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1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 66

Monday, April 2, 2012
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

THE SENATE

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Senate met at 6 p.m., the Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, Acting Speaker, in the Chair.

Prayers.

SENATORS' STATEMENTS

Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

Fight for the Cure

Hon. Patrick Brazeau: Honourable senators, I have to do this not because I want to, but I have to. It is a good thing we are not televised, but you can tell this to your Liberal colleagues: I am wearing the jersey. However, now I can hide it because of decorum.

Senator Day: Good on you!

Senator Brazeau: I would like to thank all who participated in our journey to "Fight for the Cure.'' To the people who organized the event, my staff and others, including Final Round Boxing here in Ottawa and to everyone who supported me and contributed to the cause, thank you. Because of you, we all win today.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Brazeau: I also wish to thank Justin Trudeau for his commitment to the cause. I congratulate him on his win.

My first thought at the end of the fight had nothing to do with politics but was for my mom, who lost her battle to cancer in 2004.

Saturday night we won a fight against cancer for her and all of those who are fighting this disease. We were one for the same cause, and that is a memory that I will have forever in my heart.

Team Brazeau made a special effort to bring hope to all Canadians. The team raised more than $11,000 in personal pledges, an amount above and beyond our initial expectations.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Brazeau: In total, we raised approximately $230,000 across this country for the fight against cancer.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Brazeau: Rather than having a trim, as Justin and I agreed to, I decided to have my hair cut enough so that I can donate the hair to an organization that will make a wig for someone in need.

To my fellow Conservatives and all the donors who supported the cause, the right hook we gave to cancer was the biggest victory. I thank you all for that.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

World Autism Awareness Day

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, as much as I like a good fight, as Senator Duffy knows from days gone by, this is another fight. It is a fight on the issue of autism.

Patrick, congratulations, you have been a good sport.

My statement tonight is on World Autism Awareness Day.

By the way, these gloves came from George Chuvalo. What he said on the gloves here is — and Senator LeBreton will understand this — "Keep punching, Munchkin; I am coming back to town,'' whatever that meant.

Honourable senators, today is World Autism Awareness Day. The last time I stood before you to discuss Bill S-206, to legally recognize this day in Canada, I spoke optimistically. I said I hoped it would be passed by this date.

Today is April 2, and the bill is still in Parliament, but I remain hopeful. Indications abound throughout this country that Canadians are getting the message about autism. Bill S-206 is now in the hands of the members of the House of Commons. It has reached this point thanks to the support of all honourable senators and all members of Parliament from all parties. As much as I would like to thank each of them individually and cite their kind and informed statements about the national autism crisis, my time is restricted. How encouraging it is to say that there are too many supporters from all sides to acknowledge in a statement.

I do not feel the need today to highlight the rising numbers associated with autism. We all know that more and more children in Canada and throughout the world are being diagnosed with autism. Each of us has a personal connection with the disorder as well. As a result, we are all much more sensitive about the disorder than we have ever been.

Positive changes are also taking place within the autism community. I would like to give you an example. I was at the University of Victoria about three weeks ago where some incredible software programs are being created for the treatment of autism. The centre's motto is "new tools for different minds.''

A young autistic boy there had a lot of fun demonstrating one of the programs for me, a game called FaceMaze, which is a lot like Pac-Man. To move through the maze, you have to recognize and look at the facial expressions of little characters that pop up. The computer camera is linked to face-recognition software that assesses one who is successful. Basically, by challenging autistic players to express anger, joy and other emotions, this tool helps them develop the ability to communicate.

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The centre's director is Jim Tanaka. The co-director is Joseph Sheppard, who is a professor there and is autistic, was on CNN today, which was just wonderful. The centre engages faculty and students, community professionals and people with autism and their families in the creation process. It gets them to react to how you are reacting. It is a simple thing.

The wonderful work done at this centre is one of the many reasons why I am proud, along with members of Parliament Mike Lake and Glenn Thibeau, to be included in a community that is committed to reaching out to autistic individuals. Within this community, there is so much intelligence, imagination and determination. Above all, there is heart.

More people are getting involved all the time. We are uncovering new ways to help autistic people and to break through social complacency. I hope that people living with autism and their families can see and are encouraged by, as I am, developments like these. I hope they are assured that they are not alone. They are important members of our society not only today, World Autism Awareness Day, but every day.

Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

Fight for the Cure

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, I rise to follow up on the statement by Senator Brazeau and to pay my respects to the two brave souls who put their egos and pride on the line last Saturday night. They are at an age when most have retired from inflicting harm on others. To promote the fight, they slagged each other at a rate that would have made Ali and Frazier blush. They both knew that this would hype the fight even though it would be difficult on whoever lost. Their hype got people excited, got them on national television, filled the venue and raised $200,000 for cancer, which Senator Brazeau mentioned.

It also raised the interest of Parliament and led to healthy insults and barbs across the aisle. More importantly, it loosened our wallets. Brazeau and Trudeau, Conservative and Liberal, First Nations and French, both from Quebec — a match made in Ottawa. Ukrainians say, "Refusing to serve hurts others; serving hurts yourself.'' They both did that, although Senator Brazeau will admit he was hurt a little more and will endure the pain of a haircut and wearing Liberal colours — the latter being a fate I cannot imagine. Congratulations to both of them.

In 2004, I lost my mom and my sister to cancer three weeks apart. My father lost his mother and sister to cancer, and aunties and uncles have succumbed. To our families, it is a plague. On behalf of the Berezowski and Tkachuk family, I thank you.

Mr. Henk Tepper

Hon. Mac Harb: Honourable senators, Henk Tepper, a farmer from New Brunswick, spent the last year in a jail cell in Lebanon. He is now home and reunited with his family.

Hon. Senators: Hear. Hear.

Senator Harb: While we celebrate, I wish to draw attention to the extraordinary efforts of Senator Pierrette Ringuette who fought long and hard for Mr. Tepper's release. With the determination of Joan of Arc, Senator Ringuette ensured that Mr. Tepper was not forgotten.

I was fortunate to be part of Senator Ringuette's team and to witness first hand her tenacious support for the stranded Canadian and his family. Through a series of letters, petitions, calls, press conferences, meetings and a personal visit to Lebanon, Senator Ringuette never gave up hope and never wavered in her support. The effort and support of honourable senators on both sides of the house were of great help and were noted by the Government of Lebanon.

Honourable senators, please join me in thanking the Government of Lebanon, the Lebanese Chargé d'Affaires in Ottawa, Mr. Georges Abou Zeid; the Tepper family's outstanding lawyers, Mr. Jim Mockler and Mr. Joe Karam; and the tireless efforts of Senator Ringuette's staff, Mr. Timothy Rosenburgh and Ms. Marie-Pierre Asselin.

I know that Senator Ringuette will have more to say on this important case, and I look forward to her comments.


[Translation]

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

Budget 2012

Document Tabled

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2012 budget entitled: Economic Action Plan 2012: Jobs, Growth, and Long-Term Prosperity.

[English]

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Budget—Study on the Progress in Implementing the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care—Eighth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

EIGHTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, June 23, 2011 to examine and report on the progress in implementing the 2004 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

KELVIN K. OGILVIE
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix A, p. 1072.)

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

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

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Social Inclusion and Cohesion—Ninth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

NINTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 to examine and report on social inclusion and cohesion in Canada, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

KELVIN K. OGILVIE
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix B, p. 1078.)

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

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

Budget and Authorization to Engage Services—Study on Prescription Pharmaceuticals—Tenth Report of Committee Presented

Hon. Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented the following report:

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its

TENTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 to examine and report on prescription pharmaceuticals in Canada, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, and requests, for the purpose of such study, that it be empowered to engage the services of such counsel, technical, clerical and other personnel as may be necessary.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

KELVIN K. OGILVIE
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix C, p. 1084.)

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

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

[Translation]

National Finance

Budget—Study on Potential Reasons for Price Discrepancies of Certain Goods between Canada and the United States—Ninth Report of Committee Presented

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

Monday, April 2, 2012

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

NINTH REPORT

Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Thursday, October 6, 2011 to examine and report on the potential reasons for price discrepancies in respect of certain goods between Canada and the United States, given the value of the Canadian dollar and the effect of cross border shopping on the Canadian economy, respectfully requests funds for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2013.

