Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 55
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Senate met at 1:30 p.m., the Speaker in the chair.
Hon. Nicole Eaton: Honourable senators, government intervention in
personal nutrition and food choices has been the subject of heated debate for
years. I strongly disagree that the government should dictate what we put in our
mouths. Canadians have a responsibility to choose what they eat, and they must
take initiative to educate themselves on the health consequences that go along
with their choices.
Rather than imposing regulations, our government has been working very
closely with the food and beverage industry to voluntarily reduce such additives
as trans fats, salt and sugar. To assist consumers in making informed food
choices, our government made nutrition labelling for most prepackaged foods
mandatory in 2007, and our government has gone much further in educating
Canadians to make healthier lifestyle decisions.
Today, the Health Canada website goes beyond Canada's Food Guide. There are
details of the ingredients in most foods, including fast foods and brand-name
prepared foods. It is extremely simple to determine levels of all fats, salt,
sugar and calories. There are recommended daily calorie guides, as well as
portion sizes. There are user-friendly interactive tools to assist in
calculating nutrients, designing menus and tracking consumption.
The industry has followed suit. Almost all fast food restaurants publish
nutrition charts on their websites for the menu choices they offer. Grocery
shelves stock numerous products that are lower in fat, lower in sodium, lower in
sugar and lower in calories. Still, there is the elephant in the room — or
should I say on the plate: portion size — one that we can control.
Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital recently reviewed 40 published studies on
whether sugar is one of the culprits in the obesity epidemic. They found that
sugar had no effect on weight compared with diets that provided the same
calories from other carbohydrates. So what is the culprit? Surprise, surprise!
We are back to the elephant! It is portion size. It is as simple as the amount
of calories we eat. Over-consumption is the guilty party.
The portion size for salad is a small plate, not a huge bowl soaked in
fat-filled toppings and dressing. A portion of protein is four ounces — not a
12-ounce steak, half a chicken or a triple burger with cheese and bacon.
Potatoes are not bad for you, but when the potato weighs as much as an entire
squash, it poses a problem. What about those gigantic muffins that probably
contain two meals' worth of calories and an entire day's recommended consumption
of sugar, fat and carbohydrates? You get the idea.
The damaging effects of poor nutrition, supersized portions and lack of
exercise are everywhere — in ads, on websites, in health-related articles and in
books and magazines. I agree the government should educate, recommend and
provide helpful tools, but it should never assume responsibility for behaviour.
Canadians must take their lives into their own hands when it comes to their
health and the health of their families.
Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, earlier this month, the
Thirty-first Annual Coal Bowl Classic National Basketball Tournament was held in
Breton Education Centre at New Waterford, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. From January
28 to February 4, 10 young men's teams from across the country slept, ate and
played basketball at the junior/senior high school in the former coal mining
town of New Waterford.
As in previous years, volunteers and donors from across the Island and the
province worked hard to ensure that the tournament was a complete success. This
year, of course, was no different as spectators enjoyed a week-long tournament
that culminated in the Three Oaks Senior High School Axemen, from Summerside,
Prince Edward Island, taking home the title as champions. Congratulations to
Honourable senators, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Coal Bowl, the
board of directors established a "Wall of Recognition" that honours the
volunteers and donors who work so hard to make the Coal Bowl the national
success that it has become. The "Wall" plaque is hung in the gym entrance and
houses the "Shining Star Awards." Such awards have been given to the local
Knights of Columbus Council, who have hosted the Coal Bowl banquet each year
since its inception. Others who have received this recognition include Manulife
Financial, the local credit union and the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School
This year, the Shining Star Award was presented to Lorraine Sheppard. A
teacher and now a principal, from River Ryan, Lorraine has been very active on
the Coal Bowl Board of Directors and served as co-chair from 2002 to 2010. I
have known Lorraine for many years. Her proven leadership and organizational
skills are second to none and have led to this much-deserved recognition.
Honourable senators, I am sure you will join me in thanking all the
volunteers who have made this year's Coal Bowl a success. As well, we send our
congratulations to Lorraine Sheppard on receiving the Shining Star Award this
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, on February 18, I gave an
invited topical lecture entitled "The Medicine Wheel and Western Science" to
the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting. The theme for
this year's conference in Vancouver was "Flattening the World: Building a
Global Knowledge Society." The challenge of this year's theme, for example, is
how to address global-scale problems, such as climate change, which affect many
things such as agriculture, public health, survivor of coastal cities, and so
on. In other words, the conference theme recognizes the interconnectedness of
climate change and the rest of the earth's systems and human existence.
I briefly presented three different ways of viewing and doing science:
Western science, feminist science and Aboriginal science. In Western science, it
is incorrectly assumed that scientific knowledge is value-free and that personal
or cultural beliefs are irrelevant. However, scientists, like everyone else, do
have gender and cultural biases that can lead to false interpretations of their
data and wrong conclusions. An example of gender bias is the recent belief that
women are not susceptible to heart disease. We now know that is not the case. An
example of a racial bias felt by most Western scientists is that Aboriginals
become obese because they possess a faulty "thrifty gene" that makes them
store extra calories. Now, it is widely recognized that diet and lifestyle are
the main factors in obesity, regardless of race.
In feminist science, the male bias in Western science and its hierarchical
approach have been exposed. In feminist science, instead of having research lead
only by a principal investigator, the questions or problems to be researched are
generated in collaboration with the community affected by the research. Feminist
thinking has changed the way science is done. Collaborative team approaches,
with accountability to communities, are now the norm.
Finally, using the medicine wheel of the Plains Indians to analyze Western
science, I concluded that Western science is unbalanced because it does not
include the intuitive or spiritual aspects of thinking. Moreover, Western
science is based on reductionist thinking, rather than the holistic,
interconnected mode of thinking of traditional Aboriginal peoples. I gave
examples of how spiritual insight has helped Western scientists solve problems.
I concluded that, to have more creativity in scientific thinking, it would be
smart to fully include intuition and spiritual insight in scientific thinking.
Furthermore, it would be smart to have culturally diverse teams in order to
maximize solving complex problems, such as climate change and quantum physics.
Such an approach would bring many different perspectives, or preconceptions, and
different ways of thinking that would likely lead to better and more
comprehensive or effective solutions.
Honourable senators, Western scientists are beginning to see the value of
traditional Aboriginal environmental knowledge and are actively seeking input,
for example, from the indigenous peoples of the North. It is good to see that
Aboriginal knowledge is finally being recognized as being scientifically valid,
but there is a real danger of exploiting the gatherers and keepers of Aboriginal
knowledge. Such Aboriginal elders, hunters, and others ought to be full partners
in scientific investigations. That is, they should be involved not just in
providing data but in formulating the research questions, designing the methods,
interpreting the data, and making conclusions, and they should receive equitable
benefits, such as sharing authorship and receiving a share of the research funds
to pay for their labour or the expenses incurred in their work with Western
I look forward to the time when Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing are
fully respected and honoured by the Western scientific community.
Hon. Donald H. Oliver: Honourable senators, today marks the last day
of Black History Month. I would like to thank Nova Scotia senators Moore and
Mercer for their contributions to this debate.
One month ago, I rose in the chamber to comment on some of the challenges
African Canadians are facing in today's society, such as racial discrimination
and inequality. The Montreal Gazette published an op-ed piece that I
penned earlier this week on Black History Month. In it, I stated that racism and
prejudice still exist in Canada today because slavery was a common practice
throughout our Canadian history.
There are still some remnants of slavery today. They manifest themselves
through subtle acts of racism and discrimination. Honourable senators, I rise
today to share with you specific examples of some of these acts of racism, to
show you that the sting of racism still exists in Canada today.
First, in September 2011, an officer of the Barrie, Ontario, police service
was under investigation for allegations that he had uttered racial slurs and
made rude gestures at an officer in his command. The 35-year veteran suddenly
resigned after the allegations against him were filed. The OPP are investigating
the complaint, and a private human resources firm is conducting a broader
investigation into the accusations.
On September 20, a 15-year-old Ottawa minor hockey player was the subject of
a racial slur while on the ice. His opponent was suspended for one game and
assigned to sensitivity training for calling him the "N word."
Just days before, honourable senators will remember that the Canadian-born,
Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was the victim of a racist attack
during a pre-season hockey game in London, Ontario. A banana was thrown at him
during a shootout attempt. In a post-game interview, Simmonds said he did not
know that the incident was related to his being Black. He said:
"That's a first for me. I guess it's something I obviously have to deal
with — being a Black player playing in a predominantly White sport."
NBC sports called the act a "shameful, racist display."
Just last week, a Montreal designer made headlines here in Ottawa during
Ottawa Fashion Week for all the wrong reasons.
He sent white models down the runway with painted blackface. The designer
says it was a misunderstanding, and a spokesman said the collection was
unquestionably about art and had no connection with race.
However, the image of White women with painted blackface sends a strong
message and shows a lack of sensitivity and awareness of the history of Blacks
Honourable senators, the four examples I have cited — and there are many
others — confirm the importance of celebrating Black History Month.
There is a need across Canada, and indeed around the world, for greater
cultural awareness and tolerance and, above all, a greater understanding of the
history of Blacks and other minorities and their hardships. Cultural awareness
will allow us to be more tolerant and sensitive towards others and towards their
realities, lifestyles and heritage.
In conclusion, honourable senators, together we must find ways to promote
ethnic diversity and minority inclusion and solutions to eliminating racial
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, today I would like to tell you about a brave and determined young man
who is doing us proud around the world.
Mikaël Kingsbury is a 19-year-old moguls skier from Deux-Montagnes and a
Fondation Élite de Saint-Eustache scholarship recipient. He recently won the
prestigious Crystal Globe, the top prize awarded each year to the moguls world
Mikaël is an exceptional young man. At the Vancouver Olympic Games, he was
not a member of the national team, but his job was to open the course to get it
ready for the competition. His performance was so impressive that experts in the
field said his performance preparing the course would have earned him a
fourth-place finish in the Olympic Games.
Mikaël is now a member of the national team, and he has been so successful
this year that he confirmed his world champion status before the competition
year was out. His performance in Naeba, Japan, was one for the history books. He
had to cope with difficult conditions, including a cold and a dense fog that
tried to slow him down, but he demonstrated the kind of calm that our very best
athletes possess, and he found enough energy to make a noteworthy descent that
any great champion would be proud of.
This season, Mikaël won eight gold medals and one silver in nine
competitions. He accumulated 880 points, while the runner-up managed just 459.
