is little wonder that our youth, such as Brigette DePape, are moved to take unusual actions to protest such arrogant and wasteful actions by this Conservative government. Canadians truly do deserve better.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Inuvialuit Final Agreement Implementation Coordinating Committee—2008-09 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2008-09 Annual Report of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement Implementation Coordinating Committee.

[English]

Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement Implementation Committee—2008-09 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2008-09 Annual Report of the Implementation Committee on the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement.

[Translation]

Tlicho Land Claim and Self-Government Agreement Implementation Committee—2005-09 Progress Report Tabled

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2005-09 Progress Report of the Tlicho Land Claim and Self-Government Agreement Implementation Committee.

[English]

Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement Implementation Committee—2008-09 Annual Report Tabled

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2008-09 Annual Report of the Implementation Committee on the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement.

[Translation]

Aboriginal Peoples

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 59.)

[English]

Fisheries and Oceans

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 60.)

[Translation]

Agriculture and Forestry

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Percy Mockler: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 61.)

[English]

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 61.)

[Translation]

National Finance

Report Pursuant to Rule 104 Tabled

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 104 of the Rules of the Senate, I have the honour to table the first report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, which deals with the expenses incurred by the committee during the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament.

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, p. 62.)

Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association

Election Observation Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, November 5-8, 2010—Report Tabled

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, respecting its participation in the Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, held in Azerbaijan from November 5 to 8, 2010.

[English]

Winter Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, February 24-25, 2011—Report Tabled

Hon. Consiglio Di Nino: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, respecting its participation at the Tenth Winter Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, held in Vienna, Austria, from February 24 to 25, 2011.

(1410)

Second Part of the 2011 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Mission to Poland, April 11-20, 2011—Report Tabled

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, respecting its participation at the Second Part of the 2011 Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Mission to Poland, the country that will next hold the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, held in Warsaw, Poland and Strasbourg, France, from April 11 to 20, 2011.

Aboriginal Peoples

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Federal Government's Responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples and Refer Papers and Evidence from Previous Session

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples be authorized to examine and report on the federal government's constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples and on other matters generally relating to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada;

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the Committee on the subject during the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2012, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

[Translation]

National Finance

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Meet during Sittings of the Senate until June 30, 2011

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I give notice that, later this day, I will move:

That, until June 30, 2011, for the purposes of any study of a bill, the subject-matter of a bill or estimates, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance have power to sit even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the application of rule 95(4) being suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

[English]

Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues Related to Mandate and Refer Papers and Evidence since Beginning of Second Session of Thirty-ninth Parliament

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources be authorized to examine and report on emerging issues related to its mandate:

(a) The current state and future direction of production, distribution, consumption, trade, security and sustainability of Canada's energy resources;

(b) Environmental challenges facing Canada including responses to global climate change, air pollution, biodiversity and ecological integrity;

(c) Sustainable development and management of renewable and non-renewable natural resources including but not limited to water, minerals, soils, flora and fauna; and

(d) Canada's international treaty obligations affecting energy, the environment and natural resources and their influence on Canada's economic and social development.

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject since the beginning of the Second Session of the Thirty-ninth Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than June 29, 2012 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Current State and Future of Energy Sector and Refer Papers and Evidence since Beginning of Second Session of Fortieth Parliament

Hon. W. David Angus: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources be authorized to examine and report on the current state and future of Canada's energy sector (including alternative energy). In particular, the committee shall be authorized to:

(a) Examine the current state of the energy sector across Canada, including production, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, sales, consumption and conservation patterns;

(b) Examine the federal and provincial/territorial roles in the energy sector and system in Canada;

(c) Examine current domestic and international trends and anticipated usage patterns and market conditions, including trade and environmental measures and opportunities, likely to influence the sector's and energy system's future sustainability;

(d) Develop a national vision for the long-term positioning, competitiveness and security of Canada's energy sector; and

(e) Recommend specific measures by which the federal government could help bring that vision to fruition.