Pursuant to Chapter 3:06, section 2(1)(c) of the Senate Administrative Rules, the budget submitted to the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and the report thereon of that committee are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

JOSEPH A. DAY
Chair

(For text of budget, see today's Journals of the Senate, Appendix D, p. 1090.)

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

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

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Industrial Alliance Pacific Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

Private Bill—First Reading

Hon. Gerald J. Comeau presented Bill S-1003, An Act to authorize Industrial Alliance Pacific Insurance and Financial Services Inc. to apply to be continued as a body corporate under the laws of Quebec.

(Bill read first time.)

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

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

[English]

Anti-terrorism

Notice of Motion to Authorize Special Committee to Refer Papers and Evidence from Related Special Committees of Previous Sessions to Current Session

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

That the papers and evidence received and taken, and work accomplished by the Special Senate Committee on Bill C-36 during the First Session of the Thirty-Seventh Parliament; by the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act during the First Session of the Thirty-Eighth Parliament and the First Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament; and by the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism during the Second Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament and the Third Session of the Fortieth Parliament, be referred to the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism for the purposes of its work during the current session.

[Translation]

Electoral Riding Redistribution

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, pursuant to rules 56 and 57 (2), I give notice that, two days hence:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the process for readjusting federal electoral boundaries and the impact it could have on the vitality of official language minority communities.

Budget 2012

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I give notice that, two days hence, on behalf of the government:

I will call the attention of the Senate to the budget entitled: Economic Action Plan 2012: Jobs, Growth, and Long-Term Prosperity, tabled in the House of Commons on March 29, 2012, by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable James M. Flaherty, P.C., M.P., and in the Senate on April 2, 2012.


[English]

QUESTION PERIOD

National Defence

F-35 Aircraft Purchase

Hon. James S. Cowan (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

The estimated price tag of the F-35 jets has increased almost day by day from $75 million per unit during the election campaign last April to up to $135 million per unit in the latest reports.

We know that more and more nations are reconsidering or postponing their options. Despite these rising costs and all the uncertainty, the honourable senator's government has so far refused to look at other options and is ignoring calls for an open and competitive bidding process.

In view of all this, will the honourable senator's government finally commit to reviewing the sole-source process to replace the CF-18 fleet?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I will only reiterate what I have said before on behalf of the government. Canada has been a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter Program for 15 years. We have not signed a contract for a purchase and have the flexibility we need to purchase aircraft in the years when that will be most affordable. We will ultimately replace Canada's aging CF-18 aircraft and will do so within the budget allocated for this purpose.

Senator Cowan: Can I take it from that answer that the government is considering options in addition to the F-35, such as the Boeing Super Hornet or the Eurofighter? Are those options on the table?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I cannot respond to that question directly. The government is committed to the Joint Fighter Strike Program with which we have been involved through this government and the previous government.

This aircraft was determined by our military, in collaboration with our NATO partners, to be the aircraft best suited for Canada's needs. As I pointed out a moment ago and last week, we have not signed a contract for the purchase of the aircraft. We have the flexibility we need to purchase the aircraft in the years when it will be most affordable. Obviously, that would depend on the production of the aircraft. We will ultimately replace the aging CF-18 within the allocated budget, as I have already stated.

We have committed to the F-35. Many Canadian companies are involved in the development of this aircraft. At the moment, nothing has changed in the government's position.

Senator Cowan: Let me try it another way then, honourable senators. Can the leader confirm that her government is not considering other aircraft models, such as the Super Hornet and the Eurofighter?

Senator LeBreton: I would not want the Honourable Senator Cowan to put words in my mouth.

Senator Cowan: I did not.

Senator LeBreton: I only said what I said, that is, that we are a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter Program. As of this moment, we are working hard in that program. Many Canadian companies are committed to the program. It has been ongoing for 15 years.

I have nothing more to add at this time, honourable senators.

Senator Cowan: Honourable senators, will the leader confirm that the budget remains at $9 billion and that the number of aircraft to be delivered within that budget remains at 65, the number to which the government committed?

Senator LeBreton: As I already said, honourable senators, we will remain within our allocated budgets.

Finance

Hiring Credit for Small Business

Hon. Robert W. Peterson: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Minister of Finance is claiming that his temporary extension of the hiring credit for small business, which amounts to $200 million, is a practical and proven measure that encourages businesses to hire more workers. However, it should be pointed out that Canadian small businesses rang in the new year with a $600-million tax hike when the honourable senator's government jacked up EI premiums. By my calculations, small business is being hit with a net $200-million tax hike.

Would the leader not agree that this will discourage rather than encourage hiring?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for that question. It is interesting that when the budget was announced last Thursday by the Minister of Finance, Minister Flaherty was overwhelmingly supported by many organizations representing small business.

The fact is that the budget was designed to enhance job growth and the economy and deal with the long-term prosperity of the country. We believe that the government has taken the right steps on many fronts to ensure that Canada moves forward and that the budget benefits the economy.

Senator Peterson: Honourable senators, any small business owner will tell us that hiking EI premiums is the riskiest way to not have more workers.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, the facts and the support of small business for the government refute that statement.

Citizenship and Immigration

Immigration Applicant with Intellectual Disabilities

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, I wish to ask this question of the Leader of the Government in the Senate in an objective and positive way. It deals with an immigration case in Vancouver that the leader may be familiar with. It is the story of a 27-year-old woman with Down's syndrome whose brother, a chartered accountant who lives in Vancouver, wants to sponsor her and his parents into this country.

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Sometimes in the bureaucracy, they miss a few things, from my perspective. This woman and her family want to live in Canada. This gentleman has lived in Canada since the year 2000. The immigration people are basically saying that his sister would be a burden on Canadian society.

I think this is an opportunity to give the right signals. It is an opportunity to indicate to those with intellectual disabilities that they have a place in our society. I understand Minister Kenney has not had a chance to respond to this, but for the sake of our country, does the leader know whether the minister is taking a good look at this case so that this family can be reunited in Vancouver?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am just vaguely familiar with the case. Of course, I cannot comment on this individual case as I am not fully familiar with it, but I will be very happy to take the question as notice and ask my colleague, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, what he has to report to Parliament on this.

Senator Munson: I appreciate the leader's answer. Perhaps I should have sent over some information to her.

This woman has what is described as mild Down's syndrome. With the work that I and many of us here do in the world of Special Olympics, we have a lot of people with Down's syndrome who are involved in our communities. They work in stores, et cetera, and are with us every day. From my perspective, it would not take much to have her sponsored, along with her mother and father.

In 2006, the brother applied to sponsor his mother, father and sister. The application was granted, by the way, in 2008. The family submitted the application for permanent residency in 2009, and they have undergone all medical examinations and submitted financial information. They have complied with all requests.

Once again, more than a question, it is a statement of advocacy, so to speak, to show that we are a compassionate country, to reunite this family.

Senator LeBreton: I thank Senator Munson for the additional information. I will absolutely take the question and provide a delayed response.

Human Resources and Skills Development

National Council of Welfare

Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Could I ask the minister if she could reflect on what might have been the rationale for the decision to collapse the National Council of Welfare as announced in our budget, the National Council of Welfare that was started originally by the Right Honourable John George Diefenbaker in 1962, a council of experts and community volunteers that offered arm's-length advice, research, analysis and recommendations on income security issues to federal and provincial governments for over half a century?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am sure our government and all governments face decisions with regard to agencies and boards that have been in existence for quite some time. Obviously, many of them were set up at a time when circumstances, technologies and information were such that there was a great necessity.

With regard to the National Council of Welfare, we are putting our policy resources to best use and trying very hard to reduce duplication. There are now many non-governmental organizations that provide quality, independent advice and research on poverty-related issues, and we continue to take poverty seriously, as the honourable senator knows from the actions of the government. We take it seriously by investing in skills, training and support for families to ensure every Canadian has the opportunity to participate in the economy.

