Debates
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Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 11

Thursday, June 23, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


THE SENATE

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Girl Guides in Nova Scotia

Congratulations on One Hundredth Anniversary

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, several events have taken place recently to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Girl Guide movement in Nova Scotia, including a parade in Sydney and a camp-out in Halifax.

In early June, over 600 Brownies, Pathfinders, Guides and volunteers converted Halifax's Citadel Hill into a campground. Can you imagine, honourable senators, how much fun it would have been for these girls and women to camp in the middle of the city of Halifax, an experience that also included touring local museums and parks?

At the end of May, there was a parade and celebration in Sydney that attracted over 700 Sparks, Brownies, Girl Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers to mark the one hundredth anniversary, which included Lieutenant-Governor Mayann Francis and Mayor John Morgan.

Honourable senators, Holly Thompson, provincial commissioner of Nova Scotia Girl Guides, noted in the Cape Breton Post that there are over 6,000 Girl Guide members in Nova Scotia, making it the fourth largest province in Canada in terms of membership. This is quite an achievement for Nova Scotia.

Honourable senators, the Girl Guide movement "enables girls to be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world." I think we can all agree that this organization deserves our congratulations on their endeavours to promote girls and women, and to encourage girls and women to have a positive effect on their world.

What a wonderful accomplishment for the Girl Guides of Nova Scotia and across Canada. Congratulations!

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

[Translation]

Parks Canada

One Hundredth Anniversary

Hon. Carolyn Stewart Olsen: Honourable senators, today I would like to highlight the one hundredth anniversary of Parks Canada.

[English]

Through a network of 42 national parks and 167 national historic sites, as well as four national marine conservation sites, Parks Canada works hard to ensure that Canada's historical and natural heritage is preserved.

Established in 1911 as the Dominion Parks Branch, Parks Canada was the world's first national service dedicated to the protection of national parks and historic sites.

Honourable senators, Canada is a world leader in protecting and preserving treasured natural and historic places.

[Translation]

Parks Canada is working on developing programs that encourage all Canadians to take advantage of our parks.

[English]

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in one such program. "Learn to Camp" is a national program where Parks Canada teams up with Mountain Equipment Co-op to teach new Canadians the basics of camping. Families learned skills such as how to cook outdoors, how to set up a tent and how to enjoy campfires — all under the expert supervision of qualified guides.

[Translation]

This program was designed to help new Canadians learn about the joys of camping and to encourage them to take advantage of our great national parks.

[English]

The event took place at Fort Beausejour, on the beautiful Tantramar Marsh, in an area that Acadians called "Beaubassin" or beautiful basin.

[Translation]

The first Acadian settlers transformed the region into a beautiful and productive spot. In the 18th century, Acadian settlers built dikes in the marshes, to block salt water from the Atlantic Ocean and to create a prosperous agricultural area with rich, sedimentary soil.

[English]

This area is host to many rare and endangered birds. The place name, Tantramar, derives from the Acadian French "tintamarere," which some say refers to the loud noises of the flocks of birds living there.

Canada's system of national parks and national marine conservation areas has expanded exponentially in the past couple of years. The excellence of our parks system, under the care of Parks Canada, has resulted in the World Wildlife Fund awarding Parks Canada the prestigious Gift to the Earth award. The award is their highest accolade for conservation work of outstanding merit.

Honourable senators, our national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas are places of profound importance and great treasures for our country. The heritage and landscape of these special places are witnesses to many of our defining moments and each tell a unique story.

[Translation]

We are all responsible for protecting and preserving this precious resource.

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[English]

The Late Robert B. Haggert

Hon. Francis William Mahovlich: Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Robert Haggert, a man who made great contributions to the game of hockey in his role as a trainer.

Robert Haggert began his impressive career with the Toronto Marlboros Hockey Club in 1950 and became the assistant trainer to the Toronto Maple Leafs just five years later.

His mentor was Tim Daly, who, by the way, was an interesting character in himself. He is the only man I know who was at the ball game in 1918 when Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run, and that was on Toronto Island, if you would believe it. Tim Daly was the man who handed me my first sweater when I played with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He said, "Here, Mucklevitch. Here's your number 27." At that time, there was no number 27. I was the only number 27. I thought to myself, "Well, it's not the number that makes the player; it's the player that makes the number."

Following the retirement of Tim Daly, Robert became the head trainer for the Leafs. Under his guidance as head trainer, the Toronto Maple Leafs won four Stanley Cups. As a testament to his great skills, he was also selected as the trainer for five all-star games.

Upon his retirement as the Leafs' trainer in 1968, Robert continued to play a key role in the world of hockey. He was highly involved in the 1972 Summit Series against Russia, as well as the Canada Cups. He was one of the founding members of the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association and served as its president for two years, in addition to being a board member of the Athletic Trainers' Association.

It should also be noted that Robert was very influential in the Canadian sports licensing industry, where he helped establish and maintain licensing programs for organizations such as the NHL, the NHL Players' Association, Major League Baseball and Labatt Breweries.

My thoughts and condolences go out to his three children and to his extended family. Robert will be remembered for the great Canadian he was and the hockey legend he will always be.

Syria

Detention of Mr. Amjad Baiazy

Hon. Salma Ataullahjan: Honourable senators, today I rise to bring your attention to the grave conditions in Syria and the unjust treatment of individuals such as Amjad Baiazy by the Syrian government.

On May 12, Amjad Baiazy, a Syrian resident on his way back to the United Kingdom, where he has studied and lived for the past four years, was stopped by Syrian security forces at Damascus International Airport. Frantically, Amjad called his brother and attempted to explain what was going on.

Close to two months have passed now, but family and friends of Amjad know nothing of his whereabouts or his condition. Amjad has been unable to contact a personal lawyer and his family fears that he may be a victim of torture. Amjad was arrested on the groundless charge of "inciting revolution from abroad." Amjad is a friend of my daughter and is one of the thousands of Syrians who have been wrongly detained by the Syrian government.

Syria has been ruled by an unjust and dishonest dictatorship for more than 40 years. For the last two months, the Syrian people have spoken and their voices have been heard across the country and the world. They are asking for real change now, not vague promises to be fulfilled perhaps at some undefined later date. The Syrian government has responded with mass arrests of citizens like Amjad.

Syrians are being violently oppressed by the Syrian government. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad knows very well that the popular movement is demanding his exit and causing a mass uprising that has spread across the international community.

I am proud to be part of a government that supports the rights and freedoms of the Syrian people and compels President al-Assad to reform his government. The status quo is no longer acceptable.

Honourable senators, I ask you today to support our Canadian government by supporting the people of Syria in their peaceful efforts to realize democracy, political freedom and human rights.

[Translation]

La Fête Nationale du Québec

Hon. Francis Fox: Honourable senators, tomorrow, we will celebrate Quebec's national holiday. For all Quebecers, this will be an opportunity to celebrate joyfully, in small and large gatherings across all the regions of Quebec. It is a time to be proud that, together, we have created and built this modern, progressive and inclusive Quebec.

Outside Quebec, I also want to salute my francophone friends elsewhere in Canada, for whom Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is just as important.

Today, the national holiday reminds us of the extraordinary history of Quebec and of francophones, and also of the type of society we managed to create in North America, with the addition of thousands of fellow citizens from all parts of the world who have come to make this their home.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day is also a celebration of compassion, civility and well-deserved pride. Our successes are known around the world in areas such as arts and culture, academics, scientific development and industrial and commercial achievements.

Quebecers are a proud people who have every reason to celebrate this day and to share their joy and success with all Canadians.

[English]

Alberta Oil Sands

Scientific Research

Hon. Nicole Eaton: Honourable senators, I rise today to shine some attention on a recent series in the Financial Post entitled the "Thirteenth annual Junk Science Week event." This series of articles highlights and exposes the numerous "scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets, cranks and quacks" who bend facts, exacerbate risks, and by and large warp science with the goal of advancing an agenda.

While science, statistics and research are fundamental cornerstones of our economy and our society, one must always be dubious of what one reads. As American statesman Henry Clay once noted, "Statistics are no substitute for judgment." This series highlights this reality.

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to cover some of the interesting pieces on the dangers of lipstick, rubber ducks and apples that, one way or another, may be killing us. However, one of the themes that stood out in a few of the pieces was the constant vilification of our oil sands.

Honourable senators, I believe there is much more at play here than simple scientific fact. In a well-laid-out article, Vivian Krause examined the fallout resulting from a report on pollutants near oil sands projects. As Krause pointed out, this was a case of "how bad media happened to good science."

The CBC reported: "Oil sands adding carcinogens to Athabasca River."

The Globe and Mail reported that some levels for the protection of aquatic life exceeded those recommended by the provincial and federal governments. However, no mention was made of the reality that no drinking water guidelines for any of the pollutants were exceeded. In fact, the main author of the study said he would drink the water himself.

Other conclusions that went conveniently unreported include that in some instances, contaminants were higher in areas far from oil sands operations; that in many places, contaminants were below detection levels; and that there were basically no surprises in the results as they lined up with industry monitoring.

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit ignored was how the study was funded. Most of the $500,000 price tag was covered by Tides Canada and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, both vehement critics of the oil sands. In fact, the Tides foundation finances at least 30 groups that target the oil sands. Furthermore, many organizations that channel funds to the Tides foundation do so with the explicit goal of slowing the expansion and demand for Canadian oil.

The proposed Keystone Pipeline is another example of a project being repeatedly attacked with false facts and embellished claims of a supposed unavoidable environmental disaster if built.

Honourable senators, science is at the backbone of our economy, yet in the past "science" has told us many things that are absurd today. One must always be diligent and skeptical, especially when our economic well-being is at the heart of the issue.

Queen Elizabeth High School

Congratulations on Fiftieth Anniversary

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to speak to the fiftieth anniversary of my alma mater, Queen Elizabeth High School, in Edmonton.

On Saturday, June 11, Principal Don Blackwell welcomed graduates and their families, as well as former and present teachers, to the celebration. The official program included the unveiling of a time capsule and performances by the school's choir and dance students, all of which were excellent.

There was also the unveiling of a "wall of fame," recognizing the first five inductees to this wall of fame honour. They included Scotty "Bulldog" Olson, a former world flyweight champion boxer and a member of the Canadian Olympic team in 1988; Tara Feser-Scade, a wheelchair basketball player and a member of the Canadian Paralympic team in 2008; Lance Roberts, an NHL referee, who, by the way, was too young to have ever refereed my colleague Senator Mahovlich, although he would have welcomed the chance; and Ryan Davidson, a recording artist in country and western music.

I also was honoured to be in this group of five inductees, a full 41 years after I graduated. As I stood with Tara and Scotty, I thought perhaps I would have been recognized for my athletic prowess, but that was not the case. Of course, I was recognized for my political career, and I am grateful for that award.