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject since the beginning of the Second Session of the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than June 29, 2012 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

Agriculture and Forestry

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Current State and Future of Forest Sector and Refer Papers and Evidence since Beginning of Second Session of Fortieth Parliament

Hon. Percy Mockler: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate, and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(a), I give notice that, later this day, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to examine and report on the current state and future of Canada's forest sector. In particular, the Committee shall be authorized to:

(a) Examine the causes and origins of the current forestry crisis;

(b) Examine the federal role in the forest sector in Canada;

(c) Examine and promote the development and commercialization of value-added products;

(d) Examine potential changes to the National Building Code of Canada 2005 to increase the utilization of wood;

(e) Examine education in the wood science sector;

(f) Develop a vision for the long-term positioning and competitiveness of the forest industry in Canada; and

(g) Recommend specific measures to be put forward by the federal government to lay the foundations of that vision.

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work accomplished since the beginning of the Second Session of the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than September 30, 2011, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until December 31, 2011.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Research and Innovation Efforts in Agricultural Sector

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to examine and report on research and innovation efforts in the agricultural sector. In particular, the Committee shall be authorized to examine research and development efforts in the context of:

(a) developing new markets domestically and internationally;

(b) enhancing agricultural sustainability; and

(c) improving food diversity and security.

That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than December 31, 2012 and that the Committee retain until March 31, 2013 all powers necessary to publicize its findings.


QUESTION PERIOD

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Canadian Wheat Board

Hon. Robert W. Peterson: Honourable senators, the government was recently elected in an open and democratic manner in which people made a free choice according to their wishes, and that is the way it should be in an open and democratic country like Canada.

My question to the leader is in regard to the Canadian Wheat Board. Will her government let producers make a similar open and democratic choice as to whether or not they prefer a single desk to sell their grain, as currently provided in legislation, or is her government intending to introduce legislation that will unilaterally wipe out the Wheat Board without any consultation with the producers of Western Canada?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as the honourable senator said in his opening preamble, the Canadian public went to the polls on May 2 and exercised their democratic right.

(1420)

It should be noted, and I am sure the honourable senator has noted it himself, that Western Canadians in particular, also joining Canadians from all over the country, gave our government a strong mandate and now they expect us to deliver on our commitments. Western Canadian grain farmers expect us to deliver on our promise to give them the same opportunity that farmers in the rest of the country have to decide when, where and how they sell their grain. I believe, honourable senators, there is no stronger mandate that the government received on May 2 than that, to follow through on our plans for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Senator Peterson: I fail to understand how the leader thinks she is helping the producers. Many times, year after year, they have voted in favour of retaining the single desk. That will now be taken away from them. I do not see how that is democratic.

I would also like to ask at this time: Will supply management be the next victim on the chopping block?

Senator LeBreton: To address the issue of the Wheat Board, the governments in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia all agree that farmers should not be criminalized for selling their grains as they so choose. I understand that is a different position from the NDP government in Manitoba, but of course we are clearly on the record with our plans for the Wheat Board. We want the Wheat Board to be a viable option, so we will work with the entire value chain, including the Wheat Board, to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. We will work with grain farmers and the Wheat Board to create an open market that attracts investment, encourages innovation, creates value-added jobs and builds a stronger economy.

I think the example that David Anderson used yesterday of industry across the border should be in Canada as well because past practices are not something that are in the interests of Canadian producers.

With regard to supply management, the commitment and the record of the government are clear. There are no changes to be made in that area.

[Translation]

Foreign Affairs

Gender-specific Training in Afghanistan

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

In the Speech from the Throne, the government said:

... The Canadian mission in Afghanistan [is transitioning] to training, diplomacy and development...

At the end of 2010, when I was Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, the committee released its report entitled Training in Afghanistan: Include Women.

My question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate is the following: what concrete plan does the government have for implementing and following up on the required actions?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. It was announced in November of last year that the Canadian Forces will continue to support the Afghan national security forces in training through to 2014, through a contribution of some 950 Canadian Forces personnel. As honourable senators know, the transfer back to the capital area from Kandahar will be taking place over the summer months. It is clear; we have been upfront about the commitment to continue training in Afghanistan. As witnessed by our personnel over there, we have made great strides in this area. Of course, the goal is ultimately to leave Afghanistan with the Afghan security forces well trained to provide security for their own country.

[Translation]

Senator Jaffer: Honourable senators, I have a supplementary question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. What form will this new training take, and is there any guarantee that gender-specific training will be one of the critical aspects included?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator asked a question specifically with regard to gender. We have a very good record as a government in the work we have done specifically targeted to women and children. Obviously, when we are there to provide security and democracy to the people of Afghanistan, gender is a big part of it.