This particular agency, as the honourable senator pointed out, had been in existence for quite some time, but there are many organizations and groups that the government now relies on for information. It was determined that the work of this particular group is no longer needed because of the fact that we have so many other people giving us this information.

Senator Segal: Honourable senators, may I ask the minister whether the decision that the government would rely on other organizations that do not have an arm's-length relationship with the Crown means that the government, in particular that department, is getting out of the business of researching and analyzing the various causes of poverty, some of the best practices that exist in various jurisdictions, to look for ways to improve the circumstance? If so, is it because that department has decided there is no more constructive agenda on poverty — we are doing all we can — and there is no reason to invest in any arm's-length body that gives further advice?

Senator LeBreton: The department has made no such decision. Obviously, the issue of poverty is of great concern to the government. This government has taken many actions to address individuals and families who live below or close to the poverty line, and I will take the opportunity to outline some of them. We increased the amount that families in the two lowest personal income tax brackets can earn before paying taxes. Due to our action on taxes, a typical family now has $3,000 more in their pockets. We enhanced the National Child Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. We brought in the Universal Child Care Benefit, $100 per month to children under the age of 6, helping two million children. Budget 2010 allowed single-parent families to keep more of this benefit after tax. The Child Tax Credit is available for every child under the age of 18, which provides more money to over three million children and removes 180,000 low-income Canadians from paying income tax.

Senator Segal mentioned in a speech last week that WITB, or the Working Income Tax Benefit, helps low-income Canadians over the welfare wall. WITB appeared in Budget 2007 and in its first year helped 900,000 Canadians. I do not have the recent tabulation, but if it helped more than 900,000 Canadians in its first year, one can imagine it is well into the millions now.

While the National Council of Welfare had done incredibly good work for the government, it was one of those agencies whose time had passed, and there are now resources the government can rely on, including many of the studies done in places like this very chamber, to assist the government in addressing the issue of poverty.

Foreign Affairs

Henk Tepper—Release from Custody in Lebanon

Hon. Mac Harb: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Earlier today, the Tepper family held a press conference in New Brunswick along with their lawyers. A number of questions were asked of the government, including finding out about any type of communication that took place between government ministers, government officials and the Government of Lebanon in representation on behalf of Mr. Tepper.

Would the Leader of the Government undertake to ask the government to table in the Senate the various steps taken, in chronological order by date, and to share with the family all of the matters that are of a private nature, any documentation that the government has to show the public and the Tepper family that the government did everything it could in order to secure the release of Mr. Tepper?

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Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. I did notice his statement at the beginning, and I regret that in that statement he did not see fit to also thank the hard-working Canadian officials in Lebanon who worked extremely hard to secure the release of Mr. Tepper, including his member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac, Mike Allen.

All of us should be very thankful that Mr. Tepper has safely returned home to Canada. We know situations have gone on for many years where the government is dealing with Canadians being detained in countries around the world. Canadian officials worked extremely hard for a very long period of time and worked through diplomatic channels on behalf of Mr. Tepper. The government — ministers, members and government officials — made dozens and dozens of representations with Lebanese officials concerning Mr. Tepper's situation. Both Minister Baird and Minister Ablonczy liaised directly with their Lebanese counterparts on several occasions. Official diplomacy supported work on the legal front, and Mr. Tepper is now free. On behalf of Minister Ablonczy — she has expressed this herself — we would like to thank our partners in Lebanon for their cooperation and their responsiveness.

At the end of the day, honourable senators, and I very much appreciate the concern of Senator Harb and Senator Ringuette, I think what is important for all of us is that there was a good ending to this unfortunate situation which was very hard on Mr. Tepper and his family, and that is what we should be focusing on, not trying to score political points.

Senator Harb: The question I asked was very specific. If the government has done all of this good work, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate undertake to ask the government to table all the communication and representations on behalf of Mr. Tepper and his family? Would the government table in the Senate all the documentation they have?

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator has been part of the government before and he knows the difficulty. We have seen all over the world, whether it is Mexico or elsewhere, Canadians encountering difficulties. They may be detained, and our officials go through a very long, complicated and arduous process to seek their release. It would be an unfortunate situation when people's lives are at stake if there was ever a situation where we were put in a position — any government, whether this government or the previous government or future governments — to lay out for everyone to see the complicated and sometimes private negotiations that occurred in order to ensure someone's release and therefore safety.

I do not think what the honourable senator is asking is reasonable. We should be thankful for our officials in Lebanon who worked extremely hard and in very difficult circumstances. We should all celebrate today that Mr. Tepper is home safe in Canada and with his family.

Senator Harb: I think the government leader is skating on thin ice here. She has a very hot potato in her government hand here that she must deal with sooner or later. I go back to the original question I asked on a supplementary, and she has not yet answered. Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate undertake to ask the government to table in the Senate all communication that is important and relevant to that case except those of a private nature?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, officials, public servants who work in Lebanon who were dealing with a very difficult, complex issue, are now being asked by Senator Harb to put on the record all of the efforts they made, and they were considerable. Anyone who has been involved in these programs knows the considerable effort.

I can understand the families of people who find themselves in these situations. It is very difficult for the families, but they also have to know that the officials working in Lebanon worked extremely hard under very difficult circumstances, and they managed to get Mr. Tepper's freedom. That surely is what we should be celebrating and not going back and possibly putting these officials at some risk if we start releasing all of the information and deliberations they went through in order to seek his release.

Environment

Climate Change

Hon. Grant Mitchell: This government has given layoffs to upwards of 1,000 people from Environment Canada. Many of those were scientists. They have pretty much muzzled any of the scientists who remain in that department. They have given $8 million to CRA to muzzle environmental groups. They have not responded publicly in reaction to members of their caucus who have spoken out denying climate science. They have cancelled Kyoto and gutted every last climate change program. They have shut down very important climate research programs and shut down the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which has done great work on climate change, and they have not reduced greenhouse gases one iota.

Anyone who would believe for a moment that this government is even remotely interested in cutting greenhouse gases and fighting climate change would have to be related to Pollyanna.

My first question is to Pollyanna's great-aunt, the Leader of the Conservatives in this Senate. Could she tell us why anyone in this country, in this house, anywhere other than in this government would believe for one second that this government wants to fight climate change in any meaningful way?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): As I said to my great-niece Pollyanna the other day, because I am the great-aunt, the fact of the matter is the government does have a good record on climate change.

Everyone across the way can laugh. They did absolutely diddly-squat. In any event, I will put it on the record just the same. Under the Copenhagen Accord, we committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. Through the Durban platform, Canada will continue to work with our international partners to achieve an agreement by 2015 that includes binding commitments for all major emitters.

Canada recently joined the United States, Mexico, Sweden, Ghana and Bangladesh to launch the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. This new initiative is aimed at making rapid progress on countering climate change and improving air quality. We have a comprehensive plan to meet our target to reduce GHGs by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, and we are moving forward, as the honourable senator knows, on a sector-by-sector basis.

We started with transportation and electricity. Last November we released a consultation document on the development of new GHG regulations for cars and light trucks for the model years 2017 and beyond. We have published draft regulations for coal-fired electricity. We will continue to move forward to develop regulations for all major sources of emissions, including the oil and gas sectors. Together with the provinces, we are already a quarter of the way to reaching our 2020 target.

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As honourable senators know, it makes great sense to align our approaches with our largest trading partner, our neighbours to the south, the United States of America.

Senator Mitchell: Honourable senators, if the leader reads the same answer from the same card over several or more years, could we actually call that a "robo-answer''?

Given that this government does deny — and often explicitly in its caucus denies — the clear and irrefutable science of climate change, will the honourable senator soon deny gravity in an effort to prove once and for all that those F-35s might actually be able to fly?

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, our caucus and government are committed to greenhouse gas reductions and we have initiated many programs. We have a great record, and I am proud to stand here to support and defend it.

Senator Mitchell: Honourable senators, why is it that the honourable senator goes out of her way to muzzle climate scientists who want to talk about the science of climate change and help her government convince Canadians that something needs to be done about it, but she does not even disagree publicly at all with a caucus member who stands up and denies the irrefutable science of climate change? Why would the honourable leader not reprimand her; why would she not say something?