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At this special celebration I was reminded of so many good times, great people and important experiences. I saw Clarence Kachman, my physical education teacher and wrestling coach, who had such a great influence on my life. I was reminded of Ms. Shaw and Ms. Mosely, who brought literature alive for me. I also thought of Mr. Sparks, one of my social studies teachers who opened my eyes to the possibility of politics and public life.

Queen Elizabeth is a great school where students receive an outstanding academic education to this day. Over the years, the school has served a community of hard-working people. If you were a student at Queen Elizabeth, you understood that you had to work for and earn everything that you would do in life. If you took what Queen E. could give you, a good education, in particular, a good set of values, you would have a good chance at an interesting and productive life.

This school was, and is, a real microcosm of what Canada is because it serves an area with so many different immigrant cultures. People there are from all over the world. I love that. We learn so much from people who come from elsewhere and bring their cultures, ideas and, of course, food. There is such richness in all these cultures and lessons in accepting one another's differences that was, and is, a profound legacy of Queen Elizabeth High School.

My most recent contact with the school has been with Terry Godwaldt and his remarkable work in The Centre for Global Education, which he created at the school. He worked on many projects, including DeforestACTION, headed by Abraham Amaouie, a Grade 10 student. Last year Terry linked me into an international video seminar on climate change and Aboriginal peoples using a network and technology that his project has perfected and utilizes all the time. I sat in a classroom in Ottawa and talked with students in classrooms thousands of miles away, in Canada and elsewhere. The seminar was moderated by Aboriginal students from Queen Elizabeth.

Here again is evidence of the continuing excellence of Queen Elizabeth High School. I am immensely proud to have been a graduate of this school. I congratulate Queen Elizabeth High School and all the people who have attended, taught, assisted and administered there, and who have made that school the success it has been over the last 50 years.

[Translation]

The Senate

Parliamentary Reform

Hon. Jean-Claude Rivest: Honourable senators, I would like to return briefly to the matter of Senate reform, because last week, I asked the minister a question on the subject.

I am still concerned today about how this issue is being received. Upon reading the bill introduced this morning in the House of Commons, Quebec's Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Pierre Moreau, announced the Government of Quebec's decision to challenge the provisions of this bill in court.

Senate reform, which I believe is necessary, will definitely arouse controversy. Yesterday, La Presse reported that a spokesperson for the Prime Minister of Canada has said that if he does not get the reforms he wants, the Prime Minister would be willing to go as far as abolishing the Senate, in keeping with a speech he gave in Australia in 2007 and, moreover, that he might even resort to a referendum process.

As for the scarcely veiled threat that such a statement presents for all parliamentarians, I must say that it is quite simply nothing more than a waste of time. Everyone knows that abolishing the Senate would require a constitutional reform. And since the Senate is part of the amending formula, unanimity from the provinces would be needed to amend it and abolish the Senate. In any case, I would remind honourable senators that it would be impossible to call any constitutional conference as long as Quebec is not part of the 1982 Constitution, which makes this whole approach completely impossible.

Furthermore, I know the issue of Senate reform has given rise to discussions and reflection for everyone in this chamber. The Right Honourable Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, in the context of the Meech Lake Accord, added a purely political agreement regarding how senators are appointed.

Instead of risking possible legal challenges and embarking on a futile constitutional process, why does the Prime Minister of Canada not ask the minister responsible for the reform of institutions to seek the consent of the provinces and negotiate a political agreement between the Prime Minister of Canada and all provincial premiers regarding the Senate appointment process and the length of a senator's mandate?

It would be possible to negotiate Senate reform, not with a constitutional agreement, but with a political agreement. It would reaffirm a fundamental truth about this matter that everyone cares about. It is like the Charter of Rights.

The Senate is not a federal institution, but a Canadian institution. Even though the Conservatives have a majority, this parliamentary majority does not give it ownership of an institution such as the Senate.

There is only one way to reform the Senate — and I am one of those who believe that the Senate must be reformed — and that is through an agreement among all political bodies in Canada, including the provinces.

[English]

National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I would like draw your attention to the fact that today is the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. I want to reach out to the families of the victims of Air India and let them know they are in my thoughts and prayers. I know that their concerns still have not been resolved and would like to assure them that they have not been forgotten.

The University of Western Ontario's Africa Institute

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, I had the honour of being present at the launch of the University of Western Ontario's Africa Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

The institute has been created to further scholarship and policy development related to African society, politics, economy, culture and health.

In addition, the launch of this institute was an important step in building a partnership between the University of Western Ontario and universities across the continent of Africa.

During the launch of the institute, Professor Joanna Quinn explained that the institute has more than 75 highly acclaimed faculty members working on the ground across Africa, and nearly as many graduate students working alongside them.

She stated:

We see the institute as a space for dialogue and research between, with and for Africans.

The audience that gathered at the University of Nairobi also had the opportunity to hear Dr. Ted Hewitt, who is Western University's Vice-President of International Relations, as well as Professor Irena Creed.

In his remarks, Dr. Hewitt stated:

We are committed to working together on issues and challenges facing both Africa and Canada. That is the nature of our partnership: with Africans, for Africans, for the betterment of the planet.

Although the Africa Institute was launched recently, it already has several projects under way. One project that Dr. Creed discussed was an ecosystem health program in Lake Naivasha. This project is focused on ensuring that Lake Naivasha continues to be a viable resource for people residing in the community. Dr. Creed explained that Lake Naivasha is located in a region that has become a developmental hub in Kenya, as it has a population that has grown at unimaginable rates. As a result, Lake Naivasha has become a source of all water needs and a sink for wastes.

Dr. Creed and her team have worked to ensure that all those who rely on Lake Naivasha as a source of drinking water and food will be able to continue to do so for generations to come.

She stated:

To understand our vision of ecosystem health, one needs to stand on the edge of a community in crisis and listen to the voices of the community because they know first-hand the environmental issues and concerns they face.

The academic community cannot solve these problems in isolation. Research doesn't solve problems — people solve problems.

Honourable senators, I urge you to join me in congratulating the University of Western Ontario for establishing the Africa Institute, as this will be of great value to men and women in Africa and Canada.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

2010 Annual Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, pursuant to subsection 61.(4) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the 2010 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal annual report entitled Access to Justice for Ordinary Canadians.

[English]

Commissioner of Lobbying

2010-11 Annual Report Tabled

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I have to honour to table, in both official languages, the 2010-11 annual report of the Commissioner of Lobbying, pursuant to section 11 of the Lobbying Act.

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Scrutiny of Regulations

First Report of Joint Committee Presented

Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, I have the honour to present the first report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, 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. 111.)

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

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

[Translation]

Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada's Economy Bill

Second Report of National Finance Committee Presented

Hon. Joseph A. Day, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, presented the following report:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-3, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011, has, in obedience to its order of reference of June 22, 2011, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

JOSEPH A. DAY
Chair

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

Senator Day: Honourable senators, later today.

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

Hon Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Day, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading later this day.)

[English]

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study the Progress in Implementing the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care and Refer Papers and Evidence from Fortieth Parliament

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(i), I give notice that, later this day, I will move:

That, pursuant to Section 25.9 of the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be authorized to examine and report on the progress in implementing the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care; and,

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2011, 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: Is leave granted, honourable senators?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Fisheries and Oceans

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues Relating to Federal Government's Current and Evolving Policy Framework for Managing Fisheries and Oceans and Refer Papers and Evidence since Beginning of Third Session of Fortieth Parliament

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

That the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized to examine and to report on issues relating to the federal government's current and evolving policy framework for managing Canada's fisheries and oceans;

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 from time to time to the Senate but no later than September 30, 2012, and that the Committee retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings until December 31, 2012.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Human Rights

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Request a Government Response to a Report on the Study of On-Reserve Matrimonial Real Property on Breakdown of Marriage or Common-Law Relationship

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to invite the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to appear with his officials before the committee for the purpose of updating the members of the committee on actions taken concerning the recommendations contained in the committee's report entitled A Hard Bed to lie in: Matrimonial Real Property on Reserve, tabled in the Senate November 4, 2003; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2012.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Monitor the Implementation of Recommendations Contained in a Report on the Study of International Obligations Regarding Children's Rights and Freedoms

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to monitor the implementation of recommendations contained in the committee's report entitled Children: The Silenced Citizens: Effective Implementation of Canada's International Obligations with Respect to the Rights of Children, tabled in the Senate on April 25, 2007; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2012.

Notice of Motion to Authorize Committee to Study Issues of Discrimination in Hiring and Promotion Practices of Federal Public Service and Labour Market Outcomes for Minority Groups in Private Sector

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the next sitting of the Senate, I will move:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights be authorized to examine issues of discrimination in the hiring and promotion practices of the Federal Public Service, to study the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity are being met, and to examine labour market outcomes for minority groups in the private sector; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2012.

Aboriginal Child Welfare System

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the Report of the Auditor General specifically with respect to the Aboriginal Child Welfare System.

Mental Health, Illness and Addiction Services in Canada

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the 5th anniversary of the tabling of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology's report: Out of the Shadows at Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada.


QUESTION PERIOD

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Canadian Wheat Board

Hon. Robert W. Peterson: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. When I asked the leader a question about the Canadian Wheat Board last week, she replied that Western Canadian grain farmers expect her government to deliver on its promise to give them the same opportunity as farmers have in the rest of the country to decide when, where and how to sell their grain. Ontario farmers have an open market because their farmer-elected board decided to take their organization in this direction. The farmer-controlled board of directors for the Canadian Wheat Board has not taken the same direction.

The government says it puts farmers first, but what does this mean? In March of this year, Agriculture Minister Ritz made the following statement, "I won't scrap the single desk which is the CWB unless a majority of farmers vote for it."

What has happened to change this position?

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The Canadian Wheat Board puts approximately $1.5 billion annually into farmers' hands that they would not otherwise have. How will your government deal with this? When the Canadian Wheat Board is eliminated, there will no longer be an opportunity for producer cars and short-line railways, resulting in multi-million dollar losses. What does the government plan on doing about this?

Your government has laid out plans to get rid of the Canadian Wheat Board, but it is clear that you have not done any analysis of the implications of what you intend to do. Why not, as your minister promised in March of this year, allow Western farmers to vote on their own future?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I suggest that Western farmers were clear about the government's intention with regard to the Canadian Wheat Board, and Western farmers overwhelmingly supported the government in our re-election on May 2. It was no secret. It was part of the government's platform and had been for quite some time. The government has been very clear that, if re-elected, we would proceed with the elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly in order to give farmers choice of marketing to market their products free from interference.

Senator Peterson: Honourable senators, I question where the leader gets the information that the farmers overwhelmingly supported her party's mandate to move forward. I did not realize that was on the ballot.

Honourable senators, if the government is determined to push ahead in this undemocratic process, would it also be prepared for potential class action lawsuits in the billions of dollars? The government may or may not have legislative power to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board, but it does not have the moral right to do it. As stated in an article in the Winnipeg Free Press on June 18, this is nothing more than "a political execution being made to look like suicide."