It is not clear if the honourable senator is referring in her question to a specific program. I would be happy to provide as much information as possible in many areas, from not only the military but from our diplomatic and non-government organizations that are working to move Afghan society forward in the interests of all of its citizens.

Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. I thank the leader for her answer. I respectfully ask her to find out if there will be gender-specific training under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. More specifically, in some of the training we have done around the world our police have trained other police forces on rape investigations. Will the training that we do in Afghanistan consist of training to ensure we protect the women of Afghanistan?

Senator LeBreton: Obviously, honourable senators, ensuring that women and children live in a safe environment in Afghanistan has been one of the primary goals of our efforts in Afghanistan. If I am able to provide the honourable senator with additional information in this area, I will be happy to do so.

National Revenue

Income Tax Credits

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In the recent budget the government continued to announce non-refundable tax credits that are absolutely useless to a large number of people.

If a person does not owe income tax, they cannot take advantage of these non-refundable tax credits. In this country, 25 million people file income tax returns every year. Ten million of them do not have incomes high enough to pay taxes. That means that 10 million people cannot take advantage of the credits outlined in the recent budget.

Some Hon. Senators: Shame.

Senator Callbeck: Why does this government continue to announce non-refundable tax credits that do not benefit the Canadians who need it the most?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, in its budget the government deals with trying to get people to pay lower taxes. We have taken many steps to help lower-income Canadians who do not pay tax. We have many programs. I will highlight a few of them for honourable senators.

As I have said in this place before, the best way to help Canadians who live below the poverty line, or those who do not pay taxes, is to get them working.

The Economic Action Plan is helping to grow our economy and create jobs. I hope honourable senators noticed that in May we created another 22,000 jobs for a total of 560,000 net new jobs since July 2009. We enhanced the National Child Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. The WITB helped low-income Canadians get over the welfare wall. WITB was created in Budget 2007 and helped 900,000 Canadians in its first year. Our tax cuts meant — this is a group that the honourable senator is concerned about — that we removed a further 1 million low-income Canadians from paying taxes.

The premise of the honourable senator's question is how can people who do not pay taxes benefit, but we were the ones who created the situation where we removed them from the tax rolls in the first place.

Senator Callbeck: My question is on the non-refundable tax credits.

(1430)

The fact is that low-income Canadians are not receiving any advantage whatsoever from these credits. They are only useful to people who earn enough income to pay income tax. However, 40 per cent of people who file income tax returns do not pay income tax. We have millions of people who cannot take advantage of these non-refundable tax credits.

Will this government make their tax credits refundable so that all families can take advantage of them?

Senator LeBreton: The point of my answer to the honourable senator's first question is that many of the people to whom she refers do not pay taxes because we removed them from the tax rolls.

We introduced tax credits, such as I mentioned a moment ago, the Working Income Tax Benefit, and we have saved the average Canadian family $3,000 since coming into office. They pay $3,000 less than they paid when we first came into office. The honourable senator is asking me a question about a group of people that would not have existed had it not been for our government removing them from the tax rolls in the first place.

[Translation]

The Senate

Parliamentary Reform

Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, can the minister confirm a rumour that was circulating during His Honour's lunchtime barbecue today? I heard that the bill concerning Senate reform is to be introduced in the House of Commons as opposed to the Senate, as planned.

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I am glad that the question was properly raised. The honourable senator said it was a rumour. I do not respond on behalf of the Government of Canada to rumours.

I will simply say to all honourable senators in this place, let us wait until the legislation is tabled, and we will have a full debate on the merits of the measure at that time.

Senator Dawson: Does the minister respond to the fact that an email was circulated in her caucus about the division inside the Conservative-controlled Senate, that there is dissention within caucus and the bill may not be adopted were it to be sent to the Senate? That contention is being reported by the CBC, The Toronto Star and a little bit everywhere. It might not be on your side of the chamber.

It is not a rumour any longer. It is being written about in the newspapers. I can provide a copy of Mr. Brown's email if the honourable senator has not received it yet.