What is most impressive about Mikaël is that his ability to conquer moguls is
exceeded only by his ability to stay grounded. Despite the fact that he is the
youngest skier ever to win the Crystal Globe, his humility and determination are
key to his success and make him a role model for thousands of young Canadians.
As a child, he collected photos of freestyle skiers, hoping just to ski
alongside them one day. Now his dream has taken him to the top of his sport.
Mikaël has shown us that when we believe, when we work tirelessly toward a
specific goal, we are sure to succeed.
This young prodigy does not intend to stop there. He now has a specific goal
in mind: the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. Until then, he will continue
to train and compete in events like the World Cup, much to the delight of his
parents, Robert and Julie, and the entire Canadian freestyle ski team. Mikaël
knows that he has his work cut out for him in Russia. He can continue to count
on the unwavering support of his usual team as well as his fans.
Mikaël is following in the footsteps of Olympic champions like Alexandre
Bilodeau and Jean-Luc Brassard, and he continues to make Canada proud.
Once again, congratulations, Mikaël. We are all so proud of you.
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, today is Pink Tie and Pink
Shirt Day, intended to draw your attention to the issue of bullying.
Honourable senators, it provides me with an opening to tell you of a recent
publication by Anne Huestis Scott, entitled The Boy Who Was Bullied. The
story is about John Peters Humphrey, who was a victim of bullying.
John Humphrey was born in Hampton, New Brunswick. He lost his parents at an
early age and while playing as a young man, he lost his arm. As a result of his
disability he was bullied by his peers as he grew up in this small community. He
was not discouraged by this. Instead, he used the inspiration to help those less
fortunate and to ensure everyone was treated equally. He used this inspiration
to go on and become one of the leaders of the modern human rights system, having
drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1947 while working at the
United Nations with Eleanor Roosevelt.
Scott's book is useful in both documenting the life of a Canadian hero and in
highlighting the reality of bullying and how it can be overcome. The book has
been accepted by the Department of Education in New Brunswick as an educational
resource for schoolteachers. It addresses not only human rights but is very
timely in its focus on the difficult issue of bullying. This book is a resource
to help young Canadians realize that they can overcome childhood bullying and,
like Humphrey, go on to make a contribution bettering the lives of Canadians as
well as others around the world.
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau: Honourable senators, on Monday, February 27,
Halifax NDP Member of Parliament Megan Leslie made a statement in the other
place that senators are so unimportant that she cannot name all the ones from
Nova Scotia. The only three senators she knew were Senators Cowan, Cordy and
Oliver and that they were hard workers. I happen to agree that they work hard,
but it is typical of the NDP that she would only have bothered to learn the
names of senators from the Halifax Regional Municipality. What is striking is
that she cannot name the other senators from Nova Scotia, yet feels completely
qualified to judge the quality of their work. It is typical NDP, to Leslie and
her Nova Scotia provincial NDP government colleagues, that she would only know
the Halifax senators because to Dippers, Nova Scotia is comprised of Halifax.
This is why her Nova Scotia NDP friends eliminated the ferry from Yarmouth to
the United States, with no consultation whatsoever. We never heard a peep from
self-described hard-working Megan Leslie. She blows her own horn that she is
close to the people, but actions speak louder than words. Rather than take
French immersion courses at Université Sainte-Anne in Church Point, Nova Scotia,
one of the finest French language universities in Canada, she takes her French
lessons in Quebec; so much for her support of Nova Scotia. However, to the NDP
nothing of value exists outside of metro Halifax anyway.
Her provincial NDP colleagues have decided to eliminate the decades old
protection of three rural Nova Scotia Acadian and one Black provincial seat in
Nova Scotia. Again, not a word from Leslie on this extremely important subject
to Nova Scotians. She never made a peep when her NDP friends increased the HST
by 2 per cent in Nova Scotia.
Leslie parrots her party's position on abolishing the Senate in favour of
handing over increased political powers in Ottawa to the more populated regions
of Canada. Atlantic Canada senators now make up approximately 28.5 per cent of
the Senate. This is 28.5 percent of the power of one of the two houses of
In the House of Commons after the next election, Atlantic Canada
representation will be down to 9.5 per cent. The future will not get any better.
However, the Dipper wants to abolish our regional political clout. The scary
part about Dippers like Leslie is that they do not know any better. They
actually believe their own ideologically driven rhetoric. This is the same
Dipper who went to Washington to lobby to kill the Keystone pipeline project and
badmouth the Alberta oil sands, an industry which drives the Canadian economy.
To lobby in a foreign country against the interests of your own nation seems
like very poor judgment to me.
Leslie might talk to the more seasoned colleagues in her caucus, like Peter
Stoffer, who makes it a point to be familiar with and respectful of members and
senators of all sides. He may not always agree with us, but he has the courtesy
and decency to know our names before he criticizes us. Honourable senators, it
makes one almost wish for the reform of the Commons.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to
celebrate the last day of Black History Month and talk about the great
historical contributions Black Canadian youth have made in our country. For a
number of years now I have had the honour and privilege of working with many
young Black Canadians on a variety of projects. I have watched with great
admiration the contributions these young people have made in their communities
and to our country. Although I recognize that Black History Month is a time
where we reflect on the contributions Black Canadians have made in our country
and celebrate their achievements, I think it is important to also recognize the
challenges that many of them continue to face.
My daughter Farzana is a member of the country's Black community and I have
witnessed firsthand the challenges she has faced because of the colour of her
skin. Throughout her childhood, she was left out and not invited to birthday
parties and other events for the sole reason that she looked different from her
friends. She suffered other forms of racism because she was Black. Fortunately
Farzana, like many other Black Canadians, triumphed in spite of these social
challenges. However, many Black Canadians have not.
Over the last few weeks as a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs, I have studied Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and
Communities Act. During this time I interacted with a movement called Blacks
Behind Bars who educated me on the overrepresentation of Black Canadians in our
prisons and the negative impact this bill will have on all minorities in Canada.
Honourable senators, as we celebrate Black History Month, we must remember
that we, the senators, have a duty to protect all Canadian citizens,
particularly minorities. This includes Black Canadians.
When I was a young girl, my father wanted me to be a politician and my mother
wanted me to be a pianist. Although it may be obvious who won that battle, for a
number of years I did attempt to learn how to play the piano. I remember arguing
with my mother when she would force me to practise. I never really enjoyed
playing the piano, and in an effort to rebel against my mother, I often used to
play only on the black keys or only on the white keys. This, of course, produced
a very unpleasant sound. However, it also taught me an important lesson: In
life, like in music, you must not only play on the black keys or only on the
white ones as this will never create harmony.
As we celebrate Black History Month, I urge all honourable senators to
recognize the importance of coming together and putting aside our differences in
an effort to create a society that lives in harmony — a harmonious Canada.
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I rise to draw your
attention to North Koreans detained in China who face torture, imprisonment and
possible execution if returned to their country of origin.
Every year, between 2,000 and 3,000 North Koreans attempt to escape
impoverishment and subjugation in their country. An underground railroad takes
them through China and Southeast Asia, often to friends and family in South
Korea. Some, caught in transit, never reach their destination. China has a
policy of forcibly repatriating undocumented North Koreans.
Earlier this month, Chinese authorities detained some 30 North Korean
defectors. Several are reportedly children with parents in South Korea.
Yesterday, Amnesty International said nine of those detained had been sent back.
They will be the first to be returned since the new leader has come into place
and has threatened to treat as war criminals anyone caught trying to cross into
China during the 100 days of national mourning following the death of his
South Korea raised the plight of the defectors this Monday at a high-level
session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It followed the adoption last
Friday of a resolution urging China to change its policy on North Korean
defectors by a South Korean parliamentary committee.
The resolution's sponsor, legislator Park Sun-Young, has been on a hunger
strike for nine days and living in a tent outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul,
to draw attention to the issue. The United Nations Refugee Agency last week
urged China to uphold its obligation as a state party to the United Nations
Refugee Convention and not forcibly return North Koreans to a country where they
will face persecution, if not death.
I ask you to join me here in the Senate in calling on China to observe its
obligations toward North Korean refugees under international human rights law.
Hon. Bert Brown: Honourable senators, I rise to give you some figures
from the Canadian Energy Research Institute regarding Canada's oil sands boom.
Alberta is not the only jurisdiction to revel in bitumen wealth. Here are the
estimated gains the oil industry will have provided to the rest of Canada
between 2010 and 2035. The percentages of jobs outside of Alberta are as
follows: Ontario will get 52 per cent; British Columbia will get 25 per cent;
Quebec will get 13 per cent; and the rest of Canada will get 10 per cent.
The total estimated GDP of the Canadian oil sands will be $2.1 trillion. The
total combined taxes paid will be $311 billion in federal taxes, $105 billion in
provincial taxes and $350 billion in provincial royalties; and the United States
will get $521 billion.
The employment in the United States is expected to grow from 21,000 to
465,000. It is estimated that for every two jobs created in Canada, one will be
created in the United States. Employment in Canada is expected to grow from
75,000 to 905,000, and 126,000 of that will be outside of Alberta. Employees
will earn approximately $25 billion per year.
The supplies and services the industry will purchase outside of Alberta will
be as follows: Ontario, $63 billion; B.C., $28 billion; Quebec, $14 billion; and
the rest of Canada, $12 billion.
Hon. David Tkachuk, Chair of the Standing Committee on Internal
Economy, Budgets and Administration, presented the following report:
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration
has the honour to present its
Your Committee has approved the Senate Main Estimates for the fiscal year
2012-2013 and recommends their adoption. (Annex A)
Your Committee notes that the proposed total budget is $92,216,846.
An overview of the 2012-2013 budget will be forwarded to every Senator's
(For text of report, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix,
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this report be
taken into consideration?
(On motion of Senator Tkachuk, report placed on the Orders of the Day for
consideration at the next sitting of the Senate.)
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government) presented Bill
S-8, An Act respecting the safety of drinking water on First Nation lands.
(Bill read first time.)
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, when shall this bill be
read the second time?
(On motion of Senator Carignan, bill placed on the Orders of the Day for
second reading two days hence.)
Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk: Honourable senators, I have the honour to
table, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian parliamentary
delegation of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association on the Bilateral
Visits to the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of South Sudan, held in
Nairobi, Republic of Kenya and Juba, Republic of South Sudan, from January 17 to
Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the
next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be
authorized to examine and report on the state of Canada's defence and
security relationships with the United States; and
That the Committee present its final report to the Senate no later than
December 31, 2013 and that the Committee retain, until March 31, 2014, all
powers necessary to publicize its findings.
