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1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 18

Thursday, October 6, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

THE SENATE

Thursday, October 6, 2011

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

Prayers.

[Translation]

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

World Teachers' Day

Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, yesterday, educators around the world were acknowledged as part of World Teachers' Day.

Every year on October 5, World Teachers' Day is an opportunity to recognize the 30 million teachers who have the huge responsibility of educating the next generation.

By helping young men and women achieve their potential, our teachers guarantee the development and success of our future leaders. In Canada, we are especially fortunate to have one of the best education systems in the world. From coast to coast to coast, in every province and territory, our dedicated and very professional teachers have been the driving force behind our great success as a nation.

[English]

I am particularly proud of my province, Alberta. In his speech to Parliament on September 22, British Prime Minister David Cameron praised Alberta as "the jurisdiction with the best educational results of any English speaking jurisdiction in the world.'' This distinction, attributed to our province's teachers, is a shining example of the great work that dedicated teachers can accomplish.

[Translation]

World Teachers' Day is also an important time to think about the places in the world where students do not have the same opportunity for access to education. In many countries around the world, young children do not have the right to a basic education.

[English]

I found it particularly fitting that yesterday in this chamber, on World Teachers' Day, we paid tribute to a truly great educator, Senator Bill Rompkey. Before he entered public life, Senator Rompkey worked tirelessly as a teacher and a principal in his home region of Labrador.

I am proud to have been an educator for a great number of years. The times I have been able to help young men and women reach their full potential have been some of the most rewarding moments of my life.

I would also like to salute the many former educators who sit in this chamber with me: Speaker Kinsella, Deputy Speaker Oliver, Senator Carstairs, Senator Merchant, Senator Dyck, Senator Callbeck, Senator Losier-Cool, Senator Robichaud, Senator Moore, Senator Furey, Senator Cordy, Senator Martin, Senator Tkachuk, and many others.

Honourable senators, please join me today in showing our appreciation for teachers and educators around the world.

Yukon

Resource Revenue Sharing

Hon. Daniel Lang: Honourable senators, I rise today to inform you of a major political initiative announced by the Prime Minister during his annual summer tour of Canada's North. I refer to the commitment of the Government of Canada to amend the current resource revenue sharing agreements that are presently in place in Yukon. To put it simply, the present agreements allow for a maximum of $6 million to accrue to the Yukon government from resource development. This commitment by the federal government will increase the threshold to over $40 million before the transfer of payments to the Government of Yukon will be affected. This recognition by the Prime Minister is of significant importance to all Yukoners as it will set a high financial reward for Yukoners to support economic development and, at the same time, allow us to meet our environmental responsibilities.

In 2002, an all-time low of $6 million was invested in mining exploration. In the past ten years, we have experienced continuous growth in our mining sector and, for the record, it was estimated that $250 million would be invested over the course of 2011. Honourable senators, not only has this estimate been met, but by August of this year, we exceeded $320 million and we have an additional four months of reporting left. Over and above the mining exploration that has taken place, we have had two additional mines go into production this past year. I would be remiss if I did not mention that we are also experiencing renewed interest in our oil and gas exploration.

Honourable senators, all in all, our regional economy is generating high-paying jobs that we in Canada so desperately need. We are happy to report one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

This agreement takes us another step forward to help lay the foundation for our region to become more financially independent from the federal government. At the same time, we will reap the rewards for the economic activity in our backyard and will be able to meet our social and environmental responsibility as we welcome more Canadians wanting to make their homes in Yukon.

The Late Malcolm Forsyth, O.C.

Hon. Tommy Banks: Honourable senators, I rise today to mark the passing in Edmonton on July 5 of a man who might arguably be characterized as Canada's most internationally successful composer. His name was Malcolm Forsyth. He died of a disease against which he battled and, I can tell you, which offended him.

It seems almost oxymoronic to say that Malcom Forsyth was a successful orchestral composer in Canada in the 21st century. Malcolm was successful on all counts. He was successful aesthetically and artistically because he wrote music that received both critical and public acclaim. He was also successful in the commercial sense because his music is played and recorded all over the world, in particular his three symphonies, his four concerti, much of his chamber music, his other orchestral works and much of his choral music, which will be with us forever.

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Malcolm Forsyth received, among many other accolades, the Order of Canada. Just weeks before his death, his epic, iconically Canadian orchestral work, A Ballad of Canada, was premiered at the National Arts Centre by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by Pinchas Zukerman. It was a moment he was able to attend, which makes us all very happy — Malcolm Forsyth.

G 98.7 Radio

New Black and Caribbean Programming

Hon. Don Meredith: Honourable senators, this past Monday, October 3, Toronto's newest radio station, G 98.7, hit the airwaves, delivering Black and Caribbean music, local news reporting, sports coverage and talk radio to the Greater Toronto Area. Their signal also reaches Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Brampton and, to the north, Aurora and, to the east, Ajax.

G 98.7 meets the long overdue needs of urban mainstream radio. When I was interviewed not long after my appointment to this place, the interview took place at midnight on CHIN Radio, the only possible venue and air time for our community. It was very disheartening that Black and Caribbean communities did not have access during peak times and that the information being aired was limited.

In 2007, I had the opportunity to advance this broadcasting file to Minister Jason Kenney, who was then Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity. Minister Kenney presented the file to then Industry Minister Tony Clement. Minister Clement pressed the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, which had staged a barrage of objections to CARN Radio, 98.7, adjacent to 99.1 FM on the dial. CBC still challenged these requests from the minister, but later relented. Industry Canada carried out the testing and found no interference with the signals.

Honourable senators, I am delighted to inform you that on June 9, 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC, granted a full broadcasting licence, which led to the radio station being switched on this past Monday, October 3.

Thanks to the strong support of our government, the Black community now has a radio station that will have programming in prime time to engage the broader community on a wide range of social, economic, cultural and political issues.

G 98.7: "the way we groove.''

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Hon. Elizabeth Hubley: Honourable senators, 20 per cent of Canadians will experience a moderate to severe mental illness during their lifetime. Far too often, these individuals suffer in silence because they are too ashamed to reach out for support or do not know where to go for help.

From October 2 to October 8, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health encourages those suffering from mental health issues to seek help through their Mental Illness Awareness Week campaign. This annual awareness drive aims to raise the profile of mental illness in our communities.

Unfortunately, stigma is still a huge problem and affects the ways we think about mental illness and the way it is diagnosed and treated. Mental Illness Awareness Week is an opportunity to fight this stigma by talking about it openly and honestly.

Most Canadians will either experience symptoms of mental illness themselves or know someone else who does. Therefore it is absolutely essential that they know where to go for help and that they receive appropriate treatment and follow-up care. The earlier a person suffering from a mental health problem receives help, the better their chances are for a full recovery.