Senator LeBreton: As is the case with the Liberal Party of Canada, and is the case with the Conservative Party of Canada, matters that are discussed in caucus are not directly government business. I am the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and I will only answer for the government.

Senator Dawson: We heard for a while about the Liberal-dominated Senate. Now that the numbers are quite clear and we have a Conservative-dominated Senate, if the reform of the Senate will be debated it would be quite normal, as in the past, that the Senate study it before the other place does. If there is dissention, the leader can count on our side to support her in getting any kind of legislation that would improve this place. As honourable senators know, we are committed to the reform of the Senate.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator LeBreton: You could have fooled me, honourable senators!

Senate reform is a policy that the Conservative Party has run on now in at least four general elections. Now that we have a majority government, we fully expect that the issue of Senate reform will be dealt with in due course and properly debated. We expect to live up to our commitment to reform the Senate.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator St. Germain: Great idea. The only Alliance senator is right here.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Cordy: But no one would talk to you.

Senator Mercer: No leaks from that caucus.

[Translation]

Industry

Arts and Culture

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Our artists and artisans contribute to our country's economy. They are exceptional cultural ambassadors for Canada, since many of them are entrepreneurs as well as creators. Industry Canada provides funding to support industries and businesses but does not recognize cultural businesses. As a result, our artists and artisans are unable to access Industry Canada funding.

I know that the leader's government provides financial support to the arts and culture sector; she said so in response to a question posed by a senator yesterday during Question Period. However, why can she not convince Industry Canada to do its part? Can I count on the minister to secure a commitment from the Minister of Industry to review his financial support program in order to include cultural businesses?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as I pointed out yesterday, we have vastly increased support. I have since learned that we were the only country among the G8 who massively increased funding to arts and culture during the recession.

With regard to the honourable senator's thoughtful question about Industry Canada, I do not know the answer. I would be happy to take the question as notice and provide a written response.

Infrastructure

Improved Electrical Transmission between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

In March 2011, over 20,000 Prince Edward Island homes were left without power and subjected to rolling blackouts when one of the Island's two power transmission cables to the mainland failed.

This massive power outage was a wake-up call for Islanders. Our cables are rapidly aging, making a new power cable to the mainland an absolute necessity for Prince Edward Island.

Furthermore, this third cable also presents a tremendous opportunity for the province. A new power cable would connect Prince Edward Island to the Atlantic Energy Gateway, not only as a consumer of electricity but also as a provider of green wind energy. The province has approached the federal government about this issue on numerous occasions and has applied for funding under the green energy fund.

Can the leader tell honourable senators whether there are any updates as to the result of that application and whether the government has any other plans to work with the province on funding this power cable?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I wish to thank the Honourable Senator Hubley for that question. I will absolutely make inquiries as to the status of this application and report back as soon as possible.


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Budget 2011

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Carignan calling the attention of the Senate to the budget entitled, A Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, tabled in the House of Commons on June 6, 2011, by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable James M. Flaherty, P.C., M.P., and in the Senate on June 7, 2011.

Hon. John D. Wallace: Honourable senators, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak in favour of the next phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, a low-tax plan for jobs and growth.

With the passing of this budget, we will accomplish a great many things for Canadian families across the country.

As we are all well aware, Canadians were brought into the world's worst recession since World War II through no fault of our own but due to a collapse of markets abroad. We have been able to stay relatively afloat in the tumultuous economic storm, but the dangers which created the situation are still lurking. The economic recovery in the United States is not taking hold as quickly as we would have hoped, and the sovereign debt crisis affecting some European countries is certainly a cause for concern.

There is further instability in the world. The troubles in the Middle East have a great effect on our local economies. With the price of oil skyrocketing because of the conflict in Libya, it costs more just to drive children to school or to hockey practice afterwards.

Thankfully, due to the prudent and timely action of the Conservative government, we have been spared the worst of the economic damage. Our unemployment rate is still too high, yet we in fact are much better off than our southern neighbours. We have been fortunate in that Canada was one of the last countries to enter recession and one of the first out. We have emerged stronger than ever, with relative strength that has made us the envy of the developed world.

(1440)

It has been through the prudent steps taken by the Conservative government that we have remained in good shape. By taking action on reducing taxes, we have helped families when they needed it most. Reducing the GST from 7 to 6 to 5 per cent has made everyday items a bit more affordable. Thanks to Conservative tax cuts, the average Canadian family of four now saves more than $3,000 per year compared to when the Liberals were in power.