Senator LeBreton: I know the honourable senator gets a little carried away with his overblown rhetoric. However, Senator Mitchell and I both know that the government has a solid environmental program and a solid program for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We have a record, which is something no other government has had before us. We will continue to pursue measures to improve our environment, while at the same time protecting Canadian jobs and our economy.

[Translation]

Delayed Answers to Oral Questions

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, two delayed answers to oral questions. The first was raised by the Honourable Senator Jaffer on November 22, 2011, concerning X-ray body scanners at airports and the second was raised by the Honourable Senator Hervieux-Payette on February 7, 2012, concerning investments in advertising concerning the Economic Action Plan.

Transport

X-ray Body Scanners at Airports

(Response to question raised by Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer on November 22, 2011)

At the outset, it is important to clarify that the European Union prohibition is on the use of body scanners using ionizing radiation or x-ray transmission. These types of body scanners have not been approved by Health Canada; therefore they cannot be used in Canadian airports. Canada uses millimetre wave body scanners and those have been approved by the European Union.

Health Canada has reviewed the technical information on the full body scanners and concluded that the radio frequency energy emitted by the device is well within Canada's guidelines for safe human exposure and therefore found the technology to be safe. The energy projected by the unit is actually far less than that emitted by a cell phone.

The full body scanners used in Canada work by projecting low-level millimetre wave radio frequency over and around the passenger's body. The radio frequency wave is reflected back from the body and from objects concealed on the body, producing a three-dimensional image. The entire screening process is harmless and takes about one minute.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has a periodic testing regime that verifies that the millimetre wave equipment is functioning normally, within prescribed parameters, and calibrated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

Full body screening technology has been installed at major Canadian airports to further enhance current screening capabilities. The technology generates images of the body to allow the detection of items being concealed under clothing, without physical contact between the screening officer and the passenger. This is a voluntary option for passengers, as it provides a screening alternative to the physical search.

The technology is used in over a dozen countries around the world. The full body scanners are deployed in airports as well as land border crossings, correctional facilities, courthouses, military checkpoints and commercial applications. It is one of the most effective methods of screening.

Finance

Canada's Economic Action Plan

(Response to question raised by Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette on February 7, 2012)

In January 2009, the Government of Canada launched the Economic Action Plan (EAP) to stimulate the economy, build consumer confidence and support Canadian workers and families severely affected by the global economic downturn.

This overarching plan included advertising campaigns mainly from the Department of Finance, Canada Revenue Agency, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Advertising campaigns offer information on initiatives, services and benefits of the stimulus actions and invite Canadians to learn about and to take advantage of them.

Budgets for EAP advertising campaigns were established at $108.3M in total for fiscal years 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Spending for the EAP advertising campaigns is currently estimated at $97.2 million for the past three fiscal years:

2009-2010    Expenditures confirmed: $53.2 million

2010-2011    Estimated Spending: $18.9 million*

2011-2012    Forecasted Spending as of February 15, 2012: $25.1 million**

For information, a detailed table is presented to the Honourable Members of the Senate.

The Government wishes to assure the Senate that the investments in advertising will continue to adhere strictly to the policies and regulations currently in effect, while ensuring to provide the public with information on its policies, programs, services and initiatives that is timely, accurate, clear, objective and comprehensive.

** The amounts shown should be considered estimates until the publication of the Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities.

** Estimates based on expenditure reports as of February 15, 2012.

(For Table, see Appendix.)


[English]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

Criminal Code
Firearms Act

Bill to Amend—Third Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. Daniel Lang moved third reading of Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act.

He said: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to Bill C-19, which is the bill that will eliminate the long-gun registry —

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Lang: — and the database.

Honourable senators may recall that when I spoke to the bill at second reading, I quoted the Spanish poet, George Santayana, who said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I went on to explain that, 93 years ago, the Canadian Parliament enacted gun control legislation requiring gun owners to obtain a permit for all firearms, including small arms, rifles and shotguns. Honourable senators, a year later this requirement was repealed.

It is important to note that the Minister of Justice of the day, Charles Doherty, stated:

There has been very general representation that the existing law operated too rigorously, lent itself to abuses and subjected citizens to unnecessary annoyance.

Here we are today repealing similar legislation, yet it took 17 years.

Honourable senators, we heard testimony in evidence from 30 witnesses on all sides of the issue. I have to say at the outset that I now have a better understanding and appreciation for the sincerity of those who support the continuation of the long-gun registry. They are Canadians who feel very passionately about gun control. In some cases, they have lost a family member to gun violence. In some cases, witnesses spoke of violence against women and, yes, we listened to eyewitnesses speak about the tragedies of École Polytechnique and Dawson College.

Honourable senators, I want to assure these witnesses that with the elimination of the long-gun registry, Canada will still have one of the toughest licensing systems, as well as storage and transportation requirements, for long-gun firearms that will safeguard the public.

At the same time, many witnesses spoke about the inaccuracy of the registry itself. Not one — not one — witness refuted the fact that the registry was full of unreliable information. I want to bring to the attention of honourable senators some examples from the present system that we have in place and the information contained therein.

Did honourable senators know that there is a glue gun registered now in the registry? Its entry is as follows: "Mastercraft'' with a serial number.

Did honourable senators know there are thousands upon thousands of firearms all registered with the same serial number?

As well, honourable senators, it is common knowledge that there are millions of long guns that have never, ever been registered.

Therefore, honourable senators, we have a registry that is not only incomplete, but that is also an unreliable database that cannot be depended on. We learned during the course of our hearings that, in some cases, it provides the front-line police with a false sense of security. We also learned that a large majority of front-line officers have said they do not support the registry.

It is important to note that the police chiefs across the country are also split on their support of the registry as it stands today. The Calgary Chief of Police stated:

I believe that the long-gun registry gave the uninformed and misinformed a false sense of security. Too often the gun registry was presented as the panacea for all of society's firearms problems. The reality is it did little to protect society from the gun violence being perpetrated by armed thugs and criminals on the street, none of whom have possession of acquisition licences and none of whom registered the weapon in a national database.

Due to the unreliable data and the inaccuracy of the registry as it stands, there have been cases where evidence provided to a court from the registry does not hold up in a court proceeding.

In the course of our hearings, one witness stated:

Knowing what I do know about the registry, I cannot use the information contained therein to swear out a search warrant. To do so would be a criminal act. Projections from the Canadian Firearms Centre privately state that it will take 70 years of attrition to eliminate all the errors and have all the firearms in Canada registered. This level of inaccuracy is unacceptable for any industry, let alone law enforcement. Police officers deserve better. The public and the court demand better.

(1900)

Honourable senators, I ask how can we support the continuation of a registry that is so inaccurate and so flawed?

I would like to turn the attention of honourable senators to another serious issue that arose during the hearings, and that is the topic of suicide — truly a tragedy when it happens to any family. We heard compelling evidence over the course of our hearings, particularly from a resident physician from McMaster University who came before us and told us that with regard to suicide, there is no significant immediate impact or impact over time as affected by the long-gun registry.

We also heard from another witness that the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting in Australia has published a long list of papers demonstrating the lack of correlation between the introduction of firearms legislation, most notably a gun registry, and the falling rates of firearms accidents, homicide and suicides.

Honourable senators, we should also look beyond our borders and use the experience of New Zealand and its long-gun registry. At one point, New Zealand had a long-gun registry much like our own. However, in 1983 the Arms Act was passed, which ended the requirement of registration for most long guns. It is my understanding that their Parliament felt that it was too expensive and not useful at protecting their citizens. Their new approach focuses on licensing rather than registration of the majority of their firearms.

That brings me to our licensing system. We have one of the most rigid and meticulous licensing systems in the world. When one applies for a long-gun licence, one undertakes to undergo a lengthy process. This includes an application that questions all aspects of an applicant's private life. I can tell honourable senators from experience that this is a process that one does not undergo in any other application for any other government service. This delves into one's personal life like no other request from government does.