Honourable senators, there is still plenty of work to be done to improve mental health services in Canada, especially those targeting our most vulnerable populations. Suicide, in particular, is a growing concern that deserves our immediate attention. Among our First Nations communities, suicide is a devastating reality. Not only is it the leading cause of death among Aboriginal males between the ages of 10 and 19, but the overall suicide rate among Aboriginal populations is seven times the rest of Canada. Even in my own province of Prince Edward Island, suicide is now the leading cause of non-natural death.

Honourable senators, this is both alarming and is simply unacceptable.

I urge everyone to take a moment this week to think about mental health issues and things we could do to reduce stigma and improve the lives of people who are dealing with these complex disorders.

[Translation]

CFB Valcartier

Tribute to Soldiers Deployed to Afghanistan

Hon. Josée Verner: Honourable senators, I am happy to speak for the very first time in this chamber as a senator from Quebec.

I would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity to recognize the efforts, successes and sacrifices of the soldiers from the Valcartier military base who were deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, between February 2006 and July 2011.

During this time, as the member of Parliament for Louis-Saint-Laurent, I had the privilege of participating in a number of emotional events to mark the departure and return of Valcartier soldiers.

It is for that reason that I participated in an important ceremony on September 30 to thank all the members of the Quebec land force who completed their last rotation, which lasted from October 2010 to July 2011. The ceremony also paid tribute to dead and wounded soldiers and recognized ongoing support from families during this dangerous mission.

Nearly 1,800 soldiers based at Valcartier participated in this rotation. Sadly, three of them were killed in the line of duty: Corporal Steve Martin, Corporal Yannick Scherrer and Bombardier Karl Manning. In all, 23 soldiers from Valcartier died in the Kandahar region between 2006 and 2011.

Although well-deserved, tributes to honour dead or wounded soldiers are not enough to ease the pain of families who have lost a loved one or to heal the damage done by serious wounds.

However, I note that our soldiers seem to take comfort in the fact that the Canadian mission to Afghanistan has been extended.

In this regard, here is an excerpt from a speech given by Chief Warrant Officer Gilles Godbout, which I believe accurately summarizes the feelings of the 1,800 soldiers honoured at this event:

Many of us were disappointed with the decision to withdraw from the country. . . . Some of our wounded had difficulty accepting that we were withdrawing without having completed our mission. Now, we can continue our efforts in this country and thus ensure that previous sacrifices were not made in vain. We still have the opportunity to continue to do good and maybe even finish what we started.

Honourable senators, I can also assure you that their efforts and their sacrifices will not be in vain. The soldiers who will be deployed in Kabul will be able to honour the work so proudly accomplished by their fellow soldiers from Valcartier by continuing to help the people of Afghanistan build a viable, more stable and safer country that respects the rights of women and children and that will, we hope, never again serve as a safe haven for terrorists.

The Honourable Senator Noël A. Kinsella

Recipient of Honorary Doctorate in Literature

Hon. George J. Furey: Honourable senators, I rise here today to pay tribute to our Speaker, the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella.

[English]

On Tuesday, August 30, 2011, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to human rights, education and civic duty, our Speaker was conferred with an honorary doctorate in literature by his alma mater, University College Dublin. While this was the third such honour bestowed upon our Speaker, following honorary doctorates from St. Thomas University, Fredericton, and the Dominican University College, Ottawa, receiving such recognition from one's alma mater has special significance.

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Upon graduating from high school in New Brunswick, Noël Kinsella travelled to Europe and found himself in his ancestral land of Ireland. In Dublin, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts program in University College Dublin and from there continued his education at St. Thomas Aquinas University and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, obtaining doctorates in philosophy and psychology. Returning to his home province of New Brunswick, he joined the faculty of St. Thomas University, establishing programs in psychology, sociology and human rights. Indeed, the Speaker continues as a member of St. Thomas' board of governors.

Taking his inspiration from another great Canadian human rights figure in the shape of his fellow New Brunswicker John Peters Humphrey, the Speaker has been a consistent and determined advocate of human rights throughout his career. For example, he served as Chairman of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for over 22 years; he was the President of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation; and he played an instrumental role in the drafting of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Speaker's influence is also recognized internationally through such cases as Malcom Ross and Lovelace v. Canada at the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Speaker Kinsella has been a lifetime advocate of human rights.

Honourable senators, please join me today in recognizing yet another tremendous achievement of our Speaker, the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, I rise here today to draw your attention to an important and very successful event that took place at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, from September 22 to 24.

[English]

I refer to the Seventh African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference for which I served as honorary chairman. The three-day conference brought together more than 300 delegates from North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean with a common desire to "preserve, promote and protect'' our African heritage.

This singular event "provided Canada with an opportunity to share our story about the key role African-Canadians have played in shaping our history and collective identity.'' In total, 29 countries were represented, including the United States, France, Cameroon, Haiti, South Africa and Bermuda.

The African Diaspora is represented by 50 million Blacks whose descendants were uprooted from their homeland in Africa during the transatlantic slave trade. Today, these African descendants make incredible contributions to global peace, governance and prosperity around the world.

The ADHT, as it is called, consists of sites worldwide that represent significant aspects of African local heritage and traditions. Such sites exist here in Canada, such as Birchtown, Nova Scotia, which was once the largest community of free men and women of African descent outside of Africa.

The conference organizers assembled a dynamic and creative program of events and sessions. Some of the highlights included a panel on the unique and diverse francophone perspective on the African Diaspora and a workshop on the role Canada's institutions must play in ensuring African culture is part of the national narrative.

One highlight was a panel on African experience in North America featuring Dr. Leslie Oliver of Nova Scotia and Dr. Molefi Kete Asante. With more than 70 books to his name, Dr. Asante is considered one of the most widely cited African-American scholars. He is a professor at the Department of African-American Studies at Temple University and he is a remarkable speaker.

In my remarks at the grand opening ceremony, I also renewed the Harper government's commitment to support the growth of Black cultural tourism in Nova Scotia. I announced an investment of $88,445 by the government to help the Black Cultural Centre in Nova Scotia cover the costs of its recent infrastructure upgrades.

Honourable senators, it was the first time since its inception in 2002 that the ADHT was held on North American soil. Nova Scotia was honoured to host and showcase our deep-rooted African heritage and our role within the Diaspora. I think, for instance, of the newly opened Africville Church Museum in Nova Scotia.

In conclusion, honourable senators, please join me in congratulating Mr. Wayne Hamilton, Executive Director of the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, and his team and all the volunteers, for a highly successful and enriching conference.


ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Public Safety

RCMP Police Services Agreements for the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan Tabled

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the RCMP Police Services Agreements for the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Study on Issues Relating to Federal Government's Current and Evolving Policy Framework for Managing Fisheries and Oceans

Second Report of Fisheries and Oceans Committee Tabled

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the second report, interim, of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled: Seeing the Light: Report on Staffed Lighthouses in Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia.

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

Third Report of Fisheries and Oceans Committee Tabled

Hon. Fabian Manning: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the third report, interim, of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled: Report on the Implementation of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act.