Thanks to some of these actions, our debt-to-GDP ratio has remained strong and we are on track to have very competitive business rates that will attract investment from throughout the world. Canada is becoming known as a safe, strong, stable economy in which to invest. Our workers are well trained and our fiscal record is solid.

We took action when action was needed. When economic gloom was forecast, we introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan, and the plan worked. By making unprecedented investments throughout the country, we were able to keep food on the kitchen tables of Canadian families.

Through our infrastructure investments, we have created jobs and helped communities realize their dreams. Be it repairs to community centre roofs or the twinning of rural highways for increased safety, municipalities across the country had an opportunity to take advantage of targeted, timely assistance for projects that would leave a lasting legacy in their communities. This was achieved through a massive cooperative effort with all levels of government.

With the federal Conservatives taking the lead, shovel-ready projects were rolled out across the country. As of March, more than 28,500 Economic Action Plan projects had been completed or were under way. These are job creating, job projecting projects. These projects keep front line construction workers employed, families fed and contribute to local economies in countless communities. These projects have been targeted, timely and temporary.

We know from the failed experiments of past Liberal governments that there is a limit to what can be achieved with tax dollars. Ultimately, it is the private sector that has always been and will continue to be the primary economic driver. This is something that we as Conservatives understand, and this is why we will be moving quickly toward a balanced budget in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

As we wind down the government's stimulus, we are introducing measures such as the small business hiring tax credit to help the private sector take back their rightful place as the primary source for the funding of new jobs. We are helping to ensure that in the crucial early period when a small business decides to expand, the cost of hiring is lessened. In this way, we are helping unemployed workers and those new to the job market get the jobs they deserve and realize their dreams.

This program will provide a one-time tax credit of $1,000 to small businesses to help cover the increase in Employment Insurance premiums resulting from the hiring of new employees. Entrepreneurs are the economic engines of the Canadian economy, and this tax credit was created in clear recognition of that fact.

To help young entrepreneurs and to help to shape the economy of the future, we are providing an additional $20 million to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. This is a fantastic organization that assists young Canadians in the creation of business plans, provides help navigating through the difficult process of starting a business and assists with ongoing mentorship to ensure the plans are enacted.

Anyone who has ever run a small business in Canada knows that compliance with the many regulations entrepreneurs can face is a very time-consuming task. In order to reduce this burden, we have created the Red Tape Reduction Commission and we are upgrading the BizPaL service to streamline the online management of regulatory compliance.

One of the hardest hit sectors of the Canadian economy has been the manufacturing and processing sector. It has been remarkable to witness the resilience of these businesses, and we have taken action to help them through these tough times. We have extended the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance rate for investment in machinery and equipment for an additional two years. This action will help defray the costs of upgrading assembly lines and replacing old equipment, which will ensure Canadian workers maintain a competitive advantage.

With the Canadian dollar on par with the U.S. dollar, we can no longer rely on currency rates to make our products appear more competitive to foreign customers. It is through actions like these, through encouraging investment in productivity-increasing equipment, that we will ensure that Canada remains a leader on the world stage.

For workers who had the misfortune of losing their jobs, we have enhanced Employment Insurance. In Budget 2011, we renewed the Best 14 Weeks and the Working While on Claim EI pilot projects for an additional year. By ensuring that Employment Insurance provides adequate compensation, we are helping to ensure that families do not suffer undue hardships while transitioning from one employer to another. By extending our work-share program, we are ensuring that more Canadians can stay in their jobs while their employers compensate for the leaner global economic times.

In addition to the enhancements made to Employment Insurance, we have been doing our part in easing the family budget. Initiatives like the children's arts tax credit and the family caregiver tax credit will help to reduce the burden of caring for loved ones by defraying the costs of ensuring that our children are given the opportunity they deserve to thrive in art, music or drama.

By extending the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program, we are helping homeowners make their homes more energy efficient and assisting in the reduction of high energy costs. Whether homeowners take up the task of doing their own renovations or employ a general contractor, this highly successful program has been an effective stimulant to the home renovation sector in Canada.