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, it is clear that the government's position on the Canadian Wheat Board was clear. It was certainly a major part of our re-election platform in the recent election that we were not expecting to be forced upon us but, as your party forced it upon us, we are now glad you did. On the other hand, this was a stated policy of the government. We clearly won the overwhelming support of the West. In fact, we increased our support in the West and in the agricultural community. Although it was in the urban centres, we increased our support in the Province of Manitoba as well. The government's position is clear: We want to give Western Canadian grain farmers the opportunity that farmers have in the rest of Canada to choose how and where they market their products.

Senator Peterson: Honourable senators, the leader states that the government is following its commitments, yet, in March of this year, the Minister of Agriculture stated that he would not scrap the single desk, which is the Canadian Wheat Board, unless the majority of farmers voted for it. That is clear. Your minister made that comment in March, two months before the election. It was clear to all voters that you would not scrap the Canadian Wheat Board without a vote.

Senator LeBreton: I suggest to the honourable senator that there was a vote. The vote took place on May 2. Minister Ritz has committed to work with the grain farmers and the Canadian Wheat Board to create an open market that attracts investment, encourages innovation, creates value-added jobs and builds a stronger economy, which of course was the hallmark of what we ran on in the last election, and won.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: The honourable government leader talks about the fact that they voted overwhelmingly, but the reality is that when farmers in Western Canada were specifically asked about the Canadian Wheat Board in elections to elect directors for the wheat board, they voted for individuals in support of the wheat board. When they were asked, "Do you favour the wheat board," their answer was "yes."

How can the leader possibly argue that a question that was not even on the ballot takes precedence to one that was?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I would argue that the question was very much on the ballot. It was very much part of our election platform. It was clearly articulated by a hard working Minister of Agriculture that it was the intention of the government, if re-elected, to scrap the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly. I do not think you can be much clearer than that.

[Translation]

Quebec Dairy Industry

Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, if we consider the vote in Quebec, where 85 per cent of the population decided to vote against the Conservative government, it is easy to guess where Quebecers stand on this issue.

Honourable senators, I am speaking to you today on behalf of all Canadian farmers, and on behalf of Quebec's dairy farmers in particular, to whom the government is just as condescending as it is to the entire province of Quebec. What other conclusion are we to draw from the government's decision in the other place to sit on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, the national holiday of Quebecers? I assure you that I will not be here tomorrow. I can tell you that right now. I will come on Saturday, if you want.

In Quebec and in Canada, supply management has been working for more than 40 years in the dairy industry, giving producers a stable market in which they can prosper. The UN estimates that countries will spend 21 per cent more on importing food in the coming years.

What is the Canadian government doing to ensure that our farmers, dairy farmers in Quebec in particular, provide their fair share of exports to countries that need food products?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I answered that question last week. The government has no intention of changing the position that we have held now for over five years with regard to marketing boards.

With regard to what is going on in the other place and Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, I suggest to you that your colleagues in the other place and now the official opposition, who overwhelmingly have representatives from the province of Quebec, could easily take actions to rectify that matter.

[Translation]

Senator Dawson: With regard to the other place, I believe that the decision to sit on June 24, Quebec's national holiday, for the first time in 30 years, can be considered an affront to Quebecers by the government. Since this decision was made in the other place, I will let the government live with the consequences.

[English]

Honourable senators, as France hosts a G20 agricultural ministers' conference, French President Sarkozy is warning that the world's global economic recovery is in danger of slowing because of changes in food markets. In Canada, especially in the dairy industry, supply management practices allow Canada to protect dairy farmers.

I know the minister said they have not changed their position, but, with the new majority government, we have seen all kinds of things done differently over the last few weeks. What do we do to protect the farmers by coordinating supply and demand, which helps the industry adapt to market changes? Is Canada advocating for this model at the G20 meeting, or just abstaining?

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator has a vivid imagination. Senator Dawson is talking about drastic changes. We ran in an election, which we did not seek to have, which was forced upon us — and I now say thankfully — by your party. We have not changed our position with regard to supply management and marketing boards.

Honourable senators, I am aware of what President Sarkozy said, and I am aware of the fragile economic condition in the world. The Prime Minister went around during the election campaign every day speaking about it.

I have no idea what Senator Dawson is talking about. Anything we have done or will be doing as a government will be clearly communicated and will follow aggressively the platform that we ran on and what we enunciated in this very chamber during the Speech from the Throne and what we said in the other place in the presentation of the budget.

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Canadian Wheat Board

Hon. Dennis Dawson: Honourable senators, I will return to the question on the Canadian Wheat Board, which, as mentioned, was not a ballot question. The leader is interpreting the government's election win in the West as a mandate to abolish the Canadian Wheat Board. Given that 85 per cent of Quebecers voted against the government, how can it determine adequately that anything it does in Quebec is in support of its mandate?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, that is a stretch of logic.

With regard to the Canadian Wheat Board, during the last three elections the Conservative platform was to give farmers a marketing choice for their products. We have recommitted the government's position on supply and demand on marketing boards.

I do not know how the honourable senator can take the Canadian Wheat Board in the West and relate it to the province of Quebec and the government somehow breaking some kind of commitment made to Quebec. We were talking about the Canadian Wheat Board for Western Canadians.

Global Food Supply

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, the United Nations is warning that further food riots could be possible in the next while. The G20 agriculture ministers are meeting in Paris, France, to discuss food security, amongst other problems. Canada's dairy, poultry and egg farmers have called recently for coherence in international agreements alongside farming groups from 66 countries around the world.

All honourable senators know that in Canada poultry and egg farming is especially important in the Maritime provinces. Others countries are reining in exports, which is driving up food prices globally. What is Canada doing? Where is the plan to support our local farmers and citizens globally with Canadian food help?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, we are cognizant of the situation with regard to food supply around the world. The government has taken many measures in Canada and in international meetings when participating to protect Canada's interests. I will be happy to seek further information for the honourable senator to provide him with a written response.

Senator Mercer: I am tempted to say that, like turkeys, this plan does not fly. I do not see any evidence of a government plan. There are more than 2,800 chicken farmers in Canada. It is difficult for people in the agriculture industry to feel a great deal of trust for this government. As Senator Peterson pointed out, Minister Ritz has said he will not get rid of the Canadian Wheat Board until farmers vote that they want to get rid of it.

Honourable senators have heard the leader say that the government is not changing its position on supply management. It is difficult to have trust when the minister says one thing and the government says it will do something about the wheat board when no plan has been put forward and no commitment has been made. Where is the government's commitment to supply management?

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator said that turkeys do not fly, but all around rural Ontario we have wild turkeys that surely can fly.

I believe the honourable senator was in this chamber when the Governor General read the Speech from the Throne. Contained in the speech is a clear commitment by the government to protect Canada's agriculture industry, including supply management.

Senator Mercer: There were many platitudes in the Speech from the Throne, which I listened to carefully in this place. In particular, I paid close attention to anything related to the agriculture industry. I take my responsibilities as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry seriously. I have been a member of that committee since I was appointed to the Senate.

The leader has talked about the Speech from the Throne and the Governor General has spoken the words in the Speech from the Throne. However, honourable senators want to see the plan for the government's commitment to supply management. Farmers across this country are nervous when the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board says one thing while the government proposes to do something opposite by interpreting an election win in Western Canada as a mandate to cancel the wheat board.

I remind the leader that while the government won many seats in Western Canada, it did not pick up any seats in Alberta or in Saskatchewan because it already had those seats. If that is the basis of the leader's argument, then the government must have had a mandate before the election. However, the government did not propose eliminating the wheat board then and should not propose it now. Where is the plan for the government's commitment to protect supply management?

Senator LeBreton: As I said before, the honourable senator has missed his calling.

I have a bit of knowledge of the agriculture industry, as the honourable senator knows from my past comments in this place. Agriculture was clearly part of our campaign commitment to give Western grain farmers marketing choice, specifically regarding the wheat board. We also made a commitment, as repeated in the Speech from the Throne, to protect Canada's agricultural industry and supply management.

We were re-elected on May 2, and Parliament returned at the beginning of June. We are three weeks into this Parliament. We indicated our commitment in the Speech from the Throne. Thanks to the Canadian electorate, we received a strong mandate and a majority government. We have time to implement all our platform commitments. I suggest that the Honourable Senator Mercer is being somewhat hasty in judging the government on any issue within three weeks of a new Parliament.

Canadian Wheat Board

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, in the November 2009 submission of the United States Wheat Associates to the U.S. Trade Representative, the USWA made this powerful point: The single-most important action to come out of the multilateral World Trade Organization process would be the elimination of export enterprises like the Canadian Wheat Board.

They are so happy about this turn of events that they are probably smiling like a horse eating thistle. What concession will Canada receive in return for giving up this tremendous advantage to U.S. wheat growers?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Smiling like a horse eating thistle: I can think of other references to horses, but I will not go there.

Honourable senators, the government made a strong commitment, which is well understood by Western farmers, that we would give them a marketing choice for their products; and that is what we will do. The honourable senator reading anything into it other than what we intend is, frankly, probably a little mischievous.

[Translation]

National Defence

Afghanistan

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, the Prime Minister travelled to Kandahar on May 30 to meet with troops and inform them that the combat mission is winding down and is being replaced with a training mission. For the press conference, the Prime Minister used a backdrop of soldiers flanked by an array of flags and a stage filled with people.

That is not what we do here. It has never been our tradition for the Prime Minister — nor even the Commander-in-Chief, the Governor General — to use soldiers as a backdrop during a press conference. He can talk to them, of course. But he absolutely should not be using them for political theatre.

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He declared victory in Afghanistan, but what is that based on? Are we winning in Afghanistan or has a political decision been made to withdraw to focus on another mission while the fighting continues, while there are still risks and more than 150,000 soldiers left on the ground?

Perhaps he could have said "mission accomplished," based on the political criteria for withdrawing from combat, but he should not have declared victory. President Bush created the same situation when he used the term "victory" during the Iraq war. He appeared on an aircraft carrier with sailors all around him and he declared that the battle of Iraq was a victory, but the war continued for another three years with the loss of more than 1,500 soldiers.

Can the minister tell us what criteria the Prime Minister was using to declare victory in Afghanistan?

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I did hear Senator Dallaire's statement yesterday. I thought what he suggested was absurd. The fact is that the Prime Minister has made many trips to Afghanistan to thank our brave men and women for their participation.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator LeBreton: By the way, the Prime Minister was not using our Canadian soldiers as "props." The fact of the matter is the honourable senator's government sent Canadian soldiers into harm's way with no equipment and no uniforms. How dare he suggest, when we work so hard to support our soldiers, that we use them as props. We properly equipped our Canadian troops to serve in theatre.

With regard to Afghanistan, the honourable senator is not quoting the Prime Minister properly and I am sure he knows that. We announced in November that the Canadian Forces would continue to support the training of Afghanistan's national security forces until 2014, through a contribution of up to 950 Canadians. We committed to go back to Parliament, and this was supported in Parliament by the honourable senator's party, I might add.