Hon. Pamela Wallin: Honourable senators, I give notice that, at the
next sitting of the Senate, I will move:
That the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence be
authorized to examine and report on the status of, and lessons learned,
during Canadian Forces operations in Afghanistan; and
That the Committee present its final report to the Senate no later than
December 31, 2013 and that the Committee retain, until March 31, 2014, all
powers necessary to publicize its findings.
Hon. Richard Neufeld: Honourable senators, I give notice that, two
I will call the attention of the Senate to the issue of liquefied natural
gas in Canada and its associated benefits.
Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston: Honourable senators, one year ago I stood here
and asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate about the Nutrition North
Canada program. This program was instituted by the federal government to provide
fresh nutritious food to the remote northern communities. It was a subsidized
program for things like vegetables, fruits and milk to remote communities
because these sorts of foods are not readily available in the North, and it
costs a lot to transport them there.
The government last winter stopped the program and started another program
with some differences. In any case, it is clear that despite the amendments made
to the program in March 2011, things are not working as they should.
Recently, MLAs from all three territories and Northern Quebec have sent
messages to the federal ministers concerned saying that the program is not
working. In many cases, despite the subsidy, the food in the stores has not gone
down. There have been complaints by people, and those, in turn, were sent to the
ministers by the MLAs.
Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate see about investigating those
complaints, talk to her ministerial colleagues who are responsible, and see what
can be done to ensure that the program is effective in providing cheap and
healthy foods to the people of the North?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
I appreciate the honourable senator's ongoing interest and concern about this
very important issue.
Obviously, our government, as all of us would be, is committed to providing
northerners with healthy food choices at affordable prices.
As the honourable senator alluded in his question, we have been working with
Northerners, retailers and suppliers. We created the advisory board made up
primarily of Northerners so that stakeholders' concerns could be brought
directly to the centre and could provide recommendations to ensure that the
program continues to develop in a positive way that will bring necessary foods
to the North.
We have listened to many concerns and have acted on many of them. One of the
recommendations we received and upon which we acted was that important food such
as baby food is subsidized.
Honourable senators, this program still requires some work, but we have gone
some way to delivering good, fresh food to the North and ensuring it is as
affordable as possible for the people who live there.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): My question
is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In an open letter to the
Prime Minister dated February 16, scientists belonging to six Canadian
professional organizations pointed out that, since coming to power in 2006, the
government has erected a veritable wall between Canadians and publicly funded
The letter speaks about how, since 2006, communications about the research
findings of federal scientists have turned into public relations efforts.
I would like to quote a passage from that letter.
Despite promises that your majority government would follow principles of
accountability and transparency, federal scientists in Canada are still not
allowed to speak to reporters without the "consent" of media relations
officers. Delays in obtaining interviews are often unacceptable and
journalists are routinely denied interviews. Increasingly, journalists have
simply given up trying to access federal scientists, while scientists at
work in federal departments are under undue pressure in an atmosphere
dominated by political messaging.
Publicly funded research must not serve political interests, but the
interests of science and public debate, which require the free flow of
Why has the government implemented a policy that censors these researchers
and is criticized by scientists and the media alike?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators,
that quote reminds me of what my father used to say to me: Believe 98 per cent
of what you see and only 4 per cent of what you read.
The fact of the matter is, honourable senators — and I have answered this
question before — ministers in this government are the primary spokesperson for
their departments, as was the case in the previous government. Scientists share
research material and publish research findings, and scientists working for the
Government of Canada grant hundreds of interviews to discuss their work. For
instance, Fisheries and Oceans scientists responded to approximately 380
science-based media calls annually. Last year, Environment Canada officials
completed over 1,200 media interviews, including more than 325 interviews with
departmental scientists. Therefore, I believe the premise of the honourable
senator's question and the accusations she makes are quite false.
Senator Tardif: Honourable senators, I am not the one making these
accusations. This letter addressed to the Prime Minister was sent and signed by
the president of the Association des communicateurs scientifiques du Québec, the
president of the Association science et bien commun, the president of Canadian
Journalists for Free Expression, the president of the Canadian Science Writers'
Association, the executive director of the World Federation of Science
Journalists and the president of The Professional Institute of the Public
Service of Canada. These six professional organizations are calling for a review
of Canada's communication policy.
When will the government act with the transparency it promised and review its
communication policy in order to restore freedom of expression to Canadian
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I wonder if this same group
sent a similar letter to the previous government because ministers in the
government are primarily responsible for answering for their departments and
that has not changed. This has been the case with our government; it was the
case with the short-lived Martin government; and it was the case with the
To these people who signed the letter, I would simply say they should check
their facts because they are clearly misinformed and the numbers I put on the
record speak for themselves. There have been many interviews, and scientists
have had direct access to the media, so perhaps they should check their facts
before writing letters asking for a change in policy.
Hon. Joan Fraser: Honourable senators, just to zero in on the leader's
facts, in her answer to Senator Tardif's first question the leader cited
statistics, as I heard her, for the number of officials of various departments
who have given interviews. I would have to assume that would include
How many scientists are free to respond to inquiries from the press about
their work, not about department policy but just about the results of their
research, without having prior clearance on the questions and the answers from
Senator LeBreton: If the honourable senator had been listening, I did
not just say "officials." I cited 325 interviews with "scientists" from
Senator Fraser: She said "officials."
Senator LeBreton: I said "scientists," I believe.
Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader
of the Government in the Senate and has to do with the redistribution of federal
electoral boundaries and, more specifically, the process for appointing members
to those commissions.
As you know, the Speaker of the House of Commons has chosen and appointed the
20 members who will now sit on these 10 commissions. These commissions are
responsible for redrawing the federal electoral map and holding public hearings
to hear testimony and present the new federal electoral map.
How were the names of these newly appointed members obtained? What was the
process? Were there any interviews conducted, recommendations made, or CVs
obtained? If you do not have the answers, could you get the information?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Obviously, I would
not have that kind of detail at my fingertips, as honourable senators can
understand. Through Parliament we passed a piece of legislation to increase the
number of seats to ensure that the growing provinces' populations are properly
reflected in the number of seats in the House of Commons. A process is followed,
as the honourable senator quite correctly pointed out, through the Speaker of
the other place. This has always been the case.
In terms of the exact process, honourable senators, I do not have the
details, but I will be very happy to take the question as notice.
Senator Chaput: I would like to ask a supplementary question. This
review takes place every 10 years and has a major impact on the democratic
process. These commissions have the obligation to consider communities of
interest and the rights of official language minority communities. How did you
ensure that these 20 members are a diverse group? Were there directives in this
regard, and if so, by whom were they issued?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the people who have been tasked
with the responsibility for redrawing Canada's electoral boundaries would take
into consideration all of the factors that are required to ensure the boundaries
are properly constituted.
I have great faith in the people who put their names forward and agree to
perform these tasks on behalf of the population of Canada. All who undertake
such responsibilities act in good faith. However, if there is any further
information that I am able to acquire, I would be happy to do so.
Hon. Claudette Tardif (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable
senators, as a result of complaints that official language minority communities
were not taken into account during the last redistribution process, the
Commissioner of Official Languages recommended that the Electoral Boundaries
Readjustment Act be amended in order to ensure that these communities would be
clearly identified and included in the definitions of "community of interest"
or "community of identity" to be taken into account during the redistribution
The government still has not implemented the commissioner's recommendations,
which date back to 2006. Since it is too late to make such amendments to the
legislation in time for the upcoming redistribution, will the government ensure
that these commissions take official language minority communities into account
during this process?
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, that is interesting, but I do
not believe this government was the government in office when the boundaries
were last redrawn. If the Commissioner of Official Languages has some particular
complaints, perhaps she should look in a mirror.
As the honourable senator states, the Commissioner of Official Languages made
some recommendations in 2006, which happened to be the year that we formed the
government. I am quite confident that the individuals responsible for redrawing
the boundaries will take into consideration the representations of the
Commissioner of Official Languages. As the honourable senator mentioned, there
are public hearings into the various boundaries. I am sure that if people find
that an area is not addressed properly, they will have ample opportunity to do
Senator Chaput: The leader reminded me of something, and that is that
there will be public hearings. She can be certain that the communities will
react. I learned that the commissions were going to hold only one public hearing
in each province. Is this true? And, if so, how will this one public hearing be
announced? Will the communities have enough time to prepare?
Senator LeBreton: I assume the honourable senator is asking about a
process that happened before we formed the government. I cannot answer for the
previous government. The honourable senator will have to check the records in
the archives to see what happened.
There is a process for public hearings, and I will add a request for further
information on that process when a written response is prepared for the
Senator Chaput: I did not really understand the government leader's
response. I do not know if she was talking about what will happen now. Will the
current commissions hold a single public hearing in each province or not?
I might add that, despite my political affiliation, my question is
non-partisan in nature. I asked the same questions in the past, before I became
a senator and when these public hearings were being held at a time when the
other party was in power. I voiced my concerns at that time. What I am saying is
non-partisan. I am concerned only about the rights of official language
communities, knowing very well that quite often, when no one is talking about
something, it is forgotten.
I would like to reiterate my question. Are the existing commissions going to
hold only one public hearing or several? Will those public hearings be announced
in a manner that gives the communities time to prepare their response?
Senator LeBreton: I thank the honourable senator, but I thought I
answered that. I made reference to what happened in the past, and I offered to
add information about the process for public hearings in the written response to
the honourable senator.
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for
the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Quebec media recently reported
its concern about how long it takes to update the criminal records of
francophone criminals. It can take up to 55 months, compared to just 34 months
for the criminal records of anglophone criminals.
Some 420,000 criminal records of francophone Canadians are waiting to be
updated right now in Canada. In a report released last June, the Auditor General
of Canada said the RCMP was to blame. The time it takes to update criminal
records has quadrupled since 2005, in other words, since the last Liberal
government. I am not blaming the RCMP, because it needs resources in order to
get this done.
While the Conservative Party has joined forces with the National Rifle
Association to deregulate gun ownership in Canada, while it insists on minimum
sentences for purely ideological reasons, while it wastes taxpayers' money on
building ineffective, unnecessary megaprisons, can the Leader of the Government
tell us when the government will finally get serious about victims and public
safety and give its administration the resources it needs to operate?
Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): The honourable
senator cited statistics in the Province of Quebec for a process over which the
RCMP has jurisdiction. I will seek to obtain an answer for the honourable
In terms of victims of crimes, this government has taken great steps forward
with the whole issue of compensating and dealing with victims of crime, while
ensuring that the perpetrators of these crimes are properly incarcerated.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: The problem seems to stem from the ability
of the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services, which is overseen by
the RCMP, to process francophone files. It seems to me that the organization
should be able to find enough employees in Canada who can at least speak French
and English, because in general, people are bilingual.
Police officers are already worried about the idea of getting rid of the gun
registry. They are also worried about having to work in an unsafe environment
because criminal records are not up to date. As the president of the Fraternité
des policiers de Montréal, Yves Francoeur, said:
Information is key to public safety, and up-to-date information is
Can the government leader tell us how the Conservative government plans to
tackle Canada's real public safety problems? When will the government stop
saying that it is investing plenty of money for victims, when the amount
allocated to victims is negligible compared to what is spent on those serving
Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I would like Senator
Hervieux-Payette to tell me where all these new penitentiaries are. Where are
these phantom penitentiaries? There are none. The fact is that through Bill C-10
and various initiatives taken by the government, and thanks to our colleague
Senator Boisvenu who has been one of the leaders in this area, especially in the
province of Quebec, the government is working extremely hard not only to ensure
that people who perpetrate violent crimes against their victims are properly
incarcerated, but also that victims' voices are heard and properly acknowledged
in our system of justice.
The honourable senator made reference to the records and she seemed to cite
some difficulties in terms of delays within the RCMP. I can only say to the
honourable senator that I will have to get more information from the Department
of Public Safety on that.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I understand that the leader cannot give us
the figure for the new prisons, and it will probably not be in the budget
because that weight will be put on the shoulders of the provinces. Most of the
time these minimal sentences will provide for those who are convicted to be
jailed. I can quote the number given by the Minister of Justice for Ontario
yesterday. The minister said it would cost $1.2 billion, and that is just for
one province. Multiply by four and we are close to a $5-billion figure that was
As far as I am concerned, the leader cannot address the question by checking
it off as though her government is not responsible for its policy. The
government should either pay for it or change the policy that no one agrees
Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator keeps perpetrating this myth
that new penitentiaries are being built. Please tell me where they are. I would
be interested in having a look at them.
I saw Madeleine Meilleur's statements yesterday. It is typical to hear
misinformation like that from a minister in the McGuinty government. She is just
following the lead of her own premier. However, I think it is safe to say that
the cost of crime on our system and for the victims far exceeds the cost of
The honourable senator mentioned the province of Ontario. Since taking
office, our government has increased support payments to the Province of Ontario
— get this Senator Hervieux-Payette — 77 per cent, or by nearly $8.4 billion.
Toughening sentences does not create new criminals; it simply keeps criminals in
jail for a more appropriate length of time.
I again point out to honourable senators that when we ran in the May 2011
election, when we ran in 2008 and when we ran in 2006, we made it very clear
that this government was finally going to take criminal activity seriously and
do something about it.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Perhaps the leader can explain what will
happen to the 420,000 cases that have not been dealt with. One must understand
these people will have a hard time finding a job, will not necessarily be
productive and will be excluded from making a living once they return to
society. These cases must be solved immediately, and this is a responsibility of
the federal government. They cannot throw that back in the courtyard of the
When will the government deal with these 420,000 cases and make sure that the
inquiry is done, the report is done, and these people are free to work in the
regular labour market?
Senator LeBreton: I believe I acknowledged that I would have to go
back and get information on the numbers that the honourable senator cites for
the province of Quebec. I did undertake to seek more information and provide a
written response. That is all I can really add at this point in time.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table the answer to the oral question asked by
the Honourable Senator Hubley on February 16, 2012, concerning heritage
(Response to question raised by Hon. Elizabeth Hubley on February 16,
The Report on the Implementation of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection
Act was adopted by the Senate on October 20, 2011. The Government is
closely examining each of the recommendations contained in the report which
pertain to both the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Parks Canada
Agency. An official government response is due to be tabled in the Senate
prior to March 18, 2012. The Government recognizes the historical importance
of Canada's lighthouses as a symbol of our nation's maritime heritage.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I would like to inform the Senate that, pursuant to rule 27(1), when
we proceed to Government Business, the Senate will address the items in the
following order: first, consideration of the ninth report of the Standing Senate
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, then Bill C-10, followed by all
other items according to the order in which they appear on the Order Paper.
The Senate proceeded to consideration of the ninth report of the Standing
Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (Bill C-10, An Act to enact
the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act,
the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and
Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and
Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, with amendments and observations),
presented in the Senate on February 28, 2012.
Hon. John D. Wallace moved the adoption of the report.
He said: Honourable senators, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to
speak to the ninth report of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs. That report, of course, is in regard to our study in
consideration of Bill C-10. I will explain to honourable senators the amendments
that were recommended and approved by our committee, and I will take them
through each of those in a moment.
Before doing so, I want to say that we went through a rather exhaustive
process over the last four weeks as a committee to consider the bill. In
particular, last week we had all-day sessions through the week. I do not say
that for anyone to pat us on the back for it; that is what we are here to do and
that is the work we do. However, I do want to say that I and I believe all our
colleagues on the committee found it to be a very positive experience. I say
that because of the work and the focus on the subject matter that was really
apparent. It was obviously apparent on this side of the chamber and equally so
on the other side of the chamber.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the continuing contribution of
Senator Fraser, our deputy chair, who always brings a thoughtful approach. When
I was deputy chair and she was chair I learned a great deal from her, and that
leadership was very evident last week.
As well, I want to acknowledge the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate,
Senator Cowan, who is an ex officio member. He was with us all through the week
and contributed in an extremely positive and constructive way. At the end of it,
did we all agree on the conclusions? No, we did not, but there were very few if
any stones that I felt were left unturned. Therefore I acknowledge and thank all
members of the committee, including those I mentioned that are opposite.
As I believe honourable senators are aware, Bill C-10 brought together nine
previous bills that had been presented to Parliament and not passed, covered a
variety of topics — topics that related to victims of terrorism, vulnerable
foreign workers, international transfer of offenders, controlled drugs, sexual
offences against children, youth criminal justice, house arrest, parole and
pardon. It was a comprehensive and all-inclusive study.
The conclusion of our committee was that we believed certain amendments were
required to the bill. Our committee approved or passed six separate amendments,
and I would like now to take honourable senators through each of those and
describe the nature of them.
The first amendment was in respect of clause 2 of Bill C-10. This amendment
to clause 2 would allow the victims of terrorism to sue listed foreign states
not only for supporting terrorism but also for directly committing an act of
terrorism. This particular amendment expands the cause of action created by the
justice for victims of terrorism act to allow victims of terrorism to file an
action against a listed foreign state for directly committing an act of
The second amendment was in respect of clause 3.1 of Bill C-10. New clause
3.1 defines what is considered to be "'terrorist activity' in respect of a
foreign state." This amendment was considered necessary because the state
immunity of listed foreign states would be lifted for their terrorist activity
as opposed to only being in respect of the support of terrorist activity.
The third amendment is in respect of clause 5 of Bill C-10. This amendment
specifies, in the State Immunity Act, that a listed foreign state's immunity is
lifted not only for providing support to terrorism but also for committing
terrorist activities. This would allow a Canadian court to hear an action
against a listed foreign state for these two reasons; that is, support and
The fourth amendment is in respect of clause 6 of Bill C-10. This amendment
would modify subsection 11(3) of the State Immunity Act to add that a listed
foreign state does not benefit from immunity in respect of an action brought
against it for its terrorist activity. This means that a successful plaintiff
could ask the court for an injunction, specific performance or to recover land
or property against a listed foreign state where a successful judgment was
registered against it for its support of terrorism or its terrorist activity.
Originally, Bill C-10 only allowed this for the listed state's support of
The fifth amendment is in respect of clause 7 of Bill C-10. Sub-clause (a)
of the amendment to clause 7 would modify subsection 12(1)(b) of the
State Community Act to allow for the seizure of property under Canadian
jurisdiction of a listed foreign state that is used or intended to be used for
its terrorist activities. Originally, Bill C-10 only allowed for the seizure of
property that was used or intended to be used by that listed foreign state for
its support of terrorism.
Sub-clause (b) of this amendment would modify subsection 12(1)(d)
of the State Immunity Act by adding a new circumstance where the property of a
listed foreign state could be seized; namely, when the remedy is executed to
satisfy a judgment issued against a listed foreign state for its terrorist
activity. However, this subsection specified that property having cultural or
historical value could not be seized. Originally, Bill C-10 only allowed for
such seizure where a judgment was issued against a listed foreign state for its
support of terrorism.
Finally, the sixth amendment is in respect of clause 9 of Bill C-10. This
amendment to clause 9 would modify subsection 13(2) of the State Immunity Act to
specify that the court could impose penalties or fines against a listed foreign
state for failing to produce any document or other information in the course of
proceedings before the court for its terrorist activity. Originally, Bill C-10
only allowed this for the listed foreign state's support of terrorism.
Honourable senators, that is the description and the rationale behind our
passing of those six amendments. In addition, we had no shortage of discussion
on all the key issues involved with this bill. Those issues were the subject of
proposed amendments, but the only amendments that were approved by the committee
were those I have just described.
The committee learned such a great deal that going forward we want to bring
key issues to the attention of both houses of Parliament. We felt very strongly
that further work must be done on many of the issues that were brought before
us. As a result of that, we made a series of observations upon which I will
The first observation concerns the issue of mental illness which,
unfortunately, is prevalent among incarcerated offenders. Treatment for their
mental illness is a real concern. The committee feels very strongly that more
must be done from two perspectives. There is an obligation for society to do
what we can to assist these people, but we also have an obligation for the
protection of society. We want to eliminate repeat offences as much as possible.
To have offenders with mental illnesses serve their sentences only to go back
into the community is a concern.
We feel this issue should be addressed immediately. We urge the Correctional
Service of Canada to address it urgently. As was pointed out by witnesses, in
particular Dr. Bradford from Brockville, there are alternative service delivery
treatment options that have proven to be effective. The St. Lawrence Valley
Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville is an example of one.
Our conclusion was that these optional treatments should be looked at and
followed up on immediately. We urge the Correctional Service of Canada to take a
very strong lead in examining them and, where appropriate, implementing them.