I should also point out to honourable senators that two character references are required as part of the application procedure. There is an interview with one's spouse or former spouse. There is also a safety course and exam with a minimum requirement of 80 per cent achievement to pass.

Once one has gone through this process, which is lengthy, one is then issued a five-year licence. In order to renew it, one needs to complete a renewal form and one's former spouse or partner has the opportunity to comment on the application.

I also want to point out something that is really important: The requirement for safe storage of firearms and ammunition remains in place. This, in my judgment, is important from the point of view of the safety of anyone involved in the use of firearms.

During the course of our hearings, we heard from a number of witnesses who commended our licensing process. One witness described our licensing system in the following way:

I agree that the measures in place for licensing are very stringent, and they are applaudable.

Although we disagreed with that particular witness about the question of the registry itself, it is important to know that there was a commonality amongst almost all of the witnesses that our licensing system is widely supported.

Another witness spoke about that as well. She stated:

Licensing in Canada is the thing in our system that I applaud and the major difference between Canada and the United States.

Honourable senators, talking about gun laws in Canada and the United States is like comparing apples and oranges. I want to tell you that we are very fortunate to be Canadian.

I would like to bring the present debate back to my region of Yukon. One of the reasons this bill is so important to me and to the majority of the people in Yukon is because we have always felt that the long-gun registry is an invasion of privacy. In fact, it made us, as Canadians, criminals because we had to prove the state wrong.

I would like to quote Olympic gold medalist Linda Thom who appeared before us. Many senators may know her. She said:

. . . I'm accorded fewer legal rights than a criminal. Measures enacted by Bill C-68 allow police to enter my home at any time without a search warrant because I own registered firearms, yet the same police must have a search warrant to enter the home of a criminal. I'm not arguing that criminals should not have this right — they should. I'm arguing that this right should be restored to me and all Canadian firearms owners.

Honourable senators, it has been said that it was former Minister of Justice Allan Rock's view when he came to Ottawa that the only people who should have firearms were the police and the military. This is exactly the misguided attitude that led to the fiasco of the long-gun registry. It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of our country — not only of the culture of firearms owners but also the understanding of crime and how one prevents it.

For those of us who live in remote northern settings, as I said earlier, we felt the registry was discriminatory to all our residents, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. We view our long guns as a necessary day-to-day tool not unlike the tractor that a farmer uses to plow his field. In this context, the debate on the long-gun registry has never been absent from the political discourse in Yukon for the past 17 years.

Honourable senators, this registry has cost a lot of money. It has not made Canadians safer. As I stated earlier, we have one of the most effective licensing systems in the world. I think all honourable senators would say that we need to continue to take measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands. That is what our licensing procedure does. However, it has been proven that the registry simply does not achieve this goal.

Honourable senators, the question of the computer database and the elimination of it with the long-gun registry has come up in debate and is a clause of the bill. It is clear that the long-gun registry is the database and it all must be eliminated if we are to do away with the long-gun registry. I want to be clear that the private, personal information in that registry that was sent by individual Canadians should not be kept or transferred to another level of government.

Honourable senators, the most important question now that we have to ask ourselves as we debate this legislation is this: Has it been demonstrated that the registry saved any lives during the last 17 years? I think it is safe to say during the course of our hearings and the hearings in the other place that there has been no substantial evidence to support this claim.

This then brings into question the practical usefulness of the registry and its cost. That is the question that we will vote on in the course of the week. We have heard many times that criminals do not register their guns. I want to quote from the Calgary Chief of Police and his description of the long-gun registry. He said:

It is the largest repository of honest people that exists in this country. There is no doubt about it. The only people who choose to register their long guns are meticulously honest people who are not involved in criminal activity. It is as simple as that.

(1910)

Honourable senators, I hope that members on both sides of this chamber will vote in favour of Bill C-19. The time has come to eliminate the long-gun registry.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, for Senator Hervieux-Payette, debate adjourned.)

[Translation]

Allotment of Time for Debate—Notice of Motion

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and I attempted to reach an agreement about how much time to spend debating this bill at third reading, but we did not succeed. I gather that the senator who was supposed to speak to Bill C-19 on behalf of the opposition cannot do so this evening, unfortunately.

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

That, pursuant to rule 39, not more than a further six hours of debate be allocated for consideration at third reading stage of Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act;

That when debate comes to an end or when the time provided for the debate has expired, the Speaker shall interrupt, if required, any proceedings then before the Senate and put forthwith and successively every question necessary to dispose of the third reading stage of the said Bill; and

That any recorded vote or votes on the said question shall be taken in accordance with rule 39(4).

[English]

Criminal Code

Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Adjourned

Hon. A. Raynell Andreychuk moved second reading of Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code.

She said: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the second reading of Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism bill.

Nuclear terrorism is a significant threat to Canadian and global security. The Government of Canada has acknowledged this threat and the March 2010 Speech from the Throne noted the danger to global peace and security posed by the proliferation of nuclear materials and related technology. Furthermore, the government has made a strong commitment to combat all forms of terrorism. As noted recently by the Prime Minister in Seoul, South Korea:

Alongside our allies, Canada is committed to securing nuclear material from around the world.

Honourable senators, succinctly, Bill S-9 would amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the criminal law requirements of two international nuclear security treaties. They are the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, as amended in 2005 — which I will refer to as the CPPNM Amendment — and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the ICSANT.

Other world leaders have called for measures to address the threats posed by nuclear terrorism. In this regard, the international community has made enormous gains in establishing universally recognized standards and norms for the use and protection of the world's nuclear materials. The CPPNM and the ICSANT are two such successes.

For Canada, as with other dualist states, domestic legislation is required to ratify international treaties. Ratification, as honourable senators know, is the formal act by which Canada signifies its consent to be legally bound by the terms of the conventions. In this regard, the proposed amendments in Bill S-9 implement into Canadian law the criminal law requirements of the CPPNM amendment and ICSANT with a view to ratification.

Honourable senators, I will now turn to the specific elements of the bill, starting with the most fundamental aspect: the creation of new offences in the Criminal Code relating to nuclear terrorism.

First, Bill S-9 would create an offence of possessing or trafficking nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or committing an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. This offence has been drafted in such a way as to prohibit two types of activity. The first prohibits nuclear proliferation with the intent to cause the listed harms, while the second prohibits sabotage of nuclear facilities or operations, also with the intent to cause harm. This offence captures distinct criminalization requirements from the CPPNM amendment and ICSANT.

Given the seriousness of the prohibited conduct, it is proposed that this offence carry a maximum punishment of up to life imprisonment.

Second, the bill proposes an offence for using or altering nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or committing an act against a nuclear facility or its operations with the intent to compel a person, a government or a domestic or international organization to do, or refrain from doing, anything.

Honourable senators, this offence also has two distinct prohibitions. What is common to both is the intent to compel or influence the behaviour of others. This intent requirement is a hallmark of terrorism. Again, this offence would carry a maximum punishment of up to life imprisonment.

Third, as called for by the treaties, the bill seeks to create an offence for the commission of an indictable offence for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material or device, or to obtain access or control of a nuclear facility. This offence is designed to capture the various offence requirements in the treaties to specifically criminalize, for example, the theft of nuclear material or the use of violence to obtain such material. Instead of creating a shopping list of new offences, this offence uses a more general approach. This conduct would also be punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.

Last, honourable senators, Bill S-9 would create a specific offence of threatening to commit any of the offences I have just outlined, with the maximum punishment of 14 years. Many existing offences in the Criminal Code use the concept of "threat'' to describe prohibited conduct. I would also note that the Criminal Code contains a general "uttering threats'' offence at section 264.1.

Honourable senators, taken together with the various general provisions in the Criminal Code that address different parts of party liability, attempts and conspiracies, these proposed amendments provide a comprehensive response to inherently dangerous conduct and would put Canada in a position to ratify the treaties.

The proposed levels of punishment for the offences in Bill S-9 are appropriate, I believe, given the grave nature of the prohibited conduct. They are also consistent with other anti-terrorism offences in the Criminal Code.