The training of the Afghan national security forces has been an integral part of the Canadian Forces' mission in Afghanistan, as Senator Dallaire knows. Our military trainers are recognized and have been hailed around the world for their expertise.

As we have said, our combat mission will end shortly. This will be the next step for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, which is an honourable and laudable one. I suppose the honourable senator did not think the former prime minister, who appeared with Canadian troops with his helmet on backwards, was using them as a prop as well. It is ridiculous.

Canadian Forces Personnel and Equipment

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: Honourable senators, as a young officer I was paraded to a superior officer and I was told that I was "flippant." I did not understand what the word meant. I had to go back and get a dictionary because the officer could not speak French. Anyway, I figured out what it meant.

The responses of the minister in this institution are of that nature. I did not ask her, nor put in debate, anything about the quality of our soldiers, the command structure or the fact that her government equipped them. I did not even hint at anything pejorative in that sense at all. The minister raised these issues because that seems to be how she responds to a direct question.

Honourable senators, I am going back to the matter. What I quoted was exact. What the Prime Minister did is not in the tradition of the Canadian military, which is to have a commander beside him when he is speaking to the press in an established press conference. That we have seen. However, the leader cannot tell me that using a whole getup with troops — who should be resting, training or back in the field — in order to hold a press conference is not theatrics and she cannot tell me that is not irresponsible.

In particular, it is irresponsible for the Prime Minister to tell the troops that they are now changing the mission because of victory, instead of saying exactly what the previous government and they agreed upon, which is that we are pulling out because politically it is cute to pull out now and do training instead of continuing to fight, which is what the Americans and my colleagues, the marines, are still doing.

However, the follow-on is the same. Last year the government called upon all departments to cut — that is, to present — a 5-per-cent low-priority list to cabinet to be implemented this year. This list, apparently, is still cabinet confidential, but it will be implemented. Not only that, but in the Speech from the Throne the government announced that there will be an operational review that will potentially cut 5 per cent and there is also an option to cut 10 per cent.

Can the minister tell me, now that we will not be fighting, whether or not the Canadian Forces will continue to be supported in maintaining their operational capability in the reserves, or whether they will also be subject to these cuts that seem to be coming for implementation in 2012-13?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the fact is, as opposed to the previous government, we have a very clear, strong and proud record of supporting our Canadian Forces, properly equipping them and ensuring that as much as possible they have all the tools at their disposal to carry out any mission the government charges them with doing.

There has been nothing we have ever done or said, or nothing during the election campaign, or nothing that we will be doing in the future that will jeopardize our strong commitment to our men and women in the forces and all levels of the forces, including being properly equipped.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: I am encouraged even though I know very well that your government has begun the budget cutting process at the Department of National Defence and that these cuts will affect equipment, training and staff development.

Historically, $400 million to $600 million that was not spent on procuring equipment could be transferred from Vote 5 to Vote 1. Last year, your government prevented this transfer, which resulted in a $400 million to $600 million reduction in last year's budget. This was the first round of budget cuts. Will this continue? That is my question for the minister.

It seems that the government is preparing to eliminate 4,697 positions at the Department of National Defence. Can the minister tell us if these will be military or civilian positions? We are already hearing the troops say, "We went to the front and fought, and now that we are back, we are going to lose our jobs." Meanwhile, there is an absolutely massive headquarters with a growing number of civilian employees, and I have heard that their jobs will not be eliminated.

Can the minister confirm that her government will not reduce the number of military jobs further to the discussions it is preparing to hold?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, it is well known that the jobs and the economy and paying down and getting rid of the deficit are priorities of the government. All departments, as has been well recorded, have been asked to go through all of their programs. We are looking for 5-per-cent savings. The Department of National Defence, of course, would be part of that as well.

For the record, honourable senators, since this government took office, the defence budget has grown by almost $8 billion, which is an average of over $1 billion a year. Also, as stated in Budget 2011, which was tabled just a few weeks ago, the Department of National Defence is on track to achieving the savings required to meet their commitments to restrain growth in defence spending by increasing its efficiencies and effectiveness of its program delivery, focusing on its core role and meeting the priorities of Canadians.

Even in this time of restraint, we continue to support the forces, as I said before, by investing more in programs that provide support for injured members and services, such as the Helmets to Hardhats Program.

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With regard to job cuts, we have been steadfast in our support for the Canadian Forces including delivering critical tools and equipment, as opposed to the Canadian Forces decade of darkness. Those are not my words. The former Chief of the Defence Staff said them.

As we said in Budget 2011, the Department of National Defence is on track to meet the commitment to restrain growth in defence spending. No decisions have been taken with regard to workforce reductions. As is the case in many departments, and as we have been advised by department heads, many of these savings can be managed through attrition.

[Translation]

The Estimates, 2011-12

Main Estimates—Third Report of National Finance Committee Presented

Leave having been given to revert to Presentation of Reports from Standing or Special Committees:

Hon. Joseph A. Day, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, presented the following report:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Standing Senate Committee on National Finance has the honour to present its

THIRD REPORT

Your committee, to which were referred the 2011-2012 Estimates, has, in obedience to the order of reference of Thursday, June 9, 2011, examined the said Estimates and herewith presents its first interim report.

Respectfully submitted,

JOSEPH A. DAY
Chair

(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix, page 121.)

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

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


ORDERS OF THE DAY

Business of the Senate

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, we had to modify the order of presentation of Government Business, to take into account the receipt and consideration of reports from the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and others. I am told that the committee is sitting right now and that the reports are not complete. We will therefore proceed to Orders of the Day, as established: Item No. 1, second reading of Bill C-8; Item No. 2, second reading of Bill C-9; Item No. 3, third reading of Bill C-3; and Item No. 4, probably, third reading of Bill C-2, with the adoption of a report that may be moved up.

[English]

Appropriation Bill No. 1, 2011-12

Second Reading

Hon. Irving Gerstein moved second reading of Bill C-8, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2012.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to address Bill C-8, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2011, commonly known as supply.

The business of supply, as honourable senators are keenly aware, is the product of centuries of evolution in the relationship between the Crown and Parliament. The original purpose of Parliament was to grant to the King the authority to tax the people. That authority came from the people through their representatives in Parliament, first the Lords and then eventually the Lords and Commons.

Honourable senators, supply is a gift given to the Crown by Parliament so that the Crown may have the financial resources required to govern. Just as over the years the relationship between the Crown and Parliament has changed, there has also been an evolution in the relationship between the two houses of Parliament to the effect that the lower house, "the other place," became the exclusive initiator of financial matters. In reality, supply has become the gift of the House of Commons, as reflected in our rules and in the Constitution.

As I pondered the process of supply, I came to reflect upon the words of the great former British Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who said: "The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them."

With those words in mind, honourable senators, I ask you all to be at your most eloquent and see this bill adopted at the next sitting of the Senate.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I am pleased to join in the debate at second reading of Bill C-8. This is one of two supply bills that we are asked to deal with. I remind honourable senators that this bill arrived in the chamber last evening, and we are now at second reading, honourable senators, because of the cooperation and good spirit that exists in this chamber to move this kind of item along.

Supply bills are dealt with differently from other types of legislation that we become accustomed to seeing. Normally, a bill arrives here with two days' notice. Then the bill receives second reading. It is sent to committee after second reading. Then the committee deals with it and reports back, much the same as we have done with respect to Bill C-3, the budget implementation bill.

With respect to supply, once we finish this second reading, we do not anticipate that this bill will be sent to committee but, rather, that it will be dealt with at third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.

The question I am sure honourable senators are asking themselves is what happens and how do we ensure proper scrutiny if the bill has not gone to committee? Honourable senators, there is a difference with respect to supply bills. We deal with supply bills by looking at the Main Estimates and any supplementary estimates that come to us, and they are referred by the leadership in the Senate to our committee immediately upon receipt.

We received the Main Estimates for 2011-12 in March; however, because of the election, the identical document was sent to us again in June. We began our study on those estimates and prepared a report. That report is what I filed in the last five minutes. We will deal with that report before we deal with third reading of this supply bill.

We have second reading of the bill and then we have the report, which is already here and which hopefully will be adopted. Then we go to third reading. We anticipate that the report and third reading will be dealt with at the next sitting of the Senate.

I encourage honourable senators to take a look at the report, because that is our committee's first look at these Main Estimates and where the essence of our opinion appears. We have had six hearings on these particular Main Estimates, and we are charged with continuing to look at the Main Estimates throughout the year. This is not one of those situations of bill in, passed, gone, and forget about it.

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I would encourage anyone who wishes to be part of our dynamic group to join us on the Finance Committee, where we deal with Main Estimates throughout the year and various Supplementary Estimates, (A), (B) and (C). We deal with budget implementation and with most legislation that deals with the machinery of government and reorganization of government. This gives us a very good view of what is transpiring within the Government of Canada and, indeed, what the government is looking for in relation to supply.

Honourable senators, normally we would have main supply in late June, as we are now, but we would have had an interim supply. That interim supply would have taken us through the three months of April, May and June. Those three months give us a chance to study the Main Estimates and wait for the main supply bill to come down, which is this document.

However, honourable senators will recall that we did not have the opportunity to pass interim supply, so that died on the Order Paper when the election was called. As a result of that a very special process — that only happens during elections — of Governor General's Special Warrants replaced the interim supply.

All of the Governor General's Special Warrants during the election and leading up to the end of June are deducted. The total amount is deducted from the amount that the government is seeking in supply. They have already received that money and it is not like an extraordinary borrowing where the government has to come and ask us for permission. In the Financial Administration Act it is deemed to have been appropriated.

In Bill C-8, if you are following with me, honourable senators, in section 2 you will see that the government is seeking $63 billion under Schedule 1, less warrants that were issued during the period. In Schedule 2, the government is seeking $4 billion, less warrants.

Let me tell you about Schedule 2 in a moment, but with respect to the warrants, if you add the warrants, honourable senators, you will find there are roughly $25 billion in those special monies during the election campaign where the government went to the Governor General and said they needed money to keep things going.

Therefore, honourable senators, the $67 billion is $25 billion less than it would have been if total supply, without warrants, had been involved. Honourable senators, you are therefore being asked to vote not for the warrants, because they are already deemed to be voted on, but $63 billion in Schedule 1, and $4 billion in Schedule 2.

Schedule 2 is where there is appropriation to certain departments, because of the business they conduct and services they provide, is over a period of two years. As you can see, $4 billion versus $63 billion, the majority of it is an appropriation of one year. If the money is not spent during that one year, it reverts to the government. With respect to the two-year appropriation, they have two years to spend the money that we are authorizing right now.

Honourable senators, we try to keep an eye on the expenditures throughout the year and, as I indicated to you, sometimes government initiatives during the year require the government to come back with Supplementary Estimates (A), (B) or (C) to seek more money to meet the government objectives.

This is the main supply, and this will give government the basis of the money that it needs to perform the policy matters outlined in the budget and in various other government documents.