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

[Translation]

Study on Application of Official Languages Act and Relevant Regulations, Directives and Reports

Second Report of Official Languages Committee Tabled

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the second, interim report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, entitled: The Vitality of Quebec's English-speaking Communities: From Myth to Reality.

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

Railway Safety Act Canada Transportation Act

Bill to Amend—First Reading

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government) presented Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

[English]

The Senate

Membership of Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I move, seconded by the Honourable Senator Cowan:

That pursuant to rule 85(2.1) of the Rules of the Senate, the membership of the Standing Committee on Conflict of Interest for Senators be as follows:

The Honourable Senators Andreychuk, Angus, Cordy, Joyal, P.C., and Stratton.

(Pursuant to rule 85(2.1), the motion was deemed adopted.)


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QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety

Reports of Government Departments

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, 10 days ago, when we came back, I asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate about two reports: first, The Changing Face of Corrections, which was received by the government in 2009; and second, a Department of Justice study that looked at the impact of the Truth in Sentencing Act, which was produced in 2009. The latter report, I first asked the leader for in October of 2010. The leader took my question as notice and undertook to get back to me. Last week, when I raised this issue again, she took both aspects of my question as notice.

Has the leader obtained copies of those reports, and is she prepared to make them available?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank Senator Cowan for the question. I have not, but over the Thanksgiving week break I will ascertain the status of these reports.

Senator Cowan: Do we have the undertaking of the Leader of the Government in the Senate that these reports will be received in time for senators to review them before we are asked to consider further crime legislation from the government?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I will simply take as notice Senator Cowan's request and will report back when we return after the Thanksgiving break.

International Trade

Asbestos

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In the last few months I have been noticing the great cleanup that has been ongoing in the West Block, the billion-dollar project of cleansing the West Block of asbestos.

There have been many warnings about what asbestos does, with 500,000 cancer victims in Western Europe alone. Yet, we continue to export the same kind of asbestos. There are critics who say the country is exporting death to protect the profits of a handful of companies, one in Montreal, and the jobs of 1,600 miners.

Dr. Barry Castleman is the author of a respected book on the danger of asbestos. What is the difference between land mines and asbestos, he asks. A key difference, of course, is that Canada does not export land mines. Therefore, why are we continuing to export this deadly product?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the position of the Government of Canada has not changed. It is the same position that the government has had for 30 years, through governments of both political stripes. The Government of Canada has promoted the safe and controlled use of chrysotile, both domestically and internationally, and scientific reviews confirm that chrysotile fibres can be used safely under controlled conditions, a policy which this government and previous governments have supported for this particular industry.

Senator Munson: Honourable senators, I do not know how we can have strict guidelines and follow where all this asbestos goes, and how it goes, and how workers in these countries protect themselves from this particular asbestos, which is deadly, according to all science.

In June, at the UN, Canada opposed the listing of this sort of asbestos as a hazardous chemical. We opposed it and then we ended up joining the big leagues with countries like Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Do we really want to be on the side of this kind of coalition?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I will only repeat what I said in my first answer, that the Government of Canada — this present government and past governments — has promoted the safe and controlled use of chrysotile, both domestically and internationally. We have scientific reviews that confirm that the chrysotile fibres can be used under controlled conditions. As I have just pointed out, when this product is shipped, there are strict and controlled instructions for its safe use.

Senator Munson: Honourable senators, the position of our party is that this must stop and that the federal government must help the people in Quebec who are working in that industry and in that region to transition into a new kind of employment. That is what we must look at as a nation. We have a moral obligation to look at the issue in that way.

I remind the honourable senator of the Earnscliffe fire that occurred the other day here in Ottawa at the British High Commissioner's house. They are worried and fearful that this sort of asbestos, the same as what is being exported, was burned into the air from the attic of that house.

I recognize that this is the government's policy, but I think there should be another, proactive policy. I encourage the government to look at new and different ways of having workers in that area not lose their jobs but gain new and more productive employment.

Senator LeBreton: Senator Munson puts a valid case on the record, and I will ensure that his views are made known to my colleague, the minister responsible.

Finance

Government's Fiscal Policy

Hon. Grant Mitchell: Honourable senators, the government has finally admitted — in fact, I find myself in uncharted territory here — what many of us have been saying for a number of years and that is that they simply do not know how to balance a budget. The Conservatives have not balanced an unbalanced budget since 1889 and now they have clearly and utterly admitted that they cannot do it, because they are spending $20 million to hire an outside accounting firm to tell them how to do it.

Why do they not just ask Paul Martin to balance the budget? He has done it before and cleaned up their messes. He has a proven track record of doing that and he would probably do it for free.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): First, honourable senators, the hiring of outside auditors is a proper way to proceed. An outside set of eyes will contribute. If you just leave it to people within their own confines to make suggestions, you may not get the results that are in the interests of the Canadian taxpayer.

I wish to point out to the honourable senator that Mr. Martin and Mr. Chrétien balanced the budget on the backs of the provinces, at great cost to their health care and education systems, and robbed the EI fund blind. By the way, they did this with revenues that were brought in by the GST and the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. In addition, the world was not in a global recession. As a matter of fact, the U.S. economy was growing at the time, and so we had a ready market.

As Brian Mulroney used to say, which was quite true, Michael Wilson planted the seeds and Paul Martin got to pick the flowers.

Public Safety

Cost of Public Safety Legislation

Hon. Grant Mitchell: This government will build its crime agenda on the backs of the provinces, which will have to spend billions and billions of dollars in order to fulfil that.

When the leader and the minister make such a point about the essential importance of getting outside expertise, why would we have any belief or any confidence that they would listen to that expertise when they dismiss, deny and throw out all the expertise that tells them that their crime agenda will practically bankrupt government — this government and provincial governments — and when they will not listen to the expertise that they hear on climate change, which says the government is not doing enough and not doing it fast enough?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Senator Mitchell is like that little jack-in-the-box; you wind him up, and up he pops.

With regard to the cost of our crime initiatives, honourable senators — initiatives, by the way, that are widely supported by the public in Canada — the cost of crime on society far exceeds the cost of fighting crime.

Part of our keeping our communities safe is keeping dangerous criminals behind bars, and not releasing them onto the streets is a very valid and solid policy.

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The fact is, although Senator Mitchell never seems to acknowledge these things, that last spring we provided the House of Commons committee with hundreds of pages of documents that go into precise detail on how this will be costed. Minister Nicholson recently tabled a summary of these documents at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights which shows very clearly that the federal cost of Bill C-10 is $78.6 million over five years. We think that is money very well spent to protect Canadian citizens.

With regard to the provinces, the Minister of Justice has been working in collaboration with his provincial counterparts. Since our government took office, support payments to the provinces have increased by 30 per cent, or $12.7 billion. We are working closely with the provinces. In Budget 2010-11 we announced transfer payments to the provinces and territories of $54 billion, an increase of $2.4 billion over last year.