(1920)

The CPPNM Amendment and the ICSANT represent the policy source for Bill S-9 and, as mentioned, if passed, Canada would be in a position to ratify them. As a result, a closer examination of these international instruments is warranted.

Honourable senators, I am proud to say that Canada played a key role in the international negotiation of both the CPPNM and the ICSANT. The original CPPNM from 1980 is the only legally binding international instrument in the area of physical protection of nuclear material, and it is one of the 14 United Nations international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols. The CPPNM opened for signature on March 3, 1980. Canada signed it September 22, 1980 and ratified it on March 21, 1986. Ratification in 1986 was accomplished through amendments to a range of statutes, including the Criminal Code.

Twenty-five years later, the international community recognized the need for further action in this area. Therefore, on July 8, 2005, state parties to the original CPPNM, including Canada, adopted, by consensus, an amendment to this convention under the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Whereas the obligations for physical protection under the 1980 CPPNM covered nuclear material during international transport, the amendment makes it a requirement for state parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport. The CPPNM Amendment constitutes an important milestone in international efforts to improve the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities.

Honourable senators, that same year, under the guidance this time of the United Nations General Assembly, the ICSANT was negotiated and adopted. The ICSANT covers a broad range of acts and possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors; stipulates that offenders shall be either extradited or prosecuted; encourages states to cooperate in preventing terrorist attacks by sharing information and assisting each other in connection with criminal investigations and extradition proceedings; and deals with both crisis situations and post-crisis situations.

Since both treaties have criminalization requirements for state parties, Bill S-9 seeks to implement them into Canadian law in a consistent and collective way and in a way that complies with our international obligations.

It is important to note that existing Canadian criminal law can already be said to apply, in a general way, to some of the prohibited behaviours in the treaties. However, I believe it would be fair to conclude that these existing laws do not fully describe or take into account the gravity of these nuclear terrorism offences.

Furthermore, the addition of these offences would allow for an increase in penalties beyond those that would be available for the general criminal law offences that currently apply to the criminal conduct. In short, this bill provides a more specific and targeted response to conduct that puts the Canadian public and the international community at great risk.

There are a few other elements of Bill S-9 that should be highlighted. These treaties require state parties to assume extraterritorial jurisdiction. In this regard, Bill S-9 would give our courts the jurisdiction to try these new offences in situations, for example, where the offence is committed outside Canada by a Canadian or when the person who commits the act or omission outside Canada is present in Canada. This type of amendment is not novel, and, indeed, Canada has already assumed similar jurisdiction to prosecute other terrorism offences in the Criminal Code.

In addition, as honourable senators will know, the majority of Criminal Code offences are prosecuted by the provinces and territories. However, as in the case of existing terrorism offences in the Criminal Code, the Attorney General of Canada would have concurrent prosecutorial authority over these offences.

I would also draw the attention of honourable senators to the proposed addition of the CPPNM Amendment and the ICSANT to the list of existing terrorism treaties making up the definition of terrorist activity at section 83.01(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. The significance of this addition is that, by operation of the terrorist activity definition, a number of important provisions will apply in connection with these offences, such as consecutive sentencing, a reverse onus at bail hearings, and the availability of a one-year wiretap authorization.

Lastly, I would like to make a few comments about the bill's proposed definitions.

The proposed definition of "environment,'' which is used in the offence found in section 82.3, is modeled on the definition of the term as is set out in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The definitions of "radioactive material'' and "nuclear facility'' contained in Bill S-9 are modeled on the internationally agreed upon definitions as set out in the ICSANT.

Finally, I would note that while the definition of "nuclear material'' is quite technical, it is the same definition that has existed since the domestic implementation into the Criminal Code of the CPPNM in 1986.

How do these reforms fit within the broader legislative scheme in our country? Well, nuclear material and facilities are highly regulated. The physical protection measures contemplated in the CPPNM Amendment are already in place in Canada. Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is responsible for setting physical protection standards in Canada and ensuring that those standards are met. The Nuclear Security Regulations set out the physical protection measures that licencees must implement to meet minimum security standards.

The offences in Bill S-9 and their specific intent requirements are designed in such a way so as to be clear that lawful activity, which could, on a very plain reading, be said to fit within the prohibited conduct, is not captured. For example, these offences do not deal with medical procedures involving radiation, the lawful exchange of material or devices, or other lawful activity in the nuclear industry.

In addition, Bill S-9 contains what is often referred to as a military exclusionary clause. In essence, the activities of "armed forces,'' as those terms are understood under international humanitarian law — that is, laws of armed conflict — and which are governed by that law, would not be governed by the reforms proposed to the Criminal Code. Therefore, these amendments do not apply to the activities of the Canadian Forces and persons acting in support of the Canadian Forces who are under the formal command and control of the Canadian Forces while in the performance of their official duties.

The military exclusion language used in both the CPPNM Amendment and the ICSANT, as well as in the present bill, is similar to that used in the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings which is already implemented in Canada through section 431.2 of the Criminal Code.

As I have already noted in reference to the work undertaken over the past few decades on the issue of nuclear security, this same level of interstate cooperation continues today. In 2010, 47 world leaders, including our Prime Minister, participated in the inaugural Nuclear Security Summit hosted by the President of the United States of America in Washington, D.C. At this summit, it was recognized that strong nuclear security measures are the most effective means to prevent terrorists, criminals or other unauthorized actors from acquiring nuclear materials.

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That 2010 summit communiqué called upon states to support the objectives of the ICSANT and the CPPNM as essential elements of the global nuclear security architecture. The summit work plan called upon participating states to ratify and work toward achieving the universal implementation of the CPPNM Amendment and the ICSANT.

Drawing on the first summit success, a second world leaders' Nuclear Security Summit was recently held in Seoul, South Korea, in March of this year. It was attended by 53 heads of state, again including the Prime Minister of Canada.

The summit communiqué recognized the importance of multilateral instruments that addressed nuclear security and committed countries to work toward universal adherence to the conventions.

I would also note that passage of this legislation would bolster Canada's compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to take steps to prevent weapons of mass destruction and their component parts from getting into the hands of non-state actors. One such step is for states to adopt and enforce laws to prohibit non-state actors from acquiring these weapons and their means of delivery. States are also asked to promote the universal adoption and full implementation of multilateral treaties to preventing proliferation, such as ICSANT.

UN Security Council Resolution 1540 also requires states to implement appropriate domestic controls to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This legislation, Bill S-9, and the subsequent ratification of the two international instruments, would demonstrate Canada's commitment to ensuring the security of the nuclear facilities that provide power to our communities and the radiological sources we use, including medical isotopes.

In conclusion, I note that a single nuclear terrorism incident could result in thousands of casualties, severely disrupt the global economy, cause political instability and ecological damage and result in substantial remediation costs.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that a nuclear terrorism attack "would stagger the world economy and thrust tens of millions of people into dire poverty.''

The ratification and implementation of the CPPNM Amendment and the ICSANT amendment through Bill S-9 represents an effective legal step toward addressing nuclear security threats, both within and outside of Canada.

Honourable senators, these reforms send a strong signal to the world of Canada's ongoing commitment to nuclear security. These proposed reforms are designed to deter and punish acts of nuclear terrorism and, as such, Bill S-9 would improve our existing approach to counterterrorism by holding to account those who aspire to commit acts of nuclear terrorism.

Honourable senators, I know this bill is extremely technical, but it is, I think, of great importance, and therefore I have put it on the record here so that all senators will understand the importance of moving forward with Bill S-9 to be in a position to be able to ratify two international conventions. It strengthens our position, both in preventing nuclear terrorism and also in our foreign policy dialogue and debate with erring countries. I urge all honourable senators to adopt the bill.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: Would the honourable senator entertain questions?

Senator Andreychuk: Yes.

Hon. Serge Joyal: I would like to thank the honourable senator for her introductory speech on Bill S-9. Could she inform us, if it is within her knowledge, how many countries have taken similar steps of introducing legislation to be in sync with the resolution of the United Nations?

Senator Andreychuk: There are 53 countries. I do not know how many are dualist. The majority can ratify at a federal level and move forward.