What I would normally do, honourable senators — and I have not had a chance but I will before we do third reading on this bill — is to compare Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 to the schedules given to us some time ago in the Main Estimates. They must be identical. We have studied them in advance, and we do not want to be getting a document that does not reflect what we have studied.

As long as those schedules are identical, honourable senators, then we could feel fairly comfortable in accepting Bill C-8. Although we only just received it a day ago, we understand that this is the process we have to deal with, being part of Parliament. The House of Commons dealt with it yesterday, and here we are dealing with it today.

Honourable senators, I expect to have more to say about Bill C-8 at third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: Further debate?

Are honourable senators ready for the question?

It was moved by the Honourable Senator Gerstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallin, that this bill be read a second time now.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to, and bill read second time.)

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

Senator Gerstein: At the next sitting of the Senate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Gerstein, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Appropriation Bill No. 2, 2011-12

Second Reading

Hon. Irving Gerstein moved second reading of Bill C-9, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2012.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to sponsor Bill C-9, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2012, otherwise known as Appropriation Bill No. 2.

I would simply ask colleagues to demonstrate the same eloquence as has been asked for in the handling of Bill C-8. Thank you.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators will know these two bills are very similar. It is apparent from the speeches that we are giving in relation to these matters that we have not had the matter before us for an extend period of time.

In fact, as with respect to Bill C-8 to which I just spoke, Bill C-9 arrived here last evening. Here we are giving it second reading this afternoon.

This particular bill, Bill C-9, is the second supply bill that I referred to earlier, and it is tied into supply for the government. It relates to an estimate called Supplementary Estimates (A) that we received a couple of weeks ago and deals with those items that were not well enough defined or that appeared in the budget and therefore could not be in the Main Estimates which were prepared before the budget. Therefore, they come after the budget and are now defined enough that the government can put them in a document and say they would like this extra money.

We just voted at second reading with respect to Bill C-8, which is Main Estimates of $69 billion. Now we have another addition to that of $2 billion, honourable senators.

This particular matter was before us in the Finance Committee and was referred to us in the form of Supplementary Estimates (A). We prepared a report, which is in the process of being finalized and translated. I expect that report will be brought before us at the next sitting of this chamber and we can have some discussion on the contents of it at that time. That will be instead of this bill going to the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance as well. It will stay in the Senate chamber, and the report coming from the Finance Committee will explain the committee's view of Supplementary Estimates (A).

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Once that report is adopted, we can proceed with third reading of the bill. The report replaces the normal process of sending the bill to committee. The committee has already looked at it through the supporting documentation of Supplementary Estimates (A).

Honourable senators will be asked at second reading, and again at third reading, to vote $2 billion in Supplementary Estimates (A). I have not yet had an opportunity to compare the schedules, as I explained previously with respect to Bill C-8, but I shall. I undertake to do that and to report back before or at the time of third reading that the schedule attached to this bill is the same schedule as we previously studied and is reported to the chamber in the report that will be forthcoming shortly.

That is the background for Bill C-9, honourable senators.

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Will the Honourable Senator Day take a question?

Senator Day: I would be pleased to.

Senator Cools: I am pleased that Senator Day laid out the quantums involved, but I heard him say a couple of times that he has not yet examined the schedules and has to examine them. I am wondering why he is speaking in the first person singular. My understanding is that it is not his job to examine the schedules, that it is a job for us all.

Could the honourable senator explain that? I am always a little worried when there are too many first persons singular.

Senator Day: I appreciate the honourable senator bringing that to my attention. It is indeed I who looks at this schedule. Before I became chair of this committee, I did not find anyone else doing this. We found a variance on one occasion and the Treasury Board and the Department of Finance were appreciative that we brought that to their attention.

In the future, I will attempt to say that our committee will be comparing the documents.

Senator Cools: Honourable senators, I think we owe a great debt to National Finance Committee Chair Senator Day and Deputy Chair Senator Gerstein. As we all know, appropriation bills are extremely difficult and enormously complicated subject matters. These two honourable senators seem to be able to work together rather well on the matter. It involves much minutia, especially in a supply period as this is where the entire supply process has been derailed by the dissolution of Parliament, by the interruption of the normal supply process and by the government's use of Governor General's Special Warrants. I have read that they were used on two occasions for a total sum of about $24 billion. This is something I intend to address later.

However, the work that these two gentlemen — and indeed the entire committee, whom I thank as well — are doing is the mainstay work of the two houses. The principle — and the law — is that no payments of money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund should be made without the approval of Parliament; that is, Her Majesty, the Senate and the House of Commons. The exceptions are those sections of the Financial Administration Act, section 30(1), (2), (3) and (4) that permit the government to use Governor General's Special Warrants within the dissolution period, and even that is extremely circumscribed.

One reason that the use of Governor General's Special Warrants is so well clarified and circumscribed is due also to the work of this very same Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in 1989. Senator Murray was the Leader of the Government in the Senate at that time and was very familiar with the work of that committee. I am pleased to tell honourable senators that I was a member of that committee in those days as well. Senator Murray was on the Progressive Conservative government side and I was on the Liberal opposition side. That was when he and I were both members of parties, and now we are both independents.

Senator Day: I would like to thank the honourable independent senator for her kind words.

I would like to echo what she said about Senator Gerstein and all members of our committee who have worked hard to bring about these reports on very short notice. I would be remiss if I did not also thank Treasury Board personnel for the background work that they did to assist us. I wish also to thank our clerk and all the support staff who worked for four or five hours last evening to bring this together.

I do not wish to correct the Honourable Senator Cools, but, as I mentioned with respect to Bill C-8, the amount of the warrants that were issued during the period of the election is close to $25 billion. That appears in clause 2.2, on the second page of the bill.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read second time.)

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

(On motion of Senator Gerstein, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for third reading at the next sitting of the Senate.)

Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada's Economy Bill

Third Reading

Hon. Irving Gerstein moved third reading of Bill C-3, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011.

He said: Thank you, honourable senators, for the opportunity to begin debate at third reading stage of the Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada's Economy Bill.

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Before continuing, let me thank the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, on behalf of the government as well as Canada's most-in-need seniors, for the committee's timely consideration of this important legislation.

Indeed, today's bill includes many key measures that will affect Canadians positively from Budget 2011, the Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan — A Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth.

I will highlight several of those measures within the bill in a moment but before I do, let me speak to Canada's economic position today and how Canada's Economic Action Plan has helped keep it strong.

Rest assured, honourable senators, our Conservative government is focused on what matters — the economy and jobs — and Canada's continued economic growth shows we are on the right track.

Canada's economy has now grown for seven straight quarters. Both the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development expect Canada to be among the fastest growing G7 economies in both 2011 and 2012.

Nearly 560,000 net new jobs were created since July 2009 — the strongest employment growth among all G7 countries. Even better, over 80 per cent of those 560,000 net new jobs have been full-time jobs.

As the independent Conference Board of Canada declared recently:

Canada's economic fundamentals — fiscal policies, tax policy, monetary policy and management of the exchange rate — are arguably in the best shape in the developed world.

While that is positive news, too many Canadians are still looking for work, and the global economic recovery remains fragile, as demonstrated by recent events in Greece. That fragile recovery is why we need to stay the course and implement Budget 2011, the Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan — A Low-Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth. I am happy to report we are doing just that with the supporting vulnerable seniors and strengthening Canada's economy act and its positive measures. Let me share some examples.

To begin with, to help seniors, Bill C-3 enhances the Guaranteed Income Supplement, GIS, to help seniors facing financial difficulties, often single widows. This measure will provide a new top-up benefit to more than 680,000 seniors of up to $600 per year for single seniors and $840 per year for couples across Canada starting July 1. Honourable senators, this measure is the single biggest increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement in over 25 years, and has garnered praise from all sides of the political spectrum.

The C.D. Howe Institute has applauded the move by saying:

. . . the new Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) top-up benefit for low-income seniors, would bring a meaningful increase in benefits to low-income seniors.

Service Employees International Union also exclaimed that the Guaranteed Income Supplement increase "is a win for every senior living in poverty in Canada."

Another measure in the bill will assist several provinces during the fragile economic recovery by extending the temporary Total Transfer Protection to 2011-12. This measure represents a payment of nearly $1 billion in support to the affected provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

This key financial support will assist the provincial front-line delivery of health care and social programs that families depend on.

We also recognize the importance of entrepreneurialism and our youth across this great country by encouraging young entrepreneurs with $20 million to help the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

Sticking to the theme of helping our youth, I refer honourable senators to another measure in the bill to help part-time students. This help is accomplished by making education more accessible by reducing the in-study interest rate for part-time students to zero, bringing them in line with full-time students.

It is no wonder the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations said of Budget 2011 that they were "pleased to see positive reforms . . . such as . . . improved access for part-time students" and adding that measures like that "will help attract and retain students while addressing . . . financial barriers."

Honourable senators, I have already mentioned how we are helping Canada's most vulnerable seniors, how we are supporting provinces during the fragile economic recovery, how we are supporting entrepreneurialism for our youth and how we are assisting students. These measures alone are positive reasons to support this bill but, honourable senators, there is more. We are helping the disabled through strong improvements to the Registered Disability Savings Plan, RDSP, by increasing flexibility to access RDSP assets for beneficiaries with shortened life expectancies and ensuring that individuals can appeal, in every case, a determination concerning their eligibility for the Disability Tax Credit.

Bill C-3 also works to support the Royal Canadian Legion by providing sales tax relief to the legion for their purchases of Remembrance Day poppies and wreaths. This move is positive and welcomed.

We are also maintaining Canada's leadership in genomics research by providing $65 million for Genome Canada to launch a new competition in the area of human health and to sustain the operating costs of Genome Canada and genome centres.

A final measure that I will mention is the bill's provision to protect the Canadian housing market by strengthening the government's oversight of the mortgage insurance industry. Finn Poschmann of the C.D. Howe Institute commented:

. . . even though it does little more than formalize existing arrangements. The legislation says that the private insurers must set aside adequate capital, and to do so as specified by the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. In other words, sound, prudential oversight remains a requirement, and we will have transparency and risk disclosure that is as good as we can manage.

Honourable senators, now is the time to give back and pass this bill, as Canada's seniors are counting on the GIS top-up to come into effect on July 1. Honourable senators, let us make it happen.

Hon. Hugh Segal: Will the Honourable Senator Gerstein take a question?

Senator Gerstein: This has become a great tradition, Senator Segal, and I look forward to it.

Senator Segal: I very much appreciated the honourable senator's spirited intervention on behalf of this bill which, of course, I am delighted, as all thoughtful Canadians should be, to support. However, I want to deal specifically, if I can, with the proposition relative to the top-up for gains recipients at the lower end amongst our senior citizen population.