The second observation is in respect of the circumstances of Aboriginal
Canadians, both from the perspective of incarcerated Aboriginals and Aboriginal
victims. The testimony we heard made it clear that there is a considerably
greater percentage of both in Aboriginal communities than in other parts of
Canada. That is a serious concern of ours, as I am sure it is a serious concern
of the government. It is one thing to be concerned about it and another thing to
do something about it. The committee believes that corrective action should be
taken on an urgent basis. This will require major societal effort, not only by
the federal government but also by the provincial and territorial governments
and community organizations. It is time to get on with it. We heard testimony
from National Chief Atleo, for whom we have great respect, and I think we have a
full appreciation of the circumstances of Aboriginal Canadians.
We also heard testimony from victims of crime. Their testimony was heart
wrenching and it left a very strong impact on all of us. The experiences that
some of these victims went through were horrendous, but they were not looking
for vengeance or pity. To a person, they want the system corrected. They want to
reduce victimization. From their experiences they have learned so much that they
felt we should know and consider when we are crafting legislation. That had a
tremendous impact upon us.
The committee strongly believes that additional effective measures are needed
to help victims. This is another matter that involves jurisdictions across the
country. It will not be dealt with only under the authority of the federal
government. Again, it must involve federal, provincial and territorial
governments and communities, and the exchange of ideas and solutions should
occur among all levels and include the victims.
On our final observation, the bill provides for youth offenders in certain
circumstances who serve their sentences in youth detention to be transferred at
age 18 to adult jails or penitentiaries. A very thoughtful concern came out. In
many cases, we heard testimony that very good rehabilitative work takes place
with the youth when they are incarcerated in youth facilities. When they move to
an adult institution, those rehabilitative efforts may end. One of our senators
felt strongly — Senator Fraser brought that to our attention — that transitional
programs should be in place for youth who, at age 18, find themselves in adult
institutions. That was an excellent suggestion.
There is a final thing, and I will touch on it briefly.
The Hon. the Speaker: I regret to advise the honourable senator that
the 15 minutes allotted have expired.
Senator Cowan: We will allow five more minutes.
Senator Wallace: Thank you.
I realize that in all likelihood many of these issues will be discussed in
further detail at third reading, so I will not go into some of this in detail.
It was certainly important to us on the committee, and I know within the
steering committee that consisted of Deputy Chair Fraser and Senator Boisvenu,
and there was a strong feeling that we had to analyze the key issues within the
bill. As I say, there were nine different components. We wanted to ensure that
we had evidence before the committee that would delve into all of the issues we
could identify within those nine portions of the bill. We wanted to make
absolutely certain that we were not gearing it to any conclusions, so we went to
great lengths to find a balance — I think we were reasonably successful — on the
arguments for and against.
That evidence was brought forward through a full range of witnesses, ranging
from government officials involved with the ministries; law enforcement;
victims' organizations; those who support offenders, such as The John Howard
Society of Canada and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies;
academics; and NGOs. The testimony we heard came from all segments of society
that would have interest in these issues.
As I said earlier, having gone through that process, I learned a great deal.
I certainly knew more when I came out of the other end of that process than I
did when I went in.
As a committee, did we agree on everything; were we unanimous? No, we were
not. However, even where there was not agreement, and I was really impressed
with this, when issues and suggestions were put forward, the response, without
exception, was intelligent and measured. It was not simply, "No, that is it."
That worked back and forth on both sides.
In any event, I will leave it at that. With nine previous bills included in
Bill C-10, there is obviously a lot to be said, but hopefully that gives
honourable senators a feeling of the process we went through to get to this
Hon. Joan Fraser: Would Senator Wallace take a question?
Senator Wallace: Certainly.
Senator Fraser: It is a friendly question; we will get into other
matters in later debate. Before I put it, I would like to thank him for his kind
words about the senators on our side and about me, and I would like to return
the compliment. We all know the chair sets the tone in very great measure in
committees. Taking us through last week during what were very long hours but
basically at a break-neck pace, when one considers that we were looking at nine
bills, the chair kept us on track and kept us from losing our tempers or
becoming extra emotional when discussing some of the subjects that go to
deeply-held principles on both sides. That was not easy. I congratulate the
senator on his success.
We all know that senators, no matter how hard they work — and we did work
very hard — are lost without the support of our own staff, all of whom I know
have been thanked profusely by the individual senators, and rightly so, , but
also the Senate staff. Our Senate staff support for the committee last week had
to be extraordinary. I wonder if Senator Wallace will join me in putting on the
record our formal recognition of the extraordinary work and excellent support
they gave us, in particular the amazing quantity and quality of work done by our
clerk, Shaila Anwar.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Wallace: I truly thank the honourable senator for that
question. Absolutely, and our clerk was fabulous — the hours she worked. Emails
came to us at midnight; she was tremendous and kept us on track.
I thank the honourable senator as well. As she does many times when there is
something that I slip up on, as I just did — I was remiss in not mentioning that
— she covers me on my shortcomings. I thank her for that.
The Hon. the Speaker: Continuing debate.
Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I
will have a slightly longer intervention tomorrow, but today I did want to thank
Senator Wallace for what I thought was a very clear and fair explanation of the
amendments approved at the committee level and recommended to the house in the
I wanted to point out that those were essentially the amendments that had
been proposed by the government at third reading in the other place and had been
rejected because the Speaker of the other place concluded that they should have
been presented, or could have been presented, at committee stage. I would be
remiss if I did not point out that they were essentially the same amendments
that had been proposed by Irwin Cotler in an attempt to improve one of the good
parts of this bill in dealing with terrorism and victims of terrorism, and
amendments to the State Indemnity Act.
We on this side were pleased to support those amendments. We were
disappointed that the committee did not see fit to support any of the amendments
proposed from our side, which in our view would have made the legislation more
effective and better able to address the issues the government and all of us
want to address, and that is to make our streets and our communities safer.
I will have more to say about that tomorrow, but for today I simply wanted to
thank Senator Wallace for his kind words about the work of the committee. I
wanted to endorse those words and to thank him for his leadership of the
committee and for the clear way in which he presented not only the amendments
and the rationale behind them but the observations as well.
As honourable senators participate in the debate — those who were there,
particularly last week, and other senators — they will see that some deeply
troubling issues are outside the purview of Bill C-10. Perhaps they are outside
the purview of the legislative capacity of the Parliament of Canada, but they
are issues that are deeply troubling in our society. To the extent that we, as
legislators in the federal sphere, can do something about addressing those
issues from a legislative point of view, or pointing out those issues and
stressing the importance of them to other elements of society, other
jurisdictions and those in the non-governmental sector, then we have a
responsibility to do that. I hope that we will be able to persuade other
honourable senators who were not part of this to take a similar view.
With those words, honourable senators, I move the adjournment of the debate
for the balance of my time.
(On motion of Senator Cowan, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, after holding discussions with the deputy leader of the opposition on
setting a period of time for the debate on report stage and third reading of
Bill C-10 and failing to agree, I give notice that at the next sitting of the
Senate, I will move:
That, pursuant to rule 39, a single period of a further six hours of
debate, in total, be allocated to dispose of both the report and third
reading stages of Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of
Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release
Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection
Act and other Acts;
That, if debate on report stage comes to an end before the expiration of
the six hours, the Speaker shall put forthwith and successively every
question necessary to dispose of report stage in accordance with rule 39(4);
That, if debate on third reading comes to an end before the expiration of
the six hours, the Speaker shall put forthwith and successively every
question necessary to dispose of third reading in accordance with rule
That at the expiration of the six hours of debate the Speaker shall
interrupt, if required, any proceedings then before the Senate and put
forthwith and successively all questions necessary to dispose of report
stage, if not yet disposed of, and third reading in accordance with rule
Hon. Linda Frum moved second reading of Bill S-7, An Act to amend the
Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Security of Information Act.
She said: Honourable senators, I am pleased to initiate the second reading
debate on Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act
and the Security of Information Act.
This bill proposes to re-enact the provisions found in former Bill C-17 from
the last session of Parliament which focus on the investigative hearing and the
recognizance-with-conditions provisions that sunsetted in 2007. It also responds
to recommendations of the parliamentary review of the Anti-terrorism Act, which
took place between 2004 and 2007, and includes additional improvements to the
Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Security of Information Act.
I would like to begin my remarks by noting the unique nature of terrorism
offences. The Ontario Court of Appeal, in the 2010 decision of R v. Khawaja
To be sure, terrorism is a crime unto itself. It has no equal. It does
not stop at, nor is it limited to, the senseless destruction of people and
property. It is far more insidious in that it attacks our very way of life
and seeks to destroy the fundamental values to which we ascribe — values
that form the essence of our constitutional democracy.
Terrorists live by a philosophy that rejects the democratic process and their
motivation is fundamentally at odds with the rule of law. Acts of terrorism
attack the very fabric of Canada's democratic ideals.
In the post-9/11 environment, the Canadian public expects law enforcement to
adopt a proactive posture in order to disrupt terrorist plots before attacks
occur. The goal of the Anti-terrorism Act was to prevent terrorist acts before
they take place.
We must never become complacent. Canada is in no way immune to radicalization
and its potential for violence. One example of homegrown violent extremists here
in Canada is the Project OSAGE investigation, better known to many Canadians as
the Toronto 18 cases. This investigation led to the arrest of 18 individuals in
the summer of 2006. Zakaria Amara, one of the leaders of the Toronto 18, planned
what he called the "Battle of Toronto," in which truck bombs would be
detonated in the downtown area, destroying the Toronto Stock Exchange and CSIS
regional office, causing multiple deaths and injuries. Another bomb would have
been detonated at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.
While the terrorism threat continues, it is also evolving and transforming in
ways that present new challenges. Another area of increasing concern and focus
for this government is the recruitment of Canadians by terrorist groups who urge
them to travel overseas to fight and engage in terrorist activity. These young
people may not have any links or connections to terrorist groups or activities
and may, in fact, be acting alone.
Honourable senators have likely heard of recruiting efforts by groups like
Al-Shabab, a terrorist group operating in Somalia. Al-Shabab has one of the
most effective Internet recruitment programs developed by extremist groups. It
uses the Internet to encourage young people, including young Canadians, to leave
their homes to engage in terrorist activities in Somalia and provides training
for them in Somalia.
In response to this phenomenon, this bill proposes to create new substantive
offences of leaving Canada or attempting to leave Canada to commit various
existing terrorism offences. It would now be a specific offence to leave Canada
or attempt to leave Canada to: (a) participate in any activity of a
terrorist group; (b) facilitate a terrorist activity; (c) commit an indictable
offence for the benefit of a terrorist group; and (d) commit an indictable
offence that is also a terrorist activity.