Our Conservative government is helping seniors in poverty by enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for those seniors who rely almost exclusively on their Old Age Security and the GIS. Our new measure will provide a top-up benefit of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples. These measures represent an investment of more than $300 million per year and will help to improve the financial security of more than 680,000 seniors across Canada.

We need more than this, however, to ensure Canadian families have all they deserve. Access to doctors is an issue in rural and remote areas across this country. That is why we are delivering for families by offering an incentive for new doctors and nurses to practise in rural and remote areas. By offering student loan forgiveness for doctors and nurses who practise in rural and remote areas, we will be ensuring that families receive the same level of accessible Canadian health care no matter where they choose to live.

Many of the rural communities in my home province rely on volunteers to help protect their families and property from the devastating effects of fire. To encourage and reward our volunteer firefighters, we will be providing a tax credit to those who perform at least 200 hours of service in their communities. This is something that has been asked for, it is a promise we have made and now it will be a promise kept.

Canadians are a responsible, practical people, and they expect the same from their government. That is why we cannot continue with deficits indefinitely, as was done in decades past. This Conservative government made a promise to Canadians that we would not embark in new, reckless spending programs and that we would eliminate the deficit.

Unlike Liberal governments of the past, this government respects the jurisdiction of the provinces and understands they require adequate funding to deliver on their responsibilities of providing health care for all Canadians. That is why we will not balance the budget by slashing provincial transfers; we will not balance the budget by slashing health care; and we will not balance the budget by cutting transfers to individuals.

We will eliminate the deficit through restrained spending and through a targeted review of our programs. Through a combination of attrition in our public service, and by targeting programs created to solve the problems of decades past that have long since outlived their use, we will eliminate the deficit in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

(1450)

One program that I know Canadians are looking forward to seeing the end of is the wasteful long-gun registry. This government will reduce waste and the criminalization of rural Canadians by ending the long-gun registry once and for all.

Politicians should not be immune from these leaner times. Office budgets have been frozen, but that is only one small step. We made the promise to Canadians that we would eliminate the per-vote subsidy that forces taxpayers to give money to political parties for purely partisan purposes. No political party is entitled to these tax dollars. It is unfair; it is undemocratic; it encourages reckless and unnecessary elections; and it stifles the growth of new parties when they are up against well-established, taxpayer-funded parties. This will be eliminated and will save Canadians millions of dollars every year.

In summary, honourable senators, Conservatives have been listening to Canadians. By promising to deliver on the priorities of the Canadian family, Conservatives have been given a strong majority mandate. A promise has been made to deliver jobs and economic growth.

Now it is time to get to work. A vote in support of this budget is a vote in support of all Canadians.

(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)

Chinese Canadian History

Inquiry—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Vivienne Poy rose pursuant to notice of June 7, 2011:

That she will call the attention of the Senate to a multicultural educational resource for all Canadians entitled "A Brief Chronology of Chinese Canadian History: From Segregation to Integration'', spanning the period from 1788 to 2010, which is a collaborative project by British Columbia scholars involving the Universities of British Columbia, Victoria and Simon Fraser.

She said: Honourable senators, by now you will have received a copy of "A Brief Chronology of Chinese Canadian History: From Segregation to Integration'' in your offices. I hope you will take the time to look it over and share it with your families and friends and with schools in your neighbourhoods.

The chronology was produced by the David See-Chai Lam Centre for International Communication at Simon Fraser University, and the author is Emeritus Professor of Geography David Chuenyan Lai of the University of Victoria. It was a collaborative project of scholars from the University of Victoria, UBC and Simon Fraser University.

The main purpose of this publication is to develop greater awareness amongst Canadians of the historic nation-building contributions made by Chinese Canadians and to encourage Canadians of Chinese ancestry to appreciate the significance of their heritage. At the same time, the chart is a contribution to the multicultural identity of Canada, and it is hoped that Canadians of diverse ethnicities will take on similar projects so that we may all learn from each other in a simple and succinct manner.

As honourable senators will note, the chart is in English, French and Chinese. In a few short paragraphs, the chart relates the history of the Chinese in Canada from 1788 to 2010, recognizing the contributions Chinese Canadians have made over more than two centuries in Canada, the challenges we have faced and ultimately the successful integration over the past few decades in Canadian society.