While, as the honourable senator states, this increase is the most substantial in a quarter of a century and is noteworthy and supportable in every respect on that basis, I know the honourable senator will agree with me and others on all sides of the chamber that, as long as the poverty rate in this country sits at 10 per cent, and three million Canadians live beneath the poverty line, while the measures in this budget are appropriate for our time and reflect the best possible judgments available in these perilous international financial circumstances, he would not, as an individual senator, be of the view that further progress on this issue in the future would be something that we should not consider and that voting, as we will, in support of this measure does not in any way limit the honourable senator's sense of creativity, compassion or concern for those who remain disenfranchised amongst all parts of our population and for whom, as the economy increases, in its strengthened capacity, we should be seeking to do as much as possible.

Senator Gerstein: I thank the honourable senator for that question. I do support doing what we can. However, I must draw to the honourable senator's attention, as I am sure he is aware, that on May 2, Canadians were faced with a choice. They had a choice of whether they wanted to support a strong, stable, majority Conservative government or whether they wanted to support the tax-and-spend coalition. The question is one of making choices. I totally support the concept that we should always look at how we can increase our support of those that are close to, or below, the poverty line, but this bill is where we are today.

Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, I compliment the Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, Senator Gerstein, on his presentation in relation to Bill C-3. However, I will not adopt his answer to that last question as part of that compliment.

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Honourable senators, Senator Gerstein has outlined correctly what is in Bill C-3, the first budget implementation bill. I expect that the Senate will receive other budget implementation bills — at least one more — later in the year as the government looks at its budget and determines what other enabling legislation will be necessary to achieve some of the initiatives therein.

Honourable senators, Bill C-3 contains 12 Parts. The Finance Committee met for four hours last night and for one and a half hours or so today. Approximately 35 government officials appeared before the committee to explain the 12 Parts of the bill.

Honourable senators, I refer to the short title of the bill and my comments on the recently adopted practice of attempting to make political statements in short titles of proposed legislation, which I do not believe to be a desirable practice. The short title is Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada's Economy Act, but perhaps the title Budget Implementation Bill No. 1 would have been fine.

Honourable senators, in respect of the words "Supporting Vulnerable Seniors," no one in this chamber would object to any initiative to help Canada's seniors. However, we must analyze whether this title is meaningful or whether there is something simple in the bill to support these words in the short title. Only Part 3 of the bill deals with seniors and vulnerable seniors. It provides that certain seniors will be entitled to $50 more per month. I repeat: $50 more per month. Is that enough to warrant a title that includes "Supporting Vulnerable Seniors. I ask honourable senators to reflect on that question.

Worse than the fact that it is only $50 to help vulnerable seniors is the fact that we could provide more than that amount to our vulnerable seniors. I want honourable senators to read the fine print: These vulnerable seniors who will receive $50 will begin to lose it as soon as they earn $2,000 from any other source. It will be clawed back at $2,000 above the Old Age Pension amount that they receive. For someone who receives $4,000 above the Old Age Pension amount, it will be eliminated. There will be nothing left. That is how this government protects vulnerable seniors.

Senator Ringuette: Bye, bye, Charlie Brown.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Day: Part 11 of the bill causes concern, honourable senators. It deals with changes that will allow government departments to provide services to other government departments and charge a fee for the service. The immediate thought is what impact this will have on the public service. For example, what happens when a department that does not have a sub-department to deal with accounting, goes to Treasury Board to have its accounting work done, for which it pays a fee. What impact will that have on the public service and the special skills developed within the various departments? Not all departments are the same. It is not a generic service that any department can do for another department. The committee did not have an opportunity to explore that issue but was assured that this would have nothing to do with either employment levels or the reduction in expenditures within government departments. Rather, it was felt that it would be a nice initiative to include in Bill C-3. That is as far as we were able to get with Part 11.

Three areas of the bill seemed familiar as being dealt with in the recent past. One area was the disability tax credit; a second was the shipping vessels registration; and the third was demutualization of insurance companies, which means moving from privately owned businesses to publicly traded companies. Each of those has been dealt with in legislation in the not too distant past. Honourable senators, we are seeing elements in this bill to correct oversights or sloppy drafting of previous legislation. We are dealing with the same concept simply to correct something that was done a year or so ago. In part, that highlights the important role that the Senate has to play in the legislative process of anticipating the unintended consequences of this proposed legislation that we are about to adopt. Three of these speak to subject matter dealt with before. Why did we not deal with all of it at the same time? That question remains to be answered.

Part 7 addresses residential mortgage insurance. Some concerns were not dealt with fully. The CMHC provides 100 per cent insurance to a mortgage loan. The insurance goes to the banks, who are the lenders. The banks ask the mortgagee to obtain CMHC mortgage default insurance. If the borrower defaults, then the government is on the hook, not the bank. The loan is backed 100 per cent by the government when the insurance is with CMHC and 90 per cent if it is with a private company. This bill provides that the amount of potential liability of the companies in CMHC be increased by $50 billion. I mentioned this last week. I repeat: $50 billion more. By passing this bill, honourable senators are exposing their children and grandchildren to an additional $50 billion worth of government responsibility and liability.

An Hon. Senator: That is a "b" for billion.

Senator Day: Yes, it is $50 billion.

Honourable senators, it is a concern when we give private companies and CMHC an incentive to approve and set up more mortgages. How much will this initiative affect the marketplace? Why is it necessary when they have not yet reached their limit? Why is it necessary to increase that limit by $50 billion? The committee was unable to get to the bottom of that. I pose the question so that I might come back to it at another time if we begin to see real estate mortgages running out of control. This part of the bill could have some impact.

Honourable senators, a number of other initiatives are good, for example, equalization. The government said a year ago, with their new formula that certain provinces would receive less than in the past. The government quickly said that for one time only it would ensure that no province would receive less than it received in the previous year.

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We are now into the second year and there is legislation again allowing them to stay where they were two years ago.

It is one time only, and, for the second time, one time only. There is no explanation for this measure. It is good for the provinces. However, it is not good for a system that is supposed to work according to rules, as opposed to having these rules tinkered with on a regular basis through supplementary legislation. It is much better if we have the rules, if everyone understands the rules and if the rules apply as they were intended.

I mentioned the point about the small vessels and kayaks, and the Red Cross having to register their vessels. That point is an oversight. We did not think long enough about where that provision might take us.

Honourable senators, as to Genome Canada, how can we argue with that initiative? We do not take exception to much of this legislation. However, we want to know the impacts, and whether we could have improved the legislation.

Those are my comments with respect to this 12-part piece of legislation. I expect that we will receive another budget implementation act in the near future. However, this bill is the first one. A piece of legislation in Part 7 refers to exposure to risk and the $50 billion. That part is 22 pages of this particular bill. Why could we have not looked at and studied that piece of legislation in a separate bill, especially when neither the private companies providing mortgage insurance nor the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are up to their limit?

We have a piece of legislation and a significant increase without any explanation as to why that legislation was included as part of a budget implementation bill.

Thank you, honourable senators.

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Will the honourable senator accept a question?

Senator Day: I would be pleased to.

Senator Carstairs: The government has gotten into the habit of naming bills and putting adjectives around those bills. I find this one particularly offensive. My understanding is that the GIS has been given to people who live below the poverty line in Canada. They are people who receive old age pension, and maybe a little tiny pension from Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan. Then, they receive a Guaranteed Income Supplement.

There are 1.6 million Canadians who receive a Guaranteed Income Supplement. Is it correct that only 630,000 of them will qualify under this particular piece of legislation?

Senator Day: Honourable senators, the figure we were given by the government officials, according to their calculations, is that 680,000 will qualify for some portion of that $50 extra a month. If the numbers are between $2,000 and $4,000, and closer to 4,000, they may receive $1.50 per month. Therefore, it is 680,000 who will receive some portion of the $50 per month.

Senator Carstairs: In other words, 920,000 Canadians who live below the poverty line will receive nothing.

Senator Day: I accept your mathematics.

Hon. Grant Mitchell: I am always inspired by Senator Gerstein's interventions. He is so enthusiastic and positive about his government's fiscal and economic prospects. He speaks with such passion that I am driven to rise to my feet to answer.

While he is passionate and enthusiastic, this passion and enthusiasm does not mean he is right. His words are wonderful speculations about the future. They are premised upon a sense of a Conservative government being able intrinsically to manage a fiscal regime adequately and to manage an economy properly. It is as though somehow their ideology simply solves all the problems of an economy intrinsically that a fiscal regime could face. His words suggest that result. However, all the evidence is to the contrary.

Contrary to its vaunted self-proclaimed reputation, this government increased expenditure in its first five years by 40 per cent. That increase is far from their claims that they would manage tightly and toughly to reduce expenditure. They increased expenditure by 40 per cent. They have massive increases in the number of personnel. I think the increase is 40,000 in the first five years. I may be wrong.

This government created a $56 billion record deficit when they said they would be tight fiscal managers. They can say that the world recession was responsible for that deficit. However, there are many arguments that would deny that claim in turn. Their stimulus package might have accounted for about half that deficit. Secondly, strong managers should be able to anticipate that problem and do something about it, particularly when they brag, as they do, about being able to do that.

I speculate that they never will reach their balanced budget. The evidence is all to the contrary that they could. However, by the time they reach their balanced budget, there will been extra $200 billion debt piled on what they have already created. That situation raises another broad philosophical values issue in terms of our responsibility to future generation. We have intergenerational responsibilities not to dump huge debt on future generations: our children and grandchildren.

Today, I was startled by a moment of déjà vu, when the honourable leader in the Senate stood up and spoke about the millions or tens of millions of dollars with which this government has supported the military. The leader was actually bragging about massive increases in expenditure. The déjà vu is this: The first budget I ever witnessed being presented in the Alberta legislature was supported by one minister in particular, the Minister of Advanced Education, Dave Russell. He is a fine person. He had been around for a long time and had seen a lot of development in that government. With pride, he said, I was in this legislature when this government had the first billion-dollar budget over all and I was the minister of the department that had the first billion-dollar deficit budget for a single department. Now, I am the Minister of the Department of Advanced Education during the first time that it has a billion dollar budget.

In response, I said, I do not want to hear about how much money the leader is bragging about spending. I want to hear that he is spending less money more effectively and getting better results.

I fear that same virus is creeping into this government, when one sees that kind of answer. One must watch every step of the way when there is bragging about how much money is being spent.

Among my broader concerns, there is a disturbing trend where the government is excluding itself from accountability, from openness and from transparency. We see dedicated, proper, consistent analysis of the fact that they have been reluctant to provide information, and poor to respond to freedom of information requests. That means they are skirting around, and running from, accountability.

They recently laid off massive numbers of auditors. That means there is something about their reluctance to be adequately audited. They have concerted, specific manuals to train their chairs on how to limit the effectiveness of committees. Committees are exceptionally important in questioning government and ensuring that governments are held accountable. This kind of suppression is placed on the ability of committees in this chamber to operate effectively. Again, they are snuffing out that potential for proper transparency and accountability. Every effective government should welcome questions and openness. They should drive openness and transparency because it enhances their accountability and helps them manage effectively.