Senator Mitchell is quite incorrect to say that we are overburdening the provinces. We are in a collaborative effort and they are willing partners.

Senator Mitchell: I wonder how effective this group of outside experts could possibly be if the person to whom they will be reporting and giving their advice is none other than Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who has distinguished himself in this area only by being part of the government that left Ontario in a fiscal mess and by squandering — misappropriating — $50 million of taxpayers' money to buy votes in his own riding.

Senator LeBreton: On the matter of outside advisers, honourable senators, this group is working with a subcommittee of Treasury Board. The membership of that subcommittee is publicly documented. I happen to be one of them. I am very much looking forward to working with the outside auditors.

With regard to Mr. Clement, we already know that the monies that were expended in the G-8 Legacy Fund were all fully accounted for and came in under budget.

Senator Mitchell: If the outside auditors actually recommend to your group and to Mr. Clement that the crime agenda is too expensive and will not accomplish anything except to make things worse, would the government accept that and stop the crime agenda so we can save money and maybe one day balance the budget?

Senator LeBreton: The government is looking at all departments of government, all spending areas. We are committed to finding savings. Let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let us see what the auditors, in close cooperation with senior level public servants, who have been stellar in their work in this regard, will say. Like my father used to say, let us not count our chickens before they hatch.

Finance

Government's Fiscal Policy

Hon. Robert W. Peterson: Honourable senators, does the Parliamentary Budget Officer concur with your numbers on the crime file?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I am glad the honourable senator mentioned the Parliamentary Budget Officer because in this place for many months, and maybe years, he has been telling me how the Parliamentary Budget Officer is always right. I do not have the article with me now, but a few days ago, The Globe and Mail reported a comparative analysis which proved that out of 15 analyses, the Parliamentary Budget Officer was right 4 times, the Minister of Finance and the government's figures were right 9 times, and a couple were a wash.

As I have cautioned before in this place, honourable senators, regarding the Parliamentary Budget Officer, unlike what Senator Peterson always claims, and as has now been proven by an independent analysis by The Globe and Mail, the government's figures have by far and away been the more accurate.

[Translation]

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

First, I would like to have my colleague focus on the suggestion that she examine the financial position of a certain U.S. state that served as the inspiration for her government's crime bill and that today is practically bankrupt and has an unbelievable unemployment rate. I am talking about California.

My question for the leader is the following: the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, declared yesterday that Canada will avoid a recession despite the fact that the European Union and the United States are facing growing economic chaos. Is this minister, as an actor in the global economy, so naive as to believe that Canada could be unaffected by this new wave of economic turmoil, which, let us not forget, began with a financial crisis?

We should remember that the Conservative government predicted, just before the election, that Canada would be spared by the 2008 crisis. Everything was going well, everything was fine. Not long after the election, the government was forced by the opposition parties to provide public funds to Canadian and U.S. companies — we remember the amount was $9 billion just for the automobile industry — in order to minimize job losses and help with economic recovery.

Could the leader explain why the government and the Minister of Finance are stubbornly reducing the role of the state at a time when Canadians most need government protection? Why reject improvements to the financial system, as proposed by France, Germany and even the United States?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, with regard to stimulus, we did not follow the United States' example. We launched a very successful stimulus package that was well administered with great cooperation between the federal government, the provinces and the municipalities concerned.

Minister Flaherty, of course, backed up by the OECD and organizations like Forbes magazine, has put Canada in a unique place in our performance even with the troubling global economic conditions. Minister Flaherty, as honourable senators know, has made it clear that if Canada's economy is threatened as it was before, then we will do whatever we can to protect the economy, Canadian jobs and families.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I stated exactly what the leader said, that there was a stimulus package. I want her to remember that we had a rosy situation in September 2008, but we had a catastrophe by November of the same year and a major program had to be put in place. We agree to disagree. We raised the question about the government needing to invest. Now we are giving the advice that it is not time to contract the budget.

As such, it should come as no surprise that the world's citizens realize that the current financial system is unsustainable and volatile. One has to look no further than the "Occupy Wall Street" protests that are gaining momentum — probably one million people will be in Washington very soon — around the world to see that the majority of the population is sick and tired of the lack of economic and social justice caused by the greed that plagues the world's financial systems.

When will this government commit to stopping parasitic behaviours present on Bay Street, Wall Street and in this city? Will my honourable friend's government, which is supposed to be a leader in the world, support a tax on global financial transactions in order to protect the helpless victims who have suffered injustices by the financial sector and these unemployed people in the Western world?

Senator LeBreton: The short answer is no. As we all know, the Canadian banking system is the most stable in the world. We feel that Canadian banks and financial institutions should not be penalized for the failings of others, especially in the case of the situation in Europe, where we have all watched this train wreck moving very slowly.

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There is serious difficulty in the financial world. Canada is managing thus far, although, as the Prime Minister used to say many times during the election campaign, we are not an island. We will be affected, but we do not believe that Canadian financial institutions and banks should be penalized because of the actions of others.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, I would like to remind the leader that the 1995 revisions to the Bank Act were carried out under a Liberal government and many of the major changes were proposed by the then leadership of the Senate and members of the Banking Committee.

Through a committee of the United States Congress, we have learned that Canadian banks in the United States received billions of dollars for their activities there and were also affected by the sub-prime situation.

Will the government act to ensure that the banks of this country respect Canadian laws even when conducting activities in South America, Asia or the United States? They are now expanding into other countries because the situation in Canada is so good. We need consensus in the financial world, and one-size-fits-all should be the rule. We cannot allow bankers to do what they want and put Canadian taxpayers at risk, especially those who invest in our banking system through their pension funds.

Senator LeBreton: Again, honourable senators, the Canadian banking system has been acknowledged in Canada and around the world as the most solid banking system in the world today.

I want to point out again that we are in very good shape in this country. We are on track for modest growth in Canada and we are, of course, in relatively better shape than any other country. We have fared better during the global recession. Canada has the best fiscal position, the lowest net debt and among the lowest deficits in the G7. Of course, as I have pointed out here many times, nearly 600,000 new jobs have been created since July 2009, the strongest job creation record in the G7.

It is not all doom and gloom, honourable senators, as much as Senator Hervieux-Payette would like to communicate that. We have a lot to be proud of.

Foreign Affairs

Respecting Linguistic Duality

Hon. Pierre De Bané: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Pursuant to my questions yesterday, where I brought to the attention of the leader that the Minister of Foreign Affairs had printed, at taxpayers' expense, different sets of official business cards, some in French, some in English and some bilingual, the leader answered that the business cards of Minister Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, are printed in both of Canada's official languages.

What I was bringing to her attention was that besides his bilingual business cards, he also had printed additional unilingual cards, in English and in French. I emphasize that no official of this government and no member of either house of Parliament has ever done such a thing since 1970 because it is against the rules and policies of this place. We do not have two official languages that are equal but separate. We want both of them and he has contravened the regulations.