Because of our structures, the ratification can only be after the implementation of the Criminal Code. I will undertake to see how many dualist countries there are. There were 47 countries that signed the first and 53 the second; of these, I am not certain how many have to go through the formal step of introducing criminal legislation. I do know some countries introduce legislation even if it is not required for the criminal amendments. It is a signal of the importance of the issue in the international environment, and it is a way of educating the public about these international treaties and how they inform local laws.

I will undertake to get that before the committee studies this to know exactly which country is moving in what direction. We are moving quickly from Seoul, Korea, and it may take a few days to undertake to get the information on where everyone else is in the process.

Senator Joyal: In that endeavour, would the honourable senator check the list of former members of the Soviet Union? Senator Andreychuk is familiar with this issue as the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

I think a study under the auspices of the United Nations identified which of the former members of the Soviet Union are more at risk of dissemination of nuclear material, especially at the time of the Cold War. I think it would be helpful for the members of the committee to be in a better position to understand where most of the risks might lie, essentially, and how those countries took part in the conference in South Korea and what kind of commitment we can expect from them in the near future.

As honourable senators will realize, this is a very sensitive issue, and I cannot but commend the government for that initiative. As the national strategy the government released last month has shown, the nuclear threat linked to terrorism is probably the most important threat that any country can face these days. As honourable senators know very well, that is intimately linked to initiatives that could be taken in other areas to make the country safer.

Senator Andreychuk: First, I apologize because I also asked the question, "Who has undertaken to ratify?'' I have the list but it is in my office, so I can get that quickly to the honourable senator.

I do know the Ukraine has complied with, first of all, reducing their involvement in nuclear activity, and they are very keen on this. I also have some recollection of Kazakhstan. I will certainly undertake to get that.

The two treaties really go to looking at all countries and non-state actors. That is, of course, after the terrorism. It was not just the former Soviet Union, although there are some vulnerabilities where the nuclear waste was and the capability of transferring that. We have heard the stories of the plutonium in the briefcase going over. We are also concerned that it not go to non-state actors, where there are either fragile or non-existent states. Some of this can be transported rather easily.

I think the objective is for Canada to change and come in line with the Criminal Code. The sections are not novel; they are just intricate. We have already taken those steps. We have signed on to 10 other conventions that have necessitated changes in the Criminal Code. This is just adding to it.

The signal is that Canada is moving quickly. The signal that Canada will comply is very important as we look at a broader issue of terrorism and countries.

I think, with that leadership, we can be in a good position to ensure that other countries are complying. What troubles me is that we only have 53 on board. There are so many other countries we need to convince if we are going to have a nuclear safe world.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)

(1940)

[Translation]

Old Age Security

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Callbeck calling the attention of the Senate to the inequities of the Old Age Security Allowance for unattached, low-income seniors aged 60-64 years.

Hon. Claude Carignan (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I am preparing my speech on the Old Age Security Allowance for unattached, low-income seniors and, unfortunately, I have not had time to complete it. I move the adjournment of the debate for the remainder of my time.

(On motion of Senator Carignan, debate adjourned.)

Poverty in New Brunswick

Inquiry—Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the inquiry of the Honourable Senator Robichaud, P.C., calling the attention of the Senate to the 2009 poverty reduction strategy of New Brunswick.

Hon. Maria Chaput: Honourable senators, I would like to thank Senator Fernand Robichaud for his inquiry of February 7, 2012, regarding poverty in New Brunswick.

Today I wish to speak to you about poverty in my province, Manitoba. More specifically, I would like to address Manitoba's Social Inclusion and Anti-Poverty Act, which was passed in February 2012 and was based on our province's Poverty Reduction Strategy.

However, what is poverty? According to experts, it is not having the basic resources needed to live a healthy life. Poverty is associated with shorter life expectancies, as well as higher rates of disabilities and chronic diseases.

An individual's socio-economic status is of course affected by his or her level of poverty or affluence. That is one of the key indicators of social inequality and one of the most reliable predictors of poor health or chronic disease. When poor health is caused by socio-economic factors, society as a whole feels the effects.

In 2006, the average income of Manitobans aged 15 or over was $20,160 for women and $29,919 for men. Based on the market basket measure of poverty, the low-income population declined by 28.8 per cent in Manitoba between 2000 and 2008, compared to 20 per cent in Canada for the same period. This reduction was evident in particular among single-parent families. Poverty in Manitoba declined by 67 per cent between 2000 and 2008. Child poverty has dropped by 40 per cent since 2000. Manitoba has the third-lowest rate of child and adult poverty, one of the lowest of all the provinces.

In 2009, 9.7 per cent of Manitobans had a low income, compared to 10.8 per cent in 2000.

Food security, or the lack thereof, is one of the socio-economic factors that affects poverty.

Of course food security is affected by employment or unemployment. In 2012, the unemployment rate in Manitoba was 5.6 per cent, putting Manitoba second after Saskatchewan and Alberta. The unemployment rate is 7 per cent for immigrants, which is the second-lowest in Canada. Unemployment is highest among Aboriginal people. However, despite the significant improvement, indicators show that the economic gap is widening in Manitoba and that a great deal of work remains to be done.

The Government of Manitoba studied the poverty issue. It began implementing some initiatives in 1999. Ten years later, they are among the various programs that form Manitoba's Poverty Reduction Strategy. In February 2012, the Selinger government passed the Social Inclusion and Anti-Poverty Act, which is the framework for all anti-poverty programs and initiatives in effect in Manitoba.

This 2012 legislation includes the following points: poverty and social exclusion negatively impact the well-being of all who experience them; poverty and social exclusion are significant barriers to the healthy development of children; people affected by poverty and social exclusion are not able to achieve their full potential to contribute to their communities; poverty and social exclusion have a detrimental impact on the social and economic well-being of our communities; poverty reduction is about both improving the well-being and quality of life of those living in poverty and ensuring a strong and prosperous future for the province; improvement in literacy is an important step to decreasing poverty.

The legislation and the strategy are based on four fundamental pillars and a host of key indicators: the first pillar is safe and affordable housing in communities and participation in the SafetyAid and Lighthouse programs. The second is education, jobs and income support. The third is education, jobs and income, including early childhood development, and the fourth is accessible and coordinated services.

All these elements take into account that poverty has multiple causes. That is why the following objectives were targeted: (a) quality, accessible education that develops knowledge and skills; (b) training that prepares persons for employment; (c) employment opportunities; (d) income supports for persons who are unable to fully participate in the labour market; (e) affordable housing; (f) supportive and safe communities; and (g) supports for strong and healthy families.

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This legislative framework and these measures are reflected in programs and initiatives that meet the needs of the targeted population. Three areas are particularly important. Here is an overview. I will begin with employment.

The Rewarding Work initiative helps people with low incomes get and keep jobs by making employment more attractive than social assistance. Employment Manitoba helps individuals prepare for and return to the labour market, as well as get and keep jobs. The Adult Learning & Literacy programs help those who have not completed their education finish high school or upgrade in order to pursue higher education.

For workers in remote regions, Manitoba Hydro's Northern Employment Training Initiative includes training and support options that help Aboriginals prepare for work on hydroelectric projects.

Families are targeted too. For example, the Family Choices program for early learning and child care focuses on access to child care programs, universality, affordability and quality. Neighbourhoods Alive! and other community economic development programs and projects support initiatives that strengthen neighbourhoods, improve standards of living, support the local economy and promote the safety and well-being of residents.

The Northern Healthy Foods Initiative, which targets rural and Aboriginal communities, supports community-based projects that promote nutrition and improve access to healthy foods. Because seniors are particularly at risk, the Government of Manitoba has implemented a number of initiatives to promote seniors' health, independence and well-being.

Finally, I would like to tell you about some of the programs that exist for children. Healthy Child Manitoba relies on interdepartmental cooperation to provide Manitoba children and their families with the best opportunities, while Changes for Children strengthens and improves the child and family services system. Closing the Gap is a 10-year plan aimed at reducing the gaps in well-being between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.

All of these programs are coordinated by an interdepartmental working group that will submit reports to the Ministers' Poverty Reduction Committee.