A corollary of this problem with scrutiny and accountability is the relationship that the government has to its public sector. I have often said that this government hates government. I ask the rhetorical question: What kind of company would Toyota be if the president hated cars? Well, what kind of government do you get when you have a Prime Minister who hates government? You get a government that makes mistakes about management. They do not understand government; they do not want to understand government; they make mistakes; and they spend poorly. They often spend and are driven by spending politically. One sees that over and over again. Until that is addressed, they will never be able to manage this properly.

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A corollary to that is that they do not trust their senior civil servants. They do not listen to their senior civil servants. In fact, they do not like to hear from their senior civil servants what they do not want to hear, and often that means that they end up sustaining their ideology by suppressing important information and discounting information that they do not want to hear.

Good government and good management fight that, all the time. If you hate the organization that you are running, clearly, you will not run that organization very well, and you might just get a $56 billion deficit, and you might just increase debt by $200 million, and you might just increase spending by $80 billion. It just happens; it is not a coincidence. It is that kind of government with that kind of attitude that creates it.

Another thing I want to say is that I do not see adequate anticipation of interest rate increases. Mr. Flaherty is telling the Canadian people, "You had better be careful, because the only way that interest rates can go is up."

Is Mr. Flaherty listening to his own counsel? If interest rates go up 1 per cent — and Senator Gerstein will know this better than I — what will that do to the government's interest rate expense? Will it be $7 billion? Will it be $8 billion? Will it be $10 billion? Let us say it is $7 billion. It goes up 2 per cent with $14 billion. That gets to be 25 per cent, 30 per cent of the deficit they already ran last time. It does not take very much of an interest rate increase before you have a huge deficit problem once again and it is reversing the trend that you say you are trying to establish.

I do not see any particular analysis about proper interest rate estimation and configurations in the future, but I am compelled by what Mr. Flaherty is saying. It is probably true that the only way that interest rates can go is up and I just hope, but have no confidence that it is true, that he is anticipating that and what that will do to a deficit.

Finally, and honourable senators will not be surprised to hear me talk about this, I see no anticipation of the impact of climate change on the cost of our economy and on the cost of governments to adapt to the impact of that climate change.

If anyone thinks that there is a problem with investing in the future through dealing with climate change in the sense of it being an economic problem, I will tell them what the economic problem is. The economic problem — the infinite economic problem — is keeping on doing exactly what they are doing, which is absolutely nothing.

The potential impact — it is the inevitable impact at this point — of climate change is almost infinite on economies, on people's way of life, on people's livelihood, and on people's quality of lives. The impact of doing nothing is infinite.

If we begin to understand that climate change adaptation and climate change action are an investment, then we can begin to turn that, see it as an opportunity and deal with it productively in the future to save that inevitable cost. I do not see anything in this budget; I do not see any enlightenment in this budget; and I do not see any real sense of the future. Therefore, I am driven by and left with the one thing that I know for sure: All the evidence in the past points to the fact that Conservative governments cannot balance budgets and do not effectively manage economies. The last time the Conservatives balanced an unbalanced budget was in 1889. God help us if we have to wait another 120 years to get a balanced budget from these people.

Senator Segal: Honourable senators, I do not want to prolong the discussion, but my colleague Senator Mitchell has engaged in a level of partisan excess, unfairness and, if I may say, analytical instability that actually requires some response.

He may not understand that there is more than one concept of government in debate in a democracy. There is his concept of government, which I understand to be as follows: large, overweening, expensive and totally committed to intervening in every aspect of life.

Senator Mitchell: That is what you have given us.

Senator Segal: That is the Liberal concept of government, and the fact that it does not exist in this particular budget is deeply troubling to him, the fact that this is a budget that calls for more room for investors and small business. It is a budget that helps those who are most in need. It is a budget that is not framed by people who hate government, but by people who know the difference between big government and smart government, and that is what he does not understand.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Segal: While I will not mention any political parties, because I do not want to ruin the non-partisan nature of this debate, I will share with him one core reality which I would have thought he might have picked up during his days of substantial service to the people of Alberta. It goes like this: Canadians, Albertans and voters get to choose. May 2 was a day of choice. This budget is true to the decision made on that day and it keeps every promise made by the government prior to that day.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, are you ready for the question?

Some Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Some Hon. Senators: On division.

(Motion agreed to, on division, and bill read third time and passed, on division.)

State of Bands of Canadian Forces

Notice of Inquiry

Leave having been given to revert to Notices of Inquiries:

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the state of the bands of the Canadian Forces.

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

Leave having been given to revert to Presentation of Reports from Standing or Special Committees:

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mega-trials), has, in obedience to the order of reference of Wednesday, June 22, 2011, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN D. WALLACE
Chair

Third Reading

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

Hon. John D. Wallace: Honourable senators, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(b), I move that this bill be read the third time now.

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, is leave granted?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Hon. Bob Runciman: Honourable senators, it is an honour to rise today to speak at third reading of Bill C-2, the Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials Act.

Honourable senators, this bill is an example of what can be accomplished when we work together to solve problems for the people of Canada. I want to compliment Senator Wallace as the chair. This was his first experience in that hot spot. He did an outstanding job in guiding us through a rather intense process over the last two days.

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I want to compliment all members of the committee as well, along with the staff, who did a terrific job and lined up a slate of witnesses you cannot describe in terms other than impressive.

My comments will be brief and when I say brief, unlike a certain unnamed senator across the way, I mean brief. I will be nice.

Honourable senators, Bill C-2, which deals with what are known as mega-trials, is the product of broad consultation and cooperation from experts across the legal and judicial community, and it is the product of an unusual degree of cooperation among those from across the political spectrum.

I want to reference the critic across the way for this legislation, Senator Baker. I have been on the committee for little over a year. It is an outstanding committee to work with and on, but I can never cease to be impressed by a senator from Newfoundland, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law in all its aspects. I refer Senator George Baker.

Even on those occasions when he has the knife in a little bit, he always has a smile on his face. He is a great credit to this place and certainly a significant contributor to the deliberations of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. It is a pleasure to work with him.

Honourable senators, in terms of the committee proceedings, we heard many good things about this bill during those two days of hearings. There is no question that there were some issues, but the overwhelming consensus is that Bill C-2 will fulfill its three main objectives: better case management, reduced duplication and improved criminal procedure.

I want to mention that one of those issues which came to our attention today was the question of jurors and the fact the bill will increase the opportunity in mega-trials for the increase from 12 to 14 jurors. Then there will be a lottery approach, cards drawn at the end of the process, to select 12 jurors, so two will be leaving the scene. We had testimony today which said that could create difficulty with respect to situations across the country. This is not consistent across the country but in some provinces, some jurisdictions, the foreperson is chosen at the beginning of the process rather than at the start of deliberations and this could create problems. We did agree that could be addressed perhaps through an administrative directive from a chief judge.

In any event, there are a number of issues that were raised which I think all members felt were important to raise with the minister. The chair and Deputy Chair Senator Fraser will be communicating with the minister to ensure that he and his staff are aware of those issues and hopefully address them in some way, shape or form going forward.

Honourable senators, better case management through the use of case management judges with the authority to hear preliminary motions and make binding rulings is an important part of this legislation. Reduced duplication, which I referenced, will allow us to avoid multiple hearings on the same issue; and we will see improved criminal procedure through new measures for jury selection.

Honourable senators, the result of Bill C-2 will be fewer and shorter trials and more cases decided on their merits rather than collapsing under their own weight due to excessive length. As officials testified at committee, this is accomplished through procedural rather than substantive changes. No one's rights are abridged; nobody loses their access to due process.

As I said, we heard two days of testimony. Again, I want to commend witnesses for their precise and informative testimony and senators for their support of this legislation.

I will not recount the testimony but I want to mention one witness, Mr. Justice Patrick LeSage, the former Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court, now retired. He is truly one of the great trial judges in Canadian history.

In his 29 years on the bench, Justice LeSage presided over some of Canada's most famous cases, including the trial of Paul Bernardo. Justice LeSage, along with Michael Code, formerly a professor now a judge, is the co-author of an authoritative report on mega-trials for the Ontario government, and many elements of the LeSage-Code report are incorporated into this legislation.

Justice LeSage testified before our committee that the legislation is well crafted and avoids the pitfalls of narrow definitions that would unwisely limit judicial discretion as to when the provisions of this bill should be used. He also said he believes this bill will save resources. To quote him:

To me, there is nothing in these recommendations that could require additional expenses. There is a potential for very significant savings in prosecution, defence, police in the whole system.

When asked whether trial judges might become upset because they are bound by rulings of the case management judge, Justice LeSage said:

That will be a minority of judges who may feel that way. However, there are many things in life in which we do not have complete control. It is not the judge's trial; it is the public's trial.

That final quote from Justice LeSage is what I want to leave you — it is not the judge's trial, it is the public's trial — and this bill will go a long way, I believe, to helping restore the public's faith in the judicial system. I urge all senators to support the bill.

Hon. George Baker: Honourable senators, first, I want to congratulate Senator Runciman for the excellent job that he has done. As the former Solicitor General for the Province of Ontario, he is well known to many of the witnesses that we had.

I want to make special reference to the job that the Senate has done on this bill. As we all know, 23 days ago, 31 persons were released from custody. Each one of them the police had investigated and found they had reasonable grounds to believe and charged them with indictable offences. They were drug traffickers, according to the police documents.

Honourable senators, they were all released 23 days ago, free men and women, all because of a ruling which in and of itself no one disputes as being a correct ruling. According to law, section 11(b) of the Charter had been violated or would be violated in the future in that their trials would not start until the year 2021. Now the remaining trials — there were 156 people charged for murder, multiple murders, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to import, export, conspiracy to traffic and so on — will start now next week in two courtrooms in Quebec, the only courtrooms that are able to handle these mega-trials.

After two years, the judge in the case that was just adjudicated, R. v. Auclair, which was referenced many times in the committee reports, as he laid out, every two years there will be a new group of persons who will be tried because it will take two years for each lot in the two courtrooms for the trials to be completed. The final lot will complete their trials in the year 2021. The judge in making his determination to release 31 of them said, in effect, Look, we have to put the most serious offences first because the public of Canada would never allow the release of persons who have been charged with murder, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to traffic and so on.

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The first lot of their trials will start on Monday, and the trials will continue every two years thereafter.

There is another set of trials — we were apprised of this matter by a witness today — due to start in September, with the same problem of mega-trials facing them. The Government of Canada, in its wisdom, said to the House of Commons and to the Senate last week, We want this bill passed.

Honourable senators, when the government asks Parliament to pass a bill, there are certain things that Parliament must do as a legislative body. Judges cannot operate in a vacuum when complex legislation like this bill is passed. This legislation, Senator Angus wished us to repeat, is procedural in nature. Senator Angus makes that point so there will be no possible challenge as to its constitutionality as a major change in the law. Of course, we had the representative of the minister this morning declare this point to the committee, and we had Senator Runciman repeat it here today, so it has been repeated on both sides of the house.