The leader said yesterday, and I concur with her, that linguistic duality is reflected in everything the Prime Minister does and every word he utters.

In view of that, I am asking her if she would convey to the minister that he take the example of the Prime Minister and reimburse the treasury for those unilingual business cards, either in French or in English.

Truth is proven by concrete action. He has done something that none of his predecessors has ever done, irrespective of party. Those have been the rules for almost 50 years. I think he should recognize his mistake and reimburse the treasury for the expense of the unilingual business cards. Would the leader provide that assurance to this house?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I read in the newspaper somewhere that this issue is being thrashed out over some $425 worth of business cards. I can only tell honourable senators what I have seen with my own eyes and what I believe to be the case. I have seen a business card of the Honourable John Baird — who is bilingual, by the way — and I can tell honourable senators that Minister Baird's business cards are printed in both of Canada's official languages.

Senator De Bané: Honourable senators, surely the leader is not denying what has appeared in 12 major daily newspapers of this country, that, besides the bilingual business cards that she has seen, the minister also had printed unilingual cards. He has admitted as much in the House of Commons. He has never denied that fact.

Please do not shift the topic to the minister's bilingual business cards. Let us not play games. He has admitted what he did. The story appeared in 12 daily newspapers of this country. He even made a joke on the matter in the other place.

Please, let us not play games. If this is irrelevant to the leader, wherein the minister or any senator could make such a purchase at taxpayers' expense, please admit it. Let us be very clear. Linguistic duality, as the leader said, is a fundamental dimension of this country; it is time to clearly state where she stands.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, Senator De Bané says the matter was reported in 12 daily newspapers. I was not aware of the exchange in the House of Commons; I will have to familiarize myself.

I can only answer in this place for what I know, and that is that the business cards of the Honourable John Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that I have seen are printed in both of Canada's official languages.

If we had to get up every day in this or the other place and answer to the misinformation that often appears in our national newspapers, it would be a sorry state indeed. Of course, as honourable senators know, I often quote my late father. He always used to say, "Believe 100 per cent of what you see and only 5 per cent of what you read.''


[Translation]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Business of the Senate

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, pursuant to rule 27(1), I wish to inform the Senate that when we proceed to Government Business, the Senate will address the items in the following order: Motion No. 1, Address to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada; Motion No. 11, previous questions by Senator Mockler; followed by all the other items as they appear on the Order Paper.

[English]

Speech from the Throne

Motion for Address in Reply—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Comeau, seconded by the Honourable Senator Di Nino:

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

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

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:

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

Hon. Sharon Carstairs: Honourable senators, there is a cartoon in my office depicting me in full teacher mode with a caption reading, "Class dismissed.'' It was published the day after I resigned as leader of the Liberal Party in Manitoba.

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Well, the time has come for me once again to say, "Class dismissed,'' but I cannot do it without giving one more lecture. When I leave this place today, colleagues, it will be to mail a letter to the Governor General indicating my decision to retire from the Senate, effective at 11:59, Monday, October 17. This means that this will be my last day in this chamber and my last speech. I have never particularly liked our system of tributes, so I have chosen this way, and I ask you to respect that request. Do not do tributes now or at any time in the future.

However, before I get into some aspects of the Speech from the Throne, I do want to thank some people who have gathered here today.

My husband, John, and I celebrated 45 years of marriage this summer.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Carstairs: He has always been the wind beneath my wings, urging me to soar higher and higher. It was John who said, when we were looking for a leader of the Liberal Party in Manitoba and I was doing the usual political thing and looking for leaders, "Just do it yourself,'' so he is to blame for my political career.

Having then put me in that position, he proceeded to become my fundraiser, both within my own particular constituency and for the entire provincial party. He held very tight controls, so that at the end of each campaign, not only did I have money in my constituency account but the party had money in its account as well.

However, my very favourite picture of my husband, John, is one showing him on a very high ladder, hanging signs at the convention in 1984. What others did not know, but I did, was that he is afraid of heights. In addition, I knew that he had hired every single ladder of a certain height and above in the entire city of Winnipeg, so that my signs would hang higher than those of my three opponents. Honourable senators, I would suggest to you that this is not just love or dedication; it is also political sagacity.

John and I met on a quiz program, both of us representing the Young Liberals of Alberta, and were married six months later. I think it is fair to say it was a marriage made in politics. I attended my very first political meeting at the age of 6, and John worked his first campaign at the age of 16, so both of us have had 63 years in politics, or a total of 126 years.

It was John who encouraged me to come to this place. My father had been here, as many of you know, for 25 years, and I had noticed my parents drifting apart, with one mainly in Halifax and the other mainly in Ottawa. I was not prepared to live that way, so, as many of you know, when I am in Ottawa, so too is John. With my husband today are our daughters Catherine, a professor at the University of Guelph, and Jennifer, a high school teacher in Toronto. They are accompanied by their husbands, our sons by marriage, Greg and Paul. All four of them are doers and givers, and we are very proud of them. We also love them very much.

Sylvie Lalande has been my assistant for my entire time here in this chamber. Competent, capable and always willing to go the extra mile, Sylvie and her family have become part of my extended family, and I cherish them all. None of us accomplishes anything on our own, and it is through the active participation of wonderful staff that we are able to do what we do, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart. I have known her daughters, Natassia and Alexandra, since they were 7 and 4, respectively, and both have worked in my office as summer students. Both fluently bilingual, they are the future of this country and, with them, our country is in good hands.

Michelle Macdonald, another essential member of my staff, first worked with the Liberal caucus in Manitoba, and upon the recommendation of the late Senator Gildas Molgat, I hired her. Michelle had been chief page here in the Senate, and when her service was completed, she came to Manitoba with her husband, who had accepted a position with the Department of National Defence. Upon my appointment, I invited her to come with me to Ottawa. I knew that her husband wanted to complete his Ph.D. at Carleton University, and it was a perfect fit for both of us. She started as a researcher but became my Chief of Staff both while I was Deputy Leader of the Government and later as Leader. When she decided to move to her beloved P.E.I. after I left cabinet, she continued to work for me as a consultant. Michelle thinks and writes like me, and although she would quickly point out that I never give a speech exactly as she writes it, she has been the spirit of much that I have done. I would like to clone her, actually, to replace me here, but I do not think I would get her to leave her boat or her beloved island. She knows how deeply I care for both her and her husband, Jay.

Vince MacNeil is also in the gallery. Vince was my senior legislative assistant when I was minister and now serves in the other place in the whip's office. He and Michelle were a mighty procedural team, and I remain grateful for his encyclopedic knowledge of the rules of this and the other place.

More recently, I have been well served by Brian Head, my eyes and ears in Manitoba at all times when I am here. Like me, he is a teacher by profession and sees the world through teacher's eyes with a constant look to the next and future generations. Like all the above mentioned, he is a good friend, and I am deeply grateful for all of their service.