The offence of leaving Canada or attempting to leave Canada to participate in
any activity of a terrorist group would carry a maximum penalty of 10 years
imprisonment. The other new offences would carry maximum penalties of 14 years
As noted previously, the horrific nature of terrorism requires a proactive
and preventive approach. These new offences will allow law enforcement to
continue to intervene at an early stage in the planning process to prevent
terrorist acts from being carried out. The new offences would send a strong
deterrent message, would potentially assist with threat mitigation and would
make available a higher maximum penalty than would otherwise apply.
In addition to the creation of these new offences, the bill proposes an
amendment to the harbouring offence, currently found in section 83.23 of the
Criminal Code, to change the maximum penalty from 10 to 14 years where the
applicable terrorist activity constitutes a terrorism offence for which the
person is liable to imprisonment for life. In all other cases, the maximum
personality for section 83.23 would remain 10 years. A similar change would be
made to section 21 of the Security of Information Act, which is the offence of
harbouring or concealing someone who commits an offence under the act.
This change would bring section 83.23 of the Criminal Code in line with the
general accessory-after-the-fact provisions in section 23 of the Criminal Code.
Currently, the accessory-after-the-fact provisions in the Criminal Code state
that if a person aids another person who has committed an offence that has a
maximum punishment of life imprisonment, then the person who is the accessory
can be liable to receive a maximum penalty of 14 years.
In addition to these Criminal Code amendments, the bill seeks to re-enact,
but with more safeguards, the investigative hearing and
recognizance-with-conditions provisions that expired pursuant to a sunset clause
in March 2007. Since their expiry, three attempts have been made to re-enact
these provisions. This is the fourth. The first two attempts died on the Order
Paper due to the dissolution of Parliament. In September 2010, Bill C-17
received second reading in the House of Commons, was considered and amended by
the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security,
and was reported back to the House of Commons in March 2011. However, it, too,
died and the Order Paper with the dissolution of Parliament last March.
These amendments in Bill S-7 are exactly the same as proposed in the former
Bill C-17 as introduced on April 23, 2010, in the previous Parliament. These
proposals would be in keeping with some recommendations of the 2006 interim
report of the House of Commons Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism
Act and the 2007 report of the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism
Act and would include the Senate amendments made to the former Bill C-17's
predecessor, Bill S-3, in the Thirty-ninth Parliament.
Honourable senators, the investigative hearing and the recognizance with
conditions generally focus on the proactive intervention in and prevention of a
terrorism offence or a terrorist activity.
As to the investigative hearing, the bill proposes creating a power to
require individuals who may have information about a terrorism offence that has
been or will be committed to appear before a judge for an investigative hearing.
The objective is not to prosecute an individual for a Criminal Code offence but
rather to gather information. It is significant to note that, as a safeguard,
any information obtained in this context cannot be used for self-incrimination
of the witness.
Under the provision, a peace officer, with the prior consent of the
appropriate Attorney General, can apply to a superior court or a provincial
court judge for an order for the gathering of information under the following
conditions: if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a terrorism offence
has or will be committed; if there are reasonable grounds to believe that
information concerning the offence or the whereabouts of a suspect is likely to
be obtained as a result of the order; and if reasonable attempts have been made
to obtain such information by other means.
If granted, such a court order would compel a person to attend a hearing to
answer questions on examination and could include instructions for the person to
bring along anything in his or her possession.
In addition, proposed section 83.28 states that any person ordered to attend
an investigative hearing is entitled to retain and instruct counsel at any stage
of the proceedings. The person will be required to answer questions but may
refuse to do so on the basis of laws relating to disclosure or privilege. The
presiding judge will rule on any such refusal. The investigatory hearing
provision survived a Supreme Court constitutional challenge in the 2004
reference, re Application, pertaining to the Air India prosecution. The court
held that the investigative hearing was not inconsistent with an individual's
absolute right to silence and the right against self-incrimination.
The court noted the specific protections governing use and derivative use
immunity as an important safeguard in the original legislation.
Proposed section 83.29, which remains substantially similar to the earlier
provisions, states that a person who evades service of the order, is about to
abscond, or fails to attend an examination may be subject to arrest with a
warrant. However, proposed subsection 83.29(4) adds that section 707 of the
Criminal Code, which sets out a maximum period of 90 days detention for
witnesses who are arrested in order to ensure their attendance in court — such
as in the case of an absconding witness — also applies to individuals detained
for a hearing under proposed section 83.29. This makes crystal clear that there
is a limit to the period of time for which a person can be detained pursuant to
Proposed section 83.3 is designed to re-enact the recognizance with
conditions, which aims to disrupt, at a nascent stage, a potential terrorist
attack. Under this section, with the prior consent of the appropriate Attorney
General, a peace officer may lay an information before a provincial court judge
if he or she believes, on reasonable grounds, that a terrorist activity will be
carried out and suspects, on reasonable grounds, that the imposition of a
recognizance with conditions or the arrest of a person is required to prevent
it. This second criterion is not one of mere suspicion; it is one of "suspects
on reasonable grounds." In other words, this standard is higher than just a
That judge may order the person to appear before any provincial court judge,
whereas the original version of this subsection stated that the judge may order
the person to appear before him or her. This change is similar to one suggested
by the House of Commons subcommittee during the parliamentary review.
There are only two situations in which a peace officer may arrest the person
without or warrant to bring the person before a judge to have the judge decide
if the recognizance with conditions should be imposed: first, where the grounds
to lay an information exist but there are exigent circumstances; or second,
where an information has been laid and a summons has already been issued, but
the person has not yet appeared before the court. In both cases, the peace
officer must suspect, on reasonable grounds, that the detention of the person in
custody is necessary to prevent a terrorist activity.
Such a detained person must then be brought before a provincial court judge
within 24 hours or as soon as feasible thereafter. At that time, a show cause
hearing must be held to determine if the person should be released or detained
for a further period of time. This hearing itself can be adjourned only for a
further 48 hours.
As well, the bill contains an important amendment that was made by the
Special Senate Committee on the Anti-terrorism Act when it examined former Bill
S-3. The committee deleted the words "any other just cause and, without
limiting the generality of the foregoing" that were present in the original
wording of paragraph 83.3 (7)(c) of the Criminal Code in order to bring
this provision into line with the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v.
Hall in 2002. In that decision, the Supreme Court struck down a section of
the Criminal Code with similar wording in the bail context as a violation of
sections 7 and 11(e) of the Charter.
If the judge determines that there is no need for the person to enter into a
recognizance, the person is to be released. If it is determined that the person
should enter into a recognizance, the person is bound to keep the peace and
respect other reasonable conditions for up to 12 months. If the person refuses
to enter into such a recognizance, the judge can order that person to be
imprisoned for up to 12 months. This penalty is comparable to the penalty for
other peace bonds.
Honourable senators, some have maintained that these tools are not necessary
since they were never used after they were created in 2001. However, just
because they were not used before does not mean they are not needed now.
As well, one can take comfort in the fact that, based on past experience with
the previous provisions, law enforcement officials demonstrated caution and
restraint in the use of these provisions.
Honourable senators, another criticism has been that the recognizance with
conditions provision is unnecessary because other Criminal Code provisions could
be used instead, especially the police power, under subsection 495(1)(a)
of the Criminal Code, to arrest, without warrant, someone who is about to commit
an indictable offence. This view fails, however, to appreciate the purpose of
the recognizance with conditions provision. This tool is designed to disrupt the
planning of a terrorist activity at an early stage.
An example of this is where law enforcement have information that a terrorist
activity will be carried out, but they do not have reasonable grounds to believe
that a person is about to commit an indictable offence, even though they may
have a reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in planning the
In situations such as this, a peace officer may lay an information before a
judge if he or she believes, on reasonable grounds, that a terrorist activity
will be carried out and suspects, on reasonable grounds, that the imposition of
a recognizance with conditions on a person or the arrest of the person is
necessary to prevent the carrying out of the terrorist activity.
The bill also proposes changes to the Canada Evidence Act. Pursuant to
section 38.13 of this act, the Attorney General of Canada can personally issue a
certificate prohibiting the disclosure of information for the purpose of
protecting information obtained in confidence from, or in relation to, a foreign
entity, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Security of Information Act or for
the purpose of protecting national defence or national security.
The House of Commons Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism Act, in
its final report in 2007, recommended reducing the duration of this certificate.
Thus, in response to recommendation 35 of the subcommittee's report, Bill S-7
proposes that the duration of the Attorney General's certificate be reduced from
15 years to 10 years. The certificate may be reissued by the Attorney General of
Canada, pursuant to subsection 38.13(9).
As well, the Attorney General of Canada may issue a fiat to take over any
prosecution where sensitive or potentially injurious information, as defined in
the Canada Evidence Act, is involved. The House subcommittee recommended that
the Canada Evidence Act be amended to require the Attorney General of Canada to
table, in Parliament, an annual report on the usage of the fiat and certificate
In the government response to the House of Commons Subcommittee on the Review
of the Anti-terrorism Act, the government signaled its acceptance of this
suggestion, with a view to enhancing transparency, and is now following through
with the inclusion of legislative provisions in this bill that would implement
this recommendation. To date, neither the certificate nor the fiat has been
Finally, it is proposed that amendments to the Canada Evidence Act be made in
order to reflect the judgment of the Federal Court in the case of Toronto
Star Newspapers Ltd. v. Canada which was released on February 5, 2007. In
this case the court took the remedial action of reading down certain provisions
so that the mandatory confidentiality requirement applies only to the ex
parte hearings under the regime.
In a further effort to enhance transparency and respect the open court
principle, these proposals would seek to amend the Canada Evidence Act to allow
the Federal Court to order that applications to it with respect to the
disclosure of sensitive or potentially injurious information could be made
public, although they would also allow the court to order that hearings related
to those applications be heard in private.
Honourable senators, I should note that the bill also proposes a number of
technical amendments, some of which respond to recommendations of the 2006 and
2007 reports of the Parliamentary Review of the Anti-terrorism Act.
The Government of Canada has no more fundamental duty than to protect the
personal safety of our citizens and to defend against threats to our national
security. Let me close by urging all honourable senators to support this bill
and, in doing so, to contribute to the safety and security of Canadians.
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: I have a question for Senator Frum if
she still has enough time.
Very good. I am not sure whether the honourable senator is of a legal
background or not.
Senator Frum: Fortunately or unfortunately, I am not.
Senator Dallaire: Then this will be quite an extraordinary experience:
a soldier and a non-legal person handling the Criminal Code. It will be in good
hands, I am sure.
In the honourable senator's presentation, it was the premise that this bill
will be a tool to prevent terrorism acts. It is a proactive instrument, of which
we have very few, in the defence of the nation. We are often reactive.