The chart begins in 1788, almost 100 years before Confederation, when the first groups of Chinese carpenters and shipwrights were brought to Nootka Sound by John Meares to build forts and large sailing ships. The text shows how the history of Chinese Canadians is intimately bound to Canada's development as a nation.

At the beginning of the 1860s, thousands of Chinese labourers were brought in to drain swamps, dig ditches and build wagon roads to open up the interior of the colony of British Columbia during the gold rush in the Fraser Valley. Besides mining, many also worked in canneries, the lumber industry and as ranch hands, cooks, et cetera.

The majority of Canadians today know that the most difficult section of the Canadian Pacific Railway was built by Chinese labourers contracted by Andrew Onderdonk from California, as well as from China. As Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald said, without Chinese construction workers there would be no railway. By the end of 1882, over 70 per cent of the railway workers were Chinese. Without the railway, one wonders whether the colony of British Columbia would have joined California instead of the Dominion of Canada.

Facing discrimination in labour practices, Chinese workers organized into unions and white workers soon joined with them under the banner of union solidarity. Their quest for equal rights during the Depression was supported by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the predecessor of today's New Democratic Party.

The major turning point for Chinese-Canadian communities was the Second World War. Patriotism shown by their members was especially laudable because over the previous decades the attention of the Canadian government had been primarily focused on preventing the entry of Chinese into Canada, first through a hefty head tax and then through exclusion, which effectively barred them from entry into Canada from 1923 until 1947. Despite this, over 600 Chinese-Canadian men and women served in World War II, many of them behind Japanese lines in China, Sarawak and Malaya.

After the war, with the repeal of Chinese exclusion in the Immigration Act and the passage of the Canadian Citizenship Act, the door was opened to allow the reunification of Chinese families in Canada and, with the professions being opened to qualified Chinese Canadians, the first steps toward integration began.

With the introduction of new immigration regulations in 1962 based on skills and the subsequent introduction of a universal points system in 1967, the number of ethnic Chinese entering Canada rose dramatically. It has been the largest group of immigrants entering Canada since the 1980s.

With equality of opportunity came physical, socio-economic and political integration. Chinatowns across Canada have transitioned from being ghettos to major tourist destinations, especially now that Canada has finally realized its goal of being one of China's approved destinations. In Toronto, there are several Chinatowns, as there are in Vancouver. Although Chinese Canadians are dispersed widely, often inhabiting the suburbs, Chinatowns remain to reflect Canada's early history.

In Ottawa, the newly constructed Chinatown Gateway is winning awards and attracting tourists eager to see the capital city gateway, the only one of its kind in North America. It is a stunning structure which represents the combination of Chinese craftsmanship and Canadian engineering.

(1500)

Chinese Canadians are also represented in large cohorts in our universities and across the professions. Mixed marriages are common and, increasingly, the face of Canada reflects a fusion of cultures and the creation of a new interculturalism as communities merge as families.

However, the post-war period has not been without its struggles. Even as many Chinese Canadians entered politics, carved their niche in the professions, received the Order of Canada and were appointed to positions of power, their history remained unacknowledged and unspoken.

In June 1980, Parliament first recognized the contributions of Chinese Canadians in the construction of the CPR. This was followed by the introduction of an all-party resolution in 1987 recognizing the injustice and discrimination of the head tax and Chinese exclusion. In June 2006, the Parliament of Canada issued an official apology in the House of Commons for the historical mistreatment of the Chinese in Canada. These official public acknowledgements of the past have made it possible for many to look forward to the future.

In terms of members of Parliament of Chinese heritage, while there has been some progress, starting with Douglas Jung as the first MP elected to the House of Commons in 1957, it is slow. While there were only a handful of MPs of Chinese heritage in the last Parliament, the number increased considerably in the last election. I wish to congratulate all of them. Their names will be included in an update insert of the chart, which is tentatively planned for 2012 and which will focus on Ottawa's Chinatown and the new Ottawa Chinatown Gateway. Currently, inserts are being planned that focus on Vancouver and Victoria's Chinatowns.

In partnership with UBC's "Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Stories from a Common Past,'' a bilingual website funded by Citizenship and Immigration's Community Historical Recognition Program, the project will make its educational content available through the World Wide Web later this year, making this information available internationally. This unique web portal will be updated regularly with current information, including the names of our newest MPs of Chinese heritage and stories about Chinese Canadians.