Also here today is Shelly Cory. Shelly first served in the Liberal caucus in Manitoba as a legislative intern and later was in charge of my ministerial staff in Winnipeg. It was Shelly who found the money for the funding of the Canadian Virtual Hospice, an Internet site that receives over 1,000 hits a day and assists patients and their families as well as medical personnel to deal with death and dying issues. Today, she is their executive director, which, in my view, is entirely appropriate. She is here with her partner, Paul, and their son, Aidan Patrick Shaun Cory McKinstry, who, despite all of the honours that I have been given over the years, has given me the highest honour of all because John and I do not have any biological grandchildren and Aidan calls me "Grandma Sharon.'' His adoption of us and us of him is very, very special.

I had only been in the Senate for two years when I became the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and broke the tradition that only a lawyer could serve in this position. I had the great fortune of having Dr. Heather Lank as my clerk. From her, I learned to respect and admire the professionalism of the staff who serve us so very well. There are many of them who give themselves to us in countless capacities, and they all deserve our respect, whether it is those who serve us in the cafeteria or dining room, hang our pictures, move our furniture — and for me, that has been six moves in 17 years — fix our computers, do our travel claims, deliver our mail, serve us here in the chamber as reporters and translators, those who serve as table officers and the clerks of our committees, and those who provide us with our security. I want to thank each and every one of them.

The pages have always been very special to me. They are my connection to my first career — my profession — and I have enjoyed all of my moments with them, either editing their journal "Pages of Reflection,'' conducting the yearly seminar on procedure, and the daily interactions here on the floor. I am delighted that the procedural seminar that I had done for many years has now been taken on by Senator Cordy and that Senator Martin has agreed to take over the editing of the pages' journal.

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I do not intend to mention individual senators because there is always the danger of missing someone important, but I must make one exception. When I became Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien asked me whom I would like as a deputy leader. I told him Senator Fernand Robichaud.

When he called Senator Robichaud and asked if he would accept the position, thinking of course as prime ministers do that he would get an automatic acceptance, Senator Robichaud replied that he would have to check with me. The Prime Minister told him to do it quickly.

That is but one example of the remarkable support Senator Robichaud gave me each and every day I served in this role. Never did a leader have greater support than what I was afforded. I will not be here when he retires, so I want him to know that I treasure the years we have worked together. We were, in my view, a very special team.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Carstairs: Honourable senators, in the Speech from the Throne, the government again made reference to Senate reform. I think we need to look seriously at Senate reform. It is inappropriate in today's day and age that we should sit in the Senate for potentially up to 35 years or more. I urge us to look seriously at term limits. I could, as you know, remain until 2017. I have chosen not to do that. At the same time, I urge us to proceed with caution.

I would be remiss not to speak in my closing remarks about how important this institution has been to me for the last 17 years and why I urge caution about any changes we make to it.

I first came to the Senate at the age of 13, obviously not as a senator but as the daughter of a senator, and I attended my first Speech from the Throne in a seat at the back of the chamber. I watched with wonder during the summer of 1959, when I was 17, because the Senate sat that summer. I would watch scaffolding going up in the outside corridors, only to find that it would be removed a couple of weeks later and a new sculpture would have emerged. Sometimes it was a rabbit, sometimes a Cupid, sometimes a beaver; but it was a wonderful experience to go through the corridors and watch the building still unfolding back in 1959.

I used to go and visit the library. In those days, by the way, they had all the best-sellers, so you could go in and get them to read.

Many things have changed, particularly security. I had a younger sister in tow at that time and I would chase her down the corridors, and no one ever intervened. No one ever intervened when I tried to enter or leave the building. In fact, no one even intervened when I took my father's car and managed to drive it between two black Cadillacs and smashed into both of them. Some things have remained the same, but others, of course, have clearly changed.

Within days of my appointment in September of 1994, I was asked to join the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. I had not even been sworn in to the Senate but was already attending the meetings of the committee. We were undertaking a study that I believe would not have been possible in the other place because of the sensitive nature of this work.

What an incredible experience it was for a newly appointed senator. What an incredible group of role models there were in the other members of that committee. Senator Joan Neiman, who was the chair, was assisted by Senator Thérèse Lavoie-Roux as deputy chair. Other members were Senators Beaudoin, Corbin, DeWare, Keon and finally me. It was the Senate at its finest — no partisanship, but fierce debate conducted with intellectual rigour.

Senator Neiman had lost her sister through a very painful death, but despite her strong feelings, she exemplified impartiality as the chair. Senator Beaudoin insisted on a lexicon, and the definitions were so clear — after, I must say, a great deal of hard work — that our report, entitled Of Life and Death, is still used in medical schools throughout the world.

Senator Keon was absolutely essential to the study because of his knowledge of medical issues, but this committee had its own pathos. We knew that Senator Lavoie-Roux was struggling, only later to learn of her battle with Alzheimer's, yet she gave this committee all of her energy and her hard work, and the report reflects her very fine mind.

Senator DeWare's husband had a massive heart attack during our study, and she took the time to go back to New Brunswick to look after him. In her own ethical way, she refused to list any of these days as anything other than private business. She paid a penalty as a result, a financial penalty, but it was a mark of her incredible integrity. I learned from her how a senator should behave.

She was replaced on the committee by Senator Noël Desmarais, who in the midst of our deliberations on assisted suicide and euthanasia was diagnosed with terminal cancer and who was a living example of the very importance of our report, particularly our recommendations with respect to palliative care.

We came only to unanimous conclusions about the fact that Canadians were not dying well. They were often in intractable pain, hooked up to machines they did not want to be attached to, receiving treatment they did not choose. This led me on a journey to support the growth of palliative care in Canada, a cause that remains my passion — work that I do not believe I could have done in any other legislative chamber.

Honourable senators, from the workload on euthanasia and assisted suicide, I came to the Senate and I requested that we do a special study on palliative care. That led to the report Quality End-of-Life Care: The Right of Every Canadian, which we tabled in 2000. I used Senate resources to table additional reports on palliative care in 2005 and 2010. This work also led to my urging the Senate to study aging, and we tabled a report in 2009, Embracing the Challenge of Aging.

Honourable senators, I would suggest that this work was uniquely suited to this place, and I would suggest that it is the very nature of this place that allowed me to dedicate many hours to these files. No member of Parliament has the time to do this kind of work, and therefore we must be cautious to not turn this place into a mirror image of the place down the way. We have different roles and, I believe, important ones.

I deeply regret, for example, that there are no special studies being undertaken at this time, and I would urge all of you to consider a special study on volunteerism, or a special study on the needs of our Aboriginal children.

It was the Senate that afforded me the opportunity to co-found, together with Margaret Newall, the Prairieaction Foundation. As a result of this foundation, $8 million has been raised to fund family violence research in the Prairie provinces at every university in the Prairie provinces and to fund pilot projects based on this research.