I believe this is very much in line with the new concept of
intelligence-based policing that has been introduced. When I sat on the National
Police Services Advisory Board with Chief Justice Antonio Lamer and Minister Fantino, we went through a lot of the needs to meet that intelligence-based
policing. It is there to try to prevent crimes from happening, versus simply
reacting to them. There is a very positive synergy there.
There is also the concern of national security and individual rights of the
citizen, and that balance in the tools put in the hands of government. In so
doing, it comes down to the question of the threat and if it requires such a
tool to ensure our security.
Can the honourable senator tell me, even with the new strategy published by
the government this month, whether or not she has had access to the classified
threat assessments? Has any parliamentarian, either in the other place or here,
had access to these classified intelligence sources in order for us to be able
to take at least the first step of any operation in which we might have to use
force which is an analysis of the intelligence threat? Does the honourable
senator have access to that, in particular? If not, does she not think it would
be a fundamental requirement in order to make an assessment of this that we get
access to it and that we are given new powers to have access to classified
information in order to perhaps oversee the intelligence structure of this
nation by parliamentarians?
Senator Frum: I thank the honourable senator. I look forward to
working with him on this.
No, I do not have access to that classified information. Frankly, as a
regular citizen reading the newspaper, I am aware everyday that somewhere in
this world there are terrorist activities that are going on and there is no
reason to assume that Canada will be exempt from these.
As I mentioned in my lengthy speech, we know these provisions are preventive
and proactive provisions that have never been used when they were in place
before. They are just a form of an insurance policy so that if something
extraordinary happens, then law enforcement has the tools at their hands to use
if necessary. One has to be able to prevent and anticipate that something could
happen. That is what these provisions are there to do.
Senator Dallaire: Following on that, Bill C-17 has been reshaped and
the honourable senator has gone through the history of this bill. I think it is
worthy that we do bring it to the fore, but there is a whole new angle to it:
the recruitment of Canadians who might go overseas and participate in terrorism
activities, being training camps or being equipped to conduct terrorism acts
overseas or maybe to come back with those skills. We are aware that there has
been recruitment going on. The honourable senator has used an example, and the
recruitment is being done on youths under the age of 18.
Where does the honourable senator think we will be able to balance the
Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, the definition of a terrorist, and the
provisions of our Youth Criminal Justice Act which might be affected by this
bill? Does she see those things being brought together in what she has been
reading so far?
Senator Frum: There is no specific provision for that in this bill, as
the honourable senator knows. I am sure it is something we will spend a lot of
time talking about in committee.
Senator Dallaire: I am eager to have the opportunity to thoroughly
examine these issues in committee. We must take the time required to do so in
order to ensure that we have a useful tool that does not infringe on individual
The Hon. the Speaker: Senator Jaffer had a question, and then maybe we
will take the adjournment.
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I have a question for
the honourable senator. I want to thank her for her second reading presentation.
I listened to her very carefully and I can say with a lot of confidence that
there is no one in this chamber who does not want to keep our country safe. That
is obviously the foremost thing in all our minds.
I was also struck by how the honourable senator spoke about keeping, if I am
not mistaken, all Canadians safe. That is also my concern, as it is hers, but we
are very much aware — certainly with the Toronto 18 — that we do have homegrown
terrorists. That is something we have to work toward because obviously they are
Canadians and we have to find a way to reach out to them.
I have not had the privilege of studying the bill as well as the honourable
senator has, so may I ask her if there is a balance trying to be reached in this
bill that balances the rights of all Canadians?
Senator Frum: Yes, one of the major focuses of this bill is actually
on Canadians who are leaving Canada to commit terrorism offences elsewhere. We
have an international responsibility to do what we can to implement measures
that will not just prevent terrorism attacks from happening here and injuring
our own citizens, but injuring anyone around the world. That is the primary
focus of this legislation, to answer to our responsibilities to the rest of the
Senator Jaffer: The honourable senator and I, and everyone here, are
very much aware — it is not something we are not proud of — that mainly young
men are joining Al-Shabab and going to Somalia. We are all aware of it.
I have had the opportunity to speak to some of these young men in Kenya when
they arrive from Canada. I have asked them why they would leave our great
country and do what they are doing. One of the things they said was that they
have not felt included in our great country's fabric. However, I have not had
the opportunity to study the bill as well as the honourable senator has, and I
have not had the opportunity to hear from officials as she has, so I ask her
once again if there is a balance in this bill. Yes, we have to protect our
citizens, but to protect them we have to ensure that all our citizens feel a
part of this country. Is there a balance in this bill, or is it all about
instituting anti-terrorism policies?
Senator Frum: I would have to say that it is all about instituting
anti-terrorism policies. Other kinds of societal programs, such as education and
outreach, are not within the scope of this bill.
(On motion of Senator Dallaire, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Eaton calling
the attention of the Senate to the interference of foreign foundations in
Canada's domestic affairs and their abuse of Canada's existing Revenue
Canada Charitable status.
Hon. John D. Wallace: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to
the inquiry of my colleague, Senator Eaton, on the interference of foreign
foundations in Canada's domestic affairs and their abuse of Canada's existing
Revenue Canada Charitable status.
Honourable senators, having reviewed and given serious consideration to the
matters raised by Senator Eaton's inquiry, I must say that I have great concern
over what I consider to be a serious and significant deficiency or gap in the
current tax laws that govern registered charitable organizations. This gap or
deficiency directly concerns the current public disclosure requirements, or,
more to the point, the absolute total lack thereof, that relates to both the
source and the amounts of financial donations that are able to be made by a
foreign foundation to a Canadian registered charitable organization for the
purpose of funding that charity's political activities. I will explain further,
and hopefully the following information will be of assistance to honourable
Under the mandate of the Canada Revenue Agency, the federal Income Tax Act
requires charities to be registered in order to maintain their tax exempt
status. As I know all honourable senators are well aware, the Income Tax Act
also provides specific tax incentives for both individuals and corporate
donors who make gifts and donations to registered Canadian charities. The
payment of these charitable donations to registered charities effectively
reduces the amount of tax that would otherwise be payable by the taxpayer in
that taxation year, whether in the form of a refundable tax credit for an
individual donor or a charitable donation tax deduction from taxable income for
a corporate donor. In either case, because both refundable tax credits and
charitable donation tax reductions have the effect of reducing the amount of tax
the taxpayer in question would otherwise be required to pay to Revenue Canada,
the direct consequence is that all such deductions in income tax that would be
otherwise payable effectively represent the amount of financial support that the
federal government is providing on behalf of the taxpayers of this country to
support the charitable activities of the particular charity in question.
Consequently, since Canadian registered charitable organizations are actually
being funded both directly and indirectly by the general public, that is, the
Canadian taxpayer through individual private donations as well as the federal
government's charitable tax incentives, I strongly believe that all Canadian
citizens have a direct vested interest in the operations and activities of these
Canadian charitable organizations.
Honourable senators, to assist you in better understanding the relationship
that currently exists between registered Canadian charities and their activities,
including the provision of funding from foreign foundations, I will provide a
brief overview of some of the requirements and restrictions that relate to
"Canadian registered charities, charitable organizations, charitable purposes
and activities" as well as what is known as "other permitted related
activities," which do include — and I repeat, do include — within prescribed
limitations certain permitted "political activities" by our Canadian
I will begin with what is meant by the term "charity." "Charity" is
defined in the Income Tax Act as "charitable organization" or "charitable
foundation." A charitable organization as regulated by the Canada Revenue
Agency must have "exclusively charitable purposes" and devote all of its
resources to what is referred to as charitable activities in support of those
purposes. In the context of Senator Eaton's inquiry, and more specifically in
respect of what Revenue Canada considers to be charitable purposes and
charitable activities, the term "charitable" is not defined in the Income Tax
Act. Instead, the common law, or decided case law, has determined that for
purposes and activities to be considered charitable, they must fall within one
or more of the following categories: first, the relief of poverty; second, the
advancement of education and/or religion; and third, purposes that would be "beneficial to the community" and that do not fall within any of the preceding
categories. Examples of these purposes beneficial to the community include
relieving a condition associated with aging, preventing and relieving sickness,
providing public amenities or providing counselling for people in distress.
Honourable senators, I realize that this discussion about definitions of
charitable and charitable purposes and activities not only seems to be but is,
in fact, more than somewhat tedious. However, I believe it is important that
each of us has some basic understanding of what Canadian registered charitable
organizations are permitted to do, particularly regarding their potential
participation and involvement in "political activities," to which I will speak
more in a moment.
It is also important to appreciate that a Canadian registered charitable
organization, within certain permitted limits, may be involved with "other
activities." However, these other permitted activities must relate directly to
that particular charity's registered charitable purpose and be a reasonable
means of achieving it. These other related activities include such things as
business and social fundraising activities and, of particular note for the
purpose of Senator Eaton's inquiry, political activities. For all honourable
senators to have an informed understanding of the potential interplay between
these political activities of Canadian registered charitable organizations and
the activities and provision of funding to these organizations by foreign
foundations, one of the key questions to be answered is this: What political
activities can a Canadian registered charitable organization be involved in that
would not be contrary to the existing requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency?
The Income Tax Act has established limits on the legally permissible
political activities of charitable organizations. Specifically, these political
activities must be nonpartisan and connected and incidental to the registered
charitable purpose of the charitable organization in question, and the
organization must devote what is referred to as "substantially all of its
resources" to its registered charitable purpose.
Furthermore, in this regard, honourable senators, political activities
undertaken by Canadian registered charitable organizations must not include
direct or indirect support of or opposition to any political party or candidate
for public office.
Perhaps the most widely accepted definition of political purposes that are
not considered charitable is contained in the leading 1981 case of McGovern
v. Attorney General, which refers in this regard to a direct and principal
purpose that is either to further the interests of a particular political party
or to procure changes in the laws of the country or to procure a reversal of
government policy or particular decisions of governmental authorities in this
country. Once again, these are political purposes that are not to be considered
Additionally, honourable senators, Canadian courts will not characterize an
entity as a charitable organization or permit it to maintain its charitable
status under the Income Tax Act if a substantial part of the charity's
activities are devoted to political purposes — I repeat, a substantial part of a
Another question that needs to be addressed is what are the monetary limits,
if any, that can be spent by a Canadian registered charitable organization on
political activities that are considered permissible by Revenue Canada?