Furthermore, the government recently announced the creation of a cabinet committee chaired by the Premier of Manitoba. The committee's work will focus on employment and family services. The ministers of finance; health; family services and labour; conservation and water stewardship; innovation, energy and mines; and Aboriginal and northern affairs will tackle these government priorities.

According to the Manitoba government, poverty is about more than just a lack of money. Rather, "it is a combination of issues that keep people from participating in the economy or in society.''

Accordingly, a large part of the government's strategic, concerted efforts will in some way "contribute to reducing poverty and increasing the inclusion of low-income Manitobans in all aspects of community life.'' In financial terms, all of these initiatives aimed at reducing poverty are supported by an annual investment of over $744 million. The funds committed to the fight against poverty in the area of employment are focused on the following: basic building blocks for employment, because a well-paid job is the best way to get out of poverty; assistance for vulnerable individuals in all areas where there are potential obstacles, such as mental health, addiction and physical disabilities; food security, because not all Manitobans have the same access to affordable food and drinking water; housing, because housing is a basic need and high-quality, stable, affordable housing translates into improved quality of life.

We must close the gaps for Aboriginal people given that they face unique challenges. We must create services for youth. Young people absolutely must be engaged socially and be supported by their communities. To that end, they must have access to health, recreation and arts services and must have a sense of belonging to their community as well as quality education.

Poverty often goes hand in hand with incomplete schooling. That is why the Manitoba government has established a complementary $1.2 million funding program for learning coordinators for children up to 18 years of age, who will help school divisions manage programs to support student retention until that age. This consists of providing support in order to expand programs for youth at risk of quitting school that support the development of employment and life skills.

In the area of education, employment and income support, the government has put in place a community internship program for 120 people who will be trained as certified educational assistants and child care workers. The objective of this program is to help low-income immigrants enter these professions. These two training programs went into effect in July 2011 and September 2011 respectively.

Although a job does not necessarily keep poverty at bay, it is nonetheless one of the most important poverty reduction levers because it provides a certain amount of economic and social stability while building self-esteem.

Housing is also an essential need and above all a fundamental requirement for good physical and mental health. The Affordable Housing initiative seeks to make housing more affordable. In this regard, the Manitoba government recently announced that it would help the Sara Riel Foundation in Winnipeg build an integrated 28-unit complex, which will provide safe and affordable housing for families and adults with mental health issues. Fourteen of the 28 units will be classified as supportive housing, with rent geared to income.

Another component of the Poverty Reduction Strategy is the HOMEWorks! program, a long-term housing initiative. Manitoba has committed to supplying 1,500 affordable social housing units in partnership with the federal government. There are already almost 1,000 such units.

The provincial government is also partnering with the City of Winnipeg through the joint, single-window Winnipeg Housing and Homelessness Initiative. Between 2000 and 2012, the three levels of government invested nearly $185 million in repairing, renovating and building over 8,400 apartments to help people who are homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless.

Through the Family Choices program, the province funded 11,000 new child care spaces, half of which were created since April 2008, when the program was launched. In June 2011, the government invested an additional $3 million in the development of two early learning and child care centres.

Yet parents often have a hard time finding child care for their children. That is why the Government of Manitoba set up an online child care registry, the first of its kind in Canada, which helped place 1,000 children in five months. The site offers an interactive map that allows parents to find a child care centre that suits their needs.

Education is especially important in modern society. That is why Manitoba recently set new funding targets for early literacy and numeracy in order to improve young children's reading, writing and math skills. These initiatives receive $1.8 million annually.

What is more, an additional $1 million is allocated to the literacy initiative for children with learning difficulties in grade one in English or French, and in grades one and two in the French immersion program.

Manitoba is also investing $667,000 in implementing a Youth Corps pilot project to help high-risk youth who are facing multiple personal barriers to gaining life skills, training and employment.

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Up to 345 youth will participate in the program every year.

Lastly, the Government of Manitoba recently unveiled a program to assist teens in foster homes who want to take university courses.

The Hon. the Acting Speaker: I regret to inform Senator Chaput that her time is up. Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to give her five more minutes?

Hon. Senators: Yes.

Senator Chaput: Through a partnership with the University of Winnipeg, every year 10 young people who lived in foster homes will be able to go to university for free. The government will cover the cost of housing, books and food for these students until they turn 21.

According to statistics, over 9,500 young people live in foster homes in Manitoba. Most of these young people are from First Nations or Metis communities. I should point out that Aboriginal people account for 16 per cent of Manitoba's population, a figure four times higher than the Canadian average. Without this program, fewer than 5 per cent of them would undertake post-secondary studies.

Young families and their children are not the only ones who will benefit from the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Seniors will, too. For instance, the region of Steinbach, a community in southeastern Manitoba, is experiencing a population explosion. Since February 2012, the seniors of that region have had better access to affordable, high-quality housing with the opening of 52 new housing units, which received over $3 million in funding from the Manitoba and Canadian governments.

Despite these successes and these innovative programs, inherent obstacles to reducing poverty remain. Mental health is one of the most serious and most devastating key factors in poverty.

As agreed upon at the Council of the Federation meeting in Vancouver in the summer of 2011, Manitoba hosted a national summit on mental health promotion and illness prevention in February 2012. Eminent researchers, government representatives and other stakeholders dedicated to various issues related to mental health and mental illness all came together in Winnipeg.

It is important to build strong communities, including First Nations communities, and these efforts must recognize the importance of cultural identity, self-determination and social inclusion. The experts also noted that culture is an important factor in protection.

Family poverty is an important issue for the very young, older seniors and newcomers to Canada. Each group has its specific concerns. That is why it is important to adopt a strategy for tackling poverty, and Manitoba has chosen to do so.

In closing, I would like to say that it was a pleasure to talk to you about some of the measures, initiatives and programs implemented by my province, Manitoba, in order to fight poverty.

(On motion of Senator Tardif, debate adjourned.)

(The Senate adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m.)

APPENDIX

Government of Canada Advertising1 Campaigns Identified under Canada's Economic Action Plan

Fiscal Year Department Campaign Name Allocations *** Expenditures
2009-2010 Finance Canada Canada's Economic Action Plan $17M $16,498,667
Canada Revenue Agency Home Renovation Tax Credit $7M $6,220,288
Tax Relief Measures (2009) $10M $8,168,048
HRSDC Apprenticeship Completion Grants $7M$6.075 (TB Submission) $425K (departmental funds) $1,777,261
Helping Canadian Workers $11,401,978
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Canadian Agricultural Loans Act $340K (departmental funds) $291,186
NRCan ecoEnergy Home Retrofit Grant $1.2M (transferred from CRA) $90K (departmental funds) $1,254,474
Infrastucture Canada EAP Campaign $8M $7,547,946
2010-2011* Finance Canada Credit Card Regulations $10M(including $4M for Measures $1,021,825
EAP Campaign in Budget 2011 and $6M for EAP) $4,826,385
Canada Revenue Agency Tax Relief Measures (2010) $6.5M $6,071,661
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canadian Agricultural Loans Act $385K (departmental program funds) $362,133
HRSDC Apprenticeship Completion Grants $3.5M $2,162,760
Better Jobs $8.0M $4,497,390
2011-2012** Canada Revenue Agency Tax Relief Measures (2011) $6.5M $5,875,070
Finance Canada Budget 2011 $3.2M $2,657,244
EAP-Jobs & Growth Campaign $5.5M $4,180,069
HRSDC Better Jobs (Jobs of the Future) $6M $5,054,252
Apprenticeship Completion Grants $2.5M $2,373,538
NRCan ecoEnergy Home Retrofit Grant $6M $4,963,452

1 Under the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, advertising is defined as "any message, conveyed in Canada or abroad and paid for by the government for placement in media such as newspapers, television, radio, Internet, cinema and out-of-home.''

*Figures are considered estimates until the release of the 2012-2011 Annual Report on Government of Canada Advertising Activities.

**Figures are estimated year-to-date reported to February 15, 2012.

***Allocations from the GC Annual Advertising Plan unless otherwise noted.