The initiative includes other important innovations, such as an online virtual experience, portable interactive kiosks and a searchable database of digital material created by partner organizations. This unique web portal will bring our communities and their stories into our schools to be shared internationally with students and researchers.

Honourable senators may wonder why I have brought these resources to their attention today. It is because I believe this multicultural educational resource offers a potential model to other ethnic communities. As Canada grows increasingly diverse, we need to know more about one another. The success of our society depends on the sharing of our unique stories as communities. I hope this chart and the one-stop web portal dedicated to Chinese-Canadian history can serve as an inspiration for other communities in Canada to document their own histories, which have helped shape our development as a nation.

For me, multiculturalism is not a government department, nor is it a legislative tool or a stale policy on paper. It is continuously evolving, driven by the energy and passions of Canadians and their communities. It is about engaging and understanding one another and, through this process, learning more about ourselves.

Conflicts and misunderstandings do occur in society and I believe much of that stems from ignorance. We all need a greater awareness of the historic nation-building contributions made by every ethnic group. Projects such as this one offer a simple means through which to combat ignorance and promote greater understanding among us.

Canadians of Chinese ancestry who arrived in Canada in the last few decades need to appreciate their long history in Canada and the significance of their heritage. They need to know that we have been here for more than 200 years and have helped to build Canada from its earliest foundations and that we can be proud of what we have accomplished.

A new poll by the Association for Canadian Studies in Montreal found that more than three quarters of Canadians agree that "learning more about the history of Canada'' would be the best way to strengthen their sense of attachment to the country.

The younger generation of Canadians is perhaps the most aware of our diversity. The faces in their classrooms reflect this reality, but their formal curriculum does not. Through outreach to educators and the provision of teaching materials for grades 5 to 12, I hope that printed resources, such as this chart, as well as the web portal and the digital materials, will help to remedy this situation. Our youth need to know that Canada's diversity is our greatest strength, just as it was more than two centuries ago.

Honourable senators, at this time, with leave of the Senate, I would like to table "A Brief Chronology of Chinese Canadian History: From Segregation to Integration.''

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Is leave granted, honourable senators, to table the document?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)

Transport and Communications

Committee Authorized to Study Emerging Issues Related to Canadian Airline Industry and Refer Papers and Evidence from Previous Session

Hon. Dennis Dawson, pursuant to notice of June 14, 2011, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications be authorized to examine and report on emerging issues related to the Canadian airline industry, including but not limited to:

(a) its performance and long-term viability in the changing global market;

(b) its place within Canada;

(c) its business relationship with their passengers; and

(d) its important economic effect in the Canadian communities where airports are located.

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject since the beginning of the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee report to the Senate from time to time, with a final report no later than June 28, 2012 and that the committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until 180 days after the tabling of the final report.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

National Finance

Committee Authorized to Meet during Sittings of the Senate until June 30, 2011

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, pursuant to notice of earlier this day, I move:

That, until June 30, 2011, for the purposes of any study of a bill, the subject-matter of a bill or estimates, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance have power to sit even though the Senate may then be sitting, with the application of rule 95(4) being suspended in relation thereto.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Agriculture and Forestry

Committee Authorized to Study Current State and Future of Forest Sector and Refer Papers and Evidence since Beginning of Second Session of Fortieth Parliament

Hon. Percy Mockler: Honourable senators, pursuant to notice of earlier this day, I move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be authorized to examine and report on the current state and future of Canada's forest sector. In particular, the Committee shall be authorized to:

(a) Examine the causes and origins of the current forestry crisis;

(b) Examine the federal role in the forest sector in Canada;

(c) Examine and promote the development and commercialisation of value added products;

(d) Examine potential changes to the National Building Code of Canada 2005 to increase the utilization of wood;

(e) Examine education in the wood science sector;

(f) Develop a vision for the long-term positioning and competitiveness of the forest industry in Canada; and

(g) Recommend specific measures to be put forward by the federal government to lay the foundations of that vision.

That the papers and evidence received and taken on the subject and the work accomplished since the beginning of the Second Session of the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the Committee; and

That the Committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than September 30, 2011, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until December 31, 2011.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, June 16, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.)