For seven years, I had the opportunity to represent parliamentarians throughout the world as a member, and for a time chair, of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. At the last meeting in April of this year at which I was a member, we heard representations from or on behalf of over 300 parliamentarians from 37 countries. Some had been murdered; others had disappeared from the face of the earth; still others had been tortured or denied their right to free speech, within their parliament or outside.

This work took about three months of my time each year. Again, it would be extremely difficult for an MP to do, yet it is very important for Canadian parliamentarians to participate in this work. It is no accident that the two permanent members of this committee from Canada have both had seats in this chamber.

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Honourable senators, we do good work, but it is frequently not the same kind of work that they do in the other place. I urge caution. I believe there will be unintended consequences of the changes this government proposes, and I believe they will not be in the best interests of our great country. To have two chambers with identical mandates chosen in identical ways would be unworthy of our nation.

Honourable senators, I bid you farewell. Keep healthy and happy and continue to put your country ahead of politics. You make this place a special place and a country to be admired around the world.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

[Translation]

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, that was a very moving account, a truly exceptional speech. However, we have to call it a debate. I therefore ask to take adjournment of the debate.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)

Business of the Senate

Motion to Change Commencement Time on Wednesdays and Thursdays and to Effect Wednesday Adjournments—Vote Deferred

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Carignan, seconded by the Honourable Senator LeBreton, P.C.:

That, during the remainder of the current session,

(a) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday or a Thursday, it shall sit at 1:30 p.m. notwithstanding rule 5(1)(a);

(b) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday, it stand adjourned at the later of 4 p.m. or the end of Government Business, but no later than the time otherwise provided in the Rules, unless it has been suspended for the purpose of taking a deferred vote or has earlier adjourned;

(c) when the Senate sits past 4 p.m. on a Wednesday, committees scheduled to meet be authorized to do so, even if the Senate is then sitting, with the application of rule 95(4) being suspended in relation thereto; and

(d) when a vote is deferred until 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings, if required, immediately prior to any adjournment but no later than the time provided in paragraph (b), to suspend the sitting until 5:30 p.m. for the taking of the deferred vote, and that committees be authorized to meet during the period that the sitting is suspended;

And on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mockler, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallace:

That the original question be now put.

Hon. Marie-P. Poulin: Honourable senators, following that eloquent message from our former leader and the tributes that were paid to our colleague, the Honourable Bill Rompkey, I am reminded of my swearing-in on September 21, 1995.

At that time, the Leader of the Government in the Senate was the Honourable Joyce Fairbairn, who is still here today, and the Leader of the Opposition was Senator John Lynch-Staunton. There were 51 Liberal senators — the government members — 50 Conservative senators, 3 independents and no vacancies.

Given that I arrived with many years of experience in senior management, the Leader of the Government asked me to chair the Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. I will always remember my 10 years as part of the Committee on Internal Economy. Three principles often came up during our discussions: the importance of government business, the importance of committee work and the importance of respecting the Rules of the Senate.

I took the time to slowly reread Senator Carignan's motion, which was seconded by Senator LeBreton. Here it is, and I quote:

That, during the remainder of the current session,

(a) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday or a Thursday, it shall sit at 1:30 p.m. notwithstanding rule 5(1)(a);

(b) when the Senate sits on a Wednesday, it stand adjourned at the later of 4 p.m. or the end of Government Business, but no later than the time otherwise provided in the Rules, unless it has been suspended for the purpose of taking a deferred vote or has earlier adjourned;

(c) when the Senate sits past 4 p.m. on a Wednesday, committees scheduled to meet be authorized to do so, even if the Senate is then sitting, with the application of rule 95(4) being suspended in relation thereto; and

(d) when a vote is deferred until 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings, if required, immediately prior to any adjournment but no later than the time provided in paragraph (b), to suspend the sitting until 5:30 p.m. for the taking of the deferred vote, and that committees be authorized to meet during the period that the sitting is suspended;

As I reread the motion, I realized that it touches on the three principles that form the basis of our work as parliamentarians in the Senate.

First I want to talk about respect for government business. I cannot help but think that we are downplaying the importance of the Senate's work. If a large number of senators are in committee, they cannot be in the Senate chamber at the same time. The Rules of the Senate were created to ensure that government business would be given consideration by a large majority of the parliamentarians sitting in this chamber. So I feel there is a contradiction there in terms of the importance of government business, no matter which party is in power.

Second, there is the importance of committee work. The second motion would refer the issue to the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. This committee is composed of senators who have in-depth knowledge of the Rules of the Senate.

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Out of respect for the committee's members and given the importance of this motion and government motions, would it not be advisable to refer Senator Carignan's motion to the committee that studies such matters?

Third, it is important to respect the Rules of the Senate. The motion identifies two rules that would be suspended: rule 5(1)(a) and rule 95(4). I do not know the rules off by heart and I did not have time to study all the other rules, but I wonder if there could be other rules affected by the motion now before us.

Would it not be reasonable to refer this motion to the committee tasked with studying such matters simply because of these three basic principles: the importance of government business, the importance of committee work, and the importance of respecting the Rules of the Senate?

In my 16 years of public service in the Senate, it always has been my experience that the leadership of the government and of the opposition, on a case-by-case basis, have been able to cordially agree on exceptions to be made in order for committees and the chamber to sit at the same time. Agreements have been reached amicably.

Therefore, I must admit, I have a great deal of difficulty understanding why we are hesitant to refer a motion, an important motion, to the committee charged with studying such matters.

[English]

Permit me to quote three short paragraphs from the speech delivered by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Cowan, on this issue, because it is a good reminder. He said:

In my view, the debate that took place yesterday established beyond question the advantages of referring the motion of Senator Carignan, which would change our procedures, to our Standing Committee on Rules, Procedure and the Rights of Parliament. Some of our most experienced colleagues sit on that committee, such as Senator Fraser, Senator Comeau, Senator Stratton and Senator Smith. How could we do anything but benefit from the expertise that they would bring to bear on Senator Carignan's proposal?

However, the government rejected Senator Tardif's very reasonable suggestion. Instead of following the precedents of consensus and unanimity that we followed in the past and that are hallmarks of this institution, and which Senator Tardif placed very clearly and completely on the record, the government has decided to proceed unilaterally over our serious and, I suggest, most reasonable objections.

Senator Cowan concluded by saying:

In my view, in the current circumstances the best thing we could do is to follow the long string of precedents that have been established to facilitate the work of our committees on Wednesday and return to the motion which has been regularly passed without a single dissenting vote year after year.

Colleagues, I join my voice to the others who really feel strongly that the motion should be referred to the Committee on Rules and Procedure.

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

Some Hon. Senators: Yes.

The Hon. the Speaker: It was moved by the Honourable Senator Mockler, seconded by the Honourable Senator Wallace, that the previous question be now put.

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

Some Hon. Senators: No.

Some Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Hon. the Speaker: Those in favour the motion will signify by saying "yea.''