These monetary limits and the conditions attached to these limits are set out
in Canada Revenue Agency Policy Statement CPS-022. To summarize briefly, they
are as follows: When a charity takes part in political activities and, as
previously stated, the Income Tax Act does require that substantially all of its
resources must be devoted to charitable activities. The term "resources" is
not defined in the act but is considered by Revenue Canada to include the total
of a charity's financial assets, as well as everything the charity can use to
further its purposes such as staff, volunteers, directors and its premises and
In this regard, honourable senators, it becomes very apparent that, in
respect of any particular registered charitable organization, the dollar value
of its resources can be considerable indeed.
Revenue Canada normally considers "substantially all of its resources" to
mean 90 per cent or more. Therefore, as a general rule, a charitable
organization that devotes no more than 10 per cent of its total resources a year
to political activities is generally considered to be operating within the "substantially all" requirement. Smaller charities with annual incomes of less
than $200,000 can, on a sliding scale, devote from between 12 to 20 per cent of
their resources to permissible political activities.
Canadian charities are able to receive donations from non-resident
individuals and non-resident charities.
Furthermore, Canadian charities and private and public foundations are
required to report on their annual information return to Canada Revenue Agency
any donations or gifts of any kind that are valued at $10,000 or more and are
received from any donor not resident in Canada.
Honourable senators, currently there are no limitations regulating the
amounts a Canadian registered charitable organization can accept in the form of
donations from foreign foundations. All such donations received from foreign
foundations are nowhere to be found on any record that is publicly accessible in
this country. There is currently no public disclosure requirement in this
regard. There is absolutely no public transparency.
Under current Canadian law, substantial financial donations can be
provided by foreign corporations to a Canadian registered charitable
organization in order to fund permissible political activities of that
particular charity and, as a consequence, thereby directly influence the
domestic public affairs of this country. To think that all of this can presently
occur with the foreign foundation's involvement being entirely removed from any
public scrutiny or knowledge, honourable senators, is totally unacceptable.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Wallace: In any given year, a foreign foundation could
effectively provide the entire political activities funding requirement of a
Canadian registered charitable organization and, as I stated previously, the
total amount of this political activities funding could be up to 10 per cent of
the total dollar amount of a charitable organization's total resources, which
could be a considerable amount indeed.
I submit to you, honourable senators, that all Canadian citizens have the
right to know, and even more than that, must have the opportunity to know, the
extent of the potential involvement by foreign foundations in the financial
affairs of Canadian registered charitable organizations. Only then will all
Canadian citizens be in a position to pass their own personal, independent
judgment on the nature and extent of the political activities and motives of
Canadian registered charitable organizations and the foreign foundations that
provide them with financial support.
Honourable senators, the Canadian public, the Canadian taxpayer, is entitled
to absolutely nothing less.
(On motion of Senator Tardif, for Senator Mitchell, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Greene, calling
the attention of the Senate to the modernization of the practices and
procedures of the Senate Chamber with a focus on private members bills.
Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, the debate on this inquiry is at day 15. However, important aspects of
Senator Greene's speech must be addressed. Consequently, I move the adjournment
of the debate for the remainder of my time.
(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)
On the Order:
Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Champagne, P.C.,
calling the attention of the Senate to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Hon. Terry Stratton: If I may, honourable senators, I would like to
speak to this, but I just have not had the time. I have other things in my life
right now that I would prefer to do. I would ask, very gently, permission from
you to adjourn for the balance of my time.
(On motion of Senator Stratton, debate adjourned.)
Hon. Mac Harb rose pursuant to notice of December 6, 2011:
That he will call the attention of the Senate to the importance of Canada
playing a proactive role in bringing about the successful conclusion to the
Doha Development Round.
He said: Honourable senators, 10 years ago, the launch of the WTO Doha
Development Round was big news around the world. Its goal was to reform the way
the global trading system worked, leveling the playing field for developing
countries by giving them better access to developed countries' markets. Today
the world's poorest nations are still waiting for any substantive progress on
those important promises.
At the WTO ministerial conference in Geneva this past December, trade
ministers acknowledged that the Doha negotiations were at an impasse. This is
sobering news as the world struggles to drag itself out of the worst financial
crisis in almost a century. Growing tensions between have and have-not countries
are now matched by the similar tensions amongst the have and have-not classes
within even the richest countries. The Occupy movement was born out of those
By failing to advance the Doha Round, we are failing the world's poorest
countries that are caught in a hopeless poverty trap, leaving the door open to a
potential global crisis.
As honourable senators may be aware, the Doha Development Round's goal was to
stimulate growth, opportunity, and wealth in developing countries through trade
facilitations. However, disagreements between the developed and developing
nations have stalled the talks, with a series of attempts to revive the round
ending, so far, in failure. Over the past 10 years, the WTO's traditional
consensus-building process has been severely limited by the increasing number of
players and the growing complexity of the items on the table.
At the Geneva ministerial meeting in July 2008, the Doha Round came close to
an agreement on tariff cuts for industrial goods and agricultural products, and
a comprehensive package of farm reform in developed countries. This package
would have gone further than any other previous multilateral trade agreement,
but the 2008 ministerial meeting broke down over a disagreement between the
exporters of agricultural bulk commodities and countries with large numbers of
subsistence farmers. At the time, a strong effort was made to reduce the levels
of trade-distorting subsidies that rich countries provide to their farmers.
Those policies were boosting the incomes of farmers in rich countries at the
expense of farmers in developing countries who faced suppressed global prices
and having to compete without the benefit of subsidies.
The British Fairtrade Foundation put out a report last year showing that the
$47 billion U.S. in subsidies paid to most developed countries' producers in the
past 10 years have created barriers for the 15 million cotton farmers across
West Africa trying to trade their way out of poverty. It also reported that five
million of the world's poorest farming families have been forced out of business
and into deeper poverty because of those subsidies. We hear of farmers in the
poorest countries forced to sell their cows because they simply cannot compete
with the low prices of the subsidized Western milk that is flooding their
It is not just the dairy farmers; other commodity subsidies add to global
food prices, dampening incentives for developing countries to invest in
It was not surprising that in 2008, within weeks of the subsidy-laden farm
bill passing in the United States, the Doha Round collapsed, and it has been on
life support every since.
The WTO has also failed to clarify the ambiguous rules on concluding trade
agreements, and this ambiguity puts the poorest countries at a disadvantage. In
Africa, in negotiations with the EU, for example, countries have been forced to
eliminate tariffs on up to 90 per cent of their trade because no clear rules
exist to protect them.
Not only are the least developed countries suffering as a result of outdated
WTO rules, but a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute
estimated that if all WTO members were to raise their applied tariff on goods to
the maximum level currently allowed under WTO rules, world income would fall by
Even in a more conservative scenario in which all countries only raised their
tariff to the highest level they have applied since 1995, the loss to the global
output would be US$134 billion.
However, if we can find what it takes to move this deal forward and reduce
those tariffs, the European Commission reports that world exports could rise by
more than half a trillion dollars a year, lifting global economic growth by 0.2
Therefore, getting the Doha Round done would be a win-win for global trade in
developed and developing countries alike, but still we wait.
While we wait, the lack of progress on the multilateral level has caused the
trading focus to shift from Geneva to individual capitals. We now see more and
more governments concluding bilateral and regional trade and investment
agreements. Canada is one of those countries, with a high-profile Canada-EU deal
in the works, ongoing trade talks with India and, more recently, an expressed
interest to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks with the United
States, Australia, New Zealand, and other Asian countries, to name only a few.
Canada is not alone. In fact, since 2001, the United States has signed trade
agreements with Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Singapore — and
the list goes on. In the same period, the European Union has done similar deals
All to say that because of the lack of trust in the multilateral trading
system, we are moving to bilateral and regional trading systems. When U.S.
President Obama made a commitment late last fall to the Trans-Pacific
Partnership trade agreement, European business leaders stepped up to ask for a
similar initiative across the North Atlantic to spur economic growth and create
jobs. While the WTO encourages bilateral trade agreements, WTO members may be
worrying if the United States and the EU are starting talks on bilateral pacts.
Washington and Brussels have given up on the Doha Round. Indeed, the flood of
bilateral deals appears to be a sign that the world is turning away from the
development commitments of the Doha Round and the needs of our poorest
neighbours in the process.
This trend raises some serious concerns. Statistics show that over the years
the Doha Round has been stalled, the least developed countries have sunk deeper
and deeper into trade deficit. For example, statistics show that Ethiopia sunk
from a trade deficit of US$1.1 billion in 2002 to a $5.79 billion deficit in
At the same time, the world's richest countries have prospered with growing
trade surpluses. Germany's surplus, for example, rose in the same period from
US$121 billion to US$217 billion in 2010. In Japan, surplus climbed to more than
$128 billion from $92 billion in 2002.
Another impediment to the talks is that more issues are being put on the
table, issues that do not directly relate to the original development aspects of
the Doha Round. The South African minister of trade recently noted in a
. . . that the US and others have now put forward a whole set of new
proposals to move away from development mandate . . . and instead want new
issues — climate change, energy, investment . . . which threaten to shift
attention to these issues which have a greater appeal to developed countries
than developing countries.
We simply have to understand that we are teetering on the brink if we fail to
make real progress. Economists around the world have been sounding the alarm. In
a report produced this past April, Richard Baldwin, professor of international
economics at the Graduate Institute of Geneva and Simon J. Evenett, professor of
international trade at the University of Gallen in Switzerland, have done their
best to highlight the perils of further delay. They argue that failure on the
Doha Development Round could result in, first, an undermining of the WTO dispute
settlement mechanism; second, an advance of regionalism that will fill the
vacuum left by the WTO's inability to make progress, thus further undermining
the WTO's centricity in global trade governance; third, a rise of protectionism
that will almost certainly be encouraged by an erosion of the WTO authority;
fourth, a blow to least developed nations for whom the Doha package would have
provided important gains; and fifth, a blow to agricultural exporters who were
counting on Doha to rebalance the world's treatment of industrial and
Honourable senators, we are already seeing the impact of this sustained
imbalance in countries around the world: the erosion of the middle class and
higher unemployment. There is a dangerous trend. Economic migration from least
developed countries to developed countries is creating pressure on the system
and depriving developing countries. . .
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, pursuant to the order
adopted by the Senate, it being 4 p.m., I will have to declare the Senate
continued. I remind the Honourable Senator Harb that his inquiry remains
standing on the Notice Paper and that he has another five minutes when we call
that item again.
Honourable senators, I declare the Senate continued until Thursday, March 1,
2012, at 1:30 p.m.
(The Senate adjourned until Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.)