The important thing is that this piece of legislation hopefully twill address the problem. However, judges cannot make rulings on legislation, and lawyers cannot make rulings, unless they understand what the legislation says. That function is the function of Parliament. Parliament passes the law, but Parliament must outline the intent of the legislation. That function is the job of the minister or the minister's designate. That function is the job of Senator Runciman in this place. That function was the job of the minister in the other place and it was the job of the department.

Honourable senators, yesterday the New Democratic Party claimed in a press conference that the Senate should be expunged, should be done away with, that it serves no purpose. I recall the NDP coming to us about two years ago when a certain piece of legislation was before this Senate, a 500-page bill that passed unanimously in the House of Commons, with the NDP and the Bloc voting for it. The NDP came to us and said, "Look, will you please fix this bill that we passed because we did not read nine pages of it."

The bill was a 500-page bill, an omnibus piece of legislation amending the Income Tax Act that would remove the tax credit for the Canadian film industry but keep it in place for the American film industry to make films in Canada.

Senator Mahovlich: Unbelievable.

Senator Baker: I repeat: 500 pages, and no one read nine pages that addressed the problem.

I must note here that perhaps it is an oversight, but it is a substantial oversight. It is unfortunate that the department, in its briefing notes to the minister, did not outline those nine pages. It is unfortunate in the House of Commons committees that when they study a large bill, one motion is made to cover 50 to 100 pages. In other words, the motion is, "Shall clauses 2 to 52 pass?" or "Shall clauses 52 to 102 pass?" This approach is the custom with large bills in the House of Commons. However, they missed nine pages.

What did the Senate do? Senator Angus was the co-chair of that committee. The Senate sat on the bill, if that is the expression we can use, and the legislation did not pass.

About a month later, the NDP came to the Senate again and said, "There has been a change to the Elections Act." The government did not compose that bill; that bill was drafted by a committee of the House of Commons. It was by all-party agreement that the bill would release every voter's name, address and date of birth. One can imagine the effect that bill would have on our senior citizens and people who participate in telephone marketing.

Anyway, the Senate again moved a motion, and the mover of the motion was the Leader of the Government in the Senate to take out that provision that had been so welcomed in the House of Commons by the opposition members.

Therefore, it is passing strange that the NDP yesterday should demand that the Senate be done away with. Who, then, would they call on to correct their mistakes? I think I can say this, honourable senators; I was 29 years in the House of Commons, the longest serving member there continuously, and I can honestly say that it is not a good legislative body. As a legislature, it does not perform its function.

However, Senator Angus or someone said, "Let us abolish it." Well, there is a choice. There are two functions recognized for Parliament in our system: One function is to legislate and the other is to make the government accountable to the people of Canada. That accountability is done through the media.

The House of Commons performs that function well. The Senate performs its legislative function well. As was pointed out a moment ago, it is a matter of which one. If one had to do away with one function, which one would they do away with? They would certainly have to change the — well, I do not know. We have Question Period here. I dare not go down that road as to express my personal opinion.

My point is this: The House of Commons spent six minutes hearing evidence on this bill that we are approving today. I repeat: six minutes. Two motions deemed to have been done were associated with this bill.

This Senate started yesterday and spent six hours and 20 minutes on this bill; started again this morning and accomplished another four complete hours. That is 10 hours and 20 minutes. That is 124 times more than what the House of Commons accomplished with this bill in committee.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Baker: That is why, honourable senators, I want to make reference to the fact that the Senate is always quoted many more times than the House of Commons in our case law. If honourable senators look to any of the electronic reporting facilities — Westlaw, Carswell, Quicklaw, et cetera — they will be able to see how many times a committee of the Senate is mentioned compared to how many times a committee of the House of Commons is mentioned or referenced by a judge in making a ruling in our provincial courts, in superior courts, in courts of appeal, in the Supreme Court of Canada and in every quasi-judicial body in this country. Senate committees are mentioned more often by the labour boards and by every appellate function that we have. It is the same with the nurses acts, doctors acts and law acts of our provinces.

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All of those adjudications are reported and one can count the number of times that adjudicators use them to back up their investigation of the purpose of a bill when they deal with legislation, and in making their judgments. As I pointed out before, the Senate leads three to one in the usage of information that is given, not just in the chamber, but mainly in the committees of the Senate. Committees are a vital function.

As Senator Runciman pointed out, the committee examined — as every committee of the Senate examines — word for word certain sections that do not make sense on the face of it. For example, this morning, words were put forward by Senator Fraser. She wanted to know what the meaning of the following:

. . . the decisions relating to the disclosure or admissibility of evidence or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that are made . . .

— during the trial —

. . . continue to bind the parties . . .

— so, in any new trial —

. . . if the decisions are made — or could have been made — before the stage at which the evidence on the merits is presented.

I repeat "could have been made." Your Honour is a great jurist and has read a lot of decisions. I bet he has never seen in legislation the words "or could have been made." He would be correct, because that is what the witness said. However, the witness from the department clarified it for us and thereby clarified it for everyone who will be dealing with mistrials in the future.

There is another section that a former justice whom Senator Runciman mentioned a moment ago ruled on. Justice LeSage clarified the words "may only be made after the prosecution proffers the indictment."

Go to one province, Newfoundland and Labrador, and an indictment is proffered; that is, one puts the indictment and then the accused will make a plea. Right at the beginning, after the person is arrested and released, the first thing is arraignment and then it is put. However, it operates completely differently in Ontario. Justice LeSage pointed out that a ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada settles the matter as far as this exact wording is concerned in this legislation.

Those are the examples that one can use.

Senator Boisvenu was concerned about the rates of government-paid fees to certain lawyers in mega-trials. He was not talking about legal aid. As we clarified this morning, neither was he talking about the use of seized property or funds from people's bank accounts that are considered to be proceeds of crime, because there is a procedure whereby proceeds from crime can be used for counsel representation. He was talking about attorney general rates in certain provinces that start at $250 an hour and go up by rates of 15 per cent.

Many judges agree with Senator Boisvenu's point that this payment is made for the best lawyers one can find, who will examine every single possible motion and examine everything with a microscope, although that person would not qualify for legal aid. Senator Boisvenu made the point that an ordinary person who must pay for their own lawyer could never ever afford that kind of gold-plated representation. He made a good point, and other senators made the same points.

I think the Senate has done a magnificent job here. The members of the Senate committee have done a great job: Senator Wallace, the Chair; Senator Fraser, Deputy Chair; Senator Angus; Senator Banks; Senator Boisvenu; Senator Chaput; Senator Frum; Senator Joyal; Senator Lang; Senator Meredith; and Senator Runciman.

Senator Angus: Senator Baker, also.

Senator Baker: I think it was a job well done by the Senate and we can be proud of the legislation we are passing here today; we have done our job.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

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

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.)

Queen's University at Kingston

Private Bill to Amend Constitution of Corporation—Third Report of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Presented

Leave having been given to revert to the Presentation of Reports from Standing or Special Committees:

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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

THIRD REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-1001, An Act respecting Queen's University at Kingston, has, in obedience to the order of reference of Tuesday, June 21, 2011, examined the said Bill and now reports the same without amendment.

Respectfully submitted,

JOHN D. WALLACE
Chair

Third Reading

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

Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, there is reason to hope and believe that if we send this bill to the House of Commons now, they would be disposed to expedite its passage today in order that it may be ready for Royal Assent before the summer break. Therefore, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)(b), I move that this bill be read the third time now.

The Hon. the Speaker: Is it agreed?

The Hon. the Speaker: Is there debate at third reading?

Are honourable senators ready for the question?

Hon. Senators: Question.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to and bill read third time and passed.)

The Senate

Notice of Motion to Televise Proceedings

Leave having been given to revert to Notices of Motions:

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I want to say in advance that this will sound like plagiarism because Senator Segal has introduced this motion on four previous occasions. However, I will introduce it today in his absence.

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

That the Senate approve in principle the installation of equipment necessary for broadcast quality audio-visual recording of its proceedings and other approved events in the Senate Chamber and in no fewer than four rooms ordinarily used for meetings by committees of the Senate;

That for the purposes set out in the following paragraph, public proceedings of the Senate and of its Committees be recorded by this equipment, subject to policies, practices and guidelines approved from time to time by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration ("the Committee");

That proceedings categorized according to subjects of interest be prepared and made available for use by any television broadcaster or distributor of audio-visual programs, subject to the terms specified in any current or future agreements between the Senate and that broadcaster or distributor;

That such selected proceedings also be made available on demand to the public on the Parliamentary Internet;

That the Senate engage by contract a producer who shall, subject only to the direction of that Committee, make the determination of the program content of the proceedings of the Senate and of its committees on a gavel to gavel basis;

That equipment and personnel necessary for the expert preparation and categorization of broadcast-quality proceedings be secured for these purposes; and

That the Committee be instructed to take measures necessary to the implementation of this motion.

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Agriculture and Forestry

Committee Authorized to Deposit Report on Study of Current State and Future of Forest Sector with Clerk during Adjournment of the Senate

Hon. Percy Mockler, pursuant to notice of June 22, 2011, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry be permitted, notwithstanding usual practices, to deposit with the Clerk of the Senate a report relating to its study on the current state and future of Canada's forest sector, between June 27 and July 15, 2011, if the Senate is not then sitting; and that the report be deemed to have been tabled in the Chamber.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Committee Authorized to Study the Progress in Implementing the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care and Refer Papers and Evidence from Fortieth Parliament

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, pursuant to notice earlier this day, moved:

That, pursuant to Section 25.9 of the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology be authorized to examine and report on the progress in implementing the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care; and,

That the papers and evidence received and taken and work accomplished by the committee on this subject during the Fortieth Parliament be referred to the committee; and

That the committee submit its final report no later than December 31, 2011, 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: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

[Translation]

Business of the Senate

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the House of Commons is currently studying special back-to-work legislation that may require the Senate to be recalled on short notice, with at least six hours' notice, if understood the Speaker's administrative concerns correctly.

I also want to remind honourable senators that rule 17(1) allows the Speaker to recall the Senate when he considers the matter to be urgent and in the public interest to do so. Before moving the adjournment motion, I want to make sure that all senators understand that it is possible that, in the coming hours or days between the time of adjournment and when the Senate resumes sitting next week, the Speaker may be called upon to exercise his power to recall the Senate to pass the special legislation.

Adjournment

Leave having been given to revert to Notices of Motions:

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

That when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Monday, June 27, 2011, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it was moved by the Honourable Senator Carignan, seconded by the Honourable Senator Di Nino:

That, with leave of the Senate and notwithstanding rule 58(1)\h), when the Senate adjourns today, it do stand adjourned until Monday, June 27, 2011, at 2 p.m.

Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Before I call upon the Deputy Leader of the Government to move the adjournment motion, he has indicated, pursuant to the rules, should the Speaker be asked, in the public interest, to reconvene the Senate he will do so, but one is mindful that as much as it is prudently possible to give time, we will make every effort to ensure that we have at least six hours of advance notice.

(The Senate adjourned until Monday, June 27, 2011, at 2 p.m.)