Some Hon. Senators: Yea.

The Hon. the Speaker: Those opposed to the motion will signify by saying "nay.''

Some Hon. Senators: Nay.

The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And two honourable senators having risen:

Hon. Elizabeth (Beth) Marshall: Fifteen minutes?

Hon. Jim Munson: Under rule 67(1), I would like to defer the vote to the next sitting of the Senate.

The Hon. the Speaker: Pursuant to our rules, a previous question motion not only is debatable, it can be deferred, and therefore the vote on this matter is deferred until the next sitting.

National Finance

Committee Authorized to Study Potential Reasons for Price Discrepancies of Certain Goods between Canada and United States

Hon. Irving Gerstein, for Senator Day, pursuant to notice of October 4, 2011, moved:

That the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance be authorized to examine and report on the potential reasons for price discrepancies in respect of certain goods between Canada and the United States, given the value of the Canadian dollar and the effect of cross border shopping on the Canadian economy;

That, in conducting such a study, the committee take particular note of differences between Canada and the United States including, but not limited to, market sizes, transportation costs, tariff rates, occupancy costs, labour costs, taxes and fees, regulations, mark-up; and

That the committee submit its final report to the Senate no later than June 30, 2012, and retain all powers necessary to publicize its findings for 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]

National Philanthropy Day Bill

Second Reading

Leave having been given to revert to Other Business, Senate Public Bills, Order No. 5:

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Mercer, seconded by the Honourable Senator Jaffer, for the second reading of Bill S-201, An Act respecting a National Philanthropy Day.

Hon. Andrée Champagne: Honourable senators, I rise today to address Bill S-201, An Act respecting a National Philanthropy Day.

National Philanthropy Day would be a day to celebrate the acts of kindness and giving that Canadians demonstrate in Canada and internationally. As Canadians have shown over the years, philanthropy goes beyond the lives touched by generous actions and beyond the satisfaction of having made a difference.

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Philanthropy is part of who we are as a nation. It defines our people and our country. Canada would not be the country it is today if not for the efforts of millions of Canadians who helped establish our country's international reputation as a kind, caring and benevolent nation.

One of the fundamental characteristics of Canada is Canadians' giving and compassionate nature. Canadians of all ages and all backgrounds contribute in many areas of life including arts, culture, social services, education and health. They go further than just helping their friends and families. They help their communities and neighbours, and even travel across continents to assist people in need in other countries.

They help in many ways through making donations to charitable organizations, volunteering their time or simply helping one individual, often a stranger. Giving, caring and helping come naturally to most Canadians. We see it in their everyday gestures, in their lives after work and in their weekend activities. It is simply a part of their identity.

Many Canadians view philanthropy as a way of life, simply something they do. Studies have shown that even during times of economic difficulty, Canadians do not change their donating habits. According to the most recent Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, Canadians are very generous.

Over 23 million Canadians made a monetary donation to charitable and non-profit organizations. There are more than 88,000 registered charities in Canada and Canadians contribute more than $10 billion annually to them. This represents an average gift of $437 per person. The study also found that 46 per cent of the population volunteers their time.

The generosity of Canadians defies borders, as Canadians are also very active internationally. A number of us travel around the world to reach out, to support a cause, to help build homes or provide assistance during disasters.

Outside Canada, Canadians are known for devoting many hours of their time without asking for compensation, just the gratification of making a difference in someone's life. We are a nation with a big heart. Canadians have put their everyday lives aside to run to help those in need and to affect the lives of millions of people by leading by example.

One may wonder, why volunteer? With so much going on in our own everyday lives, at work, in our homes, in our country, why give so much to others? The reasons are particular to each individual, but there is always a purpose. It may be a way to give back to the community or sympathy for those who are in need or less fortunate.

Reasons for volunteering are numerous and personal to each individual. Some volunteers who travel across the world will do so for the experience of travelling the world and discovering other cultures or other ways of life, or to learn new skills or new languages.

One thing is certain: many are changed by the experiences of this journey. They return home with so much more than they expected. Often it is a new-found sense of purpose. They bring these experiences and new skills back to our country, to their communities, their friends and families and inspire others to get involved.

[English]

Canadians' generosity is not bound by borders. We are also very involved internationally. Many of us travel across the world to lend a hand, fight for a cause, help build homes and assist during tragedies. Outside Canada, Canadians are known to donate hours of their time without seeking any compensation aside from the gratification of making a difference in someone's life.

[Translation]

It is surprising just how much we can be affected by disasters abroad happening to people we have never met and may never meet, and how these situations can spur us into action. Canadians responded to the recent humanitarian crisis in East Africa with an outpouring of generosity.

Yesterday, I heard that Canadians gave $70 million, which the Government of Canada will match, on top of the $70 million that they had donated previously. We can be proud to be Canadian. The people of Canada also worked together to provide assistance following the earthquake in Japan early this year and the one in Haiti in 2010 and continue to provide support to these areas.

When these situations occurred, the Government of Canada promised generous help by matching donations and by organizing and encouraging participation in relief efforts. Canadians actively seek to help, participate and make a difference. Charitable groups provide them with an avenue for doing so.

In addition to the benefits obtained by those receiving the help, volunteer work also has many advantages for the volunteers themselves. According to a national survey on giving, 79 per cent of volunteers indicated that their volunteer activities helped their interpersonal relationships. For example, they learned to better understand others, encourage others and address sensitive situations.

Canada has always been a global leader when it comes to philanthropy, not only through donations and volunteer programs, but also by promoting and passing on the values of generosity, listening and understanding to our children.

Many school boards have made volunteer work mandatory. Students must complete a minimum number of volunteer hours in their communities to satisfy the requirements to obtain their diplomas. These activities help instil an understanding of their civic duty and the importance of community involvement.

Also, through the volunteer program, young people learn the principle of giving and earn the satisfaction of making a difference in someone else's life. They develop new skills and discover new passions. They learn what it means to feel useful and to be able to make a difference in the lives of people around them.

As you can see, honourable senators, there are numerous advantages associated with this bill. Legislating a National Philanthropy Day is an appropriate mechanism for congratulating and thanking all generous donors and encouraging volunteerism in all its forms. You have probably heard about the tremendous success of the volunteer night that was held in Montreal last week in the beautiful concourse, the "salle des pas perdus,'' in Windsor Station.

Honourable senators, this is the third time I have spoken on this bill, which was first introduced by our former colleague Senator Grafstein and again brought to our attention by Senator Mercer. For all of these reasons, honourable senators, I urge you to pass Bill S-201 immediately. May the third time be a charm.

[English]

The Hon. the Speaker: Is the house 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 second time.)

Referred to Committee

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

(On motion of Senator Munson, bill referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.)

(1550)

[Translation]

Adjournment

Motion Adopted

Leave having been given to revert to Government 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 Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 2 p.m.

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

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

(The Senate adjourned until Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at 2 p.m.)